Chapter 15

This chapter speaks about consumerism and complementary and alternative healthcare. First it goes into detail about our responsibility for our own health. This includes self care practices like getting routine check-ups, performing self breast exams, learning first aid, and being able to check blood pressure and temperature. These simple tasks and help diagnose from home, instead of going to the doctor for acute care. We should seek help when we have a serious injury, chest pains, trauma to the head or spine, high fever over 103 degrees, signs of stroke, unexplained bleeding, persistent vomiting or blue-colored lips / nail beds to name a few. In some instances doctors will provide a placebo which will improve health without active ingredients. When choosing a healthcare provider there are different questions to ask yourself. These may include understanding their training background, what they specialize in, and what treatments do they provide. One type is Allopathic medicine, a traditional Western practice. They use evidence-based medicine to decide on options for treating illness. Primary care Practitioners (PCP), would be the type you see how routine ailments or general medical advice. Osteopaths are GP similar to MD’s that specialize in skeletal and muscular health. Ophthalmologist perform surgery on the eyes, and optometrists evaluate visual issues. There are also Nurse practitioners or NPs with advanced nurse training to prescribe medicine; similarly Physician Assistants also can write prescriptions but with supervision. Prescriptions are given to treat ailments, and one should beware of buying them off the internet. Many of the websites used to fill prescriptions selling counterfeit drugs. Over the counter drugs do not need a doctor’s prescription.One can get medicine to help relieve symptoms of the common cold to a mild headache. There are also complementary and alternative medicine practices that are used in place of conventional medicine. People who pick these are often educated women that have pain conditions, gastrointestinal disorders or sleeping problems. These holistic approaches are things like natural herbs or vitamins, deep breathing, meditation, chiropractic, massage, yoga, or diet therapy. Traditional Chinese medicine is an alternative medicine that uses acupuncture. Ayurveda focuses on balancing the body through diet, massage, and yoga to name a few. Similarly, manipulative body based practices like Chiropractic medicine focuses on the spine and alignment issues. Massage therapy can help remove knots in muscles and improve flexibility. Herbal remedies and supplements benefit immunity, digestion, circulatory health, and can even reduce stress. Research shows that common herbs like echinacea, flaxseed, ginko, ginseng, and green tea can improve health. Supplements like coenzyme Q10 can improve heart functioning. Vitamin E can reduce risk of heart disease. Melatonin can regulate circadian rhythms and treat insomnia. These are not typically covered by health insurance. In the US there is typically a premiums people have to pay for insurance; these include deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance. Medicare covers Americans 65 years or older and the permanently disabled. They place limits on provider reimbursements. Medicaid is a welfare program that helps about 62 million people that are low income. Although these are available people are still facing issues having access to health care due to cost of care and insurance. Healthcare is a human right; everyone should be able to have access to medical care because it is not a commodity.

I can relate to this chapter because I personally choose to use complementary and alternative forms of medicines. I have never been one to want to take medicine or go to the doctor and prefer to take care of my digestive health through nutrition and also herbs and supplements. I have been adding flax-seed and chia seeds to my diet as a way to get Omega 3 vitamins. I also take a multivitamin, calcium, fish oil, super B complex, biotin, and iron to ensure I am getting vitamins that I am not through diet. When taking these I feel physical benefits. Meditation, breathing, and yoga practices help with reducing stress. They are also beneficial to circulation and digestion. These are important because I am lactose intolerant and anemic so instead of going to the doctor these forms of self-care are something I can perform from home. This chapter also gave risks for herbal supplements I was not previously aware of; I found it interesting because I had been putting off going to the doctor and I am prone to kidney infections. I had given in and they put me on antibiotics that had not been seeming to work as quickly as the NP had said – which after reading about flax-seed slowing down medicine absorption I am curious if that would be the reason why. Due to being sick and bedridden I have not practiced yoga as much as I have wanted. I try to stretch when I wake up or before bed to reduce the aches I am feeling. Along with the methods they noted for self-care in this chapter I also think that listening to your body and resting is important as well. So for the last week that is my plan.

