Tag: health

Artificial Intelligence and Health

Artificial Intelligence and Health

Your Health and Artificial Intelligence.

How safe would you feel if you were diagnosed and treated by artificial intelligence by a machine, so to speak?

First let us take a look at the definition of artificial intelligence and what it is all about.

Artificial Intelligence and health

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer program or a machine to think and learn. It is also a field of study which tries to make computers “smart”. They work on their own without being encoded with commands. John McCarthy came up with the name “artificial intelligence” in 1955.

In general use, the term “artificial intelligence” means a machine which mimics human cognition. “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.”

There’s no doubt that technology has changed the way health care happens—everywhere.

“Even in rural Uganda, a patient can confirm her provider’s authenticity with a text message, and a community health worker can use Google to learn symptoms and treatments,” says Wayan Vota, IntraHealth’s director of digital health.

Now artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are changing the way we manage our health in and outside the clinic. We’re starting to see more instances where health workers and researchers can use AI to diagnose eye disease, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

And then there’s the DIY health tech. Want someone to talk to? There’s a chatbot therapist app for that. Want to have AI on your computer analyze your keystrokes and predict whether you’re developing a neurodegenerative disorder? You can sign up for that here. Want to track and record your every move to stay fit? Keep reading. All these new tools and applications are changing the way we take care of ourselves. They’re also generating scads of health data, which present their own challenges.

What is Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare?

Machine learning has the potential to provide data-driven clinical decision support (CDS) to physicians and hospital staff – paving the way for an
increased revenue potential. Machine learning, a subset of AI designed to identify patterns, uses algorithms and data to give automated insights to healthcare providers.

Examples of AI in Healthcare and Medicine

AI can improve healthcare by fostering preventative medicine and new drug discovery. Two examples of how AI is impacting healthcare include:

IBM Watson’s ability to pinpoint treatments for cancer patients, and Google Cloud’s Healthcare app that makes it easier for health organizations to collect, store, and access data.

Business Insider Intelligence reported that researchers at the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center used IBM Watson’s Genomic product to identify specific treatments for over 1,000 patients. The product performed big data analysis to determine treatment options for people with tumors who were showing genetic abnormalities.

Comparatively, Google’s Cloud Healthcare application programming interface (API) includes CDS offerings and other AI solutions that help doctors make more informed clinical decisions regarding patients. AI used in Google Cloud takes data from users’ electronic health records through machine learning –creating insights for healthcare providers to make better clinicaldecisions.

Google worked with the University of California, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago to generate an AI system that predicts the outcomes of hospital visits. This acts as a way to prevent readmission and shorten the amount of time patients are kept in hospitals.

Benefits, Problems, Risks & Ethics of AI in Healthcare

Integrating AI into the healthcare ecosystem allows for a multitude of benefits, including automating tasks and analyzing big patient data sets to deliver better healthcare faster, and at a lower cost. According to Business Insider Intelligence, 30% of healthcare costs are associated with administrative tasks. AI can automate some of these tasks, like pre-authorizing insurance, following-up on unpaid bills, and maintaining records, to ease the workload of healthcare professionals and ultimately save them money.

AI has the ability to analyze big data sets – pulling together patient insights and leading to predictive analysis. Quickly obtaining patient insights helps the healthcare ecosystem discover key areas of patient care that require improvement. Wearable healthcare technology also uses AI to better serve patients. Software that uses AI, like FitBits and smartwatches, can analyze data to alert users and their healthcare professionals on potential health issues and risks. Being able to assess one’s own health through technology eases the workload of professionals and prevents unnecessary hospital visitsor remissions.

Fitbit_Versa_InBoxSE
FitBits use AI to analyze data to alert users and healthcare professionals on potential health risks
Fitbit

As with all things AI, these healthcare technology advancements are based on data humans provide –meaning, there is a risk of data sets containing unconscious bias. Previous experiences have shown that there is potential for coder bias and bias in machine learning to affect AI findings. In the sensitive healthcare market, especially, it will be critical to establish new ethics rules to address – and prevent – bias around AI.

Future of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

The use of AI in the healthcare market is growing due to the continued demand for wearable technology, digital medicine, and the industry’s overall transformation into the modern, digital age. Hospitals and healthcare professionals are seeing the benefits in using AI in technology and storing patients’ data on private clouds, like the Google Cloud Platform. AI allows doctors and patients to more easily access health records and assess patient’s health data that is recorded over a period via AI-infused technology

AI in technology and storing patients’ data on private clouds, like the Google Cloud Platform.
Google

Health tech companies, startups, and healthcare professionals are discovering new ways to incorporate AI into the healthcare market; and, the speed at which we
improve the healthcare system through AI will only continue to accelerate as the industry dives deeper into digital health. Artificial intelligence in health care carries huge potential, according to experts in computer science and medicine, but it also raises serious questions around bias, accountability and security.

“I think we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg right now,” said Yoshua Bengio, a computer scientist and professor at the University of Montreal, who was recently awarded the Turing Award, often called the “Nobel Prize” of computing. Bengio is one of the pioneers of deep learning, an advanced form of AI, which he believes will advance health care. In deep learning, a computer is fed data, which it uses to make assumptions and learn as it goes — much like our brain does.

Scientists are already using AI to develop medical devices. At the University of Alberta, researchers are testing an experimental bionic arm that can “learn” and anticipate the movements of an amputee. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a tool that can look at your retina and automatically detect signs of diabetic blindness.

Emergency Room Waiting Times

At Humber River Hospital in northwest Toronto, AI is speeding up perhaps the most frustrating part of a patient’s experience: the emergency room. In the hospital’s control center, powerful computers are now accurately predicting how many patients will arrive in the emergency department — two days in advance.

The software processes real-time data from all over the hospital— admissions, wait times, transfers and discharges — and analyzes it, going back over a year’s worth of information. From that, it can find patterns and pinpoint bottlenecks in the system. “If you add up all those tiny delays — how long it takes to see your doctor, how long you’re waiting for your bed to be cleaned, how long you’re waiting to get up to your room — if you measure all of those things and can shorten each one of them, you can start saving a lot of money,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, chief of staff at Humber River Hospital.

According to Gardam, it’s working: patients are now moving through the system faster, allowing the hospital to see an average of 29 more patients a day.

Risks With AI and Health

For machines to learn, they need vast amounts of information. Since that initial data comes from humans, some of that information can be tainted by personal bias  especially if the algorithm isn’t fed a diverse data set.

“In dermatology, you take a look at a number of different photographs or slides of moles. If you happen to be pale-skinned, some of the machine learning associated with that imagery is great. If you’re darker-skinned, it’s not,” said Dr. Jennifer Gibson, a bioethicist at the University of Toronto. She’s not against the integration of AI in health care, but warns that anything involving big data, profit-driven companies and health care should be heavily regulated.

“In our hunger for more data, in order to power these tools, we may be introducing a form of surveillance within our society — which is not really the intended goal,
but might happen accidentally,” Gibson said.

Gardam doesn’t share those concerns; he believes humans — not machines — will remain in control.”It’ll still be a long time before we fully accept information coming from a computer system, telling us what the diagnosis is,” he said. “Humans are still going to be reviewing it until we’re very comfortable we’re not
missing something.”

Some governments aren’t waiting for that to happen. In the U. S, the FDA recently announced that it is developing a framework for regulating self-learning AI products used in medicine. In a statement to CBC News, Health Canada said it also engaging with national, international, industry, academic and government stakeholders “to discuss the challenges and opportunities in regulating current and emerging AI technologies in health care.”

What The 21st Century is Bringing To Us As Far Health Care and AI

In the 21st Century, the age of big data and artificial intelligence (AI), each healthcare organization has built its own data infrastructure to support its own needs, typically involving on-premises computing and storage. Data is balkanized along organizational boundaries, severely constraining the ability to provide services to patients across a care continuum within one organization or across organizations.

This situation evolved as individual organizations had to buy and maintain the costly hardware and software required for healthcare, and has been reinforced by vendor lock-in, most notably in electronic medical records (EMRs). With increasing cost pressure and policy imperatives to manage patients across and between care episodes, the need to aggregate data across and between departments within a healthcare organization and across disparate organizations has become apparent not only to realize the promise of AI but also to improve the efficiency of existing data intensive tasks such as any population level segmentation and patient safety monitoring.

The rapid explosion in AI has introduced the possibility of using aggregated healthcare data to produce powerful models that can automate diagnosis and also enable an increased approach to medicine by tailoring treatments and targeting resources with maximum effectiveness in a timely and dynamic manner.

However, “the inconvenient truth” is that at present the algorithms that feature prominently in research literature are in fact not, for the most part, executable at the front lines of clinical practice. This is for two reasons: first, these AI innovations by themselves do not re-engineer the incentives that support existing ways of working.

A complex web of ingrained political and economic factors and the proximal influence of medical practice norms and commercial interests determine the way healthcare is delivered. Simply adding AI applications to a fragmented system will not create sustainable change. Second, most healthcare organizations lack the data infrastructure required to collect the data needed to optimally train algorithms to (a) “fit” the local population and/or the local practice patterns, a requirement prior to deployment that is rarely highlighted by current AI publications, and (b) interrogate them for bias to guarantee that the algorithms perform consistently across patient cohorts, especially those who may not have been adequately represented in the training cohort.

For example, an algorithm trained on mostly Caucasian patients is not expected to have the same accuracy when applied to minorities. In addition, such rigorous evaluation and re-calibration must continue after implementation to track and capture those patient demographics and practice patterns which inevitably change over time.

