Category: Healthy

3 Treatment Options For Breast Cancer Patients

Millions of women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Such a diagnosis is never welcome, but women should know that survival rates have improved dramatically in recent decades. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that, by the end of 2020, nearly eight million women were living despite having been diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in the previous half decade.

One of the reasons for the improved survival rates is the efficacy of various treatments. The National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.® notes that doctors have various options to treat breast cancer, and they often devise treatment plans that include some combination of treatments. Though no one wants to imagine receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, understanding the potential treatments for the disease can help women and their families be more prepared should that day ever arrive. The following are three treatment options physicians may discuss with women as they begin devising ways to overcome the disease.

1. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is used to treat various cancers, including breast cancer. Chemotherapy employs various drugs to destroy cancer cells or slow their growth. The drugs administered during chemotherapy are known as cytotoxic drugs and may be administered orally or intravenously. The NBCF notes that chemotherapy is offered to most patients, though doctors will consider a host of variables before deciding if chemotherapy is right for a given patient. Those variables include the type of tumor, its grade and its size.

2. Radiation therapy

During radiation treatments, high energy rays are used to kill cancer cells. Only cells in the part of the body that is being treated with radiation are affected, so patients needn’t worry that other parts of their body will be hit with radiation. The NBCF reports that patients diagnosed with Stage 0 (DCIS) and most diagnosed with Stage 1 invasive cancer or higher can expect doctors to prescribe radiation therapy. Women who have had a lumpectomy also are likely to be prescribed radiation. Two main kinds of radiation are generally considered for breast cancer patients. External beam breast cancer radiation treatment delivers cancer-killing rays through a large machine. Internal breast cancer radiation is a newer treatment that injects radioactive cancer-killing treatments into the affected area.

3. Targeted therapy

The NBCF reports that targeted therapy is commonly used in combination with traditional chemotherapy. Targeted therapy attacks specific breast cancer cells without harming normal cells, which is why it tends to produce less severe side effects than chemotherapy treatments. Targeted therapy employs drugs to block the growth of cancer cells in very specific ways. One example cited by the NBCF is the drug Trastuzumab, or Herceptin®, which is given to women whose breast tumors have too much of the abnormal protein HER2. Though the side effects of targeted therapies tend to be less severe, women may still experience issues like fever and chills, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms after drugs have been administered.

Expanding breast cancer treatments have done much to improve survival rates for patients. Women diagnosed with the disease are urged to play an active role in their treatments and ask any questions they might have before, during and after being treated.

How To Make Grilling Healthier

Summer is synonymous with many things, including family vacations and relaxing days at the beach. For foodies, perhaps nothing evokes the spirit of summer more effectively than grilled foods.

Grilling is a beloved tradition, but it’s not necessarily the healthiest way to eat. Traditional backyard barbecue fare like hot dogs and hamburgers likely won’t make physicians’ hearts flutter, but there are ways to enjoy the flavor of grilling without compromising a nutritious diet.

Replace burgers and hot dogs with healthy proteins

The occasional hamburger or hot dog won’t do much damage, but people who regularly grill should skip these summertime staples and replace them with healthy proteins. The American Heart Association reports that fish and skinless chicken breasts are healthy alternatives to hamburgers and hot dogs. Burger devotees can still enjoy their go-to grilled food, but replace ground beef with lean ground poultry, which contains less saturated fat than red meat.

Avoid overdoing it

Most people have overindulged at a backyard barbecue at one point or another. The relaxed, party-like atmosphere of the backyard barbecue makes it easy to snack on chips and other unhealthy fares before moving on to burgers and hot dogs. Hosts can do guests a favor by replacing snacks and sides like chips and potato salad with healthier fare like celery, fruit salad or chickpea salad. Keep portions of grilled fare as close to a healthy size as possible. The AHA notes that a healthy portion of meat is around three ounces and no more than six ounces.

Create a salt-free rub

There’s no denying salt makes food more flavorful. But that flavor comes at a high cost. The health care experts Piedmont note that excessive amounts of salt can contribute to inflammation from fluid retention and increase a person’s risk for hypertension, or high blood pressure. Salt may be a go-to for many grilling enthusiasts, but it doesn’t have to be. A salt-free rub made with chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and/or other spices is an effective and salt-free way to add flavor to meat, chicken, and fish.

Grill more vegetables

Grilled vegetables, whether they’re part of kebabs or simply grilled alongside the main course, add significant flavor and provide all the health benefits of veggies cooked in more traditional ways. The AHA notes that coating vegetables in a healthy oil like olive oil makes it easy to grill them directly over an open flame without sticking. Cooking in this way imparts that signature smoky, grilled flavor to vegetables.

