This time of year people are faced with two afflictions; spring cleaning the home and allergies. Most do not realize that the two are often connected. The house dust mite is the most common source of indoor allergens. Most mites are found in your bed. The combination of dead skin, moisture from sweating, and heat from your body make your bed the best breeding ground! Not only do dust mites cause allergies and skin irritation, but they also poop in your bedding!
Most people do not know how often they should wash or replace their bedding. Now that I have creeped you out, here is some help for you:
I don’t know about you, but when I have muscle soreness after a workout I usually reach for a heating pad. I know that ice works well with swelling and inflammation, but for me the heat is better at relaxing my sore muscles.
That’s why I was surprised when I read a study by Petrofsky (2015) in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. It looked at both treatment options after a workout and found the cold therapy works much better. It did not matter if the cold pack was applied immediately after a workout, or 24 hours later. Either way there was less muscle soreness than when using a heat wrap. It should be pointed out, though, that the heat treatment also provided some relief. It just wasn’t as much as when using a cold pack.
The takeaway for me is to apply a cold pack for 20 minutes after a workout. Then if I’m sore later, I will still break out my trusty heating pad. A girl’s gotta have some comfort, man!
As the weather gets colder we all are at risk of catching the flu. There is a lot of debate as to why this occurs. Some scientists believe it has to do with being cooped up inside with each other. Others believe it has to do with the decreasing amounts of sunlight. This can lower our Vitamin D levels and make us more susceptible. Liza wrote about Vitamin D and I urge you to read her article if you haven't already done so.
The good news is there are some things you can do to prevent the flu. Of utmost importance is washing your hands often. At a minimum you should wash them before each meal and after every visit to the bathroom. It also helps if you can keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. If you have to sneeze or cough, use a tissue or the crook of your arm. Better yet, if you're sick try to stay home so that you don't infect other people.
I mentioned Vitamin D earlier. Make sure your levels are good (by getting a simple blood test). If not your doctor will likely have you supplement with a D3 pill. Good nutrition goes beyond Vitamin D, though, and includes consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean fats. Try to avoid sugar, caffeine, and alcohol as much as possible.
One of my favorite ways to fight the flu is to get plenty of rest. Who doesn't want some of that? Try to bag at least 8 hours of sleep a night to give your immune system a fighting chance. Light, daily exercise has also been proven to boost immunity so try to get in a workout or walk whenever you can.
Of course, you also have the option of getting a flu shot. There is a lot of debate over whether or not these work. Scientists have to predict what strains of flu will come each fall and winter and then make the flu vaccine accordingly. Sometimes they get it wrong. Talk to your doctor and see if getting a flu shot is a good idea for you.
By taking these simple measures you will hopefully stay healthy this autumn and winter season!
Medication compliance means taking a medication as ordered by a licensed provider. I work in the medical field, so this is a common topic in my world. I was surprised to see a statistic that as many as 25 % of prescriptions are never filled. I am even more surprised when patients take themselves off of essential medications without discussing it with their provider.
Today, medicine is geared toward PREVENTATIVE medicine. This means that we are trying to prevent serious, debilitating and even fatal diseases and illnesses. Medications are prescribed to prevent further progression of illnesses to more serious illnesses. For example, anti-hypertensive medications (blood pressure medication) is prescribed to keep your blood pressure controlled to prevent stroke, peripheral vascular disease, cardiac disease and eye disease. It is essential that you have a good understanding of why a provider orders a medication for you, what the side effects are, and know how long you should take this medication.
Please do NOT just stop medications. Some medications have rebound effects. For example stopping a beta-blocker that is meant to lower heart rate and blood pressure, may actually result in a very high heart rate and blood pressure. Other medications can cause withdraw symptoms. For example, gabapentin is often prescribed for neurological pain, but when stopped suddenly, it can cause confusion, agitation, headache, nausea, tremors and anxiety. If you are not happy with how you feel on a medication, please talk to your provider about how to safely stop it and alternative treatment options.
