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Health

Children Health

Eczema in Children

When a skin rash cannot be blamed on poison ivy or chicken pox, the culprit is eczema. In this condition, the skin turns red, scaly and develops sores. The itching is beyond the limit and the skins starts to shed in the form of scales. 

Dermatitis is the other name for eczema. Dermatitis actually means inflammation of the skin and the skin turns pink and sore. Eczema is a common child problem as out of ten kids at least one kid gets eczema and majority of them get it before they turn five years old. Children who are above five years are also at a risk of developing eczema, but once they become teenagers, the chances are negligible. 

Not only does eczema dries the skin, it also makes it itch horribly. The skin break out can even take the form of rashes. Eczema is a condition which comes and goes frequently and therefore it is chronic. When any foreign bodies come in contact with the skin, a special kind of cells present in the skin will react to them. 

Basically, they inflame the skin as a measure of protection. The harmful foreign objects trigger the reaction and make these special cells to over react. This turns the skin itchy, sore and red. Children, who get eczema frequently, have a larger quantity of these special cells.  

Usually, people who have family members with asthma, hay fever or any allergies are more prone to getting eczema. It is in their genes to get eczema and this problem is passed over to them by their parent. Some scientists say that people, who as children have had eczema, are at a higher risk of developing asthma or hay fever later in their life. 

Allergies can only make eczema worse. The good news is that eczema is not contagious, so children can be happy about not catching the infection. The first symptom of eczema is rash development. These rashes may seem to go away in the beginning, but will return back. Although eczema itches badly, not all rashes will itch. Eczema will start to develop behind the knees and inside of the elbows. It will slowly spread to the face and other body parts.  

Because rashes can be caused due to many other reasons apart from eczema, the doctor will examine the rashes and its cause very carefully. If eczema is confirmed, the child may have to use a moisturizing cream or lotion to stop the itchiness and drying of the skin. In serious cases, the patient will be recommended corticosteroids. 

It is a steroid cream or ointment which needs to applied to check skin inflammation. If the itching is really irritating, antihistamine can be taken in either liquid or pill form. And if the scratching had resulted in an infection, antibiotics will also be prescribed. The problem doesn’t get solved forever, but it makes the condition better for the time being. 

There are certain things which trigger eczema and should be avoided by children who get eczema frequently. Perfumes, detergents, soap, dry air in winters with very little moisture, and sweaty and hot skin. Also when coming in contact with dust mites and scratchy fabrics can increase skin irritation. The child must abstain from scratching even if the skin is itching badly, as that will make the skin itch more badly. 

The skin can also get infected with bacteria because of skin breaking and bleeding. A washcloth can be dipped on cool water and placed on the area of itchiness. The parents should cut the nails short of the child so that he/she doesn’t hurt himself while scratching. Lastly, lots of water should be consumed to provide moisture to the dry skin.

Abdominal Pain in Children

Tummy aches are one of the most frequently complained about problems in children. There are many causes attributed with it, and it is a challenge for the parent or the physician to find out the exact problem. Sometimes the pain requires immediate attention and can also be a case of emergency. The causes can be related to food, infections, poisoning, insect bites, etc. 

Bacteria and viruses are responsible in case of abdominal pain due to infections. Gastroenteritis and stomach flu are some of the examples of infections that can cause stomach aches. Gastroenteritis is the inflammation and irritation of stomach and the gastrointestinal passage. Extra care must be taken by travelers, as the food and drinks can be contaminated at new locations and can lead to traveler’s getting diarrhea. Stomach pain due to viral infections ward off quickly, but bacterial infections demand the intake of antibiotics. In both the cases, some children recover very fast by vomiting and excreting. In case of diarrhea, excess drinking fluids should be given to the kid to avoid dehydration. 

Food related stomach aches can be caused because of food poisoning, gas production, excess food ingestion and food allergies. Problems because of food poisoning are temporary and can cause bloating. Symptoms of food poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea. Usually these symptoms surface within two days of consumption of contaminated food. Depending on the severity chill, fever, bloody stools, or damage to the nervous system can follow. 

In case of a group of people who consumed the contaminated food, this situation is known as an outbreak. Over two hundred diseases are known to be transmitted via food. Food can be poisoned because of toxic agents or infective agents. Infective agents are parasites, bacteria, and viruses. Toxic agents are uncooked food, exotic foods, and poisonous mushrooms. Food can get contaminated because of handling by unclean workers at the local restaurant, too. Parents should check out the cleanliness and should visit a trusted restaurant. 

Particular foods can cause the irritation, such as diary products can cause lactose intolerance. If this is the case, the child is allergic to certain food or drinks and swallowing even a small amount can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramping, and skin rash. Since these items are harmless otherwise, such kind of allergic reactions are known as hypersensitivity reaction. Sometimes the symptoms can be life threatening and are known as anaphylactic shock or anaphylaxis.

Poisoning can also be due to overdose of medicines and even due to eating non-food stuffs. Insect bites such as black widow spider bite can also lead to pain in the abdomen. It can be accompanied with muscle cramps, weakness, nausea, tremor, vomiting and in severe case it can cause dizziness, faintness, respiratory problems, and chest pain. Also, the heart rate and blood pressure increases. 

In very rare cases, abdominal pain can be due to appendicitis. This is a result of blockage and inflammation of tissues. Young kids have a higher rate if complications are considered and should be immediately rushed to the hospital. The pain starts slowly in the abdomen, specifically near the belly button. The pain shifts slowly to the right side of the lower abdomen within a time period of over twenty four hours.  

Clear symptoms are abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, fever and loss of appetite. Diabetes can also be a reason of abdominal pain. Small children usually curl up, cry and express pain through facial expression. Some kids will be reluctant to talk, but the parent should try to get clear explanation of the problem. Along with close monitoring of the symptoms, studying the location of pain, pain duration, nature of vomiting, and urinary problems will help. After that a pediatric should be consulted who can further refer to a gastroenterologist. Until help is reached, the child should be made to relax. 

Often, lying with face in downward direction can relieve pain due to gas. Incase of vomiting and diarrhea, fluids should be given constantly. Solid food should only be given when the child is comfortable about eating it.

Children’s Health Issues: Abrasions, Cuts and Scratches

Sometimes abrasions, cuts and scratches result in dire consequences if they aren’t taken care of at the right time. Children run around the house and drop vases and other glass material, which can result in scratches or cuts. Outdoor activities should be supervised carefully, otherwise abrasions caused by a wall or a rock is unavoidable. There are slight differences among the three and most of the time children get them while playing. 

Cuts are caused by sharp objects, which can penetrate into the skin or damage the skin on the surface. Scratches are mild form of cuts. They are also caused by sharp objects such as a piece of glass, thorn or a knife. Even fingernails can cause a scar. Abrasion is caused by friction or rubbing of the skin with a rough surface. Rug burns and board burns are also examples of abrasion, because they are caused by friction.

Also, in all three cases, the wound can bleed.  It bleeds when the tiny blood vessels located underneath the skin gets ruptured. Platelets form clot to stop the bleeding and a scab can also form, which should be pulled out as that will interfere with the healing process of the body. If the bleeding isn’t stopping, the wound should be covered with a soft cloth. After that the wound should be cleaned using lukewarm water and mild soap. Antibacterial ointment should be used to clean the wound and it should be covered with a bandage. The antibacterial ointment helps kill germs. The bandage will prevent bacteria from getting within and prevent the wound from getting bothersome. But the bandage should be changed everyday and the wound should be kept dry. 

The good thing is that abrasion, cuts and scratches don’t require any special attention in most cases. But if the scratch is made by animal claws or abrasion is caused by a rusty metallic surface, a doctor should be approached immediately, because the animal could have rabies and the rust can cause septic. Depending on the situation, the doctor would prescribe antibiotics, lotion or even shots. It is also a good idea that parents make sure that their kid is given tetanus shot on a regular basis. Sometimes, the wound won’t be caused in dangerous circumstances, but because of negligence, the wound will get infected by bacteria. If it the wound is infected, it will show symptoms such as redness, swollen skin, and production of puss which can be of the color yellow or either green. 

Cuts can sometimes be too deep and even long. In such cases, stitches should be certainly opted for. It is a very simple procedure. The area of the wound is made numb using some kind of anesthesia. It can either be injected or simply applied directly. Then the doctor will sew the cut edges together using certain needle and thread. If the cut isn’t big enough, the cut is sealed using a special kind of glue, instead of the stitches. 

The glue will hold the edges together so that the skin underneath will heal and over a period of time, the glue will dissolve.  Kids need to check with the doctor every week, so that the doctor will be able to analyze the improvement. And when the wound is completely healed, the stitches are cut open using scissors and then the threads are pulled off gently. In majority of the cases, the wound doesn’t leave behind a scar. This totally depends on the method and effectiveness of the treatment.

Appendicitis in Kids

Many children have their appendix removed even before turning the age of fourteen. And the risk starts to peak as they age. Majority of children who get an abdominal surgery is because of appendicitis. Appendicitis is actually appendix inflammation and as a result, a fingerlike tube grows on the lower right part of large intestine. Appendix is located at the closed end of the larger intestine, known as the cecum, and measures up to many inches. Although, doctors say that the appendix isn’t of much help to the body, but appendix’s inner wall releases antibodies, which are produced by the lymphatic tissues. 

Appendicitis can be detected by the onset of pain in the middle portion of the abdomen, the portion above the belly button. After a few hours the area will swell and there will be intense pain when touching the abdomen’s right side. The patient will begin to vomit and will have nausea. There will low fever and there will be problems will gas and stool passage. Some people, after the onset of these symptoms, will take laxatives or enemas mistaking appendicitis for constipation. But this is extremely dangerous, as these medicines will in turn increase the risk of the appendix bursting. 

So it is recommended to consult the doctor before going for any kind of medication, even any pain relievers. Besides increasing the risk, they even mask the symptoms and makes diagnosis even more hard. If the child’s symptoms are very much similar to that of the appendicitis’ symptoms, he should be immediately taken to the doctor for further diagnosis. The doctor will first study the child’s digestive illnesses’ history. He should also be divulged information about the symptoms, timing, bowel movements and its frequency. The stool should also be checked for mucus or blood. Children, who can communicate, can be asked to point out the location of pain in the abdomen. Toddlers who haven’t started talking or who hesitate to do talk will raise their knees close to the chest, hips will be flexed and the abdomen becomes tender.    

Although, the actual cause of this abnormal growth of the appendix is not known, but it can result because of some kind of obstruction or infection in the intestines. The obstruction can be created due to thick mucus build-up inside the appendix. Some part of the stool can also enter inside. There will be mucus formation and the stool will harden within resulting in the swelling up of the appendix. 

If it is an infection, it should be treated immediately, as it can burst and there is a danger of the infection spreading to other parts of the body via bloodstream. That is the reason why even blood test is done, so as to determine whether the infection has spread or not. The urine test is done to check for problems in the urinary tract. The problem is then confirmed with the help of computed tomography or an ultrasound. Sometimes children with pneumonia have the similar symptoms, so to make matters clear even X-ray of the chest is done. Medical attention must be sought within forty eight hours of the start of the abdominal pain. Sometimes, abdomen develops mild inflammation, many weeks before the diagnosis is done. 

After the diagnosis is done and appendicitis is determined, appendectomy is performed on the patient. The doctor will immediately order the intake of antibiotics before the surgery is performed. In case of confined appendicitis, it can be treated solely by antibiotics and no surgery is required. This is because the inflammation is very mild and the body itself fights with the infection. But, still as a precautionary measure, such kinds of patients must be kept in observation until their condition becomes stabilized. If the appendix ruptured then appendicle perforation is done. In this procedure, a drain is inserted inside the skin, through the abscess with the help of CT scan or ultrasound which gives the exact location. Some people develop complications later such as wound infection and accumulation of puss inside the appendix.

Chicken Pox in Children

A typical childhood disease in children chicken pox is very notorious for being contagious. A kid infected with chickenpox virus will develop numerous itchy blisters which are filled with fluid. These blisters burst later, which lead to crusts formation. Children get approximately five hundred such blisters which grow over a red skin spot. They show up on the face first and then spread to the trunk, scalp and the rest of the body. After a day of appearance, the fluid filled blisters become cloudy and later on, scabby.   

The itchiness caused due to chicken pox is really intense and irritating. And the crust, if not treated, can leave marks for life. Within forty eight hours of getting infected, the symptoms begin to surface. It is only after ten to twenty days after contamination, that the pox appears. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, headache, loss of appetite and finally the pox rash. The condition can be confirmed by testing the pox blisters and by even taking blood test. The medical history of the child can be helpful in determining the severity of the condition. 

The virus blameworthy for infecting a person with chicken pox is varicella-zoster or simply, varicella. The virus spreads through airborne transmission, droplet transmission and direct contact. Not only the infected carry these viruses and should be avoided, also people or kids who have taken the vaccination recently should also be avoided. Since the invention of chicken pox vaccine, there has been a decline in the chicken pox cases. Children who are under the age of ten should be highly prepared as they are more prone to getting infected by this virus. But on the contrary, when older children or adults catch chicken pox, they become sicker when compared to young kids. 

A child or a person who has been infected by chicken pox virus becomes host to the virus for lifetime. But the number is kept under control by the body’s immune system. Infants, sometimes, get partial immunity from the blood of their mother, if the mother was already infected by chicken pox. Kids of mothers, who haven’t been infected by chicken pox, tend to get severe chickenpox. Children who have been administered with chicken pox vaccination get mild chicken pox. Skin condition of children with skin problems like eczema or sunburn can worsen.  Such kids can be getting above one thousand and five hundred poxes.  Children who have taken steroids can also face bad situation. 

Along with the application of the prescribed lotion and intake of oral medication containing antihistamine, the itchiness can be eased by bathing the child in lukewarm water and oatmeal. The antiviral medications should be started within the first day itself. Other people living in the same household as of the patient should also take antiviral medicines recommended by a doctor. It is a must for everyone to take chicken pox vaccination as a part of immunization routine schedule. 

There is a hundred percent chance of not developing moderate to severe chickenpox and nearly ninety percent chance of not developing mild chicken pox. Chicken pox vaccine is the only vaccine which doesn’t demand a booster. But a higher dose can be given to adolescents so as to avoid shingles or herpes zoster. But a doctor should be consulted before opting for the higher dose.

Common Cold in Children

Common Cold is caused because of upper respiratory system infection due to cold virus. This infection affects parts such as ears, nose and throat. There are about two hundred known viruses which are responsible for common cold, out of which rhinovirus is the most common. Because of this great number of viruses, there isn’t any shot or vaccination available which helps in preventing cold. The best solution to the cold is human body immune system. Majority of a child’s visit to the doctor will be because of cold. According to an estimate, a child catches cold nearly eight times in a year and each time it last up to a week or so.  

Cold viruses usually spread by sneeze or cough from the infected person. The wet and slimy substance inside the nose, called mucus, is the carrier of the virus. When a person cough or sneeze, the mucus drops come out of the mouth and when other persons breaths in these droplets they catch cold. Cold can also spread by handling of contaminated stuffs like towel, door knobs, school desk, etc. If a person touches a contaminated towel and then touches his nose or eyes, there is a great chance of getting an infection. Therefore, it is a good habit to wash the hands regularly and keep them germ-free. 

The cold viruses have docking points which helps it to stick to the interior of the nose. It then controls the nose’s cell lining and begins to multiply into more viruses. White cells are responsible to fight these viruses inside the nose. They even kill them and finally get victory after seven days. Sneeze and runny nose actually prevent the viruses to affect the rest of the body parts. A person sneezes when the nerves inside the nose detect irritation and take the help of the lungs to push them out by letting out a blast of air through the mouth and the nose. The air, while sneezing, comes out at the speed of hundred miles per hour faster than cars on the road. 

Once the child contracts cold viruses, they take two to three days to develop and show symptoms. There are many symptoms of cold. The child becomes cranky. He will complain of headache, blocked nose, cough, sneeze, sore throat, muscle ache, nasal cavity congestion and will become exhausted. Low fever can also accompany, along with body chills. Medicines do not speed up the process of healing as the viruses complete their cycle irrespective of the intake. But they do suppress further growth and make the child feel better. 

Children shouldn’t take any medicines on their own, thinking that it’s just a cold. Parents should supervise the dosage and medicine being taken. And in turn, the parents should follow a doctor’s prescription. Decongestants help to decrease the wise of the swollen nose lining, which makes breathing easier. Antihistamines help to dry the mucus and stops sneezes and runny noses. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can be given if the child is experiencing headache and muscle ache. 

At home, parents should give hot food and drink to the child as they help to soothe soar throats and coughs. The heat also clears up the mucus. Chicken soup is an age old remedy for common cold. Steamy showers are another good option as they help with stuffy nose. Itchy eyes, scratchy throat and stuffy throats can also be treated with humidifiers which spray cool and fine mist. They also loosen the mucus. The nose should be blown regularly to let the mucus out of the body. It is a good idea to use disposable tissues instead of regular handkerchiefs. Complete bed rest for a day or two is greatly suggested. 

The best precaution that can be taken is eating healthy food and balanced diet so as to strengthen the immune system. The child must exercise regularly in order to stay fir and sleep adequately. Children who are stressed out more frequently are more prone to have cold. Therefore, it is good if the kid takes extra rest and goes to bed early on some days. And when the child is suffering from cold, he should relax and take bed rest as much as possible.

Conjunctivitis or Pinkeye in Children

Conjunctivitis or pinkeye is a common problem in school going kids. The eyes become red, itchy, and swollen. There can also be a discharge of gooey liquid from the eye which can be of the color white, clear, green or yellow. Conjunctivitis is also known as pinkeye because the eye’s white part turns pink or red. When the child experiences itchiness and redness in the eyes, he/she should inform the elders as soon as possible, as pinkeye is very contagious and spreads very easily. 

It is possible that only one eye can get affected by conjunctivitis, while the other eye dose not. In usual cases, both the eyes get infected. Conjunctivitis doesn’t hurt usually, but the eyes sure do itch badly. There can be a sensation similar to an eyelash or tiny particle getting in the eye, which can be very annoying. The infection lasts for about a week and usually goes away by itself. But if the itching is very troublesome, it should be treated with medicine. Some children can have conjunctivitis accompanied with ear infections, as the bacteria responsible for causing pinkeye is also responsible for causing ear infection. 

Conjunctivitis is caused by virus or bacteria. Viruses which cause conjunctivitis are also responsible for cold. Bacteria which cause conjunctivitis also cause ear infection. Conjunctivitis spreads by touching. If a person touches the hand of the infected person, who has recently touched his eyes, also gets the infection. And since infected children deal with their parents and children, they also pose the risk of getting the infection. The prevention in this case is to wash hands often with warm water and disinfecting soap. Conjunctivitis when caused by bacteria & virus, and is contagious is known as infectious conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can also be caused due to allergies or because of entry of irritating foreign body into the eyes. Conjunctivitis caused by this medium is not contagious.     

A doctor should be approached upon if the itchiness is very irritating. The doctor will check the eyes for redness and liquid discharge. The doctor would ask about the encounter with any friend or known person who seemed to have pinkeye or whether the conjunctivitis was caused because of some allergy or entry of foreign object into the eye. The doctor can also check the ears for the possibility of ear infection. If the pinkeye is caused because of bacterial infection, the doctor will recommend antibiotic eye ointment or drops. Usually infants are given eye ointment, whereas children and adults are given eye drops. The parents should put the drops or ointment into the child’s eyes four to five times a day for nearly seven days or so. The dosage and timings should be maintained to get rid of the infection completely. 

If the conjunctivitis is caused due to virus, there is nothing much the antibiotics can do. And if the pinkeye is caused by allergies or any foreign object, the doctor can recommend special eye drops to deal with the allergy symptoms. Warm water can also be splashed on the eyes to ease the itching. A cool or warm washcloth can be used to clean the discharge. Parents can clean the eyes carefully with cotton balls and warm water and remove the crusty stuff which is formed at the ends of the eyes. The towels and washcloths used for cleaning should head straight to the laundry so that the infection doesn’t spread to other family members.

Constipation in Children

Constipation is a condition of improper bowel movement. Usually the child experiences pain and has a hard time passing dry and hard stool. In normal condition there is no pain while passing the stool and it has a soft texture. The bowel movement is also regular. A child having constipation not only finds it difficult to pass stool, but at times will feel the urge to pass and when he goes to the toilet, he cannot relive himself. 

The digestive system is responsible from the intake of the food to the smooth passage of waste. The food or fluids are consumed from the mouth, which heads towards the stomach via the food pipe. After the stomach treats the food with acid, it passes on to the small intestines and then to the large intestines, also known as bowels. 

The final stage of food digestion is the outlet through of the waste through the anus and rectum. During the whole processing, the body parts absorb nutrients and water from the food supplied to them. The left over matter comes out as waste. 

It is a myth among some people who say that an individual is constipated if he or she doesn’t pass stool on a daily basis. But the truth is that the bathroom habit differs from one individual to other. So if constipation is to be checked the regular pattern of bathroom habit of that particular individual must be checked and the comparisons must not be made with the other. 

Other than not passing stool regularly, the child feels full most of the times and is a little uncomfortable. The belly can also feel stretched because of the full feeling. The child makes great effort to pass and the experience is very painful. Even after passing, the child may feel the urge of passing more stools. Because of the hard stool, it cause small tears in the anus skin and there will be little blood on the toilet paper. The child should immediately tell this to his parents, who can take care of the situation immediately.  Some kids who have a worse condition will pass watery stool, something similar to diarrhea, and mucus along with the hard stool. 

Constipation is becoming more and more widespread because of the unhealthy diet pattern followed by most of us today. With the trend of fast food, other fatty, starchy and sugary foods, children aren’t getting the required amount of fiber, which in turn slows down the bowels. It is the responsibility of the parents to make their children eat fiber enriched foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Along with eating food rich with fiber, it is also a must to drink enough fluids. Water is the best fluid for this condition. 

Fluids help to soften the stool and allow smooth passage within the intestine. Insufficient intake of fluids makes the stool dry and hard. Children are becoming more stagnant because of video games, internet and television, which are leaving them with little or no time for physical exercise. Exercise helps the food to move through the digestive system. Lesser active play time and physical activity is also a major cause of constipation. Medicines should be avoided and should be taken only when doctor recommends them. 

Stress and anxiety can play havoc over the digestive system. School going kids are usually stressed out because of the homework, assignments, and exams. An adult can talk the kid out of the stress. Children, who have the irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, worsen their condition because of stress. Spicy and fatty foods can also act as triggers, along with the stress. Kids having this syndrome might even experience gas and belly pain.  

Sometimes children avoid going to the bathroom when they feel the need for. Usually unclean restrooms keep children away. But when the nature’s call is neglected, it becomes harder to go at a later time. In very rare cases, medical conditions such as lupus, diabetes and thyroid gland malfunctioning can also lead to constipation.

Ear Infections in Children

Middle ear infection is a very common problem faced by children. Even infants below two years could face this problem. Infection in the ear is caused by germs and viruses. They enter the human body and grow to cause infection, affecting the normal functioning of the body. Similarly, germs can enter the ears. 

Depending on the location of infection, the infections are named. The human ear can be divided into the inner part, middle part and outer part. When the outer ear is infected by germs, the infection is known as swimmer’s ear. When the inner part of the ear gets infected, it is called middle ear infection. The germs infect the middle portion of the ear and fill that area with pus or a yellow gooey liquid. This liquid has cells which fight germs. The middle part of the ear is shaped in the form of a tiny air pocket. It is located at the back of the eardrum. And when the pus begins to fill in this area, the ear feels like a filled balloon which is on the verge of popping. This feeling is really painful.   

The throat is connected to the middle portion of the ear through a channel known as Eustachian tube and in fact middle portions of both the ears are connected to the throat by two Eustachian tubes. The job of these tubes is to allow the free movement of air, from the middle ear, in and out direction. Infants below three years have less developed and smaller Eustachian tubes and therefore are less capable of keeping germs completely out of the middle ear. As the child grows, so do the Eustachian tubes and the more capable they are of keeping germs outside, but they still face some problem. 

Usually kids, who have allergic problems and catch cold very frequently, are more prone to get ear infections. When the child gets cold, the Eustachian tube gets obstructed which allow germs to get into the middle ear. And the germs which gain entry, multiply rapidly resulting in a middle ear infection.    

The child gets a fever along with the ear pain. Some even find it difficult to hear because of the blockage. Middle ear infection is not contagious, but the cold caught from others can eventually result in an ear infection. The sooner the doctor is contacted, the better for the child and the rest of the family members. The doctor will check the ear with the help of an otoscope. It is a special flashlight which makes the eardrum visible. 

The eardrum is a thin membrane separating the outer ear from the middle ear. The otoscope can also be used to blow a puff of air into the ear. This determines whether the ear drum is functioning normally and is moving in a healthy way or not. Because of the puss formation due to the infection, the fluid will press against the ear drum and may even make it to bulge. Also, the eardrum can turn red because of the infection. 

The doctor will prescribe a pain reliever to be taken for the next two days. Antibiotics will be prescribed if the infection is caused because of bacteria, which will end the infection within a couple of days. Incase, the doctor recommends an antibiotic, the cycle must be completed as told by the doctor, otherwise there can be a possibility of re-infection. Few children who get ear infections frequently will have to undergo other tests such as tympanogram and audiogram. 

Children can take some steps to avoid ear infection. They must wash their hands regularly. They must keep away from people who are infected with cold. And if they do come near or in contact with an infected person, they should wash their hands and should not touch their eyes or nose. Parents, who smoke, should not do it near the kid as the tobacco smoke can be responsible for the malfunctioning of the Eustachian tube.

Corn, Calluses and Blisters in Children

Almost every kid and teenager faces corns, calluses and blisters problem. They cause extreme discomfort, but at the same time, they are easily preventable. The major cause for all of them is friction between the skin and foreign objects. 

Dancers experience corns. They are painful bumps on the toes. Area affected with corn becomes hard and the skin becomes thick. The skin surrounding it becomes yellow and it appears like a soft ring encircling it. Skin in the center is gray. They develop on the toes mostly and appear because of tight shoes, which apply lots of pressure on the toe region. The rubbing of the shoes elevates the problem. In this case, a more comfortable pair of shoes should be opted. Corns take longer time to go away. A doughnut shaped pad can be worn in the shoe to avoid friction. Pads with salicylic acid are also highly suggested. If the corn is hurting badly, a podiatrist should be consulted.  

Many people complain of callus after shoveling or raking leaves. The symptoms are that the affected area develops hard skin and are similar to that of corn. Repeated application of pressure will thicken the hardened skin which has a yellow or grayish color.  In some sense, it actually acts as a protection layer. Gymnasts and guitarist often are victims of callus. Gymnasts develop them when working with uneven parallel bars and guitarists develop them when playing with the strings continuously. But once they are formed, calluses make their task easier. Gymnasts can swing on bars more easily and guitarists can play the guitar well. 

Callus when formed on the foot, especially on the sole, can be very painful every time it is stepped on. They form on the ball or the curvy part of the sole, which follows the toes. Sometimes they can also form the heel or on small toes. To avoid callus, it is advised to avoid tight fitting shoes and shoes with high heels. Both of them put a lot of pressure and stress on certain points. The callus can be soaked in lukewarm water and then it should be rubbed with a pumice stone. This will remove the dead skin.   

Blisters are usually caused when new pair of shoes has been worn, in general terms, they are caused by pressure and rubbing. Also they are formed more easily when compared to calluses. The skin is popped up with some watery fluid inside it and can appear anywhere on the hand or the feet. 

The best way to avoid them is to wear protecting gear such as gloves when doing heavy duty work, like while shoveling or even when driving a cycle or a bike. If the blisters aren’t taken care of in the initial stages, they grow further to form calluses. This can happen when the same pair of shoes is worn everyday, which caused the blister in the first place. Blisters heal by themselves over a period of time. They should be cleaned regularly and kept clean & covered with a bandage.  

In case of corn, calluses and blisters, the best approach is prevention when compared to cure. Firstly, protective gear, like work gloves or grips, should be worn when doing strenuous jobs. Tight-fitting shoes should not be worn to avoid corn and calluses. Researchers say that the feet are of the maximum size in afternoon. So it is advisable to shop for shoes in the afternoon. Also a trial should be done before deciding on the final pair. A particular pair of shoes shouldn’t be worn on a regular basis. Shoe pads can be worn to avoid the pressure.

Urinary Tract Infection in Children

Urinary tract infection makes urinating painful. The infected children thinks twice before going to the bathroom and they always get a feeling to go to the bathroom. The urine also smells bad because of the infection. Bacteria are responsible for infecting the urinary track. 

The urinary track consists of certain parts such as two kidneys, bladder, two ureters and a urethra. The kidney does the major job of cleaning waste from the blood. The waste material is urine which is passed to the bladder through the ureters. The shape of the bladder is very similar to a deflated balloon. When the bladder gets filled two hundred and thirty seven milliliters of urine, the brain sends signals to go to the bathroom. When the person gets ready to pass, the muscles located at the end of the bladder relax which lets the urine rush through the urethra, from the bladder, and out of the body. 

When children face any of the symptoms of urinary track information, they should talk about it to their parents as the symptoms are visible to the patient more than to others. Parents can observe the urinating frequency of the children. The child feels terrible pain while peeing. He/she is able to pass only small quantity at a time. He/she also gets up several times during the night to go to the bathroom. There is a strange sensation in the lower part of the belly. Blood can also pass along with the urine. Also the urine isn’t a clear solution and is cloudy. The urine smells badly after passing. These are all the symptoms of bladder infection. The child can also feel feverish along with chills. Pain can be experienced in the back or the belly. When the pain is right below the ribs, it is a clear sign of kidney infection. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the child should be taken to the doctor. 

The doctor will take urine sample for testing. The urine is taken in a plastic cup, into which the child pees. Before passing, the child must wipe the area with special wipes, so that the germs from the body do not confuse with the germs in the urine. 

Germs in the urine are an indication of infection. Although there are million of germs residing on the exterior of the body, they are completely harmless. Only a few of them actually infect the body. A stick is dipped in the urine sample. The stick is special, that is it is a specially treated paper which changes color upon determination of an infection. Otherwise, the urine sample can also be sent to the laboratory. Incase of a bladder infection, the doctor will prescribe medicine that kills the bacteria. 

The child will begin to feel good just few days after starting to consume the medicine. But he/she must stay away from food and liquid which has caffeine in it as it can elevate the bladder irritation and the patient will feel very uncomfortable. After the test, if kidney infection is detected, the child will be hospitalized for few days. He/she will be given a germ fighting medicine which will be administered by a small plastic tube which will be introduced in a vein.  

After the child recovers from a urinary tract infection, he/she should try best to avoid such incidents in the future. The most important thing is to maintain cleanliness. The private parts should be washed everyday. It is best to take a shower or a bath daily. The child can use wipes to clean every time after passing urine. Children should never hold the urine. When they feel the urge, they should rush to the bathroom immediately. 

Fluids intake must be increased. Best fluids are water and cranberry juice. Water washes the bacteria out of the body and cranberry juice prevents another bacterial attack. Bubble baths aren’t good as it can irritate the urethra. Cotton underwear will absorb the sweat and body moisture, which will prevent bacterial growth. Underpants must be changed everyday.

Warts in Kids

Nearly fifty percent of children acquire warts at some time or the other. Warts, in the real sense are benign tumors which develop when keratinocytes, a kind of skin cell, is infected by the wart virus. There are many types of warts, the most common being rough bumps which appear on fingers and hands. Others are flat warts, genital warts, plantar warts, and molluscum contagiosum. 

The difference is based on the types, location, and painfulness of the wart. Common warts appear on fingers and hands and usually are painless. Plantar warts appear on the soles and are sometimes painful. Periungal warts show up around the finger and toe nail. Warts which appear on the face are flat warts. 

The symptoms of the common warts are that the skin develops an irregular surface and becomes rough. A dome starts to appear after a day after infection. A popular myth is that warts have roots, but they don’t. They grow on the epidermis, which is the top most layer of the skin. The black portion is because of broken veins and clotted blood. 

Warts come and go at various stages of life like childhood and teenage years. They usually go away by themselves. But some can be very painful, can spread quickly and some of them wont go away for many years. Such kind of warts should definitely be treated. The most common treatment among the pediatricians is cryotherapy. 

They will freeze the warts using liquid nitrogen. Cantharidin can also be applied, which is a painless treatment but can result in painful blisters at the end of the day. The minus point is that these treatments sometimes cause blistering and some warts won’t come off in one sitting. If the warts won’t still budge they are further treated with strong salicylic acid, intralesional immune-therapy, bleomycin, or a pulsed dye laser.  Aldara can also be used in worst cases. Because of some treatments the warts grow to the end of the blister, which results in a bigger wart and some might even result in a scar. 

Besides other common wart treatments, the most well-known home remedy is duct tape. The affected area is covered with duct tape for about six days. If within that time period, the tape peels off, it should be reapplied. After the sixth day, the duct tape should be removed and the wart should be soaked in water and a pumice stone or emery board should be used to scrap the top skin of the wart. After this, the duct tape should be reapplied again within twenty four hours and the same procedure should be repeated until the whole wart disappears. 

This procedure takes at least two months to get rid of the wart completely. Some kids hesitate to put duct tape on parts which are visible, like fingers and legs. They can be encouraged by making them wear colored duct tape, other than grey. Many home wart freezing and removal kits are also available in the market whose help can be taken.   

Warts spread by direct contact with the wart or any material which the infected person has used like a used towel which has been contaminated. It is contagious and hence it is recommended to stay away from it at the very sight of it. All the cuts, rashes and bites should be cleaned regularly and should be kept covered. Another measure for prevention is wearing closed shoes in public places.

Fever in Children

The normal temperature of human body is 98.6°F. If the temperature is taken rectally, the thermometer will show a rise of 1°F, that is it will show 99.6°F. The normal body temperature can vary slightly among individuals. 

The doctors consider the rise in body temperature as fever if it crosses the mark of 99.4°F when taken orally and 100.4°F when taken rectally. Rectal checking of temperature is done in infants and children who are older than four years have their temperature checked orally. Infants under three months should be rushed to the hospital if they have fever above 100.5°F. The same applies for children older than three months and having a body temperature above 102°F. 

Digital thermometers provide a more accurate temperature reading. Mercury thermometers pose a health risk to the family as it is an environmental toxin. Hence, this is another good reason why mercury thermometers should be replaced with digital thermometers. Parents must take few measures before and during the task of checking the child’s temperature. First of all, the parent should be sure about the kind of thermometer he or she wants to use, that is whether the thermometer should be meant for oral use or rectal use. The child shouldn’t be bundled up very tightly before the temperature is checked. When the thermometer is being held by the child, the parent should supervise the whole procedure. 

Infants might experience pain when the thermometer is inserted into his rectum. Therefore, it is a good idea to cover the thermometer’s tip with petroleum jelly before insertion and only half of the thermometer should be inserted inside. The thermometer should be held until the beep is heard as children tend to drop the thermometer, if it is left to them. When taking the temperature orally, the thermometer should be placed underneath the tongue and should be left there until the beep is heard. After usage, the thermometer should be washed with cold water and soap. 

When an infection is being fought by the body, it shows signs of fever. When the child becomes fussy and experiences aches in parts of the body, the child should be administered with some medicines. Medicines are available for children, depending on their needs, age and weight. The recommended dosage will be written on the pack or the label of the medicine and the parents should check that chart before giving any medicine to the child. 

