How Disease Impacts the Body’s Ability to Exercise

How Disease Impacts the Body’s Ability to Exercise

Disease can be a hard topic to approach, but it’s definitely something worth talking about. You may find yourself asking the following questions:

  • How does disease affect the body?
  • How does exercise help benefit the body?
  • Can I exercise with this disease?

We reached out to some experts on certain diseases to help better understand how these diseases impact the body’s ability to exercise and how to become stronger despite each disease.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)

What is ALS?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. Most people with ALS live 2-5 years after their first signs of disease.

How does ALS affect the body?

The motor neurons die and block the communication between the brain and the muscles. As a result, the muscles shut down and atrophy. People with ALS lose the ability to talk, eat, swallow, walk, and ultimately breathe.

How does exercise benefit those battling this disease?

Studies have found that exercise can help ALS patients retain muscle strength and improve joint function. The goals are to maximize muscle function, slow down the deterioration of range of movement, and increase aerobic capacity and endurance for as long as possible. Stretching—both static and dynamic—once or twice a day can help ease muscle pain and slow the decrease in range of movement. (Source: https://alsnewstoday.com/2017/04/27/seven-tips-for-starting-exercise-with-als/)

A Special Message from Augie’s Quest

Every dollar raised through Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS is dedicated to driving the innovative science happening at the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI). While we are laser focused on curing ALS, we hope our research leads to medical advancements for all neurodegenerative diseases.

All responses and photos above provided by a representative from Augie’s Quest.

Augie Nieto, Founder of Augie’s Quest

 

Alzheimer’s Disease

2016 Denver ALZ Walk

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive and fatal disease that attacks the brain and causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks and an individual’s independence. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

2016 Denver ALZ Walk

How does Alzheimer’s affect the body?

Alzheimer’s kills nerve cells and tissue in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think, plan and ultimately function. As the disease advances, the brain shrinks dramatically due to cell death. Individuals lose their ability to communicate, recognize family and friends, and care for themselves. Ultimately, individuals forget how to swallow or breath; Alzheimer’s is fatal.

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is extremely important as it allows better access to quality medical care and support services, and provides the opportunity for people with Alzheimer’s disease to participate in decisions about their care, including providing informed consent for current and future plans. Although Alzheimer’s has no current cure, treatments for symptoms, combined with the right services and support, can make life better for the 5 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s. You can learn about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s at www.alz.org/10signs. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be experiencing these symptoms, consult with a doctor.

2016 Denver ALZ Walk

How does exercise benefit those battling this disease?

Growing evidence suggests that many factors that increase the risk of heart disease also may increase the risk of dementia. These factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends exercise as one of the ways to help keep your brain and body healthy and prevent cognitive decline in the future. Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. While there is currently no way to prevent Alzheimer’s, several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline. Other recommendations to keep your brain healthy as you age include eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, staying socially engaged, and challenging your brain with games and activities.

2016 Chicago ALZ Walk

A Special Message from the Alzheimer’s Association

Today, although Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed, we are making significant progress. The Alzheimer’s Association is confident that better treatments, earlier detection, and prevention strategies will be available in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, we know that there are steps that you can take to improve your overall health and lower your risk of cognitive decline in the future. Visit www.alz.org/10Ways to learn about things you can do now to potentially protect your brain in the future.

For those facing Alzheimer’s today, it’s important that they know that they are not alone. The Alzheimer’s Association has resources available to help support families and individuals facing this disease, including in-person care consultations, support groups, and a 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900). Visit www.alz.org to learn more.

All responses and photos above provided by Dr. Heather Snyder, Senior Director, Medical & Scientific Relations for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Cancer

What is cancer?

Cancer is an abnormal growth in a tissue of the body caused by mutations in DNA, exposure to toxins (including alcohol and smoking and radiation), certain infections (like hepatitis B or C, HPV human papilloma virus or helicobacter pylorus in the stomach), sun exposure, and genetic factors. The abnormal tissue continues to grow and invade the organ where it started (like breast or lung or colon) and also can spread by blood or lymph channels to other organs.

How does cancer affect the body?

Cancer affects the body by reducing the function of the organ in which it started (like shortness of breath with lung cancer), and by causing symptoms like bleeding, pain, fatigue, a growing lump or mass, or a sore that does not heal.

How does exercise benefit those battling this disease?

