Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category
If your holiday shopping tends to include a couple purchases for yourself, you might want to stop and think before you buy that new pair of high heels you have been eyeing.
High heels—which one in 10 women wear at least three days a week—are one of the biggest factors leading to foot problems in women, with up to a third suffering permanent problems as result of prolonged wear.
According to Natalie A. Nevins, DO, an osteopathic family physician from Hollywood, Calif., frequent wear of high heels can set women up for long-term health issues. “Extended wear of high heels and continually bending your toes into an unnatural position can cause a range of ailments, from ingrown toenails to irreversible damage to leg tendons. Additionally, cramming your toes into a narrow toe box can cause nerve damage and bunions,” says Dr. Nevins. “High heels have also been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fasciitis and low back pain,” she adds.
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Some days you just need that extra cup of coffee to help you stay awake and energized. Too much caffeine, however, can leave you wide awake later that night. Besides insomnia, too much caffeine can lead to other health problems, like upset stomachs and restlessness.
“A healthy intake of caffeine ranges from two to four cups of brewed coffee a day or just less than a can of soda, about 200 to 300 milligrams,” explains Ivan Rusilko, DO, an osteopathic physician from Miami. “People who don’t drink caffeine often may experience a larger effect when they do indulge.”
People need to watch the amount of caffeine not only in beverages but also in foods, such as chocolate. “You may be surprised to find some of your favorite foods contain various amounts of caffeine in it,” Dr. Rusilko adds.
Dr. Rusilko offers tips on how to safely consume caffeine:
- Use caffeine only certain times of the day. “Because it takes about five to seven hours for your body to eliminate half of the caffeine you consume, try to avoid drinking large amounts of caffeine eight to 10 hours before sleep to allow your body to eliminate about 75% of the caffeine within it,” suggests Dr. Rusilko.
- Slowly cut back. It is important to do this gradually to experience the least amount of side effects. “Abruptly stopping the intake of caffeine can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as anxiety, fatigue and headaches, for a few days,” Dr. Rusilko notes.
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No matter how old we are it seems like our mothers still worry about our well-being by making sure we’re eating our vegetables and reminding us to change our bed sheets. But as it turns out Mom might be right to nag you about changing the sheets more often.
Recently the Wall Street Journal interviewed Philip M. Tierno, Jr., PhD, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, about the countless intruders lurking within the sheets. Human skin cells are tasty snacks for dust mites, who tend to accumulate in sheets (along with their feces). There are other invaders taking up residence in your sheets too, including dust, insect parts, pollen, animal hair and bacteria, Dr. Tierno points out in the interview.
Learn more about how breathing that stuff in could damage your health and why you need to protect your mattress in the Wall Street Journal.
In the meantime, here are Dr. Tierno’s quick tips to washing bedding so you can breathe easier:
- Wash sheets and pillowcases once a week to eliminate the debris that has accumulated in the bed for that week.
- Make sure to use the washing machine’s hot-water cycle. This water temperature actually kills and destroys a lot of vegetative material and dust mites.
- For extra protection, use bleach. “It is probably the cheapest germicide and can be used in low concentration,” Dr. Tierno states in the interview.
- Mattress Cleaning Tips (mattress-find.com)
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Being committed to their training and pursuing excellence are among the traits of a dedicated athlete. But if that drive turns into compulsive behavior, such as exercising for prolonged periods of time or restricting dietary intake, athletes could become at risk for a serious health problem, like an eating disorder.
“Compulsive behaviors could include avoiding situations where food will be served, developing ritualistic eating patterns or exercising beyond training despite an injury,” explains Nickitas Thomarios, DO, an osteopathic child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist from St. Paul, Minn.
There even is a type of anorexia exhibited by athletes called “anorexia athletica.” Dr. Thomarios says this condition can occur when an athlete:
- Develops a fear of weight gain or becoming fat when in fact they are underweight.
- Experiences weight loss of at least 5% of body weight due to dietary restriction and excessive exercise.
- Starts binge eating and using other potentially harmful forms of weight control methods.
Treatment can be an integrative approach with the support of a primary care physician, psychiatrist or therapist and a dietitian.
“It’s important to take a whole person approach to treating anyone with an eating disorder, especially with athletes since they use both their body and their mind to compete,” says Michelle Hoff, DO, an osteopathic family physician from St. Louis Park, Minn. “Since athletes tend to be goal oriented, developing specific goals like eating a certain number of calories per day can be helpful.”
If you suspect that you or someone you know might have an eating disorder, whether or not this person is an athlete, be sure to speak with a physician, counselor or other trusted health care provider to get help.
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When the weather turns cold it is easy to reach for something warm and comforting like hot chocolate or a fresh-from-the-oven cookie for a quick snack. However, we shouldn’t forget about our summer stand-by snack— fresh fruit.
“Fruits are low in calories and fat and full of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants, all of which are essential for optimizing our health,” says Laura M. Rosch, DO, an osteopathic internist from Chicago.
“It is important to remember that just because a fruit you crave isn’t in season, it doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate it into your diet,” Dr. Rosch says. “When fresh produce isn’t an option, consider dried fruits, which are a rich source of nutrients, canned fruits, which stay fresh in their own juices, and frozen fruits, which are flash-frozen at their peak to seal in freshness.”
Consider these tips when shopping for fruit this winter:
Look for bright colors. “Fruits that are bright in color and heavy in your hands are at their ripest and are filled with vitamins and nutrients,” says Dr. Rosch. Avoid blemishes, spots, molds and signs of insecticide spray.
Make sure you wash fruits soon after shopping. “Washing fruit ensures that what you consume is rid of dust, sand, and any chemical residue,” says Dr. Rosch. “Fruits have a short shelf life and need to be consumed quickly after purchasing for the best health-benefiting properties.”
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Although the lack of humidity in winter can cut down on the number of frizzy hair days, humid air does help keep skin moisturized. There’s also less sunlight in the winter, which means less exposure to the nourishing minerals found in vitamin D.
“When skin is properly hydrated, nourished with vitamins and exfoliated, it has a radiant glow that is noticeable to you and everyone around you,” explains Robert A. Norman, DO, owner and CEO of Dermatology Healthcare, a national company that provides dermatology consultation in long-term care facilities. “When moisture is absent from skin, it becomes chapped.”
However, there is hope for having good skin even on those harsh winter days. Dr. Norman recommends the following tips to help people avoid dry, chapped skin and to maintain their healthy glow:
Avoid hot showers and baths. As tempting and as enjoyable as it is to jump into a hot shower on a cold winter day, don’t do it. “Bathing in hot water breaks down the lipid barriers in your skin, which causes a loss in moisture,” Dr. Norman says. Instead, he recommends taking warm showers, not hot, and avoiding staying in the shower for an extended period of time.
Exfoliate. “The top layer of skin cells are either dead or old and make your skin look dull,” Dr. Norman explains. Exfoliating gets rids of the dead skin cells and reveals newer, healthier looking skin. Dr. Norman recommends using a light exfoliate scrub but to be careful not to over-exfoliate.