- Created on 19 September 2013
In light of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, in the death of Trayvon Martin, anger flows in our community. We all feel angry at times; it's a natural response to threats and attacks, injustice and disappointment. Anger is a powerful emotion and releasing the pressure that builds inside is essential to deal with deep-seated problems and move on. But if anger isn't dealt with in a healthy way, it can have a significant effect on your daily life, relationships, achievements and mental well-being.
Learning how to express anger can protect your heart, mind, and health. Here's the right way to do it.
The emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. It's perfectly healthy and normal to feel angry when you've been mistreated or wronged. The feeling isn't the problem—it's what you do with it that makes a difference. Anger becomes a problem when it harms you or others.
Mastering the art of constructive anger takes work, but the more you practice, the easier it will get. And the payoff can be huge. Learning to control your anger and express it appropriately can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a healthier, more satisfying life.
What Kinds Of Problems Can Be Linked To Anger?
Anger in itself is neither good nor bad; it becomes a problem when it harms us or other people. Anger is the emotion most likely to cause problems in relationships in the family, at work and with friends. People with a long term anger problem tend to be poor at making decisions, take more risks than other people and are more likely to have a substance misuse problem.
It is linked to poorer overall physical health as well as particular conditions, such as:
* High blood pressure
* Colds and flu
* Coronary heart disease
* Gastro-intestinal problems
Emotions And The Heart
There are many studies and analysis with evidence that supports the link between emotions and heart disease. To be specific, anger and hostility are significantly associated with more heart problems in initially healthy people, as well as a worse outcome for patients already diagnosed with heart disease.
One study showed that chronically angry or hostile adults with no history of heart trouble might be 19% more likely than their more placid peers to develop heart disease. The researchers found that anger and hostility seemed to do more harm to men's hearts than women's. Among patients already diagnosed with heart disease, those with angry or hostile temperaments were 24% more likely than other heart patients to have a poor prognosis.
Some doctors now consider anger a heart disease risk factor that can be modified, just as people can lower their cholesterol or blood pressure. "We're really good at treating heart attacks, but we're not that good at preventing them," says Holly S. Andersen, MD, cardiologist and director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Stress is not as easy to measure as your cholesterol level or your blood pressure, which are clearly objective. But it's really important that physicians start taking care of the whole person — including their moods and their lives — because it matters."
Bottling Up Anger Bad for Men's Hearts
How you cope with anger may affect your cardiovascular health, especially if you're a man. If you tend to bottle up your emotions, you may be in more danger than men who vent their anger appropriately.
Men ages 50 to 85 who expressed a moderate amount of anger had almost half the risk of nonfatal heart attacks over two years, compared with men who expressed less anger. They dropped their risk of having strokes even more — by 58 percent.
In other studies, suppressing anger has been linked to high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. But this area of research is still relatively new, and more investigation is under way.
Venting some anger may be healthier than the two extremes: letting loose a lot of anger or bottling it all up. Because anger is often viewed as a bad thing, many people try not to express it. But the heart-healthiest route might be to learn how to channel anger effectively.
Understand How We Express Anger
Usually, anger manifests itself in one of three ways. Outward expressions of anger include yelling, screaming or violence, and even less threatening approaches like sarcasm. Inward expressions include feelings like seething, biting your tongue, or suppressing angry feelings. Neither of these approaches is healthy. The third way to express anger is control and channel it into more acceptable methods of expression.
Here are some tips that will help you deal with anger, constructively:
1. Recognize that anger is a valid emotion and is necessary for survival. Anger has the capacity to wake you up to things that need to change and to help you take the first steps towards changing your situation.
2. Identify what is making you angry. Displacement is a common reaction to anger. Rather than expressing anger towards who or what is actually making you angry, you may become irritated with your spouse or children, friends or colleagues, minor inconveniences or even yourself. If you find yourself being generally angry, trace back your anger to it origin.
3. Practice relaxation techniques. Anger can be an overwhelming emotion because it is so physical–your heart and mind may race, your muscles can tense and you may feel sick. Focus on relaxing your body and mind to help look at the situation more objectively.
4. Be assertive as you express anger rather than being aggressive or physical. Clearly and firmly discuss why you are angry with the person who has caused your anger, emphasizing your needs. If she tries to argue, do not engage in the argument. Just come back to your own needs.
5. Express your anger safely if you need to be physical. Sometimes a physical expression of anger can be helpful. If you need to, hit a cushion or throw a pillow rather than lashing out at yourself, another person or an animal.
