Can Stress Increase Risk Of Being Depressed?

Stress alone may not cause depression, but when you cannot cope with the stressful life situations for a prolonged time, you may become depressed. That said, you should understand that depression is a mental disorder of complex origin. As a matter of fact, the combined effects of genetics, imbalances in the levels of brain chemicals, and faulty coping skills are the real causes.

Stress, more precisely psychological stress, is a normal response to an overwhelming situation in life. Essentially, it can occur due to both good as well as bad events or situations. Remember the night before starting your dream job? Or, the moment when you experienced a breakup?

Normally, as the time passes by, you will learn to adapt to new changes in your life. But the real problems arise when stress lingers far beyond a certain duration. In fact, chronic stress, even if mild, may increase the risk of depression by a huge margin.

Understanding the Link Between Chronic Stress and Depression

Chronic stress can prolong for months or even years. Owing to the longstanding nature, it can leave a number of adverse effects on your health and other areas of life. For example, relationships, financial status, memory and problem-solving skills.

This is in contrast to acute stress where the duration is “too” short to cause long-term problems in life.

Chronic mild stress can negatively affect your sleep, food habits, weight and level of physical activity. In turn, all these effects may make you depressed. Depressed patients in most cases also have anxiety, which is your body’s reaction to a stressor. For the same reason, the depression medications also treat anxiety.

Some studies suggest chronic stress can also affect the brain development process throughout one’s life. As a result, older adults may develop depression after chronic stress. In fact, long periods of stress have a definite link with depression in later life years. This is a common occurrence in war veterans who have a stress disorder called PTSD.

Likewise, many common signs or symptoms of depression also occur during stress. They may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Unexplained pains
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Weight and appetite changes
  • Memory problems
  • Disorganized or racing thoughts
  • Inability to focus
  • Restlessness
  • Low energy and motivation
  • Constant worrying even in the absence of a real problem

 

What You Can Do

While you cannot free yourself completely from stressors, you can cut down the risk of depression by learning certain coping skills. Also, a few minor changes in your lifestyle can do wonders when you are under stress.

Consider making the following changes in your life.

  • Make sure you get a quality sleep for seven to eight hours.
  • Identify the events or situations that might trigger stress. Once you know any of them, prepare yourself to minimize its effects on your mood and behavior. This is when you cannot avoid the stressor. For example, you cannot quit your job because you fear presentations. But you can prepare for it by practicing in front of a mirror.
  • Make a “to-do” list and follow it strictly. That way, you can make your daily routine more organized.
  • Take a deep breath. Yes, doctors now suggest for their patients to breathe deeply to reduce stress. Also called “abdominal breathing”, it helps to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Sit in a quiet place with your back straight. Now close your eyes and focus on your breathing for at least five minutes. Alternately, you may also recite a “mantra” or a positive self-suggestion like “I am peaceful and happy”. The case is not here about the mantra but about how you can rest your mind and recharge it. If you like, you could listen to your favorite music as well.
  • Be social. Being social is not always about getting active on social media platforms. In fact, a face-to-face conversation is a great way to release your thoughts and anxiety. Choose the one who you want to open yourself to.
  • Find a reason to smile or laugh. Why not watch your favorite comedy series? If this is not possible, look at a beautiful flower and smile at it appreciating the beauty of nature. In any case, make sure to feel the senses during the smile.
  • Stay active. Physical activity, regardless of its type, can boost your mood. Also, it can distract you from overwhelming thoughts. Studies show that exercising increases blood circulation and may also release feel-good chemicals in the brain. Consider strolling through a garden or lifting some weights. Yoga could be another option. Choose what fits the situation.
  • Keep a diary. Write down your thoughts, emotions, and anything that makes you happy or sad. Be true while writing. It can help you track what turns your mood on or off.
  • Limit alcohol and avoid smoking. Both are known to increase stress in your mind. Not to forget other harmful effects on your health.
  • Eat a balanced diet. Make sure you get your dose of vitamins, proteins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

The Bottom Line

  • Stress and depression are close but not the same. Nonetheless, chronic stress might make you depressed directly or indirectly.
  • Seek immediate medical help if thoughts are very overwhelming or you develop suicidal tendencies. Know that there is no harm seeking help for mental illness. Timely treatment results in complete and swift recovery.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about how stress can increase the risk of developing depression, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

Prescription Drugs vs Natural Healing: Things You Should Not Miss

No doubt, people around the world have been using natural remedies to find relief from various common ailments. For example, colds, cough, different types of pain,etc. Also, the use of these remedies has risen considerably in the recent times. In fact, nearly one-third of Americans are seeking relief outside the realm of prescription drugs. But the big question is, are they worth their claims? Can you replace prescription drugs with so-called natural healing? Or, at least, should you give up on your doctor’s prescription pills? Here is an insight into the prescription drugs vs natural healing war.

