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Health Ministry tips for Hajj well-being

The Health Ministry is providing awareness-raising instructions and tips for Hajj on its official website.
These instructions cover chronic diseases, such as advising heart and hypertension patients to see a doctor to make sure they can perform Hajj and carry the right medicines, and ensure that the medicines are properly preserved and consumed, especially during Tawaf which requires great physical effort.
The ministry called on pilgrims potentially at risk of angina pain to consult a doctor about holding sublingual nitroglycerin tablets and using a wheelchair during Tawaf and Sai whenever pilgrims feel exhaustion.

The health instructions also covered diabetics, stressing the need to wear a bracelet or hold an identification card enabling rapid identification of patients with diabetes, have the prescribed medicine, and bring a glucose meter to determine the glucose dose daily.
The ministry highlighted the importance of keeping insulin cool by storing it in a proper ice pack or refrigerator and the need to be given a glucagon injection (when doctors recommend it) in case diabetics are not able to eat or have lost consciousness.
The ministry also advised against performing Tawaf and Sai until after taking medication and eating, stressing the need to stop performing the rituals temporarily in the event of a hypoglycemic episode. Symptoms include shaking and giddiness, along with fatigue and exhaustion, a sudden feeling of hunger, excessive sweating or blurred vision.
The ministry advised asthma patients to consult a doctor, adhere to taking medicines, tablets and inhalers, avoid crowded places, wear a face mask, and consult the nearest health center in case of an asthma attack.
The instructions also covered epileptic patients. Epileptic patients vary in their needs; some can control their illness with medicine and are able to perform Hajj, while patients recently diagnosed with epilepsy are advised to postpone Hajj. Epileptic patients are advised to inform the convoy’s doctor, bring enough medicines, avoid excessive exhaustion and reactions and always be accompanied by friends or relatives during Hajj.

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A Harvard doctor says it’s harder than ever to lose weight right now — but there are 5 ways to do it well

Nutritionists agree that it is getting harder and harder for people to maintain a healthy weight — and that’s not all your fault.

“There is so much great-tasting food, and it’s abundant and in your face all the time,” Dr. Meir Stampfer, an epidemiologist and nutrition expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in a recent blog post. “To me it’s kind of a miracle that people aren’t even heavier than they are.”

Stampfer, who has pioneered many long-term top-notch health studies, said the easiest way to get people to lose weight is to simply limit how much they eat every day.

“But for free-living people that’s really hard,” he said.

Average portions in the US have ballooned as much as 138% over the past five decades, and sugar is hiding in everything we eat, from salads to plain bagels and almost every low-fat product out there.

Sara Seidelmann, a cardiologist and nutrition researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, sees the issue in a similar way.

“There’s absolutely nothing more important for our health than what we eat each and every day,” she recently told Business Insider.

Here are some of the best tips for how to slim down for the long term, from Stampfer and Seidelmann:

Hearty enough for a main dish or served as a side, this bean salad is packed with fiber, protein, and other plant-based nutrients.

Larry Crowe/AP

Healthy eating isn’t necessarily low-carb

Seidelmann recently published a study involving more than 447,000 people around the world. The results revealed that people who eat too many or too few carbs don’t live as long as those in the middle who eat a moderate amount.

Her team’s data suggests people should focus on putting whole, healthful foods on their plate, like vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans.

Even though some veggies and beans might be considered “high-carb,” eating them is associated with a longer life than low-carb diets that push people to eat large quantities of meat and animal products.

Focus on choosing healthy fats

“Eating fat doesn’t make you fat,” Stampfer said. That sound advice has been backed up by study after study after study.

“Eating healthy fats helps people control their weight better than diets than exclude them,” he added.

Fatty foods have more energy gram per gram than carbs or proteins, and they can also help keep you full and satisfied until your next meal.

Some of the best plant-based sources of healthy fats include olive oil, avocados, walnuts, and chia seeds. Even oatmeal has a potent dose of fat, making it a great way to fuel up in the morning.

