Month: January 2016

Annual Medical Checkups Are They Necessary

h4In recent years, however, much has been written about annual medical checkups – a long list of tests one must undergo every year, especially after turning 40. Considering the cost and time involved in conducting these tests, a question that arises is – Are these tests actually beneficial? And are they necessary?

The fact of the matter is that there is no one-package-suits-all solution. Pre-determined exhaustive checkups are neither necessary nor beneficial. Furthermore, such checkups are not cost effective and, in some cases, cause unnecessary additional testing and anxiety. What is critical is the time spent with one’s physician – to better determine their individual risk for certain diseases, something that may require testing in the present, and could pay off in health care savings down the road.

Here is what you need to keep in mind before you decide on what annual checkups could mean to you:

1. Analyzing the need:

The tests you need depend on your age, health, gender, and your risk factors. Risk factors might include family history, such as having a close relative with cancer, and lifestyle issues, such as smoking. Cholesterol screening, for example, is recommended for people who have a family history of early coronary artery disease. If you are at risk for a disease, you and your doctor together will decide whether you should be tested for it.

A good examination should include a detailed history, a review of systems, a social history, past medical history and family history, a complete physical examination, and then age-appropriate screening and blood work.

2. Quality over Quantity:

It is difficult to say what tests are routine since an examination by the physician can reveal different health issues for different people. However, there are some tests that are beneficial for all and these are explained below:

Routine blood tests include:

– Complete blood count (CBC): screens for infections, anemias, and other hematological abnormalities
– Fasting Blood Sugar/Glucose: screens for diabetes and predisposition to diabetes
– Lipid profile: provides information on the status of your cardiovascular system and screens for diabetes, and coronary artery disease
– Urine analysis: a simple test that tells you a lot – urine infections, diabetes and other disorders
– BMI – Body Mass Index – can tell you if you are at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems among other conditions

Special tests include:

– Prostrate specific antigen (PSA), only for men: screens for prostrate cancer. Annual PSA testing is recommended after age 50. Men who are at high risk should begin at age 40-45
– Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH): this test is the best for assessing thyroid function. Hyper or hypo thyroidism has multiple effects and need to be monitored
– Vitamin B12 and D3: especially for vegetarians since the diet does not provide enough natural sources for these vitamins. Low levels have multiple effects and need to be monitored

X-rays, mammograms, electrocardiograms (ECGs) and other such procedures should only be undertaken under the advice of your physician.

3. Choosing the right pathology laboratory:

With so many pathology laboratories coming up in cities, the choice is overwhelming. Look for one with a good reputation, run by a qualified MD pathologist, using latest technology and most importantly, one with high levels of quality control. Blood collection should always be done with sterile disposable needles and syringes. Good laboratories always retest abnormal values and reports are always signed by a registered pathologist.

High Intensity Interval Training for Enhanced Fitness

h3There are many different types of fitness training, and someone embarking on the search for a new exercise regimen may find themselves facing an array of choices and some tough decisions. If you’re looking for results, High Intensity Interval Training may be one style to consider.

High Intensity Interval Training (known as HIIT) is alternating short, vigorous bursts of exercise with short (or slightly longer) recovery intervals, which are less intense. It’s great cardiovascular exercise, and a session can last from four minutes to thirty minutes. Many athletes use this type of training, especially for running. It can improve your glucose metabolism and maximize your fat burning.

A typical HIIT session might start with a warm up, then three to ten intervals of the high intensity exercise and recovery period of exercise, followed by a cool down. The intervals should be tailored to the participant’s level of exercise, and it’s best to have a trainer guide you on this-at least for one session. You should also get your doctor’s approval before beginning any new exercise regimen, especially given the intensity of this workout style.

For example, after warming up, you might run very hard for thirty seconds, followed by thirty seconds of a light run, then thirty more seconds of hard running, then thirty seconds at a light run again, and so on. The level of intensity and the length of each interval should be chosen with your fitness level in mind.

Traditionally, the sprints were done at a 2:1 ratio, such as thirty seconds of hard running followed by fifteen seconds of walking or jogging. But it isn’t necessary to stick to that. An out-of-shape or overweight person might only start with a light run for thirty seconds, followed by sixty to ninety seconds of at a walking pace to recover.

This strategy isn’t only good for running-you can use it on an elliptical machine, a rowing machine, a bike, and for other forms of exercise. Just let your body-and your personal trainer, if you have one-be your guide.

