Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter Is Here: Help Protect Your Baby From Rotavirus

(NAPSI)-Rotavirus is a highly contagious disease that can cause severe diarrhea in infants and young children. Rotavirus infections occur mostly during the winter and early spring. Prior to 2006, rotavirus was estimated to be responsible for up to 70,000 hospitalizations and approximately 250,000 emergency room visits among children under 5 years of age every year in the United States.

Parents can help protect their children from rotavirus disease through vaccination. Rotavirus vaccines are recommended for appropriate infants in the U.S. by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

A rotavirus vaccine, ROTATEQ® (Rotavirus Vaccine, Live, Oral, Pentavalent), is available in the U.S. This vaccine can help protect babies against common types of rotavirus. ROTATEQ is not a shot; it is a vaccine given by mouth in three doses. The first dose is given when your child is 6 to 12 weeks of age, the second dose is given 4 to 10 weeks after the second dose. The last (third) dose should be given by 32 weeks of age. ROTATEQ should not be given to infants who are allergic to any part of the vaccine.

"There are many things parents can do to help protect their infants from rotavirus disease," said Stan Shulman, M.D., professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago. "This includes talking to their child's doctor about rotavirus vaccination."

An important reason to vaccinate is to help protect babies against a severe case of rotavirus. In a large clinical trial, ROTATEQ demonstrated 98 percent efficacy against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis and 74 percent against rotavirus gastroenteritis of any severity through the first rotavirus season after vaccination. In addition, infants who were vaccinated with ROTATEQ were 94 percent less likely to visit an emergency room and 96 percent less likely to be hospitalized through the first two years after the third dose, due to the types of rotavirus targeted by the vaccine.

Common symptoms of rotavirus include vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Severity of rotavirus disease can be unpredictable. Many children with rotavirus infection show little or no symptoms, while some may experience severe, dehydrating diarrhea and vomiting.

Important Select

Safety Information

ROTATEQ should not be given to infants who are allergic to any part of the vaccine.

ROTATEQ may not fully protect all children who get the vaccine.

The most common side effects reported after taking ROTATEQ were diarrhea, vomiting, fever, runny nose and sore throat, wheezing or coughing, and ear infection.

Other reported side effects include: hives, Kawasaki disease (a serious condition that can affect the heart, symptoms may include fever, rash, red eyes, red mouth, swollen glands, swollen hands and feet, and, if untreated, can be life threatening).

Call your child's doctor or go to the emergency department right away if, following any dose of ROTATEQ, your child has vomiting, diarrhea, severe stomach pain, blood in their stool or change in bowel movements. These may be signs of a serious and life-threatening problem called intussusception. Intussusception can happen even when no vaccine has been given and the cause is usually unknown. Contact your doctor or go to the emergency department right away if your child has any symptoms of intussusception, even if it has been several weeks since the last vaccine dose.

There are some important things your doctor needs to know about your baby. Tell your doctor if your baby is sick with fever, diarrhea or vomiting, or is not growing or gaining weight as expected. Tell your doctor if your baby or someone in regular close contact with your baby has a weakened immune system from a disease (such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or a blood disorder) or from medicine (such as steroids). Also tell your doctor if your baby has received a blood transfusion or blood products recently or if he or she was born with gastrointestinal problems, had a blockage or had abdominal surgery.

Prescribing Information and Patient Product Information for ROTATEQ are attached, and are also available at www.rotateq.com.

This information is provided by Merck, the manufacturer of ROTATEQ.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How To Keep Your Weight-Loss Resolution

(NAPSI)-Many people make the same promise to themselves every year: to finally lose those unwanted pounds. Fortunately, it may be easier than they think once they realize some of the barriers to success. For one thing, it's unfortunate that many make that pledge in winter, when activity levels are low. They wind up falling short of weight-management goals and then start eating even more because of yet another diet failure.

To avoid this vicious cycle, keep your spirits soaring and weight gain at bay:

1. Change your exercise routine with the change of seasons. If you're into biking, swimming or gardening during the summer, switch to running, tennis or soccer in the fall. Then in winter, try skiing, Pilates or ice skating. Join a club. Take a class. Walk a dog.

2. Pay close attention to foods high in sugar and refined starches because they cause sharp increases in blood sugar. Reach for complex carbohydrates (whole wheat, brown rice, oats, flaxseed, legumes, vegetables) because they are broken down more slowly and evenly, which helps to control blood sugar levels. Boost your fiber intake, eat smaller portions and don't skip meals.

3. Don't forget your hormones, especially insulin. Insulin and blood sugar levels should be a concern for everyone, not just people with diabetes. When insulin levels are high, the body stores more fat and is unable to use fat as a source of energy.

Stabilize blood sugar and promote weight management with Phase 2 Carb Controller. This white kidney bean extract, found in Carb Intercept from Natrol, reduces the breakdown and absorption of starch calories, thus reducing blood sugar and promoting fat loss.

4. Take a good-quality multivitamin and fatty acid supplement. You need antioxidants, B vitamins and vitamin D when you may not be eating enough fruits and vegetables. Fish oil supplements are good for heart health and emotional well-being. New research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can help fight fat by increasing fat oxidation.

by Sherry Torkos, B.Sc., Phm.

Ms. Torkos is a nationally recognized pharmacist, author, lecturer and certified fitness instructor. You can learn more online at www.livesowell.com.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Doctors’ Advice: Treat Cold, Flu with Epsom Salt

(BUSINESS WIRE)--With cold and flu season underway, doctors say you should try soaking in Epsom salt before you reach for an expensive over-the-counter drug. This naturally-occurring mineral will ease muscle aches and help you get a good night’s rest, so you can recover faster. Some doctors say it will even speed healing by detoxifying your body and increasing your white blood cell count.

“You want to get in front of an illness,” says Dr. Theresa Ramsey, cofounder of the Center for Natural Healing in Arizona and author of Healing 101: A Guide to Creating the Foundation for Complete Wellness. “As soon as you know you’re coming down with an illness and can soak in Epsom salt, the better it will work.”

Ramsey says soaking in Epsom salt helps spur a process called vasodilation, which increases white blood cell production and helps the body fight illnesses quicker.

You can get Epsom salt – actually magnesium sulfate – for just a few bucks at your local pharmacy or supermarket, and doctors say soaking in it can help ease aches, calming the body as it fights the symptoms of a cold or flu.

“It has an alkalizing effect, which gives your immune system a boost,” says Lisa Tsakos-Trepanier, a registered nutritionist, who writes a monthly column for Tribune Media and is a regular contributor to NaturallySavvy.com.

