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How Healthy Is Your Pet?



Humans have always kept pets, be it for companionship or out of necessity.

In fact, in times long gone when central heating and other modern heating contraptions were not even on the horizon, people scooted closer to their animals during the long winter months. People kept cattle, sheep, goats, and even pigs close in the wintertime to stay warm.

Nowadays, the focus is shifted somewhat, especially in cities where people mostly keep animals as pets. A man once observed rather philosophically, “Nobody has ever peed themselves out of the pure joy of seeing me but my dog.” Truthfully, it is a tall order trying to beat the kind of devotion and besottedness a pet can bestow upon its owner.

Yet, despite all that, there are still some 200 million stray dogs roaming around. There are about 14,000 organizations in the US alone that take part in rescuing and sheltering animals. The main reason why animals end up on the streets is pet abandonment or being born on the streets in the first place. However, there are also some 4 million cats and dogs that get adopted from shelters each year and an additional 710,000 animals that end up in shelters as strays but are eventually reunited with their owners.

There is no doubt that there are amazingly caring and devoted owners out there, but what does that mean exactly?

What Does Your Pet Need (Besides Cuddles and Treats)?

While cuddling and playing with your pet is the most enjoyable part of the relationship, being a good owner takes more than engaging in the fun part of the story.

There are some 19 million pets in the US living in underserved communities, and 88% of them have not been spayed or neutered, while 69% have never been to a vet.

There are approximately 7.9 million cats and 5.9 million dogs in Canada. According to Canada’s Pet Wellness Report, many owners fail to recognize the importance of taking their pets to a regular vet checkup. That has nothing to do with how owners feel about their pets. It is merely about educating themselves when it comes to practices that are in their pets’ best interests.

The report further states that while Canadians undoubtedly love their pets, overfeeding is the biggest issue. Every vet will tell you that keeping your pet’s weight under control is one of the best ways to not just prolong its life, but also keep it healthy. Yet, as it is the case with humans in general, we seem to give our pets what they like the most, but not necessarily what is best for them. Additionally, Canadian vets say that the price of food is also a deciding factor for many owners.

Another often neglected aspect of pet health is dental hygiene. Dental disease is one of the most frequently diagnosed health issues in cats and dogs. Sadly, only 16% of pet owners in Canada seem interested in learning more about the dental care of their pets.

Last but not least, most owners knew how important it is to play with their pets and take them for walks regularly. Data show that pet owners are healthier because of their pets as well. Still, it seems that Canadians spend less than half an hour per day doing activities with their pets. They spend far more time either surfing the internet or watching TV.


Simply providing food and a warm bed to sleep in is not enough to have a happy and healthy pet. While it can be expensive to pick the top quality food and take your pet to the vet often, there are ways to make sure your pet is getting most of the things it needs to live a long life. Talk to your vet, use that internet time to look up some valuable information about healthy habits for your pet, and make the necessary changes. After all, nothing beats that goofy grin on your pooch’s face when it sees you at the door after a long day.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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The Way Cannabis Is Slowly Changing Our Understanding of Medicine



The Way Cannabis Is Slowly Changing Our Understanding of Medicine

Medicinal cannabis and CBD is helping us to get out of our comfort zone and start exploring new ways of healing. This is how we learn more about our body and its infinite capabilities. Most importantly, cannabis is giving us hope in medical situations that seem irreversible. It might not always be a cure, but it can provide the needed relief that some people desperately need.

What we know so far is not much but it’s very important, and that’s what we are going to talk about today.

What Is Medicinal Cannabis?

First things first, what’s medicinal cannabis? Medicinal cannabis is basically the same as recreational cannabis, with only one difference – it’s usually prescribed by medical professionals to ease or help with certain medical conditions. The most common condition is chronic pain. Over 60% of prescriptions are for this purpose.

Other common reasons for a prescription are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spasticity (tight or stiff muscles) from MS
  • Muscle spasms
  • Cancer
  • Nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Appetite loss
  • Glaucoma
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders such as anorexia
  • Wasting syndrome (cachexia)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

If you want to target many of these conditions and symptoms without getting high, you can also use pure CBD. It can help you even without the THC and other cannabinoids found in cannabis. Plus, since November 2018, it’s legal in all 50 stats, provided it was derived from hemp. CBD’s popularity has skyrocketed since the Farm Bill was passed.

How Does Medicinal Cannabis Help Our Body?

How does it work? Cannabis consists of cannabinoids, active chemicals that are similar to the ones our body is making while keeping us in optimal shape. According to scientists, cannabinoids are maximizing that process, making our body, in turn, to function better.