Some of these issues can be addressed through external validation, the importance of which is not unique to AI, and it is timely that existing standards for prediction model reporting are being updated specifically to incorporate standards applicable to this end. In the United States, there are islands of aggregated healthcare data in the ICU, and in the Veterans Administration. These aggregated data sets have predictably catalyzed an acceleration in AI development; but without broader development of data infrastructure outside these islands it will not be possible to generalize these innovations.

Airtificial Intelligence and Health Care. You Tube Video

The Google Cloud, Health and AI

Elsewhere in the economy, the development of cloud computing, secure high-performance general use data infrastructure and services available via the Internet (the “cloud”), has been a significant enabler for large and small technology companies alike, providing significantly lower fixed costs and higher performance and supporting the aforementioned opportunities for AI. Healthcare, with its abundance of data, is in theory well-poised to benefit from growth in cloud computing. The largest and arguably most valuable store of data in healthcare rests in EMRs. However, clinician satisfaction with EMRs remains low, resulting in variable completeness and quality of data entry, and interoperability between different providers remains elusive.

The typical lament of a harried clinician is still “why does my EMR still suck and why don’t all these systems just talk to each other?” Policy imperatives have attempted to address these dilemmas, however progress has been minimal. In spite of the widely touted benefits of “data liberation”, a sufficiently compelling use case has not been presented to overcome the vested interests maintaining the status quo and justify the significant upfront investment necessary to build data infrastructure.

Furthermore, it is reasonable to suggest that such high-performance computing work has been and continues to be beyond the core competencies of either healthcare organizations or governments and as such, policies have been formulated, but rarely, if ever, successfully implemented. It is now time to revisit these policy imperatives in light of the availability of secure, scalable data infrastructure available through cloud computing that makes the vision of interoperability realizable, at least in theory.

To realize this vision and to realize the potential of AI across health systems, more fundamental issues have to be addressed: who owns health data, who is responsible for it, and who can use it? Cloud computing alone will not answer these questions—public discourse and policy intervention will be needed. The specific path forward will depend on the degree of a social compact around healthcare itself as a public good, the tolerance to public private partnership, and crucially, the
public’s trust in both governments and the private sector to treat their healthcare data with due care and attention in the face of both commercial and political perverse incentives.

In terms of the private sector these concerns are amplified as cloud computing is provided by a few large technology companies who have both significant market power and strong commercial interests outside of healthcare for which healthcare data might potentially be beneficial. Specific contracting instruments are needed to ensure that data sharing involves both necessary protection and, where relevant, fair material returns to healthcare organizations and the patients they serve. In the absence of a general approach to contracting, high profile cases in this area have been corrosive to public trust.

Data privacy regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or California’s Consumer Privacy Act are necessary and well-intentioned, though incur the risk of favoring well-resourced incumbents who are more able to meet the cost of regulatory compliance thereby possibly limiting the growth of smaller healthcare provider and technology organizations.

Initiatives to give patients access to their healthcare data, including new proposals from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services are welcome, and in fact it has long been argued that patients themselves should be the owners and guardians of their health data and subsequently consent to their data being used to develop AI solutions.

In this scenario, as in the current scenario where healthcare organizations are the de-facto owners and guardians of patient data generated in the health system alongside fledgling initiatives from prominent technology companies to share patient generated data back into the health system, there exists the need for secure, high-performance data infrastructure to make use of this data for AI applications.

If the aforementioned issues are addressed, there are two possible routes to building the necessary data infrastructure to enable today’s clinical care and population health management and tomorrow’s AI enabled workflows. The first is an evolutionary path to creating generalized data infrastructure by building on existing impactful successes in the research domain such as the recent Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimentation and Sustainability
(STRIDES) initiative from the National Institutes of Health or MIMIC from the MIT Laboratory for Computational Physiology to generate the momentum for change.

Another, more revolutionary path would be for governments to mandate that all healthcare organizations store their clinical data in commercially available clouds. In either scenario, existing initiatives such as the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership (OMOP) and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard that create a common data schema for storage and transfer of healthcare data and AI enabled technology innovations to accelerate the migration of existing data will accelerate progress and ensure that legacy data are included.

There are several complex problems still to be solved including how to enable informed consent for data sharing, and how to protect confidentiality yet maintain data fidelity. However, the prevalent scenario for data infrastructure development will depend more on the socioeconomic context of the health system in question rather than on technology.

A notable by-product of a move of clinical and research data to the cloud would be the erosion of market power of EMR providers. The status quo with proprietary data formats and local hosting of EMR databases favors incumbents who have strong financial incentives to maintain the status quo. Creation of health data infrastructure opens the door for innovation and competition within the private sector to fulfill the public aim of inter operable health data.

The potential of AI is well described, however in reality health systems are faced with a choice: to significantly downgrade the enthusiasm regarding the potential of AI in everyday clinical practice, or to resolve issues of data ownership and trust and invest in the data infrastructure to realize it.

Now that the growth of cloud computing in the broader economy has bridged the computing gap, the opportunity exists to both transform population health and realize the potential of AI, if governments are willing to foster a productive resolution to issues of ownership of healthcare data through a process that necessarily transcends election cycles and overcomes or co-opts the vested interests that maintain the status quo—a tall order. Without this however, opportunities for AI in healthcare will remain just that—opportunities.

References:

Panch, T., Szolovits, P. & Atun, R. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and health systems. J. Glob. Health 8, 020303 (2018).

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A., Michalowski, M. & Buckeridge, D. Health intelligence: how
artificial intelligence transforms population and personalized health. NPJ Digit Med. 1, 53 (2018).

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Fogel, A. L. & Kvedar, J. C. Artificial intelligence powers digital medicine. NPJ Digit Med. 1, 5 (2018).

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I wonder whether to be worried about this or accept it with confidence. What ever goes into artificial intelligence is provided by human’s. How would this work with medical bills? What about the real Doctor?

I think about the incorporation of AI into automobiles. Again Google is right there amongst other AI automobiles like the Tesela.

The auto pilot system has been around for several years, but it’s functionability is relevant to flying the plane once it is already in the sky and everything is going smoothly. It can not land the plane or deal with complications if there were problems.

Will this be like the health care system of the future?

Thank you for reading,

Michael.

Comments are welcome

Alcohol Addiction Facts

Alcohol Addiction Facts

       Alcoholism the sometimes misunderstood disease.

Definition of alcoholism:

In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use.

Why can someone drink alcohol on a social level and with a level of responsibility. While someone else has to drink to get drunk, and sometimes lose that feeling of responsibility to a point of slurred speech and perhaps even stagger and finally pass out.

What is the difference between these two people?

For the longest time alcoholism was regarded as a conscious choice one makes to get drunk. Yes, sometimes there is the person who drinks for the sole idea of getting drunk, perhaps a social occasion, help them overcome a traumatic event or just because everyone else is drunk.

The hangover, the realization of knowing this was just a brief encounter and now it is time to get back to doing the things you need to do to become that responsible person again. In most cases this is accepted behaviour and laughed about after. The is the social drinker widely accepted by everyone.

Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone. There are those who have that one drink, then two and proceed to a level of total intoxication.

Casual drinking, alcohol abuse, & alcoholism:

Let’s start with casual drinking. Unless you have religious or personal restrictions, there’s nothing wrong with a few drinks with friends, maybe some wine with dinner, or the occasional bubbly at a party. The problem starts, though, when you begin abusing the substance.

Many people use the terms “alcohol abuse” and “alcoholism” interchangeably. However, alcoholism refers to an alcohol addiction or dependence, where the individual has a physical or psychological compulsion to drink alcohol. Alcohol abuse refers to a pattern of behavior where a person drinks excessively in spite of the negative consequences.

Ten Warning Signs You’re An Alcoholic:

The following are ten warning signs of alcoholism that might help answer the question “Am I an Alcoholic?”:

  • Drinking alone and in secrecy
  • Losing interest in other activities that were once enjoyable
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Making drinking a priority over responsibilities, such as employment and family
  • Alcohol withdrawal symptoms (sweating, anxiety, etc.)
  • Extreme mood swings and irritability
  • Feelings of guilt associated with drinking
  • Having a drink first thing in the morning
  • Continuing to drink, despite health, financial and family problems
  • Inability to stop or control the amount of alcohol that’s consumed

Symptoms of alcoholism and alcohol addiction:

Alcoholism is the physical and/or mental dependence on alcohol.

If you find yourself regularly thinking about your next drink, or if you’ve tried to cut back on drinking and never quite succeeded, you may have an alcohol addiction.

Alcoholism begins with tolerance. Alcohol is a drug, and as you drink more, the body becomes less susceptible to its effects. And with enough repetition, it comes to expect the presence of alcohol. This leads to alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS), when the body reacts to a heavy drinker stopping the supply.

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal:

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Jumpiness or shakiness
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Not thinking clearly

It may take a few hours or days for these symptoms to show, and they may get worse in the days following.

Withdrawal can be dangerous, but a detox program can help you move past the negative symptoms safely.

In some cases, the individual may experience the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens. The can cause agitation, fever, hallucinations, confusion, and seizures. For this reason, heavy drinkers who are looking to end their addiction should seek medical assistance.

In the past, a person with this condition was referred to as an “alcoholic.” However, this is increasingly seen as an unhelpful and negative label. Health professionals now say that a person has an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), in 2015, 15.1 million American adults (6.2 percent of the population) had an alcohol use problem.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, 3.3 million deaths every year result from the harmful use of alcohol.

Causes:

Young person drinking alcohol in park.
Causes and risk factors include peer pressure, drinking from a young age, and depression.

Alcohol dependence can take from a few years to several decades to develop. For some people who are particularly vulnerable, it can happen within months.

Over time, regular alcohol consumption can disrupt the balance of:

  • gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain
  • glutamate

GABA controls impulsiveness and glutamate stimulates the nervous system.

Dopamine levels in the brain rise after consuming alcohol. Dopamine levels may make the drinking experience more gratifying.

