Feng Shui Rules

designing your own home, considering Feng Shui rules  is a crucial step in ensuring the good flow of energy. By taking into account these fundamental steps, you are essentially allowing positive energy to flow freely in your house. 

While there can be a lot of rules for Feng Shui itself, paying attention to the most crucial ones will get you off the good start. As you make sure that you don’t miss these important ones, your home itself will become a good nestling ground for positivity.

  1. Make use of the Bagua Map

Making use of the Bagua map is a step that you should never ignore or skip. Given that the elements and their necessary assignments are already pre-determined in Feng Shui, this map serves as your general blueprint in allowing positive energy in and keeping negative energy out. 

Simply put, the Bagua map assigns certain areas of your home as follows:

N – Fame, and Reputation

E – Children, Joy, and the Future

W – New Beginnings and Family

S – Career and Life Journey

NE – Marriage and Relationships

SE – Travel and Helpful Friends

SW – Knowledge, and Self-Cultivation

NW – Wealth and Prosperity

By placing certain items according to their particular areas, they can bring positive energy to your home. Inversely, wrong placement of things can lead to the blockage of positive energy. 

  2. Take time to Understand the Feng Shui Elements

Included in the Bagua, understanding Feng Shui rules  is also a key part of interpreting them correctly. By knowing the value and function of each element, you’ll gain a better idea of how to utilize them in attracting the kind of energy that you want. 

In this case, there are 5 basic Feng Shui Elements, namely: 

Fire – creates the earth, and is tasked to govern our emotions. 

Earth – eventually becomes metal; is responsible for our nourishment and stability. 

Metal – produces water; governs our intellect and productivity.

Water – nourishes wood; is responsible for our spirit.

Wood – feeds fire; is responsible for our growth.

feng sui rules

By taking into account these 5 Feng Shui elements, we can think of whether or not the things that we’ll be placing in our home necessarily matches the kind of energy that we want to bring in. Instead of simply guessing, these first two tips lay-out properly what we need to do and consider when making a decision for our home. 

3. Pay attention to Colors

While they are often perceived from their aesthetic value, colors in themselves also share the same meaning with their respective elements. As each element presents a different vibe or energy to your house, it necessitates that you pair a particular color with it. 

For instance, decorating in pairs will bring you good luck with your marriage and relationships. But paying attention to where you place it affects its effectiveness. Following the previous points, you should place this on the northeast portion of your room as this one is the center of such. 

But on top of that, the color scheme that you’re picking will also affect the result. For instance, picking a pair of black mandarin ducks doesn’t seem as lively or good bearing compared to picking a pair of pillows with shades of pink and red. 

As colors affect our psychology and the overall flow of energy, paying attention to colors is an indispensable tip in moving forward. 

4. Be particular on Furniture Placement

As a culmination of the previously stated fundamentals, being particular on furniture placement is the ultimate key to allow positive energy in. If you look at the basic principles of Feng Shui, it seeks to not only utilize geomancy but also positive reinforcement. 

By creating conditions that inspire us in certain areas of our life, we prevent ourselves from subconsciously absorbing negative energies. In this case, one example that we can point to is the placement of one’s bed. 

Following Feng Shui, placing your bed beside a wall creates bad luck for relationships. As it traps negative energy, it also prevents your partner from getting off the other side. Thus, this creates unnecessary annoyances and quarrels during the night. 

With this principle, we have to take note that each furniture with a particular color must be placed accordingly. 

5. Cleanliness and Tidiness is key

Last but not least, this simple tip is similar to the 4th one. In Feng Shui, a clean home allows positive energy in, while keeping negative energy out. As such, when you leave your home in a dirty state, negative energy is stored within the corners of your home. 

Physically, the manifestations of such energy can be in forms of accumulated dust. Affecting not only your luck but also your psyche, doesn’t it make sense to clean such? Nevertheless, paying attention to this tip ensures that your home welcomes new and positive things in life. 

Final Word

By taking into consideration these Feng Shui tips, it becomes a lot easier for you to attract and manifest positive energy in your home. Instead of accidentally mis-arranging it, paying attention to Feng Shui reinforces positivity and good health as it ensures that everything is in order. 

With that, one point here is how Feng Shui ensures that everything is harmonious. By creating harmony in one’s home, it follows suit that the result will also be good for us. Balancing internal and external energies, Feng Shui is definitely one of the best practices that you can implement with the help of these 5 simple rules!

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Laura Zukerman

Owner and Founder At The Goddess Bibles A Memoir By Laura Zukerman

Becoming Your Inner Goddess

Goddess on Fire

Numerology

Contents
1 – Introduction To Personal Numerology
How can you use numerology to find out more about you? What are core numbers?
What are master numbers?
How to reduce numbers in Numerology.
2 – The Meaning Behind The Master Numbers
How master numbers influence your life Master number 11
Master number 22
Master number 33
3 – Your Life Path Number
How to find your life path number
How your life path number influences your life
4 – Your Expression Number
How to find your expression number.
How your expression number influences your life.
5 – Your Heart’s Desire Number
How to find your heart’s desire number
How your heart’s desire number influences your life.
6 – Your Birth Date Number
How to find your birth date number
How your birth date number influences your life.
7 – Your Personality Number
How to find your personality number. How your personality influences your life.
8 – The General Meanings For Each Number

Number 1 Qualities Number 2 Qualities Number 3 Qualities Number 4 Qualities Number 5 Qualities Number 6 Qualities Number 7 Qualities Number 8 Qualities Number 9 Qualities Number 11 Qualities Number 22 Qualities Number 33 Qualities

Introduction To Personal Numerology
Numerology is a study of numbers, but it’s much more fun to study than mathematics! At least in our opinion. It’s based on the idea that numbers are the foundation of the entire universe and everything in existence!
It’s a perfect way to apply logic and purpose to what seems to those who are not aware to be random.
You see, those who think that there is no logic to everything that exists are blind to the precise order of the universe, and you only need to look toward science to see evidence of how order defines nature.
Numbers hold an energetic meaning, a vibration which is how we can understand the world through numerology. When we understand what numbers mean, we can then apply them to help us find out more about the hidden world that surrounds us.
Which means that we can also use numerology as a process of individuation. To help us uncover more about ourselves that we may not have realized before, or that will help us to accept aspects of our ‘self’ that we may have been trying to change, deny or reject when we just needed to learn how to work with it.
How Can You Use Numerology To Find Out More About Yourself?
We are born with numbers that are represented in our birthdate, and we are assigned a name which also holds a numerological value. It’s common for Numerologists to believe that we all that the perfect name that carries us through life with its energetic value. This is because there is a formula to break our name down into numbers which we can then assign meaning to, which will give us incredible information about who we are and how we will experience life.
Numerology, like Astrology, can help us discover more about our inner selves and life experiences.

Each letter in your name is associated with a numerical value and then when you reduce the numbers in your name to a single digit number or master number and in a similar way you can analyze your birth date.
Personal numerology focus on three crucial factors about you:
● The moment of your birth.
● Your formal name
● Any nicknames you go by or name changes you have had.
By looking at these aspects about you and applying them to a number (no pun intended) of different core numerological assessments you can find out your ‘core numbers.’ It’s these core numbers that can tell us so much about the essential aspects of our life so that we can learn what makes us unique, and they are also the fun parts of Numerology!
What Are Core Numbers?
Core numbers essentially make up your numerology, in some ways, it’s similar to your astrological chart, which also holds the secrets of you. Both will help you uncover your ‘self’ in different ways.
There are five core numbers that make up your numerology which are;
● Your Life Path Number
● Your Expression Number
● Your Personality Number
● Your Heart’s Desire Number
● Your Birth Day Number
And in this article, we are going to learn more about all of these core numbers so that at the end you will be able to understand more about who you are and what challenges you might face.

What Are Master Numbers?
In numerology, all numbers are considered significant, but three numbers are considered to be extremely important because their energy is incredibly powerful. These are called ‘the master numbers.’
While most numbers in numerology are reduced down to their single figure unless it is a master number (we cover reducing numbers next). In which case the master number is considered in its own right, and particular attention is applied to these numbers. If you have master numbers anywhere in your core numbers, you’ll know about it!
We discuss this in more detail further on in this article. But for now, the three master numbers are;
● 11 ● 22 ● 33
How To Reduce Numbers In Numerology
In numerology, for most numbers, a double, or even quadruple number is always added together to reduce it down to a single digit number (between 1-9).
This occurs with all numbers except for the three master numbers (11, 22, 33) if the circumstance in which they appear holds enough power to create a master number.

The difficulty is in knowing when to reduce down a master number and when not to. There is plenty of study material on this to be found, but for this e-book, we will focus on the topics we are covering here.
The most important thing to remember is that a month or a day does not hold the power of a master number, for if it did, there’d be chaos on the 11th and 22nd of each month and in every November! The cycles repeat too frequently to be a master number but a year will hold enough power.
There is an exception to this rule is in the calculation of the LIfe Path and Birth Day numbers because they are core numbers and more static – they don’t change with the cycles of life they stay with you for life which gives them the power of a master number.
Some letters hold master numbers – the K (as the 11th number) and V (as the 22nd number).
You’ll learn more about how to put this together further on in the article and each section will show you how to break down your numbers to find your core number for each section as we move through this e-book.

The Meaning Behind The Master Numbers
How Master Numbers Influence Your Life
The three Master numbers have profound energy and meaning, and when they appear in your chart, they can highlight the opportunity for growth but also propensity toward difficulty so that growth can be attained.
This is ironic because most people believe that if you have master numbers in your core numbers that it’s something great – but greatness doesn’t come without challenge and experience.
When you study the master numbers that might pop up in your core numbers, they’ll help you to understand what obstacles and challenges you might experience and what qualities you might need to develop to overcome them. It will take some grit to master these qualities, but you wouldn’t have the numbers in your chart if you were not capable of finding the resources you need to master these challenges (hence why they are called master numbers).
Here are the meanings of each master number.
Master number 11
The number 11 is instinctive, it represents instinct, and it’s highly intuitive – it’s the most intuitive of all numbers. The number 11 reflects your connection to your unconscious, insight, gut feelings and inner knowing.
People with the master number 11 can be shy and also show nervous or stressed energy but that is often balanced out by their inspiration and charisma, but this conflict between two opposing energies can create both conflict and dynamism!

If you have the number 11 in your core numbers, you’ll need to be focused on concrete goals because if you don’t, you are likely to start experiencing fear and anxiety.
The number 11 is incredibly powerful but highly destructive, particularly concerning self-sabotage if it’s not used properly.
So if you find that you have the master number 11 in your core numbers, it’s important to do your best to tap into it and use it to your advantage, so that you can create spiritual evolution or personal power. It’s also important to listen to and follow your instincts, let your inner voice guide you, for it will push you toward spiritual and personal growth and create much-needed stability (even if your instincts push against the ‘norm’).
The number 11 also represents psychics, clairvoyants, faith, and prophecy.
Master Number 22
The Master number 22 is more powerful than any other number (which is why it’s often referred to as the ‘master builder’). I
If you have the master number 22 in your core numbers, you’ll find that you are capable of building the world. You literally can take an idea and turn it into reality. You will be a doer and will get things done. Which means that you have incredible potential for success.
The master number 22 is ambitious and disciplined number which is a potent combination.
People with the number 22 in their core numbers often have great confidence and important leadership qualities.

However.
Not all people who have the number 22 in their chart notice their own potential the complexity of the number means that it’s possible to be that brilliant person who is not living up to their potential.
If you have 22 in your core numbers, you are capable of greatness, but you need to avoid shying away from opportunities and take it step by step without applying too much pressure. As long as you have a concrete goal and you make consistent small steps toward attaining it, then you can move the world. This is your greatest challenge – the challenge of moving forward without pressure or fear in a steady progressive way.
You have the potential to change the world for the better if only you’d either get moving or slow down!
Master number 33
Those with the master number 33 in their charts certainly know how to shake things up, it’s the master teacher and is all master numbers combined!
If you have the master number 33 in your core numbers, you won’t have a personal agenda your focus will be on humanitarian issues and beyond.
You move beyond practicality; you’ll have incredible knowledge and the ability to share such knowledge in a way that inspires others.
A person who has the master number 33 in their charts is a profound and rare sight and is only relevant if it shows up in your core numbers, otherwise it will be weakened.

Your Life Path Number
Your life path number is the most critical number in your numerological chart. It helps you to understand the opportunities, lessons, challenges and the general theme that you will experience during your lifetime, and it will offer you plenty of insight into your character and how you respond to your experiences and challenges. It’s the blueprint for your life.
How to find your Life Path number
You can find your life path number from your date of birth. Simply because it never changes and incorporates everything about you (this notion is also endorsed through astrology too).
Here’s how you find it.

  1. Divideyourbirthdateintoit’snaturalsections;month,dayandyear for example if your birthdate is December 17th 1989:
  • Month: 12
  • Day: 17
  • Year: 1989
  1. Reduceeachsectionintoasingledigitnumber: – Month = 1+2=3
  • Day = 1+7 = 8
  • Year = 1+9+8+9 = 27 then 2+7=9
  1. Addallofthesingledigitnumbersfromyourbirthdatetogetherto find your life path number:
    3+8+9=20 then 2+0=2 Your life path number is 2. How Does Your Life Path Number Influence Your Life
    All you need to do now is look up the meaning of your life path number and start to become more familiar with who you are, keep on reading to find a brief outline of the meaning of each number to get you started. Your Expression number
    Your Expression number is based on the letters in your name. It uses the numbers that correspond to the letters and reveals your talents and abilities. The expression number is found by using the full name.
    If you change your name, you can use this to reveal what qualities you may now bring into your life, and what you will have left behind.
    How To Find Your Expression Number
    Your expression number is based on your full name, here’s how you can find your expression number:
  2. Writeoutyourfullnamegiventoyouatbirth,First,Middleand surname
    E.g if your name was John David Brown at birth that’s what you’d write
  3. Assignthenumericalvalueforeachlettertoyournamebasedon A=1 Z=26.
    For example;
    J=10, O=15, H=8, N=14
    D=4, A=1, V=22, I=9, D=4
    B=2, R=18, O=15, W=24, N=14
  4. Reduceeachletterdowntoitssinglevalue. For example;
    J=1, O=6, H=8, N=6
    D=4, A=1, V=4, I=9, D=4 B=2, R=9, O=6, W=6, N=5
  5. Reducethesinglevaluenumbersforeachnamedowntoit’ssingle value (if you meet a master number; 11,22,33 don’t reduce further).
    For example;
    John = 1+6+8+6 = 21, then 2+1 = 3
    David = 4+1+4+9+4 = 22, then 2+2 = 4
    Brown = 2+9+6+6+5 = 28, then 2+8 =10, then 1+0 = 1
  6. Addthefinalthreenumbers(ormoreifyouhavemorethanthree names)
    For example;
    3+4+1+ = 8
    John David Brown’s expression number is 8!
    How Your Expression Number Influences Your Life
    Your Expression number differs from your Life Path number because it highlights your strengths, talents and abilities and weaknesses as opposed to your life’s journey and lessons.
    It’s often referred to as the Destiny number because the way that you ‘express yourself’ forms the foundation for how you will move through your life path and what assets or challenges you will bring along naturally on your journey.
    Find out what your expression number means by looking up the meanings of each number below. Your Heart’s Desire Number
    You find your Heart’s Desire number buried inside your name; it’s hidden in the vowels of your name the subtle sounds almost reflect your hearts whispers, which alert us to our inner desires, even perhaps those we don’t even realize or acknowledge.
    How To Find Your Heart’s Desire Number
    Finding your heart’s desire number is a similar process to finding the expression number except that you only use the vowels of the name.
    Here are the steps, using the name John David Brown again;
  7. Write down the vowels (A,E,I,O,U) in your name and assign the numerical values
    For example:
    John = O=6 David = A=1, I=9 Brown = O= 6
  8. Addallofthenumberstogetherandreducethemdowntosingle digits (stopping if you find a master number) if you have a lot of vowels to work through break them up per name first to make it easier.
    For example: 6+1+9+6=22, then 2+2=4 John’s heart desire number is 4.
    How Your Heart’s Desire Number Influences Your Life
    When you find your heart’s desire number, you start to realize why you act the way you do and also more about what you want from life in all areas love, relationships, health, wealth, spiritual growth and so on.
    This is because your heart’s desire number reveals why you do what you do, why you might act in conflict to what you know you ‘should’ do and if it aligns with your instinct then you’ll do well to follow it.
    To find out the meaning and characteristics of your heart desire number check out the descriptions at the end of this e-book. Your Birth Date Number
    Your birth date number reflects some of your characters and traits that you carry through life that will combine and amplify with the other core numbers that are also part of your numerological birth chart.
    How To Find Your Birth Date Number
    This is a simple process, you simply add the numbers of your birth date together to reveal your birthdate number
    For example; The date of birth is 11 which is 1+1=2, your birth date number is 2
    How Your Birth Date Number Influences Your Life
    For example if you have a 7 as your life path number and a 7 in your birth date number you’ll be a full on seven! But if you have a 7 in your life path number and a 2 in your birth date number the energy of the 7 will be complimented or toned down by the energy of the two. Your Personality number
    You may have revealed what you are experiencing in your inner world,
    but knowing how others see you can help you greatly and we don’t mean in a superficial way. Here’s what you need to know about your personality number.
    How To Find Your Personality Number
    You find your personality number by assessing the consonants in your name, and the process of finding it is the same as the process for the expression number and heart’s desire number.
    Here’s how you find it (using our example John David Brown)
    Note down the numerical values for the consonants in your names, for example;
    John= J=1, H=8, N=6
    David = D=4, V=4, D=4 Brown = B=2, R=9, W=6, N=5
    Add the consonant values together for each name, for example;
    John = 1+8+6 = 15, then 1+5 = 6 David = 4+4+4 = 12, then 1+2 = 3 Brown = 2+9+6+5 = 22, then 2+2 = 4
    Finally add the resulting numbers from each name to find the personality number (don’t forget to stop if you find a master number), for example; 6+3+4 = 13, then 1+3 = 4
    John’s personality number is 4.
    How Your Personality Influences Your Life
    Your Personality number is the first impression you give to others. Understanding how others see you helps you to understand more about the parts of you that you are either willing to reveal or are unconsciously revealing.
    Sometimes we reveal parts of ourselves to screen people from us, or to avoid dealing with things that we don’t want to deal with, it’s essentially a censoring device. But it can also censor you out of situations that you wouldn’t want to be censored from.
    Understanding the details or energy that surrounds your personality will help you make the adjustments you might want to make to stop censoring yourself out, or to start censoring other experiences out that you don’t desire.
    Find out more about your personality number by looking up the meaning of your personality number. The General Meanings For Each Number
    Number 1 Qualities
    If you have a number one anywhere in your numerological birth chart means that you are a natural leader, you are independent, brave and ambitious and you are likely to be a very individual soul.
    Wherever the number one falls in your numerological chart, you can expect it to bring dynamic energy that puts you right at the front of most things that you do.
    You are also very good at influencing those around you, which is a handy quality to have!
    Number one represents the pioneer, warrior, risk taker, you can find them in the businessmen, entrepreneurs, religious leaders, pioneers, inventors, and activists.
    The Downside
    The number one can be a little bit self-centered, not intentionally, but mostly because you identify with and focus on your goals so intensely. You are also so ambitious and focused on achieving your goals that you may ignore critical flaws in your plan, so it’s important to pay attention to these! It’s also possible that you can be slightly critical which can push people away. If you can learn to balance and control these issues you’ll be able to enjoy the power of the energy of the one without any setbacks! Number 2 Qualities
    The qualities of the number two is friendly, intuitive and open-minded. Number two loves to work with others as a partnership, which is the opposite to a one who would do so in a leadership role.
    Those who have a two in their charts find it easier to express themselves when they are working with other people rather than independently or as a leader.
    But the things is you don’t often get the glory for your efforts because your work remains hidden, you will probably find this frustrating at times. If you were able to start to find a way to demonstrate your efforts you might enjoy some of the recognition, even if it’s not all of it – that will be enough for you.
    Two’s are sensitive souls which can make them gentle and vulnerable, especially if they are at the receiving end of something they don’t like, or that is unkind, or insensitive. Other’s might not understand this sensitivity because if they don’t have the number two in their numerological chart, they won’t experience such intense sensitivity so they won’t understand this. If a two can be mindful of this and acknowledge their heightened sensitivity, they may be able to turn the volume down on it a little bit or develop strategies to be able to manage it better.
    Twos make fantastic partners, because they are thoughtful, harmonious, giving, and nurturing to those around you. Number 3 Qualities
    Those who have a number three in their numerological birth will have a certain way about them that seems to influence and inspire people without even trying to. Three’s are optimizing, expressive, outgoing and social.
    Three’s also represent self-expression and creativity too. You have great potential in areas that require creative problem-solving.
    The Downside
    Three’s have trouble accepting others into your life and projects, they can also lack discipline and order which means that achieving and reaching your full potential, while possible is challenging.
    To achieve success, you’ll need pay attention to enhancing your ability to focus so that you have a chance at seeing and enjoying precisely what you are capable of!
    Number 4 Qualities
    As a number four, you’ll find yourself to be the foundation of any enterprise or large project.
    The way you handle life and rise to problems and challenges is often methodical, disciplined and structured.
    You’ll find plenty of bookkeepers, accountants, lawyers, managers and government officials who have a number four in their numerological chart – in particular in their expression number. Interestingly, and somewhat paradoxically, as a four you can also be interested in and drawn to the arts and music – but the way you approach any such creative endeavors will be in a structured and ordered manner.
    Integrity and morals are strong in a number four, which makes you very trustworthy, honest and reliable and you do not like anything or anyone who are unstable, insecure, or unpredictable, and you will try to avoid these types of situations and experiences. But this could also lead you to avoid or missing out on interesting projects and creative and dynamic solutions brought about by an unpredictable person!
    The Downside
    You can be rigid and stubborn which can lead you to miss out on many opportunities in life and also to miss out on inspiration that can really put fire under something fabulous. If you rise to your challenge of being more imaginative and to attract more creative types into your life, you’ll find that they can advise and inspire you, and you’ll be able to run with those ideas and use your systematic approaches to bring them into reality.
    Number 5 Qualities
    You are a free spirit, loving change, adventure and excitement. Freedom is the nucleus around which your life revolves, and is needed for you to bring forth your many talents. You want to try everything at least once in life, which could lead to trouble in the form of unhealthy and dangerous indulges.
    Your thought process, like the rest of your life, can be unorganized and scattered, yet you are gifted in communication and could be a successful salesman, politician, lawyer, public relations person or minister. Your youthful enthusiasm is something others find infectious and attractive. You fall in and out of love frequently, and must guard against shallow feelings and relationships. In fact, self-discipline and healthy limits are the keys to your success in virtually every area of your life.
    Number 6 Qualities
    If you have a number 6 in your numerological chart, you are loving and caring, with a tendency to put the needs of others before your own.
    You have high regard for honesty and justice, which makes you trustworthy and responsible.
    Creativity in all areas are natural for you, yet your talents often remain suppressed, or undeveloped because you tend to sacrifice your spare time and pleasure for the service of others.
    You are really good at balancing out things that oppose each other which, makes you a natural healer or therapist. Your qualities also make you particularly good in careers such as a social worker, psychologist, or teacher, but also you could be an excellent artist, designer, florist or farmer.
    You have a lot of skills that are useful in many careers, and skills that help you to aid others, however, you may not be prone to too much personal growth because you may live your life through others.
    Number 7 Qualities
    You are incredibly driven by a desire for knowledge and truth, and you are, gifted with an analytical mind and a considerable appetite for answers. Your interests will often lie in philosophy, mysticism, psychology, exploring scientific matters. Careers you may be drawn to are a researcher, writer, thought leader, analyst, investigator, philosopher, priest, inventor, technician, banker, priest or banker.
    You need time alone with your thoughts, to recuperate from being in the world and to indulge in your favorite thing – research and developing knowledge!
    The Downside
    A number seven has vast potential to cut themselves off from others because you like to have time alone and also because you often find it surprising that others lack the depth of knowledge or understanding that you do. This can cause you to feel disappointed, despondent, distant, critical and cynical about life.
    If you can spend time meditating and trying to connect with the softer elements of life, and in applying compassion to others you’ll find yourself in a beautiful place of wisdom that really can give you peace and balance and help others to attain that too!
    Number 8 Qualities
    Eights have the power and potential to achieve fantastic things. But they are also extremely competitive. Whatever you focus on in life you want to be the best and will do everything you can to be the most successful in your field.
    Money and authority will flow in your life if you can rise to the challenges that the obstacles you will undoubtedly face in life. Discipline is something that you’ll need to practice in buckets, but you have what it takes. These challenges and obstacles are merely highlighting the potential for growth and for you to learn how to handle your power and exactly how much power lies within you.
    You are a great leader and an excellent judge of character. When you are focused exclusively on your desire for results and success, you can be single-minded, intolerant and a little stubborn.
    Your journey in life requires you to find balance. A balance between reward and punishment, rest and discipline, give and take, action and reaction, the material and the spiritual. A number 8’s path is long and arduous but can also be incredibly rewarding in every way you can imagine.
    Number 9 Qualities
    If you have the number nine in your numerological chart then you will have humanitarian, compassion and idealism as qualities which will show up in the area of your life that the associated core number represents.
    Depending on which of your core numbers that the number nine shows up in you may have sincere intentions to transform the world into a better place.
    Involvement in any activity that directly influences the masses for the goodwill please you, and you’d succeed in areas such as healing, psychology, politics, law, environment or animal protection, health especially if they are working for the good of others (the good that is aligned with your beliefs and values).
    Even though your personality appears to be distant and aloof, you attract others to you; perhaps they can sense the loving and sincere heart that you hold inside but do not express too often.
    The Downside
    You don’t judge characters very well because you believe in the goodness of all.
    Number 11 Qualities
    11 is a profoundly intuitive number, and those who hold a number 11 in their charts will have a strong connection to their unconscious mind, their instinct will be strong, and they’ll have an innate knowledge that they know is true but can’t rationalize.
    This intuition can present problems when trying to justify your ideas and decisions to others without having anything other than instinct to back it up – and as somebody who holds this number in their birth chart, I can confirm it is immensely frustrating!
    Those with the number 11 are profoundly intuitive, charismatic and can be an influential catalyst for change.
    The Downside
    Anxiety, shyness, and stress are the classic cons of a number 11 but also the conflict between two opposing energies. 11 is a number that represents extreme conflict, but is also a profound catalyst for change. This is a challenge that a number 11 will have to learn to manage, and it’s an intense one.
    If you are living with a master number 11, use it to your advantage, and listen to your instincts, allow your inner voice to guide you toward the right path, and use the energy to develop your own personal power and push through with your spiritual progression.
    This number is associated with psychics, the occult and things that are unseen so if you feel conflicted about this, push through it and follow what feels right for you. Mysticism and conflict are both in your nature and are presented for you to overcome or embrace.
    You’ve got this!
    Master Number 22
    Master Number 22 is nicknamed ‘the master builder’ because it holds the most power to build.
    You have the potential to get things done, let me repeat this; you can get things done! You can make a dream turn into reality, and if you have managed to harness this energy, you are likely to be very successful because of your propensity toward productivity and creation.
    Those with master number 22 in their charts are usually great leaders.
    The Downside
    You are capable of great potential, but you may shy away from your greatness because you doubt yourself or apply too much pressure on yourself. If you have a number 22 in your birth chart, you need to realize your boundless opportunities and your ability to attain your goals and exercise your brilliance. Take the pressure off yourself and make small steps toward your goals, just make sure they are practical and compelling goals.
    Master Number 33
    The master number 33 is nicknamed the ‘master teacher.’ This number combines all elements of the master numbers 11 and 22 in its energy which is how it’s earned its nickname.
    You are the movers and shakers, you have strong dreams and intuition, and you can take things, profound things to a whole other level. You generally won’t have a personal agenda instead choose to focus on making the world a better place. Whatever you focus on you can bring into reality. You can understand deep subjects fully and are likely to be extremely knowledgeable which you back up with facts.
    It’s rare to have the master number 33 in your charts. It’s only relevant in a chart if it shows up in one of your core numbers which can be found by calculating your numbers in the following:
    ● Lifepath
    ● Personal Expression
    ● Hearts Desire
    ● Maturity/Personality Numbers
    Once you have established all of your core numbers, you now can see how you interact in the world and why you do the things you do. If you keep the numbers to hand and a brief outline of the meaning of each core number then you’ll always have access to it so that it can serve you for the rest of your life. Further studies into the energy of each number, or the meaning of the core numbers will improve your understanding of your fundamental persona.

😍

Laura Zukerman

Why are the 12 planets in our zodiac related to our Destiny?

Are you familiar with the 12 zodiac signs? At some point, I’m pretty sure that you have an idea about what I’m trying to talk about. I mean, who doesn’t know about the daily horoscopes and zodiac readings, right?
While most of us are fond of the end product, which is the horoscope reading, only a few are quite knowledgeable about the complex nature of horoscopes. With many factors affecting one’s destiny, such are determined by many indicators like date of birth or position of the stars.
But more importantly, did you know that planets are considered as primary determiners of one’s fate? Yes, the proper position of planets does have an impact on one’s destiny. Thus, by having an intricate understanding of their function, one can have a better grasp of their fate and destination in life.
In this E-book, we will be discussing the planets and their intrinsic value that they have in one’s being.

How Are Planets Related To Our Destiny?
In general, astrology seeks to determine one’s destiny by having a proper reading of what the stars and planets have to say. With that, specific meanings and values are assigned to each planet. Furthermore, they are basically divided into two things: the inner and outer planets.
For starters, inner planets include the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Mars, and Venus. They are considered to be fast-moving planets, and thus, affects our daily lives. Inversely, the outer planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto, are known to be slow-moving. With that, they are responsible for the overall direction that usually takes months or even years in order to manifest.
Furthermore, these planets are also known to be associated with particular zodiac signs. For instance, Mars possesses qualities of aggression and ambition, both of which actively represents Aries. Thus, it is often regarded as the warrior planet. More on this will be discussed in detail in the succeeding sections.
But what does a planet do to our zodiac sign?
In general, planets are known to rule over our zodiac signs. Meaning when these moving celestial bodies come into contact

with our zodiac sign, it creates a reaction as it actives the qualities of our zodiac sign in-conjunction with its own attributes.
By using a combination of the planetary positioning, your zodiac sign, and its movement, your fate is determined by the stars.

Types Of Planetary Movements
Before diving deep into the meaning and function of each planet, it also vital for you to know the basic types of planetary movements. By knowing them, you’ll get to have a general idea when terms like retrograde and solar eclipse a re mentioned.
First, let’s begin with retrograde. Popularly known for the term Mercury Retrograde, a lot of non-astrology enthusiasts caught fire because of this one. Knowing to bring bad luck on almost all levels of one’s life, a person is technically to avoid doing anything at all during this time span.
However, did you know that not all retrogrades are that negative? A Pluto retrograde, for instance, means the backward movement of the planet Pluto. If your sign is affected by this, it may produce a positive result by creating a condition where you get to assess and contemplate on your decisions and actions in life.
As such, the term retrograde simply means a backward movement of planets while a prograde means a forward motion, in comparison to the general direction of your moving planet. By paying attention to its meaning, you’ll be able to tell if a planetary retrograde for your sign will do you good or not.

Moreover, eclipses are also significant events for one’s zodiac sign. As luminaries, the sun and the moon are technically not planets. This is why their movement is always considered.
With that, them overlapping each other means something. Most likely, this means that your ruling planet will be influenced by such. This is basically a toss-coin whose effects can be positive or negative, depending on one’s zodiac sign.
By being familiar with these terms, you won’t be jargonized when reading them. Instead of being blindly afraid when hearing the term retrograde, you’ll be able to step back and assess first what actions to do or how to feel about it.
Similarly, an eclipse that’s taking effect on your planet often means that it is a window time for you to change things. As this once in a blue moon moment happens, knowing its meaning allows you to capitalize on their functions.

Understanding The Function Of Each Planet
Given that you are already familiar with how the celestial system works, taking into consideration the meaning and value of each planet is the next step. By knowing which planets are associated with what, you’ll be able to tell how to approach your fortune.
Sun
Known to be the biggest star, the sun is at the heart of the solar system. As such, all other planets revolve around this life bringer that emits energy until it dies. Technically, without the sun, all other lifeforms will not survive. Similarly, our fate hugely depends on this celestial body, as well.
For their function, the Sun is known to be responsible for our basic personality. Meaning, this celestial body determines the general self that is perceived by society on us. For instance, if you are hardworking, then you must be responsible. And while all signs can share this universal trait, this is often interpreted varyingly. Thus, some signs may appear more hardworking than others.
As for its movement, this Planet changes on a monthly basis. With that, different months have varying dominant signs, as well.

Finally, the Sun is strongly associated with Leo. Representing qualities of pure energy, elegance, and passion, this planet symbolizes one’s basic desires in life. Furthermore, it is also understood to be the bearer of leadership, authority, and male dominance.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can be too dominant and bossy, especially when we are unable to handle its power over us. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can overamplify our qualities and make us become overconfident.
Moon
While the sun represents the expressed, the moon contains the covert. Often regarded for its mystical nature, the Moon is often a subject of wonder. Understood as earth’s satellite, it reflects the light from the sun during nighttime. As such, it is densely connected to things that are buried deep within us.
For its function, the Moon is known to be responsible for our emotions and subconscious thoughts. Meaning, this celestial body determines how we truly feel about things that are usually based on intuition. For instance, in making choices, one can be rational about it yet think a level of inner discomfort. As it relates strongly to our emotive nature, the Moon sign seeks to represent a part of our humanity. Thus, allowing us to gain access to non-rational spheres of existence such as emotions and spirituality.

As for its movement, this Planet changes every two to three days. With that, it’s a bit more unstable and inconsistent as different moons may affect the way we perceive things.
Finally, the Moon is strongly associated with Cancer. Representing qualities of emotional resonance and innate intuition, this planet symbolizes one’s subconscious desires. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with moods, fluctuations, and female energy.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can be too dreamy and unstable, causing us to take actions that we initially would not. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can tilt the scales of balance between rationality and emotion.
Mercury
Being the closest planet to the sun, Mercury is regarded to be the hottest planet. But more importantly, Mercury comes from its Greek origin, which means “messenger of the gods.” As such, it is profoundly connected to our social spheres of life, particularly the way we communicate with others.
For its function, the planet Mercury is known to be responsible for all types of communication. Meaning, this celestial body determines how we will deliver our thoughts and feelings to others or even to ourselves. For instance, in communicating with others,

we don’t always provide the impression that we want. Instead, we may sometimes say one thing but do the other since we can’t correctly frame our delivery. Thus, observing how mercury relates to our host planet will give us a good idea of how things in this aspect will turn out.
As for its movement, this Planet changes every three to four weeks. With that, it tends to linger around for a moderate span of time.
Finally, the planet Mercury is strongly associated with Gemini and Virgo. Representing qualities of communication and transformation, this planet gives us new ways of understanding and interpreting the world. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with rationality, intellect, perceptions, and sibling relationships.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can be too inconsistent and unreliable, causing us to say words that we don’t really mean. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can tilt the way we relate with others.
Venus
Named after the Roman goddess of love, the planet Venus bears much of what we usually want. Understood as earth’s satellite, it

reflects the light from the sun during nighttime. As such, it is densely connected to things that are buried deep within us.
For its function, the planet Venus is known to be responsible for our love and relationships. Meaning, this celestial body determines how we will blossom on this aspect of our life as it creates instances or blockages for it. For example, in trying to build new relationships with others, romance can be a critical factor that’s decided by perfect timing. Being at the right place at the right time and as a right person is something that Venus has strong influences upon.
As for its movement, this Planet changes every four to five weeks. With that, its influence on you will linger on a moderate span of time, regardless of whether it is good or bad.
Finally, the planet Venus is strongly associated with Taurus and Libra. Representing qualities of arts, wealth, and romance, this planet symbolizes one’s earthly desires. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with cultures, self-love, and possessions.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can cause us to display too much vanity and narcissism. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can tilt the scales on how we see ourselves in conjunction with others.

Mars
Mars is the 4th planet away from the sun. In general, its reddish color is often associated with energy and passion. Also named after the God of War, this planet represents the same qualities of conflict and progress. After all, creation requires destruction, something that this planet gains a subtle understanding of. Thus, its burning energy is something that’s definitely necessary for us to move forward.
For its function, the planet Mars is known to be responsible for our energy and action to move forward. Meaning, this celestial body determines if we will be able to conquer the challenges ahead. For instance, in pursuing a new career, one must remain steadfast as he/she gains skills and experience, which are necessary for progress. At the same time, one must also be courageous and daring, both of which strongly resonates with Mars.
As for its movement, this Planet changes every six to seven weeks. With that, either the lack of drive and passion or the abundance thereof is expected to be stable for this amount of time.
Finally, the planet Mars is strongly associated with Aries. Representing qualities of courage, power, and aggression, this planet represents one’s inner will to progress. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with sexuality, physical health, and endurance.

Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can cause us to become impatient and overly aggressive. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can tilt the scales of how we act and carry out our goals.
Jupiter
Known as the king of gods, Jupiter ruled over the skies. Similarly, its astrological meaning is closely intertwined with this idea as the planet shares strong resonance with one’s higher thinking skills and spirituality. Also, this planet is often called the “Planet of Luck” as our destinies can be determined by it. With that, this planet often brings transformation and change to our lives.
For its function, the planet Jupiter is known to be responsible for our perspectives and direction in life. Meaning, this celestial body determines how we see things and our part in it. For instance, in pursuing a career, Jupiter enables us to assess the long term direction and how it will impact us as a whole. This brings qualities of reflection and analysis, something that’s native on this planet.
As for its movement, the planet Jupiter changes every 12 – 13 months. As such, it is clearly a part of the outer planets whose actions are considered as slow.

Finally, the planet Jupiter is strongly associated with Sagittarius. Representing qualities of good fortune, prosperity, and broader perspectives, this planet symbolizes one’s way of looking at the world. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with sports, optimism, and superconscious mind.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can cause us to become too materialistic and extravagant. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can tilt the scales of how we choose the kind of life that we want to live.
Saturn
Known to be the god of agriculture and wealth, this planet is often viewed as the taskmaster. Ruling over how we see our work and careers, its influences will often shape this fundamental aspect of our lives.
For its function, the planet Saturn is known to be dominant in our sense of responsibility, discipline, and commitment. Meaning, this celestial body determines how we will devote ourselves to our chosen path of career. For instance, in trying to get a promotion, it is not only about our own skills and talents. More importantly, the way we view our work and execute it determines whether we’re ready for more significant tasks. Saturn determines this, allowing us to be more or less.

As for its movement, this planet changes every two to three years. With that, it often poses a shift after this long span of time. This leads you to continually re-assess your career path.
Finally, the planet Saturn is strongly associated with Capricorn. Representing qualities of experience, wisdom, and elderly respect, this planet symbolizes one’s reverence for themselves and others. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with discipline, patience, and tradition.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can cause us to become suspicious and jealous of others. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can change the way we compare our standing with other people.
Uranus
Uranus is known to be the god of the sky and heavens. As a planet, it is the epitome of change and transformation. With that, the impact of this planet is perhaps the greatest among all, for it can turn your life in the most unexpected ways. Paying attention to its movement is crucial if you want to be wary of sudden changes.
For its function, the planet Uranus is known to represent our innovative and creative energies. Meaning, this celestial body determines how we will celebrate our own sense of originality in things that we do. For instance, when this planet is in action, we might feel a sense of lack and discontent, often challenging us to

build something new for our lives. Thus, like new pages in a book, Uranus opens up new paths in almost any area of our existence.
As for its movement, this planet changes every seven years. Uniquely, this is the only planet that signifies a specific number instead of a range, indicating that most changes in life happen every 7 years. If you look at our lives, the ages of 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 represent significant changes and shifts.
Finally, the planet Saturn is strongly associated with Aquarius. Representing qualities of transformation, change, and freedom, this planet represents one’s boldness. Furthermore, it is also understood to be related to social reform, scientific progress, and even paranormal discoveries.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can cause us to become rebellious and eccentric. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can change the way we treat institutions and traditions.
Neptune
As the Roman god of the seas and earthquakes, Neptune was valued by sailors and travelers. Similarly, Neptune is regarded as the planet that strongly resonates with the water element. This implies that the planet has a more sophisticated sense of resonance, especially with one’s feelings and emotions. Thus, it carries a

certain sense of mysticism with it, as such is generally accessed by feeling instead of thinking.
For its function, the planet Neptune is known to be responsible for our sense of spirituality, intuition, and clairvoyance. Meaning, this celestial body determines the highs and lows of our psychic energy. For instance, in experiencing a spiritual awakening, one becomes more aware of the transcendental realities before him/her. Thus, you are often led by this planet to higher spheres of existence.
As for its movement, this planet changes every 10 to 12 years. Just as one’s spirituality takes time to manifest, this slow-moving planet will take years to exhibit its transformational effects.
Finally, the planet Neptune is strongly associated with Pisces. Representing qualities of intuition, selflessness, and cosmic love, this planet symbolizes one’s ability to go beyond what’s there. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with arts, diplomacy, and entertainment.
Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can cause us to become secretive and delusional. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can make us question our own realities.

Pluto
As the last planet in this series, Pluto is known to be the farthest from the Sun. In consequence, this planet is the slowest moving and coldest. Thus, its effect is often on the long-term side and is generally directed to our overall direction. Paying attention to this planet and what it has to say will generally impact us in the most unique way.
For its function, the planet Pluto is known to be responsible for our transformation. Meaning, this celestial body determines how we will cope with change and despair, both of which are understood to be inevitable in one’s existence. For instance, with the death of a family member, this event usually shapes us or breaks us. Like a crisis, it can either improve our overall actions and outlook or diminish such.
As for its movement, this planet changes every 12 to 15 years. With that, it is the slowest moving planet, often signifying a significant shift in our lives.
Finally, the planet Pluto is strongly associated with Scorpio. Representing qualities of contemplation, transformation, and progression, this planet represents one’s desire to transcend the physical and the mundane. Furthermore, it is also understood to be associated with birth, death, and the subconscious mind.

Inversely, its negative qualities are the natural consequences of its strength. Generally, this planet can cause us to become anti-social and even rebellious. Thus, its impact on our dominant planet can change the way we perceive our own reality.

Final Word
By being able to grasp the meaning of each planet and how it can possibly impact your life, you’ll be able to live it out in accordance with the universe. More often than not, things can seemingly work against us simply because we are not aligned with what the world has set for us.
As such, the way to go is to be mindful of planetary movements. In doing so, it will be easier for you to go with the tide. For instance, you’ll be able to execute your plans in critical areas of your life with better timing and rhythm. This will be crucial not only in your daily choices but also in your overall direction.
Through this E-book, we hope to have imparted some essential information that can help you achieve more in life. Always remember that as planets move, we are also running. This ensures a cosmic balance, something that we need to respect and abide by.

❤️

Laura Zukerman

Owner and Founder At The Goddess Bibles A Memoir By Laura Zukerman

Becoming Your Inner Goddess

Goddess On 🔥

Nodes and What they Are 🔆

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Introduction
Most of us are usually familiar with the 12 zodiac signs. By reading about it on the internet, we get to have a simple digest of things that we want to know about ourselves. For instance, we can read about today’s horoscope and frame our actions based on it. If it is quite negative, then perhaps we can be a bit prudent for the day. Inversely, if it is generous, then perhaps we can be more daring.
More often than not, horoscopes are used this way. Giving us a general prediction of the near and far future, we open our perspectives to what the universe says about us. Instead of simply relying on our own intuition and logic, the approach of integrating this form of divination will greatly improve your chances of being one with the universe in every choice we make.
As such, deepening your understanding of astrology and natal charts will help you learn more about yourself. By exploring the secret of the astrological nodes, you can unravel what the celestial bodies say about you and your direction in life. Thus, in this E-book, we will be exploring how we can utilize these nodes to our benefit!

What Are Astrological Nodes?
By definition, a node is a point where two lines meet. Like an intersection, nodes can be understood as a merging point of two things. As such, an astrological node is an intersection of two celestial bodies.
In understanding astrology, it is crucial to point out that planetary movements are a major basis of one’s fate. Given that each planet travels around the sun, their trajectories are also taken into account in discussing them. With that, these points are understood to bear a significant meaning with them.
To begin with, the lunar nodes are points where the moon’s orbit went past through your plane during birth. As such, there are two nodes under the lunar node, namely, the north node and the south node.
Simply put, the north node can be understood as your courage zone. Meaning, in this lifetime, you are meant to transcend your old ways by accepting this calling. As you step in this courage zone, you will learn a new aspect of yourself, which will help you become more as an individual.
Inversely, the south node is more like a comfort zone. Containing your natural set of skills and preferences, this node signals who you are. In general, they can be treated as our innate gifts. However, they also represent the things that we need to move forward.
By integrating the nodes in how we live your life, you will get a different sense of self. Thus, in the succeeding sections, you’ll get to unlock the meaning of both north and south nodes in your life.

Aries & Libra Lunar Nodes
As the first pair in this series, the Aries north node challenges us to step out from the supporting role. While Aries is able to provide the much-needed support within the group, this function somehow limits the manifestation of Aries towards greatness. Because this is considered as their comfort zone, they must transcend it in order to unravel a new aspect of their personality.
In this case, Aries must assess how they interact with other people. By reflecting on the nature of their group dynamics, Aries creates an opportunity for growth. One instance that they have to take note of is their passive approach in life. Whether it is in work or in their personal life, the supporting role is often perceived passively. Without the desire to shine or stand-out, Aries can easily be left out to themselves.
Inversely, this Aries north node is Libra’s south node. Meaning, as Aries needs to step-up, Libra needs to step down. By being overly comfortable with this “me-first” mentality, Libra can be good at making things happen on their own. As such, they don’t have to rely on others to realize what they want. Instead, they can simply go for their goals as they have the ability to do so on their own.
With that, Libra must conquer the challenge of humility. By stepping down from the lead role, they will be able to see what they usually don’t – the plight of the supporting role. As such, this will widen the perspective of Libra in things such that when they become leaders again, they would be one’s that will embody a lot of wisdom and not only courage.
Thus, if you are born with an Aries north node or a Libra south node, such means that you’ve mastered relationships in your previous life. By doing so, you are coming strong as you have

great interpersonal skills. The key for you here is to know where to position yourself.
If you have an Aries north node, then most likely, you’ll be dealing with anger issues. Burning with passion and a strong desire to make things happen, you have to be conscious of how you are channeling this energy. Similarly, those with Libra north nodes must learn how to commune with others. This will teach them how to adjust and be one with shared goals.

