Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) commonly known as acid reflux or heartburn is a very common digestive disease. It happens when acid from the stomach escapes into the esophagus, the aftereffect is felt as heartburns, pain, and inflammation.
The condition is noticed when the barrier between the stomach and the esophagus becomes impaired, causing the acid and food in the stomach to flow back into the esophagus. If not treated over time, the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter can result in a more serious condition including throat cancer.
Acid reflux, unlike many other medical conditions, can be almost completely preventable – that is if you do the right thing. Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. The following steps will help you reduce your symptoms of acid reflux.
1. Avoid Going to Bed After a Meal
Sleeping immediately after a meal one sure way to trigger acid reflux. Why? When you lie down (horizontally that is), you create a somewhat level field for the stomach acid and all that you’ve eaten to move freely into the esophagus. However, when you sit or stand, gravity help keeps the stomach acid in the stomach, where it belongs.
To prevent this, eat your meals at least two to three hours before lying down. This will give food time to digest and get out of your stomach. Furthermore, by this time, the acid level would have also gone down.
2. Get to Know Your Triggers and Run from Them
For every person living with acid reflux, there are certain foods which trigger this condition. Onions, peppermint, chocolate, beverages with caffeine, citrus fruits or juice, tomatoes, high-fat and spicy foods are some known culprits. The list of triggers is relative, as what can cause an explosive heartburn for one may just be digested normally in another.
To help with this, we advise that you get a list of foods and how you react with them. You can rank the heartburn effect you feel after eating them using a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 or even 20. The lower numbers on the list should represent the foods that leave mild heartburn symptoms.
It may take quite some time to get a comprehensive list when you finally do, it becomes easier to control your heartburn.
3. Reduce Your Mealtime Portions
Eating smaller meal portions is also another way of controlling acid reflux. When you overstuff your stomach, you give acid in the stomach no space – looking for where to stay, they move into the esophagus. If you cannot manage the small meals three times a day, you can eat up to four or five times a day. Just don’t overstuff your stomach.
4. Eat a Little Bit Slower
Even if it is not your thing, you may need to consider eating more slowly to control your acid reflux. By slowing down your eating you will end up with less food in your stomach at any one time. It takes time for the chemical messengers in our stomach to let the brain know we’re getting full. Give those messengers time to work, and your body will better tell you when you’ve had enough.
If you are a vigorous eater, you can mix food with conversation to spend more time on each meal. As a final resort, you can begin eating with your non-dominant hand. Unless you are ambidextrous or created to eat with both hands, this can be an easy way to slow down.
5. If You Do, Stop Smoking and Drink Moderately
While these are habits some consider cool and normal, they would worsen your heartburn. Cigarettes contain nicotine which will weaken the esophageal sphincter – the muscle saddled with the responsibility of controlling the opening between your esophagus and your stomach. When it’s closed, it keeps acid and other things in your stomach from going back up.
While alcohol may be a great way of blowing off steam after a stressful day, we recommend exercising, walking, meditation, stretching, or deep breathing instead of turning to the bottles. Alcohol increases the production of stomach acid and also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach contents to reflux back up into the esophagus.
Taking alcohol may not leave the same effect on everyone. If some people, a bottle is more than enough to trigger reflux, others may be able to tolerate two, maybe three before the symptoms surface. The important thing is that you know how much you can take before reflux, and stick to it.
6. Use Medication
There are great medications to help with your acid reflux. First are antacids which will typically work very quickly on heartburn – but for a short period of time. Mylanta, Rolaids, and Tums, are common Antacids. Next up are H2 blockers. These group of drugs will work for a longer period of time, usually up to 12 hours. Cimetidine, Famotidine, nizatidine, and ranitidine.
Finally, we have proton pump inhibitors, and Omeprazole is one of the most popular of these. Omeprazole works by reducing the amount of acid that your stomach produces and so helps to reduce the symptoms associated with acid reflux. Omeprazole is an effective and established medicine for the treatment of acid reflux.
As a part of your medication, your doctor may advise that you drop some weight. Many experts believe that extra belly fat increases pressure on the stomach, forcing food and acid back up through the esophagus. Please, do this only after your doctor has recommended.
