This is the “Health” description

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New FDA-approved method of lung cancer detection gives many hope

(BPT) – Each year, more people die of lung cancer than any other form of cancer — more than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. The American Cancer Society estimates of the 224,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year, 155,000 will succumb to the disease.

Many have heard the statistics about lung cancer, but for those who have lived through it, or who have a friend or loved one battling the disease, these numbers are even more personal and frightening. The low five-year survival rate (five to 14 percent) for late-stage lung cancer patients makes the search for a way to treat this deadly disease all the more urgent.

Genetic breakthroughs

To beat cancer, early detection is critical. Scientific research over the past several decades has revealed that cancer is a disease primarily caused by changes — or mutations — in the genes. This discovery has led to a major shift in how early cancer can be detected and treated. Now, researchers are able to identify mutations in the genetic code that are most likely to cause potentially deadly cancers. This has led to the development of new testing technology and drugs that target those specific mutations.

This approach is in stark contrast to traditional detection methods that are limited in their ability to test for a small number of specific mutations linked to only one possible treatment. This painstakingly long process can take several weeks to identify an effective treatment.

In a matter of days, modern techniques using next-generation sequencing technology can save valuable time by avoiding the need to run multiple tests by simultaneously screening tumor samples for multiple mutations and multiple potential therapies. The new technology also reduces the likelihood of subjecting patients to unnecessary and invasive secondary biopsy procedures.

New advancements in early detection and treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the Oncomine(TM) Dx Target Test, a first-of-its-kind genetic screening solution that can detect multiple gene mutations associated with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from a single tissue sample. The test has also been approved to aid in selecting which specific FDA-approved NSCLC treatment the patient may be eligible for.

Take action and talk to your doctor

A recent survey by the Journal of Precision Medicine showed that only about a third of patients and caregivers had a good understanding of genomic tools for cancer detection. That’s why talking to a doctor, loved ones and others about new techniques like sequencing-based tests to help inform more effective treatment options is important. Doctors and healthcare networks have a responsibility to their patients to provide the most effective innovations so patients receive the best care possible.

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Take precautions in the heat – lifesaving tips

(BPT) – From tornadoes and floods to hail and lightning storms, the United States experiences a broad array of extreme weather. Fatalities do occur, but many people are surprised to learn that the weather event that causes the greatest number of deaths is heat.

According to the National Weather Service, heat causes the greatest number of weather-related fatalities each year. In fact, an average of 130 people a year lost their lives as a result of heat from 1986-2015. This is a higher number than all other weather events, including hurricanes.

From coast to coast, many regions are experiencing heat waves and extreme temperatures this summer. The toll the heat can take on the body should not be underestimated. It’s important to take precautions to ensure safety in the heat when exercising, entertaining or working outdoors or in non-air-conditioned areas like the garage.

Hydration: The top tip for giving your body the power to beat the heat is to stay hydrated. You need water to sweat, which cools the body. When sweat evaporates, it cools the air around the skin so you can maintain a comfortable body temperature. Be certain to avoid sugar or caffeinated drinks, as they are not as effective as plain old H2O.

Rest: Whether at work or play, be sure to take breaks from the heat. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, both of which are dangerous conditions caused by too much time in hot temperatures. Frequent breaks from strenuous activity allow the body to rest and cool down.

Shade: High temperatures paired with the UV rays of the sun can be a dangerous combination. If you must spend time outdoors, try to do so in the shade. Shaded surfaces, for example, may be 20–45 degrees cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded surfaces, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Cooling: While air conditioning is not an option for open areas like the patio, deck or garage, consider achieving cooling in these spaces with a portable evaporative cooler. Using the ambient air and the natural process of evaporation, these coolers produce chilled air to create a comfortably cool environment. Portacool portable evaporative coolers offer a variety of sizes to accommodate spaces from 1,000 to 6,000 square feet. They operate with a standard 110-V, are energy-efficient and are equipped with heavy-duty castors for easy mobility.

Clothing: Loose-fitting clothing made from lightweight materials can help keep your body cool during hot temperatures while shielding you from sunburn. This type of clothing can breathe, meaning that air can easily circulate to your body and keep you cool. Be selective when it comes to colors. Choosing light-colored attire is wise because it can reflect heat more efficiently than darker tones.