Soaking in Epsom salt could be especially useful for people fighting H1N1, which often causes severe body aches, says Dr. Margaret Philhower, a naturopathic doctor who has a private practice in Oregon and writes for www.naturopathicexperts.com.

“Magnesium is a fantastic way to help relax the muscles and flush the lactic acid out of them,” Philhower says.

Philhower recommends adding at least 4 cups of Epsom salt per bath to help improve circulation and reduce the length of the symptoms. “Getting a virus is the body’s way to force us to detoxify, and an Epsom salt bath is one of our favorite recommendations for a gentle detoxing.”

People should consult their doctors for serious or persisting conditions. If your temperature tops 104 degrees, or if you have a history of febrile seizure, you may also want to check with your doctor before soaking in a warm bath.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Managing Your Medicines

NAPSI)-Learning ways to manage your medicines could help protect your health.

A new brochure by the Eldercare Locator and Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, outlines some simple steps to help make sound health care decisions concerning prescription drugs:

• Maintain a medicine record

• Share any change in side effects with your doctor

• Keep your health care professionals informed of all the medicines you are taking

• Find out about different options to pay for your medicines.

To learn more, request the brochure "Prescription Drug Options for Older Adults: Managing Your Medicines" at Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov.

The Eldercare Locator is a free service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Don't Ignore Aches And Pains

(NAPSI)-Staying active can keep you healthy and feeling younger. Whether it's recreational sports, going to the gym or just working around the house, physical activity helps both body and mind.

Sometimes an active lifestyle may lead to minor strains, sprains, and bruises, but there are ways to minimize injury. One way to prevent minor injuries is to slowly strengthen muscles with exercise. Before starting an activity--whether it's cleaning the garage or going for a jog--it's important to get your blood pumping by stretching and warming up.

If you do get injured, know when to consult a health care professional. Nearly 60 percent of people with acute back pain or other minor muscle strains and sprains did not see a health care professional for their pain, according to a recent American Pain Foundation survey of 2,192 Americans. Many of them said they felt they could tough it out. Experts say this isn't the best approach.

"Because minor strains and sprains are common, people can underestimate their possible long-term effects, especially if not properly treated," said Dr. Bruce Thomas, a physician at MIMA Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine/Sports Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine.

Treatment of minor strains, sprains, or bruises may include resting and icing the injured area. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to help decrease the short-term pain. These can be taken by mouth or in a patch that goes on the skin.

More tips can be found online at RealAge.com/StrainsAndSprains. The site also has a quiz to help you find out if you need to see a health care professional about your injury.

It's important to take proper care of even minor injuries to reduce the chance of a more serious problem later.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Report Finds Only 25 Percent of Adults Aged 50-64 Get Recommended Preventive Screenings

/PRNewswire/ -- Only about 1 in 4 Americans aged 50-64 regularly take advantage of preventive services such as screenings and immunizations, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with AARP and the American Medical Association (AMA).

The report, "Promoting Preventive Services for Adults 50-64: Community and Clinical Partnerships," focuses on opportunities to improve the health of the growing number of adults in the 50-64 age bracket to broaden the use of potentially lifesaving preventive services.

The report identifies recommended preventive services such as influenza vaccine, cholesterol screening, breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as preventive screenings for behaviors that could negatively impact health such as binge drinking.

"People aged 50-64 need access to preventive services to help them improve their overall health and to live vibrant, productive lives," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "CDC and our partners, AARP and AMA, are excited about this new resource because it enables our partners and others to more easily and effectively monitor improvements in health behaviors, screenings and immunizations. Our goal is to enhance the delivery and use of these recommended preventive services."

By 2015, an estimated 63 million U.S. adults will be between the ages of 50 and 64, comprising 20 percent of the nation's population. They are at greater risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer than younger adults. Almost one-third of adults in this age group are uninsured or underinsured, which heightens the challenges of ensuring they receive critical preventive services.

Wayne Giles, M.D., M.S., director of CDC's Division of Adult and Community Health, and a member of the committee that prepared the report, emphasized the importance of addressing disparities in the use of preventive services. "The racial and ethnic composition of adults in the United States is becoming more diverse. We must take this trend into account as we promote the use of clinical preventive services to ensure that appropriate strategies are implemented to improve the health of all adults."

The report describes proven, science-based strategies that highlight clinical and community efforts to promote the delivery of multiple or bundled preventive services. The report also highlights model programs, policies and strategies that communities can adopt, in concert with health care partners, to make sure services reach those in need. Calls to Action identify existing gaps and barriers in research, data and action, and highlight opportunities through model programs, policy and environmental strategies, and enhanced health tracking.

CDC's healthy aging program develops tools and programs designed to help older adults live longer, more productive and independent lives. By promoting health and disease prevention, CDC works to improve the quality of life of older adults and slow the expected growth of health care and long-term costs for this and future generations.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aetna Makes $30,000 Grant to Atlanta Urban League to Support ‘Get Body Beautiful’ Program

(BUSINESS WIRE)--More than 15,000 women in the metro Atlanta area will have a chance to participate in the Atlanta Urban League’s “Get Body Beautiful” program, thanks to a $30,000 grant from Aetna (NYSE: AET) and the Aetna Foundation.

The “Get Body Beautiful” program, which kicked off Nov. 1, is an interactive, multi-media program that includes: on-site community fitness classes at local malls and churches; radio programs; Internet-based tracking; and a dedicated Web site to help women track their progress.

“Get Body Beautiful” is the brainchild of Atlanta’s Andrea Riggs, a national lifestyle and wellness expert. Her company, “Body Beautiful,” a minority- and women-owned firm founded in 1998, helps women of color achieve better health through lifestyle, nutrition and fitness.

“The health disparities that exist in the African-American and Hispanic communities are simply unacceptable,” says Nancy Flake Johnson, president and CEO of the Atlanta Urban League. “Whether you’re talking about heart disease, diabetes, obesity or breast cancer, all of these conditions are preventable with proper nutrition and regular physical activity. The Atlanta Urban League is thankful for the Aetna grant and proud to partner with Andrea Riggs and ‘Body Beautiful’ to bring ‘Get Body Beautiful’ to women of color throughout the metro Atlanta area, because it’s a fun and effective way to learn about nutritious delicious food, shopping and cooking techniques and strategies and to get physically active with other women who care about their health. And Andrea makes it so much fun we know we can help metro Atlanta women to engage in healthier lifestyles for themselves and their families with this program.”

