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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

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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:

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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.

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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.

The post 6 Real Ways To Help An Addicted Love One appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

‘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.

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

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.

The post Eight Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas On Dogs appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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?

The post Top 5 Signs You Might Need Help with Alcohol Addiction appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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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6 Keto Diet Myths You Shouldn’t Be Suckered Into

You’ve probably heard of the Ketogenic diet but you’re too scared to give it a try with all the bad things you heard about it. It’s controversial, scary, and way too confusing for beginners to understand.

But are the rumors true?

To set the records straight and to ensure that you’re fully informed before you give it a try, here are the most popular Keto diet myths finally debunked.

Myth #1: It puts you at risk of heart diseases

heart disease

Eating a high fat Keto diet can be scary for some people. After all, too much fat is harmful to the heart, right?

Well, no.

The truth is that eating a high fat Keto diet can actually reduce your risk of heart diseases.

How?

When you eat fewer carbohydrates and your intake of saturated fat is increased, the metabolic markers for heart disease risks improve.

Your blood glucose levels will drop which can reduce glycation and its negative effects on the body. Your triglycerides, insulin levels, and lipoprotein get reduced while your HDL cholesterol levels improve.

And you know what else?

A high fat Ketogenic diet can also provide your body with more vitamin D, selenium, copper, and magnesium which are all great for the heart.

See Also: 10 Habits That Can Prevent Heart Disease

Myth #2: You can eat all types of fat

While eating a high fat ketogenic diet won’t be that bad for the body, it doesn’t mean that you can eat any type of fat.

If you’re thinking of loading your diet with ham, sausages, and loads of fried foods, then you’re totally on the wrong track.

If you want to get the most out of this diet, consider replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats. Think of oily fish, flaxseed, and walnuts.

You can also incorporate more extra virgin olive oil and fatty fish into your diet. Nuts are great, too.

Myth #3: You won’t have a hard time adjusting to Keto

Transitioning into ketosis can cause some uncomfortable experiences. You may have to deal with digestive issues, sleep-related problems, and fatigue during the first few weeks of changing your diet and lifestyle.

Also known as the Keto flu, those side effects are common and will typically go away after a few weeks. You can make them less uncomfortable by drinking more water and eating more foods rich in fibers and electrolytes.

This, however, shouldn’t scare you. Although Keto-flu is normal, it doesn’t mean that every person who goes on a Keto diet will have the same problems. There are people who experience way less issues during their transition.

Myth #4: It causes extreme dehydration

A ketogenic diet doesn’t have to cause dehydration if you know what to do.

Consuming less carbohydrates than usual can affect the way your body deals with water and electrolytes. This can make it easier for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance to happen.

Imagine this:

When you go on a keto diet and you cut back on your carbs, your body is forced to produce less insulin than usual. This means your glycogen stores will decrease.

As that happens, your kidneys start excreting more water. And as your body flushes out water, you lose essential electrolytes and minerals, too.

As your body loses a great amount of electrolytes, your heartbeat will become irregular, your energy becomes low, and your body temperature control becomes less effective.

So, how do you prevent those things?

Drink more water and consume a lot of teas, broths, and soups. Eat foods rich in sodium, magnesium, and potassium, too. They can help replenish your body’s lost electrolytes.

See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated

Myth #5: It’s good for your mental health

Keto diet requires a lot of discipline and commitment. Naturally, you’d think that it’s great for boosting your mental health.

The truth, however, is that Keto diet can affect the brain negatively during the new fat-burning stage. You’ll be more irritable and less focused than usual.

This is because your body and brain are starting to look for glucose which is its main source of energy. Your brain needs about 100g of carbohydrates a day to ensure your brain’s optimum function. In comparison, you can only get about 50 grams of it when you’re in Keto.

Take note that those effects are only temporary. They will pass and go away on their own but it can take weeks or months to happen.

The other side of the coin is that a lot of keto dieters rave about their newfound focus and clarity. They attribute this to the decrease of carbohydrates that the body processes.

Myth #6: Keto won’t let you exercise

walking exercise

When you’re on a Keto diet, it’s normal for your body to feel less energized during your exercise. This is because you get less carbohydrates which, like your brain, your body needs as fuel for such activities.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise.

You can continue your workout routine even if you changed your diet. You just need to make sure that you’re giving your body enough calories and a lot of fat to support your routine. Don’t forget to provide ample time for recovery in between routines, too.

If you’re still having issues with being active, try a modified Ketogenic diet. It’s more flexible than going complete Keto.

You can also try taking supplements but be sure that they’re safe. Do your homework first and really get to know your options. Remember, not all Keto supplements are the same.

Try to find and study guides online, like this KetoDrive review. Use them in deciding which ones will safely meet your needs.

In Conclusion

Keto diet is effective whether you’re trying to lose weight or you just want to lower your bad cholesterol and risk of heart diseases. However, although effective, it doesn’t mean that it’ll work for you right away.

Changing your diet can affect your overall health. This means experiencing a few unwanted side effects, like less energy and mental clarity, as your body gets used to the changes.

Take note that those side effects don’t mean that Ketogenic diet is bad or that it’s not working for you. Your body just needs time to adapt your new diet. Give it a few weeks or months and your body should be able to see why many people are talking about the benefits of the keto diet.

Remember that the bottom line is always your health. You don’t need to follow or stick to a diet for the sake of being on one. Always listen to your body, make a lifestyle change of what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments as needed.

The post 6 Keto Diet Myths You Shouldn’t Be Suckered Into appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Monarch is a new platform from surgical robot pioneer Frederic Moll

Auris Health (née Auris Surgical Robots) has done a pretty good job flying under the radar, in spite of raising a massive amount of capital and listing one of the key people behind the da Vinci surgical robot among its founders. With FDA clearance finally out of the way, however, the Redwood City-based startup medical startup is ready to start talking.

This week, Auris revealed the Monarch Platform, which swaps the da Vinci’s surgical approach for something far less invasive. The system utilizes the common endoscopy procedure to a insert a flexible robot into hard to reach places inside the human body. A doctor trained on the system uses a video game-style controller to navigate inside, with help from 3D models.

Monarch’s first target is lung cancer, the which tops the list of deadliest cancers. More deaths could be stopped, if doctors were able to catch the disease in its early stages, but the lung’s complex structures, combined with current techniques, make the process difficult. According to the company,  “More than 90-percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not survive, in part because it is often found at an advanced stage.”

