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Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

What’s the difference between a sandwich made on white bread and one made with 100% whole grain bread? Or, the difference between French fries and side salad made with spinach, tomatoes and carrots? All the foods above are carbohydrates. But the second option in both includes good carbohydrate foods (whole grains and vegetables). In the past five years the reputation of carbohydrates has swung significantly. Carbs have been touted as the feared food in fad diets. And some carbs have also been promoted as a healthful nutrient associated with lower risk of chronic disease. So which is it? Are carbs good or bad? The answer is that they are both.


What Are Carbs?

Carbsare molecules that have carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms.In nutrition, “carbs” refers to one of the three macronutrients. The other two are protein and fat.Dietary carbohydrates can be split into three main categories:

Sugars: Sweet, short-chain carbohydrates found in foods. Examples are glucose, fructose, galactose and sucrose.

Starches: Long chains of glucose molecules, which get broken down into glucose in the digestive system.

Fiber: Humans cannot digest fiber, although the bacteria in the digestive system can make use of some of them.

The main purpose of carbohydrates in the diet is to provide energy. Most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy. Carbs can also be turned into fat for later use.

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

Why are good carbs like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains so good for us?  Here are some of the many ways.

Good carbs are:

  • Low to moderate in calorie density, which means we can eat filling amounts and satisfy our hunger, but not worry about going overboard on calories.
  • High in an enormous variety of nutrients.
  • Devoid of refined sugars and refined grains. In America, refined sugars like corn syrup now make up more than 20% of the calories we eat each day. That’s a big problem because our human bodies evolved over centuries and centuries to metabolize unrefined carbohydrates. Daily intakes of sugar in our bloodstream are directly linked to our current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • High in naturally occurring fiber, which helps lower not only blood sugar and insulin levels but also LDL bad cholesterol. Fiber-rich foods also help you fill up on fewer calories so that you can lose weight more easily. A high-fiber diet also helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and certain cancers.
  • Low in sodium.
  • Low in saturated fat.
  • Very low (often zero) cholesterol, and no trans fats.

Fake, processed (bad) carbs, the carbs consumed by most Americans, are:

  • High in calorie density.Just a few bites of a corn dog or energy bar, and you’ve taken in a bunch of calories.
  • High in refined sugars. Whether white sugar, corn syrup, or so-called “natural” sugars like honey and added fruit juices.
  • High in refined grains like white flour.
  • Low in many nutrients.
  • Low in fiber.
  • High (often very high) in sodium.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, or have health problems like metabolic syndrome and/or type 2 diabetes, then you are probably carbohydrate sensitive. In this case, reducing carbohydrate intake can have clear, life-saving benefits. On the other hand, if you’re just a healthy person trying to stay healthy, then there is probably no reason for you to avoid “carbs” – just stick to whole foods as much as possible. If you are naturally lean and/or highly physically active, then you may even function much better with plenty of carbs in your diet.


Teens need REM Sleep

REM (rapid eye movement) sleep is extremely important for everyone, but in teens it is essential because their minds and bodies are still developing. REM sleep affects moods, health, and learning (cognitive) abilities. Most teens do not get the right amount of REM sleep due to the fact that teens’ sleep cycles are different from adults and children. Teens struggle to fall asleep at night simply because their bodies prefer sleeping in the afternoon and evening rather than at night. Teens are equally surprised to discover they should be getting between eight and ten hours of sleep each night.

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When puberty begins, teens face many challenges in obtaining an adequate amount of sleep. They must have a solid opportunity to sleep to accommodate for a rapid period of physical, cognitive and emotional development. As teens’ internal body clocks shift, their sleep stages shift. Circadian rhythms shift, causing teens to want to go to bed and wake up later. These changes often conflict with early middle and high school start times. The earlier a teen wakes up for school, the less time they spend in rapid eye movement (REM) – dreaming sleep which occurs more in the second half of the night and particularly in the early morning hours. Deprivation of REM sleep has an impact on teens on many levels, and the less time spent in that stage, the more they are at risk of negative consequences on their emotion regulation, learning and overall health.

