Diabetes is Five Different Diseases, Concludes a Lancet Study

Diabetes is five diseases, concludes a new study. By separating adult-onset diabetes cases into five different types, rather than just type 1 or type 2, physicians can better tailor early treatment for patients, and could represent a first step towards precision medicine in the disease, according to an analysis of patients with adult-onset diabetes in Sweden and Finland published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.

The five types of the disease found in the study had different characteristics and were associated with different complications, illustrating the varied treatment needs of patients with diabetes.

The study identified five replicable clusters of patients with diabetes, which hadsignificantly different patient characteristics and risk of diabetic complications. In particular, individuals in cluster 3 (most resistant to insulin) had significantly higher risk of diabetic kidney disease than individuals in clusters 4 and 5, but had been prescribed similar diabetes treatment. Cluster 2 (insulin deficient) had the highest risk of retinopathy. In support of the clustering, genetic associations in the clusters differed from those seen in traditional type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a group of chronic metabolic disorders that share the common feature of hyperglycaemia, meaning that, in principle, diabetes can be diagnosed via measurement of a single blood component. However, elevations in blood glucose can be caused by a number of genetic and acquired factors that reduce the circulating concentrations of insulin or decrease its effectiveness, leading to heterogeneity in the clinical presentation and progression of the disease …, said Dr Rob Sladek, McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre, Canada. In providing information about disease prognosis, Ahlqvist and colleagues extend earlier studies that used combinations of genetic risk scores, clustering, and regression analysis to identify subtypes of type 2 diabetes on the basis of clinical and genetic parameters.”
Rates of diabetes are increasing worldwide, faster than for any other disorders, representing a significant cause of ill health worldwide. However, the medical classification of diabetes has not been updated for 20 years and mainly relies on measuring blood glucose levels.”

The study used four cohort studies including people over the age of 18 years who had been recently diagnosed with diabetes, totalling 14775 patients across Sweden and Finland. The authors analysed six measurements used to monitor patients with diabetes that reflect key aspects of the disease (age at diagnosis, body mass index [BMI], long-term glycaemic control [HbA1c], successful functioning of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, insulin resistance, and presence of auto-antibodies associated with autoimmune diabetes). They also did genetic analyses, and compared disease progression, treatment, and development of diabetic complications for each type of diabetes.

Analysing the six measures in a cohort of 8980 adults at first, the authors identified one autoimmune type of diabetes and four distinct subtypes of type 2 diabetes, which they then tested across three more cohorts of patients consisting of 5795 people. They found that the five different disease profiles were also present in these patients. These types of diabetes were distinct, and included three severe and two mild forms of the disease [2].

Among the severe forms, there was one group with severe insulin resistance and a significantly higher risk of kidney disease than the other types (cluster 3/severe insulin-resistant diabetes, affecting 11-17% of patients), and a group of relatively young, insulin-deficient individuals with poor metabolic control but no auto-antibodies (cluster 2/severe insulin-deficient diabetes, affecting 9-20%).

The other severe group were insulin-deficient patients who had auto-antibodies associated with autoimmune diabetes (cluster 1/severe autoimmune diabetes, affecting around 6-15%), a form of diabetes formerly called type 1 diabetes, or latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA).

The most common form of the disease was one of the more moderate forms of diabetes, which was seen in elderly people and affected 39-47% of patients (cluster 5, or mild age-related diabetes). The other mild form of diabetes (cluster 4, or mild obesity-related diabetes) was mainly seen in obese individuals and affected 18-23% of patients.

All five types of diabetes were also genetically distinct, with no mutations associated with all types of the disease. This supports the idea that the five types of diabetes are not simply different stages of the same disease.

Lastly, the authors looked at the types of treatments being given to each group of patients and found that many were not being given appropriate treatment. For example, a low proportion of patients in clusters 1 and 2 were being treated with insulin from disease onset (42%, 212/506 patients, and 29%, 389/1339 patients, respectively), suggesting that traditional classification of diabetes is unable to tailor treatment to the underlying characteristics of diabetes.

Evidence suggests that early treatment for diabetes is crucial to prevent life-shortening complications. More accurately diagnosing diabetes could give us valuable insights into how it will develop over time, allowing us to predict and treat complications before they develop,” says lead author of the study Professor Leif Groop, Lund University Diabetes Centre (LUDC), Sweden, and Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM). “Existing treatment guidelines are limited by the fact they respond to poor metabolic control when it has developed, but do not have the means to predict which patients will need intensified treatment. This study moves us towards a more clinically useful diagnosis, and represents an important step towards precision medicine in diabetes.”

The authors note some limitations, including that the study cannot confirm that the five types of adult-onset diabetes have different causes, nor whether patients’ type of disease changes over time. The study only involved Scandinavian patients, so will need to be confirmed in other populations.

Future research will be needed to test and refine the five types of the disease by including biomarkers, genotypes, genetic risk scores, blood pressure and blood lipids.

Source: Ahlqvist, Emma et al. Novel subgroups of adult-onset diabetes and their association with outcomes: a data-driven cluster analysis of six variable. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, Volume 0, Issue 0.

Does Wearing Shoes Help a Baby Learn to Walk Sooner?

As parents anxiously await their child’s first steps they often rush out to find the “perfect” new pair of shoes for their little tot. And why wouldn’t they? Everyone knows that wearing shoes will help a baby walk sooner — for years many if not most pediatricians stated this Is there truth to this statement or is this just another old wives’ tale passed on through generations?

Old Beliefs

If you were born 30 years ago or more, you are likely among the many adults who grew up wearing stiff high-top leather shoes as a toddler. At the time it was believed that toddlers had wobbly ankles and took flat-footed steps. Pediatricians acted on that belief and decided children needed extra support when learning to walk. Shoe companies heard the recommendations, agreed with the claim, and stocked their shelves with the stiff, high-topped baby

For many years, parents and pediatricians continued to believe this claim. It wasn’t until a scientific study was done that confirmed what others suspected all along – those stiff, expensive shoes are NOT good for babies! Sylvia Ounpuu, a movement specialist at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, directed a study whose findings shattered the conventional wisdom that the first steps are flat-footed stomps.

With the help of computer-assisted foot pressure sensors and a slow-motion video, researchers learned that even from their first steps babies walk with a rocking heel-toe motion, just like adults. Babies do not need added support after all. Their ankles are strong and stable from the very beginning.