If there is any kind of confusion, a doctor should always be consulted. Medicines like Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and Tylenol for children are available over the counter. When acetaminophen is given along with lukewarm bath, it helps decrease the fever. The medicine should be given just before the bath. The water shouldn’t be cold and no alcohol products must be used while bathing. If bath is given minus acetaminophen, the child can begin to shiver and there is chance of body temperature going high again. 

Aspirin is not advisable for children as it may develop serious illness called Reye’s syndrome in the child. The risk is even more in kids having chickenpox or flu. Not more than five doses should be given in twenty four hours. If drops are given, the dropper should be filled till the marked line. A liquid medicine usually comes with a measuring device in the form of a cap. If not, it can be bought at the local drug store. Infants under four months shouldn’t be given medicine, unless told by the doctor. 

Certain symptoms call for immediate attention and the doctor must be contacted immediately. Symptoms can be dry mouth, rapid change in body temperature, ear-ache, behavioral changes, frequent diarrhea and vomiting, paleness, seizures, skin rashes, intense headaches, sore throat, swollen joints, irritability, high pitch crying, not feeling hungry, stiff neck, stomach ache, whimpering, wheezing, limpness, and breathing problems. 

At all times, the child must be made to wear comfortable cotton cloths which help the body to breath properly and at the same time absorbs the sweat. The child should also be given fluids constantly, in order to combat with dehydration.

Flu and Cold in Children

Flu and cold usually accompany each other when attacking a child’s immune system. It is a wide spread viral infection and the harsh truth is that there is no permanent treatment designed for it because of the involvement of many types of viruses which cannot be killed, but yes their growth rate can be suppressed. Symptomatic treatments can trigger the rate of improvement in the child’s health, but it might not work for all kids. 

The child can get affected by the flu and cold virus when he is exposed to an infected person. The symptoms are mild headache, feeling of tiredness, stuffy or runny nose, watery eyes, light fever, sneezing, cough, muscle aches, and sore throat. It takes two to five days for the symptoms to appear and three to five days for the complete development of the virus. It takes nearly two weeks to completely get rid of the flu. The virus attacks the upper respiratory system. These are the symptoms of cold. The symptoms of flu are more terrible than cold and grow very rapidly. 

They are high fever, runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, chills, fatigue and nausea, vomiting, eye pain and extreme headache. Symptoms are extremely important when trying to differentiate between flu and a cold. As stated before, the symptoms of flu are more severe when compared to the symptoms of cold. Also, it is easier to get over cold than flu. The biggest clue will be recalling any incident of exposure to patients having either flu or cold. Even after thorough analysis, if it is difficult to reach any clear conclusion, a doctor should be consulted. A swab is taken from the nasal track or throat and the results are determined an hour after the test is taken. 

No antibiotics work on these viruses. Intake of antibiotics cannot better the condition in any way whatsoever. Also, there are chances of secondary bacterial infections like sinus or ear infection. The child should be administered with fluids and a cool mist humidifier to suppress the symptoms and to help him feel better. Medications are available over the counter which can be bought depending on the symptoms of the infected.  

Antiviral medicines are available for the treatment of flu, which hasten the recovery process. But the medicines are effective only when given within forty eight hours after the onset of flu symptoms. Runny nose, especially of infants and kids who cannot blow their nose, can be taken care of with the help of a bulb syringe or nasal drop.  If flu isn’t treated at the right time, it can worsen the health of the infected and can also lead to pneumonia. 

Flu is a very commonly spreading infection among school going kids. According to a research, nearly twenty percent of Americans are infected with flu every year and nearly twenty thousand people die because of it. The only way to prevent the child from contracting these virus is by getting him/her a flu shot before the flu season or as recommended by the physician. The vaccine is either administered through a shot or nasal spray. 

Regular dosage will strengthen the immune system by constructing antibodies. The nasal spray vaccine contains live weakened viruses and shots contain completely dead viruses. By any chance, if the child does get exposed to the virus, he/she should be given medicine meant for flu patients, immediately.  More than hundred viruses are known which cause cold. A lesser number of viruses are known to causes flu. That is the reason why there is a shot for flu and not cold.

But flu shot cannot be taken by anyone or everyone. People who complain of allergic reactions from previous flu shots, people who have the Guillain-Barre syndrome and people allergic to eggs are not eligible for flu shots. It is highly recommended to take advice from a physician before getting vaccinated. Children and elderly should be given nasal spray vaccination, but instead they should opt for flu shots. Out of total population, there are certain people who have a greater probability of getting flu. Children up to five years of age, elders older than sixty five years, nursing home residents, pregnant women, patients with long term problems regarding health, and health care workers who come directly in contact with flu patients.

Food Allergies in Kids

Food allergies are a common problem in kids. Nearly two million children have food allergies in the United States. Some food allergies are life threatening, even if the food is taken in very little quantity. Peanut tops the list of notorious foods which cause allergies. Following it are milk, especially cow’s milk, soy, eggs, wheat, seafood and other nuts. 

Food allergies are caused when the immune system is confused. The job of the immune system is to protect the body from diseases, bacteria, viruses and germs. The antibodies produced by the immune system helps to fight these minute external organisms which makes the person sick. But if the body is allergic to certain food, the immune system mistakes the food to a harmful foreign substance and takes action towards it thinking that it is dangerous to the body. The body acts adversely, when it isn’t supposed to do so. 

When the immune system detects allergic substance, the antibodies produce mast cells. They are a kind of immune system cell which release a chemicals, such as histamine, in the bloodstream. These chemicals affect the respiratory system, digestive system, nose, eyes, throat, and skin. Initial symptoms are runny nose, tingling sensation in the lips or tongue, and itchy skin rash like hives. The reaction can be mild to severe and depends on every individual. The symptoms can appear right after the food is consumed or after few hours. Other symptoms are cough, wheezing, nausea, hoarse voice, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, and throat tightness. 

A sudden and harsh allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis. The patient encounters many problems, all at once which involve blood vessels, the heart, digestion, breathing, and skin. The blood pressure drops very steeply, the tongue swells and there is swelling in the breathing tubes. Patients who have such allergic reactions should be ready to handle emergencies. They should always carry some type of medicine which will help to combat or reduce the adverse affect of the food.

Most of the times, it is very easy to detect the cause of food allergy. Problems such as hives begin to surface as soon as the child eats the substance he is allergic to. At other times, it becomes very difficult to determine the cause of allergy. In such cases, everything should be observed under close surveillance. Food items which are made out of many ingredients should be thoroughly checked for the allergic cause. 

Most of the times, allergies are inherited from other family members or other kids born with food allergies. Changes in the surroundings and the body play a major role in these kinds of cases. Some of the kids aren’t actually allergic to the food and show only mild reaction. Like people who are lactose intolerant suffer from diarrhea and belly pain after consuming milk and diary products. This is not an indication that the child is allergic to milk. This reaction happens because their body is incapable of breaking down the sugars which are found in diary products and milk. 

If the conditions are severe, a doctor should be consulted immediately. If food allergy is diagnosed, the doctor refers to an allergy specialist. The doctor asks questions like eating patterns, past allergic reactions and the time period between the consumption of food and the surfacing of the symptoms. The specialist can also ask about allergy related conditions like asthma or eczema and whether allergic reactions are hereditary. Usually skin test and blood test is done to test the antibodies and the reaction they have on the skin when it is exposed to the allergic substance.  

Kids who are allergic to egg and milk outgrow them as the age progresses. But allergies which are severe and are related to items such as peanut, shrimps, and some kind of fish, last for a lifetime. Other than food, children can be allergic to certain medicines and flower pollen. The best way to avoid allergies is to avoid the cause of it. No specific medicine has been developed for the cure of allergies.

Frequent Headaches and Migraine in Children

Children who get frequent headaches and migraine attacks have chronic illness. Such children and their parents face problem to adjust with school and their rules. Extra preparations and steps should be taken to cope with such illness. Pediatric specialist in migraine and headaches exist should be consulted for treatment and other precautionary & preventive measures.  Also the triggers vary from child to child, which should be recognized accurately. 

Firstly, it is the strict attendance rule in most of the schools that children with chronic illness find it difficult to deal with. To add to it, majority of the schools have zero tolerance policy regarding medications, even including over the counter medicines. Reports of students getting expelled for merely carrying Advil in school with them are common. Prior to making appointment with the doctor, it is recommended that parents read the policy of the school the child is attending. It is good to ask questions before hand, than feeling sorry later. Some of the schools asks for letter or medical record as a proof, incase the student didn’t attend because of a health problem. Some schools consider sick leaves as regular leaves and in this case, the attendance gets affected greatly. 

School nurses can be given the prescribed medicine so that they can give the medicine to the child at the required time. If this is the case, things such as medicine storage location and availability of substitute should be checked. Apart from not attending regularly, the child can sometimes be unable to take part in co-curricular activities especially physical education and outdoor recess. 

Other possible options should be discussed with the teacher. Usually a recommendation letter from the physician will do the needed. In all the cases, some kind of medical identification can be carried by the child at all times. If the child is attending an after school babysitter or program, directly after school, extra measures should be taken. The babysitter or program in charge should be told about the problem in advance. Their cooperation can be asked for timely administration of the medicine and for taking special care of the child. If the child himself is grown enough to understand the matter, the child should be educated about taking medications. They should also be made to understand that it is harmful to take medicines from any un-trustable source even if their fellow students do. Budge them to ask questions and clarify any of their fears of concerns. 

Most of the children lack the ability to convey their problem properly. The situation is further aggravated because of different kinds of headaches. They can be related to chronic illness, tension, sinus or fever. Only diagnosis can bring out the correct problem. 

If the rate of headache becomes more frequent, like more than twice a month, doctor’s appointment should be taken instantly. Younger kids find it more difficult to explain the problem. If they become cranky, restless, irritating, tired, is having sleeping disorders and is not eating properly, a problem surely exists. Most of the children complain of headaches during exams because of increased stress. Seventy five percent of the children experience headaches because of tension. If so, stress management education, along with counseling, should be given to the kid. 

Headaches can be an indication of other problems, too. So, thorough diagnosis is highly recommended. The child’s previous medical history provides important clue. Prior to the doctor’s appointment, notes can be made after referring the medical history. Maintaining a log about the child’s headache frequencies, pain location, time of occurrence, symptoms, etc. also helps. If not due to illness, headaches can also be a result of head injury. Sometimes, headache can be hereditary, like in the case of migraines.  

Headaches can also be caused because of infections, vision problems, odd levels of blood pressure, neurological problems, muscle weakness, improper ear balance or serious problems such as tumor, blood clots, etc. If the doctor is not able to diagnose the problem, he/she can refer the child to a headache specialist or neurologist. Test such as CT scan or MRI are done if there is a serious problem.  

After the diagnosis, the doctor prescribes medication or will ask to take over the counter medicines. According to a study, children who face headaches and migraine take overdose of over the counter medicines for immediate pain reliving. In some of the cases, the parents are clueless about this situation. This practice is risky and mostly children above six years are involved in such cases.

Motion Sickness in Children

Children usually feel sick in the stomach when travelling in a car, airplane, boat or train. This sickness is known as motion sickness. This sickness is caused by reception of wrong signals by eyes, muscles, skin receptors, and inner ears. 

While travelling, different body parts send different signals to the brain. Eyes see things around and it sends signals about the direction of movement while in motion. The joint sensory receptors and muscles send signals about the movement of the muscles and the position in which the body is. The skin receptors send signals about the parts of the body which are in contact with the ground. The inner ears have a fluid in the semicircular canals. This fluid senses motion and the direction of motion like forward, backward, up, down, circular, or to and fro. 

When the brain gets timely reports from the various body parts, it tries to find a relation between all the signals and then sketches a picture about the body’s movement and position at a particular instant. But when the brain isn’t able to find a link and isn’t able to draw a picture out of the received signals, the condition called motion sickness is experienced. 

For example, if a child is riding in a car and reading something at the same time, the eyes will see stationary book. But the skin receptors and the inner ears will sense the body moving in a forward direction. The eyes and the muscle receptors will send signals that the body is not moving. This confuses the brain and everything is jumbled up in the head. This makes the child dizzy, sick in the stomach and even tired. There is a possibility of the child throwing up, so it is recommended that the parents carry a sick bag each time they are travelling with kids. And if the child is feeling anxious or scared, the condition can deteriorate further.

Although there are medicines available over the counter to deal with motion sickness, some measures should be taken to avoid medicine and also motion sickness. The child should always be made to sit facing in the forward direction. He/she should not face or sit backwards, nor should he be made to sit in a seat facing backwards. 

This helps the ears and the eyes to send similar kind of signal. It is good if the kid isn’t involved in some kind of activity like reading, playing video games or something which is stationary. He/she must be asked to look outside, especially at things which are located at a distance. The same applies when travelling in an airplane. When travelling in a boat, the child can go to the upper deck and look at the horizon. Basically, the child must be made to concentrate at things which are located at a distance and are in motion. When looking at something stationary, the eyes get confused and send wrong signals. 

It also helps to sit in a place which is moving the least. Usually, it is the center point of the body, so the more close the child sits to the center, the better. Like when in an airplane, it is good to sit in seats in the middle aisle and not in those which are located near the wings. If the child is sitting in the center of the boat, instead of the front or the side, the lesser seasick the child will feel. In spite of all these measures if the child is still feeling sick a doctor should be consulted. 

The doctor checks the inner ears for any defect. He will also check other body parts which are responsible for sensing motion. Apart from medicine, pressure bracelets are also available at the local pharmacy. And along with carrying a sick bag or any other plastic bag, the car can be pulled over and the child should be walked out a bit to feel better.

Pains during Growth in Children

Growing pain is part and parcel of the growing phase in a child’s life. When the child stops growing so will the growing pain and when adolescence is reached, they disappear completely. Growing pain can occur between three to five years or eight to twelve years of age. Growing pains are usually experienced in the legs usually in the calves, in the area in front of thighs and behind the knees. The pain starts either in the afternoon or night, just before bedtime. 

The child can go to bed pain free, but can wake up in the middle of the night complaining of throbbing pain in the legs. But the good part is that these pains vanish by morning. About twenty five to forty percent of the children are known to experience growing pain. 

Growing pains are experienced in the muscle region and not around the bones or joints. One of the major reasons of getting growing pains is because of the strenuous activities of the kids during the day. All the jumping around, running and climbing make the muscles tired. But no evidence has been collected which can prove that the growing pain is caused by bone growth. Growing pains are also known to be caused by spurt of growth. 

This happens because the tendons or the muscles are too tight and do not synchronize with the growing of the bones. As a results muscle spasms are caused which last for less than fifteen minutes. The child usually gets pain in both the legs and not just one. And usually, growing pains do not get accompanied with redness, swelling or fever. The pain should be over by morning and if it is still persisting after the awakening of the kid, the problem could be related to something else and more serious.  

If the pain is unbearable, the parent or caretaker should administer pain relieving medications which are available over the counter such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Aspirin should not be given to children as they have a tendency to develop a very serious illness known as Reye Syndrome. Heating pads can be placed on the region that is hurting to ease the pain. Massage can also be given by the parent or the child can do stretching exercise to help the muscles relax. 

If the child develops fever, redness, swelling, tenderness, limitation in movement, or if the child limps while walking, the doctor should be approached. Before that the parent can do a little diagnosis of the intensity of the pain by feeling around the area and observing the pain experienced by the child. The pain shouldn’t be so intense that the child is abstained from normal routine such as walking, running or playing.  

The doctor conducts the diagnosis of exclusion to understand the problem. According to this diagnosis, it is not made until all the conditions are checked before considering growing pains. The doctor studies the child’s medical history and conducts a physical examination. In some serious cases, the doctor advices to go for X-ray or blood test before the final decision is made. 

Children can prevent the growing pains by doing stretching exercises on a daily basis. The exercise need not be complex. Even if the pain subsides, the exercise should be continued so as to keep the tendons and muscles relaxed and to adjust with the growth spurt. Fluids, when taken in good quantity, decrease the cramping. For this reason, the child should be given tonic water or quinine before going to bed.

Pinworms in Children

Pinworms develop as a result of unhygienic habit of not washing hands before having food. They are small worms who resemble to small thread pieces and cause itching in the anus area. Pinworms infect humans only and reside in the intestines. Every school going kid encounters this problem at one time or the other. They can touch another kid infected with pinworm or an object having the eggs of the pinworm. 

The eggs of the pinworm’s eggs get on the fingernails and that why it is a good idea to wash the hands regularly.  If the food is eaten without washing hands, these eggs go inside the body, by the digestive system. In the small intestine, the eggs hatch and the pinworms move towards the large intestine. There, they cling onto the walls of the intestine and stay there for few weeks to mature. After that the female pinworms go towards large intestine’s end to lay eggs near the anus region. Usually the eggs are laid at night and that is the time when the area itches. It takes one to two months time period after the consumption of the eggs, for the maturing of the pinworms who lay new eggs. The eggs get hatched on the anus’s skin and the baby pinworms will crawl inside the body in order to grow. 

Pinworms eggs are found anywhere like on the kitchen counter, school desk or bed. They are also found on utensils, clothes and towels. When outside the human body, the eggs can live up to two weeks. Within that time period when they are touched, there is a chance to enter the human body and flourish. Pinworms are contagious and can spread from one human to another. Also they can spread by air as the eggs are lightweight and the wind can blow them and they can be breathed in or swallowed by anyone.  The child can intake more eggs when he scratches his bottom and doesn’t wash his/her hands immediately. 

Children infected with pinworms can see worms in their stool after they pass and even on the underwear. The worms look like small white threads. But the eggs aren’t visible to the naked eyes. If the child observes these symptoms he/she should inform the adults about the condition. The itching caused by pinworms can be so bad that it can wake the child in the middle of the night and make him/her squirm. 

The doctors usually prescribe some medicine to kill the pinworms. The doctors also take samples from underneath the fingernail and the anus to check for eggs. The medicine will take about two weeks to get rid of the worms completely. If the itching is very irritating and wakes the child in the middle of the night, a cream is prescribed by the doctor. Sometimes other members of the house will also be asked to take the same medicine as a precautionary measure. The parents should wash all the clothes, towels and sheets used by the pinworm infected child.

The best way to deal with pinworms is taking precautionary steps in the first place. The child must cultivate a habit of washing hands before eating food, after using the bathroom and after playing outdoors. The fingernails should also be clipped regularly to not to allow eggs depositing there. The eggs also hang onto clothes, so it is a good habit to change underwear daily. And other clothes should be washed after every few days.

Pneumonia in Children

Pneumonia is the infection of the either one lung or both. When both the lungs get infected it is known as double pneumonia. When the pneumonia is mild enough that the visit to the doctor can be avoided and the child can carry out daily activities normally, it is known as walking pneumonia. 

The lungs are an important part of the respiratory system. The air which is breathed in contains oxygen, which is filtered by the lungs. This oxygen then is carried around the body with the help of blood which is passed from the breathing tubes by the alveoli. Capillaries or the minute blood vessels are surrounded by small air sacs known as alveoli. There are over six hundred million alveoli in the human body. 

The air which is taken in is supplied to the alveoli; the oxygen extracted from the air is dissolved in the blood. Then it is the job of the red blood cells to distribute the oxygen to all the body parts. Oxygen is vital in the proper functioning of the human body and insufficient supply of oxygen can damage the organs and sometimes can be life threatening. This functioning is disturbed when the lungs get infected by pneumonia. 

Pneumonia does not allow the lungs to function properly, because the infection produces fluid which obstructs the alveoli. In turn the oxygen does not penetrate deep inside the lungs and lesser oxygen is supplied to the blood. The breathing is affected and the condition worsens when both the lungs get infected with pneumonia. 

People of all ages from infants to old could get affected with pneumonia. It is a myth among people that getting wet makes the person catch pneumonia. But it is actually the virus or the bacteria which causes the infection. When a person infected with flu or cold faces a deterioration in his/her condition, he/she can be infected with pneumonia. This happens because the irritation caused by the flu or cold helps the pneumonia germs to get into the lungs easily and move around to spread the infection. 

The virus or bacteria which cause pneumonia can cause damages, whose severity can depend on the health of the child. If the infection is caused by bacteria, the child will get sick very soon and can get high temperature fever accompanied with chills. Pneumonia caused by virus develops very slowly and it takes longer time to go away. The child can also experiences cough, chest pain, headache, and or muscle ache. It can also make it difficult to breath, so the child will start to breath faster which may make him cough out gloppy mucus. The child would have to totally abstain from eating.

When given the right treatment, the child can recover fully. The doctor will first examine the heartbeat and breathing with the help of the stethoscope. The stethoscope also helps to check the lungs, the sounds made by the lungs help to determine if it contains any fluids. Sounds such as crackling or bubbling are indications of pneumonia. Chest X-ray will be taken too. White patchy area will show fluid buildup. 

By looking at the X-ray, the doctor can also determine whether the infection is caused by bacteria or virus. If it is caused by bacteria, antibiotics will be prescribed. And if it is difficult for the child to swallow the medicine or to retain it inside, he/she will be injected with IV fluid. And if virus is responsible for the infection, antibiotics won’t work. Fever reducers, along with cough medicine, will be given in this case. The medicines will be of no use, if the child doesn’t take adequate rest and plenty of liquids. 

Shots can be taken to prevent pneumonia. These series of shots are called pneumococcal. Regular flu shots can also prove helpful, especially for kids who have asthma or other kinds of lung infection. Rest and sleep also strengthens the immune system. Washing hands regularly can keep harmful germs at bay.

Poison Ivy and Children

Summer camps and family hiking sessions can sometimes result in children getting itchy rashes. To be blamed are plants such as poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak. All of them produce the same substance or oil, called urushiol, which cause rashes. Urushiol is colorless and even odorless and is present within the leaves. Poison ivy can even grow in the backyards and parks. So any kind of outdoor activity should be monitored and the lawn should be de-weeded periodically. Bushes should be checked, as they grow as a regular plant and the child would not be able to distinguish the poisonous plant from the regular one. 

Precaution is better than cure. Children should be educated and made to understand the description and ill-effects of poison ivy. They come in wide range and some change the appearance depending on seasonal variations. Urushiol is released from the leaves only when the leaves are damaged like when they are torn, get bumped or are brushed. The moment the leave is damaged, urushiol is released and the skin is affected immediately. Also, what many people do not know that to get a rash by poison ivy is not only by coming directly in contact with the plant. Human and animal carriers of urushiol can affect people coming in contact with them. The leaves of the plant can be flown by the air, which can cause damage when those leaves are handled or burned with the rest of the leaves and twigs. 

Once the children are made familiar with the plants, they should be asked to steer clear on the sight of the plant or leaves. Parents should avoid places where there are possibilities of growth of such plants. When going on camps, etc., children should not be dressed in short sleeves and short length pants, so that the body does not brush off such plants. In spite of taking all these precautions, if the child comes in contact with such plants and contact with urushiol is suspected, the area should be washed with water and disinfectant. It is best to take shower and clean the whole body and the clothes should be removed immediately and washed. Pets should also be bathed after their outdoor adventures. 

Basically, the urushiol causes an allergic reaction which irritates the skin and that is the reason why it is known as an allergen. This allergen won’t harm all, but eighty percent of the victims get skin irritations. It not only creates itchy rashes, but can also swell the skin. The time period for the symptoms to surface is few hours to five days. The rash usually takes one to two week to heal completely. First the skin swells and rash develops. Blisters can also form as a result of regular rubbing of the skin to get rid of the itch. The blisters will form a crust after some days and will flake off.      

If the rashes are accompanied with fever, a pediatrician should be contacted for appointment. And if the case isn’t that serious, the doctor recommends home remedies. The child would be asked to be given showers with cold water and calamine lotion would have to be applied.  If the redness and itching is intense, fluid medicine along with pills are administered to the kid. Antihistamine is very popular in such cases. Steroids are prescribed by the doctor.

Sinus and Sinus Attack in Children

Sinus might seem like common cold at first. The child coughs, sneezes and gets a red nose, like in cold. But the difference is that sinus attack last longer than common cold. Sinuses are spaces in the bones of the face and the head which are filled with air. They are exactly located on both sides of the nose, behind the nasal cavity, within the forehead, and at the back & in between the eyes. Sinuses grow in pairs and there are four pairs of them. Sinuses begin to develop in the mother womb and grow till twenty years of age. As children have an incompletely developed immune system, they catch cold infection more frequently. 

The actual purposes of the sinuses are not known, but scientists say that they make the head lightweight as these air pockets are filled with light air. If these air pockets were to be replaced with something solid, the head will become heavier. The sinuses also provide tone and depth to the voice. 

That is the reason why the voice sounds funny when a person catches a cold or gets a sinus attack. The sinuses are covered with a thin and moist tissue layer known as a mucous membrane. These membranes are responsible for adding moisture to the air breathed in. They also produce mucus, a sticky liquid filled in the nose, also called snot. This sticky liquid catches germs and dust, which are carried by the air, before they enter the body. The mucus membranes are covered with cilia or microscopic hair. These cilia move to and fro to encourage the flow of the mucus out of the nose and back inside. When the sinuses are infected, the membranes produce more mucus and become swollen and irritated. 

When a person catches cold, the virus harms the cilia and the mucus doesn’t get swept back in. This is how a runny nose is developed. The mucus lining swells within the nose. This narrows or completely blocks the minute opening of the sinus into nose. Because of this, the stickier and thicker mucus produced get trapped in the sinuses. This stagnant mucus becomes the breeding ground for virus, bacteria and fungi. 

If the common cold stretches for over two weeks, the sinusitis condition develops. This condition is sinus infection. Acute sinusitis is sinusitis stretching over two weeks or so. But when it crosses three months, it is called chronic sinusitis. The child can get mild fever along with acute sinusitis. There is no fever associated with chronic sinusitis and the symptoms are less intense.  The symptoms of sinusitis or sinus attacks are mild fever, bad breath, continuous nasal discharge, puffy eyes, and daytime cough. Some children also experience low energy, crankiness, headache and pain behind the forehead, cheeks and eyes.  

When the doctor is approached for help, he/she will check throat, nose and ears for infection. The sinuses are also checked. The doctor will press or tap on the cheeks and forehead. If bacteria are responsible for causing the infection, the child will be given antibiotics to kill the bacteria. The antibiotics will show their effect within few days itself. A nasal spray or decongestant can also be used to treat blocked and runny nose. If it is chronic sinusitis, the antibiotics need to be taken for a longer time period, like for about a few weeks, in order to kill the bacteria completely. The child shouldn’t stop the course of medicine if he/she isn’t seeing any improvement in the condition. The doctor should be contacted for further instructions. In this case, a surgery is an alternative. The doctor will ask the child to get a CT scan of the sinuses. 

The best thing about sinusitis is that it isn’t contagious. So if a kid is infected with it, he/she can still go to school and have fun with the rest of the kids. But kids who have sinus problem should stay away from environmental pollutants and allergies, which can trigger the condition again in them.

Stomach Flu in Children

Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is a kind of infection in the digestive system, especially the stomach and intestines. Causes for this condition are parasite, bacteria, or virus infection spread through contaminated food and fluids. It can also be caused by certain toxins present in some plants & seafood, usage of powerful laxatives in order to cure constipation or because of intake of poisonous heavy metal or food. The problem starts with stomach upset and cramps. The child shows disinterest in eating and feels week.  Symptoms of stomach flu are diarrhea and vomiting, which take nearly five days to go away. Sometimes, even fever can accompany along with dehydration. 

The child must be given fluids regularly as this will suppress other symptoms from emerging because of loss of water from the body.  Loss of water and salt from the body is the biggest risk in stomach flu. Dehydration can not only worsen the condition, but can threaten the life of the child, if it isn’t taken care of in the early stages. Since there is loss of salts along with the loss of water from the body, plain water won’t do much. Oral rehydration solutions which are available at the local grocery or drug store, is a good idea because it has the correct combination of salts, sugar and water which can hydrate the body. These fluids come in different flavor, so that kids can have their favorite flavor and is easy to consume. The solution shouldn’t be added with anything else such as sugar or water. 

If a child is vomiting, solution can be administered to him using a teaspoon every two minutes. The quantity can be increased gradually. If the vomiting is more frequent, the child can be made to suck ice chips in order to supply constant fluid to the body. The solution should be given till diarrhea comes to a halt, but it is not advisable to continue it for more than twenty four hours. Some of the fluids such as soft drinks, sports drink, apple juice, tea, or chicken broth contain wrong amounts of salt, sugar & water and can make matter worse. Besides fluids, the parent shouldn’t give any type of medicine without consulting a pediatrician. Fried, spicy and sugary foods aren’t good in this condition. If the child isn’t receiving sufficient amount of fluids he/she will show signs such as sunken eyes, dry mouth, intense thirst, unusual sleep patterns, and decrease in urine.  

The more the bed rest taken by the child the better it is. The child should take complete bed rest for at least twenty four hours or till the diarrhea and vomiting stops. If the child has fever, the temperature should be checked and noted in a log, every four hours. If the temperature is very high and doesn’t stop climbing, the doctor should be contacted immediately. The person who is preparing and serving food to the child should wash his or her hands very carefully before doing so. Also, if the diarrhea and vomiting doesn’t stop after twenty four hours, it is a must to get a doctor’s appointment. The child should be rushed into emergency if the vomiting contains blood or green color substance. 

The doctor, after doing stool and blood test, prescribes antibiotics if infection is suspected. Along with it, anti nausea medicines are also given to stop the throwing up and control fluid loss. If there is considerable loss of fluids from the child’s body, the child might be admitted into the hospital and will be administered with fluids such as glucose or IV, through a tube connected to the child’s veins. If the child has fever, temperature is checked and the doctor would ask about information about the temperature pattern, for which the parent should be ready.  If the illness is stretched for days, a log about the information about the daily weight should also be given to the doctor. Sometimes, the blood oxygen levels would also have to be checked with the help of a pulse oximeter.

Swimmer’s Ear in Children

Swimmer’s ear is bacterial growth infection inside the canal of the ear. It is also known as Otitis Externa. It differs a lot from ear infections which are dealt with on a regular basis, which is contracted at times when the child catches a cold. The common ear infection is known as Otitis Media, in which the middle of the ear is infected. Incase of swimmer’s ear, the ear canal which leads towards the ear drum is infected by bacteria. The first symptom is that when the finger is stuck inside the ear canal, it will hurt a lot. In normal cases, it won’t hurt at all. 

The skin within that are is very delicate and hence, is protected by nature by a thin earwax coating. Usually, water can easily glide inside and then outside the ear without any problem. But when the water cleans some or all of the earwax and if some of the water is retained inside, the bacteria will take advantage of this situation. Chemicals in the water aggravate the situation by increasing the irritation. It starts growing within the soft and warm ear canal and can cause swelling and redness. A slight itchiness also accompanies it. 

But the child must be instructed to not to scratch, otherwise there is a greater chance of the situation becoming worse. If there is no itchiness, obviously there will be pain, which is the initial symptom. The ear should not be bumped or touched even from the exterior, as that will cause intense pain. Hearing can become difficult due to the bacterial infection as that will swell the ear canal and block the passage. 

The pain and itchiness can only be gotten rid off by fighting the infection and killing the grown bacteria. In usual cases, ear drops are prescribed by the doctor. These ear drops have antibiotics which are meant to kill the bacteria. The dosage and number of days to use the ear drops as told by the doctor should be strictly followed. If the doses are missed there is a possibility of bacterial re-growth. A wick is also introduced inside the ear, sometimes. 

This wick actually is small piece of sponge with absorbed lotion. The wick is left inside then. This procedure is used when the doctor thinks it is important to apply medicine directly to the part of the ear canal which is infected. If the pain is unbearable by the child, parents can give pain killers, but only after taking suggestion from the doctor. Once the antibiotics begin working, pain killers can be stopped. 

Swimmer’s ear cannot be just attained cause of water entering the ear at the time of taking baths or showers. Children, who have joined the summer swimming camp, can complain of this problem. After the swimmer’s ear is treated, the child shouldn’t swim immediately. Doctor, usually, advices them to stay away from water for a week or two. The time period may sound very long, but it keeps the pain away for a long time. 

Special ear drops are available over the counter which can be put inside the child’s ear after swimming is over. This will dry up any water inside the ear, if any. Swimmer’s ear can also be caused when inquisitive kids try to stuff things inside the ear and thus damaging it. Bacteria get a chance of developing on the scratched area. In this case, only parent’s supervision will do the trick.

Tonsils and Tonsillitis in Children

Tonsils are two tissue balls located at the back of the throat. They play a vital role and are an important part of the body’s infection fighting mechanism by helping to fight germs and diseases. Tonsils deal with the germs before they reach mouth, throat, or sinuses. When these infection fighters are infected by viruses or bacteria, the condition is known as tonsillitis. 

The symptoms of tonsillitis are: as the time passes, eating, drinking and swallowing things become difficult. The pain can be accompanied with fever, earache and headache. The tonsils can be seen too. Just open the mouth wide open and the two masses of tissues at the either side of the throat are tonsils. They are usually dark pink in color, but when they get infected they turn red. A white or yellow coating can also be formed on the tonsils. There is an obvious change in voice as it becomes hoarser. The infected child can also develop bad breath. The infected kid can also get abdominal pain and can throw up what he eats. Tonsillitis is caused by both bacterial infection and viral infection. Bacterium known as streptococci causes infections which require special treatment. 

When the child gets tonsillitis, the parent should give lots of fluids to drink. Smooth food should be consumed to ease the pain caused by swallowing coarse, crunchy, and hard food. Food like soups, ice creams, applesauce, and gelatin are a good option. Spicy food should also be avoided. A humidifier or cool mist vaporizer can be placed in the child’s room as that will make breathing more easily. The kid must be given maximum rest and complete bed rest for at least two days is recommended. The bacteria and viruses cause tonsillitis to spread by sneezing, coughing or touching. The infected child must cover his/her mouth while coughing and sneezing. A disposable tissue can be used instead of a towel or handkerchief. Things such as utensils, towel, clothing, etc. of the sick kid should be separated so that the rest of the family doesn’t get affected.  

The doctor inspects the tonsils using a wooden stick known as tongue depressor, which will lower the tongue, so that the doctor can have a good look at the tonsils. After that the doctor checks the ears and nose. Heartbeat will be checked. If the doctor suspects strep, he/she will take a sample of saliva from the back of the throat using a long cotton swab, which can gag up the child a bit. After a day or two the results are received. Some doctors conduct a similar test known as rapid strep test, which give results within few minutes. Antibiotics are given when the test results come positive for strep. The bacteria get killed only when the course is completed and the correct dosage is taken at correct time. 

If virus is the cause of infection, there is no medicine for it and instead the body is capable of fighting the virus on its own. When the tonsils infection becomes frequent and the child finds it difficult to breath because of tonsillitis, it is recommended to get the tonsils removed. But it is the last resort after all other treatments do not do the trick, because tonsils are very important to the body’s immune system.

The tonsils are taken out by surgery known as tonsillectomy. After the surgery, the child won’t suffer from sore throat and breathing problems anymore. The surgery won’t even leave any scars. A day before the surgery, the child cannot eat or drink, to keep the child from throwing up during the operation. The operation is very short and last for only twenty minutes. Because of the anesthesia, the child won’t feel a thing during the operation. 

And during the surgery, the tonsils are removed using an electric cautery, which is a burning tool, or a cutting tool. After the surgery, the child is given lots of fluids and after a day soft foods can also be given. Usually it takes about two weeks to completely recover from the surgery and the child can return back to normal activities.(red)

Health Food

The Importance of Healthy Eating

Have you ever heard the saying you are what you eat? In some sense, this is true, because if you eat unhealthy foods you are prone to be an unhealthy person. The foods we ingest are extremely important to our ability to grow, maintain function, and prevent illness. Therefore, if you value your health, you should learn as much about healthy eating as possible. 