7. Sleep on an Inclined Plane
To put it simply, elevate your bed – the bedposts to be exact. By raising your bedpost up to six or eight inches, you give gravity the chance to keep gastric acid down in your stomach. Avoid using pillows as this can put your head at an angle that can put more pressure on your stomach and make your heartburn worse.
Bias may affect providers’ knowledge of trans health
According to a study, increased hours of education related to caring for transgender patients may not correlate to more competent care.
As it is, transgender people already face many barriers in accessing health care, from dealing with issues with intake forms that use non-inclusive language, to challenges finding providers who are knowledgeable about transgender-specific health issues.
But a Michigan Medicine-led study is suggesting that more training may not be the answer to improving competent care, since this study found that more hours of education in the field was not associated with improved knowledge of transgender care among physicians and other providers.
Published in the journal Medical Education, the study found that nearly half of providers said they had cared for a transgender patient, but as many had received no training on the topic. What distinguished knowledgeable providers from those who were less so, however, appeared to have little to do with their medical education.
Transphobia, or a prejudice against people who are transgender, was the only predictor of provider knowledge.
“We were surprised to find that more hours of education about transgender health didn’t correlate with a higher level of knowledge about this topic among providers,” said lead author Daphna Stroumsa, M.D., MPH, an obstetrician gynecologist at University of Michigan’s Von Voigtlander Woman’s Hospital and a National Clinician Scholar at the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
“Transgender and gender diverse individuals often face discrimination in health care settings and many are unable to find competent, knowledgeable and culturally-appropriate health care,” Stroumsa added. “Lack of provider knowledge is a significant barrier, but our findings suggest that simply increasing training may not be the solution.
Because of this, “medical education may need to address transphobia and implicit bias in order to improve the quality of care transgender patients receive,” Stroumsa said.
Researchers surveyed 389 attending physicians, advanced practitioners and residents from the departments of internal medicine, family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology in a large urban health system.
It is worth noting that the study did not evaluate the content or format of the education providers were exposed to; but it is still likely that educational efforts that address unconscious bias would be more effective. Stroumsa noted that even in educational programs that address transgender health, the topic is usually presented as a separate section of provider education, rather than as an integral part of general medical education and training – a distinction which may further fuel “othering” of transgender patients.
Many providers – especially those traditionally considered “women’s health” professionals – likely need to be better prepared to care for transgender patients, Stroumsa said.
People who identify as transgender and non-binary may require many of the services provided by Ob/Gyns and other “women’s healthcare” providers, including prenatal and fertility care, cervical cancer screening, menstrual cycle management, as well as gender transition-related care (i.e. hormone therapy), and other routine Ob-Gyn care.
“We obviously have a lot of work to do in improving health outcomes for gender diverse people,” Stroumsa said. “We need to take a close look at our healthcare environments, practices and approaches to medical education. These are just beginning steps in reducing wide health disparities. Creating a safe, knowledgeable, trustworthy care environment will help us expand the care we provide to a broader more diverse patient population.”
The amazing health benefits of using a gaming chair
When you are a frequent gamer, your playing experience shifts from one of seeking comfort to one of demanding comfort. With the long hours that you will spend in front of a screen playing different games, you will feel the pressure mount on your back.
Gaming has come a long way thanks to the advancements in technology. The population of gamers on the internet today is a lot higher than it has been in previous years. That said, there is quite the technology to support every aspect of gaming, be it diverse games, gaming accessories and peripherals, gaming chairs and tables, to mention a few.
Talking of gaming chairs, could it be that they had more benefits than meet the eye? Here are the fantastic health benefits of using a gaming chair.
ADEQUATE NECK SUPPORT
The thing with gaming chairs is that they are made to support a lot more than your rear region, much as a sitting surface is for the comfort of your lower part of the body, you need equal support for the top part. Since gaming chairs have a high-back, your neck gets adequate support. This way, you do not need to worry about getting neck cramps from straining your neck too much.
REDUCE BACK PAIN
When you are a frequent gamer, your playing experience shifts from one of seeking comfort to one of demanding comfort. With the long hours that you will spend in front of a screen playing different games, you will feel the pressure mount on your back. Most people fail to realize that when sited on any surface, a lot of pressure is directed in the rear region, but also on the back.
