Killer Kidney Stones by Maria Dorfner

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On November 1, I awoke with sudden, excruciating pain in my lower abdomen.    The kind of pain that unleashes a primal scream.

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Cue Bernard Hermann’s music while Norman Bates stabs you repeatedly with a knife.

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It also feels like I have to urinate every two seconds, but can’t.  My mind races to what could have caused it.  I drank tap water for the only time the day prior. I also went to my sister’s Halloween party and ate things I don’t normally eat.

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Almonds. Do I eat too many?   I workout every day. Did I overdo it?

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OR is it the lengthy conversation I had with someone the night before about my disappointment at what a girl in her twenties had said at work. She said she didn’t believe in love.  I fell asleep thinking how sad it is that anyone in the world would believe  that. Was this  psychosomatic?  Did I bring it on myself with my thoughts?

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Running to the restroom interrupts my self-recrimination.  I shower and dress for work anyway, hoping it will eventually stop.

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It gets WORSE.  I call the doctor and he tells me to come in.  The first question I’m asked is on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever, how bad is it.  I answer 9.  The doctor scribbles something down and disappears for what feels like days.  Did he not hear me?

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He returns and hands me a cup.  He tells me to do the best I can. Horrified by the filthy bathroom I run to another one.

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Hours waiting for results feels like days. The doc finally returns and says it’s a bladder infection –very common, not to worry.

I tell him it feels more like a kidney stone in my ureter. I point to location. Doc looks at me wondering how I even know such a term.

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He reluctantly agrees to take an x-ray.  I’m thinking he’s delighted to 1. prove me wrong and 2. bill me for doing it.

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I recall Dad having a kidney stone. He looked like Capt. Kirk  fighting a sentient reptilian humanoid when I drove him to the hospital.

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But the doc returns smiling smugly to state  x-ray shows nothing. He sends me home with an antibiotic and still in pain.

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I return to work and my daily routine, but the pain worsens. By Nov. 7, it’s unbearable. So much so that I go to the ER.

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Again, the doctor asks on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how bad is it?

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This time, I scream like Nadia Comaneci’s judges in the ’76 Olympics.  TEN! TEN! TEN!  He vanishes for hours, as if I shouted ONE.

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Finally, the doc returns. He’s orders a CT Scan.  I’m brought into a room with GE equipment that looks like it must have cost 200K.

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I begin to wonder what it will cost, as the machine propels me towards the inner tunnel stopping at my lower abdomen.

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When it stops, an OZ sounding voice on a speaker says, “Hold your breath.  Breathe.”  3 x’s. In. Out. 5 min. Done. More my speed.

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I wait for results.  Doc returns to say it’s a kidney stone lodged in my ureter–no bladder infection. I refrain from saying told you so.

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Instead, I ask if I could see it, and the doctor laughs as though no one has ever asked such a dumb question.

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Humor me.  He says okay and I follow him to a computer screen.  I see it. A tiny white speck that has me feeling like I’m giving birth to triplets.

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I name them “Pebbles and Bam Bam.” The doc laughs some more.

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I am fascinated by how something so tiny could feel like a jagged BOULDER shredding everything in its path.

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After the CT scan diagnosis, I’m given a shot in my arm for the excruciating pain I had now been in for 7 days and nights.

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They also prescribe Naproxen to widen the thin ureter tube to help the stone dislodge naturally, and Percocet as needed for pain.

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I’m then handed 3 white paper funnels with a filter at bottom and told to urinate in it at home.   There are different types of stones, and the only way the doctor can analyze which one you have is for you to catch it while urinating & return the specimen.

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They tell me to return if it doesn’t dissolve naturally, which can take hours  or up to three weeks.  Three weeks?!!  Good Golly.  I find this graph later.

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Based on it, my .3mm has almost an 80% chance of passing naturally within 12.2 days. Some say a kidney stone less than .5mm in size can dissolve naturally within 3 hours or a few days.  Nice.  I aimed for THAT.   Mission accomplished. :-)

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Based on the stone location, which I only knew because I asked to see it, I have a 75% chance of it departing naturally.

If you are diagnosed with a kidney stone, be sure to ask your doctor:  1. How big is it? 2.  Where is it located? Write it down or ask him to for you because you may be in too much pain to process the information at the time.  It helps you make a best treatment option decision.

Based on the size and location of mine, I feel better determined to give natural birth to Pebbles and Bam, Bam.

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The following is recommended to stay comfortable while waiting for a kidney stone to pass:

1.  Prescription pain killer taken as needed or over-the-counter Ibuprofen (recommended dose from your doctor or pharmacist) or take warm baths and use a heating pad on painful areas, as needed.

