HYPNOSIS AND OTHER NON-DRUG OPTIONS FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL

    It is likely that if you are over 50, you may have been advised to take a cholesterol-lowering statin drug for high cholesterol.  In fact about 25% of American adults are currently taking a statin.  HIgh cholesterol is considered a major health risk which can lead to heart attacks, blood clots and atherosclerosis.

    Unfortunately, though statins can lower risk for a small number of people who have already had a heart attack, the use of statins for people who had not been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease helped prevent heart attacks by only 1 per cent to 2 per cent.  In addition, statins can cause side effects from myalgia or muscle pain to statin related muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure and even death.

     Barbara H. Roberts, MD, is the author of the book THE TRUTH ABOUT STATINS: RISKS AND ALTERNATIVES TO CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUGS and the director of the Women's Cardiac Center at The Miriam Hospital and a clinical associate professor of medicine at Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She writes that sometimes statin side effects are an acceptable exchange for people who have had had a heart attack, cardiocvascular disease or have familial hypercholesterolemia which is caused by a genetic problem.  But for most of her patients, she advises lifestyle changes to increase HDL and reduce triglycerides.

   The first thing she suggested was to really work on having a healthier diet.  She recommended the Mediterranean diet which includes less beef, lamb and pork and more whole grains, vegetables, fruit and fish.  Dr. Roberts specifically recommended eating seafood a few times a week because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish reduce inflammation and triglycerides.  Avoiding simple cards, the "white" foods like white bread, white pasta and white rice was encouraged. A study by The Lyon Diet Heart Study concluded that patients following a Mediterranean diet highly improved their chances of avoiding another heart attack.  Though the LDL was about the same as those in the control group, people following the western diet were 70% less likely to have a heart attack.

    Dr. Roberts also highly recommends the consumption of more extra-virgin olive oil which helps increase HDL and inhibits oxidized cholesterol from stiffening the arteries (atherosclerosis) which can lead to higher blood pressure. Another recommendation was that drinking one glass of a high-antioxidant red wine for women and no more than two glasses of red wine for men can help reduce risk of heart disease.

   If you want to try for a non-drug option for high cholesterol, you have to add in exercise. One of the best ways to minimize your heart disease risk is to move regularly.  Experts recommend at least 150 minutes of movement. You don't have to go to the gym.  Biking, swimming and walking can all help.

   And that is where hypnosis comes in.  I work with intelligent and highly educated clients.  They know what to do.  They just aren't doing it.  If you are hoping to avoid drugs for high cholesterol  and their possible side effects, you need to be following Dr. Roberts' suggestions.  If you need help getting started and getting motivated to make those changes, hypnosis can help.  Get started and BE WELL>

MAJOR ILLNESSES LINKED TO SMOKING. QUIT WITH HYPNOSIS

     A report published in JAMA INTERNAL MEDICINE by researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, was an analysis of data from 2006 through 2012 on data from two national health surveys.  The analysis showed the huge toll of smoking on smokers' health.  At the time of the report, smoking was linked to 14 million cases of major illness in the United States.  The report concluded that for each death caused by smoking in the U.S. at that time, fifteen to twenty people were suffering with a major disease caused by their smoking habit.

   I once had a close friend justify her smoking habit with the comment, "Everyone has to die of something".  Well, she died of lung cancer that spread to her brain.  Major diseases like cancer and heart disease are often side-effects of smoking.  If you have been thinking about quitting smoking, don't wait until you have a bad diagnosis. 

    Recently a message was left on my voice mail, I'd like to share with you."Hi, Jennifer,  This is Elizabeth _____, Today is the first anniversary of quitting smoking with your help.  Thanks to you, I'll never smoke another cigarette.  I feel so much better.  My life is better.  My grandkids get to keep me.  Thank you so much."  Don't wait for a major illness to quit smoking.  Hypnosis can help you stop and BE WELL.

HYPNOSIS FOR ANXIETY AND TO LESSEN DEMENTIA RISK

   If you experience high anxiety regularly, you have a higher risk of developing dementia.  Andrew J. Petkus, a PhD research associate at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, reported on a 28 year study of people who reported experiencing high anxiety.  Those people were found to have a 48% higher risk of developing anxiety than those who reported low levels of anxiety.