Peak hours: While it’s not always possible, it’s wise to avoid being outdoors during peak heat periods of the day. This is typically noon to 5 p.m. So if you must work in your garage or plan to exercise outdoors, start early in the morning. Consider planning family cookouts for later in the evening when the sun lowers and temperatures start to drop.

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Ask your doctor about these important topics on life-threatening allergies

(BPT) – The start of a new school year can be fraught with anxiety for children and parents alike. New school, new friends, new dynamics. And for children living with life-threatening allergies, that anxiety can be even more pointed as they — and their parents — consider and prepare for how to deal with a potential life-threatening allergy incident in the school environment.

Like all children heading back to school, children with life-threatening allergies should have a back to school physical. For these children, these appointments provide an opportunity for students and parents to ask questions of their doctor about life-threatening allergies and back to school readiness.

Ask about options

People with life-threatening allergies have more options than ever before when it comes to the epinephrine injectors they need. While you’re at the doctor’s office, make sure to ask about all the options currently available, including AUVI-Q(R) (epinephrine injection, USP), an epinephrine auto-injector that’s the size of a credit card and the thickness of a cell phone — plus it fits into most pockets and has voice instructions on how to use the device, and reminds the user to seek immediate medical attention after use.

Ask about access

Finding the right epinephrine auto-injector for your child is only half of the equation. You should also ask your doctor about access options for your prescribed epinephrine auto-injector. Many pharmaceutical companies offer patient access plans that make obtaining epinephrine auto-injectors easy and affordable. For example, through the AUVI-Q AffordAbility(TM) program, anyone who is commercially insured, including those with high-deductible plans, can obtain AUVI-Q at $0 out-of-pocket through the Direct Delivery Service. For more information about how to access AUVI-Q, visit www.auviq.com/affordability.

Ask about developing an anaphylaxis emergency plan

An anaphylaxis emergency is scary for everyone involved. Be sure to develop an anaphylaxis emergency plan with your doctor and child, so that everyone involved in your child’s care during the school day understands what happens when/if an emergency arises. It’s important that children who experience life-threatening allergic emergencies seek immediate medical professional help.

Ask how to educate teachers and faculty

If you’re new to parenting a child with life-threatening allergies — or even if you’re a life-threatening allergy parent veteran — it’s important to educate all teachers, faculty and others who may be responsible for your child throughout the school day. This means that all individuals involved should understand your child’s anaphylaxis emergency plan, including what to do in an emergency, when and how to use their epinephrine auto-injector, as well as what to do after using an epinephrine auto-injector. Additionally, you can provide school faculty with a photo of your child, along with information they may need in an emergency, and instructions on how to administer epinephrine.

At the end of the day, every child with life-threatening allergies should understand what their allergens are, and try to avoid them as best as possible. It is important to remain educated and prepared at all times, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out on fun school activities or outings. To learn more about life-threatening allergies, visit www.auvi-q.com/resources. Click for AUVI-Q’s Prescribing Information and Patient Information.

About AUVI-Q(R) (epinephrine injection, USP)

AUVI-Q is a prescription medicine used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions.

AUVI-Q is for immediate self (or caregiver) administration and does not take the place of emergency medical care. Seek immediate medical treatment after use. AUVI-Q should only be injected into your outer thigh. If you accidentally inject AUVI-Q into any other part of your body, seek immediate medical treatment. If you inject a young child with AUVI-Q, hold their leg firmly in place during the injection.

Rarely, patients may develop serious infections at the injection site within a few days. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following injection site symptoms: persistent redness, swelling, tenderness, or the area feels warm.

If you have certain medical conditions, or take certain medicines, your condition may get worse or you may have more or longer lasting side effects when you use AUVI-Q. Tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions and the medicines you take. Tell your healthcare provider if you are or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed. Epinephrine should be used with caution if you have heart disease or are taking certain medicines that can cause heart-related symptoms.

Common side effects include fast, irregular or “pounding” heartbeat, sweating, shakiness, headache, paleness, feelings of over excitement, nervousness, or anxiety, weakness, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, or breathing problems. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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4 surprising health benefits of cherries – this summer’s superfruit

(BPT) – Have you ever said no to a cherry? Probably not. This summertime treat is simply delicious. And if you’re looking for another reason to indulge, you’ll be pleased to know that cherries are surprisingly good for you. Recent research indicates that this summer’s superfruit offers a variety of health benefits, including the four outlined below.

Reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes

Heart disease and diabetes threaten the health of millions of Americans every year, and cherries can help. Research from Michigan State University found that 20 cherries provide 25 milligrams of anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation by shutting down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation. This helps protect the arteries from the damage that leads to heart disease. Further research shows that those same anthocyanins also help lower blood sugar levels in animals, leading scientists to speculate that a similar blood sugar lowering effect could occur in humans.

In addition to being packed with anthocyanins, cherries also have a low glycemic index, making them a good choice for people with diabetes. Foods with a high glycemic index cause blood glucose to soar and then quickly crash. In contrast, foods with a low index, like cherries, release glucose slowly and evenly, helping you maintain a steady blood sugar level — as well as leaving you feeling full longer and potentially helping you maintain a healthy weight.

Combating arthritis and gout

More than 8.3 million Americans suffer from gout, a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, redness and tenderness in the joints. This condition is commonly associated with elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. A study conducted by researchers at the University of California at Davis found that people who ate sweet cherries showed reduced levels of uric acid. In addition, research from the Boston University School of Medicine showed that people who ate cherries had a 35 to 75 percent lower chance of experiencing a gout attack.

Sleep support via melatonin

Everyone understands the value of a good night’s sleep, but sometimes your body simply doesn’t want to cooperate. When you find yourself wide awake and restless, your melatonin levels might be low. Melatonin is the chemical that controls your body’s internal clock to regulate sleep and promote overall healthy sleep patterns. Studies show that cherries are a natural source of melatonin, and researchers who have studied the melatonin content of cherries recommend eating them an hour before bedtime to help stabilize your sleep cycle.

Fiber for weight loss

Many Americans struggle with weight issues, and poor diet is often identified as a major culprit. But although there is a great deal of discussion about what people shouldn’t be eating, there isn’t as much talk about what people should be eating, like fiber. Most Americans’ diets are fiber-deficient, falling short of the 25-35 grams per day recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines recommend two cups of fruit daily, and cherries are an easy and delicious way to meet that target.

Enjoy a bowl of superfruit today

In addition to all these health benefits, cherries also possess cancer-fighting properties, according to a study by the USDA’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center. So whether you’re looking to boost your health or you enjoy the taste of this juicy treat — or both — there are plenty of reasons to reach for a bowl of cherries for your next snack or to add them to the menu at your next meal. Whatever your preference, be sure to get them quickly before cherry season is over.

To learn more about the health benefits of cherries, visit NWCherries.com.

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Looking for a new doctor? Start with a D.O.

(BPT) – Your yearly physical, a nagging injury that won’t go away, a sick child: There are plenty of reasons to go to the doctor, but when you do, do you know what type of doctor you’re seeing?

The common answer most people offer is that they are going to see a medical doctor, an M.D., and in many cases they are right. Medical doctors dominate the market, but they are not the only option. Each year more and more Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s) enter the market. In fact, it’s possible your current physician is actually a D.O. rather than an M.D.

So now that you know D.O.s exist, you probably have some questions. This article can help. Consider it your chance to check up on the professionals who are specifically trained to check up on you.

What is a D.O.?

On the surface, a D.O. is so similar to an M.D. that a patient may not recognize the difference. Like their M.D. equivalent, D.O.s are fully licensed physicians who practice in every major specialty. D.O.s enroll in a college of osteopathic medicine, and in addition to their medical training, they also receive special training in the musculoskeletal system, your body’s interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones.

D.O.s use this additional training to treat the pain or disease that is causing immediate problems for the patient. They are also taught to take a deeper look at the patient’s lifestyle and environment to better understand factors that could be influencing their health. A D.O.’s focus is on the patient’s total well-being and they are interested in helping their patients hone preventive techniques that can support long-term health. In short, a D.O. doesn’t just want to treat you when you arrive needing help. They want to help you ward off problems before they ever arise.

A long tradition of service

While you may have never heard of a D.O. before, the profession will celebrate its 125 year anniversary in October. D.O.s have been treating patients and supporting healthy lifestyles since the early 1890s, and can now be found in some of the most prominent medical institutions including The Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.

Over the last decade, however, the popularity of D.O.s has skyrocketed. In fact, since 2006, the number of D.O.s in the United States has increased 65 percent, and D.O.s account for 11 percent of all physicians in the workforce.

Today, one in four incoming medical students is enrolled in a college of osteopathic medicine.

