Benefits For Your Mind and Body

December 18, 2012 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

14504094_mWhile working as a career counselor for three years, I noticed that many people not only let their health get in the way of their current work, but many also let their health keep them from getting a new and better career that they deserve. Nowadays, health insurance companies are not only offering terrific benefits to their employees, even with the raising costs, but also providing counseling and health and wellness programs to make sure their employees are taken care of physically and emotionally.

Counseling 

For those plagued by the unseen mental and emotional problems that many have not understood the gravity of in the past, it is great to know that most insurance companies are providing more and more participating mental health professionals to insure you are of sound mind and body to perform at your best each day at work. Someone suffering from mental problems associated with depression, abuse, traumatic stress, or a psychological disorder can receive counseling to help them cope with the disappointments, stress, and roller coaster of emotions that an employee can feel from day to day while trying to juggle work, family, and social responsibilities. Many companies have reaped the benefits of providing these services to their employees and some even offer free crisis lines where employees can call anonymously to speak with a professional about the current mental or emotional stresses that are keeping them from feeling happy and performing their job to the best of their ability.

Health and Wellness

Programs such as the health and wellness programs are new programs implemented by top insurance companies to ensure you are educated on your current health conditions and advised on how to improve your health by giving you one on one counseling with a Wellness counselor to keep you on track to lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure, as well as giving you tips on problems that are common to office workers such as: migraines, eye strains, carpal tunnel and arthritis. The health and wellness program is usually free to employees with full health insurance benefits and many companies even offer incentives to employees who keep regular contact with their counselors. Also if the employees are at high risk for conditions associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity many employers and health insurance providers will offer the employees lower monthly rates for participating in this program to improve their health.

Nutritionist

Although this may not be a free benefit with full coverage health insurance, many health insurance companies offer incredibly subsidized rates for employees who wish to work with a participating nutritionist or dietician. This benefit can open incredible doors for employees to realize the ease of participating in diets to shave off the pounds and improve the condition of their heart and other vital organs. Many who felt that they couldn’t get a green bean down if forced, soon begin to see and feel the benefits of a well-balanced diet and receive help and coaching all along the way. Not only will you receive nutrition and dieting advice, but your nutritionist will also help you work out a fitness regime to move along your weight loss and fitness, and help you see results faster than ever! The monthly or quarter visits you have with your nutritionist will include regular weigh-ins which is a terrific way of remaining accountable for your efforts, as well as reaping the benefits of living a healthy and well-balanced life.

If you’re unsure if your current employer offers these benefits at little or no cost to you, speak with your Human Resources to department to see if there is a possibility of participating in the counseling, health and wellness, or nutrition programs through your insurance provider. The little time it takes to see what your insurance company offers can put you on track to improving your mind and body to better perform at work.

About the Author:

Lucy Markham worked as an academic and career counselor for three years while earning her B.A. in English from the University of Florida. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in Education from the University of Utah

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Eat All That Chocolate

December 6, 2012 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE, OBESITY

Are you craving chocolate yet?  What if I told you not to eat it and that it would make you fat?  Now how do you feel about eating it?  Are you mad-jonesing for it?

That’s what a recent study found.  A joint research team of the University of Western Australia and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland found that when a group of 80 women were presented with videos or images warning that chocolate could lead to obesity that they were more likely to crave it.  When shown images of thin models, their desire to eat chocolate increased while their food consumption desire decreased.

The study that appears in the journal Appetite, while interesting, highlights a problem we are probably all aware of but do little to acknowledge.  We want to do the things people don’t want us to.  There is a part of human nature that enjoys rebelling against a system of order.  And when people are dieting, the life of their eating habits is a system of order.

It is actually the lack of discipline relating to rebellion that is the reason why many diets fail.  Because diets, and worse yet fad diets, are short term solutions that are often not adopted as permanent lifestyle changes.  Any short term benefits of dieting are often lost very quickly when the diet ends and a person reverts back to their normal eating habits.

It’s the big changes to our habits that we have the biggest problem dealing with.  There is often a short-term immediate acceptance but in the long run we’ll naturally want to go back to an old way of doing things.

Instead of trying to make sudden sweeping changes to your habits consider small changes.  Nutritionists have seen better long-term results when people adopt smaller changes to their eating habits.

