Vitamins are important for the skin: The relationship of vitamin A can fight acne and psoriasis. These substances are also found in moisturizers and anti-aging products. Our body produces vitamin A itself from precursors of the substance; it takes the appropriate building blocks for it from food, for example from egg yolks, carrots or cream. The vitamin – also called retinol – can then be converted into other important substances: These retinoids can perform very different tasks in the body. Our eyes, for example, need retinal to perceive light impulses. Other retinoids play important roles in skin cell growth. Local application with ointment is preferable to tablets; doctors should only prescribe tablets for severe forms of psoriasis. Patients with acne should only use retinoids as part of a combination therapy. Overall, retinoids can also help in the long term, and in the best case scenario they can even cure the skin disease. Certain retinoids do their job in the top layer of the skin , in the epidermis. There are the cells that produce the horny layer. The retinoids ensure that too much horny substance does not form. Also, the relatives of vitamin A can reduce inflammation in the skin. Because retinoids can control horny cells, dermatologists prescribe this substance to people with psoriasis . Because with this disease, the horny cells are too active, they cause, among other things, the dandruff. Retinoids also help with acne because they decrease sebum production. If the sebum glands are blocked and inflamed, the vitamin A relationship can curb the infection. Retinoids are usually added to ointments. You can apply it to the infected areas. But there are also tablets. Then the drug works throughout the body and can cause serious side effects. In the meantime, many cosmetic manufacturers have started adding derivatives of vitamin A to creams and lotions . The retinoids are supposed to hold moisture in the skin and thus make wrinkles disappear. But so far there are no studies that prove such an anti-aging effect .
Eating less – if you want to lose pounds through this alone, you will fail again and again. Because it is also important to bring movement into everyday life. Experts give tips on how to do this without any problems. Christiane Nauroth started the first diet when she was in her early twenties . Since then, the 39-year-old has been trying to get rid of her extra pounds. She has already tried a lot: smaller portions, potatoes instead of rice or fruit and vegetables instead of meat. Although this was the first successes to be achieved, Christiane Nauroth did not succeed in permanently reducing her weight. With a height of 1.75 meters, she weighed a maximum of 116 kilos, the trained industrial clerk is currently a little over 90 kilos. For a long time she couldn’t bring herself to do sport. “I’ve always been a bit of a sports grouch,” she says. Like Christiane Nauroth, many overweight people believe that the ideal route to ideal weight is the right diet. They chastise each other when they eat, nibble on carrots, drink apple cider vinegar and yet fail every time. Because if you want to lose weight permanently, you also have to move . Butt up! “It is advisable to start slowly,” says Ingo Froböse, head of the Center for Health at the German Sport University Cologne. “It doesn’t have to be the marathon.” Instead of starting sports immediately, the first goal should be to integrate exercise into everyday life . Because the body cells don’t really care whether their owner rides a bike, cleans windows, digs up the garden or lifts weights in the gym. The examples show that there are numerous opportunities to get active. The problem: countless movement killers lurk in everyday life to keep us from doing it. Elevators save us the stairs, the S-Bahn takes us almost to the front door and electric bicycles ensure that we don’t have to pedal so hard. If you want to lose weight, you should avoid such comfort traps – and get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home. Going for a walk is a good gateway drug anyway. Because at the beginning: “A lot of exercise and little stress,” says Froböse. “Half an hour of walking a day is enough, an hour is ideal.” The expert advises against maltreating yourself with a stress EKG and fat measurements right from the start. “Beginners shouldn’t overwhelm themselves with data like this. Walk up your butt and leisurely, that’s enough.” “People are made for movement,” says Gerhard Huber from the Institute for Sport and Sport Science at the University of Heidelberg. He also advises overweight people to start slowly and celebrate their successes. However, not with sweets or overeating – because a bar of milk chocolate can destroy the usefulness of an hour of jogging in no time. Huber has also observed that knowing exactly how many calories an exercise burns is an incentive for many overweight people. Lazing around and shedding fat Sports scientist Froböse doesn’t think much of it. “The value of exercise is in burning more energy later when I’m on the couch,” he says. Lazing around and shedding fat – what sounds incompatible is actually possible. But only if you first increase your basal metabolic rate (GU). Behind the bulky term hides the amount of calories that our body needs at rest to maintain its vital basic functions such as breathing or the heartbeat. The GU, which depends on weight, gender and ambient temperature, has a 60 to 70 percent share in our metabolism. If it reaches a higher level, the energy consumption also increases. “Obese people have to turn this screw,” says Froböse. “Your metabolism is often poor: you take in more calories than you use.” In doing so, they do not necessarily eat more, they only utilize the energy they supply less than people of normal weight. The GU can be calculated using a simple formula . If you want to know exactly, you can have it determined with the help of a test by a specialist or in a sports medicine institute . Christiane Nauroth had her GU determined at the Sport University Cologne – with a breath test, for which she had to appear sober. “The GU was pretty much in the basement,” she says. This is not surprising, because diets drive him down mercilessly. The body learns to get by with less energy and shuts down the engine. “Eating less would therefore be the wrong way to go, because then the metabolism would be further weakened,” says Froböse. If you lose weight in this way, you also lose mass in the wrong places, because instead of fat, the body first breaks down muscles. More muscle, less fat But how do you get the JV up? “About a sustainable nutrition program and metabolic tuning,” says Froböse. The path leads to more muscle mass. Because our body’s powerhouses are real energy guzzlers; after the liver, they consume the most calories – and not only during exercise, but also when you are resting. However, those who want to lose weight have to cope with a little shock at the beginning when they train their muscles. Because they initially weigh more and are therefore “the enemy of the scales”, as Froböse says. But perseverance is worth it: If you build muscle, you also reduce the amount of fat in your body and create energy-hungry power plants. Every kilogram of muscle mass consumes around 50 kilocalories more energy than one kilogram of body fat per day – which corresponds roughly to the amount of energy in a bar of milk chocolate. If you have a good GU and exercise regularly, you can treat yourself to something sweet now and then. Load joints gently Anyone who decides on a sport should make sure that the joints, heart, circulation and bones are gently strained. “Cycling or aqua jogging is great for beginners,” says Froböse. Also important: “Overweight people have to do sport with sufficient oxygen supply. Only then is the fat metabolism stimulated and the body burns additional calories.” Five times a week ten minutes of muscle training with your own weight or the Theraband and three times a week endurance training, for example half an hour to three quarters of an hour of walking with medium load: Froböse is convinced that anyone who incorporates this training dose into their everyday life drives well. For a start, however, it is enough to be physically active for 15 to 30 minutes every day and slowly increase this dose – first in scope, then in intensity. In order to overcome the first hurdle on the way to more exercise and the desired weight, offers from the health insurance company are also helpful. Keeping up is everything Christiane Nauroth now walks with her husband for an hour two to three times a week. She also trains her muscles at home – at least three to four times a week for half an hour. “At first it was difficult, but now I even enjoy it,” says the 39-year-old. However, it is important to stay tuned : Only those who do sport regularly can have a lasting effect on their metabolism. “If I’ve chucked myself ten kilos in ten years and now think it should go away in three weeks, that’s the wrong idea,” says Froböse. Sports scientist Huber also emphasizes: “Movement is a life’s work.” Because the body doesn’t change overnight. It takes time for him to break down fat deposits and build up muscle fibers. Body fat is high in energy; there are around 7000 kilocalories in one kilogram. To burn them off, an athlete weighing 70 kilograms would have to jog for around ten hours at an average speed of a good eight kilometers per hour. Exercise not only has a positive effect on the display of the scale. The psyche also benefits: Those who move, feel more balanced. After moving for a while, the body breaks down stress hormones and releases happiness hormones. “After a hard day in the office, I can clear my head with an hour of running,” says Christiane Nauroth. “If I don’t do sports for a few days, I now notice that I am lacking movement.”
