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Study Links Insomnia with Greater Risk of High Blood Pressure

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Insom­nia is the most com­mon sleep com­plaint in the U.S., but a new study indi­cates that a lack of sleep could be asso­ci­ated with greater risk of high blood pressure.

Accord­ing to the study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Hyper­ten­sion, researchers ana­lyz­ing data from over 200 indi­vid­u­als with chronic insom­nia and 96 nor­mal sleep­ers found that the longer it took to fall asleep, the greater the risk of hyper­ten­sion. Specif­i­cally, researchers mea­sured the amount of time it took each group to fall asleep dur­ing four “nap episodes.” Blood pres­sure read­ings were taken both before the naps and the morn­ing after.

Par­tic­i­pants who took more than 14 min­utes to fall asleep had a 300-percent higher rate of high blood pres­sure, researchers found. They thus asso­ci­ated phys­i­o­log­i­cal hyper­arousal with risk of hypertension.

Still, this study was lim­ited in that it only mon­i­tored sub­jects for one night, and the blood pres­sure test was not com­pleted directly after the nap. More research is nec­es­sary to deter­mine whether there is a causal effect between dif­fi­culty sleep­ing and high blood pressure.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Blizzard 2015: Five Ways to Stay Fit When You’re Stuck Inside

amana images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Even if you live in a tiny stu­dio apart­ment, you can still find a way to stay active indoors until the Bliz­zard of 2015 blows over.

Grace DeS­i­mone of Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Med­i­cine Spokes­woman explains how:

Take the Stairs

Indoor stairs and steps can be turned into calorie-blasting machines, DeS­i­mone said. Walk­ing up and down stairs burns an aver­age of about 7 calo­ries per minute, accord­ing to the Com­pendium of Phys­i­cal Activ­ity. Take them at a jog, and you’ll up the calo­rie burn to 11 per minute.

Though it’s harder to get the rec­om­mended 10,000 steps per day when you’re cooped up indoors, it is pos­si­ble, espe­cially if you wear a fit­ness track­ing device, she said.

Stairs can also guard against bing­ing, DeS­i­mone pointed out.

Put all the snacks up high out of reach or down in the base­ment,” she advised. “That way you have to run up and down the stairs every time you feel like hav­ing a cookie.”

Use What You’ve Got

Every­thing you own can be used for exer­cise, DeS­i­mone said.

For exam­ple, squat up and down in a chair to strengthen your butt and thighs. Or do dips on the edge of the couch to strengthen your arms, shoul­ders and chest.

If you’ve got weights or bands, great, but if not you can use laun­dry bot­tles or cans for strength work,” she said. “If your kids are small enough, even they can be used for bench presses.”

Find an App

There is an app for any pos­si­ble fit­ness goal you might have and many of them are free, DeS­i­mone said.

Down­load one, use it, delete it and try another one,” she said, adding that many take into account tight spaces and lack of equipment.

If you’re not into apps, search the Inter­net for stream­ing, down­load­able or writ­ten work­outs. Your gym’s web­site can be a good resource, she said. Equinox Gyms, for exam­ple, offers a free “Do Any­where” work­out com­plete with demo videos.

Make It a Game

One way to get the whole fam­ily up and mov­ing is with a rous­ing game of bal­loon vol­ley­ball, DeS­i­mone said.

Try­ing to keep the bal­loon from hit­ting the floor is a lot harder than it looks. It burns calo­ries and wears every­one out,” she said.

Break Out the Shovel

You may not be look­ing for­ward to shov­el­ing your side­walk or dri­ve­way once the storm is over, but DeS­i­mone said you should be if you’re inter­ested in get­ting a great work­out. Besides burn­ing up to 640 calo­ries an hour, clean­ing your walk works vir­tu­ally every mus­cle in your body.