As for my semester goals I feel like I could have pushed myself to put in more effort and learn poses that are out of my comfort zone. I think that after learning more about personal goals and how my body is responding I would have chosen to write my goals differently. I still believe that patience, balance and consistency have helped through the semester. In the future I plan on utilizing peer knowledge to help with my practice rather than trying to guide myself alone. I am excited to have more time to focus on myself this summer and work on personal goals then as well.

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Chapter 14

This chapter spoke about environmental health aspects. First going into detail about how overpopulation of the earth is causing harm to the the ecosystem. In specific it is killing off species because it is destructing habitats like forests and oceans. The problems being causes are pollution to these areas where the water has become contaminated, and places that were once home to ecosystems are now taken over my argriculture and infrastructure to accomodate the growing population. The pollution does not stop at water, it also affects the air. Chemicals being let off from burning fossil fuels are depleting the Ozone layer, which protects the earth from the intense heat of the sun. A lot of the smoke and smog is coming from carbon dioxide from cars, but also cigarette smoke. The depleting ozone layer is leading to global warming and climate change, where there is concern for extreme weather patterns to threaten the globe. To help these issues we need to take a look at what is polluting the earth and why. Run off of pesticides from farming, production of manufactured goods creating large amounts of solid waste – issues that we can reduce the harm of by reducing, reusing and recycling. Being sustainable not only helps the planet, but it helps ourselves. Radiation is caused by things we use everyday, and also from nuclear power plants and xray machines. We have the ability to help the earth by being sustainable. Going green means using energy efficient electronics, using a bicycle instead of a car, supporting organic gardens, and lessening the amount of waste we produce. On average an adult can create up to 4.4 pounds of waste per day. This is shocking to me because most of this is not recycled and ends up in places like the Great Pacific Garage Patch.

 

This chapter relates to my yoga practice because I cultivate compassion and gratitude for life. In my life I choose to be sustainable by conserving energy, unplugging electronics when they are not being used, turning off lights, and only turning my heat up to 60. Luckily where I live we are provided with a recycle bin, and my roommate and I utilize this often. I use a reusable water bottle, and use reusable containers to store leftovers. My roommate and I have recently been talking about starting our own compost as a way to reduce the amount of waste we produce, for the most part i mainly eat vegetables and fruits so instead of throwing it into a landfill we could make healthy soil for the plants in our house. As for yoga this week I have been trying new poses and have been trying to remember to be patient. I have found myself getting discouraged when I am not able to master something like I see the professionals do, but I remind myself that they have practice for years. This week I worked on a pose similar to a plank, but it required my leg to be rested on my elbow. Since I was practicing at the gym where there were no mirrors I used my phone to record myself, and used it as a reference to fix my form. After a few tries on each leg I was able to find a balance that I was happy with.