Over the long- or medium-term, excessive drinking can significantly alter the levels of these brain chemicals. The causes the body to crave alcohol in order to feel good and avoid feeling bad.

Possible risk factors:

Some risk factors may also be linked to excessive drinking.

  • Genes: Some specific genetic factors may make some people more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol and other substances. There may be a family history.
  • The age of the first alcoholic drink: A study has suggested that people who start drinking alcohol before the age of 15 years may be more likely to have problems with alcohol later in life.
  • Easy access: There appears to be a correlation between easy access to alcohol — such as cheap prices — and alcohol abuse and alcohol-related deaths. One study registered a significant drop in alcohol-related deaths after one state raised alcohol taxes. The effect was found to be nearly two to four times that of other prevention strategies, such as school programs or media campaigns.
  • Stress: Some stress hormones are linked to alcohol abuse. If stress and anxiety levels are high, a person may consume alcohol in an attempt to blank out the upheaval.
  • Peer drinking: People whose friends drink regularly or excessively are more likely to drink too much. The can eventually lead to alcohol-related problems.
  • Low self-esteem: Those with low self-esteem who have alcohol readily available are more likely to consume too much.
  • Depression: People with depression may deliberately or unwittingly use alcohol as a means of self-treatment. On the other hand, consuming too much alcohol may increase the risk of depression, rather than reducing it.
  • Media and advertising: In some countries, alcohol is portrayed as a glamorous, worldly, and cool activity. Alcohol advertising and media coverage of it may increase the risk by conveying the message that excessive drinking is acceptable.
  • How the body processes (metabolizes) alcohol: People who need comparatively more alcohol to achieve an effect have a higher risk of eventually developing health problems related to alcohol.

More Risk Factors:

This information I know I have repeated it, there is a reason. Too many people are dying, too many families are suffering from watching a loved one on his or her journey to an early death. The mood changes, sad, happy depressed and yes suicidal. I will repeat myself, my words may be redundant but I am an alcoholic, and I do not want to go back to being sick again. Yes I will repeat, I am scared.

Alcohol use may begin in the teens, but alcohol use disorder occurs more frequently in the 20s and 30s, though it can start at any age.

  • Steady drinking over time. Drinking too much on a regular basis for an extended period or binge drinking on a regular basis can lead to alcohol-related problems or alcohol use disorder.
  • Starting at an early age. People who begin drinking — especially binge drinking — at an early age are at a higher risk of alcohol use disorder.
  • Family history. The risk of alcohol use disorder is higher for people who have a parent or other close relative who has problems with alcohol. This may be influenced by genetic factors.
  • Depression and other mental health problems. It’s common for people with a mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to have problems with alcohol or other substances.
  • History of trauma. People with a history of emotional or other trauma are at increased risk of alcohol use disorder.
  • Having bariatric surgery. Some research studies indicate that having bariatric surgery may increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder or of relapsing after recovering from alcohol use disorder.
  • Social and cultural factors. Having friends or a close partner who drinks regularly could increase your risk of alcohol use disorder. The glamorous way that drinking is sometimes portrayed in the media also may send the message that it’s OK to drink too much. For young people, the influence of parents, peers and other role models can impact risk.

Diagnosis:

For AUD to be diagnosed in the U.S., the individual must meet the criteria laid out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APS).

The criteria include having a pattern of consumption that leads to considerable impairment or distress.

At least three of the following criteria should have been present during the past 12 months:

  • Alcohol tolerance: A person needs a large quantity of alcohol to feel intoxicated. However, when the liver is damaged and cannot metabolize the alcohol so well, this tolerance may drop. Damage to the central nervous system may also reduce tolerance levels.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: When the individual abstains from alcohol or cuts down, they experience tremors, insomnia, nausea, or anxiety. They may drink more to avoid these symptoms.
  • Beyond intentions: The person drinks more alcohol, or over a longer period, than they intended.
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down: The person is continuously trying to cut down alcohol consumption but does not succeed. They may have a persistent desire to cut down.
  • Time consumed: The person spends a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from alcohol consumption.
  • Withdrawal: The individual withdraws from recreational, social, or occupational activities that they previously participated in.
  • Persistence: The person continues consuming alcohol, even though they know it is harming them physically and psychologically.

Some signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse may be due to another condition. Ageing can lead to memory problems and falls, for example.

A person may go to the doctor about a medical condition, such as a digestive problem, and not mention how much alcohol they consume. The can make it difficult for a doctor to identify who might benefit from alcohol dependency screening.

If a health worker suspect alcohol may be a problem, they may ask a series of questions. If the patient answers in a certain way, the doctor may then use a standardized questionnaire to find out more.

Complications:

Sad woman covering face with hands.

Complications of this condition may include memory loss, confusion, mental health issues, and problems with work or home life.

Drinking alcohol usually elevates a person’s mood at first.

However, a person who has been consuming unhealthy amounts of alcohol for a long time is likely to become sedated when they drink.

This is because alcohol depresses the nervous system.

Alcohol may undermine a person’s judgment. It can lower inhibitions and alter the drinker’s thoughts, emotions, and general behavior.

Heavy regular drinking can seriously affect a person’s ability to coordinate their muscles and speak properly.

Heavy binge drinking could lead to a coma.

Eventually, regular heavy drinking may cause at least one of the following problems:

  • Fatigue: The person feels tired most of the time.
  • Memory loss: Alcohol affects the short-term memory in particular.
  • Eye muscles: The eye muscles can become significantly weaker.
  • Liver diseases: There is a higher chance of developing hepatitis and cirrhosis, an irreversible and progressive condition.
  • Gastrointestinal complications: Gastritis or pancreas damage can occur. These will undermine the body’s ability to digest food, absorb certain vitamins, and produce hormones that regulate metabolism.
  • Hypertension: Regular heavy drinking is likely to raise blood pressure.
  • Heart problems: There is a higher risk of cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle), heart failure, and stroke.
  • Diabetes: There is a high risk of developing diabetes type 2, and people with diabetes have a high chance of complications if they regularly consume more alcohol than is recommended. Alcohol prevents the release of glucose from the liver, resulting in hypoglycemia. If a person with diabetes is already using insulin to lower their blood sugar levels, hypoglycemia could have serious consequences.
  • Menstruation: Excessive consumption of alcohol can stop or disrupt menstruation.
  • Erectile dysfunction: There may be problems getting or sustaining an erection.
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome: Consuming alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects. The newborn may have a small head, heart problems, shortened eyelids, and developmental and cognitive problems.
  • Thinning bones: Alcohol interferes with the production of new bone, leading to a thinning of the bones and an increased risk of fractures.
  • Nervous system problems: There may be numbness in the extremities, dementia, and confused or disordered thinking.
  • Cancer: There is a higher risk of developing several cancers, including cancer of the mouth, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, breast, prostate, and pharynx.
  • Accidents: There is a higher chance of injuries from falls, road traffic accidents, and so on.
  • Domestic abuse: Alcohol is a major factor in spouse-beating, child abuse, and conflicts with neighbors.
  • Work or school problems: Employment or educational problems and unemployment are often alcohol-related.
  • Suicide: Suicide rates among people with alcohol dependence or who consume alcohol inappropriately are higher than among those who do not.
  • Mental illness: Alcohol abuse increases the risk of mental illness, and it can make existing mental illnesses worse.
  • Problems with the law: People who consume alcohol are significantly more likely to spend time in court or in prison, compared with the rest of the population.

Later on I will be talking about treatment. Personally I do not think there is anything that that can be considered treatment to the elimination of alcoholism. I as an alcoholic know that if I pick up any addictive substance, I will end up going back to drinking alcohol. I have to watch out for cough mixtures, Tylenol with codeine (Tylenol 3). There is no cure, only permanent and absolute abstinence. Yes, I am fearful I may pick up a trigger. I have to watch out what kind of social functions I attend.

What causes it?

The cause of alcohol use disorder is still unknown. Alcohol use disorder develops when you drink so much that chemical changes in the brain occur. These changes increase the pleasurable feelings you get when you drink alcohol. This makes you want to drink more often, even if it causes harm.

Eventually, the pleasurable feelings associated with alcohol use go away and the person with alcohol use disorder will engage in drinking to prevent withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be quite unpleasant and even dangerous.

Alcohol use disorder typically develops gradually over time. It’s also known to run in families. It has not been proven but it is supposed to attack the male’s in the family try. Indications imply it may skip one generation. Within this said family it may skip all the females. This is not conclusive but it happens all too often to be dismissed.

How is it treated?

Treatment for alcohol use disorder varies, but each method is meant to help you stop drinking altogether. The is called abstinence. Treatment may occur in stages and can include the following:

  • detoxification or withdrawal to rid your body of alcohol
  • rehabilitation to learn new coping skills and behaviors
  • counseling to address emotional problems that may cause you to drink
  • support groups, including 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • medical treatment for health problems associated with alcohol use disorder
  • medications to help control addiction

There are a couple of different medications that may help with alcohol use disorder:

  • Naltrexone (ReVia) is used only after someone has detoxed from alcohol. This type of drug works by blocking certain receptors in the brain that are associated with the alcoholic “high.” This drug, in combination with counseling, may help decrease a person’s craving for alcohol.
  • Acamprosate is a medication that can help re-establish the brain’s original chemical state before alcohol dependence. This drug should also be combined with therapy.
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse) is a drug that causes physical discomfort (such as nausea, vomiting, and headaches) any time the person consumes alcohol.

You may need to seek treatment at an inpatient facility if your addiction to alcohol is severe. These facilities will provide you with 24-hour care as you withdraw from alcohol and recover from your addiction. Once you’re well enough to leave, you’ll need to continue to receive treatment on an outpatient basis.

