Health

DIET AND NUTRITION

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DIET AND NUTRITION

Why should this affect me and/or my family and what we consume?

healthy-foodsIn nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons (with the two often being related). Although humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos. This may be due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy.

Proper nutrition requires ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in the quality of life, health and longevity. It can define cultures and play a role in religion.

Some cultures and religions have restrictions concerning what foods are acceptable in their diet. For example, only Kosher foods are permitted by Judaism, and Halal foods by Islam. Although Buddhists are generally vegetarians, the practice varies and meat-eating may be permitted depending on the sects. In Hinduism, vegetarianism is the ideal, Jain are strictly vegetarian and consumption of roots is not permitted.

Many people choose to forgo food from animal sources to varying degrees (e.g. flexitarianism, vegetarianism, veganism, fruitarianism) forDiet-arthritis-patients health reasons, issues surrounding morality, or to reduce their personal impact on the environment, although some of the public assumptions about which diets have lower impacts are known to be incorrect. Raw foodism is another contemporary trend. These diets may require tuning or supplementation such as vitamins to meet ordinary nutritional needs.

A particular diet may be chosen to seek weight loss or weight gain. Changing a subject’s dietary intake, or “going on a diet”, can change the energy balance and increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. Some foods are specifically recommended, or even altered, for conformity to the requirements of a particular diet. These diets are often recommended in conjunction with exercise. Specific weight loss programs can be harmful to health, while others may be beneficial (and can thus be coined as healthy diets). The terms “healthy diet” and “diet for weight management” are often related, as the two promote healthy weight management. Having a healthy diet is a way to prevent health problems, and will provide your body with the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

fitness-and-nutritionAn eating disorder is a mental disorder that interferes with normal food consumption. It is defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive diet.   A healthy diet may improve or maintain optimal health. In developed countries, affluence enables unconstrained caloric intake and possibly inappropriate food choices.

It is recommended by many authorities that people maintain a normal weight by (limiting consumption of energy-dense foods and sugary drinks), eat plant-based food, limit red and processed meat, and limit alcohol. However, there is no total consensus on what constitutes a healthy diet.

Your understanding of nutrition can be your key to optimal health.  The Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association defines nutrition as “the science of food; the nutrients and the substances therein; their action, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease; and the process by which the organism (i.e. body) ingests, digest, absorbs, transports, utilizes, and excretes food substances.” The purpose of our diet is to consume foods that provide the six essential nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. The correct amount and variety of food provides the correct amount of nutrients for health and weight management.

One thing that we all have in common is that we all eat. What, when, why, and how much we eat varies from person to person. We often choose our foods based on taste, familiarity, cost, and/or availability. What we choose to eat is not necessarily what our bodies need us to eat. A diet that is deficient in nutrients is one that can lead to health and weight problems. Fortunately, guidelines have been established to assist each of us in deciding what foods to eat to provide our bodies with the nutrients that we need.

Research to determine the appropriate amount of nutrients for health began in the 1940’s because men were being rejected from the militarypaleodietb-579x421 during World War II due to the effects of poor nutrition on their health. The first Food and Nutrition Board was formed to evaluate the nutritional intakes of large populations. Since then, the Food and Nutrition Board has undergone many changes and published comprehensive guidelines on nutrition for both maintenance of good health and disease prevention.

With media outlets so widespread in today’s age, we’re able to access information and entertainment at every turn it seems. With that brings the opportunity to advertise and market products to consumers by companies that really are only interested in making money. The general population has now been trained to think that a cover model’s body is the ultimate goal of fitness, so every little gadget that has to do with improving your fitness is being offered to you everywhere you look.

So many fitness and exercise products have gained access to the airwaves. Exercise machines, as well as weight loss products, can be purchased at every store you can imagine. But what our population must get under control, in order to achieve positive results, is the way we eat.

Our diets are so essential to not only our fitness levels, but our overall health in general. The foods we consume provides us with the nutrients we need to perform regular exercise, as well as help our worn out muscles recover and grow. I’ve read in a number of fitness and nutrition outlets that diet can contribute to as much as 90% of your overall fitness results.

Young healthy woman with fruits.That’s right; your training contributes roughly 10% of your fitness results. Now, this may seem a little hard to believe and I’m telling you what I’ve read in order to make a point. In my own experiences I would say that 70% of my results were due to the food that I put in my mouth.

