BLOG 268 SELECTIVE SERATONIN REUPTAKE INHIBITORS (SSRIs)
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medication works to increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is an important chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) that signals communication between brain cells. More serotonin becomes available as SSRIs block the re-uptake of serotonin so that more is ready for use.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the following SSRIs:
• Citalopram (Celexa)
• Escitalopram (Lexapro)
• Fluoxetine (Prozac)
• Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
• Sertraline (Zoloft)
• Vilazodone (Viibryd)
The FDA requires that these medications are labeled with the type of warning called “black box warnings”. This is because some people can have an increase in suicidal thoughts or behaviors when taking an antidepressant.
The chemical makeup of these different prescriptions can cause side effects. For some, these subside within the few couple weeks, while others lead to trying a different type. Possible side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, headache, agitation, nausea, or diarrhea. Taking the medication at bedtime can help with drowsiness and taking the medication with food can help with nausea. It is important to consider drug interactions if taking other medication and one should consult their doctor if pregnant and taking an SSRI. The key is to consistently take the medication. SSRIs are not considered addictive, but missing doses or abruptly stopping their use can cause withdrawl. It typically takes several weeks for an SSRI to become effective. It is common for doses to have to be adjusted or medications to be switched until the right combination is found.
Although the objective of SSRIs is to treat depression, some people respond differently to certain types. One person can have very different side effects from another person. Patience is critical. Relief will come. When feelings of sadness are so severe that they interfere with daily life, physical and emotional problems can result. Feelings that cause home life and work life to be difficult should be addressed. Depression is one of the most treatable conditions. Most times, 80% of people feel relief when using SSRIs. The brain chemistry can be positively changed to help you feel better. Feelings of sadness can be controlled, and emotions can be regulated. SSRIs specifically target serotonin which can in turn help fight depression, as well as anxiety, and other mood disorders. Some people have side effects and some do not. When the time is right, one can reduce dosage and come off this medication, but this should never be done abruptly. We are meant to smile and enjoy life, and SSRIs provide the assistance and potential relief to do so. Talking to your doctor is important to find the right solution and treatment for depression that works for you.
Living an active lifestyle is highly recommended and preventative medicine for your health. When it comes to getting some Vitamin D, fresh air, and those steps in, hiking might be your choice of exercise modality to meet those needs. There are of course all different levels of this activity, which can be said for most forms of exercise. Hiking is a great way to beat the boredom of the gym and mix up your routine. Here are some other reasons to get trekking:
1. Hiking can help strengthen your bones. This activity slows down the rate at which calcium is lost in the body. This in turn helps strengthens the bones and reducing the risk of breaks and other complications such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
2. Your stamina can increase form this aerobic exercise. The onset of fatigue can be delayed further and further. The uphill aspect strengthens the calf muscles while the downhill can strengthen the quadriceps. Hiking is a remedy to fight natural fatigue.
3. It helps weight loss. Hiking can burn up to 400 calories in one hour. Challenging areas have the potential to burn even more. Then of course complementing this activity with a healthy diet can really propel weight loss.
4. Hiking can reduce stress. Spending time in the wild and nature can calm the mind and body. It is a great method to escape the noise of people and technology.
5. Hiking is inexpensive. All you need are some good shoes and some water.
6. You can monitor your progress. You can chart your improvements for distance and/or time and can increase in the intensity of trails you climb. You set the pace and you decide.
7. Hiking tones the whole body. Adding a weighted pack to the trail can also increase this effect. There are inclines, rocks, and all sorts of changes to the surface that tone the legs while you use the arms to propel you forward.
8. You can lower your blood sugar and help control diabetes. This workout makes your glucose come into play and enters the bloodstream to give you energy.
9. It can be social. Take a friend, group, or join a hiking group. Walking and talking and finding a common interest can be motivating and inspiring.
10. Hiking can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. A body in motion makes your systems have to work this in turn helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Your body and heart appreciate the movement and will repay you with good health.
There are so many trails to explore and hiking is a creative form of exercise with so many added benefits. The world is yours to see, so take in the scenery as you work your heart and body, and hey even work on that tan.