“A CT scan shows a mass or a lesion,” CEO Frederic Moll tells TechCrunch. “It doesn’t tell you what it is. Then you have to get a piece of lung, and if it’s a small lesion. It isn’t that easy — it can be quite a traumatic procedure. So you’d like to do it a very systematic and minimally invasive fashion. Currently it’s difficult with manual techniques and 40-percent of the time, there is no diagnosis. This is has been a problem for many years and [inhibits] the ability of a clinician to diagnose and treat early-stage cancer.

Auris was founded half a dozen years ago, in which time the company has managed to raise a jaw-dropping $500 million, courtesy of Mithril Capital Management, Lux Capital, Coatue Management and Highland Capital. The company says the large VC raise and long runway were necessary factors in building its robust platform.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have an investor base that is supportive of our vision and committed to us for the long-term,” CSO Josh DeFonzo tells TechCrunch. “The investments that have been made in Auris are to support both the development of a very robust product pipeline, as well as successful clinical adoption of our technology to improve patient outcomes.”

With that funding and FDA approval for Monarch out of the way, the company has an aggressive timeline. Moll says Auris is hoping to bring the system to hospitals and outpatient centers by the end of the year. And once it’s out in the wild, Monarch’s disease detecting capabilities will eventually extend beyond lung cancer.

“We have developed what we call a platform technology,” says Moll. “Bronchoscopy is the first application, but this platform will do other robotic endoscopies.”

3 Ways To Stop Your Bad Habits

Have you ever found yourself saying, “I have plenty of time, I can work on this later” or, “What I do now doesn’t matter, again I’m young”?

If so, I’m here to say that it does matter, particularly when you’re learning how to stop bad habits.

There’s a saying that I’ve been hearing a lot lately.

“Past performance is indicative of future returns.”

Now, although it’s usually said when discussing a financial institution, I believe that it can be applied to so much more.

Take habits for example.

Once learned, do you know how hard it is to break a habit? Very freaking hard.

It takes a lot of self-discipline and commitment to break a habit and even once it’s broken, constant maintenance is required to keep it broken.

Think about all the habits you learned while you were young. Look back at how you look and behave toward certain ideas. Those habits and behaviors are hard to get rid of because they are built deep within you.

But how exactly do you take them out of your life?

I’ve talked to so many people who, despite their good nature, have told me that they used to believe that they were immortal (figuratively). They used to think that they have all the time in the world.

Now, upon reflection on their lives, they’ve noticed that they’re stuck in a sense of perpetual failure. They have developed tons of self-defeating habits that they can’t seem to shake off even after so many years.

3 Tricks on How to Stop Bad Habits

Replace it with something else

When I was younger, I had several BAD habits that really hurt both my work ethic and outlook on life. After a length of time doing these things, I noticed what they were doing to me- they were contributing to my failures.

My only option was to kick the habit but I had no reasonable idea how.

So, one day, I just quit cold turkey.

I told myself that I just wouldn’t do them anymore and it worked for a while.

A few months later, I found that the desire for them was back and that I longed for the pleasure that they brought again. I’d put a lot of thought into it and I was wondering why this feeling came back.

I realized that I needed something else that would calm me- something that would help clear my mind so that I could stay focused.

Then, I stumbled upon exercise.

I found that the relief I get from it was on par with the relief that the substances brought to me. I kept exercising on a regular basis and soon found that my desires went away. I’d found my substitute.

daily exercise

With the help of sticky notes, I’ve eliminated my unwanted habits and it worked really well for me.

See Also: 16 Essential Tips for Quitting Smoking

Figure out what stimulates the habit

After you realize that a habit is unwanted, the next (and possibly the easiest) thing you should do is to figure out how to avoid doing it. This also means that you must find your trigger.

For me, it was the stagnation or the feeling of constant movement but never going anywhere. This coupled with the ever-present mistakes that made it very difficult for me to deal with the stress of life.

It took me a while to realize that.

At first, all I noticed was that I wasn’t on my stuff the way that I needed to be. But like with anything, until I knew what was causing it, there would be no way for me to avoid a similar situation.

This all comes with time though.

Just like how it took a while before I figured out what was hurting me, it will also take a while for you to realize that.

This is what we have to do:

We must reflect and realize what is contributing to our current state. It’s hard but with enough time, it can be done. And if you can’t do it yourself, go to someone who can help you.

Make yourself aware of the fact that it’s unwanted.

This is the hardest thing in the world for us to do, especially by ourselves.

A habit is something that we do on a regular basis. We get so used to them that we no longer view them as a problem. This means that we must reflect and pinpoint the issues. We must look long and hard to find the things that add to our problems.

For me, one of those issues was my substance abuse. I just had to look into myself and see what it was that was causing my current state. It took a very long reflection for me to realize that it was hurting me and how it was holding me back.

habit awareness

This is your life, and you only get so much of it. Since our time on this earth won’t last, we must make the most of it. We must rid ourselves of our unwanted habits as soon as possible. Don’t be the person that looks back and says, “Man, I knew that I needed to do this. I just never did.”

See Also: Spiritual Pointers for Quitting a Bad Habit

The post 3 Ways To Stop Your Bad Habits appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

3 Major Lessons Learned From Losing 100 Pounds

I’ve lost over 100 pounds twice.

The first time, I experienced a major injury, job loss, relocation, and the death of my closest family member. I was about 2/3 toward my total weight loss goal that time.

I kept up with exercise and good nutrition for a bit. Unfortunately, I slowly reverted to old habits and then eventually things rapidly declined. I gained seventy pounds in six months.

It took a few years for me to get inspired to try again. The second time, I wanted to lose one hundred pounds to reach my big goal. After two and a half years of hard work, lots of setbacks, injuries, and lessons learned, I did it. I SMASHED my goal!

It’s been almost four years since I hit my goal and in all candor, I didn’t keep it all off. Despite my work with coaching clients, having a book and podcast on the 100-pound weight loss journey, and working in the fitness community, I still deal with ups and downs.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that it’s a wonderful thing to be in a fantastic physical shape, eat healthily, get adequate sleep, and find some harmony in life. However, I also know what it’s like to run multiple businesses, be involved in my community, do service work, teach six to twelve yoga and fitness classes a week, put in the time and effort needed to keep a relationship fresh and exciting, write regularly, and work on my own healing and personal development. It’s a LOT.

There are many things that I’ve learned from my experiences, but I’ll keep this simple. Here’s how to change your lifestyle.

Self-acceptance is paramount

self acceptance

If we want to be healthy, we must practice self-acceptance. When we practice self-acceptance, we give ourselves permission to receive great and amazing things in this life.

When we deny ourselves the gift of self-acceptance, we block many of life’s blessings.

Self-acceptance acts as the fuel that drives us to do difficult things. It gives us the inspiration to continue onward when things get tough (and they will).

Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean that we like everything about ourselves. Rather, acceptance means that we see ourselves as we are. We accept our attributes, behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.