Because a HIIT session often lasts approximately 30-40 minutes, it can be an excellent way to fit an effective workout into a busy schedule. It also can be more fun for people who tend to get bored with gym routines-it mixes things up a bit, and allows the person to get out of the gym faster, instead of seemingly endless, monotonous runs on the treadmill.

HIIT training has been shown to burn fat more effectively, in spite of the shorter workout time. HIIT can increase your resting metabolic rate, lower your insulin resistance significantly, improve your glucose tolerance, and enhance your skeletal muscle fat oxidation.

The HIIT method of training is great on its own, but if you add in High Intensity Strength Training-guided by a properly-trained personal trainer-you can boost your body’s fat-burning capabilities and maximize the health benefits of your training routine. If you choose to use both methods, you can do the strength training two to three times a week, and do your HIIT routines on any or all of the other days.

5 Tips to Aid in Daily Living

h2As we age, we often encounter a variety of health issues or ailments that can slow us down. And, while some of these ailments may be minor, inevitably they cause us to make adjustments to our standard of living. For some of us, it may be no more than a change in lifestyle or habits. However, for many people it means learning how to use an assortment of aids for daily living.

These aids for daily living can take many different forms. For some it can be as simple as re-arranging furniture so limbs are not bruised or perhaps changing ones diet and exercise routine to help improve bone and muscles strength, while for others it may involve adding safety features such as support bars or benches for the tub. In more extreme cases, it may mean moving to a new residence or either bringing outside help, but regardless of the actions, these ease of living actions typically mean a richer life than expected.

However, the aids for living life to its fullest are not always about new residences, or adding numerous safety features to the home (though these are great recourses to take!) but they may also be accomplished in the way things are communicated. Here are some important factors when thinking about ways that independent living can be more easily achieved.

· If at any time your treatment doesn’t seem to be working, let your healthcare professional know, so they can reassess things. For instance, if the new diet is making you feel worse, or the medicine schedule is too complicated or having adverse effects, don’t suffer in silence – speak up.

· Before embarking on a new exercise or diet plan, talk to your healthcare provider.

· Look for items that make life a bit easier. There is no shame in using a tool designed to keep you from injuring yourself.

· Do you need to lose a few pounds? Then endeavor to do so. Your doctor will be thrilled, and you will feel so much better. And who knows, you might even discover a new activity that makes you smile!

· Do you smoke? Then ask for help to quit. There are so many great products out there to make this easier than before.

Whether it be through items such as non -slip flooring, specialty tools, or through intentional conversations with your healthcare providers it is vital that you take advantage of as many aids for daily living as possible. After all, you want your “golden years” to enjoyable – not an increasing number of doctor’s visits.

6 Useful Diet Tips That Can Safeguard Your Health

h1Your health is something that can be deteriorated easily if you don’t pay enough attention. Your regular diet can determine your overall health in the long run. It is important to pay due attention to your diet so that your health can be safeguarded. Thus we have listed and explained a few important diet tips that can take you a long way forward.

1. Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables should not be consumed on a seldom basis. It should be part of your everyday diet because of the health benefits associated with them. You need to choose a variety of these items because of the different combinations of minerals and vitamins that they contain.

2. Fish

You need to aim for at least two portions of fish per week. If one of these fish is oily, you will benefit more. An oily fish is said to be a very rich of vitamin D. it is also important for the health of your bones. These include fresh tuna, salmon, trout and mackerel.

3. Cut down saturated sugar and fat

We obviously need some sugar and fat in our diet. However too much of these can complicate our health condition. There can be an increase in the risk of tooth decay when it comes to regular consumption of sugar. Too much of sugar has never done at good to any person in this world.

4. Consume less of salt

High amount of salt intake is associated with a very increased risk of development of high blood pressure which can put you at a much greater risk of developing heart disease and stroke. This intake is mostly from processed foods and not on salt that is added while cooking.

5. Water, never get thirsty

Save yourself from the thirst. Consume equal amounts of water at regular intervals in order to avoid thirst throughout the day. You need to aim for at least 8 glasses in a day. Water is an essential for all of us and there is no reason for us to avoid it.

6. Breakfast- the most important meal of the day

Skipping breakfast can do you a lot of harm in the long run. It can improve your appetite and keep you healthy. If you skip breakfast, the other healthy activities you follow the rest of the day will not be very useful. You will also not be any productive and efficient. It is one of the important things to remember.