Taurus and Scorpio Lunar Nodes
Those bearing the Taurus north nodes must be able to release their Scorpio south nodes. In particular, the Scorpio south nodes include a flurry of incoherencies like sexual aggression, being manipulative or secretive, and even relying on others. Consumed by their desire to put up a positive impression, they may overshoot themselves in the process.
As such, their approach should be in line with the Taurus north node. In accepting simplicity and truth, they are able to see a different perspective in life. Instead of being trapped in their usual perception about how things should be, this enlightening approach can lead them towards a more meaningful existence.
If you are bearing a Scorpio north node with a Taurus south node, this means that you basically have to go beyond the comfort zones of Taurus. As an earth sign, Taurus is known to have a strong resonance with the world and worldly concerns. Meaning, they are keen on pursuing things that are physical, sensual, and materialistic.
As such, this Taurus south node is known to be very stubborn, stable, and loyal in their own goals. However, what they lack is the re-assessment of these goals. By identifying its meaning and purpose, re-assessing things can be a key factor in moving forward.
With that, the best direction is the Scorpio north node. In this path, one is to embrace spirituality and mysticism. By reconnecting with the divine, you are able to gain a new sense of meaning that transcends money and sex. Such definitely means that you are going out of your comfort zone and that growth is something imminent as a natural consequence.

Furthermore, the Scorpio north node also suggests a coalition with others. By entering joint ventures and letting others contribute to your financial goals, you’ll be destined towards prosperity.
Given such, the coverage of the Taurus and Scorpio north/south nodes are generally focused on the tension between the physical and the spiritual. By being mindful of this push and pull tension between them, you’ll be able to arrive at new ways to deal with this problem.
The critical approach here for Scorpio north node is to assess what they can do to fix the issue instead of yearning about what- ifs. For the Taurus north node, their task is in making sure to impart to others their blessings and good tidings.

Gemini and Sagittarius Lunar Nodes
For Gemini and Sagittarius, the lunar nodes are generally directed on communication and community-building. As such, these nodes present a polarity between the Gemini and Sagittarian approach to things.
To begin with, having a Gemini north node means that you are yearning for communal stability. As such, your comfort zone should be the Sagittarian south node, which translates to one word – wanderlust.
Yes, having a Gemini north node means that you should practically give up all sorts of instability and inconsistencies in life. Meaning, you are to focus on things that last and ones that will bring constructive outcomes.
For instance, traveling and building new relationships in each city you visit is a strong example of a Sagittarian south node. Because it is their forte to go out there and explore, they seldom create lasting relationships that are anchored on shared communal goals. Instead of pursuing this, your aim is to do away from it and focus on your courage, which primarily rests on sustainable goals and communities.
Inversely, a Sagittarian north node suggests that you should do away from the familiar and the stagnant. What is considered to be foundational and essential are things that you are strongly resonant with. However, whether you like it or not, this type of thinking can also curtail your potentials.
As such, one example of this is transferring to another town for work. Especially when you are coming from a small town, transferring to a bigger one often gives an unprecedented conclusion for you. Whereas you see your hometown as the

perfect place to build yourself in, choosing to drift away will definitely yield greater dividends for you, given that you are a bearer of the Sagittarian north node.
Furthermore, do not forget that Gemini is a communication sign. As such, if you bear the Gemini north node, your courage zone lies in your ability to deal with others. By engaging in a democratic way, you’ll learn to get their respect without forcing it.
Finally, Sagittarius can be associated with one’s spirituality. As such, it can be the key to unlocking not only your personal but also your spiritual perspective. This path leads you to higher levels of uncertainty, but also deeper insights on the way you integrate spirituality in your personal dealings.

Cancer and Capricorn Lunar Nodes
Focused on the innate tension of the anima and the animus, this strong push and pull between feminine and masculine energies are represented by these two zodiac signs. As Cancer exhibits strong qualities of emotion and intuition, they are associated with feminine energy. Inversely, Capricorn, which is an earth sign, shares strong resonance with paternalism, structure, and career.
With that, having a Cancer north node simply means that you are to pursue the values of feminine energy. When you bear a Cancer north node, it also means that you have a Capricorn south node which explains your inherent comfort in worldly goods and logical conclusions. But in order to widen your perspective, you’ll also need to see from the other side.
For instance, in deciding about moral issues, a worldly and rational standpoint can either be consequential or deontological. In the classic case of whether or not it is right to steal a drug in order to save your spouse, the Capricorn south node will favor based on one’s moral preference. However, pursuing a Cancer north node means that you will feel from their shoes and do everything in your power to save them.
Inversely, a Cancer south node means that you have strong intuition and relational skills. In order to cope with life or excel in it, you often rely on this ability to understand and feel the plight of others. As such, you are known to be that prized pacifier in a team which alleviates the tension within the group.
However, while this is your strength, such is also your limit. Because you are never truly able to transcend this, you are limited in an intuitive and emotional approach. Thus, you need to

pursue the Capricorn north node, which centers on the pursuit of personal stability and sufficiency.
Thus, you are shifting from strong motherly instincts to fatherly ones. As a reaction, you will definitely become more logical and instrumental in the way you assess things in your life.
Lastly, always remember that both of these signs are known to cross both the earth and sea. Like a crab, Cancer is at home with the water sign but can also access the earth sign. Similarly, the Capricorn, which is a sea-goat, is at home at land, yet may access the sea. This signals that despite being opposites regarding their node relations, both signs are destined to this calling.

Leo and Aquarius Lunar Nodes
As for Leo and Aquarius, the whole tension is centered upon the rhetoric of the commoners and the royals. Each having contrasting views of the world, these two are naturally different, given how things appear to them by birth. Stemming from a commoner’s perspective, life is meant to be difficult and impoverished such that one must exert all efforts to transcend it. However, from a royal’s perspective, life is meant to be lived in the most grandiose way as they rule over themselves and others.
As such, if you have a Leo north node, this means that you have lived your past life in plight and impoverishment. While you may be comfortable in these struggles, it takes a lot of courage to step out of them and transcend your situation. With that, you must look at how you can live the life of the royals in your own way.
One way to do this is to change your environment. Whereas you were used to hanging out with people of your league, shifting to those you can’t reach will force you to metamorphosis. By learning new concepts from the royals themselves, you’ll get to see the other side of the coin.
Inversely, having an Aquarius north node means that your past life was centered on royalty. Perhaps, you were living a life of prestige and honor as you were a son or daughter of a duke. But in this lifetime, the cosmic alignments point towards your task of resonating with the marginalized.
Meaning, while it may cause you to discomfort to go out there and to commune with those who are in need, it is necessary for you to do so in order to grow. Remember, you are used to with wealth and honor such that they became your comfort zones. But by

learning how to engage with those who are in need, you allow yourself to grow with a broader perspective in life.
Thus, remember that Leo is a bearer of royalty while Aquarius is meant to bring transformation. As long as you are able to envision for yourself how you can apply such perspectives in your life, you’ll be able to get to your courage zone in no time!

Virgo and Pisces Lunar Nodes
With the last set of lunar nodes, the whole discussion centers on the tension between reasonability and creativity. Whereas Virgo is ruled by the planet Mercury which is known for its cleverness, Pisces is ruled by the planet Neptune which is heavily associated with dreaminess. Given such, you’re most likely getting the picture here – two conflicting ways of assessing reality.
In this case, a Virgo north node means that you have to transcend your daydreams. By taking a more realistic assessment of what’s going on in your life, you’ll be able to go beyond your usual dreamy approach, as this is your Pisces south node.
For instance, one problem with being too dreamy is that you can be easily stuck in your own thoughts. Instead of actualizing something, the thought of making it can already consume you. As such, the way to go is to analyze things using logic and data, something that an earth sign would do. With that, you’ll integrate a sense of practicality in your approach.
Inversely, a Pisces north node means that you have to somehow give up such a rational approach. Instead of limiting yourself in the facts and the data that’s in your hands, you go beyond it by accepting that the universe is bigger than you and that other forces might be in play.
An example of this would be on how to understand the negative things that are going on in your life right now. Interpreting them from a strictly rational standpoint means that you won’t get to see how universal energy must be restored in your system. Furthermore, such a stringent approach from a Virgo south node lacks creativity and intuition, something that you can draw out from pursuing the Pisces north node.

By taking into account how you can integrate and balance the other side of these two perspectives, you are certainly bound towards self-growth and development. You don’t necessarily have to give up either of them. Instead, you can simply add and prioritize one over the other. After all, your south node is your comfort zone, the spring, which will propel you to heights. So, it wouldn’t make sense to simply ditch them for some new goal that’s set by your north node.

Final Word
In this E-book, we have discussed the Nodes of Fate. As a life plan, these lunar nodes can serve as pointers to us and lead us towards the more progressive options in life.
By essence, what the lunar nodes are trying to teach us is to simply do away from our comfort zones and pursue our courage zones. As each of the north and south nodes discuss this, you’ll get a sense of how much can apply in your life. Simply by knowing their meaning and identifying your north node, you already have that much sought life map, which will bring meaning and success to you.
As long as you follow the path that the stars have set for you, you won’t be going against the current of the universe. Bearing the universal energy which will push you through challenges and conflicts, having such as is your ultimate ally in this journey called life.

❤️

Laura Zukerman

Owner and Founder At The Goddess Bibles A Memoir By Laura Zukerman

Becoming Your Inner Goddess

Goddess on 🔥

Psychic Abilities

Awakening One’s Psychic Abilities
Perhaps, one way or another, we’ve heard of that story about someone who possesses supernatural powers. Able to predict the future, they write documents and proofs that serve as anomalous readings about what will happen next. And whether we like it or not, some do actually have this ability.
For instance, the famous Nostradamus serves as a well-known example of this. As he writes about his prophecies, it turns out that one happens after another, with rationalists being unable to explain how this can happen. After all, who would have thought that this is possible?
With that, this points only to one explanation – the existence of supernatural abilities. Despite being unable to explain them, the presence of psychic abilities often tells us that there exists beyond the tangible and the rational.
Instead of exclusively understanding the world from the lens of the sciences, giving enough credit for these transcendental experiences will allow us to gain a new perspective. By not being limited to earthly desires and knowledge, we open ourselves to things that are beyond us.
Thus, join us on this journey as you unravel a new aspect of yourself! By seeing how you can possibly use your mind to impact your reality, you’ll gain a unique ability, which will help you in numerous ways.
As such, in this E-book, we’ll be thoroughly discussing the 5 basic types of psychic abilities and 8 proven ways to harness them. By reading through, you’ll be able to understand what they are, on top of gaining practical knowledge on how to execute them. 


What are Psychic Abilities?
Generally speaking, psychic abilities are often non-tangible ways of impacting the world. Going beyond the sense of reason and common sense, man is able to connect with the higher powers of the universe and wield them.
If you think of cosmic energy, you can consider its basic form as universal and formless. Because it is such, it can become the life source of all that there is. Regardless of a being’s essence (which can be a stone, plant, human, etc.), this life force is the one that allows it to exist.
With that, psychic abilities are one way of harnessing this universal life force. By employing spiritual methods, one is able to transcend the material world and use paranormal means of actualizing this.
For instance, when one does telepathy, a rational and scientific method won’t be applicable. After all, would there be a way to measure this ability? Of course, we can never measure their strength. Unlike liquids or programs, this thing cannot be quantified or rationalized.
Even so, it doesn’t necessarily deny its existence. Because we are able to experience cases where one can forward these thoughts, people can never deny the truth that there indeed exists a way to do it.
With that, we’ll be moving on by discussing the 5 basic types of psychic abilities. Although there are a lot more that can be added to this list, we’ll focus on the 5 most common and fundamental ways of utilizing this cosmic energy.

Furthermore, this E-book will also continue by outlining 8 ways to awaken one’s psychic abilities. By doing so, you’ll gain access to a practical guide on how you can begin your baby steps in this journey.

Psychic Ability #1: Astral Projection
As one of the most commonly experienced forms of psychic ability, the astral projection has solid multicultural roots. Given that it is experienced universally amongst people who have a higher sense of spirituality, astral projection is something that is renowned as a type of psychic ability.
Basically, astral projection is the ability to separate the mind from the body. Given the presumption of the dichotomy between the brain and the body, some experts have testified that it is indeed possible to separate them.
By doing so, one can achieve things that he/she won’t usually be able to. For instance, astral projection allows a person to travel beyond the physical realm simply because they have shifted to their spiritual existence.
With that, individuals who are able to harness this ability can consciously manipulate their experiences. Unlike dreams where we are bound by the unconscious elements in it, astral projection gives us a fully operational conscious state.
As such, practitioners of this ability tell us that it is even possible to see their spirit/soul as it separates from the body during sleep. Like a ghost, that spirit is able to wander around and perceive things that they usually wouldn’t like energies and auras.
Given this, a lot of people seek to have a higher level of spirituality. By doing so, they will gain access to their own spiritual planes through astral projection itself.

Psychic Ability #2: Clairvoyance
Even if you’re not a fan of America’s Got Talent, the social media space would be enough to tell you about a pair of clairvoyants in their show. Able to perceive the immediate future of particular events, these tricksters present to us what’s commonly referred to as clairvoyance.
To begin with, clairvoyance stems from the French words clair meaning clear and voyance, which means vision. Defined as the ability to gain extrasensory information, this psychic ability is recognized by individuals despite the fact that the general masses are unable to explain such events.
With that, clairvoyance is often used to predict life events. By having this psychic ability, one can manipulate his/her destiny instead of being merely subject to it.
For instance, clairvoyance gives you the power to know if someone in the group is deliberately lying to you. Because you are able to conclude without proof, you don’t need to prepare traps in order to catch them doing it. Instead, you can simply avoid them, for you already know what they’re up to.
By having a peek into the near future, clairvoyance allows you to make better choices in life.

Psychic Ability #3: Intuition
Being the most basic among the bunch, intuition is a psychic ability that almost anyone can master. By using intuition, one is relying on his/her gut instead of actual proofs on something. As such, it gives the user the ability to assess things without the need for evidence.
In its purest form, intuition can be understood as a way of using a combination of one’s emotive and spiritual powers. By sharpening one’s intuition, the user can have a solid hunch about what’s to come.
For instance, this ability is commonly practiced by women, particularly mothers. Even in the absence of facts, a mother will be able to tell if their children are experiencing something wrong in school. All it takes are a combination of one’s feeling and some clues or hints.
These clues are often presented by the child. In this case, the child may appear bothered or uneasy. Even when they are deliberately hiding it, the mother will be able to see through, allowing her to engage in a series of verifications.
Similarly, intuition can also be pure. Without any hint at all, a mother will be able to have that feeling that’s accompanied by goosebumps. Generally, this happens as a vague hunch. By connecting to their spiritual self, intuition manifests through goosebumps or premonitions about themselves or others.

Psychic Ability #4: Precognition
Being a combination of both intuition and clairvoyance, precognition is the ability to predict future events. By tapping into one’s spiritual powers, the user can get a vivid picture of things that are yet to occur in their lives.
But unlike clairvoyance, which is usually short to middle distance of vision, precognition seeks to unravel the far future. For instance, this often happens in dreams that occur years before the actual event. In this case, one can foresee the death of a loved one or the future career of themselves and the like. Because they have the ability to predict the far future, precognition bears its own unique value.
With that, this psychic ability is advantageous in trying to determine one’s path. Given that each person has a different way that’s laid upon them by birth, a person who has the ability to predict one’s direction can give meaning to ones’ struggles.
While others remain confused and conflicted with what’s happening to them, the enlightened person can make sense of the situation. By being able to see how one event connects to the other, practitioners of this spiritual ability are sought for their higher levels of wisdom and thought.

Psychic Ability #5: Telepathy
Often seen in movies, this psychic ability is, perhaps, the most difficult to do. After all, who would believe that one has the power to telepathically communicate thoughts to another person?
In essence, the principle behind telepathy lies in paranormal levels of harnessing the power of the psyche. By being able to pass on ideas without uttering words or read one’s thoughts, telepathy is genuinely a subject of both wonder and mysticism.
Generally speaking, the most recognized mode of this psychic ability is dream telepathy. As one of the main topics in parapsychology, experiments were conducted to prove this ability to communicate through dreams. As images were relayed between the sender and the receiver during sleep, this psychic ability seemed to have crossed the limits of what can be known.
Another form of this is twin telepathy. Given that there is a uniquely strong resonance between twins, it has been theorized that they are the most likely subjects that can engage in mind communication. Thus, this often led to speculation and wonder, even among spiritual practitioners.
Whether or not telepathy can actually be achieved is something that remains a mystery. As such, you can treat it as one of the goals that you might eventually reach as you harness your spiritual abilities.
Given these 5 basic types of psychic abilities, the next question is: how do we actually achieve them? As such, we’ll be laying out 8 simple ways to awaken your psychic abilities. With that, you’ll have a definite starting point from which you can build on. 


First Way: Constant Meditation
As the most basic form of spirituality, constant meditation is the first step to reconnect with yourself. Given that you are pouring almost all your energies and attention to the world, it is only reasonable for you to lose this innate connection between you and your perception of who you are.
Meaning, when we think of our conscious self, what we usually miss out on is the fact that we can be disconnected from it. Assuming that all the choices we make are ours, we forget that there can be a gap between who we are and who we perceive ourselves to be.
As such, meditation is often the best technique to bridge this gap. Given that it employs an active way of reassessing one’s thoughts, meditation can bring into light the subconscious or unconscious ideas that you may have.
By giving yourself some time to pause and reflect, you’ll be able to examine your idle thoughts and what they are trying to communicate to you. Following this course, it becomes easier for you to assess which ones to keep and the ones to reject. Thus, it becomes the first step to awaken your psychic abilities as it exercises the psyche itself.

Second Way: Sharpening your Gut
Though seemingly obvious, sharpening your gut is one of the more proven ways of increasing your psychic abilities. By continually training how to assess your gut thoughts, you’ll be more familiar with specific actions and instances which signal you to engage or back out.
For instance, when meeting someone new, you’ll always have a gut feeling about them. Whether positive or negative, this gut feel will give you a good sense of intuition whether or not it is right for you to engage with them. As such, this idea often leads you to have a favorable or unfavorable initial meeting.
Regardless of the result, the point that you should take note of here is the fact that you can slowly build your intuition. By paying attention to red or green flags, you can maneuver beyond the flowery words that a person may feed you. Because your gut cannot be reasoned with, it is also something that is not corrupted by reason itself.
Furthermore, sharpening your gut is your first step towards intuition. As you practice this skill, you’ll get better over time. As such, what you can do is to write your gut feelings and thoughts about something as they arise, and record how much of them turn out to be true.

Third Way: Dream Journaling
With the 5 types of psychic abilities, we’ve learned that dreams are the most common platform where one can engage freely with his/her spiritual nature. After all, during dreams, we are transferred to a different plane, one that goes beyond our physical reality.
As such, precognition, telepathy, astral projection, and even clairvoyance can manifest in one’s dreams. For instance, dreaming of certain symbols can signify the impending death of a family member or the upcoming romance in your life. While you may be unaware of it, such is already a form of the psychic ability itself.
However, most of us fail to realize this. Instead, what they do is to simply brush it off and think that it’s just another dream. But by doing dream journaling, you can change this.
Using this technique, you will be able to systematically record the events in your dreams. Most notably with what Carl Jung refers to as big ideas, these images can contain something in themselves that is essential in moving forward with one’s psychic abilities.
By taking note of them, you can actively track your dreams, which means that you now have more control instead of seeing them as random and isolated.

Fourth Way: Identifying your Spirit Guide
In attempting to harness your psychic abilities, identifying your spirit guide is another critical element that you can do. Following the roots of shamanism, some spiritual practitioners believe that we all have spirit guides. As such, they often appear to us in dreams and in forms of animals.
With that, different animals have various meanings. Given your spiritual journey, these animals will guide you by showing you the way. After all, treading the spiritual planes of existence can be confusing and complicated in itself. Moreover, they also serve as your protectors. With harmful and malicious energies that can encroach your vulnerable spiritual self, the spirit guide will ensure that you are protected.
As such, they often accompany you on things like astral projection. Being a high level of psychic ability, astral projection can cause you to become corrupted by evil spirits. Just like in the stories where people are unable to return to their bodies, astral projection can be dangerous in itself.
But with the help of a spirit guide, you can ward them off. By carrying a token with you, the spirit guide becomes both physically and spiritually present, as they guard and guide your way. 


Fifth Way: Healing Crystals
Containing the energies of the earth, healing crystals are also considered as active catalysts in attempting to manifest one’s psychic abilities. With its unique functions and low-frequency vibrations, each healing crystal contains energy which can unlock you. After all, these energies are created and stored in these crystals by mother nature itself.
For instance, the crystal amethyst contains much spirituality and mysticism in it. Only by incorporating it in your daily meditation, this healing crystal can sort things out for you and bring you closer to your spiritual self.
Furthermore, you can also use other healing crystals that are directed to the throat and crown chakra. In this case, the crystal lapis lazuli unblocks your throat chakra. This means that your communicative skills will improve, allowing you to better connect with the universe. Similarly, the mystical moonstone can aid you in your dreams as it increases your emotional sensitivity.
With that, healing crystals are to be taken as enhancers for practicing your psychic abilities. By understanding the whole chakra system in conjunction with healing crystals, you’ll know how to meditate and adequately use these crystals to open your spiritual gates.

Sixth Way: Getting a Spiritual Mentor
Just as in all practices, having a mentor with you will improve your progress by tenfold. Compared to only doing your own thing, having a good mentor allows you to take only the correct steps. Especially when you are great at absorbing things like a sponge, the wisdom that your mentor has will be more than enough to propel your progress.
Similarly, developing your psychic abilities will be much easier if you have someone to tell you what to do. Because this whole exercise can be tricky and complicated in itself, paying attention to proper steps will ensure that you’ll learn the correct way to do it.
Because this whole thing can be tricky in itself, ensuring that you are learning from an experienced one will definitely be a big plus for you. Instead of taking unnecessary detours, your mentor will guide you properly on your journey.
After all, in developing your psychic abilities, you should note that this also exposes you to potentially unwanted elements. As you open your astral planes and access your higher spiritual self, negative energies might possibly take over.
However, with the help of a mentor, you’ll ensure that someone got your back.

Seventh Way: Spiritual Awakening
Developing your psychic abilities is strongly intertwined with spiritual awakening. As your first significant step, spiritual awakening opens up your higher self. But how does it happen?
Before you know it, spiritual awakening can occur in the simplest of ways. For instance, the death of a loved one can trigger you to question the meaning of life or if there is life after death. While seemingly paradoxical, these questions point to realities that go beyond our reach, something that spiritual awakening seeks to unlock.
Moving forward, you’ll have a variety of supernatural experiences. Just like the ones mentioned here, you might get premonitions, stronger intuitions, or even experience unintended astral projections during sleep.
In general, it will bring you to an unexplainable sense of the universe. Being able to feel its energy and yet unable to explain it, such cosmic powers will run through you.
With that, fret not for these things is natural when experiencing a spiritual awakening. As long as you are able to recognize them, these things will actually help you in your journey onwards, as they become opportunities for growth.

Eighth Way: Reconnect with Nature
As our life-giver, nature provides us with everything that we need. Whether it is our food, shelter, or even energy, we rely on almost anything to mother nature itself.
However, the development of industrialization only furthered this gap between man and nature. With buildings that block our path and surround us with concrete, it is quite challenging to reconnect with the trees and the wind.
Furthermore, our social media world contributed to this gap. Consumed by the allure of consumerism and online vanity, the difference that this development bridged only brought us farther from the serenity of the ocean.
With that, it takes a thorough reassessment on how disconnected we are from nature. Whether we like it or not, life itself is a spiritual energy source that can aid us in developing psychic abilities.
By reconnecting with nature, we will be able to tap on this energy. Such will bring a renewed sense of self.

Final Word
Awakening your psychic abilities is never an easy task. As such, even this E- book can only do so much in helping you by enlightening you about ideas or concepts that can help bolster your progress.
With that, we’d like to leave you a few pointers to take note of on this journey.
First, you have to be specific on the kind of psychic ability that you want to develop. Given the many options that you can do, paying attention to one skill at a time will ensure steady progress for you. This is crucial since beginners usually try out everything and end up achieving nothing. By not repeating this mistake, you’ll have better odds of being able to harness the ability that you want.
Second, in choosing your psychic ability, make sure that you’ve selected the best method that’s fit for it. For instance, the easiest to develop here is the power of intuition. Because we already have that grounding of gut feeling, intuition is simply a higher form of it. With that, you should ask yourself: which of the methods mentioned will best help me in my progress? By giving a clear cut answer for this, it will be easier for you to perfect this ability.
Third, fill your subconscious with it. Learning and harnessing psychic abilities is undoubtedly no easy task. It surely will take a lot of commitment on your part. Far from being a simple stroll in the park, harnessing these abilities requires you to know more about your spiritual self. With that, the way to go is to commit to it by filling your subconscious thoughts of this desire. In this

way, even your unconscious thoughts will contribute to your overall development.
With these final three tips, we hope that this E-book will become a good take-off point for you. As you take these tips and turn them into action, you’ll be able to harness the power of your mind in no time!

❤️

Laura Zukerman

Owner and Founder At The Goddess Bibles A Memoir By Laura Zukerman

Becoming Your inner goddess

Goddess on 🔥

Memory and the brains ability to process information

Memory is a hot topic these days and everyone is looking for
the next best essential oil or supplement to boost its power.
Health food stores make a killing each year off of everyday
people, just like you, who want to improve their memory but are
not sure exactly how to make that happen. They spend
needless amounts of money on a product that is, in most
cases, providing little more than a placebo effect. If you would
like to truly enhance the memory power of your mind, you have
all of the tools you need without adding any fake miracle pill to
your already busy regimen and budget. Three simple tools
include breaks, sleeping, and journaling… no, seriously. It really
is that easy.

Think about it. When a college students are pulling out another
one of their late-night study sessions, there is a lot of action
going on behind the scenes and hidden deep within the
unconscious mind. Those students will crank out hour after
hour of uninterrupted study time hoping to retain as much as
possible. Sadly, what would help that student out significantly
better than a marathon of study? It is actually, taking a break.
Believe it or not, psychologists agree that taking a true break
from the assignment can actually help the memories lock into
place. Here’s the catch: it has to be a real break from the task.
In order for those new memories to form, the brain has to
almost “rest” itself. Sadly, the brain is unable to hit that reset
button while still focusing on the task at hand.

In order to lock in
the memories, it is best to go do something you enjoy and
allows you to happily focus on something else.
This is where the fun part comes in. If you enjoy video games,
turn one on and play a round. If you enjoy exercise, get out the
yoga mat or lace up your running shoes. Better yet, call your
mom or a long long lost friend and tell them how much you
care. Anything to keep yourself from thinking about what you
want to remember. It seems counter-intuitive, but it gives your
brain the chance to save and reset before carrying on about the
day.

Another popular tool to help increase your memory power – is
sleep. Just like taking a break, going to sleep at just the right
time and getting a good night’s rest is the perfect boost to your
brain’s memory creating power. Sleep gives your brain the
optimum opportunity to create and store those memories you
have made. According to research, it is best to study in the
afternoon, practice or review what you learned a little later in
the evening, and then go to bed for the night. When you wake
up in the morning, your chances of recalling what it is you are
consciously trying to remember will be significantly improved.
(Vahdat, 2017)

What is actually happening to your memories during that sleep
cycle? Sparing the science lesson, you can say the memory is
stored, traced, and even evolved while you are catching that
beauty rest. During the first 2-3 hours of sleep, the memory
actually stays in the cortex and recycles or replays. The cortex
is the same place in the brain that the memory was actually
formed. Once you enter rapid eye movement or REM sleep, the
memory moves more deeply into the brain, in a region called
the putamen where it is locked and loaded for the rest of your
life.

Without getting the proper amount of sleep, your precious,
baby short-term memories never get the chance to grow and
develop into long-term adult nostalgic bliss. This is especially
important if you are trying to develop a new skill, up your game,
or study for an exam. Imagine staying up all night studying,
cramming as much knowledge into your brain as possible, but
remembering hardly any of it because you never went to
sleep… and feeling exhausted on top of it!

The last tip to hack your unconscious and boost your memory
power, is something you have no doubt heard to do before…
write it down. The college student cramming all night for the
next day’s exam might have done better by just writing solid,
well thought out notes. Why does writing notes or even
journaling about your day help increase your unconscious
ability to recall information? There are a few key factors at work
while you write, especially if you are writing by hand.
Experts agree that taking notes, especially handwriting notes is
one of the most significant ways to hack your unconscious into
increasing your memory. Not only does recalling the
information and summarizing it in your own words help give
your unconscious the boost, but the actual cognitive functions
that are required to do it.

You are coordinating your verbal skills
with your fine movement skills and forcing your brain to
sloooowww down while you transcribe from thoughts to paper.
(Bui, D. C., Myerson, J., & Hale, S. 2013) Your unconscious
mind has to step aside, while your conscious mind handles the
task.

Whether you are working to improve your memory for work,
school, or just for the experience of reminiscing in your old age
rewarding yourself with breaks, getting enough sleep, and
documenting your experience by hand are all easy ways to
completely hack your unconscious mind to improve your
memory. Instead of your unconscious mind deciding what is
important enough to keep, you can override the process and
force it to know what you want to be important

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can bend them like an artist.” Pablo Picasso

So much of what you do each day, your motivations, and your
willingness to do more is all driven by your unconscious mind.
From the time you are born until the time you die, your
unconscious brain is hard at work. Without actively thinking,
you complete task after task and never question why you do
what you do. Your reasons are sometimes even a mystery to
you. Connecting with your unconscious mind can not only be
done relatively simply, but the benefits are seemingly
unmatched.

Would you believe that your unconscious mind can be
responsible for some of your top successes as well as some of
your most heart-wrenching mistakes? What if you were told
that you can even transform your future and opportunities for
success, simply by changing your mind? Does the idea of
controlling your unconscious mind to change the outcome of
your life seem plausible, or does it just sound like another
passing fad? Believe it or not, how you feel about that last
question will even help determine the answer.

Awareness of the unconscious mind’s influence is one of the
first steps in gaining back the control of your choices. You will
be placing the outcome of your happiness, your relationships,
your career and so much more back into your hands. Some of
the most successful and influential people to-date have spoken
of this same awareness. No, it is not a “secret” key to
happiness; however, connecting with your unconscious mind is
a widely underused practice.

“The mind is like an iceberg. It floats with one-seventh of its
bulk above water.” -Sigmund Freud.

Whether you realize it or not, there is A LOT happening inside
of your mind without your participation. While your awareness
is cast on work, family, kids, and who tagged whom in which
post, your mind is busy at work preparing for you your
reactions, responses, emotions, and deepest desires. The
unconscious mind is there, right next to you, all day long. Even
as you sleep, your mind is there with you sharing its subtle, yet
powerful influence. According to psychologists, this influence
has been developing and working for you since you where a
child, and the way you allow it to influence your decisions today
is almost completely out of your control. That operative word
here is most certainly, “almost.”

The concept of an unconscious or subconscious mind was first
“officially” introduced by praised psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud.
There are now a few models and opinions on the unconscious
mind and its impact and influence on our daily life; however, the
Freudian model was the first and is still the most widely known
by members outside of the psychological community.
The Freudian model of the unconscious was captured by
intense case studies by Freud of sample patients who were
suffering from abnormal psychological issues or trauma (Freud
1925/1961, Page 31.) He explored the motivations behind
everyday actions and reactions. He also investigated the
influence of the unconscious on their dreams. The work of
Freud is still most definitely the most influential; however, there are a few other positions on the subject.

Two other competing theories of the unconscious mind can be
found in those who practice Cognitive Psychology as well as
Social Psychology. In each respective model, the purpose and
power of the unconscious mind varies as well as its influence
over your choices. For example, Cognitive psychology has a
belief that the unconscious is actually not capable of the credit
we have given it over the years.They argue that the influence
on our lives is so subtle and it is so easily suggested to that
there is no justification in giving it such power. (loftus &
Klinger, 1992)

Social psychology argues that the processes and functions of
the unconscious mind are far more important and serve a
greater purpose than the catalysts for which those actions
happen. While Freudians and Cognitive psychologists are
focusing more on the stimuli triggering the unconscious
response, Social psychologists are directing their attention to
the response itself (Bargh, 2007.)

Interestingly enough, those who practice or study any form of
psychology will still hold the Freudian model as a baseline, or
even a champion of the unconscious mind. His case studies
modeled a movement toward mental health and taking a quest
for the deeper meaning hidden in everyday interactions. All
professional psychologists, and many of those who are not,
have all learned of Freud and studied the impact of his work on
our lives today. They cannot deny his influence on the field just
as they cannot deny the innermost workings of the unconscious
mind begin forming and developing while even in the womb
and locked into place during childhood.

Psychological models aside, you can no doubt reflect to a time
when you were a child and remember an experience that may
have shaped the way you make decisions as an adult. Maybe
you remember a time when you touched a hot stove and
learned, “That’s hot!” Perhaps it was something much deeper
or traumatic. The fact of the matter is that you have thousands
of experiences that have molded you into the person you are
today, and most of the time you had no idea it was leaving any
sort of lasting impact at all. In fact, depending on how traumatic
the experience may have been for you, there is a chance you
will have forgotten it entirely. However, the impact that
unconscious memory has on your psyche can be quite
pervasive.

It is widely accepted that the most influential relationship for a
child on both the conscious and the unconscious mind is with
their parents. The relationships and interactions between your
parents, particularly your same sex parent, have the singlehand
most impactful impressions on your psyche — whether
you want it to be or not, the impact is there. (Freud, 1956)
The ways in which your parents cared for you, disciplined you,
or even spoke about themselves are all ways that added to
your unconscious conditioning. There are more subtle
influences at work too. For example, how much you were or
were not held as an infant has an impact, as well as the ways
in which you played, or if you had siblings and the birth order of
said siblings… all of it (and so much more) comes together to
shape your unconscious mind.

The first step in gaining mastery or control over the
unconscious mind derives from gaining an understanding and
awareness of how it came to be. This is even more important
when discussing the influence of unconscious memories
themselves. In some cases, an event or an experience was so
traumatic the brain actually suppress the memory entirely. This
form of selective amnesia is one of the brain’s natural defense
mechanisms against recalling and reliving a traumatic
experience. However, keeping these memories suppressed is
not as positive as you would assume.

Even though the memory itself is hidden away, the negative
associates are still there – even if only on an unconscious level.
When something in your present day life triggers any of those
suppressed memories, the body responds sometimes
mimicking how it felt while first experiencing the trauma and
presenting as depression, anxiety, and even post traumatic
stress disorder. It may seem counterintuitive, but according to
psychologists today, the best way to overcome these
sometimes life debilitating symptoms is to recall the hidden
away memory.

In a way, some look at it as a form of reclaiming your power,
and subsequently your ability to process and dismiss an
emotion or past event. There are several methods
professionals will use to extract these memories, but arguably
the most successful method is exposure therapy or actually
revisiting the place or location the trauma occurred. Often
times, when the subject is able to recall the memory, their
symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, or worse are likely to
disappear altogether. (Nature Neuroscience volume18,
pages1265–1271 (2015))

This book will continue to discuss ways to tap into and
overcome the unconscious mind. No matter what method of
psychology you tend to favor, the experience of connecting with
your unconscious can be a liberating experience. There are
simple ways to engage the unconscious and regain your
control, and the benefits are seemingly endless.

The difference between Mental Health and Aging

According to the “Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020” (WHO, 2013), mental health is an integral part of health and well-being and includes not only individual characteristics but also social, cultural, economic political, and environmental factors. The report recognizes that depending on the context certain groups, such as older people, are at higher risk of having mental health problems and consequently having higher rates of disability and mortality.

The main issues concerning aging and mental health are prevention, early diagnosis, recognition of major diseases, treatment and quality of life interventions, at both individual and community level.

Available knowledge about the aging process and mental health is still insufficient and the challenges of aging populations claim more research efforts into clinical conditions, older people’s needs, and pathways of care. With the increase in average life expectancy, chronic conditions inherent to aging, such as dementias (in particular Alzheimer’s Disease), are inevitably growing along with related behavioral and psychological disorders, which highlights the need for specific interventions in elderly mental health problems. Beside dementia and mild cognitive impairment, other issues like frailty, delirium and the risk for mental health problems or the unmet needs of older people, require substantially more attention from professionals and policy agents. The burden of mental health problems is frequently considered as an inevitable part of the process of aging, worsening the already negative stereotype about being old. Mental health issues, particularly those affecting old age are frequently underestimated, adding to the suffering of a large number of people who could be treated and benefit from diverse social and health care interventions to enhance their well-being. The comprehension of mechanisms underlying diseases, on a time diagnosis, and customized interventions will be much more cost-effective than just allowing the disease to progress, leading to the institutionalization of individuals, which has proved to be an adverse and expensive outcome, both for individuals and the community.

Taking this into consideration, the present Research Topic on “Aging and Mental Health” by Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience makes a contribution with updates and different perspectives on this important theme, developed over 17 papers. These updates focus on cognitive functions, neural and cellular mechanisms, delirium and mild cognitive impairment as well as the effects of exercise and health care settings.

The authors Lim and Yu have conducted an interesting review on the relation between aging and wisdom: age-related changes in economic and social decision making. They discuss this topic based on a model proposing five subcomponents of wisdom: (1) prosocial behavior in experimental economic games and competitive situations; (2) resolving social conflicts; (3) emotional homeostasis; (4) self-reflection; (5) dealing effectively with uncertainty in the domains of risk, ambiguity and intertemporal choice. They highlight that older adults outperform young adults in certain subcomponents of wisdom, but the exact relationship between old age and each subcomponent remains unclear.

Alves et al. addresses an interesting topic, based on the diversion paradigm developed by Delaney et al. (2010). The authors aim to determine whether thinking about an autobiographical memory interferes with the recall of recently encoded information, and to explore the degree of forgetfulness depending on the temporal distance from the diversionary thought. They conclude that the expected amnesic effect of diversionary thought was reached, but the temporal distance (old event vs. recent event) did not influence the recall of previously encoded information.

Szatloczki et al. point out the role of linguistic screening for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The authors have produced a comprehensive review, concluding that AD can be more sensitively detected with the help of linguistic analysis than with other cognitive examinations, which would have relevant clinical implications.

The paper by Meng et al. examines the impact of aging on the brain’s susceptibility to affective pictures of varying emotional intensities, with results that suggest that older adults are more resistant to the impact of negative stimuli, while they are equipped with enhanced attentional bias for positive stimuli.

Two studies about delirium are presented in this Research Topic. The first one by Androsova et al. is an interesting, clinically relevant literature review focused on the “Biomarkers of postoperative delirium and cognitive dysfunction”. Bearing in mind that the pathogenesis of these postoperative cognitive impairments is multifactorial, the authors emphasize that the application of integrated systems biology has the potential to reconstruct the underlying network of molecular mechanisms and help in the identification of prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers. The second one, produced by Shi et al., finds a good reliability of MDAS and the cutoff point for diagnosis of delirium.

Coelho et al. have written an article about “Determinants of frailty: the added value of assessing medication”. With this they analyse in general the determinants that predict frailty, as well as each frailty domain (physical, psychological, and social), considering the integral conceptual model of frailty. Particularly, the contribution of different daily-consumed medication is analyzed. The results add important information about which factors may precipitate states of high vulnerability in community dwelling elderly.

The article “Mismatch negativity (MMN) latency as a biomarker of amnestic mild cognitive impairment in Chinese rural elders” by Ji et al., aims to assess the mismatch negativity (MMN) component, a correlate of the automatic detection of changes in the acoustic environment, in healthy adults, and adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). They find that while no difference was observed in amplitude between the two groups, there was a significant increase in the latency of the MMN in the aMCI group, which could be a sensitive, specific biomarker.

Akintola et al. have written a broad systematic review and meta-analysis concerning “Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) and cognitive function in people over 60 years”. This meta-analysis, performed to assess available evidence on the association of SCH with cognition in community dwelling, relatively healthy older adults, found no evidence concerning this association.

Bearing in mind the well-known importance of regular exercise in benefiting mental and physical health in the elderly Santa Mina et al. have written the article “The acute effects of exercise on cortical excitation and psychosocial outcomes in men treated for prostate cancer: a randomized controlled trial”. They have evaluated and presented novel findings of the effect of a single bout of exercise (low-moderate intensity) on psychological well-being and cortical silent period in prostate cancer survivors.

Paúl et al. have conducted a cross-sectional study about “Perceived risk of mental health problems in primary care” using the Portuguese version of RISC as a useful tool for early identification of mental health concerns in older patients. This study emphasizes the importance of healthcare professionals identifying patients at high risk of adverse outcomes early on in order to direct an appropriate intervention.

Bearing in mind that unmet needs are becoming acknowledged as better predictors of the worst prognostic outcomes than common measures of functional or cognitive decline, the article “Needs in nursing homes and their relation with cognitive and functional decline, behavioral and psychological symptoms” by Ferreira et al. will be a valuable aid to all those interested in learning about this issue. The authors have found more unmet needs associated with the worst outcomes, demonstrating that the needs of those institutionalized elderly remain under-diagnosed and untreated.

In the same setting of the nursing home, Caravau and Martin have written the paper “Direct costs of dementia in nursing homes”. The authors deal with an interesting and poorly-studied topic, concluding that direct costs of dementia patients in Portugal exceed the costs of similar non-demented patients by a significant degree, which is in agreement with previous European studies, with direct implications for the provision of services for the management of the increasing prevalence of dementia.

The manuscript by Bastos et al. analyses “The importance of neighborhood ecological assets in community-dwelling old people’s aging outcomes: A study in Northern Portugal,” concludes that cognitive performance decreases in persons with the worst outdoor mobility, and also that depressive symptoms are less common with a greater number of recreation opportunities, suggesting that aging policies and practices must be ecologically embedded.

Finally, two commentaries have been written, the first of which also has a response. Craig has written a commentary on “Mental distress in patients with cerebral visual injury assessed with the German Brief Symptom Inventory” by Gall et al.. The second commentary written by Heine is about the article “Mental health and dual sensory loss (DSL) in older adults: a systematic review”, by Heine and Browning (2014). This text focuses on the lack of solid data on the present subject, and also the need to diagnose and manage DSL early and effectively.

We hope that this Frontiers Research Topic will be an enrichment for Ageing and Mental Health issues, with the efforts and commitments of all authors to whom we give our acknowledgement, as well as to the reviewers who have contributed by improving and clarifying these diverse contributions.

Finally, a special thanks for the support for publishing by the sponsor Pfizer, for three articles (Paúl et al.; Caravau and Martin; Bastos et al.). The sponsor did not play any role in the design, methods, data collection and analyses, or in the preparation of these articles.

Go to:
Author contributions
LF and CP have written this editorial for the Research Topic they have edited.

Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Go to:
References
Delaney P., Sahakyan L., Kelley C., Zimmerman C. (2010). Remembering to forget: the amnesic effect of day dreaming. Psychol. Sci. 21, 1036–1042. 10.1177/0956797610374739 [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Heine C., Browning C. J. (2014). Mental health and dual sensory loss in older adults: a systematic review. Front. Aging Neurosci. 6:83. 10.3389/fnagi.2014.00083 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
WHO (2013). Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020. Geneva: WHO Press. [Google Scholar]

NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION

Scientific research on nonverbal communication and behavior began with the 1872 publication of Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Since that time, abundant research on the types, effects, and expressions of unspoken communication and behavior. While these signals are often so subtle that we are not consciously aware of them, research has identified several different types of nonverbal communication.

9 Types of Nonverbal Communication
Here are nine types of nonverbal cues and behaviors:

Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication.1 Consider how much information can be conveyed with a smile or a frown. The look on a person’s face is often the first thing we see, even before we hear what they have to say.

While nonverbal communication and behavior can vary dramatically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are similar throughout the world.

universal facial expressions and nonverbal communication
Verywell / Joshua Seong
Gestures
Deliberate movements and signals are an important way to communicate meaning without words.2 Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate numeric amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and related to culture.

In courtroom settings, lawyers have been known to utilize different nonverbal signals to attempt to sway juror opinions. An attorney might glance at his watch to suggest that the opposing lawyer’s argument is tedious or might even roll his eyes at the testimony offered by a witness in an attempt to undermine his or her credibility. These nonverbal signals are seen as being so powerful and influential that some judges even place limits on what type of nonverbal behaviors are allowed in the courtroom.

Paralinguistics

Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language.3 This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection, and pitch. Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.

Consider all the different ways that simply changing your tone of voice might change the meaning of a sentence. A friend might ask you how you are doing, and you might respond with the standard “I’m fine,” but how you actually say those words might reveal a tremendous amount of how you are really feeling.

A cold tone of voice might suggest that you are actually not fine, but you don’t wish to discuss it. A bright, happy tone of voice will reveal that you are actually doing quite well. A somber, downcast tone would indicate that you are the opposite of fine and that perhaps your friend should inquire further.

Body Language and Posture
Posture and movement can also convey a great deal of information.4 Research on body language has grown significantly since the 1970s, but popular media have focused on the over-interpretation of defensive postures, arm-crossing, and leg-crossing, especially after publishing Julius Fast’s book Body Language.

