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Cycling For Health Natural Remedies Active Lifestyle Keep Allergies At Bay Battling Allergies Combat Allergy Symptoms Finding Natural Products AFib And Stroke Risk

Blood Sugar Roller Coaster

Cycling For Health And Fitness

pic(NAPSI)—In nearly half of developed countries, 50 percent of people are obese or overweight. With obesity, diabetes and heart disease on the rise, now is the time to take control of your health, fitness and well-being.

Cycling can be fun, low impact, inexpensive and helps improve health while controlling weight. It burns around 600 calories an hour-and lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, cycling promotes psychological well-being. Several studies suggest that cycling leads to reduced stress, improved mental abilities and a more positive attitude.

To help you get into cycling, members from one of the United States’ premier professional cycling teams, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, provide these fitness and nutrition tips:

• Make sure your bike fits: “Finding the right bike fit is important for a comfortable ride,” explains Rachel Heal, Women’s Performance Director and a former Olympian. An expert can help you find a bike that suits your body and riding style.

• Ride at your own pace: Know your limits. If you can’t keep a smooth pedal stroke or you aren’t able to talk or take a full breath, slow down.

• Cross-train for strength: Men’s Performance Manager and three-time Olympic athlete Eric Wohlberg suggests adding lower body exercises such as single leg squats, lunges, jumping rope and running to build strength and power for cycling.

• Eat for optimal energy: Professional cyclist Jade Wilcoxson knows firsthand the health benefits of cycling. Just five years ago, she was diagnosed as prediabetic. Jade took up cycling and quickly learned she had a talent for racing. She recently signed with Optum Pro Cycling’s newly formed professional women’s team. To feel her best, Jade recommends a diet high in protein, fruits and vegetables. She also recommends staying away from processed foods, using the rule of “seven ingredients or fewer.”

• Prepare nutritionally for a long ride: On long, rigorous rides lasting more than two hours, your body will need about 250 to 300 calories every 45 minutes to an hour. Sports gels or small snacks that incorporate lean protein and carbohydrates can be smart choices.

• Recover effectively after a ride: Take in some calories immediately after a long ride to help your body recover. Wohlberg recommends chocolate milk to incorporate calories, sugar and protein quickly. After cooling down, eat a good meal of lean protein and carbohydrates and plenty of water to rehydrate.

• Enjoy it: The best thing about cycling is that just about anyone can do it, at any level, and still have fun. “You control how hard or easy your workout is,” said Wilcoxson.

• Learn more: For more information on cycling and to follow the team, visit

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Natural Remedies For An Active Lifestyle

pic(NAPSI)—Being active is critical for staying healthy—so it’s a good thing exercise-related aches and pains, sore muscles, and foot and leg cramps don’t have to put a damper on the activities that people love. Thankfully, there are many safe and natural remedies to keep pain at bay.

Soft-tissue pain often benefits from rest, ice, compression and elevation. While rest gives your body time to heal, ice is handy for reducing swelling and dulling pain in sore spots. Be sure to wrap ice in a towel to prevent skin damage and aim to ice the injured area for about 20 minutes an hour or as needed, for one to two days. Gentle compression may help to keep swelling in check, while elevation can also reduce it.

Injured ligaments and tendons respond well to increased blood flow, so moving and working with a physical therapist may help you return to pain-free workouts faster. Applying gentle heat can improve circulation to make achy muscles feel better, and a warm shower or massage can soothe sore muscles. Remember, if you are ever in doubt about your injury, check with your doctor.

Still competing professionally after 45 years, 70-year-old NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd keeps in shape by being active every day and looking after his health naturally. For Shepherd, the keys to staying healthy are choosing a fun activity, eating well and staying hydrated.

“Some people like running but I prefer to get my running done on roller skates,” says Shepherd. “I get a really good workout, plus I hydrate with plenty of water, before, during and after a skate.”

When you need more than rest, ice or heat but don’t like the side effects of stronger pain medicines, all-natural homeopathic products offer safe, effective solutions for aches and pains. For information on Hyland’s homeopathic recovery products, such as Muscle Therapy Gel with Arnica, Arnica 30x, Leg Cramps, Leg Cramps PM, and Bioplasma Sport, visit

All the products are available nationally in Whole Foods Market, Vitamin Shoppe and other natural food stores, grocery stores, supercenters and pharmacies. A community of active adults can be found at


Note to Editors: These statements are based upon traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.

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Spring Into Action To Keep Allergies At Bay This Season


(NAPSI)—According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2011-2012 winter is the fourth warmest on record. The mild weather is triggering an unusually early release of pollen that causes pesky allergy symptoms. Beyond the itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose, one overlooked side effect of allergies is dry or irritated lips.