An Overview of Prescription Drugs and Natural Remedies

Prescription drugs represent a wide range of medications that you can get only with a doctor’s prescription. Meaning, you cannot use prescription drugs on your own. Examples include:

  • Narcotic pain medications like morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and their combinations.
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs.
  • Blood pressure lowering drugs.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Water pills also called diuretics.
  • Drugs for diabetes.

Remember this is in contrast to OTC (over-the-counter) drugs that you can use on your own. But you will need a prescription if the product contains a combination of prescription and OTC medications.

What Are Natural Healing Agents?

As a matter of fact, there is no standard definition of natural remedies. One reason might be that these cover a wide range of therapies. Nonetheless, other related terms well defined. They include:

  • Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines CAM as “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine

Note: Doctors may use the complementary approaches in conjunction with the mainstream therapies. But alternative approaches are used to replace the mainstream therapies.

  • Herbal Medicine. Also called botanicals or phytotherapy. Herbal medicines are a type of dietary supplement. They come in different forms. For example, capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders. Remember last time you bought garlic capsules?
  • Traditional medicine (TM). According to the WHO, TM is “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness“.
  • Integrative medicine (IM). As the name suggests, IM is a collaborative approach consisting of both the usual medical and complementary approaches. In fact, more and more physicians are using this approach these days. In addition to the botanicals, it also covers non-drug therapies like yoga, chiropractic, homeopathy and special diets.

Natural healing approaches or remedies may involve any of the therapies mentioned above. Therefore, it would be wiser on your side to know which type of natural remedies you are using. That way, you will have a clearer idea of the ingredients and possible beneficial/harmful effects.

Prescription Drugs vs Natural Healing: Two Entirely Different Approaches of Disease Treatment

Prescription drugs become available in the market only after a lengthy process. Essentially, it involves tests on animals, healthy volunteers and those with the disorder. In a normal case, the whole process starting from the beginning of a drug research to its market availability takes more than a decade. In essence, the researchers want to make sure the drugs in the experiment are safe and effective. Moreover, the US FDA approval is needed for all the prescription drugs.

On the contrary, the natural healing approaches do not undergo such stringent regulations. It is because they are not considered drugs by the FDA. Simply put it, the FDA considers the natural remedies safe as long as there are no reports of proven toxic or undesirable effects. Thus, it is clear that these supplements enjoy a greater degree of freedom when it comes to the tests for safety and efficacy.

Can You Replace Prescription Drugs with Natural Healing Therapies?

Definitely not.

Not every product in the market with a label “natural and safe” is safe or effective in reality. If you are already taking some other prescription drugs, they can interact with the “natural” products.

Considering the lack of enough data on their safety and efficacy, you should not use any natural remedy in place of the prescription drugs. Doing so may worsen your condition. At the worst, such practice may be potentially fatal.

However, you may use alternative therapies or supplements after consulting your doctor. In fact, an expert consultation is invariably necessary to ensure you do not develop any complications.

In fact, there is no single natural remedy that has been scientifically proven to be as effective as the prescription drugs.

What You Can Do

To ensure your health, consider using the following tips.

  • Avoid buying any product with a claim of cure or replacement for the prescription drugs.
  • Read the labels on the natural remedies carefully. Note the language and product description. If you suspect anything wrong with it, do not use.
  • Take an extra caution if you are buying a supplement from the online vendor. It would be best to avoid such practice.

 

  • Do not take a supplement if you are using other prescription and OTC drugs. Moreover, pregnant or breastfeeding women should never take any supplements on their own.
  • In any case, DO NOT use any supplement or other natural healing therapies without first consulting your doctor. If you have any signs of a major health issue during the use, stop taking it immediately and seek a professional help.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about prescription drugs vs natural healing, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

Most Strokes Can Be Prevented – Know the Risk Factors

A Quick Overview of Stroke

Stroke is a medical emergency. It occurs when the brain’s blood vessels become clogged or rupture. In any case, a certain area of the brain does not get its usual supply of the oxygen and essential nutrients. As a result, the oxygen-deprived area may die or sustain permanent damages. A stroke is also called brain attack (do not confuse with aheart attack).

