Hair loss shouldn’t be taken lightly

Losing hair is something that affects much more than the physical appearance.  Who begins to see the changes due to this condition, begins to perceive other effects that can range from anxiety to depression.

For most women, for example, hair is more than just the fibers that cover their skin. Hair could be a very important part of their personality, a way to express their own self, and that’s one of the reasons why hair loss can’t be taken lightly.

Even though hair loss has been linked mainly to guys, women also suffer from it, and it can be as devastating or more as it is for a man. But in both cases, for males or females, the first step before pursuing any hair loss treatment, is to start looking for a possible cause, and according to experts, those causes might vary from men to women. However, there are a few common causes detected that can affect both, male and female patients:

  • Heredity (Family History)
  • Stress
  • Medical Conditions or Infections
  • Some Medicines
  • Poor diet
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Certain Hairstyles

 

For some of those causes, specialists have certain recommendations that could help you to stop or avoid the hair loss process:

  • Avoid tight hairstyles if you have thin and fine hair
  • Consume a balanced diet
  • Before using some beauty treatments, read carefully the labels
  • Avoid extreme temperatures on your hair
  • Take good care of your hair by brushing, cleaning and conditioning when needed

There is no reason to feel desperate. If you believe that the cause of your hair loss goes further, consult your doctor. Sudden hair loss or hairless patches could be a sign of a medical condition that has to be diagnosed by a physician.

 

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Holiday stress can be worse than you imagine

For many, it’s the best season of the year, but for others, this is a time of stress, anxiety and even depression. Holidays can be wonderful, colorful and joyful, but at the same time, they involved so many activities and expectations, that they can be also overwhelmingly stressful.

For those who have lost a loved one, this is an inevitable moment to think about them, and to miss them around. Sadness, anxiety, lonely feelings, and nostalgia could be present during the entire season, adding even more pressure.

The good news is that there are ways to cop and handle the situation in order to say bye-bye to the depression and the stress. Let’s focus on what to do to spend a healthy and calm holiday season. Here some tips that experts in behavior and  psychology suggest us to apply:

  • Plan ahead your activities, shopping trips, and meetings. Once you see everything on the calendar, it will be easier for you to know what to expect in terms of time.
  • If you experienced a loss recently, don’t try to avoid or hide your feelings. To acknowledge your own situation will help you to process it.
  • Be honest with yourself and your closed ones. If you are not in the mood to attend a party, let them know.
  • If loneliness is knocking on your door, look out for social,  community, or faith events.
  • Eat and sleep consciously. Your body might need extra energy, but it only comes if you are feeding and resting properly.
  • Physical activity will always help you to relax. Even a short walk around the block could help you to see things differently.
  • Don’t stress about family gatherings. Unexpected guests or tumultuous dinners could be overwhelming, but remember that everything is temporary and, at the end of the day, family, is family.
  • Perfection is imperfect. You are the one who decides what an ideal holiday season is for you. Make the best of what you have around, and enjoy!
  • Shopping while keeping a budget could be difficult, but not impossible. Explore different gift options. There is always a way to say “I care” or  “I love you” without emptying your pockets.

The last tip it’s probably the most important. Seek professional assistance if you need it. If you tried to overcome your sadness, your anxiety, or your depression and you believe it didn’t work, maybe it’s time to ask for help. Nothing is more important than your health!

The benefits of gratitude

Specialists from different disciplines have said this for a long time: there are scientifically proven benefits of gratitude that will inspire you to express it not only during these days around Thanksgiving but every single day of your life.

According to many researchers, gratitude is a powerful practice, so powerful that it could radically change your life and your environment, but for that to happen, you have to practice it conscientiously.

Experts say that once gratitude is part of your daily life, you can see positive changes and effects in your personality, your health, your career, your emotional status, and your social development. Why? Simple, because the world around you will see a person who cares, a person that enjoys life, a person who wants to give back, and that kind of attitudes can only produce positive outcomes.

