health tips

Healthy Indoor Plants for a Healthy Home

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It is well known that spending time outdoors in nature is proven to reduce anxiety and depression. But, there can also be many health benefits of bringing nature inside. Adding a few indoor plants to your home will not only boost your mood by adding splashes of color, but will also improve your health. Indoor plants naturally filter the toxic air in your household. Toxins can come into your house in many ways, through dry cleaning chemicals, household-cleaning products (such as furniture polish and oils), and from dish and laundry detergents. By selecting a few of your favorite plants or flowers and bringing them into the house, you will minimize the respiratory and neurological damage outside toxins can cause.

Flower Power

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Indoor flowers will require a little work and a lot of light. However, they bring cheer, fragrance, and cleaner air into any room you place them. Gerbera Daisies are beautiful flowers that come in a wide variation of pinks, reds, and yellows. These flowers can assist in removing the toxins benzene, which is present in many inks and dyes, and Trichloroethylene (also known as TCE), which contaminates our drinking water.

 

The popular Chrysanthemum, or ‘Mum’ is another fun, colorful flower option for your home. With lots of water and light, Mum’s will flourish in your home and clarify your air from benzene. For an added health benefit, use the leaves to make your own Chrysanthemum tea. The tea is known for its amazing health benefits, which range from helping clear sinuses, to preventing eye deterioration as you age.

Pick a Plant

Indoor plants tend to be a bit more durable compared to their flower counterparts, but still offer amazing health benefits. For a no fuss option, consider a Rubber Plant, which can tolerate low temperatures and little light. Bamboo Palms can add a tropical flair to your home while removing toxins such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. Your Bamboo Palm will do best in a window with direct sunlight, and you can enjoy watching it grow to be several feet tall. If you are someone who often forgets to water your plants, consider an Aloe Vera plant .The Aloe plant requires minimal attention but still detoxifies your air, and can also be used to treat minor cuts and burns.

For more creative ways to make your home and body healthier, read more on our blog or contact MD Home Health


Are You Cooking with Healthy Oils

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olive oil

Cooking with the Healthy Oils

As we age, more and more attention goes into making sure we are taking better care of our bodies. From diet to exercise, there are a plethora of ways in which we can make small changes toward a happier, healthier, body-mind-soul. One of the ways in which we might not think our health is being negatively affected is through the oils we use to cook. Often times throughout history, health studies and ideas have changed regarding healthy oils to cook with. With some up to date expert knowledge about cooking with oils, greater insight can be gained into your health; furthering down the path toward a happier, healthier you.

 The Facts

When cooking with oils, it is not only important to pick an oil that his healthy for you, but also an oil that will remain healthy once you cook it. The heating of oils can often times change their chemical makeup, releasing harmful toxins and carcinogens into your food and body. It is best to avoid polyunsaturated fats due to this, as they break up easily under heat. It is best to choose oils with a high level of stability under high heat, according to nutrition experts. This will prevent the oils from oxidizing, a process that releases the harmful free radicals aforementioned. It is also best to choose cooking oils and/or fats that are low in saturated fats, as these can raise the risk for high cholesterol and heart disease.

 What to Avoid

Now that it is known to avoid polyunsaturated oils, one may be wondering what those are. Common polyunsaturated oils include safflower oil, sunflower and sesame seed oil, corn and soy based oils, fish oil, flaxseed oil, as well as several other nut oils. Monounsaturated fats hold up better under heat and include olive, canola, peanut and avocado oils. The monounsaturated fats aren’t the greatest for you when cooking if using them all of the time, however they are certainly a lesser of the two evils. Other oils to avoid include cottonseed oil, grapeseed, and rice bran oil, as well as canola or rapeseed oils. While they do not all low heat indexes, some are highly processed, and to be avoided. Butter substitutes such as margarine and Crisco are also harmful to one’s health, as they contain hydrogenated oils which have been linked with higher cholesterol and even diabetes.

coconut oils

Oils Great for Cooking

Experts have concluded that substituting polyunsaturated and saturated fats in one’s diet with monounsaturated fats works well at lowering cholesterol. This is particularly important as we age. Because of this factor, as well as its incredibly high heat tolerance, coconut oil is the number one best oil to use in the kitchen. If one is to cook with olive oil, peanut oil, macadamia nut oil or avocado oil, it should be done at a lower heat so as to avoid free radicals. Other substances that are OK to cook with sparingly include butter and lard, however, they are high in saturated fats and not recommended as a healthy part of a diet if one is battling high cholesterol or heart disease.

