clothes wearing a new shirt entire outfit. change our clothes,  wardrobe clothing wardrobe clothing fits and fits clothes clothes clothing a jacket or shawl a jacket or a shawl jacket in the car wardrobe purse wardrobe purse. everyday wear wardrobe malfunction wardrobe wardrobe wardrobe your face face throw water wash your face in the morning and then apply your makeup. Taking care of your face takes time, dedication, and effort. If you want to have flawless skin you will need to stick to a routine. You also need a few ingredients that can give you the most successful results. You're in luck because this article will list the main ingredients and give you tips to getting healthy, flawless skin. All that's left is you. see a difference in your skin. important for your body. Your body tends to build up toxins in your system over time by various things for various reasons. When you drink water, it removes and cleanses those toxins from your body. It's kind of like giving the inside of your body a bath. If the outside of your body gets bathe regularly, then the inside of your body deserves the same treatment. When you are regularly drinking a recommended amount of water daily, then you are removing the toxins from your body, which means you are reducing the amount of oil in your face that creates those nasty bumps. to clear those toxins from your body. While drinking the recommended amount of water daily, another important ingredient for healthy flawless skin is vitamins. Value of Vitamins Add vitamins to your daily routine. May people in the world are deficient in one vitamin or another. Vitamins do tons of wonders for us and our bodies. Vitamins help grow and repair our bodies in so many ways we do not see or recognize. Taking vitamins helps you try to maintain a healthy balance in your body, because you are getting the healthy supplements you need. You will see your skin begin to show a natural glow. A glow that no bronzer or make up can give you. If you continued on a daily vitamin regimen, you should begin to see your skin brighten in its own natural way. Day & Night Wash The next step to a "clean and clear" face is to wash your face daily morning and night. Washing your face helps to remove dirt and dead skin cells that is on your face. When you don't wash your face, the dirt and dead skin cells build upon your face clogging your pores, in which they cannot breathe, resulting into an unhappy pimpled face. Your pores need to breathe just as you do. Remember, you can not be lazy on this step. Most people begin the routine of washing their face daily, morning and night, but then they slowly discontinue the process and ask themselves a few days later, "Why isn't my skin clear?" It's not clear because you stopped your regimen! If you are saying to yourself right now, "Ugh, I don't have enough time." or "It is too much effort.", then you will not see the best results. The Best Cleanser wash your face morning and night with a face cleanser. best type of face cleanser that is for you. A face cleanser may work for your friend but not for you, because everyone's face is different. Do some thorough research for the skin type you have and the types of face cleansers you could use. Once you have found some face cleansers, it's time to begin to try them out to see if it will help you. It is understandable that you are in a hurry to achieve a flawless look but don't use the cleanser for two days and then toss it away because you assume it doesn't work for you. You should continuously use the cleanser for a minimum of 4 weeks, to determine if you see some improvement or not. Make sure that you are washing your face morning and night or washing your face as the directions on the cleanser tells you to. Be diligent and you will be happy with your results. Moisturize, Moisturize, & Moisturize Moisturizing your face is another important step to achieving flawless skin. Moisturizing your face helps to keep your skin from drying up and also keeps your skin nice and soft.  It is best to moisturize your face with something that is oil free and fragrant free. Again do thorough research on the type of moisturizer you should purchase for your skin type. You are what you think, you are what you do, and you are what you eat. To obtain flawless skin you have to watch what you eat. Eating a lot of oily and greasy foods can lead to an increase of breakouts on your face. Begin to eat healthier one day at a time to improve your diet. A healthy diet produces healthy skin, and healthy skin dramatically increases your chances of having flawless skin. We're all hoping for it to come soon.  