If you do not get a quality gaming chair like the omega gaming chair, then you may suffer a lot of back pain. A gaming chair will align your back and spinal column in the most comfortable and natural curve position, allowing your weight to balance out evenly across your body. This way, you do not pleasure in gaming at the expense of your back. Remember that your priority is in protecting your spinal column from any harm whatsoever.
BETTER SITTING POSTURE
Posture happens to be a crucial health concern that most people take for granted. Not just in the gaming world, but in other scopes of life, a good sitting posture at all times has an added health advantage. Ideally, the regular chairs, or worse, sitting on the floor when gaming, does not allow for a proper sitting posture. The body will always try to adjust to a position of utmost comfort, even when it means compromising the sitting posture. That said, you will need a gaming chair to help with the posture. Since most gaming chairs are ergonomic, they are customized to adopt a better sitting posture than traditional chairs.
The best bit is that the gaming chairs have a reclining function that allows you to fashion a sitting posture that best suits the angle you want to sit while playing, not to mention, protects your spinal alignment.
Fatigue in the body is a factor that can not only cause your body to strain but accounts for the stress levels in your body. As a gamer, you may not have the privilege of enjoying social interaction and activities to help with coping with fatigue. Form the different sitting positions, slouching and postures you take up as your play; there is a high likelihood that your body will end up being fatally fatigued. Technically, the crucial body parts like the lower back, neck, shoulders, and even feet, require proper support.
Without a gaming chair, most of your sitting positions will result in weakly feelings after extensive gaming. With time, muscles in some of your crucial body areas become weak, until you are too fatigued to play effectively and make your moves.
BETTER BLOOD FLOW
Another critical concern is that of proper blood circulation in the body at all times. Most of the health practices people take up, including drinking a lot of water, walking and stretching the body every once in a while, eating proper foods, among others, are all in support of better blood flow in your body.
When playing video games, a lot of time is spent sitting around, without much movement of the body. This means that the body may not enjoy a proper blood flow, especially in parts of the body like the feet, and the head. That said, with a regular chair, you will be exposing your body to the risk of reduction in lower body circulation. To avoid such issues as dizziness, shortness of breath, among others, you must consider a gaming chair to ease the flow of blood throughout your system. The bottom and sides of a gaming chair are usually made in a way to keep the body in the correct posture that facilitates pumping of the blood to all parts of the body, even the legs.
Negative messages about same-sex marriage linked to greater psychological distress
The study showed that the stigmatized social status of lesbian, gay and bisexual identity may be a source of stress, but could also serve as a source of resilience when it provides individuals with opportunities for social support.
The fight for marriage equality shows the true colors of people around us. And we’re getting sick with the realization of how people really see us and our relationships.
This is the gist of a study done by psychologists at the University of Sydney, which showed that increased exposure to negative messages about same-sex marriage was associated with greater psychological distress for lesbian, gay and bisexual people (in this case in particular, Australians during the 2017 Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey).
Published in the Australian Psychological Society’s journal, Australian Psychologist, the study assessed the mental health of 1,305 Australians who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey in 2017.
The research found increased exposure to homophobic campaign and media messages was related to increased levels of depression, anxiety and stress among same-sex attracted Australians.
“The findings highlight how political decision-making and legislative processes related to the rights of minority populations have the potential to negatively affect their mental health,” said lead author Stefano Verrelli, a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology.
A silver lining: The study showed that the stigmatized social status of lesbian, gay and bisexual identity may be a source of stress, but could also serve as a source of resilience when it provides individuals with opportunities for social support.
The research also identified factors that can protect the mental health of same-sex attracted people during periods of intense public and political scrutiny.
“The family and friends of same-sex attracted people appear to play an important role – and seem to even offset some of the harm done by the negative side of these debates – by openly supporting LGBT rights,” Verrelli said.
LGBT rights and mental-health organizations also have an important role to play by continuing their public support of minority issues. Their public messages of support appear to improve the psychological well-being of same-sex attracted people who require it most.
Verrelli and his research team in the School of Psychology – working with researchers at Macquarie University – used the minority stress model and surveys of mental health with lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians to reach their findings.
