(BPT) - A new survey reveals Americans are not aware of what to report prior to a blood test. Only half (52 percent) believe it is very important to report use of supplements to their healthcare provider before getting a blood test.
With recent interest in the use of supplements like biotin as beauty treatments, it’s especially critical for consumers, doctors and lab personnel to talk before blood tests because very high doses of supplements could interfere with some test results.
The possibility of interference in blood testing is low, but if you’re taking high-dose biotin for hair, skin or nail health, for example, it is best to inform your doctor before a blood test. Just as you may need to fast before certain types of tests, you may need to hold off on taking supplements like biotin for at least eight hours before blood work.
The survey, commissioned by Roche Diagnostics, also found that most Americans (85 percent) expect their physician to provide complete instructions on how to prepare for a blood test.
“Many factors — from stress, to prescription medication, to vitamins — can affect blood test results, so it’s important to be proactive in communicating about medicines or supplements you’re taking rather than waiting to be asked,” said Dr. Emily Jungheim, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Ask your healthcare provider about ways to prepare for blood tests. Here are some simple tips to follow:
* Write down all your prescription medicines the night before a blood test so you can share up-to-date information with the lab technician or your doctor.
* Also report vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals and any over-the-counter medications.
* Know the doses of the medicines and supplements you are taking. The dose matters. You may not be aware that 5 mg of biotin per day, for example, is equal to the amount of biotin in 100 capsules of a typical daily multivitamin.
Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain. To get a good night’s rest, take advantage of these tips and consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
Powering down before bed for a good night's rest
(Family Features) Checking email or flipping through channels instead of sleeping? Playing video games or browsing social media in bed? If you want to catch some quality ZZZs, you should put down that smartphone.
The National Sleep Foundation reports nearly 90 percent of adults sleep with at least one electronic device in their bedroom. However, staring at a screen after 9 p.m. can zap your body of energy, turning you into a zombie the next day. To get a good night's rest, consider shutting off all electronics before climbing into bed.
How Electronics Affect Your Sleep
Your body functions on a 24-hour internal clock. This clock is influenced by your physical environment and daily schedule. Using electronic devices around bedtime can throw off your body clock and negatively affect your quality of sleep.
Light and darkness affect your body clock. Staring at the blue glow of electronic devices - computers, tablets, televisions, gaming systems and/or smartphones - before bedtime can trick your body into thinking it's still daytime. The artificial light sends messages to the brain to wake up and activates the body. This, in turn, can reset your body clock, delaying your normal sleep cycle.
Studies show that staring at bright screens within four hours of bedtime reduces melatonin, a hormone that makes you naturally tired when it's time to sleep. This can cause difficulty when trying to fall asleep, poor quality of sleep or sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
In the long run, problems sleeping at night can impact you during the day. Lack of proper sleep can lead to impaired focus at work, trouble remembering, fatigue, stress and even weight gain.
It is important to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. To get a better night's sleep, experts recommend:
If your smartphone is your alarm clock, set your phone to sleep mode (do not disturb function) so all calls and texts will be silenced unless it's an emergency. Be sure to put your phone face down on the nightstand so incoming messages don't wake you up.
Power down tonight and don't let your technology keep you from a good night's rest.
Find more resources to help you get a better night's rest from Guard Your Health, a health education campaign by the Army National Guard, at guardyourhealth.com.
Night Time Stimulants to Avoid
While using electronic devices is one night time distraction, here are some other common things to avoid to get a good night's rest:
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man stretching)
(BPT) - There’s no denying proper nutrition and a balanced diet are essential for good health. Yet with research on diet and lifestyle recommendations constantly evolving, it can be difficult to make sense of the varying news reports and seemingly endless barrage of information.
Fortunately, when it comes to omega-3s the fundamental science is clear: Omega-3s, which are considered essential fatty acids, are necessary for human health. Since the body can't make them on its own, it’s critical to obtain this important nutrient through your daily intake of omega-rich foods, primarily oily fish, or supplements.
Let’s take a deeper look at the science behind omega-3s.
