Category Archives: Health
If you’ve been looking for sound advice on weight loss programs and diet plans, we have some good news for you. We’ve compiled a top ten list of weight loss tips for women. These tips on losing weight are powerful and proven to get results. Best of all, you won’t find any gimmicks or fads here. Only the best, most accurate and scientifically proven health advice made the cut and has been included in this fitness advice guide.
1) Our first weight loss tip for women is simply to exercise consistently. That may seem like common sense, but only 45 percent of adults are actually following their doctor’s advice and getting the recommended minimum: 30 minutes a day, at least four days a week. After only four weeks of inactivity the body begins to shed muscle mass, and aerobic fitness levels start to diminish after missing only two weeks of workouts. That’s why regular, consistent exercise is our first and most important weight loss tip.
2) Don’t focus so much on fast weight loss. Instead, concentrate your efforts on achieving permanent weight loss. While it may be tempting to try the latest fad diet or prescription diet pill, keep in mind that quick weight loss doesn’t always equate to healthy weight loss. As a matter of fact, when you diet without exercising, up to half of the weight you lose could be from muscle mass. Losing muscle is the absolute worst thing you can do when you’re trying to acquire permanent fat loss, so don’t be tempted by the gimmicks promising rapid weight loss. Focus on permanent weight loss through a sensible diet and exercise program, and you’ll be pleased with the long-term results.
3) This weight loss tip is perhaps the best free medical advice you’ll ever receive: Eat your recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables before indulging in any treats. This diet tip is so potent because it will help you realize better health in so many different ways. First and foremost, consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day will help us lose weight because fiber moves fat through our digestive system faster so that less of it is absorbed. High fiber foods also make us feel full sooner and stay in our stomach longer, slowing down our rate of digestion and keeping us feeling full longer. Following this health tip will also lower your risk of several cancers and heart disease.
4) As much as possible, eliminate ‘white’ foods from your diet. High sugar and high carbohydrate foods create an insulin spike that tells our body to start storing fat. They also trigger a blood sugar high, which is inevitably followed by a low. This drop in insulin levels leaves us feeling hungry, tired, and wanting to eat more. Specifically, at the bottom of an insulin crash the body craves more sugar and carbohydrates, setting us up for a vicious weight gain cycle. With this in mind, it’s good advice to simply avoid ‘white’ foods whenever possible. Choose brown rice instead of white, whole wheat bread instead of white, and cut back on goodies made with white processed flour.
5) Actively seek out all the expert advice on health, diet and nutrition that you can find. There are many reputable sources of online medical advice available, and much of it is free. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about weight loss, the more likely it is that you’ll be successful in your efforts. Look for free advice and fitness tips from qualified sources like health club owners, physicians, and certified personal trainers. In short, learn all you can.
6) Get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Research has shown that people who sleep only four hours a night have an 18 percent reduction in leptin, a hormone that tells the brain there is no need for more food, and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin, which triggers hunger. This is one weight loss tip that should be easy for anyone to follow.
7) Drink water. Drink LOTS of water. Water suppresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies show that a decrease in water will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water can actually reduce fat deposits. Why? The kidneys can’t function properly without enough water. When the kidneys don’t function to capacity, some of the work load is taken on by the liver. The liver’s primary function is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy. If the liver has to do some of the kidney’s work, it can’t function at its optimal capacity. As a result, it metabolizes less fat. More fat remains stored and weight loss / fat loss stops.
8) Although it’s not a workout tip or an exercise tip, staying motivated is probably the most effective weight loss advice you’ll ever receive. Since each person in different, motivational techniques will vary. However, many have found that charting fat loss progress to be very encouraging. Others maintain that the single most motivating action is to find a friend and commit to exercise together. Whatever method you choose, find a way to stay motivated if you want to write your own weight loss success story.
9) Essential weight loss advice for a woman is to not exercise like a man. That may sound strange at first, but the fact of the matter is that there are several separate and distinct exercise methods available, and not all are proper for women. In fact, some types of exercise could possibly cause women to gain weight (although any weight gain would be from added muscle, not from fat). For maximum fat loss, women should be engaging in not only aerobic exercise but also in light resistance training.
