Click inside for the weekly health rail, with items on easing headaches, how your personality could affect weight loss, an early indicator of Alzheimer's, and more. Or check out the links below:
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More in health
Nearly everyone gets a headache at one time or another.
Tension headaches, migraines and "cluster" headaches account for 90 percent of all headaches, according to Yale Medical Group. While the vast majority of headaches are brief tension or cluster headaches, approximately 30 million Americans experience migraines, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports.
Most of us reach for over-the-counter remedies for headaches, but a growing number of Americans are seeking more natural options. Whether the rising cost of everything or the trend toward a more natural lifestyle is driving demand for non-medicinal remedies, there are many ways to handle the pain naturally.
Reducing or managing stress may help you avoid the muscle tension that can lead to a headache.
Stress is the body's physical and emotional reaction to changes in life, according to Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The service offers a few tips on how to avoid and manage stress:
- If you can, avoid everyday situations that you know cause you to feel stressed.
- While change can be good for you, it's a good idea to plan ahead for major life changes.
- Know your own limitations for how much you can juggle at once and don't be afraid to say no to new responsibilities when you already have enough on your plate.
- Communicate and talk with others about your feelings of stress.
- Eat well, exercise regularly and be sure to get enough sleep.
Focus on relaxation
It may be hard to do given the economy, but relaxing is one of the best ways to avoid headache. Deep breathing, biofeedback, meditation, stretching, muscular exercises and massage are all great ways to relax, according to Medline.
Massage can be particularly helpful, as it relaxes muscles and eases mental tension. You can easily self-massage your head, neck, temples and sinus areas to ease your headache. A bead-filled facemask can also provide the soothing benefits of massage.
Improve your lifestyle
Promoting overall good health can help prevent headaches. Regular aerobic exercise can help reduce the frequency and severity of tension headaches. Certain unhealthful foods have been associated with triggering headaches, and so has skipping meals. Cultivate the habit of eating regular, healthy meals and getting plenty of rest.
Be sure to stay hydrated -- dehydration can cause a host of health problems, including headaches. If you smoke, quit. If you're a nonsmoker, avoid being around second-hand smoke, since headache can be among the myriad health woes caused by inhaling second-hand smoke.
New research: Personality traits influence weight loss
A recent study has found that being too optimistic could harm weight-loss efforts.
The Japanese study psychologically profiled 101 obese patients undergoing combined counseling, nutrition and exercise therapy over a period of six months.
Optimism and self-orientation characteristics improved for most patients after the program, although this was not related to weight loss. In fact, patients who started the program with high levels of self-orientation and optimistic characteristics were less likely to lose weight.
This result supports previous findings that some negative emotion has a positive effect on behavior modification because patients care more about their disease.
-- BioMed Central
Did You Know?
Researchers have found that increasing insulin levels in the elderly can restore the impaired muscle-building process responsible for age-related physical weakness.
Health Tip: Foreign-object first aid
If a foreign object becomes lodged in your nose:
- Don't poke or prod the object with a cotton swab or other tool.
- Don't try to inhale the object by forcefully breathing in. Instead, breathe through your mouth until the object is removed.
- Blow your nose to try to dislodge the object, but don't blow hard or repeatedly. If only one nostril is affected, close the opposite nostril by applying gentle pressure and then blow out gently through the affected nostril.
- Carefully and gently remove the object only if it's visible and you can easily grab it with tweezers.
- Call for emergency medical assistance or go to your local emergency room if these methods fail.
Number to Know: 26
Public smoking bans can reduce the number of heart attacks by as much as 26 percent per year, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Children’s Health: Waist size could indicate risk
Children with more fat around their midsections could be at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease later in life, researchers say.
Increased waist circumference has long been linked to cardiovascular risk in adults because visceral fat — found in and around organs in the abdominal cavity — is more metabolically active, which can dramatically increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The study suggests routine waist measurements in obese children could predict which ones had developed risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as higher fasting insulin levels, a precursor for diabetes; lower levels of high density lipo-protiens, also known as the good cholesterol; and higher levels of triglycerides, the fatty particles found in the blood.
-- Medical College of Georgia
Senior Health: A subtle sign of Alzheimer’s?
Inability to handle financial transactions or manage money may be an early indicator that a person with mild memory problems soon is likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study.
Researchers followed 87 people with mild cognitive impairment, thought to be a precursor to Alzheimer's, and 76 people with no memory problems. The participant's ability to manage certain financial skills was assessed at the beginning of the study and then again one year later.
During the course of the year, 25 of the patients with mild cognitive impairment had progressed to Alzheimer's disease. The overall financial skills test scores for those 25 participants decreased 6 percent from their original scores. The control group and those mild cognitive impairment patients who did not progress to dementia maintained their financial skills scores throughout the year.
-- American Academy of Neurology
GateHouse News Service