Weight Loss

The muscles, ligaments, and tissues of the pelvic floor support the bladder, rectum, and sexual organs. When the supportive structures weaken or become especially tight, doctors describe it as pelvic floor dysfunction. It is a common health issue.

When a person has pelvic floor dysfunction, the organs in the pelvis may drop. They often press down on the bladder or rectum, causing a leakage of urine or stool. Or, a person with this condition may have trouble urinating or passing stool.

Keep reading to learn more about pelvic floor dysfunction — including the symptoms, treatments, and some exercises that may help.

What is pelvic floor dysfunction?

The pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, and tissues that surround the pelvic bone. The muscles attach to the front, back, and sides of the bone, as well as to the lowest part of the spine, called the sacrum.

The function of the pelvic floor is to support the organs in the pelvis, which can include the:

  • bladder
  • rectum
  • urethra
  • uterus
  • vagina
  • prostate

People with pelvic floor dysfunction may have weak or especially tight pelvic floor muscles.

When the muscles tighten, or spasm, people may have trouble urinating or passing stool. When they weaken, the organs within the pelvis may drop and press down on the rectum and bladder.

The table below outlines several common types of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Type of pelvic floor dysfunctionDescription
Obstructed defecationThis occurs when stool enters the rectum, but the body cannot fully evacuate the bowels.
RectoceleThis involves tissue from the rectum protruding into the vagina. Stool may get caught in this pocket, forming a bulge in the vagina.
Pelvic organ prolapseThis refers to the pelvic floor stretching and the pelvic organs dropping as a result of age, childbirth, or a collagen disorder.
Paradoxical puborectalis contractionThis involves a pelvic floor muscle called the puborectalis contracting. When it happens, trying to pass stool may feel like pushing against a closed door.
Levator syndromeThis involves the pelvic floor muscles spasming after bowel movements. It can cause lasting dull pain or achy pressure high in the rectum.
CoccygodyniaThis refers to pain in the tailbone that worsens during and after bowel movements.
Proctalgia fugaxThis involves painful spasms of the rectum and muscles in the pelvic floor.
Pudendal neuralgiaThis refers to irritation or damage to the pudendal nerves, which help the pelvis function.
UrethroceleThis refers to the urethra pressing into the vagina.
EnteroceleThis involves the small intestine descending and pushing into the vagina, forming a bulge.
CystoceleThis involves the bladder dropping and pushing into the vagina.
Uterine prolapseThis refers to the uterus descending and pushing into the vagina.

Symptoms

Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms, and some can interfere with daily life.

Depending on the type of pelvic floor dysfunction, a person may experience:

  • pelvic pain
  • pressure
  • a bulge somewhere in the lower pelvic region
  • stress urinary incontinence, which involves a small amount of urine leaking from the body due to an activity such as coughing
  • involuntary leakage of stool
  • incomplete urination
  • bowel movement dysfunction
  • pain during sexual intercourse

Also, some people who see their doctors about bladder overactivity find that pelvic floor dysfunction is responsible.

Causes

Many issues can cause the structures of the pelvic floor to weaken, including:

  • age
  • systemic diseases
  • lasting health issues that cause increased pressure in the abdomen and pelvis, such as a chronic cough
  • pregnancy
  • trauma during delivery
  • multiple deliveries
  • large babies
  • operative delivery

Research indicates that stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or both occur in about half of all women who have given birth. These issues are closely associated with birth-related injury to the pelvic floor muscles.

The pelvic floor muscles can also stretch naturally with age. Stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse become more common with increasing age in females, for example.

Collagen disorders can also affect the muscles’ ability to support the pelvic organs.

Meanwhile, coccygodynia usually stems from trauma to the tailbone, such as from a fall. That said, in about one-third of people with the condition, the cause of coccygodynia is unknown. The pain can make having a bowel movement difficult.

Exercises

Doctors recommend pelvic floor exercises in various situations.

They may particularly benefit pregnant women because the pelvic floor muscles can stretch and weaken during labor. Strengthening these muscles may help prevent incontinence after the baby is born. Some doctors recommend that women who wish to become pregnant start the exercises ahead of time.

Males can also benefit from pelvic floor exercises, though the dysfunction is more common in females. In males, these exercises can help prevent pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence and improve sexual intercourse.

To exercise these muscles, a person should be sitting comfortably. Then, they should attempt to squeeze their pelvic muscles without holding their breath.

It is important to isolate the correct muscles without tightening those of the stomach, buttocks, or and thighs.

Doctors recommend that females aim to do 10 long squeezes — holding each for 10 seconds — followed by 10 short squeezes. However, initially, it may be a good idea to practice holding a squeeze for a few seconds at a time.

By practicing frequently, a person should be able to add more contractions to their routine week by week. It is important to do this gradually and to avoid overworking the muscles.

Within a few months, a person may notice a reduction in their symptoms. Even if symptoms resolve completely, a person should continue strengthening these muscles.

There are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor dysfunction. A person may find that consulting one of these professionals leads to a better outcome.

Treatment

Doctors determine the cause of pelvic floor dysfunction before recommending treatment because different types of dysfunction require different approaches.

The purpose of treatment is to relieve or reduce symptoms and improve the person’s quality of life. For some people, a combination of treatment methods works best.

Doctors may recommend:

  • Dietary changes: For example, eating more fiber, drinking more fluids, and taking certain medications can make bowel movements easier.
  • Laxatives: Taking a daily laxative may help people with pelvic floor dysfunction pass stool, but it is important to consult a healthcare provider first because not all laxatives are equally effective.
  • Pain relief: Some people require injections of pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication to relieve their symptoms.
  • Biofeedback: This involves electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy, or massage of the pelvic floor muscles to help improve rectal sensation and muscle contraction.
  • Pessary: A doctor or nurse inserts a pessary into the vagina to support prolapsed organs. This type of device can help treat various symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, either as an alternative to surgery or while a person awaits surgery.
  • Surgery: When prolapse interferes with daily activities, a doctor may recommend surgery. Large rectoceles also require surgery if the person experiences symptoms.

