Taking Multiple Meds Can Trigger Dangerous Drug Interactions

Date: September 15, 2016

Find out how to safeguard yourself

By Steve Mitchell

Lugging every pill you take to your next doctor’s appointment or trip to the pharmacist might seem like overkill, but it could save your life—especially if you take multiple drugs or supplements.

In fact, regularly taking five or more medications—something many Americans do—often does more harm than good, especially if you’re not closely monitored by a healthcare provider.

“The chances of drug interactions and side effects increase dramatically as the number of medications you take goes up,” says Michael A. Steinman, M.D., a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center.

Sometimes those drug interactions magnify a drug’s potency, sometimes they diminish its effectiveness, and sometimes they trigger dangerous side effects.

And they’re becoming much more common, says Dima M. Qato, Pharm.D., a pharmacist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. An April 2016 JAMA Internal Medicine study she coauthored found that two-thirds of older adults take five or more medications and supplements daily, up 14 percent since 2006. And one in six use medications, supplements, or both that shouldn’t be combined.

Here’s how to stay safe when taking multiple medications.

Have you experienced a drug interaction?

Tell us your story in the comments section below.

Have a ‘Brown-Bag’ Checkup

At least once yearly, gather every prescription and over-the-counter drug you take, including drops and ointments, as well as every dietary supplement, vitamin, mineral, or herbal remedy you use, and bring them all to your doctor or pharmacist.

During that review, often called a “brown-bag checkup,” the doctor or pharmacist should check to see whether any interact with each other or whether you’re unnecessarily taking different drugs to treat the same problem. If so, you might be able to eliminate one of the drugs. Also ask whether the dosage of each medication you take can be lowered, or possibly even eliminated.

After your brown-bag review, create a list of all of the prescription and OTC products you take. Include the dosage, the reason you take the drug, and the name of the prescribing doctor. Then give that list to every pharmacist and doctor you see. Review your list every four to six months and any time you add a new medication.

Fill all of your prescriptions at one pharmacy or pharmacy chain if possible. They usually share the same electronic record-keeping system, so a pharmacist will always know which medications you take and can more easily spot potential problems.

6 Key Questions to Ask

You can reduce the chance of taking more medications than you need by asking the following questions each time you get a new prescription or your doctor recommends an OTC product:

1. What Is the Medication For?
It might seem obvious, but asking that basic question reduces the risk of taking an inappropriately prescribed drug—something that happens surprisingly often.

For example, a study of older veterans who took five or more prescription drugs found that 65 percent were told to take at least one drug that was unnecessary—medications that were ineffective, were not indicated for their condition, or duplicated the therapeutic benefits and actions of other drugs. One common example: The OTC drug ibuprofen (Advil and generic) and prescription drug celecoxib (Celebrex and generic) have similar pain-relieving actions, so they shouldn’t be taken together.

2. How Long Should I Take It?
Asking this can help spot medications you regularly take that should be used only short-term. For example, proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (Prilosec and generic), taken for severe heartburn, should not be taken for more than about six months because longer use increases the risk of bone fractures and can cause low blood levels of magnesium, which can trigger muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. And sleep aids should be used for only very brief periods because they can cause side effects such as next-day drowsiness and impaired coordination and balance, and they can lead to dependence.

3. Is This Similar to Another Drug I Already Take?
If you see several healthcare providers, some might be unaware of what others have prescribed—and could prescribe drugs similar to one you already take. For example, your primary-care physician might prescribe a diuretic (a “water pill”) to lower high blood pressure. But your neurologist might prescribe a beta-blocker, which also reduces blood pressure, to prevent migraines. In that case, you might be better off with just the beta-blocker because it treats both conditions.

4. Can Nondrug Alternatives Help Me?
In some cases you might be able to eliminate or reduce your need for drugs by making certain lifestyle changes. For conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, for example, losing excess weight, exercising regularly, and consuming a healthy diet can sometimes be as effective as drugs. And exercise and physical therapy can often help ease arthritis as well as back, shoulder, and neck pain, allowing you to cut back on drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and generic) and naproxen (Aleve and generic).

