healthy life 2019
Hidden Benefits of Water PLUS
Health Insurance Lingo | Getting a Good Nightâ€™s Sleep | Carpal Tunnel
Vol. 3 – 2019
Vol. 3, 2019
Four Foods to Boost Energy Levels
Hidden Benefits of Water
Phone: 252.247.7442 Mail: 201 N. 17th Street, Morehead City, NC 28557 www.nccoast.com
Screen Time Related Health Issues Norfolk Doctor Finds Treatment for Sepsis A Good Night’s Sleep
The Dangers of Carpal Tunnel
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The Language of Health Insurance
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Four Foods to Diet can go a long way toward increasing or lowering energy levels. No one wants to consume foods that will make it harder for them to get through the day, so the following are a handful of foods that pack an energetic punch.
Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids can help the body fight
inflammation, which has been linked to a host of ailments, including chronic fatigue. Salmon is also high in protein, which can eliminate the mid- to late-afternoon hunger pangs that can derail healthy diets and contribute to weight gain.
A study from researcher Judith Wurtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Clinical Research Center found that alertness tends to increase when the brain produces the neurotransmitter dopamine and the hormone norepinephrine. Skinless chicken contains an amino acid known as tyrosine that helps in the production of both dopamine and norepinephrine. If skinless chicken is not available, other foods that may provide this same effect include fish, lean beef and eggs. In addition, lean meats like skinless chicken contain enough vitamin B to help ease insomnia.
Beans: Beans are loaded with fiber, and thatâ€™s a good thing for energy levels. Like magnesium, which can also be found in beans, fiber takes a while to digest, extending the energy-boosting properties of foods loaded with fiber. In spite of the growing movement to eat and live healthier, many adults still do not include enough fiber in their diets. Men and women can consult with their physicians to determine how to make that happen, but eating more beans is a good start.
Cashews: Cashews, which are high in magnesium, help to convert sugar into energy. Magnesium deficiency can lead to low energy levels, so nuts that are high in magnesium, including cashews, can provide that mid-afternoon jolt that some people are seeking. Cashews are high in calories, so itâ€™s best for those looking to lose weight or maintain healthy weights to adhere to serving suggestion guidelines.
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Hidden Benefits of Water Dehydration is a dangerous condition that can cause a host of complications and even prove fatal in severe cases. But as dangerous as dehydration can be, many cases are entirely preventable. The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink enough water. When the body does not take in as much water as it puts out, it can become dehydrated. People who live in warm climates or in elevated altitudes may lose more water than those who do not. In addition, water loss is accelerated during strenuous exercise, highlighting the emphasis men and women must place on drinking enough water during their workouts. But water does more for the body than prevent dehydration. The following are a handful of lesser known ways that water benefits the body. Water can help people maintain healthy weights. Dieting fads come and go, but water is a mainstay for people who want to control their caloric intake in an effort to maintain healthy weights. Water has zero calories, so reaching for a bottle or glass of water instead of a soda, lemonade or another caloric beverage can help people keep the pounds off. A study from researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that even diet soda enhances weight gain by as much as 41 percent. In addition, soda has been linked to conditions such as obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. No such association exists with water. Water helps to fight fatigue. The fatigue-fighting properties of water are another of its lesser known benefits. When the body is not adequately hydrated, it can experience muscle soreness.
And fitness enthusiasts who do not drink enough water may notice their bodies require extensive recovery time after working out. Each of those consequences can be prevented by drinking enough water, and doing so can even improve performance, as studies have shown that just a 3 percent loss of body weight due to dehydration can cause as much as a 10 percent drop in performance level. Water can improve the appearance of the skin. Skin that does not get enough water can turn dry and flaky and feel tight. In addition, dry skin is more likely to wrinkle than adequately hydrated skin. Getting water to the skin can be tricky, as the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health notes that water will reach all the other organs of the body before it reaches the skin. But the school recommends applying a hydrating moisturizer within two minutes of leaving the bath or shower and drinking at least eight glasses of water a day to ensure the skin is getting enough water. Water helps the gastrointestinal tract. Water can help maintain normal bowel function. When the body lacks sufficient fluid, the colon will pull water from stools in an effort to stay hydrated. That can lead to constipation, a condition in which people experience difficulty emptying their bowels. By drinking enough water, people can ensure their colon will not have to pull water from stools to stay hydrated, thereby helping them stay regular. Water helps the body in myriad ways, many of which might surprise people unaware of just how valuable water can be to the body.
