Posts tagged with "doctor"

Yogurt Illustration via 360 MAGAZINE

What Are Probiotics and What Are Their Benefits?

You’ve probably heard the terms prebiotics and probiotics quite a lot in the last few years. They’re two of the current buzzwords in the health and wellness industry and lots of new prebiotic and probiotic supplements companies are appearing every year.

The probiotics industry is growing rapidly and is now worth over $37 billion USD. Millions of consumers now take regular probiotics to improve their overall health and well-being.

The research around probiotics is relatively new so we are still learning lots more about them. Despite the research being in its early days, we’re already starting to notice the many incredible benefits of probiotics. 

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics refer to the live bacteria that are commonly found in certain foods such as yogurt, kefir, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, sauerkraut, and kombucha tea. Probiotic microorganisms feed off prebiotic fibers, which are found in many plant-based foods.

The most common probiotic microorganisms are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, Lactococcus, Streptococcus, and Enterococcus, and these microbial species are closely associated with good health.

Taking Probiotic Supplements

Although many foods contain probiotic bacteria, you may not consume very many of them in your diet. If you want to gain the maximum benefits from probiotics, you can take probiotic supplements.

Whether you’re keen on taking probiotics for weight loss or you want to see if they can reduce your digestive discomfort, there are lots of different kinds of probiotics. As great as they can be, it’s important to do some research and find the best products for your needs.

You can get probiotics that have been specifically created for certain gut health issues as well. For example, you may find probiotics for IBS, or supplements to reduce bloating.

What Are the Benefits of Probiotics?

Probiotics are labelled as the resolution for any gut health issue. While they are incredible for your digestive health, their benefits go far beyond the gut.

Probiotics may also help with the management of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. They can even boost your mood thanks to the close connection between the gut and brain.

Let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of probiotics.

  1. Improved Gut Health

One of the most widely recognized benefits of probiotics is the ability to improve gut health. Probiotic foods and supplements contain live bacteria that are beneficial for your digestive system.

When you ingest probiotic foods or supplements, it helps to diversify the different bacterial species in your gut. More specifically, it increases the number of beneficial species and lowers the levels of potentially harmful microorganisms.

Many studies show that consuming probiotic foods or taking probiotic supplements can minimize gut health issues and relieve digestive discomfort. They can benefit those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), constipation, and diarrhoea.

The effectiveness of probiotics depends on the strains of bacteria in the food or supplement, and what gut health issue you’re trying to resolve. That’s why choosing the right probiotic species for your needs is important.

  1. Better Mental Health

There is a close link between the health of your gut microbiome and your overall well-being. When the ‘bad’ bacteria outbalance the beneficial bacteria in your gut, it can lead to disease. Poor gut health is thought to play a role in obesity, allergies, and a range of mental health conditions.

The gut-brain axis is a real thing and more researchers are becoming interested in the strong connection between these two areas of your body. Both animal and human studies have shown that increasing your consumption of probiotics may improve a range of mental health conditions.

Specifically, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacterial strains were effective in treating depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and autism. They also improved spatial and non-spatial memory.

  1. Improved Immune Function

Probiotics are able to modulate some of the natural immune functions inside your body. This helps to protect you from harmful pathogens and can reduce the severity of autoimmune conditions, such as allergies, eczema, Crohn’s disease, and dermatitis.

It’s thought that certain probiotics species may improve immunity by:

  • Increasing the production of antimicrobial substances in the body
  • Inhibiting bacterial toxin production
  • Prevent harmful pathogens from entering the body through the gut wall
  • Improving the antibacterial effects of bile salts inside the body
  • Inducing an immune response against bacterial and viral pathogens 
  • Inhibiting autoimmune and allergic reactions 
  • Enhancing white blood cells (macrophage and lymphocyte) and cytokine production

How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally

Cholesterol is discussed so frequently, and sometimes flippantly, it has become somewhat of a medical buzzword. To some, it may seem like a nonconsequential item and for others it is one of bigger deals floated across their plate. The reality is that cholesterol is worth both understanding and managing well in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Like with anything involving the world of science and medicine, there is always more than what meets the eye. For example, with cholesterol, there are actually good and bad kinds of it. A fact like this makes it immediately apparent that taking the time to educate oneself on the ins and outs of the fat within human blood is wise. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, put it best, “The human body is the most complex system ever created. The more we learn about it, the more appreciation we have about what a rich system it is.”

There are more than a few ways of lower said bad cholesterol naturally. In order to gain insight on these practices, we spoke with people who have experience doing so.

Dietary Changes

Chris Vaughn is the CEO of Emjay, a brand offering the delivery of marijuana products. He suggests making some adjustments to the types of food consumed regularly. 

