Let us Learn about Health and Healthcare

Posts Tagged ‘United States’

Common Questions Asked About Hypnotherapy

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on December 10, 2012 at 8:00 am

What is hypnotherapy? Acupressure Reflexology Healing Grip magic mat beyond healing tea hypnotherapy (17)

Hypnotherapy is the use of hypnosis by a trained hypnotherapist to help a person to make positive changes in their life.  The use of hypnosis allows the hypnotherapist to bypass the critical areas of the conscious mind and access the subconscious mind directly. All our learned behaviors and habits, either good or bad, reside in the subconscious mind. Hypnosis speeds up the process of positive change since the hypnotherapist is working directly with the subconscious mind.  Old unwanted negative associations and patterns of behavior can easily be removed and replaced with positive beneficial ones.

What is the difference between hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis is a natural state of mind in which the subconscious mind opens up, becoming very suggestible to new ideas.  Hypnotherapy is the process of using hypnosis by the trained hypnotherapist to help a person make positive, desired life style changes.

What are the areas in which hypnotherapy is helpful? 

Hypnotherapy can help you to make changes in practically any area of your life.  Any bad habits or unwanted behaviors can easily be changed into more positive ones.  Fears and phobias can be eliminated.  You can easily stop smoking, lose unwanted weight, improve your study habits or become more successful.  It is entirely up to you what issue you want to work on.  You can always contact Kevin to discuss your particular issue and find out if hypnotherapy will help you.

How do I know that I can be hypnotized?

If you are intelligent, able to focus and concentrate and want to be hypnotized, then you can be.  It’s up to you.

How well does hypnotherapy work? _dbs-depression-side300

A comparison study:

Psychoanalysis:  38% recovery after 600 sessions

Behavior Therapy:  72% recovery after 22 sessions

Hypnotherapy:  93% recovery after 6 sessions

-American Health Magazine

Does hypnotherapy work for everybody? 

This depends entirely upon you.  If you are serious and really want to work on the issue and improve your life, then hypnotherapy will work wonders.  If you really don’t want to give up that bad habit or change, and just are not being entirely honest with yourself, then hypnotherapy will not be as effective for you.  You will just end up sabotaging yourself and remain where you are at.  The choice is yours – change and improve your life for the better or don’t.  It’s up to you!

Why use hypnosis when I have my “will power”? 

“Will power” or desire alone is often not enough or sufficient to change a long standing or deeply ingrained habit or behavior.  All habits, learned behaviors, patterns and attitudes reside within the domain of your subconscious mind. “Will power,” along with logic and reasoning resides within your conscious mind. Your conscious mind consists of only about 20% of your total mind power.  The remaining 80% of your mind power is your subconscious mind.  Which of the two is stronger – the 20% conscious mind or the 80% subconscious mind?  If the negative behavior or bad habit is deeply rooted in your subconscious mind or you have had it for many years, then your “will power” alone won’t be strong enough to change or eliminate it.  “Will power” or sheer determination can help you to accomplish your goal, but in some cases,  your “will power”  itself can be detrimental.  Your conscious mind can sabotage your “will power” so you won’t be able to change.  There are many reasons (both conscious and subconscious) as to why we behave the way we do.  Most of us become “comfortable” in our position in life.  Any changes made can be scary – so sometimes the conscious mind will sabotage you – to keep you where you are so you remain in your current comfort zone.  Hypnosis, when used by a trained hypnotherapist, can speak directly to the subconscious mind where all the habits, learned behaviors and attitudes reside, thus bypassing the conscious mind entirely.  This is a very effective, quick, and easy path to success.

Isn’t traditional “talk therapy” just as effective?

This depends upon the nature of the issue you are working on.  If the issue is a behavior or habit you want to change, you will need to access the subconscious mind to affect the necessary changes.  All learned behaviors, habits, attitudes and beliefs reside in the subconscious mind.  “Talk therapy” accesses your conscious mind, not your subconscious mind.  You can make changes using “talk therapy”, but it takes a lot longer to do than using hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy accesses the subconscious mind directly.

Does hypnotherapy replace more traditional practices, like seeing a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist?

No.  Hypnotherapy is used for behavior modification and life style improvements – like stopping biting one’s fingernails, losing weight or stopping smoking.  It may be an adjunct to traditional medical or psychological treatments, but it is not meant to be a replacement.  If you think that hypnotherapy might help you, contact Kevin to see if you will benefit.

What if I am on medication?  Can I still use hypnosis and hypnotherapy?

Absolutely.  Hypnotherapy and hypnosis can help many areas, including pain control, insomnia, losing weight and stopping smoking, to name a few.  Depending on the nature of the problem and the reasons why you are taking the medication, you may be able to reduce your need for medication.  You can contact Kevin to discuss this and find out if you will benefit by hypnosis.

