Stay social and active in your community for healthy aging!

The National Institute on Aging suggests Engaging in social and productive activities you enjoy, like taking an art class or becoming a volunteer in your community or at your place of worship, may help to maintain your well-being as you get older.

Research tells us that older people with an active lifestyle:

  • Are less likely to develop certain diseases. Participating in hobbies and other social and leisure pursuits may lower risk for developing some health problems, including dementia.
  • Have a longer lifespan. One study showed that older adults who reported taking part in social activities (such as playing games, belonging to social groups, or traveling) or meaningful, productive activities (such as having a paid or unpaid job, or gardening) lived longer than people who did not. Researchers are further exploring this connection.

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Food allergy bullying is no laughing matter

Dr. Sai Nimmagadda shared with Advocate Children’s Hospital that there is a new trend that is endangering children with allergies called food allergy bullying.

Researchers estimate that 5.9 million children under age 18 in the United States have a food allergy. That’s 1 in 13 children, or roughly two in every classroom. And more than 40 percent of them have experienced a severe or life-threatening reaction. That’s why food allergy bullying is so dangerous.

It is happening in schools all over the country. In a recent case near Pittsburgh, three teenagers were charged with intentionally exposing a classmate to pineapple despite knowing she had an allergy to the fruit. The student had to receive immediate treatment. And a 7-year-old Utah boy came home in tears after his classmates threatened to make him eat peanuts — knowing he was severely allergic. Others report having food thrown at them.

These incidents are not rare. A recent study by Mount Sinai Medical Center found that nearly a third of kids with a food allergy have experienced similar bullying. Read more

There is no escape

Dr. Sally Pepping from DuPage Healthcare Ltd. shared the following article, that first appeared on their blog,  with Healthy Lombard:I wanted to give you something valuable on a topic that affects EVERYONE. This is something that no one can escape. And that’s the ‘S’ word. Maybe not the one that people think of first when they hear that term, but I am talking about STRESS! Stress is an overwhelming issue in people because it affects their personal health so detrimentally, it’s effects trickle down to parenting, relationships, and of course their morale and performance at work!

Let me share a story that will help you to understand this completely. Imagine that you volunteer for a study. Upon arrival, you are hooked up to monitors for your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. You are asked to sign a liability release waiver. You are then asked if you want to make any last phone calls because one of the risks is death. Upon entering the next room, you notice that all of the windows are welded shut with metal bars. You have no way of getting out. In the corner of the room, there’s a steel cage that you can’t see inside of. You do, however, hear loud growls and snarls coming from the cage. The cage begins to shake. Whatever is inside of it wants out NOW.

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Tips For Dealing With Loneliness When Living Alone

John Hawthorne,,  shared that living on your own can either be one of the most rewarding experiences or a living nightmare for some. It all depends on your personality type along with your life experiences that have molded you into the person you are. Spending hours or even days at a time not having a conversation with another person can be damaging to the soul. Depression worldwide is on the rise and one of the most common causes is loneliness. I have put together this article to try to help if you are finding life difficult living on your own,

Get Out As Much As Possible
There is nothing more depressing than staring at the same four walls all day long. There is a huge world outside waiting to be explored and by getting out as much as possible you can discover the wonders of this amazing planet. Staying indoors for too long causes feelings of isolation and will increase your feelings of loneliness. Just by been outside around others will help cure this problem and make you feel more connected to society.

One of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways you can overcome feeling lonely when living alone is by buying a pet. The most popular are cats and dogs so depending on which type you prefer these will make the perfect companion. Unlike humans, they will be overjoyed to see you every day and sure you unconditional love. If you live in a dangerous area an investment in a dog could help reduce your fear as it will help to protect you should you need it.

Social Media
All of the main Facebook executives have apologized for making an addictive platform that is changing society for the world. Getting likes and comments for posts gives a dopamine hit which can become addictive if not kept under control. Social media increases the feeling lonely and can make you envious of all your friends who are not living on their own. Try to limit your time as much as possible and this will help you cope.
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How to talk to someone about their mental health

Nathan Lurz,  from Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, wrote that many people believe a family member or friend is struggling with a mental health issue but not telling them, according to a new study.

A survey involving more than 3,000 people across the nation by integrated health care system Kaiser Permanente suggests that 70 percent of those polled said society was more open to discussing mental health issues today compared to 10 years ago. More than three-quarters said they believed they were informed about mental health issues.

Among other findings, the survey highlighted the unfortunate reality of not being able to connect with a struggling family member or friend. While a majority of respondents said they had reached out to the person who was struggling, there are approaches that can help open yourself and the ones you care for to these sorts of conversations.

Sarah Katula, an Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., says conversations about the mental health of someone else should start with a casual check in with one another and pointing out behavior without accusation. Read more

Of Course Happy Is Healthy: What You should Know about Mood and Health

wellness-bannerAngela Metcalf, College of DuPage Nursing Student, shares that we have known for some time that dark moods like depression and anxiety may contribute to conditions like heart disease or cancer. However, research has recently identified a connection between a positive mood and wellness and this information was published in the January edition of the journal Emotion. Recently the positive reaction of awe was found to have the most resounding effect based on the research.

