After a traumatic lower leg injury at work on a ranch, longtime Clark resident Chase Fix turned to biofeedback through counselor Jane Berryhill to help work through the trauma and flashbacks.

“Biofeedback is a great tool, and you learn to breathe again,” Fix said. “I’m trying to go through my everyday life consciously centering myself with breathing, consciously taking efforts to breathe and relax more. It helps me move through really traumatic injuries.”

Berryhill — who earned two master’s degrees in clinical counseling and behavioral physiology and now practices at Minds in Motion in Steamboat Springs — utilizes physiological monitoring via a biosensor to conduct a stress test and show heart rate variability, breathing and hand temperature. She uses biofeedback techniques with about 98% of her clients at Minds in Motion, where she has worked for the past year.

Berryhill has used biofeedback therapy since the 1980s, but she said the process is much simpler for a counselor to use today or a trained patient to use at home. A small sensor on a finger pressed against the body can show real-time measurements on a computer program on a laptop. Original biofeedback is more complicated because it uses electrical pads connected to the body to help gather bodily information.

“When I measure these levels, it is reflected back to the client on a computer screen in numbers and graphs,” Berryhill explained. “We aren’t guessing if you are stuck in a pattern of survival; we can actually see it.”

According to Mayo Clinic, biofeedback therapy is a type of mind-body technique people can use to control some bodily functions such as heart rate, breathing patterns and muscle responses.

Mayo Clinic: “You may not realize it, but when you have pain or are under stress, your body changes. Your heart rate may increase, you may breathe faster and your muscles tighten. Biofeedback helps you make slight changes in your body, such as relaxing muscles, to help relieve pain or reduce tension.”

As part of her focus on biofeedback therapy, Counselor Jane Berryhill wrote the workbook called “Forging the Flow” intended to help guide patients through the “release of resistance to flow.”
Suzie Romig/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Fix said Berryhill has been a “great coach” through the past year to help him “incorporate moving on, breathing and good meditation” to learn to live with the repercussions of his serious injury.

“You take yourself out of pressure moments by breathing and releasing, is what I love about it,” Fix said.

The counselor said she has used biofeedback with youth with asthma to help control breathing, patients with anxiety and panic attacks, people suffering from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, cardiac patients and people going through difficult disruptions in life.

“Jane is a great addition because people who don’t want to directly address psychological issues or who are wanting to focus more on physical symptoms of anxiety or trauma, this is a different and more concrete way to address anxiety,” said Angela Melzer, a licensed clinical social worker and owner of Minds of Motion. “Oftentimes if people can start to see they can control their body sensations or feel empowered in what they can do, they are more willing to address underlying causes of anxiety or do deeper work.”

Berryhill was introduced to biofeedback decades ago through two psychiatrist colleagues in Seattle. She said her curiosity about the training turned into a mission to help others. Biofeedback provides a tool that helps people move forward from old patterns of creating disease through stress and trauma.

She graduated with a master’s degree in clinical counseling with a minor in biofeedback in 1990 from California State University, East Bay. She opened a biofeedback treatment unit in a hospital in northern California that treated addictions, pain management and employee assistance program clients. She worked with domestic violence victims and in group homes for teens.

“Each time you have a thought, you have a physiological response,” Berryhill said. “It could be thoughts about something currently happening, or maybe an internal or external event from something that has occurred in the past. We think these emotional responses modify over time, then all of the sudden, we are triggered by a thought or event from our past trauma, which we have numbed over time but not released.”

Those bodily responses could manifest as a rush of adrenaline or energy, muscles that tense and sometimes spasm, increases in pain levels, hands that become cold or sweaty, insomnia, stuttering, headaches, elevated heart rate, dizziness or nausea, or an increase in stress induced asthma attacks.

“When there are stressful or negative thoughts, we can see how physiology responds,” Berryhill explained. “I teach different coping skills to improve or shift a physiological response. It takes a lot of work to not react to emotional triggers. When you can learn to become more of an observer and responder instead, you can create a more peaceful and healthier state of being.”

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Just as you're drifting off to a peaceful sleep, you're rudely awoken by a sudden jolt and panic.  

Although it really felt like you were plummeting to your death, you accept it was just a figment of your imagination. 

That terrifying feeling — usually accompanied by twitching in the legs and arms — is called a 'hypnagogic jerk'.

But, did you know there's ways you can potentially prevent these random nocturnal body hiccups? 

Sleep starts can contribute to sleep deprivation and in turn, this can cause even more sleep starts

Sleep starts can contribute to sleep deprivation and in turn, this can cause even more sleep starts

Track sleep trends

Anyone can experience a hypnagogic jerk, also commonly known as 'hypnic jerk' or 'sleep starts'. Bedding company Simba found more than two-thirds of Brits surveyed have experienced the disturbance.

It happens during the transitional stage between wakefulness and sleep — when the heart rate decreases, breathing slows down and the muscles relax.

Medically, it is classified as myoclonus — a brief involuntary twitching or jerking of a muscle group or group of muscles.

'Hypnic jerks can affect the whole body or just the legs,' said Lisa Artis, deputy chief executive officer at The Sleep Charity. 'At the same time you may also feel like you're falling, you may experience a loud noise or a flash of light.'

Even though they are 'perfectly normal', tracking when they happen could reveal what is causing them, she said.

What are hypnagogic jerks? 

Hypnagogic jerks, or sleep starts, are classified as a type of myoclonus, a brief involuntary twitching or jerking of a muscle group or group of muscles.

Sleep starts tend to wake you in the transition from stage one to stage two sleep. 

Your heartbeat slows, as does your breathing, and your muscles start to unwind – which is when it is common to experience a hypnic jerk which may or may not be accompanied by a visual hallucination.

What causes hypnic jerks, and can they be prevented?

The exact mechanisms underlying sleep starts and myoclonus are not yet fully understood.

But excessive caffeine intake, and physical and emotional stress can increase their frequency, experts say.

Some scientists believe that the brain misinterprets your body state accurately when you start to go to sleep. It 'thinks' you're still awake but notices your muscles aren't moving, so sends signals to initiate them.

While they can be startling, hypnic jerks are completely normal, extremely common, and are rarely a sign of any underlying condition, according to experts. 

They are not a neurological disorder.

Source: The Sleep Charity and Simba

Ms Artis recommends that people note down the dates when sleep starts occur in a phone or diary, along with whether they have had alcohol, coffee or stimulating drugs — all of which can increase the chance of them happening.

Also, noting stress levels and types and times of exercise can help flush out any patterns and triggers, according to the sleep charity.


People can become stressed because of sleep starts.

This can contribute to sleep deprivation and, in turn, cause even more to occur. 

'It's really important to ensure that you get good quality sleep as fatigue or sleep deprivation may also increase your risk of hypnic jerks,' said Ms Artis. 

So, if your mind is racing as it hits the pillow, try and breathe and let go of your negative thoughts from the day and invite peaceful and pleasant images in, she advises.

This can help soothe the mind and relax the body, helping with drifting off to sleep. 

On top of this, relaxing the body may ease that transition into sleep, making your muscles less likely to twitch.

Don't exercise close to bed time  

Exercising too close to hitting the sack can increase the risk of sleep starts, it is thought. 

Winding down and aiming to finish your workout at least two to three hours before going to bed will help you drift off to sleep, according to Ms Artis.  

But how hard you train can also play a part in sleep. 

You may think working hard at the gym will just make you tired.

However, if your evening routine involves things like running, high intensity interval training (HIIT), bodypump or bodycombat, it's going to be difficult for your body and muscles to slow down and relax, since it puts them under more stress.

Moving your exercise routine to the morning can help with this, but so can doing lower impact sessions in the evening. 

Swimming, walking, pilates, or yoga — which focus on breathing and stretching — may help you relax and prevent sleep starts, the charity says.

Winding down and aiming to finish your work outs at least two to three hours before going to bed will help you drift off to sleep, according to The Sleep Charity

Winding down and aiming to finish your work outs at least two to three hours before going to bed will help you drift off to sleep, according to The Sleep Charity

Block out sunlight

Getting good quality sleep is vital for your body to function normally and prevent you from experiencing these night jerks, experts also think. 

Ensuring the bedroom is cool, dark and quiet before bed helps you get good quality sleep, according to the sleep charity. 

Heat, light and noise can impact our ability to nod off and increase the chances of waking during the night and experiencing sleep starts. 

This might mean changing up your duvet between seasons to avoid overheating and investing in black-out curtains or blinds during the summer months when it gets lighter earlier, the sleep charity says. 

Switch to decaf 

Stimulants can interfere with your sleep and increase the frequency of sleep starts. 

Switching to decaf eight hours before you go to bed can help you avoid hypnagogic jerks, according to the sleep charity.

Drinking low or alcohol free drinks in this window can also help stop night time waking's and sleep starts, experts say.

Tips on how to get to sleep and sleep better

Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping. It can get better by changing your sleeping habits

Insomnia means you regularly have problems sleeping. It can get better by changing your sleeping habits

One in three adults in the UK and almost half of US adults suffer with insomnia, with millions more reporting sleepless nights.

Long-term sleep deprivation can cause obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Insomnia can be caused by stress, anxiety, alcohol, caffeine or nicotine, noise, shift work and jet lag. 

If you regularly have problems sleeping, there are simple ways to improve your sleep hygiene. 


 Keep regular sleep hours 

  • Try going to bed when you feel tired and getting up at the same time each day. 

Create a restful space 

  • Dark, quiet and cool environments generally make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.

 Get moving

  • Exercise is good for your physical health and your mind.  It can also help you sleep better. Just don't do vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime. 


 Don't force it 

  • If you find yourself unable to get to sleep, get up and do something relaxing for a bit. Then get back into bed when you feel a bit sleepier. 

Write down your worries

  • If you find your worries keep you up at night, try writing them down before going to bed. 

Ease off the caffeine

  • Alcohol and caffeine can stop you from falling asleep and having a deep sleep. Cutting down on caffeine close to bedtime and alcoholic drinks could help you dose off. 



Source NHS 

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Living with a chronic illness like rheumatoid arthritis I try to avoid stress as much as possible. Unfortunately, stress is not always avoidable, and the reality of living with RA itself is quite stressful. The impact of stress on my emotional and physical well-being is significant, with the potential to put me into a flare. Considering that RA is progressive systemic autoimmune disease, this is a major concern for me.

Chronic illness itself brings a whole new level of stress that someone healthy wouldn’t fully understand. Balancing medical appointments, overcoming needle phobias or other uncomfortable tests, managing debilitating symptoms, navigating the effects of chronic illness on our social lives, and,of course, the financial burden that accompanies a chronic condition — it’s safe to say the average healthy person wouldn’t understand the unique stress that comes with living with chronic illness.

As a single mother on disability living in one of North America’s most expensive cities, I face the dual challenges of skyrocketing rent and a constantly rising cost of living. Unfortunately, disability pay stays the same, falling below the poverty line. Consequently, finances are always my main stressor, second only to the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on my overall quality of life. I say finances come first because if I had better finances I would more than likely have the ability to live healthier with this disease.

The Mental Impact of Stress on My Life

Stress often leaves me irritable, angry, impatient, overwhelmed, and anxious. I become uninterested in life and lose the ability to concentrate because my thoughts are racing in a million directions. I feel insecure, have difficulty making decisions, my memory worsens, and I find it hard to enjoy life. Stress causes me to eat too much or too little, clench my jaw, become restless, and not exercise as much as I need to. I will often withdraw from friends, family, or any other type of engagements.

Stress is a constant presence in my life, and if left unaddressed, it can consume me, leaving me trapped and paralyzed by intrusive thoughts. What’s worse, stress can cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms and worsen my arthritis.

What Stress and Chronic Pain Feel Like

Stress is a vicious cycle for our bodies, especially when living with a disease that causes widespread chronic pain. The fact that stress causes more pain is stressful itself.

Stress has an impact on our nervous system. When our nervous system is affected by stress, it leads to feelings of tension, which, in turn, causes our muscles to tense up, often resulting in painful muscle spasms. These spasms further aggravate our joints and contribute to increased fatigue. Let’s not forget that stress also increases anxiety and depression, which worsen perception of pain.

When I am stressed, I notice my breath quickens, my heart rate increases, and my muscles tense up. I can feel my body temperature rising, and a sense of stiffness setting in. This heightened muscle tension can intensify the pain caused by arthritis. If I experience a stressful event, I may encounter a sudden surge in fatigue within hours, impacting my ability to function for several days. I’m left feeling groggy and fatigued. Stress can stop me in my tracks and leave me feeling paralyzed.

Stress has manifested into many symptoms, including hair loss, cold sores, cystic acne, muscle weakness and tension, headaches, increased pain, insomnia, and crushing depression or anxiety that consumes me. Stress has even caused me to gain weight suddenly, either by a chemical imbalance or because it makes me crave unhealthy coping mechanisms, like junk food, cannabis, alcohol, or access shopping. A huge part of my financial stress as someone getting by on disability means I often can’t afford the healthiest groceries to combat my illness, which is not good for my overall well-being either.

Stress doesn’t only affect us physically but also takes a toll on our mental resilience, making it more challenging to deal with the symptoms of your diseases. The longer the stress, the worse the inflammation and impact on your immune system. I don’t need a doctor to tell me this, I’ve felt the physical response to stress firsthand, and it can be debilitating with rheumatoid arthritis.

This is because stress works on a physical level by increasing levels of the hormone cortisol in your body. This triggers immune system hyperactivity, a hallmark of inflammatory types of arthritis, while simultaneously reducing the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful germs. After prolonged stress I can find myself sick and have a difficult time recovering from the illness.

So yes, stress makes our arthritis worse. It makes everything worse. Stress sucks.

How I Deal with Stress

From seeking support and setting boundaries to staying active, here is how I manage stress and prioritize my well-being.

Ask for help

While I can’t control everything, I can control how I respond to things, to some extent. Being proactive, realistic, and productive helps me eliminate some stress as does asking for help from people I know who are supportive and trustworthy. My support network is crucial.