Even worse, many people stop taking their antibiotics before they are finished because their infection looks better or they feel better. Not completing the entire course of antibiotics may not only cause the infection to come back, but it may also an antibiotic resistance that may be difficult to treat. This often requires hospital admission for IV antibiotics and specialist to treat a now very complex infection.
All medications should be taken very seriously. You should sit down with your provider and discuss all medications that you are on, both over-the-counter and prescribed. You should know why you are taking it, when to take it and how long to take it. You should also see if there are any testing that needs to be done while you are on that medication (blood tests to see if doses are appropriate). You should know common side effects of the medications you are on. You should keep an accurate list of your medications with their doses and timing in your wallet for medical providers to review at all appointments and emergency visits. If you feel you no longer need a medication, have a discussion with your provider.
My husband loves golf. Every Tuesday night, like clockwork, he heads to the course to join his friends in 18 holes of pure bliss. When he arrives home he is always in a great mood. Unfortunately, he is almost always in pain as well.
You wouldn't think it, but golf is a high-injury sport. It requires quite a bit of coordination, strength, and flexibility throughout your body. Proper technique is the key but unfortunately, most amateurs don't have good technique. If you are continuously injuring yourself when golfing, you might want to seek out a professional to assess your golf swing.
The number one complaint of avid golfers is lower back pain. You might also suffer from elbow, wrist or shoulder injuries. To combat these you can do the following things:
Hopefully you stay healthy this summer and can golf to your heart's content. Fore!!!
Summer means enjoying the great outdoors. But with all great things there is a price to pay. In the case of summer that price is insect bites. These annoying little critters keep mother nature going smoothly, but can wreak havoc on our delicate bodies.
So who are the offenders?
Mosquitoes top the list and are looking for blood. Literally.
Ticks are also looking for blood but they take longer to latch on, so you usually have time to remove them before any damage is done.
The rest of the insect kingdom is not on the attack. Instead they only bother you when they feel you are threatening them in some way. If you can avoid them (or their hive, nest, etc) then you won't have a problem. The list here includes bees, wasps, and spiders. Once a bee stings you they die. Unfortunately the other two can continue to sting/bite you over and over again.
What are the dangers of an insect bite?
Usually a bite is not that dangerous. It may be uncomfortable and cause itching, redness, or swelling. If that occurs you can wash the area with soap and water, put ice on it, avoid scratching, and use over-the-counter remedies such as Benadryl or calamine lotion to stop the itching.
However, there are times when an insect bite can be quite dangerous:
Allergic reactions may occur that cause hives, blisters, infection, shortness of breath, unconsciousness, or even death. The most common offender for an allergic reaction is a bee sting. If you are having a severe reaction then you need to get to the hospital immediately. Force yourself to cough continuously en route to keep your airways open. Once you know that you are at risk, your doctor can prescribe an Epi-pen that you can carry with you to use in an emergency.
Spread of disease is another danger. The mosquito can carry malaria, encephalitis, and the West Nile virus. All are extremely dangerous but unlikely in the United States. The tick can carry Lyme disease. This one is more likely and often shows up first as a red, bulls eye mark on your skin. If you suspect any infection see your doctor immediately.
How do you prevent insect bites?
Prevention is the way to go when it comes to insect bites. You can have bee hives and wasp nests professionally removed from your property. You can also be on the lookout for them when out in the woods. Keep in mind that bees will place their hives in odd spaces including low to the ground and under shrubs.
To avoid tick and spider bites wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when hiking in the woods. It also helps to put on a repellent and avoid brushing up against weeds, tall grass, etc. If you have pets make sure they are being treated for ticks, fleas, and lice. Check them often for insects.
Finally, repellent also works well against mosquitoes. If you hate the chemicals found in repellents then look for healthy alternatives such as Avon's Skin so Soft, eucalyptus oil, or dryer sheets. I'm not kidding. Dryer sheets work well at keeping insects at bay.
Enjoy your summer and I hope it's a lovely, insect free experience!
I am currently seeing a physical therapist for my back. She ran a bunch of tests and was astounded by my lack of core body strength...as in, no abdominal muscles! This did not surprise me but then she tested my balance. I believe the word she used was, "Wow!" It was that bad. Talk about embarrassing!