Stem cell therapies

Researchers behind a 2016 study investigated whether a stem cell-based therapy could resolve pelvic floor dysfunction in rats.

The researchers engineered the stem cells to produce and release elastin and collagen into the pelvic floor and injected them into rats with pelvic floor dysfunction.

The elastin and collagen promoted the repair of pelvic floor structures and decreased signs of stress urinary incontinence.

In a final component of the study, the researchers developed stem cells that blocked a factor that stops the production of elastin. This promoted increased production and release of elastin into the pelvic floor.

With further studies, researchers may find that similar therapies are effective in humans.

When to see a doctor

Anyone who experiences painful bowel movements, difficulty urinating or passing stool, pelvic pain, or pain during sexual intercourse should speak with a doctor.

An unusual bulge in the lower pelvic region may also be a reason to see a doctor, though a bulge alone may not be a cause for concern.

People with pelvic floor dysfunction have plenty of treatment options. While the topic may be uncomfortable to bring up with a doctor, it is important to seek professional advice about these symptoms.

While some family doctors may not be familiar with pelvic floor dysfunction, specialists such as colorectal doctors, urologists, and gynecologists can help diagnose the issue and recommend the best course of action.

Summary

Pelvic floor dysfunction can affect anyone, but pregnant women have the highest risk.

The various types of pelvic floor dysfunction stem from different causes, and a doctor must identify the underlying issue before developing a treatment plan.

Exercises can help some people with pelvic floor dysfunction. Depending on the cause, a doctor may also recommend dietary changes, medication, a pessary, biofeedback, or surgery.

In last week’s Thursday’s edition of the Guardian Newspaper, I wrote generally on the fruit berries. Having done that I have also seen the richness of individual berries in the group of fruits in what is called berries. For this reason I have decided to write about four of the commonest fruits in this group.

It is important for us to know that there are berries in such shops as Shoprite, SPAR etc. In other words, these fruits can easily be found and bought here in Nigeria.

Strawberries are juicy and delicious nutrient-rich fruits, which are full of antioxidants. Minerals and vitamins commonly found in strawberries are potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin CC.

Health benefits of strawberries

Boosts the immune system
Strawberries are a powerful source of vitamin C, which is an established immune booster. Vitamin C is also a well-known antioxidant. It is a fast working antioxidant, which effectively neutralises free radicals and contributes to the effectiveness of the Vitamin Antioxidant Defense System. Consumption of one serving of strawberries is sure to provide one half of our body’s daily requirement of vitamin C

Helps to prevent cancer
Vitamin C, the antioxidant neutralizes free radicals that would have destroyed cells and DNA and possibly cause cancer (vitamin C boosts the immune system). Ellagic acid is a phytonutrient that is also found in strawberry. Ellagic acid has been found to exhibit anti-cancer properties by suppressing cancer growth. Lutein and zeaxanthin (zeathanins) are free fatty acids also found in strawberry. They are antioxidants, which mop up free radicals and prevent oxidative stress damage of cells.

Ensures healthy vision
Strawberry, by its antioxidant function can help to prevent cataract formation. Cataract can lead to blindness in old age. The UV rays from the sun causes the release of free radicals from the protein in the lens. Sufficient vitamin C in the system neutralizes these free radicals and prevents damage to the lens of the eyes. Also, vitamin C functions in strengthening of the cornea and retina of the eye.

Cholesterol Lowering Effect
Strawberries are included in the list of heart-healthy foods. Ellagic acid and flavonoids in strawberries are antioxidants, which prevent the build up of plaques on the walls of arteries by the LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood circulation. The anti-inflammatory effect of ellagic acid and flavonoids also prevent heart disease.

Reduction of inflammation
Arthritis, which is inflammation of the joints have also been found to respond positive to the antioxidants and phytochemicals in strawberries. An elevated C-reactive protein is an indication of inflammation. This CRP has been shown to decrease in those who consume strawberries regularly.

Effect on blood pressure
Potassium is richly found in strawberries – about 134mg per serving. Potassium is a buffer against the negative effect of sodium in the cell, which leads to a reduction of the blood pressure.

Increase intake of fibre
Fibre helps in the healthy digestion of food in the intestine and prevents conditions such as constipation and diverticulitis. Fibre also helps to reduce the absorption of glucose in the blood. Strawberries are a good source of fibre.

Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer in adults in the United States. It is also the leading cause of death from cancer.

Lung cancer treatment is much more effective when the disease is in its earlier stages. However, most people with lung cancer do not experience symptoms until the disease has spread.

Some people experience subtle symptoms of early stage lung cancer, but these symptoms more often stem from other health issues or factors such as smoking.

Below, we describe early symptoms of lung cancer, as well as risk factors and when to see a doctor.

Possible signs and symptoms of early stage lung cancer

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), most types of lung cancer do not cause symptoms until they have spread to other areas.

However, some people experience subtle symptoms during the earlier stages of the disease.

The early lung cancer symptoms that we describe below usually result from some other cause. However, people who experience these symptoms should consider visiting their doctors as a precautionary measure.

Sudden weight loss

The American Society of Clinical Oncology report that weight loss is often the first noticeable sign of cancer.

They estimate that 40% of people who receive a cancer diagnosis experience unexplained weight loss during that time.

Cancer can cause weight loss for many reasons, including:

  • changes to immune function
  • changes to metabolism
  • changes to hormones
  • a sudden loss of appetite
  • difficulty swallowing

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath and wheezing can also be early symptoms of lung cancer.

Some people may experience a slight cough in addition to shortness of breath. Others may have difficulty catching their breath but have no cough.

Cough

A slight cough that does not go away can indicate early stage lung cancer. Some people assume that this cough is only a result of smoking.

A person who regularly coughs because of another lung condition may notice changes in their cough, and these can likewise indicate lung cancer.

Also, a cough that produces blood may result from lung cancer or another issue with the lungs. Anyone who experiences this symptom should see a doctor.

General fatigue

Lung cancer can cause the number of red blood cells in the body to drop. The medical term for this issue is anemia.

Because red blood cells carry oxygen, a person with anemia may not take in enough oxygen to support their body’s needs. This can result in tiredness and fatigue. Severe fatigue can make it difficult to function on a day-to-day level.