10) Our final weight loss tip is to carefully select vitamins and supplements to help you attain your fat loss goals. There are a million diet pills and weight loss pills on the market, but the vast majority of them may not be appropriate for you and your personal needs. Instead of buying what you see on the infomercials, take the time to research what’s effective and what’s not. Most importantly, speak with your doctor before beginning any supplement program. Medical research has given us many breakthroughs in the last few decades, and vitamins and supplements can certainly be a valuable tool in your weight loss toolbox. Take the time to investigate the options and choose wisely.
Although there’s a mountain of health advice available today, our Top 10 Weight Loss Tips for Women are the best, most accurate and scientifically proven recommendations at hand. Take them to heart, and you’ll be well on your way towards fat loss success.
Regulating your adrenal glands is very important, especially since this is the part of the body which is responsible for different hormone production which in turn affects many facets of your health. This includes you energy levels. So to make sure you keep your hormones levels where they should be and your adrenal glands fully productive, here are some useful tips for a more effective adrenal fatigue diet:
1. Eat more often – Likely you have heard that it is important to eat 3 meals a day and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for those suffering from adrenal fatigue it is important to eat at least 3 meals a day. You really should eat closer to 5-6 meals each and every day. Avoiding blood sugar spikes and valleys due to going long periods without eating something is imperative to jump-starting your adrenal glands. For maximum effectiveness, plan out your day so you don’t go more than 2-3 hours without eating something healthy. You might be surprised that this is a great way to lose weight because it jump starts your adrenals as well as your metabolism.
2. Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and sugar – These three types of foods are very popular in our society. If we don’t have them, we crave them deeply. Much of this is out of habit, but the need also stems from a need for stimulants to keep us going and suppressant (alcohol) to help us relax. Your body already has a mechanism for this (your adrenals) and it shouldn’t need to be tricked into producing more or less cortisol. For a full adrenal recovery, you should let the body regulate itself through naturally as it was meant to. If you need to have that energy boost, you might want to consider healthier and better alternatives such as proper exercise and a balanced diet. Substitute stimulants like caffeine and sugar with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and water so that you get other nutritious vitamins and minerals and the accompanying energy boost without the side effect of debilitating mid-day crashes.
3. Keep away from processed food – Fast food, canned goods, and instant noodles would do you no good in the long run. Most people these days say that they have no choice but to eat these stuff because of time restraints. However, there are many quick and healthy recipes nowadays which you can try to make sure that you still eat healthy despite your very busy and active lifestyle. Remember this rule of thumb: Eat food as close to its original form as possible. The less steps and time between its original form and the time you eat it, the more nutritious it will be for your body.
4. Observe how you eat – Eating correctly is a principle that has become lost due to our busy schedules and hectic lifestyles. By eating correctly I mean to chew your food thoroughly and eat to satisfaction. Its important that you try to make your eating environment conducive to proper digestion. Wolfing down a burger in rush hour traffic barely constitutes a healthy meal. When you eat, try to slow down and chew your food at least 30 times before you swallow. Ensure you have proper hydration to drink with you food. One tip that has proven helpful to many people is to eat with friends and family. You tend to eat slower and be in a better mood, which ultimately leads to better digestion, when you eat with friends and family.
5. Drink more water – Don’t underestimate the power of water. Most of us are walking around dehydrated and we don’t even know it. There is absolutely no substitute for water. Many of the popular drinks of the day (I.E. cola, coffee, some juices like cranberry juice) are actually diuretics because they cause you to use up more water than they supply. Besides the caffeine in many drinks, the large amounts of sugar contained in these drinks alone will wreak havoc on your adrenal glands and expand your waistline. Instead, develop the habit of carrying a water bottle with you and make sure you are adequately hydrated throughout the day.
6. Adrenal fatigue supplements – While it is possible to get all the nutrients we need for healthy adrenals and a healthy body from food, most of us simply do not have the time it takes to find all the best foods, and properly prepare them. This can be especially difficult depending on where geographically you live. Accepting the realization that in this day in age, we simply are not getting all the nutrients we need from the foods we are eating, is an important step on the way to adrenal health. This is why we need to supplement. There are lots of nutrients we simply do not get enough of. If you don’t currently take any supplements, begin with a multivitamin and vitamin C. However, there are many supplements specifically formulated to address the nutritional deficiencies of those suffering with adrenal fatigue.
