Diabetic Hemoglobin A1C and the Risks of Low Blood Sugar in the Elderly

The diabetic hemoglobin A1C test is a fairly new way to measure glucose levels in the blood. It was developed when researchers discovered the glycation process, and in 1986 the testing program was launched into the medical community.

It caught on fast because it is a wonderful way to know a patient's blood sugar level rates over the last couple of months. And there was hope that giving diabetics a simple number to shoot for would encourage better blood sugar control.

Because it is so new, researchers are still doing tests to find proof that lower fractions (measured as percentages) in diabetics will also lower the risk for diabetic complications over many years. Most non-diabetics test in the range of about 4% to 6%. A type 2 diabetic can test 10% or higher if blood sugars are not being controlled.

And studies are showing that at levels higher than 8% the complications are going to multiply and get worse as the years pass by. This is a huge problem. The National Institute of Health says the estimate of type 2 diabetics with poor blood sugar control in the US is 40-60%. They see the diabetic hemoglobin A1C as a powerful tool to change this.

Diabetic Hemoglobin A1C Testing

As a type 2 diabetic I get the HbA1C test every three months. That's because I'm on insulin. If you are on oral medicines or just diet and exercise to control your blood sugars you probably only get the test twice a year.

And doctors are seeing that consistent readings of 6.5% or lower have been keeping the heart, kidney, retinal and peripheral complications from becoming life-threatening in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Lower diabetic hemoglobin A1C does equal lower risk of complications.

The reason? If your HbA1C is lower, it means you have fewer AGEs, advanced glycation end products, in your blood and therefore in your organs, including your brain, heart, blood vessels and eyes. The test is simply telling you how well you are keeping them out of your system.

What the Diabetic Hemoglobin A1C Is Not Telling You

Diabetic medications cause hypoglycemia to some degree, and insulin does this more than the oral medicines. You are trying to control the amount of blood sugar in your body by artificial means. Your body's defenses against a blood sugar that is too high or too low are delicate and complicated. Meds can not duplicate it.

Minute by minute your endocrine system uses its arsenal of hormones to regulate your blood sugar so it does not go too low. When it senses a dip to 70 it releases epinephrine, you feel nervous, and your heart starts pounding.

Hormones tell your liver to release some of the sugar stored there over the next few hours, and they restrict the amount of glucose available to your hands and feet. If these measures do not stop the lowering of blood sugar you start having neurologic symptoms, blurred eyesight, profuse sweating and sleepiness.

And the more often that low blood sugar events happen, the less sensitive you become to the onset of hypoglycemia. The diabetic hemoglobin A1C can not tell you or your doctor how often this is coming to you.

Hypoglycemia at night can go unnoticed if it happens a lot. It may be a cause of the dawn phenomenon, when you wake up with a much higher blood sugar than you measured the night before. Sensing a low blood sugar, your liver released sugar to raise it, and since you have diabetes, insulin did not respond as it would in a non-diabetic.

There are significant risks to having many hypoglycemic episodes. The first is that you become less sensitive to them, and if you do not have early warnings your sugars may dip dangerously low before you are aware of it.

Hypoglycemic attacks take a toll on a diabetic heart in the long run. So older diabetics are the ones who are showing the results. Only constant blood sugar monitoring can tell you how much low blood sugars are occurring. The diabetic hemoglobin A1C can not warn you of a hypoglycemic attack.

The Case for Not Having the Same HbA1C Target for Every Diabetic

Studies performed over several years in older diabetics are showing some surprises. They are proving that diabetic hemoglobin A1C over 7.5% to 8% does go along with higher death rates from complications.

They also show higher death rates if the HbA1C is kept at less than 6.5%. This is especially true if older diabetics have heart failure or nephropathy, what doctors call comorbidities (having two or more conditions that can cause death).

As diabetics are living longer, doctors who study and work with this aging population are learning that the optimal ranges for things like BMI, blood pressure and diabetic hemoglobin A1C need to be different from those for younger, newer diabetics.

They say that for type 2 diabetics with a history of heart failure it is best to keep the HbA1C between 7% and 7.8%, and for those with kidney disease this also seems optimal. There is no benefit in trying to lower blood sugar beyond that.

In fact, pushing for lower numbers raises the statistics for death as much as having high blood sugar. These studies are so new that the cause has not been figured out yet. But doctors who treat older patients think the problem may be a higher number of hypoglycemic attacks. They are caused by trying tighter blood sugar control using medicines.

Applying the same rules about good ranges in older patients as in youngger ones is a big mistake. Elderly patients with a slightly higher BMI than fits the standards survive heart attacks and other illnesses better than thin patients.

Not treating cholesterol and blood pressure with medication as aggressively in older patients is turning out to be a good idea. And the same is true for blood sugar. In aging diabetics there are smaller benefits from tight blood sugar control.

Measured against the catastrophic results of hypoglycemia, a diabetic hemoglobin A1C of 6.5% or lower is just not worthwhile. But that is only for long-term diabetics with a high risk for cardiovascular disease, who have heart failure or kidney disease.

Those who have a diabetic hemoglobin A1C below 7% by diet and exercise do not face the same risks and usually do not have those other problems either. And there is no doubt that the closer the HbA1C is to the non-diabetic 6% level, the lower the likelihood of diabetic complications in your eyes, heart, kidneys and feet.

New diabetics need to try for the 6.5% diabetic hemoglobin A1C. And all of us with type 2 diabetes need to do our best to lower our blood sugar naturally with a sensible diet that leaves out the AGEs, and we need exercise for weight loss and cardiovascular health.

Insulin and oral medications are necessary, but the less we have to depend on them with type 2 diabetes, the better we will do as we age. It's exercise and eating healthy food that will improve the quality of our years as we live longer and longer with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Whatever you decide to do, "be happy in the life you have chosen." (Charles Dickens).

How Stress Affects The Immune System

According to several medical researches, stress has certain effects on the immune system. Ninety percent of diseases and illnesses are related to stress. Examples are cardiovascular diseases, heart diseases, high blood pressure, and many other illnesses.

An interaction of cellular products and cells is basically your immune system. The main cells called leukocytes (white blood cells) are known as the fighter of your immune system and is divided into three classes; the monocytes, lymphocytes, and granulocytes.

Stress is considered an internal factor that can bring about a poor immune system. This is due to your body's natural response to stressful events. If your nervous system (automatic) is frequently activated because of chronic stress, your immune system's capabilities will be eliminated.

If you're still not convinced, here is a list of the effects of stress on the immune system.

1. Increase in sympathetic activity and a decrease in cellular immunity.

2. The immune cells tend to migrate to other body parts which can worsen allergic conditions and autoimmunity.

3. The immune cell's positive acute mobilizations are suppressed.

Many years ago, very little information was known about the effects of stress to the human immune system. But because of the medical researches undertaken by many medical professionals, the relationship between stress and the immune system has been established.

The strategy that you choose in order to cope with stress has a large impact on your immune system. Your immune system's resources can be tied up because of negative emotions. By inhibiting expression of such negative emotions, you're doing more harm to your immune system.

