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Jul 9, 2020

Why It Is Important To Speak Up When It Comes To Your Health

Have you ever felt like something in you is a bit off? Like you are off balance and can't quite figure out what your problem is? I went to my doctor a little over a month ago for my annual physical. I was actually 2 months off schedule since the pandemic came and knocked everything out of whack. Any time I have to go in to the doctor's office my blood pressure spikes a bit. I do check it at home regularly, and it is almost always right where it's supposed to be. The nurse always laughs and asks me if I am afraid of her, and that she doesn't bite. That usually calms me down, and my BP goes back down.

This last visit went a lot differently than normal. It was one of those very hot and muggy mornings, and I am normally the type of person who is always hot. I had to sip my ice water in the car, and put my mask on to enter the building. I went in, got registered at the front desk, and waited patiently to be called back. As soon as I saw the nurse crack open the door I felt my heart beat a bit faster, and I could feel myself trying harder to breathe. The mask doesn't make it any easier, but of course you still have to wear one.

Like with any visit, the first thing they do is check your weight and vitals. I decided to give myself a break with the weight since COVID-19 has been stressful and concerning. When the blood pressure cuff was placed around my arm, I had a bad feeling. My BP was 170/100! My heart rate was 117. I just sat there in shock as the nurse told me she would have to re-take my BP in a 5-minute time frame 3 times to get an average number between the three. Of course since it was within 5 minutes of the first check, it was still high at 155/95.

I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach and had those panicked breaths where I felt like I was gasping for air. My nerves were shot at this point. My doctor came in shortly after and was briefly updated on what was going on. We chatted about my overall well-being and how I was really feeling and I told her I was definitely better than I was in previous years dealing with extreme anxiety and depression. She figured that my elevated BP and heart rate were due to anxiety that were related to the pandemic, and the news regarding police brutality and racism. I mean, who isn't feeling a whole lot right now?

She highly recommended that I start a low-dose anti-anxiety medication to help me calm down, and hopefully that would result in my BP and heart rate regulating. I agreed. I don't know why, but I agreed. She wanted to see me back in 6 months to discuss how things end up going from taking the medication. I also had to wait for my lab results to see if anything else was wrong. Last year my cholesterol was high, and that is concerning since both of my parents were cardiac patients. I was warned of the possibility that if it was the same or higher, I would need to get on cholesterol meds right away.

I was diagnosed with thyroid disease about 5 years ago, and have been on medication to keep it regulated since then. Lucky for me, I've had very few symptoms that affect me. The only time I really did have anything that wasn't quite right was confused as being anxiety, when in reality I was having heart palpitations. Then the light bulb popped on in my head. The deep breathing and higher heart rate wasn't feeling 100% like anxiety, but more like heart palpitations. I decided to wait for my lab results to come back so I could see what my Thyroid-Stimulation Hormone (TSH) levels were. I just had a feeling something wasn't right.

What is so strange about the whole pandemic is that my life wasn't really affected a whole lot. Being home all the time, and homeschooling my son is my normal. Aside from not being able to find certain items at the store, things have been fine on the home-front. The only time I would get worked up is when I turned on the news. The state of the nation has been pitiful to say the least. Seeing so many families affected by job loss, kids not getting adequate education, and the state of financial crisis is enough to make anyone worry. But you know what? I still chose to find the good things to focus on each day. This made getting through these crazy months a lot easier. I have been surprisingly calm despite what was going on all over the world.

Enough about that, back to the lab results. They came in the next day, and to my surprise, the doctor was super happy to see how great everything looked. My cholesterol went down by 43 points! I had no idea it could drop that much in just a year. I can't tell you how relieved I was to get this fantastic news. I decided to really read through my results to make sure everything else was where it needs to be. I improved on just about everything! One thing did stick out to me though. My TSH level was at the top of the high number. That didn't sit right with me. Although it was .04 within the range, I was still concerned.

