Why Your Metabolic Age Matters

Metabolic age is just a simple number. However it considered a useful indicator of the overall level of your health and fitness.

The number is obtained by comparing your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) with the average BMR of other persons who are the same age in years as you.

If your metabolic age is lower than your actual age, you are fitter and healthier than the average for your age group.

But if your metabolic age is higher than your chronological age, it indicates that you need to improve your level of fitness.

This explanation begs the question… what is your basal metabolic rate?

Firstly, to answer this question, we need to discuss metabolism.

What is metabolism?

The term metabolism refers to all the chemical transformations that take place in your body… changes that are vital for sustaining your life.

These transformations are many and varied, and include:

  • your digestive processes… the complex biochemical processes by which what you eat and drink is combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function
  • the transportation of substances into and between cells
  • the conversion of glucose inside your cells into the energy that the cells need to function
  • the conversion of food into the building blocks for proteins, lipids, nucleic acids etc
  • the elimination of nitrogenous wastes

These changes allow your cells to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures and respond to their environment.

Without them your body simple would not work.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)

Every day your body must breathe, circulate blood, control body temperature, grow and repair cells, adjust your hormone levels, support the activities of your brain and nerves, and so on, even if you do nothing and just lie in bed all day.

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns every day to carry out the basic functions needed to support the normal functioning of your vital organs… heart, lungs, nervous system, kidneys, liver, intestines, sex organs, muscles and skin… while you are at rest.

In other words BMR is the amount of energy expressed in calories that you would need to maintain your body function while resting for 24 hours… as if you were lying in bed all day and night.

Surprisingly, your BMR accounts for 60 to 75% of the total energy you burn each day, ie up to three quarters of the calories you consume is spent on just keeping you alive.

The rest of the energy you burn every day is used up in two ways:

Food processing… just digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing the food you consume uses up plenty of calories.

For example, about 10% of the calories you get from the carbs and proteins you eat are expended during their digestion and absorption.

Physical activity… accounts for the rest of the calories your body burns during the day, 15 to 30% of the total energy you use up.

It consists of normal every day activities (such as getting up and moving around) plus deliberate exercise (eg, playing tennis, swimming, taking the dog for a walk and so on).

The energy needs for your body’s basic functions, as well as food processing, stay fairly consistent and do not change easily.

However the calories you burn while undertaking physical activities can vary greatly from day to day.

Indeed physical activity is the most variable of the factors that determine how many calories you burn in a day.

What influences basal metabolic rate (BMR)

Your BMR is influenced by several factors… muscle:fat ratio, gender, size, and age:

Muscle:fat ratio … or composition of your body, ie whether you have more muscle than fat or vice versa.

Just maintaining muscle at rest requires more calories than maintaining fat. So the more muscular you are the higher your BMR will be.

Gender … men usually have more muscle and less body fat than women of the same age and weight, which means that men burn more calories at rest.

Research indicates that the BMR of women is 5 to 10% lower than men.

Size … taller and heavier persons have a higher BMR because the more mass you have, the more fuel you need to sustain larger organs.

When you lose weight your BMR goes down and you need fewer calories per day. And when you gain muscles your BRM will increase.

Age… your BMR decreases as you get older because you muscle mass declines by 5 to 10% each decade after the age of 40.

Heredity… you can inherit your metabolic rate from your ancestors.

Climate … the BMR of persons living in the tropics is can be between 5 and 20% higher than persons living in temperate zones, because keeping the body cool consumes energy.

How to calculate basal metabolic rate (BMR) and metabolic age

Strictly speaking, your digestive system should be inactive when you are calculating your BMR. But in human beings this takes about 12 hours of fasting.

For this reason, the less strict Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is calculated in practice instead of BMR.

Calculating your RMR is a cinch. Formulas take into account your age, weight, height, activity level, body fat mass and lean body mass.

Not every formula takes the exact same variables into account. The formulae can vary depending on the preferences of the researcher or gym master who is using them.

But for any particular person they all seem to come up with more or less the same answer.

You can find various formulae on the internet. Or you can try this one manually:

RMR = 9.99xw + 6.25xs – 4.92xa + 166xg-161, where:

  • w = weight in kilograms; if you know your weight in pounds, divide by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms
  • s = height in centimetres; if you know your height in inches, multiply by 2.54 to get your height in centimetres
  • a = age in years
  • g = gender = 1 for males, 0 for females

Once who have worked out your BMR, you can calculate your metabolic age by comparing your BMR (or RMR) with the average for people of your chronological age who are of similar height.

If your BMR matches with the average BMR of a lower chronological age then that age is your metabolic age, ie your metabolic age is lower than you calendar age. And vice versa.

To do this, you need a chart of the average BMR for various ages.