Bare Facts

The foot is a complex structure of 26 bones and 35 joints, held together and supported by many ligaments. A baby’s foot is padded with fat and is highly flexible. When most toddlers start to walk, they have some poor muscle tone and weak ligaments in their feet, but this will improve over time as the feet strengthen.

So what shoes are best for a child’s first steps? None. Barefoot is best! Experts say that a child’s foot will develop more naturally the longer he/she is allowed to walk without shoes. It’s important for parents to realize that the
primary reason young children wear shoes are for warmth and protection. Children’s bones, joints, and ligaments provide them with sufficient support for routine childhood activities. According to Dr. Carol Frey, associate clinical professor of orthopedic surgery in Manhattan Beach, California, “Children are forced to walk with their feet further apart to keep their balance. Shoes are not necessary for support or development of the arch, they only protect the feet from the environment.” She continues by saying “Going barefoot helps children develop stronger and more coordinated foot muscles.”

First Steps

Most children take their first steps between 11 and 14 months, but the normal range for conquering this feat is very broad. Some tots walk as early as 8 months, others as late as 17 months. All children develop at their own pace, and should not be pushed into something they are not capable of doing. If your toddler is a late walker, don’t worry –
the progression of skills is far more important. If your child was a little late learning to roll over and crawl, chances are he’ll need a few extra weeks or months for walking as well. As long as he keeps learning new things, there’s no need to be too concerned

When to Be Concerned

Remember, all children develop skills differently. During your child’s routine physical exams, your pediatrician will likely talk to you about your child’s developing ability to move. Consult your child’s doctor if your child does not:

  • Walk by 18 months
  • Walk in a pattern after several months of practice
  • Walk any other way than on the toes

Keep in mind that toddlers who are heavier or that were born prematurely often learn to walk a little later than others.

Shoes for Warmth and Protection

Of course you want to protect your child’s feet when you are away from home or when it’s cold outside. When purchasing a pair of shoes for your toddler it’s best to follow this advice

  • Have the shoes professionally fitted – which should include measuring each foot for length and width.
  • Update their shoe size every few months as children’s feet grow very quickly.
  • Be sure the shoes are not too tight — this could alter your child’s walking and cause ingrown toenails or bunions.
  • Find a shoe that has a soft, skid-proof sole — to allow the muscles and arches to develop more naturally and gives the child more control over their movements.
  • Get a pair that has laces or Velcro — something that will not allow your child’s foot to ‘slide out’ of.

Overactive Bladder: When is a Lot Too Much, What are the Possible Causes and What Should You Do?

More than 17 million Americans suffer from overactive bladder, according to the American Medical Women’s Association. Though it typically affects men that are over the age of 65, women may start to experience symptoms in their mid-40s

What exactly is overactive bladder? It stems from a problem with bladder function that causes you to feel a strong, urgent need to urinate. This can lead to incontinence, frequent urination (eight or more times in 24 hours) and waking during the night to urinate (usually two or more times). Aside from the physical symptoms, overactive bladder can interfere with your daily life, making it difficult to attend social situations, and can even result in depression, low self-esteem, fatigue and anxiety.

What Causes Overactive Bladder?

In a healthy bladder, nerve signals let you know your bladder is “full” when it’s reached about half its capacity, and you feel you need to urinate when it’s about three-quarters full.

With overactive bladder, however, bladder muscles contract or spasm involuntarily when the bladder is only about half full. The contractions cause you to feel an urgent need to urinate, even though your bladder is not yet full.

While certain conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and strokes, are associated with overactive bladder, other conditions can cause similar symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, including:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Diabetes
  • Tissue inflammation near the urinary tract
  • Tumors or other abnormalities in the bladder
  • Enlarged prostate, constipation, bladder stones and other factors that obstruct bladder outflow
  • Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol

Certain medications can also contribute to incontinence. Diuretics, sedatives, muscles relaxants, narcotics, antihistamines, anticholinergics, antipsychotics, antidepressants and calcium channel blockers are particularly problematic for incontinence, according to the National Association for Continence (NAFC).

What to do if You Have Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder is more common in older adults, but it is not a “normal” part of aging. If you have some of the symptoms of overactive bladder, you should see your doctor to rule out any associated or underlying problems.
While there are prescription drugs out there for overactive bladder, they do have side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, and memory problems. Fortunately, there are many non-drug methods you can use to help treat the condition.

These include:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet. This is important to help you avoid constipation (and is great for your overall health, too). Add a unique comprehensive fiber supplement to help resolve this issue quicker.
  • Exercise regularly. It’s an important part of every healthy lifestyle. Limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol, which can trigger or worsen symptoms.
  • Look for dietary triggers. Certain foods can irritate the bladder in some people. Common irritants include carbonated beverages, sugar, artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, citrus juice, tomatoes, corn syrup and milk.
  • Be proactive about supporting the health of the urinary tract, naturally. Certain prescription based compounds can keep infection-causing bacteria, yeast and germs from sticking to the walls of the bladder which can result in recurrent UTIs.
  • Monitor your fluid consumption. Sometimes limiting the amount of fluid you drink before bedtime or before attending a social event can help.
  • Kegel exercises. Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter, according to the Mayo Clinic, which help you to hold urine. These exercises can also help to suppress involuntary contractions in the bladder. Kegel exercises involve squeezing your pelvic floor muscles at least three times a day. A physical therapist or your doctor can tell you how to do them correctly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts stress on the bladder and increases the risk of incontinence. Take measures to lose weight in a healthy and responsible way with supplements that increase the body’s metabolic rate resulting in steady weight loss but without harmful stimulant side effects. Don’t use feminine deodorant products, which may irritate the urethra.
  • Don’t smoke. Smokers are more likely to have problems with incontinence than non-smokers.
  • Bladder training. Your doctor may recommend “retraining” your bladder by gradually delaying urination when you feel the urge to go.

Finally, if an overactive bladder is holding you back from professional or social functions, consider wearing an absorbent pad so you don’t have to worry if you do experience incontinence.

Female Athletes Need More Minerals and Nutrients For Energy

A new study found that female athletes need more minerals and nutrients for energy than their male counterparts. In this study, women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute. The small study of young women, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, compared the performance of those who took the supplement with a control group that took a placebo. The women who took the supplement also saw improvements in distance covered in 25 minutes on a stationary bike and a third test in which they stepped on and off a bench, according to research from The Ohio State University.