I sent a message through the patient portal to express my concerns about the TSH levels, and asked for my medication to be adjusted. I really feel like my elevated heart rate and BP was from heart palpitations caused by my thyroid and not anxiety. She agreed to step me up to 75mg from 50mg and have my labs done again in 3 months. After taking the higher dosage for 2 weeks, the palpitations subsided and I started feeling normal again. I definitely have not felt any anxiety or sadness. I knew I wasn't depressed, and was NOT about to take a drug that would be very hard to come off of.
This is what my blood pressure and heart rate look like now. 
I am happy that I decided against the anti-anxiety meds and opted to advocate for myself. While antidepressants are necessary for many people and do help a lot, I knew I didn't need them. I used to be one of those people who thought if a doctor tells you something, it's as good as gold and you have to listen. It's not always the case. Read over your lab reports, do your own research, ask questions and follow your gut. I'm so happy that I did! I will get my labs work done in the first part of September and go from there.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. Continue to stay well, and wear your mask!
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Jul 8, 2020

Here’s Why Moms Should Be More Spiritual

As a mom, it can be difficult to feel spiritual. There’s nothing relaxing about the school run, packed lunches and changing diapers. Being spiritual can feel impossible when you’ve got a house full of screaming little ones or grumpy teenagers. But it isn’t.

Being spiritual means something different to everyone, but put simply it is the act of thinking about something bigger than yourself. Some spiritual people might do yoga or speak to a psychic (see mediumchat.com for more information). There are many benefits of being spiritual, and it’s especially beneficial to moms in stressful households. Here’s why you should be more spiritual.
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Fitness
Often, busy moms struggle to stay fit. We tend to prioritize our kids’ well-being over our own. However, it’s important to keep up a regular fitness routine. Spirituality can help with this. Being spiritual means being in tune with your body and listening to its needs. Doing yoga, for example, is a great exercise to keep you fit and healthy, while also being relaxing and soothing. Regularly stretching the body and embracing the way it feels can be hugely beneficial. Spirituality is good for the body.

Finding peace
As a mom, peace can be difficult to find. Your kids are constantly asking you where stuff is, making a mess and getting into trouble. But it’s important to take time for yourself and find some peace and quiet. Spirituality forces you to do this. Meditation, for example, can be very soothing and reduces brain chatter. You need to find a quiet place where you feel relaxed. Being spiritual might also mean spending time amongst nature, which can be hugely beneficial. In general, being spiritual means eliminating stress and noise – and this is something that moms should regularly aim for.

Influencing your kids
Kids are hugely influenced by their parents. If you act in a selfish or inappropriate manner your kids will think that this is acceptable. However, by being more spiritual, you’re setting a good example for your kids. Being spiritual means thinking about others and acting selflessly. You might give to charity, support a friend or care about the environment. Don’t you want your kids to do the same? So, be more spiritual to raise caring, kind and considerate children.
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Nutrition 
Spirituality means caring about the environment and what you put into your body. Most spiritual people avoid processed food as they are full of chemicals. By embracing spirituality, you get more nutrition from food and you learn to understand what fuels your body the best. By listening to your body, you realize what it needs as opposed to what it wants, and you eat more healthily. You also stop supporting industries that are damaging to the environment.

Happiness
Moms need to feel happy, just like everyone else. But often we put our family’s needs above our own. Being spiritual can help you to feel more relaxed, healthy and energetic – and this often means you feel happier. So, embrace spirituality and prioritize your own joy.

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Jul 7, 2020

Advantages of Using the Best Nitric Oxide Supplement

Nitric oxide is produced naturally by human cells and it is one of the vital molecules for maintaining the appropriate functioning of blood vessels. It is a vasodilator. It eases the inner muscles of the blood vessels thereby widening it. This results in an increase in blood flow and also lowers the blood pressure significantly.   

The popularity of these supplements has shot up in recent years. It is preferred for its unparalleled ability in relaxing blood vessels and thereby increasing the blood flow. Its pills are preferred by athletes and bodybuilders as it can deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the cells. This in turn promises a significant boost in the energy levels in the body.  

