Why Sleep Is So Powerful For Mental Health

In this fast-paced western society we are constantly connected and available 247, we have information flowing into us on a daily basis and there's an increasing expectation for us to respond instantly. Given all of this, there is a growing need for us to be operating or functioning in terms of our mental health not just at 'normal' or 'acceptable' levels, but 'optimal' levels.

Optimal means we are functioning at the highest levels mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, such that we're able to cope well with the demands of life. If we are operating at sub-optimal level, it's much harder for us to perform even the basic of life's functions.

So how do we ensure our health and wellbeing levels are what they should be?

One key contributory factor for long-term mental health and wellness is to ensure we have 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per night.

Repair

Sleep repairs the body. This has a positive knock-on effect to how you function cognitively the next and following days. When we sleep, we sleep in cycles of 60-90 minutes. During that time we oscillate between deep (so-called delta) sleep where the body repairs itself and the lighter REM sleep.

Recall

REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep, or lighter sleep, moves information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory. This helps you to better recall information you absorb on a daily basis. It is during this REM phase of sleep that your eyes move rapidly from side to side (hence the name) and that you dream.

Rhythm

Getting to bed at the right time (ideally 10pm) and getting the right amount of sleep every night keeps your circadian rhythm in check. Your circadian rhythm is your natural body clock that gives you signals when it's time for you to sleep and when it's time for you to wake up. Working shift patterns (especially night shifts) can knock this out of balance which can have major consequences not only for your mental and physical health but also for your gut health.

Lack of good quality sleep means that instead of being fully awake and energized during the day, you may find yourself sleepy, sluggish and unable to focus for any significant length of time. In addition, when you're in bed at night you may feel 'tired and wired' (meaning your body is physically tired, but your mind is wide awake and you're therefore unable to sleep).

Melatonin, the hormone that prepares your body for sleep, and serotonin (your awake hormone) need to be in balance for you to function at your best in the day. This means melatonin kicks in naturally from around 9pm (to help you sleep) until about 7am when serotonin is released to take you through the day. When this melatonin, serotonin cycle is in balance you are fully awake during the day and sleepy at night (when you should be). This in turn means you get a better night's sleep.

Immune Booster

So never underestimate the power of sleep if …

Fear of the Dentist – Movies, Media and Negative Images

Anyone who has read Mary Shelly’s fictional novel, “Frankenstein,” or has seen any of the myriad of Hollywood horror films beginning with Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the tragic monster, are aware that Victor Frankenstein, the doctor responsible for it’s creation, was a physician who had higher purpose on his mind and a mad scientist’s ego as his driving force.

I am surprised however, that given our profession’s negative and painful image, the title character wasn’t a dentist. After all, though we are quite respected within our communities and do possess the technology to create nearly painless dental experiences, dentistry has been, and still remains, among the most feared and hated of all health professions. Over the years I’ve heard more than a few women comment at social gatherings, “I’d rather have a baby than a root canal.” Dental treatment can make the strongest man in the world sweaty and weak at the knees. The fact that Frankenstein was an MD and not a DDS or a DMD is of some, but frankly, very little comfort.

Even though the dental profession has taken many positive steps towards making dental treatment more comfortable for the public, the negative image of uncaring dentists and painful dentistry has been drilled into the minds of the public for years, not only through negative personal experiences and dental “horror” stories, but also through books, cartoons, TV shows and films. Sadly, that representation continues today through the same channels as well through the Internet, websites, blogging, and YouTube movies.

Unfair and negative depictions of dentists as comic relief or as aloof, uncaring and sadistic, and negatively slanted depictions of dental treatment by the arts and media have scared the psyche of the public and created unnecessary fear. The saddest point is that even in 2010, there are still few if any positive dental characters or memorable passages from books or scenes from movies to counterbalance that negative image. Unfortunately, there are no friendly and affable neighborhood dentists, like Dr. Marcus Welby, MD.

Popular culture has not been kind to dentists. It began with classic paintings of barber who were the dentists of that era, standing on top of horrified, screaming patients with some kind of medieval tool in hand.