“Body Beautiful” focuses on health and wellness campaigns for corporate and community groups, and produces high-energy, fitness content for TV and distribution. Riggs is a regular on the Atlanta business and social scene, the “Atlanta’s Biggest Loser” trainer on WXIA Alive, and contributes monthly to several national publications. She often trains celebrities and Atlanta’s business executives, all while doing business and building the Body Beautiful and GET LEAN brands with leading corporations and consumers.

“With 78 percent of African American women overweight and at risk for major illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, this program equips women with the lifestyle and fitness tools they need to increase their physical activity and improve their health, feeling and looking good for life,” Riggs said.

“This is a dynamic, upbeat program that empowers African-American women to take control of their lives, improve their health and serve as positive role models for everyone they touch,” said Cynthia Follmer, president of Aetna’s Georgia market. “As a company that shares that passion for promoting wellness and healthy living, Aetna is proud to participate in this effort.”

Aetna provides health benefits to more than 600,000 members in Georgia.

About the Atlanta Urban League

The National Urban League, founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, spearheads our nonprofit, nonpartisan, community-based movement. The heart of the Urban League movement is our professionally staffed Urban League affiliates in over 100 cities in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

Founded in 1920, the Atlanta Urban League was organized to encourage, assist and engage in activities, which lead to the improvement of opportunities for disadvantaged persons and families in Metropolitan Atlanta. The League identifies community needs in education, employment, housing, health and welfare and develops programs and initiatives to meet those needs.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How to Care for Someone at Home Who Has H1N1 (Swine) Flu

/PRNewswire/ -- Montefiore Medical Center wants you to have the latest information on influenza (flu) so you can best protect yourself and your family. If you are taking care of someone at home who has H1N1 (swine) flu, it is important for you to prevent other people in the house from getting sick, according to Gary Kalkut, MD, MPH, Senior Vice-President, Chief Medical Officer of Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Kalkut and his colleagues at Montefiore offer the following information and advice on preventing illness during this flu season.

One of the easiest ways people can protect themselves, their family, and others from getting sick is to clean their hands. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub to prevent getting sick:

-- Especially after coughing and sneezing.
-- After every contact with the sick person.
-- Even after handling the sick person's room or bathroom or their dirty
laundry.

Who can take care of someone with the flu?
-- If possible, only one adult in the home should take care of anyone who
is sick. Try not to have people with the flu care for infants.
-- People most at risk for flu (pregnant women, those with chronic
disease or immune issues) should not take care of people with the flu,
if possible.

Caring for someone with the flu
-- Try to keep the sick person from breathing, sneezing or coughing close
to your face. If close contact with a sick individual can't be helped,
think about wearing a mask to cover your nose and mouth.
-- Try to keep the sick person in a separate room with the door closed.
Keep the sick person away from other people as much as possible,
especially others who are at high risk of getting sick from the flu.
-- The sick person should not have visitors. A phone call, e-mail or text
message is safer than a visit.
-- Do not eat food from dishes and glasses being used by someone who is
sick. Dishes and glasses used by a sick person can be washed with the
family's dishes.
-- Use separate cloth towels for each person in the household for
bathing. Wash bed sheets and towels by using household laundry soap.
Dry clothes on a hot setting. Avoid putting laundry used by sick
family members against your body before washing it.
-- Keep areas that can be covered by germs clean by wiping them down with
a household cleaner daily. These areas include:
-- Bedside tables.
-- The bathroom.
-- Door knobs.
-- Toys.

Managing coughing and sneezing
-- When holding small children who are sick, place their chin on your
shoulder so they will not cough in your face.
-- Throw away tissues and other throw-away items used by the sick.
-- If possible, maintain good air flow in shared areas of the home. Open
windows in the kitchen and bathroom for a short time to bring in fresh
air.

Using medications

If someone already has flu symptoms, over-the-counter cold and flu medications may help. These medications lessen some symptoms such as cough and congestion. Over-the-counter medications may help the sick person to feel better. A sick person can still make others sick up to 24 hours after their symptoms stop and they have stopped taking medication.

-- Children 5 years of age and older and teenagers with the flu can take
medicines without aspirin to ease symptoms. These include
acetaminophen (Tylenol(R)) and ibuprofen (Advil(R), Motrin(R),
Nuprin(R)).
-- Do not give over-the-counter cold medicines to children 4 years old
and younger without first speaking with a health care provider. In
children 2 and younger, use a cool mist humidifier and a suction bulb
to help clear any mucus.
-- Warning! Do not give aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) to children or
teenagers who have flu-like illness. Aspirin can cause a rare but
serious illness called Reye's syndrome. Check ingredient labels on
over-the-counter cold and flu medicines to see if they have aspirin.
If they do, do not use these medicines.
-- In adults, fevers and aches can be treated with acetaminophen
(Tylenol(R)) or ibuprofen (Advil(R), Motrin(R), Nuprin(R)), or
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Adults with kidney
disease or stomach problems should check with their health care
provider before using these medications.


Antiviral medicines may help with flu symptoms, but you will need a prescription. Most people with the flu do not need these antiviral drugs to get better. Some people at higher risk for severe flu complications might benefit from antiviral medications.

Influenza infections can lead to, or occur with, bacterial infections. Some people may need to take an antibiotic. More severe illness or illness that seems to get better, but then gets worse again, may be a sign that a person has a bacterial infection. Check with your health care provider if you have concerns.

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U.S. Gets a 'D' for Preterm Birth Rate

/PRNewswire/ -- For the second consecutive year, the United States earned only a "D" on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, demonstrating that more than half a million of our nation's newborns didn't get the healthy start they deserved.

In the 2009 Premature Birth Report card, seven states improved their performance by one letter grade and two fared worse. Criteria that affect preterm birth improved in many states:

-- 33 states and the District of Columbia reduced the percentage of women
of childbearing age who smoke;
-- 21 states and the District of Columbia reduced the percent of
uninsured women of childbearing age;
-- 27 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico lowered the late
preterm birth rate.

As in 2008, no state earned an "A," and only Vermont received a "B." The grades were determined by comparing preterm birth rates to the national Healthy People 2010 preterm birth objective, which is 7.6 percent of all live births. The U.S. preliminary preterm birth rate was 12.7 percent in 2007.

"Although we don't yet understand all the factors that contribute to premature birth, we do know some interventions that can help prevent it, and we must consistently make use of all of these," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes. She cited smoking cessation programs; health care before and during pregnancy; progesterone supplementation; and improved adherence to professional guidelines on fertility treatment and early Cesarean-sections and inductions.

According to the March of Dimes, quality improvement programs also are key to lowering preterm birth rates. For example, the Intermountain Health Program in Utah reduced its elective C-sections to less than 5 percent from more than 30 percent. At Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania, pregnant women are screened for chronic conditions and risks factors that can be treated proactively to lower the risk of preterm birth.