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Screen Time Related Health Issues Do you feel panicked if you leave home without mobile phone in hand? Do you find it difficult to sit in the house without browsing the internet on your devices? Are your children spending much of their classroom hours on tablets? Screen time has taken over most people’s daily lives, but at what cost? A 2014 report from Nielsen found that adults log a total of 11 hours of screen time per day. Delaney Ruston, a physician and creator of the 2016 documentary “Screenagers,” which explores young people’s use of digital devices, discovered kids spend an average of 6.5 to eight hours per day looking at screens. All of this time glued to digital devices has profound effects on physical and mental health, and many experts are advising people to cut back on the time they spend on their devices. Brain damage – Multiple studies indicate that spending considerable time on screens can produce atrophy (shrinkage or loss of tissue volume) in gray matter areas of the brain, according to reports in Psychology Today. These are regions of the brain where processing occurs. One of the most affected areas includes the frontal lobe, which governs executive functions like planning, prioritizing, organizing, and impulse control. Another vulnerable area is the insula, which is tied to a person’s capacity to develop empathy and compassion for others. Research also shows that white matter can be compromised, which translates into loss of communication between cognitive and emotional centers within the brain.
Vision problems – Staring into screens for extended periods of time can damage areas of the eyes and result in computer vision syndrome, which is characterized by trained eyes, blurred vision and headaches. The Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study, conducted by researchers and clinicians from the USC Eye Institute at Keck Medicine in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, has found that exaggerated screen time and insufficient sunlight exposure has more than doubled incidences of myopia (nearsightedness) among American children in recent years. Sleep disturbances – University of Gothenburg psychologist Sara Thome, a lead researcher into the effects of screen time on the body, says the blue light from digital devices suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, keeping people from having restful sleeps. Overstimulation – Screen time can cause hyperarousal, which may be more notable in children than adults, according to research published in Psychology Today. Regular amounts of screen time can cause the brain to be in a state of chronic stress, which can short circuit the frontal lobe. This may lead to addictive behaviors, rage, inability to recover from minor frustrations and hyperactivity. Screen time is profound and may be hurting minds and bodies. Many people have set goals to reduce the time they spend on electronics to improve their personal health.
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Norfolk Doctor Finds Treatment for Sepsis Now he wants the ICU world to listen
By Elizabeth Simpson The patient was dying. Valerie Hobbs, 53, was in the throes of sepsis – an infection coursing through her veins that was causing her blood pressure to tank, her organs to fail and her breathing to flag. “When you have a person that young who’s going to die, you start thinking, ‘What else can we pull out of the bag?’ ” said Dr. Paul Marik, who was on duty that day in the intensive care unit of Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. In this case, he reached for Vitamin C. Marik, chief of pulmonary and critical care at Eastern Virginia Medical School, had recently read medical journal articles involving the vitamin, and decided to order IV infusions of it, along with hydrocortisone, a steroid, to reduce inflammation. Then, he went home. The next morning, Hobbs had improved so much she was removed from four different medications used to boost her blood pressure. Her kidney function was better. Her breathing eased. Three days later, she left the ICU. That was in January 2016. Today, Hobbs is back at her home
in Norfolk. “At first we thought it was a coincidence, that maybe the stars aligned just right and she got lucky,” Marik said. Ten days later, another patient, a paraplegic, arrived in the ICU with sepsis, and Marik prescribed the same thing. That patient improved as well. A third patient, a man so sick with pneumonia he was on a ventilator, also received the treatment. The results were the same. Marik’s response: “What just happened?” He suggested changing the protocol for patients who arrived with sepsis. He also added another ingredient to the concoction: thiamine, which is Vitamin B. At first, doctors and nurses were skeptical. Kathi Hudgins, a critical care nurse for 23 years, confesses she doubted Marik’s idea: “I thought it was too simplistic.” Soon, she was sold. “We started having patient after patient have these remarkable results,” she said. “They’d be at death’s door and 24 to 48 hours later, they had turned around. We have seen patients walk out of here we didn’t think would leave. To see them turn around so