Whether you have a job that requires wining and dining clients, a family whose “get togethers” mean a big meal out, or simply have no skills in the kitchen, restaurant food can add inches to your waistline. Check out these fool-proof diet tips for eating out!
Fortunately, eating healthy out doesn’t have to mean just plain steamed vegetables and brown rice. The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, co-authors of The Secret to Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat share their tips on keeping the flavor in and the calories out.
Sticking to a healthy diet while eating out
Be in the know
Understanding how to make smart menu substitutions is one of the smartest things you can do. Tammy says, “Restaurant staff really aim to please. Unless the menu says “no substitutions,” most restaurants are accommodating.” If you’re polite to your server they will probably be happier to accommodate you.
Go easy on the sauce
“The most important tip when eating out is to order sauces, dressings and condiments on the side. We’ve all heard this before, but it can truly save hundreds of calories,” says Lyssie. Since most sauces are filled with oil, sour cream, sugar, butter, or cream, or a combination of these, they are very calorically rich. Lyssie warns, “Be careful not to dump the entire side of sauce onto your meal. Use the teaspoon to measure one or two scoops, as a general rule.” Some lower calorie sauce exceptions to this include red sauce and fresh veggie or fruit-based salsa.
Size does matter
Following the “everything in moderation” mantra can get you far, depending on how closely you adhere to it. According to Lyssie, “Portion size is critical. Restaurants tend to serve a much larger portion than one would normally eat at a meal, which can leave you with a whole day’s worth of food at one sitting.” In this case, do the hand test. Carb-filled foods, such as pasta and rice, should be limited to the size of your fist. Match proteins up, such as salmon or steak, to the size and thickness of your palm. When portioning veggies, the more the better, as long as they’re not drenched in butter, oil or cream.
Chinese, if you please
While Chinese food conjures up images of deep fried meats, sugary sauces and starchy dumplings, other widely available dishes include steamed veggies, unbreaded meats and broth-based soups. If the entrée selections don’t contain a lot of veggies, the Nutrition Twins always add an order of steamed veggies and mix them directly into the meal so they still get the same flavorful satisfaction while saving big on calories.
Some of the highest calorie cuisines include French and East Indian. If you take away the butter and cream based sauces, puff pastry wraps and fat-braised meats, much of the essence and flavor of the food is taken away. Though Indian food includes a lot of nutritious vegetables and legumes, the coconut milk, ghee, and oil added to most dishes ahead of time aren’t able to be substituted upon request.
As the term ‘glucometer’ suggests, it is a battery operated meter that is used to measure the blood glucose levels in a person. It is a small and compact device that can be stored easily and can be carried anywhere so that it becomes easy for people suffering from diabetes mellitus to be able to keep a constant check on their blood sugar levels and control their diabetes. Ever since the glucometer has come into the picture, it has become a necessity for each and every family with a member suffering from this condition. With 25.8 million people suffering from this condition all across the globe, and the numbers still continuing to rise, it becomes very important to know how to use a glucometer to be able to live a healthy life by keeping a track on your blood glucose.
Instructions to Use a Glucometer
The first glucose enzyme electrode was invented in 1962 by Leland Clark and Ann Lyons. Over all these years, new advances and technological changes have been introduced in the glucometer to make it more user-friendly, fast, and accurate. Glucometers are available in many different brands, One Touch and Accu Check, being two of them. However, the usage of all of them are more or less the same. You can check the user’s manual and instructions to know exactly how to use your specific glucometer. The basic steps are mentioned as follows.
Get a Glucometer and Instructions Manual
The first step would be to sit in a relaxed place with your glucometer and carefully read the instructions manual. As I mentioned earlier, though the basic functioning of all the glucometers is more or less the same, the slight variation in the operation can be understood clearly by reading the user’s manual. So the first step would be to understand how your glucometer functions.
Wash Your Hands
Once you have read the user’s manual and understood what needs to be done, the next step would be to thoroughly wash your hands using an antiseptic soap. This would erase the possibilities of developing an infection in case you have been in contact with some unhygienic objects.
Place the Strips on the Glucometer
Now this step may vary from device to device. While there are some devices that need to be switched on first followed by the placement of the strip, there are other glucometers that are switched on as soon as you place the strip in it. There will be a marking asking you to place the strip, with the colored portion of the strip being at the top.
