15 Best ways protecting joint health

15 Best ways protecting joint health

Our joints, located wherever the ends of two bones come together, are kept very busy each day. From waving our fingers goodbye, turning our head side to side, swirling our hips, or bending our knees to climb stairs, their job is priceless.

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25 simple health habits that can change your life

25 simple health habits that can change your life

But just little things you can work into your everyday life that sooner or later, will become a habit, sort of like automatically brushing your teeth at night before you go to bed without even thinking about it. 

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Tinnitus – Why your ears may be ringing

Tinnitus – Why your ears may be ringing

Tinnitus is surprisingly more common than you think with up to 10-15% or about 50 to 60 million adults in the United States who have it.  With age, it becomes even more common and is usually associated with hearing loss.  

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Cough and sniffles?  Could a damp home be the cause?

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Cough and sniffles?  Could a damp home be the cause?

Across many areas of the United States, cooler and wetter conditions have been common since the start of 2019.  Excess rainfalls, while good for reducing drought, can also result in water damage to your home.  Flooded, damp basements and leaky roofs may be affecting your health in ways you hadn’t thought of – respiratory issues.  Respiratory issues of coughing, colds, and sniffles are among the most common health problems after these situations. The trigger for this is mold that develops from even the smallest amounts of moisture from water-related issues in your home.

New study looks at risk of living in a damp home

Living in a home with dampness or excessive moisture does have adverse effects on breathing and lung health. It’s been known that for anyone, children or adults, who already have asthma or lung conditions, can have side effects from exposure to dampness and mold. But a 2017 Swedish study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, found an association of dampness in a home with upper- and lower-respiratory tract symptoms (affecting the nasal passages, sinuses, throat, and lungs) even in healthy adults.

The study looked at dampness in homes defined as water damage, floor dampness, or visible molds.  Discovered was people living in these homes had a significant association of developing chronic rhinosinusitis, a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the sinuses and development of nasal polyps. Polyps are small, painless growths that form in the mucous lining of the nose or sinuses. Symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis (it can last at least 12 weeks despite treatment), include nasal congestion, facial pain or pressure, nasal mucus that drips from the nose or down the back of the throat, and a decreased sense of smell. 

An interesting finding from the study was that the link between indoor dampness and chronic rhinosinusitis was just as strong as the link between smoking and chronic rhinosinusitis. It is made even worse if there is a combination between smoking and dampness – there is a higher risk of breathing issues, including wheezing, nighttime coughing, and chronic bronchitis.

How to recognize mold

Molds come in many varieties and can live on different types of surfaces.  If you find household mold, this is a sign there is excess moisture, which might include leaking plumbing, a poorly vented appliance, water damage behind a wall, and the aftereffects of flooding. If you live near a wetland or swampy area, homes are particularly prone to mold outbreaks.

To recognize mold, most are black or greenish black and can also give off a distinctive damp and musty odor. The look of mold can appear cottony, velvety, or fuzzy or look like grime and dirt, especially when seen on grout between bathroom tiles. Other areas to consider where mold might grow can include closets, cabinets, window moldings, shower stalls and curtains, and surfaces around air conditioners and ventilation systems.

Symptoms of mold-related allergic reactions

When exposed to household dampness, the health risks can range from increased risk of breathing problems to other allergic reactions. The severity will depend on the amount of moisture and if a person already has existing health problems. People affected the most from living in a damp home are those with asthma and breathing problems and anyone else with a chronic health condition.

Here are symptoms to be alert to that you may notice if living in a damp or water-damaged home:

·      Cough

·      Irritated eyes

·      Shortness of breath

·      Skin irritation

·      Sinus pain or congestion

·      Stuffy nose

·      Wheezing

One of the main issues everyone should be aware of when a home has been damaged by flooding or moisture is the risk of mold.  Mold begins to grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours after spores are exposed to moisture.  The spores are not always easy to see plus they can be hidden inside walls and even in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and appliances that have insulation. If you are being exposed to excess mold growth in your home, it is possible to develop a mold infection in your lungs, especially if you have a chronic lung disease or compromised immune system.

Treating symptoms of exposure to dampness in a home

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms listed, go to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. They can assess the cause of your symptoms and provide medications to help treat them, such as nasal or inhaled corticosteroids. The best treatment however, is to remove the source of moisture and existing dampness and any mold. Indoor humidity levels should be no higher than 50 percent. To prevent excess dampness and mold development, use the air conditioner or a dehumidifier. Check to make sure there is proper ventilation in showers, bathrooms and cooking areas. It is recommended not to install carpeting in bathrooms or basements and to always remove carpets and upholstery that has been wet. Any sign of visible mold growth on a hard surface should be removed using soap and water, a bleach solution, or products designed to kill mold. For more extensive mold growth of hard-to-reach areas, you may need to hire a licensed contractor to remove the excessive mold growth.

 

 

Promising non-surgical procedure for weight loss  

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Promising non-surgical procedure for weight loss  

Going under the knife for weight loss is often a last resort for anyone who has struggled for years trying to reach a healthier weight. Bariatric surgery, like all surgery, has risks associated with it and major lifestyle changes in regards to eating.

However, there may be a new answer for better managing weight loss without the side effects or risks of surgery. A new non-surgical procedure, called endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) requires no incision so no scar, is simple and requires no hospital stay. Preliminary research is showing it could have the potential of helping moderately obese people lose weight and more importantly, keep it off.  Complications rates are also lower compared with surgery. The research showed that only 1% of ESG patients had a complication, such as a perforation or “leak” in the stomach.

This new procedure involves the doctor threading a scope down the throat and into the stomach, then using a suturing device attached to the scope to cinch the stomach in ultimately shrinking it to a banana-sized pouch. By making the stomach smaller, a person will eat less and feel full, thus resulting in weight loss.

This procedure was first performed in 2013 at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.  People with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 (more than 100 pounds overweight) or those with a BMI of 35 or more, and who had a obesity-related condition such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, qualify.

Since that time, studies have shown that in the short term, people who have undergone ESW will lose on average about 15% of their body weight. This new study is the first to report five-year results. The good news is that patients who had had the procedure, were still maintaining a 15% weight reduction, five years later.

The downsides of ESG are that like all gastric bypass procedures for weight loss, there is the potential for people to gain back the weight. In addition, most insurers won’t pay for ESG.  The cost of the procedure is about $12,000 so a patient would have to foot the bill.  At this time, ESG is not widely available as only about two dozen medical centers in the U.S. perform the procedure.