Now, I would not consider myself an expert on diet but I know enough to be confident in its overall importance to fitness goals. Think about how long it takes you to get through a workout. Generally, you’re looking at about an hour out of your day to get some sort of physical activity in. Now, what are you doing for the other 23 hours of the day?   And how are you using those 23 hours to contribute to the hour of exercise that you’ve just performed? An hour of exercise, especially intense exercise, can take a lot out of us. More specifically, we expend a lot of energy to perform exercises, and our bodies need nutrients in order to recover and grow stronger. So during those next 23 hours, we need to find the time to prepare nutritious meals in order to make the most of our fitness efforts.

So what we put into our mouths on a daily basis should never be taken for granted. Think about how much time and money you invest in your other daily activities and none of those are as important as your own personal health. With that in mind, all sorts of fitness and diet professionals have created programs and diet methods in order to improve and build on our exercising efforts.

There’s been the massive low carb craze that started taking off around a decade ago as well as the low fat craze that came before it. There have also been diets that focus on consuming high amounts of carbs and diets that focus on high amounts of fats. But which is better? High carb diets are utilized for glycogen stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a glucose complex that provides large amounts of energy for use in anaerobic exercises.

On the other hand, fats are well known to be the richest source of calories among the nutrients we consume. Fats contain 2.5 times morev calories than carbohydrates and proteins alike. Studies also show that it takes the body 24 calories to metabolize carbohydrates while it only takes 3 calories to burn fat.

Anyone can follow a high carb and low fat diet or the other way around. But it is not recommended to follow both at the same time because you’re more than likely to pack on the fat. Another important factor to consider is not just getting rid of fat on your body but actually keeping it away in the first place. So if we really want to succeed, we should look into what the research tells us, which is that succeeding at keeping up a certain way of eating and losing weight while doing it comes down to one that suits the individual’s food preferences, medical profile and lifestyle.

If you really want to lose some pounds, you can find diets all over the place that can help you. But if you want to keep those pounds off, then you need to find the healthiest way of eating that you can stick to and one that satisfies you.

So no matter what type of diet you try, you must make sure that you’re getting the nutrients that your body needs and one that you can stick to. And just because you find a way of eating that works for you doesn’t mean that you have to stick to it for life either.

 Kathy Kiefer

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EXERCISE

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EXERCISE

 

Is it really necessary for people to exercise on a daily basis?  And why?  Is there a special motivation or?  Is it a healthy thing or what?

 

fare_fitnessPhysical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness as well as overall pamethealth and wellness. It is performed for various reasons including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, athletic skills, weight loss and/or management.  As well as for the purpose of enjoyment.  It has been proven that frequent and regular exercise aids in boosting the immune system, and helps prevent numerous diseases like heart and cardiovascular disease amongst others.  Exercise has also been proven to aid in the improvement of mental health, helps prevent depression, improves mental health, promote or maintain positive self-esteem, and even augment an individual’s sex appeal or body image.  Obesity in children is a growing global concern and physical exercise may help decrease some of the effects of childhood and adult obesity, as well as more of a healthier lifestyle and healthier choices in food.  Physical exercises are generally grouped into three types, depending on the overall effect they have on the human body:  Flexibility exercises like stretching, improves the range of motion of muscles and joints.  Aerobic exercises like as cycling, swimming, walking or tennis focuses on increasing cardiovascular endurance. Anaerobic exercises such as weight training, aids in increasing short-term muscle strength.  Physical exercise is used to improve physical skills. Physical skills fall into the following general categories:  cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, coordination, balance and more. people-on-the-dating-app-tinder-are-starting-to-use-pixtr-the-app-that-photoshops-your-face

sindrome_metabolicaPhysical exercise is important for maintaining and physical fitness and can contribute positively to maintaining a healthy weight, building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility, promoting physiological well-being, reducing surgical risks, and strengthening the immune system.