As a child, I remember characters in old black-and-white cartoons that devised contraptions of ropes, pulleys and doorknobs to remove a tooth rather than go to the dentist. These images continue to the present in many cartoon series.

In films by the classic comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy, or on episodes in the 1950’s Abbott and Costello TV show, I remember the pained expression on Oliver Hardy’s or Lou Costello’s handkerchief-wrapped face. A string was tied to his tooth and then tied to a doorknob on the other end. Then the other partner slams the door and the tooth goes flying. Funny Huh?

The number one phobia producing film is the 1976 film version of William Goldman’s book, The Marathon Man. In it, there are scenes in which …

Top Reasons Why Athletes Should See a Sports Medicine Doctor

The life of professional athletes isn’t easy. They have to participate in intensive exercises and training activities constantly to deliver maximum performance in front of an audience.

While these activities are crucial for athletes to stay in shape, they can also damage their body.

Sports medicine is a growing healthcare field dedicated for treatment of injuries related to sports and exercise like fractures, dislocations, sprains and strains, tendonitis, overtraining syndrome and degenerative diseases.

Besides injury treatment, it also focuses on helping the athletes improve their performance prevent future injuries.

Despite being a relatively new medical specialty, it has become essential for athletes thanks to its ability to address their specific needs and concerns.

Who is a Sports Medicine Doctor?

A sports medicine doctor is a licensed and trained individual who focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of injuries related to athletic activities.

These specialists treat their patients using physical therapy, orthopedic surgery, massage therapy, exercises, and other techniques so that they can return to their desired activity level quickly, safely and successfully.

They also teach the athletes on nutrition to help them maintain an optimal level of health and fitness and achieve their sports performance goals.

The sports medicine team includes sports physiotherapists, sports massage therapists, sports orthopaedic surgeons, sports podiatrists, athletic trainers, sports dieticians, exercise physiologists and sports biomechanists.

Common Sports Injuries:

Some common sports injuries athletes suffer on the filed include ankle sprain, groin pull, hamstring strain, knee injury, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, concussion, shoulder injury, hip bursitis, quadriceps strain and shin splints.

They can also experience the exacerbation of pre-existing health problems like diabetes, asthma, allergies and arthritis.

Reasons to Visit a Sports Medicine Doctor:

There are many reasons for an athlete to see a sports physician.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

(1) Customized Care:

Sports medicine doctors are specially trained healthcare professionals who have an in-depth understanding of what could be the impacts of an exercise on their patient’s body. They collaborate with physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons to develop a customized treatment for their patient.

(2) Injury Prevention:

Sports physicians can provide the athletes with expert advice on the how to prevent injuries during the practice or play and how to reduce the likelihood of resurfacing a previous injury. They also conduct pre-participation physical exams of their patients to determine whether they are fit enough to resume sports activities.

(3) Pain Management:

Sports injuries may lead to several orthopedic issues that often cause chronic pain, making it difficult for the athletes to return to the game and carry out their activities.

While the primary aim of sports physicians is always to diagnose, treat and resolve the injury, they also use pain management therapies like electrical stimulation, spinal decompression, prescription medications and injected medications, to help their patients prevent or defer the need for surgery and continue their daily activities without any hindrance.

(4) Rehabilitation:

For an athlete, a return from an injury can be a complicated and lengthy process. If you …

Understanding the Definition of Health Related Fitness

Being a Health and Fitness Professional, it is my job to understand terms and definitions which are commonplace to this industry, as well to keep abreast of evolving trends. Through my experience, I have found that a number of terms deserve a little more clarification than that which they are granted.

Aside from clarifying the definition of Health Related Fitness, this article intends to shed some light on a few of the associated terms, and to show their respective distinctions.

Is it simply all in a name?

The fitness world seems to use the concept Health Related Fitness like a generic fitness principle – interchangeable with others like “Physical Fitness”, “Health and Fitness” or simply “Fitness.”