quickly was nothing short of amazing.” They started tracking the numbers, comparing them with patients who came through the ICU with sepsis the previous year. A study published online in December by CHEST, an American College of Chest Physicians medical journal, revealed the results: In 47 patients with sepsis treated in Norfolk General’s ICU, four died in 2016, an 8 percent mortality rate. Of those four, none died of sepsis but rather the conditions that led to sepsis in the first place. The previous year, 19 of 47 septic patients died, a 40 percent mortality rate. Medical residents started calling the concoction “miracle juice.” Marik dubbed it “the cure for sepsis.” Kurt Hofelich, Norfolk General’s president, said the protocol is being rolled out to other ICUs in the health system to validate the findings. “We hypothesize that this new treatment will evolve into a national best practice and a new standard of care for patients with sepsis in an ICU level of care environment,” Hofelich said in a prepared statement released today. Sounds like a game-changer – but hold on. Dr. David Carlbom, an associate professor of pulmonary critical care at the University of Washington, advises caution. First, it’s what is called a retrospective study, which means it compares something at one point in time to a control group further back in time. Second, the numbers are small. Third, the cases were all at one hospital. Those are called study limitations. The gold standard study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in which patients with the same condition are observed in the same period, and health care providers don’t know who is receiving the treatment or a placebo. Carlbom said multiple sites would ensure there was nothing particular to Norfolk that was making a difference. Marik agrees. He wants there to be a comprehensive study, and he said that Stanford University has expressed some interest. But he said it will be difficult to fund because it uses drugs that have been on the market for decades: “We are curing it for $60. No one will make any money off it.” Studies take money, and that money often comes from pharmaceutical companies. “By the time it’s done, it could be three years and the number of people who will die of sepsis by that time will be ginormous,” Marik said. Hobbs, who didn’t realize at the time what was going on to treat her ruptured bile duct, now feels fortunate that Marik tried something out of the usual box: “It was good because it saved my life.” Sepsis occurs in more than 1 million people a year in this country, with 28 to 50 percent dying, according to the National Institutes of Health. The condition can stem from a variety of different ailments and has an overwhelming immune response to infection. Natural chemicals released in the body trigger widespread inflammation, which leads to blood clots and leaky vessels. That slows blood flow, damaging the organs by depriving them of nutrients and oxygen. In the worst cases, blood pressure drops, the heart weakens and the patient goes into septic shock. The cost to treat sepsis in the United States has been estimated at $20 billion a year in 2011.
Just as Marik pulled Vitamin C out of his bag to save the woman in January 2016, he pulls out these facts to sell his sepsis treatment to others. He believes lives could be saved before a larger study is complete. He’s been traveling the country trying to find audiences of critical-care doctors to peddle the idea – Philadelphia, Charlottesville, Long Island, New York and, earlier this week, Seattle. He’s gotten significant pushback from doctors who say it’s unethical to try before larger studies are done. But he responds that the use is within the limits of what the Vitamin C pharmaceutical label recommends. “Half think it’s cool and half think this is hooey nonsense. When something is too good to be true, people don’t want to believe it.” Carlbom said since sepsis results from a lot of different conditions, it could be that the combo could help some more than others, and might even be detrimental to particular ailments. So he understands why doctors will wait for more study. But Carlbom, who describes himself as an early adopter, says he’s started to try it on his own patients. Marik also took the step of having a researcher examine the idea in the lab. He reached out to John Catravas, who studies and teaches on the subject of bioelectrics at Old Dominion University. Catravas has spent years researching lung function. Of special interest are the lung’s endothelial cells, which form the linings of the blood vessels: “When you have sepsis, the endothelial cells pull away from each other and allow fluid in the lungs.” He looked at the effect of the Vitamin C, then the steroid, then the two in combination. It wasn’t one or the other that was doing the trick, but both, almost as though one was holding the door open for the other to do its work in reducing inflammation. It was a laboratory finding that supported what was happening in the clinical setting, which Marik included in the CHEST publication. “We can’t both be completely insane,” Marik said. Marik, who was born and educated in South Africa, is hardly a lightweight in the field. He has more than two decades of critical-care experience and has authored 400 medical journal articles and four books on critical care. Still, the prospect of the lives this could save excites him