Health Care & Services Guide

Advice and Guidance for Health Matters

Eating for Autism

November 30th, 2013

Autism is a complex problem for which there has been no single cure found as of yet. It has a very disrupted affect on many peoples lives, including the family and friends of those who are affected by it.

Autism and Nutrition

Many nutritionists have found that ensuring the correct, healthy and balanced diet for someone affected by autism is key in minimising the symptoms which they suffer from.

Adequate levels of fats, balanced sugar levels and reducing polluting chemicals from foods has been shown to help in managing the condition.

Signs of Problems

Because many sufferers of autism were given antibiotics as children to treat symptoms which were not actually recognised as autism, they may have been doing some harm as well as good. Using antibiotics frequently not only kills the bad bacteria it also kills the good bacteria in the stomach. As a result the intestine can become inflamed and lead to digestive issues.

Blood Sugar Levels

Controlling blood sugar levels is a good idea for just about anyone, but even more so for someone who suffers from any kind of mental condition because it helps to achieve a balance within the body and the mind. There are similarities between other conditions such as hyperactivity and autism.

Ensuring you know what is in the food and removing too much sugar from the diet is of benefit. Ideally, refined sugars and processed foods should be removed as much as possible.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

It is believed that those who are affected by autism actually have a tendency for some essential fats to be removed from the brain cells at a more rapid rate than normal. This means that they need to be replaced at a faster rate, too.

In particular, it is a good idea to supplement with EPA which is found in higher doses in any good omega 3 fish oil. You would usually expect to see high levels of this in higher quality oils. Supplementing with this has shown to improve mood, imagination, speech and sleep patterns for autistic children.

Vitamins and Minerals

Many researchers over long periods of time have shown that taking vitamins helps to reduce the symptoms of autism so supplementing is an easy and convenient way to achieve this. Dr Bernard Rimland carried out research in the 70s which helped reduce the symptoms in autistic children and when they stopped taking them the symptoms returned.

Food Allergies

Many parents of autistic children have experimented with food and diet in order to ascertain if it would impact them. The results were that many of them were able to control some of the symptoms by ensuring that their child got the right kinds of foods and avoided others. It has to be done on a case by case basis so there is no black and white answer on what to have and what not to have, unfortunately.

Conclusion

Overall, the strategy used to try and combat autism with the diet should be one of implementing a healthy and balanced diet, getting the right levels of vitamins and minerals from healthy food and using products which are organic in order to reduce the risk of chemicals getting into the bloodstream which are not desirable.

Welcome to HCASG.org

November 24th, 2013

Hello and welcome to HCASG.org,

Here at Health Care & Services Guide (HCASG) we are committed to helping you educate yourself in ways to better you and your friends and families health and well-being.

HCASG was born out of the idea that diet and exercise play a huge factor in the health of every individual, that’s mental health and physical health.

How we can Help

Our aim is simple, we want to update this website with information that we know can help you better your standard of living and feel better, both physically and mentally.

Sometimes we will discuss mental health issues, such as autism, and other times we will talk about fitness, diet and exercise. We will cover many topics which we believe are critical for your ongoing health.

What we Expect

We would like to think that you are reading this because you want to better your circumstances so we expect you to read the advice on these pages and try them out. Not all of the advice will be for you, so try whatever you like and see how it works for you and if it is going to work in your life. If it does, great. If not, not a problem either but you should consider why it doesn’t work for you and if there is something else in your life that you need to change to help you achieve more.

When to Check

We will update this site as often as we can but we are not going to commit to a daily, weekly or even monthly schedule. The best thing to do is subscribe to the feed and then you will see the new posts as they happen.

Feedback

If there is anything that you would like to make a comment on please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you no matter whether the feedback is good or bad…Just let us know how we can help you :)

Treating Autism

April 22nd, 2014

Autism has long been associated with poor quality of life and poor prognosis. People with this condition are often subject to discrimination. But whatever prejudices the people may have against it, this disorder still remains to be preventable and controllable. Parents of children with this condition can feel hopeful that there is a cure for this condition.

Health & Autism

Health and autism are two interrelated factors that must be addressed in the treatment, diagnosis and prognosis of this disorder. Most therapeutic and psychological interventions for autism fail because of the failure to recognize the relationship between health and autism. One cannot treat autism only for its symptoms. The approach for health and autism must be holistic.