Our foreheads are subject to constant movement: when we are angry, blinded, focused, or just raised our eyebrows. In addition to facial expressions, natural skin aging also contributes to the formation of forehead wrinkles. The bad news is that wrinkles cannot be stopped. Sooner or later the firmness and elasticity of our skin diminishes, so that it goes through a natural aging process. That in itself is not tragic, but for many men and women an aesthetic problem. Especially when the first wrinkles appear on the face and make the face look older. The good news, however, is: With the right care and a healthy lifestyle, you can counteract the premature formation of wrinkles – without any botox. Which other factors can promote skin aging and which products should promote a smooth complexion are explained as follows. These factors promote permanent forehead wrinkles From the age of 25, the skin loses its elasticity, so that the first expression lines can appear on the face, which are initially only superficial. With increasing age, however, the depth of wrinkles also increases, triggered by our natural facial expressions: the more pronounced this is, the earlier forehead wrinkles can become noticeable. These are horizontal folds that are reinforced when you laugh or wrinkle. Frown lines, on the other hand, are vertical between the eye brows and the nose – they are particularly encouraged when your facial expressions are permanently tense. For example because they are constantly angry or have to concentrate hard. But external factors also have a major influence on the formation of wrinkles. The most well-known triggers that cause our skin to age faster include smoking, alcohol consumption, too much sun exposure and too little sleep. In order to counteract forehead wrinkles at an early stage, a healthy lifestyle is essential. Skin care also plays an important role. Prevent forehead wrinkles – with the right care There is no question that skin care products cannot have the same effect on forehead wrinkles as botox or hyaluronic acid injections. For this, the use of an anti-aging cream is significantly cheaper than a medical intervention. In addition, the over-the-counter cosmetic products contain certain combinations of active ingredients that are supposed to promote a smooth complexion – such as the following care products: 1. Hyaluronic acid It is a natural component of our connective tissue and is broken down by our body over time, so the surgical procedure is not a one-time thing. For the same reason, products containing hyaluronic acid should not be used for short periods of time. To get a positive result, you need the moisturizer or the serum apply regularly. Only in this way can the active ingredient be stored in your connective tissue, improve the complexion of your skin – and counteract forehead wrinkles. 2. Forehead pads As the name suggests, the pads are placed directly on the forehead to reduce wrinkles. The natural ingredients contained in it should – according to the manufacturer – be completely absorbed by the skin so that it is supplied with moisture and its elasticity is improved. The forehead pads also have a cooling effect and can be worn for up to eight hours at a time. The same also applies to anti-wrinkle plasters Against frown lines: They are applied directly to the problem area (between the eyebrows and nose) and can even work overnight while you sleep. 3. Retinol serum It has the same effect on our body as vitamin A, which fights wrinkles: Retinol is a substitute that is supposed to make the skin more elastic and thus can also minimize forehead wrinkles. In contrast to vitamin A acid, retinol serum is does not require a prescription and is therefore found in many care products such as creams and masks. Since the active ingredient inhibits free radicals, which normally break down the wrinkle-reducing collagen, retinol is traded as a popular beauty secret weapon in the cosmetics market. 4. Face roller Regular facial massages should also reduce forehead wrinkles. These can be done by hand – or you can use a so-called face roller. It consists of a jade or rose quartz stone and has a smooth surface that feels pleasantly cool when rolled over the skin. It is important that you only exert a little pressure on your face during the massage and then apply a moisturizing cream or facial oil to the skin treat to stimulate blood circulation. 5. Ultrasound A so-called ultrasound treatment in the cosmetic studio easily costs between 500 and 1000 euros. It too should be able to help reduce the visible wrinkles on the face and forehead. This is made possible by ultrasound waves that penetrate the skin and heat deeper layers – which in turn stimulates the regeneration of cells. This should make the skin look plumper and fresher by reducing forehead wrinkles. However, the result is only visible after several uses. If the treatment is too expensive for you, you can also get an ultrasound machine buy for home use. The prices are not cheap, but they are significantly cheaper than professional treatment at a beautician. Use the device twice a week. 6. Microdermabrasion This is a special device that removes the topmost layer of skin: During microdermabrasion, which stimulates blood circulation, your face is freed from dead skin particles and skin cell renewal is stimulated. This in turn means that your face should appear firmer and smoother after the treatment. Depending on which attachment you use, the microdermabrasion device can also be used to remove pimples and blackheads. Without the use of chemicals. Botox vs. Hyaluronic Acid: What’s the Difference? It is not uncommon for those affected to have their forehead wrinkles removed, which requires a medical intervention at the Beauty doc. He uses botox or hyaluronic acid – but what is the difference? On the one hand in price, on the other hand in application: while the botulinum toxin is injected directly into the facial muscles, the hyaluronic acid gel has to be injected under the skin. This has the advantage that your face does not appear as rigid as after a botox treatment – but it is cheaper. In both cases, the effect wears off after six to twelve months at the latest, so that it has to be repeated regularly. This makes a visit to the specialist much more expensive than the permanent use of care products against forehead wrinkles.
