Impact Of Dogs On Mental And Physical Health

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By James Shore

dogsilouetteA dog is man’s best friend and best friends can never see you in pain. Latest studies have shown how dogs and cats at offices improve the work performance of employees. Moreover, the strong bonding of man with a dog is known for a long time.

Pets have positive effects on our mind and body health. They help us live life to the optimum and teach us to love unconditionally. Dogs have been known to bring a lot of changes in owner’s life. Dogs can help you improve your mental health in various ways:

Reduced Level of Stress:

Studies conducted by Aaron Katcher, a psychiatrist at Pennsylvania University, and Alan Beck, a psychologist at Purdue University, around 30 years ago measured the physical changes in people who regularly pet their dog. The gestures of care lower the blood pressure, slow down the heart rate, regularize the breathing rate and relax the tension in muscles—which indicate low-stress levels.

However, if your long-haired furball sheds a lot, no need to worry as there are some amazing pet vacuums that can clean up the mess. Find pet vacuums here.

Some studies that were published in Psychosomatic Medicine Journal show the analysis and observations of the researchers and there was seen a reduction in stress hormones, which had better mental health effects. Moreover, petting a dog works way faster than a medicine to reduce stress.

Reduced Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Level:

Pets have positive health effects on their owners by improving the quality of their lives and by reducing the risk of developing various chronic diseases. Studies have shown that pet owners have low blood pressure and cholesterol level in comparison with the non-pet-owners.

Dog owners have to take the pooch for walks, which reduces the risk of stress, anxiety, depression, and hypertension in them. Studies have shown that daily walk routines decrease the risk of chronic diseases.

Reduced Risk of Heart Problems

Pets help reduce the chances of cardiac diseases. A study published in American Journal of Cardiology showed that out of 400 patients who suffered a heart attack, dog owners had greater survival rate than the non-dog-owners.

It is due to a reduction of stress hormones, and an increase in the release of happy hormones while petting the dog that increased the chances of improving the health of dog owners.

Reduced Risk of Depression:

Besides stress, depression and anxiety are growing problems in the present society. Depression is seen as a disease that socially disables you and physically blocks your strengths. It’s a mental disease that puts you at a higher risk of developing cardiac diseases.

Loneliness is the top-most reason behind depression. Dogs are faithful companions that never leave your side. The love you’ll share with the Fido will increase the levels of dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin—the happy hormones. Do you still think there will be some space for depression?

Increased Social Behavior:

Socialization is a positive change in a dog owner’s life that turns it upside-down. The gloomy images in the mind are replaced by happy images and memories.

Social support is necessary for mental health, emotional strength and physical well-being. It creates confidence in the shy and anti-social people.

Dogs create opportunities for the owners to socialize during a walk or a visit to the dog park. It helps them develop a social circle and be more communicative and expressive about themselves. Such social interactions positively impact the human mind by boosting self-esteem and self-confidence. Moreover, depression will only become a “word” in your life’s dictionary.

– James is a part-time dog-trainer and dog behavior consultant with years of experience in dog training and the man behind LabradorTrainingHQ.com. He is interested in finding out fun ways to handle dog behaviors, specifically, Labradors to help dog-owners enjoy their companions at all times.

 

Tips When Talking To Your Doctor About Your Child’s Health

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By Ala Alkhatib

doctorFor a parent, there is nothing more important than your child’s health. You will go to any extreme to ensure that your child remains happy and healthy. Considering your busy lifestyle, it may not be possible to schedule a regular appointment with your child’s doctor. Sometimes, it is very difficult to get an appointment quickly as most pediatricians will be overbooked or overscheduled. Thus, you need to take advantage of the minimum amount of time that you spend with the doctor.

When it comes to child’s healthcare, it is always advisable to take the child to the same doctor again and again rather than switching doctors. This way you are able to build a strong bond between the doctor, the child, as well as the parent – – which make both the doctor’s and parent’s task easier.

Here are several things you need to keep in mind while talking to your child’s doctor about his/her health

Be well prepared: Before seeing the doctor, make a list of the things you should discuss with him / her. This includes the child’s general health, the specific condition, when symptoms first appeared, and the frequency of occurrence. For example, If the child is throwing up a lot, you should keep note of when the vomiting started, what triggered this response, at what interval it occurred, and what home remedy you tried. Also, make a note of all the questions you want to ask the doctor.