    The researchers noted that chronic anxiety is a precursor to higher levels of stress hormones.  In turn, those hormones can damage the parts of the brain involved with memory.  If you suffer from chronic anxiety, get help.  Your first step is to talk to your doctor about the right treatment for you which may include psychotherapy, anti-anxiety medications or alternative therapies such as acupuncture and herbal treatments.

    Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to treat chronic anxiety either as a stand-alone treatment or as an adjunct therapy to medication or psychotherapy. Lessen your anxiety and dementia risk with the use of hypnosis and BE WELL.

USE HYPNOSIS IF INSOMNIA AFFECTS YOUR SEX LIFE

      Still another reason to get help for your insomnia.  A study of almost 94,000 women in the 50 to 79 age range was done by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.  The results, presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society in Las Vegas. indicated that nearly 30% of postmenopausal women reported that they suffered from insomnia.  The researchers went on to report that the women with sleep problems were less sexually active than similar women without insomnia.

     If you are suffering from sleep loss caused by insomnia, there are more solutions than medications.  This blog site has several articles on ways to deal with less sleep and insomnia. Check out what you can do for better sleep hygiene and better seep.  Since the study indicates insomnia can be detrimental to your sex life, get the tools you need to have better and longer sleep.  Hypnosis can be a valuable tool to help deal with your insomnia, have a more active sex life and BE WELL.

    

HEAVY DRINKER OR ALCOHOLIC?

     According to a report in THE NEW YORK TIMES of a survey of 138,100 adults by researchers at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, not everyone who is a heavy drinker is an alcoholic.  The report differentiated between those who are considered to be drinking excessively but are not physically or mentally addicted to alcohol, the definition of "alcoholism, and those who are addicted.

     The study found that 29% of the population of the United States meets the definition for excessive drinking.  That definition is four or more drinks at one time or eight or more during a week for women and five or more drinks in one sitting or 15 or more drinks during a week for men.

     If you are an alcoholic, it is highly likely you will need rehab and a substance-abuse counselor along with a support program to stay free of alcohol.  Hypnosis can be added support to get an alcoholic through rehabilitation and into a program,  A hypnotherapist can help you go from addiction to alcohol to an enthusiastic desire to attend meetings like Alcohol Anonymous.

    If you are a heavy drinker and want to stop drinking completely, hypnosis can be a great tool to achieve that goal.  Hypnosis can be useful along with other appropriate professionals to be alcohol free and BE WELL. 

E-CIGS DON'T HELP. HYPNOSIS DOES

     Many e-cigarette users report trying to quit smoking by using them along with regular cigarettes.  Stanton Clantz, PhD, a professor of medicine at University of California-San Francisco and director of the university's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education reported that people trying to quit smoking by using a combination of regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes were 28% LESS likely to quit smoking than those using regular cigarettes alone.

   You can quit smoking.  In the late 1960s one half the population smoked.  Today, far fewer people smoke.  If you are trying to become a nonsmoker, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to help you give up cigarettes.  E-cigarettes are not the answer.  They just prolong the problem.  Set yourself free with the help of hypnotherapy.  Be an active, healthy nonsmoker and BE WELL.

MILLIONS OF LIVES SAVED BY ANTISMOKING EFFORTS

In 2012 researchers at Yale University School of Public Health in New Haven, CT analyzed their data on smoking cessation along with data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.  This analysis was published in THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.  They reported that since the 1964 report by the Surgeon General identifying the dangers of smoking, the rate of smoking fell from 42% in 1964 to 18% in 2012.  They estimated that the antismoking effort engendered by the report had saved eight million lives at that time.

If you are a smoker and want the best chance at having a long, healthy life, it's time to become a healthy nonsmoker.  There is a special section of my website www.JenniferPJohnson on being a health nonsmoker.  Plus you can find a number of blog post articles on quitting smoking and becoming a nonsmoker through hypnosis,  Claim that long, healthy life today,  Quit smoking and BE WELL.

 

 

    

HYPNOSIS FOR MORE YOUTHFUL SKIN

    No, there are no magic words that will give you a more youthful skin.  But hypnosis can help you get motivated to exercise.  And a study presented at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, indicated that people over age 40 who exercised regularly improved their skin condition significantly.

     By the age of 40, people's skin has started to change.  The stratum corneum or top layer of skin has started to thicken.  This makes the skin look dry and flaky.  At the same time, the dermis, or second layer of skin, begins to thin and be less elastic.  

