Taking Aspirin After a Mini-Stroke Could Reduce Further Symptoms

A new study suggests that people who take aspirin after experiencing a mini-stroke have a significantly lower risk of experiencing a major stroke than people who don’t take aspirin.

A mini-stroke is also called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), and people who experience them are 1,000 times more likely to experience a major stroke than people who didn’t have a mini-stroke. 

After analyzing data from 56,000 people, the researchers found that taking aspirin immediately after a mini-stroke decreased the risk of a subsequent major stroke by 70 percent.

The study was led by Peter Rothwell, a stroke expert at the University of Oxford. Rothwell said that his research team discovered that immediately treating a minor stroke can decrease both the risk and the severity of a future major stroke.

These findings are significant mainly due to the lack of knowledge about mini-strokes. Rothwell said that most public health campaigns that seek to educate people about stroke risk only focus on major strokes. Because of these campaigns, people are more likely to get medical help after a major stroke, but are far less likely to seek treatment after having a mini-stroke.

Some people don’t seek help at all after a stroke or mini-stroke, or they delay seeing a doctor for several days. Delaying or never getting treatment dramatically increases a person’s risk of experiencing another stroke.

Based on the results, Rothwell suggests that doctors immediately provide aspirin to mini-stroke patients rather than waiting for further tests or evaluations.
Aspirin is also a helpful option for people who cannot immediately access medical care. If they can at least take aspirin, they can improve their chances of making a healthy recovery.

The study suggests taking one 300 milligram dose of aspirin after experiencing mini-stroke symptoms, even if the symptoms seem to be improving.

Mini-strokes and major strokes share many of the same symptoms, including:
  •        Numbness or weakness in the muscles, particularly on one side of the body
  •        Difficulty speaking
  •        Difficulty understanding speech
  •        Dizziness
  •       Double vision
  •       Difficulty seeing in one or both eyes

Mini-stroke symptoms generally last only a few minutes, but could last as long as 24 hours. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical care and take aspirin if available.

Worries About Water Intake May Be Unfounded

If you are concerned about your daily water intake, your worries may be unwarranted. A new study has found that most Americans are taking in a healthy amount of water every day.

Data collected between 2009 and 2012 for the U.S. National Health Nutrition Examination Survey showed that the average adult man consumes approximately 117 ounces of water each day, or just over 14 cups. The average adult woman takes in about 93 ounces each day, or about 12 cups.

Kirsten Herrick and Asher Rosinger from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention led the study. Herrick and Rosinger stated that in 2004, the recommended daily water intake was 125 ounces for adult men and 91 ounces. Their study’s findings prove that the average American adult more than meets these standards on a daily basis.

The study did note that not all of the water intake came from plain drinking water. The study’s data showed that about 30 percent of men’s daily water intake came from plain water, and 34 percent of women’s intake came from plain water. The remaining fluid intake is a result of other liquids, like coffee, sodas, and juices, and some comes from food.

Antonella Apicella, a nutritionist from New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital cautioned that while drinks like soda and juice can provide some of the body’s required water intake, these beverages contain considerably more calories than plain drinking water. Reliance on these drinks as the main form of hydration can lead to weight gain and other health complications. The best and healthiest way to hydrate is through plain water.

The study noted differences in water intake across various demographic groups. Adults over the age of 60 generally consume less water than their younger counterparts. The study also found that white adults showed greater water intake than black or Hispanic adults. Physical activity was also a factor: as a person’s activity levels increased, so did their water intake.

Dana Angelo White, a sports dietitian and professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, stated that hydration needs are different for each person. She says her usual baseline recommendation for water intake is to consume half your weight in ounces. This number should increase if you regularly exercise.

However, just as not drinking enough water can be a problem, over-hydrating can also be dangerous, Apicella warned. Over-hydration can result in hyponatremia, or low blood sodium concentration. 
When hydrating, do your best to keep track of how much plain water you drink and supply your body with plenty of electrolytes.

The Tech Epidemic: Half of Teens Admit Being Addicted to Smartphones

A new poll, conducted by Common Sense Media, reveals that 50 percent of teens in America think they’re addicted to their phones. The poll included 1,240 interviews with parents and children ages 12 to 18. 59 percent of the parents involved in the poll thought their teen was addicted to their phone.

Holland Haiis, an expert in digital addiction, says that technology is the addiction of the 21st century. While it’s common for most children, teens, and adults to spend time on technological devices like phones or computers, Haiis says that if your child prefers playing on these devices to being outside or hanging out with friends, then the technology becomes a problem.