A program run by the Hospital Corporation of America based in Tennessee, which delivers about 5 percent of all U.S. births in the 21 states it serves, reduced the primary C-section rate, lowered maternal and fetal injuries and reduced the cost of obstetric malpractice claims by 500 percent. Also, Parkland Memorial Hospital in Texas reduced its preterm birth rate to 4.9 percent in 2006 from 10.4 percent in 1988 by establishing a comprehensive, community-based public health care system of prenatal care that targets minority pregnant women.

In the United States, more than 540,000 babies are born too soon each year. Preterm birth is a serious health problem that costs the United States more than $26 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine. It is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive an early birth often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, such as breathing problems, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and others. A March of Dimes report released in October found that 13 million babies worldwide were born preterm, and more than one million die each year.

The March of Dimes released its second annual report card today, the 7th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day(R), when the March of Dimes focuses the nation's attention on the growing problem of premature birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation). A special Web site - marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies - includes state profiles on prematurity and ways for volunteers to help reduce the premature rate.

The March of Dimes is the leading organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

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Tips to tackle the allergens hiding in your house

(ARA) - If sneezing, sniffling and coughing are frequent sounds in your house, don't worry, you're not alone in trying to find ways to stop them.

An estimated 50 million people suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies in the United States, costing Americans nearly seven billion dollars annually, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).

Asthma and allergy triggers - called allergens - accumulate in unexpected places throughout your home. Furniture, bedding, curtains, drapes and carpeting can each house dust mites, pet dander and outside allergens entering through the windows.

Here are some tips from appliance manufacturer LG Electronics to reduce the number of allergens in every room:

* Use washable floor mats, and run them through the laundry once a week to remove small food particles.

* Don't let damp towels pile up as mold and mites can spread quickly.

* Pet beds hold a lot of dander. Give them their own sleeping area somewhere in the house that isn't a bedroom. Wash the pet beds weekly to cut down on dander collecting.

* Make sure your wash cycle removes allergens. The LG SteamWasher with Allergiene cycle reaches a temperature of 131 F, which is recommended by the National Institute of Health to kill allergens, while still being gentle on fabrics. This cycle has been proven to remove more than 95 percent of household allergens like dust mites and pet dander from washable fabrics. It's the first washing machine to receive "asthma and allergy friendly" certification from AAFA.

In addition to reducing allergens, the SteamWasher is Energy Star rated, reducing bills as it saves consumers more than 8,000 gallons of water each year compared to conventional machines.

* Replace your mattresses every 10 years, and vacuum them regularly.

* Use washable slipcovers on couches if you have pets to help control pet dander. Run the slipcovers through a steam cycle regularly.

* Consider purchasing more products, including kids' toys and table linens, that are machine washable to help reduce the number of dust mites causing you to sniffle.

* Draperies can also harbor allergens. Use vertical blinds or other easy-to-clean window treatments, or wash and dry-clean fabric curtains once a month to keep the allergens to a minimum.

"While removing allergens like dust mites and pet dander in your house won't cure your allergies, it certainly will help you protect your family by reducing their exposure to these asthma and allergy triggers," says Mike Tringale, director of external affairs for AAFA . "By designing a special wash cycle that meets our standards, LG has created a tool that can help Americans in their efforts to reduce their exposure to allergens throughout the year."

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Have Yourself A Healthy Little Holiday

(NAPSI)-This time of year, seasonal favorites such as pumpkin pie, homemade fudge, eggnog, and sugar cookies can tempt even the most committed to stray from their healthy eating plans. For those also finding it hard to fit physical activity into their hectic routines, the result can be weight gain-and loss of motivation.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. If you've already got a positive weight loss mindset and have resolved to achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle in the coming year, there are ways to not only survive the holidays-but to thrive during them.

"The key is moderation, not deprivation," says Lisa Talamini, chief nutritionist for Jenny Craig, Inc. "There's no need to pass up your grandmother's apple pie or dressing with your turkey. Just take small servings and balance out higher-fat choices with nonfat dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables."

Here are Talamini's top 10 strategies for staying on track this holiday season:

1. Learn to say "no, thank you" to an offer of unwanted food. By doing so, you're saying "yes" to yourself and your commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

2. Don't skip breakfast to "save" all of your calories for the big feast. Follow your healthy eating plan for the entire day so you're not starving by dinner time.

3. Bring a vegetable platter to a party so you'll have plenty of crunchy veggies to munch on.

4. Roast your turkey without the stuffing, breast-side down, to keep it moist and allow the fat to run off. For a browned top, turn your turkey right-side up for the last half hour.

5. "Volumize" your meals with fruits, vegetables, lean protein and high-fiber starches to feel full on fewer calories.

6. Enjoy a rousing snowball fight, go sledding or build a snowman.

7. Park far from the mall entrance and walk extra laps around the mall before you begin your holiday shopping.

8. Spend more time on the dance floor-and less at the hors d'oeuvres table-at your next company function. Enjoy higher-calorie beverages only on occasion, and in moderation.

9. Savor the season by taking a few runs down a nearby ski slope or going ice skating on an outdoor rink.

10. Enlist support from others by exchanging healthy recipes, being active together and sharing words of encouragement.

For more healthy holiday tips, visit www.jennycraig.com.


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

H1N1 At-Home Flu Risk Assessment Test Developed By Microsoft And Emory University

(NAPSI)-During a normal flu season, sniffling and sneezing are considered common. However, the 2009-2010 flu season has brought new complications with the rise of H1N1, a pandemic flu virus that has infected millions around the world.

As the pandemic has spread throughout the United States and around the world, many hospitals have begun restricting visiting hours for children, while businesses, schools and airlines have advised people who think they might be sick to stay home, all in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus to others. Doctors' offices have directed patients experiencing even mild symptoms or a minor cold to stay at home.

While health officials issue warnings over the continuing spread of the virus, members of the public remain unclear about how to determine if their symptoms are enough to warrant seeing a doctor or going to the emergency room.

Now, consumers have access to tools that can help. H1N1 Response Center (www.h1n1responsecenter.com), developed by Microsoft, includes a risk self-assessment service developed by medical and public health experts at Emory University based on national guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The self-assessment allows people to evaluate symptoms and decide whether they should stay home, schedule an appointment with their doctor or go to the emergency room.

"This will reduce the number of people needlessly exposed to H1N1 flu in crowded clinics and ER waiting rooms, and allow doctors and nurses to focus their attention on those who need them most," said Dr. Arthur Kellermann, professor of emergency medicine and an associate dean of the Emory School of Medicine.