Say no

Learning to say “no” was a lesson to me. I am a people-pleaser but trying to make everyone happy can cause me a lot of stress. If I know it will overwhelm me, put me into a flare, or throw me off my self-care management, I may need to say no. It is ok to be highly protective of your time and energy.

Pace yourself

Chronic illness is bumpy (and I move at an arthritic speed). I remind myself that I am living with a debilitating illness and that I shouldn’t feel guilty if I need to ask for an extension or can’t be present because life is getting too overwhelming. I tell my editors, researchers, clinicians, media companies, or any collaborating I am working with, when I need additional time or gently reminders. I have learned to pace myself.

Stay organized

I make a point to stay as organized as I can possibly be. I write everything down, my thoughts, my concerns, my to-do lists, and so on. This helps me remember them easier and to create an action plan when needed.

Plan ahead

After several years of living with this disease and knowing how stress can impact me I try my best to plan ahead to avoid any surprises. Not always possible, but certainly helpful.

Have a good cry and swear

Sometimes it gets to be too much, and you need to cry and swear out your frustrations. I am a big fan of swearing, and research has proven it does relieve stress.

Let go of guilt

I remind myself that what I go through is not my fault. I do my best to try to remove as many of the emotions of guilt that come with living with a chronic illness. They do me no good. I’m not always successful at this but I do make a point to try to rationalize my negative emotions.

Keep moving and take time to breathe

Even though stress paralyzes me in my tracks, I need to make sure to keep moving as it does help alleviate my pain and how I handle stress. When we exercise regularly, our body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins.

I don’t just exercise one way, I will hike, swim, use my treadmill, the elliptical at the gym, strength train, or do gardening. When I’m stressed, I try to do the exercise I enjoy the most.

Yoga is a great movement when stressed because it also incorporates deep breathing. When I feel overwhelmed with stress, I make a point to sit quietly for a few minutes and focus on breathing deeply. This helps put my body into a calmer state, even if just mildly.

Eat healthfully

I do the best with what I got, although inflation is making this more and more difficult as prices increase. Avoiding sugar and processed foods when stressed can make a difference.

Get out into nature

Nature has been shown to have remarkable stress-reducing effects by boosting endorphins and dopamine production and reducing that pesky inflammation promoting hormone cortisol.

Cuddle a pet

Cuddling with my four cats brings me immense comfort. Their adorable squishiness provides a soothing and calming effect when I need it most.

See a therapist and your doctor

If stress is consuming, there is no shame in reaching out to a mental health professional for help. You may benefit from cognitive behavior therapy, which aims to help you reframe the issues that are causing your worry and help guide you to deal with them in a more positive light.

Be a More Proactive Patient with ArthritisPower

ArthritisPower is a patient-led, patient-centered research registry for joint, bone, and inflammatory skin conditions. You can participate in voluntary research studies about your health conditions and use the app to track your symptoms, disease activity, and medications — and share with your doctor. Learn more and sign up here.

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Heart Boost Concept Painting

A small randomized trial has found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may help restore proper heart function in patients with post-COVID syndrome.

A small trial has found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may help restore proper heart function in patients with post-COVID syndrome, with participants in the HBOT group experiencing a significant increase in global longitudinal strain (GLS), an indicator of heart function.

A small randomized trial in patients with post-COVID syndrome has found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy promotes the restoration of the heart’s ability to contract properly. The research is presented at EACVI 2023, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).[1]

“The study suggests that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be beneficial in patients with long COVID,” said study author Professor Marina Leitman of the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Centre, Be’er Ya’akov, Israel. “We used a sensitive measure of cardiac function which is not routinely performed in all centers. More studies are needed to determine which patients will benefit the most, but it may be that all long COVID patients should have an assessment of global longitudinal strain and be offered hyperbaric oxygen therapy if heart function is reduced.”

Most COVID-19 sufferers fully recover, but after the initial illness approximately 10–20% of patients develop long COVID, also called post-COVID condition or syndrome.[2] Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, cough, chest pain, rapid or irregular heartbeats, body aches, rashes, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, insomnia, brain fog, depression and anxiety. Patients with post-COVID syndrome may also develop cardiac dysfunction and are at increased risk of a range of cardiovascular disorders.[3]

This randomized controlled double-blind trial evaluated the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on the cardiac function of long COVID patients. HBOT involves inhalation of 100% pure oxygen at high pressure to increase delivery to the body’s tissues, which is particularly beneficial for tissues that are starved of oxygen due to injury or inflammation. HBOT is an established treatment for non-healing wounds, decompression sickness in divers, carbon monoxide poisoning, radiation injury, and certain types of infections

“The study suggests that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be beneficial in patients with long COVID.” — Professor Marina Leitman

The study enrolled 60 post-COVID syndrome patients with ongoing symptoms for at least three months after having mild to moderate symptomatic COVID-19 confirmed by a PCR test. Both hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients were included. Severe COVID cases were excluded. Patients were randomized to HBOT or a sham procedure in a 1:1 ratio. Each patient had five sessions per week over eight weeks, for a total of 40 sessions. The HBOT group received 100% oxygen through a mask at a pressure of 2 atmospheres for 90 minutes, with 5 minute air breaks every 20 minutes. The sham group breathed 21% oxygen by mask at 1 atmosphere for 90 minutes. All participants underwent echocardiography at baseline (before the first session) and 1 to 3 weeks after the last session.

Echocardiography was used to assess left ventricular global longitudinal strain (GLS), which is a measure of the heart’s ability to contract and relax lengthwise. It indicates how well the heart is functioning and can help detect early signs of heart disease. A healthy heart will have a GLS value of around -20% which means that the heart muscle is able to properly contract and relax in the longitudinal direction. Reduced GLS is an early marker that the heart is not able to contract and relax effectively.

At baseline, nearly half of study participants (29 out of 60; 48%) had reduced GLS. Of those, 13 (43%) and 16 (53%) were in the sham and HBOT groups, respectively. The average GLS at baseline across all participants was -17.8%. In the HBOT group, GLS significantly increased from -17.8% at baseline to -20.2% after the intervention (p=0.0001). In the sham group, GLS was -17.8% at baseline and -19.1% after the sessions, with no statistically significant difference between the two measurements.

Professor Leitman said: “It was notable that almost half of long COVID patients had impaired cardiac function at baseline according to GLS despite all participants having a normal ejection fraction, which is the standard method for measuring the heart’s ability to contract. This means that ejection fraction is not sensitive enough to identify long COVID patients with reduced heart function.”

She concluded: “The findings suggest that HBOT promotes recovery of cardiac function in patients with post-COVID syndrome. More research is needed to collect long-term results and determine the optimal number of sessions for maximum therapeutic effect.”

Meeting: EACVI 2023


  1. The abstract ‘The effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on myocardial function in post-COVID syndrome patients: a randomized controlled trial’ was presented during the session ‘COVID’ at Moderated ePosters 1.
  2. World Health Organization: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Post COVID-19 condition.
  3. “Long-term cardiovascular outcomes of COVID-19” by Yan Xie, Evan Xu, Benjamin Bowe and Ziyad Al-Aly, 7 February 2022, Nature Medicine.
    DOI: 10.1038/s41591-022-01689-3

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For those who have had COVID-19, long COVID, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), has become a major worry. Long after their initial illness has subsided, many patients still experience a variety of symptoms and repercussions of the infection. Researchers claim to have identified a set of 12 symptoms after spending more than two years and about $1.2 billion on the project.

With more people becoming aware of long-COVID, professionals are better able to diagnose and treat individuals.

What Does the Study Say about Long COVID?

The RECOVER initiative, which stands for Researching Covid to Enhance Recovery, was launched by the National Institutes of Health, and the study, which was published on Thursday, May 25, in the medical journal JAMA, is the first to come out of a significant effort that involved more than 13,000 adults at more than 200 study sites.

Long-COVID is defined by the World Health Organisation and the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as any symptoms, signs, or problems that persist or emerge following a Covid-19 infection.

The study has listed 12 key symptoms. (Image via Pexels/ Anna Shvets)
The study has listed 12 key symptoms. (Image via Pexels/ Anna Shvets)

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has infected more than 100 million people in the United States as of May 2023, with doctors estimating that 6% of those infected with the virus still experience the numerous symptoms collectively known as long-COVID. Post-COVID disorders are linked to more than 200 symptoms that impact every organ system in the body.

12 Key Symptoms of Long COVID

The study has listed the following 12 key symptoms:

Fatigue: Prolonged, intense fatigue that is crippling and does not improve with rest.

Breathlessness: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, even with little physical effort.

Brain fog: Cognitive issues, such as memory, concentration, and attention issues.

Joint and muscle pain: Constant aches and pains in the muscles and joints.

Chest Pain: Persistent discomfort or tightness in the chest that is unrelated to cardiac problems.

Headaches: Frequent headaches that are more often than not very bad.

Taste and/or smell loss: A persistent or ongoing loss of taste and/or scent.

Sleep issues: Disrupted sleep patterns, such as insomnia or excessive daytime sleepiness, are sleep issues.

Digestive issues: Consistent gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, are a sign of digestive issues.

Mood disorders: Anxiety, despair, or mood fluctuations are examples of mood disorders.

Heart palpitations: A rapid or irregular heartbeat that is frequently accompanied by discomfort.

Skin rashes: Undiagnosed lesions or rashes on the skin.

Long COVID Impact

Long COVID can have a significant effect on people's lives. The limits and ongoing symptoms can have a serious impact on one's physical, mental, and emotional health.

Lower quality of life, issues with everyday tasks, difficulties returning to work, and social isolation are common for those suffering from this condition. The wide-ranging effects of Long COVID on people's general functioning and quality of life must be acknowledged and addressed.

Treatment of Long COVID

Tailored treatments can reduce symptoms and enhance long-term results. (Image via Unsplash/ Mufid Majnun)
Tailored treatments can reduce symptoms and enhance long-term results. (Image via Unsplash/ Mufid Majnun)

Since long-COVID is a relatively recent diagnosis, treatment strategies are currently being developed. The current emphasis is on symptom management and well-being enhancement.

A multidisciplinary strategy comprising medical experts from many specialties, such as primary care, pulmonology, cardiology, neurology, and mental health, may be used in treatment regimens. These could consist of drugs to treat particular symptoms, physical and occupational treatment, cognitive rehabilitation, psychological support, and individualized lifestyle changes.

Working together with medical professionals to create a specialized treatment plan that takes into account each patient's particular symptoms and concerns is crucial for those with long COVID.

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Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents

From a total of 23 selected study participants, 10 (43.5%) were females. Most of the study respondents, 19 (82.6%), had an educational level of diploma and above. Only three (13%) of the participants were vaccinated (Table 1).

Table 1 Socio-demographic characteristics of participants in Bahir Dar town, Ethiopia, 2022 (n = 23)

Awareness about and care seeking for long COVID-19 symptoms

The 23 interviews produced over 108 pages of transcripts and notes. Study participants reported symptoms, risk groups, communicability, experience, care advice, and practice of long COVID-19. During the analysis, 83 codes, 12 sub-themes, and three themes were generated. The themes were awareness, experience of symptoms and their effects, and care practices of long COVID-19 (Fig. 1). Themes and selected quotations are organized as follows.

Fig. 1
figure 1

Thematic map indicating three themes

Theme I: Awareness about long COVID 19

Most of the participants did not mention the 19 common symptoms. None of the participants described palpitations, headache, pin or needle feeling, loss of smell, diarrhea, stomach pain, rash, and change in the menstrual cycle. In addition, they associate some of these symptoms with non-long COVID-19 conditions like Asthma, diabetes, and hypertension.

"I do not know the symptom of long COVID. But, I face difficulty when I want to breathe. I was treated for Asthma the last time but it was not Asthma. [64 years old female]

However, a few participants described symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, joint pain, chest pain, cough, fever, loss of concentration, insomnia, loss of appetite, and depression.

"I have information on the following signs and the symptoms of long COVID-19 like fatigue, cough, chest pain, and fever." [35 years old male]

Most of the participants did not have information about the communicability of the virus during experiencing long COVID-19 symptoms. However, some participants perceived the virus as not transmissible, and other participants perceived the possibility of transmission from individuals with long COVID-19 symptoms.

"I know that the COVID-19 virus cannot be transmitted after recovery because the virus is already cleared from the body. The symptoms come due to damage to the vital organs. And the symptom will continue until the damaged organ gets recovered."[38 years old female]

"I think individuals with long COVID-19 symptoms can transmit the virus. Even if the treatment can weaken its pathogenicity, the virus is still inside and is not cleared. So the possibility of transmitting the virus is still there."[40 years old male]

Regarding the risk groups, most of the study participants were not aware of the risk groups. There is also a perception that COVID-19-vaccinated individuals are at risk for long COVID symptoms. However, a few participants considered females, individuals with comorbidities, and hospitalized individuals as the risk groups for long COVID-19 symptoms.

"My friend has long COVID-19 symptoms but he perceived that these symptoms came due to the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, it is associated with the vaccine. No person complains about COVID-19." [73 years old male]

"I think individuals with older age and comorbidity such as diabetes; cancer and AIDS are at risk for long COVID-19 because of declined immunity."[43 years old male]

On the contrary, some participants perceived non-hospitalized patients are a risk group due to getting less medical care when they do not admit to the hospital.

“There is a difference between hospitalized and non-hospitalized individuals. Because none hospitalized individuals do not receive medical care. It is obvious that medication can reduce the risk of many symptoms.” [43 years old male]

The majority of the respondents described that long COVID-19 symptoms will go off by themselves. However, they perceived symptoms will go off quickly through homemade care, lifestyle modification, and physical exercise.

'Though the symptoms will go off by themselves, it is good to strengthen yourself through physical exercise, eating fresh foods, and keeping personal hygiene."[40 years old male]

However, a few study participants perceived that long COVID-19 symptoms need medical care.

