Three At Home Asthma Tips

posted by Dave Leman on March 12, 2014

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Asthma is a chronic, or long-term, disease that inflames and narrows the airways of your lungs. This causes a variety of symptoms that can worsen at any time, making breathing difficult. With over 23 million Americans affected by asthma, chances are you or someone you know has it. While there is no cure for asthma, there are steps you can take on your own to manage your symptoms and keep asthma from taking over your life.

1. Be Aware

Get in touch with how you’re feeling – keep an asthma diary. By writing down things such as how you feel, what the weather is like, and what foods you ate, trends might start to appear that give you a clue as to what triggers your asthma.

2. Be Healthy

Exercise is a great way to minimize asthma symptoms. While some forms of exercise may actually cause your asthma to act up, yoga and swimming may be great alternatives to playing basketball or running on a treadmill. Reducing stress through exercise is a good way to help manage your asthma.

Some research suggests that starting a vegan diet may help reduce asthma symptoms. Not sure you can make that change?  No problem. Try switching out a few items such as almond milk for regular cow’s milk or black beans for beef and adding a few salads to your weekly meal plan.  Studies also suggest that certain vitamins and supplements may be able to help you control your asthma.  These include vitamins C and B12 as well as fatty acids which can be found in fish and nuts.

3. Reduce Triggers

Different dusts often play a huge role in asthma symptoms.  By washing bed sheets more often many of these dusts can be eliminated making breathing easier. You might also try placing cheese cloths over heating vents. This allows the air to still go through the cloth but keeps dusts from blowing throughout the house. Those who suffer from asthma are also encouraged to be careful around pets as the furs and dander often make asthma act up.

Pollen is one allergen that seems to affect many individual’s asthma.  During high pollen times, try to keep the windows closed as the pollen can still go through the screens and avoid going outside when people are mowing their lawns.  Many individuals notice asthma symptoms acting up right after a thunderstorm because of all the pollen that is in the air.

For more information on asthma and potential clinical research studying investigational asthma treatments and medications, contact us to learn more.

Sources:
Asthma.com
WebMD
Health.HowStuffWorks

Diabetic Neuropathy – 5 Helpful Home Treatments

posted by Dave Leman on February 26, 2014

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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, a common complication is diabetic neuropathy, or nerve pain. The most common cases may occur in your lower legs and feet and can not only be uncomfortable, but painful.

Here are some ideas to help you manage your nerve pain at home. If, of course, the pain is getting worse or transferring to other areas in your body, call your doctor immediately.

  1. 1. Get out and groove your body: even a small amount of exercise will help your body. Take a walk, stretch, put on some good music and dance.
  2. 2. Sport those socks: try compression socks (they can be found at your local drug store) which will help alleviate some of the pressure.
  3. 3. Cut the fat: or at least some of it. Eating small, frequent meals will help with digestion and overall health. Try cutting down on processed foods.
  4. 4. Heat it up, cool it down: a heating pad may be beneficial for relieving your diabetic nerve pain symptoms. The other option is an ice pack. Make sure you listen to your body and do not cause more damage by, for example, damaging your skin with an ice pack left on too long.
  5. 5. Soak it all in: take a warm bath. Not only will the warmth of the water be soothing on your legs and feet, but your overall body will be able to relax.

We are participating in a clinical research study for diabetic neuropathy. If you are interested in learning more, contact us and we’ll follow up.

Ongoing Concerns of COPD

posted by Dave Leman on February 12, 2014

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Unfortunately, COPD gradually gets worse over time. Once symptoms start, if you continue to smoke, there is a typically a gradual decline over several years. In time, your mobility and quality of life may become poor due to increasing breathing difficulties. It is very important to do the obvious and stop smoking!

Here are some other ongoing concerns for people living with COPD:

  • Smoking – smoking, after being diagnosed with COPD, will only make your symptoms worse as the disease gets worse. The lung damage that causes the symptoms of COPD does not heal and cannot be repaired.
  • Sleep Problems – it is hard to get a good night’s rest when you are not getting enough oxygen into your lungs. The more damaged your lungs become, the harder it is to sleep throughout the night.
  • Weight Issues – this depends on the part that weight is playing in your COPD symptoms. Loss of body cell mass is a common and serious problem for patients with end-stage COPD.
  • Thinning Bones – osteoporosis is a health concern in people with COPD. Smoking and physical inactivity, especially in the later stages of COPD, can lead to bone loss.
  • Anxiety – having trouble breathing can make you feel very anxious. As anxiety builds, it may contribute to severe breathlessness and even panic.
  • Cancer – people with COPD are at risk for developing lung cancer. The more progressive the lung disease, the higher the risk.

There is no cure for COPD, but management of COPD can slow the progression of the disease and help relieve symptoms to keep individuals living with COPD – out of the hospital. If you or a loved one has COPD, there are steps to take to help cope with the lifestyle changes this disease brings.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical research study, including one for COPD, visit www.hometownresearch.com/studies to see a list of our currently enrolling studies.