These supplements are immensely popular these days. Most of these do not consist of nitric oxide. Instead, these consist of compounds that can help produce nitric oxide in the cells thereby boosting the performance and overall health of the body. 


How do they work? 
The most common nitric oxide supplements available in the market are L-citrulline and L-arginine. These are amino acids and are present in diary and meat products. However, the quantity of amino acids present in these is not sufficient to result in a dramatic improvement in any condition or for the purpose one would be consuming it for. This has increased the demand for such supplements which are available both in the form of power and as a pill.  

As per the scientists, nitric oxide widens the blood vessels in the body. This thereby boosts the flow of blood for improving the performance. Taking these supplements has a wide range of benefits. Find out more on the importance of nitric oxide here.    

Advantages

      1. Decreases muscle soreness 
Athletes and bodybuilders usually experience muscle soreness after a strenuous workout session. The soreness is usually felt during 24-72 hours after an exercise session. Taking these supplements decreases muscle soreness by boosting the production of nitric oxide in the body. This further boosts the blood flow through the active muscles and also increases nutrient delivery for compensating with muscle fatigue experienced.  

      2. Lowers blood pressure
Individuals with high blood pressure cannot synthesize nitric oxide to the max in their bodies. The force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries results in high blood pressure. 

The issues can result in kidney or disease over time. Having these effective supplements can lower blood pressure significantly. Follow this link to learn more about the heart benefits of nitric oxide supplements - https://www.webmd.com/heart/arginine-heart-benefits-and-side-effects#1   

      3. Enhances performance
Nitric oxide is a critical component involved in many cell processes. It helps in widening the blood vessels which is also referred to as vasodilation. This furthermore increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles after a workout session. This is the reason why they are immensely popular amongst bodybuilders and athletes.  

      4. Help in management of Type 2 Diabetes
Production of nitric oxide is impaired in individuals who are suffering from Type 2 diabetes. This contributes to poor health of blood vessels which in turn can result in high blood pressure and also heart and kidney diseases over time. Supplements that are rich in nitric oxide can prove to be immensely beneficial in preventing the undesirable effects of Type 2 Diabetes. 

Do they actually work? 

Several research studies have been done to study the efficacy of nitric oxide supplements. Its effect of vasodilation has been extensively studied and is immensely beneficial in increasing the blood flow in the blood vessels. This can lead to enhanced blood flow which in turn boosts the performance and recovery after a strenuous workout session.  

These supplements primarily consist of amino acids that trigger the synthesis of nitric oxide within the cells. Taking nitric oxide pills can result in a noticeable difference during recovery or in enhancing performance during strenuous activities. 

Several studies have also established that there is a significant link between nitrate levels in the body and improvements in performance. These supplements can also improve tolerance to anaerobic and aerobic exercise in people who are either moderately trained or aren’t in their best form.   

Side effects 

Any supplement when taken in an appropriate dosage can offer the best benefits to the users. Anything taken in access will not offer the results being sought. Moreover, taking excess nitric oxide supplements can alter the functions of the kidneys if you are already on a diet that is rich in nitric oxide. 

In these cases, there will be a significant reduction in the overall performance as the kidneys are under stress to process the high levels of nitrates in the body. It is best to adhere to the dosage levels prescribed by the manufacturer of the supplement that you are using.   

In summary 

People prefer using nitric oxide supplements for numerous reasons. Many of them don’t even have substantial scientific research to back such claims. For instance, apart from the above-mentioned benefits, these supplements are taken to boost weight loss, for improving lung function, improving recovery after major injury or trauma, and in healing diabetic foot ulcers. 

