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If you’ve contracted meningitis, viral or bacterial, it’s possible you may not even know it. But when meningitis symptoms set in, you'll know it. Watch this for a list of common symptoms.
Transcript: If you've contracted meningitis, it's possible you may not even know it. Meningitis - a disease that...
If you've contracted meningitis, it's possible you may not even know it. Meningitis - a disease that causes inflammation of the lining that covers your brain and spinal cord - is often mistaken for a bad case of the flu. However, whether you've contracted viral or, the more serious, bacterial, meningitis, it will likely come with some additional symptoms, including: sudden high fever and chills, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, severe headache, skin rash, rapid breathing, sensitivity to light, dizziness and confusion, agitation, fatigue, and a lack of appetite. Viral meningitis is the most common form of meningitis in the U.S. While it's usually mild, it can take a couple of weeks to get over. Bacterial meningitis much rarer, but often more serious-20% of people who get it will die and 25 to 50 % will have long term neurological damage. Treatment with antibiotics is most effective if it's immediate and aggressive. To determine if viral or bacterial meningitis is responsible for your symptoms, tests such as blood cultures and a spinal tap are needed. So remember, if you experience any of these symptoms, don't just assume you've just got the flu. Contact your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2012-12-11 | Tags »
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Birth control pills have advantages beyond preventing unintended pregnancies. Find out about birth control pills and your periods in this video.
Transcript: Since the 1960s, birth control pills have been helping women have sex without worrying about pregnancy....
Since the 1960s, birth control pills have been helping women have sex without worrying about pregnancy. They have the EXTRA advantage, too. They help a woman regulate her period. Most women take combination pills, meaning they contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. Typically, a woman will have a 28 pill pack. She'll take one pill containing hormones each day for 21 days, and then she'll take pills WITHOUT hormones each day for 7 days. During these 7 days she'll have her period. A woman's natural cycle can range from 21 to 35 days long. Birth control pills can regulate it so that a woman can expect her period on the same day each month - no surprises. Some combination pills suppress a woman's period COMPLETELY, or for all but 4 weeks per year. The pack contains inactive pills for only a few weeks per YEAR as opposed to one week per MONTH. If a woman needs to skip just ONE period, she can throw out the inactive pills and take the next month's hormone pills through the 7 days. This is generally considered safe by physicians. As many as ONE THIRD of women who take the combination birth control pill take it not to avoid PREGNANCY, but to TREAT other conditions, such as dysmenorrhea-severe cramps - and menorrhagia, heavy menstrual bleeding. Birth control pills will relieve the pain and LIGHTEN periods because they stop ovulation. Without OVULATION, there are lower levels of some PROSTAGLANDIN hormones that trigger cramps and blood shedding. Combination pills can also treat two other menstrual disorders - POLYCYSTIC ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, and ENDOMETRIOSIS. The pill reduces the amount of male hormones, which are in excess in a woman with PCOS. Women with endometriosis take combination pills to prevent the overgrowth of the endometrium, or the lining of the uterus. Birth control pills do come with drawbacks. They may very slightly increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. The pill also raises the risk of STROKE and BLOOD CLOTS, especially in smokers and women over 40. Many women - such as those with HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE - are NOT good candidates for the pill. Ask your doctor before taking ANY hormonal contraception. Check out other videos in this series to learn more about menstruation and menstrual disorders.More »
Last Modified: 2015-01-19 | Tags »
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Staph infection basics, from causes and symptoms to treatment and prevention, it's 'need to know' information. Watch this video to brush up staph infection facts.
Transcript: Here's a fact for you: Staph bacteria are commonly found on the skin and in the nasal passages of healthy...
