Posts Tagged "WellnessCjoy"


How to make healthy eating resolutions stick throughout the year – National

by BBG Hub

For many of us, January is all about giving things up: Maybe we’re going to stop eating meat and embrace a plant-based diet. Or we’re ready to kick excess sugar to the curb after a holiday season awash in sweets. Or we’re committed to avoiding fast food.

Starting the year with noble goals for eating well is a modern rite of passage. But it’s just as common to ditch those grand plans within just a few weeks.

This year, how can we do it right? If we’re pledging to make better food choices, which strategies can help us stick with them?

Start small

The consensus among experts is clear: It’s tempting to begin with dramatic gestures, but the key to achieving lasting change is setting goals that are small enough that we won’t scrap them by Valentine’s Day.

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READ MORE: Want to be happier in 2020? Make mental health a priority

Manageable, measurable goals can create long-term change, says Laila Azarbad, associate professor of psychology at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.

When people set lofty goals, they can get discouraged after a couple weeks.

“Our self-efficacy, that belief in our own ability, tanks,” she says. “And that’s a huge predictor: If you don’t feel confident in your ability to make the change, you’re going to discontinue trying.”

Picture this, says Dana White, a sports dietitian and clinical associate professor at Quinnipiac University: You want to lose 20 pounds and you know that every afternoon you visit the office vending machine for a snack to boost your energy. So, begin packing a healthy afternoon snack — not something punitive, but something healthier that you’ll enjoy — and have that instead of a vending machine candy bar.

How good are plant-based diets for the environment?

How good are plant-based diets for the environment?

It’s a measurable, specific change that won’t be unpleasant. Once that new behaviour is in place, you can add another small but meaningful change.

The same thinking works if you’re eliminating animal products: Rather than going cold turkey (cold tofu?), begin by replacing one dinner per week with a vegetarian meal. Plan it for a night when you won’t be rushed and can make an appealing recipe, or budget for going out once a week to a vegetarian restaurant.

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Then track that change for three weeks, says Anna Baker, assistant professor of psychology at Bucknell University, who researches the connection between behavioural factors such as self-management and health outcomes.

“You hear that it takes 21 days to create habit. There’s debate about whether it’s 21 exactly, but you need a certain amount of time of continuing to do something before it becomes a habit,” Baker says.

READ MORE: Lying on your dating profile can hurt you and your chances at love

“Once you do kind of get used to that change and you’re doing it regularly, then you can add in another thing.”

If you make that one good shift for three weeks, congratulate yourself. Then maintain that behaviour and add another small change, like drinking more water.

It’s tempting to try making a half-dozen changes all at once, White says. But by focusing on individual, small, unhealthy behaviours and “really identifying what the triggers are that lead to those behaviours,” she says, people “can have a tremendous amount of success without torturing themselves.”

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Accept that mistakes are a normal part of building a new habit. If you know an event is coming up where you’ll want to divert from your eating goals, accept that you may slip a bit.

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Study says regular exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer

Study says regular exercise can help prevent certain types of cancer

Aim for “consistency, not perfection,” says Baker. “You have to plan in advance that you’re going to screw up. We’re not perfect.”

Enlist friends

Lastly, “tell everybody you know that you’re doing this because social support is huge,” Azerbad says.

“If you’re going out to eat and they know you’re trying to change your diet, they can help choose a restaurant that will accommodate you,” she says.

READ MORE: Should you switch careers? What you need to know before taking the plunge

And the need to save face may keep you on track.

“Once you put it out there on social media and you tell everybody that ‘I’m going to do this… you feel that people are watching,” Azerbad says.

“We don’t want other people to see us fail.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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What causes a pinched nerve and how to treat it – National

by BBG Hub

If a “pinched nerve” sounds painful it’s because it often is.

A pinched or “compressed nerve” can cause pain, feelings of numbness, tingling or weakness in the affected area.

Pinched nerves often occur when there’s too much pressure from surrounding tissues applied to a nerve root. Because a system of nerves is present throughout the body, a pinched nerve can happen anywhere along the course of the nervous system, Stanford Health Care points out, including the neck and back.

“The cause of this kind of thing is often nothing to do with trauma,” said Lynda McClatchie, a Mississauga, Ont.-based physiotherapist and adjunct lecturer at the University of Toronto.

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“Most of the time, [a pinched nerve] starts for no obvious reason and then it can persist for inordinate amounts of time.”

McClatchie says a common reason people experience pinched nerves is because they spend much too much time with “their lower back rounded forward.”

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This is because many of us sit at a desk all day, drive in a car, sit on a sofa watching TV or sleep on our sides.

In other words, pinched nerves can be caused by cumulative activities and certain postures.

