November 29, 2011

Taking Care of Your Skin While Traveling to Warm Climates

skinSkin care is a very important thing for many people. Fair skinned individuals especially have to take care of themselves when traveling to warm climates in order to protect their skin.

Without properly taking care of their skin, individuals risk:

- Sun burn
- Skin cancer
- Heat or sun rashes.

Taking the risks into account, taking care of your skin while out in the sun is extremely important. It is not worth the risk to be out in the sun for an extended period of time without proper protection with sunscreen. Having a sunscreen of SPF 15 will protect you a little bit, but for people that are very susceptible to sunburn SPF 40 should be used.

Understandably, when most people visit warm places for vacation, we want to be able to enjoy the sun and the warmth and get a tan. One work around to being smart with the care of your skin is to go out into the sun for 15-30 minutes and after the first 15-30 minutes put sunscreen on for the rest of the day.

Wearing a big hat, although goofy will save your head from the warmth and your face and neck from strong UV rays.

What To Do If You Do Get Sunburned ?

Taking care of your skin after you get sunburned is just as important as taking care of it to prevent a sunburn. Sometimes your sunburn wears off, gets washed off, or you forget to put it on and are gone from the hotel for a whole day. The best thing for a sunburn is prevention. If you are unable to prevent a sunburn, aloe is one of the best soothers of your skin. Aloe is a natural product coming from Aloe plants that literally cools and heals your skin on impact.

There are many different forms of aloe that can be used, including gels (extract from the plant), actual aloe plants that you can break off and open up and get the gel from inside which is a completely natural way, or by getting lotions that have aloe in them.

Personally I prefer the aloe gels that you can buy at any major department, pharmacy, or grocery store. They are sticky and make your skin sticky, but aloe gel provides the best soothing relief instantly.

If you have ever been sunburned, you will know that taking a shower can be very painful. Turning the temperature down for your shower will keep you from feeling completely miserable from showering or bathing. After your shower have your aloe ready to be applied (and do not be scarce!).

Taking care of your skin when you are traveling is very important. Prevention is the most important step to taking proper care of your skin in warm weather. Sunscreen and wearing a hat are great steps for keeping your skin safe. If you are exposed to the sun, taking care of it with aloe and further protection from getting a sunburn are your best options.

Fever While Pregnant – Can it Harm Your Baby

fever while pregnantFever is considered when the temperature goes beyond 99 degree Fahrenheit (37 degree Celsius). The normal temperature of our body is 98.4 degree Fahrenheit (36.8 degree Celsius). There are several mechanisms in our body that helps us to maintain this level. But fever is a condition where there is release of different chemicals that increase the temperature. Certain hormones are also released that augments this mechanism.

During the first three months of pregnancy, the rate of growth for the baby is maximum. It is this period; a woman needs much calorie intake also. Slight increase in temperature will not have any bad impact over the baby, but any temperature crossing 103 degrees Fahrenheit (39.4 degree Celsius) will hamper the fetal development. Even miscarriage has been reported from pregnant mothers having high grade of fever.

Different types of proteins are generated during the fetal development. Temperature is a determining factor during synthesis of protein. If the temperature is increased, there may be altered synthesis and congenital fetal anomaly may be there.

During the last trimester (last three months), when the development of the baby is almost completed (there is increase of the size of the fetus only), fever may not have any bad impact to the fetal growth. But intrauterine infection has to be ruled out at this period. In any case, if the mother suffers from fever at any point of pregnancy, she must consult her doctor.

Each and every medication has to be chosen carefully during pregnancy. There are several medicines that adversely affect the fetal development. As for example, Paracetamol is safe during pregnancy, but using Ibuprofen, Aspirin and Nimesulide has to be avoided. These drugs block the action of prostaglandin, an important hormone that is essentially required in pregnancy. Hypertensive mothers, who used to take aspirin, should consult their doctor. There are other drugs that can be prescribed at this time.

