Take steps to prevent or reverse stress-related health problems

The relaxation response helps to manage stress. It may also reduce the activity of genes that are harmful to health. For example, it may activate genes associated with dilating the blood vessels, and reduce activity of genes associated with blood vessel narrowing and inflammation. That may help lower blood pressure. Practicing this approach for 10 to 20 minutes daily brings positive physiological benefits. Techniques to evoke the relaxation response include focused breathing and guided imagery, among many others. More »

Ask the doctor: Does psoriasis raise diabetes risk?

Some experts feel there is evidence that probiotics may help prevent or treat several conditions, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, travelers’ diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and some allergies (particularly eczema). (Locked) More »

What is holding you back from better hearing?

People avoid hearings test for many reasons, such as believing that hearing aids are for old people, or that problems are the result of other people mumbling. Understanding the realities of such concerns can help people make better decisions about whether to seek help. For example, someone who believes that hearing aids are ugly may not realize that today’s hearing aids are smaller than those of the past and that the devices are available in many different styles, such as in-the-ear and over-the-ear. (Locked) More »

Find your exercise fit!

Four basic choices for activity are exercise classes, gym workouts, home workouts, and vigorous work or recreational activity. Understanding the pros and cons of each can help a person select the regimen that will best fit his or her style. For example, going to an exercise class works well for people who like getting out of the house, need instruction, and are comfortable in a group. However, a class may be expensive, or it may not be right for people who feel shy or for people with transportation or scheduling challenges. (Locked) More »

Spotting whole grains at the grocery store

Some people may be confused about what constitutes a whole grain. Whole grains are seeds or kernels that have three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Common varieties of whole grains include wheat, barley, brown rice, corn, rye, oats, and wild rice. Buy whole grains in a package or in various products, such as whole-grain pasta, whole-grain bread, whole-grain cereal, or whole-grain crackers. Avoid refined grains that have only the endosperm, such as white flour and white rice. (Locked) More »

The downside of taking pills to treat chronic pain

Not understanding the risks of using painkillers can be dangerous. Large doses of acetaminophen can damage the liver. Regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been linked to ulcers, stomach bleeding, kidney problems, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Long-term use of prescription painkillers called opioids comes with the risk of dependence, addiction, overdose, death, constipation, falls, slowed reaction time, and slowed breathing. It’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of long-term use of painkillers by talking with a doctor. (Locked) More »

6 ways to stay on your medication plan

Certain strategies can help people stay on their medication regimens. For example, a person should record when a drug is taken, how much is in the dose, and whether there are any new side effects. A person can ask his or her doctor if it’s possible to cut back on the amount of medications being taken, or to simplify dosing to once or twice daily. Other ideas are to use a pillbox and to link the act of taking medications to a daily activity, such as teeth brushing. (Locked) More »

Easier access to hearing aids

The FDA announced in December 2016 that it would no longer enforce the requirement that adults receive a medical evaluation or sign a waiver prior to purchasing most hearing aids. More »