“Then when somebody is washing their foot in the shower and suddenly can’t get back up, it’s [because of] all the other stuff that they’ve done in the days and weeks before,” McClatchie said.

Of course trauma or a injury can cause a pinched nerve, too.

How to treat a pinched nerve

Some people first treat nerve pain at home with ice or an anti-inflammatory medication.

A pinched nerve may go away on its own, but if it’s causing you great discomfort, doesn’t go away in a few days or worsens, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or physiotherapist, McClatchie said.

Windy, humid weather can make chronic pain feel worse, study finds

Windy, humid weather can make chronic pain feel worse, study finds

The tricky thing about pinched nerves is that symptoms may not occur at the actual location where the nerve is affected, but instead in another part of the body. This means you can feel pain in your toe, for example, that stems from your back, McClatchie said.

What’s more, nerve pain can move around.

“It could be in the back then radiating right down a leg all the way to the foot, or it can skip whole locations,” she said. “I see a woman at the moment who one day has pain radiating down her left leg, and tomorrow it’s all on her right side.”

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A physiotherapist can help determine where the pain is coming from, and give you proper exercises to treat it.

Is sleeping on the floor actually good for your back? Experts weigh in

“The goal is obviously lessening that irritation so that the nerves settle down and people don’t have the same pain anymore,” McClatchie said.

If your pinched nerve is related to posture, McClatchie says repositioning is key.

“You want people to be cognizant of not slouching for sustained periods of time, and getting into a different postural position,” she said.

“That may involve using a supplemental lumbar support, like something small to shove in their chair like a towel.”

Ways to prevent a pinched nerve

McClatchie says getting to the root of the pain problem will help you prevent a pinched nerve from coming back.

If you have compressed a nerve from sitting too often, for example, you will likely experience that pain again unless you address the underlying issue.

Swearing helps to increase pain tolerance: study

Swearing helps to increase pain tolerance: study

“Research shows that this kind of problem tends to be episodic,” McClatchie said.

“When the source of the problem isn’t addressed, it tends to become more frequent or more intense and these episodes last for longer.”

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A physiotherapist can give you exercises to address the cause of your pinched nerve, which will in turn help prevent its occurrence.

One exercise McClatchie suggests is a “sloppy push-up.”

“You set yourself up like you’re doing a normal push-up — elbows up not like cobra [pose] — and you want all the work to come from your arms, and all the muscles in your back, butt and legs to stay completely relaxed,” she said.

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“You push yourself up and try to get your arms as straight as they can go, but your hips stay down as you’re facilitating that arch.”

She says people can do eight to 10 in a row daily. If this movement is hard for you, it can indicate you need to work on your back.

McClatchie also suggests people engage in physical activity as often as they can. Movement will help counteract the sitting so many of us do on a day-to-day basis.

The key, however, is to always consult a doctor if you’re in pain or unsure of what’s causing you discomfort. Every body is different and you never want to further irritate an injury.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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One of 2020’s biggest fitness trends doesn’t require the gym – National

by BBG Hub

The fitness industry is nearly a $100-billion global industry — and it doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.

In 2019, some of the year’s biggest fitness trends included high-intensity interval training (HIIT), wearable exercise technology and all-natural protein bars.

So what does 2020 have in store? Here are the biggest fitness trends of 2020, according to leading industry experts:

Active recovery

Taking top spot this year is “active recovery,” according to the 2020 fitness trends report by canfitpro, a Canadian fitness education company.

READ MORE: New to working out? Here’s how to overcome exercise anxiety

Active recovery focuses on stretching and improving mobility and is intended to complement workouts. Active recovery can also include low-intensity exercises, like yoga, or mindfulness activities like meditation.

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“Since active recovery encompasses anything and everything that can help Canadians feel better, move better and perform better, it should be something you focus on daily,” said Mo Hagan, chief operating officer of canfitpro.

Hagan explained that active recovery doesn’t require going to the gym, either, as it can be done nearly anywhere: grab a foam roller and release your shoulders while watching TV or do some yoga on your break at work.

Leg exercises to help with shoveling

Leg exercises to help with shoveling

“It would make good sense to begin to incorporate some of the many self-care, active recovery activities into a daily practice in between or at the end of a workout, on your days off from exercising and especially when you are travelling and often have to sit for longer periods of time,” she said.

Functional fitness

Functional fitness has made trend lists for several years now, and 2020 is no exception. According to both canfitpro’s report and a worldwide survey by The American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) Health & Fitness Journal, functional fitness will remain part of Canadians’ workout routines in the new year.

Functional fitness is exercises that replicate actual physical activities people do in their everyday lives, like shovelling snow or carrying groceries.

