5 Fast Facts About Brain Health

Brain HealthEveryone knows how important the brain is. It’s basically the body’s operating center. It’s the organ that sends out instructions to every other part of the body. However, there’s plenty you may not know about the brain. It’s always a good time to learn more about brain health.

Here are 5 facts about brain health:

    1. The brain is always developing – Unlike the body, which stops growing in your late teens, the brain tends to keep developing throughout the 20s and will continue to change throughout your lifetime. 
    2. The brain is fully functioning – There’s a popular misconception that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. This is simply not true; every part of your brain is functioning.
    3. The brain is full of neurons – Brains have over 100 billion neurons that process information. These neurons are referred to as “gray matter.” Studies have shown that children who were taught a second language before the age of five tend to develop denser gray matter in adulthood.
    4. The brain needs oxygen – Your entire body needs oxygen to run properly, but the brain needs a significant amount. In fact, 20 percent of the oxygen you inhale is used by the brain.
    5. Alcohol hurts the brain’s ability to function – This might seem obvious seeing as how the more alcohol you drink, the more impaired you become. Information travels at incredible speeds through the brain; it’s why we are able to form thoughts and execute actions so quickly. The brain processes information at roughly 268 miles per hour. When you drink alcohol, the speed at which information travels through your brain slows considerably. 

Learn more about your brain’s health and professional health advice by visiting us at The Benefits Store today.

Household Safety: Preventing Poisoning

preventing poisoningAs careful as people are about preventing poisoning, it still happens more than you might think. In fact, it’s the number one cause of injury death, having killed more people than car accidents. It’s estimated that 50 percent of all poison exposures happen to children under the age of six, while 92% of poison-related deaths occur with adults over the age of 20.

Common causes of poisoning include household cleaning products, cosmetics, painkillers, and certain medications. Here are a few household safety tips that can help with preventing poisonings in your home:

    • Keep food separate from poisonous items – This ensures that children don’t mistake anything that might be poisonous as food.
    • Keep indoor plants out of reach – Younger children can and do put anything in their mouths. Some indoor plants can be poisonous if ingested, which is why you need to place them out of reach if you have kids.
    • Keep poisonous items away from children – Make sure medicine is kept in cabinets that have locks or childproof latches on them. Any detergents or chemical products should be kept out of sight and out of reach. Even when storing them on the top shelf of your garage, keep toxics locked up – children have a habit of climbing.
    • Put everything back – Once you’ve used something that might be poisonous, such as a medication, a cosmetic item or cleaning product, make sure you return it to its place. 
    • Safely discard poisonous items – All cleaning products, old medications, cosmetics, etc. should be sealed and taken to an outdoor trash can. Don’t just toss them into the nearest wastebasket where a child can access them.
    • Store poisonous items in original containers – This ensures that even adults won’t get confused over what they’re taking and take something dangerous. 

Be sure to follow these safety tips for preventing poisoning in your home. If someone has been poisoned, call the National Poison Control Hotline, 1-800-222-1222 for assistance. For more health tips, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Treating High Blood Pressure at Home

Treating High Blood PressureMany Americans suffer from high blood pressure (also referred to as “hypertension”). Hypertension is a huge risk factor for heart disease and stroke as well as other dangerous health problems. This means if you have high blood pressure, you need to treat it. Fortunately, there are ways of treating high blood pressure at home

High Blood Pressure Treatment Program

A study was performed in which patients with hypertension were given at-home BP (blood pressure) measuring devices. When they measured their blood pressure, the Bluetooth-enabled device would transmit the information automatically into their electronic medical records.

The medications these patients were prescribed were then adjusted on a biweekly interval, based on their weekly average blood pressure. Out of all of the participants, 81% of those enrolled and 91 percent of those that regularly measured their blood pressure at home reached their blood pressure goals within an average of seven weeks.