Prioritize things: When it comes to your children’s health, you will always have a lot of worries. In addition to writing notes down, you should also prioritize them in order of importance.  For example, if you are consulting the doctor for your child’s ear infection, that should be your first priority.

Provide all information: Report to the doctor if there are any other health concerns that should be aware of….do not leave anything out. If there is an X-ray or medical report, remember to carry that as well. If the child is on any new medications or if he / she is allergic to anything, remember to mention this to the doctor. This includes even the multivitamin and painkiller which the child may have had. It is also useful if you can provide a complete report of the child’s health including the blood group, history of allergies (food, drug, and others) and immunization schedule.

Be informed: The internet provides a whole lot of information about each and every aspect of health. While it is a good idea to get some information from the internet, do not go overboard. Familiarize yourself with few medical terms related to your child’s illness. If the doctor mentions any of these names, it will be easy for you to understand.

groupkidsRemain focused: Pay complete attention to what the doctor is telling. Turn off the cell phone to make sure that you are not distracted. Also, do not discuss things that are totally unrelated to the current health condition like the behavioral problem of the child.

Do not hesitate: A mother is a child’s best doctor. A doctor spends just ten or fifteen minutes examining a child. But it is the mother who knows the child well. If you feel that there is something amiss and your child needs a hospitalization, do not hesitate to tell the doctor. Pointing out certain facts that the doctor missed out will help him to make a proper diagnosis.

Use the latest technology to communicate: When it comes to communicating with today’s doctors, the latest technology like WhatsApp and Email comes handy. Ask your doctor whether he is comfortable communicating through these means and if so remember to get the doctor’s phone number and email id. If you have missed out on any important report, the same can be sent via email or WhatsApp.

Communicate with the nurse: Before seeing a child’s doctor, you will often meet the doctor’s assistant or nurse who will check the height and weight of the child. It would be a good idea to share the child’s health condition with them. They might be able to provide some tip which the doctor would most likely forget in his busy schedule.

Above all, make sure that you meet the doctor at the right time. If by any chance you are not able to reach the clinic on time, let the clinic staff knows beforehand. Also, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the appointment procedure of the clinic as well as insurance formalities to avoid unnecessary delays.

– Ala’a Alkhatib is a passionate digital content marketer based in Jordan who has previously worked in a variety of industries including software, transportation and aeronautics. She is currently helping people live healthier by integrating their doctors into their day to day schedule more efficiently. She is also a frequent user of Cura app having been known to use it to chat with doctors in all kinds of place – even while on the bus!

Common Disabilities That Qualify For SSDI And SSI Benefits

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By Katherine Smith

doctorImproving quality of life is a huge component of our overall health. That can be difficult to do if you have a disability. In addition to overcoming the day-to-day limitations of a disability, it can be difficult to find work. Being unable to earn a living only adds to the stress, which negatively impacts health on many levels.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs that provide assistance to people in need. Only ailments listed on the Social Security Disability list of impairments (also called the blue book) are eligible. In some cases, conditions that are not listed may also qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.

It should be noted that qualifying for disability benefits is often a complicated process. Simply having a disability often isn’t enough to qualify. It may be beneficial to get help from an SSD specialist. Organizations like Myler Disability can provide assistance during the application process to minimize the chance of being denied.

Data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) has shown roughly 50% of SSD applications are denied. However, you have the right to appeal the decision. If the wellbeing of your family hinges on the ability to get benefits, it’s a good idea to exercise this right.

Conditions That Qualify for SSDI and SSI Benefits

Generally speaking, you must have a medical condition that prevents you from being able to find and secure a job. Even after receiving benefits, recipients are encouraged to continue looking for employment and earning an independent income.

Musculoskeletal Problems

This is a fairly broad category that includes conditions affecting the joints, bones and back. Given that back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the U.S., it’s no surprise that musculoskeletal problems are the most common condition among benefit recipients.

Injuries to the spine that affect the ability to move are also included in this category. Amputation is another eligible condition, but typically only if it’s a double amputation.