A long search on Google did not turn up such a chart on the internet but you should be able to get one from your local gym.

How to change your metabolic age

There is not much you can do about your gender, height, age, hereditary traits and the climate you live in.

But you can change the ratio of your muscle to your fat.

Body fat requires much less energy than lean muscle, because lean muscle is much more metabolically active and therefore requires the expenditure of more energy.

If you compare two individuals, both of the same age and weight but with differing ratios of lean muscle mass to fat, the person with more lean muscle mass will have a higher basal metabolic rate, and therefore, a lower metabolic age in comparison to the person with a greater percentage of fat.

There are two basic ways you can improve your metabolic age, increase your muscle mass and reduce your body fat:

  • increase your exercise regime to gain more muscle tissue, and
  • control your intake of calories to ensure that you are getting the right mix of macro-nutrients to support your exercise regime

Using exercise to improve your BMR

The only sure-fire way of increasing your BMR and reducing your metabolic age is to add strength training to your exercise regime.

Strength training… (such as push-ups, pull-ups and weightlifting) should be undertaken at least twice a week to build muscle and reduce fat.

As well as improving your metabolic age, this will counteract the muscle loss associated with aging.

A pound of muscle burns six calories a day while a pound of fat only burns two calories a day, a ratio of 3:1. And every muscle cell you gain burns calories even while you sleep.

The more muscle you build, the higher your BMR will be and the lower your metabolic age, because muscle burns 73 more calories per kilogram a day compared to fat, even while you are resting.

Aerobic exercise … you should get a least 30 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as walking, cycling and swimming, every day.

Aerobic exercise burns calories while you are exercising and keeps your metabolism elevated even after you finish.

If you find 30 minutes a day hard to fit into your schedule, try breaking it up into 10 minute sessions or even smaller intervals. Just make sure you do a minimum of 30 minutes a day without fail.

Incidental exercise … there are plenty of ways you can add extra movement to your day and burn additional calories.

For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, wash your car, cycle to work instead of driving, walk to the shops, and so on.

Using diet to improve your BMR

You need to use your diet to support your strength training and exercise routines by eating foods that tend to boost your metabolism.

Small frequent meals … most people eat less overall when they eat small but more frequent meals, say four to six meals a day.

This will help you lose weight, ie reduce your fat, thus improving the muscle:fat ratio of your body.

Lean proteins … eat foodstuffs such as turkey, fish, beans and tofu. Eating a diet rich in lean proteins will increase your metabolism because it takes more energy to digest this type of protein.

Spices … such as hot peppers, crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, as well as hot sauces, added to your recipes can increase metabolism by about 8%.

The effects are only temporary but if you add just a little spice each day to your meals your metabolism will continue to be boosted.

Water … studies show that increasing the amount of water you drink can increase you metabolic rate by up to 40%.

The reason for this is not clear but it may be due to your body’s attempt to heat the water.

Coffee … has been shown to increase metabolism because of the caffeine it contains.

However the metabolic effects are small compared to other measures such as exercise.

Green tea … in combination with diet and exercise can improve your metabolic rate, even if the tea is decaffeinated.

Why green tea has this effect is not known. One study showed that combining decaffeinated green tea extract with exercise had a more dramatic effect than exercise alone.

Metabolic age and diabetics

Excess body fat underlies two-thirds of cases of type 2 diabetes in men and more than three-quarters of cases in women.

And, as we have seen, excess body fat is the primary cause of a low BMR and a metabolic age that is higher than your chronological age.

Improving your muscle:fat ratio through strength training, supported by an appropriate diet, such as the beating-diabetes diet, will not only improve your metabolism and lower your metabolic age but it will also improve your insulin resistance.

And that’s the secret of beating your diabetes.

Beans – Good For The Heart

You are probably familiar with the naughty children’s rhyme: “Beans, beans, good for the heart/The more you eat, the more you…” The first part is true, and as for the second, well, it can now be cut by up to 70 percent. Beans deserve their reputation for causing flatulence. Flatulence results when carbohydrates (scratches and sugars) arrive in the colon incompletely digested and are fermented by the bacteria there. The fermentation process releases gas. Any incompletely digested carbohydrate – from bagels to pasta – can ferment in the colon and cause gas. But beans are the richest sources of two particular carbohydrates, raffinose and stachyose, that the body cannot digest because humans lack the enzyme to do it.

If gas is a problem for you, do not swear off beans. Instead, boil, rinse and soak them. Boil dried beans in a covered pot for three minutes, then let them stand for two hours. Next pour off the water, add enough new water to cover the beans, then replace this water after two hours and let the beans soak overnight. Rinse them once more before cooking. Or you can add Beano to bean dishes. It contains the missing enzyme that allows the body to get digest raffinose and stachyose. Beano is available at health food stores and some pharmacies and supermarkets.