When in doubt about the healthiest oil to cook with, it is best to simply gravitate toward the coconut oil, and use other monounsaturated fat based oils sparingly at low heat. If there is that special occasion where nothing but butter will do, go for the real thing rather than the margarine, as using a hydrogenated oil would be worse. Lard can be similar to butter with a low amount of polyunsaturated fats and high monounsaturated fats depending on the diet of the animal. Those fed grains will have a higher polyunsaturated fat makeup, while a grass-fed diet will yield high monounsaturated fats within the lard. One should note that it is best to consult a physician before applying and changes to your diet that you are unsure about.

For more great tips on healthy living, visit us at MD Home Health. Until then, start cooking your way into better health. 


The Power of Therapeutic Writing

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The therapeutic power of art has been known about and explored for centuries. Whether through painting, music, or writing, both artists and non-artists alike have used these mediums of expression as effective ways to heal the soul. It may not seem like it at first, but an easy way to start healing your soul and improving your psychological well-being is to simply keep a diary or daily journal. Releasing pent-up stress and anxiety onto the page can do wonders for your emotional health and general happiness.

Writing Therapy

Believe it or not, diaries aren’t just for teenagers and they’re not just full of adolescent ramblings. In fact, there is a very important reason why teenagers keep diaries and why we could stand to learn a thing or two from this very common high school practice. The teenage years are an especially difficult time because of constant hormone shifts, awkward maturation processes, and crucial life transitions that can affect mood and mental health significantly. Keeping a private journal is an instinctual way that adolescents learn to grapple with these changes in order to help stabilize their emotions. As we get older, we tend to lose or “outgrow” this instinct, but it can be helpful to relearn it with age, because the power of therapeutic writing doesn’t diminish even if we have survived adolescence.

Writing Therapy

Mental health professionals have also picked up on the importance of therapeutic writing. Many psychologists and counselors use art therapy during sessions and psychological interventions as part of a concerted regimen aimed at expressing, understanding, and coming to terms with problematic thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. Because of the uninhibited nature of many expressive art forms, journal writing can help us identify how we are really feeling and how we can improve upon that. It also helps that it’s cheap, essentially risk-free, and nearly anybody can do it. All you need is some paper, a pen, and anywhere from ten to sixty minutes a day. 

It’s important to remember, however, that persistent situations involving serious emotional and mental health problems should always be dealt with by a mental health professional. While therapeutic writing can help alleviate everyday stresses, it shouldn’t be considered a replacement for professional therapy. For more information on the importance of mental health and when professional assistance is required, visit us at MD Home Health. Otherwise, get writing and start healing!


Art Is Beauty, Art is Therapeutic

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Woman Painting

For hundreds of years, art has been both beautiful and therapeutic and will only continue to provide benefits as time goes on. Art can literally freeze a moment in time and even freeze the viewer as they ponder the meaning or theme of the artwork. Emotions can be demonstrated brilliantly with art and can help the viewer release or better understand their own emotions. There are numerous philosophical and psychological benefits that come with the beauty of art.

Art therapy has become much more accepted over the years and is becoming a serious therapeutic contender in the world of therapy. These days art is not only being used for appeal in the home or office, but used to improve physical or mental healing. This intriguing form of therapy revolves around the creative process of art, allowing those who do not feel comfortable expressing themselves with words to use creative art instead. This can even be done without creating the art yourself but rather using art that has already been made.

Even the average person who does not necessarily require therapy can greatly benefit from either creating art or viewing it. Expressing yourself through art can often show you things that otherwise might not have comprehended, especially if discussed with an art therapist. Art therapists are trained to help their patients through creative expression. Self-exploration is a major part of art and can also lead to new conclusions. A convenient benefit of art therapy is the fact that you don’t actually need a therapist, but rather a willingness to open up and express yourself through art.

The many benefits of art therapy:

  • Improve Mental and Physical Health
  • Help with Emotional Abuse
  • Help Those who are Bipolar
  • Helps to Better Understand Yourself
  • Improve Cancer
  • Improve Social Skills
  • Reduce Post Traumatic Stress
  • Reduce Pain
  • Reduce Anxiety
  • Reduce Tension

For more information regarding art therapy, contact our experts at MD Home Health today and begin to live healthier tomorrow.


Recent Hip Replacement Concerns for Seniors

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The Facts of Hip Replacement

hipThe idea of using implants to surgically repair injured or worn joints dates back three centuries. Since the 1970s, modern hip implants restored mobility and quality of life to a number of people. Thanks to modern medicine, many people are living longer lives. Because of this, many hip implant manufacturers like DePuy endeavored to create more durable implants that would provide longer, more efficient performance for younger, active patients.

In 2005, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy unit released the ASR line of metal-on-metal (MoM) implants that promised increased performance, decreased risk of dislocation and wider range of motion. The devices were popular, and doctors implanted 93,000 of these devices worldwide before they were recalled in 2010.

The recall came too late for thousands of people who suffered complications from the ASR.

