NJ Health and Wellness

Weekly Health Update: Lowering Blood Pressure

Chiropractic: Lowering Blood Pressure.
Chiropractic adjustments to the upper neck were shown to lower high blood pressure. Researchers found a 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure, and 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure following a cervical adjustment. This effect was greater than would result from two blood pressure medications given in combination, and it was adverse-event free.
Journal of Human Hypertension, March 2007

Mental Attitude: A Later Life Crisis?
32% of males and 33% of females ages 60-69 have experienced a so-called “later life crisis”. The most common stimuli for these episodes were bereavement, sickness, injury to themselves or to others, and caring for a sick or disabled loved one. The stressful life event can make the individual aware of their own frailty and death. Some people react with resilience and set new goals, while others focus more on the present, trying to enjoy life more than they did before.
British Psychological Society, April 2013

Health Alert: Hip/Knee Replacement?
Joint damage from osteoarthritis is responsible for 80% of hip replacements and 90% of knee surgeries. Only 50% of individuals with arthritis who had a hip or knee replacement reported a significant improvement in pain and mobility after surgery. 25% of patients who get a single joint replacement will have another within two years.
Arthritis & Rheumatism, April 2013

Diet: Unleaded Please!
Levels of lead in rice imported into the United States (US) ranged from 6-12 mg/kg. For adults, the daily exposure levels from eating imported rice are 20-40 times higher than the Food and Drug Administration’s accepted levels. For infants and children, the daily exposure levels are 30-60 times higher. Lead is a neurotoxin that can damage the brain, and in young children whose brains are still growing, it can seriously diminish their capacity to learn and develop. It can disrupt children’s behavior, such as make them more aggressive, impulsive, and hyperactive. Lead increases blood pressure and causes cardiovascular diseases in adults.
American Chemical Society, April 2013

Exercise: Walking vs. Running.
Brisk walking can reduce a person’s risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol just as much as running can. The risk for first-time hypertension was notably reduced 4.2% by running and 7.2% by walking. The risk for first-time high cholesterol was reduced 4.3% by running and 7% by walking. The risk for first-time diabetes was lowered 12.1% by running and 12.3% by walking. The risk for coronary heart disease was lowered 4.5% by running and 9.3% by walking.
Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Vitamin D.
A hormone produced in the skin with exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D is also found in fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks. Muscle function and recovery from fatigue has been shown to improve with Vitamin D supplementation, which is thought to enhance the activity of the mitochondria – the power plants of the cell.
Newcastle University, April 2013

Weekly Health Update: Spinal Manipulation Therapy & Neck Pain Relief

Chiropractic: Neck Pain Relief!
75% of Americans deal with neck pain at some point in their lives. In a study comparing spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) and prescription medication as treatment options, researches concluded that SMT was more effective both in the short and long-term. At the end of 12 weeks, 57% of participants in the SMT group reported at least a 75% reduction in pain, while only 33% of the medication group had similar results. One year later, patients in the chiropractic group were still experiencing benefits, as 53% still saw at least a 75% reduction in pain.
Annals of Internal Medicine, January 2012

Mental Attitude: Teenaged Smoking, Depression, and Osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a costly health problem. Although it is primarily evident in postmenopausal women, its roots can be traced to periods of growth, including adolescence. A recent study showed that smoking and depressive symptoms in adolescent girls had a negative impact on adolescent bone growth and may lead to future low bone mass or osteoporosis and higher fracture rates in postmenopausal years.
Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2013

Health Alert: World’s Population To Stop Growing?
A research team predicts that the Earth’s population will stabilize by 2050. The world population in 2100 will be within a range of 15.8 billion people (according to the highest estimates with a high fertility variant) and 6.2 billion (according to the lowest estimates with a low fertility variant). The lowest estimate is actually lower than the current world population of 7 billion. In fact, the world-wide fertility rate has already fallen by more than 40% since 1950.
United Nations, February 2013