Exercise has remarkable effects on preventing and treating cancer. Importantly, exercise can reduce your chances of having many types of cancer, including breast, uterus, colon, rectal, esophageal, liver, stomach, kidney, head and neck, lung, bladder, and prostate cancers and also leukemia and myeloma. If a person has been diagnosed with cancer, exercise has been shown to increase survival and cure rates in patients with breast, colon rectal and prostate cancer. But even if a person has a different type of cancer, exercise is helpful to improve weight, reduce fatigue, control pain, lessen anxiety, reduce inflammation, and improve emotional stability. If a patient has lost strength due to the cancer or treatment with surgery, radiation, hormonal therapy or chemotherapy, exercise is important in rehabilitation to regain a normal lifestyle.

A Special Message from Cary Presant, MD (Physician, City of Hope Medical Group)

Remain active, get all types of exercise (aerobic walking or running or cycling, and anaerobic sprinting or weight training), and commit to a healthy diet and avoidance of bad health habits. Being sedentary is a health risk and getting exercise can save your life.

All responses above provided by Cary Presant, MD, Physician, City of Hope Medical Group.

Chronic Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means your kidneys are damaged and losing their ability to keep you healthy. In the early stages, most people do not have symptoms. The disease affects 30 million people in the U.S. (15% of the adult population) and approximately 90% of those with kidney disease don’t even know they have it. (For people at the earliest stages of kidney disease, 96% don’t know.) 1 in 3 Americans is at risk for CKD. Because of increasing rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease is on the rise and is an urgent issue.

How does CKD affect the body?

As kidney disease progresses, waste can build up in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop other problems like high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health, and nerve damage. Kidney disease also increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly and can lead to kidney failure. Once kidneys fail, dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed to stay alive.

How does exercise and proper nutrition benefit those battling this disease/susceptible to this disease?

A few of the manageable, and sometimes preventable, risk factors of CKD include diabetes and high blood pressure. To prevent these health issues, or at the very least manage them so they don’t progress into something worse, it is best to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. Proper nutrition, incorporated with a healthy lifestyle, can help give your body a better chance at functioning properly, therefore diminishing your risk for developing CKD.

A Special Message from the National Kidney Foundation

Have you ever thought about donating an organ? Organ and tissue donation helps others by giving them a second chance at life. Learn more about the donation process–and how to become an organ donor. Visit https://www.kidney.org/transplantation for more information on how you could help save a life. Listen to some awe-inspiring testimonials from living donors here.

All responses above sourced from The National Kidney Foundation, with permission from Nichell Taylor Bryant, Senior Media Relations Manager. Kidney graphic provided by the Nation Kidney Foundation, Marketing & Communications. 

COPD

What is COPD?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Chronic means that the disease itself does not go away. It is always there, but, it is treatable and can be managed effectively. Obstructive means that you have trouble getting your air out of your lungs. Pulmonary means it affects the lungs.

COPD is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory (non-reversible) asthma. This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness.

How does COPD affect the body?

As we mentioned, obstructive means you have trouble getting air out of your lungs. Why is this? With COPD the lungs have been damaged. This tends to make them stretched out and over-inflated, and lose

some of their elastic quality. We all know that a new balloon quickly goes back to its small size when you let the air out of it. But a balloon that’s been blown up many times is not as elastic as it once was, and it’s not as good at getting the air out. Lungs with COPD can be that way too, and if you can’t blow out the air you should, it’s harder to take your next breath.

So, when you are short of breath, of course, you’re going to want to sit down more and not be as active as you once were. Moving around less can make your muscles weak and your joints stiff. If it hurts to move around, you’re going to be even less active. The more sedentary you are, the less you can do, and the more frustration and anxiety you might have. Your breathing becomes more shallow (you are working very hard to huff and puff without moving much air) and this can be exhausting — and depressing.

Also, the heart and lungs work closely together to make sure enough oxygen gets around to all parts of our bodies. When the lungs are working too hard, more stress is put on the heart. So, COPD can affect not only the lungs but other body systems, your muscles, your brain… other parts of your body can begin to struggle to keep up with what they need to do.

How does exercise benefit those battling this disease?

You might think that if a person is this short of breath, there is no way they can exercise. But they can exercise, and it helps them have more endurance, strength and flexibility. For many people with COPD, exercising is a very scary thing. Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a good way to start. Pulmonary Rehabilitation professionals are very good at helping people with severe shortness of breath improve their level of fitness. They can help people with mild, moderate or severe COPD be able to feel better, breathe easier and be more active. And when you can do more, you may feel less depressed and anxious. You are more likely to have a fuller, more enjoyable life. Exercising and learning how to take the best possible care of your lungs can make an enormous difference in the life of a person with COPD!

Jane Martin, Assistant Director of Education for the COPD Foundation.

