Thyroid- What You Should Know

What should you know about your thyroid.

The thyroid gland is small, but plays a big role in how you feel and your day to day health.

The thyroid is made up of two small glands located at the lower aspect of your neck on each side of your wind pipe. You can frequently feel the thyroid if it is abnormally enlarged. Enlargment can also give you a sensation of pressure on your throat , trouble swallowing, choking or sensation of needing to cough.

Thyroid Anatomy

This butterfly-shaped gland can be found in the lower part of your neck. The two “wings” fold around your windpipe. The thyroid is responsible for secreting hormones: T3 (trio-iodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) into the bloodstream.

These hormones are involved in the delivery of energy to the cells of the body.

Here is how the system works. The thyroid helps regulate your metabolism along with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. When the body needs more energy, a chain reaction is touched off.

The hypothalamus is first to respond. It releases TRH (thyrotrophin releasing hormone). This then signals the pituitary to produce TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). The message it sends to the thyroid is to produce T4. This hormone hangs around in the bloodstream until it is needed. T4 doesn’t have a direct job in the cycle except to be converted to T3 which produces the energy the body needs.

The T4 hormone is converted to T3 when more is needed by the body.

It then increases the metabolic rate of the cells throughout the body. It initiates the fight-or-flight response in the body (heart rate increases; fats are broken down for energy consumption).

The entire body starts producing energy.

The thyroid has two jobs in its normal state. It helps the enzymes needed by the cells to pass through the cell membranes. Inside the cell, it helps the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) to produce energy.

Diseases of the Thyroid

The thyroid, like other glands and organs, can have problems.

The two that most people are familiar with are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is often blamed for weight gain or the inability to lose weight, feeling tired or lack of energy, dry skin, coarse hair, psychological changes such as depression.

The thyroid produces thyroid hormone which plays a roles in many bodily functions including your bodies metabolism and the utilization of nutrients available for energy.

During hypothyroidism, the thyroid is not producing enough energy for the body. This can lead to weight gain, tiredness, depression, dry skin, dry brittle nails and problems with other organs of the body.

It can be due to a lack of sufficient iodine in the system; however, this is rare in developed countries.

Another reason could be Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease where the body begins producing antibodies against the thyroid causing it to slow down hormone production.

Hyperthyroidism can have the opposite effect.

It can be linked to overactive nodules within the thyroid, inflammation of the thyroid or an autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease.

In any case, the thyroid shoots into overdrive and produces more hormone than the body needs. That can lead to weight loss, muscle weakness, sleeplessness, excessive perspiration, anxiety, palpitations of the heart and other organ problems.

Thyroid diseases tend to affect women more than men.

Thyroid disease can affect many aspects of your life including productivity and health. If you are concerned you may have a thyroid problem, talk to your doctor. A simple blood test will tell your doctor if your thyroid is functioning appropriately or if you have a problem with an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.

Will Red Wine Improve Your Heart Health

Will Red Wine Improve Your Heart Health

When it comes to healthy eating and drinking, there are more choices than you might realize. You don’t have to drink water all the time.

How about red wine?

It is being touted as the next best thing in heart health.

What is it about red wine that has people up in arms? For one, no one wants to promote drinking alcoholic beverages. If you are not a drinker already, then starting to use red wine to increase your heart health may not be such a good idea.

Alcohol can become addictive and can bring more harm than good for the non-drinker.

But, if you already enjoy a drink every now and then, this information is for you.

Red wine is made from the red grape.

Grapes contain many antioxidants.

We know that these substances are instrumental in reducing the signs of aging. Keeping the body young includes increasing immunity, protecting vessels of the heart and vascular system, improving mood and increasing metabolism while reducing appetite.

In grapes, the antioxidants are found in the skin. When red wine is created, the skin of the grape is used to give it its deep red color.

The skin contains flavonoids and non-flavonoid antioxidants.

Flavonoids have been shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the body.

Flavonoids are found in grapes as well as cocoa (dark chocolate), berries and apples.

It is the LDL cholesterol that contributes to the formation of plaques and hardening of the arteries in your body.