Many experts claim that autism is incurable; however, there are therapies that the patient can undergo to optimize their health, maximize their functions, and to improve their quality of life. Here are some of the therapeutic modalities that address the issues on health and autism symptoms.

  1. Physical Therapy

While this modality is most widely used among stroke and trauma patients, physical therapy is also being used for the improvement of symptoms in autism. ASD, or autism spectrum disorder, is characterized by sets of signs and symptoms that include motor affectation. Most autism patients present with a stereotypical behaviour, an act that is said to be repetitive and purposeless. An example of this is clapping one’s hands for a long period of time, imitating the movement of certain objects or running around purposelessly in the room. Health and autism can both be addressed by physical therapy through the use of various mechanisms such as exercise, to promote control over these stereotypical actions.

  1. Behavioral Therapy

Another therapy that integrates health and autism is behavioural therapy. This form of therapy aims to reduce the patient’s repetitive and aggressive movements, as well as to help these people gain the social and occupational skills that they would need for survival. This therapy is largely based on the concept of behavioural rewards and punishment. Just like what Kohlberg’s theory claims, rewarding of good behaviours promotes repetition, while punishing a person for an unpleasant or a wrong act will lead to behaviour modification into an acceptable one. Applying this theory in this form of therapy, one will be able to learn how to control one’s behaviours and improve on his skills.

One of the many forms of behavioural therapy is the play therapy. This therapy does not only keep the patient’s mind and body off repetitive and aggressive tendencies, but play therapy can also improve one’s emotional intelligence. Through play therapy, learning and social skill improvement can also be facilitated. This addresses one’s need to improve emotional health and autism symptoms at the same time.

  1. Diet Therapy

Researches claim that cholesterol blood levels are increased in patients with autism, thus, a well-balanced diet can reverse the elevation in blood cholesterol. Proper nutrition can also boost one’s immune system, helping the person fight off certain diseases and infections.

The physical, mental, emotional and social health and autism symptoms should all be addressed together for a successful treatment outcome. 

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

April 1st, 2014

When people speak about diet they are usually talking about going on one. This is the common misconception with dieting; people think it’s about what you don’t eat, not what you eat. In fact, it’s all about what you eat. After all, the saying goes that you are what you eat.

Fatty Fat

Fats get a bad rap. Saturated fats are deserving of their bad reputation but the other kinds of fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are much better for you and are absolutely essential for good health. These kinds of fats are obtained from foods such as nuts, salmon and avocados.

Maintaining good brain function, healthy skin and nails, for example, requires the intake of a good level of helpful fats from the sources I just mentioned.

Top Tip: Make sure you are getting your fix by snacking on some nuts or seeds each day, but not too many as they do contain a large number of calories.

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs

There is such a thing as bad carbs in my opinion. The reason being is that you should try to avoid highly processed foods which had have levels of carbs in them because they are devoid of goodness. Try to avoid too many carbs if you are not that active as they will just be stored as fat by the body if not used for energy.

Top Tip: Switch all white carbs for their brown equivalents, such as rice, pasta and bread.

Protein – The Building Blocks

Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies so it’s critical that you get sufficient levels of them in your diet. There are certain amino acids, which are what proteins are made of, which are only available in the diet and they cannot be created by the body.

Top Tip: Use a protein shake to supplement your diet with a good and convenient source of protein. Check out this site for an independent review of some.

How Autism Affects One’s Health

February 26th, 2014

Autism patients are usually judged and discriminated for their appearance, behavior, mannerisms, and way of thinking. But behind these different behavior and mentality are the bravery, strength, and epitome of a survivor.

Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a group of disorders that are characterized by impaired social interaction and language abilities with associated stereotypical behaviours. The range of impairment in one’s social and language abilities may differ from one patient to another, while the stereotypical behaviours may range from simple repetitive movements of hand-clapping to more severe motor manifestations such as running around in circles or rocking their bodies back and forth. This is the reason why you don’t see two autism patients manifesting the same social, motor and language signs.

Health & Autism

 

Health and autism are sometimes taken into account separately. Each disease of an autism patient is treated symptomatically without regard to his mental condition. You might find it hard to believe but in treating these patients, considering both health and autism as one entity can make a lot of difference. Because of the patient’s tendency to misinterpret situations, especially dangerous circumstances, the safety, health and autism are closely linked with one another. The health-related effects of mutations, deletions, or disruptions of some genes associated with autism disorder are not only limited to the motor, social and language aspects; rather, they also have physiological impacts that might not be at all beneficial to the person concerned.