We may aspire to improve but we learn to accept ourselves as we are, without needing to change who we are.

See Also: Self-Acceptance: The Key To True Happiness

We must have a compelling “WHY”

Whenever we embark on any lifestyle change, we’re doing something that we’ve either never done before or we are attempting to do something that we have struggled with.

There will be setbacks. We will make mistakes and we will get discouraged.

Our compelling WHY will keep us focused and motivated to keep pushing through these challenges.

Challenges are a huge blessing. We thrive on challenges. We don’t get stronger and smarter when things are good. We learn to thrive when things are rough. Life doesn’t get easier. We just get better.

When I attempted to lose 100 pounds the second time, I made a list of 100 reasons to lose 100 pounds. I then made 100 videos and each of them discussed one of the reasons on my list.

Over the course of two years, I continued to document my progress until I hit my goal. It’s great to have a strong WHY. I needed 100 reasons why!

And you know what? It worked!

It’s not about the destination – it’s about the journey

losing weight journey

Quite frankly, this third one used to (and sometimes still does!) drive me CRAZY.

“Enjoy the journey!”

I’ve heard this for years from yoga teachers, life coaches, and mentors. Sure, it’s great to enjoy the journey, but I want RESULTS!

However, I’ve discovered that when I reached a goal, I would plan for the next. I wasn’t content.

Our achievements do not define us. We develop skills and wisdom by our experiences. We become extraordinary in the process.

That’s where the beauty really happens – not at the end, but in the journey.

Our stories are interesting because of the trials we endure. We are fascinating because we are innovative and creative. Our legendary tales aren’t remarkable because we achieved something. They’re remarkable because we overcame SO much!

We are all on the brink of something incredible. We have goals, dreams, and a purpose. We owe it to ourselves and to our loved ones to do something remarkable with the time we have.

We can do amazing things when we accept ourselves as we are, delve deep, and discover why we want to live our best lives possible. We learn to live in each moment and appreciate the journey.

See Also: 6 Ways to Lose Weight (and Still Have Fun)

There’s so much more to come for you! Start here and you will have a great foundation.

Here’s to your continued success!

The post 3 Major Lessons Learned From Losing 100 Pounds appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Set Your Mind to Lose Weight

Have you ever asked yourself how people lose weight and manage to keep it off?

You are thinking losing weight and staying fit is a matter of genetics, metabolism, and the willpower to change one’s habits. Although those things play a part in losing weight, building muscle, and improving one’s general health, the most important component to change happens in your brain.

The two stimuli that cause a person to take action

According to Tony Robbins’ book,  Awaken The Giant Within, human beings are motivated to take action by two things: pain and pleasure.

awaken the giant within

We do the things we do to move from pain to pleasure.

That can be eating, sleeping, finding a partner in life, quitting a job you hate, drinking, smoking or gambling.

We associate eating with pleasure because it removes the pain of hunger.

See Also: 8 Bad Food Habits That are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals

We sleep to give our exhausted bodies and minds some rest.

We spend a good portion of our lives looking for a partner so we can share our joys and sorrows.

Even people who drink associate alcohol with pleasure. Maybe it’s to help them forget about their problems or to help them de-stress after a hectic work week. Perhaps, they enjoy socializing and alcohol just happened to be a part of most gatherings.

What causes a person to change his or her habits?

How do people suddenly find the motivation they need to lose weight?

I used to wonder if there was a switch you can turn on in a person’s head to make him decide to change for the better.

It turns out there is a name for that switch. It’s called the pain threshold.

Tony Robbins described crossing the pain threshold as the ultimate motivator to create change. Once you associate so much pain to something, you would do everything in your power to change it and move yourself to pleasure.

Most people who decided to lose weight crossed the pain threshold, which can be in the form of health issues.

Arthur Boorman was in so much pain from walking. So, he decided he had to lose weight or he would never walk unassisted for life.

Jared Mollenkopf was so out of shape that he got tired just sitting in front of a computer. Since he has an office job, imagine how much pain he’s in, having to sit for 8 hours a day.

Stacey Morris got embarrassed each time she had to put on extension seat belts whenever she flies. Since her job requires her to travel a lot, she had to endure that situation often.

It’s also pretty common to see people choosing to lose weight because of their family. Not living long enough to see young kids grow up or not having the energy to be there for the family during special occasions can be a good source of motivation to shape up.

How to use pain and pleasure to create change

The most important thing to ask yourself is this:

What do you really want?

Think about what is really going to give you joy and what gives you sorrow. Once you’ve figured that out, create leverage on yourself by associating pain to not changing NOW. Leverage is the key to get yourself into taking massive action.

In my case, there was a point in my life when I felt exercising took a lot of effort and I had little to no time for it.  I ate junk foods and sweets often because they tasted good.

It’s funny because I didn’t find time or energy for exercise but I could always squeeze in some time to go to the bar with my friends.

Was it fun eating anything I desired and drinking alcohol with friends instead of exercising and eating healthy? Absolutely.

Until one day, I took my shirt off and looked in a mirror.

I looked nothing like I used to be. I wasn’t really overweight, but my belly was starting to stick out. My hairline was starting to recede and my cheekbones and jawline where nowhere to be found.

I always felt like I needed more sleep and had low energy level to do anything physical.

I was in the worst shape of my life and I was only 29 years old!

The pain I felt looking and feeling older than I am was overwhelming. I knew right there that if I didn’t change something, things would go downhill fast and I was not prepared to accept that.

One thing I learned was that if I wanted to get different results, I had to do something I’ve never done. It definitely took a lot of courage to try something I knew nothing about but the pain of failing and gaining more weight weighed more than the fear of the unknown.

I took action. I bought weight loss programs online, which totally changed the way I trained. Slowly, I renewed my commitment to eating healthier, too.

The one thing that is absolutely crucial if you want to create permanent change

You’ve decided what you really want, you’ve gotten leverage on yourself, you changed your habits and approach and you’ve gotten the results you’re looking for. You started seeing results.

Well, it’s not enough that you lost some weight. You need to find a way to keep the fat off.

The danger with not creating new habits is that you can easily slip back into the things you were used to doing.

I mean, I could have stopped training. After all, I lost weight already. I could have gone back to enjoying my weekends watching movies, eating anything I wanted, and drinking beer.

But the joy I found with my new self meant more than eating junk foods and laying on the couch. My weekends were replaced by pickup games with friends or trying out new ways to do cardio, like biking, going on long walks in the park or hiking.

lose weight biking

Hearing compliments about how much weight I lost felt good and it motivated me to train harder. That’s also enough motivation for me to take it easy on junk foods and alcohol. I became committed to staying healthy.

