WHO Recognizes “Burnout” as a Medical Issue

June 5th, 2019

Woman in business suit looking stressed.The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes burnout as an occupational phenomenon. The agency now includes burnout in its International Classification of Diseases Handbook, which guides medical providers in diagnosing diseases. 

Diagnosing Burnout

WHO describes burnout as a syndrome resulting from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”  According to WHO, doctors can issue a diagnosis of burnout if a patient exhibits three symptoms:

  1. Feeling depleted of energy or exhausted.
  2. Feeling mentally distanced from or cynical about one’s job.
  3. Problems getting one’s job done successfully.

Burnout is to be used specifically in the occupational context and it should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.

Before making the call, doctors should first rule out adjustment disorder as well as anxiety and mood disorders.

Signs of Burnout

Psychologist Herbert Freudenberger is credited with inaugurating the formal study of the state of burnout with a scientific article published in 1974. The telltale signs of burnout are:

  • Detachment
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of focus
  • Negative feelings
  • Physical and emotional fatigue

One in five highly engaged employees is at risk for burnout.

Tips to avoiding burnout:

  1. Sleep: Insomnia is one of the symptoms of burnout. When you don’t sleep, your brain doesn’t function at its prime. Getting too little sleep also has serious consequences, including lack of judgment, increased likelihood of car accidents and development of chronic diseases like cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and depression. Science has proven that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep nightly to function optimally.
  2. Exercise: Regular exercise reduces levels of stress, improves self-confidence, prevents cognitive decline, increases productivity, and improves memory.
  3. Laugh: Laughing relieves stress and has many positive short-term and long-term effects.
  4. Socialize: Spending time with people outside of work gives you much needed emotional fulfillment. Making work your entire life will leave you burned out and emotionally detached.
  5. Start saying no: Choose what is most important to you and what is most necessary to your work.

In 2018, a Gallup Survey found nearly one in four employees feels burned out always or often.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to live a healthy and well balanced life.Before you start to suffer from symptoms of burnout, take the time to evaluate if the choices you are making at work are what is best for your overall health.IAA knows that a good work /life balance is what is best for everyone.

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

Highly Processed Foods can add to Your Waistline

May 29th, 2019

Woman eating junk food from an open fridge. Less expensive, easier to prepare, ultra processed foods can make you fat, a new study says.

New Study

People who were limited to a diet of primarily highly processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when their diet mostly consisted of minimally processed foods, according to a new study.  

During a one month study, 20 healthy adult volunteers stayed at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, where all of their meals were provided for them. For 14 days, they were limited to each diet and told they could eat as much or as little as they liked. The two versions of the meals had the same amounts of calories, sugars, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates.

On the ultra processed diet, people ate faster while consuming about 500 more calories a day than they did while on the unprocessed diet; this increase in calories was due to higher quantities of carbohydrates and fat, but not protein. As a result, they gained about two pounds on average.  While on a diet of unprocessed foods, they lost an equal amount of weight.

The ultra processed foods caused people to eat too many calories and gain weight, researchers concluded.

The gender of the participants, the order of their diet assignment and their body mass index did not influence the varying calories each participant ate on each diet, according to the study authors.

The small scale study is the first randomized controlled trial examining the effects of ultra processed foods.  Ultra processed foods are defined as containing ingredients such as:

  • Hydrogenated oils
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Flavoring agents
  • Emulsifiers

The study was published on May 16 in the journal, “Cell Metabolism.”

Eat Right

In the United States, 61 percent of adults’ total diet comes from ultra processed food, in Canada, it is 62 percent, and in the United Kingdom it is 63 percent, a recent unrelated study found.  The United States Department of Agriculture has tips on how to keep your diet on track:

  1. Enjoy your food, but eat less: Use a smaller plate at meals to help control the amount of food and calories you eat.
  2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  3. Drink water: Sip water or other drinks with few or no calories to help maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Eat whole grains more often: Foods with high fiber content can help give you a feeling of fullness and also provide key nutrients.
  5. Learn what is in foods: Use both ingredient and nutrition fact labels to discover what various foods contain.
  6. Cut back on some foods: Cut calories by cutting out foods high in solid fats and added sugar.
  7. Be active whenever you can.  

You can also try out healthier recipes that use less solid fat, salt and sugar.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America knows that everyone enjoys processed foods, but they should be more of a treat than a part of a regular diet. Making healthier choices is best in the long run. IAA knows you can make positive changes to your dietary habits.

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!

May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

May 22nd, 2019

Outline of person brain is showingHuntington’s disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. In honor of Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month, educated yourself on this condition!

How Does Huntington’s Disease Occur?

Huntington’s disease is caused by an inherited defect in a single gene. Huntington’s disease is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a person needs only one copy of the defective gene to develop the disorder.

In 1993, researchers found the gene that causes Huntington’s disease. Everyone has the gene, but in some families an abnormal copy of the gene gets passed from parent to child.

Over 10 to 25 years, the disease gradually kills the nerve cells in the brain.  