Shoulder, chest, or back pain

Most people with lung cancer do not feel pain or other symptoms during the early stages. This is because there are very few nerve endings in the lungs.

However, pain can occur when lung cancer invades the chest wall, ribs, vertebrae, or certain nerves. For example, Pancoast tumors, which form at the very top of the lungs, often invade nearby tissues, causing shoulder pain.

As a tumor develops, a person may begin to feel pain in their:

  • arms
  • chest
  • back

Hoarse voice

A person with lung cancer or another respiratory disease may develop a hoarse, raspy voice.

This can happen if a tumor presses on the laryngeal nerve, which is located within the chest. When the nerve is compressed, it can paralyze a vocal cord, causing the voice to change.

Risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)cigarette smoking is still the biggest risk factor for lung cancer, accounting for 80–90% of lung cancer-related deaths.

Other risk factors for lung cancer include:

  • using other tobacco products, such as cigars or pipe tobacco
  • inhaling secondhand smoke
  • being exposed to radon gas, possibly from materials within the home
  • working with dangerous chemicals, such as asbestos, arsenic, or diesel
  • living in a highly polluted area
  • having other lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • having a family history of lung cancer

When describing risk, organizations and experts sometimes use the term “pack-year.” A pack-year refers to the number of cigarettes smoked per day each year. So a person with a 30 pack-year smoking history may have:

  • smoked one pack per day for 30 years
  • smoked two packs per day for 15 years

The ACS recommend yearly lung cancer screenings for people aged 55–74 who:

  • currently smoke or have quit smoking in the past 15 years
  • have at least a 30 pack-year smoking history
  • currently smoke and are receiving counseling to help them quit
  • are aware of the potential benefits and harms of screening
  • have access to a facility that has experience with lung cancer screening and treatment

Screening cannot detect every instance of lung cancer, but it does lower a person’s chance of dying from the disease.

Smokers vs. nonsmokers

According to the CDC, people who smoke are 15–30 times more likely to die from lung cancer than people who do not.

Meanwhile, according to statistics from 2013–2014, about 1 in 4 people who do not smoke, including children, are exposed to secondhand smoke. This increases their risk of developing the disease.

Quitting smoking at any age can lower the risk of lung cancer.

When to see a doctor

The symptoms above usually result from issues other than lung cancer. However, anyone who experiences any of the following issues should visit a doctor:

  • a cough that lasts longer than 2–3 weeks
  • a persistent cough that worsens
  • a cough that produces blood
  • aches or pains when breathing or coughing
  • persistent shortness of breath
  • persistent tiredness or fatigue
  • recurrent chest infections
  • unexplained weight loss

Summary

Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer. It can affect anyone but is particularly prevalent among people who smoke.

Usually, lung cancer does not cause symptoms until it has spread. As a result, it is not always possible to detect lung cancer in its earliest stages.

Nonetheless, some people experience subtle symptoms during the initial stages. It is important to recognize these because treatment is typically more effective when a person receives it early.

Anyone who experiences early symptoms of lung cancer should see a doctor. In many cases, something other than cancer is the cause. Still, it is best to seek medical advice as a precaution.

The term “vasodilation” refers to a widening of the blood vessels within the body. This occurs when the smooth muscles in the arteries and major veins relax.

Vasodilation occurs naturally in response to low oxygen levels or increases in body temperature. Its purpose is to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to parts of the body that need it most.

In certain circumstances, vasodilation can have a beneficial effect on a person’s health. For example, doctors sometimes induce vasodilation as a treatment for high blood pressure and related cardiovascular conditions. However, vasodilation can also contribute to certain health conditions, such as low blood pressure and several chronic inflammatory conditions.

Keep reading for more information on the effects of vasodilation on the body. This article also outlines the conditions that may cause vasodilation and the conditions in which vasodilation might function as a treatment.

Function

Vasodilation refers to the widening of the arteries and large blood vessels. It is a natural process that occurs in response to low oxygen levels or increases in body temperature. It increases blood flow and oxygen delivery to areas of the body that require it most.

A doctor may sometimes induce vasodilation as a treatment for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and its related conditions. Examples of such conditions include:

  • pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure that specifically affects the lungs
  • preeclampsia and eclampsia, both of which are potential complications of pregnancy
  • heart failure

A doctor may also induce vasodilation to improve the effects of a drug or radiation therapy. Vasodilation seems to be beneficial for this purpose because it increases the delivery of drugs or oxygen to the tissues that these treatments are designed to target.

Causes

There are several potential causes of vasodilation. Some of the most common include:

  • Exercise: Vasodilation enables the delivery of extra oxygen and nutrients to the muscles during exercise.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is a natural vasodilator. Some people may experience alcohol-induced vasodilation as warmth or facial skin flushing.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation is the body’s way of repairing damage. Vasodilation assists inflammation by enabling the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to damaged tissues. Vasodilation is what causes inflamed areas of the body to appear red or feel warm.
  • Natural chemicals: The release of certain chemicals within the body can cause vasodilation. Examples include nitric oxide and carbon dioxide, as well as hormones such as histamine, acetylcholine, and prostaglandins.
  • Vasodilators: These are medications that widen the blood vessels. Doctors sometimes use these drugs to help treat hypertension and associated conditions.

Vasodilation vs. vasoconstriction

Vasoconstriction is the opposite of vasodilation. Vasoconstriction refers to the narrowing of the arteries and blood vessels.

During vasoconstriction, the heart needs to pump harder to get blood through the constricted veins and arteries. This can lead to higher blood pressure.

Conditions associated with vasodilation

Vasodilation can give rise to the conditions outlined below.

Low blood pressure

The widening of blood vessels during vasodilation promotes blood flow. This has the effect of reducing blood pressure within the walls of the blood vessels.

Vasodilation therefore creates a natural drop in blood pressure.

Some people experience abnormally low blood pressure, or hypotension. In some cases, this may lead to symptoms including:

  • nausea
  • blurred vision
  • lightheadedness or dizziness
  • confusion
  • weakness
  • fainting

Chronic inflammatory conditions

Vasodilation also plays an important role in inflammation. Inflammation is a process that helps defend the body against harmful pathogens and repair damage caused by injury or disease.