Take the Blood Sample with the Lancet
Normally, when you have placed the strip in the glucometer, the next step would be to place the blood sample on the strip so that it can read the blood sugar level. The sample size (amount of blood required) would vary from device to device, however, usually a drop of blood would suffice. Some models may indicate as to when to put the sample. Make sure you wipe the puncture site with disinfectant solution with the help of a cotton ball before you prick.
Record Your Readings
Once you have entered the blood sample, the device may take anywhere between 5-30 seconds. During the wait time, it may show indication like ‘wait…’ or ‘processing’. The blood sugar level may be expressed in mg/dL or mmol/l. Usually in countries like United States, France and India, blood glucose is measured in mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). It is advisable to record your glucometer readings in a notebook as it might be useful information for your doctor and yourself. Although the newer glucometers have an on-board memory which enables them to store your results automatically.
Discard the Used Strip and Lancet
You are never ever supposed to reuse the strip or the lancet. It would also be advisable to check the expiry date of the strip before using. If the strips have expired, they wouldn’t be effective. Don’t even use the same lancet again. It is not advisable.
Place the Glucometer in a Safe Place
If you want you can wipe the glucometer with a damp cloth (with no water dripping from the cloth) and then place it back into the box and store it in a cool and dry place where the temperature is not extreme in nature. Make sure you keep it out of the reach of children.
Though a glucometer can enable you to keep a constant check at your glucose levels in diabetes, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit your doctor on a regular basis. It is a very important part of diabetes management to actually be in constant touch with your doctor and get yourself tested on a regular basis. However, keeping a glucometer handy can actually help you keep a track of your fasting and postprandial readings, thereby minimizing the sudden occurrences of conditions like hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia, both of which are the result of unmonitored blood sugar levels.
Buying an inaccurate pulse oximeter for the measurement of oxygen saturation of the blood and heart rate may lead to dangerous outcomes. A patient’s health can be at risk if, the device gives faulty results. Therefore, buying a good device giving accurate results is extremely important. This medical device is used extensively in hospitals and by people who require regular monitoring of the above mentioned health parameters.
- Patients suffering from medical conditions like asthma and Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD), often use this device to monitor oxygen levels because low oxygen levels in the blood of such patients can be extremely dangerous, and sometimes can prove to be fatal.
- Athletes who engage in extensive training and workout sessions need to monitor their blood oxygen levels to check for sudden drop of oxygen in the blood.
- Pilots flying airplanes which are not pressurized to maintain oxygen levels, use a pulse oximeter to check if oxygen supplements are needed.
- Mountaineers climb high altitudes. In those environment, oxygen content in the atmosphere is less as compared to lower altitudes. An oximeter helps them to conveniently monitor their blood oxygen levels.
As all of these people have reasons to use a pulse oximeter to monitor their state of health, getting the best device in terms of accuracy and ease of use, is extremely necessary. So, let’s see how you can select a device that meets all the user requirements.
Parameters for Choosing a Pulse Oximeter
Pulse oximeters are manufactured by several companies. The point to consider here is the reputation of the manufacturer. Buy the device from a well-known manufacturer to feel rest assured about the quality standards maintained during the manufacturing process.
The device is available in large and small sizes. If you are buying an oximeter for a hospital setting, a large-sized device will be good, but if it is required for personal use, a smaller one will serve the purpose.
Pulse oximeters are of various types. Adult oximeters are used for adults whereas, pediatric oximeters are intended for children. Hand-held devices are preferred by individuals who take their own readings, while sleep unit apnea oximeters are used to monitor blood oxygen levels during a sleep study conducted on sleep apnea patients. So, analyze your need and purchase the device accordingly.
Accuracy is a critical parameter that must be kept in mind while looking for the right oximeter. As mentioned before, inaccurate analysis of vital parameters can be extremely dangerous. To find the level of accuracy of the device, you can take two simultaneous readings, one with the product you are checking out, and the other with an already established accurate device. Similar readings in both oximeters will confirm the accuracy of the device under study.
Oxygen level of blood and heart rate are often continuously monitored in patients with serious illnesses. Oximeters used in these cases are usually equipped with alarms which ring each time the blood oxygen level drops below the normal level. This feature is extremely helpful for the caregiver, as immediate action can be taken. If the need be, an oximeter with an alarm setting can be a good choice.
