The Best Supplement for Lowering Your Cholesterol Level

Cholesterol plays an essential role in maintaining your health as it assists in the formation of cells’ wall and essential hormones and in the digestion of fat; however, if cholesterol buildup in your body reaches a severe level, health problems, including fatal ones, may loom. You can prevent unhealthy cholesterol buildup by modifying your diet, but if your effort ends in vain or if you are already ill due to high level of cholesterol in your body, you can use cholesterol-lowering supplement that will effectively reduce the level of cholesterol in your body.

Ahli Kolesterol can provide you with herbal supplement with potent anti-cholesterol effect. If you have cholesterol problem or if your effort to lower your cholesterol level has ended in vain, this herbal supplement can solve your problem. This supplement contains all natural ingredients that are known for their efficacy in reducing cholesterol level, including god’s crown, pennyworth, curcuma, and morinda. Those ingredients are processed using nano technology, which makes sure that once taken, the extract of those ingredients can be effectively absorbed by your body. With this herbal supplement, your effort to fight high cholesterol level, which can be dangerous for your life, will have better success rate. There are already many people who have tried this product and reported its efficacy. It might be the right time for you to try this supplement.

This herbal supplement is available in three different packages: the 100 ml, 250 ml and 500 ml packages. The 100-ml package can be used for 3 to 5 days. If you want to try this product and to test its efficacy, we suggest that you choose this package. If you have enjoyed the beneficial effect of this supplement and believe that this supplement is the best solution for your cholesterol problem, you can buy additional packages with discount.

Keep Fit While Traveling

Traveling and going on a vacation is sheer fun! Wandering around in new places, meeting friends and new people, binging on food, and yes, letting go of the life back home for a while, all make traveling a cherished experience. Also on a vacation, you may sometimes overexert yourself, and soon after, be left to the confines of your cozy hotel room. As a result the routine goes haywire, and after the holiday – you end up looking plump and tired, and do not keep fit. The idea behind writing this article is to help you to compensate for not attending your gym or doing regular fitness activities during the vacation. I ensure that after you return from the vacation, your shape or stamina won’t change a bit, in fact you will look leaner and feel fitter. Let’s get started now.

Keeping Fit While You Travel

Being fit has more to it than having a good physique. To put it in simple words, fitness is more about having a healthy body and mind. When you are fit, you have the enthusiasm and the energy to do new things, and you feel energetic even after going through physical stress. Thus fitness is very essential during the vacation period too, because during traveling you have to strain your body a lot. To help you, I have compiled some tips. Sticking to these golden rules will ensure that you stay fit while traveling. The rules demand total dedication and a few sacrifices for them to work, read ’em all.

1. Search for options to keep yourself fit
Being fit is a matter of personal choice, place has no consideration. To cater to fitness freaks, most of the hotels offer facilities like a swimming pool or gymnasium. Inquire about such facilities, and benefit from them. Even if there is no such facility offered at the place you stay, you can run or jog, or exercise in the room itself. Even doing 45 minutes of physical activity daily is enough and it keeps us refreshed all day long. If it is your choice to select the vacation spot, choose a place that can get you to do some physical form of exercise like rock climbing or kayaking.

2. Hydrate yourself, and eat nutritious food
Let water be your favorite beverage this holiday season. Do I need to mention here why drinking water is important? It will keep you fuller for a long period of time. Moreover, it is a fact that after drinking artificially sweetened beverages you crave for more sweet. So keep a bottle of water with you always, while you are traveling. Alternatively, you can indulge in some refreshing and healthy drinks like fruit juices too. Also, always carry nuts in your bag that are both nutritious and filling.
3. Don’t let your food temptations take control of you
Traveling means you are at a new place, which also means there are new joints and new delicacies to try. Your friends coax you to try food joints at their place, and you relent. So there you are gorging on a cheese chicken pizza, with chocolate mousse cake on the other plate. I sincerely hope you don’t have to go through this. If you aim at fitness, fattening food is a strict no-no (especially if you are not working out). If you don’t find anything healthy to eat, you should compensate eating unhealthy food by working out. Eating outside eatables daily is also not good for your stomach, and can wreak havoc on your digestive system. This also gives rise to a headache and stomach ailments. Also, avoid eating desserts, and if possible share it with someone. Take a long walk, jog, or play a game, just make sure you sweat it out in some way.
4. Stay away from binge drinking
That beer belly you hate is an outcome of drinking too much. A vacation is somewhat synonymous with excessive drinking and daily hangovers. So for a healthy heart and cardiovascular health, you should stay away from excessive drinking. Doing everything in moderation, and learning to say no is the key to healthy living. Drink moderately where ever you are, at home or on a vacation.
5. Read the following tips
– Use the stairs instead of the elevators, especially in the hotel. This is one way to keep fit and moving.
– Don’t forget to take your gym clothes and shoes; let them travel with you always.
– Always keep some healthy food in your bag, this will especially come in handy when you run out of healthy food choices at the airport or any other place.
– Now comes the oft-repeated tip – eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a beggar. You should stick to this fitness rule even during a vacation.
– Keep your fitness level in check. Devices like a pedometer, glucometer, sphygmomanometer etc., can help you keep a check on your fitness.
– Last but not the least, don’t spoil your holiday in repentance if you eat unhealthy food. Enjoy your food, eat slowly, just make sure you have done enough physical activity at the end of the day.
Traveling or vacation is meant for enjoyment, and you must enjoy it too. But like I say, fitness comes first, and you would also not like to spoil the hard work you put in the gym, before that holiday. I would like to conclude by saying, when you are on a holiday, enjoy, however, make sure you follow a healthy routine too.

What is VO2 Max

VO2 max is an acronym for maximal oxygen uptake and is also known as aerobic capacity, aerobic power or maximal oxygen uptake. In simple words, it is the amount of oxygen consumed when a body is in maximum physical exercise in a given time period. It is an indicator of cardiovascular fitness, and knowing the max VO2 levels helps in understanding the aerobic endurance level of a person. This is important to make exercise and training regimes more effective and in increasing an athlete’s performance.

How is VO2 Max Measured

The measurement unit of max VO2 is milliliters of oxygen consumed per minute by one kilogram of body weight (ml/min/kg). The most famous and widely used formula for calculating max VO2 is the Fick equation:

VO2 max = Q(CaO2 – CVO2)

In the above equation, ‘Q’ stands for cardiac output, ‘Ca’ stands for arterial oxygen content and ‘Cv’ stands for venous oxygen content.

VO2 Max Test

VO2 max levels can be measured by taking a test at a professional sports lab. In a standard sports lab, they make use of various modern equipment, like oxygen and carbon dioxide analyzer and an ergometer, to give a precise and accurate max VO2 level of a person. However, there are some easy max VO2 tests that can be conducted easily, like the ones mentioned below.