The minerals in the study included forms of iron, copper and zinc along with two other nutrients – carnitine (derived from an amino acid) and phosphatidylserine (made up of fatty acids and amino acids). Here is what the study found:

  • In an initial experiment including 28 women, half of whom took the supplement, researchers found that those in the study group saw their 3-mile run times drop from 26.5 minutes on average to 25.6 minutes.
  • Stationary bike distance covered in 25 minutes increased to an average of 6.5 miles, compared to 6 miles at the start of the study. Steps in the step test increased to almost 44 from about 40. All of the changes were statistically significant and were not seen in the placebo group.
  • A second follow-up experiment – designed to see if the first was reproducible and test a lower dose of one of the nutrients – included 36 women and found a 41-second average decrease in run times.

female athletes

“We know that young women, in particular, often have micro-deficiencies in nutrients and that those female athletes nutrients play a role in how cells work during exercise,” said  Robert DiSilvestro, lead author of the study and a professor of human nutrition at Ohio State. “They tend to eat less meat than men, and menstruation also plays an important role in mineral loss,” he said.

“I decided to start with minerals that are commonly low – or thought to be low in many diets – and brought in some of the supporting cast. These two nutrients, which are needed for cell function, are made by our bodies but also come from food we eat,” DiSilvestro said. The study noted:

Micronutrient functions are needed for aerobic exercise. Therefore, aerobic performance should be helped by optimal intake of these nutrients including trace minerals. For instance, iron, even apart from its role in hemoglobin, affects aerobic energy metabolic pathways through functions in enzymes and cytochromes. Another trace mineral, copper, is part of cytochrome c oxidase, the terminal enzyme in aerobic energy metabolism. Other copper enzymes work against oxidative stress [1], which contributes to exercise-induced fatigue [2]. A third trace mineral, zinc, could affect aerobic exercise performance in a variety of ways: indirect antioxidant actions [345], a cofactor role in carbonic anhydrase that eliminates carbon dioxide [67], a cofactor role in lactate dehydrogenase [6], and an activator of enzymes in energy metabolism [6].

Why Female Athletes Need More Minerals and Nutrients

In the study, those who took the supplement combo were asked to sprinkle it into a beverage of their choice twice a day. (In the second round of study, DiSilvestro’s team delivered the combo in capsule form.) The amount of nutrients in the supplements was well below a level that could cause harmful side effects, he said, and none was observed in this study.

Participants were recreational athletes 18 to 30 years old who had regularly done aerobic exercise at least two to three hours a week for six months. They also had to be runners. “We wanted people who could already run three miles without it being a terrible burden,” DiSilvestro said. He and his collaborators compared the women’s athletic performance at the start of the study to performance at the end of a 30-day study period. “The run-time drops in people at this stage of life were pretty large when they took the supplement. And in the placebo group, we saw little change,” DiSilvestro said.

For active young adult women, intake of these 3 minerals may often fall below optimal amounts. For iron, it well documented that exercising women often get a degree of deficiency [8]. Severe deficiency causes anemia, but even milder deficits could affect energy metabolism [9]. For copper, in young adult women, supplemental copper has improved copper function [10]. For zinc, in one USA diet survey, for about 40% of the women, intake fell below the RDA [11]. Moreover, the zinc RDAs may not even be set high enough [1213]. Multiple studies [112131415] find low intake of zinc in active people. This low intake especially applies to participants in sports that need weight control, people who avoid animal products, and people eating high carbohydrate, low fat and protein diets. Furthermore, exercise training may raise copper and zinc requirements [141617]. This situation may not be fixed easily by all multi-vitamin-mineral supplements since many use zinc and copper oxide, which are not the best absorbed forms [4].

Though it’s less common for men to have mild deficiencies in these nutrients, with the exception of copper, DiSilvestro said he’s interested in whether he might see benefits in vegetarian men. Another potential area for study is in longer-distance running.


The Benefits and Risks of Saunas

Saunas are a popular attraction in hotels, spas and health clubs around the United States and world. Enthusiasts say there is little that can pamper your body and soul like a trip to the sauna, which is traditionally a wooden room infused with dry heat that can get as high as 185° F.

It is the intense dry heat that is said to open your pores and purify your body of toxins while prompting the release of endorphin’s your body’s natural pain relievers. This same heat, however, may pose a hidden danger to certain people.

Seven Healthy Reasons to Use a Sauna

There is no question that saunas prompt real changes in your body functions. Within minutes, for instance, your skin temperature can reach about 104° F, and your pulse rate can climb by 30 percent. This causes your heart to double the amount of blood it pumps each minute. You can also expect to lose at least a pint of sweat during a sauna session.

What are the beneficial results of all of this on your health?

1. A Cardio Workout for Your Heart

As your heart rate increases during your sauna session, this increases your need for oxygen. As a result, your heart gets a workout while it pumps blood around your body. Meanwhile, Finnish researchers have found that regular use of saunas helps keep your blood vessels more elastic and pliable as a result of the repeated heating and cooling of
your body

2. Increased Resistance to Illness

According to Finnish and German studies, saunas put your body into a “fever state” that stimulates your immune system. As a result, regular sauna users have a 30 percent less chance of getting a cold or the flu

3. Improved Circulation and Lower Blood Pressure

A sauna’s heat causes your blood vessels to dilate and circulation to your extremities to improve. Saunas also cause a temporary decrease in your blood pressure, but, according to the North American Sauna Society, this decrease may last longer with frequent sauna sessions

4. Support Your Kidney Function

The sweat your release during a sauna session excretes wastes and reduces the load put on your kidneys, according to the North American Sauna Society.

5. Burn More Calories

Due to your increased heart rate and perspiration, a single sauna session can burn up to 300 calories, according to U.S. Army research. However, most weight loss that occurs during a sauna session is water, and will be gained back when you eat and drink.

6. Relive Stress and Sleep Better

Sauna enthusiasts maintain that they are an excellent tool for stress relief and promoting a sense of well-being. A sauna before bed may also help you to get a good night’s sleep.

7. Soothe Aches and Pains

Because saunas increase your circulation, they may help with pain relief.

When Can a Sauna be Harmful?

“All in all, saunas appear safe for the body, but there is little evidence that they have health benefits above and beyond relaxation and a feeling of well-being,” says Dr. Harvey Simon, editor-in-chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch.

If you enjoy saunas and they make you feel good, you can therefore continue this practice. However, certain groups of people, especially those with heart conditions, need to be cautious

Patients with poorly controlled blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, unstable angina, and advanced heart failure or heart valve disease will probably be advised to stay cool,” says Dr. Simon, who advises that heart patients check with their doctors before using a sauna.

