Friday, April 18, 2008

Game systems revisited - healthy?

Back in January, I bought a Wii game system because the sports game really appealed to me. I do have fun playing the games, particularly the tennis. Now, a new game is about to released into the North American market, but earlier reviews are coming out strong: Wii Fit.

Apparently, you can exercise, do yoga, play games and even do the hoola hoop. I am a believer that these games can help get people up and moving. Of course, there's no substitute for getting outside in the fresh air, but many people can't do that, particularly after the long and snow winter many of us experienced.

Here's to hoping I can get my hands on one.

Today on Help My Hurt:

Oh my gosh… I want one!
Friday funnies
More positive Lyrica news for fibromyalgia
Lacosamide promising treatment for painful diabetic neuropathy
Ergonomics: a brief video of author Deborah Quilter

Today's News:

Incontinence drugs linked to more rapid cognitive decline: study
Schizophrenia patients with short hospital stays soon readmitted: report
Young girls not taking advantage of free HPV vaccine
Acupuncture relieves hot flushes in breast cancer patients taking tamoxifen
Mammograms benefit women up to the age of 75 and 3-yearly screening intervals are best

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Migraines - some people just can't get relief

Migraines are such a nasty companion. They can sneak up on you or they can surprise you and drop in unexpectedly. They can make your life inconvenient or they can turn your life upside down. Whichever they do - they are distinctly unwelcome guests.

Why is it that we have so many treatments available and yet, there are so many migraineurs who can't find relief from their agony?

Some people are fortunate and can find relief with over-the-counter medications. They often have to combine this with lying in a dark room or some other similar action, but the pain will go away. Others are able to take abortive drugs, which means that if they feel the migraine coming on, they take this medication - if all works well - the migraine is stopped before it can take hold.

For those who can't use abortive meds and for whom OTC medications don't work, there are stronger prescription medications. There are also preventative medications, often medications for high blood pressure (antihypertensives) or depression (antidepressants). That's not to say that the migraines are because you're depressed - it's because the researchers and doctors have found that there is something in the antidepressant that can work on migraine pain.

If you're one that opts for alternative or complementary medicines, there is acupuncture, reiki, chiropractics, and others. And then, there's those who can't find relief from anything they've tried. I've considered using acupuncture for my migraines, I'm very pro acupuncture now - but I wonder if you have to go when you have one or you can go at any time in the hopes of preventing one. I'll have to look into that.

I am lucky, my migraines have dropped from almost every day, when I was in my early twenties, to only a couple of times a month - and some months it's only once. I'm hoping it's the hormonal thing we women go through eventually. :-) I'm not at that point yet, but I'm sure things are starting on the most basic chemical levels.

Today at Help My Hurt:

Ergonomics: a brief video of author Deborah Quilter
Pros and cons of ergonomic products
Random thought - why does predisone taste so bad??
Press release: Treximet (Sumatriptan and Naproxen Sodium) Approved by FDA for Acute Treatment of Migraine
Exercises to reduce the risk of RSIs

News for Today:

Kids' asthma rates up, symptom severity down: report
Vitamins A, E and beta-carotene increase mortality, not longevity: study
Low-calorie diet may help stave off skin cancer: study
Many factors influence preemie survival: study
Latest rheumatoid arthritis drugs compared
Low vitamin D levels associated with an increased risk of peripheral arterial disease
Women more likely to comply with stroke prevention despite being more depressed
70% of Multiple Sclerosis Patients Are Relapse-Free After 3 Years on Fingolimod
Considering Weight Loss Surgery? What You Need to Know
New Guidelines On Use of Psychiatric Meds During Pregnancy
Chemo May Not Affect Memory in Breast Cancer Patients

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dieting, Obesity, Anorexia....

So, France is moving to ban extreme thinness (France works to ban promoting extreme thinness). Will it work to combat the numbers of people who live with the reality of anorexia or bulimia?

I think that approach is a bit too simplistic. I also believe that it can't hurt. Those models look positively unhealthy and - to tell you the truth - positively unhappy. the problem is eating disorders, be they losing too much weight or gaining too much weight, are much more complex than this.

One of the problems is that no matter what you weigh, someone has a comment. Some people re thin and can't gain weight, even if they want to. While this may seem like nirvana to someone who is trying to lose weight, it's not a good thing for someone who is too skinny and isn't that way on purpose. Some people have just as hard a time gaining weight as others have losing it.

b5Media has a few good blogs that are geared towards eating and I think you may want to check them out. Breaking the Mirror is run by Angelique. She tackles the issues of anorexia. Weighting Line is a newcomer. Blogger Hope discusses the walk through weight loss.

Over at Eating Fabulous, Ruth discusses eating well and Jul writes about things all vegetarian over at Veggie Chic.


Marijke: nurse turned writer is listed on Check out the fancy logo link on in the right-hand side boxes. Thanks alltop and welcome to anyone who visits from there.

