Showing posts from July 22, 2018

Insufficient salt consumption can be dangerous

(BPT) - New York City mandates it and now Philadelphia is considering it. “It” is salt warnings on menu labels for any item considered too high in salt. The average American eats about 3,400 mg./day of sodium and recent studies indicate that’s just about the right amount. Regardless, the federal government continues to recommend that people eat a maximum of between 1,500 and 2,400 mg./day of sodium. Yet, there is almost no population on earth that consumes this little salt.

A 2014 study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, tested sodium consumption in more than 100,000 people in 18 countries. The study found that the healthy range for salt consumption was between 3,000 and 5,000 mg./day. The amount of salt Americans eat per day is on the low end of this range. Consuming insufficient amounts of salt can lead to the development of insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular failure, dehydration, unsteadiness, loss of cognition and death.

Dr. Michael Alderman and Dr. Hill…

What do neckties, yoga poses and vegetables have to do with my eyes?

(BPT) - Most of us know lifestyle changes can improve our overall health. Exercising more, eating more vegetables and not smoking all have an effect on blood flow in the body, which can affect our overall health.

What many don’t realize is that when blood flow is blocked or slows down, the health of our eyes can also be affected. That means that wearing neckties too tight or doing certain yoga poses, such as the downward dog, can increase pressure in the eyes, which can lead to an eye disease called glaucoma. Glaucoma has few warning signs, and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60. Being overweight or having high blood pressure can increase a person’s risk for another common eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.

Vision loss — or even worse, blindness — can negatively impact the quality of life, independence and the ability to do daily things such as driving, reading or seeing…

90 percent of homes have hard water: What are the effects?

(BPT) - Hard water, which contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, can be found in nearly 90 percent of American homes. These minerals cause scaling, a buildup that clogs waterlines and plumbing forcing appliances to work harder and operate less efficiently. The scale may also harbor bacteria. The only way to truly remove the hard and soft scale from household water systems is with salt-based water softeners.

The benefits of salt-based water softening are significant. Hard water scaling can cause your showerhead to lose up to 75 percent of its flow rate in 18 months. Hard water also interacts negatively with soap, reducing its cleaning power. Soft water is up to 12 times more effective at cleaning dishes than increasing the amount of detergent used.

According to the Water Quality Research Foundation for washing machines, the most important factor in removing stains from clothing was water softness. Reduction of water hardness was up to 100 times more effective at stain removal …

Don't suffer in silence if you have these symptoms

(BPT) - "As a doctor, I want patients to have open conversations with me about any symptoms they may experience without feeling uncomfortable," said Dr. Howard Franklin, MBA, vice president of medical affairs and strategy at Salix Pharmaceuticals. "But, I understand that patients may sometimes choose not to talk about symptoms they find embarrassing." Such is the case when it comes to discussing bowel movements. For people who experience abdominal pain and diarrhea, it is important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor as they may be signs of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D).
A report published by the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that up to 75 percent of individuals living with irritable bowel syndrome may be undiagnosed. You are not alone.
For the up to 16 million Americans living with IBS-D, it is often an uncomfortable disorder that can reduce a patient’s quality of life. IBS-D affects twice as many women as men and often occurs …

5 deep-cleaning jobs that are oddly satisfying

(BPT) - Whether it’s scrubbing through grime to reveal a sparkling surface, cleaning dust bunnies from under appliances or organizing your pantry, there’s something oddly satisfying about a deep clean.

According to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Clorox, lots of people get the good vibes flowing when it’s cleaning day. Seventy-one percent say it makes them feel relaxed, while 57 percent say they feel accomplished.

Of the most oddly satisfying places to clean in the house, 34 percent say they find their bliss after cleaning the countertops, while a clean microwave lends that special feeling to another 30 percent.
To reach that spring cleaning joy, try some of these not-so-obvious cleaning jobs that will transform the look and feel of your space into a springtime sanctuary.

Grout: Over time, mold and mildew buildup can make your bathroom grout look dingy, but with the right approach, the grout stains will disappear. Start by wetting the tile with a cloth. Then, dip a sponge into …

5 symptoms of menopause and how to control them

(BPT) - The use of hormone therapy (HT) can minimize risks and maximize menopausal relief for common symptoms like hot flashes, dryness, mood swings, fractured sleep, brain fog, irritability and weight gain, according to Dr. Mache Seibel, author of The Estrogen Fix. When taken at the right time, estrogen therapy can lead to substantial improvements in health and quality of life and lower the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and dementia. Women should be aware of one caveat: Beginning estrogen after a woman’s estrogen window closes at age 65 may increase their risk for breast cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis.