A previous study performed in 2011 reviewed 18 studies and discovered that internet addiction could be affecting up to 26 percent of teens in the U.S. In many other countries around the world, internet addiction is considered a threat to public health, but in the United States, it is not recognized as a disorder. Common Sense Media stated that more research is needed to determine the scope of internet addiction in the U.S.

According the poll, 66 percent of parents feel that their child spends too much time on tech devices. 52 percent of teens agree that they spend too much time on phones, computers, and tablets.

About 80 percent of the teens in the survey said they checked their phone at least every hour, and 72 percent reported feeling a need to respond immediately to text messages or social media notifications. 36 percent of parents reported arguing with their child on a daily basis about their phone use, and 77 percent of parents feel that their child is regularly distracted by their devices and doesn’t pay attention during in-person conversations and interactions.

Terry Greenwald, a custodian at a high school in Alaska, referred to students as “zombies.” Greenwald says the students are usually late to class because they spend so much time shuffling through the hallways without looking up from their phones.

Janis Elspas, who founded a family-oriented advice blog called Mommy Blog Expert, says she’s had success instituting boundaries in her children’s phone usage. She suggests setting up rules when teens get their first phone, so they get used to following these rules as they get older. Elspas also had her teens get part-time jobs so they could be responsible for paying part of the phone costs. As silly as it sounds, Elspas says having no-phone rules at family dinners and other occasions help remind teens that they can survive without their devices.

Despite these disheartening results, the Common Sense Media poll also reported that 37 percent of teens said they are aware that excessive phone use is a problem, and they actively try to restrict the time they spend on their phones.

The addiction to technology wasn’t just a problem for teens. 27 percent of parents included in the poll said they feel addicted to their phones. 69 percent of parents admitted checking their phones at least hourly, compared to 80 percent of teens who reported the same behavior. 48 percent of parents said they often respond immediately to text messages or social media notifications.

56 percent of parents said they routinely check their phones while driving, but 52 percent said they actively try to limit their phone use.

Digital detox expert Holland Haiis recommended setting limits on phone use and time spent surfing the internet. She also suggested limiting the number of social media posts to five per week. This limitation often leads to less time scrolling through social media sites.

Haiis said that social media and texting can stimulate dopamine in our brains, which makes the activity feel more exciting and addicting. Instead of reaching for your phone for this fix, Haiis suggests going for a walk or getting some exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, which create the same feelings of stimulation and happiness.

Seven Reasons to Treat Yourself to a Facial

Feeling like your skin could use some TLC? Here are seven reasons why you should consider visiting a professional once a month to get a rejuvenating a facial:

  1. Skin aestheticians know how to clear your pores the right way. You may have all kinds of face creams and scrubs on your bathroom counter, but these products won’t get your pores 100 percent clear. Professional aestheticians have the tools and the experience to unclog your pores in ways you just can’t do yourself.
  2. A facial can help you say goodbye to breakouts. Dermatologists and skin aestheticians can clear up even the most tenacious forms of acne by providing targeted treatments. They know how to get rid of pimples the right way to reduce irritation and scarring. Exfoliation treatments provided by professionals can help prevent future acne outbreaks and ensure long-lasting clear skin.
  3. Facials take skin moisturizing to the next level. Even if you moisturize every day, your skin could always use some intense hydration. A professional aesthetician can evaluate your skin type and identify what kind of hydration treatment you need, while taking into consideration your skin’s natural levels of oil and moisture.
  4. Your skin will be smoother than ever. No matter what type of facial you get, you will always receive some intense exfoliation as part of the process. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from your face, leaving your skin feeling smooth and refreshed.
  5. A good facial always includes a calming massage for your face and neck. In addition to making you feel relaxed, this massage also increases blood flow to your face and neck, which helps tone your facial muscles.
  6. The more you know about your skin, the better. A visit to a skin aesthetician is a great opportunity to address any issues you’ve experienced with your skin. If the facial itself doesn’t clear up these problems, a good aesthetician can give you advice for how to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.
  7. A facial gives you some much needed self-care and relaxation. Not only will you feel more confident in your skin health and appearance, a facial gives you time to recharge mentally.

If you’ve had a stressful week, your acne has been acting up, or you just want to pamper yourself, do yourself a favor and get a facial. Your skin will thank you for it.

Quick and Easy Healthy Snacks

Veggie Flowers: Evenly slice one cucumber, then cut each slice in half. Evenly slice one carrot, then make triangle cutouts along the edge of each slice. Cut your favorite cheese into cubes and slide each cube onto a toothpick. Slide a cucumber onto each toothpick, with the rounded side down. Top each toothpick with a carrot flower and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies: Combine one cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar, and one egg in a bowl. Stir, then shape into patties and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Place one Hershey’s kiss in the center of each patty, then allow to cool.