The types of stroke are:

  • Ischemic stroke. It results when the brain’s blood vessels cannot supply oxygen to the brain tissues due to some obstruction. The most common obstructions are blood clots and fatty deposits on their inner walls.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke. When any of the brain’s blood vessels ruptures, there is an accumulation of blood in that area. Consequently, it damages the brain tissues in the nearby areas too.

The problem with having a stroke is that it can leave some permanent damage in the brain. In this way, it may also contribute to some long-term disabilities.

Stroke In The US: What Do Stats Say?

Statistics on strokes indicate it ranks 5th in the list of leading causes of death in the US. In fact, death due to stroke occurs every four minutes. Regrettably, the rate is even higher for black people. Note that heart disorders, cancer, respiratory disorders, and accidents are the top four causes of death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

  • Stroke is responsible for 1 out of every 20 deaths.
  • It affects more than 795,000 people every year. Among them, about 610,000 have it for the first time.
  • Nearly 1 out every 4 previous patients of stroke develops another stroke.
  • Ischemic stroke accounts for up to 90% of all cases of stroke.
  • The economic burden of stroke in the United States is about $33 billion each year.
  • Long-term disability like limited mobility is a major problem in stroke survivors. In fact, more than 50% of survivors aged 65 or over experience some kinds of problems with movement.

Can You Prevent Stokes?

Of course.The first thing you should know is that most strokes can be prevented. And with timely treatment, you can expect better recovery. Also, you might be able to prevent long-term disabilities. Make sure you understand the risk factors.

What Are The Risk Factors For Stroke?

  • Increasing age is a natural and non-modifiable risk factor for stroke. But, this, in no way, means that only older people get strokes. In fact, strokes can affect people of any age. For example, in 2009, people younger than 65 constituted 34% of hospitalized strokes patients. With this being said, you have to put more focus on risk factors that you can change.
  • High blood pressure. Schedule a visit with your doctor if your blood pressure is 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or more for an extended period of time.
  • This chronic disorder of glucose metabolism may also boost other risk factors like high blood pressure and heart diseases.
  • Heart diseases like Coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiomyopathy, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation can cause strokes by blocking the blood supply to the brain.
  • It increases blood pressure and damages the blood vessels. Meaning, smoking is a risk factor for both strokes as well as many other diseases. Visit your doctor to learn how to quit smoking.
  • High cholesterol. High levels of fatty substances in the bloodstream may deposit on the inner walls of the blood vessels. Consequently, fatty deposits reduce blood flow.

What You Can Do to Reduce the Risks

  • Control blood pressure. If you have not developed high blood pressure, take measures to prevent it. For example, eat a healthy diet, stay active, and do not smoke. If you have medications, take them and follow other lifestyle changes upon recommendation by your doctor. In any case, check your blood pressure on a regular basis. Ask your doctor if when and how often you should get checked.
  • Check your cholesterol. Doctors recommend checking your cholesterol level at least once every 5 years. If you are obese or eat an unhealthy diet, you may need to check it more often.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is a known risk factor for a plethora of health disorders. With this being said, you should aim for a healthy weight irrespective of your current health condition. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple tool to test if your weight is healthy. Ask your doctor or use a BMI calculator.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Feast on fresh fruits and vegetables. Increase your fiber intake and limit consumption of salt, trans fat, and cholesterol. That way, you can also prevent many other heart diseases.
  • Quit smoking. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you are a smoker, quit. Seek professional help if you cannot give it up on your own.
  • Keep blood sugar in check. Take a regular blood glucose test. Also, do not forget to continue eating healthy and staying active.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Well, it isn’t a new concept that alcohol damages your heart and blood vessels. Drink in moderation. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate limit for your body.
  • Stick to your medication plan. The risk of a major stroke rises significantly in those patients with high cholesterol and high blood pressure who do not take their prescribed medications. On a positive note, you can reduce the risk by complying with treatment. (This 2016 study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology)

Act Now To Prevent Strokes

It is a known fact that early diagnosis is key to ensuring success of a treatment program. Because stroke is a serious condition, any delay in seeking a medical help can lead to a catastrophic result. You should know when to call 911. As a matter of fact, getting emergency treatment within 3 hours of an attack can slash the rate of disability by a huge margin.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about the risk factors and how most strokes can be prevented, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

How Would Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts Impact Global Health?

