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Postpartum Challenges: What New Mothers Need to Know

Postpartum is frequently thought of as the first six weeks after giving birth. Six weeks is when many women have their last medical appointment with their doctor. However, those of us that have had a baby or who have treated women postpartum know otherwise.

In 2018, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognized that there was a fourth trimester of pregnancy, which lasts for 13 weeks postpartum. This was a big step in the right direction.

Postpartum is forever

postpartum challenges for moms

The changes that occur during pregnancy and postpartum can last for weeks, months, years or even the rest of a woman’s life. However, just because the body has changed means that it is any better or worse — just different.

Outlined below are many of the challenges women face postpartum and what to do about them.

Urinary incontinence

Just because you had a baby does not mean you will leak forever. If you have any urinary leakage, then you would benefit from getting help from a pelvic health or women’s health physical therapist. You may be pleasantly surprised to know that you may only need a few visits to prevent a lifetime of discomfort and embarrassment.

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles and can be treated. Many hip, back, and lower extremity injuries that occur years later could be avoided by taking care of the pelvic floor early in the postpartum period.

I often recommend that my patients have a check up with a pelvic health therapist six to eight weeks postpartum. If this is not a possibility in your area, there are many online resources for postpartum women.

Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA)

A split in the abdominal wall is also common in up to two thirds of women during pregnancy and postpartum. It should slowly improve on its own.

However, if the split does not resolve, then there are many nonsurgical options to improve it. A great place to start is diaphragmatic breathing, deep core stability, and Pilates with someone who is well-versed in DRA. If the DRA persists, reach out to a physical therapist.

Postpartum depression

Exercising postpartum decreases the risk for postpartum depression. So, begin exercising as soon as you feel comfortable. You can begin with gentle breathing and deep core exercises and slowly transition to Pilates, yoga, and walking.

When returning to moderate or intense exercise, wait until the postpartum bleeding has stopped or slowed down significantly. If you begin exercising and the bleeding increases, you are doing too much too soon.

Always walk before you run. You are not the same person you were prior to having a baby. Take it slowly and you will save yourself a lot of anguish later.

See Also: 19 Ways to Get Motivated to Exercise

Overtraining injuries and stress fractures

This is because stress is stress and your body cannot differentiate between emotional, mental or physical stress. The stress of having a new baby, not sleeping, healing from birth and much more does contribute to injuries.

Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, the calcium is pulled from your bones to create your milk supply. This is not to say you cannot exercise while breastfeeding — you can!

Should you decide to exercise, make sure you are not doing too much too soon. Always listen to your body.

Lastly, be kind to yourself

postpartum challenge

This is a period of change and growth for you and your family. Remember that despite what the media says, your body is still healing for a long time after giving birth. The better you treat it now, the better it will perform for you later.

The post Postpartum Challenges: What New Mothers Need to Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

14 Tips on How to Live A More Active Lifestyle

Most of us know how important exercise is when it comes to staying fit and healthy. Despite that, however, not all of us are moving as much as we’re supposed to.

Even when I have been motivated to get a gym membership and start exercising, it only lasts for a few months. At the first sign of stress and deadlines at work, the gym routine gets kicked off the list.

So, here are a few tricks on how to live a more active lifestyle:

Park far away

Get into the habit of parking a block away or parking at the farthest parking spot. If you are grocery shopping, park in the store’s lot but choose the back row. Clearly, you wouldn’t want to be caught pushing a shopping cart down the street trying to get to your car.

Take the stairs instead of elevators

If it is one or two floors, always take the stairs. If you need to go up or down several floors, then take the stairs to two floors above or below and then take the elevator. As you get used to it, increase the number of floors you use the stairs for. If you park in a level parking lot, always park in one of the higher levels and walk down.

If possible, walk or bike to work

This is not possible for everyone, but if you live in a place where the pollution is less and your workplace is relatively close by, then choose to walk or bike instead of driving.

Skip the stop

If your city has a subway or bus system, skip your stop and get off at the one after (or before) and then walk from there. You’ll get to enjoy the air and neighborhood a little while increasing your heart rate.

Maximize the benefits from your grocery trip

When you go to the grocery store, make it a habit to walk the entire store. Go through every aisle and every nook and corner. Avoid the aisles that could tempt you to pick up junk food though, since that can completely obliterate any benefits of walking a few extra steps!

Take a short walk-break at work

Again, this one depends on your work location, but ours is located outside the city and is on large private grounds. Every afternoon a couple of us go for a short walk which takes roughly 15-20 minutes. It is very invigorating and a nice break from the afternoon routine.

Do your own yard work

This is a good one for summer time when the lawn starts to grow and you need to keep it trimmed. Instead of hiring someone to do it for you, do it yourself. You will not only get some exercise, but save some money, too!

Play with your kids

Kids these days seem to play more video games than outdoor games like we did when we were younger. So, take your kids out to the park and throw the ball around or play tag.

Put on your favorite music and dance

This is not only exercise, but also a great way to unwind at the end of a busy day. And a good trip down the memory lane for those of us who have not done it in a long time!

While watching TV, pace or stretch

Instead of switching channels during the ad break, get up and walk around the house. Do some lunges or some simple stretching exercises. If you have stairs in your house, walk up and down the stairs a few times during each ad break for at least one show every day.

Choose to walk down instead of call or email

When you have a question for a colleague, instead of picking up the phone or shooting an email, walk over to their cube. This will not only provide some exercise but a short break for a quick recharge.

Walk while you talk on the phone

If your job involves talking on the phone a lot, then instead of doing this sitting at your desk, get into the habit of pacing while you talk. Motion creates emotion so you may even become a better speaker by doing this.

Choose active entertainment over passive entertainment

Instead of going for a movie, choose to go play tennis with some friends (or at least bowling). Instead of playing regular video games, play with a Wii. And instead of meeting friends for a cup of coffee, catch up over a sunset walk.

Choose active vacations

walking exercise

When planning vacations, pick something that involves some walking and hiking. While taking in a new city, do it by walk, instead of driving around. If golfing, skip the cart. If staying at a resort, make use of their pool and the exercise facility. Try skiing and white water rafting.

See Also: 5 Tips On Staying Healthy On Your Next Vacation

While none of these will make an immediate difference in your life style, over a period of time, they will get you into the habit of choosing an active alternative to the every day things you do. In the long run, that can set the stage for an even more active life style.

Written by isbf, the author of of Grad Money Matters

The post 14 Tips on How to Live A More Active Lifestyle appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

MyMilk Labs launches Mylee, a small sensor that analyzes breast milk at home

Many expectant mothers are told that breastfeeding will come naturally, but it is often a fraught and confusing experience, especially during the first few weeks after birth. Parents often worry about if their babies are getting enough nutrition or if they are producing enough milk. MyMilk Labs wants to give nursing mothers more information with Mylee, a sensor that scans a few drops of breast milk to get information about its composition and connects to a mobile app. The Israel-based company presented today at Disrupt Battlefield as one of two wild card competitors picked from Startup Alley.

The Mylee launched at Disrupt with a pre-order price of $249 (its regular retail price is $349). Based in Israel, MyMilk Labs was founded in 2014 by Ravid Schecter and Sharon Haramati, who met while working on PhDs in neuroimmunology and neurobiology, respectively, at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Mylee deviceDuring the company’s stage presentation, Schecter said the device is meant to give mothers and lactation consultants objective information about breast milk.

Breast milk changes in the first days and weeks after birth, progressing from colostrum to mature milk. Mylee scans the electrochemical properties of milk and then correlates that to data points based on MyMilk Labs’ research to calculate where the sample is on the continuum, then tells mothers if their milk is “delayed” or “advanced,” relative to the time that has passed since they gave birth.

The device’s first version is currently in a beta pilot with lactation consultants who have used them to scan milk samples from 500 mothers.

MyMilk Labs already has consumer breast milk testing kits that enable mothers to provide a small sample at home that is then sent to MyMilk Labs’ laboratories for analysis. One is a nutritional panel that gives information about the milk’s levels of vitamins B6, B12 and A, calories and fat percentage, along with dietary recommendations for the mother. Another panel focuses on what is causing breast pain, a frequent complaint for nursing mothers. It tests for bacterial or fungal infections and gives antibiotic suggestions depending on what strains are detected.

Though some doctors believe testing kits are unnecessary for the majority of nursing mothers, there is demand for more knowledge about breastfeeding, as demonstrated by the line-up of breast milk testing kits from MyMilk Labs and competitors like Lactation Labs, Everly Well and Happy Vitals. Haramati said on stage that MyMilk Labs plans to eventually transfer some of the tests’ capabilities to the Mylee.


Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about

Waking up in the morning to work out while the rest of the world is sleeping takes a lot of effort. Sleeping is one of the most satisfying human activities, so it’s understandable if you want to snuggle under the sheets instead of working out.

Most people actually prefer working out in the evening. However, after a long day at work, you might not have the energy for an impactful workout session.

So why would you rather workout in the morning and not in the evening? Well, there is scientific proof that working out in the morning is far much better than doing the same at the end of the day.

Begin the Day Feeling Upbeat

Managing to get out of bed and completing your workout session ensures you begin the day feeling upbeat. Waking up in the morning is challenging, and overcoming it gives you the motivation you need for the rest of the day.

Working out your joints and muscles ensure that you have an active day. It’s very unlikely that you’ll have a lazy day after your morning workout. Morning workouts make you feel unstoppable and accomplished.

When you work out, your brain releases a hormone called dopamine which is also known as the happy hormone. Is there a better way to start the day than to fire up your system with a happy hormone? You’re bound to have a positive attitude and have an easy time interacting with people.

Morning Workouts Boost Your Quality of Sleep

benefits of morning exercises

Every person requires quality sleeping time to rest their body and rejuvenate. Working out in the morning guarantees that you won’t struggle to find sleep at night.

When your brain gets the rest it requires, your memory improves, and you get better at retaining information. Who doesn’t want a sharp memory and improved body function?

See Also: A Good Night’s Sleep: The Key to a Happy Life

You End Up Consuming Fewer Calories

Mastering the willpower to get up every morning translates to other aspects of your life. Individuals who are resolute to work out each morning have an easy time, fighting cravings throughout the day. That means that you’ll end up consuming fewer calories as well.

It’s very unlikely for anyone to head for their favorite food joint after working out in the morning. Now imagine another person who prefers working out in the evening. They can easily eat junk food throughout the day with the consolation that they’ll burn those calories in the evening.

A 2012 study carried out by Brigham Young University supports this logic. The findings show that working out in the morning helps individuals fight cravings.

You’ll Get Better at Coping with Stress

benefit of morning exercise

Working out in the morning is known to reduce stress and anxiety. This is because intense workout sessions ensure you begin the day feeling relaxed and refreshed. This way, nothing will hardly agitate you throughout the day.

Exercising ensures that you sweat it all out so that you begin the day with a clear mind. Besides, nothing beats the peace that comes with having time to process your thoughts uninterrupted.

Improve Your Metabolism

Your body is likely to burn more calories after you work out. Exercising in the morning ensures you have fast metabolism throughout the day. You’ll be able to burn calories even when you’re seated at your work station.

Pumping up your metabolism before you eat anything ensures that you stay in shape. The faster the metabolism, the more energy you have to go through the day. A slow metabolism can be risky because the food you eat gets stored as fat. This is how people gain weight and get out of shape.

See Also: Interesting Facts About the Human Body You Might Not Know About

Final Thought

As you can see, the benefits of morning workouts are unlimited. Instead of hitting the snooze button, get out of bed and get your daily exercise.

The post Morning Workout Benefits You May Not Be Thinking about appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit

We all know that water is good for us, but the reasons are sometimes a little fuzzy. Even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that we can easily form.

The truth, however, is that we don’t focus enough on this habit. This is why we end up drinking lots of coffee, soda, alcohol, fruit juices, teas, milk, and a bunch of other beverages. And despite all those fluids, we still end up dehydrated which isn’t good for our health.

I’ve made drinking water a daily habit, although I will admit that a couple of years ago I was more likely to drink anything but water. Now, I don’t drink anything but water, except for a cup of coffee in the morning and beer with dinner once in a while.

Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards):

Weight loss

Water is one of the best tools for weight loss. it doesn’t have calories, unlike high-calorie drinks, like sodas, juices, and alcohol. It’s also a great appetite suppressant.

Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Drinking plenty can help your weight-loss regimen. 

Heart health

Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of heart attack.

study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack. That’s in comparison to people who drank less than two glasses.

Energy

Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired, even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. It can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Headache cure

Another symptom of dehydration is headache. In fact, when we have headaches, it’s often caused by not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

See Also: Water And Brain Function: How Staying Hydrated Makes You Smarter

Healthy skin

Drinking water can clear up your skin, but it won’t happen overnight, of course. Drink a healthy amount of water for a week and you’ll notice its good effects on your skin.

Digestive problems

Our digestive system needs a good amount of water to digest food properly. Water can help cure stomach acid problems. It can help treat constipation, too.

Cleansing

Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

Cancer risk

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. It can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Better exercise

Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities. It can slow you down and make it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during,and after exercise.

How to form the water habit

So you’re convinced that water is healthier, but you’d like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.

Here are some tips that have helped me:

Know how much water you need

This is a debatable question. What’s clear is that the old recommendation of “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” isn’t right, for several reasons.

That amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages. It also ignores a person’s body weight which is an important factor in figuring the right amount. It also varies if you are sick or exercise.

Plus, it’s also not good to just drink when you’re thirsty because you’re already dehydrated by then.

Best is to form a routine. Drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, and a glass in between meals. Be sure to drink before, during and after exercise, too. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty.

Carry a bottle

water bottles

A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk and I drink from it all day long. When it’s empty, I fill it up again and keep drinking.

Set a reminder

Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour or set a periodic computer reminder. that way, you won’t forget to drink water.

Substitute water

If you would normally get a soda or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

Filter

Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It’ll make tap water taste like bottled water at a fraction of the price.

Exercise

Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It’s not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you’re going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time. That way, it will get through your system in time.

Track it

It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it.

Tracking increases awareness and helps ensure that you’re staying on track. Keep a little log on an index card or a notebook and create a mark for each glass of water you drink.

The post 9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

CDC says stop vaping as mystery lung condition spreads

Vape lung is spreading and the CDC is warning people not to use vaping products while they are investigating the cause. In a media briefing, the public health agency said that some 450 people are now thought to be affected, and as many as five have died.

The CDC’s incident manager for this issue, Dana Meaney Delman, summed up the situation as follows:

CDC, states, and other partners are actively investigating, but so far, no definitive cause has been established. No specific e-cigarette device or substance has been linked to all cases, and e-cigarette include a variety of chemical and additives; consumers may not know what these products contain.

Based on the clinical and laboratory evidence to date, we believe that a chemical exposure is likely associated with these illnesses. However, and I really want to stress this, more information is needed to determine which specific products or substances are involved

Reports earlier this week suggested that Vitamin E acetate, a byproduct of the vitamin complex formed during the vaporization process, may be to blame. Delman downplayed this, saying that although they are working with the labs that made that connection, nothing has been established as yet.

One trend worth noting, however, is that very few of the cases involve only nicotine products; most of the afflicted users reported using THC exclusively or as well as nicotine. This could be the result of many factors, however, so take it with a grain of salt.

The first death was reported in late August in Indiana, but other suspected cases have turned fatal in Illinois, Minnesota, California and Oregon — as reported by The Washington Post, though the CDC said three are confirmed and one is under investigation. The number of reported cases has skyrocketed, though this is likely a consequence of better information coming from state health authorities and hospitals, rather than a sudden epidemic.

In the meantime, the only advice they have is to avoid e-cigarette and vape device usage, especially modified devices or homebrew material. The fact is no one really knows what chemicals are formed in the conditions created by these devices, and some of them could be toxic.

While the investigation is ongoing, CDC has advised that individuals consider not using e-cigarettes because as of now, this is the primary means of preventing this type of severe lung disease. And of course e-cigarette use is never safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women.

People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or others) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer.

The CDC is working with numerous state authorities and the FDA to identify the cause of this malady, and will soon publish a report in The New England Journal of Medicine detailing the first 53 cases identified. This should help doctors and other health workers tell if they are dealing with a case of vape lung or something else.

Daniel Fox from WakeMed Hospitals in North Carolina characterized the condition as they had encountered it, with a preliminary diagnosis of “lipoid pneumonia”:

What we wanted to report and what we have seen has been a cluster of five cases that will be reported later today. Each of these cases featured a pulmonary illness in a relatively young person. Ranging in age from 18-35 from what we saw here in North Carolina. The symptoms that these patients were experiencing were being short of breath, having some GI or gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea and vomiting and fevers.

One of the things that was found in common with all of these cases is that all patients were using vaped substances in e-cigarettes. They all had abnormal chest x-rays and developed a need for a lot of oxygen.

All of our patients underwent evaluation, and after the clinical evaluation we found a certain type of pneumonia that was noninfectious. It’s called lipoid pneumonia. Basically, can be, it can occur when either oils or lipid-containing substances enter the lungs.

That is consistent with the Vitamin E acetate hypothesis, as that substance is oily and could enter the lungs mixed with the vapor and then stay there. But none of the doctors or experts on the call made that connection officially.

Some patients are being misdiagnosed as having bronchitis or a viral infection. If you are or anyone you know is getting sick and uses vaping products a lot, it’s worth mentioning this if you get checked out.

Delman concluded her briefing with an assurance that everything that can be done is being done:

Please know that CDC, FDA, state, and clinical partners are working hard to understand why people are getting sick. We will continue to share what we know and what we don’t know to help health departments, clinicians, and the public respond to this outbreak.

If you are concerned about your health or the health of a loved one who is using an e-cigarette product, contact your healthcare provider, or your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

8 Helpful and Effective Strength Exercises For Cyclists

For cyclists, the primary target of doing strength exercises is to train in the same motion as in cycling together with one’s upper and lower body, while improving overall muscular endurance and core strength.

Strength training generates a stronger support system for a cyclist’s prime movers while riding a bike. If you have aerobically stronger core and muscles, you will gain more potential in increasing power and consequently experience less fatigue while cycling.

Now that you understand why strength training is helpful before cycling, you might wonder what those strength exercises are.

Below are the 8 strength exercises for cyclists you can try.

Front Plank

strength exercise for cyclists
Via indianexpress.com

Steps:

  • Lie on your stomach and place both elbows under your shoulders with hands and forearms on the floor.
  • Raise your hips off the floor, straighten your back, tighten your abs, and rest on your toes.
  • Keep this position for 40-60 seconds and do two-three sets.
  • Front plank focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis or TVA muscle, and upper and lower back. In cycling, the front plank can help you to build both strength and muscle endurance that you need in order to ride in aero position or in the drops powerfully.

Half Squat

half squat with barbell
half squat with barbell via t-nation.com

What you need:

  • Barbell

barbell

Steps:

  • Stand tall while carrying a barbell over your shoulders.
  • Bend your hips and knees until your thighs can form a 45-degree angle.
  • Repeat the sequence and complete 3-4 sets of 10 repetitions.

Here’s one thing to note:

Expect that the last few repetitions during the last 3 or 4 sets will be hard to complete but still ensure that you will make it through the last rep. Half squats work on your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It would build strength for sprinting and climbing.

Single Leg Hip Bridge

single leg hip bridge exercise
Via tfdgym.co.uk

Steps:

  • Lie on the ground (placing a yoga mat would make you more comfortable) with your one leg bent while lifting the other one off the ground.
  • Raise your hips up in the air while contracting your glute muscles like you’re pushing through your heels.
  • Hold the position for a second or two before going down.
  • Do two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side of your legs.

Single Leg Hip Bridge can be done at any time, but it is the best pre-workout to do to wake up your glutes before a strength workout, especially if you have been sitting and inactive for a while. Aside from that, it also improves speed, endurance, and strength used while cycling.

Lunges with Bicep Curl

lunges with bicep curl and resistance band
lunges with bicep curl and resistance band via pinterest

What you need:

  • Resistance band or dumbbell

dumbbell

Steps:

  • Stand in an upright position with either a resistance band or a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Execute a lunge position: straighten your back, step one leg forward and bend the knee to a 90-degree position, while your leg in the back should be straight.
  • While on it, do a biceps curl with both arms.
  • Repeat the same with the opposite leg forward.
  • Start with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions in every leg.

Lunging with bicep curl is an excellent workout when you want to develop strength in your biceps, quadriceps, glutes, and deltoids. These four muscles are utilized when there is a need to stand and accelerate cycling.

Boat Pose

strength exercises for cyclist
Via yogajournal.com

Steps:

  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor and with your knees bent forward.
  • Execute a V-position: Raise and extend your legs out forward, and lean your upper body backward.
  • Stretch your arms away from you so you can tighten your lower abdominal muscles.
  • Make sure to relax your shoulders and keep your back straight.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds and do it for 5-10 repetitions.

Boat pose mainly focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis and lower back. As a result, you will feel less fatigue through strengthening the muscles that can improve your lower back. Also, this workout will allow you to encounter less pain and feel more comfortable while on aggressive cycling positions.

Single Leg Reach

single leg reach with cones
single leg reach with cones via sidelinesoccer.com

What you need:

  • Three water bottles or cones

water bottles

Steps:

  • Place three water bottles or cones in a triangular form.
  • While on a single leg stance, slightly bend your knees to do a squat and slowly reach down towards the left cone and return to a standing position. Do the same with the remaining bottles or cones.
  • Repeat the same sequence with the other leg.
  • Complete a set of 10 repetitions.

Single leg reach workouts focus on your hips and core and improve your balance on the bike, which is essential to develop bike handling and endurance. This strength exercise also works with your proprioception, also called as ‘sense of self,’ or the body’s awareness of movement and position in space.

Single-Arm Row

single arm row with cradle column machine
single arm row with cradle column machine via livestrong.com

What you need:

  • Cable column machine
cable column machine
Via amazon

Steps:

  • Stand across a cable column machine. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, and knees are slightly bent.
  • Take the handle and do a standing row, while keeping your body still as much as possible. Do not lean forward nor backward to lift more weight.
  • Finish 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Single-arm row enhances the muscles of your shoulder, back, and hips. It also strengthens the scapular region, which is a common area of fatigue caused by hunching too much on the bike. As a result, cyclists can avoid injuries and ride longer without discomfort.

Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl

hamstring curl with handle cradles
hamstring curl with handle cradles via pinterest

What you need:

  • Handle Cradles

Steps:

  • Lie on the ground (with yoga mat is recommended) and place your handles in the handle cradles.
  • Raise your hips and curl your heels (almost like pointing your toes) towards your hips
  • Do not drop your hips as you are bending your heels.
  • Finish two sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Exercise ball hamstring curl is one of the TRX routines (Total Resistance exercises) that strengthens your lower back and hamstrings. Strengthening hamstring and quadriceps is significant to enhance upstroke while in a pedaling motion and avoid lower extremity injuries.

Overall, these strength exercises for cyclists can help you prepare your body.

See Also: Can Cycling Actually Change Your Health And Life?

The post 8 Helpful and Effective Strength Exercises For Cyclists appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Deal With Pests: A Quick Guide

Las Vegas is known as the Sin City. It’s a home for gamblers and showgirls and a place where you can find a variety of Elvis’ lookalike.

However, it’s not all fun in this part of the globe since there are pests that can ruin the fun. We’re talking of desert creatures that will interact unexpectedly and inflict potential harmful and annoying bites and stings to its victim.

With increases in rainfall in Las Vegas at the start of the year, pest activity is likely to thrive. Find out which creepy crawlers call Las Vegas valley their home and how to deal with pests.

Deadly Scorpions

how to cope with different types of pest

Las Vegas summer is the birthing season of scorpions. These creatures just love the desert heat.

A scorpion sting is painful and itchy. You’ll need to put an ice pack on the affected area for relief.

Go directly to the ER if a victim experiences the following:

  • Puffiness
  • Soreness
  • Fever
  • Extreme pain
  • Increased heartbeat rate or blood pressure
  • Struggles in breathing
  • Muscle weakness and twitching
  • Numbness

Bring the body of the scorpion with you so that the staff will know what anti-venom to apply. As a protective measure, sweep the areas in your home or trap the scorpions.

Infesting Cockroaches

During cold months, cockroaches hibernate and adults emerge at the slightest heat source. Cracks and crevices in the house serve as breeding grounds as well as entry points.

They scavenge for food, mostly spoiled and discards, and water and trip to places that you can’t imagine. All the germs, bacteria, and grime are brought to your place when they visit.

They bite with a stinging pain. Although it’s not alarming, swelling, unbearable pain or puffiness should encourage you to see your doctor.

So, how to deal with pests like them?

Improve sanitation, declutter, and eliminate sources of food and water. The application of cockroach killers can help eliminate a roach infestation, too.

Pesky Ants

During summer months, ant colonies grow and their numbers multiply.

The presence of an ant trail is a nuisance. When they are hunting for food and water, their trail will most likely end in your things.

Although they are small, some ants pack a mean and destructive punch. They can inject venom with their bites, producing a burning sensation and blisters.

There are ways to stop ants from coming in like sprinkling boric acid or flour at entry points. You can use vinegar, pepper or the juice from citrus fruits.

Dangerous Spiders

how to cope with different pests

Male spiders trek buildings and homes for food and insects. They do it to find female partners, too.

Las Vegas is home to the Black Widow whose bite is potentially harmful. You won’t notice the bite until you see it, and it’s not painful at first. However, the venom can cause pain, cramping, and spasms within the hour.

Wash the area with soap and water, apply a cold compress to reduce puffiness, and take a sedative if needed. If pains or cramping are serious, go the ER.

There are natural ways to get rid of spiders like using eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon peel, and vinegar. They don’t like the smell of these.

These summer, fun-ruining pests may have you scratching some imaginary itch, but it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what nature has to offer in sunny Las Vegas. You just have to know how to deal with pests.

See Also: Top 5 Things To Do In Las Vegas

The post How To Deal With Pests: A Quick Guide appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Ways to Manage Anxiety in Public Places

After losing my second child during pregnancy in May 2019, I developed what I thought would never fully grip me — anxiety. I had suffered with it before but never to the extent that I had when I lost my son. I found myself having panic attacks in the middle of supermarkets or uncontrollably sobbing when I saw a blonde baby boy. Right there, I knew that I needed to do something and I needed to act fast.

Here are some things that have helped me in managing anxiety in public places.

Choose Your Playlist

I have often seen people wondering around the supermarket in their headphones and laughed at how ignorant they looked. Then, I became one of those people.

Music is a wonderful gift and lyrics have the power to speak directly into our hearts and minds. Whenever I find myself experiencing anxiety in public places, I force my headphones into my ears and listen to music that declared hope, truth, and life.

This is a fantastic way to manage your anxiety as no one knows what you are doing. It really helped me to carry on with ordinary tasks.

Take a Deep Breath

anxiety public places

Breathing exercises have become somewhat ‘trendy’ now with all the mindful apps circling around. Despite that, I have found that deep breathing in a moment of dread has saved me on more occasions than I can count.

I have found that a couple of deep breaths can fully reset my thoughts and bring me back to my present reality. Sometimes I will even audibly say to myself “okay” as I take a deep breath and continue on my way.

See Also: 11 Really Effective Relaxation Techniques to Relieve Anxiety

Remind Yourself of Your Current Reality

Often, when we find ourselves experiencing a difficult season and the weight of our reality is heavy on our chests, we assume that we will always feel this way. The truth is that anxiety can be something that we consistently have to work through, but it will not always be this intense. When I experience a panic attack or a feeling of dread, I try to remind myself of all the times it has happened before and how I am still standing. No one can rush anxiety.

Talk to the Right People

When feeling extremely low, people typically fall into one of two categories.

The first is a complete shut down of any kind of communication as we can become embarrassed of what we are feeling. The second is that we completely overshare with everyone as we are desperate to be understood and to have our feelings validated.

I have found that having two to three people who I can really trust and care deeply about me that I can contact at any time has literally saved my life in certain scenarios. Good friends are like gold dust in seasons of depression and anxiety as sometimes we become a hard friend to keep. Find your nearest and dearest and hold them close.

Just Get Out There

public places anxiety

It is so easy to stay indoors and stay in alone. When anxiety is a very real thing in our lives, it is also incredibly draining. We find that even just looking after ourselves becomes a near impossible task.

I encourage you to get outdoors at least once every day. Sometimes, it is necessary to get out of our own heads. This can only be possible if we physically get out of bed and face the outside world. I have found that even just walking my dog while applying all of the above techniques has helped me to move forward.

In closing, anxiety can be all-consuming but there are things that we can do to manage it. By letting the right people in and applying healthy techniques, we can ensure that we are moving forward step-by-step, day-by-day.

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What To Do If A Doctor Makes a Medical Mistake

Just the thought of going under the knife and having a medical procedure is frightening. But as there is nothing you can do, you’ll listen to your doctor’s advice and have surgery. Unfortunately, surgical malpractice can happen. It can lead to injuries and even death. In other cases, a doctor’s mistake arises to a medical malpractice claim. So, what to do if a doctor makes a mistake?

Types of Surgical Medical Mistakes

surgical mistake

It is not easy going under the knife. A patient will be helpless, relying only on the doctor and the medical staff. He is cut open while unconscious. But having surgery, a patient hopes to get better. Unfortunately, mistakes can occur, even in the simplest operations.

The following are the most common surgical mistakes that can happen during the procedure.

  • Foreign objects left inside the body: This is one of the most common surgical mistakes. Surgeons might leave gauze, pads and even a scalpel inside a patient’s body, causing much pain and infections. In other cases, foreign objects left inside can cause the patient’s death if unattended.
  • Anesthesia mistakes: It is a fatal surgical error when administered excessively. When this happens, the patient won’t receive sufficient brain oxygen, leading to brain damage and eventually, death. In some cases, anesthesia might not be enough, leading to the patient not feeling numb, experiencing pain and waking up in the middle of the operation.
  • Wrong patient: It is another common surgical mistake that can lead to death, happening when the surgical staff and the doctor forgot performing a preoperative verification. As a result, they perform a surgery to the wrong patient.
  • Incorrect surgical site: A doctor can operate on the wrong body part. It can happen with amputations or kidney transplants, leading to a surgical mistake.
  • Nerve damage: This mistake can result in a lifetime of disability or pain. It happens with just a hand tremor or an incorrect flick of the wrist. In other cases, a scalpel slip can lead to nerve damage and lifetime disability.

Other types of surgical errors also include:

  • Failure to detect or diagnose a dangerous medical condition during the procedure
  • Damaging healthy organs
  • Failure to fix or prevent any complication during a surgery
  • Not monitoring a patient well for any issues like internal bleeding or infection following a surgery
  • Mistakes made during an emergency surgery
  • Leaving any instrument in the body of the patient after surgery

What Are My Options After A Doctor Performed a Surgical Mistake?

If you’ve inflicted from an injury following a surgery, you might want to know your options. What should you do next?

Check out the following for what you need to know.

Medical help

Health is always a top priority. If you’re injured due to a surgeon’s mistake or negligence, you should report this issue to the surgeon right away. Then, seek medical help from a physician who can improve the medical error if it’s detected early.

If you have Medicaid plans, which provide health coverage for low-income individuals, you can use it to lower your costs and get health coverage.

Also, you need to find a health specialist for treating the specific injury. But, you must provide the medical provider with your medical history, as well as all information about the medical error. You must be honest and give correct and thorough information.

You might also have to share what your health was like before, during and after the error along with your current condition.

Be sure that the doctor will have access to the medical records that would affect the diagnosis and plan for treatment.

Report

Each state has its own procedure when it comes to filing a complaint with the medical board along with varying requirements and forms. When a complaint is filed, an investigation is conducted by the medical board for disciplinary action against the doctor. However, there is only a small percentage of the filed reports that are given action or doctors that get a disciplinary action.

Legal Action

what to do if doctor makes a mistake

If you want to take a legal action, you should consult with a medical malpractice attorney for advice. However, make sure to ask help from lawyers with specialization in such cases to help you fight for your rights.

You have what you need to know about the types of surgical mistakes and options you have following a surgical error. Learn what to do, especially if you have to file a medical malpractice claim.

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Silicone 3D printing startup Spectroplast spins out of ETHZ with $1.5M

3D printing has become commonplace in the hardware industry, but because few materials can be used for it easily, the process rarely results in final products. A Swiss startup called Spectroplast hopes to change that with a technique for printing using silicone, opening up all kinds of applications in medicine, robotics and beyond.

Silicone is not very bioreactive, and of course can be made into just about any shape while retaining strength and flexibility. But the process for doing so is generally injection molding, great for mass-producing lots of identical items but not so great when you need a custom job.

And it’s custom jobs that ETH Zurich’s Manuel Schaffner and Petar Stefanov have in mind. Hearts, for instance, are largely similar but the details differ, and if you were going to get a valve replaced, you’d probably prefer yours made to order rather than straight off the shelf.

“Replacement valves currently used are circular, but do not exactly match the shape of the aorta, which is different for each patient,” said Schaffner in a university news release. Not only that, but they may be a mixture of materials, some of which the body may reject.

But with a precise MRI the researchers can create a digital model of the heart under consideration and, using their proprietary 3D printing technique, produce a valve that’s exactly tailored to it — all in a couple of hours.

ethz siliconeprinting 1

A 3D-printed silicone heart valve from Spectroplast.

Although they have created these valves and done some initial testing, it’ll be years before anyone gets one installed — this is the kind of medical technique that takes a decade to test. So in the meantime they are working on “life-improving” rather than life-saving applications.

One such case is adjacent to perhaps the most well-known surgical application of silicone: breast augmentation. In Spectroplast’s case, however, they’d be working with women who have undergone mastectomies and would like to have a breast prosthesis that matches the other perfectly.

Another possibility would be anything that needs to fit perfectly to a person’s biology, like a custom hearing aid, the end of a prosthetic leg or some other form of reconstructive surgery. And of course, robots and industry could use one-off silicone parts as well.

ethz siliconeprinting 2

There’s plenty of room to grow, it seems, and although Spectroplast is just starting out, it already has some 200 customers. The main limitation is the speed at which the products can be printed, a process that has to be overseen by the founders, who work in shifts.

Until very recently Schaffner and Stefanov were working on this under a grant from the ETH Pioneer Fellowship and a Swiss national innovation grant. But in deciding to depart from the ETH umbrella they attracted a 1.5 million Swiss franc (about the same as dollars just now) seed round from AM Ventures Holding in Germany. The founders plan to use the money to hire new staff to crew the printers.

Right now Spectroplast is doing all the printing itself, but in the next couple of years it may sell the printers or modifications necessary to adapt existing setups.

You can read the team’s paper showing their process for creating artificial heart valves here.

A Safety Guide For Dental Implants

Every person wants to look competent and confident. The shape of a face mainly depends on the structure and form of the teeth. People have various perceptions about the beauty of a face. Earlier, when medical sciences were not so technologically sound, people used to live with the set of teeth from the time they were born.

Gradually, various inventions took place in the medical sciences. The advanced treatments now help to change the face of a person according to their desires. Various treatments like the use of dentures, braces, and dental implants, among others have been developed over time.

These treatments have helped to fix a lot of problems apart from the usual dental pains. Dental implants, in particular, is one of the most well-established therapies. Nonetheless, it requires regular maintenance and proper care from time to time. So, the patients need to see a doctor after a certain period to keep a healthy dental condition after the dental implants.

What Is A Dental Implant?

dental implants

Dental implants provide support to the teeth. They are surgical components that go deep inside the jaw and supports the dental prosthesis.

The implants help in reconstructing the entire set of teeth very efficiently. They are titanium screws that are inserted in the place of a tooth as it falls from the jaw in a natural process through decay. The screw is placed very carefully in the jawbone for such reason.

Advantages of Dental Implants

There are a lot of benefits to having dental implants. Some of them are:

  • Enhances looks: Dental implants help to improve the facial structure of a person since this is a permanent solution.
  • Better speech: Poor dental sittings often cause mumbling of words. The dental implants help in improving one’s vocal expressions as words spoken are easier to understand.
  • Improve set of teeth: The setting of the teeth gets disturbed if teeth start falling. The dental implants help to improve the context of the teeth and make it as the patients want.
  • Enhances confidence: These implants help to increase one’s self-confidence.
  • Beautiful smile: Dental implants not only help to gain confidence but also possess a charming smile. A great smile helps a person bring out themselves in front of the world.

Safety Rules To Follow

Safety measures are necessary to avoid any problems after dental implants. Some safety rules are as follows:

  • Before the implant, proper dental care is necessary so that the gum is not damaged.
  • One should take care and have healthy food that is good for one’s gums and teeth.
  • Immediately after the surgery, one should be extra careful and take medicine as prescribed by the doctors.
  • Taking good care of the gums after the dental implantation should be the priority.
  • After the dental implantation, one needs to follow the diet as given by the doctor. One should only have that food suggested by the doctor, or else one may suffer from more significant problems.
  • Even after the surgery, one should take proper maintenance of the affected area, if not taken proper care, pain and swelling may occur.
  • One should go for routine checkups from time to time for a long-lasting effect of the dental implantation.
  • After the surgery is over, one should take proper care of their teeth by regular brushing, regular dental checkups, and having fewer sweets.

dental implant advantage

See Also: 9 Dental Health Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now

Dental implantation helps a person have a beautiful smile and gives them the confidence to face the world. It can also make you feel more confident about yourself.

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Fighting Back Against Back Pain

Did you know that back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide?

There are a lot of ways we can sustain a back injury in our everyday lives, from work life to home life. Once you have that type of injury, it is very difficult to recover from it. That’s because recovery takes time and resources and many people just don’t have the sick days or additional resources to cover a prolonged recovery period.

This is why it’s so important to protect our backs at home and at work so back injuries don’t happen.

Preventing Back Pain In The Workplace

use equipment for lifting

Many workplaces have repetitive tasks that have to be done the same way over and over. One person can end up doing the same task repeatedly throughout the workday.

If it’s possible, switch tasks with others so that no one is doing the same task over and over again. Varying repetitive tasks can protect you from repetitive strain injuries.

There are also impact injuries that can happen when lifting heavy things. If possible, get help from others or from special equipment to lift heavy objects. If lifting heavy objects is a standard part of your daily activities, it’s important to:

  • Wear a back brace
  • Lift with your legs, not with your back
  • Take frequent breaks to stretch

Even desk jobs come with risks. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your lower back more than standing or laying down by far.

Sitting in an ergonomic position can help you to prevent back pain from taking over your life. It’s also important to pay attention to the position of your keyboard and computer monitor.

Keyboards that are too low can cause you to hunch forward while computer monitors that are too low can cause you to crane your neck forward. Both will put your spine out of alignment and cause unnecessary strain. Putting monitors on risers and raising up your desk can help prevent neck and back pain from repeated strain.

Taking breaks from sitting is also important. Standing desks are a huge craze right now, and for good reason. Having the option to go from sitting to standing is a great way to give your lower back a much-needed break once in a while. Also, getting up and taking a short walk from time to time can help exercise the muscles supporting your core.

See Also: How to Take Care of Your Back When You Have a Sitting Job

Protecting Your Back At Home

prevent back pain

While you probably aren’t doing the same repetitive motions at home as you are at work, there are still ways to protect your back from injuries that come from common household accidents.

Slips and falls can cause serious problems so ensure floors are level and any rugs are nonslip. Household chores like mowing the lawn can be strenuous. Ensuring you have the right equipment for the job can really help. Setting up your home office and kitchen to be ergonomic work spaces is also a great way to prevent unnecessary back injuries.

Lifestyle changes are critical in preventing back pain and injuries, too. Even something as simple as going for a walk every evening after dinner can make a big difference in your fitness and help you prevent back injuries.

Bad posture, obesity, and stress are common causes of back pain. When left unchecked, they can lead to more serious problems. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight are your first line of defense against back pain.

See Also: 10 Stretches To Do Right Now For Back Pain Relief

Back Pain Is Costly

Lower back pain costs Americans $100 billion per year and half of people of working age report having missed work because of it. But back pain can also cost you your peace of mind and quality of life.

A periodic checkup of things that could lead to back pain could save you in the long run.

Is back pain going to cost you big at work and in your life? Pay attention to your posture and motions at work and at home. Make lifestyle adjustments to deal with potential issues before they arise and take over your life.

Learn more about preventing back pain from the infographic below.
Back in Pain: How Everyday Activities Hurt Our Spines
Source: Online Mattress Review

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Elon Musk’s Neuralink looks to begin outfitting human brains with faster input and output starting next year

Neuralink, the Elon Musk-led startup that the multi-entrepreneur founded in 2017, is working on technology that’s based around ‘threads’ which it says can be implanted in human brains with much less potential impact to the surrounding brain tissue vs. what’s currently used for today’s brain-computer interfaces. “Most people don’t realize, we can solve that with a chip,” Musk said to kick off Neuralink’s event, talking about some of the brain disorders and issues the company hopes to solve.

Musk also said that long-term Neuralink really is about figuring out a way to “achieve a sort of symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” “This is not a mandatory thing,” he added. “This is something you can choose to have if you want.”

For now, however, the aim is medical and the plan is to use a robot that Neuralink has created that operates somewhat like a “sewing machine” to implant this threads, which are incredibly thin I(like, between 4 and 6 μm, which means about one-third the diameter of the thinnest human hair), deep within a person’s brain tissue, where it will be capable of performing both read and write operations at very high data volume.

All of this sounds incredibly far-fetched, and to some extent it still is: Neuralink’s scientists told The New York Times in a briefing on Monday that the company has a “long way to go” before it can get anywhere near offering a commercial service. The main reason for breaking cover and talking more freely about what they’re working on, the paper reported, is that they’ll be better able to work out in the open and publish papers, which is definitely an easier mode of operation for something that requires as much connection with the academic and research community as this.

Neuralink1

Neuralink co-founder and president Max Hodak told the NYT that he’s optimistic Neuralink’s tech could theoretically see use somewhat soon in medical use, including potential applications enabling amputees to regain mobility via use of prosthetics and reversing vision, hearing or other sensory deficiencies. It’s hoping to actually begin working with human test subjects as early as next year, in fact, including via possible collaboration with neurosurgeons at Stanford and other institutions.

The current incarnation of Neuralink’s tech would involve drilling actual holes into a subject’s skull in order to insert the ultra thin threads, but future iterations will shift to using lasers instead to create tiny holes that are much less invasive and essentially not felt by a patient, Hodak told the paper. Working on humans next year with something that meets this description for a relatively new company might seem improbable, but Neuralink did demonstrate its technology used on a laboratory rat this week, with performance levels that exceed today’s systems in terms of data transfer. The data from the rat was gathered via a USB-C port in its head, and it provided about 10x more what the best current sensors can offer, according to Bloomberg.

Neurlalink’s advances vs. current BCI methods also include the combined thinness and flexibility of the ‘threads’ used, but one scientist wondered about their longevity when exposed to the brain, which contains a salt mix fluid that can damage and ultimately degrade plastics over time. The plan is also that the times electrodes implanted in the brain will be able to communicate wirelessly with chips outside the brain, providing real time monitoring with unprecedented freedom of motion, without any external wires or connections.

Elon Musk is bankrolling the majority of this endeavour as well as acting as its CEO, with $100 million of the $158 million its raised so far coming from the SpaceX and Tesla CEO. It has 90 employees thus far, and still seems to be hiring aggressively based on its minimal website (which basically only contains job ads). Elon Musk also noted at the outset of today’s presentation that the main reason for the event was in fact to recruit new talent.

Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Many people often joke about forgetting the names of their loved ones or where they put their things. That forgetfulness may not be that alarming if it’s because of a lack of focus. However, forgetfulness caused by the effects of Alzheimer’s disease should be a cause of concern.

Alzheimer’s is a deadly neurodegenerative disease that results in a gradual decline in memory, thinking, reasoning, and communication skills. In Australia, Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia, comprising of 50–75% of the diagnosed cases.

Some people can display early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, allowing for early diagnosis and possible treatment for its symptoms. Therefore, check out this list of warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Forgetfulness

As mentioned previously, one of the common indicators that you have Alzheimer’s is forgetfulness. For instance, forgetting recently learned information, significant life events or appointments, asking for the same information repeatedly, and constant dependence on memory aids.