Five Tips for Treating Swimmer’s Ear

posted by Dave Leman on January 29, 2014

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Swimmer’s ear, which affects the outer ear, is a painful condition that results from infection, irritation, or inflammation. These symptoms can occur after water has been trapped in your ear, leading to a spread of fungal organisms or bacteria. The goal of treatment is to cure the infection and return the ear canal skin to a healthy condition.

Here are some tips and treatments/medications for swimmer’s ear:

  • Keep it clean – cleaning your outer ear canal helps the ear drops flow to every inch of the infected areas
  • Try prescribed ear drops – for more serious cases doctors prescribe drops that contain some type of combination of a steroid, antibiotic, anti-fungal medication, or acidic solution all of which depends on the seriousness of your infection
  • Try at-home treatments – for mild cases you can help heal your outer ear canal by making your own ear drops using 2 ingredients, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol
  • Stay away from pools and lakes – stay out of the water to give your ear canal time to heal. When showering or bathing use petroleum jelly coated cotton balls to protect your ear from getting any water in it
  • Try over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve the pain – these will help ease the discomfort of swimmer’s ear. Try over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil, Aleve or Tylenol

If your infection doesn’t seem to be getting better within 7-10 days, and your infection hasn’t responded to the treatment, call your doctor immediately to book an appointment for further diagnosis.

If you are interested in participating in a clinical research study, visit www.hometownresearch.com/studies to see a list of our currently enrolling studies.

“Safe” IBS Recipe – Butternut Squash Soup

posted by Dave Leman on January 2, 2014

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If you are looking for new recipes that won’t stir up your IBS, try this delicious, low-calorie comfort soup. This butternut squash soup recipe is fast and easy to make!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Serving size: 1 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 leeks (large), trimmed and chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1 ½ pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups)
  • 2 carrots (large), peeled and grated
  • 3 cup(s) chicken or vegetable broth (low-fat, low-sodium)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Spray a large stockpot with non-stick olive oil spray. Add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the leaks and sauté until translucent and soft, 6-7 minutes. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg, and cook an additional minute to release the flavor of the spices. Add the squash, carrots, and broth, and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook 20-25 minutes longer, until the vegetables are tender. Puree the soup with a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues and are interested in a clinical research study, contact us for more information.

10 Tips to Get Better ZZZ’s and Manage Your IBS

posted by Dave Leman on December 18, 2013

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Lack of sleep can easily trigger and exacerbate Irritable Bowel Syndromes (IBS). That’s why getting plenty of sleep each night is crucial for you to keep your IBS symptoms at ease.

Try these tips to help you get a good night’s rest and to help you stay asleep so you aren’t woken up from your IBS in the middle of the night:

  • Develop a sleep routine – go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time.
  • Drink herbal tea – just before you are ready to check out for the night, drink a half-cup of herb tea that contains chamomile.
  • Steer clear from caffeine or alcohol before bed – check the ingredients of anything you ingest and make sure it is free of caffeine or other stimulants.
  • Exercise – at least four times a week and make sure you aren’t doing your exercises too close to bedtime. You want your mind to be relaxed.
  • Don’t let your pets sleep in bed with you – your bed is for you/your spouse only. Pets can move around and wake you up in the middle of the night, causing you to lose sleep throughout the night.
  • Turn off electronic devices an hour before you go to bed – light from electronic devices stimulates the brain, making it harder to wind down for sleep.
  • Moderate your room temperature – The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends a temperature between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Take big, deep breaths – this will calm you down and relax your mind so you can fall asleep easier.
  • Lights out – keep all lights off in your room when you go to bed. Even the smallest amount of light on when you are trying to sleep, can disrupt the amount of melatonin your body produces while at rest and overall sleep.
  • Drink plenty of water before you go to bed – you won’t find yourself feeling dehydrated in the middle of the night and waking up to get a glass of water. Keep a tall glass of water on your nightstand so you don’t have to physically get up to quench your thirst.

If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues and are interested in a clinical research study for gastrointestinal issues, visit our current studies page for more information.

Flush Out Your GI Tract Toxins: 5 Steps to Clean Out Your Colon

posted by Dave Leman on December 4, 2013

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Cleaning out your colon can help flush out toxins that have built up overtime, in your intestines.  As the colon is cleansed, it pushes undigested waste through your system, clearing the way for good nutrient absorption.

