Question asked by Stephanie via e-mail
I've been having a lot of panic attacks, almost every day; sometimes when I'm working, dealing with the kids or just nothing at all. I'll get shortness of breath, chest hurts on both sides or just one side, and a lot of my heart skipping a beat. And it scares me. I'm 29 years old and in good health. How can I control this?Expert answer:
I don't need to tell you that panic attacks are among the most hideous experiences a human being can have. They are such strange occurrences. While being in no physical danger at all, you feel as if you are in mortal peril. In the midst of perfectly good health, you feel as if you are on the edge of sudden death. And telling yourself that there is no real danger is of almost no help whatsoever.
My strongest piece of advice is that you make an appointment to see your doctor immediately. Many primary care doctors feel comfortable treating panic disorder or will know a clinician who does.
Like everything else in psychiatry, treatment options come in two general flavors: medications and psychotherapy.
The best proven psychotherapy for panic attacks is similar in many ways to the type of therapy that I've described several times before for obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has two main components, neither of which is pleasant, but which are in the aggregate often highly effective. First, the therapist would work with you to gradually expose yourself to situations that cause panic. Then, once you are in these situations, he or she would teach you to tolerate the terrible panic feelings when they arose.
I suspect that just thinking about doing this might have you breaking out in a cold sweat, which is why it is so important to get professional help.
Among psychotropic medications, two classes are particularly effective for panic, and they are very different from each other. Benzodiazepines, like Valium, Ativan or Klonopin, have powerful anti-anxiety effects that happen very rapidly after they are ingested. If you have long panic attacks, or attacks that come in prolonged volleys, these medications work quickly enough that they can interrupt things in mid-attack.
Most antidepressants also treat panic attacks, but unlike benzodiazepines, they require several weeks of being taken daily before their effects are usually seen. For this reason, many clinicians will start patients on an antidepressant and a benzodiazepine. Once the antidepressant has been on board for several weeks, the benzodiazepine can often be discontinued.
Let me alert you to a few challenges in these treatments. Psychotherapy is great, but depending where you live and the state of your finances, it can be hard to find and expensive. Benzodiazepines work extremely well but have addictive potential when taken long term. If you elect treatment with an antidepressant, make sure that your clinician starts you on the lowest dose possible, because - paradoxically - antidepressants can cause panic attacks when they are first taken and can certainly worsen them in people already afflicted.
The good news is that all these treatment options are effective, so it is very likely you will be able to gain control of your symptoms, find relief and continue with your life.Follow @MyPainReliever on Twitter.Ask our doctors a question
Getting enough sleep is extremely important. Sleep is how our body restores itself from a day of work, rushing the kids to soccer practice, and picking up the house once the day is done. A lack of consistent restorative sleep, day in and out, is destruction to our health and well being.
We’ve seen a great deal of research that indicates a strong link between sleep disorders and Type 2 diabetes. Now there’s evidence that this link may be genetic. A new study reveals scientists have found a relationship between a gene associated with the “sleep hormone” melatonin, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. A group of researchers from France, Canada and the UK have discovered a link between the risk of Type 2 diabetes and several mutations in the body’s melatonin receptor gene, a gene known as MTNR1B. Working with a group of 7,632 European women (3,186 of whom already had Type 2 diabetes) researchers found:
Previous research had already established a link between diabetes risk and other, more common mutations to the melatonin receptor gene MTNR1B. This new study has revealed both a wider range of mutations to the gene that can affect diabetes risk, as well as the elevated risk among the 4 rare mutations that disable the receptor gene altogether. Melatonin plays a critical role in synchronizing the body’s biological clock, and regulating its sleep-wake cycle. The rise-and-fall cycle of melatonin release is critical to our ability to sleep at night. A disruption in the body’s ability to produce melatonin will lead to disordered sleep. There’s also evidence that disturbances to melatonin production may affect the body’s insulin levels. Insulin resistance (the body’s inability to use insulin effectively) is a fundamental characteristic of Type 2 diabetes. When functioning normally, the body produces just the amount of insulin it needs to help cells absorb glucose from the blood stream. Disturbances to insulin levels can lead this finely-tuned process to go awry.
