Hungry Predators

Sligo Irish Famine Statue

The high demand and supply in the USA of sexual and labor trafficking contributes to the human trafficking problem. Young adults, male and female as young as twelve, are victims of this serious crime. Less than 10% are kidnapped. Many victims were sold by someone they knew. They are targeted by their vulnerabilities. Victims may have a history of abuse, be developmentally disabled, be foster children, are homeless, or a runaway. After 48-72 hours after running away, a teen will be approached by a sexual trafficker.

The perpetrator breaks their victims down with sleep deprivation and substance abuse in order to control their victims. Often times, the victim is branded with a tattoo designating ownership by the perpetrator. The victim might have a money symbol, a scan code, property of stamp, etc. The locations of these are the key. They are usually on the side or back of the neck, behind an ear, inner lip, or in the pubic area. The female victims are required to have sex even during their menses cycle and are impacted with sponges or tampons. The victims are groomed what to say to medical personnel if they are brought in to be seen.

77% of victims related to human trafficking will suffer a higher episode of PTSD than a war vet due to the constant re-experiencing of the trauma and disturbing memories. They have difficulty sustaining relationships if they manage to escape. The victims avoid internal and external reminders of trauma and stress. They are hyperarousal due to the nervous system reaction of repeated fight or flight.

If you work in a medical facility or clinic, eye clinic, or dental office, etc. be on the lookout of these indicators of human trafficking:

  • patient claims they are out of town and has no address
  • lack of I.D.
  • disassociation or uncommunicative
  • confrontational
  • abnormal reactions
  • someone always talking for the victim
  • eyes downcast when spoken to
  • can’t be seen alone

What can you do about it?

  • watch your tone of voice when speaking to the victim
  • adjust to resistance
  • listen to them
  • don’t judge
  • avoid confrontation
  • kindness goes a long way
  • ask why the person is here or what happened to bring them here
  • express empathy
  • report suspicions to the National Human Trafficking Hotline @ 888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733.

Want free material on the subject? Go to dsh.gov/ blue-campaign.

The Shocking Reasons Behind The Opioid Epidemic

According to the CDC, 91 people die everyday from opioid overdose. Deaths have increased since 2010. The root cause is debatable, yet since 1999, 400% in opioid prescriptions have increased.

In 1995, the Purdue Pharmaceutical Company released the drug, OxyContin. It’s an extended release oxycodone formulation branded for treatment of chronic non-cancerous pain. From 1996-2002, Purdue contributed to a large campaign to encourage chronic use of opioid prescriptions for pain. Not only that, but they asked doctors and nurses to include pain as another vital sign. Purdue financially supported the American Pain Society and other groups. They supported the message that long-term opioid use for pain was safe. In patient’s best interests, OxyContin became the best selling painkiller prescribed in the country.

Opioids are known for their analgesic ( pain ), sedative, and euphoric effects. They were originally derived from the poppy flower. Natural and synthetic opioids have since been formulated. Natural occurring opioids are Morphine and Codeine. Semi-synthetic opioids are Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Heroin, and Hydromorphine. Synthetic opioids are Fentanyl, Methadone, and Tapentadyl. The CDC names Oxycodone, OxyContin, and Hydrocodone as the top prescription opioids implicated in overdosed deaths.

Since 2007, IV Heroin usage increased over other drugs of abuse. The DEA reported 200% increase of Heroin overdosed deaths from 2000-2014. Since 2013, overdoses involving Fentanyl has affected the opioid crisis in North America. Fentanyl is used as an anesthetic as well as an analgesic in the medical field. It is the most potent opioid narcotic available. It is 50-100 times more potent than Morphine. The problem is the non-pharmaceutical Fentanyl is being manufactured illegally overseas, primarily China, and trafficked to the US, Mexico, and Canada. This powder is mixed with heroin and made into pills that looks identical to the common prescribed opioid medications. The high potency is equivalent to a few grains of salt. The short term effects are respiratory depression and decreased levels of responsiveness that leads to overdosed deaths.

When using opioids, the reward center in the brain is stimulated. Once individual moves beyond the early stages of pleasure and reward seeking, a more complicated neuro-biological process takes over. The more exposed to the drug, the more the drug is needed to achieve the same affect. Once individual acquires escalating doses of opioids to achieve pleasure and analgesic affects, the person has developed a tolerance. Tolerance results when the receptors in the brain cells become less responsive to opioid stimulation. Opioid dependence occurs when the body has adapted to presence of drugs and will suffer physical symptoms  in drug’s absence. They will suffer withdrawal symptoms if drug stopped suddenly. The withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, jitteriness, dilation of pupils, muscle cramps, insomnia, GI upset, and Tachycardia.

