Cholesterol Conundrum: Good vs. Bad and What It Means for Your Diet

Cholesterol is described as a wax-like substance that is found in our bodies. Unlike other negative connotations about cholesterol, this substance is necessary for the production of hormones, cells, and vitamins. However, too much of it will cause major health problems such as hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and other heart diseases.

This substance is naturally produced by our liver and can also be acquired through the food that we eat like meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Though cholesterol may not be that bad for the body, cholesterol levels should still be monitored and controlled.

Types of Cholesterol Found In Your Body

Before we jump on how to monitor your cholesterol levels first let’s discuss the different types of cholesterol flowing through your bloodstream. These include:

What are the Levels?

Knowing your cholesterol levels helps you keep track of how your health is doing and how likely you are to get heart disease.

How To Monitor Cholesterol Levels?

You may go through a specific type of blood test called, a “lipid panel” or “lipid profile”. Your doctor will schedule your blood test a day or 2 earlier as it usually requires 12-hour fasting before being tested.

On the day of the test,  your doctor will get a blood sample from the vein in your arm and afterward, will run a series of tests in the laboratory. After the test, your doctor will show you the results in the:

What is The Normal Cholesterol Level?

In measuring cholesterol levels, doctors usually provide 4 measurements which are the total cholesterol level, LDL, HDL, and Triglycerides. Below is the categorization of normal, borderline high, and excessively high cholesterol levels in adults (20 and above).

For total cholesterol levels

For LDL levels

For HDL levels (In Women)

For HDL Levels (In Men)

For triglyceride levels

Note: Talk to your healthcare provider about your results so that s/he will give the right treatment and advice necessary to achieve normal cholesterol levels.

What Happens if You Have Too Much Cholesterol?

Too much cholesterol level may cause cholesterol build-up in your arteries which will negatively affect blood flow. In some cases, the arteries where cholesterol deposits are accumulated may completely block the blood flow and then eventually break causing blot clots. These blood clots may cause a heart attack or stroke. In some cases, high cholesterol can also trigger hypertension and other heart-related conditions.

Causes and Risk Factors of High Cholesterol

According to Mayo Clinic, some medical conditions may worsen high cholesterol such as:

Aside from medical conditions, there are other risk factors of high cholesterol such as:

  1. Age - Though high cholesterol can affect people of all ages, it is still more common in older adults usually at the age of 40 and above.
  2. Poor diet - This refers to eating foods with high amounts of unhealthy fats found in red meats, junk foods, and dairy products.
  3. Physical inactivity - Exercising helps burn excessive cholesterol from your body and boosts the function of HDL. However, physical inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle may increase your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
  4. Obesity - Also caused by poor diet, being obese may increase your risk of cholesterol build-up.
  5. Vices - This includes excessive alcohol drinking and smoking. Most alcoholic drinks contain high levels of unhealthy fats that may increase LDL in your body, while smoking will negatively affect normal levels of HDL in your body.
Tips to Control Cholesterol Levels

If you found out that you have high or excessively high total cholesterol levels, it’s time to make changes in your lifestyle. To help you with that, here are several healthy tips from Cleveland Clinic to keep your cholesterol levels at their normal state:

Aside from lifestyle changes, there are also drug therapies you might want to try in treating high cholesterol:

Takeaway

Cholesterol is not an entirely bad substance in our body as long as we know how to keep its levels normal, because too much of it may cause serious health issues, particularly in cardiovascular health. To achieve healthy levels of cholesterol in your body, it’s crucial to follow the tips mentioned above.

Cataract Surgery: A Patient's Journey from Clouded Vision to Crystal Clarity

Cataract surgery is a safe and easy procedure to remove the lenses in your eyes affected by cataracts and replace them with safe, artificial lenses called the Intraocular lens (IOL). Some people with Cataracts don’t usually need surgery as they can see and read just fine, however, as the disease progresses, the person affected will eventually experience its symptoms causing vision loss. Read this article to learn more.

What is a Cataract?

Our eyes, just like a camera, has lenses, which are located behind our irises. For us to see, light passes through these lenses and with the help of the brain, lets you see and process the image or objects in front of you.

If these lenses are blocked by a cataract, there will be a disruption of light passing through the lenses making your vision foggy or blurry. The effect of a cataract on your vision depends on the location and severity of the Cataract. If you have Cataracts that are starting to affect your vision, then you might need cataract surgery.

Types of Cataracts

Various types of Cataracts include:

Common Causes of Cataracts

The most common causes why cataracts form is because of:

  1. Old age - Cataracts usually develop during the senior years. According to Cleveland Clinic, about 50% of seniors at the age of 80 and older have cataracts.
  2. Heredity/Genetics - Genetics also play a role in the possibility of having Cataracts. If people from your family tree have Cataracts when they were older, it’s more likely that you’ll have it too when you get older.

Other than these 2, there are also risk factors for having cataracts such as:

Symptoms of Cataracts

Symptoms of Cataracts include:

Note: At the beginning stages, cataracts don’t usually affect your vision, but if it’s starting to affect your eyesight and brings you inconvenience, Cataract surgery is the solution.