The Trump administration’s “America First” policy might be good news for some Americans.

However, their recent FY 18 budget request is nothing less than a nightmare for ailing poor people. The proposed budget aims to cut down global health spending by a huge margin. Notably, such a move is poised to negatively impact the health of people in poor countries.

As a matter of fact, the US has been spending a significant chunk of its budget on the improvement of health, especially in developing countries. Policymakers say such generosity projects a positive image of the US in the global arena. Furthermore, it might also protect US interest and boost national security.

This trend, which continued for more than a decade, seems to be coming to an end.

After Trump’s “unbelievable” victory in the presidential run, things have been changing rapidly both within and outside the US. No doubt, Trump’s victory was looked upon as a moment of “change” by many analysts all over the world.

Which Areas Will the Budget Cut Affect? Will the Poor Die Sick?

Looking at the extent of the possible damages due to budget cuts, some could assume that poor people will die hungry and diseased.

The Trump administration has put forward a proposal to slash global fund by a whopping $2.2 billion. This means it would be a 26% reduction in global health spending, which currently stands at $8.7 billion.

If the US Congress gives a nod to this, it will come into effect in the 2018 fiscal year. Let’s look at the specific areas that will bear the brunt of the budget cut.

  • International family planning programs would lose almost all funding from the US. This is by far the most hard-hit health area. Impaired family planning efforts would cause a widespread effect on both maternal health and child health.
  • The budget of the HIV/AIDS programs would go down by 17%. Most notably, it would wreak havoc on the efforts that focus on combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the world’s poorest countries.
  • Programs aimed at reducing the prevalence of malaria would witness an 11% decrease in their budget. Efforts to combat tuberculosis would also come under fire.
  • Moreover, Trump’s budget cuts could make food aid and disaster relief programs dysfunctional. Unfortunately, the proposal comes at a time when 70 million people are lacking food and 20 million others are starving in a famine-like condition.
  • Vaccination programs would also lose a major share of the funding from the US.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The experts believe the long-terms impacts can be more devastating than what we can currently imagine.

Women and Children Will Be Most Affected by Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts

There is no doubt that America’s departure from international relief programs will severely impact every sick and desperate individual. Yet, women and children might be at a greater risk of the possible damages.

Interestingly, many critics call Trump’s budget an example of gender bias. According to them, the budget plans to cut more on women-oriented programs.

But massive cuts in family planning programs will surely hurt female and child health. Women will lose the access to contraceptives and safe delivery options. Not to mention its effects on newly born children specifically.

Likewise, if the Trump administration opts out of the food aid programs, the incidence of malnutrition will skyrocket. Remember that the nutritional requirements of women and children are naturally higher.

What About the People of America? Trump’s Budget Cuts Also Target National Health and Related Services

If you think being a US citizen saves you from the impacts of thebudget cut, many will agree that you are wrong.

The newly elected president also plans to cut billions from health spending within the US too.

For example, it aims to prohibit Health and Human Services from spending on the entities that provide abortions. Note that this also includes Planned Parenthood.

Here are some more examples on how Trump’s budget cuts could impact people living in the US.

  • The funding of the Department of Health and Human Services will plunge by 18%, which is equal to $15.1 billion. With that being said, the CDC and FDA will receive 17% and 31% less funding respectively.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will receive $5.8 billion less than what is getting now (18% reduction).
  • Grants for low-income Americans will see a reduction of $4.2 billion.
  • Citing training programs for nurses and other healthcare professionals as ineffective, the Trump administration plans to reduce funding in this sector by $400 million.
  • If we believe what President Trump said in the past about the Medicaid budget, we can expect to see the cash flowing. Nonetheless, there are reports that suggest the mammoth program could lose nearly $610 billion over the next ten years. Also, some reports indicate the Trump administration is planning to cut down the Affordable Care Act.

What It Means for You

On an international level, the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts may prove an exemplary failure of humanity, international policy, and diplomacy.

On the national level, there may exist the fear of diseases and reduced access to quality healthcare services.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about healthcare, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

Jogging Benefits Your Health: Know the Health Effects of Moving

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The role of physical activity in promoting health and well-being is undebatable. In fact, jogging may be a better option for those who cannot run fast because of their health conditions. For example, those with chronic joint diseases or who have chronic respiratory problems.