A Special Message from the COPD Foundation

You are not alone! There are 30 million Americans who have COPD and help is available! You can become informed and empowered, so you can have the confidence to control your breathing and cope with the changes that often come with having COPD. Visit COPD 360social, our vibrant online community to learn from others with COPD. https://www.copdfoundation.org/COPD360social/Community/Activity-Feed.aspx

For more about COPD, go to: http://www.copdfoundation.org

All responses above provided by Jane Martin, Assistant Director of Education for the COPD Foundation.

Depression

What is depression?

Depression is a serious medical illness that affects the brain and the body. People often think depression is just being sad all the time. In fact, people with depression do not necessarily feel sad – they feel numb and hopeless. Symptoms include inability to concentrate, loss of pleasure in things that used to be fun, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, loss of appetite, feelings of intense rejection or guilt, and suicidal thoughts.

How does depression affect the body?

Depression is a full-body illness. We know that several neurotransmitter systems in our brains are impacted by depression. These neurotransmitters influence different circuits and feedback loops that control every aspect of our lives, from appetite to motivation, to mood and feeling excited or peaceful. Our gut is affected. Our hearts and our muscles. Aches and pains are magnified.

How does exercise benefit those battling this disease?

Just 15 minutes of exercise changes the electrical activity in your brain’s mood centers. Regular exercise makes your brain stronger and more resilient to stress by increasing nerve growth factors.

A Special Message from The Hope For Depression Research Foundation

Remarkable advances in neuroscience teach us not just about mental illness but about mental wellness. Positive life changes can lead to positive brain changes that enhance our emotional well-being. Regular exercise, good sleep habits, and practicing gratitude are just three simple ways to keep our brains healthy and resilient. Gratitude is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and increase the brain’s production of serotonin – an important neurotransmitter. Regardless of your life’s circumstances, the gratitude circuit in your brain can be strengthened. Make gratitude a daily part of your routine by taking a few minutes each day to write down three things you are grateful for.

All responses above provided by Louisa Benton, Executive Director for the Hope for Depression Research Foundation.

Diabetes

What is diabetes & how does it affect the body?

As defined by the CDC,

Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/media/presskits/aahd/diabetes.pdf)

How does exercise benefit those battling this disease/susceptible to this disease?

Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes. When you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin so it can work more efficiently. Your cells also remove glucose from the blood using a mechanism totally separate from insulin during exercise. So, exercising consistently can lower blood glucose and improve your A1C*. When you lower your A1C, you may be able to take fewer diabetes pills or less insulin.

Studies indicate that moving more throughout the day—in addition to getting the recommended 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week of moderate activity—may prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. It also is shown to improve blood glucose control, reduce cardiovascular risk factors, contribute to weight loss and improve wellbeing in people with type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise also has considerable health benefits for people with type 1 diabetes, including improved cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and insulin sensitivity.

The American Diabetes Association recommends breaking up sitting time with three or more minutes of light physical activity—such as walking, leg extensions or overhead arm stretches—every 30 minutes. This is a new recommendation as of October, 2016. Previously, we recommended movement every 90 minutes.

Read more about how food and fitness affect health, by clicking the following link: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/

*A1C, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a stable glycoprotein formed when glucose binds to hemoglobin A in the blood.

A Special Message from the American Diabetes Association

The good news is diabetes can be managed with the proper care of a health professional, diet and exercise. For more information on diabetes, check out the ADA’s Diabetes Forecast magazine, full of information to help better understand how to manage this disease.

Below are some suggestions for incorporating more movement during the workday.

  • Set a timer to get up every 30 minutes and stand, walk or stretch.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator at the office and in the parking garage.
  • Get up and stretch at your desk.
  • Swap out your chair for an exercise ball to engage your muscles.
  • Use part or all of your lunch break to take a walk.
  • Walk places that are within a reasonable distance instead of sitting in a car.
  • Try some chair exercises while at your desk.

All responses above sourced from The American Diabetes Association, with permission from Courtney Cochran, Senior Manager of Media Relations.

Heart Disease

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. It claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease combined.

Heart disease is a common term for the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries that could lead to heart attack.

Your heart muscle needs oxygen to survive. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow can slowly become narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. When a plaque in a heart artery breaks, a blood clot forms around the plaque. This blood clot can block the blood flow through the heart muscle. When damage or death of part of the heart muscle occurs, it is called heart attack. About every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.

How does heart disease affect the body?

After a first heart attack, most people go on to live a long, productive life. However, around 20 percent of patients age 45 and older will have another heart attack within five years of their first.

How does exercise benefit those battling this disease/susceptible to this disease?

Exercise is essential to living heart-healthy. “Our bodies were designed to be physically active, and they don’t do well with long-term exposure to sedentary living. Lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” says Russell Pate, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Exercise at the University of South Carolina.