By answering a few short questions, patients can find out if they or their family members need to see a doctor or nurse for treatment. Through the site, patients can even prepare for their doctor's visit by connecting the questionnaire results with their HealthVault account (www.healthvault.com), a personal health application platform developed by Microsoft that lets people collect, store and share their medical information online with those they trust.

To take the online self-assessment quiz, visit www.h1n1responsecenter.com. To learn more about HealthVault or to create your own HealthVault account, visit www.healthvault.com.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's the Skinny on Fat Removal? Dermatologists Believe Emerging Non-Invasive Technologies Shaping Up to Be the Next Big Thing

/PRNewswire/ -- For many people, diet and exercise help keep them looking and feeling healthy. But even those who work hard on staying in shape might have a hard time shaking stubborn love handles or lower belly fat, which can bulge through clothing like a neon sign. While the market for getting rid of unwanted fat has grown over the years to include stomach stapling and behavioral techniques, there is still a demand for procedures that can reduce areas of localized fat safely and effectively.

Speaking today at the American Academy of Dermatology's SKIN academy (Academy), Chestnut Hill, Mass., dermatologist Jeffrey S. Dover, MD, FAAD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and adjunct professor of medicine (dermatology) at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H., presented the latest non-invasive technologies being studied to target fat and how these new procedures soon could help people of average weight who struggle with localized areas of fat.

"There is a strong demand for non-invasive procedures that can address the concerns of people who are not considered overweight, but despite diet and exercise, have pockets of fat that bother them," said Dr. Dover. "While traditional liposuction and laser liposuction are invasive surgical procedures that are designed for overall fat reduction, new procedures are emerging that are non-invasive and are showing promise in clinical studies for removing fat without the potential risks and downtime of invasive procedures."

Best Candidates Are Near Their Ideal Body Weight

Dr. Dover stressed that the new procedures under development that target fat are not intended as a weight-reduction program for overweight individuals who would require therapies designed for overall fat reduction. Instead, the best candidates for one of the newer fat removal procedures are people near their ideal body weight who eat well and exercise regularly and have pockets of fat that have not responded to a healthy lifestyle. For example, these areas of fat include the lower belly (from pregnancy), love handles, back fat, saddle bags, and fat under the chin.

While there are several different approaches for non-surgical fat removal, Dr. Dover explained that this field is still in its infancy and many of these techniques are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, studies are demonstrating that fat pockets can be removed without damaging the overlying skin - making these innovative procedures inherently safer by design.

Ultrasound Uses Sound Waves to Selectively Destroy Fat

Considered a promising new technique for fat removal, ultrasound technology uses focused, pulsed waves of non-thermal ultrasound energy (sound waves) to "shake" and selectively destroy fat beneath the skin without harming the skin or surrounding tissues. There are two different types of high-frequency ultrasound procedures undergoing FDA-monitored studies in the U.S. - focused ultrasound and high-intensity focused ultrasound. While focused ultrasound is a lower-energy device that is a comfortable procedure, high-intensity focused ultrasound delivers much higher energy levels and can be painful.

Data from collective clinical studies that used focused ultrasound for abdominal fat removal on more than 600 patients over the past five years concluded that 94 percent of patients experienced a measurable circumference reduction in the treatment area, with 90 percent of patients being satisfied with the treatment. Based on these studies, the average circumference reduction reported ranged from 3.5 to 6.3 centimeters with an overall average of 4.4 centimeters. These measurements are very difficult to make accurately and may overstate the actual reduction. Dr. Dover noted that for three years of these collective studies, patients received three treatments spaced two weeks apart. Prior to this time, only one treatment was administered.

With the high-intensity focused ultrasound system (which also is not approved for sale or use in the U.S. but has been used in Europe as a cosmetic device since 2008), high-intensity ultrasound energy is focused at precise depths within the fat tissue. This energy thermally dissolves the fat, without harming the skin or underlying tissues and organs.

Dr. Dover stressed that with both ultrasound procedures, results are not immediate and it takes several weeks to see a noticeable improvement in fat reduction in the treated area.

"Although ultrasound technology is still being tested and its effectiveness is limited to early studies, it offers a unique approach to combating localized fat without invasive surgery," said Dr. Dover. "In time, I think it will be a viable option for people who want to target specific areas of fat, such as belly fat."

Cryolypolysis Freezes Fat Cells to Dissolve Them

Another promising new fat removal technology, cryolypolysis uses an innovative approach of freezing fat cells in order to dissolve them. Dr. Dover explained that since fat cells are more sensitive to cold temperatures than other skin cells, they can be altered more easily when targeted with cold rather than with heat. Currently approved by the FDA for chilling the skin, cryolypolysis is not yet approved for body contouring, body shaping or fat reduction.

Cryolypolysis works by freezing the fat beneath the skin, which causes selective crystallization of lipids in fat cells that slowly dissolve without injuring any surrounding tissues. Since fat cell death occurs gradually, there is no trauma or immediate "bursting" of fat cells that can be caused by methods that use heat to destroy fat cells. For this reason, results are not immediate and fat layer reduction becomes visible gradually over the course of two to six months.

In the first human study that used cryolypolysis to treat 32 subjects with love handles, Dr. Dover (the study's lead investigator) treated love handles on one side of the body with cryolypolysis and used the love handles on the opposite side of the body as the control. Four months after the procedure, the majority of subjects experienced a noticeable change in fat reduction in the treated love handle. In addition, Dr. Dover explained that ultrasound measurements taken on 10 of the 32 subjects showed an average fat layer reduction of 22.4 percent in all of these subjects four months after the procedure.

"Based on our early findings, cryolypolysis is a very exciting new approach for the non-invasive removal of localized fat in the belly, love handles, back and saddle bags of the thighs," said Dr. Dover. "Although this technology is still being developed, I think with further clinical testing cryolypolysis eventually could be expanded for use in other areas prone to excess fat, such as the neck, knees and arms."

As mentioned, results in fat layer reduction with cryolypolysis are not immediate. Side effects are limited to slight discomfort, numbness and redness for an hour or two post-treatment, as well as some change in skin sensation in the treated area for up to two to three weeks.

Dr. Dover further explained that for all of the non-invasive technologies studied to date, the research has not shown that the body's blood lipid profile changed after any of the treatments. "This finding is important, as it suggests that these procedures are safe," said Dr. Dover. "While we're not sure where the dissolved fat goes once it is dissolved, we think it gently goes into the bloodstream and that the body is able to absorb and process it in the liver."

