News + Views

Don’t Let Cold and Flu Ruin the Season


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(Family Features) As the holidays approach, many are gearing up for  dinners, holiday shopping and celebrating with family and friends. But with the unpredictable cold and flu season, it’s equally important to add staying healthy to your list.

To help answer your most pressing queries, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the Emmy Award-winning talk show “The Doctors,” has partnered with Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of Arm & Hammer(tm) Simply Saline(tm) nasal mists, on a new online tool called “Congestion Questions,” inviting people to ask questions and get the answers they need, such as these:                                             12950

Q: Do nasal mists cause the rebound effect?
A: Nasal mists are drug-free and derived from natural ingredients – they contain only salt, sodium bicarbonate and water. They are non-addictive and do not cause any rebound congestion.

Q: I have been experiencing nasal congestion for days. It’s so bad that now I’m unable to blow my nose. How can I find quick relief?
A: Saline irrigation is an excellent way to relieve this sort of nasal congestion. Using either a nasal spray like Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Nasal Relief or a neti-pot ought to help flush out your nasal passages and help loosen your congestion.

Q: I use saline mists and other medications when I need to for my children, but how else can I ease the symptoms of stuffy noses and sore throats?
A: Helping little ones feel better when they are sick is always a priority for parents.  How best to help is often dependent on the cause. Some traditional treatments that can help soothe and clear stuffy noses include chicken soup or warm drinks with a little lemon or honey, although you should not give honey to a child less than one year of age. You should also make sure the house is kept at a comfortable temperature and perhaps consider a humidifier if you are in a dry climate. Finally, always make sure your children are staying hydrated and eating well.

Q: Why do I get congested mostly at night?
A: Many people find that their congestion gets worse at night. This may be because when you lie in bed, gravity is no longer playing its part in clearing your nasal passages naturally, so you should try propping your head up with an extra pillow or two to find some relief. You may also want to reduce the allergen levels in your bedroom by keeping pets off your bed and buying hypoallergenic pillows. A saline spray like Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Extra Strength Nighttime Relief with natural eucalyptus can help quickly clear congestion so you can breathe easier and comfortably fall asleep, with no day-after effect.

To submit your own questions and learn more about easing your cold and flu symptoms, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Arm & Hammer Simply Saline

December 2, 2015 |

New National Movement Unites Stroke Survivors


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Family Features) Never before has there been a way for the nearly 6.5 million stroke survivors in the United States to rally together as they travel the path to recovery. Unlike other survivor communities, there is no banner, symbol or color that survivors and the general public can identify with when it comes to stroke and stroke recovery.

That is changing with the launch of National Stroke Association’s Come Back Strong initiative, the first national movement to rally for stroke recovery. It was created to inspire hope following a stroke, so those survivors now have a voice.

“This is a history-making moment for the stroke community,” said Matt Lopez, CEO of National Stroke Association. “Survivors and their caregivers have been asking for a unified message, a symbol, a color to support them as they come back strong from stroke.12814

“As a stroke survivor myself, I understand the desire to return to our normal selves that drives stroke survivors forward. Come Back Strong serves as a starting point to hope that one day people everywhere will understand what a stroke is, how to avoid one and the real opportunity that exists to come back strong after stroke.”

The movement, created to raise awareness about the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States, is centered on a blue return symbol. Intentionally left open, it represents the drive for stroke survivors to come back strong and return to their former self, or a new normal. The reality of stroke survivors is a story of sudden and shocking loss followed by a return to hope for recovery. In the aftermath of a stroke, recovery is about getting back to normal life and living as independently as possible.
“Since my stroke in 2005, I’ve learned to walk again, talk again, even swallow again,” said Mark McEwen, former national TV morning show host. “As I got stronger, I got busy and discovered a whole community of stroke survivors and caregivers.
“But throughout my recovery journey, there was always something gnawing at me. Whenever I saw a yellow wristband or distinctive ribbon, I thought, ‘Why not us?’ The Come Back Strong movement changes that. This, finally, is for us. It’s important and powerful, and will raise stroke awareness in a hugely impactful way.”
There are several resources to help you support the cause:
* National Stroke Association’s website offers resources and support survivors and caregivers can use as they learn to live with new challenges.
* Shop stroke: You can support the cause through purchasing bracelets and T-shirts, and participating in donation opportunities.
* Comeback trail events: Participate in a series of national events scheduled to rally the community behind the movement.
* #ComeBackStrong: Supporters can follow along and get involved in the movement by using #ComeBackStrong on social media.