     The study found that those who were over 40 and exercised regularly had a healthier, thinner top layer of skin and a thicker dermis layer.  In addition, in just three months those over the age of 65 exercising regularly had less sagging, crow's feet and fewer wrinkles.

   Having youthful skin helps you look your best.  Exercise helps you be healthier and feel your best.  If you need motivation to get moving, look your best and be well, hypnotherapy can be a great tool.

HYPNOSIS FOR INSOMNIA

    Do you find yourself yawning all the time?  You may yawn simply because someone around you has yawned.  A study conducted at Duke University in Durham, NC, found that almost half of adults are affected by contagious yawning.  In a few rare cases, constant yawning can also be a symptom of a medical problem caused by heart disease, brain disease or multiple sclerosis.  The disorder, sleep apnea, which causes frequent interruptions in breathing during sleep, can also cause yawning the next day.

    For most people who find themselves yawning all the time, it simply means that you are fatigued and didn't get enough sleep.  Sleep researchers believe that most adults need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to be alert during the day.  For those who are sleep-deprived, exhaustion from lack of sleep is often the result.  In addition, M. Safwan Badr, MD, and a past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, in Darien Illinois, has reported that research shows those who sleep poorly often are poor judges of their level of alertness.  Dr. Badr, described one study in which, sleep-deprived adults reported feeling alert but took twice as long to make correct decisions as did those who said they were well rested.

     Good quality sleep is important.  In this blog are several articles on sleep hygiene which can give you some action items to improve your sleep.  In addition, a session of hypnotherapy can be a valuable to tool to improve insomnia and BE WELL. 

GET MOTIVATED TO HIGH-INTENSITY EXERCISE

     Do you often feel that you just don't have time for a thirty or even ten minute block of time for exercise?  If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, you may feel that it's of no use to try since you simply don't have time.  A recent study of more than 4,500 adults reported by Jessie X. Fan, PhD, professor of family and consumer studies at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City found that lack of larger blocks of time for exercise did not mean it was hopeless to try to lose or maintain weight.

    The researchers in the study found that intense, short bouts of moderate to more vigorous exercise was sufficient to help people lose or maintain weight.  Brisk walking every day or stair climbing were considered in the moderate to vigorous exercise category, 

     So no more excuses.  If you are short on time, set a goal of brief periods of as little as one minute at a time of vigorous exercise. If you sit at a desk all day, getting up once and hour to take a quick walk around the block or climb the stairs outside your office may be all you need to lose or maintain weight one minute at a time.  If you need some motivation to start doing brief periods of high-intensity exercise, hypnotherapy can help.  

THE MEDICAL RISK OF LONELINESS

    People suffering from loneliness often recognize that it affects their overall emotional well-being.  They may not be aware that it can also influence their physical well-being.  Carla Perissinotto, MD, assistant clinical professor of geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.  reported on a study which tracked 1,604 people over a six year period who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time.  The average age of the subjects was 71.  

    Those who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time were 59% more likely to experience functional decline, such as finding climbing stairs more difficult.  And, even more concerning, those who reported feeling lonely at least some of the time were 45% more likely to die within six years than those who did not report feeling lonely.  This indicates that loneliness is a medical risk factor similar to having diabetes or high blood pressure.

    What can you do to cut that risk?  First of all, your medical doctor may not ask about loneliness so be sure to report those feelings at your physicals.  As people age, old friends may not be available due to moving, ill health or even having passed away.  Find ways to add new people into your life through activities such as service to your community, joining a club, taking a class at the community college, attending a religious service.  Hypnosis can be a valuable tool to motivate you to make the changes necessary to alleviate loneliness that can hurt your health.  

EXCESS BELLY FAT AND STRESS

     Have a big belly and can't figure out why?  Besides bad eating habits and lack of exercise, your body may be responding to stress.  Stress may be caused internally by physical issues such as infections and inflammation or externally by everything from relationship issues to financial problems to dealing with a challenging commute.  Chronic stress can cause your adrenal gland to release the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol, in turn, can reduce the production of testosterone and estrogen.

      If you have high cortisol levels,  you may not only have excess belly fat but also be struggling with low libido, insomnia, a weakened immune system and high blood pressure.  Low cortisol levels caused by worn-out adrenal glands no longer producing enough cortisol can cause chronic fatigue and general apathy.  Effective stress management is necessary to overall hormonal balance to protect you from these problems.