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Chapter 13

This chapter spoke a lot about different instances of violence and unintentional injuries. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, overall crime and certain violent crime has decreased in the past few years. Although we are seeing a decrease it does not mean it is not still happening. Gun violence on campuses has been a relevant topic in the news, yet the most common type of campus violence is in relationships. Most of these instances go unreported. There are multiple factors that contribute to violence including community contexts like unsafe environments that are exposed to drugs, guns and gangs. Societal factors that promote male dominance over women is another factor. Religious beliefs and differences, political differences, breakdowns in the criminal justice system and stress are also all contributing factors that increase violent behaviors. Interpersonal violence can happen in different contexts, including homicide and hate crimes. Hate crimes are committed due bias against to racial, religious, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity. According to the FBI, hate crimes have seen a decrease, yet 48% are racial bias, 20% are sexual orientation bias, 19% toward religion, 11.5% ethnicity, 1.6% disability. Then in 2012, gender and identity were added to the statistic. These are because of prejudice and discrimination, yet there are still types of violence that happen between loved ones. Domestic violence happens in the home environment, and is when are person uses force to maintain control over another family member or partner. Similarly, Intimate partner violence is the physical, sexual, psychological harm in a partner/spouse relationship. Victims may endure a a cycle of violence that causes them to stay in the unhealthy relationship. The phases include: 1) Tension building – prior to the abuse, breakdowns in communication involving anger, psychological aggression, tension and fear occur. 2) Incident of acute battering – the batterer is trying to “teach a lesson”, afterward the batterer may respond with shock / denial and victim blame. 3) Remorse / reconciliation – “honeymoon” period, the batterer is kind, loving and swears to never do it again – triggers resurface and abuse cycle continues. In the instance of sexual victimization, the victim is forced to endure sexual acts or overtures. This includes harassment, stalking, assault and rape. Surveys show that bisexual women have the highest statistic of rape at 46.1%, heterosexual women next at 17.4% and lesbians at 13.1%. The rate of reported forced rapes / assaults has increased 49%, indicating that victims are more willing to come forward. There are still social contributors to sexual violence that promote it. They include trivialization, victim blaming, pressure, male socialization, male misperceptions, and situation factors. Ways to keep yourself safe from instances of rape are being safe on the internet and standing up for yourself, Keeping yourself safe in other ways include driving safety, not driving drunk, wearing a seatbelt, driving when alert, and not contributing to road rage will promote safety while behind the wheel. Injuries can happen anywhere including recreationally, excessive noise, and at home or work. Practicing conscious safety techniques like wearing a helmet, life jacket, ear plugs, and removing hazards will help to prevent injuries.

 

Taking care of my physical health has always been a way for me to feel as though I have a sense of control in this chaotic unpredictable world we live in. When I started to practice yoga, it was a way of mediating and clearing my mind. As referenced in previous chapters I was diagnosed with anxiety when I was younger; yoga has created an outlet for me to feel less worried about my safety. Growing up I had been exposed to different types of violence – media, relationship, hate crimes, domestic, rape, terrorism, the list goes on. After moving 50 miles away from home, and into an apartment in New Bedford, I am aware of the environmental contributors that increase the crime rates locally. Not having grown up in the area I am learning to be more on my toes for potential harm; being a young women I am more afraid to be in public than I should have to be – unfortunately that’s the times we live in and even our textbooks tell us we need to learn to prevent attacks rather than tell abusers to not abuse – makes sense (victim blaming is a real thing). Luckily yoga recenters my being and helps me remember that I am a resilient and strong. I do understand that even though it promotes well-being there is still the possibility of potential injury. Making sure I take steps to listen to my body is important, typically I set my mat over my rug for extra padding which reduces the pressure of weight on my knees / hands etc. After a semester of practice and listening to my body, I have learned it is most important to focus on what my body needs rather than what I mental striving to accomplish. Learning patience and a balance of these things I try to not push past my working edge. This week I had not practiced new poses, but I did do cycles of stretches that my body felt it needed most. In particular my hips and shoulders have been tighter than usual. On top of practice, I have been drinking more water, increased my protein intake and have been trying to get more sleep. Weather changes in New England are a roller coaster, good luck to those with allergies!! 

Due to my week I am lacking yoga shots,
but here is a picture of me after cardio & leg day
@ my local Workout World
(a place where I often fear my safety when in the parking lot late at night)
…unfortunate I have to feel that way. #NOMORE