Additionally, science has proven that cannabis has the ability to deal with inflammation, reduce anxiety, and relieve pain. It can also attack and kill cancer cells and slow down the rate of growth of tumors. Other benefits include controlling nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy better than any modern medicine available.

There is also evidence that cannabis can help patients with MS to relax their muscles. What’s more, it can stimulate appetite and help with gaining weight in people who suffer from AIDS or cancer.

Medicinal cannabis is also one of the most promising treatments for people with severe seizures. Studies showed that people significantly reduced seizures after taking cannabis, which brought to the approval of Epidiolex.

Still, this is not to say that cannabis is the ultimate cure for all illnesses. It too may come with unwanted side effects.

How Can Medicinal Cannabis Be Taken?

There are many methods, but some of the most popular include smoking, inhaling through vaporizers, eating, applying it on the skin in form of oil, lotion, cream, or spray, or placing a few drops of a liquid under the tongue. They all serve the same purpose, even though each method affects your body in a different way.

For instance, the sublingual method will give you almost instant effects, while for long-lasting ones and dealing with chronic pain it’s more advisable to eat it.

Bottom Line

As you can see, cannabis is opening new doors in modern medicine by helping us think out of the box. It still has a long way to go, especially because research is going slower than with other medical treatments, but this is also changing as the NHS is finally nudging doctors to prescribe two cannabis-based medicines, Epidiolex and Sativex, as well as other types of medicinal cannabis.

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5 Strange Sleeping Disorders and How to Combat Them



Sleep is crucial to human beings. Making sure you get enough sleep and high-quality sleep at that is vital to your wellbeing. It can improve your mental and physical health, quality of life, and your productivity at work.

There are some sleeping disorders which many people view as a normal sleeping-related problem. Unsurprisingly, the most common is snoring which affects around 90 million American adults and can lead to low-quality sleep for their families.

While snoring is certainly bothersome, there are some sleeping disorders out there that are downright strange! Read on to find out what they are and how best to combat them.

5 Examples of Strange Sleeping Disorders

1. Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless legs syndrome or RLS is a condition that leads to an unbelievable urge to move your legs. This is usually due to an uncomfortable sensation in the muscles, which is only relieved by movement.

Medical professionals are in disagreement about exactly what causes this condition, but those who have been diagnosed with diabetes, anemia and nerve damage are more likely to suffer from it.

For the vast majority of sufferers, RLS occurs in the evening or during the night when they are trying to sleep. People who struggle with this condition can kick around or move hundreds of times in one night. This can cause them to suffer from low-quality sleep not to mention they may frequently disturb their partners.

Even though there is no single known cause for this condition, there are a few ways you can help combat it. First of all, make sure you get regular exercise. Caffeine and alcohol intake should also be limited to reduce the level of stimulants in the bloodstream. In severe cases, you may be able to get medication prescribed by your doctor to help you get some rest. This condition can be especially annoying if you have a partner, as you will disturb them, in this case having a firm and thick mattress can help. Otherwise you may end up sleeping on the sofa, or if you’re lucky a sofa bed in order to move around and not disturb your partner.

2. Narcolepsy

This is a frightening condition that can have dangerous consequences. People who suffer from narcolepsy cannot differentiate between sleeping and waking states.

This causes extreme sleepiness and people who have narcolepsy are incapable of preventing themselves from falling asleep. They can have dream-like hallucinations while they are awake and in addition to this, also experience paralysis as they are falling asleep or waking up.

Narcolepsy is often caused by a deficiency of a brain chemical called “hypocretin”. Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for narcolepsy. However, there are some medications that can help sufferers to manage these troublesome symptoms.

3. Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is literally the state of walking while sleeping. This odd condition usually occurs during the deepest phase of sleep. It’s most common amongst children but can be an adult disorder too.

Sleepwalking can have comical results, as people report many adventures while their mind is asleep. Some people will run baths, raid the fridge, or even get dressed! Of course, it’s not all fun and games. In serious cases, people can injure themselves on their night time travels.

The exact cause of sleepwalking is unknown, but it seems to run in families. The best way to combat it is to reduce stress, drink less alcohol, avoid recreational drugs or sedatives and stick to a regular sleep schedule.

4. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding is yet another strange disorder that affects the sleep of millions of people. Most sleep experts believe stress and anxiety are the culprits. Aside from causing damage to the teeth over time, sufferers often wake up with headaches and a sore jaw.