“The long and short of it is the food digested by the stomach winds up in the bloodstream. Seeing as an overabundance of fat, or cholesterol, in the bloodstream poses a litany of issues, it stands to reason you should be filling your stomach with foods which will benefit your bloodstream. These are things such as beans, oatmeal and fruits. You should also be sure to remove food from your diet which adds saturated or trans fats as they’re the number one source of high cholesterol. It’s easier said than done but your body will thank you in the long run.”

Exercise

Physical activity promotes healthier blood flow which high cholesterol is responsible for harming. Lifeforce is a business providing subscribers the ability to understand and improve their body like never before. Their Founder, Joel Jackson, advises being proactive about fighting off that high cholesterol.

“When we look at the science of cholesterol, there are two basic terms to understand, HDLs and LDLs, or high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins. Simply put, HDLs are healthy cholesterol while LDLs are not. One of the most direct ways of influencing the count of these two lipoproteins is exercise. The good news for everyone is that it doesn’t take much – even just a couple of hours each week will cause a noticeable rise in HDLs paired with a reduction of LDLs. When you think about everything else exercise can do for you on top of this, it would be foolish to make it part of your routine.”

Be Intentional and Patient

Greater Than specializes in hydration for pregnant women. Their Chief Marketing Officer, Bryan Alston, considers it necessary to approach any high-cholesterol with mindfulness.

“It’s incredibly important to realize that for any recognizable changes to take place in the body, time must pass. Along similar lines, no real change will take place if a person sits in complacency hoping their situation comes to pass. If you’re dealing with high cholesterol, these are the two important ideas to keep at the forefront of your mind as you work towards health – Intentionality and patience. It’s hard work to return and stabilize your cholesterol at doctor recommended levels. And, it doesn’t take place overnight. I’m certain these two realities will become frustrating at some point but I urge you to continually push through.”

Stop Smoking

Natalia Sadowski is the Director of Aesthetics of Nourishing Biologicals, a brand offering skincare products. She cautions others against the continued use of tobacco products. 

“Nobody said that getting healthier was going to be a walk in the park or even easy for that matter. The same can be said about giving up smoking. But, as most are well aware, both are beneficial to ourselves. This is especially true of smoking as it relates to high cholesterol. Nicotine in the body sends a rush to the heart, causing it to work harder while also slowing down the flow of blood throughout the rest of the body. Both of these things hinder your body’s ability to both process and eliminate good and bad cholesterol.” 

Take a Break

Running any system at one hundred percent capacity all the time will result in a decrease in productivity accompanied by a shorter life span. This is true of the body as well. Nue Life is a business providing mental health assistance paired with psychedelics. Their Co-Founder and CEO, Juan Pablo Cappello, proposes being cautious of this. 

“There are so many different causes of stress that if I sat here and named them all we may never leave. Regardless of who you are or what you do, you’ve experienced stress. Are you aware that higher levels of stress induce higher levels of cholesterol? That means it’s up to you to take a break and relieve some of that stress. If you don’t, you’ll only continue to compound both problems. High stress is one thing, high cholesterol is an entirely different beast.”

Focus on Weight Loss

Zizi specializes in an at-home kit to help lower cholesterol. Their Co-Founder, Reece Kresser, believes shedding any excess weight could be more impactful than one might imagine. 

“If we think about it logically, a person with a larger body mass will require more effort to move blood throughout their body as there’s more area that requires coverage. If that person can healthily focus on weight loss, they’ll see a significant difference in their cholesterol levels. Think of it this way, if said person is spending less energy on blood movement, they’ll have more energy to identify and dispose of any cholesterol. Overall, it’s a win across the board so go the extra mile here. Ideally, your body will be around for a long time and treating it right is how you ensure it’s ready for that.”

With only one body meant to live for 70 or so years, it is critical to get ahead of the health curve. Actress and musician Jennifer Hudson spoke to this, “Gaining control over your health and well-being is one of those times in your life that you get to be completely selfish and not feel bad about it. If you want to meet your goals, you have to make it about you. You have to make it work for you and you alone. Anything less is a setup for failure.”

NEW OBESITY STUDY

From the creators of these global stories, The Breast Forces Study, The Backpack Study and Text Neck Study.

A New Study publishing in Surgical Technology International correlates belly fat per waist circumference and defines spine forces, by the pound.

In the America, more than two-thirds of adults (220 million-plus) are overweight or obese, and childhood obesity affects 13.7 million children. As of 2016, 1.9 billion adults were overweight or obese globally. People now know that obesity is bad for their health.

Obesity, or the fat content of the belly, is associated with inflammation, diabetes, hypertension, heart conditions, metabolic syndrome, and back pain. Adipose tissue is linked to an increased risk of and aggressiveness of cancer.

Our study sought to assess the forces that belly fat exerts on the spine with an increase in waist circumference. Using data from the Dallas Heart Study, Grundy et al. calculated belly fat mass according to waist circumference by ethnicity and sex. Using a finite element analysis, our study specifically placed the abdominal fat masses into position in the abdomen. Then, we calculated the levered forces seen by the spine.

