Healthy You

Find tips and professional advices to make your body and mind helthier! Latest information from HealthSurvey.org


Why Dry Eye?

Dry eye can stem from a number of causes, from your environment to drug therapy to aging. In fact, the normal aging process is the primary cause of dry eye– people over age 50 have dramatically increased rates of the condition– and post-menopausal women are especially at risk due to new hormone changes.

Diseases most likely to cause dry eye include:

  • Auto-immune diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Acne rosacea
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Blepharitis

Other factors associated with dry eye:

  • Therapeutic medications for a variety of conditions
  • Hormonal changes
  • Radiation therapy of the head or neck
  • Refractive eye surgery, including PRK and LASIK procedures
  • Contact lens use
  • Eye trauma
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine
  • Low humidity environments

Dry Eye is a common condition with many causes, including certain medications and health conditions:

Systemic medications include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Antibiotics
  • Diuretics
  • Anti-diarrheals
  • Antihypertensives
  • Anticholinergics
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Antidepressants
  • Tranquilizers
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Ulcer medication
  • Beta blockers

Health conditions include:

  • Acne rosacea
  • Pregnancy
  • Lactation
  • Menstruation
  • Post-menopause
  • Reduced levels of androgens
  • Asthma
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Scleroderma
  • Thyroid disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Blepharitis

Dry Eye and the Hormone Connection 

Throughout life, women suffer from dry eye in greater proportion than men. Female hormonal changes due to pregnancy, lactation and menstruation can cause temporary dry eye symptoms. During menopause, dry eye can become chronic as estrogen levels drastically fall.

As a woman ages, moisture levels decline throughout her body, including the eye. Dry eye symptoms may emerge for the first time or increase in severity.

The link between menopause and dry eye, however, is not fully understood. For some women, hormone replacement therapy brings relief.

Here are some simple steps you can take to relieve symptoms:

  • Drink more water
  • Avoid smoking
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol use
  • Use GenTeal eye lubricants to replace lost moisture

Is Your Environment Hurting Your Eyes?

The irritants that cause your eyes to itch and burn can be hiding almost anywhere — even your own bedroom.

These environmental conditions can spark symptoms in a hurry:

  • Overheated rooms
  • Air conditioning
  • Dusty or smoky conditions
  • Air pollution
  • Hot, windy conditions
  • Airplanes and other low humidity environments

 Try these tips for taking control of environmental irritants:

  • Use a room or whole house humidifier in winter
  • Direct car heater vents away from your face
  • Don’t sit close to fireplaces and space heaters
  • Avoid hairdryer use
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses while outdoors

When you can’t avoid problem areas, prepare your eyes with a soothing application of GenTeal lubricating eye drops or gel, formulated for mild, moderate or severe symptoms.

Dry Eye Risk with LASIK

Considering LASIK surgery for your nearsightedness? Dry eye is the most common complication of this popular procedure. Tear production appears to decrease while surgically severed corneal nerves heal. As a result, many patients develop dry eye symptoms that last for a few weeks or even months after surgery.

If you already have dry eye, be aware that your symptoms may worsen for a period of time after surgery. Ask your physician for pre-operative testing to determine if you’re likely to experience severe dry eye symptoms after surgery. Special treatment before and after undergoing your LASIK procedure can help reduce discomfort.

Dry Eye: Unwelcome Travel Companion

Eye discomfort can take the fun out of any trip. Spend hours in a dry airplane cabin and your eyes will turn hot and itchy eyes before you even reach your destination.

Some travel conditions can cause temporary dry eye symptoms, and can even aggravate existing symptoms if you already suffer from this condition.

  • Dry climates
  • Very hot or cold weather
  • High altitudes
  • Windy conditions

If you’re skiing, cycling or engaged in other active outdoor sports, you can dry your eyes out even faster. Wearing wraparound sunglasses, however, helps reduce tear evaporation.

To further protect your eyes, lubricate them daily with GenTeal eyedrops or gel. Available in convenient multi-dose bottles and tubes, GenTeal is ideal for travel — without the extra cost and bulky packaging of single-dose products.

Vitamin B12 How Much Should You Take?