Types of Cataract Surgery

There are mainly 2 types of Cataract surgery performed depending on their severity. The 2 types include:

Before, During, and After Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery only takes about an hour or less, and you are usually allowed to leave the hospital the same day. Though it’s a minor operation, preparing for the day of surgery should be taken seriously, in this part, I will share some of the things you should expect before, during, and after surgery.

Before Surgery

Preparation before surgery usually takes a week. And during this phase, your ophthalmologist will conduct tests and ultrasound on your eyes to determine the proper size and focusing power of the IOL that will be used to replace your lens. Different types of IOL Include:

Your doctor might also prescribe some eye drop medications prior to surgery to reduce the possibility of swelling and infection. You should expect some medicine or food restrictions as well.

During Surgery

During the surgery, expect your surgeon will:

After Surgery

Your recovery period will take about weeks before your eyes are fully healed. You might also feel several side effects a few days after the surgery such as:

You also need to regularly use the eye drops prescribed by your doctor and have weekly follow-up checkups. You should also avoid:

Note: If you experience persistent swelling, pain, or vision loss after surgery, tell your ophthalmologist immediately.

Where Can I Inquire for Cataract Surgery

You can inquire and plan for a cataract surgery first by finding the nearest Ophthalmologist or hospital.

Takeaways

A cataract is a common disease in the eyes among seniors. Though it might not be a life-threatening condition, it still brings about inconvenience and discomfort. If you feel that your Cataract is starting to hinder your daily activities, then it might be height time to get cataract surgery.

Endorphins and Their Impact on Health and Happiness - The Science of Happiness

Endorphins are neurotransmitters or hormones responsible for relieving pain and providing the “feel good” feeling you experience whenever you’re engaged in pleasurable activities such as exercise, sex, massage, or laughing. Endorphins can relieve stress and anxiety as well.

There are a lot of benefits Endorphins have to offer, and it’s a necessity for our body to function well. A deficiency of these hormones can trigger symptoms and health conditions that you surely don’t want to experience. Want to learn more about what Endorphins can do and how to avoid deficiency of such? Read further to know more.

How Endorphins Work

Endorphins are produced by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, both of which are located in our brains. Every time we experience pain or pleasure, these parts of the brain will release endorphins.

Why does this happen? It’s because Endorphins work as neurotransmitters that attach themselves to the reward centers of the brain called the opioid receptors. These receptors act similarly to opioid drugs (e.g., morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc.).

For a better understanding, Endorphins are coined by blending two words which are “endogenous” meaning “from the body” and “morphine” which refers to a common pain reliever drug. With these two meanings combined, it means something close to a “natural pain reliever produced by our body”.

What’s The Difference Between Endorphin and Dopamine

To better understand the difference between Endorphins and Dopamine, first, let’s know the definitions of the two.

Endorphins are like natural pain relievers produced by our pituitary glands and hypothalamus and are usually released immediately during exercise, massage sessions, and other physical activities.

Dopamine acts the same as Endorphins, however, compared to Endorphins, Dopamine is released slower and we usually feel its effects after pleasurable activities like sex, laughing out loud, or eating chocolates and spicy foods.

Benefits of Endorphins

If you think Endorphins are just mere compounds in our body, think again, in fact, you can get a lot of benefits from them such as:

What Happens When Our Body Has Low Endorphin Levels

Endorphins are necessary hormones that help alleviate pain and provide a “feel-good feeling” whenever you do pleasurable activities, without them, you’ll experience symptoms such as:

Aside from the aforementioned symptoms, low endorphin levels can also trigger health conditions such as:

  1. Fibromyalgia - This is a chronic condition wherein the patient experiences pain throughout the body. Though it’s still not clear as to how it happens, several studies concluded that Fibromyalgia is caused by a lack of Endorphins. Additionally, this condition is also believed to be one triggering factor of troubled sleeping.
  2. Addiction to exercise - Exercise is a major example of an activity that activates Endorphins, people with Endorphin deficiency might get addicted to exercise as they struggle to achieve that “feel-good” effect of these hormones.
  3. Self-harm - Due to low levels of Endorphins, your body cannot deal with stress and depression, thus, may lead to self-harm. This is only the time when they feel the effect of endorphins, known as the “Endorphin rush”.
  4. Chronic Headaches - Chronic headaches are also believed to be one cause of low endorphin levels. According to recent research published in the National Library of Medicine, People who have episodic and chronic migraines have significantly lower Endorphin levels than those who rarely experience migraine. This implies how important it is to regulate Endorphine levels and treat deficiencies of such.
How To Increase Endorphin Levels

If you experience symptoms of low endorphin levels, here are some things you should do:

Takeaway

Endorphins play a vital role in our well-being. Not only does it relieve pain, depression, and anxiety, but it also helps us become more energized and enthusiastic. If you want to boost your body’s release of Endorphins, now’s the time to do the activities mentioned above.

Physical Therapy and Chronic Pain Management: A Winning Approach

Physical therapy is a type of care or treatment that is administered by licensed physical therapists. It involves physical treatments to help a patient recover from a certain injury, immobility, or surgery. You can access physical therapy services in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

For example, stroke patients usually have mobility problems, though brain damage caused by a stroke can be immediately treated, regaining mobility can be hard. But with the help of stroke rehabilitation, a type of neurological physical therapy, the patient can regain his/her strength faster and earlier than expected.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

If you still don’t know what good physical therapy can do to your physical health, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital offers a list of benefits you can reap from it including:

Who Needs Therapy?

