Saturday, August 26, 2017

Unexplained Weight Loss Could Signal These Problems

Unexplained Weight Loss

If you lose more than 5% of your weight in 6 to 12 months, tell your doctor, especially if you’re an older adult. That would be about 8 pounds if you weigh 150, or 10 pounds if you weigh 200. Sudden weight loss without a reason can be a sign of a health problem.


If your thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone, it revs up your metabolism so you burn more calories and lose weight. You also may have more bowel movements and a racing heartbeat, and you may feel anxious. Your doctor can help you manage it with medicine. She may also talk to you about surgery to take out all or part of your thyroid.


Insulin is a hormone your body makes to turn blood sugar into energy. If you have diabetes, you either can’t make insulin or can’t use it the way you need to. When your cells run out of fuel, your body thinks it’s starving and starts burning fat and muscle. This makes you lose weight. You may also be thirsty, tired, hungry, or pee more than usual. Talk to your doctor right away if you notice these symptoms. If you have diabetes, she can help figure out a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Celiac Disease

If you have this, your body reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains. When you eat it, your immune system -- which helps you fight off bacteria and other germs -- attacks your small intestine by mistake. That can make it hard for your body to take in nutrients, and that can lead to weight loss. You also may have headaches, itchy skin, sores in your mouth, and joint pain. Only a doctor can tell you for sure if you have it. If you do, you’ll need to follow a special diet to stop the symptoms.


Drugs used to treat certain health conditions may ramp up your metabolism so you burn more calories or make you less hungry. These include:

Talk to your doctor if you lose your appetite or start losing weight on a new medication.


It’s normal to drop a few pounds after something like losing a job, a divorce, or the death of a loved one. You should return to your regular weight once you have time to grieve the loss or get used to the change. You may need help from family and friends, group therapy, or a professional counselor. Talk to your doctor if you keep losing weight.


This is when your immune system turns on your body and attacks your tissues and organs. You may lose weight because it can irritate your digestive system and make it hard for your body to take in nutrients from food. You may be very tired, and your joints may hurt or be stiff. Many people also get a butterfly-shaped rash on their faces. Your doctor can help you ease these symptoms with medicine and changes in your diet and lifestyle.

Addison’s Disease

With this condition, your adrenal glands don’t make enough of certain hormones, especially one called cortisol. It can cause stomach issues like nausea, vomiting, belly pain, and, in some cases, diarrhea. These things can make you lose your appetite and eventually lose weight. Your doctor can help you manage your symptoms and give you medicine to replace the hormones.


These harmful cells may use more of your energy, or they might make chemicals that change the way you digest food. Your immune system often has to work harder, too. That tires you out and makes your body burn more calories, which can lead to weight loss.


This disease damages tiny air sacs in your lungs. It’s often caused by smoking. It makes it hard to breathe and makes you cough up a thick fluid called mucus. Your body needs more calories to get enough oxygen into each breath. You may also get tired easily and lose your appetite. These things all can lead to weight loss.

Heart Failure

If your heart can’t pump blood and oxygen to the rest of your body like it should, your digestive system may not get enough blood to do its job well. This can make you feel full even when you haven’t eaten and may make you sick to your stomach. Eventually, your body might not be able to get rid of fluid like it should, and it can build up in your intestines and keep you from taking in nutrients. Your doctor may recommend that you cut down on salt and give you medicines called diuretics that help you clear out the fluid.

12 Big Benefits of Losing Just 10 Pounds

What Can 5% Do for You?

You don’t have to slim down to your high school size to get real health benefits. Losing just a few pounds makes a big difference. Five percent of your body weight -- 10 pounds for a 200-pound person -- can improve all kinds of health problems, and make you feel better, too. Talk to your doctor about whether it might help you.

Ease Up on Joints

Just 10 extra pounds add 40 pounds of pressure on your knees and other lower body joints. That can wear them out quicker. Extra fat can also cause inflammation -- when chemicals in your body damage your own tissues over time, including your joints. Losing even a little weight can ease these effects. If you keep it off, you’re much less likely to get arthritis later in life.

Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

If you’re more likely to get the condition, weight loss is one of two ways to prevent or delay it. The other is moderate exercise -- 30 minutes on 5 days a week. If you weigh 160 pounds, you could lose just 8-12 of them to get the benefit. If you already have diabetes, losing that weight can help you take less medication, keep control of your blood sugar, and lower the odds that the condition will cause other health problems.

