Category Archives: Health Information

Childhood Anxiety

Children with anxiety may experience some physical symptoms we typically associate with physical illnesses — like stomachaches and headaches, for example. It’s important to be aware of these physical signs of childhood anxiety because more and more children are affected by anxiety every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the U.S. alone, over 4.4 million children between ages 3 and 17 have diagnosed anxiety.

Here’s what our community shared:

1. Stomachaches and/or Vomiting

One of the most common symptoms of childhood anxiety is abdominal pain, or stomachaches, which can sometimes lead to vomiting. This is because the brain and gut are highly connected.

“If we think of the brain as a stereo receiver and speakers, it helps us understand how the gut-brain axis works. The gut reports pain to the spine, which relays the pain signals to the brain,” Nicole Sawangpont Pattamunch, Ph.D., director of general GI and GI education director at Seattle Children’s hospital said. “Children under stress, whether it be physical or emotional, will often have the volume dial turned up on their stereo receiver. How the brain receives and interprets the pain signal is highly tied to our emotional state.”

Awful stomachaches to the point where the nurse called my mother and said I was faking. I would be on the floor before school with such awful pains in my stomach. I went to so many stomach doctors and was told it was IBS, but now that I know how I feel when my anxiety is bad, I know that the doctors were wrong. None of them took a minute to think it could have been anxiety. — Amber A.

I vomit when I have severe anxiety. Did as a child growing up. — Deborah A.

A symptom of anxiety I had as a child was stomach aches. It got to a point where I needed ultrasounds to see why my stomach hurt, but as an adult I see it was because of anxiety. — Savannah W.

2. Headaches

Like adults, children can experience headaches as a result of anxiety or heightened stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), migraines and chronic daily headaches are also common in people who live with anxiety disorders.

Debilitating headaches that would last hours a day, nearly every day from middle school throughout high school. I got used to them because I had to, but they made everything so much harder to do. My mom would ask my doctors about them and they always blew them off, leaving me feeling like I was making them up and that they weren’t really as bad as they were. I never knew if they were tension headaches or migraines or what to call them. — Kimberly B.

3. Dizziness or Fainting

Dizziness in children is often linked to dehydration, but can also be due to anxiety. According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, a child who feels faint or dizzy might use terms like, “woozy,” “foggy” or “cloudy” to describe what they are experiencing.

Dizziness. I used to get so dizzy and convince myself I was going to faint. — Tracy K.

Was dizzy often and always scared. — Kellee S.

4. Heart Palpitations or Chest Pain

In adults, chest pain is often linked to cardiac problems, but in children, less than 2% of patients receive a cardiac diagnosis for their chest pain, according to a 2012 study. In the study, researchers found children with noncardiac chest pain reported higher levels of anxiety sensitivity.

Heart palpitations. I think every single time I’d have anxiety I’d feel my heart rev into gear and then go into full-blown panic. — Kristi A.

Left me with reoccurring chest pain throughout my adult life as an adult with anxiety. — Justine H.

Chest pain/heart palpitations and headaches/dizziness. I didn’t know it was anxiety at the time so I always thought I was going to die because of a heart issue or something. Missed so much class due to sick days and the times I was at school I remember hiding in the washroom trembling uncontrollably waiting for my panic attacks to end but wondering if/when I was finally gonna die. Not fun times. — Alicia C.

5. Hives

Ever notice when you get stressed, your skin starts to break out? Stress and anxiety can trigger acne breakouts or can even cause you to get hives on your skin. For children or adults who already have skin conditions like psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disease that causes red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, stress can trigger a flare-up.

I had hives on my arms and neck. — Katy K.

I broke out in hives constantly on my face as a child with anxiety. — Lisa D.

Severe blushing all over my body. At the time, I didn’t know it was related to anxiety. I just thought I was weirdly sensitive to heat and touch but now I know I was having severe panic attacks that would leave me bloodshot all over my body. — Mary T.

6. Loss of Appetite

Stress and anxiety sometimes suppress our appetites to help us deal with pressure. This can be true in cases of childhood anxiety. In many cases, once the stress resides, a child’s appetite will return.