The hardening of the arteries leads to narrowing of the arteries and decreases the blood supply to your major organs.

The diminished blood supply contributes to your risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, eye disease, and kidney problems.

Non-flavonoid antioxidants have been found to help increase the health of your heart. When the coronary arteries are clear, then blood and nutrients can reach the heart muscle.

One of the substances in this category is resveratrol.

Resveratrol is a substance found in grape skins that has been getting a lot of attention lately.

It has fueled research into the health benefits alcohol may have on the heart. There are supplements available on the market but no recommendations for daily levels and how much may be needed to positively affect the heart.

Tests have shown that resveratrol can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity in studies using mice.

The amounts of resveratrol used were far higher than the amount available drinking red wine daily. However, drinking red wine may be beneficial over a period of time or adequate amounts may become available in the form of supplements.

Your doctor may already be recommending you drink a little red wine daily for the heart health benefits.

If you have a problem with drinking too much alcohol or a problem in the past then implementing red wine into your daily routine should be avoided.

 

Easy Steps To A Clutter Free Home And Increased Productivity

Easy Steps to a Clutter Free Home

When you first move into your home it seems like you have so much space.  As the years pass, you might find yourself becoming a pack rat.  What are you going to do with all the stuff you have accumulated?  Perhaps it’s time to weed out the unnecessary items and organize your home.

Home organization is a step-by-step process.  It will take more than a day or even a week to get everything to a manageable level, but once you do staying organized is an easier task.  If you have a family, enlist their help.  They can pitch in and learn a thing or two about controlling clutter in their life.

1. Start with the high traffic areas.  The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house.  Everything gets dropped on a counter or the couch in these two places.  Concentrate on getting everything set up the way that you like it before moving on to another room.

2. Use storage containers.  Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be pretty as well as functional.  Instead of storing containers in stacks in the garage, purchase ones that match your décor in each room and integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for storage.

3. Divide items into categories.  You can use heavy duty trash bags for this part.  Everything that you find can go into a pile: KEEP, THROW AWAY, GIVE AWAY, and RELOCATE.  Items that will stay in that room are to keep.  Things that you don’t need or are broken can be thrown away.  Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated and scheduled for pickup by the Veteran’s association or Goodwill.  Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.

4. Remove everything from drawers and cabinets.  This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around.  If you line things up on the counter, someone else can help by putting the items in some type of order.

5. Make use of all of your available space.  In the kitchen, for example, appliances or extra containers can be stored on top of the cabinets provided they don’t extend all the way to the ceiling.  That’s extra storage space without benefit of a storage container.  Also use the top of the refrigerator for cereal boxes and breakfast food like boxes of instant oatmeal or grits.  In the bedroom, shoes and winter clothes can go into flat storage bins that slide easily under the bed or the dresser.

6. Label your containers.  Use tape and a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers.  Avoid writing on the actual container in case they are reused and the contents are changed.  Labeling also makes for easy identification if you decide to sell or give away a container of books or something.  You won’t have to open each container to locate them.

Organizing your entire house takes time.  But, once it is done, returning everything you use to its proper place will maintain that same level of organization.

Childhood Obesity And Lifestyle Choices

What did we do before there were endless videos to entertain us? Whatever it was, we were probably slimmer because of it. Convenience and electronic entertainment has led to lifestyle choices that create obesity, in adults and children alike.

Going from Outside to Inside

It is a different world out there and it shows around the waistline. The advent of computers, interactive video games, and anything you want available right on your television screen have brought kids inside after school and on weekends as opposed to being outside playing. As a result, kids exercise less and eat more.

On average, kids spend more than four hours a day watching television or playing video games. And, contrary to popular belief, moving your eyes from side to side watching TV doesn’t burn calories. Also, sitting in front of a monitor of any kind encourages mindless eating of unhealthy snacks.

Safer Inside

Parents are working longer hours which leave kids home by themselves more often. In a society that seems increasingly more dangerous for kids to be outside on their own, parents want their child safe inside. That means they are in the house for hours, getting no exercise at all. Experts recommend that kids get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.