Physical therapy helps patients recover from a wide variety of illnesses. Doctors sometimes refer their patients to physical therapists to assist them throughout their recovery period especially if it involves injuries. However, some standalone physical therapists can cater to people’s physical health needs such as people with:

  1. Cardiopulmonary conditions - This refers to health conditions involving the heart and lungs. Examples of these conditions are Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Chronic Bronchitis, Heart Failure, and Emphysema.
  2. Immobility - This refers to conditions that affect mobility in the hands, joints, and feet. Examples of conditions that involve mobility problems include Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, and Spinal Cord Injury.
  3. Musculoskeletal dysfunction - These refer to disorders that affect movements and bodily functions specifically in the nerves, tendons, ligaments, or blood vessels. Examples of musculoskeletal dysfunction are Arthritis, Tendon Strain, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorders.
  4. Neurological conditions - Diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Brain Injuries, and other spinal conditions fall under neurological conditions.
  5. Pediatric conditions - These refer to conditions that affect infants, children, and adolescents. Several examples of pediatric conditions that can be treated by physical therapy include Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, and Spina Bifida.
  6. Skin conditions - Skin burns and other skin conditions can also affect one’s mobility and senses.
  7. Pelvic floor dysfunction - This refers to the difficulty to excrete feces and urinate due to problems in the pelvic floor muscles.

What to Expect in a Physical Therapy

Before undergoing physical therapy, you first need to go through a thorough examination. This will help ensure that you are going to receive the right physical therapy depending on your condition. In this phase, expect that your physical therapist will:

After going through these tests, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist specializing in your condition. Generally, physical therapy involves:

Note: Learn more about the specific types of physical therapy in the next part of the article.

Types of Physical Therapy

There are different types of physical therapy and each is specialized for specific conditions. According to Medical News Today, these types include:

Orthopedic physical therapy - This type of physical therapy is intended to treat and improve your musculoskeletal systems such as your bones, joints, tissues, muscles, and tendons.

You may undergo passive modalities which refer to treatments that involve medications. Another is active modalities wherein you will engage in specialized physical exercises. Specifically, it involves:

Neurological physical therapy - Patients with mobility problems due to illness and injury in the brain may be referred to a neurological physical therapist. In this physical therapy, patients may undergo:

Cardiovascular physical therapy - This type of therapy helps patients with cardiopulmonary diseases so that they can learn breathing techniques and improve their heart function. Treatments may include:

Vestibular therapy - This type of therapy is intended for patients suffering from vestibular injuries caused by an ear infection, neck injury, or head trauma. Treatments may include specialized movements and exercise therapy to regain one’s balance, coordination, and senses.

Decongestive therapy - This type of therapy is used to treat patients with Lymphedema, or the abnormal accumulation of fluid in different parts of the body. Treatments may include:

Wound care therapy - From the term itself, wound care therapy is specifically used to ensure that a wound is healing properly. Wound care therapy treats necrotic wounds, arterial wounds, and unstageable pressure ulcers. Treatments may include:

Pelvic floor rehabilitation - This type of therapy is for the treatment of pelvic floor disorders (e.g., constipation, frequent peeing, etc) due to previous injury or surgery. It is useful to relieve pelvic pain as well. Pelvic floor rehabilitation may include treatments like:

Pediatric physical therapy - This kind of therapy is specifically for infants, children, and adolescents who are suffering from various conditions like Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Developmental Delays, and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Various activities that a Physical Therapist will administer to these young patients include:

Where Can I Find a Physical Therapist?

You might be asking yourself where you can find a physical therapist. Fortunately, finding is an easy task for you because there are a lot of sources you can try. To begin your journey, start by visiting places that offer services:

  1. Hospitals
  2. Clinics
  3. Nursing homes
  4. Rehab centers
  5. Sports medicine offices
  6. Assisted living homes

You can also follow the tips below for more convenience on your lookout.

Takeaway

Physical Therapy offers many benefits to patients with mobility and sensory issues. There are different types of physical therapies depending on the patient’s condition. If you are suffering from mobility and balance problems, you might need to consult a physical therapist.

Wedding Grants Every Couple Should Know About - Saying 'I Do' with Financial Aid

Wedding grants can be a big help for couples who are planning to tie the knot but have limited funds for the needed expenses. According to Smart Money’s recent survey report, it stated that total wedding expenses usually range from 21 to 40 thousand dollars in the US.

Thinking about expenses alone can get you exhausted, what more with the preparations? If you want to make your wedding less expensive and memorable, maybe it’s time to avail yourself of a wedding grant. In this article, we will share resources that will help you find a suitable wedding grant for your needs.

What are Wedding Grants?