There are several studies made in the world in order to measure the effects of gratitude in the life of a person. The results are extraordinary!

A grateful person will avoid toxic emotions, reducing also pain, stress, and frustration. We are talking about a person that will have more energy, a better awareness of wellbeing and health, and therefore more initiatives to exercise and to practice better life habits.

But that’s not all. When you feel grateful for your life and everything that happens around you, you tend to be more sensitive to other people, and about situations that otherwise would bother you. Why is that important? Because it allows you to face problems with an optimistic attitude. In terms of career, that’s a huge pro! It will translate into mentoring opportunities, better chances to be recognized and a better performance.

Now, if you have sleep issues, and although it may sound strange, gratitude could be a good answer to your problem, or at least a good beginning. A study published in 2011 in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, says that writing in a gratitude journal before bed could help you to sleep better.

In short, being grateful can bring to your life more happiness, harmony, balance, and success, so, why to reserve it only for one day a year? Let’s practice gratitude every day!

 

Back Pain, as common as uncomfortable

While 80% of all Americans will experience low back pain at least once in their lives, back pain in general it’s also considered one of the main reasons for work absences and doctor visits.

But, why is it so common? Well, we are made of muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, and discs. If we have problems with any of these components, the back pain may appear.  It is important to know that sometimes it’s just impossible to determine the cause of that pain, but what matters in this cases is to find treatment and professional advice.

According to experts, back pain could affect adults between 35 and 55 years old, and as we said before, it could be reflective of any issues with our structures. However, there are different conditions that might be connected with that discomfort. Osteoarthritis of the spine, osteoporosis, herniated or ruptured discs, and pinched nerves are some of those conditions that should be diagnosed and treated by specialists.

Other possible causes of the terrible back pain that not only affects millions of Americans, but also constitutes the leading cause of disability in people younger than 45, are strains, muscle spasms, sciatica, poor posture, and stress…yes, stress can lead to muscle tension in your back, and although it seems incredible, anxiety and depression can make worse the pain, so if you already have that horrible pain, take it easy, rest, and breathe.

Then, what’s the first thing we should do when we first experience that back pain? Think about possible causes to determine if it could be an injury, a posture issue, or something else. Having an idea could help you to make a decision about the next step.

If besides that discomfort you also present other symptoms like numbness, swelling, pain down the legs, fever, weight loss or urinary incontinence, it’s time to visit your doctor.  Also, have in mind that if you have or had cancer, if you have immune systems problems, or are less than 20 and more than 55 years, you too should go to your doctor as soon as the first back pain symptoms appear.

If the pain is persistent for more than 4 weeks, or it doesn’t improve after a couple of days of rest, ice and common pain relievers, it’s better to get a doctor’s opinion. Don’t underestimate the pain and its relative normality. Nobody has to get used to living in pain.

They take you everywhere! Your feet also deserve to be cared for

They are not very popular, and if it were not because they can wear wonderful shoes, very few people would really notice them. The feet are perhaps one of the least appreciated parts of our body, and ironically, they are in charge of one of the most important tasks of all, that of taking us everywhere.

So, besides the regular and usual hygiene routine, what should we do to ensure that our feet are always ready for us?

To start with, we have to be conscious about the big job they do. Our feet take hundreds of tons of force of impact every single day, while we walk. It means that they are in constant risk of injuries. Actually, the feet are most likely to get injured than any other part of the body, so it’s up to you how you protect them.

Let’s talk about the shoes. While men try to wear whatever is comfortable, women are a little more special about their shoe selection. Is not about comfort, but about style, and style could be painful! Think about those beautiful red shoes, with 6 inches high heels and reduced triangular tip.

“That platform helps”, you say, but, does it? After a work day, with meetings, a business lunch and maybe a happy hour, your feet end up more than exhausted. You know it, you actually feel it…they are sore!

Avoid flip-flops because they don’t provide arch support, and tight shoes should be definitely out of your rack.

