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Taking Your Body Where Your Mind Wants To Go


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Ezekiel Emaunuel on the ADA

The last weekend in May, Minnesota Public Radio held the very first Top Coast Festival in conjunction with the University of Minnesota.  They brought in speakers from around the nation to talk about new solutions to some of the most vexing problems our country faces today.  My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to attend the Festival and hear some phenomenal speakers.  For those of you who were not able to attend, MPR began re-broadcasting all of the interviews the week following the Festival.

This is the second in a series of posts from the best of the Festival speakers.    Please take the time to listen if there are topics that interest you.  You are sure to be inspired!

Ezekiel Emaunuel, Vice provost for global initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania spoke about the Affordable Care Act on Sunday morning at the Festival.  He made some really interesting points, including some great facts about preventive care, including exercise  programs which are right in line with our philosophies on healthy living at L2BH.

To listen to the interview, please visit MPR.org.

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Exercise is Key Element in Stroke Prevention for Women

Stroke typically affects women in their later years, but doctors are now beginning to focus on helping them cut their risk earlier in life.  This increased attention to risk factors in early adult years was recommended by new guidelines that were released earlier this year by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.  Those guidelines are now being phased into practice by primary care doctors, experts say. For women, that translates to more screening for risk factors during office visits and more interventions to ensure a healthy lifestyle to reduce stroke risk.  Stroke is a serious interruption or reduction of blood flow to the brain, women have unique risk factors.

Among them are the use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy after menopause, which both increase stroke risk. Pregnancy-associated disorders also may have long-lasting effects on a woman’s health and her stroke risk.  An estimated 6.8 million persons in the United States have had a stroke, 3.8 million of whom are women, according to the summary. Women have poorer recovery and worse quality of life than men after a stroke, the summary says.

And here’s what women can expect if their primary care doctor adheres to the new guidelines.  Your doctor will screen for high blood pressure. It is the most changeable risk factor, and it’s more common in women than in men.  Depending on your age, your doctor may screen for atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm, by measuring pulse rate and doing an electrocardiogram.  Your doctor may ask you about any history of headaches. Migraine headache with aura can increase stroke risk, and reducing the frequency of migraine should be the goal as a possible way to reduce stroke risk.

Depression and emotional stress also boost stroke risk.  The guidelines also recommend focusing on a healthy lifestyle that helps prevent stroke. These measures include keeping weight at a healthy level, eating a healthy diet, not smoking, getting regular physical activity and keeping alcohol intake moderate, if women drink.

Information for this article taken from HealthDay.com.

 

 


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Keep Moving – Keep Arthritis Away

Walking the equivalent of an hour a day may help improve knee arthritis and prevent disability, new research suggests.  Because of knee arthritis, many older adults find walking, climbing stairs or even getting up from a chair difficult. But these study findings equate walking more with better everyday functioning.

“People with or at risk for knee arthritis should be walking around 6,000 steps per day, and the more walking one does the less risk of developing functioning difficulties,” said the study’s lead author, Daniel White, a research assistant professor in the department of physical therapy and athletic training at Boston University.  Every step taken throughout the day counts toward the total, he said. The key is to wear a pedometer and take up to 6,000 steps daily, he said.  “People usually average 100 steps per minute while they walk, so (6,000 steps) is roughly walking an hour a day,” White said. “It doesn’t seem to make a difference where the steps come from.”  For someone with knee arthritis who is just starting to exercise, White recommended setting 3,000 steps as a first goal.

Other guidelines recommend walking considerably more than this for good health, but White said he was looking for the fewest steps that would help these patients remain mobile.  The study, published June 12 in Arthritis Care & Research, tracked the number of steps taken over a week by adults who were at risk for knee arthritis or already had it. All used pedometers and were part of a large osteoarthritis study.  Two years later the researchers assessed any arthritis-related functional limitations. They found that for every 1,000 steps taken, functional limitations were reduced 16 percent to 18 percent.

Walking not only builds muscle strength and flexibility, it also helps reduce arthritic pain, White and other experts say.  Many doctors hear complaints from patients who say they can’t walk because their knees, hips or other joints hurt. However,  the less one moves, the weaker the muscles get, and the less stable the joints are, increasing inflammation and pain.  Sitting around also increases the risk of weight gain, which can adversely affect joints.

Information for this article taken from HealthDay.com.