– 2.4 km Run Test: Run for 2.4 km at maximum speed in six laps. Record the time taken to cover each lap and the overall time taken to cover the entire 2.4 km. Use the lap timings to analyze pace judgment and the overall time to calculate VO2 max.
– Critical Swim Speed: Swim 400 m and record the total time taken. After a 10 m recovery break, swim for 50 m while recording the time. Use a VO2 max calculator to calculate max VO2 levels.
– Treadmill Test: Run on a treadmill with a starting slope of 0 degree and a speed of 7 miles/hr (11 km/hr). Increase the slope by 2 degrees at the end of every minute (without taking a pause in the run), till you are no longer able to continue and record the time spent in running. Use a VO2 max online calculator or calculate using the following formula:

VO2 max = 42 + (Time on the treadmill x 2)

Uth-Sørensen-Overgaard-Pedersen Estimation: When maximum heart rate (HRmax) and heart rate when at rest are known, the score can be measured using this formula:

VO2 max = 15(HRmax/HRrest)

Cooper Test: Run at maximum speed for 12 minutes. Then note the distance covered in meters (d12) and calculate the score using the following formula:

VO2 max = (d12 – 505)/45

Factors Affecting VO2 Max

he levels of VO2 max differ from person to person, subject to various causes, some of which are beyond human control. Having an active lifestyle (like in the case of sportsmen) greatly improve max VO2 levels but it is not the sole determinant of max VO2 levels. Some of the factors that affect a person’s max VO2 levels are listed below.

VO2 Max Levels
Age (y)  : 18-30

Inactive  : Male (43-56) , Female (33-46)
Active    : Male (40-85), Female (35-75)

*The highest scores of max VO2 was recorded at 96 (7.3 l/min for 76 kg of body weight), in 2005 for Espen Harald Bjerke (a Norwegian cross-country skier). VO2 max is in ml/min/kg.

– Altitude: Max VO2 levels decrease with increase in the altitude. Certain VO2 max scores have been known to drop by 9 to 10% with increase in every 1 km over an altitude of 1.6 km.
– Genetics: The size of the different organs of the body and the types of muscle fiber are determined by a person’s genetic makeup. According to a study done by Cerritos College in California, around 30% of a person’s VO2 max scores are determined by his/her genes.
– Gender: Men are usually physiologically larger than women. So it is but natural that men score higher when it comes to max VO2 levels as compared to women. Studies show that on an average, men have 10 to 15 percent higher max VO2 scores as compared to women.
– Cardiac Output and Oxygen Carrying Capacity: Cardiac output is the amount of blood the cardiac (heart) muscles pump out per minute and is measured in liters. Higher amounts of cardiac output means higher amounts of oxygen available to the body for consumption, which in turn increases a person’s VO2 max scores. Oxygen carrying capacity refers to the amount of oxygen found in the blood or a person’s hemoglobin count. Greater the hemoglobin count, greater the oxygen saturation in the blood and better the max VO2 scores.
– Peripheral Limitations: It is related to mitochondrial enzyme (assists mitochondria in producing ATP), muscle diffusion capacity and capillary density and they are important in determining max VO2 scores.
– Lactate Threshold: It is the point at which there is a sudden increase in the lactate levels in the blood when the body has reached its peak during an intense exercise. Higher the lactate threshold, greater the endurance levels of the body.

Despite the limiting factors, improving VO2 max scores is possible, if an appropriate exercise or training regime is followed. A point to be noted here is that VO2 levels cannot be increased beyond a certain score. This endpoint differs from person to person depending on various factors (most of which are mentioned above). That is the reason why there is very little possibility of increasing an athlete’s VO2 max scores. As for those who want to improve: the best way to improve max VO2 scores is by working out on sustained aerobic conditioning, but only after consulting a certified physiologist or professional personal trainer.

Fun Fitness Activities

Having a sedentary lifestyle, devoid of any physical activity, for a longer duration leads to obesity, weakens muscles and bones, increases chances of heart diseases, etc. Therefore, doctors often advise us to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes every day. Regular physical exercise is a must for both, children as well as adults.

The term exercise is often associated with hard work or painful hours at the gym. Secondly, people also claim having no time to exercise or not being motivated enough to exercise regularly. However, did you know that there are several interesting activities that are considered good forms of exercise?

Fitness Activities for Adults

You need not subscribe to a gym membership to get in shape. Take a look at these activities. They are simple, interesting, fun-filled, and definitely not boring.

Trekking
Rather than meeting your friends for a Sunday brunch, why not plan an outing and go trekking? Choose a spot and make picnic style arrangements. Along with trekking, you can enjoy in adventure sports there like rock climbing or rappelling. A combination of walking and climbing can make a wonderful cardio exercise. Secondly, you get to spend time with your friends/family, breathe some fresh air, and also enjoy the scenic beauty.

Dancing
Any type of dance is good for the overall fitness. Subscribe to dance programs of your choice, be it aerobic dance, salsa, Zumba, or other classical dance form. You can even invite friends, put on some loud music and have an exhaustive dancing session!

Swimming
Swimming is the best exercise and fun-filled fitness activity for people of all age groups. Swimming regularly for 20-30 minutes can burn sufficient amounts of calories and help in weight loss. Secondly, swimming can tone up muscles and enhance physical strength. Try swimming with family or friends, participating in swimming competitions, etc., regularly.

Martial Arts
Want to learn a new skill? Why not try martial arts? Not many are aware that martial arts is considered as one of the most effective fitness programs. Some of its benefits include: complete body workout, weight loss, improved muscle tone, stress relief, etc. Although it may be exhaustive, it can be a wonderful physical activity.

Walking/Bicycling
Walking, power walking, brisk walking, bicycling, for 20-30 minutes daily can work wonders on your health. It helps in weight loss, improves heart health, reduces high blood pressure, tones your muscles, etc. Try going for a walk with your partner after work/dinner, or walk your dog, or walk to your grocery store or other shorter distances whenever possible.

Activities for Kids

It is a misconception that children do not require exercise. Children should be made to understand the importance of regular physical activity. They will learn by example. Therefore, make sure you have an active lifestyle.

Hiking
A walk through the nature, on the mountains, forests, etc., is one of the best fitness activities for the entire family. Involve kids in planning the trip or packing picnic snacks. They will enjoy the outdoors and also get to learn a lot from the scenic surroundings. Arranging a hiking expedition with children and teenagers is a good option.

Relay
Rather than letting kids on their own (glued to the television or video games), you can get involved and plan games for them. One idea is to arrange a relay or an obstacle race in the playground or the courtyard. A simple relay race like collecting articles on the way and reaching the finishing point can be an interesting activity for toddlers. Secondly, you can also plan a three-legged race, skipping race, etc.

Playground Games
As a continuation of the aforementioned idea, you can plan interesting playground games with your kids. Games like hide-and-seek, soccer, baseball, volleyball, cricket, etc., are fun. You can even arrange competitive sports so that the kids look forward to it and participate wholeheartedly. You get to spend time together as a family, burn calories, and inculcate values like team spirit, sportsmanship, in your children.

Hula Hooping
Hula hoop exercises are known since a long time and are popular even today. All you need to do is buy hula hoops of proper size for the kids, and enjoy hooping around. Secondly, there are several hula hoop games that you can arrange. One of them is to stand in a circle by holding hands and try to pass the ring from one point to the other.

