Alcohol Use Disorder, commonly referred to as alcoholism as defined by the Mayo Clinic “is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the effect or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.”

If your pattern of drinking results in repeated significant distress and problems functioning in your daily life, you likely have Alcohol Use Disorder.



Risk factors

Family history


This week's Tip & Bits focuses on Dental Hygiene.

What is dental hygiene or oral hygiene?

It is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent problems such as bad breath, cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal (gum) disease.

Why is cleaning your teeth important?

You need to remove dental plaque and tartar that builds upon the teeth, also to prevent tooth decay.  80% of cavities occur inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces where brushing cannot reach food left behind.

How often should you brush your teeth?

It is recommended that you brush at least twice a day.

How often should you replace your toothbrush?

It is recommended that you replace your toothbrush every 3—4 months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

Why should you use dental floss?

It helps to remove plaque and decaying food stuck between the teeth.  Food decay and plaque can irritate the gums allowing the gum tissue to bleed more easily.

When should you floss?

It is suggested that you floss before brushing to allow for the toothpaste to have better access between the teeth.

Should you brush your tongue?

The answer is yes.  Tongue cleaning removes the coating from your tongue that promotes bad breath as well as any bacteria and decaying food particles, also fungi, and dead cells.  By cleaning your tongue, you remove the species of bacteria that generate tooth decay and gum problems.

How often should you go for dental checkups and cleanings?

It is suggested that you go twice a year,   however, if you are in the high-risk group such as smokers, diabetics, people with current gum disease, people with a weak immune system, people who tend to get a lot of cavities, they may need to visit the dentist every 3 or 4 months.

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

Did you know that headaches are among the top ten causes of disability worldwide?

Definition—A migraine headache is a chronic neurological disease characterized by recurrent to moderate to severe headaches.  Migraine headaches usually start in childhood or early adulthood.

There are usually 4 stages—Prodrome / Aura / Headache Attack / Postdrome.

Prodrome—Happens 1 to 2 days before the onset of the headache.  The person may experience constipation, depression, food cravings, hyperactivity, irritability, neck stiffness, and uncontrollable yearnings.

Aura—This may occur before or during an actual migraine.  Auras are nervous system symptoms that are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes or light.  Sometimes they can include sensory-motor and speech disturbances.  Most people don’t experience auras.

Headache Attack—When untreated, a migraine usually lasts 4 to 72 hours.  However, this does vary from person to person.  The symptoms are a pain on one or both sides of your head, a pain that is pulsating, sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell.  You may also include nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, lightheadedness sometimes followed by fainting.

Postdrome—This is the final stage and occurs after an attack.  Some people feel drained and washed out, while others feel euphoric.

What causes a migraine headache?  There is no definite answer, but it appears that genetics and environmental factors play a role.

Common triggers or migraines are hormonal changes in women before or during their periods, pregnancy and menopause; food such as aged cheeses, salty foods, and processed foods; food additives like MSG and aspartame; drinks including alcohol, wine, and caffeinated beverages; stress and sensory stimuli—examples are bright lights, sun glare, loud sounds, and unusual smells.

If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Alliance Insurance wants all women to be aware of the signs of breast cancer. See your doctor and with him or her, decide if you are a candidate for a screening mammogram.

The warning signs of breast cancer are not the same for all women. The most common signs are:

Here are some warning signs. If you have any of these signs, check with your doctor:

Most times, these changes are not cancer. Breast pain is more common with benign breast conditions than with breast cancer.

Many women say their breasts feel lumpy. Breast tissue naturally has a bumpy texture and some women’s breasts are lumpier than others. If the lumpiness can be felt throughout the breast and both breasts feel about the same, then its probably normal for you. If there is a new lump or any change, see your doctor.

Nipple discharge can be your body’s natural reaction when the nipple is squeezed. Signs to be concerned about are:

If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor!

Are you unpleasantly plump? Try these 11 Natural weight loss tips! At one time, being pleasantly plump was okay, but in today’s world if you are a male and your waist size is greater than 40 inches and 35 inches for a female, you are at risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Here are 11 tips to help change your eating habits

  1. Eat a good breakfast. Studies show that eating a good breakfast helps to protect against being overweight.
  2. Push away from the table before you feel full. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full. 
  3. Use smaller plates and serve smaller portions.
  4. Split meals. Restaurant portions tend to be rather large. Share desserts and never order fried foods.
  5. Eat only when you are hungry and eat only real foods, no processed foods.
  6. Try and eat fresh fruit. Fruit juice has a lot of natural sugar without the additional benefit of fibre. Fibre helps to satisfy hunger.
  7. Stay away from sodas and soft drinks. Both sugar sweetened and artificially sweetened (zero calories) are associated with being overweight. High fructose corn syrup can contribute unwanted calories causing weight gain, type 2 diabetes, high triglyceride levels and more.
  8. Manage stress—the stress hormone cortisol and other stress induced hormones increase appetite. Recurrent stress promotes compulsive eating.
  9. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to changes in the function of the nervous system. Hormone release and inflammatory chemicals that increase hunger and decrease satiety and favour visceral fat deposition.
  10. Set realistic goals. Start slowly with a goal of reducing body weight by 10% over 6 months.
  11. Make time to exercise. Physical activity should be a part of a comprehensive weight loss therapy and weight control program. Exercise contributes to weight loss and reduction of abdominal fat. Exercise can also help you maintain any weight loss.

Let’s try and make Anguilla a healthier nation. Hypertension and diabetes is on the rise in Anguilla.

We have all heard stories of how the older Anguillans lived longer and healthier. Why? They got exercise by working the land. They ate what they grew, what came from the sea or from animals raised in Anguilla. There were no hormones injected into their foods. There were no sodas or juices containing a lot of sugar. Mostly they drank water. There weren’t many cars, so they walked.

Today we start our children off with juice or juice drinks high in sugar thereby already creating their desire for sugar. Our children live off chicken and chips.

Start young

Let’s begin to have a healthier nation by starting with our children. Early food experiences will have an impact on eating patterns and habits in adult life.

A healthy diet for young people is important. Why?

What should they be eating?

We all know that everyone has a treat at times, but let’s not allow the treats to be everyday occurrences. We don’t want a nation with high obesity rates, high rates of diabetes which could lead to dialysis, high rates of hypertension which could lead to strokes. Let’s begin to make our nation healthier one child at a time!

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