Healthy eating is important from the day we are born. As a child, we grow quite rapidly and this is due in part to the foods we eat. Foods all contain nutrients that provide us not only with fuel to live our daily lives, but also with the very substances that build our bones, muscles, and organ tissues. Not getting enough of one nutrient or another can cause a variety of problems, including stunting our growth. 

For mothers who are nursing, nutrition is important because breast milk contains the nutrients a child needs to grow and develop properly. Upon growing older, these nutrients are then found in food, but don’t think that healthy eating isn’t important for growth after you’ve gone through puberty. Cells continuous break down and rebuild, so healthy eating for growth continues to be important until the day we die.

Maintaining function is also not important without healthy eating. In out daily lives, we use energy to think, walk, talk, breathe, and perform any other action. The energy it takes our body to do these things comes from two places: fat reserves in the body or our daily food intake. 

If you don’t eat healthy foods, you will find that you are storing more fat that necessary or that you aren’t getting enough and you feel sluggish or weak. Along with energy-providing nutrients, like fats and carbohydrates, we also need the right nutrients to allow our organs to do their jobs. Hormones and other substances in the body make sure that everything is working properly. If you don’t eat the right nutrients, your body cannot produce these hormones and, as a result, cannot function properly.

Lastly, healthy eating is important in order to prevent illness. When we do not get the right nutrients, or body’s natural defense system against diseases weakens, allowing viruses and bacteria to attack the body. It’s like a well-trained army—if the army doesn’t have enough to eat, it will not do well in battle. Without healthy foods and plenty of water, our bodies simply could not operate on a day-to-day basis. Learning how to eat healthy foods is therefore and important lesson, and one which we should begin learning as children.

Why Breakfast Really is the Most Important Meal of the Day

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, that doesn’t stop millions of Americans, and people around the world, from skipping breakfast or opting for only a drink of coffee. The truth is that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and you will have a much more healthy diet if you include breakfast in your daily life. 

Breakfast is rightly named—break fast. When you sleep, you are not eating for 6 to 9 hours at least, and more if you haven’t eaten since dinner the night before. Therefore, breakfast is the first time you’ll be eating anything for a very long period of time. Some nutrients, like proteins, cannot be stored in the body and are therefore not present, so the body needs you to replenish the “low” levels of such nutrients. Breakfast is like the match that lights the fire. It truly is a very important source of energy for your body in the morning. 

Eating breakfast in the morning also helps you avoid some illnesses and disease. For example, your sugar levels are probably out of whack from not eating for many hours, so having breakfast levels out the amount of sugars in your body, helping to prevent diabetes. Eating a healthy breakfast also helps you to provide food to your stomach so that you don’t overeat at lunch because you are so hungry. Overeating leads to obesity, which comes with a whole host of problems, including heart disease. 

Healthy breakfast foods, like eggs, fruit, or bran cereal are also a good source of many of the vitamins and minerals a person needs during the day. If you don’t eat these things in the morning, it will be hard to make up for that loss later in the day. Remember that without the proper amounts of nutrients, you body will not function correctly. When you eat a healthy breakfast, it also makes you choose healthier foods during the rest of the day, so that you continue to get the proper nutrients needed for your body.

Setting aside 15 minutes in the morning to eat breakfast every day can truly make a great different in your diet. In the best case, your breakfast will include foods from at least three different food groups. For example, you can have whole grain toast (bread food group) with peanut butter (protein food group) and a banana (fruit food group). Top that off with a glass of milk to drink, and you’ve even hit a fourth food group. Breakfast does not have to include a heavy pancakes and sausage meal every day to be healthy, and even grabbing a single piece of fruit or a muffin is better than skipping the meal completely. Breakfast is important to your health!

Eating Healthy for your Heart

Your heart is one of the most important organs in the body, and the foods you put into your mouth effect how your heart operates. If you want your heart to be strong and able to pump blood as well as possible all over your body, it is important for you to eat a healthy diet. Heart-healthy foods are readily available in the supermarket, so choose some that work for your personal likes and you should be able to help prevent heart disease in your own body. 

Cholesterol is the most important thing when it comes to eating heart-healthy foods. There are both good cholesterols and bad cholesterols. Good cholesterols are called HDL, and their job in the body is to take excess bad cholesterol (LDL) to the liver, where it can be broken down and then will leave the body. LDL is actually not needed by your body at all from foods. Our bodies make enough of this kind of cholesterol on its own. It is the LDL cholesterol that hurts our hearts, not the HDL cholesterol, which actually helps our hearts be reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. 

LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. Because this substance has a low density, it does not flow through the blood stream as readily as it should. The red blood cells easily release the LDL cholesterol and it sticks to the walls of your blood vessels, especially in the arteries leading to your heart. This is bad for a number of reasons. 

First, when the LDL cholesterol builds up on your arteries, it reduces the amount of blood that can fit through at a time, since the artery becomes smaller. That means your heart has to pump harder and faster in order to allow the same amount of blood to flow through your body. Over time, this makes your heart tired and not as strong. In the worst-case scenario, the blood vessel becomes so built up with LDL cholesterol that your artery could close completely. When this happens, your heart essentially panics because it is not getting the blood it needs and it starts beating rapidly to try to pump the blood. This causes a heart attack. 

You can also have a heart attack from LDL cholesterol build up if a piece of the build-up, called plaque, breaks off and floats down the blood stream. When it reaches a smaller part of the blood vessel, it will get stuck and block the blood, which again causes a heart attack. If the piece of plaque travels to the brain instead of the heart, it will cause a blockage in this area of the body, which in turn causes a stroke. Therefore, it is simply important to cut out of your diet the foods high in cholesterol so that you can prevent heart disease and other problems in the body.

Three Deadly Eating Disorders

Healthy eating is very important for our everyday lives, but unfortunately, many people develop problems with body image with prevent them from this healthy eating lifestyle. Eating disorders vary greatly from person to person, but one thing remains constant—they are very detrimental to a person’s health. If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

The first kind of eating disorder that a person may develop is anorexia. Anorexia occurs when someone is overly concerned with weight and simply refuses to eat. Someone suffering from this disease usually tries to hide it by discarding the food without anyone knowing, cutting the food into small pieces to make it look smaller, or lying about skipping entire meals. Anorexia is dangerous because it does not allow a person to lose weight in a healthy way. Cutting fat out of a diet is fine, but not getting enough proteins, vitamins, minerals, water, and other nutrients can make your body lose muscle weight and weaken.

Another major type of eating disorder is bulimia. While you may notice an anorexic person losing lots of weight in a hurry, someone who has bulimia may or may not be losing weight. If a person has bulimia, he or she does not have the will power to give up foods, but instead vomits or uses laxatives after meals to rid the body of these foods. Like anorexia, this can rob the body of key nutrients, and it can also lead to problems in the digestive system, throat, and mouth, which are not made for regular induced vomiting. 

The third main type of eating disorder is binge eating. This is a combination of anorexia and bulimia in most cases. A binge eater will, like a bulimic, not deprive his- or herself from food. In fact, someone who is a binge eater will eat enormous amounts of food in a single sitting, and often these foods are not high in nutritional value. Instead of vomiting, a binge eater will then refuse to eat at all and exercise rigorously for a day or two, but then slip into a binge once again. This leads to major problems with weight.

Eating disorders can effect bother males and females, as well as people of any race, ethnicity, or age. Most commonly, victims of eating disorders are teen and young adult girls. Many people die every year due to complications with eating disorders, but if you or someone you know suffers from this problem, help is available.

Healthy Eating with Little Money

If you are interesting in eating a healthy diet compared to your current diet, I have good news or you—you don’t have to be rich to do so. It is fully possible to involve yourself in healthy eating, even if you are on a very tight budget. This may require a little bit of extra time and effort to plan your meals, but you can make good and inexpensive food choice in order to provide your body with excellent nutrition. 

First, it is important to plan for your healthy diet. When you go shopping, take a list with you of the healthy foods you need to purchase instead of walking up and down the aisles without a plan. When you have a shopping list, you are less likely to purchase random junk foods that you do not need, and so you’ll save money as well as be good to your health. 

Planning ahead with a list also allows you to look through store sales fliers in order to choose healthy foods that are offered at discount prices that week in particular. When you do go shopping, make sure that it is not on an empty stomach, when you will be craving fatting foods and will be more likely to overspend and waste money on unhealthy products. 

You should also consider purchasing items in bulk. Many club stores have a membership fee, but you can save a lot of money if you have an adequate amount of freezer and pantry space. Look at the healthy foods you need, and then head to the bulk-food supply store in order to grab enough of the item for the next month. Remember to choose foods that are both healthy and the freeze readily. 

Eat at home as much as possible. When you go out to eat or stop at a fast food restaurant on your way to and from work or during your lunch break, you will pay extra money for the convenience of someone else preparing the food. These foods are also usually high in calories and low in nutrients. Instead, calculate the money you would normally spend to eat out and then use it to buy more expensive healthy ingredients at the supermarket. You can make breakfast and dinner and also pack a lunch to carry to work or school. 

Purchase foods that are in season. Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually very high in nutrients, but when you want strawberries in January, you’ll end up paying the extra price. Learn when fruits come into season in your climate and purchase them at those times of year. You can learn to can or otherwise preserve these fruits and vegetables if you want to have them all year round! Of course, heading to your local farmer’s market is a great way to purchase these items and save money. Healthy eating on a budget is all about being creative with the money you do have.

Carbohydrate Craze

Carbohydrates have been put into the spotlight ever since diets like the Atkin’s Diet and the South Beach Diet have recommended cutting carbohydrates out of your meals as much as possible. However, before you make an drastic decisions about what foods to include and not include, it is crucial to learn about carbohydrates and what they do for your body. 

In short, carbohydrates can be good or bad for your body. It is necessary to eat enough good carbohydrates, because that is how our body has enough energy for low-intensity activities during the day. Carbohydrates are famously found in breads and grains, but actually they are also found in a number of other foods as well, such as fruits and vegetables. When keeping an eye on your intake of carbohydrates it is important to distinguish the good from the bad. 

All carbohydrates are basically sugars. Complex carbohydrates are the good carbohydrates for your body. These strings of sugar are very difficult to break down and trap over nutrients like vitamins and minerals in the sugar strings. As they slowly break down, the other nutrients are also released into your body, and you can provide with fuel for a number of hours. 

Bad carbohydrates, on the other hand, are simple sugars. Because their structure is not complex, it is easy to break down and holds little nutrients for your body other than the sugars from which it is made. Your body breaks down these carbohydrates rather quickly and what it cannot use is converted to fat and stored in the body. Staying away from simple carbohydrates is what most diets recommend, since they have little nutritional value when compared to complex carbohydrates. 

More importantly than how carbohydrates work in the body and the difference between good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates is how you can actually eat these carbohydrates! First, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods include carbohydrates, but also a variety of other nutrients needed by your body. Another great tip is to cut the white bread and bread products out of your diet and replace then with whole wheat or 12-grain breads instead. Look at the packaging. Foods rich in fiber are probably a source of good carbohydrates. 

Learning the difference between good and bad carbohydrates is very important if you wish to have a healthy diet. It is not good for your body to cut out carbohydrates completely—in fact, that is very difficult to do unless you only eat meat! Eating a healthy and balanced diet means including good carbohydrates into your meals.

How to Get Picky Eaters to Eat Healthy Foods

When you have children, one of the biggest challenges is making sure that your child eats all of the food that he or she needs to grow in a healthy way. Healthy eating is important from birth! If your child doe not get the right nutrients in his or her food, it is possible that his or her growth will be stunted or that he or she will become ill. 

However, if you have a child, than you also know that getting your young one to eat healthy foods is many times met with resistance. While it is easy to get a child to enjoy chocolate cake, broccoli is another issue! Here are some tricks and tips to helping your child get all the nutrients he or she needs.

A great way to teach your children new skills as well as get them to eat healthy food is to get them to help you in the kitchen. Children as young as three and four love to help with simply things like stirring and pouring, while older children can learn to crack eggs, measure ingredients, and teens can even help to cut vegetables and cook entire meals. When a child sees what is going into food, he or she will be more likely to eat it. Children also will be more likely to eat foods that they help to cook because they are proud of their accomplishments.

Another great way to get a child to eat healthy foods is to look for kid-friendly options. For example, if your child is not getting enough dairy foods, low-fat string cheese is a healthy snack option that is also very fun to eat! You can also find crackers that come in kid-friendly shapes and finger foods. 

If you are extremely worried about your child getting enough of the proper nutrients he or she needs for daily life, you can also find vitamin supplements to help your child’s diet. A number of brands makes vitamins that come in fun shapes and sizes so that you can convince your child to take them. There are also powered drinks and other enriched foods you can give to your child in order to make sure they get all of the nutrients they need.

The bottom line is that you need to make sure that your child is staying safe and healthy, no matter how picky they may be. If you child refuses to eat a specific food, he or she probably simply does not like that food, and you should provide another choice. However, if he or she is refusing most foods, you must be firm about eating nutritious foods. Talk to your pediatrician in order to find out proportions and types of foods that your child should be eating.

Foodborne Illnesses: Prevention for Healthy Eating 

Eating healthy foods will help you to boost your immune system, but what if it’s the foods themselves making you sick? Foodborn illness can cause food poisoning and a variety of other more dangerous diseases, so they are a real threat to our bodies. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to prevent foodborne illnesses. Following safety tips when handling, preparing, and storing food is very important. 

First and foremost, you should be concerned with the temperature of your foods. When cooking meat, make sure to use a thermometer in order to make sure that you meat is reaching to proper temperatures inside. Some meats, like beef, can be served rare safely, but proper temperatures are crucial. This kills any bacteria that may be growing on the meat. In the case of burger and other loaf meats that have been ground and formed into patties, you should not eat rare meals. The bacteria then easily is found inside the meat as well as on the outside, and you are at risk if you do not cook these meats for a long period of time to kill any bacteria. 

After your food is cooked, you should continue to monitor temperature. Simply put, keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Hot foods should be kept at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit, while cold foods should be kept at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The range between that is where bacteria can grow. When letting food cool for refrigeration, place in the refrigerator after no more than two hours, and when thawing meals, do so in a bowl or pan in the refrigerator, rather than at room temperature. 

Cross contamination is a huge culprit when you are concerned with preventing illness and your food. Cross contamination is basically the moving of bacteria from one dish to another. This happens when you use dirty cutting boards, don’t wish your dishes properly, and use the same utensil for all of your foods. If you use, for example, a knife to cut raw chicken and then use that same knife to cut your food after it has been cooked, some of the bacteria from the raw chicken has probably remained on the knife, which can make you very ill. Make sure that you are using a clean work space and clean tools whenever you cook. 

Along with using a clean environment, you should make sure that you are washing you hands regularly. Every time you touch raw foods, you should use disinfecting hand soap and hot water to make sure that no bacteria remains on your hands. Making sure that your food is safe is one of the most important parts of healthy eating, so don’t overlook this step the next time you prepare a meal.

The Right Snack Track

Snacking is the downfall of many otherwise healthy diets, but the good news is that your can learn to control this snacking quite easily. Also, even if still want to snack during the day, there are ways in which you can do so without killing your healthy diet. Staying on track with your diet when you like to snack might be hard, but it is worth that extra effort because it keeps your body healthy. 

To prevent snacking, simply eat more meals. Instead of eating three large meals every try, try eating smaller meals every few hours. If you are snacking because you are hungry, chances are that you are using more energy than you are ingesting and you need the extra fuel. By eating 6 smaller but healthy meals every day, you will not be tempted to snack very often, but will keep your high energy levels. 

You can also help to stop your snacking simply by removing temptation. Before you reach for a snack, ask yourself if you are honestly hungry or if you are just eating because you are bored, because the food tastes good, or because you feel compelled to eat when doing a certain activity (like watching a movie). 

If you are snacking because you are really hungry, than it is probably fine to have something to eat, but if you are snacking for another reason, you should try to remove the temptation. Simply rid your house of junk foods and do not buy these items again when you go to the grocery store. 

Instead, purchase healthy snacks. Think about the snacks you are eating. Would they fit easily into a food group as fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy, or protein? If the answer is no, then the snack is probably not good for you. For example, carrot sticks (vegetables), yogurt (dairy), or whole wheat crackers (grains) work well as snacks, while candy, potato chips, and processed foods do not. 

When you snack, remember to consider your beverages as well. Drinks like soda, fruit punch, iced tea, lemonade, and juice boxes can contain unnatural ingredients and lots of sugar. In short, they are high in calories but low in nutrients. Instead, opt for drinks that supplement your healthy diet. 

Choose water most of the like, or drinks that are made with natural fruits, like apple juice. Low-fat milk and sports drinks are also good choices. Above all, stay away from most kinds of alcohol. Red wine is an exception, since this can help your heart health, but any type of alcohol in high amounts is fairly bad for your body.

A Healthy Diet while Traveling

Sticking to a healthy diet while traveling can be one of the most difficult things to do in your life. However, if you learn how to make smart choices, a healthy diet is really not that difficult. This is probably not the best time in which to start a healthy diet, but if you are currently making healthy choices in your foods already, modifying your diet slightly to accommodate travel is not as it first may seem.

If you are traveling my airplane, a healthy diet may have to include airplane food, which can often be poor for your healthy, depending on the selection. When you book your flight, ask about your food options ask if a vegetarian dish is available. Vegatarian dishes are sometimes more nutritional in this case, but it really depends on what they will be serving. If you can, eat a larger meal before your flight so that you don’t have to eat the entire meal that is served to feel full.

When driving or taking a bus, you may be tempted to stop at fast food restaurants and eat the foods found there. Avoid this whenever possible! If you’re on vacation, you may wish to splurge a tiny bit, but having fast food more than one during a week can really be bad for your health. If you must, choose the healthiest options available, like chicken breasts and diet soda. 

Also, remember that you can take your own food when traveling. Carrying a loaf of whole-wheat bread or pita wraps, some lean lunchmeat, and low-fat cheese in a cooler is a great way to avoid high-fat and high-cholesterol junk food meals. These are much better choices and you’ll save a lot of money as well. Call ahead to ask if there will be a refrigerator in your hotel room. 

Lastly, make smart choices when you eat out. If you choose salads or pasta get the dressing on the side and ask about low-carb options. In fact, many places print these dieting options directly in the menu for the health-conscious people. Control your portions by ordering lunch menu sizes or splitting the meal in have and getting a doggie bag, and you’ll be well on your way to healthy eating, even away from home. 

Yes, eating healthy foods when you travel can be a challenge. However, your health is worth it. When you eat good foods, you will also fight illnesses that you are likely to encounter when traveling and be more alert so that you can enjoy your trip.

How to Start Healthy Eating

If you currently do not eat a healthy diet, it can be difficult to start such a plan. However, healthy eating is important for maintaining bodily function and living a disease-free life. If you struggle with healthy eating, than you know that breaking unhealthy habits can be the most difficult part of the process. However, if you truly want to live the best lifestyle possible, it is important to follow tips in order to start eating a more healthy diet. 

A good beginning step when you want to start eating more healthily is to rid you home of all founds that do not into healthy categories. Keep junk foods and beverages out of your house so that you will not be tempted to snack during the day. If you’re worried about getting hungry, keep healthy snacks like carrot sticks, yogurt, fresh fruit, or whole-wheat crackers on hand. If you find that you just cannot bear to toss out the sweets, try keeping something tiny on hand, like chocolate chips. Eating a few of these won’t ruin your diet but also will give you that little sugary fix you rave.

Another great step to healthy eating when you are first starting the process is to take a few moments to learn about what foods are the healthiest for you and how they work in the body. Most people understand that fruits, vegetables, and low-fat means and dairy products are good for you, but few people understand why. The key is learning about nutrients. When you understand how specific nutrients work in the body, you will be more likely to make these healthy choices for your body. Knowledge really is power!

When cleansing yourself to prepare for a new healthy diet, you should also take into consideration your schedule for meals. If you often eat in a rushed hurry at odd times of day, you probably are not getting the best foods possible. Plan ahead! Instead of grabbing a fast food lunch on the go, take a bagged lunch to work, complete with a healthy wrap and some fresh vegetables. Plan ahead for healthy meals in the evening as well by cooking ahead if you are not currently getting healthy dinners and have little time to cook when you get home every night. 

Start with baby steps. Even if you only replace one soda a day with a glass of water, you are really improve your calorie intake. If you eat fast food every day for lunch, try replacing that even half of the time. When you start by taking small steps, it does not seem like you are cutting out all of the foods you love and you can take your time to learn about healthy foods which you can love equally as well.

Healthy Shopping 101

Healthy eating starts with one key activity—healthy shopping. When you head to the grocery store, it is easy to pick up lots of foods that are bad for our bodies without even realizing it. Shopping for a healthy diet can be difficult if you do not know how to do so, but with these tips, you should find it easier to do so the next time you head to the grocery store.

First, have a plan before you ever leave your house. Use the sales fliers to check out the great products that are on sale and take an inventory of your pantry and refrigerator to see what foods you need to purchase. Make a list of all of the foods you’ll need and stick to that list. Allow yourself one or two compulsory buys, but otherwise stay to the ingredients you’ll need to cook healthy meals for yourself and your family for the rest of the week. Before you leave, review your list and take out any unnecessary junk food. 

Another great shopping tip to go along with making a list is to shop for a week at a time, or even longer if you have a large freezer. When you have to run to the grocery store every day, you are more likely to pick up junk food items every time you make a trip, and before you know it, your snack supply will be overflowing. You can shop for a week or two in advance by taking a day to plan meals for the week and packaging fresh product to be frozen. 

When you’re shopping, it is also important to read the label. Try to avoid purchasing brand name items simply because they are brand name or store brand items simply because they are less expensive. Actually look at the product’s nutritional value and try to get the most nutrients for your money. When you eat higher quality foods, you’ll feel more full and, in turn, eat less, so this really is the best way to bargain shop. 

If you are just shopping for yourself, you should also consider picking up a basket at the door instead of getting a shopping cart. The biggest problem with health and grocery shopping is grabbing junk food items that you don’t really need. If you have a small basket, you simply won’t have room for chocolate brownies and ice cream with your load of other foods, so you’ll pass them by.

Lastly, don’t forget to consider drinks into your healthy shopping plan. Most people don’t realize it, but sodas, punches, and beers can have many empty calories and are generally bad drink choices. Instead, look at the labels and choose diet drinks, water and sports drinks, or natural fruit juices, like apple juice. With these tips, healthy eating—and shopping—should be much easier!


Nutrients You Need

Healthy eating requires you to eat a number of nutrients every day. In fact, there are 40 different nutrients you need to ingest in order to keep your body healthy. That’s a lot of nutrients you need to know about! Luckily, you can break down all of these nutrients into smaller categories in order to keep them organized in your mind and make sure you get all of the foods you need. 

First and foremost, everyone needs water in order to live a healthy life. Without water, we become dehydrated, and eventually die. You lose water when you sweat and through daily bodily functions, so water must be replenished. Drinking about 8 glasses a day is recommended. Of course, water is found in food as well as in drinks, so you can get your 8 glasses by eating foods like watermelon.

Of course, we need much more than water every day to survive. Another group of nutrients we can’t do without is proteins. Proteins are found in foods such as meat, eggs, and soy products. They provide the amino acids needed to build muscle tissue as well as help make some of the hormones in our bodies. Red blood cells and hair is also made from protein. 

Along with proteins, a body also needs adequate amounts of fats and carbohydrates in order for us to have enough energy during the day. Fats are primarily used for energy during intense activity, like exercising, while carbohydrates are primarily used for energy during less intense activities, like standing, sitting, and other movements. 

Both the fats and the carbohydrates that we eat in a day can be stored for later use as fat, so it is important to eat enough for energy, but also important to regulate intake in order to stay slim and healthy. In the event that you are not eating enough fats and carbohydrates, your body can also provide itself with fuel from proteins.

Vitamins and minerals are also important nutrients for our daily lives. We get these from fruits, vegetables, milk, and most natural sources of food. Some of our foods, such as bread products, can even be enriched so that we get more vitamins and minerals in our bodies. 

There are dozens that you need to ingest regularly, such as iron, thiamine, vitamin C, and vitamin D. If you are eating a healthy diet, you can most likely get enough vitamins and minerals from your foods, but you can also take vitamin supplements to make sure that you are getting the right amounts you need to maintain body function. Supplements may also be available to help with other nutrients as well, so if you are worried, talk to your doctor about how you can be sure to be eating a healthy amount of nutrients.

Quickly Eating Healthy

People use many excuses to give reason to why they are not eating healthy foods. One of the most common of these excuses is that they have no time to worry about choosing the best foods and cooking them for themselves and their families. These people usually grab fast food or take-out instead of healthier foods, and these quick dinner fixes are full of bad fats and cholesterol, sugar, and empty calories. 

However, no matter how little time you have to spend in the kitchen and at the supermarket, there are ways in which you can eat in a healthy way without much time. Learning how to quickly eating healthily can make all the difference in perfecting your diet. 

Eating healthy foods begins with healthy ingredients, but if you are short on time, you may find that spending time in the grocery store does not fit into your schedule. To maximize your time, plan ahead for two weeks at a time. 

Instead of having to go to the store every time you need an ingredient, make a list and keep your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry stocked with good, healthy ingredients. You can make your shopping list during a meeting, while eating lunch, or while you are on the phone. A list will also help you cut back on compulsory buying, which is when we purchase a lot of the foods that are bad for us. 

Along with planning your shopping list, plan your meals as well. If you find little time to cook during the week, you can instead try making a few healthy meals in advance on the weekend and than putting them in your freezer. Before you go to work in the morning, simply stick the frozen dinner in the refrigerator to thaw and then pop into the oven to cook when you get home from work. This will help you avoid having to pick up fast food. 

When you do find yourself in the need of a quick meal and want to order out, look for healthy options. Instead of choosing a burger and fries, for example, look at the chicken breast options. Some fast food restaurants also have salads and fruit, but beware of dressing, which can be tons of fats and empty calories. Keep healthy drinks on hand at home instead of purchasing a soda as well. Better yet, stick the burger, pizza, and Mexican joints altogether and opt for a sandwich or sub shop instead, where you can choose a wheat bread and ask them to hold the mayonnaise. 

Healthy eating on the run will never be easy. However, putting a tad bit more time into is worth that extra effort, because you’ll be living a healthier life in the end. Using these tips will help you to quickly eat as healthily as possible.

Is Organic Worth It?

When you head to the grocery store, shopping for products like eggs, meat, fish, milk, and produce can be very tricky. Signs are posted everywhere labeling food as natural, organic, and a number of other things—but what’s the difference, really? Learning what specific names mean can help you decide if you should shell out extra money on a product of it is simply a marketing ploy. 

Natural is a turn associated with a number of fruit and vegetable product. Typically, this is simple a marketing ploy to convince you to buy the product. After all, all fruits and vegetables are natural, right? Unless it’s a new kind of food that has been developed and processed, the product is natural. 

What you really probably want is organic. Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers. There are two main benefits to organic foods. First, you are helping the environment because those chemicals are not being introduced into nature. 

Secondly, you are avoiding ingesting chemicals and are therefore healthy more healthy foods. However, organic products are usually more expensive. If you’re on a budget, skip over organic fruits and vegetables that you can peel, like oranges and bananas. After all, once you’ve discarded the peel, you’ve also discarded the chemicals. Instead, opt for organic items like apples, where you eat the peel. No matter what you buy, however, make sure that you rinse off the food when you get home. 

Another tricky label you will see is “no hormones.” This is usually in regards to milk or meat products and is false, since all animals naturally produce hormones. Hormones are what helps an animal (even a human) regulate body organs, have young, and otherwise function. 

All meat products have hormones. What the labels really mean is that no hormones were unnaturally given to the animal, which is sometimes done to increase milk production. Regardless of hormones, however, the milk and meat is safe for a person and not a violation of an animal’s rights. 

Lastly, a label on eggs and meat can indicate if the animal was caged or penned. This does not make a difference in the quality or nutritional value of the meat, but is simply a matter of animal rights. These products may be a bit more expensive, but if you want to make human decisions, that is the way to go. Reading the label and making healthy choices can sometimes be difficult, but learning how to do so can help you make the best choices for you diet.

Why You Need Protein

When learning about healthy eating, one of the most important nutrients is protein. Of course, all nutrients are crucial for our bodies to be as healthy as possible, but without protein in our diets every single day, our bodies will not be as strong as they should be. Protein can be found in a number of food sources, so if you’re interested in eating a healthier diet, you should consider learning more about protein.

We need to eat foods rich in protein every day because, unlike some other nutrients, it cannot be stored in the body. That means that if you eat more protein than necessary, your body will simply cause it to pass through your system. Therefore, you really can’t eat too much protein! 

However, because protein cannot be stored in the body problems may arise surrounding this nutrient as well. If you don’t get enough protein on any given day, your body has no back-up plan for producing protein on its own or using reserved protein from previous days. Therefore, protein is very important to consider when you are planning your meals. 

Essentially, protein builds muscles, which is why you will see bodybuilders especially concerned with protein. When you lift weights to work out, you body makes tiny tears in the muscles. Proteins are then used to repair these healthy tears in the body, building the muscle slightly bigger with every workout. Even if you do not work out, your body’s muscle deteriorates, as you body needs the energy. Muscle provides energy, just like fat. Having protein in the body helps you to rebuild any muscle lost.

Protein also helps a person’s body in other ways, mainly with the maintenance of hormones. Hormones in the body do a number of things, such as regulate organ function, account for stimulation, create metabolism, and affect mood. Proteins are used in the making of some of these different hormones, so if you go more than a day or two without eating foods rich in proteins, your entire body will suffer. 

How can you make sure that you re getting enough proteins? Simply put, look for foods with protein as a key component on the label. Some great foods to consider include chicken, beef, pork, eggs, and fish, although vegetarians can also get proteins into their diets by eating nuts, beans, soy products, and a variety of other foods. You should have some of these foods in your diet every single day to ensure that you are providing your body with the proteins it needs to stay healthy.

Just Say No: Healthy Eating and Peer Pressure

If you are on a diet or simply enjoying a healthy lifestyle, than you probably know that peer pressure to eat foods that are not good for you is a major part of your life. If you are worried about the food that goes into your mouth, don’t worry—there are ways to overcome peer pressure. It simply takes a little know-how to get people off your back!

Parties are a major source of peer pressure, especially with alcohol. However, remember that alcohol contains hundreds of empties calories in just one drink. When you go to a part, people might be pressuring you to have a drink and relax, and it can be difficult to say no when they are constantly trying to convince you. 

Instead, offer to drive to a bar instead. This way, you re the designated driver, so people won’t want you to drink and, in fact, they will probably be purchasing you waters and maybe even helping to pay for your gas. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Another time when you may feel pressured to eat is at work when the boss orders lunch for everyone at a meeting or when you have to visit a client. Instead of giving in to temptation, simply politely decline the food by letting your boss know in advance or order a meal that is healthy and split the portion in half so you have a meal for tomorrow’s lunch as well.

Baby showers, weddings, birthday parties, and other special events can also wreak havoc on your diet, even if you are good at resisting temptation on your own. When someone hands you a piece of cake and won’t take no for an answer, it can be difficult to know what to say!  

Here, little white lies might be appropriate. For instance, saying that your stomach was upset earlier in the day will convince a person that you don’t want to eat at the moment or pretending to have a chocolate allergy will get people to allow you to enjoy the party without a hassle surrounding food.

Remember, however, that while refusing bad foods is fine, you should be eating good foods. If you do not, dangerous eating habits and disorders can develop, which will give you, your friends, and your doctor a real reason to worry. It’s ok to say no to peer pressure, but don’t say no to food in general!

Healthy Eating at a Restaurant: Is it Possible?

If you and your family love to eat at restaurants, you may think that this lifestyle is not good for a healthy diet. In many cases, you would be correct. However, you can still enjoy restaurants occasionally and maintain your healthy diet. Its all about making good food choices, which starts with learning about the nutrition you need to stay happy, physically healthy, mentally stable, and active. 

When you pick up the menu, start by skipping over the drink section. Although you may be tempted to enjoy a beer or mixed beverage with your dinner, these usually have many empty calories, which is not good for your body. The exception to this rule when it comes to alcohol is wine, especially red wine, which can be fine if you have a single glass and can actually help prevent heart disease for some patients. 

Also skip over the appetizer menu, unless it’s to over a side salad. The appetizers at restaurants are usually high-fat foods that are not meant to fill you up and can in fact make you crave even more high fat foods. Examples of these are mozzarella sticks, potato skins, and wings. Instead, simply focus on your main course or, if you must indulge, share a single serving with the entire table of people. 

When choosing your main dish, it is of course important that you look at the ingredients of the dish. Anything with cream sauces or high-fat meats should be avoided, and pass up the potatoes or onion rings. Instead over side dishes like vegetables or ask for jus the main course when possible. 

Remember too that portion is everything. Order off of the lunch menu whenever you can, and ask for a diggie bag right away. Split your meal in half from the start so that you are not tempted to eat the entire thing, which is usually enough for two or three portions. 

At the end of your meal, stick over the desert menu, just like you did with the appetizers. Again, you can share a single desert with the entire table if you feel compelled to order something, or split your portion in half. Many fancy desserts are restaurants have more calories than your entire meal, so keep this in mind before you flag down the waitress to put in an order! Of course, on special occasions, it’s alright to cheat a little, but overall healthy eating requires lots of resisting temptation around you.

Healthy Lunches with Style

Lunch is an important meal in your day, so don’t skip it, even if you are tempted to do so. Many people believe that eating a big breakfast means that lunch is unnecessary, but that’s simply not the case. 

When you don’t eat lunch, you are more likely to snack during the day on unhealthy foods or overeat at suppertime. Your body also becomes depleted of nutrients when you skip lunch, so it s better for you to always eat lunch, even if it means making a bit of extra free time available in your day. However, there are ways in which you can ensure that your lunch is fairly healthy, no matter what your specific needs.

If you are at work or school over lunchtime, you can save lots of money by carrying a lunch rather than grabbing lunch from a fast food restaurant or other food source. Your own meals will also be more nutritious and, in many cases, tastier. If you are not a morning person, packing a lunch doesn’t mean that you have to wake up earlier to prepare this. Simply pack it the night before. Many food choices can help you to pack a lunch that will be the envy of your coworkers.

You can also consider stopping at a supermarket and picking up frozen diet meals for lunch as well. These meals are usually low in fat and high in nutrition and come in enough varieties for you to have a different lunch every day of the year. This option is sometimes a bit more expensive than making and packing your own lunch, but it can still be fairly inexpensive. Remember to look at the packaging to determine the best frozen meals for you. Some are not made for those looking for a healthy diet, and although they may taste good, they will be full of preservatives and calories. 

You can also stock your desk at work with healthy lunch choices in order to save time. Lots of foods come in non-perishable varieties, which can easily fit into your desk and be microwaved with water when it comes time to eat lunch. Try soups, pretzels, crackers with peanut butter, cereal bars, or instant oatmeal for lunchtime at the office.

When you have to eat out, such as if you are meeting an associate or client for lunch, make healthy food choices. Avoid skipping lunch altogether just to have a meeting. Instead, see if your company will chip in to pay for the client’s meal.