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Chapter 12

Chapter 12 goes into detail about infections conditions. It explains how pathogens, which carry disease, can enter the body from kissing, touching, sexual relations, or touching infected items that an infected person had touched. A person can prevent themselves from getting diseases by using protection such as condoms, washing regularly with regular soap, getting check-ups, avoiding using dirty intravenous needles. Unfortunately, not all diseases are preventable due to genetics, environmental conditions, aging, and organism resistance. The immune system helps to rid the body of toxins like antigens that cause disease. White blood cells in the blood, lymph nodes and bone marrow attack the antigens. Sometimes the body can mistake cells and target the good cells, which is also known as Autoimmune diseases. When the body is fighting an infection it creates an inflammatory response – to recognize this it will have four cardinal signs – redness, swelling, pain, and heat. When the body has been exposed to a pathogen a vaccine can be administered, which create antibodies to fight future infections. There are different types of infections – bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, parasitic worms, and prions. Common types bacterial infections include staph, strep, meningitis, pneumonia, TB, and tick-borne diseases. They are able to be treated with antibiotics, however some are antibiotic resistant – superbugs that mutate to withstand effects of drugs. Common viral infections include mono, hepatitis, herpes, mumps, measles, and rubella. They are pathogens smaller than bacteria, and have incubation periods that take a length of time to develop in the body and show symptoms – which may mean they go unnoticed for years. They are also able to withstand heat, formaldehyde, and radiation which makes them hard to kill off. Yet, there are common viral infections like the cold and flu that are caused by a number of viruses, and are most commonly caught by hand to hand contact. Washing hands is the best way to help prevent catching the cold or flu. On the other hand infections like STI’s are not preventable through washing. There are 20 known types and they are most easily prevented through abstinence. If choosing to have sex using a condom can help increase the likelihood of not catching an STI. This is because they are caught through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex; where direct contact with bodily fluids transfer the infection. HIV/AID’s is an sexually transmitted disease that can also be caught through the shared use of needles. The most common STI is Chlamydia, the symptoms include painful urination, discharge, spotting between periods. If untreated it can produce complications like PID, UTI’s or conjunctivitis in newborns; these are common because the symptoms are not easily recognized. Syphilis is caused by bacteria and is often mistaken for other infections – can be confirmed through blood tests. Herpes is characterized by red blisters that hold a clear fluid containing the virus, and it has no cure. Many infections can be treated with medications

In regards to my yoga goal, keeping my mat clean is important to help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses. I have a fairly regular immune system, and I typically will only get sick once a year – luckily I do not have seasonal allergies! Yet, I am allergic to amoxicillin so when I am sick I do have to take alternative antibiotics. I do work in a hospital, so often we are wearing gowns / masks / gloves and frequently cleaning surfaces and washing our hands in an effort to avoid the contraction of MRSA or other diseases. My work also requires the employees to get a flu shot, and so far I suppose it has worked in my favor. Yoga helps lower my stress hormones that can compromise my immune function. It also helps oxygenate my blood and rid my body of toxins. This week I had not been home as much and was not able to practice consistently. Yet, when I did get the chance I made sure to make the practice worth my time. I tried a few different poses, and worked on flexibility in my hips. This week I managed to accomplish a lift lotus pose. I was able to do this using a lot of core / arm muscles and also the flexibility in my hip joints.

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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 speaks about the cardiovascular system. A network of blood vessels and arteries that pump blood to and from the heart and circulate it through the body. When the heart pumped the blood it oxygenates it so that oxygen can be brought to other parts of the body. Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death and takes more lives than cancer, respiratory diseases and accidents combined. The disease can be broken down into different issues, including Hypertension (high blood pressure), Atherosclerosis (hardened plaques in the arteries), coronary heart disease, and stroke. Of all Coronary Heart Disease is the more prevalent killer. It causes heart attacks, also known as myocardial infarctions, that can cause irreversible damage to the heart. Genetics are a risk factor that contribute to contracting these, but diet and lifestyle are the main causes. They are all classified due to problems with blood clots, irregular blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol, or irregular blood sugar levels. To reduce the risk of these a person should watch their diet. Foods that are high in low-density lipoproteins will cause increased bad cholesterol levels, and should be avoided to lessen the chances of build up plaques in the arteries. Consuming high-density lipoproteins can reduce the bad cholesterol in the body which improves blood flow to the heart. It is also helpful to consume fiber and eat less sodium for the same reasons. Although diet, exercise, and not smoking can help reduce risk factors there are also non modifiable risks like inflammatory reactions. A person can get surgery or take medication to help. Other diseases that can sometimes be helped with the use of surgery or medication is Cancer; a disease that is characterised by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. There are different types of cancers like carcinomas, sarcomas, lymphomas, and leukemias. They happen in different parts of the body. When a clump of cells form they are sometimes benign meaning it is a noncancerous tumor, but they can also be malignant or cancerous. When untreated cancerous cells can metastasis and spread through the body.  Genetics, environment, lifestyle, and medical treatments are all risk factors that contribute to a person’s likelihood of developing cancer. Ways to reduce the risks are not smoking, having a balanced diet, exercising and maintaining healthy body weight, avoiding harsh UV rays, and checking for abnormal signs that may indicate possible cancers. Treatments include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Another cardiovascular disease known as Diabetes. There is two types, type 1 where the body naturally is unable to produce insulin to regular blood sugar. Type 2 is onset due to excessive intake of sugar and obesity; which causes the body to stop producing insulin to metabolize sugars in the blood.

