Home Authors Posts by Dr. Marie Gabrielle Laguna

Dr. Marie Gabrielle Laguna

Medical doctor-internist


When Does Drinking Become a ProblemAbout 2 billion people across the world consume alcoholic drinks.  Drinking becomes a problem when over-consumed. Consumption can harm health as well as social relationship, but the nature and the severity of the effects depend on both the amount of alcohol consumed over time, and the pattern of drinking.

Some people have been heavy drinkers for many years. But, over time, the same amount of alcohol packs a more powerful punch. Other people develop a drinking problem later in life. Sometimes this is a result of major life changes like death of dear friends or a loved one, moving to a new home, or failing health.

These kinds of changes can cause loneliness, boredom, anxiety, or depression. In fact, depression in older adults often goes along with drinking too much.

One drink is equal to one of the following:

  • One 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer, ale, or wine cooler
  • One 8- or 9-ounce can or bottle of malt liquor
  • One 5-ounce glass of red or white wine
  • One 1.5-ounce shot glass of distilled spirits like gin, rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey. The label on the bottle will say 80 proof or less.

It is helpful to understand the “standard” drink sizes in order to follow health guidelines. However, it also is important to keep in mind that drinks may be stronger than you think they are if the actual serving sizes are larger than the standard sizes.

Reasons to stop drinking. Check off any reasons that sounds true for you.

  • I want to be healthy by keeping my high blood sugar under (diabetes) control.
  • I want to lower my blood pressure.
  • I want to keep my liver working right.
  • I don’t want to hurt anyone by driving after I’ve been drinking.
  • I don’t want to fall and hurt myself.
  • I want to stop feeling embarrassed about how I act when drinking.
  • I want to live longer.
  • I really wanted to change for the better.

Making change in your drinking habits can be hard. If you don't reach your goal for the first time, don’t give up!

Written by: Vina Benitez, Eternus Global


Whats The Connection Between Hearing And Cognitive HealthThe connection between hearing and cognitive health is that people with hearing loss are more likely to avoid social situations, which may impact both physical activity and emotional well being, any of which may mediate the relationship between hearing ability and brain health.Hearing loss occurs in approximately one in three people aged 65 and above. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. Several studies have indicated that there is a connection between hearing loss and brain function decline.

Maintain that your brain always stays stimulated. According to research, this is the most important thing we can do to maintain our brains as we age to stay mentally engaged. We can also do it through an active social life with friends, family and business associates. Healthy hearing is a key part of staying involved with people you love and the world.

Luckily, hearing aids can help with this problem.

In one study, researchers identified nine risk factors for developing dementia: less childhood education, hypertension, anxiety, obesity, smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation, diabetes, and, you guessed it right- hearing impairment

Although the brain becomes smaller with age, the shrinkage seems to be fast-tracked in older adults with hearing loss.

Do not ignore hearing loss, and do not delay getting the treatment you need. Take it from someone who knows what he's talking about. If hearing loss is potentially contributing to these differences we're seeing on MRI, you may want to treat it before these brain structural changes take place.

Dealing with cognitive health

  • It is important for people with hearing loss to take necessary actions and get the treatment they need.
  • Wear hearing aid device

Hearing Impairment

This is a general term which covers both young age and old aged people having hearing difficulties.

Hard of Hearing

Those whom the sense of hearing although defective is functional with or without hearing aid


Those whom the sense of hearing is non functional for the ordinary purposes of life

When something bad happens about your hearing, you have three choices; you can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.

Written by: Vina Benitez, Eternus Global

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors and Treatment

What is a Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons and it typically starts in the late fall and early winter. It goes away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes associated to the summer can happen, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.

Signs and Symptoms of SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is not considered as a separate disorder. It is a type of depression exhibiting a repetitive seasonal pattern.

