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It may be a little easier than decoding the color of your urine—but experts say you shouldn’t ignore what’s in the toilet bowl, either.

In July, temperatures were well above average across most of the U.S.—and August isn’t shaping up to be any better. During bouts of extreme heat, staying hydrated is crucial to mental and physical health.

To help you determine if you’re getting enough fluids, or if you could stand to have another glass or two of water, a TikTok tip—known as the “skin pinch” test—has resurfaced on the app, and it’s getting quite a bit of buzz.

The video, initially shared last summer, was posted by TikTok doctor Karan Rangarajan, MRCS, MBBS, a surgical doctor with the National Health Service in the U.K., and it shows a person squeezing the top of their finger to determine how hydrated (or dehydrated) they are.

“This is known as the ‘skin pinch’ or skin turgor test,” Dr. Rangarajan said in the video. “The more hydrated you are, the more elastic your skin will be and it will bounce back immediately after pinching it. If you’re dehydrated the skin loses its elasticity and it takes a while to return to normal, and it’s more likely to tent up.”

The skin pinch test seems like a fast and uncomplicated way to know if you need more water, but is it the best way to see if you’re dehydrated? Here’s what to know.

How Does the Skin Pinch Test Work?

The skin pinch test is used to measure the skin’s elasticity, or its ability to stretch and bounce back. It can also be used as a way to assess dehydration.

“It is known as poor skin turgor when the skin doesn’t bounce back within a second or two,” nutritionist Kathryn Piper, RDN, LD, told Health. “Poor skin turgor can be an indicator of dehydration.”

According to nutrition and wellness expert Samantha Cassetty, MS, RD, the test is often used in healthcare settings to get a quick assessment of whether a patient may need more fluids, especially when there’s not enough time to evaluate lab tests or other metrics.

“It’s definitely legit and used in healthcare settings when dehydration is suspected,” Cassetty told Health. “However, practitioners look at the full clinical picture in addition to skin turgor.”

How Accurate Is the Skin Pinch Test?

Healthcare professionals use the skin pinch along with other medical tests because it’s painless and non-invasive, but it’s not as precise as other measurements and there are no clinical standards for how it’s implemented.

“There’s no gold standard for practicing it,” Cassetty said. “Some practitioners may pinch the back of the hand, while others may use other areas; and sometimes the pinch could be two seconds, while some clinicians may hold your skin longer.”

The test may also not be useful or effective for everyone, including older adults and people with certain health conditions.

As people age, for example, skin elasticity decreases, regardless of hydration status. “An older person’s skin may take about 20 seconds to bounce back, even if they are not dehydrated,” Piper said.

In patients with low blood volume, the skin pinch test may also have reduced accuracy. “About 70% of people with long COVID have autonomic nervous system dysfunction and may have low blood volume,” Cassetty said. “This test is not helpful for people with low blood volume or connective tissue disorders.”

Trying the Skin Pinch Test

The skin pinch test is pretty safe and there’s no harm in testing yourself, but since it’s not the most precise method, the results should be taken with a grain of salt and used in tandem with other dehydration identifiers.

“I don’t see a harm in using this test as one way to assess hydration,” Piper said. “As a dietitian, I recommend monitoring the color of your urine to ensure you are staying hydrated.” Urine should be light yellow or straw-colored; “light-colored lemonade” is also a good color match, according to Piper.

Some other key indicators that you’re not getting enough fluids include feeling very thirsty, having dry skin or a dry mouth, or not sweating or urinating as much as usual.

Instead of analyzing how dehydrated you might be, Cassetty suggests taking a more proactive approach to hydration. “I think you’re better off using strategies to stay hydrated rather than reacting to potential dehydration,” she said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends having water with meals and improving the taste of water with fruit like lemon or lime slices to up your fluid intake.

“To help remind you to drink more water, use a 20-ounce water bottle and keep it nearby,” Cassetty added. “As a rule of thumb, aim to refill at least four times a day and drink an additional glass of water at each meal.”

Source: https://www.health.com/news/skin-pinch-test-dehydration

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Image by Sasa Savicic / Stocksy

Any relationship that we are in long term goes through seasons, especially if we are committed to another person and have invested our time, love, and energy into the relationship. No relationship is perfect, despite how much we romanticize them. Even the most satisfying of relationships need conscious attention and nurturing to ensure health and growth.

Many people leave relationships because of their unresolved attachment issues that get displaced on the other person. Additionally, people leave relationships because they haven’t done the internal work to understand that mature attachment requires self-awareness and conscious communication.

Being able to know when a relationship is truly over means being able to tell the difference between what is yours and what is your partner’s. That isn’t always easy, but the following signs will help you to reflect on when it’s time to let go:

1. You have expressed your experience, unmet needs, and desire for growth with as much honesty and clarity as possible.

This is the most important sign. I so often have clients who feel unhappy in their relationships, but when I explore their communication with their partner, they reveal that they have not been honest and direct about their feelings.

