Health

When Breathing Isn't Easy

Personalize Weight Loss Slow The Aging Process Nutrition They Need Sickle Cell Disease Adults Over 65 Flu-Related Risks Pre-Teen's Health Checkup Whooping Cough On The Rise

When Breathing Isn't Easy: Understanding a Fatal Lung Disease

(NAPSI)—For most of us, breathing is a routine action that we don't give much thought. But imagine feeling like you are suffocating every day, and you can never seem to get enough air. This is what daily life is like for the 50,000 to 70,000 people1 in the United States who are living with a fatal lung disease2 called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). While people with IPF may appear healthy, inside their lungs are deteriorating irreversibly—and they are losing the ability to breathe.

IPF is not a widely known disease, yet its incidence is higher than ovarian cancer and nearly 30 times that of cystic fibrosis.3 In the United States each year, 15,000 to 20,000 people are diagnosed with mild-to-moderate IPF,4 a majority of whom are age 50 or older.4 Doctors do not yet know what causes IPF. What they do know is that it is an irreversible, unpredictable disease that causes permanent lung damage and involves progressive scarring, or "fibrosis," of the lungs. This lung scarring5 makes it difficult for muscles, the heart and other organs to get the oxygen they need to work properly.6,7 As a result, shortness of breath, chronic dry cough and exhaustion are all common symptoms of this debilitating disease.7

As breathing becomes increasingly difficult, IPF disrupts the daily lives of people with the disease as well as those who care for them. For most IPF patients, activities such as walking or even climbing stairs becomes more difficult over time.7 Many are only able to exert themselves for 15−20 minutes at a time, and must take frequent rests throughout the day.7 They face a daily struggle to breathe, knowing that they face an average life expectancy of only two to five years after diagnosis.7

It can take months or years for people with IPF to be properly diagnosed. Many people are misdiagnosed, until they eventually receive the lung-function tests and an HRCT (high-resolution computed tomography) scan that can help confirm a diagnosis.8

Although no medicines are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat IPF, some therapies are currently being studied. In the meantime, doctors can help their patients manage IPF symptoms9 by prescribing supplemental oxygen therapy and medicines that help with coughing and breathlessness.10

September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month—a time to better understand this disease and advocate for the thousands of patients living with IPF, and to help increase awareness of this relatively unknown disease that so deeply affects people and their families.

To learn more about IPF, visit KnowIPFNow.com.

1 Know IPF Now | Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Know IPF Now. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://knowipfnow.com/about/who-has-ipf/.

2 About IPF RALLY. IPF RALLY. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://www.ipfrally.com/about-ipf-rally.

3 Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. InterMune. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. http://www.intermune.com/idiopathic_pulmonary_fibrosis.

4 Know IPF Now | Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Know IPF Now. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://knowipfnow.com/about/who-has-ipf/.

5 Know IPF Now | Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Know IPF Now. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://knowipfnow.com/faq-glossary/.

6 Know IPF Now | Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Know IPF Now. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://knowipfnow.com/about/learn-about-ipf/.

7 Know IPF Now | Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Know IPF Now. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://knowipfnow.com/about/signs-and-symptoms/.

8 Know IPF Now | Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Know IPF Now. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://knowipfnow.com/about/diagnosis-and-tests/.

9 Treatment Options. Treatment Options. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. http://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/life-with-pf/pulmonary-fibrosis-treatment-options.

10 Know IPF Now | Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Know IPF Now. Web. 08 Aug. 2014. https://knowipfnow.com/living/managing-ipf-symptoms/.

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New Approach Personalizes Weight Loss

(NAPSI)—The most effective way to lose weight may not involve any dieting at all. That’s the word from an international group of scientists, physicians and researchers. They believe to be effective, a weight loss program must take epigenetics into account.

They recommend a personalized health platform that integrates decades of research from scientists and medical doctors to provide individualized health plans based on epigenetics.

Epigenetics is the study of the impact a person’s environment and lifestyle have on his or her genetic expression. Simply put, it explains why identical twins who grow up in radically different environments and who eat and exercise differently may have phenotypic variations in height, weight and more.

Researchers believe this same science can be used from the outside in, to determine the type of diet and exercise a person’s one-of-a-kind genetic blueprint needs to lose weight most effectively, and have applied it to create a program called ph360.

Using a thorough personal health assessment, the ph360 approach determines the best foods for you to eat and those to avoid, as well as the style of exercise ideal for your specific makeup.

User results have been showing losses of as many as 15 pounds in two weeks—through healthy and natural means. For Tina Bernard, a teacher who struggled to lose the baby weight after the birth of her now 4-year-old daughter, ph360 worked when nothing else did. According to Bernard, “ph360 was a lifesaver. Not only did I finally get rid of those pesky 20 pounds, but I stopped having problems with digestion and sleep for the first time ever.”