A “Good” Cholesterol Bump

You can lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol with healthier food and medications. But it’s harder to raise levels of the “good” kind of cholesterol, HDL. That’s the type that clears bad LDL from your blood, so the more you have, the better. Exercise and losing body fat can get you into the ideal HDL range: above 60 mg/dl, which lowers your odds of having heart disease.

Bring Down Triglycerides

They’re particles in your body that transport fat for storage and energy. High levels (more than 200 mg/dl) mean you’re more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. You can get closer to healthy levels (around 150 mg/dl) if you slim down a little.

Ease High Blood Pressure

Extra body weight makes your blood push harder against your artery walls. That makes your heart work harder, too. You can lower the pressure by about 5 points if you trim 5% from that number on the scale. Cut your salt and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy, and you may lower it even more.

Reverse Insulin Resistance

Fat, especially in your belly area, gives off chemicals that make your body stop reacting to the effects of insulin, a hormone that keeps the level of sugar in your blood normal. Even though your pancreas works harder to make more insulin, your blood sugar can get too high. A little bit of weight loss can help reverse this effect.

Cut Your Cancer Risk

Extra body weight seems to raise your odds of having cancer, including in the breast, colon, liver, kidneys, ovaries, cervix, and prostate. There’s no clear proof that losing weight protects you from the disease, but some of the body changes that happen when people shed pounds hint that it might. For example, overweight people who slim down end up with lower levels of hormones linked to cancer, like estrogens, insulin, and androgens.

Stop Sleep Apnea

People who are overweight gain extra tissue in the back of their throat. When your body relaxes when you sleep, that tissue can drop down and block your airway. It makes you stop breathing over and over all night, which causes all kinds of health problems, especially for your heart. Slimming down a little can improve sleep apnea -- sometimes enough that you can stop using the bulky breathing devices that treat it.

Sleep Longer and Better

You’re likely to get more ZZZs if you lose weight. And it will be better rest, too. But you won’t see much of a change unless you drop at least 5%. In one study, people who did slept an extra 21.6 minutes a night, compared with only 1.2 minutes for those who lost less than 5%.

A Better Mood

Weight loss may help chase your blues away. Scientists are still trying to work out why, but better body image and improved sleep may be part of the reason. In one study, depressed people who were very overweight felt better after they lost an average of 8% of their body weight. Other research shows you’ll continue to feel better, even after 2 years -- as long as you keep the weight off.

Bring Down Inflammation

Fat cells, especially those around the belly, can release chemicals that irritate and inflame tissues all over the body. This is linked to health problems like arthritis, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Work toward a 10% weight loss goal, and you can lower the amount of these substances and cut your chances of having a serious illness.

Have More Sex

When you’re overweight, you typically have less sex. It might be because you just don’t feel good about your body. But it also may be that you have less desire and that even when you’re in the mood, your body doesn’t respond as well. Shed a few pounds and you’ll not only feel better about yourself, you may be in the mood more often, too.

Lose the Weight: Diet

There’s no one perfect diet to help you slim down, but there are some basic rules. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Keep your protein lean and unprocessed: Choose meats trimmed of fat, and eat seafood, beans, nuts, and seeds. Replace refined grains like white bread and white rice with whole grains like multigrain bread, brown rice, and oatmeal. Special weight loss surgery may be an option if you are seriously overweight.

Lose the Weight: Exercise

You should be getting 30 minutes of moderate activity -- a bike ride or brisk walk -- on at least 5 days a week simply to stay in good health. To lose weight and keep it off, you may need more than that. Also include moves to strengthen your muscles, like pushups or light weight training. Check with your doctor about the healthiest ways for you to work out, especially if you haven’t done it in a while.

Inspirational Quote – August 26, 2017

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

We begin life totally free of any prior knowledge, ignorant of many things, but growing day by day. As we do so, we welcome or dismiss events, situations or people, as we encounter them, and ultimately decide whether there is a place for them in our life. WE create our own life, nobody else, everything comes down to us and our decisions and the path we create. How special is that?

Medicine Baba: When a Man Becomes a Movement

In the aftermath of a building collapse in East Delhi, India, that left some dead and more suffering, Omkar Nath Sharma felt helpless. Before his very eyes, people in pain, some dying, needed medicine but had no money. And the local hospital could not help. Then it struck him: maybe people had medicine in their homes that they no longer needed. Though he was 80 years old, he could walk, he could talk, he could collect medicine for the needy. So he started calling out to people in their homes from the street, "Do you have any medicines that are not of use to you?" And he collected castoffs to give to those who needed the medicine. Then, the movement grew. This short video tells the story of Medicine Baba, whose successful operation with humble beginnings has saved countless lives.