Frequent and regular aerobic exercise has been shown to help prevent or treat serious and life-threatening chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, insomnia, as well as depression.  Endurance exercise before meals lowers blood glucose more than the same exercise after meals.   Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise work to increase the mechanical efficiency of the heart by increasing cardiac volume (aerobic exercise), or myocardial thickness (strength training).

muscle-hypertrophyUnfortunately, not everyone benefits equally from exercise. There is tremendous variation in individual response to training; where most people will see a moderate increase in endurance from aerobic exercise, some individuals will as much as double their oxygen uptake, while others can never augment endurance. However, muscle hypertrophy from resistance training is primarily determined by diet and testosterone. This genetic variation in improvement from training is one of the key physiological differences between elite athletes and the larger population. Studies have shown that exercising in middle age leads to better physical ability later in life.19389

The beneficial effect of exercise on the cardiovascular system is well documented. There is a direct relation between physical inactivity and cardiovascular mortality, and physical inactivity is an independent risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease. The greatest potential for reduced mortality is in the sedentary who become moderately active. Most beneficial effects of physical activity on cardiovascular disease mortality can be attained through moderate-intensity activity (40% to 60% of maximal oxygen uptake, depending on age). persons who modify their behavior after heart attack to include regular exercise have improved rates of survival.  Persons who remain sedentary have the highest risk for all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality.

bambini-sportInappropriate exercise can do more harm than good, with the definition of “inappropriate” varying according to the individual.  With any activity, there are significant injuries that occur with poorly regimented exercise schedules. Stopping excessive exercise suddenly can also create a change in mood. I know this quite well.   I was unable to exercise for slightly more than 3 months due to injury and several hospitalizations and surgery, which was not fun for me at all.   I am now starting to reassume my exercise routine, plus finally being able to wear 2 shoes again after so long.  Feelings of depression and agitation can occur when withdrawal from the natural endorphins produced by exercise occurs.   Exercise should be controlled by each body’s inherent limitations.

Personal lifestyle changes can correct the lack of physical exercise.  Adults are getting aware fromcorsi-yoga-vicenza the lack of physical active lifestyle and becoming more active and making appropriate healthy choices.   This more active lifestyle is becoming apparent with children has well, but unfortunately more needs to be done with children regarding exercise, as well as a more healthy lifestyle choice (food choices and exercise).   Exercise, is important and beneficial for everyone, as well as helping to increase your lifespan and overall health and well-being.

The benefits of exercise have been known since antiquity. In approximately 65 BC, Marcus Cicero stated:  “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.” the link between physical health and exercise (or lack of it) was only discovered in 1949.

Kathy Kiefer

 

Schermata 09-2456547 alle 16.18.29

HEALTH AND MEDICINE

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Health and Medicine

 

medical-assistingIn this day and age, it’s important to have medical coverage as well as keeping yourself healthy.    I realize that in many instances people can’t always afford health insurance, but also have a right to health care and be able to get taken care of no matter what.     With the exception of Medicare (for seniors) and Medicaid (for the truly poor), there are no comparable alternatives to comprehensive health care insurance in the United States. Most insurance companies do offer what they call “mini” or “supplemental” plans to provide additional reimbursement for specific activities in exchange for monthly premiums. These plans can be helpful supplements to—but are not replacements for—comprehensive health insurance plans.   I am quite sure that in nearly every community in this country there are clinics and places where people can go to get help even with minimal or no coverage.     But this can also present a problem as well, but this I mean that costs for health coverage continually on the rise and the possible reason for this is due to the industry trying to cover the costs of medical care that can’t afford it.  Is this right or wrong?    By medical costs continuing toassicurazione_usa.gif rise more people elect to go without coverage due to cost.

Over 50 million Americans are currently without health insurance, with more losing coverage each day. But what is health insurance, and why is it important?

different-types-of-health-insuranceWhat is Health Insurance?  Health insurance is a type of insurance policy that pays a portion of medical expenses. For instance, if you need to visit a doctor, have surgery, purchase prescription drugs or get medical tests (like x-rays), health insurance will pay a portion of the expenses incurred. The portion of expenses paid varies by policy.

Vaccines, check-ups, routine physical exams—each are important to maintaining health. But those without health insurance are less likely to receive potentially life-saving preventive care.

A standard health insurance policy covers:

  • Visits to primary care doctors and specialists
  • Emergency services, including visits to the emergency room
  • Medical check-ups, including blood tests, pap smears, etc.
  • Medically necessary procedures (surgery, MRIs, CAT Scans)
  • Prescription drugs

Health insurance won’t cover 100 percent of medical costs, though. Patients are responsible for small fees—co-payments—when visiting medical providers or purchasing prescription drugs.

Without health insurance, you probably can’t afford prescription drugs. It’s not uncommon for a prescription drug to cost hundreds out-300x168_190236_usa-la-contrastata-riforma-sanitariaof-pocket. The average cost for a prescription drug is now $71 with health insurance; a small co-payment is usually all that’s necessary to purchase a prescription drug.