Given the recent expansion of clinical research designed to fine tune these non-invasive fat removal technologies and strong consumer interest in procedures that require little downtime, Dr. Dover estimates that this market will expand and consumer options will increase in the next five years.

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 16,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

One-Time Whooping Cough Booster Shot Recommended For Adults

(NAPSI)-What starts like a common cold could be a much more serious illness. Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is still a public health concern. In fact, health experts estimate that up to 600,000 whooping cough cases occur each year in adults alone. Many people may not know that a whooping cough booster vaccine can help protect adults from catching the disease and is recommended by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) for adults who have not previously received the booster vaccine.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can cause a persistent, hacking cough. In some cases, coughing may be severe enough to cause vomiting and even break ribs. The illness may last for up to three months or more and can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization and missed work or school days.

Protection against whooping cough wears off approximately five to 10 years after completion of childhood vaccination, leaving adolescents and adults susceptible to the disease. The whooping cough vaccine, also called "Tdap" vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis), is a one-time booster shot that is recommended for most adolescents and adults if they have not been previously vaccinated. For adults, it is recommended to replace a single dose of Td vaccine (tetanus and diphtheria toxoids) if they received their last dose of Td more than 10 years earlier and they have not previously received Tdap. According to the CDC, only 2.1 percent of adults received a Tdap vaccine between 2005 and 2007.

The AAFP has launched "Vaccination Matters: Help Protect Families from Whooping Cough" as a public health initiative to increase awareness of the importance of whooping cough vaccination. Ted Epperly, M.D., president of the AAFP, advises adults to make sure their shots are up to date.

"Adults may think of whooping cough as a disease of the past, but outbreaks continue to occur across the United States. It is important that adults are vaccinated against whooping cough, not only for their own protection, but because adults and adolescents are often the source of whooping cough infection for infants," said Dr. Epperly.

People with whooping cough may not be aware they have it and can spread it to others, especially small children. Babies who have not received all their shots for whooping cough are especially vulnerable to complications from this disease.

The "Vaccination Matters: Help Protect Families from Whooping Cough" program is made possible through funding and support from GlaxoSmithKline.

Visit www.FamilyDoctor.org/VaccinationMatters for more information.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Things You Should Know About Pneumonia In Adults

(NAPSI)-Did you know that in 2006, the Centers for Disease Control reported that more people in the United States died from pneumonia than the flu? Some people may be at increased risk for pneumonia and don't understand the seriousness of the disease.

Recently, William Schaffner--M.D., president-elect of The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and chairman of The Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine--stated that during flu season, it is important that adults also recognize their personal risk for pneumonia. He also added that pneumonia is sometimes life threatening, and it is essential to be able to identify its symptoms and take preventive measures.

What is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. The disease can range from mild to severe, and in some cases may be fatal. Pneumonia can be spread in numerous ways, the most common being airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze.

What are the Symptoms of Pneumonia?

People with pneumonia often complain of coughing. Complications of pneumonia may include bacterial infection in the bloodstream and fluid and infection around the lungs.

Which Adults are at Risk?

Despite common assumptions that only older people get pneumonia, it can actually occur at any age. While adults over 65 are at highest risk for pneumonia, those with underlying persistent conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and asthma are also at risk.

Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy living habits are important and include:

• Washing your hands frequently

• Covering your mouth when you cough

• Not smoking

• Maintaining a healthy diet

• Exercising regularly

• Drinking alcohol in moderation

• Getting enough sleep

• Going regularly for health checkups

For more information on pneumonia, talk with your health care provider or visit www.cdc.gov.

This information is brought to you by Pfizer Inc.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

New Resource Offers Tools And Techniques To Help Parents "Talk Asthma"

(NAPSI)-Parenting expert Jo Frost has partnered with nonprofit family health organization Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) and Merck & Co., Inc. to launch "Time 2 Talk Asthma," a new educational campaign designed to help parents and other caregivers manage childhood asthma.

Jo Frost is no stranger to asthma. She's had the condition since she was 5 years old, which is why she teamed up with AANMA to offer practical parenting tips, timely asthma information and tools to enrich conversations among parents, family members' children, health care providers, teachers and friends. Their straightforward facts and advice are available at www.Time2TalkAsthma.com.

"Parents of children with asthma have a big job on their hands. Not only are they dealing with all the day-to-day parenting challenges, they also have to coordinate care for the child with asthma, which may seem daunting," said Jo Frost. "Our goal is to show parents how to make the most of each conversation with health care providers and others involved in the care of their children."

Parents can download a comprehensive brochure with tips and tools to help tackle frequent parenting issues that may arise when caring for a child with asthma. From addressing sibling rivalry to enforcing a daily asthma care routine and handling playdates and summer camp, the brochure goes through a number of specific situations when a parent or other caregiver may need some extra help and advice from the experts to make life with asthma more manageable.

The "Time 2 Talk Asthma" downloadable brochure addresses four important areas of discussion: including "Managing Asthma at Home," "Managing Asthma Outside the Home," "Speaking With Your Child" and "Speaking With Your Child's HealthCare Provider." Also available on the Web site are an asthma symptom diary and asthma action plan that can be used to help make the most of each appointment with the child's health care provider to help manage and prevent asthma symptoms.

"Learning how to identify asthma symptoms, avoiding allergens and irritants, and better understanding the condition are some of the measures parents can take to help control their child's asthma," said James Sublett, M.D., AANMA Medical Adviser." As a pediatric allergist, I take the time necessary to listen to the concerns of parents and my patients, because the more they tell me, the better able I am to create an asthma action plan that is workable at home, school and play. That's why having an open dialogue is so important."

Asthma shouldn't prevent children from enjoying a full and active life. Visit www.Time2TalkAsthma.com to get tools and techniques that help parents get the conversation started and control their child's asthma.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

How much is too much to gain when eating for two?

A pregnant woman must eat and drink more than normal to ensure the proper growth and development of her baby. The amount of weight to gain during pregnancy depends on body weight before pregnancy.

Most women in the normal weight range will need to gain between 25 pounds and 35 pounds during pregnancy. These mothers can expect to gain 3 pound to 5 pounds during the first trimester and 1 pound to 2 pounds per week during the second and third trimesters. If weight is gained more rapidly than this, the woman should cut back empty calories from desserts, sugary drinks and salty snacks.

An overweight woman entering pregnancy should gain less, usually 15 pounds. An underweight woman would need to gain more, up to 40 pounds. Too much or too little weight gain can be harmful to mother and baby. A doctor will know the appropriate weight gain for an individual pregnancy.