Here are a few ways that sleep deprivation and inadequate sleeping habits can affect your teen’s overall well-being:

  • REM sleep directly contributes to emotional regulation, learning and memory– all necessary for successful performance in school, social relationships and self-esteem. Problems with learning, attention and emotion regulation can be caused by REM sleep loss. When a teen is sleep-deprived, they could wake the next morning feeling hyper and energetic, but over the course of the day they are more likely to have difficulty regulating their mood, become withdrawn and irritable.
  • Poor sleep duration and sleep period timing affect immune function.A sleep-deprived individual is more likely to catch a cold or lose some of their ability to fight infection.
  • Poor sleep duration and sleep period timing impact mood, especially if sleep disturbances occur over long periods of time. If a teen is consistently sleep-deprived month after month, it can contribute to depression, hopelessness and can even be a sign of increased suicide risk ideation. A chronic lack of sleep can create agitation and uncontrollable mental and physical impulses. There are other direct biochemical effects of sleep deprivation involving the irregular distribution of mood-stabilizing, attention-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

What parents can do

You can always educate yourself about sleep. The National Sleep Foundation publishes a Sleep for Teens toolkit that lays out issues related to teen sleep. One of the most important ways you can help your teen sleep better is to understand why sleep is so important.Talk to your teen’s school administration, to teachers and parents, and to the local community about the importance of sleep and the special sleep needs of teenagers.

Teens need between 8-10 hours of sleep to meet their needs and to perform at their best during their waking days. For teenagers, sleep is nothing less than fuel that powers their brain and its development. Sleep is a biological necessity and essential for health and daily functioning. It’s as important as a healthy diet and regular physical activity.



Mobile Health Industry Booming

The use of modern technologies for health-related applications is on the rise lately. The miniaturization of components and reduced manufacturing costs are helping to push mobile health into the mainstream. Moreover, the industry is projected to grow in the coming years. Telemedicine innovative solutions continue to rapidly expand in several healthcare areas such as primary health care, psychiatry, genetics, radiology and so on. A few major driving forces for the telemedicine market include increasing aged population, rising cost of healthcare and rising prevalence of chronic diseases.


52% of smartphone users gather health-related information on their phones. That includes information about a specific medical problem or procedure, or diet, nutrition, and fitness-related information. Other popular health topics include:

  • prescription or over-the-counter drugs,
  • alternative treatments,
  • health insurance,
  • depression, anxiety or stress,

However, searching for health information isn’t the only use of mobile devices among providers. Healthcare professionals widely use mobile devices for mobile health (mHealth) services as well, which is estimated to be a $26 billion market globally by 2018. There are many factors in play that are affecting the transformation of the health industry, but much of it seems to begin with the growing ubiquity of cell phones, smartphones, and mobile devices. 17 percent of mobile phone users were using their devices to look up health and medical information, and Juniper recently estimated that 44 million health apps were downloaded in 2011.

The amount of health data is exploding in line with the growing adoption of health and medical apps, much of it thanks to the increasingly wearable, portable and user-friendly devices using smart sensors that can capture and transmit all kinds of biometric data. Smartphones are connecting with these diagnostic apps and health-measuring devices to help you stay on top of your health and fitness — like Basis’ heart and health tracker, Lark, Fitbit, and Jawbone’s Up — to name a few.

Mobile devices will also change the way that we communicate with doctors, as physicians may help describe possible treatments or procedures to patients on an iPad using multimedia, visual cues, genomic/anatomical maps, etc., prescribe post-treatment apps to our smartphones so that treatment doesn’t end once you walk out the door of the hospital, or become a solution for modern communication platforms, like Skype, that will facilitate remote checkups, treatments, diagnostics, through the phone, or over video. Got a strange looking rash? Take a picture, or scan it on this app.