What is Your Ideal Weight and How to Maintain It

ideal foodHealth is wealth and maintaining health is the sole responsibility of yours. But you are free to eat whatever your tongue likes. The onus lies upon you whether you want or don’t want to become flabby like Hardy (in the famous comic character) or become somebody having a stout figure. Maintaining an ideal weight not only gives you a better shape, but a healthy people is always at a distance from some grave diseases like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Around the world, more than 800 million people are so obese, that they need someone’s assistance to live a daily life. Now you have to choose whether you want to get your ideal weight or not.

Talking about ideal weight brings the discussion of your height. This is the key to get the ideal weight. As height is different in various ethnic groups, ideal weight also varies from country to country. Ideal weight is not the same for an African man to a Chinese man. Again ideal height is different in between sexes. Ideal weight of a male American will be different from a female from the same country. Therefore, ideal weight has to be calculated in a scale depending upon the ethnic group and the sex.

Getting your ideal weight is difficult, but maintaining it is more so. You have to do a lot of exercises and diet control to reach the ideal weight respective of your height. As you attain the level, the hitch that negatively affects the enduring process is dedication. It is quite obvious to come when you don’t have a goal. But losing your morale will not do. You have to be very careful at this stage. You have to carry on diet control (I am not saying to cut down those foods you like, you can have them occasionally) and the exercise also. As we grow older, the strength of our muscles weakens. This is more understandable over our abdominal and hip muscles. The tone of the muscles becomes lose and we can have pot belly. Fat accumulation over this area makes the scenario more disgusting. Therefore, you have to continue exercises dedicated to abdomen and hips.

Next come the muscles of the chest. Gentle work out with the weight will suffice. Our intention will be keep the muscles in their proper tone and shape. We cannot do any good to the sagging breasts, but proper toning of pectoral muscles will definitely lift the breast. Doing regular exercises will tone up muscles from all over your body.

Try to calculate daily calorie intake and the amount you are burning. Although it is difficult to estimate these in true sense, you must make out an approximate amount. Your diet should be full of green leafy vegetables and whole grain cereals. Try to incorporate as much fiber as you can in your diet. It will help in lowering cholesterol. Occasional ice-creams, chocolates, burgers will not bring harm, but be careful to skip it in your everyday diet.

In this fast paced world we tend to depend upon fast foods that are, I am afraid to say, not healthy. You have to maintain your ideal weight to become hale and hearty.


Calculate Your BMI to Remain Healthy

calculate BMIThere are more than 800 Million obese people around the world who needs some assistance to lead their normal life. Obesity is widespread and has become an epidemic nowadays. It does not only look ugly to be obese but it is a predisposing factor for many diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, heart attack and coronary thrombosis. Earlier, we did not have a tool to measure how much obese is a patient. It is only in 1996 when Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian scholar in anthropometry developed a formula to calculate obesity. This was the beginning of BMI or Body Mass Index. BMI estimates total body weight in terms of height and gives us a ratio.

We have a misconception that BMI only measures body fat. It’s not true. As BMI needs your total body weight to produce a ratio, it cannot calculate the amount of fat alone. And there is no need to calculate the amount of fat alone to in any kind of weight reduction program. This is because you have to control the total body weight, not isolated fatty tissue.

The easiest measure to calculate BMI is your weight in Kilograms divided by square of your height in meter. In another calculation, measure your weight in ponds. Multiply it with the factor 703. Then divide it with square of your height represented in inches.

Ideal BMI is different in various ethnic groups, depending upon their ideal height. According to the classification of World Health Organization, a person will be diagnosed as severely underweight if the BMI is less than 16.5. He will be underweight if BMI is in between 16.5 to 18.5. Normal BMI is 18.5 to 25. He will be overweight if BMI is 25 to 30, class I obese 25-35, class II obese 35-40 and morbidly obese if BMI is more than 40.

Here is a pictorial representation of the BMI, both in pounds and kilogram:

You can take the print out of this picture and tabulate the BMI to get the status of your body weight.

Adult representation of BMI cannot be accepted in case of children. Although the calculation is pretty same as in case of adults, the BMI for children has to be compared to the normal BMI for that particular age group. Then it becomes a percentile calculation to the age and sex group.