Difficulty in Planning and Solving Problems

People who are suffering from the disease struggle in developing and following a plan or solving problems. For example, they may find it hard following a daily to-do list or balancing a checkbook. Challenges in their ability to concentrate and doing or solving things longer than they did before are also common signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Confusion with Time or Place

alzheimers disease

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often forget dates or lose track of the passage of time and seasons. For instance, being uncertain about the day of the week. Also, they may find it a considerable challenge to understand a thing if it’s not happening at the moment. They may also get confused about their current place or how they got there.

Challenges in Doing Simple and Familiar Tasks

One of the nasty effects of the disease is the difficulty to complete simple tasks. There are times that people with Alzheimer’s find it hard to drive to a familiar location, keep in mind the rules at work or do simple household chores. Occasionally, they need help in operating a gadget or a home appliance.

Difficulty with Words

Alzheimer’s disease can cause people to have problems carrying a conversation. People who have the condition may find it hard to speak and socialize with other people. Sometimes, they stop in the middle of a speech and don’t know how to continue a sentence. Vocabulary and finding the right words are real challenges to them.

Trouble Understanding Visual Images

signs of alzheimers disease

One of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is having vision problems or difficulty in understanding visual images. People who have the disease may have trouble figuring out a color or contrast and determining distance and spatial relationships. These effects are dangerous because they can lead to accidents.

Changes in Judgment or Decision-Making Skills

Individuals affected with the early onset of the disease may show signs of poor judgment or a slow decision-making process. For instance, they might not make wise decisions on financial matters. Specifically, they tend to waste money on unimportant things or put their money in bad investments. Moreover, paying less attention to their hygiene is also a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Misplacing Things

People who have Alzheimer’s are notorious in misplacing things. Often they place their things in an unusual spot, they’ll find it hard to remember where they place them. Sometimes, they lose things and put the blame on others or accuse others of stealing their things. This situation can happen frequently to someone who is suffering from the disease.

Unusual Changes in Personality and Mood Swings

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may experience mood swings or unusual personality changes. For instance, he or she can become suspicious, confused, anxious, fearful or depressed. Even simple matters may be a source of worry or cause of anger for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s.

He or she may develop strange ways of doing things and become upset when a routine is disrupted. These mood swings and personality changes can happen at home, at work, and everywhere.

Becoming Aloof from Social Activities

People with Alzheimer’s disease often start to shy away from work or social activities. They may not do their hobbies or sports they liked doing before. In addition, they become aloof from their family, relatives or friends. Individuals who have this disease become tired of family, work, and social obligations.

Takeaway

Alzheimer’s disease is indeed a serious medical condition that we should understand better. This disease can disrupt the normal functions of the brain that can lead to memory loss and gradual degeneration of our cognitive abilities. Hence, we should be aware of its early warning signs for us to seek possible treatment of its symptoms.

See Also: 9 Ways To Keep Your Brain Young

The post Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

Many people often joke about forgetting the names of their loved ones or where they put their things. That forgetfulness may not be that alarming if it’s because of a lack of focus. However, forgetfulness caused by the effects of Alzheimer’s disease should be a cause of concern.

Alzheimer’s is a deadly neurodegenerative disease that results in a gradual decline in memory, thinking, reasoning, and communication skills. In Australia, Alzheimer’s is the most common type of Dementia, comprising of 50–75% of the diagnosed cases.

Some people can display early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, allowing for early diagnosis and possible treatment for its symptoms. Therefore, check out this list of warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Forgetfulness

As mentioned previously, one of the common indicators that you have Alzheimer’s is forgetfulness. For instance, forgetting recently learned information, significant life events or appointments, asking for the same information repeatedly, and constant dependence on memory aids.

Difficulty in Planning and Solving Problems

People who are suffering from the disease struggle in developing and following a plan or solving problems. For example, they may find it hard following a daily to-do list or balancing a checkbook. Challenges in their ability to concentrate and doing or solving things longer than they did before are also common signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

Confusion with Time or Place

alzheimers disease

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often forget dates or lose track of the passage of time and seasons. For instance, being uncertain about the day of the week. Also, they may find it a considerable challenge to understand a thing if it’s not happening at the moment. They may also get confused about their current place or how they got there.

Challenges in Doing Simple and Familiar Tasks

One of the nasty effects of the disease is the difficulty to complete simple tasks. There are times that people with Alzheimer’s find it hard to drive to a familiar location, keep in mind the rules at work or do simple household chores. Occasionally, they need help in operating a gadget or a home appliance.

Difficulty with Words

Alzheimer’s disease can cause people to have problems carrying a conversation. People who have the condition may find it hard to speak and socialize with other people. Sometimes, they stop in the middle of a speech and don’t know how to continue a sentence. Vocabulary and finding the right words are real challenges to them.

Trouble Understanding Visual Images

signs of alzheimers disease

One of the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease is having vision problems or difficulty in understanding visual images. People who have the disease may have trouble figuring out a color or contrast and determining distance and spatial relationships. These effects are dangerous because they can lead to accidents.

Changes in Judgment or Decision-Making Skills

Individuals affected with the early onset of the disease may show signs of poor judgment or a slow decision-making process. For instance, they might not make wise decisions on financial matters. Specifically, they tend to waste money on unimportant things or put their money in bad investments. Moreover, paying less attention to their hygiene is also a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Misplacing Things

People who have Alzheimer’s are notorious in misplacing things. Often they place their things in an unusual spot, they’ll find it hard to remember where they place them. Sometimes, they lose things and put the blame on others or accuse others of stealing their things. This situation can happen frequently to someone who is suffering from the disease.

Unusual Changes in Personality and Mood Swings

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may experience mood swings or unusual personality changes. For instance, he or she can become suspicious, confused, anxious, fearful or depressed. Even simple matters may be a source of worry or cause of anger for the person suffering from Alzheimer’s.

He or she may develop strange ways of doing things and become upset when a routine is disrupted. These mood swings and personality changes can happen at home, at work, and everywhere.

Becoming Aloof from Social Activities

People with Alzheimer’s disease often start to shy away from work or social activities. They may not do their hobbies or sports they liked doing before. In addition, they become aloof from their family, relatives or friends. Individuals who have this disease become tired of family, work, and social obligations.

Takeaway

Alzheimer’s disease is indeed a serious medical condition that we should understand better. This disease can disrupt the normal functions of the brain that can lead to memory loss and gradual degeneration of our cognitive abilities. Hence, we should be aware of its early warning signs for us to seek possible treatment of its symptoms.

See Also: 9 Ways To Keep Your Brain Young

The post Watch Out for These Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Boost Your Memory With Exercise

Generally, I think it’s a good thing we can forget things.

Would you really want to remember all your homework and assignments from grade school with the same clarity as you would present-day events?

I certainly wouldn’t!

That’s why you should be tracking your workouts. That way, you won’t have to waste memory space on remembering what you are currently lifting or if you broke a personal record.

But when it comes to boosting your memory with exercise, the memories most of us are referring to are the really important ones. It includes memories with family, friends, and our general knowledge of how to live our day-to-day lives. Yet, diseases like Alzheimer’s threaten these memories.

Currently, there are around 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is projected to rise to around 14 million by 2050. But you don’t have to accept that your memory will decline. Instead, you can protect your health and memory with exercise.

Develop Brain Volume With Regular Exercise

exercise and memory

As we age, our brains tend to shrink, losing not only its overall volume but also impairing some of its functionality. One critical area which can be affected is the hippocampus. It’s the area of our brain where long-term memories are stored and accessed.

As this area of the brain decreases in size, our memories become harder to reach. It becomes difficult to store new memories, too.

But with exercise, this grim, memory loss future doesn’t have to happen.

A particularly engaging study made a connection between exercise and an increase in brain volume, specifically with the hippocampus. In the study, the participants in the regular exercise group had an increase of 2% brain mass volume in their hippocampus. This means the effects of age-related brain volume loss was reversed for as much as 1-2 years worth of loss.

That means, if you set up regular exercise patterns, you can protect yourself from years of brain volume loss and keep your hippocampus healthy. In fact, you can even reverse some of your brain volume loss if it has occurred.

Acute Exercise Can Also Positively Impact Your Memory

Along with the great benefits of long-term exercise, you can positively impact your memory with just one short workout, according to memory researchers.

In a study on activating semantic memory in older adults, researchers studied to see if acute exercise had any impact on the memory. To clarify, acute exercise ranges from moderate-to-high intensity exercise that lasts under 45 minutes. Most HIIT workouts fall into this category. So if you have some favorite HIIT workouts, you may want to break them out.

Well, the participating older adults did experience greater memory activation, particularly their semantic memory. It’s the memory which contains your knowledge of your culture, basic world knowledge like how to hold a spoon, and all the simple things we tend to take for granted.

So, even if you haven’t quite mastered a regular routine of working out, even doing periodic, intense workouts can be helpful for your memory.

Create Greater Cognitive Function With Focused Workouts

You don’t have to just do aerobic workouts to boost your memory. A meta-analysis of multiple studies found that more meditative and focused exercises like Tai Chi can also help seniors improve their overall cognitive function.

It makes sense when you consider what slower, focused exercises offer. The person performing the exercise needs to not only engage their body but also their mind as they move through poses, patterns, and keep their movements mindful.

So, rather than doing a Soduku puzzle, maybe take up Tai Chi or yoga for brain engagement.

See Also: 10 Tips to Develop Both Sides of Your Brain

Blend Different Types of Exercises For Cognitive Benefits

exercise for memory boost

I often advocate for blending different types of exercise together, like how runners should lift heavy to support their muscles and joint while weightlifters should run to boost their cardiovascular health. And the same kind of balanced, blended workout effects can apply for memory-building workouts.

So, if you are determined to incorporate good, memory boosting workouts into your daily life, shoot for a mix of workouts. Say, dedicate 1 to 2 days to the more meditative and focused exercises. Then, maybe 3 to 4 days where you do longer aerobic workouts. Feel free to swap out one of the days with a more acute, anaerobic exercise program.

As you do things like work in simple posture exercises into your daily routine, be sure that you are also incorporating some of these other types of workouts. That way, you can boost your memory both in the short- and long-term.

See Also: 10 Brain Damaging Activities You Need To Stop Doing Now

The post Boost Your Memory With Exercise appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Out-Of-State Medical Marijuana Cards: What You Need To Know

Can you use medical marijuana card out-of-state? What do you need to know about medical marijuana reciprocity? Let’s answer these questions and more in the following along with what you have to know about qualifying conditions and patient rights if you qualify for MMJ.

Qualifying Conditions

Per Amendment 2, the following is the list of qualifying medical conditions to apply for and secure a medical marijuana card in Florida.

  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Terminal illness

Here is a list of qualifying conditions per state.

There are also medical conditions of the same class or kind that allow medical marijuana doctors to certify patients. They have medical conditions, which are both similar in nature to the qualifying conditions listed in Amendment 2 and are debilitating, too.
For example, if the patient has a debilitating condition sharing any of the following classes below, he or she may likely qualify for an MMJ card:

  • Immunodeficiency
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Terminal
  • Neurodegenerative and Neurological
  • Psychological
  • Autoimmune

Patient Rights

medical marijuana cards
Via mlive.com

You need to know your patient rights being an MMJ holder. For this reason, you should be well aware of sensible cannabis use and educate yourself about MMJ.

In addition, you must understand not only the benefits but also the side effects of the drug.
Nevertheless, being aware can help you make an informed decision especially in terms of limiting your chances of an encounter with the authorities.

Know that you can become a target of law enforcement by deciding to use MMJ because you’re not spared from avoiding arrest in all instances. For this reason, being educated and planning carefully can help you succeed in fighting charges.

Medical cannabis users might also want to attend the ASA “Know Your Rights” training for more detailed info.

Overall, you should be informed about the basics – having a current doctor’s recommendation and keeping a copy of it and the MMJ card at all times. Memorize or write down your lawyer and doctor’s phone numbers.

Remember, you can still be arrested even with a medical marijuana card especially if you’re found possessing excessive amounts than what’s recommended.

Where to purchase?

There are many medical marijuana dispensaries, including in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami where more than 150,000 patients can fill medical marijuana recommendations. However, it is still illegal to buy recreational weed in the state.

Florida dispensaries sell vape cartridges, THC or CBD oils, topicals, tinctures, capsules, syringes, concentrates like shatter, wax or dabs and flower. They also sell vaporizers, vaporizer pens, and other accessories.

Edibles, when allowed for a complete line by the law, can be the favorites among patients because they do not contain carcinogens from smoke that people can get from smoking or inhaling the herb.

But then under the state law, using marijuana buds or flower as the smoking method is legal.

Where to consume?

out of state medical marijuana

Currently, it is legal to possess up to a 70-day supply of medical marijuana in the state of Florida, while cultivation is not allowed. However, patients can only consume medical marijuana in a private property, nowhere else, in Florida.

It will also be wise to travel safely by not smoking and driving under the influence of cannabis.

If you’re traveling with cannabis, ensure that your vehicle is up to code and that the weed is concealed. You should not also smoke where people can see you. Also, don’t leave medical cannabis in public.

MMJ Reciprocity Program

In addition to patient rights, you must also know about the medical marijuana reciprocity program.

Take note that states may have agreements between each other. For instance, some states accept driver’s licenses issued by other states in their territories and roads, and that’s reciprocity.

In terms of medical marijuana, the same idea applies. Florida isn’t yet allowing the ability to use medical marijuana cards issued by other states, but others do except with some guidelines on how a patient can use his or her medical marijuana card out of the Sunshine State.

For example, in Arizona, they implement a list of qualifying and approved conditions. And for patients with any of the conditions approved by the state, they won’t be arrested for bringing or having their cannabis. However, they’re not allowed to buy from one of the state’s dispensaries.

In Alaska, where both medical and recreational marijuana is allowed, it does not recognize out-of-state MMJ cards, but people 21+ years old can buy weed at a recreational weed dispensary.

Final Thoughts

Know the law along with your patient rights and about medical marijuana reciprocity to prevent getting yourself into trouble. Finally, stay on top of the basics and keep yourself informed about the latest changes in medical marijuana laws.

See Also: How CBD Has Improved the Medical Industry

The post Out-Of-State Medical Marijuana Cards: What You Need To Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Out-Of-State Medical Marijuana Cards: What You Need To Know

Can you use medical marijuana card out-of-state? What do you need to know about medical marijuana reciprocity? Let’s answer these questions and more in the following along with what you have to know about qualifying conditions and patient rights if you qualify for MMJ.

Qualifying Conditions

Per Amendment 2, the following is the list of qualifying medical conditions to apply for and secure a medical marijuana card in Florida.

  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Chronic nonmalignant pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Terminal illness

Here is a list of qualifying conditions per state.

There are also medical conditions of the same class or kind that allow medical marijuana doctors to certify patients. They have medical conditions, which are both similar in nature to the qualifying conditions listed in Amendment 2 and are debilitating, too.
For example, if the patient has a debilitating condition sharing any of the following classes below, he or she may likely qualify for an MMJ card:

  • Immunodeficiency
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Terminal
  • Neurodegenerative and Neurological
  • Psychological
  • Autoimmune

Patient Rights

medical marijuana cards
Via mlive.com

You need to know your patient rights being an MMJ holder. For this reason, you should be well aware of sensible cannabis use and educate yourself about MMJ.

In addition, you must understand not only the benefits but also the side effects of the drug.
Nevertheless, being aware can help you make an informed decision especially in terms of limiting your chances of an encounter with the authorities.

Know that you can become a target of law enforcement by deciding to use MMJ because you’re not spared from avoiding arrest in all instances. For this reason, being educated and planning carefully can help you succeed in fighting charges.

Medical cannabis users might also want to attend the ASA “Know Your Rights” training for more detailed info.

Overall, you should be informed about the basics – having a current doctor’s recommendation and keeping a copy of it and the MMJ card at all times. Memorize or write down your lawyer and doctor’s phone numbers.

Remember, you can still be arrested even with a medical marijuana card especially if you’re found possessing excessive amounts than what’s recommended.

Where to purchase?

There are many medical marijuana dispensaries, including in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami where more than 150,000 patients can fill medical marijuana recommendations. However, it is still illegal to buy recreational weed in the state.

Florida dispensaries sell vape cartridges, THC or CBD oils, topicals, tinctures, capsules, syringes, concentrates like shatter, wax or dabs and flower. They also sell vaporizers, vaporizer pens, and other accessories.

Edibles, when allowed for a complete line by the law, can be the favorites among patients because they do not contain carcinogens from smoke that people can get from smoking or inhaling the herb.

But then under the state law, using marijuana buds or flower as the smoking method is legal.

Where to consume?

out of state medical marijuana

Currently, it is legal to possess up to a 70-day supply of medical marijuana in the state of Florida, while cultivation is not allowed. However, patients can only consume medical marijuana in a private property, nowhere else, in Florida.

It will also be wise to travel safely by not smoking and driving under the influence of cannabis.

If you’re traveling with cannabis, ensure that your vehicle is up to code and that the weed is concealed. You should not also smoke where people can see you. Also, don’t leave medical cannabis in public.

MMJ Reciprocity Program

In addition to patient rights, you must also know about the medical marijuana reciprocity program.

Take note that states may have agreements between each other. For instance, some states accept driver’s licenses issued by other states in their territories and roads, and that’s reciprocity.

In terms of medical marijuana, the same idea applies. Florida isn’t yet allowing the ability to use medical marijuana cards issued by other states, but others do except with some guidelines on how a patient can use his or her medical marijuana card out of the Sunshine State.

For example, in Arizona, they implement a list of qualifying and approved conditions. And for patients with any of the conditions approved by the state, they won’t be arrested for bringing or having their cannabis. However, they’re not allowed to buy from one of the state’s dispensaries.

In Alaska, where both medical and recreational marijuana is allowed, it does not recognize out-of-state MMJ cards, but people 21+ years old can buy weed at a recreational weed dispensary.

Final Thoughts

Know the law along with your patient rights and about medical marijuana reciprocity to prevent getting yourself into trouble. Finally, stay on top of the basics and keep yourself informed about the latest changes in medical marijuana laws.

See Also: How CBD Has Improved the Medical Industry

The post Out-Of-State Medical Marijuana Cards: What You Need To Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Is It Possible To Find High Quality CBD?

CBD, shorthand for cannabidiol, is one of the fastest growing yet most misunderstood cannabis products. Largely unregulated by the FDA and derived from a substance which has been federally illegal for decades, this compound has medicinal effects often denied by big Pharma.

It’s no wonder there are massive amounts of misinformation and blatant lies surrounding CBD. Plus, there’s a near complete lack of scientific research into it.

Today, 69% of all “CBD” products aren’t labeled correctly. Amidst the sea of mislabeled products, hidden THC content, and flat out fakes, how does one find high-quality CBD?

Look For Availability, Gauge Your Own Needs

cbd

When considering CBD, the first step is to know thyself, so to speak.

What exactly will you take it for? What methods of dosage are you comfortable with or will be effective? And how important is the source of extraction? Should it come from hemp or marijuana?

The decision to use marijuana-derived may come down to a state law level and availability. Cannabidiol is a natural extract from naturally occurring cannabis plants. This includes both hemp and marijuana.

Though the CBD extracted from each source is comparable, there are some important differences in legal and usage levels. Hemp is classified as cannabis strains with less than 0.3% THC content. This constitutes legal levels of THC within federally legal CBD products.

On Different CBD Products

Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states to sell, buy, possess, and consume with no prescription required. However, states and localities may have differing laws on the books.

Marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from cannabis strains with higher than the federally legal amount of THC. It is only legal in selected states and may or may not require an accompanying prescription.

CBD isolate is CBD crystals that are 99% pure and THC-free, but may not offer the same relief and effects as full spectrum. Full spectrum CBD includes additional cannabinoids, may contain traces of THC and has been shown to be more effective than CBD isolate at treating inflammation and pain in mice.

CBD products come in many different forms. The first fork in the road is fast-acting or long-lasting.

For headaches or insomnia, rapid relief from fast-acting effects is a good choice. While for chronic pain, inflammation or arthritis, long-term effects may provide the best course of action.

Oil concentrates applied orally via a tincture or liquid vaping from pen or e-cigarette are among the most popular and effective means for rapid relief needs. Gel caps, infused edibles, and even skin patches that slowly release CBD through the skin are favored by those seeking steady, long-term effects.

Targeted treatments for specific pain respond to CBD lotions and salves. They also work best for skin conditions and localized pain.

Meanwhile, vaping is the most popular method of dosing CBD but among the less discreet options. Oils and sublingual tinctures are more portable and often just as effective. Treatment needs aside, it’s often a personal preference that helps guide product selection.

Lack of Oversight Means Nearly Anything Goes

cbd products

Without the FDA labeling safeguards, content regulations, and legal uncertainty, it’s up to the manufacturers to keep their own products in check. Nonetheless, it’s still the consumer’s responsibility to make informed choices.

But how?

If this were any other variety of vitamins, supplements, prescription medication or even over-the-counter drug, it would be simple to visit the corner store and pick up something that was as labeled. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case with CBD.

Without the watchful eye of the FDA, industry standards are not subject to the strict rules of government agency beyond legal levels of THC. It’s this confusion that is passed on directly to the consumer and it’s the consumer’s job to find a manufacturer and retailer they can trust.

Again, nearly 70% of CBD products are mislabeled and this could mean anything from misprints to unlabeled contaminants. Fortunately, many reputable manufacturers of oral CBD products choose to follow the FDA guidelines for supplements and vitamins, much to the benefit of consumers.

However, there are still some best practices to keep in mind when browsing products:

  • How long will it last? Identify servings per container, packing and storage instruction, and expiration date of products.
  • How strong is it? Products should indicate exact CBD content, dosage, and serving size.
  • What does it come with? Terpenes, like other natural plant extracts, may add aroma, sweeteners may enhance flavoring, and carrier oils for tinctures should be food-grade.

See Also: How CBD Has Improved the Medical Industry

Just last year, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp and its cannabinoids for CBD products and manufacturing. But it’s still up to the consumer to stay informed, know the difference, and find quality products on their own. Here’s where to begin.

The post Is It Possible To Find High Quality CBD? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

11 Surprising Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to your mental and physical well-being. Few things are more frustrating than when you lay down, and you simply can’t go to sleep. We’re going outline several common but surprising reasons why you can’t sleep below.

You Have Blue-Light Insomnia

Experts (and maybe even your family) has repeated time and time again to turn off the electronics before you go to bed. If you don’t, you could fall victim to blue-light insomnia. Your electronic devices emit a blue light when you turn them on, and this could suppress your natural melatonin production. The bad news is, this can delay it even if you turn off your device three hours before bed. You can negate this by buying a pair of glasses that come specially designed to block blue light.