Wedding grants are a type of grant usually funded by non-profit organizations or companies to couples with certain circumstances. For example, if a partner is terminally ill or has a disability, then the couple can be qualified for a wedding grant. Most wedding grants may cover the following expenses depending on the program description:

  1. Venue
  2. MC fee
  3. Venue decorations
  4. Photographer and videographer
  5. Makeup and hairdresser
  6. Cake
  7. Clothing

There are a lot of wedding grant programs nowadays, and all you have to do is to be wise enough to search for one. To help you with your search, we listed down tips and resources on how to get a wedding grant which will be discussed later in this article.

Who are the Qualified Applicants?

Most organizations and companies offer wedding grants to those:

Where to Find?

Looking out for wedding grants can be a bit tricky considering that most organizations require a load of requirements before being qualified. Fortunately, various organizations initiate wedding grant programs you might want to try so that you can cut down your expenses for your big day. These resources include the following:

Government Resources

The government does not usually initiate wedding grants per se, but some of their existing programs may help lessen your expenses on your wedding. Here are the best government resources where you can get assistance for your wedding.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - This program aims to help families who belong to low-income families to become self-sufficient. TANF also promotes healthy marriage and family relationships. To do that, this program provides grant assistance to qualified families. If you are a couple with children who are planning to get married, you can avail of TANF grants.

To be eligible for a TANF grant, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

Office of the Family Assistance (OFA) - OFA is another government organization that aims to help poor families, especially children. This organization is also known for helping couples who belong to low-income communities and want to get married.

Organizations

Some organizations offer wedding grants to deserving couples. These organizations include:

Wish Upon A Wedding - This is one of the renowned resources of wedding grants and assistance programs for ill and physically disabled couples. You need to meet some qualification requirements though. Requirements are as follows:

  1. In every couple, one should be terminally ill or in a life-threatening circumstance for no longer than five years.
  2. Couples should be 18 years old or above.
  3. Both must be legal US citizens.
  4. The application form must be personally filled out by you or your caregiver.

Note: Family members or friends are not allowed to fill out the form for you. Learn more about Wish Upon a Wedding.

Wedding Grants for Scholarships

There are also wedding scholarship programs available:

  1. Hitched Wedding Scholarship Program - This wedding grant is suitable for graduate and undergraduate students who live in Canada, US, or UK. Hitched wedding scholarships prioritize students majoring in English, Journalism, Fashion Design, or Creative writing. The primary requirement includes writing a 600 - 800 word essay or blog post about a topic related to weddings.
  2. Orla James Wedding Scholarship Program - This is another wedding scholarship for high school seniors, graduate, and undergraduate students. To apply for the program, you need to pass an article/essay talking about a certain topic related to marriage.

Other Ways to Minimize Wedding Expenses

Aside from the different programs mentioned above, there are also other ways to finance your wedding wisely. These include the following:

  1. Join Wedding Contests - Contests like the Oprah Winfrey Show often give wedding gifts to winners such as gowns, cakes, honeymoons, etc. Though contests are different from grants, joining wedding contests may help you cut down expenses. For example, say you joined a contest and won a honeymoon trip to somewhere special, this means you no longer have to include honeymoon expenses on your wedding plans because it’s already sponsored. So it’s crucial to stay on the lookout for wedding contests both in your locality or in a different state.
  2. Getting a sponsor - Getting a sponsor is also a good way to find someone to help finance your wedding. In exchange, you will need to find a way to advertise your sponsor’s services or products. An example would be putting on their logo on your gown, tables, chairs, or other decoratives. Couples with high social media engagement have more potential to get their wedding sponsored. You don’t have to be an influencer or artist though, all you have to do is to think outside the box and be creative enough to possibly increase your wedding guests.

Final Word

Planning for a wedding can be hectic and exhausting considering all the expenses and preparations needed to be dealt with. Expenses alone can even take a huge toll on the couple. Fortunately, there are various organizations that couples can rely on if they fall short of wedding funds.

Hotel Vouchers for Homeless - Stepping Stone to Recovery

Hotel vouchers for the homeless are usually in the form of prepaid that can be used in designated hotels or motels to get free stay-ins for a couple of days to a week. There are different types of hotel vouchers and each has its own eligibility requirements, though most vouchers are intended for homeless people.

If you are one of those who are in need of a free hotel voucher, this article will discuss what you should know about hotel vouchers as well as ways how to get one.

What are Hotel Vouchers

Hotel vouchers refer to the coupons given by various government, non-government, and religious organizations to specific people including homeless people.

Though hotel vouchers are given freely, there are still eligibility requirements that one must meet before getting one.

Who can Get Free Vouchers?

Generally, one can be qualified for a free hotel voucher if given the following circumstances:

Lost his/her home due to natural calamities - Sometimes, when mother nature gets upset, it leaves undesirable results that lead to losing one of our primary needs– our shelter. If you live in a calamity-stricken area, uncertain circumstances may arise anytime such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, etc.

Fortunately, there are local hotel voucher programs that you can lean into when this happens. You just have to do your search and inquiry about organizations that offer free hotel vouchers, so that instead of staying out in the cold, you can avail of a free stay-in in a hotel to keep you warm and safe if you lost your home during calamities.

Being a victim of domestic violence - Domestic violence is one of the prevalent issues in society. If you feel like you are experiencing abuse at home, you can get a free hotel voucher from various organizations to help you find shelter while you think about how to make a fresh start.