2.  Drink twelve 8 oz. glasses of water daily, or six 16 oz. bottles of water daily.  Here’s a visual.

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I ask what caused it and the doc says they don’t really know what causes kidney stones.

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I need to prevent this from EVER happening again, so I wanted answers.  All he advised is to drink lots of water.

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I already drink tons of water! He tells me drink more.  I ask a lot more questions, but get no answers.

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What caused it and how can I prevent it from happening again?  I put on my sleuth hat to answer my questions.

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The Nancy Drew of Health will get to the bottom of it. But I find a lot of scattered and misleading information.

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I find this to be true with most health information out there.  It overwhelms people at a time when they are already worried.

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It’s scary that the medical community, government and those reporting information don’t always have our best interests at heart.

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It’s not that the information isn’t out there. It’s just all over the place, unreliable or contradictory.

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For instance, I’ve always heard CRANBERRY JUICE is good for kidney stones.  Not so. It can actually cause them. Very high in oxalate.

More here:  http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Regulation/FDA-seizes-another-2-million-worth-of-DMAA-products?nocount

HERE’S SOME INFORMATION TO HELP YOU:

First, here’s a diagram of the Ureter inside your body. They are long thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

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Muscles in the ureter wall continually tighten and relax forcing urine downward.

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They are so narrow that if something the size of a tiny pearl gets lodged in there –it blocks the flow of urine causing intense pain.

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1. What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are a hard mass of crystals that form from minerals in your urine.  This hard mass that can vary in size from a tiny pea to a golf ball can get stuck in the narrow tube connecting your kidneys and bladder. The pain is caused by the wall of the uretra being unable to tighten and relax as it continually does forcing urine downward.  Think of the waves or splashing caused if you suddenly placed a large boulder in a flowing river. Only it’s waves of intense pain inside your body made by something that may be smaller than a grain of rice. Some can be larger with the largest and most painful being the size of a golf ball.

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2.  What causes kidney stones? 

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Wearinghouse, kidney stones are caused when the normal balance of water, salts, minerals, calcium, oxalate, phosphorous and other substances found in urine changes.  Family history and not drinking enough fluid is the number one cause.

The real question is what causes the normal balance to change?

I’m a huge fan of examining what you eat first whenever you have ANY health issue.  The process of elimination (or adding what may be needed) is a great way to see if there is a link.  The list of foods to avoid is endless.  See #5.

3.  Who gets kidney stones?  Anyone can get one.  Men are twice as likely to get them as women.

4.  How much water do I need to drink daily? Six 16 oz. or twelve 8 oz. bottles daily.  Add fresh lemon whenever you can.

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5.  What do I need to avoid?

  1. Limit caffeine to 300 mg. daily, cup of tea has 80 mg. and 8 oz. coffee has 150 mg.
  2. Pizza
  3. Bread rolls
  4. cheese
  5. black pepper
  6. beats
  7. strawberries
  8. dry beans
  9. peanuts
  10. almonds
  11. cashews
  12. black tea
  13. soy beans
  14. tofu
  15. meat substitutes with soy
  16. dark leafy green vegetables
  17. chocolate
  18. more than 1000 mg. Vitamin C
  19. Cranberries (loaded with oxalates)
  20. hazlenuts
  21. swiss chard
  22. sweet potatoes,
  23. soy products
  24. cured meats
  25. bacon
  26. pickles
  27. sauerkraut
  28. kimchi
  29. soda
  30. sweetened drinks
  31. high levels of Vitamin D (lifeguards get more kidney stones out in sun more)
  32. salty foods
  33. fish liver
  34. food or drinks with high fructose corn syrup
  35. alcohol
  36. pork
  37. grapefruit juice
  38. diuretics
  39. calcium based antacids
  40. reduce sodium to 800 mg. daily
  41. animal protein (meat, fish, eggs)
  42. hot dogs
  43. canned soup and vegetable
  44. luncheon meats
  45. fast food
  46. processed frozen food,
  47. spinach
  48. rhubarb
  49. wheat bran
  50. diet low in carbs
  51. beware of hidden sodium
  52. too much protein
  53. low carbs.
  54. Anything high in sugar, sodium (salt) or protein

 6.  What foods CAN  I safely eat? 

  1. Bananas
  2. Pumpkin seeds (soak before eating)
  3. Avocado
  4. Legumes
  5. Think of meat, fish and poultry as garnish to your email, and not the main course. Buy all meat, fish and poultry fresh.
  6. Bran flakes
  7. Oats
  8. Wheat
  9. Rice
  10. Mango
  11. Add lemon to your water (half a cup of lemon)
  12. Apple cider vinegar
  13. magnesium citrate, magnesium malate, vitamin K2 & A, B6
  14. Carrots
  15. Whole wheat bread
  16. Wheat cereal
  17. Oat bran
  18. Beans
  19. Drink lemonade made from real lemons.
  20.  Calcium in food form only (no supplements) and limit it daily (one yogurt). One woman said she got kidney stones from drinking milk.
  21. Lime, citrus fruits

One study says ONE glass of wine a day can help prevent kidney stones, so add that to the list. I’ll keep updating this list.