For women, the magnitude of forces generated by abdominal fat to the lumbar spine ranged between 5 to 170 pounds of force in our measurements. By the standard set by the American Heart Association, abdominal obesity in women starts at a thirty-five-inch waist circumference.

For men, the magnitude of forces generated by abdominal fat to the lumbar spine ranged between 3 to 120 pounds of force in our measurements. According to the American Heart Association, abdominal obesity in men begins at a waist circumference of forty inches.

You have to imagine what it feels like to lift this much weight to put these numbers in perspective. The magnitude of these forces is significant. If you are a man with a thirty-eight-inch waist, the excess fat in your abdominal area is equivalent to having nearly thirty pounds of pressure on your spine. For women, a thirty-six-inch waist is close to having forty-eight pounds of pressure on her spine. Imagine walking around all day carrying dumbbells that weighed nearly fifty pounds. That would be equivalent to carrying a large bag of dry dog food, six gallons of water, two cinder blocks, or, as the chart shows, a twin mattress. Not only would it be exhausting but carrying those weights would also cause significant wear and tear on your back.

Your spine is designed to carry your body’s weight. When you are overweight, your spine must assimilate the burden, which may lead to damage. The lower back is most vulnerable to the effects of obesity. In addition, abdominal fat interferes with good posture. Excess weight around the middle can alter the natural curve of the spine. The weight presses on the shock-absorbing discs between vertebrae, which can cause them to become dehydrated, herniated or pinched, or create pressure on nerves that travel through the central canal. In addition, carrying extra weight can strain the muscles and ligaments that support you’re back, and you know what that means, pain.

A literature review shows that fat cells comport an essential variety of metabolic influences. Our waist circumference is related to our metabolic health risks. Abdominal fat is a critical player in health problems. The fat around the abdominal organs, called visceral fat, is more disease-causing than the fat under the skin, called subcutaneous fat, that a person can pinch by hand. This visceral fat is linked to metabolic disturbances, increased cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. The visceral fat leads to an apple-shaped abdomen, while the subcutaneous fat leads to a pear-shaped body.

Fat itself is considered an endocrine organ that is biologically active. Abdominal fat cells disrupt the balance of the body’s normal hormones. Fat cells play a role in inflammation, secrete tumor necrosis factors and interleukin-6, increasing heart disease risk. Furthermore, fat cells blunt the body’s sensitivity to insulin and propagate high blood pressure. Data suggests that adipose tissue has been linked to increased risk and aggressiveness of carcinoma.

Regular physical exercise can help one to lose belly fat. A moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes per day shifts body weight and diminishes belly fat. Proper nutrition and food choices also help.

This paper helps people plan the stress forces seen by the spine as related to the abdominal size. Obesity is then a better-defined factor in the calculus of back pain. The link to abdominal circumference is predictable and relatable to the general public.

Five Tips for Finding Peace After Living Through a Natural Disaster

Your entire world can change in the blink of an eye. Few people ever think they’ll see their neighborhood on a news broadcast, but natural disasters affect millions every year. Thanks to climate change, the problem grows more severe all the time.

It takes time and plenty of TLC to put the pieces of your life back together again. Be gentle with yourself as you navigate the process. Here are five tips for finding peace after living through a natural disaster.

1. Seek Necessary Resources

Depending on how the natural disaster affected your property, you might not have a place to call home for a while. What about your children’s school? Your transportation to and from work?

Your first contact is your local emergency manager. They’re your best resource for meeting your immediate needs for food and shelter. After that, please reach out to the following individuals:

  • Your loved ones: Your loved ones deserve to know you’re alright. Fortunately, social media makes it easier than ever. You can mark yourself safe to alert your friends and relatives who also use Facebook. Let people know what they can do to help and how you prefer to be contacted – a flurry of phone calls may or may not be what you need.
  • Your employer: If you weren’t at work when disaster struck, you need to let your employer know how it affected you and what arrangements you can make until it is safe to return.
  • Your insurance company: First, document the damage and make a list. Take photographs. If you have some from before the disaster to prove the extent of your loss, all the better.

You might also reach out to local animal shelters if you have pets that you could not evacuate on time. They’ll take a description and reunite you with your beloved companion if they locate them before you do.

2. Give Yourself the Gift of Time

Surviving a natural disaster takes time. This statement isn’t fluff – it’s a physiological fact. While some people recover from a shock to the system more quickly than others, you need time for your body and mind to return to homeostasis.

If possible, take time away from work to heal with those you love. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers programs for disaster survivors that provide housing and medical assistance. The Small Business Association provides aid to those whose livelihoods suffered the impact of hurricanes, floods, and fires.

