Well, because I believe that wellness is a total body belief. We care for our futures through preventive screenings and our babies with regular prenatal exams. All very important things. But to care for our whole selves, we must look at how we manage our exercise, our mental health and yes–even our diet. So every once in awhile, I’m going to give you a healthy recipe. Just something easy that you can have ready in no time. Something full of fresh flavor and impressive enough for entertaining or a lazy night at home with the family.
Today let’s do roast asparagus. It’s in season right now and you can pick up a bunch at a local farmer’s market or just in the grocery store. It should be on sale right now as well. Even better!
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA for short) affects 18 million Americans, and you could be one of them. Chances are you sleep next to someone with sleep apnea. They may be loud snorers, or they may stop breathing for a period of time. You are always trying to roll them over, prop them up, or give them a good shake to make them breathe normally (and hopefully more quietly). While sleep apnea may seem like more of an inconvenience than a serious problem, men and women who suffer from the condition can experience some very real and potentially serious complications.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is triggered when the tongue and other soft tissues inside the mouth relax and slide backward into the throat–blocking the airway of the sleeping person. This triggers snoring as the tongue and tonsils rattle against the throat and may completely close off your body’s ability to move air in or out. This drops the body’s oxygen levels and the brain comes alive: waking you from sleep and stimulating your body to breathe.
Men and women who have sleep apnea may wake up dozens of times every night. He or she may not even wake fully enough to realize what’s happening, but these frequent changes in sleep cycle and drops in oxygen levels trigger the production of stress hormones that raise the risk for :
high blood pressure
Self Care for Sleep Apnea: What YOU Can Do
If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, it is important to see your doctor right away. To diagnose sleep apnea, you will need a sleep study test. This painless test allows doctors to monitor your body’s response and sleep cycle through small electrodes connected to your scalp. If you do have apnea, your doctor may prescribe a CPAP machine. This machine pushes air into your lungs through a small mask while you sleep–keeping the airway open and eliminating those drops in oxygen and all the snoring. CPAP machines often make patients feel much better because they are finally able to rest uninterrupted at night.
You can also control OSA with some other steps. See your doctor first, then consider these steps:
Lose weight if needed. Being overweight is the most important risk factor for apnea.
Avoid alcohol and stop smoking.
Eat a healthy diet
Develop a good bedtime routine that promotes sleep.
At the center of decades of women’s health debate sits emergency contraception. Also known as ECPs, Plan B, and the “morning after” pill, ECPs were released for over the counter use by women over age 17 in April of this year. Sparking a firestorm of back and forth, the U.S. government, the FDA and the judicial court system have been throwing punches for most of 2013 about how to distribute the drugs and setting age limits on who should have access to them. (more…)
Every year this nation experiences a tragedy–whether natural or man made disaster can strike at any moment. From fires and floods to hurricanes and blizzards there are sure to be more of these events in the future. Because September is National Preparedness Month, I thought this would be a good time to talk about some ways you can get ready for a disaster, and those steps don’t start when something bad goes down. They start months, or even years in advance. (more…)
Worksite wellness is all the rage these days, and you may have already been exposed to one. Worksite wellness (also called corporate wellness) is your employer’s way of getting you healthy and saving money for the company. It may feel like it’s a bit manipulative, but can you blame your boss?
They want you to live healthier, lose weight, stop smoking and exercise to reduce your risk of illness that ultimately, drive up insurance premiums for the company. And honestly, there’s plenty in it for you as well. You get healthy with the support and tools of the professionals and find accountability with your coworkers.
If you don’t have a work wellness program, talk to your bosses about getting one started. I’m sure they will be willing to listen–especially when you feature all of the benefits. Be sure to offer some great ways to get moving, too. Here are a few to consider:
Start a walking club during lunch or on breaks
Encourage a smoke-free workplace
Dress up the stairwells for walking
This one’s funny–start meetings with a stretch and a “relaxation” break in the middle
Download and share teaching pamphlets or educational materials on weight loss, smoking and healthy eating
Develop an indoor map that shows distances so employees can keep track of how far they walk
Employees who have a worksite wellness program are happier, healthier and leave their job less often than those who don’t. Simple programs that remind everyone to wash their hands (only 5% actually wash well enough to remove germs, yuck!) can keep employees from calling in sick and improve overall work flow.
You can be a big part of getting a worksite wellness program in place. If you have a few friends who are interested in joining up, form a committee and present your information then build on support and encouragement to get healthy.
Sometimes we need a goal. Something to move us forward and keep us on track. Everyone has their own way of doing that–like knowing there’s a nice meal waiting at the end of a week of diet and exercise, or joining up with a friend who is holding you accountable. Today researchers at Indiana University have found another way you can move more and feel better. With a pedometer. You know–those little machines you wear on your hip that count the number of steps you take during the day. Working like your own little box of encouragement, people who wore them moved more. (more…)