Friday, August 25, 2017

19 Constipation Myths and Facts

1. You Should Have a Bowel Movement Every Day

Myth. Everyone is different. Some people go three times a day; others, three times a week. It’s common to have a bowel movement once a day. But it's OK to go a few days without one as long as you feel fine. If you have fewer than three per week, you’re constipated. It’s severe if you have fewer than one a week.

2. It Creates Toxins

Myth. Some people believe that constipation causes the body to absorb poisonous substances in stools, leading to diseases such as arthritis, asthma, and colon cancer. There's no evidence that the stools produce toxins or that colon cleansing, laxatives, or enemas can prevent cancer or other diseases. And constipation itself isn’t a disease.

3. You Just Need More Fiber

Myth. It’s true that most people fall short, so it’s probably a good idea to eat more veggies, fruits, whole grains, and other plant foods -- and drink more water. Add fiber gradually, so your body gets used to it. If you’re still constipated after that, there could be other reasons, like a medical condition or a side effect from some medicines.

4. Swallowed Gum Can Get Stuck

Fact. It's true, but only in rare cases, and mostly in little kids who don't know better. Sometimes downing large amounts of gum or many pieces in a short time can form a mass that blocks the digestive tract, especially if you swallow it with other indigestible things like seeds. The blockage can cause constipation. But for most people, gum moves through, and out of, your body just like other foods do.

5. Your Vacation Could Be an Issue

Fact. Travel changes your daily routine and diet. While you're away, drink plenty of water -- bottled, if you can’t drink the tap water at your destination. Stay active, too. Walk while you wait for your flight, and stretch your legs on a road trip. Limit alcohol, and eat fruits and vegetables -- preferably cooked, if you need to avoid salads or raw items in the area you visit.

6. Your Mood Matters

Fact. Depression may trigger constipation or make it worse. Reducing stress through meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and relaxation techniques helps. Acupressure or shiatsu massage could, too. Massaging your belly relaxes the muscles that support the intestines, which could help you become more regular.

7. Holding It Won't Hurt

Myth. Do you feel too busy at work to go? Ignoring the urge may make you physically uncomfortable, and it can cause or worsen constipation. Some people find it helps to set aside time after breakfast or another meal for a bowel movement, when these signals are strongest. But no matter when nature calls, answer.

8. Your Meds Could Be a Cause

Fact. Some drugs for pain, depression, high blood pressure, and Parkinson's disease are linked to constipation. Tell your doctor what’s going on. You may be able to take something else. Calcium and iron supplements, especially if you also take something else that affects your stool, can also cause problems.

9. All Fiber Is the Same

Myth. There are two kinds. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and helps it pass through your intestines faster. Good sources are whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereal. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It’s in beans, peas, and some other plant foods.

10. Prunes Are Powerful

Fact. This small, dried fruit has earned a big reputation as "nature's remedy" for constipation. Prunes (also called dried plums) are rich in insoluble fiber, as well as the natural laxative sorbitol. Children who don't like them might eat prune juice ice pops or sip prune juice mixed with another juice to hide the taste.

11. More Water Helps

Fact. Getting enough water keeps your stools soft and eases constipation. You can get it from drinks or water-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can lead to dehydration.

12. Workouts Get You Going

Fact. Too much downtime makes constipation more likely. After you eat a big meal, wait at least an hour before you exercise so your body has time to digest your food. Then get going! Take a 10-to-15-minute walk several times a day. Harder workouts are also fine to do. Your whole body will benefit.

13. Coffee Is a Good Fix

Myth. It's true that the caffeine can stimulate the muscles in your digestive system to contract, causing a bowel movement. But because caffeine is dehydrating, it's not recommended. So if you’re constipated, avoid it or choose decaf.

14. Colon Cleansing Helps

Myth. Enemas and colon irrigation (high colonics) remove body waste. But they're not an effective way to prevent or cure constipation. Enemas can actually cause constipation for older people who get them regularly. Colonic irrigation, which is usually done by colonic hygienists or therapists, can damage the colon and lead to other problems. Talk to your doctor first.

15. Laxatives Work Immediately

Myth. It depends on the type. A suppository or enema might work within an hour. A bulk-forming product may take several days; a stimulant one, a few hours. Don't use them for too long, or they could cause other digestive problems. Constipation usually lasts a few days. Talk to your doctor if you need to use laxatives for more than 2 weeks.

16. Stool Softeners Are Laxatives

Fact. They prevent constipation by allowing stools to absorb more water from the colon. Softer stools are easier to pass. Like other laxatives, you should only use them for a short time.