Homelessness due to accidents - Home accidents such as fire and explosion can be devastating, especially as you think about how to find a temporary home to stay in as you figure things out.

Qualifying for a hotel voucher will help you and your family to stay somewhere safe and warm as you find a new home.

Home eviction - If you have been evicted from your current home, you can qualify for a free hotel voucher to have somewhere to stay for a few days or weeks depending on how long you are granted.

Types of Hotel Vouchers

There are different types of hotel vouchers which include:

Where to Find Hotel Vouchers for Homeless People

Here are some of the reliable resources you can try to get free hotel vouchers:

Government and Non-Government Organizations - Some states offer free hotel voucher programs in their area which aim to help families and single parents who lost their homes. This program is part of the government’s goal to eradicate homelessness.

You can inquire at the nearest government office or search for local programs in your area. Once you find a hotel voucher you think you are qualified for, you should submit the necessary requirements and wait for your application to be approved.

You may need to explain why you need the voucher and other important info that will increase your chances of getting the voucher.

Salvation Army Vouchers - Salvation Army is a non-government organization that has been helping the community through various programs like meal assistance, rental assistance, etc. It is also the most reliable organization you can run into if you need a hotel voucher.

There are hundreds of Salvation Army branches across the US, and to start your application for a hotel voucher, you need to contact the nearest Salvation Army in your area.

American Red Cross - The American Red Cross is another organization that helps citizens who suffer from different crises like floods, fire, and hurricanes. They offer shelter and food assistance as well as hotel vouchers for the homeless.

You can visit the nearest Red Cross branch in your area or email your inquiry through their website. If you need to contact them because of an emergency, go to get help to get immediate help.

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) - There are many catholic charities ready to help homeless people in various places across the US. With the help of policymakers, congress, as well as administrators from different states, CCUSA ensures that they provide services like hotel vouchers, disaster assistance, and health services. Apply for a hotel voucher by visiting the nearest CCUSA office in your area.

Emergency Housing Vouchers From Other Churches - Other than Salvation Army and CCUSA, there are other churches that offer free hotel vouchers for those in need. Examples of these church organizations are Love Inc., the Jewish Federation of North America, Episcopal Church Assistance Programs, the United Methodist Church, and the like.

Emergency Housing Vouchers - This is the latest government program that aims to help homeless people to get emergency housing in times of disaster. This is established with the help of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Local Assistance Programs - For families who just lost their homes or an individual who got evicted and doesn’t know where to get help, you can start by inquiring about free hotel voucher programs from your local government office.

Other Helpful Tips

Don’t know how to start your search for a hotel voucher? Don’t worry because the following tips may help you find what you’re looking for more easily.

  1. If you still don’t have any idea where the organizations that offer hotel vouchers are, you can use your social media skills to find one. Post a plea on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram asking anyone who knows where to get help and how.
  2. Local businesses and establishments may also offer help to those who are in need of temporary shelter in times of disasters so if you know someplace that may offer a hotel/motel voucher, it’s not bad to try and ask for help.
Final Word

Losing a home or getting evicted is devastating especially if there are children involved. Fortunately, there are many government and non-government programs that are more than happy to help those in need of temporary home assistance.

Gum Disease: Effective Strategies for Restoring Oral Health

Gum disease treatments may include surgical or non-surgical procedures depending on the severity of the disease. Also in treating gum disease, it is necessary to take the prescribed medicines and maintain good oral hygiene to prevent its recurrence.

Gum diseases like Gingivitis and Periodontitis are common, it affects 20 - 50 percent of the global population. Though the early stages of gum disease may not cause pain or inconvenience, it’s still advisable to get your teeth checked at least once or twice a year so that early stages of gum disease can be treated.

What is Gum Disease?

Before we jump on to the main part of this article, let us first have an overview of the definition, causes, and symptoms of gum disease.

There are 2 types of gum disease namely:

  1. Gingivitis - This condition is considered the early stage of Periodontitis which is less serious and can be treated with professional cleaning and good oral hygiene. Though symptoms are manageable, it’s still important to get it checked and treated before it progresses into Periodontitis.
  2. Periodontitis - This condition is more severe than Gingivitis and might need both non-surgical and surgical treatments. Also, compared to Gingivitis, symptoms of Periodontitis may cause discomfort and difficulty in chewing. This type of gum disease affects about 70 percent of Americans aged 65 years or older and about 47 percent of Americans aged 30 and above.

The Causes

Gum disease is due to plaque build-up on the teeth. Plaque consists of bacteria, and without proper oral hygiene, it may cause swelling and inflammation in the gums.

Over time, this plaque build-up will harden becoming tartar, which is a stubborn substance that can only be removed with a professional’s help. If tartar build-up is not treated immediately, it will later progress into severe gum disease.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

It’s crucial to get your teeth checked by a professional if you experience the following signs of gum disease:

Note: If you think you have gum disease, it’s important to get your mouth checked as soon as possible.

Treatments Available for Gum Disease

Before receiving treatment, your dentist may first do a thorough examination that includes:

After a thorough examination, your dentist will determine what type of treatment is needed based on the severity of the disease. Generally, it may include non-surgical and surgical treatments.