Just be sure to switch sides every few min­utes so you don’t get a back­ache,” she said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Lifesaving Tips to Survive the Blizzard of 2015

lisa comb/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — As the bliz­zard of 2015 gets ready to wal­lop the North­east, the last place you want to spend the storm is in the emer­gency room.

Here’s what lands many peo­ple in the ER dur­ing snow­storms and how to avoid becom­ing one of them:

Heart Attacks

Cold weather alone puts peo­ple at greater risk of hav­ing a heart attack because it con­stricts the blood ves­sels, said Dr. Lawrence Phillips, a car­di­ol­o­gist at NYU Lan­gone Med­ical Cen­ter in New York City. Add in the demand­ing phys­i­cal activ­ity of shov­el­ing, and that risk is even higher, he said.

Every year at NYU Lan­gone, I see sev­eral patients over the course of the win­ter who have brought out heart dis­ease symp­toms,” Phillips said. “It’s real. It’s not some­thing we speak about in a hypo­thet­i­cal way, and it can be very dangerous.”

Many peo­ple who shovel snow don’t exer­cise reg­u­larly and try to shovel more snow than they can han­dle with­out warm­ing up first, he said. He sug­gested shov­el­ing slowly and tak­ing fre­quent breaks. If you have any chest pain or breath­ing changes, stop.

Car­bon Monox­ide Poi­son­ing

As the tem­per­a­ture starts to drop, peo­ple start to use devices they haven’t used before to keep warm, such as space heaters and other fuel-burning devices, said Dr. Corey Slo­vis, who chairs emer­gency med­i­cine at the Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­sity Med­ical Cen­ter in Nashville, Ten­nessee. But those devices don’t always work prop­erly, and incom­plete com­bus­tion can mean poten­tially fatal car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing, which hap­pens when car­bon monox­ide pre­vents the body from absorb­ing oxygen.

Any­one is at risk of this col­or­less, odor­less, taste­less gas,” Slo­vis said. “You need to have a car­bon monox­ide detec­tor on every level of the house.”

Turn­ing on ovens to keep warm or sit­ting in cars with­out prop­erly main­tained exhaust pipes can lead to car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing, said Dr. Aaron Lareau, who prac­tices emer­gency med­i­cine at UH Case Med­ical Cen­ter in Cleve­land. Some­times, it’s best to just get to a warm shelter.

Hypother­mia

Hypother­mia, when the body loses heat faster than it can pro­duce it, is a “sub­tle” killer, Slo­vis said.

Rather than get­ting more anx­ious, you get less anx­ious, and sleepy,” he said, explain­ing that peo­ple stop shiv­er­ing when hypother­mia sets in. “Your body begins to slow down, your mind begins to slow down, and you stop feel­ing cold.”

He said if you’re hav­ing trou­ble think­ing or mov­ing nor­mally, you need to get some­where warm and go to the hos­pi­tal, Slo­vis said.

Frost­bite

Like hypother­mia, frost­bite becomes seri­ous when it stops both­er­ing you, Slo­vis said. It starts off feel­ing like a burn and even­tu­ally stops feel­ing painful or cold, he said.

Frost­bite usu­ally hap­pens to a person’s extrem­i­ties, which can turn white or grey as the nerve dam­age sets in, Slo­vis said.

If this hap­pens, put the affected body part in warm — not hot — water, and don’t rub it. If you sus­pect frost­bite, go to the emer­gency room, he said.

Slips, Falls and Car Accidents

Lareau said peo­ple often arrive at the emer­gency room because they’ve got­ten into a car acci­dent in the snow or have slipped and fallen on ice in their driveways.

I think peo­ple still try and go about their daily rout as much as pos­si­ble,” he said. “I think that the biggest thing is to use com­mon sense, stay indoors and be pre­pared If you do have to go out.”

He sug­gested wear­ing extra lay­ers, bring­ing a cell­phone and pack­ing a blan­ket in the car.

