Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and lack of interest. Unsurprisingly, it can be devastating for the person with the disorder. However, friends and family members may also be impacted. If someone you love is suffering from depression, keep these four things in mind.
1. Don’t take symptoms personally
Depression makes it difficult to connect with people, even loved ones. If a person with depression lashes out at you or says hurtful things, remember that it’s the illness talking.
2. Be a compassionate listener
Many people worry about discussing their depression for fear of stigmatization or being hospitalized. However, talking openly with a non-judgmental listener has been shown to be beneficial.
3. Guide them toward professional help
Encourage your loved one to find a therapist or psychiatrist and consider treatment options like medication. Offer to go with them to the first appointment or help prepare a list of symptoms to discuss with a professional.
4. Don’t try to fix them
Do what you can to guide a person with depression toward the right resources, but remember that it’s not up to you to cure them. Recovery is ultimately their own responsibility. Focus instead on being a positive presence in their life.
Finally, make sure to look after your own health when caring for someone with depression. It may be helpful to talk with a family member, friend or mental health professional about what you’re going through.
How to get rid of dust mites
Have you recently been diagnosed with a dust mite allergy? Here’s how to evict them from your home.
Dust mites nest in fabrics and are often present in large numbers in the bedroom, particularly in bedding.
Bedding should be cleaned weekly and tumble dried on high heat for at least one hour. Curtains should be cleaned regularly, and the room should be vacuumed two to three times a week.
In addition, avoiding rugs and using dust mite-proof encasements for mattresses, pillows and duvets will drastically reduce allergen exposure.
Furniture with wooden, leather or vinyl surfaces will reduce the dust mite population, or at least ensure they don’t nest there. Note that vacuuming isn’t enough to get rid of them. Use a wet cloth to remove dust from the surfaces around the house. Finally, try to keep the relative humidity below 50 percent, as dust mites thrive in humid environments.
Controlling the dust mite population in your home will drastically reduce the intensity of any allergy symptoms. For additional advice, consult a health care professional.
What are dust mites?
Dust mites are microscopic members of the arachnid family that feed on dead skin and other particles. Their excrement is the cause of our allergic reactions.
Spotting spoiled food: beyond the best-by date
Is it safe to eat? While best-by dates are useful indicators, your senses are a much better way to gauge freshness. Here’s how to determine whether food is safe to eat.
• Dairy. Milk, yogurt, sour cream and other high-humidity dairy products should be chucked if they’ve separated, smell sour, have curdled or are showing even a hint of mold.
• Cheese. Hard and semi-soft cheeses like Parmesan and cheddar are fairly resistant to mold. If there’s only a little bit on the surface, you can cut off one inch around the affected area and eat the rest. Moldy soft cheeses should be discarded.
• Bread. Since mold spores can penetrate the porous surface of bread, a moldy loaf should be thrown out.
• Potatoes. Throw out any potato with green flesh. This is due to an accumulation of solanine, a toxic chemical naturally produced by potatoes. If the green coloration doesn’t extend below the skin, the potato is safe to eat once peeled. Make sure to remove eyes and sprouts and to throw out soft, moldy potatoes.
• Fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and veggies, like carrots and bell peppers, are too dense for mold to penetrate past the surface, so these are safe to eat once the affected spot is removed. Slimy, discolored and thoroughly moldy fruits and veggies should be thrown out.
• Eggs. Conduct a water test to determine freshness. If the egg sinks, it’s good. If it floats, toss it.
• Canned food. Throw out rusted or bulging cans, as well as those that have been punctured.
• Meat and fish. Minor discoloration is nothing to worry about. However, a slimy texture or an unusual smell are indicators of spoilage. The same is true of fresh fish, which should never smell fishy. Deli meats with a slimy coating should also be discarded.
Remember, best-by dates are indicators of freshness, not safety. However, if in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
5 unexpected signs of heart disease
Every February, the American Heart Association organizes Heart Month to help raise awareness about the warning signs and risk factors of heart disease. Though there are a number of more commonly recognized symptoms in¬cluding chest discomfort, dizziness, fainting and shortness of breath, here are five lesser known indicators of this type of disease.
1. Frank’s sign
Diagonal creases on the earlobes have been linked to having a higher risk of heart problems. This sign was first described by American physician Anders Frank, and it’s associated to arteriosclerosis, which is the buildup of pla¬que in the arteries, a common cause of heart attack.