17. Castor Oil Is a Cure-All

Myth. This powerful laxative is an old-school remedy. But ask your doctor first. Like other laxatives, you shouldn’t use it for long, or it can make it harder for your body to absorb nutrients and some drugs. If you overdo it, that can damage your bowel muscles, nerves, and tissue -- which can cause constipation.

18. It Naturally Happens With Age

Myth. Older people are more likely to become constipated. But it’s not a normal part of aging, and it can also happen when you’re younger. It’s very common and usually doesn’t last long, and most cases aren’t serious. But tell your doctor if it doesn’t ease up when you eat more fiber, drink more water, and get more exercise.

19. It's Normal to Have Bloody Stool

Myth. Blood in a bowel movement is not always serious. But you should call your doctor ASAP if it happens. Bright red blood is usually from hemorrhoids or tears in the anal lining called fissures. Constipation and straining during bowel movements can cause it. Maroon or tarry black blood or clots often means bleeding is coming from higher in your digestive system.

How the Science of Happiness Can Help You Connect with Others

After taking our free online course, many students see big changes in their relationships.

Judy is a breast-cancer survivor. When she found out that a woman in her yoga class was undergoing chemotherapy, she reached out to introduce herself.
Her timing couldn’t have been better: The woman was scheduled for a mastectomy two days later. “I told her I would be available to her any time day or night,” said Judy, who has been texting with the woman ever since. “I feel I’ve been able to provide a shoulder for her. She’s no longer a stranger.”
We know Judy’s story because she is a student in our Science of Happiness course, a free, eight-week online course that explores the roots of a happy, meaningful life. When we asked recent students how the course had impacted them, they shared everything from little habit changes to big life transitions, like quitting smoking or finding a new job. But one of the themes that kept coming up was how the course—which emphasizes how important relationships are for happiness—enhanced their sense of connection to others.
“I’ve started making a conscious effort to connect with people daily—even if it is just smiling and saying hello to a stranger in a grocery store (which can be a stretch for an introvert like me!),” said another student named Kathryn. Driving home one day, she stopped to offer a ride to a woman who seemed to be in pain as she walked slowly down the street. It turned out the woman was disabled and on her way to the grocery store, so Kathryn drove her there and back. 
“We had a wonderful talk and she was so grateful. That made ME feel wonderful as well,” Kathryn recalled.
Amy, a student who started volunteering as a “listener” for the free counseling service 7 Cups, also felt that practicing kindness toward others enhanced her own life. “It seems the more I put out (talking to strangers, complimenting, smiling, etc.), the more I get back in life,” she said.
For difficult interactions, Bruna found that meditating and writing down her negative feelings helped change her attitude. “I think people do the best that they can with what they got, so I don’t blame others anymore,” she said.
Students also talked about strengthening their current relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners. Suzette, for example, was inspired by the course to do something new or visit a new place every month—and to invite casual acquaintances to join her, building their friendship.
Katie started doing the Three Good Things practice, where you note positive things that happened during the day as a way to enhance gratitude and bring attention to the blessings in life. Her partner joined in for this pre-bedtime ritual.
“I’ve noticed feeling more rested when we do this,” she said. “We laugh more before we sleep and are spending less time looking at screens.”
Do you want to deepen your social connections and explore the roots of your own happiness? On September 5, we will launch the seventh installment of The Science of Happiness. Sign up for the course and join our community of like-minded students hoping to live happier and more connected lives.

Inspirational Quote – August 25, 2017

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”

Well of course we must! This belief is what will motivate our will to succeed and ensure we persevere when the going gets tough as nothing successful is gained without struggle or unexpected drawbacks. So we need to “dress” ourselves with the armor of total self-belief prior to embarking on our journey to achieving success in whatever we choose to do and making it part of us forever. Who’s with me?

The Grace of Great Things

What if the goal of education becomes making visible and lifting up the souls of all those involved in the process? How might this way of reclaiming and re-grounding the learning-teaching relationship transform both the individual souls involved and the institutional souls of the systems themselves? Parker Palmer reflects on these and other profound questions with respect and grace in an article adapted from a keynote address he delivered on Spirituality in Education sponsored by the Naropa Institute. Weaving together rich and varied stories of Merlin the Magician, Rosa Parks and the poet Ranier Maria Rilke with those of Nobel prize winning scientist Barbara McClintock and the discoverers of the DNA molecule; Parker describes "education at its best these profound human transactions called knowing, teaching, and learning".