Gardening
Although not as exhausting as aforementioned activities, gardening can help relax and reduce stress. Involve kids in simple garden activities like sowing seeds (of vegetables of their choice), plant a single pot, clear weeds, etc. Kids will learn new things and concepts and also enjoy eating vegetables they have planted. Gardening is also proven to reduce stress to a great extent in adults. So, make this your next holiday activity!

Apart from these, some other outdoor activities for adults and children include tug-of-war, running and hopping races, jumping jacks, etc. So, forget your gym, form a group of like-minded people (kids and adults together), workout and enjoy with these interesting forms of exercises. Good luck!

Does Being Skinny Mean You Are Healthy?

Fact about risk of diabetes for skinny and obese people
Skinny people are often assumed to be healthy because they look the part. But there is a hu-u-uge difference between looking healthy and being healthy. So let’s shoo the elephant out of the room right away.

No. Being skinny does not mean that you are healthy.

Well, it depends on how you define ‘healthy’ and ‘skinny’. If you define healthy as merely ‘anything but fat’, and skinny as ‘Keira Knightley’, then yes, all you skinny people are ‘healthy’. But is health merely a visual absence of obesity? Go on, take a guess. If your answer is ‘yes’, you are gravely mistaken!

A healthy person has a sound body, mind, and spirit. Even if we ignore the psychological and spiritual aspects of health for the matter of this discussion, skinny is not a sound state of body. In nature, too much either way of any optimum is harmful. So, while obesity is a much-publicized danger, the other end of the spectrum is also harmful, possibly even more so. Here’s why.

‘Obesity’ is Not Always Unhealthy

Health fanatics and most physicians depend almost exclusively on a parameter known as Body Mass Index, or BMI, to assess general health. This is based on the incorrect assumption that the ratio between your body weight and your height is enough to make a diagnosis on whether you are obese, and that this ‘obesity’ is inherently unhealthy. Granted, a BMI of more than 30 is almost always unhealthy, but here’s an interesting fact. Dwayne Johnson weighs about 265 lb, and is 6′ 5” tall. That gives us a BMI of 31. LeBron James’ weight is around 245-250 lb, and he is 6′ 8” tall. That gives us a BMI of 27. Let’s not even get started on Shaquille O’Neal! So, according to the BMI scale, The Rock, Shaq, and King James are overweight – dangerously so! Someone should warn them, and get them to work out more to shed those unhealthy pounds, right?

The reason why LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, and Dwayne Johnson are ‘overweight’ is that they have large, heavy muscles, and thus weigh more. However, their ‘rotund bellies’ are healthy, and packed with rock-hard muscles, instead of flabby fat.

This is where the fallacy in BMI is exposed. It is not your total body weight that determines whether you are obese, it’s your Body Fat Percentage.

Check Your Body Fat, Not Your Paunch

Body Fat Percentage shows how much of your body is made up of fat, regardless of your total body weight. A high body fat percentage (more than 25-30%) is linked to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and the likes, but a high body weight can’t be linked to the same diseases.

Since very few ‘obese’ people are muscle-maniac NBA or WWE stars, it is likely that having a BMI higher than 30 corresponds to a high body fat percentage, but the converse is not true. In simple terms, overweight people are likely to have a higher body fat percentage, but that doesn’t mean that thin people are likely to have a low body fat percentage. You can be thin and weigh in at your ideal weight, but that could just be because of your weak, undeveloped muscles. Thin people are just as likely to have a high body fat percentage as overweight people – it just doesn’t show.

When you visit the doctor next, ignore your BMI-approved weight and insist on getting your body fat percentage checked. You may be in for a surprise.

Skinny AND Metabolically Obese is a More Dangerous Combo

We think obese people should watch their diet, and not even think about grilled cheese sandwiches for the rest of their lives (no, no, think about something – anything – else!). Well, sure, people looking to lose weight should indeed watch their diet, but this doesn’t mean that skinny people can get away with anything. Since skinny people don’t weigh or look obese, they think it’s okay for them to indulge in processed, high-carb, sugary meals. But since metabolic obesity doesn’t depend on weight, their ignorance can lead to them eating even larger amounts of such risky foods than visibly obese people who are obviously more cautious. In fact, studies have shown that being obese and being severely underweight is equally dangerous in terms of heart trouble and hypertension.

I’m Skinny, Am I Metabolically Obese?

Body Fat Percentage
As mentioned before, check your Body Fat Percentage. If it is less than 20%, you have nothing to worry about.

Blood Test
Get a blood test done, and insist on including an insulin response test in your next physical checkup. High blood sugar level and insulin response indicate that you already are or are at a risk of becoming diabetic.

Just Ask Yourself!
Do you feel great? Are you happy with the way you look? Do you run out of stairs before you run out of breath? Do you sleep well? Are you immune from periodic bouts of cold and flu? If your answer is yes, great! Your body is probably fine. If not, you may be ‘skinny obese’.

How Do I Become Truly Healthy?

Cut Out the Cardio
First and foremost, cut out the heavy-duty cardio, and start lifting weights. This applies to skinny women as well – stay off the little pink dumbbells, and start lifting heavy. Cardio does burn fat, but also eats into muscles. Weight training, on the other hand, pumps up your metabolism and thus increases your hunger, which should only be satisfied via healthy foods that increase muscle mass and help burn fat. Larger muscles need more calories for sheer sustenance, which, combined with a smart diet, are obtained by burning fat. Also, there is no scientific way to say this – larger muscles look hot!

Eat Fresh
Cut down on processed foods, and start eating fresh foods. Those daily burgers that you thought were fine will bite you in the bottom one day. Instead of the hastily gobbled burger or Sub, have a fruit or a salad. It takes even less time to prepare than the supposed ‘fast food’, and is infinitely healthier. And if you think fruits taste bland, that is what real food tastes like! You have just become used to the hokey and horribly harmful layers of sugars, flavoring agents, and trans fats.

Eat More Natural Fats
There are good fats (high-density cholesterol) and there are bad fats (low-density cholesterol). ‘Real’ foods such as fish, nuts, eggs, and fruits contain healthy fats, which are essential in the proper maintenance of our body. Good fats actually help prevent heart disease, and better our brain functioning. Good fats can be obtained through something as easy as switching to olive oil. Frying chicken or potatoes in olive oil is better than other options, but deep-frying is still harmful.

Eat More Proteins
Proteins are essential in increasing muscle mass. Have a protein-rich breakfast (e.g. boiled eggs, omelets, stir-fried chicken, baked beans, protein shake), and include some form of protein in every meal. For those of us who like to snack between meals, install nuts or chopped fruits as your snack food. The best forms of proteins are found in animals, i.e. white meat, eggs, and fish, but vegetarians have the options of dairy, non-processed cheese (the ones that stink), beans, nuts, etc.

As with any natural phenomenon, straying too far away from the optimum physical condition in either direction has terrible consequences. The best option is to eat real, wholesome foods, and exercise regularly like our life depended on it – it does! Our body is a result of genetics, but modifying it is completely in our hands, and maintaining it is nothing less than a responsibility.