at age 58. Always one to use humor in the practice of medicine and life, Marik takes delight in the story of Ignaz Semmelweis. The Hungarian doctor in the 1840s figured out that doctors doing autopsies were also delivering babies, and unintentionally infecting patients, leading to high mortality rates. Midwives who weren’t doing autopsies had much lower rates. He advised hand washing with a chlorine solution that acted as a disinfectant. When interns under his direction did that, their maternal mortality rates plunged. But doctors were furious at Semmelweis, who ended up losing his job. The chlorine hand wash was abandoned. Semmelweis ended up in a mental institution at age 47, and died there from, by some accounts, sepsis, which he’d worked so hard to try to prevent in women giving birth. His simple advice was picked up again when Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease. The irony is not lost on Marik: “People who have studied sepsis a long time don’t want to believe a simple solution can work. Hopefully before I die it will be shown to be true.” (Courtesy of Virginian-Pilot)
A Good Night’s
In our fast-paced, deadline-driven society people are pushed to their limits daily. We manage our homes, our families and our careers with little or no concern about a good night’s sleep. That is, of course, until 3pm rolls around and you find yourself starring at your computer monitor at work with a glazed look on your face. We’re all action and little rest – there will be plenty of time for that in retirement, right? Perhaps. But for those who think they can run full throttle for too long without any health repercussions are sadly mistaken. The average 30- to 40-year-old person needs eight hours of sleep – anything less than that on a chronic basis can be considered chronic sleep deprivation. And it shows. Symptoms include irritability, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, appetite changes, difficulty handling stressful situations and more. The symptoms, in turn, cause more stress, which may make it more difficult to sleep and a vicious cycle is born. Experts note that around 30 percent of the population has some sort of sleep disturbance. For most it comes and goes, but for others it takes on a more consistent path. It’s often underestimated, but we need sleep to survive. During sleep, the body regenerates and rejuvenates. There’s a lot that goes on while we’re asleep. It’s 1/3 of your life – it’s a big deal. People say that after a good night’s sleep they feel so much better – and they are. They have a better outlook, they’re less depressed, they have more energy. A good night’s sleep ails a lot of ills. We tell people to ‘sleep on it’ before making a major purchase or decision – and there has actually been a scientific study that shows that when people do that they usually do come up with the correct decision. We all have an internal clock that is set by our genes so some variation in the sleep pattern is normal. There are the larks, or morning people who jump out of bed as chipper as the bright shining sun and the night owls who prefer to stay up into the wee hours of the morning. The most important thing about our natural cycle is that we must make sure that we maintain eight hours of contiguous sleep each day, experts say. If not – it can ultimately catch up to you. One of the first steps in improving your night’s sleep is limiting what takes place in bed. Many of us have a television in the bed-
room, which we sit and watch before turning in for the night. Others may enjoy reading or checking in on emails before turning out the lights. But these activities have experts shaking their heads. Babies learn how to sleep in their cribs through the patterns established by their parents. At night, he has a bath, perhaps a bottle, then he is placed in the crib and the light is turned out and that process ingrains in the child that this is the time for sleep. He begins to connect being placed in the crib and the lights going out with time for sleep. In a similar fashion, adults can relearn that process – they can reset the idea of what going to sleep means and what it involves. Like most bad habits we change, it’s not something that is going to change overnight. It takes self-discipline and some people are just harder to teach. But it’s a necessary lesson for good health. There are multiple factors that affect the way we sleep – including sleep apnea and other full-fledged sleep disorders – however, stress, lack of exercise and diet are common factors that people have full control over. Everyone has some level of stress – whether it is work related, economic or just the challenges of raising children. There is no stress-free life. What people can do, however, is strive to not let it disrupt their sleep cycle. Exercise is also a huge factor. As a society, Americans have become increasingly sedentary. Our parents, for example, rarely had sleep disturbances because they were more physically active. Technology and transportation options have made it easier for us to sit in one place and accomplish everything we need to. We’re no longer running memos up three flight of stairs – we’re sending an email or interoffice chat. No longer do people walk down to the corner store or stroll over to a friend’s house to ask a question.