It is important in this opioid epidemic to decrease the access and exposure to the opioid drugs.

What to do with Unused Medications

It happens to many of us. You open a cupboard or medicine cabinet and realize there are medications that are no longer used or have expired. If the medications are a year old or longer then they have lost their potency. How do you get rid of them safely? Here are a few tips:

  • The safest way to dispose of medications is through the DEA-registered ‘Take Back’ program. Collection sites are at local hospitals and clinics. Visit the DEA’s website for possible mail-in options or call 1-800-882-9539.
  • Check the fda.org for a list of safe disposal by flushing medications.
  • Before throwing the medications away, check the label to see if that drug has specific disposal instructions. Failure to do so could cause harm to others.
  • If all else fails, throw the medications in the trash mixed with kitty litter or dirt. This reduces the chance of animals or children ingesting them.

The Culprit Sepsis

Sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals. It is the body’s response to an infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, amputations, and death. Sepsis affects over 26 million people worldwide each year. The risk of sepsis can be reduced by practicing good hygiene and staying current with vaccinations. While sepsis is more likely to affect children, the elderly, people with a weakened immune system, and people with chronic diseases; sepsis impacts people of all ages and levels of health.

Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires urgent attention and rapid treatment for survival. Mortality increases 8% for every hour that treatment is delayed. As many as 80% of sepsis deaths could have been prevented with rapid diagnosis and treatment. Those that survive may have long-lasting effects such as missing limbs and organ dysfunction. Sepsis survivors have a shortened life expectancy.

Symptoms of sepsis:

  • fever, shivering
  • extreme pain
  • pale or discolored skin
  • difficult to arouse, confused
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling of death approaching

If you have any of these symptoms with an infected wound, seek immediate help. Your life may depend on it.

Keys To Prevent Kidney Issues

Three things can contribute to kidney disease:

  • high blood sugar
  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol

If your blood sugar remains high, it can lead to damage of the blood vessels that feed the kidneys and to the part of the kidneys that filter the blood. High blood pressure and high cholesterol puts pressure on the kidneys causing them to work harder and to leak proteins in the urine. What can you prevent these things from happening?

Studies have shown that managing blood glucose can halve your risk of developing kidney disease or halt the progression, if you do have it. Test and monitor your blood sugar at home. Know what your blood sugar is before you eat and drink. Check it again two hours after you have eaten to see if you’ve eaten the appropriate amount.

Follow a low sodium diet such as the DASH diet, which emphasizes vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fish, nuts, and limits salt, meat, and sweets. This diet helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar. It also lowers cholesterol.

Exercise is essential for the health of blood vessels and can protect your kidneys. Start gradually and build up to 30 minutes a day. Something is better than nothing. Take ten minutes at least. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Don’t be a couch potato. Sure you can watch TV, but get up and run in place during the commercials. Better yet, run on a treadmill while watching TV. If your feet are tired after working all day, elevate them above your heart. Do some leg raises while you’re sitting there. Use your imagination.

Follow up with your doc and form a plan for a healthier you. It might save your life and prevent disorders down the line. Some cholesterol issues are influenced by your genes. You might need medications, besides a healthy diet and exercise. No more excuses.exercise

 

Revered Chocolate

Many of us can’t resist the taste of chocolate. How can you stay on a diet when desserts tempt you? You shouldn’t have to when it comes to chocolate. The difference is how it’s made plus the butter and sugar in it. In its unsweetened form, chocolate is an easy, nutritious ingredient to add to many dishes.

If you’re looking for a chocolate treat loaded with antioxidants, cacao is the way to go. Cacao and chocolate may look alike, but they are quite different nutritionally. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cacao beans, thus preserving the living enzymes while eliminating the fat. Cocoa powder is made by roasting raw cacao at high temperatures which lowers the overall nutritional value. Cacao is the way to go for your antioxidants and nutrition.  Studies have shown that consuming small amounts of cacao helps control blood pressure, lower cholesterol, improve cardiovascular health, elevate your mood, reduce constipation, and help with blood sugar. Another bonus is that cacao is loaded with magnesium, iron, and zinc. Cacao is healthy because it is minimally processed. It retains its nutrition and isn’t paired with sugar and fat that is common in most candy bars.