While these nonverbal behaviors can indicate feelings and attitudes, research suggests that body language is far more subtle and less definitive than previously believed.

Proxemics
People often refer to their need for “personal space,” which is also an important type of nonverbal communication.5 The amount of distance we need and the amount of space we perceive as belonging to us is influenced by a number of factors including social norms, cultural expectations, situational factors, personality characteristics, and level of familiarity.

For example, the amount of personal space needed when having a casual conversation with another person usually varies between 18 inches to four feet. On the other hand, the personal distance needed when speaking to a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet.

Eye Gaze
The eyes play an important role in nonverbal communication and such things as looking, staring and blinking are important nonverbal behaviors. When people encounter people or things that they like, the rate of blinking increases and pupils dilate. Looking at another person can indicate a range of emotions including hostility, interest, and attraction.

People also utilize eye gaze as a means to determine if someone is being honest.6 Normal, steady eye contact is often taken as a sign that a person is telling the truth and is trustworthy. Shifty eyes and an inability to maintain eye contact, on the other hand, is frequently seen as an indicator that someone is lying or being deceptive.

Haptics
Communicating through touch is another important nonverbal behavior. There has been a substantial amount of research on the importance of touch in infancy and early childhood.

Harry Harlow’s classic monkey study demonstrated how deprived touch and contact impedes development. Baby monkeys raised by wire mothers experienced permanent deficits in behavior and social interaction. Touch can be used to communicate affection, familiarity, sympathy, and other emotions.

In her book Interpersonal Communication: Everyday Encounters, author Julia Wood writes that touch is also often used as a way to communicate both status and power.7 Researchers have found that high-status individuals tend to invade other people’s personal space with greater frequency and intensity than lower-status individuals. Sex differences also play a role in how people utilize touch to communicate meaning.

Women tend to use touch to convey care, concern, and nurturance. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to use touch to assert power or control over others.

Appearance
Our choice of color, clothing, hairstyles, and other factors affecting appearance are also considered a means of nonverbal communication.8 Research on color psychology has demonstrated that different colors can evoke different moods. Appearance can also alter physiological reactions, judgments, and interpretations.

Just think of all the subtle judgments you quickly make about someone based on his or her appearance. These first impressions are important, which is why experts suggest that job seekers dress appropriately for interviews with potential employers.

Researchers have found that appearance can play a role in how people are perceived and even how much they earn. One 1996 study found that attorneys who were rated as more attractive than their peers earned nearly 15 percent more than those ranked as less attractive.

Culture is an important influence on how appearances are judged. While thinness tends to be valued in Western cultures, some African cultures relate full-figured bodies to better health, wealth, and social status.

Artifacts
Objects and images are also tools that can be used to communicate nonverbally. On an online forum, for example, you might select an avatar to represent your identity online and to communicate information about who you are and the things you like. People often spend a great deal of time developing a particular image and surrounding themselves with objects designed to convey information about the things that are important to them.

Uniforms, for example, can be used to transmit a tremendous amount of information about a person. A soldier will don fatigues, a police officer will wear a uniform, and a doctor will wear a white lab coat. At a mere glance, these outfits tell people what a person does for a living.

A Word From Very-well
Nonverbal communication plays an important role in how we convey meaning and information to others, as well as how we interpret the actions of those around us. The important thing to remember when looking at such nonverbal behaviors is to consider the actions in groups. What a person actually says along with his or her expressions, appearance, and tone of voice might tell you a great deal about what that person is really trying to say.

Kundalini Shakti

Kundalini Shakti is every individual’s very own spiritual master, who endeavors to lead
us to consistent consciousness of the Source. It is Kundalini Shakti who engages our
taking a stab at profound fulfillment and who attempts to lead us to full spiritual
acceptance.
Every person, paying little respect to time, religion, or culture, are vessels of this
blessed all-powerful, brilliant nearness that passionately asks us to coordinate with her
endeavors to build our profound mindfulness and development. It is every searcher’s
assignment to see how best to help in her die hard loyalty for our edification enlightenment.

More refined and significant than vitality, Kundalini Shakti is wrapped in the mantle of
her own appearance, the unpretentious body, which incorporates our vitality, mind, and
observing intelligence. Inside this cover, Kundalini Shakti dwells in either a stored or
awakened state.
In her stored state, she is a firmly curled static power that keeps up the normal
individual’s life capacities, abilities, and awareness. Upon her release, Kundalini
Shakti ascends through one of a few pathways in the subtle body and achieves
whatever level is conceivable.
In her released state, Kundalini Shakti is powerfully dynamic and endeavors to enhance
her profound status and finish her rising, squeezing to hoist to the One, regardless of
whatever obstructions may block her climb. Her definitive objective is our spiritual
evolution.
There are an assortment of viewpoints on Kundalini gave by current writings and
specialists, each with their own uncommon commitment. From our point of view,
Kundalini is not a way in itself but rather a general procedure. It is the basic
component that is the way to every single spiritual experience paying little mind
to an individual’s religious or profound introduction.
Kundalini Shakti is the methods for developing our association with our spiritual
evolution and to the Divine Source- Supreme itself.
Thanks again for downloading this book, I hope you enjoy it!

KUNDALINI SCIENCE-

PRESENTATION
Conventional Kundalini Science
The search of Kundalini is the investigation of most profound sense of being. Kundalini
Shakti is the fundamental every single spiritual experience, paying little mind to one’s
way or convention, for Kundalini is not a way in itself but rather is what guides us along
our picked way.
The antiquated study of understanding Kundalini Shakti is found in all the profound
custom, however changing terms and images are utilized to portray it, and numerous
strategies are utilized to accomplish it.
This general, inter-spiritual science holds the learning of how to legitimately bolster and
deal with our spiritual capacity to securely quicken our profound headway and achieve
the spiritual objective. Noteworthy among the accessible models in its broadness,
specialized accuracy, assortment of techniques, vocabulary, and inclusivity, is the Vedic
model of Kundalini science.
Customary Kundalini Science passes on the lessons of heredity of Kundalini masters
inside this convention. Its viewpoint is general and viable; its concentration and
objective are profound.
A complete framework for understanding and enhancing profound life, Traditional
Kundalini Science depends on Yogic, Vedanta, and Kundalini messages and also the
holy sacred texts and techniques for other spiritual customs. It is ecumenical and does
not look to adjust a man’s profound introduction or genealogy but instead to enhance on
and develop it.
Increased conditions of vitality are likewise elevated conditions of discernment. The
entire yogic framework is pointed just towards upgrading your discernment. A spiritual
procedure basically implies only that to improve your observation since you know just
what you see.

This is the explanation behind the imagery of Shiva and a snake. It shows that his
energies have achieved the pinnacle. His energies have achieved the highest point of
his head thus his third eye has opened.
On the off chance that the third eye has opened, it implies another dimension of
observation which is internal looking, which takes a gander at life totally in an unique
way, has opened up and everything that can be seen- is seen.
All yoga in one route is towards that however Kundalini Yoga is especially towards that.
Truth be told, all life is towards that. Somehow, individuals need to experience life more
seriously than they are encountering it at this moment.
Somebody needs to sing, another person needs to move, somebody needs to drink
liquor, another person needs to implore– why are they doing this? They need to
experience life all the more profoundly. Everybody is attempting to raise their kundalini
yet they are doing it erratically. When you approach it logically with a legitimate
strategy, we say it is yoga.
Yoga practices have been keeping the mental alterations. Yoga is the way that
concealment from the elements of the considerations which winds up in abidance from
the spirit in its genuine nature.
The Kundalini has been the life vitality at the base of the spine which can be stirred from
the body awakening each of the seven chakras in grouping.
Add up to edification happens if this vitality gets to the last chakra Sahasrara close to
the highest point of the head. Kundalini vitality is normally spoken to as a snake
looping at the base of the spine.
Beforehand when the antiquated specialists instructed their disciples in activities
(postures) of yoga and meditation, they used various answers for be free from the
material world.
Around then when Patanjali was an incredible ace related with yoga activities and he
had prepared his teaches the imperceptible learning of the Kundalini vitality.
It was a sacred understanding which was endorsed coming by means of learning with a
specific end goal to help the disciples for quite a long time.
The disciples expected to prepare his/her whole personality to have the capacity to
persevere through these compunctions; this was finished by different
yoga/contemplation stances how the ace or a yoga master would endorse.
Meditation science guarantees that air is just the medium, not the genuine thing; you’re
breathing prana- Life vitality.
Air is just the medium; prana (or-gone vitality) has been the substance material
which is something inconspicuous, non-material, has been moving in with the air.
Amid the breathing procedure we are taking prana in, it’s brimming with prana when it
comes in. When you have utilized the prana and the breathing procedure gives end up
being empty. The genuine prana advances into through your instinct into the whole
physical make-up.
We have been isolated into the center and the periphery. The body might be the
external limit; we as a whole know the body. We know the border; in any case we as a
whole don’t have a clue about the area the place that the center has been.
At the point when substantial process has been moving out its dynamic; when it is
coming in it again is alert. At the point when it’s not one or the other, when it’s
quiet, non-moving, you’re in nearness to the center where Kundalini dwells.
When your breath comes in, know. To get a small amount of a moment, there is no
breathing- recently in front of that turns up, before that turns outward. A solitary
breathing procedure will come in; after that there’s a specific point and breathing stops.
After that the breathing goes out.
At the point when the breathing exhales, then again for a small amount of a moment,
this stops. Next breathing is accessible for approaching. Nothing is to be added for you
or to the framework; it truly is as of now. Everything is as of now there, with the
exception of certain mindfulness- awareness.
Before the substantial procedure has been handing over or turning out, there’s a small
part of second when you are not breathing. When you are not breathing you are not on
the planet. The moment is of such a short moment which you not the slightest bit
discover this.
In the convention of Kundalini Yoga, God is not an exemplified god in the sky. Way off
the mark. The pith of God is a similar quintessence of us. God is innovative awareness,
the vitality from which all things stream, including our-selves.
We can get to Brahman since it is now some part of us. At the end of the day, we are
every individual articulations of a similar total vitality.
Kundalini is the technique to shake off our false Ego account of detachment and
experience the genuine way of our reality.

In established yogic conventions, there is a sure kind of yoga we educate for individuals
who live in family circumstances. There is a sure other kind of yoga we instruct for
religious austerity. We never instruct those in family circumstances the plain frame.
That is the most strong approach to do it yet it will request a specific dimension of train
and center, which your general lives won’t permit. On the off chance that you do that
sort of yoga, it will destroy your outside life right away.
This doesn’t mean there is some kind of problem with Kundalini Yoga. It is an extremely
awesome process yet it should be done legitimately in light of the fact that vitality has no
circumspection of its own. You can make your life out of it or you can consume your life
out of it. Power is making our life.
Be that as it may, on the off chance that you stick your little finger into it, you
comprehend what will happen! Vitality has no circumspection. How you utilize it is
the means by which it is. Kundalini is likewise similar to that.
You are utilizing it at this moment however negligibly. In the event that you expand it
you can raise past your confinements of existence. The concentration of late reviews
has been the enactment or “arousing” of the Kundalini Shakti, the inward potential
vitality those untruths idles in each person.
While Kundalini is outstanding in Eastern yogic science, it is just barely starting to pick
up acceptance as a logical reality in Western therapeutic circles.
Kundalini vitality can be actuated by different means like yoga, breathing strategies
(Pranayam), certain natural arrangements, making specific vibrations in the body
through the intoning of mantras, and through start (vitality transmission) by a yoga adroit
whose Kundalini is as of now stirred.
Once stirred, Kundalini achieves exceptional change in the body-mind arrangement of
the individual, incorporating an enormous surge in vitality levels, the mending of
interminable ailments and improved mental capacities. Past this, a large group of
different changes have been watched yet had yet to be methodically examined or
evaluated.
SUBTLE ENERGY SYSTEMS
As opposed to what was once trusted, the mind is by all account not the only center
where our neural reactions are put away. There is presently developing confirmation
that our considerations- which are close to electrical signs zooming along our neural
pathways are put away in our cell and substantial memory, bringing about perpetual
changes in the way our body and mind impact each other.
Physical memory incorporates three sorts of recollections: engraved recollections
(engrams), muscle-recollections and bio-recollections.
Engrams are bio-compound changes that happen in our neural tissues as the aftereffect
of an intense or diligent response to any circumstance. An engram is not a customary
memory, but rather more like a photo of the circumstance or occasion, finish with the
passionate reaction that went with it.
Engrams exist just beneath the level of our cognizance, affecting our enthusiastic
reactions without our insight.
While engrams influence our enthusiastic reactions alone, muscle-recollections are
recollections that have turned out to be so profoundly inserted in our framework that
they can reproduce the physical indications going with these feelings, similar to those
accomplished amid strong dread or outrage.
Muscle recollections are also responsible of our performing monotonous mechanical
activities that don’t require our conscious intercession, such as writing or cycling.
Bio-recollections are recollections that are stabilized into our cells. They convey
genetic recollections, past-life recollections and recollections that have progressed
toward becoming some portion of the very fiber of our present identity through
consistent redundancy for quite a long time.
Both physical and mental examples can turn out to be a piece of our profile memory.
Bio-recollections have the ability to trigger physical activities like battle or flight. Mental
states like gloom and tension can rapidly turn out to be a part of our profile memory on
the off chance that we are not cautious. Bio-recollections are unconscious, as well as
are typically untraceable to a specific source episode.
Kundalini Yoga is otherwise called the exploration of points, on the grounds that the
distinctive stances and developments frequently include having our appendages at
edges which put pressure on specific organs and glands.
As you hold or manage the occasion, the pressure assembles, and when you take the
pressure away, blood and vitality streams to those areas.
Sparkling the Light on the Forgotten System
It’s not as a rule a subject of discussion around the supper table or something you’d
perused up on, as a great many people would consider the working of the endocrine
framework to be a touch dry. However, understanding the fundamentals of this crucial
and interesting arrangement of the body can have an enormous effect to your life.
Our endocrine organs can affect each area of our wellbeing. The endocrine framework
is comprised of glands that deliver and release hormones. It is in charge of the
hormonal capacities in the body, with the 30 hormones created each having a specific
function to do.
On the off chance that one organ’s capacity is out of balance, it can influence the
strength of all the others, and the organs influence the capacity of the whole body. Not
exclusively does the endocrine framework chip away at the physical realm, also on the
passionate and enthusiastic realms.
It is exceedingly helpful and engaging to see how we can sustain our own bodies
and bolster the ideal working of these organs.
With a couple of straightforward deceives, you can without much of a stretch keep your
body in order and appreciate more prominent satisfaction and balance.
The Endocrine System
The endocrine framework is a noteworthy, yet now and then disregarded, segment of
your body. While it has numerous physical capacities, for example, directing sleep,
heart rate, digestion, the immune framework, thus a great deal more, it is fundamental
to mental usefulness and mind-set. The human Endocrine framework assumes a
noteworthy part in our wellbeing and prosperity.

Brainwave Patterns to Gain control of your life, your emotions.


BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 21: Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen attend the UCLA IoES honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen at the 2019 Hollywood for Science Gala on February 21, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability)

How Will You Get Rich this year? Heres a check box.. resort back to it and do not skip any parts!

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 06: Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen attend the Costume Institute Gala for the “PUNK: Chaos to Couture” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

1 – Redefine Wealth

2 – Set goals

3 – Subconscious power

4 – Know your worth

5 – Test your worth

6 – You are the asset

7 – Stay frugal

8 – Guard your ideas

9 – Average is fine

10 – Be well informed

11 – Find alternatives

12 – Have passive

income

13 – Be diverse

14 – Delay

gratification

15 – Spend wisely

16 – Be realistic

17 – Embrace failures

18 – Seize chances

19 – Write it down

20 – Cut the cards

21 – Cut the services

22 – Keep the ratio low

23 – Dispute outdated

24 – Interest and debt

25 – Pay debt off ASAP

What is Confidence?

CHAPTER ONE: WHAT IS CONFIDENCE?
with confidence, you can give yourself that social edge which makes people
admire and look up to you. To put it in clear terms, confidence is believing
in yourself and having no anxiety at all. Generally, you can show
confidence in various facets of life, but self-confidence (which is the main subject of this book) means being okay with who you are and loving yourself. Self-confidence works hand in hand with self-esteem and self-esteem means that you trust yourself to do what is right and to make the right decisions.In order for you to have a practical understanding of what self-confidence is, let’s make use of an illustration. You are together with some of your colleagues at work and there are some very loud people there. Everyone present is about to make a decision you think will cost the company a whole lot of money. To avoid this, you
share your opinion and tell the group that the company will record a huge loss if they go ahead with their plan. This is what self-confidence is—being so sure about your opinion that you speak out against the popular opinion. In this scenario, you have shown that you have enough confidence to confront people who have more resources and to face whatever consequence may come up. By doing this, you have increased your appeal to the people around and your boss,
who is in the group now, has a deep respect for you. You have shown that you are not someone who goes with the flow or who cannot think for himself or herself. On the other hand, someone who has no confidence will sit quietly and agree with whatever the popular opinion is. Because they do not trust their own judgment, they’ll suspect the idea they have is wrong and that it will eventually damage the finances of the company for that year. People who lack self-confidence fear people around will shut
them up, no one will pay any attention to them, or that they’ll even get fired. They lack the deep confidence which is needed to back up their convictions and as a result of this, they miss their opportunity to prove themselves. Now, you might be thinking that the right thing for you to do is to just make your voice heard regardless of where and when, but this is not what being confident means. Being confrontational and contradicting people at every opportunity you get is
overcompensation and not confidence. In fact, it could be one of the biggest mistakes you make when trying to show that you are confident.

STRENGTHS
Managing risk is something analyzers excel at and it could even be seen as their greatest strength. If you happen to work with one of them, you would notice they leave zero margin for errors, and this shows they mean business. After collecting the opinions, data, and thoughts, they will then manage the risk to the lowest point to which it can be managed.

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9 Personality types
Another thing analyzers excel at is sticking to rules and regulations. While most of us would feel they are tedious and restricting, analyzers perform best when there are rules and regulations. To be honest, they find it meaningless to live without them. The only time they experience peace in their minds is when the task they are given is set
within boundaries they can keep a close eye on.
Analyzers are completely in love with systems; routines also work well for them. Sound strange? Well, the reason why this is so is because they enjoy doing things in ways that can be followed step-by-step from start to finish, and preferably without errors. If you want to gain the favor of an analyzer, one thing you could do is to provide a systematic solution to a problem they encounter. Security is a major concern to an analyzer and before they can make any decision, they put the entire plan into consideration first. If plan A fails to work, then B must be ready to. Due to the fact that they gather data and analyze it, it is possible for them to solve any problem they might face in the safest way possible.
WEAKNESSES
Most times, analyzers do not approach other people to start conversations, and this is completely normal to them. Initiating conversations or making the first move to interact with others is simply not their thing. Even in a brainstorming session, an analyzer would wait for other people to make their suggestions and speak their minds
first before he or she speaks. Inflexibility is one other weakness analyzers have. It is very rare for you to find an
analyzer who adapts easily to new cultures. If you try to introduce new accounting software to an analyzer, for example, he or she would likely give a thousand reasons why it isn’t needed and let you know how comfortable he or she is using the current
one he or she has. Unless an analyzer sees a real need to try out the software, he or she would rather not take that “risk.”
An analyzer will do all he or she can to hide emotions so as not to appear weak to other people. Definitely, there are a lot of reasons why they would not want to show their emotions to others, but the general reason is so they can feel safe and protected.

9
9 Personality types In order for them to come up with a totally perfect plan, analyzers will spend a huge amount of time and energy to get the right data. At certain times, this could take much longer than the required time, which could lead to expending more resources like human labor and money as well.


HOW CAN YOU DEAL WITH AN ANALYZER EFFECTIVELY?
In order for you to deal with an analyzer effectively, you will likely need to employ some skills, but some practical ways by which you can do this include:

  1. Telling them things they are not aware of. This is pretty important, especially during meetings—if you tell an analyzer something he or she already knows, it will only irritate him or her. On the other hand, it will be very easy for you to gain their favor if you provide them with information that can make solving a problem very easy.
  2. Making friends through their abilities. Most times, analyzers only use their abilities to build friendships or to gain attention rather than their true selves. If it is possible for you to create an environment in which they can build relationships or make friends through their abilities, such as working on a big
    project together, it will make things much better for them.
  3. Encouraging them to be less critical of people and things. No doubt, analyzers are critics, but you can also help them reduce the intensity. You can do this by assuring them that the right time to implement the strategies they have been working on is now and there is no need to worry about errors that may happen.
    You will need to convince them and encourage them as well.
    This is all you need to know about an analyzer’s attributes, and one thing to take note of is when it comes to dealing with analyzers, security and data are of the utmost importance. In the following chapter, we will talk about another personality, which is the supporter, and all you need to know about it.

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9 Personality types
CHAPTER TWO: THE SUPPORTER PERSONALITY
eople with the supporter personality can be seen all around you. When you
have troubles concerning your emotions, they are the ones that you would first
turn to and this is because they are very friendly. When you have a challenge,
he or she is there to listen and this is why they are called the supporters. It is very easy
for people to put all their trust in them and to cast all their burdens on them. Why is
this so?
Supporters are friendly with people and it is very easy for them to be liked. People
usually trust supporters because they can care for them, encourage them, and
support them. It is because of the comfort they offer that you would rather talk to a
supporter than an analyzer when you break up with your boyfriend of eight years.
Being people-oriented comes naturally to them and they try their best to avoid
personal conflict with other people, even at their own expense. It becomes really
difficult for a supporter to reject someone, and they are ready to please whoever they
meet.
They also find it easy to interact with people and when people are around, they blend
in with the conversation and go with the flow. Supporters allow other people to initiate
any kind of activity but at the same time, they are not interested in impressing other
people. People like this look so harmless and don’t come off as threats to others in
any way. Even when threatened, supporters will not make it known publicly.
Sometimes, they might even bottle up their feelings to the point of depression, which
could be very harmful.
STRENGTHS
Supporters always put others first. In other words, they think about other people
before they think about themselves. This isn’t as a result of inadequacy but it is simply
their nature. They always consider others first regardless of whatever rewards or
incentives they might get in return.
Serving others is something they find easy to do and they have no problem at all with
doing it. Most times, supporters are the ones who will do the dirty work that others
find difficult to do.
P

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9 Personality types
If you need someone who will listen to you pour out all the feelings you have bottled up for a long time, a supporter is the smart choice. The patience and encouragement they will show you will be unbelievable.
When it comes to work, they are always willing to be supervised by their superiors, and taking commands as well as completing the tasks assigned to them comes easily to them. WEAKNESSES One weakness, which is peculiar to people with the supporter personality, is that they
always try to please everyone. No matter the kind of decisions we want to make, there will always be people who are not in favor of this. Supporters, however, will find it difficult to come to terms with this and they’ll end up trying to please everyone. Planning and setting goals does not come easily to them and although they submit easily to authorities when executing plans, they don’t enjoy goal-setting and making plans.
Supporters will withhold information that is unpleasant to the hearer when possible and this is one of their greatest setbacks. Rather than see you feel bad, they would rather not say anything.
HOW CAN YOU DEAL WITH A SUPPORTER EFFECTIVELY?
No doubt, supporters may seem nice and easy-going, but at the same time, this kind of personality can be quite dangerous because you never know when a supporter is going to have an outburst. Because they carry the burdens of others, it is very common to find out they are depressed. However, some things that can be useful when dealing with a supporter include:

  1. Showing your appreciation towards them. Although they do not care for praise and rewards, encouraging them and showing genuine appreciation for what they have done could go a really long way. Think about those times when you were down and he or she was there for you—now is the time for you to repay the kindness.

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9 Personality types

  1. Helping them to stand up for themselves. True, it is very rare for a supporter to speak what is really in his or her mind, but with the right kind of motivation, it is possible. Let them realize that they also have the right to voice their thoughts and since this isn’t normal for them, you can push them a bit to ensure this. Not taking them for granted. Now that we have discussed all there is to know about supporters and you know they’ll likely do whatever you ask, taking them for granted is a total no. Before you try to exploit them or push them to the limit, remember they are human beings like you too.
    Now, you know about the supporter personality and understand why they always put people first. When dealing with someone with this kind of personality, keep in mind that you should never take them for granted and that acknowledging them is important.

The ANALYZER

People who have the analyzer personality are usually slow and secure. He or she
would ask about a million questions before stepping foot onto a boat. If you
have experienced a scenario such as this, then you have met an analyzer. Most
times, analyzers act based on their feelings and they make decisions depending on
how secure or comfortable they feel. Making decisions will be very difficult and would
take much longer than it normally would if an analyzer feels insecure in any way. This
is because they will need to gather more information concerning the situation, and
this could take a while.
To analyzers, analysis and data are extremely important, and when they come across
any kind of problem, they take time out to study the issue closely, gather the needed
data, and then analyze it with the resources available to them. Apart from facts and
data, the thoughts and opinions of those who are involved are also things analyzers
take note of. Most times, analyzers are seen as people who are very academic and
they tend to be very focused when it comes to their work environment. When
conversing with an analyzer, it could be noticed that they usually base their
conversations on histories, past illustrations, and facts. During conversations, some
might find them boring, but at the same time, the things they say are very informative
and beneficial.
A company staff between the ages of thirty and fifty who have no interest in matters
concerning the company, such as culture change, would likely fall into the analyzer
category. Such a person is completely comfortable with their present condition and
taking a risk is not something they would want to do. While analyzers can be very
secure, they could also be very stubborn at the same time.
STRENGTHS
Managing risk is something analyzers excel at and it could even be seen as their
greatest strength. If you happen to work with one of them, you would notice they
leave zero margin for errors, and this shows they mean business. After collecting the
opinions, data, and thoughts, they will then manage the risk to the lowest point to
which it can be managed.
P

8
9 Personality types
Another thing analyzers excel at is sticking to rules and regulations. While most of us
would feel they are tedious and restricting, analyzers perform best when there are
rules and regulations. To be honest, they find it meaningless to live without them. The
only time they experience peace in their minds is when the task they are given is set
within boundaries they can keep a close eye on.
Analyzers are completely in love with systems; routines also work well for them.
Sound strange? Well, the reason why this is so is because they enjoy doing things in
ways that can be followed step-by-step from start to finish, and preferably without
errors. If you want to gain the favor of an analyzer, one thing you could do is to provide
a systematic solution to a problem they encounter.
Security is a major concern to an analyzer and before they can make any decision,
they put the entire plan into consideration first. If plan A fails to work, then B must be
ready to. Due to the fact that they gather data and analyze it, it is possible for them to
solve any problem they might face in the safest way possible.
WEAKNESSES
Most times, analyzers do not approach other people to start conversations, and this
is completely normal to them. Initiating conversations or making the first move to
interact with others is simply not their thing. Even in a brainstorming session, an
analyzer would wait for other people to make their suggestions and speak their minds
first before he or she speaks.
Inflexibility is one other weakness analyzers have. It is very rare for you to find an
analyzer who adapts easily to new cultures. If you try to introduce new accounting
software to an analyzer, for example, he or she would likely give a thousand reasons
why it isn’t needed and let you know how comfortable he or she is using the current
one he or she has. Unless an analyzer sees a real need to try out the software, he or
she would rather not take that “risk.”
An analyzer will do all he or she can to hide emotions so as not to appear weak to
other people. Definitely, there are a lot of reasons why they would not want to show
their emotions to others, but the general reason is so they can feel safe and protected.

Laura Zukerman

Owner and Founder At The Goddess Bibles A Memoir By Laura Zukerman

Becoming Your Inner Goddess

Goddess on Fire

Do you have faith in what the Universe is doing for you all day, everyday?

DESCRIPTION:

You don’t attract into your life what you want. You don’t attract what you think about. You don’t attract what you feel. Desires, thoughts, and feelings are all important, but these are more effects than causes.

You attract what you’re signaling.

Think of yourself as a vibrational transmitter. You’re constantly sending out signals that tell the universe who you are in this moment. Those signals will either attract or repel other vibrational beings, events, and experiences.

You naturally attract that which is in harmony with your state of being, and you’ll repel that which is out of sync with your state.

If your energetic self radiates wealth and abundance, your physical reality will reflect wealth and abundance for your physical being.

If your energetic self radiates anger and frustration, your physical reality will reflect that as well.

Since the signals you’re sending out at any given moment tend to be fairly complex, your experience of physical reality will be equally complex.

Once you can accept that your vibrational self attracts compatible patterns, it becomes clear that if you want to experience something different in your life, you must somehow change the signals you’re putting out.

The Art of Dealing With Difficult People

By ‘difficult’ people we mean people with certain personality traits or emotional
characteristics that make it difficult for you to communicate with them. The ability
to effectively cope with such people while maintaining a healthy work environment
is known as the skill of dealing with difficult people.

It is inevitable for you to come across a difficult person in your life that bring about
distress, whether it’s in the form of a neighbor, relative, colleague, employee,
customer, or supplier. However, the intensity of their difficulty may vary depending
upon the kind of difficult person they are; downers, better than(s), passives, or
tanks.
We’ve all been there. Be it work, school or Thanksgiving dinner, we’ve all found
ourselves in situations where we have been forced to interact with people we find
to be “difficult”. For many of us, we’d rather eat glass than have to deal with
challenging people like this but how we survive and, dare I say thrive, in these
situations can separate us from the pack in both business and in life.

Why Is Dealing with Difficult People Important
Whenever we are faced with unreasonably difficult people, our instinct is to react
with frustration and irritation. That, however, is the ticket to destruction. It causes
tension to build in the work environment and can prove a serious threat to the
productivity as well as the overall stability of the work environment.
Therefore, it is important to develop the skills of dealing with difficult people not
only for the sake of your satisfaction but because your long term as well as short
term success depends to a great extent on your ability to smoothly and successfully
interact with such people. To increase the likelihood of your success in life and
career, you must be savvy in dealing with such difficult behaviors.
How to Improve Your Skills of Dealing with Difficult People?
Since it is difficult to avoid crossing paths with difficult people, the best option is to
improve your skills of dealing with difficult people in the following way:

  1. Identify the nature of difficulty. Analyze the specific behavior causing
    distress and identify the kind of difficult person you need to deal with. For
    example, is he a ‘downer’ who is always complaining and criticizing, a
    ‘passive’ who never contributes anything, a ‘better than’ who believes he
    knows everything, or just a bossy ‘tank’. Moreover, you must also analyze
    whether or not the behavior is consistent because sometimes it is possible
    that the person is just having a bad day.
  2. Understand them instead of trying to change them. Mostly when we come
    across someone with a difficult behavior, we tend to advise them to change
    themselves. For instance, we may try to encourage a ‘passive’ to stand up for
    himself or a ‘downer’ to be more positive in his thinking. This, however, only
    causes them to resent us. The best way is to try to understand them, their
    7
    The Art of Dealing with Difficult People
    Discover How to Identify Different Types of Difficult People and 10 Keys to Handling Them with Ease and Grace
    values, and whatever it is that drives their decisions. This not only helps them
    relax but also encourages them to be more open-minded.
    Identifying Difficult People
    Difficult people can take many forms. “Difficulty” can manifest itself in quite a few
    ways, oftentimes, including people who spread rumors, who find the negative in
    everything, those who rarely cooperate, or who don’t value the input and opinions
    of others. They may find every opportunity to create problems or they may simply
    use passive resistance to waylay your best efforts to move your agenda forward.
    At the end of the day, defining “difficult” is a uniquely personal thing. What is
    challenging to me may be a breeze for you. Understanding your personality,
    preferences, and triggers can help you to recognize the types of people and
    situations that irritate you.
    Several types of difficult people and how their behaviors serve to irritate others like
    a course grade of sandpaper:
    ▪ Perfectionists: If you are looking for quick results, perfectionists can be a
    source of frustration.
    ▪ Control Freaks: When you want to do things your way, overly controlling
    types can be a source of irritation as well.
    ▪ Creative People: They’re essential if generating ideas is the plan but can
    cause frustration when you just want to get to deliver a simple result.
    8
    The Art of Dealing with Difficult People
    Discover How to Identify Different Types of Difficult People and 10 Keys to Handling Them with Ease and Grace
    ▪ Shapers: Although shapers may seek to take over as and when they see fit,
    they can really help drive action.
    ▪ Aggressive or Defensive People: Assertion can help move a group forward.
    Aggression or defensiveness can have the opposite effect on a group’s
    dynamic.
    ▪ Submissive People: The lack of confidence and fear of failure that many
    submissive types display can be a source of frustration as well.
    Identifying the Issue
    Turning the situation inward and analyzing your triggers and reactions to these
    situations can help you to be prepared and self-aware when they arise. Elizabeth
    B. Brown shares several questions that you may want to reflect on in order to help
    you understand the root issue of why that person at work or in life is making you
    insane:
    ▪ What emotional tornadoes does the difficult person in your life spin off?
    ▪ How do you react to a difficult person in your life?
    ▪ How does your difficult person react to your reactions?
    ▪ If the other person is the problem, are you growing unhealthy actions and
    reactions in response to him or her?
    ▪ Are you the difficult person driving others to reactive behavior?
    ▪ How do others react to your actions and responses?

Feeding into our frustrations when dealing with a difficult person can become a
vicious cycle. We tend to see or hear an interaction and then interpret that action
based, not on fact, but on our assumptions. Then we react. Unfortunately, we
usually don’t have all of the information as to why an individual may be showing up
the way they are and, in the absence of factual information, we tend to fill in the
blanks with our own theories about what might be going on.

The Art of Dealing with Difficult People
Discover How to Identify Different Types of Difficult People and 10 Keys to Handling Them with Ease and Grace
Managing Your Reactions
It is all about breathing. Slow, deep breathing actually triggers something at the
bottom of your spine called the Vegus nerve, which sends neurotransmitters to
brain that actually calm you down.
Then, take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Ask yourself questions about how
you can respond to difficult person, or how you can create a good outcome from
the situation. While this seems like overkill, this is an essential step to getting your
brain out of its instinctual response (things like sharpness, negativity, and
defensiveness). Forcing yourself to think of ways to create a good outcome makes
your brain go into a more positive mode of thinking.

Leveraging Some Self-Control
Know yourself. Having a clear sense of self, what causes you tension and where
your limits are can serve you well when interacting with people that you find to be
difficult. Staying calm and developing your awareness and emotional intelligence
skills can help you to manage your reactions to frustrating situations.
Seek to understand the situation. Gaining some clarity by asking questions while
managing your own reactions can serve to help find a mutually satisfactory
outcome. Reflecting on what you would determine as a satisfactory outcome
before getting into an interaction with a difficult person can help you maintain
focus on what really matters.
Stick to the facts and acknowledge emotions. Using examples and stating facts as
opposed to interpretations can help keep interactions with people you find difficult
in check. Paraphrasing and checking for accurate understanding can also show that
you hear what people are saying and that you are doing your level best to work
effectively with them. Responding and stating your emotions or the impact that the
person is having on you based on their behavior, if delivered correctly, can
sometimes be the nudge that someone needs to realize that they are rubbing you
the wrong way.
Seek the advice of others. You’re not alone in this. You are not the only person who
has ever had to productively interact with a difficult person. Seeking out the advice
of others or finding someone to help coach you through it can be quite beneficial.
Sometimes, talking it out can help you reframe the situation to a place where you
can facilitate a more positive outcome.
Keep records, if necessary. Sometimes, things can be so abrasive that you run the
risk of hitting an end-state that you never intended. If things are to the point where
interactions are toxic, it may be time to start making intentional effort to begin
documenting things. If things go south, at least you have a good record of what led
to that place.

  1. Critics
    Certainly, there is a time and place for criticism. In fact, the best ideas and the most
    effective solutions often come from debate. All points of view are challenged. But
    difficult critics, destructive critics aren’t looking for answers. They aren’t involved
    in the give and take that leads to consensus and team building. They’re just critics.
    Or as I like to say, “Critics are spectators, not players.”
    I’m sure you’ve noticed. The people who won’t lift a finger to help are often the
    first ones to point one. Or as one disgusted husband replied when he was asked
    whether his wife drove, he said, “Only in an advisory capacity.” So yes, critics are
    non-cooperative. And their negative behavior makes it difficult for us to even want
    to cooperate with them.
  1. Liars
    As Kim Hubbard says, “Honesty pays but it doesn’t seem to pay enough for most
    people.” That’s sad, but she’s probably right. Anything less than honesty makes
    cooperation, teamwork, and relationships difficult to build. And cooperation,
    teamwork, and relationships are built on trust, and trust is ALWAYS built on truth.
    Of course, lies come in many forms. It might be the lies that are told to impress a
    prospective customer or the lies that are told to keep a spouse from getting upset.
    Or they may be the lies that are used in job hunting. As one recruiter told me, “The
    closet most people come to perfection is when they fill out a job application.” Or
    as a former Prime Minister of Great Britain said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies,
    darned (I can’t say the real word) lies, and statistics.”
    However liars lie, they are difficult to deal with. They’re like Jason and Melinda out
    shopping for living room furniture. They found a set they liked but told the
    salesperson they couldn’t afford it. The sales person replied, “That’s no problem.
    You make one payment, and you don’t make another payment for a year.” Melinda
    asked, “Who told you about us?”
    The most unfortunate thing about lying is that it’s seldom necessary. And the truth
    — no matter how distasteful — would probably be easier for others to accept than
    the lies used to cover it up. As La Rochefoucauld said so wisely, “Almost all our
    faults are more pardonable than the methods we think up to hide them.”

Lavender Oil for Anxiety coping mechanisms

Lavender Oil for Anxiety and Depression

Review of the literature on the safety and efficacy of lavender

By Jeremy Appleton, NDPrinter Friendly Page

Abstract

Lavender flower and its extracts have been used, both internally and by olfaction, for centuries as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Modern analytical research has identified the main active constituents of the oil; in vitro and animal studies have begun to elucidate mechanisms of action; and controlled clinical trials in humans now document lavender’s efficacy, safety, and dose. This paper reviews these developments, with summary details from selected studies, and provides a preliminary comparison of lavender’s efficacy and safety to its main botanical and pharmaceutical alternatives.

Introduction

Anxiety is a common complaint and may range from every day stress to clinically relevant symptoms requiring medical intervention. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can experience excessive anxiety and worry associated with the stresses of everyday life. Most cases of GAD begin in childhood and can lead—without treatment—to a chronic condition, with fluctuating symptoms, often exacerbated by stressful life events.1 Disturbed sleep has been observed to be among the most frequent accompanying disorders of generalized anxiety.2 Individuals with anxiety disorder not otherwise specified (AD NOS) also present with clinically significant symptoms, but they tend to report less worry, negative affect, depression, and comorbidity than those with GAD.3 The most commonly prescribed agents in the medical treatment of anxiety are benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).4 The well-known side effects of benzodiazepines include drowsiness, fatigue, confusion and disorientation, dizziness, decreased concentration, impaired memory, dry mouth, and blurred vision. Benzodiazepines can impair the ability to drive or operate machinery and may thus interfere with essential activities of daily living. They lower the tolerance to alcohol and are widely reported to cause physical and psychological dependence and withdrawal symptoms.5 SSRIs, on the other hand, may cause sedation and fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances, agitation or insomnia.6,7The risks and inconveniences associated with available anxiolytic pharmaceutical medications may be one of the reasons anxiety disorder is considered an undertreated condition.8 Herbal preparations have long been a mainstay for treating anxiety and depression. Some botanical agents, most notably kava (Piper methysticum), have demonstrated efficacy for clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders.9-13 Others, such as St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), are clinically efficacious for depression in most,14-25 though not all26,27 clinical studies. Kava, however, has been withdrawn by many manufacturers due to concerns over potential hepatotoxicity,28-32 even though these effects may have been primarily due to drug interactions, misuse, and poor quality extracts of this otherwise well-tolerated phytomedicine; St. John’s wort’s popularity has suffered because it was found to stimulate cytochrome P450 34, an enzyme that metabolizes at least half of the known pharmaceuticals sold today.33 A safe, non-sedating, non–habit forming herbal anxiolytic with proven efficacy for GAD and depression is, therefore, of interest to clinicians. Throughout history, lavender has been cultivated for its flowers and oils and used both cosmetically and medicinally. A member of the Labiatae family, lavender is primarily used either dried or as an essential oil. Historical use includes documented activity as an antibacterial, antifungal, carminative, sedative, and antidepressant.34 Lavandula angustifolia, Mill. is the most common species of lavender utilized for health purposes.35 Lavender is native to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Peninsula, Russia, and Africa. Lavender has a high concentration of volatile oils, which impart its distinctive and pleasing fragrance. The relaxing experience of lavender fragrance led to its deliberate, therapeutic use in aromatherapy to relieve mild anxiety. Lavender has been also used internally for mood imbalances such as anxiety, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress, including “nervous stomach.”36

Lavender Constituents

Lavender essential oil is obtained from steam distillation processing of the flowering tops of L. angustifolia. Modern analytical methods, such as capillary gas chromatography, have demonstrated that lavender oil contains more than 160 constituents, many of which interact synergistically to contribute to its healing effects. The main active constituents of lavender oil are linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol, and camphor. The quantity of the linalyl acetate is determined by the method of steam distillation as it degrades upon distillation to yield linalool. The highest content of linalyl acetate is obtained when fresh lavender flowers are steam distilled right after harvest. Other constituents found in lavender include: cis-ocimene; terpinen-4-ol, ß-caryophyllene; lavandulyl acetate; 1,8-cineole; and small amounts of limonene, geraniol, lavandulol, ß-pinene, camphene, geranyl acetate, and neryl acetate.37,38 Relative amounts of bioactive constituents can vary significantly from one lavender oil to another. The European Pharmacopoeia includes limits or ranges for the content of the predominant components. Specifically, oils with high concentrations of esters and low concentrations of cineol and other minor components are generally considered to be of higher quality because these parameters indicate that a gentle and careful production process was applied and that high quality raw materials were used. A high quality lavender extract would not only comply with this monograph but would ideally exceed those specifications with a higher content of linalyl acetate (ideally 33–45%) and lavandulyl acetate (≥1.5%), and a lower limit for the content of cineol (≤2 %).39

Mechanisms of action

In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated multiple possible mechanisms of action of lavender oil, as well as its individual constituents, which may partly account for its relaxing effects when taken orally. Lavender oil has potentiated expression of GABA-A receptors in cell culture;40 it has shown spasmolytic activity on guinea pig ileum;41 linalool, a main active ingredient of lavender oil, has been shown in animals to inhibit glutamate binding in the brain;42 linalool has also inhibited acetylcholine release and influenced ionic conductance in neurons;43 linalyl acetate is described to exert a relaxing effect.44 Lavender oil has reduced dose-dependently spontaneous motility and caffeine-induced hyperactivity of mice.45Lavender oil aromatherapy has been shown to be effective in the management of anxiety and depression and small and medium-sized controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials.