It’s important to be aware of the potential that you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that’s triggered by witnessing or experiencing a terrifying event. Symptoms can include nightmares and anxiety, as well as uncontrollable flashbacks and thoughts about the event. Evidence suggests that the chances of PTSD and even suicide increase after someone survives a natural disaster. 

A natural disaster can shatter your world in the blink of an eye. You and your loved ones could find yourselves without shelter or food, and understandably stressed and anxious. However, if you begin to feel like what you’re experiencing goes beyond normal stress, you may be experiencing some form of PTSD. In either case, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a certified mental health professional in the wake of surviving a natural disaster. They will be able to help make sense of what you’re experiencing and prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.

If you don’t have the resources to see a mental health professional in person, look into free online resources, counseling and rehabilitation groups and even text therapy, which can be more accessible for some.

3. But Also, Safety First

Your first instinct is to heave a sigh of relief once the twister disappears in the distance and you and your family take your first tentative steps out of the basement. Inhale, exhale, and contact everyone who’s not in your immediate vicinity who should be. Then, take stock of the second shock wave – the illnesses and infections that often follow natural disasters.

For example, after a flood, mold becomes a serious health concern. The CDC has recommendations for assessing your risk and handling the potential hazards to your health. Untreated cuts and scrapes can lead to blood poisoning and tetanus. Get a booster if need be and wash all wounds, dress them with triple antibiotic ointment, and clean, sterile bandages. Pay attention to signs of discoloration and streaking lines around the injury.

It’s not unusual to become sick in the wake of a natural disaster’s wake. Storms stir up germs and displacement introduces you to new ones when your immune system is already compromised by stress. Please take a COVID-19 test and adhere to the required quarantine – even if you don’t have the novel coronavirus, you need a few days to rest and recover.

4. Stay Close to Your Loved Ones

Natural disasters make you cherish the ones you love. Nature intended for you to cling to each other in its wake. Honor that instinct.

Stay close to your loved ones. If you have children, they will need your guidance and support to heal. They don’t have an adult frame of reference to cope with what happened – they’ll need your help to process big feelings and make sense of the senseless.

Spending time with your loved ones also soothes your soul. Disasters have a way of reminding you what matters most. You can’t take material things with you, but the love you leave behind survives.

5. Accept Offers of Help

You might not realize how wide your friendship circle extends until you survive a disaster. However, please take advantage of offers of help. Don’t let pride deny you and your family the support you need to heal.

Please take advantage of available social services. You might not have ever needed a food bank before, but visiting one is better than letting your children go to sleep hungry.

If you’re spiritual, your house of worship is another sanctuary that may open its arms to you and your loved ones. Shelter yourself and those you care about in the arms of your faith, letting members of your congregation accept you and uplift your spirits.

Seven Tips to Get Seen Faster by a Doctor

Doctors see so many patients every day of their careers, and they may find it challenging to tell whether you need to be seen right away or if you can wait for a bit. Still, when you need to be seen by a doctor, you have a few options to speed up the journey to getting evaluated.

1. Call Ahead

Some doctor’s offices may take call-ahead appointments. This feature is convenient when you need an opinion on something but are afraid of the wait times. Still, they may have you make an appointment, especially if they are busy or are observing more rigorous COVID-19 safety guidelines. With any luck, they’ll have one available for you the same day you call.

It couldn’t hurt to call ahead and ask about the waiting time. You want to prioritize your health, too, so staying out of a sick waiting room can keep you from catching a cold or virus. Even just giving your primary care facility a heads up that you’ll be coming in can help them prepare accordingly for an extra patient.

2. Utilize Telehealth

Many people couldn’t leave their homes without the risk of getting sick at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors began to use electronic devices to communicate with their patients and continue their routine visits. More appointments became virtual even after the initial surge waned. Now, many people have checkups with their primary care physician, sessions with their therapist and more, all over video chat.

Telehealth visits offer convenience for the health care professional and their patient, as both can feel relaxed in an area of their choice while communicating via a device. About 90% of physicians enjoy meeting via video chat with their patients. 

Your primary care doctor may offer telehealth visits. If you have a quick question, you may be able to schedule an appointment with them when times are slow, as they won’t have to prep a room or any devices for you.

3. Know Your Caregivers

Once you start going to a certain place, you begin to know people. You learn the names of the nurses, doctors, receptionists and anyone else you may come into contact with. If someone you don’t know answers the phone when you call, ask for one of your trusted caregivers by name. They may be more willing to squeeze you in for a last-minute appointment if they know you well.

If you don’t have the opportunity to talk to someone you know, be personable to the receptionist or other person who does answer your call. Get their name and begin a short conversation with them. Explain your concerns and why you need to be seen. They may be willing to squeeze in an appointment for you, but don’t be surprised if you have to wait a while like everyone else.