If you feel that you're stressed, it would be best to seek medical attention immediately to prevent any negative effect on the immune system.

Symptoms and Pains – Endometriosis Versus Ovarian Cancer

The symptoms of endometriosis and ovarian cancer symptoms have some overlap, which is why some women with endometriosis worry about the risk of developing ovarian cancer. But before you jump to conclusions lets take a look at the symptoms of endometriosis versus ovarian cancer.

During your monthly period, your uterine wall is shed, and appears as bloody discharge. This is actually a remnant of the endometrium, a layer of muscle and blood designed to support an embryo. If the egg your body releases every month is not fertilized, hormones signal your uterus to shed the uterine lining.

For endometriosis sufferers, endometrial tissue similar to the uterus lining is found in areas outside of the uterus. This migrating endometrial tissue adheres to surrounding organs, causing inflammation and scar tissue to form, resulting in you feeling severe pain, usually at the same time as your menstrual cycle.

This rogue endometrial tissue not only effects the organs found in the pelvic cavity, but also can migrate and attach itself to the bladder, bowel, intestines and colon. In rare cases endometrial lesions have been found in the lungs, spine, and brain and on the skin.

Endometriosis, however, is not cancer.

Ovarian cancer, on the other hand, entails the formation of cysts on your ovaries. These cysts are often benign, and can be removed by surgery if they are detected early.

However, if they start moving to other parts of the body, ovarian cancer can become malignant.

Fluctuations or abnormalities in hormonal levels in your body most likely cause both endometriosis and ovarian cancer. According to studies, women with endometriosis are also more likely to develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime.

So, what are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Severe, disabling pain in the abdominal area that gets worse over time can be the first sign of endometriosis.

Other symptoms will include, but are not limited to:

Vomiting

Nausea

abnormal or irregular menstrual cycles, including bleeding or spotting in between periods

painful urination

painful bowel movements

painful sexual intercourse

heavy menstrual periods

back pain during menstruation

infertility or difficulty conceiving.

Compare these to the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Like endometriosis, women with ovarian cancer will experience pain, although this will manifest at first as a sense of heaviness in the pelvic area.

Other signs of ovarian cancer will include:

vaginal bleeding

abnormal or irregular menstrual cycles

progressive but unexplainable back pain

increased weight gain around the abdomen

inexplicable weight gain or loss

vomiting

nausea

bloody stool

loss of appetite

increased urination

excessive or increased hair growth

increased fluids lining the lungs

sometimes even positive readings on pregnancy tests even if the affected woman is not pregnant.

Because the two illnesses are closely linked, the symptoms of endometriosis versus ovarian cancer can overlap. If you suspect that you have endometriosis or ovarian cancer, consult with your physician immediately. Read as much as you can, and do research on your condition, so that you are better informed on the therapy options available to you.

What Are The Facts About Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

There’s still a lot that both medical science and the public don’t yet understand about multiple sclerosis and multiple sclerosis treatment. For example, the largest part of physicians and researchers consider MS to be autoimmune in origin yet opinion is still divided on what triggers it. Preferred treatment methods differ from doctor to doctor and patient to patient as well, that will make the science of treating MS an intricate endeavor. The first thing that is vital to comprehend about multiple sclerosis is that the situation is not fatal. After patients go through their first symptoms, their condition will probably continue to degrade without sufficient treatment. From time to time, people will commonly relapse in spite of treatment, while some may go into remission. Sad to say, there’s also currently no cure for MS. Which means all available types of multiple sclerosis treatment attempt to control conditions, avoid relapses, and slow or stop the progression of the disease.

The exact mechanism by which this advances is largely believed to be autoimmune. This means that the immune system suddenly decides to attack the body, instead of only attacking bacteria, viruses, and other excess foreign bodies. There are many types of autoimmune condition, which differ depending on what area of the body is influenced. In MS, the nervous system experiences the brunt of the immune system’s invasion. Nerve axons are sheathed in a substance called myelin, which helps safeguard them and sustain nervous function. Throughout an attack of these conditions, the immune system attacks and scars these myelin sheaths. This interrupts nerve function, leading to conditions that change determined by which distinct nerves are affected. Over time, the myelin sheaths will break down entirely.

One of the primary challenges posed by treatment is because of the problems inherent in diagnosing the illness. Because it is a degenerative disease, getting recognized quickly and beginning to get treatment as soon as possible are important. Sad to say, it isn’t always possible to immediately diagnose MS. In most cases, MS symptoms appear in sudden attacks. For a few people, however, they can appear gradually, as a consequence of nerve damage that accumulates over time.

To diagnose the ailment, doctors rely on a list of diagnostic criteria that patients must fit before they can receive a positive diagnosis and begin medication, and a neurological exam that can incorporate an MRI, spinal tap, or other diagnostic procedures.. There are no simple blood tests or other diagnostic measures that can determine if someone has MS. Only a patient interview and neurological exam can do so.

While checking items off of an “MS Checklist” might sound easy, in reality it is anything but. Symptoms vary based on which nerves are damaged, so virtually no two cases of MS are alike. As a result, no two means of diagnosing MS are alike, and no two courses of MS treatment are alike. Everyone’s disease will respond differently to treatment, based on their own physical health, how far they were progressed when they began multiple sclerosis treatment, and many additional circumstances.

In The Wrong Job? – CareersCoach

Have you ever found yourself wondering if you are in the right job? Or if there is some other job out there that might be a better fit? To find out take our quiz.

The alarm goes off on Monday morning. . .

A. You leap out of bed! Because Monday is your favorite day!

B. You switch off the snooze button on your alarm at least 3 or 4 times then roll out
of bed and attempt to brush your teeth and hair at the same time so that you are not late for work.

C. You grumble under your breath that the only reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning is so that you can smile at that hot guy on the train.

Your boss commends you for a job well done …

A. You beam with happiness and are proud that you have a fantastic job and a satisfied Boss – life does not get better that this!

B. Your initial thought is "Yep, and when do I get the pay rise and promotion to go with that".

C. You fantasize about having a really exciting job where you could actually feel proud of your achievements.

Someone else gets the promotion that you have been vying for …

A. You are lightly relieved because it would be sad to change jobs anyway and everything happens for a reason.

B. You are justifiably frustrated because you worked hard for the opportunity but realize that you will just have to step things up so that you do not miss out next time.

C. You want to scream … "Kill Me! Someone Kill me now!"

What feels like an innocent rash turns out to be Shingles and you find yourself bound to bed …

A. You immediately feel depressed that you dislike being off work. By 10am you are on the phone to the office asking if they could e-mail through some work.

B. You feel a bit nervous about missing out on any opportunities but realize that the rest will do you good.

C. You tearfully thank the doctor and head to the DVD shop.

Out of the blue a recruiter calls you regarding a job opportunity … you …

A. Thank them for calling then gush about how much you love your job and how wonderful your boss is.

B. You feel immediately flattered but cautious to ensure that that they have really good job opportunity before committing to anything.