“Persons with long COVID-19 symptoms should seek medical care as those symptoms may cause further complications.” [40 years old male]

Theme II: Experience and Effect of Long COVID Symptoms

The survivors experienced general, respiratory, cardiac, digestive, neurological, and other symptoms. These symptoms include rash, fatigue fever, cough, palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of concentration, loss of smell, sleep disorder, depression, and joint and muscle pain. These symptoms brought various physical and psychosocial effects for the participants.

Physical effects include inching, facial discoloration, unable to talk due to cough, forgetfulness, shaking hands, unable to perform daily activities, severe headache, and olfactory dysfunction. The psychosocial effect includes suicidal ideation and social isolation.

"The long COVID-19 symptoms caused facial discoloration to me. I have serious inching thoughts my body likes street children having dermatitis." [59 years old male]

"I have serious muscle pain. I cannot protect myself from different incidents like dog bits and attacks from a mentally ill person. Even I cannot hold an umbrella.'' [73 years old male]

"I had a serious headache for a long time. My head doesn't seem mine. Even it did not respond with anti-pain…. In addition, my neighbors greet me at a far distance [They are not happy to talk with me]. Even others are not voluntary to say hello [they perceive that the virus will be transmitted to them]. They isolate me from social events. I thought to commit suicide" [43 years, male]

“I have severe fatigue. I cannot go to church to pray and cannot receive "kidus kurban.” [57 years old female]

“I totally lost my memory. I cannot find files that I used to easily pick up on my computer before the illness. It highly affected my life and it persists up to now” (40 years, male).

Theme III: Survivor's care-seeking behavior for long COVID 19

Some survivors seek modern health care for severe symptoms such as muscle and joint pain, stomach pain, and chest pain. They visited to get a diagnostic evaluation, medicine, and different advice.

"I used to visit my doctor. He gave me different medicines. He also advised me to take enough rest, and the foodstuffs I need to take. He also follows my progress with X-rays and different diagnostic evaluations at different times. This made me have an improvement." [50 years old male]

Some survivors used to practice different spiritual care either as the only intervention or in combination with modern health care. The spiritual care practices include praying, holly water, and applying Eminent (


“In addition to modern care, I pray in the church. I used holy water and eminet (
). I massage my body with “Eminet” (
) and baptized with holy water. I go to church on Saturday and Sunday to bring holy water and I drink the holy water. I put "Eminet” on my joint that pains me and massaged as well as with the holy water." [70 years old female]

Some survivors practiced homemade care like applying butter on the head for headaches, avoiding caffeinated drinks, avoiding contact with laptop and mobile, drinking warm water for insomnia, use of garlic, and black cumin, taking hot drinks for chest pain, and eating fruits and salads for loss of appetite. In addition, survivors were doing physical exercise.

“I asked my sister to apply butter to my head when I had a headache and get relief as soon as she applies it. I wash my head after three days to prevent a foul smell.” [50 years old male]

"I avoided beverages and other stimulants, contacts with the different screens [like laptop and mobile], and as much as possible I used to drink warm water, especially during the time of sleep."[40 years old male]

“Since the taste was not good for me, I was not eating. I used to eat fruits and salads. I used to take a lot of hot drinks like pourage, tea with ginger, garlic, and like that because I had chest pain.” [38 years old male]

However, some survivors did not seek any intervention despite they were having severe symptoms.

"I have serious muscle pain. I cannot hold an umbrella; I cannot protect myself from dogs or mentally ill people. Even I cannot hold my grandkid. However, I did not visit a health facility. " [73 years old male]

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Raising awareness and implementing systematic tools to measure patient-focused outcomes can help those who responded to the 9/11 attacks, says Anna E. Mullins, PhD, assistant professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Mullins was the lead author of “Sleep Disorders and Chronic Rhinosinusitis in World Trade Center (WTC) Responders and a Sleep Clinic Population,” an abstract presented at the 2023 American Thoracic Society International Conference.


What should providers and health care systems be doing to raise awareness on how sleep conditions have manifested in WTC responders?

WTC responders, with respect to sleep disorders, such as for instance, sleep apnea, they present a little differently in that they tend to have lower [body mass index], they present with more insomnia symptoms or more of an insomnia phenotype, and then they have other comorbidities that affect their sleep such as gastrointestinal reflux disorder and chronic rhinosinusitis.

Based on your findings, what can health professionals do to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and management of chronic rhinosinusitis and sleep quality in WTC responders?

There needs to be raised awareness of the differing presentation of sleep disorders and the comorbidities and to foster increasing integrative care amongst many disciplines. What my colleagues have said would be useful is more systematic tools to capture patient-focused outcomes so that the things that are meaningful to the responders can be focused on and integrated into their care.

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As leaders, we are constantly seeking ways to help employees reduce stress and improve their overall mental health. 

We know that mental health is essential to our overall health. And while there are many sources of stress in our world, we often encounter them at work simply because we spend so much of our lives there.

Mindfulness exercises can be a powerful tool for individuals to enhance their mind-body connection and take ownership of their thoughts and emotions. 

Becoming more aware of our emotions allows us to choose how we want to respond. Ultimately, a heightened awareness of our emotions equips us to use our logical thinking abilities better, leading to improved overall performance.

If you’re seeking practical ways to support your employees’ mental health, implementing mindfulness exercises is a valuable step. By creating a healthier and more balanced work environment, you can foster happier and more engaged employees. 

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that cultivates awareness and acceptance of thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. It involves directing your attention to the present moment with a non-judgemental and curious mindset. 

Mindfulness exercises can be as brief as a few seconds or a few minutes. With regular practice, these short sessions can have a profound impact on the lives of employees. Consistency is key to reaping the benefits of mindfulness.

Practicing mindfulness is more important than ever

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to experience stress and feel overwhelmed. A mindfulness practice can equip team members to become more empathetic, self-aware, clear-minded, and resilient to stress. 

But the benefits of mindfulness extend beyond just mental well-being. Engaging in a consistent mindfulness practice also enhances emotional regulation and supports physical health, leading to fewer missed days at work

When your employees experience stress, it can manifest as physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, chronic pain, fatigue, breathing difficulties, and insomnia. Additionally, stress can lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Mindfulness can help us recognize when stress or reactivity emerges, and bring our body and mind back to a state of calm and neutrality. This promotes improved concentration, sleep quality, and emotional regulation, benefiting personal well-being and professional performance. 

How mindfulness supports the thinking mind 

We need our thinking mind. We can’t go to work without it. 

A mindfulness practice supports brain function by teaching our amygdala, the control center of our emotional response, to process thoughts calmly and think things through.

When employees are under stress, the amygdala can become over-activated. Messages don’t get through to the more logical part of the brain, and rational decision-making takes a hit. 

Mindfulness is the practice of taking a pause so the body and brain can catch up with one another. This allows us to choose how we want to respond to our environment.

It also teaches us to recognize unhelpful thought patterns and choose not to engage with them—letting thoughts pass without being reinforced.

A mindfulness practice fosters a healthy workplace culture 

Building self-awareness through mindfulness leads to improved interpersonal skills and more cohesion among all employees. Because a focus of senior leadership is to improve productivity and support employees, it’s easy to forget that leaders, too, reap the benefits of these exercises. 

When we’ve taken steps to put our minds in a calm state, our emotions don’t get to take over. Team members can then pay closer attention to their thoughts and become more empathetic listeners, developing clarity, insight, and a stronger understanding of other people’s perspectives. 

Communication skills are also improved as self-awareness increases, leading to healthier work relationships. 

6 mindfulness exercises for you and your employees to try

The following exercises, provided by Spring Health clinicians, support improvements in mind-body connection, concentration, sleep, anxiety, and depression. They’re brief, both guided and self-guided, and can be done at home or work.

I encourage you to try these exercises yourself. Consider incorporating them into team meetings and sharing them with your employees, for self-guided practice.  

This is one way leaders can foster a culture of well-being, and encourage finding moments of calm in the midst of daily challenges.

For relaxation and stress reduction

This self-guided exercise from Kristen Hernandez, M.A., LMFT increases awareness of your physical body to identify stress and develop ways to regulate it. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, and strengthen your immune system.

3x3 mindfulness exercise  

This is an opportunity to do a small check-in with your body. Notice where you are holding tension and stress, and give your body and mind just a moment of decompression. 

Find a comfortable position in your chair, or stand if you like. Take a moment to close your eyes, if you feel comfortable doing so. I encourage placing one hand on the belly and one hand on the chest. 

Bring your attention to your body and notice if you can lower the shoulders away from the ears or relax the muscles in your face during this exercise:

  1. Take a nice deep inhale that lasts for 3 seconds
  2. Hold that breath for 3 seconds 
  3. Exhale for 3 seconds

Repeat this process three times. Do your best to stay in the moment with the breath, blocking out anything that came before this moment and anything that is to come after.

In accompaniment of this self-guided exercise, here is a guided mindfulness exercise from Kristen to help you and your team members reduce stress.

To help reduce negative feelings and symptoms of depression

Mindfulness can help reduce negative feelings and the symptoms of depression and anxiety. While it’s always wise to consult with your doctor about treatment decisions, some research suggests that mindfulness exercises can be as effective as antidepressant medications for some people. 

Try this self-guided exercise from Lucia Etchegaray consistently to support your mood and emotional regulation.

Mindfulness for happiness

Before getting started, please consider a few suggestions:

  • Turn off your notifications (computer, phone, tablet and any other device)
  • If you are not alone, please find a private spot
  • Make yourself comfortable: sit on a cushion, get a blanket, whatever you may need to wind down
  • Allow your spine to be straight but not stiff, and let your hands rest comfortably in your lap

Now we are ready to get started!

Begin by taking a few deep breaths. Observe your breath as if you were a very curious scientist. Notice the rhythm of your breath, the texture and temperature of the air as you inhale and exhale. Be aware of the relaxing sensation that comes with breathing.

If your attention shifts away, acknowledge this modification, allow those thoughts, feelings or impulses, let them come and go as they will, and focus back on your breathing.

Bring to your mind a joyful memory. It can be a situation, a moment in your life, a person, a place, a song… whatever makes you feel happy. Bring your attention to the landscape, remember the weather and how it felt to be there. Remember what your eyes were seeing, what your body was doing.

Connect with that feeling, with the sensation, shape, color, temperature of the joy you are feeling in this moment.  

Continue breathing as you stay with your joy. Notice if it transforms in any way as you stay with your happiness.

Thank yourself for reconnecting with your happiness. Be grateful for these minutes of joy.

In accompaniment of this self-guided exercise, here is a guided mindfulness exercise from Lucia to help you and your team members reduce negative feelings, including depression and anxiety, and increase happiness.

To improve sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, you might find that mindfulness helps improve sleep quality by reducing stress, anxiety, and racing thoughts before you go to bed. 

This exercise from BJ Constantine, LMHC, LPC, NCC teaches you to focus on your breathing so your mind is engaged with the present, rather than fixating on the past or the future. 

Bedtime exercise 

As you’re lying in your bed, think about relaxation. It’s not about getting to sleep. Or getting back to sleep. It’s just about relaxing.

Begin by taking a few moments to connect to your breath. 

Gentle breaths. Easy breaths.

For a moment or so, just allow yourself to focus on the physical sensations of your breath.

Notice the temperature of the air as you inhale. 

Notice the air as it moves down your throat, and fills your lungs.

Notice the muscles in your belly and see if you can relax your abdomen. 

Observe how your chest moves, collar bones gently rise and fall with each breath, and the temperature changes with the exhale.

Notice how each breath affects your entire body. Your shoulders. Your arms. Your legs. Your feet.

Gentle, easy movements as you inhale... and exhale, letting go of any concern. Any worries. Any cares. Leaving room for relaxation.

Imagine yourself feeling lighter. Lighter than air. So light that you might feel as if you’re floating. Relaxing. Calm. Peace.

When you are ready, allow your eyes to close gently. Enjoy a pleasant and relaxing night’s sleep.

To improve concentration

Practicing mindfulness strengthens your ability to stay focused for longer periods of time. This exercise from Christine Lopez, LCSW teaches your brain to break unhealthy thought patterns and keep your attention on the present. 

Object stare exercise 

Place any object directly in front of you (e.g. a pen, stapler, mug). Pick a specific spot on the object, and then in a relaxed manner, focus your attention on that spot. 

Study it carefully. 

As you keep your eyes on that spot, slowly repeat to yourself a word or phrase. That word or phrase will be your “concentration cue,” or reminder. 

For example, you can use the words “sharp,” “now,” or “smooth.” Quickly bring your focus back to your spot each and every time that you find yourself drifting. 

Next, close your eyes and try to get a visual image of the object and your spot. Continue to repeat your concentration cue to yourself as you do this. 

Finally, pick the object up and study it with your hands. Feel the texture of the surfaces, the corners and points, its temperature, the feel of raised writing if any, etc. As you do this, continue to repeat that cue to yourself. 

Repeat this sequence (looking, imagining, and feeling) for up to five minutes.

Set realistic expectations for your mindfulness practice

Mindfulness is a practice that needs practice. For team members who are new to mindfulness, setting realistic expectations about what it will be like at first is essential.

Mindfulness requires time to become ingrained, and it can be discouraging to discover how easily the mind becomes distracted during your initial attempts at practicing an exercise. 

An unclear mind is natural and normal. Our brains don’t simply empty themselves. Endless thoughts run through our minds daily, and we naturally react to them—even during mindfulness exercises. 

Recognizing that your brain has been conditioned to function this way can help you approach your thoughts without judgment, and be persistent in training it in this new manner of functioning. 

Here are a few more strategies and resources to help you support the mental health of your employees.

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There is one thing people with long COVID should never say: “I have long COVID.” Most people don’t know what it is, a good percentage will think you have COVID itself and have had it for a “long” time, and the rest will rise to offer you a seat on the subway.

People with long COVID don’t want a seat. What they want is a couch with plumped-up cushions, a cool breeze on their face, Taylor Swift on low, and two hours of alone time.

As I, fully vaccinated, recover from a year of post-COVID syndrome, I dream of a summer in a Swiss sanatorium — they still exist — breathing hyper-oxygenated air vented past candytuft clouds over the Alps. A nurse brings a restorative tisane, a posset.