Doctors are using BMI for diagnosis and estimating the prognosis of a patient. However, BMI has its own shortcomings. It cannot be relied upon in an athlete or elderly. As BMI is dependent on height and weight, it may erroneously calculate a high BMI for an athlete having more muscle bulk and low BMI for an elderly having less lean muscles.

How you can use BMI in reduction of your weight? First of all you have to get the ideal BMI. Take realistic steps like diet control and regular exercises to reduce weight. The target for losing weight should ideally be 500 grams to 1 kilo per week. And always consult your doctor before jumping into conclusion. Calculate your BMI ever week to see the difference.

Also you can calculate your BMI on your home page.

How to Improve Your Vision without Going to Doctor

visionOur eyes are, by far, the greatest possession we have. Without it, the whole world will go into darkness. Unfortunately, as we grow older, the sharpness in our vision decreases. This may be due to some diseases or a natural aging process. Cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes, retinal detachment, eye trauma, Vitamin-A deficiency, chronic purulent conjunctivitis are some common conditions to bring dimness in our vision. Nevertheless, we want our vision should remain perfect all the time. For that we have to adopt something that can improve vision.

We can do it by three ways – by modifying or supplementing our diet with vision friendly foods, modifying our lifestyle and by doing some eye exercises. Let us discuss about the foods first:

Breakfast with carrot soup – carrots are rich source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. These two elements are very much helpful in proper vision.

Take 100 grams of blueberry pieces and mix it with 100 grams of yogurt. Blueberries are very much helpful in reducing the age related macular degeneration.

Aspalathus, an herb native to South Africa contains antioxidants akin to blueberry. It helps in promoting vision besides boosting up immune system.

Spinach is also good to your eye. Take spinach soup, steamed spinach or spinach quiche 2-3 times in a week.

Bilberry jam is another food to help in betterment of vision.

Sea fishes are good source of antioxidants. You can have them as much as you can.

Red onion, sweet potatoes, pumpkins are again good source of Vitamin A. Include them in your diet.

Extract of the Mahonia grape seeds can save your retinal blood vessels from UV rays. It particularly helps in slowing of the natural aging process of the eyes.

Now what can you do about lifestyle modification. While sitting inside your car, lower down the AC vents away from your eyes. Air-conditioning can create dry eyes. Regular exercise can improve blood circulation in your eye.

There are some exercises dedicated to improve your vision.

Sit on a chair in a relaxed position. A quiet environment is preferred. Rub your palms until they become warm enough. Cover your eyes by the palms in a cupped manner. Hold it until the palms become cold again. Repeat the whole procedure for 4-5 times.

Remove you palm. Firmly close the eyelids. Then gently try to open them with your fingers. Continue this procedure for 3-4 minutes. Then gently apply pressure over the eyeball with the ball of your respective thumb. Massage the eyelids in a circular motion for 2-3 minutes.

Open your eyes. Roll the eyeball clockwise and counter-clockwise. Each rotation should continue for 2 minutes. Make sure you blink in between the change of movements.

Now sit beside a window. Place a pencil or a candle about six inches from the eye. Now fix your gaze at the horizon. Continue it for 1 minute. Then rapidly fix your gaze at the tip of the pencil. The process of changing the vision should take less than a second.

All these exercises explained here are especially designed to improve the condition of the muscles present around the eyes.

Together with the exercises and the appropriate foods, you can improve your vision considerably.


Metabolism and your weight

You likely know your metabolism is linked to your weight. But do you know how?
Common belief holds that a slim person’s metabolism is high and an overweight person’s metabolism is low. But this isn’t always the case. Metabolism alone doesn’t determine your weight.
Weight is also dependent on the balance of calories consumed versus calories burned. Take in more calories than your body needs, and you gain weight. Take in less and you lose weight. Metabolism, then, is the engine that burns these calories and is the scale that regulates your energy needs.

