COPD: No Longer a Man’s Disease

November is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) awareness month, and it’s a time to make sure we know all the facts about who suffers from this condition. In recent years, the incidence of COPD has increased steadily in women. COPD kills more women than breast cancer and diabetes combined. Women who smoke are 13 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers. Additionally, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis as men, and the disease kills women at almost double the rate in some states.

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. It is the third leading cause of death in the country — 24 million people in the U.S. have the disease, but 12 million do not know they have it. While COPD is a growing health crisis, certain states are seeing a higher prevalence of the disease. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the first ever state-by-state COPD prevalence rates based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). It was shown that Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee are among the highest in the nation, all having over an 8-percent diagnosis rate in their adult population.

Signs of COPD include chronic cough, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. People often misread these symptoms as signs of aging or being out of shape. This is a common mistake, because COPD mostly occurs in people 40 years of age and older, just as middle age starts to settle in. People may also connect weight gain or inactivity with shortness of breath. Yet, COPD can develop for years without any noticeable signs of shortness of breath.

There is a correlation between former smokers and COPD. Not everyone who smokes develops COPD, but most of the individuals who have COPD (about 90 percent) have smoked. Heavy or long-term contact with secondhand smoke or other lung irritants in the home, such as organic cooking fuel, may also cause COPD.

Environmental factors may also contribute to COPD. Long-term exposure to harmful pollutants in the workplace and exposure to dust or fumes can be a factor. Even if an individual has never smoked or been exposed to pollutants for an extended period of time, they can still develop COPD.

Take Action

A simple breathing test, called spirometry, may be ordered by your healthcare provider to test you for COPD, especially if you are a current or former smoker, have been exposed to harmful lung irritants for a long period of time, or have a history of COPD in your family.

Making lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to manage a COPD diagnosis. Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, which can be just as dangerous as smoking, are two ways to help slow the progression of the disease. Also avoiding lung irritants, like dust, air pollution, paint sprays, chemical fumes and other airborne irritants will help symptoms from worsening.

At times, individuals who live with COPD experience acute exacerbations — a flare up or episode when breathing gets worse than usual and can lead to infection. Exacerbations can be serious, prompting a call to the physician, visit to the emergency room, or overnight stay in the hospital.  Because exacerbations can cause the disease to progress faster, it’s important to help prevent them as much as possible. This means learning to recognize early warning signs and working with your physician to determine the best treatment.

There are many different therapies available for the treatment of COPD including medication and various breathing techniques.  Pulmonary rehabilitation programs are also very beneficial and can help you learn to breathe – and function – at the highest level possible.

Finally, get help and support by calling the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1-866-316-COPD (2673). You can connect with the COPD community and talk to others who are living well with many of the same challenges you face. If you are diagnosed with COPD, seriously consider making changes in your life. Talk with your doctor about what you can do to breathe better and improve your ability to take part in your usual activities.

By: John W. Walsh, President and Co-Founder of the COPD Foundation

Orginal Article: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/health-answers/copd-no-longer-a-mans-disease/

More Physical Health...

November is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) awareness month, and it’s a time to make sure we know all the facts about who suffers from this condition. In recent years, the incidence of COPD has increased steadily in women. COPD kills more women than breast cancer and diabetes combined. Women who smoke are 13 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers. Additionally, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with chronic bronchitis as men, and the disease kills women at almost double the rate in some states.

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it increasingly difficult to breathe. It is the third leading cause of death in the country — 24 million people in the U.S. have the disease, but 12 million do not know they have it. While COPD is a growing health crisis, certain states are seeing a higher prevalence of the disease. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the first ever state-by-state COPD prevalence rates based on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). It was shown that Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee are among the highest in the nation, all having over an 8-percent diagnosis rate in their adult population.

Signs of COPD include chronic cough, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. People often misread these symptoms as signs of aging or being out of shape. This is a common mistake, because COPD mostly occurs in people 40 years of age and older, just as middle age starts to settle in. People may also connect weight gain or inactivity with shortness of breath. Yet, COPD can develop for years without any noticeable signs of shortness of breath.

There is a correlation between former smokers and COPD. Not everyone who smokes develops COPD, but most of the individuals who have COPD (about 90 percent) have smoked. Heavy or long-term contact with secondhand smoke or other lung irritants in the home, such as organic cooking fuel, may also cause COPD.

Environmental factors may also contribute to COPD. Long-term exposure to harmful pollutants in the workplace and exposure to dust or fumes can be a factor. Even if an individual has never smoked or been exposed to pollutants for an extended period of time, they can still develop COPD.

Take Action

A simple breathing test, called spirometry, may be ordered by your healthcare provider to test you for COPD, especially if you are a current or former smoker, have been exposed to harmful lung irritants for a long period of time, or have a history of COPD in your family.

Making lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to manage a COPD diagnosis. Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, which can be just as dangerous as smoking, are two ways to help slow the progression of the disease. Also avoiding lung irritants, like dust, air pollution, paint sprays, chemical fumes and other airborne irritants will help symptoms from worsening.

At times, individuals who live with COPD experience acute exacerbations — a flare up or episode when breathing gets worse than usual and can lead to infection. Exacerbations can be serious, prompting a call to the physician, visit to the emergency room, or overnight stay in the hospital.  Because exacerbations can cause the disease to progress faster, it’s important to help prevent them as much as possible. This means learning to recognize early warning signs and working with your physician to determine the best treatment.

There are many different therapies available for the treatment of COPD including medication and various breathing techniques.  Pulmonary rehabilitation programs are also very beneficial and can help you learn to breathe – and function – at the highest level possible.