According to Dr. Oz:

Foods that can prevent kidney stones:

  1. Bottled water
  2. Oranges
  3. Yogurt
  4. Lentils

Foods that can cause kidney stones:

  1. Black tea
  2. Beets
  3. Spinach
  4. Potato chips

I’m guilty of #3.  I absolutely love spinach with olive oil and garlic.   There still isn’t a lot on the CAN EAT list.

7.  How is a kidney stone treated?   If the stone is smaller than 5mm, it will most likely pass on its own. The doctor can prescribe something to help move it along and something for the pain.  If it is larger than 5mm, the most common medical procedure for treating kidney stones is known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This therapy uses high-energy shock waves to break a kidney stone into little pieces. The small pieces can then move through the urinary tract more easily. Side effects can include bleeding, bruising, or pain after the procedure. There is also another procedure where they physician can go in with a tube to break up the stone.

8.  How are kidney stones diagnosed?  1. Urine 2. Blood 3. X-Ray 4. CT Scan (most reliable)

  This information is provided by NewsMD Communications, LLC and Healthy Within Network and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. Last reviewed November 22, 2013.                                               

Kidney Stones: Oxalate-Controlled Diet

The Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, Toll Free 866-223-2273 x1234

Your doctor has ordered a diet to help you decrease the chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate is a compound that is naturally present in many foods. The following six factors increase the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

1. The amount of oxalate in certain foods.

Although many foods contain oxalate, only nine foods are known to increase oxalate in the urine and kidney stone formation. They are: beets, spinach, rhubarb, strawberries, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, and all dry beans (fresh, canned, or cooked), excluding lima and green beans. It is best to avoid these foods.

2. The amount of calcium in your diet.

Low amounts of calcium in your diet will increase your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. You need calcium in your diet to bind oxalate in the intestines. This helps reduce the amount of oxalate being absorbed by your body, so stones are less likely to form. Consuming a moderate amount of calcium every day (2 to 3 servings) from dairy foods or other calcium-rich foods is recommended. If you take a calcium supplement, calcium citrate is the preferred form.

3. The vitamin C content of your diet.

Oxalate is an end product of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) metabolism. Large doses of Vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, increasing the risk of kidney stone formation. If you are taking a supplement, do not take more than 500 mg of Vitamin C daily.

4. The amount of fluids in your diet.

It is very important to drink plenty of liquids. Your goal should be 10-12 glasses a day. At least 5-6 glasses should be water. You may also want to consider drinking lemonade. Research suggests that lemonade may be helpful in reducing the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation.

5. The amount of protein in your diet.

Eating large amounts of protein may increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Your daily protein needs can usually be met with 2-3 servings a day, or 4 to 6 ounces.

6. The amount of sodium in your diet.

Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to 2-3 grams per day. Limit eating processed foods such as hot dogs, deli meats, sausage, canned products, dry soup mixes, sauerkraut, pickles, and various convenience mixes.

Use the Food Guide Pyramid to plan a well-balanced diet. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are necessary for the proper functioning, maintenance, and repair of your body. In addition to these major nutrients, the body requires water, minerals, and vitamins for good health.

Urology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-5600 Nephrology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-6771

        This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace  the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider.  Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2013 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

FACTOIDS

  • Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract
  • Each year in the U.S. people make more than one million visits to their healthcare providers, and more than 300,000 people go to the Emergency Room for kidney stone problems
  • Anyone can get one
  • If you have one you’re more likely to get it again within 7 years
  • 12% men, 6% women
  • Ages 20 to 50
  • Drinking lots of water is the most recommended way to prevent them (when your urine is clear or light yellow you are drinking enough)
  • Men are twice as likely as women to get kidney stones (12% of men develop them in their lifetime)

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Effective Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones

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8 millimeters (0.31 in) in diameter Kidney Stones

One of the most crucial organs in your body is the kidneys. This is because the kidneys function in not only enabling your body to detox, but get rid of impurities from our blood stream in addition to waste products from your urine. Unfortunately, these vital functions of the kidney can be hampered by numerous ailments. Kidney stone is one of the kidney ailments that affect millions of people worldwide. Whereas it might not be life-threatening as kidney failure the pain that comes with kidney stones can be unbearable.