Around four million people in Germany suffer from depression. Sports clubs should now stand by those affected in the fight against their disease. Psychiatrists and sports scientists have developed a special training program for people with depression. The effectiveness of the offer designed for sports clubs is now being tested in a study. Movement helps with depression, but there are far too few specific sports and movement therapies, said Prof. Marc Ziegenbein, deputy director of the MHH clinic for psychiatry, social psychiatry and psychotherapy in Hanover on Friday. According to the researchers’ ideas, the “Active out of the mood” program should become just as natural in clubs as, for example, back exercises or courses for heart patients. A moderate endurance training was developed that can be continued after the course. “The program includes, for example, walking, light running training and playful exercises,” said sports scientist Olaf Hoos from the University of Marburg. Researchers from the University of Würzburg are also involved. Depression is also a physical illness A total of 50 patients are taking part in the study, they meet three times a week for 45 to 60 minute training sessions. The goals are to reduce depressive symptoms, improve body awareness and improve self-confidence. It should also be achieved that those affected come back to people. The patients are divided into two groups, one of which starts later. The Würzburg riot police provide a control group with healthy people who are also completing the program. An estimated four million people in Germany suffer from depression. “It’s a really good idea to get the sports clubs on board,” said Prof. Frank Schneider, head of the sports psychiatry department of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology, about the project. In psychiatric clinics, physiotherapy is an important part of every treatment, but in the outpatient area there is a lack of special exercise offers for the mentally ill, said the director of the clinic for psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychosomatics at the University Hospital Aachen. “With regular club training there is a very quick risk of being overwhelmed.” Depression is not only a nervous but also serious physical illness. “Even if the disease seems to have subsided, it is still in the bones many months later.”
Barely every tenth German does it: do without pajamas or clothes in bed. That’s why you should sleep naked from now on Only 10% of the population sleeps naked. Most of them are therefore rather skeptical about sleeping naked. Why actually? We have the sleep researcher Dr. Hans Günter weeß, author asked why one should sleep at all naked. Here are the 7 reasons why sleeping naked is worth trying: 1. Sleeping naked is healthy and hygienic The fact is: “Sleeping naked can have an advantage for the skin,” says the expert. If you belong to the group of naked sleepers, you sweat less at night than pajamas sleepers, especially in the intimate areas of the body. This removes the breeding ground for dangerous bacteria and fungi. The pajama group, however, argues that it is unhygienic to sleep without clothes. Not quite true. Sleeping naked is more hygienic on one condition: washing your bedding more often. Sleep researcher Weeß: “Naked sleepers should change their bed linen at least twice a week. At night you sweat and lose up to 0.75 liters of fluid. This naturally collects in the bed linen.” But let’s be honest: How often do you wash your pajamas that soak up sweat every night? 2. Naked sleepers are self-confident Another argument for being naked in bed: you get a better body feeling. “Anyone who sleeps naked feels sexy,” emphasizes the sleep researcher. Admittedly, you won’t become an Adonis just because you sleep in your Adam’s costume. But sleeping naked has a positive effect on your self-esteem. If you feel good in your skin, there is hardly a better feeling than feeling fresh bed linen on your bare skin. And then you radiate this self-confidence, also on women. 3. Naked sleepers have more sex If two people lie next to each other naked, the chance of physical contact increases. Because the probability of erotic moments is higher when your loved one is naked than when she is lying next to you in grandma’s pajamas, right? Which in turn improves your relationship. 4. Sleeping naked reduces stress “When people touch each other, the bonding hormone oxytocin is released,” explains Weeß. This causes both partners to relax. “The release of oxytocin minimizes the formation of the stress hormone cortisol. This ensures that both partners calm down,” explains the expert. But that’s not all: the bonding hormone oxytocin strengthens your immune system. The blood pressure slows down and even depressive moods can be prevented by the cuddle hormone. Provided, of course, that you find each other attractive. If two people are lying next to each other who cannot smell each other, the effect does not materialize. 5. Sleeping naked can improve your sperm In general, take off tight panties before going to bed! Sperm don’t like warmth or clothing that narrows you down. Here it can be an advantage to go to bed naked. But if not, the best thing to do is wear loose-fitting pajamas. “This gives the genitals enough space. For this reason, you should make sure that it is always cool enough under the blanket,” says the expert. Therefore, the outside temperature of the bedroom should not be above 21 degrees. 6. Sleeping naked heats up the metabolism You burn almost as many calories as you sleep while you are awake. If you drift off into the realm of dreams, the lights in your brain won’t go out. If you also sleep naked, the calorie consumption can increase. Provided you are not under the covers or the ambient temperature is less than 21 degrees. The reason is plausible: If it is colder, the body needs more effort to maintain its core temperature and to adapt to the ambient temperature. But be careful: your bedroom shouldn’t be too cold. Otherwise you won’t get slim, you’ll get sick. Tip: Your bedroom should have a temperature of 16-21 degrees. Then you can sleep naked without worry. 7. Sleeping naked reduces body odor “If you sleep in pajamas, body fluids such as sweat stay longer on the skin and collect in the folds of the skin, such as in the genital area,” explains the expert. Therefore, your pajamas are more likely to smell more unpleasant than naked. But here, too, the following applies: going to bed without clothes is of course no substitute for the shower.