You can’t get that kind of thing on the TTC. People will take you for a vagrant, or worse, a bore. I will bore you now about the state of the long COVID cohort, the club no one ever dreamed existed or wished to join. Someone has to do it.

People who developed the illness some time after getting short COVID deserve only the best advice. But few journalists cover long-form COVID. Doctors tune out when you mention it because they are as mystified as you are.

But more than 1.4 million Canadians — about 15 per cent of adults who contracted COVID-19 — have symptoms three months or more after their initial infection. That’s a huge iceberg. Children get it. Men get it, although not as often as women do. By different paths and degrees, it flattens them all.

Long COVID has a wide range of symptoms, including post-exertional malaise (sudden and extreme fatigue), breathlessness, coughing, chest pain, brain fog, insomnia, muscle pain, headaches, and a loss of taste and smell that makes eating a chore. Wine tastes like wire. Meat reeks.

My symptoms are milder than most people’s, but they wax and wane. You feel tubercular, then spring back. So far, there is almost no medical care for long COVID, and the Ontario government still has no strategy for this quiet condition. But there is some advice on managing the weight of the albatross.

You plan each day with Presbyterian care, hoping for productiveness but pacing yourself, shunning crazy ambitions like shovelling snow or hauling groceries.

This increasingly chaotic world is full of strange and entertaining concepts like Rep. George Santos and Pierre “Skippy” Poilievre, but you watch political events unfolding from behind a thick pane of glass. You are distant and preoccupied.

You can work from home, say, but if you overextend, you’ll crash, sending you back into hibernation.

Crucially, long-haulers don’t look ill. Just as disabled people are upbraided for not looking sufficiently hobbled for their free parking pass, it’s difficult to convince people that you’re running on fumes.

The tiredness inside us is like a cave unvisited by humans, a great hollowness. You are the thing that holds the tiredness, yet it’s still bigger than you.

Ongoing research into causes and cures has many threads. It might be that mitochondria, the body’s power plants, are being starved of fuel or that microclots, invisible in scans, are clogging blood flow. Or the virus is still inside you, or the immune system remains on constant high alert which causes inflammation.

One scientist calls it a “deceitful virus,” meaning that just when we think we understand it, it keeps changing, keeps surprising us.

Like all long-haulers, I had many things planned for the year. I wanted to renovate the house (my first place), go back to work in the office (second place), find a local hangout (third place), and visit Japan (distant place). By restricting where I go, I am gradually improving. But at what cost? Stasis.

What helps? Comedy. Pie. Reading. The scaffolding of work. People, mainly toddlers. The usual.

Many people with long COVID don’t have the option of working from home, or working at all, or help from family and friends, or an emergency financial cushion. They have been accused of malingering, have lost tenancies and houses. They feel they have no allies. Imagine being elderly or a newcomer to Canada, already short of defences, and coping with this.

I write this to tell long-haulers that they’re not alone. Ask anyone. They’ll have heard stories, they know someone, they will help.

After eight months, I finally was accepted into a virtual clinic offering two months of twice-weekly sessions on coping with long COVID, a series of Zooms beamed into our crowded lifeboat.

We all feel absolutely dreadful. We have hope though. This is one of the strangest things that has ever happened in our lives and we, Canadian and cautious, talk openly about the shabby aftermath of having been hit by a stray bullet from a long gun.


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. Metroland
does not endorse these opinions.

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There’s one thing people with long-term Covid should never say: “I’ve had Covid for a long time.” Most people don’t know what it is, a good percentage will think you have COVID yourself and have had it for a “long” time, and the rest will get up to offer you a seat on the subway.

People with long covids don’t want seats. What they want is a couch with plump cushions, a cool breeze in their face, Taylor Swift on low, and two hours of alone time.

As I, fully vaccinated, recover from a year of post-Covid syndrome, I have a dream. A summer in a Swiss sanatorium — they’re still there — hyperoxygenated air from breathing past Candy Tuft clouds over the Alps. A nurse brings in a restorative tisane, a posset.

You can’t get that kind of thing on the TTC. People will take you as a loon, or worse, a bore. I will now bore you with the plight of the long covid cohort, a club no one ever dreamed of or aspired to join. Someone has to.

People who developed the illness shortly after getting a short bout of COVID deserve only the best advice. But few journalists cover long-form COVID. When you mention it, the doctors get goosebumps because they are just as mystified as you.

But more than 1.4 million Canadians — about 15 percent of adults — contracted COVID-19. Symptoms appear three months or more after the initial infection.. This is a huge iceberg. Children get Men get it, though not as often as women. In various ways and degrees, It flattens them all..

Chronic COVID has a wide range of symptoms, including post-exercise restlessness (sudden and extreme fatigue), shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, brain fog, insomnia, muscle aches, headaches, and taste and The lack of smell that makes eating a chore. . The wine tastes like tar. Rex of meat.

My symptoms are milder than most people, but They wax and wane. You feel dizzy, then come back. Until now, there is almost no medical care for prolonged COVID, and The Ontario government does not yet have a strategy for this lull.. But there is some advice about managing the weight of the albatross.

You plan each day with Presbyterian care, hoping for productivity but pushing yourself, avoiding crazy ambitions like shoveling snow or carrying groceries.

It’s filled with quirky and entertaining concepts like Rep. Jorge Santos and Pierre “Skippy” Poulivar in an increasingly chaotic world, but you see political events unfolding from behind a thick pane of glass. You are distant and busy.

You can work from home, say, but if you overdo it, you’ll crash, sending you back into hibernation.

Importantly, long-haul travelers don’t seem sick. Just as people with disabilities are vilified for not having enough of a barrier for their free parking pass, it’s hard to convince people that you’re running on fumes.

The weariness within us is like a cave that no man has seen, a great hollowness. You are the thing that holds the weariness, yet is bigger than you.

There are many threads of ongoing research into causes and treatments. It could be that the mitochondria, the body’s power plants, are running out of fuel. Or that microclots, which don’t show up on a scan, are blocking blood flow. Or the virus is still inside you, or The immune system is constantly on high alert, causing inflammation..

One scientist calls it the “fake virus.” This means that just when we think we understand it, it keeps changing, surprising us.

Like all long haulers, I had many things planned for the year. I wanted to renovate the house (my first place), go back to work at the office (second place), find a local hangout (third place) and go to Japan (far away place). By limiting where I go, I’m slowly getting better. But at what cost? The status quo

What helps? Reading Comedy Pie. Work support. People, mainly young children. the norm.

Many long-term victims of COVID do not have the option of working from home, or working at all, or support from family and friends, or an emergency financial cushion. They have been accused of corruption, have lost tenancies and houses. They feel that they have no allies. Imagine being an aging or newcomer to Canada, already under-defended, and coping.

I’m writing this to let long-distance travelers know they’re not alone. Ask someone. They may have heard stories, they know someone, they will help.

After eight months, I was finally accepted into one. Virtual Clinic A series of Zooms joined our crowded lifeboat, offering bi-monthly weekly sessions to tackle prolonged COVID.

We all feel absolutely terrible. Although we have hope. It is one of the strangest things that has ever happened in our lifetimes and we, Canadians and scruples, talk openly about the dire consequences of being hit by a stray bullet from a long gun.

Join the conversation.

Discussions are and are subject to the opinions of our readers. code of conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

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The breath of life refers to the act of breathing, which is fundamental to survival and sustained life. From a scientific standpoint, it involves the exchange of gases between the external environment and our internal organs, which takes place through the respiratory system.

Breathing is an involuntary biological process that is essential to the functioning of the body. Normally, it is automatic, and we do not have to consciously think about it. However, many people practice specific breathing exercises or techniques, such as yoga or meditation, to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

In this article, we will explore what the breath of life is, its significance for humans, and the benefits of improving our breathing patterns. We will also address some common questions related to the topic.

What Happens When You Take a Breath?

When we inhale, oxygen-rich air enters our lungs and moves into the bloodstream, providing cells with the energy they need to carry out their functions. At the same time, carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of cellular metabolism, is released from the body through exhalation.

The respiratory system, which consists of the lungs, airways, and muscles, plays a crucial role in this process. As we breathe in, the air is filtered, warmed, and humidified by the nose, throat, and bronchial passages. This ensures that the air entering the lungs is clean and at the right temperature and humidity level.

This exchange of gases is what allows oxygen to reach our cells, fueling our body’s processes, and helping us stay alive.

What Are the Different Types of Breathing?

There are several types of breathing, each of which serves a particular purpose. Here are some examples:

  • Abdominal breathing: also known as diaphragmatic breathing, this technique involves breathing deeply from the belly, rather than the chest. It can help reduce stress, improve oxygenation, and promote relaxation.
  • Alternate nostril breathing: a yoga practice that involves breathing in and out through one nostril at a time, while blocking the other with the finger. This technique can help balance the nervous system and promote relaxation.
  • Box breathing: a technique that involves inhaling for four counts, holding the breath for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and holding for four counts. It can help improve focus, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation.
  • Pursed-lip breathing: a technique that involves inhaling through the nose and exhaling through pursed lips, as if blowing out a candle. It can help improve lung function, reduce shortness of breath, and promote relaxation.
  • What Are the Benefits of Good Breathing?

    Good breathing patterns are associated with several health benefits. These include:

  • Improved respiratory function: practicing deep breathing exercises can help improve lung capacity, oxygenation, and ventilation.
  • Reduced stress and anxiety: breathing techniques that promote relaxation, such as deep breathing or alternate nostril breathing, can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
  • Improved mental clarity and focus: certain breathing techniques, such as box breathing, can help improve focus, attention, and cognitive performance.
  • Reduced pain and tension: deep breathing exercises can help reduce muscle tension, pain, and soreness.
  • Improved sleep: relaxation techniques that involve deep breathing can help promote better sleep quality and reduce insomnia.
  • How Does Breathing Affect the Nervous System?

    Breathing is closely linked to the autonomic nervous system, which controls many involuntary functions of the body, such as heart rate, digestion, and respiration.

    The autonomic nervous system is divided into two branches: the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight response, and the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes rest and relaxation.

    Slow, deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and triggers the relaxation response, reducing stress and anxiety levels. Conversely, rapid breathing can activate the sympathetic nervous system and trigger the fight-or-flight response, increasing anxiety, and stress levels.

    How Can I Improve My Breathing?

    There are several ways to improve your breathing patterns and promote better respiratory function. Here are some tips:

  • Practice deep breathing: focus on breathing slowly and deeply from the belly, rather than shallowly from the chest. You can start by inhaling for four counts and exhaling for four counts, and gradually increase the length of your inhale and exhale as you feel more comfortable.
  • Engage in physical activity: regular exercise can help improve lung capacity and function, and promote better breathing patterns overall.
  • Avoid triggers of respiratory problems: if you have respiratory problems, such as asthma or allergies, avoid triggers that can exacerbate your symptoms, such as tobacco smoke, pollution, or allergens.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: techniques that promote relaxation, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation, can help reduce stress and anxiety levels and improve overall respiratory function.
  • How Can Breathing Help With Pain Management?

    Deep breathing exercises can help reduce pain and tension in the body by promoting relaxation and reducing muscle stiffness.

    By directing your attention to your breath, you can also distract yourself from pain sensations and improve your ability to cope with discomfort.

    Additionally, practicing deep breathing exercises can help stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body.

    Can Breathing Help With Sleep Problems?

    Deep breathing exercises can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety levels, which can, in turn, improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia.

    By focusing on your breath, you can also quiet your mind and soothe racing thoughts, which can be a common problem for people with sleep disorders.

    Lastly, practicing regular deep breathing exercises can help regulate your circadian rhythms, which are responsible for regulating your sleep-wake cycle.

    Can Breathing Help With Digestive Problems?

    Breathing exercises can help improve digestion by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels.

    Stress can interfere with the digestive process by causing the muscles in the digestive tract to contract, leading to bloating, gas, and other digestive problems.

    By practicing deep breathing exercises, you can reduce stress levels, promote relaxation, and help the muscles in your digestive tract relax and function properly.

    Can Breathing Help With Heart Health?

    Healthy breathing patterns are associated with several heart health benefits, including:

  • Reduced heart rate: slow and deep breathing can help reduce heart rate and promote relaxation.
  • Lower blood pressure: breathing techniques that promote relaxation can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Better oxygenation: practicing deep breathing exercises can help improve oxygenation, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
  • What Are Some Common Breathing Disorders?

    Breathing disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including lung disease, allergies, and asthma.

    Some common breathing disorders include:

  • Asthma: a chronic respiratory disease characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, leading to difficulty breathing.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a group of lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that make it difficult to breathe.
  • Interstitial lung disease: a group of lung diseases that involve scarring and inflammation of the lung tissue, leading to difficulty breathing.
  • Sleep apnea: a sleep disorder characterized by episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep, leading to poor sleep quality and other health problems.
  • Can Breathing Techniques Help With Breathing Disorders?

    Breathing techniques, such as deep breathing or pursed-lip breathing, can help improve respiratory function and reduce symptoms associated with breathing disorders.

    Additionally, physical exercise can also help improve lung function and reduce the risk of complications associated with breathing disorders.

    However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any breathing exercises, as some techniques may not be suitable for people with certain respiratory conditions.

    What Are the Key Takeaways?

    The breath of life is essential to our survival and sustained life. Breathing involves the exchange of gases between the external environment and our internal organs, which takes place through the respiratory system.

    Good breathing patterns are associated with several health benefits, including improved respiratory function, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved mental clarity and focus.

    There are several ways to improve your breathing patterns, including practicing deep breathing, engaging in physical activity, avoiding respiratory triggers, and practicing relaxation techniques.

    Breathing exercises can also help reduce symptoms associated with breathing disorders and promote better respiratory function overall.

    If you are experiencing breathing problems or have a respiratory condition, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any breathing exercises.

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    We often think of stress as a purely mental or emotional issue, but it can also manifest in physical ways, particularly back pain. The connection between stress and back pain involves physiological and psychological factors. This article will explore how emotional stress can cause back discomfort and offer strategies for managing stress-related pain. Additionally, we’ll touch upon the advancements in back pain treatment for those with persistent pain.