While all of these terms can be included under the broad term Health and Physical Fitness, they individually refer to different aspects – both generic and specific. Unfortunately, references to these and other fitness-related terms are often vague, while consistency in their intended use is meager at best; there is a kind of “generally accepted” use for them, but individuals often rely on own interpretation, and this can lead to confusion.

With that said, does Health Related Fitness simply infer fitness by means of good health? Not quite. That is why we need to understand a little more behind these words before digesting the definition.

How did the term Health Related Physical Fitness come about?

That is a good question. One could probably ask what is this concept all about – can we not simply use the terms “Fitness” or “Physical Fitness” instead?” Why Health “Related”?

The main reason stems from the fact that most health and fitness terms are used inconsistently and often refer to different concepts or notions. Subsequent to the 1996 report from the US Surgeon General (Physical Activity and Health; a report of the Surgeon General), there was a move to try and address the alarming rise in obesity levels among the general American public. Studies and initiatives required standardization among clinicians, health practitioners and fitness trainers to grapple with the task at hand. Enter “Health Related Physical Fitness”, a working term to address the general state of health among the public.

The definition of Health Related Fitness

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the main authority in this field, ineffective definitions with unclear and subjective wordings, as well as definitions containing terms which themselves require defining, have contributed to confusing the term “Physical Fitness.”

There exists no reliable guide for Health and Fitness Professionals to measure “Physical Fitness”, because the term has been so loosely and inconsistently defined. It is therefore that one should consider the concept of Health Related Fitness. The definition therefore centers on the 5 Components of Physical Fitness which relate to “good health.” These Components are:

  • Cardiorespiratory Fitness
  • Body Composition
  • Flexibility
  • Muscular Strength
  • Muscular Endurance

On the other hand, Skill Related Fitness Components are:

  • Balance
  • Reaction Time
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Power

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), …

Why Is Plant Oil an Ideal Health Choice?

Plant oils are usually extracted from different plants, especially the seeds. Just like most fats, the oils help to make food palatable, and can be used for purposes of cooking. There are many varieties of plant oils today and there seems to be no end in sight. In the local supermarkets today, there are different oils that you can choose to purchase because they are readily available.

One thing that is obvious is how easy it is to find plant oils that are refined instead of the ones that are cold pressed and fresh. However, such oils are added to processed foods. Some are also included in cosmetics and cleaning products.

Plant oils are not equal when it comes to health benefits. Some have more properties than others. There are some considerations that you need to make such as how the oil was made in the first place. Usually, the seed oils are first subjected to very high temperatures and sometime harsh chemicals are introduced. This makes the oil lose some of the nutrients that are supposed to be beneficial to our bodies.

As for the virgin oils, they are ground and centrifuged to separate the oil and the seed. The extra virgin oils usually need to meet very vigorous criteria in terms of chemical composition and purity.

When you are buying the plant oil, you need to consider how far it really is from the original form. In most cases, when refined oils are being created, they have to follow different steps. This includes mashing, bleaching, deodorizing, stripping, refining under high temperatures, chemical alterations, and so on.

Most of the plant oils are in liquid form and are almost never in solid form. When the weather gets cloudy and cold, the oil may become cloudy. The exceptions to this rule are coconut and some butter because of the fat content that is quite highly saturated. If you notice that oil is solid, it may be an indication that it has been altered chemically especially through hydrogenation.

Usually, the fats that are refined commercially have trans-fats. This comes during processing. What you notice is that most plant oils have a very high omega 3 content and that is why you should be using them instead of the refined options.

