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Treating pain: Balancing health risks with suffering



Athletes suffering from chronic back pain or recovering from surgery often take ibuprofen to help them perform, but some experts think this might be a poor strategy, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Pain is a collective experience in sports such as golf that require repetitive back movement and place a lot of stress on the spine itself during powerful swings.

Some back surgeons and pain experts recommend the practice of taking these nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) all day if needed. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in 2015, warned about potential health concerns. Heart attack, stroke, kidney, and gastrointestinal issues have all been commonly reported when using this kind of medication which includes ibuprofen and aspirin, among others.

Other research, conducted at Appalachian State University, found that NSAIDs were not able to produce any noticeable pain relief for athletes running ultramarathons, suggesting that there may not be a performance increase worth the risks. In cyclists, bananas were able to produce pain relief similar to ibuprofen through their natural metabolites, with the added benefit of providing energy and nutrients.

At least one high-profile athlete, Tiger Woods, feels the risk is worth it. He is currently following his surgeon’s advice to take the drugs throughout his play on the course.

After four back surgeries, his physical condition is a liability to his career. For him, the drugs are safer than opioids, and the potential health risks pale in comparison to having his golf career shortened by back pain.

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Gastritis: symptoms, causes and treatments



Gastritis is a condition caused by inflammation of the stomach lining. It can be characterized as either chronic or astute. Most cases aren’t serious and symptoms typically go away once the condition’s treated.

The most common symptoms of gastritis include:

• Indigestion
• Stomach pain
• Heartburn
• Difficulty digesting food
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Bloating
• Loss of appetite
• Blood in the stool

Sometimes gastritis presents no symptoms at all.

Among the possible causes of gastritis are:

• Use of anti-inflammatory drugs
• Overconsumption of alcohol
• Bile reflux
• Stress
• Tobacco
• A bacterium, parasite or virus in the stomach

In some cases, the only treatment that’s needed is to avoid consuming items that cause stomach irritation such as alcohol, spicy foods, coffee and anti-inflammatories. In cases of acute gastritis — when symptoms start suddenly and go away after a few days — liquid meals may help to soothe the stomach. If it’s chronic, treatments may include antibiotics, acid blockers or antacids.

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Ten water-rich fruits and vegetables to help you stay hydrated



Health professionals advise that you drink approximately eight glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration. Do you find it hard to consume the recommended amount? Or maybe you just plain forget? If so, you’ll be happy to know that many fruits and veggies can provide you with the hydration you need. Here are ten types of produce that have a high water content:

1. Cantaloupe
2. Celery

3. Cabbage
4. Cucumber
5. Zucchini
6. Strawberry
7. Lettuce
8. Watermelon
9. Apple
10. Tomato

These foods are perfect to eat on their own as snacks but can also be added to soups and smoothies.

At the breakfast table
For breakfast, try oatmeal with berries, especially strawberries—91 percent of their weight comes from water.

If you add a splash of low-fat milk or unsweetened soy beverage, on top of staying hydrated, you’ll also be packing in additional nutrients and protein.

But remember to drink
Though eating water-rich foods can help you stay hydrated, be sure to remember that 70 percent of your water intake needs to be consumed in liquid form. If plain water bores you, try adding some lemon. Alternatively, choose carbonated water, tea or juice. Whatever your beverage of choice, be sure to drink enough of it to stay hydrated and healthy.

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Feeling chilly: How the body weathers winter



Suddenly in February, the day turns sunny. It’s 50 degrees and it feels marvelous. Turn down the heat! Go for a walk!

So why does 50 degrees feel so chilly in October?

Physiologists say the body adjusts to increasing cold over time. In October, our bodies just haven’t adjusted to the temperature drop, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The human body has two main ways to cope with chills when the temperature drops. The first is to constrict blood vessels. This pushes warm blood to the body’s core. That’s when your arms and legs could start to feel colder. The second way is to shiver. That’s when you turn up the heat 10 degrees.

Humans, it turns out, have continuously invented ways to cope with cold by changing their environment — turning up heat sources, staying near those heat sources, and adding layers of clothing.

Interestingly, humans who constantly experience cold temperatures, like native people in the Arctic, just don’t feel as cold as others. Fish industry workers, whose hands are in cold water for hours, have been found to have warmer hands than other people.

The physiological explanation is that blood vessels don’t constrict so much after long-term exposure. So those people really are warmer.
But if you aren’t an Eskimo and you do need thick, fuzzy socks all the time, there could be a medical explanation.

The first medical explanation is probably obvious: Aging makes people colder. Circulation decreases, the blood vessel walls lose elasticity and the fat layer thins. Well, sometimes.

Also the body’s metabolic responses to cold can be slower.

According to the Journals of Gerontology reported in 2011 that older people on average had a body temperature .3 degrees lower than younger people.

All of which leads us to what we already know: We have got to buy that sherpa blanket.

When feeling cold is a symptom
Feeling cold is normal during the winter or as we age, but sometimes it can be a symptom of other problems of even a side effect of medicine.