ASD

 

ASD is a product of a disruption in the normal brain development in the utero, which could be either to trauma, disease conditions, like infections, or medicine intake, such as antibiotics, during pregnancy. This is one of the basis for saying that health and autism should go together. Any imbalance in the health of the mother during her pregnancy can result to great consequences, including autism.

Complications

 

Another link between health and autism is its complications. The complications of autism may either affect the mental or psychological and physiologic state of the affected person. As mentioned earlier, autism is not all about the motor, language and social impairment, but is also associated with various diseases and metabolic imbalances.

One of the complications that links health and autism is a seizure disorder, which in chronic or prolonged period can lead to epilepsy. A seizure disorder that is caused by autism is most commonly associated with the negative effects of its perpetrators on brain development. The brain is normally made up mostly of proteins whose functions are to maintain the integrity of the neural system and to promote communication among various brain structures. The seizure arising in this disorder can be due to the protein synthesis that could have been poorly modulated as the fetus develops inside the mother’s womb.

Immune System Changes

 

The relationship of health and autism is further explained by the alterations in one’s immune system during the intrauterine growth and probably beyond the neonatal life. There have been research findings indicating the role of aberrant immune system in the development of autism and in the predisposition of many patients to various autoimmune diseases and infections.

The link between health and autism may not be as apparent as the motor, language and social impairments seen in this disorder, but it is important to know that it exists. Realizing the relationship between health and autism will help you understand them better and will aid in the success of their treatment.

Fit to Run

December 30th, 2013

In today’s post I wanted to share some advice and recommendations about running for fitness.

Why Run

Naturally we are creatures which need to exercise. If we do not exercise our bodies will tend to slowdown because the muscles we are not using will be a waste of energy. It’s a really great way of the body remaining as efficient as possible.

If you think about it, if you have a large amount of muscle but you don’t use it the body still has to maintain it which requires energy so it’s a waste. That same principle applies to the heart muscle, too, as it is just another muscle. Therefore training your cardiovascular system is a must for anyone who wants to have a strong and healthy heart.

How to Get Fit

You have a lot of options for getting fit but running is a great one because it works both the cardio (heart and lungs) and muscular systems at the same time. And, depending on which type of running you do, you will work different system within the cardio and muscular systems. For example, if you do sprints at maximum intensity you will find that you are working your anaerobic cardiovascular system and developing more leg strength compared to muscular endurance.

Train with Purpose

Whether you are working on an assignment or training for fitness and health, in order to achieve something you must have something you are working towards. A great way to train with a purpose is to have an event that you have to enter, like a running race. A really great and iconic race to enter would be the London Marathon. This is a good challenge and achievable for most people to complete in a good time.

Check out this website for more information for training tips and advice.

Types of Running

As I touched on earlier there are different ways to run. You can sprint for 100m or run for 26 miles, so obviously your training will have to be different when training for the different types of event.

If you are training for a marathon you will want to have a mix of different types of running training in there. So, you might want to do something like the following:

  • Mon – Intervals of 2km, with 1 min rest. Repeat 5 times
  • Tue – Rest
  • Wed – Longer, steady run starting at 12km and working up to 35 km over the weeks
  • Thur – Hill Sprints
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – Weight training
  • Sun – Rest

That’s just an example of a week but you might want to add or remove some of the suggestions there to tailor it towards your proper training goal.

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

Not only does running improve your fitness it will also improve your mental state, helping to release chemicals in your mind which make your feel happier. And, if you are achieving the goals that you have set out for yourself you will get a sense of satisfaction that you cannot get from sitting on the sofa or just going to the gym, unless you have a specific goal.

This is one of the main reasons why I always suggest people who have mental problems should be participating in sport regularly. It really does work and also helps to get rid of any stress that they may have, both physical and mental stresses. It’s a great release for the body and mind.

 

 

Fats and Proteins

December 13th, 2013

The media and food manufacturers would have you believe that fats and bad for you, but that’s only half the story. Fats are actually good for you and you need to have them in your diet, but what you don’t want to have are too many saturated fats and definitely as few hydrogenated fats are possible because they are going to clog up your body and your body has a really difficult time in processing them.