See Also: Preventing Blue Light-Related Health Problems

You Have an Old Mattress

old mattress

Ideally, you should consider replacing your mattress every 10 or 15 years at the maximum. Not having a comfortable mattress can make it difficult for you to get comfortable enough to drift off to sleep. This is often a silent culprit as we get so used to our old lumpy beds.
With the sheer variety of mattresses available to buy, you can pick out a mattress that is firm or soft enough to suit your needs. This can help you fall asleep quickly, not toss and turn, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

See Also: 3 Negative Effects of Bad Mattresses You Need To Be Aware Of

You Had a Drink (or Two) Before Bed

Unfortunately for people who like to have a drink or two before bed, alcohol can induce insomnia and make it difficult for you to stay asleep. Alcohol can cause a rebound effect and result in a more fragmented and lighter sleeping pattern. You’ll want to limit your alcohol intake and stop drinking around three hours before you go to bed.

You Take Prescription Medications

Do you take diuretics for your blood pressure? If so, they can make you have to get up and go to the bathroom more during the night. If you take antidepressants, they can give you a boost of energy that keeps you up hours past your bedtime. Schedule a visit with your doctor and ask them for the best times to take your prescriptions. Make sure that these times don’t interfere with your sleep schedule.

You Routinely Take Naps

It’s natural for your energy levels to fall between two and three in the afternoon. This is when you experience the afternoon slump where all you want to do is nap. If you give in to the temptation and take a short nap, this can throw your sleep schedule off. If this sounds like you, try to schedule a little physical activity from two and three. Not only will you feel more energized, but it’ll wear you out for bedtime.

You Unknowingly Had Caffeine

food with caffeine

When you think of caffeine, coffee or soda are usually the two main things that come to mind. However, caffeine is in a lot of everyday foods and beverages that people don’t even realize. For example, chocolate and iced tea contain levels of caffeine. If you think this is why you can’t fall asleep, try cutting it out after you eat your lunch.

You’re Going Through Menopause

Menopause can wreak havoc on your entire body, and it can cause mental and physical problems. Nearly a quarter of women who are menopausal experience hot flashes. Waking up hot and sweaty is an unpleasant experience for anyone, and it can be hard to go back to sleep. Although it may not be feasible to stop your hot flashes, you can use a buckwheat pillow and sheets that wick moisture away.

You Have Poor Sleep Habits

Poor sleep habits can make it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling happy and refreshed. Maybe you don’t have a set bedtime, or you prefer nights to mornings. You can improve your sleep habits by setting a bedtime and sticking to it, cutting caffeine out in the early afternoon, wearing blue light glasses at night, and giving yourself some quiet time before bed to unwind.

You Sleep In On The Weekends

Yes, sleeping in on Saturdays and Sundays can feel amazing when you do it. However, it can throw your biological rhythm off. This can make it challenging to fall asleep Sunday night, and you can ruin your sleep schedule for the entire week. Instead of sleeping in, set your alarm for around the same time that you normally get up. You might hit the snooze button a few times, but you’ll feel better come Monday morning.

You Sleep With Your Pets

sleep with pets

Lots of people like to have their pets in their beds when they go to sleep. However, this can cause problems if you have an allergy or sensitivity to pet dander. Also, animals tend to be more active and move around during the night. If they’re in bed with you, they could disturb your sleep every time they move.

Your Pillow Gets Too Hot

Sleeping on a cool pillow can actually work to lower your core body temperature. As your body temperature drops, you’ll start to feel groggy. This can help you fall asleep much faster than you traditionally would, and you may even stay asleep longer. You can get a special cooling pillow or add an ice pack to your pillow.

The post 11 Surprising Reasons Why You Can’t Sleep appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Bipolar Disorder Affects Relationships

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition which can cause several changes in a person’s mood. People who are suffering from bipolar disorder fall in two categories — high moods (mania) and extremely low moods (hypomania).

During the manic phase, people lose their common sense to judge anything, while they completely withdraw from everything and everyone when in a hypomanic state. These changes in mood can seriously affect relationships since it contributes to how they interact with others.

Bipolar Disorder and Relationships

If you have bipolar disorder, then your mood swings can cause unusual changes in your behaviors. This can make it more challenging to go on dates or even marry.

Scott Haltzman (Clinical Assistant Professor in the Brown University) tells that this disorder can seriously create problems in any relationship. In his book Secrets of Happily Married Men and The Secrets of Happily Married Women, he also tells that when people get into a relationship, they want stability. It’s not something you can easily get when you have bipolar disorder.

Dating When You Have Bipolar Disorder

bipolar dating

If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, you may feel nervous whenever you are starting a new relationship.

But, here’s the thing:

There is no need to introduce your psychiatric problems on the first date. You should find the right time to tell your partner that you have bipolar disorder.

Revealing that you are suffering from bipolar is not an auspicious beginning to your relationship. Dr. Haltzman also says that when you feel that there is a strong mutual attraction between you and your partner, that’s the point where you should clear the actual problem.

Dating someone with psychiatric problems can be challenging because you can’t control your partner’s mood swings. If you want to succeed in your relationship, you should concentrate on your partner’s treatment and focus on communication.

How Bipolar Disorder Affects Married Life

Work stress, money issues, and other factors can put a strain on your married life. Stress caused by one’s day-to-day, however, can turn to problems of epic proportions when your partner has bipolar disorder.

Research shows that this is the main reason why 90% of marriages fail.

Like most people, those with bipolar disorders have many good qualities but they may show undesirable behaviors as well. They may show love and affections and be cold and distant at the same time.

These unpredictable behaviors may be very difficult and challenging for all married people. In such conditions, you should cooperate with your partner and make your married life stronger than ever.

How Does Someone Develop Bipolar Disorder

Doctors do not know the exact causes of bipolar disorder. However, experts consider a few factors that predispose one to develop the condition.

Family genes and abnormal brain structures are two factors often believed to cause bipolar disorder. Scientist and researchers are still trying to find out more about it.

How Bipolar Disorder Can be Treated

Educate yourself: Educate and prepare yourself before you start a relationship with a person who has bipolar disorder. Do your research to know how you can deal with and understand this psychiatric problem.

Teach your partner: Teach your partner how to react during different mood swings and what they can do to overcome them.

You have to be patient: When your partner’s mood swings interfere with your romantic or dating plans, you should remind yourself that it’s the condition and not your partner. Sometimes, taking a quick break helps.

Keep an open communication: You should be open with your partner and communicate openly.

Take proper medication: Help your partner to take medicine as prescribed. Show your support and help make sure no doctor appointments are missed.

Manage stress in different ways: You can ask your partner for a long walk or to eat healthily. Exercise regularly and be more active. A change in lifestyle can go a long way.

bipolar relationships

Regular therapy: Regular therapy is an essential component when it comes to addressing psychiatric problems.

Child school support: Children who are suffering from this mental illness can be treated by the school support system. School psychologists, counselors, and other staff should participate in helping children succeed in school.

The Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Depression

Bipolar disorder and depression are different from each other. Knowing how they are different can help you plan the right approach.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder refers to the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. A person may be depressed for a long period of time and show low energy, anxiety, and emptiness. When his energy is high, he may experience racing thoughts and feelings of power that can last for several days or months.

Depression

Depression is deeper than sadness. If you have this condition, you may feel helpless, hopeless, and worthless. You may loss interest in things you used to enjoy. You’ll experience changes in appetite, sleep problems, and even suicidal thoughts or actions.

See Also: 15 Symptoms You Are Depressed (Even When You Think You Aren’t)

Author: Kaitlin Adam

The post How Bipolar Disorder Affects Relationships appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Want Better Workouts? Hit the Sack Early

We’re overextended and exhausted, but we have weights to lift, miles to run, and muscles to build.

The problem, though, is that the only time many people have to achieve fitness goals often overlaps with (what should be) bedtime. It’s a Catch-22.

Sleep isn’t something to tamper with. It’s serious business. We need at least seven hours to lower our risks of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression. On top of that, getting enough sleep keeps us from dealing with energy-draining hormonal changes.

Plus, when gymgoers miss recovery or rest for the sake of fitting in a workout, they risk losing momentum because muscles recover during sleep. In fact, a lack of muscular definition might have less to do with the weights you lift and more to do with the z’s you get.

So are we doomed to become fit zombies, or is there a way out of this self-afflicted sleep deprivation?

Why We Sacrifice Sleep

Most of us love to sleep, yet we willingly keep ourselves from getting the right amount. We think, “If I can just get enough sleep to function and still get my workout in, I’ll be ahead of the game.”

That’s the wrong outlook.

Without sleep, we start to exhibit negative behaviors. We can’t wind down, concentrate, or regulate our appetites. But just one night with a full eight hours of rest can start to reverse these issues. Still, that can be a tall order for fitness aficionados who are locked in a sleep-deprived cycle.

Bryan Cole, our company’s team manager, knows and understands the power of sleep. After decades of working in the nutrition industry and with elite athletes, he sees sleep and exercise as a two-way relationship. He operates under the philosophy that exercise promotes better sleep and that sleep promotes better exercise. GoPro skier Chris Benchetler and the first free climber of the Dawn Wall of Yosemite’s El Capitan, Tommy Caldwell, are among those who share Bryan’s philosophy.

Bryan aims for nine hours of sleep every night but sometimes settles for eight. Consistent rest keeps his work and athletic performance at optimal levels. Haven’t reached this caliber of discipline quite yet? All is not lost — even if last night’s sleep was.

Training Your Brain for Sleep

Realign your priorities and incorporate these strategies into your habits for successful snoozing and better workouts:

Drink enough water

get hydrated

Simply staying hydrated will ensure you feel like you’re in top shape when it’s time to hit the hay. The National Sleep Foundation notes that people low on hydration don’t sleep as deeply, making them more susceptible to groggy, moody mornings.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated

Eat dinner early

Eating a big meal before bed is a bad decision. A stomach focused on digestion is not a stomach focused on staying asleep. Need to eat late? Resist the temptation to eat anything resembling a heavy meal. Instead, opt for light foods with fewer sugars and carbs, such as pumpkin seeds, turkey, and avocado.

Limit alcohol

Ever gone to sleep exhausted after drinking a glass or two of beer only to wake up wide-eyed at 3 a.m.? This is why some athletes avoid alcohol altogether. If you do enjoy a drink with dinner occasionally, go easy and stop drinking within four hours of bedtime.

Limit caffeine

Many athletes swear by caffeine in all its forms, from energy drinks to super-robust coffee. Although it can boost their stamina temporarily, it can also destroy a nightly routine. As with alcohol, stop drinking caffeine at least four hours before you climb into bed.

Adjust your sleeping space

Think dark, cool, and quiet when designing a sleeping space. If you’re on the road, a white noise machine, earplugs, or an eye pillow can help. At home, choose pillows and a mattress that offer support. Keep the ambient temperature at 67 degrees, and make sure to keep the electronics out of the bed.

Go to bed at the same time every night

Heading to bed at the same time each night gets you into a sleeping groove. Plus, it makes waking up early less difficult. Don’t make weekends an exception. If you stayed up late on Saturday, force yourself to get out of bed early on Sunday rather than sleep in. While it might not be your most mentally sharp day that week, you’ll stay in sync.

See Also: 9 Sleep Hacks to Elevate Your Mood and Improve Your Health

Sleep without clothes

sleep without clothes

Climbing into bed without wearing clothing allows you to be freer to sleep soundly and comfortably. Worried you’ll get too chilly? Cover your bed with breathable sheets and blankets. It’ll be less difficult than you think to get used to sleeping in the nude.

You’ll never hit your fitness A-game without enough rest. Resolve to place more importance on slumber and kick your athleticism into high gear.

The post Want Better Workouts? Hit the Sack Early appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Weight Training Will Affect You In The Long Run

I never had major struggles with my weight, but there was definitely a period of time where I was somewhat out of shape, lazy, unhealthy and unhappy. Not knowing a whole lot about fitness, I just decided to hit the gym and hope for the best.

When I started going to the gym, it was all about the cardio. I started running on a treadmill, then started using the rowing machine. Both helped me to tone up some, but I found that I still didn’t feel confident in my health and certainly not my strength.

Discovering weight lifting was a revelation for me. I watched the people at the free weights for months before I even dared to try the weight machines. Then, I finally plucked my courage and went over for tips of free weights.

Everything changed for me.

The men and women who lifted were more than happy to give me pointers on moves and form. I developed my own routine over time. I broke goals and out of muscle plateaus and I saw my body change drastically. My health improved to the point where I wouldn’t become sick every time one of my children would bring a cold home.

The Benefits Of Weight Training

What I mentioned above were the short-term benefits of my weight training experiences. But, as it turns out, there are plenty of long-term ones we should also be considering.

Building Better Muscles

This one is probably the most obvious. When you weight train, you are working the muscles in your body. While weight machines will target specific areas and help to build them up, free weights work for more groups all at once and do it more effectively than a machine. That’s why you see more results.

Also, remember that building muscle doesn’t necessarily mean building mass. Many women worry that if they start to lift weights, they will form large muscles. That just isn’t the case. What they will gain is muscle definition and less fat percentage on their overall body.

For those who are looking for mass, lifting heavy and in smaller sets, paired with a high protein diet, can get you there. However, it isn’t a mandatory part of strength training.

Building More Strength

Another given but one that isn’t given nearly as much attention is the strength gains that come with weight lifting. Believe it or not, having large muscles won’t necessarily mean you are that much stronger than the average person.

For instance, someone might have really large arms. But if their lower body doesn’t have an equally strong core, those bulky upper body muscles can leave them unbalanced and less strong overall.

Building Protection

When I was a kid, I hurt my ankle pretty badly in a snowboarding accident. Part of my recovery was a series of exercises as soon as I was out of the cast. It built muscles in my legs, ankles, and thighs.

At the time, I didn’t understand what the rest of my legs had to do with it. Wasn’t it just my ankle that was hurt?

Now, I understand that having more strength in my legs overall meant less pressure on my ankle itself. It was also building a protective layer of muscle near the tendons so I would be less prone to another injury.

Building Up The Bones

As we age, we see a progressive degeneration in our bones and overall skeletal structure. It is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fend it off as long as possible and reduce its severity.

Research has shown time and again that bone strength and density can be improved with the use of weight training, even in those who already suffer from the effects. It may even turn back the initial stages of osteoporosis.

Building Brain Power

Another risk of age is losing one’s mental faculties, something that most of us fear. Exercise has always been associated with lowering the chances of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, although the process is poorly understood.

One thing we do know is that resistance and weight training have been associated with better neurocognitive functions in elderly males. The study also shows that the sooner this is started, the better. The results were shown on otherwise healthy adult males who had no signs of dementia.

So, if we get our bodies in healthy shape now, we could be saving ourselves from mental decline later on.

Weight Training: A Miracle Workout

There is no doubt about it, weight training is an incredible tool for health. We can use it to keep our bodies healthy now and protect ourselves from age-related illnesses in the future.

While there is nothing wrong with cardio, and in fact, it is an important part of maintaining proper heart health, adding weight training to your routine now will have big payoffs later.

See Also: 20 Tips For Building the Body of Legend Bruce Lee

The post How Weight Training Will Affect You In The Long Run appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Theranos documentary review: The Inventor’s horrifying optimism

A blood-splattered Theranos machine nearly pricks an employee struggling to fix it. This gruesome graphical rendering is what you’ll walk away from HBO’s “The Inventor” with. It finally gives a visual to the startup’s laboratory fraud detailed in words by John Carreyrou’s book “Bad Blood”.

The documentary that premiered tonight at Sundance Film Festival explores how the move fast and break things ethos of Silicon Valley is “really dangerous when people’s lives are in the balance” as former employee and whistleblower Tyler Shultz says in the film. Theranos promised a medical testing device that made a single drop of blood from your finger more precise than a painful old-school syringe in your vein. What patients ended up using was so inaccurate it put their health in jeopardy.

But perhaps even more frightening is the willingness of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes to delude herself and everyone around her in service of a seemingly benevolent mission. The documentary captures how good ideas can make people do bad things.

“The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley” juxtaposes truthful interviews with the employees who eventually rebelled against Holmes with footage and media appearances of her blatantly lying to the world. It manages to stick to the emotion of the story rather than getting lost in the scientific discrepancies of Theranos’ deception.

The film opens and closes with close-ups of Holmes, demonstrating how the facts change her same gleaming smile and big blue eyes from the face of innovative potential to that of a sociopathic criminal. “I don’t have many secrets” she tells the camera at the start.

Though the film mentions early that her $9 billion-plus valuation company would wind up worth less than zero, it does a keen job of building empathy for her that it can tear down later. You see her tell sob stories of death in the family and repeat her line about building an end to having to say goodbye to loved ones too soon. You hear how she’s terrified of needles and how growing up, “my best friends were books.”

But then cracks start to emerge as old powerful men from professors to former cabinet members faun over Holmes and become enthralled in her cult of personality as validation snowballs. Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney has a knack for creeping dread from his experience making “Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room” and “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.” He portrays Holmes’ delusions of grandeur with shots of her portrait beside those of Archimedes, Beethoven, and her idol Steve Jobs.

The first red flag comes when Holmes names her initial device Edison after the historic inventor the film assures you was quite a fraud himself. Soon, sources from inside the company relay how the Edison and subsequent Theranos hardware never worked right but that demos were faked for customers and investors. Instead of sticking to a firm timeline, Gibney bounces around to hammer home the emotional arcs of employees from excited to dubious, and of Holmes from confidence to paranoia.

Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood” meticulously chronicled every tiny warning sign that worried Theranos’ staff in order to build a case. But the author’s Wall Street Journal day job bled through, sapping the book of emotion and preventing it from seizing the grandeur of the tale’s climactic moments.

Gibney fills in the blanks with cringe-inducing scenes of Theranos’ faulty hardware. A ‘nanotainer’ of blood rolls off a table and fractures, a biohazard awaiting whoever tries to pick it up. The depiction of working in Theranos’ unregulated laboratory scored the biggest gasps from the Sundance audience. Former employees describe how Theranos recruited drifters they suspected of hepatitis as guinea pigs. Their stale blood evaporates into the air surrounding machines dripping with inky red, covered in broken test tubes. Gibney nails the graphics, zooming in on a needle spraying droplets as a robotic arm sputters through malfunctions. I almost had to look away as the film renders a hand reaching into the machine and only just dodging an erratic syringe.

A still from The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley by Alex Gibney, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Drew Kelly.

At times, Gibney goes a bit too melodramatic. The toy music box twinkling foreshadows a dream becoming a nightmare, but it gets maddening after an hour straight. The pacing feels uneven, sometimes bogged down in Holmes’ personal relationships when later it seems to speed through the company’s collapse.

Though elsewhere, the director harnesses the nervous laughter coping mechanism of the former employees to inject humor into the grim tale. With accuracy so low, Shultz jokes that “if people are testing themselves for syphilis with Theranos, there’s going to be a lot more syphilis in the world.” Visual dramatizations of journalists’ audio recordings of Holmes and the eventual legal disputes bring this evidence to life.

Alex Gibney, director of The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley, an official selection of the Documentary Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

The most touching scene sees Fortune’s Roger Parloff on the brink of implosion as he grapples with giving Holmes her first magazine cover story — momentum she used to eventually get Theranos’ useless hardware in front of real patients who depended on its results.

The Inventor succeeds at instilling the lesson without getting too preachy. It’s fine to be hopeful, but don’t ignore your concerns no matter how much you want something to be real. It takes an incredibly complex sequence of events and makes it at once gripping and informative. If you haven’t read “Bad Blood” or found it drab, “The Inventor” conveys the gravity of the debacle with a little more flare.

Yet the documentary also gives Holmes a bit too much benefit of the doubt, suggesting that hey, at least she was trying to do good in the world. In the after-film panel, Gibney said “She had a noble vision . . . I think that was part of why she was able to convince so many people and convince herself that what she was doing was great, which allowed her to lie so effectively.” Carreyrou followed up that “she was not intending to perpetrate a long con.”

Yet that’s easier to say for both the director and the author when neither of their works truly investigated the downstream health impacts of Theranos’ false positives and false negatives. If they’d tracked down people who delayed critical treatment or had their lives upended by the fear of a disease they didn’t have, I doubt Holmes would be cut so much slack.

Some degree of ‘Fake it ’til you make it’ might be essential to build hard technology startups. You must make people believe Inc something that doesn’t exist if you’re to pull in the funding and talent necessary to make it a reality. But it’s not just medical, hardware, or “atoms not bits” startups that must be allegiant to the truth. As Facebook and WhatsApps’ role in spreading misinformation that led to mob killings in India and Myanmar proved, having a grand mission doesn’t make you incapable of doing harm. A line must be drawn between optimism and dishonesty before it leads to drawing chalk outlines on the ground.

Why Drinking Soda Is Bad for Your Health

Guzzling down one can of soda over another might be great for your taste buds but it can severely damage your health. Regardless, today’s youth is still obsessed with these sugary beverages. We’ve formed a habit of drinking a can almost every day to beat the heat or just because dinner is incomplete without it.

Not only does soda bring along zero nutritional benefits but the drink is filled with chemicals. The high content of caffeine and sugar in these beverages gives them an addictive quality. However, even if you feel you are hooked to the habit of overdosing on soda, it’s not like there is no redemption for you. You can kick the habit and reduce excess intake of these fizzy drinks.

If you are still not ready to ditch the habit, here are some great reasons why you should.

It raises the risk of getting overweight

Soda can make you fat.

These drinks contain sweetening agents that result in spiking glucose levels. Even diet soft drinks don’t cut down this risk. Their artificial sugar content just makes you feel increasingly aware of your sweet tooth.

Soda doesn’t keep your appetite suppressed for long. It ultimately leads to more cravings and exhaustion.

It can cause diabetes

Who wants to live the rest of his life avoiding delicious foods only because his health is at constant risk?

Diabetic patients are forced to live like this. Soda can take the risk of diabetes type 2 up in men by 26%. It can also cause metabolic syndrome to develop as well.

Did you know these soft drinks exceed the limit of sugar intake set by WHO?

