Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Healthy body, healthy mind: a double payoff for exercise

The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, and even moderate sadness and feelings of anxiety can be improved

By Dr. Paul Latimer
Troy Media
KELOWNA, B.C. / Troy Media/ - Not only is exercise good for our bodies, it's also good for our minds.
Most people with a regular exercise routine will tell you that it makes you feel good physically and is a helpful way of reducing stress, improving confidence and self-esteem, and increasing energy. It adds to a general sense of well-being.
Although most fitness research in the past focused on physical and health benefits, growing evidence shows that exercise also improves and promotes mental health. Beyond simple stress relief, exercise can help reduce depression and anxiety, this new research shows.
Exercise increases endorphin levels in the brain. These chemicals act as the body's pain killers and cause increased feelings of happiness.
An American university study examined people suffering from depression over a four-month period. It found that 60 per cent of those who exercised for at least 30 minutes three times a week overcame their depression without medication. This is the same success rate as for those who only used medication to treat their depression.
These are promising results - and they aren't the only ones available on the subject. Several other studies have consistently shown that exercise can lead to a significant reduction in depression. Research also shows that these benefits can begin as early as the first exercise session and may last after the exercise is finished.
Other studies examined the relationship between exercise and anxiety. Analysis of many studies conducted over the past several decades found that more than 80 per cent concluded that physical activity and fitness are related to the reduction of anxiety. Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming or cycling seems to be the most effective.
Of course, you don't have to have a clinically significant amount of depression or anxiety to receive the mental health benefits of exercise. Even moderate sadness and feelings of anxiety can be improved with exercise.
The relationship between mental health and exercise can also work in reverse. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health examined teenagers. It found that those with low levels of physical activity and more sedentary behaviour had a much higher likelihood of developing depression after one year. The study concluded that this lack of activity constituted a risk factor for depression.
Mental ability can also improve with exercise. Some research shows that regular exercise improves cognitive function. One study at a university in Japan looked at a group of volunteers who began a jogging regimen. Their memory and mental ability increased throughout the study. When the exercise stopped, the benefits reduced, showing the importance of regular and maintained exercise.
All of this is promising for those suffering from these psychiatric conditions, but simple exercise is not be a cure-all. Not everyone will get better without more formal treatment from a doctor. If you are depressed or anxious, it is still wise to speak with your doctor about it.
Don't be discouraged if jumping on the treadmill doesn't make you feel completely better. Other help is also available.
On the other hand, exercise will not make you worse and everyone can benefit to some degree.
These benefits can be felt even with moderate exercise. You don't necessarily have to spend hours and hours a week at the gym.
The important thing is just to get out there and get moving - for your physical and mental well-being.
Dr. Paul Latimer is president of Okanagan Clinical Trials and a Kelowna psychiatrist. Paul is included in Troy Media's Unlimited Access subscription plan.
© 2016 Distributed by Troy Media

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What exactly IS botox and is it really safe?

Some turn to cosmetic surgery while others consider botox injections to rid them of their visible ageing signs.

But many fear the injections could cause damage to the rest of the body after research found the toxic chemical - which freezes cells in the face - can spread across the body.  
But don't worry, now a dermatologist says it is completely safe and you can stop at any time without any lasting effects.

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Monday, November 28, 2016


Plastic surgery has improved the lives of millions. There are those, however, who expect more from plastic surgery than it can possibly give them.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Health system ignores frail Canadians when they need help most

It's time we improved the quality and quantity of care for frail Canadians - and improved the health system for everyone in the process

By John Muscedere
and Fred Horne
KINGSTON, Ont., EDMONTON, Alta. / Troy Media/ - Canada's health system too often fails to deliver the complex care that frail patients need between urgent health events.
When a frail older patient has an acute health crisis in Canada, the system usually delivers excellent service.
John Muscedere
Click image for Hi-Res
But health - like quality care - is determined by more than just response to medical emergencies.
The truth is, we rarely deliver quality chronic care, comprehensive home care or continuous care, and in particular, poorly handle transitions between care settings and providers.
We also often neglect more cost-effective interventions with proven health and quality of life benefits, such as social supports that can help people age in place.
Our overemphasis on acute care needs, and the consequent neglect of other aspects of the health system, have serious consequences - especially for those who are frail. These consequences include worsened health outcomes and increased health costs.
Fred Horne
Click image for Hi-Res
The burden of 'frailty' in Canada is steadily growing. Today, approximately 25 per cent of those over age 65 and 50 per cent of those over 85 - more than one million Canadians - are medically frail. In 10 years, well over two million Canadians may be living with frailty.
Frailty is defined as a state of increased vulnerability, with reduced reserve and loss of function across multiple body systems. Frailty reduces the ability to cope with normal or minor stresses, such as infections, which can cause rapid and dramatic changes in health.
Frail people are at higher risk for worsened health outcomes and death than we would expect based on age alone.
The risk of becoming frail increases with age, but the two are not the same.
Frail Canadians are the major consumers of health care in all settings. Of the $220 billion spent on health care annually in Canada (11 per cent of gross domestic product), 45 per cent is spent on those over 65 years old, although they only represent 15 per cent of the population.
In spite of higher utilization of health care resources for those who are frail, many therapies haven't been evaluated in this population and we don't know if they are beneficial, cause harm, are cost-effective or waste resources.
Are we overtreating some frailty with ineffective therapies and tests, yet not providing adequate social and medical supports in other areas?
The answer is almost certainly yes.
It's time we improved the quality and quantity of care for frail Canadians - and improved the health system for everyone in the process. Here's how:
We need to break down silos of care based on single diseases, single organ failure, settings of care or clinical disciplines. Addressing frailty requires a co-ordinated, multidisciplinary approach. Instead of having multiple specialist appointments and replicating tests across different facilities, we could have one-stop shops that cater to the needs of patients, not providers.
We need to address the needs of frail elderly in a more equitable health system across the country. As we outlined in our brief to the Finance Committee 2017 pre-budget consultations, we could establish funding based on age and frailty instead of the current per capita model.
Funding enhancements should be directed towards strengthening primary health care, along with social and economic supports. Most frail adults live in the community; strengthening primary care and community supports are crucial to help them age in their preferred settings.
We need to provide patients, clinicians and decision-makers with high-quality evidence on the effectiveness of treatments for the frail. Most research excludes the very sick and the elderly. Without evidence, aggressive and expensive therapies are often overused without improvement in outcomes, resulting in poor quality of life and wasted resources.
We need to improve the recognition and assessment of frailty to aid in implementing more appropriate care and planning.
Identifying the most vulnerable of our aging population will allow us to institute appropriate care plans and improve supports - so we can improve outcomes, quality of life and the use of resources.
John Muscedere is the scientific director and CEO of the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN), a not-for-profit organization funded by the government of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence program. CFN's mandate is to improve the care for frail elderly Canadians and their families within the health care system. Fred Horne is a health policy consultant and adjunct professor with the University of Alberta's School of Public Health. He was Alberta minister of Health from 2011 to 2014 and served as chair of the Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health. He is a member of the CFN Board of Directors.
© 2016 Distributed by Troy Media