The warm weather, shining sun and the cool breeze. It's such a great time of the year. With the seasons changing, our wardrobes change along with it. We begin to wear lighter clothing, flowy dresses and skirts. This year when making the transition, make it chic, savy, and playful. Tips for Dresses & Skirts Think of spring as a playful and happy type of season. Imagine how you can incorporate it into dresses and skirts. Your dresses and skirts should be feminine and playful. Be sure to wear your dresses and skirts in a manner that represents you best. You don't want to wear anything that gives the wrong impression of who you are. You are a divine being, let others treat you with respect by observing what you wear. Tips for Shirts Bright colors and pastels are in! Wear bright colored shirts that have a soft tone. The best colors to wear are pastel colors. These colors are bright but still have a soft tone to them. A good combination to use would be to wear bright colored shirts as the main base to your outfit, then add a little bit of darker colors to your outfit here and there. For example wearing a blue pastel shirt with some dark brown jewelry, or yellow pastel shirt with a dark green tank top underneath that shows a little bit of the color. Wearing blouses in the springtime is also a plus; it gives you that playful feel which works well in the spring. Make sure to mix the colors, picking shades that work well together, other wise it could lead to a big wardrobe disaster. Tips for Wearing Sandals Another great plus during the warmer weather is the ability to wear sandals. Bright colors on toenails do not quite fit in with the spring season. So save those bright color nail polish for the summer time. During the springtime wear neutral deep colors that will give a nice finish. For example nice plum color or forest green or deep blue will work. Colors like these will give a good balance to the rest of your spring outfit. Knowing Your Seasons When looking in the closet to select your wardrobe, ask yourself, "Does this work for the feel of spring?" Get into the habit of knowing what will work and what does not work for different seasons of the year. Every season you can look fantastic and chic! Start now to get in the rhythm of knowing what to wear each season. declare your summer independence from blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons today. It's difficult to maintain heat-it-to-achieve-it styles in the summer. The sun is scorching hot and washing your hair becomes more frequent. Thermal styling tools can give you an instant look, but constant heat styling can thin and damage natural, color- and chemically-treated hair.  Let your hair cool off by trying alternative no- to- low heat methods for volume, texture, or sleekness. .Flip your hair upside down using a paddle brush, smoothing the back of your hair from the nape to the front (Optional: For extra hold, lightly spritz your hair with alcohol-free hairspray) When you use your heat styling tools less, your strands get a chance to breathe. Challenge yourself to give up heat for two weeks and evaluate your hair.  If it hasn't been severely damaged by heat, you may notice that your hair looks and feels healthier and stronger. Each low-to-no heat method requires less stress on your hair and an overall healthy approach to your styling routine. Spend the rest of summer working on your tan, and not your hair. Eliminate Puffy Eyes Before you wash your face in the mornings, use a cue tip to lightly dab a very small amount of aloe vera gel (revered for its healing, anti-inflammatory, and cooling properties) over your eyes. Leave the gel on your eyes for five to ten minutes and then wash your face with your regular cleanser. You will you feel instantly refreshed and your eyes will look brighter and more youthful. The late-night puffiness around your eyes will begin to disappear. Good morning, Sunshine! Banish Rough Skin To remedy dry and cracked skin, formulate your own brown sugar scrub body treatment. The natural glycolic acid found in sugar works to gently slough off dead skin cells to reveal brighter skin. massage your sugar scrub to dampened skin. To lock in moisture, towel-pat dry and apply your lotion while your skin is slightly damp. Save your skin from damaging sun rays with a generous amount of sunscreen. Nothing can wreak havoc on your skin like sun damage. a sunscreen with SPF 15 may allow you to stay in the sun for 150 minutes without getting burned. However, even if you use sunscreen, try to chill in the shade for most of the day and feel fabulous in a big floppy hat for maximum skin protection. Your hair may be fighting the common hair cold right now- dryness, breakage, and dullness- due to the harsh weather. balance of protein and moisture in your hair. When the moisture and protein levels in your hair are in sync, you will notice less breakage, length retention, and an overall increase in the health of your hair. If your hair is hard, rough, or brittle you may need a deep conditioning treatment. This will help you restore softness to your hair and smooth your cuticle, the outermost layer of your hair strand.  When applying a deep conditioning treatment, try to use a conditioner that is water-based and contains at least one humectant.  Any product that lists humectants- propylene glycol, honey, glycerin- and water at the top of their ingredient list will work best to help your hair stay soft and moisturized. No More Weather Hair Worries When rain arrives unexpectedly, you aren't running to find shelter or making a make-shift umbrella out of a newspaper or your purse. You can play in the rain without worrying about you kinky hair getting ruined. Even in humidity, you can tie your hair back and let the humidity amplify your curls and get unbelievable volume. Curly girls who don't enjoy frizz or undefined curls can still leave the house and venture into high-humidity weather. Just be sure to apply a silicone-free styling serum on dry hair to keep your curls in sync. Your Facial Features Pop Some women with more traditional African features -full lips, broad nose, and high