If you are training very hard, you may use jogging as an “active rest”. Likewise, it can be also used as a warm up or cool down for those who run at higher speeds.

What Is Jogging? Is it the Same as Running?

In fact, it is a slower version of running. There is no standard definition of jogging. Nonetheless, running at a speed less than six miles per hour may be called jogging. Running, on the other hand, requires a greater degree of physical fitness and are essentially more straining. Unlike running, its main aim is to increasing fitness without taxing your joints, heart, or lungs.

You can also jog for a longer distance at a constant speed to improve your endurance and aerobic capacity.

Reap the Health Benefits of Jogging

There are many health benefits of jogging. From cancer to diabetes, you can keep every chronic health disorder at bay by moving regularly. Here, we have picked the top health benefits that are backed by many scientific studies.

  • Healthy Weight: Obesity is a major Pan-American health problem. In fact, more and more Americans are gaining weight, therefore increasing the risk of many systemic diseases. In the wake of such a public health issue, jogging is a healthy way to shed some pounds. As a matter of fact, the effect of physical activity in promoting weight loss has been proven for a long time. But how much of it you have implemented in your daily routine is of prime importance. So, what are you waiting for?
  • Better Sleep: Sleep disorders including snoring and loss of sleep are a major public health problem these days. According to the CDC, at least one form of sleep disorder affect about 50-70 million US adults. Notably, insufficient sleep may lead to road traffic accidents, industrial disasters, and significant errors at work. If you are a night owl, you should start some sort of exercise. In fact, light and moderate exercise early in the day could help you fall asleep and improve sleep quality at night.
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disorders: Regular physical activity is shown to have hypertensive effect. Meaning, when you participate in a physical activity, your blood pressure dips down, but in a healthy way. Remember high blood pressure is a risk factor for many heart diseases? Studies show that jogging brings better results when you start moving before you have a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
  • Feel better: If you are stressed or have problems focusing on a particular task, a daily dose of jogging could provide a mental boost. It is a well-known fact that physical activity promotes circulation, a sense of well being, and lifts your mood. While you may not get a runner’s high by jogging, the benefits definitely overshadow the effects of a mental illness. Moreover, those who have severe forms of a mental disorder have problems with sleep and decreased energy levels. Regrettably, these effects gather only a little attention. Thus, you should consider running at a slower pace to minimize the effects of a mental illness.
  • Improved overall health in seniors: Older adults who participate in a 12-week slow jogging program showed improved muscle mass and function. Moreover, continuous physical activity also helped them attain a better aerobic capacity. In essence, you could include jogging in your daily routine to improve general health and hence get a better quality of life. You can read the full study here.
  • Lower risk of having cancer: A 2017 study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention suggests a regular physical activity could lead to a reduced risk of stomach and colon cancer.

Are There Any Health Risks Of Jogging?

No doubt, jogging provides a myriad of health benefits. Nonetheless, certain groups of patients need to be extra careful before starting any physical activity. For example, if you are older and have some heart disorders, you should always consult your doctor first. This is also very important if you have been diagnosed with some chronic diseases. For example, arthritis, COPD, high blood pressure etc.

Tips for Jogging Better

These tips are essential if you are a beginner. Nonetheless, everyone can use them and maximize the jogging effects. Also, these will make it an enjoyable experience.

  • Wear a pair of comfortable running shoes. In general, get a new pair after every 300 miles of jogging or running.
  • As far as possible, jog at almost the same time every day or at least 3 days a week. Remember consistency is key to getting the maximum health benefits.
  • Warm up for at least five minutes before starting a session. It could be stretching, knee lifts or climbing stairs.
  • Once you finish a session cool down your body slowly before taking a “full” rest. You may stretch or walk at a slower pace for some minutes.
  • Do not over strain especially during the early days. Take time to slowly build the fitness level and then shift to a higher level or longer distance.
  • If you are concerned about your safety, you may want to take a friend with you while jogging. Also, look for a fitness club and join if it suits you.

The Bottom Line

Jogging is an easy, safe and effective way to promote health. Regular joggers (3 or more times per week) are not only healthy, they also have a lower level of life dissatisfaction.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about the health benefits of jogging, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

Health Literacy with Data: Using Technology to Empower People

A Quick Overview of Health Literacy

According to the WHO, health literacy is “as the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health.”