Vasodilation assists inflammation by increasing blood flow to damaged cells and body tissues. This enables more effective delivery of the immune cells necessary for defense and repair.

However, chronic inflammation can cause damage to healthy cells and tissues. This can result in DNA damage, tissue death, and scarring.

Some conditions that can trigger inflammation and associated vasodilation include:

  • infections
  • severe allergic reactions
  • chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, and Sjogren’s syndrome

Factors that can affect vasodilation

There are several factors that can affect vasodilation. Some of the more common examples are outlined below.

Temperature

A person’s body contains nerve cells called thermoreceptors, which detect temperature changes in the environment.

When the environment becomes too warm, the thermoreceptors trigger vasodilation. This directs blood flow toward the skin, where excess body heat can escape.

Weight

People with obesity are more likely to experience changes in vascular reactivity. This may occur when the blood vessels do not constrict and dilate as they should.

Specifically, people with obesity have blood vessels that are more resistant to vasodilation. This increases the risk of hypertension and associated cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

Age

Blood vessels contain receptors called baroreceptors. These constantly monitor blood pressure and trigger vasoconstriction or vasodilation as needed.

As a person ages, their baroreceptors become less sensitive. This can reduce their ability to maintain steady blood pressure levels.

Blood vessels also become stiffer and less elastic with age. This makes them less able to constrict and dilate as needed.

Altitude

The air at high altitudes contains less available oxygen. A person at high altitude will therefore experience vasodilation as their body attempts to maintain oxygen supply to its cells and tissues.

Although vasodilation decreases blood pressure in major blood vessels, it can increase blood pressure in smaller blood vessels called capillaries. This is because capillaries do not dilate in response to increased blood flow.

Increased blood pressure within the capillaries of the brain can cause fluid to leak into surrounding brain tissue. This results in localized swelling, or edema. Medical professionals refer to this condition as high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE).

People at high altitudes may also experience vasoconstriction within the lungs. This can cause a buildup of fluid within the lungs, which medical professionals refer to as high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

Both HACE and HAPE can be life threatening if a person does not receive treatment.

Medications that induce or treat vasodilation

In some cases, a doctor may induce vasodilation as a treatment for certain conditions. In other cases, vasodilation may be what requires treatment.

Medications that induce vasodilation

Vasodilators are medications that cause the blood vessels to widen. Doctors may use these drugs to reduce blood pressure and ease any strain on the heart muscle.

There are two types of vasodilator: drugs that work directly on the smooth muscle, such as that in the blood vessels and heart, and drugs that stimulate the nervous system to trigger vasodilation.

The type of vasodilator a person receives will depend on the condition they have that needs treatment.

People should be aware that vasodilators can cause side effects. These may include:

  • increased heart rate
  • flushing
  • fluid retention

Medications that treat vasodilation

Vasodilation is an important mechanism. However, it can sometimes be problematic for people who experience hypotension or chronic inflammation.

People with either of these conditions may require medications called vasoconstrictors. These drugs cause the blood vessels to narrow.

For people with hypotension, vasoconstrictors help increase blood pressure. For people with chronic inflammatory conditions, vasoconstrictors reduce inflammation by restricting blood flow to certain cells and body tissues.

Summary

Vasodilation refers to the widening, or dilation, of the blood vessels. It is a natural process that increases blood flow and provides extra oxygen to the tissues that need it most.

In some cases, doctors may deliberately induce vasodilation as a treatment for certain health conditions. For example, they may prescribe vasodilators to lower a person’s blood pressure and help protect against cardiovascular diseases.

In other cases, doctors may work to reduce vasodilation, as it can worsen conditions such as hypotension and chronic inflammatory diseases. Doctors sometimes use drugs called vasoconstrictors to help treat these conditions.

A person can talk to their doctor if they have any concerns about their blood pressure.

For those with metabolic syndrome, the necessary lifestyle and weight changes can be challenging. Now, a study has shown that eating within a certain time window can help tackle that.

Metabolic syndrome is an umbrella term for a number of risk factors for serious conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. These risk factors include obesity and high blood pressure, among others.

This is no small issue in the United States, where one-third of adults have metabolic syndrome. In fact, the condition affects around 50% of people aged 60 and over.

Obesity is also prevalent, affecting around 39.8% of adults in the U.S. Obesity is closely linked to metabolic syndrome.

Receiving a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome offers a critical window of opportunity for making committed lifestyle changes before conditions such as diabetes set in.

However, making the necessary long-term lifestyle changes to improve one’s health outlook is not always easy. Such changes include losing weight, managing stress, being as active as possible, and quitting smoking.

For the first time, a new study has looked into time-restricted eating, or intermittent fasting, as a means of losing weight and managing blood sugar and blood pressure for people with metabolic syndrome.

This new study, which appears in the journal Cell Metabolism, is set apart from previous studies that looked at the health and weight loss benefits of time-restricted eating in mice and healthy people.

“[People] who have metabolic syndrome/prediabetes are often told to make lifestyle interventions to prevent progression of their risk factors to […] disease,” said co-corresponding study author Dr. Pam Taub, of the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

“These [people] are at a crucial tipping point, where their disease process can be reversed.”

“However, many of these lifestyle changes are difficult to make. We saw there was an unmet need in [people] with metabolic syndrome to come up with lifestyle strategies that could be easily implemented.”

Clinical testing of time-restricted eating

Armed with the knowledge that time-restricted eating and intermittent fasting had been effective in treating and reversing metabolic syndrome in mice, the researchers set out to test these findings in a clinical setting.

“There are a lot of claims in the lay press about promising lifestyle strategies that have no data to back up the claims. We wanted to study [time-restricted eating] in a rigorous, well-designed clinical trial,” said Dr. Taub.

Participants could eat what they wanted, when they wanted, within 10-hour windows.

The good news for the 19 participants with metabolic syndrome was that they could decide how much to eat and when they ate, as long as they restricted their eating to a window of 10 hours or less.

