• 5 things one should avoid before visiting a doctor

    Whether starting with a new doctor or revisiting the old doctor, one must avoid doing certain things before visiting the doctor. For example, one must avoid wearing any kind of metal while going for a scan or eating before going for an ultrasound. Taking care of things like this can help a person get accurate results. It is best to make a note of the concerns one needs the doctor to address. 

    5 things to avoid before a doctor’s appointment
    Avoid drinking coffee before checking blood pressure
    A person must avoid drinking coffee before visiting a doctor to get accurate results during a check-up. Consuming coffee or any beverage that contains caffeine, including energy drinks or colas, can cause blood pressure to be incorrectly higher. The same holds for over-the-counter decongestants.

    Reduce salt intake before going to the doctor
    While some people seek comfort foods like chocolate and other sweets when worried, others choose comfort foods like potato chips. If one is visiting the doctor for managing hypertension, salty snacks is one thing a person must avoid before visiting the doctor.

    High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, has been related to severe health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Consumption of salty foods leads to a spike in blood pressure. If one does not have foods with low-sodium content before the doctor’s appointment, one’s blood pressure may get boosted, leading to inadequate test results.

    Avoid wearing deodorant before a mammogram
    Ladies having a mammogram should avoid using powder, deodorant, or antiperspirant on the day of the test. These can show up on x-rays as white spots. Even if this is clarified later, imagine the pain and stress it will give a person and their loved ones to think of testing positive for cancer. One must thoroughly wash one’s underarms before getting dressed for a mammogram to ensure no deodorant residue remains.

    Avoid eating before certain blood tests
    Doctors use blood tests to check for various possible health concerns a person may be facing. Though not all blood tests require fasting conditions, certain blood tests require a person to come for testing on an empty stomach condition. For example, a fasting blood glucose test requires a person to fast for at least 8 to 10 hours. 

    Do not eat before an ultrasound without checking with the doctor
    Though ultrasound is generally considered a way to monitor pregnancy, this procedure is also used to check a person’s liver, eyes, pancreas, bladder, reproductive parts, etc. If a person’s ultrasound is focused on the abdomen area, one needs to fast for at least 10 to 12 hours, as the food passing through the digestive tract may not allow the doctor to get a clear picture of the organs in the abdomen area. 

  • 4 vitamins to consume for good eye health

    The eye is an organ part of the visual system in the human body that enables individuals to see. But several factors can affect one’s overall vision. Age, diabetes, high blood pressure, and genetics are significant factors impacting one’s vision. Improper nutrition can also be a contributing factor to poor vision. Therefore, one must ensure they eat foods rich in vitamins to improve eye health. Here are four such vitamins to include in each meal.

    Vitamin A
    Including foods rich in vitamin A may help maintain a clear cornea (the outer covering of the eye). The vitamin is also a component of a protein in the eyes known as rhodopsin. The protein allows individuals to see in low light conditions. Furthermore, vitamin A reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Foods abundant with A vitamins include pumpkins, bell peppers, squash, and sweet potato. Carrots, black-eyed peas, spinach, broccoli, mangoes, and cantaloupe are other foods rich in this vitamin. The lack of vitamin A can lead to xerophthalmia, a severe condition that may cause permanent blindness.

    Vitamin C
    Eating foods rich in vitamin C can have several health benefits, including those for the eyes. The vitamin also protects the eyes from oxidative damage. Such damage is a crucial factor that can trigger the development of nuclear and cortical cataracts, which are common age-related cataracts. Oranges, blackberries, grapefruit juice, and Brussels sprouts are some foods to consume to improve the vitamin levels in the body. Research indicates that people who developed a nuclear cataract had clearer lenses when they ate foods rich in vitamin C. The nutrition from these foods can also protect the eye against UV light damage. While the concentration of vitamin C in the eyes depletes with age, taking supplements based on a healthcare professional’s advice may help replenish the vitamin.