    Using a variety of stress management techniques can help you deal with those health issues caused by high or low cortisol levels.  Getting enough sleep is critical.  Check past posts on this blog for articles on dealing with insomnia.  Find time for yourself to do something you enjoy - spending time on a pleasant activity is a great way to relieve stress

 .  Exercise is a wonderful way to relieve stress.  Think about when you were a kid, if you liked to run and play, get out and take a walk, or ride a bike or fly a kite.  If you liked to swim go to the Y or Rec Center, or take a class, a Pilates class or a dance class.  Moving can release endorphins to help you deal with stress.  

    Deep breathing is another great way to fight stress.  Breathe in for a count of four, hold for a count of six and exhale to a count of six.  Whenever you feel stressed, begin this process until you feel yourself begin to relax. 

    Hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to relieve stress.  Some hypnotherapists including myself, encourage clients to record their hypnosis session on their cell phone so they can use it later for relaxation.  Obviously, a recording is never used while driving or operating machinery, but can be a great tool for relaxation at home lying on your bed or sofa.  

   If you are seeing signs of cortisol imbalance causing problems such as excess belly fat, try some of these stress-relievers, see a hypnotherapist and BE WELL.

SIT LESS, GET MOVING AND LIVE LONGER

   If you are reading this, it's likely it's time to get up and move.  An analysis of health data for 167,000 adults, reported by Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD, associate executive director for population science, Pennington Biomedical Center at Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, found that length of life expectancy was correlated to a sedentary life style.

    The researchers found that those who were sedentary for less than three hours per day had   a life expectancy two years longer than those who sat for three or more hours a day.  Diabetes, heart disease and other health problems are correlated to a sedentary lifestyle.  If you work at a desk for three hours a day or more, set aside times to get up and move,  A simple timer that rings once an hour or every 90 minute can be a reminder  and may prolong your life.

    If you need a little motivation to get moving, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool.  Sit less.  Get moving.  Live longer and BE WELL.

WHAT TO DO AFTER A STROKE OR HEART ATTACK

      A report published in BMJ on an analysis of 305 studies by Huseyin Naci, a fellow at Harvard Medical School, Boston and a doctoral candidate in pharmaceutical policy and economics at London School of Economics, reported that exercise may work better than medication after a stroke or heart attack to prevent early death.  Naci reported moderate-intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking for at least two-and-half hours per week worked as well as medication for heart attack patients.  It was more effective than drugs for stroke patients who were able to exercise.  

    Obviously, medical doctors need to discuss lifestyle changes as well as the use of medications with patients who have had either a heart attack or stroke. In many cases, a combination of drugs and exercise may be the best in preventing early death for those patients.

    If you have been approved and encouraged to start moderate-intensity aerobic exercise by your medical doctor following a stroke or heart attack, hypnosis can be a valuable tool to get moving. Use motivation to get moving and BE WELL.

HAVING FRIENDS IMPROVES YOUR HEALTH

     While we are in school, making friends may be natural and easy.  We are living in close proximity with people of similar age and interests.  But as we mature, marry, have families and are involved with jobs which may move us from those original friends, many of us fail to renew old friendships or replace them with new ones. 

    If we are lucky, a few special friendships may last a lifetime.  But often people may come into our lives for a time and then be part of our pasts. Even those "friends for a season" can provide us with the many benefits of friendship from companionship to a sense of community. In addition, friends can strengthen our health.  

     Numerous studies have found that having friends boosts our health.  The stress relief and positive feelings friendship brings into our lives are real positives in health improvements.  A federally supported study of 503 women with risks factors for heart disease were done for several years. The women wereassessed for their social relationships and tests for coronary artery disease.  Tracking the deaths and causes of death within that group of women, the researchers found that those with larger social circles were less than half as likely to die within a few years

    An interesting 10 year Australian study found that those with the strongest networks of friends lived the longest.  Survival rates were barely affected by contact with relatives including children. 

   Two Harvard School of Public Health studies, one done with as part of the 50 plus year old Framingham Masschusetts Heart Study and one by the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, reported higher social activity was correlated to less risk for cardiovascular disease.  The Framingham Heart Study found that marker levels for inflammation that is linked to cardiovascular disease were lowest in the most socially active men and highest in least active men,  The Geffen School study found that socially active men produced more fibrogen, a desirable protein that aids blood in clotting.