C. You struggle to maintain inner control because you initial instinct is to scream "get me out of here!"

You are most likely to be called into the HR department for a meeting because …

A. You have too much accepted leave.

B. They know to contact you about any internal opportunities.

C. For anger management counseling because you have been throwing phones around the office

You receive a personal call at work … you ….

A. Keep the call to a minimum, after all you are at work.

B. Chat for a few minutes then arrange a time to catch up after work.

C. Try to keep the caller on the phone for as long as possible, annoying all your work collections, who can hear every word of your conversation.

You volunteer to work on a new project because …

A. You are always keen to work on any new projects.

B. You heard that it could lead to a promotion opportunity.

C. Any project has got to be better than the one you have been working on.

What your answers mean

Mostly A's

You are in the right job for right now and that is fantastic! The only thing that you have to be wary of is ensuring that you do not get too comfortable and in the process neglect your personal and career development. Keep working where you are for now but take on some after-hours study to do a personal development course just to keep you fresh so that you have options if and when you have decided to make a change.

Mostly B's

You are a realist and some days you love your job and other days you do not. You are mostly satisfied but keen to keep developing your career. Keep your communication channel open with recruiters and look out for internal opportunities. Set yourself goals and continuously brush up on your communication skills so that you can make the most of any opportunities that come your way.

Mostly C's

You hate your job so why are you still there? Spruce up your resume, hire a career coach, work out what you want to do, set some career goals and get a new job!

Sadness or Depression?

You are right, depression is far more severe than sadness, it is a lot more debilitating and worst – it kills. What's confusing is you may find these two words interchangeably used to define each other. Sadness is actually an emotional state of mind that happens to all of us rational beings.
Some Reasons for Sadness Could be:

  • Loss of a loved one (death or painful separation)
  • Loss of a pet
  • Loss of a job
  • Threaded to lose something with great importance
  • All forms of change

All forms of losses could bring sadness especially those which has guided us comfort and security, material things or people who ushered us to the kind of life we ​​have come to love. Through the years, we have locked up ourselves in a comfort zone that nobody wants disturbed; It's the easier life we ​​lived that's almost indestructible- at least that's what our thoughts embraced.

Although it could be wrong to embrace constancy, it is what usually happens because it is easier done than holding on to something that is inconstant. It is so much more effortless to hold on to something permanent, enduring and without end. But life does not work that way; change is what's unchangeable in this world- give in but know your limits. These words are easier said than done! We all are capable of getting hurt, being sad and causing sadness to other people- it is inevitable.

Depression is the decision to stay in that state of sadness that's been clogging up on you over the years. It affects the decision-making ability, the social and psychological aspects of life, concentration and proper functioning at home and in the community.

Who are at Greater Risk of Depression:

  • Those who have a history of mood disorders in the family
  • Those who have lost both parents before age 10
  • Those who suffer from repeated losses
  • Those with history of sexual abuse during childhood

Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

  • Having suicidal thoughts
  • Chronic Sadness nurtured over the years
  • Sudden loss of interest in sex and other activities which used to give you pleasure
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Difficulty in paying attention
  • Sudden huge weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia
  • Over sleeping

If you have most of the signs and symptoms listed above, you may consider consulting with a trusted professional as it may impair your psychosocial abilities leading to isolation and in some cases, self-infected injuries or death. If you know of someone with possible depression- share your time and get help, it is a serious problem that needs to be corrected.

Health Anxiety and Solutions

It’s always important to take care of oneself using all the principles of good health. Regular check-ups, proper nutrition and healthful living all enable one to keep on top of their health in a careful yet reasonable way. Often one becomes overly concerned with health issues and caught up in a cycle of health worries. One health issue is reconciled when another immediately pops up to take its place. These worries become all encompassing and exhausting after a while.

Eventually, the individual realizes that this cycle of health anxieties has intruded upon the quality of their life. A dark cloud, always hovering over daily living, this intrusive form of anxiety has to be addressed. One begins by determining why this is occurring, what purpose does it serve and how to interrupt this behavior.

Reason for Health Anxiety

Health worries actually serve a purpose and this purpose is not difficult to detect if one looks deep enough into this pattern of behavior. Often this pattern involves the brain distracting from specific emotions which the individual finds difficult to address.

Many emotions are so overwhelming, such as anger, grief or fear, that the brain looks for ways to distract. Health worries fit the bill because when one worries intensely about their health, there is little room to address an upsetting emotion.

Health worries blanket every other thought and this WORKS. This is the perfect distraction from unsettling emotions. When one worry is reconciled, another takes it place to veil the unaddressed emotion. Each health worry has a strong purpose, as it masks the true upsetting emotion, which is much more difficult to face in the long run.

Solution

– Recognition and acknowledgment of the Health Anxiety habit, one worry quickly following another in a noticeable loop that never ends. Awareness of this cycle is always the first step to reconciliation of the issue.

– Determining if this health worry is a true physical problem by visiting one’s primary physician and ruling out a definite physical cause for the difficulty. Always rule out a physical cause before assuming it is merely health anxiety.

– Noticing that these health worries settle down when you become intensely interested in another topic or swept into a new relationship, job or cause.

– Identify your patterns. Do you experience twinges of symptoms that often jump from one area of the body to another? Do you find yourself overestimating physical intrusions and instantly jump to the conclusion that they signify danger or warrant the attention of an alert?

– Find interests that involve your entire being. Lose yourself in things that allow you little time for inward thinking. True illness does not surface through boredom as do these behaviors. True health problems do not generally follow the same time table as health anxieties do. Health worries are stronger during times of boredom and when one lacks interests. An intelligent mind requires challenges and goals.

– Activity is an important therapeutic tool against health worries. Exercise and movement invigorate and stimulate the mind and body in a positive way. Endorphins are released and Serotonin levels are boosted naturally when activity is a part of a daily routine. Moderate walking, jogging, tennis, swimming and dancing are all helpful activities that bring forth positive results.

– Nutrition is also essential to good health which in itself helps eliminate the strong habit of negative thinking, often concerning health worries. When eating properly, Serotonin levels are naturally boosted and blood sugar levels remain stable. This helps settle down an over-reactive mind, leading to a lessening in health anxieties.

– Talk back to the brain by firmly telling it to stop when health worries enter the mind. Shift into a more positive mode of thinking because you always have a choice in what you think about.

The mind will respond by quieting down as negative thoughts subside. The brain, caught red handed in this behavior is instantly embarrassed causing it to suspend this cycle of negative thought. This is comparative to a child being caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Embarrassment at being caught, stops this intrusive behavior.

– Be aware of “what if” thinking. If the majority of sentences you think begin with “what if” then this is proof of a strong health anxiety habit. Change “what if” thinking to “so what” and watch the cycle break.

Most of all, understand that worry solves nothing. Health worries, in particular will only serve to exhaust and deplete both mind and body. Consciously make a concerted effort to change the way you think and you will succeed in changing your life. You will go from self victimization to freedom from the intrusive habit of fearful worry.