What’s the outlook for a person with alcohol use disorder?

Recovering from alcohol use disorder is difficult. Your outlook will depend on your ability to stop drinking. Many people who seek treatment are able to overcome the addiction. A strong support system is helpful for making a complete recovery.

Your outlook will also depend on the health complications that have developed as a result of your drinking. Alcohol use disorder can severely damage your liver. It can also lead to other health complications, including:

Alcoholism is a result of a combination of genetic, psychological, environmental and social factors. The more risk factors a person exhibits, the more likely they are to become an alcoholic. And sometimes those risk factors are entirely out of the person’s control. Let’s cover some of them below:

1. STRESSFUL ENVIRONMENTS

While not every person turns to alcohol to relieve stress, some people do. When a person has a stressful job, for example, they may be more likely to drink heavily. This is often the case with certain occupations such as doctors and nurses – their day-to-day lives can be extremely stressful. To lower this risk factor, take the time to de-stress with healthy methods, like reading a good book, exercising or taking a nap.

Eight percent of high school students have reported binge drinking alcohol to the point of vomiting. Twelve percent of students have reported participating in a drinking game with their peers.

2. DRINKING AT AN EARLY AGE

According to the Mayo Clinic, those who begin drinking at an early age are more likely to have an alcohol problem or a physical dependence on alcohol as they get older. Not only is this because drinking may become a comfortable habit, but also because the body’s tolerance levels may increase.

3. MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS LIKE DEPRESSION

Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or other mental health issues can increase risk of alcoholism. It’s easy to turn to alcohol when a person is feeling anxious or depressed – and the effects of alcohol may seem to temporarily ease those feelings. The can resort to drinking more and more, leading to alcohol addiction.

4. TAKING ALCOHOL WITH MEDICINE

Some medicines can increase the toxic effects of alcohol on the body. When a person continually takes alcohol with their medications, they may become addicted to the effects that follow – some of which have the capability to be very dangerous and even life-threatening.

5. FAMILY HISTORY

If you have a parent or other relative who is an alcoholic, your risk of alcoholism automatically increases. Part of this is due to genetics, but the other part has to do with your environment. Spending time around people who drink heavily or abuse alcohol can influence you to do the same.

Multiple factors can play a role in a person’s risk of alcoholism. While the above may not directly be considered “causes” of alcoholism, they can play a role in its development. It’s important to understand your risk and do what you can to lower it as much as possible.

  • More than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than eight percent of those receive treatment.
  • More than 65 million Americans report binge drinking in the past month, which is more than 40 percent of the total of current alcohol users.
  • Teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year. That’s more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Drunk driving costs the United States more than $199 billion every year.

ALCOHOL AND WOMEN:

  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 5.3 million women ages 18 and older have an alcohol use disorder.
  • Approximately one in two women of child-bearing age drink, and 18 percent of women in this group binge drink (five drinks per binge, on average).
  • Excessive drinking can interrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to infertility.
  • Women who binge drink are more likely to have unprotected sex, increasing the risk of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Women who drink while pregnant increase the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause mental and physical birth defects.
  • Binge drinking dramatically increases the risk of sexual assault on women, especially those living in a college setting.
  • More than 45 percent of adult women report drinking alcohol in the last month, and 12 percent of these report binge drinking.
  • Alcohol abuse disorder in women has increased by 83.7% between 2002 and 2013, according to a 2017 study sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
  • High-risk drinking, defined as more than three drinks in a day or seven in a week for women, is on the rise among women by about 58%, according to a 2017 study comparing habits from 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.
  • Death from liver cirrhosis rose in women from 2000 to 2013.

Rapid increase in deaths due to alcohol-related liver disease:

The deaths linked to the end stages of liver damage jumped by 65 percent with alcohol a major cause, adults age 25-34 the biggest victims and fatalities highest among whites, American Indians and Hispanics.

Liver specialist Elliot B. Tapper, M.D., says he’s witnessed the disturbing shift in demographics among the patients with liver failure he treats at Michigan Medicine. National data collected by Tapper and study co-author Neehar Parikh, M.D., M.S., confirms that in communities across the country more young people are drinking themselves to death.

The data published in the journal BMJ shows adults age 25-34 experienced the highest average annual increase in cirrhosis deaths — about 10.5 percent each year. The rise was driven entirely by alcohol-related liver disease, the authors say.

Other Treatments for Alcohol Addiction:

Acupuncture for Alcohol Addiction:

Acupuncture (a needle-based therapy long used in traditional Chinese medicine) is often recommended to help reduce alcohol cravings, relieve withdrawal symptoms, and ease the anxiety and depression frequently experienced by alcoholics.

Indeed, a 2002 study of 34 alcoholics found that two weeks of acupuncture treatments (combined with carbamazepine, a drug sometimes used in managing alcohol withdrawal) helped decrease the participants’ withdrawal symptoms. However, a systematic review published in 2009 concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support acupuncture’s effectiveness in alcoholism treatment.

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), an herb rich in the antioxidant silymarin, is often touted as a means of restoring liver health and protecting against alcohol-induced liver damage. While preliminary research indicates that milk thistle may offer some benefit to those looking to treat alcohol-related liver disease, more studies are needed to draw any definitive conclusions about the herb’s effectiveness in enhancing liver health.

In a 2003 study on laboratory rats, scientists discovered that feeding the animals extract of kudzu (Pueraria lobata) helped curb their alcohol dependence. What’s more, a small study published in 2005 showed that taking kudzu supplements helped reduce alcohol intake in humans.

Detoxing Herbs for the Liver & Blood:

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum offinale), Artichoke Leaf (Cynara scolymus) and Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) are excellent herbs to cleanse and strengthen the liver when recovering from long-term alcohol use.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) are blood cleansers that start the gentle process of cleasing toxins out of your blood and body.  Drink plenty of water to assist your body in the detoxification process.
Apple Cider Vinegar is another natural way to stimulate your liver, digestive system and alkalinise your body.  Mix 1-2 tsp of unpasteurised, organic ACV in 1 cup of water, drink before meals, 3 times daily for best results. If you are doing a detox this July, this is a great drink to include in your regime.
Herbs to Overcome Cravings:
Gymnema (Gymnema sylvestris) is an amazing herb to regulate blood sugar – many people are surprised how much of their alcohol habit is really a secret sugar addiction!

Kudzu (Peuraria lobata) is one of the oldest known herbal medicines, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for reducing the craving for alcohol and as a hangover cure. A recent Harvard Medical School study corroborates this use.

More at Home Help:

If using natural methods to home-detox, take a dose of vitamin-B complex, plus a thiamine (vitamin B1) supplement and large doses of vitamin C, selenium, magnesium and zinc. A combination of amino acids or a large dose of L-glutamine will help combat cravings.

Milk thistle and alpha lipoic acid supplements can help the liver recover after prolonged alcohol abuse.

An over-the-counter sleep remedy such as melatonin or valerian can help with insomnia bought on by alcohol withdrawal.

Home Detox Steps:

Abruptly stopping drinking when you have withdrawal symptoms is not advisable without medication. For hundreds of years, long before medications were available, people have successfully used alcohol for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. The optimal drink to use is beer, as anything stronger will likely lead to drunkenness.

The idea is to drink small amounts of beer, tapering down gradually until all possibilities of suffering withdrawal symptoms have passed. Usually within 24 to 48 hours the patient is able to stop drinking the beer safely.

The amount of beer will depend on each individual. Generally, 12 ounces every hour is a reasonable starting point, then slowly reduce the amount of beer, or increase the amount of time between taking the beer. After three hours, you should be able to safely take only 8 ounces per hour, which can then be reduced to 4 ounces every two or three hours.

Combine the beer tapering with your vitamin supplements, and drink plenty of water. Lemon juice added to the water will also help your body detox.

Eat only light foods, such as fresh fruits or vegetables, and then only if you feel hungry. Do not force food because you feel you should be eating. Your body has enough to cope with eliminating the alcohol, and it will let you know when it feels ready for food. By eating before your body is ready, you are simply putting more of a burden on overworked organs.

Related stories: Please click on the titles for more information.

My name is Michael, and I am a recovering alcoholic.

Thank you for reading.

Comments are welcome.

The Ketogenic Diet. Claims.

The Ketogenic Diet. Claims.

             The Ketogenic Diet. What you should be aware of.

Ketogenic diet, as defined in Wikipedia

A keto diet is well-known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy. It’s referred to as many different names – ketogenic diet, low carb diet, low carb high fat.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.

  • Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
  • Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically, on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.

The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.

Are there Dangers in the Ketogenic Diet?

Can ketone production in the body get too high? Yes, it’s called ketoacidosis. Is it likely under normal circumstances? Not at all. For most people, it’s a challenge just to get into optimal ranges for ketosis. Getting into territory where you need medical intervention is just not likely.

The main exception to ketoacidosis is type 1 diabetics – it can happen when insulin levels are severely low which is rare in someone with a normally functioning pancreas. Dangerously high ketone levels result in insulin secretion.

Please, I am not knocking the Keto Diet Plan, just investigating it.

What is a normally functioning pancreas? Do you know if your pancreas is functioning normally?

Whatever you plan on doing, please always consult your Doctor first!!!

What happens to your body when you switch from your regular diet to a new, “Ketogenic Diet”.

Your body is used to the simple routine of breaking down carbohydrates and using them as energy. Over time the body has built up an arsenal of enzymes ready for this process and only has a few enzymes for dealing with fats – mostly to store them.

All of a sudden your body has to deal with the lack of glucose and increase in fats, which means building up a new supply of enzymes. As your body becomes induced into a ketogenic state, your body will naturally use what’s left of your glucose.