With a number of gold-standard studies to point to, experts believe EPA and DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The rate of research on omega-3s seems to be accelerating as scientists find consistent evidence of the beneficial effects of this essential nutrient. In fact, of more than 30,000 scientific papers on omega-3s published on PubMed, there are roughly 3,200 clinical trials examining the impact of omega-3s on heart health, specifically. Here are a few research highlights:
* In the last 10 years, every meta-analytical review that considered the whole body of human clinical evidence for cardiac or coronary death consistently found a significant benefit to omega-3 consumption.
* Since 2004, there have been 13 meta-analyses linking omega-3s and the decreased risk of cardiac and coronary death.
* Results show fish oil consumption reduces cardiac death risk between approximately 10-30 percent.
* A recent meta-analysis on EPA and DHA’s impact on blood pressure found fish oil can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and even benefit people who don’t have high blood pressure.
The totality of evidence consistently shows EPA and DHA omega-3s reduce the risk of cardiac and coronary death, keep triglycerides in check and help maintain healthy blood pressure. However, it’s important to understand there is not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to health and disease prevention.
Beyond a healthy and balanced diet, an individual’s age, health status and history, and lifestyle are important considerations when it comes to deciding if supplements may help fill a specific nutrient gap that cannot or is not otherwise being met.
When deciding how to increase your daily intake of omega-3s, it’s important to take an individualized approach. Talk to your doctor about your personal deficiencies and requirements, and be realistic and truthful about your diet and daily intake of omega-3s and other important nutrients. If you decide supplementation is right for you, take the time to do you research and invest in high quality omega-3 supplements. Your health is worth it.
(BPT) - The transition from fall to winter presents unique challenges for everyone. Not only is it important to switch wardrobes in order to brave the cold, we also have to get used to driving in the snow and ice, remember to shovel the sidewalk, and of course, prepare against the seasonal onslaught of the cold and flu.
While it’s common to stock up on vitamin C and warm clothes, many neglect to take care of their skin during these colder months. This is a problem that is particularly prevalent among men.
“The number one skincare complaint I hear from men is dry skin,” says Dr. Terrence Keaney, a pioneer in the field of men’s specific dermatology who recommends the Dove Men+Care personal wash range as men’s best defense against dry skin. “The colder weather months are stressful and drying on men’s skin due to a decrease in humidity, cold winds and the heavy, often irritating clothes we are forced to wear. These factors are exaggerated in men due to various behavioral differences coupled with varying degrees of understanding regarding personal care products and skincare.”
Dr. Keaney’s research has consistently shown that men’s skin needs to be cared for differently than women’s due to biological and behavioral differences. “Many men aren’t using personal care products designed specifically with their skin in mind, which is why I recommend Dove Men+Care.” The Dove Men+Care range of products was created to address men’s specific skin care concerns, giving men comfortable skin without sacrificing effectiveness.
Biologically, men’s skin is different than women’s skin because it is thicker, produces more sweat and oil resulting in larger pores that can clog with dirt and oil more easily. Men’s skin also has lower pH values, which can cause some cleansing products to have a more drying effect on skin.
“When men come into my office the first thing I recommend are cleansing products designed for them that will effectively remove dirt and excess oil while also hydrating their skin,” states Dr. Keaney. “Maintaining skin’s hydration levels is one of the most important ways to keep the skin healthy and strong.” The Dove Men+Care Hydration Balance Body Wash is made with MICROMOISTURE technology that activates on skin during lather to lock in the skin’s natural moisture and provide hydration for healthier, stronger skin.
Another cause of dry skin that can become exaggerated in the winter month is men’s shower routine. Men are sometimes overaggressive when cleansing and scrubbing and often use hot water excessively. Both of these habits will wash away the skin’s protective oils and can leave the skin dry, tight and itchy.
In addition to over-scrubbing, Dr. Keaney points out that “using traditional bar soaps can accelerate skin irritation and dryness. Traditional bar soaps often lack the moisturizing benefits needed to maintain moisture in men’s skin.” If you prefer using a bar in the shower over a body wash, Dr. Keaney recommends the Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Bar which has a mild formula and contains the signature Dove ¼ moisturizing cream that will better help maintain skin’s hydration levels when compared to traditional bar soaps.
