Benefits of Yoga

When it comes to sticking with a workout regimen, personally I have had trouble finding one thing to stick with. I recently started doing hot yoga at a studio with my husband. This is surely a practice I can keep up with and see myself doing long term. I am sure everyone has heard of the many benefits of yoga but let me list a few to refresh anyone who reads this. If you are interested in finding an activity that is easy to start with and you could gradually build on, yoga is a great practice to improve health.

Health benefits :

1. Increased Flexibility – If you find yourself stiff and not flexibile, practicing yoga can help you avoid injury by stretching out muscles and increasing flexibility.

2. Improved Mental Fitness – Practicing yoga helps to clear your mind and melt any stress from your day away. So if you find yourself overwhelmed with the concerns of life, practicing yoga can help you calm down and overall improve your mental state.

3. Better Posture – The movements in yoga aid in aligning the spine and promoting better posture. It helps to strengthen your back and improve breathing.

4. Reduced Risk of Chronic Disease – With any activity, staying active and incorporating fitness into your daily routine reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.

5. Enhanced Fat Loss – Yoga can be a great practice for those looking to lose weight. Practicing hot yoga can burn over 600 calories in one hour.

6. Improved Balance – In yoga, there are many poses and movements that have you isolate certain muscles we rarely use in everyday activities. This builds strength and balance and promotes core stability.

7. Better Breathing – Yoga promotes slower more controlled breathing through the exercises. This control of breathing has many benefits such as opening up the chest and clearing the mind.

8. Enhanced Muscle Strength & Tone – Yoga may look easy on your TV or computer screen. But let me tell you, it is very difficult. You realize you haven’t used muscles you didn’t even knew exists with yoga. Using your body weight builds resistance and muscle strength.

 

Check out our simple yoga workout! We've given you 10 yoga poses you should do every day. You can do these almost anywhere, at anytime, and you WILL feel amazing!:

Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits, who knew ?

Recently on social media there has been a craze over apple cider vinegar being a cure all potion. Anything from weight loss, soothing sore throats, lowering cholesterol, acne treatment and so much more. So after hearing all these benefits my best friend and I decided to try it out for ourselves. You must make sure the apple cider vinegar you purchase contains “the mother” which is the strands of protein that contain acetic acid. “The mother” is what I have learned has all the health benefits mentioned earlier. So everyday this week we have been taking a 1 tbsp shot of apple cider vinegar. The effect we both most want to see if it proves is if it aids in weight loss.

I must say the taste of pure apple cider vinegar is very strong but there are many tincture recipes that combine the apple cider vinegar with other ingredients to make a delicious drink. Here is a link to one of them I use:http://www.tasteaholics.com/recipes/drinks/morning-detox-tea/

If anyone would like to join the apple cider vinegar experiment please do and comment below with results !

 

HIV/Premature death rise in rural counties

In recent times the U.S. population has gotten healthier due to changes in behaviors and lifestyles, advances in automobile and workplace safety and reductions in infectious diseases. But even with all the advances the disparities in healthy individuals that exist in both urban and rural counties is large by a wide margin. According to a report from the 2016 County Health Rankings report it states that, “ rates of premature deaths has been higher in rural counties fore many years, and will continue to rise in those areas even as they drop in urban areas”.
Although the report doesn’t explain what factors contribute to the  disparities but some that may have an impact include behaviors such as smoking and drug abuse, diet and exercise, access to clinical care, education, socioeconomic factors and even physical environment (i.e. poor water quality and housing). Furthermore what the article suggests is that it important for people from across the community to come together to identify priorities and provide evidence informed strategies. Nurses can do this by counseling patients in healthy behaviors, work with health institutions to create policies that support these healthy behaviors and even serve on boards and work with local business to encourage economic development.
Reference:

Teen pregnancies, births, and abortions have seen decline

According to new data reports, teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates have recently dropped to a historic low. One of the reasons as to why the rates are so low are because teens are using birth control more often and are waiting longer to have intercourse.

