The benefits of a healthy weight

The May edition of the Shaklee newsletter hared that making a commitment to achieve a healthy weight is one of the best health decisions you can make. Studies have shown health benefits start to occur at about a 5 percent reduction of initial body weight.1 For someone starting at 200 pounds, that means benefits could be seen with losing just 10 pounds! So let’s look at some specific benefits achievable with weight loss as documented in research publications:

HEART: Research has shown that a 5 to 10 percent loss of body weight can result in meaningful reductions in heart disease risk. One study of overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes found this amount of weight loss could lower blood pressure by as much as 5 mm Hg (systolic and diastolic). Blood lipids also improved along with a five-point increase in HDL cholesterol levels and a drop in triglycerides of as much as 40 mg/dL.2

BLOOD SUGAR: Many measures of blood sugar control improve with weight loss. In the same study just mentioned, a measurement of long-term blood sugar control called hemoglobin A1C may drop as much as a half point (normal is under 6.5).2 Insulin resistance also improves with modest weight loss in people without diabetes.2

INFLAMMATION: Fat cells produce inflammatory molecules called cytokines, and a 10 percent drop in body fat reduces levels of these substances. Losing those extra pounds has wide-ranging effects throughout your body as inflammation is associated with many chronic diseases.3

JOINTS: Every pound of weight lost reduces the stress on your knees by four times. So lose 10 pounds and take 40 pounds of stress off your knees, hips, and ankle joints.

How to get there

Weight loss in the 5-10% range is often achieved through changes to the diet, increased physical activity, and behavioral changes such as learning to self-monitor and how to manage situations that could result in poor diet & lifestyle choices. For this approach, you want a modest calorie restriction, one that will support about 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week. For many women, that means eating about 1200-1500 calories a day; for men, about 1500-1800 calories per day. The use of meal replacements (shakes or bars) has been shown to help improve weight loss outcomes.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: The basic activity recommendation is at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity most days, and resistance exercise twice a week. “Moderate intensity” for many people means brisk walking or something comparable; you should be able to talk but not sing during the activity. Check with your doctor if you have any reasons to be concerned about physical activity.

DIET: A higher protein intake plus exercise will help maintain muscle as you lose body fat; retaining muscle keeps your metabolism higher, in addition to making you fitter. Typically, some muscle is lost when people restrict calories to lose weight. However, in a recent study that combined meal replacements with aerobic and resistance exercise, the subjects actually gained muscle while losing weight.4

Key takeaways for you
  • Keep in mind you are doing more than changing your appearance—you are building your health! And studies suggest that for as long as people maintain most of their weight loss,the benefits last too.5
  • Think in terms of permanent change, not quick fix. Take your time, and make changes you think you will be able to stick with.
  • Many people find it helpful to track their behaviors and results. Take pictures when you start. Note how your clothes fit. Weigh in about once a week. Log your “winning streaks” of days in a row you get your brisk walk or gym visit in. Your new habits will dictate who you become.

Medication and Heart Disease

Certain kinds of medications can have an adverse effect on your teeth.

Long ago, children exposed to tetracycline developed tooth problems, including discoloration, later in life. The medication fell out of use, however, and is not an issue today.

The best precaution is to ask your family physician if any medications he or she has prescribed can have a detrimental effect on your teeth or other oral structures.

A condition called dry mouth is commonly associated with certain medications, including antihistamines, diuretics, decongestants and pain killers. People with medical conditions, such as an eating disorder or diabetes, are often plagued by dry mouth. Other causes are related to aging (including rheumatoid arthritis), and compromised immune systems. Garlic and tobacco use are other known culprits.

Dry mouth occurs when saliva production drops. Saliva is one of your body’s natural defenses against plaque because it acts to rinse your mouth of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials.

Some of the less alarming results of dry mouth include bad breath. But dry mouth can lead to more serious problems, including burning tongue syndrome, a painful condition caused by lack of moisture on the tongue.

If dry mouth isn’t readily apparent, you may experience other conditions that dry mouth can cause, including an overly sensitive tongue, chronic thirst or even difficulty in speaking.

Heart Disease

Poor dental hygiene can cause a host of problems outside your mouth—including your heart.

Medical research has uncovered a definitive link between heart disease and certain kinds of oral infections such as periodontal disease. Some have even suggested that gum disease may be as dangerous as or more dangerous than other factors such as tobacco use.

A condition called chronic periodontitis, or persistent gum disease, has been linked to cardiovascular problems by medical researchers.

In short, infections and harmful bacteria in your mouth can spread through the bloodstream to your liver, which produces harmful proteins that can lead to systemic cardiac problems. That’s why it’s critical to practice good oral hygiene to keep infections at bay—this includes a daily regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis

In some cases, patients with compromised immune systems or who fear an infection from a dental procedure may take antibiotics before visiting the dentist.