Look for bars that have a content of at least 70% of cacao. Moderation is always best. An ounce a day is all it takes to glean the healthy benefits of cacao. Keep in mind, if you sprinkle cacao in your smoothie, that the dairy can inhibit the absorption of the antioxidants from the cacao. Reap the rewards of cacao.dsc_8591

Your Kidneys & Diabetes

Three things can contribute to kidney disease when you have diabetes. The first is high blood sugar. If it remains high, it can lead to damage to the kidneys, not just to the part of the kidneys that filter the blood, but also to the blood vessels that feed the kidneys. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two other things that damage the blood vessels of the kidneys because it causes the kidneys to work harder and to leak proteins.

What can you do about it? One-Keep your blood sugar under control and it will half the risk of kidney disease or halt the progression. No one wants to go through dialysis for kidney failure. Two– Follow a low-sodium diet to keep your blood pressure under control. Research has shown that a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, fish, and whole grains is effective. Three– Exercise is essential for the health of blood vessels. Start gradually and build up to 30 minutes a day. Four-See your doctor regularly and have your cholesterol checked. Sometimes diet alone doesn’t stop the problem. High cholesterol can be related to your genes. Ask your doctor if you need to be on medication to lower it.

Some  people with early kidney disease have no symptoms. A sign of kidney disease is small amounts of protein in the urine, called microalbuminuria. So I can’t stress enough, see your doctor regularly.

Improve Your Bone Density

Bone disease leads to an estimated 1.5 million fractures annually for women above 50 years of age. Osteoporosis affects 54 million people. You can’t control genetics, age, and family history, but you can control your lifestyle choices. Research shows that  soda, smoking, and obesity contribute to poor bone health.

In postmenopausal women, smokers have higher levels of bone loss and fractures than nonsmokers. Smoking decreases blood flow to the bones. Bones are living tissue and need optimal blood flow to be healthy.

Women in their 60’s and up who drank dark-colored soda had lower bone densities than women who didn’t drink soda on a regular basis. Soda contains phosphoric acid which zaps calcium from the bones and teeth, making them weaker.

Strength training builds bone health. Repetitions with light weights increased bone density up to 29 % in postmenopausal women. Exercise builds bone. A sedentary lifestyle makes the bones weaker. They need to be worked to remain strong. According to a recent study, adults that took 7,000 steps per day or spent 15 minutes per day engaged in physical activities had better bone health.

Your diet plays a role in multiple health conditions which also affects bone health. Anti-inflammatory diets rich in fruit, vegetables, and grains improved bone health.

Certain medications can cause bone loss. Thyroid medications, Omeprazole, and steroids are known for this. Ask your doctor if there are alternatives.

Stick and stones may break your bones, but a bad lifestyle can make things worse. Help preserve your bone density and your body will love you.

Bring On The Good Skin

There are several good food choices to help retain healthy skin. Here are a few:

  • Avocados: They have healthy fats that lock in moisture and strengthen skin cell membranes
  • Beets: They support healthy liver function which contributes to glowing skin
  • Berries: The skin of the berries have anthocyanins in them which strengthens skin elasticity.  They are also a good source of antioxidants.
  • Leafy greens and spinach: They help heal skin and support collagen production. They have Vitamins A and C in them also.
  • Lemons: They cleanse and balance the body’s pH. They are a good source of Vitamin C.
  • Sweet potatoes: They help repair and smooth your complexion.
  • Salmon: They help protect skin from UV damage and are a good source of protein which aides in healing.

Some spices also help with good skin. Turmeric is packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidants. This helps with healing and anti-aging. Cinnamon helps moderate blood sugar spikes caused by sweet foods. It also is an anti-inflammatory which helps in healing. Also drink plenty of water to retain healthy skin. With summer upon us, slab on that sunscreen. Too much sun can lead to skin cancer and wrinkles.

Natural Peach Syrup

I try to avoid most syrups as they are too sugary. I’ve been on a Mediterranean diet to help lower my cholesterol and to hopefully lose weight. I found this recipe and thought I would share it. It doesn’t have any sugar in it. You will need these ingredients:

  • 6 cups sliced peaches
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 T. lemon juice

In a large pot, combine peaches and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until peaches are soft and have colored the liquid, approximately 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve over a bowl. Discard peach solids. Return strained juice to pot. Add honey and stir. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam. Add lemon juice. Pour hot syrup into clean half-pint jars. Leave a 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rim of jars with a damp cloth. Allow to cool, about an hour. Apply lids. Store in fridge up to 3 weeks or place in freezer up to 6 months. The syrup is good on pancakes or anything else your heart desires.

 

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