cheekbones- can appear more youthful with curly hair than straight hair. Flat hair can make these facial features seem larger than they actually are, and hide its true beauty. Shorter, tightly curled hair seems to defy gravity when worn out in an Afro style. It "lifts" the face and draws more attention to the eyes and cheekbones. You Become Healthier many times have you heard, "I know I need to go to the gym, but I don't want to mess up my hair"? When you wear your hair curly, you don't have to make the choice of having either a great head of hair or a great body. Let's be honest, your hair needs more than the perfect shampoo and conditioner. To give you hair optimum health, you have to eat right and exercise. When you have naturally curly hair, you no longer worry about your hair "reverting" when you sweat from a work-out. To freshen your curls after the gym, you can water-rinse or cleanse you hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. You Can Experiment with Color When you let your natural tresses roam free and treat it with care, you can experiment with more color without worrying about double-processing your hair with chemicals or daily doses of heat. If you apply heat on a daily basis or wear a relaxer, adding another hair-altering chemical like color to the mix can be a recipe for dryness and breakage. Even with chemical-free hair, color can still be damaging.  Look for alternative and gentler coloring options like Henna or semi-permanent glosses. Maintain a healthier head of hair with color by putting the relaxer away, and treating your hair with nourishing products formulated for color-treated hair.Running to the salon every few weeks to tame those "unruly roots" is no longer your concern. Salon chemical and hair straightening services can cost upwards of fifty dollars per visit. Now that you've embraced the beauty of your bouncy ringlets, your wallet is packed with extra cash. Indulge your hair with at-home nourishing treatments using deep conditioners and essential oils. The next time you see a woman with an eye-catching hair style or lustrous curls, give her a compliment. Whether you have a spouse to give you roses or not, give yourself a love letter this month that highlights every feature you love to play up, make your hair one of your favorite features. Whether your hair is short or long, curly or straight, it is beautiful and deserves to feel loved. The New Year is your time to shine. Your hair should be no exception. If you need more products just to fake a healthy appearance from split ends, dullness, or limp hair, January may be the perfect time to start over.  A healthy hair goal can be achieved if you start with the right plan.  Trim Your Ends Get rid of split, frayed, and heat-damaged ends with a professional trim. Your hair cannot look its best when damaged ends are getting all of the attention.  A trim can be anywhere from one-fourth of an inch to two inches, depending on the amount of damage. If you are apprehensive about getting a trim, you can do minimal shaping each month. However, eventually all the damaged ends will need to be cut off. Once damaged ends are removed, your hair will instantly look fuller, smoother, and healthier. Categorize your products (shampoos, conditioners, styling crème, etc.) and select one from each that works the best for your hair. The products that you do not select can be given away to friends, thrown out, or saved for the summer time. With a simple selection of tried and true products, your hair can be pampered and nourished with the correct products that work best on your hair. Commit to a Hair Care Schedule Consistently bathe your hair in deep conditioning, hot oil, and protein treatments. Your hair type and needs will determine how often you should do each treatment. There should be a healthy balance of protein and moisture to promote softer and stronger strands. Have a trusted stylist evaluate your hair. He or she will be able to help you commit to a healthy hair care schedule and help decide what healthy hair practices would work best for you.Handle Hair with Care Now that you are fully invested into your customized healthy hair journey, be gentle to your strands. Avoid styles that pull at the scalp and edges of your hair. The corners of your eyes should not meet at your scalp line. Instead, style your hair into loose, chic ponytails and buns. Keep hair manipulation low, only using proper combs and brushes sparingly and gently to detangle and style hair. Always moisturize and protect the ends of your hair to minimize split ends.  Treat your hair with care, and it will flourish throughout the New Year. Curly hair has been called many names: beautiful, unique, unkempt, trendy, unprofessional, rebellious, romantic, lustrous, and the list goes on. Within the past five years, major hair companies have realized that curly hair is also very "marketable". When you listen to your hair and notice what it likes, your curly hair can become synonymous with another word - healthy.You are mingling at a party and in walks a bombshell in a fitted jacket, the best pair of skinny jeans you have seen, a head full of luscious curls, and a confident laugh that fills the room.  You immediately envy the stillettoed goddess.  improve your look and overall confidence.  