Why would you want to go to all this trouble just to eat beans? Because they are good for you.

Diabetes. Bean cuisine gives everyone protection from heart disease, but people with diabetes enjoy special bean benefits. Diabetes greatly increases the risk of heart disease, which is an excellent reason for anyone with diabetes to boost their bean consumption. In addition, the soluble fiber in beans also helps keep blood sugar under control.

Heart disease. Beans are a staple of the Mediterranean diet that helps prevent heart disease. Just by eating a half-cup of cooked beans a day for about a month reduces cholesterol an average of 10 percent. The type of bean does not matter – pinto, black, kidney, lentils, garbanzos, soybeans, red, navy, white, baked; they all cut cholesterol. Why? Because they are high in soluble fiber, which helps eliminate cholesterol from the body. Every 1 percent decrease in cholesterol results in a 2 percent decrease in heart attack risk, so one daily serving of beans reduces heart attack risk about 20 percent, especially if it takes the place of meat, cheese or other high-fat foods.

Lung and pancreatic cancer. All beans are high in folic acid, one of the B vitamins. There was a connection between folic acid deficiency and lung cancer. It was found that high levels of the B vitamin in the lung tissue of healthy men, but much lower levels in cancerous lungs. Folic acid can also be found in abundance in green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. It was also found that compared with people who ate beans rarely or not at all, those who ate them at least once a week enjoyed significant protection from pancreatic cancer.

Neutral tube birth defects. Bean’s high folic acid content also helps prevent potentially fatal birth defects of the spine. Over the last decade, so many studies have shown that folic acid prevents neural tube defects that doctors now recommend folic acid supplements for pregnant women. Beans do not replace recommended folic acid supplementation, but every time a pregnant woman bites into a bean burrito, she is taking a step to prevent these tragic birth defects.

Osteoporosis. Manganese, an essential trace mineral is important for bone strength. Animals deficient in manganese develop severe osteoporosis, and these studies show that women with osteoporosis tend to have low manganese levels. Beans are a rich sources of manganese. So are pineapples, oatmeal, nuts, and tea.

Lower Cholesterol Naturally and Protect Yourself From Heart Disease

Taking care of your health and your body can be a difficult thing to do, especially when you have millions of things to do and errands to run. That is just one of the disadvantages of living in such a hectic world. You must constantly deal with deadlines that drive your stress level even higher. In case you have not already done so, you should regularly check your cholesterol levels to ensure that you are not suffering from high cholesterol – as this is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Fortunately, there are ways to lower cholesterol naturally.

As we have already indicated, high cholesterol is one of the main causes of heart attacks in the United States. The fact that it often gets overlooked makes the problem even worse. Though there are many medications that can be used to lower and control cholesterol, many prescription drugs are not completely safe. There are many side effects that you will have to deal with. One of the most prescribed drugs are statins, which are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. While they are considered to be very effective in lowering cholesterol, statins can actually eliminate cholesterol completely from the body when use unchecked. This is not something that you want to happen because your body needs a healthy amount of cholesterol to produce beneficial hormones. Statins can also stunt the production of a powerful antioxidant called coenzyme Q10, which helps strengthen your heart muscles and improves blood flows.

If you do not want the many adverse effects of taking prescription drugs, taking supplements that contain policosanol, D-limonene and theaflavins can lower your cholesterol naturally and safely. Policosanol is very effective in increasing the level of good cholesterol HDL, while lowering bad cholesterol LDL. You can commonly find D-limonene in orange and lemon peels. Not only will this nutrient help reduce cholesterol, but it is also effective against different types of cancer. As for theaflavins, it is mostly found in tea and can help fight off bad cholesterol. Further, it will also help improve your metabolism.

Although there are many natural cholesterol-reduction supplements on the market, I have only found one that contains all of the cholesterol fighting ingredients that you need in the right quantities. This supplement will give you the greatest benefits in helping got reduce LDL and increase HDL cholesterol levels in your body. It will also reduce the triglyceride levels in your body that can also cause problems. You can find out more on the best ways to lower cholesterol naturally by taking a look at the information on my cholesterol website.

Sing Harmony With Yourself – Learn How to Record Your Voice on Your PC and Sing Along With It!

Have you ever been singing a song by yourself, and you could just hear the harmonies that were “supposed” to be there but were not? Every time I sing Take It Easy, by The Eagles, I get to the chorus and just have to imagine that I have Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmidt standing beside me. Without the vocal harmonies, the song just doesn’t have the same punch, the same magic.

Imagine trying to perform Kansas’ Carry On Wayward Son, solo! I don’t think so. The same holds true for Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen. There are certain songs that just cannot or should not be performed without those magical vocals. So what in the world do you do about it if you’re a solo performer?

