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How to Deal with an Everlasting Itch

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About 31 million Americans suffer from skin-related symptoms. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that means “to boil out” and is caused by genetics.

A person can continue itching for the longest time until it intrudes with their social routine. Environmental factors such as solvents, soaps, or low humidity can trigger this skin disease. It mostly develops on the neck and flexures of arms and legs. When the skin becomes too irritated, it breaks out in red streaks and can even weaken a person’s immune system.

Researchers found that not only does this skin condition affect how you feel, but also people’s engagement with society. A study showed that out of 600 people with the skin condition, almost one-third said they were dissatisfied with life.

Some ways to easily prevent your skin from irritating is by removing the allergen that is causing your skin to be sensitive. Try to avoid wearing tight clothes or taking hot showers. Most importantly, avoid scratching! It seems tempting to relieve the itching by scratching temporarily, but it worsens the condition over time. An attempt is to keep the skin moisturized and get adequate sleep. If necessary, there are always options to use medications such as antihistamines, antibiotics, and topical steroid creams.

Don’t let this condition deter your regular quality of life! Know your environmental triggers and talk to a doctor if necessary.  

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A-Z

Common Signs of Low-Grade Inflammation and Why You Should Care

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What is inflammation? Inflammation is defined as a biological response to remove dangerous stimuli and begin the healing process as fast as possible. Inflammation, in its acute form such as injury and infection, is quite noticeable. However, low-grade inflammation is crucial to watch out for. Low-grade inflammation can manifest itself through chronic pain. Even if there are smaller signs of low-grade inflammation, treating these symptoms will secure your body from confronting the long-term and harmful effects of this health problem. Here are a few signs of low-grade inflammation that you may want to watch out for.

1. You Notice Swelling

If you feel swelling after some injury or for no particular reason, then this is an alarming situation. This is important to consider even if you feel minimal swelling. People generally acknowledge this symptom when some part of body is extremely swollen or sore. However, medical advice says that it is important to check up even the most minute swellings to prevent problems in the long run.

2. You Feel Tired Without any Reason

Low-grade chronic inflammation can make you tired even if there is no physical activity. Although, this particular symptom might not jump out to you instantly, it is necessary to watch if it continues on for long. Moreover, if you have iron deficiency or constant fatigue, then this may be pointing out a sign of mild inflammation.

3. You Have Unexplained Pains and Aches

Another highly vague, yet common symptom of low-grade inflammation is pains and aches. If you are not doing any hectic or stressful activity and your body hurts, then it shows that there is something that needs serious attention.

4. You Have A Very Low Mood

A possible cause for depression or mood swings can indeed be be inflammation. The way in which inflammation affects brain function can result in depressive brain episodes. Appropriate care by doctors, nurses, and therapists should be administered if this continues to happen for a long period of time.

5. You Feel Foggy

Inflammation also causes the problem of brain fog. This is a genuine medical issue that is confronted by people who have chronic health conditions. Brain fog can result in cognitive impairment, depression, anhedonia, fatigue, and fever.

6. Your Joints Feel Tender

Long-term low-grade inflammation can cause severe damage to tissues of your body. So, if you feel that your joints are getting tender or raw, then this is a condition that needs serious attention by a medical professional.

Even if the aforementioned symptoms are not bothering you much at start, they should be treated sooner so that they do not become extremely serious. Since the symptoms of low-grade inflammation are extremely widespread, it may require hard work to diagnose the root cause of such health issues.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bustle.com/p/7-signs-you-have-low-grade-inflammation-why-you-should-pay-attention-to-it-16102033
  2. https://bodyinmind.org/low-grade-inflammation-brain/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php

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Easy Ways to Reduce Stress

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Have you ever been extremely overwhelmed with everyday components of life? Maybe work is starting to feel too stressful? Or do personal relationships seem too much to handle? Here are some easy ways to combat your stress and feel in control of your life. Following these tips will help you lead a more peaceful yet productive lifestyle.

1. Set goals based off of how much time it would take to fulfill a task

Before starting on any task, be sure to plan out how much time the task will take. Consider jotting down a schedule for the day, and try to stick to those allocated times for each of your tasks. Even if you cannot commit to all of the fixed times, tell yourself that you will get through at least 25% of what you had originally planned. Once you accomplish that consistently, then try to accomplish 50% of your tasks. By following this, you will avoid burnout and will feel in control of the tasks at hand.