Tips for a better sleep from the National Sleep Foundation:
What’s the point in going outside when you can text, email or call. Computers are good for a lot of things but they’re not necessarily good for our health. We were built to be busy. We’re the worker bees. And being busy is an important part of getting a healthy night’s sleep. We’ve invented all this technology to make our lives easier but we fail to make time to get up and exercise. Along with exercise, a healthy diet is necessary to fuel our bodies and keep us moving throughout the course of the day. Dieticians note that rule we’ve been told since childhood – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Having breakfast definitely helps someone feel perkier. Numerous studies have shown that children who are in school who skip breakfast are more sluggish and the same can be said for adults. It’s not necessarily important that it is a breakfast food. It can be a bowl of cereal, a granola bar and yogurt or peanut butter on a piece of toast. Eating a big heavy meal at any point in the day will make you feel sleepy, but a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and dietary fibers as opposed to heavy fats and fried foods can provide our body with the energy it needs. For most people, caffeine should be eliminated in the afternoon and evening because it’s going to affect your ability to sleep at night. When we hit a rough patch in the middle of the day, the natural response is to grab some coffee or maybe a soda from the machine in the break room – just something to get you through – but really we’re making ourselves more tired the next day by doing so because we’re setting ourselves up for a bad night’s sleep. Overall, we are creatures that crave normalcy – normal heart rate, normal blood glucose and yes, normal sleep patterns.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule with the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. 2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep. 3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power napping may help you get through the day, but if you find that you can’t fall asleep at bedtime, eliminating even short catnaps may help. 4. Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise is best, but even light exercise is better than no activity. Exercise at any time of day, but not at the expense of your sleep. 5. Evaluate your room. Design your sleep environment to establish the conditions you need for sleep. Your bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees. Your bedroom should also be free from any noise that can disturb your sleep. Finally, your bedroom should be free from any light. Check your room for noises or other distractions. This includes a bed partner’s sleep disruptions such as snoring. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices. 6. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The one you have been using for years may have exceeded its life expectancy – about 9 or 10 years for most good quality mattresses. Have comfortable pillows and make the room attractive and inviting for sleep but also free of allergens that might affect you and objects that might cause you to slip or fall if you have to get up. 7. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine can disrupt sleep. Eating big or spicy meals can cause discomfort from indigestion that can make it hard to sleep. If you can, avoid eating large meals for two to three hours before bedtime. Try a light snack 45 minutes before bed if you’re still hungry. 8. Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity such as reading. For some people, using an electronic device such as a laptop can make it hard to fall asleep, because the particular type of light emanating from the screens of these devices is activating to the brain. 9. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. It is best to take work materials, computers and televisions out of the sleeping environment. Use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. 10. If you’re still having trouble sleeping, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or find a sleep professional. You may also benefit from recording your sleep in a Sleep Diary to help you better evaluate common patterns or issues you may see with your sleep or sleeping habits.
The Language of Health Insurance The world of healthcare can be confusing to navigate. Before the prevalence of health maintenance organizations and various other health and wellness insurance groups, obtaining medical assistance involved going to the doctor and then paying the bill. But today people must navigate copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and savings plans, which can make it difficult to understand whatâ€™s going on with your insurance company. Healthcare is standardized in some areas of the world and publicly financed with little to no out-of-pocket costs for participating citizens. Elsewhere, access to health insurance is provided through employers or government assistance programs or individually purchased. Understanding some health insurance-related jargon is a great way to better educate oneself about the industry.
insurance company pays. You must meet a set limit, which varies by plan and provider, before insurance will kick in and cover the remaining costs during the benefit period. Many plans have a $2,000 per person deductible. This deductible renews with each calendar year.
Benefit period: The benefit period refers to the duration of time services are covered under your plan. It is usually a calendar year from the point of start to end. It may begin each year on an anniversary date when you first received coverage.
Network provider: This is a healthcare provider who is part of a planâ€™s network. Many insurance companies negotiate set rates with providers to keep costs low. They will only pay out a greater percentage to network providers.
Coinsurance: This is a percentage of the cost of services rendered in specific areas outlined by the health plan that you are responsible for after a deductible is met. For example, a plan may cover 85 percent of costs, with patients responsible for the remaining 15.
Out of network provider: A healthcare provider who is not part of a planâ€™s network. Costs may be higher if you visit a non-network provider or if you are not covered at all.
Copayment (copay): A copayment refers to the flat rate you pay to a provider at the time you receive services. Some plans do not have copays. Deductible: The amount you pay for health services before the
HMO: A health maintenance organization offers services only with specific HMO providers. Referrals from a primary care doctor often are needed to see specialists. HSA: A health savings account enables you to set aside pre-tax income up to a certain limit for certain medical expenses. Long-term care insurance: A specific healthcare plan that can be used for in-home nursing care or to pay for the medical services and room and board for assisted living/nursing home facilities.
