Manage High Blood Pressure for Good Health

Manage High Blood Pressure for Good Health

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted March 29, 2018

Background

About one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, but many adults do not realize it, according to the National Institutes of Health.

High blood pressure usually has no warning signs. Yet, left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure also can damage the brain, kidneys, or muscles.

It is important that you talk with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider to find healthy actions that can prevent high blood pressure from damaging your health.

Definitions

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Your arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other places in your body.

Each time that your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called, systolic pressure.

When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called, diastolic pressure.

Normal blood pressure means that your systolic pressure is less than 120 and your diastolic pressure is less than 80. Usually, the systolic number in your medical record is recorded before or above the diastolic number.

How to Manage High Blood Pressure

  • Do not smoke. Cigarette smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, talk with your medical doctor, nurse, or other health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Talk with your medical doctor about the DASH Diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH Diet, developed in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, is designed to help prevent or treat high blood pressure.
  • Exercise daily. Aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise. Before starting to exercise, talk with your doctor about the possibility of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, in which your heart beats harder and you use more oxygen than usual.
  • Limit alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and also increase calories. Men should have no more than two drinks per day. Women should have no more than one drink per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Control weight. Maintaining a healthy weight for your body frame can help manage high blood pressure and reduce your risk for other health conditions, such as heart disease or stroke.
  • Relax. Learning how to relax and manage stress can improve your emotional and physical health and lower high blood pressure. Stress management techniques include exercising, focusing on something peaceful, listening to calming music, and meditating.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing High Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: Describes a healthy lifestyle in terms of healthy diet, healthy weight, physical activity, no smoking, and limited alcohol. Includes CDC links to related information.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Nutrition and Healthy Eating. DASH Diet: Tips for Shopping and Cooking.
Summary Note: Provides tips to help you get started with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet. Tips include what to do before you grocery shop and how to select and prepare foods that support the DASH Diet.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Relaxation Techniques for Health.
Summary Note: Discusses specific relaxation practices whose goal is to lower blood pressure, slow breathing, and produce a feeling of increased well-being.
(Accessed 28 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Mind Your Risks.
Summary Note: Describes Mind Your Risks, a public health campaign that educates people with high blood pressure about the importance of controlling blood pressure in mid-life (from the ages of 45 to 65). Explains that high blood pressure is one of the risk factors for dementia and stroke. Includes Additional Resources.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: Animated slide show with audio description of normal blood pressure. Mentions risks of high blood pressure. Encourages medical evaluation to prevent stroke and damage to important organs, such as the brain and kidneys.
(Accessed 26 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. High Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus Topic Page. Includes information on High Blood Pressure organized by categories, such as Children, Teenagers, Women, Seniors, and Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 28 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. How to Prevent High Blood Pressure.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus Topic Page. Defines different types of high blood pressure. Suggests ways to prevent high blood pressure. Includes links to Clinical Trials, Journal Articles, Patient Handouts, and Videos and Tutorials.
(Accessed 20 March 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Quitting Smoking.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus Topic Page on Smoking Cessation. Includes tips to stop smoking, therapies and treatments, patient handouts, and links to National Cancer Institute and other reliable websites.
(Accessed 28 March 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Childhood Asthma

Childhood Asthma

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted February 27, 2018

Definition

Asthma is a disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma and you experience an asthma attack, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen, and your airways fill with mucus. The swelling and mucus cause the airways to narrow, making breathing difficult.

Population

In the United States, the number of adults aged 18 and over who currently have asthma is nearly 20 million, which translates to more than seven percent of U.S. adults aged 18 and over. The number of U.S. children under the age of 18 who currently have asthma is more than six million, which translates to more than eight percent of U.S. children aged 18 and under, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Causes and Triggers

No one knows for certain why some persons develop asthma. Experts believe that causes may include hereditary genes, overweight, and environmental factors.

A key part of asthma in children is an allergic reaction, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Allergens are also called, triggers. One way that parents can help to control childhood asthma is by avoiding triggers.