Complications from DePuy Hip Implants

Normally, hip implants last about 15 years, but some DePuy hips failed within a year of implantation. The same metal-on-metal design that was supposed to make the hip more durable resulted in painful complications for hundreds of people. Company documents revealed that nearly half of all DePuy ASR implants could fail early and require complicated and painful revision surgery to replace the implant.

The ASR implants use cobalt chromium shells, and all components are made of metal. When these metal parts rub against each other, metal particles flake off and seep into blood and tissue.

Critics say part of the problem is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the DePuy ASR devices though the 510(k) approval process. This means that the government did not require testing before DePuy began selling the implants.

The FDA received almost 18,000 reports of problems with metal-on-metal implants like the ASR from 2000 to 2011. Patients filed lawsuits against DePuy after suffering from severe pain, tissue damage and metallosis – or metal poisoning.

Some of the complications reported include:

  • Groin pain
  • Tissue inflammation
  • Pockets of fluid called pseudotumors
  • Tissue discoloration
  • Tissue death
  • Implant loosening
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture

In addition, the metal particles can travel to other organs and cause damage.

Alternatives to Hip Replacement Surgery

Most doctors recommend hip replacement surgery to people who suffer from osteoarthritis–a degenerative joint disease. For some people who are concerned about hip replacement surgery, there may be alternatives to delay or avoid it by treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Some of these alternatives include:

  • Keeping a Healthy Weight. People who are heavier put more stress on their joints and may wear them out quicker. Losing even just a small amount of weight can decrease pressure on joints.
  • Chiropractic Care. Some clinical studies suggest that chiropractic care can treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis by increasing range of motion, restoring natural movement of the spine, reducing pain and relaxing the muscles.
  • Nutrition. Certain foods can aggravate the inflammation around joints and make them less mobile and painful. Certain foods like garlic, onions, leafy greens and those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation.
  • Supplements. Supplements may also help with joint pain. While many people have heard of glucosamine and chondroitin, study results on this supplement remain mixed for people with osteoarthritis. SAMe (s-adenosyl-L-methionine), on the other hand, is a lesser known supplement that studies show is as effective as Celebrex in reducing pain and improving joint function. This supplement may interfere with certain medications and should only be taken with doctor supervision.

For people who received a DePuy ASR or other metal-on-metal hip implant, the FDA recommends having regular follow-ups with their doctor even if there are no symptoms. If pain is an issue, doctors can use imaging studies and blood tests to check for metal levels and tissue damage.

Bio: Michelle Y. Llamas is a published writer and researcher. She hosts Drugwatch Radio, a health podcast, and writes about drugs and medical devices for Drugwatch.com.

Sources:

University of Maryland Medical Center. (2011). Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/osteoarthritis-000118.htm

Stanton, T. (2012, May). Metal-on-metal hip implants: The clinical issues. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Retrieved from http://www.aaos.org/news/aaosnow/may12/clinical4.asp


Sleep and Aging

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Sleep to your Health

As we get older many changes happen to our body, both physically in appearance and durability and mentally in our memory and our sleeping patterns.sleep

The older people get, the harder it is to not only fall asleep, but to stay asleep once they do. Although some may think that as we get older we need less sleep, the truth is that people need to have consistent sleep throughout adulthood.

There are different stages of sleep in the sleeping cycle beginning with light dreamless stage and venturing into a deep sleep where active dreaming can occur. These stages of sleep continue during the night as you sleep, but as you get older, you tend to stay in the lighter sleep stage a lot more. This causes you to wake up and still feel very tired and stay tired in the middle of the day.

It also takes older adults a lot longer to fall asleep and once they do it takes away deep sleep time which can cause you to wake up in the night and feel tired the next day.

There are numerous sleep disorders that are more prone to older adults that can seriously affect the amount of sleep they get. One such disorder is called “advanced sleep phase syndrome” in which they become tired and fall asleep very early in the evening and wake up much earlier than everyone else. They get the same hours of sleep but the sleep is not as good and once in the cycle it is hard to break. Exposure to light makes it harder to fall asleep and therapy for this syndrome typically involves light therapy to help keep them awake a bit later and get their sleeping schedule back to normal.

Insomnia is very high among older adults and can be extremely detrimental for your health. The 2003 Sleep in America poll by the NSF showed that nearly half of older adults have symptoms of insomnia. The loss of sleep caused by insomnia can make life very complicated as well. People who experience it can go without sleep for up to a week or more if they do not have any treatment for it.

If you feel that you may be having any symptoms relating to sleeping disorders it might be worth it to speak with your doctor to find out more information and your doctor can make a sound assessment to determine if there is a problem or not. If you can’t get through to your doctor and would like some immediate information please visit us at mdhomehealth.com.


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