Depression, diabetes, back pain: physical activity is often at least as effective as medicine. Seven examples of how exercise heals. Sometimes life puts obstacles in your way that are so great that you cannot get them out of the way. Almost two years ago Gabriele Merz (name changed) faced such an obstacle. She no longer filled her job in the marketing department, the working atmosphere was bad, and her colleagues weren’t communicative. In addition, there were private problems, their marriage drifted towards a low point. “I lost my inner balance,” says Merz, 38, today. The depression consumed her strength. Some days Merz just lay on the sofa in front of the television and let life flicker by. “In the evening I didn’t even know which programs I was watching,” she says. It cannot be said that she jumped in the air at the thought of running therapy. During this time, she was taking medication and waiting for an appointment for a discussion. “But I thought I’d take a look at this run,” says Merz. “It couldn’t get any worse.” When exercising, patients notice that they can do things on their own. After eight weeks of running, symptoms often improve more than after many sessions Depression and running So she drove to the meeting point on a cold day in March, her old jogging shoes on her feet and a bunch of fears in her head. “I was afraid of weakness and I was afraid of the group.” Merz used to like jogging, but since she was struggling with the depression she had barely moved – and gained 15 kilos. “At first I felt like a walrus trudging through the forest.” But after the first hour she felt how good the exercise in the fresh air was for her. “After the lesson, I was more satisfied than I had been for a long time,” she says. The more she came to training, the easier it was for her to run. And the more she ran, the fitter she became in everyday life. “When walking, patients understand that they can do things on their own. Stöckel, 48, is a psychological psychotherapist and trained running therapist. With the help of a special program, depressed patients learn to jog for 30 minutes at a time. First, the running and walking phases alternate every two minutes, then the running proportions are gradually increased. Stöckel has had good experiences with running therapy for people with mild depression. “These people take every step on their own. So they can’t be as bad as they think,” she says. The therapist discusses the positive changes in the sessions and transfers them to other areas. Motivation and movement in life Gabriele Merz also felt how she blossomed parallel to nature. The snow melted in the forest, and the first spring flowers were sprouting in the meadows. And she felt how movement came into her life again through running. She separated from her husband, moved into a new apartment and looked around for a new job. And when she trotted through the forest before an interview, she liked to play a mind game: “I said to myself: If you can hold out a minute longer, tomorrow will be a good appointment.” It worked. Merz has a new job that she really enjoys. She stopped taking the medication. And she’s still jogging, up to ten kilometers three times a week. Because she has a new goal: “I would like to take part in a half marathon.” Weight and waist circumference can be reduced with a walking program of five to six hours a week Diabetes and going for a walk The expert: Jörg von Hübbenet heads the project area sports and exercise diabetology at the sports medicine institute of the University of Hamburg. He is convinced of the benefits of walking: “Everyone swears by jogging – I don’t. Many of my patients with type 2 diabetes are obese. Should I put them in a brightly colored balloon silk suit and send them to run around the Alster? Never. First of all, that’s undignified. And second, they wouldn’t create. That’s why I prefer to say: ‘People, take a walk! The effects of brisk walking are considerable: Weight and abdominal girth can be reduced with a walking program of five to six hours a week. In addition, blood pressure and cholesterol levels drop. The most important thing, however, is that the harmful long-term sugar in the patient’s blood also decreases. In type 2 diabetes , the insulin receptors on the cells have become sluggish. As a result, their blood sugar level is permanently increased, and this damages the organs. Physical activity improves the transport of glucose into the cells and the blood sugar level returns to normal. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetics can lower their medication doses through a healthy lifestyle and need to inject insulin less often . But still, a lot of my patients don’t get their butts up. They are as sluggish as their receptors. Maybe they should be advised to get a dog. He needs exercise every day, then they can’t avoid going for a walk. Incidentally, this also applies to prevention: if you have a dog, you are pretty safe from diabetes. “ Cycling can be easily integrated into everyday life and often helps to switch off Obesity and cycling The non-athlete who became a cyclist: Philipp Osten, 23, currently weighs 74 kilograms. His goal is to break the 70 kilo mark this year. “I was 17 years old when I decided that I had to change my life. At that time I weighed 85 kilograms and was 1.65 meters tall. A friend recommended Moveguard, a sports and nutrition program at the Cologne Sports University I changed my diet, I started jogging, but above all I discovered cycling . The sports university is around 25 kilometers from my home town. At first I always took the bus, but soon I switched to my bike. Every day I sat in the saddle for practically two hours, one hour there and one back. Cycling 50 kilometers a day is a challenge for a non-athlete. But I persevered. How? By racing against myself every time. ‘Today you can cover the distance faster than yesterday,’ I said to myself. What I liked best was that I could completely switch off while cycling. Just kick and don’t have to think about anything. And it really helped: I lost 25 kilograms in 18 months. I was proud! But then I stopped doing sports again, me idiot! And soon I had the pounds back on. When after a year the scales even showed 120 kilos, I pulled the emergency brake for the second time. I got on my bike again and rode almost 50 kilometers every day, even though I had meanwhile started studying mechanical engineering alongside my work. But I made it through again. This time I lost 50 kilograms within a year. Now I have sworn to myself that it will never come to that again. With a little discipline in eating and cycling, I want to try to maintain my weight permanently. And maybe even take something off. “ Osteoporosis and dancing “Dancing is the perfect sport for osteoporosis, ” says Johannes Pfeilschifter, Professor of Internal Medicine at the Alfried Krupp Hospital in Essen. He raves about the turns, ups and downs and the different foot positions that make dancing a strength and coordination training with a low risk of injury. Arrowshifter comes to people with fractures, for example in the thigh or in the vertebrae. Her skeleton was too weak to withstand everyday stress. But after rehabilitation, Pfeilschifter likes to send his patients to the dance floor. In Germany up to seven million people are said to suffer from osteoporosis. For a long time it was thought that it mainly affects women, but now every fifth osteoporosis patient is a man. Various studies have shown that a lack of exercise is the main cause of this disease. All around strengthened by dancing “Most bones can be strengthened through physical activity,” says Pfeilschifter. Even if osteoporosis has already been diagnosed. Because the skeleton is “incredibly dynamic” and is constantly being rebuilt. With the right training, you can have a positive influence on this process well into old age. Pfeilschifter: “The more diverse you load a bone, the more resistant it becomes.” So anyone who just walks, swims or jogs is not immune to osteoporosis. Sports with a high level of strength and coordination are useful – such as dancing. “In doing so, a different part of the body is stressed with almost every step,” says Pfeilschifter. The so-called osteocytes in the bones react to this: They then instruct the corresponding cells to strengthen the bone in the stressed areas. Result: unlike a marathon runner, whose thighbones are only strong in the front and back, dancers have a thighbone that is reinforced all around. Preheated air, exhaling against the water resistance and a constant rhythm when breathing mean that the performance of asthmatics in water is twice as high as on land Asthma and swimming Sports scientist Bettina Schaar studies the effects of training on various clinical pictures at the German Sport University Cologne. She advises asthmatics to go to the swimming pool. Ms. Schaar, why do you recommend people with asthma to go to the swimming