As a result of this shift in mobile health use, an increasing number of mobile health apps are being developed to cater to the needs of healthcare professionals. This rapid development opens up a large market of mobile device users in all areas of medicine from otolaryngology to anesthesiology, which healthcare organizations are realizing. Everything from care collaboration platforms to mobile EHRs or EMRs is being developed, which is attracting more and more healthcare providers across the globe. In fact, the global mobile health market is expected to grow annually at a rate of 33.5% between 2015 and 2020.


Nursing Mnemonics Tips

They say that the best nurses are excellent at obtaining assessment, and this is true! If nurses would look at the nursing process, assessment is the first step. Gathering information about the client will provide clues for what care you can give and what you can do. If you have a weak foundation in assessment, the rest of the process follows. But with the many ways to assess a patient, assessment has become an overwhelming process. To be more systematic, here are nursing health assessment mnemonics and tips you can use to accurately and quickly assess variety of patients in with different conditions and in various situations.

Nursing Mnemonics Tips

  1. Management of Heart Failure: “DAD BOND CLASH”

Management of heart failureis to relieve patient symptoms, to improve functional status and quality of life, and to extend survival. Medical management depends on the type, severity, and cause of HF. It can include reducing the workload of the heart by reducing preload and afterload; elimination of contributing factors such as hypertension. Remember the mnemonic “DAD BOND CLASH” for the medical management of heart failure.

D: Digitalis
Increases the force of myocardial contraction and slows conduction through the atrioventricular node; improves contractility, increasing left ventricular output, and enhances diuresis.

A: ACE Inhibitors

Promotes vasodilation and diuresis by decreasing afterload and preload, ultimately decreasing the workload of the heart.

D: Dobutamine
IV medication administered to patients with significant left ventricular dysfunction and hypoperfusion; stimulates the beta-1-adrenergic receptors.

B: Beta-blockers
Reduces mortality and morbidity in HF by reducing the adverse effects from constant stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.

O: Oxygen – Oxygen may be necessary as HF progresses; need is based on the degree of pulmonary congestion and resulting hypoxia.

N: Nitrates
Causes venous dilation, which reduces the amount of blood return to the heart and lowers preload.

D: Diuretics
To remove excess extracellular fluid by increasing the rate of urine produced in patients with fluid overload.

C: Calcium Channel Blockers

Causes vasodilation, reducing systemic vascular resistance.

L: Lifestyle Changes

Restriction of dietary sodium, avoidance of excess fluid intake, weight reduction, and regular exercise.

A: Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers

ARBs block the effects of angiotensin II at its receptor; have similar hemodynamic effects as of ACE inhibitors. Serves as alternative for for patients who cannot tolerate ACE inhibitors.

S: Sodium restriction
A low-sodium diet (2 to 3 g/day) diet and avoidance of drinking excess amounts of fluid is recommended.

H: Hydralazine
Lowers systemic vascular resistance and left ventricular afterload.

  1. Level of Consciousness Assessment: “AVPU”

The AVPU scale is a system where you can measure and record a patient’s responsiveness to indicate their level of consciousness. It is a simplification of the Glasgow Coma Scale, which assesses a patient response in three measures: eyes, voice, and motor skills. The AVPU scale should be assessed during these three identifiable traits, looking for the best response for each. It has four possible outcomes for recording and the nurse should always work from best (A) to worst (U) to avoid unnecessary tests on patients who are clearly conscious.

A: Alert

V: Response to Verbal Stimuli

P: Response to Pain

U: Unresponsive

  1. Health History Assessment: “SAMPLE”

In general, do not obtain a detailed history until life-threatening injuries have been identified and therapy has been initiated. The secondary survey is essentially a head-to-toe assessment of progress, vital signs, etc. SAMPLE is often useful as a mnemonic for remembering key elements of the patient’s health history.