Here's a fact for you: Staph bacteria are commonly found on the skin and in the nasal passages of healthy folks. But sometimes, because your immune system isn't quite up to fighting them off, or you get a big dose of bacteria through an open cut, you may develop a staph infection. The most common kind of staph infection is on the skin. It triggers infected hair follicles, abscesses, large boils or blisters. These are usually red, tender and can sometimes ooze pus or blood. These abscesses can turn into impetigo, which causes crusty oozing blisters. Or even cellulitis, which causes the skin to swell, turn red and feel hot to the touch. If the bacteria are able to make its way into your bloodstream, it becomes a more serious blood poisoning known as bacteremia or sepsis. Symptoms of sepsis are fever and increased heart and respiratory rate. If sepsis is left untreated, it can lead to septic shock, which can be life threatening. Rarely staph can cause gastrointestinal upset, toxic shock or pneumonia. If you think you have a staph infection, get to your doctor right away for treatment- especially if you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or lung disease, that can increase your risk of complications. If a blood test confirms you have staph, the affected skin areas may be drained and washed with antibacterial cleanser. Oral antibiotics may also be necessary. Some strains of staph, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, are resistant to most antibiotics and require aggressive treatment, and possibly hospitalization. Staph bacteria are transmitted from person to person contact or by touching an object handled by an infected person. To reduce your chance infection, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, keep any cuts clean and covered, and avoid sharing items like razors, clothing or towels. For more information on other communicable illnesses, check out the rest of the videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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Interested in cosmeceuticals for skin care? The latest clinical skin care solutions promise beautiful and clearer skin, but you should know what you're getting into. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: With so many lasers on the market, it can be confusing to figure out which systems are effective, safe,...
With so many lasers on the market, it can be confusing to figure out which systems are effective, safe, and reliable. Wendy Lewis, an international beauty consultant and expert, and author of America's Cosmetic Doctors, is here to help explain some of the newest technologies available. Different types of lasers can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Lasers can be used to reduce the size of birthmarks, remove tattoos, minimize veins and redness, and reduce wrinkles. The most common laser application used today is for hair removal. New techniques can also be used to remove brown spots caused by sun exposure. The most commonly used systems are non-wounding lasers that work beneath the surface skin layer to improve tone, texture, pores, and fine lines. Because they work on a deeper level of the skin and do not heat or peel away the top layer of tissue, they have very few side effects. Some Light-based devices, known as IPLs, produce a broad spectrum of light that can be set for each person's skin type and condition. This technology works well for redness and brown lesions, hair removal, and skin rejuvenation of the face and body. Treatments are typically done in a series of three or more to achieve good results, and can repeated at any time. Another type of device uses radio frequency or infrared energy to shrink the collagen and elastin fibers deep below the skin's surface, this causes the skin to tighten and improves the appearance of wrinkles. These treatments are growing in popularity because of their ability to having a subtle lifting effect on the skin of the face, neck, and body areas. Your doctor will carefully evaluate your condition and choose the appropriate type of laser or light-based system to achieve the outcome you are looking for. For best results, skin resurfacing procedures should be performed by a board-certified dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or cosmetic doctor. Aside from skin resurfacing and rejuvenation, laser systems can be used to treat active acne, acne scars, and skin discoloration. The next frontier for laser technology is stretch marks and cellulite. Great strides have been made towards targeting these all too common beauty afflictions. Non-invasive treatments are the fastest growing category of cosmetic enhancements because they offer benefits without the recovery time needed after bigger procedures. Most laser and light based treatments can be performed right in your dermatologist's or plastic surgeon's office. Recovery can take from a few hours up to a week, depending on what system is used. To learn more about what lasers and light therapy can do to improve your skin, consult with a qualified laser surgeon in your area. For more on what to expect from laser and light treatments, check out the other resources on our site.More »
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Understanding acne and other types of blemishes is important, as they can lead to scarring if not treated properly. Watch our video to learn about common causes and treatments.
Transcript: Acne affects nearly all teenagers, as well as 25 percent of adult men and 50 percent of adult women!...