Women shouldn’t look to just gain weight. Pregnant women need to make calories count. Eating a balanced diet is important throughout life. It’s even more important for a woman who wants to have a baby. She should eat a variety of foods and take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid before and during pregnancy to ensure all necessary vitamins and minerals – especially iron and folate – are being consumed.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends pregnant women consume 6 ounces of bread, cereal or other grains each day, along with 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 5 ounces of meat and beans and 3 cups of milk or yogurt.

This should come in at least three to six small meals per day. Eating often in the first trimester will help to control nausea. Small, frequent meals in the last trimester work well, too. As the baby gets bigger, the woman will have less room for large meals and more problems with heartburn.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Americans earn failing grade on diabetes

(ARA) - It's a disease so common it strikes every 20 seconds, yet Americans earn a failing grade when it comes to basic knowledge about diabetes, according to a recent Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of the American Diabetes Association.

The Association has launched a new initiative, "Stop Diabetes," in an effort to better educate the public on the physical, emotional and economic toll of the disease. Americans earned a 51 percent passing grade when asked a series of questions about diabetes, according to the Harris survey. The results showed that several diabetes myths and misconceptions are common and that diabetes remains a misunderstood disease.

Myth: Diabetes is not a serious disease.

When asked to rank which disease (diabetes, breast cancer, AIDS) was responsible for the greatest number of U.S. deaths each year, not even half the respondents chose diabetes (42 percent).

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: Eating too much sugar can lead to diabetes.

According to the survey, approximately one third of respondents knew this myth was false (32 percent).

Fact: No, it cannot. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain. If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and exercising regularly are recommended to manage your weight.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

According to the survey, approximately three in five respondents did not know that this is a false statement. In addition, more than half of respondents did not know that risk for developing type 2 diabetes increases with age.

Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing the disease, but other risk factors, such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

The Stop Diabetes movement aims to educate people about the seriousness of the disease and to stop its spread bringing those affected by it together to share their stories, raise awareness, and support fundraising efforts.

"We hear stories every day about the tragic toll diabetes takes in every corner of our society," says registered dietician Sue McLaughlin, CDE, president of health care and education for the Association. "Stop Diabetes is a wake up call for the nation. Diabetes kills more people than breast cancer and AIDS combined."

"One in three children born today will develop diabetes if this trend continues," she says. "Rather than let these facts scare us into denial and apathy, all Americans need to take a stand to stop diabetes by learning their risks and how they can prevent or manage this serious disease."

To join the Stop Diabetes movement, visit stopdiabetes.com or call the Association's National Call Center at (800) DIABETES (800-342-2383).

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Teeth Grinding Linked to Sleep Apnea

/PRNewswire/ -- There is a high prevalence of nocturnal teeth grinding, or bruxism, in patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), particularly in Caucasians. New research presented at CHEST 2009, the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), found that nearly 1 in 4 patients with OSA suffers from nighttime teeth grinding; this seems to be especially more prevalent in men and in Caucasians compared with other ethnic groups.

It is estimated that 8 percent of the general US population suffers from bruxism, a condition frequently associated with a preexisting dental or jaw disorders, as well as stress.

"The relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and sleep bruxism is usually related to an arousal response. The ending of an apneic event may be accompanied by a number of mouth phenomena, such as snoring, gasps, mumbles, and teeth grinding," said Shyam Subramanian, MD, FCCP, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. "Men typically have more severe sleep apnea, and perhaps may have more arousal responses, which may explain the higher prevalence of teeth grinding in men. Besides, men characteristically tend to report more symptoms of sleep apnea than women, such as snoring, loud grunting, and witnessed apneas."

Other factors that might help explain the relationship between sleep apnea and teeth grinding include anxiety and caffeine use.

"High levels of anxiety can lead to bruxism, and untreated sleep apnea is known to cause mood disturbances including depression and anxiety," said Dr. Subramanian. "Daytime sleepiness from sleep apnea may cause a person to ingest caffeine, and this has also been associated with a high risk of bruxism."

Through a retrospective chart review, Dr. Subramanian and his colleagues, from the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, assessed the prevalence of bruxism and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) in 150 men and 150 women with OSA. Each group consisted of 50 Caucasians, 50 African-Americans, and 50 Hispanics. Results showed that 25.6 percent of patients suffered from teeth grinding, while 35 percent of all patients with OSA complained of nocturnal heartburn and GERD symptoms.

The researchers also examined the influence of gender and ethnicity on OSA, GERD, and bruxism. They found that bruxism was higher in men than in women -- 43 percent vs. 31 percent. Caucasians had the highest rate of bruxism compared to other ethnic groups -- 35 percent vs. 19 percent in Hispanics. African-Americans have the highest prevalence of GERD -- 40 percent vs. 31 percent in the Hispanic population and 34 percent in Caucasians. Overall, no correlation was observed between the presence of self-reported GERD and bruxism.

Untreated bruxism can lead to excessive tooth wear and decay, periodontal tissue damage, jaw pain and temporomandibular joint or TMJ pain, headaches, and sleep disturbances for patients and their bed partners.

"Bruxism can be both a daytime syndrome as well as a nighttime syndrome, but it is bruxism during sleep, including short naps, that causes the majority of health issues," said Dr. Subramanian. "Studies do suggest that when sleep bruxism is related to OSA, certain therapies, including continuous positive airway pressure, may eliminate bruxism during sleep."

"Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can lead to many secondary health conditions," said Kalpalatha Guntupalli, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. "When treating sleep apnea, clinicians must also recognize and address secondary health conditions, such as bruxism, in order to fully manage a patient's sleep disorder."

CHEST 2009 is the 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, held October 31-November 5 in San Diego, CA. The ACCP represents 17,400 members who provide patient care in the areas of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine in the United States and throughout the world. The ACCP's mission is to promote the prevention and treatment of diseases of the chest through leadership, education, research, and communication. For more information about the ACCP, please visit the ACCP Web site at www.chestnet.org.

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http://www.arborcompany.com/Celebrate National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month: Take Preventative Steps to Reduce Risk

/PRNewswire/ -- Every 70 seconds, an American is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, defined as a gradual loss of brain cells. It results in challenges in communicating, learning, thinking and reasoning that ultimately affect one's daily life.

Celebrated each November, National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month is designed to acknowledge progress being made against Alzheimer's disease and to show understanding and support for individuals with the disease and their families.

"This awareness month is the ideal opportunity to recognize that while there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, there are steps one can take to potentially reduce the risk of developing it," said Teepa Snow, nationally recognized expert in geriatrics and consultant for memory care programs for The Arbor Company, which operates senior communities in six states.