S: Symptoms

A: Allergy

M: Medications

P: Past Medical History

L: Last Oral Intake

E: Events leading up to the illness or injury

As a nurse, you always need to have the right answers to a problem at the right time. You are not allowed to make any mistakes, or the time to peruse through books seeking for clarification. With so much to cram into your head, mastering disease conditions and their treatment options is quite the challenge. Taking a different approach other than just trying to remember the facts as they are would make the job simpler and more bearable.



Hand Washing 101

You might be wondering why it’s such a big deal, but the truth is that hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness. Not only does it keep germs from affecting you, but it stops any bacteria from getting passed to others and causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to the far more serious, Escherichia coli and salmonella. However, even people who understand the importance of washing their hands might not use a technique that’s actually effective. Hand washing might seem as simple as rubbing your hands together under the stream of a faucet, but there are several elements to consider, including the how long you should spend washing, how often you should do it, what temperature water you should use and what to do once you’re finished. Here are some tips on how to do it right.

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  1. Use cold or lukewarm water

You don’t need to use hot water to wash your hands! Researchers at Vanderbilt University found washing with hot water killed no more germs than washing with cold. If the water were hot enough to kill bacteria, it would be too hot to tolerate. Plus, they argue, hot water can irritate the protective layer of skin, making it less resistant to bacteria. Washing with hot water is bad for the environment. The Vanderbilt researchers estimate that washing our hands with hot water generates 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. each year — more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire country of El Salvador and about the same as 1.2 million passenger vehicles.

  1. Make the process fun

Make sure you scrub thoroughly, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails, for at least 20 seconds, according to the CDC. To encourage kids to wash for a full 20 seconds, teach them to sing the happy birthday song twice while washing.

  1. Plain old soap will do the trick

While soap is necessary, anti-bacterial soap is not. Studies show it is no more effective than regular hand soap, and some researchers are concerned that it will lead to the development of drug-resistant bacteria, making it harder to fight germs in the future.

  1. Hand sanitizers work in a pinch

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, gels or wipes, are a good option if you don’t have access to clean water or soap. But they don’t kill all germs and are less effective if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. The CDC recommends a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to maximize germ-killing power.

  1. Wash often, wash well

We all know to wash our hands after we use the toilet and before we eat or prepare food. Here are some other times your hands need a washing:

  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick or visiting someone in the hospital
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After changing diapers or helping a child use the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, its food or its waste
  • After touching garbage

When you wash your hands, you should have a good idea about safe water temperatures and proper washing techniques. You should also know the best way to dry your hands to ensure you don’t re-contaminate yourself after washing. But up next, you’ll find out the best ways to prepare for hand washing.


Healthcare Improve US Economy

Americans surveyed in national polls consistently rank the economy as their number one concern, among others. Public health professionals can have a big impact on this serious issue. More than 17 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product is spent on health care—in many cases, for conditions that could be prevented or better managed with public health interventions. Yet only 3 percent of the government’s health budget is spent on public health measures. A 2012 study in Health Affairs notes that since 1960, U.S. health care spending has grown five times faster than GDP.

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Healthcare and Employment

Taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,the following points show how crucial healthcare as an industry is to the American economy:

  • Noted as one of the largest industries in 2008, healthcare provided 14.3 million jobs for wage and salary workers.
  • Ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations are healthcare related.
  • Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018, more than any other industry, largely in response to rapid growth in the elderly population.
  • Most workers have jobs that require less than 4 years of college education, but health diagnosing and treating practitioners are highly educated.

Healthcare has been noted as one of the largest employers, providing 14.3 million workers with jobs. With the need for nurses, doctors, home health care workers, medical billing and coding clerks, and medical record clerks, there may always be work available in this field.Nursing homes are continuing to be filled, hospitals are full on a daily basis, the elderly still need to be looked after, and doctor’s offices are never empty. With this unending need, healthcare has more than fulfilled the requirement for employment for those who are interested in working in this field.