The research was conducted at the University of California- Berkeley where researchers included 94 students and collected a substance known of as IL-6 by using swabs to obtain saliva samples. IL-6 is a chemical that is produced in the body when dark or bad moods are present; when an individual has a positive mood, the chemical is at lower level. The researchers believe it is possible that IL-6 may be a contributing factor to conditions like heart disease and cancers.

So, the message from the researchers is, ‘Get Happy!’ The more positive emotions in your life the less IL-6 that released which is linked to bad moods.

Researchers recommend engaging in activities that will promote positive emotions such as:

  • Take a walk/run outside
  • Reminisce with a family member or friend
  • Spend more time with spouse/children/family/friends
  • Spend a night out with family/friends
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising often
  • Spend time with individual who facilitate positive emotions and limit time spent with persons who bring about negativity when possible



John Hawthorne,,  shared that Dopamine is natures good feeling drug that is naturally released as a chemical and it is neurally transmitted. It does not just produce a moment of euphoria as it also helps to increase focus along with motivation. If your body is not correctly producing the right amount it can be seriously damaging. There are many different causes of Dopamine deficiency which I will explain in this article along with ways that you can naturally increase levels so you enjoy all the benefits.

The effects of having low dopamine levels can cause many major problems such as poor moods, sleeping disorder, low focus, attention span and many other problematic issues. If these are not dealt with then it can cause serious mental health problems such as depression which is why you need to make sure you have the optimum amount. With the correct amounts, you will become more content and happier. You will be able to focus for longer and think clearer at the same time which will greatly benefit your chosen career.

Symptoms Of Dopamine Deficiency
The symptoms of low dopamine levels are what you need to look out for as it may be the cause of serious health problems which you did not know the connection. For instance, if you have problems sleeping, low focus along with motivation, are constantly fatigued, gain weight easily, have restless legs and are addicted to sugar or caffeine, these could be the cause for you to have a dopamine deficiency which is causing all of these ailments.

Naturally Boosting Dopamine Levels
The best way of boosting your dopamine levels is by avoiding products which send them through the roof with a huge crash afterward. That means staying away from sugar and caffeine along with eating the right healthy foods to maintain a balanced level. Below are the top four ways of maintaining a healthy dopamine level along with the best ways to naturally boost levels.

#1: Stay Away From Sugar
The most common reason for dopamine deficiency is the addiction to sugar products such as Coca-Cola. These types of drinks are packed with sugar and dramatically boost your levels of Dopamine but this is only for a short space of time. Once the effects wear off you will suffer from a major crash that will make you very tired, unable to concentrate and make you moodier.

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College of DuPage Nursing Student Monika Buch poses the question, “Are you addicted to the internet?”

Social media addiction can be stronger than addiction to cigarettes and booze according to researchers at Chicago University after following an experiment in which they recorded the cravings of several hundred people for several weeks. In fact, Facebook addiction shows up in brain scans of those who can’t stay off the site, affecting grey matter in a similar way that cocaine does. Social media addiction is commonly referred to someone who spends way too much time than needed on their phones. Whether its facebook, instagram, google or twitter… they all fall into the internet/social media category.  Sometimes excessive use of these platforms affect someone so much they actually interfere with daily aspects of life. Even though there is not real diagnosis yet of internet addiction, it really is just the compulsion of having to go on the internet for whatever reason, even when it interferes with school or work.

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Place of birth may be related to your risk of dementia mortality

team group of happy child outdoor in nature have fun

College of DuPage Nursing Student Sadie Baker found that a study published in the journal, Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders in 2011, demonstrated a pattern between Americans aged 65-89 who were born in the ‘stroke belt’ states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama) with an increased rate of dementia-related mortality. The study’s findings were compared with individuals of similar age, sex, and race born outside of ‘stroke belt’ states. The geographic patterns of dementia related mortalities were in the same direction of, and comparable in magnitude, to the geographic patterns of stroke; the pattern of stroke earned these states the nickname, “stroke belt”. The authors note the increased diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer Disease in the stroke belt compared with other states contributing to Alzheimer Disease that may affect the likelihood of being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer Disease, in addition to a contributing nutritional factor. Individuals who were born in this region may have experienced a higher incidence of poverty as children, thereby affecting nutritional adequacy.

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Teen Stress

College of DuPage Nursing Student Heather Bhatia shared that a recent study in Psychology Today reports an estimated 8% of adolescents have an anxiety disorder. This alarming statistic cited by the study author, Raychelle Cassada Lohman MS, LPCS attributes the higher than normal levels stress levels as compared to adults due primarily to academic expectations and activities.

From a teenager, high schooler perspective, the current fast-paced, competitive world can quickly become overwhelming. Teens face pressures at school from teachers and coaches, and at home from parents and family members, in addition to the social pressures from friends and peers. Most of all, teens have a tendency to expect a lot from themselves, contributing to their stress. It is easy for teens to compare themselves to their peers, especially given the easily accessible information such as honor roll status, grade point average, and the extensive use of social media and advertised accomplishments. Comparing oneself to others increase the negative self-perception in a teen who is lacking self-confidence, even if untrue.

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