    Vitamin E
    Following meal plans that are rich in vitamin E can significantly improve one’s vision or prevent potential disorders. To improve levels of E vitamins, one must include sunflower seeds, peanuts, safflower oil, soybean, asparagus, and peanuts in their meals. Salmon and avocados are other healthy sources of vitamin E. People who consume these foods improve Alpha Tocopherol concentration, a form of vitamin E with powerful antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to fight and prevent free radicals, which may otherwise damage tissues throughout the body. These radicals may also damage proteins and lead to the formation of cloudy textures (cataracts) on the lens of the eye.

    B Vitamins
    B vitamins such as B6, B9, and B12 are known for their benefits, especially for improving eye health. Combining the three vitamins help reduce homocysteine, a protein that may increase the chances of developing AMD and potentially trigger inflammation. Riboflavin is another B vitamin known to protect the eyes. The antioxidants may help reduce oxidative stress in the body, including stress in the eyes. As for foods, people should include chickpeas, poultry, and salmon in their meals to improve vitamin B6 levels. Some foods rich in B9 include peanuts, seafood, and eggs. As for B12, the liver and kidneys of beef, veal, and lamb are suitable sources of the vitamin.

    Contact lenses
    Healthy foods rich in vitamins can improve overall eye health and protect them from potential diseases. However, sometimes these vitamins can only do so much. One may need to try other means, such as wearing contact lenses, to manage their eye health. There are various lens types for the eyes. One of them is toric lenses made for those with astigmatism. Other common vision problems that might need one to wear contact lenses include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and presbyopia. A few popular brands for contacts include those from Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Alcon, and Coopervision.

  • Foods to eat and avoid for ovarian cancer

    Ovarian cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers among women. It affects individuals of all ages, but those between 50 and 60 are most susceptible. Like other cancers, medication is a must for treating ovarian cancer. However, proper nutrition is also essential. This article lists the foods to eat and avoid for ovarian cancer patients, including some effective therapy options like CAR T-cell and Rubraca to help relieve cancer symptoms.

    Foods to eat
    The following are the three best foods for ovarian cancer:

    Broccoli
    Broccoli is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. Being a green vegetable, it is rich in nutrients like vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, and chromium. Besides, its antioxidant-rich nature makes it an essential part of an anti-cancer nutrition plan.

    Ginger
    A popular superfood, ginger can help overcome the discomfort caused by ovarian cancer. The root has hundreds of phytochemicals that can directly attack cancer cells, making it one of the best options for cancer relief.

    Carrots
    A fiber-rich food, carrots carry high amounts of vitamins A, K, and B6. Plus, the beta carotene in them helps keep the cell membrane safe from damage caused by toxins and slows down the growth rate of cancer cells.

    Foods to avoid
    Patients with ovarian cancer must avoid the following:

    Raw foods
    Raw foods can contain anti-nutrients and sometimes even harmful chemicals or microbes that can damage the body’s cells. Foods like eggs, shellfish, sushi, meat, poultry, and vegetables need to be well-cooked before eating.

    Unpasteurized products
    Unpasteurized products like certain cheeses and raw milk are especially harmful to cancer patients as they have a weakened immune system. Therefore, these should be kept off the menu.

    Red meats
    Research shows that staying away from pork, beef, lamb, or other red meats can play a part in preventing ovarian cancer. This also stands true for processed meats like bacon, ham, sausages, and more.

    While proper nutrition is necessary, medication and therapy play a more significant role in fighting cancer. Here are a few therapy options for treating ovarian cancer:

    CAR T-cell therapy
    In CAR T-cell cancer therapy, doctors extract T cells from the patient’s blood, bind them with a special protein receptor, and inject the modified cells back into the patient. The new cells are now better equipped to fight cancer cells. The CAR T-cell therapy option is one of the best for cancer relief.

    Hormone therapy
    This cancer treatment option uses medicinal compounds that help inhibit the growth or multiplication of cancerous cells. Hormone therapy is especially effective for women with breast or ovarian cancer.