Therefore, by virtue of being on this page chances are that you are looking for information in regards to natural remedies for kidney stones. If that is the case, then keep reading to the very last paragraph of this article.

Natural home remedies for kidney stones

The best way to get rid of kidney stones is to opt for natural remedies. As such, this article has listed a number of cures for kidney stones that you can use at home and enhance your healing process. Or you can read other natural solutions information on this Kidney Stones Removal Report 

Kidney Stone Removal Report Is Endorsed by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar plus olive oil

This is one of the natural home remedies that is not only easily available in your home, but quite efficient when it comes to curing kidney stones naturally. Symptoms such as abdominal pain can be managed by blending olive oil with lemon juice extract. After drinking the mixture, ensure that you have drunk at least 12 ounces of water. Wait for at least 30 minutes before blending 0.5 ounces of lemon juice in 12 ounces of water. Add one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before drinking. Repeat this cycle every one hour until the pain has subsided.

Uva Ursi

This is also another effective natural home remedy for kidney stones. On top of enabling to combat infections that are triggered with the onset of kidney stones, Uva Ursi also functions in assisting in pain reduction and cleansing of the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take 500 milligram at least twice in a day.

Dandelion Root

The dandelion root has been used for years to treat and manage the symptoms associated with kidney stones. In addition to relieving the pain triggered by kidney stones, organic dandelion root functions in cleansing the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 500 milligrams of organic dandelion root two times in a day.

Kidney Beans

One of the foods that doctors and other nutritionist recommend for healthy kidneys are kidney beans. Unknown to a majority of people is that kidney stones have been utilized for ages as a medicinal decoction. Remove the beans from the pods and then boil the beans I purified water for at least 6 hours. Take a cheese garment and strain the liquid. Give the liquid a couple of hours to cool down before taking it. To ease the pain, it is highly suggested that you drink the liquid throughout the day.

Horsetail

Diuretic horsetails are easily accessible in the market and can be used in making horsetail tea. By drinking up to 4 cups of horsetail tea in a day, which is an equivalent of two grams of the thyme pill per day will enable you to eradicate the signs and symptoms triggered by kidney stones.

Pomegranate Juice

There is no doubt that pomegranate plant offers immense health benefits. However, more particularly, the juice as well as the seeds of the pomegranate plant can be regarded as a pure natural remedy for kidney stones. Doctors and scientists have attributed this to the acerbic and caustic traits of the plant. For best results, it is highly recommended that you eat organic pomegranate plant or opt to drink freshly extracted pomegranate juice.

Magnesium

Numerous studies have revealed that persons who constantly suffer from recurring kidney stones are less likely to suffer from persistent kidney stones if they took magnesium. For best results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 300 milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis. By doing so, you will be able to deter instances of kidney stones and greatly minimize the signs and symptoms associated with kidney stones.

Organic Celery

Consuming either vegetal or celery seeds will enable you to deter the creation of kidney stones and reduce the signs and symptoms linked with kidney stones.

Basil

Doctors and scientists have been able to prove that taking basil tea can greatly enhance the general well-being of your kidneys.

Dietary change

Consuming unhealthy foods can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Hence, you need to curtail on the quantity of energy drinks as well as sodas that you consume. Moreover, you need to steer clear of processed foods plus alcoholic drinks. Furthermore, avoid foods that have high levels of oxalate such as rhubarb, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, soybean, wheat germ, okra, peanuts, and sweets (sugary foods and chocolates).

Water 

Make sure you are drinking sufficient water everyday to keep your body and kidneys hydrated specially during summer to prevent the increase chances of an imbalance in your kidneys.

Watermelon

In comparison to other types of vegetables, watermelon is packed with potassium salts. Moreover, it is made up of high water content that helps with hydration. For years, doctors and nutritionists have recommended watermelon as it is regarded as a best diuretic and as such can also be used as natural remedy for kidney stones.

Grapes

Grapes have long been regarded as the best home therapy for kidney stones. Grapes are made up of unique diuretic importance with respect to their excessive water substances as well as potassium salt. As a result of its minute sodium chloride plus albumin matter, grapes are of great importance when it comes to eliminating kidney issues.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 also commonly referred to as pyridoxine has been found to have exceptional curative success when it comes to curing kidney stones. If you would like to attain lasting results, it is highly recommended that you consume a steady healing dosage of between 100mg and 150 milligram of vitamin B6 alongside other B complex vitamins.