I still have my cheat meal and beer occasionally but I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to. After all, being healthy, strong, and confident give me my ultimate pleasure.

Conclusion

Now that you understand how to set your mind to lose weight and keep it off, it’s time for you to give it a try.

First, know what motivates you and what ultimately gives you pain and pleasure.  Figuring out how to lose weight with training and proper nutrition will follow as long as you’re committed to making changes. After all, there are lots of materials available on the internet from people who have done it before you.

Just find out what will work for you. Figure out what you like and what you don’t like. Go on and take that first step.

The post How to Set Your Mind to Lose Weight appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

What To Look For In Health Insurance Plans for Parents

Finding the right health insurance plans for parents can be tough but when you know exactly what to look for, it can become a seamless process.

Old age brings with it ailments and health-related problems. If you aren’t prepared, it can put you under a lot of stress. It can cause problems not just with your finances but your relationship with your parents and siblings, too.

One of the best ways to be prepared is to invest in the right health insurance plan. Here are the most important factors you need to consider before purchasing one.

Entry Age

health insurance plans for parents entry age

A majority of the health insurance companies provide health insurance for senior citizens around the age of 60 to 70. If your parents have passed 60 years of age, consider getting a senior citizen health insurance policy rather than a family floater plan. There are different entry age guidelines for different policies so make sure you check in advance before signing up for one.

The Kind of Coverage Available

You need to know that the policy you buy provides extensive coverage. This ensures your aging parents are protected against various types of ailments and even pre-existing illnesses.

Make certain that you check all the terms and conditions well. This helps you understand the kind of coverage you get in a better way.

Sum Insured

The sum insured should be sufficient to cover your parents’ medical expenses. You need to take into account all your parents’ existing health issues and conditions they are at risk of.

It goes without saying that you need to go for a policy that offers the highest coverage. Stay informed about the medical inflation rate and then decide accordingly.

The Premium Amount

As a person ages, his insurance policy’s premium rate also increases. Premium rates on senior citizen insurance policies are on the higher side. This is because the risk element is comparatively high for senior citizens.

When finding the best medical insurance for parents, you need to consider all the coverage factors and go for the policy that comes with the lowest premium.

Network Hospitals that Provide Cashless Treatment

health insurance cashless transactions

When an emergency occurs, you can take advantage of your policy by seeking medical help and assistance from network hospitals. This gives you the advantage of gaining cashless treatment.

Although you can head to a non-network hospital (as your insurer would eventually cover the outstanding expense in time), you can go to an in-network hospital to obtain treatment without worrying about paying the hospital bills. See that the insurance policy you choose has a wide range of network hospitals on its list.

See Also: 7 Medical Procedures That Are Not Covered by Health Insurance

You also need to consider the renewal age which determines when you can renew the insurance policy. These factors can make choosing a systematic and trouble-free health insurance policy for parents easier.

See Also: 5 Financial Emergencies Everyone Must Be Prepared For

The post What To Look For In Health Insurance Plans for Parents appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Get Flawless Skin: The Best Tips You Should Know By Now

Your skin gets exposed to harsh conditions every day. There’s pollution, UV rays, dirt, and harsh weather conditions. If you don’t take care of your skin the right way, you can end up with a lot of skin issues, like acne, wrinkles, and sunspots.

So, how to get flawless skin?

On this article, you will learn ten easy beauty tips to keep your skin smooth and elastic.

Do regular cleansing

Cleansing is one good way to make sure no dirt, dead skin cells, and makeup residues can clog your pores. In choosing the right cleanser, it’s a good idea to consider your skin type.

If you have oily skin, go for oil-free cleansers. In case you are dealing with acne, you can use medicated soaps but make sure that they aren’t strong enough to irritate your skin. As much as possible, avoid cleansers with perfume, artificial colors, and chemicals as they can cause allergic reactions.

Wash your face twice a day. Do it in the morning and before you go to sleep.

Moisturize your skin

moisturize-skin

Most people tend to forego moisturizers, particularly those with oily skin.

The truth, however, is that moisturizers are essential in making sure your skin doesn’t get dry and dehydrated. Once that happens, your skin will produce more oil than necessary and that can spell problems for your skin. Excess oil can cause acne, clogged pores, and dull skin.

Apply your moisturizer right after cleansing, while your skin is still damp. This will ensure that you seal in as much moisture as possible.

Exfoliate regularly

This is another important beauty tip that you should include in your skincare routine. Having too much dead skin cells can make your skin look dull and it can also make you prone to clogged pores. It can even lead to acne.

When exfoliating, make sure to use something light. Skip exfoliators that contain highly abrasive ingredients as they can only cause more problems. Use gentle, circular motions when scrubbing and limit exfoliation to once or twice a week.

Apply a face mask

Every time you take your skin through the exfoliation process, follow up with a good face mask. However, since they can be expensive, you can try creating your own natural face mask. You can use papaya, lemon, or even honey to bring back your skin’s natural glow.

Put on sunscreen

If you’ve been skipping sunscreen because it feels greasy, you’re probably using the wrong product. The right sunscreen should feel light and natural on the skin without compromising protection.

Apply it every single day. Even if it’s a cloudy day, UV rays can still cause damage to your skin. It can make you prone to wrinkles, sunburn, and even skin cancer.

Watch your diet

develop healthy eating habits

Healthy eating can benefit your skin, too.

If you have oily skin, then you must avoid eating too much junk foods and sweets. Eat one fruit a day and drink at least eight glasses of water to flush out toxins. Include veggies in your meals, too.

Observing this kind of diet will eventually regulate the amount of oil produced by your skin. This is one of the ways to remove warts as well.

See Also: 10 Best Skin Foods For Healthy Glowing Skin

Use an alcohol-free toner

Alcohol-based toners can work on any skin type. Daily toning eliminates dirt and excess oil from your skin. If you can’t access rosewater, you can use other alcohol-free toners to regulate sebum.

Apply ice cubes

Ice cubes help to shrink pores, hydrate your skin, remove puffiness, and improve blood circulation. Rubbing ice cubes on the oiliest parts of your skin will regulate the oil generation and tone saggy skin temporarily.

Steam

Steam is another beauty tip you shouldn’t miss. It helps open skin pores, making it easy to free your pores.

Steaming your skin daily with mint leaves or margosa leaves in hot water for approximately three minutes allows minerals from the leaves to penetrate through the pores and extract extra oil.

Bonus tip: Choose the right serums and makeup

Use the right skin serums for your skin type as they can guarantee dramatic results. You can apply them after toning and before you apply your face creams and moisturizers.