Start by being honest with yourself about what you want. If you want the relationship to work, you have to honor your partner by giving them the opportunity to respond to your needs.

What is stopping you from expressing your feelings directly? When you say what is true for you, you support yourself; what the other person does or says in response is just more information for you to assess whether you think the relationship is viable or not.

If you and your partner struggle to communicate, you may want to seek couples’ therapy. For anyone who is unsure whether to stay or go, working with a couples’ therapist can help to clarify the feelings of both of you.

2. There is no emotional connection.

The foundation of a strong relationship is two people who feel safe and cared for, which supports their ability to be vulnerable and open with each other. Vulnerable openness occurs during conflict and means that I can set my perspective aside and care about your experience without being defensive. Vulnerable openness means I can share my most tender feelings about you, myself, or the world, and I feel safe to do so.

When you find that you are hiding your feelings, finding excuses to avoid time together, or fantasizing about leaving the relationship—these might be signs that you no longer want a deep connection. Similarly, if you find that you aren’t laughing, being silly, and playing with each other, this is also an indication that your emotional bond is weakening.

3. Physical intimacy and affection don’t appeal to you anymore.

Sexual desire has seasons throughout a relationship. In committed partnerships, factors like age, changing sex drives, life stressors, children, and more can change the rhythm on sexual connection. That said, if you still crave your partner’s touch, you like looking at their body, like the way they smell, or long for more physical intimacy (of all kinds), then these are signs it might be something to work on.

However, if you find that the thought or sight of your partner turns you off, then it is most likely a sign that the relationship needs work—or that it’s time to let go.

4. It’s hard to agree on anything.

Another strong indication that you’re heading for a breakup is that you don’t see eye to eye anymore. When you’re dealing with constant conflict, and both people feel continually misunderstood and hurt, this begins to wear away any positive connection.

Any expert will tell you that if you’re fighting constantly, and there are few minutes of peace or secure connection, you have to take this seriously and respond accordingly. Conflict is an inherent aspect of any healthy connection, but when you can’t connect about anything, it’s an unfortunate sign that the relationship has broken down.

5. You are preoccupied with the idea of another relationship.

It’s absolutely normal to be attracted to other people or have sexual fantasies about others, but if you don’t have an open relationship and you’re having these thoughts in secret, it’s possible that your needs aren’t being met in your primary relationship.

When fantasies or affairs are taking time and energy away from your partner, you’ve opened an exit. Exits come in many forms and ultimately drain energy out of your partnership. If you’re having an affair, you’re already leaving your current relationship. Be honest with yourself about what you want. It’s time to begin a conversation with your partner about your relationship.

6. The trust is gone.

Trust is essential for secure attachment. If you have experienced infidelity, secrecy, or repeated boundary violation, trust is hard to rebuild. If you feel like you can’t trust your partner, it’s either something to repair, or it’s time to let go. 

If you want to rebuild trust, both people need to not only focus on trust but explore the root of the issues that led to the breakdown in the first place.

7. Your goals and vision don’t align.

A fish may love a bird, but where will they live? Often our hope or wish for partnership, combined with our attachment histories, can cloud our ability to be with the reality of someone else’s difference.

Children, professional goals, finances, geography, quality of life—all these factors create the daily fabric of connection. Compromise is an inherent part of healthy connection, but no matter how much you care for each other, if you want very different lives or have different visions, it’s important to be honest about what you’d have to give up to stay together.

When to work on it vs. when to walk away.

All relationships go through seasons, and as people change, so do their attachment needs. Not every relationship challenge is a reason to call it quits. Therefore, it is crucial that you are able to identify the difference between relationship issues that can be addressed and habitual issues that you or your partner refuse or are unwilling to address. By practicing ongoing awareness, you can develop your capacity to notice when a relationship challenge turns into a problematic pattern that needs to be addressed and decide when it’s time to walk away.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/signs-a-relationship-cant-be-fixed?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_20220808&mbg_mcid=4822488&mbg_hash=57103be3843e0e1cb6615f5efa797221

Vitamin D may not be as useful in preventing fractures as once thought, but some experts say it still has benefits.

For years, Vitamin D has been viewed as a helpful supplement to address everything from mood disorders to heart disease prevention. The popular supplement has also long been used to reduce the risk of bone fractures in older adults.

New research however, suggests that taking Vitamin D may not be as useful for some of these ailments as it was initially thought to be.

The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, suggests it may be time to abandon the Vitamin D craze after researchers found that the supplement did not have an impact on reducing bone fractures in older adults. And—in another blow—the same study points out that taking the supplement didn’t decrease a person’s risk of developing heart disease, cancer, or memory loss.