The following tips can help to avoid triggers:

  • Get rid of tobacco smoke in the home. This is the single most important thing that a family can do to help a child with asthma, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.
  • Keep the house clean by changing the linens often, vacuuming regularly, and keeping food in containers and out of bedrooms, according to KidsHealth at the Nemours Foundation.
  • Keep pets away from the child’s bedroom, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Asthma Action Plan

You and your child’s healthcare providers can work together as a team to create and carry out an Asthma Action Plan, which is a care plan that helps to control asthma.

An Asthma Action Plan will give you the following instructions:

  • How to avoid asthma triggers
  • How to watch for symptoms
  • How to Use a Peak Flow Meter, which measures air flow to and from the lungs
  • How to take asthma medicines for long-term control or for quick relief

Asthma that is not well controlled can lead to lasting lung problems. However, with proper treatment, most children with asthma can live a normal life.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

American Academy of Physicians. Asthma Triggers and What to Do About Them.
Summary Note: Lists asthma triggers, which are certain things that cause asthma attacks or make asthma worse. Includes tips on how to help children reduce exposure to triggers.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

American Lung Association. Lung Health and Diseases. For Parents of Children with Asthma.
Summary Note: Discusses how children with asthma are diagnosed and treated. Suggests resources, such as school programs and an interactive website, where children with asthma can learn self-management skills.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Asthma.
Summary Note: Data for the U.S. on Morbidity, Physician Office Visits, Emergency Department Visits, and Mortality. Includes link to Summary Health Statistics Tables for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2015.
(Accessed 26 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Summary Note: NHLBI is the primary NIH organization for research on Asthma in Children.
(Accessed 23 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Asthma – Children. Medical Encyclopedia.
Summary Note: Medical Encyclopedia is published by A.D.A.M., Inc. Defines Asthma. Compares diagrams of normal and asthmatic airways. Includes diagram of Peak Flow Meter. Discusses Triggers, Symptoms, Tests, Treatment, and Medicine. Includes Patient Instructions.
(Accessed 25 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Asthma in Children.
Summary Note: NIH Topic Page for Childhood Asthma. Includes list of websites from the National Institutes of Health and other reliable research and education sources. Resources are arranged by category, such as, Start Here, Diagnosis and Tests, Prevention and risk Factors, Videos and Tutorials. Includes free Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. Don’t Let Asthma Define You. Fall 2017 issue.
Summary Note: Features a young woman, diagnosed with asthma at birth, whose asthma impacted life milestones, such as giving birth, but whose self-confidence and prescribed medications help her to live a life defined by positive thought and action.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. Outrunning Asthma: Football Player Rashad Jennings Battled Childhood Asthma with Exercise and Determination Fall 2017 issue.
Summary Note: Features a football player, diagnosed with childhood asthma, who uses exercise and self-determination to compete on and off the football field.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth dot org. Asthma Basics.
Summary Note: Presents frequently asked questions, with answers that have been reviewed by a medical doctor. Includes a list of tips on how an Asthma Action Plan can be developed with the Pediatrician or other medical doctor.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create an Active Lifestyle

Create an Active Lifestyle

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted January 19, 2018

What is an Active Lifestyle?

An active lifestyle includes at least 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate activity, five days a week, according to the National Institutes of Health.

However, most adults nationwide do not meet this 30-minute minimum daily recommended amount of physical activity.

Why Do Many Adults Choose Not to Adopt an Active Lifestyle?

Lack of time is a common reason for not exercising, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How Can You Learn to Choose Active Lifestyle Activities?

The CDC recommends identifying available time slots by paying attention to your daily routine for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots in a week that you could use for physical activity.

Select activities that require minimal time, such as, jogging, stair climbing, or walking.

How Can You Be More Active at Home?

MedlinePlus, which is part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, suggests some ways that you can be active at home.

  • Do housework, gardening, and yard work, which are all physical work.
  • Walk your kids to school, walk your dog, or go for a walk in your neighborhood.
  • Keep moving while you watch TV. Do some yoga stretches or lift hand weights.
  • Get some exercise equipment, such as exercise mats or stretch bands.