You always have a choice. Life can be wonderful and fulfilling when you learn to alter your perspective and chose a more positive point of view. You always have a choice. Never define yourself by your habit of worried thinking. Do not be victimized by health anxiety and fear. With a few simple corrections, especially in thinking, you will find your life changes from being difficult and upsetting to becoming easier and much more fulfilling on a daily basis.

Insomnia Cures For the Sleep Deprived

If you are suffering from lack of sleep or know someone who is, this list of insomnia cures will certainly interest you. Sufficient sleep is just as vital as food to emotional and physical well being. Getting enough sleep is a basic human need. Deprive us of our sleep and we are miserable.

Insomnia is classed into three types, depending on how long you have suffered from lack of sleep. They are:

– Transient insomnia, which lasts for a few days.

– Short-term insomnia, lasting no more than 3 weeks.

– Chronic insomnia, which is when a person has difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing refreshing sleep for at least 3 nights a week for a month or more.

When insomnia is the primary complaint, it is known as Primary Chronic Insomnia, however other sleep disorders may cause difficulty in sleeping such as Sleep Apnea (difficulty in breathing while sleep), Restless Leg Syndrome (unpleasant sensations in the legs), or narcolepsy ( excessive daytime sleepiness).

Certain drugs and medications may cause difficulty in sleeping, either while on them or while withdrawal from them. Emotional disturbance can be another cause of sleep deprivation.

You should resort to treatment after you are deprived of sleep for more than a few weeks or it interferees with your normal day to day functioning.

Here are some of the things that can be done to help cure insomnia:

– Sleep Disorder Clinics. If it is determined by your doctor that you should go to a sleep disorder clinic you will spend a night there and technicians (sleep specialists) will evaluate your sleep complaints as well as monitor your blood oxygen level, your heart rate, your muscle tone, and other sleep behavior while you sleep. Based on your disorder, a treatment will be recommended by your doctor.

– Medications. There is significant concern about using medications for treating insomnia. Meditations do not address the root of the problem. Some of the concern is that people using over the counter medications will develop drug dependence on these medications to sleep, turning the medications into a crutch rather than an aid. These medications can cause detrimental physical side effects, and interfere with other medications. Always read the warning labels when using any medications.

– Natural Cures. There are a number of natural cures that you can try to cure your insomnia. Two of the most popular are chamomile tea or lemon balm. Be aware that just because something is labeled 100% natural does not mean it is so. Natural remedies are not regulated, so you must be careful when you buy. Other natural substances used as natural cures for insomnia are:

St. John's Wort – Widely used as a mood stabilizer and to treat mild depression, St John's Wort has also been shown to be effective in treating insomnia. The only known side effect of St. John's Wort is skin rash and sensitivity to light, however other side effects have been reported. Pregnant women should not take St John's Wort. One to two teaspoons of dried St. John's wort can be put into a cup of boiling water and steeped for 10 minutes to make tea. The recommended dosage of tea is one to two cups daily.

Passionflower – This plant is used for it's sedative and soothing properties. It is the herb of choice for treating transient insomnia. It aids the transition into a restful sleep without any narcotic hangover. Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto a teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for l5 minutes. Drink a cup in the evening for sleeplessness.

L-tryptophan-L-tryptophan is an amino acid found many foods including turkey. The effect that tryptophan has on both mood and sleep may be because the body naturally converges tryptophan into both serotonin and melatonin. If you have insomnia, tryptophan may help. Several research studies have confirmed L-tryptophan to be useful in the treatment of chronic insomnia at doses of between one to four grams at bedtime. Further, L-tryptophan is not associated with side effects that are common with prescription drugs, nor does it cause difficulty in waking up the next morning. This makes L-tryptophan an attractive alternative to conventional drug therapies for the treatment of chronic insomnia.

Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. The secretion of melatonin is cued by light; as our eyes register the sunset of darkness, the amount of melatonin produced by the pineal grand steadily increases. Insomnia sufferers new to melatonin are encouraged to begin treatment at a low dose of approximately 1 mg approximately 30 minutes prior to bedtime, and to increase the dose by .5 mg on successful nights if indicated. Increased ability to fall sleep is reported with doses as low as .03 mg, so new users are encouraged to give their melatonin a chance to work. Also, melatonin is often reported to be more effective if taken under the tongue. Sub-lingual melatonin is absorbed more efficiently into the bloodstream than regular oral doses, which are absorbed through the stomach.

Sleep Hygiene. Practice good sleep hygiene. This is the most important thing you can to do promote good sleep. What is good sleep hygiene? Doing things that promote good sleep like not doing anything stimulating and listening to soft music just before bedtime is good sleep hygiene. Here are some more examples of good sleep hygiene:

– A regular bedtime schedule. Put yourself on a schedule for going to bed and getting up. Stick to it, even on weekends.

– Do not spend excess time in bed. Use your bed for sleep and sexual reasons only, do not spend a lot of extra time in bed.

– Avoid naps.

– Exercise before dinner. Do not exercise before bedtime, but do exercise before dinner. You'll find sleep comes more easily.

– A hot bath about 1 1/2 hours before bedtime. This will relax you and prepare you for your bedtime.

– Keep your bedroom relatively cool and well ventilated.

– Eat light meals before bedtime.

– Avoid fluids just before bedtime.

– Avoid caffeine and other stimulants 4-6 hours before bedtime.

– Do not drink alcohol before going to bed.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is about identifying the way you think about sleep and replacing old thoughts with positive ones. The idea is to replace a person's misconceptions about sleep with more positive sleep behaviors, including good sleep hygiene. CBT brings false beliefs about sleep (the cognitive part) and also addresses the behavioral aspect, such as what to do when you are lying in bed and can not fall sleep.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation. First, check with your physician to make sure you have not got a history of serious problems such as a history of injuries, back problems, or muscle problems that might be exacerbated by these exercises. If you proceed and do the exercises against your doctors advice you do so at your own risk. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a two step exercise where you increase muscle tension in your body and then release the muscles for a certain period of time. The end result is that you end up relaxing your entire body, which helps you go to sleep. Search the internet for more information on this technique.

Light For Healing. Some people suffer from circadian rhythm problems. This particular rhythm has to do with the function of light and darkness within a 24 hour period. People with a circadian rhythm disorder have their sleep time overlap their wake time. Their internal clock is set by exposure to bright light such as sunlight. When using this therapy the person sits in front of a fluorescent light at a specified distance for 20-30 minutes to re-set their internal clock.

The bottom line is that if you are experiencing insomnia that is depriving you of restful sleep for more than a few weeks and your normal daily functioning is impaired you should seek help from your physician. The root of your sleep disorder could be any number of things and it should be diagnosed and treated properly so that you get the rest that your body needs and that you deserve. Sweet dreams to you!

Roof Repair – How to Repair Leaking Roofs

Your roof will eventually have damage. And with that damage comes more problems. Leaks can occur, pouring water to the interior of your home. If you do not want this to happen, then you can try replacing your entire roof. But that would cost a lot, especially if you have shingles. An alternative method here would be roof repair. Roof repair can be done by you and with the help of your family or friends. So if you want to stop leaks without using a large sum of money, then you better try roof repair. How do you repair Leaking roofs? Here's how:

The first thing that you have to do is to ready the materials you would need in the roof repair. You would need binoculars, flat-soled shoes, weighted marks, hammer, nails, metal bristles brush, rags, sharp knife, roofing cement, trowel, roof patching fabric and gloves.