Seasoned dieters will be pleased to know that this loss has nothing to do with eating less—instead, it’s about eating the right foods for each individual. Excess weight is shed when the body finally receives the specific nutrients it needs to balance both internally and externally. This also provides the body with newfound energy and strength.

Many of those who use ph360 also report increases in energy, focus, ease and quality of sleep, mood, digestion, and skin health. According to the company’s CEO Matt Riemann, this is because a person’s body wants to return to its natural state of balance and the program helps him or her do just that.

He contends the program amounts to a user’s manual for each person’s unique body and provides personalized insights into how a person can truly thrive.

To encourage you to experience the power of personalized health, ph360 is offering an exclusive lifetime membership for only $97 until August 31, 2014. Visit www.ph360.me today to access your personalized weight loss blueprint and secure your diet, exercise and lifestyle guidelines for an entire lifetime.

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A Program Designed To Slow The Aging Process

(NAPSI)—There is mounting evidence that exercise can help to reduce the risk of certain diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and arthritis. In fact, numerous studies have shown that diet and exercise can also help ward off cognitive problems and memory loss, while improving sleep and boosting mood and self-confidence.

Many believe exercise plays the single most important role in slowing the aging process. In fact, there is even some indication that exercise combined with a balanced (as opposed to trendy) diet can actually work to reverse the aging process, allowing people to remain healthy and active well into their 70s and 80s.

Dr. Henry Lodge, one of the leading proponents of this theory, has written extensively on how the body is in a constant state of decay and repair. As the body ages, the chemical responsible for decay works faster than the chemical responsible for regeneration. Exercise reverses that equation and allows the body to repair itself at a faster rate, which Dr. Lodge says can help slow down and even reverse the aging process.

Unfortunately, Americans have been getting more and more sedentary over the years while turning to quick fixes to make up for it. To fight this tendency, Chris Crowley, who, along with Dr. Lodge, is the author of the best-selling book “Younger Next Year,” suggests making exercise a part of your daily routine, something that’s up there with brushing your teeth and combing your hair.

If willpower alone isn’t enough to get you there, Crowley is holding a Younger Next Year Total Immersion Week at the Aspen Club later this month. The program is aimed at busy professionals who don’t have the time to set up a program on their own. It’s the sort of quick fix that’s designed to have long-lasting benefits as the program trains participants on how to incorporate the concepts of Younger Next Year into their everyday lives.

“They give you everything you need to be successful at home,” notes Jill Belconis, a Chicago area CEO who attended last year. “Aspen is such a beautiful setting, too,” she notes, “which really fits in with the theme that this is not just about extending your life but enjoying it, too. The healthier you are, the more you can enjoy the rest of your life.”

The Aspen Club is currently accepting reservations for the Younger Next Year Total Immersion Week, beginning Sunday, September 21st. Aspen Club will pay for your ride via the Colorado Mountain Express from Denver to Aspen and return.

To learn more or register, visit www.aspenclub.com/younger-next-year.

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The Nutrients They Need

(NAPSI)—According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost 80 percent of children in America don’t get the recommended number of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in their diets. The USDA says you should fill at least half your child’s plate at most meals with fruits and vegetables.

In addition, many parents say it’s a good idea to give kids vitamin supplements. Making that easier for parents and more fun for children are tasty new vitamins featuring the iconic Star Wars characters.

These Star Wars™ brand Gummy Vitamins by NatureSmart are available in three Complete Multi-Vitamin formulations, with over 10 essential vitamins and minerals for health, growth and development, and an Immune Support formula.*

Advises Registered Nurse and CEO of HealthyWomen Beth Battaglino*, “Teach your kids healthy habits early on, and use characters and flavors that they love, like the new Star Wars™ Gummy Vitamins.”

Learn More

For further facts, visit www.Naturesmartvitamins.com.

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*Note to Editors: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Beth Battaglino is a paid spokesperson for NatureSmart, LLC.

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Sickle Cell Disease: What You Need To Know

(NAPSI)—Sickle cell disease involves abnormally shaped red blood cells that reduce the flow of blood inside the blood vessels. It is inherited, the same way people inherit the color of their eyes, skin and hair. In the United States, it’s estimated that sickle cell disease affects up to 100,000 people, mostly African American. And while sickle cell disease causes severe pain and other complications, with the right treatment and care, it’s possible for most people with sickle cell disease to live normal, active lives. Here’s what you need to know about sickle cell disease, the populations that are most affected, and how to best manage it and stay as healthy as possible:

1. What is sickle cell disease? Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious disorder in which your body makes sickle-shaped red blood cells. “While a normal blood cell looks like a doughnut without the hole, sickle-shaped cells are shaped like a crescent,” says Dr. Gary H. Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health. “Sickle cells are sticky and stiff. These cells can block blood flow in blood vessels in limbs or organs, causing pain and organ damage, and raising the risk of infection.”