With minor changes and implementing the following "secrets" you will have the tools to always feel confident and look and your best. Wear Your Favorite Outfit When you like what you are wearing your confidence level rises.  However, there are a few fashion tips you want to keep in mind.  Tailored waistlines on dresses or jackets create slimming effects and pencil skirts hide upper leg blemishes and highlight calves.  Black is always slimming but spice it up with red accents (scarf, shoes, jewelry).  Highlight your best feature to feel extra sexy. Hair Is Important Many women overlook the importance of a well coiffed do.  This year, to the benefit of all women, volume and curls are in.  Try using hot rollers because they are easy to use, quick, and will not damage your hair.  They create a loose curl that softens any look.  Leave your hair down.  If this drives you crazy, use a decorative clip to sweep up a side.  If you don't have rollers, use a curling iron to add volume and curls to your tresses. The Arsenal Of Beauty Secrets These are wonderful beauty weapons used by many Hollywood stars. Most women are so good at these "tricks" that the result appears to be natural. Non Make-up Wearers You are blessed to have a fresh clean look naturally.  For a special event, it is nice to wear a minimal amount of make-up for a more formal look.  If you don't wear make-up, mascara and lip-gloss will enhance your look.  Fake Eyelashes Fake eyelashes are a great way to widen the eye and create a come-hither look.  The packs with sections or individual lashes rather than the full strip are easier to apply and look more natural.  Apply them to the outer corner of your eye following the natural lash line.  It will add a little length and enhance the look of the eye. Curly hair is a commitment, a long-term relationship. It is more prone to splitting up, as in split ends. It is constantly changing its mood, one day it's a poof, then it's a tangled nightmare. Style & Class Let's face it baggy jeans, baggy t-shirts, and over-sized flannels are not stylish. Anything that may fall into that category needs to be removed from your closet now! Also remove anything that is too tight. Clothes that are too tight are never in style however, don't confuse fitted with too tight. Confidence is Fashion There is nothing more sexy to a man than a woman that walks into the room with confidence. Make sure that whatever it is your wearing you feel great in it. Whether you are running errands or going out you should always feel confident in what you are wearing. The 4 Must-Haves A fitted jacket is essential this fall. Whether you are wearing it with your dress slacks to work or with your trendy worn jeans, a fitted jacket is a must have! Fitted Jacket For the tall and slim- Military jacket For the athletic build- tattered Levi jacket For the curvy- lightweight trench Tall Boots Tall boots make heads turn. You will want to splurge on this buy and ensure that you are getting good quality. They are great for the office or for a night out on the town. For the office put on a pair of tights with a skirt and for the night out leave the tights at home. The Perfect Pair of Jeans Every woman should have a pair of jeans that shape her figure, gives her comfort and builds her confidence. For this fall go for a fitted boot cut with embellishment on the back pockets or for the tall and slim woman go with the skinny jean and tuck them in your tall boots. Large Leather Hobo Handbag With the chill in the air a large hobo is needed. It will carry all your normal hand bag items like your wallet, phone, water bottle, ect. You can put a scarf and gloves in there too. To keep it stylish go with something that has a rock star edge to it. Just remember to control the amount of rock star. Shop around for the perfect hobo for you. Remember that every woman has a unique body shape. Take the fashion forecast and make it your own. Put your own unique spin on everything that you wear and remember to just be you! Fall is a great season to try out new colors. Now that we know the models wearing the colors are not perfect, hopefully we will feel a bit more adventurous with fall trends! You are just as beautiful as these models, so embrace your uniqueness, and remember they make you who you are. You are beautiful and unique. Every laugh line that is etched on your face should be treasured, every wrinkle, and every scar should be worn with proud. All those things have made you who you are today, and with that, you should be proud. Eyeshadow, Blush, & Lipstick This season, we are seeing lots of purples and grays on lids.  These eye shadows have a ton of varying shades, so there is definitely one that is guaranteed to look fabulous on you.  Maybe even more than one!  These shades work with all eye colors, so do not be afraid to experiment.  With all the focus on eyes and lips, you can take it easy on the blush. Shoes shoes shoes fabulous shoes Shades of roses and mochas will match these shadows fabulously, and keep you looking fall fresh. For lips, try shades of berries and reds. mascara and lip-glosses.  Used mascara's can be very irritating to the delicate eye area, and lip-glosses can harbor unwanted bacteria.  Lipsticks can be cleaned with a quick swipe of alcohol.  Clean all eye shadows, swiping a tissue with alcohol over the shadow or the cream shadow.  Also be careful.
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The Well Woman Exam
By: Dr. Chinma Njoku