How Can You Be More Active at Work?

  • At least once each hour, get up from your desk chair and move around.
  • Take the stairs, instead of the elevator.
  • Use your break or part of your lunch time to walk around the building.
  • Have “walking” meetings with co-workers, instead of sitting in a conference room.
  • Stand when you are talking on the phone.

Experts on physical activity and nutrition say that it is not necessary to do vigorous physical activity, such as running, to have beneficial health effects.

Just 30 minutes of brisk walking most days, in at least 10-minute segments, can have a healthy effect.

Most important, you have to learn to look for opportunities to fit physical activity into your days, according to the National Institutes of Health. You can put on your sneakers and go to the gym, but that is not the only way to get active.

Create an active lifestyle by getting active, wherever you are!

For more ideas on how to get active physically, browse the following Selected Information Resources.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor.

Selected Information Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity.
Summary Note: Lists the ten most common reasons that American adults give when asked why they are not more physically active. Offers Suggestions for Overcoming Physical Activity Barriers.
(Accessed 12 January 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical Activity and Health. The Benefits of Physical Activity.
Summary Note: Lists benefits of physical activity, such as controlling your weight and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Focus is that everyone can gain the health benefits of physical activity. Age, ethnicity, and body shape do not matter.
(Accessed 16 January 2018)

Cunico, Evelyn. CHIME Consumer Health. Physical Activity – How to Start. Information Resources. Blog posted June 28, 2016.
Summary Note: Suggests that believing in your ability to be active physically, combined with social support from family and friends, can lead to a healthier, more active lifestyle. Selected Information Resources include links to authoritative websites, such as, the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the Nemours Foundation.
(Accessed 12 January 2018)

Cunico, Evelyn. CHIME Consumer Health. Walking for Health and Fun. Information Resources. Blog posted January 31, 2015.
Summary Note: Discusses walking as the most popular form of physical activity in the U.S. Lists health benefits and community projects that encourage walking. Selected Information Resources include links to 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and authoritative medical journal articles on recreational neighborhood walking.
(Accessed 12 January 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Home page.
Summary Note: The NHLB Institute provides research, training, and education to prevent and treat heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders. The NHLB Institute is also the primary NIH organization for research on Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle.
(Accessed 12 January 2018)

National Institutes of Health. May 2015. Opportunities Abound for Moving Around: Get Active, Wherever You Are.
Summary Note: A monthly newsletter from NIH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The May 2015 issue offers ideas on how to become more active in everyday healthful physical activities without spending a lot of money. Sidebar includes Links and References.
(Accessed 06 January 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle.
Summary Note: Defines inactive lifestyle. Describes how an inactive lifestyle affects your body, including disease risks. Suggests ways to get started with exercise at home and at work. Includes Resources, Clinical Trials, and Journal Articles.
(Accessed 06 January 2018)

Saelens, Brian E., Anne Vernez Moudon, Bumjoon Kang, Philip M. Hurvitz, and Chuan Zhou. American Public Health Association, American Journal of Public Health. 2014 May; 104(5):854-859. Relation between Higher Physical Activity and Public Transit Use
Summary Note: Public transit use data collected in 2008 to 2009 from nearly 700 Travel Assessment and Community study participants from King County, Washington State showed that transit use was directly related to higher physical activity.
(Free PMC Full Text accessed 12 January 2018)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Summary Note: Provides science-based guidance to help Americans ages six and older to maintain or to improve their health through regular physical activity. View Guidelines by category, such as, Children and Adolescents, Adults, Older Adults, Women during Pregnancy, Adults with Disabilities, and People with Medical Conditions.
(Accessed 15 January 2018)

 

 

 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Promotes Dignity and Well-Being

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Promotes Dignity and Well-Being

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted December 04, 2017

Brief History

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a document adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 10, 1948, as a result of the experience of the Second World War.

The document consists of a Preamble (introduction) and 30 Articles (provisions). The document was designed to protect people throughout the world from abuses of power.