    Muscle Tension and Spasms

    Stress can cause your body to create excess stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare your body for a “fight or flight” response, causing your muscles to tense up. Prolonged stress can lead to persistent muscle tension, particularly in the back and neck, resulting in discomfort and pain.

    Postural Changes

    When we’re stressed, we may unconsciously adopt poor posture, such as hunching our shoulders or slouching. Over time, these postural changes can strain the muscles and ligaments in your back, causing pain and discomfort.

    Reduced Pain Tolerance

    Chronic stress can lower your body’s pain threshold, making you more sensitive to discomfort. This heightened sensitivity can cause you to perceive back pain more acutely than you would under less stressful circumstances.

    Sleep Disturbances

    Stress often disrupts our sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or restless sleep. Poor quality sleep can, in turn, exacerbate back pain as our bodies rely on restorative sleep to repair and rejuvenate muscles and tissues.

    Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

    Under stress, people may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating, smoking, or alcohol consumption. These behaviors can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and muscle imbalances, all of which can contribute to back pain.

    Managing Stress-Related Back Pain

    Addressing the root cause of your stress is essential for managing stress-related back pain. Some effective strategies for reducing stress and relieving back pain include:

    Physical Activity

    Including regular exercise can help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Choose low-impact activities like yoga, swimming, or walking, which can help alleviate back pain and promote relaxation 

    Deep Breathing andMeditation

    Practicing deep breathing exercises and meditation can help lower stress levels and promote relaxation. These techniques can help release muscle tension and reduce back pain.

    Massage Therapy

    Massage therapy can help relieve muscle tension, reduce stress, and promote relaxation. Regular massage sessions may help alleviate stress-related back pain.

    Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is form of therapy that helps individuals change negative thought patterns and behaviors. By addressing the psychological aspects of stress, CBT can help reduce stress levels and improve coping mechanisms, potentially decreasing back pain.

    Prioritize Self-Care

    Incorporating self-care activities into your daily routine, such as reading, taking a bath, or spending time in nature, can help you manage stress and reduce its impact on your body.

    Continued Back Pain: Emerging Treatments

    If you continue to experience severe or persistent back pain despite addressing your stress levels, it’s essential to seek medical advice and treatment. There could be a different underlying cause that is causing your pain. While traditional treatment options like physical therapy and pain medications are available, there are also innovative solutions being researched and developed.

    One such example is DiscGenics, a company focused on regenerative therapies for disc-related disorders. Under the guidance of CEO Flagg Flanagan and COO Bob Wynalek, DiscGenics is developing a promising treatment called Injectable Disc Cell Therapy (IDCT), which uses cells derived from adult human disc tissue to help regenerate and repair damaged intervertebral discs. This cutting-edge therapy could potentially provide relief to millions of people suffering from debilitating back pain.


    Stress can manifest as back pain in various ways, from muscle tension to poor posture and unhealthy coping mechanisms. By understanding the connection between emotional stress and back pain, you can take steps to manage your stress levels and alleviate discomfort. Incorporating stress-reduction strategies like exercise, meditation, and self-care can help improve both your mental and physical well-being.

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    Hypertension: Can Breathing Exercises Help Regulate Blood Pressure?
    The practice of strength training our breathing muscles have been proven to be more effective than any other therapy or medications.

    The practice of strength training our breathing muscles have been proven to be more effective than any other therapy or medications.

    Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common physical condition which affects our arteries. When our blood pressure is high, the blood flow is also very high. This constant rush of blood pushes against the artery walls. Our heart also has to work harder to pump blood into our body. But here is good news for you; there are some lifestyle changes which can really help the symptoms of hypertension. Many studies have noted that breathing exercises really help regulate hypertension. One of the studies conducted and published by the Journal of the American Heart Association noted that if a person practices breathing exercises for 5 minutes every day, there could be a significant improvement in hypertension symptoms.

    There are other lifestyle activities that have also worked for patients such as taking medications recommended by doctors and walking for 30 minutes every day. But, the practice of strength training our breathing muscles have been proven to be more effective than any other therapy or medications.

    4 Breathing Exercises That Can Help Patients With High Blood Pressure

    Breath control therapy relaxes your involuntary nervous system, helping regulate your heart and other bodily functions. This guide includes several breathing techniques to help lower your blood pressure and improve your health.

    Sama Vritti

    Sama Vritti is the technique in which we are supposed to practice consistence breathing. How does this exercise help with hypertension? This exercise can help balance our body, help clear our mind, has a calming effect, reduces stress, slows down our heart beat, helps with sleep related problems like insomnia, sleep apnea and lastly stabilizes our blood pressure. This exercise can be practiced anywhere.

    30-Second Breathing Exercise

    According to a study conducted by the Japanese Society of Hypertension, a 30 second deep breathing exercise can also reduce and regulated blood pressure. It aims to reduce stress, promote relaxation and this helps reduce high BP.

    Diaphragmatic Breathing

    Diaphragmatic breathing can also help regulate and reduce high blood pressure. the exercise is focused on making our diaphragm stronger. The diaphragm is the muscle that supports respiration and it located below our lungs. Diaphragmatic breathing helps our body take in more oxygen which nourished our body, improves blood pressure and stabilizes blood flow.


    Pranayama is an Ayurveda recommended breathing technique that is practiced through the abdomen. it also aims to alleviate stress, induce relaxation and remove all the elements that can trigger hypertension. this is also a type of diaphragmatic breathing which assists in regulating our BP.

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    If you have high blood pressure, you are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. It’s critical to know your numbers because if you have high blood pressure, you’ll want to lower it. Consult your doctor about the best strategies to reduce your blood pressure. Here are some ideas about the best ways to reduce high blood pressure. 


    Many people have elevated blood pressure levels. This could be due to a poor lifestyle, heredity, or a consequence of another health issue. The first step toward lowering your blood pressure is determining what is causing it to rise. However, many persons with high blood pressure do not have a clear cause.


    In this scenario, visiting a doctor to learn what lifestyle adjustments or drugs they recommend is best. Natural, homeopathic remedies are sometimes sufficient.

    What is High Blood Pressure?

    high blood pressure

    According to the CDC, blood pressure is how hard your blood is moving against the walls of your arteries. The arteries transport blood from your heart to the rest of your body.


    Your blood pressure will naturally increase and fall during the day. However, if it remains elevated, it is classified as high blood pressure.


    There are two methods for measuring your blood pressure:

    • Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in your arteries while your heart beats.
    • Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

    When you get a blood pressure reading, the systolic blood pressure number appears first, followed by the diastolic blood pressure number.

    High blood pressure is defined by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association as a level of 130/80 mmHg or more. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg, whereas low blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

    How is High Blood Pressure Treated?

    Dr. Weinberg states high blood pressure is normally treated with medicine and lifestyle changes. However, she usually advises patients to attempt lifestyle changes first.


    While there are medications that can help relax your blood vessels, make your heart beat less forcefully, and block nerve activity that can limit your blood vessels, Dr. Weinberg believes that there is “really no substitute” for healthy lifestyle choices such as eating healthily and exercising. Furthermore, while medicine might reduce blood pressure, it can also induce adverse effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia.


    What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

    high blood pressure symptoms

    Perhaps you are unsure whether you have high blood pressure. If you haven’t checked your blood pressure in a while, talk to your doctor about setting up a health visit. Meanwhile, here are some major indications of high blood pressure to look out for:

    • Headaches
    • Nosebleeds
    • Dizziness
    • Skin flushing (redness)
    • Bloody urine

    How Can I Reduce My Blood Pressure Immediately?

    A happy father lifts his daughter into the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious disorder affecting over half of everyone in the United States. High blood pressure was a primary or contributing factor in nearly half a million fatalities in the United States in 2018. High blood pressure happens when the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries is always too high. This condition needs to be treated over the long run.


    High blood pressure happens when the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries is always too high. This condition needs to be treated over the long run:

    • Bathe or shower in warm water.  Take at least 15 minutes to enjoy the warm water in your shower or bath. This can also help ease the stress in your muscles.
    • Perform a breathing exercise. Take a deep inhale from your center, hold it for two seconds, and gently release it. Pause for a few moments before repeating.
    • Relax! Stress is a major cause of high blood pressure, so do everything you can to relax. This could be as simple as sitting in a quiet room for a few seconds, stretching, reading a nice book, or meditating.

    These strategies can provide a fast fix, but you must execute a long-term care strategy to control your high blood pressure successfully. Some of the most effective methods for lowering blood pressure are:

    • Losing excess weight
    • Quitting smoking
    • Reducing alcohol and caffeine intake
    • Prioritizing sleep
    • Avoiding stressful situations, if possible
    • Reducing the amount of salt, sugar, refined carbs, and processed foods you eat
    • Getting about 30 minutes of low-impact exercise every day.
    • Taking medication to lower blood pressure

    Read Also: World Asthma Day 2023

    20 Best Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally 

    Many people have elevated blood pressure levels. This could be due to a poor lifestyle, heredity, or a consequence of another health issue. The first step toward lowering your blood pressure is determining what is causing it to rise. However, many persons with high blood pressure do not have a clear cause. In this scenario, visiting a doctor to learn what lifestyle adjustments or drugs they recommend is best. Natural, homeopathic remedies are sometimes sufficient.

    1. Get More Exercise

    benefits of doing exercise

    Exercise is the greatest and cheapest way to lower your blood pressure, and it doesn’t have to include going to the gym, running marathons, or participating in team sports. Brisk walking or cycling, online strength classes, and other home-based activities also benefit health.


    Physical activity helps strengthen and improve the efficiency of your heart. This modification may relieve pressure on your heart and blood vessels. To maintain your blood pressure low, you should be active every day.

    2. Cut Down on Salt

    Although not everyone’s blood pressure is sensitive to salt, everyone could benefit from reducing their intake, according to Eva Obarzanek, Ph.D., a research dietitian at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting salt intake to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day and no more than 2,300 mg (approximately a teaspoon). Obarzanek advises avoiding packaged and processed foods, particularly hidden salt bombs like bread, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches.

    3. Dark Chocolate

    More and more chocolate advantages are being discovered. Small doses of dark chocolate have been shown in studies to help decrease blood pressure. According to one study, eating just 30 calories of dark chocolate daily was enough to lower blood pressure moderately.


    Flavanols included in dark chocolate help to maintain healthy blood flow. A nutritious diet, exercise should always accompany this snack, and, if medically necessary, weight loss.

    4. Diet

    benefits of diet

    The best way to improve your health and blood pressure is to regulate what you eat daily. Food can improve or worsen your illness. Leafy greens, including kale, turnip greens, spinach, and arugula, contain potassium and can help lower sodium levels in the blood, improving blood pressure regulation.


    Frozen veggies have the same nutritional value as fresh vegetables, while canned vegetables can have a high salt content. To receive the best benefit, buy fresh vegetables rather than canned ones.

    5. Hibiscus Tea

    hibiscus tea

    Tea drinking is a tradition in many civilizations around the world. Because of the phytochemicals in hibiscus tea, it can help lower systolic blood pressure.


    Although it can be drunk hot or cold, the suggested dosage of hibiscus tea varies depending on weight, age, and health state. A physician or a dietician can assist you in determining the appropriate amount for you.

    6. Soy

    Soy includes isoflavones, estrogen-like substances that help lower blood pressure (systolic), indicating the force inside the artery walls when the heart contracts.


    Isoflavones also contribute to the synthesis of enzymes that produce nitric oxide. These enzymes are necessary for blood vessel relaxation and to reduce blood pressure. Consult your doctor to see if including soy in your diet is right.

    7. Less Alcohol

    Too much alcohol hurts health and can raise blood pressure and weight because most alcohol contains many calories. Reduced alcohol consumption is critical for persons with high blood pressure. People should aim to consume less than 14 units of alcohol each week.


    A unit of alcohol equals one measure of liquor, half a pint of regular beer, or half a standard glass of red wine.

    8. Reduce Caffeine

    Caffeine can produce a short-term jump in blood pressure for some people, while it is a vital element of their daily routine for others. Caffeine’s effect on blood pressure measurements varies. When reasonable levels of caffeine are consumed, some persons see little increase.


    If you have high blood pressure, you should be careful. Consult your doctor about how much caffeine you can safely drink.

    9. Manage Stress

    We experience difficult situations at work and at home every day, and it is critical to understand how to deal with stress. Stress causes the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which are stress hormones that increase heart rate and restrict blood vessels, raising blood pressure. There are numerous ways to minimize stress and identify, handle, or avoid stressful circumstances.

    10. Quit Smoking

    Tobacco use is linked to a variety of disorders, including hypertension. Nicotine can cause a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, as well as an increase in the risk of blood clots and a heart attack or stroke. It can also constrict arteries and make their walls stiffer and less flexible.


    Stopping smoking can be tough and time-consuming, but it has benefits other than decreasing blood pressure.

    11. Get More Vitamin

    According to research, a few vitamins and minerals may be beneficial in decreasing blood pressure. However, before taking any, consult with your doctor. Make certain that they are aware of everything you take. 


    Vitamin C: Antioxidants protect the linings of your blood vessels. Orange juice, fruits like kiwi and strawberries, and vegetables like broccoli, kale, tomatoes, and sweet red peppers, are high in vitamin C. Adults should take 400 mg daily.


    Vitamin D: This vitamin aids in producing the enzyme renin, associated with blood pressure health. Vitamin D can be obtained via fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel, as well as milk. You can also get vitamin D from the sun or take a supplement.


    12. Increase Potassium

    potassium rich foods
    Healthy Foods That Are High in Potassium

    Doctors frequently advise persons with high blood pressure to eat less salt because sodium can lead to elevated blood pressure levels. Increasing potassium allows a person to move more salt in their urine, essential for lowering high blood pressure. Increased potassium intake should always be discussed with a doctor because it can be problematic for persons with kidney problems.


    Avocados, fat-free yogurt, vegetables, and potatoes are all high in potassium.