Diet: Heart Disease and Red Meat.
Carnitine, a compound abundant in red meat and added as a supplement to popular energy drinks, has been found to promote atherosclerosis (hardening or clogging of arteries).
Nature Medicine, April 2013

Exercise: Walking and Smoking.
Teens who increased the amount of time they exercised by at least 20 minutes (equivalent to a short walk) were more likely than their peers to resist lighting up a cigarette.
Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Kidney Disease and Being Overweight.
Being overweight in young adulthood may significantly increase individuals’ risks of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) by the time they become seniors. Those who were overweight in their late 20s and early 30s were twice as likely to have CKD at age 60-64 years compared with those who first became overweight at age 60-64 years or never became overweight. Larger waist-to-hip ratios (“apple-shaped” bodies) at ages 43 and 53 years were also linked with CKD at age 60-64 years. Researchers estimate that 36% of CKD cases at age 60-64 in the United States population could be avoided if nobody became overweight until at least that age.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, April 2013

Weekly Health Update: Bone Demineralization

Chiropractic: Bone Demineralization.
With lack of proper motion (joint immobilization), vertebral bone density will decrease if the vertebrae do not bear normal weight (think of osteoporosis). On the other hand, bone density will increase when coupled with lack of proper motion and the vertebrae bearing too much weight (think of degeneration and bone spurs).
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1992

Mental Attitude: Negativity Online.
Simply reading angry rants online can cause a negative mood shift within five minutes of doing so, even if you find them entertaining, interesting, or funny.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, March 2013

Health Alert: Superbug Hits United States Hospitals!
Untreatable, antibiotic-resistant infections from a rare but life-threatening super bug are on the rise in United States hospitals. Early in 2012, close to 200 hospitals and long-term care facilities treated at least one person infected with bacteria from the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) family, and 50% of patients who contract bloodstream CRE infections will die. These bacteria can spread among patients and on the hands of health care workers. This kind of transmission can produce new deadly infections for hospital patients, and potentially for normally healthy people as well. To date, nearly all CRE infections occur in people receiving medical care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 2013

Diet: Olive Oil and Satiety.
Consuming olive oil as part of your normal diet may help increase satiety (the feeling of fullness) following a meal.
Technical University of Munich, March 2013

Exercise: More Reasons.
Exercise helps reduce and prevent the immediate symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, sleep disturbances, irritability) and decrease the long-term risks of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and obesity.
Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, 1996

Wellness/Prevention: Prevent Tobacco Deaths.
By the end of this century, tobacco smoking is projected to kill one billion people! To reduce the prevalence of smoking to less than 5% worldwide by 2048, world officials are attempting to implement plain packaging, high taxation, smoke-free public places, and educational non-smoking and stop smoking campaigns.
Governance of Tobacco in the 21st Century, March 2013

Weekly Health Update: Fibrin Deposits

Chiropractic: Bad Deposits!
Fibrin deposits (from lack of proper motion) form and build-up in and around joints and the surrounding soft tissue, resulting in chronic inflammatory conditions. This can cause chronic pain and associated dysfunction of the joint complex.
Spine, 1987

Mental Attitude: Cognitive Function and Exercise.
Regular exercise as a child can result in improved cognitive function at age 50. Exercise represents a key component of lifestyle interventions to prevent cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Even low levels of exercise can have a positive effect on cognitive function.
Psychological Medicine, March 2013

Health Alert: Insomnia and Heart Failure!
Compared to people with no insomnia symptoms, people who suffer from insomnia appear to have a three-fold increased risk of developing heart failure.
European Heart Journal, March 2013

Diet: Lack of Sleep and Your Diet.
People who are sleep deprived are more likely to choose both larger portion sizes and more calorie dense meals and snacks than they would after a normal night’s sleep.
Psychoneuroendocrinology, February 2013