Usually, companies are more than happy to reimburse you or provide a company credit card or tab information. Good choices for lunch include light meals, like wraps, sandwiches with wheat bread and light on the spreads, salads with light dressing, and fruit. Avoid fast food, pizza, and bulky meals, like pasta for lunch, unless you plan to b very active during the afternoon at work.(red)

Adolescents Health

Eating Disorders in Adolescents

Since the adolescence is the age where bones are sprout and grow rapidly, well nourished food must be given to the adolescent to facilitate normal growth & development. The nutritional intake must be monitored regularly and modified depending upon the growing needs. Teenagers tend to develop eating disorders which affect their nutritional health. The eating behavior must be corrected as early as possible as it can lead to the development of complex illnesses. Eating disorder is the third common chronic illness, especially in adolescent females and the number has been increasing rapidly from the past thirty years. 

There are two subcategories of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is the restrictive form, where the intake of food is limited severely. In bulimia nervosa is the eating disorder where the adolescent binges on food and then tries to minimize the effects by forcibly vomiting, fasting, and catharsis or over exercising. When handling adolescence eating disorders, they must be handled differently from adult eating disorders. Adolescents face problems such as growth retardation, suppressed height, abnormal weight, pubertal delay, menstrual periods absence, and menses unpredictability. When the adolescent is growing there will be critical tissue components loss like loss of body fat, muscle mass and bone mineral.  

Nutritional imbalance is also caused which reflect abnormalities in the levels of vitamins, mineral and other trace elements. The problem is that these abnormalities cannot be recognized clinically. But since protein and calories are essential to the growth of the adolescent, it is important to trace their abnormalities. Because of the problems, healthy adulthood is not a possible thing. Because of all these reasons, it is important to diagnose adolescence eating disorders as early as possible. Eating disorders give rise to peak bone mass impaired acquisition in case of adolescents. When they turn into adults, this problem aggravates to osteoporosis. Even internal organs get affected due to eating disorders.  All this can be prevented by early intervention so as to limit, prevent and ameliorate medical complications, which can turn become life threatening.

Adolescents who practice unhealthy weight control practices and are obsessive about figure, weight, food or exercise should be treated clinically. Not only should the symptoms be checked, but their duration, intensity and frequency should also be checked. Although most of the physical complications caused due to eating disorders get solved with the help of nutritional rehabilitation some of the conditions become irreversible and the long term consequences of this are very dangerous.  It is best if the eating disorders are recognized in the early stages as it won’t result in irreparable damage. The medical monitoring should be pursued till the adolescent returns back to appropriate psychological and medical health.  

Eating disorders not only result in physical abnormalities, but also psychological abnormalities. Adolescents with eating disorders take onto social isolation, low self esteem, affective disorders, low self concept, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Usually adolescents switch to unhealthy eating habits because of depression and lack of knowledge about affective techniques to lose weight. So the patients who are being treated for eating disorders must also be treated for psychiatric illness, if they have any. 

Even if the habits doesn’t fit the strict criteria, adolescents who limit food intake, binge, vomit or purge accompanied with or without harsh weight loss, should be monitored because of the involvement of risk of even death. Early treatment will have an improved outcome. But the level of intervention in adolescents should be less when compared to adults.

Eye problems and injuries in Adolescents

Every year more than one million people get eye injuries, out of which ninety percent are preventable if safety eyewear is used. One hundred and twenty five thousand eye injury cases are caused by household products. 

It is a good habit to wash hands regularly, especially after handling household chemicals. When using detergents and hazardous solvents, the handler must wear chemical safety goggles. Also, no children must be around while handling chemicals. While spraying, the nozzle must be turned away from the face. Fertilizers, pesticides and paints must be stored away from reach. While doing household activities proper protective gears such as goggles, gloves, boots and helmet should be worn, if required. The house must be illuminated adequately to avoid accidents in the dark. 

Stairs should also be illuminated and the rails must also be installed. The instructions for opening the tops of bottles must be read carefully to avoid them from popping and injuring other people. Children and adolescents should read instructions before handling operating equipment before playing games. All power equipment must be installed with guards. While playing outside, the eyes must be protected by UV protective goggles and it is a bad idea to look at the sun directly. 

Precautions should not only be taken indoors, but outdoors too. This is because; more than forty thousand people get eye injuries outdoors. Ninety nine percent of the injuries are caused while playing sports. So it is necessary for the youngsters to wear protective eyewear while playing sports or when involved in outdoor recreational activities. A special helmet is designed with wire shield or polycarbonate face mask which is not only safe, but comfortable, too. Protective eyewear should also be worn while performing experiments in science lab. Fireworks must only be handled by adults. 

Because of increasing use of computers, more and more youngsters are getting eye strains. The symptoms of eye strain caused by computer are red & watery eyes, focusing problems, aching & tired eyelids, eye muscle spasm, backache and headache. In such an environment, eye exercise must be done regularly. The eyes must be made to focus on distant objects and should be rotated from side to side. It is extremely important to give ample rest to the eyes. Glasses with UV shield must be worn when looking at the computer screen. Eye strain can be avoided by increasing the distance from the monitor.   

Eye hazards are also caused when cosmetics are used improperly by contact lens wearers. Some of the adverse reactions are injury, eye irritation, allergy, dryness, infection, and lens deposition. That is the reason why adolescents must be made aware of the risk they will face when opting for contact lens. Girls should understand that they should buy hypoallergenic cosmetics and especially the non-scented variety, manufactured by big brand names. 

Cosmetics should not be shared with anything else. The applicator brushes must be washed regularly and old mascara must be disposed and not refilled. Eye shadows which are glittery, pearlized, frosted or iridescent contain ground tinsel or oyster shell, which should be always avoided. Eyeliner should not be applied in the inner lid edge. Loose powder should be avoided. Cream should not be applied near the eyes. The wearer should wash hands while handling contact lens. No crying, washing of face or bathing should be done with the contact lens on.

Acne in Adolescents

Acne is one of the most common problems in adolescent teens affecting nearly seventeen million people in the United States. Acne is nothing but a disorder involving sebaceous glands and hair follicles. Acne results from the clogging of sebaceous glands leading to the formation of pimples and cysts. The condition usually begins with the onset of puberty. Going by the facts, as teens attain puberty the androgens also called male sex hormones are produced in high number leading to sebaceous glands becoming over active which results in sebum being produced in high proportions. 

Sebum, which is nothing but oil is produced by sebaceous glands which travel to the skin surface through hair follicles. But, skin cells block the follicles which results in oil also being blocked. When these hair follicles are blocked it results in the development of skin bacteria known as Propionibacterium Acnes within the follicles which in turn results in swelling of the skin called Acne. If the hair follicles are partially blocked it results in blackheads. If the follicles are completely blocked they result in whiteheads. But if these plugged follicles are not treated they ultimately burst causing the oil, bacteria and skin cells to spill all over the skin resulting in irritation and formation of pimples. Acne can be shallow as well as deep in various individuals depending on the nature of skin and amount of oil produced. 

There can be various causes why Acne forms. Apart from rising hormone levels due to puberty it can also be attributed to certain other factors like intake of drugs which contain lithium, barbiturates and corticosteroids. Acne can also be caused due to excess grease and oil in the scalp, due to cooking oil and use of some cosmetics can actually alleviate the acne problem. Acne problem many times is inherited also. Acne problem is worsened if the pimples are squeezed or scrubbed too hard. 

Acne can form at any place of the body but they most commonly form in the areas where there sebaceous glands are present in high proportions like face, chest, shoulders, neck and upper back. The symptoms may differ from person to person but commonly seen symptoms are: formation of blackheads, whiteheads, lesions filled with pus and which are very painful and lastly nodules. One may get confused sometimes as symptoms of acne may be like some other skin condition and it is always advised to consult a doctor in this scenario. 

There are lots of treatments available today to treat acne. The primary goal of the treatment is to reduce scars and better appearance. There are various treatments and the doctor decides which specific treatment you need based on: the extent of acne problem, age, medical history, overall health, tolerance to specific medications and procedures, expectations and last but not the least what patients prefer. 

Treatment of acne is classified into topical and systemic drug therapies which are given based on extent of severity. In some instances the combination of both the methods might be the way to go for acne treatment. Topical medication is nothing but creams, gels, lotions, solutions etc. prescribed to patients for acne treatment. Some of the examples of topical medication are: Benzoyl Peroxide which kills the Propionibacterium Acnes bacteria, antibiotics helps in stopping or slowing down the growth of the bacteria and also reduces inflammation, Tretinoin helps in stopping the formation of new acne lesions and Adapalene reduces formation of comedo. 

Systemic drug therapies involve prescription of systemic antibiotics primarily for the treatment of acne problem which is moderate to severe in nature. The examples of antibiotics prescribed are Doxycycline, erythromycin and tetracycline. In some cases an oral drug called Isotretinoin is prescribed for teenagers with severe acne problem which shrinks down the sebaceous glands that produce oil. The results are pretty good and almost ninety percent of the adolescents have success with this oral drug. But the drug has some serious side-affects and thus it is very important that one consults a doctor before use.

Adolescent Pregnancy

Adolescent pregnancy in ninety nine percent of the cases is unwanted and is the major consequence of adolescent sexual activity, other than STDs. This issue has affected youth, families, educators, health care professionals, and government official. A study on the high school adolescents has concluded that forty eight percent of the males and forty five percent of the females are sexually active. One fourth of the high school students had sexual contact by fifteen years of age. The average age of boys is sixteen and a girl is seventeen, who have had intercourse. Ninety percent of adolescents, in the age range of fifteen to nineteen, say their pregnancy is unintended. 

Seventy four percent of females above fourteen years and sixty percent of females below fifteen years have reported to have involuntary sex. Fifty percent of the adolescent pregnancies are within the time period of six months after the initial sexual intercourse. More than nine hundred thousand teenagers are reported to have become pregnant every year in the United States. Fifty one percent of the adolescent pregnancies result in live birth, thirty five percent result in induced abortion and fourteen percent result in stillbirths or miscarriages. Four out of ten adolescent females get pregnant, before they turn twenty, at least once.  Twenty five percent of adolescent deliveries aren’t the mother’s first child. When a teenager gives birth to her first child, she increases the risk of begetting another child. One third of the adolescent parents are themselves result of adolescent pregnancies.  

There are many reasons why adolescents choose to become sexually active at an early stage in life. The reasons can be early pubertal development, poverty, sexual abuse in childhood, lack of parent’s attention, lack of career goals, family and cultural patterns of early sex, substance abuse, dropping out from school and poor school performance. Factors which discourage an adolescent to become sexually active are stable family environment, parental supervision, good family income, regular prayers, connectedness with parents and living with complete family and both the parents. The factors which are responsible for the consistent use of contraceptive among adolescents are academic success, anticipation for successful future, and involvement in a stable relationship. 

There are many medical risks associated with adolescent pregnancies. Adolescents who are less than seventeen years are at a greater risk of developing medical complications, when compared to adult females. The risk is even more in teenagers below seventeen. The weight of the child, given birth by an adolescent, is very low in these pregnancies. It is usually below 2.5 kilogram. The rate of neonatal birth is also three times greater in adolescents, when compared to adults. Other problems caused by adolescent pregnancies are prematurity of the child, birth of underweight child, poor maternal weight gain, poor nutritional status, anemia, STDs and hypertension induced due to pregnancy.     

Although there is an increase in the use of contraceptive methods by adolescents during their first sexual contact, only sixty three percent of the high school students have said to use condom while having sex previously. Adolescents, who use prescription contraceptives, delay their doctor’s visit until the time they become sexually active for over a year. 

According to a research, youngsters who have participated in sex education programs which gave them knowledge about contraception methods, abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases and youngsters who involved in discussions in order to get a clear picture, used contraceptives and condoms effectively without any increase in sexual activity. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has said that the solution for unwanted adolescent pregnancies and STDs are barrier contraceptive use and abstinence.

Allergies in Adolescents

Allergies are reactions by immune system that are abnormal in nature to stuff that are usually harmless to majority of the people. When somebody is allergic to something the immune system of that person gets confused and thinks that the substance is detrimental to the body. The substances causing allergic reactions are known as allergens. The examples of allergens are dust, food, plant pollen, medicine etc. 

The body produces antibodies to protect itself from these allergens. The antibodies make certain cells present in the system to let chemicals to mix with the bloodstream and one of them is histamine. This chemical then acts on nose, eyes, skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and results in allergic reaction symptoms. Exposure to the same chemicals in future triggers same response to the antibodies again meaning every time one comes in contact with the same allergen, allergic reaction is produced in the body.

Allergic reactions can range from mild symptoms like runny nose to more severe ones such as difficulty in breathing. Teenagers suffering from asthma often have allergic reaction to cold and get asthma attack is another example of allergies. Some kinds of allergies trigger multiple symptoms. Allergic reactions in very rare cases also produce severe reaction known as “anaphylaxis” for which the signs are difficulty in breathing, difficulty in swallowing, swelling in tongue, lips and throat and dizziness. This allergic reaction occurs as soon as the system is exposed to substances that trigger allergic reactions like peanut although some reactions are delayed by as much as four hours. 

The reasons why people get allergies can be various and one of the reasons could be hereditary but that that does not necessarily mean that children are bound to get allergies from their parents.  Some of the common allergens include food, airborne particles, insect bite and sting, medicines, chemicals etc. Food allergies typically occur in infants and usually vanish as the child grows. The list of food allergens includes milk & dairy products, wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts, and seafood. Some people are allergic to stings and bites of certain insects. 

The venom in the bite is the one which actually causes reaction and can be as serious as anaphylactic in some teens. Some teens are also allergic to airborne particles which are also known as environmental allergens. They are also the commonest of all the allergens. Examples of these allergens include dust mites, animal dander, mold spores, grass pollens, trees and ragweed. Some adolescents are also allergic to certain antibiotic medicines. Another common allergen is chemical, certain chemicals present in laundry detergents or cosmetics can cause rashes that are itchy in nature. 

Allergists usually treat allergic problems. They may ask questions like symptoms of the allergy and whether it is hereditary. They may also prescribe certain diagnostic tests like blood or skin test depending on the type of allergy. The best way to treat allergies is to completely avoid the substances that cause allergies. However there are certain medications and injections are also available to treat allergies. 

One can follow certain things to avoid allergies like people who have food allergies that contain should peanuts and any food containing smallest amount of peanuts. Also avoid using cosmetic that contain chemicals allergic to the skin. One can also avoid airborne allergies by keeping pets in restricted areas and away from bedroom. Replace carpets and rugs from time to time. Avoid keeping things that accumulate dust. And also clean the room and house frequently.

Anemia in Adolescents

To understand what is anemia one should begin with breathing. The oxygen that is inhaled simply doesn’t stop in lungs. It circulates though out the body and fuels the brains also. Oxygen travels to all parts of the body though bloodstream and to be precise in the RBCs I.e. red blood cells. Now, these RBCs are produced in the bone marrow of the body and they serve as boats carrying oxygen in the bloodstream. RBCs have something called hemoglobin, a protein which holds oxygen. To make adequate hemoglobin body requires iron in plenty. The iron is supplied by the foods that we take along with other nutrients. 

When these RBCs are fewer in number than what is needed anemia occurs in the body. There can be 3 primary reasons: RBCs are lost due to some reason, the production of RBCs is slower than what is needed and lastly the body is destroying the RBCs. Different types of anemia are linked to at least one of these causes. 

The bone marrow replaces small amounts of blood is lost due to some reason without making a person anemic. But in cases where considerable amount of blood flows in small amount of time as a result of an injury due to a serious example for instance, it may not be possible for bone marrow to replace RBCs so quickly resulting in anemia. Also, losing small amounts of blood over long periods of time may also lead to anemia. Example of this situation can be seen in girls who get heavy periods attributed mainly to deficiency of iron in the diet. 

Anemia due to iron deficiency is the most common kind of anemia in the United States. It occurs mainly due to lack of iron in a person’s diet. A teen with iron deficiency would have lower hemoglobin production and consequently lower RBCs. When the production of RBCs is low the person is regarded as anemic. The signs of anemia are paleness and tiredness. There can be other reasons as to why enough RBCs are not produced in the body. Folic acid and Vitamin B-12 are also essential to produce RBCs. Getting these in adequate quantities is this important too. There can be a problem with bone marrow’s working too resulting in anemia. 

Hemolytic anemia occurs when a person has RBCs whose lifespan is shorter. The bone marrow may not be able to produce new blood cells if the blood cells die too early. This can result due to many reasons including person having disorders like sphenocytosis or sickle cell anemia. In some cases the immune system of the body may itself destroy the RBCs. In some cases certain antibodies can form in the blood as a result of reaction to certain drugs or infections and may attack the RBCs. 

Teens get anemia as they grow rapidly the amount of iron intake may not be enough to keep up with the pace of the growth as it needs more nutrients in this process. In the case of girls they need more iron after puberty and are at risk due to heavy blood loss during menstrual periods. In some cases pregnancies also leads to anemia. Also, teens who diet excessively to lose weight may also be at risk of having iron deficiency. Meat eaters especially red meat eaters are at less risk compared to vegetarians as meat has rich iron in it.

Asthma in Adolescents

Most of the teenagers who have asthma are also allergic to many things. The asthma can get severe even if the people with asthma are exposed to allergens of low grade. Allergies play an important role in asthma cased which are undiagnosed. Other factors that also trigger childhood asthma include upper respiratory infections like colds, second hand smoke, and certain climate conditions like cold air and due to emotional physical expressions like laughing, crying or yelling. 

However, it is not the end of the road for asthmatics as they can live active and healthy if they manage asthma properly by avoiding asthma triggers, regular intake of prescribed medications, being alert of the warnings and be aware of the ways to deal with an asthma attack.

There is a great consensus among the parents whether their children would outgrow asthma as they grow up. But the truth is it depends from child to child. While some children experience improvement in their teens others see asthma becoming even more severe. But almost half of the children who have asthma outgrow asthma as they grow although some symptoms may come back later.

Many parents have questions like whether their children can take part in sport activities. The answer is both yes and no. Some kids may get an asthma attack when they participate in exercises like running. But with proper management a teenager suffering from asthma can actively participate in sports. Special aerobic exercises can improve airway function. This strengthens the breathing muscles. Some of the ways that one can participate in sports is to follow the regimen of stretching the muscles prior to and after exercising, nose-breathe instead of breathing through the mouth and make sure that humidified air passes through the airways. 

Also parents should make sure that the adolescent has taken all prescribed medication supposed to be taken before they begin exercising. Carrying a reliever is a must for asthmatic teens which would come handy if asthma attack occurs. Asthmatic teenagers should make sure that they wear something over their mouth and nose to stop cold air from entering.

It is not easy for adolescent teens to attend school when they have asthma but it is not difficult also at the same time if proper coordination is made among the teenager, doctor, family and school employees. It is a good idea to consult teachers, nurses and other pertaining employees of the school and let them know that the teenager has asthma and may have special requirements. 

Also, let the school management know on medications the teenager regularly takes and how to help the teenager when an attack occurs. The school staff should be asked to treat the teen normally once the attack subsides. The physical education coach should also be informed about the condition so that he/she can let the kid stretch the muscles before any exercises or to deal with asthma attack induced due to exercises. 

Also, before admitting the teenager to a new school care must be taken to check the quality of air, irritants and allergens if any present in the school. The school staff should take considerations to avoid symptoms which could hamper the energy level kids. Also asthmatic teens should be assured from time to time that they are no different from others and asthma in any way does not slow them down, They need this emotional confidence otherwise they may have personality problems.

Cholesterol in Adolescents

Parts of adolescent’s body are filled with a waxy stuff identified as cholesterol. It helps to produce vitamin D, cell membranes and certain hormones. Blood cholesterol comes from two different sources, liver within the body and food. The adolescent’s liver produces enough cholesterol to carry out proper functioning. 

The blood acts as the carrier of cholesterol and transports it to different parts of the body. They are transported in round particle form known as lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoproteins called the low density lipoproteins or LDL and high density lipoproteins or HDL. Low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is commonly known as bad cholesterol. It helps in the building up of plaque in arteries and this condition is known as atherosclerosis. The LDL level must be low in the blood and if it is high it must be decreased. Healthy weight must be maintained and exercise should be done regularly. Food items which have high contents of calories, dietary cholesterol and saturated fat must be avoided.   

High density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol is the good cholesterol. It is actually a kind of fat in blood which helps to remove bad cholesterol from the body and stops the build up of plaque in the arteries. The more the HDL cholesterol in the blood the better it is. The HDL can be raised by at least twenty minutes of exercising daily, decreasing body mass and keeping away from food with saturated fat. Some adolescents need to take medications in order to increase HDL. In such cases, increasing HDL can be a complicated procedure and the physician can make a therapeutic plan to increase HDL in the blood stream. 

Cholesterol screening helps to determine the cholesterol and fat levels in the blood. Children and adolescents with normal cholesterol level is a thing of the past. Because of the changing lifestyle and junk food trend, even they have a high risk to develop high levels of cholesterol which also increases the risk of developing heart diseases which can affect the blood vessels and the coronary arteries. The main cause of this change is obesity, junk food high in fat, fast food diets, sedentary lifestyle and high cholesterol level in family history. Keeping the blood cholesterol levels at normal is a good way of avoiding high blood pressure and coronary artery diseases.

The blood cholesterol level can vary from individual to individual. Healthy levels of LDL is less than one hundred and thirty milligrams, HDL is greater than thirty five milligrams. If the HDL is less than thirty five milligrams then the adolescent is at a higher risk of developing heart diseases. And LDL more than one hundred and thirty milligrams is dangerous. But a high level of LDL cholesterol is a problem in many citizens of America. And there is an expected increase in number, the figure is unknown, of adolescents who have a family history of high cholesterol levels. 

An adolescent or a child who has a parent having high levels of blood cholesterol and family history of heart diseases at an early age, should take cholesterol test from the age of two. Adolescents who are obese also should have lipid test along with cholesterol test. The lipid test shows levels of kinds of fats in blood such as triglycerides, LDL and HDL.

Common Oral Health Problems in Adolescents

Adolescents face many oral health problems which may require them to visit a dentist or any other healthcare professional. Irregular teeth growth is a common problem and adolescents with braces are a common sight. Another problem is wisdom teeth extraction or the removal of the third molar. Dental cavities are yet another common problem in adolescents. 

Orthodontics is a specialty in dentistry which deals with correction, development and prevention of irregular teeth, jaw and bite. Orthodontics also helps to correct jaw disorders and facial abnormalities. If a general dentist feels abnormalities in the adolescent, he/she will refer the patient to an orthodontist. The American Dental Association suggests that every adolescent above the age of seven should get an orthodontic evaluation done. Problems which require orthodontic treatment are crowded or crooked teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth, under-bite, overbite, jaw joint disorder, and incorrect or misaligned jaw position. 

To get braces or any other orthodontic treatments, the appropriate age is ten to fourteen years. But regardless of the age, the same physical and biological process is used in correcting and moving the teeth alignments. Braces are also known as fixed orthodontic appliances. There are three types of braces used to move and reposition the teeth. The first consists of brackets which are made out of plastic or metal. They are either of tooth color or clear and are bonded onto the teeth. The second type is the lingual type of brackets which are attached to the back teeth and cannot be seen while talking. The third type is a band. It is a metal band which covers the teeth and wraps around the last ones.  

When adolescents wear braces they have to take certain precautions in order to avoid any more oral health complications. The most important precautionary measure is to brush the teeth regularly after every meal. Since the food can be easily lodged in braces, it is a good idea to brush carefully with soft bristles toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. In the morning, the adolescent must floss between the braces and teeth. Food stuffs which are sticky or hard must be avoided as they are very difficult to remove. Foods like caramel, chew candy, popcorn, and nuts must be avoided. Cleaning must be done by the orthodontist or general dentist, every five to six months. 

The wisdom teeth or third molars can grow in people of the age fifteen to twenty five. These teeth cause problem, because most of the mouths are too small to adjust new teeth and hence they need to be removed. If the wisdom tooth has place to grow, without affecting other teeth, they can be left to themselves. But if the adolescent experiences pain, facial swelling, mouth infection and gum-line swelling, then they should be extracted immediately. They can also destroy the second molars and impact other tooth. Various gum and jaw diseases can be caused. 

There can be a tumor development; cysts development and plaque build up. Hence, a surgery is performed to remove the tooth or teeth. The gum tissue covering the wisdom tooth is removed and the connective tissue connecting the tooth to the bone is detached. The tooth is then removed and the opening is sutured. A general dentist can perform wisdom tooth surgery in the local office using anesthesia. 

Five times common than asthma is tooth cavities. The tooth above the gum line is made up of enamel, the hardest tissue within the human body. The tooth below the gum-line comprise of nerves, roots and dentin. Dentin is another type of tissue and isn’t as hard as the enamel. The acid which leads to tooth decay is produced by bacteria. 

These acids, along with dietary sugar, attach the enamel and eat away the minerals within the enamel, until a cavity is formed. This is known as tooth cavity. The biggest prevention against dental cavities is brushing teeth twice a day and even better, after every meal with fluoride toothpaste and soft bristle toothbrush. Carbonated drinks must be avoided strictly and must be replaced with fruit juices and sugary food must be avoided. Intake of fluoridated water also helps a lot or fluoride supplements can be used as replacement.

Depression in Adolescents

Depression in adolescents is a disorder which occurs due to persistent sadness, loss of interest, loss of self worth and discouragement. Depression is normally a temporary reaction towards situations of stress. Depression is a normal part of the maturation process of adolescents. It is even induced due to production of sex hormones. Adolescent females are depressed twice more than adolescent boys according to a study.

Adolescent behavior is normally marked with good and bad moods. The transition from a good mood to bad mood and vice-versa, can take minutes, hours and even days. That is the reason why true depression is very difficult to find out. Depression in adolescents can be caused due to bad school performance, break up with boyfriend or girlfriend, and failing relations with friends and family. These causes can lead to persistent depression. Other serious causes are chronic illness, obesity, child abuse, stressful lifestyle, poor social skills, unstable care giving and depression in family history. 

Symptoms of depression in adolescents are eating disorders, weight change, irritable mood, excessive sleeping in daytime, excessive temper, criminal behavior, memory loss, fatigue, self preoccupation, sadness, difficulty in concentrating, worthlessness feelings, loss of interest, self hatred, obsession with death and thought & attempts of suicides. When these symptoms are being noticed for more than two weeks, it is important to get treatment for the adolescent.  Depression not only affects interpersonal relationships, but school performance as well. Depressed adolescents are more prone to take onto drugs and alcohol as an attempt to overcome their depression. Such problems require intensive treatment. 

The doctor will take blood test and perform physical examination to determine the cause of depression. The adolescent can also be tested for substance abuse such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, marijuana smoking, and usage of other drugs. After the physical examination, psychiatric evaluation is also done to understand the cause of sadness, loss of interest and irritability. Depression can also lead to the development of other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, mania and anxiety. It is also important to determine whether the adolescent poses a risk for himself/herself and others. Family and school personnel can provide valuable information about the adolescent to the doctor. 

Treatment for depression for adolescent is similar to the treatment of depression for adults. Along with the treatment, the adolescent are given antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. Antidepressant medications include tricyclics, Prozac, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI. Some of the medicines increase the risk, so it is a good idea that parents discuss the possible risks with the doctor. Only some of the antidepressant medications are meant for children and adolescents. Adolescents with severe depression need to be hospitalized as they are more prone to kill themselves.     

Family and school support is necessary to tackle the depression of the adolescent. Parents can get their children admitted in emotional growth schools, boot camps or wilderness programs, to solve the behavioral problems. These programs consist of non medical staff and confrontational therapies. But care must be taken as some of the programs can in turn harm children who are depressed and sensitive. Adolescents, who get caught due to criminal offense, should be taken special care of by their parents. It is best that the child face the consequences and learn a lesson from it. Depressed adolescents respond well to treatment if they are treated comprehensively and early. More than half of the adults are known to have depression when they were in their teens.

Diabetes in adolescents

Diabetes is a rapidly growing, serious health problem among youngster today. Above thirteen thousand adolescents are diagnosed for type 1 diabetes, every year in America. There has also been an increase in the number of teenagers with type 2 diabetes, which was more common among adults above forty and who were overweight. Clinics are reporting that nearly half of the new childhood diabetes cases are of type 2. Adolescents, who are obese and had type 2 diabetes in the family history, are at a greater risk of developing diabetes. 

Diabetes is a disease where the human body is incapable of producing or utilizing insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the body in order to get energy by converting starches, sugar and other items. Since the insulin isn’t used properly in diabetic people, the blood sugar level increases. This glucose buildup is found in blood and is then passed onto the urine and comes out of the body and the major source of body energy is lost. 

Diabetes is a serious chronic disease and should be handled at proper time; otherwise it can create serious problems. It can pose a risk and can damage parts of the human body such as eyes, teeth, gums, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. This is the reason why diabetes is responsible in most of the cases of adult blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputations. And if left untreated, it can cause stroke, heart disease and eventually, death.  These problems are not only faced by adults, but also adolescents who get diabetes in their childhood. The important factor in treatment of diabetes is to keep the blood sugar level normal at all times. 

There are basically two types of diabetes that will affect an adolescent. It is type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes affects the immune system’s function as the systems attacks the pancreas’ insulin producing cells, also known as the beta cells. Because of this, the pancreas loses the ability to manufacture insulin. This is the reason why people with type 1 diabetes take insulin everyday. 

The symptoms are weight loss, increase in urination & thirst, blurred vision, tiredness and constant hunger. And if the adolescent isn’t treated at the right time, he/she can slip in to diabetic coma which can endanger his/her life. In type2 diabetes, the body is incapable of properly using the insulin produced by the body and requires insulin from an external source, too. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to type 1 diabetes. The teenager feels sick, tired, nauseated, and thirsty. The wounds will recover very slowly; he/she will get infections frequently, will develop blurred vision and will experience weight loss. 

Parents play a vital role in determining the problem. They should constantly observe their child for eating disorders or signs of depression. Although cigarette, drugs and alcohol should be avoided by all adolescents and children, it is even more important that youngster with diabetes should stay away from these things as they can worsen the situation. A person with diabetes, who switches to smoking, is at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and circulatory problems. Consumption of alcohol can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. It is the duty of the parents to make their child aware of the possible risk they would face if they start to smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs.  

Children and adolescents, who have diabetes, face many challenges while trying to lead a normal life. They have to think twice before doing simple things as going to a party, playing sports and even when staying over with friends. This is because they require to intake oral medication or insulin. Their blood sugar level must be checked many times through out the day. Also, at gatherings, they have to avoid many food items. Because of this they will feel different from the crowd and can feel left out. Not only does diabetes pose behavioral challenges, but also emotional challenges. 

Along with doctor consultation, a psychologist must also be consulted who can deal with the emotional challenges of the adolescent. The family should also play an active role in making the youngster feel better. The family should work in collaboration with physician, dietitian and diabetes educators. Teachers, counselors, school nurses, day care providers, and other community members can provide extended support and guidance. They can provide help with transportation, mental health counseling, health education, social services and financial services.

Tennis Elbow in Adolescents

Tennis elbow is a condition in which tendon fibers that attach on epicondyle on the elbow’s exterior degenerates. The tendons talked about here anchor the muscles that help wrist and hand to lift. Although tennis elbow occurs mostly in patients of thirty to fifty years of age but it can happen to people of any age. Also tennis elbow affects almost fifty percent of teenagers who are in racquet sports thus the name “tennis elbow”. 

But still most of the patients who suffer with tennis elbow are people who don’t play racquet sports. Majority if the times there isn’t any specific injury before the symptoms start showing up. Tennis elbow can also happen to people who use their forearm muscles frequently and vigorously for day to day work and recreational activities. Ironically some patients develop the condition without any of the activity related reasons that leads to the symptoms. 

The symptoms of tennis elbow include severe burning pain on the elbow’s exterior region. In majority of the cases this starts as a slow and mild pain gradually worsening with the passage of few weeks or sometimes months. The pain worsens when one tries to lift objects. In some cases it may pain even while lifting light objects like a book or full coffee cup. In the severest cases it can pain even at the movement of the elbow. 

The diagnosis of the tennis elbow involves physician enquiring about the medical history of the teenager and a physical examination of the elbow by pressing directly on the part where bone is prominent on the elbow’s exterior to check if it causes any pain. The physician may also ask the teenager to lift the fingers or wrist and apply pressure to check if it causes any pain again. X-rays are never opted for diagnosis. However a MRI scan may be done to see changes in tendons at the attachment to the bone. 

There are many treatment options available and in majority of the cases non-surgical treatment is given a try. The ultimate goal of the 1st phase of the treatment is pain relief. Be ready to hear from the physician to stop any activity leading to the symptoms. The doctor may also tell the teenager to apply ice to elbow’s exterior and he/she may also tell the teenager to take anti-inflammatory medicines for relief from pain. 

The symptoms also diminished with the help of orthotics. The physician may also want to go for counterforce braces and also wrist splints which can greatly cut down symptoms by providing rest to tendons and muscles. The symptoms should show signs of recovery within 4 to 6 weeks otherwise next option would be to go for a injection called corticosteroid in the vicinity of the elbow. This greatly reduces pain and is also very safe to use. There are many side affects involved if it is overused. 

Once there is a relief from pain the treatment’s next phase starts which involve modification of activities in order to prevent the symptoms from returning. The doctor may also prescribe the teenager to go for physical therapy which may include stretching exercises to gradually increase the strength of the affected tendons and muscles. Physical therapies have high success rates and return your elbow back to normal working again. Again non-surgical procedures are highly successful in eighty five to ninety percent patients. 

Surgical procedure is considered only when patients undergo relentless pain that doesn’t improve even after 6 months of non-surgical treatment. The procedure involves removal of affected tendon tissue and attaching it back to bone. The surgery is done on outpatient basis and does not need stay at the hospital. The surgery is done by making a small incision on elbow’s exterior’s bony prominence. In recent years a surgery known as arthroscopic surgery has also been developed but no major benefits have been seen using it over the traditional method of open incision.

Tests and Examinations for Adolescent Girls

Adolescence is the time when girls face many changes as they not only become physically mature, but sexually, too. In order to maintain good health, they need to consult gynecologist, adolescent medicine physician and obstetrician. Adolescents who are sexually active need to get some test done like pelvic examination, Pap test and test for checking sexually transmitted diseases. This helps the early determination of conditions that can affect reproductive, gynecological and sexual health.   

Schiller test is conducted where the iodine solution is used to cover the cervix. In colposcopy, colposcope is used to check the cervix and the vagina. Cancer is checked by biopsy. In this a small quantity of cervical tissue is removed and a pathologist checks the tissue for abnormal cells.    

The most important test is the Pap test or a pap smear. The cells from the mouth of the womb or the cervix are collected to check for cancer, abnormal cells, infection or inflammation. The detection of abnormalities shows signs of cancer. Therefore it is recommended that every female must take Pap test regularly to check out for invasive cancers in the early stages itself. And if invasive cancer is detected, it can be successfully treated in the early stages. Apart from detecting invasive cancer, other changes, such as cancer cells or dysplasia and inflammation, of the vagina and cervix can also be determined. Inflammation can be caused by pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage, hormones, trichomoniasis infections, viruses, bacteria, yeast infections, and other medication. 

The repetition Pap test will be suggested by the gynecologist. When a girl becomes sexually active, she will have to test for cervical cancer after three years of becoming active because it usually takes many years for the significant development of cancer or abnormality. Usually there are some cervical cell changes and transient human papilloma virus infections or HPV infections which are very common. Therefore, a Pap test for cervical cancer is recommended every three years. But women who are under thirty years are at a higher risk of getting HPV infections of higher risk. It would be more feasible if every individual takes advice from her doctor about when she can begin screening, the frequency of the test to be taken, and when she can discontinue the tests. 