Pros and Cons of Fitbit Gadgets

Fact about Fitbit OneThanksgiving is finally over, and with Christmas coming round the corner, we wonder if we can ever stick to the same shirt size. While we fool ourselves by taking a slice of pie for the fifth time, maybe it’s time to consider the effects of binge-eating, and take a hard look at the mirror.

Most of us consider ourselves to be pretty healthy. We drink clean water, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and spend less time near the microwave. For those of you happy with your life choices, good for you. But for those who wish to lose those few extra pounds, and lose the practice of sucking in your gut, read on.

Fitbit gadgets have been in vogue for some time. They have given tough competition to Nike and Jawbone. There are many reasons for their popularity, and the name isn’t one of them. They have launched a number of products, keeping in mind the demographic of users in the market, and all the while targeting overall fitness and the well-being of consumers. We take a look at the pros and cons of Fitbit gadgets, and what keeps the average consumer coming back for more.

Fitbit One
Cost: $99.95

For those who like to be free when running, this gadget is for you. Fitbit One is a sleek gadget that you can clip on easily. You don’t have to wear it on your wrist continuously. With a simple display, you can keep track of your fitness with one touch. It comes with a separate charging cable and wireless syncing. Fitbit One was the first to adopt Bluetooth technology. The wireless syncing is currently available on newer Android devices and iPhone 4S and higher. The One comes with a wrist strap which can contain the device, and it wakes you up with your preset goals. While syncing with the online account, Fitbit One devises a well-planned diet based on the intake of foods and your current goal.

Pros

►Very easy to wear; you can’t even feel its presence while running. It can be clipped onto your shirt or your belt. It won’t slip off even if you jogged your hardest trying to lose that last pound.

►You can scroll through the number of steps taken, calories lost, and goals you have achieved. You can create your account on the Fitbit website and sync it online with other users to compare your progress. An image of a flower is displayed, which keeps growing the more active you get.

►It has a set of default goals in-built in the system, like 10,000 steps a day, 5 miles a day, 30 ‘active’ minutes, and 10 floors climbed. Though the reason for setting these goals is still unclear, the recommendation is a minimum of 150 minutes of walking every week or any other activity. It also tracks your sleeping patterns and displays the result in a graphical format.

►The device wakes you up silently with a vibrating alarm. It gives you badges based on your performance. Plus, this gives you the chance to gloat to your friends on social media, and those connected to your Fitbit account. The device shouts out encouraging messages, unlike your PE teacher, like ‘You Rock!’ and ‘I’m Ready!’.

►One has a battery life which lasts a week. No need to keep it charging everyday like your cell phone.

Cons

►It tends to count steps even when you’re asleep. Simply twirling the device racks up 3,000 points. It also lacks the features to track cycling and swimming.

►There’s no manual included that tells you to set up the device. You need to create a Fitbit account online to sync it with your device.

Fitbit Zip
Cost: $59.95

Designed as a pedometer, the Zip is good for those going for the retro look. Released at the same time as the One, it calculates the number of steps taken and calories burned. You can dress it up as an ironic accessory of the ’90s, like the pager, but there’s no doubt that this little dude’s gonna help you on your way to fitness.

Pros:

►It has a clip-on feature which you can attach to your belt or shirt, whichever makes you comfortable. You think it would be easy to lose, but the device just hangs on, even while enduring the morning rush to work or when you take off your shirt at the end of the day.

►Tap on the device to change the display. Each tap cycles through the five modes: Steps, Distance Traveled, Calories Burned, Clock, and Fitbit Smiley.

►The main reason you bought this small wonder is for tracking your calories and sticking to your goals. If you’re serious about losing that flab, then input your intake of food into the device. It’ll tell you the amount you have to lose or gain according to your goals. 3,600 calories totals one pound. Once you know that figure, it helps quite a bit. Other online apps charge you extra for this feature.

►The Bluetooth feature in your device syncs automatically if the dongle is inserted in your PC, and uploads the data to your Fitbit account.

►As with One, it gives you medals if you have achieved a milestone or a default goal set by the device.

Cons:

►The Zip doesn’t have a rechargeable battery, but instead uses disposable batteries. So it lasts only 4 – 6 months.

►It doesn’t have an altimeter. In case there are any folks who climb a lot of stairs, it won’t calculate your vertical movements.

►It’s not waterproof, but is water-resistant. You can’t submerge it further than 10 meters underwater.

►You need to shell out extra if you want additional features. Like the Barcode Scanner that uses your smartphone to scan food barcodes to extract nutritional information. The premium version gives you a personalized digital session, which provides you with an analysis of your food intake, as well as provides you with a list of foods with a healthier intake.

Fitbit Flex
Cost: $99.95

Fitbit Flex was released in place of its predecessor, Force. Designed like a bracelet, it’s the first wearable device from the Fitbit family. Travel however you want, and it’ll keep track of your calories. They have used a slim display with five flashing dots to signify different meanings on your device. The five LED lights flash back and forth when updating, flash in an ascending order when charging, and vibrates silently in case of an alarm.

Pros:

►Those looking for that style quotient, they offer this in a variety of colors, from black, tangerine, teal, navy, lime, pink, blue, slate, to red.

►As per the norm, Fitbit gadgets are water-resistant. This can be submerged 33 feet for those want to take it for a swim, but it won’t track your laps.

►You need to tap it five times to enter the sleep mode, so it can record your sleep patterns and give you a detailed analysis. Tap it five more times to wake it up.

►You can customize your goals on the dashboard or your display, for that matter.

Cons:

►It doesn’t track your steps accurately. You have to include your stride length in your profile for it to calculate it correctly.

►It has the worst battery life out of all the gadgets, and needs to be charged every 5 days.

►The altimeter is too dull to provide any motivation, and displays its info in the form of dots.

Fitbit Charge
Cost: $129.95

Fitbit Charge is the newest addition to the family. It sports a trendy outlook, and can be worn as a watch. It’s offered in various colors.

Pros:

►Learning from their previous model, Flex, they have offered this device in different sizes, with larger sizes available for bigger wrists.

►Another neat feature is the Caller ID function. If synced to your smartphone, it gives you call notifications on your wristband.

►You don’t need a watch, as it displays the time continuously. The battery charge lasts for 7 – 10 days, so it won’t be a problem.

Cons:

►The price is too steep, considering they have almost the same features. If you need an upgrade, wait for the Charge HR, which includes a heart rate monitor as well as GPS tracking.

►It’s bulkier than the Flex, and cumbersome to wear it all the time.

►It needs a charging cable to recharge its batteries.

Fitbit Aria
Cost: $129.95

Fitbit Aria is a Wi-Fi enabled weighing machine. In conjunction with your Fitbit gadgets, it helps you track your weight goals, and gives you a detailed plan. Embedded with a 3-axis accelerometer, the Charge captures your motion 24/7, and relays the data in the form of steps, sleep patterns, and the results of calorie loss.