Lesbian and bi women at increased risk of being overweight
Gay men however are less likely to be overweight than their straight counterparts, and more at risk of being underweight.
Lesbian and bisexual women are at increased risk of being overweight or obese compared to heterosexual women, according to new research from the University of East Anglia and UCL.
Gay men however are less likely to be overweight than their straight counterparts, and more at risk of being underweight.
The study (‘Sexual orientation identity in relation to unhealthy body mass index (BMI): Individual participant data meta-analysis of 93,429 individuals from 12 UK health surveys’), published in the Journal of Public Health, is the first to investigate the relationship between sexual orientation and body mass index (BMI) using population data in the UK.
The findings support the argument that sexual identity should be considered as a social determinant of health.
The research team pooled data from 12 UK national health surveys involving 93,429 participants and studied the relationship between sexual orientation and BMI.
Lead researcher Dr. Joanna Semlyen, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “We found that women who identify as lesbian or bisexual are at an increased risk of being overweight or obese, compared to heterosexual women. This is worrying because being overweight and obese are known risk factors for a number of conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and early death. Conversely, gay and bisexual men are more likely than heterosexual men to be underweight, and there is growing evidence that being underweight is linked to a range of health problems too, including excess deaths.”
The study also found that gay men are significantly less likely than straight men to be overweight or obese.
According to the researchers, this study demonstrates that there is a relationship between sexual identity and BMI and that this link appears to be different for men and women.
“There are a number of possible explanations for these findings. We know that sexual minority groups are more likely to be exposed to psychosocial stressors, which impacts on their mental health and their health behaviours such as smoking and alcohol use and which may influence their health behaviours such as diet or physical activity,” Semlyen said. “These stressors include homophobia and heterosexism, negative experiences that are experienced by the lesbian, bisexual and gay population as a result of their sexual orientation identity and are known to be linked to health.”
Until 2008, sexual orientation wasn’t recorded in health surveys. This means that until recently it has not been possible to determine health inequalities affecting lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
The researchers hope that policy makers and clinicians will be able to use this evidence “to provide better healthcare and tailored advice and interventions for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.”
“We need longitudinal research to understand the factors underlying the relationship between sexual orientation and BMI, and research to understand more about being underweight, especially in this population,” Semlyen ended.
Trans patients have 70% lower odds of breast cancer screening
Transgender patients had 70% lower odds of being screened for breast cancer, 60% lower odds of being screened for cervical cancer, and 50% lower odds of being screened for colorectal cancer.
Patients who identify as transgender have lower odds of being screened for cancer. This was suggested by a new study from St. Michael’s Hospital, which also explored how doctors can address the disparity.
The study assessed screening rates for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer among 120 transgender patients eligible for screening and compared these with screening rates among the cisgender (i.e. non-transgender) patient population at the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team.
The study found that transgender patients had 70% lower odds of being screened for breast cancer, 60% lower odds of being screened for cervical cancer, and 50% lower odds of being screened for colorectal cancer. And this is even after accounting for other factors like age and the number of visits to the team.
“Our overall cancer screening rates were improving and if we hadn’t thought to look at this particular patient population we would have been happy with our results,” said Dr. Tara Kiran, a family physician and a researcher at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions of St. Michael’s. “This study stemmed from a realization that our system had the potential to miss patients whose gender had changed on their health card but who still required screening,” Dr. Kiran said. “Our findings have prompted us to develop a system to include transgender patients in the outreach we do to patients overdue for cancer screening so that we’re not missing anyone.”
Patients who have transitioned from female to male and still require cervical cancer screening are often missed when provincial agencies send reminders to those overdue.
This analysis of cancer screening rates at the Family Health Team led Dr. Kiran and her colleagues to embark on a quality improvement project to learn more about perspectives towards cancer screening among transgender patients.
“In many cases, physicians had discussed cancer screening with patients and patients had made an informed decision not to get screened,” Kiran said. “That was really important for us to understand. For people who have transitioned from female to male, having a Pap test can be upsetting as it can sometimes be gender dysphoric.”
The research team is still investigating reasons to explain the lower rates of colorectal cancer screening among transgender patients.
Kiran and her team hope this research helps increase awareness among primary care providers of the unique health needs of transgender patients and helps prompt decision-makers to address systems that overlook these unique needs.