Heeding advice about how and when to stop taking HT is important and revealed in new studies featured in Seibel’s book. The book reaffirms the safety of vaginal estrogen, as well as its effectiveness in controlling weight; it outlines newly available estrogens and progesterones and offers the latest hormone-free FDA solutions for women with vaginal dryn…

Gut check: Eat the right kinds of whole grains with the right kinds of fiber to cut cancer risk

(BPT) - Can cutting back on whole grains be bad for your gut and deadly to your health? Though some popular diets promote the elimination of grains, a recent report from the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests this may be ill-advised.

Researchers say 47 percent of colorectal cancers can be prevented with lifestyle changes, such as adding whole grains to your diet and exercising more. Eating three daily servings of whole grains reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 17 percent, the report says.

But the link between whole grains and cancer may be confusing. After all, the major benefit of whole grains is fiber, and fiber is fiber, right?

Here’s the paradox about fiber: Americans have increased their consumption of fiber, including whole grains. In spite of that, bowel cancer is still one the most common types of cancer. Not all fiber is alike. Understanding how whole grains and their fiber types go to work in the gut may hold the key to reducing the risk of colorectal can…

Use these sleep tips to stay safe and productive at work

(BPT) - It’s time for America’s workforce to wake up. If you are one of the tens of millions of adults sleeping fewer than seven hours each night — the amount recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) — you are likely jeopardizing performance, increasing accident risks and putting everyone in danger during commutes. Getting enough sleep every night is key to improving productivity, safety and quality of life.
Here are some tips to make sleep work for you.

Don’t burn the midnight oil
Working late nights might impress your boss, but restricting your sleep can lead to trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling emotions and more, severely affecting your productivity at work. The National Safety Council reports that workers who sleep fewer than six hours per night cost employers six days a year in productivity.

Sleep for safety
Workers who sleep less than six hours per night are also at higher risk for injury, according to the Sleep Research Society. Cognitiv…

The travel warrior's nutrition guide: 5 easy steps to be healthy on the go

(BPT) - U.S. residents logged 1.7 billion trips for leisure purposes in 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and this number will likely grow in 2018. Whether you’re traveling for leisure or business, you shouldn’t lose sight of nutrition. It’s common to think, “Hey, I’m on vacation, so I can throw my healthy diet out the window.” Wrong. Traveling can throw the body for a loop with time zone changes, shifts in sleep schedules and the availability of fast, convenient and highly processed foods.

Use these five easy steps to make sure you stay healthy on the go this year.

1. Pack healthy snacks.
Dining while on the go usually translates to getting a quick hunger fix that involves processed, high-fat foods. Make a conscious effort to pack healthy snacks. Apples and nut butter, pretzels and hummus and dried, no-sugar-added fruit are a few healthy options.

2. Lighten your luggage.
It’s all too common for travelers to try to max out the weight of their checked luggage, which often …

Call 811 before digging for home improvement projects and landscaping this summer

(BPT) - With spring having officially begun, many eager homeowners and landscape professionals across the country will roll up their sleeves and reach for their shovels to start projects that require digging this season.

During the transition into “digging season,” Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the organization dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, reminds homeowners and professional diggers that calling 811 is the first step toward protecting you and your community from the risk of unintentionally damaging an underground line.
Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a free call to 811. Installing a mailbox or fence, building a deck and landscaping are all examples of digging projects that should only begin a few days after making a call to 811. Calling this number connects you to your local one-call utility notification center.

According to data collected by CGA in a phone survey in February, million…

Love dairy but it doesn't love you? Tips for going dairy-free

(BPT) - Do you love dairy, but usually regret eating it shortly after it’s gone? That sour stomach after drinking milk, munching on cheese or eating ice cream is sometimes called a dairy hangover. The culprit: lactose. Lactose is a milk sugar. Infants have special enzymes that break down lactose. As people grow, the ability to digest milk typically decreases because they lose these enzymes. In fact, approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest milk and foods made with milk after infancy, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance
If you’ve had the following symptoms after eating dairy products, you may be lactose intolerant:
* Gas
* Bloating
* Abdominal cramping
* Diarrhea
* Nausea
If you or your children have these symptoms, there are many things you can do. First, talk with your doctor or nutritionist about your health concerns. Second, consider keeping a food journal of what you eat and how it makes you feel. T…

The busy parent's guide to weekday meals

(BPT) - It’s amazing what parents do in a day. You help your kids with homework, drive them to and from practice, whip up a meal everyone will like, make sure they brush their teeth ... the list goes on. Not to mention you have a job to go to. It’s a wonder parents can ever find a few minutes to relax.
While hectic can be an understatement when it comes to describing a day in the life of a parent, there are some simple and savvy ways you can save time and energy when preparing meals. Here are five tips for providing delicious weekday meals for the entire family.