Check out your roof for any signs of imperfections in it. You need to use the binoculars to scan your roof from the ground. Take note of all the problems you see on your roof. Now try walking all over your roof. Begin walking on one end and walk on every possible areas. Again, take note of the possible problems you see on the roof.

Observe all of your vents, skylights and air conditioning units. You need to look for places in which the roofing feature is separated from the roof. Find the places where the roofing tar or cement has cracks. Now, get a flashlight and start looking for water trails inside your home. Look for the origin of the leak and pierce that part with a nail. This is done so that you can identify the place later. If you see sunlight shining in from the ceiling, pierce a nail on that part too.

Before doing this next step, make sure that you have found all the origins of the water leak. Now, go to the shingles that you've identified to have problems. Pull up those shingles and apply roofing cement benefit it. Replace any nails on it and cover those nails with roofing cement. Now, you need to repair the roofing cement or tars that have cracks. Usually, you have to remove the fixture (such as the air conditioning unit) to repair the crack. Remove the old roofing cement / tar, clean the area and let it dry. Put the fixture back and put roofing cement on it and the roof itself. Put small holes on the cement to drain the water.

Fix any cracks and other source of leaks in flat roofing materials. Put roofing cement on it, then a piece of roof patching fabric and add roofing cement. With this, roof repair should be complete.

Onychomycosis Cure – Effective Treatments For Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus which is scientifically known as onychomycosis is a very common nail disorder. The condition usually starts as a whitish or yellowish spot that appears on the underside of the fingernail or toenail. Onychomycosis as well as other things about the disease will be discussed in this article.

Toenails are a particularly ideal place for fungi to thrive especially if the owner of the toenails is constantly wearing shoes. This is because fungi love damp, dark and warm areas. This does not mean though that you will certainly get toenail fungus if you are always wearing shoes. There are other factors that contribute to a person's susceptibility to toenail fungus. The most important of which is the state of a person's immune system. The stronger a person's immune system, the less likely that he or she will acquire toenail fungus.

Another important factor is exposure to dermatophytes which is the type of fungus that causes onychomycosis. As mentioned earlier, damp, dark and warm places are breeding grounds for dermatophytes. Public shower rooms are particularly notorious for being a favorite of onychomycosis-causing dermatophytes.

Toenail fungus is generally a social and cosmetic problem since people with onychomycosis are usually embarrassed to go out and mingle with people because of shame and for fear of spreading the disease. In some instances though, people with onychomycosis also experience pain in the afflicted area. The condition can interfere with the daily activities, including work and leisure activities. Some people suffering from onychomycosis find it hard to perform even the most common activities such as walking, running or putting on shoes.

The problem with onychomycosis is that it can be very difficult to treat. And it is common for the infection to recur. Treatments for onychomycosis can be classified under two categories: oral and topical. Topical indications are believed to be effective only during the initial stages of the infection. In severe cases, oral medication are often prescribed by doctors.

The problem with oral medications is that they can be very expensive. And some of them pose serious side effects such as nausea, gastrointestinal problems and even liver damage. This is why it is not very advisable to take oral medications against onychomycosis without it is really necessary.

Fortunately, an alternative onychomycosis cure is available and you can find them in most natural health stores. Apart from being as effective as their commercial counterpart, natural onychomycosis are more affordable and are definitely safer.

Method For Guys With Premature Ejaculation To Last Longer And Give Their Woman a Screaming Orgasm

There is not a man around that would not like to have the ability to last as long as possible during sex in order to completely satisfy their female partners! Sadly almost half of us guys just can not seem to accomplish this goal and to make things worse a large majority of us suffer from embarrassing premature ejaculation. This pretty much guarantees our women will never be sexually satisfied by us which is pretty pathetic if you think about it.

So How Long Do We Need To Last

This is a tricky answer that is different for each person and couple. In most cases you should consider premature ejaculation. In reality the vast majority of guys barely last past the 3 minute mark before reaching climax. Then there are the guys that pop off a few seconds after entry and in the worse cases there are guys that climax just from the touch of a hand before curiosity even begins. Combine these facts with a womans need more then a few minutes of sexual stimulation in order to have an orgasm and it spells trouble for the couple!

The Trick Is To Get Her Climaxing Before Intercourse

Hands down oral sex is by far one of the best things you can do to sexually satisfy a woman.The best part is that a lot of women find it easier to achieve climax through oral sex then they do through penetration. Taking this into consideration you will benefit from getting her to the point of climax before you have an intercourse as this will make her climax faster and take a load off of your shoulders. Below I will go over a few tips to help you get your woman revved up and climaxing faster with oral sex

You Must Focus On Your Woman's Entire Body

The biggest mistake guys make is to go right for the womans clitoris but women have many other zones that that when stimulated will get them excited quickly. This basically means that oral sex can be performed on the entire body not just her vagina! This will also show your female partner that you really care and its not just about sex but about pleasing her as well here are a few tips to make oral sex a whole body experience for your woman.

Here Is The Best Way To Accomplish This

Start at the top and work down by kissing her romantically on the mouth and slowly working down her neck while using your hands to explore her body. Work your way down to her breasts and focus on them for a bit, not super long maybe a minute or so will be fine. After this slowly work your way down to her stomach. Continue on slowly to the end goal, her clitoris!

What to Do Once Your There

There is not wrong or right way to perform oral sex and every woman is different so you will need to try a few different things and she what she reacts positively to. A basic plan to start with is to go slow and apply gentle pressure while stimulating her clitoris and the sides of her inner vagina. Do not stiffen you tongue up to much but instead let it stay soft.

Experiment And She How She Reacts

Then try stimulating other areas or varying your speed or firmness of your tongue and pay attention to how she reacts and make a mental note. Once you figure out what feels the best for her it will be pretty easy to get her to the point of orgasm relatively fast and have her craving oral sex.

Once You Master It Your Hard Work Will Pay Off

Probably e best part of mastering oral sex is that your woman will need much less penetration to have an orgasm when intercourse starts so the pressure will be taken off you. And once the pressure and stress is lifted thinking longer gets a little bit easier trust me!

Understanding Mental & Physical Health Issues After Severe Head Injuries or a Traumatic Brain Injury

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) comes in two forms. Either a violent blow to the head causes the brain to strike the inside of the skull, or an object penetrates the brain. This kind of injury can be very serious. It may cause bleeding or swelling of the brain and damage its nerve cells. The brain is at the center of human functioning, and an injury to it can affect the messages that it issues to the body. In turn, these kinds of injuries can affect behavior, speech, sensation, and movement.

Health Affects After a TBI

The effects on a person with TBI can vary considerably. It all depends on the severity and location of the injury.

How Is Cognition Affected?

People with TBI can experience problems with basic cognitive skills. They may have issues with attention, concentration, and memory. Their behavioral speed may slow down. This can include thinking and speech. Also, their speech may be generally impaired. They may have problems recalling the correct word and understanding what other people are saying.