Why don’t more people use hypnosis or get hypnotherapy sessions?

Up until recently, most of the general public has been in the dark concerning hypnosis and the benefits of hypnotherapy.  There are a lot of misconceptions in circulation about hypnosis – what it is or isn’t.  Many people just are not aware that hypnotherapy is available to help them overcome their issues.  The majority of people who learn about the benefits of hypnotherapy are eager to try it.  Why continue to suffer from an issue when you can change it? When you have a cavity, you go to the dentist.  It’s a matter of educating people about hypnotherapy and its benefits.

I practice meditation and do yoga.  Is this the same thing?   meditate

No.  Yoga and meditation are a form of hypnosis since you are focusing your mind and energies.  People use these to be able to focus, concentrate better and relax.  Hypnotherapy, on the other hand, is goal-orientated.  The state of hypnosis is induced by the hypnotherapist to work on a specific issue to make a particular change in your life.  You are taken into the hypnotic state, and then taken completely out of hypnosis.  Yoga and meditation also take you into the hypnotic state, but the purpose of each discipline is different.

 

Can’t I do this myself?  Why do I need to see a hypnotherapist or have sessions?

No.  You are in your current state because you have created it for yourself.  Most of us would fix ourselves if we knew how.  If your car or computer is broken, do most people try to fix it themselves if they have no working knowledge about cars or computers?  You would only make things worse if you tried to take it apart.  You need to go to someone who knows what they are doing to get the problem fixed.  Most of us may be aware we have an issue in our lives we want to change, but we aren’t born with the knowledge how to fix it.  You need to see a “specialist” – a trained hypnotherapist who can help you overcome your specific issue.

How many sessions will it take and how much will it cost?

This depends entirely upon the nature of the issue, how long you have had it and how serious you are in working on it.  The number of sessions it will take can not be determined until the initial consultation and you are put into hypnosis.  It can vary anywhere from 1 session in average to 12 sessions to change that particular issue.  Sometimes people are so happy with the results they have achieved, that they continue with hypnotherapy and work on other issues.  Cost will be determined based on the nature of the issue and sessions required.

How soon will I see the results?

Depending on the issue you are working on and how deeply rooted it is, the results may be immediate after the first session or it may take several sessions for you to start to see the results you desire.

What if I can’t take time off work to come in for sessions?  I am very busy.

Are you too busy to work on yourself?  Do you value yourself so little?  If you are unable to come in for private hypnotherapy sessions, then Kevin is available for hypnotherapy sessions via the telephone.  You also can take advantage of the Total Power Programming Hypnosis CDs you can listen to at home.  It’s all up to you!

My friends and co-workers say hypnotherapy is bad for you and a waste of time and money, beside it “doesn’t work.”  Is this true?

Your friends and co-workers may mean well, but they are wrong!  Skeptics are only expert in their limited frame of knowledge.  Sometimes others subconsciously want to hold you back and keep you where you are in life.  If you move forward and become successful, it may upset the current status quo – so they sabotage your efforts to change. Hypnotherapy works!  What does it matter if they don’t believe in hypnosis?  It’s you and your life that is important!

Who should not use hypnosis?

Those with any mental illness, injury or disease should not use hypnosis, neither should hose with special needs, who require personal attention. Hypnotherapy is not suitable if you have or have ever suffered from personality disorders, psychosis, clinical depression or epilepsy. If in any doubt, please consult your doctor before using any of these products. 

 

What is it like to be hypnotized?

In experiencing altered states it should be acknowledged that trance (altered state of consciousness) is slightly different for everyone. Most find it extremely pleasant, enjoyable and relaxing, saying they’ve never felt so agreeably relaxed and comfortable before. The altered state of consciousness is an individual and personal experience. Some may feel no difference at all, while others may feel very heavy and deeply relaxed, while still others may feel like they were floating – it is best not to have any preconceived ideas and just experience the sessions in your own unique way.

Who can be hypnotized?

Just about everyone if they choose.

Is hypnotherapy safe?

Yes. It is a safe, natural part of human experience. Always protected by our subconscious, trance (altered state of consciousness) is part of everyday life. We are already proficient in its use, we simply don’t recognise it.  Note: Hypnotherapy is not stage hypnosis.  Important: Because these CDs guide you into a deeply relaxed state, it is very important that you DO NOT listen to them while driving a car or operating machinery; if you listen as a passenger in a car, use a personal CD player with headphones.

Can I be forced into trance?

No. It is a state of mind that needs your co-operation. No one goes against their own unique code of behavior in hypnotherapy

Are there any side effects?

No. After Hypnosis you will feel refreshed, restored and absolutely ready to face any challenges that life may throw at you. There are also many extra advantages to Hypnosis –   many examples of people receiving Hypnotherapy for one particular issue, then finding that not only has that been solved but other health problems have disappeared too –  this includes Vertigo, Tinnitus, High Blood Pressure and IBS.