This means your body will be depleted of glycogen in the muscles – which can cause a lack of energy and general lethargy.

In the first week, many people report headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness, and aggravation. Most of the time, this is the result of your electrolytes being flushed out, as ketosis has a diuretic effect. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep your sodium intake up.

In fact, you should go overboard with the salt – salt everything! Sodium will help with water retention and help replenish the electrolytes. For most, this temporary groggy feeling is the biggest danger you’re going to face. It’s called the “Keto Flu.”

Keto Flu:

Keto flu is a very common experience for new ketoers, but it often goes away after just a few days – and there are ways to minimize or even eliminate it. When transitioning to keto, you may feel some slight discomfort including fatigue, headache, nausea, cramps, etc.

There are a few reasons for the keto flu, but the two primary concerns are:

  1. Keto is a diuretic. You tend to go to the bathroom more to urinate, which attributes to a loss of both electrolytes and water in your body. You can usually help combat this by either drinking bouillon cube or Powerade Zero and by increasing your water intake. Mainly, you want to replenish your depleted electrolytes.
  2. You’re transitioning. Your body is equipped to process a high intake of carbs and a lower intake of fat. Your body needs to create enzymes to be able to do this. In the transitional period, the brain may run low on energy which can lead to grogginess, nausea, and headaches. If you’re having a large problem with this, you can choose to reduce carb intake gradually.

After increasing water intake and replacing electrolytes, it should relieve most all symptoms of Keto Flu. For an average person that is starting a ketogenic diet, eating 20-30g of net carbs a day, the entire adaptation process will take about 4-5 days. Cutting your carbs to fewer than 15g to ensure that you are well on your way into ketosis within one week. If you are experiencing anymore keto flu symptoms, double check your electrolyte intake and adjust.

You may notice that if you’re an avid gym goer, you lost some strength and endurance. A temporary decrease in physical performance is typical. Once your body becomes keto-adapted, your body will be able to fully utilize fat as its primary source of energy.

Common Side Effects on a Keto Diet:

Here are a few of the most common side effects that I come across when people first start keto. Frequently the issues relate to dehydration or lack of micro nutrients (vitamins) in the body. Make sure that you’re drinking enough water (close to a gallon a day) and eating foods with good sources of micro nutrients.

Cramps:

Cramps (and more specifically leg cramps) are a pretty common thing when starting a ketogenic diet. It’s usually occurring in the morning or at night, but it’s a pretty minor issue overall. It’s a sign that there’s a lack of minerals, specifically magnesium, in the body.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluid and eat salt on your food. Doing so can help reduce the loss of magnesium and get rid of the issue.

Salt? Everything in moderation I guess. But then if you did everything in moderation would you need to go on a ketogenic diet?

Constipation:

The most common cause of constipation is dehydration. A simple solution is to increase water intake and try to get as close to a gallon a day as possible.

Making sure vegetables have some fiber in will also usually help. Getting in some good quality fiber from non-starchy vegetables can solve this problem. Though if that’s not enough, usually psyllium husk powder will work or taking a probiotic.

Heart Palpitations:

When transitioning to keto, you may notice that your heart is beating both faster and harder. It’s pretty standard, so don’t worry about it.

If the problem persists, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fluid and eating enough salt. Typically, this is sufficient to get rid of the problem right away. Though if the issue persists, it may be worth taking a potassium supplement once a day.

Exactly is how much salt is enough? Please click for a link.

Reduced Physical Performance:

You may see some limitations on your performance when you first begin a keto diet, but it’s usually just from your body adapting to using fat. As your body shifts in using fat for energy, all of your strength and endurance will return to normal.

Less Common Side Effects on a Keto Diet:

These are some of the lesser common problems that I am e-mailed about on a semi-consistent basis. Many of these problems also relate to hydration and micro nutrients, so make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and replenishing electrolytes.

Breastfeeding:

There are mixed and matched studies on keto and breastfeeding, though nothing is well researched at the current moment. Right now it’s understood that ketogenic diets are typically healthy to do while breastfeeding.

It’s suggested to add in 30-50g extra carbs from fruit when breastfeeding to help the body produce milk. You may also have to add in extra calories.

Specifically, 300-500 calories worth of extra fat to help with milk production. You should always contact medical professionals for advice.

Hair Loss:

If you’re experiencing hair loss within five months of starting a ketogenic diet, it’s most likely temporary. You can take a multivitamin and do what you normally do.

Though hair loss is very uncommon on keto, you can minimize it by making sure you’re not restricting calories too far and making sure you get 8 hours of sleep a night.

Increased Cholesterol:

Usually, it’s a good thing! Many studies point toward cholesterol elevation when doing a low-carb, ketogenic diet.

Higher cholesterol is generally due to HDL (the good cholesterol) increasing – lowering your chance of heart disease. You may see increased triglyceride counts, but that’s very common in people losing weight. These increases will subside as weight loss normalizes.

There’s a small percent of people that experience raised LDL cholesterol as well. These elevated levels are usually fine – though harder to test. The dangers of LDL cholesterol come from the size and density, which are shown to be very healthy on keto. Read more on keto and cholesterol.

Friends it is a long article, but I do feel it is essential for you to read before going on a Ketogenic Diet.

Gallstones:

Of the few studies done on keto and gallstones, most people have either improved or cured gallstone problems. The only downside is that many reported an increase in discomfort when starting out on low-carb. If you stick with it, you should notice a vast improvement.

Another common question relating to gallstones is “Can I start keto if I have had my gallbladder removed?” The answer is yes.

You may want to increase your fat gradually to allow your system some time to get used to it.

Indigestion:

Generally speaking, switching to keto gets rid of indigestion and heartburn. Keep in mind that some people see increased attacks when they’re first starting out.

If you’re experiencing problems, it may be best to limit the amount of fat you intake; gradually increasing the amount you have per day over a two-week period.

Keto Rash:

There’s no real scientific reasoning/explanation behind why some people start to itch when they start keto. There’s just a handful of experiences that people have written about, and so I’m basing my answer on what I’ve read.

From anecdotes, it’s most likely irritation from the acetone that is excreted in sweat (it’s why you may experience bad breath).

It’s worth looking into better clothing options for absorbing sweat from your body. It’s also worth showering right after activity that causes you to sweat.

If it’s a lasting issue that is causing problems, you may want to consider upping your carbs or changing exercise plans.

Ketogenic

 

 

 

FIND IT AT THE KETO STORE

Questions and Answers:

Q: How much weight will I lose?

A: The amount of weight you lose is entirely dependent on you. Obviously adding exercise to your regimen will speed up your weight loss. Cutting out things that are common “stall” causes is also a good thing. Artificial sweeteners, dairy, wheat products and by-products (wheat gluten, wheat flours, and anything with an identifiable wheat product in it).

Water weight loss is common when you first start a low carb diet. Ketosis has a diuretic effect to it that can cause many pounds of weight loss in only a few days. While I hate being the bearer of bad news, this isn’t fat. But on a side (and more positive) note, that shows that your body is starting to adjust itself into a fat burning machine!

There’s a huge list of keto-friendly recipes for you to choose from, go check them out! See keto recipes >

Q: How should I track my carb in-take?

A: The most common ways to track your carbs is through MyFitnessPal and their mobile app. You cannot track net carbs on the app, although you can track your total carb intake and your total fiber intake. To get your net carbs, just subtract your total fiber intake from your total carb intake. I have written an article on How to Track Carbs on MyFitnessPal.

Others choose to use FatSecret, which is an app I am unfamiliar with, although I do know that you can track your net carbs. The choice is entirely up to you and up to your free will to decide.

Q: I cheated and want to get back on keto. How do I do that?

A: First take a breath, it’s not the end of the world. You may find that your weight goes up temporarily as your body retains water. You may also find that the scale goes down pretty quickly when you lose that water. If you see the scale fluctuating, please keep in mind that there’s a biological reason for it.

Pick yourself up, get back on track, and stay strict to keep cravings down. If you’re having trouble with the planning aspect, you may want to consider looking into our Keto Academy Program.

Q: I’m not losing anymore weight. Now what?

A: Many things can cause a slow down in weight loss: stress, lack of sleep, exercise, hormonal changes, and alcohol use among other things are factors. Weight loss will not always be a linear process, either. We have fluctuations in water that happens every day.

On average people will lose 1-2 lbs. a week, but that doesn’t mean the scale will drop consistently. Take measurements as well as tracking your weight via scale, as often there can be changes in size but no change on the scale. If you’re still experiencing problems after 4-5 weeks, start looking into your dietary choices.

The first thing people typically recommend is re-tracking your macros to make sure you’ve been on track, making sure you’re drinking enough water and supplementing electrolytes, and finally reducing the amount of dairy being used. You can also read more about weight loss plateau’s here >

Q: I don’t like meat/eggs/dairy/[insert disliked food], can I still do a ketogenic diet?

A: The short answer is yes. Aside from the broad guidelines stated above, there are no real “rules” so long as you’re low carb, moderate protein and getting the rest of your calories from fat. If it fits within your macros, then you’re fine.

Some drink coffee with butter (recipe here) and eat plenty of meat; some do vegetarian recipes, some are dairy and nut free. There are lots of options out there to suit any dietary restriction.

Q: What happens after you reach your goal weight on keto?

A: Some people want to go off keto once they’ve reached their goal weight, others choose to stay on keto or take up a clean-eating diet. I’ve been on keto for almost a decade now. One thing to always remember – if you go back to your old habits you will put the weight back on.

If you keep your intake in check, you may still notice an increase in weight because of glycogen stores refilling. Many people find they stick to keto or a low-carb diet simply because it makes them feel better.