A 10-hour window had been effective with mice, and it offered people enough leeway that would be easy to comply with long-term.

“The participants in the study had control of their eating window,” said Dr. Taub. “They could determine which 10-hour period they wanted to consume calories. They also had flexibility in adjusting their eating window by a couple [of] hours based on their schedule.”

“Overall, participants felt they could adhere to this eating window. We did not restrict how many calories they consumed during their eating window,” Dr. Taub told Medical News Today.

Most of the participants had obesity, and 84% were taking at least one medication, such as an antihypertensive drug or a statin.

Metabolic syndrome is associated with at least three of the following: high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, high triglyceride (body fat) levels, low high-density lipoprotein, or “good,” cholesterol, and abdominal obesity.

Weight loss and better sleep

“As they started to adhere to this eating window, they started feeling better with more energy and better sleep, and this was positive reinforcement for them to continue with this 10-hour eating window,” said Dr. Taub.

Almost all the participants ate breakfast later (around 2 hours after waking) and dinner earlier (around 3 hours before bed).

The study lasted for 3 months, during which time the participants showed a 3% weight and body mass index (BMI) reduction, on average, and a 3% loss of abdominal, or visceral, fat.

“All of these improvements reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Taub.

Also, many participants showed a reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as improvements in fasting glucose. They also reported having more energy, and 70% reported an increase in the amount of time they slept or experienced sleep satisfaction.

The participants said that the plan was easier to follow than counting calories or exercising, and more than two-thirds kept it up for around a year after the study ended.

Dr. Taub recommends that anyone interested in trying time-restricted eating speak to their healthcare provider first, especially if they have metabolic syndrome and are taking medication, as weight loss may mean that medications require adjustment.

A new study spanning nearly 2 decades has found a link between an unhealthful diet and vision loss in older age. Should we be keeping more of an eye on what we eat?

A robust body of research has shown that a diet rich in red meat, fried foods, high fat dairy, processed meats, and refined grains is bad for the heart and linked to the development of cancer.

However, not many people consider the impact of diet on their eyesight.

A new study, now appearing in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, has found a link between a diet rich in unhealthful foods and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is a condition that impacts the retina with age, blurring central vision. Central vision helps people see objects clearly and perform everyday activities such as reading and driving.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, around 1.8 million people aged 40 and above are living with AMD, and another 7.3 million have a condition called drusen, which usually precedes AMD.

The CDC also explain that “AMD is the leading cause of permanent impairment of reading and fine or close-up vision among people aged 65 years and older.”

Now, the new study — which was the first to look at dietary patterns and the development of AMD over time — has found an association between an unhealthful diet and AMD.

Senior study author Dr. Amy Millen, of the University at Buffalo in New York, told Medical News Today, “Most people understand that diet influences cardiovascular disease risk and risk [of] obesity; however I’m not sure the public thinks about whether or not diet influences one’s risk [of] vision loss later in life.”

Although research has shown links between certain foods and nutrients and AMD — for example, some studies have suggested that high dose antioxidants may slow progression — there has been less research into dietary patterns as a whole.

Furthermore, studies that have looked at dietary patterns have focused on late stage risk — that is, the point at which the condition becomes vision threatening — rather than early and late stage disease.

“We wanted to examine how the overall pattern of one’s diet may predict later development of AMD, both early onset and late stage disease,” said Dr. Millen.

Unhealthful diet raises AMD risk by threefold

The study looked at the development of early and late AMD in participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, which looked at arterial health over 18 years (1987–1995).

Using data on 66 different food types, the researchers identified two diet patterns: one they dubbed “Prudent,” or healthful, and one they dubbed “Western,” which included a high intake of “processed and red meat, fried food, dessert, eggs, refined grains, high fat dairy, and sugar sweetened beverages.”

Although the researchers found no link between early AMD and dietary patterns, they found that the incidence of late AMD was three times higher among those with a Western eating pattern.

“What we observed in this study was that people who had no AMD or early AMD at the start of our study, and reported frequently consuming [unhealthful] foods, were more likely to develop vision threatening, late stage disease approximately 18 years later,” says Dr. Millen.

Prevention is better than cure

Early stage AMD has no symptoms, so a person may not know that have it. Also, although not everyone develops late stage AMD, for those who do, it can be costly and invasive to treat.

There are two forms of late stage AMD. One is called wet AMD, or neovascular AMD, which healthcare professionals tend to treat by injecting antivascular growth factors.

The other is called dry AMD, or geographic atrophy, which occurs when the photoreceptor cells die without neovascularization. There is no effective treatment for this form of AMD.

“We would like the public to realize that diet is important to their vision,” said Millen.

“The clinical take-home message is that dietary intake likely makes a difference in determining central vision loss later in life. If a person has early onset AMD, it is in their best interest to eat foods we identified as part of the Western diet pattern in moderation.”

Dr. Amy Millen

Hormone levels fluctuate throughout the 28-day menstrual cycle. These changes can affect a person’s appetite and may also lead to fluid retention. Both factors can lead to perceived or actual weight gain around the time of a period.

This article describes why a person may gain weight during a period, and how to prevent it. We also outline ways to help avoid weight gain during a period.

Weight gain during period

Medical research has identified around 150 symptoms that people may experience in the days leading up to a period. Food cravings, increased hunger, water retention, and swelling are premenstrual symptoms that may make a person feel like they are gaining weight.

Appetite changes

People may notice changes in their appetite throughout their menstrual cycle. For some, these changes may lead to concerns over weight gain.

Changes in appetite tend to occur at distinct stages of the menstrual cycle called the follicular phase and the luteal phase.

  • The follicular phase. This phase begins when a person bleeds and ends before they ovulate. Estrogen is the dominant hormone during this phase. Since estrogen suppresses appetite, a person may find that they eat less during this phase.
  • The luteal phase. This phase begins after ovulation and lasts up to the first day of the next period. During the luteal phase, progesterone is the dominant hormone. Since progesterone stimulates appetite, a person may find that they eat more during this phase.

Previous studiesTrusted Source have shown that females eat more calories during the luteal phase compared with the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle.