For more information on Come Back Strong and to find resources for stroke survivors and caregivers, visit or call 1-800-STROKES.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: National Stroke Association

November 25, 2015 |

9 Tips for Aging Well


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(Family Features) Although you can’t stop time, the right type and amount of physical activity can help stave off many age-related health problems.

More than half (59 percent) of Americans expect to still be living at home independently at the age of 80, according to a recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association. However, the same study showed that at least half of the same population recognizes they will see a decline in strength and flexibility as they age.

Movement experts such as physical therapists can help aging individuals overcome pain, gain and maintain movement, and preserve independence – often helping to avoid the need for surgery or long-term use of prescription drugs.

These nine tips, provided by the experts at the American Physical Therapy Association, are keys to helping you age well:12911_a

1. Chronic pain doesn’t have to be the boss of you. Each year 116 million Americans experience chronic pain from arthritis or other conditions. Proper exercise, mobility, and pain management techniques can ease pain, improving your overall quality of life.

2. You can get better and stronger at any age. Research shows that an appropriate exercise program can improve your muscle strength and flexibility as you age. Progressive resistance training, where muscles are exercised against resistance that gets more difficult as strength improves, has been shown to help prevent frailty.

3. You may not need surgery or drugs for your low back pain. Low back pain is often over-treated with surgery and drugs despite a wealth of scientific evidence demonstrating that physical therapy can be an effective alternative with less risk.

4. You can lower your risk of diabetes with exercise. One in four Americans over the age of 60 has diabetes. Obesity and physical inactivity can put you at risk for this disease, but a regular, appropriate physical activity routine is one of the best ways to prevent and manage type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

5. Exercise can help you avoid falls and keep your independence. More than half of adults over 65 report problems with movement, including walking 1/4 mile, stooping, and standing. Exercise can improve movement and balance and reduce your risk of falls.

6. Your bones want you to exercise. Osteoporosis, or weak bones, affects more than half of Americans over the age of 54. Exercises that keep you on your feet, like walking, jogging or dancing, and exercises using resistance such as weight lifting, can improve bone strength or reduce bone loss.

7. Your heart wants you to exercise. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. One of the top ways of preventing it and other cardiovascular diseases is exercise. Research shows that if you already have heart disease, appropriate exercise can improve your health.

8. Your brain wants you to exercise. People who are physically active, even later in life, are less likely to develop memory problems or Alzheimer’s disease, a condition which affects more than 40 percent of people over the age of 85.

9. You don’t have to live with bladder leakage. More than 13 million women and men in the United States have bladder leakage. A physical therapist can help you avoid spending years relying on pads or rushing to the bathroom.

To learn more about the role of physical activity as you age, or to find a physical therapist near you, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman exercising)
Source: American Physical Therapy Association

November 18, 2015 |

Beware the Salty Six Foods to Control Sodium in Your Diet



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How much salt are you eating? Beware of sodium in “Salty Six” foods

Eating too many salty foods can create many health problems, including high blood pressure which can lead to stroke—the number five killer of Americans. But did you know the majority of the sodium we consume is not from a salt shaker at the dining table? It’s from common foods we enjoy every day.

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is increasing awareness of sodium and the “Salty Six” – common foods that may be loaded with excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Sodium overload is a major health problem in the United States. The average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day – more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. That’s in large part because of our food supply; more than 75 percent of our sodium consumption comes from processed and restaurant foods. Eat_Less_Salt_

Here’s a quick look at the Salty Six, the top sources for sodium in today’s diet:

Breads and rolls. We all know breads and rolls add carbohydrates and calories, but salt, too? It can be deceiving because a lot of bread doesn’t even taste salty, but one piece can have as much as 230 milligrams of sodium. That’s about 15 percent of the recommended amount from only one slice, and it adds up quickly. Have two sandwiches in one day? The bread alone could put you close to 1,000 milligrams of sodium.