How long does it take? 

Sessions last for approximately one hour and results can often be seen after just one session. Unlike counselling and many other therapies, problems are usually resolved very quickly with Hypnotherapy. The average number of sessions required is two or three.
What is the difference between hypnosis, hypnotherapy, guided imagery, meditation, visualization, and relaxation techniques?

Hypnosis is the method used to put yourself (or with the help of a therapist) into a relaxed state of consciousness that is common to everyone everyday. Hypnosis may be used just to be put into the state of relaxation only, or to feel pleasant, or as a therapy to help change behavior, etc.  Hypnosis as used by professionals is not to be confused with stage hypnosis, which is entirely different from this discussion and is employed as entertainment rather than therapeutic.  Generally a person who administers hypnosis is a hypnotist, though this term sometimes has bad connotations due to stage and theatrical hypnosis.

Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as a therapy to help individuals improve their lives whether it be just general relaxation or stress reduction, or for other medical or emotional concerns, such as helping individuals reduce pain, cope with trauma, endure medical procedures when medication is contraindicated, reduce symptoms of functional disorders or just general well-being. Hypnotherapy is NOT however, a substitute for professional medical care, but rather a complement to it.

A person who provides hypnotherapy is a hypnotherapist, and usually has additional professional training, certifications and qualifications in mind sciences and therapy as well as counseling skills in addition to hypnotherapy. The hypnotherapist usually provides in-depth consultation and inquiry sessions prior to the actual therapy sessions in order to provide the best possible care to the patient. Many work in liaison with physicians who refer their patients for further care.

Solely for ease of use, the terms hypnosis and hypnotherapy are used interchangeably throughout this site.

Guided Imagery or visualization are processes used by hypnotherapists to help their patients resolve issues or improve their health. The subconscious mind responds very well to images and metaphor which can represent facets of the individual’s life or problems. By using these visualizations, the subconscious mind makes a mental picture and solves the problem since it cannot distinguish reality, it will take the images as a means to improve and move forward with suggestions made.

Meditation can be a form similar to self-hypnosis where the mind goes to a slower level for inner calm and insight but the individual is not being guided. No specific behavior or change is targeted.  It can also be a form of prayer.

How is hypnosis and hypnotherapy different from psychology or cognitive behavioral therapy?

Both of these methods approach the conscious mind and you have to actively think about what you are doing and learning. You use your intellect and your rational thinking to help solve problems. But when you use your thinking mind, there is a greater possibility of negative thoughts interfering, excuses, or barriers going up that block progress. These negative experiences or negative thinking then goes back into the subconscious mind and gets further reinforced.  This is not to say that these methods cannot be helpful, because they can, but it requires a lot of work on a conscious level, and is not as “easy” as hypnosis can be. Many individuals use hypnosis after failing with other methods, because they are so frustrated and fed up by their failure.

Does hypnosis / hypnotherapy really work? 

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy have many research studies done showing how effective the method can be for many types of problems and conditions. If it was not successful at all, there would be publications saying so. If you do a general search on any of the medical search sites, such as PubMed, (National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health), Medscape, WebMD, etc. you will see professional medical journals full of entries on the successful use of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. For example, for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), hypnotherapy has proven to have one of the highest success rates over other treatment methods, with most studies being done after all other methods have failed with very severe refractory cases.
BENEFITS OF HYPNOTHERAPY:

The purpose of most hypnotherapy is to alter some undesirable aspect of behavior. The aspect of behavior to be modified can be something like overeating, stopping smoking, anxiety or it can range to more serious personality disorders like psychosis. The therapist, in hypnotherapy, puts the subject into a trance like state in which the therapist can deliver suggestion or talk with the subject’s subconscious mind directly. Basically, the trance allows the therapist to bypass the subject’s conscious.

Inducing a trance is a relatively easy process. There are various techniques like having the subject stare at and concentrate on a spot on the wall or waving a stopwatch or pendulum back-and-forth in front of his face as he follows it with his eyes. The therapist, speaking in a monotone, says things like “you are becoming more and more relaxed”, “you can feel the tension draining from your body”, etc. When the subject is in the trance the therapist then gives the suggestions in the same monotonic voice. The suggestions have to be carefully worded to bring about the desired effect. When the therapy session is over, the therapist brings the subject out of the trance by saying something like “you are become more aware of you surroundings” and “open your eyes when you are ready to”. The subject will then “wake up”. Hypnotherapy directed by a therapist is referred to hetero-suggestion.