It is possible for bacteria from your mouth to enter your bloodstream during a dental procedure in which tissues are cut or bleeding occurs. A healthy immune system will normally fight such bacteria before they result in an infection.

However, certain cardiovascular conditions in patients with weakened hearts could be at risk for an infection or heart muscle inflammation (bacterial endocarditis) resulting from a dental procedure.

Patients with heart conditions (including weakened heart valves) are strongly advised to inform our office before undergoing any dental procedure. The proper antibiotic will prevent any unnecessary complications.

Got 10 Minutes? Use this Go4Life® Video to Help Make Your Legs Stronger!

If you want to build muscle in your legs, it’s important to do lower body strength exercises. Climbing stairs, getting up from a chair, and even preventing a fall are everyday functions that can improve when your legs are stronger. Do the 4 lower body strength exercises in this Go4Life video consistently and see the positive impact it can have on your leg strength!

Cut out sugar

Assurance shared that the average American sugar intake is about 32 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Since it is the #1 food additive in the foods we consume, it can often be overlooked. However, cutting down on sugar in your diet may be one of the biggest ways you can improve your health and manage your weight.

Here are steps you can take to cut down on the amount of sugar you intake:

1. Cut it out gradually: Research has shown that sugar is addictive. Use a step-by-step process so your body can adapt to the change.

2. Ask yourself: When do you consume sugar the most? Once you know what to cut down, make a plan. For example, if you normally put sugar in your coffee, gradually reduce the amount you usually add over the next couple weeks.

3. Try cooking: By cooking your own food, you will greatly reduce the amount of sugar you intake. Processed foods are full of hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners even if they are marked as “low-fat” or “no fat” foods.

4. Sleeping helps: Studies have found a relationship between sleep deprivation and junk food cravings. By getting enough sleep, you will set yourself up to avoid those sugar cravings and stay on track with your diet.

Relief from Raynaud’s Syndrome Symptoms

Jennifer McGrath, L.Ac., Dipl.OM shared in a recent newsletter that Raynaud’s syndrome, also known as Raynaud’s disease, causes a sudden constriction of the vessels supplying blood to the skin, largely affecting the fingers and toes. The symptoms, commonly known as an attack, may be triggered by cold temperatures or emotional stress. Most cases are mild and can be treated with lifestyle changes such as wearing warm gloves and socks, and avoiding rapid temperature changes. While not life-threatening, in rare cases, when left untreated, the affected tissue may become necrotic and gangrenous.

According to a small 1997 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, acupuncture is effective in treating primary Raynaud’s syndrome. The patients that received acupuncture experienced a statistically significant decrease in the frequency, severity and duration of their vasospastic attacks. The patients in the control group showed no improvements. Researchers concluded acupuncture was safe and effective for treating the symptoms of primary Raynaud’s syndrome.

As a cold environment or object is often responsible for triggering an attack, this may indicate a Yang deficiency. When Yang energy is low, blood circulation may slow down as a result. Symptoms of Yang deficiency include feelings of cold, lower back or knee pain and a weak pulse. Treatment in this case would focus on boosting Yang energy, circulation and the immune system.

Ways to Eat More Veggies for People Who Hate Vegetables

Child and fresh vegetables

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDNis a board certified sports dietitian located in Orlando, Florida where she specializes in intuitive and mindful eating. She is the author of the food and nutrition blog, Love & Zest where she shares {mostly} healthy recipes with simple ingredients that are meant for real life.

Kristina shared that you know how great vegetables are for you. You’ve heard all about the fiber that keeps your cardiovascular and digestive systems healthy. You know they’re a great source of antioxidants, which help prevent disease from the inside out. And you know they’re an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, all of which are necessary for a balanced diet. Blah blah blah … but knowing the benefits isn’t making you like them any more. You’ve accepted it — you hate vegetables and there’s nothing you can do to change that fact. WRONG! Here are five ways to slowly but surely work more veggies into your diet and maybe even learn to love them:

1. TRANSFORM THEM

Raw vegetables aren’t nearly as satisfying as their cooked counterparts. Raw Brussels sprouts can be pretty unappealing to plenty of palates. But slice them, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 425°F for 30 minutes and you’ve achieved a total transformation. They’ve gone from bitter to sweet. Even humble romaine lettuce, often served on a sandwich or in a salad, gets new life when cut in half lengthwise, drizzled with oil and balsamic vinegar and popped it on the grill for 5-10 minutes. If you prefer vegetables bear no resemblance to their natural form, pureeing is the way to go. Roast butternut squash in the oven, scoop the insides into a blender and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth to make a delicious winter squash soup or better yet … stir the purée into mac-n-cheese.

