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Summer Vacation: A Time to Recharge and Refresh with Friends and Family

We often take our work style and drive into our vacation time. We move in a rapid pace on our vacations, similar to how we would behave during a regular work day. That is a big mistake; vacations, unlike work, are supposed to allow you to be able to take a deep breath, relax your mind and body and catch up on some much deserved sleep. It also provides health benefits!

Prepare for Your Trip

Prior to your travels, make a mental or written list of possible activities. Rank them with a priority or level of interest of 1, 2 or 3; this way you can be sure that you have time for the most important activities, in case you are not able to do everything on your list. Prior to your travels, commit to getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep and at least 20 to 30 minutes of alone time to either pursue spiritual or meditative investment. Meditation helps alleviate stress, supports anti-aging and even improves your sleep.

The Science of Taking Vacations

How Much Sun to Increase Your Vitamin D

How much exposure to ultraviolet rays is needed to get a good dose of vitamin D? The answer is based on the color of your skin and amount of coverage. Assuming no sunscreen is applied, a fair complexioned person in a swimsuit at noon will only need a few minutes. A person with olive-colored skin may need a daily exposure of 15 to 20 minutes and an individual with dark skin may need up to six times more exposure. It is important to remember that one’s skin pigment protects against many of the damaging effects of the sun, yet that same pigment lessens vitamin D production.

Live Life—and Enjoy a Longer Life

Patients often suffer from one or more health issues because they are not fully enjoying life.  Today is the ultimate gift because you are alive, so live your life to the fullest. The medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine, February 13, 2012 in an article titled “Enjoying Life and Living Longer” reported that “positive well-being is associated with reduced mortality” and“The proportion of people who died over the follow-up period was 20.4% in the lowest enjoyment quartile, 15.7% in the second, 11.6% in the third, and 6.4% in the highest enjoyment quartile.” These numbers show that those who enjoy life more tend to live longer.

Seeking a Healthier Body Chemistry

Vacations are the ultimate reward for most of us; it allows us to decompress, relax and gain perspective. When you go on an enjoyable and relaxing vacation your body chemistry changes. Your stress hormone cortisol levels drop, helping you to start entering into a restorative state called homeostasis. Combine this with a vacation-induced bump in dopamine, the brain chemical that allows for joy and happiness to flourish. Higher dopamine levels support your body’s oxytocin levels, which helps you connect on a deeper level with your loved ones.

Laughter is Medicine

We should strive to laugh each and everyday. It has been shown that laughter can relieve stress and can also help in shifting your body’s brain and hormonal chemistry towards thriving and not just surviving. It also sets the stage for everyone around you to become happier, because laughter is contagious.

In Conclusion

Live each moment to its fullest, be present in the moment and be satisfied with whatever happens. The best means of taking care of yourself and your loved ones is with great health, positive memories and pacing yourself through life and vacations alike.

Lyme Disease

Chris D. Meletis, N.D.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 20-30,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported annually in the United States over the last decade.

Here are some basic facts when it comes to Lyme disease:

  • Lyme disease is contracted from ticks and can be sexually transmitted.
  • Lyme disease can be passed from mom to baby in the womb.
  • Classical bullseye rash only occurs in 60 to 90 percent of cases, so even if you don’t get a rash you could have been exposed in the distant past.
  • Lyme disease often mirrors conditions such as fibromyalgia, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), depression and chronic fatigue.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is a type of corkscrew-shaped bacteria known as a spirochete. This bacteria also causes syphilis, which is known to affect the human nervous system. The prevalence of Lyme disease far surpasses breast cancer in frequency by twofold and HIV/AIDS by sixfold.

How It Is Transmitted

Lyme-infected ticks can be found in a lot more states compared to 20 years ago. There are cases of two patients that were mistakenly diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) by a neurologist and later found to have Lyme Disease and improved with treatment. These patients had never traveled outside of Oregon or Washington states, neither of which are states that are particularly high risk for this disease.