Pros:

►It has a very stylish look. The top is made of solid glass while the back has a bubble pattern with rubberized feet that keeps it stable.

►The accuracy of Aria is spot-on. It calculates your weight and then formulates a plan for your goals.

Cons:

►At around $130, it’s quite a steep price for a weight scale.

Quite recently, Fitbit withdrew its products from the Apple HealthKit, because it plans to launch the Surge, a smartwatch designed to give competition to the Apple Watch. Along with the Surge, it also plans to launch Charge HR, an extension of Charge with heart-rate monitoring capabilities able to detect increased blood pressure and imminent heart attacks. Even the best-laid plans can go haywire, but with the help of these gizmos, you can chart a better path to your health.

Things You Should Never Do While Trying to Get in Shape

Exercising and gorging food will never help lose weight
Healthy weight loss is achieved by following a healthy diet, increasing your level of physical activity, and adopting good lifestyle habits. Period. But some lack the motivation or patience to follow healthy techniques to lose weight. Those desperately looking to get in shape will resort to any ‘quick’ method available. They may not realize that these methods can put their overall health at risk.

Here are the common myths or wrong weight loss methods that should be avoided. Make sure you do not make these mistakes when trying to lose weight.

Relying on Packaged ‘Diet’ Food

Nowadays, a lot of prepackaged diet meals are available in the market (Pure Package, Diet to Go). Here, you get a pre-designed packed box of breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner every day. As these foods contain less amounts of calories, they are claimed to be effective. However, what people are unaware of is that these foods contain preservatives, sugar, and other additives. Secondly, drastically cutting down on calories can slow down your metabolism. Products like diet soda contains artificial sweeteners and caffeine, which does more harm to the body than good. Substituting a balanced and nutritious meal with anything marked ‘diet’ or ‘fat-free’ food is actually not healthy. Consuming foods with high sugar can lead to diabetes and kidney damage, whereas, consuming foods with high amounts of sodium can lead to hypertension. Packaged or anything coming in a box is not healthy. It may be convenient, but the additives in these foods will prevent you from losing weight, and is not healthy either.

Eating Fat-Free Food

What most of us are unaware about is that fat-free does not necessarily mean low in calories. It’s true that consuming less fats can help you get in shape sooner, but packaged ‘fat-free’ foods are loaded with carbohydrates and sugar, and hence, are high in calories. Secondly, low fat foods like dried fruits, nuts, beans, dairy, packaged yogurt, salad dressings, pretzels, etc., contain high amounts of calories. For example, fruit juices (fresh as well as packaged ones) contain no fat, but have high calories. Therefore, consuming more than 1 glass of fruit juice will not help in warding off excess weight, due to the high caloric intake.

Relying on a Liquid Diet

To rely only on fruit and vegetable juice to lose weight is a wrong method, for two reasons. Firstly, by substituting your meal with only juice, you decrease the calorie intake drastically. It will help lose weight, but it can cause health problems like lack of energy, nutritional deficiency, headaches, stomach disorders, etc. We require carbohydrates and proteins to gain energy. Secondly, if you consume fruit or vegetable juices, but do not cut down on their portion sizes, you may still gain weight because of the high calorie content (read the aforementioned ‘Eating Fat-Free Food’). Watching your portions, following a balanced diet, and exercising to burn off excess calories, is the best way to be healthy and fit.

Not Cutting Down on Food Intake

Exercise plays an important role in maintaining healthy weight. It is true that exercise helps burn extra calories, but it will probably not help you much if you do not take care of your diet by reducing your calorie intake. If you believe you can exercise every day and eat to your heart’s content, you are mistaken. For healthy weight loss, you need to burn more calories than you consume. So, you need to limit the intake of food, else, the amount of calories consumed will exceed those burnt off. Now, those sweating out for hours together at the gym, did you know that extreme exercising is also linked to premature aging?

Using Sauna Suits or Rubber Belts

You may come across many products that claim to promote quick weight loss, like rubber belts, sauna suits, etc. If you wish to get rid of excess weight, you need to burn off fat. Sauna does not help burn fat, it just helps in losing water weight. You will regain weight as soon as you replenish your lost fluids by drinking water. Sauna suits induce excessive sweating, which can have harmful side effects like severe dehydration, loss of electrolytes, heatstroke, etc. Using a sauna suit is not a safe way to lose weight.

Having Time-Based Meal Plans

A diet that suggests you to follow a rigid meal plan is not a practical approach to weight loss. In the present day lifestyle, it is impossible to follow a rigid time-based meal plan, unless, of course, you are waited on hand and foot. If your diet plan says not to have meals after 6pm, it may not be possible every day, as you are working, have chores to fulfill, etc. Having specific set of foods at specific times is impractical and difficult. In fact, eating healthy snacks when hungry can boost your metabolism. Remember, eating when hungry, and only so much as to suppress your hunger, is the correct way to go.

Believing Skinny is Fit

Weight loss is usually recommended to those who are overweight or have a BMI higher than normal. However, once you get rid of the unwanted fat, you should aim to maintain that, and stop the unwanted fat from returning. Remember, being skinny does not mean you are fit or healthy. In most of the cases, being skinny is associated with fasting and starving, which leads to health problems like nutritional deficiency, headaches, stomach disorders, dehydration, etc. A skinny person can be as unhealthy as an overweight person due to wrong food and lifestyle habits. Compromising on your food and following crazy diets can be harmful. Being underweight takes a toll on your overall health, and is commonly associated with malnutrition, weak immune system, disorders of the skin, hair, stomach, etc.

Skipping Exercise

As mentioned above, it is a myth that only extensive exercising or strength training in the gym helps lose weight. Although there is no doubt that these exercises are effective, there is no denying the fact that other exercise types like aerobic exercises, household chores (lawn mowing, washing the car, scrubbing), or other daily physical activities like climbing the stairs, are also equally effective. Walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling, etc. (along with good food habits), help in losing and maintaining proper body weight. A regular exercise regime combined with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle habits is the ideal way to get in shape.

Starving Yourself
Cutting down on fatty and high-calorie foods is recommended in every weight loss plan. But some take it to another level, forget the word ‘wrong’ foods, and go on a near-death starvation diet. Our body needs food to keep going, to gain energy, and also to perform different functions in the body. Starvation deprives the body of its fuel. Along with fat loss, starvation also causes muscle loss. Secondly, as your body starts conserving energy, the metabolism slows down drastically, and fewer calories are burnt. This means, even when you switch to a healthy diet later on, you will have trouble burning calories. Did you know that the effects of starvation can take nearly a year to reverse completely?

Having Diet Pills/Drugs
Diet pills and drugs, like appetite suppressants, magic pills, laxatives, purgatives, etc., are used by some dieters to get in shape quickly. Many manufacturers claim weight loss with these pills, sans diet or exercise. Although this may appear very convenient and easy, it is not safe. Many diet pills contain large amounts of caffeine or appetite suppressants that will never make you feel hungry. There are no immediate effects of these diet pills, except a few side effects like anxiety, headaches, fatigue, lethargy, etc. But these pills are very addictive, and there are chances of developing a tolerance for the same. You will resume the lost weight after stopping the pills, if you do not follow a proper diet and exercise routine.