I couldn’t eat. Started not eating at school and only at home. Eventually stopped eating at home as well. I was in second grade. It continued until fourth grade. I still periodically can’t eat due to nerves and nausea, but it’s nothing like it was. I didn’t know it was anxiety when I was small. I just knew I felt sick and couldn’t swallow food. — Melissa H.

7. Skin Picking or Other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors

According to the TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors, body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) like scratching, compulsive skin picking or hair pulling are seldom self-harm. In most cases, people engage in BFRBs as a way to self-soothe or alleviate anxiety.

I have scarring on the inside of my mouth thanks to chewing my cheeks when I was anxious. — Amity L.

I used to pull out my hair, one strand at a time, until I had bald spots all over my scalp. It was so embarrassing, but I would do it without even recognizing what I was doing. — Jillian H.

Chewed on my fingers and nails and skin around my nails until they bled. If that wasn’t working I would, and still do, chew on the skin on my upper and lower lip. — Katherine S.

8. Shortness of Breath

Children who have difficulty breathing sometimes have health issues like asthma, lung disease or pneumonia, but in some cases, shortness of breath can be related to anxiety. Anxiety-reducing strategies like exercise and deep breathing may help a child with this symptom.

Shortness of breath. My pediatrician kept dismissing it as my asthma. I didn’t find out it was anxiety until I was 15 and went to a new doctor. — Arena G.

9. Gas and Diarrhea

Indigestion, gas and diarrhea can be common physical symptoms of anxiety in adults and children. Whether related to anxiety or a different physical condition, if you or a child in your life is experiencing gastrointestinal issues, it’s important to seek treatment.

My anxiety hit my gut resulting in cramps, gas and sometimes diarrhea which, as you can imagine, caused some pretty rough times in social situations. To make matters worse, the fear and anxiety of having those embarrassing moments, led to more intestinal irritation, so I was caught in a vicious cycle. Trying to go to college a few years ago (at age 56), the issues almost caused me to drop out. — Vicki L.

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Good Bacteria~These Foods…

Foods with good bacteria, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins for gut health

1. Yogurt

If you’ve been toying with the idea of embarking on the Activia challenge, let this be your inspo to take the leap. “Live yogurt is an excellent source of so-called friendly bacteria, also known as probiotics,” says Dr. Sonpal. To maximize your yogurt’s health benefits, he recommends adding your own fresh fruit (instead of opting for sugary fruit-on-the-bottom types), as well as avoiding sugar-free or full-fat versions.

2. Miso

You don’t need to wait for your next sushi night to treat yourself to the gut-healing powers of miso, which is a staple in Japanese cooking made of fermented soya beans, and barley or rice. Like Dr. Sonpal, use the paste in dips and dressings or marinades for salmon and tofu. “It contains a range of helpful bacteria and enzymes [and is] suitable if you’re avoiding dairy,” he says.

3. Sauerkraut

Who knew one of the most popular hot dog toppings is actually super gut-friendly? “It’s a naturally fermented food that has the microorganisms Lactobacillus bacteria, which crowds out bad bacteria in the gut and allows the beneficial gut flora to flourish,” explains Dr. Sonpal. “This helps to lower irritable bowel syndrome symptoms like gas, bloating, and indigestion.” Plus, that tart taste you get from sauerkraut is an especially beneficial way to add flavor to your meals, since it comes from organic acids that help probiotics do their job, he says.

4. Wild salmon

Sure, you’re bound to reap more gut benefits from salmon than you would, say, red meat, but Dr. Sonpal says you should definitely aim for the wild variety, meaning the salmon was caught with a fishing pole in its natural environment, as opposed to farmed. “Wild salmon has an abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is critical for healing an inflamed gut and preventing future episodes,” says Dr. Sonpal.

5. Kimchi

Whether eaten alone or part of a stew, kimchi is a mainstay in Dr. Sonpal’s diet for its gut-healing properties. “Because it’s made from fermented vegetables, this Korean side dish is a good choice for those who don’t consume dairy, and it’s a great source of dietary fiber, and vitamins A and C,” he says.