Another report shows that millennials are engaging in sexual activity less than their parents are, citing 41 percent of individuals born in the 1990s are sexually inactive. This abstinence and celibacy could be a factor in the decline of unwanted pregnancies, along with the education of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.  

TAVR

Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) is a relevantly new procedure to treat severe aortic valve stenosis in patients who are not cleared for an aortic valve replacement with sternotomy. Usually patients experiencing severe aortic valve stenosis will undergo open heart surgery. The TAVR procedure eliminates the sternotomy incision and is performed by threading a catheter through the femoral artery. This concept is similar to a cardiac catherization. Post-care of these patients include groin management same as post-cath patients.

Aortic stenosis causes the heart to work more which can cause weakening of the heart, chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath. The TAVR procedure is used to improve quality of life in these patients by eliminating these symptoms.

With any procedure there comes complications. The most common complication I have witnessed personally in patients who have had this procedure include heart block. This is where there is a disruption in the electrical activity of the heart. This is characterized by pauses of the heart beating on an electrical monitor to even asystole which is when the electrical activity ceases and the heart is not contracting. Many patients I have cared for have had this complication and require a permanent pacemaker before discharge.

Managing Stress

Stress is something I am sure we have all experienced in life. As we become older and take on more responsibilities it may feel like life is enclosing on you. Taking time to relieve stress is very important to maintain health and happiness. For instance, I am working full-time as a healthcare professional while attending a Doctorate program full-time and trying to balance a home life with my husband. Stress is something I feel on a daily basis.

All aspects of life demands something from us but it is essential to recognize we need to take care of our own needs to continue to be productive. Some ways to manage stress include exercising, maintaining a healthy diet, talk with someone you trust, listening to music, getting enough sleep, staying positive, practicing your faith and making time to treat yourself. I am sure there are a hundred other ways to manage stress but these are the ones I constantly use to manage stress. It is also important to recognize if you are using unhealthy methods to manage stress such as smoking, alcohol use, overeating, taking out your stress on others and withdrawing from family and friends.

When it feels like you are being engulfed by life, worries, and fear, remember you are not alone. Take steps to manage your stress and do not let it consume your life or get ahead of you. Make a plan and stick to it. Many times I look up into the sky and think about the universe and how the issues and problems we face daily are in reality so minuscule.

Viagra to treat Pulmonary Hypertension

The drug once used for erectile dysfunction (ED) and seen on commercials known as Viagra is now being used for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension. I noticed this practice when I began taking care of LVAD patients. These patients implanted with LVADs which stands for Left Ventricular Assist Device(picture below) were implanted due to severe heart failure.

According to MayoClinic, pulmonary hypertension is a type of blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and in the heart. Symptoms of pulmonary hypertension include: shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pressure. Viagra is now marketed as Revatio to treat pulmonary hypertension.

The mechanism of action for Revatio is relaxing the muscles found in the walls of the blood vessels which increasing blood flow. Common side effects include: insomnia, epistaxis (nose bleed), and rhinitis (runny nose). The dosage for this medication is either 5mg or 20mg three times a day by mouth.

Increased incidence of C.diff with use of PPIs

In the hospital setting we see most, if not all patients on some sort of stomach ulcer prophylaxis. The most common medication seen inpatient for this is Pantoprazole, the trade name being Protonix. The problem that arises with over-utilizing Proton Pump Inhibitor’s(PPIs) is the associated increased incidence of Clostridium difficile colitis infections in patients. PPIs work by reducing the amount of acid in the stomach.

Clostridium difficile also known as C.diff is an infection caused by the disruption of normal healthy bacteria in the colon. Symptoms include frequent diarrhea, stomach pain and fever. C.diff is transmittable from person to person by spores. Patients who have been diagnosed with C.diff are placed on Contact precautions. Contact precautions include wearing protective equipment which are gowns and gloves. Hand washing pre and post care of all patients is another way of reducing infections.