Symptoms of Major Depression that lead to SAD:

  1. You feel depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  2. You are feeling hopeless or worthless
  3. You constantly have low energy
  4. You are starting to lose interest in activities you once enjoyed
  5. You tend to have problems with sleeping
  6. You start to experience changes in your appetite or weight
  7. You are starting to feel sluggish or agitated
  8. You began to have difficulty in concentrating
  9. Your thoughts of death or suicide have turned frequent

Symptoms of the Winter Pattern of SAD include:

  1. You begin to have low energy
  2. You experience hypersomnia
  3. You start to overeat
  4. You begin to gain weight
  5. Your craving for carbohydrates has become extreme
  6. You start to have social withdrawal which equals to the feel of hibernating¯

Symptoms of the less frequently occurring summer seasonal affective disorder include:

  1. You began to have poor appetite with associated weight loss
  2. You experience insomnia
  3. Agitation and restlessness starts to occur in you
  4. Episodes of violent behavior and anxiety start to happen

Risk Factors

Attributes that may increase your risk of SAD include:

  • Being a female, SAD is diagnosed four times more often in women than in men
  • SAD is more frequent in people living far from the equator
  • You have a family history of SAD and it is likely to develop with people who have a family history of other types of depression
  • You have been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder
  • You are at a younger age and SAD has been reported even in children and teens

Treatments and Therapies

There are four major types of treatment for SAD:

  1. Medication
  2. Light therapy
  3. Psychotherapy
  4. Vitamin D intake

These types of treatments may be used alone or in combination.


The medication used to treat SAD is the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). The use of bupropion, another type of antidepressant, for treating SAD has also approved by the FDA.

Light Therapy

A mainstay of treatment for SAD since the 1980s is light therapy. Light therapy is replacing vitamin D depletion during fall and winter months. Light therapy is daily exposure to bright, artificial light.


A type of psychotherapy that is effective for SAD is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT-SAD uses basic techniques of CBT such as identifying negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts. It is used along with a technique called behavioral activation. Activities that are engaging and pleasurable, whether indoors or outdoors, can help the person improve.

Intake of Vitamin D

Low blood levels of vitamin D were found in people with SAD. Due to insufficient dietary intake or insufficient exposure to sunshine, low levels happen.


What Should I Do If I Can't Sleep?Our body needs to sleep 8-9 hours every night in order for our mind to function well in the daytime. If we are lacking in sleep it can cause lack of concentration and energy to do our daily tasks. And sometimes, lack of sleep can lead into some serious conditions.There are many reasons why we can't sleep. If this will persist, it will affect our physical health. So don't be just at ease, seek doctor's advice immediately.

Having a good night's sleep can benefit your health. It is important to us to have good sleep habits (sometimes it is also referred to sleep hygiene¯.)

One effective way to minimize sleep problems is by keeping a sleeping diary when:

You go to bed, sleep, wake up, and get out of bed, take naps, and exercise.

The Following Are Tips For Better Sleeping:

  • Pray and thank God about how good he is to you every day
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Consume less caffeinated beverages.
  • A relaxing, dark and quiet room helps you have a comfortable night.
  • If possible, don't place electronic devices such as TV, and smart phones inside your bedroom.
  • During bedtime, limit your consumption of heavy meals. We don't need to eat heavy meals as it will affect our good sleep.
  • Exercise could help you easily fall asleep at night. Exercise for at least 15 minutes every day.
  • Drink water at least 8 glasses a day.
  • Start planning a healthy menu for your diet.
  • Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.

It's up for you on what you are going to follow

A good sleeping habit plays an important role in our daily lives. Nighttime is the best time for us to relax our consciousness so that we can gain strength for the next day.  Don't forget to pray every night because God didn't forget to wake us up in the morning.

Consult your medical expert. When you can't sleep at night, your doctor will have exact findings on about what you are currently experiencing.

Life always offers us a second chance called tomorrow; so have a good night's sleep.

Written by: Vina Benitez, Eternus Global


Travel to Cold Climates Most of us wanted to travel around the world, but then, what if you are going to travel to a place with cold climate? Always remember the word Safety First¯.Travelling into cold climate places faces many risks.  Even mild climates, wind and rain can produce cold-related injuries in cold temperature.