According to the American Heart Association’s exercise standards, “Exercise can be viewed as a preventative medical treatment, ‘like a pill’ that should be taken on an almost daily basis.”

The heart-healthy benefits of exercising for just 30 minutes a day are nearly endless. To name a few, exercise:

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Keeps your weight under control
  • Helps you quit smoking
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Prevents and manages high blood pressure
  • Prevents bone loss
  • Boosts energy level
  • Helps manage stress
  • Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
  • Reduces heart disease in women by 30-40 percent
  • Reduces risk of stroke by 20 percent in moderately active people
  • Delays chronic illness and disease associated with aging

After a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor first before starting an exercise routine. Considering your medical history, age and other factors, your doctor can help determine what activities are best for your current physical condition.

We suggest starting a walking program, which is the easiest way to begin exercising and has the lowest dropout rate of any type of exercise. In addition, studies show that for every hour of walking, life expectancy may increase by two hours.

A Special Message from The American Heart Association

Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body — and call 911 if you feel:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.

Most people survive their first heart attack and return to their normal lives to enjoy many more years of productive activity. But living with heart disease does mean you need to make some changes in your life that include regular physical activity. For more information, resources and support about heart disease, visit www.heart.org.

All responses above provided by a representative from The American Heart Association.

Stroke

What constitutes a stroke?

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to, and within, the brain. It is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States.

A stroke is sometimes described as a brain attack, as a stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts/ruptures. When there’s a blockage, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, and many brain cells die. During a stroke emergency, “time loss is brain loss.”

There are different types of strokes:

  • Ischemic stroke – This is the most common type of stroke, caused when a clot or a mass blocks a blood vessel, cutting off blood flow to a part of the brain. About 87 percent of strokes are classified as ischemic. Cryptogenic stroke refers to an ischemic stroke where the root cause is unknown at the time of discharge.
  • TIA/transient ischemic stroke – A temporary blockage to the brain, also known as a “mini-stroke” or “warning-stroke.”
  • Hemorrhagic stroke – Occurs when a weakened blood vessel bursts and bleeds into the brain, compressing the surrounding brain tissue.

How does having a stroke affect the body?

The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions. If a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a specific body function, that part of the body won’t work as it should.

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability. The effects of a stroke depend primarily on the location of the obstruction and the extent of brain tissue affected.

If the stroke occurs in the brain’s right side, the left side of the body (and the left side of the face) will be affected, producing some or all the following:

  • Paralysis on the left side of the body
  • Vision problems
  • Quick, inquisitive behavioral style
  • Memory loss

If the stroke occurs in the left side of the brain, the right side of the body will be affected, producing some or all the following:

  • Paralysis on the right side of the body
  • Speech/language problems
  • Slow, cautious behavioral style
  • Memory loss

How does exercise benefit those who have suffered from a stroke?

For the first three months after a stroke, the brain is much like a child’s brain, ready to learn, ready to make new connections. This ability for our brains to adjust is known as neuroplasticity, and it plays a crucial role in recovery.

“Stroke is more than ever preventable, treatable and beatable. Through awareness, education and tools, stroke survivors can feel highly confident in taking control of their health to significantly reduce their risk of experiencing another stroke,” said Dr. Joseph Hanna, Chairman of Neurology at The MetroHealth System, Inc., in Cleveland and Spokesperson for the American Stroke Association.

Regular exercise can help stroke survivors regain skills and abilities that can help them become more independent and improve their quality of life. After a stroke, it is important to follow your doctor’s guidance before starting any fitness plan.

A Special Message from The American Stroke Association

Fortunately, 80% of strokes can be prevented! Regular exercise is a crucial component of preventing common risk factors of stroke such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Follow the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 to prevent strokes and live a longer, healthier lifestyle:

  1. Manage blood pressure
  2. Control cholesterol
  3. Reduce blood sugar
  4. Get active
  5. Eat healthier
  6. Maintain weight
  7. Stop smoking

Recognizing the warning signs of a stroke and taking immediate action can make a big difference in a stroke patient’s recovery outcome. The American Stroke Association teaches the warning signs of a stroke using the acronym, F.A.S.T., to help people recognize the symptoms and know what to do.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

  • F – Face drooping
  • A – Arm weakness
  • S – Speech difficulty
  • T – Time to call 9-1-1

For more information and resources to prevent, beat and treat stroke, visit www.StrokeAssocation.org.

All responses above provided by a representative from The American Stroke Association.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Why Do People Get Stretch Marks?

Why Do People Get Stretch Marks?