Acne affects nearly all teenagers, as well as 25 percent of adult men and 50 percent of adult women! In this video, dermatologist Hadley King discusses what you may see in the mirror. Acne is a skin condition in which hormonal changes cause the pores and their oil-producing glands to become clogged. Pores cover most of our entire bodies, so almost every body part is a target for acne. Although teenagers are the most prone to the condition, people of any age can be affected. Men are most likely to develop severe cases of acne. That's because male hormones, called androgens, have the greatest effect on the skin's oil glands. On the other hand, women's monthly hormonal changes make them more likely to experience occasional acne well past their teenage years. Even the hottest celebrities aren't immune to acne's effects. Brad Pitt still bears scars and pockmarks from his teenage acne, and Jessica Simpson has openly talked about her struggle for clear skin. Acne's no fun, that's for sure - so why on earth do we get it? During puberty and times of stress, the body's hormone levels elevate. This causes sebaceous glands in the skin to produce more oil. In addition, when hormone levels are high, skin cells shed more rapidly. When dead skin cells build up inside pores, they catch around hair follicles and block the pore's openings. With no place to go, the skin's oil, dirt, and bacteria get trapped in the pore. This causes the surrounding cells to swell, turn red and become painful to the touch. The type of acne that results - blackhead, whitehead, pimple or cyst - will depend on how much oil accumulates, and how your body responds to the oil. And while you can't get rid of acne entirely, there are some factors that may increase your likelihood of breaking out. It's no coincidence that a pimple will show up just before a hot date, big meeting or other important event. Studies have shown that people under stress are actually more likely to break out. So calm down - stressing out about that zit may make things worse! Sometimes, excessively good hygiene can actually be a hindrance to good skin. Washing your face too much, or using harsh cleansers and scrubs, can irritate the skin and make acne worse. Opt instead to gently wash with mild soap twice a day. Cosmetics, particularly liquids, creams and gels, may block pores, causing acne. Medications that affect your hormones can also cause you to produce more oil, and prompt a breakout. Even humidity and overexposure to the sun can prompt a zit or two. Both irritate the skin, making it easier for acne to take root. Because acne is a skin condition caused by fluctuating hormone levels, it can't be entirely avoided. The good news is, mild and moderate cases of acne will diminish with over-the-counter medications and cleansers.Remember, you should see a dermatologist if your acne is particularly painful, leads to scars or resists treatment.More »
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For most of us acne means pimples, but did you know that there are different types of acne? Hence different treatments for them. Watch video to learn more.
Transcript: Could it be? ... Yep, that red sore probably means you're developing a zit. But if you know what kind...
Could it be? ... Yep, that red sore probably means you're developing a zit. But if you know what kind of acne is cropping up on your body, it will be easier to treat. Acne, a common skin condition, comes in several varieties. The type you develop depends on where the acne forms, and how your body reacts to it. Here's a rundown that will help you understand and treat that unwelcome blemish! The least severe-and most common-forms of acne are called comedones. Comedones include both blackheads and whiteheads and usually crop up on the face, targeting the nose in particular. Blackheads occur when a pore becomes blocked with oil, dead skin cells, minute hairs and bacteria. A blackhead has an engorged opening which hides just below the surface. Whiteheads are similar to blackheads, A whitehead except the pore's opening is much narrower. A whitehead stays the whitish tint of the oil inside plus skin cells of the blemish. The most severe kinds of acne, nodules and cysts, are significantly more painful than other types. Because they're often found together, dermatologists call them nodulocystic acne. A nodule is an inflammation of the hair follicle that penetrates deep into the skin. Nodules are firm to the touch. Cysts, like pustules, are formed of bacteria, dead skin and white blood cells. But they're much larger than common pimples, go deeper into the skin and are usually more inflamed. Because they penetrate so deeply into the skin, nodules and cysts are more likely to leave scars, and are also harder to treat. They usually require the aid of a dermatologist and prescription medication. No matter what type of blemish you have, you'll need more than patience to get rid of it! There are plenty of over-the-counter and prescription medications to treat the full gamut of acne classifications. Because acne comes in so many different forms, it's good to know what you're seeing in the mirror, so you can treat it effectively. And remember, please see a dermatologist if your acne is particularly painful, leads to scars or resists treatment.More »
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Would you believe that preventing acne is almost always possible? Here, we'll explore acne prevention in detail, starting with stuff you already know about skin care (like the importance of washing your face) and ending with a few surprising tricks.