We don't often think about our balance. It's one of those things we assume is okay when in fact, it begins to deteriorate in our mid-30's. By the time we hit our senior years if we've let these muscles go we are at greater risk of falling. Not cool.
The good news is there are simple things you can do to improve your balance. Even better, these moves will work your core as well, without having to do any dreaded abdominal crunches.
Pelvic Tilts - You can do these standing up or on the floor. Breathe in deeply and as you exhale slowly draw your navel in towards your spine. Hold for a count of 3.
Marching Soldier - Stand and slowly raise your right arm up overhead. At the same time slowly bend your left knee and raise your left leg about six inches off the ground. Hold for a count of 3 and then slowly lower. Repeat on the other side. The key to this exercise is to keep your navel pulled in the entire time and move slowly.
Balance on One Foot - Lift one foot up and hold. Then lift the other. You can vary the more by pointing the foot out in different directions, moving your arms, and even closing your eyes. Be careful and make sure you can grab onto something if you become unsteady. When you close your eyes you will be shocked at how shaky you get!
Balance Board - These can be found at most sporting goods stores or on the internet. They are only about $20 and really work your balance well. Stand on the board, keep your knees slightly bent and hold. As your get stronger you can vary this move as well by moving your arms, holding a ball in front of you, closing your eyes, etc.
Tree Pose - Hold the pose picture above for as long as you can. Then alternate sides.
For best results, do these moves every other day until they become easy. Then do them twice a week to maintain.
Recently there has been a lot of talk about low grade inflammation in the body. It has been linked to all kinds of health problems including osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, fibromyalgia, cancer, dental issues, and multiple sclerosis.
The longer your body remains inflamed, the greater your risk of developing these diseases.
So what causes low grade inflammation? Stress is definitely a factor. You should do all you can to reduce or eliminate your stress. Great ways to do this are to exercise, meditate, get plenty of rest, and avoid difficult situations whenever possible.
Diet is another extremely important factor and is the main cause of low grade inflammation. Certain foods will increase the acidity of your blood, making your body work harder. These foods include soda, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, fast foods, meat, and dairy products. If most of your diet consists of these items then you probably have low grade inflammation.
Now I know what you're thinking. How on earth can you cut these food items out? They are the mainstay of the American diet. The good news is you don't have to. Instead, you just need to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with these items. Fruits and vegetables are very alkaline and will neutralize the acid in your blood. That is why our government is pushing at least 5 servings a day (and ultimately 9) for good health.
If you're not a fruit and veggie eater you can start out slowly. Have a salad with a meal or make a fresh juice to sip with that cheese and cracker plate. Eventually increase your servings of the healthy stuff. You will find that you get full quicker due to the fiber content of fruits and vegetables. You will also likely lose some weight. Best of all, you will go a long way in preventing disease.
I was talking to my brother-in-law the other day about tea. He is trying to give up soda pop and is using tea as a substitute. So far he has not been successful because he hates the taste of tea. This surprised me. I drink a ton of tea in the winter months and have always found it to be quite tasty. Like most things, it is probably an acquired taste.
There are many health benefits to drinking tea that might get you motivated to sip a cup:
In our culture tea tends to be the beverage folks turn to during times of stress or illness. It can be so much more than that, though. I urge you to give tea a chance. You may find a new and healthy drink!!
I recently injured my back and my doctor suggested I try some water therapy to help with the pain. So I shopped around and found an affordable local pool that also had a lovely hot tub. Three weeks later and I am starting to feel human again!
Why is water so good for you? Because it cuts down on the gravitational pull. When you move in water, there is less strain on your muscles and joints. That means you can move more freely with less pain. In my case, walking on land really hurt my back. But I could get in a pool and walk laps with ease. I then followed it up with 10 minutes in the hot tub to further relax the muscles. Heavenly!
