What You Need to Know About Food Allergies

When your body reacts to a food in a bad way, you may be experiencing a food allergy, and it’s something that you need to take seriously.

Food allergies can be deadly, but you can manage them with the help of specialists like allergists, dermatologists, and others.

The first thing you need to know is that a food allergy is different from a food intolerance. Food allergies are life-threatening because your immune system identifies a food protein as a threat to your body and proceeds to attack it releasing chemicals. Your reaction to those chemicals is what we can see as the allergy reaction.

It is important for you to know what is the food allergen causing your reaction. The best and more accurate way to know that is with the tests that an allergist can perform. So, once you experience the first allergies symptoms, look for a specialist People can be allergic to any food, however, in U.S there are eight main foods that cause most of the food allergy reactions: peanuts, eggs, milk, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy.

Now, once you know what are you allergic to, it’s important to take care of everything you consume. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Always read every food label
  • Carry your epinephrine auto-injector all the time
  • At restaurants always ask for possible cross contact of ingredients
  • Let your loved ones know about your allergies and what to do in case of a reaction
  • Wear medical IDs with all your information. This is especially important when you travel

To be informed, to plan ahead and to learn about your allergies and reactions, is the key to succeed in the treatment and fight against allergens. Don’t be afraid of them, just cautious.

If you think that you might have a food allergy or you don’t know if it is instead, a food intolerance, visit your doctor as soon as possible. As we said, food allergies are serious, but a good management of them can be decisive in your effort to avoid severe reactions.

The Opioid Epidemic and Our Responsibility as Patients

It’s not a secret. The headlines are all over the place: TV, radio, magazines, newspapers and social media are talking about the opioid epidemic that is killing thousands of Americans. We hear the stories, sometimes we know someone who lost a loved one due to an overdose, but how many times do you think about your own responsibility on this epidemic?

Probably never. If the tragedy doesn’t knock on our door, there is not a real reason to look at it in depth, right? Well, no. Reality is that according to statistics revealed in 2016 by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2015 we had 20.5 million Americans 12 or older with a substance use disorder. From them, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers.

To continue with the numbers, between 1999 and 2010, 48,000 women died of prescription pain reliever overdoses. That was 7 years ago and unfortunately, the numbers have increased.

Yes, it is a declared epidemic and it involves all of us. Why? Because we all are patients, and at some point we may need, use or be prescribed pain relievers or painkillers. According with the CDC and other experts, it is important to be informed, to talk to your doctor, to ask all the questions you need to be answered, and to be proactive as a patient while in treatment.

Pain relievers are prescribed not only to adults, but also to children after a sports injuries, or a surgery. While doctors and medical personnel are aware about the risks of opioid medicines, it is also important that parents and patients understand the importance of following the physician’s instructions, and also the importance of understanding the consequences that opioids might have if they are misused.

A big portion of addicts to heroin started using painkillers and developed the addiction due to misuse of those medicines. It is not about doubting your doctor’s recommendations, or questioning your treatment, it is about knowing and understanding how those medicines work, what they do to your body and, at the end of the day, it is probably about you making the decision to use them or not, or to ask for possible alternative treatments to your doctors.

The patient-doctor relationship should be a two-way one. Information is the key and this one in particular should be openly shared with our families, children, and other people. Don’t be afraid of asking more to your doctor. The next time you see your physician, start that conversation.

Eating Out With Diabetes

It’s a matter of awareness and information

It may sound like an impossible mission, but is not. If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor probably told you what you have to watch while choosing your food: portion sizes and salt, are two key parts of your new menus.

It means that your daily consumption of sodium shouldn’t exceed the 1,500 milligrams (less than a teaspoon). About the portions, we all know that most of the restaurants offer servings big enough to share with another person or even to eat the next day from it. So, ask for half portions or just cut it yourself in half as soon as it arrives to your table. Always ask for a low sodium menu. A lot of restaurants are very conscious about their diabetic clients.

In order to keep track of your food prep, you should avoid places like buffets, fast food restaurants or chain places where everything is already cooked. You will need to ask for a specific preparation of your food.

Remember that now your body will resent everything you eat in a very different way, and even your smallest decisions are going to have an impact on your health.

Then, avoid bread, soups and broths. Forget about butter and remember that from now on, fruits and vegetables are going to be your best friends.

Salads are good, but not all of them. Dressings tend to be salty and creamy, two dangerous characteristics that imply sodium and calories. Ask always what kind of ingredients are they using on your food. Canned or marinated vegetables are always a NO, just like cheeses, croutons, and cured meats.

If you really need a dressing on your salad, ask for a vinaigrette on the side and use a little portion of it.  Lemon or even a little bit of olive oil could help to give a nice flavor to your salad.

Grilled and broiled are probably your best options when consuming fish, meat or poultry. The best option for a drink, could be water with a twist of lime or lemon, a natural juice without sugar or even milk.

Desserts are not prohibited. Well, at least not all of them. Enjoy fresh fruit, a colorful gelatin, or a plain cake.

A whole nice and healthy meal at a restaurant is not impossible if you are a diabetic. The key is to be aware of your choices, to ask for everything you need, and to enjoy your food knowing that you are not doing any harm to your health.

 

Wake up, and treat your insomnia now!

In a problem that is increasing, about 30 percent of the population presents sleep issues.

If you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, officially you may be suffering from insomnia, and you are not alone. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, around 50 to 70 million adults in United States present some form of sleeping disorder.

Insomnia is one of those disorders, and it is a complicated one. People who suffer from it, usually have other symptoms like low energy, fatigue, lack of attention and drastic changes in mood.

