Spring cleaning: Why more people are uncluttering the mind for better health

Meditating counters the body’s stress response by triggering the relaxation response—a physiological change that can help lower blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The health benefits of meditation are so potent that the practice is used as a treatment or complementary therapy for many conditions, such as high stress, high blood pressure, and chronic pain. There are many forms of meditation, such as mindfulness, transcendental meditation, guided imagery meditation, and tai chi and yoga. (Locked) More »

Food truck fare: Trendy eats, but are they safe?

Ordering food from a food truck poses several health challenges. Dishes may be loaded with saturated fat, salt, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and calories. There’s no way to know how often a food truck kitchen is cleaned or if food truck operators are trained in proper food safety and handling. Also, food trucks don’t always post the ingredients of food they serve, which can be risky for people on restricted diets. It helps to watch for health inspection documents that are sometimes posted in a food truck window, and to ask food truck operators about the ingredients in food they serve. (Locked) More »

Getting in on the kettlebell craze

Kettlebells are small weights with handles. Using them has many benefits, such as working several muscle groups at one time and helping to improve posture and balance. Along with benefits, kettlebells have numerous risks. For example, lifting too much weight too soon or lifting a kettlebell the wrong way can lead to muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, falls, and more. But kettlebells should be safe for healthy older adults as long as they get a doctor’s okay first, use the appropriate weight, and learn how to use kettlebells from a physical therapist or personal trainer. (Locked) More »

What's causing your shaky hands?

Hand tremors may occur at rest (such as in Parkinson’s disease) or they may occur with activity. Resting tremors often look like one is rolling a pill between the thumb and index finger. Hand tremors that occur with activity may be postural (occurring when the hands are outstretched) or intentional (occurring when one is reaching for a target, such as a keyhole). Causes of tremors include caffeine use, an overactive thyroid, stress, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and medication side effects. More »

Choosing an over-the-counter allergy medication

The options can be confusing. Try this approach when symptoms start to develop. If you're struggling with allergy symptoms, you may assume you can resolve them with an over-the-counter (OTC) remedy. And that may be true. Many pharmaceutical-grade allergy drugs once available only by prescription are now as easy to buy as aspirin. But that development forces you to become a doctor in the drugstore aisle as you try to figure out which product is right for you. "People often make the wrong decision about which medication to take and they wind up being undertreated. They try a mix of medications, but don't get relief," says Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Before choosing a medication, it helps to understand what's causing your allergies. Often it's a matter of inhaling a harmless substance, such as pollen or another allergen, which the immune system mistakenly perceives as a dangerous invader. (Locked) More »

Medications we're watching

Medications approved in 2018 include sublingual sufentanil (Dsuvia), an oral form of a powerful opioid painkiller; cannabidiol (Epidiolex), the first prescription drug made from marijuana; and baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza), an antiviral medication. More »

Coffee tied to decreased rosacea risk

Evidence suggests that women who drink four or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day are less likely to report a diagnosis of rosacea, compared with women who drink less than one cup of coffee per month. More »