This summer, grilling can be as healthy as it is flavorful. All it takes is a few simple strategies to make the menu at your next backyard barbecue one any doctor would love.

Summer Fun for Active Seniors

Seniors may have more time for leisure and recreation than working adults, and the summer months provide ample opportunities to get active. After months of chilly temperatures, seniors in various parts of the country may be eager to get outdoors and enjoy some fun in the sun.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults age 65 and older get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. There are plenty of ways for active seniors to meet this exercise goal and have some fun along the way. The following are some good starting points.

Join or start a walking club

Walking is a great way to stay in shape and work the mind as well. View new sights along the way by changing the route each time you go. Walking with friends can pass the time and provide the motivation to keep going.

Catch a sporting event

Attending a sporting event can be an entertaining way to spend several hours, and that includes amateur and recreational sports. Catch a grandchild’s swim meet or a baseball game for an action-packed way to connect with loved ones and get out.

Take a fishing charter

Casting a rod from a dock or pier is perfectly acceptable, but securing a spot on a fishing charter is a great way to spend hours out on the water enjoying the scenery and the sport of fishing. Plus, there’s the added benefit of enjoying the fruits of your labors by cooking the day’s catch for dinner once you arrive home.

Be a tourist

Many cities and towns have their own tourism boards and showcase interesting spots that have historical significance or appeal to other interests. Be a tourist for the day – even in an area with which you are familiar. Hop on a trolley or sightseeing bus to view the town as an outsider.

Spend time swimming

Swimming is a low-impact activity that can work the body in many different ways. Devote time to doing a few laps in the pool. Or make a day of going to a lake or another body of water to wade out and enjoy some strokes in nature. Stick to swimming areas that are monitored by lifeguards for optimal safety.

Tend to a garden

Gardening is a great form of light exercise that can produce rewarding results. If you don’t have a garden or enough space for one at home, many neighborhoods have community gardens in which you can secure a plot.

Visit a fair or farmer’s market

The warm weather months are a peak time for outdoor activities, including various community fairs and farmer’s markets. Chances are you can find a farmer’s market nearby most days of the week, but especially on the weekend. A town market or state fair is a great way to get out and walk, play games of chance or enjoy some live entertainment. Check your community calendar for local events.

Active seniors can embrace long, warm summer days to enjoy plenty of time away from home.

How to Plan a Special Mother’s Day as Pandemic Restrictions Are Lifted

Mother’s Day has felt a little less than normal over the last couple of years. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of many Mother’s Day gatherings in 2020, and while things felt more familiar in 2021, this year may mark the most normal Mother’s Day celebrations since 2019.

Pandemic-related restrictions have now been lifted in many towns and cities. Though it’s best to confirm if any rules and restrictions are still in place before making any plans, individuals who want to make sure Mom has a special day can consider these planning pointers.

Revisit old traditions

There’s many ways to let Mom know she’s special, but after two years of living under the specter of a pandemic, few things might be as meaningful to Mom as a return to pre-pandemic traditions. Book a trip to a destination you’ve visited on Mother’s Day in the past. If possible, visit a locale where Mom spent her first Mother’s Day as a parent, ideally staying in the same hotel or rental home that hosted you back then. If it was once tradition to spend Mother’s Day in a big city, return there and enjoy a day that recalls pre-pandemic life.

Book a special trip

Millions of people canceled or postponed travel plans during the pandemic. Now that many places, including foreign countries, have lifted travel restrictions, families can feel safe taking off for parts unknown. Such a trip can be even more special if it’s a surprise for Mom on Mother’s Day weekend.

Make it a family affair

Even Mother’s Day celebrations in 2021 were likely smaller affairs than some moms might have preferred. If Mom spent some time wishing more family could be around on Mother’s Day over the last two years, make a concerted effort to include as many family members as possible this year. Encourage grown children to travel home for the holiday and invite Mom’s parents and siblings over to celebrate as well.

Get out of the house

A homecooked meal might have warmed Mom’s heart in recent years, but a day out of the house might be especially welcomed this Mother’s Day. Book a reservation at Mom’s favorite local restaurant so no one has any cooking or cleaning to do this year. Just be sure to book a reservation early, as the competition for a table figures to be especially stiff this year.

Start the day off with a spa visit

Moms might have put pampering on hold during the pandemic. Now that public health agencies have given the go-ahead to lift restrictions, a good pampering is undoubtedly in order. A Mother’s Day morning spa trip can start the day off right.