According to the FDA, a diagnosis of C.diff should be considered when a patient who is on a PPI has diarrhea that does not improve. The treatment for C.diff includes oral antibiotics such as Vancomycin. The indications of this finding to healthcare is significant. There has been a over-utilization of PPIs for patients in the hospital setting. If the patient does not have a history of ulcer disease or acid reflux then these medications should not be used in them. This decreases their risk of contracting C.diff and saves the hospitals thousands as well. 

Chronic Heart Failure Pharmacotherapy

The goal in managing a patient with heart failure is to maximize quality of life, minimize symptoms, prevent hospitalizations, slow disease progression, and prolong survival.

Heart Failure Symptoms Include:

Pharmacotherapy

Loop Diuretics

Agents: Furosemide, Bumetanide, Torsemide, and Ethacrynic acid

Mechanism of Action: Block sodium and chloride reabsorption in the ascending loop of Henle. Cause decreased renal vascular resistance and increased renal blood flow. Assists in fluid removal.

Therapeutic effects: Provides symptomatic relief of fluid overload, improves exercise tolerance, and prevents hospitalization.

Furosemide is the most commonly used. Bumetanide and torsemide are much more potent than furosemide. Ethacrynic acid is rarely used due to its adverse effects.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors (ACE)

Agents: Captopril, Enalapril, Fosinopril, Lisinopril, Perindopril, Quinopril, Ramipril, and Trandolapril

Mechanism of Action: Prevent the conversion of Angiotensin I to Angiotensin II by blocking the enzyme ACE.

Therapeutic Effects: Proven to reduce mortality, slowing progression, preventing hospitalization, and provides symptomatic improvement. Reduces peripheral vascular resistance without reflexively increasing cardiac output, heart rate, or contractility.

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB)

Agents: Candesartan, Losartan, and Valsartan

Mechanism of Action: Inhibits Angiotensin II receptors.

Therapeutic Effects: Can be considered in patients who are intolerant of ACE inhibitors. Same therapeutic effects as an ACE inhibitor. Produce arteriolar and venous dilation and block aldosterone secretion, lowering blood pressure and decreasing salt and water retention.

Beta-Adrenergic Blockers

Agents: Bisoprolol, Carvedilol, and Metoprolol succinate

Mechanism of Action: Reduce both resting and exercise heart rate, cardiac output, and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure; reduce sympathetic outflow from the CNS and suppress renin release from the kidneys; agents that block alpha-receptors or increase nitric oxide reduce peripheral vascular resistance

Therapeutic Effects: Long-term benefits of inhibiting the effects of the sympathetic nervous system. Reduces blood pressure primarily by decreasing cardiac output.

Aldosterone Antagonists

Agents: Sprinolactone, Eplerenone

Mechanism of Action: Suppression of Aldosterone

Therapeutic Effects: Shown to reduce all-cause mortality in patients with moderate to moderately severe heart failure.

Sprinolactone is a direct antagonist of aldosterone, thereby preventing salt retention, myocardial hypertrophy, and hypokalemia. Eplerenone is a competitive antagonist of aldosterone at mineralcorticoid receptors. Eplerenone has a lower incidence of endocrine-related side effects compared to sprinolactone.

Digoxin

Mechanism of Action: Inotropic action is the result of an increased cytoplasmic calcium concentration that enhances the contractility of cardiac muscle.

Therapeutic Effect: Improve symptoms and reduce hospitalization.

Isosorbide Dinitrate and Hydralazine

Mechanism of Action: ISDN is a venous vasodilator and Hydralazine is an arterial vasodilator. ISDN also delivers nitric oxide. Hydralazine has antioxidant properties while eliminate the need for nitrate free-interval with ISDN.

Therapeutic Effects: Reduces all-cause mortality and is recommended in African Americans with moderate to moderately severe heart failure receiving standard heart failure therapy.