Meanwhile, according to the Finnish Sauna Society, “People who should avoid the sauna completely are people running fever or having inflammatory diseases or injuries. Anybody with a contagious disease should bathe only in his own sauna. Also people under the influence of alcohol should not go to the sauna, nor is there any evidence that the sauna would help in a hangover.”

To ensure that your sauna session is a relaxing treat, be sure to follow these tips:

  • Avoid alcohol before and after your sauna, as this can impair your sweating and lead to your overheating.
  • Limit your session to 15-20 minutes.
  • Drink two to four glasses of cool water after your session.
  • Avoid the sauna if you don’t feel well, and leave immediately during your sauna if
    you feel ill.

PMS: The Latest Insights on its Causes and How to Reduce Symptoms

To the medical community, PMS (or premenstrual syndrome) is still a largely mysterious phenomenon that affects women during the one or two weeks before menstruation. But for the women who face PMS each month (estimates of exactly how many menstruating women get PMS vary widely and go as high as 80 percent, but the American College of Obstetricians says it’s up to 40 percent), the physical, emotional and psychological symptoms are all too familiar.

Each woman’s symptoms vary, and they vary for each woman from month to month, but can include any of 180
symptoms that have been identified to date including some of the common ones below:

Some Common PMS Symptoms

  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Upset stomach, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Food cravings (especially for sweet and salty foods) and changes in appetite
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Tension, irritability or mood swings
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Backache
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Acne breakouts
  • Aggressiveness
  • Changes in libido
  • Uterine cramps
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Forgetfulness

What Causes PMS?

There has been no single cause of PMS identified or accepted by the medical community. But because the changes that happen during PMS coincide with changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle, the most widespread theory about PMS is that it’s related to changes in female sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone (though how
it’s related isn’t clear).

Other theories have been suggested including that PMS could:

  • Be related to hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar levels) or hypothyroidism (abnormally low levels of thyroid hormones).
  • Be related to pituitary hormones, prostaglandins and neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Be due to a diet lacking in B vitamins, calcium or magnesium.

If there were to be a consensus among experts, however, it’s likely to be that PMS is due to a variety of factors, including the physiological ones listed above, but also because of genetics, environment and lifestyle factors like nutrition and stress.

What About PMDD?

There’s a lot of controversy about premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and whether it’s a real “disorder.” PMDD includes all of the symptoms of PMS but to the extreme-where a woman who has PMS may feel sad, a woman with PMDD may feel suicidal. It’s said to affect anywhere from 3 percent to 9 percent of women.

“It’s a real biological condition for which women seek treatment–and for which effective treatment is available,” says Jean Endicott, PhD, director of the premenstrual evaluation unit at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

However, for each expert who believes in PMDD, there’s another who says it isn’t real, and that it could drive women to take a medication when what they really need is to get at the underlying issues.

As Joan Chrisler, PhD, a psychology professor at Connecticut College and president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, said, “We’re conditioned to want a pill. Instead of something you might need more, like a nap or a divorce, or the ERA.”

And according to Paula Caplan, PhD, author of “They Say You’re Crazy,” “There is no evidence [that PMDD exists], though people have to find such evidence … It is really appalling that using PMDD for women who want recognition for discomfort is a very clear message that goes something like: ‘OK, OK, we’ll believe you are feeling bad if we get to
call you mentally ill for feeling bad.'”

Seven Ways to Help Reduce PMS Symptoms

Though PMDD symptoms may be so severe as to require medical or psychological help, the symptoms of PMS can usually be dealt with on your own. Here’s what can help:

  • Exercise: According to Carol Watkins, MD, “Women who exercise regularly have fewer PMS symptoms.” Regular exercise is typically considered to be at least three to five times a week.
  • Eat Better: Nutrient deficiencies and poor nutrition could make PMS symptoms worse. The top dietary culprits to avoid during PMS include:


  • But at the same time you’re avoiding the “bad” foods, it’s important to get plenty of
    the “good” vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
  • Most women should consider a high-quality supplement that provide endocrine support for balancing female hormones.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Manage stress in your life. How you choose to manage stress is up to you-you may feel better from taking some time alone with your journal or going for a long walk outside. Others may prefer to call a close friend or listen to music.

Another exceptional way to relieve stress that many are not aware of? Stretching!

Don’t smoke.

9 Ways to HELP Your Friends and Family This Holiday Season in Health, Love and Life

Tis’ the season to give gifts of appreciation that are needed, appreciated and utilized. Especially for family members and loved ones you know well with complaints (like health issues or excessive debt, etc.).

For those you haven’t received their list, carpe diem – this year, add a twist

Make a list of what your friends or family members may be wishing they could be thankful for … items they may not have fully shared, yet they are having trouble achieving or solving health wise. As always, for virtually every problem there is often a solution, sometimes a simpler solution than they may realize. In this time of giving and sharing, what better way to show your friends and family that you care than to present them with a solution to the problem that has been plaguing them, without them even having to ask! Here we’ve compiled some common problem areas along with suggestions to help those in your life who may be afflicted (many of these make great potential presents).

1. They Have Asthma, Allergies or Breathing Troubles

Many allergic reactions are triggered by airborne particles in your home’s indoor air. Your home is actually much like a sealed jar filled with contaminants that have no way of escaping. As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states:

“There are many sources of indoor air pollution in any home. These include combustion sources such as oil, gas,
kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco products; building materials and furnishings as diverse as deteriorated, asbestos-containing insulation, wet or damp carpet, and cabinetry or furniture made of certain pressed wood products; products for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, or hobbies; central heating and cooling systems and humidification devices; and outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and outdoor air pollution.

Some sources, such as building materials, furnishings, and household products like air fresheners, release pollutants more or less continuously. Other sources, related to activities carried out in the home, release pollutants intermittently. These include smoking, the use of unvented or malfunctioning stoves, furnaces, or space heaters, the use of solvents in cleaning and hobby activities, the use of paint strippers in redecorating activities, and the use of
cleaning products and pesticides in house-keeping. High pollutant concentrations can remain in the air for long periods after some of these activities.

If too little outdoor air enters a home, pollutants can accumulate to levels that can pose health and comfort problems. Unless they are built with special mechanical means of ventilation, homes that are designed and constructed to minimize the amount of outdoor air that can “leak” into and out of the home may have higher pollutant levels than other homes. However, because some weather conditions can drastically reduce the amount of outdoor air that enters a home, pollutants can build up even in homes that are normally considered “leaky.””