Well, for live performances, you’re pretty much stuck with having to get a few other singers for the harmonies. Actually, depending on how technically savvy you are, there are little machines that can split your voice up and play it back as harmonies, but that’s another thing for another article. And trust me, it is a huge pain to get decent results. Yes, I’ve tried it; no, I don’t do it anymore;).

However, you can record yourself singing harmonies with yourself (yourselves?), right now if you want to, with tools you probably have around the home. As long as you have a PC with a soundcard, an mp3 player, and some sort of microphone. Those little $4.00 PC mics are just fine to start….no really, I’m serious. If you have the stuff I mentioned, and you want to try this out right now, all you need to do is download the open-source audio program called Audacity from their Sourceforge site on the interwebs.

The reason I said you need an mp3 player is for the headphones or earbuds, not the player itself. Plug those headphones into the green (typically) hole in your PC’s soundcard. (“hole” = “jack” if you insist on using technical terms). You may have to unplug the speakers first, which is fine. Then plug the microphone into the pink hole…I mean….jack in the soundcard.

You just need to set up a couple of things in the software before you start. Open Audacity and go to Edit/Preferences to open the Audacity Preferences window. Put a tick in the box next to “Play other tracks while recording new one.” Then click “OK.” Next, go into the “Sounds and Devices” window from the Control Panel in Windows. The icon looks like a grey speaker. Go to the tab marked “Audio,” and in the section called “Sound recording,” click on the “volume” button. That will bring up the Windows Mixer.” Find the channel that says “Stereo Mix” or “Wav Out” (depends on what soundcard you have), and put a tick in the “Mute” box on that channel. Just close the Windows Mixer and you’re ready to rock!

Record the melody by pressing button in audacity with the big red dot on it. An audio “track” will appear as if by magic. Start singing into the microphone. When you’re done, click the button in Audacity with the big yellow square (meaning “stop”). Go back to the start of the song by clicking on the button in Audacity with the double purple arrows pointing to the left. Now you can add a harmony by simply pressing the red dot button again and singing along with your recorded voice on the first track. Do this as many times as you want to (there is no practical limit in Audacity), for 3-part or 4-part harmony. Heck, turn yourself into a choir. I once turned myself into an abbey of chanting monks!

That’s all there is to it. You just sang harmony with yourself and didn’t spend a dime! There are lots of things you can do to improve the sound once you’re done, such as reduce the noise, pan the voices left and right, etc. If you’re interested in learning about those, and tons of other great stuff you can do with that recording-studio-you-didn’t-know-you-had, check out our tutorials at the Home Brew Audio website. The first several video tutorials are free, and the subsequent lessons are only $7.00 apiece. Other lessons will show you how to create a voice-over with music behind it, how to create loops, and how to edit audio, do multi-track recording, etc. The tutorial covering the stuff we did in the article is also there, in case you were wondering;).

So come on by and visit us at Home Brew Audio. Cheers!

Jake Weston

Should Chest CT Be Used to Screen for Lung Cancer?

Lung malignancy is the # 1 cause of cancer death in the United States. In 2011, approximately 221,130 patients (115,060 men and 106,070 women) are estimated to be diagnosed with this malignancy. An estimated 156,940 people (85,600 men and 71,340 women) will die of this disease this year. Although cigarette use has decreased, we still have in America about 94 million current or former smokers who are at increased risk of developing lung tumors.

In the past, screening high risk but asymptomatic smokers has been ineffective with chest x-ray, with or without sputum cytology. However, a new study from The National Lung Screening Trial Research Team shows that screening with low dose chest CT reduces lung tumor death by 20%, in comparison to screening with chest x-ray alone (New England Journal of Medicine, volume 365, pages 395-409, August 4, 2011). This clinical trial took place in 33 medical centers in the United States, and is funded by the National Cancer Institute.

To qualify for enrollment, the patients must have a 30 pack-year smoking history. About seven million people in the United States are in this category. For this clinical trial, 53,454 patients were enrolled between 2002 and 2004, and followed until 2009. The people were randomly assigned to chest CT or chest x-ray performed once once for three years. Lung tumor was discovered in 645 cases per 100,000 person-years in the CT group, in comparison to 572 in the chest x-ray group. There were 247 lung cancer deaths per 100,000 person-years in the CT group, versus 309 in the chest x-ray group. This calculates to a 20% reduction in mortality.

The bad news is that 96.4% of the abnormal chest CT finds turned out to be benign, meaning false positives. In other words, an abnormality on the CT translates into a cancer diagnosis in only 3.6% of the time. This means that many of these patients had more radiological tests done, tests that are in retrospect "unnecessary". Some people underwent needle biopsies, bronchoscopy and / or chest surgeries in order to determine whether they have a lung tumor or not. Some of these cases are resolved in complications (and even deaths), as expected of invasive procedures in the chest. The group that underwent screening with chest x-rays also experienced the same problem, as 94.5% of the abnormal chest x-ray finds also turned out to be benign.