Proteins

Proteins are the building blocks of your body and are found in all of the tissues in the body. Without them your body would not be able to function so you must make sure you get an adequate level of protein in your diet in order to maintain health.

In the proteins are amino acids which are actually critical to your health. There are around 20 of them and some of them are called essential amino acids because your body is unable to synthesise them, which means you have to get them from the food you eat in your diet.

Protein breakfast

A large number of people have a high sugar breakfast, mainly consisting of cereal and milk. This is not an ideal breakfast for many reasons and so a large number of people have started moving to a high protein and fats breakfast. One example of this could be tuna with lemon for taste with a little salt and pepper and then some almonds for a small snack afterwards.

High Fat & Protein Diet

If you try out the high fat and protein breakfast I am sure that you will notice the difference within two weeks so I would highly recommend it. If you do that along with follow the 80/20 principle that I outlined in my previous post I think you will be amazed at the results you see.

The other great thing about this breakfast is that you will feel fuller for longer and not have to worry about feeling hungry within an hour of having your breakfast.

Protein Shakes

An easy way to up your intake of protein and fats is to get a protein shake and use that as a snack replacement. This will help to keep you full because protein does make you fuller for longer and it’s low in calories, too. It’s a much better alternative to having some kind of biscuit snack which is going to be high in carbohydrates and sugars.

Image courtesy of Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

European Health Insurance Card – EHIC

December 11th, 2013

Many of you have probably heard of the E111 card which was previously used to allow you to get health insurance cover when abroad, in Europe. In 2006 it was superseded by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

What’s Is It?

When you are in Europe and you need healthcare you can use this card in order to get greatly reduced or even free, depending on the situation. Check out the official website for more details.

What’s Covered?

You should cover you for pre-existing injuries and child birth, providing that you are not intentionally going abroad to have you baby. It will cover you for treating an injury in order to allow you to continue your journey or for your safe return home.

Where Is It Accepted?

The EHIC card is accepted in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

Cost

The card is completely free so don’t pay for it, you just need to apply online from the NHS website. Be aware that some companies and sites will try to charge you for it so make sure that you aren’t paying for it unnecessarily.

Who Can Apply

Anyone who is a resident in the UK and is British can apply for an EHIC and you can apply free of charge online.

Travel Insurance

This card is not a replacement for travel insurance. For events such as skiing, private medial issues and lost or stolen items you will have to rely on your private travel insurance and not the EHIC.

That was just a quick post about an important way of staying protected while travelling around Europe which is supplementary to travel insurance. You should have both and sometimes your insurance company will insist that you have an EHIC so as to be covered properly.

The 80/20 Principle

December 3rd, 2013

It’s mainly food manufacturers who determine what the public believes is good and bad for their health. The ideas are placed into the public domain by clever advertising and marketing. The idea is that the products they want to sell then satisfies what they say is healthy, nutritious or necessary.

Making Healthy Profits

The fact is that the companies who push most of their products are actually just looking to make as much profit as possible. This doesn’t apply to all companies, but it does for a large number of them. So, always look at what’s in the labels and if it looks like something out of a chemistry teacher’s laboratory then stay clear of it rather than putting it into your body.

Use your common sense because we all know what is good for us and what is not. The more natural you can keep your diet the better. Natural, fresh, whole foods are the best food sources.

The 80/20 Principal

We all know how tempting it is to eat chocolates, crips and other foods which are bad for us, but I don’t believe you should completely restrict yourself from eating them. If you do, you are likely to binge at some point and then fall off the wagon and continue to eat a lot of them.

I like to stick to something called the 80/20 principle which means that I will eat well for 80% of the time and allow myself a few treats 20% of the time. This can quite easily be achieved by eating well on the weekdays when at work and then letting your hair down on the weekends with a few sweets, alcoholic drinks and whatever else takes your fancy.

Don’t Drink Calories

A great tip is to not drink calories and by this I mean that you should try not to have fizzy drinks or even fruit juices at all. They are not very nutritious, even the fruit juices made from 100% pure fruit but that’s a topic for another time. What you just need to remember is to drink water or if you don’t like the taste of it go for a herbal tea or add some lemon to your water.

Always keep it simple and don’t add extra milk and sugar to your tea. It might not be the best taste when you first move from sugary and milky tea to going without but you will save a large number of calories and that’s the aim of the game. Getting big wins from lots of small little saves.