While the cold weather and winter are unavoidable, dealing with the dry, irritated skin that often accompanies winter can be remedied by simply understanding how to properly care for the skin. “The most important thing men can do this winter is understand that their skin requires a different type of care than a women’s, and they must use products that will maintain hydration levels for healthier, stronger skin,” urges Dr. Keaney. The skin is the immune system’s primary line of defense against bacteria and viruses and when properly cared for, men can enjoy a more comfortable and active winter season.
(BPT) - Pharmaceutical companies have sought to address the problem some patients have with swallowing pills by developing tablets that can also be crushed prior to administration. Such options have been helpful with very old and young patients who tend to have the most difficulty swallowing pills.
Jadenu™ (deferasirox), an iron chelation therapy in tablet form that treats patients who suffer from a condition known as chronic iron overload, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to now also be taken in a crushed form. Chronic iron overload is a serious condition that can affect people with sickle cell disease, thalassemia and myelodysplastic syndromes, which can require multiple blood transfusions, and with anemias like non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia.
For patients who have difficulty swallowing whole tablets, Jadenu tablets may be crushed and mixed with soft foods (e.g., yogurt or apple sauce) immediately prior to use and administered orally. Commercial crushers with serrated surfaces should be avoided for crushing a single 90 mg tablet. The dose should be immediately and completely consumed and not stored for future use.
“Children and elderly patients are more likely to have difficulty swallowing their medication as tablets. It is crucial to have additional administration options, like crushing, available,” says Dr. Elliott Vichinsky, Director of Hematology and Oncology at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.
A different formulation of Exjade® (deferasirox), Jadenu was developed by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation to help simplify treatment administration for patients with chronic iron overload. While Exjade has to be mixed in liquid before administration, Jadenu is swallowed whole, which may be a problem for certain patients. The FDA’s approval for Jadenu to be crushed is an important option for young children who may have difficulty swallowing tablets.
For more information, visit Jadenu.com.
About JADENU (deferasirox) Tablets
Jadenu is an iron chelator indicated for the treatment of chronically elevated levels of iron in the blood caused by repeated blood transfusions (transfusional hemosiderosis) in patients ages 2 years and older. Jadenu is also indicated to treat patients ages 10 years and older who have chronic iron overload resulting from a genetic blood disorder called non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT). These indications are approved under accelerated approval based on a reduction of iron levels in the liver (measured by liver iron concentration) and blood (measured by serum ferritin levels). Continued approval for these indications may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials. There are ongoing studies to find out how Jadenu works over a longer period of time.
It is not known if Jadenu is safe or effective when taken with other iron chelation therapy. Controlled clinical trials of deferasirox in patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (a serious blood disorder) and chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions have not been performed.
In the United States, Jadenu is available by prescription only.
Important Safety Information about JADENU (deferasirox) Tablets
Jadenu contains deferasirox, the same active ingredient in Exjade (deferasirox) tablets for oral suspension. Deferasirox may cause serious kidney problems, liver problems, and bleeding in the stomach or intestines. In some cases, these problems were fatal. Kidney problems occurred particularly in patients with multiple medical conditions and those who were very ill because of their disease. Bleeding in the stomach or intestines occurred more often in elderly patients. Liver problems were more likely to happen in patients older than 55 years.
Jadenu should not be taken by patients with pre-existing severe kidney and liver problems; high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes; advanced cancer; low platelet counts; or an allergy to Jadenu.
Since deferasirox has been on the market, there have been reports of serious reactions, sometimes leading to death. Severe blood disorders (including neutropenia, agranulocytosis, worsening anemia and thrombocytopenia), serious allergic reactions (including swelling of the throat), severe skin reactions (including Stevens Johnson syndrome and erythema multiforme), decreased hearing and vision changes have been reported. These serious reactions and deaths have happened most often when deferasirox was taken by elderly patients. The most commonly reported side effects related to deferasirox in clinical trials were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, increases in kidney laboratory values, and skin rash.
Please see full Prescribing Information including Boxed WARNING available at www.jadenu.com.
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