 

 

 


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“Exercise is the Silver Bullet” for Good Health

Chris Pipkin, Live 2 B Healthy Regional Owner from Iowa passed along a great article today, with the note, ” I had someone send this to me. Wow! In Cory’s words, “we need to get this out there, don’t be selfish, get it out there now.”  This research goes hand in hand with everything we at L2BH stand for.  The information below was taken from an article in MedPageToday:

Vulnerable seniors were more likely to maintain their ability to get up and move around after taking part in a moderate-intensity physical activity program compared with participation in health education workshops, researchers reported.

Participation in moderate-intensity physical activity several times a week reduced both chronic and acute incidents of major mobility disability compared with health education programming in a group of vulnerable seniors, Marco Pahor, MD, of the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research at the University of Florida, and colleagues reported in theJournal of the American Medical Association.

“The results are consistent with what I see in practice,” Bruce A. Leff, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Center in Baltimore, told MedPage Today in an email.  In clinical practice, Leff said, there are several barriers to physical activity in seniors with physical limitations. “Motivating sedentary folks to start exercise is not always an easy thing to do.”

In the context of this study, Leff said that some patients might have trouble getting to centers to participate due to transportation issues. Outside the context of this study, Leff, who treats patients in an urban setting, said he has patients who would like to get out and exercise, e.g., walk around the neighborhood, but that they live in areas where they feel it’s unsafe to be out and about.

Another barrier to exercise can be caretaker concern, as they worry the patient will hurt him or herself in a fall. “Some patients report that their family doesn’t want them to exercise,” Leff said.

“Over the long haul, reducing sedentary behavior in middle age would mitigate issues seen in the study,” Leff said. But in the grand scheme of things, Leff said, “Exercise is the silver bullet” for good health.

The results of the study, as outlined in the article, suggests the potential for structured physical activity as a feasible and effective intervention to reduce the burden of disability among vulnerable older persons, in spite of functional decline in late life,” Pahor and colleagues wrote.

 

 


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We Are NOT Eating Our Veges!

According to this article from NPR, most of us are not following the guidelines set up for a healthy balance of vegetables in our diet.  Average consumption of vegetables is running around 1.5 cups per day, as opposed to the USDA’s recommendation of  2-3 cups.  Not only are we not consuming enough vegetables, but many of those we are consuming are full of fat and salt.

The article says that, on average, more than half of our vegetable intake is in the form of potatoes and tomatoes, and only 10% is from green vegetables.  Now, potatoes and tomatoes in their original form are not bad for you.  A baked potato is an excellent source of potassium and, if you consume the skin as well, there is also a good dose of fiber.  But, we are usually loading it up with fat in the form of butter, sour cream and/or deep fat fried.  If you are craving a potato, try baking and topping with a healthy, vege-laden salsa – and then don’t skip eating the skin!  Same story holds true with tomatoes, where we are seldom eating them in the raw form.  Most of the time, we are eating them in a processed form with a very high sodium content (think pizza or spaghetti sauce).

One finding researchers had is that we do tend to get our RDA of fruit servings, suggesting that fruit may just be easier to grab and run, where vegetables tend to take a bit of time to prepare.  With all the packaged convenience vegetables in the grocery aisles today, this may be becoming less of an issue.  One thing I always try to do when I come home from the grocery store is wash, chop, peel, dice and slice before putting the items into the refrigerator so that fruits and veges alike are as convenient for my family is a grabbing a cereal bar from the pantry.

If you have suggestions, or recipe ideas to add more vegetables into your diet, please share them with our readers!


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Is it Possible to Be Obese & Healthy?

Can someone be obese and healthy? A new study and several experts say no.  An obese person who has normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol and normal blood sugar levels is still at risk for heart disease, Korean researchers report in the April 30 online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  In the study of more than 14,000 men and women, aged 30 to 59, those who were obese had more plaque buildup in their arteries, putting them at greater risk for heart disease and stroke than people of normal weight, the researchers found.

“People have been trying to work out whether there is a group of people that are obese and healthy,” said Dr. Rishi Puri, medical director of the atherosclerosis imaging core laboratory at the Cleveland Clinic and author of an accompanying journal editorial.  Puri noted that even if an obese person has normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, those measures are likely to change over time and become abnormal, putting the patient at risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

He also questioned the need, both in terms of research and patient care, of trying to define healthy obesity. “What are we trying to achieve? How does this help society?” he asked.  “We have an enormous challenge at a public health and individual level in dealing with obesity-related disorders. Being obese doesn’t just affect the heart. Being obese means you’re more likely to have joint disease, psychiatric disorders and cancers,” Puri said.  He added that, over the next couple of decades, obesity and its consequences will be driving health care costs.  “Even if we find that these particular obese patients don’t have a higher risk of heart disease in the short-term, what are the many other things obesity does to your body?” Puri said. “Are we going to ignore that?”