How do I find a D.O. near me?

The easiest thing to do is to contact your current physician and ask whether they are a D.O. It is possible you’ve been seeing a D.O. all along and never knew it. If your physician is not a D.O. or you’re looking for a new physician and you like the idea of a D.O.’s approach to total, lifelong wellness, then finding a D.O. near you is easy.

Start your search by visiting the Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine website and entering your zip code into the “Find a DO” tool. Once you’ve identified your possibilities, meet with those who appeal to you and be choosy when selecting your new physician. After all, it’s your health and you deserve a medical partner who will support it every step of the way.

To learn more about the difference a D.O. can make, visit doctorsthatdo.org.

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Managing the Unpredictability of Multiple Sclerosis in the Heat

(BPT) – Heat and humidity can make anyone feel uncomfortable, but for the 400,000 people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States, warmer weather can make life particularly difficult to manage.

“When it’s warm and sunny, that’s when I want to spend the most time outdoors,” said Wendy Booker, who has been living with MS for almost 20 years. “I enjoy gardening, walking and eating outside, but the heat is sometimes too much to bear, and I find it difficult to even get out the door.”

Symptoms of MS, including dizziness, blurry vision and fatigue, can be unpredictable and often flare up during warm weather. High temperatures and humidity can cause a temporary, slight elevation in body temperature, which impairs nerves and can potentially worsen symptoms.

“The negative effects of temperature and humidity are generally temporary, but they can make the symptoms of MS worse and make it difficult to accomplish everyday tasks or enjoy activities outside,” said Carrie Lyn Sammarco, DrNP, FNP-C, MSCN, nurse practitioner in the NYU Langone Medical Center Multiple Sclerosis Comprehensive Care Center.

If you or someone you care for is living with MS, what can you do to beat the heat?

1. Dress lightly. Clothing can make all the difference. Look for lightweight, open-weave fabrics that “breathe” by letting air flow in and out more easily. Also, protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays by wearing a hat or other protective covering.

2. Hydrate. Drink plenty of cool fluids. Having a cold drink or summer treat, like an ice pop, can often provide temporary relief. “I often freeze a water bottle the night before participating in an outdoor activity so I know I’ll have a cool drink quickly available,” said Ms. Booker.

3. Stay indoors. It may seem obvious, but sometimes the best way to beat the heat is to avoid it altogether! Chill out inside an air-conditioned space, sit in front of a fan or head out to your local movie theater to see the latest flick.

4. Take a dip. “Exercising in a non-heated pool is a great way to stay both active and cool during warm months and something I often recommend to my patients living with MS,” said Dr. Sammarco.

5. Ask for help. The unpredictability of MS symptoms, especially in the heat, may mean you need to ask for help sometimes. Check out a new online resource, GatherMS.com, that provides links to existing, everyday services — from grocery delivery to free transportation. Ms. Booker, who serves as a spokesperson for GatherMS, uses the resource to help her accomplish daily tasks when the heat gets her down.

No matter how you choose to stay cool, talk to your doctor for the best advice on managing your MS year round, especially during the warmer months.

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Easy ways to lighten up your cookout

(BPT) – The mouthwatering taste of grilled foods, the indulgence of rich desserts and the joy of entertaining with family and friends — a cookout is always a crowd-pleaser, no matter the time of year.

The food and fun make for a memorable time, but sometimes all those savory sauces, scrumptious salads and succulent sweets can be a little heavy. Fortunately, you can cut calories and lighten up your menu without sacrificing taste.

Try these eight ideas at your next cookout for lighter foods bursting with flavor.

Go lean: Hamburger and red meat can be high in fat content and calories. When grilling meat, opt for leaner varieties, such as chicken breasts, turkey burgers or fish. Guests will love the variety. If you just can’t forgo the classic American hamburger, look for leaner meat such as a 90-10 ground mix.

Skip the barbecue sauce: A cookout without barbecue sauce? It can be done. Try marinating or rubbing spices on meats and sides instead. For example, citrus juice, olive oil and chopped fresh herbs are a healthier marinade for chicken or fish that brings out natural flavors.

Cut sugar in desserts: Bake with Stevia In The Raw, a zero-calorie sweetener with extracts from the stevia plant. Try replacing about half the sugar in any of your favorite baking recipes with Stevia In The Raw Bakers Bag to cut calories and reduce sugar, while still achieving the proper browning, rising and caramelizing desired. The Bakers Bag is a smart pantry staple and measures cup for cup with sugar so there is no conversion needed.