A study that looked at Lyme disease as a sexually transmitted condition examined both semen samples and vaginal secretions and showed that all women with Lyme disease tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi in vaginal secretions, while approximately half of the men with Lyme disease tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi in their semen.

Could You or a Family Member Have Undiagnosed Lyme Disease?

Certainly your doctor would have told you if you have Lyme disease, right? This is not always the case. As reported in the Archives of Dermatology in 2004, up to 72 percent of doctors surveyed could not correctly differentiate between the appearance of a Lyme rash compared to other common rashes.

What Are Some Common Symptoms?

According to the CDC website, the following are some of the things you want to be on the lookout for:

Early Stage (days to weeks, post-tick bite)

Upon exposure to an infected tick or person, a simple antibiotic routine started within 24 hours can lessen the chance that infection will easily spread from the site of the exposure. The following symptoms can appear early or later in the disease process:

  • Red rash
  • Bell’s palsy or facial muscle tone loss
  • Headaches or stiff neck
  • Pain in joints
  • Shooting pains in body when sleeping
  • Heart palpitations that can arise from Lyme carditis
  • Dizziness

False Sense of Security

Often within weeks or months some of these symptoms may get better or go away without treatment, but this does not mean that the disease itself has been eradicated; rather it may be migrating to other areas of the body. It is always wise to get a medical checkup.

Lyme Continues to Afflict the Body

Months to years after the initial bite or exposure, it is estimated that a full 60 percent of patients with untreated or insufficiently treated Lyme disease may have periodic episodes of arthritis, joint pain or swelling. In addition, upwards of 5 percent will develop chronic neurological symptoms that appear so far from the original exposure that the numbness, tingling, memory problems, pain or weakness will often not be correlated with a potential Lyme exposure.

Brain Attack—Lyme Disease at Work

Your brain and entire central nervous system can be afflicted by Lyme disease and as quickly as 18 days after being exposure to Lyme, B. burgdorferi has been isolated from human spinal fluid. It has been estimated that up to 15 percent of people who have untreated Lyme manifest with neurological symptoms. Amazingly more than 250 scientific articles have shown a link between conditions such as depression and Lyme/tick-borne disease. There is evidence that those genetically susceptible can manifest with schizophrenia-like symptoms if exposed in the prenatal period.

Don’t Settle on Just Any Test

It is not easy to get a solid Lyme diagnosis. Some patients come up negative (non-infected) on one of the more common standard medical tests, only to show up positive on more extensive testing. Don’t just settle for the results of one test. The bacteria often hide inside the cells and can be hard to detect by regular lab techniques. A specialty lab that offers a complete Lyme panel, such as the testing offered by the lab IGeneX, is recommended.

Treatment of Lyme Disease

The conventional treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics. The bacteria responsible (B. burgdorferi) is sensitive to various penicillins, tetracyclines and macrolides antibiotics, yet the treatment is not so straightforward. Based on experiences of experts in the field, the correct antibiotics must be used often over a long period of time to address the depth and breadth of the infection.

In Conclusion

It is possible to be diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s) only to find out that you are suffering from Lyme disease. Not all patients diagnosed with ALS have Lyme disease, yet it is essential to rule it out definitively with patients with neurological or chronic symptoms.

References:

  • Bransfield, R. (2011, May). 2nd International Lyme and associated diseases society European meeting. Augsburg, Germany.
  • Bransfield, RC. (2012). Open Neurol J., 6, 88-93.
  • Donta ST. (2012). Open Neurol J., 6, 140-5.
  • Yang L, et al. (1994, Feb). Infect Immun., 62(2), 492-500.
  • Silver RM, et al. (1995). Infect Immun., 63, 66-72.
  • Carter CJ. (2011, May 26). J Pathog., 2011:128318.
  • Archives of Dermatology (2004). 140(5), 620-2.

 

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Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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