Eat ‘just a little bit’ less

Although incorporating movement into your day can yield immense benefits for your brain and body, nutritionists agree that the most surefire way to control your weight is to properly gauge (and perhaps reduce) how much food you’re putting in your mouth.

Eating less and forgoing food for an occasional fast may even help you live longer, studies suggest. Some Silicon Valley biohackers have even decided to skip one meal a day, a version of the “intermittent fasting” craze that eliminates about a third of a day’s calories.

But we’re not suggesting anyone has to starve themselves. Just remember that a standard serving of whole-grain bread is one slice, a slice of meat should fit in an imaginary checkbook, and your cut of cheese should be about the size of four dice.

As Stampfer put it, “adopt a healthy diet, and eat just a little bit less.”

Don’t discount strength training

Your brain and your heart are some of the biggest calorie-burning machines in your resting body. But muscles can help keep your metabolism going all day, which means that incorporating some strength training into your routine can be a great way to maintain a healthy weight. But the benefits don’t end there.

“Muscle building can not only bring up your body’s metabolic rate, but also brings its own distinct health benefits that are often not as well appreciated as those associated with aerobic activity,” Stampfer said.

Those benefits include improving mental health, fighting off depression, and even reversing some of the physical effects of aging. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests regular strength training two or three times per week.

You don’t need a wide or colorful variety of foods — just find the healthy ones you like

Many principles of healthy eating that you might have learned as a kid are being debunked.

One such idea is that everyone should try to eat a varied, colorful “pyramid” of foods. Instead, the American Heart Association now suggests focusing on getting enough plants, protein, and healthy fats like nuts into your diet and not worrying as much about a diverse diet.

Recent studies suggest that people with the most varied, colorful diets also tend to eat more food of all kinds, including processed foods. That can wind up meaning they have less healthy, whole foods on their plates and bigger waistlines as a result.

“It’s O.K. if your diet is not very diverse if you’re focusing on healthy foods and trying to minimize consumption of unhealthy foods,” University of Texas epidemiologist Marcia Otto recently told the New York Times.

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5 tips to help manage your back-to-school mental health

If you’re headed back to school, chances are you’ve already made at least one checklist. Got your schedule? Check. What about your supplies? Check. Talked with friends about which classes you have together? Bet you checked that one more than once. 

But there’s something likely missing from your list, and it might be the most important thing you take care of all year: addressing your mental health and wellbeing. 

Going back to school can be exciting. It can also be terrifying, particularly for teens who’ve already experienced bullying, anxiety, stress, depression, or trauma. In addition to the nerve-wracking aspects of middle school or high school — crushes, grades, cliques — students today are grappling with intense experiences, including natural disaster anniversaries, school shooting drills, and heightened political and social tensions that disproportionately affect young immigrants and LGBTQ people. 

If you’re feeling a whirlwind of back-to-school stress and anxiety, there are effective ways to respond, says Theresa Nguyen, a licensed clinical social worker and vice president of policy and programs for Mental Health America. (Nguyen also recently wrote a blog post on this subject.)

“You can control your anxiety …” Nguyen says. “The worst thing you can do is ignore it.” 

Here are five of Nguyen’s suggestions for making it through the challenging back-to-school period: 

1. Gauge the problem 

Nguyen says that most students are excited to return to school by the end of summer. But for the 20 percent of teens who live with a mental health condition, being at school again may worsen symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. 

It’s important that any student who feels prolonged sadness or nervousness about school pay attention to important signs, such as stomach aches, trouble sleeping, and irritability. Those symptoms could indicate that you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression. Other clues might be Google searches for terms like “I hate school,” “What is depression?” and “What is anxiety?” 

If you want an outside assessment of your feelings and experiences but aren’t yet ready to speak to a friend, parent, teacher, counselor, or doctor, you can use Mental Health America’s free and anonymous screening tool. Nguyen says that 40 percent of those who take the test are under 18, and use spikes during the school year. In other words, you’re not alone. 

If the screening indicates you should seek an evaluation from a medical or mental health professional, Nguyen says you can print the results as a conversation starter with a trusted adult or doctor. If you feel uncomfortable talking to an adult, Nguyen recommends speaking with a friend about how to have that conversation. 