If the intention of the hypnotherapy is to modify behavior like overeating or stopping smoking, usually more than one session is required. The effects are not immediate but the behavior should begin to change gradually in days or weeks. Hypnotherapy can make it easier for the subject to lose weight or to quit smoking. Also, hypnotherapy can be beneficial in the treatment of some psychoses. In the trance like state the therapist can talk with the subject and bring up repressed events that are causing problems in the subject’s life. Some things too painful to say in a conscious state may be able to be revealed in hypnotic state. These painful past events may be causing symptoms like dreams or nightmares, phobias, etc. A psychotherapist, having knowledge of these events, is in a better position to help the subject recover.

There are many benefits of hypnotherapy for people who want to modify behavior. It is easy and relatively inexpensive form of therapy, even though it may require several session.

Health Benefits of Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy offers various health and fitness benefits. It is the kind of therapy that allows you to enter a state of profound comfort, often called hypnosis or trance. This technique has been employed to aid in smooth and painless childbirth, surgery and psychotherapy. In addition, hypnotherapy has also been proven helpful for successful weight management.

 

How Can Hypnotherapy Help Me?

Hypnotherapy is effective in working with the following goals:no-stress1

  • Overcome phobias
  • Become a confident public speaker
  • Alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Overcome bad habits
  • Become a non-smoker
  • Change your eating habits, without “will power”
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Remove blocks to intimacy
  • Increase motivation, improve sales
  • Improve memory, study habits and test-taking ability
  • Improve self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • feel good about yourself

Uses for Hypnosis & Hypnotherapy – Healthy Audio

Hypnosis is often thought to be therapy that only affects the mind, but as mind and body are inseparably joined, hypnosis can also help physical ailments. The popular assumption that hypnosis is only used for weight reduction and stopping smoking is very much mistaken; there are many more possibilities too numerous to mention but some are mentioned below:

The following conditions can be treated using hypnotherapy      TWOH

Anger Management Migraine

Self Hypnosis

Anxiety

Nail Biting

Sleep Problems (Insomnia)

Bed Wetting

O.C.D.

Smoking Cessation
P.M.TBereavement

Sport Enhancement

Blushing

Pain Control

Stammering

Confidence Building

Panic Attacks

Stress

Counselling

Performance Anxiety

Teeth Grinding

Depression

Phobia Removal

Tinnitus

Eczema

Post-Operation Confidence

Trauma

Ego Strengthening

Pre-Birth Relaxation

Travel Nerves

Exam Nerves

Pre-Operation Nerves

Victim Recovery

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S.)

Relaxation

Weight Reduction

Life Change Development

Restless Legs

Male Sexual Problems

Female Sexual Problems

Self Confidence

 There are MANY current uses for hypnotherapy and these uses cover a very wide variety of problems and disorders.    Some hypnotherapists require a written referral, particularly if the condition has a formal medical diagnosis (E.g. Fibromyalgia, Enuresis, Alcoholism) while most indications do NOT require a referral.  In all cases, it is wise to let your primary care physician know what types of treatment you are receiving for any condition.

This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it gives an idea of some of the types of conditions for which help is commonly sought via hypnotherapy.

Advertisements

Solving your Insomnia

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on November 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

Sleep is something you normally look forward to. A time to rest and recharge your batteries, to take you into the next day alert and full of energy. However, sometimes the process of sleeping may be arduous and less than restful.

Most people experience periods when they find it difficult to sleep. Perhaps you’re stressed, or travelling from a different time zone, or just don’t know why you can’t sleep. These times are transitory and are little more than an inconvenience.

However, your periods of sleeplessness may become more than transitory and develop into a recurring pattern when you are trying to get to sleep.

There are basically three types of insomnia:

Initial sleep difficulties:

You have difficulty falling asleep when you first go to bed.

Intermediate sleep difficulties:

You fall asleep when you first go to bed, but awaken in the middle of the night. Once you awaken you find it difficult to return to sleep.

Early morning awakening:

You sleep throughout the night, but awaken much earlier than you normally would, feeling unrefreshed and sleepy. Typically you’re not able to return to sleep.

There could be many reasons why you are experiencing insomnia, but eventually the insomnia becomes a habit – a faulty sleeping strategy, as it were.

Develop a healthy sleeping strategy

Deal with any underlying issues contributing to your insomnia.

What was happening in your life when the insomnia first started?

Was there a trigger point for the insomnia, and is this still an issue for you?

Do you eat a meal too close to your bedtime?

Going to sleep on a full stomach is not a good idea. You can feel uncomfortable and the process of digestion may interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Ideally, you should not eat for two to three hours prior to going to bed.

Do you drink a caffeine drink before bed?

This may seem so obvious, but you may be surprised by the number of people who come for therapy for insomnia who drink coffee or some other caffeinated drink just before going to bed. Remember – caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake. If you have a drink before going to bed, make sure that you look at the label of what you are drinking to ensure that it is caffeine free.

Do you nap during the day?

If you do, you could be using up your quota of sleep before you get to bed. Try cutting out the napping and see what happens to your sleep.