 

I am driven to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce my risks for diseases like the ones talked about in chapter 11. Cardiovascular diseases are extremely prevalent in my family. Heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, lung cancer and hypertension have all effected direct relatives of mine. Not only are genetics a risk factor, but almost all of my family smokes cigarettes, lacks proper nutrition and avoids exercise like it’s their jobs. Growing up in an environment where I saw how these things can cause major health issues, I wanted to ensure I took better care of my body. I am proud to say I have never smoked cigarettes. I try to stick to foods that are full of healthy fats (like peanut butter). I also try to stick to natural sugars in fruits, but still will treat myself occasionally to sweets. Aside from regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, yoga is also beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Stretching and dynamic poses are both great for increasing blood flow to different areas of the body. As an anemic, I often have lessened blood flow to certain areas like my hands and feet. Poses like laying on your back with your legs up a wall help to promote movement of oxygenated blood through all parts of the body. My job requires me to sit in a chair for long periods of time, and to help prevent blood clots in my legs I frequently will stand up and stretch to keep things moving. One of my favorite poses that wells with circulation is the downward dog, simple and well-known for good reasons. Not only does it help with flexibility, but it helps direct blood to the hands and feet.

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Chapter 10

Chapter 10 Focuses on fitness. Fitness can be achieved by physical activity and exercise. To maintain health a person should engage in about 150 minutes of moderate intensity, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity or a combination each week. If the goal is weight loss, a person should engage in about 300 of moderate, 150 minutes of vigorous, or a combination of both intensities per week. Also an additional two days a week of muscle strengthening exercises is prefered. There are five major components of physical fitness including cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. These benefit in lessen chances of contracting chronic diseases, improve weight control, immunity, strength, mental health / stress management, and increase life span. When regaining motivation for physical activity, it is important to consult with a doctor to ensure you are in optimal condition. In order to maintain the motivation one should make it a priority by building it into your schedule. The activity chosen should be realistic to goals, ability, and accessibility. There are different types of equipment including stationary cardio machines, free weights, or resistance bands; these provide a variety of health benefits. SMART goals are objectives that provide guidelines to help achieve goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, time-oriented. When combined with the FITT principle (frequency, intensity, time, type), a workout program can be created according to individual goals and ability. There are different types of exercise like yoga, a mental and physical exercise, or sports like football. Certain special health populations may have to overcome challenges when exercising. Asthmatic, obese, hypertensive, diabetic, and elderly all physically compromised and need to be careful when engaging in vigorous exercise because of cardiovascular or respiratory complications. It is important to remember that food and water is fuel for the body; eating 3 hours prior to a workout will provide energy while post workout meals provide recovery. Staying hydrated helps the body function properly, and prevent dehydration. A person should have about .7-1.07 ounces of water to every ten pounds of body weight 4 hours prior to exercising. It is equally as important to replace the fluids lost during exercise; for every 2 pounds a person loses during a session they should drink 32 ounces of water. Supplements can be taken to improve strength, endurance, muscle mass, and weight loss. They often have negative side effects and are not beneficial long term. Injuries are common, and can be prevented by not overtraining and using appropriate footwear and protective equipment. Exercising in extreme heat can cause the body to overheat above the average body temperature of 98.6 degrees. Which can result in heat stroke/ exhaustion/ cramps, brain damage or death. Extreme cold can cause hypothermia, dropping the core body temperature. In order to test physical fitness a person can complete a fitness test of the five components of fitness.