        Imagine being in the medical exam room being told by the health care provider (HCP) that she felt a lump in your left breast and that you need to get an ultrasound or a mammogram of your breast.  You schedule and get it done and it reveals breast cancer, which had been your worst nightmare after feeling that lump yourself for the past 6 months. You had avoided getting regular health check-ups for the past 3 years because you haven't felt sick. Now you realize that not seeing your HCP earlier was a mistake but at least, now that you know what you are dealing with, you are ready to fight the battle of your life.
        How many of us have found ourselves in the past avoiding or delaying health check-ups? Some might say the wait time is too long or I don't feel sick. We are not valuing ourselves and our health when we make excuses to avoid getting check-ups. We must not forget to take care of ourselves as we care for others. We must remember to esteem ourselves enough to care for ourselves. One way to do this is by making an appointment for the well woman exam and keeping the appointment.
            A well woman exam is a medical exam geared toward women. It is an important time because the exam helps to screen and check for important health problems which, if detected early, are easier to treat.  When should you start getting a well woman exam?  You should start having a yearly well woman exam If you are sexually active or you are 21 years old or older.  If any problems or issues arise such as lump in the breast, unexplained vaginal bleeding, start having pelvic pain, or you suspect sexually transmitted disease (STD) or have been exposed to an STD, you should contact your provider for an exam. Women over the age of 60 and those who have had removal of sexual organs such as the uterus and/or ovary(ies), still need an exam.
Before you go for the exam, it is wise to write down any questions or concerns you may have. That way, you will not forget it. Be sure to gather as much family health history as possible especially for immediate family such as parents, their siblings, grandparents, and your siblings. This may help guide the provider regarding what health screenings need to be done sooner rather than later for you. Your well woman exam appointment is also a good time to discuss birth control measures for those interested. 
Any questions you may have regarding STDs may also be answered at this time by your HCP. Health information that are important to know with regards to family history include, cancers such as breast, ovarian, cervical, or uterine and age of diagnosis. Also it is important to know of history of thyroid disease, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, hysterectomy. Try to schedule the exam when you will not be on your period to avoid having it canceled.
         During the exam, your health care provider starts off by asking you your medical history, sexual history, any symptoms or concerns you may have, your family medical history. Be sure to also include any current medications you may be taking including supplements. The next step includes a thyroid exam checking for enlargement of the thyroid glands. Breast exam is done to check for any lumps or tenderness of the breast as well as discoloration or dimpling of the breasts, your armpits are also pressed on to check for any lumps.
            Next, the pelvic exam is done to check for any lesions or bumps on the external genitalia and for any discharge from the vagina. With examination gloves on, the HCP inserts a speculum into the vagina and examines it for any lesions, then the cervix is checked for cervical cancer through the collection of a papanicolau (pap) smear (collection of cells from the cervix). Swabs of the mucous around the cervix may also be taken to check for Chlamydia and gonorrhea as well as trichomoniasis which are STDs.
           The HCP then checks for the size and tenderness of your uterus and your ovaries by pressing  on your lower abdomen and pelvic region with one hand while two fingers of the other hand is inserted in the vagina.  Some women may find the pap smear a bit uncomfortable but it only lasts for a few minutes and helps to provide important information about our health. Blood work is also part of the exam and may check for thyroid hormones, cholesterol level, blood count, and urine test. 
Don't be afraid to mention specific tests you want done such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test. It is important to know your status. You can ask when the results will be ready and make an appointment to follow-up for results. This will give then health care provider a chance to explain all results to you and allow you to ask any questions.
            The HCP will likely encourage you and teach you to perform self breast exams once a month. For women 40 years old and older, the HCP will likely give you a referral for a mammogram. If there is family history of breast cancer and you are younger than 40, the provider may have you get mammograms or ultrasounds earlier. For women 65 years and older, in addition to the mammogram referral, the provider may also recommend that you get a DEXA scan to check for bone health. Make sure to follow up on recommendations that have been made by the HCP.
            You are the most important person when it comes to your health and well being. Take charge of it and schedule your well woman exam today. Esteem means to value and respect. So ladies, you are encouraged to esteem yourself and esteem your health.