    Rubraca
    Rubraca is an oral ovarian cancer medication option. Simply put, it blocks the enzymes that repair the DNA in cancerous cells, leaving them to die. It is approved by the FDA and is especially effective when used alongside chemotherapy.

  • 9 common diaper changing mistakes first-time parents make

    Babies bring just as much responsibility as joy into one’s life, and no one knows this better than first-time parents. Diaper changes are among the most challenging duties associated with baby care. Though it might seem relatively easy, there are some blunders new parents unintentionally make that may end up being hurtful or, at times, even dangerous for the child. Some common diaper-changing mistakes parents make, and ways to avoid them are listed below.

    Using a bed instead of a changing table
    Soft surfaces like beds make it more challenging to hold your infant steady. A child may also pee in the middle of changing, leading to a bigger mess. Therefore, it is better to use a level surface, like the floor or a changing table, which is easier to clean.

    Not having a designated space for changing
    A baby is more vulnerable to infections during a diaper change. So having a designated place ensures good hygiene and the baby’s safety. In case of emergencies, it’s advisable to disinfect the space before taking on the task. Spread a plastic mat in the area to minimize the mess.

    Avoiding diaper change when it isn’t soiled
    Even if a diaper is seemingly clean and dry, it’s advisable to change it every two to three hours. The baby’s skin is soft, and the friction from the diaper may lead to discomfort or irritation.

    Leaving the room while changing
    If the doorbell or phone rings, it’s normal to turn away from the baby, but it’s best to avoid doing so if the infant is on the changing table. It is essential to prevent accidents if the baby rolls over and tumbles off the table while you are away.

    Not keeping the supplies handy
    Ensure the changing station is equipped with all cleaning and changing essentials to avoid leaving your baby alone while you look for them.

    Not carrying a distraction for the child
    Babies often get restless due to the wetness in the diaper while changing. Too much movement while in wet diapers may lead to rashes. Therefore, always carry a toy or sippy cup that keeps the baby distracted and still during the diaper change.

    Not cleaning and moisturizing properly
    Do not rub the baby while cleaning. Instead, use a soft cloth and pat dry to avoid skin rashes. Moisturizing the baby thoroughly will help prevent itchiness and dryness. Use only a mild anti-rash cream or moisturizer. A mild dermatologically-approved talcum powder after moisturizing can also help the baby feel fresh and dry for a long time. Alternatively, cleaning the baby from back to front might seem more manageable, but that can make them vulnerable to infections. Therefore, it’s advisable to clean from front to back.

    Ignoring umbilical stump
    A baby’s belly button carries a fragment of the umbilical cord for a while, which falls off naturally. Ensure you do not cover the area with a diaper or accidentally pull it off before it’s healed. To avoid this, you can opt for foldable diapers or give an opening for them separately.

    Using a diaper of the wrong size
    Babies outgrow their clothes and diapers quickly, and using an undersized diaper may lead to chafing. Use the appropriate size to ensure the baby doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

  • 4 foods to omit for healthy lungs

    Lungs are responsible for delivering oxygen to the body and protecting the airways from irritants. One’s eating habits and lifestyle play an important role in maintaining lung health. For strong lungs, it is necessary to expose oneself to fresh, pollution-free air and choose nutrient-rich foods that boost energy and health. The absence of either can lead to impaired lung functionality and problems like asthma. Here are four foods to avoid for optimal lung health:

    Sugary foods
    Refined sugar is usually added to foods for preservation and taste enhancement. Excessive amounts of this ingredient can be found in sweetened drinks, syrups, cakes, donuts, cereals, flavored yogurt, granola, chocolates, and candies. Studies show that those who regularly opt for sugary foods and drinks have a high chance of developing bronchitis. Excessive intake of refined sugar also increases the fat content in the body and eventually puts pressure on the lungs and heart, leading to impaired functioning of the organs.