Other points to be aware of:

A ketogenic diet may be more expensive than a standard American diet, but it’s no different than other clean eating lifestyles. That said, there’s still numerous ways to save money while cooking keto. The best ways to save money is the same as with any other budgeting:

Search for deals. There’s always a sale or a coupon to be found for keto-friendly items out there. Typically you can find significant savings in magazines and newspapers that are sent to your house, but they can also be combined with in-store specials and manager cuts. When combined, you can save a significant amount of your keto groceries.

FOR YOUR KETO SHOPPING NEEDS PLEASE VISIT US AT REAL KETONES PLEASE CLICK THE LINK BELOW

Real Ketones Prime D+

Ketogenics

 

 

Bulk buy and cook. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this is the best of both worlds. Buying your food at bulk (specifically from wholesalers) can reduce the cost per pound tremendously. Plus, you can make ahead food (bulk cook chicken thighs for pre-made meat, or cook entire meals) that are used as leftovers, so you spend less time cooking.

Make things yourself. While it’s extremely convenient to buy most things pre-made or pre-cooked, it always adds to the price per pound on items. Try prepping veggies ahead of time instead of buying pre-cut ones. Try making your stew meat from a chuck roast. Or, simply try to make your mayo and salad dressings at home. The simplest of things can work to cut down on your overall grocery shopping.
You can read more advice on how to save money on eating keto on a budget.

Other Cautions:

Overall, eating a high amount of fat, moderate protein, and low amount of carbs can have a massive impact on your health – lowering your cholesterol, body weight, blood sugar, and raising your energy and mood levels

A ketogenic diet can be hard to fathom in the beginning but isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be. The transition can be a little bit tough, but the growing popularity of the clean eating movement makes it easier and easier to find available low-carb foods.

Keep it straightforward and strict. You usually see better results in people who restrict their carb intake further. Try to keep your carbs as low as possible for the first month of keto. Keep it strict by cutting out excess sweets and artificial sweeteners altogether (like diet soda). Cutting these out dramatically decreases sugar cravings.

Drink water and supplement electrolytes. Most common problems come from dehydration or lack of electrolytes. When you start keto (and even in the long run), make sure that you drink plenty of water, salt your foods, and take a multivitamin. If you’re still experiencing issues, you can order electrolyte supplements individually.

Track what you eat. It’s so easy to over-consume on carbs when they’re hidden in just about everything you pick up. Keeping track of what you eat helps control your carb intake and keep yourself accountable.

A personal note:

It is ultimately your decision whether you want to go on the ketogenic diet. I can not say if it is good or bad. I have heard both sides of the story. Yes it does work!!! OR, I fell ill when I tried going on the ketogenic diet!!! There will always be two sides to almost everything. I am not on a diet. I eat well, I exercise, get as much sunshine as I can and get at least eight hours of sleep.

I will provide you with some ketogenic diet recipes. This way I would feel more comfortable with your adapting. I wish you all the very best in whatever decision you make.

Ketogenic Diet Recommendations 1                                                                             Ketogenic Foods Good and Bad To Eat

Ketogenic Diet 1

Ketogenic Diet 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on Ketogenic diets.

 

Some Keto Diets and Recipes: Please click.

Please always consult with your Doctor first before making any lifestyle changes.

Best wishes,

Michael.

Comment’s are welcome.

Thank you.

Vegetables and Health Benefits

Vegetables and Health Benefits

         Vegetables and why they are essential in your diet.

 

People who eat fruit and vegetables as part of their daily diet have a reduced risk of many chronic diseases. USDA’s My Plate encourages making half your plate fruits and vegetables.

Vegetables are important part of healthy eating and provide a source of many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid) and vitamins A, E and C. Options like broccolispinachtomatoes and garlic provide additional benefits, making them a super food!

Potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.

Folate (folic acid) helps the body form healthy red blood cells. Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those in the first trimester of pregnancy need adequate folate to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and spina bifida during fetal development.

I would like to cover some of the vegetables that I feel are essential for you to incorporate into your daily diet for a healthy lifestyle. Through my research I found countless vegetables and this may have to be a two part series. I will do my best to provide you what are called, “Super foods”.

Carrots:

TeaKnown to provide high volumes of Vitamin A, they’re common when it comes to improving vision and eye issues. This vitamin along with tons of antioxidants helps uplift the appearance of skin, providing protection against sun damage. Every bite helps remove plaque off your teeth and stimulates gums to produce more saliva helping to alkaline your system. It’s high content of carotenoids helps lower the risk of heart attacks and suppress abnormal cells helping to treat and prevent cancer.

Cucumber:

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins. Cucumber kills 96% of breast cancer cells in vitro and reduces the risk. Cucumber is rich in the compound “Cucurbitacin B“, which in this study was shown to kill up to 96% of human breast cancer cells in vitro. “Cucurbitacin B”, is a powerful anticancer compound and in lab studies has also been to shown to potently suppress prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancer, as well as leukemia, neuroblastoma and others. Cucumber juice contains a hormone which is needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin which has been found to be beneficial to diabetic patients.

Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the relation and anti-stress mineral. The juice is rich in vitamin B6 which helps reduce the chemical homocysteine which contributes to hardening of the arteries and blood vessels. A medium sweet potato provides you with the complete RDA of vitamin A and then some. They contain phytochemicals including quercetin and chlorogenic acid which have been shown to be effective in fighting cancer.

References: Please click for more information.

Chlorgenic Acid

Homocysteine

Phytochemicals

Quercetin

Kale:

Kale

A diet plentiful in spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli, foods rich in lutein (a yellow carotene that is also concentrated in your retinas) offer incredible help in keeping your eyes healthy. Studies confirmed that malacular degeneration was less for those who ate more lutin and other carotene dense foods

Green Peas:

Green Peas

Just one cup of peas contain 44% of your vitamin K which helps to anchor calcium inside the bones. It’s B vitamins help to prevent osteoporosis. Peas have such high quality protein that protein powders are starting to use it. This avoids the side effects of soy, or dairy products. Coumestrol, a phytonutrient has been shown to reduce the risk of stomach cancers. Peas support the energy producing cells in the body while playing an important role in adrenal function with the pantothenic acid they supply.

Please click for more information:

Coumestrol

Phytonutrient

Pantothenic Acid

Tomatoes:

Tomatoes

Tomatoes have been linked with reduced risk of some neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s. The gel that surrounds tomato seeds helps improve blood flow. The antioxidant lycopene has been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and free radical damage. Other nutrients in tomatoes help prevent excessive clumping of platelets, reducing the risk of blood clots, while the overall collection of antioxidants have been shown to benefit bone health, decrease depression and help to protect the body from cancerous changes.

Lycopene

Zucchini:

Zucchini

Zucchini is known to reduce weight, while holding the nutrient value of your diet. It also helps to promote eye health, and prevent all the diseases that occur from vitamin C deficiency. Zucchini helps to cure asthma and has a content of vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein and fiber while containing worthy quantities of potassium, folate and vitamin A.

Asparagus:

Asparagus

Detoxifies the digestive tract by providing potassium and dietary fiber. High in glutathione, an amino acid with potent antioxidants. Folic acid to increase orgasms. Antioxidant flavonoids to combat inflammation related illness. Loaded with B vitamins to support cardiovascular health. It’s aspartic acid neutralizes ammonia within the body, which causes exhaustion and sexual lassitude. Anti-diabetic qualities. Reduces hangovers. Balances electrolytes. Helps breast feeding mothers produce milk.

Glutathione

Aspartic Acid

Flavonoids

Onions:

Oninons

Onions are good for reducing cholesterol and preventing blood clots, as well as helping treat bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism, gout and for lowering blood sugar because of its powerful diuretic and antibacterial powers.

Brussels Sprouts:

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are especially high in vitamin K which promotes bone health, prevents calcification of tissues, serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and is essential for proper brain and nerve function. The high fiber content of Brussels sprouts lowers cholesterol by binding with bile acids produced by the liver. Studies have shown improved stability of DNA inside our white blood cells after daily consumption. Glucosinolstes in Brussels sprouts and their detox-activating isothiocyanates are shown to fight against and even prevent various cancers.

Cauliflower:

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin needed for cell growth and replication. For this reason, pregnant women and women trying to conceive can benefit from eating cauliflower. The vegetable aids development in the unborn child. The anti-inflammatory support provided by cauliflower (including its vitamin K and omega-3 content) makes it capable of providing cardiovascular benefits and may also help prevent and even possibly reverse blood vessel damage.

Celery:

Celery

Celery leaves are high in vitamin A, whilst the stems are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, and C with rich supplies of potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and plenty of essential amino acids. It’s compounds kill 86% of lung cancer cells in vitro as it is rich in the flavonoid apigenin. Celery helps relieve joint pains, lung infections, asthma, or acne. An active compound called phthalides in celery has been proven to boost circulatory health. Celery contains the chemical 3-n-butylphthalide that reduces high blood pressure by eating 1 cup of raw, whole celery a day.

Green Beans:

Green Beans

Green beans are good sources of vitamin A, C and K. The dietary fibers present in the beans are helpful in controlling blood sugar levels beneficial for diabetes and hypoglycemia sufferers. They are also capable of lowering high blood pressure. Anti-inflammatory properties of green beans are useful for asthma and arthritic patients. Vitamin C, in conjunction with cartenoids, help to support the immune system and prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Eggplant:

Egg Plant

Eggplant is an excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of vitamins B1, B6 and potassium. It has been used as a cholesterol lowering agent and helps protect the lipids or fats of our brain cell membranes. Nasunin, an anthocyanin from eggplant peels, is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger as well as an angiogenesis related diseases such as cancer, diabetic blindness, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Cabbage:

Cabbage

Cabbage contains some cancer fighting properties, including lupeol, sinigrin and sulforaphane, which may trigger enzyme defenses and inhibit tumor growth. Due to its high amount of vitamin C, cabbage helps strengthen the immune system and fight against free radicals. Red cabbage contains vitamin K and anthocyanin, an antioxidant to help reduce plaque on the brain, thus helping prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Red Bell Peppers:

Red Bell Peppers

Red peppers contain 3 times as much vitamin C and 20 times more beta carotene than the other types. Also, helps fight free radical damage to your cells, making them a major health helper against cancer and heart disease. They also greatly boost the immune system.