Due to this high level of false positives, chest CT is currently not yet widely recommended for routine screening for lung cancer in the asymptomatic population at large. Certainly, if you are a current or past smoker and you have any chest symptoms (cough, pain, shortness of breath, hoarseness, wheezing, fatigue, weight loss, etc.), then you should go see a health care professional, who may determine that work with chest x-ray and chest CT is warranted.

Effective Home Remedies for Boils That Work

Boil is a sort of skin disorder that occurs when the bacterium staphylococcus infects the hair follicle or oil gland. The bacterium enters the body through minor cuts or breaks in the skin. Initially the skin gets reddened and forms a tender lump that may be quite painful. Gradually the lump hardens in to a crusty mound, the centre of which is filled with infection-fighting white blood cells and proteins. These white blood cells and proteins become watery and are collectively referred to as ‘pus’. The infection may often affect the deeper tissues, resulting in the formation of an abscess. Our eyelids, face, neck, shoulders, armpits and buttocks are regions more prone to boils. There may be several types of boils. The types may be discussed as follows.

1. Furuncle or carbuncle is a severe form of boil with multiple openings. It occurs when a cluster of hair follicles get infected. This type may be associated with chills or fever.

2. Cystic acne occurs mostly in teenage due to the infection of congested oil ducts.

3. Hidradenitis suppirativa occurs when sweat glands get inflamed and take the form of multiple abscesses. It usually occurs in the armpits or groin, and requires surgical removal.

4. Pilonidal cyst usually occurs in the crease of buttocks. Initially it is simply an inflamed hair follicle which worsens due to the pressure exerted while one sits for a prolonged period.

Causes of Boils

1. An ingrown hair may cause boils
2. Lodging of foreign materials in the skin
3. Skin irritation due to the effect of harsh chemicals.
4. Infection of plugged sweat glands
5. Poor hygiene
6. Poor nutrition
7. Impaired immune system due to diseases like diabetes, renal failure, hypogammaglobulinemia.
8. Under the impact of medications like cortisones, and those used for cancer and chemotherapy.

Home Remedies for Boils

1. One may apply a solution of onion and garlic juice on the boil. This will allow the boil to burst open and will cause the pus to drain out.

2. It is good for a person suffering from boil to take a cup of bitter gourd juice along with half teaspoon lemon juice. This helps to destroy the bacteria.

3. Application of cool sandalwood paste on boil soothes the irritation.

4. A paste made out of milk cream, a pinch of turmeric, and half teaspoon vinegar may be applied on boils. This softens the skin and enables easy draining of pus.

5. Turmeric powder has antiseptic properties, and may be applied on boils.

6. Application of a paste of soaked, grounded cumin seeds would also heal boils.

7. Washing boils with coconut water and cucumber juice gives relief from irritation and pain.

8. One may soak betel leaves in warm water until it softens, then coat the leaf with castor oil and apply on the boil. The leaf is to be replaced after every one hour. This will cause the boil to rupture and will bring out the pus.

9. A piece of bread soaked in warm milk may be applied directly on the boil. This too helps to cure boils.

10. One may soak 15 margosa leaves in 500 ml of water and boil. Once the leaves become spongy, they may be applied on boils. This is an effective home remedy.

11. One may soak half teaspoon carom seeds, few crushed garlic in 2 tablespoon heated mustard oil. One has to leave it for 10 minutes and wait till the oil turns red. Then one can filter the oil and apply it on the boil.

12. Intake of spicy food has to be reduced.

How Omega 3 Fish Oil Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Attacks

Evidence is mounting that pure fish oil rich in omega 3 can help to prevent heart attacks after studies of more than 40,000 heart patients globally in the past 30 years.

Known in the medical profession as myocardial infarction, heart attacks are the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. Research has proven that a daily dose of omega-3 can considerably reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Every year, more than one million people suffer heart attacks in America, with around 400,000 being fatal. The major causes of heart disease have long been linked to lifestyle and diet. This is because the average American consumes mostly processed foods high in saturated fats and dietary cholesterol. These are typically found in burgers, fries, cookies and cakes that are a stable of Western diets.

Years of eating this food result in cholesterol and plaque building up in the heart walls. Over time, this can lead to a narrowing of the arteries and shortness of breath as the heart is forced to pump harder to get oxygen around the body. Ultimately, this can lead directly to a heart attack or stroke.

One of the clearest examples of omega 3 fish oil preventing heart attacks was identified in Japan. For years, doctors and researchers had been baffled by the low incidence of heart disease among the Japanese compared to Western countries.