4. Set up a Concierge Medicine Appointment

If you enjoy privacy and comfort in a medical setting, concierge medicine is probably for you. Memberships can give you unlimited access to 24/7 telehealth appointments and in-person visits without waiting times or extra costs. You might have to pay a hefty premium for concierge care, but you’re getting quality service that you have complete access to, no matter the time of day.

This subscription service can be handy for people who have to make trips to a doctor frequently or want a personal relationship with their health care provider. Your physician will be able to devote more time to you since they don’t have as many patients to care for. The quality of service will be better, and you’ll feel listened to.

5. Go to Urgent Care

Urgent care facilities near you are committed to bringing patients in, getting them diagnosed, preparing their treatment and sending them on their way, all in a timely manner. These clinics are typically open 24/7, so you can rely on them even when your primary care doctor isn’t taking appointments. They cater to people who might not have insurance or are underinsured, so everyone gets the appropriate medical care they need. 

Your area should have a couple of urgent care facilities nearby. Some may require you to have appointments. Luckily, you may be able to call ahead or go to their website to book one without waiting. 

6. Find a 24/7 Service

Many services offer access to a doctor via video chat at any hour of the day. These doctors may not be in the same area as you, but as long as you have stable internet access, they’ll be able to see and talk to you. You may have to pay a subscription fee, but it may be worth it, considering you can find a doctor any time you want. 

The only downside with this option may be that you don’t always get to choose which doctor you will see. Even if you like the physician you receive, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to speak with them again when you have another question. Still, at a less than 20-minute wait for telehealth appointments, you can be sure a doctor will have your attention. You also get to skip the waiting times for in-person visits.

7. Head to the Emergency Room

If your situation really can’t wait, it’s best to head to the emergency room. Doing so might leave you with a few scary-looking bills, but your health and safety come above all else. A trip to the ER might benefit you, especially if you won’t be able to be seen by a doctor for a long time.

You should always go to the emergency room first if you think something is life-threatening, and anyone you call will likely tell you the same thing. However, if you have a concern that is not affecting your breathing or daily activities, stay on hold for a doctor rather than going to the emergency room. That allows them to save beds for people in more critical conditions than you.

Use your best judgment when determining whether you should head to the emergency room or wait for a doctor to see you at your primary care facility. Someone who lives with you should have an opinion, too. You know your body best, but if you’re downplaying or ignoring something, your loved one can inform you that you need to head to the ER. Much of it depends on knowing your body and understanding just how long you can wait to see a doctor.

Alex Bogdan for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Back

With the COVID-19 pandemic reaching another surge this holiday season, its more important than ever to stay safe, protected and healthy. With the pandemic continuing throughout the winter season, it’s easy to forget that the chilling winter weather can result in the muscles and ligaments of our bodies to contract and tighten significantly more. The muscles and ligaments that strengthen the back and spine, as well as the shoulders and knees, are considerably impacted by these seasonal changes.

From the Pinkston News Service comes a series of tips from Dr. Rita Roy, Chief Executive Officer of the National Spine Health Foundation, on how to protect and keep your back healthy during these frostier months.

Stretch regularly

Implementing a consistent stretching routine can lower your risk of injury, and can even elevate the healing process of a previous injury. Engaging in basic back stretches such as the child’s pose or cat-cow and enhance strength and flexibility to your spine.

Wear proper footwear

Dr. Rita Roy encourages everyone to be mindful of the shoes that you plan to wear depending on the weather you may be dealing with. Make sure that your footwear is a fitting size, by trying them on in-store first, if you can. Ensure that your shoes have proper lining to keep you warm during the chilling temperatures. Making note to purchase a set of footwear that has non-stick rubber soles and treads on the bottom of the shoe for an extra level of safety from slipping. Remember to also take those shoes off when you head indoors, replacing them with socks or slippers, so you don’t run the risk of slipping inside as well.

Be aware of your surroundings

If you know that you may be heading outside, make sure to pay attention to what surfaces you step foot on. To get ahead of the game, keep up on the weather conditions heading your way. If you live in an area with a lot of icy roads and sidewalks, make sure to take your time, walk slowly and steer clear of carrying large items along your path. Make sure to look around you and use the objects that are not moving to your advantage; hold onto a handrail or tree to give yourself some extra balance. Keep your eyes peeled and watch around you to avoid unwarranted hazards.

Stay active

While winter follows the holiday season, this may warrant a lot of eating, sitting around and mood shifts. Seasonal depression is ever apparent through this time of year, so it’s extremely crucial to get your body moving to aid the dreariness that comes with winter. Moving around in between meals through exercising can help you in more ways than you may know.

Don’t overextend yourself

While it is crucial that you keep exercising, be sure to not overreach these efforts. The end of the holiday season raises a whole new set of physical activities, such as, hanging Christmas lights and shoveling snow. These unique tasks pose risks to the body because these are not activities that are regularly carried out year-round. Shoveling snow can cause intense stress to your back. It is vital that you use proper techniques and equipment when carrying out these tasks. Give yourself well-needed breaks and time to rest while participating in these endeavors.

