Some chemicals in the human body respond to food and drinks; consuming these foods or beverages changes the levels of these chemicals in your body. Your doctor may request a fasting blood test so she can measure baseline levels, unaffected by food.
Ask your doctor if you can take your regular medications while you are fasting.
Schedule the laboratory appointment for the morning, if possible. Let the receptionist know if you will be taking any medications during your fast or if you have an illness or medical condition that prevents you from fasting.
Ask the receptionist how long you should fast â€“ it is usually 8 to 12 hours. Ask her to help you determine what time you should start your fast, if necessary. Ask the receptionist if you can drink water during your fast â€“ it is usually allowed.
Eat a nutritious dinner at the usual time. Take all medications as directed by your doctor.
When your fast begins, do not eat or drink anything except for water, if it is allowed. Smoking is not usually allowed.
On the day of your appointment, bring something to eat and drink. Hunger may make you lightheaded after having your blood drawn.
When you arrive for your appointment, tell the receptionist the last time you had anything other than water to eat or drink. If you were unable to maintain your fast, ask if you should reschedule or if she could make a note on your results.
Chronic stress is associated with mental conditions like depression and anxiety disorders as well as physical problems. If you have tried stress relief activities and still have problems with stress, get professional help right away. See your healthcare provider if you have:
• Difficulty sleeping
• Changes in appetite
• Panic attacks
• Muscle tenseness and soreness
• Frequent headaches
• Gastrointestinal problems
• Prolonged feelings of sadness or worthlessness
Your healthcare provider may sign you up for stress management classes, therapy or prescribe drugs for your symptoms.
Stress is a normal part of life. While some stress is good, too much stress and anxiety is bad for your health. The National Institute of Mental Health issued a report in 2000 documenting the association between stress and the immune system. Apparently, people with chronic stress (couples with marital stress, medical students with exam stress, caregivers of the sick and elderly, etc;) experienced weakened immune systems and were more susceptible to viral infections like the common cold.
The National Institutes of Health provides these guidelines for stress control:
• First try to identify the things in your life that cause you stress: marital problems, conflict at work, a death or illness in the family; then find ways to control them
• If there's a problem that can be solved, set about taking control and solving it. For example, you might decide to change jobs if problems at work are making you too stressed.
• Some chronic stressors can't be changed. Stress relieving activities such as support groups, relaxation, meditation, and exercise are tools you can use for stress management. See your health care provider if you find that you worry excessively about the small things in life.
Migraines are intense headaches. Sometimes they can be so severe that they interfere with work and life in general. Migraines are often caused by changes of serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a chemical that in high levels constricts blood vessels and in low levels causes them to swell. Some people describe a premonition or feeling hours before a migraine, signaling that one is coming. This feeling can take the form of tiredness, more energy, mood changes or cravings for food. There are different symptoms associated with migraines such as:
• Throbbing or dull aching pain on one side or both sides of your head
• Nausea or vomiting
• Changes in vision, including blurred vision or blind spots
• Increased sensitivity to light, noise or odors
• Feeling tired and/or confused
• Stopped-up nose
• Feeling cold or sweaty
• Stiff or tender neck
• Tender scalp
Hypertension can be alleviated by through simple lifestyle changes. Here we will cover alternative medicine techniques to help you can control high blood pressure and even cure high blood pressure without prescription drugs.
Stress is often a contributor to hypertension, so relaxation therapy is a high blood pressure natural remedy.
• According to Harvard Medical School Consumer Health, applied relaxation often involves imagining situations to cause muscular and mental relaxation. The goal of progressive muscle relaxation is to teach people what it feels like to relax by comparing relaxation with muscle tension.
• Massage therapy became popular in the 1970s, among athletes as a way to improve muscle injury healing and pain reduction, relaxation, stress relief, and sleep enhancement. Touch is central to massage and is used by massage therapists to locate painful or tense areas. There are many types of massage such as Swedish, deep tissue, aromatherapy, Shiatsu, and others.
• The psychological benefits of regular exercise are numerous including an increase in endorphins which creates a greater sense of well-being. Everyone needs exercise and anyone can find an activity suited to their lifestyle. Exercising regularly is the simplest way to improve your life. Common forms of exercise include aerobic/cardiovascular (running, dancing, jump rope), Resistance (strength training with weights, push ups, resistance bands), and Flexibility (stretching). It is recommended you get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|