If exercising is not your thing, you may find that a water workout is the answer. Shop around and see if there is an affordable pool in your area. Many of them will offer water aerobics classes that are fun and a good way to meet people. Or, you can opt for a solitary workout such as walking laps or doing leg lifts on the side of the pool. If you know how to swim then swimming laps, particularly the front crawl and back stroke, will strengthen your core while also giving you a great cardiovascular workout.
Don't be shy. Dive right in for a fun a healthy workout!
Ladies, did you ever stop to think about the things you use on a daily basis, but rarely clean? Think further of the places you take them. When you do, it may make you gag.
Cell Phone-You take it everywhere, set it down, breath on it, touch it frequently. You even allow others to touch it when you show them photos and messages. If you had any idea how much bacteria this item contains, you’d probably save on your data plan! This is by far the dirtiest item you own and use on a daily basis. There are great alcohol based wipes that are safe for electronics to sanitize your phone. Your phone should be cleaned at least once per day.
Keyboard-Most of us use a computer on a daily basis. Many of us sit at one for the majority of our day. You cough and sneeze on it. You wipe your nose and continue with your work. You eat and drink while working at your computer. Those germs transfer from you to your computer keyboard and remain there. Just like your phone, your keyboard should be cleaned with an electronics-safe sanitizer at least daily.
Purse-We take it everywhere. We often set it down on the floor of restaurants, bathroom sinks, and shopping carts. This item often then gets set on your kitchen table or counter. The bottom of our purses are highly contaminated with bacteria. First avoid bringing your purse into your kitchen. Secondly, clean the exterior at least daily, especially after running errands with it.
Sink handles-You are probably washing your hands several times a day. You may think you are being healthy, but unless you are using a disposable towel to turn the faucet off after washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (seems like a long time), you may be re-contaminating your hands. Think about it. I like to keep cleaning wipes handy and try to wipe my sinks down daily or every other day for this reason.
Door handles & Steering wheels-These are items that are often neglected when you clean. But they are also items that are touched numerous times on a daily basis. Again, often with dirty hands and often when eating. These items can harbor bacteria for an extended period of time. Again take a cleaning wipe to handles and steering wheels on a daily basis.
Shoes-It’s very difficult to avoid getting bacteria on your shoes. We walk into public restrooms, outdoors where animals defecate, visit hospitals, etc. Again probably one of your dirtiest items! It’s next to impossible to keep your shoes decontaminated. It is wise to removed them as close to the door as possible. If you like to wear shoes in the house, buy a pair or two dedicated to indoor use only.
Gloves-Winter time is tied to gloves and runny noses. People often wipe their dripping noses with their gloves, sneeze into their hands and touch door handles and steering wheels. But they rarely wash their gloves. Thus contributing to a large bacteria load. Gloves and scarves should be tossed in the washer and dryer on a weekly basis.
Towels-We dry off with a towel at least daily after a shower and then hang it back up. In theory we are clean when we use the towel, therefore the towel should be clean right? Wrong. The moisture on the towel contributes to bacteria growth. Towels should be washed at least twice a week.
Dish cloths/sponges-Similar to the towel theory, they are used to clean and covered with soap, but again the dampness breeds bacteria. Dish clothes should be exchanged for clean ones daily and sponges should be put in the microwave damp and microwaved for 2 minutes to disinfect.
Loofah-This is made of a plastic material and thus a little more resistant to bacteria growth than fabric. However the mesh allows a perfect network of dead skin cells for bacteria to munch on. Again they are hanging in a humid, warm, low air-flow environment that allows bacteria to grow. Loofahs should be allowed to completely dry between uses and cleaned at least weekly in microwave, or dipped in a diluted bleach solution or put in the washing machine with your towels.
Sheets-We spend more time in bed than anywhere else in our homes. That’s a long time for skin cells, sweat, and drool to accumulate. Our body heat also warms up the materials and we often pull those blankets up in the morning to make our beds look so pretty. But we are trapping bacteria! One excuse to not make the bed unless you are expecting company. But also a reason why sheets should be washed on at least a weekly basis.
Okay, now that I have totally grossed you out as you think about your daily living environment, get cleaning! I’m sure there are items that I forgot to mention, so feel free to remind us in the comment section!