Cold cuts and cured meats. Even foods that would otherwise be considered healthy may have high levels of sodium. Deli or pre-packaged turkey can contain as much as 1,050 milligrams of sodium.  It’s added to most cooked meats so they don’t spoil after a few days.

Pizza. We know that pizza is not exactly a health food, because of cholesterol, fat and calories but pizza’s plenty salty, too. One slice can contain up to 760 milligrams of sodium—and frozen varieties can be even higher. Two slices can send you over the daily recommendation in just one meal.

Poultry. Surely chicken can’t be bad for you, right? Well, it depends on how you prepare it. Reasonable portions of lean, skinless, grilled chicken are OK but may still contain an added sodium solution. And when you start serving up the chicken nuggets, the sodium also adds up. Just 3 ounces of frozen and breaded nuggets can add nearly 600 milligrams of sodium.

Soup. This is another one of those foods that seems perfectly healthy. It can’t be bad if Mom gave it to you for the sniffles, right? But when you take a look at the nutrition label it’s easy to see how too much soup can quickly turn into a sodium overload. One cup of canned chicken noodle soup can have up to 940 milligrams of sodium.  And remember that soup cans typically contain more than one serving.

Sandwiches. This covers everything from grilled cheese to hamburgers. We already know that breads and cured meats may be heavy on the sodium. Add them together, then add a little ketchup or mustard and you can easily surpass 1,500 milligrams of sodium in one sitting.

Be sure to keep in mind that different brands and restaurant preparation of the same foods may have different sodium levels.  The American Heart Association Heart-Check mark—whether in the grocery store or restaurant helps shoppers see through the clutter on grocery store shelves to find foods that help them build a heart-healthy diet. For more information on sodium and nutrition visit or

# # #

About the American Heart Association  

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.

November 17, 2015 |

The Health Care Provider You Need to Know


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(Family Features) With more than 11 million newly insured Americans, an aging baby boomer population and a growing number of chronic conditions, the American healthcare system is expected to make some major changes to accommodate the increasing number of people seeking healthcare.

In the past, your physician was probably the only provider you saw regularly, but as healthcare delivery has evolved, newer types of providers are taking on important roles in healthcare teams, which are delivering higher quality and more efficient care. Team-based medicine is the next generation of healthcare delivery and one of the professions at the forefront of this trend is physician assistants or PAs.PA Lisa Spratke for American Academy of Physician Assistants

Many people have seen and been treated by a PA whether they know it or not, but unless you’ve seen a PA as your primary care provider, you might be surprised to know that PAs are fully licensed medical providers with graduate degrees. They diagnose and treat their own patients by prescribing medications, ordering and interpreting tests, performing medical procedures and even assisting in surgery. They can be found throughout healthcare from hospitals to urgent care clinics to ERs, as well as in your family provider’s office.

“PAs are uniquely equipped as medical practitioners and play an important role in today’s healthcare system,” said Jeff Katz, PA-C, DFAAPA. “For nearly 50 years, PAs have improved patient outcomes and elevated patient satisfaction. There is a wealth of clinical research and real-world evidence from hospitals and patients, demonstrating the high-quality and breadth of PA care.”

With all of this, it is no surprise that PAs are among the most in demand professions in the United States. In a recent American Academy of Physician Assistants survey conducted by Harris Poll, a Nielsen company, 91 percent of respondents agreed that PAs improve health outcomes for patients and 91 percent agreed PAs improve the quality of healthcare. In addition, according to national health care search firm Merritt Hawkins, demand for PAs has increased by more than 300 percent over the last three years, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of PAs to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2022.

As you consider alternative approaches for a healthcare provider, keep this advice in mind:

Find a provider that has the right education and training. Educated through intense, graduate-level medical programs that include at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice, PAs are often educated alongside medical students in medical schools and academic medical centers. They gain the skills necessary to perform medical procedures, diagnose and treat patients, order and interpret tests, prescribe medication, make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes, and assist in surgery.

Feel good about checkups, testing and surgery. Seek a provider who can answer a wide range of healthcare needs. PAs practice medicine in all medical and surgical settings and specialties, including primary care, emergency medicine, surgery, oncology, orthopedics, psychiatry, radiology, pediatrics and more.