Think, is oximeter portability something you need? Some devices are portable and some are not. If you want the device to be with you all the time, and you need to carry it in your pocket or purse, a small-sized, easy-to-use portable oximeter must be your pick.
Look for product reviews either online or ask people you know who are already using the device. Taking a physician’s recommendation can also help in selecting a good quality oximeter. Many websites mention reviews on various products. Going through them can help in understanding which brand is more popular for use.
First thing to note here is that, a high price does not always guarantee a good product. Devices available in the market, differ a lot in price. Some cost less than hundred dollars, while some are worth a couple of thousand. Therefore, decide the features you want and the amount of money you are willing to spend. With these things clear in mind, there should be no confusion in choosing an oximeter.
Confirm the warranty period for the product. Some companies offer a one year warranty and some offer two. It is wise to choose an oximeter which is covered under a two-year warranty period so that you get a longer period of coverage. You don’t have to worry about whom to contact if there is a problem with the device.
Ask whether the refund facility is available or not. What if you buy the device and later find that it does not work properly? Therefore, buy the oximeter from a manufacturer who is ready to refund the money if, their product fails to work after opening the pack.
For people who are going to operate the oximeter on their own, the highest priority must be to check if the device is easy to use. Buying a device that is difficult to use will be a waste of money.
Pulse oximeters can also be bought online. Through the Internet, it is possible to check the specifications and price of the devices that are available in the market. Many manufacturers also have special offers to increase the sales of their product. This can be an advantage, if you have already studied a product and want to save some money through online shopping.
If you get a chance, try to use the oximeter manually before you make the purchase, and measure the blood oxygen saturation and pulse. In this way, you can check whether the device is working properly or not.
A pulse oximeter is clipped onto a finger, covering the nail portion to take the readings. You can either compare its accuracy with another device or share the pulse oximeter readings with a physician who will be able to judge the device quality. By conducting a thorough research on various devices available in the market and by studying the above parameters, you will be able to pick the best device for use.
A person suffering from tooth ache would care more for the tooth rather than a world war. Only the patients suffering from the tooth ache can really understand and feel its agony. The teeth are so important for the body that the life cannot be imagined without them. Not only do they play a vital role in chewing food, but at the same time, they also play important role in making the speech or pronunciation of the sounds perfect. This can best be felt by those who are devoid of teeth. However, in modern days, it is not all a difficult task to implant tooth. Even if someone loses many or all the teeth in the mouth, the modern technology can make up for all the loss.
There is no dearth of dentists across the globe; however, many people tend to reach out to the dentists when it is too late. Some patients visit the dentists only when they feel excruciating and unbearable ache. Despite the knowledge of the tooth decay, they delay in getting the medical help from the dentists. In some parts of the world, the dentist service may be a bit scarce, but the people living in Auckland do not need to worry about the availability of the dentists. With a team of highly qualified and experienced team of dental care professionals, the south Auckland dentist is at everyone’s disposal, and anyone and everyone can access the dental care services.
Whether it is the fast braces, pain free treatment, routine dental examination, scaling & polishing, dental hygiene, periodontal treatment, tooth color fillings, root canal treatment, tooth extraction, dentures, veneers, or any other dental care services, the South Auckland Dentist provides almost all types of dental care services. Known for general dentistry, emergency dental treatment, affordable cosmetic services, and smile makeover etc, the dental care experts have not only always provided the best possible dental services, but at the same time, they have won the hearts and trust of the patients.
Many of the dental patients feel reluctance to visit the dentists as they fear the high charges for dental treatment. However, the patients living in and around Auckland do not need to worry about the prices or charges. Yes, the people looking for the cheapest dentist in Auckland can find the dentists without undergoing any hassles or inconveniences. Available round the clock, the dentists here can provide even the emergency dental care services.
Besides playing a vital role in chewing and speaking, the teeth also are the integral and most exposed part of the personality. The people with healthy and attractive teeth automatically get scintillating personality. However, the delay in treatment can lead even to the loss of the tooth, and it is wise to visit the dentist as early as possible.
But, just because it is difficult, do not give up on finding a good dentist. You have to understand that your oral health as important as your entire health and only an experienced oral care expert can give you some useful tips for oral care.