The most popular plants with a high omega 3 content include:

  • Flax seed
  • Hemp seed
  • Pumpkin seed
  • Walnut seed

The ones with higher monosaturated oil content include:

  • Olive
  • Almond
  • Avocado seed
  • Palm
  • Peanuts

The plants with higher saturated oils include:

  • Unrefined palm
  • Unrefined coconut

The reason why you should avoid the commercial cooking oils is that they have a higher content of omega 6. Choosing an oil that provides your requirement of omega fatty acids is always a good way to go. There are some that are able to offer omega 3, 6, and 9, which are very essential for wellness, health, and vitality. They are better than flax and fish. It is always good to know the health benefits to …

Tips on How to Find an Affordable Dentist

It is always recommended that we visit our dentists at least twice a year, regardless whether you have existing dental problems or not. This is to keep our teeth and gums healthy. However, dental checkups and services can be costly. What if you do not have budget for such thing? Then, it is important that you know how to find an affordable dentist in your area.

Having healthy gums and strong teeth are as important as having a good hygiene. Imagine if you have discolored teeth and crooked teeth, will you be able to smile? Of course not! With white and cavity-free teeth, you will have no problem showing your gorgeous smile. Not only it helps you look good, it also make you feel good, thus increase your self-confidence.

However, finding affordable dentist nowadays can be hard especially if you do not have dental insurance. That is why a lot of people would only visit the dentist when they already have serious problems, almost or too late.

So, here are some tips on how you could find an affordable dentist to help you out. Check out each of them to get low cost or even free dental checkups.

  1. Visit your local dental societies. Check local societies in your area to gain access to nearby private clinics that offer affordable dentist and expensive dental care services. You may also want to call the ADA official site for a list of dental society records with their contact details.
  2. Visit dental schools. Do not expect it like a clinic-type of service though. Being a teaching institution, you will be given attention from a knowledgeable and competent dental apprentice. Dental schools pay extra attention to dental care so they often offer free checkups or cheaper price. For more information, you may visit the American Dental Association website for a complete list of dental schools.
  3. Obtain benefit of government lineup and financing. The Federal Health Resources and Service Administration provide line up along with its Bureau of Primary Health Care. The institution manages the organization of treatment centers nationwide. These clinics offers affordable dentist and even free medical and dental care services.

On the other hand, if you have all the requirements and the credentials for a discounted or no cost dental care for your state’s Medicaid plan, then you may want to avail it. The rules may vary from state to state though as some do not offer dental services. It is therefore important that you contact or visit the Medicaid website to find out more.

By following these tips, you will definitely find the right and most affordable dentist or dental clinics that will fit your budget.

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Sports Medicine

Despite what the name implies, sports medicine is not confined to the athletic field. The branch of orthopedics consists of the treatment of injuries resulting from physical activity. These injuries can occur due to overuse, over-exertion, traumatic collision, or over-extension of the ligaments and cartilage of joints. Sports injuries can occur to any part of the body; However, the majority of sports injuries occur in the major joints, including the shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle.

Minimally Invasive Rotator Cuff Surgery

A common sports-associated injury of the shoulder is a rotator cuff tear. Composed of a group of four different muscles and tendons, the rotator cuff coordinates the movement of the arm at the shoulder. A tear of these muscles due to a traumatic impact, repetitive motion, or a strong pull may result in serious pain and the loss of mobility in the shoulder.

Based on severity of the injury, a rotator cuff tear can be repaired through surgical or non-surgical methods. If pain is not relieved through non-surgical efforts and surgery is required, rotator cuff tears can be repaired through arthroscopic techniques. A minimally invasive procedure, arthroscopic surgery involves two small incisions for the insertion of a fiber-optic camera and specialized operating tools. Arthroscopic surgery usually results in the successful repair of the rotator cuff and an abbreviated and less painful recovery time.

ACL Repair Surgery for Knee Pain

A commonly performed sports medicine procedure is the repair of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) located within the knee. The ACL provides rotational stability to the knee and tears to the ligament occur due to over rotation, sudden changes in direction, landing incorrectly, or traumatic collision. Symptoms of an ACL tear include a 'popping' noise and the inability to put weight on the knee joint, followed by pain and swelling.
Non-surgical treatment options are available after an ACL tear; However, a torn ACL will not heal on its own and surgery is necessary to return to an active lifestyle. Advances in knee surgery techniques now allow a torn ACL to be repaired through an arthroscopic procedure. Arthroscopic surgery techniques allow for a faster recovery time, although an athlete will require at least six months before returning to sports.