Mother’s Day celebrations in 2022 should feel more normal than they have in years. Families can capitalize on that by planning a day Mom won’t soon forget.

6 Ways to Better Yourself

Aspiring to continue to learn and grow is one of the keys to a fulfilling life. Sometimes it can be eye-opening to look in the mirror, examine oneself and figure out where there may be room for improvement.

Self-improvement is a noble endeavor, and there’s no limit to what one can achieve. These six strategies can serve as catalysts for change.

1. Make good habits even easier

Individuals can be their own worst enemies, procrastinating in regard to personal goals. Some habits require consistency, and they include exercising, waking up earlier, drinking and eating healthier, and reducing stress. One way to make sure you stick to healthy habits is to prioritize them and make a concerted effort to overcome your uncooperative side. Lay out workout clothes the night before if you want to exercise in the morning. Meal plan on the weekends and create healthy lunches to take to work. Set phone reminders to breathe and meditate several times during the day to calm stress. Eventually these habits will be as easy as brushing your teeth.

2. Read every day

Books have the power to educate, inspire creativity, strengthen cognition, and so much more. Think of reading a book as a daily multivitamin for the brain. Even if you can’t devote hours on end to reading, plan 20-minute sessions each day to tackle some pages.

3. Learn a new skill

One way to grow is to continue to learn new things. Many people like to explore new languages, not just for the potential for travel or employment, but also for personal betterment. Other skills to learn include baking, woodworking, accounting, crocheting, or anything that requires practice to master.

4. Boost positivity

There’s something to be said about maintaining a positive outlook no matter your positivity baseline. Rather than seeing what went wrong in a day, figure out what went right. Memorize positive words and personal reflections to help build stronger neural connections to positive concepts, which may help you become even more positive.

5. Overcome persistent fears

Fears reflect areas where you can grow and often indicate areas that need attention. Pick at least one fear to tackle. If that is public speaking, make a concerted effort to speak in front of a crowd, whether it’s during a work meeting or at a school function.

6. Make your bed each morning

Admiral William H. McRaven said that the first step to changing yourself and potentially the world is to make your bed every morning. You will have accomplished the first task of the day and it can give you a small sense of pride to tackle task after task. All it takes is one step to start a long journey.

Personal growth involves taking inventory and making gradual improvements and alterations in areas that require attention.

How to Contribute to the Red Cross

The American Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross help communities in their own countries and across the globe every day. The Red Cross is perhaps most visible in the aftermath of natural disasters. However, the American Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross are active year-round, and there are plenty of ways for individuals to contribute to both organizations throughout the year.

Receive training from the Red Cross

The Red Cross notes that many professions require individuals to master lifesaving skills such as CPR and first aid. But millions of people are not required to learn such skills, even though they’re useful for anyone. The Red Cross offers an array of courses, including lifeguarding, caregiving and babysitting, swimming and water safety, that train individuals about how to effectively prepare to respond to emergencies. Enrolling in these courses contributes to the mission of the Red Cross by building its potential base of qualified volunteers who can pitch in when natural disasters or other emergencies occur.

Donate blood

Blood donations are uniquely valuable to the Red Cross at any time, but the organization noted in early 2022 that it was experiencing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. The Red Cross notes that the pandemic contributed to a 62 percent decline in college and high school blood drives. So while student donors made up roughly 25 percent of all donors in 2019, they now make up just 10 percent of the donor population. Eligible adults, including students, can contribute to the Red Cross by donating as often as possible. Students back on campus can work with school officials and local Red Cross chapters to organize blood drives in their school communities.

Pitch in with disaster relief

The American Red Cross notes that it responds to an emergency every eight minutes. Perhaps most remarkable is that 95 percent of the organization’s disaster relief workers are volunteers. The American Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross rely on volunteers from all walks of life, and each organization has plenty of opportunities for individuals willing to give back. Learn more about volunteering at www.redcross.org and www.redcross.ca.

Contribute financially

The work of the Red Cross continues after the emergency phase of a response has ended. The Red Cross provides emergency financial assistance in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, but also offers such aid to households that need extra help in the long-term. The financial contributions of donors help make that assistance possible and both the American Red Cross and the Canadian Red Cross have made it easy to donate funds via their respective websites.

Individuals who want to assist the American Red Cross and Canadian Red Cross help those in need can do so in myriad ways.

9 Common Causes of Toothaches

No matter how smoothly past visits have gone, many individuals still want to avoid a trip to their dentist’s office. But should a toothache arise, only a dentist can get to the root of the issue.