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Cures for Common Ills

The Symptom: Stuffy Nose

One of the worst things about having a cold is congestion—because when you can’t breathe through your nose, it’s hard to sleep comfortably, and sleep is the best way to get better faster, along with drinking fluids. Here are some remedies to try to relive a stuffy nose.

Remedy for a Stuffy Nose: Warming Socks Treatment

This traditional hydrotherapy has been used for centuries as a way to fight nighttime nasal congestion. Shortly before bed, wet and freeze a pair of thin, cotton ankle socks. Before you do this treatment, make sure your feet and body are warm. Put the socks on straight from the freezer, then cover them with a thicker pair of woolen socks. Go straight to bed and cover up.

“This treatment pulls congestion from the head through some simple hydrotherapy and thermodynamics principles,” says Dr. Heather Tynan, ND. “First, there is a cooling, constricting effect, and then the opposite. The cold stimulus to the feet causes vasoconstriction there, which pushes blood to the vital organs. The body then proceeds to try to re-warm the feet, the vessels there dilate again, and the ultimate effect is a drawing of fluids farther from the head which helps relieve congestion.”

. Remedy for a Stuffy Nose: Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is legitimately good for colds. “Chicken soup contains certain chemicals that may turn down the level of inflammation in your nasal passages from a cold,” says Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, MD, FIDSA, Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. A study in the journal Chest looked at the movement of white blood cells called neutrophils when combined with soup. The cells exposed to chicken soup showed significantly less movement, which suggested anti-inflammatory properties. Chicken soup (especially the homemade kind) is packed with nutrients, feels good on a sore throat and is a great way to stay hydrated, too.

Remedy for a Stuffy Nose: Peppermint

Peppermint and its main active ingredient, menthol, can help relieve your stuffy nose. “Steam treatments with peppermint oil can help clear congestion,” says Carrie Lam MD. “Boil a pot of hot water and add 1-2 drops of peppermint oil. Cover your head with a hot towel, then stand over the pot and breathe in the vapor.”

The Symptom: Headache

When your head is pounding and you’ve already taken your Tylenol, what else can you try? Here are recommendations from the experts.

Remedy for Headache: Nasal Irrigation

If you’re one of the millions of Americans dealing with the classic sinus headache that comes with a cold, try out a Neti Pot. This technique has been used for centuries to flush out excess mucus and dry the nasal passages with a simple mixture of salt and water. Add lukewarm sterilized water and a packet of saline solution to the Neti Pot, then tilt your head sideways and place the spout into the nostril facing the ceiling. Breathe through your open mouth (not your nose or you’ll snort saltwater!) and let the saline solution pour through and drain out of your other nostril. Repeat on the other side, then blow your nose into a clean tissue. “Cleansing with a Neti Pot flushes out the nasal passageways, removing mucus and microbial buildup as it goes,” says Dr. Tynan. “This effectively reduces the discomfort of congestion while also helping the body clear some of the bugs behind it.” She cautions that it’s vital to sterilize your water before using this technique because microbes present in tap water can lead to even more health problems.

Remedy for Headache: Acupressure

Used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, acupressure is a little like a massage—but the practitioner focuses on acupressure points on the body to activate healing. The good news is, if you don’t want to drag yourself out of your bedroom for an acupressure session, there is a technique you can try yourself. “For sinus and front of face headaches, I use the Large Intestine 4 pressure point,” says Dr. Tom Ingegno DACM, MSOM, LAC. This point is located in the webbing between your index finger and thumb “It should be sore and pressure should be applied moderately toward the bone, hold for at least 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.” Stimulate the Large Intestine 4 pressure point alternately to help clear up congestion and relieve sinus headaches. Don’t try it if you’re pregnant—experts note this pressure point should not be activated during pregnancy.

Remedy for Headache: Hydration

Drinking enough water is one of the best things you can do to relieve sinus pressure. Your body needs to be hydrated to function properly, and headaches can come on when you’re low on H20.  “I find that rest and hydration are half the battle when I start feeling sick,” says functional medicine nurse practitioner Cynthia Thurlow, NP. “A little extra rest combined with hydration helps kick your cold fast.”