Home remedies for kidney stones are natural and do not trigger unpleasant side effects, it is recommended that you see a general practitioner prior to using them  Or  Click Here To Remove Kidney Stones Painlessly

______________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Resources:
National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 1–800–622–9010 or 212–889–2210
Fax: 212–689–9261
Internet: http://www.kidney.orgleaving site icon

Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation
201 East 19th Street, Suite 12E
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 1–800–OHF–8699 (1–800–643–8699) or 212–777–0470
Fax: 212–777–0471
Email: kimh@ohf.org
Internet: http://www.ohf.orgleaving site icon

Urology Care Foundation
1000 Corporate Boulevard
Linthicum, MD 21090
Phone: 1–800–828–7866 or 410–689–3700
Fax: 410–689–3998
Email: info@urologycarefoundation.org
Internet: http://www.UrologyHealth.orgleaving site icon

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littleme1  About the Author: Maria Dorfner is a journalist who has been researching health since she was a kid.

linkedin110   This is  her first and hopefully her last experience with a killer kidney stone. She is the founder of NewsMD Communications and more recently, Healthy Within Network (HWN). MedCrunch is her blog. She began her professional career with an executive internship at NBC NEWS in New York City.  In college, she covered the health beat and ivy League Roundup.  She continued to work at NBC for six years before helping them successfully launch their cable station, CNBC.  She then developed and pitched several health series including Healthy Living,  Lifestyles & Longevity and Healthcare Consumers, which she also senior produced and co-anchored on CNBC.  She wrote, produced and directed “21st Century Medicine” for Discovery Health and has worked as a media consultant/strategist for top hospitals, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies. She was awarded a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association, Media Recognition Award for her series,  “Heart Smart” and numerous other awards for her health reporting and producing.  If you have any health topic you’d like to see explored here, you can email her at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com Write “Topic for MedCrunch” in Subject line.

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4 Natural Treats That Help You Sleep!

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Less than half of people surveyed world-wide by the National Sleep Foundation report getting a good night’s sleep.

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Wellness Expert, Dr. Tanya Edwards at the Cleveland Clinic says that sleeplessness is a common complaint.

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She suggests some surprising natural sleep-aids to help you get rest, so you’re not nodding off in the day.

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Edwards says pumpkin seeds can help.

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And sunflower seeds!

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And tart cherry juice!

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“My favorites are pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for getting a good night’s sleep and recent studies have shown that drinking a cup of tart cherry juice about a half-hour before bedtime may also be helpful for getting to sleep,” says Edwards.

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She recommends half a cup of pumpkin seeds once or twice a day.

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And for women approaching menopause, she recommends adding foods containing magnesium or adding it as a supplement.

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So this Halloween remember these 4 treats that may help you sleep like a baby:

1. Pumpkin seeds (bonus: they are high in magnesium)
2. Sunflower seeds
3. Tart cherry juice
4. Foods with magnesium or adding a supplement

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For more information, visit the Cleveland Clinic website: http://www.clevelandclinic.org

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MEDIA: Contact the Cleveland Clinic News Service for B-roll and SOT, On Pathfire

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MEDCruch is a division of Healthy Within Network, and was founded by Maria Dorfner, an award-winning health journalist. She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com.   In 2001, she founded the Cleveland Clinic News Service.  The Cleveland Clinic is a world-class medical  institution in medicine, research, education and technology, consistently ranked #1.

TOP 10 HEALTHY MILLIONAIRE MIND SUCCESS FACTORS

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Do you have a Healthy Millionaire Mind?  The following are top 10 factors which millionaires list as vital to their success:

1.  Being honest with all people

2.  Being well disciplined

3.  Getting along with people

4.  Having a supportive spouse

5. Working harder than most people

6. Loving my career/business

7.  Having strong leadership qualities

8.  Having a very competitive spirit/personality

9.  Being very well organized

10.  Having an ability to sell my ideas/products

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There you have it.  Glad to see integrity and moral values rank high. 

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How many have you checked off?  How many do you need to work on?

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Having extraordinary energy and being physically fit is also on the list of 30 components to success. 

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Here are the remaining ones:

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11.  Making wise investments

12.  Seeing opportunities others do not see

13.  Being my own boss

14. Willing to take financial risk given the right return

15. Having good mentors

16. Having an urge to be well respected

17. Investing in my own business

18.  Finding a profitable niche

19.  Having extraordinary energy

20.  Being physically fit

21. Having a high IQ/superior intellect

22. Specializing

23.  Attending a top-rated college

24.  Ignoring the criticism of distractors

25.  Living below my means

26.  Having strong religious faith

27.  Being lucky

28.  Investing in the equities of public corporations

29.  Having excellent investment advisors

30.  Graduating near/top of my class

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733 Millionaires were surveyed by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley.