Exercise: Stroke Survivors and Walks.
Taking regular brisk walks outdoors can help people recovering from a stroke to improve their physical fitness, enjoy a better quality of life, and increase their mobility. The walking group in this study reported a 16.7% improvement in health-related quality of life, and walked 17.6% further in a six-minute physical endurance test. They also had a 1.5% lower resting heart rate at the end of the study than they did at the beginning, while the non-walking groups resting heart rate went up 6.7%. The American Heart Association recommends stroke survivors do aerobic exercise for 20-60 minutes, 3-7 days a week, depending on fitness level.
Stroke, March 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Maternal Diet.
An important predictor of the severity of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants is what their mothers ate during pregnancy. The most serious cases of RSV correlate with mothers who ate a diet high in carbohydrates during gestation.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, March 2013

Weekly Health Update: Don’t Wait, Recover Faster

Chiropractic: Don’t Wait.
While patients with chronic (more than 3 months) low back pain generally report good outcomes following chiropractic care, patients with acute pain (less than 4 weeks) recover faster.
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, July 2012

Mental Attitude: Video Games and Happiness?
Older adults who play video games are more likely to be happier and have better emotional health. Those who played video games (even those who said they just played occasionally) reported a greater sense of well-being. The seniors who did not play video games reported more negative emotions and a likelihood toward increased levels of depression.
Computers in Human Behavior, March 2013

Health Alert: Dementia Death Rate Soars!
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have risen from the 24th leading cause of death in the United Kingdom to the 10th in the last 20 years. Dementia is now one of the top 10 (and fastest rising) causes of death. Not including the untold human cost, dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion a year.
The Lancet, March 2013

Diet: Heart Healthy Lifestyle Also Lowers Cancer Risk.
People who adhere to 6 out of the 7 factors from The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7 Steps” to reduce heart attack risk also reduced their risk of cancer by 51%. Those who followed at least four of the 7 factors decreased their cancer risk by 33%. The seven factors include: being physically active, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, keeping blood pressure down, regulating blood sugar levels, and not smoking.
American Heart Association March, 2013

Exercise: Exercise and Sleep.
Light, moderate, and vigorous exercisers are more likely to experience restful sleep than non-exercisers (67% vs. 39%). If you are inactive, taking a ten minute daily walk could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep.
National Sleep Foundation, March 2013

Wellness/Prevention: Prevent Visceral Fat.
Visceral fat (fat stored in the abdominal cavity) is directly linked to an increased risk for colon cancer. Loss of fat by surgery or a calorie restricted diet reduced the risk of developing intestinal tumors.
Cancer Prevention Research, March 2013

Better Ways to Treat Headaches & Migraines

Headaches are one of the most common conditions known to man. Nine out of ten Americans suffer from headaches, either occasionally or on a more chronic basis. Headaches are divided into primary headaches (which account for 95% of headaches) and those headaches that signal another physical condition.

Headaches can be dull, sharp, throbbing or extremely painful, as in migraine or cluster headaches. Nausea can be another symptom, along with increased sensitivity to light and sound. Several factors can trigger headache onset, the most common triggers include stress, tension, allergies, too much alcohol, colds and flu viruses, insomnia, and even food.

While medication is often the first treatment choice for headache and migraine sufferers, there are also drug-free options such as acupuncture and therapeutic massage that have proven to be highly effective while eliminating the risk of dangerous side effects. The Consensus Statement on Acupuncture by the National Institutes of Health, released in 1997, stated that acupuncture was useful as an additional treatment or an acceptable alternative in a comprehensive pain management program for conditions including headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, and others. And one recent study showed the effects to be long-lasting, with acupuncture treatment reducing chronic pain in the neck and shoulder areas and associated headache for months.

For centuries, massage therapy has been used to alleviate stress and promote general wellness. It has also proven to be a remarkably effective means for combating chronic pain and improving range of motion, and can even be used to fight off headaches and depression. Non-invasive and extremely safe, massage therapy can be utilized on its own or as a supplement to physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and a host of other therapies.

Originally published in Think Teachers Magazine

Reprinted with permission from Think Teachers Magazine.