2. Who is at risk? Sickle cell disease is most common in people whose families come from Africa, South or Central America (especially Panama), Caribbean islands, Mediterranean countries (such as Turkey, Greece and Italy), India and Saudi Arabia. In the United States, it is estimated that sickle cell disease

• affects 90,000 to 100,000 people;

• occurs among about one out of every 500 black or African-American births; and

• occurs among about one out of every 36,000 Hispanic-American births.

3. What are the symptoms? Sickle cell disease is present at birth, but many babies don’t show any signs until after 4 months of age. The signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease can be hard to pinpoint, but they are mostly related to anemia and pain. Fatigue (feeling tired or weak) is the most common sign of anemia. Sudden pain throughout the body is also a symptom of sickle cell disease—pain is the most common complication of sickle cell disease and the top reason that people with sickle cell disease go to the emergency room or hospital. Other complications can include infection, eye problems, organ damage or strokes.

4. What steps can people with sickle cell disease take to stay healthy? “Most people with sickle cell disease can live normal lives and participate in most of the activities they enjoy,” says Dr. Gibbons. Here are some steps you can take to manage your sickle cell disease:

• Find a good doctor and get regular checkups. Often, the best choice is a hematologist (a doctor who specializes in blood diseases) working with a team of specialists.

• Try to avoid getting sick. Common illnesses, like the flu, can quickly become serious for people with sickle cell disease, so it’s important to avoid infections by practicing good hygiene, like regularly washing your hands and getting an annual flu shot.

• Stick with healthy habits, like regularly drinking water and staying active. Try not to get too cold, too hot or too tired.

• Look for clinical studies. New research is happening all the time, and by participating in clinical studies, you can help advance science to find better medicines and treatments for the community.

• Get support from your family or community and stay updated on advances in sickle cell disease management. Support groups and community-based organizations can be good options to help you get information and assistance.

5. How is sickle cell disease treated? Severe sickle cell disease can be treated with a medicine called hydroxyurea. This medicine leads to increased levels of fetal hemoglobin. In people who have sickle cell disease, fetal hemoglobin helps prevent red blood cells from sickling and improves anemia. Taken daily by mouth, hydroxyurea can reduce how often certain sickle cell complications occur. Sickle cell disease has no widely available cure. However, treatments can help relieve symptoms and treat complications. Mild pain is often treated at home with over-the-counter pain medicines, heating pads, rest and plenty of fluids. More severe pain may need to be treated in a clinic or hospital. Make sure to discuss the potential benefits and risks of any treatment with your health care provider before starting any new medication.

Visit NHLBI’s website at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/sickle-cell-awareness.htm for more information on sickle cell disease.

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Adults 65 And Older Should Understand Flu-Related Risks And Their Vaccination Options

(NAPSI)—During the 2014-2015 flu season, it’s important to remember that the single best way to prevent influenza (“the flu”) is to get an annual vaccination, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for everyone aged six months and older, with rare exception. As people age, the immune system weakens, even if they feel healthy and are active, which makes it harder to fight disease. As a result, adults aged 65 and older are more likely to catch the flu and experience complications.

The flu is a contagious illness that can be severe and life threatening, especially for older adults. People 65 years of age and older typically account for more than half (60 percent) of flu-related hospitalizations and almost all (90 percent) flu-related deaths.

The Flu + You program, a national public education initiative sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, educates older adults and those who care for them about the seriousness of the flu, the importance of annual vaccination, and available vaccine options. Award-winning actress Judith Light, known for TV’s Dallas, Who’s the Boss?, and Ugly Betty, has joined the campaign this year as a national spokesperson.

“Although I don’t feel like I’m getting any older, I know that my body is getting older, and coming down with the flu can really make me sick,” said Light. “No matter how healthy and active we feel, getting an annual flu vaccination is important and I learned there are different flu vaccine options for people 65 and older. I want to encourage others to speak with their doctor or pharmacist to find out more about getting vaccinated against the flu.”

The flu can make existing health problems worse and is especially dangerous for people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which commonly affect older adults. Eighty-six percent of adults aged 65 and older have at least one chronic condition, and 68 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have two or more. Worsening of these serious conditions may result in hospitalization and an inability to take part in simple daily activities and live independently.