Always wear a seatbelt

This may seem like a misplaced tip among the rest, but nonetheless this one is exceptionally valuable. Studies have found that a large amount of weather-related auto accidents happen throughout the winter, and around 76,000 people become hurt in accidents that result on snowy or slushy roads. Back pain can result from a mere low-speed fender-bender since the body was not anticipating the impact. So, keeping your seatbelt on can limit these sudden movements.

pain relief illustration by alex bogdan for use by 360 magazine

10 Unexpected Causes of a Headache and How to Prevent Them

What causes headaches? Is it your boss? Your friends? Maybe it’s something you ate or the song you jammed out to on the way to work. Either way, your head hurts, and you don’t know why. If you did, you might be surprised by what’s to blame. 

Take a look at your diet, weight, environment and personal habits to determine whether one of the following unexpected causes is contributing to the pain. 

1. Obesity 

If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, you’re likely to suffer migraines and headaches more frequently. Some research suggests that low physical activity may be to blame for this co-occurrence. However, scientists still aren’t entirely sure how obesity causes more severe and frequent attacks. Maybe it’s due to inflammation or dietary choices. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt to focus on your health and fitness. 

Hit the gym or try incorporating a few cardio or strength-based exercises into your daily routine. Head to the kitchen and prepare a few healthy dinners, too. Eventually, your hard work and determination will pay off so you look and feel happier and healthier. 

2. Poor Posture

How many hours do you spend in an office chair every day? Poor posture or sitting in the same position all day can cause tension in your back, shoulders and neck, which can easily lead to a migraine. Typically, the pain will begin at the base of the skull and radiate up through your head. Sometimes, your forehead and face will ache, too. 

Luckily, you can prevent these headaches by frequently switching positions and practicing better posture when you do have to sit or stand for long periods. A midday stretch or a more ergonomic office chair may also minimize symptoms and alleviate pain. 

3. Sex

You’ve probably heard that a little hanky panky can cure a headache but, sometimes, sex can actually cause one. That’s right. Any type of sexual activity — especially the big O — can trigger a dull ache or sudden, throbbing pain in your head. Symptoms can last anywhere from several minutes to multiple days. 

If avoiding sex altogether isn’t an option, try taking a more passive role during intercourse. Drinking water before and after may also help prevent headaches. However, if your symptoms grow more severe, there may be an underlying issue. In that case, it’s best to consult your doctor. 

4. Bruxism

Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw or toothache? Odds are you’re subconsciously clenching or grinding your teeth at night. This condition is called bruxism, and it often causes headaches and worn-down teeth. However, it may lead to more serious problems like temporomandibular joint disorder, which can cause lockjaw and chronic soreness in or near the ear.

What can you do to stop clenching and grinding in your sleep? Wear a mouthguard and try reducing your stress levels. Up to 70% of bruxism is triggered by stress, so consciously relaxing your face and investing in self-care throughout the day may help. 

5. Pollutants

Various air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds, lead, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide, can rob your body of oxygen and alter blood flow. These acute effects often result in headaches but can also trigger migraine attacks in sensitive populations.

Unfortunately, air pollution is unavoidable, especially if you live in a metropolitan area or someplace that experiences frequent forest fires. However, you can limit exposure to some pollutants inside your home by avoiding harsh chemical cleaners and paints that contain VOCs. Opt for all-natural products instead, and periodically open windows to increase airflow and improve ventilation. 

6. Weather 

Gray skies, high humidity, storms and temperature fluctuations can all incite head pain. These weather conditions alter atmospheric pressure and create an imbalance in your sinus cavities and inner ear. Chemical imbalances can also occur within your brain, so headaches are common whenever the weather changes. 

You can’t control the weather, so preventing pressure-related headaches ultimately comes down to taking care of yourself. Drink plenty of water, get adequate sleep, avoid stress triggers and keep some pain relievers nearby just in case. Limiting your time outside may also help. 

7. Hunger 

Most people know you can get a headache from being dehydrated, but few realize hunger can have the same effect. When you skip a meal, your body releases hormones that tell your brain you’re hungry. These same hormones raise your blood pressure and tighten vessels, triggering a headache. 

The most obvious way to prevent these symptoms is to eat something. Snacking throughout the day will also help ward off hunger-induced migraines. Plan ahead and pack meals for work, long car rides and other situations that limit your access to food. 

8. Coffee 

For most people, a morning cup of joe is nonnegotiable. In some cases, it can even relieve a headache. However, drinking too much coffee can trigger caffeine rebound, which occurs from withdrawals after repeated overconsumption. 