Sunny Day Smoothie: In a blender, add a half cup of orange juice, a half cup of chopped carrot, a half cup of frozen pineapple chunks, one cup of vanilla yogurt, and one tablespoon of honey. Blend, pour, enjoy.

Chocolate Bananas: Peel one banana and place on a plate. Melt semisweet chocolate in microwave-safe bowl then pour over banana. Decorate with nuts, sprinkles, or raisins.

Yummy Fruit Pizza: Cut a tortilla into 4-6 triangular pieces. Brush each side with oil, sprinkle with vanilla sugar, and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow slices to cool, then cover with layer of vanilla yogurt. Slice banana, kiwi, pineapple, strawberry, or any other fruits, and arrange on tortilla slices. Sprinkle slices with cinnamon before serving.

Homemade Potato Chips: Thinly slice one potato. Sprinkle slices with salt water, arrange on baking paper and cover with another piece of baking paper. Microwave for 5 minutes, then enjoy.

Tasty Purple Popsicles: In a blender, combine ¼ cup blueberries, ¼ cup strawberries, ¼ cup raspberries, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, and ½ cup ice. Blend, pour into popsicle molds or plastic cups, then freeze.

Strawberry Summer Lemonade: Boil two cups of water and one cup of sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves, then add one tablespoon of grated lemon peel and one cup of lemon juice. Stir and let cool. Add one pint of pureed strawberries. Stir and refrigerate. Before serving, add two cups of sparkling water, stir, and add ice.

Fruity Squares: Break graham crackers into squares and spread with vanilla or plain yogurt. Top with chocolate chips, raisins, chopped nuts, or berries.

Easy Cheesy Crackers: Buy your favorite type of cracker. Peel string cheese into strips and arrange on crackers. 

High-Intensity Interval Training Can Improve Cardiorespiratory Health

Cardiorespiratory fitness is the fitness of your lungs and heart. To improve cardiorespiratory fitness, you have to up your intensity! HIIT training, or high-intensity interval training, requires you to alternate moderate-intensity exercises with high-intensity exercises to get and keep your heart rate up.  Incorporating HIIT workouts offer a safe and effective way to get fitter and adapt your body to more intense exercise.

HIIT workouts increase your cardiovascular fitness more quickly and greater than other kinds of exercise. In addition, it can save you time. You need only 25-30 minutes for an effective HIIT session. You still burn the same amount of calories as a longer workout. Some people also find HIIT workouts more fun and interesting than moderate-intensity options, since they are fast faced and the exercises change.

To create and use HIIT workouts effectively, you'll need to be able to distinguish between moderate- and high-intensity exercises. The easy way to tell the difference is using a talk test. You should be able to talk during moderate-intensity exercise but struggle to say more than a few words without taking a breath during high-intensity exercise.

Before incorporating HIIT routines, work out with moderate intensity for several sessions or until moderate intensity is comfortable for a minimum of 20 minutes. Once you reach 20 minutes, you can add a HIIT routine into your training. Moderate intensity exercise options include biking, walking, jogging, or using a machine like an elliptical.

When you plan to do a HIIT workout, starting with five to 10 minutes of relatively easy exercise to warm up your body. Then, switch to high-intensity work for 30 seconds before swapping back to moderate exercise for up to three minutes. Once you recover completely, repeat the process two or three times over the next 30 minutes.

Remember that working at a high intensity does not mean you should be exerting your maximum effort. If you experience discomfort or pain in your chest, lightheadedness, or severe shortness of breath, stop exercising immediately. If you experience unusual fatigue or joint or muscle pain, talk with your doctor about your symptoms.

As your body adjusts to the HIIT program, increase the frequency of the high-intensity intervals, up to five or six intervals per workout instead of two or three. In addition, you can increase the time of the interval to make it more challenging.

Tips for Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients

New research suggests a minimally invasive surgery that alleviates chronic heartburn is safer than previously thought. In addition, the procedure is likely a preferred alternative to using acid reflux medications in the long term.

Researchers determined that the often-quoted 1 percent is far higher than the actual death rate following laparoscopic funoplication surgery, which is a method of treatment for GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. This research comes as concerns are growing about taking acid reflux medications for extended periods.

Previously, one of the main arguments against the surgical options for treating GERD is the concern about mortality, according to study author Dr. John Maret-Ouda, a doctoral student at Sweeden's Karolinska Institute.