Do you drink alcohol close to your bedtime?

You may think that a little night-time tipple helps you to sleep. Wrong! Even though alcohol is basically an anesthetic, it can act as a stimulant in small doses. So have your last alcoholic drink a couple of hours before going to sleep. Oh, and don’t think that you can drink more alcohol so that you are anaesthetized into sleep! Alcohol-induced sleep is not the same as natural sleep and you still wake up unrefreshed in the morning.

Are you overestimating the amount of sleep you think you need?

Try going to bed a little later. See what happens.

Banning anything except sleep from the bedroom.

That means no eating, drinking, watching TV, reading, or sex when in bed. You want tore-associate the bed with sleep and only sleep. Any other activity can be done elsewhere – and that includes sex, so why not spice up your relationship and get amorous in the kitchen or the living room? And don’t worry, once you’re sleeping well then all these activities can once again return to the boudoir.

Going to bed at the same time each night.

Develop a regular pattern.

Getting up and doing something else if you can’t sleep.

If you awaken and aren’t able to get to sleep again, get out of bed and go and do some-thing else. The great hypnotherapist Milton Erickson had his insomnia patients polish their kitchen floor over and over again, no matter what the time of night it was! When you’re feeling sleepy again, return to your bed. By doing this you associate your bed with sleepiness and eventually sleep.

Writing down any worries or concerns before you go to bed.

This is called externalizing. Writing down any worries or concerns helps to remove them from your mind, increasing your chance of focusing on sleep, rather than stress.

 

 

Relaxing Moments: Peaceful Wind Chimes Meditation

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on October 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

Wind Chimes Relaxation Sounds for 1 Hour

When you add wind chimes to your porch or patio, you bring a new dimension into your outdoor space. The sound of the metal or wooden chimes adds gentle ambiance. There are actually many reasons that the gentle, tinkling is used. Some of these include:

• Soothing — the calming and soothing effects will provide peaceful background noise while you work or play outside.
• Health — there is evidence that the chiming sound created by wind improves health.
• Comfort — the gentle sound will comfort a troubled mind.

It is well known that certain types of music can be beneficial to patients who have high-blood pressure or heart conditions. As a light breeze blows, the wind chime peels its jingling strains in your backyard. To sit and listen will encourage total relaxation, which can be beneficial for many health problems. The psychological benefits actually work to benefit the physical ailments.

There are several places where a wind chime is ideal. You will want to securely attach the apparatus to a roof, beam, rafter or overhang. For this, a simple C-shaped hook that screws into wood usually works well.

You may enjoy your chime in many situations in your yard and around your property. Consider installing yours where you will be able to enjoy it. For example:

• A deck is one of the most obvious places that will be an accessible location where you can hang your chime. You will enjoy the music the breeze creates when you sit and watch the sunset from your deck or when you just sit in the shade to enjoy the fresh air.
• Hang one of these natural instruments near your garden area. You will commune with nature as you dig in earth to the accompaniment of the strains moved into music by the wind.
• A swimming pool or dining area is a great place to enjoy your wind chime. Imagine floating in a pool chair with the tinkling of chimes in the breeze, or having that gentle, natural background music to set the tone for your outdoor dining area.

Many people hang wind chimes on their property. The most popular ones available are made from wood or metal. Often, these are hollow tubes that clink together to create the attractive noise that peels through the air and brings pleasure while you enjoy or work in your yard.

 

Weight Management and Gallstones

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on October 26, 2012 at 6:44 am

It is estimated that digestive diseases affect 60 to 70 million people in the United States. Gallbladder disease is one of the more common of these diseases. Experts estimate that as many as 20 million Americans have gallstones.

Most people with gallstones do not know that they have them and experience no symptoms. These people may have painless gallstones, or silent gallstones. Sometimes gallstones cause abdominal or back pain. These are called symptomatic gallstones. In rare cases, gallstones can cause serious health problems. Hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and operations occur annually as a result of gallstones.

What are gallstones?

Gallstones are clusters of solid material that form in the gallbladder. The most common type is made mostly of cholesterol. Gallstones may occur as one large stone or as many small ones. They vary in size and may be as large as a golf ball or as small as a grain of sand.

Gallstones develop in the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ located beneath the liver on the right side of the abdomen. The gallbladder is about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide at its thickest part. It stores and releases bile into the intestine to help digestion.

Bile is a liquid made by the liver. It contains water, cholesterol, bile salts, fats, proteins, and bilirubin (a bile pigment). During digestion, the gallbladder contracts to release bile into the intestine, where the bile salts help to break down fat. Bile also dissolves excess cholesterol.

What causes gallstones to develop?

Illustration of the gallbladder and adjoining organs, the liver, pancreas, and duodenum.

According to researchers, cholesterol gallstones may form in several ways, such as:

When bile contains more cholesterol than it can dissolve.