2016 studyTrusted Source found that females tend to eat more protein during the luteal phase of menstruation. Females also report increased food cravings, particularly for sweets, chocolate, and salty foods.

Not all studies show that food cravings result in an increased number of calories consumed and an increase in weight. However, people who do consume more calories as a result of their cravings may experience some weight gain.

Water retention and swelling

People may experience increased water and salt retention around the time of their period. This is due to an increase in the hormone progesterone. Progesterone activates the hormone aldosterone, which causes the kidneys to retain water and salt.

Water retention can lead to bloating and swelling, particularly in the abdomen, arms, and legs. This can give the appearance of weight gain. It may also make a person’s clothes feel tighter.

However, water retention does not always signify weight gain. A 2014 study investigated water retention in females who complained of swelling during their period.

Circumference measurements taken throughout the study indicated that the participants did have significant swelling in the following areas:

  • face
  • breasts
  • abdomen
  • upper and lower limbs
  • pubic areas

However, there were no significant changes in weight throughout the participant’s cycles.

What symptoms are normal?

Many people experience both physical and psychological symptoms during a period. Symptoms may include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • angry outbursts
  • crying spells
  • confusion
  • social withdrawal
  • poor concentration
  • insomnia
  • taking more naps
  • changes in sexual desire
  • headache
  • aches and pains
  • fatigue
  • skin problems
  • gastrointestinal symptoms
  • abdominal pain

People may feel additional symptoms in the days leading up to a period. Symptoms may include:

  • thirst and appetite changes
  • breast tenderness
  • bloating
  • headache
  • swelling of the hands or feet

The type, severity, and duration of symptoms will vary from person to person. Additionally, some people may experience a combination of symptoms, while others may not experience any at all.

How long does it last?

Premenstrual symptoms tend to start a few days before bleeding, or menstruation, and stop once menstruation occurs.

Medical providers can diagnose people with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) if:

  • the person has a pattern of symptoms 5 days before their period for at least three cycles in a row
  • the symptoms end within 4 days after their period starts
  • the symptoms interfere with their normal activities

How to avoid weight gain

The following are some examples of how to prevent weight gain during a period.

Diet

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend the following eating habits to help lessen the effects of PMS:

  • eating complex carbohydrates to reduce mood symptoms and food cravings
  • eating calcium rich foods, including yogurt and leafy green vegetables
  • reducing fat, salt, and sugar intake
  • avoiding or limiting caffeine and alcoholic beverages
  • keeping blood sugar levels stable by eating smaller meals more often

Supplements

A doctor may also recommend taking a magnesium supplement. This can help to alleviate the following symptoms of PMS:

  • bloating
  • breast tenderness
  • mood disturbances

Medication

Sometimes, doctors may prescribe diuretics to people who complain of water retention during their period. Diuretics help to reduce the amount of water that the body stores.

Researchers have found that certain oral contraceptivesTrusted Source can also help reduce water retention. In a 2007 study, females who took 3 milligrams (mg) of drospirenone and 30 micrograms (mcg) of ethinyl estradiol had reduced water retention. Nonetheless, their body weight remained unchanged.

Doctors often use combined oral contraceptives to treat the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Summary

Hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout the menstrual cycle can affect a person’s appetite. In particular, people may experience food cravings in the days leading up to a period.

Females may also experience water retention and bloating, which can give the appearance of weight gain.

There are several steps people can take to prevent weight gain during a period. A person can practice healthful eating habits throughout their cycle. This includes eating less salt, sugar, and fat, and stocking up on low calorie snacks to satisfy food cravings. In addition, magnesium supplements may help to alleviate bloating and other symptoms of PMS.

People who are concerned about fluid retention should talk to their doctor. The doctor may prescribe diuretics or oral contraceptives to help alleviate this symptom.

Q:

What is the average amount of weight gain during a period?

A:

The symptoms that people experience during their menstrual cycle vary widely from one individual to the next. Symptoms can even differ between cycles, depending on a person’s nutrition, stress level, amount of exercise, intake of caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, and other lifestyle factors. Because everyone is so different, there’s not really an “average” weight gain during the menstrual cycle. While many people don’t notice any bloating or weight gain at all, others might gain as much as 5 pounds. Usually, this gain happens during the premenstrual, or luteal phase, and the person loses the weight again once the next period begins.Meredith Wallis, M.S., CNM, ANPAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Peanuts are a nutrient dense food that contains vegetable proteins and healthful fats.

Overeating peanut butter may increase the number of calories and fat in someone’s diet. If a person is eating more calories than they need, they may gain weight.

Peanut butter can be a nutritious food when people eat the right amount. In such instances, peanut butter may help a person with weight loss.

In this article, we discuss the effect of peanut butter on weight.

Can it help with weight gain?

If a person consumes more calories than they burn off, they may gain weight.

32 gram (g) portion (2 tbsp) of peanut butter contains 190 calories and 16 g of fat, which is 21% of a person’s recommended daily value of fat.

Although peanut butter contains high levels of calories and fat, it may not encourage long-term weight gain when eaten as part of a balanced diet.

Although peanut butter contains high levels of fat, it contains low levels of saturated fats and significant amounts of good fats that are healthful for the body.

Peanut butter may also help people fill fuller, so they may not need to eat so much.

studyTrusted Source published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the relation between protein-rich foods and weight.

The researchers found that peanut butter was associated with mild weight loss when individuals consumed it in place of some carbohydrates.

Can it help with bodybuilding?

As well as being high in fat, peanut butter also contains high levels of protein.

A small studyTrusted Source looked at nutritional strategies employed by 51 competitive bodybuilders and found that they consumed more protein and carbohydrates and lower amounts of fat.

According to researchersTrusted Source, the recommended dietary protein intake for bodybuilders in the off-season is 1.6–2.2g per kilogram of body weight a day.

studyTrusted Source published in Obesity showed that a high protein diet was effective in helping male participants lose weight and body fat while preserving lean body mass.

The study lasted just 12 weeks, so researchers are unclear whether people who continue to follow the diet for more than the 3 months will maintain the muscle mass.

Since bodybuilders strive for high muscle mass and lean body mass, peanut butter, and other types of nut butter may be a beneficial food choice.