 

This weeks chapter relates to my goals for various reasons. In order to practice yoga I need to increase flexibility, strength and endurance. Yoga is a combination of stretches, poses and repetitive movements. In my practice I have set SMART goals, that will motivate me to challenge myself. I had chosen to work on balance, consistency, patience, motivation, and stress management. In order to work on them I chose short term goals including 150 minutes of practice, incorporating a new pose, and increasing ability to hold pose each week. Regarding my smart goals, I have been able to practice, but not to that extent. I achieve a total of about 100 minutes of practice per week and have been able to master new poses. I usually am practicing in my own room, a classroom or at the gym where the temperature is average, and I am drinking fluids which is about 24 ounces during my workout (running / weight training / yoga). I notice that when wearing clothing like yoga pants and I am sweating, my body will start to cramp, to counteract this I dress in layers so I can lower my body temperature. I had been sore this week, and I did not want to push anything to far in order to prevent injuries. My goal has been to achieve the paradise pose. I found my biggest challenge to be getting my leg straight, which I am hoping to achieve when my hamstrings are not sore. Overall I am happy with my progress thus far.

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chapter 9

Chapter nine discusses aspects of the body including body fat and how it affects health and body image amongst different people. It talks about Body mass index, a person’s weight relative to their height, a way of determining if a person is obese. Obesity is when a person has a BMI over 25%. This means that they have an excessive amount of body fat. Knowing this a person can determine their risk for different diseases including heart disease, diabetes, or strokes. To maintain a healthy weight it is helpful for a person to understand the basics of calories needed for their body type. People have different metabolic rates which means they burn energy at different levels, some faster than others. If a person has a faster basal metabolic rate they will burn calories faster while expending energy. If a person is prone to this they will burn body fat faster and will need to intake more calories than those who do not. Often people fall into yoyo dieting, and fast fixes to burn fat; these methods are not effective because when starving the body of calories the body will hold on to access fat as a survival mechanism incase food is not available. After losing that fat quickly the motivation may be low, unhealthy habits may be regained when the diet is over, and the body will quickly develop fat to ensure they can survive the next time it is food deprived. Dieting can also cause negative body image and low self esteem. This is caused by media portraying the perfect body image as thin. This desire to be perfect can cause eating disorders to develop as ways to lose fat. Controlling diets by restrictive eating, binge and purging is detrimental to a person’s health and is not an effective way to maintain fat loss. On a personal note, in high school I had been diagnosed with the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. I had a low self esteem, and used the eating disorders as a way to cope with stress and feel control over the way I look. Unfortunately, I was unaware that this way of losing fat and becoming thin was not a healthy for my mental stability or my body. Over the course of junior year I lost 30 pounds and my mom sent me to get treatment for anorexia. Senior year I developed bulimia to hide my illness and have people stop telling me to “just eat”. I gained back the weight and people believed I was “healthy” again. After graduating from high school I got a reality check, I did not want to treat my body poorly and I did not want to end up in hospital for having a negative relationship with food. This is when I decided to take control and adopt positive coping mechanisms for stress, and get into shape for not only my appearance but for physical health. This included exercising to increase endorphins and happiness. I also maintained a well rounded diet ensuring that I intake enough calories for my metabolism. I maintain 120 pounds, 23 of which are body fat. Today, I practice yoga to center my mind and body, setting an intention to treat myself kindly. Yoga also helps to ensure flexibility in my muscles and joints, which can help prevent injury. I regularly do cardio, consisting of a one mile run or 10 minutes on the stairmaster for cardiovascular health. Also, I lift weights to maintain strength in my muscles which helps to prevent osteoporosis and muscular dystrophy. In relation to my goals, practicing yoga regularly helps to remind myself that my body is not just an image, it is necessary to live my life. I focus on my legs as a mode of transportation, and my arms to help complete tasks. I like to do basic sun salutation sequences for balance, strength, and flexibility. Adding in poses to broaden my practice keeps me motivated and achieving them is rewarding in itself. I have been working on my bird of paradise pose and am close to mastering it.
I have include photos of me when I suffered from my eating disorders and today in my healthy happy body!