You need an expert dental surgeon, more than anything else, if you have been advised to undergo procedures like root canals or tooth extraction. An expert hand, during these procedures can save you from a lot of complications. It is for this reason people in Sydney are extensively relying on Smile Concepts. Most people avoid undergoing root canal for the reason that they are afraid. However, there are some people who are rather worried about the cost of root canal treatment in Sydney. Smile Concept experts willingly provide assurance the assurance of quality services and affordable prices to their patients.
If you are looking for an experienced and a reliable dentist near your house, here are some tips to help you:
• Start with looking for a dentist who is concerned about your overall health and not just the dental health. There are some health issues that occur as a result of degraded oral health. A good dentist will pay attention your other health issues to make you understand the actual cause of it, which can be a dental issue. A dentist, who fills up your cavity and let you go, is not worth a consideration.
• You can ask your friends and family to provide you some recommendation. But, make sure that the dentist they refer has a clinic nearby your home. If he live far away, you might start ignoring your regular visit to your dentist as you become lazy and unwilling to travel this far frequently.
• Once you have shortlisted all good dentist in your location, it is time for you to go through their reviews and patient following on internet. Do not forget to visit their official site as it can provide you a lot of information about the reputation of the dentist. However, you have to understand that internet is just a source for reference. To be further sure, you must pay dental clinic an extended visit.
• A visit doesn’t mean that you just roam around the clinic and return back. The purpose of your visit should be clear all your doubts. For example when people go to ask the cost of root canal treatment in Sydney, they clear all their regarding the process.
A stethoscope is a simple instrument that magnifies sounds. Because of its simplicity, and ease of use, it is mostly found in the medical field, with doctors, nurses, and medical professionals using it to listen to sounds in the human body. It is one of the most basic and important diagnostic tool that is used to get vital information regarding a patient’s body.
If you need to replace your stethoscope, you should choose it with care, as a stethoscope that does not function properly can be detrimental in medical practice. Here are a few things you should look at before buying a stethoscope.
Choosing a Quality Stethoscope
The four basic factors to keep in mind while buying a stethoscope are quality, durability, acoustics, and versatility, which are almost self-explanatory. In addition to these, other factors to consider while choosing a good stethoscope are:
Nature of Work
Your nature of work will determine the proper stethoscope that you will need to use. For example, a normal diagnostic one will be helpful for a nurse, whereas a lab technician may need a more specific one to accommodate his wide range of diagnostics.
The sensitivity to sound of a stethoscope is very important. Most good stethoscopes come with a bell and tunable diaphragm, which help the user to listen to all the frequencies of sounds within the body without rotation of the device. These might be a little expensive, but will serve you better.
Types of Stethoscopes
Stethoscopes come in two main types: acoustic and electronic. Depending on your need you can choose the one that suits you the best. A digital model is also available, but the two most commonly used models are the acoustic and electronic.
High frequencies are caught by the diaphragm and lower ones are magnified by the bell. Acoustic models are highly efficient, the only issue being the amplification of some sounds which can be vague and confusing.
These scopes can amplify the sound quality almost 10 times, and hence, provide highly efficient sound quality. These models often feature an equalizer to adjust various sound parameters and noise filters that allow doctors to hear only relevant sounds. They also have an extended range of lower and higher frequencies which gives doctors sharp, clear, and distinct sounds, and are suited for noisy environments.
Strength of the Tubes
The tubes which carry the sound to the listener also needs to be considered while buying a good stethoscope. The length and composition of the tube must be appropriate and of optimum size, i.e., neither long nor very short. It must be made up of a hard and flexible material. All in all, a good stethoscope must be of short length with thick walls to reduce the external sound disturbances, dual tubes, and a high internal diameter.
Then comes the earpiece. It should fit snugly and comfortably in your ears so that all the other noise in the room is inaudible. It should be the right and perfect fit, so you may have to try on various stethoscopes before buying one. A stethoscope which does not fit properly is uncomfortable, painful, and may function ineffectively. Hence, choosing the best-suited, well-fitting earpiece is very important.
Again, this will depend on the field of specialization that you choose in future. For example, if you plan to use the stethoscope for cardiology or pulmonology, then you will require the widest range of frequencies to diagnose even a slight disturbance or problem with the heart. If it is for general use, then a small frequency range will be good for you.