First Published Esteem Yourself  © Copyright

Fun in the Sun: Protecting your skin from harmful sunrays
By: Chinma Njoku

Now that spring has finally arrived and summer approaches, it becomes more important than ever to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. We need some sun for vitamin D production but too much exposure to sun rays can be harmful. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is derived from the sun. There are three types of UV radiation, namely UVA, UVB, and UVC. Most UVA radiation is able to reach Earth and can cause sunburn, aging of the skin, and damage to eyes. UVB radiation can reach the Earth causing sunburns, snow blindness, immune system suppression, and other variety of skin problems such as skin cancer. Almost half of the daytime total UV radiation is expected between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can get sunburned even when it is cloudy because of UV radiation. It is estimated that one in five Americans develops skin cancer, and one person dies from it every hour. The rate of melanoma (the most serious type of skin cancer) is increasing faster than most other forms of cancer.

There are different ways you can protect yourself from harmful ultraviolet rays and these include:

* limiting the time spent in the sun.
* staying under a shade when outside.
* wearing a hat that covers eyes, ears, faces, and necks.
* wearing loose-fitting full length light clothing.
* wearing sunglasses that block 99-100% ultraviolet radiation to protect the eyes from damage.
* always use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher on exposed skin and reapply every 2 hours or after working swimming, playing or exercising.

No matter how much sun exposure you get, make sure to do a monthly skin check on yourself looking for anything out of the ordinary (like bumps or sores that don't heal) or moles that have changed in size, color or shape. Have a friend or family member check your back. Remember, it is okay to have fun in the sun but be smart about it.


First Published Esteem Yourself  © Copyright

Heat Rash
By: Chinma Njoku

Ever wonder what that rash you sometimes get in the summer months is? A rash is an inflammatory process that may manifest as raised bumps on the skin which may be itchy. The rash may be small or large, red or skin colored.  It may be unsightly and uncomfortable. Rashes are caused by different things such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria. But there is one type of rash that some people encounter during the summer months, namely, the heat rash.

Heat rash occurs when sweat ducts, known as pores, are blocked and sweat gets trapped under the skin (Mayo Clinic). This causes inflammation and rash. The rash can appear as non-itchy, clear, fluid-filled bumps that easily break; itchy red bumps that may feel thorny; and firm, skin-colored bumps that look like goose bumps (Mayo clinic). Anyone can get heat rash but infants are at greatest risk.  Heat rash occurs for different reasons. These include having sweat ducts that are not yet fully developed as in the case of infants, or being in a hot humid weather which can cause overheating. Adults may develop the rash in skin folds and places where clothes causes rubbing against the skin.

Heat rash can be itchy and uncomfortable. Mild heat rash usually goes away on its own after a few days but the best way to treat it is to remove the source of the problem by cooling the skin through spending time in an air-conditioned room or a place with a fan, wearing light-weight clothing such as those made from cotton which allows for easy evaporation of sweat, by avoiding conditions that induce sweating such as exercising, avoid wearing tight clothing, and avoid using creams and ointments that block pores (Mayo clinic). More serious heat rash may need to be treated with anti-inflammatory creams which help to decrease itching, redness, and bumps; calamine lotion to soothe the itching; or anhydrous lanolin which may help stop the blockage of sweat ducts.  If the itching is not controlled, it may lead to a bacterial infection. If the rash is lasting longer than a few days, be sure to seek medical advice by contacting your healthcare provider.

So in the summer months, spend more time enjoying your summer activities and try to avoid the heat rash.


First Published Esteem Yourself  © Copyright

Obesity: Choose Healthy Meals
By: Chinma Njoku

Obesity has become a growing epidemic in the United States of America. 35.7% of U.S. adults are obese (WebMD). Obesity increases the chances of acquiring chronic health diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol and heart disease.  It affects men, women and children alike.  It has increased the prevalence of diabetes in adults and even in children. Obesity is defined as excess body weight or body fat that is 20% above normal weight. It is based on a combination of height and weight and is measured as body mass index (BMI) (WebMD).  A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9% is considered normal. BMI ranging between 25% and 29% is considered overweight, and a BMI of 30% and above is considered obese. When we eat or take in more calories than we burn, we gain weight. 