The executive functions of a person’s brain may be affected by TBI. Executive functions are a group of processes that include attentional control, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. They also include reasoning, problem solving, and planning. All of these processes are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior.

With some training, people who have cognitive deficits from TBI may come to compensate for them. For more information on the cognitive deficits that may accompany TBI, go to brainline.org.

Effects on Mood and Behavior

When a person suffers a traumatic brain injury, the centers in the brain that regulate a person’s social-emotional life may be affected. These changes may be so significant that the person becomes a totally different person to their friends and family. Their personality may radically change. This may change an optimist into a negative person or make a person who is conservative in their behavior into one that lacks behavioral control.

The victim of TBI may not notice the changes in their abilities and behavior. This may be because either those changes are too painful to recognize, or the neurological damage may affect their ability to evaluate things properly.

Psychiatric illness, particularly depression, can occur as a result of TBI. This seems to be because the parts of the brain most subject to trauma are the frontal and parietal lobes. These two locations in the brain are often associated with mental illness.

The changes in thinking and behavior that accompany a TBI can affect the relationships that the victim has with others. As a result of the inability to relate to others, the patient may end up feeling very lonely. This can occur because of the following reasons:

– It may be difficult for someone with a TBI simply to understand what others are saying. This can tend to make the patient feel isolated and lonely.

– The victim might feel self-conscious about their condition. They may feel that they are less capable than other people, so they shy away from interacting with others.

– The victim may lack behavioral control. This may lead them to say things that they ordinarily would not to others.

– There may be practical issues with respect to getting together with others. The patient may not be able to drive, and they may need to stop working. This means that they won’t be seeing and interacting with others as much.

TBI can also have a severe impact on marriages. The spouse of a person with a TBI many times must assume a lot of the responsibilities that the patient used to take care of. This can be with respect to employment or any other major responsibility. Also, as mentioned before, the personality of someone with a TBI can dramatically change after their injury. This may drive a wedge between the couple.

Complications

Changes in Consciousness

Moderate and severe TBI can cause changes in a person’s consciousness and awareness. Altered states of consciousness can include:

– Coma – A person in a coma is unconscious and is not responsive to any external or internal stimuli.

– Vegetative state – This is different from a coma in that the patient may be partially conscious. He or she may open their eyes or move. However, the person remains unaware of their surroundings.

– Minimally conscious state – In this condition, the patient has severely altered consciousness but may have some awareness of their surroundings.

– Locked-in syndrome – Someone in this condition is aware of their environment but cannot speak or move. They may, however, be able to blink their eyelids.

– Brain-death – This occurs when there is no activity in the brain and brainstem. If someone is in this condition, the removal of life support will cause a cessation of breathing.

Sensory Problems after a TBI

Sensory and perceptual problems can occur in the TBI patient when there is damage to the right side of the brain or the parietal and occipital lobes. TBI can disrupt the senses and affect how stimuli are perceived. This may affect any of the sensory systems. This includes the auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory (taste) systems.

Even more noticeable than the disruption of sensory systems are visuo-spatial problems. Problems with these skills include:

– Recognizing objects

– Distinguishing right from left

– Mathematics

– Analyzing and remembering visual information

– Manipulating or constructing objects

– Awareness of the body in space

– Perception of the environment

Neglect

A typical issue happens where the patient ignores one side of their perceptual field. This usually occurs on the left side. A patient with this issue may ignore the food on one side of the plate or be unable to copy the features from the left side of a picture.

Face Blindness

This occurs where the patient can no longer recognize faces appropriately. People with this uncommon problem need to use other features of people to identify them, such as their voice or clothing.

Visual Problems

People with a traumatic brain injury have a very high incidence of visual problems. This can occur with respect to vision itself or the perceptual system. More than 50% of neurologically impaired patients have visual and visual-cognitive disorders.

The following are the most devastating and impairing visual problems that result from a brain injury:

Visual Field Loss

In this condition, the patient becomes blind to half of their visual field. Further injuries can occur from bumping into objects.

Double Vision

This is a serious condition that can occur in patients with a brain injury. Patients who have this problem can use a patch over one eye many times to resolve the issue.

Visual Balance Disorders

These can be caused by disruptions of central and peripheral visual processing and other issues.

Vision can also be affected in many other ways. These include: Loss of vision, blurred images, and reduced depth perception.

Seizures

A small percentage of victims of TBI experience seizures. In most cases, the seizures will occur soon after the injury. In a few cases, the seizures may happen even many years after the injury. There are two types of seizures that may happen. Major motor seizures involve loss of consciousness and the uncontrolled movement of the major muscle systems. Local motor seizures do not involve a loss of consciousness and have less muscular movement. There are medications that can be used to control the seizures.

Paralysis

In addition to the altered states of consciousness mentioned above, a traumatic brain injury can result in paralysis. This depends on the location of the brain that is affected. Spasticity is also a possible outcome of the injury.

Other Issues

Damage to brain tissue can also cause chronic types of pain, including headaches. There is now evidence that other body systems can be affected. These include the hormonal and endocrine systems. As a result of this, a person could lose control of their bowel and bladder functions or get a variety of other symptoms.

Prognosis

Doctors don’t have the ability to accurately predict the outcomes of traumatic brain injuries. The brain is very complicated, and it is hard to tell exactly which body systems and skills will be affected by the injury.

The changes that take place in the patient are dependent upon many factors. These include:

– The severity of the injury

– The patient’s age

– The amount of time spent in a coma

– The amount of time since the injury took place

– The skills that the patient needs for their particular life situation

The Process of Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injuries

The beginning of treatment for a TBI begins in the hospital. At the hospital, the team of medical professionals will generally be led by a trauma surgeon. The trauma staff will make sure that the patient’s vital signs are stable and resuscitate them if need be. The patient may need surgery for their injuries.

Once the patient is stabilized, they will be taken to the trauma care unit. There, the patient is monitored for infection and pain.

After this period, most patients will be transferred to a rehabilitation facility. The staff there specialize in the care of trauma victims. The goals of the team at the facility will be to:

– Stabilize the patient with respect to medical issues

– Prevent secondary complications, such as infections

– Restore any lost abilities

– Discuss with the patient’s family any changes in the home environment that are necessary

Every day, the patient will undergo therapy. This may be difficult at first because of the lack of certain skills. The care of the patient is directed by a physiatrist. A neuropsychologist will also make an assessment of any changes in the patient’s thinking and behavior. Other members of the team, such as a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, will help the patient with their pain and the skills that they need to adapt to their new life situation.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery is often used as a treatment in cases of TBI. In cases of a closed head injury, surgery is not used. An intracranial pressure monitoring device may be put in the skull to determine pressure in the brain cavity. If there has been any bleeding there, then it may be drained. In severe cases, the surgeon may remove damaged brain tissue.