It can cause heart disease and stroke

Soda can raise bad cholesterol levels, triglyceride markers, and also blood pressure. This all increases the chances of being inflicted by ailments of the heart. Since soft drinks can cause weight gain, this can alert the liver to produce even more cholesterol. A study found that a single serving of soda could take the risk of stroke up by 10%.

It puts your kidneys at risk

Excess intake of soda can harm kidney functionality. A study by Harvard Medical School carried out on more than 3000 women concluded that diet cola can snowball the risk of kidney decline by two times.

Soda can cause kidney stones and kidney-related diseases because it contains high amounts of phosphoric acid fructose corn syrup.

It makes you age before time

Sodas don’t only make you stack on additional pounds, but they can also cause premature aging. Research says that people who consumed sugar-based beverages had shorter telomeres. Shorter telomeres equate to slow cell regeneration which means faster aging. Soda intake is accompanied by several health risks which can also shorten one’s lifespan.

It can damage your bones

If you are an avid soda drinker, know that it can cause osteoporosis. The high phosphoric acid content in most colas forces the body to draw out alkalizing calcium compounds from bones.

This increases the risk of fractures as well. Drinking sodas a lot can also decrease bone density. Studies show that teenage girls who consumed acidic soda faced 3 to 5 times more fractures.

It can cause tooth decay

No one wants a druggie’s smile, yet no one is ready to sacrifice soda intake. Academy of General Dentistry says that regular soda consumption can lead to tooth erosion similar to that caused by illegal drugs. The acid in the drink harms the enamel and depletes minerals. It can lead your teeth to rot. Unfortunately, damaged teeth don’t heal as bones do.

Some healthy alternatives to soda

The adverse impacts of regular soda intake on your health are vast. With this in mind, you must reduce your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages that offer no nutritional value. You might be thinking what options you’ll be left with if you remove soda from your diet. There are actually plenty of options.

Switch to natural, homemade alternatives. Iced tea, sparkling water, fruit-infused water, coconut juice, plus homemade healthier sprite and sodas are some options you can explore. These are not chemical-filled and hold better nutrition for you. However, don’t forget to follow the moderation mantra.

Conclusion

At first, you may find it difficult to leave soda at once, but slowly and gradually, you’ll be able to get rid of the habit. However, it’s not necessary that you don’t drink a can ever in your life — just don’t be an addict to it. As Heather Mangieri, owner of a nutrition consulting business says, “If you’re drinking one soda on occasion … that doesn’t equate to it being necessarily unhealthy.”

Therefore, devouring soda once in a blue moon shouldn’t be a problem.

The post Why Drinking Soda Is Bad for Your Health appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Access to Contraceptives Around the World: What You Need to Know

Here in the US, we’re lucky to have relatively easy access to contraception, with the FDA approving the first oral contraceptive in 1960. There are also other forms such as the implant, the patch and the sponge. Forty-five countries have proudly offered contraception to patients free of charge for years, whilst some governments have dragged their feet on making such treatments available.

How do seven varying countries around the world compare in terms of accessibility? Here’s what you need to know about people’s access to contraceptives.

United States

Despite being the first nation in the world to introduce the birth control pill, the United States does not give out free contraception. Instead, women have to pay around $59.25 each month for the pill, depending on their health insurance coverage. It also prohibits the sale of birth control pills over the counter.

Spain

condom-vending-machine
Via athingforwords.com

In Spain, the average cost of contraception is around $2.91 per box. Condoms are very easy to find in supermarkets and pharmacies, and there are also condom-dispensing machines dotted around on streets. The Spanish tend to have a pretty liberal view on contraception in general. In fact, some pharmacies even sell birth control pills over the counter.

Canada

Canada has a healthcare system called Medicare, which is publicly funded. Most forms of contraception are easily affordable and available under this system/ Birth control pills are usually available for free or up to around $37.57 per month, depending on the type.

Brazil

Brazil offers a year’s supply of birth control pills for only $2.36, as long as citizens are able to present their national identification card. By the letter of the law, one can only buy the morning after pill with a prescription. Most pharmacies, however, tend to sell it without. Women and girls of all ages can also purchase it legally.

Japan

blood test

Japan is not so relaxed when it comes to issuing birth control pills, probably because they have quite a low birth rate. Japanese Health Insurance doesn’t cover the contraceptive pill and women have to pay around $25.67 each month. Many doctors require women to take a blood test to see if they’re fit enough to take the pill, and this isn’t free either, costing around $86.

India

Although healthcare in India is universal, it greatly fluctuates in quality and coverage throughout the country. Those who live in more urban areas tend to benefit more. While contraception remains available from $2.48 to $5.85 in India, worryingly,the most common form of birth control is tubal ligation, a form of female sterilisation.

Ethiopia

Although there is a lot of awareness about modern contraception in Ethiopia, a large proportion of the country do not take any. Both male and female condoms are available in pharmacies at a low cost. There are also a few other places where Ethiopian nationals can get them for free. Birth control pills can also be bought without a prescription and, in some cases, are free as well.

Conclusion

Many medical advancements have been made since the 1960s. There are now more contraception options than ever before. Over the next coming years, a male contraceptive pill is expected to be rolled out for general consumption. This could balance the responsibility between men and women. For the moment, the pill is still being trialed, but has so far received an 83% success rate, with minimal side effects.

The post Access to Contraceptives Around the World: What You Need to Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use

TENS machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and features. As a first time buyer, the long list of choices can frustrate, overwhelm and confuse you all at the same time.

Since TENS units for home use promise pain relief without the nasty side effects you can get from pain medications, you’d want to make sure you get one that’s effective and convenient to use.

In choosing the best TENS unit for home use, here are the 5 most important factors you need to consider.

Modes

Different types of pain respond to different electronic pulses or modes. With that, you need to make sure that your unit can be set in various modes. With most high-quality TENS unit, that won’t be a problem. However, in some low-end models, your options may be limited as they generally work with one or two models.

Choosing a TENS unit with multiple options can make the experience more enjoyable. It’s what will make the unit more effective in providing pain relief.

Battery Life

choosing best tens unit
Via thewirecutter.com

There are units that can work well on a 9-volt battery or 3 AAA batteries. While they look like a convenient and practical choice, they can increase the annual cost of using a TENS unit on a daily basis.

A high-quality device that works on a lithium battery is actually a better choice. It can take you weeks or even a full month of using the unit before you need to recharge it.

Additionally, a TENS unit working on a lithium battery can save you from the hassle and stress of constantly changing dead batteries.

Power Level

You need one that feels intense but won’t hurt. Now, this is tricky since people don’t have the same pain tolerance.

With most low priced TENS machines, their highest level may still not be enough to provide their promised benefits. So, what customers eventually do is upgrade their units to something better. This is simply a waste of money.

To avoid that mistake, get a TENS unit with a wide range of power. That way, you’ll be able to set your unit to your preferred intensity.

Number of Electronic Pads

The more electronic pads you have, the wider area of your body you’ll be able to cover. If you have multiple areas of pain or you’re suffering from multiple injuries, try to get a unit with multi-channel outputs.

Budget

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot on a TENS unit for home use. However, you need to understand that a unit’s price will affect the features you’ll get. As mentioned, low-priced models may fall short when it comes to modes, battery life and even power level.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy a TENS machine at home just because you are on a tight budget. The trick here is to know exactly what you need. Don’t spend a lot of money on a unit with features you don’t really want or need.

Ease of Use

For someone who’s new to using a TENS machine at home, the idea of operating it on your own can be nerve-wracking. With that, find a unit that’s easy to use. You should also consider getting a unit with a user-friendly interface and buttons with clear and easy-to-read labels.

There are machines that are compatible with smartphones. Some of them even come with their own dedicated apps and downloading them on your phone can make it possible for you to control your session with just your handset.

There are units that allow users to pre-set programs, making them easy to use. Others feature options to customize intensity and frequency to give you maximum control.

Life of the TENS pads

Quality electrode pads should last for months even with daily use. Low priced replacements pads, on the other hand, wear out easily and quickly which means that you will have to purchase new ones more frequently. This can skyrocket the cost of using a TENS unit over time.

In addition to inquiring about the life of the TENS pads, you should also ask about their price. Those pads, in general, don’t come cheap but they don’t have to burn holes in your wallet. Choosing an expensive set of TENS pads that will last long is better than buying low priced TENS pads that wear out in just a few weeks.

Customer Service

great customer service

Believe it or not, this is one of the most important factors you need to consider when buying a TENS unit. Should something go wrong with your machine, there should be someone to assist you and answer your questions concerning the unit. A reputable company can easily address that.

Apart from the quality of customer service a brand has, you should also ask about its return policy. If you notice that your unit isn’t working as it should or you’re just generally unhappy with it, you should be able to return the machine without encountering a lot of issues.

Portability

Since you are looking for a unit you can use at home, it’s a good idea to consider its size. A small and compact TENS unit will make it easy for you to use the machine anywhere in the house. A small size also means better portability. You’ll be able to take it with you when you travel or work.

Treatment Timer

Most TENS machines have treatment timers as an added feature. A timer allows you to set your desired time for the treatment and automatically shuts off the unit when that time runs out. While it’s not that necessary, a timer makes your TENS unit more convenient.

Conclusion

Choosing the best TENS unit for home use isn’t easy. You have to be thoroughly informed if you want to find a unit that will fit your needs. With this list, you should be able to have a clearer idea about what you want and don’t want in a quality TENS machine.

The post How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

​How Intermittent Fasting Helped Me Hit My Diet Goals

A few years ago, my body wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I wanted to lose quite a bit of weight. So, I tried monitoring my portions, counting calories, cutting out certain foods, and exercising like crazy. Unfortunately, nothing worked. I wasn’t getting any closer to attaining my weight loss goals. It was frustrating, to say the least.

Then, one day as I was pumping iron at the gym I overheard someone talking about intermittent fasting and the incredible gains that came with it. I was intrigued.

As soon as I got home, I did my research about this weight loss method. Then, I started to put it into practice.

Even I couldn’t believe the amazing results I got after intermittent fasting for just over a year. I’ve increased my muscle mass and decreased my body fat — all while eating less and spending less time at the gym.

What Exactly Is Intermittent Fasting?

Simply put, intermittent fasting involves eating within a specific window of time in the course of the day and not eating anything for the remaining hours. Instead of changing what you eat, you change when you eat so that you can get the most from your meals. I like to think of it as a pattern of eating, not a diet.

There are different intermittent fasting methods and you get to choose the one that suits your goals. Some people prefer alternate-day fasting while others find it better to have 24-hour fasts once or twice per week. There are people who find that a daily fasting window works for them. When choosing which method to go for, make sure that you understand your choices completely. Searching for a reliable intermittent fasting guide can help you.

I personally follow the 16:8 model of intermittent fasting, also known as the Leangains method. This involves having an 8-hour eating window followed by a 16-hour fasting period.

Most days, I simply skip breakfast and have lunch as my first meal of the day at around noon. Then, I eat one or two more meals during my eating window and stop eating at 8 p.m. After that, I fast until noon of the next day.

I admit that it took some getting used to but since my mornings are typically busy. I don’t find it hard to put off eating until noon.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

intermittent fasting benefits

Intermittent fasting comes with a number of benefits including:

Fast weight loss

Thanks to intermittent fasting, I was able to quickly achieve my weight loss goals. Since I was eating less, I was consuming fewer calories per day without having to count them or change my diet. Fasting for short periods of time increased fat burning levels in my body, resulting in significant weight loss. Best of all, I lost that stubborn belly fat in the process.

Losing body fat while holding on to lean muscle

Surprisingly, not only did intermittent fasting help me shed body fat but I was also able to increase my lean muscle mass. I did some research and discovered that this was largely due to the hormonal changes during fasting.

During the fasting hours, the levels of human growth hormone skyrocket, leading to muscle gain. Insulin decreases while norepinephrine increases. This means that the body finds it easier to burn fat when it enters a fasting state.

It’s easier to stick to than dieting

I have tried several dieting methods over the years with limited success. I found it difficult to adhere to them because they involved eating new foods or changing my eating habits.

With intermittent fasting, I don’t have to cut out my favorite foods, I simply have to change when I eat them. Additionally, while I still have to keep an eye on my portion sizes, I don’t have to get into any tedious calorie counting. The simplicity of this weight loss method made it easy for me to keep at it.

What To Look Out For

intermittent fasting tips

While intermittent fasting does have tremendous benefits, keep these things in mind if you want to lose weight:

Start slowly and be patient. If you’re new to fasting, consider starting with a moderate approach, such as overnight fasting before progressing to more intense fasting schedules. This gives your body time to adapt so you won’t be overwhelmed by the transition. Be patient as it takes time for the body to get used to going without food for long periods.

Be consistent. To help your body adapt, be consistent with fasting. Choose a schedule that works for you and stick with it until you attain the benefits.

Focus on the quality of the food you eat. While you don’t have to count calories, the quality of food you consume still matters. Include complex carbs and whole foods in your diet to keep you satiated for longer.

Ensure you don’t overeat. As you start out with intermittent fasting, you’re likely to experience increased hunger as your body isn’t used to going for long periods without food. This might tempt you to overeat to compensate. Giving in to this urge can undo all the good that you’ve gained from fasting.

Going without food for long stretches isn’t for everyone. However, if you’ve tried other methods to hit your weight goals without success, intermittent fasting might just do the trick.

See Also: Breaking the Fast: What I Have Learned Using Intermittent Fasting

The post ​How Intermittent Fasting Helped Me Hit My Diet Goals appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Super Easy Skin and Beauty Hacks For Lazy Girls

Keeping ourselves camera-ready every day requires money, time, and effort. The usual Korean skincare routine, for instance, even involves 8 full steps. That is definitely not ideal for the naturally beauty-lazy people.

Fortunately, there are beauty hacks for lazy girls you can totally try to look and feel beautiful even without exerting a lot of effort.

Purchase multi-purpose products

When buying beauty products, it’s a great idea to stick to those that target more than just one skin or beauty problem. For example, you can choose a lip tint that can be used as a blush whenever you are in a hurry.

These days, beauty balms are not only infused with skin nutrients but they also offer better coverage and a wider range of shades. With that, you can also use them as a foundation.

There are many other beauty products that can serve more than one purpose. Most of them require no more than 3 minutes to apply. Find one that will suit your skin type.

Keep hair oils handy

hair oils

Essential oils are no longer just for treating ailments. They also work great for fixing messy hair and dry skin problems.

If your hair has split ends, make it a habit to apply argan oil. It coats your locks perfectly. The oil can also double as your moisturizer when your hands or arms get too flaky.

More so, some essential oils have empowering scents. Use them and you won’t need to constantly reapply your perfume.

Keep a brown eyeliner

Eyes are your face’s focal points. You most definitely need a brown eyeliner, preferably the pencil-type, to hide your tired eyes without being obvious.

Brown is also a very versatile color. It can be worn for a casual look for a daytime event or a bolder look for a nighttime affair. If you forgot to bring your eyeshadow and eyebrow powder, you can use your brown eyeliner to fill in your lids and brows for a sultry look.

While others prefer the lighter shade of brown, you can experiment and go for the darker shade. It’s relatively more flexible and visible.

When applying an eyeliner as eyeshadow, you can either just draw thick lines following the shape of your upper lids or you can draw a criss-cross pattern on your outer eye area and smudge the color for a smoky look.

Carry a toner everywhere you go

Most people fail to realize the magical importance of toner. Ideally, you wash your face first with a cleanser before applying a toner. However, during lazy nights and mornings, you can skip the lengthy process of washing your face and just apply your toner directly.

A toner cleanses, refines, and freshens up your face as easy as 1-2-3. It can also be an alternative to a makeup remover.

You can carry a bottle of toner and a small pack of cotton with you wherever you go. That way, you can clean your face as you wish or in the absence of water. This especially holds true when you have a long-haul travel and your entire beauty set is packed in your checked-in luggage.

As a recommendation, use an alcohol-free and paraben-free toner so you won’t end up damaging your skin. Toners, unlike wet wipes, are specially formulated for facial application. You can be guaranteed that the ingredients are safe and effective.

Invest in a good facial treatment

facial treatment

Skin becomes easily unhealthy with today’s lifestyle and heavy use of makeup. Add that to the lack of time and effort for self-care most women are guilty of. Well, here’s the ultimate life hack– go to a trusted beauty salon and indulge in a good facial.

These days, facial treatments only last for about 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the kind of treatment. It’s basically the perfect treat for time-pressed women.

After a single session, your face will feel significantly rejuvenated, hydrated, and plump. And you won’t have to spend a lot of money just to enjoy a quality facial.

There you have it, 5 easy hacks to keep yourself looking well-kept and healthy every time. They’re super easy beauty hacks for lazy girls. They are not time-consuming so you’ll definitely enjoy trying them out.

 

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9 Dental Health Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now

For you to keep your overall health, experts say that you shouldn’t neglect your oral health. It’s because a healthy set of teeth is one of the indicators of your well-being. Failure to take care of it is the same as letting your physical health down the drain.

Thus, it’s not surprising that a lot of people today consider their oral health as one of their priorities for having a healthy lifestyle. However, there are still some folks out there who believe in dental myths. Instead of making their teeth healthy, wrong beliefs cause their oral health to deteriorate.

To clear things, below is a list of dental myths and the truth behind them.

Myth #1: The More Sugar You Eat, The Worse It is For Your Teeth

dental health myths

Yes, sugar can cause cavities on your teeth. However, having tooth cavities is not much about the amount of sugar you consume, but how long it stays in your mouth.

Sugar creates acid that wears away the enamel of your tooth.

So, if sugar stays longer in your mouth, the more it produces acid and the more chances your teeth will have cavities. Thus, after eating sugary food, you should brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.

Myth #2: You Should Only Blame Sugar

It’s not true that sugar is the only bad guy that causes tooth cavity. Starchy foods, alcohol, citrus fruits, and sugar-free carbonated drinks can also cause damage to your precious teeth.

So, if you’re indeed prioritizing your oral health, you should quit eating those foods and start eating fruits and vegetables that are abundant in fiber. Fiber-rich foods can generate the flow of saliva that restores the mineral in your teeth.

Myth #3: Chewing Sugar-Free Gum is as Good as Brushing

Some people believe that chewing a sugarless gum does well as brushing your teeth. If science backs this argument, children would surely be happy. However, it’s not accurate.

Although a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol can help protect your teeth, it still won’t replace your toothbrush in providing yourself with good oral hygiene.

You still need to see to it that you brush your teeth thrice a day to make your teeth pearly clean and to clear away the bad breath.

Myth #4: Flossing is Unnecessary

Some folks out there consider flossing unnecessary and a waste of time. They argue that brushing is enough. Unfortunately, experts say that brushing your teeth is not sufficient. You should include flossing in your oral health regimen.

It’s because there are parts in your mouth that your toothbrush may find hard to reach. That would amount to 33 percent of your mouth uncleaned. To achieve optimal oral health, make it a habit to floss your teeth.

Myth #5: Hard Brushing Will Make Your Teeth Cleaner

hard brushing

It’s not true that brushing your teeth hard can make it cleaner. In fact,  hard brushing can cause bleeding and damage to your teeth and gums. It can chip away the tooth enamel that serves as a shield from bacteria.

So, it will do you better if you brush your teeth gently. If your gums and teeth are sensitive, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush when brushing.

Always keep in mind that you should brush your teeth in a 45-degree angle to your gums. Don’t forget to work the toothbrush inside and outside the parts of your teeth. Also, clean your tongue as well as your gums.

Myth #6: Pearly White Teeth is Healthy

It’s a common misconception for many that a set of white teeth is healthy. The thing is that having a set of white teeth is not a standard for optimal oral health. That’s because humans don’t have the same natural color for their teeth.

An individual can have a whiter set of teeth than another, but it doesn’t mean that the person has better oral hygiene. Fresh breath and zero cavity are the primary indications that a person has healthy teeth.

Myth #7: Aspirin is Better at Soothing Toothache

There’s truth that aspirin can relieve your toothache temporarily if the source of pain is from the gum area. However, if the pain comes from the inside of the tooth, aspirin won’t be that effective. It’s because this medicine can’t infiltrate the inside of the teeth to soothe the affected nerve.

It’s also wrong to take too much aspirin to alleviate your toothache as it burns the gums and can cause further complication.

Myth #8: Tooth Bleaching is Bad

There was a time when tooth bleaching is terrible for the teeth. Before 1990, dentists apply acidic ingredients and highly-concentrated whitening gel in the bleaching process that cause damage to the teeth. These ingredients harm the teeth and prompt the enamel to crumble.

Today, however, dentists only apply pH neutral solution in bleaching. A pH neutral solution gives you no worries as it keeps your white teeth while keeping it unharmed at the same time.

Myth #9: A Dentist is Unnecessary When You Don’t Have a Toothache

People who fail to visit a dentist pay the price when it comes to their oral health. Even if you don’t have a toothache, visiting a dentist is a must for the prevention of oral health diseases.

You should keep in mind that you can’t see the progress of oral health problems immediately at the beginning. For instance, you won’t feel any pain when the cavities are just starting to form on the tooth enamel. It’s also true with gum disease.

For you to prevent these oral health problems from happening, you should regularly visit a dentist to check your teeth. Dental experts can give you an oral check-up to improve your oral health.

See Also: Dental Care for Children With Special Needs

Takeaway

There are a lot of proper ways to keep your teeth healthy, but there are also dental myths you have to be aware of. In improving your teeth, it’s essential that you’re cautious about those misconceptions.

The post 9 Dental Health Myths That You Should Stop Believing Now appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Ways To Get Physically Fit Without Spending Too Much Money

According to research by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), more than 1 in 3 adults are overweight and 1 in 13 adults have extreme obesity.

The findings mentioned above are to be expected in today’s fast-paced environment. More and more people spend long hours at work to maintain their financial resources. Unfortunately, this 9-to-5 lifestyle often affects our food and lifestyle choices. Most adults on a tight budget avoid the gym because they don’t want to spend money on monthly membership fees.

It may seem like a wise investment to some, but let’s be honest. A gym or fitness center can be heavy on the pocket.

However, sticking to your budget doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your health. Getting fit on a budget is totally possible.

So, here are 5 of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to get physically fit without burning holes in your wallet.