In a Pap test, if abnormal cells are determined, usually more tests are recommended to detect abnormalities which will require treatment. Abnormal Pap test will be handled differently for adolescents when compared to adults. Usually the low grade cervical lesions will not require any treatment and will go away on their own. That is the reason why the Pap test is repeated after a gap of six to twelve months, after the original Pap test which identifies abnormalities. But this repetition will vary from individual to individual depending on her health status and kind of abnormalities found. 

A replacement of the Pap test is thinprep test. It involves new technique for testing cells from the cervix for abnormalities. But the cost of getting a thinprep test done is double the cost of getting Pap test done. The advantage of getting a thinprep test is that it requires to be re-done less number of times and detects lesions in initial stages itself. The cervical cells, instead of getting smeared on a slide, are introduced into a liquid vial. After the filtration of the liquid, the cells from the cervix are examined by being placed on the slide.

Heat-Related Illnesses in Teens

Heat related illnesses are caused due to prolonged exposure to heat and also humidity without any reprieve and due to inadequate intake of fluids. Kids and teens adjust to the variations in heat compared to adults who adapt more quickly. However the heat production is high in them when compared to adults but sweat relatively less. Sweating is the natural action of the body and cooling mechanism to counter heat. Kids and teens often ignore these facts and do not hydrate themselves enough while playing, participating in sports and exercises.

Kids and teens with health problems that are chronic or those who are on certain prescription could be more susceptible to heat related problems. Overweight adolescents or those who wear heavy clothing in times of exertion also suffer heat related illnesses. Heat related illnesses are basically classified into three types. They are: Heat cramps, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. 

Heat cramps are the mildest of all heat related injuries and constitute aching muscle cramps and also spasms that occur during intense exercising and also after intense exercising and also sweating in high heat.  The symptoms of heat cramps include cramps that are painful in the legs. Flushed and moist skin is also symptoms of heat cramps. The symptoms could also include mild fever generally below 102 degree Fahrenheit. Teens suffering from heat cramps should move to a cool place and take adequate rest. Remove any excessive clothing and wear or put cool clothing on skin or cool skin using air conditioner or fan. Sports drinks which are cool and which contains sugars and salts can also be taken. Stretching out cramped muscles slowly and steadily also helps reduce heat cramps. 

On the other hand hear exhaustion is more serious and severe compared to heat cramps and occur due to heavy loss of salt and water from the body. Extreme heat conditions, inadequate fluid intake and excessive sweating results in this conditions. Also, heat exhaustion occurs as a result of inability of the body to maintain the body temperature below the normal which can deteriorate further and also result in a heat stroke which is even worse. 

The symptoms of heat exhaustion are: muscle cramps, moist skin, pale skin, nausea, fever above 102 degree Fahrenheit, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, weakness, anxiety and faint feeling. Teens suffering from heat exhaustion should stay in cool surrounding and take enough rest. Removing excessive clothing, putting on cool clothes and sitting in fan or air conditioning also helps the situation. Intake of cold sports drinks which contains salts and sugars are also advisable. If a teen doesn’t show any signs of improvement even after taking all these measures a physician should be consulted immediately. 

Heat stroke is the severest condition of all heat related illnesses. In this condition the body gets overwhelmed with excessive heat and the efficiency of the system that regulates body heat goes down considerably which can result in a serious emergency requiring immediate medical care. The symptoms of heat stroke include dry and warm skin, very high fever generally above 104 degree Fahrenheit, increased heart rate, appetite loss, nausea, headache, vomiting, fatigue, agitation, confusion, stupor, seizures, coma and possible death. 

A teenager experiencing symptoms of heat stroke should stay in a cool place and have adequate rest. Heat stroke is a serious condition and emergency attention should be sought by calling 911. In the meanwhile the affected teenager should be made free of excessive clothing and should be worn with cool clothes and also put cool water on the skin to lower the temperature. Placing ice bags in armpits also helps. Make the teenager drink cool drinks if the teenager is alert. 

Heat strokes are very much preventable if certain precautions are taken like drinking adequate water during hot days, avoiding alcoholic and caffeine drinks, wearing light clothes, exercising in cooler time of the day, wearing sunglasses and hat, using umbrella on a hot day, applying sun cream with a spf of at least 15 etc.

High Blood Pressure in Adolescents

High blood pressure is a condition where the blood pressure is more than normal. It is also known as hypertension. Heart pumps out blood, so that oxygen can reach to different parts of the body via blood. The pressure with which heart pumps blood is known as blood pressure. 

The blood pressure comprises of two measures, the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the larger figure and represents the pressure within the artery of the heart, when contractions take place which pump blood to different parts of the body. Diastolic pressure is the pressure within the artery of the heart, when the blood is filling in the heart and it is at rest. Both the pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg. High blood pressure is abnormal increase in systolic pressure or diastole pressure. 

Blood pressure is measured by putting a blood pressure cuff on the arm and placing a stethoscope on the chest. There can be very little variation in blood pressure depending upon the time, emotional moods, age, gender, weight, height, physical activity, stress and other illness such as heart disease and kidney disease.  

Children and adolescents become anxious when they visit the doctor. This is also an important factor which affects the blood pressure and the readings taken get tampered because of it. That is the reason why many blood pressure readings are taken in order to determine whether the adolescent has high blood pressure or not. The nurse may even ask the adolescent to calm down while taken the readings. Time gap is given between each reading, so as to give time to the adolescent to calm down. Emotions can also affect the blood pressure reading. 

An infant will have a normal blood pressure reading of 80/45, where as an adolescent will have a normal blood pressure reading of 110/70. Therefore, age, gender, and height are important factor when determining the normal blood pressure level. Adults will have a higher blood pressure than the infants and teenagers. Also, boys have a higher blood pressure when compared to girls and tall people have a higher blood pressure than short people. An adolescent is said to have high blood pressure when the blood pressure is more than the blood pressure of ninety percent people of his/her age, gender and height.      

There are many risks associated with hypertension or high blood pressure. The risk of developing coronary heart disease increases proportionally. The arteries will develop greater resistance towards the blood flow, because of which the heart will pump blood harder. Stroke is also another risk. Adolescents who have had high blood pressure as a child, develop harmful effects on the blood vessels and heart till the time they turn twenty. 

The causes of high blood pressure can be classified as primary and secondary. If the causes are definite, they are primary and if the cause is linked to some illness, it is secondary. Primary causes are high blood cholesterol levels, smoking, stagnant lifestyle and overweight. Secondary causes are obesity, immobility due to chronic illness, prescription drugs, intense pain due to burns or cancer and illegal drugs. High blood pressure can develop due to hereditary reasons. 

Hypertension is diagnosed by blood test and urinalysis. The kidney function will also be checked, along with blood cholesterol levels. Family history check is another important factor. Adolescents’ eating habits, exercise levels, activities in school and home will also be studied thoroughly. High blood pressure is dealt with by weight reduction, healthy diet, and increase in physical activity. If hypertension is due to illness, the illness is treated first. 

These treatment measures will decrease the systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. It will also strengthen the heart and decrease the level of cholesterol in blood. This also helps to keep heart diseases at bay.  The good thing is that only one percent of the adolescents, who have high blood pressure, need medication to bring back the blood pressure to normal.

Infectious Mononucleosis

Also known as mononucleosis or mono Pfeiffer's disease or glandular fever, infectious mononucleosis can be identified by inflamed lymph glands and constant fatigue. The disease is named so as the amount of mononuclear leukocytes which belong to white cells increase in number. The cause of the disease is EBV (Epstein - Barr virus) or in some cases cytomegalovirus. Both these viruses belong to the family of herpes simplex. According to statistic majority of the adults in the United States are exposed to the virus Epstein – Barr, a very widespread virus. Although the virus does not show any visible affects in children but it does in adolescents which can lead to infectious mononucleosis in nearly fifty percent of cases of exposure to the virus.

The other virus called cytomegalovirus which also belongs to the family of herpes simplex causes the cells to become enlarged. According to statistics, about eighty percent of adolescents infected with this virus generally don’t see any further symptoms. Although EBV has potential to develop infectious mononucleosis in adolescents the virus could make throat and blood cells its home for the lifetime. The virus has the capability to bounce back and reactive from time to time but the consolation is that it would reactivate without symptoms. 

The condition usually lasts for 1-2 months. The symptoms may vary from one adolescent to other but may include inflamed lymph glands in areas such as groin, neck and armpits, fever, continuous fatigue, enlarged spleen, sore throat as a result of tonsillitis that can make things difficult to swallow and last but not the least minor liver damage that can lead to short-term jaundice. Some adolescents may also experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, petechial hemorrhage, muscle ache, headache, depression, loss of appetite, skin rash, weakness, dizziness, enlarged prostrate, dry cough, swelled genitals and puffy and swollen eyes. Some parents are puzzled by the symptoms of mononucleosis as it may be similar to other medical conditions. It is safe to consult a doctor in such cases. 

The viruses are usually transmitted to other people through saliva (the reason why it is also called kissing disease), blood, sharing drinks and sharing utensils. The symptoms usually lasts for 4-6 weeks and do not cross 4 months. The disease is diagnosable but requires a though medical history of the adolescent. The diagnosis also involves physical examination of the adolescent and is based on symptoms reported to the physician. The diagnosis is further supported by laboratory test like blood test, antibody test and test to count white blood cells. 

A rest of about a month is generally advised and normal activities can be resumed after acute symptoms disappear. Also care should be taken to avoid physical activities which are heavy in nature and also activities or sports involving physical contacts should also be avoided. Care must also be taken to avoid eating sweet things in excess for few months.

Obesity in Adolescents

Obesity and overweight are the second most major reasons of preventable deaths in America. Stagnant lifestyle and junk food is to be blamed for more than three hundred thousand deaths per annum. The sad thing is that this problem is on the rise. Obesity is a chronic disease which poses serious health risk to the health of an individual. Also, obesity is the easiest recognizable medical problem, but is very difficult to deal with. 

People usually confuse obesity with overweight. Overweight is gaining of a few extra pounds. A person is considered obese when the total body weight is minimum ten percent more than the recommended weight for his/her body structure and height. According to an estimate every year hundred billion dollars are spent on the obesity problem. It is very important to treat the problem as early as possible. Obese children between the age of ten and thirteen have eighty percent chances of growing into obese adults, unless they change their ways and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The obesity problem starts from the age of five and continue till adolescence. 

Obesity can be caused due to complex reasons including biological, genetic, cultural and behavioral factors. Usually a person gets obese when he/she consumes more calories than the body burns. Also there are fifty percent chances of becoming obese when both one of the parent is obese and when obesity has affected both the parents, the chances increases to eighty percent. One percent of obese people can have that fat because of health reasons, as obesity can be caused due to few medical disorders. The causes of obesity in adolescence are overeating, family history, bad eating habits, little or no exercise, medical illness, low self esteem, medications, depression, emotional problems, stressful life, and family problem.   

Obesity can cause many major problems. Some of them are diabetes, sleeping disorders, high blood pressure, breathing problems, emotional problems and increase in heart disease risk.  Teenagers are more prone to get emotional problems. Because of the weight, they develop low self esteem. They get into depression, obsessive compulsion disorder and anxiety. 

Adolescents who want to tackle the obesity problem should approach a pediatrician who will thoroughly evaluate the cause. If no physical disorder is to be blamed, the weight is reduced by limiting the calorie intake and increasing physical activity. The doctor can advice a weight management program and change the eating habits of the teenager, slowly. The patient must avoid oily, fatty, fast and junk food. The potions must be reduced in order to decrease the calorie intake. If the adolescent has developed emotional problems because of obesity, an adolescent psychiatrist can collaborate with the pediatrician in order to make a comprehensive plan for treatment. The plan includes reasonable goals, behavior modification, family participation, and management of physical activity. 

Self motivation is extremely necessary in loosing weight. Because obesity is more a family problem and not an individual problem, the whole family can switch to eating healthy food and exercising regularly. This can make the weight control program a success. Parents can play a major role by boosting the self esteem of their children by concentrating on their strengths and encouraging them, instead of targeting the weight problem. The whole family should eat meals together, instead of eating individually while watching a movie. This helps all the members to focus on the food and the quantity being eaten. If the teenager isn’t getting support from his family members, he/she can join support groups which can help towards the goals. 

After the adolescent has lost weight, it is very important that he/she maintains it. In majority of the cases, people shift back to their old eating habits after loosing weight. That is the reason why obesity is more of a lifetime issue. So the main aim of any weight loss program must be make the adolescent like healthy food. He/she must also be made to exercise regularly, irrespective of the weight.

Menstrual Disorders in Adolescent Girls

Adolescence is the time when there is sudden transformation in the body and many questions arises in the minds of the adolescents. Firstly they are not able to cope with the changes and secondly the changes bring along problems with them. The most challenging problems are related to menses, in girls. Menstrual conditions are many that may require physician’s attention or any other healthcare professional’s attention. The most common of the menstrual disorders are premenstrual syndrome, dysmenorrheal and amenorrhea. 

Before the onset of the menses, females face many uncomfortable symptoms which last for a short period, stretching from few hours to few days. But some of them can be very intense and can disturb the normal functioning of the person. These symptoms are grouped as premenstrual syndrome. In usual cases, the symptoms come to a halt when the menses begin, but for some they may last even after the menstrual periods are over. Eighty five percent of the females experience some of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome at one time or the other. Nearly forty percent experience the symptoms so intensely that their daily chores are affected by it and ten percent are disabled by it. 

There are many premenstrual syndrome symptoms which can be broadly classified as neurologic & vascular symptoms, psychological symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, fluid retention, eye problems and respiratory problems. The cause of premenstrual syndrome are fluctuations in the levels of progesterone & estrogen, hypoglycemia, hyperprolactinemia, psychogenic factors, changes in carbohydrate metabolism, excessive aldosterone, progesterone allergy and water retention by kidneys. The good thing is that premenstrual syndrome can be prevented by exercising regularly, eating balanced diet and sleeping adequately. 

Dysmenorrhea is feeling intense menstrual pain and cramps. Depending on the severity, dysmenorrhea is stated as primary dysmenorrhea or secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea symptoms are felt from the onset of the menstrual periods and are felt life-long. Because of abnormal uterine contractions due to chemical imbalance, severe menstrual cramping is experienced. Secondary dysmenorrhea starts in the later stages. The causes are different for primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Secondary dysmenorrhea can be blamed on medical conditions such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, tumors, infections, and abnormal pregnancy.

Dysmenorrhea symptoms are lower abdomen cramping & pain, lower back pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, fainting, weakness and headaches. Females who are overweight, smoke, and have started to menstruate before turning eleven are at a higher risk of developing dysmenorrheal. Females who drink alcohol during menstrual period experience prolonged pain. After studying the health conditions, age, cause of dysmenorrhea, and extent of condition of the individual, corresponding treatment will be recommended. Regular exercise, abdominal massage, hot bath, vitamin supplements, and dietary modifications can help overcome dysmenorrhea. 

Amenorrhea is the condition in which the female skips her menses for more than three consecutive menstrual cycles. Amenorrhea is also classified as primary amenorrhea and secondary amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea develops from the onset of menstrual periods. In this condition, the adolescent might not get periods when she enters puberty. Secondary amenorrhea is a condition where periods become irregular after a period of time and not from the start. 

There are many causes of amenorrhea such as ovulation abnormality, eating disorders, birth defects, anatomical abnormalities, malnourishment, anorexia, bulimia, pregnancy, over exercising, thyroid disorder, obesity and other medical conditions. Out of these ovulation abnormalities are a common cause for absent or irregular periods. It is a must that an adolescent start getting menses at least by the age of sixteen. 

If not, anatomical abnormality, birth defect and other medical conditions are the cause. Adolescents who participate in sports actively and are athletic have a lower body fat content because of which they have absent menses. Even because of malnourishment, the body is incapable of sustaining pregnancy. So in turn the body itself shuts down the reproductive system and menses. Extra fat cells in the body interfere with ovulation and that is the reason why obese female have irregular menses. Amenorrhea is treated by dietary modifications, ovulation inhibitors and hormone treatment.

Orthopedic Problems in Adolescents

Physical health problems encountered during adolescence can affect the development of the body, if not treated. There are few anatomic regions, such as spine, knee and ankle, in adolescents which can get orthopedic problems such as Osgood-Schlatter disease, and Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. 

Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused due to injury or overuse of the knee which causes swelling and pain in the area below the knee, above the shin bone. The patellar tendon and the soft tissues surrounding it gets inflamed, because of the constant pulling of the area where the tendon joins the below knee. Usually, adolescents who participate in sports actively and are athletic, such as football, basketball, soccer, ballet and gymnastics, tend to get the Osgood-Schlatter disease. Boys of age eleven to fifteen and girls of age eight to thirteen are at greater risk. The reason why adolescents get this problem is that their bones grow faster when compared to the tendons and muscles in this age and because of this the muscles and tendons stretch and become tight.    

The symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease are swelling of knee, tenderness below knee area and limping. The doctor will check the medical history of the patient and will conduct physical examination and diagnostic procedures such as taking an X-ray. The physician will decide on the treatment to be done by studying the overall health, age, medical history, tolerance for certain medications and extent of the disease. Treatment will include medications, rest, compression, elevation, neoprene knee sleeve and physical therapy. The main aim will be to control and limit the knee pain by cutting down on the adolescent’s physical activities. Usually the Osgood-Schlatter disease gets healed over a period of time and in very rare cases is a surgery required. 

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is a problem which affects the hip joint. The ball or head of the thigh bone, also known as femoral head slips from the thigh bone’s neck. Because of this the hip joint becomes stiff and painful. Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is the most common disorder of the hip which can happen in both the hips or one and it is more common in boys when compared to girls. Basically, adolescents of the age ten to eighteen years and who are overweight can be affected by this condition. The condition can arise over a time interval of few weeks or years. The condition, if resulted because of trauma and is also called acute slip and if results after a period of time is called chronic slip. Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is caused because of medications, radiation treatment, thyroid problems, and chemotherapy.

There are three degrees of intensity of slipped capital femoral epiphysis, mild, moderate and severe. In mild slipped capital femoral epiphysis, only one third of femoral head slips from the thigh bone. In moderate, one third to half slips and in severe, more than half of the femoral head slips. The symptoms of this condition are pain in hip which increases upon movement, pain in thigh, knee & groin and limpness in the leg. When an adolescent walks there will be a clicking sound in the hip and his/her legs will be turned outwards. 

Apart from studying the medical history of the patient, the doctor will recommend diagnostic procedures such as bone scans, X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging and blood test. The bone scans will determine the arthritic changes and degenerative changes in the joints, which helps to detect tumors & bone diseases and the cause of pain and inflammation. The X-ray will give the inside picture of the bones, tissues and organs. 

The magnetic resonance imaging provide detailed image of the structures within the body with the help of large magnets. It is best if slipped capital femoral epiphysis is determined in the early stages, so that the femur bone’s head doesn’t slip off any further. The adolescent may need to undergo a surgery along with physical therapy.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Adolescents

Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD starts from adolescence onwards. OCD is feeling of strong obsessions and compulsions which result in intense discomfort and affects daily functioning. Obsessions are thoughts which are persistent and recurrent. They even include unwanted images and impulses which lead to distress and anxiety. 

These feelings and thoughts are usually irrational or unrealistic. Compulsions are repetitive rituals or behavior such as checking something again & again, or mental acts such as counting. These obsessions & compulsions cause intense distress and anxiety and can interfere with the daily activities, relationships, social activities and academic functioning. The person with OCD thinks that he has no control over his actions. OCDs are relapsing and chronic illness.  

The thoughts change as the adolescent grows. Younger children suffering from OCD often have thoughts of harm befalling on them and their family such as thief getting into the house through an unlocked door.  This will make the children to recheck the door and windows again and again fearing that they might have left the door unlocked accidentally. Teenagers suffering from OCD fear that they might get fall sick due to germs, contaminated food and AIDS. The adolescent develops certain rituals, such as washing hands innumerable times, in order to get over the fear. These rituals help them to think that they have overcome the problem for the time being and give them temporary relief. If they do not perform these rituals, they become more and more anxious.  

OCD is a sign of brain circuitry’s unusual functioning and it involves the striatum part of the brain. The brain activity patterns of such people differ from normal people and people with other mental disorders. Researchers have concluded that OCD is usually a family problem and is a disorder of the brain. Streptococcal bacterial infection can create or worsen the condition of OCD. Adolescents with no family history of OCD can also develop it. 

Most of the adolescents feel embarrassed to talk about their OCDs. They think that people will label them as crazy and this will make them feel ashamed. This will make it difficult for the parents to talk to their children about their OCD, in order to solve them. Parents need to develop good communication skills for this purpose. Parent’s support is also very important to the adolescent. Cooperation is extremely important along with treatment, because if the problem is not treated the adolescent will grow into a disturbed adult.      

Most of the adolescents with OCD can receive effective treatment. The treatment can include psychotherapy and intake of medications such as fluoxetine, clomipramine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline and other serotonin reuptake inhibitors. When OCD is caused due to streptococcal infection, the adolescent can be administered with antibiotics to kill the bacterium which is causing it. Exposure and response prevention behavioral therapy is very useful in solving OCD. In this therapy, the adolescent is wontedly exposed to his/her fears which give him/her obsessive thought. After that he/she is trained to avoid these thoughts and the rituals which he/she carries out to tackle the anxiety. 

An adolescent having OCD can also have depression, substance abuse, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders, and other types of anxiety disorders. When a person with OCD and other mental illness, is treated, OCD becomes more difficult to treat and even diagnose.

Periodontal Disease in Adolescents

The meaning of the word “periodontal” is around the tooth. Also known as gum diseases periodontal diseases are nothing but serious infections caused by bacteria that harm the gums and tissues in the vicinity of the mouth. While dental cavities or caries only affects the tooth Periodontal disease is devastating affecting the bones that surround the tooth, gums, coverings of teeth root and tooth membrane. A physician specializing in the treatment of periodontal disease is known as Periodontist. 

The disease should not be taken lightly and if it’s left untreated it can spread and affect the bones under the teeth which would eventually dissolve and would not longer support the teeth in its place. The chronic form of the disease is responsible for tooth loss in seventy percent of the cases affecting seventy five percent of the people at some time in their lives. 

The causes of periodontal disease are similar to any other oral disease wherein plaque buildup and bacteria are responsible for the condition. According to statistics plaque buildup is the main cause of gum related diseases. Apart from the causes listed, the other possible causes of periodontal disease include: Genetics, unkempt oral hygiene, food getting stuck to frequently in the gums, mouth breathing, low nutrient diet or vitamin c deficient diet, smoking, diabetes, autoimmune/systemic disease, changes in hormone levels, certain medications and constantly teeth grinding. 

According to statistics nearly sixty six percent young adult population suffers from periodontal disease and nearly fifty percent of teenagers suffer from periodontal disease. Also, it is the most widespread tooth loss cause in adults. But, what are the symptoms of periodontal disease? There are various symptoms and it could differ from one adolescent to the other which may include swollen, tender, and red gums; if one gets bleeding during brushing or flossing the teeth it is also one of the symptoms of periodontal disease; receding gums; constant odorous breath; loose teeth; dentures not fitting any longer; change in alignment of jaw and bite. The symptoms of the disease may be similar to other medical conditions and doctor’s consultation is the best in this regard. 

Periodontal disease can be diagnosed by a dentist or a periodontist after reviewing the complete medical history and also physical examination of the teenager’s mouth. Usually x-ray of the teeth is taken to evaluate the disease. Periodontal disease is classified into different types based on what stage the disease is in. The mildest form of gum disease is known as “gingivitis” in which gums become swollen, red and tender resulting in bleeding while daily brushing and flossing. 

Gingivitis is again divided into 4 groups primarily acute, sub-acute, recurrent and chronic. Acute gingivitis is nothing but sudden appearance which lasts for shorter duration and could be painful. Sub-acute gingivitis is less severe type of gingivitis. Recurrent gingivitis is the one that comes back after treatment. Chronic gingivitis is the one that onsets slowly, lasts longer and is generally painless. A dentist’s treatment and proper and continuous care can easily solve the problem of gingivitis but if left untreated could result in periodontitis. 

Periodontitis is further classified into mild and moderate to advance. Periodontitis results from untreated gingivitis. In this stage the deterioration of the bone in the vicinity of the tooth becomes evident. The common symptoms include red gums that bleed; mouth tastes bad; loose teeth; tooth loss. Proper treatment is a must to control the disease and prevent further deterioration. Periondontitis which is in moderate to advanced stage shows signs of major loss of tissue and bone loss near the teeth. 

There are various treatments available for periodontal disease which is decided by the dentist depending on teenager’s age, medical history and health in general. The method of treatment also depends on the extent to which disease has reached. The tolerance of the teenager to certain medicines, therapies and procedures are also taken into consideration. Expectations and opinion of the parents or teenager is also the criteria in deciding the type of treatment. The treatment usually involves plaque removal, medication and in worse cases a surgery.

Scoliosis in Adolescents

Normally, a spine when viewed from rear should appear straight but if the spine is lateral or curved or sideways or rotated then it is affected by scoliosis. It gives an appearance as if the person has leaned to a side. According to Scoliosis Research Society the definition of scoliosis is the curving of the spine at an angle greater than 10 degrees on an x-ray. Scoliosis is a kind of spinal deformity and shouldn’t be confused to poor posture. Usually there are 4 common kinds of patterns of curves experienced in Scoliosis which are: Thoracic wherein the right side has ninety percent curves, lumbar wherein left side has seventy percent curves, thoracolumbar wherein right side has eighty percent curves and double major where both right and left sides have curves.

In majority of the cases, as high as eight to eighty five percent, the cause of the deformity is unknown, this is also known as idiopathic scoliosis. It is observed that females have scoliosis more commonly than males. According to some established facts 3 to 5 children per 1000 has chances of developing spinal curves which is a number big enough requiring medical treatment. There are three types of scoliosis that can develop in children namely congenital, neuromuscular and idiopathic. Congenital scoliosis is seen in 1 out every 1,000 births which is caused due to vertebrae’s failure in normal formation, vertebrae is absent, vertebrae is formed partially and vertebrae is not separated. 

Neuromuscular scoliosis is linked with various neurological conditions and particularly in children who don’t walk like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, tumors in spinal cord, paralytic conditions and neurofibromatosis. The cause of third type of scoliosis called Idiopathic scoliosis is still unknown. It is further divided into infantile, juvenile and adolescent scoliosis. Infantile scoliosis occurs up to the age of 3 years from birth wherein the vertebrae curve is towards left and is more frequently observed in boys. The curve takes normal shape with the growth of child. Juvenile scoliosis is common in children of age three to nine. Adolescent scoliosis is common in kids of age ten to eighteen and this is also the most common form of scoliosis occurring more in girls than boys.

The other possible causes of the deformity include hereditary reasons, different lengths of legs, injuries, infections and tumors. There are numerous symptoms attributed to scoliosis which can vary from individual to individual. The symptoms are: Difference in heights of the shoulders, off-centered head, difference in the height or position of the hip, difference in the position or height of shoulder blade, different arm lengths in straight standing position and lastly different height back sides when the body is bent forward. Other symptoms include leg pain, back pain and change in bladder and bowel habits do not belong to the symptoms of idiopathic scoliosis and require medical checkup by a doctor. The symptoms may be similar to other problems related to spinal cord or other deformities or could result from an infection or injury and consulting a doctor is the best bet in this situation who may conduct diagnosis to know what exactly it is.

The diagnosis of scoliosis requires thorough medical history of the teenager, diagnostic tests and also physical examination. The doctor asks for entire prenatal history, birth history and also would want to know if anyone in the family has scoliosis. The doctor may also ask for the milestones related with the development of the teenager since some kinds of scoliosis are known to be related to neuromuscular disorders. 

The delay in development may need additional medical evaluation. Doctor may also prescribe x-ray, CT scan and MRI scan of the back to measure the degree of curvature in the spinal. There are various treatments available for scoliosis which is decided by the physician depending on teenager’s age, medical history and health in general. The method of treatment also depends on the extent to which disease has reached. 

The tolerance of the teenager to certain medicines, therapies and procedures are also taken into consideration. Expectations and opinion of the parents or teenager is also the criteria in deciding the type of treatment. The main aim of the treatment is stop the curve from progressing and avert deformity. The treatments include observation and repetitive examinations, bracing and surgery to correct the defect.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Adolescents

Sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse and are highly infectious diseases. Unprotected sexual contact risks the lives of the young by afflicting with sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV infection and even unwanted pregnancy. Every year, nearly nineteen million cases of sexually transmitted diseases are reported in the United States alone and out of these, half of the cases involve people from the age group of fifteen years to twenty four years. 

The best way to make sure the adolescent doesn’t contract sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from all types of sexual activities. In spite of this, if the adolescent becomes sexually active, he/she must be advised by the parents to take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. The best precautionary measure is to use a condom every time the adolescent has sexual intercourse. Only when other sexually transmitted diseases are prevented and controlled, HIV infections can be prevented. 

It is best when the adolescent delays and abstains from sexual relationships, because the younger the person, the more susceptible he/she is to get a sexually transmitted disease. Having sexual contact during menstruation is also risky. It is good to avoid anal intercourse and if it is performed condom is a must, even when having oral sex. Every person should get STD checkups as frequently as possible, irrespective of being sexually active or not, after they turn into adolescents. Precaution must also be taken when getting injected by an intravenous drug, that the needle used to inject must be sterile. The adolescent must be educated about the symptoms and risks of sexually transmitted diseases. 

Adolescents must be thoroughly informed even if they say they know it all. They must be asked to indulge in only safe sex, if doing so. Parents should talk honestly and calmly about safe sex and must answer all their child’s queries. Topics such as STDs, birth control methods, having sex because of peer pressure, and date rape must be discussed in detail. Most people think that kissing is safe, but it can spread the sexually transmitted disease, herpes and many other diseases. Condoms do not provide hundred percent protections for genital warts, AIDs and genital warts. Females shouldn’t douche as it can make the infection go deeper into the reproductive tract and can also wash off spermicidal protection. At a time, sexual intercourse must be provided with only one partner, who isn’t involved with any other sexual partner. 

The sexually transmitted diseases are Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS, Human Papillomaviruses or HPVs, chlamydial infections, pelvic inflammatory disease or PID, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, syphilis, and genital warts. The symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases take time to surface. Some of them are also symptom less and even these diseases can be contagious. Especially in the case of female, the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases can be confused with the symptoms of other diseases. But females get severe symptoms and get it more frequently. 

Sexually transmitted diseases can harm the fallopian tubes and uterus. It can even lead to inflammatory disease, which in turn can cause ectopic pregnancy or infertility.  Cervical cancer, in females, can be associated to sexually transmitted diseases. If a female gets a sexually transmitted disease during her pregnancy, the disease can pass onto her child. Sometimes the newborn’s infections can be treated successfully, but at other times, the child can be disabled for life or die.  

If an adolescent is diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases, his or her treatment must start immediately. The early the sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed, the easier it is to treat them successfully. The other sexual partner must be informed so that they can get themselves diagnosed and can undergo treatment. The adolescent must be instructed to stay away from sexual activity while the treatment is going on. The checkup must be followed after the treatment. Tests such as pelvic examination, Pap test, and test for STDs should be taken periodically. 

Sexually transmitted diseases can affect people of all economic levels and backgrounds. Half of the cases of sexually transmitted diseases involve young people below the age of twenty five. The more sexually active the person is the more risk he/she is. And multiple sex partners at a given time are very dangerous too and must be strictly abstained from.

Smoking Related Health Problems in Adolescents

Smoking is the cause of many diseases and kills about four hundred and forty two thousand people every year in the United States. In spite of anti smoking campaigns and billboard warnings, more and more people are joining the bandwagon of smokers every year. Out of the total number of new smokers, ninety percent are children and adolescents, replacing smokers who have quit or died early due to a disease caused by smoking. Smoking is the top cause of preventable and premature deaths, followed by obesity.  

Smoking not only increases the risk of lung disease, but also increases the risk of contracting lung cancer, oral cancer, emphysema, stroke and heart disease.  Certain statistics by the American Lung Associations show alarming results. Over five thousand adolescents smoke their very first cigarette every day, out of which over two thousand turn into regular smokers. Presently there are nearly five million adolescents smokers. Twenty percent of the twelfth graders smoke cigarettes regularly. 

Smoking has many harmful affects on the health of a human being. It damages the cardiovascular system, causes high blood pressure, increases heart rate, increases the risk of ischemic stroke, increases the risk of formation of blood clot formation, and decreases the oxygen amount which reaches the tissues in the body, reduces coronary blood flow & cardiac output, and damages the blood vessels. Smoking not only affects physical health, but mental health too. It causes psychological distress and depression. 

Smoking not only affects the person who smokes but also other people who surround him/her. According to the American Heart Association, nearly thirty five thousand passive smokers die of smoke inhaled from a lit pipe, cigar or cigarette. People who do not smoke directly and inhale smoke from a cigarette smoke by his/her neighbor is known as passive smoker, secondary smoker or indirect smoker. Among the passive smokers, women, children and infants are at a higher risk. Infants and children who are exposed to smoke develop asthma, frequent ear infections and may even experience infant death syndrome. 

The symptoms experienced by secondary smokers are coughing, excess mucus formation in the airways, chest discomfort, chest pain, and lung irritation. They even feel irritation of throat, nose and eyes. If the passive smokers experiences chest pain, it can be an indication of a heart disease. Sometimes the symptoms of secondary smoking can coincide with the symptoms of other medical conditions. Hence, it is recommended to contact the doctor immediately after the surfacing of the symptoms. 

In active smokers, smoking, apart from building up high cholesterol in blood, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and diabetes. So smoking cessation will not only reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, which is top of the list, but also decreases the risk by fifty percent of heart attacks and deaths caused by it. But quitting smoking undertakes lots of physical and mental efforts. The person should be made mentally relaxed and stress free. In case of adolescents, they can be asked to exercise regularly and sleep adequately. 

The American Lung Association and The American Academy of Otolaryngology have developed certain tips which can be of great help to the smokers who are thinking of quitting. The smokers must first be made to understand the reason for quitting. Stress only makes even more difficult to quit smoking, so a stress free period should be chosen to quit. Family and friends’ encouragement and support are extremely necessary to persuade the smoker to quit. If the support isn’t sufficient, smokers can join a smoking cessation program or a support group to attain their goals. A balanced diet is a must, along with lots of rest.

Sometimes taking nicotine replacement products, such as nicotine chewing gum, nicotine inhalers, and nicotine patch, are a great help to smokers who want to quit. By using these products the smokers can satisfy their nicotine craving. The good thing is that these nicotine replacement products can deduct the poisonous gases and tars emitted by the cigarettes. But nursing and pregnant women should consult a doctor before trying nicotine replacement products. For such people non-nicotine alternative is available in the market.

Sprains and Strains in Adolescents

Sprains and strains are among the majority of the injuries caused while playing sports. Sports injuries can be caused by small trauma which involves ligaments, muscles and tendons including bruises, sprains and strains. The body part which is most commonly involved in spraining or straining is the ankle. The 3 ligaments that are involved during ankle sprain or strain include anterior talofubular ligament, posterior talofibular ligament and calcaneofibular ligament. 

An injury caused to the soft tissue as a result of a direct force like fall, kick and blow is called a contusion or a bruise. A sprain is nothing but a ligament injury which is wrenched or twisted. Sprains usually affect knees, wrists and ankles. On the other hand a strain is an injury caused to a tendon or muscle which usually results from force, stretching and overuse. 