Studies found that the typical Japanese diet was high in seafood and extremely low in dairy products and animal products. Similar findings were found among Inuits living in Greenland whose diet is almost exclusively fish, seal and whale.

The naturally rich fatty fish oil in these seafood diets protected their hearts. Therefore heart disease among the Japanese and Inuits was very uncommon. Conversely, more than 85 percent of the American population is deficient in these fatty acids because of the highly processed foods that they eat.

So what is it about omega 3 fish oil that is good for hearts? Researchers have discovered that good fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are the key.

These are easily absorbed into cell membranes where they go to work protecting the heart muscle. They do this by reducing the build-up of plague inside the heart that can lead to the hardening of arteries, irregular beating of the heart called arrhythmia, heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

People who have actually suffered a heart attack can also benefit from daily does of DHA and EPA. Their chances of another life-threatening attack are reduced by up to 30 percent by taking fish oil for heart supplements. Naturally, one of the best sources of omega 3 is from eating fish. But an even easier way to maintain a healthy heart is simply by taking regular omega 3 supplements like me and my family does.

Some Like It Hot, Some Cold – Understanding When To Use Hot and Cold Therapy For Injury

When To Use Hot Or Cold Therapy

It can really get confusing when one has a muscle strain, sprained ankle and other similar maladies and is told to use “cold therapy” and “heat therapy”. The mantras are “only use cold”, “use cold for first 24-48 hours”, “don’t use cold use warm moist heat to stop your pain”. How is one to know what to do?

Often lost in the determination is what is the condition of the patient at the time of choosing a hot or cold modality. Because one broke an ankle, tore a ligament, or suffered an injury months ago does not mean the condition is “chronic” since it happened months ago. Often the process of healing makes many situations “acute” to the moment.

Let’s examine whether to use hot or cold, but more importantly, why to use the hot or cold therapy.

Generally speaking immediately following acute injury the body goes into what is called an “inflammatory response” and the area gets red, gets hot and swells. During this time you don’t want to inflame an inflammatory reaction and make it worse so the general rule is use cold therapy (cryotherapy). The cold actually:

  • reduces the edema,
  • lessens the pain,
  • cools the temperature of the injured area, and
  • stops the inflammatory response.

The inflammatory response is natural and helpful but it can cause more injury especially in cases such as spinal cord damage, or brain injury where the swelling causes additional injury to healthy tissues.

After the swelling has stopped, the pain subsided some, and the area cooled down, then warm, moist heat is indicated ( not dry heat ) and that occurs generally when a patient is trying to regain motion, function. As the patient tries to regain full range of motion pain inhibits it and it is now that heat helps:

  • reduce pain
  • increase blood flow for faster healing
  • helps extend range of motion when used complementary with exercise.

Now here’s the “sleight of hand” that is often confusing to injured patients. Each time a patient goes through an exercise routine then new/old tissues are actually re-injured. That in and of itself re-excites the body’s inflammatory response so in essence the patient now has a “new injury” brought on by the rehabilitation process. So immediately after exercising it’s best to use cold therapy, not warm moist, as the area being exercised is now in a new “acute” injury process. Hot & Cold therapy is an example of ” complementary ” medicine to improve patient outcomes.

Fractions and Rational Numbers – What is the Difference?

Most of us go through years of school math courses and still are confused about some basic things. For example: Why can’t you divide by zero? Why is .999… equal to 1, and not a bit less?

There are loads of these kinds of questions, that wouldn’t be a cause of frustration at all, if they were taught reasonably and clearly.

Unfortunately most of these things are supposed to be covered in elementary school, and most elementary school teachers don’t have a good understanding of basic math concepts. Instead they are supposed to teach just a collection of “skills.”

One of the simplest concepts that is usually left inadequately explained is the difference between fractions and rational numbers. Let’s see if we can clear it up now.

A fraction is a number that expresses part of a whole as a quotient of integers (where the denominator is not zero).

A rational number is a number that can be expressed as a quotient of integers (where the denominator is not zero), or as a repeating or terminating decimal. Every fraction fits the first part of that definition. Therefore, every fraction is a rational number.

But even though every fraction is a rational number, not every rational number is a fraction.

Why? Consider this:

Every integer (all the whole numbers, including zero, and their negatives….-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3…) is a rational number, because it can be expressed as a quotient of integers, as in the case of 4 = 8/2 or 1 = 3/3 or -3 = 3/-1 and so on. So integers such as 4 or 1 can be expressed as the quotient of integers.

But an integer is not a fraction. 4 is an integer, but it is not a fraction. 4 is not expressed as the quotient of integers. The difference here is in the wording.

A fraction is a number that expresses part of a whole. An integer does not express a part. It only expresses a whole number.

A rational number is a number that can be expressed as a quotient of integers, or as part of a whole, but fraction is a number that is (must be) expressed as a quotient of integers, or as part of a whole – there is a difference. The difference is subtle, but it is real.