How big a part of the economy is health care?

It accounts for about one-sixth of the entire economy — more than any other industry in the US. Spending on health care totals about $2.5 trillion, 17.5 percent of our gross domestic product — a measure of the value of all goods and services produced in the United States. That’s up from 13.8 percent of GDP in 2000 and 5.2 percent in 1960, when health spending totaled just $27.5 billion — barely 1 percent of today’s level, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy group.

The economy without health reform

For 40 years, health care costs have grown faster than inflation and wages. Today, the United States, including the government, employers and individuals, spends more than 16% of its gross domestic product on health care, or $7,421 per person, according to the Kaiser Foundation. If health care costs grow unabated, the country is on track to spend more than 20% of its GDP on health by 2018.

In other words, 20% of the value of goods and services Americans produce will be spent on health care alone. That can hamper economic growth and means there will be less and less money available to support education, defense and other priorities.

Meanwhile, the country’s already record high debt is set to swell to unsustainable heights due largely to rising health care costs, which expand federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid. By 2035, the Government Accountability Office estimates that all federal revenue, taxes and fees paid by individuals and businesses, will be consumed by Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the public debt.

Many citizens are still without healthcare and have been for some time. Healthcare has gone through so many transformations and while Congress continues to debate, Americans are continuing to pay higher prices for lesser quantity of products and services, while struggling to hold on to immobile wages. As time progress and with much patience, the healthcare system can eventually change the face of the U.S. economy.


Healthcare Cost in Retirement

The cost of healthcare is one of the huge unknowns that many soon-to-be retirees have to wrestle with. After all, if you underestimate the cost, you could end up with a big shortfall, especially if you face an unexpected illness, surgery or injury. Even if you remain healthy for a big portion of your retirement years, you will still have to shell out a lot more than you probably think.


The First Line of Expense: Medicare

Even retirees satisfied with Medicare’s coverage will still spend an average of $260,000 (per couple) on health care from age 65 on. About a third of that is for Medicare premiums; the rest goes to co-payments, deductibles, and drug and medical costs. A Kaiser Family Foundation report found that expenses accelerate with age, with those 85 and older spending more than twice that of a younger beneficiary.

Retirees especially may find health-care costs far exceed that estimated $260,000. Married couples with income of more than $170,000, for instance, will pay an additional $134 to $742 every month for their Parts B (medical visits and tests) and D (prescription drug) coverage.

HealthView Services, a firm that analyzes medical claims to provide financial advisors with data and tools, compiled a more tailored estimate. A healthy 65-year-old couple that falls into the middle of Medicare’s high-income tier, with annual income of $214,000 to $267,000, can expect average health-care costs of $565,142 in today’s dollars for coverage through retirement—that includes Medicare premiums and surcharges, supplemental coverage that covers the portion of hospital and doctor bills that Parts A and B do not, and dental and vision-related costs.

How People Forget About Health Care Costs in Their Budget

Many upcoming retirees, and people getting ready to transition out of the workforce, forget to budget for health care when they estimate their expense in retirement. You might wonder why? Their employer is often picking up the majority of the tab (usually about 75 percent) and the remaining cost (about 25 percent) comes out of their paycheck. They think they need the same amount of take-home pay that they currently have — but they forget that they will now be responsible for paying their health care premiums in addition to the out-of-pocket costs.

Healthcare is likely to be one of the biggest expenses people face in retirement, which is why it’s crucial to have a realistic idea of how much it will cost – and plan for it. Before you retire – or even right now, if you are already retired – sit down and estimate what your monthly and yearly costs will be. Compare traditional Medicare, plus Medigap and Part D with a Medicare Advantage Plan. Figure in the costs of vision and dental care, and amass an emergency fund. Add in or consider premiums for long-term care insurance. Understanding how Medicare works, calculating your potential out-of-pocket medical costs in retirement and taking advantage of an HSA are all ways to help ease the burden of medical care when you exit the workforce.