One of the ways to combat this is to not chew gum or anything that is not food since it creates a habit of grinding and chewing. Dentist in La Habra can also provide a mouth guard to protect the teeth However, the most important solution is to reduce stress and anxiety.

5. Sleep Apnea

This is when the throat becomes partially blocked while sleeping. Most people who suffer from this don’t always know until someone points it out to them. Usually, their sleeping partners will attest to very loud snoring and interrupted breathing throughout the night.

Sleep apnea can be dangerous. If left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke.

The common treatment method for this is a CPAP machine. This keeps the sleeping person’s throat open with a steady stream of air. Less common treatments include gum shields to hold the airway open or surgery to improve breathing by removing the tonsils.


Sleep is important to our health and well-being by protecting us from a whole host of diseases and conditions. However, there are certain sleeping disorders that can prevent you from getting the vital, high-quality sleep that you need.

Teeth grinding, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome are just some of the strange sleeping disorders that can interfere with your ability to get some kip. By following our above tips and seeking professional treatment, you can ensure that you (and your loved ones) stand the best chance of getting a good nights’ rest.

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How Stress Can Affect Your Sex Life



Most people know that stress is a common roadblock to leading a balanced life with a healthy mind and body. Too much of it can cause a flood of hormones and adrenaline as your body naturally goes into a fight or flight response, making your heart rate spike, your brain focus, and your muscles tense.

This response doesn’t just make you on edge, however. It can also cause serious, long-term health complications, even in your sex life.

Wondering how exactly stress has the ability to affect your sexual health?

Here’s the answer.

Sexual Dysfunction

Stress can interrupt natural messages between the brain and other parts of the body, including the genitalia. This often results in a lack of the blood flow required for erections or vaginal wetness.

Additionally, stress can negatively affect appetite hormones, causing sufferers to eat more than normal and ultimately gain weight. This weight fluctuation, and the self-image issues that often accompany it, can cause a lack of confidence. This, when combined with consistently interrupted neural messages, can lead to sexual dysfunction.

In men, this most commonly manifests as erectile dysfunction: the inability to get or maintain an erection during sexual situations. This often causes feelings of sexual frustration for both men and their partners. If you or your partner experience ED, consider speaking with a doctor for help. They can prescribe medications like sildenafil, the generic version of Viagra that helps improve blood flow to the penis and allows for longer erections.

For women, stress often causes vaginal dryness and can make intimacy uncomfortable or even painful. If you or your partner experience this during particularly stressful time periods, consider one of the many over-the-counter personal lubricants that can help make the moment more comfortable.

Lack of Interest

Chronic stress causes heightened levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can throw off natural reactions in the body, including libido. Plus, cortisol can cause irritability and impatience, so sufferers are often too busy arguing with partners to enjoy a sexy moment.

It’s also important to remember that the brain is a sex organ, so a preoccupied mind can often make it much harder to get in the mood or experience full pleasure at all. In the extreme, a stressed-out brain is more susceptible to mental health disorders like anxiety and depression which can inhibit your interest in sex even more.

Additionally, if the body is busy overproducing cortisol, it won’t be able to produce normal levels of sex hormones like testosterone, which helps both men and women get in the mood.

If you’re experiencing abnormally low libido that has begun to interrupt your romantic life, it’s important to get help. Often, sex counseling or therapy can help determine the root of the issue and provide you with solutions. Alternatively, you can speak with your doctor about possible treatments to increase sexual interest, such as the medication flibanserin or hormonal therapy.

Shortened Orgasm

Climaxes typically occur in a body that is open to sexual contact, responding to stimuli, and relaxed. However, the common symptoms of stress, like clenched muscles and physical discomfort, can make it much more difficult for you to be able to let go enough to orgasm.

And, similar to its effect on libido, too much stress or anxiety’s ability to distract the mind can make it much more difficult to orgasm, and can sometimes even prevent you from climaxing at all. This can strike both men and women who are unusually stressed out.

Many people who have difficulty orgasming benefit from introducing some variety to their sex lives. Using playful dirty talk, trying longer foreplay, or incorporating sex toys into your experience can all help distract you from whatever stressful thoughts are on your mind and allow you to put yourself more fully in the moment in order to orgasm.

How to Reduce Stress

Starting with proper rest– at least 7 hours a night– there are many ways to cut stress levels throughout your day. Journaling, meditation, yoga, exercise, or other forms of self-care activities can help lower your heart rate and clear your mind of any unnecessary stress. It’s mostly just important that you find an activity that’s enjoyable for you in order to fully unwind.