2. Identify coping skills

Some students might already have a list of coping skills because they know going back to school can trigger emotional and mental distress. For other students, this is a new experience with a steep learning curve. Either way, Nguyen says it’s important to ask yourself a series of questions: What worked before to help you feel better? What made things worse? Can you avoid that?

Asking and answering questions like these will prepare you for the moments when stress and anxiety strike. If you need to learn new skills, Mental Health America’s back-to-school toolkit, which comes out every year, includes practical tips for managing your emotions. 

Image: mental health america

One of the organization’s most popular resources for young people is its “Stopping Stupid Thoughts” worksheet. This two-page document is designed to help you deal with painful thoughts that can warp a person’s mood, relationships, and self-esteem. It offers strategies for telling yourself the things you really need to hear. 

3. Get educated

The internet is awash in mental health resources and educational materials. First you might check out stigma-busting websites designed for teens like Seize the Awkward and Half of Us

Then if you’re interested in mental health resources and advocacy, bookmark the National Alliance on Mental Illness, JED Foundation, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Eating Disorders Association, Born This Way Foundation, The Trevor Project, and Crisis Text Line

For health and science research, including details about symptoms and treatment, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and National Institute of Mental Health

Educating yourself about mental health is a way to empower yourself, says Nguyen. 

4. Know where to draw the line with the internet  

While the internet can connect you to vital information and support, it can just as easily make you feel miserable. Nguyen says it’s imperative for students experiencing psychological distress to know when the internet has stopped being useful or has even become harmful. That line can be hard to distinguish when, for example, posting on an anonymous social media platform simultaneously brings you support from new friends as well as attacks from strangers or bullies. 

“If you’ve gone down that rabbit hole and you’re on sites that are not healthy for you, you have to get off, break up, step away from that,” says Nguyen. “Stay away until you’re in a better spot if you’re going to dabble.”

5. Reach out

Nguyen says it’s normal for people experiencing mental health issues to feel unsure about what to do next. But the longer we wait to open up, the worse we feel. She urges young people to reach out to a friend, parent, counselor, coach, or someone else they trust. 

It can also be helpful to join extracurricular activities, which provide opportunities to boost self-esteem, learn new skills, and heighten your sense of belonging. But that’s not a simple step for teens who feel alone because they’ve been bullied, are questioning their sexuality and gender identity, or are undocumented. 

“For kids who have anxiety, especially if they’re bullied or extra isolated, it’s hard for them to think about how to join a group,” says Nguyen. “They’ve been strategically isolated at school.” 

That’s when making connections on the internet can help. School groups like gay-straight alliances can also be a welcoming environment for marginalized kids, and the same may be true of community arts organizations and nonprofits.  

“There are some situations where if you’re struggling, please reach out sooner than later.”

“There are some situations where if you’re struggling, please reach out sooner than later,” says Nguyen. That includes if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harm. The same holds true if you’re not sleeping, you’re having strange thoughts, and things don’t make sense. Though rare, that could indicate the onset of psychosis or bipolar disorder.   

Nguyen says that by taking action, learning more, and reaching out, teens worried about their mental health can make a big difference in their own lives. 

“You got this. You are the expert,” she says. “You can get control, so let’s start thinking about it.”

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.

WATCH: UK school initiative encourages kids to run around to improve their health 99cb 5fcc%2fthumb%2f00001

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10 tips to ease your stress levels as mental health spirals out of control

ALSO READ: How to stop a panic attack, what they are and what to do if you get one

In an ever more demanding world it’s no wonder many of us feel stressed. We will have ­experienced that overwhelming sense of panic brought on by the ­pressures of ­modern life – such as financial and job insecurity.

And while stress in small doses can be healthy, too much may cause anxiety, depression and mental illness. In Britain mental illness is spiralling out of control.

The charity Mental Health Foundation found that last year two thirds of us had experienced mental health issues. Research by the UK Council for Psychotherapy shows rates of moderate to extreme anxiety and depression has soared by 30.5 per cent since 2013.

