BLOG 126 SUNSCREEN
Lathering on sunscreen should be part of our daily regime and “getting ready” process in the morning. The harmful UV rays of the sun are cancer causing and dangerous, yet we still have to live our lives and be exposed. In fact, being tan is part of our Southern California state of mind. Tanning beds still exist. Being properly protected and taking the necessary preventative measures are extremely important. So put on that sunscreen.
But knowing which sunscreen to pick can be rather complicated. This lotion works in one of two ways depending on the type you buy. One type protects us by scattering the light which reflects the sun away from you and the other type absorbs the UV rays before they actually get to your skin. And we have to be careful because, “ ‘A few years ago, choosing a good sunscreen meant you just looked for a high sun protection factor (SPF) — which rates how well the sunscreen protects against one type of cancer-causing UV ray, ultraviolet B (UVB.) “SPF refers to blockage of UVB rays only,’ says Leffell. Research soon showed that ultraviolet A rays (UVA) also increase skin cancer risk. While UVA rays don’t cause sunburn, they penetrate deeply into skin and cause wrinkles. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 90% of skin changes associated with aging are really caused by a lifetime’s exposure to UVA rays” (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/whats-best-sunscreen#1).
So how do which know what to buy?? Which is the best?? You definitely want both UVA and UVB rays to be covered. UVA doesn’t have a number associated with it but UVB does with SPF 15 or higher. One must know what SPF refers to: “The SPF factor rates how effective the sunscreen is in preventing sunburn caused by UVB rays. If you’d normally burn in 10 minutes, SPF 15 multiplies that by a factor of 15, meaning you could go 150 minutes before burning” (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/whats-best-sunscreen#1). You should also take into consideration water and sweat resistance.
To put this in simpler terms, make sure to look for a sunscreen based on its SPF and one that contains one or more of the following ingredients: camsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide. Truth be told this can still be a bit confusing because having a higher SPF doesn’t mean the sunscreen is that much better. It just means the longer it lasts. Here was an example I found, “Contrary to what you might think, SPF 30 isn’t twice as strong as SPF 15. While SPF 15 filters out 93% of UVB, SPF 30 filters out 97%, only a slight improvement” (http://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/whats-best-sunscreen#1).
Be sure to wear some form of protection and research which brand is appropriate for your skin type, time spent in the sun and what activities you will be doing. Protect your skin while you are young, prevent further damage, and be adamant about doing this daily. We hear from our elders so often that they wish they would have done this. Sunscreen!!!! There’s no counter argument here ?
BLOG 125 SLEEP APNEA
Sleep is part of each cycle in our day. We are sensitive to how much sleep we get and are aware of the bare minimum to make it through the day. Sometimes this nightly routine is not easy and sometimes it’s amazing. However, sleep apnea is a common but very serious sleep disorder among more folks than one might think. So let’s take a look a closer look at this condition.
Definitions are always a good start. Thus, “Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen” (https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox). There are 2 types of this. Obstructive sleep apnea (OPA) is the more common type in which the airway is blocked and the throat collapses. Central sleep apnea is when the brain isn’t signaling the body to breathe. Communication is ineffective with the respiratory system.
Here are the common risk factors for sleep apnea:
· Being male
· Being overweight
· Being over age 40
· Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
· Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
· Having a family history of sleep apnea
· Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
· Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
And here are the health risks if left untreated:
High blood pressure
Heart failure, irregular heart beats, and heart attacks
Worsening of ADHD
If you have any of these symptoms, go see your doctor. From there, they might have you to do a sleep study to monitor your eye movement, heart rate, breathing, choking, and/or snoring. This may result in the following: “The treatment of choice for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and gently blows air into the airway to help keep it open during sleep. This method of treatment is highly effective” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment). And then, “Other methods of treating sleep apnea include: dental appliances which reposition the lower jaw and tongue; upper airway surgery to remove tissue in the airway; nasal expiratory positive airway pressure where a disposable valve covers the nostrils; and treatment using hypoglossal nerve stimulation where a stimulator is implanted in the patient’s chest with leads connected to the hypoglossal nerve that controls tongue movement as well as to a breathing sensor” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea-treatment). Other lifestyle changes like losing weight and cutting out alcohol and smoking can help.
It’s hard to argue that lack of sleep is not fun. Sadly, many of us are used to this with life’s demands. However, serious cases when sleep deprivation is continuous need to be addressed. We want our mind and body to be operating as best as possible on our fitness journeys so be sure to get those zzzzzz’s.