If you consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day and often experience headaches between lattes, you might be dealing with rebound. In this case, it’s best to slowly decrease your intake, enjoy coffee in moderation and find more natural ways to boost your energy. 

9. Hair Accessories 

How you wear your hair can also take a toll on your noggin. Tight ponytails, headbands, twists and braids can pull on your hair and strain the connective tissue on your scalp. Eventually, these styles can cause headaches and even hair loss. 

If you suspect your updo is hurting your head, let your hair down and give your scalp some time to recover. You can also try switching up your style to include loose braids or messy buns that don’t put so much stress on your scalp. 

10. Lunchmeat

Cold cuts and other processed foods often contain tyramine and nitrates, additives that can constrict blood vessels in your head and brain. If you’re sensitive to these substances, you’ll typically develop a headache within 24 hours due to the stress on those nerves and vessels. 

Avoid food-induced headaches by skipping the premade grocery store subs and cured or processed lunch meats. Opt for deli meat and fresh protein sources like chicken, pork and fish instead.  

Talk to Your Doctor

Taking preventive measures is key to keeping headaches at bay. However, if you take precautions and still suffer frequent or severe migraines, it’s time to seek professional help. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms and consider potential causes. They may also schedule an MRI or CAT scan to take a closer look at your brain and rule out any underlying conditions. At the very least, they’ll offer a diagnosis or prescribe treatment to alleviate or prevent symptoms.

Art by Heather Skovlund of 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Dr. Ahron Friedberg – Through a Screen Darkly

Through A Screen Darkly Details Pandemic Mental Health Struggles

Dr. Ahron Friedberg’s Book Offers Context on CDC & KFF Data 

In his latest book, Through a Screen Darkly: Psychoanalytic Reflections During the Pandemic, New York City psychiatrist Dr. Ahron Friedberg portrays a range of individuals dealing with mental health issues related to the pandemic, providing context for these harrowing recent statistics:

The average share of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety disorder and/or depression almost quadrupled from January 2019 to June 2021

  • 36% of adults report difficulty sleeping, 32% cited eating problems, and 12% reported increase in alcohol and substance abuse
  • Communities of color and essential workers are suffering disproportionately
  • Young adults, more likely to lose jobs and / or be in lockdowns, are also suffering disproportionately
  • Suspected suicide attempts have increased in teenagers, especially girls

Commenting on the statistics, Dr. Friedberg stated: Stress has physical as well as mental consequences. It weakens the immune system and increases the incidence of major depression as well cardiac and pulmonary issues.

Friedberg continues: I coined the term Post-COVID Re-entry Syndrome to describe the stress that people suffer as they re-enter the workforce, reconnect with friends and family, and attempt to resume some semblance of a normal life.

To manage this anxiety, Dr. Friedberg recommends: 

  • Taking a walk outdoors
  • Connecting with friends and family – safely
  • Self- Reflection

If symptoms become severe, he recommends consulting a trained mental health professional. Primary care physicians and clergy can also provide resource and emotional support.

The ultimate goal is to bolster your resilience, states Dr. Friedberg. In my experience counseling patients through the pandemic, I found that they had greater capacity for resilience than they realized. Deploying this resilience was their pathway to successfully managing their mental health.

Through a Screen Darkly offers practical examples of how patients coped with these conditions and (in many cases) found the resilience to get past them.

In addition to Through a Screen Darkly, Dr. Friedberg wrote Psychotherapy and Personal Change: Two Minds in a Mirror with Dr. Sandra Sherman. With Dr. Jack Hirschowitz, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai, he wrote Flashing Seven: Seven Essential Skills for Living and Leading. With his father, Dr. Eugene Friedberg, he wrote Between Us, A Father and Son Speak. 

Through a Screen Darkly is available for purchase at amazon.com.

ABOUT DR. AHRON FRIEDBERG: 

Dr. Ahron Friedberg, M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is a practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in Manhattan. At Mount Sinai, Dr. Friedberg served as Co-Chair of the Psychiatry Advisory Board and has helped develop and lead several academic and teaching initiatives including their Innovations in Psychiatry Symposium. Dr. Friedberg also directs the Symposium, a national meeting held annually at Mount Sinai. He has participated in clinical research as part of the Department’s Mood and Anxiety Program, which focuses on translational neuroscience and understanding resilience.

Dr. Friedberg has served twice as national President of the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians. He was named first Executive Editor of International Psychoanalysis.net, a highly regarded online psychoanalytic resource. In addition, he is an Acquisitions Editor of International Psychoanalytic Books, Book Editor of Psychodynamic Psychiatry, Editor of the American Academy of Psychodynamic Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis Academy Forum, elected chair of the International Council of Editors, Psychoanalytic Journals, as well as a regular contributor to Psychology Today.