The Symptom: Sore Throat

When your throat is raw and sore, you can’t help but feel terrible. Here are doctor-recommended ways to feel better fast.

The Remedy for a Sore Throat: Honey Loquat Syrup

This traditional Chinese medicinal remedy dates back to the Han Dynasty (25 A.D.). It combines honey with loquat, a pear-shaped Asian fruit. Unlike most fruit trees, loquat bloom in fall and winter. The honey and loquat act together as a sore throat soother, especially when mixed with hot water to drink. “Loquat is ‘cooling’ according to East Asian Medicine, helping reduce the soreness,” says Dr. Ingegno

The Remedy for a Sore Throat: Saltwater Gargle

Saltwater gargles are a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat—and there is science to back it up. It’s an anti-inflammatory hero that actually draws fluids from the tissues and reduces inflammation when you’re sick. And it might help you avoid getting sick in the first place. A clinical study from Japan showed that gargling salt water can reduce the chance of catching a cold up 40 percent. The best part is, it’s easy to make at home—add half a teaspoon of table salt to warm water. Then take a big sip and gargle by swishing in your throat and mouth for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Keep going until your cup is dry.

The Remedy for a Sore Throat: Turmeric

Turmeric is a member of the potent ginger family and is well known for its beneficial health properties. It’s a spice that’s commonly used in Asian dishes – you might recognize it as the main flavor in curry. Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that is thought to decrease inflammation. “The symptoms of a cold are due to the body’s natural immune system trying to fight it off,” says functional and integrative medicine physician Dr. Yeral Patel, MD. “Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory are great for calming down congestion, headaches and sore throat.”

The Symptom: Cough

Hacking and coughing that just won’t quit are irritating to you (and everyone around you). Try these remedies to calm your cough.

The Remedy for a Cough: Ginger Tea

Beyond its use as a spice in traditional baking, ginger has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for all sorts of ailments. Ginger contains high levels of antioxidants and antibacterial properties that can help fight off infection, and is often used to reduce coughs brought on by the common cold. “Ginger tea also contains powerful antioxidants including oleoresin, which act as a natural cough suppressant,” says Dr. Kelly Bay. The medicinal properties of ginger are found in its essential oils, antioxidants, and compounds called phenyl alkyl ketones. That and hot cup of tea feels good to drink when you’re under the weather.

The Remedy for a Cough: Pineapple Juice

The next time you have a cough, try drinking pineapple juice. “Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps thin mucus,” says Dr. Tynan. “It’s also high in Vitamin C, and can help with a wet cough. Remember, though, that it’s not always appropriate to stop a cough. Unless the cough is quite uncomfortable, keeping you from sleep, or dangerous for another reason, it’s often best to let the body do what it needs to in order to heal.”

The Remedy for a Cough: Manuka Honey

Since ancient times, people have known about the antibacterial and healing properties of honey. Manuka honey is made by bees in Australia and New Zealand that pollinate the native manuka bush, and is often used for medicinal purposes. Adding a teaspoon of it to your cup of tea can soothe your throat and make you feel a little bit better.

“Manuka honey is anti-microbial that fights inflammation in the tissues lining the respiratory tract. It is helpful in treating dry, raspy, irritated coughs,” says Dr. Tynan. Research suggests that honey can be an effective cough suppressant in children, too. A Pediatrics study of 300 children with upper-respiratory infections found that a single dose of 10 g of honey relieved nocturnal cough and helped them sleep. Just never give honey to a child under one year old—it often contains botulinum spores, which can cause a rare kind of poisoning of the nervous system in infants.

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Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

This is the first pose, which is to be started on the top of the mat. And, this will also be the last position in the set of exercises explained below. So, you will start with mountain pose and also end with mountain pose. After taking a few deep breaths, and calming yourself, you should stand tall, and start inhaling with your arms raised upwards toward the sky. Relax your shoulders, and stretch them to left while you exhale. Using the next inhale for drawing back to the centre, exhale and stretch towards the right.