- 40 different and rare mutations to the melatonin receptor gene associated with varying degrees of increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- 4 of these rare mutations actually caused a total loss of function in the melatonin receptor gene
- Analyzing these 4 mutations in an additional 11,854 people, researchers found that the presence of any single one was associated with a significantly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, a risk as much as six times higher than average.
Dreams not only occur in REM sleep, but in not-REM sleep as well. REM dreams are bizarre while non-REM dreams are almost obsessive compulsive.
This is complicated stuff. These latest results also raise questions, and remind us just how much we still have to learn about the body’s biological sleep functions and the relationship to diabetes, as well as other chronic diseases. What we do know is that there is a compelling and growing body of evidence that sleep (and it’s biological and genetic underpinnings) plays a significant role in determining risk for diabetes. Recent studies have shown:
Type 2 diabetes is most often thought of as a disease related to diet and exercise. There’s no question that poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle increase risk for diabetes. But often sleep is overlooked as a risk factor. When assessing risk for developing diabetes, disordered sleep should be considered as seriously as a diet full of fatty, starchy and processed foods, or a lack of physical activity. Too often, I’m afraid, this is not the case. In the meantime, all of us (doctors and patients both) need to give more attention to sleep as a risk factor for diabetes, and an overall indicator of general health.
- Poor sleep is linked to both weight gain and insulin resistance in healthy adults
- Sleeping fewer than 6 hours increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. And the less sleep you get, the greater the risk—this same study found sleeping fewer than 5 hours elevates diabetes risk even further
- Just one night of sleeping only 4 hours—rather than the recommended 7 to 8—can trigger insulin resistance.
This health blog has been provided by www.myreliever.com
Physical activity may be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself at any age, and having an activity plan is an important step in becoming more active.
Ready for this summer? The longer days and a less structured lifestyle…Not exactly. If you’re stressed out with some summer activities, friends, meals, constant messes and late night hours, you know it’s easy to feel you can’t fit in workouts on top of everything else. But study after study has shown that regular exercise
and the release of endorphins
are one of the best things you can do when you’re stressed. So grab a Reliev-ER
and exercise more this summer.
Stress actually causes you to breathe more shallowly, depriving your body of oxygen just when you need it most. Exercise (like a good brisk walk
) practically forces you to breathe, relieving stress
. Plus, you don’t need a prescription, and there are no side effects.
Even when your kids are cranky and your boss is moody and your spouse is sulky, you can always count on the physical and mental uplift you generate just by getting your heart pumping and your muscles moving. 10 Stress-Busting Benefits of Exercise
Below are 10 ways that exercise busts stress. After all, the evening summer breeze on a walk with my husband is my best cure for a stressful day
1. It alleviates anxiety.
Studies show that people feel less nervous
and fretful after they exercise.
2. It can lighten depression.
Chronic stress can wear you down and leave you feeling hopeless. Many doctors are now prescribing exercise instead of anti-depressants. Remember: any movement is good movement!
3. It can help you sleep like a baby.
If your worries are keeping you awake, you’ll be even less prepared to deal with them in the morning. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercisers sleep better
4. It can boost your energy.
Energy is like money: you have to spend it to make it. Stress depletes your reserves and resources, but exercise will always restore you.
5. It creates the relaxation response.
Just one workout will elevate your mood and leave you with a feeling of well-being
that lasts up to two hours after your workout ends.
6. It makes you more alert.
As your muscles contract and relax, your brain responds by releasing certain neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that carry messages between nerve cells and muscles. These promote both relaxation
7. It enhances self-esteem by giving you a positive feeling of accomplishment.
When your inner critic starts telling you that you aren’t coping well, silence that nagging little voice by paging through your workout log!
8. It helps you flush the by-products of stress out of your system.
Stressful episodes cause hormones like adrenaline to be released into your bloodstream. Vigorous activity helps your body to wipe the slate clean.
9. It inspires you to be a healthier eater.
Once you start feeling like an athlete, you’ll start eating like one. You’ll start thinking of food as fuel for your engine. You’ll be more aware of how your body feels when you try to take out your troubles on a pizza. The better nourished you are, the better able you are to cope with stress
10. It reminds you to take care of yourself.
Before you can give anything to anyone, you’ve got to be kind and generous to yourself first. And on these long summer days full of kids and commotion, I never deprive myself of my 30-minute activity time!This health blog has been brought to you be www.myreliever.com
75% of the general population experiences at least "some stress" every two weeks (National Health Interview Survey).