Headtorch aims to demystify mental health and founder Amy McDonald said: “It is just like physical health and it fluctuates. There are five elements to ­maintaining well-being – ­connect, be active, keep learning, take notice and give.”

Here are Amy’s ten top ­stress-busting tips:

1. Crunch – a creative lunch Whether you’re at work or home having a change of scene is as important as eating your sarnie. Be creative and you will be far more effective in the afternoon. Meeting friends, colleagues, ­exercising, going to see an exhibition are great ways to regain energy, focus and effectiveness.

2. Keep Talking

ALSO READ: Postnatal depression in dads – signs to look out for and how you can help

Chat to someone you trust if you’re feeling anxious or low. Know you are not alone and people want to support you. Mental health, like your physical health, varies and sometimes you’re not going to feel great – that is normal. It’s also important to remember this is temporary.

3. Avoid or reduce coffee, ­booze and fags

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and will increase, rather than cut, your level of stress. Alcohol is a depressant in large quantities and a stimulant in smaller amounts. So start reaching for the water and herbal teas.

4. Change your daily routine Take a new route and how you reach your destination. Try walking, cycling and jogging and ­notice the people, sights and sounds of people around you.

5. Random act of kindness

Bring a smile to someone else’s face. You’ll be amazed how good giving makes you feel.

6. Learn something new

ALSO READ: Poverty, love and drugs: Julius shares his journey to depression

This can be anything from playing a new board game, changing a bicycle tyre to a new language. Your sense of accomplishment will be an instant pick-me-up.

7. Laugh and share funny tales Enjoy yourself. We all feel better after a good chuckle.

8. List key points

This will help for work meetings or in your personal life. They will help you stay focused.

9. Sing or shout loudly

Expressing yourself or even ­having your own kitchen disco will help lift you.

10. Be active

Even if you don’t feel like it, go for a walk, swim, do yoga – ­whatever is right for you. Don’t stay stationary as you’ll feel the walls closing in.


NHS Choices chartered occupational psychologist Emma Donaldson-Feilder, says: “Taking at least 30 minutes away from your desk will help you be more effective in the afternoon.

“Go for a walk outdoors, do some exercise. You’ll come back to your desk re-energised.”

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4 Your Health: tips for parents as children head back to school.

The Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department said they are investigating an incident that occurred near 22nd Street and Craycroft Road.  

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Ask SAM: Back-to-School Health Tips – Winston



Write: Ask SAM, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC 27102 

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Colombia Health Official Gives Tips To Get Through A Heat Wave

The health secretary in Santa Marta said stay hydrated, wear loose clothing and no sex. The American Heart Association says sex doesn’t strain the heart any more than walking up 2 flights of stairs.

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8 ‘total body transformation’ tips from a doctor

WASHINGTON — As a board-certified family medicine physician, Dr. Shilpi Agarwal hears from a number of patients who try — and fail at — fad diets. She has even tested out a few herself, and has some advice for anyone ready to juice, cleanse or subsist on shakes.

“Whenever you’re looking to start a healthy jump-start to your life, you want to make some positive changes in your diet, exercise — keep in mind that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Agarwal, who is based in Bethesda, Maryland.

The never-ending health hacks that populate celebrity social media accounts and magazines are what inspired Agarwal to write her book, “The 10-Day Total Body Transformation,” which, in a way, also sounds too good to be true. But, Agarwal said it isn’t.

“Losing 10 pounds in 10 days, that’s not something I promise,” she said. “The goal is habit formation … I think it’s hard for people because there is so much health information. We get it from all different angles, and it can be hard to figure out (what) is correct and (what) is a fad.”

Agarwal said when you stick to the facts and implement good habits, you’ll start to notice a difference in as little as 10 days — even if it’s just in how you feel.

Here are some of her top tips that draw from the book and from her experience practicing medicine:

Set a goal and don’t focus on the number

Interested in running a 5K? Want to kick your dependence on dessert? Agarwal said think about what it is that makes you feel healthy, and work toward that goal.