Vitamin B12 Supplements are actually the only nutritional that the body stores in decent amounts. Most people receive acceptable amounts from their diets. However, it has already to be truly separated from the necessary protein in food stuff, an involved procedure.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are truly popular these days, as anyone can plainly see just from the fully stocked shelves of discount department stores, drug stores and health stores. The problem with vitamins is that people believe that they can take as much as they want because they are natural. The truth is that even natural things can harm us.

We must be more cautious with our choices and educate ourselves before increasing the dosages. Below, learn more about how much vitamin B12 should you take, what is safe and what amount could potentially harm you.

Vitamin B12 is also known as Cobalamin and its main role is to avoid anemia. It regulates and forms red blood cells and helps in the absorption of iron. It also helps to maintain fertility and metabolizes fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It protects nerves by producing myelin, and helps to produce acetylcholine which help with memory.

It takes several hours for this vitamin to be absorbed in the digestive tract and, any extra that is not necessary for the body will be excreted in urine. However, some extra will be stored in the liver. This storage could last in the liver for up to five years.

The recommended daily allowance, or RDA, is 2 mcg, with pregnant women requiring more, and this, like any RDA of any vitamin is to avoid deficiency. Those who are taking medication to treat gout, or those who take potassium supplements, vegetarians, the elderly and individuals with AIDS will need higher doses of vitamin B12 for varying reasons.

Taking up to 100 mg of the vitamin has not shown any evidence of toxicity, so it is safe to take without fear of overdose. Certainly, you can take more than what is written on the label, especially if you are deficient, which is rare. However, some evidence points to the elderly who should take more because their bodies cannot naturally extract the vitamin from their foods due to low gastric acids in their stomachs.

Furthermore, supplements can help avoid illnesses and diseases, but increasing the dosage should be done under a doctor’s supervision.

For the elderly, shots are the solution because of their faltered digestive system which would still prohibit the vitamin from being absorbed into the system. It is also possible to avoid or treat osteoarthritis, tinnitus, and varicose veins by taking increased dosages of vitamin B12.

The important thing is to discuss the issue with your doctor beforehand.

Simple Ideas for Creating Family Volunteering Traditions

Many busy families wish they had more time to volunteer for causes they believe in or to give something back to their communities. This desire can be instilled in children, even from an early age. To make volunteering a part of your family life, create a tradition by making it a regularly scheduled event, whether once a week, month or once a year. The key is finding a cause that stirs everyone’s passions.

Here are some ideas:

Choose one cause to get behind:

One Florida family chose a food pantry, The Cooperative Feeding Program, to focus on. For many years, they have volunteered in tandem, stocking shelves and serving food. They take part in an annual food drive called the Postal Carrier’s Food Drive, taking place each Mother’s Day weekend. They help collect and pack tons of food that people have put in their mail boxes. The boxes were then delivered to the food pantry they work with. By focusing on one charity, and staying  involved over a number of years, this family has built a tradition of which they can be truly proud. Enlist the kids in helping to choose a cause. A good resource is A Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference by Barbara Lewis (Free Spirit Press).

Consider walkathons or other yearly events:

If your family can choose but one big event each year to participate in, consider a walkathon. In many communities, charitable organizations sponsor walkathons to raise money for various causes, from raising money for disease prevention or hunger to raising awareness of human and animal rights issues. Another worthy annual event to consider is participating in the cleanup of a public place, especially ecologically sensitive areas. Inquire with environmental organizations in your area.

Creative fundraising:

In our family, we’ve always liked to raise and donate money for our favorite causes, and this caught on with our younger son. He makes beautiful cards from his photography, sells them at craft shows and other events, and donates the profits to his favorite charities. Similarities, kids can sell crafts and baked goods and school or other community functions, letting their customers know that the profits are earmarked for donation.

Help your community by creating community:

At our local high school, there is a popular club called “Operation Donation.” It’s simple—members bring in supermarket coupon pages, then chat and clip. The group’s leader has contracted with area supermarkets to match the value of the coupons, and all the funds are used to buy food for local food pantries. To date, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised! These days, another popular form of community is knitting groups. Many of these now use the time spent together to make hats, blankets, and other items to donate to nursing homes and women’s shelters. A teenage friend of our family teamed with other teens to fix up deteriorating homes of low-income seniors. If you can’t find the motivation to do charitable work alone, team with other friends and family and work together, doing good while having fun.