1. Get in the habit of meal planning. Most people don’t realize how much time they spend stressing out about what to make for dinner each night. Something as simple as planning a weekly menu in advance can make things infinitely easier. Try sitting down on Sunday, writing down what you want to eat on each day that week and shopping accordingly. This is a simple and effective way to streamline the whole process.

2. Embrace conve…

Problem Gambling: Know When to Stop Before You Start

(BPT) - The bright lights. The energy and laughter that fills the room. Casinos are fun and exciting to the vast majority of people but for some, they can be problematic.

Casinos are a form of entertainment, so how do you ensure what’s meant to be a fun and leisurely activity continues to be a positive experience? Time spent at a casino should be a planned and budgeted entertainment option — like you would approach an evening out for dinner or a sporting event. There are preventative measures that can be taken to help ensure that an experience at a casino remains a fun one.

Leading experts in the field of gambling research maintain that it starts with being an informed consumer who understands the realities of gaming. “Being informed means understanding your thoughts about the next big win, beating the odds, and finding the hot machine or deck of cards,” said Dr. James Whelan of the University of Memphis. “Misunderstanding these thoughts about chance can lead to harmful mistakes and …

5 questions to ask before making a charitable contribution

(BPT) - Giving back by donating to a nonprofit can help you feel more connected to your community and have a lasting impact for someone else. In many cases, deciding where to donate your hard-earned funds can be overwhelming. After all, the array of groups requesting donations is substantial and includes 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the U.S. alone.

In 2017, overall giving to U.S. nonprofits grew approximately 4.1 percent, compared to 2016. Because there are more than a million nonprofits to choose from, the decision of where to donate requires serious thought. When looking to donate, you should set some key criteria for choosing a group that means something to you. During that process, you should consider the following five questions:

1. Does the organization have a history of success? Take a good look at when it was founded, exactly how it has helped people and what it has accomplished to date. Do its achievements align with your ideas as to how the world can best be improved…

5 clever hacks to simplify any family's morning routine

(BPT) - Getting the family out the door on time every morning is no small feat. Seemingly simple tasks like getting dressed, packing backpacks and making breakfast can quickly turn into chaos. Before you know it, you're running late and the kids haven't even eaten as you dash to the car.
Stop dreading the stressful start to the day and start taking control of your mornings. A few simple tips and tricks will turn the morning craze into smooth sailing. Plus, when you have a stress-free start, the rest of the day just seems to go better.

Select a week's worth of clothes Sunday night.
Instead of choosing outfits the night prior, supersize your time-saving efforts by doing this task just once on Sunday night. Involve kids in selecting their clothes for the week so they feel empowered in their choices. Then hang entire outfits in the closet or stack in one drawer dedicated to weekday wear. When mornings come, kids know exactly where to find the day's duds. Bonus: you don'…

Farming program helps neighbors in rural America fight hunger

Breaking barriers to win the war against hunger in rural America (BPT) - Although the United States produces much of the world’s food, 48 million people in the country are food insecure, lacking access to enough food to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle. What's even more surprising is that many of the counties with the highest rates of food insecurity are located in rural communities, the very places growing the bulk of this food.

According to Feeding America’s study Map the Meal Gap 2016, rural counties are more likely to have high rates of food insecurity than more densely populated counties. In fact, 54 percent of counties with the highest rates of food are in rural areas. Rural areas also account for 62 percent of counties with the highest rates of child food insecurity.
While shocking to many, these numbers don't surprise Michelle Sause, Assistant Director of Network Relations at Food Bank for the Heartland in Omaha. Her work with the food bank covers more than 78,000 sq…

Health care costs in retirement: Can you separate fact from fiction?

(BPT) - As their 65th birthday looms, many people eagerly anticipate the affordable access to health care that Medicare will provide. After all, Medicare covers everything, right? Not exactly. Because of this common misconception, many people are caught off guard when they realize that each one of the dozens of Medicare options available to them comes with its own set of out-of-pocket cost implications. In fact, a survey of the newly retired found 43 percent are spending more on health care than they had planned.