READ MORE: More than 1 in 4 say they’ve seen gymgoers leave bathroom without washing hands

The movements use multiple muscle groups and are intended to improve balance, increase strength and help prevent injury. Functional fitness makes it easier for people to carry out common tasks outside of the gym.

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HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense movement followed by brief periods of rest, as the purpose of these exercises is to get the heart rate up.

According to ACSM’s survey results, “HIIT was number one in the survey for 2014 and 2018 … and has been in the top five between 2014 and 2020.”

Hagan says many Canadians like HIIT workouts because they can be done in a shorter period of time than other types of exercise and they also deliver results.

How to get an entire workout with just one piece of equipment

How to get an entire workout with just one piece of equipment

“Knowing that you only have to push yourself for very short periods of time before you get a short rest is a training formula that most people can get their minds around doing,” she said.

“Everyone can work hard for 45 seconds — that’s all [you] have to think about in that moment.”

Nutritional and healthy eating programs

Exercise is undoubtedly part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but eating whole, nourishing foods is key, too.

Canfitpro predicts nutritional programs will increase in popularity in 2020, and ACSM says there’s a growing trend to integrate health promotion and “lifestyle medicine” into workout routines.

READ MORE: Stop obsessing over weight loss — focus on these 4 goals instead

Lifestyle medicine encourages people to adopt healthy practices into their day-to-day routines on top of exercise. These behaviours can include eating well, eliminating smoking and moderating alcohol consumption.

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The goal is to engage in better overall habits and not abandon well-being once you leave the gym.

Workplace health and wellness programs

It’s no secret that many of us are sitting at desks far longer than we did in the past. Sitting for too long without movement isn’t great for our backs, let alone our overall health.

More workplaces are recognizing the need for health promotion and implementing wellness programs like meditation sessions or on-site exercise classes.

Universal piece of equipment that can benefit everyone

Universal piece of equipment that can benefit everyone

Canfitpro’s report points out that workplaces are using these methods to help prevent burnout, manage stress and boost productivity.

Bodyweight training

Bodyweight training requires no to minimal equipment, making it an easy and affordable way to exercise.

Both canfitpro and ACSM rank bodyweight training on their list of top 2020 fitness trends, as it is an accessible form of movement for both beginner and advanced gymgoers.

READ MORE: How to safely exercise in hot weather

This type of exercise builds strength by using the body’s weight as resistance as well as movement. Examples of bodyweight exercises include pushups, lunges, burpees and V-sits.

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Things to remember

No matter what type of workouts you do, Hagan says variation is key. You don’t want to get bored with exercise or plateau, and you want to constantly challenge yourself, too.

“While it is true that people are creatures of habit and like to do the same thing when they exercise, it is recommended that you mix up your week with a minimum of three different types of exercise,” she said.

READ MORE: Cursing helps you crush your workout, experts say

Hagan suggests doing a combination of aerobic (cardio) exercise, strength-training exercise and some form of flexibility, like stretching or yoga, throughout the week.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Yes, your poops are different on your period. Here’s why – National

by BBG Hub

Periods can cause cramping, mood swings and acne, but they can also wreak havoc on your digestive system.

“Period poops,” as they are often called, refer to bowel movements that coincide with the start of your period. They typically differ from your regular poops and are often looser and more frequent, or diarrhea.

According to Dr. Yolanda Kirkham, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Women’s College Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto, hormones are largely to blame.

“Some of the same hormones that cause cramps and inflammation also lead to some of the bowel changes,” Kirkham explained.

READ MORE: What are fibroids? Here’s what women need to know

During your period, prostaglandins — a group of hormones — cause uterine muscle contractions, or cramps. Kirkham says prostaglandins can also cause contractions in the intestines.

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“When you have excessive bowel cramps, you can also have diarrhea,” she said.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms can also affect your bathroom schedule, Kirkham said. If you experience higher levels of anxiety around your period, for example, the hormones related to stress can cause bowel movement changes.

Loose poops are only one menstrual-related digestive change; many women experience constipation before they bleed.

What are menstrual cups?

What are menstrual cups?

Kirkham says there’s an increase in progesterone just before periods begin, which is the hormone that thins the uterine lining.

“It also causes some of our other PMS symptoms, like mood symptoms and acne. It can cause some constipation as well,” she said.

How to manage period poops

There are some over-the-counter ways to deal with digestive changes, Kirkham said.

These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen.

“Even before you see the menstrual blood, if you start to have cramps, you can start taking those medications,” Kirkham said.

READ MORE: A heavy period isn’t always normal — it could be a sign of a bleeding disorder

The doctor also stresses that a balanced, healthy diet rich with fruits and vegetables is key, as is exercise.