His research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including The Psychoanalytic Review, The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Neuro-psychoanalysis, and Psychodynamic Psychiatry. Dr. Friedberg’s writing focuses on the treatment of anxiety and trauma, clinical technique, and the concepts of resilience, consciousness, and desire in psychoanalysis. He has received awards for excellence in writing, in addition to originality and scholarship.

For more information on Dr. Ahron Friedberg, visit his site.

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

ROSELAND COMMUNITY HOSPITAL SERVES CHICAGO’S SOUTH SIDE

With a rich and storied history in the Greater Roseland Area, Roseland Community Hospital demonstrates a stellar example of a community hospital that is both owned and operated by the people that it serves  

Since opening in 1924, the Roseland Community Hospital, or RCH for short, has been offering comprehensive healthcare services to residents of Chicago’s far South Side neighborhoods, including outpatient services, a well-known Obstetrics Unit, behavioral health services, and most recently plays host to a COVID-19 clinic. The Hospital, which is located in the Greater Roseland Area at 45 W. 111th St., is open 24-hours, and strives to satisfy the community and offer quality resources to each individual, a mission it has maintained since its inception. At the forefront, professional caregivers provide valuable services to patient’s recovery and overall wellness. Throughout the myriad of social, economic and political changes that have dramatically affected the neighborhoods, the Hospital has maintained a strategic focus to help those they serve. Throughout the calendar year, the team at the Roseland Hospital has created special programming as a way to give back to its surrounding community, with various activations scheduled including a Back to School celebration, an annual coat drive, a Giving Tuesday and Toy Drive initiative and much more.

“Our vision has been, and continues to be, to develop quality hospital programs and services that enable our community residents to grow and live healthy lifestyles,” said Tim Egan, President and CEO of the Roseland Community Hospital. “We see ourselves as a major lifeline to many in the surrounding communities, and will continue to strive and satisfy this community we call home.”

Due to the rich history in the Greater Roseland Area, the neighborhood surrounding the hospital has continually evolved beginning with a Dutch settlement in 1840. Since then, most importantly, “The Great Migration” played a major role in immigrants and thousands of African Americans pouring into the community in search of employment opportunities. Today, African Americans comprise of ninety-nine percent of Roseland Community Hospital’s patients; and seventy-five percent of RCH’s administrators, doctors, nurses and staff. Increasingly, the community has also been seeing a rising percentage of Latino residents to the area.

The Hospital provides a wide range of services including an Obstetrics Unit, Behavioral Health Services, a Medical Stabilization Unit, Outpatient Services, a Mobile Dental Clinic, a COVID-19 Clinic and a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Roseland Community Hospital has experienced the privilege of providing healthcare services for the people who currently call Roseland their home.

To learn more about Roseland Community Hospital and all the services they have to offer, please click HERE.

Image courtesy of Purdue News Services for use by 360 Magazine

Purdue Names First Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow

Purdue Engineering names first Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow, Yung-Hsiang Lu, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named the first Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow in Purdue University’s College of Engineering. 

A Purdue University professor and innovator who works to inspire the next generation of technology leaders has been named the first Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow for the College of Engineering.

Yung-Hsiang Lu, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, has developed several patented technologies and helped his students start their own companies. He is a Purdue Faculty Scholar, Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Distinguished Scientist of the Association for Computing Machinery.

We move our discoveries in the lab out to the world for impact through patents and commercialization opportunities, Lu said. This new role provides me with a great opportunity to help connect members of our engineering family with resources to move their technologies and research to communities and people in need.

Lu’s appointment comes as the College of Engineering has put a new emphasis on the importance of faculty innovation and commercialization. These entrepreneurial activities can be documented in the formal tenure review process.

Yung is the perfect fit for this position to help connect our College of Engineering with the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and resources to support entrepreneurship and commercialization, said Wayne Chen, associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering and Reilly Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Materials Engineering. We want to further develop our culture of support for faculty and students who take their research and lab work to the world through patents and startups.

Lu will collaborate with the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub, and the Purdue for Life Foundation. He has advised several student teams that won business plan competitions and helped a company obtain two Small Business Innovation Research grants.

Everett Berry, a Purdue alumnus who, with Lu, co-founded a company called Perceive, said he remembers fondly the professor’s belief in the ability of undergraduate innovators.

Having seen Silicon Valley inside and out by this point, I know Dr. Lu embodies the best of the entrepreneurial instinct that we celebrate, Berry said. He was my first, and still strongest, inspiration for building hard technology.

Another alumnus and former member of Lu’s research team, Zohar Kapach, started a company called Oqullo. He said Lu helped him realize his love for computer engineering and the opportunities to grow an entrepreneurial career in the field.

I continue to apply my experiences working with Dr. Lu to my daily research work, Kapach said. I was able to apply the knowledge I gained from working with him to raise a substantial seed fund.

Lu continues to work with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent inventions. This office operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at Purdue’s website.