The gift of a high quality air purifier is one of the best gifts you can give. One effective against mold, mildew, organic odors, and chemical vapors (such as formaldehyde) pollen, dust, pet dander, and smoke would be ideal.

2. They Have a “Stinky Commute”

Have you heard that their “commute stinks!” Millions of Americans commute an average of 25.5 minutes each way to work each day, but for an increasing numbers of workers that number is growing — a lot

About 3.3 million Americans are “stretch commuters,” meaning they travel 50 miles or more each way to get to and from work, according to the National Household Travel Survey released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). Of these, 19 percent travel at least 100 miles to work and 6 percent have earned the designation of”super stretch commuters,” traveling 200 miles to work each way.

During this time they’re exposed to dirty air whether they’re on the road or in a train. A new study investigation by the Chicago Tribune found that levels of soot or diesel exhaust – which has been linked to heart attacks, cancer, and brain damage — in train cars is up to 72 times higher than the outside air

If your loved one spends any time on the road, a Car Ionizer could be a great gift to solve the problem of exposure to dirty air when unit is stated to eliminate pollutants and allergens from the air in a car, on a train or on a plane.

If detachable, it can be used anywhere to help reduce chances of getting an airborne virus and to reduce odors and exposure to toxins. This is a perfect gift for anyone with asthma, allergies or nagging coughs, as it will help them to breathe easier throughout the coming year.

3. They “Never Have Time to Exercise”

Many people have good intentions to work out, but can’t find the time (or money) to go to the gym. An exercise DVD could solve this challenge for the person difficult to buy a gift who has seemingly everything except the time needed to work out at a health club or gym.

4. They Complain about Digestive “Stomach Problems

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) impacts one in 10 Americans about once a week, and virtually everyone has
experienced it from time to time. This chronic digestive disease occurs when stomach acid or bile flows back into
your esophagus, irritating its lining and leading to other symptoms including heartburn — the most common symptomof GERD.

If your loved one has GERD or regular digestive trouble, probiotics (good bacteria) taken in combination with digestive enzymes will help to restore optimal functioning to the digestive tract and help reduce digestive disturbances such as GERD. A high-quality probiotic can relieve GERD pain by restoring balance of the gastrointestinal tract.

5. They’re Always Saying They are “Stressed Out!”

A destress and or relaxation DVD could literal lifesaver to anyone who is struggling with stress

6. They Have Trouble Sleeping (give them something other than DRUGS)

For anyone who has trouble sleeping at night, the Sleep CD – – with music could help your loved one find restful sleep. Users of such CDs have reported falling asleep faster, waking up less throughout the night, falling back to sleep
faster when awakened during the night and feeling more rested the next morning

7. Their Often Rubbing their Nose or Saying their Sinuses are “Stuffy”

Americans suffer from 1 billion colds a year and another 37 million Americans are affected by sinusitis – that’s a lot of stuffed up noses. If you’re one of the billions suffering from these stuffed up sinuses, congestion, headaches
and difficulty breathing through your nose, you know the toll it can take on your health.

One of the best options for sinus relief has been around since ancient times and still holds true as one of the most effective, safe, and soothing options for sinus health. Nasal cleansing, also known as nasal irrigation, involves using a neti pot to pour a lukewarm saline solution (pure water mixed with natural salt) inside one side of your nostril while tilting your head sideways so the water runs out of your other nostril. Offer your friend or loved one a neti pot and their sinuses will thank you!

8. They’re “Concerned” About Spreading or “Catching Germs”

Considering that Americans touch about 300 different surfaces every 30 minutes, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid all germs. However, there are ways to dramatically reduce your risk of spreading, and getting sick from, these pesky invaders. The best continuous addition or alternative to soap and water (before and after you wash your hands) — ideal for use when you can’t get to a sink or have been washing your hands to the point they are
getting dry and cracked — are micro fiber cloths. Keep one in your pocket for a discrete way to wipe germs on your hands away throughout the day!

9. They Complain About Physical Pains and or Muscle Tension

For those that have periodic or ongoing physical complaints, some may have simply never had a chiropractic adjustment or massage. They could become forever thankful for a gift certificate that awakens them to the benefits.

Holiday Dangers for Those Who Struggle With Binge Eating and Compulsive Overeating

Roasted turkey with homemade stuffing, maple-glazed ham, cheesy potato casseroles, pumpkin pie and other calorie-laden desserts made from scratch represent a sense of comfort and with that comes the temptation to eat in excess. The holiday feasting and indulging starts on Thanksgiving and continues on through New Year’s Day, a time when resolutions are made — and most center on getting back in shape.

Along with looking forward to spending time with family and loved ones over the holidays comes an equal share of stress and anxiety that often set off triggers that cause us to overeat.

Some people may be able to stop after a slice of mom’s homemade apple pie, but for others who suffer from binge
eating disorders, a condition in which people cannot control the amount of food they eat, the one piece of pie sets off a chain reaction of needing more sweets to fulfill the craving, rendering them unable to stop eating.

“That pie often opens the floodgates to cravings, and many of us have spent holiday season after holiday season telling ourselves to have just one little treat,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Denise Lamothe, a leading expert on
emotional eating and resident psychologist for Bach Original Flower Remedies.“Instead we binge our way through, not only the holiday season, but also well beyond the New Year.”

How Common is Binge Eating?

Binge eating disorder, also known as compulsive overeating, affects an estimated 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men, making it a more common eating disorder than anorexia and bulimia. And not all people with binge eating disorders are obese or overweight.

The danger is that most people with this disorder don’t seek out help until after they have put on excess weight and are experiencing health problems.

Emotional Eating and the Food Addiction Connection

Whether it’s warming up a bowl of chicken noodle soup after a long day or grabbing a box of chocolate chip cookies and large glass of milk for comfort after an argument with a significant other, emotional eating provides us with a temporary outlet for dealing with stress. It’s when food becomes the main coping mechanism for stress that it turns into weight gain, obesity and out of control food addiction.

Emotional eating is often used as a replacement or substitute to:

  • Fill a void in your life
  • Feel better or cheer yourself up
  • Calm down or soothe your nerves
  • Escape from problems
  • Cope with stress and worries
  • Reward yourself

Oftentimes people with binge eating disorders do what they can to hide their problem from others to avoid embarrassment and sneak times to eat by themselves when others aren’t around. If you think you have, or know of someone who may have, a problem with binge eating, there are six symptoms of binge eating to look out for:

  • Inability to stop eating or control what you’re eating
  • Eating huge amounts of food at a rapid pace
  • Continuing to eat even after you’re full
  • Putting food in hiding spots or stockpiling it to save to eat later
  • Eating normal amounts when around others, but gorging yourself once you find time
  • Eating non-stop throughout the course of the day with no designated meal times

What Happens When Binge Eating is Left Untreated?