I live in Ohio which means I see a lot of snow in the winter. It sure is pretty but it can be a real pain to shovel. By pain, I mean back pain!! My doctor recently told me she has seen a ton of people coming through her office who hurt their back shoveling. Don't let this happen to you. There are tips that will make your shoveling a safe and more enjoyable experience:
The good news is spring is just around the corner!!
February is a month dedicated to hearts, both the symbolic one from Valentine’s Day, but more importantly the less advertised recognition of heart disease in women. There is a “Go Red for Women” campaign that is well known among health care providers, but less known to the general public. This campaign is most known for wear red day and red dress campaign hosted in February, but more importantly, Go Red stands for:
· Get Your Numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
· Own Your Lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and eat healthy.
· Realize Your Risk: We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease kills 1 in 3 women.
· Educate Your Family: Make healthy food choices for yourself and your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
· Don’t Be Silent: Tell every woman you know that heart disease is the number one killer.
Ladies, your heart health is of utmost importance. We get so busy with work, life, and everyday responsibilities that we often put this very important information aside and tend not to lead the healthiest lifestyle. These are not minor fixes or quick results, but a healthy lifestyle will reduce your risk of being a 1 in 3 statistic. February is our reminder, but it’s very important to think about your heart health on a daily basis!
Organic food is anything grown on a farm that follows strict regulations and does not use chemicals, hormones, pesticides, etc. The belief is that buying organic foods not only promotes your own health, but also that of the planet.
While this sounds great the reality is that organic food usually is not as big as chemically grown food. It can also be quite expensive. If you think you might like to try eating organically, start with the "dirty dozen." These are the top 12 food items that nutritionists recommend you purchase organically because they are the most heavily doused with chemicals. They include:
Shop around for good deals. Some stores offer organic produce at a much lower price than others. You may also find a good food co-op in your area. I am fortunate to live in Amish country and therefore have access to several good, organically-grown farm stands in the summer.
For those who simply cannot afford to purchase organic foods, take heart. You can still thoroughly wash your produce to eliminate most of the chemicals.
Recently, I was rushing out the door, slipped, caught my toe and fell down my garage steps. When I was able to get up, I had horrible pain in my right big toe. I took a deep breath, hobbled to my car, and drove to my appointment. My toe hurt even worse driving! When I got home, I took off my boot to evaluate. It wasn’t horribly swollen or bruised, but boy did it hurt to walk on it.
I work in the medical world, but I do not have X-ray vision. Sometimes it is very difficult to discern between a bruise, sprain and fracture. Regardless of what you have, it hurts and here are some tips.
1. It’s not an emergency. You do not have to go to the emergency room unless there is an obvious displacement/disfigurement.
2. Rest. Stay off of it as much as you can.
3. Ice. Make an ice pack and put in on the area that hurts separated by a cloth (don’t put ice directly on skin-it can cause a skin injury). Keep ice on for 10Ouchie minutes, then remove for 10 minutes, then repeat.
4. Do not heat! Heat causes the vessels in the area to dilate causing more swelling.
5. Elevate it above the level of your heart (Recliners do not work to elevate above the level of the heart! I recommend laying on the couch and putting your foot over the back of your couch.)
6. If there are no contraindications (ie kidney or liver disease or high risk of bleeding) take 800 mg of ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory) every 8 hours with a large glass of water and take 1000 mg of acetaminophen (pain) every 6 hours with a large glass of water. Space them out so that you have pain relief around the clock.
7. Make an appointment with a podiatrist. They take specialty X-rays to evaluate to bones of the feet to see if there is a fracture.
8. Once evaluated, follow your podiatrist’s recommendations!
I initially went to my primary care physician who ordered X-rays. The report said there was no fracture. But because I was having difficulty walking on it, he immediately sent me to a podiatrist. The podiatrist did his own X-rays and found a pretty significant fracture. He prescribed steroids, buddy taped my toe to the one next to it for additional support, and gave me a special shoe with a non-flexible sole to wear. I have to return in a week for follow up X-rays to make sure my fracture is healing appropriately. He was also very helpful in giving me tips to get through an upcoming trip for a destination wedding. Foot injuries happen often and hopefully you now know what to do to recover from them!