The Mountain Pose is a starting pose for many other yoga poses and is commonly practiced in yoga sessions. As the name suggests, you are strong and standing tall during the pose. While the pose can be performed by itself, it is most commonly used as a resting or transition pose, much like the Child’s Pose. It is used as a starting point for many other poses as it allows the body to integrate the preceding pose with the following one.

The Sanskrit name of Mountain Pose, tadasana, comes from tada meaning mountain and asana meaning posture. In Mountain Pose, the body stands erect with arms at the sides. Some variations incorporate Namaste position where palms of the hands are pressed together in front of the chest and fingers pointing upward. During the pose, focus on balance and breathing as you achieve a connection between mind, body, and spirit.

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Dumbbell Exercises

Dumbbell Scissor Kicks (for core)

Image result for dumbbell scissor kicks
A Dumbbell Workout You Can Do Entirely on the Floor

If you were worried a floor workout would be too easy, this move will set you straight—and fast. This move starts in a hollow hold position: “Imagine doing a crunch but staying at the top,’ Scharff says. From your back, press a set of dumbbells into the air over your mid-chest. Peel your shoulders off the mat while keeping your lower back glued to the ground. Think about pressing the weights toward the ceiling as you scissor your legs, never letting them touch the ground.

This doesn’t have to be a fast movement, just big, controlled kicks. You can also do this move with one heavier weight as opposed to two dumbbells. Either way, go for 50 reps or 45 seconds!

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Fight Depression

  • According to a new study published in the journal Depression & Anxiety, those who are generally more physically active are about 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression.
  • Regularly exercising 35 to 45 minutes per day—even if depression runs in your family—can notably benefit your mental health.
  • While exercise may alleviate depression symptoms for some people—or even prevent them from occurring—talk with a doctor about treatment options if you are experiencing signs of depression or know you have a high risk.

If you have close relatives with chronic depression, your odds of developing the condition are about two to one. But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, especially if you’re establishing lifestyle habits that can help. Most notably, exercise can be a boon, new research suggests. Best of all, it doesn’t take much extra activity to lower your risk.

Using data from nearly 8,000 participants in the Partners Healthcare Biobank—a long-term research project that collects genetic and health information—researchers looked at two years of lifestyle habits, including physical activity and diagnoses related to depression, in a study published in the journal Depression & Anxiety.

They also calculated genetic risk scores for each participant, and found that those with higher genetic links to depression were more likely to be diagnosed with depression within the study timeframe.

However, those who were more physically active were 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression at the end of the two-year period. Those with the least amount of activity—about a half hour to an hour per week of exercise—had the highest levels of depression. But just a few more hours per week—an average of three hours, or around 35 to 45 minutes per day—saw considerable decreases in depression risk, and the more activity was reported, the lower those risks became.

All forms of activity—both high intensity and low intensity—counted as well, including running, other forms of aerobic exercise, strength training, dance, yoga, and stretching. This was true even after adjusting for factors such as prior depression, education, and employment status.

“Our findings suggest that when it comes to depression, genes are not destiny, and that being physically active has the potential to neutralize the added risk of future episodes in individuals who are genetically vulnerable,” lead study author Karmel Choi, Ph.D., clinical fellow in psychiatry at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, told Runner’s World. She said that even without a genetic link, exercise could be protective for reducing depression risk.

The work of Choi and her colleagues adds to similar research—studies like this one, this one, and this one—that connects exercise to both prevention of depression and management of the condition.

[From training tips, to fueling strategies, to improving the mind-body connection, the Runner’s World 2020 Calendar will help you run your best all year long.]

In terms of why exercise is so effective, Choi said previous research suggests physical activity creates a number of benefits that affect brain health and emotional regulation, for example, by reducing inflammation, increasing positive hormones such as endorphins and dopamine, and improving sleep.

Keep in mind that while exercise may alleviate depression symptoms for some people—or even prevent onset to some degree—it’s not a mental-health panacea, and results may vary. If you have high risk of depression or are experiencing signs of the condition—such as ongoing lack of energy, sadness, anger, anxiety, or insomnia—talk with a doctor about treatment options.

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