What is a stretch mark?

For those unaware, stretch marks are long, narrow stripes on the body, normally occurring as a result of overstretched skin. They are typically a lighter shade than your skin color and are extremely common – but for many, they are still extremely unpleasant.

While stretch marks don’t themselves pose a health risk, they can act as a source of cosmetic frustration for men and women alike.

Let’s discuss what causes these pesky little lines.

The Causes

Stretch marks are “more likely to develop and become more severe where there are high levels of circulating cortisone, or when cortisone is applied to the skin. Cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is converted into cortisone. This weakens elastic fibers in the skin.”1

  • Rapid Weight Gain or Weight Loss
    • When the body gains a lot of weight, or loses it over a short amount of time, it can cause stretch marks due to the fluctuation of body mass.
  • Puberty
    • As if there wasn’t enough going on with the body during this time, teens may also get stretch marks from a rapid growth spurt.
  • Pregnancy
    • The amount of women who report getting stretch marks throughout the pregnancy process, or after birth, is astonishingly high – at least 50% of pregnant women get stretch marks.2
  • Medical Conditions
    • Certain medical conditions can lead to a decrease in the skin’s elasticity, while others can produce too much of certain hormones that contribute to rapid weight gain.3
  • Corticosteroids
    • Corticosteroid lotions and creams may decrease levels of collagen in the skin.4 This can cause a “weakening” of the skin, which may increase the risk of stretch marks.

The Solution

There have been some investigations into the benefits of certain creams, oils, and topical solutions. However, there is no high-quality5 evidence that they do much to treat or prevent stretch marks. There are a few natural things you could do that may help prevent the marks from occurring, but they are not guaranteed.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. This decreases your chance at rapid stretching of the skin, which may help prevent the marks from suddenly sneaking up on you.

According to Medical News Today, eating a balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals can help support the skin.6 Especially important are vitamins A and C, along with zinc and silicon minerals.

During pregnancy, aim for a slow and gradual weight gain over the 9-month period to avoid rapid stretching of the skin.

Try drinking six to eight glasses of water a day7 to keep the body well-hydrated.

!! FYI – Exercise and Stretch Marks

If you’re looking to bulk up, be careful not to do it too quickly. Try using lighter weights and higher reps to gradually build muscle without putting your skin at risk.8

What’s Really Important

Stretch marks are natural, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of them. If they are bothersome, talk to your doctor and ask what he/she suggests.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


Recommended Reading

What Causes Low Iron Levels?

What Causes Low Iron Levels?

Iron’s Role in the Body

The main function of iron is to carry oxygen in the blood to every cell in the body.

Common Symptoms of Iron Deficiency1

  1. Pale skin
  2. Extreme exhaustion
  3. Hair loss
  4. RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
  5. Swollen tongue
  6. Pica – Developing a craving for “non-food substances, such as clay, dirt, or chalk.”2
  7. Frequent infections

What causes Iron Deficiency?

When your body lacks iron, it cannot produce enough of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells needed to maintain a healthy body. When the body lacks the proper amount of these cells, it can result in anemia, which can cause the body to feel tired and weary.

Iron-Rich Foods

Some iron-rich foods include, but are not limited to3:

  • Eggs, specifically egg yolks
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Chickpeas
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Sesame seeds

The Two Types of Iron

Heme Iron – This type of iron is derived from animal sources, whereas

Non-heme Iron – Is derived from plant sources.

Proper Iron Levels

The normal hemoglobin range is generally defined as 13.5 to 17.5 grams (g) of hemoglobin per deciliter (dL) of blood for men and 12.0 to 15.5 g/dL for women. The normal ranges for children vary depending on the child’s age and gender.4

Exercise & Anemia

While some men and women who exercise at a vigorous level may be more prone to developing anemia (due to level of fitness and intensity), exercise can generally IMPROVE the distribution of red blood cells in the body and help fight off the symptoms of anemia.

Stay healthy at LA Fitness, find a club near you by clicking here.

This article is not meant to be construed as medical device. Consult with your doctor before engaging in a new fitness or nutritional regime. If you suspect you or a loved one is iron deficient, consult with your physician to discuss proper care and treatment.

Sources:

  1. Welch, Ashley. “7 Unusual Signs of Iron Deficiency.” EverydayHealth.com, Everyday Health, 25 Oct. 2017, everydayhealth.com/news/unusual-signs-iron-deficiency/.
  2. Ibid
  3. Images, Getty, et al. “10 Healthy Foods That Are Great Sources of Iron.” EverydayHealth.com, 11 Sept. 2017, everydayhealth.com/pictures/foods-high-in-iron/.
  4. “Iron Deficiency Anemia.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Nov. 2016, mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355040.