5. Will This Medication Interact Dangerously With Other Prescription Drugs or OTC Products I Take?
The more medications you use, the greater the likelihood of drug interactions. For example, taking the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin (Zocor and generic) with the blood pressure drug amlodipine or the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin and generic) could trigger potential deadly bleeding. The same could happen by combining aspirin with the blood thinner clopidogrel (Plavix and generic) or OTC pain drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

6. What Side Effects Could This Medication Cause?
Being aware of possible side effects can help you spot them before they cause serious harm. For example, muscle aches might be due to a cholesterol-lowering statin you take—and if allowed to continue, could progress to severe kidney damage. Knowing what to expect can also help you recognize new symptoms as drug side effects, not new health problems.

For instance, if you develop confusion after taking the urinary incontinence drug oxybutynin (Ditropan XL and generic), you’ll be less likely to worry about it as an early sign of dementia if you were warned that confusion is a possible side effect of the drug.

Recognizing side effects can also help you avoid “prescribing cascade,” says Jerry H. Gurwitz, M.D., chief of the division of geriatric medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. That happens when, instead of stopping the drug that is causing the problem, your doctor mistakenly prescribes yet another medication to treat the drug side effect—which can lead to additional side effects or drug interactions. “This is a huge issue that is underappreciated,” Gurwitz says.

Editor’s Note: This article and related materials are made possible by a grant from the state Attorney General Consumer and Prescriber Education Grant Program, which is funded by the multistate settlement of consumer-fraud claims regarding the marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin (gabapentin).


Source: http://www.consumerreports.org/drugs/taking-multiple-meds-can-trigger-drug-interactions/

August is Immunization Awareness Month

Date: August 9, 2016

Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)

NIAM draws attention to immunization in August each year

NIAM highlights the value of vaccines for people of all ages.

National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. NIAM was established to encourage people of all ages to make sure they are up to date on the vaccines recommended for them. Communities have continued to use the month each year to raise awareness about the important role vaccines play in preventing serious, sometimes deadly, diseases.

NIAM is sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). For more information on the observance, visit NPHIC’s NIAM website.

Communication Toolkits

NPHIC, in collaboration with CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, developed communication toolkits to help you communicate about vaccines for various audiences. Each week of #NIAM16 focuses on a different stage of the lifespan:


People of all ages can protect their health with timely vaccination.

  • Adults (Aug. 1-7)
  • Pregnant women (Aug. 8-14)
  • Babies and young children (Aug. 15-21)
  • Preteens and teens (Aug. 22-28)

There is also an abbreviated toolkit for school-aged children to help you remind parents to get their children vaccinated before the school year starts.

The toolkits include sample key messages, media materials, social media messages, FAQs, and web links and resources. You can also get eye-catching NIAM logos and banners to highlight your participation in NIAM on your social media profiles. A media outreach toolkit is one of the new resources available this year to help you reach out to media on immunization-related topics. To download the toolkits, visit NPHIC’s NIAM website.

Find CDC Immunization Resources

CDC develops immunization materials our partners can use in local outreach and education efforts during NIAM and throughout the year. Below are links to materials you can use during NIAM and beyond to

  • Remind parents of the important role vaccines play in protecting their child’s health and answer their questions about vaccines
  • Encourage college students to talk to their healthcare professional about any vaccines they may need for school entry
  • Educate adults, especially older adults and adults with chronic conditions, about vaccines they may need
  • Educate pregnant women about getting vaccinated to protect newborns from diseases like whooping cough (pertussis) and flu
  • Remind everyone that the next flu season is only a few months away

Check with your state or local health department to see if they have additional immunization resources you can use during NIAM, or plans to celebrate the month.



Source: https://www.cdc.gov/


June Is Men’s Health Month

Date: June 7, 2016

Men: Do less to improve your health!

National Men’s Health Week is celebrated the week leading up to Father’s Day, which is June 15-21, 2015. During this week, individuals, families, communities, and others work to promote healthy living among men and boys.

Here are six ways to do less of some things or quit others to improve your health.