Stated simply, metabolism is the process by which your body converts food into energy. During this biochemical process, calories — from carbohydrates, fats and proteins — are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.

The number of calories your body burns each day is called your total energy expenditure. The following three factors make up your total energy expenditure:

Basic needs. Even when your body is at rest, it requires energy for the basics, such as fuel for organs, breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, plus growing and repairing cells. Calories expended to cover these basic functions are your basal metabolic rate.

Typically, a person’s basal metabolic rate is the largest portion of energy use, representing two-thirds to three-quarters of the calories used each day. Energy needs for these basic functions stay fairly consistent and aren’t easily changed.

Food processing. Digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing the food you consume also takes calories. This accounts for about 10 percent of the calories used each day. For the most part, your body’s energy requirement to process food stays relatively steady and isn’t easily changed.

Physical activity. Physical activity — such as playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog and any other movement — accounts for the remainder of calories used. You control the number of calories burned depending on the frequency, duration and intensity of your activities.

It may seem logical to think that significant weight gain or being overweight is always related to a low metabolism or possibly even a condition such as under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). In reality, there are many factors that play a role. Most people who are overweight don’t have an underlying medical condition, however a medical evaluation can determine whether a medical condition could be influencing your weight.

One of the key factors for Weight gain is an energy imbalance — consuming more calories than your body burns. To lose weight, then, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories, increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity, or preferably both.

If you and everyone else were physically and functionally identical, it would be easy to determine the standard energy needs. But many factors influence calorie requirements, including body size and composition, age, and sex.

To function properly, a bigger body mass requires more energy (more calories) than does a smaller body mass. Also, muscle burns more calories than fat does. So the more muscle you have in relation to fat, the higher your basal metabolic rate.

As you get older, the amount of lean body muscle tends to decrease. As a result, Metabolism slows and fat begins to account for more of your weight. Together these changes reduce your calorie needs.

Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight. This is why men generally have a higher basal metabolic rate and burn more calories than women do.

Your ability to change your basal metabolism is limited. However, you can increase daily exercise and activity to build muscle tissue and burn more calories. Recent clinical studies have proven that in addition to exercise, some dietary supplements can actually help increase your metabolic rate and reverse the effect age has on your metabolism.
Although metabolism influences your energy needs, it’s your food intake and physical activity that will ultimately determine your long term weight loss success.
Losing weight, like any task you undertake, requires that you have dedication and motivation to succeed. This means you need to get your head in the right place.

How Does Your Weight Stack Up?

weightToday health care providers use a measure called BMI, short for Body Mass Index. This gives a good measure of your total body fat. BMI compares your height and weight. It shows if you are underweight, at a healthy weight or overweight. Check out what your

BMI is by using the BMI calculator.
BMI Category
Below 18.5 Underweight
Between 18.5-24.9 Healthy Weight
Between 25-29.9 Overweight
Over 30 Obese
Over 40 Extreme Obesity

Look at the BMI chart to find out how much weight you need to lose to move from obese to overweight or from overweight into a healthy range. Knowing this can help you set a good weight loss goal.

An Apple or a Pear?
Did you know that being an apple shape — more fat around your middle, rather than a pear shape — more fat around your hips; puts you at greater risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease? Another measure you can take is your waist circumference — how far it is
around your waist. Just take a tape measure (flexible soft one is best) and place it snugly (not tight) around your waist. Compare the length around your waist to the number below. If the length of your waist is to the same or bigger than the numbers below, you have too much weight around your waist.
Waist Circumference:
Men: over 40 inches
Women: over 35 inches

Safeguard Your Heart

heartThe latest findings on heart disease are nothing unexpected: It’s the number one killer of American men, claiming a life about every 30 seconds. Most young, fit guys shuffle statistics like these into a mental file titled, “Doesn’t apply to me.” But no matter how old (or young) you are, the only way to stay on top of your game is to know your risk factors and take the right steps to avoid problems down the road. We talked with two heart experts to find out everything you need to know to guarantee your ticker stays stronger longer.