2. Fatty bumps
Yellow, fatty bumps called xanthomas, which can appear on the knees, elbows, eyelids and buttocks, are a sign that someone has exceptionally high levels of lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. The medical conditions that cause them to form lead to the generation of fat deposits in arteries, which is why they may be an indicator of heart disease.
3. Nail clubbing
Digital clubbing is when the fingernails and tips of both hands become thicker and change shape. This occurs when there’s not enough blood reaching the extremities and the body reacts by producing a growth-promoting factor to compensate.
4. Iris halo
Nearly 45 percent of people over the age of 40 have a fatty ring around their iris. This number goes up to 70 percent for people over 60. These rings are associated with well-established coronary disease risk factors.
5. Blue lips
Lips can turn a blueish color in people with a heart problem. This phenomenon is called cyanosis, and it’s caused by the failure of the heart to provide oxygenated blood to tissues in the body.
Though all of these symptoms of heart disease can have benign causes, if you notice any of them, it’s time to visit your doctor.
Heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death in the United States.
4 foods for healthier skin
In winter, your skin is routinely exposed to the effects of cold temperatures, indoor heating, pollution and sunlight. Here are four foods that can help allay the effects of these stressors.
1. Fatty fish. Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, fish such as salmon and mackerel help preserve your skin’s elasticity, reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Adding them to your diet will mitigate the negative effects of sunlight on your skin and provide essential antioxidants.
2. Avocado. An excellent source of healthy fats and vitamin C, this popular fruit helps skin maintain its elasticity and protects it from irritants. It’s also highly versatile and can be enjoyed in salads, smoothies, sandwiches and on its own.
3. Nuts. The amino acids in nuts are essential to our skin’s health. They promote its natural regenerative processes while improving blood circulation. Add them to salads and baked goods or eat them as a snack.
4. Berries. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries all contain very high concentrations of antioxidants, which slow skin aging and contribute to your overall health. Add them to your cereal and smoothies or munch on them as a low-calorie snack.
Other skin-friendly foods include olive oil, green tea, garlic and red grapes. As a bonus, adding these to your diet will diversify it and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Keep fit and enjoy life!
It’s not because you’re retired that your days have to stretch into a succession of endless hours. It’s just the opposite! Now is the time to enjoy life. Here are some tips to help you stay in shape for years to come.
• Watch your diet. It’s important to eat well to prevent obesity and its harmful effects on your health. The revised American Food Guide is a good reference tool that contains recommendations for the different age groups.
• Exercise. Walk, dance, swim, bike, play golf, or do Tai chi. In other words, stay active. And don’t just exercise your body; your brain also needs a workout. Keep your mind sharp by doing crossword puzzles or playing memory games.
• Relax. You’ve lived a full life; now take the time to relax. Reduce stress through meditation or yoga, or relax with a good book.
• Have fun. To be in good shape is also a matter of well-being, because to stay fit you have to stay happy. That is why it’s important to keep busy. Retirement is the perfect time to indulge in the passions you’ve always neglected or to explore and discover new ones. Seize every opportunity to laugh and have fun with your loved ones.
Follow the recommendations of your doctor; take your medications, stop smoking, relax, and enjoy Mother Nature and all that wonderful fresh air. In other words, take care of yourself and make the most of life!
Explore all your options; you may discover some new passions.
The benefits of bandages and tapings
Physical therapists use elastic bandages and tapings to help speed up the recovery of injured patients. These devices aid in stabilizing joints, reducing inflammation, strengthening muscles, increasing circulation, releasing muscle spasms and alleviating muscle and joint pain.
Support bandages can be used to stabilize the movement of certain joints, while compression bandages are applied to help reduce swelling during recovery.
A neuro-proprioceptive taping (or K-Taping), on the other hand, is a relatively new technique in physical therapy. It involves applying elastic tape to the affected body part. This helps to reduce pain, increase circulation — which speeds up healing — and improve the interaction between muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves.
Commonly used by athletes, this type of taping is water-resistant and can last up to five days. It’s normally used for shoulder subluxations, tendonitis, posture correction or to reduce pain during an activity. Consult a physical therapist to learn more about the different types of bandages and tapings and their associated benefits.