There are slightly different variations of the definition of a fraction, including, “A fraction is the ratio of two whole numbers, or to put it simply, one whole number divided by another whole number.”

That definition also shows that an integer is not a fraction, because an integer is not a ratio. It can be expressed as a ratio, but it is not a ratio in itself; it can be divided by another whole number, but it is not being divided.

In a nutshell, the fractions are a subset of the rational numbers. The rational numbers contain the integers, and fractions don’t.

Cures For Sinus Infection

Sinusitis is a technical name of sinus infection. Sinus infection is caused because of the inflammation of sinuses and mucous membrane. The symptoms are cough, bad breath, sore teeth, headache, fever and many other discomforts. The available cures for sinus infection are medicines and home made treatments. All medicines are never able to respond well on sinus-infected patients. Then, these patients should try a hand in some of the homemade treatments that are better and effective as compared to medicines.

Forget about cold drinks until you would not able to cure the sinus infection. Drink green or herbal tea; hot chicken soup or any other drink that are in vitamins and potassium. These would moist the mucous membrane, increase the cilia speed and then clean out the accumulated mucus from nose rapidly. This is one of the best and the effective cures for sinus infection.

Start irrigating the sinuses with the help of salt-water solution. Sniff the solution from one of the nostril and then spell it out from the other one. In the beginning it could be a difficult task but after a period, the sinus person would be able to handle it. Also, a sinus person should apply warm compression on face with the help of soaked cotton towel. It would raise the circulation of sinuses and the movement of cilia. These are some of the best cures for sinus infection

Use bromelain and licorice herb products that bring the result fast and effective. Bromelain struggles with the viruses and bacteria that disturb the digestive system. While, licorice herb allows to cough up the thick mucus of mucous membrane. These herbs are also one of the best cures for sinus infection.

Treat the cold hurriedly as you come into its contact. It is one of the symptoms of sinus infections that can be cured through ginger. Cut the ginger into pieces and then put it into hot boiling water for 5-10minutes. Then, filter the mixture and drink the warm water.

Keep the medicines and other antibiotics aside and try these cures for sinus infection that have a long lasting impact.

The 5 Best Essential Oils for Hair Growth

Hair is the most defining feature we have. It is, however, not perfect. It requires intense caring. This is the reason why it requires us to go an extra mile to take good care of it. If you do not take good care of your hair you may face many problems such as hair fall, hair loss, frizzy hair, split ends and the list go on and on. It is quite clear by now that your hair needs an extra treatment and it is definitely unwise to disagree with this notion.

But if the damage has been done for you, you have started to lose hair rapidly or facing severe hair fall every time you take a bath, then all hope is not lost. There is a way by which you can increase the growth of your hair and see visible results. The solution is essential oils.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are aromatic concentrated extracts from a plant. Their aroma carries a resemblance to the plant they are extracted from. They are volatile in nature and have been known to provide remedies to a plethora of problems.

Like a lot of their useful applications, they can also be used to boost your hair growth and provide with visible results. So, let us dive deep and explore which ones are good for hair growth.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oil, which is related to hair growth and one of the first things that comes to mind when hair growth is concerned. Lavender oil is known to accelerate hair growth and stimulating your hair follicles and giving them a chance to grow.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil is also known as melaleuca oil or ti tree oil and has a refreshing camphoraceous odor. If your hair is flaky, then this essential oil will work wonders for your hair. This is also known to treat dermatitis and is a great solution for the treatment of dandruff and promotes hair growth.

Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil is another oil for promoting hair growth. Peppermint oil is known to increase the blood circulation in your head and promote hair growth. It also has a cooling effect when massaged thoroughly.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary is a small herb with fragrant leaves and flowers which are of various colors. The oil extracted from this herb helps to promote hair growth. Problems like hair loss and thinness of hair are minimized by its regular application.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is laced with mono-unsaturated fats, which are important for healthy hair growth. They also affect your hair follicles, cuticles and nourish your hair.

If you are struggling with hair loss and want your hair to grow again naturally then regular applications of these essential oils are a must and should be present at all times in your cabinet.

How Can I Tell It’s an Alloy Wheel That’s on My Car?

Have you ever been conned by a wheel seller and bought fake wheels thinking that they were alloy wheels? You are not alone. This is a practice that has become very common as technology evolves. The funny thing is that they look so much alike that you cannot tell which is which. However, you do not have to worry anymore. Here are the methods you can use to prove that those you are buying are actually alloy.