Sometimes, people adopt extreme weight loss methods like starvation or the tapeworm pills method mentioned above. It is not only dangerous but can have serious long-term health hazards. If you come across any bizzare or unconventional diet or weight loss tips, make sure you have detailed information about all its pros and cons, and after effects. If in doubt, it is always recommended to consult a doctor or a certified nutritionist before commencing any weight loss routine.

It is possible to lose weight with healthy methods. Following are the things you can do to achieve an ideal weight and maintain it.

What To Do

1. Follow healthy food habits.
2. Consult a nutritionist and understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy food.
3. Stop binging and emotional eating.
4. Do not skip meals. But, watch your portions.
5. Exercise regularly for 20-30 minutes every day.
6. Be physically active.
7. Follow a practical weight loss plan.
8. Continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle even after you lose weight.
9. Try to reduce stress.
10. Stay focused and motivated.

Remember a simple principle – as excess weight is not gained overnight, it cannot be lost in a short time either. Give yourself some time. Although healthy methods may take a bit longer to work, they are more effective, and definitely beneficial in the long term.

Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Physical Fitness

Fact about physical fitness

Let’s face it, we tend to shirk physical activity or exercise every time the opportunity arises. We may have a membership to multiple gyms but are hardly regular to even one. We do not hesitate to throw some frivolous excuse in order to skip exercise. This negative attitude towards physical activity stems from the belief that one has to spend hours in the gym to improve overall health.

However, exercise is considered to be a natural antidepressant, and it can be a fun activity that can uplift your mind and body. Moreover, it is one activity that you can really enjoy. So, we at Buzzle, have decided to do our bit to motivate you to lead a healthier lifestyle, by presenting a few fun fitness facts.

Fun Facts About Physical Fitness
If you are able to keep your conversation going while doing a workout, it means you are not exercising at a high intensity.
There is no such thing as ‘ideal time’ for exercise. Exercise is beneficial no matter what time of the day you choose to do it.
Your daily workout need not be structured. In order to stay healthy, you just need to be consistent in whatever type of exercise you do.
People who engage in weight training and wish to quit smoking have a twofold chance of quitting the ‘cancer stick’ successfully than those who avoid weight training
Men who exercise with their counterparts tend to stay motivated and workout with heavier weights. To put it simply, weight training with your female partner is sure to give excellent results.
Studies suggest that whenever you walk for an hour, you add 2 hours to your life expectancy. No wonder, it is said that walk a mile daily to be healthy and fine.
If you have a sedentary spouse, there is a high probability that you too will remain sedentary. Another study has shown that if your partner is leading an active lifestyle, there is an 85% chance that you too will lead an active lifestyle.
It is a myth that if you stop exercising, the gained muscle mass turns into fat. Muscle and fat are two different tissues that cannot transform from one tissue type to another.
As exercise builds muscle mass and burns extra fat, one can still gain weight despite losing fat.
Exercise helps to uplift one’s mood as it stimulates the production of endorphins, commonly known as the happy hormones, in the body.
People who exercise are in good shape and tend to share healthier relationships with their partners, kids, and co-workers.
While exercising outdoors, we tend to face resistance from environmental factors like wind, heat, and cold. This is not the case with a gym that provides a controlled environment. Hence, outdoor exercise tends to slash more calories as compared to an indoor workout.
A 5-10 minute warm up session raises metabolic rate, which promotes better oxygen delivery and utilization to the working muscles. No wonder, a warm up provides superior muscle control while exercising.

It is observed that the metabolic rate stays elevated after exercise. So, the body continues to burn calories even after the workout, which is more than the calories you burn during exercise.

Dancing is a fun gym-free activity to boost your heart health. The wide range of movements associated with dancing can certainly provide cardiovascular benefits.

A vigorous workout can cause substantial loss of body fluids. So, it is essential to drink water before, during, and after exercise to keep yourself well-hydrated.
Genetically, women do not have the capacity to develop a bulky muscular body as they have very less testosterone―the hormone needed to develop large bulky muscles.
Muscle tissue is found to be 3 times more effective in burning calories than fat tissue. This is because muscle cells utilize much more calories than fat cells, even at rest.
The working of muscle tissue is highly dependent on the fluid levels in them. Even a small drop in fluid levels can reduce its performance considerably. It is observed that while exercising, if a muscle loses just 3% of its fluids, its strength reduces by 10%.
Simply visualizing a particular type of exercise in your mind triggers the muscle synapses.
The only exercise where you need to stop breathing in order to do it successfully is swimming underwater.
A really good laugh uses face and abdominal muscles as well as increases heart rate. In fact, laughing 100 times a day is equivalent to riding an exercise bike for 15 minutes.
An average individual will have walked around 70,000 miles till he reaches old age.
According to the American Council on Exercise, calorie deficit obtained by engaging in 60 minutes of inline skating or running is more or less the same.
In case, you are not exercising daily, you may lose up to 80% of your muscle strength by the time you reach the age of 65.
Being thin does not mean that the body fat percentage is always normal. It is not the weight but the amount of fat that matters the most. So, people with healthy weight, can still have high body fat percentage, which can be detrimental to the health.

In order to get rid of an extra pound of fat, you need to burn around 3,500 calories.

According to Dutch researchers, people who consume alcoholic beverages half an hour, prior to their meal eat more calories. So, one can conclude that drinking alcohol before meals helps increase appetite.

Tomato ketchup is more effective in warding off heart ailments than fresh tomatoes. Lycopene, a compound that boosts heart health, is found in tomatoes. However, this compound is better absorbed when it is present in ketchup.
Although yogurt is considered to be a diet food, one should avoid Greek yogurt when dieting as it is found to be high in fats.
Drinking beer in moderation can also help boost bone health. This is because beer contains dietary mineral silicon that helps strengthen the bones.
Fun Facts about the Human Body
To utter a single word, your body uses about 70 muscles. A smile uses 17 muscles, whereas 42 muscles are required to frown.
If all the nerves in the human body are joined together, they would cover a distance of 45 miles.
During normal breathing, on an average, a person uses 7 quarts of air per minute.
A one-minute French kiss can burn around 26 calories.
Of the 206 bones found in the human body, 52 bones are located in the feet.
You cannot keep your eyes open while sneezing.
A man’s heart can beat almost 6 beats per minute slower than a woman’s heart.
Fingernails can grow up to 4 times faster than toenails. The middle fingernail grows at the fastest rate.
A given quantity of blood pumped from the heart requires only about 23 seconds to complete a round of the circulatory system.
The right lung is slightly larger than the left lung. This is because the left lung makes space for the heart in the chest.
The food swallowed after chewing takes 7 seconds to reach the stomach.
When the urinary bladder is completely full, it is inflated to the size of a soft ball, which is slightly larger than a cricket ball.
Every time you gain a pound of fat, there is addition of 7 new miles of blood vessels to your body.
The brain receives electrical signals from the nervous system at very high speeds that can reach up to 200 miles per hour. Also, every second the brain gets flooded with 100 million nerve signals that are relayed from the sensory organs.

