World Autism Awareness Day

For those who are unaware, today is “World Autism Awareness Day” — I am all for mental health awareness (my blog focuses on both mental and physical health). I think it is good that we keep ourselves educated and aware of current events going on around us, mental health issues/conditions and wanting to understand other people’s experiences. I know autism isn’t anything new, but I know people who suffer from a mild form of it, and some of my family members have worked with kids who suffer from moderate to more severe forms of autism. We have come a long way in science, but still there is no affirmative answer as to how some people become autistic and others don’t. It is believed that both environmental factors and genetics play a part in autistic persons but NO specific environmental causes have been proven yet. For a while I know many people blamed the vaccination that prevented childhood infectious diseases but multiple studies have said that the vaccinations did not increase the chances of autism — not saying that these studies are 100 percent true, because I believe there may be studies who slightly disagree with this claim, but I suppose it all depends on what source is saying what and your thoughts around it after gaining more understanding and research on the topic. 

 

If you are unaware of what autism is, it is characterized as “a developmental disorder that that impairs the ability to communicate and interact”. With this being said, it doesn’t mean that everyone with autism cannot speak or form sentences, or is mute; I have a client with autism, who functions and speaks just the same — as said before, some have mild forms and others have more moderate or severe forms of autism. 

 

Common signs of autism?

 
  • Social impairment and communication difficulties — some people find social interactions difficult. Simply avoiding eye contact, not respond to their name, children with autism may find they would rather be alone (play games by themselves vs playing with other children), many people with autism may have a difficult time with talking about their feelings and understanding other people’s feelings. Delayed speech, no speech, inappropriate forms of speech, awkwardness while talking, may repeat phrases, or give unrelated answers to questions.. etc.
  • Repetitive & characteristic behaviors: Repetitive movements or unusual behaviors, become obsessive over certain topics, preoccupied with certain aspects of a toy, many people with autism thrive from routine (changes can be challenging for them), anger or emotional outburst. etc. 

There are more signs I hadn’t listed but this gives you somewhat of an understanding but it’s always good to get more information from your medical doctor or a specialist in the area of mental health who can provide more answers. 

 

Treatments can include medications that DON’T CURE OR TREAT MAIN SYMPTOMS, medications can help some of the symptoms (anxiety, depression, obsessive behavior), another treatment is “educational & behavioral interventions (which have been proven to be helpful) 

 

Diagnosing autism can be difficult at times because of the fact that sometimes symptoms go unrecognized for a period of time & not everyone experiences the same type of symptoms. 

Some early on indicators might be: 

  • poor eye contact
  • no response to name
  • no babbling or pointing by age 1
  • no smiling or social responsiveness

just to name a few. Later indicators:

  • impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • repetitive or unusual use of language
  • abnormally intense or focused interest
  • preoccupation of certain objects or subjects

plus more that I haven’t listed. Again, the best thing to do is ask questions to medical professionals or do your own research, because even if you don’t know anyone who suffers from autism, it doesn’t mean you won’t ever come into contact with someone who doesn’t have it. Hopefully this information was somewhat helpful and more of you share your own tidbits of information in the comment sections; thanks for reading, comment, like, and share! 

 

Shay-lon 

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is getting to be that time of year where people typically get more gloomy because of the weather, and the seasons changing. Not only do people tend to get allergies or aches/pains, their personalities or moods can change. I have to thank a friend of mine for bringing this disorder to my attention because we were talking about how the weather makes us both kind of “blah” because of the lack of sunshine and it becoming more and more cold outside. Neither one of us has been diagnosed with “Seasonal Affective Disorder” and I don’t believe I have it and neither does she, but it brought up a good point because this isn’t a disorder that I hear much about until it gets to be about this time of year – even then, I don’t think a whole lot of people think twice about it. I decided to do some research and learn something new about a disorder and hopefully share what I have learned with all of you, BUT I always appreciate it more when it comes from someone who has the experience because it is more realistic and more personal – so if you have something to add to this, please do in the comment section 🙂

 

First things first, what is seasonal affective disorder? In simple terms, it is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Most often occurs in the early fall/winter and usually ends sometime around spring/summer. Clearly not everyone loves the cold weather but it doesn’t mean you have seasonal affective disorder. With this being said, I have some fun information below:

 

Word of caution: This disorder is not considered as a separate disorder. In order for someone to be diagnosed with SAD, they have to meet the full criteria or major depression coinciding with specific seasons for ATLEAST 2 years. This means it needs to be more frequent compared to other depressions. So having said this, there are reasons for why someone would be diagnosed with this, this isn’t just somebody who doesn’t like winter or cold weather – more goes into a diagnosis. 

 

Signs/symptoms:

Winter Pattern:

 
  • Low energy 
  • hypersomnia
  • overeating
  • weight gain
  • craving for carbohydrates
  • social withdrawal 

Summer SAD:

  • poor appetite /weight loss
  • insomnia 
  • agitation
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • episodes of violent behavior

Then also consider some of the major depression signs/symptoms along with these. 

 

Risk Factors Associated with SAD

  • Females are diagnosed more often than men with this disorder (lucky us ladies!, lol)
  • Living further from the equator
  • Family history of depression
  • Younger age

Treatment options:

  • Medication
  • light therapy
  • psychotherapy 
  • Vitamin D

With this being said, Vitamin D supplements haven’t been 100 percent proven to treat seasonal affective disorder, but having more time in the sunlight seems to help and taking the supplements is neither here or there in research.. depending on the individual. Now there may be new treatments available or perhaps more treatments I have not listed, and so share them if you will. If you have your own way of dealing with SAD, please share it for my readers and so I can also learn something as well. Thank you for reading, please feel free to share, like, reblog, and follow!

 

Fitness WonderWoman,

Shay-lon

 
 

Tips: exercising in cold environments.

FitFam Friday! 

So I figured since we are still in the winter months (in most places) that I would give you guys some tips when it comes to exercising in the cold weather months. Now these tips are for those of you who intend to be outside when getting your sweat on. Personally, I have never been one to enjoy exercising outside when it is cold – mainly because I have bad blood circulation in my fingers and toes and because I don’t like winter months, so I hit up the gym instead. For those of you currently workout outside during the colder months or those who would like to give it try, I hope this list comes handy to you. Keep in mind that “cold injuries” could occur, so safety is a must. 

 
 
  • Typically one should wear 3 layers of clothing pending the assessment of weather: inner layer, middle layer and outer layer. 
  • Wear clothing that minimizes sweating
  • Avoid an outer layer of clothing unless it is rainy or very windy
  • Reduce clothing insulation as exercise intensity increases 
  • For trainers: don’t impose a single clothing standard on an entire group of exercisers
  • Wear appropriate footwear to avoid slips and falls. 

Medical conditions that could occur in cold environments:

  • Hypothermia: when heat loss exceeds heart production (factors: immersion, rain, wet clothing, low body fat, older age, and some health conditions) 
  • Frostbite: Tissue temperatures fall lower than 0 degrees C / “contact” frostbite can occur from touching cold objects with bare skin that causes rapid heat loss. 

Cold weather is not a barrier in performing physical activity, however it is very important to dress appropriately and know the signs/symptoms of cold injuries. Thank you for reading. 

 

Please take a moment and let me know if you exercise in cold weather, have you ever had the above cold injuries, and how you minimize your chances of injury.  Also, feel free to mention what type of exercises you take part in your cold environment (this includes if you play any winter sports).

 

Your Fitness Blogger,

Shay-lon xxxx