Mental Disorders

In 2016, mental disorders were the second most common condition covered by disability benefits. In total, 26.3% of disabled workers receive benefits due to a mental disorder. Some of the most common eligible mental disorders include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Substance abuse disorders are another qualifying condition that has become more common. The effects of the opioid epidemic can clearly be seen in reports from the SSA. Many states with the highest percentage of workers who receive disability benefits also have the highest rates of drug overdose deaths.

Circulatory System Conditions

Circulatory system problems are also eligible for the disability programs. Conditions that affect the heart often come with a number of debilitating side effects. Cardiovascular impairment can also make physical activity difficult or even dangerous.

Chronic heart failure is a common circulatory system condition. Benefits are also awarded to those who have myocardial ischemia, syncope, central cyanosis, vein disorders and artery disorders.

Sense Organ Disability

A sense organ disability is a condition that impairs one or more senses. The most common conditions are:

  • Vision Loss
  • Hearing Loss
  • Loss of Speech

While those are three of the conditions covered, there are many more that may qualify and total loss is not always necessary.

Nervous System Conditions

A number of nervous system conditions are eligible for SSDI and SSI benefits. Some ailments make it difficult for people to concentrate and carry out cognitive tasks. Others like multiple sclerosis (MS) cause severe pain and fatigue.

Often these types of condition only qualify when they are advanced and producing significant side effects.

Cancer

Some types of cancer also qualify for disability benefits. All cancers that are considered malignant neoplastic diseases fall into this category. When a person with cancer applies for benefits four things are considered:

  • The origin of the cancer
  • How widespread the cancer is
  • How aggressive the cancer is and response to anticancer therapy
  • Side effects of cancer treatment

Cancer patients need a lot of medical documentation to file an application. The analysts reviewing the application will want detailed information from the pathology report and documents on all treatments received to date.

5 Health Benefits Of Soccer

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By Jeff Nachmani

boysoccerSoccer is a very beneficial game. Soccer is the greatest sport in the world. Soccer involves a higher number of viewers per year than any other team. In soccer almost one hundred and fifty teams perform. But it is played all over the world because some teams can’t even qualify in the count. Football is a very tough game to play as in a world cup there are more than a hundred teams which tend to qualify, but only thirty-two are selected. Football World cup provided by Fifa is one of the biggest sports events to happen. A football World cup takes place after four years of the previous World cup to happen and collects a great revenue. There are a lot of spectators willing to see the world cup and the viewers of a single world cup are near to the population of World. Which means this game is supported by billions of people.

There are many other events which happen to give soccer a better image. But soccer is not only beneficial for watching but it even helps us physically with these five health benefits.

1- Better Stamina

If you play football regularly and for more time it can affect your stamina a lot. In football, you need to perform a sprint in regular intervals and throughout your game. These sprints help you a lot with your stamina. If you play for a longer time, you can gain an ability to play for more time with the increase in your stamina.

2- Strong body

With better shape playing football can give you a more tough body. In football, you must go against many hurdles such as tackles. You can get injured while playing football. But receiving regular tackles and suffering pain can make your body stronger and tougher against many odds.

3- Decreases the body fat

Another big advantage of playing soccer is that it decreases the body fat of a person. Body fat is a big problem for a person. This body fat makes a person look uglier and unfit. With the increase in body fat, a lot of unhealthy problems can occur in the form of pain. With an increase in your weight your strength of doing any task decreases and if you perform any unusual or difficult task it can result in pain. But soccer helps us burn our calories to decrease our body fat.

girlsoccer4- Strength

In soccer, you regularly face hurdles and tackles. With regular receiving of these hesitations, your body gains the essential strength to overcome them.

5- Brain activity

In soccer, you have to think of various tactics, and you have to analyse the game. This helps us get Increase in Cognitive Brain Function.

If you want to get healthy, you must play football. But if you want to play soccer you must know how to play it. Soccer gap can help you as a guide.

– Jeff Nachmani is a football coach. He is obsessed with soccer and encourages outdoor games. He regularly posts at soccergap.com.