Amidst the sluggish economy, Americans’ stress levels are at an all-time high according to most experts, and with corporate buyouts, longer hours, two-income households, and jobs going overseas, it is not likely to get any less stressful. Your life is unique but your stress is not!
When you are continually suffering from stress, panic attacks, or chronic anxiety you may feel like your mind is racing, worry is controlling your thoughts, or you feel like life is quite literally suffocating you. Of course, those dinky little round stress balls are never enough either. It just seems like you need something more effective to take your stress out on, which usually never ends good.
If you are lucky you may be able to identify what is stressing you out, but often times you won’t have the clarity of mind to even think of where to begin. Well if you are reading this, you are in luck. You are about to find out about a new natural pain reliever that blows everything else out of the water.How do you know if you are stressed out?
You might become crabby with your children or spouse. You may even hear your kids say stuff like, “Mommy never wants to play anymore.” The worry from work, the bills, and your day carry over into your quality time (which has less and less quality), and you have to do it all over again day after day, week in and week out.
You may feel anxiety creeping up on you on Sunday afternoons because you can’t stand Mondays.
And at night, when you are trying to fall asleep, you may find yourself reliving your day and the things that are stressing you out — which keeps you from falling asleep or prevents you from getting restful sleep.
Clearly, this is no way to live and yet millions continue to live this way. How does chronic stress work?
When you are stressed out, having a panic attack, or suffering from chronic anxiety, the neurons in your mind are over-firing. Normally, your mind inhibits this by releasing amino acids like GABA, but your mind simply might not have enough from being continually stressed and under chronic anxiety.
Over time, this depletes your adrenal glands, further inhibiting your ability to handle stress. Thus, you get more stressed, more often, and your natural defenses get even more impaired to help on their own.
Stress also contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.
The Reliev-ER can help!
It is a patented device that is completely natural, drug free and effective at releasing endorphins
that work directly to stop pain and stress faster than over the counter medications. It works in as little as 5 minutes in many cases.
Your body already uses these biochemicals to relieve pain and stress, so there is "no risk
”. Rather, the Reliev-ER
works from the very first use in the way your body is intended to handle pain. This makes Reliev-ER
a quick stress and pain management solution without adverse side effects.
has a very powerful that to strengthen your nervous tissues that may have been depleted from years of chronic stress and anxiety. These depleted cells are often related to the cause of ongoing anxiety. Building up of your pain tolerance naturally is what makes the Reliev-ER
a long-term solution to chronic anxiety.
To learn more about the Reliev-ER
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It's time to start already!
Physical activity may be one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself at any age, and having an activity plan is an important step in becoming more active.
Australians who spent a lot of time sitting at a desk or in front of a TV were more likely to die of any cause during a three-year period than those who were only sedentary a few hours a day, according to a new study.
Researchers found that the link between too much time sitting and shortened lives stuck when they accounted for how much moderate or vigorous exercise people got as well as their weight and other measures of health.
That suggests shifting some time from sitting to light physical activity (such as slow walking and active chores) could have important long-term benefits
, researchers said "When we give people messages about how much physical activity they should be doing, we also need to talk to them about reducing the amount of hours they spend sitting each day," Hidde van der Ploeg, the new study's lead author from the University of Sydney, told Reuters Health in an email.
Of more than 200,000 adults age 45 and older, van der Ploeg and her colleagues found that people who reported sitting for at least 11 hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die during the study than those who sat less than four hours daily.
That doesn't prove sitting, itself, cuts people's lives short, she pointed out.It could relate closer to stagnation of blood circulation, body fluids, and important neurological chemicals such as endorphins.
In fact, endorphins can be released by pressure when you are at rest or sitting, especially when the pressure is applied to sensitive pressure points. A new device called the Reliev-ER
does exactly this.
Endorphin Releasing for Natural Pain Relief for Headaches and Migraines
Although the researchers also asked participants about a variety of lifestyle habits, there could be other unmeasured differences between people who spend a lot or a little time sitting each day.