Of course, your budget will matter while choosing a stethoscope, so, select one which suits yours the best. Stethoscopes start from about USD 50, but can go up to as high as even USD 300, depending on the features and the quality. Select one that is of good quality, but suited to your needs as a doctor, nurse, or technician.
You will need to try many scopes prior to choosing the one that is best-suited for you. Remember, it is a valuable tool that you will use to help diagnose the patient’s illness. So, choose the best stethoscope possible, which will remain your best friend in the years to come.
While conducting a physical assessment, doctors need skills such as inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation, and olfaction. The term ‘auscultation’ is derived from the Latin word Auscultaure, which means ‘to listen’. In the field of medicine, auscultation is performed with the help of a stethoscope. The term ‘stethoscope’ is derived from two Greek words called stethos and scopos. While the former refers to the chest, the latter means examination. An acoustic medical instrument, the stethoscope is integral to the diagnosis. This instrument is extremely useful, when it comes to diagnosing medical conditions associated with the organs located in the chest cavity. While the stethoscope that was designed by René Laennec was made of wood, the advancement of medical science has led to the development of several designs with added features. However, even the modern acoustic stethoscopes have simplistic designs. Doctors now also have the option of using electronic stethoscopes that can even amplify sounds.
Parts of a Stethoscope
Doctors are aware of the intensity, quality, or pitch of sounds that is normally associated with certain parts of the body. If they hear any variation from the normal sounds, they can perform other diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis. A stethoscope helps the doctors ascertain the presence and location of abnormal sounds. At times, the absence of sounds could help in the diagnosis. For instance, the absence of bowel sounds can be an indicator of bowel problems.
Components of a stethoscope
The components of a stethoscope include:
✦ Binaurals (ear tubes or curved metal pipes that connect the earpieces to the tubes of stethoscope)
✦ Air-filled tube
✦ Chest piece
The headset comprises the two earpieces and ear tubes. The chest piece consists of a bell and a diaphragm. While the bell is the cup-shaped side that is used for listening to low frequencies or low-pitched sounds, the diaphragm is the flatter side that is used for high frequencies. A removable chill ring prevents the chest piece from coming in contact with the skin, and also keeps the diaphragm in place. In case of dual-frequency, tunable stethoscopes, the bell and the diaphragm are combined on one side of the chest piece. All the user needs to do is apply varying pressure to listen to low or high frequencies. Low pressure and high pressure needs to be applied to listen to low frequency and high frequency sounds, respectively.
In case of the two-sided chest piece, the user can switch between the bell and the diaphragm, depending on the frequency. It must be noted that only one part of the chest piece can work at a time. The sound can be amplified either through the bell or the diaphragm. If the sound is barely audible through the bell, it implies that the diaphragm is in the position for use. There are certain types of stethoscopes that don’t have a bell.
When the diaphragm is placed on the skin, it vibrates due to the sounds from the body. This leads to the creation of the acoustic pressure waves, which in turn travel up through the tube. The sound is transmitted from the bell or the diaphragm to the earpieces, which fit in snugly in the ears, thereby preventing other sounds from entering the ears.
How to Use a Stethoscope Properly
There are a few aspects that you need to keep in mind in order to use a stethoscope properly. Basically, you need to put the earpieces in such a way that they create an airtight seal with the ears. This is to block the noises from the outside environment, so that you can focus or clearly listen to the sounds emanating from the internal organs. Here are a few pointers on using a stethoscope in a correct way:
Eartips should point forward
✦ After placing the earpieces in the ears, adjust them so that they point slightly forward. Usually, binaurals or the ear tubes are positioned at an angle of 15°, so that earpieces can point forward and align with the ear canal. Ensure that the earpieces are a snug fit.
Eartips should be a perfect fit
✦ If you have placed the earpieces properly, the external noise will become faint. Earpieces are available in small, as well as large sizes. So, make sure that you opt for a size that is a perfect fit.
✦ Make sure that you check the earpieces on a regular basis. Look for cracks. Also, it is essential to clean the earpieces, so that auscultation is not affected by the accumulation of earwax, lint, or dirt.
Don’t place the fingertips on the edge of the diaphragm/bell
✦ The chest piece should also be held in the right manner. It must be held between the index finger and the middle finger of the dominant hand. Fingertips should not be placed on the edge of the diaphragm or bell, as that can lead to noise, which in turn will affect one’s ability to listen to the sounds from the internal organs. Make sure that the stethoscope tube doesn’t rub against the patient’s skin.