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Proper Water Temperatures for 13 Everyday Tasks

Proper Water Temperatures for 13 Everyday Tasks

Much like Goldilocks trying to find the perfect temperature of porridge, many of us struggle with finding just the right temperature of water to use. Those temperatures often vary from activity to activity. While some people enjoy hot showers, others prefer cold ones. Some wash their fruits and veggies in lukewarm water, while others use cold water. It bids the question – are there certain water temperatures we should be using for certain tasks? We did the research.

Never second-guess water temperatures again. Check out the following activities and corresponding recommended water temperatures.

Showering + Washing Your Hair

Who doesn’t love a nice hot shower, with the steamy warmth of water cascading over you and warming you up from head-to-toe? The trouble is that hot showers (anything above 99 degrees1) can dry out your skin and leave your hair feeling brittle! The hot water can also strip your skin of natural oils and may trigger inflammation2. The solution to this isn’t necessarily to opt for a cold shower either. In fact, anything below the average temperature of 96 degrees can harness negative effects of its own. This means that you’re left with a healthy, happy, medium – warm, with a cold rinse at the end of your shower3, which is what you should aim for.

Drinking Water

Over the years, there has been quite a debate over whether it’s best to drink room temperature water or cold water. Well, the fact of the matter is, each side has its benefits. Here’s why:

Benefits of Drinking Warm Water

  • Our core body temperature typically sits at 98 degrees. When we feel hot after working out or being in hot temperatures, our body craves cold water. However, drinking cold water to cool off may actually have the opposite effect, causing our body to work harder to “normalize” the temperature of the water, resulting in raising our body temperature.4 In this situation, drinking room temperature water may be best.
  • Having some tummy trouble? Warm water has been found to help aid in digestion by flushing fats out and promoting healthy bowel movements,5 unlike its cold water counterpart which can harden fats consumed around the inner wall of our intestines and may cause constipation.6
  • Warm water has also been known to help ease cramping and indigestion symptoms.7
  • Looking to detox? Drinking hot water may help.8 Hot water can help cause the body to sweat which helps flush out toxins and aids in the detox process.

Benefits of Drinking Cold Water

  • Before you completely discount drinking cold water, it does have its benefits. For example, when the body is working hard trying to warm up after cold water is consumed, this causes he body to burn more calories9, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • Quite simply: many people agree that cold water tastes better. It’s crisp, refreshing and thirst-quenching. If you find yourself struggling to drink the recommended 8 cups a day10 you may want to try giving cold water a shot.

Washing the Dishes

The hotter, the better! The water temperature should be uncomfortable for bare hands (invest in some rubber gloves to protect your hands when washing). Ideally, the water temperature should be at 110 degrees Fahrenheit11 to help kill bacteria and assist in cutting through tough built up grease.

Dishwasher Temperature

According to GE Appliances, “Water entering the dishwasher must be at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit and not more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit for the best cleaning and to prevent damage to the dishes.”12

Bathing Your Baby + Washing Your Dog

When you have something as precious as a newborn baby, you want to do everything in your power to take care of it. So, when it comes to bath time, what temperature is just right? According to an article put out by the Mayo Clinic, they suggest aiming for bath water around 100 F (38 C) and ensuring the room is comfortably warm too.13

Does this mean man’s best friend should be bathed in the same temperature water too? Pets are sensitive to hot and cold water, so to avoid the shock value, keep the water temperature at a lukewarm level.14 This will help ensure a comfortable experience for them and may even increase the effectiveness of the shampoo.15

Brushing Your Teeth

Cold water seems like the preferred way to go, but if you have sensitive teeth, lukewarm water may help with that. This one is really up to personal preference, so go for what feels most comfortable to you! However, Richard H. Price, a spokesman for the American Dental Association, did warn about water being too warm, potentially softening toothbrush bristles.16

Watering Plants

Have you ever thought the reason your outdoor and indoor houseplants kept dying was simply that you were born without a green thumb? Think again. Premature plant death is often caused by over-watering, but when you do need to water your plants, what temperature should the water be? Try allowing the water to reach room temperature before watering your greens.17

!! TIP: “Allowing tap water to warm up to room temperature also allows water additives to evaporate or settle out in the water. These additives can cause the browning of plant leaf tips. The prolonged use of water from a softener usually results in poor plant growth.”18

Washing Your Hands

Administration guidelines for food and restaurant establishments recommend that plumbing systems should deliver water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in a recent article published in Time Magazine, researchers at Rutgers University “found no significant difference in cleaning power between water that was 60, 79 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.”19 The real takeaway here is to make sure to always wash your hands!