Toothaches run the gamut from mild to throbbing to unbearably painful. Toothaches may be temporary, but many persist for some time. Here’s a look at nine reasons for toothaches.

Orthodontic appliances

A common cause of discomfort, orthodontic devices can cause toothaches. The pain is most noticeable immediately after an adjustment, but it may ease as the mouth grows accustomed to the wires or pressure.

Tooth sensitivity

Despite being hard, teeth actually are porous. Certain conditions may cause the enamel on the outside of teeth to wear away. Exposure of the inner layer of the tooth, called dentin, to the air or foods and beverages may result in pain.

Sinus congestion

Sometimes teeth aren’t to blame for mouth pain. Pain that persists in the upper teeth only on both sides of the face may occur due to sinusitis. It often is preceded by nasal congestion.

TMJ

Temporomandibular disorders can cause tooth pain. TMJ may result from injury or trauma to the jaw. Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, can cause tooth pain.

Impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are a dental milestone that takes place between the ages of 17 and 21. Wisdom teeth actually are third molars, and are given the name because they come in at a mature age, according to the American Dental Association. If there isn’t enough space for them, wisdom teeth can cause crowding and pain. When molars do not fully erupt, the result is impacted wisdom teeth, which can be very painful.

Damaged fillings or dental sealants

When fillings or sealants come out, vulnerable parts of the teeth become exposed. This can result in pain.

Tooth damage

Dental caries, or cavities, can cause toothache, as can tooth abscesses and tooth fractures.

Gum disease

Gum disease may start with mild inflammation and then become more severe if it is left untreated. The inflammation also may affect the ligament that attaches teeth to the socket in the jaw. This ligament has many nerve fibers. When inflamed, the nerves can get fired up and cause pain.

Food

A kernel of popcorn wedged between teeth or a sharp piece of pizza crust that gets lodged behind a molar can cause pain if not addressed.

Toothaches occur for a variety of reasons. Figuring out the cause can lead to effective relief.

Outdoor Activities That Are Perfect for Seniors

The great outdoors beckons people of all ages. Fresh air can be hard to resist and the benefits of spending time outdoors are so numerous that it behooves anyone, including seniors, to answer the call of nature.

According to researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, human beings benefit both physically and psychologically from spending time in nature. Such experiences can reduce stress and help lower heart rates, potentially decreasing individuals’ risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition, the Forest Service notes that spending time outside in green spaces has been linked to a lower risk of depression.

Seniors who are retired or even aging empty nesters who are still in the workforce can make great use of their free time by venturing into the great outdoors. The following are a handful of senior-friendly outdoor activities that provide a great reason to get off the couch and take in all that Mother Nature has to offer.

Hiking

Hiking provides a great workout and an ideal opportunity to spend time in an idyllic setting. The U.S. National Park Service notes that hiking helps individuals build stronger muscles and bones, improves their sense of balance, has a positive effect on heart health, and can decrease the risk of certain respiratory problems. Hiking is an especially attractive outdoor activity for seniors, as many parks feature trails with varying degrees of difficulty, ensuring there’s a trail for seniors whether they’re seasoned or novice hikers.

Water Aerobics

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that water-based exercises can be especially helpful individuals with chronic diseases, a category many seniors fall into. The CDC notes that one study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology found that improves the use of joints affected by arthritis without worsening symptoms. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also notes that swimming can lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease. Seniors can reap these benefits by going for a dip in their own backyard pools or a local body of water, such as a lake or ocean. Many swim clubs also offer discounted memberships to seniors, making these another great and affordable way to reap the benefits of swimming.

Fishing

Of course not all outdoor activities need to make seniors huff and puff. Fishing provides a great reason to get outdoors, and many individuals devoted to fishing report feeling less stressed after a day spent casting for their favorite fish. Individuals who consume what they catch also can benefit by improving their diets, as the American Heart Association notes that consuming certain types of fish has been linked to a lower risk for heart disease and obesity.

Volunteering

Local environmental groups often sponsor cleanups at parks and waterfront attractions like beaches and lakes. Volunteering with such organizations is a great way to get outside and give back, and working with like-minded individuals can be a great way for seniors to meet new people. In addition, a national study sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2019 found that 88 percent of Senior Corps volunteers who initially reported a lack of companionship reported a decrease in feelings of isolation after volunteering.

The opportunities for seniors to enjoy the great outdoors are endless. Taking advantage of such chances can benefit seniors in myriad ways.

Self-improvement Strategies to Make Resolutions a Reality

Self-improvement is at the heart of the majority of New Year’s resolutions. Individuals resolving to read more or live a more active lifestyle or travel are all attempting better themselves.