If you don’t have to go out, just stay inside,” he said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Mom Seeks Medical Marijuana Despite Pediatric Group's Opposition

Andrea Saretti(NEW YORK) — A lead­ing pedi­atric med­i­cine group has come out against the use of med­ical mar­i­juana for chil­dren in all but the most excep­tional circumstances.

The Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pedi­atrics said in a state­ment Mon­day that it is opposed to the use of mar­i­juana for med­ical pur­poses in young peo­ple, except for drugs that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion. There are two FDA approved drugs that con­tain syn­thetic com­pounds sim­i­lar to the active ingre­di­ents in mar­i­juana, which the group said could be used with chil­dren with “debil­i­tat­ing or life-limiting diseases.”

Andrea Saretti said she believes her son Sam, who was diag­nosed with epilepsy last year, should be one of the excep­tions. He starts each morn­ing by putting on a spe­cial hel­met and med­ical bracelet to pro­tect him in case he falls to the ground with a seizure.

Sam, 9, has suf­fered seizures that have not stopped despite mul­ti­ple med­ica­tions and even an elec­tronic implant that is designed to pre­vent seizures by send­ing mild elec­tri­cal pulses to the brain through the vagus nerve.

He misses a lot of school,” Saretti told ABC News. “He had a seizure in the road on the way to the bus stop. …It hap­pens at school and hap­pens at restau­rants and hap­pens everywhere.”

The med­ica­tions Sam is cur­rently on have helped some­what but they have also led to side effects, includ­ing sig­nif­i­cant weight gain, Saretti said, not­ing that Sam, who is also autis­tic, went from 80 pounds to over 120 pounds in just one year of treat­ment after being pre­scribed adult doses of med­ica­tion to try and stop the seizures.

While AAP and other pedi­atric med­i­cine groups rec­om­mend cau­tion when pre­scrib­ing mar­i­juana for chil­dren with epilepsy, patients have turned to the rem­edy as anec­do­tal reports sug­gest it can reduce seizures.

Sam’s doc­tors decided last fall they wanted to try using low-THC cannabis to help Sam, his mom said, refer­ring to the psy­choac­tive chem­i­cal found in mar­i­juana. The tim­ing seemed per­fect as the Florida leg­is­la­ture passed the Com­pas­sion­ate Med­ical Cannabis Act in June, allow­ing doc­tors to pre­scribe low-THC cannabis to patients with cer­tain cri­te­ria in Florida.

How­ever, while the med­ical use of the drug became legal as of Jan. 1, Sam and his mother are still wait­ing to get the medication.

The rea­son for the delay is that a Florida admin­is­tra­tive law judge inval­i­dated the Florida Health Department’s plan to use a lot­tery sys­tem to choose mar­i­juana grow­ers. As a result, no one in the state is cur­rently allowed to grow marijuana.

The Florida Depart­ment of Health said it will meet again with poten­tial grow­ers in Feb­ru­ary to decide how to pro­ceed, accord­ing to ABC News affil­i­ate WFTV in Orlando, Florida.

Saretti said she’s hop­ing some­thing will change in the com­ing months so that Sam can stay in school rather than be stuck at home, where he can be more eas­ily mon­i­tored. It’s unclear if the new AAP state­ment will have any influ­ence on the process.

We’re look­ing at [being] home-bound now for the remain­ing of the year,” said Saretti. “You look at qual­ity of life — some­thing like [the Com­pas­sion­ate Care Act] can give him back a qual­ity of life.”

The AAP’s state­ment on Mon­day reaf­firmed the group’s ear­lier posi­tion that more study is needed to deter­mine the effec­tive­ness and dos­ing of the drugs in young peo­ple. They are con­cerned that the risks out­weigh the ben­e­fits, the state­ment said.

We should not con­sider mar­i­juana ‘inno­cent until proven guilty,’ given what we already know about the harms to ado­les­cents,” said Dr. Sharon Levy, chair of the AAP Com­mit­tee on Sub­stance Abuse.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Northeast Blizzard: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Irina Igumnova/Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — With win­ter storm watches, warn­ings and advi­sories in effect from the mid-Atlantic to New Eng­land on Mon­day, res­i­dents from New York City to Boston can expect per­haps 2 feet or more of snow.