The study showed patients with high blood pressure can potentially be treated more effectively as long as they regularly measure their own blood pressure while at home. Of course, in addition to taking their prescribed medications, there are other steps needed to lower and maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Reducing and Treating High Blood Pressure at Home

The following are a few tips for reducing your blood pressure and maintaining healthy blood pressure. They can also make treating high blood pressure at home more effective. 

    • Eat healthy – High cholesterol levels result in high blood pressure, so make sure you eat good foods and lower bad fats. Reduce the sodium in your diet as well.
    • Exercise – Even if you aren’t overweight, exercising can help lower your blood pressure.
    • Lose weight – Blood pressure tends to increase as weight increases. If you’re overweight, you need to lose weight by eating healthier and exercising regularly.
    • Manage stress – Stress leads to high blood pressure. 
    • Reduce unhealthy activities – Quit smoking and limit how much alcohol you drink.

High blood pressure is something you can treat at home. For more health tips, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Is Weekend Sleeping-In Bad for Your Health?

Sleeping InAfter a hard week of work, it’s not surprising that many people try to sleep-in during the weekend. The importance of sleep is well known, but sleeping-in may not actually be a healthy habit.

Sleeping-In on the Weekend Won’t Help

A study was recently conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. It focused on whether or not weekend catch-up sleep is protective. It turns out that even if you sleep longer on the weekends in an attempt to make up loss of sleep during the week, you’re more likely to eat too much and to gain weight as a result.

The problem is that sleeping extra hours on the weekend to try to make up for the lack of sleep you got during the week won’t correct your body’s inability to regulate blood sugar. And if you’re not getting enough sleep during the week in the first place, then you’re probably doing things that could hurt your health long-term, such as overeating.

Lack of Sleep Can Hurt Your Health

The Johns Hopkins study involved 35 subjects divided into three groups. Each group had different sleep requirements over the course of a 10-day period. None of these subjects had health issues or newborns that could impact their sleep.

    • The first group was allowed nine hours of sleep each night.
    • The second group was allowed five hours of sleep a night.
    • The third group was allowed to sleep five hours a night during the week, but was given the chance to sleep as long as they wanted during the weekend. 

Both sleep-deprived groups ate more after dinner and gained weight following the study, despite one of those groups being allowed to catch up on sleep during the weekend. People eat more when they are sleep deprived because their bodies are burning more calories. 

Sleeping-in during the weekends won’t help if you’re not getting enough sleep during the week. For more health news, visit The Benefits Store today.

Putting Muscle Into Cancer Treatment

cancer treatment

A muscular physique has always been something that people wanted and worked for. People go to the gym every day to build muscle, and historically, people have admired those with muscular physiques. However, it turns out that having a muscular physique isn’t just beneficial in terms of how you look, but it could also protect you against cancer.

How Muscle Mass Can Benefit the Fight Against Cancer

Researchers from Osaka University in Japan recently published a study in Scientific Reports focusing on sarcopenia, a disease that causes the loss of skeletal muscle mass. The study revealed that sarcopenia is associated with poor response to treatments for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (referred to as programmed death inhibitors, or PD-1 inhibitors). 

PD-1 inhibitors are a new class of drugs that work along with the immune systems of patients to increase their ability to attack cancer cells. For those PD-1 inhibitors to be effective, the patient must have a strong immune system. One of the current challenges involved with their use is that only a specific subset of patients experienced long-term, progression-free survival rates. 

One of the risk factors associated with poor outcomes for a number of different types of cancer is sarcopenia. This is because a dysregulated immune system leads to muscle degradation. The study focused on the medical results of 42 subjects with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. They were treated with PD-1 inhibitors and had undergone a skeletal muscle mass assessment before being treated. It turned out that patients that had sarcopenia before starting treatment had much worse outcomes than those without sarcopenia. 

The study basically revealed the baseline skeletal muscle mass of an individual has a big impact on how effective PD-1 inhibitors are against cancer. Unfortunately, muscle degradation is common in patients with advanced cancer, but there are drugs that could help increase skeletal muscle mass prior to treatment.

Advancements in cancer research are being made every day. Keep up-to-date on all the latest health news at The Benefits Store.