"Exercise is key. And exercise isn't just for keeping the body in shape. It's also exercise for the brain," Snow said. "And it is never too late to start these practices."

Studies indicate, for example, that brain exercise reduces seniors' risk of developing dementia by up to 63 percent.

The list of "brain exercises" she recommends includes physical and mental stimuli, plus wise dietary choices.

Specifically:

* keep the brain active - engage in activities such as card games, crossword puzzles, creative writing

* stay physically fit - jog, garden, dance, play video games

* reduce stress - maintain friendships, attend cultural activities, travel

* adopt a heart-healthy diet - eat foods high in antioxidants such as spinach, broccoli, corn, raisins, blueberries and almonds

"We recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle and provide the opportunity to participate in all these activities at the Arbor Company communities. We even offer Wii tournaments," she said. "Many residents participate, and have lots of fun with it."

While Snow cautions that there are no guarantees that taking these steps will curb the effects of Alzheimer's disease, they have frequently proven beneficial.

"The key is to engage your mind and body," she said.

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Natural Tips For Better Heart Health

(NAPSI)-When it comes to heart health, there are few things as controversial as cholesterol, and few substances about which there is more confusion.

For instance, fewer than 10 percent of people with high cholesterol actually require medication to keep levels in check.

This is probably a shock to most people, considering that cholesterol-lowering statins are some of the most prescribed drugs in North America today. But the fact is, 900 out of 1,000 people can control their cholesterol levels with dietary changes and nutritional supplements alone.

That means for most people, the prescription for better heart health is simple: See your doctor, exercise, eat lean sources of protein along with plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains, and learn about heart-healthy supplements. Sytrinol®, for example, supports healthy cholesterol levels naturally, and has been shown, in a published study, to improve total cholesterol by up to 30 percent in 30 days.

Sytrinol is a patented formula derived from citrus bioflavonoids and palm tocotrienols. It helps to not only reduce levels of "bad" cholesterol, but also boosts HDL, or "good" cholesterol.

Of course, stress levels play a role in heart health as well. In fact, stress itself is toxic for the heart. (Panic attacks are often mistaken for heart attacks, highlighting this very fundamental connection.) Fortunately, there are various anti-stress and mental health strategies you can employ to control stress throughout the day. Be certain to find the technique that works best for you. Your heart will thank you.

For further information, visit www.drbvitamins.com or call (800) 333-6977.

By Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Carb-Cutting Hints For Weight Control

(NAPSI)-Carb overload opportunities are everywhere, especially during seasonal holidays. However, cutting carbs doesn't have to mean shying away from gatherings where breads, rice, pasta, pastries and other starch-heavy foods might tempt you to break your diet. Try these tips for avoiding carb-related weight gain:

Eat Pre-Event: Eat some healthy snacks before going to an event where food is being served. You'll be less likely to indulge in carb-laden foods if you're not starving when you arrive. Also, keep healthful foods in your refrigerator at home as well as at work, to avoid spontaneous snacking on carbs and sweets.

Plan Your Plate: At a party or buffet, take a look at all the foods offered before loading up your plate. Then make a choice. Pick one item to indulge in and only allow yourself to do so after you've eaten some of the healthier selections.

Use Effective Aids: If you have trouble sticking to a low-carb diet, you might try an affordable carb-control supplement such as Natrol® Carb Intercept®, which is meant to be used as part of your reduced-calorie diet plan to help you safely lose weight without counting carbohydrates. Its manufacturer says the product helps neutralize carbs found in breads, cereals, rice, pasta and other starch-containing foods, and that it helps metabolize fat-all without causing the nervous energy associated with some diet pills.

Know The Enemy: Watch out for foods containing "hidden" carbs. They can include processed cheese, certain deli meats that are made with fillers, and dishes made with honey. A number of cocktails can contain carbs as well, especially drinks made with a fruit-juice-concentrate mixer.

Hydrate Healthily: Drinking water or green tea when dessert is offered could help you keep to your diet. Also try staying active at a party. Stand, don't sit, and walk around the room when a craving hits, or even take a spin on the dance floor if that's an option. For more information or a discount coupon, go to www.Natrol.com or call (800) 2-NATROL.

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Medicare Part D Enrollment Deadline Fast Approaching: Avoiding The "Doughnut Hole" And Selecting The Right Plan

(NAPSI)-The "doughnut hole," a term coined to describe the gap in Medicare Part D prescription coverage, continues to raise concerns for enrollees. According to the Kaiser Foundation, as many as 14 percent of enrollees fall into the gap, which occurs when a person's prescription costs reach $2,700. Coverage resumes when out of pocket spending reaches $4,350. This gap puts a financial strain on seniors who typically take numerous medications. However, by reviewing medications and plans each year, there may be opportunities to avoid the doughnut hole. In fact, recent analysis by CVS/pharmacy and the National Council on Aging shows that consumers could potentially save an average of $612 on their prescriptions by switching their plans. With the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D underway November 15 through December 31, now is the time to take inventory.

"It's critical that patients become proactive in saving money on prescriptions," says Wendy Zenker, vice president of the National Council on Aging Benefits Access Group. "We see more people lose opportunities to save because they just don't invest the time each year to review their plan selection and ask for help."

Here are some tips to get you started:

Review Your Current Medications

CVS pharmacist Brian Berninger recommends first asking your local pharmacist for ways to save on your current medication regimen. "We see a lot of scenarios where patients can often switch to a generic-new generic drugs are approved all the time and often doctors aren't aware," he says. "Patients can also consolidate multiple pills into one, or opt for a more affordable over-the-counter alternative. If prescription costs are lowered in advance of selecting a Medicare Part D plan, it can help in choosing the most affordable plan and potentially avoiding the doughnut hole."

Consider Total Cost

When selecting a plan, it's important to evaluate how much in total you pay each month for prescriptions-the premiums for insurance plans as well as other costs, such as deductibles and co-pays.

Why Review Each Year?

Each year insurance plans change, including premiums, co-pays and the list of covered drugs. Your own prescription needs change as well. Reviewing plans against one another can be confusing, but free online tools like the Medicare Part D Calculator found at www.cvs.com/medicare can help. This tool evaluates your medications against Medicare Part D plans available in your region, and it compares projected total annual costs. CVS/pharmacy found that consumers who compared plans with the tool last year could save an average of $612 if they switched their plans.

"It's in consumers' best interests to review their prescription drug coverage each year," adds Zenker. Pharmacist Berninger encourages "all enrollees to talk with their pharmacists and use available tools like the CVS/pharmacy Prescription Code and Part D Savings Calculator during the annual enrollment period."

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