Washing Clothes

Hot water is best left for whites and heavily dirtied clothes, but a word for the wise: hot water may shrink, fade and even damage some fabrics.20 Make sure that you’re reading fabric labels to ensure you won’t be ruining the clothing.

Warm water is best when washing knits, jeans, and other man-made fibers.21 Most clothes can be washed in warm water (roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit) without significant shrinking or fading occurring.

As for cold water washing, leave that for dark, bright colors, and delicates.22 However, when washing with cold water you may need to pre-treat or pre-soak clothes if they are heavily soiled.

Brewing Teas

White Tea

White tea should be brewed at a low temperature, so as not to burn the tea leaves. A helpful tip would be to use water once tiny bubbles have formed on the bottom of the pan.23

Green Teas

Much like white tea, it’s best to brew green teas at a lower temperature as well. This can help prevent a bitter or grassy flavor from overpowering your tea.24 A tip offered by The Spruce online suggests waiting until tiny bubbles have formed on the bottom of the pot and begin rising to the surface of the pot.

Oolong Tea

Time to turn up the heat. For oolong tea, a higher temperature will not damage the tea. It’s suggested that brewing between 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot.25 Bubbles should be slightly larger in size as opposed to brewing white or green tea, with a good amount of steam escaping the pot.

Black Tea

Depending on the type of black tea you are drinking, either moderate and high temperate water may be used. For more delicate black teas, brew as you would an oolong. For heavier black teas, it is fine to bring the temperature up to just under a boil.26 You will notice large bubbles and plenty of steam.

Pu-erh Tea

Boil, baby, boil! It’s suggested that pu-erh tea should be brewed with fully boiling water.

Herbal

Depending on the plants being used, the water temperature for brewing herbal tea varies widely.27 Check what’s best for your specific herbal tea in order to yield best results.

Brewing Coffee + Espresso

Straight from the National Coffee Association themselves, your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction.” Cold water can result in under-extracted coffee, which may cause the coffee to taste flat. On the other hand, brewing too hot can impact the quality taste of the coffee.28

As for brewing that special shot of espresso, there are multiple claims that various temperatures are “best” for securing that perfect espresso shot. There doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to prove one temperature outshines another, so go rogue, espresso lovers of the world.

Cooking

Baking Bread

Time to bake the bread before you start breaking it. When activating the yeast for the bread, make sure that it is done so in 120 to 130 degree Fahrenheit water. Anything over 130 degrees can kill the yeast, and anything lower than 120 degrees can make the dough hard to work with.28

Thawing Meats

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, cold water thawing is a completely acceptable way to thaw meat as long as you follow a few safety guidelines. Completely submerge the bag of meat in cold tap water, changing out the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold and allowing the meat to continually thaw.29

Mopping Floors

Cold water is said to work best for mopping floors, because cold water dries slower and evenly on the floor’s surface, which may help prevent smears and streaks from forming.30

Washing Produce

When washing fruits and veggies, the water should be no more than 10 degrees colder than the produce.31 As long as you make sure you’re scrubbing and sufficiently cleaning the produce in hand, tap water should be an efficient way to get produce clean and ready to prep/consume.

Sources:

  1. Almanza, Aubrey. “The Healthiest Temperature for Your Shower.” Reader’s Digest, 21 Nov. 2016, rd.com/health/wellness/healthiest-temperature-shower/.
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. “Are You Drinking Water at the Right Temperature?” Guided Mind, www.guidedmind.com/blog/are-you-drinking-water-at-the-right-temperature.
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. Ibid
  10. Gunnars, Kris. “How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 18 Aug. 2016, www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day.
  11. “Kitchen Sanitation: Dishwashing Best Practices.” com, www.universalclass.com/articles/business/kitchen-sanitation-dishwashing.htm.
  12. Dishwasher Correct Water Temperature, products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=18924.
  13. “A Parent’s Guide to Newborn Baths.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Oct. 2016, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/healthy-baby/art-20044438?pg=2.
  14. “PetMD, LLC.” PetMD, www.petmd.com/dog/grooming/evr_multi_bath_time_fun.
  15. “20% OFF Drs. Foster and Smith Brand Products   Shop Now ›.” Doctors Foster and Smith, drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=735.
  16. Ray, C. Claiborne. “The Truth About Brushing.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Apr. 2013, nytimes.com/2013/04/30/science/should-we-use-hot-water-to-brush-our-teeth.html.
  17. Watering Houseplants, ag.ndsu.edu/hort/info/inform/indoor/water.htm.
  18. Ibid
  19. “Why You Should Wash Your Hands in Cold Water.” Time, Time, time.com/4800412/wash-hands-cold-water/.
  20. “Washer Water Temperature Guide.” WASH Laundry, 17 July 2014, washlaundry.com/residents/laundry-tips/temperature/.
  21. Ibid
  22. Ibid
  23. “Find the Right Water Temperature for Brewing Any Type of Tea.” The Spruce, www.thespruce.com/how-to-brew-tea-water-temperatures-766316.
  24. Ibid
  25. Ibid
  26. Ibid
  27. Ibid
  28. “The Perfect Water Temp For…Everything!” Prevention, 11 Feb. 2016, prevention.com/health/healthy-living/the-best-water-temperature-for-everything/slide/9.
  29. “FSIS.” The Big Thaw, www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/the-big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods-for-consumers/CT_Index.
  30. HARO Quality flooring – Hamberger Flooring GmbH & Co. KG., Rosenheim, Germany. All rights reserved. “HARO – FAQ – Find out How to Mop Your Floor without Streaks and Smears by Using Clean & Green – Hamberger Flooring GmbH & Co. KG.” HARO Quality Flooring – Hamberger Flooring GmbH & Co. KG., Rosenheim, Germany. All Rights Reserved., www.haro.com/gb/accessories/care_accessories/faq.php.
  31. https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/09380.pdf