6. Use anger to fuel constructive or creative activity. If expressing your anger did not diminish it, seek a physical activity to direct it towards. Dance, exercise and drumming are three ways you can work off the extra energy of anger. Projects that you find personally rewarding can also help you deal with anger.
- Created on 18 September 2013
In the pursuit to maintain good oral hygiene, there's no underestimating how crucial regular visits to the dentist's office can be. Visiting a dental hygienist periodically may not only prove essential to preserving an attractive smile, but for an array of health reasons as well. There are many risks associated with poor oral hygiene such as gum disease, cavities, infections and worse, but these risks can most often be entirely averted with just two yearly teeth cleanings.
But according to a new study, for many people, once-a-year dental cleaning may be enough to prevent gum disease that leads to tooth loss.
"Twice-yearly cleanings have been recommended for over 50 years without supporting evidence," study author William Giannobile, a professor of dentistry and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, said in a university news release.
But the results of this study "showed that one yearly cleaning is likely to be enough for patients with no risk factors," he said. "Patients with one or more risk factors, which represent over half of the population, should visit at least twice a year and likely more in some cases."
For the study, which was published online June 10 in the Journal of Dental Research, Giannobile and colleagues looked at data from more than 5,100 adults who visited the dentist regularly for 16 straight years, had no history of gum disease and received one or two cleanings each year.
The researchers examined the link between the frequency of teeth cleanings and long-term tooth loss in the participants, as well as three key gum disease risk factors: smoking, diabetes and genetics.
Two dental cleanings a year provided significant benefits to people with one or more of the three risk factors, while people with two or three of the risk factors may require more than two cleanings a year. But one cleaning per year appears sufficient for people with none of the risk factors, according to the study.
"The future of health care is personalized medicine," Giannobile said. "This study represents an important step toward making it a reality, and in a disease that is widespread, costly and preventable."
"We have long known that some individuals are at greater risk of [gum] disease, but tools haven't been available to adequately identify those at increased risk and prevent disease progression," he said.
- Created on 18 September 2013
NEW YORK, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Walgreen Co is moving 120,000 employees to a private health insurance exchange from coverage provided directly from carriers, the company will announce Wednesday.
The pharmacy chain will join 17 other large employers on the Aon Hewitt Corporate Health Exchange as part of a growing movement to offer employees fixed dollar amounts to purchase their own plans on such exchanges.
The end-cost to employees depends on the plan chosen, but they typically get more options than under traditional arrangements. Private exchanges mimic the coverage mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act. Enrollment in the public exchanges starts Oct. 1.
"What happens to employer contributions over time? Will they put in as much as they put in the past? These are unanswered questions but potential negatives," says Paul Fronstin, a senior research associate with the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The benefit to Walgreen and other employers is unknown at this point, as their cost-savings are not clear.
Of the 180,000 Walgreen employees eligible for healthcare insurance, 120,000 opted for coverage for themselves and 40,000 family members. Another 60,000 employees, many of them working part-time, were not eligible for health insurance.
Aon Hewitt says other participants in its program include retailer Sears Holding Corp and Darden Restaurants Inc . These new additions raise enrollment to 330,000 from 100,000 last year, and Aon Hewitt estimates enrollment will jump to 600,000 next year, a fivefold increase from 2012.
By 2017, nearly 20 percent of employees nationwide could get their health insurance through a private exchange, according to Accenture Research. A recent report by the National Business Group on Health said that 30 percent of large employers are considering moving active employees to exchanges by 2015.
Other major providers of private exchanges include Mercer, a division of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc, and Towers Watson & Co. Mercer said this summer that it had five major employers enrolled but did not name them. Towers Watson is in the process of launching an exchange. Smaller companies, like Buck Consultants, Willis North America Inc and regional players, are also starting exchanges.
There are also separate exchanges just for retirees. IBM , Time Warner Inc and General Electric Co recently announced they were moving retirees to exchanges for those not yet Medicare-eligible and other exchanges for those who are.
CHANGES IN COVERAGE
The five plan choices in Aon Hewitt's private exchange carry names used across the sector - bronze, bronze plus, silver, gold and platinum - and costs are based on the amount of coverage, says Ken Sperling, Aon Hewitt's national health exchange strategy leader.
Bronze and silver plans typically have high individual deductibles - $1,250 or more - meaning that they do not kick in until a participant's out-of-pockets costs exceed the amount of the deductible. Gold and platinum plans have lower deductibles and offer more coverage.