Transcript: Acne always seems to form at the worst times: like before a big date or a business presentation. Luckily,...
Acne always seems to form at the worst times: like before a big date or a business presentation. Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent blemishes from affecting a big day. Acne is a skin condition caused by hormones which targets nearly all teenagers and more than half of adults. While it's impossible to avoid acne entirely-hormones will do what they do-there are ways to reduce your chances of breaking out. The most important thing you can do to prevent acne is to develop a cleansing ritual for use in the morning, at night, and after exercise. Using a mild soap, gently wash your face from under your jaw to your hairline. Rinse thoroughly. Talk to your dermatologist about which kind of cleanser to use. Astringents, rough scrub pads, and strong formulas all have the potential to dry out your skin, making your acne worse, instead of better. Be sure to cleanse your scalp daily as well. Plenty of people get acne along their hairline and on their scalp, and a gentle shampoo can help prevent the oil buildups that can lead to zits. As much as possible, avoid touching your face. Squeezing, popping and even grazing blemishes can spread the bacteria-laden contents, prolonging your breakout. And breaking that zit may lead to scarring. Nicking a blemish while shaving is tantamount to popping it: Your breakout can spread! To avoid this, clean the area to be shaved with soap and warm water, and then coat it with shaving cream. This makes shaving smoother, so you're less likely to irritate your acne. To keep acne at bay, women should look for makeup that is oil free. Scan the labels for the phrase "non-comedogenic," which means the product is less likely to induce a break-out. If you're determined to stick with your favorites, swap cream blushes and shadows for powdered or mineral ones, and go easy on the foundation. This will minimize skin irritation. Acne can also be brought on by environmental irritants, like high humidity, smog, cigarette smoke, and excess sunlight. All of these factors can bother your skin, increasing bacterial activity. But the worst of the environmental irritants is airborne grease, from, say, the fryers at a fast-food restaurant. That extra oil that lands on your face contributes to already clogged pores. While you may have to avoid the sun, the good news is that you can enjoy that chocolate bar! Studies have found that eating junk foods doesn't prompt breakouts. While that doesn't mean you should give up fruits and veggies, the occasional candy bar won't harm your skin. Because acne can result from the elevated hormones that come with stress, take a deep breath ... and relax. Meditate, take a break from work, do something to uplift your mood - and simultaneously reduce your chances of breaking out. Changing your daily behaviors can help prevent acne breakouts to some extent. Unfortunately though, most sufferers of the hormone-induced skin condition will still need help in the form of over-the-counter or prescription medications.More »
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Mild acne can be treated with over the counter products packed with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Watch this to see how these medications work.
Transcript: Want to know the secret to getting rid of mild to moderate acne? It's right there on your drugstore shelves!...