Torn Meniscus Surgery for Knee Pain

The meniscus consists of two pieces of cartilage located between the thigh bone and the shinbone that act as cushioning and 'shock absorbers' between the two bones. Sports-related meniscal tears result from excess stress on the knee joint from traumatic collision, squatting, or over rotation, and often accompanies other knee injuries, such as an ACL tear.

Walking is still possible after a meniscal tear and athletes may continue to play through the injury. However, the knee will gradually become more stiff and swollen over a period of a few days. Non-surgical approaches to treatment include the RICE protocol of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. If the severity of the injury necessitates surgery, arthroscopic techniques utilizing a fiber-optic camera and miniature instruments will allow for the minimally invasive …

The Fitness Boom

While the worlds of sports and fitness are intertwined, it was not until the 1970s that popular culture was ready to accept fitness as eagerly as it had accepted sports. Fitness had not yet taken on its importance for improving health, and popular opinion likened fitness to work and manual labor. In the 1940s and 1950s, few participated in fitness willingly. Among those who did were Jack LaLanne, Victor Tanny, Joseph Gold, Joseph Weider, and Les and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton. These fitness pioneers, among others, drew people to the beach in Santa Monica, California-the original Muscle Beach. Visitors came to watch their feats of strength and acrobatic displays. More and more viewers became participants, and these people, originally on the fringe, became a part of the cultural mainstream. Jack LaLanne, Vic Tanny, and Joe Gold all started gym chains with bodybuilding as their main focus. Due toPage 602 the influence of Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, women were introduced to the muscularity and strength that came with bodybuilding. No longer reserved for just for “strongmen,” bodybuilding brought about a change in the mindsets of all those who visited Muscle Beach.

From the seeds planted at the Santa Monica came Venice Beach, the home to bodybuilding legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and many, many more. Venice Beach in the 1970s brought with it a fitness explosion across the globe. Not only did bodybuilding become mainstream, but the popular opinion of fitness changed dramatically. Americans in the 1970s would do anything to improve their health and fitness.

Sports and athletics grew in the 1970s as well. Women became increasingly more interest in participating in sports; however, very little funding was available for the development of woman’s athletics. A landmark law was passed in 1972. Part of a series of educational amendments, “Title IX,” legislated gender equity in athletics. Not only were women becoming more active and more physically fit, a law now existed that called for equal funding and equal opportunity for female athletes. On 21 September 1973, female tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the first-ever winner-take-all “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. The hoopla surrounding this event-and its outcome-provided even more incentive for women to become involved with sports and fitness. By 1977, a record 87.5 million U.S. adults over the age of eighteen claimed to be involved in some sort of athletic activity.

The fitness industry continued its growth into the 1980s. Gym owners tailored their facilities to attract customers and new gyms opened around the United States and around the world. A healthy lifestyle was becoming a part of popular culture. No longer was it unfashionable to be athletic, strong, or healthy. With the development of new technology, health and fitness were able to make their way into homes. Fitness tapes became available in the early 1980s and continue to encourage those to whom a gym or health facility may not be accessible. Innovators such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons were able to bring their exercise …

Medical Coding Statistics and How It Helps in Public Health Improvement

Medical coding is like translation. People behind medical coding take medical reports and convert them into a set of codes. In a medical claim, these codes play a great role. In this article, we are going to take a look at medical coding and the relevant statistics. Read on to know more.

The Reason to Code Medical Reports

You may be wondering why we need to code medical reports. Isn’t it enough to just describe the diagnoses, symptoms, and procedures? After all, these reports can be sent to an insurance company.

According to the reports released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over the past 12 months, there were more than 1.4 billion patients who visited hospitals. This includes patients who visit emergency rooms, outpatient facilities, and physician offices.

Suppose there are only 5 pieces of coded info against each visit. It would be a whopping 6 billion pieces of info that the professional would need to transfer each year. This estimate is unrealistically low, though. So, medical coding helps make it easier to transfer a lot of data.