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Stanley is the author, lecturer and researcher who has studied the affluent since 1973.  He’s written some best-selling books including, “The Millionaire Next Door,” “Marketing to the Affluent,” and “The Millionaire Mind.”

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Book available at Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-millionaire-mind-thomas-j-stanley/1003593315?ean=9780740718588

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MEDCruch is a division of Healthy Within Network, and was founded by Maria Dorfner, an award-winning health journalist. She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com.

TODAY: Support This Healthy Kickstarter Campaign!!!

kickstarterMedCrunch believes HereAfter Frames is a hot, healthy NEW product for people during a difficult time.

Losing a pet can be one of the most difficult experiences in life.  When something can ease that pain, and help a person transition through the natural  5 stages of grief to one of acceptance, it’s a healthy thing.

The response by people who have a HereAfter Frame created is heartfelt.  The process from finding a special photo to immortalize to seeing the final creation to finding a special place for it in a home is uplifting.

Tears are replaced by a smile.

That’s why we love HereAfter Frames, which displays a custom painting or photo, along with keepsakes and an urn.

It helps people fondly capture the essence of their loved one.  And yes, it can be created for people too. The frame can be made to match the interior of your home. The creator can also add audio to them, such as any recording you have of your pet or a special song.

To this day, my parents play a cassette recording (the old kind) of my Grandfather Giuseppe.  When I get in their car, I love hearing his voice singing in Italian. His laughter, which is contagious is on it too. It makes me smile to recall his wonderful, lively spirit.

So when the creator told me about this, it resonated as something people would love.

It’s a healthy way to maintain a positive connection with a loved pet or person after they’re gone, which is why I encourage you to support this artist with 3 easy steps:

LINK: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2033271920/1081740743?token=17db0ca6

(1) CLICK link to watch brief video
(2) GIVE as much as you can to help
(3) SHARE link with friends and family

In return for your support, you will receive a special gift created just for you by the artist.