Since 1948, the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have influenced many national constitutions. The document has encouraged the independence of former colonies and has helped lead some states and regions toward democracy.

Next year, December 10, 2018, will be the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Your Well-Being

Article 1 of the Declaration states:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

As you enter this Holiday Season, and as you journey through the New Year, ponder this first Article of the Declaration of Human Rights. For instance, think about how you might define the word, Dignity.

Consider quietly, within your own mind, a time or two when your dignity was honored or violated. Ask yourself how the honoring or violating of your dignity affects your breathing, your heart rate, your sleep, and your overall well-being.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

American Academy of Family Physicians. Keeping Your Emotional Health.
Summary Note: Article discusses emotional health as central to your realizing your full potential as a human being. Suggests ways in which you may improve or maintain good emotional health.
(Accessed 29 November 2017)

Hicks, Donna. Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2011.
Summary Note: Print book. Donna Hicks, PhD, is Associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. Hicks, an international negotiator, discusses the role that dignity plays in both the breakdown and restoration of conflict relationships. Foreword by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Includes Notes and Selected Bibliography.

Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Adult Health. Discover the Connection between Health and Friendship
Summary Note: Presents examples of how good friends are good for your health. Offers ideas on how you can reach out to make and keep friends.
(Accessed 01 December 2017)

Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Adult Health. Embrace Forgiveness and Move Forward.
Summary Note: Defines forgiveness as a decision to let go of thoughts of revenge, to make way for improved mental and physical health. Suggests ways to move from suffering to forgiveness.
(Accessed 01 December 2017)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Mental Health.
Summary Note: MedlinePlus topic page defines Mental Health. More than 40 links are organized under headings, such as, Latest News, Diagnosis and Tests, Treatments and Therapies, Clinical Trials, Journal Articles, and Find an Expert.
(Accessed 29 November 2017)

United Nations. Human Rights Day 10 December 2018. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Turns 70.
Summary Note: Website kicks off a year-long campaign to mark the 70th Anniversary on December 10, 2018 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Translated into more than 500 languages, UDHR proclaims the inalienable rights to which everyone is inherently entitled as a human being.
(Accessed 27 November 2017)

United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human rights (UDHR). History of the Document.
Summary Note: Discusses the history of the UDHR, starting with preliminary drafts in early 1947 through to its adoption on December 10, 1948.
(Accessed 27 November 2017)

United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Text of the Document.
Summary Note: A milestone document in the history of human rights. Adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 10, 1948, as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. Full Text includes Preamble with 30 Articles (provisions). Link to download PDF.
(Accessed 27 November 2017)

United Nations. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Foundation of International Human Rights Law.
Summary Note: Discusses ways in which the UDHR has been expressed in law, such as treaties, regional agreements, and agreements within countries.
(Accessed 02 December 2017)

World Book. The World Book Encyclopedia. H. Volume 9. Human Rights. 2016 World Book, Inc. Chicago, Illinois. Print edition.
Summary Note: Brief history and Full Text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

Federal Agencies Partner to Award Grants for Military and Veteran Pain Management Research

Federal Agencies Partner to Award Grants for Military and Veteran Pain Management Research
Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted October 01, 2017

Joint Initiative Will Award Multiple Grants Totaling $81 Million

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have partnered in a multi-component research project, focusing on nondrug approaches for pain management among military service members and veterans, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) September 20, 2017 news release.

Twelve research projects, totaling approximately 81 million dollars over six years, depending on available funds, will focus on developing and implementing research on nondrug approaches for pain management in settings that provide care for military personnel and veterans.

NIH will be the lead HHS agency in this partnership. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), which is part of NIH, is contributing more than half of the total funding. NCCIH is the lead for this multi-agency initiative, called the NIH-DoD-VA Pain Management Collaboratory.

National Health Interview Survey Results

Data from the 2010 to 2014 National Health Interview Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics, show that Chronic Pain is the most common medical condition requiring treatment for military personnel.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. military veterans say they are in pain, and more than nine percent say their pain is severe.