“Managing allergy symptoms is paramount to get through the season, and it starts with the skin, as it is the first line of defense,” said Dr. Charles Zugerman, associate professor of clinical dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Dry and cracked lips cause fissures in the skin, leaving them more susceptible to infection. Additionally, by relieving the lip discomfort, allergy sufferers also feel better, which in turn helps them rest and recover.”

Zugerman recommends keeping a moisturizing lip balm on hand, such as Blistex Cold & Allergy Lip Soother, especially developed to provide comforting relief and protection for lips that are feeling under the weather due to allergies. A few other ways to alleviate allergy symptoms include:

• Use an air purifier to remove contaminants from the air, such as dust, pollen and pet dander.

• Ensure that your vacuum has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. A vacuum without this filter may make allergies and asthma worse by disturbing and blowing the dust particles in the air.

• Bathe in cool water and use a mild soap without perfume or coloring.

• Wash your laundry in hot water with a temperature of 130 degrees or greater.

• Change your clothing after spending a lot of time outdoors to keep the pollen out of the house.

Battling Dry Lips

Severe lip dryness and chapping are caused by a number of factors during allergy season, including open-mouth breathing as a result of blocked passageways and the dehydrating effects of medications such as antihistamines.

Blistex Cold & Allergy Lip Soother has a special formula that glides on smoothly and feels soft when applied to sore lips to prevent further irritation. Special ingredients include pramoxine HCL, an advanced analgesic that alleviates sensitivity and lip soreness, pain and itchiness; dimethicone to prevent moisture loss and protect lips; glycerin, lanolin and sunflower seed oil to help remoisturize parched lips; and vitamins C and E, chamomile, green tea, honey and elderberry to comfort irritated lips.

Learn More

For further information and lip care tips, visit

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Battling Allergy Season—Inside And Out


(NAPSI)—Hold on to your tissues: Allergies may be nothing to sneeze at, with pollen and pollutants a problem indoors as well as out, but there are steps you can take to ease the season for sufferers. Here’s a look at the situation and a possible solution.

The Problem

Poor indoor air quality is now one of the top five environmental risks to public health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air quality in your home could actually be five times worse than the outside air even in most cities.

Because Americans now spend 90 percent of their time indoors, breathing healthy air where you live, learn and work is critical. What’s causing it? In addition to pollen and ragweed, mold, dust, pet dander and tobacco collect in carpets and on furniture, contaminating the air. Older furnaces and faulty stoves contribute to the problem and, when left untreated, are one of the leading causes of asthma, allergies, even lung disease.

What may be even more alarming is that vacuum cleaners can exacerbate the problem. Every time you vacuum, the machine may expose you to millions of microscopic particles, including dangerous carbon emissions released from the vacuum’s motor. The truth is, unless you’re using a vacuum that offers a true sealed system, the air that enters your vacuum is actually released back into the air.

A Solution

Explains Susan Goldsmith, managing director at Interbasic Resources, a nationally recognized independent testing laboratory that conducts emissions tests on various brands of vacuum cleaners: “Using a well-engineered vacuum, which precludes harmful particles from launching into the air, is a matter of health and hygiene.”

Fortunately, some vacuum cleaner manufacturers have developed products to eliminate these harmful indoor pollutants.

For example, Miele introduced the world’s first HEPA-certified vacuum cleaner and developed a 12-layer filtration system. The company’s AirClean Sealed System has been proven by independent lab tests to be over 99.9 percent effective in capturing and retaining dangerous indoor air pollutants. Designed to trap and retain virtually all the dangerous particles that other vacuums let back into the air you breathe, this machine can help safeguard you, your family and your home.

Learn More

For further facts about fighting indoor allergens and air pollutants, visit or or call (800) 843-7231.


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Simple Tips That Can Help Combat Allergy Symptoms


(NAPSI)—Allergy season is nothing to sneeze at—especially for the one in five people affected by seasonal eye allergies.

Allergens, common in the spring, can trigger a variety of symptoms such as itchy, watery or red eyes.

With the start of spring allergy season, the best defense is to avoid the allergens that trigger these symptoms whenever you can. To help manage or prevent symptoms, try these simple tips:

• Find out what causes your allergy and try to avoid the trigger. If pollen bothers you, try to stay indoors during the peak allergy season.

• Turn off ceiling fans, as allergens and dust are easily picked up by a fan.

• Use preservative-free artificial tears, as preservatives can also cause discomfort.

• Take more frequent showers to wash away allergens.