Wait for your serum and other skin care products to dry or get absorbed by your skin before you do the rest of your makeup. This way, you’ll be able to prep your skin, leaving it glowing and free from breakouts.

See Also: Unlocking Japan’s Secrets to Healthy Skin

The post How to Get Flawless Skin: The Best Tips You Should Know By Now appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Stopping Steroids Abruptly: What You Need To Know About Steroid Withdrawal

Edward Kendall from Mayo Clinic won the 1950 Nobel Prize for his research on the medical use of cortisone. This drug helped in simulating cortisol, an anti-inflammatory hormone released by the adrenal glands.

That and many other steroids, such as prednisone and prednisolone, have since been proven useful in treating an array of conditions. They help to relieve ailments, such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

But, steroid use has come at a high price and that price is addiction.

Steroids Dale Guide reports that steroids can aid bodybuilders and athletes in boosting their muscle mass and overall athletic performance. But, as many have realized the hard way, steroids have an inherent risk of addiction, mainly when used for a long time.

There are several concerns that stem from long-term steroid use. These are the medication’s side effects, the imbalance in hormone levels, and withdrawal symptoms.

Steroid withdrawal symptoms occur when a patient attempts to discontinue the drug or decrease his usual dosage abruptly, causing symptoms that mimic other health conditions. In this article, you’ll learn what those symptoms are and how you can overcome the condition.

Steroid Withdrawal Symptoms

These signs will appear after extended steroid treatment has been abruptly stopped.

Abdominal pain

Many steroid users begin to experience intense pain in the stomach region. Others may suffer from a burning sensation throughout the abdomen.

Anxiety

While many individuals report that they suffer from depression, there are those who experience intense anxiety. It arises from changes in hormone levels and HPA.

A decrease in appetite

This is not surprising, given that the majority of steroids work by stimulating an individual’s appetite. When you quit taking steroids, your appetite will decline significantly.

Fatigue

Another common symptom of steroid withdrawal is fatigue. It’s because you are not taking cortisol anymore.

Muscle soreness

Some patients have experienced muscle soreness after discontinuing steroid treatment. We recommend that you purchase some over-the-counter pain relievers to ease the pain.

Physical weakness

It is also not unusual to experience a general sense of malaise. You are likely to feel very weak and achy, but this is just your body’s response to working without the drug that it has been supplied with regularly.

Diarrhea

This is more of an immediate side effect following the discontinuation of steroid use. If you fall prey to this condition, you should consider purchasing Imodium, which can be bought over the counter.

Dizziness

It’s a widespread withdrawal problem from any drug and not just steroids. Luckily, it may wear off in a few weeks or once the drug is out of your system.

Headaches

Some patients start using steroids to treat headaches. Consequently, coming off of the drug may lead to more severe headaches. Some patients may get constant headaches while others experience full-blown migraines.

Joint pain

It is also common for steroid users to feel pain in the joints because of the inadequate cortisol production. It could also stem from the inflammation that comes with the withdrawal process. If you experience joint pain, avoid engaging in rigorous activities as it will only stress your joints further.

manage joint pain

See Also: Words of Advice To Keep Your Joints Healthy

What Influences Steroid Withdrawal?

Regardless of the medication that one is taking, some factors can make withdrawal more difficult. The list includes duration, dosage, and individual physiology.

If you’re experiencing steroid withdrawal symptoms, it’s probably because of these factors:

Time Span

As a rule of thumb, the longer the time you take your steroids, the longer it will take for your body to readjust to normal functioning.

Using steroids for up to a month or a year causes your body and brain to rely on the drug exclusively. As a result, it becomes incapable of functioning well in the absence of the drug.

In contrast, an individual who has been using steroids for just a short period will have an easier time discontinuing the drug.

Dosage

Steroids are used in treating a vast range of illnesses. Consequently, the dose that your physician prescribes will rely on the condition he’s treating.

If you choose to take a dosage higher than the one you have been prescribed, you’ll have a harder time withdrawing. Conversely, those on low-maintenance dosages will find it easier to withdraw.

Individual Factors

steroid withdrawal factors

Withdrawal symptoms will vary considerably from one individual to another. People on high steroid dosages are likely to suffer severe physiological responses. Others get lucky and barely experience any adverse effect.

Just remember that the symptoms you encounter may be entirely different from what another individual will experience.

See Also: The 7 Side Effects of Overtraining Syndrome

Why People Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms Differently

Throughout history, researchers have questioned why some patients experience withdrawal symptoms while others don’t. This all boils down to the production of corticosteroids.

Ideally, this process is facilitated by a feedback mechanism. It involves three parts- the adrenal glands, pituitary gland, and the brain.

Scientifically, the three constitute the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal Axis (HPAA). When you continuously take steroids, it inhibits the HPAA mechanism.

The dose of steroid varies from one patient to another. Usually, taking high doses for a couple of days or small doses for an extended period causes adverse effects on HPAA functioning. Since there will always be a variation in the manner in which individuals take steroids, they can be affected differently.

Tests for Diagnosing Steroid Withdrawal

Given that steroid withdrawal symptoms always vary, health practitioners find it challenging to diagnose this problem. The most recommended technique is a good history and physical evaluation of the patient. The physician will need to pay close attention to the individual’s history of steroid use and treatment.

Other tests that may prove useful are cortisol level, Complete Blood Count (CBC), BUN level, and creatinine level. The cortisol test is for measuring the concentration of cortisol in blood while BUN test determines the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood. CBC, on the other hand, is essential in evaluating an individual’s overall health.

Treating Steroid Withdrawal

You may find this peculiar but the best treatment for steroid withdrawal is to administer a steroid course to the patient. Then, after a short while, your physician will start to reduce the steroid dosage gradually.

This way, your body can start adjusting to its normal functioning, including synthesizing steroids.

However, patients have different reactions. As such, health experts will have to account for the patient’s specific symptoms, type of steroids, as well as the individual’s compliance.

Based on how dependent your body had become to steroids, the withdrawal treatment can last anywhere from a few weeks to one year.

Is Steroid Withdrawal Avoidable?

Yes, there are ways to prevent steroid withdrawal. The best way is to use steroids only for the short-term and in a conservative approach.

Short-term use (although this will differ depending on the type of steroid) is highly unlikely to stimulate steroid withdrawal. However, this condition can be prevented by tapering the dosage with time.

Final Verdict

Steroid withdrawal results from the abrupt discontinuation of steroid treatment. The most common symptoms of this condition include joint pain, muscle soreness, fatigue, and anxiety.

Thankfully, you can avoid steroid withdrawal by ensuring that you take these drugs for just a short period. Also, instead of quitting steroids cold turkey, try to reduce your dosage gradually.