It seems to me that more and more of my friends are complaining about back pain. I did some research and discovered that at least 80% of Americans will face this issue at some point in their lives. While most of us will not suffer long, it is still the most common reason to call off sick. What's worse, back pain is the leading cause of disability in this country and costs over 50 billion a year. Don't let this happen to you! Remember PSS to fight back pain: posture, stretching, and strengthening.
Most back pain is caused by overly tight muscles or poor alignment while lifting objects. That is why your first line of defense is always going to be good posture. Your shoulders should line up over your hips and there should be a natural curve in your spine. This is important even when you are sitting down. Make sure you are not leaning forward and try to avoid crossing your legs or ankles.
Stretching is the next thing you can do to prevent back pain. You will want to stretch your back, gluteal, hip flexor, and hamstring muscles. These tend to get very tight and short when you sit for a long time each day. When they are tight they pull your back out of alignment which can lead to pain and injury.
Finally, strengthening will go a long way to avoid back pain. Strong muscles work better and are able to carry heavier loads. They also help with your balance and prevent slip-ups and falls that can do damage. Remember, a strong back is a healthy back!
We are already one month into the new year and I am sure several of you have wavering New Year’s resolutions, especially about healthy eating and weight loss. If it was easy, it would not be such a frequent struggle or the most common resolution. I’m just as guilty, so I won’t stand on my soap box; rather, I will provide you with some suggestions to help make you more successful. It is not too late to try again.
With a new year starting it might be a good time to clean up your eating habits. We Americans tend to eat processed and fatty foods that can wreak havoc on our bodies. Many experts recommend we strive for a more Mediterranean diet. It involves eating foods that are popular in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea (think Greece, Italy, etc).
Here are the basic principles of the Mediterranean diet:
I have been slowly adopting this diet and have already reaped the benefits of a smaller waistline, clearer skin, and more energy. It takes time but the benefits make it worth the effort. Those who follow a Mediterranean diet drastically reduce their risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease!
I recently wrote an article about the importance of sleep and mentioned a serious condition that can mess with your ability to log some zzzz's...sleep apnea. It is a condition in which you stop breathing periodically throughout the night because your throat closes. It's considered serious because it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, medical and surgical complications, liver problems, and angry sleeping partners.
How do you know if you have sleep apnea? The only way to tell is to see your doctor. They will either order a laboratory sleep test or a simpler one that you can do at home. Signs you may have a problem include loud snoring, fatigue, insomnia, headache, sore throat, and dry mouth upon waking. Risk factors include being overweight, having a thick neck, a family history, being male, getting older, of African American descent, smoking, and alcohol/sedative use.
The good news is there are things you can do to prevent or treat this disorder. They include:
These simple steps can help you to breathe easier and have a more restful night of sleep.
You just returned from your physical and your medical provider told you your cholesterol is up and you need to work on that. You probably missed everything your medical provider had to say as you wondered what high cholesterol means and what you have to change.
Let’s start with the basics. There are two kinds of cholesterol, good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). You may feel just fine, but it’s important to realize that untreated high cholesterol can lead to devastating and debilitating medical consequences. High cholesterol leads to heart disease and can cause heart attacks or congestive heart failure. High cholesterol also causes vascular disease that leads to pain in legs, carotid disease, and strokes.
Before you start any medication, your medical provider is going to recommend “lifestyle modification”. You really should take this seriously. Lifestyle modification includes weight loss in overweight people, aerobic exercise, and eating a healthy diet. These lifelong changes can contribute to a significant impact on your health.