Clinical Efficacy of Lavender

Lavender Aromatherapy

Much prior research on lavender has focused on the administration of lavender via an olfactory route. The anxiolytic activity of lavender olfaction has been demonstrated in several small and medium-sized clinical trials.46-53 The efficacy of aromatherapy of lavender is thought to be due to the psychological effects of the fragrance combined with physiological effects of volatile oils in the limbic system.54 These calming effects of lavender oil and single constituents may be the origin of the traditional use of lavender. Lavender oil olfaction has been shown to decrease anxiety, as measured by the Hamilton rating scale,51 and can increase mood scores.55The following are selected examples of clinical trials on lavender aromatherapy:

  • Dunn and colleagues demonstrated anxiolytic activity of lavender oil aromatherapy in patients in intensive care units. Subjects received at least 1 session of aromatherapy with 1% lavender essential oil. Significant anxiolytic effects were noted in the 1st treatment, though 2nd and 3rd treatments did not appear to be as effective.47
  • Alaoui-Ismaili and colleagues found that the aroma of lavender is considered by subjects to be very pleasant and is correlated with changes in the autonomic nervous system.56
  • Tysoe and colleagues conducted a study of lavender oil in burner use on staff mood and stress in a hospital setting. A significant number of respondents (85%) believed that lavender aroma improved the work environment following the use of the lavender oil burners.57
  • Diego and colleagues demonstrated that people receiving lavender oil (10%) olfaction for 3 minutes felt significantly more relaxed and had decreased anxiety scores, improved mood and increased scores of alpha power on EEG (an indicator of alertness), and increased speed of mathematical calculations.58
  • Lewith and colleagues investigated the effects of lavender aromatherapy on depressed mood and anxiety in female patients being treated with chronic hemodialysis.59 The effects of aromatherapy were measured using the Hamilton rating scale for depression (HAMD) and the Hamilton rating scale for anxiety (HAMA). Lavender aroma significantly decreased the mean scores of HAMA, suggesting an effective, noninvasive means for the treatment of anxiety in hemodialysis patients.
  • Lavender aromatherapy, with or without massage, may also reduce the perception of pain and the need for conventional analgesics in adults and children, though more rigorously controlled trials are needed.60

Oral Lavender Supplementation: Anxiety

Lavender oil has also been shown to be effective via the oral route. Several clinical studies have demonstrated the benefit of lavender extracts in comparison to reference or placebo in decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Orally administered lavender capsules (100 mL and 200 mL) were tested in 97 healthy subjects in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.61 Film clips were used to elicit anxiety. Measures included anxiety, State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), mood, positive and negative affect scale (PANAS), heart rate (HR), galvanic skin response (GSR), and heart rate variation (HRV). After baseline measurements, capsules were administered. Participants viewed a neutral film clip, then an anxiety-provoking and light-hearted recovery film clip. For the 200 mL lavender dose during the neutral film clip, there was a trend toward reduced state anxiety, GSR, and HR and increased HRV. In the anxiety-eliciting film, lavender was mildly beneficial in females but only on HRV measures. In males, sympathetic arousal increased during the anxiety film (GSR). HRV significantly increased at 200 mL during all 3 film clips in females, suggesting decreased anxiety. The authors concluded that lavender has anxiolytic effects in humans under conditions of low anxiety, but they were unable to draw conclusions about high anxiety or clinical anxiety disorders. Kasper and colleagues investigated the efficacy of lavender oil (WS® 1265) for AD NOS in comparison to placebo in a primary care setting.62 This study was the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to document the anxiolytic efficacy of orally administered lavender essential oil for anxiety disorder. In 27 general and psychiatric practices, 221 adults reporting unspecified anxiety were randomized to receive 80 mg per day of lavender oil or placebo for 10 weeks with office visits every 2 weeks. A baseline HAMA total score of ?18 and a total score > 5 for the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) were required. The primary outcome measures were HAMA and PSQI total score decrease between baseline and week 10. Secondary efficacy measures included the Clinical Global Impressions scale, the Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale, and the SF-36 (Quality of Life) Health Survey Questionnaire. Subjects taking WS® 1265 showed a total score decrease by 16.0 ± 8.3 points (mean± SD, 59.3%) for the HAMA and by 5.5 ± 4.4 points (44.7%) for the PSQI compared to 9.5 ± 9.1 (35.4%) and 3.8 ± 4.1 points (30.9%) in the placebo group (P<0.01 one-sided, intention to treat). WS® 1265 was superior to placebo regarding the percentage of responders (76.9 vs. 49.1%, P<0.001) and remitters (60.6 vs. 42.6%, P=0.009). Adverse effects were uncommon and included dyspepsia (4.7% in the treatment group vs 1.8% in the placebo group) and eructation (3.7% in the treatment group and none in the placebo group). Lavender had a significant beneficial influence on quality and duration of sleep and improved general mental and physical health without causing any unwanted sedative or other drug-like effects. Researchers concluded that the lavender oil “is both efficacious and safe” for AD NOS and predicted that it could emerge as “a gentle therapeutic alternative in the treatment of anxiety.” Woelk and Schlaefke conducted a multicenter, double-blind, randomized Phase III study of lavender oil (Silexan, WS® 1265, Dr. Willmar Schwabe, Karlsruhe, Germany) in comparison to low-dose lorazepam for patients with GAD.63 The Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA-total score) was used as the primary objective measurement to monitor changes in the level of tension and relaxation beginning at baseline through week 6 of the trial. Additional data were collected using the Self-rating Anxiety Scale, Penn State Worry Questionnaire, SF-36 Health Survey Questionnaire, and specific sections of the Clinical Global Impressions of severity disorder. A total of 77 female (76.6%) and male (23.4%) subjects 18–65 years of age were randomized into groups. Participants were eligible for the study if they met the inclusion criteria of a HAMA-total score of greater than 18, as well as a score equal to or greater than 2 on both anxious mood and tension items. Secondary objective outcome data were obtained from responder and remission rate comparisons made between the 2 treatment groups. In order for a participant to qualify as having a significant response to treatment they were required to have a reduction of at least 50% in the HAMA-total score during the 6-week trial. Remission was defined as a HAMA-total score of less than 10 points at the end of the 6-week study. The results demonstrated that WS® 1265 was comparable to the conventional approach in its ability to promote relaxation.* The HAMA-total score decreased by 45% in the WS® 1265 group and decreased by 46% in the conventional group. At the conclusion of the 6-week intervention, 40% of the WS® 1265 group and 27% of the conventional treatment group were determined to be in remission. The WS® 1265 group had a response rate of 52.5% compared to only 40.5% taking the conventional option. Adverse effects in the WS® 1265 group were uncommon and included nausea (5.2%), eructation (3.9%), and dyspepsia (2.6%).

Oral Lavender Supplementation: Depression

In a 4-week randomized, double-blind study, researchers compared the efficacy of a tincture of L. angustifolia with imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.64 Forty-five adult outpatients who met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) for major depression based on the structured clinical interview for DSM-IV participated in the trial. Patients had a baseline Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD) score of at least 18. In this study, patients were randomly assigned to receive lavender tincture (1:5 in 50% alcohol ) 60 drops per day plus placebo tablet (Group A), imipramine tablet 100 mg per day plus placebo drops (Group B), or imipramine tablet 100 mg/per day plus lavender tincture 60 drops per day (Group C) for 4 weeks. Lavender tincture at this concentration was found to be less effective than imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression (P=0.001). In the imipramine group, anticholinergic effects such as dry mouth and urinary retention were observed, whereas headache was observed more in the lavender tincture group. The combination of imipramine and lavender tincture was more effective than imipramine alone (P<0.0001). Researchers concluded that lavender tincture may be of therapeutic benefit in the management of mild to moderate depression, but only as adjuvant therapy. In an open-label Phase II trial, Stange and colleagues administered 80 mg per day of lavender oil (Silexan, WS® 1265, Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, Karlsruhe, Germany) to 50 patients with neurasthenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, or somatization disorder for 3 months.65 Using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory, von Zerssen’s Depression Scale, and a sleep diary for assessment, researchers found that state and trait anxiety as well as depression were reduced and efficiency of sleep was improved significantly. Controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm whether oral lavender oil is an effective treatment for depression.

Comparison to Kava, Benzodiazepines, and Antidepressants

To date, lavender has been compared to benzodiazepines,66 paroxetine (an SSRI antidepressant), and imipramine (a tricyclic antidepressant). It has also been compared to kava.67 Kava was perhaps the best studied botanical anxiolytic and was the leading product in this category until concerns about liver toxicity prompted many companies to discontinue offering it. In a 6-week study, kava was found to produce a mean reduction of the HAMA score of 10 points, whereas the mean reduction of that score from lavender (WS® 1265) has ranged from 11.3 points (6-week study)63 to 16 points (10-week study),62 suggesting comparable to superior efficacy. Pharmaceutical anxiolytics (primarily benzodiazepines) typically produce HAMA reductions in the range of 11 to 15.3, suggesting comparable to superior efficacy of WS® 1265 without the attendant side effects.62,63,68,69 The Hamilton Anxiety Scale is used in most clinical trials of anxiolytic agents for GAD. In the study by Kasper and colleagues,62 a diagnosis of AD NOS was used instead, but the HAMA scale was still employed and baseline HAMA scores were similar across all trials (ie, > 18). At first glance it might appear that patients with AD NOS responded better to lavender than patients with GAD. However, the study of lavender for GAD was of shorter duration (6 weeks) than the study of lavender for AD NOS. In the longer study, the mean HAMA score change at the 6-week mark was nearly identical to that seen at the end of the 6-week study of patients with GAD. Therefore, the additional month of therapy at the same dose is likely to have had additional effects. In a meta-analysis of 21 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in patients with GAD, Hidalgo and colleagues determined average effect sizes for HAMA total score change versus baseline of 0.50 for pregabalin, 0.45 for hydroxyzine, 0.42 for venlafaxine XR, 0.38 for benzodiazepines, 0.35 for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and 0.17 for buspirone.70 The effect size of lavender (WS® 1265) was computed to be 0.75 in AD NOS. The significant reduction of anxiety-related symptoms in patients treated with lavender was not only evident in the judgment of the investigators, but was also perceived by the study participants subjectively according to the results of the self-rating questionnaire. The effects of lavender extract (WS® 1265) and other anxiolytic agents on HAMA scores are compared in Table 1 below. They are expressed as a mean HAMA score change. TABLE 1

  DoseLength of
study
DiagnosisHAMA score
at baseline
Mean HAMA
score change
Lavender (WS®
1265)62
80 mg/d10 weeksAD NOS26.8-16
Lavender (WS®
1265)63
80 mg/d6 weeksGAD25-11.3
Lorazepam630.5 mg/d6 weeksGAD25-11.6
Bromazepam713 mg TID6 weeksGAD28.07-13
Oxazepam705 mg TID6 weeksGAD28.24-11
Kava(WS®
1490)70
100 mg (70%
kavalactones) TID
6 weeksGAD28.35-10
Escitalopram7210-20 mg/d24 weeksGAD23.7-15.3
Paroxetine71 20-50 mg/d 24 weeksGAD 23.4-13.3
Duloxetine6860-120 mg/d9-10 weeksGAD -11.1

 Based upon the available data, it appears that therapy with at least some lavender extracts is comparable or superior in efficacy to many commonly prescribed anxiolytics, including benzodiazepines, SSRIs, and kava. The adverse event profile for lavender is the least severe of these options by a wide margin. In particular, benzodiazepines are well-known for their significant habit-forming potential, a drawback not found with lavender preparations.

Adverse Events, Safety and Dosage

The German Commission E Monographs list no contraindications, side effects, or drug interactions for lavender flower. Internal use of the volatile oil of lavender oil has been reported to cause nausea73 and drowsiness after excessive intake.74 This effect may be dose- and/or quality-dependent, as the occurrence of nausea was higher in the placebo group than in the treatment group (WS® 1265) in the largest and longest controlled clinical trial of lavender oil supplementation.62 In a brief report, Henley and colleagues described 3 cases of otherwise healthy boys with prepubertal gynecomastia,75 all of whom had normal serum concentrations of endogenous steroids and none of whom had been exposed to any known exogenous endocrine disruptors. The repeated topical application of 1 or more over-the-counter personal care products that contained lavender oil or lavender oil and tea tree oil was documented for all 3 patients. The authors performed in vitro tests that suggested weak estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities of the oils that may have contributed to an imbalance in estrogen and androgen pathway signaling. The effective dose of lavender oil is suggested to be 20–80 mg per day.36 The best-designed clinical studies with the most robust combination of efficacy and tolerability used 80 mg per day of a well-defined lavender oil. No serious adverse events during either of the published studies on this extract were reported.

Conclusion

Lavender oil aromatherapy has been shown to be effective in the management of anxiety and depression and small and medium-sized controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials. The best validated use of lavender as an anxiolytic agent is oral supplementation of 80 mg per day of a high-quality, well-defined lavender essential oil that has a demonstrated efficacy comparable or superior to benzodiazepines and kava, with a super safety profile.

Conflict of Interest Statement

Jeremy Appleton, ND, is an employee of Schwabe North America, a subsidiary of Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co, which manufactures and distributes WS® 1265, discussed in this article.

About the Author

Jeremy Appleton, ND, is a licensed naturopathic physician. He is a graduate of Reed College and the National College of Natural Medicine. He served on faculty at NCNM as the nutrition department chair and has also taught at Bastyr University, where he did his residency. Appleton left his private practice in 1998 to work in the natural products industry. He is the author of several books and hundreds of articles on natural medicine. He currently serves as director of scientific affairs at Integrative Therapeutics.

Eating Disorders Aren’t What You Think: 9 Things You Should Know Experts say eating disorders can affect anyone, so it’s important to dispel any myths surrounding the ailments. Getty Images The Academy of Eating Disorders has released a list of “9 truths” they say people should know about eating disorders. They say the truths dispel myths that people with eating disorders are either overly skinny or noticeably overweight. Among the truths are eating disorders aren’t choices, families aren’t to blame for them, and eating disorders can affect anyone. If you or a loved one had an eating disorder, would you be able to recognize it? While stereotypes might indicate that people with eating disorders are malnourished and skinny, the full spectrum of eating disorders goes far beyond these preconceived notions. The Academy for Eating Disorders is trying to bust the stigma and improve knowledge of this disease. The advocacy group has released a new document titled Nine Truths about Eating Disorders. People can look healthy Many people may think a person with an eating disorder would be someone all “skin and bones” or someone who carries a lot of extra weight. But experts say this doesn’t reflect reality. Dr. Dina Hirsch, a senior psychologist at Syosset Hospital’s Center for Weight Management on Long Island in New York, told Healthline it’s important for physicians to recognize this truth. “Normal weight patients with eating disorders such as atypical anorexia or bulimia nervosa are often commended for their weight loss without discussion of how it was accomplished,” she said. “Both of these illnesses have physical and mental health consequences just as serious as anorexia nervosa but are frequently missed by medical professionals who are overly focused on praising them for weight loss,” she added. Families are not to blame The Academy for Eating Disorders’ document points out that families can be a source of strength for people dealing with an eating disorder. They can also serve as an ally for both the person and doctors alike. According to Dr. Shawna Newman, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, family members may feel overwhelmed when a loved one is dealing with an eating disorder. “It’s really tough when parents are scared,” she told Healthline. “It’s tough to reel in the emotion.” But the same familial closeness that can cause anxiety can also help identify problems, assisting doctors in working toward a solution. “The great thing is that people can go to a doctor and have a relatively nonjudgmental assessment and feedback,” explained Newman. “You can easily accompany a family member to their appointment and speak to the doctor about staying on the right track with nutrition.” An eating disorder is a health crisis To some, an eating disorder may seem like a minor roadblock, one that’s easy to get over. But because these disorders affect a person’s psychological well-being, it isn’t that simple. Dr. S. Bryn Austin, president of the Academy of Eating Disorders, said in a release that the messaging in pop culture and society at large can often spur an eating disorder that can be tough to beat. “In addition, frank discrimination in healthcare against people living in larger bodies takes a direct and sometimes devastating toll on health and well-being regardless of whether or not a person believes the stigmatizing messages,” she said. Eating disorders aren’t choices An eating disorder may start off as someone choosing to starve themselves so they can fit into smaller clothes. But once the disorder has taken hold, it’s no longer a choice. “It’s so challenging when you have an eating disorder because food is necessary. We don’t get away from it. We’ve got to eat to live,” said Newman. Newman said that when a person has gotten themselves to a point where their brain is effectively rewired to think differently about how they look, it’s similar to trauma. Eating disorders can affect anyone “Eating disorders come in more than one flavor. The calorie restriction type in which people seriously restrict their intake is very common in teenage girls. But boys can be affected too,” said Newman. There’s truth to the notion that young women are the highest-risk group for developing eating disorders, but that doesn’t mean that men — or any other demographic group — are immune. According to statistics, about 2 percent of men will deal with a binge eating disorder at some point in their lives. There’s an increased risk for suicide There’s no shortage to the health risks that eating disorders can carry. The Academy of Eating Disorders released notes that the mortality rate for eating disorders is second only to opioid use disorder when it comes to psychiatric illnesses. According to a 2014 studyTrusted Source of 1,436 people with eating disorders, almost 12 percent had attempted suicide at some point while 43 percent had a history of suicidal ideation. Genes and environment play a role Various benchmarks, such as body mass index, give us a rough idea of what we need to do in order to be healthy. But the social and physiological determinants of health are tricky to pin down. “There are many factors that go into it,” said Newman. “Different people have different genetics. Biology isn’t just what you’re consuming, but it’s also that every person in every family has different strengths that can cause different kinds of weight.” “Weight is very much influenced by genetics, but it can also be influenced by cultural factors, as diets are different in different cultures, and there are different kinds of access to food,” she explained. Genes alone can’t predict While the influence of genetics on health and eating disorders can’t be denied, genes are hardly the end-all in terms of prediction. Eating disorders can be spurred by a person’s perception of what their body should look like — often influenced by images on social media or television. Sometimes things can be exacerbated by preconceptions from peers or even doctors, said Hirsch. “It’s imperative that we address weight bias by educating physicians on the nine truths — teaching them that eating disorders affect people of all shapes and sizes, that positive body image promotes health rather than the contrary, and that dietary restriction strategies can increase the risk of developing eating disorders,” she said. “Physicians also need to stop judging and blaming patients for their weight,” she added. Full recovery is possible Anyone who’s tried to change their eating habits knows that it isn’t as simple as just flipping a switch. The same goes for people with eating disorders who are trying to revert to healthier eating habits. “The idea that there’s something wrong about your body is very tough to get past,” said Newman. “It can take a long time. You can change your behaviors and re-train, but to change your core belief is very challenging.” While it may be a challenge for someone to lose their eating disorder, it’s certainly not impossible — particularly when the person, health professionals, and loved ones are all pulling in the right direction. “Weight-related issues should be treated like any other health issue — with compassion, sensitivity, and concern — and not judgment, blame, or oversimplification,” said Hirsch. “Only then will we be able to address one of the nation’s leading health problems — obesity — and decrease the rate of eating disorders.” Written by Dan Gray on January 14, 2020 New.

If you or a loved one had an eating disorder, would you be able to recognize it?

While stereotypes might indicate that people with eating disorders are malnourished and skinny, the full spectrum of eating disorders goes far beyond these preconceived notions.

The Academy for Eating Disorders is trying to bust the stigma and improve knowledge of this disease.

The advocacy group has released a new document titled Nine Truths about Eating Disorders.

People can look healthy

Many people may think a person with an eating disorder would be someone all “skin and bones” or someone who carries a lot of extra weight.

But experts say this doesn’t reflect reality.

Dr. Dina Hirsch, a senior psychologist at Syosset Hospital’s Center for Weight Management on Long Island in New York, told Healthline it’s important for physicians to recognize this truth.

“Normal weight patients with eating disorders such as atypical anorexia or bulimia nervosa are often commended for their weight loss without discussion of how it was accomplished,” she said.

“Both of these illnesses have physical and mental health consequences just as serious as anorexia nervosa but are frequently missed by medical professionals who are overly focused on praising them for weight loss,” she added.

Families are not to blame

The Academy for Eating Disorders’ document points out that families can be a source of strength for people dealing with an eating disorder.

They can also serve as an ally for both the person and doctors alike.

According to Dr. Shawna Newman, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, family members may feel overwhelmed when a loved one is dealing with an eating disorder.

“It’s really tough when parents are scared,” she told Healthline. “It’s tough to reel in the emotion.”

But the same familial closeness that can cause anxiety can also help identify problems, assisting doctors in working toward a solution.

“The great thing is that people can go to a doctor and have a relatively nonjudgmental assessment and feedback,” explained Newman. “You can easily accompany a family member to their appointment and speak to the doctor about staying on the right track with nutrition.”

An eating disorder is a health crisis

To some, an eating disorder may seem like a minor roadblock, one that’s easy to get over.

But because these disorders affect a person’s psychological well-being, it isn’t that simple.

Dr. S. Bryn Austin, president of the Academy of Eating Disorders, said in a release that the messaging in pop culture and society at large can often spur an eating disorder that can be tough to beat.

“In addition, frank discrimination in healthcare against people living in larger bodies takes a direct and sometimes devastating toll on health and well-being regardless of whether or not a person believes the stigmatizing messages,” she said.

Eating disorders aren’t choices

An eating disorder may start off as someone choosing to starve themselves so they can fit into smaller clothes.

But once the disorder has taken hold, it’s no longer a choice.

“It’s so challenging when you have an eating disorder because food is necessary. We don’t get away from it. We’ve got to eat to live,” said Newman.

Newman said that when a person has gotten themselves to a point where their brain is effectively rewired to think differently about how they look, it’s similar to trauma.

Eating disorders can affect anyone

“Eating disorders come in more than one flavor. The calorie restriction type in which people seriously restrict their intake is very common in teenage girls. But boys can be affected too,” said Newman.

There’s truth to the notion that young women are the highest-risk group for developing eating disorders, but that doesn’t mean that men — or any other demographic group — are immune.

According to statistics, about 2 percent of men will deal with a binge eating disorder at some point in their lives.

There’s an increased risk for suicide

There’s no shortage to the health risks that eating disorders can carry.

The Academy of Eating Disorders released notes that the mortality rate for eating disorders is second only to opioid use disorder when it comes to psychiatric illnesses.

According to a 2014 studyTrusted Source of 1,436 people with eating disorders, almost 12 percent had attempted suicide at some point while 43 percent had a history of suicidal ideation.

Genes and environment play a role

Various benchmarks, such as body mass index, give us a rough idea of what we need to do in order to be healthy.

But the social and physiological determinants of health are tricky to pin down.

“There are many factors that go into it,” said Newman. “Different people have different genetics. Biology isn’t just what you’re consuming, but it’s also that every person in every family has different strengths that can cause different kinds of weight.”

“Weight is very much influenced by genetics, but it can also be influenced by cultural factors, as diets are different in different cultures, and there are different kinds of access to food,” she explained.

Genes alone can’t predict

While the influence of genetics on health and eating disorders can’t be denied, genes are hardly the end-all in terms of prediction.

Eating disorders can be spurred by a person’s perception of what their body should look like — often influenced by images on social media or television.

Sometimes things can be exacerbated by preconceptions from peers or even doctors, said Hirsch.

“It’s imperative that we address weight bias by educating physicians on the nine truths — teaching them that eating disorders affect people of all shapes and sizes, that positive body image promotes health rather than the contrary, and that dietary restriction strategies can increase the risk of developing eating disorders,” she said.

“Physicians also need to stop judging and blaming patients for their weight,” she added.

Full recovery is possible

Anyone who’s tried to change their eating habits knows that it isn’t as simple as just flipping a switch.

The same goes for people with eating disorders who are trying to revert to healthier eating habits.

“The idea that there’s something wrong about your body is very tough to get past,” said Newman. “It can take a long time. You can change your behaviors and re-train, but to change your core belief is very challenging.”

While it may be a challenge for someone to lose their eating disorder, it’s certainly not impossible — particularly when the person, health professionals, and loved ones are all pulling in the right direction.

“Weight-related issues should be treated like any other health issue — with compassion, sensitivity, and concern — and not judgment, blame, or oversimplification,” said Hirsch. “Only then will we be able to address one of the nation’s leading health problems — obesity — and decrease the rate of eating disorders.”FEEDBACK:

How to Cope with Anxiety

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anxiety

Breathe: There are ways to calm your anxiety

Know that feeling of your heart beating faster in response to a stressful situation? Or perhaps, instead, your palms get sweaty when you’re confronted with an overwhelming task or event.

That’s anxiety — our body’s natural response to stress.

If you haven’t recognized your triggers yet, here are a few common: your first day at a new job, meeting your partner’s family, or giving a presentation in front of a lot of people. Everyone has different triggers, and identifying them is one of the most important steps to coping and managing anxiety attacks.

Identifying your triggers can take some time and self-reflection. In the meantime, there are things you can do to try to help calm or quiet your anxiety from taking over.

5 quick ways to cope with anxiety

If your anxiety is sporadic and getting in the way of your focus or tasks, there are some quick natural remedies that could help you take control of the situation.

If your anxiety is focused around a situation, such as being worried about an upcoming event, you may notice the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event takes place.

Question your thought pattern

Negative thoughts can take root in your mind and distort the severity of the situation. One way is to challenge your fears, ask if they’re true, and see where you can take back control.

Practice focused, deep breathing

Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. By evening out your breath, you’ll slow your heart rate which should help calm you down.

The 4-7-8 technique is also known to help anxiety.

Use aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can be very soothing.

Aromatherapy is thought to help activate certain receptors in your brain, potentially easing anxiety.

Go for a walk or do 15 minutes of yoga

Sometimes, the best way to stop anxious thoughts is to walk away from the situation. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety.

Write down your thoughts

Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) when they’re in a bind too!

However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldn’t be the only kind of treatment you employ. You’ll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.ADVERTISING

6 long-term strategies for coping with anxiety

If anxiety is a regular part of your life, it’s important to find treatment strategies to help you keep it in check. It might be a combination of things, like talk therapy and meditation, or it might just be a matter of cutting out or resolving your anxiety trigger.

If you’re not sure where to start, it’s always helpful to discuss options with a mental health professional who might suggest something you hadn’t thought of before.

Identify and learn to manage your triggers

You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.

Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out — is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.

When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you can’t limit it — like if it’s due to a stressful work environment that you can’t currently change — using other coping techniques may help.

Some general triggers:

  • a stressful job or work environment
  • driving or traveling
  • genetics — anxiety could run in your family
  • withdrawal from drugs or certain medications
  • side effects of certain medications
  • trauma
  • phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces)
  • some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • chronic pain
  • having another mental illness such as depression
  • caffeine

Adopt cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral.

Do a daily or routine meditation

While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.

If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.

Try supplements or change your diet

Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.

These include:

  • lemon balm
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • ashwagandha
  • green tea
  • valerian root
  • kava kava
  • dark chocolate (in moderation)

However, it can take up to three months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If you’re taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor.

Keep your body and mind healthy

Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to stave off anxiety symptoms.

Ask your doctor about medications

If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health practitioner believes you’d benefit from medication, there are a number of directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.

When is my anxiety harmful?

Identifying what sort of anxiety you’re dealing with can be somewhat challenging because how one’s body reacts to perceived danger can be entirely different compared to another person.

It’s likely you heard anxiety as a blanket term for that general feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. It’s often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome.

Every person deals with it at one time or another, because it’s part of our brain’s response to a perceived danger — even if that danger isn’t real.

That said, there are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that initially feel manageable and then gradually build up over a few hours. (This is different from a panic attack, which is out of the blue and subsides.)

Signs of an anxiety attack

These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

It’s also possible to experience an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.

Other mindful strategies to cope with panic attacks include focusing on an object, repeating a mantra, closing your eyes, and going to your happy place.

Symptoms of a panic attack

What causes anxiety?

If you notice that quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD and its interfering with routine activities and causing physical symptoms.

A mental health professional can help with streamlining the process of identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.

For example, if your anxiety stems from a trauma you experienced in your past, it can be helpful to work through that with a licensed therapist. On the other hand, if you’re brain chemistry predisposes you to chronic anxiety, you may need to go on medication to manage it.

Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but it shouldn’t overtake your day-to-day. Even the most extreme anxiety disorders can be treated so that the symptoms aren’t overwhelming.

Once you find what treatment works best for you, life should be a lot more enjoyable and a lot less daunting.

Taking the next step for your ASMTHA

Everything You Need to Know About High Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of lipid. It’s a waxy, fat-like substance that your liver produces naturally. It’s vital for the formation of cell membranes, certain hormones, and vitamin D.

Cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in water, so it can’t travel through your blood on its own. To help transport cholesterol, your liver produces lipoproteins.

Lipoproteins are particles made from fat and protein. They carry cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of lipid) through your bloodstream. The two major forms of lipoprotein are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

If your blood contains too much LDL cholesterol (cholesterol carried by low-density lipoprotein), it’s known as high cholesterol. When left untreated, high cholesterol can lead to many health problems, including heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol typically causes no symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis. Learn what cholesterol levels are recommended for your age.

LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol”

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often called “bad cholesterol.” It carries cholesterol to your arteries. If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.

The buildup is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow your arteries, limit your blood flow, and raise your risk of blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery in your heart or brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source, over one-third of American adults have elevated levels of LDL cholesterol. Find out how you can check your LDL cholesterol levels.

HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol”

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is sometimes called “good cholesterol.” It helps return LDL cholesterol to your liver to be removed from your body. This helps prevent cholesterol plaque from building up in your arteries.

When you have healthy levels of HDL cholesterol, it can help lower your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke. Learn more about HDL cholesterol.

Triglycerides, a different type of lipid

Triglycerides are another type of lipid. They’re different from cholesterol. While your body uses cholesterol to build cells and certain hormones, it uses triglycerides as a source of energy.

When you eat more calories than your body can use right away, it converts those calories into triglycerides. It stores triglycerides in your fat cells. It also uses lipoproteins to circulate triglycerides through your bloodstream.

If you regularly eat more calories than your body can use, your triglyceride levels can get high. This may raise your risk of several health problems, including heart disease and stroke.

Your doctor can use a simple blood test to measure your triglyceride level, as well as your cholesterol levels. Learn how to get your triglyceride level tested.powered by Rubicon Project

Getting your cholesterol levels checked

If you’re age 20 years or older, the American Heart Association recommends getting your cholesterol levels checked at least once every four to six years. If you have a history of high cholesterol or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, your doctor may encourage you get your cholesterol levels tested more often.

Your doctor can use a lipid panel to measure your total cholesterol level, as well your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Your total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood. It includes LDL and HDL cholesterol.

If your levels of total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol are too high, your doctor will diagnose you with high cholesterol. High cholesterol is especially dangerous when your LDL levels are too high and your HDL levels are too low. Find out more about your recommended cholesterol levels.

Tips

  • Pay attention to the saturated and trans fats on your food labels, as well as added sugars. The less of these you consume, the better. No more than 10 percent of your daily calories should come from either saturated fats or added sugars.
  • Don’t worry about eating enough cholesterol. Your body makes enough whether or not you consume it.
  • Eat more healthy, unsaturated fats. Try replacing butter with extra virgin olive oil in cooking, buy lean cuts of meat, and snack on nuts and seeds instead of french fries or processed snack foods.

Recent guidelines for normal cholesterol levels

Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly, including some LDL. But if your LDL levels are too high, it can raise your risk of serious health problems.

In 2013, the American College of Cardiologists (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) developed new guidelines for the treatment of high cholesterol.

Before this change, doctors would manage cholesterol based on numbers in a cholesterol levels chart. Your doctor would measure your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels. They would then decide whether to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication based on how your numbers compared to the numbers in the chart.

Under the new guidelines, in addition to your cholesterol levels, treatment recommendations consider other risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include diabetes and the estimated 10-year risk for a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke. So what your “normal” cholesterol levels are depends on whether you have other risk factors for heart disease.

These new guidelines recommend that if you don’t have risk factors for heart disease, your doctor should prescribe treatment if your LDL is greater than 189 mg/dL. To find out what your personal cholesterol recommendations are, talk to your doctor.

Cholesterol levels chart

With the changes mentioned above in the treatment guidelines for high cholesterol, cholesterol charts are no longer considered the best way for doctors to gauge the management of cholesterol levels in adults.

However, for the average child and adolescent, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTrusted Source classifies cholesterol levels (mg/dL) as follows:

Total cholesterolHDL cholesterolLDL cholesterol
Acceptablelower than 170higher than 45lower than 110
Borderline170–19940–45110–129
High200 or highern/ahigher than 130
Lown/alower than 40n/a

High cholesterol symptoms

In most cases, high cholesterol is a “silent” problem. It typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. Many people don’t even realize they have high cholesterol until they develop serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke.

That’s why routine cholesterol screening is important. If you’re age 20 years or older, ask your doctor if you should have routine cholesterol screening. Learn how this screening could potentially save your life.

Causes of high cholesterol

Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats may increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. Other lifestyle factors can also contribute to high cholesterol. These factors include inactivity and smoking.

Your genetics can also affect your chances of developing high cholesterol. Genes are passed down from parents to children. Certain genes instruct your body on how to process cholesterol and fats. If your parents have high cholesterol, you’re at higher risk of having it too.

In rare cases, high cholesterol is caused by familial hypercholesterolemia. This genetic disorder prevents your body from removing LDL. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, most adults with this condition have total cholesterol levels above 300 mg/dL and LDL levels above 200 mg/dL.

Other health conditions, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, may also increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and related complications.

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Risk factors for high cholesterol

You may be at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol if you:

  • are overweight or obese
  • eat an unhealthy diet
  • don’t exercise regularly
  • smoke tobacco products
  • have a family history of high cholesterol
  • have diabetes, kidney disease, or hypothyroidism

People of all ages, genders, and ethnicities can have high cholesterol. Explore strategies to lower your risk of high cholesterol and related complications.

Complications of high cholesterol

If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in your arteries. Over time, this plaque can narrow your arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a serious condition. It can limit the flow of blood through your arteries. It also raises your risk of developing dangerous blood clots.

Atherosclerosis can result in many life-threatening complications, such as:

High cholesterol can also create a bile imbalance, raising your risk of gallstonesSee the other ways that high cholesterol can impact your body.

How to diagnose high cholesterol

To measure your cholesterol levels, your doctor will use a simple blood test. It’s known as a lipid panel. They can use it to assess your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

To conduct this test, your doctor or other healthcare professional will take a sample of your blood. They will send this sample to a lab for analysis. When your test results become available, they will let you know if your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are too high.

To prepare for this test, your doctor may ask you to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 12 hours beforehand. Learn more about testing your cholesterol levels.

How to lower cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help lower it. For instance, they may recommend changes to your diet, exercise habits, or other aspects of your daily routine. If you smoke tobacco products, they will likely advise you to quit.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other treatments to help lower your cholesterol levels. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist for more care. See how long it may take for your cholesterol treatment to work.

ADVERTISEMENT

Are you interested in knowing more about your heart health risk?

This at-home test that measures your cholesterol levels, HbA1c, and more may help you understand your risk factors for heart disease.SHOP NOW

Lowering cholesterol through diet

To help you achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, your doctor may recommend changes to your diet.

For example, they may advise you to:

  • limit your intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats
  • choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, and legumes
  • eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • opt for baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, and roasted foods instead of fried foods
  • avoid fast food and junk food

Foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, or trans fats include:

  • red meat, organ meats, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products
  • processed foods made with cocoa butter, palm oil, or coconut oil
  • deep fried foods, such as potato chips, onion rings, and fried chicken
  • certain baked goods, such as some cookies and muffins

Eating fish and other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower your LDL levels. For example, salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich sources of omega-3s. Walnuts, almonds, ground flax seeds, and avocados also contain omega-3s. Discover other foods that may help lower your cholesterol levels.

What high-cholesterol foods to avoid

Dietary cholesterol is found in animal products, such as meat, eggs, and dairy. To help treat high cholesterol, your doctor may encourage you to limit your intake of high-cholesterol foods.

For example, the following products contain high levels of cholesterol:

  • fatty cuts of red meat
  • liver and other organ meats
  • eggs, especially the yolks
  • high-fat dairy products, such as full-fat cheese, milk, ice cream, and butter

Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, you might be able to eat some of these foods in moderation. Learn more about high-cholesterol foods.

Cholesterol medications

In some cases, your doctor might prescribe medications to help lower your cholesterol levels.

Statins are the most commonly prescribed medications for high cholesterol. They block your liver from producing more cholesterol.

Examples of statins include:

Your doctor may also prescribe other medications for high cholesterol, such as:

  • niacin
  • bile acid resins or sequesterants, such as colesevalam (Welchol), colestipol (Colestid), or cholestyramine (Prevalite)
  • cholesterol absorption inhibitors, such as ezetimibe (Zetia)

Some products contain a combination of drugs to help decrease your body’s absorption of cholesterol from foods and reduce your liver’s production of cholesterol. One example is a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin (Vytorin). Learn more about the drugs used to treat high cholesterol.

How to lower cholesterol naturally

In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.

Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, such claims have been made about:

However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.

Always talk to your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications you’re taking. Learn more about natural remedies for high cholesterol.

How to prevent high cholesterol

Genetic risk factors for high cholesterol can’t be controlled. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.

To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:

  • Eat a nutritious diet that’s low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Don’t smoke.

You should also follow your doctor’s recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If you’re at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis. Find out how to get your cholesterol levels checked.

Outlook for high cholesterol

If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause serious health problems and even death. However, treatment can help you manage this condition, and in many cases, it can help you avoid complications.

To learn if you have high cholesterol, ask your doctor to test your cholesterol levels. If they diagnose you with high cholesterol, ask them about your treatment options.

To lower your risk of complications from high cholesterol, practice healthy lifestyle habits and follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco products may help you achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. It could also help lower your risk of complications from high cholesterol.

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Everything you need to know about High Cholesterol

Everything You Need to Know About High Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of lipid. It’s a waxy, fat-like substance that your liver produces naturally. It’s vital for the formation of cell membranes, certain hormones, and vitamin D.

Cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in water, so it can’t travel through your blood on its own. To help transport cholesterol, your liver produces lipoproteins.

Lipoproteins are particles made from fat and protein. They carry cholesterol and triglycerides (another type of lipid) through your bloodstream. The two major forms of lipoprotein are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

If your blood contains too much LDL cholesterol (cholesterol carried by low-density lipoprotein), it’s known as high cholesterol. When left untreated, high cholesterol can lead to many health problems, including heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol typically causes no symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get your cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis. Learn what cholesterol levels are recommended for your age.

LDL cholesterol, or “bad cholesterol”

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often called “bad cholesterol.” It carries cholesterol to your arteries. If your levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, it can build up on the walls of your arteries.

The buildup is also known as cholesterol plaque. This plaque can narrow your arteries, limit your blood flow, and raise your risk of blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery in your heart or brain, it can cause a heart attack or stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source, over one-third of American adults have elevated levels of LDL cholesterol. Find out how you can check your LDL cholesterol levels.

HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol”

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is sometimes called “good cholesterol.” It helps return LDL cholesterol to your liver to be removed from your body. This helps prevent cholesterol plaque from building up in your arteries.

When you have healthy levels of HDL cholesterol, it can help lower your risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke. Learn more about HDL cholesterol.

Triglycerides, a different type of lipid

Triglycerides are another type of lipid. They’re different from cholesterol. While your body uses cholesterol to build cells and certain hormones, it uses triglycerides as a source of energy.

When you eat more calories than your body can use right away, it converts those calories into triglycerides. It stores triglycerides in your fat cells. It also uses lipoproteins to circulate triglycerides through your bloodstream.

If you regularly eat more calories than your body can use, your triglyceride levels can get high. This may raise your risk of several health problems, including heart disease and stroke.

Your doctor can use a simple blood test to measure your triglyceride level, as well as your cholesterol levels. Learn how to get your triglyceride level tested.powered by Rubicon Project

Getting your cholesterol levels checked

If you’re age 20 years or older, the American Heart Association recommends getting your cholesterol levels checked at least once every four to six years. If you have a history of high cholesterol or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, your doctor may encourage you get your cholesterol levels tested more often.

Your doctor can use a lipid panel to measure your total cholesterol level, as well your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Your total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood. It includes LDL and HDL cholesterol.

If your levels of total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol are too high, your doctor will diagnose you with high cholesterol. High cholesterol is especially dangerous when your LDL levels are too high and your HDL levels are too low. Find out more about your recommended cholesterol levels.

Tips

  • Pay attention to the saturated and trans fats on your food labels, as well as added sugars. The less of these you consume, the better. No more than 10 percent of your daily calories should come from either saturated fats or added sugars.
  • Don’t worry about eating enough cholesterol. Your body makes enough whether or not you consume it.
  • Eat more healthy, unsaturated fats. Try replacing butter with extra virgin olive oil in cooking, buy lean cuts of meat, and snack on nuts and seeds instead of french fries or processed snack foods.

Recent guidelines for normal cholesterol levels

Your body needs some cholesterol to function properly, including some LDL. But if your LDL levels are too high, it can raise your risk of serious health problems.

In 2013, the American College of Cardiologists (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) developed new guidelines for the treatment of high cholesterol.

Before this change, doctors would manage cholesterol based on numbers in a cholesterol levels chart. Your doctor would measure your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels. They would then decide whether to prescribe a cholesterol-lowering medication based on how your numbers compared to the numbers in the chart.

Under the new guidelines, in addition to your cholesterol levels, treatment recommendations consider other risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include diabetes and the estimated 10-year risk for a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke. So what your “normal” cholesterol levels are depends on whether you have other risk factors for heart disease.

These new guidelines recommend that if you don’t have risk factors for heart disease, your doctor should prescribe treatment if your LDL is greater than 189 mg/dL. To find out what your personal cholesterol recommendations are, talk to your doctor.

Cholesterol levels chart

With the changes mentioned above in the treatment guidelines for high cholesterol, cholesterol charts are no longer considered the best way for doctors to gauge the management of cholesterol levels in adults.

However, for the average child and adolescent, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTrusted Sourceclassifies cholesterol levels (mg/dL) as follows:

Total cholesterolHDL cholesterolLDL cholesterol
Acceptablelower than 170higher than 45lower than 110
Borderline170–19940–45110–129
High200 or highern/ahigher than 130
Lown/alower than 40n/a

High cholesterol symptoms

In most cases, high cholesterol is a “silent” problem. It typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. Many people don’t even realize they have high cholesterol until they develop serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke.

That’s why routine cholesterol screening is important. If you’re age 20 years or older, ask your doctor if you should have routine cholesterol screening. Learn how this screening could potentially save your life.

Causes of high cholesterol

Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats may increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. Other lifestyle factors can also contribute to high cholesterol. These factors include inactivity and smoking.

Your genetics can also affect your chances of developing high cholesterol. Genes are passed down from parents to children. Certain genes instruct your body on how to process cholesterol and fats. If your parents have high cholesterol, you’re at higher risk of having it too.

In rare cases, high cholesterol is caused by familial hypercholesterolemia. This genetic disorder prevents your body from removing LDL. According to the National Human Genome Research Institute, most adults with this condition have total cholesterol levels above 300 mg/dL and LDL levels above 200 mg/dL.

Other health conditions, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, may also increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and related complications.

HEALTHLINE RESOURCES

Find the diet that’s right for you

Keto? Paleo? Vegan? There are a lot of diets out there. Find the right one for you with our free quiz.TRY IT FREE

Risk factors for high cholesterol

You may be at a higher risk of developing high cholesterol if you:

  • are overweight or obese
  • eat an unhealthy diet
  • don’t exercise regularly
  • smoke tobacco products
  • have a family history of high cholesterol
  • have diabetes, kidney disease, or hypothyroidism

People of all ages, genders, and ethnicities can have high cholesterol. Explore strategies to lower your risk of high cholesterol and related complications.

Complications of high cholesterol

If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in your arteries. Over time, this plaque can narrow your arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a serious condition. It can limit the flow of blood through your arteries. It also raises your risk of developing dangerous blood clots.

Atherosclerosis can result in many life-threatening complications, such as:

High cholesterol can also create a bile imbalance, raising your risk of gallstonesSee the other ways that high cholesterol can impact your body.

How to diagnose high cholesterol

To measure your cholesterol levels, your doctor will use a simple blood test. It’s known as a lipid panel. They can use it to assess your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

To conduct this test, your doctor or other healthcare professional will take a sample of your blood. They will send this sample to a lab for analysis. When your test results become available, they will let you know if your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are too high.

To prepare for this test, your doctor may ask you to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 12 hours beforehand. Learn more about testing your cholesterol levels.

How to lower cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to help lower it. For instance, they may recommend changes to your diet, exercise habits, or other aspects of your daily routine. If you smoke tobacco products, they will likely advise you to quit.

Your doctor may also prescribe medications or other treatments to help lower your cholesterol levels. In some cases, they may refer you to a specialist for more care. See how long it may take for your cholesterol treatment to work.

ADVERTISEMENT

Are you interested in knowing more about your heart health risk?

This at-home test that measures your cholesterol levels, HbA1c, and more may help you understand your risk factors for heart disease.SHOP NOW

Lowering cholesterol through diet

To help you achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels, your doctor may recommend changes to your diet.

For example, they may advise you to:

  • limit your intake of foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats
  • choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, and legumes
  • eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • opt for baked, broiled, steamed, grilled, and roasted foods instead of fried foods
  • avoid fast food and junk food

Foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, or trans fats include:

  • red meat, organ meats, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products
  • processed foods made with cocoa butter, palm oil, or coconut oil
  • deep fried foods, such as potato chips, onion rings, and fried chicken
  • certain baked goods, such as some cookies and muffins

Eating fish and other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower your LDL levels. For example, salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich sources of omega-3s. Walnuts, almonds, ground flax seeds, and avocados also contain omega-3s. Discover other foods that may help lower your cholesterol levels.

What high-cholesterol foods to avoid

Dietary cholesterol is found in animal products, such as meat, eggs, and dairy. To help treat high cholesterol, your doctor may encourage you to limit your intake of high-cholesterol foods.

For example, the following products contain high levels of cholesterol:

  • fatty cuts of red meat
  • liver and other organ meats
  • eggs, especially the yolks
  • high-fat dairy products, such as full-fat cheese, milk, ice cream, and butter

Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, you might be able to eat some of these foods in moderation. Learn more about high-cholesterol foods.

Cholesterol medications

In some cases, your doctor might prescribe medications to help lower your cholesterol levels.

Statins are the most commonly prescribed medications for high cholesterol. They block your liver from producing more cholesterol.

Examples of statins include:

Your doctor may also prescribe other medications for high cholesterol, such as:

  • niacin
  • bile acid resins or sequesterants, such as colesevalam (Welchol), colestipol (Colestid), or cholestyramine (Prevalite)
  • cholesterol absorption inhibitors, such as ezetimibe (Zetia)

Some products contain a combination of drugs to help decrease your body’s absorption of cholesterol from foods and reduce your liver’s production of cholesterol. One example is a combination of ezetimibe and simvastatin (Vytorin). Learn more about the drugs used to treat high cholesterol.

How to lower cholesterol naturally

In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.

Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, such claims have been made about:

However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.

Always talk to your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications you’re taking. Learn more about natural remedies for high cholesterol.

How to prevent high cholesterol

Genetic risk factors for high cholesterol can’t be controlled. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.

To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:

  • Eat a nutritious diet that’s low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Don’t smoke.

You should also follow your doctor’s recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If you’re at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis. Find out how to get your cholesterol levels checked.

Outlook for high cholesterol

If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause serious health problems and even death. However, treatment can help you manage this condition, and in many cases, it can help you avoid complications.

To learn if you have high cholesterol, ask your doctor to test your cholesterol levels. If they diagnose you with high cholesterol, ask them about your treatment options.

To lower your risk of complications from high cholesterol, practice healthy lifestyle habits and follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and avoiding tobacco products may help you achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. It could also help lower your risk of complications from high cholesterol.

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What causes Chronic Pain?

Everyone experiences occasional aches and pains. In fact, sudden pain is an important reaction of the nervous system that helps alert you to possible injury. When an injury occurs, pain signals travel from the injured area up your spinal cord and to your brain.

Pain will usually become less severe as the injury heals. However, chronic pain is different from typical pain. With chronic pain, your body continues to send pain signals to your brain, even after an injury heals. This can last several weeks to years. Chronic pain can limit your mobility and reduce your flexibility, strength, and endurance. This may make it challenging to get through daily tasks and activities.

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts at least 12 weeks. The pain may feel sharp or dull, causing a burning or aching sensation in the affected areas. It may be steady or intermittent, coming and going without any apparent reason. Chronic pain can occur in nearly any part of your body. The pain can feel different in the various affected areas.