The post Stopping Steroids Abruptly: What You Need To Know About Steroid Withdrawal appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop suggests you use coffee to clean your poop chute. Don’t.

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No matter what Gwyneth Paltrow’s dubious health website tells you, please talk to your doctor before shooting coffee into your colon.

In an article titled “The Nuts and Bolts of Colonics,” Goop writer Dr. Alejandro Junger suggests a specific brand of enema device for people who want to use a home system and know what they’re doing. Goop links out to the device which immediately advertises itself as “a clean way to do coffee enemas” for the low low price of $135.

If you don’t know what an enema is, it’s a procedure (usually performed by doctors) to clean out someone’s colon by injecting fluid up their butt. The product linked in Goop’s article claims to work well with coffee, and also claims that shooting coffee into your colon is good for your liver, removes “toxins,” and relieves depression, confusion(?), allergy symptoms, and severe pain. Read more…

More about Health, Coffee, Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop, and Enema

Why You Should Include Nuts In Your Weight Loss Regimen

Nuts are healthy as they are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. However, a majority of people on a weight loss regimen avoid including them in their diet because they fear their fats and calories.

That is a mere misconception. In reality, nuts can help you lose weight.

How?

We’ll share with you the best nuts for weight loss but first, let’s unravel the truth first.

Studies on How Nuts Aid in Weight Loss

Nuts are rich in calories. A large part of them contains fat which is a concentrated source of energy. 1 gram of fat has up to 9 calories while a gram of protein contains only 4 calories.

This high concentration of fats and calories makes many people on a weight loss diet assume that adding nuts can make them gain weight. To bust this idea, a lot of studies have been conducted over the years.

One particular study involving 8865 men and women over a 28-month period found that those who ate two or more portions of nuts every week increased their chances of losing weight by 31% compared to the placebo group. Another review involving 36 studies reported that taking nuts is not associated with increased body weight, waist size or BMI.

In a controlled study, where the participants adhered to a strict diet, the inclusion of different types of nuts to their diet did not lead to changes in body weight. More importantly, where the nuts were included in a diet of people on an unrestricted diet, nut consumption did not cause weight gain.

A study involving 65 obese patients compared a low-calorie diet which has complex carbs to a low-calorie diet enhanced with nuts. They took equal amounts of cholesterol, calories, protein, and saturated fats.

After a 24-week period, the people on the almond diet had reduced weight by 62%, fat mass by 56% and waist circumference by 50%. The groups also experienced improved cholesterol, including reduced LDL and triglycerides. The other group did not encounter such benefits.

How Nuts Aid in Weight Loss

Nuts have a complex structure, which means that unless they are chewed up completely or ground up, a large proportion only passes the gut without digestion. As such, they are not absorbed and are lost in fecal matter. It explains why nuts are weight loss friendly.

Here are some of the best nuts for weight loss you can add to your diet:

Walnuts

walnut

Apart from being heart-healthy, walnuts contain unsaturated fats which help reduce abdominal fat. They come in handy for people on a weight loss regimen as they also improve insulin metabolism. They are unique as they are rich in polyunsaturated fats, unlike other kinds of nuts that have high levels of monounsaturated fats.

Walnuts have Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). It helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Walnuts have 183 calories and 18 grams of fat of which 2.5 grams of fat contain ALA. It makes walnuts a rich source of the essential fatty acid.

A research on 245 women showed that a diet rich in walnuts helped them lose weight, reduced the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), and improved the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

You can add these nuts to your salad or mix them with your breakfast oats.

Cashew Nuts

cashew-nut

A serving of cashew nuts contains five grams of protein and thirteen grams of fat. Cashew nuts are also an excellent source of magnesium. In fact, a 100-gram serving of cashew nuts provides up to 73% of the daily value of magnesium.

This mineral is essential for regulating the amount of carbohydrates in the body and metabolism of fat, which helps you lose weight.

Apart from taking raw cashew nuts, you can also try spreading cashew butter on whole-wheat toast to up your intake of these healthy nuts.

Pistachios

pistachios

Their unique color and flavor make them a favorite ingredient in morning green smoothies, morning snacks, and baked recipes.

A serving of pistachios has three grams of dietary fiber which is 12% of the recommended daily intake. Dietary fiber helps the body feel satiated for long, which helps rid of intense food craving. This helps you lose weight fast and burn more calories.

A study involving participants who included an afternoon snack of pistachios achieved lower triglycerides and body weight.

See Also: How to Boost Metabolism: 8 Foods That Can Skyrocket Your Weight Loss

Nut Recipes You Should Try Out

Banana Bread

banana bread

If you want to avoid gluten products, then this banana bread is the right snack for you. You can eat it for breakfast, dessert or snack.

A snack of gluten-free banana bread made of walnuts allows you to enjoy the benefits of ALA while enjoying the satiety of protein. Plus, walnuts can add a delicious crunch to this snack.

Ingredients

For this recipe you will need:

  • A couple of overripe bananas
  • Brown rice flour
  • Walnuts
  • Applesauce
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Honey
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond milk
  • Gluten-free rolled oats
  • Coconut flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Apply oil and flour on the baking pan and set it aside.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients (two eggs, coconut oil, bananas, honey, almond milk, applesauce) in a mixing bowl.
  4. Then, fold in the dry ingredients (baking soda, brown rice flour, baking powder, walnuts, gluten-free oats, coconut flour, salt) and combine until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking pan.
  6. You can sprinkle some oats over the butter.
  7. Allow the batter to bake for 55 minutes until the tester comes out clean.
  8. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for twenty minutes in the baking pan.
  9. Allow it to cool on a wire rack and cut it into slices for breakfast.

See Also: 5 Healthy and Delicious Juice Recipes for Easier Weight Loss

Conclusion

Clearly, nuts are essential for people who want to shed off a few pounds. The right proportion of the best nuts for weight loss also provide numerous other health benefits.

The post Why You Should Include Nuts In Your Weight Loss Regimen appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The 5 Key Yoga Poses For Women Over 50

Let’s be honest.

Turning 50 doesn’t really mean much anymore when people are healthier and living longer than ever. However, society still sees this as a milestone. That being said, for some women over 50, a whole new chapter of growth and excitement could be opening up. If you are one of those women, this means a lot more free time for new experiences.

Being over 50, whether male or female, also means physical changes could be occurring in your body. For women, the list includes arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic back pain, heart disease, and a loss of flexibility. There’s the horror of menopause, too.

In the words of Dr. Christiane Northrup, a renowned expert in women’s health, “Getting older is inevitable; aging is optional.”

If you’ve seen women in their 80s and 90s doing yoga, you know this is true!