     If you have gotten out of the habit of making friends, have social anxiety or need to get motivated to make the effort it takes to make friends, hypnosis can help.  Having friends will improve your life and help you to BE WELL. 

SLEEP HABITS AFFECT YOUR WEIGHT

    An article published in AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HEALTH PROMOTION reported on a study of 330 students by researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  The study compared students sleep habits and their body fat.  The primary finding was that regular sleep habits can help you keep slim.  The researchers identified consistent sleep habits as those in which the subject's bedtime and wake-up time varied by an hour or less each day.  They concluded that people with those consistent sleep habits including bedtimes and wake-up times had less body fat than those whose sleep habits were most erratic.

    The recommendation was that the best amount of time to sleep was six-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half hours per night.  If one of your New Year's resolutions was to go to bed earlier, sleep better or have more consistent sleep habits, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool to help.  Your sleep habits affect your weight.  Improve them, have less body fat and BE WELL.

AVOID THE HOLIDAY BLUES

    December is here and while some people are anticipating a month of fun and happiness, others are dreading a month of too many activities and too many expectations.  Often they may turn to food or drink for comfort when the demands of December leave them feeling down.

     There are a couple of important things to avoid if you've got the blues.  The first is alcohol.  Although when initially consumed, alcohol can produce euphoria and cause you to be less inhibited and more animated, in fact, alcohol is a depressant of the central nervous system.  With continued drinking, the depressant effect predominates as alcohol crosses the blood-brain barrier.

     Avoiding baked goods can also help you avoid the blues.  This is particularly important during the holiday season when we are absolutely surrounded by baked treats.  High-fat and high sugar carbs are sitting out at the office, served at every social function and on the table throughout the holidays.  Like alcohol, the sweet treats give a temporary lift and good feelings.  But often the excess sweet, fat food intake results in feeling heavy, drowsy and depressed.

    If you consume more alcohol and baked goods during the holiday, these can certainly add to those holiday blues.  If you need a tool to avoid those depression triggers, hypnotherapy can be a valuable tool.  Control your eating and drinking.  Avoid the holiday blues, feel good and BE WELL through the holidays.

IMPROVE MEMORY AND ATTENTION WITH YOGA

    If you are over the age of 55 and would like to improve your memory and attention, a study reported by Neha Gothe, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, suggests that hatha yoga could be the answer.  The eight-week study found that an hour-long class of hatha yoga,  the most commonly practiced form of yoga in the world,  practiced three times a week by adults over age 55 could significantly improve attention and memory.  This improvement was found to be greater than adults who simply did toning and stretching exercises.

    The controlled breathing and the focus required to hold positions were suggested to be reasons for the improvement.  If you have been thinking about taking a yoga class, now may be the time.  If you need some motivation to get started, hypnotherapy can hep you get motivated and BE WELL.  

CAFFEINE AND PANIC ATTACKS

      If you are one of the 90% of Americans adults who drink caffeinated coffee, tea or soda, be aware you are consuming a potent drug.  According to Wilkie A. Wilson, Jr. PhD, a neuropharmacologist and research professor of prevention science at the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University, caffeine is in so many beverages and foods, it is likely you may be consuming more than you realize.  Even some over-the-counter-medications may contain caffeine.  For example, the pain medication, Excedrin, has 65 mg of caffeine per table. The FDA recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.  Since one cup of coffee can have as much as 200 - 300 mg of caffeine per day, it's easy to see how we can go beyond that recommendation.

     Some consumption of caffeine can actually have positive health effects. Studies have shown positive results such as headache relief, fewer gallstones, less Parkinson's disease and less cognitive decline in those consuming caffeine products.  Unfortunately, there are also negative effects in caffeine use including, high blood pressure, incontinence, sleep problems and impaired glucose regulation.

     If you are suffering from stress or panic attacks, be aware caffeine increases the hormone, adrenaline, which is already higher during times of stress.  And Dr. Wilson has noted that large amounts of caffeine, defined as about three cups of coffee, can actually trigger a panic attack.

     Hypnosis can be a valuable tool in cutting back or eliminating caffeine in your diet. Use hypnosis, feel better and BE WELL.