pool? Bettina Schaar: Asthmatics can strain themselves more in water than outside in the air. How so? Firstly, the air in the indoor pool is preheated, which is particularly beneficial for stress asthmatics – because cold air often causes them to have seizures. Secondly, breathing out helps against the water resistance: The bronchi are held wide and the bronchial muscles strengthened. Thirdly, when swimming you breathe in a constant rhythm; breathing too fast is not possible. The result: an asthmatic’s performance capability is twice as high in water as on land. But that alone is not a cure for asthma. But studies have shown that the so-called shortness of breath threshold in trained asthmatics is much higher than in untrained people. In the case of experienced people, the bronchi do not close as quickly under stress. You are less likely to have an asthma attack and therefore have to take less medication. They also get fewer infections and have more air available after exercising. How often do you train with the asthmatics? They should do something three times a week. Once or twice in the water and once on land, 60 minutes each would be good. In addition to swimming, we also offer aqua fitness and jogging. We train at intervals and at a rather low intensity, but with longer stress phases. With segmental stabilization, the “deep system” is awakened with coordination exercises and a lot of concentration Back pain and weight training Martin Kottmeier can well remember how he suddenly felt this stabbing pain in his back last spring. At that time, the carpenter stacked oak beams. “From one second to the next I couldn’t move,” says the 51-year-old. The diagnosis: herniated disc. “Not unusual for my job.” Kottmeier had been prepared that one day his cross might go on strike. What he didn’t expect were the exercises his doctor and physical therapist used to prevent surgery. Because at first they didn’t demand a drop of sweat from him. Segmental stabilization is the name of the therapy Kottmeier used to train at the Am Michel back center in Hamburg. “We had to wake up the deep system first,” says his doctor Joachim Mallwitz. These are the very deep abdominal muscles that also stabilize the spine. When the back shows signs of wear and tear or after a herniated disc, these muscles sometimes simply “switch off”. First, Kottmeier had to complete coordination exercises. They are not sweaty. But because the brain is not used to tensing these muscles at will, you have to concentrate hard. Mallwitz describes with a picture what the patients should do with their body: “Imagine that your navel is pulled by a thread from the stomach through the body to the back.” Only when the deep system wakes up from its sleep after a few weeks of training does work with the “superficial system” continue. Then the straight and oblique abdominal muscles and the back muscles are strengthened through strength exercises. The therapy lasts until the muscles can sufficiently stabilize the spine again. “The second part was more exhausting,” says Kottmeier. But it was worth the effort: he is now working as a carpenter again. Patients should do 20 minutes of more intense activity two to three times each day, with 20 percent of the time devoted to strength training Heart attack and general exercise The cardiologist Ulrich Hildebrandt is the chief physician at the St. Irmingard Clinic on Lake Chiemsee. He recommends regular exercise for heart patients. Mr. Hildebrandt, what is your advice to patients who come to you after a heart attack? Move, move, move! Because sport works like a vaccination: if you irritate the body, it adapts and tries to better protect itself from the stress. You have to explain that. Through exercise, the cells in the vessel wall “learn” how to better withstand the forces of the blood flowing through them, and they become more stable. Can exercise actually replace bypass surgery? Regular physical activity can prevent many bypass surgeries and implantation of supports in vascular constrictions. One study shows that more intense endurance activity of more than 90 minutes per week can reduce mortality by more than 39 percent in the first six months after a heart attack. But doesn’t a heart attack indicate that the body is overloaded? Heart attacks during exercise usually only occur if one is active less than three times a week. Those who do something every day do not have an increased risk of stress. Sport is only dangerous if you do it too seldom. Which disciplines do you recommend to your heart attack patients? Any kind of endurance activity, for example walking, dancing, climbing stairs. I recommend 20 minutes more intense activity two to three times a day for patients. 20 percent of the time should be used for strength exercises. In the beginning you should only train at medium intensities, later maximum heart rates can be reached for a short time. With appropriate breaks, even longer periods of stress are not a risk.
Are you already running out of breath when climbing stairs? Do you have sore muscles after a Sunday walk? Or are you just permanently stressed, tense, tired or in a bad mood? High time to get moving! Because in doing so you are not only doing something good for your stamina and health, but also for your self-esteem. Together with DAK-Gesundheit, we explain how it works best with (re) entering into regular endurance sport. This is why you should exercise Did you know what happens in our body when we move? A whole lot! Because humans are evolutionarily designed to move a lot. Today’s everyday life with long periods of sitting in the car, at the desk or in front of the television is therefore unnatural and as a result promotes obesity, tension, cardiovascular problems and metabolic diseases. When exercising, however, the body not only attacks excess fat reserves and builds muscles. An athletic lifestyle has other advantages: Exercise lowers blood sugar levels and protects against diabetes. Regular physical activity lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure; the blood circulation improves. Movement ensures that the blood vessels remain elastic and protects against heart attacks. Exercise reduces stress hormones and releases happiness messengers. Regular exercise therefore works against chronic exhaustion and psychological problems such as depression and anxiety disorders. So there are many good reasons to start training immediately – and at any age: because regardless of whether you become an athlete at 20 or 80, your body and mind will always benefit. Every beginning is difficult “No time”, “bad weather”, “tomorrow for sure” – there are plenty of excuses to postpone the sports session. Especially if you lack motivation at the beginning of your sports career. You should keep these tips in mind for a successful start to training: Preparation is important: Get a medical checkup before starting your exercise program. A good option for this is the “Check-Up-35”, a comprehensive medical full-body examination including blood and urine tests in the laboratory. Fixed times: Arrange fixed dates for your sports units with yourself and record them in the calendar. Training every two days is usually optimal – this leaves enough time to relax. It is easier if you combine the training time with other activities, for example for the morning after getting bread or in the evening directly after work. On the one hand, this creates a certain routine. And, on the other hand, you reduce the risk of giving in to the call of the couch instead of getting up again when you are at home. Incidentally, current research shows that the more individual, specific and precise the plans are, the more likely they are to be adhered to. So it’s better: “I’ll go cycling today at 6.30pm and ride route XY, I’ll be back around 8pm” instead of “Sometime today after work I might get on my bike for a moment.” Good planning: be prepared for weather capers and motivation lows. For example, you should have good rain gear or an indoor sports alternative for bad weather. And a compromise suggestion to yourself if you really don’t feel like it – for example: an hour of sport, an hour of watching your favorite series. The so-called directing of attention is also particularly effective. If you want to do an exercise session, don’t even bother to see what’s coming to the cinema tonight. Focus your attention only on your exercise program. You should really postpone the exercise session if you feel sick. Because if you have a fever or a respiratory infection, exertion can be dangerous for the heart. Also important to prevent injuries: Warm up thoroughly before each exercise and stretch if necessary. Small goals: don’t set yourself too much. Complete exhaustion and severe muscle soreness the next day can quickly have a demotivating effect. You should get a little out of breath and sweat, but that’s all it takes. If conversation is no longer possible due to the