When there is too much bilirubin or other substance in the bile that causes cholesterol to form hard crystals.
When there are not enough bile salts to break down fat and when the gallbladder does not contract and empty its bile regularly.

 

What are the symptoms of gallstones?

Some common symptoms of gallstones or gallstone attack include:

Severe pain in the upper abdomen that starts suddenly and lasts from 30 minutes to many hours.
Pain under the right shoulder or in the right shoulder blade.
Nausea or vomiting.
Indigestion after eating high-fat foods, such as fried foods or desserts.

Is obesity a risk factor for gallstones?

Obesity is a strong risk factor for gallstones, especially among women. People who are obese are more likely to have gallstones than people who are at a healthy weight. Obesity in adults can be defined using the body mass index (BMI), a tool that measures weight in relation to height. The table below shows how the BMI calculation works. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 refers to a healthy weight, a BMI of 25 to 29.9 refers to overweight, and a BMI of 30 or higher refers to obesity.

As BMI increases, the risk for developing gallstones also rises. Studies have shown that risk may triple in women who have a BMI greater than 32 compared to those with a BMI of 24 to 25. The risk may be seven times higher in women with a BMI above 45 than in those with a BMI below 24.

Researchers have found that people who are obese may produce high levels of cholesterol. This leads to the production of bile containing more cholesterol than it can dissolve. When this happens, gallstones can form. People who are obese may also have large gallbladders that do not empty normally or completely. Some studies have shown that men and women who carry fat around their midsections may be at a greater risk for developing gallstones than those who carry fat around their hips and thighs.

Is weight-loss dieting a risk factor for gallstones?

Weight-loss dieting increases the risk of developing gallstones. People who lose a large amount of weight quickly are at greater risk than those who lose weight at a slower pace. Rapid weight loss may also cause silent gallstones (painless gallstones) to become symptomatic. Studies have shown that people who lose more than 3 pounds per week may have a greater risk of developing gallstones than those who lose weight at slower rates.

A very low-calorie diet (VLCD) allows a person who is obese to quickly lose a large amount of weight. VLCDs usually provide about 800 calories per day in food or liquid form, and are followed for 12 to 16 weeks under the supervision of a health care professional. Studies have shown that 10 to 25 percent of people on a VLCD developed gallstones. These gallstones were usually silent—they did not produce any symptoms. About one-third of the dieters who developed gallstones, however, did have symptoms and some of these required gallbladder surgery.

Experts believe weight-loss dieting may cause a shift in the balance of bile salts and cholesterol in the gallbladder. The cholesterol level is increased and the amount of bile salts is decreased. Following a diet too low in fat or going for long periods without eating (skipping breakfast, for example), a common practice among dieters, may also decrease gallbladder contractions. If the gallbladder does not contract often enough to empty out the bile, gallstones may form.

A drug called ursodiol that helps dissolve cholesterol in the bile may help prevent gallstones from developing during rapid weight loss. While ursodiol is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent gallstones, its “off-label” use (the practice of prescribing medications for periods of time or for conditions not FDA-approved) has been shown to be effective and safe. If rapid weight loss is highly likely, you should consider talking with your health care provider about using ursodiol.

Is weight cycling a risk factor for gallstones?

Weight cycling, or losing and regaining weight repeatedly, may increase the risk of developing gallstones. People who weight cycle—especially with losses and gains of more than 10 pounds—have a higher risk for gallstones than people who lose weight and maintain their weight loss. Additionally, the more weight a person loses and regains during a cycle, the greater the risk of developing gallstones.

Why weight cycling is a risk factor for gallstones is unclear. The rise in cholesterol levels during the weight-loss phase of a weight cycle may be responsible. It is also thought that each cycle increases one’s risk for gallstones. However, further research is required to determine the exact link between weight loss and the risk for gallstones.

Is surgery to treat obesity a risk factor for gallstones?

Gallstones are common among people who undergo bariatric surgery to lose weight. Bariatric surgery to reduce the size of the stomach or bypass parts of the digestive system is a weight-loss method for people who have a BMI above 40. This procedure is also an option for people who have a BMI above 35 with comorbid conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Experts estimate that about one-third of patients who have bariatric surgery develop gallstones. The gallstones usually develop in the first few months after surgery and are symptomatic.

How can I safely lose weight and decrease the risk of gallstones?

You can take several measures to decrease the risk of developing gallstones during weight loss. Losing weight gradually, instead of losing a large amount of weight quickly, lowers your risk. Depending on your starting weight, experts recommend losing weight at the rate of 1/2 to 2 pounds per week. Losing weight at this rate commonly occurs for up to 6 months. After 6 months, weight loss usually declines and weight stabilizes because individuals in lower weight groups use fewer calories (energy). You can also decrease the risk of gallstones associated with weight cycling by aiming for a modest weight loss that you can maintain. Even a loss of 5 to 10 percent of body weight over a period of 6 months or more can improve the health of an adult who is overweight or obese.