Still, the findings are consistent with other recent studies suggesting health consequences from too much sitting, said Mark Tremblay, an obesity and activity researcher at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.
"Sitting or reclining, especially in front of screens, is bad for you regardless of your age," said Tremblay, who wasn't involved in the new research.
People tend to think they're okay as long as they get their "dose" of working out each day, he told Reuters Health.
But, "Getting your 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week is not insurance against chronic disease," Tremblay added.
Instead, time spent doing moderate or vigorous exercise and time being totally sedentary may each affect long-term disease risks separately, he said.
If a cholesterol problem goes untreated, cholesterol and other substances can build up in the wall of the heart's arteries. As these deposits (called "plaque") build up, the arteries may become blocked.
Effects on cholesterol?
For the new study, van der Ploeg and her colleagues surveyed about 220,000 people from New South Wales, Australia
between 2006 and 2008. The surveys included questions about participants' general health and any medical conditions they had, whether they smoked and how much time they spent both exercising and sitting each day.
Then the research team tracked responders using Australian mortality records for an average of almost three years, during which 5,400 (between two and three percent) died.
They found that the extra risk tied to sitting held up regardless of whether people were normal weight or overweight, how much time they spent working out and whether they were healthy or had pre-existing medical conditions, van der Ploeg's team reported this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine. She said too much sitting may affect blood vessels and metabolism by increasing fats in the blood and lowering "good" cholesterol levels.
"When you are standing or walking your leg muscles are constantly working, which helps to clear blood glucose and blood fats from the blood stream," she said. "If you are sitting, this is not happening because the muscles are not active."
Even for people who have jobs that involve a lot of desk work, there are ways to train yourself to regularly interrupt sedentary behavior, Tremblay said "Makes sure the fax machine is four steps away from you, not within reaching distance," he advised. "Drink enough water that you have to pee four times a day. Stand up, stretch, walk around a little bit, say hi to your friend in the cubicle next door."
"Try standing up while on the phone or have a stand up meeting, or even try using a Reliev-ER
to get your blood moving" Fedo suggested.
When it comes to life outside of work, "You don't have to stand or walk for 100 percent of your leisure time of course, as sitting is very comfortable," she said. "But try to find a healthy balance between sitting, standing and walking or other physical activities.”
This health blog has been provided to you by www.myreliever.com
Good health and a sense of well-being are critical to success and happiness—and they can be yours with a new understanding about how to take care of your body and mind. The secret is adding these keys to your self-improvement plan: physical exercise, nutrition, mind/ body therapies, and rest. The positive effects of these healing activities are well documented, and, with the right approach, you can achieve remarkable benefits in a short period of time—significantly enhancing your ability to “live your best.”
I know, I know—you don’t have the time or energy to exercise. But for those of us sitting behind desks most of the day—or doing any job that doesn’t involve physical movement—it’s hard to imagine success and happiness unless we can strike a balance between our mental and physical activity.
The term "endorphin rush" has been adopted in popular speech to refer to feelings of exhilaration brought on by pain, danger, or other forms of stress supposedly due to the influence of endorphins.
It’s well worth it. Exercise has been found to release chemicals known as endorphins,
which not only make you feel good, but have also been shown to improve overall health. Research shows that walking, running, Pilates, yoga, active sports, weight lifting, dancing, biking, hiking, running and other strength-training or aerobic exercises improve your vitality and health. Even simple exercise done for a short time, like jumping rope, can produce great results.
You can also release these powerful endorphins in other ways too. Eating certain foods, involving yourself in excited new adventures, and even holding unique pressure points in your hands and feet. Check out the doctor recommended Reliev-ER
to learn more on this.
The choice of exercise is not as important as the act of exercising. You may also want to consider the services of a certified fitness trainer or qualified doctor. Be resourceful and establish a program that will work best for you.
The key is to start slowly. Create an exercise routine that’s so easy it’s virtually impossible not to succeed. How about just walking to the end of the block, or up and down the stairs where you live or work? That is imaginably easy. Then add just 100 yards each time you go for a walk. If you exercise just three times per week, you are easily adding around a mile every month.
