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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Get Rid of 15 Pesky Health Problems

How to Get Rid of 15 Pesky Health Problems

How to Get Rid of 15 Pesky Health Problems - We’ve all woken up on the wrong side of the bed, overdone it on a Saturday night or put on extra pounds in all the wrong places. But how do we undo the damage?

Hangovers, cellulite, heartburn and other common health annoyances can sometimes seem impossible to get rid of, but often there’s a quick solution — or at least a good way to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. We collected expert advice on what to do when the unpleasant strikes. Follow these tips to find the best cure for what ails you.
Muffin top
That chub spilling over your jeans isn't just unsightly — it's unhealthy, too. "Fat around your belly can be a reflection of fat in your gut and in your liver, and that's when you start seeing people at an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease," says Dr. Steven Lamm, house physician on ABC's "The View."

Whittling your middle is the same as losing weight anywhere else, Lamm says: Eat less, watch your carb intake and try to get 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least four days a week. For extra help toning your tummy, try these ab-targeting yoga moves:
Man boobs
If your larger-than-normal pectorals are a result of being overweight, there's a simple cure: Eat healthier, work out and build muscle. Here are some exercises that will help eliminate "man boobs":
Bat wings
Upper arms that lack muscular definition are likely to be flabby, Lamm says, and women — who don't build muscle as easily as men do — are especially susceptible. To tone up those "bat wings" fast, get yourself a pair of 5- to 8-pound hand weights and focus three days a week on exercises that target both the biceps and triceps. Try these exercises:
There's no magic cure to rid yourself of "cottage cheese thighs," caused when the skin covering your butt and thighs loses firmness, allowing underlying fat to push through toward the surface. But there are ways to reduce cellulite's appearance, with exercises targeting your glutes, hamstrings and thighs.
"Skin-firming" topical creams and lotions, which claim to smooth out bumps and stimulate circulation, may reduce cellulite's appearance temporarily. If you're willing to pay for more-permanent results, technologies such as Thermage CL are available at medical spas and laser centers) and Smart Lip is performed by dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Both treatments could improve the appearance of dimples long term.
Teeth stains
Beverages such as red wine, coffee and dark soda can do a number on your pearly whites. Toothpastes with special chemicals or polishes and store-bought whitening products may lighten your teeth a shade or two, but for more effective treatments, ask your dentist about stronger, in-office procedures.

You can also try a natural approach to teeth brightening — a mix of strawberry pulp and baking soda. Find out how to make and apply it. Just be sure not to do this more than once a week, as too much acid from the fruit can damage your teeth's enamel.
"Alcohol is a toxin, and if you drink too much, your body has to work overtime to metabolize that toxin," says Lamm. "The short answer here is that it's not about the cure, it's about prevention."

Still, there are some things that may help if it's too late for prevention. Refuel with lots of water, fruit juice and healthy foods that can help undo some of the damage: These foods, for example, can replenish sodium and potassium and boost your blood sugar.
Bags under eyes
Because the skin under your eyes is so thin, the underlying blood vessels can be more obvious. When these blood vessels become inflamed, it shows on your face as dark or puffy areas under your eyes.

To restrict blood vessels, use an eye cream with caffeine. To cover up damage that's already done, try a creamy concealer that's one shade lighter than your own skin tone. Match it to the inside of your arm, which tends to be the lightest skin on your body.
Excess gas usually is a result of what you eat or how you eat it, Lamm says. Many people have trouble processing certain foods — dairy and gluten products are two big ones — and the digestive system creates excess gas.

Which foods are known for creating excess gas?

If you find that particular foods give you a lot of gas, avoiding them — or taking a supplement with them — may help. You can also cut out behaviors that may cause you to swallow a lot of air, Lamm says.
Bad breath
Bad breath — otherwise known by its medical name — is caused by certain gasses released from your body or by bacteria, either in your mouth or your sinuses. Treating the underlying cause, such as a sinus infection or a digestion issue, may be the fastest way to fix the problem.

If your bad breath is persistent and you can't identify the cause yourself, talk to your dentist to rule out gum disease, plaque or gingivitis. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily can keep harmful bacteria at bay, and avoiding foods with potent odors may help as well.
Skin tags
Skin tags are tiny, soft flaps of skin that may appear on the neck, armpits and upper trunk. Experts don't know what causes them, Lamm says, but they do know that the growths tend to appear after middle age. They also know how to get rid of them. "A dermatologist can just snip them off at a regular doctor's visit," he says.

Lamm warns, however, that people who have skin tags may also be at risk for another potentially serious condition . "If you all of a sudden have a lot of these on your skin, talk to your doctor," he says.
The searing pain in your chest known as heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows the wrong way back up the esophagus.

To prevent it from happening in the future, avoid overeating; identify and avoid "trigger" foods, such as caffeine, chocolate and anything spicy; and cut back on alcohol, which can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid to flow back up.

When heartburn does strike, a nonprescription antacid or proton pump inhibitor (what is that, exactly?) may provide relief — but talk to your doctor if it's a frequent problem.
Stress and anxiety
The key to handling any stressful situation with ease is to be prepared, Lamm says. Prioritize your schedule, don't take on more than you can handle and practice time-management techniques — whether that means carrying a calendar everywhere you go, programming reminders into your cell phone or setting a goal to take care of problems as soon as they arise.

While you're at it, be sure to schedule some time to do something relaxing: yoga, meditation, exercise or even just a few minutes of deep breathing.

Need to calm down fast? Try this traditional Chinese medicine technique, which is believed to relieve stress and tension in the upper body.
Tossing and turning often occurs when we don't properly prepare our bodies for sleep, Lamm says. "We go from high-intensity stimulation of the brain — running around outside, watching TV, being on the computer — and expect ourselves to just flow smoothly to sleep," he says. "That doesn't happen."

Instead, give yourself time before bed to mentally unwind. If that doesn't help, ask yourself if you can pinpoint the reason for your sleeplessness. Is it digestion issues? Stress? A new schedule? Once you address the underlying cause, your sleep may improve on its own; if not, talk to your doctor about sleep medications or behavioral therapy to get you back on track.
"A headache is not a diagnosis; it's a symptom," Lamm says. The first thing to do when treating one is to determine what caused it. "People may not appreciate how much lifestyle contributes to headaches," he says. "If you're not sleeping, or stressed about work, or on a new medication, or if you have five cups of coffee one day and none the next — those things can all contribute."

To help relieve the pain, try over-the-counter painkillers. You may also consider alternative treatment and prevention options, such as biofeedback, acupuncture, regular aerobic exercise, or neck and shoulder massages.
Hot flashes
Menopausal women suffering from temperature fluctuations may find relief from downward dog: A small 2008 study found that women who practiced yoga with breathing exercises and meditation five days a week had 50 percent fewer hot flashes and night sweats than those who simply stretched.

You also may consider adding soy milk, tofu or edamame to your diet. Supplements, such as black cohosh, may reduce symptoms as well, but few have solid evidence supporting their effects.

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