Go beyond the obvious:

The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering by Jenny Friedman (Robin’s Lane Press) is a fantastic resource with dozens of ideas that may not immediately come to mind when you think of volunteering. These include working for human rights and peace, helping your local library, enhancing arts and culture, supporting the rights of animals, donating “stuff,” and lot more. You’ll also find many ideas at her website, www.doinggoodtogether.org.

Think small:

You do not need lots of time or money to be a volunteer. Just one small act a day can take minutes but make a world of difference. For these kinds of bite-sized ideas, check out The Difference a Day Makes by Karen Jones (New World Library).

Participate in Make a Difference Day and Family Volunteer Day: To jump-start  volunteerism, The Points of Light Foundation sponsors two annual events. The first is Make a Difference Day, falling on the fourth Saturday each October. Visit www.makeadifferenceday.com. Next, National Family Volunteer Day takes place on on the Saturday before each Thanksgiving. This event is “designed to showcase the benefits of families working together, to introduce community service, and encourage those who haven’t yet made the commitment to volunteer as a family.” Visit www.pointsoflight.org to find out more.

Show your kids that it’s amazingly easy to make a difference. Cement volunteerism into your family’s values by making it a tradition, whether one day a year, or a half day per month, or an hour a week.

Summer Fitness for Busy Women

It’s summertime, and the living is easy—except when you have to think about putting on an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini! But don’t worry, there’s still time to get in shape to strut your stuff on the beach or the boardwalk!

These tried-and-tested exercises can give you quick results with just 10 minute focused workouts every other day. (If you’re on a serious mission and feeling really motivated, feel free to go for it every day!) And don’t forget to mix up these moves with some cardio work, even if it’s a game of soccer with the kids or a brisk walk to the park. Take advantage of the extra quality time you’re spending with the kids, family or friends this summer—whether at home or on vacation—and put the fun things you do to work to stay active. Every calorie counts!

And after a few weeks with these exercises, you can look your best in the season’s latest teeny-weeny bikini fashions! Have fun in the sun—but don’t forget the sunscreen!!

Dolphin Kicks

For this exercise you want to balance your weight on your forearms with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Make sure to pull your shoulder blades down towards the hips (away from your ears)—this will keep the stress off your shoulders. Extend your hips and spine, pull in your abs (this supports your torso) and bend your right knee slightly off the floor for more support. First Inhale, and then as you exhale extend your left leg straight out to hip height, contracting the glutes and hamstrings. Your hips should be facing forward at all times. With a slight bend, return the left leg to meet the opposite supporting leg.

Reps:
Repeat up to 20 repetitions, keeping the torso still, then switch to the other side.

Muscle Focus:
Glutes, hamstrings, abs, and lats.


Super Butt Kicks

Lay down on your back, placing your arms down by your side. Lift your hips off the floor in a bridge position. Your right knee should be bent with the heel in line with your sit bone, and your left leg should be extended straight up. As you inhale, lower your left leg to the floor. Be sure to keep your hips still and maintain the bridge position. Exhale and bring the leg back up to the start position

Reps:
Repeat up to 20 reps, then lower your left leg to the floor in the same bent position as the right. Lower your butt to the floor, rest, and change over to the other leg.

Muscle Focus:
Glutes, hamstrings, abs


Dead Bug

Lay down on your back with knees bent at a 45-degree angle. Head, neck and shoulders should be off the floor and hands resting on your knees. On an exhale, draw in your abs and simultaneously extend your left leg out and your right hand over your head. Repeat this move, alternating your arms and legs. Keep your eyes focused on your belly button at all times, and if you start to feel tension in your neck, lower your head down to the floor. (This will get easier as you build more strength in the abs.)

Reps:
Build up to 20 repetitions completed twice with a 30-second to 1-minute break. Make sure not to sacrifice form.

Muscle Focus:
Abs


Side Plank Leg Lifts

Lay down on your side, balancing on your right hip and resting on your right forearm. Your right elbow should be directly underneath your shoulder and your knees bent and stacked on top of each other. While exhaling, contract your abs, and lift your hips off the floor. At the same time, extend your left arm and leg out to the side of your body, making sure to keep the knee and toe facing forward.

Reps:
Try for 10-15 reps, then turn over onto your other side and repeat.

Muscle Focus:
Glutes, abs