Want to know the secret to getting rid of mild to moderate acne? It's right there on your drugstore shelves! In this video, we'll look at simple treatments for those annoying blemishes. Americans spend more than $100 million every year on over-the-counter acne treatments, and it's little wonder! Most mild to moderate cases of acne can be treated effectively with drugstore cleansers, scrubs and ointments. The treatment that is best for you will depend on the severity of your acne, your skin type and the kind of blemishes you have. While scanning the drugstore shelves, it's important to read the ingredient labels. You'll want a treatment that contains one of five proven acne-fighting compounds. A popular acne treatment product, salicylic acid, draws the oil from blackheads and whiteheads, and slows the shedding of skin cells that can block pores and cause acne. Salicylic acid is the most versatile over-the-counter acne-fighter. You'll spot it in everything from cleansers and scrubs, like Stridex Triple Clear Acne wipes, to acne-safe makeup, such as Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup. The strongest and most effective over-the-counter acne treatment contains benzoyl peroxide. Applied as a cleanser or lotion, like ProActive, benzoyl peroxide kills harmful bacteria and clears oil and skin cells from pores. Benzoyl peroxide can bleach fabric, so take extra care when using it-and, for your sheets' sake, remember not to apply products with this active ingredient right before bed. No matter what product you use, remember that what works well for a friend may not work for you-and vice versa! Just look at the case of siblings Bo and Katherine. Bo and Katherine both had teenage skin plagued by blemishes. To help treat their acne, their mother bought them a tube of Clean and Clear. After trying the cream, Bo's skin cleared up instantly, but Katherine's looked even worse! Distraught, Katherine went to see a dermatologist who recommended an over-the-counter medication containing salicylic acid. To Katherine's delight, it worked! In mere weeks, her skin was as clear as Bo's! Another acne-fighting agent, resorcinol, breaks down the structure of blackheads and whiteheads and removes excess oil. It's most often used in ointments, like Clearasil, which are meant to spot-treat individual blemishes. Sulfur, which aids in acne breakdown, can be combined with other acne-fighting ingredients. Scientists aren't sure why it's so effective, but, unfortunately, sulfur's rotten-egg smell limits its uses. Two ingredients used in combination, alcohol and acetone, eliminate oil and kill acne-causing bacteria. The acne-fighting duo is usually found in astringents and facial washes like those made by Clean and Clear. No matter what active ingredient is in your acne-fighting agents, you may notice some redness or skin irritation at first. If this does not diminish after several days, discontinue using the offending products. Use over-the-counter acne treatments on all acne-prone regions, not just individual blemishes. Doing so will clear up blemishes and can help stop them from forming in the future. Continue your daily treatment even after your face clears. If you stop cleansing your skin, the blemishes will usually reappear in a matter of weeks. Remember, most acne will go away with the help of over-the-counter medications. If your acne doesn't respond to these treatments after four to six weeks, make an appointment with your dermatologist to consider prescription options.More »
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Severe acne don't respond to over-the-counter treatments. You'll need a dermatologist to recommend prescription treatments, or even surgery. Watch this to learn about the options.
Transcript: You've tried just about every cleanser and ointment at the drugstore, but nothing seems to clear up your...
You've tried just about every cleanser and ointment at the drugstore, but nothing seems to clear up your severe acne. In this video, we'll look at your other options. Acne is a skin condition in which the body's pores become blocked and inflamed. Nearly 40 percent of acne sufferers have what is known as severe acne, which results in chronic, painful lesions that spread over the entire face. These blemishes don't respond to over-the-counter treatments. Most sufferers of severe acne are men. That's because male hormones called androgens send the skin's oil glands into overdrive, generating even more blemishes. Severe acne sufferers may have blemishes known as nodules or cysts. Nodulcystic acne penetrates deeper into the skin than milder forms, and is usually more painful and inflamed. Your dermatologist will help determine the best course of action to treat your severe acne. You may need to be patient during this process, because it can take time to find a treatment method that works for you. Prescribed oral antibiotics fight acne by killing the common bacteria usually found on the skin, and decreasing inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe one of any number of common antibiotics, like Tetrocycline and Doxycycline, gradually reducing your dosage as your acne clears up. Another long-term prescription treatment for acne is only available to women: oral contraceptives. Some birth control pills suppress the skin's oil-producing glands, resulting in reduced acne. If prescription methods prove ineffective, there are several in-office procedures that can help particularly resistant blemishes. Injecting diluted corticosteroids into an extremely inflamed blemish can prevent it from rupturing and causing scarring. A single injection of diluted corticosteroids works over a few days to reduce swelling and promote healing. Your doctor may also drain individual lesions that don't respond to medicinal treatment. This "acne surgery" is not unlike popping the pimples, but it is performed with sterile tools in a safe way that won't spread the blemishes or leave scars. While severe acne can be painful and embarrassing, these blemishes are treatable. Remember, no matter what acne therapy you use, it's imperative to follow your dermatologist's instructions carefullyMore »
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Once pimples go away, treating acne scars might be your next issue. For information on your options, watch this video.