Resolutions can be hard to keep, as the hectic pace of daily life can make it hard to find time for new activities. Individuals who want to see their resolutions through to the end can try utilizing various self-improvement strategies to help them achieve their goals.

Share your goals with others whom you respect.

Resolutions may involve intensely personal goals, but sharing those goals with people you respect can have a profound effect on your ability to achieve them. A recent study from researchers at The Ohio State University examined the effects of sharing target goals with others. In the study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, 171 undergraduates were asked to move a slider on a computer to the number 50 as many times as they could within a given time frame. After doing this, they were asked to do it again but this time they were asked to set a specific goal regarding how many times they could do it within the allotted time. Someone identified as a “lab assistant” then went to check on their goals, but the assistants were presented differently to different groups, and one group was not checked on at all. One assistant was well-dressed and introduced as a doctoral student, while the other was casually dressed and identified as a community college student. Researchers found that those who shared their goals with the doctoral level assistant reported feeling more committed to their goal and in fact performed better than participants in the other groups. Researchers concluded that individuals who share their goals with people they respect are more likely to commit to those goals than people who keep their goals to themselves.

Start small, but don’t stay small

Setting small goals may not make individuals feel like they’re en route to the dramatic changes they feel they need. However, research indicates that incremental goals can provide the early motivation people need to achieve larger goals. However, researchers at Peking University in China discovered that, while incremental goals helped people make more early progress, that progress waned if they did not eventually transition to their larger goals. Individuals can use their early successes to instill the confidence that makes them believe they can achieve their larger goals.

Change your perception of setbacks

Many a New Year’s resolution has fallen by the wayside due to setbacks. For example, someone who aspires to lose 20 lbs. may be trying to lose one pound per week for 20 weeks running. If an individual fails to lose that pound in a given week or even gains weight, that setback may compel that person to abandon the larger goal. But instead of seeing and even accepting that setback as a sign of failure, individuals should see it was a learning experience that can ultimately help them achieve their larger goal. In the weight loss scenario, individuals who fail to lose a pound in a given week can examine their habits over the previous seven days. Identifying why an incremental goal was not achieved can reassure individuals that they will know how to avoid those same pitfalls in the future.

Self-improvement strategies can help individuals making New Year’s resolutions see those resolutions through to their successful conclusion.

Healthy Hobbies Families Can Enjoy Together

Resolutions to get fit might garner the bulk of people’s attention come New Year’s Day. But resolution season also marks a great time for busy families to commit to spending more time together.

Hobbies can bring people together, which makes them an ideal outlet for families who want to spend more time with one another. Families on the lookout for hobbies they can enjoy together can consider the following activities.

Hiking

Hiking is a family-friendly activity that’s free and ideal for individuals who also want to turn over a healthy leaf as the new year dawns. The cardiovascular benefits of hiking are well-documented and include lowering hikers’ risk for serious ailments, including heart disease. But the exposure to nature that hiking provides can benefit entire families. A 2015 study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning found that hiking can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. Hiking trails run the gamut from flat trails that are ideal for families that include young children to more challenging trails that require a little climbing.

Cycling

Cycling is another healthy, family-friendly hobby. The experts at MD Anderson Cancer Center note that cycling builds muscle, helps people maintain a healthy weight, releases endorphins that can make it easier to relieve and manage stress, and improves balance. Both adults and children can reap those rewards. When cycling with young children, parents can look for flat cycling paths that won’t discourage kids or require them to do more than their bodies can handle. Older children and teenagers can handle more challenging paths, and parents of children in these age groups can even consider incorporating mountain biking into their cycling routines.

Cooking

There are plenty of family-friendly hobbies that can be enjoyed at home. Cooking is one such hobby, and it can have some surprising benefits for youngsters. According to Nemours KidsHealth┬«, cooking can be a great way for parents to reinforce basic math skills kids are learning at school. Older kids who don’t need such lessons can benefit from cooking with their parents by learning to prepare nutritious meals that can lay the foundation for healthy eating habits throughout adulthood.

Painting

Painting together as a family can benefit both adults and children in unique ways. Harvard Medical School notes that studies have found that artistic expression can help people with depression and anxiety. Young children, including preschoolers, also can benefit from painting, which helps them develop both their fine and gross motor skills and improves hand-eye coordination. Parents of adolescents should know that painting has also been found to be a productive outlet for teenagers to express themselves, and the process of seeing a painting project through from inception to completion can boost confidence and self-esteem.

As the new year dawns and resolutions are made, families can look to various hobbies they can engage in together to make the year ahead both happy and healthy.