Turnip:

Turnip

Turnips are a very rich source of calcium, phosphor, folic acid and magnesium, essential for all around development. It’s greens contain high levels of antioxidants and phyto-chemicals which reduce the risk of cancer. The presence of glucosinolates prevents as well as reduces the effect of cancer. Regular consumption of turnip inhibits joint damage, risk of osteoporosis and the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis. It is also an excellent source of calcium, a mineral that supports the body’s production of connective tissues.

Leeks:

Leeks

Folate is present in leeks throughout the plant (including the full leaf portion). This distribution of folate throughout the plant makes leeks a cardio protective food from top to bottom. Leeks also provide a generous amount of vitamin K. Vitamin K benefits every tissue in your body, helping to regulate blood flow. The chemical compounds, which help prevent and fight cancer by blocking the hormones and chemicals in the body that can cause cancer. Leeks are a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber.

Rutabaga:

Rutabaga

Rutabaga or Swedes have phyto-chemicals which eliminate carcinogens through the body as well as assist the liver process harmful toxins. Glucosinolate, may prevent the development of cancerous tumors and may also be helpful in the stomach process bacteria like helicobacter pylori and give rise to the creation of bile. A serving of rutabaga offers over 50% the RDA of vitamin C reducing wheezing in asthma patients. Rutabagas are a wealth of important minerals, including zinc, calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous, all in which play key roles in the creation and maintenance of bone tissue.

Chinese Broccoli:

Chinese Broccoli

Also known as Gai Lan, it’s loaded with vitamin K, known for helping bone issues relieving things like osteoporosis repairing tooth decay and preventing cancer. High in vitamin C it helps cardiovascular health, increasing blood flow lowering the risk for strokes. The vitamin A in it helps improve eye health and leaky gut helping to repair skin cells.

Foods for fighting cancer:

Cancer Fighting

Nutritional needs are crucial dealing with cancer, and these are beneficial foods: Seaweeds (immune boosting and anti cancer), onions, garlic Microalgae like spirulina, chorella and blue green algae, reishi and shitake mushrooms (one per day), cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale and broccoli.

Jicama (Yambean):

Jicama Yam

1 cup of Jicama provides 44% of RDA of vitamin C which promotes eye health and can improve the quality of your skin while boosting your immune system. The Inulin in jicama is a “Prebiotic” food source for the guts good bacteria that maintains both a healthy colon and balanced immunity. Jicama is more beneficial than yogurt for certain strains of bacteria. As a rich source of potassium, it is able to manage blood pressure, since it is a vasodilator and reduces the tension on blood vessels and arteries. Its antioxidants help to protect against cancer, inflammation and infections.

The Jalapeno Pepper:

Jalapeno Pepper

One jalapeno more than a day’s worth of vitamin C which is essential to healthy tissue repair, helps with immunity and fights the effects of aging. Jalapenos also provide iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese. Capsaicin in the pepper aids in weight loss and gives your metabolism a boost. Its anti-bacterial properties help to naturally clear aching congested sinuses. Chemicals in the pepper work against the pain-carrying substance P that’s abundant in arthritis pain and in headaches.

Spirulina:

Spirulina

Spirulina is often deemed the most nutritionally complete of all food supplements, containing a rich supply of many important nutrients, including protein, iron, complex carbohydrates and vitamins A, K, and B complex. Spirulina is the highest source of vitamin B-12, essential for healthy nerves and tissue. Reduces allergic reactions from radiation sickness and is rich in GLA, a compound found in breast milk that helps develop healthier babies. Spirulina also increases stamina and immunity levels in athletes, and its high protein content helps build muscle mass. It is the richest beta carotene food, with a full spectrum of 10 mixed carotenoids.

Holy Basil:

Ho;y Basil

Holy Basil (not the same as the common seasoning) is a counterpart to those commonly prescribed drugs for arthritic pain and inflammation associated with fibromyalgia. Holy basil inhibits the production of the COX-2 Enzyme primarily responsible for inflammation pain. It does so without any side effects. It’s been used in India for ages, plus it’s great for depression and energy levels.

Spinach:

Spinach

Spinach is extremely high in vitamin A and K, helps your eyesight. Researches have also found out that the chance of a woman breaking her hip could be cut by almost 1/3 with a mere 1 cup of spinach per day.

I am sure most expected to find more on spinach, and you are right there are a lot more benefits that I have not listed.

The importance of listing all these vegetables is a way of preventing disease and if you are suffering from some sort of illness, I just hope you will be able to find some relief by adding these vegetables to your diet.

Thank you for visiting,

Michael.

Comments are welcome.

Insomnia and Health

Insomnia and Health

             Insomnia and Your Health

Insomnia, also known as sleeplessness, is a sleep disorder in which people have trouble sleeping. They may have difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep as long as desired. Insomnia is typically followed by daytime sleepiness, low energy, irritability, and a depressed mood. It may result in an increased risk of motor vehicle collisions, as well as problems focusing and learning. Insomnia can be short term, lasting for days or weeks, or long term, lasting more than a month.

Other Definitions of Insomnia:

According to guidelines from a physician group, insomnia is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so. People with insomnia can feel dissatisfied with their sleep and usually experience one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances, and decreased performance in work or at school.

Insomnia symptoms may include:

Difficulty falling asleep at night
Waking up during the night
Waking up too early
Not feeling well-rested after a night’s sleep
Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
Irritability, depression or anxiety
Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
Increased errors or accidents
Ongoing worries about sleep

Additional common causes of insomnia include:

Mental health disorders. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, may disrupt your sleep. Awakening too early can be a sign of depression. Insomnia often occurs with other mental health disorders as well.

Medications:

Many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, such as certain antidepressants and medications for asthma or blood pressure. Many over-the-counter medications — such as some pain medications, allergy and cold medications, and weight-loss products — contain caffeine and other stimulants that can disrupt sleep.

Medical conditions:

Examples of conditions linked with insomnia include chronic pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, gastroesophageal re flux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Sleep-related disorders:

Sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing periodically throughout the night, interrupting your sleep. Restless leg syndrome causes unpleasant sensations in your leg’s and an almost irresistible desire to move them, which may prevent you from falling asleep.

Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol:

Coffee, tea, cola and other caffeinated drinks are stimulants. Drinking them in the late afternoon or evening can keep you from falling asleep at night. Nicotine in tobacco products is another stimulant that can interfere with sleep. Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but it prevents deeper stages of sleep and often causes awakening in the middle of the night.

Insomnia and aging:

Insomnia becomes more common with age. As you get older, you may experience:

Changes in sleep patterns. Sleep often becomes less restful as you age, so noise or other changes in your environment are more likely to wake you. With age, your internal clock often advances, so you get tired earlier in the evening and wake up earlier in the morning. But older people generally still need the same amount of sleep as younger people do.

Changes in activity:

You may be less physically or socially active. A lack of activity can interfere with a good night’s sleep. Also, the less active you are, the more likely you may be to take a daily nap, which can interfere with sleep at night.

Changes in health:

Chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis or back problems as well as depression or anxiety can interfere with sleep. Issues that increase the need to urinate during the night ―such as prostate or bladder problems ― can disrupt sleep. Sleep apnea and restless leg’s syndrome become more common with age.

More medications:

Older people typically use more prescription drugs than younger people do, which increases the chance of insomnia associated with medications.

Insomnia in children and teens:

Sleep problems may be a concern for children and teenagers as well. However, some children and teens simply have trouble getting to sleep or resist a regular bedtime because their internal clocks are more delayed. They want to go to bed later and sleep later in the morning.

Risk factors:

Nearly everyone has an occasional sleepless night. But your risk of insomnia is greater if:

You’re a woman.

Hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle and in menopause may play a role. During menopause, night sweats and hot flashes often disrupt sleep. Insomnia is also common with pregnancy.

You’re over age 60.

Because of changes in sleep patterns and health, insomnia increases with age.
You have a mental health disorder or physical health condition. Many issues that impact your mental or physical health can disrupt sleep.

You’re under a lot of stress.

Stressful times and events can cause temporary insomnia. And major or long-lasting stress can lead to chronic insomnia.

You don’t have a regular schedule.

For example, changing shifts at work or traveling can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.

Health Issues Caused by Insomnia May Include:

Stroke
Asthma attacks
Seizures
Weak immune system
Sensitivity to pain
Inflammation
Obesity
Diabetes mellitus
High blood pressure
Heart disease

Increased risk for mental health disorders: click internal link

These include:

Depression
Anxiety
Confusion and frustration
Performance at work or school
Sex drive
Memory
Judgment

Common causes of chronic insomnia include:

Stress. Concerns about work, school, health, finances or family can keep your mind active at night, making it difficult to sleep. Stressful life events or trauma — such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss — also may lead to insomnia.

Travel or work schedule. Your circadian rhythms act as an internal clock, guiding such things as your sleep-wake cycle, metabolism and body temperature. Disrupting your body’s circadian rhythms can lead to insomnia. Causes include jet lag from traveling across multiple time zones, working a late or early shift, or frequently changing shifts.