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“Then there’s also all of the menstrual management medications we use, such as birth control pills, patches and the ring,” she said. “Those both decrease period cramps and period flow… and will also help with the symptoms.”

When to see a doctor

While period poops may be normal, you should seek medical counsel if you experience any changes, including blood in your stool or rectal or anal pain.

These may be symptoms of other issues, such as inflammatory bowel disease, hemorrhoids or endometriosis, said Kirkham.

“If you’ve got more pain, more than just a change in [bowel movement] texture or bleeding, those should definitely be checked out.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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More than 1 in 4 say they’ve seen gymgoers leave bathroom without washing hands: survey – National

by BBG Hub

Have you ever seen someone hop off an elliptical machine without wiping it down?

According to a recent survey, many gymgoers witness this offending behaviour — and they hate it.

One in five people said not wiping down equipment was the worst breach of gym etiquette, a report by Treadmill Reviews found. That being said, over 30 per cent of exercisers admitted to committing the offence.

READ MORE: Grunting at the gym — How loud is too loud?

Other things that grinded gymgoers gears included not putting free weights back on racks, as well as walking around barefoot.

What’s more, 25 per cent of women surveyed and 30 per cent of men reported “often or always witnessing someone use the bathroom at the gym but forgo washing their hands.”

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These bad behaviours not only spread germs, said Rolin McQuade, a Toronto-based personal trainer at GoodLife, but they can disrupt other gymgoers’ workouts.

“If you’re the person who is potentially battling something, make sure you’re looking out for everybody else by not passing on what you’ve got,” he said.

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Survey finds 16 per cent of women have feared for their lives while running

McQuade, who has worked at the gym for nearly five years, understands why people get annoyed when weights are left laying on the floor.

Dumbbells or weighted plates are easy to trip over — especially if you’re focusing on an exercise and not looking down.

How to practice good gym etiquette

It may come as a surprise but free weights are the pieces of equipment that should be wiped down the most often, McQuade said.

“Those touch your hands — and people sneeze into the hands a lot.”

READ MORE: New to working out? Here’s how to overcome exercise anxiety

Most gyms have bottles of disinfectant spray and paper towels in multiple locations, and clients should make use of those cleaning tools.

But instead of spraying disinfectant onto a paper towel, McQuade suggests spraying the product directly on equipment. After letting it sit for a few seconds, then use the towel to wipe it down.

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“If you don’t know if [equipment] has been clean beforehand, it’s probably a good idea to give it a little rub down before using it,” he added.

When it comes to the change room, McQuade says shower shoes are key.

Not only do they help protect the transmission of warts, they also help the bathroom and shower area clean.

What not to wear to the gym

What not to wear to the gym

How to handle bad etiquette

If you see a chronic offender who never wipes equipment or puts weights away, it’s best to let gym staff deal with them.

McQuade says you should let staff know if you’re concerned that equipment isn’t being cleaned, or if you’ve witnessed some less-than-desirable behaviour.

It’s also important to lead by example. Model good gym etiquette by wiping down mats, exercise machines and free weights before and after using them, McQuade said.

“If everyone took ownership of their own things, it would go a very long way.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Many don’t understand the risk factors for dementia: study – National

by BBG Hub

Many older Americans inaccurately estimate their chances of developing dementia and do useless things to prevent it, new research suggests.

Almost half of adults surveyed believed they were likely to develop dementia. The results suggest many didn’t understand the connection between physical health and brain health and how race can affect dementia risk.

Substantial numbers of people who rated their health as fair or poor thought their dementia chances were low. At the same time, many who said they were in excellent health said they were likely to develop the memory-robbing disease.

READ MORE: What we know (and still don’t) about Alzheimer’s in 2019

Many said they tried at least one of four unproven memory-protecting methods, including taking supplements like fish oil and ginkgo. The most popular strategy was doing crossword puzzles.

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Mental stimulation is thought to help prevent dementia, but there’s stronger evidence for more challenging activities than puzzles — things like playing chess, taking a class, and reading about unfamiliar topics, said Keith Fargo, who oversees research and outreach programs at the Alzheimer’s Association. He was not involved in the study.

Research has shown that regular exercise, a good diet, limiting alcohol and not smoking make dementia less likely. Supplements have not been shown to help.

“We really haven’t done a good job of getting the word out that there really are things you can do to lower your risk,” said Dr. Donovan Maust, the study’s lead author and a geriatric psychiatrist at the University of Michigan.

The study was published online Friday in JAMA Neurology. It’s based on a nationally representative health survey of 1,000 adults aged 50 to 64.