Today on Help My Hurt:

Ergonomics week continues: 4 types of RSIs
UK arthritis care program
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
I’m already seeing positive effects from Ergonomic Week
Physical activity may help reduce arthritis pain

News for Today:

Magnetic scan better way to diagnose heart attacks: U of C
Study alleges drug's [Vioxx] health risks not reported
France works to ban promoting extreme thinness
Obese women disadvantaged in both breast cancer treatment and diagnosis
Pregnant patients lose out in breast cancer treatment; a new approach is needed
Diabetic Eye Problem Linked to Heart Failure
Obesity Cited in Growth of Joint Replacement Surgery in Younger Patients

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Should you get your eyes checked?

Do you wear glasses? Whether you do or not, when was the last time you had your vision checked?

Because of necessity (changing lens prescriptions), it’s more likely that people with glasses or contacts visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist regularly, but even if you don’t need corrective lenses, did you know you should still get your eyes checked regularly?

The American Optometric Association recommends that adults who wear glasses or contacts have their eyes checked every year for annual check ups. If there are problems that occur between visits, people shouldn’t wait, however.

For adults who don’t wear glasses or contacts, regular exams every two or three years are recommended so you can be screened for eye problems like glaucoma.

If you have a medical problem, like diabetes, you probably should see your eye specialist more often.

So, now that you’re armed with this information, who do you go see?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who received specialized training in eye health. They can diagnose eye problems, prescribe medications, and perform eye surgery. An optometrist is a professional who can check your eyes and prescribe corrective lenses. They can also diagnose some eye problems and prescribe medications, such as eye drops. Optometrists are usually the front-line eye care specialist for most people. Opticians are the professionals who make your glasses and lenses.

The important thing is to be checked regularly and as needed. A little over two years ago, I changed from a regular prescription to progressive lenses. They were great - for two months. Then I noticed that I needed a change in my prescription already. I let them go as long as I could, but eventually went back and there was a significant change in my vision. We traced it to a new medication had begun taking two months after I received my new glasses.

At Help My Hurt Today:

Ergonomic week continues: setting up your work station

Lots of
News for Today:

Smoking may increase risk of pancreatic cancer: study
Heart ills not to blame for women's poor sex life
Meditation technique can lower blood pressure
Muscle Weakness Found in Some Autistic Children
Diabetic Food Shopping That Won't Break a Budget
Risk of Women's Heart Attack or Stroke Appears to Be Lowered by 'DASH' Diet

Statins may help reduce blood pressure
High blood pressure may protect against migraine
Early vision screening associated with better eyesight in children with amblyopia
Hormone use related to lower risk of macular degeneration in postmenopausal women
Colon cancer risk perception associated with screening behavior
Diuretics associated with bone loss in older men

Attack changed college mental health systems
Delaying pregnancy can carry consequences

Monday, April 14, 2008

Setting up your office for pain-free work

Two weeks ago, I attended a workshop held by a professional writer's association that I belong to. One of the speakers was an ergonomics expert who really opened my eyes about a few things.

I think most of us know the basics of good ergonomics in an office. If someone asked us, we could tell them about good posture, positioning of the chair, etc, but how many of us are right? I was sort-of right with a few things, correct about a few, but totally wrong in others.

So, as part of Ergonomic week at Help my Hurt, I'm improving my work station throughout the week and we'll see how I do.

I started complaining of severe neck pain a few weeks ago after I stretched and something "popped." Although when I'm upright, my neck is fairly ok, when I lie down, it's very painful still. While I was listening to the ergonomics speaker, I realized that I probably didn't hurt my neck while I was stretching. I likely hurt my neck a long time ago and was just making it worse with my work habits, until it couldn't take the stress any more. Hopefully, my office changes will help that.

This is what I've done so far. I work exclusively on my laptop. I sit at my big computer desk, with a desktop off to the left and that part of the desk had a keyboard drawer. I had considered, from time to time, using it for my laptop, but it wasn't conveniently placed. It also wouldn't fit where I would have preferred it.

On Saturday, I went to Bureau en Gros (Staples in Quebec) and bought a new keyboard drawer, took off the old one and put the new one where I wanted it. I unplugged the keyboard from the desk top and plugged it into my laptop.

I adjusted my chair so my hands are even on the board - not angled and my footstool is keeping my legs at the right height. I also put my laptop on one of the thickest books I own, the Physicians' Desk Reference. I figured it would come in handy some day when I bought it. :-)

Yesterday, I went back to the store and bought a document holder to hold my papers up so I can see them. Today, to reduce eyestrain, I enlarged the type on my laptop screen so I could push it a bit further away.

Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Today at Help My Hurt:

Company’s calling - an RN speaks about her fibromyalgia
Self-evaluation for RSIs
Ergonomics: crafts and hobbies
Botox is 20 years old
Help My Hurt Ergonomic Week & a Contest!
Are doctors seeking the wrong target when treating back pain?

News for Today:

Older Australians at risk of sun-related skin cancer death
Quebec girls to be offered free HPV vaccine
U.S. hospitals warned about medication risks in children
Mouth may tell the tale of lung damage caused by smoking

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ergonomic week at

When we think of repetitive stress injuries, we often think of office-type injuries. But, RSIs happen in many different types of jobs, as well as in fun past times.

This week, I'm hosting Ergonomic Week over at Help My Hurt. Stop by and enter the contest to win an ergonomic mousepad too.