Sprains/Strains are usually diagnosed by a physician after a physical examination. The physician asks for thorough medical history of the adolescent and asks various questions that lead to the cause of the injury. Various diagnostic procedures are also available which also helps in evaluating the problem. X-ray is one of the oldest and common diagnostic tests done to know the extent and exact location of the injury. 

An x-ray uses electromagnetic waves to get photos of internal tissues, organs and bones onto a film. MRI scan is one of the recently evolved diagnostic procedures which also help in evaluating a physical injury. This procedure actually called Magnetic Resonance Imaging makes use of bug magnets, computer and radio frequencies to get detailed pictures of structures and organs inside the body. Another diagnostic procedure called Computed Tomography Scan or CT scan is also used to evaluate the extent and location of injury. This procedure uses a blend of computers and x-rays to get cross sectional pictures in horizontal and vertical alignment. It shows thorough pictures of any part of the body like muscles, bones, fat and organs. They provide more information than conventional x-rays. 

There are various symptoms of strain and sprain depending on each teen’s physical condition and they may vary accordingly. One of the symptoms includes pain in and around the area injury. There could also be a swelling around the injured area. Some teens also experience difficulty when they use or move the area of the body that is injured. Some teenagers also undergo bruises or redness in the area that is injured. Many times the symptoms of sprains and strains may look similar to other medical conditions and a doctor’s advice is the best option in this scenario. 

Depending on various factors the treatment of sprains and strains will be prescribed by the teenager’s physician that include teenager’s age, overall health of the teenager, and medical history of the adolescent. To what extent the teen is injured is also a factor in determining the nature of treatment. A teenager’s level of tolerance to certain medications, therapies and procedures is also taken into consideration before opting for a particular method of treatment. The treatment also depends of what expectations one has and also preference and opinion. 

Various options available for treatment include things like restriction of the activity after the injury, application of cast/splint on the injured spot, crutches or wheelchair, physical therapy which involves stretching exercises to give strength to the muscles, tendons and ligaments that are injured and last but not the least is the surgery which is opted for in worst case scenario. 

In the long-term scenario bruises, sprains and strains heal pretty quickly in kids and teenagers but it is important that the adolescent sticks to the restrictions imposed during the treatment and healing process like restriction of activity and regularly attending physical therapy sessions if any. It is noted that majority of the sports related injuries results either due to traumatic injury or excessive use of muscles and joints. But, they can be avoided and prevented with right training, by wearing right protective gears and by using right equipment for training.(red)

Fitness Health

Exercise Bikes vs Treadmills

You've decided you want to exercise at home.  There are hundreds of pieces of home cardio equipment available.  The most popular are treadmills and exercise bikes.  In deciding between the two, you should compare long-term sustainability, the effectiveness of the workouts, and safety.

Overcoming Boredom

The biggest obstacle to a home exercise routine is sticking with it.  You don't have to drive to a gym, so your home fitness equipment is more convenient.  The problem is that other distractions are just as convenient at home.  The key is to make your routine fun.  You want to look forward to your daily workout.  You have to be realistic.  Playing with the heart rate monitor or watching the calorie counter go up will only be fun the first couple of times you exercise.

Treadmill vs. Boredom

On a treadmill, you walk.  Walking isn't that fun.  You can walk at different speeds, but that isn't really much more fun.  If you get a treadmill that offers an incline, that keeps it a bit more interesting.  Walking uphill isn't exactly fun, but it's different.  It presents a challenge.

You can't really read on a treadmill because you are bouncing up and down.  You can't keep your eyes on the same sentence, and you usually end up with a headache.  Basically, the only thing fun to do on a treadmill is watch television or movies.  If you are really into TV or movies and are able to put your treadmill in front of a television, you can probably keep your treadmill workout from becoming too boring.  Problems consist of commercials, the noise coming from the machine, and again, the bouncing.

Exercise Bikes vs. Boredom

Exercise bikes are unique in that many of them come programmed with various biking routines.  You simulate different courses that require you to sprint, pedal uphill, and perform at different levels within one workout without having to keep pressing buttons and changing everything.  You can even select random programs so you don't know what's coming, which really keeps you on your toes.  Some exercise bikes can even be plugged into televisions and video games to let you interactively pedal through visual courses.

On upright exercise bikes, you run into some of the same problems as treadmills as far as reading is concerned.  Recumbent bikes, however, allow your hands to be free to hold a book or magazine, video game controller, or phone.  Multi-tasking during an exercise bike workout keeps it from becoming boring and allows your workout to more easily fit into a busy schedule.

Defeating boredom to successfully keep up a long-term exercise routine is much easier with an exercise bike than a treadmill.

The Calorie Factor

In a study conducted by Nordic Track, young, healthy people used various exercise machines and did cardio workouts.  Although they felt they used the same intensity on all machines, they burned the most calories on treadmills and ski machines.

On average, most people burn about 750 calories per hour on a treadmill.  The same people are likely to burn about 550 calories per hour on an exercise bike.  So it's a no-brainer, right?  You should get a treadmill because they burn more calories.

Well, not exactly.  You can't get so caught up in which machine burns the most calories.  You have to take a lot of other factors into consideration.  How likely are you to sustain a treadmill routine as opposed to an exercise bike routine?

Because exercise bikes are usually more fun than treadmills, you are much more likely to stick with it long-term.  This means that even though you can burn more calories on a treadmill, you are also more likely to stop using it altogether.

You might also find it difficult to use it long enough per workout session to get the full benefits.  Most people find it easier to workout for 20 minutes on an exercise bike than 20 minutes on a treadmill.  You have to think about that.  If you are likely to only do 10 minutes on a treadmill but can easily do 20 minutes on an exercise bike, you will burn more calories per session on an exercise bike.

So just going strictly by the numbers, treadmills burn more calories.  If you easily get bored or have tried and failed to stick with exercise routines in the past, you might want to consider burning less calories per hour in favor of a sustainable long-term exercise bike regimen. 

Your Safety

The biggest difference between exercise bikes and treadmills is overall safety to your body.

The first case of safety is the most basic.  You can fall off of a treadmill.  It's very difficult, however, to fall off of an exercise bike.  In fact, you would probably have to try to fall when riding an exercise bike.  While you might be thinking you'd have to be pretty clumsy to fall while walking, it happens more than you'd think.  People get involved with watching television or the beat of music.  One wrong step and you can seriously injure yourself.  It's also possible to spill water or sweat on the treadmill track, causing a safety hazard you might not notice until after you've slipped.

Another safety hazard is injury from the activity itself.  A treadmill puts quite a bit of stress on your joints, especially your knees and ankles.  Even if you invest in a treadmill with some degree of shock absorption, when you eventually get to a jogging or running point, you can put severe orthopedic stress on your body, even up to three times your body weight.  People with existing conditions such as arthritis will find a treadmill painful at times due to this stress.  Otherwise healthy individuals can sustain injury and possible long-term damage over time.

Exercise bikes put much less stress on your joints.  A properly positioned exercise bike supports your weight and still allows you to receive the benefits of a higher impact cardio workout.  Upright bikes can sometimes stress your back in the way you have to bend to reach the handlebars.  Recumbent exercise bikes, however, can actually improve existing back pain by forcing proper posture and giving support as you exercise.  On any exercise bike properly used, your knees and ankles are not stressed as they are on a treadmill.

The less you stress joints, the less likely you are to sustain an injury during your workout.  You are also less likely to be sore afterwards.  Most importantly, a non-workout injury doesn't always have to halt your exercise routine on an exercise bike.  If you hurt your back or neck, you will find the support of a recumbent exercise bike will keep you from having to stop your exercise regimen altogether.  Let's face it - if you have to stop, you are less likely to start again.

An Exercise Bike is Better for Your Health than a Treadmill

As you can see, both pieces of home fitness equipment have advantages.  While the treadmill continues to be the most popular piece of home gym equipment, most people are more likely to faithfully use an exercise bike.  This means you're more likely to have to dust a treadmill until it gets the garage sale sticker.

Basic Trampoline Tricks

If you own a trampoline, you already know that it is a great way to get out of the house, and into the fresh air. Did you also know that it's benefiting your health? Jumping up and down on a trampoline is great for strengthening the cardio-vascular system and it is also an excellent workout for almost every muscle and organ of the body. Exercising on a trampoline can also be very helpful for adults and children because it helps to improve reflexes, flexibility, balance and coordination.

One way to enhance not only the fun aspect of the trampoline, but also increase the health benefits, is by putting a little extra effort into your jumping by doing some tricks! There's lot of tricks that can done on the trampoline, from the beginner level to the advanced. Here's a few of them beginning with some basics including additional tips to ensure safety and avoid injury.

'Landing on the Back' is one of the first, basic trampoline tricks any bouncer should learn and its very simple. Stand motionless on the trampoline with your arms at your sides or even with your hands in your front pockets. Fall backwards onto the trampoline, keeping your body straight and your head up. As your back meets the trampoline, let your head meet it naturally too, don't jerk or twist it. You will bounce back up and then you can do it again, over and over until you achieve a good rebounding height. The more you practice this trick, the higher you will bounce back and forth!

Here's an intermediate trampoline trick you can do once you've master the basic Back Landing trick. Begin the same way, standing straight and motionless, with arms at your sides or hands in your pockets. Fall straight back again, but when you bounce back up, land on your knees instead! The motion will keep sending you back and forth so you can repeat the trick as many times as you want.

Some advanced trampoline tricks include somersaults and flips. Either of these can be done backwards or forwards, but you should be very comfortable and confident with your bouncing abilities before attempting either of them. Once you've got the flip down, you spice it up by adding a spin to it.

Before attempting any trick, ensure everyone's safety, including your own. Remember to look around and see how much room you have. You will definitely want to avoid a collision with any other jumpers that are on the trampoline with you. To further prevent any mishaps, warm up first by doing some simple bounces and once you get going, remember to keep your head and neck in a natural position. This way you don't hurt yourself.

10-Foot Trampoline: The Best Size for Your Family

A 10-foot trampoline might just be the best size for your family. If you have a small yard and never thought a regular 14-foot trampoline would fit, then buying a 10 foot one might work best for you. Buying trampolines for your kids is becoming more and more popular even for families with a very small yard; a trampoline can turn that small space into a great area of fun. 

Trampolines For Sale

When you first begin looking and trampolines in your newspaper and stores you might not know exactly what you are looking for. People who put their used trampolines up for sale are often just interested in finding someone to purchase their used trampoline. They might not even be that concerned about the price they get for it. 

The sale price of a used trampoline should reflect the amount of wear and tear the trampoline has been through. If you are specifically shopping for a trampoline of the 10-foot variety then you might have a more difficult time. Consider looking online or shop at a specialty store that carriers all trampoline supplies for all different sizes. 

The 10 foot Model

Most trampolines are 14 feet in diameter, so if you are looking for a 10 foot one you might have a difficult time. On the other hand you might find it easier than you though to find a 10 foot rebounder that is in good condition. Most likely this is because the family is upgrading to a 14 foot diameter trampoline. 

The 10 foot style trampoline is great as a kids trampoline and a backyard trampoline. You may find it more difficult to locate an enclosed trampoline that comes in a ten foot model. So if you are lucky enough to find one, make sure and purchase the enclosure at the time you buy the trampoline. 10 foot enclosures can be extremely difficult to find.

If you are looking to buy a trampoline to be used as a gymnastic trampoline you probably will not want a 10 foot model. Consider getting an actual rectangular gymnastics trampoline or a bigger 14-foot round trampoline.

Kids Ages

A 10-foot size trampoline is great for smaller kids if you are able to find an enclosure system that will fit it. But it is important to remember that your kids will grow up and you may need to upgrade to a larger trampoline as they grow.

Although, people of all sizes can use a ten-foot model, it is recommended that only one-person jump on it at a time. You should always follow the safety instructions of your trampoline to help prevent injuries and keep your family safe.  

Consider the ages and sizes of your children before purchasing a 10-foot model of a trampoline. Most 14 foot trampolines are not much more expensive and will provide more room for you kids to grow into it. But if you have a small yard... the 10-foot style trampoline is the perfect one for you.

5 Ways To Get The Best Use Out Of Your Home Treadmill

The #1 fear that people have when investing in a home treadmill (or any piece of exercise equipment) is that they won't use it. 

You know the story. It gets delivered, you set it up and enjoy it for a few days...and then it sits...and waits. 

A few months down the road, you notice how dusty it has become and how much space it's taking up. And you remember how much weight you were determined to lose by using it faithfully every day. But now, unfortunately, it doubles as a clothes rack. 

Never fear. This article will help you make sure that DOESN'T happen. 

A treadmill provides the best overall cardiovascular workout & it's still the number one exercise machine for those who want to lose weight. So it's an investment in your health that will pay large dividends...if you are prepared to get the maximum benefit from it! 

Here are 5 easy ways to get the BEST use from your home treadmill: 

#1) Do your research first 

Make sure you look at what each treadmill offers you and compare it to your unique needs. 

For example, if you live in a condo and/or like things neat and clean, a folding treadmill might suit you best. If you want a folding treadmill, do you prefer a manual folding treadmill (like most folding treadmills) or do you want a shock-assisted folding treadmill with wheels on the bottom that's easy to move? 

If you like to drink water during your workout, make sure there's a water bottle holder included in the treadmill console (it might surprise you how many treadmills do not have this feature.) 

Do you get bored easily and need a challenge? What about getting a treadmill with lots of user programs or one that is iFit compatible? 

These things may seem little and maybe it might cost you a bit more; but if it means you're actually going to enjoy your workout it will be well worth it! 

#2) Place the treadmill in a 'happy' spot. 

By 'happy' I mean well-lit, open and stimulating. Don't put it so you face the bare wall when you walk or run. I've tried this this and the workouts don't last long! If you get bored easily, put it facing the television or facing a window where you can have an attractive view while working out. 

Rooms and spaces have definite 'feels' to them and that will affect the success of your workouts. Make sure your treadmill is placed in an area that makes you feel energized, happy and mentally stimulated. 

#3) Get your exercise arsenal ready BEFORE the treadmill arrives. 

Do you like listening to fast music when you exercise? Do you like watching your favorite movies? What about reading magazines? What inspires you to work out and feel your best? 

Get these things ready even before your treadmill arrives and you'll be three-quarters of the way there. Have several workout or favorite CD's around. Get your favorite movies or shows on tape. Gather your favorite magazines. 

By having an 'exercise' stash around your treadmill, you'll be inspired to workout AND you won't be stuck running around looking for something to do when you want to start exercising. 

Again, this may seem simple, but it works. Why do you think gyms have magazines, televisions and CD players handy? 

#4) Make an exercise plan. 

Before you start working out, try making a plan, a "roadmap to your rock-hard body" so to speak. By writing down how long and what kind of workout you'll be doing in week 1, 2, 3, 4 etc, you'll get yourself psyched up for success. 

Remember that every time you workout, you are planting the seeds for the kind of dream body that you want. 

By having a plan, you can see just how many seeds you've planted (and even how long it will take to start reaping the results!) Have fun with it and you'll be motivated to achieve your health goals (and get maximum benefits from your treadmill!) 

#5) Track your progress 

Ok this is related to #4 but it's more of an ongoing thing. By tracking your progress every day, you get a major sense of accomplishment which snowballs into even greater fat-burning results. 

I suggest you have 'minimum goals' like "I'll walk for at least 10 minutes." or "I'll do 5-30 second intervals." These are easy to do and you'll probably go beyond them - which will encourage you even further and heighten your sense of accomplishment. 

And of course, you're also getting maximum benefit from your treadmill! 

Those are 5 ways to get best use from your home treadmill. Just remember that even a little bit of preparation will pay off large dividends in the long run.

A Smooth Treadmill For Me

A Smooth treadmill offers a great workout for the serious runner and the novice alike. With a sturdy frame and a range of great exercising features, a Smooth treadmill has everything you need to reach your fitness goals, whether these are getting you up to marathon running speed, or just getting in shape for the summer. 

The price tag of Smooth treadmills, in the mid to high range, can make purchasing one of these running machines a little prohibitive, but any Smooth treadmill review you can find will almost certainly tell you that a Smooth treadmill is well worth the investment. With a robust frame and fitness features that include pre-programmed workouts, easy to use speed and incline adjusters, any Smooth treadmill review will tell you that the Smooth brand of running machines are suitable for both treadmill novice and expert alike. 

Whilst a Smooth treadmill is not the cheapest treadmill available and might cause a beginning runner to question the sense of purchasing a Smooth machine, they are extremely good value for money, especially the interactive features available with many of the Smooth varieties of treadmill which are the ideal way to push a novice forward with their fitness goals. With fitness programs that can be personalized to a particular user, heart rate monitor and even a tool to measure your BMI, a Smooth treadmill is ideally equipped to help the new runner track their progress, something that a qualified fitness trainer will tell you is crucial in keeping motivation at optimal levels, ensuring that you reach your goals in a truly effective way.  

While Smooth treadmills might not be one of the most inexpensive treadmills around, they offer much more for the price than other makes and models. Consistently rated at one of the best models in its price range, a Smooth treadmill also comes with a ten-year warranty. And the reviews will confirm that the customer service available at Smooth is second to none. 

So if you are looking for the full fitness package, a Smooth treadmill can’t be beaten. You might pay a little more than you would for a more basic machine, but the combination of great features in the truly durable frame of a Smooth treadmill will help you exceed your fitness goals.

A smooth treadmill is a purchase for a lifetime, because that’s how long it will last. Or at least as long as you are happy to use it until you want to buy one with more features. Not cheap, but a smooth treadmill is excellent value.

Buying Exercise Equipment: Get The Best for Less

Unless you are already an equipment expert, this article will help you choose wisely so that you can get the best for less.

After making the commitment to begin a diet and fitness program, the first step many people take is to purchase of some sort of exercise equipment.  If you do this, it will also be your first big obstacle, simply because the overwhelming selection makes it extremely difficult to know where to begin.

Be careful!  This is where many will make their first big fitness mistake.  Millions of dollars and countless unused pieces of exercise equipment fill garages and basements across the country, a testament to poor choices and hasty decisions.

The first and best decision you can make, to get the biggest bang for your buck, is to put your credit cards in the deep freeze and ask yourself these simple questions:

1. What are your fitness goals?

What you hope to achieve has everything to do with what sort of workout program you should follow and what equipment you might need.  Do you want to primarily lose weight and firm up?  Do you want to increase your strength or do you want to really build significant muscle mass?

2. How much experience do you have?

Are you confident that you can design a program to achieve the goals you just outlined?  Will you need help with this?  Were you a regular exerciser in the past?  Have you tried a variety of equipment and for long enough to really get a feel for it?

3. What are the practical considerations of your intended purchase?

How much space do you have?  Do you plan to move any time soon?  (Some equipment can be the devil to transport.)  How much can you afford to spend regardless of what you think you might need?  Since the cost of some equipment could equal a three-year gym membership, is joining a gym out of the question?

Now, considering the fact that simple is usually best, and that the fanciest and finest equipment will not get you in shape unless you use it, think about this:

Your goals dictate your exercise plan which in turn affects the equipment you may need.  If you have only a little experience with exercise, consider a minimalist approach toward equipment.  This will not compromise your progress.

Until you are in an exercise groove; until a lifestyle of physical activity becomes habit, statistics confirm that you probably will not stick with it.  Why not create the habit of simply walking before buying a $1,500 treadmill that will likely end up in the garage collecting dust.

Let the success of your exercise program justify the expense, before you make your purchase.  You may find that you don’t want a treadmill after all.

The same holds true for strength training.  Before buying a multi-purpose home gym, try simple hand weights which are highly effective, inexpensive and all you need to get on track.  Bodybuilders actually prefer “free” weights in most cases.  If you choose to buy a gym later, you can still use the hand weights.

Once you have made some progress your goals might change.  Quite possibly, you will find that your present workouts are all you need. If, on the other hand, you want to expand your exercise possibilities, consider joining a gym for a month or so.  Maybe buy a few sessions with a personal trainer.  Try out the different machines until you get comfortable.  Pay attention to what “gym quality” feels like; some affordable home-style machines can be disappointing.

It is important to know what suits you, before you begin shopping. Without this experience, it is easy to make a premature decision after a brief “test drive” with a salesman breathing down your neck.

Get to know your stuff before spending your hard-earned money. You will know exactly what you need and when a particular piece of equipment feels right.  After making an informed decision as to what is best, you can wait and look for sales and bargains.

Most importantly, you will avoid making impulsive decisions, emptying your wallet and ending up with a piece of junk or something you don’t really need.

Benefits of an Elliptical Trainer Workout

Elliptical trainers are ideal for getting in shape and losing weight. When you workout on an elliptical trainer there are two important benefits:

Low-Impact Exercise 

Upper and Lower Body Workout

It is for those reasons that elliptical trainers are growing in popularity.  Treadmills sell more in total numbers, but elliptical sales are growing at a faster pace. They are particularly appealing to the baby boomer generation that is looking for an alternative form of exercise and workout that lessens the impact on aging joints.  

Low-Impact Exercise

The two most popular forms of exercise are walking and running.  But the facts are running, and to a lesser extent walking, cause stress to your body through continual impact. In fact, runners can apply as much as 2.5 times their body weight to their joints with each stride. This is why runners and walkers often suffer from ankle, knee, hip and back injuries.  Especially if they workout outdoors on concrete or asphalt.  With every step there is a degree of shock absorption.  This shock can be felt throughout your entire body.  

Elliptical trainers reduce impact through their elliptical motion.  Your feet never leave the foot pedals.  There is no reverse action, or significant impact.  Consequently there is virtually no shock absorption to your joints.  The motion of an elliptical trainer simulates the natural path of the ankle, knee and hip joints during walking, jogging or running. And yet you still get a weight bearing workout, which builds bone density, and inhibits the onset of osteoporosis.

With a treadmill you are constantly lifting your feet and impacting the treadbelt with every stride. Treadmills are designed to absorb some of the impact, but there is still that constant jolt to your joints.   

Upper and Lower Body Workout

In addition to the low impact exercise, elliptical trainers workout both the upper and lower body simultaneously.  By exercising several muscle groups at once you are able to optimize your workout. By involving more muscle mass in your aerobic workout you increase the efficiency of your workout. 

When you exercise both the upper and lower body on an elliptical trainer, you utilize the quadriceps, glutes, chest, back, hamstrings, triceps and biceps. By exercising more muscle mass you attain the following benefits:

Improved fat mobilization 

Build muscle endurance

Burn more calories and fat in less time

Reduced perceived rate of exertion

Regarding the reduced perceived rate of exertion, studies have shown that an elliptical trainer workout will often be perceived as less strenuous due to the combined upper and lower body exercise.   The perception is that you get more results with less effort. 

The benefits of an elliptical trainer workout have resulted in increased sales for both residential and commercial use.  They are gaining in popularity at health clubs, and where several years ago you may have seen one or two, you now see rows of ellipticals. 

If you haven’t used an elliptical you need to give one a try.  If you are thinking about home fitness equipment, seriously consider an elliptical trainer.  The benefits surpass those you receive from a treadmill, and you will be doing your body a favor.

A Treadmill Reader Rack - What Is It And What Does It Do?

A treadmill reader rack is a generic term for the basket which holds the varying amounts of instruments that the modern day treadmill offers the consumer as part of accessory pack that comes with your treadmill. 

Bearing in mind the cost of a new treadmill, the quality of the machine itself should not surpass the quality needed, and expected, of the read out equipment that will come with it. In addition to the durability that one expects from a treadmill, the reader rack should be easy to use and give you the information that you require to complete your work out with the optimum effect. You really don't want to be worrying about the onboard computers when you are doing a 20k run on your treadmill! 

The treadmill reader rack should offer good ergonomic designs, as well as an ease of use. They should supply the information that you require on a wide range of relevant statistics, such as calories used up, speed, miles (or kilometres) run and heart rate amongst other things. 

In addition to statistics on your own personal well being during your work out, a treadmill should also offer lots of practical functionality. By that I mean the means to control the type of workout that you are experiencing, by altering the speed at which you can run, or the incline of the slope. In an ideal world, a good treadmill should also let you vary both of these factors during the course of a workout, to give you precisely the type of exercise that you are looking for. 

Some treadmills are specially designed for the rehabilitation of either the athlete or the patient, but, in either case, the machine should give you all the information that you require. If you are a sports person or just someone in the recovery room, the right information must be delivered in order to fulfil the criteria of the treadmill that you are using to give you the maximum benefit. 

Some machines actually go a stage further and go beyond the functional to what could only be described as luxury. What else could you call magazine racks and space for your MP3? 

The onboard computers of some treadmills also allow you to program and save custom routines that you might have entered yourself. 

Either way, a treadmill should give you what you need - you should not compromise on quality, nor functionality.

Benefits Of Elliptical Machines

In the history of fitness and aerobics, elliptical machines are the only aerobic products who made a breakthrough. Almost all gyms, fitness clubs and even homes have already acquired their own elliptical machines. Elliptical machines continue to be popular. Users and buyers of these machines even reached 2.8 million in 2005.

Why are elliptical machines popular? What do users get from them? There are many benefits that can be enjoyed by using an elliptical machine.

Elliptical machines are able to provide healthy bodies by maintaining a healthy bone density. Researches have shown that the bone density has an impact on how healthy the person would become. A person is healthy if he has a healthy bone density. 

The exercises needed to maintain a healthy bone density include running, aerobics, weight lifting and exercises where the person remains on his feet. However, these activities may cause jarred bones, which is very dangerous.

With the elliptical machine, all exercises to maintain a healthy bone density can be performed. Using an elliptical machine, the person will be standing on his own feet on a platform wherein he will be bearing weight. 

Stepping up and down the platforms causes pedaling with an oval movement. This is very similar to the movement done when walking or running. This only means that the elliptical machine is able to provide the same benefits people can get with these exercises. Plus, they do not experience harmful stress that can impact the bones and muscles.

Safety is ensured with elliptical machines. Using the machine will allow a person to perform exercises smooth and flowing. This minimizes the risk of being injured when performing workouts. The muscles are safe since the pressure is evenly distributed on all the muscles of the body. This will prevent the person from stressing and harming a certain muscle group.

Elliptical machines were also proven to provide workouts best for the cardiovascular system. This is because of the many movements that can be made using the machine. All the muscles of the body are working which is good for maximizing the cardio impact in the body.

Many people would like to maintain a healthy body or even lose weight the easier way. However, they would not like to risk the benefit they can get in doing harder exercises. With the elliptical machines, users are able to do exercises the easy way without sacrificing the amount of weight they would lose. 

Many manufacturers have developed elliptical machines and incorporated high technology with them. Many were designed to provide natural motion of body when using the machine. They may be priced higher than other aerobic products but people can be assured that the physical benefits they would like to get will not be neglected.

Buyers can choose from a wide variety of elliptical machines that are now sold in the market. They may come in different forms, in prices and most are incorporated with the highest technology there is in aerobic products. People may still opt to buy the more traditional elliptical machines, which continue to be bestsellers. 

Elliptical machines will continue to develop and provide optimum workout for its users. These machines will continue to grow in popularity since they appeal to almost all users. Anyone who uses the machine can be assured of a total workout and the same time will allow burning of fat and calories.

Best Elliptical Machine: 5 Must-Have Features When Shopping

So you're buying an elliptical machine? Elliptical machines give you a low impact, safe workout that burns a maximum amount of calories in the least amount of time.  

But with all of the different elliptical brands out there, how do you choose the best one? Here are 5 key features to look for when shopping to help you find the very <b>best elliptical machine</b>.

1) Forward and Reverse motions 

The ability to move in a forward or reverse motion adds variety and challenge to your workout.  It works different sets of muscles and results in more calories burned overall. 

This also reduces your risk of repetitive use injuries common with some treadmill and stair climber users. Most ellipticals have this option but it's always a good idea to make sure.

2) Adjustable resistance 

Quality elliptical machines will have a range of resistance levels. Increasing the resistance increases the calories burned.  It also helps you continue to challenge your body as your fitness level improves.

Look for an elliptical machine that makes resistance changes simple (i.e. one-touch resistance adjustment) so that interval training sessions can be easily incorporated into your workout

3) Upper body workout arms 

While you really don't need these for an effective workout, many people prefer them.  They do help to provide resistance training for your upper body - and again, result in more calories burned.  

However make sure you don't have to lean over while using them which can diminish the effectiveness of your workout (this can happen on many of the cheaper elliptical models).

4) Quiet operation 

Look for an elliptical machine that is specifically designed to stay quiet. A truly well designed elliptical machine should be fairly quiet at all intensity levels.

Also - cheaper ellipticals can develop a squeak after a few months of heavy use so be careful to buy a quality brand of elliptical machine and steer clear of the cheap department store models.

5) Elliptical Incline 

It used to be that only high end, commercial elliptical trainers like Precor offered this option however lately more affordable models like Proform and Nordic Track are offering incline on several of their machines.

Incline is not the same as resistance.  It changes the incline of the elliptical motion and helps to work different sets of muscles for increased fat burning and toning.

So those are 5 key features that make up a quality elliptical machine. By looking for most of these 5 key features, you'll be assured of finding the very best elliptical machine for your needs.

Best Home Elliptical Machine - Simple Steps Before You Buy

What is the best home elliptical machine? That is a question many first-time home exercise equipment buyers ask. Some things are really important to take into consideration: this includes price, quality, and the size you have dedicated to machine.

Price:

Prior to purchasing an elliptical trainer you should have an ideal amount of money you are looking to spend. By having a predetermined budget you're unlikely to spend more than what you can afford to and get the best elliptical trainer for your home. This will also help as many online retailers allow you to select items by price range. You have to understand oftentimes you get what you pay for, so you should be careful as to not buy too cheap of a machine.

Quality:

A quality of your elliptical machine is also vitally important. You need to make sure that you take this into account prior to purchasing your elliptical machine. Too many newer users do not research properly purchase a low-end elliptical machine only to find it breaks after a short period of time(usually just after the warranty period). Then, they must go out and purchase a more expensive, higher quality machine costing them more than if they bought a higher quality one to begin with since they had to make two purchases.

Size Of Machine:

Most elliptical trainers are all similar in size, this sometimes poses a challenge for people looking to use an elliptical trainer, but are limited in the space they have to dedicated to it. Before you purchase a machine online visit a physical local store and measure the machine you're thinking about buying to make sure fits into your space. Many online stores will have measurements of each machine but they're not always accurate.

In conclusion if you follow these few simple principles should successfully buy the best elliptical machine to use in your home.

Best Home Treadmill: 4 Things You Need To Look For

Choosing the best home treadmill can be confusing as you sift through all of the options, new models, and brand name ‘deals’. Too often, people get caught up in all the 'Goodies' a treadmill offers them that they miss the fact that the treadmill doesn't have the basic essentials of a quality unit. 

By knowing the 4 basic essentials of a quality home treadmill, you'll be able to quickly sift through the treadmill deals and choose the best home treadmill for you. 

The 4 basic essentials to a quality treadmill are: 

#1 - High Powered, Well Built Motor 

Since the motor is the most expensive part of the treadmill to fix, a good motor is essential to your treadmill. Try to find at least a motor power of 2.0 HP, preferably higher. 

Remember that a 1.5 HP motor has to work twice as hard as a 3.0 HP motor - so it will burn out long before the 3.0 HP motor. 

Also, not all motors are built with the same quality parts. Look for a good brand name and a long motor warranty to give you clues as to the quality of the motor. 

#2 - Excellent Cushioning 

There's not enough said about cushioning and it is so important in a home treadmill. A good cushioning system protects your joints, ligaments and back. A poor cushioning system can result in injury and pain. 

I know of one woman who bought a cheaper brand of treadmill and then ran on it. Within 6 months, she had damaged her hips so badly that it hurt her to even walk on the treadmill. You definitely don't want that! 

Make sure your treadmill offers an excellent cushioning system - especially if you'll be running! 

#3 - Extensive Warranty 

You want to protect your investment so a solid treadmill warranty is a must. A good treadmill warranty will cover the frame for at least 30 years, the motor for at least 5 years and other parts and labor for about 1 year. Anything above that and you've got an excellent warranty. 

But a warranty isn't just to protect your investment – a good warranty lets you know about the quality of the treadmill parts. 

Treadmill companies do not include warranties because they think they'll have to fix the treadmill within that time frame. They know that they WON'T have to fix them within that time frame because the quality of parts used are high. So if you find a treadmill with a 10 year motor warranty, you KNOW it's a quality built motor. If the motor warranty is only 90 days however...that tells you something. 

#4 - Quality Brand Name 

Certain brand names have a reputation for building a high quality home treadmill. Other brand names may be well-known but they don't necessarily have a good reputation. 

Choose a treadmill that has a solid, trusted brand name. Not sure which brands are good? Check out expert ratings and 'Best Buys' on various treadmill review sites and/or magazines. You'll start to see a trend where certain brand names come up frequently. These brands are the quality treadmill manufacturers. 

So those are 4 basic essentials of a good home treadmill: 

- High Powered, Well Built Motor 

- Excellent Cushioning 

- Extensive Warranty 

- Quality Brand Name 

Knowing these, you can sift through the treadmills available and easily locate the best treadmill for your home.

Best Price Treadmill - 3 Key Tips To Saving Hundreds On Your Next Treadmill

If you're in the market to buy a treadmill, your timing couldn't be better.  Treadmills are giving you more value for your money every year.  In fact according to a recent Runner's World article:

"Today's treadmills are better than ever. In particular, most brands have improved their stability and controls.  Meanwhile, they continue to offer a dazzling variety of features."

If you're buying a treadmill no doubt you want to get the best price.  Having been researching and reviewing treadmills for over 3 years, I've seen some killer treadmill deals and some completely overblown, overpriced treadmills.  

I've also seen the same treadmill offered at vastly different prices - sometimes the difference is as much as $800! And people are still buying the overpriced treadmills!  

There are ways to getting the best price on a high quality home treadmill that many people don't know about.  So to help you save some money, here are 3 key tips to getting the best price on your treadmill:

#1 Buy Online 

If you want to save money, buy online.  This is the case with most items from computers to DVD's to electronics and especially treadmills.  Because when you buy online, the treadmill dealer doesn't have to pay to rent a storefront, pay salespeople, pay hydro, heat, etc. 

They can ship directly from their warehouse.  This saves them a lot of money and in turn these savings are passed on to you in the form of lower prices. 

Obviously you don't want to just buy from anyone online. Make sure the online treadmill dealer offers secure ordering, prevalent contact information (phone numbers, email, online help, address), at least a 30 day money back guarantee and of course - high quality treadmills.  It also helps if they offer customer and/or expert testimonials.

#2 Buy Direct From the Treadmill Brand Manufacturer

Buying direct from the treadmill manufacturer means you skip the middleman (i.e. the store), which always has to mark up an item to make their profit (and pay their employees, rent, etc.)  There are several treadmill manufacturers that sell online direct to the consumer at wholesale prices and it's a great way to get a brand name treadmill for a discount price.  

Also, if you watch closely, many manufacturers will drop their prices even more when they are phasing out a certain treadmill.  I've seen a $1500 treadmill go for $899 when the manufacturer was trying to close the model out.  

Again, make sure these treadmill dealers offer secure ordering, prevalent contact information, at least a 30 day money back guarantee and high quality treadmills.

#3 Save on Shipping and Sales Tax 

Whether it's an online store or an online treadmill manufacturer, many online dealers offer you free shipping.  Some offer free shipping all the time whereas others offer it at certain times of the month.  

Shipping your treadmill can cost you as much as $200 - so why pay for it if you can get it free? I've yet to see an actual store offer free shipping on treadmills - it's always an add on at the cash register.  