“The data related to whether Vitamin D supplementation can prevent fractures has been inconsistent,” Sylvia Christakos, PhD, a professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told Health. Christakos said the latest findings clearly indicate that giving Vitamin D supplements to people who are already getting enough of this nutrient, did not ultimately lower the patient’s risk of fracture.

“More is not better,” Christakos said.

Despite the new findings, experts say there’s still a role for Vitamin D in some cases. Here’s a closer look at the latest insights and recommendations regarding Vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D and Fracture Prevention

The use of Vitamin D to address bone health has been widely recommended since at least 2011, when the National Academy of Medicine advised 600 to 800 international units (IU) daily for the general public. The recommendation at that point stemmed from research indicating the supplement might support calcium absorption, which could inhibit bone deterioration.

The newly published clinical trial, however, which was focused on determining whether added Vitamin D would preventatively improve bone health, appears to undermine such recommendations. The clinical trial results found 1,991 fractures in 1,551 study participants and discovered that there wasn’t a significant difference in risk between study participants who took Vitamin D and those who did not.

To arrive at these findings researchers engaged 25,871 study participants— men 50 or older and women 55 or older. Slightly more than half of the participants were women, and the median age was about 67. Additionally, the majority of study participants entered the trial with sufficient Vitamin D levels. Just just 2.4% had what was considered to be a severe deficiency.

As part of the study, participants were asked to take either 2,000 international units of Vitamin D each day or a placebo and then were tracked for about five years. Incident fractures were reported by participants on an annual questionnaire.

The conclusion of all the research? “Vitamin D3 supplementation did not result in a significantly lower risk of fractures than placebo among generally healthy midlife and older adults,” according to the study.

Why is Vitamin D Important, In General?

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in your gut, helps keep your bones healthy and prevents them from becoming thin, brittle, or misshapen, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The supplement also helps prevent muscle cramps and spasms and can reduce inflammation.

Most people get their Vitamin D from sunlight, but you can also get it from the flesh of fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese, the NIH says. Fortified foods also provide significant amounts of Vitamin D in American diets. Most of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with this supplement.

According to the NIH, the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D varies by age. For those 70 and under the recommendation is 600 international units. Those over 70 should be getting about 800 IUs.

The NIH also points out that people can develop Vitamin D deficiency when usual intakes are lower over time than the recommended levels, or when exposure to sunlight is limited. Those who have milk allergy or are lactose intolerant and those who consume vegetarian or vegan diets may also experience lower levels of Vitamin D.

When deficiencies develop in children, it can cause conditions such as rickets, a disease characterized by a failure of bone tissue to become properly mineralized, resulting in soft bones and skeletal deformities, according to the NIH. Meanwhile, in adults and adolescents, inadequate Vitamin D can cause a condition known as osteomalacia—which involves existing bone being incompletely or defectively mineralized, resulting in weak bones.

For which conditions is vitamin D Still necessary?

Experts stress that the latest study results do not mean individuals should completely cease taking Vitamin D.

Most of the participants in the recent clinical trial were healthy— they didn’t have a history of cancer or heart disease. And most of them also had good Vitamin D levels at the start, Sina Gallo, PhD, RD, associate professor of nutritional sciences at University of Georgia, told Health.

“This may explain their null findings as individuals with lower Vitamin D status may benefit most from supplementation,” Gallo said. “It is well established that Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and assists to maintain blood calcium concentrations hence, assisting in the mineralization of bone.”

The study “does not say that Vitamin D is not involved in this role,” Gallo continued, “only that a daily Vitamin D supplement of 2,000 IU alone —not with a calcium supplement—does not reduce fracture risk in healthy middle age and older adults.”

It could simply be that the amount of Vitamin D wasn’t correct or that other nutrients, such as calcium, need to be taken with Vitamin D in order to have an impact on bone health, Gallo pointed out.

Jennifer Beck, MD, associate clinical professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said the study does not influence her opinion on Vitamin D, adding that research has shown Vitamin D has many benefits.

“The question at this time is not ‘if Vitamin D is helpful’—the more appropriate question is ‘in what population is Vitamin D helpful?'” Dr. Beck said. “We have at least two studies in [the] pediatric population stating that there’s increased fracture risk and fracture severity in patients with low Vitamin D. So, although I applaud the authors for their efforts, this study is a case of don’t throw out the baby with the bath water.”

The study results should not undermine the need for Vitamin D assessment and replenishment in high risk populations, Dr. Beck added.

It’s also important to consider the fact that Vitamin D doesn’t work alone in your body. “I like to always remind people that many nutrients in our bodies work synergistically and placing too much importance on any one will probably disappoint us,” Liz Weinandy, RD, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Health.

Source: https://www.health.com/news/vitamin-d-supplements-study

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