2. SEASON AWAY

Most food needs seasoning. Rosemary and lemon are a match made in seasoning heaven, and are the perfect combo to add to potatoes, carrots and onions. For those of you who like a little heat, use chili powder, cumin and paprika for a warm flavor. Toss diced sweet potatoes with a blend of these spices and then sauté to make a breakfast hash, or coat an ear of corn with the mixture and throw it on the grill. And don’t forget cheese — it can more or less mask other flavors. Try cheddar cheese melted over steamed broccoli or grated Parmesan atop grilled asparagus.

3. GET SNEAKY

With a little creativity, veggies can be hidden in some of your favorite dishes. Start by choosing those with a subtle flavor that are similar in color to what you’re making. An easy trick is to add finely chopped onions, carrots and red bell peppers to tomato sauce, or roasted and pureed squash to a cream sauce on a pasta dish. As your tolerance increases, you can get more daring. Grated zucchini and carrots can be mixed into muffins, while beets can be stirred into chocolate cake, brownie batter or blended into a smoothie with citrus and banana. Speaking of smoothies, try blending spinach into your next creation — it may add a green tint to your drink, but bananas and berries easily cover up its mild flavor. Read more

Four ways you can live healthier this spring

Dr. Amy Woike, a primary care physician at the Aurora Health Center in Gurnee, recently published that there’s something about springtime that triggers our instincts to make positive changes. Those in health care like to remind our patients that spring is a great time to take a look at your overall health, unclutter it and clean it up where you.

Here are four simple ways that you can improve your overall health this coming spring:

1. Start your day with a clean diet

Finally make a pact with yourself and your family to make healthier food choices, beginning with changing your breakfast.

Instead of eating carb-filled pastries and baked goods, opt for Greek yogurt, which is filled with protein and probiotics that help your digestive tract and improve your immune system.

If Greek yogurt tastes too plain for you, try adding fruits such as strawberries or blueberries, which are not only antioxidants but also high in vitamin C.

2. Increase your daily activity

While it is important to be consistently active, spring is a great time to start incorporating some new exercises.

Try adding a new activity to your daily routine, such as walking, swimming or yoga. Remember that exercise not only benefits your heart — you will also notice other health benefits such as more energy, increased self-confidence, better sleep, weight control and stress management.

Exercise also combats serious health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. A good goal for weekly exercise activity levels should be at least 150 minutes over a seven day period.

3. Schedule your family’s vaccinations

With travel season approaching, it is important to make sure you schedule a time to meet with your doctor to know which immunizations you may need.

Spring is also a good time to get your kids updated on their immunization schedule. Remember that some vaccines weaken as you age, so adults sometimes need new immunizations to protect from getting and spreading serious diseases.

4. Take extra steps to alleviate allergies

For some people, spring is synonymous with allergy season.

Some of the most notorious offenders in our area include trees such as oak, poplar, hickory and walnut, and flowers including camomile, daisies, goldenrod and chrysanthemums.

If you are in the 30 percent of the population affected, take measures this year to alleviate symptoms.

Keep windows shut to prevent mold and pollen from coming into your house and try to stay indoors for minimal contact with pollen.

Try an over-the-counter antihistamine such as nasal decongestants, nasal spray or eye drops to reduce symptoms. Speak with your doctor if you still feel lousy.

• Dr. Amy Woike is a primary care physician at the Aurora Health Center in Gurnee, located at 7505 Grand Ave. She treats patients of all ages. She can be contacted at (847) 245-8448.

How To Treat Bunions Without Surgery Effectively

Anna Smith, anna.healthankering@gmail.com,  from Health Marketing,  shared that there are people who are not even aware that they have bunions. Some of them just think that their feet are wide when in fact these bunions can apparently be seen since they are located near the feet’s joints. The reason why they appear is because of the additional formation of the bone due to some abnormal growth on the feet’s joint. Some people think that all they need to do is to choose the right shoes to help their bunions be accommodated, which will then make their feet less painful. If you are one of the many who is suffering from bunions, then the information below will surely be beneficial for you.

What is Bunion? A deformity in the joint is what a bunion is, which is usually located at the big toe’s base part. Its medical term is known as hallux valgus. The cause is typically unknown, but it can tend to run in the families. Another thing that can contribute to bunion is wearing shoes that are too fit.