Several users have reported significant results after using nitric oxide supplements for additional benefits. However, a scientific study is still needed to back such claims. Overall, these supplements are indeed beneficial in boosting performance and in improving the overall health of an individual.   
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Jul 2, 2020

Away From The Screen – Toys Your Son Will Love

We all know that tech plays an important role in our lives. For some, our entire working lives are based around it. It makes life a little easier and helps us to connect and reconnect with friends and family. Technology is great for our kids too, from lessons in coding to how to design and create a video game or even edit a video, becoming immersed in technology can help our children find future roles and careers that they’re truly passionate about.
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However, as wonderful as technology is, it can sometimes take over. With many parents struggling to coax their children outside for some fresh air, or simply entertain themselves without the help of a screen. So, if your child has a birthday coming up or you just want to spoil them, maybe you should embrace fun and entertainment away from the screen and consider the following gifts and toys for 9 year old boys.
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Board and card games

Not just for rainy days, board games can be played with family and friends when they come to visit. You’ll find traditional games like Monopoly have been adapted to complement their favorite TV shows, and games like Top Trumps are always harmlessly competitive between good friends.

Pranks and jokes

Do you have a budding comedian at home? Or someone who likes to play pranks on their older siblings? Prank and joke kits have always been popular and they're a great way to get your child thinking outside the box and creating plans and schemes to pull off the perfect prank! Whoopee cushions stink bombs, hand buzzers, and slime will keep your son busy for hours!

Sports

If your son is football mad, then some simple football equipment for the garden is the ideal gift. A goal where they can practice their penalties, some new football kit, training cones or even a bag to put their boots and kit in. If you're struggling for outdoor space, then consider a smaller trick ball that they can use indoors to practice some cool tricks and skills.
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Bikes

When we were kids, there was nothing better than getting on your bike and heading out. As long as you were back home in time for dinner of course! If your son doesn't have a bike, or they need a new one, then it could be the best gift ever. They can take themselves to and from school, practice cool tricks, go out riding with their friends and just enjoy a little freedom. Remember to get them the additional safety gear too!

Books

If your son much prefers reading and learning new things then topping up their bookshelf with some new reads is ideal. The latest novels from their favorite authors, encyclopedias, annuals, or other books dedicated to their favorite subject. It'll certainly keep them away from their screens for a while.

And finally, LEGOs! 

LEGO or simple building bricks have been loved for generations. When your son plays with LEGOs he’s using his creativity and cognitive skills to figure out what should go where and how to bring his ideas to life. This is a classic favorite that you surely cannot go wrong with.
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Jul 1, 2020

Soda City Certified™ App to List All Local Companies Open During COVID-19

In the event that you live in Columbia, SC or surrounding cities, I thought I would share this with you.

Effective July 1, Soda City Certified™ (SCC), Columbia’s only mobile application that aims to help residents and visitors explore our Capitol City, will include all local companies open during COVID-19.

Open businesses in the following areas are encouraged to participate: Downtown Columbia, Forest Acres, West Columbia, Cayce, Harbison, Chapin, Northeast Columbia, Southeast Columbia, Lexington, Blythewood, Elgin, Irmo, St. Andrews, and Pontiac.

“The impact of COVID-19 has devastated all industries in the Columbia metropolitan area. By featuring restaurants, small businesses, and entrepreneurs, users will gain real-time access to businesses by encouraging everyone to shop local,” said Khali Gallman, Soda City Certified™ app creator. “Our main goal is to stimulate Columbia’s economy while practicing social distancing. Be safe and let’s stay connected.”

Since the official launch of SCC in January 2020, the app has reached 1100+ downloads and averages 5,000-8,000 social media views weekly. For more information or add your business on the app, visit www.sodacitycertified.com. Call 803.922.5310 or email sodacitycertified@gmail.com for more information.

About Soda City Certified™ Mobile App

Founded in 2019, Soda City Certified™ is a mobile application formatted for Apple iTunes and Google Play smartphones that allows users to receive incentives for frequenting Columbia, South Carolina’s most notable events, venues, restaurants, historical sites, and attractions. The app is available for free in both app stores. All rights are reserved. Visit www.sodacitycertified.com for details.
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