Let’s start with a healthy diet. Research has shown that marked dietary change can lower LDL cholesterol by 30%! A Mediterranean diet is the perfect model for a healthy diet to both lose weight and lower your cholesterol. A Mediterranean diet consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. It also includes olive oil as an important source of healthy fat. Those following a Mediterranean diet eat low to moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy products. They also eat very little red meat. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can also reduce your LDL. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish, especially salmon, flax seed, canola, soybeans, and nuts. If those natural foods are not palatable to you, you can always try an omega-3 supplement. Research has also shown soy, red yeast rice, garlic, walnuts, tea, fiber (psyllium) and calcium can improve cholesterol.
Nancy has already shared a recent blog on aerobic exercise in her “Cardiovascular Fitness” article on 10/30/14. When you add aerobic exercise to a healthy Mediterranean diet, LDL cholesterol levels are significantly reduced in both women and men.
After 6-12 months of lifestyle modification, your health care provider will recheck your cholesterol levels and determine if the changes you made did the trick or suggest further treatment options. It is always healthier to reduce your cholesterol naturally rather than taking medications that can have significant side effects. Sometimes high cholesterol is hereditary and leading the perfect lifestyle can still not reduce it. In those cases, you may need a medication to get your cholesterol under control.
For now, get motivated to eat better, exercise, and maintain a healthy weight!
I get it. Really, I do. You're busy, and the last thing you want to think about is adding more exercise to your life.
But you know as well as I do that exercise can make a HUGE difference in your life. Studies have repeatedly found that adding even a small amount of movement to your day can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other medical issues.
Hard to argue with that, isn't it?
So I've put together a list of ways that you can easily add more movement to your day. You've probably seen most of these before but it's always good to have a quick reminder! Please leave a comment if you have additional ideas.
I know what you're thinking. Osteoporosis is an old lady disease. I used to think the same thing until I started doing research for my next book. That's when I realized this disease affects females of all ages, and even some men as well.
Let's start with the basics. Osteoporosis is a progressive loss of bone that can eventually lead to fractures, pain, and disfigurement. When I was a social worker I had a few clients with this disease and I still remember their suffering. One woman sneezed and broke her arm. Another was hunched over, and was in a lot of pain. Ladies, this is NOT a disease we want to get!
So how can you prevent it? Through nutrition and exercise. Both should start at a very young age. If you are a parent or grandparent with girls in the family, make sure they are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and activity. These will help to lay a base of bone that they can carry into adulthood. Most females reach their peak bone mass level at age 17 or 18.
From the age of 18 on, all you can do is work to keep what you've got. Again, adequate calcium, vitamin D, and exercise will help. Calcium is found in all dairy products as well as leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, and fortified products. If you hate dairy foods or cannot tolerate them, try almond milk or soy instead. You need calcium because it is a major building block in your bone.
Vitamin D is trickier. Our body produces it when we are exposed to sunlight. However, if you use sunscreen (and you really should) or live in a colder climate (like Ohio) then chances are good that you are not getting enough sunlight for this process to occur. What's more, the only really good food sources of vitamin D are fatty fishes such as tuna and salmon. It is also found in egg yolks. Since we tend to eat less of these foods, you might want to consider a supplement for this nutrient. Vitamin D is important because it helps calcium to be absorbed and used by the body.
Exercise is your final defense against osteoporosis. Weight-bearing cardiovascular activities such as walking, jogging, dancing, and jumping rope all place a load on your bone. This causes it to rebuild and maintain itself. If you are extremely slender and small-boned, you may have to add a weighted vest to reap the benefits of these activities. Lifting weights has also been shown to help maintain your bones.
Did you know that 80% of people with osteoporosis are women? The reason for this is we statistically have smaller skeletons than men. We also use different hormones to protect our bone mass. In our case the hormone is estrogen and it begins to decrease in our bodies in our 40's. By the mid-50's most women have gone through menopause and have very low estrogen levels. This time period (the first 5 years of menopause) is when we lose the greatest amount of bone mass in our lives.
Men use testosterone to protect their bones and their levels stay relatively high well into their 70's. Most men get osteoporosis because of other factors such as alcoholism, smoking, or long-term steroid use.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease. You usually don't know you have it until your first bone fractures. Why put yourself through such pain? Exercise and eat to prevent this health problem!!
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