    Carbonated beverages
    Similar to refined sugar, carbonated beverages tend to put undue pressure on one’s lungs. These drinks have no nutrients and contain empty calories, carbon dioxide, and sugar. According to the American Lung Association, these drinks can generate gas, which can impede breathing, tighten the chest, or trigger asthma flare-ups. Carbonated beverages contain trans fats and lead to bloating and stomach aches. These foods are especially harmful to those with lung diseases.

    Processed meat
    Processed meats include sausage, deli meat, ham, hot dogs, bacon, and ham. Numerous studies show that the nitrites used in curing and preserving meats can exert stress on the lungs and lead to inflammation. Additionally, daily consumption of processed meat can increase one’s risk of developing and aggravating illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. COPD refers to lung conditions that block airflow and make breathing difficult. Processed meats also contain high levels of sodium for preservation and flavor. This can lead to water retention and make one susceptible to bronchitis and asthma. So, it is best to avoid packaged and processed foods. Those who experience COPD flare-ups due to chronic bronchitis and emphysema can opt for the Spiriva Respimat COPD inhaler after consulting a doctor. The Spiriva Respimat inhaler relaxes one’s airways, keeps them open, and helps better one’s breathing.

    Fried foods
    Oily foods contain high levels of trans fats and are best avoided for one’s overall health. Foods like fries and chicken wings can add to the saturated fat content in the body and cause indigestion, bloating issues, stomach gas, and even breathing troubles. Fried foods are also linked to episodes of asthma, COPD, and other complex lung health concerns. One can substitute fried foods with baked or air-fried versions to limit oil.

    One should also limit foods that cause gas and bloating, including beans, garlic, and onion. Those affected by asthma or other lung diseases can further avoid dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt to cut down on mucus production. One should consult a doctor and get a customized plan if affected by breathing-related issues.

    Those diagnosed with MAC lung disease may require treatment besides nutritional changes. MAC lung disease is a type of nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infection caused by the mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) bacteria. Treatments for this condition depend on the severity of the symptoms. MAC bacteria typically reside in soil and water and are more likely to affect those with immuno-compromised systems. Those at risk should eat healthy foods, wear a dust mask, follow an aggressive airway clearance regimen, and avoid hot tubs and saunas. 

  • 8 side effects of excessive caffeine consumption

    If brewing yourself a warm cup of tea or coffee is among your first tasks of the day, you are not alone. Three in four people who consume caffeine in the country report having a caffeinated beverage at least once daily. In limited quantities, caffeine has several health benefits, including increased alertness, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, and enhanced mood. However, in excess, this cuppa that cheers can have several detrimental side effects:

    Insomnia
    Insomnia is one of the most common side effects of excessive caffeine. A study found that caffeine six hours before bedtime reduced sleep time by one hour. It is best to avoid caffeinated beverages after sunset and generally limit caffeine intake even during the day to enhance the quality of sleep. Moreover, although caffeine typically stays in one’s system for five hours, it may remain in one’s body for anywhere between one to nine hours, depending on the person. Hence, one must observe one’s caffeine intake and consequent effects on sleep patterns and control their intake accordingly.

    Headache
    Frequent caffeine intake can trigger throbbing pain on the sides of one’s head. Such headaches are commonly called “caffeine headaches” and are particularly prevalent among individuals already prone to migraine. Caffeine headaches are typically caused by their effects on the brain’s electrical activity.

    Frequent urination
    Caffeine intake has been associated with an overly active bladder and even incontinence. Research has found that caffeine can increase the frequency and urgency of urination. Thus, individuals prone to urinary tract infections and incontinence should limit or avoid caffeinated beverages.

    Increased palpitation
    Excessive caffeine can increase one’s heartbeat, resulting in atrial fibrillation. Although this side effect does not occur among all caffeine drinkers, caffeine can increase one’s risk for the condition.

    Fatigue
    Although caffeinated beverages initially increase one’s alertness and act as mood boosters, they can have contrary effects once the body completely metabolizes caffeine. Fatigue and tiredness are common side effects of caffeinated drinks.