2. Go outside

While this may seem simplistic, going outside and getting exposure to fresh air have been proven to reduce stress. In particular, there is a technique called forest ‘bathing’ that is defined as the practice of spending time in a wooded area is good for one’s mind, body and spirit. Participants of this technique were found to have lower blood pressure and lower levels of cortisol. Even if you are not near a forest, going outside and being present in nature will help you establish tranquility in your life.

3. Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system by partaking in breathing exercises

The autonomic nervous system is sometimes known as the involuntary nervous system. It controls several bodily systems even without any conscious direction, and two of its 2 branches are the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, it releases a feeling of calmness and relaxation in your mind as well as body. On the other hand, the sympathetic nervous system is known to trigger the “fight or flight” response when there is a potential threat.

These two systems work together, but in times of intense stress, they can get out of balance. When one feels anxious or stressed for long periods of times, the sympathetic nervous system overpowers the parasympathetic.

Therefore, by stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system, the balance will be restored. You can do this by breathing through your diaphragm, practicing mindfulness, and surrounding yourself in a positive environment.

4. No multitasking.

Though multitasking may create an illusion of getting things done faster, it actually drains the glucose fuel needed by the brain. This decreases the efficiency of brain activity and makes us feel more tired in the long run. Instead of multitasking, try to really focus on one activity and space it out with breaks or snacks. This will help the mind feel calm, productive, and at its best.

Sources:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/turning-straw-gold/201109/4-tips-slowing-down-reduce-stress
  2. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/how-nature-can-solve-life-s-most-challenging-problems-ncna749361

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Alzheimers

The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Explained

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The difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s is unknown to many people. As a result,  they are used interchangeably during everyday understanding and conversation. So what is the difference between these two terms? According to a report from National Institute on Aging, dementia is a brain-related disorder that negatively impacts the performance and communication of routine activities. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that impacts brain parts, particularly those parts that control language, memory, and thoughts. Here are some specifics on each of the terms.

What is dementia?

A big misconception is that dementia is a disease; in fact, it is considered a syndrome, which is a group of symptoms that do not have a definitive diagnosis. Therefore, we can think of dementia as an umbrella term used for a set of different symptoms. Some of these symptoms include loss of memory and impaired thinking, which is connected with the cognitive decline of the phenomenon of aging. A range of screening tests is used by doctors to find out the root cause of dementia such as brain scans, mental status assessments, and blood tests. There are many types of dementia symptoms including the following.

  1. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: CJD occurs when a protein is folded into an abnormal shape, thus resulting in brain damage and rapid mental decline. Some of the common symptoms of CJD are mood changes, movements composed of twitching, and issues with walking properly.
  2. Frontotemporal Dementia: FTD is a form of dementia symptoms in which the nerve cells located in the front and side of the brain are lost. This leads to personality and behavior changes that are quite pronounced.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the statement of the Center for Disease Control, the common cause behind dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, resulting in around 70% of all the cases of dementia. In reality, Alzheimer is regarded as a progressive disease of the brain leading to memory loss and cognitive decline.  The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease comprise of confusion, impaired speech, and impaired thought. These symptoms start to appear around the age of 60.

Additional differences between the two diseases

Whenever a patient is diagnosed with dementia, they are also being diagnosed with a number of different symptoms. This can be compared to diagnosing a sore throat. The throat is sore but the actual reason for this cause is not known. It could be a common cold, strep throat, or allergies. Likewise, when a person is suffering from dementia, they are encountering symptoms without knowing what the reason is behind these symptoms.

An additional difference between these two diseases is that Alzheimer’s disease is not reversible. It is incurable and degenerative at this time. However, some types of dementia, such as vitamin deficiency or drug interaction, are actually temporary or reversible.

More research and public awareness is needed

While families experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia diseases have a clear understanding of the respective diseases, more public awareness is needed for these diseases. Additional understanding of what are the factors causing Alzheimer disease will assist in clearing any ambiguity, thus resulting in better treatment plans.

Sources:

  1. https://www.alzheimers.net/difference-between-alzheimers-and-dementia/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/guide/alzheimers-and-dementia-whats-the-difference#1
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/alzheimers-disease/difference-dementia-alzheimers#alzheimers-disease

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