The shameful feelings that keep binge eating a secret can eventually start to take a negative impact on physical, emotional and social health and lead to insomnia, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and another health problem that can take a big toll on your health — weight gain.

Over a period of time, overeating catches up with the physical body and usually turns into obesity, which is linked with several medical complications. Some common health problems that are associated with obesity include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Sleep apnea

Tips to Overcoming Binge Eating

One of the most important things to do in escaping the grasp of binge eating is creating new life patterns and establishing a new and healthy relationship with food, one that focuses on your nutritional needs as opposed to your emotional ones. Healthy eating means planning and preparing wellbalanced meals, making healthy food choices when eating out, listening to your body and breaking out of emotional eating patterns.

Taking a proactive approach by building strong support groups, maintaining a close connection with your family and friends and soothing your emotions by practicing relaxation techniques are great life strategies to implement in your daily schedule to help you conquer binge eating.

Seven Helpful Strategies to Beat Binge Eating

1. Don’t skip breakfast—Get a jumpstart on your metabolism by beginning each day with a healthy breakfast. Taking a pass on breakfast often leads to episodes of overeating later in the day.

2. Keep junk foods out of the house— The easiest way to avoid junk foods, desserts and unhealthy foods, which
often triggers binge eating, is by not buying them

3. Stop dieting—The thought of deprivation and hunger that is often attached to the word “diet” elicits increased urges to overeat. Instead of focusing on restriction and dieting, think of being kind to your body by enjoying nutritious foods in moderation

4. Start exercising daily—Along with the obvious benefit of weight loss, exercise also offers many emotional benefits such as being a natural mood elevator and stress reducer, both of which will help stop emotional eating. Including a mind-body exercise regime is the most ideal way to address your physical and emotional needs

5. Learn and practice stress-relief strategies—Find some healthy stress-relieving techniques that you can utilize during weak moments. At home or at work when stress levels feel overwhelming, find a place you can take a break creating a calming atmosphere to help relieve stress that invokes your body’s natural relaxation response. For many people this can take as little as 5 minutes to 15 minutes by simply focusing on relaxing images of tropical places and or on past relaxing experiences with loved ones A nurturing calming break accompanied by relaxing, soothing music thanks to today’s technology with ear pieces are ideal tools for stress reduction, and using it repeatedly helps to develop a “relaxation habit” so that you find yourself automatically relaxing during break periods of the day.

6. Make good nutrition a lifelong habit —Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to deprive yourself of the
foods you love. Rather it’s about increased energy levels, feeling good about yourself and making wise food
choices that will greatly improve your overall health. Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of your
daily intake. These food groups offer a big bang for your health buck, as they are high complex carbohydrates, fiber,
vitamins and minerals

7. Experiment by trying a wide variety of foods—Now is the time to explore the produce section and try vegetables and fruits that you’ve never tried before. Healthy eating is a great opportunity to expand your horizons and open yourself up to trying new foods.

This also means altering your diet to be mainly fresh, whole foods, rather than processed varieties. When prepared with locally grown ingredients from a source you trust, these are among some of the safest meals you can eat.
Because you’ll know what you’re eating is so good for your body and mind, it’ll likely help improve your mood too, making it less likely that you’ll feel like overeating late



Why is Your Body Toxic? How You Can Easily Remove and Stop Absorbing Toxins!

Thanks to the industrial revolution, there are now more than 85,000 chemicals registered with the U.S. government, and about 1,000 new chemicals are added every year. These chemicals, it’s becoming increasingly clear, have found their way into the most pristine and isolated corners on Earth — even the snow atop the Andes Mountains is no longer pure.

But it’s not just the oceans, mountains and air that are suffering from chemical overload, of course. Your body, too, is likely circulating a chemical cocktail through your cells as we speak, a cocktail the likes of which has never been experienced by the human body.

You Probably Have Hundreds of Chemicals in Your Body The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, 2009, the most comprehensive assessment to date of the exposure of the U.S. population to chemicals in the environment.
Chemicals were measured from blood and urine samples of about 2,400 people participating in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an ongoing survey that samples the U.S. population every two years.

Researchers found 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine samples, a staggering 75 of which had never been measured in the U.S. population before. Among the new chemicals detected were:

  • Acrylamide
  • Arsenic
  • Environmental phenols, including bisphenol A and triclosan
  • Perchlorate

According to the report’s Executive Summary, researchers found widespread exposure to the following industrial chemicals as well:

  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which are fire retardants used in certain
    manufactured products. These accumulate in the environment and in human fat
    tissue. One type of polybrominated diphenyl ether, BDE-47, was found in the serum
    of nearly all of the participants.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA), a component of epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastics that
    may have potential reproductive toxicity, was found in more than 90% of the urine
    samples representative of the U.S. General population exposure to BPA may occur
    through ingestion of foods in contact with BPA-containing materials, the Summary
  • Several of the perfluorinated chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid
    (PFOA), which is created through the manufacture of Teflon and other non-stick
    materials. Most participants had measurable levels of this environmental

The 75 new chemicals detected in humans, which have never before been found, are as follows:
Acrylamide Adducts
Total and Speciated Arsenic
Arsenic, Total
Arsenic (V) acid
Arsenous (III) acid
Dimethylarsinic acid