When travelling in cold climates, wear warm clothing in several loose layers. Gloves should protect your hands, and a hat or hood should protect your head. In wet conditions, shoes should be waterproof and have good traction. Make sure that your cold-weather gear does not restrict your movement or block your eyesight. When engaging in adventure activities in cold weather or around cold water, have safety equipment and gear that will keep you warm and dry.

Conditions in travelling to a cold climate place


Hypothermia happens when your body temperature drops below 95°F. Mild hypothermia can make you feel confused, and you may not think that anything is wrong until it is too late. Being too cold can also cloud your judgment and can cause you to make mistakes, which can be deadly.

Early symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, feeling tired, being clumsy, and being confused. As your body loses more heat, the shivering may stop, your skin may turn blue, the pupils of your eyes may expand, your pulse and breathing may slow down, and you may pass out.


Frostbite happens when a part of the body freezes, leading to damage in tissue. Fingers and toes are more at risk. If tissue can't be saved, the body part may need to be amputated. Warning signs of frostbite include numbness or tingling, stinging, or pain where you are most exposed to the cold. Frostbite is treated by warming the body part in warm water.

Modern clothing and equipment have decreased the risk for adventure travellers, but frostbite still occurs after accidents, as a result of poor planning, and in severe, unexpected weather.

In cold weather, a good rule is to light your fire first before doing anything else. It is always more sensible to keep yourself warm.

Written by: Vina Benitez, Eternus Global


Healthy Aging: Nutrition Tips for Staying Strong and Healthy After 50

5 Nutrition Tips for a Strong and Healthy Aging

The accumulation of excess fat and a lower resting metabolic rate is the cause why aging woman gain weight. You will learn in this blog the tips for healthy aging. Hormonal shifts can cause a range of symptoms and these shifts increase the overall risk for heart disease and stroke. Finally, loss of stomach acid decreases the absorption of certain nutrients.

These 5 nutrition tips may help you live your 50s healthily, strongly, and most of all fabulously.

1. Consider taking B12 Supplements

B12 is a vitamin that is needed to make DNA and it helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy. B12 must be released from its protein host by pepsin during digestion in the stomach. Absorbing certain nutrients becomes more difficult including B12  in old age.

In fish and meat, B12 is primarily found, and older adults are at a greater risk for B12 deficiency. By simply adding the vitamin in a supplemental form to your diet (either by pill or shot), symptoms of B12 deficiency can be avoided.

2. Strictly Cut Back on Salt

We are more likely to develop hypertension as we get older because our blood vessels become less elastic as we age. Also the risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease and early death increases with high blood pressure. Your consumption of processed foods should be decreased. Aim for 1500 mg of sodium per day or less, which is about ½ teaspoon, and start adding flavorful herbs in place of salt when you cook at home. Herbs provide some great anti-cancer benefits as well!

Consuming more whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables will help increase your fiber consumption. Fiber helps you stay fuller for a longer time. This means you will likely eat less throughout the day and be more likely maintain your weight.

3. Use Iron Containing MultiVitamins Cautiously

At the age of 50, the average woman experiences menopause. Due to the termination of menstruation, the need for iron decreases after menopause to about 8 mg of iron a day. The body doesn’t have a natural way to emit iron, therefore iron toxicity can happen. Liver or heart damage and even death can happen due to too much iron in the body. Iron supplements should only be taken by post-menopausal women when prescribed by a physician. Make sure to replace your vitamin soon if it has iron.

  4. Increase Your Calcium and Vitamin D Intake

Vitamin D levels and calcium absorption tank around age 40 due to gastric acid and hormone changes. Increased risk of osteoporosis happens due to lack of estrogen in post-menopausal women and to make matters worse, women over 50 are at a higher risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Consuming adequate calcium before the age of 30 is most ideal. Add rich calcium sources in your diet, including sardines, spinach, broccoli, kale, and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. And also, your physician should test your vitamin D levels and provide additional supplementation as needed.