The more you know about Medicare plans and costs, the better prepared you’ll be to avoid unpleasant surprises. Think you’re savvy enough to discern myth from fact when it comes to your health care costs in retirement? Read on to put your knowledge to the test.

Myth: When comparing Medicare plans, it’s best to choose the lowest-premium option to help minimize your costs.

Fact: While premiums are an important factor when choosing a health care plan, they should not be the only f…

Maximize the value of your Medicare dollar

(BPT) - In a recent survey, 43 percent of newly retired people said they were spending more on health care than they planned. One of the primary reasons? An unintentionally misguided approach to choosing their Medicare coverage.
To make the process of comparing their plan options easier, too often people focus on their monthly premiums.

“Although it may seem like the obvious choice to select a plan with the cheapest monthly premium, it’s important to look beyond the premium and focus instead on the overall value a plan provides,” said Ben Kehl, vice president of consumer experience for UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement.
The following three questions can help you move beyond a plan’s premium and consider other factors that contribute to a plan’s value. Your answers can help you maximize your Medicare health care dollars.

How much financial risk are you comfortable with?
All Medicare plan options cover some health care costs, but vary in the amounts they cover and when they sta…

Now that the taxes are filed, give your small business a checkup

(BPT) - A challenge for any entrepreneur is getting access to capital. If you’re like many, you’re constantly looking for ways to reduce expenses and free up cash flow so you can be ready for anything, whether it’s a slow season or an opportunity to expand.
When tax season rolls around, you’re already taking a deep dive into your expenses and income for the past year. Don’t stop when you file. With all that information at your fingertips (and fresh in your mind), it’s a great opportunity to take a big-picture look at the health of your business and make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Use the following tips to take your tax preparation efforts a step further and boost your cash flow in the upcoming year.

Dust off your business plan: No doubt when you started out in business, you were eager to put your vision to paper. Most entrepreneurs get busy with the day-to-day pressures of deadlines, and that vision can recede into the background. Schedule some time with your board …

The new tax law: What you need to know now

(BPT) - With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 having been signed into law, here are some of the things you should be thinking about as tax season approaches, according to Robert Fishbein, vice president and corporate counsel, Prudential Financial Inc.

2017 tax returns
The new tax law is generally effective starting in 2018, which means that your 2017 income tax return is largely unaffected. However, there may be actions you can take now to benefit from the change. For example, assuming you are eligible, you could fund a traditional IRA before the due date of your tax return; the income exclusion may be more valuable under higher 2017 tax rates.

Lower tax rates and new withholding
The hallmark of the new tax law is lower marginal tax rates for individuals. The IRS has issued withholding tables employers started using in February to reflect these lower rates. While this could mean lower tax withholding and more take-home pay, you should evaluate your personal income tax position to dete…

How to handle rising interest rates in 2018

(BPT) - The nation’s central bank — the Federal Reserve — just raised interest rates by a quarter point. The Fed is expected to raise rates at least two more times this year by the same amount. That’s going to affect a lot of your finances, including your credit card bill, car payment and home equity line of credit. But don’t panic. Rates will still be below historical averages, and you can eliminate the impact of higher rates, or lessen them, with some careful planning. Plus, you can take advantage of higher interest rates on savings accounts.
The March 21 hike increased the Federal Reserve’s basic rate by 0.25 percent to between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent. Here’s how it — and any future increases — will shake out.
Credit cards “These increases will be passed along to your credit card rate almost immediately — but you’ll hardly feel it if you have a low balance,” explains Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. For example, for every $1,000 in credit card de…

Problem Gambling: Know When to Stop Before You Start

(BPT) - The bright lights. The energy and laughter that fills the room. Casinos are fun and exciting to the vast majority of people but for some, they can be problematic.
Casinos are a form of entertainment, so how do you ensure what’s meant to be a fun and leisurely activity continues to be a positive experience? Time spent at a casino should be a planned and budgeted entertainment option — like you would approach an evening out for dinner or a sporting event. There are preventative measures that can be taken to help ensure that an experience at a casino remains a fun one.

Leading experts in the field of gambling research maintain that it starts with being an informed consumer who understands the realities of gaming. “Being informed means understanding your thoughts about the next big win, beating the odds, and finding the hot machine or deck of cards,” said Dr. James Whelan of the University of Memphis. “Misunderstanding these thoughts about chance can lead to harmful mistakes and …