BLOG 124 PAIN KILLERS
Every BODY has their own level of tolerance for pain. Sometimes we need assistance to overcome a hurt or sensation that is terribly uncomfortable say from the dentist, a surgery, or from an injury. Doctors will then prescribe medications to alleviate this discomfort, understanding this is a temporary solution for a medical need. But somehow, the use of painkillers has become an apparent problem in our habit forming society who rarely does anything in moderation. On our fitness journeys, pain can occur from injuries and setbacks, thus, let’s take a look at these pills and inspect what they do to our bodies.
Our body detects pain and tells us and boy oh boy we feel it. Here’s the low down: “When part of your body is injured, special nerve endings send pain messages back to your brain. Painkilling drugs interfere with these messages, either at the site of the injury, in the spinal cord or in the brain itself” (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/whoami/findoutmore/yourbrain/howdodrugsaffectyourbrain/howdopainkillerswork). Aspirin and opiates are the two types which are the foundational ingredient. Aspirin comes from willow bark and it helps alleviate pain from inflammation. It helps with swelling. Opiates come from the opiate poppy and are the more dangerous form: “The most active substance in opium is morphine – named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. Codeine, a less powerful drug, is also found in opium. Both these opiates relieve pain, relax muscles and cause drowsiness. All opiates mimic your body’s own painkillers. Morphine is a very powerful painkiller, but it is also very addictive” (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/whoami/findoutmore/yourbrain/howdodrugsaffectyourbrain/howdopainkillerswork/whatareopiates).
The reality is that when something makes us feel good, we like it and want more. Human nature at its finest. In fact, “In the last ten years, stimulant prescriptions have seen an increase from 5 million to 45 million, while opiate/opioid prescriptions grew from 30 million to 180 million” (http://drugabuse.com/). Even worse check this out: “n 2012, 259 million prescriptions for painkillers, such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Opana, were written in the U.S. When used improperly, these legal opioid drugs can present some of the same risks as illicit heroin sold on the street. While 467,000 people in the U.S. struggled with heroin addiction in 2012, over 2 million were estimated to abuse opioid painkillers” (http://drugabuse.com/featured/the-effects-of-opiates-on-the-body/). Veins can collapse, heart lining can become infected, sedation can occur, breathing becomes slowed causing respiratory issues that can be fatal, you can actually become more sensitive to pain, and your immune system becomes suppressed. The liver is greatly damaged trying to process all this.
Pills and drugs are quick fix solutions and band aids, not part of the life style changes we are aiming to create. Know yourself and your personality when faced with pain and let your doctor know. Communication is critical. Body awareness and self-control are troublesome when tested with convenience but you are so much stronger than you think you are.
BLOG 123 MIGRAINES
Debilitating headaches can really ruin a person’s day and lead to time spent in bed or even throwing up. Clients suffering from migraines have a difficult time working out during these bouts of head throbbing pain and some clients are even undergoing scientific studies to get to the bottom of the cause. So let’s check out migraines and learn more as I’m sure we all know someone who has been impacted by this terrible condition.
We should start with the basics of course. Background: “A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on just one side of the head. It’s often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can cause significant pain for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling. Warning symptoms known as aura may occur before or with the headache. These can include flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling on one side of the face or in your arm or leg” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/dxc-20202434) .
There are actually 4 stages of a migraine and different people either experience some or all of them. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/dxc-20202434)
1. Prodome: you feel changes to your body that serve as a warming system a migraine may be approaching. These might include stiff neck, mood changes, thirst, constipation, and/or food cravings
2. Aura: your senses seem “off” including vision, touch, and hearing
3. Attack: the actual pain, throbbing, nausea, that can last up to 72 hours during the migraine
4. Post-drome: total exhaustion after the attack
Causes vary among individuals and can be the result of genetics. Here are the most common causes (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/dxc-20202434):
• Hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a major drop in estrogen.
• Foods. Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
• Food additives. The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG), found in many foods, may trigger migraines.
• Drinks. Alcohol, especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
• Stress. Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
• Sensory stimuli. Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people.
• Changes in wake-sleep pattern. Missing sleep or getting too much sleep may trigger migraines in some people, as can jet lag.
• Physical factors. Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
• Changes in the environment. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
• Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.
We want to be at peak performance on our fitness journeys and migraines our not on our team. But we learn to overcome and know that the show must go on, which means we need to take care of ourselves, seek treatment and help when needed, and try to avoid situations that can trigger migraines. I don’t like for folks to miss workouts ever. The community of sufferers is quite large, so I hope there comes a medical solution to this phenomenon very soon.