sheer exertion, this is called intense stress. Some like that: “working out”. It is healthy too, but the high intensity is not a must for health. Even a busy sports calendar can quickly become too much. So instead of resolving to do sport every day, it is better to plan 1-2 sport appointments per week and then slowly increase the workload. Great successes: Increase your goals a little bit with each exercise. For example: jogging for half a minute longer, swimming one lane more, doing two more repetitions for gymnastics. Stay moderate, it increases the likelihood that you will stick with it in the long term. Make a note of your training progress, and be aware of how it takes longer to become out of breath or to lose strength. That makes you proud. Good company: Find a sports partner . In the running group or on a fixed date with a friend, it is much more difficult to cancel or give up than alone. And: If you enjoy exercising or if your ambition is awakened, it will seem much less strenuous to you. Take advice: Especially for beginners, it is a good idea to get advice or support from a professional when choosing the sport and planning the training. For example, from the physical or sports therapist, fitness trainer or even the doctor. This minimizes the risk of injury and maximizes the positive effect on health. Which sport is right for me? The following sports are also suitable for (re) beginners. Depending on your physical requirements, goals and, last but not least, your gut feeling, decide which sport suits you. Running: Mainly works the muscles in the legs and buttocks. Running training quickly shows success in terms of fat loss and endurance. Another advantage is that the training can be done anytime and anywhere. When running, there is a certain shock load, but this does not necessarily have to be negative: It prevents bone loss and increases the effect on the muscles. However, if you find walking uncomfortable or if you have joint problems, for example, Nordic walking is a gentler alternative. The shock load on the joints is eliminated when walking briskly. The rhythmic use of the sticks also strengthens the muscles in the upper body. Swimming: trains the whole body, can be started well even with high body weight and poor basic fitness, is easy on the joints. There is almost no risk of injury. However, swimming can quickly become expensive if you have to pay entry to the pool every two days. Tip: buy monthly or annual tickets, use discounted admission in the morning or evening or just go swimming once a week as a recreational sport (such as running). Cycling: Mainly trains your legs and buttocks. Can be integrated very well into everyday life, for example when short distances are covered by bike instead of the car. Invest once in sensible equipment, especially in a helmet and an optimally adjusted bike. This minimizes stress on the joints and the risk of injury. Yoga / Pilates: trains the whole body, ideal for reducing stress. There are suitable courses for every fitness level. However, it is more suitable to improve mobility and posture – because calorie consumption and increased endurance are limited. Strictly speaking, yoga and Pilates are actually not endurance activities – for beginners, however, these can be nice forms of movement to get the pulse pumping. Movement is always good for the heart. Ideal as a recreational sport for swimming, running or cycling. Dancing: Often perceived as less strenuous because of the training in the group and the accompanying music. Not only endurance and muscles are trained, but also coordination and balance. Calorie consumption and joint stress vary depending on the dance style: For example, they are in the middle range for couples dancing, and higher for jazz dance or Zumba. Motivate the little ones too When you start exercising again, you will also set a good example for your entire family. Because it is especially important for children that they learn early to develop fun with movement – then it will be easier for them later in life to integrate time for regular endurance sports into their everyday lives. You can also include the youngsters in your personal training program: Take the children with you to the swimming pool, for example, or take them to a run once a week – if your child is still too small to run, they can also ride the (three) wheel next to you Take a ride, go on bike tours with the whole family, organize races or attend special parent-child sports courses. If the last sport units were a few years ago and you are 35 years of age or older, then it makes sense to get the “OK” from the doctor – even if you feel in top shape. Many diseases start insidiously. DAK-Gesundheit therefore offers a preventive check-up from the age of 35 . So that exercise is also implemented naturally in the curriculum in schools, DAK-Gesundheit, together with the Cleven Foundation, has launched the “fit4future” prevention initiative, which helps schools, among other things, to convey fun in exercise and a healthy lifestyle. The initiative has already been implemented at 1,500 primary and special schools nationwide since 2016 and is free of charge for all schools.In the next school year, another 500 elementary and special schools can participate free of charge.
Osteopathy, neural therapy, homeopathy or acupuncture: many people who suffer from back pain swear by alternative healing methods. The most important procedures at a glance. If you are plagued by pain , you basically only want one thing: to finally live symptom-free again. And because orthodox doctors are unable to identify a specific cause for so many back ailments, a particularly large number of those affected try to achieve their goals by means of alternative healing methods. More than 40 percent of all people with chronic pain in the neck , shoulders and back around to plague have, can be treated already to the other type. The offer corresponds to the great demand: therapists offer up to 150 different alternative healing methods. Not every method is equally good for everyone, and some can be quite expensive. If you are considering alternative medicine, it is therefore worthwhile in every respect to examine as many therapies as possible in advance. Does it really help? Nobody really knows All alternative therapies usually have one thing in common: They are supposed to activate the self-healing powers. The problem: There is a large gap between claimed and proven effectiveness. That means: a lot of methods have proven to be inadequately effective or there are too few high-quality scientific studies on them. For most alternative healing methods, there is no proven probability of success that goes beyond mere chance or the so-called placebo effect. And the placebo effect means: As soon as someone believes in a cure, it occurs. The person affected is doing better, although the agent or application has no scientifically proven effect. So whether the treatment is successful often depends on your expectations. If you are rather skeptical, the therapy will work less well than if you assume that the treatment will help you. In principle, this also applies to conventional conventional medical methods, but experience has shown that the placebo effect plays a particularly important role in alternative medicine. Put the therapy through its paces However, many proponents of alternative medicine find that these procedures cannot be assessed according to the same criteria as conventional treatments. Their argument: conventional medicine does not understand people as a unity of body and soul and neglects the spiritual dimension of illness and healing. In addition, the connections between the alternative therapeutic approaches are so complex that they can hardly be examined systematically. Since conventional medicine often reaches its limits, more and more doctors and therapists are now dealing with alternative healing methods. But don’t let the abundance of options tempt you to keep trying new treatments. Most of the methods don’t seem to do any harm, but they can cost time, nerves, and money – and may end up with new disappointments. Therefore, only allow yourself to be treated by a therapist who has discussed your symptoms with you in detail beforehand and has examined you thoroughly. They should provide you with a time-limited treatment plan, including the likely costs. And ask your health insurance company whether they will reimburse these costs. acupuncture Acupuncture is the best-known procedure in traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM for short. There are several forms of acupuncture, including traditional Chinese body acupuncture, ear, laser, and electrical stimulation acupuncture. TCM assumes that illnesses and pain arise when the life energy Chi, which flows through the body, is blocked. By placing acupuncture needles along certain paths or so-called meridians, which connect the individual energy