Conclusion

A traumatic brain injury can bring a lot of complications, both immediate and long-term. Since the brain is so complicated, it may be difficult to know the exact prognosis for how the patient’s condition and life will change. It is important to emotionally support someone with a TBI because they may feel isolated and alone when they have troubles communicating with others. With the help of a strong rehabilitation team, the patient can relearn how to do certain life activities.

Top 3 Amazing Erectile Dysfunction Herbs That Work!

There are many causes of erectile dysfunction and if yours specifically relates to poor blood flow since a robust blood flow to the pelvic region is essential for strong long lasting erections, there are some herbs that can help to improve blood flow throughout your body including your groin. The following are the top 3 amazing erectile dysfunction herbs that actually work. Since they are not prescription or OTC medications, they are not only inexpensive but also come few to zero side effects.

Herbalism

For thousands of years people have turned to herbalism to deal with various health issues as well as their use to simply promote general health and well-being. This is because many herbs contain many healing properties.

With the advent of pharmaceuticals, herbalism may have become less popular but more and more people have started turning back to this ancient healing method because not only are various herbs effective but as mentioned earlier they are inexpensive with few side effects.

With that in mind, an issue that many men deal with is erectile dysfunction or ED and it’s causes may be disease, psychological issues, age, etc, and while there are many solutions on the market including prescription medications such as Viagra, it’s important to remember that there are also many effective natural methods that can work including using the following three herbs.

Best erectile dysfunction herbs

1. Yohimbe (pausinystalia yohimbe)

Yohimbe is from the family that includes coffee, madder and gardenia and it’s the bark extract which is used for natural healing. This age-old African aphrodisiac’s use for treating erectile dysfunction naturally dates back thousands of years and the active ingredient in this herb – yohimbine – has actually been approved by the FDA for treating erection difficulties.

While this herb is not as popular as Viagra, it works almost as well and doesn’t come with many of the serious side effects associated with the latter, in addition to also treating other health issues that Viagra can’t treat such as depression, to help men who have difficulty ejaculating but have no problem having an erection, it can improve women’s libido, and so on and so forth.

Yohimbe for erectile dysfunction

Yohimbe has been shown by study after study since the late 80s around the world as being able to improve erections which is why it is one of the best erectile dysfunction herbs because its effectiveness has been proven by various researchers.

Using yohimbe for ED

The studies on yohimbe’s effectiveness for erectile dysfunction used amounts of 15 to 30 milligrams per day. While this herb can be found easily over the counter, it’s best to ask your doctor for a prescription for this herb because what you can get over the counter may only contain very minute amounts of yohimbine which may not make any difference. If you do get a prescription, simply follow the package directions on usage.

Any safety concerns?

  • It’s important to take the recommended dosage only as very large doses can cause psychosis and paralysis.
  • This herb should not be taken with ED medications such as Viagra, etc.
  • Other side effects may include nervousness, irritability, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, flushing, tremor, etc.
  • Not to be given to children and anyone over the age of 65 should start with a small dose and build up gradually if necessary.
  • Some people may suffer an allergic reaction.
  • If you are on other medications, talk to your doctor before using yohimbe because there may be unpleasant drug/herb interactions.

2. Ginseng (panax ginseng or panax quinquefolius)

This is from the family which also includes ivy and it’s the roots that are used for natural healing. If there was an ultimate herb, it would be ginseng which is why it’s sometimes called life root, man root, root of immortality, heal-all, etc.

There are two types of ginseng – the Chinese, Japanese or Korean which is p. ginseng, and the American which is p. quinquefolius. While distinctions are made between the effects of the two especially in Eastern medicine, in the West, these two types are generally considered the same.

Some of the many healing benefits of ginseng which is why it’s called the ultimate “tonic” in the East and an “adaptogen” (i.e. helps the body resist physical and emotional stresses) in the West, include;

  • Enhanced immunity
  • Improved mental capabilities
  • Increased energy
  • Increased athleticism
  • Improved general well-being, etc

In addition to helping fight diseases and conditions such as,

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Colds
  • High blood pressure
  • Male infertility
  • Liver damage
  • Emphysema
  • Increase appetite
  • Relive menopausal symptoms
  • Etc

Ginseng and erectile dysfunction

The reason that ginseng is one of the top erectile dysfunction herbs relates to its ability to dilate the arteries including those that drive blood to the penis. With increased blood flow to the penis, the better your chances for an erection.

Several studies have also supported this herb’s ability to not only cause an improvement in erection rigidity but also in the penis girth and feelings of arousal which further improve an erection.

Men taking ginseng also reported not only firmer erections but also longer lasting erections making ginseng one of the best erectile dysfunction herbs in addition to promoting general health and well-being in every part of the body.

Using ginseng for ED

Ginseng has a slight sweet taste and is slightly aromatic and can be used in the form of a powder, tinctures, teas, capsules or tablets which are easily available online and off line. Simply follow package directions on usage.

Any safety concerns?

  • This herb acts as a stimulant which means that some people may become restless, nervous, etc, in much the same way they would if they drank coffee or any other drink that contains caffeine which means that ginseng can lead to over stimulation.
  • Some people may be allergic to ginseng.
  • This herb has anti-clotting action so avoid it if you are dealing with clotting issues or taking blood thinners and don’t use ginseng two weeks before scheduled surgery.
  • Other rare side effects include increased blood pressure, insomnia, heart rhythm disturbance, asthma attacks, breast soreness, etc.
  • If you’re on other medications, talk to your doctor before using ginseng because of possible unpleasant drug/herb interactions.
  • Not to be given to children and pregnant or nursing mothers should avoid taking this herb.

3. Ginkgo (ginkgo biloba)

Another popular herb in traditional Chinese medicine besides ginseng in ginkgo which is also popular in India’s Ayurvedic medicine and it’s the leaves that are used for natural healing. The ginkgo tree is a sacred tree in many parts of Asia and has been used in that part of the world to treat a myriad of health issues for thousands of years.

Ginkgo is usually recommended for the natural treatment of the following conditions,

  • Alzheimer’s disease as well as MID (multi-infarct dementia)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Anxiety
  • Cochlear deafness
  • Macular degeneration
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Tinnitus
  • Etc

Gingko for erectile dysfunction

The reason that it’s one of the best erectile dysfunction herbs is also the reason that it helps with many of the previously mentioned diseases and conditions i.e. its ability to improve circulation. As mentioned previously, improved blood flow can help to improve erections.

One study found that this herb helped to relieve erectile dysfunction which was caused by the narrowing of the arteries which supply blood to the penis.

Using ginkgo for ED

Since it’s difficult to get enough of the medicinal properties from using the leaves (to make infusions or tinctures), it’s recommended to buy a standardized ginkgo product which contains a concentrated 50:1 extract (50 pounds of ginkgo leaves used to make 1 pound of standardized extract). Follow package directions on usage.

Any safety concerns?

  • Ginkgo may cause problems in those with clotting disorders or people taking blood thinners which is why it isn’t recommended to take this herb two weeks before surgery.
  • Some people may be allergic to this herb.
  • It may cause stomach upset, rash or headache in some people.
  • Large doses may lead to irritability, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • To be avoided by pregnant and nursing women.
  • This herb is usually only given to children to treat dyslexia.
  • If you’re on other medications, do talk to your doctor first before taking ginkgo as there may be unpleasant drug/herb interactions.