Transcript: That nasty pimple finally faded-but it left a tell-tale mark. If an acne scar is marring your complexion,...
That nasty pimple finally faded-but it left a tell-tale mark. If an acne scar is marring your complexion, a variety of cosmetic options can minimize its appearance. Acne, a common skin condition, occurs when pores become blocked with dead skin cells and oil. These blemishes usually disappear over time, but occasionally, one will leave a scar in its place. Let's look at the ways in which scars can form. When a blemish appears, the body's white blood cells rush to the site to repair tissue and fight infection. A scar can form as a result of the healing process. Note even the hottest celebrities are immune to the scarring caused by blemishes. Cameron Diaz bears pockmarks and scars from past bouts of acne, yet the actress is still admired for her unique features. Popping, picking, or even touching a blemish can send bacteria deeper into the skin, increasing irritation. This greatly increases the likelihood that a scar will result. Scarring can also follow a bout of severe acne. Nodules and cysts, the more intense forms of blemishes, penetrate deep in to the skin, and are therefore more likely to leave behind scars. A common type of acne scar is actually caused by a loss of tissue. These scars are characterized by depressions in the skin surface.Excess collagen can also cause scarring. When the body needs to heal a blemish, it creates new layers of collagen, a protein found in connective tissue. When excess collage is produced to compensate. This can transform into a hypertrophic scar, a smooth mark raised above the skin's surface. Your cosmetic treatment options depend on the type and the severity of scarring, as well as your current skin condition. One way to improve the appearance of a scar is via injection. A dermatologist can inject collagen into a depressed scar, filling out the hollow area. The injection process can also be done by using fat from another part of the body. In both cases, the cosmetic benefits are temporary, lasting no more than six months A dermatologist can also inject corticosteroids into a hypertphic scar to flaten and soften the raised area.. Another scar reduction technique, laser treatment, reduces redness and evens out scar tissue. The results are permanent, but can be tough to achieve. Laser treatments are expensive, and can require multiple visits. In severe cases, skin surgery may be used to remove scar tissue or to elevate it as necessary. Another treatment option for removing acne scars is dermabrasion. This procedure uses a high-speed brush to remove surface skin, eradicating superficial scars and reducing the appearance of deeper ones. If acne has left you with embarrassing marks, there are plenty of options available to remove scars. However, it is always easier to prevent scars than to treat them, so try to not touch your blemishes and talk to your doctor if your acne is severe.More »
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Excess weight might be the culprit behind sleep deprivation. Outsmart insomnia by eating healthy and losing weight. Watch this to learn more.
Transcript: Two in three Americans regularly have trouble sleeping! But forget counting sheep-you can combat insomnia...