Finally, get help and support by calling the C.O.P.D. Information Line at 1-866-316-COPD (2673). You can connect with the COPD community and talk to others who are living well with many of the same challenges you face. If you are diagnosed with COPD, seriously consider making changes in your life. Talk with your doctor about what you can do to breathe better and improve your ability to take part in your usual activities.

By: John W. Walsh, President and Co-Founder of the COPD Foundation

Orginal Article: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/health-answers/copd-no-longer-a-mans-disease/

Health and wellness tips for your work, home and life—brought to you by the insurance specialists at HUB International Midwest

Winter

The winter months often provide some relief for allergy sufferers, as the outdoor air is cool and free of pollen. However, if you have allergies, you need to make sure that the air inside your house is clean as well. Be sure to:

·   Keep firewood outside.

·   Clean heating ducts and air conditioning filters.

·   Bathe house pets regularly if dander is a problem.

·   Keep your face covered when out in the cold. Going from cold outside air to warm indoor air can trigger asthma.

Spring

Mold growth blooms indoors and outdoors with spring rains. As flowers, trees, weeds and grasses begin to blossom, allergies will follow. Spring-cleaning activities can stir up dust mites, so be sure to:

·   Wash your bedding every week in hot water to help keep pollen under control.

·   Wash your hair before going to bed, since pollen can accumulate in your hair.

·   Wear an inexpensive painter’s mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming or painting to limit dust and chemical inhalation, and skin exposure.

·   Vacuum twice a week.

·   Limit the number of throw rugs in your home to reduce dust and mold.

·   Make sure the rugs you do have are washable.

·   Change air conditioning and heating air filters often.

Summer

Warm temperatures and high humidity can put a strain on seasonal allergy and asthma sufferers. Summer is the peak time for some types of pollen, smog and even mold:

·   Stay indoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when outdoor pollen counts tend to be highest.

·   Be careful when going from extreme outdoor heat to air conditioning. The temperature change can trigger an asthma attack.

·   Wear a mask when you mow the lawn or when around freshly-cut grass. Afterward, take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes.

·   Dry laundry inside instead of on an outside clothesline.

·   Check your yard for allergens, as well as other irritants such as oak, birch, cedar and cottonwood trees; weeds such as nettle or ragweed can also trigger allergies.

·   Wear shoes, long pants and long sleeves if allergic to bee stings.

·   Do not wear scented deodorants, hair products or perfumes when outdoors.

Fall

Cooler temperatures are ideal for planting flowers and trees, but be sure to plant those that produce less pollen, such as fir, pine, dogwood, azaleas, tulips, irises and pansies.

·   Wear a mask while raking leaves or when working with mulch or hay.

·   Use a dehumidifier in your basement to deter mold.

·   Clean your dehumidifier frequently.

·  Wash bathroom tiles and shower curtains with mold-killing products.

Did You Know...?

Back-to-school time is a great time to discuss allergies or asthma with your child’s school nurse and teachers. Inform them of your child’s needs, including any inhalers or medications, and what to do in case of an emergency.

By: Hub International

The first few days of a new workout routine can be magical, but much like a thriving relationship, an exercise regimen requires attention and creativity to maintain its allure. True, any exercise is better than no exercise, but who wants to always hit up the same ol’ treadmill?

Remember, the healthier you are overall, the better chance you have of avoiding eye conditions like hypertension and glaucoma, which often result from larger health issues. Mix up your workouts to help avoid gym boredom, and give these 5 activities a shot!

Roll with the punches

We’re all about the “no hitting” policy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t channel our frustrations into a punching bag every now and then. It’s a great way to improve agility, balance, circulation, and general fitness. With proper precautions and protection, you can enjoy a stress-relieving, heart-healthy workout.

Get your yoga on

Throw a twist into your yoga routine by trying aerial yoga, Cy-Yo (cycling and yoga combined), or floating yoga on a paddleboard if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Even small scale changes, such as moving your routine to the backyard or a different room in your house, can be invigorating and help you avoid the workout doldrums.

Bounce around

If you just so happen to have a trampoline hanging around, put it to good use and get jumping! If not, scope out the alternative workout scene in your neighborhood for a trampoline dodge-ball or cardio class. While an excuse to burn calories and improve muscle tone is reason enough to get jumping, the fun factor is also a plus.

Cross train it up

This approach is especially good for those who enjoy structured and compact workouts. Push your normal workout boundaries by letting your instructor guide you and your classmates from squats, to sprints, to weights, to whatever he chooses. Be forewarned: you’re in for some sore muscles the next day!

Swirl the pounds away

Hula hoops are no longer just for kids, although you can use the little ones as an excuse to squeeze in a wacky workout. Grab a weighted hula hoop for extra resistance and fat-burning power, and get swirling. The best part about this activity is you don’t have to leave your house (or your TV!).

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only. Please consult your eyecare doctor or physician for actual advice.
 
By: Envision
 
Original Article: http://www.vspenvisionnewsletter.com/2013/03/5-ways-to-avoid-workout-burnout/
 

 

 

 

 

Improve Your Chances for Good Health

“A health risk is the chance or likelihood that something will harm or otherwise affect your health risk.” People tend to understand that there are health risks around them all the time, but what they don’t understand is that there are things they can do to prevent or lessen the likelihood of health risks.

Health risk factors include: age, gender, family, health history, lifestyle and more. Health risks that are genetically or ethnically connected to a person are more difficult to avoid and/or improve. Other health risks can be improved through control over one’s diet, physical activity, and taking persuasions such as wearing a seatbelt while driving.

Dr. William Elmwood, a psychologist and behavioral scientist at NIH, says that, “Understanding health risks is key to making your own health care decisions.” This is true, the more you know and understand about your body and surrounding factors the better health choices you can make for yourself.  

Read more to further understand the importance of being able to recognize health risks and how to prevent them from happening as well as improve your chances of having good health: https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/oct2016/feature1