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Dementia patients in Calgary take a trip down memory lane through music

The survey asked people to assess their likelihood of developing dementia and whether they had ever discussed ways to prevent it with their doctor. Few people said they had, regardless of their self-rated risk for dementia.

The results raise concerns because there are things doctors can do to help people manage conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes that have been linked with dementia risk, Maust said.

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Among those who said their physical health was only fair or poor, 40 per cent thought they were at low risk for Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Almost the same portion rated their chances as likely even though they reported very good or excellent physical health.

READ MORE: Drugs shouldn’t be the first option to ease agitation from dementia, study finds

More white people than Black or Hispanic people surveyed believed they were likely to develop dementia and almost two-thirds of Black respondents said they were unlikely. Only 93 Black adults were surveyed, making it difficult to generalize those results. But U.S. minorities face higher risks for dementia than white people — Black adults face double the risk — and the Alzheimer’s group has programs in Black and Hispanic communities.

“There’s lots of work to do … to educate the public so they can take some actions to protect themselves,” Fargo said.

One in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. While there are no medicines or medical treatments proven to prevent it, rigorous European studies have shown that healthy lifestyles may help prevent mental decline. The Alzheimer’s Association is sponsoring similar U.S. research.

READ MORE: Support for medically assisted dying high in Atlantic Canada

The new study used data from the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging. Adults were surveyed online in October 2018. Funding came from AARP, the University of Michigan health system and U.S. government grants.

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© 2019 The Canadian Press

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Double lung transplant due to vaping performed in U.S. may be first ever – National

by BBG Hub

Detroit doctors have performed what they believe is the first double lung transplant on a patient whose lungs were “irreparably” damaged from vaping.

A brief statement made Monday by the Henry Ford Hospital said the patient has asked for privacy at this time, but has asked his medical team to share photographs and an update to warn others about the harms of vaping.

The hospital is holding a press conference to discuss the case on Tuesday afternoon.

“It would be nice if it’s the last — if the epidemic of acute lung injury can be brought under control,” Dr. David Christiani, a professor of medicine at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said to the Associated Press.

READ MORE: How dangerous is vaping? What we know about its health risks

Christiani, who was not involved in the medical procedure, said he’s not sure if the number of double lung transplants due to vaping illnesses will increase. He said factors include the availability of donor lungs and the chronic effects of illnesses from vaping that could lead to other types of conditions.

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As of November, more than 2,000 cases of vaping-related lung injury have been reported in the U.S., and at least 39 people have died, according to the government’s health agency.

The agency says more deaths are under investigation.

Health Canada said there are currently seven confirmed or probable cases of severe lung illness related to vaping as of November. These cases include two in Quebec, two in New Brunswick and three in British Columbia.

New study finds a third of New Brunswick youth have tried vaping

New study finds a third of New Brunswick youth have tried vaping

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced a breakthrough into the cause of a vaping illness outbreak. The agency called the chemical compound vitamin E acetate a “very strong culprit” after finding it in fluid taken from the lungs of 29 patients.

Vitamin E acetate was previously found in liquid from electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices used by many who got sick and only recently has been used as a vaping fluid thickener.

Health experts are concerned, as many youths and teens have tried vaping or do currently vape.

READ MORE: Nearly 1 in 4 teens have tried vaping — Here’s how parents can talk about it

According to a recent Health Canada survey, nearly one in four students in grades 7 to 12 have tried electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.

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What’s more, a 2017 study found that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are at risk of graduating to tobacco smoking.

Dr. David Hammond, a professor of public health at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, previously told Global News that the long-term health effects of vaping are still not fully known.

Vaping may be safer than smoking cigarettes he said, but it still poses potential harm.

READ MORE: Health Canada says it is ‘actively monitoring’ U.S. vaping illness progress

“Most of the chronic diseases that people hypothesize might be involved [in vaping] are things like cardiovascular disease and other lung problems,” Hammond said.

“Those do take a decade or two before they appear, just as the case for smoking… it’s not a benign activity.”

— With files from the Associated Press 

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Men struggle to keep friends — and it’s hurting their mental health – National

by BBG Hub

Friendships are an important part of a healthy life, but research shows men struggle to keep them.

Men often have fewer close friends as they age, experts say, which directly impacts their mental well-being.

According to a 2016 survey by U.K.’s Movember organization, men lack “social connectedness.” The survey found one in 10 men couldn’t recall the last time they made contact with their friends, and older men were at greater risk of social isolation.

What’s more, over half of the men surveyed reported having two or less friends they would discuss “a serious topic” with, and 19 per cent of men over 55 said they lacked a close friend — period.