  1. Decrease alcohol use.
    Men are more likely than women to drink heavily. Excessive alcohol useincreases your risk of injury and cancer, can interfere with male hormone production and sexual function, and can result in hospitalizations, and death.
  2. Quit using tobacco.
    Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and causes most lung cancer. It also causes other cancers and heart and respiratory diseases. In 2014,26% of men used tobacco products every day or some days. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) or visit Quit Smoking for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live. Get tips from former smokers.
  3. Avoid drowsy driving.
    Up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers. Commercial drivers, shift workers, drivers with untreated sleep disorders or those using sedation medications, and drivers that do not get enough sleep are more likely to drive drowsy. Prevent drowsy driving. Get enough sleepto prevent drowsing driving—7 or 8 hours each night; seek treatment for possible sleep disorders, and refrain from drinking alcohol or taking sedation medications before driving.
  4. Reduce number of sex partners.
    Reducing your number of sex partners can decrease your risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Be sexually active with only one person who has agreed to be sexually active only with you. Get tested because most STDs don’t have symptoms and often go undiagnosed and untreated. Find free, fast, and confidential testing near you.
  5. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
    Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Most cases of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, are caused by exposure toultraviolet light. In 2011, more than 38,000 men in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas of the skin. To protect you and your family from the sun, seek shade, wear protective clothing and sunglasses, and wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15.
  6. Reduce stress
    Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can be reactions to a situation that causes you to feel threatened or anxious. Learn ways to manage stress including finding support, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.

What Men Can Do

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthymen/

February is Heart Month

Date: February 9, 2016

Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal

This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts®–a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017–are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it’s high, tomake control their goal.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure[469 KB] is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure.1 People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.2

High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.

Work with your health care team to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.

Make Control Your Goal

If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control[1.16 MB]:

  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card[920 KB] from Million Hearts®.
  • Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
  • Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. You can find tips and resources at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.
  • Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.

African American Men: Take Note

While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, your gender, race, ethnicity, and where you live can increase your risk. African American men are at the highest risk for heart disease. About 2 in 5 African Americans have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control.3 A recent article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also showed that Americans aged 30 to 74 who live the Southeast—specifically, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia—are at higher risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years than people who live in other parts of the country.4 Many of these states have a large African American population.


Roosevelt, age 51, from Virginia suffered a heart attack at age 45.

Man to Man: Heart to Heart

Roosevelt, a long-time smoker, had a heart attack at age 45. He endured six surgeries, including heart bypass surgery to fix the damage to his heart caused by smoking. Now smoke-free, Roosevelt encourages others to quit smoking as a way to reduce their risk of heart disease.

“A heart attack feels like a hand inside squeezing your heart,” he said. “It’s like the worst Charley horse you can imagine—in your heart.”

About 1 in 5 African American adults smokes cigarettes.5 CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers campaign recently shined a spotlight on this statistic and the links between smoking and heart disease among African American men.

“If you have loved ones who care about you, they will support you. Take it one day at a time,” Roosevelt said.

This approach can work not only for people who want to quit smoking, but for those who are trying to eat better, exercise, and control their high blood pressure—all ways to help reduce the chances of heart attack and stroke. A strong support system[649 KB] also helps.

Resources to Help You and Your Loved Ones Make Control the Goal

More information about high blood pressure is available at CDC’s High Blood Pressure website. In addition, the following resources are available to help you and your loved ones make control your goal:


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults—United States, 2003–2010.MMWR. 2012;61(35):703-9.
  2. Stamler J, Stamler R, Neaton JD. Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks. US population data. Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:598-615. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital signs: awareness and treatment of uncontrolled hypertension among adults—United States, 2003–2010.MMWR. 2012;61(35):703-9.
    2 Stamler J, Stamler R, Neaton JD. Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic, and cardiovascular risks. US population data. Arch Intern Med. 1993;153:598-615.
  3. CDC, Prevalence of hypertension and controlled hypertension — United States, 2007-2010MMWR. 2013;62(03);144-148,.
  4. Yang Q, Zhong Y, Ritchey M, et al. Predicted 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease at the state level in the U.S.” Am J Prev Med. 2014;48(1):58-69. PubMed abstract.
  5. CDC, Current cigarette smoking among adults—United States, 2005-2012MMWR. 2014;63(2).
  6. Wall, H., Hannah, J., & Wright, J. (2014). Patients with undiagnosed hypertension: Hiding in plain sight. Journal of the American Medical Association, 312(19), 1973–1974.Source: https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Date: November 8, 2015


Autism Speaks encourages Congress to support family caregivers


November 05, 2015

Autism Speaks is joining the celebration of the nation’s 90 million family caregivers this November for National Family Caregivers Month. National Family Caregivers Month recognizes and celebrates the individuals who provide care to their loved ones every day- helping them maintain their independence and quality of life.