Here are some of the ways you can clean out your colon, to maintain a healthy GI tract:

  • Restrict your diet to vegetables and fruits for one week and you can also include healthy fats to help the colon cleansing process. These types of foods provide extra fiber and the necessary fats to your diet which will help your bowel movements pass easier. Try getting at least 25-30 grams of fiber per day.
  • H2O. Drink a lot of water throughout the day and eat vegetables such as celery that contain water to get that extra bit of liquid consumption. You can also try drinking herbal teas.
  • Try adding a probiotic and Vitamin A to your diet to help kick start your bowels and promote healthy bacteria in your digestive system. Some foods that contain Vitamin A are sweet potatoes and carrots.
  • Try drinking vegetable juice, lemon juice, and/or apple juice. Drinking juices such as lemon juice which has antioxidant properties and high vitamin C content is good for the digestive system and hence helps colon cleansing.
  • Add flax seed to your diet. Flax seed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, natural fibers and antioxidants and thus helps clean your colon. Flax seed expands in the colon by absorbing water and assists in removing toxins and mucus as it passes through.

If you suffer from gastrointestinal issues and are interested in a clinical research study for gastrointestinal issues, visit our current studies page for more information.

Ask About Clinical Research

posted by Dave Leman on November 13, 2013

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Clinical research not only benefits your heath, but can lead to advances for the next generation! The process of research is an integral part of making current “standards of care” even better and the healthcare industry would not make strides if it weren’t for clinical research.

Ask your doctor more about clinical research. Here are just a few reasons to start asking some questions and, potentially, participate in a clinical trial.

  • Clinical trial participants can gain access to promising new approaches often not available to the public or people outside the clinical trial setting.
  • Participants have the opportunity to impact the future. Participation in clinical research provides the information necessary to deliver the highest quality health care for generations to come.
  • Participants may receive free medical care and/or may be paid for being a part of a study.
  • Participants receive expert health care. By participating in a clinical trial you will receive medical attention from a research team that includes physicians, nurse practitioners, RNs, and other health professionals who are leaders in their fields.

Take an active role in your healthcare and help the future. Some clinical trial participants say they have more control over their situation and this, in turn, leads to a more positive outlook and a better quality of life.

For more information on clinical trial participation, and if you are interested in gastrointestinal clinical research studies, visit our current studies page.

Questions to Ask Before Participating in a Clinical Trial

posted by Dave Leman on October 30, 2013

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Before your first appointment to learn more about a potential clinical trial, developing a list of questions is critical to ensuring your comfort, awareness, and general knowledge about the study. You may also ask a family member or a friend go with you for support and to attain additional information.

Here is a good list of questions to discuss with the study team:

  1. Why should I participate in a clinical trial?
  2. What are the benefits/risks of my participation?
  3. What is the purpose of the study?
  4. Does the study involve a placebo or a treatment that is already on the market?
  5. What kinds of tests are involved?
  6. What kind of investigational medication is involved?
  7. What are the alternatives?
  8. Are there any side effects I should know about/be worried about?
  9. How long is the study expected to last?
  10. How many visits are there going to be?
  11. Does it cost me anything to participate?
  12. Will I be reimbursed for any of my expenses such as time and travel?
  13. Is there any follow-up care after the trial and if so, how will I get it?
  14. What will happen if I choose to stop participating in the study?
  15. Can I see my regular physician while I am participating in the trial?
  16. How will I know that the experimental treatment is working?
  17. Will the results of the trial be presented to me?

For more information on participating in clinical trials, and if you are interested in gastrointestinal clinical research studies, visit our current studies page.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your IBS Symptoms

posted by Dave Leman on October 16, 2013

Food Journal

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) tends to focus on managing the condition by reducing the severity and frequency of symptoms. Here is a list of symptoms and lifestyle changes associated with IBS and how you can manage each:

  • Gas/Bloating – First and foremost, keep a food diary along with how you felt after eating that meal. Where there any side effects associated with what you ate? Try staying away from legumes (beans) which are known to produce gassy symptoms. Beano, found at most drugstores, could provide relief. Some dairy products can also cause people to feel gassy, so if you are one of those individuals try lactose-free milk.
  • Diarrhea – Again, try keeping a food diary to avoid those foods that cause your diarrhea symptoms to arise. Eating foods such as bananas or cheese that can help turn your stools into a solid again. All individuals are unique, so knowing your triggers is beneficial.
  • Cramps – Caffeine is known to cause cramping, so stay away from caffeinated drinks such as coffee, energy drinks, and soda. A method to help sooth your IBS cramps is to place a cold or hot pack on your abdomen for about a half hour to relieve the pain.
  • Constipation – Try incorporating high-fiber foods into your diet and eat a lot of veggies! Prune juice is another alternative because it contains sorbitol content along with fiber, which makes it an effective way to soften the stool and help alleviate the pain associated with constipation. If eating high-fiber foods doesn’t cut it for you, consider a fiber supplement or even stool softeners to help make bowel movements easier.
  • Education – Take the time to learn about your IBS and assess your symptoms. You will then be an advocate for your own health.

Most people living with IBS are able to control their symptoms through education, diet, and stress management. For others that are having a hard time doing so, keeping a food journal is highly recommended to tackle the onset of your IBS symptoms immediately, before they get worse.

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and are interested in a clinical research study for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, visit our current studies page for more information.