Symptoms of Bunion?Typically the main sign of bunion is big too that is pointing towards on the toes beside it, which will then force the bone that is attached to it to stick in an outward position. Some of the other options are:

  • Bony bump that can be swollen
  • Swelling or pain over the join on your big toe and is made worse when wearing tight shoes
  • Red skin with callus that is hard
  • Sore skin at the top of bunion
  • Shape of the foot changes, which makes it difficult for you to fit in into shoes

 

So How to Treat Bunions without Surgery?Some people opt for surgery, but there are many who are looking for ways on how they can treat bunions without the need to get surgery. Here are different ways on how to treat bunions without surgery effectively.

 

  • Checking Your Shoes  One of the main reasons why people are acquiring bunions is because they are wearing the wrong shoes. Typically, if you are not dressed in a shoe that does not properly fit, the flow of blood will stop and as well as the flow of synovial fluid through your bones. For you to treat your bunion, it would be best always to make sure that you are wearing the right type of shoes. If you are fond of wearing high heels, it would be bets to ensure to give your feet a rest once in awhile.
  • Using Olive Oil  Another effective treatment is with the use of olive oil since it can help increase the circulation of the blood flow. It can also contribute to reducing the bunion’s size if you are going to apply olive oil every single day. To do this, you can start massaging the bunion once in the morning and at night. You can keep on doing this until you notice a change in the bunion’s appearance.
  • Using Ice Pack  Bunions can swell and make sure that they won’t swell more is essential. For them to avoid swelling more, you can use an ice pack to help reduce the swelling. Another good thing about using an ice pack is that it can also help to reduce the pain that you are currently feeling because of the bunion.
  • Doing Foot Exercises   If you are working out, it would be best to give your foot some time as well.
    There are foot exercises that you can do, which can help slow down the progress of bunion. These exercises can also assist in stopping the bunion’s appearance on your feet. Before sleeping, it would be best to stretch the big toe. After stretching the big toe, the next thing that you need to do is to stretch the other toes as well. Of course, repeat flexing your toes again and make sure to hold them for 10 seconds before you start moving them again.
  • Soaking in Warm Water  Bunions are forming because the feet is always too tired and soaking your feet in warm water will help the blood to flow and circulate correctly. To do this, you can start preparing a bowl of clean, warm water. Soak your feet for 20 whole minutes every single day. The warmth will help relieve the soreness and tiredness of the feet.
  • Using Epsom Salt  Another effective treatment is using an Epsom Salt. The reason behind this is because Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, which is known to help in getting rid of the pain and inflammation that is caused by the bunion. Using a pale with warm water, pour enough Epsom salt and start soaking your feet inside. You can also do this for 20 minutes, and you will surely notice that the pain will slowly go away. You can do this every day as this can help reduce the size of your bunion.

 

Conclusion

These are all the information on how to treat bunions without surgery. The above treatments will not only help reduce the swelling but will also help you get rid of the bunions in the soonest time possible. These tips above will also help you to start to feel comfortable again because you no longer have to worry about the bunion on your feet, which is causing your discomfort and pain.

Put in mind that if you decide to undergo surgery, you will have to take time off from work since you will need ample of time to recover. If surgery is highly not needed, then you will benefit from the treatments mentioned above. Just make sure to follow them religiously for you to reap off each of their benefits.

 

“Move More with Go4Life!” during Go4Life Month 2017

It’s not too early to start planning for Go4Life Month 2017, coming in September. This year’s theme — “Move More with Go4Life®!” — challenges older adults to step up their activity by working out more frequently, for longer periods of time, or with more intensity. Each week will target one of the 4 exercise types recommended for older adults.

Looking for ways to participate?

  • Week One (Endurance): Organize a community or mall walk
  • Week Two (Strength):  Workout to Go4Life upper body and lower body strength videos
  • Week Three (Balance): Raise awareness about balance and falls prevention using Go4Life Tip Sheets and NIHSeniorHealth videos
  • Week Four: (Flexibility): Do group stretching to Go4Life flexibility videos 

Stay tuned for more ideas, resources, and details to help you plan for Go4Life Month 2017.  

If you would like to share ideas, get more information, or have questions, contact us at go4life@nia.nih.gov.

Study looks at genes affecting depression

The Associated Press reports that a key advance in the study of depression,  is a  comprehensive scan of human DNA.  Findings have turned up that DnA is  apparently a  hiding places of more than a dozen genes linked to the disorder.

“This is a jumping-off point” for further work to reveal the biological underpinnings of depression, which in turn can guide development of new drugs, said Ashley Winslow, an author of a paper on the work.

Experts said the result is important not only for its specific findings, but also for its demonstration that the study’s approach can help uncover clues to the biology of depression, which is largely a mystery.

The work by Winslow and others identified 15 areas of the human DNA — the “genome” — that show signs of harboring genetic variations that affect risk of becoming depressed. That indicates where scientists can focus on identifying and studying the affected genes, which in turn could reveal what processes go awry to raise the risk of the disease.