Treating erectile dysfunction with herbs is definitely an area for you to consider if you’re struggling with this issue and the above 3 are the best erectile dysfunction herbs that you can use. However it’s important to remember that these herbs are most beneficial if poor blood circulation is the reason for your ED. If your ED is due to another reason, these herbs may not help.

Book Review – The Face of Death by Cody McFadyen

Reading and editing for a living, I’ve waded through a lot of books. It’s been a long time since a book grabbed me, drew me into the story, and kept me turning pages. The Face of Death, by Cody McFadyen not only grabbed me, but it took me by the collar and dragged me across the pages, while keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Written in first person, from the point of view of our protagonist, Smoky Barret, a battered and beaten but not broken FBI special agent, the reader gets a glimpse inside Smoky’s head, listening in on her thoughts. There is a very intimate feeling to the relationship between reader and Smoky.

This book stumbles into Smoky’s life about a year after she lost her husband, daughter and good friend at the hands of a serial killer, and nearly lost her own life too. Left with the emotional and physical scars–ones on her face for all to see–Smoky is trying to pick up the pieces of her life while moving forward in her job and becoming mom to her dead friend’s now mute daughter, Bonnie.

Once the reader has a handle on Smoky’s world, Smoky is called to the scene of a crime, where a sixteen-year-old, blood-covered Sarah asks for her by name. Soon, the reader is pulled into a new story, third person from Sarah’s point of view, written by Sarah. The reader is exposed to it while Smoky reads it.

This back and forth between Smoky’s thoughts and Sarah’s story is skillfully woven through the pages of the book. Sarah has been targeted by a serial killer, who considers himself an ‘artist’ who is shaping and molding Sarah’s life as a work of art–A Ruined Life–by killing most everyone Sarah could possible love, and hurting or damaging those in her life he does not kill. For ten years, Sarah lives with the horror alone.

Smoky’s job is to outwit the ‘The Stranger’ in Sarah’s life, unveil the corruption and reasons ‘The Stranger’ is doing what he considers justice, and keep everyone Sarah knows and loves alive, and with any luck, sane too.

Packed with action, a bit of blood and gore, and plenty of suspense, there were only two things that bothered me about this book that will prevent it from getting a five star rating: 1) McFadyen has Smoky revealing in dialogue to other officers things even a rookie should know (likely for the sake of the reader). It interfered with my ability to suspend disbelief. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen often. 2) The scene in which The Stranger killed Sarah’s parents, and the manner in which The Stranger creates that scene, in my opinion, loses integrity. I simply cannot bring myself to believe Sarah’s mother would respond the way McFadyen, through Sarah, says she did.

The story ends with a small twist, ties up all loose ends skillfully, answers any questions the reader might have had while reading, and brings some humor and happiness back to story. No, it’s not a perfect happily-ever-after ending, but it’s real, honest… life.

The Face of Death, by Cody McFadyen left me wanting more, and I have already decided I will be reading and reviewing the next Smoky Barret book, The Darker Side. The Face of Death receives a 4 1/2 out of a possible five-star rating from this reviewer. Good book, highly recommended.

How Men and Women Communicate

Research has shown that the communication styles of men and women differ significantly. This difference will help a couple manage their finances more effectively and achieve goals more efficiently. Unfortunately, these advantages are not experienced by all men and women. The compatibility might not arise in daily interactions because both are more consumed by their differences and both do not experience the advantages of cooperation.

Men are more inclined to express their needs, interests, and wants and then wait until others do the same things. Women, in turn, are inclined to ask or end their sentences with a question. This will often lead men to guess what their female partner wants. Women will gently give answers without expressing what they exactly want.

Men talk and interrupt much more whereas women like to react on something said by others and often do not come back to the topic at hand after being interrupted.

Men talk about money in a competitive way: “My investment in the stock market went up.” On the other hand women do not talk about money in a competitive way. They even try to avoid the subject of money in their conversations.

Let have a closer look at the different characters of men and women.

Character of Men

Men like to talk about impersonal topics and rarely admit having financial problems and need help to solve them. They are inclined to emphasize the joys of freedom from obligations and make decisions without consulting their partner. Men like to go straight to the point of the problem or do an important thing to achieve their goals. For instance, men go to the toilet to deliver something. On the other hand, women use the toilet to powder their noses, gossip and hang around. Obviously women consider the toilet to be a multi functional room.

When communicating, men like to start talking about a problem at hand and focus on it whereas women do the opposite. This is caused by the fact that men have a mono-tracking brain causing them to be able to focus on one topic of conversation. When the conversation touches many other topics and drags on, they will stop absorbing relevant information. Women are much better to engage in conversations covering many topics because they have multi-tracking brains.

How to Communicate with Men

The character of men is stiffer compared to women and this must be understood during conversations. Avoid communication styles which are not to the point. This will not impress them and they will think badly about their counterparts. So try speak to the point, analyze a problem thoroughly, avoid side tracking, use logic when expressing an opinion, avoid talking about other people, use simple words and a firm voice, appreciate them (stimulate their ego), avoid belittling them with negative judgments, and avoid debates if possible. Use exact numbers when talking to men. By using a more rational style emphasizing numbers and figures, men will be able to understand better. So when giving directions, avoid vague markings but give exact signs they can use to find their way.

Character of Women

There are huge differences between the characters of men and women. Women like to talk about themselves, their financial problems, and do not hesitate to ask for help if necessary. They do not consider that to be a burden. Thanks to their multi-tracking brain, women can talk about different topics in a fast way which is an amazing thing. Women like talk about other people. They can talk about others for hours with their female friends. The easily express their feelings and opinions. They value friendship a lot and will ask for help and guidance from their friends. They are less independent in decision making and need the help of men in this respect.

Women like to hear nice words which sound like music in their ears. They discuss sensitive issues indirectly and use imaginary examples to discuss a problem. However, they are good listeners and it is difficult to accuse them of lying. Women are superb in detecting sincerity of others through their body language and tone of voice. For this reason, men like to lie through the phone which is much safer!

How to Communicate with Women

Women with all their beauty are much more sensitive than men and have many other superior traits which all require a gentle approach. When we make a mistake it is going to be difficult to fix it. When communicating with women try to avoid being to the point, talk about social things and daily life to attract their attention, use gentle and civilized words, use social and psychological words, use moderate tone of voice, and use decent and focused body language. It is possible to emphasize some topics, but avoid statistics, numbers and other exact data. Use a warm and friendly psychological approach. Appreciate them by praising all women in general. Of course compliment their clothes and accessories at the start of conversation. Women like to form friendships instead of cold and stiff business relationships.

They like to foster long-term relationships and unlike men, they do not like to look at relationships with a cost-benefit approach. When giving directions do it like this: “The address you are looking for is nor far from here. You just need to pass McDonald’s on your left and the building you are looking for is just in front of you.” There are no exact numbers in this explanation and this will be much better understood by women than men.