When you start small think of how many calories you take in each day.  Are you drinking three cans of soda a day?  Could you live with two?  Are you getting the fast food combo with large fries and a drink?  Maybe go medium instead, that is if you absolutely need to have that fast food meal.

Do you find yourself constantly snacking in front of your television or your computer?  What is it that you’re snacking on?  Is it cookies or chips?  When you sit down to browse your queued instant videos or check your email, consider putting a bowl of baby carrots in front of you.  Health experts have found that people have a tendency to reach for and snack on whatever is close at hand.  If what’s close at hand just happens to be a healthy fruit or vegetable snack it could be much better for your belly than a box of doughnuts.

Little changes to your fitness can be adopted as well.  It can be as simple as just parking your car a little further away from the entrance to the shopping mall.  If you’re walking up a few floors in a building take the stairs instead.  If you are going up thirty floors though it is probably just fine to take the elevator so you don’t show up at your business meeting sweating and huffing and puffing.  If you do have the gusto to climb thirty flights of stairs then go for it!

When you step into 2013 for the first time and think about that most common of mantras people like to attempt every time a New Year starts, think about taking small steps.  When somebody tells you not to eat chocolate because it will make you fat don’t just eat that chocolate out of spite.  Take small steps and pay attention to your habits when it comes to eating and you may find that positive change may be coming your way.

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Importance of Detecting Prostate Cancer Early

December 3, 2012 by  
Filed under CANCER

Cancer

Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer that affects men. It develops in the prostate gland, where it either grows slowly or spreads to other parts of the body quickly. This disease occurs when there are abnormal cells in the prostate, although the underlying cause of this isn’t known. It’s important to recognize the signs of this disease since early detection is associated with a higher chance of successfully treating it.

Risk Factors

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in men who are over 75 years old, according to the National Institutes of Health. NIH This disease rarely occurs in men who are younger than 40; it’s more common in men who are older than 60. Risk factors associated with this disease include being African-American and having a family history of prostate cancer. Other risk factors include eating foods that are high in fat and drinking too much alcohol.

Signs of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer typically causes symptoms when it’s more advanced. Common symptoms of this disease include difficulty urinating, pelvic pain, weak stream of urine, blood in urine or semen and leg swelling. Bone pain in the lower back or pelvic region can also occur in some cases. Men who experience any signs of this disease should schedule an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible.

Prognosis

Prostate cancer treatment has a higher success rate when the cancer is found early and hasn’t spread outside the prostate gland. The other factor that affects the prognosis of this disease is how abnormal the cancerous cells are. If the cancer has just started to spread to other areas of the body, treatment can still be successful in some cases.

Testing

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests and digital rectal exams can help detect prostate cancer in the early stages. Men who have a high risk of having this disease should ask their doctor how often they need to be tested. Some organizations recommend that all men between the ages of 40 and 75 years old should have these tests done once a year, while other organizations suggest talking it over with a doctor to weigh the pros and cons first. Mayo Clinic It’s important to keep in mind that elevated PSA levels don’t necessarily indicate the presence of cancerous cells. It’s also possible to have cancer without having elevated PSA levels.

Prevention

Men can lower their risk of having prostate cancer by reducing their fat intake, especially in foods that contain a lot of animal fat. Adding more fruits and vegetables can help prevent prostate cancer. Tomatoes are one of the best foods to add since they contain lycopene, which has been associated with prostate cancer prevention. Exercising on a regular basis might also help reduce the risk of this disease. Lower rates of prostate cancer have been found in men who exercise frequently. Certain medications might also help prevent prostate cancer, although some have also been linked to a higher risk of developing high-grade prostate cancer. Those who are interested in taking one of these medications should talk to their doctor about the risks involved.

When PSA levels are high or the prostate is enlarged, doctors will usually perform a biopsy to check for cancer. If prostate cancer is found, other tests are done to see if it has spread. The treatment methods following a cancer diagnosis depend on how advanced the disease is. These methods range from surgery to hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Men who are successfully treated for prostate cancer will need to visit their doctor often for testing. This is done to make sure that the cancer is gone or hasn’t spread outside the prostate gland.

About the Author:

*** author and link removed *** … // but, test your prostate levels for prevention of prostate cancer.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.