Monomethylarsonic acid
Trimethylarsine oxide
Disinfection By-Products (Trihalomethanes)
Bromoform (Tribromomethane)
Chloroform (Trichloromethane)
Dibromochloromethane (Chlorodibromomethane)
Environmental Phenols
Bisphenol A (2,2-bis[4-Hydroxyphenyl] propane)
Benzophenone-3 (2-Hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone)
4-tert-Octyl phenol (4-[1,1,3,3-Tetramethylbutyl] phenol)
Triclosan (2,4,4′-Trichloro-2′-hydroxyphenyl ether)
Non-dioxin-like Polychlorinated Biphenyls
2,2′,3,3′,4,4′,5,5′,6,6′-Decachlorobiphenyl (PCB 209)
2,2’3,5′-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 44)
2,2′,4,5′-Tetrachlorobiphenyl (PCB 49)
Perfluorinated Compounds
Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBuS)
Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDeA)
Perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoA)
Perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA)
Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)
Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
Perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA)
Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)
2-(N-Ethyl-Perfluorooctane sulfonamido) acetic acid (Et-PFOSA-AcOH)
2-(N-Methyl-perfluorooctane sulfonamido) acetic acid (Me-PFOSA-AcOH)
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUA)
Phthalate Metabolite
Mono-(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (MECPP)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE) and Polybrominated Biphenyl
2,2′,3,4,4′,5′,6-Heptabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 183)
2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-Hexabromobiphenyl (BB 153)
2,2′,4,4′,5,5′-Hexabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 153)
2,2′,4,4′,5,6′-Hexabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 154)
2,2′,3,4,4′-Pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 85)
2,2′,4,4′,5-Pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 99)
2,2′,4,4′,6-Pentabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 100)
2,2′,4,4′-Tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 47)
2,3′,4,4′-Tetrabromodiphenyl ether (BDE 66)
2,2′,4-Tribromodiphenyl ether (BDE 17)
2,4,4′-Tribromodiphenyl ether (BDE 28)
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Chlorobenzene (Monochlorobenzene)
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)
1,2-Dichlorobenzene (o-Dichlorobenzene)
1,3-Dichlorobenzene (m-Dichlorobenzene)
1,4-Dichlorobenzene (p-Dichlorobenzene, Paradichlorobenzene)
1,2-Dichloroethane (Ethylene dichloride)
1,1-Dichloroethene (Vinylidene chloride)
Dichloromethane (Methylene chloride)
Methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE)
Tetrachloromethane (Carbon tetrachloride)

1,1,1-Trichloroethane (Methyl chloroform)
Trichloroethene (Trichloroethylene)
m- and p-Xylene

Even Babies are Toxic!
In an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study of the umbilical cord blood of 10 newborn babies in the United
States, researchers found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in babies’ cord blood,
including pesticides, consumer product ingredients and wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage. Also
found in the babies’ cord blood samples were:

  • Eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellants in fast food packaging, clothes and textiles
  • The Teflon chemical PFOA, which has been called a likely human carcinogen by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, was among the eight perfluorochemicals detected.
  • Dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products
  • Numerous pesticides
  • Further, out of the 287 total chemicals detected in umbilical cord blood, EWG reports that:
  • 180 cause cancer in humans or animals
  • 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system
  • 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests

“The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied,” EWG’s report stated.

Is it Possible to Reduce Your Exposure?
Environmental toxins are becoming increasingly pervasive, and likely play a large role in a wide variety of disease, including cancer. David Servan-Schreiber, a founding member of Doctors Without Borders in the U.S. and a
cancer researcher and survivor, said in a Popular Science article, “Reducing exposure to many of the well characterized chemical carcinogens abundant in our modern environments (pesticides, estrogens, benzene, PCBs, PVCs and bisphenol-A from heating liquids in plastic containers; alkylphenols in cleaning products; parabenes and phthalates in cosmetics and shampoos, etc.) would contribute to lessen the cancer risk.” That said, is it really possible to reduce your exposure to these widespread toxins? Yes! There are many strategies available to help you keep your chemical exposure to a minimum, both in the immediate future and the long term, and we’ve listed the key steps you can take here.

  • Six Top Steps to Reduce Chemical Exposure … and Detox Toxins Buy Organic, But Eating Fresh Whole Foods Does NOT Mean Necessary Nutrients Will Be Absorbed.
    Aid Your Bodies Necessary Nutrients Absorption! Buying organic produce, meats, eggs and dairy products as much as possible to reduce pesticide exposure. However, it is believed that many if not most fresh healthy foods and nutrients are being expelled faster and more often today than ever before. This is due to the body’s effort to protect itself from the toxins in processed foods and unhealthy foods it is most often exposed to daily since childhood. Even vitamins and most supplements are NOT being absorbed to the levels your body needs in many if not most cases. Otherwise there would not be the continued high deficiencies found following regular daily dosages. To absorb the nutrients in healthy food and most vitamin supplements today
    requires aid to the digestive system with natural health supplements. This is to better assure the absorption of healthy fresh nutrients your body craves and needs and to pass through the lining of your gut to stay healthy and ideally free of disease. You are only as healthy as what you absorb, so along with reducing the
    toxins in your food, you want to make sure you’re absorbing the beneficial nutrients as well. Having the right type of enzymes available will also help reduce stress on your organs and systems involved in detox efforts.
    As your body absorbs more of the vital nutrients and antioxidants needed, along with having the right mix of probiotics, the process of detoxification will be more effective including the final intestinal elimination.
    If toxins sit in your intestines too long they can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream to cause further problems. Processed foods also contain preservatives, artificial colors and flavors and many other additives that are not good for your body. To really give your body a break, cut back on processed food and focus on whole, natural foods instead. And as much as possible, choose foods free of pesticides, genetically modified ingredients and other additives. If you must budget, choose organic animal products (meat, eggs and dairy) since animal products accumulate toxins fastest. This should be followed by purchasing organic produce, especially that produce which tends to consistently have the highest number of pesticides. See the “Dirty Dozen List” at www.organic.org
  • Purify Your Home’s Air
    A study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found significantly higher concentrations of 20 different compounds right inside your home, not outdoors.
  • You can help keep the air inside your home pure by: Whenever possible, open your windows to promote circulation of fresh air in your home Run your exhaust fans in your bathroom, kitchen and attic for outside
  • Invest in an air-circulation system to help circulate the fresh air into your
    house and get rid of stale air
  • Remove Toxins From Your Drinking Water
    Drinking pure water helps flush toxins from your system while helping your cells function more efficiently. But be careful not to drink just any water. A recent Environmental Working Group study found 141 unregulated chemicals, and 119 regulated ones, in U.S. drinking water supplies. And bottled water, which typically comes in BPA-containing bottles and may in fact be nothing more than bottled tap water, is not a safe alternative.
  • Use Natural Cleaning Products in Your Home Using typical cleaning sprays and air fresheners at least once a week can increase your risk of asthma by 30-50 percent. Instead of using these toxic chemicals, which you
    breathe in and which linger in your home (in your carpets, fabrics, household dust, counter tops and more), opt for antimicrobial cloths, mops, dusters and mitts, which are used by leading hospitals and other healthcare organizations, for all of your cleaning needs. Antimicrobial products contain built-in
    antimicrobial protection and are made of ultra microfibers that are only 3 microns in size, which is even smaller than many bacteria. Because of this unique ultra microfiber construction of such products, you can reduce the amount of chemical cleaners you use, or even eliminate them altogether.
    So, unlike ordinary cleaning rags and sponges, you don’t need to use chemical cleaners to achieve the deepest clean, which makes them perfect foranyone who’s looking to keep toxic cleaners OUT of their home.
  • Leave Toxins at Your Door
    You’d be surprised at the number of bacteria, germs and chemical contaminants you pick up and track around on the bottom of your shoes. This is why taking off your shoes and leaving them at the front door when you
    come in is key to keeping your home as germ-free as possible.
  • If you have toddlers who crawl on the floor, or if you like to walk barefoot, this is especially important. And here’s something you may not know: Dirt in your home has been verified as one of today’s top health risks and one of two primary counter-measures to the risks (the other is proper home cleaning) is to use high-quality mats and rugs at your doorways and in other key high-traffic areas. Consider investing in high-quality commercial-grade doormats for your home that trap soil and liquids in the mat so they don’t drain or track onto your floors.
  • Use Safe Soaps for Your Body and Your Laundry
    When you slather on personal care products, you could be slathering on chemicals that are easily absorbed
    by your body. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found hat 57 percent of baby soaps — certainly
    considered to be among the most pure and gentle soap there is — contains 1,4-dioxane, a probable human
    carcinogen that readily penetrates your skin! You should know that the government does not regulate what “natural” means in soaps labeled natural either, so commercial soaps can freely claim to be natural while still using the synthetic compounds discussed above — and they do. So finding safe and toxin-free soaps and body washes is not as simple as looking for the “all-natural,” organic” or even “hypoallergenic” label, as these
    products can still contain dangerous ingredients. The term “hypoallergenic” can actually mean whatever a particular company wants it to mean, according to the FDA. A general rule of thumb? The fewer ingredients listed, the better. Some generally safe and gentle ingredients are organic oils (such as olive oil), essential oils, castile soap, aloe vera, plant extracts.