Herbal Remedies Are An Overlooked Global Health Hazard

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below…..

didyouknow?Millions of people around the world use herbal health remedies, following a tradition that began millennia ago. Many believe that herbs are safe because they have been used for many years, but researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Stony Brook University are raising awareness that long-term use of herbal remedies is no guarantee of their safety. The invited commentary appears in EMBO reports.

Dr. Donald M. Marcus, professor emeritus of medicine and immunology at Baylor, and Dr. Arthur P. Grollman, distinguished professor of pharmacological sciences at Stony Brook University, discuss the scientific evidence showing that the plant Aristolochia can cause aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN). People with this condition experience interstitial nephritis, renal failure and cancers of the urinary track.

The authors remark that in Taiwan, according to the national prescription database, between 1997 and 2003, 8 million people were exposed to herbals containing Aristolochia. Studies of patients with renal failure and cancer in Taiwan and China show that tens of millions of people in those countries are at risk of AAN.

In genetically susceptible people, consuming Aristolochia can lead to the formation of complexes between aristolactam, a compound in Aristolachia, and DNA in renal tissues. These complexes lead to mutations in the TP53 tumor suppressor gene, which in turn initiate the process toward kidney cancer. Additional studies have shown that this process may also lead to the development of cancer in the liver and the bladder.

Marcus and Grollman indicate that other herbals and traditional medicines are responsible for severe adverse events in Africa and Asia, but in these cases epidemiological data are lacking.

Although Aristolochia has been used as a herbal remedy for more than 2000 years, “the intrinsic toxicities were not recognized, owing, in large part, to the latency period between exposure and the onset of symptomatic disease, and, in part, to genetic determinants that confer susceptibility to only approximately 5 percent of those exposed to this herb,” said the authors. The long-term scientific study of AAN revealed the association of the disease with Aristolochia.

Almost all carcinogens and many toxins require a long period of time before symptoms appear. This makes it very difficult for a layman or a professional to identify a particular compound as the cause of an illness when it was taken months or years earlier.

“The history of Aristolachia indicates that other herbs that have been used for a long time may also have toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds,” said the authors. “It is prudent to assume that many herbs may contain toxic or carcinogenic substances that can cause subsequent health problems for humans.”

Marcus and Grollman disagree with the World Health Organization’s endorsement of the use of traditional herbal remedies on the premise that traditional medicine is of proven quality, without mentioning the lack of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of herbal remedies or their demonstrated hazards, as in the case of Aristolochia.

The authors emphasize that their primary concern is “the prevention of toxicities associated with herbal medicine and not a categorical rejection of traditional healing practices. Herbal remedies pose a global hazard. We encourage the global health community to take actions that will evaluate both long- and short-term safety, as well as the efficacy of botanical products in widespread use.”

The authors declare having no conflict of interest.

Navigating Retail Health Clinics

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications. What are your thoughts about their article….please share below…..

Retail health clinics are fine for a short-term illness or as a backup, but they should not replace a long-term relationship with a primary care physician.

newsThe hot trend of making health care more convenient is showing up in more and more local drugstores and big box chains in the form of retail health clinics, reports the March 2016 Harvard Health Letter. “Twenty years ago you had to go to an emergency department if you got sick and needed immediate care. Now we have an explosion of options, such as retail health clinics,” says Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, a researcher on the topic and an associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School.

Retail health clinics have many perks. They’re easy to get into, with extended hours and no appointments necessary, and they’re staffed by a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. The clinics offer all kinds of health services—everything from treating minor illness like colds, pinkeye, or urinary tract infections to providing physicals, health screenings, and vaccinations—and the prices are often more affordable than other options. “We have found in our data that clinics are 30% to 40% cheaper than a doctor’s office visit, and 80% cheaper than an emergency room visit,” says Dr. Mehrotra.

Does the lower price translate into poor-quality care? “We’ve found that the quality of care at retail clinics is equal to or superior to some doctor’s offices, because the clinics are more likely to follow national guidelines of care,” says Dr. Mehrotra.

Despite all the perks, retail health clinics may not be right for everyone. A report from the American College of Physicians published online Oct. 13, 2015, in Annals of Internal Medicine maintains that the clinics are fine for a short-term illness or as a backup when people can’t see their doctors, but they should not replace a long-term relationship with a primary care physician. Dr. Mehrotra agrees.