    13. Reduce Sugar

    According to recent research, eating too much sugar may contribute to high blood pressure. It can also cause weight gain, and persons who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure. The recommended daily sugar limit for women is 25 grams and 9 grams for men. The best strategy to reduce sugar is to avoid sugary drinks and consume fewer items with added sugar.

    14. Increase Sleep

    According to research, getting more sleep may help to reduce blood pressure. Sleep aids in the regulation of stress hormones and the maintenance of a healthy neural system. Sleeping less than five hours daily may result in elevated blood pressure over time.


    Sleeping seven to eight hours every night may aid in treating and preventing high blood pressure.


    15. Eat Garlic

    According to a study, garlic shows potential in the treatment of hypertension. It may lower blood pressure nearly as well as prescribed medication, with few known adverse effects, though it does not affect blood pressure readings that are already within the normal range.


    Garlic powder or cooked garlic yields the best results. However, supplements might also help. It’s worth noting that these advantages are only shown with really high garlic doses.

    16. Increase Protein

    protein rich foods
    Foods that are High in Protein

    People with a high-protein diet may be less likely to develop high blood pressure. According to research, those who consume the most protein reduce their risk of hypertension by over 40%. Eat plenty of low-fat, protein-rich foods like poultry, fish, and eggs for the best outcomes.


    Many plant-based meals, such as oats, lentils, chickpeas, green peas, and tofu, are also high in protein.

    17. Relax with Music

    According to an Italian study, the appropriate music (and a few deep breaths) can help lower your blood pressure. Researchers assigned 29 persons who were already taking blood pressure medication to listen to relaxing classical, Celtic, or Indian music for 30 minutes every day while breathing gently. Their blood pressure dramatically fell when they checked in with the participants six months later. Louder, quicker music is unlikely to work, but there’s no harm in blessing out to a couple of ambient tracks.

    18. Switch to Decaf

    According to a 2016 meta-analysis of 34 research, the caffeine in one or two cups of coffee boosts systolic and diastolic blood pressure for up to three hours, constricting blood vessels and amplifying the effects of stress. “When you’re stressed, your heart pumps a lot more blood, which raises blood pressure,” explains James Lane, Ph.D., a Duke University researcher researching coffee and cardiovascular health. “And caffeine makes that effect even stronger.” Decaf tastes the same as coffee but doesn’t make you feel bad.

    19. Try Fermented Foods

    fermented foods
    Variety of healthy fermented foods for immunity and healthy intestine

    A meta-analysis of over 2,000 patients published in 2020 discovered that eating fermented foods high in probiotics—specifically supplements produced from fermented milk—was associated with a moderate drop in blood pressure in the near run. The bacteria in these meals could be the culprit, producing compounds that reduce blood pressure when they reach the bloodstream. Other fermented foods, such as kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut, haven’t been examined as thoroughly, but they can’t hurt.

    20. Seek Help for Snoring

    Snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which causes brief but potentially serious breathing disruptions. Up to half of sleep apnea patients also have hypertension, which could be caused by high aldosterone levels, a hormone that raises blood pressure. According to Robert Greenfield, M.D., medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology & Cardiac Rehabilitation at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, treating sleep apnea could help improve blood pressure.


    10 Best Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure with Food

    Here are some meals that can help you maintain normal blood pressure and overall health:

    1. Unsweetened yoghurt:

    A recent study found that yogurt may improve blood pressure in those with hypertension.1 This is due to its high levels of the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium, all of which are known to help regulate blood pressure. Look for natural and Greek yogurts that are unsweetened and may be combined with fruits, seeds, and nuts for a nutritious breakfast or snack.

    2. Berries:

    Strawberries and blueberries are high in anthocyanins, which are antioxidant chemicals. Studies found anthocyanins to lower blood pressure in persons with hypertension.2 Furthermore, berries are wonderful! Sprinkle them over yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal for a sweet afternoon snack.

    3. Beets:


    This root vegetable contains a lot of nitric oxide, which has been demonstrated to lower systolic blood pressure.3 Beets can be served as a side dish or added raw to salads. You may even buy beetroot juice (no sugar added) to drink or add to smoothies.

    4. Sweet Potatoes:

    This magnesium, potassium, and fiber-rich side dish is a tasty approach to decreasing blood pressure.

    5. Leafy Greens:

    Cabbage, collard greens, spinach, kale, and other greens have significant levels of nitrates, which have been linked to lower blood pressure.4 Changing how you consume your greens makes it easier to receive your daily intake. You can, for example, sauté spinach for a nice side dish, add fennel to soup or bake kale chips in the oven.

    6. Fatty Fish:

    Salmon and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which can help decrease and maintain blood pressure. Season your favorite filet, drizzle with olive oil, and broil in the oven.

    7. Whole Grains (Especially Oatmeal):

    Oats and other whole grains include beta-glucan fiber, which may reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Start your day with a cup of unsweetened oatmeal, make sandwiches on whole-grain bread for lunch, and serve seasoned quinoa with dinner.

    8. Pistachios:


    According to one study, eating pistachios can help decrease blood pressure during stressful moments.5 These healthful nuts, which are best eaten unsalted, can add crunch and flavor to various salads. You may also make pesto with them or have a few handfuls as a snack.

    9. Bananas:

    One medium-sized banana has a significant amount of potassium: 422 milligrams. Other potassium-rich foods that help decrease blood pressure naturally include beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, and avocado.

    10. Kiwifruit:

    One study shows that eating three kiwifruits daily can significantly lower blood pressure.6 Kiwi is great in fruit salads or sprinkled on plain yogurt.


    10 Best Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure without Medication

    If you have high blood pressure, you may wonder if you need to take medicine to bring it down. However, lifestyle choices are critical in the treatment of high blood pressure. Blood pressure control by a healthy lifestyle may prevent, delay, or lessen the need for medication.


    Here are ten lifestyle adjustments to help you lower and maintain your blood pressure.

    1. Shed Extra Pounds and Keep an Eye on Your Waistline

    tips to lose weight

    Blood pressure typically increases as weight increases. In addition, being overweight can lead to sleep apnea, further increasing blood pressure.


    Weight loss is one of the most beneficial lifestyle changes for regulating blood pressure. If you are overweight or obese, even a modest weight loss can help reduce your blood pressure. Generally, a weight loss of one kilogram (2.2 pounds) lowers blood pressure by approximately one millimeter of mercury (mm Hg).


    Likewise, the dimension of the waistline is crucial. Carrying excess weight around the midriff can increase the likelihood of developing hypertension.


    In general:

    • Men are in danger if their waist circumference exceeds 40 inches (102 cm).
    • Women are at risk if their waist circumference exceeds 35 inches (89 cm).

    These figures differ depending on ethnic background. Inquire with your doctor about a healthy waist measurement for you.

    2. Exercise Regularly

    Regular physical activity can reduce elevated blood pressure by 5 to 8 mm Hg. It is essential to continue exercising to prevent a recurrence of blood pressure elevation. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily as a general goal.


    Exercise can also help prevent the development of hypertension (high blood pressure). Regular physical activity can help hypertensive individuals reduce their blood pressure.


    Aerobic exercises such as walking, sprinting, cycling, swimming, and dancing can help reduce blood pressure. Interval training of high intensity is another option. Short bursts of intense exertion are interspersed with periods of lighter activity in this training style.


    Additionally, strength training can help reduce blood pressure. Aim for at least two strength training workouts per week. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regimen.

    3. Eat a Healthy Diet

    healthy diet tips

    A diet rich in whole cereals, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol can reduce hypertension by as much as 11 mm Hg. Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean diet are two examples of diets that can help lower blood pressure.


    Potassium in the diet can reduce the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium (salt). Fruits and vegetables are superior sources of potassium than dietary supplements. Aim for 3,500 to 5,000 mg daily to achieve a 4 to 5 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure. Consult your physician regarding how much potassium you should consume.

    4. Reduce Salt (sodium) in your Diet

    Even a slight reduction in sodium intake can enhance heart health and lower blood pressure by 5 to 6 mm Hg.


    To reduce sodium in the diet:

    • Check food labels. Consider foods and beverages with low sodium content.
    • Limit your consumption of processed goods. The natural sodium content of foods is very low. The vast majority of sodium is introduced during manufacturing.
    • Do not add salt to the dish. Herbs and seasonings are utilized to flavor food.
    • You can control the sodium content of your food by cooking it.

    5. Limit Alcohol

    Restricting alcohol intake to less than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men can reduce blood pressure by approximately 4 mm Hg. The equivalent of one drink is 12 ounces of lager, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.


    However, excessive alcohol consumption can cause a significant increase in blood pressure. It can also reduce the efficacy of blood pressure medications.

    6. Quit Smoking

    Cigarette smoking raises blood pressure. Quitting smoking lowers blood pressure. It can also lower the risk of heart disease and enhance overall health, potentially resulting in longer life.

    7. Reduce Stress

    stress relief tips

    Chronic emotional stress may contribute to the development of hypertension. More research is required to ascertain whether or not stress reduction techniques help reduce blood pressure.


    However, it does not harm to determine what causes stress, such as work, family, the economy, or illness, and how to cope with it. Consider the subsequent:

    • Avoid taking on too much. Schedule and prioritize your daily activities. Master the art of saying no. Allow sufficient time to complete the current duties.
    • Concentrate on matters you can influence and devise solutions. Discuss a workplace issue with a supervisor. Find ways to resolve conflicts with your spouse or offspring.
    • Refrain from stressors. If rush-hour traffic causes tension, for instance, travel at a different time or utilize public transportation. If possible, avoid agitated individuals.
    • Make time for relaxation. Spend time each day sitting quietly and profoundly inhaling and exhaling. Make time for enjoyable pursuits such as walking, cooking, and volunteering.
    • Exercise gratitude. Thankfulness for others may reduce tension.

    Also Read: World Thalassemia Day 2023

    8. Check your Blood Pressure at Home and See a Doctor Regularly

    Home monitoring could assist you in monitoring your blood pressure. It can ensure the efficacy of your medications and lifestyle changes.


    Blood pressure monitors for the home are readily available and do not require a prescription. Consult with a healthcare professional before beginning private monitoring.


    Regular doctor visits are also necessary for blood pressure control. Ask your physician how often you should monitor your blood pressure if it is under control. You may only be able to view it daily or less frequently.

    9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

    Hypertension can be caused by sleep deprivation (less than six hours of sleep per night for several weeks). Sleep apnea, restless limb syndrome, and insomnia are all conditions that can interfere with sleep.


    Try these simple sleep-improvement strategies if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome.
    • Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Every day, sleep and awaken at the same time.
    • Maintain a consistent weeknight and weekend schedule.
    • Create a tranquil environment. This includes maintaining a cold, calm, and dark sleeping environment. In the hour preceding nightfall, engage in a calming activity. This may involve having a warm bath or engaging in relaxation techniques. Avoid glaring light, such as that produced by a computer or television screen.
    • Pay close attention to what you ingest and drink. Do not go to bed hungry or bloated. Avoid eating large meals close to nighttime. Limit or avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
    • Limit your sleep. Those who find daytime napping advantageous may benefit from limiting naps to 30 minutes in the morning.

    10. Get Support

    They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor’s office, or start an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure under control.


    Consider joining a support group if you need assistance outside your family and friends. This may put you in contact with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and practical advice on dealing with your disease.


    Additional Recommendations

    Dr. Laffin adds a few more recommendations that he believes are significant, despite the lack of evidence that they directly impact blood pressure. 

    • Stop smoking. Smoking and high blood pressure both injure the lining of your blood vessels. Smoking is difficult to stop, but it will improve your overall health. 
    • Obtain sufficient restorative slumber. Sleep deprivation has numerous negative effects on your health. “Getting six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night can help prevent high blood pressure and widely fluctuating blood pressure, which we now know is just as dangerous as high blood pressure,” Dr. Laffin explains.
    • Reduce your anxiety. “Chronic stressors can impact lifestyle factors that are important for your blood pressure,” he continues. When chronically worried or anxious, you may sleep less, exercise less, and make hazardous nutritional choices. 

    Final Words

    Because high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, it is critical to know your numbers and consult a doctor before making any lifestyle changes or taking drugs. Natural, homeopathic remedies may suffice.


    Smoking, lack of sleep, and chronic stress can hurt blood pressure. Smoking is difficult to quit, yet it can be helpful to one’s overall health.


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    Anxiety and stress are very common phenomena in our daily life and cause serious head and body disorders, how to prevent them.

    We often experience stress as a sort of psychological ailment, but in reality its impact is not limited to our mind, but is even reflected on the body, causing symptoms and pathologies. In this article, we look at the effects of stress and anxiety on the human body and how they can harm our long-term health.

    We must immediately clarify that anxiety and stress they are doubly tied. A person stressed by various family, personal or work situations will soon develop states of anxiety, which – if prolonged over time – can lead to panic attacks. For this reason it is absolutely necessary to try to prevent stress as much as possible by trying to understand what causes it.

    What happens to the body and mind when we are stressed

    Keeping our body free from stress is very important for our health and well-being. There are many techniques we can use to reduce stress, such as meditation, yoga, exercise and focusing on breathing.

    While on the one hand, however, it is essential to understand how to ‘heal’ from such a condition, on the other it is extremely important to identify the causes of our stress and try to resolve them as soon as possible. In these cases, for example, one could ask without fear or shame for psychological, emotional or relationship support, capable of greatly helping to reduce stress and anxiety.

    Anxiety and stress cause physical and mental problems, such as –

    Our nervous system it is the organ that regulates all the functions of our body. When we are subjected to a condition of ongoing stress, our nervous system activates the “fight or flight” response. Thus, anxiety appears which can turn into panic attacks.

    During this defensive response of the organism, the heartbeat and blood pressure rise fast, while our digestive system slows down and breathing becomes more rapid. This can cause a variety of physical problems such as cardiovascular disease, digestive problems and respiratory ailments. The mind reacts by signaling a feeling of danger and leading to exaggerated and disconnected reactions from reality.