centers of the organism, the Chi should flow harmoniously again. Modern acupuncture is based on twelve main meridians set up in pairs plus eight special meridians and distinguishes a total of around 700 acupuncture points at which the energy can accumulate. When your therapist pokes the thin needles into these acupuncture points, you will feel a dull pulling, it becomes warm and tingles at the puncture site, it may hurt for a moment. Suitable for tension and wear If your back pain is caused by signs of wear and tear or muscle tension , it makes perfect sense to try needling. However, acupuncture should always be combined with other methods. As a general rule, the needles do not work the same for everyone, and several sessions are often necessary before you can even feel the effect. Make sure that your acupuncturist is really qualified – and can prove this with an appropriate certificate. You should clarify with him in advance how many treatments are necessary and which criteria you can use to determine whether the therapy was successful. Risks and Side Effects You may develop circulatory problems at the start of treatment. And if your therapist does not insert the needles precisely, blood vessels and nerves can be injured. People with blood clotting disorders, sensory disorders, skin damage at the acupuncture points, nerve disorders or acute inflammation should avoid acupuncture. Effectiveness partly proven by studies Scientific studies show that more than 90 percent of those treated with acute pain feel better after acupuncture. In chronic pain , the therapy is not quite as successful, but the small needles can also relieve pain here and the muscles relax. Scientists justify this, among other things, with the fact that the punctures overlay the original pain stimuli and the body releases soothing substances around the puncture site. How and why acupuncture helps against back pain, researchers have not yet been able to clarify. But it helps! That brings it in the long run Acupuncture is a passive treatment method: you just lie or sit there and get needles. But you do not become active yourself. Therefore, acupuncture alone cannot help you in the long term. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best. Osteopathy Osteopaths assume that all body structures and functions influence each other. That is, if one organ is sick, it can affect other parts of the body. Under certain circumstances, a kidney stone leads to knee pain or a stomach ulcer is released by back pain. For osteopaths, changes in the connective tissue are to blame for many diseases and complaints. The therapist first uses her hands to check whether certain muscles are tense , whether your connective tissue is conspicuous in any way or whether your tendons are too tight. The tissue blockages located in this way are then loosened with various massage , stretching and grip techniques, which at the same time normalize the lymph flow and stimulate the self-healing powers. Suitable for tension If your back problems are caused by tense muscles or pathological changes in completely different parts of the body, osteopathy can help. But it is better not to rely on this method alone. And don’t expect just one session to be noticeable. An osteopathic treatment usually consists of six to twelve hours of therapy. Risks and Side Effects In principle there is hardly any risk. The greatest danger lies in the fact that you may only rely on osteopathy and therefore not even notice other useful treatments or only approach them with a delay. Efficacy hardly proven by studies So far, there is no scientific evidence that osteopathy actually affects the entire body and safely relieves back pain. However, since some studies do provide indications of positive effects, osteopathic techniques can be useful alongside other therapies. Make sure you talk to your doctor about it beforehand. That brings it in the long run Osteopathy is a passive treatment method: you just lie there and let yourself be massaged. But you do not become active yourself. Therefore, osteopathy cannot help you in the long term as the sole therapy. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best. homeopathy Hardly any alternative healing method is as widespread as homeopathy, literally translated: similar suffering. In fact, the process developed by Samuel Hahnemann at the beginning of the 19th century is based on the attempt to combat like with like. Homeopathic drops are very dilute substances which, if given in concentrated form, could make healthy people sick. A remedy that causes a fever in a healthy person could – according to Hahnemann’s thought – be used in a highly diluted form as a remedy for fever. The substances of homeopathic medicines are first rubbed with milk sugar, then shaken in a water-alcohol mixture. The active ingredients in the individual drops or globules, so-called globules, are dosed extremely low and can often no longer be detected chemically. Suitable for pain If you suffer from back pain , an attempt at therapy with homeopathic remedies can be useful. In any case, there are always successful treatments. So far, however, nobody knows exactly why. Because most active ingredients are extremely diluted, it is unlikely that the globules or drops will work as a result. Researchers attribute the positive effects of homeopathy mainly to the so-called placebo effect: because those affected believe in the remedy, it helps them. This is especially true for pain therapy. Risks and Side Effects There are seldom side effects with homeopathic treatments, for example the symptoms can worsen at the beginning of therapy. Homeopathic remedies usually do not negatively affect other treatment methods. However, do not just treat yourself. Be sure to see a doctor beforehand. Efficacy hardly proven by studies So far there is a lack of reliable scientific evidence that homeopathy actually influences the course of the disease in any way. However, some clinical studies and analyzes show that the beads and drops can relieve back pain. Therefore, from a medical point of view, there is nothing to prevent you from trying – in addition to other therapies – to cope with the excruciating tearing and stinging with homeopathic remedies. That brings it in the long run Homeopathy is a passive treatment method: you just swallow beads or drops. Otherwise you will not be active. Therefore homeopathy cannot help you in the long term as the sole therapy. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best. Neural therapy Neural therapy is based on two foundations: the interference field theory and the segment theory. The interference field theory assumes that injuries, scars and pathological changes in an organ, for example inflamed tonsils or inflamed teeth , send interference impulses to healthy organs and make them sick in the long term. The segment theory is based on the fact that there are nerve connections between the organs and the skin, with each body section being assigned to a specific skin section. If a section of skin is particularly sensitive, it can be concluded that the organ belonging to it is not healthy. The most commonly used neural therapy method is wheals: the doctor injects an anesthetic into the skin at the painful areas. The liquid forms a small bump or wheal, hence the name. Neural therapists also inject deeper into the tissue to shut down interference fields, for example in painfully hardened muscles , joints and the spinal canal . Suitable for irritated nerves, scars or teeth Wheals and deeper injections can help with acute back pain, for example as a result of an irritated nerve root . However, the positive effect often only lasts as long as the injected anesthetic is effective. If the therapist shuts down active interference fields such as scars or teeth with anesthetics, this can also provide relief for the back. Risks and Side Effects The deeper the injection, the higher the risk of undesirable effects such as inflammation, blood vessel and nerve injuries. It is very important to make sure that your doctor is qualified as a neural therapist. And of course you should get a thorough examination beforehand . Efficacy not proven by studies The interference field theory has just as little been scientifically proven as the remote effect of local anesthetics. To date, neural therapists have not consistently determined what an interference field, also known as a focus or focus, actually is and which diseases it can possibly trigger. Nevertheless, it has been shown in practice that wheals or injections can help with acute back pain – even if only for a short time. That brings it in the long run Neural therapy is a passive treatment method: you only have one injection. But you do not become active yourself. Therefore this procedure cannot help you in the long term as the sole therapy. You have to do something about your back pain as well. And exercise often helps best.