Non-surgical Treatments

Non-surgical treatments include:

Surgical Treatments

For severe cases of gum disease (Periodontitis), your dentist may also perform surgical treatments such as:

Preventing Gum Disease

Preventing your mouth from any type of gum disease can help you save a lot of dollars and even avoid inconvenience. That’s why even if you are not diagnosed with gum disease, it’s crucial to get your mouth checked regularly and follow the gum disease prevention tips below.

Takeaway

All of us want to have strong, healthy teeth and gums. Not only does it improve one’s self-esteem, but it also prevents the occurrence of other diseases in the mouth. That’s why it’s important to practice good oral hygiene and treat gum disease while it’s still early. There are various gum disease treatments available nowadays. It may be non-surgical or surgical depending on the severity of the condition.

Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe For Senior Citizens? Debunking Myths Surrounding COVID-19 Vaccines for Older Adults

With the rapid spread and mutation of the COVID-19 virus, many experts in the medical field devoted their time to developing a vaccine against the virus. Fortunately, many companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer, with the help and support of the government, have been able to develop the said vaccine.

However, because of the very short duration of the development of the vaccine, many speculations arose about its effectiveness, and most people, especially seniors begin to demand the answer to the question, “Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for seniors?”.

How COVID-19 Vaccines Are Developed

Due to how quickly COVID-19 vaccines are made compared to other types of vaccines, many people doubt their effectiveness and safety. For your enlightenment, here are some facts about the fast development of the vaccine according to experts in the medical field.

Note: Vaccine manufacturers ensure that they’ve gone through the important steps in ensuring the safety of the vaccine. This includes:

  1. Careful testing.
  2. Authorization from the higher-ups.
  3. Careful monitoring of side effects.

Do I Need To Get Vaccinated?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), senior citizens are one of the categories of the population that have a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Additionally, since seniors are known to have a weaker immune system, unvaccinated seniors may experience more severe symptoms of the virus that requires hospitalization and intensive care. Thus, getting vaccinated is one major step against the COVID-19 virus.

Note: Seniors who have Anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions to certain medications and vaccine ingredients should not get vaccinated according to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC).

On the other hand, people who are allergic to common allergens, foods, insects, or latex can safely get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor if you’re not sure if getting vaccinated is safe for you.

Possible Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine

All COVID-19 vaccines have gone through careful testing and safety review before being approved by WHO. Thus, you don’t have to worry about life-threatening side effects. However, you may experience common and mild side effects including:

So far, there are rare cases of severe side effects like Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS). However, if you experience any of the following symptoms after 2-3 weeks of getting vaccinated, report to your doctor immediately.

What COVID-19 Vaccines Are Available in the US?

Listed below are the COVID-19 vaccines that are recommended by CDC and approved by the FDA.

Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna

Both of these are the most recommended vaccines against COVID-19. Part of why they are manufactured quickly is because it is made of the latest mRNA technology, an easier way to develop vaccines for infectious diseases.

This is a type of cell that is dispersed throughout the body to trigger the immune system to respond against the virus.

In terms of side effects, reports said that there are rare cases of myocarditis, or the inflammation of a muscle in the heart but usually clears up on its own after a few days. Other than that, there are no other side effects that might jeopardize one’s health.

Janssen

Also known as the Jhonson and Jhonson COVID-19 vaccine. Though it showed positive results against the COVID-19 virus, many reports stated that there is a higher risk of developing blood clots or thrombosis in patients.

Fortunately, Janssen can still be used so long as medical aides make people aware of the benefits and risks of the vaccine.

Note: If you prefer the safest way to get vaccinated, the best options would be the mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna, but if you prefer Jenssen, ask your doctor if it is suitable for you.

Where Can I Get Vaccinated?

Since December of 2021, the US government has been distributing vaccines throughout the country. If you want to get vaccinated today, here are several sources you can consider:

Other Safety Precautions Against COVID-19 That You Should Know

Even if you are vaccinated, you should still practice precautions to avoid spreading the virus. Here are several important protocols you should practice at all times.

Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic had drastically affected our lives both mentally and physically. But with the collaboration and support between countries and nations, manufacturers were been able to create vaccines against the virus in a short amount of time.

Despite many speculations, experts assure the public that these vaccines go through thorough tests to ensure that they’re safe. They also stated that getting vaccinated now is the best way to finally get back on track with the life we had before the pandemic.

12 Anti-Alzheimer’s Habits: Unlocking the Secrets to a Sharp Mind

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common chronic brain diseases among seniors that later on progress into Dementia. This disease affects people in many ways. Most cases include troubles in reasoning, decision-making, remembering, and doing basic tasks.

Unfortunately, a cure for Alzheimer’s is still yet to be developed, but experts say that there are ways to slow the progression or prevent the onset of the disease. In this article, I will share valuable information about Alzheimer’s disease and 12 anti-Alzheimer habits that you should follow.