Can it help with weight loss?

Studies have demonstrated that peanut butter may help people lose weight.

According to researchers, there is an association between those who eat nuts daily, including peanuts, and a lower risk of obesity.

A large study conducted over 5 years, with participants from 10 European countries, supports this finding. The researchers concluded that those who ate the most amount of nuts, including peanuts, gained less weight and had a lower risk of having obesity over 5 years.

A small, short-term studyTrusted Source showed that resistance-trained athletes who lost weight by consuming a low calorie and high protein diet maintained lean body mass.

ResearchersTrusted Source have also demonstrated that people who eat nuts regularly may have a higher resting energy expenditure. People with higher resting energy expenditure may burn more calories during a nonactive period. This study only had 15 participants, so these findings require more research to support them.

This calorie-dense and high-fat food can help people feel fullTrusted Source. When people feel full, they are less likely to continue eating. Although peanut butter is high in calories, people may be less likely to overeat.

These findings suggest that nuts, including peanuts and peanut butter, can be a healthful food option for people who want to lose weight due to its high protein content.

When is the best time to eat it?

If a person is eating peanuts to lose weight, evidenceTrusted Source suggests they are more beneficial when people eat them as snacks throughout the day. This is because they may stop a person from overeating.

More research is required to identify the best time to eat peanut butter if a person is consuming it for its protein content to build muscle or maintain lean body mass.

According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, consuming protein 30 minutes before sleeping may also aid in building muscle. However, this research focused on casein protein, not protein from nuts.

The researchers state eating protein after exercising is also beneficial.

Nutritional profile

The following table, adapted from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), outlines the nutritional profile of peanut butter.

We compare the nutritional content of 2 tbsp of peanut butter with added sugar and a natural peanut butter in kilocalories (kcal), grams (g), and milligrams (mg).

Peanut butter with added sugarNatural peanut butter
Calories200 kcal190 kcal
Protein8 g8 g
Total fat16 g16 g
Carbohydrate7 g7 g
Fiber1.98 g3.01 g
Sugars3 g2 g
Calcium0 mg18.9 mg
Iron0.72 mg0.998 mg
Sodium150 mg0 mg

Some brands with added sugar may contain as much as 6 g of sugar per 2 tbsp.

Natural peanut butter is a more healthful option because it contains less sugar. Processed peanut butter may have additional ingredients, including:

  • sugar
  • hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • salt
  • molasses

How to consume

Many people eat peanut butter at breakfast, on toast, a bagel, or in a smoothie. Some people use peanut butter in cooking, for example, to make sauces for vegetables. It is also great as a snack.

Here are some recipes to try:

  • three ingredient peanut butter no bake energy bites
  • homemade peanut butter
  • healthful peanut butter granola

Alternatives

Nut butters are a great way to avoid or reduce the use of traditional dairy butter. Today, people can choose from a variety of nut buttersTrusted Source, including almond, cashew, and hazelnut.

Seed butters are also popular. Seed butters, such as sesame butter, sunflower seed butter, and pumpkin seed butter.

However, people can also make nut butters at home.

Learn how to make nut butters at home:

  • nut butter
  • super seed nut butter

Considerations

If a person has an allergy to peanuts, they should avoid peanut butter and try alternative nut or seed butters.

People who need to gain weight but are having difficulty should speak with a doctor. They may want to do a full physical examination to find out why a person cannot gain weight.

A nutritionist or dietitian may be able to help people gain weight safely.

Summary

There is not much evidence to show that consuming peanut butter will help people gain weight. However, it may be beneficial when consumed as a part of a balanced diet for those who want to lose weight, maintain their current weight, or preserve lean body mass.

Although peanuts are high in calories and fat, they may help people feel full and prevent overeating.

As we approach the festive season, there is bound to be a potpourri of celebrations, parties, and carnivals where food, drinks, and alcohol may likely be consumed with exuberance.

Dietary guidelines and patterns are often disregarded during merry moments like this. So, the saying: “We eat to live and not live to eat” is often dismissed in favour of excessive consumption of food and alcohol, which has negative effects on the health and wellbeing of individuals. Continuous excessive food and alcohol consumption predisposes an individual to non-communicable diseases like, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis and hypertension.

Even a moment of indulgence can leave an individual with a bitter experience to deal with for several years. Therefore, one has to be careful about what one eats and drinks this season. Previous articles that reviewed the importance of 100% fruit juice are very relevant to this series. Let us look back on how far we have come on this ‘juicy’ journey. We have had different discussions on 100% fruit juice, its positive impacts on healthy living and why it should be a part of our daily diets. I have also examined topics such as five surprising health benefits of orange fruit juice, healthy ways to revitalise your body after fasting, and antioxidant/healthy living: the role of 100% fruit juice.

Having discussed these topics exhaustively, it is believed that more persons are now aware of the benefits of 100% fruit juice. It is important you apply the knowledge in your day-to-day living, as this season will likely test your discipline and willpower to apply the knowledge.

Eating food goes beyond providing sustenance. Healthy food has curative properties. Scientific evidence recently established the fact that some food nutrients cure certain diseases. An unhealthy diet, inadequate daily physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits are responsible for some chronic non-communicable diseases.

100% fruit juice as the festive season companion
For all the meals that would be consumed during this festive period and going forward, the importance of having a glass of 100% fruit juice alongside meals cannot be overstated. This is because the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines include 100% juice as part of the fruit group, and notes that up to half of the daily fruit intake could come from 100% fruit juice.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 100% fruit juice is equivalent to 62kcal or around three percent of daily energy requirements based on a 2,000kcal diet. In Italy, the recommended daily juice portion is 200ml. In the United States, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines uses a cup equivalent equal to 237 milligrammes, as a reference for whole fruits and fruit juices. We should know that the amount of fruit each person needs each day depends on their level of physical activity, age, gender or other health requirements.
Responsible indulgence – Recommendations on portion control during the festive season

Adequate nutrition is essential for health and well being at every stage of life. No single food by itself, except breast-milk, provides all the nutrients in the right amount that will promote growth and maintain a healthy life. Hence, you must be sure to consume the right foods daily to achieve the right calorie intake. This in turn must be complemented with optimum energy expenditure to achieve good health.