“This study shows the importance of an equity approach,” Kiran said. “Improvements in care may not reach everyone and we need to have targeted strategies to reach those with unique needs. Our research also highlights the importance of tracking not just whether patients have had a test but whether they have had an informed discussion… Improved shared decision-making may be a more appropriate quality improvement goal than increasing cancer screening rates. We are hopeful that engaging trans patients in our quality improvement efforts will help us challenge our assumptions and provide better care to the trans population.”
Sexual minorities face significant health disparities
Sexual minorities were more likely to experience drug and alcohol use disorders, anxiety and depressive disorders, and cardiovascular disease, among other negative health outcomes. And increased stress stemming from discrimination and prejudice could be a potential reason for these disparities.
Sexual minorities – or people who are attracted to members of the same sex or who identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual (LGB) – are at a higher risk for several different health problems at different points in their lives.
This is according to Penn State researchers who found that sexual minorities were more likely to experience drug and alcohol use disorders, anxiety and depressive disorders, and cardiovascular disease, among other negative health outcomes.
Cara Rice, assistant research professor in Penn State’s Methodology Center, said increased stress stemming from discrimination and prejudice could be a potential reason for these disparities.
“It’s generally believed that sexual minorities experience increased levels of stress throughout their lives as a result of discrimination, microaggressions, stigma and prejudicial policies,” Rice said. “Those increased stress levels may then result in poor health in a variety of ways, like unhealthy eating or excessive alcohol use.”
Stephanie Lanza, professor of biobehavioral health and director of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, said the results — recently published in Annals of Epidemiology — help shed light on health risks that have been historically understudied.
“Discussions about health disparities often focus on the differences between men and women, across racial and ethnic groups, or between people of different socioeconomic backgrounds,” Lanza said. “However, sexual minority groups suffer substantially disproportionate health burdens across a range of outcomes including poor mental health and problematic substance use behaviors.”
While previous research has shown that sexual minorities are more likely to experience health problems like substance use disorders and mood or anxiety disorders, Rice said it is not as well known if those risks remain constant across age.
“As we try to develop programs to prevent these disparities, it would be helpful to know which specific ages we should be targeting,” Rice said. “Are there ages where sexual minorities are more at risk for these health disparities, or are the disparities constant across adulthood?”
For the study, the researchers used data from about 30,999 participants between the ages of 18 and 65 from the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions-III. Data included information about past-year alcohol, tobacco, and drug use disorders, as well whether they had a history of depression, anxiety, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or cardiovascular disease.
Lanza said the researchers used a method developed at Penn State, called time-varying effect modeling, to analyze the information.
“Using the time-varying effect model, we revealed specific age periods at which sexual minority adults in the U.S. were more likely to experience various poor health outcomes,” Lanza said, “even after accounting for one’s sex, race or ethnicity, education level, income, and region of the country in which they reside.”
The researchers found that overall, sexual minorities were more likely to experience all the health outcomes. Nearly a quarter — 24 percent — of sexual minorities had an alcohol use disorder in the year prior to the survey, compared to 15 percent of heterosexuals. Sexual minorities were also about twice as likely to experience anxiety, depression, and STIs in the previous year.
Additionally, risks for some health problems were higher at different ages. For example, the increased odds for anxiety and depression among sexual minorities was highest in their early twenties, while increased odds for poor cardiovascular health was higher in their forties and fifties.
“We also observed that odds of substance use disorders remained constant across age for sexual minorities, while in the general population they tend to be concentrated in certain age groups,” Rice said. “We saw that sexual minorities were more likely to have these substance use disorders even in their forties and fifties when we see in the general population that drug use and alcohol use start to taper off.”
Rice said the findings could potentially be used to develop programs to help prevent these health problems before they start.
“A necessary first step was to understand how health disparities affecting sexual minorities vary across age,” Rice said. “These findings shed light on periods of adulthood during which intervention programs may have the largest public health impact. Additionally, future studies that examine possible drivers of these age-varying disparities, such as daily experiences of discrimination, will inform the development of intervention content that holds promise to promote health equity for all people.”
Sara A. Vasilenko, Syracuse University, and Jessica N. Fish, University of Maryland, also worked on this research.