“For centuries, we have been driven by the belief that we all have certain obligations to one another. Every day, caregivers across our country answer this call and lift up the lives of loved ones who need additional support” said President Obama in this year’s Presidential Proclamation on National Family Caregivers Month.

Family caregivers are an extremely important source of support for individuals with autism.  Many people do not think of themselves as a “caregiver,” but assisting in routine activities or arranging services are tasks that family caregivers assist with on a daily basis. Through the support of family caregivers, individuals with autism are enabled to live at home and participate in their community.

In Autism Speaks’ National Housing and Residential Supports Survey, caregivers indicated widely that supporting a person with autism is primarily a full-time job. The overwhelming majority of caregivers reported that the individual with autism experiences medical conditions other than autism. Although caring for loved ones is a rewarding task, family caregivers face physical, emotional and financial challenges. Long-term care can be expensive over a lifespan. Caregivers help keep healthcare costs down while providing the personal care that many facilities and services cannot.

In March 2015, a group congressmen and women launched the Bipartisan Congressional Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus. The ACT Caucus aims to bring greater visibility to the value of, and need to support, family caregivers and the need for solutions. The caucus aims to inform members of Congress about these issues and raise its importance. Today, Congress is considering legislation that would help support family caregivers across the nation.

Autism Speaks urges Congress to enact the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregiver ActH.R. 3099 in the House and S. 1719 in the Senate. This bill would require Congress to develop a national strategy to support family caregivers. The strategy would identify specific actions that government, communities, providers, employers, and others can take to recognize and support family caregivers.

To build support for the RAISE Act and family caregivers during National Family Caregivers Month, share your caregiving story with us on social media using the hashtag #iheartcaregivers. To thank the members of the ACT Caucus for raising their voices for family caregivers use the hashtag #ACTCaucus.

Autism Speaks focuses on the lifelong needs of people with autism, including support for caregivers. Family caregivers, especially parents and siblings, require support and resources toassist in caring for their loved ones with autism. Many family caregivers do not receive training and other assistance to help provide care and have difficulty locating and coordinating the fragmented services.

Autism Speaks and the Autistic Global Initiative have also partnered with the Houlton Institute to make a first-of-its-kind online course titled Building Independence for Life Training (BILTTM). The course provides best and evidence-based practices for those who support the daily-living needs of transition-aged students, young adults, and adults with autism and related disabilities. Because it is online, the course is flexible and can meet many needs.

Click here to participate in the Self-Paced Online Course for Parents & Direct-Support Providers.

To get involved with Autism Speaks advocacy efforts sign up for Autism Votes HERE and follow us on at @AutismVotes.


September is Atrial Fibrillation Month

Date: September 1, 2015

Atrial Fibrillation — also known as AFib or AF — is the most common arrhythmia. It affects more than 2.5 million American adults and 4.5 million people living in the European Union, and accounts for approximately one-third of hospitalizations for cardiac rhythm disturbances.

It is characterized by a rapid and irregular heartbeat caused when the top chambers of the heart (the atria) quiver (fibrillate) erratically, sometimes faster than 200 times per minute. The condition can have a significant negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, causing heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, debilitating pain and can increase the risk of stroke fivefold.

The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and National Stroke Association, in collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), fielded an Atrial Fibrillation – Impact of Stroke Survey in May of 2014 to physicians, atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients and caregivers. The purpose of the survey was to measure awareness about AFib and stroke, determine baseline understanding of risk factors, and identify barriers to communication between patients/caregivers and providers. Learn more about the results and next steps.

AFib Can Cause A Stroke – 60 Second PSA





AFib Awareness Promotional Items

“A-Fib Feels Like” Tabletop Posters — Reproduce these 8½” x 11″ sheets for use as flyers to be distributed at health fairs or other community events, or request high-resolution files for placement in your institution’s newsletters or other communications. Available for download.

CHADS2 Scorecard — CHADS2 is a simple, yet clinically valid, prediction rule for estimating the risk of stroke in patients with AFib. This conveniently sized reference card summarizes the CHADS2 scoring methodology. Available for download.

Guide to Atrial Fibrillation  — This 20 page brochure includes simple, straightforward descriptions and color illustrations that explain the disease state and treatment options.  The brochure underscores the risk of stroke associated with AFib and elaborates on stroke symptoms and risk reduction strategies. Available for download.