The study found just one death among 9,000 patients who underwent surgery between 1997 and 2013.

Results from this study were published in the British Journal of Surgery recently.

When the muscle located at the bottom of the esophagus does not properly close, stomach acid is able to leak into the esophagus and cause irritation. This is when GERD occurs. The chronic heartburn can cause cellular changes that could lead to esophageal cancer. As many as 20 percent of Americans suffer from GERD, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports.

Proton pump inhibitors, also known as PPIs, are often prescribed to reduce the production of stomach acid. PPIs include Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec. Unfortunately, use of these medications long-term has been linked to health issues, including dementia.

The research team examined 30-day and 90-day death rates resulting from laparoscopic fundoplication surgery for almost 9,000 people. Using small incisions in the abdomin, surgeons detach part of the stomach from the spleen, using it to create a tighter barrier between the esophagus and stomach, which helps prevent acid reflux.

During the 16-year study, only one death occurred as a result of the surgery. Death rates for 30 days post-op were 0.03 percent, and death rates for 90 days post-op were 0.08 percent. PPIs act mainly by reducing the level of acidity in the stomach but do not reduce the reflux. The surgery, on the other hand, creates a barrier, inhibiting the reflux entirely.

The perception that the surgery is dangerous and carries a 1 percent risk of mortality is why many people opt for PPIs. This research could provide a turning point, though. Given this information combined with the studies linking prolonged use of PPIs to health issues, we can likely expect an increase in the number of people opting for surgery.

Stay Hydrated While Pregnant

You know how important it is to stay hydrated all the time, but it is increasingly important when you're pregnant. In addition to staying hydrated, you have to make sure the water you're drinking is safe.

Why Stay Hydrated?
Your body is composed of 70 percent water, and every part of your body requires water to function. Every tissue, cell, and organ requires hydration. Staying hydrated ensures your body can lubricate joints, remove waste, and maintain boyd temperature.

How Do I Become Dehydrated?
You lose water when you go to the bathroom, when you sweat, and even when you breathe. Whether you are being physically active or the weather is hot, you're losing water from your body. You can also lose water when you have a fever, because your body is working to maintain its temperature.  Furthermore, you can lose water when you're sick from vomiting or diarrhea. This can be extended to morning sickness during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Dehydration

  •        Thirst
  •        Dry Mouth
  •        Lack of urine or dark urine
  •       Lightheadedness
  •        Headache
  •        Confusion
  •        Lack of tears while crying

Staying Hydrated
Be sure to drink the appropriate amount of water each day. In addition, be sure to include an electrolyte water, such as Propel Zero or Smart Water, if you're experiencing morning sickness and vomiting or if you're sweating a lot. Sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting can lead to a loss of electrolytes as well as fluids.

Aim for six to eight glasses of water each day. If you're unsure whether you're drinking enough, check your urine. It should be colorless or light yellow if you are properly hydrated.

Other Options

If you find water to be flavorless and boring, try fresh-pressed vegetable and fruit juices. Be sure they do not contain added sugar. You can also drink one caffeinated drink a day. Fruits and vegetables contain water, so be sure to consume plenty of fresh produce. In addition, soup broths can be soothing to sip on. Keep a water bottle handy and full so it's easy for you to drink regularly. 

Quitting Smoking a Cold Turkey Decision

Thinking of quitting smoking? Good for you! That’s a brave first step to a healthier life. However, the road to a smoke-free life may not be quite as easy as slapping on a patch or chewing some gum. According to some scientists, relying on smoking cessation devices and drugs may have more pitfalls than promises.

Studies at the University of Oxford are now saying that while it certainly isn’t easy, simply going cold turkey may be far better than relying on gums, patches, or other nicotine resources. According to the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine participants who tried to gradually reduce the levels with cessation products had less success in actually giving up smoking than those who simply threw away their cigarettes or other tobacco products and quit.

The kick back is that while it does seem to make giving up the actual cigarettes easier, there will be a point where you either have to stop using the cessation products, thereby eventually having to go without any nicotine at all, or be hooked on a different form of the real source of smoking addiction—nicotine anyway.

More Effective Alternatives for Abruptly Quitting Smoking

Quitting is probably the smartest choice you will ever make. It will improve your health, allow you to enjoy life better, and avoid countless health hazards associated with smoking. There are better options for stopping than nasal spray, gums and the rest, if you are considering going cold-turkey. Join a group online, find a therapy group for smokers in your community and get support. Of course, family and friends who are supportive are wonderful, but unless they have quit, or are trying to quit, they may not be able to provide you with the type of support and understanding you really need. For a non-smoker, the struggles of stopping do not seem real. Talk therapy does help a lot, however, when there are people who have been through it or are going through the same things you are.