As you can see, it’s critical to your sexual, physical, and mental health to lead a low-stress lifestyle. Use this information and some of these tips to manage your stress and enjoy a more pleasurable intimate life.

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What Happens to Your Brain and Body After 36 Hours Without Sleep?



Sleep deprivation is a common issue in the modern world. First we pull an all-nighter before an exam, then we work till late to get that promotion, and then a baby is born. These and many other things make us skimp on good sleep.

And while occasionally cutting your sleep down by an hour or two may not wreck your life that much, going completely without sleep for long periods can be extremely harmful to your overall health.

Wondering what exactly happens to your brain after 36 hours without sleep?

Here’s the answer.

Cognitive Problems

The most noticeable effect of sleep deprivation is drowsiness. If you haven’t let your body restore energy levels, you may feel like a phone with a discharged battery the day after.

But it’s more than just a slow reaction and difficulty sustaining attention.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that staying awake for 24 hours is equal to having 0.10% of alcohol in your blood. This is more than a legal limit in all US states.

And if you stay awake further, you will get even more ‘drunk’!

But that’s not it.

By staying awake for long periods, you deplete your brain of nutrients.

Your brain runs on glucose, taking up to 20% of all glucose deposits in your body. During sleep, your body converts glucose into glycogen and stores it in the muscles and liver. Glycogen is then used to supply the organs and cells with glucose as needed. Obviously, if you don’t sleep, you have decreased amounts of glycogen in your body, so the brain becomes hungry and unable to work properly.

What’s even worse:

When you don’t sleep, waste is accumulated in the cerebrospinal fluid.

During the day, your brain generates a lot of neurotransmitters to organize the communication between cells and other divisions of the neural system. The byproducts of these reactions remain in the cerebrospinal fluid and flush away during the deep sleep stage with the help of the glymphatic system.

Now, by depriving yourself of sleep, you don’t allow these cleansing processes to happen, and your brain fluid continues to accumulate byproducts and waste.

This leads to groggy feeling, inability to focus, headaches, and even short-term memory impairment.

Also, the urge to get fast energy makes you a more impulsive eater, causing you to crave sugary sweets, baked goods, and junk food.

The Dangers of Microsleeps

Another common problem you may encounter if you stay awake for 36 hours is a microsleep episode. Microsleep is your body’s compensatory reaction to the lack of sleep.

Basically, it’s a short period of unconsciousness, which happens regardless of the activity you’re involved in. Microsleep episodes usually last from a couple of seconds to half a minute and are followed by disorientation and confusion.

And this is where sleep deprivation becomes dangerous.

If you’re driving a car or working with serious equipment that requires your precise attention, a microsleep episode can cause an accident and even become fatal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2017, drowsy driving took 795 lives.

Today the number of deadly accidents might be even higher, as many people work at night or have an irregular sleeping schedule resulting in sleep deprivation and drowsiness.

Hormonal Disruptions

Sleep deprivation also adversely affects your hormonal system. Since hormones are involved in numerous processes in your body, even the slightest disturbance in your sleep regimen may have a very negative impact.

Here are the two main risks of prolonged sleep deprivation:

  • Increased cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone. And sleep deprivation is undoubtedly a stressful situation that can significantly elevate the levels of cortisol in the blood. Which is why you may experience increased anxiety, racing thoughts, or even panic attacks. Also, cortisol negatively affects blood pressure and skin quality and may promote outbreaks and premature aging.
  • Insulin resistance. Cortisol levels also affect other hormones, particularly insulin. During a stress response, your body prepares to the ‘fight-or-flight’ mode and releases glucose as the fuel for muscle cells. Increased blood sugar levels force your pancreas to produce more insulin to get the glucose back into cells if you don’t use it. Therefore, irregular spikes of cortisol make your body cells resistant to insulin, which is the main reason for type II diabetes and obesity.

These effects appear after 24 hours without sleep and become more pronounced the more you stay awake. Top them with sugar cravings, and you get the working recipe for metabolic syndrome and many endocrine disorders.

Issues with Immune System

Finally, staying awake for 36 hours will take a toll on your immune system:

  • Decreased cytokine percentage. Cytokines are specific proteins released by the immune system. Some of them play a role in the humoral regulation of the sleep cycle, but the primary function of cytokines is protective. The levels of these proteins increase when you have an infection or inflammation flare, and they help you combat pathogens and viruses. When you lack sleep, the levels of cytokines in your blood decrease, and you may become an easy target for germs.
  • Reduced amount of antibodies. White blood cells and antibodies also need cytokines as fuel for their growth. Sleep deprivation and reduced cytokine levels affect the speed of producing new antibodies, and hence, can slow down your recovery process.