For the study, a team led by Dr. Yoosoo Chang, a professor at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital Total Healthcare Center, Center for Cohort Studies, in Seoul, scanned the hearts of 14,828 people who had no apparent risk factors for heart disease.  The researchers looked for buildup of calcium plaque in the heart’s arteries, which is an early sign of heart disease. Calcium plaque is linked to atherosclerosis, which is a stiffening and hardening of the arteries.  The investigators found that the obese people had a higher prevalence of atherosclerosis of the heart arteries than the people of normal weight. If atherosclerosis is not managed, it can lead to heart attack and sudden cardiac death, among other heart conditions, the researchers noted.

“Obese individuals who are considered ‘healthy’ because they don’t currently have heart disease risk factors should not be assumed healthy by their doctors,” Chang said in a statement.  “Our research shows that the presence of obesity is enough to increase a person’s risk of future heart disease and that the disease may already be starting to form in their body. It’s important that these people learn this while they still have time to change their diet and exercise habits to prevent a future cardiovascular event,” Chang said.  Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, said these findings are not surprising and expects that the same results would be found among obese Americans.  “There has long been debate about the relative importance to health of fitness versus fatness. The argument has been made that if one is fit, fatness may not be a significant health concern,” he said.

While fat and fit is better than fat and unfit, this study adds to a growing body of evidence that challenges that assertion. “Excess body fat can increase inflammation, one of the key factors contributing to heart disease, and other chronic diseases as well,” Katz said.  The good news about fitness and fatness is that the same strategies that help people stay fit are the ones that help them lose weight, he said. “Eating well and being active remain the best medicine for both losing excess weight, and staying healthy,” Katz noted.

According to the CDC, obesity ranges are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI). BMI is used because, for most people, it correlates with their amount of body fat.

  • An adult who has a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • An adult who has a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese.

Information from this article taken from HealthDay.com.


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Drink Up!!

2014-05-05_11-12-17We’ve long heard that drinking more water is vital to your health.  But here are a few benefits that may surprise you, beyond the usual.

  1. Fresh Breath – Water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste—and can even promote cavities.
  2. De-Dimple Skin – Losing weight improves the look of cellulite, but hydrating from the inside out is the number-one natural way to plump skin so underlying fat cells are less noticeable. You can hydrate and slim down, by eating water-rich fruits and veggies.
  3. Define Muscles – Water is about 12 times more resistant than air, so it takes more effort to move while submerged, according to Terry-Ann Gibson, PhD, associate professor of kinesiology at Boise State University. That means exercises you do in a pool are extra-effective muscle sculptors.
  4. Improve Skin – Hydrating from the inside makes skin more luminous.  To see results, drink eight glasses a day. It sounds like a lot but many women need that much to see a difference in their skin.
  5. Reduce Stress – Zen Buddhist monks have incorporated water features in their meditative gardens for hundreds of years because of their soothing sounds. And studies show listening to nature—particularly running water and waves—helps reduce anxiety.
  6. Improve Sleep – Soaking in a hot bath before bed can help you transition into a deeper, more restful sleep, a study at Loughborough University found.
  7. Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue – Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!
  8. Flushes Out Toxins – Gets rid of waste through sweat and urination which reduces the risk of kidney stones and UTI’s (urinary tract infections)
  9. Maintains Regularity – Aids in digestion as water is essential to digest your food and prevents constipation.
  10. Natural Headache Remedy – Helps relieve and prevent headaches (migraines & back pains too!) which are commonly caused by dehydration.
  11. Prevents Cramps & Sprains – Proper hydration helps keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic so joint pain is less likely.
As with most things, the amount of water for each person is very individual, but if your urine isn’t mostly clear, you most likely aren’t getting enough H2O. Some suggest 8 (8 oz) glasses a day while others suggest take your body weight (in pounds), divide it in half and drink that many ounces. Listen to what your body needs.
If you don’t care much for the taste of… nothing, then you can add a squirt of lemon, a squeeze of lime, a few sprigs of fresh mint or a cucumber or orange slice. You can even be so bold as to add a few berries or watermelon. What ever gets you to drink it up.