Alzheimer’s Disease Causes

The main causes of Alzheimer’s are still yet to be discovered, but most researchers claimed that there are significant factors that contribute to the person’s risk of having the disease. The major factors include:

  1. Age - This is one of the most common risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. According to an article published by the National Institute of Aging, it stated that most cases of Alzheimer’s begin in the early or mid-60s. This is referred to as the late-onset variety. In rare cases, the disease begins as early as the mid-30s, which is referred to as the early-onset variety.
  2. Family History - If you have a family member who has Alzheimer's disease, it’s more likely that you will eventually have it too.
  3. Heredity - Experts claimed that our genes are one of the culprits of Alzheimer’s. According to the National Institute of Aging, these genes have two categories which are the risk genes and the deterministic genes. Risk genes, from the term itself, are responsible for increasing the risk of the disease. On the other hand, deterministic genes are the ones that cause the disease itself.
  4. Chronic Conditions - Conditions like heart disease and diabetes are said to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease among seniors.
  5. Life Style - Unhealthy lifestyles such as too much drinking and smoking are also proven to increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. Additionally,  stressors, head injuries, or depression can also worsen the symptoms if not addressed.
  6. Head Injury - According to research, seniors with a history of traumatic head injury are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t have it.

Alzheimer’s Disease Signs and Symptoms

Alzheimer’s, especially in the beginning stages can be hard to distinguish from cognitive decline, but here are some early signs of Alzheimer’s that you should look out for.

Note: Symptoms may vary from person to person, and as the disease progresses, the more these symptoms intensify. If you notice a loved one showing the symptoms frequently, it would be better to consult a doctor to confirm if the person has Alzheimer’s disease.

12 Habits You Should Do To Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

Though there is still no proven cure for Alzheimer’s, experts believe that there are still ways in reducing your risk of the disease. Listed below are just several healthy habits against Alzheimer’s disease.

Stay Active

Exercise and physical activity doesn’t only benefit your physical health, but it also maintains good cardiovascular and mental health. If you’re a starter, opt for stretching, aerobic, and strength training exercises.

Starting and keeping up with your exercise routine can be hard. To help you with that here are a few tips to keep you going:

Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

One of the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease is chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. One of the reasons why people get these conditions is due to poor diet.

Thus, to avoid triggering other risk factors of Alzheimer’s, we should start eating a healthy diet. A good diet is composed of greens, vegetables, fruits, protein, grains, and nuts. Experts say that the best diet to practice when you are older is the Mediterranean diet.

Quit Smoking

Smoking, though it may not be evident at first, can cause many diseases later in life that included a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. Thus, if you want to achieve a healthier body, you better stop smoking now and promote a healthier lifestyle.

Avoid Too Much Alcohol

Just like smoking, too much alcohol also affects your overall health. To reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses, it’s better to limit or better yet stop alcohol drinking.

Exercise Your Brain

Stimulating your brain from time to time is beneficial for your brain health. Our brain is just like a machine, wherein if not used for a long time, it will no longer function properly.

To prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s it’s better to keep your brain challenged. You can do this in many ways such as learning a new skill, joining workshops, or playing mind-stimulating games like chess.

Get Regular Checkups

To keep track of how your mental health is doing, get regular visits to your doctor. You and your doctor can even catch the early signs of Alzheimer’s and be able to create procedures of slowing down its progress.

Avoid Stress

Stress is one factor that triggers various mental and brain diseases. Thus, keeping yourself away from unnecessary stressors can give major relief to your mental health.

It’s also important to treat anxiety and depression as soon as possible to prevent them from getting worse. Additionally, learning proper stress management can help keep your brain healthy despite being exposed to different stressors.

Get Good Quality Sleep

Getting regular sleep is another healthy habit to avoid Alzheimer’s disease. Many studies have proven that good quality sleep helps in removing the toxins in your brain and improving memory and thinking. The best way to establish a good quality of sleep is to:

Maintain Social Engagement

Chronic loneliness is prevalent among seniors and it may give you a higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s. Maintaining social engagement will avoid chronic loneliness, thus reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s as well. Not only that, but social engagement also keeps your brain stimulated through conversation and communication skills.

Maintain Normal Weight

Many believe that being overweight can contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is because being overweight is a sign of an unhealthy diet, which is also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

Thus, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy weight by eating nutrient-rich foods. This will reduce your risk not only of Alzheimer’s but also of other chronic illnesses like diabetes.

Treat/Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases

As mentioned earlier, cardiovascular disease is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, if you have existing diseases like high blood pressure or stroke, it’s important to follow all measures to prevent the progression of these diseases as they may trigger the onset of Alzheimer’s later in life.

Treat/Prevent Diabetes

Just like heart disease, diabetes is one factor that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Diabetes is usually caused by a poor and unhealthy diet, that’s why, as mentioned earlier, promoting a healthy diet will prevent you from getting diabetes, thus reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s as well.

Final Thoughts

Alzheimer’s disease is very common among seniors, and it can be caused by various factors such as age, family history, heredity, head injury, and lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is still no known cure for the disease, but following the healthy habits mentioned above can help you avoid or reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Flu Prevention Tips: Effective Strategies for Preventing Infections

Influenza or flu is a common respiratory illness among people of any age. It is caused by viruses that attack the respiratory system specifically in the throat, nose, and mouth. Flu is common and occurs seasonally, but it usually goes away on its own after a week or 2. However, seniors may be at risk of serious complications caused by the flu due to a weakened immune system caused by old age.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent getting the flu including yearly vaccinations and a healthy lifestyle. In this article, I will share some crucial information you should know about the flu as well as valuable tips for you to consider.