That’s why your doctor prescribes bed rest and a calm environment when you’re sick. And it’s better to follow these recommendations.

As you can see, continuous periods without sleep won’t do you any good. So, it’s better to avoid them by organizing your daily life and building a sustainable sleep routine that will help you stay healthy.

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Everything You Need to Know About Sciatica



Sciatica is a term that refers to the pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve (also known as ischiatic nerve) is the largest and longest nerve in the human body – it starts in the lower back and runs through the buttocks and the lower limbs. The sciatic nerve provides sensation and motor control to the entire lower leg (except for its inner side), as well as the skin of the foot.

Symptoms of Sciatica

Sciatica is usually caused by a compressed nerve in the lower spine, which results in back and leg pain, ranging from mild to very strong.

Other symptoms of sciatica include:

  • difficulty moving of exercising
  • numbness and tingling sensation in the limbs
  • stiffness in the feet
  • throbbing or inflammation in the lower back or thigh area when standing or sitting for a longer period of time

Studies have shown that 10% – 40% of Americans will suffer from sciatica at some point in their lives. Sciatic nerve pain can cause discomfort and prevent you from functioning normally. What’s more, it becomes worse with every bending, twisting, or flexing motion.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatic nerve pain is not a condition but a symptom of several different medical conditions. In most cases, sciatic nerve pain is caused by a slipped (herniated) disk. The disks in the spine are made of cartilage, which functions as a protective layer between the vertebrae (individual bones in the spine) and makes the spine flexible. When a disk is pushed out of place, it’s jelly-like core leaks out and pressures the sciatic nerve or the lower back nerves.

Other causes of sciatica include:

  • Spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, which can compress the spinal nerves.
  • Tumors inside the spine which may put pressure on the sciatic nerve’s root.
  • Spondylolisthesis – a slipping of vertebrae that occurs at the base of the spine.
  • Pelvic fracture or trauma – this kind of injuries affects the nervous tissue.
  • An infection that can ultimately affect the spine.
  • Injuries in the spine.

There are also several factors that can increase the risk of sciatica, such as:

  • Excess body weight puts extra pressure on the spine and contributes to sciatic nerve pain.
  • Age – people in their 40s are more likely to develop sciatic nerve pain.
  • Certain professions that involve lifting loads for longer periods of time.
  • Sedentary behavior – people who sit for long periods of time or those who aren’t physically active are at a higher risk of developing sciatica.
  • Sleeping on an inadequate mattress can also contribute to sciatic nerve pain.
  • Pregnancy – certain pregnancy hormones can cause the ligaments to stretch and loosen up, which can result in back pain.

When to See a Doctor

If your symptoms are persistent or getting worse, make sure to see a healthcare professional who will confirm a sciatica diagnosis and discuss the most appropriate treatment options.

If you experience any or all of the following, you need to call your doctor right away:

  • sciatic nerve pain in both legs
  • numbness or tingling between the legs and around your buttocks
  • recent loss of bowel or bladder control

Even though it is rare, these can be a sign of cauda equina syndrome. This is a very serious disorder in which something compresses on the spinal nerve roots and it requires urgent medical treatment.

Treatments for Sciatica

The good news is that 80% to 90% of people suffering from sciatica can recover without surgical intervention.

Usually, a combination of some of the following can help reduce the symptoms until the condition improves:

  • Exercises and light stretches allow patients to alleviate the symptoms and possibly avoid taking prescription drugs. These can also bring relief during flare-ups.
  • Painkillers like ibuprofen, which are sold over-the-counter but are also available online. Note: if you decide to take painkillers for sciatica, make sure to discuss the best option for you with a healthcare professional.
  • Hot/cold compresses can help alleviate the pain.
  • Sleeping on a good-quality supportive mattress.
  • Using ergonomic and supportive chairs

For more persistent cases, further treatment may be recommended, such as:

  • Injections of painkilling and anti-inflammatory medication directly into the spine
  • Physical therapy
  • Taking stronger painkiller tablets, or even steroids
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy

If the sciatica symptoms can’t be relieved by any of these treatments, and they continue getting worse, surgery is also an option. Common surgical options are:

  • Discectomy – complete or partial removal of the herniated disk.
  • Lumbar laminectomy – widening of the spinal cord in the lower back to decrease the pressure on the nerves.

In most cases, sciatic nerve pain will go away on its own (usually in six weeks) and surgical intervention won’t be necessary.

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