Experts say that every person should alternate the shoes every day, not only to give them some air, but also to avoid the risk of infections, or foot odor.

Talking about some air, if you have a “smelly” problem, don’t hide it, it’s better to fight it! Washing your feet regularly with water and soap should do it. If it’s not enough, try mixing some water with vinegar and soak them in there. Remember that you have to clean the area between the toes, and always let them dry perfectly, before wearing socks or shoes.

As any other part of your skin, your feet will need moisturizer. Choose a gentle body lotion or cream and use it daily. Last but not least, be cautious about salon pedicures. If you are a diabetic patient, talk to your doctor before having a pedicure, and if you want to try a new salon, make sure that they clean properly not only the instruments but the tubs. Fungus and bacteria are very common in those places and they could be your feet worse enemies.

Is it a cold, or are they allergies?

Who knows, right? Symptoms are so similar and both of them are very common at this time of the year. A runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, headache, sensitive and watery eyes…how can we know if we need an antihistamine or a medicine against the cold symptoms?

Well, it could be tricky, but is not impossible, and it’s important to know the difference in order to get the appropriate treatment.

Now, allergies, cold, and flu, all affect the respiratory system, but each one of them has specific symptoms that differentiate from the others.

Let’s start by saying that when you are suffering from allergies your body’s immune system is fighting against an allergen, which means that you will experience the symptoms for as long as you are in contact with the trigger, or the element that you are allergic to. If you are allergic to a specific flower, or to pollen, for example, your allergies are going to be present while those allergens are around you. We can be talking about an entire season of many weeks or even months.

When we talk about a cold or even the flu, two weeks should be the regular time that takes to fight against the virus, because instead of trees, dust or animals, the cold is generated by a virus.

Besides a runny nose, the watery eyes and the other symptoms that are easily confused with those of the allergies, when you have the flu or a cold, you will probably present fever, fatigue, and body ache.

Even though there are some over the counter medicines that offer relief for the cold symptoms, there is no a real “cure” for a cold, and most people could recover on their own without the need to visit a doctor.

There are also non-prescription medicines to help with the allergies, but in most cases, it’s important to consult a specialist in order to know what are you allergic to and maybe to explore a long-term treatment.

The main message here is to be careful and to listen to your body. Don’t use medicines if you are not sure about the origin of your symptoms and always, always, consult a doctor if those symptoms persist more than normal.

 

 

 

What we learned from Irma

There is a saying that from every tragedy we learn, that from the dark moments, always a light is born. Did we learn the lessons from Irma?

The destructive and monstrous hurricane announced its presence, took its time, and came to us, and even though we knew it was coming, many people decided to ignore the warnings of the authorities.

Yes, we have seen dozens of hurricanes, we have heard the warnings and at the end of the day, things are not as bad as they were pictured, right? But how is it possible to know how strong it will beat us? Reality is that we don’t know. Mother nature is always unpredictable.

We know now that the communications and electrical infrastructures around us are vulnerable, and some would say even weak. If you think that has nothing to do with you, it actually has!

When we know that after a storm we could lose basic services like water and electricity, we have to be ready and prepared to face that situation. Some thought that as usually happens, the regular canned food and extra couple of bottles of water would be enough. But they were not.

The long lines in front of almost empty supermarkets are proof of it. The fear of thousands of families for not being able to get their medicines or basic foods for their kids are proof of it.

Irma showed us that enough is not what we think. Irma showed us that optimism should not be confused with neglect. Irma showed us that what at first sight seems to be “just rain”, is not. That rain paralyzed thousands of families, thousands of businesses, thousands of people who had to stay at home, without working and not being able to earn a dime for days. They probably didn’t lose their roofs or their walls, but they lose the services that make those roofs and walls habitable.

Irma showed us that a couple of hours are enough to change the lives of whole cities for months. Irma showed us that we have to be humble before mother nature.

Memory is fragile, but it’s important that we keep these lessons alive and in mind.