“True love is neither physical nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.”

— Unknown

“True love is neither physical nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.”

— Unknown

Staying Well

How High Should You Go?

In the United States, high blood pressure, or hypertension, remains one of the most common — and serious — health problems. According to the American Heart Association, one out of every four Americans, or more than 37 million people, has high blood pressure. What's worse, about half of those individuals won't realize their blood pressure is high until permanent damage has occurred.

Hypertension Q&A

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the actual force, or pressure, of blood against the walls of arteries and veins as it flows through them. When someone's blood pressure is high, then the blood is striking against the artery walls "harder" than it should.

What causes high blood pressure?

There are two types of hypertension, essential (or primary) and secondary. Ninety-five out of every 100 cases are essential, meaning the underlying cause isn't certain. In the other 5 percent of cases, causes can include kidney disease, hormone imbalances, use of oral contraceptives ("the pill"), glandular disorders and Cushing's Syndrome.

How is blood pressure measured?

Two numbers are required to determine your blood pressure, with one number shown above the other in a fraction format. The top number, or systolic pressure, measures the blood's force when the heart is pumping. The bottom, or diastolic, pressure is taken when the heart is relaxed between beats. High blood pressure is defined as any systolic reading higher than 140 and a diastolic number of 90, or 140/90.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Usually there aren't any, until significant heart disease has developed, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke. That's why it's branded as "the silent killer."

How does it affect the body?

If left untreated, high blood pressure overworks and enlarges the heart. Over time it also can cause scarring of the blood vessels, causing them to stiffen and become more vulnerable to heart disease, blockages and other problems. Hypertension also overworks some of the body's other vital organs, including the brain and kidneys.

Is treatment necessary if there aren't any symptoms?

Absolutely, if you're serious about protecting your health. Most people have no symptoms until their blood pressure is dangerously high. Once diagnosed, though, most people with high blood pressure can lead a normal life, if they stick with their treatment.

What treatments are available?

For many people, hypertension can be treated solely through lifestyle changes such as exercise, losing weight, limiting salt intake, controlling stress and reducing alcohol consumption.

In more severe cases, medication also may be prescribed. This is a chronic condition though, so once a person's blood pressure is under control, it still needs to be checked regularly and kept under control.

Make Yourself Unappetizing

Your best defense against most insect bites and stings starts with prevention. When you know you're going to be outdoors for any length of time, especially in a wooded area, remember:

    Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and shoes with socks.
    Apply an insect repellent, preferably one with DEET or permethrin as the active ingredient, on your clothing.
    Avoid wearing perfumes, colognes, hair spray or other scented grooming products that might attract insects.
    When you're in an area that contains many bees or wasps, wear subdued colors.
    Bathe immediately after coming inside, using heavy soap. Be sure to check yourself thoroughly for ticks. In order to pass along disease, ticks generally must stay embedded in your skin for 24 to 48 hours, so early removal is important.
    Avoid eating bananas; mosquitoes are attracted to people who have recently ingested them.

Take Steps to Ward Off Foot Problems

Most people take their feet for granted. They squeeze them into shoes that don't fit and pay little or no attention to the resulting corns, calluses, blisters and more serious problems that develop as a result.

Made up of 26 bones and 107 ligaments, the foot is the foundation for the rest of the body. If it's out of whack, it's a guarantee there will be problems higher up the leg, with the ankles, knees and lower back. That's without even taking into consideration the pain and misery that sore feet alone can cause.

Do Your Shoes Fit?

Most podiatrists (foot doctors) agree that the majority of foot problems begin at the shoe store. So, when it comes to buying and wearing your shoes, remember these tips:

  • Before you go shopping, trace around your bare foot and take your tracing with you. Before you buy shoes, place one shoe directly over your tracing. The forefoot (or widest part) of the shoe should be wider than your foot. If it's not, the shoe will hurt.
  • Never go shoe shopping in the morning. The best time to shop for shoes is at night, especially at the end of a work week, when your feet are tired and swollen. If the shoes are comfortable then, they're big enough.
  • Buy shoes that let you wiggle all of your toes comfortably. Likewise, purchase socks that allow you to move your toes freely as well.
  • Select shoes that support the foot, especially if you'll be wearing them for eight or more hours at a stretch. Leather shoes with strong, flexible soles and cushioned insoles are best.
  • Don't wear the same shoes every day. Alternate pairs so each one can air out and dry completely. This will help eliminate odor and also help the shoes keep their shape longer.

Shoes to Run From

Shoes with a heel higher than four inches are bound to cause foot problems. For everyday wear, a person's shoes should have no more than a two-inch heel. If you're wondering which shoes are hardest on the feet, these top the list:

    Spiked heels
    High platform shoes
    Shoes with pointed toes
    Slingback pumps
    Shoes with no backs
    Soft slip-ons (they provide no arch support)
    Shoes that are worn out or worn down

Caring for Your Feet

To keep your feet as healthy as possible, start with a regular pedicure, done about once a month. Begin by soaking your feet in warm water until they're soft. Then take a pumice stone and smooth away corns and calluses. Follow with a foot cream to rub away dry skin.

Trim your toenails by using a set of clippers made especially for them, and then file straight across with an emery board. Never trim these nails on a curve, since this can lead to ingrown toenails.

Finally, treat your feet to powder, especially between the toes, to keep the feet cool and dry. If you're prone to athlete's foot, use a medicated foot powder.

f you're still receiving injections in your buttocks, you may not be getting as much medicine as you need, particularly if you're overweight.

Injections are usually administered in the buttocks because they contain fewer nerves and also because the underlying gluteal muscles have an abundant supply of microscopic blood vessels to absorb the medication. When someone is overweight, however, the needle often ends up delivering medication into fatty tissue rather than blood vessels, meaning substantially less medicine is absorbed.

Obese patients who need an injection may want to request that their doctor use a longer needle or else administer the injection somewhere else on the body, such as an arm.

Are You Flaky?

Those white flakes of dandruff that make their home on collars and jackets can sure make you self-conscious. And every time you reach for that itchy scalp, you know you're adding to the fallout. While dandruff can't be cured, fortunately it can be controlled.

Defining Dandruff

Contrary to popular belief, dandruff isn't just dry scalp. Dandruff is caused when patches of dead skin are produced and sloughed off too fast as a result of skin conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis. These conditions cause the skin cells to clump together and fall off in big flakes. Smaller flakes can also be produced by dry scalp, triggered by such things as too much shampooing, chemical treatments, alcohol-containing hair products and heated hair appliances.

Stop the Flakes

To treat an overly dry scalp, go easier on your hair. Don't wash or blow dry it as often, and use a gentler shampoo and a conditioning moisturizer.

To treat dandruff, use a shampoo designed specifically to treat dandruff, one that contains tar derivatives, zinc pyrithione, selenium sulfide or ketoconazole. If the problem still persists, see a dermatologist.

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