Another area where you can save money is on sales tax.  Many online dealers won't charge you sales tax (depending on the state) which can also save you a considerable amount on your treadmill.

Bicycling Down Memory Lane

Many adults only remember riding a bike. They gave it up as they became older. Adults can and should take advantage of bicycle riding to get some exercise. Older folks may want to ride the large tricycle with a basket on the front.

I remember my first bike. It was blue with a bell attached to the handlebars and when you worked the little tab back and forth with your thumb, you would hear a tinny ring. All the kids in my neighborhood had bikes, of course they were two speed bikes, stop and go, unlike the many different bikes that are available now.

I don't remember any of us being overweight back then. We rode bikes rather than watching some silly or violent program on TV. In fact, there was no TV, no McDonald's, no computers, no Gameboys; the only video games we had were pictures in our heads.

During the daylight hours we didn't have many sedentary games. We ran around in the yards playing imaginary games. It was great fun. At night the whole family would sit around the supper table eating and talking. The meal usually consisted of a meat, two or three vegetables, and dessert with tea or milk to drink. No one opted for bottled water, oh yeah, there was no bottled water.

The only time we had hamburgers was on Saturday nights, no fries. Instead of fries we had goulash. During the summer we cooked outdoors on a homemade barbecue pit made out of stone. There were no charcoal, electric, or gas grills, we used wood in the pit.

Some of the neighborhood kids were always invited to eat supper with us on Saturday night. We would eat on a wooden picnic table in the backyard. After supper we would play basketball or horseshoes, or some other game. We got plenty of exercise.

Maybe if we had kept on doing those type of things, we would not have so many lazy and overweight people now. Get some "kids" of all ages together and go for a bike ride at least once a week. When you are riding, maybe along the way you'll ride upon a backyard barbecue pit where you can fix some burgers the old fashion way and pitch a few horseshoes after supper.

Breathable Fabrics or Regular Garments- Click Your Option

Leaves have a neat way of getting rid of water vapour. They have chambers with tiny pores (stomata) that allow water vapour to escape (transpiration). 

Have you seen people wearing clothes having almost the same expertise? Clothes, which are elastic, non-absorbent, weatherproof and lightweight and fits any form!  

Just imagine someone wearing an outfit that removes sweat from the skin thus keeping it dry and comfortable; regulates heat, keeping muscles and joints warm without overheating; provides compressive support for muscles, ligaments and joints; increases blood flow!

Such garments are now available in market with all those above-mentioned facilities. It has hollow cavities and tiny, raised holes - just like the stomata, which allow plants to cool themselves and regulate moisture loss through transpiration.

Not only as a sports fabric or as orthopaedic supports or as military clothing, general people, who want to loose weight naturally, without being soaked in sweat while running, are using such garments. 

They feel that these breathable fabrics are too good for daily rough wear and tear. Fabrics like those that Stomatex is used to make all forms of athletic vests, shorts, back belts and knee supports. Products like wet suits, surfing wetsuits, survival suits, thermal underwear and warm-up suits are always in demand round the world.

Nevertheless, how does it work?

It uses a pattern of dome-shaped vapour chambers. Each chamber has a tiny pore in the centre. While resting, excess body heat and perspiration rise into the dome-shaped chambers and exit through the tiny pores at a controlled rate. The chambers contract and stretch with each movement of the body, causing excess heat and perspiration to be pumped out of the small pores (This also allows cooler, drier air to enter from the outside).

The unique pumping action of the vapour chambers increases and decreases with the user's level of physical activity. 

Over the years, Neoprene, which has holes punched through it, was employed in many applications, primarily because until now there has not been a better alternative. While fabrics like Stomatex have advantages over traditional Neoprene in certain circumstances, the size and formation of the holes significantly reduce the insulation value resulting in condensation of sweat and cooling of the skin. It also causes significant changes in the material's compressive and elastic qualities.

Now it is really the time to dress in green leaves rather than simple clothes.

Buying a Discount Treadmill – Is it Really a Bargain?

Have you ever noticed how many treadmills are being sold at a discount prices? Of course, that is part of commercialism.  For example, when was the last time you paid list price for a car or jewelry?  

What motivated me to write this article is the fact that “Discount Treadmill” is a very popular search term. People are looking to get the best deal possible when they purchase a treadmill. That makes sense, since even a moderate priced treadmill can run from $1,000 - $2,000.  

So how do you tell when a treadmill is being sold at a discount?

First, by comparative shopping.  You find a particular model that satisfies your needs and you shop around.  Depending on the quality of the treadmill, you compare prices at the various mass retailers, large sporting goods stores, specialty fitness stores and online. 

In addition, you look for special offers like free shipping, added accessories and extended warranties.  Regarding shipping, some businesses may drop off a treadmill on your curve, while others will bring it into your house, set it up and remove the packaging.  Considering the weight of some models, that can add considerable value.

Discounts from Buying Online

More and more people are going online to purchase a treadmill.  Are they really saving money?  Yes and no.   Yes, you can save money from not having to pay sales tax if you purchase from a business that is not located in your state.  You can also find discounts online that are better deals than you would find in retail stores.  Also, several manufacturers sell direct on the Internet, thus cutting out the middleman.  

In contrast the large sporting goods stores generally sell for the same price online as they do in their store.   Furthermore, many treadmill manufacturers set a minimum price that any and all dealers cannot go under, regardless whether they sell online and off.

Discount Prices vs MSRP

Regarding the manufacturers  suggested retail price, that is a number that has nothing to do with reality.  It is deliberately inflated in an attempt to make the real selling price less intimidating.  Both manufacturers and retailers play serious games with their prices.

For example, one online retailer that sells private labeled treadmills lists the MSRP at double the real selling price.   They attempt to suggest you are saving as much as 50%.  But in realty their private label treadmill is sold for the same price as the manufacturer’s models.  Another popular treadmill sold online promotes discounts at 15%-40% off.  

With all this slight of hand with prices how do you determine the real value?

First, you decide how you are going to use the treadmill, and determine what features would satisfy your fitness goals.  For example, if you plan to use the treadmill for walking and want the machine to last for more than 90 days, you want certain minimal features.  If you plan to use it for running, than you need upgraded features.  Here are some of the features you want to compare:

- Motor size

- Deck size

- Roller size

- Electronics

- Console

- Programs

In addition, you want to compare the warranties. The warranty says a lot about the overall quality of the machine and the components. You also want to research the reputation of the manufacturer. You want to buy from a company that is synonymous with quality. You also want to do business with a company that stands behind their treadmills.   

When buying a treadmill do not get caught up in marketing hype of discount prices. Instead look for the best value in your price range.

Buying an Elliptical Trainer Online – What You Need to Know

When I first started working in the fitness equipment industry the idea of customers buying online seemed absurd.  But about 9 years ago the company I worked for built a web site and started advertising on Yahoo.  Back then Google was still a concept, and pay per click advertising hadn’t been conceived.  Surprisingly a few people here and there would make purchases, primarily for treadmills.  All sales were conducted through the phone.  

Gradually sales increased, so about 6 years ago I suggested we include a shopping cart on our site.  The reaction was, “who would buy fitness equipment online without talking to someone first.” Well, how times have changed.  When I left the company over 60% of our sales were through the cart.  Our minimum price item was $1,000, with our premium products exceeding $3,000. 

Purchasing fitness equipment online has become a major industry.  There are several benefits from buying online:

- There is no sales tax.

- The item is delivered to your home.

- The Internet is ideal for comparison shopping.

- Nothing competes with the convenience of shopping from your home.

- Not always, but in some instances you will save money.

Elliptical Trainers Grow in Popularity

The fastest growing fitness equipment currently is elliptical trainers.  They offer the benefit of providing a low-impact, upper and lower body workout.   They have become particularly attractive to the aging baby boomers.   And like treadmills, many people are purchasing them online.  If you are considering buying an elliptical trainer online there are several considerations:

Buy a Quality Elliptical Trainer

Do not waste your money on a cheap machine, unless you plan to use it to hang clothes. How do you determine what qualifies as cheap and what merits quality?  You need to do your due diligence. Check out third party reviews, customer testimonials (epinions.com is a good source), and compare features and specifications. At my site you will find an elliptical trainer buyer's guide. It explains in detail the important features of an elliptical trainer.

Buy an Elliptical Trainer that has an Adequate Warranty

When you see an elliptical trainer with a 90 parts and labor warranty, you should be concerned about the durability of that machine.  It doesn’t say much about the faith of the manufacturer in their products.  When buying an elliptical trainer look for models that come with a one year labor warranty, and a 1-3 year parts coverage.

Buy an Elliptical Trainer from a Company with a Good Reputation

When you purchase an elliptical trainer you are not only buying the machine, but also the company that stands behind it. Although elliptical trainers require less service than a treadmill, you may still have maintenance issues and questions. You want to make sure you purchase from a company that is responsive to their customers. 

Once again customer reviews can be helpful. Whenever I want to get some insight into a company I will do a search on the company name and “complaints”. You could be surprised on the results. I was going to spend considerable money with a furniture store chain and when I did a search I was overwhelmed with the number of customer complaints. Guess what? They didn’t get my business.

There are a number of advantages to buying an elliptical trainer online, but as with any purchase let the buyer beware. Become an informed consumer and make a smart buy.

Easy Solutions For Transporting Your Power Wheelchair

Mobility aids are definitely required when you have an elderly member in your family, or you have in your care a person who has become immobile to some extent for whatever reason. Now, there are so many available choices for mobility aids. In the past, you would think as the wheelchair of the only mobility aid that you can get for the person concerned. But today, there are many products you can choose from! You can choose to get a power wheelchair, for starters. You can also choose the mobility scooter! Both of these options tackle to problem of immobility in a more fashionable manner.

And when you get any of these, another problem inevitably surfaces. This is the problem of transporting these mobility aids from one place to another. Fortunately, there are also a lot of products that can help you deal with this problem. You have the scooter lift, mobility lifts, wheelchair carriers, and wheelchair ramps. The concept of mobility is not too difficult to grasp for these aids. Carriers for vehicles have even been designed for the safe transport of a whole vehicle from one place to another. Surely the transport of wheelchairs and mobility scooters are easier, right? Indeed, it is!

What's more, you are actually given a lot of options for these as well! For instance, with wheelchair carriers, you can choose to get one with automatic features. This wheelchair carrier comes with a drive lift that is operated by a motor. This lift easily picks the wheelchair to any direction, to provide you easier access to it. The automatic wheelchair carrier can also be placed right on top of your vehicle, without giving you any worries about the gadget falling off. This is because it comes with automatic locking mechanisms as well.

Scooter lifts can be effortlessly attached at the back of your vehicle, which in turn, provides easier storage of your mobility scooter. Thus, wherever your destination may be, you can conveniently mount the mobility scooter at the back of your vehicle. Most scooter lifts also come with locking mechanisms, so falling off would never be an issue here.

As for wheelchair ramps, the popular choices are actually the portable ones. One particular favorite is the roll up ramp. By the name itself, this ramp can actually be rolled up via its specially designed hinges, making it very portable. What's more, most roll up ramps are made of aluminum, so weight is not a problem here at all. Now, this is a pretty cool mobility solution for the problem of immobility.

Choosing Quality Exercise Equipment

It seems like every time you turn on the TV these days, there is another commercial for exercise equipment. The latest and greatest treadmill or the second to none all in one machine are advertised on a daily basis. And why not? Consumers love them. We’re always looking for ways to shape up faster and without as much work. And, that’s just what this equipment claims to do. Work out for just 20 minutes a day, three days a week and you’ll have the body of a supermodel in just one month. If only that were true. We wouldn’t have to put ourselves through the pain of the gym everyday.

If you are looking for some quality exercise equipment though, it is available. You just need to do some research and talk to enough qualified people to learn what equipment will be best for your work out routine. A treadmill works for a lot of people who like to work out in the privacy of their own home. 

And there are a lot of benefits that can be gleaned from running on a treadmill everyday. This type of aerobic exercise is good for your heart and your lungs. Just be sure to keep tabs on your heart rate so you don’t over do it and put your heart in danger. A general rule of thumb for running is that you should be able to talk semi-comfortably while you’re running. If you can talk without any trouble at all, you’re probably not running hard enough or fast enough. If you can’t talk because you’re busy huffing and puffing, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard. Slow down a bit and take it one step at a time.

There are several other types of exercise equipment available that can prove beneficial to our health as well. A popular piece of equipment these days is the exercise ball. They come in different sizes, so it’s important to determine which one will work for the goals you have in mind. There are many muscles that you can work using the ball. And the balls usually come with a set of instructions that tell you how to use it for different muscle groups. It’s also a great way to stretch your muscles, which is an important factor in every work out.

Some people prefer yoga or Pilates as their main workout. Each of these activities has their own set of exercise equipment as well. Along with the exercise ball, it’s important to invest in a mat. Not only will it give you the comfort you’re seeking when lying on the floor, but it’ll help keep you from getting dirty as well.

Choosing the Right Treadmill for You

Convenience, ease and the efficiency of Treadmills have made them a revelation in the health industry. We have gone through such a variety of fitness exercises which either break your back trying to get them right, or are too difficult to master, let alone do them every day. But with a treadmill, you can burn calories the simplest was possible, by walking or running. Which, by the way, are the two most natural exercises you can imagine! You walk when you are a 2 year old, some even before that, and yet when it comes to exercising people turn to complex gym routines and diets to stay fit!

Work schedules, personal security, weather and health status; all make us reluctant to go out doors for walks on a regular basis. So it isn't a surprise that even the world's most advanced societies are facing health dilemmas. People in general don't have time for gym workouts, and those who do are too exhausted by long work days to do them. As for recommenders of walking as an exercise, Treadmills not only make exercise easier, they cut out the obtrusive factors which hinder us in forming routines.

In addition to providing some very helpful bits of information along the way, treadmills provide a wide variety of exercise options. From walking to hill climbing, jogging to running, you can pace yourself as you like so there is something for everyone in the use of treadmills. However, with the market being so overcrowded with a wide range of treadmills, we see a need for guidance in making the best choices for you.

At the moment there are three distinct types of treadmills available on the market. So to pick out the best treadmill for you, let's have a quick look at what each one of them has to offer.

First up is the Manual Treadmill; you don't have to be a fitness guru to understand that a manual treadmill is non-motorized. It's a simple machine with a belt and rollers that you move with your effort. The simpler a machine, the fewer are the chances of things going wrong with it. So that's a positive feature; it will last longer. However, since the treadmill's belt doesn't move itself you can set your own pace, which is not so good for the lazy people who are unlikely to push themselves.

Next, there is the Motorized Treadmill with features to set the pace of your walk, jog or run. You can set your required pace and keep up with it over a period of time to get optimum exercise out of the time you spend on it. Then there are the 'incline' options in some motorized treadmills; these can help you decide the amount of incline you want for your run. The negatives go with the positives though, it's a complicated piece of equipment and when it has problems they are complicated as well. Plus a motorized treadmill is going to be more expensive, compared to a manual treadmill, but with those features, you have to decide for what you want.

Now you can't say you don't have space for a treadmill; Foldable Treadmills have made that excuse redundant. Foldable treadmills can be stored in a negligible amount of space. These are great for use in the office or at home, whenever you take a break. So, if you are facing schedule constraints, or are just too lazy to take up regular exercise, then a foldable option might just be the best treadmill for you.

Frankly speaking, there is no hard and fast rule to determine which type of treadmill is better than the other. Though a comparison of treadmill features does help you decide which one is the best for you. Keep in mind, the treadmill that suits a friend perfectly isn't certain to be even rated as 'decent' for you. So read up some treadmill reviews and choose according to your own situation.

A top factor that will affect your choice would be your personal age and weight. Though some might say that exercise is necessary for everyone, but the mode of exercise has to differ accordingly with the individual traits. A bulky person may need a wider belt or the handlebars may obstruct the usual path of the arm movement, so check the details before you buy. Age matters when you choose as well, especially for older people, the resilience of the deck and the heart rate control are very important. Safety features help every age so make sure that you don't compromise on those. Similarly, whether you opt for running or walking determines not only the top speed you need from your treadmill, but also the size of the belt as well.

You look for a treadmill when you are conscious that you need to improve on your fitness levels. However, your aspirations determine the sort of treadmill you need. If you want to burn as much as you can in good time, trying out the incline options isn't a bad idea at all. Again heart rate interactive checks are very handy to get you to your optimum fitness levels without doing damage to your body. 'Who will be using it?' is just as important as 'how will you use it?', if you buy a treadmill while targeting the fitness improvement of your whole family, then keep in mind any inhibitions that might stop a member from utilizing the treadmill to the full. Chances are if you are willing to spend enough, there will be a treadmill that will suit a diverse group of individuals like a glove!

Long or short workouts determine the quality of motor you need for your treadmill. If you use the treadmill in short bursts the 'peak duty' might not be as useless as you first thought. It can be maintained for a short period of time by the treadmill so perhaps that restriction can help keep your treadmill's price down

How much do you use it? The amount of workout that is likely to be done on your treadmill should affect your choice of equipment. The more you want to use it, the more we would recommend that you go for high quality treadmills. Repairs will even out the price difference between cheap treadmills and high-end treadmills when you compare them in the long run. Consequently, it would be advisable to go for the higher priced quality treadmill rather than a cheap treadmill that would spend more time with the repairman than it does with you!

Choosing Your Fitness Equipment

Fitness equipment is a large group of tools that are used in exercise and are referred to also as exercise equipment. These can include simple items such as balls, track shoes and skipping ropes as well as more complex pieces of equipment such as treadmills, weights, bicycles and many others. Today a wide range of fitness equipment is available for sale with new designs constantly being produced due to the high demand for equipment that is effective in building muscles and strength as well as for losing weight.

Some of the types of fitness equipment available for use can be classified according the type of exercise for which they are built. The first class to be discussed is the strength training equipment. These include free weights and machines referred to as the resistance machines.

The most common type of resistance machine is one that uses gravity as a resistance source. This design is used mainly in weight machines. Gravity in combination with a simple design of pulleys, wheels and inclines, uses a percentage of the weight of the user as the resistance transferred. Other types of resistance machines can use other forces other than gravity to provide resistance. These include friction, spring-loaded, fan-loaded or fluid-loaded machines.

Another type of equipment belonging to the strength training equipment is the bands and tubing, which are lightweight options for training at home and in the office.

The other class is the aerobic fitness equipment which is mainly the endless-path machines. These include devices such as the stationary bicycles, the treadmills, the elliptical trainers, aerobic riders, the stair climbers, the ski and rowing machines. The stationary bicycle focuses the exercise on the legs by the action of pedaling. The treadmills are an all body exercise as you may walk or run at various speeds. There are also some models that can simulate slopes for a more intense workout.

The stair climbers replicate the action of climbing a stairway. This device now also has modifications that replicate the pulling up action off the hands for a more through workout. The skiing and rowing machines work both the arms and legs simultaneously with the rowing machine also working the back muscles. The elliptical trainers are a cross between the stair climbers and the ski machines. The aerobic riders also exercise the arms and legs at the same time by the use of a simultaneous pull and push motion.

There is also a miscellaneous group of fitness equipment. These include items such as heart rate monitors and exercise balls as well as many others. The heart rate monitors are used as a motivational tool in exercise as they monitor the heart rate and provide feedback to the individual exercising. The use of exercise balls has become very important in training such as flexibility training and for balance as well.

When using any type of fitness equipment it is always important to seek professional advice as the improper use of this equipment can cause severe damage.

Compare Treadmills & Read All Treadmill Reviews Before Buying One

Compare treadmills and their features before making a decision. The number of features plus the fact that the prices of treadmills can range from about $500 all the way to $10,000 means that you must compare treadmills as much as possible.

Some lower priced treadmills can actually have a better treadmill rating than some that cost thousands of dollars more. There are many things to consider before you buy any treadmill. 

Here are just a few different points to take into account when making a treadmill comparison:

Compare treadmills tip #1: Determine how much you are will to spend before you go shopping.

As mentioned above, the cost of a treadmill can vary greatly. This is truly a case of you get what you paid for. You'll find this true with any treadmill reviews you can find.

The cheaper treadmills simply aren't built to last.

On the other hand you don't have to rush out and do a treadmill comparison of only the most expensive treadmills. After all, in a lot of cases you're only paying for the fancy add-ons and other gadgets.

Compare treadmills tip #2: Check around. Don't go to one location and buy right away. Compare treadmills at all of your local treadmill stores.

Possibly the most overlooked place to purchase a treadmill is online. Online exercise equipment stores offer many more advantages over regular stores. Check as many of them out as well.

When searching online try to locate some good exercise equipment reviews that will help you narrow down your search.

Compare treadmills #3: What will you use it for? Before making any treadmill comparison you need to determine exactly what you will use it for. Will you be doing a casual walk now and then? Will you use it for a light jog each day? Or will you use it for intense running?

The more you intend to use it, the more money you will have to pay. Most treadmills under $2000 cannot handle daily running.

Compare treadmills tip #4: How much space do you have set aside in your home for your treadmill?

This is one area that a lot of consumers overlook. Just where will you put that treadmill once you get it? Also, you will have to leave approximately 2 extra feet of space on all sides of it.

If you are using your treadmill to run on or are a tall person, you will need a treadmill with a longer belt (the surface you run on). Running requires a longer stride so keep this in mind. 

Compare treadmills tip #5: Test before you buy. Regardless if a treadmill rating is high on certain models and not on others, test for yourself. Even if one model gets good treadmill reviews online, you still have to test it if at all possible.

Most treadmills sold online will also be sold at exercise equipment stores. You have to determine if it will work for your unique situation regardless of what the online treadmill reviews say. 

Compare treadmills tip #6: Performance. When you test out any treadmill make sure you take note of how smooth it runs and how quiet it is. Treadmills with cheaper parts (but a high price tag) tend to make a lot of noise and vibrate somewhat.

Compare treadmills tip #7: Warranty concerns. Check out the warranty in great detail. All manufactures are different. Most are quite different when it comes to the motor, the belt (the belt you run on), the frame and various options.

A lot of the cheaper treadmills only offer a year or less on the belt. If the belt breaks after that, you can expect to pay an additional $500 or much more for a replacement.

Compare treadmills tip #8: What safety features should you look for? Probably the biggest one is an emergency stop button. This is very helpful in case you slip and fall off the treadmill. You also have to determine if it will support your body weight.

Some treadmills don't support as much as you think. The last thing you want to have happen is for the treadmill frame to break when you have it on an incline or are running. You could get seriously injured. 

Compare treadmills tip #9: What top speed will you need. Most treadmills have different sized motors and therefore will run at different speeds. Make sure it can handle the speed you want to run at.

So there are just a few points to keep in mind when buying a treadmill. It is a big financial decision, so do your homework ahead of time. Read as many treadmill reviews or treadmill ratings as you can find.

Create your Home Gym with Minimum of Equipment

Training at home could prove as a good solution for the ones interested. The effectiveness of this type of training could compare to the one of working out in the gym, as long as some factors are considered. 

The first, and at the same time the most important of these, is owning the necessary equipment. If, besides this, you also have a partner who trains with you, the exercises can be as effective as the ones performed in the gym. Of course, we are talking now about the ideal situation of affording a gym in your own house.

Even with these conditions fulfilled, some practitioners, especially the more extrovert ones, might lack the stimulating atmosphere, the sharing of experience, the communication that they can find in the gym. 

In most of the cases, what you can do at home is improvise a room or just a corner of a room, for fitness. Besides, most of the times you have to train by yourself. As these are the most frequent situations, we'll deal with them now. Anyway, it is preferable to have constant training at home, rather than interrupt it a lot because the gym is too busy, too far, too expensive, etc.

The minimum of equipment necessary for training at home includes: an adjustable bench, a set of two dumbbells, with increasing weights, a barbell, with free weights and a fix bar for pull ups. This equipment will enable both executing basic exercises (squats, bench presses, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc.) and diversity of exercises, necessary for avoiding routine.

The main disadvantage of not having a partner to train with is reflected in the amount of loading in some exercises, which cannot reach its maximum. There are many exercises which can be loaded to maximum without any risk, even if there is no partner to assist you (pull-ups, dips, shoulder presses, barbell curs, dumbbell curls, etc.). 

An advantage which comes from training at home is that you can choose the training time without any restraint. Moreover, the speed of exercising can be increased a lot if the practitioner chooses to execute supersets, tri sets or giant sets. You can also save time, as you are not distracted by casual conversation, by waiting for the machines to be available, by having to change the weights for every personal series of exercises, etc.

In the extreme case when we can only afford as equipment a mattress, chairs and a towel, we can focus on exercises using the weight of the body (push-ups, reverse push-ups, between chairs push-ups, squats, sit-ups, crunches, hyperextensions, lunges, plyometrics, plunks, etc.).

All the exercises involving the body weight are considered as really demanding, because they mobilize more stabilizing muscles that ensure coordination and balance. The body-weight exercises are often introduced in the programs at the gym due to their proven effectiveness. They are also used in training and testing people in special troops, as these need a lot of force and discipline in their training.

Discount Treadmills – Do you get what you pay for?

With discount treadmills, as with any other purchase in life, a bargain can only rightly be called a bargain if the price we pay turns out to be a good investment over time. For example, just as there is little real discount value in purchasing a designer outfit at a great price if it’s not something we really like to wear, investing a smaller amount of money in discount treadmills is not the wisest financial choice if your new discount treadmill ends up not meeting your exercise needs. 

In our often high-priced consumer world, there is little doubt that finding great discount treadmills offers a special thrill – this is why shopping for discount can become such an addictive affair! But unlike many of the other items we purchase on a regular basis, such as food or household items, a discount treadmill will be something we hope to invest in only once. Discount or no, and whether we find refurbished treadmills or used treadmills for sale, a piece of fitness equipment of this size is undoubtedly an investment, so when you choose your discount treadmill, you want to be sure that you choose right. 

So what should you look for in discount treadmills? While finding used treadmills for sale can offer you a great initial bargain, even the most honest of second hand sellers cannot help you if the used treadmill you purchase develops a problem down the line. Used treadmills for sale usually cannot carry over the initial warranty with which they we re sold, so unless you are sure that the used treadmills for sale that you view are in top condition, you might want to pass on the deal and find discount treadmills elsewhere. 

Refurbished treadmills are a great discount treadmills and if they were refurbished by the original treadmill manufacturer, they should still be under some kind of warranty. Though this warranty will probably be somewhat limited when compared with the original treadmill guarantee, refurbished treadmills still offer a great discount treadmill deal. Just be sure to look for ‘factory refurbished’ treadmills, as this ensures that you will be able to avail of that discount treadmills warranty should you need to. 

Of course treadmill stores are also a great source of discount treadmills – you just need to keep your eyes peeled for great discount treadmill deals. Some stores will sell older models at a great discount price when new treadmills are released by a particular manufacturer, so keep your finger on the fitness pulse to help you predict when great discount treadmill deals might become available. 

Above all, remember not to sacrifice discount treadmills prices for quality or suitability. It’s not a bargain if it’s not the right discount treadmill for you!

Do I Need A Quinton Treadmill? Are They Any Good?

A Quinton treadmill is one of those rare items in the densely populated consumer world – a product that is actually so good that there is little to no hype surrounding it. For those of us wearied by the in-your-face ‘Buy Treadmill!’ advertising that attacks us almost every time we switch on our TVs, a Quinton treadmill could be just the breath of fresh air we are looking for. 

The pervasive drive towards fitness that dominates our culture today can lead us toward making impulse purchases just so that we can have what we want when we want it – right now! Looking good is an important part of our lives, and a treadmill can help us achieve that goal. But if you are affected by today’s invasive advertising and dreaming something along the lines of ‘Must buy treadmill! Must buy treadmill!’ then you probably won’t have taken the time to read about the many benefits a Quinton treadmill can offer, and that would be a real shame. A Quinton treadmill really is the quiet treadmill champion, and one you can’t afford not to buy. 

If you have succumbed to those ‘Buy Treadmill’ voices, then you can’t afford not to do your research – your fitness depends on you making the right treadmill choice. And while a Quinton treadmill won’t be splashed all over the TV or Internet like so many other brands, a Quinton treadmill is well worth a second look. Consumer reports rate the Quinton treadmill as one of the best available. If you really care about your fitness, then you need to add a Quinton treadmill to your ‘Buy Treadmill’ list! 

Though a Quinton treadmill resides in the higher treadmill price bracket, consumer reports consistently cite these treadmills as being well worth the investment. Found in many gyms, a Quinton treadmill has earned its place in a professional fitness environment, with its ease of use for even the beginning runner or walker, its reliability and the great workout it affords. Professional runners often cite a Quinton treadmill as an important tool in achieving their success, but that shouldn’t deter the novice exerciser – what this really means to you is that as you progress through your personal fitness goals, your Quinton treadmill will be there to cheer you on! 

So if the ‘Buy Treadmill’ bug has bitten you, don’t forget to put a Quinton treadmill at the top of your wish list. It might not get as much TV time as its loud-mouthed competitors, but that’s because quality speaks for itself. When ‘Buy Treadmill’ dreams hit, look for a Quinton treadmill.

Do Proform Treadmills Offer Any Decent Accessories?

Well-known for the technological innovation they employ in constructing their fitness equipment, Proform treadmills carry their innovative streak into the range of treadmill accessories they offer to the treadmill consumer. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned professional runner, or just looking to get in shape, sometimes running alone is not enough to take you where you want to go, but with their range of treadmill accessories, Proform treadmills offer the consumer a more complete exercising package to help you achieve all your fitness goals. 

It is easy to become overwhelmed at the range of treadmill accessories available today, but Proform treadmills offer a range that is both comprehensive and straightforward. From the simple maintenance accessory kit that includes such tools as treadmill belt cleaner and lubricator that can help prolong the life of your Proform treadmill, while helping to maintain its optimum performance, to the treadmill accessories that will help you make the most of your fitness endeavors, Proform offer a mix of accessories that really hits the mark. 

One of the most popular of the treadmill accessories that Proform treadmills offer is their interactive fitness program, called iFit. Specially developed by fitness experts, this technology brings a Proform personal trainer right into your home, helping you make the most of your Proform treadmill fitness sessions. With scientific research to support the fact that many people who exercise with this kind of guidance perform better than those who exercise alone, it is easy to see why this is one of Proform’s most popular treadmill accessories. 

Cardio exercise should only be one aspect of your fitness regimen, and Proform treadmills show that they have thought of this too, by offering strength training equipment as part of their treadmill accessories. The Proform exercise ball is the ideal way to work on those all-important core muscles, the stomach and back muscles that support your entire body. A strong core is essential to achieving total body fitness and the Proform exercise ball, combined with the Proform sculpting bands which help you build the muscle in your arms and legs, is the ideal way to round out the workout afforded by Proform treadmills. 

Proform treadmills are famed for their innovation and it’s easy to see that the company have translated this into the treadmill accessories they offer to consumers. If you are looking for a complete workout then enhance your cardio fitness program afforded by your Proform treadmill with some important accessories.

Do You Really Want A Horizon Treadmill?

The Horizon treadmill company are probably best known for producing a good treadmill package that is easily affordable by even those would-be exercisers on a tight budget. With a range of features that you might expect to see on higher priced fitness equipment, a Horizon treadmill offers you a great treadmill workout without breaking the bank to achieve it. 

The Horizon treadmill is available in a range of models, with price tags that range from well under a thousand dollars right up to the two thousand dollar mark. Consumers who have enjoyed the budget end of the Horizon treadmill range might think about investing in a higher spec model, to try to match their treadmill workout to their ever improving fitness levels, but reviewers would advise against such a switch – the Horizon treadmill is a favorite in the budget category, but treadmill ratings suggest that if you are looking to spend a little more to achieve the treadmill workout you want then another choice might be more appropriate. 

Though the features offered on the lower price Horizon treadmill type are second to none for a budget treadmill, the experts say that the improvements you might expect to find on a more expensive Horizon treadmill simply aren’t up to scratch. 

So what do you get with a Horizon treadmill? A range of features, including an easy fold system, shock absorption technology and a fan to help keep you cool while you avail of one of the pre-programmed or customizable treadmill workouts the Horizon line have to offer. 

But as reviewers are quick to point out, it is not the features included in the Horizon treadmill that are under scrutiny – these are almost uniformly agreed to offer a great treadmill workout to anyone who purchases a Horizon. Rather it is the possibility of what might be sacrificed in the Horizon treadmill to offer these features at a budget price, namely the quality of the Horizon parts and the long-term durability of the treadmill as a whole. 

The upside to this criticism of the reliability of the treadmill workout offered by a Horizon machine is that consumer reviews rate the customer service offered by the Horizon team as exemplary. Speedy and courteous, it seems that dealing with any flaw in the Horizon treadmill is not as fraction as painful as consumers frequently report their dealings with other treadmill manufacturers. 

So if you are looking for a budget treadmill workout with all the trimmings, then a Horizon treadmill might just be the way for you to go. But if you want to upgrade down the line, choose another treadmill brand.

Does Your Treadmill Need Repair

Is your Treadmill having problems?

If you are here because:

1. You own a treadmill.

2. You are having problems with your treadmill.

3. You want to prevent problems before they happen.

Then you need the Treadmill Report

Treadmills act like vacumn cleaners and seem to attract dust and dirt. This being the case, they need regular cleaning. We have found that:

- Most motors overload and burn up because they are either full of dust and dirt ,or the deck and belt are worn so much that they cause excessive current draw on the motor.

- Many belts have to be replaced because they have been out of alignment for so long that they have split or the edges have curled and are rubbing on the covers. 

- Many people risk being hurt every year because their treadmill will suddenly jump from 2 or 3 mph to 8 or 9 mph, or sometimes just stop, all because of dirty speed sensors.

I you are having these problems there is help! You need the TREADMILL REPORT. This report is a must for every treadmill owner. It will help you diagnose and solve most of your problems as well as prevent future problems.

Included in this report are directions for performing preventive maintenance on your treadmill and, repair procedures for some of the most common problems.

Please follow these directions for safe and efficient use of your treadmill for you and your family.

Elliptical Trainers Vs Treadmills

They are many reasons why people prefer to workout on a elliptical trainer more than they would on a treadmill. Along with keeping the body in shape and toning up the muscles, they are low impact cardio vascular workout machines. This means that they go easy on the joints of the legs and the knees. Especially helpful for those who are in the sixties and seventies, or those who have a had a leg or a knee injury. They also provide a variety of resistance levels, incline levels and programs for the beginner as well as the advanced.

Thus treadmills and fitness rowers are high impact cardio vascular machines. This means that it puts pressure on the knees as well as on the lower part of the legs. Not recommended for those with knee and foot injuries as well as the older people. It's a very safe machine to use unlike a treadmill machine, where you might fall off if the speed is increased suddenly. Thus it provides a complete workout and the more expensive elliptical exercise trainer come with many additional features. The more expensive versions of the elliptical trainers are meant for gym use and those who are into the advanced state of exercising.

It's important to ask the advice of the doctor before starting of any exercise. Thus ensure that before you are ready to join a gym or even climb on top of the elliptical exercise trainer, a doctor's advice is heeded. Before you begin to use one, ask a personal trainer or the gym instructor to show you how to use the elliptical trainers, this will help you better in the workout. During your workout, you can change the incline and the program levels by using the control panel. Ensure that all electrical and mechanical fittings are in place to save you from injury.

Exercise Bikes Burn Calories

Exercise bikes are a good way of losing calories and cutting the flab. They are a good cardio vascular workout and make the calf muscles especially strong. Cycling or biking is a very good form of exercising, as it tones up the entire body. Exercise bikes are equally good for providing such a workout. In the comfort of the home or the gym, you can easily work out and at any time of the day. Most of the exercise bikes, which are available in the market, have a control panel as well as a range of resistance levels. In this way it's beneficial to both the beginner as well as the advanced user.