The storm, which began as a clip­per sys­tem that brought snow and slick roads to the Mid­west on Sun­day, is expected to hit the East Coast hard­est Mon­day evening through Tuesday.

Here are some tips from the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (FEMA) to keep in mind Mon­day before the worst of the storm hits:

  1. Be mind­ful of car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing by using power sources appro­pri­ately indoors dur­ing power out­ages. (Never use a gen­er­a­tor, grill or other gaso­line or propane devices inside your home).
  2. Keep an emer­gency kit in your car, stocked with tools includ­ing: extra bat­ter­ies, wind­shield scraper, shovel, matches, first aid kit and blankets.
  3. When you’re out­side, cover your mouth with a scarf to pro­tect your lungs from the cold air. Put on dry clothes as soon as you come inside.
  4. Pay atten­tion to emer­gency mes­sages called Wire­less Emer­gency Alerts that are sent by the gov­ern­ment through your mobile carrier.
  5. Remem­ber to bring your pets inside.

Air­lines can­celed 2,061 flights for Mon­day as of 7:30 a.m. An addi­tional 1,904 flights had been can­celled for Tues­day and the num­ber is expected to rise, accord­ing to FlightAware.com.

Pres­i­dent Obama was briefed on the storm and White House offi­cials have been in touch with state and local offi­cials on the east­ern seaboard, accord­ing to White House spokesman Josh Earnest. FEMA also has assets in the region ready to assist, Earnest said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Cinnamon's Aroma Spurs Buying Urges

iStock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) — The scent of cin­na­mon can elicit some pow­er­ful feelings…such as mak­ing you want to spend money.

That’s what researchers from Tem­ple Uni­ver­sity and two other insti­tu­tions dis­cov­ered when they exam­ined how dif­fer­ent smells affected shop­pers’ so-called “spa­tial perceptions.”

In par­tic­u­lar, they tested the effect of scents like cin­na­mon that cre­ate warm sen­sa­tions and laven­der, which is inter­preted as cool.

Essen­tially, when the warm scent of cin­na­mon is released in an area that’s crowded it makes peo­ple feel more pow­er­less. As a result, they com­pen­sate for this feel­ing by pur­chas­ing more “pres­ti­gious items.”

The researchers believe that buy­ing stuff induces plea­sure by boost­ing dopamine lev­els in the brain. Inter­est­ingly, the tem­per­a­ture and a num­ber of peo­ple in the room didn’t bring on feel­ings of pow­er­less­ness until the scent of cin­na­mon was added to the mix.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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Vastly Limiting Social Contact Could Stop Flu Spread

iStock/Thinkstock(DAVIS, Calif.) — Keep­ing your dis­tance from oth­ers could be the best way to pre­vent spread­ing the flu, based on how Mex­ico City han­dled the swine flu epi­demic in April 2009.

At the time, gov­ern­ment offi­cials closed schools, can­celled major events and told res­i­dents of Mex­ico City to stay home.

As a result, TV view­ing exploded by 20 per­cent dur­ing the first week that the strin­gent new health pol­icy was enacted. And appar­ently, it kept the flu from spreading.

Michael Spring­born, an econ­o­mist at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis, says the “spread of the virus was reduced by people’s behav­ioral response of dis­tanc­ing them­selves from each other.”

In the five weeks before things got back to nor­mal, the flu sta­bi­lized and then the num­ber of cases dropped off. It was believed that had Mex­ico City not asked peo­ple to limit their social con­tact, cases of the flu would have quadru­pled over the same amount of time.

Mean­while, it was also noted that TV view­ing returned to nor­mal lev­els by the sec­ond week, which sug­gests peo­ple found other things to do when they were cooped up in their homes.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
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