It is a broader concept that lies beyond gaining knowledge about a disease or its treatment. Rather, it embraces every aspect of the flow of information that helps you make a better decision about your health. In fact, it focuses more on the right of use of health information. Nonetheless, there is no single definition for it. It is due to the diversity in the healthcare context. For example, what you consider health literacy in the developed world may not be the same for developing countries.

In its simplest form, we may define it as the ability to make a better health decision based on the available information on a drug or disease. When you become more knowledgeable about what is happening with you, you are more likely to enhance the success of a treatment program.

Health Literacy Trends In The US: Where Do We Stand?

Regrettably, the status of health literacy in the US is not very exciting. In fact, it may be even below par with what we expect from a major world economy. Available data suggest a mere 12% US adults have an advanced knowledge and information about health. Meaning, 77 million adults are still below or on the basic level. Also, nine out of ten adults do not have the necessary skills to prevent a disease or manage their health.

In fact, those people may not be able to make sense of a prescription. As a result, there is an increased risk of medication error.

To reduce the risk, the healthcare professionals should deliver complex health information in a way that is understandable to the layperson. They can do this by using plain language as much as possible.

Implications of Low Health Literacy

Money wise, a poor level of health literacy costs the US economy $106 billion to $238 billion every year. Likewise, it also increases the need for hospitalization which ultimately soars the healthcare expenses. In a similar manner, less frequent use of preventive measures further hurts the economy.

What Are The Possibilities Ahead?

No doubt, a surprisingly low level of health literacy is a major concern for every link in the chain. For example, the policy makers, healthcare organizations, patients, and the professionals. Nonetheless, the possibilities of a greater access to the health information are numerous. Here are some ways to explore the possibilities.

  • Consider health literacy as a common issue of the society as well as the government.
  • Promote the role of every concerned member on the health link. Most importantly, the role of the patients and healthcare providers should get the maximum attention. In fact, thehealthcare system is a complex environment. It is a web-like structure where every member has a definitive role. Yet, at times, the roles intersect thus making it more complicated. Thus, it is imperative to understand the discrete as well as overlapping roles of each member in the link.
  • Use plain language as much as possible. Plain language is a simplified version of the complex medical information. In fact, itsuse is of paramount importance in a scenario when a slight margin of error can lead to a catastrophic result. Considering how sensitive health information is, you should always seek reliable, authentic and evidence-based health information. Also, the language should be relevant to the patients from diverse sociocultural backgrounds.

Want to Learn More About Your Disease Or Medication? Visit www.FindaTopDoc.com. It provides evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

  • Put more investments on research to measure health literacy. Data can provide a reliable information on the status of health literacy in a specific group of the population. As a result, it paves the way for effective remedial measures. Thus, it is very important that the policymakers emphasize on finding how many people are health literate and to what level.

Information Technology: One of The Best Solutions to Promote Health Literacy

With an ever-increasing internet penetration in all aspects of life, information technology has become an indispensable tool for promoting health literacy. But, the healthcare organizations or professionals should always understand that technology is just a tool. While they are the ones who make the right use of it.

Health literacy with data aims to:

  • Ensure a continuous and instant patient access to the health data.
  • Utilize the data from the patients to update EHR.
  • Bring innovative changes in the way the patients get health information or service. For example, building a continuous link between the patients and healthcare services.
  • Address the healthcare needs of every member of the community.
  • Achieve 4 E‘s: Engage, Educate, Empower, and Enable.
  • Improve treatment outcomes.
  • Narrow the gap in health literacy among various sections of the community.

How Can Data Promote Health Literacy?

Health organizations can analyze the patient data and use the result of the analysis to:

  • Transfer health and patient information to the target audience in an easy-to-understand language. Thus, it prompts the patients to change their behavior. In a sense, such practice increases patient engagement in the decision-making process.
  • Shed light on the patient’s health issues, concerns and making them ready for screening.
  • Monitor long-standing diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis.
  • Create standard guidelines to treat, prevent, manage the diseases and promote healthy patient behaviors.
  • Record and track patient response to a therapy. As a result, it optimizes the treatment outcomes.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about health literacy with data, visit http://www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

Mental Health as A Workplace Asset: Happiness Gives Big Profits

No doubt, sound mental health is an asset for every area of life. This carries a greater importance at the workplace. It is because a healthy mind is a key to enhancing productivity and motivation. Over the years, the perception of mental health issues in the organizations has changed. It is a welcome sign that many of them are now accepting mental disorders as an illness rather than a stigma.