Thank you,
Maria Dorfner
In Loving Memory

“Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death.” -Erik Erikson

Healthy Grieving for Pets by Maria Dorfner

boris10I have always known that pets have souls.  Artist, Boris Jairala knows it too.  If you listen with your heart, you can actually hear what pets are trying to say to you.  Think about how you would communicate if you could not speak.  Your eyes would reflect your happiness, sadness, love, anger.  You could also use body language to relay sadness or joy.
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I believe when you are close to a pet they can intuit how you are feeling and they respond in kind.
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It’s reassuring to be loved this way.
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It’s one of the reasons many health studies validate the healthy therapeutic affects of living with pets.
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Pets do not care what you look like and treat you the same if you’re wearing sweat pants or a ball gown.  They do not criticize you.  They do not cheat, lie or steal (well, maybe a few socks that mysteriously vanish) or care about your weight, height or job title.  They ask no questions.  They make the best friends because they merely accept you and love you for being alive.  Refreshing.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pet ownership not only decreases blood pressure, but your cholesterol levels, and
triglyceride levels.  The American Veterinary Medical Association, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Delta Society agree.
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The Delta Society provides abstracts, articles, and bibliographies on the health benefits of animals to people. It’s available on their website.  According to WebMD, there are 27 more health benefits, including pets lifting depression and being a natural mood enhancer, helping those with ADHD release excess energy, lowering the risk of dying from cardiac disease, increasing survival rates after a heart attack or stroke while boosting your immune system, plus more.
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Some dogs can even alert diabetic owners of a drop in their blood glucose. And just like there are super sensitive people (raising hand!)  there are also super sensitive dogs that sense when you’re not feeling well.  That’s when their calming presence helps create emotional balance in their owners.  One look or touch can tell you they know how you feel, and will stand by you.
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It’s a rare kind of unconditional love in a world that creates laws for things that should come naturally –not judging others based on skin color, race or anything else, so long it’s not harming another individual.  There are so many positive aspects to pet ownership. Kids learn responsibility from having to walk and feed the pet, and you are guaranteed your thirty minutes of walking each day, which will lower your risks for all sorts of diseases.  Pets help keep you healthy inside and out.
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So, what happens when a pet dies and you lose all that?  How do you deal with the grief that comes from the death of a pet?
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I recall reading Elsabeth Kubler-Ross’s book, “On Death and Dying.” It was published in 1969.  A friend gave it to me after my grandmother passed away.  Prior to that, no one I knew personally had ever died.  It was something that happened to other people.  The book helped me process my feelings at the time. It wasn’t only my own feelings.  I was also absorbing the grief from my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, neighbors and everyone around me.  Overwhelming.  “On Death and Dying” outlines the 5 stages of grief.
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People go through the 5 different stages for a person or pet at their own pace.  It can also happen when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness or from divorce or a breakup. The stages don’t happen the same way for each person. And when death is sudden and unexpected, you may never see beyond anger or denial, which is when it’s best to seek out professional help.
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1. Denial and Isolation
The first reaction that buffers the immediate shock.  You feel no pain.
2. Anger
Reality kicks in.  Emotions are in overdrive.  This is when you snap at things and then feel guilty or more angry for doing so.
3. Bargaining
You try to regain control by telling yourself, “If only I had…” because you feel vulnerable and helpless.
You feel overwhelming sadness, regret and worry.
5. Acceptance
 After you allow yourself to grieve naturally, you will heal.
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These 5 stages are the same for the loss of people or pets.
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Boris Jairala learned this when his father died, then his dog.
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Painting helped Boris capture his father’s essence.  Gretchen Rubin, author of “Happier at Home” wrote, “Capturing a moment in time isn’t just about securing a memory –it can help you appreciate your life every day.”  She adds, “Photos are a way to record life’s little moments that are precious but easily forgotten.”  No one wants to forget a person or pet they love.
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The unique frame Boris created for his father held his ashes in the front, and memorable keepsake items in the back.
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Then, he decided to do the same for his dog.
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When friends saw it, they loved it and asked Boris if he could create one for them.   He’s been focusing his effort on it ever since.
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Each frame can be customized to match the interior design of a home.  Boris adds, “If you already have an audio recording of your pet that can also be added. For people you love, I can add a special recording of their voice or a special song.   A woman who lost a child that was premature asked me to create a special frame, and it was very touching.  I’m deeply moved by the joy it brings.”
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They say two things are certain in life, death and taxes.  This won’t help with taxes, but it’s a unique way to help with the first. Rubin says positive memories and photographs play an important role in a happy life.
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Boris is from Brooklyn, NY and works out of a studio there.  His dream is to open a workshop.  His Kickstarter campaign launches soon.
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He says, “My dream with HERE AFTER FRAMES and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign is to raise enough to make this available to everyone in the world.”
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He has a patent and is the only person in the world creating such an item.  MedCrunch loves this keepsake.
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You can order the keepsakes and have them customized here:  http://www.HereAfterFrames.com
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Health Study Says Grilled Food May Make You Fat by Maria Dorfner

barbecue10 It’s that time of year when everyone loves a good barbecue.  Now researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City warn, “Grilled Food Might Make You Fat.” Hmmm.

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It’s not even half a dozen cheeseburgers that will you do in this time.   It’s HOW that cheeseburger is cooked.  In this case, grilled on high dry heat.

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According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers there identified a common compound in grilled foods that could play a major role in the development of obesity and diabetes.

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The team, led by Helen Vlassara, a medical doctor and director of the Division of Experimental Diabetes and Aging, found that mice that were exposed on a sustained basis to the compound methylglyoxal - a type of advanced  glycation end-product (AGE) produced when cooking with dry heat –developed significant abdominal weight gain, early insulin resistance AND Type 2 diabetes.

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Additionally, AGEs have been found to lower the body’s protective mechanisms that control inflammation.

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The researchers recommend that we replace frequent grilling, which uses high dry heat, with methods that rely upon lower temperatures or more moisturee, such as stewing, poaching or steaming.

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Hmmm. I’m going to a stewing or I’m going to a steaming doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

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If you rarely barbecue, here are some awesome healthy veggie suggestions from Derrick Riches:

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Grilling vegetables is easy. The fact that more people don’t do it is the strange thing. The general rule is to cut the vegetables into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly.

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All pieces should be of consistent thickness and no more than about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Soak vegetables in cold water for about 30 minutes before you grill them to keep them from drying out.

Pat dry, then brush lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Do not over cook and you’ll have vegetables better than you thought possible. If you like grilling vegetables and want to try smaller things use a grilling basket to keep them out of the fire.

This list of specific vegetables will get you started.

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Asparagus: Cut off ends. Soak in water for 30 minutes to an hour. Pat dry and brush with olive oil. Place on grill, turning every minute. Remove when tips start to turn brown. You can add some extra flavor to asparagus by mixing a little sesame oil in the olive oil before you brush them.

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Bell Peppers: Cut through the middle of the pepper top to bottom. Remove stems, seeds and whitish ribs. Brush lightly with oil and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side. See Fire Roasted Peppers for more information.