Recommended Reading

Nearly 1 in 2 Adults Classified with High Blood Pressure, New Guidelines to Consider

Nearly 1 in 2 Adults Classified with High Blood Pressure, New Guidelines to Consider

Are you in the danger zone? Nearly half of all U.S. adults are identified as having high blood pressure, or hypertension, but what does this mean exactly? Imagine it like this, hypertension can easily be compared to having a piping system where the pressure is slowly increasing. Over time, this pressure wears on the machinery (“your heart”) and affects the overall system of equipment (“your body”). When blood pushes too hard against the blood vessels of the body, it damages the tissues of the arteries over time, weakening the heart and overall circulatory system. The good news is, there are ways to manage, and even prevent, this from occurring.

The American Heart Association (AHA) sets guidelines of what a healthy blood pressure should be. The new guidelines lower the blood pressure at which a person is considered to have high blood pressure. Under the previous definition, 32% of American adults were considered to have high blood pressure. The change to the guidelines changes the definition, with the result that 46% of U.S. adults are now identified as having high blood pressure. According to the AHA, “a blood pressure of less than 120/80 still will be considered normal, but levels at or above that, to 129, will be called ‘elevated’.”1 Having these new guidelines in place will allow doctors to better detect, treat and prevent hypertension in their patients.

The new guidelines can be thought of as a preventive measure. By monitoring and recognizing moderate to high blood pressure sooner, individuals will be able to take steps to control their blood pressure earlier. With implementation of healthy lifestyle changes, the risk of heart disease and stroke diminishes, giving those with hypertension a chance to get a better hold on their health. In fact, not only can early detection possibly help prevent stroke and cardiovascular issues, but it may also help prevent kidney failure. The new guidelines can help doctors detect, treat and prevent the results of hypertension.

The AHA’s journal, Hypertension emphasizes, “that doctors need to focus on a whole framework of healthier lifestyle changes for [their] patients,”2 which may be easier to do if they are able to start educating their patients earlier on. Paul Whelton, M.D., who chaired the guideline writing committee said, “I’m not saying it’s easy to change our lifestyles, but that should be first and foremost.”3

Paul Whelton, M.D., chaired the committee that wrote the new high blood pressure guidelines.

Heart Healthy Diet and Lifestyle Tips from the AHA

  • Reduce salt intake
  • Incorporate potassium-rich foods
    • i.e. bananas, potatoes, avocados, and dark leafy vegetables
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption
  • Healthy weight loss
  • Quit smoking cigarettes
  • Increase physical activity

Oftentimes, people with high blood pressure may not even realize they have it, and because of this it has become known as the “silent killer.” There are usually no obvious symptoms, making hypertension the main culprit for “more heart disease and stroke deaths than almost all other preventable causes,”4 falling second only to smoking. Check out the guide below to see where you fall on the scale, and make it a priority to live a healthy life to help build a healthy future.

If you think you may be at risk of high blood pressure or hypertension, consult with your doctor. This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Sources:

  1. “Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Could Now Be Classified with High Blood Pressure, under New Definitions.” News on Heart.org, 14 Nov. 2017, news.heart.org/nearly-half-u-s-adults-now-classified-high-blood-pressure-new-definitions/.
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid

Referenced:

http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/11/10/HYP.000000000000006


Recommended Reading

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