CT Scan with Contrast

CT scan with contrast
A CT scan is a technique that gives detailed images of the inside of the body. This is a painless procedure that combines the power of a sophisticated X-ray machine with that of a computer, to generate a 3D view of the inside of the body. This advanced method provides an easy way to inspect any organ of the body in much finer detail. In this procedure, the X-ray equipment rotates around the body and sends several beams to take multiple pictures of the same area from different angles, which are then put together by the computer to reveal an extremely detailed cross-sectional 3D image of the body part under examination. A normal X-ray machine uses only one radiation beam to produce an image that is not capable of giving a clear idea about the disease.

Before the procedure actually begins, you will be advised to lie down on a rectangular table. The table is then pushed until you come exactly at the center of the CT scanner machine. During the procedure, the CT scanner is seen revolving around you, clicking images from different angles. While the imaging is going on, one should not move as the resultant images appear distorted.

CT Scan Benefits

– CT scans have been extremely useful to diagnose diseases and disorders in the early stages of development. Doctors find this procedure beneficial to detect tumors early, which in turn helps to plan the treatment to prevent further complications.
– CT scanning could determine whether an artery wall has swollen, as well as find out the severity of internal injuries.
– CT scanning can also be used to know how the body is responding to treatments, like radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
– In order to diagnose diseases related to bones, such as osteoporosis, the bone mineral density needs to be ascertained, which can be effectively done using a CT scan.

CT Scan With Contrast

No doubt, CT scanning depicts sharp images of different organs but when it comes to evaluating small structures of the body, better visibility is necessary, which unfortunately CT scan alone does not provide. CT scanning that is done with the help of contrast agents can play a significant role to improve the images of the area to be examined. For better visualization of a specific area within an organ, a CT scan with contrast is a good option. Detecting inflammation in a specific part of an organ due to an infection may not be possible in the absence of contrasting agents. Unless the portion is highlighted, diagnosing it is not easy. For instance, CT scan of gastrointestinal tract shows the stomach, small and the large intestine. But, scanning with a contrasting agent will allow doctors to differentiate these organs clearly.

Contrasting agents enhance the visualization, which helps to correctly diagnose the condition. So, when it comes to making the structure of interest more visible, what better way than CT scan with contrast. This method provides superior images that allows doctors to get a better assessment of the condition. The contrast, also known as a dye, is basically a substance that is administered intravenously or taken orally during the CT scan test. These substances have the capability to weaken (attenuate) X-rays. When these substances are taken, they travel in the body and are absorbed by the organs. When the radiation beams pass through the organ containing the contrast, these X-rays attenuate significantly. As a result, the organs or the tissues that contain the contrast are highlighted, which appear as white areas on the final CT images.

– This method that involves use of contrasting agents increases the visibility of the organ to be studied. For diagnosing tumors, and to know the exact location of the tumor, sometimes a CT scan with contrast is used.
– A blood clot deep into the venous system, or blood vessel defects can be easily detected with this procedure. In other words, to find out blockages in tiny blood vessels, use of CT scan with contrast is necessary.
– This new innovative technique enhances particular structures of the organ which helps to identify the abnormalities in the organ.
– Patients undergoing this type of CT scan are instructed not to consume solid food for at least 4-6 hours before the test.
However, the patient is allowed to drink clear liquids such as water, apple juice, tea, or clear soda, prior to the CT scan.

Contrast Agents

During a CT scan, the patient may be advised to take a contrast (dye) so that resultant images of a specific part of the body have greater clarity. This may be essential to detect the presence of a foreign object, or to diagnose any minute defects in a specific organ. When the image of a specific body part is produced using a contrast agent, certain areas of the image are highlighted. In other words, a precise visualization of the specific area of the organ is achieved, which in turn helps to asses complications in the organ. Some of the most commonly used contrasts are barium, iodine, barium sulfate, and gastrografin. Contrasts are mainly administered in 4 different ways which are listed below:

– Intravenous (injected through a vein to highlight blood vessels and to get a clearer image of the structure of the organs such as the spine, liver, and the brain)
– Oral (taken by mouth for an abdomen CT scan)
– Rectal contrasts to highlight large intestines
– Inhalation

Administration of contrast agents by allowing the patient to inhale a gas, namely xenon, is an uncommon method and is followed when highly sharp images of the lungs or the brain are required. Also, this procedure is conducted at very few locations worldwide and only in rare cases.

In most cases, solution laced with diluted barium (that acts as an oral contrast ) is given to the patient before undergoing abdominal CT scan. Around 1/2 to 1 liter of oral contrast has to be consumed in a span of two hours. However, those receiving contrast intravenously (through injection) should avoid consuming both solid and liquid products as there is a high probability of suffering from stomach upset.

Chest CT/Contrast
A chest CT scan using contrast gives detailed images taken at varying angles of the different parts of the chest. The contrast media is generally given intravenously. It is a non-invasive procedure that provides increased visibility of the structures of the chest that include the lungs, heart, and surrounding bones. This method gives precise images that help to determine the presence and extent of injury. Chest CT scanning with contrast gives an in-depth view of inside the chest. This multiple-angled X-ray technique takes many sharp images of the chest.

– People having chest pain or symptoms of lung disease or difficulty in breathing may require chest CT scans with contrast.
– The procedure helps to diagnose the root cause of the problem. It looks for abnormalities such as lung tumors, blood clots, or excess accumulation of fluid around the lungs. Even conditions like pneumonia and tuberculosis can be detected with this method.
– Patients advised to undergo chest CT scans need to wear loose-fitting clothing and remove items like jewelry and other metal objects as they may interfere with the working of the machine.

Abdominal CT Contrast
In order to scan the abdomen and the large intestines, rectal CT contrasts are often administered using an enema. The most commonly used rectal contrast are gastrografin and barium sulfate, which help to enhance the images of the large intestines as well the bladder, uterus (womb) in women, and other organs contained in the pelvis. When gastrografin as a contrast is used, gastrointestinal organs that are within the abdomen are highlighted clearly in the resultant image. Sometimes, gastrografin, available as a water-based drink, is consumed to about 1000cc or 1500cc 1-2 hours prior to CT scan to get the desired result. Pregnant women are advised to stay away from abdominal scans as exposing the fetus to several beams of radiation can cause health complications in the unborn child.

Head CT Scan with Contrast
Head CT scan is often used to detect abnormalities in the brain such as tumors. The scan can help to diagnose a stroke by pointing out blood circulation problems in a specific part of the brain. It can pinpoint the arteries where blood flow has been obstructed. A head CT scan is also used to investigate jaws, sinuses (the hollow air-filled spaces around the nose) for infections such as sinusitis. People suffering from frequent dizziness, chronic headaches, or neurological disorders such as seizures may also be advised to undergo a CT head scan.

One cannot wear hearing aids, dentures, braces, and other such metal objects during a head CT scan as they can distort the resultant images. Barrettes (hair clips), eye glasses, and contact lenses are also not allowed in the CT scanner.

