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Learn a Skill That Will Save Lives

cub-scoutsChoking is the fifth leading cause of unintentional deaths in the Unites States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While choking is more likely to occur in children 3 years of age or younger, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, choking emergencies can happen to anyone, at anytime.

Choking is unpredictable, but preventable with the right tools. Heimlich Heroes, a Deaconess initiative based in Cincinnati, Ohio, trains young people ages 7-14 how to recognize, respond to and prevent a choking emergency.

"We have trained more than 40,000 kids to date since our inception in 2013," says Program Manager Terri Huntington. "Our specially-designed 42-inch training dolls give kids hands-on practice to help cement the steps when performing the Heimlich Maneuver."

Here are four simple steps to properly administer the maneuver from the experts at Heimlich Heroes:

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Thankful for Every Moment While Living with Lung Cancer

biomarkers-lung-cancerAs a busy mother of two sons, Ivy Elkins shrugged off her sore neck and elbow pain for months. She thought it was probably from the extra hours spent planning a bar mitzvah for her oldest son. After all, a middle-aged woman who never smoked doesn't fit the typical profile of a lung cancer patient.

"To say that I was shocked and in disbelief is an understatement," Ivy recalls. "I didn't have a cough. I didn't have any trouble breathing. I didn't have any of the symptoms that I would associate with lung cancer. I didn't know that someone like me could get lung cancer."

It's a common misconception that lung cancer is a burden borne by smokers alone. While smoking remains the major risk factor for lung cancer, never-smokers may also develop the disease. In women, up to 53% of lung cancers may not be caused by direct smoking. In these patients, the underlying cause of lung cancer is often a genetic mutation, a permanent alteration in the DNA sequence that makes up a gene. To identify mutations, patients undergo "biomarker testing" (see https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=45618) at the time of diagnosis. Doctors and patients then use the test results to evaluate treatment options.

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A Senior Friendly Workout to Improve Movement and Prevent Injury

Exercise is good for everyone, but seniors with mobility or balance issues may wonder what kind of exercise they can do that will be safe, natural-movement-exerciseeasy and effective. Jogging outdoors, running on a treadmill or lifting weights at the gym aren't always practical - or enjoyable - activities for everyone. However, one type of exercise works for everyone, no matter your age or ability, because it relies on improving practical movements often involved in everyday activities.

"Natural movement is universal, and it's about bringing movement back to the basics," says Bradly Prigge, wellness exercise specialist with the Mayo Clinic's Healthy Living Program. "It's not about following the latest fitness craze or learning the newest secret to weight loss. Natural movement is about connecting with your body and cultivating an awareness of your full abilities."

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The Key to Good Caregiving is a Healthy Caregiver

caregiver-stress-prevention-cureIt is estimated that more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's and other dementias. For the vast majority, the deeply personal responsibility of caring for a loved one with a devastating disease constitutes a "labor of love," but caregiving can take a severe emotional and physical toll on those providing it.

In fact, 59 percent of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias rate their emotional stress as high or very high, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

A leading contributor is the fact that caring for a person living with Alzheimer's or another dementia poses special challenges. People in the middle to later stages of Alzheimer's disease experience losses in judgment, orientation and the ability to understand and communicate effectively, leaving family caregivers to help manage these issues.

An even greater stressor for many, however, are the personality and behavioral changes that accompany the disease.

"With Alzheimer's disease, family and friends experience a series of losses," says Ruth Drew, director of Family and Information Services at the Alzheimer's Association. "Watching a family member gradually lose their abilities day by day is extremely painful and stressful."

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5 Steps to Follow Up After a Heart Attack

heart-attack-follow-upAfter a recent heart attack, the road ahead may seem overwhelming, with many new medications, doctor appointments and lifestyle changes to navigate. This is a critical time to embrace a proactive role in your health because a heart attack is not just a one-time event; after a recent heart attack, you are at an even higher risk of having another one. In fact, approximately 200,000 people in the U.S. suffer a recurrent heart attack each year.

After hospital discharge for heart attack or severe chest pain (acute coronary syndrome), it's important to work with your doctor to ensure that you are asking the right questions about your health and have a plan of action for ongoing treatment. Matthew Budoff, MD, Professor of Medicine and Program Director, Division of Cardiology at University of California Los Angeles recommends these five steps to help you feel prepared to take charge of your health.

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Brighten Your Yard This Winter with the Help of Wild Birds

bird-wild-on-feederBright colors aren't often associated with winter - but they can be. In fact, a backyard full of beautiful colors and cheerful chirps may be just a few feedings away.

If you've never fed wild birds before, winter is the perfect time to get started. Opening up your backyard to birds during the coldest months of the year means you are helping sustain them during a time when food and water are scarce.

"The winter months are especially tough on birds," says Seth Estep, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Tractor Supply Company. "By providing them with a clean water source and food to eat, you'll not only enjoy seeing far more of them in your garden, but you'll also be helping them survive and thrive at a time when their natural resources are being threatened."

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Understanding Pinched Nerve Causes and Risk Factors

pinched, nerve, spine, treatment

“Pinched nerve” is a common term used to describe nerve compression, which can develop in a wide variety of body regions, according to Dr. Kaliq Chang, MD of the Atlantic Spine Center. When nerves leading from the spine become pinched, they often trigger symptoms in the arms and legs because these extremities are connected to nerves along the neck and back, respectively. These symptoms can be brief or enduring, minor or severe, or anything in between. Depending on where the pinched nerve is located, symptoms will vary. If it's in the back, you may feel pain in your buttocks that radiates down the legs or feet. If the pinched nerve is in your neck, the arms and hands can be the site of pain, numbness, weakness or tingling.

Many factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, can lead to pinched nerves. Certain factors increase the odds that you'll suffer from a pinched nerve, and Dr. Chang says they include: 

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Involvement in a motor vehicle accident
  • An occupation necessitating repetitive movements or sitting
  • Pregnancy
  • Family history

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