The AFib Risk Assessment is an interactive tool designed to help individuals estimate their risk of atrial fibrillation (AFib). Many individuals living with AFib have no symptoms and are unaware of their condition until they are suffering from complications, which may require emergency treatment.

Learn your risk by using this online tool! It’s fast and easy — simply answer a few questions regarding your health and get your results. After you have finished using the AFib Risk Assessment, please consult with your physician regarding your results.

Are You At Risk?

The Atrial Fibrillation Disease State Initiative is supported in part by Boehringer Ingelheim, Janssen, and Daiichi-Sankyo.

Read more: https://www.hrsonline.org/News/Atrial-Fibrillation-AFib-Awareness#ixzz3kVziZBUU
Follow us: @hrsonline on Twitter | HeartRhythmSociety on Facebook


Source: https://www.hrsonline.org/News/Atrial-Fibrillation-AFib-Awareness#axzz3kVcuumcq

Alzheimer’s-Linked Proteins Tied to Poor Sleep

Date: June 2, 2015

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter


MONDAY, June 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Poor sleep in old age may be linked to the brain-clogging plaques thought to contribute toAlzheimer’s disease, new research suggests.

Sleep appears to be a missing piece in the Alzheimer’s puzzle, and enhancing sleep may lessen the cognitive burden that Alzheimer’s disease imparts,” said study author Bryce Mander, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

It’s not clear how sleep and memory affect — or are affected by — the accumulation of beta amyloid plaques, believed to interfere with mental functioning. Still, the study findings hint at a major message regarding Alzheimer’s, said Mander, who works at the university’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory.

For the new study, Mander and colleagues recruited 26 mentally healthy adults ages 70 to 79. They underwent brain imaging to assess plaque buildup, and were asked to remember pairs of words before and after a night’s sleep. Overnight, researchers measured their brain waves, and the next day they conducted MRI scans during the memory testing.

Those patients with the highest levels of amyloid plaques in one part of the brain — the medial prefrontal cortex — had lighter sleep and higher levels of memory problems, the researchers found.

“It is not so much that memory after sleep is important, but that sleep after initial learning is important to help us retain memory for a longer period of time,” Mander said.

The study suggests — but does not prove — that insufficient deep sleep contributes to “a reduced ability to cement memories in the brain over the long-term, resulting in greater memory loss,” he noted.

However, he added, it’s not known for sure “whether this link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease can explain memory loss in older adults” with higher levels of the plaques.

In particular, disrupted sleep can lead to impairment of “episodic memory,” which helps people remember events, Mander said.

“For example, what we had for breakfast last Tuesday and who we were with, and what that person’s name is. This is a critical form of memory that helps us navigate our daily lives. Without it, we quickly become lost, and our interaction with our world disjointed,” Mander explained.

Sleep disorders are frequently reported in Alzheimer’s patients, noted one expert.

Dr. Ricardo Osorio, research assistant professor of psychiatry with the Center for Brain Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said sleep disorders “have a significant impact on caregivers and are a common cause for early institutionalization.”

In recent years, Osorio said, research has suggested a connection between sleep problems in early life and Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

But which comes first, poor sleep or accumulation of the brain plaques? Mander thinks they contribute to each other, creating a “vicious cycle” that leads toward Alzheimer’s disease.

Osorio said the study does point to this possibility.

Is it possible that elderly people don’t sleep as well as younger people, boosting their risk of Alzheimer’s? Maybe not. Osorio said that “in healthy elderly individuals, the rate of normal sleep is quite high.”

But poorer sleep throughout life appears to boost the risk of Alzheimer’s, he said, and better sleep lowers the risk.

Insomnia has been shown to promote cognitive decline in the elderly, and sleep apnea both increases the risk for developing Alzheimer’s and reduces the age of onset of Alzheimer’s,” Orsio said. (Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated breathing disruptions.)

In the big picture, both experts agreed, sleep matters, and better sleep can likely help on the Alzheimer’s front.

The study was published in the June 1 issue of Nature Neuroscience.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20150601/alzheimers-linked-brain-proteins-tied-to-poor-sleep-in-study

Autism: Facts and Statistics

Date: April 2, 2015

Autism: Facts and Statistics

March 12, 2015

Although autism only affects around 1% of the world population at the moment, it’s one of the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the world. Most of you will have heard the words “autism” or “autistic” at some point in your lives, and a lot of people often ask the question, what is autism?