Aside from this, coding helps you distribute the same documents between different medical facilities. For instance, the code of strep throat is the same whether you are in Hawaii or Arkansas. With the help of uniform data, you can perform research and analysis in an efficient manner. Health and government agencies make use of the info in order to keep an eye on health trends. For instance, if the CDC needs to analyze the spread of viral pneumonia, the ICD-10-CM code can help them.

Lastly, coding helps you find out if a treatment is effective. As a matter of fact, this is a lot more important for large facilities, such as hospitals.

Now, we should go ahead and find out more about 3 types of code. If you are a medical coder, you will find this information pretty useful.

Three Types of Code

ICD

ICD is short for the International Classification of Diseases. These diagnostic codes provide a uniform vocabulary to describe the possible causes of death, illness or injury. In the 1940s, the World Health Organization (WHO) established this code. Over the past 60 years, it’s has been revised many times.

These codes help represent the diagnosis and the condition of the patient. As far as the billing process goes, these codes help professionals determine the necessity of medical treatment.

CPT

CPT is short for Current Procedure Terminology. These codes are used in order to document most of the medical procedures at a doctor’s office. The American Medical Association (AMA) published and maintained this code. So, AMA reserves the copyrights and updates the codes on a yearly basis.

HCPCS

HCPCS refers to the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System. It’s also known as “hick picks”. Primarily, HCPCS codes correspond to equipment, procedures, and services that CPT codes don’t cover, which includes medicines, drugs, ambulance rides, prosthetics, and medical equipment.

So, this was an introduction to medical coding. Hope you will …

Find Out What Causes Car Accidents and How You Can Prevent It!

Car accidents can be traumatizing sometimes, but at the same moment, they are very painful too. We all know that after a car accident, a person faces injuries, he has to consult a doctor, then he might have to claim the insurance, then meeting lawyers, etc. are all the things one does after he faces a car accident. Before a car accident, what happens that the person has an accident, is it his fault or the other? Let’s find out what causes car accidents and the ways to prevent it:

Distracted Driving

According to a report, distracted driving alone causes 9% of the crashes all over the world, and this threat is increasing every day. Phone calls, texting, talking with someone else behind the wheel, eating, etc. are the causes of distracted driving. You can prevent distracted driving when you avoid using your phone while driving the vehicle. Nowadays, using the phone while driving is very common, so it is requested to not use your phone and look on the road.

Speeding

Teenagers are very eager to increase the speed limit to show-off their skills, however they don’t know that over-speeding causes accidents, and ultimately death too. After distracted driving, most of the car accidents happen because of over-speeding. When you are late for work or when there is an empty road, the speed limit is never a limit for some people, and they drive their cars as faster as they could, and therefore a sudden jerk causes the car to swift across the road, which can injure passengers very badly.  

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is also very common nowadays, and most of the drunk drivers face an accident. Drunk driving accidents are very deadly, which can either cause long-term medical problems or death. Due to such an increase in the death tolls, it seems as if people are unaware of the fact that they can go by cab or ask a non-drunk apprentice to drop them. Drunk driving can be controlled, it’s just that people don’t understand.

Teenage Drivers

Crashes involving teenage drivers aged from 16 to 24 have the highest death rate, which is 48.5%. As they have no experience of driving in bad conditions, accidents can happen. Most of the time, teenagers have no idea what to do in dangerous conditions, and when they face one, the effects are quite severe. Moreover teenagers also face a car accident because of the usage of mobile phones. Mobile phones should be prevented while driving. It would save thousands of lives if mobile phones were not used while driving.

Night Driving

When people can’t see in the night, then they shouldn’t drive the car too. Lack of visibility in the night can lead to very dangerous situations, such as death. With glare in eyes and blurriness in front, it makes it impossible for a driver to drive easily, so it is advisable to prevent night driving, instead take a cab to home.

Rules of the Red Light

Since childhood, we