Read the full-length article: “Should you use a retail health clinic?”

Also in the March 2016 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

* The health benefits and risks of owning a pet

* Are prescription pain pills worth the risk?

* How to build a better bladder and stay dry

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free)

Strength Training Improves Heart Health

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health….please share your comments below…..

healthyheartStrength training has been linked to several factors that improve heart health, including weight loss, less belly fat, and a lower risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, biking, and swimming, is good for the heart. Strength training, also known as weight training or resistance training, also has cardiovascular benefits, reports the June 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

“Strength training maintains and may even increase muscle mass, which people tend to lose as they age,” says Dr. Rania Mekary, a visiting assistant professor of surgery at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor at MCPHS University. Increased muscle mass has a trickle-down effect that benefits blood vessels and the heart.

Boosting muscle mass speeds up metabolism, which helps people burn more calories, even at rest. A faster metabolism also helps prevent weight gain, which puts extra strain on the heart. Strength training seems to be especially important for keeping off belly fat. This so-called visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs, is particularly dangerous.

Mekary and colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that healthy men who did weight training for 20 minutes a day had less of an age-related increase in abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic exercise.

Strength training can help control blood sugar levels by drawing glucose from the bloodstream to power muscles. High blood sugar, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, is also a leading risk factor for heart disease. Building more muscle mass also makes the body more sensitive to the effects of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

Read the full-length article: “Add strength training to your fitness plan”

Also in the June 2015 Harvard Heart Letter:

* Get cracking: why you should eat more nuts

* Get a leg up on varicose veins

* Bypass plus angioplasty: the best of both worlds?

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Why Annual Eye Exams Can Improve Heart Health

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eyeThis article is courtesy of PRWeb, please leave your comments below. Although it discusses February as Heart month in the article, it still has some great tips…..

Many people may not be aware that an eye exam could prevent a future heart event or know that vision health is linked to cardiovascular health. During American Heart Month, Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center shares why scheduling regular eye exams may also improve heart health.

“A trip to the eye doctor can identify other diseases before symptoms appear,” says Dr. Shofner. Some health conditions can also cause vision loss when not addressed timely. During an eye exam, an optometrist or ophthalmologist thoroughly examines the retina and can view small changes in the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Changes in the eye’s blood vessels can indicate more serious systemic diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension affects over 65 million Americans and many don’t even know they have it. “This disease doesn’t always show symptoms,” says Dr. Shofner.

The more advanced digital retinal imaging allows an eye doctor to quickly and painlessly detect and monitor blood flow in the retina. Ongoing research is proving that these changes in the retina can predict cardiovascular disease. This includes predicting one’s risk of having a stroke, high blood pressure or even a heart attack. Prevention is key to maintaining both vision health and heart health.

Vision Changes
“Anyone that experiences vision changes and has not had an eye exam in over a year should schedule an appointment with their local vision center,“ says Dr. Shofner. In some cases, hypertensive retinopathy can cause vision loss from retinal veins becoming obstructed.

Prevention
Researchers continue to confirm that certain risk factors such as smoking, obesity and high cholesterol levels can increase cardiovascular disease and put one’s vision at risk. Exercising, refraining from smoke (includes second hand smoke), maintaining a healthy weight and eating a heart healthy diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3s will help improve vision and heart health. It’s always recommended that patients consult with their primary care physician before starting an exercise program or taking nutritional supplements.

Many people may not be aware that an eye exam could prevent a future heart event.

American Heart Month
The CDC reports heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Supporting American Heart Month could positively impact lives. Shofner Vision Center along with other leading health professionals encourages Americans to visit the Million Hearts® website to find tools that can assist with making heart-healthy goals that last a lifetime.

About Dr. Shofner
Recognized by his peers as one of the most outstanding Board Certified Ophthalmologist in the United States, Dr. Stewart Shofner has performed over 30,000 LASIK procedures and 10,000 ocular surgeries and his business continues to grow…mostly from patient referrals. Dr. Shofner has outstanding credentials to deliver the best care and surgical outcomes for patients.