PPO: A preferred provider organization is a type of insurance plan that offers more extensive coverage for in-network services, but offer additional coverage for out-of-network services. Navigating health insurance is easier when policy holders understand some common industry jargon.
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Sisters describing their mother’s experience at a Ridge Care assisted living community.
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The Dangers of Carpal Tunnel Increased hours spent on computer keyboards and digital devices can put people at risk for a relatively common and oftentimes painful condition that affects mobility in the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, can cause numbness, pain and tingling in the hand or arm as a result of one of the major nerves of the hand – the median nerve – being compressed in the wrist. The American College of Rheumatology says that CTS may be the most common nerve disorder experienced today, affecting between four and 10 million people in the United States alone. Middle-aged to older individuals are more likely to develop CTS than younger persons, and females are diagnosed three times more frequently than males. What is the carpal tunnel? - The carpal tunnel is a passage that forms in the wrist on the palm side of the hand. It is located just beneath the skin surface. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says the carpal tunnel is a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones. Eight small wrist bones form three sides of the tunnel. The width of the tunnel is only about an inch. Injury or inflammation to the tissues inside of the carpal tunnel can shrink the space of the tunnel, eventually pressing on the tendons and the median nerve that runs through this narrow area. The role of the median nerve - When compression occurs in this area of the wrist, a key nerve is affected. The median nerve originates in the neck and runs through the arm. The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel at the wrist and goes into the hand, providing feeling to the palm side of the thumb and to the index, middle and part of the ring fingers (although not the little finger). It also controls some small muscles at the base of the thumb. Symptoms of carpal tunnel - Weakness of the hand as well as tingling and numbness are the two most common symptoms of CTS. The numbness particularly affects four of the fingers. It can occur when holding a phone, book, newspaper or steering wheel or engaging in just about any activity that involves the hands. CTS also may wake a person up from sleep. There are a number of other compression issues that can occur in the hand and arms, causing similar pain and tingling in other areas. Ulnar nerve compression in the elbow can cause part of the ring finger and pinky finger to tingle and may be indicative of a different ailment. That’s why a professional diagnosis must be sought when experiencing symptoms related to CTS. When to see a doctor - If pain and tingling are affecting activities and sleeping patterns, individuals should see their doctors. Various nonsurgical remedies and therapies may help. If left untreated, any condition that affects nerve function may lead to permanent nerve and muscle damage.
Preventing repetitive stress injuries - Repetitive stress injuries, or RSIs, can impact muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Though the Mayo Clinic estimates that three million people in the United States are affected by such injuries, some may not fully understand just how they reached a point where they are suffering from an RSI. Along with carpal tunnel, examples of RSIs include rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis and trigger finger. Always consult with a doctor if pain from routine activities is persistent. Individuals may benefit from working with a physical therapist to learn strategies to avoid RSI activities. RSIs are a condition that occurs when too much stress is placed on one part of the body, typically a joint, over and over again, resulting in inflammation and potential tissue damage. RSIs typically happen when a person repeats the same movements again and again. It comes as no surprise then that RSIs are commonly experienced by athletes and office workers. The elderly are most affected by RSIs, but these types of injuries are also known to occur in younger adults and children. These injuries tend to develop over time and go unnoticed in their early stages. Prevention is the best defense. Start by using proper equipment at all times to help keep the body protected and in neutral positions. Such equipment may include support devices for wrists or knees, and shoes that fit well and provide ample support. Proper nutrition is also key. Consuming the right foods is essential to developing and maintaining strong muscles, which help support joints in the body. Speak with a doctor or nutritionist if you suspect your diet has room for improvement. RSIs can be troublesome for office workers. Maintaining neutral body positioning is the best defense against pain and injury, according to the pain prevention resource Tifaq.com. Tifaq.com suggests following these procedures in addition to stretching and exercising at the office: • Keep your head level, forward facing and in line with your torso. • Feet should be flat on the floor or on a footrest. • Shoulders can be relaxed and arms hanging normally at your sides. Your elbows should be at about 90-degree angles. • Support your back with a lumbar support or a small pillow. • Sit vertically or lean back slightly while at your desk. • Keep frequently used items close by so you do not need to stretch. • Position your monitor so it is directly in front of you and at eye level. • Take frequent breaks to stretch or take a walk around the office.
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