The exercise bikes are available for as little as $200 for a simple bike and can cost till $3000 for an exercise bike with all the frills added. Thee are innumerable types of exercise bikes, which are available in the market. Before you buy an exercise bike its important to read before you make a decision as exercise bike reviews will give you an idea of the latest prices, functions and types of exercise bikes which are available in the market. There are essentially three types of exercise bikes, which are available in the market, which are upright stationary cycle, semi recumbent stationary cycle and recumbent stationary cycle.

It's important that you note all the functions of the exercise bike before you in for the purchase. Read all the exercise bike reviews online as well as visit the stores where they are displayed. There are many magazine which are specifically dedicated to reviews, in these exercise bike reviews each and every aspect of the bike is given and compared with many other bikes. In this way a person can compare various models, prices and functions before the final purchase decision is made.

Exercise Bikes - What's on The Market

There are available two types of exercise bikes. The upright bike is stationary and it resembles a typical road bike. Added stress is put on the joints because the pedals are positioned below the rider. The pedals of the recumbent bike are out in front of the rider so that pedaling is more natural and less stressful on the hips and knees and the seat resembles a chair.

There are other styles of bikes available as well. There are double action upright exercise bikes that have moveable handlebars or arm handles. Your arms as well as your legs are used on this bike. This bike will provide you with aerobic activity and upper body toning. Some variety can be found with resistance bikes also.

The resistance on Direct tension bikes can be adjusted manually. An exercise bike with flywheels has a cycling very much like regular biking. The resistance of air resistance bikes get it by pedaling against the airflow of a fan blade.

Out of all resistance exercise bikes, the magnetic frictionless resistance bikes are the most sophisticated.  Resistance bikes are the most advanced resistance bikes. A greater variety of workout levels can be had on this bikes.

The feedback mechanisms show the following readouts: speed, time, distance, total calories and fat burned, program mode, resistance levels, pulse, heart rate, and work out level (RPM, watts, METS, mpm’s, and mph/kph). Your needs and wants will determine the bike you choose buy. Your choice of bikes will also depend on the type of workout you want.

You will get a great cardio workout that focuses on the quadriceps. On a recumbent bike you are seated in a reclining position. Your legs are out in front of you and your back is supported by the seat. The hamstrings and the glutes are given a workout. A recumbent bike is much easier on your lower back.

Upright bikes could come with handlebars the move back and forth in a rowing like motion. This motion will work your arms, your chest, your abs and your back muscles. These bikes will give you a terrific cardiovascular workout as well as a calorie burning experience.

Your size should be matched to the bike. Exercise bikes can be easily adjusted for almost any body type. Exercise bikes are used by people for a variety of reasons. In the off season, cyclists often use them to maintain their level of fitness. Because many people feel embarrassed about exercising in front of people they use them at home.

To promote healing and the regaining of the use of knee and hip joints, physical therapy programs also use exercise bikes. They are also used by some cardiac rehabilitation programs to improve endurance and greater cardiac health.

If you go to Wal-mart, Sears, or sports stores and if you look online you will be able to buy an exercise bike. When buying them from a store it’s much easier to get a bike that matches your space your budget, and your body size. You might not always get what you want when getting online.

The bike may be bigger or smaller and without the exact specs than what you ordered. Ordering online has another issue, the taking delivery of your order. In most cases the delivery company will leave it at your door and you will have to bring it in and put it together.

Unless you contract with someone to do the entire process including setting it up, this is also true of buying it in a store. Service contracts can be purchased in stores like Sears, in case there is a problem. Regardless of your reasons for buying an exercise bike it will only work if you use it.

As with any exercise program check with your doctor and make sure that you are healthy enough to exercise. Your endurance will improve if you start out slow. Be healthy, have fun, and be safe.

Exercise Treadmill – Walking to Your Health

Exercise treadmill is a home exercise equipment but used also by cardiologists. It is also well known in the medical circles by many alternative names such as exercise ECG, Stress test - exercise treadmill, EKG - exercise treadmill etc. But before we get onto see the medical relevance of this wonderful simple exercise equipment, let us see what it does to our everyday life and how.

You are hard pressed for time, but you are aware that you are slightly going out of shape. And, your physician has advised you to reduce weight and get back into shape. It is here that the exercise treadmill comes to your rescue. One strong supporting point in its favor is treadmill is amongst the top calorie burning equipment.

What Does a Treadmill Do To You?

Basically, an exercise treadmill is used for general screening of heart to find out how good its general is and how it responds to stress or exercise. When you walk on the treadmill, physicians collect data like your cardio electrical activity on ECG while monitoring the blood pressure. These data can be interpreted later to find out whether the heart asks for additional oxygen as a reaction.

Stress test on treadmill helps doctors in determining the heart’s ability to withstand exercise. This in turn helps in determining the appropriate level of exercise so that an exercise regime is developed for persons in need. Apart from this, there are various other reasons, such as determine the causes of chest pain, for your doctor to go for stress test.

That apart, a survey conducted by Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association tells that people spend more on treadmills than other exercise/fitness equipments. The basic realities that go in support of exercise treadmill are the unbeatable workout on cardiovascular muscles and high rate of calorie burning. In a joint study, VA Medical Center in Milwaukee and the Medical College of Wisconsin put the calories burnt on treadmill on top of the list of calories burnt by other exercise machines. After a 60 minutes’ workout treadmill burns an average of 865-705 calories.

Benefits of Exercise Treadmill

1. Treadmill lets you exercise indoors avoiding bad weather

2. Adjustable speeds accommodates both running and walking

3. Little or no impact on heels, knee ankles, back and as a result fewer injuries. As a result you can run for years

4. High end treadmills allow adjusting of speeds and inclines so than running or walking uphill/downhill is simulated. They allow preprogramming exercise preferences like speed variations and inclines


Buying an Exercise Treadmill

1. Decide on long time exercise goals. There are different models to suit individual preferences

2. Consider the space availability/constraint at home to choose an apt size

3. Go for a continuous and heavy duty motor which lasts longer than others if the cost difference doesn’t bother you

4. Decide what dimensions of walking track is comfortable for you. Normally 4’x1.5’ suits most. Running may call for longer track than this

5. Check for deck thickness which must be 3/4” to 1” to support both running and walking

Shock absorbers, smoother decks, instrument console warrantee, price and brand can’t be left out while making a decision.

Elliptical Exercise Equipment - What To Look For When Buying

Buying elliptical exercise equipment? There are so many different brands and types of ellipticals out there - it can get confusing! How do you know which one is best for you and how do you avoid buying a lemon? 

In order to keep things simple and have the very best buying experience, here are 3 key tips to help you choose the best elliptical exercise equipment:

#1) Price 

If you want a quality elliptical trainer, be prepared to spend at least $800.  Why? Because most ellipticals under this price point just aren't built to stand up over the long haul.  

Example: My $400 elliptical that I bought from a department store several years back lasted 3 months - 4 if you count the last month it was used as a clothes hanger in my living room.  

After 3 months it developed a loud squeaking noise that couldn't be fixed - no matter how long or hard my handyman husband worked on it.

If I'd been smart enough to spend a bit more, I'd probably still have the elliptical today. In the end it was a huge waste of money and time. 

So the bottom line is this: If you're really serious about getting in shape, you deserve to invest in a piece of exercise equipment that's going to last you - so be ready to spend a bit more on your elliptical trainer.  If you consider how long the elliptical will last you, you actually SAVE money over the long term.

#2) Who Are You Buying It From? 

While there are lots of places the sell elliptical exercise equipment - both online and off, make sure they have several years of experience and a solid return policy.  If a company has experience selling elliptical equipment, this will make your transaction (and shipping) go much more smoothly.

A solid return policy also gives you peace of mind when buying your elliptical. For example, even if you try your elliptical out in a store, you might get it home and find that after a week it strains your arms or hurts your hips.  You want to know that you can return your elliptical without a hassle.

Many specialty fitness stores will offer some kind of return policy and most experienced online elliptical stores also offer you a standard 30 day return policy. But it's always important to check before you buy.

#3) Upper Body Arms 

The beauty of an elliptical trainer is that it offers you a total body workout. 

Whereas treadmills and recumbent bikes tend to work mainly the lower body only, ellipticals offer you a chance to burn calories and build strength using upper body arm handles. This means more calories burned in less time.  

Surprisingly enough however, not all elliptical trainers offer upper body arms with their units. Make sure you choose an elliptical with upper body workout arms included if this is an option you want.  

It usually won't cost you extra to have upper body arms however one note of caution: Many of the cheaper ellipticals don't necessarily have the coordination between the arms and legs exactly right. This can result in injury or a less efficient workout.

Rule of Thumb: You should not have to lean over to use the upper body arms.

So there are three things to consider when buying elliptical exercise equipment. Keep these things in mind and you'll save yourself time and loads of frustration!

Exercise Bike Benefits

So you know you want to buy some type of home exercise equipment - but why buy an exercise bike? 

One of the top benefits of exercise bikes is that they are probably the most affordable piece of exercise equipment on the market right now. Starting around $200 and ranging up to $2500, exercise bikes offer a huge variety of models for every price range and every exercise level. 

It is however advisable to keep in mind that you will get what you pay for with an exercise bike. Don't expect a $200 exercise bike to come with all of the bells and whistles and last you over 3 years. However if you are on a budget, an exercise bike is a great way to get in shape for less. 

Another great benefit of exercise bikes is that they provide a much lower impact on your joints and ligaments than other piece of exercise equipment like a treadmill or stair climber. This can result in less chance of sustained injury over time and can also be great for people with joint problems, arthritis, etc. 

Another recent factor that has made the exercise bikes much more comfortable to use is the introduction of the recumbent exercise bike - where you sit in a semi-reclined bucket seat with your legs angled out in front of you instead of hanging down. 

Until the recumbent bike came along, many people just weren't comfortable on the standard upright bike seat. The recumbent exercise bike allows people to get a much more comfortable workout - which means that they can exercise for longer periods of time. 

Exercise bikes can also be much safer than other forms of exercise equipment. You can slip and fall on a treadmill. You can lose your balance on an elliptical trainer. It's much more difficult to fall off or injury yourself on an exercise bike. This makes the exercise bike a great alternative for the elderly exerciser or someone who is new to exercise equipment in general. 

Another factor that makes the exercise bike so popular in home gyms is the fact that (with a recumbent bike) you can read while you're exercising. Boredom is one of the main reasons people don't exercise. So instead of forcing yourself to trudge through your workout, why not choose a piece of exercise equipment that's going to allow you to multitask and do what you want while working out? 

Read your favorite magazine or the latest murder mystery novel. Set the exercise bike up in front of the television and watch your favorite show while pedalling. Time will fly by and you won't even know you've been blasting those calories! 

This leads into what is perhaps the best benefit of an exercise bike. Because exercise bikes are so affordable, comfortable, low impact and safe - and because they allow you to fight boredom while exercising - the chances that you'll use it are extremely high. 

No one wants to spend a lot of hard earned cash a piece of fancy exercise equipment and then use it for a clothes rack. You want to be able to stay fit, burn calories and keep healthy by working out. But if you buy a machine that you never use, all of your best intentions have gone to waste. 

Because of the great benefits of exercise bikes, many people find that they not only use them for years to come but they also end up exercising much more than they thought they would.

Exercise Bikes - Reviews and Advice

Two types of exercise bikes are available. The design of the upright bike resembles that of a typical road bike but they are stationary. The pedals are positioned below the rider and puts added stress on the joints. The seat on the recumbent bike’s seat resembles chairs and the pedals are out in front of the rider so that pedaling is more natural and puts less stress on the joints.

Other types of exercise bikes are available as well. Dual action exercise bikes are upright bikes that have moveable bars or arm handles. You use both of your arms and your legs on this bike. While using this bike you will experience aerobic activity and upper body toning.

There is variety with resistance bikes as well. With direct tension bikes you can manually adjust the resistance you use. The cycling motion on a bike with flywheels is like regular cycling motion. Bikes with air assistance get resistance by pedaling against the airflow of a fan  blade.

The most sophisticated resistance bikes are magnetic frictionless resistance bikes. These bikes provide greater variety of workout levels. On more advanced bikes there are feedback mechanisms that show the following readouts: speed, time, distance , total calories and fat burned, program mode, resistance levels, pulse, heart rate, and work out levels (RPM, watts, METS, mpm’s, and mph/kph).

The bike you choose to purchase will depend on your wants and needs. The type of workout you’re looking for will also influence your choice of bikes. A great cardio workout focused on the quadriceps is provided by an upright bike. You are seated in a reclining position  on a recumbent bike.

Your back is supported by the seat and your legs are out in front of you. The hamstring muscles and the gluteus muscles get worked. Your lower back is less stressed on a recumbent bike. Some upright exercise bikes will have handlebars that move in a simulated rowing motion.

Your back and chest and your arm and back muscles will get a workout. You will get an excellent cardiovascular workout and calorie burning experience with both of these bikes. The bike should be matched to your size. Exercise bikes for the most part are easily adjusted for almost any body type.

There is a variety of reasons why people use exercise bikes. Cyclists use them to keep up their level of fitness in the off season. Many people feel embarrassed about exercising in front of people so they use them at home.  Physical therapy programs also use exercise bikes in their programs to promote healing and the regaining the use of knee and hip joints.

Some cardiac rehab programs use them as well, to promote endurance and greater cardiac health. Exercise bikes can be purchased in sports stores, department stores like Wal-mart or Sears, as well as online. Buying them from a store makes it easier to match the bike to your space, to your body size, and your budget.

Buying online creates the risk of you not getting exactly what you ordered. The bike you ordered may not have the exact specs or may be bigger or smaller than what you ordered. Taking delivery is another problem with ordering online. It is very likely that the delivery company will not bring it into your house, you will have to bring it in and set it up.

Even though you are buying it in a store this is true, unless you contract with someone to do the entire process including setting it up. You can purchase service contracts from a store like Sears, in case of a problem. No matter what the reason you have for purchasing an exercise bike, it will only work if you use it.

You should check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy  before starting a new exercise routine. At first you should start out slow and build up endurance. Your endurance will improve if you start out slow.

Elliptical Machines Provide Low Impact, Total Body Workouts That Even The Novice Can Benefit From

Ever since their introduction several years ago, Elliptical Machines have become increasingly popular and more technically advanced. Surveys will indicate that as much as six million people prefer elliptical machines as their choice for home exercise equipment.

If you are looking for an effective and thorough indoor workout, than look no further than an elliptical machine. There are many benefits with having ellipticals, one of them is when you use one, you will notice how impact free your workout will be.

Also a total body workout on one of these machines is challenging enough for serious athletes but at the same time safe enough for beginners and even mothers to be.

Of course, like with any physical activity, expert advise should be sought from your doctor before the use of any exercise equipment. 

With the elliptical machine, there is no impact on the ground, so lower body joints are free from abuse you may get with other workout machines.

Exercising with the elliptical, you are sure to get an excellent cardiovascular workout with maximum efficiency. Most of these machines will give you a total body workout, if your machine has dual action handlebars for your arms and foot pedals for your legs.

The Elliptical Vs The Treadmill? Which one is the leader of the pack?  

"According to studies, if you exercise on an elliptical machine, the impact on the joints is low or it has no impact and the user will burn roughly the same amount of calories as more strenuous machine like a treadmill. So you get the same results for less effort."

Many of these activities sometimes involve vigorous movement of the bones and muscles and can inflame old injuries and maybe cause new ones. The joints that are commonly affected by an impact form of exercise are usually the knees, ankles, hips and back.

These little statistics probably tells us the reason why elder exercisers with knee problems and rehabilitating users go for an elliptical machine rather than a more vigorous machine like a treadmill. Here are a few of the benefits an elliptical offers:

Research has shown, to maintain healthy bone density, it is necessary to take part in weight-bearing activities such as running, squash, football, and other sports where you remain on your feet.

Elliptical workouts may not seem to be routines that are as benficial as more strenuos, high impact ones on a treadmill. But in actual fact, the whole routine is a weight bearing activity, as your feet are placed on two pedals throughout the workout. So as well as avoiding the toil that comes with a treadmill routine, it is also good for bone density.

Women that are pregnant, those that suffer from arthritis, and recovering accident victims often require a low impact routine, and that is exactly what the elliptical machine provides.

The oval pedaling motion of the machine, as you step up and down on the pedals or platforms, is smooth and flowing. Interestingly. this motion follows same type of elliptical movement that the human foot follows when we walk or run.

Although the movement created is similar to these activities, all the strain and vigorous action associated with them is taken away. The beauty is in the simplicity, your feet never leave the footpad, as well as this being a safer workout, it reduces the stress on your joints.

The elliptical motion feels natural and is easy to sustain. You will find that elliptical machines compliment and enhance normal body movements, making your workouts feel less exertive and more penetrative. Focusing on particular and general muscle groups and giving you an extensive overall body workout.

Studies have also shown that ellipticals work the cardio muscles and burns calories on the same par as Treadmills if not greater, as well as stair steppers. The added bonus is that it feels alot easier to use an elliptical.

The elliptical has some truly unique features, setting it apart fom its rivals. A good feature that an elliptical has over some machines is the variety it adds to the workout. One of the biggest challenges that you as a user faces is to stay motivated and interested in your training program.

With the dual action handlebars we mentioned earlier, the exerciser can choose the option of not using them and focusing just on the lower body. With the precor models, it is possible to change the the cross ramp incline as well as varying the intensity.

However, there is a feature on these machines that seperates the elliptical trainer from many other exercise machines when it comes to variety. That feature is the forward and reversible feature on the foot pedals. Most elliptical machines have a setting allowing you to "go backwards" and work additional muscles that very many other exercise workouts do not target. The fact that you are standing and walking or running in place, the leg muscles as well as those in your buttocks, back, and abdomen are worked effortlessly.

Many ellipticals will allow you to adjust the resistance and change the incline. These adjustments are increased at your own convenience and allow you to gradually increase the resistance and continuously challenge your limits.

Recommended top five elliptical machines to buy. 

Precor - Although Precor is generally known for it's commercial machines in gyms all over the world, they also make some less-expensive trainers for the home exerciser. They can be quite pricey, starting from $2,000 and upwards, however, the quality you get makes up for the cost. What sets them apart is that Precor machines have adjustable ramps, they are sturdy and well built, with which cheaper trainers cannot compete.

ProForm 700 - This trainer features dual-action engineering. In real terms, it's got arm handles to work both your upper and lower body at the same time. At around $400, it's a good buy and includes iFit.com technology so you can hook it up to your computer for new workouts. You also get 6 workouts for maximize calorie burning.

Nordic Track Elliptical - This one is very competitively priced, at around $700. For your moneu you get 6 different exercise programs, Custom Stride pedals, iFit.com technology, and magnetic resistance. You also get dual action arm handles, a book and water bottle holder and an exceptionally quiet workout. Similar to the ProForm above, except for the adjustable stride...which is excellent if more than one person will be using it.

Reebok Elliptical Trainers - Like the other trainers listed here apart from the precor, the Reebok Elliptical offers dual arm and leg movement and comes pre-programmed with various workouts. Between $400 and $500, this is a good choice for someone on a budget, although you will not get some of the extras offered by other trainers.

Fitness Quest Eclipse 4000 - The eclipse offers a smooth, workout with an electric magnetic system. A nice little bonus is that it has arm handles through which the heart rate is measured for ease of use. Also features reverse motion and programs that cover all fitness goals from fat burning to cardiovascular routines.

Elliptical Trainer

the trend these days is to lose weight fast, a drastic action that brings the numbers down and let you start fresh, but we all know that you need to keep working out and keeping an eye on what you eat if you want to maintain what you have earned during your diet.

The elliptical trainer is an excersice equipment that is an developed and upgraded kind of gym machine, it is built with the purpose to stimulate the muscles involved in aerobic excersice like running or walking but is planned in such a way that it eliminates the pressure usually placed on different joints in the body so that only the muscles are working and the pressure is not involved, this eliminates the risk of damage to the joints or injuries as a result of this activity.

The huge benefits for the elliptical trainer user is that this machine is perfect for cardiovascular excersice and will not only help workout with a significant decrease of injury risk but also help to focus on the part you are interested in developing. The elliptical trainer is designed to develop the upper and lower body of the person using it, by using a special movable upper body trainer installed.

Most of the elliptical trainers on the market are planned to increase heart rate more than they are directed at developing muscle mass and power, much like the treadmill these machines have been found to have superior ability in increasing the users fitness and are also very effective in calorie expenditure, which means that the elliptical trainer is one of the most practical machines you can use if you want to loss weight and workout as you do it. The uniqueness of the elliptical trainer is that it is almost without risk of any orthopedic injury, and you avoid the risks involved in pressure on any parts of your body.

The market has many different models of the elliptical trainer and it is very important to decide on what features you need before you even start shopping, there is also a wide range of prices for the elliptical trainer, but we can confidently say that overall this is not a cheap machine to buy.

Some elliptical trainers have an electric option to them, adding a lot of more options that you may want to use, if you plan to use the trainer a lot you may want to consider purchasing one that has some advanced features like setup programs and work different groups of muscles, as well as monitor your advancement over time.

If you are interested in just getting some kind of workout machine for your home you probably need a less sophisticated machine, but it is a shame to buy something you are going to use on a daily basis only to discover that other models have features that you could have benefited from with a moderate addition to what you spent, and this is the prime reason you should research this market before buying a machine.

So do your homework, decide on what features are important to you, make sure your purchase is covered, and enjoy your elliptical trainer.

Elliptical Trainer - Health Benefits For Hearts, And Hips

Having an elliptical trainer as a cardio workout companion pays handsome health dividends. Improved cardiovascular function, overall conditioning, and healthy weight loss due to a revved up metabolism, are all part and parcel of the benefits of an elliptical trainer package.

Although these machines were primarily developed as a low-impact exercise solution, elliptical trainers have become superb general fitness tools, as discussed at Best-Gym-Equipment.com. They offer continuous motion, without the commotion, so to speak!

With the help of the firm footing provided by the elliptical trainer's footpads or footplates, the user 'walks' with a natural, smooth, flowing movement. The result is bone-strengthening, weight-bearing, fat-burning, aerobic exercise, without the jarring that is a major cause of joint injuries.

You will have a riot on your hands if only your hips, glutes, and legs are called to 'gym' service. Maintain bodily harmony and peace, by looking at elliptical trainers that sport crosstraining handlebars. This will get your upper body into the game, placating complaining hips and thighs.

By following this strategy, you maximize the calorie-burning benefit you derive from your time on the elliptical trainer. At the same time, you will be strengthening your arms, back, chest, and shoulders.

Elliptical Trainer - A Basic Checklist:

Adjustable Resistance: As your body adapts to the cardio workout, and your aerobic capacity increases, you will need an adjustable resistance feature to maintain the effectiveness off the elliptical trainer program. Look for a machine that offers this feature at the push of a button. You don't want to lose your momentum, while changing gear.

Backing Up Is Beneficial: An elliptical trainer should offer both forward and reverse motion. This prevents repetitive strain injuries, by cajoling different muscles into action. It also adds variety to your exercise routine, maintaining interest.

Concise Consoles: Make sure that you will be able to understand the workings of the elliptical trainer's console. Functionality and clear programming are vital. Some machines conveniently accommodate more than one user.

Do-It-Yourself: Most elliptical trainers feature a wide variety of pre-set programs - more than enough to test your limits for some time. However, you may want the option to customize programs to allow for your particular needs. Check that this will be possible.

Even Fluency: When testing an elliptical trainer, a clear sign of the quality of the machine, is the fluency of the motion, and a low noise level. Any sign of instability, is a sign to focus on a different model.

Footprint Fit: If space is a problem, an elliptical trainer may be an ideal option, as it usually is quite a compact piece of fitness equipment. Many models come with wheels for no-fuss mobility.

Heart Rate Monitor: Most elliptical trainers feature hand grip sensors on the handlebars. In any cardiovascular exercise program, it is vital to monitor your heart rate, in order to make adjustments to the workout intensity. A heart monitor strap may also be available.

Incline Incentive: A quality elliptical trainer will have as one of its features, an 0% to 10% adjustable incline, allowing you to up the ante as your muscle power increase. For maximum cardiovascular and strength-building benefits, it is important to retain an element of challenge in your routine.

Jolts And Jars: When testing an elliptical trainer, look for a completely smooth movement, without any jolts or bouncyness in the footpads.

Knee-Demands: An elliptical trainer often is a suitable option to consider, if you are experiencing any knee problems. The natural movement promotes proper alignment of ankle, knee, and hip. However, it is always safe to check with a health practitioner, if you have any medical concerns.

Length Of Stride: Test the elliptical trainer to make sure that it is completely comfortable. Don't let the machine cramp your style!

All the prominent manufacturers have designed state-of-the-art, feature-rich crosstrainers. The only way to make sure that you find the perfect partner for your cardio workout, is to thoroughly test a wide range of elliptical trainers.

Elliptical Trainer Ratings

Buying an elliptical? You may want to look at several elliptical trainer ratings before buying to get an idea of which elliptical trainers are best for you. 

Before you look at elliptical trainer ratings however, here are a few things you should know about how elliptical trainers are rated:

#1 Elliptical Trainers are Rated in Specific Price Groups

There are really 3 categories of elliptical trainers: Economy Buys, Mid-priced and Commecial Grade ellipticals. 

Economy buys range from about $300 to $1000. Mid-priced ellipticals range from $1000-$2000. High End or Commercial elliptical trainers range from about $2200 and above. 

When experts go to rate elliptical trainers they usually compare the elliptical trainers within price class. 

So just because an economy elliptical trainer gets 5 stars and a mid-priced elliptical gets 4 stars, that doesn't mean the economy elliptical is better than the mid-priced elliptical. It just means that compared to other economy elliptical trainers, that one is superior.

#2 Experts Value Elliptical Features Differently

Ever wonder why certain elliptical trainers get rated highly by some experts and not by others? It's because different elliptical trainer raters value some features over others. 

So for example, while Consumer Reports may give more weight to long warranties and stability, Consumer Guide may value smoothness of ride or ease of use.

It doesn't mean one elliptical trainer is better than another - it could just mean they are rated using different criteria.

#3 Use Caution When Reading User Elliptical Ratings

In addition to expert elliptical ratings, there are also websites that allow people to write a personal review of their elliptical. While these can be helpful when shopping for an elliptical, be cautious of basing your decision just on these ratings. 

Exercise equipment is big business and some companies are not above having one of their employees post negative reviews on their competitors. 

Also, no one elliptical brand has a perfect track record - sometimes even the best brands make a dud. And those are usually the people that go online to post a negative review. Those people who are happy with their elliptical are less likely to post a comment.

Bottom Line? Take user ratings with a grain of salt and compare them to your own research when deciding on your elliptical trainer.

So those are three things to keep in mind when looking at elliptical trainer ratings.

Elliptical Trainer Review – Sole Fitness

One of the most crucial features to consider when purchasing an elliptical trainer is the warranty. The extent of the warranty speaks volumes as to the quality and the durability of the machine.

There is a relative new player in the elliptical trainer industry, Sole Fitness.  They are defining their niche by offering one of the most extensive warranties available at any price range.  This includes 5 year coverage on parts and electronics, and 2 year labor.

Why is the warranty so important when purchasing fitness equipment?  First, it reduces your liability if the machine breaks down.  Replacing parts and hiring someone to service your elliptical trainer can be very costly.  Second, the warranty generally reflects the quality of the machine.  

When you think about it, a warranty is based on simple economics. If an elliptical trainer is built to last then the manufacturer can offer a generous warranty.  On the other hand, if the machine is of questionable quality, it would be cost prohibitive to support it with a lengthy warranty.  The company would go broke with service costs.  

Why do you think cheap elliptical trainers come with a 90 day parts and labor warranty? It’s because the manufacturers do not have much faith the machine will last much longer than that. 

Beyond their warranty coverage, Sole Fitness is building some excellent elliptical trainers. In a recent test I very impressed with the smooth elliptical motion, and how quiet it was, even when I cranked up the resistance. I also liked the 20” stride.  Most ellipticals are built with a 16”-18” stride.  With a smaller stride you often feel like your workout is constrained, and the elliptical motion bouncy. For someone who is over 6’ the longer stride is a must, but even for people of average height the 20” stride feels natural and comfortable.

Elliptical Trainers - A Complete Workout

Elliptical trainers can give a complete body workout if the arms are also used. They are low impact cardio vascular workout machine and are easy on the joints of the legs and the knees. They help you to lose weight and stay in shape. In fact you burn the same number of calories as you would when you are jogging on the treadmill. For this reason, people of all age groups can use the elliptical trainers. Thus whether you are a beginner or an advanced athlete, you can easily work out on the elliptical trainer.

The cheapest models come for as low as $300, but they have the most basic functions. The top of the range elliptical trainers come for $4000 and has advanced functions. These elliptical trainers are meant for gym use. If you want to see the features of various elliptical trainers, you'll find the reviews of the elliptical trainers are extensive and they also give the ratings for the various models. It's also important to try out the elliptical-trainers before you actually purchase them. By going to a physical store, you can easily try out the various elliptical trainers.

In the more expensive models, some of the features included are warm up and cool down periods. This prevents the body from having cramps. Therefore when you look at look at the features and the cost of the elliptical trainers very closely, this helps to analyze which is the better elliptical trainer. It's important to buy the elliptical-trainers from a reputed company that can also provide after sales service. Look at the warranty periods to ensure that you get the best deal when you buy the elliptical trainer. Normally there is one-year warranty for the labor and three year warranty for the machine parts.

Lifetime warranties are possible and recommended if you find something in your price range.

Elliptical Trainers and Burning Calories Secret Tips

Many people ask if the use of elliptical trainers is a good way to burn calories.

One simple answer:  Yes! Very much so.

Elliptical trainers are a great way to burn calories and are a fun workout at the same time.  If you goal is to loose weight you do have to understand how a “calorie diet” works.  To shed the unwanted weight you must burn more calories than you take in.  Put simply, you must burn more calories than you eat. So if you decide to eat the slice of pizza be ready to do a ton of exercise to work that off.

Humans throughout the day will burn a certain amount of calories doing normal functions such as working at a job, walking around and doing housework. This has to be taken into account so you really do not have to workout to burn calories.  

If you are physically active during the day you will not have to restrict your diet as much as someone who sits in an office chair all day.

How can an elliptical trainers use benefit someone watching calories?

The user of an elliptical trainer will help you burn a tremendous amount of calories. By burning more calories it will allow you to loose weight faster and eat a little bit more since you have worked off some calories already.  

One mistake many people make is they burn off 500 calories working out then they over eat and take in 700.  This isn't really helping you as you are 200 calories higher than prior to working out. Doing something like burning off 500 calories and eating 400 calories is “better” as it allows you to still have 100 calories less that what you took in.

Elliptical Trainers Are Great

Elliptical trainers are a great way to burn calories and lose weight to stay in shape and fit. They suit people of all ages and can be conveniently used at home. Some elliptical trainers can also be folded away o make the maximum usage of space. Elliptical trainers are also known as elliptical exercise trainers, cross trainers, stair master and by many other names. The companies, which manufacture the elliptical exercise trainers, are Proform, Nordic, Healthrider & Weslo Momentum. They make various models to suit the needs of all people.

Elliptical trainers are available for as less as $300, however these models will offer the very basic functions. At times they are not made of good quality material. It's important that when you work out, you have all the functions, which are required. Its possible to get a balance of both cost and the functions. In fact there are many good options for the review reader which can help you to buy the elliptical exercise trainers and at discounted prices too. You can look at the stores where they retail or can buy during the holiday season, when there are discounts available on all products and services. You can also look for a used elliptical exercise trainer.

Elliptical exercise trainers are a great way to lose weight. In fact the same number of calories would be burned on an elliptical exercise trainer as you would in jogging (for the same amount of time). While one is working out on, keep the shoulders relaxed on the elliptical exercise trainer and don't lean too far. Try to keep the heart ate and the pulse rate at the optimum level. In fact the control panel can tell you the optimum levels for your current workout and help you to stay in great shape.

Being in great shape can become your life long condition if youbegin now, why wait?

Elliptical Trainers Are Low Impact

Elliptical trainers provide a great cardio vascular workout but is low impact. That is there is less pressure, which is put on the joints of the legs. Thus it's not as strenuous as a treadmill. Therefore they are ideal for all age groups. Those in there 60s and 70s, who want to keep fit, can also easily use them. There are many versions, and options of elliptical trainers that are available in the market. The cost for an elliptical trainer starts at $300 and can cost up to $3000 dependent upon the functions and the features of the elliptical trainer.

To consider an elliptical trainer, one must make sure that it has a 21" stride. This length is ideal for an average person. There are many elliptical trainers that also come with a 14" stride. These are the foldable elliptical trainers, but can be quite inconvenient. Thus before you actually purchase one, look at reviews of the elliptical trainers and compare the various elliptical trainers that are available in the market. The comparison is done on the basis of cost, the type of material used, the stride length, the functions and the control panel.

Hence its important that before a purchase decision is made, you should have read all the reviews. The showroom and well as many supermarkets also retail the elliptical trainers. Hence you can make a comparison and reviews of the elliptical trainers can help you make an informed decision. The various factors that you should look into are the length of the stride, whether there are arms or not, the price factors, the various levels of intensity, the display of the control panel, the warranty that would be given with the elliptical trainers and your budget.

Of course it will depend on your personal preferences but the above criteria are a good starting point when selecting your first elliptical trainer.

Elliptical Workout - 3 Advantages Of Working Out With An Elliptical

If you're trying to decide between an elliptical trainer and another piece of exercise equipment, consider the workout advantages an elliptical provides. What's so special about an elliptical workout? Here are 3 unique advantages of using your elliptical trainer to workout:

#1) Forward & Back Motions Provide Better Workout Results

Almost all elliptical trainers offer both forward and back motion (also called dual action motion). This allows you to work different sets of muscle groups in your legs (hamstrings vs quads) which adds up to more calories burned, more muscles toned and an overall better body workout.

You can't walk backwards on a treadmill (ok, you can but that might be difficult. And peddling backwards on a bike might not be so helpful. The dual action ability of your elliptical trainer helps you work more muscles. Plus you have the potential to burn more calories

#2) You Get A Lower Impact Workout

A properly designed elliptical trainer mimics your body's natural stride - the way your foot moves elliptically when walking, running, or jogging. You stand upright striding in a forward or reverse motion. Your feet never leave the pedals.

Because of this, impact is basically eliminated and there is much less overall stress on your knees, hips and back, joints and back. (Just make sure you get a properly designed elliptical trainer - not one of the cheaper department store versions!)

Because of the lower impact of an elliptical workout, the elliptical machine is becoming very popular with the older population or those who are more easily prone to sports injury.

#3) Upper Body Arm Bars Help You Burn More Calories & Get A Superior Overall Body Workout

Many elliptical trainers offer moveable upper body arm bars. By working both legs and arms, your heart rate elevates more quickly which encourages your body to burn calories faster and more efficiently.

It also results in a lower perceived rate of exertion (basically you don't feel like you worked as hard as you really did). This may mean that you end up burning more calories, even without feeling like you did much of a workout.

By offering upper body arms, an elliptical trainer workout also helps you tone your arms, shoulders and back for better definition.

An elliptical trainer workout has many advantages over other exercise machines. It gives you an overall body workout that burns extra calories and gives you an extra efficient workout. Just make sure you choose one that meets your needs and is properly designed for maximum comfort.(red)