Allergies and Makeup Tips

Springtime allergies can also wreak havoc on a woman’s beauty routine. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Vistakon Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., 48 percent of women note that eye allergy symptoms often make them look like they have been crying, and 47 percent say the frequent rubbing of their eyes often causes their makeup to come off. As a result, 38 percent report that their red, puffy eyes make them look tired and unattractive.

Try a few simple tricks to help mask some of these symptoms. Antihistamines, found in allergy medicines, may dry out skin. Start with a tinted moisturizer to keep skin hydrated. A cooling eye mask will rid your eyes of dark circles and reduce puffiness. Finally, apply a touch of bronzer to your forehead, cheeks and nose to reduce the appearance of puffiness.

Allergy Advice for Contact Lens Wearers

Allergy season is particularly challenging for some contact lens wearers because allergens and other irritants can build up on contacts over time, leading to discomfort and symptoms such as itching, tearing and redness, according to noted educator and author Paul Karpecki, O.D., F.A.A.O., Clinical Director, Koffler Vision Group, Lexington, Kentucky.

For allergy sufferers who want to wear or remain in contacts, he recommends using a daily disposable contact lens such as 1-Day Acuvue Moist Brand Contact Lenses. “Putting a clean, fresh lens into the eye each day minimizes the potential for buildup of irritants that occurs with repeated use of the same pair of lenses,” says Dr. Karpecki.

To find out how to receive a free trial pair of lenses, visit (professional and fitting fees not included).



Editor’s Note: Important information for contact lens wearers: ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses are available by prescription only for vision correction. An eye care professional will determine whether contact lenses are right for you. Although rare, serious eye problems can develop while wearing contact lenses. To help avoid these problems, follow the wear and replacement schedule and the lens care instructions provided by your eye doctor. Do not wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. If one of these conditions occurs, contact your eye doctor immediately. For more information on proper wear, care and safety, talk to your eye care professional and ask for a Patient Instruction Guide, call (800) 843-2020 or visit Clinical research has shown when worn on a daily disposable basis, 1-DAY ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses and other daily disposable etafilcon A contact lenses such as 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses may provide improved comfort for many patients suffering from mild discomfort and/or itching associated with allergies during contact lens wear compared to lenses replaced at intervals of greater than 2 weeks. ACUVUE®, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® and VISTAKON® are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

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Is It Truly Natural? How To Tell

pic(NAPSI)—More and more Americans are making the choice to go natural—at least, as far as the things they buy are concerned.

Surveys show that 73 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product if they know it’s certified natural. You should know, however, that the companies making these products are the ones deciding whether they can be called natural. There is no legal or regulatory definition of the word.

So how can you tell if the products you see on store shelves are as natural as you want them to be? Here are some tips to help you find natural products:

• Read the label. The list of ingredients can be your key to whether something is truly natural. Such things as parabens, phthalates, synthetic polymers and silicones indicate it’s not.

• Look for the seal. To help consumers easily identify products that are truly natural, the leading voice of the natural products industry, the Natural Products Association, launched the Natural Seal and certification program for personal care and home care products. Hundreds of certified products display the Natural Seal on their packaging.

All the certified products have been verified to fit the Natural Standard by an independent third-party auditor. Among other requirements, certified products are at least 95 percent natural, excluding water; use natural ingredients from a source found in nature and processed within the list of allowed processes; and use 100 percent natural fragrances and colorants. They avoid ingredients with health risks, don’t include animal testing and have mostly biodegradable or recycled material in the packaging. Products with the Natural Seal must list all ingredients on the package label.

• Do some research. Hundreds of products have been granted the seal and more than 85,000 stores of all sizes carry certified products. Check out ahead of time if your favorite brands have been certified at

• Learn more. You can also connect with the Natural Seal on Facebook at and on Twitter, @NPANaturalSeal.


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Understanding Atrial Fibrillation And Stroke Risk
by N. A. Mark Estes, III, M.D.


(NAPSI)—There’s an alarming gap in knowledge about a common heart condition called atrial fibrillation, or AFib. By closing the gap and arming people with what they need to know, we could prevent disabling—and even deadly—strokes; perhaps thousands of strokes each year.

Work recently done at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to identify gaps in AFib knowledge and treatment suggests that about half of the estimated 2.7 million Americans who have AFib have not been properly educated about their stroke risk.

The gap? We know that people who have AFib are at higher risk of stroke than people who do not have the condition, yet this information (and resulting proven prevention) isn’t trickling to the people who need it most.

What AFib Is

AFib is an irregular heart rhythm that occurs when the heart’s two upper chambers beat erratically, causing the chambers to pump blood rapidly, unevenly and inefficiently. Blood can pool and clot in the chambers, increasing the risk of stroke. It’s associated with a fivefold increased risk of stroke and a greater likelihood that the stroke will lead to significant disability-even death.