Although opioids are often prescribed to treat Chronic Pain, long-term use of opioids may lead to addiction and other problematic issues. So, there is a need for nondrug approaches for pain management.

What the Research Means for Military Service Members and Veterans

Pain management research in the multi-agency initiative will be real-world, which means that the research will be conducted in settings that provide care for military personnel and veterans, such as military and veteran healthcare delivery organizations.

The research projects will provide important information about the acceptability, safety, and effectiveness of nondrug approaches in treating pain for military personnel and veterans.

Types of Nondrug Approaches

The following complementary and integrative approaches, among others, will be researched for their effectiveness and safety in the management of chronic pain for military service members and veterans.

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Movement and structured exercise, such as, Tai Chi and Yoga
  • Manual therapies, such as, Spinal Manipulation, Massage, and Acupuncture
  • Psychological and behavioral approaches, such as, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Integrative treatments that involve more than one of these approaches

Although there is little published information about the effectiveness of these approaches for Chronic Pain in military populations, there is published information on complementary health approaches for PTSD, stress or anxiety, and insomnia in military personnel and veterans, as well as information on Chronic Pain in nonmilitary populations.

Talk with Your Doctor

Talk with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider about any complementary health approaches that you use.

Also consider talking with your doctor about complementary health approaches that you might integrate into your regular healthcare treatment plan.

See the NCCIH web pages titled, Eight Things to Know about Mind and Body Approaches for Health Problems Facing Military Personnel and Veterans, in the Selected Information Resources at the end of this CHIME blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition, without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

Nahin, R.L. Severe Pain in Veterans: The Effect of Age and Sex, and Comparisons with the General Population. The Journal of Pain: Official Journal of the American Pain Society. 2017 Mar;18(3):247-254. Epub 2016 Nov 21.
Summary Note: Study provides national estimates of U.S. military veterans with severe pain, and compares veterans with nonveterans of similar age and sex. Also see the NCCIH entry titled, Veterans Are in Pain, According to Analysis of National Health Survey, in this list of Selected Information Resources.
(Abstract accessed 30 September 2017. Full Text available on subscription from Elsevier, linked from PubMed Abstract. Free Full Text available from PubMed Central on 2018-03-01)

National Institutes of Health. Federal Agencies Partner for Military and Veteran Pain Management Research. News Release. September 20, 2017.
Summary Note: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Defense (DoD), and Veterans Affairs (VA) join together to fund 12 projects, totaling 81 million dollars over six years, for military and veteran pain management research.
(Accessed 21 September 2017)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Complementary Health Practices for U.S. Military, Veterans, and Families
Summary Note: Information resources explore nondrug approaches for managing pain and other conditions. Information is organized for two reading audiences, Consumers and Health Professionals.
(Accessed 21 September 2017)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Veterans Are in Pain, According to Analysis of National Health Survey
Summary Note: NCCIH summary of the R.L. Nahin study, showing that almost two-thirds of U.S. military veterans say they are in pain, and more than nine percent say their pain is severe. Also see the R.L. Nahin entry in this list of Selected Information Resources.
(Accessed 24 September 2017)

National Institutes of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Eight Things to Know about Mind and Body Approaches for Health Problems Facing Military Personnel and Veterans
Summary Note: An eight-point summary of nondrug approaches.
(Accessed 24 September 2017)


Awareness is Key to Healthy Posture

Awareness is Key to Healthy Posture
Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted September 01, 2017

What is Posture?

Two types of posture are dynamic posture and static posture.

Dynamic posture is defined as how you position your body while you are moving, such as when you are walking or bending over to pick up something.

Static posture refers to how you hold your body when you are not moving, such as when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.

Posture involves your musculoskeletal system, which includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves that connect the parts of your body.

Why is Posture Important?

Posture is important because scientists are finding that the ways you hold your body while going through your day affect your health over a lifetime.

For example, holding your body and moving in unhealthy ways may lead to back, neck, and shoulder pain. In any three-month period, about one in four adults in the U.S. has at least one day of back pain, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Poor posture can decrease your flexibility, how well your joints move, and your balance. Slumped posture can make it more difficult to digest the food you eat and to breathe comfortably.