“Research shows that the immune system weakens with age, which means older adults are more likely to catch the flu and that they can suffer greater complications because of other health issues,” said Albert Terrillion, DrPH, MEd, CPH, NCOA Senior Director for Clinical and Community Partnerships and Director of NCOA’s Self-Management Alliance. “Through our Flu + You program, we encourage all older adults to protect themselves by getting an annual flu vaccine as soon as they can.”

Older adults have flu vaccine options, including the traditional standard-dose flu vaccine and a higher-dose vaccine. Both options are available at a doctor’s office or local pharmacy. The higher-dose vaccine was developed specifically for people aged 65 and older to improve the body’s production of antibody against the flu. Flu vaccination is a Medicare Part B benefit, which means there is no copay for Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age and older.

Older adults and their caregivers can learn more about vaccine options and the importance of getting an annual flu vaccine on the Flu + You website, www.ncoa.org/Flu, which features free educational materials, infographics and other sharable content, and a public service announcement with Judith Light.

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For A Healthy Start to the School Year, Schedule Your Pre-Teen’s Health Check-Up

(NAPSI)—Taking your preteen or teen for a health check-up or sports physical is an important part of getting them ready for the new school year. During the appointment, be sure to speak with your child’s health care professional about diseases they may be at risk for. According to William O’Neal, Jr., a Certified Physician Assistant and member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the best time to help prevent diseases is before your preteen or teen is exposed to them.

One of these diseases is human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is a virus that can cause genital warts and certain pre-cancers and cancers in males and females. HPV often has no visible signs or symptoms, so many people who have HPV don’t even know it. Although most HPV infections clear on their own, there’s no way to predict who will or won’t clear the virus. In some cases, HPV can lead to significant diseases such as cervical cancer. In the U.S., 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year.

Arming yourself with information about adolescent diseases is the first step to help maintain your adolescent’s health, and your health care professional is a key resource. A few questions to jumpstart your conversation include:

• What diseases might my adolescent be at risk for?

• Are these the same for girls and boys?

• What effects can these diseases have on my preteen/teen?

• How can I help protect my adolescent from these diseases now and in the future?

• How can my preteen/teen be exposed to these diseases?

• When should I schedule my preteen/teen’s next check-up?

Give preteens and teens the tools to help prepare them for a safe and healthy school year by initiating a discussion with their health care professional. To learn more about adolescent diseases, visit www.momcentral.com/teenhealth for an educational guide, developed by Merck together with the American Nurse Practitioner Foundation and the Physician Assistant Foundation.

 

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Whooping Cough Cases Are On The Rise—Be Protected

(NAPSI)—Whooping cough is often thought of as a disease of the past but, unfortunately, it’s making a comeback. To provide yourself and your family with the best protection, get vaccinated against the disease.

There are many factors contributing to the current resurgence of whooping cough. While offering protection, the whooping cough vaccines used now do not last as long as health care professionals would like. Raised awareness, along with better tests to diagnose patients, has contributed to an increase in the number of whooping cough cases being diagnosed and reported.

Whooping cough can take a toll on anyone but it can be deadly for babies. There are between 10,000 and 50,000 whooping cough cases reported each year in the United States, with about 10 to 20 infant deaths due to the disease. Most deaths are in babies too young to be protected by their own vaccination.

The best protection against whooping cough is the whooping cough vaccine. Babies, teens, adults and pregnant women need to be vaccinated according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended schedule.

For babies, protection against whooping cough can start before they’re even born. During pregnancy, women should get the Tdap vaccine; a shot combining protection against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria. Antibodies will be passed to the baby, providing protection until they are old enough to receive their first whooping cough vaccine, and the mother will be protected against spreading whooping cough to her newborn.

Before her baby is born, a pregnant woman should also talk to others about making sure they are up to date with the Tdap vaccine. This includes the baby’s father, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, babysitters and day care staff. If someone is not up to date, he or she should get the whooping cough vaccine at least two weeks before coming in close contact with the new baby.

Babies begin their series of vaccines against whooping cough at 2 months of age with their first dose of DTaP. Like Tdap, this shot combines protection against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria. The series is completed by getting additional doses at 4 months, 6 months, 15 through 18 months, and 4 through 6 years of age. Since the protection the DTaP vaccine provides young children decreases over time, preteens need the Tdap booster shot at 11 or 12 years old.

Even if you don’t have children or a baby on the way, you can help protect yourself and those who are vulnerable around you by ensuring your whooping cough vaccine is up to date. The CDC recommends that all teens and adults who have never gotten the Tdap vaccine receive a dose.

Do your part to protect yourself and your family from whooping cough. Visit www.cdc.gov/whoopingcough for more information and talk to your doctor about the whooping cough vaccine.

 

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