Your food choices can also affect your gallstone risk. Experts recommend including some fat in your diet to stimulate gallbladder contracting and emptying. Current recommendations indicate that 20 to 35 percent of your total calories should come from fat. Studies have also shown that diets high in fiber and calcium may reduce the risk of gallstone development.

Finally, regular physical activity is related to a lower risk for gallstones. Aim for approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week to manage your body weight and prevent unhealthy weight gain. To sustain weight loss, engage in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity.

What is the treatment for gallstones?

Silent gallstones are usually left alone and sometimes disappear on their own. Symptomatic gallstones are usually treated. The most common treatment is surgery to remove the gallbladder. This operation is called a cholecystectomy. In other cases, nonsurgical approaches—drugs—are used to dissolve the gallstones. Your health care professional can help determine which option is best for you.

Are the benefits of weight loss greater than the risk of getting gallstones?

Although weight loss increases the risk of developing gallstones, obesity poses an even greater risk. In addition to gallstones, obesity is linked to many serious health problems, including:

type 2 diabetes
high blood pressure
heart disease
stroke
certain types of cancer
sleep apnea (when breathing stops for short periods during sleep)
osteoarthritis (wearing away of the joints)
fatty liver disease
For people who are obese, weight loss can lower the risk of developing some of these illnesses. Even a small weight loss of 10 percent of body weight over a period of 6 months can improve health and lower disease risk. In addition, weight loss may bring other benefits such as better mood, increased energy, and positive self-image.

If you are thinking about starting an eating and physical activity plan to lose weight, talk with your health care professional first. Together, you can discuss various eating and physical activity programs, your medical history, and the benefits and risks of losing weight, including the risk of developing gallstones.

 

Economic Costs Related to Overweight and Obesity

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on September 14, 2012 at 8:00 am

As the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in the United States, so have related health care costs. The statistics presented below represent the economic cost of obesity in the United States in 2006, updated to 2008 dollars.

 

Q: What is the cost of obesity?

A: On average, people who are considered obese pay $1,429 (42 percent) more in health care costs than normal-weight individuals.

What is the cost of obesity by insurance status?

A: For each obese beneficiary:

  • Medicare pays $1,723 more than it pays for normal-weight beneficiaries.
  • Medicaid pays $1,021 more than it pays for normal-weight beneficiaries.
  • Private insurers pay $1,140 more than they pay for normal-weight beneficiaries.

What is the cost of obesity by the type of service provided?

A: For each obese patient:

  • Medicare pays $95 more for an inpatient service, $693 more for a non-inpatient service, and $608 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal-weight patients.
  • Medicaid pays $213 more for an inpatient service,$175 more for a non-inpatient service, and $230 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal-weight patients.
  • Private insurers pay $443 more for an inpatient service, $398 more for a non-inpatient service, and $284 more for prescription drugs in comparison with normal-weight patients.

 

Understanding Heartburn: Day 4

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on September 2, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

What if GERD symptoms persist?
If your symptoms do not improve with lifestyle changes or medications, you may need additional tests.

• Barium swallow radiograph uses x rays to help spot abnormalities such as a hiatal hernia and other structural or anatomical problems of the esopha­gus. With this test, you drink a solu­tion and then x rays are taken. The test will not detect mild irritation, although strictures—narrowing of the esophagus—and ulcers can be observed.

• Upper endoscopy is more accurate than a barium swallow radiograph and may be performed in a hospital or a
doctor’s office. The doctor may spray your throat to numb it and then, after lightly sedating you, will slide a thin,
flexible plastic tube with a light and lens on the end called an endoscope down your throat. Acting as a tiny
camera, the endoscope allows the doc­tor to see the surface of the esophagus and search for abnormalities. If you
have had moderate to severe symp­toms and this procedure reveals injury to the esophagus, usually no other
tests are needed to confirm GERD. The doctor also may perform a biopsy. Tiny tweezers, called forceps, are
passed through the endoscope and allow the doctor to remove small pieces of tissue from your esophagus.
The tissue is then viewed with a micro­scope to look for damage caused by acid reflux and to rule out other prob­
lems if infection or abnormal growths are not found.

• pH monitoring examination involves the doctor either inserting a small tube into the esophagus or clipping a tiny
device to the esophagus that will stay there for 24 to 48 hours. While you go about your normal activities, the device measures when and how much acid comes up into your esophagus. This test can be useful if combined with a carefully completed diary— recording when, what, and amounts the person eats—which allows the doctor to see correlations between symptoms and reflux episodes. The procedure is sometimes helpful in detecting whether respiratory symp­
toms, including wheezing and cough­ing, are triggered by reflux.