READ MORE: 28 per cent of men believe they could lose their job if they discuss mental health at work

“Men tend to not have deep friendships in the way that many women do, which denies them the opportunity to share deeply personal and emotionally sensitive information with others,” said John Ogrodniczuk, the director of the University of British Columbia’s psychotherapy program and founder of men’s depression resource HeadsUpGuy.

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“Because of this, many men can end up feeling lonely, even though they may indicate that they have friends in their lives. In fact, after surveying more than 5,000 men who had visited HeadsUpGuys, we learned that loneliness is one of the most frequent stressors in men’s lives.”

Why friends are important

A lack of close friendships can negatively affect not only men’s mental health, but overall well-being, says Dr. Ari Zaretsky, the psychiatrist-in-chief at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

“Having a social support system has been shown to promote resilience, not only for mental illness but even for physical illness,” Zaretsky said.

How to help take care of your mental health while in school

How to help take care of your mental health while in school

Research also shows that social interactions have a positive effect on life satisfaction.

A recent study on the role of friends found that good-quality friendships help people feel supported. When people have less frequent social interactions, researchers found, they reported lower life satisfaction.

Joshua Beharry, a B.C.-based mental health advocate and project coordinator at HeadsUpGuys, experienced this first-hand. When he was dealing with severe depression 10 years ago, he hid his symptoms from his friends.

He believed he could handle his mental health issues on his own, even as his condition worsened.

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“This led me to basically waiting until I was so sick that I couldn’t hide my symptoms anymore,” Beharry said.

Beharry says his friends realized something was wrong when he kept cancelling plans and became increasingly withdrawn. Once he admitted he was struggling with depression and sought treatment, his friends were supportive.

READ MORE: Cancer can severely damage your mental health. Why don’t we talk about it?

“Instead of having to continue to hide how sick I was from my friends, I could finally be open with them,” Beharry said.

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“They were much more supportive and understanding than I had expected, asking lots of questions about what I was going through and what they could do to help.”

This is not surprising to Zaretsky, who says social support is key to dealing with mental health issues like depression.

While Zaretsky believes in a comprehensive approach when it comes to tackling mental health issues — which can include medication and psychotherapy — friendships are an integral part of the recovery process.

Focusing on men’s mental health

Focusing on men’s mental health

And you don’t need a large group of friends to notice the benefits, Ogrodniczuk points out. The amount of friends one has is less important than the quality of those friendships.

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“Strength is demonstrated by actually allowing yourself to be vulnerable,” Ogrodniczuk said.

“It’s often a very scary thing for many men, but when they actually do open up to others, they find that they deepen their relationships and have a stronger sense of self.”

Why men may have fewer friends

There are a few reasons men may have fewer friendships — especially as they age.

When men get into romantic partnerships, they often become inclined to lean on their spouse for emotional support and therefore put less emphasis on maintaining outside friendships.

READ MORE: Vast majority of workers with mental health issues keep it secret from their boss

“A lot of guys recognize that friendships are important, but don’t make the maintenance of such relationships a priority in their lives, instead prioritizing other things like work and family,” Ogrodniczuk said.

Men may also rely on their partner’s social network, meaning should a separation occur, they are left with fewer close relationships.

Notions of masculinity are also factors. Experts say it’s common for men to view mental health struggles as signs of weakness, and avoid talking to friends about problems as a result.

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Ogrodniczuk says the influence of “masculine socialization” can cause men to doubt what is “permissible” in friendships. For example, men may question whether or not it is OK to tell a friend they need help or open up to them about something serious.

This can lead to more surface-level friendships or acquaintances rather than deep, meaningful friendships. Casual friendships may be harder to maintain, too, experts say.

New study says more men are working themselves to an early grave

New study says more men are working themselves to an early grave

Zaretsky echoes this, adding when men do speak about their issues with others, they’re often self-conscious.

“They sometimes do it reluctantly,” he explained, “and I think that they have difficulty many times with talking about feelings and thoughts.”

How can men improve friendships

So how can more men move past these factors and develop meaningful connections? In order to improve and maintain friendships, men need to recognize the importance of close relationships and make them a priority, Ogrodniczuk said.

If a man is struggling with mental health issues, Ogrodniczuk suggests starting a conversation with someone they trust.

READ MORE: ‘It feels like failure’: Why Canadian workplaces should offer stress leave

“Sometimes it’s as simple as saying something like, ‘I’ve been feeling like sh-t lately and I’m not really sure what’s going on. Can I run some things by you to get your take on them?’” he said.

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Plus, Beharry says stigma around mental health issues is slowly eroding, and there’s less taboo around talking about struggles today than there was 10 years ago.