Metal Wheels have with time emerged to be the best wheels in the market. They are the most preferred wheels by many motorists due to their outstanding qualities. You probably have them on your car and cannot replace them with any other type of wheels. Some of the qualities of these wheels that make them stand out in the wheel manufacture industry include;

· Light weight which makes them more efficient

· Strength which makes them withstand great pressure and exposure

· Good heat dissipation

· Variety of designs and

· Great appearance

These are the major characteristics that make up a good wheel and alloy wheels happen to have them.

Many wheel stores have emerged and claimed to sell alloy wheels, but as technology has improved, so has the knowledge of manufacturers who make fake ones. Thus, a great problem has risen where motorist have bought wheels branded as alloy but they wear out quicker than supposed. Maybe, you have been a victim.

The big question that every motorist asks is; how do I tell that the wheels on my car are actually Metal Alloy?

There are a number of proven ways to determine whether the wheels on your vehicle are alloy or steel.

· Acid test

Metal alloy wheels are made of an alloy of aluminum and another metal. Aluminum is not corrosive unlike magnesium. You have to buy an acidic solution for this test and choose a hidden spot at the back of the wheel. You don’t have to worry when carrying out this test because, if it’s an alloy, no corrosion will take place. However, if corrosion happens to occur, the hidden spot will be invisible. Take some amount of the acid and apply it on the chosen spot. If it’s an alloy wheel, it will not corrode but if it is not, corrosion will take place. This will prove that it indeed is not a metal alloy wheel.

· The Magnet Check

Another method used is the magnet check. Aluminum is non-magnetic. Steel on the other hand is very magnetic. Get a magnet and bring it close to the supposed alloy wheel. If the magnet sticks, the wheel is steel and not an alloy. The reverse will also be true. However, this is not a complete proof that the wheel you have is an aluminum alloy wheels. This is because, magnesium also is non-magnetic. This is why the acid test needs to be done.

· The Visual check

This is where you use your eyes and the knowledge you have to check the wheels. If the rim is entirely painted black and it doesn’t appear like an aftermarket wheel, it definitely is not alloy. Another way of telling by visual checking is verifying if the wheel has a hub cap. If it’s there, this is not an alloy either. Most alloy wheels do not use hub caps.

There might be other ways to tell an alloy wheel from a steel wheel, but these are the most outstanding ones. However, if you are not sure about the wheels after checking, it’s always advisable that you visit your car manufacturer or consult your mechanic. Mechanics know a lot. They have worked with fake and real wheels for long and they can tell the difference by just a visual check.

The above stated; Acid test, the magnet check and visual check are the methods which you can apply to determine whether the wheels you have alloy. The acid test is the best proof and the most appropriate of the three.

Make sure you get the right alloy wheels next time and enjoy your rides!

Hair Loss – Myth Vs Fact, Get the Facts Before You Act!

Common Myth # 1, Hats Cause hair loss.
In fact hats do not cause hair loss. Rather, hats are often used to cosmetically cover the problem. Actually, the most common form of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia (AGA) has been demonstrated to result from a genetic susceptibility of certain hair follicles within a well-defined pattern on the scalp to specific hormonal triggers. Once the process starts, the hair thins. The disease is named what it is because hair inside the affected zone- or pattern, progressively thins to the point of baldness, whereas hair outside the pattern remains largely unaffected.

Common Myth # 2, Hair loss is caused by restricted circulation to the scalp.
In fact it has been compellingly, repeatedly, and conclusively demonstrated that scalp circulation remains intact irrespective of the vitality of the embedded hair follicles. The problem of pattern hair loss is mediated by circulating hormones, not circulating blood.Nevertheless, many purported treatment remedies claim to address the problem and even reverse it by increasing the flow of blood to the scalp and follicles. Most deceptively, such products may show, as a "before picture" the bald scalp of a person suffering from from alopecia areata – a disease wholly unrelated to common pattern hair loss. Then, in the "after picture" the same person is shown, but now with a miraculously thickened head of hair. The inference is that the product being offered for sale has somehow stimulated the scalp to sprout renewed hair growth. Unfortunately, such claims are categorically without merit for many reasons. First and foremost among these is that alopecia areata waxes and wanes, indepedent of any purported miracle hair growth elixer that may have been applied.

Common Myth # 3, Poor nutrition causes hair loss.
In fact if this were the case then almost every homeless person would be bald. Instead, many poorly nourished homeless people sprout impressive heads of hair despite years of alcohol abuse, drug addiction and shockingly poor diet. Are we to infer that homelessness is therefore a cure for hair loss? Of course not! But by the same token, however we should infer that nutrition is usually a major contributing factor in causing hair loss.Common pattern hair loss is caused by three things, genetics, circulating hormones, and age. Genetics gives us genes that render our scalp hair intolerible. Circulating hormones trigger the onset and progress of the disease. And age causes the disorder to manifest. In other words, nine year old children, even those genetically susceptible to pattern hair loss, do usually not suffer from the problem until they reach adulthood.