Medical causes of coldness:
– Hypertension.
– Diabetes.
– Thyroid conditions.
– High cholesterol.

Pharmaceutical causes:
– Beta blockers that decrease heart rate (and circulation to hands and feet).
– Calcium channel blockers, used to treat hypertension.

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Calorie information in restaurants helps curb eating



A new study carried out by the National Bureau of Economic Research has shown that diners tend to order food with about 3 percent fewer calories when the nutritional information is listed on their menus.

According to Healthline, a recent law passed by the Food and Drug Administration means that restaurants and grocery stores that have at least 20 locations will be required to list this calorie information for standard menu items. This is part of a strategy to help reduce the obesity epidemic in America which now affects almost 70 percent of adults.

In the Bureau study, participants overwhelmingly commented that they valued having the information listed on the menu. For example, a regular fried chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A has 440 calories while the grilled version has only 310. A consumer interested in reducing calories can save 30 percent just by switching one menu item.

Restaurants in the study saw no difference in their revenue, profits, or labor expenditures when they included the calorie counts on the menus.

The study also found that even the chefs themselves were surprised by the number of calories in their food.

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Fibromyalgia: the invisible disease



Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder characterized by chronic, widespread pain. While it’s precise cause is unknown, some researchers believe it results from an anomaly in the way the central nervous system controls pain. An estimated two per cent of North Americans of all ages suffer from the disease.

While the classic sign of fibromyalgia is pain in the muscles and joints, there are many other symptoms such as:
• Fatigue

• Difficulty sleeping
• Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
• Headaches
• Anxiety or depression
• Memory and concentration problems
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Painful menstrual cramps

With such varied symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose fibromyalgia; a situation that often proves to be very stressful for patients. Until recently, some doctors didn’t consider it to be a real disorder and even today, some medical professionals characterize it as psychosomatic.

Since fibromyalgia has no outward signs — the disease has been given the epithet “the invisible disease” — there’s no way to test for it. It doesn’t affect the major organs, can’t be revealed with X-rays or blood tests and isn’t life threatening. Therefore, in order to make a diagnosis, doctors use a set of clinical diagnostic criteria.

Currently, there’s no cure for fibromyalgia. However, treatments exist to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

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Type 2 diabetes in children: a growing epidemic



Although a person’s risk for diabetes increases after the age of 45, it’s not un­common for children to develop the disease. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the number of teens diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes has significantly increased in recent years.

This November, as part of American Diabetes Month, join the ADA in spreading word about this growing epidemic affecting America’s youth, and help improve the lives of all people touched by this devastating disease.

Risk factors

While family history does increase a person’s risk of developing later in life, experts agree the main culprit for Type 2 diabetes in youth is body weight. Children who are overweight normally have higher blood sugar levels (a primary risk factor for Type 2 diabetes).

With the right guidance and support, children and teens can prevent diabetes or delay its onset for many years. All it takes are some simple lifestyle changes. Is your child at risk? Consider these helpful tips:

• Pack water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks (sodas, juices, etc.) in your kids’ lunchboxes.
• Make healthy snack foods available at home. Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.
• Limit screen time (TV, computer, video games, etc.) to no more than two hours a day.
• Make physical activity a family initiative. Go for walks after dinner or longer bike rides over the weekend.
• Switch to low-fat dairy products, such as one percent or skim milk.

Twenty years ago, cases of Type 2 diabetes in children were almost unheard of. Today, they’re increasingly common. This November, help raise awareness of diabetes risk factors and encourage people to make healthy lifestyle changes. Visit for more preventative solutions.

Did you know? Skipping breakfast increases kids’ risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Research shows that children who neglect to eat breakfast typically have higher blood sugar levels.

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all-day The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Dec 15 all-day
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Don’t miss The Nutcracker! This professional production of the seasonal classic ballet will be presented at Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA on December 15th and 16th, Saturday 2:30 & 7:00 pm and Sunday 2:30[...]
all-day The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Dec 16 all-day
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Don’t miss The Nutcracker! This professional production of the seasonal classic ballet will be presented at Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA on December 15th and 16th, Saturday 2:30 & 7:00 pm and Sunday 2:30[...]
4:00 pm R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
Dec 16 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
The public is cordially invited to attend the Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) Christmas Band Concert on Sunday, December 16th at 4:00 pm. This free concert will take place in Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus. The[...]
10:00 am Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Dec 17 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Create your own 5″ x 7″ koi fish paper sculpture with your friends! Schedule your own party for up to 8 people (3-person minimum). No drawing skills are necessary. Artist Tiffany Budzisz will walk you[...]
6:00 pm Volunteer Info Session – Child A... @ Middle of Main
Volunteer Info Session – Child A... @ Middle of Main
Dec 17 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Volunteer Info Session - Child Advocate @ Middle of Main
Learn how you can help ensure abused and neglected children find safe, loving, and permanent homes.  The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to attend an Information Session. There, you will have the[...]