Some research suggests a link between posture and mental health, according to NIH researchers. For example, scientists are exploring the connections between posture and how the brain thinks and processes information.

Awareness is Key

When you are learning how to become aware of your posture, it is best to begin with small steps. NIH researchers suggest that you become mindful (that is, aware) of how you hold your body and how you move. The following suggestions are steps in the right direction.

  • When you walk, become aware that lifting your head will improve your posture and may increase your confidence.
  • When you walk or sit, become aware that pulling back your shoulders will help you to feel more comfortable.
  • In everyday situations, become aware that tightening your abdominal muscles will strengthen them and lead to greater flexibility.
  • When sitting in front of a computer, become aware that stretching your muscles gently and taking brief walks around the office will increase your energy and will help to straighten your posture.
  • Become aware of how your weight may affect your posture. Overweight weakens your abdominal muscles, contributing to poor posture and low back pain.

Medical doctors, physical therapists, and other healthcare providers can give you feedback on how you are moving.

Ask your medical doctor about the types of physical activity that may help you to become more aware of your posture, so that you can maintain your health and mobility over your lifetime.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. OrthoInfo. Warm Up, Cool Down, and Be Flexible.
Summary Note: Discusses flexibility and balance training as part of a fitness program. Describes sample stretching exercises with accompanying images of correct postures.
(Accessed 28 August 2017)

American Chiropractic Association. Tips to Maintain Good Posture.
Summary Note: Directions help you to move toward a healthier body posture. Includes instructions on how to correct your posture when standing, sitting, and lying down.
(Accessed 11 August 2017)

National Institutes of Health. NIH News in Health. August 2017. A monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Getting It Straight. Improve Your Posture for Better Health.
Summary Note: Article focuses on news interview clips from NIH physical therapists and researchers. Body awareness and mindfulness (that is, awareness) can help you to learn how to feel what is wrong in your posture, so that you can improve both your physical movement and your emotional state.

National Institutes of Health. NIH News in Health. December 2016. A monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tai Chi and Your Health: A Modern Take on an Ancient Practice.
Summary Note: Discusses the flowing postures and gentle movements of tai chi, also called, moving meditation. Focuses on improving posture, confidence, and mood.
(Accessed 26 August 2017)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth. TeensHealth. Backpack Basics.
Summary Note: Discusses health benefits and problems when using backpacks for school books and supplies. Cautions that not using a backpack properly can lead to bad posture.
(Accessed 27 August 2017)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Workplace Safety and Health. Easy Ergonomics: A Guide to Selecting Non-Powered Hand Tools.
Summary Note: Booklet offers advice on how to prevent musculoskeletal disorders caused by hand tool use in occupational settings. Suggests work tools that require the least continuous force and can be used without awkward work postures. Includes checklist for hand tool selection.
(Accessed 26 August 2017)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthfinder dot Gov. Prevent Back Pain.
Summary Note: Practical advice on how to strengthen your back muscles. Lists risk factors for back pain. Includes section on how Good Posture Can Help Prevent Back Pain.
(Accessed 26 August 2017)

U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Computer Workstations e-Tool. Good Working Positions.
Summary Note: Describes office environment sitting and standing postures that reduce strain on your muscles, tendons, and skeletal system to decrease your risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders. Website tabs link to discussions on positioning of your desk, keyboard, and mouse/pointer, to maintain healthy body postures.
(Accessed 26 August 2017)

 

Ten Ways to Build Your Social Support Network

Ten Ways to Build Your Social Support Network

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted August 22, 2017

What is a Social Support Network?

A Social Support Network may include your family members, friends, or co-workers who offer you genuine emotional support.

A Social Support Network is different from a support group, which is generally a structured meeting run by a health professional.

Why is a Social Support Network Important?

Scientific studies show that having a strong Social Support Network contributes to mental and physical well-being.

Having strong social support can improve your self-esteem and sense of self-direction. In fact, knowing that you have strong social support can make you more able to cope with problems on your own.