You can make exercise more possible and enjoyable by “attaching” it to something you already like to do. For example, if you like books, you can download a book to an appropriate player and walk or run until several chapters are completed (or until you get tired). Or listen to a set of your favorite songs while you exercise.
This health blog has been provided to you by www.myreliever.com
Every week, 95 million Americans suffer some kind of stress related symptoms for which they take medication.
Nothing can beat regular exercise as a stress
-busting technique. The result of the 'fight or fight' reaction is that our bodies go into a state of high arousal but there is often nowhere for that energy to go, so our bodies can stay in this state for hours at a time. Exercise
is the best way to dissipate the excess energy, especially if you have a sedentary job.
It's a good idea to channel your energy into proper exercise, be it a brisk walk, a run
, a bike ride or a game of squash. You don't need to join a health club
— exercise can be as informal as taking the dog for a walk, or dancing at home to your favorite music.
Experts recommend that we exercise at a moderate intensity for a minimum of 30 minutes, most days of the week. And there are many reasons to do so. Exercise not only improves health and reduces stress, it also relaxes tense muscles and helps you to sleep. It causes the release of chemicals called endorphins into your bloodstream, making you feel relaxed and happy. As such, it can be a helpful tool in fighting depression and anxiety, as well as keeping you trim and reducing your risk of heart conditions
and stroke, managing high blood pressure, diabetes and back pain. All in all, fit people are better able to handle the long-term effects of stress without suffering ill health.
What To Choose Walking
, jogging, swimming, cycling, aerobics classes or DVDs, and dancing are all great forms of exercise. If you choose something you enjoy, it won't feel like a chore.
It is also a good idea to vary your activities to avoid boredom. For example, if you normally exercise indoors, try an outdoor activity.
Exercise should be fun. It's difficult to keep going with an exercise program that you don't enjoy. Exercising with a friend might encourage you to keep it up longer, and try activities that will make you forget you're exercising, such as roller-skating or flying a kite. Excuses, Excuses!
If you find yourself making excuses, write them down and assess each one. Perhaps you say:
· I don't have the time/money.
· I am not the sporty type/no good at exercise.
· I don't enjoy exercise.
· I am too old/tired/overweight/self-conscious.
· There are no facilities close by.
· I can't be bothered.
However, exercise doesn't have to take place at the gym or on a treadmill. Anyone can exercise even without spending money, leaving the house or having a particular skill. And everyone feels better afterwards. Just remember to warm up and cool down, to avoid injury. Walking
Even the least fit among us usually are able to incorporate some walking into our schedules. An organized walking routine can be a great form of aerobic exercise. It's free, and strengthens the heart and lungs as well as the legs. It also helps to prevent osteoporosis, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, helps with diabetes, and increases flexibility.
Walking for 30 minutes most days can be an easily achievable target, perhaps walking all or part of the way to work, or a 15 minute burst at lunchtime and another in the evening. As your fitness improves, you could even try alternating with a slow jog.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is a choice that will become automatic after a short time.
Yoga reduces stress and improves strength, flexibility, coordination, circulation and posture. It may even reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice, dating back more than 5000 years. The word yoga means union, and was originally designed to lead to union of the human spirit with nature. However, today many people use it as a technique to link the body and mind in a way that encourages peacefulness and relaxation. It uses stretching postures, breathing, and meditation techniques to calm the mind and tone the body.
There are different types of yoga, but almost of those used in the West are forms of Hatha Yoga. This is a combination of asanas (physical exercises and postures), pranayamas (breathing techniques) and meditation.
You can learn about yoga from books and videos, but the best way is through attending a class with an experienced instructor.
Also known as tai chi ch'uan, this form of martial art will help to reduce stress and improve strength and flexibility.
Based in the Chinese Taoist philosophy, it was developed for health, self-defense, and spiritual development. It combines a series of gentle physical movements and breathing techniques, allowing you to experience a meditative state. The idea is that it facilitates the flow of chi ("life energy") through the body by dissolving blockages both within the body and between the body and the environment. Through concentration, coordinated breathing and slow, graceful body movements, it aims to increase well-being.
It has recently been found that Tai Chi has physiological and psychosocial benefits and promotes balance control, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness in patients with chronic health conditions.
Tai chi is now practiced all over the world and, as with yoga, it's best to learn from a qualified teacher.