The gentle exercise of yoga and the inherent practice of mindfulness can drastically change the way you see your own body and life. It’s also an inexpensive tool to combat stiffness, arthritis, and chronic pain.

Interested in trying yoga? Here are a few yoga poses for women over 50 you can try today.

Downward Facing Dog

downward facing dog

Downward Facing Dog is a yoga classic that no practice is complete without. Down Dog, as it’s called colloquially, stretches the entire back while allowing the neck to relax. This makes it a favorite for those with chronic lower back pain as well as those who work behind a computer all day. It also helps strengthen the shoulders, but exercise caution and listen to your body if you’re recovering from a shoulder injury.

See Also: Top 10 Yoga-Before-Bed Poses to Reduce your Back Pain

Modified Tree Pose

modified tree pose

Tree Pose is a balancing pose. Like all balancing poses, it brings strength to the feet and a mild workout to the abs. Tree Pose also provides a gentle stretch to the hips.

From a spiritual perspective, yogic wisdom holds that balancing poses inspire confidence. Similarly, core strengthening is meant to cultivate willpower while hip openers are said to release emotional blockages. God knows you’ve probably accumulated some of those.

To modify this pose, place your hand on a sturdy chair before executing the balancing aspect of the pose.

Crescent Pose

crescent pose

Crescent Pose, also known as High Lunge, builds strength in the legs while delivering a delicious stretch to the hips, chest, shoulders, and the all too forgotten ankles.

For a milder pose that requires less balance and muscular engagement, feel free to perform this pose with one knee on the ground. If you have knee troubles, be sure to use a thick mat or put a towel under your knee.

Triangle Pose

triangle pose

Triangle Pose or Trikonasana is one of the best poses for a full body stretch. While opening the entire front body, this pose also delivers a much-needed stretch to the ankles, hips, legs, and back. Women who are braving menopause particularly love this pose, claiming it helps relieve constipation and lower back pain.

Restorative Bridge Pose

restorative bridge pose
Via breastcanceryogablog

Restorative Bridge Pose is a modification of the Bridge Pose. It creates a more restful posture, which is perfect for nights when you can’t fall asleep. This relaxing pose is also said to help relieve digestive discomfort while opening the chest.

For this pose, you’ll need a block or bolster. Simply assume the position of traditional Bridge Pose. You can use your prop to support your lower back. Then, relax and allow gravity to deliver a gentle stretch to your lower back.

See Also: Yoga and Health: From Better Mental Health To Improved Sleep Quality

Treat Yourself

No matter what your age is, there’s no question that yoga can radically change your life.

If you’re craving for more flexibility or relief from chronic pain, yoga might be one of the most cost-effective solutions you can find. If you are dealing with menopause, yoga can help you survive those painful days and sleepless nights while the meditative aspect of the practice can help with your mood.

As a woman, you’ve probably been taking care of other people your entire life. However, you have to remember that taking care of yourself is actually the first step in helping others. Take time to do something for yourself by introducing yoga into your routine. Your body will definitely thank you for it.

The post The 5 Key Yoga Poses For Women Over 50 appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Dental Care for Children With Special Needs

Meeting and balancing the requirements of your special child can be very challenging at times. Urgent medical matters usually take preference over dental care. According to research, these children are more likely to suffer from dental problems as compared to children without any disabilities.

If your child has down syndrome, seizure disorders, learning disabilities or cerebral palsy, here’s a quick guide to proper dental care for children with special needs.

Dental Visits

dental visit

Make sure not to skip any dental visits and find a dentist who understands children with special needs. You can learn a lot from them. If your child is having a hard time sitting still during his dental exam, you can plug in some earphones with music so they can be comfortable.

Daily Oral Healthcare at Home

Allow your child to brush his teeth where he is comfortable. The bathroom is not the only place where your child can brush his teeth. Make sure to provide enough light, steady and clean water, and a good sized mirror. Have a toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste ready, too.

Create a Positive Atmosphere

Your approach to oral care is important to your child. A positive attitude will make your child’s approach to dental care a lot more fun.

Explain and demonstrate all the steps to your child. Make sure to appreciate his effort the best way possible to ensure good behavior and consistent good practices.

Establish a Routine

oral hygiene routine

Developing a consistent routine can help create a sense of familiarity. This can increase your child’s confidence in taking care of his oral health. You can set the routine according to what your dentist recommends. Maintain a record of what is effective and what is not so that you can refer it to the dentist on your child’s next visit.

Nutrition and Oral Health

Make sure to kick-start your child’s dental routine as soon as you get home from the hospital by wiping his gums with a wet gauze pad. Once your child’s teeth have erupted, make sure to brush his teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Ask your dentist when you can start using fluoride toothpaste and how much you can use.

Serving healthy and well-balanced meals with limited use of sugary or starchy foods can encourage healthy teeth and limit tooth decay. They can also encourage your child’s baby teeth to grow and develop properly.

Remember to brush your child’s teeth after eating. If that isn’t always possible, have him drink water or rinse out his mouth after eating to neutralize or wash away the acids.

Make Your Child Comfortable with Oral Care

Giving your child a lot of time to become familiar with his dentist’s clinic can help reduce his anxiety to a large extent. You should help your child find his comfort zone, help him explore the dental clinic, and understand the dental procedure as much as possible.

Timings Matter

Some people are able to cope better at different times of the day and the same goes for children.

Mornings are ideal as children still have a lot of energy. However, for children who are diabetic, make sure to ask his doctor as there are certain procedures that need special requirements. One good example is blood sugar.

Break Stereotypes and Work with What Your Child is Comfortable With

It is not necessary for your child to get his dental check-up done in a dental chair as has been stereotyped for adults. He can have his check-up done wherever he feels comfortable. He can get his teeth and mouth checked whether he’s in his wheelchair or sitting on your lap.

I hope that these 8 oral health care tips help your children maintain good oral health and experience healthy and happy lives without being plagued by dental problems.

The post Dental Care for Children With Special Needs appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Theranos gets $100 million in debt financing to carry it through 2018, with some caveats

 Theranos has secured $100 million in debt financing. Yes, someone gave the blood testing company known for handing out questionable test results money.
First reported by Business Insider, the company reportedly told investors it had secured the money from Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based private equity firm that was acquired by Softbank earlier this year.
Of course, this is debt… Read More

How to Boost Metabolism: 8 Foods That Can Skyrocket Your Weight Loss

I’ve got a secret to tell you.

Your body has one powerful tool it can use to start burning fat like crazy. That same tool can also make you gain weight and store all those excess fats in all areas of your body.

Can you guess what it is?

It’s your thyroid.

It’s that tiny gland located in your neck, right below the Adam’s apple. It has dozens of different functions and effects, but perhaps the most important one is metabolism regulation.

thyroid gland
Via webmd

What is metabolism?