Poor sleep habits. Poor sleep habits include an irregular bedtime schedule, naps, stimulating activities before bed, an uncomfortable sleep environment, and using your bed for work, eating or watching TV. Computers, TVs, video games, smartphones or other screens just before bed can interfere with your sleep cycle.
Eating too much late in the evening. Having a light snack before bedtime is OK, but eating too much may cause you to feel physically uncomfortable while lying down. Many people also experience heartburn, a back flow of acid and food from the stomach into the esophagus after eating, which may keep you awake.

Other Causes that May be related to Insomnia:

An irregular sleep schedule
Sleeping during the day
A job that involves working at night
Lack of exercise
Using electronic devices like laptops and cell phones in bed
Having a sleep environment with too much noise or light
A recent death of a loved one
A recent job loss
Various other sources of stress
Excitement about an upcoming event
Recent travel between different time zones (jet lag)

The use of certain substances may have a negative effect on sleep:

Caffeine
Nicotine
Alcohol
Drugs
Cold medicines
Diet pills
Certain types of prescription medications

Complications of insomnia may include:

Lower performance on the job or at school
Slowed reaction time while driving and a higher risk of accidents
Mental health disorders, such as depression, an anxiety disorder or substance abuse
Increased risk and severity of long-term diseases or conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Sleep is as important to your health as a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Whatever your reason for sleep loss, insomnia can affect you both mentally and physically. People with insomnia report a lower quality of life compared with people who are sleeping well.

Insomnia, Sleep Disorders:

Chronic insomnia:

Is disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week and lasts at least three months. Chronic insomnia disorders can have many causes. Changes in the environment, unhealthy sleep habits, shift work, other clinical disorders, and certain medications could lead to a long-term pattern of insufficient sleep. People with chronic insomnia may benefit from some form of treatment to help them get back to healthy sleep patterns. Chronic insomnia can be co morbid, meaning it is linked to another medical or psychiatric issue, although sometimes it’s difficult to understand this cause and effect relationship.

May also be associated with medical conditions or the use of certain drugs. Treating the medical condition may help improve sleep, but the insomnia may persist after the medical condition improves.

How long does insomnia last?

Insomnia may be characterized based on its duration. Acute insomnia is brief and often happens because of life circumstances (for example, when you can’t fall asleep the night before an exam, or after receiving stressful or bad news). Many people may have experienced this type of passing sleep disruption, and it tends to resolve without any treatment.

Sleep and your age:

Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)

Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)

Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)

Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)

School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)

Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)

Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)

Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours

Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)

Medication:

I am not very fond of any type of medication, whether it is prescribed or not. I have dedicated this site to the natural remedies that are so available to us. I will be listing a few alternatives further along this article.

Why You Should Steer Clear of Sleep Medication:

Sleeping pills and other sleep-promoting pharmaceuticals can offer a short-term solution to a temporary bout of insomnia. And plenty of people use them. But often, prescription sleep aids come with unpleasant side effects like headaches, sore muscles, constipation, dry mouth, daytime fatigue, trouble concentrating, dizziness, and more. Add them all up, and they’re about as bad—if not worse–than your garden variety sleep deprivation.

Still, even if you’re one of the lucky few who don’t experience side effects from taking sleeping pills, you likely won’t benefit for long. Most people quickly build up a tolerance to the sedative effects of sleeping medication’s. Which either means that you have to take higher and higher doses to get the same effect, or they stop working altogether.

Consider adding some of these foods to your dinner menu or for a night time snack:

Cheese, and turkey

They are rich in tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s needed to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which your body needs in order to feel relaxed and sleepy.

Almonds.

The crunchy nuts, too, contain plenty of grog-inducing tryptophan. But that’s not all. Almonds are a good source of both calcium and magnesium, two minerals that experts say are important for achieving quality sleep.

Salmon.

You’ll snooze better if your body has adequate levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, found one British study published in the Journal of Sleep Research. Of course, other omega-3-rich fish like tuna, sardines, or mackerel can get the job done, too.

Whole grain crackers.

It’s not just a coincidence that you immediately want to take a nap after chowing down on a carb-heavy meal. Carbs cause your body’s blood sugar levels to spike, which appears to play a role in regulating your body’s sleep-wake clock, suggests a recent Japanese study. Still, you’ll probably get a stomach ache and end up tossing and turning all night—by devouring a gigantic bowl of pasta. So pick a lighter option, like a handful whole grain crackers.

Cherries.

They’re the only edible source of the sleep hormone melatonin, so consider having a bowlful for dessert. If they’re not in season, opt for thawed frozen cherries or a glass of tart cherry juice. Drinking two glasses daily helped people with insomnia sleep for 90 more minutes, found one study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Low-fat milk.

If uncomfortable heartburn keeps you up at night, try a glass of moo juice. The combo of high protein and low carbs can keep acid re flux at bay. Plus, it’s a good source of calcium, which helps keep your body’s melatonin production in check.

Bananas.

The yellow fruits have everything going for them. They’re rich in sleep-promoting carbohydrates and tryptophan, but that’s not all. Bananas also contain potassium and magnesium, which can help promote muscle relaxation.

Make Sleep-Friendly Lifestyle Changes:

You’re exercising, getting plenty of exposure to natural light, and are eating better. It all adds up to good stuff, sleep wise, but there are other lifestyle changes you could be making to snooze more soundly.

A few to consider:

Powering down in the evening. The blue light emitted from your smartphone, tablet, or computer is sort of like an electronic version of caffeine. It leaves your brain feeling revved up, rather than relaxed and ready for sleep. Make it a point to turn off your devices at least an hour before turning in.

Showering at night instead of in the morning:

The heat from a warm, before bedtime shower sends the message to your nervous system that it’s time to relax and slow down, encouraging you to feel sleepy. This would be more useful at night than first thing when you wake up.

Sniffing lavender before bed:

You might not think so, but scent can have a powerful effect on your mood. Consider taking advantage of aromatherapy to fill your bedroom with aromas that are thought to ease anxiety and promote relaxation, like lavender, spikenard, vetiver, frankincense, myrrh, and clary sage.

Turn down the temp:

Most experts agree that the ideal temperature for sleep is somewhere between 60 and 72 degrees. Experiment with the thermostat to see what’s right for you.

Turn off the lights:

Exposure to artificial light when you’re trying to sleep isn’t just annoying—it suppresses your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Of course a comfortable bed and wearing something comfortable are pretty obvious. Some people choose not to wear anything, in this case the linen should be considered.

Stick with bedding made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, silk, bamboo, and linen. Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester that trap heat and moisture.

More Ideas For A Good Night’s Sleep:

Chamomile tea.

Simple, delicious, and effective. Chamomile tea has been used as a relaxation aid for centuries, but it’s more than just a folk remedy. One review found that the stuff acts as a mild sedative, helping to calm the nerves, reduce anxiety, and ease insomnia. And don’t be afraid to make a strong brew. Some experts recommend using two or three tea bags to get the full, sleep-promoting effect.

St. John’s wort.

The yellow, weed-like flower is commonly used to ease depression symptoms like anxiety and insomnia, and you can steep it to make a tasty tea. Just take care to avoid direct sunlight when you take the stuff, since St. John’s wort can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays.

Valerian.

Like chamomile tea, folk practitioners have turned to the root of this flowering plant to easy anxiety and promote relaxation. And it works: According to a review of sixteen studies, Valerian root is shown to help people doze off faster and sleep more soundly. It might not be ideal for long-term use, though, so talk with your doctor before starting a Valerian regimen.

Kava.

The root has long been a favorite among Pacific Islanders for promoting relaxation. In fact, one analysis found that kava was significantly more effective at treating anxiety than a placebo, and some preliminary research suggests it could also help treat insomnia. But like Valerian, long-term use of the stuff isn’t advised, since it could have a negative impact on your liver.

Passion flower.

The tropical flower acts as a mild sedative—and, bonus, it tastes delicious. Try steeping a teaspoon of passion flower in boiling water for 10 minutes before drinking—and drifting off to dreamland.

Melatonin. (click external link) 

You can find melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, in tart cherries. But eating a bowlful every night can get boring—not to mention expensive. Melatonin supplements can give you the same sleep-inducing benefit, minus the full belly. To determine the right dose for you, talk with your doctor.

California poppy.

People don’t often want to feel sluggish and lethargic. But when you do—like right before bed—make California poppy your pick. Steep the bright orange leaves in hot water for at least 10 minutes to make a tea that’ll erase your anxiety and leave you feeling relaxed and ready for bed.

Yoga and Meditation For Better Sleep:

Yoga is a gentle and restorative way to wind down your day. A national survey found that over 55% of people who did yoga found that it helped them get better sleep. Over 85% said yoga helped reduce stress. You can use supportive props like bolsters, blankets, and blocks to make poses comfortable so that you can stay in the pose for longer and continue to breathe.

Please click to watch:

Top Yoga Poses For Sleep

YouTube Video For Better Sleep

Sleep and Brain Cell Re-Generation:

It goes without saying that we all need a good night’s sleep to feel re-energized for the day ahead. But now, researchers have found that sleep also helps to boost reproduction of the cells involved in brain repair.

Sleep Contributes to Beautiful Skin:

The wonders of cellular regeneration are always occurring as we go about our daily lives, however research shows that cellular regeneration almost doubles at night, peaking between 11 pm and 4 am. During our time in la la land, production of collagen is boosted, toxins are destroyed and cellular damage is repaired. Get the full eight hours of beauty sleep to give skin the best chance at renewing itself, waking up to fresh, glowing skin.

Please know that in this article I am able only able to cover some of the major needs for a good nights sleep. Insomnia or a lack of proper sleep patters deprive you of the essentials to your right to a healthy lifestyle.

I have only scratched the surface here of the things you can do to re-vitalize your life through proper and deep sleep. It is so significant but yet we take it for granted.

Please feel free to leave any comments or concerns,

Thank you,

Michael