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Avocado health benefits

Indulge in game-day guacamole without guilt

healthy snack blog
Recent studies have confirmed the heart-healthy benefits of avocados.

Many of us are looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday — some for the game and others for the snacks. And since guacamole has become a Super Bowl staple, there’s good news for those in the latter category. Avocados, the main ingredient in guacamole, may lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease.

Avocados are rich in vitamins, minerals, plant sterols and fiber, as well as the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats also found in olive oil and nuts. Recent studies in Spain have confirmed that including olive oil and nuts regularly in the diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. Now, new evidence has added avocados to the list of risk-reducing foods. Continue reading

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How to Tell a Loved One When It’s Time to Give Up the Keys

Advice for telling family members when it's time to stop driving

There are several skills necessary for “safe driving.” These include a good memory, sequencing skills Driving blogand the ability to dual task, just to name a few. Unfortunately, these cognitive abilities are also the ones most affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.

Before deciding if a person is no longer a safe driver, it’s important to watch for some of the following signs:

  • Difficulty navigating familiar places, changing lanes, or making turns
  • Slowing down driving speed dramatically when having a conversation
  • Confusing the brake and gas pedals
  • Failing to observe traffic signals

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Secure your television and furniture to prevent tip-over accidents

Prevent TV and furniture tipoversAs you get ready for the big game on Sunday, take some time to walk around your house evaluating your furniture, televisions and appliances for tip-over risks — if a young child pulls or climbs on the object, is it secure or will it fall on top of the child? Every three weeks a child dies when a television tips over onto him or her and every 45 minutes a child is taken to the ER because of a television tip over accident. Scary statistics, but you can prevent these accidents from happening.

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Tumor Lysis Syndrome and how the body handles disintegrating cancer cells

Tumor Lysis SyndromeAs a nurse at the U-M Cancer Answer Line, I get calls and emails with all kinds of cancer-related questions. Last month I received a phone call from a patient recently diagnosed with lymphoma. He was going to begin chemotherapy in the next week and had always been interested in chemistry and biology. He asked me what happens when chemotherapy attacks a tumor. Does it blow up like an explosion or melt away like icicles in the sun, or something in between? His question along with his diagnosis of lymphoma, immediately make me think of Tumor Lysis Syndrome (TLS). Continue reading

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High blood pressure and cold meds

Decongestants can pose a dangerous risk to those with hypertension

High BP cold blogCold medicines are not off-limits if you have heart disease, but if you have high blood pressure you should check the label carefully when picking a medicine to fight a cold or flu. Make sure the medication you are taking is free of decongestants — such as pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, phenylephrine, naphazoline and oxymetazoline — which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate.

Decongestants can also prevent your blood pressure medication from working properly. And always read the active and inactive ingredient lists because many medications are high in sodium, which also raises blood pressure.

Ask your doctor for suggestions about other ways to ease your symptoms, including taking Coricidin HBP, which is free of decongestants. Continue reading

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Good night, sleep tight: how to manage sleep-wake disturbances

sleep-awake disturbancesWe’ve all been there. It’s the middle of the night, and you can’t sleep. You keep thinking how tired you’re going to be tomorrow if you don’t nod off soon. This can be especially true for those undergoing treatment for cancer. Sleep-wake disturbances have been reported in 30% – 75% of people with cancer.

Getting adequate rest is crucial for quality of life, and it’s essential for healing and immune system function. Let’s face it, when you aren’t getting adequate rest, it can make the best of people irritable. Continue reading