To learn more about PAs and how they can assist with your health care needs, visit
Source: American Academy of Physician Assistants


November 11, 2015 |

Simple Ways to Manage Pain


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(Family Features) Sooner is better when it comes to managing nagging aches and pains that can hamper your healthy lifestyle. In fact, the coming winter months are when pain pops up the most for people of all ages, according to celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza. Keys to keeping active and pain-free are getting ahead of pain and preventing it from becoming a larger problem that is harder to handle. 12916
To help reduce and prevent pain, Omron has partnered with Braganza to provide five easy tips to keep you doing the things you love while helping minimize pain and keeping that spring in your step this winter:
Sit Tall: If you have a desk job, proper posture can help to reduce back pain as you age. Sit with your back straight with your shoulders back; distribute your body weight evenly on both hips, bend your knees at right angles and keep your feet flat on the floor.

Be Flexible: Whether it’s weekly yoga, or standing up and stretching between long periods of sitting, flexibility can help you stay fit and strong. One simple stretch: stand with your feet shoulder width apart, place hands on your lower back with finger tips pointing down, slowly lean back as far as comfortable while looking up at the ceiling, then return to start. Repeat five times.

Eat Smart: Reduce the risk of inflammation by incorporating anti-inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, fruits and vegetables into your diet as much as possible.

Master the Basics: Shoveling, pushing furniture and even gardening can be hard on your muscles, so it’s important to keep them strong in order to prevent pain. For safe and proper training techniques, visit

Power Up to Reduce Pain: A proven therapy often used by physical therapists that you can get without a prescription is TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), which offers a practical solution to your everyday pain management needs because it’s portable and can help lessen the need for pain medication. Omron offers one of the most powerful TENS units on the market and it is 100 percent drug free.

For more ways to keep those aches and pains at bay, especially as the temperature drops, visit
Source: Omron Health Care

November 4, 2015 |

Understanding Nutrients’ Role in Good Nutrition


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(Family Features) When it comes to personal health, there is a gap between Americans’ nutritional needs and how well they’re being met. A new survey shows consumers are overly confident about their diets and essential nutrient intake.12743_A

The survey, conducted by DSM Nutritional Products, showed that while consumers want to improve their overall nutrition and wellness, they don’t know where to start, and say they are confused about the science behind nutrition recommendations. What’s more, while research published in the Journal of Nutrition shows only 10 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of essential nutrients, such as vitamin D and vitamin E, from food alone, 57 percent believe they do.

“The survey helped us identify barriers to better nutrition,” said Will Black, DSM vice president of marketing for human nutrition and health in North America. “With this information, we can work to raise awareness about the nutrition gap of essential nutrients, and resolve conflicting and confusing information about how better nutrition can fill that gap.”

Maintaining adequate nutrition begins with understanding the role of essential nutrients, Black explained. However, through its survey, DSM revealed varied awareness of nutrients and the impact they have on health. For example, most are familiar with vitamins D and E, while only about half are familiar with the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Fewer still are familiar with lutein and zeaxanthin.

“For optimal nutrition, you need to understand the best natural sources of important vitamins and ensure those nutrient-rich foods are the foundation of your diet,” said Elizabeth Somer, R.D. “However, research shows that most Americans don’t get the optimal level of nutrients from diet alone, and that’s where supplements can play an important role in overall health.”

Start assessing your nutritional intake by knowing how these important, but little understood, nutrients contribute to your overall health and where you can find them:

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, known often as the “sunshine vitamin,” that functions as a hormone in the body to regulate the way calcium is metabolized. It is especially critical for bone health in adults and children.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin; it is found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and greens, and plays a role in eye, heart and brain health.

DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for many aspects of health. They are found primarily in fatty fish like salmon and are especially good for eye, heart and brain health. DHA is particularly important for expecting and new mothers and their children.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are members of the carotenoid family that are found in many green leafy plants, such as kale and spinach, and other colorful fruits and vegetables. These antioxidant nutrients help to support visual function by filtering out potentially harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light that come into the eye. Research has shown that lutein and zeaxanthin support eye health.

Visit to learn more about the important role of vitamins for health, wellness and disease prevention.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (family eating)
Source: DSM


October 28, 2015 |
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