Some of the most common types of chronic pain include:

  • headache
  • postsurgical pain
  • post-trauma pain
  • lower back pain
  • cancer pain
  • arthritis pain
  • neurogenic pain (pain caused by nerve damage)
  • psychogenic pain (pain that isn’t caused by disease, injury, or nerve damage)

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 1.5 billion people around the world have chronic pain. It’s the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States, affecting about 100 million Americans.

What causes chronic pain?

Chronic pain is usually caused by an initial injury, such as a back sprain or pulled muscle. It’s believed that chronic pain develops after nerves become damaged. The nerve damage makes pain more intense and long lasting. In these cases, treating the underlying injury may not resolve the chronic pain.

In some cases, however, people experience chronic pain without any prior injury. The exact causes of chronic pain without injury aren’t well understood. The pain may sometimes result from an underlying health condition, such as:

Who is at risk for chronic pain?

Chronic pain can affect people of all ages, but it’s most common in older adults. Besides age, other factors that can increase your risk of developing chronic pain include:

  • having an injury
  • having surgery
  • being female
  • being overweight or obese

How is chronic pain treated?

The main goal of treatment is to reduce pain and boost mobility. This helps you return to your daily activities without discomfort.

The severity and frequency of chronic pain can differ among individuals. So doctors create pain management plans that are specific to each person. Your pain management plan will depend on your symptoms and any underlying health conditions. Medical treatments, lifestyle remedies, or a combination of these methods may be used to treat your chronic pain.

Medications for chronic pain

Several types of medications are available that can help treat chronic pain. Here are a few examples:

  • over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin (Bufferin) or ibuprofen (Advil).
  • opioid pain relievers, including morphine (MS Contin), codeine, and hydrocodone (Tussigon)
  • adjuvant analgesics, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants

Medical procedures for chronic pain

Certain medical procedures can also provide relief from chronic pain. An example of a few are:

  • electrical stimulation, which reduces pain by sending mild electric shocks into your muscles
  • nerve block, which is an injection that prevents nerves from sending pain signals to your brain
  • acupuncture, which involves lightly pricking your skin with needles to alleviate pain
  • surgery, which corrects injuries that may have healed improperly and that may be contributing to the pain

Lifestyle remedies for chronic pain

Additionally, various lifestyle remedies are available to help ease chronic pain. Examples include:

  • physical therapy
  • tai chi
  • yoga
  • art and music therapy
  • pet therapy
  • psychotherapy
  • massage
  • meditation

Dealing with chronic pain

There isn’t a cure for chronic pain, but the condition can be managed successfully. It’s important to stick to your pain management plan to help relieve symptoms.

Physical pain is related to emotional pain, so chronic pain can increase your stress levels. Building emotional skills can help you cope with any stress related to your condition. Here are some steps you can take to reduce stress:

Take good care of your body: Eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can keep your body healthy and reduce feelings of stress.

Continue taking part in your daily activities: You can boost your mood and decrease stress by participating in activities you enjoy and socializing with friends. Chronic pain may make it challenging to perform certain tasks. But isolating yourself can give you a more negative outlook on your condition and increase your sensitivity to pain.

Seek support: Friends, family, and support groups can lend you a helping hand and offer comfort during difficult times. Whether you’re having trouble with daily tasks or you’re simply in need of an emotional boost, a close friend or loved one can provide the support you need.

For more information and resources, visit the American Chronic Pain Association website at theacpa.org.

 

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness involving your central nervous system (CNS). The immune system attacks myelin, which is the protective layer around nerve fibers.

This causes inflammation and scar tissue, or lesions. This can make it hard for your brain to send signals to the rest of your body. See illustrations that show the physiological changes associated with MS.

What are the symptoms of MS?

People with MS experience a wide range of symptoms. Due to the nature of the disease, symptoms can vary widely from person to person. They can also change in severity from year to year, month to month, and even day to day.

Two of the most common symptoms are fatigue and difficulty walking.

Fatigue

Around 80 percent of people with MS report having fatigue. Fatigue that occurs with MS can become debilitating, affecting your ability to work and perform everyday tasks.

Difficulty walking

Difficulty walking can occur with MS for a number of reasons:

Difficulty walking can also lead to injuries due to falling.

Other symptoms

Other fairly common symptoms of MS include:

  • acute or chronic pain
  • tremor
  • cognitive issues involving concentration, memory, and problem-solving skills

The condition can also lead to speech disorders. Learn more about the symptoms of MS.

What are the types of MS?

Types of MS include:

Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)

Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) involves one episode of symptoms lasting at least 24 hours. These symptoms are due to demyelination in your CNS.

There are two types of episodes: monofocal and multifocal. A monofocal episode means one lesion causes one symptom. A multifocal episode means you have more than one lesion and more than one symptom.

Although these episodes are characteristic of MS, they aren’t enough to prompt a diagnosis.

If lesions similar to those that occur with MS are present, you’re more likely to receive a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). If these lesions aren’t present, you’re less likely to develop MS.

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) involves clear relapses of disease activity followed by remissions. During remission periods, symptoms are mild or absent and there’s no disease progression.

RRMS is the most common form of MS at onset and accounts for about 85 percent of all cases.

Primary progressive MS (PPMS)

If you have primary progressive MS (PPMS), neurological function becomes progressively worse from the onset of your symptoms. However, short periods of stability can occur. The terms “active” and “not active” are used to describe disease activity.

Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS) was a term previously used to describe progressive MS with clear relapses. This is now categorized as PPMS.

Secondary progressive MS (SPMS)

Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) occurs when RRMS transitions into the progressive form. You may still have noticeable relapses in addition to disability or gradual worsening of function.

The bottom line

Your MS may change and evolve, but you can only have one type of MS at a time. Find out more about the different types of MS.

How is MS treated?

No cure is available for MS, but multiple treatment options exist.

Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs)

Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) are designed to slow disease progression and lower your relapse rate.

Self-injectable disease-modifying medications for RRMS include glatiramer acetate (Copaxone)and beta interferons, such as:

Oral medications for RRMS include:

Intravenous infusion treatments for RRMS include:

  • alemtuzumab (Lemtrada)
  • natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • mitoxantrone hydrochloride (only available in generic form), which is for severe MS only

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first DMT for people with PPMS. This injectable drug is called ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), and it can also be used to treat RRMS.

Not all MS drugs will be available to or appropriate for every person. Talk to your doctor about which drugs are currently on the market and the risks and benefits of each one.

Other drugs

Your doctor can prescribe corticosteroids, such as methylprednisolone (Medrol) and prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos) to treat relapses.

Other treatments may also ease your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Because MS is different for everyone, treatment depends on your specific symptoms. For most, a flexible approach is necessary. Get more information on treatments for MS.

What are the early signs of MS?

MS can develop all at once, or the symptoms can be so mild that you easily dismiss them. Three of the most common early symptoms of MS are:

  • Numbness and tingling that affects the arms, legs, or one side of your face. These sensations are similar to the pins-and-needles feeling you get when your foot falls asleep. However, they occur for no apparent reason.
  • Uneven balance and weak legs. You may find yourself tripping easily while walking or doing some other type of physical activity.
  • Double vision, blurry vision, or partial vision loss. These can be an early indicator of MS. You may also have some eye pain.

It isn’t uncommon for these early symptoms to go away only to return later. You may go weeks, months, or even years between flare-ups.

These symptoms can have many different causes. Even if you have these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have MS. Discover more early signs of MS.

What causes MS?

If you have MS, the protective layer of myelin around your nerve fibers becomes damaged.

It’s thought that the damage is the result of an immune system attack. Researchers think there could be an environmental trigger such as a virus or toxin that sets off the immune system attack.

As your immune system attacks myelin, it causes inflammation. This leads to scar tissue, or lesions. The inflammation and scar tissue disrupt signals between your brain and other parts of your body.

MS isn’t hereditary, but having a parent or sibling with MS raises your risk slightly. Scientists have identified some genes that seem to increase susceptibility to developing MS. Find out more about the possible causes of MS.

How is MS diagnosed?

Your doctor will need to perform a neurological exam, a clinical history, and a series of other tests to determine if you have MS.

Diagnostic testing may include the following:

  • MRI scan. Using a contrast dye with the MRI allows your doctor to detect active and inactive lesions throughout your brain and spinal cord.
  • Visual evoked potentials test. This test requires the stimulation of nerve pathways to analyze electrical activity in your brain. In the past, brainstem auditory and sensory evoked potential tests were also used to diagnose MS.
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). Your doctor may use a spinal tap to find abnormalities in your spinal fluid. It can help rule out infectious diseases.
  • Blood tests. Doctors use blood tests to eliminate other conditions with similar symptoms.

The diagnosis of MS requires evidence of demyelination occurring at different times in more than one area of your brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves.

It also requires ruling out other conditions that have similar symptoms. Lyme diseaselupus, and Sjögren’s syndrome are just a few examples. Learn more about the tests used to diagnose MS.

What’s it like to live with MS?

Most people with MS find ways to manage their symptoms and function well.

Medications

Having MS means you’ll need to see a doctor experienced in treating MS.

If you take one of the DMTs, you’ll have to make sure you adhere to the recommended schedule. Your doctor may prescribe other medications to treat specific symptoms.

Diet and exercise

well-balanced diet, low in empty calories and high in nutrients and fiber, will help you manage your overall health.

Regular exercise is important for physical and mental health, even if you have disabilities. If physical movement is difficult, swimming or exercising in a swimming pool can help. Some yoga classes are designed just for people with MS.

Other complementary therapies

Studies regarding the effectiveness of complementary therapies are scarce, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help in some way.

The following may help you feel less stressed and more relaxed:

The bottom line

MS is a lifelong condition. You’ll face unique challenges that can change over time.

You should focus on communicating concerns with your doctor, learning all you can about MS, and discovering what makes you feel your best.

Many people with MS even choose to share their challenges and coping strategies through in-person or online support groups. See what 11 public figures have to say about navigating life with MS.

You can also try our free MS Buddy app to share advice and support in an open environment. Download for iPhone or Android.

What are the dietary recommendations for people with MS?

Diet hasn’t been shown to have an impact on the nature of the disease, but it can help with some of your challenges. If you’re fatigued, for instance, a diet high in fats and simple carbohydrates won’t help.

What to eat

Your diet should mainly consist of:

The better your diet, the better your overall health. You’ll not only feel better in the short term, but you’ll be laying the foundation for a healthier future. Explore the relationship between diet and MS.

What to limit or avoid

You should limit or avoid:

If you have other medical conditions, ask your doctor if you should follow a special diet or take any dietary supplements. Specialized diets such as the ketopaleo, or Mediterranean diets may help with some of the challenges faced by people with MS.

Read food labels. Foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients won’t help you feel better or maintain a healthy weight. Check out these additional tips for eating an MS-friendly diet.

What are the statistics on MS?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there hasn’t been a scientifically sound national study on the prevalence of MS in the United States since 1975. In a 2017 study, however, the Society estimated that around 1 million Americans have MS.

Other things you should know:

  • MS is the most widespreadTrusted Source neurological condition disabling young adults worldwide.
  • Most people are between the ages of 20 and 50 at the time of their diagnosis.
  • Overall, MS is more common in women than men. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, RRMS is two to three times more common in women than men, and PPMS rates in women and men are roughly equal.
  • Rates of MS tend to be lower in places that are closer to the equator. This may have to do with sunlight and vitamin D exposure. People who relocate to a new location before age 15 generally acquire the risk factors associated with the new location.
  • Data from 1999 to 2008 showed that direct and indirect costs of MS were between $8,528 and $54,244 per year. Current DMTs for RRMS can cost up to $60,000 a year. Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) costs $65,000 a year.

Canadians have the highest rate of MS in the world. Check out more MS facts and statistics here.

What are the effects of MS?

The lesions from MS can appear anywhere in your CNS and affect any part of your body.

Mobility issues

As you age, some disabilities from MS may become more pronounced. If you have mobility issues, falling may put you at an increased risk of bone fractures. Having other conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis can complicate matters.

Other issues

One of the most common symptoms of MS is fatigue, but it’s not uncommon for people with MS to also have:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • some degree of cognitive impairment

The bottom line

Mobility issues can lead to a lack of physical activity, which can cause other health problems. Fatigue and mobility issues may also have an impact on sexual function. Discover more effects of MS.

What is the prognosis for people with MS?

It’s almost impossible to predict how MS will progress in any one person.

About 10 to 15 percent of people with MS have only rare attacks and minimal disability ten years after diagnosis. This is sometimes called benign MS.

About half of people with MS use a cane or other form of assistance 15 years after receiving an MS diagnosis. At 20 years, about 60 percent are still ambulatory and less than 15 percent need care for their basic needs.

MS type

Progressive MS generally advances faster than RRMS. People with RRMS can be in remission for many years. A lack of disability after five years is usually a good indicator for the future.

Age and sex

The disease generally progresses faster in men than in women. It may also progress faster in those who receive a diagnosis after age 40 and in those who have a high relapse rate.

The bottom line

Your quality of life will depend on your symptoms and how well you respond to treatment. This rarely fatal but unpredictable disease can change course without warning.

Most people with MS don’t become severely disabled and continue to lead full lives. Take a closer look at the prognosis for people with MS.

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OBAMA CARE aka The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was signed into law in 2010.

The act aimed to provide affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans. The ACA was also designed to protect consumers from insurance company tactics that might drive up patient costs or restrict care.

Millions of Americans have benefitted by receiving insurance coverage through the ACA. Many of these people were unemployed or had low-paying jobs. Some couldn’t work because of a disability or family obligations. Others couldn’t get decent health insurance because of a preexisting medical condition, such as a chronic disease.

The ACA has been highly controversial, despite the positive outcomes.

Conservatives objected to the tax increases and higher insurance premiums needed to pay for Obamacare. Some people in the healthcare industry are critical of the additional workload and costs placed on medical providers. They also think it may have negative effects on the quality of care.

As a result, there are frequent calls for the ACA to be repealed or overhauled.

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of Obamacare.

Pros

More Americans have health insurance

More than 16 million Americans obtained health insurance coverage within the first five years of the ACA. Young adults make up a large percentage of these newly insured people.

Health insurance is more affordable for many people

Insurance companies must now spend at least 80 percent of insurance premiums on medical care and improvements. The ACA also aims to prevent insurers from making unreasonable rate increases.

Insurance coverage isn’t free by any means, but people now have a wider range of coverage options.

People with preexisting health conditions can no longer be denied coverage

A preexisting condition, such as cancer, made it difficult for many people to get health insurance before the ACA. Most insurance companies wouldn’t cover treatment for these conditions. They said this was because the illness or injury occurred before you were covered by their plans.

Under the ACA, you can’t be denied coverage because of a preexisting health problem.

No time limits exist on care

Before the ACA, some people with chronic health problems ran out of insurance coverage. Insurance companies set limits on the amount of money they would spend on an individual consumer.

Insurance companies can no longer maintain a preset dollar limit on the coverage they provide their customers.

More screenings are covered

The ACA covers many screenings and preventive services. These usually have low copays or deductibles. The hope is that if you’re proactive in your healthcare, you can avoid or delay major health problems later.

Healthier consumers will lead to lower costs over time. For example, a diabetes screening and early treatment may help prevent costly and debilitating treatment later.

“The ACA is going to help all Americans have higher quality and less costly healthcare in the decades to come,” says Dr. Christopher Lillis, an internist in Virginia and a member of Doctors for America.

Prescription drugs cost less

The ACA promised to make prescription drugs more affordable. Many people, particularly senior citizens, are unable to afford all their medications. The number of prescription and generic drugs covered by the ACA is growing every year.

According to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services press release from 2017, Medicare beneficiaries have saved over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs under Obamacare.

Cons

Many people have to pay higher premiums

Insurance companies now provide a wider range of benefits and cover people with preexisting conditions. This has caused premiums to rise for a lot of people who already had health insurance.

You can be fined if you don’t have insurance

The goal of Obamacare is for people to be insured year round. If you’re uninsured and don’t obtain an exemption, you must pay a modest fine. Recent events have changed this fine, and beginning with the tax year 2019 it will be eliminated.

Some people think it’s intrusive for the government to require health insurance. ACA supporters argue that not having insurance passes your healthcare costs on to everyone else.

Taxes are going up as a result of the ACA

Several new taxes were passed into law to help pay for the ACA, including taxes on medical device and pharmaceutical sales. Taxes were also increased for people with high incomes. Funding also comes from savings in Medicare payments.

The wealthy are helping to subsidize insurance for the poor. Some economists, however, predict that in the long term, the ACA will help reduce the deficit and may eventually have a positive impact on the budget.

It’s best to be prepared for enrollment day

The ACA website had a lot of technical problems when it was first launched. This made it difficult for people to enroll and led to delays and lower-than-expected signups.

The website problems were eventually fixed, but many consumers have complained that signing up for the right family or business coverage can be tricky. In recent years, the enrollment period has also been shortened to between November 1 and December 15.

Many hospitals and public health agencies have set up programs to help guide consumers and business owners through the setup process. The ACA website also has sections devoted to explaining the procedures and available options.

Businesses are cutting employee hours to avoid covering employees

Opponents of Obamacare claimed the legislation would destroy jobs. The number of full-time jobs has gone up in recent years, but there are still reports of businesses cutting hours from employee schedules.

Business with 50 or more full-time employees must offer insurance or make payments to cover healthcare expenses for employees. By reducing hours, businesses are able to get by the 30-hour-per-week definition of a full-time employee.

Looking ahead

The ACA is subject to changes every year. The legislation can be amended, and budget decisions can affect how it’s implemented. Changes in the healthcare field, along with changes to the political makeup of future presidential administrations and Congress, make it likely that the ACA will continue to change for years to come.

If you or a loved one have bipolar disorder.. read on.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme shifts in mood. Symptoms can include an extremely elevated mood called mania. They can also include episodes of depression. Bipolar disorder is also known as bipolar disease or manic depression.

People with bipolar disorder may have trouble managing everyday life tasks at school or work, or maintaining relationships. There’s no cure, but there are many treatment options available that can help to manage the symptoms. Learn the signs of bipolar disorder to watch for.

Bipolar disorder facts

Bipolar disorder isn’t a rare brain disorder. In fact, 2.8 percent of U.S. adults — or about 5 million people — have been diagnosed with it. The average age when people with bipolar disorder begin to show symptoms is 25 years old.

Depression caused by bipolar disorder lasts at least two weeks. A high (manic) episode can last for several days or weeks. Some people will experience episodes of changes in mood several times a year, while others may experience them only rarely. Here’s what having bipolar disorder feels like for some people.

Bipolar disorder symptoms

There are three main symptoms that can occur with bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, and depression.

While experiencing mania, a person with bipolar disorder may feel an emotional high. They can feel excited, impulsive, euphoric, and full of energy. During manic episodes, they may also engage in behavior such as:

Hypomania is generally associated with bipolar II disorder. It’s similar to mania, but it’s not as severe. Unlike mania, hypomania may not result in any trouble at work, school, or in social relationships. However, people with hypomania still notice changes in their mood.

During an episode of depression you may experience:

Although it’s not a rare condition, bipolar disorder can be hard to diagnose because of its varied symptoms. Find out about the symptoms that often occur during high and low periods.

Bipolar disorder symptoms in women

Men and women are diagnosed with bipolar disorder in equal numbers. However, the main symptoms of the disorder may be different between the two genders. In many cases, a woman with bipolar disorder may:

  • be diagnosed later in life, in her 20s or 30s
  • have milder episodes of mania
  • experience more depressive episodes than manic episodes
  • have four or more episodes of mania and depression in a year, which is called rapid cycling
  • experience other conditions at the same time, including thyroid diseaseobesityanxiety disorders, and migraines
  • have a higher lifetime risk of alcohol use disorder

Women with bipolar disorder may also relapse more often. This is believed to be caused by hormonal changes related to menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. If you’re a woman and think you may have bipolar disorder, it’s important for you to get the facts. Here’s what you need to know about bipolar disorder in women.

Bipolar disorder symptoms in men

Men and women both experience common symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, men may experience symptoms differently than women. Men with bipolar disorder may:

  • be diagnosed earlier in life
  • experience more severe episodes, especially manic episodes
  • have substance abuse issues
  • act out during manic episodes

Men with bipolar disorder are less likely than women to seek medical care on their own. They’re also more likely to die by suicide.

Types of bipolar disorder

There are three main types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I, bipolar II, and cyclothymia.

Bipolar I

Bipolar I is defined by the appearance of at least one manic episode. You may experience hypomanic or major depressive episodes before and after the manic episode. This type of bipolar disorder affects men and women equally.

Bipolar II

People with this type of bipolar disorder experience one major depressive episode that lasts at least two weeks. They also have at least one hypomanic episode that lasts about four days. This type of bipolar disorder is thought to be more common in women.

Cyclothymia

People with cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania and depression. These symptoms are shorter and less severe than the mania and depression caused by bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. Most people with this condition only experience a month or two at a time where their moods are stable.

When discussing your diagnosis, your doctor will be able to tell you what kind of bipolar disorder you have. In the meantime, learn more about the types of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder in children

Diagnosing bipolar disorder in children is controversial. This is largely because children don’t always display the same bipolar disorder symptoms as adults. Their moods and behaviors may also not follow the standards doctors use to diagnose the disorder in adults.

Many bipolar disorder symptoms that occur in children also overlap with symptoms from a range of other disorders that can occur in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

However, in the last few decades, doctors and mental health professionals have come to recognize the condition in children. A diagnosis can help children get treatment, but reaching a diagnosis may take many weeks or months. Your child may need to seek special care from a professional trained to treat children with mental health issues.

Like adults, children with bipolar disorder experience episodes of elevated mood. They can appear very happy and show signs of excitable behavior. These periods are then followed by depression. While all children experience mood changes, changes caused by bipolar disorder are very pronounced. They’re also usually more extreme than a child’s typical change in mood.

Manic symptoms in children

Symptoms of a child’s manic episode caused by bipolar disorder can include:

  • acting very silly and feeling overly happy
  • talking fast and rapidly changing subjects
  • having trouble focusing or concentrating
  • doing risky things or experimenting with risky behaviors
  • having a very short temper that leads quickly to outbursts of anger
  • having trouble sleeping and not feeling tired after sleep loss

Depressive symptoms in children

Symptoms of a child’s depressive episode caused by bipolar disorder can include:

  • moping around or acting very sad
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • having little energy for normal activities or showing no signs of interest in anything
  • complaining about not feeling well, including having frequent headaches or stomachaches
  • experiencing feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • eating too little or too much
  • thinking about death and possibly suicide

Other possible diagnoses

Some of the behavior issues you may witness in your child could be the result of another condition. ADHD and other behavior disorders can occur in children with bipolar disorder. Work with your child’s doctor to document your child’s unusual behaviors, which will help lead to a diagnosis.

Finding the correct diagnosis can help your child’s doctor determine treatments that can help your child live a healthy life. Read more about bipolar disorder in children.

Bipolar disorder in teens

Angst-filled behavior is nothing new to the average parent of a teenager. The shifts in hormones, plus the life changes that come with puberty, can make even the most well-behaved teen seem a little upset or overly emotional from time to time. However, some teenage changes in mood may be the result of a more serious condition, such as bipolar disorder.

A bipolar disorder diagnosis is most common during the late teens and early adult years. For teenagers, the more common symptoms of a manic episode include:

  • being very happy
  • “acting out” or misbehaving
  • taking part in risky behaviors
  • abusing substances
  • thinking about sex more than usual
  • becoming overly sexual or sexually active
  • having trouble sleeping but not showing signs of fatigue or being tired
  • having a very short temper
  • having trouble staying focused, or being easily distracted

For teenagers, the more common symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • sleeping a lot or too little
  • eating too much or too little
  • feeling very sad and showing little excitability
  • withdrawing from activities and friends
  • thinking about death and suicide

Diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder can help teens live a healthy life. Learn more about bipolar disorder in teenagers and how to treat it.

Bipolar disorder and depression

Bipolar disorder can have two extremes: up and down. To be diagnosed with bipolar, you must experience a period of mania or hypomania. People generally feel “up” in this phase of the disorder. When you’re experiencing an “up” change in mood, you may feel highly energized and be easily excitable.

Some people with bipolar disorder will also experience a major depressive episode, or a “down” mood. When you’re experiencing a “down” change in mood, you may feel lethargic, unmotivated, and sad. However, not all people with bipolar disorder who have this symptom feel “down” enough to be labeled depressed. For instance, for some people, once their mania is treated, a normal mood may feel like depression because they enjoyed the “high” caused by the manic episode.

While bipolar disorder can cause you to feel depressed, it’s not the same as the condition called depression. Bipolar disorder can cause highs and lows, but depression causes moods and emotions that are always “down.” Discover the differences between bipolar disorder and depression.

Causes of bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a common mental health disorder, but it’s a bit of a mystery to doctors and researchers. It’s not yet clear what causes some people to develop the condition and not others.

Possible causes of bipolar disorder include:

Genetics

If your parent or sibling has bipolar disorder, you’re more likely than other people to develop the condition (see below). However, it’s important to keep in mind that most people who have bipolar disorder in their family history don’t develop it.

Your brain

Your brain structure may impact your risk for the disease. Abnormalities in the structure or functions of your brain may increase your risk.

Environmental factors

It’s not just what’s in your body that can make you more likely to develop bipolar disorder. Outside factors may contribute, too. These factors can include:

  • extreme stress
  • traumatic experiences
  • physical illness

Each of these factors may influence who develops bipolar disorder. What’s more likely, however, is that a combination of factors contributes to the development of the disease. Here’s what you need to know about the potential causes of bipolar disorder.

Is bipolar disorder hereditary?

Bipolar disorder can be passed from parent to child. Research has identified a strong genetic link in people with the disorder. If you have a relative with the disorder, your chances of also developing it are four to six times higher than people without a family history of the condition.

However, this doesn’t mean that everyone with relatives who have the disorder will develop it. In addition, not everyone with bipolar disorder has a family history of the disease.

Still, genetics seem to play a considerable role in the incidence of bipolar disorder. If you have a family member with bipolar disorder, find out whether screening might be a good idea for you.

Bipolar disorder diagnosis

A diagnosis of bipolar disorder I involves either one or more manic episodes, or mixed (manic and depressive) episodes. It may also include a major depressive episode, but it may not. A diagnosis of bipolar II involves one or more major depressive episodes and at least one episode of hypomania.

To be diagnosed with a manic episode, you must experience symptoms that last for at least one week or that cause you to be hospitalized. You must experience symptoms almost all day every day during this time. Major depressive episodes, on the other hand, must last for at least two weeks.

Bipolar disorder can be difficult to diagnose because mood swings can vary. It’s even harder to diagnose in children and adolescents. This age group often has greater changes in mood, behavior, and energy levels.

Bipolar disorder often gets worse if it’s left untreated. Episodes may happen more often or become more extreme. But if you receive treatment for your bipolar disorder, it’s possible for you to lead a healthy and productive life. Therefore, diagnosis is very important. See how bipolar disorder is diagnosed.

Bipolar disorder symptoms test

One test result doesn’t make a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Instead, your doctor will use several tests and exams. These may include:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will do a full physical exam. They may also order blood or urine tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
  • Mental health evaluation. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. These doctors diagnose and treat mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder. During the visit, they will evaluate your mental healthand look for signs of bipolar disorder.
  • Mood journal. If your doctor suspects your behavior changes are the result of a mood disorder like bipolar, they may ask you to chart your moods. The easiest way to do this is to keep a journal of how you’re feeling and how long these feelings last. Your doctor may also suggest that you record your sleeping and eating patterns.
  • Diagnostic criteria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is an outline of symptoms for various mental health disorders. Doctors can follow this list to confirm a bipolar diagnosis.

Your doctor may use other tools and tests to diagnose bipolar disorder in addition to these. Read about other tests that can help confirm a bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Bipolar disorder treatment

Several treatments are available that can help you manage your bipolar disorder. These include medications, counseling, and lifestyle changes. Some natural remedies may also be helpful.

Medications

Recommended medications may include:

  • mood stabilizers, such as lithium (Lithobid)
  • antipsychotics, such as olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • antidepressant-antipsychotics, such as fluoxetine-olanzapine (Symbyax)
  • benzodiazepines, a type of anti-anxiety medication such as alprazolam (Xanax) that may be used for short-term treatment

Psychotherapy

Recommended psychotherapy treatments may include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy. You and a therapist talk about ways to manage your bipolar disorder. They will help you understand your thinking patterns. They can also help you come up with positive coping strategies.

Psychoeducation

Psychoeducation is a kind of counseling that helps you and your loved ones understand the disorder. Knowing more about bipolar disorder will help you and others in your life manage it.

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy

Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT) focuses on regulating daily habits, such as sleeping, eating, and exercising. Balancing these everyday basics can help you manage your disorder.

Other treatment options

Other treatment options may include:

Lifestyle changes

There are also some simple steps you can take right now to help manage your bipolar disorder:

  • keep a routine for eating and sleeping
  • learn to recognize mood swings
  • ask a friend or relative to support your treatment plans
  • talk to a doctor or licensed healthcare provider

Other lifestyle changes can also help relieve depressive symptoms caused by bipolar disorder. Check out these seven ways to help manage a depressive episode.

Natural remedies for bipolar disorder

Some natural remedies may be helpful for bipolar disorder. However, it’s important not to use these remedies without first talking with your doctor. These treatments could interfere with medications you’re taking.

The following herbs and supplements may help stabilize your mood and relieve symptoms of bipolar disorder:

Several other minerals and vitamins may also reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder. Here’s 10 alternative treatments for bipolar disorder.

Tips for coping and support

If you or someone you know has bipolar disorder, you’re not alone. Bipolar disorder affects about 60 million peopleTrusted Source around the world.

One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself and those around you. There are many resources available. For instance, SAMHSA’s behavioral health treatment services locatorprovides treatment information by ZIP code. You can also find additional resources at the site for the National Institute of Mental Health.

If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder, make an appointment with your doctor. If you think a friend, relative, or loved one may have bipolar disorder, your support and understanding is crucial. Encourage them to see a doctor about any symptoms they’re having. And read how to help someone living with bipolar disorder.

People who are experiencing a depressive episode may have suicidal thoughts. You should always take any talk of suicide seriously.

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Bipolar disorder and relationships

When it comes to managing a relationship while you live with bipolar disorder, honesty is the best policy. Bipolar disorder can have an impact on any relationship in your life, perhaps especially on a romantic relationship. So, it’s important to be open about your condition.

There’s no right or wrong time to tell someone you have bipolar disorder. Be open and honest as soon as you’re ready. Consider sharing these facts to help your partner better understand the condition:

  • when you were diagnosed
  • what to expect during your depressive phases
  • what to expect during your manic phases
  • how you typically treat your moods
  • how they can be helpful to you

One of the best ways to support and make a relationship successful is to stick with your treatment. Treatment helps you reduce symptoms and scale back the severity of your changes in mood. With these aspects of the disorder under control, you can focus more on your relationship.

Your partner can also learn ways to promote a healthy relationship. Check out this guide to maintaining healthy relationships while coping with bipolar disorder, which has tips for both you and your partner.

Living with bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness. That means you’ll live and cope with it for the rest of your life. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t live a happy, healthy life.

Treatment can help you manage your changes in mood and cope with your symptoms. To get the most out of treatment, you may want to create a care team to help you. In addition to your primary doctor, you may want to find a psychiatrist and psychologist. Through talk therapy, these doctors can help you cope with symptoms of bipolar disorder that medication can’t help.

You may also want to seek out a supportive community. Finding other people who’re also living with this disorder can give you a group of people you can rely on and turn to for help.

Finding treatments that work for you requires perseverance. Likewise, you need to have patience with yourself as you learn to manage bipolar disorder and anticipate your changes in mood. Together with your care team, you’ll find ways to maintain a normal, happy, healthy life.

While living with bipolar disorder can be a real challenge, it can help to maintain a sense of humor about life. For a chuckle, check out this list of 25 things only someone with bipolar disorder would understand.

Everything You should know about Allergies

Everything You Need to Know About Allergies

Allergies

An allergy is an immune system response to a foreign substance that’s not typically harmful to your body. These foreign substances are called allergens. They can include certain foods, pollen, or pet dander.

Your immune system’s job is to keep you healthy by fighting harmful pathogens. It does this by attacking anything it thinks could put your body in danger. Depending on the allergen, this response may involve inflammation, sneezing, or a host of other symptoms.

Your immune system normally adjusts to your environment. For example, when your body encounters something like pet dander, it should realize it’s harmless. In people with dander allergies, the immune system perceives it as an outside invader threatening the body and attacks it.

Allergies are common. Several treatments can help you avoid your symptoms.

Symptoms of allergies

The symptoms you experience because of allergies are the result of several factors. These include the type of allergy you have and how severe the allergy is.

If you take any medication before an anticipated allergic response, you may still experience some of these symptoms, but they may be reduced.

For food allergies

Food allergies can trigger swelling, hives, nausea, fatigue, and more. It may take a while for a person to realize that they have a food allergy. If you have a serious reaction after a meal and you’re not sure why, see a medical professional immediately. They can find the exact cause of your reaction or refer you to a specialist.

For seasonal allergies

Hay fever symptoms can mimic those of a cold. They include congestion, runny nose, and swollen eyes. Most of the time, you can manage these symptoms at home using over-the-counter treatments. See your doctor if your symptoms become unmanageable.

For severe allergies

Severe allergies can cause anaphylaxis. This is a life-threatening emergency that can lead to breathing difficulties, lightheadedness, and loss of consciousness. If you’re experiencing these symptoms after coming in contact with a possible allergen, seek medical help immediately.

Everyone’s signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction are different. Read more about allergy symptoms and what might cause them.

Allergies on skin

Skin allergies may be a sign or symptom of an allergy. They may also be the direct result of exposure to an allergen.

For example, eating a food you’re allergic to can cause several symptoms. You may experience tingling in your mouth and throat. You may also develop a rash.

Contact dermatitis, however, is the result of your skin coming into direct contact with an allergen. This could happen if you touch something you’re allergic to, such as a cleaning product or plant.

Types of skin allergies include:

  • Rashes. Areas of skin are irritated, red, or swollen, and can be painful or itchy.
  • Eczema. Patches of skin become inflamed and can itch and bleed.
  • Contact dermatitis. Red, itchy patches of skin develop almost immediately after contact with an allergen.
  • Sore throat. Pharynx or throat is irritated or inflamed.
  • Hives. Red, itchy, and raised welts of various sizes and shapes develop on the surface of the skin.
  • Swollen eyes. Eyes may be watery or itchy and look “puffy.”
  • Itching. There’s irritation or inflammation in the skin.
  • Burning. Skin inflammation leads to discomfort and stinging sensations on the skin.

Rashes are one of the most common symptoms of a skin allergy. Find out how to identify rashes and how to treat them.

Causes of allergies

Researchers aren’t exactly sure why the immune system causes an allergic reaction when a normally harmless foreign substance enters the body.

Allergies have a genetic component. This means parents can pass them down to their children. However, only a general susceptibility to allergic reaction is genetic. Specific allergies aren’t passed down. For instance, if your mother is allergic to shellfish, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be, too.

Common types of allergens include:

  • Animal products. These include pet dander, dust mite waste, and cockroaches.
  • Drugs. Penicillin and sulfa drugs are common triggers.
  • Foods. Wheat, nuts, milk, shellfish, and egg allergies are common.
  • Insect stings. These include bees, wasps, and mosquitoes.
  • Mold. Airborne spores from mold can trigger a reaction.
  • Plants. Pollens from grass, weeds, and trees, as well as resin from plants such as poison ivy and poison oak, are very common plant allergens.
  • Other allergens. Latex, often found in latex gloves and condoms, and metals like nickel are also common allergens.

Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, are some of the most common allergies. These are caused by pollen released by plants. They cause:

  • itchy eyes
  • watery eyes
  • runny nose
  • coughing

Food allergies are becoming more common. Find out about the most common types of food allergies and the symptoms they cause.

Allergy treatments

The best way to avoid allergies is to stay away from whatever triggers the reaction. If that’s not possible, there are treatment options available.

Medication

Allergy treatment often includes medications like antihistamines to control symptoms. The medication can be over the counter or prescription. What your doctor recommends depends on the severity of your allergies.

Allergy medications include:

Immunotherapy

Many people opt for immunotherapy. This involves several injections over the course of a few years to help the body get used to your allergy. Successful immunotherapy can prevent allergy symptoms from returning.

Emergency epinephrine

If you have a severe, life-threatening allergy, carry an emergency epinephrine shot. The shot counters allergic reactions until medical help arrives. Common brands of this treatment include EpiPen and Twinject.

Some allergic responses are a medical emergency. Prepare for these emergency situations by knowing allergic reaction first aid.

Natural remedies for allergies

Many natural remedies and supplements are marketed as a treatment and even a way to prevent allergies. Discuss these with your doctor before trying them. Some natural treatments may actually contain other allergens and make your symptoms worse.

For example, some dried teas use flowers and plants that are closely related to plants that might be causing you serious sneezing. The same is true for essential oils. Some people use these oils to relieve common symptoms of allergies, but essential oils still contain ingredients that can cause allergies.

Each type of allergy has a host of natural remedies that may help speed up recovery. There are also natural options for children’s allergies, too.

How allergies are diagnosed

Your doctor can diagnose allergies in several ways.

First, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. They’ll ask about anything unusual you may have eaten recently and any substances you may have come in contact with. For example, if you have a rash on your hands, your doctor may ask if you put on latex gloves recently.

Lastly, a blood test and skin test can confirm or diagnose allergens your doctor suspects you have.

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Allergy blood test

Your doctor may order a blood test. Your blood will be tested for the presence of allergy-causing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These are cells that react to allergens. Your doctor will use a blood test to confirm a diagnosis if they’re worried about the potential for a severe allergic reaction.

Skin test

Your doctor may also refer you to an allergist for testing and treatment. A skin test is a common type of allergy test carried out by an allergist.

During this test, your skin is pricked or scratched with small needles containing potential allergens. Your skin’s reaction is documented. If you’re allergic to a particular substance, your skin will become red and inflamed.

Different tests may be needed to diagnose all your potential allergies. Start here to get a better understanding of how allergy testing works.

Preventing symptoms

There’s no way to prevent allergies. But there are ways to prevent the symptoms from occurring. The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergens that trigger them.

Avoidance is the most effective way to prevent food allergy symptoms. An elimination diet can help you determine the cause of your allergies so you know how to avoid them. To help you avoid food allergens, thoroughly read food labels and ask questions while dining out.

Preventing seasonal, contact, and other allergies comes down to knowing where the allergens are located and how to avoid them. If you’re allergic to dust, for example, you can help reduce symptoms by installing proper air filters in your home, getting your air ducts professionally cleaned, and dusting your home regularly.

Proper allergy testing can help you pinpoint your exact triggers, which makes them easier to avoid. These other tips can also help you avoid dangerous allergic reactions.

Complications of allergies

While you may think of allergies as those pesky sniffles and sneezes that come around every new season, some of these allergic reactions can actually be life-threatening.

Anaphylaxis, for example, is a serious reaction to the exposure of allergens. Most people associate anaphylaxis with food, but any allergen can cause the telltale signs:

  • suddenly narrowed airways
  • increased heart rate
  • possible swelling of the tongue and mouth

Allergy symptoms can create many complications. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your symptoms as well as the difference between a sensitivity and a full-blown allergy. Your doctor can also teach you how to manage your allergy symptoms so that you can avoid the worst complications.

Asthma and allergies

Asthma is a common respiratory condition. It makes breathing more difficult and can narrow the air passageways in your lungs.

Asthma is closely related to allergies. Indeed, allergies can make existing asthma worse. It can also trigger asthma in a person who’s never had the condition.

When these conditions occur together, it’s a condition called allergy-induced asthma, or allergic asthma. Allergic asthma affects about 60 percent of people who have asthma in the United States, estimates the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America.

Many people with allergies may develop asthma. Here’s how to recognize if it happens to you.

Allergies vs. cold

Runny nose, sneezing, and coughing are common symptoms of allergies. They also happen to be common symptoms of a cold and a sinus infection. Indeed, deciphering between the sometimes-generic symptoms can be difficult.

However, additional signs and symptoms of the conditions may help you distinguish between the three. For example, allergies can cause rashes on your skin and itchy eyes. The common cold can lead to body aches, even fever. A sinus infection typically produces thick, yellow discharge from your nose.

Allergies can impact your immune system for prolonged periods of time. When the immune system is compromised, it makes you more likely to pick up viruses you come into contact with. This includes the virus that causes the common cold.

In turn, having allergies actually increases your risk for having more colds. Identify the differences between the two common conditions with this helpful chart.

Allergy cough

Hay fever can produce symptoms that include sneezing, coughing, and a persistent, stubborn cough. It’s the result of your body’s overreaction to allergens. It isn’t contagious, but it can be miserable.

Unlike a chronic cough, a cough caused by allergies and hay fever is temporary. You may only experience the symptoms of this seasonal allergy during specific times of the year, when plants are first blooming.

Additionally, seasonal allergies can trigger asthma, and asthma can cause coughing. When a person with common seasonal allergies is exposed to an allergen, tightening airways can lead to a cough. Shortness of breath and chest tightening may also occur. Find out why hay fever coughs are typically worse at night and what you can do to ease them.

Allergies and bronchitis

Viruses or bacteria can cause bronchitis, or it can be the result of allergies. The first type, acute bronchitis, typically ends after several days or weeks. Chronic bronchitis, however, can linger for months, possibly longer. It may also return frequently.

Exposure to common allergens is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. These allergens include:

  • cigarette smoke
  • air pollution
  • dust
  • pollen
  • chemical fumes

Unlike seasonal allergies, many of these allergens linger in environments like houses or offices. That can make chronic bronchitis more persistent and more likely to return.

A cough is the only common symptom between chronic and acute bronchitis. Learn the other symptoms of bronchitis so you can understand more clearly what you may have.

Allergies and babies

Skin allergies are more common in younger children today than they were just a few decades ago. However, skin allergies decrease as children grow older. Respiratory and food allergies become more common as children get older.

Common skin allergies on babies include:

  • Eczema. This is an inflammatory skin condition that causes red rashes that itch. These rashes may develop slowly but be persistent.
  • Allergic contact dermatitis. This type of skin allergy appears quickly, often immediately after your baby comes into contact with the irritant. More serious contact dermatitis can develop into painful blisters and cause skin cracking.
  • Hives. Hives are red bumps or raised areas of skin that develop after exposure to an allergen. They don’t become scaly and crack, but itching the hives may make the skin bleed.

Unusual rashes or hives on your baby’s body may alarm you. Understanding the difference in the type of skin allergies babies commonly experience can help you find a better treatment.

Living with allergies

Allergies are common and don’t have life-threatening consequences for most people. People who are at risk of anaphylaxis can learn how to manage their allergies and what to do in an emergency situation.

Most allergies are manageable with avoidance, medications, and lifestyle changes. Working with your doctor or allergist can help reduce any major complications and make life more enjoyable.

Everything You need to know about Acid Reflux and Gerd

What’s acid reflux and GERD?

Acid reflux happens when contents from your stomach move up into your esophagus. It’s also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux.

If you have symptoms of acid reflux more than twice a week, you might have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), GERD affects about 20 percent of people in the United States. If left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious complications.

GERD symptoms

Acid reflux can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, which can radiate up toward your neck. This feeling is often known as heartburn.

If you have acid reflux, you might develop a sour or bitter taste at the back of your mouth. It might also cause you to regurgitate food or liquid from your stomach into your mouth.

In some cases, GERD can cause difficulty swallowing. It can sometimes lead to breathing problems, like a chronic cough or asthma.

GERD causes

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a circular band of muscle at the end of your esophagus. When it’s working properly, it relaxes and opens when you swallow. Then it tightens and closes again afterwards.

Acid reflux happens when your LES doesn’t tighten or close properly. This allows digestive juices and other contents from your stomach to rise up into your esophagus.

GERD treatment options

To prevent and relieve symptoms of GERD, your doctor might encourage you to make changes to your eating habits or other behaviors.

They might also suggest taking over-the-counter medications, like:

In some cases, they might prescribe stronger H2 receptor blockers or PPIs. If GERD is severe and not responding to other treatments, surgery might be recommended.

Some over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause side effects. Find out more about the medications that are available to treat GERD.ADVERTISING

Surgery for GERD

In most cases, lifestyle changes and medications are enough to prevent and relieve symptoms of GERD. But sometimes, surgery is needed.

For example, your doctor might recommend surgery if lifestyle changes and medications alone haven’t stopped your symptoms. They might also suggest surgery if you’ve developed complications of GERD.

There are multiple types of surgery available to treat GERD. Click here to read about the procedures that your doctor might recommend.

Diagnosing GERD

If your doctor suspects you might have GERD, they’ll conduct a physical exam and ask about any symptoms you’ve been experiencing.

They might use one or more of the following procedures to confirm a diagnosis or check for complications of GERD:

  • barium swallow: after drinking a barium solution, X-ray imaging is used to examine your upper digestive tract
  • upper endoscopy: a flexible tube with a tiny camera is threaded into your esophagus to examine it and collect a sample of tissue (biopsy) if needed
  • esophageal manometry: a flexible tube is threaded into your esophagus to measure the strength of your esophageal muscles
  • esophageal pH monitoring: a monitor is inserted into your esophagus to learn if and when stomach acid enters it

GERD in infants

About two-thirds of 4-month-old babies have symptoms of GERD. Up to 10 percent of 1-year-old babies are affected by it.

It’s normal for babies to spit up food and vomit sometimes. But if your baby is spitting up food or vomiting frequently, they might have GERD.

Other potential signs and symptoms of GERD in infants includes:

  • refusal to eat
  • trouble swallowing
  • gagging or choking
  • wet burps or hiccups
  • irritability during or after feeding
  • arching of their back during or after feeding
  • weight loss or poor growth
  • recurring cough or pneumonia
  • difficulty sleeping

Many of these symptoms are also found in babies with tongue-tie, a condition that can make it hard for them to eat.