CT Scan Duration
The amount of time that you will spend lying still during the CT scan depends on the size of area under investigation. Larger the area of CT scan, more will be the duration of examination. Also, scanning that involves use of contrast agents is more time-consuming. In general, the CT scan examination takes a minimum of 15 minutes but the duration can extend up to 60 minutes.

Results
Although the images are generated in seconds and the procedure lasts about an hour, you do not get the results immediately nor in a couple of days. The radiologist studies and interprets the images and finally conveys it to your health care provider. So, it may take a couple of weeks before the doctor gives you the CT scan report.

Side Effects
Contrast agents that are either given orally or intravenously are eliminated out of the body through urine. So, as such bothersome side effects are unlikely to occur. However, serious health complications will occur if the patient is allergic to the contrast dye. After contrast is administered intravenously, you may experience a warm feeling that usually goes away in a short while. It is observed that oral contrasts have a bitter taste that lasts for a few minutes. In general, the side effects that may occur by using this type of CT scan are listed below:

– Vomiting and nausea
– Chills
– Fatigue
– Sneezing
– Dizziness
– Flushing
– Metallic taste in mouth
– Skin problems such as hives
– Constipation, in case of rectal contrasts
– Allergic reactions, such as swelling of the throat and difficulty in breathing

In case the patient is allergic to contrast agents, the doctor should be immediately informed so that he can take precautionary measures to prevent any adverse reactions.

CT Scan With Contrast Risks

Kidney Damage
It is crucial that people recommended for CT scan with contrast are not suffering from kidney diseases. The contrast agents that are administered either intravenously or orally will be flushed off through the urine, only if the kidneys are working correctly. The iodine contrast can cause serious damage in people with compromised kidney function. So, a blood test that evaluates kidney function is mandatory, 3 days prior to CT scan with contrast. In case, the test indicates impaired kidney function, use of contrast agents is avoided.

Cancer
A CT scan with contrast exposes you to radiation that is significantly more in magnitude than that of conventional X rays. So, frequent exposure to CT scan can put you in the risk zone of cancer. Attending just one session of CT scan also carries a small amount of cancer risk. Although high radiation exposure from CT scan is not a major risk factor in the development of cancer, unnecessary usage of this radiation-based procedure needs to be avoided. CT scan generates radiation that is 100 to 500 times more intense than the radiation delivered by the X-rays. Exposure to such high-intensity rays may inflict damage to DNA and cause cancer in the long run. So, to be on the safer side, excessive use of CT scan has to be curbed.

Protecting Kidneys from Contrast Dye

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that taking a N-acetylcysteine tablet before a CT scan can substantially reduce the risk of kidney damage resulting from iodine contrast agents. As aforementioned, exposure to intravenous contrast dye can lead to kidney problems. This is also true for people with healthy kidney function, although the risk is minimal. However, taking this medication can help to keep the kidneys safe from contrast-induced nephropathy.

CT Scan Vs. MRI Scan

A CT scan is not the same as an MRI scan. This is because an MRI scan uses magnetic fields to generate images of internal organs as compared to X-ray beams used in CT scans. Also, MRI scans are used only in a few situations, like diagnosing brain tumors and primary bone tumors. CT scans, on the other hand, still remain one of the best medical tests and tools for early detection of various diseases.

Types of Intravenous Catheters

Types of intravenous catheters
When patients are unable to take medication or food, orally, the doctor may recommend the use of intravenous catheter or IV therapy. Catheters are flexible tubes constructed from medical-grade plastic material. They are introduced into a vein through the skin. They allow access to the venous system to administer medication or fluids to provide intravenous nutrition. Depending upon the site of access, intravenous catheters are classified into the following types:

Peripheral Intravenous Catheter

Simply put, these catheters are inserted into the veins located in the peripheral areas of the body, such as the arms and legs. Peripheral veins lie in the extremities, away from the central part of the body. So, when it comes to administering medication through these veins, peripheral intravenous (PIV) catheters are an obvious choice. Although they can be placed easily, expert help is necessary for proper insertion. These catheters are short and their length varies from 2.5 cm to 7 cm. They are manufactured in a variety of diameters from 14 gauge to 26 gauge. Also, these catheters are designed to be used for a short duration only. So, usually after a period of 72-96 hours, the catheter is removed from the site of insertion.

✦ Midline Peripheral Intravenous Catheters
When medication needs to be delivered for a longer duration, say 2 to 4 weeks, replacing PIV lines after every 3 to 4 days is not a feasible option. In such situations, midline peripheral catheters may be recommended. They are used when the duration of treatment varies from 1 to 6 weeks. The catheter, usually inserted in the upper arm, is pushed until its other end reaches the axillary region (armpit). These catheters are longer than PIV lines, with their length varying from 3 to 10 inches.

Central Venous Catheters

When larger veins located in the central circulatory system need to be accessed, experts opt for central venous catheters (CVC). This type of catheters are often introduced into the chest and pushed until their tip reaches the superior vena cava―a large diameter vein that supplies deoxygenated blood to the heart. They are also used to access the internal jugular vein (located in the neck) and the femoral vein that lies in the groin area.

Unlike peripheral catheters, the central venous catheters are longer and designed for long-term use. When access to a specific vein is needed for a longer duration, ranging from a few weeks to several months, central venous catheters are recommended. Also, their size is larger, which helps deliver large volumes of medication, blood and nutrients in a short amount of time. People suffering from chronic ailments may require long-term intravenous administration of medication. For instance, long-term treatment of antibiotics or chemotherapy may be given using central catheters. Kidney dialysis, that involves purifying the blood and removing the waste from the body, is also carried out using these catheters. The following are the main types of central venous catheters.

✦ Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC Line)
Similar to peripheral catheters, the PICC line is inserted from the extremities, such as the upper arm. However, it does not terminate into a peripheral vein. Rather, it is pushed through these veins, until it reaches the inner larger diameter veins that are in proximity to the heart. The PICC line terminates at the superior vena cava or cavoatrial junction.

✦ Tunneled Catheter
This long, flexible tube is inserted surgically―one extremity of the catheter lies close to the heart, while the other extremity of the catheter is seen danging outside the body. With the help of ultrasound and fluoroscopy, the catheter is introduced into a vein in the neck area, and then advanced into a large vein close to the heart. The other end of the catheter is tunneled subcutaneously and eventually comes out from the side of the chest. Tunneling helps to hold the catheter firmly in its position as well as decreases the chances of an infection.

✦ Implanted Port
An implanted port consists of 2 parts; the reservoir that is shaped like a disc, through which medicines or fluids are delivered. The second part is the catheter, a slender tube connected to the reservoir and placed into a large vein. An implanted port is placed in such a way that no part of it lies outside the skin. Even the disc-shaped opening of the catheter from where the medication are delivered lies completely inside the skin. Although the skin at the site of insertion may appear slightly protruding, it is hardly noticeable. The port can be placed in the extremities, but it is usually inserted in the upper chest area. With the help of a special needle, fluids and medication are delivered subcutaneously into the catheter.