Believe it, or not, your overall state of mind may play a much larger part in your success or failure when it comes to giving up tobacco. Having a positive perspective and a good outlook will help you get through the times when managing the cravings seem overwhelming. Don’t be fooled into complacency either. Many people who successfully quit for months, even years, end up going back, and to some that seems unthinkable. Just like an alcoholic, once a smoker, always a smoker. The key is in taking it one step, one day at a time, and realizing that you can never have “just one.”

 Even after years, one of the dangers is that you can begin to feel overconfident, and forget that you were once addicted. Then something happens out of the blue, it could be a simple little aggravation or a big life-changing issue, and suddenly you may get hit with a craving and slide right off the wagon. Knowing that, and remembering that it can happen is one of the most powerful tools to avoiding relapse and picking up those cigarettes again. Your mind is your most helpful weapon against the dangers of tobacco.

Hoarding a True Society Problem

Hoarding is becoming a real problem for a large segment of the world population. 4% of the people of the world have some degree of hoarding tendencies. It isn’t just junk that people accumulate in their homes or on their property. The problem can be either inanimate or living animals, or both. It can seem like it is a simple issue, but hoarding is a form of compulsive behavior that goes far beyond collection or hobbies. Hoarding can become so invasive it takes over homes and have a negative impact on life and health.

 Collecting items can begin with simple things like figures, photographs, magazines, newspapers or legal items, but turn into the inability to get rid of anything, even old food, clothing or garbage. When dealing with this type of disorder, people can have trouble telling the difference between good and bad, and be blind to the clutter of possessions surrounding them.

Boxes and stacks of items, whether they are clean items or garbage can do more than just make an home cluttered or hard to navigate. It can actually cause structure damage to property as well. Buildings can be stressed by the extreme weight of piled up junk in a concentrated area. The over-collection of anything can also make it impossible to reach parts of rooms, see when outside damage has happened like roof leaks or other things that end up getting worse, and causing extra damage from water buildup. Excessive accumulation of items invites parasites and rodents to move in as well. Rats and mice love boxes, and so do roaches, ants and spiders.

Triggers for Hoarding

Hoarding can begin in early life, starting in teenage years and getting worse as people age. Other times, life situations are known for triggering the problem. In many instances, people who were otherwise normal suddenly began to accumulate things following severe trauma, abuse, divorce or due to depression. Most of the reasons for the disease are centered around anxiety and physical, social or financial loss.

Along with the health hazards of accumulating large amounts of stuff, the act of hoarding also triggers social distress, distrust of others and isolation. It has caused marital problems and destroyed marriages. Even loss of loved ones can’t make people who are determined to save useless items understand the need for parting with the accumulation.

Symptoms of Hoarding Personalities

Hoarders typically put off activities, have a hard time organizing items, have unusual attachments to inanimate objects or can’t throw things away regardless of value. They usually have a false sense of value regarding the things in their lives either financial or emotional. Other times, they just get a sense of security and safety from having things around them.

The desire to keep precious items until it is over-whelming can also get worse with age, and that makes it extra problematic as the piles are hazardous for elderly people to navigate. Cluttered rooms are also fire hazards for people of any age, and some insurance companies may refuse to cover homes that have blocked passages or doorways.

When people hoard animals they often have a hard time keeping up with regular care, and animal-borne diseases become a problem that can spread to areas outside the home and cause a health issue. Animal collectors have a high risk of exposure to ticks, fleas and other parasites as well.

When to Get Help

Hoarding becomes a health risk when cleaning is impossible around the stacks of items. Filthy conditions, or too many animals in one space can become a hazard from feces and urine accumulation, but that isn’t the only time when animal waste is an issue. The stacks of items that are rodent attractions get soaked with urine that builds up.

The biggest health risk is ammonia inhalation and constant exposure that can cause lung damage, asthma or bronchitis. When people have a hoarding problem, they usually need intervention before they get help. Because it is a compulsive disorder, CBT is usually the best form of therapy in resolving the issues surrounding the behavior. Cognitive behavioral treatment can be done as an outpatient in most cases.

Along with depression, it has been linked to ADHD types of hyperactivity. People who have difficulties with attention and are indecisive can develop a problem with deciding what is important and what is not. In those cases, hoarding goes beyond special items and turns into collecting and saving everything, even plastic bags and household supplies.