    Il endocrine system it is responsible for the production of hormones in our body. Hormones are chemicals that regulate a wide range of bodily functions. When we are stressed, our endocrine system produces the hormone cortisol. If produced in excess, the cortisol can cause problems likeweight gainhigh blood pressure and insulin resistance.

    Our immune system it is responsible for defending our body against disease and infection. The stress it can negatively affect our immune system, making us more vulnerable to disease. For example, it chronic stress it can increase the risk of contracting diseases such as herpes or cancer.

    Lo stress accelerates the aging of our body. When the body is chronically exposed to situations of anxiety and tension, they develop cellular damage which can in turn cause health problems such as malattie neurodegenerative e memory problems. Furthermore, stress can cause the skin to lose its elasticity with wrinkles, leading to premature aging.

    anxiety stress risks
    What are the risks you face if you are anxious or stressed (

    But that’s not all, there are in fact more physical damages caused by stress they often treat themselves as symptoms without understanding the real cause. Here’s what they are:

    • heachache,
    • hair loss,
    • memory loss,
    • skin problems including acne and psoriasis,
    • heart failure,
    • insomnia,
    • increased asthma and breathing difficulties,
    • tiredness and exhaustion for no real reason,
    • digestive difficulties,
    • nervous hunger, sugar cravings,
    • accumulation of fat on the abdomen,
    • backache,
    • high blood sugar,
    • increased blood pressure.

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    Anyone living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has to find ways to manage and ease flares, but genetic COPD — alpha-1 antitrypsin (alpha-1) deficiency — comes with a few more roadblocks.

    Genetic COPD begins with a deficiency of the alpha-1 protein, which is released by the liver, enters the blood, and is then transported to the lungs. In people with the deficiency, low levels of the protein leaves the lungs susceptible to being damaged by smoke and other environmental pollutants, which can lead to the development of COPD.

    Diagnosing Genetic COPD

    Genetic COPD is rare in terms of overall numbers, but it’s one of the most common genetic conditions in the United States — and the numbers may not tell the whole story. “Immediate family members may have a deficiency of a certain protein that’s been passed on,” says Luis Javier Peña-Hernández, MD, a pulmonary health and sleep disorders specialist in Palm Beach County, Florida.

    Although some people get tested for the deficiency if a family member has COPD, many don’t. “A lot of clinicians (and patients) may associate symptoms with lifestyle choices — like, for example, smoking for lung problems or consuming alcohol for liver disease,” says Mike Hess, MPH, a member of the American Association for Respiratory Care, respiratory therapist and pulmonary function technologist.

    Hess adds that only one in 10 people are properly diagnosed, and the average delay between symptom onset and diagnosis is about eight years. Symptoms include shortness of breath, low tolerance for exercise, recurring chest colds or pneumonia, wheezing, year-round allergies, and chronic cough, according to the Alpha-1 Foundation.

    Talk with your pediatrician about testing your children if anyone in your family has genetic COPD. If you’re older and suspect you have it, ask your doctor about a screening for yourself.

    What to Do After Finding Out You Have Genetic COPD

    Of course, learning you have the genetic variation of COPD raises numerous questions, including whether you should change anything about how you manage your COPD.

    Before we get into the differences between COPD and genetic COPD, it’s important to make sure you are incorporating good general management tactics into your daily routine. If you have yet to make strides in managing your COPD, these three lifestyle habits are a good place to start.

    • Get regular exercise. “Exercise, namely aerobic, will help you recruit and use areas of your lungs that are often underutilized,” Dr. Peña-Hernández says. Because chronic lung conditions make working out trickier than usual, work with a pulmonary rehabilitation expert, who can help create a custom exercise plan for you.
    • Manage stress. Not letting stress get the best of you is especially important when dealing with the challenges of a chronic condition. How do you get stress relief? Hess suggests talking with a counselor, finding a support group, staying active, taking up a hobby, and engaging with friends and family.
    • Do breathing exercises. Regular breath work can help ease stress and perhaps even aid anxiety, depression, or insomnia caused by your COPD. Try, for instance, pursed-lip breathing, where you take a deep breath in through your mouth or nose, purse your lips together like you’re about to whistle, and slowly exhale, Hess says. Or try low-impact aerobic activity that incorporates breath work, such as yoga or meditation.

    There are some additional measures you’ll need to take if you have genetic COPD. Try these three:

    • Steer clear of smoke. Because smoking speeds up lung damage, it’s important for anybody with COPD to do this, but it’s even more crucial if you have the alpha-1 deficiency. “Particles and fumes in cigarette smoke, not to mention the heat you inhale while actively smoking, cause structural changes in many of the cells in the airways, so they can make relatively mild cases of [genetic COPD] worse or cause additional symptoms,” Hess says. It’s also important to avoid vaping.
    • Consider augmentation therapy, if you qualify. Replacing alpha-1 with a supplemental enzyme is the only way to prevent the progression of genetic COPD, Peña-Hernández says. That’s what augmentation therapy does, and it’s delivered via a weekly infusion of supplemental alpha-1, often done at home. To be considered for this therapy, you must be a nonsmoker, have an enzyme level below a certain threshold, and demonstrate progressively diminishing lung function, he adds. This therapy only applies to genetic COPD and won’t help someone whose condition is caused strictly by environmental factors.
    • Watch your diet. Regardless of what type of COPD you have, you should follow a balanced diet and try to maintain a healthy weight, Peña-Hernández says. While there aren’t specific dietary requirements for people with genetic COPD, anyone going through augmentation therapy could experience fluid retention. To counter this, eat a low-sodium diet and maintain healthy blood pressure levels, he adds.

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    <p>David Sacks / Getty Images</p>

    David Sacks / Getty Images

    Medically reviewed by Michael Menna, DO

    Sepsis is the body’s extreme physical response to infection or injury, causing a dangerous whole-body immune reaction (inflammatory response). Pregnant people, adults over 65, infants, and those with compromised immunity or chronic disease are at more risk of developing it. About 1.7 million people in the United States develop sepsis every year, leading to approximately 350,000 deaths.

    The symptoms of sepsis vary based on severity and type. In some cases, it leads to septic shock, a potentially fatal condition in which blood pressure drops and multiple organ systems fail. Septic shock is a medical emergency that must be treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). Though this condition is challenging, in-hospital treatments can reverse the course of sepsis in many cases.

    Sepsis Symptoms

    Since sepsis is a whole-body inflammatory response, it can take many different shapes. The symptoms can resemble those of other infections or diseases, especially in their early course. They vary based on the location and type of infection or injury that’s causing the condition. The symptoms of sepsis include:

    • Fever

    • Chills

    • Sweaty, warm, or clammy skin

    • Rapid, shallow breathing

    • Shortness of breath

    • Elevated heart rate

    • Weak pulse

    • Confusion, and/or disorientation

    • Severe lethargy (lack of energy) or agitation

    • Severe pain or discomfort, with the location dependent on the site of injury or infection

    • Rash, typically small patches of red or discolored skin

    • Difficulty urinating and/or a lack of urine

    Whatever form it takes, sepsis is a medical emergency. Get immediate help and call 9-1-1 if you suspect you or a loved one has sepsis. Since this condition progresses rapidly, prompt medical attention is critical. In severe cases, or if untreated, this can lead to septic shock, which can cause:

    • Cardiac failure

    • Lasting organ and tissue damage

    • Organ failure in multiple systems, known as multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS)

    • Dangerously low blood pressure

    What Causes Sepsis?

    Sepsis is a system-wide immune or inflammatory response triggered by an infection or traumatic injury. To defend the body, the immune system releases proteins, called cytokines, into the blood. In sepsis cases, the injury or infection is so severe that these chemicals spread and flood the system, causing what’s called a cytokine storm. This can result in blood clots and leaky vessels, which can damage tissues and organs.

    A wide range of infections and medical conditions can cause sepsis, the most common of which are:

    • Bacterial infections: The most common cause of sepsis is infection of bacteria, primarily Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes).

    • Viruses: Sepsis can also be a response to a viral infection, such as influenza or COVID-19.

    • Post-surgery complications: Many cases of sepsis arise due to infection following surgery, or even a cut or wound.

    • Traumatic injury: Since injuries also trigger strong immune reactions, they can also set off sepsis.

    Most commonly, however, sepsis is triggered by an infection of the urinary tract, lungs, kidneys, or stomach.

    Risk Factors

    The chances of developing sepsis increase if you have a weakened immune system. There are several risk factors for this condition:

    • Age over 65

    • Younger age, especially infancy

    • Diabetes

    • Lung disease

    • Leukemia, lymphoma, or other types of cancer

    • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)

    • Long-term antibiotic use

    • Recent surgery or infection

    • Recent organ or bone marrow transplant


    Since sepsis is a medical emergency, diagnosis of the condition occurs as you are being stabilized in the hospital. In addition to assessing your medical history and any test results, your healthcare provider may use the following several diagnostic tests:

    • Complete blood count (CBC): This panel of blood tests is used to count different types of white blood cells, liver function, and measure clotting ability. This helps support diagnosis and establish severity.

    • Serum lactate: This blood test measures the amount of lactic acid in your system, which is produced by your muscles and red blood cells; elevated levels can be a sign of sepsis.

    • Cultures and other tests: Additional tests, including blood, urine (urinalysis), saliva, or microscopic evaluation of samples from suspected sites of infection may be used to determine the underlying cause of the sepsis.

    • Arterial blood gas: This test measures the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Low oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels can be a sign of sepsis.

    • Imaging: In some cases, healthcare providers may employ imaging techniques, such as chest X-ray or computerized tomography (CT) scan, to assess infection in the lungs.

    Stages of Sepsis

    Based on their evaluation, your healthcare will stage the disease:

    • Sepsis: The mildest form causes systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). This is defined by two of the following: a body temperature above 100.4º Fahrenheit (F) or below 96.8º F, heart rate above 90 beats per minute, rapid breathing (taking over 20 breaths a minute), white blood cell count above 12,000 per cubic milliliter (ml) or below 4,000.

    • Severe sepsis: Severe sepsis occurs when one or more organs are showing signs of damage; blood pressure drops dangerously low, and the lack of oxygen damages tissues in the body. Mental confusion, severe abdominal pain, muscle cramping, lethargy, and breathing difficulties result.

    • Septic shock: The most advanced and severe form of sepsis is septic shock. This is when, despite treatment, blood pressure remains dangerously low. This type can cause organ failure in multiple systems and can be fatal.

    Treatments for Sepsis

    As noted, sepsis is a medical emergency, with treatment typically taken on in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital. The goals are three-fold: to stop the spread of infection, protect organs that are being damaged, and stop blood pressure from dropping. This involves several procedures.

    Stabilizing Respiration

    If you present with suspected sepsis, the first goal is to stabilize your breathing. Levels of oxygen in the blood and breathing are carefully monitored, and you’ll be placed on a respirator to ensure you’re at stable levels.

    Establishing Venous Access

    Alongside work to preserve breathing ability, healthcare providers will also work to gain access to your veins. This is done primarily by connecting a central venous catheter tube to major veins in your chest. This intravenous (IV) tube will be inserted into your vein and used to deliver specialized fluids and medications to your body.

    Intravenous Fluids

    Sepsis causes a loss of fluid and blood from the vessels, known as hypovolemia, which can lead to shock. The central venous catheter is used to deliver fluid and medications called vasopressors, which serve to raise blood pressure. The solutions used are typically either crystalloid—a kind of saline solution—or contain albumin, a protein produced in the liver.

    Antibiotic Therapy

    Using the IV, high doses of antibiotics or antimicrobial medicines are introduced to kill bacteria and fight off any infection. Specific approaches depend on the individual case, but if bacterial infection is suspected, healthcare providers use broad-spectrum antibiotics or combinations of them that can take on a wider range of cases. Antibiotics that may be used include:

    If a fungus is causing sepsis, treatment depends on your underlying health factors as well as the type of infection. The following antifungal medications may be considered:

    Related:When Would You Need Antibiotics?

    Other Therapies

    If initial treatments aren’t yielding results, several other medications may be attempted to stabilize blood pressure and reduce the inflammatory response:


    In severe cases, tissue and organ damage from sepsis can be so severe as to warrant surgery. This may mean amputation of an infected limb, or using methods to drain fluids from infected areas.


    At its core, preventing sepsis means maintaining good health, being vigilant about any chronic diseases or infections, and being aware of the signs and symptoms of the condition. Strategies for prevention include:

    • Keeping up to date on vaccinations

    • Washing your hands properly to prevent infection

    • Cleaning and covering any cuts you have on the skin

    • Seeking care for any chronic conditions you have

    • Knowing the signs and symptoms of sepsis

    • Seeking immediate, emergency care if you suspect you or a loved one has sepsis

    Related Conditions

    By its nature, sepsis is associated with a range of infections and injuries. In particular, conditions that affect immune responses often are comorbid, meaning they arise at the same time. The most common of these include:

    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus: A disease that affects the body’s ability to process sugars, diabetes mellitus has been found in 17% of sepsis cases.

    • Congestive heart failure: Congestive heart failure, in which the heart muscles aren’t pumping enough blood, can be triggered by changes in cardiac structure and function due to sepsis.

    • Cardiovascular conditions: Conditions affecting the health of arteries, including coronary artery disease (diseased arteries in the heart) and peripheral artery disease (diseased arteries in the rest of the body), and other cardiac issues are seen in 32% of sepsis cases.

    • End-stage renal disease: The systemic damage caused by sepsis can also cause kidneys to fail, known as end-stage renal disease, which has been found in approximately 23% of people hospitalized for sepsis.

    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): COPD refers to a group of diseases affecting the lungs, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis; about one in five (20%) of those with sepsis experience this condition.

    • Dementia: Sepsis is also associated with dementia—a condition that impacts memory, thinking, and decision-making—and researchers found about 11.3% of people with sepsis have dementia.

    Living With Sepsis

    Depending on the individual case, and with prompt medical attention, sepsis can be effectively treated. Full recovery is expected for many people. However, this condition can progress rapidly; it’s fatal in 15% of sepsis cases without shock, which rises to 56% due to septic shock. Mortality due to sepsis can be impacted by the presence of other diseases.