When choosing the health insurance plan one must consider:

  • Find out what is covered. Is your family doctor covered, or specialists like chiropractors?
  • Conversely, learn what isn’t covered. For instance, some health insurance policies won’t cover acupuncture of treatment for mood disorders
  • Choose between HMO and PPO. HMOs are generally cheaper, but PPOs offer greater flexibility
  • Make sure your health insurance plan covers the prescription drugs you need

As medical costs continue to soar, health insurance is more important than ever. The average cost of a three-day hospital stay is nearly $30,000.   Not surprisingly that over half of bankruptcies are related to medical expenses.

medical-assistanceHealth insurance is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses among individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health care and health system expenses among a targeted group, an insurer can develop a routine finance structure, such as a monthly premium or payroll tax, to ensure that money is available to pay for the health care benefits specified in the insurance agreement. The benefit is administered by a central organization such as a government agency, private business, or not-for-profit entity. According to the Health Insurance Association of America, health insurance is defined as “coverage that provides for the payments of benefits as a result of sickness or injury. Includes insurance for losses from accident, medical expense, disability, or accidental death and dismemberment”.

Prescription drug plans are a form of insurance offered through some health insurance plans. In the United States, the patient usually pays a copayment and the prescription drug insurance part or all of the balance for drugs covered in the formulary of the plan. Such plans are routinely part of national health insurance programs. Some, if not most, health care providers in the United States will agree to bill the insurance company if patients are willing to sign an agreement that they will be responsible for the amount that the insurance company doesn’t pay. The insurance company pays out of network providers according to “reasonable and customary” charges, which may be less than the provider’s usual fee. The provider may also have a separate contract with the insurer to accept what amounts to a discounted rate or capitation to the provider’s standard charges. It generally costs the patient less to use an in-network provider.

The United States health care system relies heavily on private health insurance, which is the primary source of coverage for most obama_med_R375jpgAmericans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 58% of Americans have private health insurance. Public programs provide the primary source of coverage for most senior citizens and for low-income children and families who meet certain eligibility requirements. The primary public programs are Medicare, a federal social insurance program for seniors and certain disabled individuals, Medicaid, funded jointly by the federal government and states but administered at the state level, which covers certain very low income children and their families, and SCHIP, also a federal-state partnership that serves certain children and families who do not qualify for Medicaid but who cannot afford private coverage. Other public programs include military health benefits provided through TRICARE and the Veterans Health Administration and benefits provided through the Indian Health Service.  Some states have additional programs for low-income individuals.

how-much-is-your-life-worth_50290d058fa85In the late 19th century, “accident insurance” began to be available, which operated much like modern disability insurance. This payment model continued until the start of the 20th century in some jurisdictions (like California), where all laws regulating health insurance actually referred to disability insurance. Accident insurance was first offered in the United States by the Franklin Health Assurance Company of Massachusetts. This firm, founded in 1850, offered insurance against injuries arising from railroad and steamboat accidents. Sixty organizations were offering accident insurance in the U.S. by 1866, but the industry consolidated rapidly soon thereafter. While there were earlier experiments, the origins of sickness coverage in the U.S. effectively date from 1890. The first employer-sponsored group disability policy was issued in 1911.

Before the development of medical expense insurance, patients were expected to pay health care costs out of their own pockets, under what is known as the fee-for-service business model. During the middle-to-late 20th century, traditional disability insurance evolved into modern health insurance programs. One major obstacle to this development was that early forms of comprehensive health insurance were enjoined by courts for violating the traditional ban on corporate practice of the professions by for-profit corporations.  State legislatures had to intervene and expressly legalize health insurance as an exception to that traditional rule. Today, most comprehensive private health insurance programs cover the cost of routine, preventive, and emergency health care procedures, and most prescription drugs (but this is not always the case).

Hospital and medical expense policies were introduced during the first half of the 20th century. During the 1920s, individual hospitals began offering services to individuals on a pre-paid basis, eventually leading to the development of organizations such as Blue Cross. The predecessors of today’s Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) originated beginning in 1929, through the 1930s and during World War II.