What is causing obesity to increase? Our society has become more sedentary meaning that we are physically less active than we use to be. We have many conveniences that increase the likelihood of being less active such as driving or riding in vehicles to get from place to place. Also many of our jobs require us to sit behind a desk for hours at a time leaving less room for walking.  Also the quantity or size of food we eat is larger than before. We eat more processed food as opposed to fresh food. Fast food restaurants are plenty which offer meal convenience for so many of us who have busy schedules.  Many of our children stay indoors playing video games rather than being outside running around and playing.

There are vending machines even in some schools that contain high calorie snacks. 

What can we do to stem back the rise of obesity and help to avert a generation that will develop chronic health problems? It has to be done on an individual basis, family basis, and community basis. We have to make the choice to live a healthier lifestyle. This includes eating more healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, drinking less sugary drinks, and eating less fast food. We need to be more physically active and walk more often, along with other forms of exercise. Nutrition education should be taught in primary and secondary schools.  More healthy meal choices should be offered in fast food restaurants. You can also work with your health care provider to help you with your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.  

 If we are not careful and take our health into our own hands, we are headed in the direction of having a high rate of chronically sick people. Let us esteem ourselves by esteeming our bodies and our health by choosing to eat healthier and by becoming more physically active. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family.

First Published Esteem Yourself  © Copyright

'Tis The Season of Cold & Flu
By: Chinma Njoku

Aaachooo! Bless you! Aaachooo! Bless you! How many times have you heard this interchange this season? Many people would say several times. Well, 'tis the season of the common cold and the flu. What is the difference between the two? What are the symptoms? Can they be prevented? Are there any treatments? Read on for some answers.

The common cold can be caused by over 200 different viruses such as rhinovirus ( It affects the upper respiratory system and symptoms include runny nose with a clear watery discharge initially, nasal congestion, scratchy or sore throat, headache at times and a mild cough. It is spread by touching infected surfaces or through air droplets from sneezing & coughing and can enter the respiratory system through the nose or the mouth. Symptoms may last 7 to 10 days.

On the other hand, the flu is caused by the influenza virus either type A or type B. The swine flu can also cause similar symptoms. Symptoms may include cough, fever, chills, body aches as well as runny nose and nasal congestion. Other symptoms include headache, chest discomfort, weakness and fatigue. The flu virus enters the respiratory system the same way the cold virus does, through the nose or mouth after touching infected surfaces or through air droplets from sneezing or coughing. Symptoms may last from 1 to 2 weeks. The flu virus can be a serious illness especially if the body's immune system is decreased. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately up to 36,000 people die each year as a result of the flu virus (

To decrease the chances of catching the cold virus and the flu virus, wash hands frequently with warm water and soap, use a hand sanitizer to clean hands when not close by water and soap, wipe down commonly used objects, do not share utensils, eat a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong, get flu vaccination yearly if there are no contraindications such as allergy to eggs. There are

different types of flu strains, therefore the strain in the flu vaccine may be different each flu season which starts from October and runs through April.

For the common cold, treatment includes supportive care such as increasing fluid intake to help soften the mucous and make it easier for it to be expectorated or blowing it out, taking allergy medication if there is a lot of sneezing, taking cough medicine, taking antipyretic medicine if there is fever, resting. Treatment for the flu virus may include being prescribed an anti viral medication such as Relenza or Tamiflu, supportive care to lessen the symptoms which may include increasing fluid intake, resting.

So although it is the season of the common cold and flu, esteem your health and yourself by doing what you can to decrease your chances of catching the cold or coming down with the flu.

First Published Esteem Yourself  © Copyright

Diabetes Mellitus
By: Chinma Njoku

Diabetes Mellitus, often just known as diabetes, is a chronic health disease that is increasing in prevalence in the world. It is estimated that approximately 285 million people world- wide have type 2 diabetes which makes up about 90% of all diabetes cases. Many people may also refer to the disease as "sugar." Diabetes occurs when a person develops high blood glucose or sugar levels because the body doesn't make enough insulin or because cells in the muscle, liver, and fat tissue do not respond to the amount of insulin made. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. It causes the cells of the body to take glucose from the blood and use it for energy. 