Walk 10,000 steps a day

walk daily

Most of us take our phone everywhere. We use it to message friends, take photos, send emails, and much more. So, why not take advantage of this hand-held device and use it to track our fitness levels, too?

iPhones have an inbuilt step-tracker loaded as a standard feature. But the latest study suggests that using our smartphone to track the total steps taken in one day may not be accurate. Researchers found that the iPhone’s built-in pedometer missed about 1340 steps (almost half a mile) in a day.

This is why we recommend you to invest in a physical tracker or a pedometer as it can help you achieve your goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. Walking for 30 minutes a day has tons of health benefits and can help keep chronic illnesses at bay.

Watch what you eat

If you are looking to lose fat and build muscle, then you need to increase your intake of healthy food. Eat a balanced diet that contains protein to help build muscles, fruits and vegetables for mineral and fiber, wholesome carbs to keep those energy levels high, and healthy fats to boost fat loss. Don’t forget to drink ample amounts of water to stay hydrated.

Eating healthy doesn’t always have to be expensive. Whether you are a student or an adult living within a limited amount of money, here are 20 tips that will help you make better food choices on a budget.

Volunteer for a good cause

We are a firm believer in the idea that what goes around, comes around. Try giving a few hours in a week to your nearest nonprofit organization. Help them with physical work like garden digging, trail building or training your local sports team. You’ll experience double the satisfaction. Nothing beats the good feeling that arises after helping others and the soreness that comes from working hard for a good cause.

See Also: The Power of Volunteering

Clean up

clean up

Believe it or not, you can burn a lot of calories by cleaning, especially if it is the intense spring-cleaning sort. The exact number of calories spent during housework and cleaning varies from person to person and depends on the individual’s weight.

Stay away from toxic chemicals and don’t contaminate your environment by using them regularly. Use mild cleaners like soap, water, and vinegar which do an equally good job. Get moving by pushing the couch and cleaning underneath it. Wash the windows and get out all the extra stuff out from the garage.

Catch up with a friend

Catching up with a friend or colleague for a game of tennis, golf or swimming is a great way to combine socialization and exercise. You’ll feel motivated and refreshed after flexing those muscles and spending quality time with a cherished one. Remember, the key is to avoid picking up a pack of beer on your way back and passing out in front of the TV!

Conclusion

If you want to live a long and healthy life on a budget, think positively and work hard to achieve your goals. Visit your physician at least once a year to know more about the workout that best suits your body type. Use a waist trainer to maintain a correct posture during the workout session.

Eat home-cooked food at least five days a week. According to research, home-cooked meals are far more nutritious and healthier than convenience foods. Plus, apply the Japanese concept of living and eat till you are 80% full instead of wiping your plate clean every time. Give up smoking and drink occasionally.

Just make these small changes in your lifestyle and switch to these lifelong habits. You’ll notice a rise in your mental and physical health while staying well within your budget.

Do you have any tips or tricks that can help stay us fit without spending bucket loads of money? Share your best-kept fitness secrets with us in the comments below.

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Avoid Decision Fatigue: Learn The Steps for Effective Delegation

Small business owners are no strangers to sacrifice. Whether it’s spending your family vacation tied to your laptop or skipping a paycheck to float the business, owners give their all to help their business succeed. But if you’re working long nights trying to do everything yourself, you’re probably not making your business grow.

Paralyzed Overthinker: Delays making choices, creating more work in the long run.
Overwhelmed Hothead: Easily frustrated and overly combative.
Immediate-Satisfaction Seeker: Takes impulsive shortcuts that favor short-term goals.

Does one of these profiles describe you?

If so, you might be suffering from decision fatigue. Decision fatigue robs your brain of its decision-making powers and has a negative effect on your business. Learning the steps for effective delegation can help you refocus on your long-term goals.

Step 1: Hire the Right Team

hire the right team

Small businesses can struggle to compete with the salaries and benefits offered by larger companies, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the right people. Focus on what you do have to offer. It can be flexible work hours or better company culture. Try to hire people who are a good fit for your company and are committed to sticking around.

Replacing a single employee can cost nearly a quarter of their annual salary. Specialized employees whose replacements might need additional training can cost even more. The good news is, as freelancing grows more common, you may be able to find qualified flexible staff who can work only when you need them.

When hiring contract workers keep in mind:

  • Freelancers only work when needed, but you can always offer a full-time position later
  • Find someone qualified so you don’t waste time training freelancers
  • There’s no guarantee your flex staff will be available when you need them
  • Flex staff are less invested in your company, meaning they’ll bail if a better offer appears

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Step 2: Create a Training Manual

A training or operations manual can guide your employees through procedures and decision making even if you’re not around to provide input. Your manual should lay out procedures that are consistent, proactive, and any staff member can follow. Design your policies and procedures so they’ll scale easily as your company grows. That way, you’ll be able to save yourself from major organization shifts down the road.

When writing your training manual, be sure to include:

  • An overview of your company’s history and story
  • Your mission statement, company culture, and long-term goals
  • Descriptions of major systems and operations
  • Job descriptions for each employee, including their specific responsibilities
  • Instructions and procedures for regular operations and tasks

You can streamline your operations even more by creating form letters for responding to common client questions. With a little tweaking, your staff will be able to quickly answer queries without bugging you for input. Once you have a well-trained staff in place, you’ll be free to let go of daily decisions and focus on the bigger picture: growing your business.

Step 3: Time to Delegate

effective delegation

If you’ve prepared your business and your employees well, beginning to delegate should be natural and easy. Start by considering each employee’s skills and match their strengths to the tasks at hand. Don’t dump a whole set of new responsibilities on the same employee. Give everyone the time to adjust to a new task before asking one to take on even more.

It’s always important to keep in mind how much time each employee has available. It might be tempting to delegate all administrative tasks to your office manager, but if he’s already working late every night, you’ll need to get other staff to help out, too. Asking one employee to do too much is a recipe for disaster. Many workers will simply get fed up and leave the company.

Delegate tasks that don’t require your input or don’t match your expertise, such as:

  • Bookkeeping and payroll
  • Social media management
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Legal counsel
  • Data entry
  • Web design

Regardless of what you delegate and to whom, remember that you’re asking your staff to take on extra work and extra responsibility. Be sure to acknowledge and be grateful for their extra effort. Always offer constructive feedback and give thanks for a job well done.

To learn more about how delegation can help your business thrive, check out this infographic:

The post Avoid Decision Fatigue: Learn The Steps for Effective Delegation appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

In Sickness and In Health: How to Cope With A Sick Partner

When you get married, you might write your own vows or you might stick with something that’s tried and true. Either way, you are pledging yourself, your love, and your support to another human being through all of life’s tricky circumstances. But what happens when things go awry and life throws your relationship a curve ball? How do you cope and start dealing with chronic illness in marriage?

What Does Facing Illness or Injury Do To Your Relationship?

love in health

There are different illnesses and injuries that can occur. Dealing with a broken arm is far different than dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Either way, however, even the slightest incapacitation of a partner can change the dynamic of your relationship significantly.

All of a sudden, the daily roles to which you have become accustomed to change and things between you and your partner change as well. You become either a caretaker or the one being cared for. Either way, this can alter your connection with or perception of your partner.

Romance often takes a backseat as you and your partner adjust to your new roles. This change, along with the altered responsibilities, often causes problems for the relationship and each partner individually.

The change in a relationship when dealing with chronic illness in marriage may also lead to emotional issues. Depression is not uncommon and it can affect the both of you.

If you think that you or your partner is depressed, there are resources you can reach out for help. This is critical when the effects become long-term.

Unfortunately, these hurdles can be difficult to jump and can lead to bigger challenges than just romantic issues. The divorce rate among couples, especially younger couples, where one partner faces health issues is much higher than that of the general population.

Dealing with Chronic Illness in Marriage

So, what can you do to protect your relationship and keep it healthy, even if one of you is not?

Communicate. Each of you is going through something difficult and unique. You need to talk about it. Understanding your partner’s point of view is crucial. When you are wrapped up in the changes you are facing, it becomes easy to forget how those changes are affecting your partner. Discussing how you each feel can create empathy and respect for the other’s circumstance. Neither is easy. And although you are each facing tough times individually, you can actually support each other and go through them together as well.

communicate with each other

Seek support. Friends and family are particularly important in times like this. This is true for both of you. Stress during such time can be a lot to handle and people that care for you can provide perspective and relief. And no, you are not likely to be imposing or taking advantage by leaning on them a bit. If they are people that care about you, they will most likely be happy to be there for you. Even just a conversation to get your mind off things can help.

Remember the love. Yes, things are different and they are likely difficult. However, you fell in love and made a life together for a reason. Remind yourself of this. Pledging your life to another person really is for better and worse, in health and in sickness. You have to hold onto the good times to get through the bad. Remind your partner of these things, too. Each of you is likely to get bogged down in the current circumstances and forget to look at the big picture.

Conclusion

Regardless of the seriousness of the health issues – whether they’re temporary (hopefully) or permanent (worst case) – your relationship can survive. Certainly, the severity of the problem will impact the difficulty of keeping things together, but it can be done.

Remember that you’re not alone. Not only do you have each other but you also have resources in the form of your family and friends. Of course, there are also your trusted healthcare professionals to take care of you and your spouse during the tough times. They can help you get through things. Most of the time, all you have to do is ask.

The post In Sickness and In Health: How to Cope With A Sick Partner appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Digital Detox: Should You Switch Off For The Benefit Of Your Health?

We are a nation of gadget addicts and knowing how to disconnect from technology isn’t easy for most of us.

These days, it seems if we’re not quadruple-screening with the television, iPad, laptop, and phone, we’re checking relentless WhatsApp pings in meetings, snatching furtive glances at our iPhone’s glow in darkened cinemas and live-tweeting the births of our own children. It’s like the country – in fact, the whole planet – has hit peak internet. While the magic of the world wide web is undeniable, more and more of us are realizing that it might be time to switch off.

Considering a digital detox? Wondering how to disconnect from technology?

There are a few key stages you’ll need to work through if you’re going to survive this challenge but the benefits could be overwhelming. Here goes…

Admit you have a problem

If you’re considering an electronic detox, you’re obviously aware that your level of screen-time is getting ridiculous. It’s truly admitting that you’re an addict that will set you on the path to digital detox success.

While apps like Moment can help you monitor how much time you spend on your phone and how often you pick it up, a simple hand-written list of what gadgets you rely on, and which apps your eyes dart to again and again will help you see just how much technology rules your life. It gives you a chance to fall back in love with a pencil and paper.

Get away from it all

If seriously ousting your gadgets from daily life is a prospect too terrifying to deal with, a tech-free holiday might be your perfect compromise.

Grab some cheap and cheerful throw-away cameras so you won’t be tempted to reach for your phone. Head off to some place where the air is fresh and your biggest distraction will be the moo-ing of cows or the rustle of the breeze.

This digital detox guide by holidaycottages.co.uk gives some serious insight into the potential benefits of powering down.

Kick it old school

On the subject of a notepad and pen, one of the best ways to gently ease yourself from the clutches of gadgets is to rediscover the chilled-out, back-in-the-day alternatives to these apps.

The ‘Notes’ app on your phone can be one, for a start. There’s no purer joy than scribbling yourself a ‘To Do’ list and proudly ticking off the day’s essential tasks.

Obsessed with Whatsapp?

Tell friends that if they need you, they should give you a call. You’ll be surprised at the wonders an hour-long chat with your partner can work.

If Candy Crush is your happy place, a crossword or Sudoku may feel like hard work but after a day or two, your iPhone’s garish screen will seem painfully harsh.

Be ruthless with your rules

Set yourself some clear, manageable boundaries and work from there.

Always checking your messages? Push notifications have to go. At first it’s tough and you may find yourself checking just as much to see what’s going on inside your suddenly silent apps.

Set a time of day when you can catch up on your correspondence. If your Snapchat and Whatsapp are clogged with Kardashians memes or friends using the Impossibly Perfect filter, consider deleting the apps altogether.

Leave your phone in one place and only use it when you need to. It’s better than keeping it with you for every tea-break and toilet trip like some buzzing, bleeping security blanket.

Switch off long before bedtime

Scrolling aimlessly before bedtime is a habit many of us are guilty of, but it’s also a dangerous one.

If you need your evening Instagram fix, post or search with the lights on and then put your phone away. Take twenty to thirty minutes to read, meditate, write a diary or shower with your phone out of the way until morning.

A proper old-fashioned alarm clock or a wake-up light will get you up and at ‘em without leading you into a Youtube vortex before breakfast. Imagine!

See Also: The Negative Effects of Technology in Child Development

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Does Your Child Really Need Glasses? Here’s How You Can Tell

Approximately one-third of children (under 18) in the United States wear glasses or contact lenses. Yet, many children don’t have the glasses they need. 14% of 5th graders went without needed glasses in the last year and nearly one-quarter of teens with correctable vision have the wrong prescription. Among African-American and Mexican-American teens, that rises to one-third who are wearing glasses with an insufficient prescription.

The Role Vision in Learning

role vision in learning

Nearly half of children don’t notice they’re struggling to see until they can’t see the board in the classroom. At that point, their vision is likely already affecting their learning and performance in school.

Poor vision makes it difficult to read. It can cause headaches and tiredness that can interfere with one’s ability to focus on a task.

Parents often don’t realize their child has trouble seeing until told they need glasses during an eye exam. Kids rarely complain about poor vision because it’s all they’ve ever known. Don’t let your child fall behind – learn to spot the signs of poor vision.

Signs Your Child May Need Glasses

sign of poor vision in children

If you notice these signs that your child is struggling to see, it’s time for an eye exam:

  • Tilting head to the side or covering one eye
  • Holding books or mobile devices too close
  • Sitting very near the television
  • Complaining of headaches
  • Struggling to do well in school
  • Difficulty learning to read
  • Frequently rubbing eyes

Early Intervention for Eye Health

Early detection of vision disorders is essential to children’s learning and development. In preschoolers, poor vision has been linked to delays in cognitive and motor development. Not being able to see clearly can interfere with children’s ability to learn and early treatment can be key to preventing further loss of vision.

Head Start provides preschool education to children from low-income families and requires every child to be screened for vision and eye health. As a result, 1 in 5 preschoolers enrolled in Head Start has a diagnosed vision problem. For children not enrolled in Head Start, regular visits to your pediatrician should include an eye check and screening for indication of poor vision.

Milestones for Infants & Toddlers

If your child has difficulty reaching these milestones it could be a sign of poor vision or other developmental issues. See your pediatrician for follow-up and testing.

  • Maintaining eye contact (8 weeks)
  • Smiling at familiar people (3-4 months)
  • Watching and mimicking hand movements (5 months)
  • Looking at and reaching for an object (6-7 months)
  • Recognizing familiar faces (7-9 months)
  • Pointing at pictures in books (9-12 months)

Vision Care for Children

Don’t ignore vision care just because your child doesn’t show signs of blurry vision. Vision care includes monitoring eye health through regular check-ups, in addition to determining the need for corrective lenses. An eye exam is recommended for every child with a family history of poor vision, a recognizable eye abnormality (such as the lazy eye), or who has other risk factors for vision problems.

Check out this infographic to learn more about children’s vision and eye health:

Please include attribution to FramesDirect.com with this graphic.

How to Tell if Your Kid Needs Glasses Infographic

The post Does Your Child Really Need Glasses? Here’s How You Can Tell appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Real Ways To Help An Addicted Love One

If one of your loved ones has a drug addiction, you know that the road to recovery is typically a very long, challenging, and heartbreaking journey that the entire family will go on. You may get so overwhelmed that you decide to ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug.

However, this can cause more damage to you, your loved one, and your entire family. If you’re not sure what to say to a family member in this situation, we’ll give you several useful tips so you can help your loved one start and stay on the journey to recovery.

Understanding Drug Addiction

Before you can help your addicted loved one, you have to understand the addiction itself. Perhaps they started their drug addiction because all of their friends were experimenting, they were curious, or they wanted to numb themselves to emotional pain.

Although drug use doesn’t automatically mean that your loved one is going to abuse drugs, the line between recreational user and drug addict is often blurry, and it’s difficult to pinpoint a single point where it goes from recreational use to addicted.

help addicts

However, if drug use is starting to cause issues with relationships or in a work environment, your loved one could be slipping toward addiction. Common risk factors for drug abuse include:

  • A family history of addiction
  • Traumatic experiences like abuse or neglect
  • Mental health disorders
  • Early exposure and use of drugs

Symptoms of Drug Abuse

There are several physical and behavioral symptoms that come with drug addiction. While each drug comes with separate manifestations, and symptoms vary depending on the drug, a few common symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Glassy or red eyes
  • Withdrawing from family
  • Runny nose
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in the sleeping patterns
  • Sudden changes in how much money they’re spending

Six Ways to Help a Loved One With a Drug Addiction

There are several things that you can do to help support your loved one as they fight their drug addiction.

1. Educate Yourself About Drug Addiction

The first thing you want to do is to educate yourself about drug addiction, the signs, symptoms, and the addiction process. Drug addiction is extraordinarily complex, but educating yourself will give you the tools you need to recognize the signs of addiction and how it affects your loved one. You’ll learn how to recognize that your loved one is struggling and needs help.

2. Offer Your Support

A lot of the time, someone who has a drug addiction doesn’t understand how much they mean to their families and how much their families love them. Talk to your loved one as soon as you notice a problem. Don’t watch and wait for them to hit their rock bottom. Let them know that you know there is a problem and that you’re going to be there to support them.

3. Open the Lines of Communication

Family members and friends worry that opening up the lines of communication can lead the loved one with the addiction to take drastic steps. While this may be true in some cases, it can also go very well. When you start the discussion, keep these points in mind:

  • Wait until the person seems sober. They’re less likely to lash out, and the can understand logical thinking more clearly. They’re also more likely to be honest with you and have a conversation.
  • Set up a time to talk when you have more than five minutes alone together. You want to have a two-way conversation where you can discuss your concerns and understand what your loved one is thinking and feeling.
  • Emphasize to your loved one that you care for them and that worry about their well being is what is motivating you to talk to them.
  • If they deny that there is a problem, table the discussion for a future date. You’re not trying to convince the person that they have a problem. You’re trying to let them know that you believe there is a problem and that you care.
  • Most importantly, know that there is no quick fix for addiction. The recovery journey is going to be a long and involved process.

4. Get Everyone United

It won’t be beneficial for anyone involved if people are not on the same page. Addiction can make people manipulative, and everyone has to present a united front. You’re all there to help your loved one. The easiest way to do this is to have all of their friends and family current and willing to offer support.

5. Ask Your Loved One to Seek Treatment

rehab center

It’s almost impossible for someone with an addiction to stop on their own. The best drug rehab treatment centers can be wonderful places for an addict to start the healing process. Treatment centers are not one size fits all, so it’s important that you find and choose the best rated rehabs for addiction treatment. They’ll be able to get counseling to help them deal with the cause of their addiction as well as learn life skills to help them cope without drugs.

6. Stand By Your Loved One as an Ongoing Recovery Process

Rehab isn’t an instant fix. There simply isn’t an instant fix for drug addiction. It’s critical that your loved one feels like they have your full support throughout the recovery process. Encourage them to seek ongoing care, attend meetings, and join a recovery support group. Your family can attend a support group for families of addicts and go through a recovery process.

Drug addiction can be a devastating and scary time for both the family and the person with the addiction. However, recovery is possible with the best drug rehab treatment centers. Additionally, these six steps can help you understand what your loved one is going through and how to help them on their recovery journey.

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‘Dead’ woman wakes up in a morgue. Why does this keep happening?

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A woman was taken to the morgue and pronounced dead after a car crash near Johannesburg in South Africa. 

The only problem? She wasn’t dead.

According to the BBC, the unnamed woman woke up in a mortuary fridge after a car pile-up on June 24 which reportedly left two others dead.

The woman was discovered by a morgue worker, according to the news service, and she is now recovering in a hospital east of Johannesburg.

The woman’s family declined to comment on the incident to the BBC, but said, “We need answers.”

So, how did this happen? An investigation is reportedly underway. Ambulance company Distress Alert, who mispronounced the woman dead, told news publisher Times Live, “Equipment used to determine life showed no form of life on the woman.” Read more…

More about Death, Hospital, Morgue, Culture, and Health

How to Stop Being Lazy And Work Out

Are you too lazy to get your butt to the gym?

No matter how much time you have at hand and how much you intend to workout, you are simply unable to do it. Either it’s too hot outside, you have too much work, you can’t afford a gym membership or you have to meet someone – the list of excuses goes on.

But if you are worried about your current physique and want to get fit, being lazy isn’t going to help you.

When you feel lazy, you will always find an excuse not to exercise. However, the truth is that it’s not as straining as you imagine it to be. Manage your time well and you can get a load of benefits with the least effort.

All you need to do is devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week, for working out.

Here is a list of bare minimum workout guidelines and tips on how to stop being lazy and workout

Avoid The Elevator And Take The Stairs

Elevators have made all of us lazy. Do you remember the last time you took the stairs?

If strong, muscular legs are what you want, use the stairs. A simple staircase workout is an effective way to improve your fitness and overall health. It engages the muscles in your legs and with every step you take, your fitness levels are boosted.

It engages your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, depending on the pacing. From lunging through every step or taking skater steps, you can do a wide range of exercises with a staircase.

Walk At Least Once A Day for 15 to 20 Minutes

Whether it is to your friend’s place or to buy groceries, take a walk. You don’t always need a mode of transportation everywhere you go. Just use your legs. This will not only help you cut down on fuel or transport charges but also improve your health.

You can start by using every excuse to walk, like parking your vehicle far and walking the way back, taking your pet for a walk or walking around in a garden. If gasping for breath after a tiring gym session is not your cup of tea, a refreshing walk is what you need.

Become More Active In Sports

If you are someone who is lazy, you will always look for ways to avoid working out. But when it comes to sports, you tend to be enthusiastic, no matter how much physically exhausted you might be.

Enroll in a sports club or a local team of your favorite sport. It works better than spending hours at the gym. From getting your heart racing to boosting your stamina and making you fit, a good sport does it all.

If it is something you enjoy, you won’t even feel the strain while you are burning calories by the minute.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk All Day

Do you have a desk job? Then remember to stand up at least once every hour to walk around, get a snack, or say hello to a colleague.

Sitting all day while hunched over a keyboard is not good for your posture or health. Make a conscious effort to stand up every once in a while. You can use your breaks to get some basic workout done. For example, you can go up and down the stairs, go out for a walk or do some squats or lunges in the restroom.