Comprehensive health insurance pays a percentage of the cost of hospital and physician charges after a deductible (usually applies to zz6dbc0774hospital charges) or a co-pay (usually applies to physician charges, but may apply to some hospital services) is met by the insured. These plans are generally expensive because of the high potential benefit payout — $1,000,000 to 5,000,000 is common — and because of the vast array of covered benefits.   Scheduled health insurance plans are not meant to replace a traditional comprehensive health insurance plans and are more of a basic policy providing access to day-to-day health care such as going to the doctor or getting a prescription drug. In recent years in the USA, these plans have taken the name mini-med plans or association plans. The term “association” is often used to describe them because they require membership in an association that must exist for some other purpose than to sell insurance. These plans may provide benefits for hospitalization and surgical, but these benefits will be limited. Scheduled plans are not meant to be effective for catastrophic events. These plans cost much less than comprehensive health insurance. They generally pay limited benefits amounts directly to the service provider, and payments are based upon the plan’s “schedule of benefits”. Annual benefits maxima for a typical scheduled health insurance plan may range from $1,000 to $25,000.

The price of health insurance for retired and active duty military personnel has gone up from $19 billion just a decade ago to $49 billion in the last year. Now, TRICARE, the government health insurance program, makes up nine percent of the total budget for the Pentagon.  By 2007, 87% of Californians had some form of health insurance. Services in California range from private offerings: HMOs, PPOs, to public programs:  Medi-Cal, Medicare, and Healthy Families

Recently a study  examined the rising health care costs in the United States pointed to increased utilization created by increased consumer demand, new treatments, and more intensive diagnostic testing, as the most significant. However, it has been noted that the group which sponsored this study, AHIP, is a front-group funded by various insurance companies. People in developed countries are living longer. The population of those countries is aging, and a larger group of senior citizens requires more intensive medical care than a young, healthier population. Advances in medicine and medical technology can also increase the cost of medical treatment. Lifestyle-related factors can increase utilization and therefore insurance prices, such as: increases in obesity caused by insufficient exe4rcise and unhealthy food choices; excessive alcohol use, smoking as well as the use of street drugs.   Other factors noted by the PWC study included the movement to broader-access plans, higher-priced technologies, and cost-shifting from Medicaid and the uninsured to private payers.     Researchers note that doctors and other healthcare providers are rewarded for merely treating patients rather than curing them and that patients insured through employer group policies have incentives to go to the absolute best HCPs rather than the most cost-effective ones.

I don’t agree with this at all, the patient needs good and effective treatment and receive the proper care they deserve and want.  If the patient is not satisfied with the doctor and care of treatment they are well within their rights to search and seek out a better doctor and place where they can get the care they need.

orthopaedic_surgeryI know this quite well from personal experience.   I had been seeing a specialist whose expertise was wound care for an open wound and serious infection that I had/have.  It was being treated the conventional way with being cleaned and wrapped up, and truly not getting better and I was in extreme pain every time I placed any pressure on that limb which at times the extreme pain brought me to tears.   The specialist did not do a culture, even though I had mentioned about doing one, and never addressed any of my questions or concerns.  I voiced my concerns to the doctor who recommended this person to me, and finally was referred to another doctor whose specialty was infectious disease.   I went into one of the top hospitals near to where I live and received the proper treatment for the infection and wound that I have.    And yes, the culture was done right away (by the Infectious Disease specialist) and the appropriate treatment was started.   Needless to say in the coming weeks I will be receiving specialized treatment in order to clean the infection out of my system and the wound to heal.  It also goes without saying that the original doctor was not pleased with how the one specialist treated the ailment, if this person allowed it to continue treating me, I could have lost my foot or worse. I also took steps to research the best person and place to go to get the proper treatment.    And I got it because of the research I did.

I believe that everyone has the right to get the proper treatment for any medical problem, and if they have insurance or not.   While I am american hospital doha qatar doctorssure what I did was probably the extreme to research my problem, but it was the correct thing to do, and I highly recommend others to do research the doctors they use, places they go for medical treatment and so forth.   People need to better educate themselves and ask questions, not just accept what they are told as fact.  If they are not satisfied with the care or treatment they are receiving they must shop around to find the best care.   There can always be a better method of handling a situation.    Even if entails going to a special center for help such as the National Institutes of Health, the Mayo Clinic or other similar locations.    It just takes time and research to get to the proper place.   And in my instance, I was pushing the envelope before it was too late.

A key factor in patient safety is that the health care providers should be safe and fit for purpose.   In the USA, insurers will often only make use of health care providers that are independently surveyed by a recognized quality assurance program, such as being accredited by accreditation schemes such as the Joint Commission and the American Accreditation Health Care Commission.

Kathy Kiefer