Tighter Economy

Jobs and money is always going to be an issue with parents, especially when the economy is tight. We have to pay bills to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. Parents are working longer hours, and as a result, are feeling overwhelmed, grabbing as much downtime as they can at home. In other words, all parents want to do when they finally get home after a long day at work is rest. Kids are less likely to exercise when they have parents who don’t participate in some sort of physical exercise on a regular basis. Each evening when the parents come home and plop down in front of the television is another opportunity missed to help their child fight obesity.

Reward System

We like to reward our kids when they do something well. When foods such as sugary treats are given as a reward, it inadvertently encourages obesity. Children will always strive to win any reward, but when the reward is chocolate cupcakes, the thrill of doing well is associating with a food treat. This food-equals-approval will be confusing later when their weight gain can lead to ridicule.
Turning it Around

Get moving. When you are tired, get your body moving and you will increase your energy. This may seem like a trick, but it’s not. Once you get started walking, bicycling, swimming, or even playing hopscotch, endorphins are produced in your body, uplifting your mood. That fatigue and tired feeling will begin to fade away.

Exercise as a family. Pick an activity that everyone likes to do and get started. Kids are influenced by their parents. If you get on board with a daily exercise routine, your kids will begin to see exercise as a fun part of daily life. They will reach less and less for those video games and more for the door. Over time, you can increase your intensity or change your activity. Children will develop healthy habits and get in shape; a habit that will last a lifetime.

Healthy Tips For Busy Mothers

As mothers, the majority of us are more concerned with the health and wellness of our children than we are of our own health. It’s very easy for mothers to overlook their health because of the everyday responsibilities they face. For example, mothers have to make sure that the kids are up, dressed and fed before they head off to school first thing every morning. Then, for many mothers, they are off to work themselves. Once work is finished, it’s time to hurry back home and take the kids to their extracurricular activities, run errands, pick them back up, go home, fix dinner, make sure the kids’ homework gets done, they bathe and brush their teeth and are in bed at a decent hour.

Of course, all of this is excluding the extra stuff like keeping the house clean, doing laundry, paying bills, etc. Now you can probably see why many mothers aren’t concerned with their health. You may be one of these women yourself. If so, then please understand that it’s important for you to stay healthy. After all, if you get sick then who is going to get everything done? Below are some healthy tips that you need to follow to ensure your good health.

Tip #1 – Eat: Obviously, you don’t have a lot of time to eat, but this is essential to staying healthy. Most of us know that we need to eat three meals a day, but do you also know that you should be eating at least two snacks a day as well? This will keep your metabolism going and your energy levels up – so don’t skimp on your food. You should be eating healthy foods too. Things like yogurt, fruit, granola bars and nuts are quick, easy and healthy!

Tip #2 – Drink: Water that is. In addition to eating healthy foods, you need to be drinking water throughout your day. We’ve all heard the “8 glasses a day” speech so I’m not going to give it to you again. Just stay properly hydrated. It will keep your energy levels up as well as flush the impurities out of your body and ward off urinary tract infections and much more.

Tip #3 – Exercise: Your body needs exercise each day and it doesn’t care whether you’re a mother or not. Although you may find yourself busy throughout the day and exhausted at the end of the day, it’s important that you squeeze in at least 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. There are several ways you can do this. For instance, you can go on a walk after dinner, play Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wii games with your family or enroll in a yoga class at a fitness club.

Tip #4 – Be Happy: As women and mothers, we tend to overload ourselves with work, family and worries. There isn’t much time to focus on being happy. However, this is important too. Studies have shown that, generally, happy people are healthier people. In order to become happier, consider setting aside a little time for yourself every day – or week – to do something you like doing. This time will help you feel refreshed and become happier.

Tip #5 – Sleep: Getting a good night of sleep is critical to your overall health. Sleep is when your body recharges itself. So, naturally, if you aren’t getting enough sleep you aren’t operating on a “full battery,” which means you’ll wear out quicker. It also means your body will too, which depletes your immune system. So, get the sleep you need at night.