Workout At Home – In Bed!

That’s right. Working out is not restricted to just going to the gym.

You can stay at home and still get some exercise done. All you need to know are a few basic exercises that you can do even if you are still in bed. You can try hip raises, push-ups, crunches, and pelvic twists.

Those few minutes of exercise will not only make you feel fresh but also boost and energize you for the rest of the day. And you will start seeing results within a few days, too.

These are a few alternatives if you are too lazy to hit the gym. Exercise is something you can do anywhere and everywhere. All you need to do is get your butt moving. So, start today and you will no longer repeat the excuse of being too lazy to be fit.

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How to Stop Being Lazy And Workout

Are you too lazy to get your butt to the gym?

No matter how much time you have at hand and how much you intend to workout, you are simply unable to do it. Either it’s too hot outside, you have too much work, you can’t afford a gym membership or you have to meet someone – the list of excuses goes on.

But if you are worried about your current physique and want to get fit, being lazy isn’t going to help you.

When you feel lazy, you will always find an excuse not to exercise. However, the truth is that it’s not as straining as you imagine it to be. Manage your time well and you can get a load of benefits with the least effort.

All you need to do is devote at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, three times a week, for working out.

Here is a list of bare minimum workout guidelines and tips on how to stop being lazy and workout

Avoid The Elevator And Take The Stairs

Elevators have made all of us lazy. Do you remember the last time you took the stairs?

If strong, muscular legs are what you want, use the stairs. A simple staircase workout is an effective way to improve your fitness and overall health. It engages the muscles in your legs and with every step you take, your fitness levels are boosted.

It engages your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, depending on the pacing. From lunging through every step or taking skater steps, you can do a wide range of exercises with a staircase.

Walk At Least Once A Day for 15 to 20 Minutes

Whether it is to your friend’s place or to buy groceries, take a walk. You don’t always need a mode of transportation everywhere you go. Just use your legs. This will not only help you cut down on fuel or transport charges but also improve your health.

You can start by using every excuse to walk, like parking your vehicle far and walking the way back, taking your pet for a walk or walking around in a garden. If gasping for breath after a tiring gym session is not your cup of tea, a refreshing walk is what you need.

Become More Active In Sports

If you are someone who is lazy, you will always look for ways to avoid working out. But when it comes to sports, you tend to be enthusiastic, no matter how much physically exhausted you might be.

Enroll in a sports club or a local team of your favorite sport. It works better than spending hours at the gym. From getting your heart racing to boosting your stamina and making you fit, a good sport does it all.

If it is something you enjoy, you won’t even feel the strain while you are burning calories by the minute.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk All Day

Do you have a desk job? Then remember to stand up at least once every hour to walk around, get a snack, or say hello to a colleague.

Sitting all day while hunched over a keyboard is not good for your posture or health. Make a conscious effort to stand up every once in a while. You can use your breaks to get some basic workout done. For example, you can go up and down the stairs, go out for a walk or do some squats or lunges in the restroom.

Workout At Home – In Bed!

That’s right. Working out is not restricted to just going to the gym.

You can stay at home and still get some exercise done. All you need to know are a few basic exercises that you can do even if you are still in bed. You can try hip raises, push-ups, crunches, and pelvic twists.

Those few minutes of exercise will not only make you feel fresh but also boost and energize you for the rest of the day. And you will start seeing results within a few days, too.

These are a few alternatives if you are too lazy to hit the gym. Exercise is something you can do anywhere and everywhere. All you need to do is get your butt moving. So, start today and you will no longer repeat the excuse of being too lazy to be fit.

The post How to Stop Being Lazy And Workout appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

UK report warns DeepMind Health could gain ‘excessive monopoly power’

DeepMind’s foray into digital health services continues to raise concerns. The latest worries are voiced by a panel of external reviewers appointed by the Google-owned AI company to report on its operations after its initial data-sharing arrangements with the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) ran into a major public controversy in 2016.

The DeepMind Health Independent Reviewers’ 2018 report flags a series of risks and concerns, as they see it, including the potential for DeepMind Health to be able to “exert excessive monopoly power” as a result of the data access and streaming infrastructure that’s bundled with provision of the Streams app — and which, contractually, positions DeepMind as the access-controlling intermediary between the structured health data and any other third parties that might, in the future, want to offer their own digital assistance solutions to the Trust.

While the underlying FHIR (aka, fast healthcare interoperability resource) deployed by DeepMind for Streams uses an open API, the contract between the company and the Royal Free Trust funnels connections via DeepMind’s own servers, and prohibits connections to other FHIR servers. A commercial structure that seemingly works against the openness and interoperability DeepMind’s co-founder Mustafa Suleyman has claimed to support.

There are many examples in the IT arena where companies lock their customers into systems that are difficult to change or replace. Such arrangements are not in the interests of the public. And we do not want to see DeepMind Health putting itself in a position where clients, such as hospitals, find themselves forced to stay with DeepMind Health even if it is no longer financially or clinically sensible to do so; we want DeepMind Health to compete on quality and price, not by entrenching legacy position,” the reviewers write.

Though they point to DeepMind’s “stated commitment to interoperability of systems,” and “their adoption of the FHIR open API” as positive indications, writing: “This means that there is potential for many other SMEs to become involved, creating a diverse and innovative marketplace which works to the benefit of consumers, innovation and the economy.”

“We also note DeepMind Health’s intention to implement many of the features of Streams as modules which could be easily swapped, meaning that they will have to rely on being the best to stay in business,” they add. 

However, stated intentions and future potentials are clearly not the same as on-the-ground reality. And, as it stands, a technically interoperable app-delivery infrastructure is being encumbered by prohibitive clauses in a commercial contract — and by a lack of regulatory pushback against such behavior.

The reviewers also raise concerns about an ongoing lack of clarity around DeepMind Health’s business model — writing: “Given the current environment, and with no clarity about DeepMind Health’s business model, people are likely to suspect that there must be an undisclosed profit motive or a hidden agenda. We do not believe this to be the case, but would urge DeepMind Health to be transparent about their business model, and their ability to stick to that without being overridden by Alphabet. For once an idea of hidden agendas is fixed in people’s mind, it is hard to shift, no matter how much a company is motivated by the public good.”

We have had detailed conversations about DeepMind Health’s evolving thoughts in this area, and are aware that some of these questions have not yet been finalised. However, we would urge DeepMind Health to set out publicly what they are proposing,” they add. 

DeepMind has suggested it wants to build healthcare AIs that are capable of charging by results. But Streams does not involve any AI. The service is also being provided to NHS Trusts for free, at least for the first five years — raising the question of how exactly the Google-owned company intends to recoup its investment.

Google of course monetizes a large suite of free-at-the-point-of-use consumer products — such as the Android mobile operating system; its cloud email service Gmail; and the YouTube video sharing platform, to name three — by harvesting people’s personal data and using that information to inform its ad targeting platforms.

Hence the reviewers’ recommendation for DeepMind to set out its thinking on its business model to avoid its intentions vis-a-vis people’s medical data being viewed with suspicion.

The company’s historical modus operandi also underlines the potential monopoly risks if DeepMind is allowed to carve out a dominant platform position in digital healthcare provision — given how effectively its parent has been able to turn a free-for-OEMs mobile OS (Android) into global smartphone market OS dominance, for example.

So, while DeepMind only has a handful of contracts with NHS Trusts for the Streams app and delivery infrastructure at this stage, the reviewers’ concerns over the risk of the company gaining “excessive monopoly power” do not seem overblown.

They are also worried about DeepMind’s ongoing vagueness about how exactly it works with its parent Alphabet, and what data could ever be transferred to the ad giant — an inevitably queasy combination when stacked against DeepMind’s handling of people’s medical records.

“To what extent can DeepMind Health insulate itself against Alphabet instructing them in the future to do something which it has promised not to do today? Or, if DeepMind Health’s current management were to leave DeepMind Health, how much could a new CEO alter what has been agreed today?” they write.

“We appreciate that DeepMind Health would continue to be bound by the legal and regulatory framework, but much of our attention is on the steps that DeepMind Health have taken to take a more ethical stance than the law requires; could this all be ended? We encourage DeepMind Health to look at ways of entrenching its separation from Alphabet and DeepMind more robustly, so that it can have enduring force to the commitments it makes.”

Responding to the report’s publication on its website, DeepMind writes that it’s “developing our longer-term business model and roadmap.”

“Rather than charging for the early stages of our work, our first priority has been to prove that our technologies can help improve patient care and reduce costs. We believe that our business model should flow from the positive impact we create, and will continue to explore outcomes-based elements so that costs are at least in part related to the benefits we deliver,” it continues.

So it has nothing to say to defuse the reviewers’ concerns about making its intentions for monetizing health data plain — beyond deploying a few choice PR soundbites.

On its links with Alphabet, DeepMind also has little to say, writing only that: “We will explore further ways to ensure there is clarity about the binding legal frameworks that govern all our NHS partnerships.”

“Trusts remain in full control of the data at all times,” it adds. “We are legally and contractually bound to only using patient data under the instructions of our partners. We will continue to make our legal agreements with Trusts publicly available to allow scrutiny of this important point.”

“There is nothing in our legal agreements with our partners that prevents them from working with any other data processor, should they wish to seek the services of another provider,” it also claims in response to additional questions we put to it.

We hope that Streams can help unlock the next wave of innovation in the NHS. The infrastructure that powers Streams is built on state-of-the-art open and interoperable standards, known as FHIR. The FHIR standard is supported in the UK by NHS Digital, NHS England and the INTEROPen group. This should allow our partner trusts to work more easily with other developers, helping them bring many more new innovations to the clinical frontlines,” it adds in additional comments to us.

“Under our contractual agreements with relevant partner trusts, we have committed to building FHIR API infrastructure within the five year terms of the agreements.”

Asked about the progress it’s made on a technical audit infrastructure for verifying access to health data, which it announced last year, it reiterated the wording on its blog, saying: “We will remain vigilant about setting the highest possible standards of information governance. At the beginning of this year, we appointed a full time Information Governance Manager to oversee our use of data in all areas of our work. We are also continuing to build our Verifiable Data Audit and other tools to clearly show how we’re using data.”

So developments on that front look as slow as we expected.

The Google-owned U.K. AI company began its push into digital healthcare services in 2015, quietly signing an information-sharing arrangement with a London-based NHS Trust that gave it access to around 1.6 million people’s medical records for developing an alerts app for a condition called Acute Kidney Injury.

It also inked an MoU with the Trust where the pair set out their ambition to apply AI to NHS data sets. (They even went so far as to get ethical signs-off for an AI project — but have consistently claimed the Royal Free data was not fed to any AIs.)

However, the data-sharing collaboration ran into trouble in May 2016 when the scope of patient data being shared by the Royal Free with DeepMind was revealed (via investigative journalism, rather than by disclosures from the Trust or DeepMind).

None of the ~1.6 million people whose non-anonymized medical records had been passed to the Google-owned company had been informed or asked for their consent. And questions were raised about the legal basis for the data-sharing arrangement.

Last summer the U.K.’s privacy regulator concluded an investigation of the project — finding that the Royal Free NHS Trust had broken data protection rules during the app’s development.

Yet despite ethical questions and regulatory disquiet about the legality of the data sharing, the Streams project steamrollered on. And the Royal Free Trust went on to implement the app for use by clinicians in its hospitals, while DeepMind has also signed several additional contracts to deploy Streams to other NHS Trusts.

More recently, the law firm Linklaters completed an audit of the Royal Free Streams project, after being commissioned by the Trust as part of its settlement with the ICO. Though this audit only examined the current functioning of Streams. (There has been no historical audit of the lawfulness of people’s medical records being shared during the build and test phase of the project.)

Linklaters did recommend the Royal Free terminates its wider MoU with DeepMind — and the Trust has confirmed to us that it will be following the firm’s advice.

“The audit recommends we terminate the historic memorandum of understanding with DeepMind which was signed in January 2016. The MOU is no longer relevant to the partnership and we are in the process of terminating it,” a Royal Free spokesperson told us.

So DeepMind, probably the world’s most famous AI company, is in the curious position of being involved in providing digital healthcare services to U.K. hospitals that don’t actually involve any AI at all. (Though it does have some ongoing AI research projects with NHS Trusts too.)

In mid 2016, at the height of the Royal Free DeepMind data scandal — and in a bid to foster greater public trust — the company appointed the panel of external reviewers who have now produced their second report looking at how the division is operating.

And it’s fair to say that much has happened in the tech industry since the panel was appointed to further undermine public trust in tech platforms and algorithmic promises — including the ICO’s finding that the initial data-sharing arrangement between the Royal Free and DeepMind broke U.K. privacy laws.

The eight members of the panel for the 2018 report are: Martin Bromiley OBE; Elisabeth Buggins CBE; Eileen Burbidge MBE; Richard Horton; Dr. Julian Huppert; Professor Donal O’Donoghue; Matthew Taylor; and Professor Sir John Tooke.

In their latest report the external reviewers warn that the public’s view of tech giants has “shifted substantially” versus where it was even a year ago — asserting that “issues of privacy in a digital age are if anything, of greater concern.”

At the same time politicians are also gazing rather more critically on the works and social impacts of tech giants.

Although the U.K. government has also been keen to position itself as a supporter of AI, providing public funds for the sector and, in its Industrial Strategy white paper, identifying AI and data as one of four so-called “Grand Challenges” where it believes the U.K. can “lead the world for years to come” — including specifically name-checking DeepMind as one of a handful of leading-edge homegrown AI businesses for the country to be proud of.

Still, questions over how to manage and regulate public sector data and AI deployments — especially in highly sensitive areas such as healthcare — remain to be clearly addressed by the government.

Meanwhile, the encroaching ingress of digital technologies into the healthcare space — even when the techs don’t even involve any AI — are already presenting major challenges by putting pressure on existing information governance rules and structures, and raising the specter of monopolistic risk.

Asked whether it offers any guidance to NHS Trusts around digital assistance for clinicians, including specifically whether it requires multiple options be offered by different providers, the NHS’ digital services provider, NHS Digital, referred our question on to the Department of Health (DoH), saying it’s a matter of health policy.

The DoH in turn referred the question to NHS England, the executive non-departmental body which commissions contracts and sets priorities and directions for the health service in England.

And at the time of writing, we’re still waiting for a response from the steering body.

Ultimately it looks like it will be up to the health service to put in place a clear and robust structure for AI and digital decision services that fosters competition by design by baking in a requirement for Trusts to support multiple independent options when procuring apps and services.

Without that important check and balance, the risk is that platform dynamics will quickly dominate and control the emergent digital health assistance space — just as big tech has dominated consumer tech.

But publicly funded healthcare decisions and data sets should not simply be handed to the single market-dominating entity that’s willing and able to burn the most resource to own the space.

Nor should government stand by and do nothing when there’s a clear risk that a vital area of digital innovation is at risk of being closed down by a tech giant muscling in and positioning itself as a gatekeeper before others have had a chance to show what their ideas are made of, and before even a market has had the chance to form. 

Eight Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs

When it comes to fleas, prevention is much easier than trying to get rid of an infestation once they take hold. Fleas can spread rapidly from your dog to the surrounding environment and this makes it that much harder to get rid of them.

A single flea can lay up to 40 eggs per day and the majority of the flea population thrives in grass and carpet. Only around five percent of the fleas present get on your pets.

There are several preventative measures you can take to ensure that your home, pets, family, and yard stay free of fleas.  But, what is the best way to get rid of fleas on dogs?

Do Regular Checks

regular checkup

You want to routinely check your pet for fleas at least once a week. Check under your pet’s legs, in and around his ears, and close to his skin. If you see small black moving dots, it’s a good indication that your pet might have fleas.

Groom Your Pet Routinely

Whether your dog has a long or short coat, you’ll want to set up a grooming routine. You can do it for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a week. This should be enough time for you to check your pet’s coat for fleas that may be hiding under its coat.

This routine grooming can give you time to bond with your dog, too.

Clean up Your Yard

Your yard or garden may be the root source of your flea infestation problem. Take steps to get rid of fleas in your yard and ensure that it’s a clean and safe place for your pets.

Fleas like moist and warm shaded areas with a lot of organic matter, like dead leaves or compost. Mowing your lawn and picking up debris will give fleas fewer places to live.

Get Regular Veterinarian Checkups

Not only are regular checkups good for your dog’s health, but they can also help to catch any flea problems early on. The earlier fleas are detected, the earlier treatment can get started.

Don’t Use Old Flea Preventative Products

Certain preventative products can be expensive. This extra cost is why people like to hang on to them past their expiration date. However, once a product expires, it can lose its effectiveness.

Treat Fleas All Throughout The Year

Although fleas like warm and moist environments, they can survive all throughout the year. A good preventative measure is to give your dog an oral flea medication like Comfortis for dogs. A lot of these products last one month, and they come in a soft chew so your dog won’t have a problem digesting them. They help to prevent fleas and they also kill any current infestations.

Use Citrus to Repel Fleas

If you don’t like the idea of using a medicated product to help protect your dog from fleas, try the natural route. Did you know that citrus is a natural flea repellent?

You can take a freshly squeezed orange or lemon and rub the juice into your dog’s coat. This will be safe for them to lick off and it’s effective in repelling fleas. Simply reapply it as needed.

Use Essential Oils

You can make a flea deterrent spray to put on your dog and to spray around your house using essential oils. All you have to do is mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with one quart of fresh water and four or five drops of essential oils.

Flea repellent essential oils include lemongrass, cedarwood, lavender, thyme, and citronella. Spray this around your home and on your dog to repel fleas and freshen the air.

Three Ways to Get Rid of Fleas

If you find fleas on your dog or in your home, there are several easy things you can do to get rid of them.

1. Do a Deep Clean

You can deep clean your home to help control any fleas. Make sure you pay special attention to carpets, furniture, and areas where your pet likes to play or sleep. Using a citrus-based cleaner is a good idea.

2. Bathe Your Dog

flea prevention

Fleas don’t like water as it makes it difficult for them to hold on to your dog’s coat. Bathing your dog at least once a week can help you control the flea infestation. You can also add a few drops of essential oil to their shampoo or buy medicated shampoos.

3. Spray Your Yard

When you’re taking care of the fleas inside of your home, you also want to make sure you treat your yard. You can buy specialized sprays and apply them to your yard and around the outside of your house to kill any fleas. This can help prevent your dog from bringing them back inside and undoing all of your hard work.

Fleas can be a big problem that you need to prevent in any way you can. Our eight flea prevention tips can help ensure that you don’t have to go through all the hard work of stopping an infestation. This also ensures that you enjoy a happy home and a healthy dog.

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Eight Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Health Insurance

Health insurance can be expensive, but not having it can be an even bigger mistake. Did you know that the average cost of an emergency room visit in the United States can cost upwards of $1,233 per visit. If you don’t have insurance, you could end up paying this bill out of your own pocket. There are several common mistakes people make when it comes to your health insurance, and you don’t want to make them if you can help it.

Picking Health Insurance with a Low Premium

good health insurance plan

With health insurance, your premium is the amount you pay each year for your healthcare before your insurance covers the rest. A lower premium means that you’ll pay more for any co-pays or deductibles after you have the services. A higher premium means that you pay more upfront, but the costs go down once you pay it.

If you’re generally healthy and if you have a decent financial cushion that can handle a more significant medical bill, you may benefit from having a lower premium. If you have ongoing health issues, a higher premium may be better because it’ll reduce the costs of your visit expenses.

See Also: What To Look For In A Good Health Insurance Plan

You Only Use Employer Health Insurance

Insurance through your employer might be a most cost-effective option, and it might seem like the best deal upfront. If you’re relatively healthy, you can usually find cheaper options because the employer’s insurance rates are based on their employee’s average health statistics. It is essential that you shop around and compare health insurances.

Additionally, many employer health plans cover routine doctor visits and even emergency room costs, but they might not have vision or dental options. It’s essential that you shop around and look at your employer’s plan to see what services it’ll cover and which ones you’ll have to pay for.

Not Reading all of the Fine Print

Health insurance can be very dry and difficult to understand. This is why a lot of people don’t read it, and they assume that whatever they have done will be covered by their insurance plan. This isn’t always the case, and you could get a nasty surprise in the form of a large bill.

The fine print on your insurance information will tell you everything you need to know about your plan. It’ll let you know whether or not specific services are covered, what your co-pays are, what percentage of hospital stays the insurance will cover per day, and how much you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance picks up the rest.

Don’t Find out if You Have an HMO or a PPO Plan

HMO insurances have strict in-network and out-of-network fees they can charge. It also dictates which doctor, clinic, or hospital you can visit and have your insurance pay for it. A PPO plan is more flexible, and it lets you choose your doctor or clinic, and it can also be more lenient with in-network and out-of-network care.

A POS plan is a hybrid plan of the HMO and PPO plans. These types of programs let you see out-of-network doctors and clinics, but they usually require that your primary care doctor gives you a referral so you can go to them.

Skipping Health Insurance Because You Never See the Doctor

health-insurance-benefits

Life and accidents happen, and your health is one thing that you don’t want to be unprepared for. This is especially true because healthcare costs continue to climb, and even routine doctor visits can cost you over $150 per visit.

If you decide not to get insurance and you need medical care, you’ll most likely have to pay for everything out of your own pocket. Many insurance companies refuse to backdate their services, so you’re out of luck and on the hook for the full bill amount.

Ignoring Your Flex Spending Account

Many employers let you set aside a percentage of your check into a flexible spending account tax-free. These flexible spending accounts help you pay for medical bills that your insurance won’t cover. These non-covered services could include eyeglasses, dental, emergency room visits, co-pays, prescriptions, and deductibles.

Your flexible spending account can also help you reduce the amount you claim on your yearly taxes. If you have a taxable income of $80,000 each year, your annual tax amount is 15 percent or $16,000. If you’ve managed to save $3,000 in your flexible spending account, your taxable income goes down to $77,000. The amount the government claims as taxes drop as well.

Not Having Prescription Drug Coverage

Did you know that a lot of insurance plans don’t cover prescription drugs? While this may not be a big deal if you don’t take them regularly, they add up quickly. Certain prescription costs have gone up by as much as 10 percent, and you don’t want to get stuck paying for these on your own.

