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Health Bulletins
November, 2011

Autism

By: First Insurance Company

http://www.autism.org.uk

 

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them. It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.

 

The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are: social communication, social interaction and social imagination.

 

How do people with autism see the world?

People with autism have said that the world, to them, is a mass of people, places and events which they struggle to make sense of, and which can cause them considerable anxiety.

 

Characteristics of autism

The characteristics of autism vary from one person to another but as well as the three main areas of difficulty, people with autism may have:

• Love of routines

• Sensory sensitivity

• Special interests

• Learning disabilities

 

What causes autism?

The exact cause of autism is still being investigated. However, research suggests that a combination of factors – genetic and environmental – may account for changes in brain development.

Mind Care

Spelling Bee

 

Try to spell the following medical terms correctly!

1) The A R A T O is the largest artery in the body.

 

2) These chemicals S E R I E C D H B I are used to control weeds in conventional food farming.

 

3) T O E S R S L R H C E R O S I A is a condition in which the artery walls thicken as a result of cholesterol and fat accumulation.

 

4) A S T I E N S H Y O O L E G is branch of medicine specializing in the use of drugs or other agents that cause insensibility to pain.

 

5) E G O A R M H E H R the abnormal flow of blood or bleeding.

 

6) People with unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers are said to have X O O E I N H A P B.

 

7) A harmless bacterium known as S E I C E H R H O A I L C C I that normally resides in the stomach.

 

8) A male sex hormone produced by the testes called T O S S E R T N T E E O.

Lung Cancer Awareness Month

 

Lung Cancer Awareness Month occurs during November of each year! It aims to raise awareness about lung cancer by organizing runs, distributing educational material, holding fund raising events and spreading the word through the media. In this article we will provide you with an overview about lung cancer.

 

Lung cancer results from abnormal growth of cells in one or both lungs.

There are two main forms of cancers: non-small and small. Lung cancer is so critical because the tumor forms in the lung tissue. This will significantly affect the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the lungs. Thus the blood will become highly concentrated with carbon dioxide and the cells will be deprived from oxygen. It is also critical because symptoms may take years to appear or even arise when the cancer metastasizes.

 

Some symptoms of lung cancer:

• Coughing intensely or coughing up blood (hemoptysis)

• Pain in the chest or shortness of breath (dyspnea)

• Dysphonia; changes in the voice

• Weight loss (cachexia), fatigue, and loss of appetite

• Recurrent lung problems (e.g. bronchitis or pneumonia)

 

By far, the most important risk for lung cancer is smoking tobacco. Other environmental substances that can increase the risk of developing lung cancer include:

• Asbestos

• Radon gas

• Industrial substances

• Radiation exposure

• Air pollution

• Tuberculosis

 

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related death in men and women, and is responsible for 1.3 million deaths annually worldwide!

Organic Foods

 

The question of safety is important when you consider making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. In this article we will tackle these questions: What are organic foods? What are the benefits of organics?

 

What does organic mean?

The word organic refers to the way farmers grow and process crops and meat. They are processed using methods that do not involve modern synthetic input such as pesticides, fertilizers and genetically modified organisms and are not processed using irradiation and industrial solvents.

 

What are the benefits of organic foods?

1. Nutrition: some studies show that organic foods have more beneficial nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin C (27% more) and trace minerals (e.g. 21% more Mg) than their conventional foods.

2. Health Safety: they contain no pesticides or herbicides. According to the National Academy of Sciences, low level exposure to these chemicals can be significantly toxic for children and fetuses. They may also cause allergies, cancer and headaches.

3. Freshness: fresh food tastes better. Organic food is usually fresher when eaten because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer.

4. Environmental Impact: organic farming reduces pollutants in groundwater and creates richer soil that aids plant growth while reducing erosion. Plus, in a 15 year-study organic farming used 50% less energy than conventional farming methods.

5. Preventing Diseases: the overuse of some human antibiotics in animals already enabled bacteria to develop resistance against them rendering them less effective in fighting infection.

 

Did you know? The average apple that we eat, will still contain more than 30 pesticides even when washed!

Mental Effects of Sports

 

It has been known for some time now that playing sports improves the physical state of your body. In recent years, it has been proven by the scientific community that sports also improve the mental well-being of humans. The scope of this article will focus on the latter found benefits.

 

Improved Mood

Exercise stimulates the release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like endorphins from the pituitary gland. Endorphins are pain-relieving, opiate-like chemicals that make you feel good. Additionally, studies have shown that regular exercise raises serotonin levels in the brain staving illnesses such as depression.

 

Stress Relief

Sports can be used as a tool to help promote stress relief and to help alleviate stress related illnesses like insomnia and anxiety. It works by burning off excess amounts of hormones (adrenaline, cortisol). Playing sports means that you’re putting aside time for yourself to do something you enjoy, which is a form of self-care.

 

Social Interaction

Playing team sports involves interaction with other people, which will provide you with added benefits. That includes reduction in social isolation and allows you an opportunity to make new friends and forget your worries while having fun with others.

 

Increased Self-Esteem

Participating in a sport can help boost your self-esteem through promoting feelings of accomplishment. When you achieve a team or individual goal, you feel a sense of achievement, which leads to greater feelings of self-worth and esteem. Additionally, playing sports helps you become confident in your physical abilities.

 

Take action now and improve your mental well-being by increasing your physical activity!

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