If you suspect your baby might have GERD or another health condition, make an appointment with their doctor. Learn how to recognize GERD in infants.

Risk factors for GERD

Certain conditions can increase your chances of developing GERD, including:

Some lifestyle behaviors can also raise your risk of GERD, including:

  • smoking
  • eating large meals
  • lying down or going to sleep shortly after eating
  • eating certain types of foods, such as deep fried or spicy foods
  • drinking certain types of beverages, such as soda, coffee, or alcohol
  • using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as aspirin or ibuprofen

If you have any of these risk factors, taking steps to modify them may help you prevent or manage GERD. Find out more about what can raise your chances of experiencing it.

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Potential complications of GERD

In most people, GERD doesn’t cause serious complications. But in rare cases, it can lead to serious or even life-threatening health problems.

Potential complications of GERD include:

  • esophagitis, an inflammation of your esophagus
  • esophageal stricture, which happens when your esophagus narrows or tightens
  • Barrett’s esophagus, involving permanent changes to the lining of your esophagus
  • esophageal cancer, which affects a small portion of people with Barrett’s esophagus
  • asthma, chronic cough, or other breathing problems, which may develop if you breath stomach acid into your lungs
  • tooth enamel erosion, gum disease, or other dental problems

To lower your chances of complications, it’s important to take steps to prevent and treat the symptoms of GERD.

Diet and GERD

In some people, certain types of foods and beverages trigger symptoms of GERD. Common dietary triggers include:

  • high-fat foods
  • spicy foods
  • chocolate
  • citrus fruit
  • pineapple
  • tomato
  • onion
  • garlic
  • mint
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • tea
  • soda

Dietary triggers can vary from one person to another. Find out more about common food triggers and how to avoid making your symptoms worse.

Home remedies for GERD

There are several lifestyle changes and home remedies that may help relieve GERD symptoms.

For example, it might help to:

  • quit smoking
  • lose excess weight
  • eat smaller meals
  • chew gum after eating
  • avoid lying down after eating
  • avoid foods and drinks that trigger your symptoms
  • avoid wearing tight clothing
  • practice relaxation techniques

Some herbal remedies might also provide relief.

Herbs commonly used for GERD include:

  • chamomile
  • licorice root
  • marshmallow root
  • slippery elm

Although more research is needed, some people report experiencing relief from acid reflux after taking supplements, tinctures, or teas that contain these herbs.

But in some cases, herbal remedies can cause side effects or interfere with certain medications. Check out the potential benefits and risks of using herbal remedies to treat GERD.

Anxiety and GERD

According to 2015 researchTrusted Source, anxiety might make some of the symptoms of GERD worse.

If you suspect that anxiety is making your symptoms worse, consider talking to your doctor about strategies to relieve it.

Some things you can do to reduce anxiety include:

  • limit your exposure to experiences, people, and places that make you feel anxious
  • practice relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing exercises
  • adjust your sleep habits, exercise routine, or other lifestyle behaviors

If your doctor suspects you have an anxiety disorder, they might refer you to a mental health specialist for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment for an anxiety disorder might include medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both.

Pregnancy and GERD

Pregnancy can increase your chances of experiencing acid reflux. If you had GERD before getting pregnant, your symptoms might get worse.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the muscles in your esophagus to relax more frequently. A growing fetus can also place pressure on your stomach. This can increase the risk of stomach acid entering your esophagus.

Many medications that are used to treat acid reflux are safe to take during pregnancy. But in some cases, your doctor might advise you to avoid certain antacids or other treatments. Learn more about the strategies you can use to manage acid reflux in pregnancy.

Asthma and GERD

It’s been reported that more than 75 percent of people with asthma also experience GERD.

More research is needed to understand the exact relationship between asthma and GERD. It’s possible that GERD might make symptoms of asthma worse. But asthma and some asthma medications might raise your risk of experiencing GERD.

If you have asthma and GERD, it’s important to manage both conditions. Read more about the links between these conditions and how you can effectively manage them.

IBS and GERD

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that can affect your large intestine. Common symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhea

According to a recent reviewTrusted Source, GERD-related symptoms are more common in people with IBS than the general population.

If you have symptoms of both IBS and GERD, make an appointment with your doctor. They might recommend changes to your diet, medications, or other treatments. Learn more about the link between these conditions and how you can find relief.

Drinking alcohol and GERD

In some people with GERD, certain foods and drinks can make the symptoms worse. Those dietary triggers might include alcoholic beverages.

Depending on your specific triggers, you might be able to drink alcohol in moderation. But for some people, even small amounts of alcohol trigger symptoms of GERD.

If you combine alcohol with fruit juices or other mixers, those mixers might also trigger symptoms. Discover how alcohol and mixers can trigger GERD symptoms.

The difference between GERD and heartburn

Heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux. Most people experience it from time to time, and in general, occasional heartburn isn’t a cause for concern.

But if you get heartburn more than twice a week, you might have GERD.

GERD is a chronic type of acid reflux that can cause complications if left untreated. Find out the differences and links between heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD.

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What is Fibromyalgia?

Men also get fibromyalgia. Yet, they may remain undiagnosed because this is seen as a woman’s disease. However, current statistics show that as the 2016 diagnostic protocol is more readily applied, more men are being diagnosed.

Men also have severe pain and emotional symptoms from fibromyalgia. The condition affects their quality of life, career, and relationships, according to a 2018 survey published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Part of the stigma and difficulty in getting diagnosed stems from society’s expectation that men who are in pain should “suck it up.”

Men who do venture in to see a doctor can face embarrassment, and the chance that their complaints won’t be taken seriously.

Fibromyalgia trigger points

In the past, people were diagnosed with fibromyalgia if they had widespread pain and tenderness in at least 11 out of 18 specific trigger points around their body. Healthcare providers would check to see how many of these points were painful by pressing firmly on them.

Common trigger points included the:

  • back of the head
  • tops of the shoulders
  • upper chest
  • hips
  • knees
  • outer elbows

For the most part, trigger points are no longer a part of the diagnostic process.

Instead, healthcare providers may diagnose fibromyalgia if you’ve had pain in 4 out of the 5 areas of pain as defined by the 2016 revised diagnostic criteria, and you have no other diagnosable medical condition that could explain the pain.ADVERTISING

Fibromyalgia pain

Pain is the hallmark fibromyalgia symptom. You’ll feel it in various muscles and other soft tissues around your body.

The pain can range from a mild achiness to an intense and almost unbearable discomfort. Its severity could dictate how well you cope day to day.

Fibromyalgia appears to stem from an abnormal nervous system response. Your body overreacts to things that shouldn’t normally be painful. And you may feel the pain in more than one area of your body.

However, available research still doesn’t pinpoint an exact cause for fibromyalgia. Research continues to evolve in better understanding this condition and its origin.

Chest pain

When fibromyalgia pain is in your chest, it can feel frighteningly similar to the pain of a heart attack.

Chest pain in fibromyalgia is actually centered in the cartilage that connects your ribs to your breastbone. The pain may radiate to your shoulders and arms.

Fibromyalgia chest pain may feel:

  • sharp
  • stabbing
  • like a burning sensation

And similar to a heart attack, it can make you struggle to catch your breath.

Back pain

Your back is one of the most common places to feel pain. About 80 percent of Americans have low back pain at some point in their lives. If your back hurts, it may not be clear whether fibromyalgia is to blame, or another condition like arthritis or a pulled muscle.

Other symptoms like brain fog and fatigue can help pinpoint fibromyalgia as the cause. It’s also possible to have a combination of fibromyalgia and arthritis.

The same medications you take to relieve your other fibromyalgia symptoms can also help with back pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help provide support to the muscles and other soft tissues of your back.

Leg pain

You can also feel fibromyalgia pain in the muscles and soft tissues of your legs. Leg pain can feel similar to the soreness of a pulled muscle or the stiffness of arthritis. It can be:

  • deep
  • burning
  • throbbing

Sometimes fibromyalgia in the legs feels like numbness or tingling. You may have a creepy crawling sensation. An uncontrollable urge to move your legs is a sign of restless legs syndrome (RLS), which can overlap with fibromyalgia.

Fatigue sometimes manifests in the legs. Your limbs can feel heavy, as if they’re held down by weights.

Fibromyalgia causes

Healthcare providers and researchers don’t know what causes fibromyalgia.

According to the latest research, the cause appears to be a multiple-hit theory that involves genetic disposition (hereditary characteristics) complemented by a trigger, or a set of triggers, such as infection, trauma, and stress.

Let’s take a closer look at these potential factors and several more that may influence why people develop fibromyalgia.

Infections

A past illness could trigger fibromyalgia or make its symptoms worse. The flupneumonia, GI infections, such as those caused by Salmonella and Shigella bacteria, and the Epstein-Barrvirus all have possible links to fibromyalgia.

Genes

Fibromyalgia often runs in families. If you have a family member with this condition, you’re at higher risk for developing it.

Researchers think certain gene mutations may play a role. They’ve identified a few possible genes that affect the transmission of chemical pain signals between nerve cells.

Trauma

People who go through a severe physical or emotional trauma may develop fibromyalgia. The condition has been linkedTrusted Source to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Stress

Like trauma, stress can leave long-lasting effects on your body. Stress has been linked to hormonal changes that could contribute to fibromyalgia.

Healthcare providers don’t fully understand what causes the chronic widespread nature of fibromyalgia pain. One theory is that the brain lowers the pain threshold. Sensations that weren’t painful before become very painful over time.

Another theory is that the nerves overreact to pain signals.

They become more sensitive, to the point where they cause unnecessary or exaggerated pain.

Fibromyalgia and autoimmunity

In autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or multiple sclerosis (MS), the body mistakenly targets its own tissues with proteins called autoantibodies. Just like it would normally attack viruses or bacteria, the immune system instead attacks the joints or other healthy tissues.

Fibromyalgia symptoms look very similar to those of autoimmune disorders. These symptom overlaps have led to the theory that fibromyalgia could be an autoimmune condition.

This claim has been hard to prove, in part because fibromyalgia doesn’t cause inflammation, and to-date reproducing autoantibodies haven’t been found.

Yet, it’s possible to have an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia simultaneously.

Fibromyalgia risk factors

Fibromyalgia flare-ups can be the result of:

  • stress
  • injury
  • an illness, such as the flu

An imbalance in brain chemicals may cause the brain and nervous system to misinterpret or overreact to normal pain signals.

Other factors that increase your risk of developing fibromyalgia include:

  • Gender. Most fibromyalgia cases are currently diagnosed in women, although the reason for this gender disparity isn’t clear.
  • Age. You’re most likely to be diagnosed in middle age, and your risk increases as you get older. However, children can develop fibromyalgia also.
  • Family history. If you have close family members with fibromyalgia, you may be at greater risk for developing it.
  • Disease. Although fibromyalgia isn’t a form of arthritis, having lupus or RA may increase your risk of also having fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia diagnosis

Your healthcare provider may diagnose you with fibromyalgia if you’ve had widespread pain for 3 months or longer. “Widespread” means the pain is on both sides of your body, and you feel it above and below your waist.

After a thorough examination, your healthcare provider must conclude that no other condition is causing your pain.

No lab test or imaging scan can detect fibromyalgia. Your healthcare provider may use these tests to help rule out other possible causes of your chronic pain.

Fibromyalgia can be hard for healthcare providers to distinguish from autoimmune diseases because the symptoms often overlap.

Some research has pointed to a link between fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome.

Fibromyalgia treatment

Currently, there isn’t a cure for fibromyalgia.

Instead, treatment focuses on reducing symptoms and improving quality of life with:

  • medications
  • self-care strategies
  • lifestyle changes

Medications can relieve pain and help you sleep better. Physical and occupational therapy improve your strength and reduce stress on your body. Exercise and stress-reduction techniques can help you feel better, both mentally and physically.

In addition, you may wish to seek out support and guidance. This may involve seeing a therapist or joining a support group.

In a support group, you can get advice from other people who have fibromyalgia to help you through your own journey.

Fibromyalgia medication

The goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to manage pain and improve quality of life. This is often accomplished through a two-pronged approach of self-care and medication.

Common medications for fibromyalgia include:

Pain relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with mild pain.

Narcotics, such as tramadol (Ultram), which is an opioid, were previously prescribed for pain relief. However, research has shown they’re not effective. Also, the dosage for narcotics is typically increased rapidly, which can pose a health risk for those prescribed these drugs.

Most healthcare providers recommend avoiding narcotics to treat fibromyalgia.

Antidepressants

Antidepressants such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran HCL (Savella) are sometimes used to treat pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia. These medications may also help improve sleep quality and work on rebalancing neurotransmitters.

Antiseizure drugs

Gabapentin (Neurontin) was designed to treat epilepsy, but it may also help reduce symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. Pregabalin (Lyrica), another anti-seizure drug, was the first drug FDA-approved for fibromyalgia. It blocks nerve cells from sending out pain signals.

A few drugs that aren’t FDA-approved to treat fibromyalgia, including antidepressants and sleep aids, can help with symptoms. Muscle relaxants, which were once used, are no longer recommended.

Researchers are also investigating a few experimental treatments that may help people with fibromyalgia in the future.

Fibromyalgia natural remedies

If the medications your healthcare provider prescribes don’t entirely relieve your fibromyalgia symptoms, you can look for alternatives. Many natural treatments focus on lowering stress and reducing pain. You can use them alone or together with traditional medical treatments.

Natural remedies for fibromyalgia include:

Therapy can potentially reduce the stress that triggers fibromyalgia symptoms and depression.

Group therapy may be the most affordable option, and it will give you a chance to meet others who are going through the same issues.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another option that can help you manage stressful situations. Individual therapy is also available if you prefer one-on-one help.

It’s important to note that most alternative treatments for fibromyalgia haven’t been thoroughly studied or proven effective.

Ask your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks before trying any of these treatments.

Fibromyalgia diet recommendations

Some people report that they feel better when they follow a specific diet plan or avoid certain foods. But research hasn’t proven that any one diet improves fibromyalgia symptoms.

If you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, try to eat a balanced diet overall. Nutrition is important in helping you to keep your body healthy, to prevent symptoms from getting worse, and to provide you with a constant energy supply.

Dietary strategies to keep in mind:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat more plants than meat.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.
  • Exercise as often as you can.
  • Work toward achieving and maintaining your healthy weight.

You may find that certain foods make your symptoms worse, such as gluten or MSG. If that’s the case, keep a food diaryTrusted Source where you track what you eat and how you feel after each meal.

Share this diary with your healthcare provider. They can help you identify any foods that aggravate your symptoms. Avoiding these foods can be beneficial helping you manage your symptoms.

Fibromyalgia can leave you feeling tired and worn out.

A few foods will give you the energy boost you need to get through your day.

Fibromyalgia pain relief

Fibromyalgia pain can be uncomfortable and consistent enough to interfere with your daily routine. Don’t just settle for pain. Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to manage it.

One option is to take pain relievers such as:

  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen sodium
  • help with discomfort
  • lower pain levels
  • help you better manage your condition

These medications bring down inflammation. Though inflammation is not a primary part of fibromyalgia, it may be present as an overlap with RA or another condition. Pain relievers may help you sleep better.

Please note that NSAIDS do have side effects. Caution is advised if NSAIDS are used for an extended period of time as is usually the case in managing a chronic pain condition.

Talk with your healthcare provider to create a safe treatment plan that works well in helping you manage your condition.

Antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs are two other medication classes your healthcare provider may prescribe to manage your pain.

The most effective pain reliever does not come in a medication bottle.

Practices like yoga, acupuncture, and physical therapy can:

Fibromyalgia fatigue can be just as challenging to manage as pain.

Learn a few strategies to help you sleep better and feel more alert during the day.

Living with fibromyalgia

Your quality of life can be affected when you live with pain, fatigue, and other symptoms on a daily basis. Complicating things are the misunderstandings many people have about fibromyalgia. Because your symptoms are hard to see, it’s easy for those around you to dismiss your pain as imaginary.

Know that your condition is real. Be persistent in your pursuit of a treatment that works for you. You may need to try more than one therapy, or use a few techniques in combination, before you start to feel better.

Lean on people who understand what you’re going through, like:

  • your healthcare provider
  • close friends
  • a therapist

Be gentle on yourself. Try not to overdo it. Most importantly, have faith that you can learn to cope with and manage your condition.

Fibromyalgia facts and statistics

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes:

  • widespread pain
  • fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping
  • depression

Currently, there’s no cure, and researchers don’t fully understand what causes it. Treatment focuses on medications and lifestyle changes to help ease the symptoms.

About 4 million AmericansTrusted Source ages 18 and over, or about 2 percent of the population, have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Most fibromyalgia cases are diagnosed in women, but men and children can also be affected.

Most people get diagnosed in middle age.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long-term) condition. However, some people may experience remission-type periods in which their pain and fatigue improve.

What is COPD?

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly referred to as COPD, is a group of progressive lung diseases. The most common are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people with COPD have both of these conditions.

Emphysema slowly destroys air sacs in your lungs, which interferes with outward air flow. Bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which allows mucus to build up.

The top cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. Long-term exposure to chemical irritants can also lead to COPD. It’s a disease that usually takes a long time to develop.

Diagnosis usually involves imaging tests, blood tests, and lung function tests.

There’s no cure for COPD, but treatment can help ease symptoms, lower the chance of complications, and generally improve quality of life. Medications, supplemental oxygen therapy, and surgery are some forms of treatment.

Untreated, COPD can lead to a faster progression of disease, heart problems, and worsening respiratory infections.

It’s estimated that about 30 million people in the United States have COPD. As many as half are unaware that they have it.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

COPD makes it harder to breathe. Symptoms may be mild at first, beginning with intermittent coughing and shortness of breath. As it progresses, symptoms can become more constant to where it can become increasingly difficult to breathe.

You may experience wheezing and tightness in the chest or have excess sputum production. Some people with COPD have acute exacerbations, which are flare-ups of severe symptoms.

At first, symptoms of COPD can be quite mild. You might mistake them for a cold.

Early symptoms include:

  • occasional shortness of breath, especially after exercise
  • mild but recurrent cough
  • needing to clear your throat often, especially first thing in the morning

You might start making subtle changes, such as avoiding stairs and skipping physical activities.

Symptoms can get progressively worse and harder to ignore. As the lungs become more damaged, you may experience:

  • shortness of breath, after even mild exercise such as walking up a flight of stairs
  • wheezing, which is a type of higher pitched noisy breathing, especially during exhalations
  • chest tightness
  • chronic cough, with or without mucus
  • need to clear mucus from your lungs every day
  • frequent colds, flu, or other respiratory infections
  • lack of energy

In later stages of COPD, symptoms may also include:

  • fatigue
  • swelling of the feet, ankles, or legs
  • weight loss

Immediate medical care is needed if:

  • you have bluish or gray fingernails or lips, as this indicates low oxygen levels in your blood
  • you have trouble catching your breath or cannot talk
  • you feel confused, muddled, or faint
  • your heart is racing

Symptoms are likely to be much worse if you currently smoke or are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.

Learn more about the symptoms of COPD.

What causes COPD?

In developed countries like the United States, the single biggest cause of COPD is cigarette smoking. About 90 percent of people who have COPD are smokers or former smokers.

Among long-time smokers, 20 to 30 percent develop COPD. Many others develop lung conditions or have reduced lung function.

Most people with COPD are at least 40 years old and have at least some history of smoking. The longer and more tobacco products you smoke, the greater your risk of COPD is. In addition to cigarette smoke, cigar smoke, pipe smoke, and secondhand smoke can cause COPD.

Your risk of COPD is even greater if you have asthma and smoke.

You can also develop COPD if you’re exposed to chemicals and fumes in the workplace. Long-term exposure to air pollution and inhaling dust can also cause COPD.

In developing countries, along with tobacco smoke, homes are often poorly ventilated, forcing families to breathe fumes from burning fuel used for cooking and heating.

There may be a genetic predisposition to developing COPD. Up to an estimated 5 percentTrusted Source of people with COPD have a deficiency in a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. This deficiency causes the lungs to deteriorate and also can affect the liver. There may be other associated genetic factors at play as well.

COPD isn’t contagious.

Diagnosing COPD

There’s no single test for COPD. Diagnosis is based on symptoms, a physical exam, and diagnostic test results.

When you visit the doctor, be sure to mention all of your symptoms. Tell your doctor if:

  • you’re a smoker or have smoked in the past
  • you’re exposed to lung irritants on the job
  • you’re exposed to a lot of secondhand smoke
  • you have a family history of COPD
  • you have asthma or other respiratory conditions
  • you take over-the-counter or prescription medications

During the physical exam, your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs as you breathe. Based on all this information, your doctor may order some of these tests to get a more complete picture:

  • Spirometry is a noninvasive test to assess lung function. During the test, you’ll take a deep breath and then blow into a tube connected to the spirometer.
  • Imaging tests include a chest X-ray or CT scan. These images can provide a detailed look at your lungs, blood vessels, and heart.
  • An arterial blood gas test involves taking a blood sample from an artery to measure your blood oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other important levels.

These tests can help determine if you have COPD or a different condition, such as asthma, a restrictive lung disease, or heart failure.

Learn more about how COPD is diagnosed.

Treatment for COPD

Treatment can ease symptoms, prevent complications, and generally slow disease progression. Your healthcare team may include a lung specialist (pulmonologist) and physical and respiratory therapists.

Medication

Bronchodilators are medications that help relax the muscles of the airways, widening the airways so you can breathe easier. They’re usually taken through an inhaler or a nebulizer. Glucocorticosteroids can be added to reduce inflammation in the airways.

To lower risk of other respiratory infections, ask your doctor if you should get a yearly flu shot, pneumococcal vaccine, and a tetanus booster that includes protection from pertussis (whooping cough).

Oxygen therapy

If your blood oxygen level is too low, you can receive supplemental oxygen through a mask or nasal cannula to help you breathe better. A portable unit can make it easier to get around.

Surgery

Surgery is reserved for severe COPD or when other treatments have failed, which is more likely when you have a form of severe emphysema.

One type of surgery is called bullectomy. During this procedure, surgeons remove large, abnormal air spaces (bullae) from the lungs.

Another is lung volume reduction surgery, which removes damaged upper lung tissue.

Lung transplantation is an option in some cases.

Lifestyle changes

Certain lifestyle changes may also help alleviate your symptoms or provide relief.

  • If you smoke, quit. Your doctor can recommend appropriate products or support services.
  • Whenever possible, avoid secondhand smoke and chemical fumes.
  • Get the nutrition your body needs. Work with your doctor or dietician to create a healthy eating plan.
  • Talk to your doctor about how much exercise is safe for you.

Learn more about the different treatment options for COPD.

Medications for COPD

Medications can reduce symptoms and cut down on flare-ups. It may take some trial and error to find the medication and dosage that works best for you. These are some of your options:

Inhaled bronchodilators

Medicines called bronchodilators help loosen tight muscles of your airways. They’re typically taken through an inhaler or nebulizer.

Short-acting bronchodilators last from four to six hours. You only use them when you need them. For ongoing symptoms, there are long-acting versions you can use every day. They last about 12 hours.

Some bronchodilators are selective beta-2-agonists, and others are anticholinergics. These bronchodilators work by relaxing tightened muscles of the airways, which widens your airways for better air passage. They also help your body clear mucus from the lungs. These two types of bronchodilators can be taken separately or in combination by inhaler or with a nebulizer.

Corticosteroids

Long-acting bronchodilators are commonly combined with inhaled glucocorticosteroids. A glucocorticosteroid can reduce inflammation in the airways and lower mucus production. The long-acting bronchodilator can relax the airway muscle to help the airways stay wider. Corticosteroids are also available in pill form.

Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors

This type of medication can be taken in pill form to help reduce inflammation and relax the airways. It’s generally prescribed for severe COPD with chronic bronchitis.

Theophylline

This medication eases chest tightness and shortness of breath. It may also help prevent flare-ups. It’s available in pill form. Theophylline is an older medication that relaxes the muscle of the airways, and it may cause side effects. It’s generally not a first-line treatment for COPD therapy.

Antibiotics and antivirals

Antibiotics or antivirals may be prescribed when you develop certain respiratory infections.

Vaccines

COPD increases your risk of other respiratory problems. For that reason, your doctor might recommend that you get a yearly flu shot, the pneumococcal vaccine, or the whooping cough vaccine.

Learn more about the drugs and medications used to treat COPD.

Diet recommendations for people with COPD

There’s no specific diet for COPD, but a healthy diet is important for maintaining overall health. The stronger you are, the more able you’ll be to prevent complications and other health problems.

Choose a variety of nutritious foods from these groups:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • grains
  • protein
  • dairy

Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of noncaffeinated liquids a day can help keep mucus thinner. This may make the mucus easier to cough out.

Limit caffeinated beverages because they can interfere with medications. If you have heart problems, you may need to drink less, so talk to your doctor.

Go easy on the salt. It causes the body to retain water, which can strain breathing.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important. It takes more energy to breathe when you have COPD, so you might need to take in more calories. But if you’re overweight, your lungs and heart may have to work harder.

If you’re underweight or frail, even basic body maintenance can become difficult. Overall, having COPD weakens your immune system and decreases your ability to fight off infection.

A full stomach makes it harder for your lungs to expand, leaving you short of breath. If that happens, try these remedies:

  • Clear your airways about an hour before a meal.
  • Take smaller bites of food that you chew slowly before swallowing.
  • Swap three meals a day for five or six smaller meals.
  • Save fluids until the end so you feel less full during the meal.

Check out these 5 diet tips for people with COPD.

Living with COPD

COPD requires lifelong disease management. That means following the advice of your healthcare team and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.

Since your lungs are weakened, you’ll want to avoid anything that might overtax them or cause a flare-up.

Number one on the list of things to avoid is smoking. If you’re having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs. Try to avoid secondhand smoke, chemical fumes, air pollution, and dust.

A little exercise each day can help you stay strong. Talk to your doctor about how much exercise is good for you.

Eat a diet of nutritious foods. Avoid highly processed foods that are loaded with calories and salt but lack nutrients.

If you have other chronic diseases along with COPD, it’s important to manage those as well, particularly diabetes mellitus and heart disease.

Clear the clutter and streamline your home so that it takes less energy to clean and do other household tasks. If you have advanced COPD, get help with daily chores.

Be prepared for flare-ups. Carry your emergency contact information with you and post it on your refrigerator. Include information about what medications you take, as well as the doses. Program emergency numbers into your phone.

It can be a relief to talk to others who understand. Consider joining a support group. The COPD Foundation provides a comprehensive list of organizations and resources for people living with COPD.

What are the stages of COPD?

One measure of COPD is achieved by spirometry grading. There are different grading systems, and one grading system is part of the GOLD classification. The GOLD classification is used for determining COPD severity and helping to form a prognosis and treatment plan.

There are four GOLD grades based on spirometry testing:

  • grade 1: mild
  • grade 2: moderate
  • grade 3: severe
  • grade 4: very severe

This is based on the spirometry test result of your FEV1. This is the amount of air you can breathe out of the lungs in the first one second of a forced expiration. The severity increases as your FEV1 decreases.

The GOLD classification also takes into account your individual symptoms and history of acute exacerbations. Based on this information, your doctor can assign a letter group to you to help define your COPD grade.

As the disease progresses, you’re more susceptible to complications, such as:

  • respiratory infections, including common colds, flu, and pneumonia
  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure in lung arteries (pulmonary hypertension)
  • lung cancer
  • depression and anxiety

Learn more about the different stages of COPD.

Is there a connection between COPD and lung cancer?

COPD and lung cancer are major health problems worldwide. These two diseases are linked in a number of ways.

COPD and lung cancer have several common risk factors. Smoking is the number one risk factor for both diseases. Both are more likely if you breathe secondhand smoke, or are exposed to chemicals or other fumes in the workplace.

There may be a genetic predisposition to developing both diseases. Also, the risk of developing either COPD or lung cancer increases with age.

It was estimated in 2009 that between 40 and 70 percentTrusted Source of people with lung cancer also have COPD. This same 2009 studyTrusted Source concluded that COPD is a risk factor for lung cancer.

2015 studyTrusted Source suggests they may actually be different aspects of the same disease, and that COPD could be a driving factor in lung cancer.

In some cases, people don’t learn they have COPD until they’re diagnosed with lung cancer.

However, having COPD doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get lung cancer. It does mean that you have a higher risk. That’s another reason why, if you smoke, quitting is a good idea.

Learn more about the possible complications of COPD.

COPD statistics

Worldwide, it’s estimated that about 65 millionTrusted Source people have moderate to severe COPD. About 12 million adults in the United States have a diagnosis of COPD. It’s estimated that 12 millionmore have the disease, but don’t know it yet.

Most people with COPD are 40 years of age or older.

The majority of people with COPD are smokers or former smokers. Smoking is the most important risk factor that can be changed. Between 20 and 30 percent of chronic smokers develop COPD that shows symptoms and signs.

Between 10 and 20 percent of people with COPD have never smoked. In up to 5 percentTrusted Source of people with COPD, the cause is a genetic disorder involving a deficiency of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin.

COPD is a leading cause of hospitalizations in industrialized countries. In the United States, COPD is responsible for a large amount of emergency department visits and hospital admissions. In the year 2000, it was noted that there were over 700,000 hospital admissionsTrusted Sourceand approximately 1.5 millionTrusted Source emergency department visits. Among people with lung cancer, between 40 and 70 percentTrusted Source also have COPD.

About 120,000 people die from COPD each year in the United States. It’s the third leadingcause of death in the United States. More women than men die from COPD each year.

It’s projected that the number of patients diagnosed with COPD will increase by more than 150 percent from 2010 to 2030. Much of that can be attributed to an aging population.

Check out more statistics about COPD.

What’s the outlook for people with COPD?

COPD tends to progress slowly. You may not even know you have it during the early stages.

Once you have a diagnosis, you’ll need to start seeing your doctor on a regular basis. You’ll also have to take steps to manage your condition and make the appropriate changes to your daily life.

Early symptoms can usually be managed, and certain lifestyle choices can help you maintain a good quality of life for some time.

As the disease progresses, symptoms can become increasingly limiting.

People with severe stages of COPD may not be able to care for themselves without assistance. They are at increased risk of developing respiratory infections, heart problems, and lung cancer. They may also be at risk of depression and anxiety.

COPD generally reduces life expectancy, though the outlook varies considerably from person to person. People with COPD who never smoked may have a modest reduction in life expectancyTrusted Source, while former and current smokers are likely to have a larger reduction.

Besides smoking, your outlook depends on how well you respond to treatment and whether you can avoid serious complications. Your doctor is in the best position to evaluate your overall health and give you an idea about what to expect.

Learn more about the life expectancy and prognosis for people with COPD.

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Alzheimers Disease ; Everything you need to know.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia. Dementia is a broader term for conditions caused by brain injuries or diseases that negatively affect memory, thinking, and behavior. These changes interfere with daily living.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Most people with the disease get a diagnosis after age 65. If it’s diagnosed before then, it’s generally referred to as early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease. Learn more about the basics of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s facts
Although many people have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, some aren’t sure exactly what it is. Here are some facts about this condition:
Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic ongoing condition.
Its symptoms come on gradually and the effects on the brain are degenerative, meaning they cause slow decline.
There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s but treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and may improve quality of life.
Anyone can get Alzheimer’s disease but certain people are at higher risk for it. This includes people over age 65 and those with a family history of the condition.
Alzheimer’s and dementia aren’t the same thing. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia.
There’s no single expected outcome for people with Alzheimer’s. Some people live a long time with mild cognitive damage, while others experience a more rapid onset of symptoms and quicker disease progression.
Each person’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease is different. Find out more details about how Alzheimer’s can affect people.

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s
The terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these two conditions aren’t the same. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia.
Dementia is a broader term for conditions with symptoms relating to memory loss such as forgetfulness and confusion. Dementia includes more specific conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and others, which can cause these symptoms.
Causes, symptoms, and treatments can be different for these diseases. Learn more about how dementia and Alzheimer’s disease differ.



Alzheimer’s disease causes and risk factors
Experts haven’t determined a single cause of Alzheimer’s disease but they have identified certain risk factors, including:
Age. Most people who develop Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years of age or older.
Family history. If you have an immediate family member who has developed the condition, you’re more likely to get it.
Genetics. Certain genes have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Having one or more of these risk factors doesn’t mean that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease. It simply raises your risk level.
To learn more about your personal risk of developing the condition, talk with your doctor. Learn about amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, and other factors that may cause Alzheimer’s disease.

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Alzheimer’s and genetics
While there’s no one identifiable cause of Alzheimer’s, genetics may play a key role. One gene in particular is of interest to researchers. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) is a gene that’s been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms in older adults.
Blood tests can determine if you have this gene, which increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Keep in mind that even if someone has this gene, they may not get Alzheimer’s.
The opposite is also true: Someone may still get Alzheimer’s even if they don’t have the gene. There’s no way to tell for sure whether someone will develop Alzheimer’s.
Other genes could also increase risk of Alzheimer’s and early onset Alzheimer’s. Learn more about the link between genes and Alzheimer’s disease.


Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
Everyone has episodes of forgetfulness from time to time. But people with Alzheimer’s disease display certain ongoing behaviors and symptoms that worsen over time. These can include:
memory loss affecting daily activities, such as an ability to keep appointments
trouble with familiar tasks, such as using a microwave
difficulties with problem-solving
trouble with speech or writing
becoming disoriented about times or places
decreased judgment
decreased personal hygiene
mood and personality changes
withdrawal from friends, family, and community
Symptoms change according to the stage of the disease. Find out about early indicators of Alzheimer’s and how they progress into more severe symptoms.



Alzheimer’s stages
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, which means the symptoms will gradually worsen over time. Alzheimer’s is broken down into seven stages:
Stage 1. There are no symptoms at this stage but there might be an early diagnosis based on family history.
Stage 2. The earliest symptoms appear, such as forgetfulness.
Stage 3. Mild physical and mental impairments appear, such as reduced memory and concentration. These may only be noticeable by someone very close to the person.
Stage 4. Alzheimer’s is often diagnosed at this stage, but it’s still considered mild. Memory loss and the inability to perform everyday tasks is evident.
Stage 5. Moderate to severe symptoms require help from loved ones or caregivers.
Stage 6. At this stage, a person with Alzheimer’s may need help with basic tasks, such as eating and putting on clothes.
Stage 7. This is the most severe and final stage of Alzheimer’s. There may be a loss of speech and facial expressions.
As a person progresses through these stages, they’ll need increasing support from a caregiver. Find out more about how the stages of Alzheimer’s progress and the support needs that are likely for each.

Early onset Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s typically affects people ages 65 years and older. However, it can occur in people as early as their 40s or 50s. This is called early onset, or younger onset, Alzheimer’s. This type of Alzheimer’s affects about 5 percent of all people with the condition.
Symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s can include mild memory loss and trouble concentrating or finishing everyday tasks. It can be hard to find the right words, and you may lose track of time. Mild vision problems, such as trouble telling distances, can also occur.
Certain people are at greater risk of developing this condition. Learn about risk factors and other symptoms of early onset Alzheimer’s.
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease
The only definitive way to diagnose someone with Alzheimer’s disease is to examine their brain tissue after death. But your doctor can use other examinations and tests to assess your mental abilities, diagnose dementia, and rule out other conditions.
They’ll likely start by taking a medical history. They may ask about your:
symptoms
family medical history
other current or past health conditions
current or past medications
diet, alcohol intake, or other lifestyle habits
From there, your doctor will likely do several tests to help determine if you have Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s tests
There’s no definitive test for Alzheimer’s disease. However, your doctor will likely do several tests to determine your diagnosis. These can be mental, physical, neurological, and imaging tests.
Your doctor may start with a mental status test. This can help them assess your short-term memory, long-term memory, and orientation to place and time. For example, they may ask you:
what day it is
who the president is
to remember and recall a short list of words
Next, they’ll likely conduct a physical exam. For example, they may check your blood pressure, assess your heart rate, and take your temperature. In some cases, they may collect urine or blood samples for testing in a laboratory.
Your doctor may also conduct a neurological exam to rule out other possible diagnoses, such as an acute medical issue, such as infection or stroke. During this exam, they will check your reflexes, muscle tone, and speech.
Your doctor may also order brain-imaging studies. These studies, which will create pictures of your brain, can include:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRIs can help pick up key markers, such as inflammation, bleeding, and structural issues.
Computed tomography (CT) scan. CT scans take X-ray images which can help your doctor look for abnormal characteristics in your brain.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. PET scan images can help your doctor detect plaque buildup. Plaque is a protein substance related to Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Other tests your doctor may do include blood tests to check for genes that may indicate you have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Find out more about this test and other ways to test for Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s medication
There’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, your doctor can recommend medications and other treatments to help ease your symptoms and delay the progression of the disease for as long as possible.
For early to moderate Alzheimer’s, your doctor may prescribe medications such as donepezil (Aricept) or rivastigmine (Exelon). These drugs can help maintain high levels of acetylcholine in your brain. This is a type of neurotransmitter that can help aid your memory.
To treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s, your doctor may prescribe donepezil (Aricept) or memantine (Namenda). Memantine can help block the effects of excess glutamate. Glutamate is a brain chemical that’s released in higher amounts in Alzheimer’s disease and damages brain cells.
Your doctor may also recommend antidepressants, antianxiety medications, or antipsychotics to help treat symptoms related to Alzheimer’s. These symptoms include:
depression
restlessness
aggression
agitation
hallucinations
Learn more about Alzheimer’s medications available now, and those being developed.

Other Alzheimer’s treatments
In addition to medication, lifestyle changes may help you manage your condition. For example, your doctor might develop strategies to help you or your loved one:
focus on tasks
limit confusion
avoid confrontation
get enough rest every day
stay calm
Some people believe that vitamin E can help prevent decline in mental abilities, but studiesindicate that more research is needed. Be sure to ask your doctor before taking vitamin E or any other supplements. It can interfere with some of the medications used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to lifestyle changes, there are several alternative options you can ask your doctor about. Read more about alternative Alzheimer’s treatments.
Preventing Alzheimer’s
Just as there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s, there are no foolproof preventive measures. However, researchers are focusing on overall healthy lifestyle habits as ways of preventing cognitive decline.
The following measures may help:
Quit smoking.
Exercise regularly.
Try cognitive training exercises.
Eat a plant-based diet.
Consume more antioxidants.
Maintain an active social life.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any big changes in your lifestyle. Read more about possible ways to prevent Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s care
If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you may consider becoming a caregiver. This is a full-time job that’s typically not easy but can be very rewarding.
Being a caregiver takes many skills. These include patience perhaps above all, as well as creativity, stamina, and the ability to see joy in the role of helping someone you care about live the most comfortable life they can.
As a caregiver, it’s important to take care of yourself as well as your loved one. With the responsibilities of the role can come an increased risk of stress, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.
If you choose to assume the role of caregiver, you may need to enlist the help of professional caregivers as well as family members to help. Learn more about what it takes to be an Alzheimer’s caregiver.
Alzheimer’s statistics
The statistics surrounding Alzheimer’s disease are daunting.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alzheimer’s is the sixth most common cause of death among U.S. adults. It ranks fifth among causes of death for people 65 years and older.
study found that 4.7 million Americans over the age of 65 years had Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. Those researchers projected that by 2050, there will be 13.8 million Americans with Alzheimer’s.
The CDC estimates that over 90 percentTrusted Source
 of people with Alzheimer’s don’t see any symptoms until they’re over 60 years old.
Alzheimer’s is an expensive disease. According to the CDC, about $259 billionTrusted Source
 was spent on Alzheimer’s and dementia care costs in the United States in 2017.
The takeaway
Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease in which there are many unknowns. What is known is that the condition worsens over time, but treatment can help delay symptoms and improve your quality of life.
If you think you or a loved one may have Alzheimer’s, your first step is to talk with your doctor. They can help make a diagnosis, discuss what you can expect, and help connect you with services and support. If you’re interested, they can also give you information about taking part in clinical trials.

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Medically reviewed byTimothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyDon December 4, 2018 — Written by Jaime Herndon and Kristeen Cherney

Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term used to refer to the range of diseases which affect the heart and blood vessels. These include hypertension (high blood pressure); coronary heart disease (heart attack); cerebrovascular disease (stroke); heart failure; and other heart diseases.

Cardiovascular disease is the top cause of death globally.

In the map we see death rates from cardiovascular diseases across the world.

Overall we see a strong East-West divide in CVD death rates. Rates across North America and Western/Northern Europe tend to be significantly lower than those across Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Across most of Latin America, these rates are moderate. In France, for example, the age-standardized rate was around 86 per 100,000 in 2017; across Eastern Europe this rate was around 5 times higher at 400-500 per 100,000. At the highest end of the scale, Uzbekistan had a rate of 724 per 100,000.Death rate from cardiovascular disease, 2017

The annual number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases per 100,000 people.

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

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An Overview of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Coping

By James Myhre and Dennis Sifris, MD

 Medically reviewed by Richard N. Fogoros, MD Updated on December 02, 2019Heart Failure

In This Article

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is the term used to describe what happens when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. (It should not be confused with cardiac arrest in which the heart stops beating entirely.) CHF is simply the inadequate functioning of the heart muscle. The condition can either be acute, meaning it occurs rapidly, or chronic, which means it occurs over the long term.

Symptoms of CHF may include fatigue, the swelling of the legs, and shortness of breath (especially with exercise).1 CHF can be diagnosed based on a review of your symptoms, blood tests, a cardiac ultrasound, and X-ray. Treatment can vary by the underlying cause and may include diet, exercise, anti-hypertensive medications, blood thinners, and drugs like Entresto designed specifically to treat heart failure.

Severe cases may require an implantable cardiac device to improve the strength or rhythm of the heart. In the worst-case scenario, a heart transplant may be required.

Symptoms

The symptoms of CHF can vary by the location of the heart damage, broadly described as left-sided heart failure, right-sided heart failure, or biventricular failure.

Left-Sided Failure

The left side of the heart is responsible for receiving oxygen-enriched blood from the lungs and pumping it to the rest of the body.

If the heart is failing on the left side (referred to as left ventricular heart failure), it will back up into the lungs, depriving the rest of the body of the oxygen it needs.

Left-sided heart failure is either caused by systolic dysfunction, which is when the heart doesn’t pump out blood the way it should, or diastolic dysfunction, in which the heart doesn’t fill up with blood as it should.2Left-Sided Systolic Heart Failure

Characteristic symptoms of left-sided heart failure include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath, especially when lying flat or during exertion
  • Dry hacking or wheezing
  • Rales and crackling sounds in the lungs
  • Abnormal “galloping” heart sounds (gallop rhythm)
  • Nighttime breathlessness (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea)
  • Cool skin temperature
  • Bluish skin tones due to the lack of oxygen (cyanosis)
  • Confusion

Right-Sided Failure

The right side of the heart is responsible for receiving oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumping it to the lungs to be oxygenated.2

If the right side of the heart is failing (known as right ventricular heart failure), the heart cannot fill with enough blood, causing the blood to back up into the veins.

Right-sided heart failure is often caused by pulmonary heart disease (cor pulmonale) in which the enlargement or failure of the right ventricle leads to circulatory congestion in the lungs as well as the rest of the body.3

Characteristic symptoms of right-sided heart failure include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath, particularly with exercise
  • Accumulation of fluid, usually in the lower legs (peripheral edema) or lower back (sacral edema)
  • A distended jugular vein in the neck
  • Rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic coughing
  • Frequent nighttime urination (nocturia)
  • The build-up of fluid of the abdomen (ascites)
  • An enlarged liver
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

Biventricular Failure

Biventricular heart failure involves the failure of both the left and right ventricles of the heart. It is the type most commonly seen in clinical practice and will manifest with symptoms characteristic of both left and right heart failure.4

One of the common features of biventricular heart failure is pleural effusion, the collection of fluid between the lung and chest wall.

While pleural effusion can occur with right-sided heart failure and to a lesser extent with left-sided heart failure, it is far more characteristic when both sides are involved. Symptoms of pleural effusion include:

  • Sharp chest pain
  • Shortness of breath, particularly with activity
  • Chronic dry cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing when lying down
  • Difficulty taking deep breaths
  • Persistent hiccups

Complications

CHF is a potential complication of many different diseases and disorders. However, the development of CHF can spur further complications, increasing the risk of illness, incapacitation, and death. Characteristic complications of CHF include:

  • Venous thromboembolism, which is a blood clot that forms when blood starts to pool in a vein.5 If the clot breaks off and travels to the lung, it can cause a pulmonary embolism. If it breaks off and lodges in the brain, it can cause a stroke.
  • Kidney failure, which can occur when reduced blood circulation allows waste products to accumulate in the body. If severe, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be required.
  • Liver damage. This commonly occurs with advanced right-sided heart failure when the heart fails to supply the liver with the blood it needs to function, leading to portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the liver), cirrhosis, and liver failure.6
  • Lung damage, including empyema (accumulation of pus), pneumothorax (collapsed lung), and pulmonary fibrosis (lung scarring) which is a common complication of pleural effusion.
  • Heart valve damage, which can occur as your heart works harder to pump blood, causing the valves to enlarge abnormally. Prolonged inflammation and heart damage can lead to severe arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, and sudden death.

Causes

Causes of CHF include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart valve disease, infection, excessive alcohol use, or a previous heart attack.7

Congestive heart failure (often referred to simply as heart failure) affects around 6 million Americans and is the leading cause of hospitalization in people over 65 years old. Over 650,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

The word “congestive” refers to the build-up of fluid in the veins and tissues of the lungs and other parts of the body. It is this congestion which triggers many of the characteristic symptoms of CHF.