Healthcare premiums for these plans rose about 5 percent last year, consistent with the industry average recently calculated by the National Business Group on Health.
For some employees the exchanges could offer more choice. Walgreen's employees eligible for healthcare coverage were asked in the past three years to choose between two plans, both with high deductibles. Those plans were managed by Blue Cross Blue Shield or United Healthcare, depending on the area of the country.
Walgreen's offering last year matched the silver plan on Aon's exchange, so there are two options that are less expensive and two that are more expensive.
Based on Aon Hewitt's data collected so far, about 42 percent of participants choose a plan less expensive than they had previously used, while 26 percent choose a higher-cost plan and 32 percent stay at the same level.
Tom Sondergeld, senior director of health and well being for Walgreen, said Walgreen joined a private health exchange to offer its employees more choice, while still supporting a generous pharmacy benefit he said was central to the company's mission.
Walgreen is not planning any other major benefit changes for 2014, which starts in late October, Sondergeld said. The company will continue its reward-based wellness programs and a smoking surcharge of roughly $600. It will not change coverage for spouses, as UPS recently announced.
- Created on 18 September 2013
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File
WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama wants food makers and entertainment companies to spend less time advertising sweet and salty foods to kids and more time promoting healthier options.
Concerned about the nation's childhood obesity issues, the first lady on Wednesday is convening the first White House summit on food marketing to children to get involved parties talking about how to help consumers make healthier food choices. That includes enlisting the persuasive power of the multimillion-dollar food marketing industry.
As she helped kick off a nationwide campaign last week to encourage people to drink more plain water, Mrs. Obama said she would keep reaching out to new people and organizations and keep making the case for healthier choices like water and fruits and vegetables.
The White House says it has invited representatives from the food and media industries, advocates, parents, representatives of government agencies and researchers, though it did not release a list of names and organizations. Mrs. Obama will open the meeting with public remarks. The rest of the meeting will be closed to the media.
Consumer advocates say studies show that food marketing is a leading cause of obesity because it influences what children want to eat.
A 2006 report on the issue by the influential Institute of Medicine concluded that food and beverage marketing to children "represents, at best, a missed opportunity, and, at worst, a direct threat to the health of the next generation."
Improvements have come in the years since, especially after Mrs. Obama began drawing attention to childhood obesity with a campaign of her own in 2010.
She stood with the Walt Disney Co. last year when it became the first major media company to ban ads for junk food from its media channels, websites and theme parks. She also has praised the Birds Eye frozen food company for encouraging children to eat vegetables, including through promotions featuring characters from the Nickelodeon comedy "iCarly."
But the first lady and consumer advocates say more improvements are needed.
"Most of the food ads that kids see are still for unhealthy food, which makes it really hard for parents to feed their children healthfully," said Margo Wootan, a nutrition lobbyist for the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. Wootan planned to attend the summit.
In a speech earlier this year to a health conference, Mrs. Obama said limiting the promotion of unhealthy food to kids isn't the only solution.
"It's also about companies realizing that marketing healthy foods can be responsible and the profitable thing to do as well," she said.
The White House summit, which consumer advocates say marks the first time the White House has focused on this issue, could pick up where Congress and the administration left off a few years ago after the administration gave up trying to get the food industry to agree to voluntary marketing guidelines.
Preliminary guidelines released in 2011 asked food companies, advertisers and TV networks only to market foods to children if they are low in fats, sugars and sodium and included specified healthy ingredients. But the effort fizzled after many Republican lawmakers sided with the food industry, which accused government of overreaching.
The companies said the guidelines were overly broad and would limit marketing of almost all of the nation's favorite foods. The food companies also said they were feared government retaliation if they didn't go along with guidelines that were intended to be voluntary.
Large food companies then announced their own guidelines that, not surprisingly, were more lenient than what the Federal Trade Commission, the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had proposed under the direction of Congress.
The FTC publicly backed off some of the guidelines, including a recommendation that companies change packaging and remove brand characters from some foods. In late 2011, the agency said Congress "had clearly changed its mind" and said it would take another look. It never released updated guidelines.
New York University food and nutrition professor Marion Nestle, who also was attending the meeting, said studies show that voluntary restrictions don't work.
"Food marketing is the elephant in the room," she said. "If you're serious about childhood obesity, you've got to do something about food marketing."