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Chili Peppers: Brush with oil. Grill whole on each side, 2-3 minutes. To reduce the heat, cut off the stems and pull out the seeds.

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Corn on the cob: Gently pull back the husks but don’t remove. Remove the silk and cut off the very end. Soak in cold water for about 30 minutes. Dry and brush with butter. Fold the husks back down and tie or twist the ends. Place on grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn to avoid burning.

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Eggplant: Cut lengthwise for smaller eggplants or in disks top to bottom for larger eggplants. Soak in water for 30 minutes. Pat dry, brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes.

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Garlic: Take whole bulbs and cut off the root end. Brush with olive oil and place cut side down over a hit fire. Grill garlic bulbs for about 10 minutes or until the skin is brown.

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Mushrooms: Rinse off dirt and pat dry. Brush with oil and grill. 4-5 minutes for small mushrooms, 6-8 minutes. Use a grill basket or topper for small mushrooms.

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Onions: Remove skin and cut horizontally about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with oil and grill 3-4 minutes.

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Potatoes: There are many ways to grill potatoes. You can do them whole for a baked potato or cut into wedges, brush with olive oil, and grill until browned. Wash thoroughly and dry. Rub with oil. Wrap in aluminum foil and grill 35-40 minutes, turning occasionally.

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Tomatoes: (Yes, I know, technically a fruit) Cut in half, top to bottom. Brush with a light coating of oil and grill cut side down 2-3 minutes.

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Zucchini and Small Squash: Slice 1/2 inch thickness. Brush with oil and grill 2-3 minutes per side. Small squash can be cut down the middle and grilling in halves.

 Healthy Takeaway: Don’t grill EVERY night.  When you do, make healthy food choices and do stay active. Your abdominal fat will be fine.  Healthy Grilling, everyone! :-)

7 Foods That Help You Sleep by Maria Dorfner

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 It’s worth repeating.  A good night’s rest is what makes you look AND feel your best. 

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Yet, texting, tweeting, blogging, emailing, facebooking and thinking in daylight can also keep you up at night.

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A good night’s sleep isn’t just about being able to wake up when the alarm goes off. It benefits your weight, heart, mind & more. 

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In a 2010 study of women age 50 to 79, there were more deaths in those that got less than 5 hours of sleep a night.

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So yes, it can affect the length of your life AND quality of life.

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Sleep also lowers stress, depression, anxiety,  improves attention and learning, keeps your mind sharp and one more thing. 

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Well-rested folks lose more fat.  That’s right. It gives a whole new meaning to Snooze You Lose.

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All great reasons to stock your refrigerator with these 7 foods that help you sleep soundly. Eat an hour before bedtime:

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1.  OATMEAL – It promotes insulin production and sleep-inducing chemicals to relax you

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2.  SMALL BOWL OF COTTAGE CHEESE WITH SLICED BANANAS – The magnesium and potassium are muscle relaxants

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3.  CHERRIES -  Melatonin controls your internal clock and cherries help to release it

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4.  TOAST – Carb rich foods produce insulin helping you relax

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5.  WARM MILK – It contains amino acid L-tryptophan and turns into 5-HTP, releasing serotonin. Calcium is good for sleep too

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6.  WHOLE WHEAT PASTA – Add fresh veggies & diced chicken with tomato sauce; high protein dish that also releases tryptophan

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7.  YOGURT SPRINKLED WITH CEREAL – You get the calcium and the carb combo to help bring on the Z-z-z-z’s

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A good night’s sleep also spurs creativity and improves your athletic performance the next day. It also curbs inflammation. Those that don’t get enough sleep have higher levels of inflammatory problems.

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If you are STILL tossing and turning or watching the clock, make sure you are doing the following:

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1.  STOP SIPPING CAFFEINE AT 2 P.M. – Check labels. You may not be aware what you’re drinking contains caffeine.

2.  DIM THE LIGHTS IN YOUR ROOM ONE HOUR BEFORE YOU TURN IN.

3.  SOAK IN A WARM BATH TO UNWIND AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME, NOT RIGHT BEFORE BED.

4.  CLOSE YOUR EYES FOR 10 MIN. AND GENTLY STRETCH BY PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR BREATHING.

5.  THIS IS A MUST: MAKE SURE ALL YOUR GADGETS ARE TURNED OFF. PLACING THINGS ON VIBRATE DOES NOT COUNT AS OFF.  THAT SOUND CAN STILL DISRUPT YOUR SLEEP.

6.  MAKE SURE ALL CLUTTER IS REMOVED FROM YOUR BEDROOM.