CHF is caused by any number of conditions that damage the heart muscle itself, referred to as cardiomyopathy. Common causes include:7

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD), in which the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart become narrowed or obstructed
  • Myocardial infarction (MI), also known as a heart attack, in which a coronary artery becomes blocked, which starves and kills heart muscle tissues
  • Heart overload (including high-output heart failure), in which the heart is overworked by conditions such as hypertension, kidney disease, diabetes, heart valve disease, a congenital heart defect, Paget’s disease, cirrhosis, or multiple myeloma
  • Infections, which includes viral infections such as German measles (rubella) or coxsackie B virus. Another cause is systemic viral infections, such as HIV, which can cause progressive damage to the heart muscle. Non-viral illnesses like Chagas disease can also cause heart failure.
  • Long-term alcohol or substance abuse, including methamphetamine or cocaine abuse
  • Cancer chemotherapy drugs like daunorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and trastuzumab
  • Amyloidosis, a condition in which amyloid proteins build up in the heart muscle, often in association with chronic inflammatory disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea, a form of sleep apnea considered an independent risk factor for CHF when accompanied by obesity, hypertension, or diabetes
  • Toxic exposure to lead or cobalt

Acute Decompensated Heart Failure

Chronic heart failure is the stage in which the heart condition is stable. Chronic heart failure can sometimes progress to acute decompensated heart failure (ADHF) in which the symptoms worsen and increase the risk of respiratory failure.8

ADHF if often triggered by an instigating event such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Pneumonia
  • Uncontrolled or worsening hypertension
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
  • Severe anemia
  • Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)9

Diagnosis

If congestive heart failure is suspected, your doctor will make the diagnosis based on a review of your symptoms, a physical examination, blood tests, imaging tests, and other diagnostics designed to measure heart function. The failure will then be classified by order of severity to direct the appropriate course of treatment.

Physical Examination

After a review of your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will perform a physical exam to identify the symptoms indicative of CHF.10 This will include, among other things, a review of your:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Heart sounds (to check for abnormal rhythms)
  • Lung sounds (to assess for congestion, rales, or effusion)
  • Lower extremities (to check for signs of edema)
  • Jugular vein in your neck (to check whether it is bulging or distended)

Laboratory Tests

There are a number of blood tests used to diagnose CHF, some of which can identify the underlying cause of the dysfunction. These may include a complete blood count (to check for anemia), a C-reactive protein (to detect signs of infection), and liver function, kidney function, or thyroid function tests (to establish whether other organ systems are involved and why).

Arguably the most important test is the B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) test which detects a specific hormone secreted by the heart in response to changes in blood pressure. When the heart is stressed and works harder to pump blood, the concentration of BNP in the blood will begin to rise.11

The BNP test is one of the cornerstone diagnostics of heart failure. However, increases in BNP values do not necessarily correspond to the severity of the condition.

In most labs, a BNP of less than 100 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL) can definitively rule out CHF in 98 percent of cases.

High BNP levels are far less conclusive, although levels above 900 pg/mL in adults over 50 years old can accurately diagnose CHF in around 90 percent of cases.12

Imaging Tests

The primary imaging tool for diagnosing CHF is an echocardiogram. An echocardiogram is a form of ultrasound that uses reflected sound waves to create real-time images of the beating heart.10 The echocardiogram is used to determine two diagnostic values:

  • Stroke volume (SV): the amount of blood exiting the heart with each beat
  • End-diastolic volume (EDV): the amount of blood entering the heart as it relaxes

The comparison of the SV to the EDV can then be used to calculate the ejection fraction (EF), the value of which describes the pumping efficiency of the heart.

Normally, the ejection fraction should be between 55 percent and 70 percent. Heart failure can typically be diagnosed when the EF drops below 40 percent.

Another form of imaging, known as angiography, is used to evaluate the vascular structure of the heart. If coronary artery disease is suspected, a narrow catheter would be inserted into a coronary artery to inject contrast dyes for visualization on an X-ray. Angiography is extremely useful in pinpointing blockages that may be damaging the heart muscle.

A chest X-ray on its own can help identify cardiomegaly (enlargement of the heart) and evidence of vascular enlargement in the heart. A chest X-ray and ultrasound can also be used to help diagnose pleural effusion.13

Other Tests

In addition to the BNP and echocardiogram, other tests can be used to either support the diagnosis or characterize the cause of the dysfunction. These include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG), used to measure the electrical activity of the heart
  • Cardiac stress test, which measures your heart function when placed under stress (usually while running on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary cycle)

CHF Classification

If congestive heart disease is definitively diagnosed, your cardiologist would classify the failure based on a review of your physical exam, lab findings, and imaging test. The aim of the classification is to direct the appropriate course treatment.

There are several classification systems a doctor may rely upon, including the functional classification system issued by the New York Heart Association (NYHA) or the CHF staging system issued by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA).

The NYHA functional classification is broken down into four classes based on both your physical capacity for activity and the appearance of symptoms.14

  • Class I: no limitation in any activities and no symptoms from ordinary activities
  • Class II: mild limitation of activity and no symptoms with mild exertion
  • Class III: marked limitation of activity and symptoms at all times except rest
  • Class IV: discomfort and symptoms at rest and with activity

The ACC/AHA staging system provides greater insight as to what medical interventions should be implemented at which stages.7

  • Stage A: the “pre-heart failure” stage in which there is no functional or structural heart disorder but a distinct risk of one in the future
  • Stage B: a structural heart disorder but with no symptoms at rest or activity
  • Stage C: stable heart failure that can be managed with medical treatment
  • Stage D: advanced heart failure in need of hospitalization, a heart transplant, or palliative care

The ACC/AHA system is especially useful—each stage corresponds to specific medical recommendations and interventions.

Treatment

The treatment of congestive heart failure is focused on reducing symptoms and preventing the progression of the disease. It also requires treatment for the underlying cause of the failure, whether it be an infection, a heart disorder, or a chronic inflammatory disease.

The treatment will be largely directed by the staging of the CHF and may involve lifestyle changes, medications, implanted devices, and heart surgery.15

Lifestyle Changes

One of the first steps in managing CHF is making changes in your life to improve your diet and physical fitness and to correct the bad habits that contribute to your illness. Depending on the stage of the CHF, the interventions may be relatively easy to implement or may require a serious adjustment of your lifestyle.

Reduce Sodium Intake: This not only includes the salt you add to food, but also the types of food that are high in sodium. The less salt in your diet, the less fluid retention there will be. Most doctors recommend no more than 2,000 milligrams per day from all sources.

Limit Fluid Intake: This can vary depending on the severity of your condition, but generally speaking, you would limit your fluids to no more than 2 liters (8.5 cups) per day.

Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight: If you are overweight, you may need to work with a nutritionist to first determine your ideal weight and daily calorie intake, and then to design a safe and sustainable low-sodium diet.

Stop Smoking: There is no safe amount of smoking. Smoking contributes to the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), making your heart work much harder than it normally would have to.16

Exercise Regularly: You need to find an exercise plan you can sustain and build upon to get stronger. Try starting with no less than 30 minutes of exercise three times per week, incorporating cardio and strength training. Working with a personal trainer can help ensure the appropriate workout routine, which is one that neither overtaxes you nor leaves you unchallenged.

Reduce Alcohol Intake: While an occasional drink may not do you any harm, moderate alcohol intake can sometimes complicate left-sided heart failure, particularly in people with alcohol-induced cardiomyopathy.17 Speak to your doctor about the appropriate limits based on the nature and severity of your CHF.

Medications

There are a number of medications commonly prescribed to improve the function of your heart. These include:18

  • Diuretics (water pills) to reduce the amount of fluid in your body and, in turn, your blood pressure
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors which block an enzyme that regulates blood pressure and salt concentrations in your body
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) that reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and improving blood flow
  • Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan), which is a combination drug used in place of ARBs and ACE inhibitors in people with a reduced EF (generally under 40 percent)
  • Apresoline (hydralazine) and isosorbide dinitrate, which are sometimes prescribed in combination for people who can’t tolerate ARBs and ACE inhibitors
  • Lanoxin (digoxin), which is sometimes prescribed for people with severe heart failure but is largely avoided due to the high degree of toxicity
  • Vasopressin receptor antagonists like Vaprisol (conivaptan) which may be used for people with ADHF who develop abnormally low sodium levels (hyponatremia)
  • Beta-blockers, which continue to be an integral component in treating CHF

Drugs to Avoid: There a number of drugs that you may need to avoid if you have heart failure, which may either undermine therapy or contribute to cardiac congestion. These drugs include:19

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Voltaren (diclofenac), Advil (ibuprofen), or Aleve (naproxen) can precipitate fluid retention. Use Tylenol (acetaminophen) instead.
  • Certain anti-arrhythmia drugs (particularly sodium channel-blocking drugs) may increase heart rhythm problems in people with CHF.
  • Calcium channel blockers can also induce arrhythmia, particularly in people with left-sided systolic failure.
  • Salt substitutes typically contain potassium which promotes arrhythmia.
  • Antacids often contain high quantities of sodium and are best avoided.
  • Decongestants like pseudoephedrine can raise blood pressure and should only be used under the direction of your doctor.

Since other drugs (including ketamine, salbutamol, tamsulosin, and thiazolidinediones) can affect heart function, it is important to advise your doctor about any drugs you are taking, including supplements and herbal remedies.

Implantable Devices

Heart failure is described when the EF is 40 percent or less. This means that 40 percent or less of the blood in your left ventricle leaves the heart with each heartbeat.

If your EF falls below 35 percent or you experience severe arrhythmia as a result of CHF, your doctor may recommend an implantable device to reduce the risk of illness or death. Different approaches are used for different conditions.20

  • Automatic implantable cardioverter defibrillators (AICDs), similar to pacemakers, are used to correct arrhythmias as they occur.
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) involves the synchronization of the right and left ventricles so that they work more effectively.
  • Cardiac contractility modulation (CCM), approved in Europe but not in the United States, is used to strengthen the contraction of the left ventricle with synchronized bursts of electrical stimulation.

The implants are typically inserted beneath the skin of the upper left chest. Before the surgery, medication will be given to make you sleepy and comfortable.

The implantation of a device does not require open-heart surgery, and most people go can home within 24 hours.

Surgery

Surgery may be indicated to repair the underlying or contributing causes of heart failure. This may include repairing or replacing leaky heart valves or performing a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) to redirect the blood flow around one or more blocked arteries.20

If a heart attack has occurred, surgery is often needed to repair the bulging and thinning of the left ventricular, known as a ventricular aneurysm.

Some surgeries are minimally invasive—accessing the heart through a blood vessel or through the chest without opening the ribcage—while others are open-heart.

If the risk of death is high and a donor’s heart is not available, open surgery may be used to implant a ventricular assist device (VAD) into the chest.20 The VAD mechanically pumps blood from the left ventricle to the aorta and is powered by an external battery worn over the shoulder. It is a short-term solution used by doctors when waiting for a donor’s heart.

heart transplant is typically indicated with the EF has dropped below 20 percent and/or the risk of death within one year is high. Around 3,500 heart transplants are performed around the world each year, more than half of which are performed in the United States.21

People who successfully undergo heart transplant surgery can expect to live an additional 15 years on average.

Coping

Being diagnosed with congestive heart failure doesn’t mean that you’re going to die or that your heart will suddenly stop. It simply means that your heart is failing to work as well as it is supposed to.

While there is no cure for CHF, there are steps you can take to maintain or improve your heart function.

Weigh Yourself Daily: Changes in your weight may be a sign that your condition is worsening. Start by knowing your “dry weight” (your weight when there no extra fluids in our body) and keep a daily record. Call your doctor if your weight is either 4 pounds more or 4 pounds less than your dry weight in the span of a week.

Take Your Medications Daily: You need to maintain a steady concentration of medications in your bloodstream to sustain the desired effect. Some drugs used to treat CHF have a short drug half-life (including Entresto with a half-life of 10 hours) and must be taken as prescribed without missing any doses. To avoid missed doses, try programming alarm reminders on your cell phone.

Keep Your Doctor Appointments: People who remain under consistent medical care invariably do better than those who don’t. Making and keeping your appointments allows your doctor to intervene before a medical problem become serious or irreversible.

Check Food Labels: Sodium is hidden in many foods that we eat. Learn how to read product labels and to choose foods low in salt, including lean meats, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, eggs, low-fat dairy, rice, pasta, and dry or fresh beans. Avoid canned or packaged foods, and be aware that “reduced-sodium” products may still contain more than you need.

Find Alternative Seasonings: Instead of salt or sodium-rich condiments, season your food with fresh herbs, dried spices, lemon juice, or flavored vinegar.

Plan Ahead When Eating Out: Check the menu online in advance of your reservation, and call ahead to discuss your dietary requirements so that you make the right choices.

Get Help Kicking Bad Habits: Quitting “cold turkey” with cigarettes or alcohol is rarely effective. Speak with your doctor about smoking cessation aids (many of which are fully covered by the Affordable Care Act). If you have a drinking problem, ask your doctor about support groups or alcohol treatment programs.

Try to Relax: Don’t treat your stress with alcohol or sleeping pills. Instead, explore methods of stress relief, including exercise, yoga, or meditation. If you are unable to cope, ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist who can either help you one-on-one or enlist you in group therapy. Heart failure has also been linked to depression, so addressing your feelings with a mental health professional can be helpful.22

A Word From Verywell

Experiencing congestive heart failure usually changes your life in a lot of ways. However, by making healthy changes, you will improve your heart and all other aspects of your health. You can live well with CHF for many years. Find support from family and friends who can help you normalize CHF. The more they understand your condition, the better able they can help you achieve your therapy goals. Try asking your doctor for a referral to a support group in your area or connect with others online through the American Heart Association Support Network.

How Vascular Tone Affects The Heart

Tone, also known as vascular tone, refers to the amount of constriction present in blood vessels. Higher tone means more constriction, which indicates more resistance to blood flow, and thus, means the heart has to work harder to pump blood.

The Vascular tone varies among different organs. The vascular tone of the pulmonary system may be different than that of the coronary vascular system. The vascular tone of blood vessels and arteries determine how hard the heart has to work to pump blood throughout the body. When there is no resistance from blood vessels, the heart is able to pump smoothly, reducing the risk of heart disease. The higher the resistance from blood vessels, the harder the heart has to pump, the higher the risk of heart disease.

Too much resistance pushing against artery walls is known as high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure will, over the course of time, damage the walls of the larger arteries, such as the aorta and carotids, as well as the smaller ones, the cerebral, coronary and renal arteries. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder pumping blood throughout the body.

Blood pressure has two readings, the top number is the systolic and the bottom number is diastolic. The 2017 AHA/ACC guidelines define hypertension as follows

  • Normal: <120 mm Hg and <80mmHg
  • Elevated: 120-129 mm Hg and <80 Hg

Hypertension:

  • Stage 1: 130-139 mm Hg or 80-89 mm Hg
  • Stage 2: 140 mm Hg or higher, or 90 mm Hg or higher

Risks of Hypertension

Uncontrolled hypertension causes arteries to become narrow, stiff and inflexible. As a result, the heart has to work harder to move blood through the body. This can result in stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Heart failure can also damage kidneys, cause problems with vision, and affect memory.

Treatment

In general, the goal is to bring blood pressure to below 120/80. However, in some cases this goal needs to be individualized, and if you have hypertension you should discuss the goal of treatment with your doctor.

Medications that have been used to reach acceptable blood pressure levels include:

Medication to reduce blood pressure to acceptable levels will be determined by a medical professional.

Lifestyle Modifications

By taking an active role in their care, patients can help to reduce hypertension by making the following modifications:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables
  • Eating low-fat dairy products
  • Lowering the level of sodium intake
  • Exercising regularly
  • Cutting down on alcohol consumption
  • Quitting smoking

Medication needs to be taken regularly and patients should not skip a dose.

When do see a docotor if hypertension persists.

Hypertension does not usually cause any noticeable symptoms. When it does, you might experience dizziness, shortness of breath, headaches, and nosebleeds, which could indicate that your blood pressure is high.1 Complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure can occur if long-term hypertension is not adequately treated. A hypertensive emergency, which is an uncommon and dangerous event, may cause blurry vision, nausea, chest pain and anxiety.2

hypertension symptoms
© Verywell, 2018

Frequent Symptoms

Overall, the vast majority of people who have hypertension, which is described as chronically high blood pressure (>130 mm Hg or diastolic pressure >80 mm Hg), do not experience any symptoms of the condition. It is usually diagnosed in the doctor’s office with a simple blood pressure measurement using a blood pressure cuff.

Symptoms that do occur, if present, may indicate temporary fluctuations or elevations in blood pressure, and can be related to the timing of medication doses. Generally, the symptoms of hypertension can happen at any time, do not last for long, and may recur. They include:

  • Recurrent headaches: Headaches are fairly common among people with or without hypertension. Some people with hypertension notice changes or worsening of headaches when medications are skipped or when the blood pressure becomes higher than usual. Headaches associated with hypertension can be mild, moderate, or severe3 and can be of a throbbing nature. 
  • Dizziness: People with hypertension may notice dizziness in relation to medication doses and blood pressure fluctuations. 
  • Shortness of breath: Hypertension can cause shortness of breath as a result of the effect on the heart and lung function.4 Shortness of breath is more noticeable with physical exertion or exercise. 
  • Nosebleed: You may be more prone to nosebleeds if you have hypertension, although, in general, nosebleeds are not a classic sign of high blood pressure.

Rare Symptoms 

Extremely high blood pressure that occurs suddenly is more likely to produce noticeable symptoms than chronic hypertension. However, it is important to know that even very high blood pressure may not produce symptoms. 

Severe high blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure of >180 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure of >120 mm Hg. People with severe high blood pressure can develop symptoms quickly, including: 

  • Blurry vision or other vision disturbances: Blurred vision and vision changes are warning signs that you could be at risk of a serious health problem, such as a stroke or a heart attack.5 
  • Headaches: Headaches associated with very high blood pressure tend to be throbbing in nature and can develop rapidly. 
  • Dizziness: The dizziness of very high blood pressure is described as vertigo (a sensation that the room is spinning).6 
  • Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite: Nausea associated with severe hypertension can develop suddenly and may be associated with dizziness.  

Hypertensive Urgency

A type of high blood pressure without serious symptoms is called hypertensive urgency.

Hypertensive urgency is defined as a systolic blood pressure of >180 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure of >120 mm Hg. This blood pressure is considered high enough to put you at serious risk of sudden, life-threatening events.

In situations of hypertensive urgency, there is no organ failure or other immediately critical conditions, but these conditions could quickly develop if the blood pressure isn’t quickly brought under control.7

Complications

Untreated hypertension causes serious complications, including organ damage. Less commonly, a condition called hypertensive emergency, which may also be called hypertensive crisis or malignant hypertension can occur.

Hypertensive Emergency

A hypertensive emergency, unlike the similar sounding hypertensive urgency, is characterized by serious, life-threatening complications. A hypertensive emergency means that the blood pressure is >180 mm Hg or the diastolic pressure is >120 mm Hg, and that end-organ damage is occurring. Signs and symptoms can include shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain, irregular heart rate, confusion, or fainting.8 

Aneurysm Rupture

An aneurysm, which is a bulge in the wall of an artery, can form due to a number of causes. Aneurysms can occur in the aorta, brain, and kidneys. Hypertension contributes to aneurysm formation, and sudden elevations of blood pressure can increase the risk of an aneurysm rupture—a serious event that can be fatal.9 

Vascular Disease

Hypertension increases the risk of vascular disease, characterized by atherosclerosis (hardening and stiffening of the blood vessels) and narrowing of the arteries. Vascular disease can involve the blood vessels in the legs, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes, causing a range of disabling or life-threatening symptoms. 

Heart Disease

Hypertension contributes to the development and worsening of coronary artery disease, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart failure.10 

Kidney Failure

Hypertension can affect the kidneys, as their blood vessels become less able to function effectively; permanent damage is possible.

Respiratory Disease

Respiratory disease can develop as a consequence of heart disease, manifesting as shortness of breath with exertion. 

When to See a Doctor

It is important to go to your regular check-ups with your doctor. Hypertension is a common condition and, if caught, can be treated with medication to prevent complications.

However, if you experience any of the symptoms of hypertension, such as frequent headaches, recurrent dizziness, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, don’t wait—speak to your doctor immediately.

Hypertension requires regular visits with your doctor to monitor your progress. If you are already on blood pressure medication and experience any related side effects, contact your doctor to see if your regimen needs to be adjusted.

Hypertension Doctor Discussion Guide

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When to Go to the Hospital

A hypertensive emergency requires immediate emergency medical care. 

The symptoms of a hypertensive emergency include:

  • Severe headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe dizziness or feeling faint
  • Vision changes
  • Weakness, numbness, tingling in the arms, legs, or face on one of both sides
  • Trouble speaking or understanding words
  • Confusion or behavioral changes

Do not attempt to lower extremely elevated blood pressure in yourself or someone else.11 While the goal is to reduce blood pressure before additional complications develop, blood pressure should be reduced over the course of hours to days, depending on severity. It is important not to lower blood pressure too quickly, because rapid blood pressure reductions can cut off the supply of blood to the brain, leading to brain damage or death.

The number one cause of death in young children is actually hypertension and or blood clotting.

Hypertension, which is chronically high blood pressure, is one of the most common medical problems.1 Hypertension does not usually cause any symptoms, and it is not always diagnosed in the early stages. It is a leading cause of heart attackstrokekidney disease, and other serious medical problems.

Because hypertension is so common and consequential, it is important for everyone to have their blood pressure checked periodically. And if you have hypertension, you can work closely with your doctor to find an effective treatment.High pressure impacts arterial wall contraction.

Symptoms

Most people who have hypertension only develop symptoms when their condition progresses enough to cause damage.2

In many instances, the very first sign of hypertension is a sudden heart attack or a stroke. This is why hypertension is often called “the silent killer.”

Hypertension is classified based on how high the blood pressure is. The stages are:3

  • Stage 1 hypertension: Systolic pressure 130 to 139 mmHg or diastolic pressure 80 to 89 mmHg
  • Stage 2 hypertension: Systolic pressure greater than 139 mmHg orpressure diastolic greater than 89 mmHg

Prehypertension describes blood pressure that is higher than the desirable range, but not high enough to be labeled hypertension. In prehypertension, the systolic pressure is 120 to 129 mmHg and the diastolic pressure is less than 80 mmHg.

Symptoms of prehypertension and stage 1 and 2 hypertension rarely occur. If you do experience symptoms, they may include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision

Malignant Hypertension

In addition to these types of hypertension, there is a rare, severe form called hypertensive emergency, or malignant hypertension. Malignant hypertension is diagnosed when the blood pressure is extremely high and is accompanied by evidence of acute organ damage.

This acute organ damage is caused by extremely low blood supply or rupture of blood vessels when they are suddenly exposed to very high blood pressure. The effects may include bleeding in the eyes, kidney failure, heart rhythm irregularities, heart attack, aneurysm rupture, or stroke.

Symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vision changes
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling of the face, arms or legs

Malignant hypertension is always a medical emergency and requires aggressive intensive medical care.​This Rare Form of High Blood Pressure Can Be Life-Threatening

Causes and risk factors for hypertension
 Illustration by Cindy Chung, Verywell.

Causes

The pressure generated by the beating heart forces the blood forward and stretches the elastic walls of the arteries. In between heartbeats, as the heart muscle relaxes, the arterial walls snap back to their original shape, moving the blood forward to the body’s tissues. With hypertension, the pressure in the arteries is high enough to eventually produce damage to the blood vessels.

The causes of hypertension are usually divided into two general categories:

  • Primary hypertension of no known cause, also called essential hypertension
  • Secondary hypertension that is caused by an underlying medical problem

The vast majority of people with hypertension have essential hypertension.4

Primary Hypertension

There are some risk factors that can make it more likely for you to develop primary hypertension.5

The most ones include advancing age, male gender, obesity, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Women are more likely to develop hypertension after menopause. Hypertension is more common and more severe in African Americans and among people who have a family history of the condition.

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary hypertension can be caused by kidney disease; sleep apnea; coarctation of the aorta; disease of the blood vessels supplying the kidneys; various endocrine gland disorders; the use of oral contraceptives; smoking; alcohol intake of more than two drinks per day; chronic use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); and antidepressant use.6

Excess salt intake is an important factor in developing hypertension for many people.

Diagnosis

Hypertension is diagnosed when your blood pressure at rest is found to be persistently elevated.3

A blood pressure measurement is expressed as two numbers, the systolic and the diastolic blood pressures, and reported as 120 mmHg/80 mmHg, or more simply, 120/80.

The higher number, the systolic pressure, represents the pressure within the artery at the moment the heart is contracting. The lower number, the diastolic pressure, represents the arterial pressure in between heartbeats, while the heart is relaxing.Why Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure Are Both Important

Measuring Blood Pressure in the Doctor’s Office

Formal guidelines for measuring blood pressure state that it should be measured in a quiet, warm environment after you have been sitting restfully for at least five minutes. You should not have had coffee or used tobacco for at least 30 minutes. At least two blood pressure measurements should be taken under these conditions at least five minutes apart. This should be repeated until the measurements agree to within 5 mmHg.

If you are anxious or stressed when getting your reading, you may experience what’s called white coat hypertension. In this case, though your measurement is high at the doctor’s office, it is normal just about any other time, so you do not need to be treated.7

In addition to checking your blood pressure, your doctor may take a careful medical history, do a physical examination, and run routine blood work. Further steps to test for a medical condition in addition to hypertension may be necessary if your doctor suspects secondary hypertension.

Hypertension Doctor Discussion Guide

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Measuring Blood Pressure at Home

Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can be done by using at-home devices that measure your blood pressure at periodic increments throughout a 24-hour or 48-hour time period.8 This provides your medical team with an average blood pressure reading that is believed to be more accurate than one taken at the doctor’s office. Accumulating evidence supports the reliability of this approach.

People who have fluctuating blood pressure readings may be labeled as having labile hypertension. This could result from the medication wearing off, from white coat hypertension, or from physiological changes that affect blood pressure. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring can help your medical team sort out that issue as well.The Benefits of Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring

Treatment

Treatment of hypertension is important, despite the fact that it rarely causes noticeable symptoms at the early stages. Hypertension accelerates atherosclerosis, which leads to coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, kidney failureperipheral artery disease, and aortic aneurysms. Treating hypertension in the early stages has been shown to prevent these complications.

First Steps

The treatment of hypertension always starts with smoking cessation, diet, exercise, weight management, and sodium restriction. In some cases, these sorts of lifestyle changes are enough, and medical therapy may not be necessary, especially if you have prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension.

However, medication is needed to sufficiently reduce blood pressure for most stage 1 and almost all stage 2 hypertension cases. There are a vast number of prescription medications that have been approved for the treatment of hypertension, and guidelines have been developed to help doctors quickly find an effective and well-tolerated treatment regimen for almost anyone with this concern.9

Medications for hypertension fall into several categories:

  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Angiotensin II receptor inhibitors
  • Combination therapies

If you have secondary hypertension, treatment of the cause of your high blood pressure is also necessary.

Coping

When you are first diagnosed with hypertension, you can expect a period of time when you will be seeing your doctor more often than usual. You will need some baseline testing to look for an underlying cause for your hypertension, and you will probably need several medical visits to determine whether lifestyle adjustments or medication will be effective in helping you reach your optimal blood pressure.

A few things that may come up as you adjust to treatment include medication side effects, medication adjustments, and resistant hypertension.

Medication Side Effects

The most common side effects of anti-hypertensive medications include hypotension (low blood pressure) and dizziness. These effects are the result of the excessive lowering of blood pressure, and they can be alleviated if your doctor adjusts your medication dose. Each drug and medication category also has its own unique side effects, which you should familiarize yourself with when you begin taking the medication (check patient information provided by your pharmacy, or ask the pharmacist herself).

Medication Adjustments

If your medication is working, but not quite as well as it should, your doctor may raise the dose or switch you to another medication. Most people need such adjustments when first starting treatment for hypertension and eventually require little, if any, changes.

Resistant Hypertension

Some people have resistant hypertension, which means that it is very difficult to get the blood pressure under control. If this is your situation, your doctor may need to continue to search for causes of secondary hypertension, as well as switch your medication(s) to try to get better blood pressure control.7

A Word From Verywell

Hypertension is a common medical condition that often has severe consequences over the long-term. You generally would not know that you have hypertension unless you have your blood pressure checked. If you have mildly elevated levels, lifestyle adjustments may be enough to lower your blood pressure within ideal ranges. If you need medication, you may need to have some adjustments to get your dose just right, especially early on. Blood pressure management is generally effective, and most people are able to avoid the complications of hypertension with lifestyle modifications and medical management.

The Leading cause of Death in Young Adults

The causes of death among people ages 15 to 24 in the United States are either largely preventable or congenital. Regardless of this, far too many young people die prematurely. These are the top causes of death for people in the ages where they are in high school, college, or entering the workforce. See how each cause may be prevented.1

Accidents

Two cars involved in a car accident
Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images 

Accidents account for 41 percent of deaths among people in the 15 to 24 age group. Motor vehicle accidents alone account almost a quarter of all deaths of these young adults. The good news is that the motor vehicle death rate has been going down in recent years as cars have become safer. To protect yourself, wear your seat belt, drive defensively and avoid risky behaviors that may lead to accidents.2

Suicide

Suicide accounts for 18 percent of deaths among people of this age group. Sadly, most people who commit suicide feel like it is their only way out of a helpless feeling situation.

However, there are many resources for people with suicidal thoughts. If you are experiencing depression or other mental health issues, seek help. With talk therapy and medications, you can find that life is worth living. In fact, most people who attempt suicide say they regret it. Interviews with 29 people who survived a suicide attempt jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge say they regretted the decision the moment they jumped.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) right away. This free hotline is available 24 hours a day.3

Homicide

Sixteen percent of deaths among people age 15 to 24 are due to homicide. In 2015, 87 percent of all homicides against people of all age groups in the U.S. were committed with firearms, and gun violence is more common in urban and poor communities.

Unfortunately, you cannot necessarily control where you live or what other people do. However, you can do your best to protect yourself by avoiding dangerous and confrontational situations and seeking help for domestic violence.4

Drugs and Alcohol

Fifteen percent of the deaths of in this age group were induced by drugs or alcohol. Abusing drugs and alcohol may be a rite of passage into adulthood, but it is risky. In addition to the chance of an overdose, it also greatly increases risky sexual behavior and the odds of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Preventing drug and alcohol abuse is the focus of many programs, both aimed at encouraging parents to discuss these issues with their kids and peers to influence each other.5

Cancer

Cancer deaths account for 5 percent of deaths among the 15 to 24 age group. Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent cancer, and this percentage includes many childhood cancers that are not preventable.​6

Heart Disease

Three percent of people who die when they are 15 to 24 die of heart disease. Exercise and a healthy diet can help to prevent and reverse heart disease, however, many young people who die of heart disease were born with it.7

Congenital Conditions

Congenital illnesses, some inherited from parents, such as cystic fibrosis or maternally-transmitted HIV, account for 1.5 percent of deaths among this age group. A healthy pregnancy can help prevent many of these conditions.​8

Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease

Chronic lower respiratory disease accounts for 0.7 percent of deaths in this age group. Reduce your risk by not smoking or quitting smoking.9

Stroke

While most people think of strokes as only occurring in older adults, they can occur in anyone at any age. Stroke is responsible for 0.6 percent of deaths among people ages 15 to 24.​

Exercise, not smoking, and having a healthy diet can help prevent stroke. However, the cause of stroke in this age group is often due to inherited disorders rather than sequelae of chronic vascular disease as in older adults.10

Flu and Pneumonia

You may not think that the flu or pneumonia is very dangerous if you are in your teens or early twenties, but 0.6 percent of deaths in the 15 to 24 age group are attributable to flu and pneumonia—184 deaths in a year. This number can rise dramatically in a year with pandemic flu.

Get a flu vaccine every year and wash your hands regularly. Be sure to talk with your doctor about extra precautions to take if you have a compromised immune system due to illness or other reasons.

Infectious Diseases- A-Z

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How to Spot A Psychopath

How to Spot a Successful Psychopath

2010 study published in the Journal of Research and Personality titled “The Search of the Successful Psychopath” examined what separates psychopaths who become criminals from psychopaths who succeed in business.

Researchers concluded that successful psychopaths share the same core features as other psychopaths. They’re arrogant, dishonest, and callous. They experience little remorse, minimize self-blame, exploit people, and exhibit shallow affect.

What made successful psychopaths different was their level of conscientiousness. Psychopaths who become criminals rank low in this personality trait. Successful psychopaths, however, rank higher in conscientiousness.

Ranking higher in conscientiousness means that successful psychopaths are less impulsive, negligent, and irresponsible than the psychopaths who live a life of crime. That doesn’t mean successful psychopaths are always law-abiding citizens, however. They just might be smart enough not to get caught.

Psychopaths are most often male. But that doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter a female psychopath. Although they’re not as common, they do exist and they can be just as harmful as male psychopaths.

Why Psychopaths Sometimes Succeed in the Workplace

Psychologists estimate 1 percent of the population meets the criteria for psychopathy. Yet about 3 percent of business leaders may be psychopaths. By comparison, an estimated 15 percent of prison inmates are estimated to be psychopaths.

So why would a disproportionate number of business leaders be psychopaths? Researchers suspect their characteristics and behavior may give them some competitive advantages in the workplace.

For example, they’re quite charming. That can come in quite handy when someone is looking to network with powerful people.

They also have a grandiose sense of self. When they say they can skyrocket the company to new heights, they believe it. And they often convince others that they’re capable and competent too.

They’re also good at manipulating people. They know how to use guilt and flattery to get what they want.

How to Deal With a Psychopath

Whether you’re convinced your boss is a psychopath or you’re concerned your colleague is a psychopath, there’s a good chance that you’ve encountered at least one psychopath in the workplace.

Switching teams, changing departments, or finding a new job altogether may not feel like an option. But it’s best to avoid psychopaths whenever possible because working alongside a toxic person will take a toll on your psychological well-being.

If you must deal with a psychopath, try these five strategies:

1. Keep Your Emotions in Check

No matter how frustrated or upset you feel, keep your emotions in check. Losing your cool gives a psychopath more power over you, as he’ll see that he can manipulate your emotions. Present a calm demeanor at all times.  

2. Don’t Show That You’re Intimidated

Psychopaths often use intimidation to control others. A psychopath may make subtle threats, stand over you while you’re talking, or use aggressive language to get you to back down. Stand your ground in an assertive manner, and report incidents of bullying or harassment to human resources.

3. Don’t Buy Into Their Stories

Psychopaths often use long-winded tales to paint themselves as victims. They often blame other people and refuse to take any responsibility for their wrongdoing. Showing sympathy for them plays into their hand, so keep discussions centered on facts only.

4. Turn the Conversation Back on Them

Pointing out a psychopath’s flaws can be the best way to disarm them. So when a psychopath blames someone else, turn the conversation back on them. Say something like, “Are you doing OK today? I saw how you responded in the meeting today and I wonder if you might be stressed out.”

5. Opt for Online Communication Whenever You Can

2016 study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that psychopaths excel at negotiating when they’re communicating face-to-face. Online conversations make it difficult–if not impossible–for them to charm their way into a better deal. So consider requesting all communication occur via email if you can.  

Build Your Mental Strength 

If you can’t escape daily interaction with a psychopath, it’s especially important to work on building your mental muscles. Get proactive about taking care of yourself and managing your stress.

If you’re struggling, consider talking to a mental health professional. It’s difficult to stay mentally strong when you’re working alongside a toxic person. PUBLISHED ON: APR 17, 2018The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.More from Inc.3 Ways to Make Sure Your Business Outperforms Its CompetitorsWhy You Need More Silence in Your MeetingsHow to Actually Stick to This Year’s ResolutionsWhy Generosity is Smart For Making Profits (and the Right Thing to Do)FEATURED VIDEO4 Things Every Founder Must Do Before Choosing an InvestorWhen you decide to sign up and take capital from someone,Volume 0% 

EXIT STRATEGIES

Entrepreneurs Should Consider Doing These 3 Things Before Building a Company With an Exit Strategy

Here’s an alternate path to the Silicon Valley way.

By Marcel SchwantesFounder and Chief Human Officer, Leadership From the Core@MarcelSchwantes

GETTY IMAGES

Almost all startups founded in Silicon Valley are operating under the same imperative: in five to seven years, the company must undergo a liquidity event that returns capital to the original founders, investors, and other stakeholders.

This exit-focused approach to entrepreneurship is showcased in our leading universities and media (think Shark Tank), but not without a cost.

While companies with billion-dollar valuations pop up like weeds, so do stories of criminally inflated numbers — i.e. WeWork — or disappointing IPOs. The result is an exit that enriches a few but leaves a fading company to be acquired by one of the tech giants or dismantled for parts by a private equity firm.

Building a company with an exit strategy in mind can feel like the only option for entrepreneurs — but it isn’t. Richard Seaman, chairman of the Seaman Corporation and author of A Vibrant Vision, says that the exit-focused rhetoric and unicorns that dominate our headlines are not what powers our economy.

In fact, in the United States, privately owned, family-run businesses account for 64 percent of our country’s GDP, or $5.9 trillion, according to research.

So how do you go about building a company that will outlast you? Seaman shared three insights with me. 

1. Make a conscious choice to focus on the long-term.

Avoiding the Silicon Valley exit strategy starts with a conscious choice: What kind of business are you building? Are you going to spend the next five to seven years focused on turning your idea into gold — and then getting out? Or are you in this for the long haul? Seaman says how you answer this question will have a waterfall effect, coloring every choice you make from here on out.

 2. Focus on building all parts of the business, not just hyping a product.

If you are building a business to sell, you will most likely focus on the finance component of your business, shepherding your startup through the “Valley of Death,” which can hinder the long-term profitability of a company. However, creating a multigenerational business requires you to focus on the sustainability of the business from the start — investing in all parts of the business, such as innovation, marketing and sales, products and services, human capital, operational excellence, and finance. “Remember to focus on creating perennial growth, not just launching one initiative,” states Seaman.

3. Assess your liquidity needs and seek out sources of funding that match your objectives.

Many entrepreneurs balk at the idea of creating a business that survives them because they do not personally have the capital to get their idea off the ground. However, there are many methods of funding aside from angel investment or venture capital that do not involve giving away ownership in your business early on. Every business’s capital needs will be different at various stages, but it is important to develop a working relationship with your local banker early on.

While we might glorify the serial entrepreneur, thousands of multimillion-dollar, multigenerational businesses exist that are more innovative, more desirable to work for, and preferred by consumers to the boom-or-bust Silicon Valley startup. This model of entrepreneurship requires serious commitment, but it results in a business that creates and sustains deep and lasting value far beyond the money going into shareholders’ pockets.

CANCER SUCKS

In 2017, 9.6 million people are estimated to have died from the various forms of cancer. Every sixth death in the world is due to cancer, making it the second leading cause of death – second only to cardiovascular diseases.1

Progress against many other causes of deaths and demographic drivers of increasing population sizelife expectancy and — particularly in higher-income countries — aging populations mean that the total number of cancer deaths continues to increase. This is a very personal topic to many: nearly everyone knows or has lost someone dear to them from this collection of diseases.

Summary

Cancers are defined by the National Cancer Institute as a collection of diseases in which abnormal cells can divide and spread to nearby tissue. Cancers can arise in many parts of the body – leading to a range of cancer types, as shown below – and in some cases spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. In this entry we provide an overview of all types of cancer.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death

Almost 10 Million people die from cancer annually

Cancer is one of the world’s largest health problems. The Global Burden of Disease estimates that 9.56 million people died prematurely as a result of cancer in 2017. Every sixth death in the world is due to cancer.2

The Global Burden of Disease is a major global study on the causes and risk factors for death and disease published in the medical journal The Lancet.3

Cancer is a particularly common cause of death in richer countries where people are less likely do die of infectious diseases and causes of deaths that lead to very early deaths for people in poverty.

The chart is shown for the global total, but can be explored for any country or region using the “change country” toggle. Switching to one of the richer countries shows that the share of deaths attributed to cancer is higher.

Because is one of the leading causes of death it is one of the world’s most pressing problems to make progress against this disease.Number of deaths by cause, World, 2017
02 million6 million10 million16 millionCardiovascular diseases17.79 millionCancers9.56 millionRespiratory diseases3.91 millionLower respiratory infections2.56 millionDementia2.51 millionDigestive diseases2.38 millionNeonatal disorders1.78 millionDiarrheal diseases1.57 millionDiabetes1.37 millionLiver diseases1.32 millionRoad injuries1.24 millionKidney disease1.23 millionTuberculosis1.18 millionHIV/AIDS954,492Suicide793,823Malaria619,827Homicide405,346Parkinson disease340,639Drowning295,210Meningitis288,021Nutritional deficiencies269,997Protein-energy malnutrition231,771Maternal disorders193,639Alcohol use disorders184,934Drug use disorders166,613Conflict129,720Hepatitis126,391Fire120,632Poisonings72,371Heat (hot and cold exposure)53,350Terrorism26,445Natural disasters9,603CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease
19902017 Change country

Deaths from cancer

In the chart we see the total number of deaths in 2017 attributed to the range of different cancers.

The group of tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancers claimed the largest number of lives – 1.9 million in 2017. Next follow colon and rectum, stomach and liver cancer, all claiming between 800,000 and 900,000 globally in 2017.

This chart also allows exploring deaths by country (click ‘change country’ at the bottom of the chart).

In exploring patterns across various countries, we see that tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer is the leading form of cancer deaths across most high and middle-income countries. However, the leading form in lower income countries varies: colon and rectum; liver; cervical; stomach; breast and prostrate all top the list in several countries.Cancer deaths by type, World, 2017

Total annual number of deaths from cancers across all ages and both sexes, broken down by cancer type. 
0200,000600,0001 million1.4 million1.8 millionTracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer1.88 millionColon and rectum cancer896,040Stomach cancer864,989Liver cancer819,435Breast cancer611,625Pancreatic cancer441,083Esophageal cancer435,959Prostate cancer415,910Leukemia347,583Cervical cancer259,671Brain and nervous system cancer247,143Bladder cancer196,546Lip and oral cavity cancer193,696Ovarian cancer175,982Gallbladder and biliary tract cancer173,974Kidney cancer138,526Larynx cancer126,471Other pharynx cancer117,412Multiple myeloma107,114Other cancers102,920Uterine cancer85,239Nasopharynx cancer69,550Non-melanoma skin cancer65,097Malignant skin melanoma61,665Thyroid cancer41,235Hodgkin lymphoma32,560Testicular cancer7,662CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)
19902017 Change country

Cancer deaths by age

How are cancer deaths distributed across age groups? And how did this change over time?

In this chart we see the breakdown of total cancer deaths by broad age category, ranging from under-5s to those over 70 years old.

Almost half – 46% in 2017 – of all people who die from cancer are 70 or older. Another 41 percent are between 50 and 69 years old – so that 87% of all cancer victims are older than 50 years.

The distribution of deaths across the age spectrum has changed notably since 1990. The share of deaths which occur in those aged over 70 has increased by 8 percentage points, whilst the share in those aged 50-69 and 15-49 has fallen.

Collectively, children and adolescents under 14 years old account for around one percent of cancer deaths — this equates to around 110,000 children per year.  Deaths from cancer, by age, World

Total annual cancer deaths differentiated by age category across both sexes. Data includes all forms of cancer. 
19901995200020052010201520170%20%40%60%80%100%70+ years old50-69 years old15-49 years old5-14 years oldUnder-5sCC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)
 Change country Relative

1999
 70+ years old41.97%
 50-69 years old40.23%
 15-49 years old15.74%
 5-14 years old1.18%
 Under-5s0.89%
 Total100%

Cancer prevalence

What is the prevalence of cancers across the world’s population?

The charts here provide data on the share of a given population with any form of cancer. This is first shown collectively across all cancer types, followed by breakdown by cancer type.

The prevalence of cancer around the world

The map shows that we tend to see a higher prevalence of cancer in higher-income countries.

Prevalence of cancer ranges from approximately 5.5 percent of the population in the US down to around 0.4 percent in the countries shown in light yellow.

Globally the share of people with cancer reached 1.3% in 2017.

Related chart – the number of people with cancerThis map shows the total number of people with cancer across all countries of the world.

Share of population with cancer, 2017

Share of total population with any form of cancer, measured as the age-standardized percentage. This share has been
age-standardized assuming a constant age structure to compare prevalence between countries and through time.
No data0%0.5%1%2%3%4%5%6%CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease
19902017

Prevalence of cancer by type

When broken down by type of cancer we see that breast cancer is globally the most prevalent form. Following breast cancer are prostrate and colon & rectum cancer.

When you change this chart to another country you see that across most countries these are the top three cancer forms.

Related chart – the number of people with cancer, by typeThis chart shows the numbers of people with different types of cancer. As we explored above, the prevalence of breast cancer is highest globally; an estimated 17 million had breast cancer in 2017. 10 million had prostate cancer; and 9 million had colon & rectum cancer.

Share of population with cancer, World, 2017
0%0.05%0.1%0.15%0.2%Breast cancer0.21%Prostate cancer0.13%Colon and rectum cancer0.12%Cervical cancer0.05%Tracheal, bronchus, & lung cancer0.04%Uterine cancer0.04%Stomach cancer0.04%Bladder cancer0.03%Non-melanoma skin cancer0.03%Kidney cancer0.03%Thyroid cancer0.03%Brain & nervous system cancer0.02%Lip & oral cancer0.02%Ovarian cancer0.02%Larynx cancer0.01%Esophageal cancer0.01%Liver cancer0.01%Testicular cancer<0.01%Nasopharynx cancer<0.01%Pancreatic cancer<0.01%Gallbladder & biliary tract cancer<0.01%CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017 Change country

Cancer prevalence by age

Age breakdown of people with cancer

We see that globally the majority of cancers occur in older populations. Approximately 70% of cancer cases occur in those aged over 50.

The chart shows that in 2017, 43 percent were aged between 50 and 69 and 27 percent were over 70 years old.