“There are a lot of male celebrities and athletes who have spoken out about depression as well, which I think goes a long way in opening up important conversations and helping to shed ideas that associate mental health issues with weakness,” he added.

Beharry now understands the benefit of opening up.

Becoming a dad can take a toll on men’s mental health

Becoming a dad can take a toll on men’s mental health

He says since being upfront about his mental health struggles, more men have reached out to him with similar experiences, too.

“Some people are better at listening and others are better at helping you out with tasks and keeping up with life,” he said.

“If the first person you talk to doesn’t really help, don’t get discouraged and shut down more; keep reaching out and building supports.”

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘A plop is quite different than tinkling’: Why are we afraid to poo at work? – National

by BBG Hub

Pooping at work: many of us do it, yet few of us ever talk about it.

In fact, taking a poo in the office bathroom can cause so much anxiety that many folks go to great lengths to cover their tracks.

Recently, the New York Times published a piece on women going number two at work and the poop-hiding tactics they employ. Among them include the “flush hush,” which is when you flush multiple times to silence any pooping sounds.

Another is the “scatological standoff,” which is when two or more people sit silently in their respective stalls until someone poops first, or gives up on their bowel movement altogether. If it sounds tiresome, it is.

READ MORE: Why it hurts when you poop, and when to get help

According to Ottawa-based Julie Blais Comeau, the chief etiquette officer at Etiquette Julie, it’s still largely taboo to go number two in work bathrooms.

“Pooping… is a sensory experience,” Blais Comeau explained.

“There are the sounds — a plop is quite different than tinkling — and there are the sights; after-poop could be visible [in the toilet]. There is the smell, as well.”

WATCH BELOW: 3 things to know about how fibre, water affects your poop

Poop shame

Because pooping is something often done in private, Blais Comeau said, it can be incredibly uncomfortable having this experience at the place you work. Just think: your colleague could recognize your shoes peering out of the bathroom stall, or hear you let one rip.

“There is also the element of hierarchy,” Blais Comeau added. “If you’re a boss and you’re going to the bathroom, you’re looking for privacy.”

Lisa Orr, a Toronto-based etiquette coach, said there’s pressure in North America to “look good and smell great at all times.” Pooping goes against this societal expectation.

READ MORE: Women need twice as many public washrooms as men, new report says

“We worry that people will think less of us if they hear or smell something that doesn’t reflect that put-together image we are trying to present,” Orr told Global News.

Women have different experiences than men

The expectation to hide our natural bodily functions is often felt more by women, both Orr and Blais Comeau said. As the Times article points out, women are often conditioned to be “clean, odourless and groomed.”

This can be traced back to childhood, Blais Comeau said, as boys will often fart and laugh about it, but if a girl toots loudly, the reaction may be embarrassment.

WATCH BELOW: Parks Canada puts up toilet etiquette signs to help international tourists with outhouse use

“Culturally, there are still ways that women and men are being educated differently,” Blais Comeau said.

These gendered differences are carried into adulthood and straight to the workplace bathroom.

“I think it is more challenging for women who are often expected to be immaculately put together at all times, [but] the reality is our bodies’ elimination systems don’t care about those expectations,” Orr explained.

Bathroom etiquette

If you walk in on a co-worker taking a poop, it’s important not to react, Orr said. Don’t start a conversation with them, and don’t make comments about sounds or smells.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about healthy pooping

If you are the one relieving yourself, try to be courteous of the next person using the bathroom, Blais Comeau said. That means flushing once you are done (or multiple times, if necessary) and ensuring you’ve left enough toilet paper.

If your workplace has a bathroom air freshener spray, you may want to use that, too.

Do attitudes need to change?

Holding in your poop is incredibly uncomfortable, and it can be hard to focus on tasks at hand when your stomach is sending you a message. Because poo is part of our regular routines, Orr says that taking a number two at the office should be more normalized.

“The workplace is challenging enough without having to worry about holding it or being judged by your colleagues for sounds and smells,” she said.

WATCH BELOW: Gender-neutral bathrooms gaining popularity across Canada

Orr points to ways that workplaces can make employees more comfortable, like extending bathroom doors to the floor so there are no open gaps between stalls. She also suggests having music playing in bathrooms so there’s no silence.

“Another nice thing offices can do is to have out-of-order signs available and an easy way to get in touch with maintenance in case of a number two gone wrong,” Orr said.

That way, people will be less terrified of clogging toilets or finding themselves in “humiliating” poop situations.

READ MORE: What the colour of your pee says about your health

The most important thing, Orr adds, is that employees not judge themselves or each other for pooing. It’s a natural part of life and we all do it.

“Everyone has to use the facilities at work, and if you aren’t going number two every day, that is the bigger problem,” she said.