Identifying Challenges

A survey by Synovate, Inc. for the American Heart Association found that 90 percent of patients get AFib information from their doctors.

Of the AFib patients surveyed, half thought they were at risk for stroke; 25 percent claimed they were not at risk; and the rest didn’t know. The survey also found only two-thirds of patients recalled that their health care provider talked with them about their elevated stroke risk. Among those who talked with their doctors, 21 percent said they were told they have no stroke risk.

Connecting People and Information

There are several proven ways to reduce the AFib-associated stroke risk. A healthy lifestyle and maintaining an ideal body weight through exercise and diet can prevent high blood pressure and diabetes that predispose an individual to AFib. For individuals who already have AFib, new and effective medications can thin the blood to prevent the clotting associated with stroke.

Despite the substantial benefits that come from taking these medications, many people don’t receive or don’t take them. One of the hurdles could be that blood thinners have an undeserved reputation as problematic. It’s true that one popular blood thinner, called warfarin, requires monitoring to adjust the dosing; newer medications, however, don’t. In addition, some physicians and patients tend to overestimate the risk of bleeding complications from these medications.

Your Lifesaving Assignment

If you have AFib, make an appointment with your doctor’s office. With today’s health care system, you might have the bulk of your AFib conversation with your doctor’s nurse practitioner or physician assistant. These people are often charged with taking more time with patients to answer questions and educate.

Learn all you can about the condition. You’ll find credible and extensive AFib information from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association at

The solution to closing this gap is simple communication. We have to start talking about AFib and stroke. At a time when the economy is in turmoil and funding is scarce, talking doesn’t cost a dime.

• Dr. Estes is a professor of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine and Director, New England Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, Tufts Medical Center, Boston.


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Stop The High And Low Blood Sugar Roller Coaster

pic(NAPSI)— “You could live a normal life.” Those were the words that 15-year-old Steve Edelman kept hearing from the nurses when he was hospitalized following his type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 1970. He wondered why they kept repeating this to him.

“I started to get worried,” recalls Dr. Edelman, an endocrinologist and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. “But it soon became clear that I’d have to learn to control my diabetes if I wanted to live a healthy, full life.”

As a patient and a physician who treats people with diabetes, Dr. Edelman understands the challenges faced by the nearly 26 million Americans with the disease. He founded Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD), a nonprofit organization that holds conferences featuring programs and resources to help educate and empower people with diabetes.

Dr. Edelman notes that it is especially important for patients to overcome the fear factor. “Some of the biggest barriers I’ve observed that prevent people from controlling their diabetes are emotional ones,” says Dr. Edelman. Fear, misconceptions and depression can be powerful derailers of proper care. While people are afraid of complications, many also fear what they’ll find when they really examine their diabetes. Dr. Edelman says that it’s not uncommon for people to equate blood sugar levels with their own self-worth. These attitudes can sometimes lead patients to “forget” to get their lab tests or to bring their log books or meters to their doctor for review.

Dr. Edelman also emphasizes that regular blood glucose testing is a critical part of good diabetes management. Testing provides key insights that allow patients and their health care providers to adjust treatment as necessary and to see how food choices, activity and many other factors affect blood sugar levels throughout the day.

When treating highs and lows, it’s important to be proactive in looking for root causes in order to take steps to prevent them in the future. “Otherwise, if people just treat them in the moment and move on, they can get on a roller coaster of reacting to patterns of highs and lows over and over again without even realizing they may be connected,” he says.

Fortunately, advances in blood glucose monitoring technology are making this easier. The OneTouch VerioIQ Meter with PatternAlert Technology is the first meter to find patterns of high and low blood sugar and provide alerts right on the screen. With every test, the meter compares the current result with previous results and alerts the patient when it finds a pattern. This enables the patient and their health care professional to more easily recognize the issue and take action to correct potential problems.

“This is particularly important for people taking insulin because they have the greatest risk of experiencing low blood sugar which can be dangerous,” explains Dr. Edelman. “So identifying and correcting a developing pattern of low blood sugars as early as possible is key.”

Dr. Edelman offers other suggestions for successful diabetes management. He advises patients to talk to their doctor about diet and exercise. He also recommends taking notes between visits about any concerns patients may have, and he encourages talking about other factors, such as stress, that could affect blood sugar levels.

“Managing diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Dr. Edelman. “Get educated, take advantage of the latest tools, and never give up hope because it’s never too late to take control of your diabetes.”

For more information about the OneTouch VerioIQ System and diabetes, visit For information about TCOYD, visit


Note to Editors: Dr. Edelman is compensated for his services as a consultant to LifeScan, Inc.

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