Once you detect the main symptoms it is important to consult a physician to try to determine what kind of insomnia are you experiencing, and what would be the treatment to follow.

Depending on its duration, insomnia could be acute or chronic. Acute is the one related with specific moments or circumstances of your life. It is temporary and it could be solved without medical treatment.

Chronic insomnia affects at least half of your week for a lapse of at least three months. It could be caused by health issues, changes in your schedules, work or life habits, or it could be caused by some medications, as a side effect. It requires a doctor diagnosis and treatment, in order to avoid more complications or developments.

Now, what kind of treatment is the right one for you? That’s something that only a doctor could tell you, and it is actually something that you should address as soon as you can.

Treatment for insomnia could include medical components, psychological, behavioral or even a combination of those. Your own history will help the physician to determine your needs for treatment. It is important to bring to your doctor all the information you can collect and that may be leading you to suffer from insomnia.

If you are experimenting some symptoms, don’t wait to consult a doctor. Wake up and treat your insomnia now!

 

Migraines: Another Reason to Keep a Healthy Weight

A balanced life could help us to avoid those terrible migraine headaches

We all know that overweight increases the risk of developing different diseases and health conditions. We have heard that heart problems, diabetes and cholesterol are part of those diseases or conditions. We also know that an extreme weight loss is also harmful for your health.

But how many of you knew that migraines are included on that list of the conditions that can be affected, or could be developed due to an unhealthy weight?

Well, thanks to health researchers we know now that our weight might influence the risk of migraine headaches. Overweight or extreme weight loss are just bad for people who suffer from migraines.

Having in mind that at least 12 percent of adult Americans are affected by migraines and it’s terrible effects, this is a very important information.

As in any other weight problem, experts suggest that a healthy lifestyle, an exercise routine and changes in the way we eat, might be the answer to avoid more of those episodes of migraine headaches that usually come accompanied by nausea and extreme sensibility to light and sound.

Now, it’s important to understand that is not a cause-effect relationship, but more like an association. It means that weight problems don’t necessarily cause migraine headaches, but they could be associated with those weight issues in some cases.

In any case, what doctors and researchers recommend is simple: Keep a healthy weight, avoid extreme changes on it, exercise regularly, and always consult your physician when experimenting migraines or any other symptoms, in order to know the causes and treatment.

So, here we have another good reason to take care of ourselves!

 

Let’s Have a Healthier Spring Season

The spring break is probably the first time we all feel that the new season is actually here. It is a well deserved time for us to rest, to spend time with family and friends, to prepare our clothes and outfits for the new season and to put in the back closet everything we won’t use for a while. It is the moment to start new projects.

One of those projects could be to have a healthier environment around us, and it includes not only the famous “spring house cleaning”, which is when we actually get rid of everything we don’t use, like or want anymore, but it also includes to start new routines, to establish new habits and to make the decision to be better in every sense.

So, the question is how to do that? How to have a healthier season without drama or trauma in the meantime? Fortunately, there are several ways!

Let’s begin with the basics. Once you decide what you want to keep and what you want to toss or donate, or just throw away, act immediately. Don’t think twice about that and don’t wait until you give it a second thought.

Of course the deep house cleaning is a must. Fill your home with fresh aromas, with spring colors and textures. It will give you and your space the energy you need to continue with the rest of the plan.

And here is the other part of the plan: imagine yourself being more energetic, more active, more motivated and why not, thinner and above all, healthier.

How to accomplish all that? Here are some easy tips:

  1. Organize your meals menu depending on the activities you will have during the day. It will take no more than 10 minutes of your morning (or night before), and it will give you peace and good results.
  2. Pack your own snacks if you have to be out of home. Include the season fruits and nuts (If you are not allergic), water, and some veggies like carrots or celery.
  3. If you are planning a trip, keep in mind that vacation is not synonymous of trash food or bad habits.
  4. Indulge yourself with the tastes you love, but do it in moderation.
  5. Physical activity is something that you need as part of your routine in order to stay healthy or become healthier. Choose whatever you like better. Maybe a gym is not the answer for you, but how about swimming, or running or bicycling?
  6. Talk to your family and invite everyone to join this new healthier chapter. Enjoy every activity and new meal plan with them.

 

Even though it might be difficult to break bad habits, is not impossible, especially when you think about the long term benefits that you and your loved ones can achieve.

 

Breathe Deeply…and Practice Yoga

It might look difficult, but once you start it could become part of your life.

We see them making poses that look like knots, acts of incredible balance and stretching exercises that leave us perplexed. Even though they look like super humans, they are not, they are practitioners of yoga.

Yoga’s purpose is to create strength and harmony in body and mind, and there are different kinds of yoga, teachers, instructors, and schools, but most of them include meditation, breathing exercises and postures that seek to exercise the flexibility of your muscles.

According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga is a wonderful practice for staying healthy, because it explores the body’s ability to heal itself.

Here are some of the proven  benefits that the practice of yoga could offer to you:

  • Increase your flexibility
  • Improves your posture
  • Builds Muscle strength
  • Helps to handle your weight
  • Improves your bone health
  • Protects your spine
  • Helps your cardio and circulatory health
  • Protects your joints and cartilages

 

And we can add prevention to that list, because the self awareness benefit developed through the practice of yoga is also a great tool that can help with the early detection of physical problems.

Besides that, yoga can also help you to handle stress, thanks to the unique breathing and meditation techniques it offers. We all know that stress has terribly bad effects on our health, and a good way to stay positive, alert and stress-free is always welcome.

If you have never tried yoga, don’t worry! There are levels ranging from beginners to the expert yogis.

So, next time a friend invites to go to a yoga session, remember the benefits, breath deeply…and start a new healthy practice.