Around five percent of global cancers occur in children and adolescents younger than 15. These are predominantly childhood cancers within the group of leukemia.Prevalence of cancer by age, World
19901995200020052010201520170%20%40%60%80%100%70+ year olds50-69 year olds15-49 year olds5-14 year oldsUnder-5sCC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease
 Change country Relative

Prevalence of cancer by age

This bar chart compares the prevalence across ages.

Globally 6% of those over 70 years had cancer in 2017. Of the population younger than 50 the prevalence is well under 1% globally.

In all these charts it is possible to switch to any other country: In the US more than 20% of people older than 70 years are living with cancer according to the estimates of the Global Burden of Disease shown here. In Spain it is 9%.Share of population with cancer by age, World, 2017
0%1%2%3%4%5%6%70+ years olds6.27%50-69 years old3.32%All ages1.36%15-49 years olds0.64%Under-5s0.47%5-14 years old0.2%CC BY

Source: Global Burden of Disease (IHME)
19902017 Change country

The global disease burden from cancer

Death rates only capture the mortality of cancer. However, the impact of cancer on people’s lives is more than that. Many live with cancer for long periods and it is important to also capture the morbidity caused by cancer.

The Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) is a metric that captures the total burden of disease – both from years of life lost due to premature death and from years lived with the disease. One DALY equals one lost year of healthy life.

The map shows DALYs from cancers, measured per 100,000 individuals. This is age-standardized to allow comparisons between countries and over time.This is measured across all cancer types.

Also shown are disease burden rates broken down by cancer types. We see that at a global level, the largest burden results from tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer, followed by liver, stomach, colon & rectum, and breast cancer.

Extending the timeline of this chart shows how the disease burden has changed for each type of cancer.Disease burden rates from cancers, 2017

Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) per 100,000 individuals from all cancer types. 
DALYs measure the total burden of disease – both from years of life lost due to premature death and years lived with a
disability. One DALY equals one lost year of healthy life.
No data1,0001,5002,0002,5003,0003,5004,0004,500>5,000CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Disease burden rates by cancer types, World, 2017

Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) per 100,000 individuals from all cancer types.
DALYs measure the total burden of disease – both from years of life lost due to premature death and years lived with a
disability. One DALY equals one lost year of healthy life.
0100200300400500Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer503.05Liver cancer253.56Stomach cancer235.94Colon and rectum cancer235.73Breast cancer216.29Esophageal cancer119.91Pancreatic cancer112.25Brain & nervous system cancer111.92Cervical cancer98.18Prostate cancer90.01Lip & oral cancer64.23Ovarian cancer57.11Bladder cancer45.26Gallbladder & biliary tract cancer43.22Kidney cancer41.14Larynx cancer39.89Uterine cancer26.27Nasopharynx cancer25.45Non-melanoma skin cancer16.64Thyroid cancer14.08Testicular cancer4.74CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017 Change country

Is the mortality of cancer on the rise?

With an increase in global cancer deaths from 5.7 to 9.6 million since 1990, and similar trends in the number of absolute deaths across most countries, it may seem reasonable to assume that cancer death rates are on the rise as well. But is this really the case?

Cancer: Comparing absolute deaths, the death rate, and the age-standardized death rate

Whilst a crucial metric of total disease burden and mortality, the absolute number of deaths has two shortcomings: it fails to account for changes in population size and age structure.

As we have explored above, the majority of cancer deaths occur in those aged over 50 years old; this means we should expect the total number of cancer deaths to increase as a population ages. Rising life expectancyaging populations, and population growth compound each other and are the main drivers of the rising absolute number of cancer deaths.

To account for the rise in the total population epidemiologists rely on rates. Typically they report the number of deaths per 100,000 individuals.

To account for the changing age-structure they rely on so called age-standardized death rates. This metric corrects for the effects of a changing age structure by normalizing the death rate to a fixed reference population structure and thereby telling us how the death rate from cancers would have changed if the age structure of the population had not changed.4

The chart shows how each metric of cancer deaths has changed since 1990.

The total number of cancer deaths has increased globally. As we have seen before the total number of cancer deaths has increased more than 50 percent since 1990. This metric however does not correct for the increasing size or the aging of the world population.

The death rate from cancers has also increased globally. This metric corrects for the population size and the comparison with the increase of the absolute number of global cancer deaths shows that much of the total increase of cancer deaths is driven by the increase of the global population. The rate only increase a quarter as much as the absolute number of deaths.

The age-standardized death rate from cancers is falling globally. Corrected in this way for both the increase and the aging of the world population the number of deaths from cancer is falling. This metric shows that the world is slowly making progress against cancer. The age-standardized death rate from cancer has fallen by 15% since 1990.

These changes can be viewed in for all countries in the world by using the “Change country” option.Change in three measures of cancer deaths, World

This chart is comparing cancer deaths, the cancer death rate, and the age-standardized death rate.
199019952000200520102017-10%0%+10%+20%+30%+40%+50%+60%Cancer deathsCancer death rate (notage-standardized)Age-standardized cancer death rateCC BY

Source: OurWorldinData based on IHME, GBD
19902017 Change country Relative change

Age-standardized cancer death rates by country

The age-standardized death rate from all cancer types are shown in this visualization.

The global trend shows what we have seen in the previous section: while the number of cancer deaths is increasing, individual death rates are falling. In 1990, 143 people out of every 100,000 died from cancer globally — by 2017 this had fallen to 121 per 100,000.

It is possible to switch this chart to the map view. This shows that in 2017, most countries have age-standardized death rates of 50 to 150 deaths per 100,000 individuals.Death rate from cancer, 2017

The annual number of deaths from all cancers per 100,000 people.
No data050100125150175200250500CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Age-standardized death rates by type of cancer

For the purposes of assessing the total incidence of cancer, in the chart above we grouped all cancer types together to look at overall trends. However, death rates and progress in reducing mortality incidence varies across the many forms of cancer. In the chart we see the individual age-standardized death rates across cancer types. This is again measured as the number of deaths per 100,000 individuals.

As we would expect from the leading cause of cancer deaths, rates in tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer are highest globally at 24 per 100,000. This has fallen slightly from 26 per 100,000 in the early 1990s, with even greater declines in some countries (in the US, rates have fallen from 47 to 34 per 100,000).

The death rate from stomach cancer has fallen substantially – from 19 per 100,000 in 1990 to 11 per 100,000 in 2017 – and contributed to much of the slow global progress against cancer mortality.

In some cases we have seen dramatic declines over the last few decades. For some, such as stomach cancer there has been notable progress — declining from 19 to 11 deaths per 100,000.Cancer death rates by type, World

The number of deaths from different types of cancer per 100,000 individuals.
To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19901995200020052010201520170510152025Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancerColon and rectum cancerStomach cancerLiver cancerBreast cancerPancreatic cancerProstate cancerEsophageal cancerCervical cancerBrain and nervous system cancerBladder cancerLip and oral cavity cancerGallbladder and biliary tract cancerOvarian cancerKidney cancerLarynx cancerOther pharynx cancerUterine cancerNasopharynx cancerNon-melanoma skin cancerThyroid cancerTesticular cancerCC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)
19902017 Change country

Conclusion

The global trends on cancer mortality — as presented in the data above — shows that the world is making progress against cancer once we take into account how the size and age-structure of the world have changed. This represents progress, but this progress is very slow. The age-standardized death rate from cancer has fallen by 15% since 1990.

The number of cancer deaths is increasing as the world population is growing and aging

The number of cancer deaths has increased from around 5.7 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2017 as this chart shows.

As we just saw, this is happening for two big reasons: The first one is that the world population is increasing and with it the number of annual deaths. In 1990 49 Million people died and since then the number of total deaths has increased by more than 7 Million – as this chart shows.

The second big reason is that the world made rapid progress against causes of death that once killed people early in life – especially infectious diseases. [See our entry on causes of death for more information.] This means that the world population is aging and more people are dying of causes that kill people at an older age, like cancer.

Because the world is getting richer and fewer are dying an early death we can expect the number of people dying from cancer to increase further.Cancer deaths by type, World

Annual cancer deaths by cancer type, measured as the total number of deaths across all age categories and both
sexes. Smaller categories of cancer types with global deaths <100,000 in 2016 have been grouped into a collective
category ‘Other cancers’. See sources for list of grouped cancers.
19901995200020052010201602 million4 million6 million8 millionLarynx cancerOther pharynxcancerOvarian cancerLip and oral cavitycancerBrain and nervoussystem cancerNon-HodgkinlymphomaLeukemiaOther cancersGallbladder cancerKidney cancerBladder cancerCervical cancerProstate cancerPancreatic cancerEsophageal cancerBreast cancerLiver cancerColon and rectumcancerStomach cancerTracheal,bronchus, and lungcancerCC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: All cancer types with less than 100,000 global deaths in 2016 into a collective category ‘Other cancers’.
 Change country Relative

Smoking and lung cancer

Lung cancer and smoking around the world since 1950

This chart shows death rates from lung cancer in men in the US and Spain since 1950. It is possible to add many more countries to this chart.

In many countries we see a significant rise, peak and then decline in lung cancer death rates in the 20th century. In the United States, the death rate peaked in the 1980s in men. In Spain this peak was later, only in the 1990s.

These trends are driven by the trends in smoking. The other chart shows the sales of cigarettes per person. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer and we see that the trends in lung cancer follow those in smoking with a lag of around 20 years.

In 2017 7 Million people globally died a premature death because of smoking. The fact that smoking causes lung cancer is the major reason for the high death toll of smoking.

It is possible to add the data to lung cancer in women in the US to this chart. In the US it was once much more common for men to smoke so that the peaks of lung cancer for men are much higher. Smoking became more common for women only later so that lung cancer death rates for women peaked later.Lung cancer death rates

Number of lung cancer deaths per 100,000 people. 
Add country19501960197019801990200201020304050Spain – MaleUnited States – MaleCC BY

Source: WHO, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
19502002

Sales of cigarettes per adult per day

Figures include manufactured cigarettes, as well as estimated number of hand-rolled cigarettes, per adult (ages 15+)
per day.
Add country19001920194019601980200020140 cigarettes2 cigarettes4 cigarettes6 cigarettes8 cigarettes10 cigarettesSpainUnited StatesCC BY

Source: International Smoking Statistics (2017)
19002014

Share of cancer deaths attributed to smoking

The world map shows the Global Burden of Disease estimates of the share of cancer deaths that can be attributed to smoking.

Globally more than one in five cancer deaths (22% in 2016) are attributed to smoking – switch to the chart tab to see the global estimate.

In most richer countries the share is higher – the average in high income countries is 28% in 2016.

In poor countries, where fewer people were smoking in the past, tobacco is responsible for a much smaller faction of cancer deaths.Share of cancer deaths attributed to tobacco, 2016

Share of total cancer deaths attributed to tobacco smoking (which is inclusive of smoking and secondhand smoke).
This impact is measured across total cancer types.
No data0%5%10%20%30%40%50%60%CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)
19902016

Cancer over the long run

Cancer deaths in the US since 1930

This charts provides a long run perspective on cancer death rates, from 1930 in the United States.

In orange we see again the pronounced peaks for lung cancers in men and then later in women.

For many other forms of cancer the age-standardized death rates show a long-term decline:

  • Breast cancer death rates started falling in the early 1990s.
  • The death rate for prostate increased until the mid 90s and then started to decline sharply.
  • Colon and rectum cancers declined over the last decades in both men and women.
  • Pancreas cancer and leukemia increased until the 1970s and then remained at around the same level.
  • Uterus, liver, and stomach cancers declined continuously over this 80 year period.

Cancer death rates in the United States over the long-run

Age-standardized death rates from various forms of cancer in males and females, measured as the number of deaths
per 100,000 individuals. Age-standardization is based on normalisation to the standard US population structure in the
year 2000.
193019401950196019701980199020002011020406080Lung and Bronchus (male)Lung and Bronchus (female)Breast (female)Prostate (male)Colon and Rectum (male)Colon and Rectum (female)Pancreas (male)Liver (male)Pancreas (female)Leukemia (male)Uterus (female)Liver (female)Stomach (male)Stomach (female)CC BY

Source: American Cancer Society
19302011

What can be done about cancer?

Cancer survival rates

Cancer death rates are falling; five-year survival rates are rising

Global cancer deaths are rising: in 1990 5.7 million died from cancer; by 2016 this had increased to 8.9 million. But it’s also true that the world today has more people, and more older people, who are more likely to die from cancer. To understand what is happening we therefore have to correct for the population increase and ask for the rate – the number of deaths per 100,000 people – and we have to adjust for ageing.

When we compare these metrics (shown here) we see that age-standardized cancer death rates are falling globally. Death rates which correct for ageing show a 17 percent decline from 1990 to 2016.

Five-year survival rates have increased

Why are cancer death rates falling? One hypothesis is that cancer prevalence is falling (i.e. less people have cancer). Is this true?

Globally, no. The share of people with cancer (even when corrected for ageing) has been slowly increasing in recent decades. Global cancer prevalence has risen from 0.54 percent to 0.64 percent since 1990 (largely due to smoking). In some countries – the US, for example – the age-corrected prevalence has been fairly constant in recent decades (with the rate of new cases actually falling).

If death rates are falling but prevalence is rising or constant, then it must be the case that people with cancer have better or longer survival rates. We see this clearly in the USA when we look at the change in five-year survival rates across cancer types. This is shown in the chart as the change from 1970-77 to 2007-2013.

Here we see that on aggregate five-year survival rates for all cancers increased from 50.3 to 67 percent. But we also see significant differences not only in start or end survival rates, but the change over time. Prostate cancer has close to 99 percent five-year survival, but has also seen major progress from a rate of 69 percent in the 1970s. In contrast, pancreas has low five-year survival rates at 8.2 percent, up from 2.5 percent.

There are two key factors which could contribute to improved five-year survival rates: earlier detection and/or improved treatment. Defining the exact attribution of each is difficult, and varies depending on cancer type. But there have been some studies which have attempted to do so. Scott Alexander published a very good overview of the relative impact of detection versus treatment here.

One way to test whether survival rates only increased from early diagnosis is to look at how survival has changed for each stage of cancer: if detection was the only improvement then we would see no increase in survival rates in later cancer stages. National cancer statistics published by the US government show increases in survival rate within all stages (from very early to late-stage).5

Other studies focused on specific cancer types show similar results.6

Tumours have gotten smaller in recent decades – the result of earlier detection. Studies have shown that this can account for a significant share of survival improvements: one study attributed early detection as 61 percent and 28 percent of improved survival in localized-stage and regional-stage breast cancer, respectively7 But even when correcting for size and early detection, we have seen improvements. 

This suggests better treatment has played a role too.

In both detection and treatment, we’re seeing progress. This is important because of the large toll of cancer: Globally every sixth death is due to cancer – this makes it the world’s second largest cause of death. Progress here is important for many.

Interactive chart: The same data shown in the chart can be viewed and downloaded in this interactive here. Cancer survival rates in the US by race can be seen here.

Five year cancer survival rates usa v2 01

Cancer survival rates across the world

In this charts, we provide the widest coverage across countries of five-year survival rates by cancer type.

This data was published in the The Lancet in 2015 by Allemani et al.8

You can explore the range of countries using the “Change country” selection in the interactive chart.Five year survival rates by cancer type, United Kingdom, 2009

Share of adults (aged 15-99), and children (aged 0-14) for leukaemia, diagnosed with cancer who survive at least five
years following their diagnosis date. The year provided represents the year of diagnosis.
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%Prostate83.2%Breast81.1%Cervix60.2%Rectum56.6%Colon53.8%Leukaemia47%Ovary36.9%Stomach18.5%Lung9.6%Liver9.3%CC BY

Source: Allemani et al. (2015)
19992009 Change country

Cancer survival rates across the world by type

The three maps below show how the five-year survival rates for lung, breast and liver cancer vary across the world. This data is again from Allemani et al. 2015 Lancet paper.9

Lung cancer survival rates across the world

In lung cancer Japan has the highest five-year survival rates at approximately 30 percent.

In contrast to this only 7% of lung cancer patients are alive five years after diagnosis in Chile, Bulgaria and Mongolia.Five year survival rates from lung cancer, 2009

Share of adults (aged 15-99) diagnosed with lung cancer who survive at least five years following their diagnosis date.
The year provided represents the year of diagnosis.
No data<5%7.5%10%12.5%15%17.5%20%22.5%>25%CC BY

Source: Allemani et al. (2015)
19992009

Breast cancer survival rates across the world

In breast cancer, higher income countries in particular across North America, Europe and Oceania tend to have five-year survival rates over 80 percent in 2009.

This is almost double that of the lowest nation with available data in 2009 – Jordan – at only 43 percent. A decade earlier the survival rate in Algeria was as low as 17%.Five year survival rates from breast cancer, 2009

Share of adults (aged 15-99) diagnosed with breast cancer who survive at least five years following their diagnosis date.
The year provided represents the year of diagnosis.
No data10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%CC BY

Source: Allemani et al. (2015)
19992009

Liver cancer survival rates across the world

Compared to breast cancer the five year survival rates for liver cancer are much lower around he world.

The lowest survival rate in 2009 was in Romania with just 2.3%. In Japan the chance to survive for five years was more than 10-times higher: 27% in 2009.Five year survival rate from liver cancer, 2009

Share of adults (aged 15-99) diagnosed with liver cancer who survive at least five years following their diagnosis date.
The year provided represents the year of diagnosis.
No data0%2.5%5%7.5%10%12.5%15%17.5%>20%CC BY

Source: Allemani et al. (2015)
19992009

Cancer survival rates by income

In these two charts we see that the five-year survival rates – following diagnosis – are lower in poorer countries.

Especially for breast cancer survival rates are lower in poorer countries. In high income countries survival rates are above 80% while in many poor countries it is well below 80% or even 60%.

The relationship between lung cancer survival rate and average is less strong. There is significant variability in five-year survival rates between countries of a similar income, but the lowest survival rates are again reported from the poorest countries.Five-year breast cancer survival rates vs. GDP per capita, 2009

Share of those diagnosed with breast cancer who survive at least five years following diagnosis, versus gross domestic
product (GDP) per capita, measured in 2011 international-$.
GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $)$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000$60,000LINEARFive-year breast cancer survival rate0%20%40%60%80%ChinaIndiaUnited StatesIndonesiaBrazilRussiaJapanGermanyTurkeyThailandUnited KingdomSouth AfricaAlgeriaMalaysiaRomaniaPortugalCzech RepublicTunisiaJordanNorwayMaltaAfricaAsiaEuropeNorth AmericaOceaniaSouth AmericaCC BY

Source: Allemani et al. (2015), World Bank – WDI
19992009 Search Average annual change

Five-year lung cancer survival rate vs. GDP per capita, 2009

Share of those diagnosed with lung cancer who survive at least five years following diagnosis, versus gross domestic
product (GDP) per capita, measured in 2011 international-$.
GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $)$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,000$60,000Five-year lung cancer survival rate0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%ChinaIndiaUnited StatesIndonesiaBrazilRussiaJapanGermanyTurkeyFranceUnited KingdomSouth KoreaColombiaSpainArgentinaPolandAlgeriaAustraliaChileEcuadorPortugalAustriaSwitzerlandIsraelJordanDenmarkSlovakiaFinlandNorwayIrelandLithuaniaMongoliaLatviaSloveniaMauritiusCyprusAfricaAsiaEuropeNorth AmericaOceaniaSouth AmericaCC BY

Source: Allemani et al. (2015), World Bank – WDI
19992009 Search Average annual change

Are cancers caused by genetic or external factors?

Are cancers caused by genetic factors, or determined by external factors such as behavioral, lifestyle and environmental exposure?

The relative contribution of genetic factors (DNA replication and tissue type) versus external exposure has been a dominant topic within cancer research. The outcomes of such studies are highly important — if genetic factors are found to be dominant then early detection and understanding of the relative vulnerability of different DNA and tissue variations arguably present the best opportunity to reduce cancer burden. In contrast, if external and environmental risk factors dominate, then lifestyle choice which reduces risk exposure is crucial for this reduction.

In a 2015 paper Cristian Tomasetti and Bert Vogelstein, published in Science, the authors conclude that only one-third of cancers are attributable to environmental factors or inherited predispositions; the vast majority result from “bad luck” – random mutations which can occur when DNA replicates in normal non-cancerous cells.10

This study therefore argued that, beyond some cancer types which are deterministic (D-tumors) and can be reduced through lifestyle factors or vaccines, the most promising approach to reduction of cancer deaths across most cancers (replicative, R-tumors) is early detection.

This paper has been highly contest within the scientific literature. A number of later publications in Science provided a rebuttal to these conclusions, suggesting analytical flaws in the prior analysis, and epidemiological evidence which suggests otherwise.11

Such studies have argue that the role of ‘chance’ in cancer development was overstated by Tomasetti and Vogelstein, and the role of environmental exposures was understated. Wu et al. (2016) published a study in Naturewhich concluded that intrinsic factors (which relates to the ‘bad luck’ DNA replication) account for less than 10-30 percent of cancer development, with the majority resulting from extrinsic risk factors.12

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study attempt — using risk-exposure relationships — to provide attribution of certain risk factors to disease burden and mortality outcomes.13 These risk factors include a wide range, including smoking, diet and nutrition, obesity, alcohol intake, air pollution, & environmental exposures to carcinogens.

In the chart we see IHME estimates of the share of global cancer deaths which are attributed to one of these major risk factors. For example, 84 percent of tracheal, bronchus and lung cancer deaths are attributed to risk factors such as smoking and air pollution. The remaining share of deaths we would therefore assume no attribution to risk factors, and would occur naturally in the absence of such risks (i.e. deaths from lung cancer which would result if no one smoked, zero air pollution etc.).14Share of cancer deaths attributed to risk factors, 2016

Risk factors include known risks such as smoking, diet and nutrition, obesity, lack of physical inactivity, alcohol
consumption, air pollution, and environmental exposures.
The remaining share therefore represents deaths which would be expected to have occurred in the absence of these
known risk factors.
0%20%40%60%80%100%Cervical cancer100%Mesothelioma91.4%Tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer84.1%Larynx cancer71.8%Esophageal cancer69.8%Lip and oral cavity cancer69.8%Nasopharynx cancer64%Colon and rectum cancer53.2%Liver cancer41.5%Uterine cancer36.5%Kidney cancer32.3%Bladder cancer32%Pancreatic cancer27.5%Breast cancer26.8%Stomach cancer18.4%Gallbladder and biliary tract cancer15%Leukemia14.8%Ovarian cancer12.3%Thyroid cancer9.4%Multiple myeloma6.8%Non-Hodgkin lymphoma5.1%Prostate cancer4.4%Brain and nervous system cancer0%Hodgkin lymphoma0%Malignant skin melanoma0%Non-melanoma skin cancer0%Testicular cancer0%CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease

Cancer by income, poverty and inequality level of the country

Cancer deaths by income

Whilst cancer prevalence shows a positive relationship to income, death rates from cancer incorporate several factors: cancer prevalence, detection and treatment. When we compare cancer death rates across income we see no strong relationship between these measures.

There is also no correlation between the level of income inequality in a country and the cancer death rate.Death rate from cancers vs. GDP per capita, 2016

The death rate (measured as the number of deaths per 100,000 individuals) refers to all forms of cancers and is
standardized for age to allow cross-country comparisons.
GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $)$1,000$10,000$100,000LOGCancers – age-standardized death rate050100150200250ChinaIndiaUnited StatesIndonesiaBrazilPakistanNigeriaBangladeshRussiaJapanMexicoPhilippinesVietnamEthiopiaIranTurkeyDemocratic Republic of CongoFranceTanzaniaMyanmarPolandAlgeriaUgandaMoroccoNepalPeruSaudi ArabiaMozambiqueAustraliaCameroonAngolaChileMaliNetherlandsMalawiZimbabweHungaryBurundiIsraelSwitzerlandParaguaySingaporeCroatiaCongoUruguayArmeniaKuwaitOmanMongoliaQatarGuinea-BissauGabonGrenadaTongaYemenAfricaAsiaEuropeNorth AmericaOceaniaSouth AmericaCC BY

Source: IHME (2017), World Bank – WDI
19902016 Search Average annual change

Definition of metrics

Number of deaths, death rates, and age-standardized rates

In this entry we define cancer deaths in three fundamental ways:

  • Absolute (total) number of cancer deaths;
  • Cancer death rate: this reports the number of deaths per 100,000 individuals within a given population;
  • Age-standardized death rate: this reports the number of deaths per 100,000 individuals assuming a constant and consistent age-structure of population between countries and across time.

These measures vary in the information they provide. Absolute (total) number of cancer deaths & prevalence figures provide an important indication of the total cancer burden within a given country or society. This is an important metric for a number of reasons, including the need for management and provision of adequate health services (which is dependent on the total societal burden, not just the incidence or risk for a given individual).

However, total number of cancer deaths fails to correct for population size and age. Cancer deaths can therefore rise as a result of higher cancer prevalence and/or poorer treatment, but also due to an increase in total population or an aging population. Cancer death rates correct for changes in population size, age-standardized death rates correct for population size and age structure. Age-standardization therefore gives a more indicative measure of the prevalence and incidence of underlying cancer risk factors between countries and with time without the influence of demographic and population structure changes.

Data Sources

Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Global Burden of Disease (GBD)
  • Data: Death rates, absolute number of deaths and DALYS across all cancer types
  • Geographical coverage:Global, across all regions and countries
  • Time span:Most metrics available from 1990 onwards
  • Available at: Online here

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)/World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Data: Cancer incidence and mortality of major types of cancer by sex
  • Geographical coverage: Approx. 180 countries
  • Time span: 1950-2002
  • Available at: IARC and WHO’s Globocan 2012 website, and at Gapminder.org
  •  On Gapminder, search for “cancer” in the search box to find the data files.
National Cancer Institute (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program
  • Data: Cancer mortality and incidence for over 30 types of cancers by race/ethnicity, sex and age
  • Geographical coverage: United States
  • Time span: 1975-2010
  • Available at: SEER Cancer Statistics Review website

References

  1. See the relevant data here. This is data from Schutte, A. E. (2017). Global, regional, and national age-sex specific mortality for 264 causes of death, 1980-2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. Available online.
  2. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) put relatively small error margins around this global figure: the lower and upper estimates extend from 9.2 to 9.7 million. Full data on cancer deaths, including upper and lower estimates can be downloaded at the IHME’s Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Results Tool.
  3. The latest study can be found at the website of the Lancet here: TheLancet.com/GBD The 2017 study was published as GBD 2017 Risk Factor Collaborators – “Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 84 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks for 195 countries and territories, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017” and is online here.
  4. The IHME Global Burden of Disease (GBD) define age-standardization as: “A statistical technique used to compare populations with different age structures, in which the characteristics of the populations are statistically transformed to match those of a reference population.”
  5. Jemal, A. et a. (2017). Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2014, Featuring SurvivalJNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 109, Issue 9, 1 September 2017.
  6. Rutter, C.M. et al. (2013). Secular Trends in Colon and Rectal Cancer Relative SurvivalJNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Volume 105, Issue 23, 4 December 2013.
  7. Elkin, E.B. (2005). The effect of changes in tumor size on breast carcinoma survival in the U.S: 1975–1999Cancer. Volume 104, Issue 6.
  8. Allemani, C., Weir, H. K., Carreira, H., Harewood, R., Spika, D., Wang, X. S., … & Marcos-Gragera, R. (2015) – Global surveillance of cancer survival 1995–2009: analysis of individual data for 25 676 887 patients from 279 population-based registries in 67 countries (CONCORD-2). The Lancet, 385(9972), 977-1010. Online here.
  9. Allemani, C., Weir, H. K., Carreira, H., Harewood, R., Spika, D., Wang, X. S., … & Marcos-Gragera, R. (2015) – Global surveillance of cancer survival 1995–2009: analysis of individual data for 25 676 887 patients from 279 population-based registries in 67 countries (CONCORD-2). The Lancet, 385(9972), 977-1010. Online here.
  10. Tomasetti, C., & Vogelstein, B. (2015). Variation in cancer risk among tissues can be explained by the number of stem cell divisions. Science347(6217), 78-81. Available online.
  11. Wild, C., Brennan, P., Plummer, M., Bray, F., Straif, K., & Zavadil, J. (2015). Cancer risk: role of chance overstated. Science347(6223), 728-728. Available online.Song, M., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2015). Cancer risk: many factors contribute. Science347(6223), 728-729. Available online.Ashford, N. A. et al. Cancer risk: role of environment. Science 347, 727 (2015). Available online.
  12. Wu, S., Powers, S., Zhu, W., & Hannun, Y. A. (2016). Substantial contribution of extrinsic risk factors to cancer development. Nature529(7584), 43. Available online.
  13. GBD 2016 Risk Factors Collaborators. Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 84 behavioural, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet. 14 Sept 2017: 390;1345-1422. Available online.
  14. Note that IHME risk factors do not account for sun exposure, which is a known risk factor for skin cancer. Attribution for skin cancers in the data are therefore an underestimate.

Citation

Our articles and data visualizations rely on work from many different people and organizations. When citing this entry, please also cite the underlying data sources. This entry can be cited as:

Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie (2020) - "Cancer". Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: 'https://ourworldindata.org/cancer' [Online Resource]

BibTeX citation

@article{owidcancer,
    author = {Max Roser and Hannah Ritchie},
    title = {Cancer},
    journal = {Our World in Data},
    year = {2020},
    note = {https://ourworldindata.org/cancer}
}

Dissociative Disorders

Dementia

Dementia comprises several forms — the most common being Alzheimer’s disease — is an illness which results in a deterioration of cognitive capacity and function beyond what is expect from the normal ageing process. It can occur either in a chronic or progressive form. It affects several cognitive functions including memory, comprehension, judgement, language and learning capacity.

In the map we see death rates from dementia across the world. Note that these rates have been age-standardized which aims to correct for differences in the age structure of a population (which are different between countries and change over time). This therefore allows us to compare the likelihood that any given individual will die from dementia across countries and through time.

Across most countries, the death rate from dementia-related illness is below 55 per 100,000 individuals. Dementia rates in some countries have changed slightly since 1990, but significantly less so than other disease burdens.Death rate from Alzheimer & other dementia, 2017

The annual number of deaths from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia per 100,000 people.
No data025354045556065708085CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Additional information

Diarrheal diseases

Diarrheal diseases are caused primarily by viral and bacterial pathogens. They are particularly dominant at lower incomes where there is poor access to safe sanitationdrinking water and hygiene facilities. Diarrheal diseases are a leading cause of death in children.

In the map we see death rates from diarrheal diseases across the world.Diarrheal diseasesYou can explore global, regional and country-level data on diarrheal diseases in our full article here.Death rate from diarrheal diseases, 2017

The annual number of deaths from diarrheal diseases per 100,000 people.
No data05255075100150200250300CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an illness caused by the ingestion of bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) which affects the lungs. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that up to one-quarter of the global population has latent TB, meaning they have been infected with the disease but are not ill with the disease (although this does not inhibit it from becoming active in the future).

People with compromised immune systems, such as those suffering from malnutrition, diabetes, or are smokers are more likely to become ill with TB. There is a strong link between HIV/AIDS and TB: those infected with HIV are 20-30 times more likely to develop active tuberculosis.

In the map we see death rates from tuberculosis across the world.

Across most countries, the death rate from TB is below 5 per 100,000. Rates in 2017 across Eastern Europe were slightly higher, between 5-10 per 100,000. Across South Asia, these reach 25-50 per 100,000, with highest rates across Sub-Saharan Africa ranging from 50 to over 250 per 100,000.Death rate from tuberculosis, 2017

The annual number of deaths from tuberculosis per 100,000 people.
No data0510255075100125150200>250CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (2017)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Additional information

Malnutrition

Malnutrition arises in various forms, with the broad definition capturing undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity. In this case, we refer to ‘protein-energy malnutrition‘ (PEM) which refers to energy or protein deficiency caused by insufficient food intake. Protein-energy deficiency can also be exacerbated by infection or disease, which can have the effect of increasing nutritional needs, and/or reducing the body’s ability to retain energy or nutrients. You can find more information on hunger and undernourishment in our entry.

In the map we see death rates from protein-energy malnutrition across the world.

The highest rates are seen across across Sub-Saharan Africa, which are typically in the range of 10-100 per 100,000 individuals. For most countries, this rate is below 5 per 100,000. In North Korea during its famine period, rates reached over 400 per 100,000.Death rate from malnutrition, 2017

Deaths from protein-energy malnutrition per 100,000 people.
No data05102550100150200300400>450CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Additional information

HIV/AIDS

An infection with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS results in a gradual and persistent decline and failure of the immune system, resulting in heightened risk of life-threatening infection and cancers.

In the majority of cases, HIV is a sexually-transmitted infection. However, HIV can also be transmitted from a mother to her child, during pregnancy or childbirth, or through breastfeeding. Non-sexual transmission can also occur through the sharing of injection equipment such as needles.

In the map we see death rates from HIV/AIDS across the world.

Most countries have a rate of less than 10 deaths per 100,000 – often much lower, below 5 per 100,000. Across Europe the death rate is less than one per 100,000.

Across Sub-Saharan Africa the rates are much higher. Most countries in the South of the region had rates greater than 100 per 100,000. In South Africa and Mozambique, it was over 200 per 100,000.HIV/AIDSYou can explore global, regional and country-level data on HIV prevalence, deaths, and treatment in our full article here.Death rate from HIV/AIDS, 2017

The annual number of deaths from HIV/AIDS per 100,000 people.
No data0102550100200>250CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Malaria

Malaria is a disease that is transmitted from person to person by infected mosquitoes. The bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito transmits a parasite that enters the victim’s blood system and travels into the person’s liver where the parasite reproduces. There the parasite causes a high fever that involves shaking chills and pain. In the worst cases malaria leads to coma and death.

In the map we see death rates from malaria across the world.MalariaYou can explore global, regional and country-level data on malaria prevalence, deaths, and treatments in our full article here.Death rate from malaria, 2017

The annual number of deaths from malaria per 100,000 people.
No data02.551020406080>100CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Smoking

Tobacco smoking is not a direct cause of death, but it nonetheless one of the world’s largest health problems.

Smoking is one of the world’s leading risk factors for premature death. Tobacco a risk factor for several of the world’s leading causes of death, including lung and other forms of cancer, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. 

In the map we see death rates from tobacco smoking across the world.SmokingYou can explore global, regional and country-level data on the prevalence of smoking, its health impacts and attributed deaths in our full article here.Death rate from smoking, 2017

The annual number of deaths attributed to smoking per 100,000 people.
No data0255075100150>200CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Suicide

Every suicide is a tragedy. With timely, evidence-based interventions, suicides can be prevented.6

In the map we see death rates from suicide across the world.SuicideYou can explore global, regional and country-level data on deaths from suicide in our full article here.Death rate from suicides, 2017

The annual number of deaths from suicide per 100,000 people.
No data051015204050100CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Homicides

Intentional homicides are defined as “an unlawful death deliberately inflicted on one person by another person”.7Civilian and military deaths during interstate warscivil wars and genocides are not counted as homicides – but Our World in Data presents the evidence on deaths in the linked articles.

In the map we see homicide rates across the world.HomicidesYou can explore global, regional and country-level data on homicides in our full article here.Homicide rate, 2016

Number of intentional homicide deaths per 100,000 people.
No data012510203050100150CC BY

Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s International Homicide Statistics

Note: Intentional homicides are estimates of unlawful homicides purposely inflicted as a result of domestic disputes, interpersonal violence, violent
conflicts over land resources, intergang violence over turf or control, and predatory violence and killing by armed groups.
19952016

Natural disasters

Natural disasters can occur in many forms – ranging from earthquakes and tsunamis, to extreme weather events, and heatwaves.

The largest disaster events are often infrequent, but high-impact meaning there is significant variability in deaths from year-to-year.

In the the map we see death rates from natural disasters across the world.Natural disastersYou can explore data on the number, costs and deaths from natural disasters in our full article here.Death rate from natural disasters, 2017

The annual number of deaths from all forms of natural disaster per 100,000 people.
No data00.010.050.10.515101001,0002,300CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Road incidents

Road incident deaths include those of drivers – motor vehicles and motorcyclists – in addition to cyclists and pedestrian deaths.

In the map we see death rates from road incidents across the world.

Death rates are typically lowest across Western Europe and Japan, with less than 5 deaths per 100,000 individuals. Across the Americas, rates are typically slightly higher at 5 to 20; most countries in Asia lie between 15 and 30; and rates are typically highest across Sub-Saharan Africa with over 25 per 100,000.Death rate from road accidents, 2017

The annual number of deaths from road accidents per 100,000 people.
Deaths include those from drivers and passengers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
No data051015202530405060>70CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Additional information

Drowning

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasises that drowning is one of the most overlooked, preventable causes of death across the world.8 For every country in the world, drowning is among the top 10 killers for children. In some countries, such as Bangladesh, it is the top mortality cause for children under 15 years old.

In the map we see death rates from drowning across the world.

In 2016, death rates were highest in Papua New Guinea and Seychelles, between 10 to 16 deaths per 100,000. Rates were also high in countries such as Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Vietnam, and Haiti.

If we look at death rates we see a significant decline since 1990 — especially in low to middle-income countries. In Bangladesh and China, for example, rates have fallen by more than two-thirds over this period.Death rate from drowning, 2017

The annual number of deaths from drowning per 100,000 people.
No data012.557.5101520253035CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Additional information

Fire

In the map we see death rates from fire across the world.

Most countries across the Americas, Western Europe, East Asia and Oceania average death rates below 2 per 100,000. Rates across other regions are typically higher at 2-6 per 100,000. When viewed through time we see a notable decline in fire death rates, particularly across Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe. Death rate from fires and burns, 2017

The annual number of deaths due to fire, heat and hot substances per 100,000 people.
No data012468101214CC BY

Source: IHME, Global Burden of Disease (GBD)

Note: To allow comparisons between countries and over time this metric is age-standardized.
19902017

Additional information

Terrorism

Terrorism is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” We quickly see that this definition is unspecific and subjective.9 In our full article on Terrorism we look at adopted definitions, and how it’s distinguished from other forms of violence.

In the map we see death rates from terrorism across the world.TerrorismYou can explore data on the number of terrorist attacks and deaths in our full article here.Deaths from terrorism, 2017

Confirmed deaths, including all victims and attackers who died as a result of the incident.
No data02550751002505001,0005,00010,00015,000CC BY

Source: Global Terrorism Database (2018)

Note: The Global Terrorism Database is the most comprehensive dataset on terrorist attacks available and recent data is complete. However, we
expect, based on our analysis, that longer-term data is incomplete (with the exception of the US and Europe). We therefore do not recommend this
dataset for the inference of long-term trends in the prevalence of terrorism globally. 
19702017

Deaths by animal

Mosquitoes are by far the world’s deadliest animal

Around 1.5 million people are killed by animals every year.

More than half a million are killed by other humans – in warhomicides, and terrorism. And close to a million people are killed by other animals in any given year.10 

Mosquitoes are, by far, the world’s deadliest animal for humans: at estimated 780,000 died from the transmission of disease from mosquitoes in 2016. Mosquito deaths are the sum of deaths (in order, highest to lowest) from: Malaria, Dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, Yellow fever, Zika virus, Chikungunya, West Nile virus, and Lymphatic filariasis, for which it is the vector.

Deadliest animals 01
Estimated number of global human deaths by animal, either from direct contact/attack or transmission of disease.

Does the news reflect what we die from?

One of the primary motivations for our work at Our World in Data is to provide a fact-based overview of the world we live in — a perspective that includes the persistent and long-term changes that run as a backdrop to our daily lives. We aim to provide the complement to the fast-paced reporting we see in the news. The media provides a near-instantaneous snapshot of single events; events that are, in most cases, negative. The persistent, large-scale trends of progress never make the headlines.

But is there evidence that such a disconnect exists between what we see in the news and what is reality for most us?

One study attempted to look at this from the perspective of what we die from: is what we actually die from reflected in the media coverage these topics receive?11

To answer this, Shen and his team compared four key sources of data:

For each source the authors calculated the relative share of deaths, share of Google searches, and share of media coverage. They restricted the considered causes to the top 10 causes of death in the US and additionally included terrorism, homicide, and drug overdoses. This allows for us to compare the relative representation across different sources.12

What we die from; what we Google; what we read in the news

So, what do the results look like? In the chart below I present the comparison.

The first column represents each cause’s share of US deaths; the second the share of Google searches each receives; third, the relative article mentions in the New York Times; and finally article mentions in The Guardian.

The coverage in both newspapers here is strikingly similar. And the discrepancy between what we die actually from and what we get informed of in the media is what stands out:

  • around one-third of the considered causes of deaths resulted from heart disease, yet this cause of death receives only 2-3 percent of Google searches and media coverage;
  • just under one-third of the deaths came from cancer; we actually google cancer a lot (37 percent of searches) and it is a popular entry here on our site; but it receives only 13-14 percent of media coverage;
  • we searched for road incidents more frequently than their share of deaths, however, they receive much less attention in the news;
  • when it comes to deaths from strokes, Google searches and media coverage are surprisingly balanced;
  • the largest discrepancies concern violent forms of death: suicide, homicide and terrorism. All three receive much more relative attention in Google searches and media coverage than their relative share of deaths. When it comes to the media coverage on causes of death, violent deaths account for more than two-thirds of coverage in the New York Times and The Guardian but account for less than 3 percent of the total deaths in the US.

What’s interesting is that Americans search on Google is a much closer reflection of what kills us than what is presented in the media. One way to think about it is that media outlets may produce content that they think readers are most interested in, but this is not necessarily reflected in our preferences when we look for information ourselves.

[Clicking on the visualization will open it in higher resolution; The chart shows the summary for the year 2016, but interactive charts for all available years is available at the end of this blog.13]

Causes of death in usa vs. media coverage

How over- or underrepresented are deaths in the media?

As we can see clearly from the chart above, there is a disconnect between what we die from, and how much coverage these causes get in the media. Another way to summarize this discrepancy is to calculate how over- or underrepresented each cause is in the media. To do this, we simply calculate the ratio between the share of deaths and share of media coverage for each cause.

In the chart below we see how over- or underrepresented each cause is in newspaper coverage.14 Causes shown in red are overrepresented in the media; those in blue are underrepresented. Numbers denote the factor by which they are misrepresented.

The major standout here – I had to break the scale on the y-axis since it’s several orders of magnitude higher than everything else – is terrorism: it is overrepresented in the news by almost a factor of 4000.

Homicides are also very overrepresented in the news, by a factor of 31. The most underrepresented in the media are kidney disease (11-fold), heart disease (10-fold), and, perhaps surprisingly, drug overdoses (7-fold). Stroke and diabetes are the two causes most accurately represented.

[Clicking on the visualization will open it in higher resolution].

Over and underrepresentation of deaths in media

Should media exposure reflect what we die from?

From the comparisons above, it’s clear that the news doesn’t reflect what we die from. But there is another important question: should these be representative?

There are several reasons we would, or should, expect that what we read online, and what is covered in the media wouldn’t correspond with what we actually die from.

The first is that we would expect there to be some preventative aspect to information we access. There’s a strong argument that things we search for and gain information on encourages us to take action which prevents a further death. There are several examples where I can imagine this to be true. People who are concerned about cancer may search online for guidance on symptoms and be convinced to see their doctor. Some people with suicidal thoughts may seek help and support online which later results in an averted death from suicide. We’d therefore expect that both intended or unintended exposure to information on particular topics could prevent deaths from a given cause. Some imbalance in the relative proportions therefore makes sense. But clearly there is some bias in our concerns: most people die from heart disease (hence it should be something that concerns us) yet only a small minority seek [possibly preventative] information online.

Second, this study focused on what people in the USA die from, not what people across the world die from. Is media coverage more representative of global deaths? Not really. In another blog post, ‘What does the world die from?‘, I looked in detail at the ranking of causes of death globally and by country. The relative ranking of deaths in the USA is reflective of the global average: most people die from heart disease and cancers, and terrorism ranks last or second last (alongside natural disasters). Terrorism accounted for 0.06 percent of global deaths in 2016. Whilst we’d expect non-US events to feature in the New York Times, global news shouldn’t substantially affect representative coverage of causes.

The third relates to the very nature of news: it focuses on events and stories. Whilst I am often critical of the messages and narratives portrayed in the media, I have some sympathy for what they choose to cover. Reporting has become increasingly fast-paced. As news consumers, our expectations have quickly shifted from daily, to hourly, down to minute-by-minute updates of what’s happening in the world. Combine this with our attraction to stories and narratives. It’s not surprising that the media focuses on reports of single (inadvertently negative) events: a murder case or a terrorist attack. The most underrepresented cause of death in the media was kidney disease. But with an audience that expects a minute-by-minute feed of coverage, how much can possibly be said about kidney disease? Without conquering our compulsion for the latest unusual story, we cannot expect this representation to be perfectly balanced.

How to combat our bias for single events

Media and its consumers are stuck in a reinforcing cycle. The news reports on breaking events, which are often based around a compelling story. Consumers want to know what’s going on in the world — we are quickly immersed by the latest headline. We come to expect news updates with increasing frequency, and media channels have clear incentives to deliver. This locks us into a cycle of expectation and coverage with a strong bias for outlier events. Most of us are left with a skewed perception of the world; we think the world is much worse than it is.15

The responsibility in breaking this cycle lies with both media producers and consumers. Will we ever stop reporting and reading the latest news? Unlikely. But we can all be more conscious of how we let this news shape our understanding of the world.

And journalists can do much better in providing context of the broader trends: if reporting on a homicide, for example, include context of how homicide rates are changing over time.16

As media consumers we can be much more aware of the fact that relying on the 24/7 news coverage alone is wholly insufficient for understanding the state of the world. This requires us to check our (often unconscious) bias for single narratives and seek out sources that provide a fact-based perspective on the world.

This antidote to the news is what we try to provide at Our World in Data. It should be accessible for everyone, which is why our work is completely open-access. Whether you are a media producer or consumer, feel free to take and use anything you find here.

Laura Zukerman

Owner and Founder at the Goddess Bibles A Memoir By Laura Zukerman

Becoming Your Inner Goddess

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