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Nearly 1 in 4 teens have tried vaping — Here’s how parents can talk about it – National

by BBG Hub

More Canadian adolescents are vaping — and health experts are concerned.

The prevalence of vaping has increased in Canada and the U.S. among 16- to 19-year-olds in the last two years, according to a new study published in the medical journal BMJ.

According to a recent Health Canada survey, nearly one in four students in grades 7 to 12 have tried electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. What’s more, a 2017 study found that teenagers who use e-cigarettes are at risk of graduating to tobacco smoking.

Because more teens are vaping, it’s important parents talk to their kids about e-cigarettes. Here’s how to tackle the conversation.

READ MORE: Parents, vaping near children is just as dangerous as smoking — study

How to talk to your kids about vaping

First, educate yourself on what vaping is and how it can be harmful, said Julie Freedman Smith, a Calgary-based parenting expert and co-founder of Parenting Power. Sites like and Health Canada have helpful resources.

Most commonly, vaping is the inhaling of vapour from a battery-powered e-cigarette. These e-cigarettes can look like USB sticks, pens or cigarettes.

E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

WATCH: Lung illness tied to vaping claims first life in U.S. — CDC

Like any serious conversation, timing is important when it comes to talking to your child about vaping. You don’t want to make them feel like they’re under attack; instead, you want to foster a productive conversation, Freedman Smith said.

“Plan what you are going to say and choose a time to have an open, honest discussion,” she explained.

“That means letting your teen know that this is what you want to discuss and choosing a time that works for both of you, rather than ambushing your child as they head out the door.”

READ MORE: Health Canada failing to address dangers of growing vaping ‘epidemic’ — cancer society

If you already know your kid is vaping, asking whether they are or not is inviting a lie, she added. Instead, tell them that you know they’re vaping because their teacher told you, for example, or you found their vape pen.

Again, reacting the moment you find out is not the best solution.

“Ask your child to share what is happening for them regarding vaping: how they feel about it, the health and legal implications. Share the facts you have gathered and clearly express your expectations: ‘we don’t want you vaping because…,’” Freedman Smith said.

“Work with your child to determine how they will respond to friends asking them to vape with them. What wording can they use?”

WATCH: American dies after respiratory illness linked to vaping

Freedman Smith suggests parents offer reasons like, “It makes me feel sick,” “My parents will ground me” and “No thanks, it’s not for me.”

It’s also important to lead by example. Having a smoke-free and vape-free house teaches children that health comes first.

Health risks of vaping

Parents should be aware of the health risks of vaping so they can explain to their child why they’re concerned. It’s not enough to tell kids e-cigarettes are dangerous, Freedman Smith said. You need to tell kids how their health can be affected.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the CDC reports. Nicotine is addictive and harmful to people at any age but especially when it comes to youth.

READ MORE: Health Canada advocates push for e-cigarette crackdown amid surge in teen vaping

The stimulant can harm the developing adolescent brain, affecting the parts that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control, the CDC noted. Research has found that there’s a “strong and robust” linkage between vaping and subsequent tobacco use.

There are several different vaping products on the market, and each contains a different set of chemicals, which is the first cause for concern, Jeremy Drehmer, a health researcher, previously told Global News.

“We’re really in an unknown kind of abyss,” Drehmer said.

“Studies have found that [e-cigarettes] have volatile organic compounds in them that are cancer-causing,” he added, but we don’t necessarily know how much of these compounds exists in each product.

WATCH: EPS, nursing students warn kids about vaping

E-cigarettes also use aerosol — defined as particles dispersed in air or gas — which contains very small, ultra-fine particles.

“Much like tobacco smoke, these can get in and embed into the lungs, causing inflammation and all sorts of health problems,” Drehmer said.

Have ongoing conversations

Like with other substance use, parents need to have ongoing conversations with their children about vaping. These conversations can be informal but should happen on a regular basis, Freedman Smith said.

Freedman Smith suggests parents chat with kids over meals, during car rides or while out walking the dog.

READ MORE: Canadian health officials on alert after reports of vaping illnesses in the U.S.

“When you are with your kids, you can ask their thoughts: ‘Do any of your friends vape? Is it a popular thing in your peer group? What do you think about it? What have you heard about the health risks?’” Freedman Smith said.

“You could also call a family meeting… to discuss this specifically.”

It’s also important to reiterate that you care about your child’s health and you do not want them to vape. You should not assume your kid knows how you feel about it.

“Explain it is illegal [for youth], and there are multiple known health risks and some still waiting to be discovered,” Freedman Smith said.

“[Say], ‘In our family, we look after our health.’”

— With a file from Meghan Collie

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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