Hey Tough Guy! Are You Avoiding the Doctor? You May Want to Rethink That Plan!

There just aren’t enough hours in a day! You’ll make that doctor’s appointment another day, right? Especially because nothing hurts and you have no pain, aches, bumps, or bruises? Think again! It is all too common for men to skip their annual visits to their doctors, which could be a big step in the wrong direction. Although we all like to believe that since we feel fine there must be nothing wrong, there are far too many health risks and potential diseases for men to ignore their doctors, and their health altogether. June is Men’s Health Month and we encourage all men to take precautions and check up on your health! Preventative medical tests can detect diseases early, before they start to cause the aches and pains that would send someone to the doctor immediately. Here are some recommendations for screening tests and lifestyle adjustements to consider so that you can take control of your health now and prevent illness later: Check your cholesterol levels regularly, especially after the age of 20. Having high cholesterol puts men at a greater risk for heart disease and should be checked every five years, or more often if your cholesterol is high. Keep a close eye on your body weight, activity level and diet, as these lifestyle choices have a direct effect on cholesterol levels. Consider taking the Fasting Plasma Glucose Test to screen for type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you are experiencing increased thirst and frequent urination, as well as weight loss and increased hunger, you may be experiencing diabetes symptoms. As with many other diseases, warning signs are not...

Changes to Make for A Heart Healthy Lifestyle

Do you know how to properly fuel and protect the most vital organ in your body? The heart is the center of the cardiovascular system and needs proper care and nourishment to remain healthy. Nearly half of Americans are at risk for heart disease, a large percentage of which are due to poor diet. Luckily, making changes in one’s diet is a quick and easy way to start to protect your heart from heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease by controlling your weight and keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Here are some tips to get you started: Avoid fats! Cut out the foods filled with trans-fats and saturated fats, as well as those high in cholesterol. There are many healthier alternatives to these problematic food items, such as Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or skim milk in place of heavy whipping cream. Well-rounded diet! Try to include foods from several food groups to keep meals healthy and well rounded. Make sure to include fruits and vegetables in your daily diet as they are a great source of fiber and are low in calories. Fish is an excellent addition to your diet, rich with anti-inflammatory omega-3-fatty acids that may assist in lowering the risk of heart disease. Count calories! Although the task seems daunting, monitoring your daily caloric intake to manage your weight can help prevent stroke, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider to gain insight on calorie intake for your weight, age, gender, and level of activity. Watch out for salt! Take note of your sodium...

Can We Stop Obesity From Starting So Early?

When did you first become addicted to french fries? To chips and ice cream? For many American children it was probably before they can remember. Food addictions, while prevalent now, are not part of our genetic makeup.  They are learned behaviors that can be reversed. This month  is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the focus is on preventing and correcting the obesity epidemic that is now a problem not just for adults, but for our children. Nearly one in three children in the United States is overweight and obese, leaving them at risk for adult health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. The increase in childhood obesity appears to be slowing, but how do we help those children who are already obese and overweight? Recent research conducted by the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University and at Massachusetts General Hospital shows that food addiction can be reversed. You, and your child, can learn to crave salads instead of french fries.  Ideally, children would never learn to crave junk food, but if they do and it’s more than likely that they will, we can help them to undo that habit.  Obesity can be prevented and you can help. Provide smaller portions at mealtimes with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Encourage daily activity at home and at school. Support your school’s efforts to provide healthier menu options. A lifetime of eating habits begins with what you put on the table and how you act every day. Set a good example and help your child live a long, healthy life. Reach for the...

Why Are We Still Fat and Unhealthy?

Are you ready to hear this again?  Americans are fat and getting fatter.  In overall health and life expectancy the US lags behind Europe and other developed countries.  One study describes the State of US Health as improving but not nearly as quickly as in other wealthy countries.  Americans can expect to live longer with more disabilities than their european peers.  We spend more per capita on health but  still suffer from diseases caused by our poor lifestyles: lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking  and high body mass index.  During the time period of 1985 to 2010 women’s longevity did not increase at all while men’s only increased by a measly 5% placing the US 27th among the 34 countries considered to be our peers. There is some good news: Americans are more physically active and in fact, there are more Americans getting enough physical exercise than there were 10 years ago.  But it’s not enough to make a dent in our obesity levels.  While activity levels rise, so do obesity levels.  What’s the deal?  According to a study conducted at the University of Washington the gap appears to be that while we may be more active, we are still eating too much!  Portion sized have increased dramatically, both in restaurants and at home since the early 1970s and the food we eat is loaded with fat, sugar and salt. The answer: Change your diet and eat less.  The effects of our poor diet combined with smoking, excess alcohol and lack of exercise lead to ever increasing rates of diabetes.  Tests can identify pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome to let...

Autoimmunity and Salt: Are You Low Sodium Yet?

Have you adjusted your diet to a low sodium version yet?  If not, you have another reason to do it as soon as possible.  High salt foods have been shown to raise blood pressure, increase the risk of edema (swelling) and numerous other health problems due to the retention of water caused by excess salt.  With the right amount of salt we are able to hold onto just enough water for our bodies to funcgtion properly and electrolytes to move to the body parts where they do the most good.  Reducing your salt intake is important for many reasons: a lower sodium intake has been associated with other health benefits, including a reduced risk of dying from a stroke, reversal of heart enlargement, and a reduced risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis. If the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure isn’t enough to scare you into skipping those super salty fries and salty snacks like chips, maybe a new study linking high salt intake to autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis would make a difference.  The specifics of how they are linked has to do with high levels of salt that produce higher levels of  TH17 cells in your body.  These cells produce an inflammatory protein: interleukin-17.  I have recent experience with an autoimmune disease, hyperthyroidism or Graves Disease.  Antibodies are produced that cause the thyroid to become overactive, producing excessive levels of thyroid hormone.  Could this be caused by excess salt?  It is certainly possible and makes me want to look at my overall sodium intake.  Now I’m in a position of needing to take replacment thyroid hormone for the rest of my life because my body...