How Do You Start to Build a Social Support Network?

You do not need a large network of friends and family to benefit from social support, according to the American Psychological Association. Your Social Support Network might be a small group of people whom you like and trust.

The goal of your Social Support Network is to reduce your stress level, according to Mayo Clinic staff. So, watch for persons who, in general, are positive, not constantly critical.

Build Your Social Support Network

  • Give Social Support.
    Some studies have shown that to stay healthy in mind and body, it may be more important to give social support to friends and family than to receive it. So, reach out to lend a hand, or to just say, Hello.
  • Make the First Move.
    If you meet someone you think might become a good friend, invite him or her to join you for coffee, or another casual activity.
  • Stay in Touch.
    Answer phone calls and reply to e-mail messages. If someone offers you an invitation and you accept, offer one in return, to let persons know that you care.
  • Pay Attention.
    Be a good listener. Let persons know that you are paying attention, by asking questions or by commenting on what they say.
  • Celebrate Accomplishments.
    When your friends succeed, be happy for them. Celebrate without envy or competition.
  • Show Appreciation.
    Take time to say, Thank You, in person or in a written note. Let friends and family know that you appreciate their thoughtfulness. Be there for them when they need support.
  • Practice Problem-Solving.
    First, try to find ways to solve a problem on your own. Be careful not to overwhelm friends and family.
  • Join a Community Activity or Recreation Center.
    You can make friends while you are exercising in a class or walking on a trail.
  • Volunteer.
    Think of a cause that is important to you and get involved with persons who share similar interests and values.
  • Visit Your Public Library.
    Reference Librarians may help you to find safe local clubs or community groups that meet regularly and match your personal interests.

Research shows that persons who enjoy high levels of social support stay healthier and live longer.

So, do not wait to build your Social Support Network. Begin now.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your medical doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor.

Selected Information Resources

American Psychological Association. APA Help Center. Manage Stress: Strengthen Your Support Network.
Summary Note: Article draws from the APA annual nationwide public survey, called, Stress in America, released in February 2017. Suggests six ways to increase your social support, by both providing and receiving help in our personal interactions.
(Accessed 19 August 2017)

American Psychological Association. Stress in America: Coping with Change. APA Annual Survey: Part 1 and Part 2. Released, 2017.
Summary Note: Survey identifies leading sources of stress among the general public. Part 2 focuses on stress related to Technology and Social Media. Links to topic-specific APA press releases.
(Accessed 21 August 2017)

Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., Turner, R.B., Doyle, W.J. Does Hugging Provide Stress-Buffering Social Support? A Study of Susceptibility to Upper Respiratory Infection and Illness. Psychological Science. 2015 Feb; 26(2):135-47.
Summary Note: Using a sample of 404 healthy adults, authors examined the roles of perceived social support and received hugs in buggering against interpersonal stress-induced susceptibility to a virus that causes a common cold. Among infacted participants, more-frequent hugs predicted less-severe illness signs. HHS Public Access provides free Full Text article via PubMedCentral.
(Full Text accessed 21 August 2017)

Mayo Clinic. Healthy Lifestyle. Stress Management.
Summary Note: Article discusses benefits of having a network of supportive relationships. Offers practical approaches for building and maintaining your relationships. Includes References.
(Accessed 16 August 2017)

National Institutes of Health. NIH News in Health: A monthly newsletter from the NIH, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. February 2017. Do Social Ties Affect Our Health? Exploring the Biology of Relationships.
Summary Note: Reviews scientific studies showing that people who have larger and more diverse types of social ties tend to have better physical and mental health than people with fewer such relationships. Gives examples of how kindness in social environments, versus hostility in social environments, affects personal health
(Accessed 20 July 2017)

Reblin, M. and Uchino, B. Social and Emotional Support and Its Implication for Health. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 2008 March; 21(2):201-205.
Summary Note: Summarizes research findings from selected publications focusing on links between social support and physical health. HHS Public Access provides free Full Text article via PubMed Central.
(Full Text accessed 20 August 2017)