Autism is a lifelong disability which mainly affects how a person communicates, relates to other people and how they perceive the world around them. People who are autistic often deal with difficulties in social imagination, communication and interaction, and these three main areas are often referred to as the “triad of impairments”.

Did you know, 1% of the adult population in the United Kingdom has autism spectrum disorder? Although that doesn’t seem like a huge figure, that’s around 5.5 million adults. Find out more within the visual below…


Family and social life is often much harder for those who are autistic, as it can be a struggle to relate to other people, and therefore it becomes more difficult to form relationships.


In order to give you a better idea of the worldwide scale of autism and how it affects peoples everyday life, we’ve created an infographic to outline the key facts surrounding autism along with some interesting statistics regarding the costs of services that treat those with autism.


Source: http://www.uksmobility.co.uk/blog/2015/03/autism-facts-statistics-infographic/

Eat Your Heart Out With These 11 Healthy Tips

Date: February 20, 2015

February is American Heart month sponsored by The American Heart Association. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.

For some good news, however, heart disease can often be prevented by making healthy food and lifestyle choices. As a nutritionist, I often work with clients to help them develop a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent heart disease.

Below are 11 simple — and healthy — tips for heart health.

1. Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal not only tastes yummy but it is also good for the heart as it is rich in soluble fiber, shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Beta glucans, the kind fiber in oatmeal, may be particularly beneficial for heart health and for weight control. Oatmeal also contains magnesium and potassium, minerals which contribute to a healthy heartbeat.

2. Watch your portion by using a smaller bowl and spoon.

A simple way to practice portion control is to use smaller plates; we tend to eat less when we use smaller plates and bowls. And… use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon — you will probably eat even less.

3. Top your oatmeal with sliced banana.

Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, in particular potassium, which help promote heart health. They are also relatively low in calories and high in fiber to help keep your weight at bay.

4. Include a bean soup for lunch.

Beans contain soluble fiber which help lower cholesterol. Lentil and split pea soup are great choices. They are also filling and help keep you satisfied.

5. Snack on a handful of mixed nuts.

Nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats and have been shown to reduce heart deaths in the elderly. Nuts also help to control weight. The key is to snack on nuts instead of chips, and practice portion control. Aim for approximately ¼ cup or one layer of your palm.

6. Start your dinner with a colorful salad.

Starting your meal with a colorful salad is a great way to boost heart healthy nutrients in your diet. Vegetable salads are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. The different colors provide different nutrients so throw in dark greens which are high in folate, tomatoes high in lycopene and yellow peppers which are full of vitamin C.

7. Dress it with olive oil.

Olive oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Best to use an olive oil based dressing over creamy varieties such as blue cheese. However, it’s important not to over pour; aim for 1-2 tablespoons, or a shot glass worth.

8. Cook dinner at home.

People who cook dinner at home tend to eat healthier and take in fewer calories. No surprise. Restaurant portions are huge and full of all sorts of hidden ingredients which are loaded with calories.

9. Enjoy grilled salmon or arctic char as your main course.

Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which are known to be good for the heart. Grill your fish with your favorite spices and a drizzle of olive oil.

10. Have cauliflower as a side dish.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, a cousin to broccoli and Brussels sprouts, high in fiber and low in calories. It is an excellent, low-calorie source of potassium. One cup of chopped raw cauliflower contains 320 mg in only 27 calories

11. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate for dessert.

Saving the best for last, research found that people who eat dark chocolate have lower rates of heart disease than people who do not. Chocolate contains flavonols, phytochemicals which may reduce heart disease risk. However, remember that amounts count and aim for one small square.

And, finally, because no one got heart disease from a deficiency of chocolate, if you are not a chocolate lover, no need to start indulging. Finishing off your meal with fresh fruit will do just fine.

We would love to hear your favorite heart-healthy foods.


Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-lisa-young/healthy-eating-tips_b_6633216.html

December Is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Date: December 2, 2014

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month focuses on both drunk driving and the growing problem of drugged driving.  Drugged driving has been overlooked for a number of years, but research shows it may be responsible for more than 20 percent of car crashes.  Below are some resources for your chapter to plan activities as part of this month.

Read more here: http://stopdruggeddriving.org/


Source: http://sadd.org/