    Those who’ve had sepsis may also experience lingering effects, which may require additional care. These include:

    • Insomnia, a difficulty getting to or staying asleep

    • Panic attacks, hallucinations, and nightmares

    • Muscle and joint pain

    • Reduced cognitive (mental) function

    • Loss of self-esteem

    • Organ failure, especially kidney or lung problems

    • Loss of a limb (to prevent the spread of infection)

    Those who have had sepsis treatment may have a reduced ability to take care of themselves. To promote recovery at home, there are several steps you can take:

    • Setting achievable goals for yourself, such as making sure you bathe or climb stairs independently

    • Prioritizing rest

    • Seeking support from family and friends

    • Keeping a journal logging your experiences, milestones, and feelings

    • Eating a well-balanced diet, which emphasizes carbohydrates, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and hydration

    • Try to incorporate regular physical activity and exercise into your lifestyle

    • Learning as much as you can about sepsis

    • Ensuring regular medical monitoring

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    Read the original article on Health.

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    Himalayan Salt Lamps are made from pieces of Himalayan salt crystals. They serve as beautiful interior decorations and act as natural sources of light. However, the many diverse functions of Himalayan salt extend far beyond aesthetics. Combined with a light source inside the lamps, the chunks of salt produce negative ions, which yield positive effects on indoor air. Placing a Himalayan salt lamp in every room of the home can reap several health and environmental benefits. Among other things, they can: 

    Balance Electromagnetic Radiation 

    Everyday appliances such as televisions, cell phones, computers and tablets release positive ions into the air constantly. These and other common electronics can cause an overflow of electromagnetic radiation (EM), which, although invisible, is believed to cause some serious long-term effects. Constant exposure to EM radiation is known primarily to cause fatigue, increase stress and weaken the immune system. Himalayan salt lamps emit negative ions and cancel out positive ones. Therefore, by neutralizing electromagnetic radiation, they help reduce artificial frequencies and even prevent static buildup.

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    Enhance Overall Breathing

    Cilia are the finite hairs that line the windpipe and act like microscopic breathing filters. According to studies, positive ions decrease cilial activity while, conversely, negative ions have a more increasing and positive effect. Himalayan salt lamps are therefore believed to improve breathing by releasing negative ions that filter foreign particles and keep the lungs cleaner in general. 

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    Cleanse, Deodorize, and Purify Air

    Himalayan pink salt lamps help clean the air through an operation called hygroscopy, which attracts and absorbs contaminated water molecules from the immediate environment and locks them into the salt crystal. The process has the amazing ability to remove cigarette smoke, dust and other contaminants from the air. This benefit is particularly popular, as salty air acts as an overall health booster and can help clear the air passages. 

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    Calm Allergies and Reduce Asthma

    Himalayan salt lamps are believed to filter dust, mold, mildew and pet dander from indoor air. Just as a nasal saline spray uses salt to clear airways, they help to relieve allergy symptoms of all kinds. Those who struggle with asthma also claim to benefit from Himalayan salt. It is such an effective breathing aid that certain manufacturers have produced Himalayan salt inhalers targeted toward sufferers of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory issues. 

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    Alleviate Coughing and Other Symptoms of the Common Cold

    It is possible that the negative ions released by Himalayan salt lamps may protect against airborne germs. In addition to removing these contaminants from the air, the salt also allows the body to filter air more effectively in an attempt to block any foreign particles from making it into the lungs. This can prevent the advancement of coughing, sneezing, sore throats, and other minor symptoms of the common cold. 

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    Boost Blood Flow 

    Particular studies have suggested that negative ions, such as those emitted by Himalayan salt lamps, can accelerate blood flow. This boost helps to improve several disorders of the vascular system and can prevent certain damage to the lungs. 

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    Raise Energy Levels

    Positive ions deplete the body of energy, and it is believed that Himalayan salt lamps can actually do the opposite. The negative ions increase energy levels, which yields a refreshing effect similar to the feeling of rejuvenation achieved from spending time in nature. 

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    Sharpen Concentration and Performance

    Exposure to negative air ions reduces stress and enhances overall performance. Negative ions increase blood and oxygen supplies to the brain, making Himalayan salt lamps great at improving concentration. They also provide a boost of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which literally creates the feeling of happiness. 

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    Enhance Mood

    Many studies suggest that negative ions improve mood and energy levels by increasing serotonin in the brain. Therefore, Himalayan salt lamps can benefit people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other forms of depression. 

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    Reduce Stress and Promote Relaxation

    Himalayan salt lamps can be used as an aid in color therapy (chromotherapy), an alternative method of diagnosing and treating a large number of illnesses. They produce a soft light in hues of ambient orange, yellow and red that helps with stress, attention deficit disorder, and general relaxation, among others. The serene light is thought to balance physical, spiritual and emotional energies. 

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    Improve Sleep 

    Over-exposure to positive ions reduces the brain’s blood and oxygen supply, which can lead to irregular sleeping patterns. The negative ions from a Himalayan salt lamp are said to reverse this effect, making them a popular sleep aid. Also, in direct relation to chromotherapy, the soothing light can help people who suffer from insomnia. 

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    10 common FAQs about Himalayan salt lamps:

    What are Himalayan salt lamps?

    Himalayan salt lamps are popular decorative items that emit a warm, soothing glow. They are made from reddish-hued salt crystals sourced from the Himalayan Mountains.

    How do Himalayan salt lamps improve air quality?

    Some people claim that Himalayan salt lamps release negative ions, which can help neutralize pollutants and allergens in the air.

    Can Himalayan salt lamps enhance mood and sleep?

    Many users believe that the soft amber glow emitted by Himalayan salt lamps creates a calming ambiance that can improve mood and contribute to a more restful sleep.

    Do Himalayan salt lamps have health benefits?

    While there is limited scientific research, some people believe that these lamps offer various benefits, such as improving air quality and promoting a sense of relaxation.

    Are there any myths surrounding Himalayan salt lamps?

    There are myths and exaggerated claims associated with Himalayan salt lamps, such as their ability to cure ailments or provide significant health benefits. It's important to approach these claims with skepticism.

    How should I maintain a Himalayan salt lamp?

    To maintain your salt lamp, wipe it with a moist lint-free cloth or sponge and ensure that no liquid or salt buildup has occurred within the lamp. This helps prevent potential electrical hazards.

    Can Himalayan salt lamps sweat or emit moisture?

    In humid environments, Himalayan salt lamps may emit moisture or sweat. Leaving the lamp plugged in continuously can minimize this effect.

    Where should I place a Himalayan salt lamp?

    Himalayan salt lamps can be placed in various rooms, such as bedrooms, living rooms, or offices, to create a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.

    What color should a genuine Himalayan salt lamp be?

    Most Himalayan salt lamps emit a soft, warm glow. Be cautious of lamps that give off too much light, as well as rare and expensive white crystal lamps, which exist but are less common.

    Why are Himalayan salt lamps appealing?

    Apart from their aesthetic appeal, many people are drawn to Himalayan salt lamps for their calming ambiance and the natural beauty of the salt crystals.

    Himalayan salt lamps can add a touch of warmth, tranquility, and beauty to your living space, creating a cozy atmosphere that many find appealing.


    The Best Reviewed Himalayan Salt Lamp

    ★★★★★ ★★★★★

    What We Like

    • ⦿ Unique salt lamp is made from Natural Himalayan salt crystals hand mined in the Himalayan Mountains
    • ⦿ Once lit, the lamp emits a calm amber colour
    • ⦿ Hosts extensive environmental and health benefits 
    • ⦿ It is cheap and cheerful! 
    • ⦿ Each lamp is unique and varies in colour and shape

    Things to Consider

    • ⦿ The lamp isn't cordless 

    Why We Recommend It in a Nutshell

    This Himalayan salt lamp amongst the rest are an environmentally friendly light source. Many are powered by low-wattage bulbs that consume only a small amount of energy, while others are lit simply by the flame of a candle. This lamp is beautiful and unique and remains classic with it's style making it a beautiful addition to the home. With over 6,688 customer reviews on Amazon, this is our top pick!

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    May 16—ATHENS — Now that April and Stress Awareness Month have come to a close and everone has moved well into Mental Health Awareness Month, it's a good time to talk about the difference between good stress and bad stress and how they affect mental health.

    Some stress can be good: It is what is described as "what motivates us to get up and go to work and take care of one another." We all need some awareness and worry in order to remember to pay our bills; take the kids to school/sports/extracurricular activities; do tasks and chores on time, etc. Otherwise, things may go undone/unfinished. So some amount of stress can motivate us and help us fulfill responsibilities, which can lead to a more fulfilling and happier life.

    When asked to describe types of good stress, respondents have given examples such as having a baby, planning a vacation, buying or remodeling a house, moving, and starting a new job or project at work. These are all things that many folks want to do and are even excited about, but nevertheless experience some amount of stress going through the process. This kind of stress is typically short-term but ultimately can be beneficial as it allows individuals to focus their energies on a specific goal or task.

    So how about bad stress? Well, that is the kind of stress that feels like a pileup. It may make you feel jumpy and anxious and can be harmful to your health. It can also lead to confusion, decreased concentration and feeling bad overall. When asked for examples of bad stress, many responders described relationships that are strained, financial difficulties, concerns with their job or work place issues, and untreated medical or mental health challenges. These stressors can be either short-term or long-term. Long-term stressors can lead to negative health effects such as headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia.

    What it boils down to is that stress becomes problematic when it takes over someone's life. The key to managing it is identifying what individuals deem as bad stress and figuring out ways to manage these things in a healthy manner. For many, the difference between good stress and bad stress is how we feel about it and what we do to address it.

    Those who are feeling bad stress can help themselves by finding someone to talk to: a friend, neighbor, faith leader or therapist. Just reaching out and talking with a trusted source can reduce stress. And while it seems intuitive, it is important to remember to eat well, stay hydrated, get good sleep and get up and moving.

    Deep breathing exercises at least twice per day (no more than 10 minutes total) can help, as can finding ways to reduce the bad stressors where and when possible. These are all things each one of us can do to help manage our stress levels and have a better quality of life.

    Visit the Thriving on the Farm site from the Rural Georgia: Growing Stronger initiative for stress assistance and other resources from University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

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    “Ever since I had COVID, it always smells like something’s burning,” explained a patient suffering from symptoms of long COVID. This burning smell has plagued her for more than three months and is coupled with fatigue, difficulty breathing, and a persistent cough. Long COVID recently joined other diagnoses, such as diabetes and Crohn’s, as one of the most common chronic conditions Americans are facing today. Treatment for chronic conditions requires ongoing support to address long-term care, including an extensive network of resources to help manage symptoms, relieve concerns, and provide innovative solutions that make health care simpler. The often-times debilitating symptoms of chronic condition don’t take a break which inspired our team to challenge ourselves to design a system that engages technology and utilizes digital tools to provide the necessary care patients need – where, when, and how they need it.   

    Digital, personalized care for members  

    To help people manage their chronic condition, such as diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and long COVID, our team of experts developed a digital care solution for consumers’ health and well-being.  

    The digital platform headlines with a daily symptom tracker that asks health plan members to answer a few simple questions each day allowing the health plan’s care manager to identify patterns or note changes in the patient’s health. This information enables daily exchange via on-demand, text-based, two-way communications between the patient and his/her care team. The program also includes extensive access to a dedicated digital platform with health articles, videos, and other wellness content to self-manage chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and cancer. 

    As a physician and one of our Medicare clinical leaders, I witnessed the worry and confusion a COVID-19-positive diagnosis presented to patients, particularly those higher-risk individuals with pre-existing health conditions. In 2020, the concierge program identified nearly 2,000 members hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms and called to talk about how they were doing and how we could help. The goal was to provide members the ability to proactively track their conditions and symptoms and consult with a dedicated virtual and available care team.

    We want to be able to help members better understand long COVID and what they can do next to manage their varying symptoms, helping to reduce the need to seek care from multiple areas of the health care system. Individuals with long COVID are significantly more likely to have an initial hospitalization during the acute phase and seven times more likely to have a hospitalization during the post-acute COVID recovery phase as compared to other COVID patients. Our internal analysis has also found that these individuals are also more likely to have an ER visit during the acute phase.

    The program’s data teams then built a data analytics and clinical algorithm to identify members at risk for developing long COVID – a condition where patients continue to experience COVID-related symptoms after recovery. By identifying members at risk for long COVID early and equipping them with tools for self-management and easier access to care coordinators, the concierge care program is helping them improve their health and well-being, thus reducing overall health care costs for the member and the health care system.

    While we are all still learning about the effects of long COVID, patients involved in the concierge care program can track their progress and receive support and medical guidance throughout their recovery. We have proactively treated fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, shortness of breath, and loss of smell and taste.

    Virtual check-in triggers medical attention 

    Thanks to a daily virtual check-in of one of our concierge care patients traveling to see her daughter, we were recently able to detect an acute situation with her that required urgent medical attention. The patient’s nurse care manager noticed the member was having trouble completing full sentences, a telltale sign of impending respiratory distress, and advised her on her options to find help in her area where she was able to receive medications that stabilized her breathing and likely averted further worsening of her condition.

    Coordinated digital approach for customized care 

    The concierge care program coordinates with other medical professionals and provider offices to offer a complete solution to help participants manage their health. Connecting the dots for a member’s comprehensive health plan can make the difference between average maintenance and exceptional care. Based on the information provided through regular communication, a member’s care management team can better respond to member questions on medications, mental health, diet, stress reduction, and complete wellness. Members can access condition-specific education and self-management tools, including videos from psychologists for stress management and psychotherapists for breathing exercises.

    By appropriately leveraging health care and patient data as well as artificial intelligence capabilities, the concierge care program makes virtual care a solid solution for meeting consumer needs in today’s fast-paced, digital environment. As a physician, I generally only see patients when they visit me, but with concierge care, I feel like patients can get the important clinical contact and education – in between visits with their provider – that they need to help them manage their chronic condition.

    Eugene Hsu is an anesthesiologist and physician executive. 


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