 5. Plan a Mediterranean Delight Diet

Our blood vessels become less elastic and our total peripheral resistance increases as we turn older. Increased risk of heart disease puts in women in menopause. Mediterranean diet does not only decrease the risk of heart disease but is also delightful.


To Have Better Nutrition Make Healthier Food ChoicesWe make dozens of decisions every day. When it comes to deciding what to eat and feed our families, it can be a lot easier than you might think to make smart, healthy choices. It takes just a little planning.

The food we place into our bodies is our fuel. It provides us with nutrients plus the vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that our bodies need to function. Research shows that good food choices are especially important for children's growing bodies and minds. Smart choices have immediate long-lasting benefits for you and your family.

Parents should be good role models by eating healthy and being physically active with their children.

Setting a good example is very important.¯

Try the GO, SLOW, WHOA approach to food. GO foods are great to eat anytime. They have lots of nutrients and are low in unhealthy fats, sugar, and calories. GO foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals, breads, and pastas, fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, lean meats, fish, and beans.

SLOW foods should be eaten less often. These include non-whole-grain bread, rice, and pasta; peanut butter, pretzels and fruit juices.

WHOA foods are only for once in a while”foods like French fries, whole milk, cheese, hot dogs, fried fish,  chicken, candy, and soda.

Always remember that Healthier diets don't have to cost more, provided that you have the right attitude, make the right food choices, and try to cook at home.¯

Unfortunately, these days, much of our food isn't eaten at home. It's eaten on the go. One easy way to eat more nutritiously is to pack healthy lunches”both for yourself and for your kids.

When you are in the grocery, Nutrition Facts label is a great resource to help you compare foods. It can help you confirm whether products marked with healthy-sounding terms are really healthy. Low-fat¯ foods aren't that healthy; they can be very high in sugar and calories.

It takes time to build healthy eating decisions in every aspect of your family life. Make healthy food choices so that you can set a good example for your kids.

Good Food, Good Life

Written by: Vina Benitez, Eternus Global



Maternal Vaccines: Part of a Healthy PregnancyVaccines help protect you and your baby against serious diseases. You probably know that when you are pregnant, you share everything with your baby. This means that when you get vaccines, you aren't just protecting yourself”you are giving your baby some early protection too.

And, did you know that your baby gets disease immunity protection from you during pregnancy? This immunity will protect your baby from some diseases during the first few months of life, but immunity decreases over time.

We recommend you to get a whooping cough and flu vaccine during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby. You must start planning ahead for your safety.

There are two types of vaccines: Vaccines during Pregnancy and Vaccines Before and After Pregnancy

Vaccines during Pregnancy

Whooping cough (Pertussis):

Whooping cough can be serious for anyone, but for your newborn, it can be life-threatening. The younger the baby gets whooping cough, the more likely he or she will need to be treated in a hospital. It may be hard for you to know if your baby has whooping cough because many babies with this disease don't cough at all. Instead, it can cause them to stop breathing and turn blue.

When you get the whooping cough vaccine during your pregnancy, your body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them to your baby before birth. These antibodies will provide your baby some short-term, early protection against whooping cough.

Vaccines Before and After Pregnancy

Even before becoming pregnant, make sure you are up to date on all your vaccines. This will help protect you and your child from serious diseases. For example, rubella is a contagious disease that can be very dangerous if you get it while you are pregnant. In fact, it can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects. The best protection against rubella is (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, or what we call MMR nowadays. Make sure you have a pre-pregnancy blood test to see if you are immune to the disease.

Prevention is better than cure. Vaccines are miracle cure to us.

Written by: Vina Benitez, Eternus Global


Awful insomnia side effects no one talks about

Know some of the insomnia side effects

Psychiatric and medical conditions such as unhealthy sleep habits leads to insomnia. And other conditions such as specific substances, and/or certain biological factors can also lead to insomnia. Researchers have begun to think recently that insomnia is linked to as a problem of your brain being unable to stop getting awake.