Importance of Preventing Flu

People may think that the flu is just an ordinary sickness that goes away on its own. This may be true but not for seniors. Healthy individuals may have a lower risk of getting the flu virus, and even if they do get the virus, the symptoms may only be mild.

However, seniors specifically at the age of 65 and above, have weaker immune systems and they tend to be more at risk of the illness. In some cases, it can even trigger other chronic illnesses like pneumonia. That’s the reason why following the measures to prevent the flu is more crucial than your know.

Symptoms of the Flu Virus

The flu virus may have similar symptoms to colds and the COVID-19 virus. To help you better understand and distinguish the symptoms of flu from colds and COVID-19, below is a list of symptoms of each:

Symptoms of colds:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Cough
  3. Sneezing
  4. Runny nose

Symptoms of COVID-19:

Symptoms of flu virus:

Note: COVID-19 and flu virus symptoms are very similar, and their only difference is that COVID-19 includes the loss of your sense of smell and taste which is not present in the flu. Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience the symptoms of the flu to get treatment right away and avoid further complications.

Tips to Prevent Flu in Seniors

To prevent yourself from getting and spreading the flu, follow the tips and safety measures listed below. 

Take your medicine

After getting tested and diagnosed with influenza, your doctor will most likely prescribe you specific drugs such as Bolaxavir and Zanamivir. Make sure to take your medications on time and within the said duration to take the full effects of the medicine and treat the flu as early as possible.

Consider flu shots

Opting for a high-dose flu shot is one of the most effective ways to treat and prevent you from getting the flu. It’s important to take this vaccination every year though, and during peak seasons for better protection from the flu.

Wash your hands

Our hands are considered one of the dirtiest parts of our body. It’s because it’s our hands that we use for holding, grasping, and lending objects that might be contaminated with millions of germs and bacteria.

Additionally, the influenza virus can be acquired through skin contact like a handshake and placing your hand on an object or surface that has the flu virus. This is the reason why washing your hands and using sanitizer is very crucial to avoid infection.

Get enough rest and sleep

Sleep is essential in keeping the immune system strong so that it can fight off infections that attack our body. Getting enough rest and sleep will keep your immune system properly functioning, thus reducing your risk of infections caused by the flu.

Drink plenty of water

Doctors recommend keeping yourself hydrated especially if you’re experiencing symptoms of coughing and sneezing. This is because water helps your mouth and throat loosen mucus membranes and wash it away preventing further congestion in the nasal cavities.

Cover your mouth

If you’re having influenza, it’s crucial to cover your mouth whenever you sneeze or cough to avoid spreading the flu to other people. Preferably, use a facemask when you go out or interact with a person.

Stay at home as much as possible

If there are no important errands to do, it would be better if you stay at home until you’re fully recovered. Not only this will help you heal faster, but you’ll also be able to avoid infecting others.

Avoid close contact

If you still haven’t caught the flu, then do your best to avoid physical or close contact with people who have it. Make sure to sanitize your hands at all times as well especially when you’re outdoors.

Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth

This is another way to prevent being infected with the flu. As mentioned earlier, our hands are dirtier than you imagine. According to a recent article, it stated that our hands are responsible for spreading about 80% of illness-causing germs and bacteria.

In this case, you may have already put a hand on an object or surface that has a flu virus. Thus, touching your nose, eyes, or mouth can increase your risk of getting the flu. This is also the reason why washing your hands is very important.

Always disinfect

Just like COVID-19, the flu virus can be prevented through frequent disinfecting. Make sure to disinfect various surfaces and objects in your home or workplace to avoid the spread of the flu.

Treating Flu Virus

If you notice the symptoms of the flu mentioned above, talk to your doctor to get the right treatment. Doctors usually recommend flu treatment medications such as:

  1. Oseltamivir
  2. Peramivir
  3. Zanamivir
  4. Baloxavir
Importance of Yearly Flu Shots in Seniors

One of the most recommended options for seniors to reduce the risk of getting the flu is to get regular flu vaccinations, or what they call, “flu shots”.

Flu is a seasonal sickness, which means that it has a specific peak season every year. The virus usually spreads easily during the start of the fall and winter season usually between October and February the following year.

Since the effects of a flu shot will lessen as time passes, the best time for getting vaccinated is before or during the peak seasons each year.

Moreover, experts say that the effect and strength of the influenza virus change each year that’s why hospitals ensure that seniors always get the latest version of the flu shot every year.

Where to Get Flu Shots for Seniors

If you’re planning on getting a flu vaccination next fall, you can get one from your doctor, at the hospital, health clinic, or at the nearest health department. For easier access to flu vaccine sources, visit vaccines.gov and type your location. The website will automatically provide a list of available sources near you.

Final Thoughts

Flu is common not just in the US, but also in different countries around the globe, and the most at risk of getting it are seniors since they have a weaker immune system. Fortunately, this is a treatable and preventable disease, and you don’t have to spend a lot of dollars on it. Medicare and other insurance companies may even cover your yearly flu shot expenses.