Think outside the bun: Iceberg and butter lettuce are smart alternatives for buns for those who want to cut calories or have gluten sensitivities. If you do want to include buns in your menu, opt for whole grain rather than plain old white ones.

Drink up: Soda, punch, blended frozen drinks and adult cocktails are packed with calories. Swap or add in flavored water to the menu for a light and refreshing alternative. Fill pitchers with water, ice and add in flavor enhancements, such as sliced lemons, cucumbers, strawberries and raspberries.

Want more inspiration? Try these two recipes for decadent desserts that are ideal whether you’re hosting a cookout or attending a potluck.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Sugar In The Raw + 1/2 cup Stevia In The Raw Bakers Bag
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup chocolate chips

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, egg, vanilla extract and the Sugar In The Raw/Stevia In The Raw Bakers Bag combo. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir well to combine. Slowly add nuts and chocolate chips until well combined. Drop the dough in spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes.

Nutrition information:
Per serving (1 cookie): 144 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, <1 g dietary fiber, 75 mg sodium.

Cranberry Crisp

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sugar In The Raw, divided
1/4 cup Stevia In The Raw Bakers Bag, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8-inch square pan or 9-inch pie dish. In prepared baking dish, toss together cranberries, 1/3 cup Sugar In The Raw, 2 tablespoons Stevia In The Raw, cornstarch and zest. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, 2 tablespoons Sugar In The Raw, 2 tablespoons Stevia In The Raw, salt and nutmeg. Add butter and use your fingers to work it into flour until mixture is crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle crumble mixture over cranberries. Bake until fruit is bubbling and crumble is browned, 45-50 minutes.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 220 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 26 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 150 mg sodium, 11 g sugar.

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How not to look your age

(BPT) – Want to look a little younger but not quite ready for cosmetic surgery? Who doesn’t.

There are more facial rejuvenation treatments to choose from today than ever before. Injectable fillers and neuromodulators like BOTOX can help soften wrinkles, peels can improve skin tone and reduce pigment, and lasers or other energy-based therapies can tighten and firm skin texture. Despite these popular treatments, there has really been no way to reverse the effects of gravity without having surgery until now.

A new non-surgical lifting option called Silhouette InstaLift is catching on among plastic surgeons, dermatologists and celebrities. This physician in-office procedure is used to lift sagging tissues of the mid face and restore volume to facial contours for a lasting, natural-looking improvement.

It is a simple procedure where your dermatologist or plastic surgeon will insert several fine Silhouette InstaLift sutures under your skin to gently lift the mid face and cheeks. These patented Polyglycolide/L-lactide sutures have tiny cones that hold them in place in the deeper tissues. Over time, they are absorbed by the body and stimulate collagen production in the skin, resulting in improved facial contour. Collagen is the structural protein that gives skin the supple, elastic properties associated with youthful skin.

“Silhouette Instalift takes about 45 minutes in the office and results can be seen immediately,” says Dr. Michael Gold, a dermatologist in Nashville, Tennessee. “Because it is a minimally-invasive procedure, patients have few side effects so they can resume normal activities quickly. Most people can go back to work the next day.”

Silhouette InstaLift treats the deeper layer of the face without the downtime and side effects of a traditional facelift. It is a very attractive choice for anyone who wants to do something more than just creams and injectable treatments without the obvious signs of major facial cosmetic surgery. The lifting effect can last for one to two years, and results look natural without any visible scars.

“The best candidates for Silhouette InstaLift are women who have mild to moderate skin laxity, whose facial skin around the cheeks is beginning to sag and look less firm, creating an aging and tired appearance,” says Dr. Julius Few, a plastic surgeon in Chicago and New York City.

Everyone wants to look in the mirror and like what she sees. If you want to avoid the downtime, anesthesia and expense of an invasive surgery, and don’t want to deal with the ongoing maintenance of facial injections, Silhouette InstaLift may be right for you.

To find a Silhouette InstaLift practitioner near you, visit www.thermi.com.

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Breathe easier this summer: An expert shares advice on how to manage asthma during the hotter months

(BPT) – Summer is here, and while many spend their summer vacation outdoors swimming, playing sports and enjoying the sunshine, for those who have asthma, it can be a worrisome season.