Toddler Safety: Eight Important but Overlooked Ways to Keep a Baby Safe in Your Home

Accidents are the leading cause of death among toddlers, so keeping your home baby proof is an essential part of being a parent, grandparent or anyone who has babies and toddlers who visit their home. While most people are aware of the major risks, such as keeping toxic chemicals and medicines out of the reach of children, there are many other, less known ways that children can get hurt. If children are ever in your home, here are the top things you can do to make sure that they stay out of harm’s way.

1. Cover Your Electrical Outlets

Most electrical outlets are located in areas of the home that children can easily reach, and close to 4,000 injuries associated with electrical outlets are treated in U.S. emergency rooms every year, says the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). About one-third of these occur when kids looking to explore insert metal objects like keys and hairpins into the outlets. Since you can’t move your outlets away from your kids, it’s imperative to cover your outlets with the outlet covers (most ideal are sliding outlet covers requiring one or two screws, as two are needed in most newer homes). Sliding outlet covers are typically easy-to-install spring activated, so they automatically cover outlets when any plug is removed. This means kids can’t insert objects or fingers into the outlets at any time.

2. Keep Your Windows Secured

Thousands of young children are killed or injured from falling out of windows every year, according to CPSC. Since keeping your windows closed is an unpleasant solution (especially during the summer months), be sure to always supervise children, including, and especially, when they have access to an open window, and consider using a window safeguard to control the height or width of your window openings.

3. Get Rid of Standing Water

Children 4 years old and younger are at the highest risk of drowning. Most drownings involving children happen when a child is left alone in a bathtub or falls into a pool, but any standing water, such as in a bucket or toilet, can pose a risk. Toilets are especially risky, since many people are unaware that a curious toddler, when going in for a closer look, can fall in to a toilet headfirst and drown. Toilet lids should always be kept down, but to prevent clever toddlers from opening them up we recommend the inexpensive and simple-to-install Toilet Lock that won the “Show
Off” award for ingenious, practical products from the Juvenile Products Manufacturer Association.

This clever toilet lock that works with any type of toilet seat is made of strong plastic that, in its locked position, keeps the toilet lid securely closed, preventing little ones from accessing the bowl. Grown-ups can swing the toilet lock back to an “off” position and open up the lid easily, without fumbling.

4. Use Natural Cleaning Supplies

Most cleaning supplies contain hazardous chemicals that can easily be transferred from your floor onto little bare feet and hands, and right into a toddler’s mouth. If you have kids around, and for your health too, you should only use non toxic cleaners (especially on the floors). Looking for a natural line of cleansers? They should contain
no hazardous ingredients, petrochemicals, perfumes, dyes or animal byproducts.

5. Remove Choking/Strangulation Hazards

Choking is a common cause of accidental death among infants under 1 year old.

To protect infants from choking:

  • Avoid all foods that could get stuck in your child’s throat, such as popcorn, grapes, raisins, nuts, hard candies, nuts, cut-up hotdogs, etc.
  • Never let a child of any age eat or suck on anything while lying down.
  • Keep floors, tables and cabinet tops free from small objects that could be swallowed (such as rings, small batteries, coins, nails, deflated balloons, etc.).
  • Make sure that all cords from draperies and blinds are secured safely out of toddlers’ reach.

6. Be Careful While Cooking

Cooking is one of the most hazardous activities when it comes to burns, as a child could reach into a hot oven out of
curiosity or pull down a pot of boiling water from a stove top. It’s extremely important to always supervise kids in the
kitchen, and be sure to turn pot handles toward the inside of the stove (even adults can accidentally bump into a protruding pot handle, causing it to spill on a child).

7. Protect Tiny Fingers From Slamming Windows and Door

Kids’ tiny fingers can be crushed or even amputated if they get caught in a door, particularly the hinge side, or window. In fact, a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that in children aged 4 and younger, three out of four finger amputations resulted from fingers that were caught, jammed or crushed in an opening or closing door. Finding and installing foam Finger Guards on your doors, particularly on all doors that children may be opening and closing can be a good preventive solution.

8. Block Off Stairways to Prevent Falls

According to the National Safe Kids Campaign (NSKC), in one year, 121 children aged 14 and under died from unintentional falls, and more than 2.3 million children aged 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Says the NSKC, more than 80 percent of fall-related injuries among children ages 4 and
under occur in the home. Furniture, stairs, windows, playgrounds — even baby walkers — pose a fall risk to small children. To keep toddlers safe, be sure to block off stairways, windows or other dangerous areas. You can also use corner guards to prevent serious head traumas that can occur from falling against sharp corners of furniture.