BLOG 266 INSOMNIA
Difficulty falling or staying asleep might be associated with insomnia. People with insomnia also wake up and have trouble going back to sleep, wake up very early in the morning, or feel very tired upon waking. Insomnia actually comes in two forms:
1. Primary insomnia: Sleep problems exist that are not associated with other problems or health conditions.
2. Secondary insomnia: Sleep problems are the result of something else such as asthma, cancer, arthritis, heartburn, pain, or substance abuse.
Duration also varies among people. Insomnia might be short lived (acute) for some people while others might have long lasting troubles (chronic). Acute insomnia might be caused by stress, emotional problems, noises, light, medications, illness, or adjusting to changes in life. Chronic insomnia is classified as not being able to sleep well for at least three night a week for three months or longer. It could be caused by depression/anxiety, pain, or ongoing stress.
Insomnia can be disruption to someone’s wellbeing. They might feel irritable, generally tired, have trouble concentrating, and have a constant feeling of sleepiness. A doctor will evaluate a person’s sleep patterns and even interview the person that they might sleep with about their behaviors. Looking at medical history and sleep history are useful. Sometimes a doctor will refer the patient to a sleep center or specialist.
Acute insomnia might not require treatment. It may go away on its own. Sleeping pills might be prescribed for a limited time until regularity is re-established. However, over-the-counter pills should not be used to treat insomnia. They can have undesired side effects. Chronic insomnia can be treated with behavioral therapy in order to make the necessary changes to promote sleep. This might involve relaxation exercises, reconditioning, and sleep restriction therapy.
There are some useful practices to help with sleep. A person should avoid light before bed such as reading lights or screens. Getting regular exercise can help. Try to establish a regular bedtime and wake up time. Not eating heavy before bed can help. Try to create a quit, nice temperature setting that is sleep inducing. If worrying keeps the person awake at night, they might try making a to-list to settle the mind.
Sleep is part of our daily cycle and when it is compromised, the body and mind do not function optimally. Sleep is not mean to be short changed, so seek help when lack of nighttime shut eye becomes a problem that is impacting your daytime functioning.
BLOG 265 ANEMIA
When the blood lacks healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin, anemia can develop. We need hemoglobin to bind oxygen. When a person has too few red blood cells or hemoglobin is abnormal, then the cells in the body do not get enough oxygen. Anemia is the most common blood condition in the U.S., affecting nearly 5.6% of the population. This condition is marked by fatigue because the organs are not getting the oxygen they need to function properly. Persons more susceptible are women, children, and people with chronic conditions. Infants can be affected from the time of birth is based down genetically. Women during pregnancy are more susceptible due to increased blood supply demands. Older adults are also risk because of medical conditions and poor diet.
There are actually different types of anemia, reaching nearly 400 kinds. The most common type is iron deficiency anemia which is very treatable. Iron supplements and diet modifications can be made. The three main groups of anemia are categorized according to causality. These include anemia caused by blood loss, anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells, and anemia caused by lack of or faulty red blood cells. Blood loss can be caused by gastrointestinal issues, anti-inflammatory drugs, and menstruation. Having low or faulty red blood cells can result from a lack of vitamins or mineral, sickle cell anemia, or bone marrow or stem problems. Sickle cells anemia occurs when the crescent shape of the red blood cells, which is a genetic condition, break down so quickly that the red blood cells cannot deliver the oxygen to organs. It is common among African Americans and Hispanics. When a person is deficient in vitamin B12 and folate, the body is not able to make red blood cells.
Symptoms of anemia depending on causality. The most common symptoms include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, and cold hands and feet. The role of red blood cells has become disrupted in the body. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which give them their color. Hemoglobin is what allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to the lungs and to all parts of the body and to also carry carbon dioxide from other parts of the body to the lungs to be exhaled. The recipe the body needs to make red blood cells includes iron, folate, vitamin B12, and then other nutrients from one’s diet. Anemia should not be left untreated. It can result in rapid or irregular heartbeat, inability to complete daily tasks due to extreme fatigue, and complications with pregnancy. Healthy blood is needed for a healthy body, so be sure to seek help is your energy is zapped and you can’t seem to figure out why.