In layman’s terms, metabolism is the speed and intensity of all biochemical reactions and processes happening in your body. It is defined by a lot of different factors, among which endocrine regulation plays a crucial role.

Actually, that’s why some people are naturally thin while other folks are chubby.

Imagine it as an engine and the fuel is your body fat.

The faster it goes, the more fuel it burns.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

So, how do you kick-start your metabolism, especially if its natural rates are much lower than you’d prefer? Is there a way to safely tweak your endocrine system to boost the rate of your body’s chemical reactions?

That’s where your thyroid plays a crucial role.

Thyroxine: The Ultimate Metabolism Booster

Thyroxine, also known as T4, is one of the main hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Its primary role is to be transformed into triiodothyronine (T3), which is the active form of this hormone.

Yep, thyroxine isn’t that active. So, why do we call it the ultimate metabolism booster in this article?

The main trick here is that you can’t elevate T3 levels directly, but it is possible to improve T4 secretion. Thyroxine will then be converted into T3 and this will skyrocket your metabolism, resulting in a significant fat loss.

Now, let’s get specific and take a good look at what your thyroid needs and how to boost your metabolism through it.

The Essentials for Having Good Thyroxine

Iodine

This is the staple component of all thyroid hormones: none of them can be synthesized without iodine. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that iodine deficiency quickly results in hypothyroidism. It’s a health condition during which your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroxine and triiodothyronine.

Studies indicate that almost 2 million people around the world have a certain degree of iodine deficiency and it often remains undiagnosed due to the mildness of the symptoms.

Weakness, fatigability, decreased mood, and excess weight are among the usual ones. Most people would think that they’re just bad effects of chronic stress and would do nothing about them.

Selenium

This essential micro-nutrient plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your thyroid gland. It doesn’t only improve the production of thyroid hormones but it can also help alleviate the course of some health conditions, like Hashimoto’s disease. It’s an autoimmune condition that gradually destroys the thyroid, often without any prominent symptoms besides mild reduction in hormone levels.

Just imagine, taking 0.2 mg of selenium daily can improve the antibodies count by a whole 21% during Hashimoto’s!

Vitamin C and Zinc

A study published in 2008 analyzed whether there was any consistent vitamin C and/or zinc deficiency in patients with benign thyroid diseases. It turns out that all of the examined patients had low levels of these nutrients, suggesting that they may also play a crucial role in keeping your thyroid healthy.

Vitamin D

Multiple studies, including this one from 2013, showed that people with low thyroid hormone levels usually have low vitamin D levels as well. This emphasizes the importance of this vitamin in maintaining a healthy thyroid function.

On the other hand, studies affirm that over 40% of American adults have a certain level of vitamin D deficiency. Who knows, maybe this is one of the reasons why excess weight and obesity are all over US?

But, fear not.

We won’t let you go with just this vague piece of advice. Below you’ll find a fabulous list of 10 specific foods that increase thyroxine secretion. Eat them regularly and you’ll be able to boost your metabolism in no time.

8 Foods that Boost Thyroxine Naturally

Seafood

seafood thyroxine rich food

All kinds of seaweeds (algae), shellfish (oysters, shrimp, clams, scallops, octopuses, squids), and fish (preferably wild-caught) are fabulous sources of iodine.

The best thing about increasing your iodine intake naturally, instead of looking for some sort of shady supplement, is that you can’t overdose on dietary iodine. Your body will take as much as it needs, increasing your body’s thyroxine synthesis to its natural levels.

Brazil nuts

brazil nuts thyroxine food

This is one of the richest sources of dietary selenium ever. A single ounce (6-8 nuts) of Brazil nuts contains over 500 mcg of selenium!

The RDA for this nutrient is 55 mcg/day, so snacking on 1 to 3 nuts will be more than enough to skyrocket your thyroxine production. Also, these nuts are just delicious, so that’s an all-win advice.

Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds thyroxine rich food

A cup of these beauties provides almost half of your recommended daily value of zinc (6.6 mg out of 15 mg).

Bonus benefit: A study has revealed that pumpkin seed extracts could reduce the risk of breast cancer. These seeds are rich in dietary fibers, magnesium, and plant-based omega-3s, too.

Guava, Blackcurrant, Red Pepper, Kiwi

guava thyroxine rich food

Can you guess what do these 4 delicious foods have in common? They are all incredibly rich in vitamin C.

Just imagine:

A single guava can give you more than 6 times your RDA for ascorbic acid. Surely, that’s more than enough to support your thyroid.

Cod liver oil

cod liver oil thyroxine rich food

A single teaspoon of cod liver oil contains 440 IU of vitamin D. This is more than enough to cover your recommended daily dose of this valuable nutrient.

Sunlight

sunlight

This is your most reliable and accessible way to get some vitamin D. 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sunlight exposure 2 or 3 times per week should be enough—and don’t forget to put on your sunscreen right after that!

You see, vitamin D can be produced in your body from the cholesterol in the skin and that’s a great way to get enough of it at all times.

Quick Recap

If you want to boost your metabolism and lose weight for good, one of the most reliable ways to do that is to support the function of your thyroid gland and to help it to produce more thyroxine (T4).

This hormone is inactive itself but quickly transforms into triiodothyronine (T3), boosting your metabolism big time. We can’t elevate our T3 levels directly, but T4 is under our control.

To keep it soaring and healthy, keep track of the following things:

  • Have enough iodine in your diet. Stack on seafood and don’t worry about having too much of it. You can’t get an iodine overdose from eating shrimps.
  • Control your selenium intake. Most people don’t get enough of it but if you want to have healthy thyroxine levels, you should. Snack on 1 to 3 Brazil nuts each day and you’ll be great!
  • Zinc, zinc, zinc. Another micro-nutrient that most Westerners don’t get enough of in their diet is zinc. Don’t follow their path and get your zinc straight for a healthy thyroid. To do so, just carry a pack of pumpkin seeds with you every day. These little fellas are not only a fabulous source of fibers but also a sheer zinc bomb! One cup per day gives you more than half of the recommended daily amount.
  • Keep track of your vitamin C. No, no need to eat lemons. Instead, opt for guava, blackcurrant, red peppers, and kiwi.
  • Go for a walk! 10 minutes of sunlight exposure is more than enough to make your body produce the vitamin D it needs. Just don’t forget to put on your sunscreen after those 10 minutes, not before them.

See Also: 5 Healthy and Delicious Juice Recipes for Easier Weight Loss

The post How to Boost Metabolism: 8 Foods That Can Skyrocket Your Weight Loss appeared first on Dumb Little Man.