Double-sided stethoscope with a bell and diaphragm
✦ If you are using a double-sided stethoscope that has a bell and diaphragm, you will need to rotate the chest piece, so as to open the bell or diaphragm. If the diaphragm is open, the bell will be closed, and vice versa. This is to ensure that sound doesn’t come through the other part. This prevents noise interference, thereby allowing doctors to hear high or low frequency sounds properly.
✦ If you are using a tunable stethoscope, move the chest piece in a half circle. Once you hear a click, tap the bell and diaphragm to check which one of them is open.
✦ Make sure that the parts of the chest piece are not loose. Look for signs of damage.
✦ Do not touch the tube (tube that runs from the chest piece to the headset) while examining a patient with a stethoscope.
Place the stethoscope on bare skin to minimize noise interference
✦ Placing the diaphragm or the bell on bare skin would also help avoid noise interference that could occur due to the mixing of sounds from the body and clothes.
On a concluding note, it is essential to clean the stethoscope to ensure optimal acoustical performance, as well as reduce the risk of transmission of pathogens. It is advisable to disinfect the bell/diaphragm of the stethoscope before using it on another patient. It can be wiped with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution. Also, make sure that it is not exposed to extreme temperature, solvents, and oils. Remove the earpieces from the tubes regularly for thorough cleaning.
Your heart is a machine, that is continuously pumping blood. Just as every machine requires servicing, your heart requires a little care and attention too. But obviously, you cannot send your heart to a service station, for a regular maintenance. Thus, maintaining a healthy diet is all that you can do, to keep it hale and hearty. Having a right diet, is the only way of preventing your heart from any kind of illnesses. Today, the risk of heart related problems is equal for both men and women. After the age of 40, it is imperative for a woman to take care of her heart’s health to lead a healthy life for a healthy family.
Experts say, that the daily consumption of foods high in nutrition can reduce the risk to your heart by 80%. Thus, it is important to understand how your food affects your heart. Restricting your intake of saturated fats and quitting any form of trans fat is the best way reducing the level of bad cholesterol or LDL. Avoid the butter, cheese, margarine or even white butter on your bread and food to keep away from these fats. Substitute the high fat food such as fried potato with baked potato and cook your meals in healthier oils such as olive oil, safflower, sunflower or canola. Start your day by eating only egg whites and plain toast. This is a better idea as compared to the tasteless oatmeal breakfast. You do not have to make drastic changes in your diet to have a healthy meal. Small changes like adding vegetables, fruits and low fat substitutes to your food will go a long way in making your heart healthy.
Low cholesterol is the biggest culprit for heart related problems. Watching what you eat is the only way of controlling your cholesterol levels. The best way of avoiding HDL or bad cholesterol is by keeping away from fried packaged food. Replacing chips, cookies and fries with fruits, proteins and fibrous food stuffs is the best way of avoiding any form cholesterol intake. Nuts, fish oils, olive oil and food substances that contain sterols or stanols, block absorption of cholesterol. Simply avoid packaged food to bring down your cholesterol levels.
No Processed Food
Eating a lot of processed food can be a major risk to your heart. Easy food items such as packaged dinners, processed meats and dairy products are harmful to the heart and must be avoided as much as possible. Replace these by fresh food, fruits, salads, soups and unsalted meats. Eating excessive salt increases your blood pressure, which exposes you to the risk of heart attack. Thus reducing your intake of sodium and avoiding processed food items as much as possible is a great way of staying fit. Instead of salt, try adding spices and herbs to your food to make it tasty.
Besides eating healthy meals, it is also important that you exercise everyday. Cardiovascular exercises make your heart strong and improve the blood circulation. Regular exercise builds endurance, improves flexibility and reduces body fat, thereby minimizing the risk to your heart. While balancing your exercise and diet, maintain your focus on fibrous food as they are rich in nutrition and a great help in keep the heart fit as a fiddle. They not only mitigate the risk of heart diseases, but also assist weight loss. Go back to eating homemade meals as they are fresh and the ingredients can be monitored. Bake or boil your meals, instead of frying them. A healthy meal and a health conscious mind is the key to a healthy heart for a lifetime!