Medical Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia can also be led by many medical conditions.

Medical conditions such as nasal/sinus allergies, and gastrointestinal problems such as reflux are linked to insomnia. It also includes conditions like endocrine problems such as hyperthyroidism which can also cause insomnia. Other medical conditions like arthritis, asthma, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease also lead to insomnia as well as the conditions of chronic pain and low back pain.

In addition, underlying sleep disorders scan also lead to insomnia. Insomnia can also be led by a neurological condition known as restless legs. This condition leads to a sensation of needing to move legs in a very uncomfortable way.

Worse symptoms can typically be experienced by patients with restless legs in the later part of the day. These symptoms can also be experienced during periods of inactivity and in the transition from waking to sleep.

Another sleep disorder is called sleep apnea and is also linked to insomnia. During sleep, a person’s airway become partially or completely obstructed due to sleep apnea. This obstruction of the lungs leads to pauses in breathing and a drop in oxygen levels, and this condition causes a person to wake up briefly but repeatedly throughout the night.

It’s essential to talk to your doctor first, about any underlying medical issues or sleep disorders that could be contributing to your sleep problems to figure out a course of action for your insomnia problems.

Insomnia & Depression

Psychiatric conditions such as depression can also cause insomnia. Insomnia can cause changes in mood and shifts in hormones. It is hard for a person to sleep when they have psychological struggles. Both psychiatric issues and physiology can lead to insomnia at the same time.

Patients with major depressive disorders have much higher risks of severe insomnia. According to studies, it is revealed that insomnia can trigger or worsen depression. Insomnia can be linked to depression, and can make it worse.

Insomnia & Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms that can cause insomnia include:

  1. Getting tense and engrossed in thoughts about past events.
  2. Extreme worrying about future events.
  3. Feeling incredulous by responsibilities.
  4. Throttled up or overstimulated feelings.

These are symptoms of general anxiety It's not hard to see why it can cause difficulty in sleeping. Maintenance insomnia can be linked to anxiety which can cause waking up during the night and not being able to return to sleep. Also, onset insomnia which is the trouble of falling asleep also leads to insomnia. Stressful thoughts are brought by both two types of insomnia. These thought and fears keep a person awake during the quiet and inactivity of the night.


How can you reduce sodium? This is a common question that we hear every day, especially from those people who are widely depending on processed foods.How to Reduce SodiumFor most people, when sodium intake is reduced, blood pressure begins decreasing in only a few weeks, on the average.

We should be careful when it comes choosing food for ourselves.

There are lot of tips on how to reduce sodium but first we have to follow these tips:

Choose a Heart-Healthy Diet

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan is a simple, heart-healthy diet that can help prevent or lower high blood pressure. The DASH diet is low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated and total fats, and is high in fruits and vegetables, fiber, potassium, and low-fat dairy products.

If you follow the DASH eating plan and also make other lifestyle changes such as getting more physical activity, you will see the biggest benefits. Heart attacks and strokes could be prevented every year.

Tips for Lowering Sodium at the Supermarket

  • Buy fresh, frozen or no salt added canned vegetables.
  • Use fresh poultry, fish, pork, and lean meat, rather than canned or processed meats.
  • When available, buy low sodium, lower sodium, reduced sodium, or no salt added versions of products.
  • Limit your use of mixes, and instant¯ products, including flavoured rice and ready-made pasta.
  • Compare Nutrition Facts labels on food packages for Percent Daily Value or amount of sodium in milligrams.
  • Check to see if saline or salt solution has been added”if so, choose another brand.

Tips for Lowering Sodium While Eating Out

Restaurant foods are a major source of sodium in diets, so it pays to take a few minutes to find out what's in the food you’re eating. Planning ahead also can help you find restaurants that have information on sodium levels in the foods they serve.

To reduce your sodium when you are eating out at a restaurant, request that no salt be added to your food.

Beware of hidden sources of sodium such as sauces and dressings, and ask for these toppings on the side.

Written by: Vina Benitez, Eternus Global