Fundamentally, portion control is a key issue during festive seasons. So, do not be carried away with the hype of celebrations. Keep a check on the quantity of food you consume and your daily calorie intake. You can enjoy your meals this season without compromising on your health and wellbeing.

Additional tips for the festive season
Keep yourself hydrated especially because of higher temperatures at this time. Daily consumption of water and 100% fruit juices will help with this. Avoid staying up late and eating unhealthy snacks, which affect digestion. And you should not eat everything that is presented in front of you. Control the cravings to eat more after you have exceeded your recommended dietary allowance and/or your stomach is full.Finally, do your body system a favour by keeping a pack of 100% fruit juice with you. This should be your companion as you celebrate during the holidays. Have a juicy yuletide season!

Stroke prevention can start today. Protect yourself and avoid stroke, regardless of your age or family history.

What can you do to prevent stroke? Age makes us more susceptible to having a stroke, as does having a mother, father, or other close relative who has had a stroke.

You can’t reverse the years or change your family history, but there are many other stroke risk factors that you can control—provided that you’re aware of them. “Knowledge is power,” says Dr. Natalia Rost, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Acute Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. “If you know that a particular risk factor is sabotaging your health and predisposing you to a higher risk of stroke, you can take steps to alleviate the effects of that risk.”

How to prevent stroke
Here are seven ways to start reining in your risks today to avoid stroke, before a stroke has the chance to strike.
1. Lower blood pressure

High blood pressure is a huge factor, doubling or even quadrupling your stroke risk if it is not controlled. “High blood pressure is the biggest contributor to the risk of stroke in both men and women,” Dr. Rost says. “Monitoring blood pressure and, if it is elevated, treating it, is probably the biggest difference people can make to their vascular health.”

Your ideal goal: Maintain a blood pressure of less than 135/85. But for some, a less aggressive goal (such as 140/90) may be more appropriate.

How to achieve it:
*Reduce the salt in your diet to no more than 1,500 milligrams a day (about a half teaspoon).
*Avoid high-cholesterol foods, such as burgers, cheese, and ice cream.
*Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, one serving of fish two to three times a week, and several daily servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy.
*Get more exercise — at least 30 minutes of activity a day, and more, if possible.
*Quit smoking, if you smoke.
*If needed, take blood pressure medicines.

2. Lose weight
Obesity, as well as the complications linked to it (including high blood pressure and diabetes), raises your odds of having a stroke. If you’re overweight, losing as little as 10 pounds can have a real impact on your stroke risk.

Your goal: While an ideal body mass index (BMI) is 25 or less, that may not be realistic for you. Work with your doctor to create a personal weight loss strategy.

How to achieve it:
*Try to eat no more than 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day (depending on your activity level and your current BMI).
*Increase the amount of exercise you do with activities like walking, golfing, or playing tennis, and by making activity part of every single day.

3. Exercise more
Exercise contributes to losing weight and lowering blood pressure, but it also stands on its own as an independent stroke reducer.

Your goal: Exercise at a moderate intensity at least five days a week.

How to achieve it:
Take a walk around your neighborhood every morning after breakfast.
Start a fitness club with friends.
When you exercise, reach the level at which you’re breathing hard, but you can still talk.
Take the stairs instead of an elevator when you can.
If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, break it up into 10- to 15-minute sessions a few times each day.

4. If you drink — do it in moderation
Drinking a little alcohol may decrease your risk of stroke. “Studies show that if you have about one drink per day, your risk may be lower,” says to Dr. Rost. “Once you start drinking more than two drinks per day, your risk goes up very sharply.”

Your goal: Don’t drink alcohol or do it in moderation.

How to achieve it:
*Have no more than one glass of alcohol a day.
*Make red wine your first choice, because it contains resveratrol, which is thought to protect the heart and brain.
*Watch your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 5-ounce glass of wine, 12-ounce beer, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.

5. Treat atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat that causes clots to form in the heart. Those clots can then travel to the brain, producing a stroke. “Atrial fibrillation carries almost a fivefold risk of stroke, and should be taken seriously,” Dr. Rost says.

Your goal: If you have atrial fibrillation, get it treated.

How to achieve it:
*If you have symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath, see your doctor for an exam.
*You may need to take an anticoagulant drug (blood thinner) such as warfarin (Coumadin) or one of the newer direct-acting anticoagulant drugs to reduce your stroke risk from atrial fibrillation. Your doctors can guide you through this treatment.

6. Treat diabetes
Having high blood sugar damages blood vessels over time, making clots more likely to form inside them.
Your goal: Keep your blood sugar under control.

How to achieve it:
*Monitor your blood sugar as directed by your doctor.
*Use diet, exercise, and medicines to keep your blood sugar within the recommended range.

7. Quit smoking
Smoking accelerates clot formation in a couple of different ways. It thickens your blood, and it increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. “Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, smoking cessation is one of the most powerful lifestyle changes that will help you reduce your stroke risk significantly,” Dr. Rost says.

Your goal: Quit smoking.

How to achieve it:
*Ask your doctor for advice on the most appropriate way for you to quit.
*Use quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine pills or patches, counseling, or medicine.
*Don’t give up. Most smokers need several tries to quit. See each attempt as bringing you one step closer to successfully beating the habit.

Identify a stroke F-A-S-T
Too many people ignore the signs of stroke because they question whether their symptoms are real. “My recommendation is, don’t wait if you have any unusual symptoms,” Dr. Rost advises. Listen to your body and trust your instincts. If something is off, get professional help right away.”

The National Stroke Association has created an easy acronym to help you remember, and act on, the signs of a stroke. Cut out this image and post it on your refrigerator for easy reference.
FAST – Identify a stroke FAST chart
Signs of a stroke include: weakness on one side of the body; numbness of the face; unusual and severe headache; vision loss; numbness and tingling; and unsteady walk.

*Culled from Harvard Special Health Report Stroke: Diagnosing, treating, and recovering from a “brain attack.”