While springtime is often the time people think about asthma triggers, summer weather can also cause issues for people with asthma because of the increasing heat, humidity and summer allergens. To ease some of these concerns, Dr. Purvi Parikh, a New York City-based allergist and immunologist and national spokesperson for the Allergy and Asthma Network, shared her recommendations to help asthma patients stay safe and healthy this summer. Dr. Parikh has been working with Teva Pharmaceuticals to bring you this program.

“During the summertime, the common combination of high heat and humidity can often trigger asthma symptoms. Patients should be on the lookout for early warning signs of an asthma attack while participating in outdoor activities in the summer months,” said Dr. Parikh.

With asthma attacks accounting for 1.6 million emergency room visits in the U.S. each year, Dr. Parikh advised that it is essential for those with asthma to always carry their rescue inhaler with them. And to help ensure the inhalers are always ready when needed, she recommends using one with a dose counter, which shows how much medication is left.

According to Dr. Parikh, since rescue inhalers may not always be used on a daily basis, it can be easy to lose track of how much medicine the device still contains. That can present a potentially dangerous situation if and when an asthma attack does occur. In fact, a national survey showed that nearly half of the responding asthma patients found their rescue inhalers empty at least once when they needed it during an asthma attack.

“Dose counters are very helpful in not only keeping track of how much medication is left in a device, but also in empowering patients to take control of their own care,” said Dr. Parikh. “Many parents I talked to are fond of them, especially for their adolescents with asthma. It allows them to be proactive, accountable and vigilant in managing their condition, particularly when they’re away from their parents participating in summer activities like camps and sports.”

Though the hotter months can mean additional asthma triggers, a dose counter is a helpful tool to make sure medication is available and at the ready.

“If I could offer one piece of advice to people living with asthma, it would be not to take those early warning signs lightly and to keep a close eye on your dose counter — you never want to be caught without medicine in a pinch,” said Dr. Parikh.

For additional information on the importance of dose counters, visit KnowYourCount.com.

Dr. Parikh has been compensated for her time in contributing to this program.

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Beat the heat: Tips to stay healthy and hydrated

(BPT) – Americans love summertime and with good reason. It is the best time for outdoor fun and travel with family. Many people enjoy outdoor activities such as bicycling, kayaking and hiking, and kids are more active with sports.

One thing to keep in mind when out and about in the summer heat is to stay properly hydrated. Unfortunately, many of us are not drinking enough water. In fact, 36 percent of adult Americans drink only three or fewer cups of water per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here are some tips for healthy hydration.

Replace your electrolytes

Engaging in physical activity when it is hot outside means you lose water which has to be replaced. You are also losing electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate) which need to be replaced. Very high temperatures — especially for a prolonged period — can be dangerous, especially for seniors.

Ideally, anyone engaging in outdoor activity in the heat or even an indoor exercise program should drink 8 to 12 ounces of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during a session. If exercising exceeds an hour, a beverage that contains electrolytes is preferable to plain water. That is why most sports drinks contain salt. Of course anyone can easily make their own sports drink by adding a quarter to a half teaspoon of salt per liter or 32 ounces of water.

Replacing lost electrolytes is important because they help to regulate cardiovascular and neurological functions, fluid balance and oxygen delivery.

Avoid hyponatremia

Replacing water without sufficient salt can produce hyponatremia, a potentially deadly condition caused by too little sodium in the bloodstream. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, confusion, seizures, coma and even death.

There have been several documented cases of illness and even deaths from hyponatremia over the past several years. According to the British Medical Journal, 16 runners have died as a result of too little sodium and over-hydration, while another 1,600 have become seriously ill. It is true that water intoxication is more commonly seen among extreme athletes, but older individuals may also be at risk for several reasons.

Exercise and aging

It is important to be active but be careful not to push yourself especially in high heat. As we age, our kidneys become less efficient at conserving the salt we need when the body is stressed, such as from dehydration and high temperatures. When combined with common medications such as diuretics, which are commonly prescribed to treat hypertension, the result could be a greater risk for hyponatremia.

When you exercise, your body’s metabolism works at a much higher rate, breaking down and regenerating tissues and creating waste metabolites that need to be flushed out of your system. However, regardless of your level of activity, you still need to maintain good hydration. So remember to always drink plenty of water to beat the heat, but you may also want to up your intake of electrolytes.

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