Two in three Americans regularly have trouble sleeping! But forget counting sheep-you can combat insomnia with these simple diet and exercise tips. Diet and nutrition can play a vital role in helping you get a good night's sleep. But before you can put these tools to work for you, it helps to know what might be causing your insomnia. A. Insomnia is a general word that describes difficulty sleeping. B. This umbrella term includes people who have a hard time falling asleep, those who wake up periodically during the night, C. and people who awaken earlier than they would like to in the morning. Most people experience insomnia at some point, but when it persists for over a month, it is known as chronic insomnia, and considered slightly more serious. The foods you eat can help with insomnia. In the evening, try consuming foods that are high in tryptophan, a chemical that encourages sleep. Great sources include bananas, figs, grapefruit, dates, tuna, turkey, yogurt and milk. Another great aid for insomniacs is consuming the hormone melatonin, a natural sleep-enhancer. Melatonin is found in foods like oats, bananas and rice. It is also available in a supplement form. It is important to avoid stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes during the three hours before bedtime. A. Insomnias should also bypass alcohol before bed. Although spirits are technically classified as depressants, B. they can interfere with deep, restful REM sleep later in the night. A. People who have a hard time falling asleep may want to consider cutting back B. on foods like chocolate, sugar, C. cheese and potatoes. D. These neuro-stimulants contain tyrosine, which increases alertness. There are also some simple exercises which may be able to help you sleep. Because the leg muscles are the largest, they store more tension than any other body part. Doing leg stretches before bed can release tension, allowing for sounder sleep. Using a wall for support, raise your right leg behind you and grab your foot with your left hand. Pull your heel up toward your buttocks, stretching the muscles in the front of your leg for 20 seconds. Repeat with your left leg. Sleep apnea, which affects 18 million Americans, is a disorder that causes people to stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time while they are asleep. These disruptions leave sufferers much less alert during their waking hours - so much so that they are 7 times as likely to get into a car accident as people without the disorder. Losing weight can significantly decrease the occurrences of the condition, but there are some specific things to keep in mind when you are trying to slim down for this reason. A. Make sure your diet incorporates foods that fit into your weight loss program and increase your general energy levels, B. like apples with peanut butter or carrots and hummus. Tossing and turning can often be a thing of the past with smart diet and exercise choices. However, if you have prolonged difficulty sleeping, please see your physician.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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A good night’s sleep rejuvenates the mind and body. But there's more to Understanding sleep, including crucial cycles such as REM. Watch this to learn more.
Transcript: You spend a third of your life sleeping-or at least you should! So what goes on while you're snuggling...
You spend a third of your life sleeping-or at least you should! So what goes on while you're snuggling under the covers? Most of us think of sleep as "dead time," yet it's actually an active state during which the brain and body regenerate. For this reason, a good night's sleep is essential to a good day's productivity. During sleep, the body repeatedly cycles through four stages of non rapid-eye movement sleep, or NREM, and one stage of rapid-eye movement sleep, or REM. Each of the four stages of NREM sleep can last from 5 to 15 minutes. During Stage 1 of NREM sleep, you can be awakened very easily, and, if you are, you may feel like you haven't slept at all. During this first NREM stage, many people experience a feeling of falling, which can cause a sudden muscle contraction, known as hypnic myoclonia. Often, hypnic myoclonia will cause an abrupt awakening. When the body enters Stage 2 of NREM sleep, the heart rate slows and body temperature drops. Muscles tighten and then relax again as you prepare to enter deep sleep. Stages 3 and 4 of NREM sleep are also known as slow-wave, or delta sleep, although Stage 4 is more intense. If aroused during these stages, you may feel briefly disoriented before awakening fully. During the delta sleep stages of NREM, the body repairs and regenerates energy, builds bone and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. After the body cycles through its first four stages of NREM sleep (generally 90 minutes after sleep onset), it enters its first course of REM sleep. The first period of REM lasts for about 10 minutes. Then, you begin the cycle again, passing through the 4 stages of NREM before re-entering REM sleep. Each subsequent stage of REM lengthens until the last segment, which may last up to an hour. During REM sleep, the eyes move rapidly in different directions, hence the term "rapid-eye movement." Heart rate and respiration also speed up and become erratic. Dreaming only occurs during REM, as a result of the heightened brain activity in this stage. Paradoxically, during this time your muscles are paralyzed. To be properly restored and regenerated, the body must repeatedly cycle through all of these sleep stages, usually for about 7 to 8 hours a night in adults. If you have trouble falling asleep, or can't sleep through the night, if you wake up too early, or if you are tired during the day, you may have a sleep disorder. Common sleep disorders include standard insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, nightmares and sleepwalking. Because the body needs sleep to properly restore and repair itself, it's vital to get your uninterrupted eight hours. If you're not sleeping as you should, please see your doctor. Always remember to remove yourMore »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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