    Blood sugar
    Some individuals with type 2 diabetes report that their blood-sugar levels increase after caffeine consumption. Although caffeine may increase glucose levels marginally, it can still contribute to insulin resistance among patients grappling with the condition.

    Digestive problems
    Coffee has been associated with the release of gastrin, a hormone that accelerates colon activity. Moreover, such activity has been observed even after the consumption of decaffeinated coffee. Sometimes, coffee may improve the frequency of bowel movements among those suffering from constipation, but it can lead to diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems in other cases.

    Caffeine addiction
    Finally, caffeine can trigger the release of certain chemicals in the brain, paving the way for psychological and physical dependency on caffeinated beverages. Excessive consumption of caffeine over time can cause severe addiction to the element.

  • Common causes and remedies for itchy skin

    Itchy skin can be caused by a multitude of factors—from infections to insect bites—and identifying those triggers while working to avoid them is an essential part of treatment. While the remedies for itchy skin might not be a one-size-fits-all solution, they can provide some relief. It is important to consult a healthcare professional for the correct diagnosis. They can recommend appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes to alleviate the itching and address the underlying cause.

    Here are the five most common causes of itching and the remedies for each.

    Dry skin (xerosis)
    Dry skin lacks the necessary moisture and natural oils, making it more prone to itching. It is a common cause of itching, especially in cold, dry climates or during the winter months.

    Allergies
    Pollen, pet dander, dust mites, certain foods, or insect bites/stings can cause an allergic reaction and lead to itching. Skin allergies, like contact dermatitis, can also cause itching.

    Eczema (dermatitis)
    This chronic skin condition causes inflamed, itchy, and red skin. It can occur in various forms, with atopic dermatitis being the most common type.

    Skin irritants
    Exposure to irritants like harsh soaps, detergents, fragrances, or chemicals can cause skin irritation and itching. This is known as irritant contact dermatitis.

    Skin infections
    Fungal, bacterial, or viral infections can lead to itchy skin. Common examples include athlete’s foot (fungal), impetigo (bacterial), and herpes (viral) infections.

    Other less common causes of itchy skin are autoimmune conditions, side effects of treatments, liver or kidney diseases, and certain cancers.

    Common remedies for dry and itchy skin

    • Moisturize
      Use a fragrance-free moisturizer regularly to keep the skin hydrated.
    • Humidify
      Use a humidifier at home to add moisture to the air. This can help, especially during dry seasons.
    • Shorten showers
      Avoid hot showers and limit them to 10-15 minutes to prevent further drying of the skin.
    • Choose gentle soaps
      Use mild, unscented soap and avoid harsh, fragranced products.

    Remedies for skin allergies

    • Identify triggers
      Identify and avoid allergens that may be causing the itch, such as certain foods, fabrics, or pet dander.
    • Wash bedding
      Frequently wash bedding and pillowcases in hot water to remove allergens.
      Air purifiers: Use air purifiers to reduce allergens in the house.

    Remedies for eczema

    • Keep skin moisturized
      Apply moisturizer regularly, especially after bathing.
    • Avoid triggers: Recognize and avoid triggers, such as certain foods, stress, or environmental factors.
    • Use mild soaps: Choose gentle, fragrance-free soap for bathing.

    Remedies for itchy skin caused by irritants

    • Avoid irritants
      Identify and avoid substances that irritate the skin, such as harsh detergents, perfumes, or chemicals.
    • Protective clothing
      Wear protective clothing, like gloves, when handling potential irritants.

    Remedies for skin infections

    • Cool compress
      Apply a cool, damp washcloth to the itchy area for 15-20 minutes.
    • Oatmeal baths
      Adding oatmeal to a lukewarm bath can soothe itchy skin. Soak for 15-20 minutes, then gently pat the skin dry.
    • Hydration
      Apply a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer to the affected area. Keeping the skin well-hydrated can help reduce itching.
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