Take a look at your current policy and see if it covers the medications you routinely take. You might have to call your insurance company and ask about your specific medications, especially if they’re more expensive. You could also ask your doctor if any generic versions of your medicines exist because they’re usually cheaper.

Not Renewing Your Insurance Each Year

Almost every health insurance plan requires you to renew it once a year. State plans may require a renewal every six months. Make sure that you don’t forget about your annual or semi-annual renewal paperwork. If you don’t get it, call your insurance company.

Once your insurance lapses, it may be difficult to get it active again for the same price or on the same plan you had before. If you have medical services during the time your insurance lapses, it may not backdate and cover those services. This could cost you a lot of money and drain your finances.

These eight health insurance mistakes are very common, and you want to avoid them at all costs. Your health is important, and you want to make sure that you can get the care you need when you need it.

The post Eight Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Health Insurance appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Stop Smoking For Good

Everyone knows that smoking’s a bad habit. It costs a lot of money and it’s unhealthy for those around you. It’s also one of the leading causes of cancer.

It’s safe to say that there are plenty of reasons you want to quit. But, to actually tackle such a feat is as difficult as you imagine.

Nicotine is the most common substance Americans are dependent on and it’s been claimed to be as addictive as heroin.

Of the 35 million people in the U.S. who attempt to quit a year, around 85% relapse- usually within a month. With that, here are some of the most effective tips on how to stop smoking for good.

Allow Withdrawals Symptoms to Take Their Course

One of the hardest parts of quitting is the withdrawal symptoms. Many who experience them find the experience miserable. This is due to the flu-like symptoms that the body must go through in order to rid the brain of its nicotine dependency.

Though your withdrawals aren’t going to be easy, they don’t have to be as bad as some make it out to be. It’s remarkable when you consider how it’ll take less than a week to physically undo all that smoking has done to your body.

As you go through this week, keep in mind all the good that will come out of it and all the benefits one little week can bring you. If you can keep yourself open-minded through this process, you’re less likely to get those miserable cravings.

Distractions

coffee distraction

It’s only natural for your body and brain to want more nicotine. The best way to make sure you don’t give in to the temptation is to keep yourself distracted.

It’s different for everyone. Some find a cup of coffee during break helpful. Others find puzzles like Sudoku keep them more focused.

Try anything that works for you. This might take some experimenting but I promise, you will find something. You may even just find a new habit you didn’t expect yourself to enjoy.

Avoid the Substitutes

There are a variety of nicotine substitutes that are meant to ease you off of the substance. These include electronic cigarettes, nicotine gum and patches, and nasal sprays.

However, it’s greatly recommended you avoid them at all costs. At the end of the day, they’ll only be giving you the craving you’re trying to avoid. They’ll only push back your withdrawals.

With substitutes, there’s also the idea that you’re making a sacrifice. By consuming nicotine in smaller doses, you’re making the chemical seem precious.

Never forget that quitting is a choice and you’ve made this choice for a very important reason. Remember why you made that reason and let it ease you through your cravings.

Relax the Body and Exercise the Mind

effect of meditation

Many smokers often find themselves wanting a cigarette break after doing a laborious task. Usually, it’s a means of unwinding. When this becomes a habit, you’ll find yourself associating moments of relaxation with nicotine.

Just as with the distractions mentioned above, you’re going to need new habits which can make you feel at ease. Some find meditation to be a great technique while others prefer deep breathing exercises.

Just as with cigarettes, both methods are a way of loosening up your muscles and allowing your head to feel more present at the moment.

See Also: Spiritual Pointers for Quitting a Bad Habit

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

The good majority of Americans run on a fixed schedule week in and week out.

With the same environment and routine playing over and over again, you might find quitting more difficult.

Exploring new places in the area you live in is another way to keep your mind off of smoking. Whether this is a new restaurant, park or a new street, the change in environment can do a lot for your brain.

If you can take a trip somewhere far, that’s even better. A new place will offer you a sense of excitement and might just take you out of your comfort zones.

Seek Out Support

The most efficient way for you to stay on track is to keep looking at those you care about the most. Not only is a support team a great way to keep yourself from smoking, but they’ll also provide you with assistance when times seem low.

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine out there. There’s no better source for it than those who’re already around you.

You’d be surprised how far a simple conversation can go. Many who have quit claim that just talking to someone helped distract them from reaching for another pack.

In instances where you are at work and on a break, a phone call can be the difference between sufficiently quitting or going back to the same habit.

See Also: Where to Find Friends and Support During Addiction Recovery

Pick the Date

You have a goal and want to make it a reality. Don’t wait until the moment feels right. Pick the date you will no longer be a cigarette smoker.

With a specific time frame in mind, you’re creating an objective for yourself- something to look forward to and work towards.

Some people need up to a month while others only need a couple of weeks. Regardless of your preference, figure out a plan and a deadline for yourself.

In Conclusion

Whether that be easing off cigarettes or finding the right people for support, this whole process relies solely on time.

It’s going to take time for the withdrawal symptoms to go away. And it’s going to take time for your brain to understand that you’re no longer a smoker.

Studies show that the majority of people relapse within their first month after quitting cold turkey.

That’s because your brain is hardwired on expecting cigarettes during certain moments of your schedule. Even after physical withdrawals, your mentality anticipates another burst of nicotine.

As I’ve mentioned above, you need to find new habits in order to get over this mentality.

However, simply starting these new habits isn’t enough. You need to work on them and push yourself in ways you might not have expected.

It’s one thing to find distractions. It’s another to act upon new habits.

This is something you might want to plan out before the arrival of the date you’ve set for quitting.

With that, I wish you the best of luck and congratulate you on your decision to quit.

The post How to Stop Smoking For Good appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

About Dementia: The Silent Epidemic

Despite the notable dips in life expectancy in the United States in recent years, humans’ overall life expectancy is up. A hundred years ago, life expectancy in the U.S. was 48.3 for men and 51.1 for women. That is, of course, factoring in the exceedingly high rate of infant mortality people experienced back then.

Today, most people live well beyond childhood, their childbearing years, and even retirement. With this uptick in life expectancy has come an uptick in age-related illnesses. This makes it important that you do your research about dementia well.

What Is Dementia?

Part of the problem with treating and even diagnosing dementia is that it is not just a single condition with a single cause. The three most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to tell which kind of dementia a patient has until after death when the brain can be examined.

Common warning signs of dementia include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty with speech and communication
  • Loss of focus or attention
  • Decreased vision
  • Poor judgment
  • Decreased reasoning skills

Dementia Is Incredibly Common

dementia

Between the ages of 65 and 74, your chance of developing dementia is only 3%. Once you make it to 75, your chances increase dramatically. That’s 17% between 75 and 84 years of age. When you hit 85, your chance of developing dementia jumps to a staggering 32%.

There are currently at least ten different known forms of dementia and post-mortem studies suggest that only 49% of diagnoses are correct. To make matters worse, any form of treatment is incredibly complicated, thanks to the blood-brain barrier which keeps foreign objects and organisms out of the brain.

New treatments seek to circumvent this issue using ultrasound technology. For now, making patients and their families as comfortable as possible is the greatest concern.

We Need Better Dementia Care Now

If we can’t cure or even treat dementia effectively, then we should exert more effort in making sure that patients can live a life as dignified as possible. We all know that dementia care is expensive. One study found that it was 80% more expensive than caring for someone with cancer.

Unfortunately, many people don’t plan for their life once they become older. This can leave loved ones scrambling to figure out how to care for them with a limited budget. The most basic care can cost $70,000 per year.

Higher quality care can lead to better patient outcomes for dementia patients. Choosing a facility with a lot of green space and residences that appear normal can encourage independent behavior. Those green spaces can even cut down aggression, a natural reaction of a dementia patient when he can’t make sense of the world around him.

Making the patient’s surroundings as familiar as possible can also cut down on confusion and make them feel more at home. Some nursing homes even make their patients’ door look like the ones they have at home.

A nursing home in Germany did something ingenious to help their residents who suffer from dementia. They carefully studied patients who tried to run away and realized one very important thing: they all headed to the bus stop first.

Their solution was to build a fake bus stop in front of the nursing home so that when a patient couldn’t be persuaded not to leave, they would have a place to go and calm down. Oftentimes, staff would accompany them to the bus stop and escort them back into the building.

See Also: Exercise Your Mind and Reduce Your Risk of Dementia With These 10 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp

Humane Treatment Is Imperative

Dementia has to be a very frustrating experience for a patient. Could you imagine literally being locked up in your old age? Encouraging greater independence and trying to give the patient something familiar to cling to are very important steps toward giving dementia patients greater peace of mind.

Learn more about the need for better dementia care from this infographic!
”Understanding
Source: Executor.org

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Top 5 Signs You Might Need Help with Alcohol Addiction

America is facing an addiction crisis much larger than any generation before. Now, the drugs are harder and smarter but some old ways of getting high seem to continuously plague the human population.

Alcohol has been used for hundreds of years as a relaxant and a depressive drug. For some people though, it isn’t just about having a good time but it’s something they end up living for and throwing away their lives for.

Here are the top 5 symptoms of drinking problem you need to know about:

Day drinking

If you need a drink before the drugstore is legally allowed to sell you a six-pack, it’s generally a good sign you might need to look into your decisions. Vacations are fine but when you feel the need to drink outside of traditional lunch and dinner hours, you might want to take another look at your habits.

It’s not just a solo cup but a solo night

Drinking alone is one of the biggest tips that you might be bordering on a problem. Social drinking is something that many consider as healthy. If you find the need to drown your sorrows in a bottle of tequila while watching Grey’s Anatomy, you might either be a very devoted Grey’s fan or you might have some soul searching to do.

You change your plans to drink

Canceling on people at the last minute and bailing on plans is a sign that you prioritize your bottle of beer over social engagements. If you find yourself doing this consistently, then it’s worth a second look.

You’re using money you don’t have for your beer budget

When you can’t pay for something but choose to buy it anyway, know that you have a problem with alcohol. The truth is that many alcoholics build up their debt and money troubles this way. It can only steamroll into other issues down the road.

People tell you there is a problem

If someone stops and asks if you have a problem, then you probably have a problem. The occasional drunken night is not the same as an entire week with you passed out.

All kidding aside, addiction is a serious problem. It should be addressed and treated with the help of a trained medical professional.

See Also: Can You Curb Alcohol Addiction In Its Early Stage?

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7 Easy Ways To Spring Clean Your Health

Spring isn’t just the best time to clean your home. To ensure that your body stays in great shape, you should also take it as a time to take a good look at your health. To help you get started, here are 7 ways to spring clean your health.

Get Outside

Most Americans (as much as 50% of us) spend way too much time indoors. As we age, our outdoor time tends to decrease even more. A lot of that time is spent in front of TVs, computer screens, and other unhealthy activities.

Getting outside even for a few minutes every day can be a big mood and immune system booster. It can also increase your Vitamin D levels.

Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to a number of health issues including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and low immune function.

Get Active

Regular physical activity has many benefits. It can promote better cardiovascular health, normal blood sugar, and fewer episodes of depression and anxiety.

Don’t care for the gym?

Now that it’s getting warmer and getting dark later, it’s the perfect time to get outdoors to get more activity. Spring is a great time to find new ways to get fit. You can go for a run, hike or bike ride.

Find a group of friends who also want to get in shape so you don’t have to go alone. Outdoor activity can be more fun if you have friends with you.

Don’t forget to take a look at and replace any workout shoes that are worn out or that you have been using for over a year. They can make you prone to injuries and pain after.

Check Your Sleep Routine

importance of sleep

An inconsistent sleep pattern can have serious implications on your health. So, take this time to start making it a priority.

Do you have trouble falling asleep?

Try developing a regular schedule that includes exercise, chamomile tea, yoga, turning off electronics, and setting an alarm even on your days off.

See Also: Importance Of Sleep: How It Can Put Your Health In Serious Jeopardy

Find Ways To Reduce Your Stress

High stress levels can also have serious consequences on your health as it plays a role in the development of many illnesses and chronic diseases. Find some time each day to put away your work and take time to de-stress.

If you can, get rid of some of the things that are stressing you out or stealing your peace of mind. Finding even 30 minutes a day to devote to meditation, deep breathing, reading, a hobby or just taking time for yourself can make a huge difference.

See Also: The Profound Effects Of Meditation On The Mind

Eat More Fruits And Vegetables

eat healthy

Winter meals often consist of heavier comfort foods. They are often full of carbs and can lack the important nutrients your body needs.

Spring can be a great time to plant your own healthy fruits and veggies, visit a farmer’s market or try new fruits and vegetables that are now in season. Most don’t need a lot of prep work. You can even freeze them for future meals.

Check Your Medicine Cabinet

As you are decreasing clutter in your home, don’t neglect your medicine cabinet. Check the expiration dates on your medications and get rid of anything outdated- even if they look or smell good.

The same goes for your makeup. Eye makeup should be tossed after three months. Anything else should not be hanging around for more than a year.

Schedule A Wellness Exam

Are you up to date on your immunizations, colonoscopy, mammogram, PAP tests, and dental exams?

Wellness exams are a perfect time to talk to your doctor about any screening labs and tests. You should take them depending on your health history, family history, and age group.

Don’t skip it just because you are healthy. Wellness exams are key in preventing and detecting illness and disease in their early stages.

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6 Yoga Contraindications You Need to Know

Yoga has now become very popular all over the world. Because of its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits, it has become a hit for people of all gender and age group.

Yoga mainly consists of various Asanas that give flexibility and strengthen the muscles of the body. It helps in reducing stress, provides better relaxation, and aids in detoxifying the body. Overall, it can bring balance to your body.

Although beneficial to the body, yoga isn’t really for everyone. If not done properly, it can put you at risk of injuries in the neck, back, and shoulders. It can also cause torn muscles and herniated disks.

If you want to make sure that the exercise is for you, here are the most common yoga contraindications you need to know.

Heart problems

heart condition

Though yoga is not a vigorous exercise, there are specific asanas that may not be suitable for a heart patient.

If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition or if you feel pain in the heart while doing normal physical activities, it is best to consult your doctor first before enrolling in a class. He is the best person to decide whether yoga is for you or not.

See Also: 10 Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease

Imbalance in the ear fluid

There are people who lose their balance without any reason. Some even lose their consciousness with position changes. If you have experienced any of those things, it’s best to get your ear checked.

An imbalance in the fluid in your ears can affect your stability. This won’t only make it hard for you to complete the poses but it can also put your safety at risk.

Fracture

If you have suffered a hip, knee or back fracture as a result of a fall, then it is better to consult a doctor. Some asanas can worsen your pain and aggressively hurt you. Similarly, a person with a spinal problem should not perform yoga without consulting a doctor, too.

If your doctor allowed you to practice yoga, consider enrolling in a class and getting the help of a professional yoga teacher. He or she can help you learn the best poses that won’t compromise your bones and body.

Unsteady blood pressure and sugar level

unsteady blood pressure

If your blood pressure is unsteady or if your blood sugar level fluctuates drastically, then it is best to consult a doctor before starting a yoga session. Certain inversion poses and forceful breathing can increase your blood pressure and cause problems.

Glaucoma

If you are pre-diagnosed with glaucoma, avoid inversion poses, like the headstand and shoulder stand. Such poses can worsen your condition as they can cause the pressure in your eyes to increase.

Infectious diseases

Certain asanas that are physically demanding and which involve deep breathing and retention can be harmful to you if you have an infectious disease. Before you get started with yoga, consider getting treated first.

In practice, most people do not consult a doctor prior to yoga practice. In fact, it is not mandatory for all to see a doctor.

However, if you fit in one of the following criteria, make sure to visit your physician first:

  • If you are a male and above 45 years of age or a female above 55 years of age
  • If you have a family history of heart ailment
  • If you are currently a smoker or quit smoking within the past six months
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you have cholesterol
  • If you have diabetes or have a family history of diabetes
  • If you are obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle
  • If you are pregnant or given birth within the past 3 months

Thus, in a nutshell, yoga is good as far as it is done in moderation and under the supervision of a trained practitioner. Listen to your body at all times. If you feel that the stretching and pulling are too much for you, stop immediately. If you already have any medical condition like back pain, you should inform the instructors beforehand so that they can modify the poses for you.

See Also: Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

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15-Minute Full Body Kettlebell Workout

Most of us undervalue the positive effects of a 15-minute workout.

Many people think they need to spend hours in the gym to see results. Contrary to this belief, the intensity of a workout can actually have a bigger impact on your fitness than the duration.

The American Heart Association recommends 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to improve cardiovascular health. When you break it down, that’s only 15 minutes of exercise per day, five days per week.

What kind of intensity level does “vigorous activity” indicate?

Exercise professionals assess levels of activity by your heart rate and age group. There’s a simple equation to figure out your maximum recommended heart rate: 220 minus your age.

If your age is 37, you need to subtract 37 from 220 which gives you 183 as your maximum recommended heart rate. Vigorous activity, then, is 70 to 85% of your maximum heart rate. In this example, 183 should be multiplied by 0.7 and .85 to find the range you should keep your heart rate within(128 and 156 beats per minute).

If you aren’t wearing a device that tracks your heart rate, you check it yourself every few minutes. Simply count the number of beats at a pulse point for 15 seconds then multiply by four. Checking your pulse during active rest periods between exercises is an easy way to monitor whether you need to increase or decrease intensity.

Here’s your assignment for the workout below:

  • Calculate your maximum recommended heart rate and your 70-85% range.
  • For the next 15 minutes, try to keep your heart rate within that range while completing kettlebell the workout.
  • As a general guideline, men should start with a 16 kg (35 lb) bell and women should start with an 8 kg (18 lb) bell.
  • Get a timer that’s able to count seconds.

kettlebell 8 kg

To keep things simple, there will be just four exercises to practice. The format is one minute of each exercise followed by 15 seconds of active rest. Repeat the five-minute sequence three times. Perform the exercises at the speed necessary to keep your heart rate within your 70 – 85% range.

Active rest is different from regular rest. You’re going to be doing something that keeps you moving, such as walking or jogging in place. Pick a few movements you enjoy doing and alternate between them. The important part is that you’re still active. Don’t forget to use this time to check your heart rate.

Exercise 1: The Kettlebell Crunch (1 minute)

This exercise is great for engaging the core and back muscles.

  • Lay on the ground with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
  • Use both hands to grasp the kettlebell by the bell instead of the handle.
  • Hold the bell above your chest.
  • Use a slow, controlled motion to roll your upper back off the ground.

Active Rest: 15 seconds

Exercise 2: The Kettlebell Squat (1 minute)

Your quads and glutes should be burning during this movement.

  • Use a shoulder-width stance.
  • Hold the bell with both hands at chest level. Your palms should be facing each other as if you’re holding a ball.
  • Bend your knees like you’re sitting down on a chair and bring the elbows to the inside of the knees.
  • Your weight should shift to your heels.
  • The kettlebell will help you balance by keeping your chest up.

Active Rest: 15 seconds

Exercise 3: Kettlebell Around the World (1 minute)

This exercise is great for grip strength, proprioception, and engaging your entire body. It pays particular attention to your obliques and other supporting muscle groups.

  • Use a shoulder-width stance.
  • Hold the kettlebell on the outer edge of the handle.
  • Pass the kettlebell from one hand to the other as you move it all the way around your body.
  • You can pass it at different heights around your body to use different muscles.

Active Rest: 15 seconds

kettlebell around the world
Via womanista

Exercise 4: Kettlebell Push Press with Lunge (1 minute)

This movement is great for your arm and shoulder muscles.

  • Use a shoulder-width stance.
  • Hold the kettlebell by the handle in one hand. Your elbow should flex so that the bell is to the side of your shoulder.
  • Let the kettlebell rest against your forearm with a loose grasp at the base of your thumb. Be careful to avoid hyperextension of your wrist.
  • Step into a lunge.
  • As your body lowers, extend your arm straight up.
  • As you rise, lower the kettlebell back to your shoulder.

Active Rest: 15 seconds

Repeat this entire sequence twice

Exercises don’t need to be complicated or lengthy to be effective. Remember that any movement is better than no movement. The more effort you put into your workouts, the shorter they can be.

Exercise is great for combating mental conditions such as anxiety and depression. The next time you’re feeling confined to your office chair, take a 15-minute break and work out!

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Can Cycling Actually Change Your Health And Life?

Bikes can be life-changing machines. Although they are cheap and consume a lot of time when it comes to transportation, they can have a huge impact on your life. In fact, bikes can make you better and healthier.

If you are still thinking twice about getting your own, below are some good reasons why cycling is important.

Less money on transportation

less transportation cost

Have you ever calculated how much money you actually spend on transportation in a year?

Every month, it’s the same story — you have to spend a lot of money on public transportation. If you go to work by car, you may end up spending more.

Traveling in your bike can help you save a lot of money. You’ll be able to help protect the environment, too.

It’s good for your health

Doctors encourage all their patients to do more physical activities, regardless of their patients’ ages. Well, guess what – cycling is part of this category, too.

A half-hour ride is more than enough to burn at least 250 calories. You’ll be able to get rid of that body fat in a few weeks and you don’t even have to go to the gym!

You’ll also boost your cardiovascular health, have toned muscles, better immune system, stronger bones and better joints. You’ll even look younger. All you have to do is invest in a bike and use it daily for your transportation.

Better mood

Physical activities can boost one’s mood. Doing exercises, even with moderate intensity, can help improve your self-esteem and mood, reduce stress, and prevent depression.

More time for yourself

cycling alone time

Riding a bike will never be as fast as a car but for those who ride bikes to work and back, you can actually save more time. This is when you compare the time one needs to spend enduring heavy traffic to and from work. Finding and choosing an empty parking lot can eat a lot of your time, too.

What you have to know before buying your first bike

Those who have decided to buy their first bike should know a few important things first. Here’s a quick list:

  • Consider your budget– Decide how much money you’re willing to spend on your bike. You’ll also need to prepare extra money to invest in the right accessories, like a helmet, water bottle, and pump.
  • The style– Before you actually look for a bike online or in physical stores near you, you’ll have to think of the style that suits you best. One way you can do that is to take into account the way you intend to use your bike. Decide whether you’ll use it for work, exercising, or taking short trips downtown.
  • Look for a professional bike repair shop– Once you buy your first bike, you’ll have to take it to a workshop to have it ready. Make sure you look for a reliable and professional repair shop who can adjust the bike according to your needs and wants.

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