About Shofner Vision Center
Shofner Vision Center provides comprehensive vision care services including LASIK/PRK vision correction, cataract surgery and eye disease diagnosis and treatment. Shofner Vision Center utilizes the most advanced, proven technology to deliver the best solutions safely and reliably. Patients can schedule appointments online or call 615-340-4733.

Benefits of Bariatric Surgery For Liver Health

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This article was supplied by PRWeb, but what are your thoughts about it?? Please share in the comments section below….

newspaperAn article published July 27 on Medical Xpress detailed two separate studies that pointed to how weight loss had tremendous benefits for the health of a patient’s liver. The article focused on the study and prevalence of “nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a disease characterized by fat in the liver,” and how weight loss affected the remission of this disease. In the study that focused on weight loss surgery, it was shown that 85 percent of patients with NASH – which is also often referred to as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – were no longer suffering from the condition when examined one year after their weight loss surgery. According to bariatric surgeon Michael Feiz, M.D., F.A.C.S, while very few similar studies have been done tying liver health directly to weight loss surgery, others, including one mentioned by the article, do examine liver health in terms of weight loss in general. Therefore, what this study (and many others pertaining to weight loss surgery’s benefit with a variety of other health conditions) really shows is that weight loss surgery is a tremendous tool to help patients lose weight. According to Dr. Feiz, there are two distinct ways that a weight loss surgery helps a patient lose the weight and keep it off:

1. “It Limits Capacity” – What all bariatric procedures have in common, notes Dr. Feiz, is that they are designed to make people feel full with less food at each meal. The gastric band technique does this by slowing the intake of food via a band placed around the entrance to the stomach, while the gastric sleeve works by actually removing a large portion of the stomach to create a smaller stomach. Dr. Feiz notes that he prefers these newer methods over the gastric bypass procedure because they do not alter the path of digestion, and generally offer a lower rate of complications.

2. “It Limits Cravings” – Dr. Feiz always reminds his patients that one of the biggest differences between the Lap Band and the gastric sleeve procedure is that the gastric sleeve provides the patient with added hormonal benefits. He explains that, when roughly 80 percent of the stomach is removed with the sleeve gastrectomy, the part of the stomach largely responsible for emitting much of the hunger hormone, known as ghrelin, is also removed. This means that, after the surgery, far less of this hormone reaches the brain every time the stomach is empty, significantly reducing cravings.

Dr. Feiz & Associates have helped countless patients send a variety of serious medical conditions into remission by losing weight with weight loss surgery. Any obese patients curious about weight loss surgery can call Dr. Feiz & Associates today at 310-855-8058 or visit the medical office online at http://www.DrFeiz.com today.

Coffee Trend That May Be Risky For Health

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your comments below…..

coffeeCoffee is associated with many health benefits, but too much caffeinated coffee may lead to insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and the jitters.

French press coffee may be all the rage right now, but it comes with health risks, reports the May 2016 Harvard Health Letter.

Making pressed coffee involves mixing boiling water and coarsely ground coffee beans in a small pitcher, letting it steep for a few minutes, and then pressing a mesh plunger from the top of the pitcher to the bottom to strain the liquid and trap the coffee grounds.

Devotees say this type of coffee is more flavorful than coffee that’s filtered in an automatic drip coffeemaker. But is it healthier? “We don’t know; it’s never been studied that carefully, and it likely depends on the beans and the roasting process,” says Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. What we do know is that too much unfiltered coffee may raise “bad” LDL cholesterol, because it contains certain harmful compounds that would otherwise be trapped by a filter.

Even filtered coffee comes with risks. Drinking too much caffeinated coffee may lead to insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, and the jitters. If any of those lead to getting less sleep every night, the risk of developing chronic conditions goes up.

Fortunately for coffee lovers, the savory brew is also associated with many health benefits when intake is limited to five cups or fewer per day, such as lower blood pressure, a slower rate of weight gain with age, and reduced risks for developing type 2 diabetes or dying from cardiovascular disease or neurological diseases.

Read the full-length article: “Coffee: Love it or leave it?”

Also in the May 2016 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

* Hearing loss: Early warning signs that are easy to miss

* In search of comfortable shoes, despite foot problems

* The latest thinking on heartburn medications

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).