There are 3 types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs from childhood and is usually as a result of a malfunctioning pancreas with regards to lack of or decreased production of insulin. Those affected usually have to depend on insulin for the management of the disease, meaning that they have to inject insulin into the body. Type 2 diabetes was previously called adult-onset diabetes indicating that certain people developed it as adults, but because of the increase in obesity even in children, which increases the chances of developing the disease, this type of diabetes is no longer considered adult-onset. In Type 2 diabetes, there is an increased resistance to the insulin that is being made leading the person affected to need medication to help process the glucose in the blood. Some people with type 2 diabetes may eventually need insulin injections to manage their diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and may resolve after pregnancy. However, women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives. 

Some of the major signs and symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. Normal range of glucose level for those without diabetes is between 65 milligram per deciliter (mg/dl) through 99mg/dl. Generally, in order to be diagnosed with diabetes, an individual's fasting glucose level would have to be 126mg/dl or higher on 2 separate occasions.  

With diabetes, there is an increased risk of developing the disease where there is a strong family history of it. Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes have to monitor their blood glucose levels by pricking their finger and using a glucose meter to check their glucose levels occasionally. For diabetics, the expected blood glucose level before breakfast after fasting the night before is between 90mg/dl-130mg/dl, while  the expected level 2 hours after eating is less than 180mg/dl.  

Diabetes that is uncontrolled can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage leading to amputation of limbs, and cardiovascular problems. The best way to decrease chances of developing diabetes is to live a healthy lifestyle by eating a healthy diet such as a low carbohydrate or low starch diet and exercising regularly at least 3 times weekly for 30 minutes or more. There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed through medication and/or lifestyle changes.

First Published Esteem Yourself  © Copyright

Smoking Cessation
By: Chinma Njoku

What are the benefits of cigarette smoking for the body? Odd question right? Well, maybe that's the best way to look at cigarette smoking in order to get people thinking. Does cigarette smoking improve one's health situation or make it worse? Even many smokers know the dangers of smoking and yet continue to do so. Cigarette smoking is an addictive habit that can be difficult to stop. It damages arteries of the body. It damages the lungs. Second hand smoking has been deemed just as health damaging as smoking the cigarettes yourself. For pregnant women, cigarette smoking can lead to low birth weight of the fetus, miscarriages, premature birth and sudden infant death syndrome (

Smoking cigarettes can be addictive because of the nicotine chemical that is found in tobacco. The brain quickly becomes accustomed to nicotine and causes the individual to desire it more.  Many people have triggers that cause them to pick up a cigarette. These may include stressful situations, being around people who are smoking, seeing an ashtray or seeing a cigarette carton. If you are a smoker or have a loved one who smokes, it is important to figure out what the triggers are and work to find ways to deal with them instead of picking up a cigarette.

Some people have the ability to quit smoking cold turkey while others need some help.  Help with quitting can come in the form of behavioral therapy, nicotine replacement therapy including nicotine patches, nicotine gum and lozenges as well as prescription medications. Smokers are advised to quit smoking as soon as possible. Don't wait until next year or next month. Do it now. Damages that have been done to the body due to smoking can start to be reversed hours after quitting. Just hours   after stopping  the smoking of cigarettes, the heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure, all of which are increased by nicotine in cigarettes, start to decrease; capacity of lungs increase and airway tubes begin to relax making it easier to breathe. Carbon Monoxide poison in the blood begin to decrease allowing for more oxygen to be carried in the blood (Webmd).

Of course it is better to not start smoking at all because of the damage it can do to the body. If however, one has already started smoking, then it is best to make the decision to quit and take action. Choose a quit date. This could be your birthday or a significant day. Make the conscious decision to start cutting down on cigarettes as that day approaches. Then when that day comes, make a conscious decision not to buy any more cigarettes. If you find yourself being tempted to smoke when around friends or coworkers who smoke, find something else to do or remove yourself from the environment where smoking is taking place. Replace your smoking with a hobby. Be sure not to replace smoking with something like eating or drinking alcohol-containing drinks because then you would have traded one addiction for possibly another. If you feel the need to talk with someone about quitting smoking, you have the option to consult with your health care provider.

You are a powerful being and are capable of letting go of this addictive habit. Be committed to your decision and remain steadfast. If you relapse and start smoking again, don't be deterred. Just start over again until you achieve your goal. Esteem yourself by quitting smoking. You owe it to your health.

First Published Esteem Yourself  © Copyright
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