“Don’t focus on the numbers. Focus on the parameters that you think are healthy. If it means you can walk up a flight of stairs without getting short of breath, that’s just as important as the number on the scale,” Agarwal said.

(Getty Images)

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Tips to cope when it’s time to downsize

Asking for help from friends and family and then engaging with your new community will get you through the transition.

Image: © IPGGutenbergUKLtd/Getty Images

Downsizing from a large home to a smaller one is a fact of life for many older adults. The reason may be finances, health issues, or a desire to simplify your lifestyle. But making the transition can bring a host of emotions: sadness, grief, stress, or anxiety.

Understanding the triggers for these feelings and using strategies to navigate them may not change how you feel, but it may help the downsizing process go more smoothly so you can focus on your next chapter.

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Teens and drugs: 5 tips for talking with your kids

teens and drugs: 5 tips for parents

Parents of adolescents face a tough dilemma about substance use: we may want our children to be abstinent, but what do we do if they are not? The risks are high, as we’ve discussed in our blog about adolescent substance use and the developing brain. While parents can and should communicate clearly that non-use is the best decision for health, we simply can’t control every aspect of young people’s lives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to successful dialogue with teens about substance use, but these principles may be helpful.

1.   Make your values and your rules clear

Parents sometimes use phrases like “be smart” or “make good decisions,” though these terms may have very different meanings to different people. For example, a parent who says, “Be smart!” may think he is asking his child not to drink, while the child may interpret the instructions as, “Don’t drink enough to black out.” So, be specific. If you mean, “You can go out with your friends as long as you can assure me you will not use marijuana,” then say it that way.

2.   Ask and listen, but resist the urge to lecture

As adults we very much want to impart as much wisdom as we can to help young people avoid the same mistakes that we made. But, it is probably more useful to draw out their innate curiosity and encourage them to seek out answers on their own. Consider beginning by asking a question like, “Tell me, what do you know about marijuana?” Teens who feel like their point of view is valued may be more willing to engage in a conversation. In response to what your child says, use nonjudgmental reflective statements to make sure she feels listened to, then follow up with a question. For example: “So you’ve heard that marijuana is pretty safe because it is natural. Do you think that is correct?” You don’t need to agree with everything your teen says; you just need to make it clear you are listening. For more guidance on active listening skills, see this resource from The Center for Parenting Education.

3.   If your child has used substances, try to explore the reasons

Teens may use substances to help manage anxiety, relieve stress, distract from unpleasant emotions, or connect socially with peers. Being curious about those reasons can help him feel less judged. It may also give you a window into your teen’s underlying struggles, help him develop insight into his own behavior, and point to problems that may need professional support. On the other hand, these conversations may be challenging for a parent to have with a child, and some young people have limited understanding as to why they use substances. For adolescents who are using substances regularly, we recommend an assessment by a professional who can support them in behavior change.

4.   Know when (and how) to intervene

Engaging with adolescents on the topic of substance use can be a delicate dance. We want to encourage openness and honesty, and we also want them to get clear messages that help to keep them safe. Teens who use substances recurrently and/or who have had a problem associated with substance use may be on a trajectory for developing a substance use disorder. It is a good idea for them to have a professional assessment. You can find a detailed list of signs and symptoms, as well as information about specific substances, on the website for the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. If an assessment is warranted, you can start with your pediatrician, who can help refer you to a specialist as necessary.

5.   Be mindful of any family history of substance use disorders

Much of the underlying vulnerability to developing substance use disorders is passed down genetically. Exposure to substance use in the home is also a major risk factor. Both may affect children with a first- or second-degree relative (like a parent, grandparent, aunt, or uncle) with a substance use disorder. While we know from studies that the genetic heritability of addiction is strong, it is also complex, passed on through a series of genes and generally not limited to a single substance. In other words, children who have a relative with an opioid use disorder may themselves develop a cannabis or sedative use disorder. Honest conversations about unhealthy substance use, addiction, and the family risk of substance use disorders can help provide teens a good, solid reason for making the smart decision not to start using in the first place.

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