Signs and Symptoms

Huntington’s disease usually causes movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders with a wide spectrum of signs and symptoms:

  1. Movement disorders: The movement disorders associated with Huntington’s disease can include both involuntary movement problems and impairments involuntary movements such as:
  • Difficulty with the physical production of speech or swallowing
  • Impaired gait, posture and balance
  • Involuntary jerking
  • Muscle problems, such as rigidity or muscle contracture
  • Slow or abnormal eye movements

       2.Cognitive disorders: Cognitive impairment often associated with Huntington’s disease includes:

  • Difficulty in learning new information
  • Difficulty organizing, prioritizing or focusing on tasks
  • Lack of awareness of one’s own behaviors and abilities 
  • Lack of flexibility or the tendency to get stuck on a thought, behavior or action
  • Lack of impulse control that can result in outbursts
  • Slowness in processing thoughts or “finding” words 

      3.Psychiatric disorders: The most common psychiatric disorder associated with Huntington’s disease is depression. Depression appears to occur because of injury to the brain and subsequent changes in brain function. 

Most people with Huntington’s disease develop signs and symptoms in their 30s or 40s.

Stages of Huntington’s Disease

Symptoms of Huntington’s disease tend to develop in stages:

  1. Early stage: Changes may be quite subtle in early stages. You may just require a little extra help.
  2. Middle stage: With time, symptoms begin to interfere with your day-to-day life.
  3. Late stage: In this stage, people with Huntington’s disease must depend on others for their care. Walking and speaking or not possible.

Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and stress or excitement can worsen symptoms.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to help spread awareness about Huntington’s disease. Take the time to help make others aware by sharing this blog post with friends, family and colleagues.IAA knows that a little support can go a long way!

LIke this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

New Weight Loss Product Cleared by the FDA

May 15th, 2019

Apple sitting next to small weightsA new capsule was recently cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help adults who are overweight or obese shed some pounds, when used along with diet and exercise.

New Weight Loss Product

Biotechnology company Gelesis developed the product, called Plenity.  Plenity looks like a pill, but is considered a medical device. Plenity consists of cellulose (found in plants) and citric acid that form a three-dimensional hydrogel matrix.

The hydrogel capsule can be taken with water before lunch and dinner. In the stomach, the capsule releases thousands of particles that absorb water and swell to create small individual gel pieces. Those gel pieces increase the volume and elasticity of the stomach and small intestine, helping to make you feel full, which could then lead to weight loss.

Once in the large intestine, the hydrogel is partially broken down by enzymes, loses its three-dimensional structure, releases the water that was absorbed and gets expelled in the stool.

The study followed participants for 24 weeks.

Data from a study on Plenity published in the journal “Obesity” in February, found that the treatment resulted in 6.4 percent weight loss in a group of 223 patients using the product compared with 4.4 percent in 213 patients using a placebo.

Plenity will be broadly available by prescription in the United States in 2020. No cost for the product has been announced.

Lose Weight the Healthy Way

Nearly 40 percent of people 20 years of age and older in the U.S. are living with obesity.Some ways to help you lose weight are:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Get accountability and support: Have people on your side to help you stay motivated and help cheer you on.
  3. Find what drives you to eat: The first step is figuring out what your triggers are. Is it stress, anger, anxiety, or depression in a certain part of your life? Or is food your main reward when something good happens?

If you shed pounds too fast, you’ll lose muscle, bone and water instead of fat, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They advise to lose one to two pounds per week and avoid fad diets. 

Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or a “program.” It is about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.

What IAA has to Say

Insurance Administrator of America wants you to know what is going on in the world of health. Keep up to date with IAA! Remember, with IAA one call does it all.

Like this blog post? Let IAA know by going to our Facebook page and clicking the Like button!

Dental Health May be More About Nurture Than Nature

May 8th, 2019

Environmental factors are more important than genetics in determining who gets cavities, a new study reports.

New Study on Dental Health

Australian researchers recruited 250 twin pairs when their mothers were still pregnant. They collected health and demographic data on them at 24 weeks gestation and at age 18 months. When they were six years old, the 172 twin pairs that were still in the study underwent dental examinations.

To see how much genetics might shape the risk of cavities, researchers looked at how often both kids got cavities in pairs of identical twins—who have identical genetic variations—and fraternal twins—who typically share half of their variations. 

In the study, both twins had cavities in 29 pairs; in another 33 pairs of twins, just one child was affected.  The risk of developing tooth decay or cavities were similar for identical and fraternal pairs, suggesting that genetics do not play an important role in tooth decay.

Three environmental factors in particular appeared to impact the risk of cavities: maternal obesity, defects in tooth enamel mineralization and lack of community water fluoridation.

Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy

There are some simple ways to keep teeth strong and healthy:

  1. Start children early: Dental care should begin as soon as a child’s first tooth appears.
  2. Use enough, but not too much fluoride: Fluoride should be used sparingly in young children, no more than a pea-sized dab on the toothbrush.
  3. Brush twice a day and floss daily: Gum disease and tooth decay remain big problems.
  4. Rinse or chew gum after meals: In addition to brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial rinse can help prevent decay and can also protect by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes away bacteria and neutralizes acid.
  5. Don’t smoke: Tobacco stains teeth and significantly increases the risk of gum diseases and oral cancer.
  6. Eat smart: At every age, a healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums.
  7. Avoid sugary foods: When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, they produce acids that can erode tooth enamel, opening the door to decay.
  8. Make an appointment:  Most experts recommend a dental checkup every six months.

Worldwide, an estimated 60 to 90 percent of school age children have tooth decay.

What IAA has to Say

As much as you want to blame genetics for poor dental health that may no longer be the case. Insurance Administrator of America hopes that your smile is nice and healthy! Remember, with IAA one call does it all. 

Interested in reading more on this topic? Click here!