Mental Health Problems inthe US

Mental health problems pose a great threat to Americans. According to a 2012 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about one in five American adults has at least one mental illness every year. Nonetheless, these findings are debatable in the medical community. Many psychiatric statisticians believe the prevalence of mental illnesses in the US is more than this.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its 2011 report estimated that around 25% of Americans had mental health problems at the time of the study. All things considered, it is clear that Americans are struggling with the effects of mental disorders.

Depression, Anxiety And Bipolar Disorder Are The Top Three Mental Health Issues In The U.S.

According to the CDC, the most mental illnesses across the U.S. are:

  • Also called uni polar depression, which means the patient has only depressive symptoms, affected 6.7% of U.S. adults in the last twelve months. Notably, women are at a greater risk, with 11.7% women having a mental illness compared to 5.6 % men.
  • More than 15% of the Americans have at least one type of anxiety disorder. While during the last twelve, more than 10% had anxiety. The common types of anxiety disorder are panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and separation anxiety disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder. According to The National Comorbidity Study, the lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is 4%. Meaning, out of hundred Americans, four have bipolar disorder at some point during their lifetime.

Work and Mental Health: Exploring The “On” And “Off” Relationship

The relationship between work and mental health is often ambiguous. As a matter of fact, workplace distress could lead to depressive symptoms. By the same token, depression could significantly cut down the productivity at work.

One trend that has been grabbing attention is disclosure of the mental illness at the workplace. While positive perception by colleagues can go a long way in the recovery process, a negative attitude can add further woes.

Also, the stigmatization of mental health problems at the workplace may keep the patient from disclosing problems or denying treatment. At the worst, negatives attitudes about mental health issues can cause the loss of employment. This, in turn, causes more distress and financial problems to the patients. The negative experience of a mental illness may continue long after the recovery.

Many organizations lack proper monitoring systems to detect a mental health issue among their employees. Thus, treatment may be delayed further.

What Employers Can Do To Address Mental Health Issues

First, the employers should make provisions for identifying and addressing the mental health problems among their employees. In essence, they should create a workplace where every member knows the value of mental health. This may be achieved through a regular mental health awareness program. There, the employees with a problem can disclose how they feel living and working with the illness. Likewise, the healthy peers can extend their support by accepting the problem and comforting those having the problems. The workplace should support the disclosure and work to reduce its stigmatization.

The employers should encourage their employees to indulge in healthy activities. In fact, they can avail facilities like gym, fitness centers, and regular meditation sessions.

What Employees Can Do To Resolve Mental Health Issues

The first thing that employees can do is to disclose their mental health problems in front of the managers. Such practice may help the human resource manager to know if any unfavorable workplace environment or policy is boosting the prevalence. Besides, this will allow the managers to transfer the workload to other healthy employees.

Happy Employees Make Happy Managers: Why Is Mental Health A Workplace Asset?

According to a 2009/2010 report, an effective health program at the workplace resulted in increased revenues, lowered medical expenses and reduced loss of workdays.

A 2016 Forbes article suggests the return on investment for every dollar spent in treating anxiety and depression is four folds. Thus, a company with great health policies for their employees is sure to make some great profits.

Key Takeaways

  • Mental health and workplace share a very close link as the employees spend most of their productive time at the office.
  • An unhealthy workforce is a major reason for an organization’s loss or poor performance. Likewise, the inability of the organization to provide a supportive environment to their (healthy and ill) employees further worsens the condition.
  • Mental health is also a key to an employee’s professional growth as it boosts their productivity and performance at the office.
  • Companies that spend for the programs to enhance their employee’s mental health tend to have greater revenues.
  • Organizational stigmatization and employee’s negative experience with a mental illness are the main reasons why both the parties suffer. To avoid such experience, the employers should make sure they respect the value of their employee’s health. Also, anyone who has gone through the stigma of mental illness at the workplace should not anticipate the same when they switch to another organization.

Want to Know More?

To learn more about mental health at workplace, visit www.FindaTopDoc.com. Also, gain unlimited access to a myriad of other benefits. Readers can find evidence-based health information with just a click. Driven by the aim to provide authentic information about diseases, drugs, supplements, medical procedures, and lifestyle tips to all its visitors, FindaTopDoc.com and CEO Anthony Casimano allow visitors to read about the best doctors locally. Readers can choose the doctor that best meets their unique health needs, `and request to schedule an appointment instantly.

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