When it comes to sports injuries, many people turn to alternative healing methods. Their effectiveness has not been proven. Nevertheless, there is a ray of hope for everyone who swears by chemical-free therapy. Many a good resolution to do more sport ends abruptly and painfully. Untrained enthusiasts in particular are easily injured because the body is simply not used to being suddenly exposed to such stress. The result is often injuries, which we doctors like to dismiss as “minor trauma”. It is hardly surprising that many are trying to get by with alternative procedures on their own. In addition, many top athletes swear by this or that alternative healing method, and they must know what they are doing. Nevertheless, the question arises: What do these methods do in such situations? With any kind of trauma, the homeopathy-savvy patient almost automatically reaches for his arnica. This homeopathic remedy is not only popular, it is also the most widely studied of all homeopathic medicines. However, the results of these studies are sobering: the numerous attempts to establish proof of effectiveness have failed. The data are pretty clear: homeopathic arnica is a placebo. Acupuncture – Natural Doping? The situation for phytotherapeutic agents is somewhat more positive. In particular, there are studies that show that comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is effective for ankle injuries. The pain, swelling and immobility are influenced better by this remedy than with placebo and at least as well as with conventional therapy. Since Symphytum is toxic, it may only be applied externally as an ointment or gel. And what else is there? Acupuncture is of course popular for relieving pain, and arguably that is also true for post-injury pain. However, very few people know that some studies also indicate that physical performance can possibly be improved with this form of therapy. If this could be confirmed, acupuncture would be a form of drug-free doping. A plea for conventional physiotherapy It has been so well established in Germany for decades that it is hardly seen as an alternative method of treatment. Sports massage in particular is popular to prevent or treat injuries. Despite the general acceptance of the method, the data situation is rather shaky. Few studies exist and hardly any of good quality. So the bottom line is that there is little positive to report here. A ray of hope for everyone who likes to be cared for in a natural way is that conventional physiotherapy is an excellent help for sports injuries. This is not an alternative, but it is absolutely chemical-free.
Dozing off on the beach, forgetting to put your lotion on or enjoying the sun’s rays too extensively during your lunch break: Well, did you get a sunburn this summer? After a few days, the reddening of the skin has usually subsided and the itching and burning sensations are forgotten. But: Every sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer. The number of new cases has been rising steadily in Germany for decades. In the meantime, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in this country, with an average of one in four getting it once by the age of 75. The good news: If it is recognized in time, the chances of recovery are usually good. And: You can do a lot in everyday life to protect your skin. Together with DAK-Gesundheit we clarify. These are the most dangerous skin enemies: Sun The following applies to both malignant melanoma (known as “black skin cancer”) and the much more common white skin cancer (technical term: non-melanoma skin cancer) and other, rare forms: UV radiation and, in particular, sunburn caused by it, in which radiation penetrates into the deeper skin layers, increases the risk of disease. The depletion of the protective ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere increases the risk. Sufficient sun protection (with cream and clothing) and breaks in the shade are therefore important to protect your skin not only on summer but also on sunny autumn and winter days. The UV index, which indicates the current strength of UV radiation and recommended protective measures, provides orientation aid in assessing the current risk of sunburn . Solariums Not only natural but also artificial UV radiation is harmful to the skin. Experts therefore recommend avoiding tanning in the solarium. Those who still value tanned skin can alternatively consider high-quality self-tanning creams. Genetic factors About ten percent of melanoma patients have family members who also have black skin cancer. However, not only the risk of the disease is inherited, but also the skin type, which can play a role in the individual skin cancer risk: The risk of skin cancer is higher in people with light skin, freckles and particularly many moles and moles (more than 50) – also because their skin is usually more sensitive to the sun. Risk professions Studies have shown that certain professions have an increased risk of skin cancer. These include: roofers, sewer and construction workers, carpenters and workers in agriculture. In these fields of activity, one is not only exposed to UV radiation for a long time, protection through clothing, risk education and other preventive measures often leave a lot to be desired. For example, it is helpful to put work into the early morning or evening hours, set up awnings and wear long, airy clothes. Tattoos In science, there is still disagreement about whether the color that gets into the body via the skin when tattooing promotes cancer. Because meaningful long-term studies on the subject are still missing. One thing is certain, however: large tattoos make it more difficult to recognize dangerous skin changes in time. Protect and observe skin Skin protection in everyday life is easy – if you strictly observe the following rules: In strong sunlight, apply sun cream with a sun protection factor of at least 20 to all exposed skin areas – at least to the face, neck and hands. Depending on how sensitive the skin is, better SPF 30 (for less sun-sensitive skin) or 50 (for sensitive skin). In normal autumn sun or in spring this is not absolutely necessary. If you sweat or have been swimming: reapply before going out in the sun. Additionally protect your head and body with sunglasses, hats and long clothing. Avoid the sun at lunchtime (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), it’s best to do sports in the morning or evening. In addition, it is important to keep an eye on moles and other skin changes. Not only regular check-ups at the dermatologist’s (see below) help, but also careful self-observation, for example with the help of the ABCDE rule: If you notice any of the following changes in a mole, you should see a doctor as soon as possible: Asymmetry : A patch of skin has lost its regular shape or a new patch appears that is not oval or round. Boundary : The edges of the stain appear washed out, frayed or jagged. Color : A stain is not monochrome, but changes between light and dark or pink. Diameter : At the widest point, the skin patch is larger than five millimeters Evolution : The stain has changed in some form in the last three months, for example its size and / or color. Early detection saves lives Skin cancer screening is an important component in skin cancer prevention . The doctor examines the skin from head to toe for abnormal changes and, if cancer is suspected, takes tissue samples that are examined in the laboratory. From the age of 35 you should have this examination carried out every two years. DAK-Gesundheit not only pays the full costs for this, but also subsidizes two skin cancer screenings every two years for all insured persons aged 17 and over.