In Your 20s

“There’s a common problem among men in their twenties,” says Dr. Eric Topel, M.D., director of Scripps Translational Science Institute. “They don’t know they’re vulnerable [to heart disease].” Your twenties are the prefect time to establish heart-healthy diet and exercise habits that’ll extend your expiration date. That means 30 minutes of exercise five times a week and maintaining a healthy weight and cholesterol level—LDL below 160 mg/dL, HDL of at least 40 mg/dL, and a triglyceride level below 199 mg/dL, according to Dr. Topel.

Every 20-something average Joe needs an annual physical to evaluate HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting lipid profile, blood pressure, and family history. If the checkup goes well, one appointment is enough to clear your conscious. But if you’re an athlete or you hit the weight room more than five times a week, ask your doctor for an echocardiogram to ensure you don’t have a heart abnormality,” says Dr. John Elefteriades, M.D., the chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Yale University.

“If you have a silent aneurism (one that doesn’t cause you to feel symptoms), you’re susceptible to internal splitting of the aorta,” Dr. Elefteriades says. An echocardiogram is the only way to detect this problem. The test also spots dilated cardiomyopathy (a condition of heart failure in which the heart gets stretched too big and too thin) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an inherited condition where the heart muscle is overgrown).

Your 20s Checklist:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  • Annual physicals
  • Echocardiogram
  • Cholesterol: LDL less than 160 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  • Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 199 mg/dL

In Your 30s

Although most heart conditions are strongly hereditary, they don’t always manifest as early as your twenties, Dr. Elefteriades said. So along with your standard health check, schedule another echocardiogram 10 years after the first one—especially if you’re regularly weight lifting, wrestling, playing football, or participating in any sport with short bursts of activity.

Men older than 35 should also have an electrocardiogram (EKG), which traces the electrical waves of the heart, every 5 years. This test will show evidence of hardening of the heart’s arteries (arthrosclerosis)—a preventable and treatable condition that restricts blood flow and may cause a blood clot.

Your 30s Checklist:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  • Annual physicals
  • Echocardiogram, 10 years after the first
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG), if older than 35
  • Cholesterol: LDL less than 160 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  • Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 199 mg/dL

In Your 40s

When you hit 40, your doctor should start monitoring the overall degree of inflammation within your body with C-reactive protein (CRP) testing. The higher your CRP level, the higher your risk of cardiovascular disease. But there’s no need to make an extra appointment for this one—the same simple blood test that checks your cholesterol levels measures CRP levels. The best way to keep CRP levels in check? Regular exercise.

Your 40s Checklist:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  • Annual physicals
  • Echocardiogram, 10 years after your last one
  • EKG, 5 years after your last one
  • Cholesterol: LDL less than 160 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  • Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 199 mg/dL
  • C-reactive protein: Less than 1 mg per liter

In Your 50s

Fifty is the typical age men develop coronary heart disease, according to Dr. Topel. The prevention prescription? An exercise stress test. This test, sometimes called a treadmill test, monitors how well your heart handles work. As you walk or pedal on an exercise machine, the electrical activity of your heart and your blood pressure are measured. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must pump more blood.

The test will pick up subtle arteriosclerosis (blockage of the coronary arteries), and determine the cause of any chest pain and the exercise capacity of your heart. A stress test isn’t a necessary for men younger than fifty unless you have a strong family history of heart disease, according to Dr. Elefteriades.

Your 50s Checklist:

  • 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  • Annual physicals
  • Echocardiogram, 10 years after your last one
  • EKG, 5 years after your last one
  • Exercise stress test
  • Cholesterol: LDL less than 160 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  • Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 199 mg/dL
  • C-reactive protein: Less than 1 mg per liter

At Every Age

If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath due to exertion, get to the hospital right away. These are the two primary symptoms of heart disease and should never go unchecked. “Men are deniers,” Dr. Elefteriades says. “It’s usually someone else in their lives—wife, girlfriend, mom—that forces them to confront symptoms.” Other warning signs to speak up about are light-headedness and heart palpitations (an abnormal heart beat).