A completely accurate diagnostic test for GERD does not exist, and tests have not consistently shown that acid exposure to the lower esophagus directly correlates with damage to the lining.

Surgery
Surgery is an option when medicine and lifestyle changes do not help to manage GERD symptoms. Surgery may also be
a reasonable alternative to a lifetime of drugs and discomfort.

 

Active at Any Size Day 9: What can I do?

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

Yoga (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing)

Yoga may help you:

◆Be more flexible.

◆Feel more relaxed.

◆Improve posture.

Yoga may help you breathe deeply, relax, and get rid of stress.

Your local fitness center may offer yoga, tai chi, or other mind/body classes. You may want to start with “gentle” classes, like those aimed at seniors.

 

Active at Any Size Day 3: Get Started

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 3, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

How do I get started?

◆Start slowly. Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.

◆Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. Walk more slowly for the first few minutes.

◆Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.

Appreciate yourself!

If you cannot do an activity, do not be hard on yourself. Feel good about what you can do. Be proud of pushing yourself up out of a chair or walking a short distance.

Pat yourself on the back for trying even if you cannot do it the first time. It may be easier the next time!

How do I continue to be active?

TO maintain your active lifestyle, try these suggestions:

◆Pledge to be active. Making a commitment to yourself to be active may help you stay motivated, stay on track, and reach your goals. Consider using the activity pledge at the end of this booklet to help you start and continue to be active.

◆Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 to 10 minutes, 5 days a week. It may not seem like a lot, but any activity is better than none. A long-term goal may be to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity at a moderate-intensity level (one that makes you breathe harder but does not overwork or overheat you) on most days of the week. You can break up your physical activity in shorter segments of 10 minutes or more.

◆Set rewards. Whether your goal was to be active for 15 minutes a day, to walk farther than you did last week, or simply to stay positive, you deserve recognition for your efforts. Some ideas for rewards include a new CD to motivate you, new walking shoes, or a new outfit.

◆Get support. Get a family member or friend to be physically active with you. It may be more fun, and your buddy can cheer you on and help you stick with it.

◆Track progress. Keep a journal of your physical activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised! You can make copies of the blank journal at the end of this booklet to keep track of your efforts.

 

Active at Any Size Day 2: Barriers to being active

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 2, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

How do I get started?

TO start being more active, try these tips:

◆Think about your barriers to being active. Then try to come up with creative ways to solve them. The following examples may help you overcome barriers.

1. Barrier: I don’t have enough time!

Solution: Be active for a few minutes at a time throughout the day. Sit less. Try to walk more while doing your errands, or schedule lunchtime workouts to boost your overall activity. Plan ahead and be creative!

2. Barrier: I feel self-conscious when I’m active.

Solution: Be active at home while doing household chores, and find ways to move more during your day-to-day activities. Try walking with a group of friends with whom you feel comfortable.

3. Barrier: I’m worried about my health or injury.

Solution: You might feel better if you talk to a health care professional first. Find a fitness provider to guide you, or sign up for a class so you feel safe. Remember that activity does not have to be difficult! Gentle activity is good too.

4. Barrier: I just don’t like exercise.

Solution: Good news—you do not have to run or do push-ups to get the benefits of being physically active. Try dancing to the radio, walking outdoors, or being active with friends to spice things up.

5. Barrier: I can’t stay motivated!

Solution: Try to add variety to your activities and ask your friends to help you stay focused on being active. Consider an activity video for extra encouragement. Also, set realistic goals, track your progress, and be sure to celebrate your achievements!

 

Active at Any Size Day 1: Healthy, fit bodies come in all sizes

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 1, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

Active at Any Size

Healthy, fit bodies come in all sizes. Whatever your size or shape, get physically active now and keep moving for a healthier you!

WOULD you like to be more physically active, but are not sure if you can do it?
Good news—if you are a very large person, you can be physically active—and you can have fun and feel good doing it.
THERE may be special challenges for very large people who are physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being physically active around other people.
Facing these challenges is hard—but it can be done! The information in this booklet may help you start being more active and healthier—no matter what your size!

Over two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, and over one-third are obese, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) .

Why should I be active?
BEING physically active may help you live longer and protect you from:
◆ type 2 diabetes
◆heart disease
◆ stroke
◆high blood pressure
If you have any of these health problems, being physically active may help improve your symptoms.

REGULAR physical activity helps you feel better
because it:
◆ Lowers your stress and boosts your mood.
◆ Increases your strength, movement, balance, and flexibility.
◆Helps control blood pressure and blood sugar.
◆Helps build healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
◆Helps your heart and lungs work better.
◆ Improves your self-esteem.
◆Boosts energy during the day and may aid in sleep at night.

How do I get started?

We will be posting new ways everyday for next few days on how to be more active even with extra weight on your body. See you tomorrow.

 

%d bloggers like this: