Tag Archives: Disease

The Other Side of 40 – The Cardiopulmonary (Heart and Lungs) System – Changes, Challenges, Solutions

The fourth part of this series looks at your heart and lungs.

And now to today’s post.

One thing the heart and lung share in common is, left to their own devices, they could function normally for much longer than typically ends up occurring. It’s important to discuss because heart disease is the most common cause of death in people 65 and over, and it is also the most frequent cause of activity limitations. Let’s quickly review changes, challenges and solutions.

agingheart
Heart Changes: Coronary artery disease increases as your activity declines. Blockages accumulate on the inside of your arteries, and they harden as they lose their elasticity. Both of these factors resulting in lessened blood flow. High blood pressure increases with age, independently and as a result of this.
aginglungs
Lung Changes: The air sacs, airways, and tissues lose elasticity and become more rigid with age. In general however, serious disease notwithstanding, the respiratory system can serve one well throughout a very long life. However, if you’re a smoker or have lung disease (e.g. asthma, COPD), the reversible damage to the lungs starts becoming irreversible about age 35. At that time, you in effect begin tearing out useful lung tissue, which diminishes your respiratory capacity and sets you up for chronic bronchitis and cancer, as the body attempts to repair this damage and does so incorrectly.
Challenges: In the absence of structural disease or continuing to expose yourself to toxins (e.g. cigarettes), the effects of these changes on our health status need not be severe. The social implications of the effects of normal changes due to aging often would not hamper reasonable normal functioning. The real challenge is to avoid inhaling toxins that will harm you (duh, right?).
Solutions: This is much simpler than you’d think and mostly involves prevention. The biological changes can be greatly diminished and held off by a regular, strenuous exercise regimen that causes deep breathing and elevation of your heart rate over a period of time and by avoidance of toxins, especially cigarette smoke and fatty foods. Your heart and lungs are well situated for the long haul in the absence of bad genes and bad habits.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
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Straight, No Chaser: A Look at Detox Diets

Introduction

In this post we take a look at detox diets.

detox-diet1

Detox-Diet2

Everyone who talks to me about detox is motivated and sincere about making an improvement in his or her health.  Therefore, it’s important that they be shown respect and encouraged.  However, some of these same individuals exhibit a level of desperation that is counterproductive and leaves them subject to fads and scams that are doomed to long-term failure. The first question I ask is “Are you trying to improve your health or weight?” These are often separate considerations. Of course, I’m hoping they answer, “Both.”  Interestingly, that happens less often than you might think. Next, I’ll ask if they’re engaged in some basic, fundamental activity (click here), which is rarely the case. Once people discover the latest, greatest thing, they tend to lock in on it and just have to go for it.  So be it.

Quick Fix vs Long-Term Solutions

So… today and tomorrow, I’m going to discuss two very common “quick-fix” approaches to detoxification. Let’s start with the “detox diet.”  For the purposes of this discussion, all detox diets are variations of the same theme. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you or come off as dismissive, but the point of the matter is that from a medical standpoint, these actions are reducible to a set of physiologic actions that either produce biological effects or don’t.  Giving a car a new coat of paint doesn’t make it an airplane.  Similarly, taking a quick detox diet doesn’t make you healthy if you return to the same conditions that produced your pathology in the first place.  Folks, it really should occur to you that given the rates of obesity and disease that exist, if these diets really worked, the pharmaceutical and medical communities would be all over them because of their potential for profit (and of course the potential for good…).  Here’s what detox diets do and don’t accomplish.

The Premise 

Going on a diet for a few weeks can clear your body of toxins, which will improve your health.

The Short Term Effects 

Proponents of detox diets often claim or note the following during the diet:

  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Better mental focus

The Long Term Effects

Proponents of detox diets often make the following claims about the benefits of the diets:

  • Health promotion
  • Prevention of new diseases
  • Cure of chronic diseases

What’s Really Happening

Have you ever heard that correlation is not causation?  If you engage in any activity involving backing away from fats, drinking more water, taking in less sugar and processed food, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, and taking in more fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel better!  In fact, I’m all for it.  Refer to this blog post where I give you details on how to naturally, healthily and sustainably do this.

Now, here’s the question. Is your detox diet just a two to four-week “challenge,” or is it the launching pad for a set of lifestyle changes? The problem is that people use these diets with their better principles, but they usually don’t sustain them.  In fact, the diets themselves generally are not sustainable because they’re too restrictive. If you tried sustaining some of these diets, you’d end up hospitalized.  You’re much better off applying fundamental principles that will slowly and steadily improve your health and also help you lose weight. By the way, those long-term claims have been roundly and routinely debunked by the medical community, which has every incentive to want to discover new ways to treat disease.

Precautions and Risks

  • Before starting any diet, you need to discuss what you’re trying to accomplish with your physician. I’d venture a bet that most would not approve one of these diets, especially if you suffer from any chronic illness, especially diabetes, mental illness, moderate to severe (and poorly controlled) high blood pressure or cardiac disease. They also won’t approve it if you’re pregnant or at the extremes of age.
  • Based on the components of these diets, you are introducing certain specific risks.  These include vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, electrolyte loss and imbalance and disruption of the function of your digestive system.

Questions and Answers

Let’s finish with two pointed questions and answers.

  1. Should I go on a detox diet?  I encourage almost any activity that motivates you to improve your health and has been shown to improve your health. If you want to naturally detox, apply these principals as the basis for a lifestyle change. As your body recovers, your natural detoxification system will take over and do just fine (assuming you are otherwise healthy).
  2. I quick-flush my system with a diet every few months. Is this healthy?  It depends on what you’re doing as a “quick-flush” and even more so, what you’re doing in-between. Focus on enhancing your natural detoxification system. I can’t say that a one-time or intermittent initiative to kick things off would be a terrible thing — if you stay with the program. In the best case scenario, it’s like going to get a dental cleaning every six months. You’ll still have decaying teeth and disease if that’s the only thing you’re doing. On the other hand, if you’re brushing and flossing every day, then the six-month check up is quick (and in this case, maybe superfluous).  I’m much more concerned with you sustaining a healthy approach toward the desired goal.

Next up, and the last in this series on detoxification will be a look at colonics.  Until then, bottoms up!

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

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Straight, No Chaser: Natural Methods of Detoxification

Natural-Detox
It seems that at least once a week I get asked to comment on colonics, detox diets, juice fasts, etc.  It seems to me that these are all rather extreme places to start.  How about we just talk about the threats that exist, how to avoid them, how to understand the natural detoxification process and how to optimize it?
On some level, our body is at constant war with our surroundings.  We are finely tuned machines (until we’re not).  We are well designed and equipped to filter the air we breathe and the food we eat, and to repel external poisons from penetrating our bodies.  That’s a very good thing, because toxins are everywhere.  We eat and drink them.  We inhale, absorb and ingest them.  Usually we do these things unwittingly, but for various reasons, a good number of us do these things intentionally.  By definition, toxins have harmful effects on our bodies.  Buildups of these substances can cause damage and eventually death.
In the first part of this five-part review of toxins and how they affect us, I want to point out how the body is equipped to combat and eliminate toxins – until and unless we poison it.  In the second part, I’ll offer Quick Tips to enhance your ability to naturally detoxify.  In the third part, I’ll discuss what and where the toxins are that we must combat.  In the fourth and fifth parts, I’ll discuss some of the exotic (or should that be esoteric?) methods promoted to detoxify the body.
Let’s start not by talking about toxins, but by discussing how the body protects you.  There are four areas in particular to review: the skin, the lungs, the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract (particularly your liver and intestines).
Skin: The skin is actually the body’s largest organ, and it’s the largest organ of elimination.  It is in constant contact with the environment and is our primary barrier against disease, keeping out microorganisms, dusts, pollens and other substances with no good intentions.  The constant battle leaves your skin’s pores clogged, subject to infection, lacerations, and premature aging.
Lungs: The lungs are the vessels of life, bringing oxygen into the body to supply the needs of all your organs and systems.  However, have you looked at the atmosphere lately?  Smog’s everywhere, not to mention allergens and cigarette and cigar smoke.  If the air you’re breathing is poisoning the lungs themselves, your ability to keep poisons out of you and exhale away carbon dioxide incrementally become diminished to disastrous effect.
Kidneys: Your kidneys are one of the two primary ways you visibly eliminate waste.  Consider them the blood’s strainer.  You really should learn to watch your urine.  It tells a story about your health.  If your urine is not clear to light yellow, something’s going on.  If you come to me with cloudy, straw-colored, bloody, pink, or brown urine, those all tell me about different medical conditions you could be experiencing.
Your liver and intestines: Now we’re looking at your stools.  Consider that if you were ideally healthy, you’d have a bowel movement with the same frequency with which you ate.  At the other end of the spectrum (no pun intended), you could be constipated, or your bowels could be obstructed.  You have bacteria that live in your intestines that also help naturally detoxify wastes, but that only works as intended if you continue to have stools.  The more contact time your body’s intended waste has with your intestinal tract, the more of it that will be absorbed.  Fortunately, the intestines have additional barriers in its membranes that fight against toxins reentering the body.  Your liver serves a vital function in detoxifying many directly poisonous substances. It uses its natural chemicals to facilitate excretion of toxins by the kidneys.
Most everything you think you know about extrinsic supplemental ways to detoxify are poor substitutes for what a healthy body will achieve.  If you focused on your health and fitness, you could rest assured that your body would protect you, and you could also save a ton of money avoiding all those fad diets and other ‘previously secret’ methods of detoxification.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

Vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

vaginismus

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couples maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Syphilis, The Great Mimicker

Today, Straight, No Chaser will present two phrases that you may not have previously heard: The Great Mimicker and MSM, and that means we’re discussing what has historically been a devastating disease: syphilis. Historically, syphilis really is the most important sexually transmitted disease (For what it’s worth, it’s thought that Columbus’ crew spread the disease between the Americas and Europe.). The great mimicker nickname as applied to syphilis exists because syphilis has many general symptoms that resemble and are often confused with other diseases. MSM points to the fact that treatment in the early stages is so complete that syphilis had been rapidly in decline – until it’s reemergence in a specific population. It is estimated that well over 60% of reported early stage cases of syphilis occurs in men who have sex with men (MSM).
In this review, I want to specifically address the symptoms, which are impressively and dramatically different depending on the stage.
syphilis1
Stage I – Primary Syphilis: Primary syphilis usually presents with the presence of a single, painless sore (a chancre), located wherever it was contracted. As pictured above, the head (glans) of the penis is a typical site. The sore disappears in 3-6 weeks (with or without treatment), and if treatment wasn’t received, the disease progresses. Herein lies the problems. Because it’s painless, you ignore it, perhaps thinking it was a friction sore, or you never gave it much of a thought. Because it went away on its own, you forget about it, thinking that it got better. So sad, so wrong…
syphilis2Syphilis-hands
Stage II – Secondary Syphilis: When syphilis returns days to weeks (more typically) after the primary infection, it does so quite dramatically. Rashes can appear everywhere, including across your back (as noted above) and chest to on your palms and soles, in your mouth, groin, vagina, anus, or armpits. The rash could be warts (condyloma lata) or flat. You should be scared, but you might not be because… the rash and the other symptoms again will disappear on its own. Despite what you may think intuitively, you really don’t want that to happen.
Latent Syphilis: Dormant syphilis can stay that way for decades after secondary syphilis has occurred. What you don’t know can hurt you. Syphilis can be transmitted during the earlier portion of latent phases, including to an unborn child.
Syphilis3
Tertiary Syphilis: Late stage syphilis is a disturbing thing to see (and obviously experience). The disease can result in death, causing damage to the brain, heart, liver, bones, joints, eyes, the nervous system and blood vessels. Before it kills you, it can result in blindness, paralysis, dementia and loss of motor control. If you don’t know how the research discovering all of this was conducted, for now I’ll just say it was one of the most shameful acts of medical history. I’ll blog on it later. The individuals in the above picture were alive when these pictures were taken, by the way.
A special note: The microorganism causing syphilis is rather aggressive, so much so that it can be transmitted by oral, anal or genital sexual contact. By oral, I also mean kissing. Pay attention to those oral sores. Furthermore, syphilis gets transmitted from mother to unborn child. This is a devastating occurrence – if untreated, a child may be born prematurely, with low birth weight or even stillborn. If untreated, once born, a child may suffer deafness, seizures and cataracts before death.
Prevention and Treatment Considerations: Advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. Remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: When Eating Goes Wrong, Part I – Anorexia

anorexia_nervosa11

Simply put, our society doesn’t do the job it should in promoting a normal image of health at either end of the body size spectrum. The typically promoted American ideal of beauty sets standards that lead many to pursue unrealistic means of meeting that ideal. In the setting of an actual American population that is disproportionately obese by medical standards, this becomes even more of a problem, as individuals give up on realistic goals and settle into unhealthy eating habits that lead to disease due to obesity.
Most people are aware of two eating disorders (on the low side that is; obesity is another conversation): anorexia and bulimia. It is important to note that eating disorders are real medical and mental diseases. It is equally important to understand that they can be treated. It is vitally important to understand that when left untreated these disorders lead to a much higher incidence of death than in those without these conditions. These diseases cause severe disturbances in one’s diet, so much so that individuals spiral out of control toward severe disease and death in many instances. Sufferers of eating disorders often have a distorted self-image and ongoing concerns about weight and appearance. (This is as true for those pathologically overweight and in denial as it is for those pathologically underweight.)
anorexia-nervosa
Today’s Straight, No Chaser discusses anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with nearly a 20 times greater likelihood of death that those in the general population of a similar age. Why, you ask? Simply put, anorexics are suffering the consequences of starving themselves. Anorexics have a maniacal and relentless pursuit of thinness, even in the face of being extremely thin. They couple an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight with an intense fear of gaining weight. They possess a distorted view of their bodies and severely restrict their eating in response. They are obsessed.
Other symptoms and habits of anorexics include a lack of menstruation (among females, though men suffer from anorexia, too), binge-eating followed by extreme dieting and excessive exercise, misuse of diuretics, laxatives, enema and diet medications. The medical manifestations of anorexia are serious and can include osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone thinning), anemia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, infertility, chronically low blood pressure, lethargy and fatigue, and heart and brain damage. It’s worth noting again that people die from anorexia. It is a disorder to be taken seriously.
The key components of treating eating disorders in general are stopping the behavior, reducing excessive exercise and maintaining or establishing adequate nutrition. The pursuit of adequate nutrition is vital enough that when patients develop dehydration and chemical imbalances (i.e., electrolyte abnormalities), they need hospitalization to correct deficiencies.
Specific management of anorexia involves addressing the psychological issues related to the eating disorder, obtaining a healthy weight, and consuming sufficient nutrition. This may involve various forms of behavioral therapy and medication. Regarding medication use, although some (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) have been effective in addressing issues related to anorexia such as depression and anxiety, no medication has been proven effective in reversing weight loss and promoting weight gain back to a healthy/normal level. Similarly, behavioral therapy has been shown to assist in addressing the roots causes of anorexia but insufficient in addressing the medical issues that the disease contributed to or caused. Ultimately, it appears that a combination of medications, other medical interventions and behavioral therapy is the most effective course. As is the case with most illnesses, the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Please maintain a sufficient sensitivity toward those with anorexia. It’s a life-threatening condition, not the punch line of a joke about someone’s appearance.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Flu Myths and Questions

Flu season ahead
Every year 36,000 people die and over 200,000 are hospitalized each year due to the flu—in the U.S. alone. If you’re not getting a vaccine every year, you are subjecting yourself to a significantly higher risk and allowing fears and myths to get the better of you. Knowledge is power. Learn the facts.
Does the flu shot give you the flu?
No, no, no. The influenza vaccine cannot cause flu illness. There are vaccines that involve the delivery of live virus, including mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox and polio. Influenza is not in that category. Flu shots are made either with ‘inactivated’ vaccine viruses that are not infectious or they contain no flu vaccine viruses at all (and instead have recombinant particles that serve to stimulate your immune system).
The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. These symptoms are among the same symptoms you see with influenza, so it’s easy to confuse them as flu symptoms. They are not.
Controlled medical studies have been performed on humans in which some people received flu shots and others received shots containing salt water. There were no differences in symptoms other than increased redness and soreness at the injection site for those receiving influenza vaccine. The flu shot does not give you the flu.
flu-shot-myth
I swear I’ve gotten the flu right after getting the flu shot! How is that possible if I can’t get the flu from the flu shot?
I always remind people that the flu vaccine does an even better job of preventing you from dying from the flu than it does in preventing you from catching the flu (and it does that at a 70–90% rate).  It primes your immune system to better fight off the influenza virus when you’re exposed to it.
There are several reasons why someone still might get a flu-like illness after being vaccinated against the flu:

  • Influenza is just one group of respiratory viruses. There are many other viruses that cause similar symptoms including the common cold, which is also most commonly seen during “flu season.” The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, so any other infection timed correctly can give you similar symptoms.
  • When you get immunized against influenza, it takes the body up to two weeks to obtain the desired level of protection. There is nothing preventing you from having been infected before or during the period immediately before immunity sets in. Such an occurrence will result in your obtaining the flu despite being vaccinated.
  • An additional reason why some people may experience flu-like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a strain of influenza that is different from the viruses against which the vaccine is designed to protect. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the match between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those causing illness among the population that same year.
  • It is also the case that the flu vaccine doesn’t always provide adequate protection against the flu. This is more likely to occur among people who have weakened immune systems or people age 65 and older. Even if the vaccine is 90% effect, some individuals will contact the flu despite having been vaccinated.

Please don’t get the wrong message from this section. These explanations are the exceptions, not the rule. In the overwhelming number of cases, the influenza vaccine does an excellent job of protecting against and prevent disease from the influenza virus.
Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Influenza causes tens of thousands of deaths every year. If you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or are especially young or old, you are placing yourself at significant risk by not getting vaccinated. Even if you aren’t in one of the above categories and are otherwise healthy, a flu infection can cause serious complications, including hospitalization or death.

flu-vaccine-facts-myths

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone six months and older. Once vaccinated, your immune protection decreases over time. These boosters are scheduled and dosed to help you maintain the best level of protection against influenza. Additionally, the virus mutates (changes) every year, so what you were covered for this year may not apply next year.
You can make a decision not to get vaccinated, but frankly, that’s accepts a risk that you flies in the face of a reasonable risk/benefit analysis, and you would be doing so in the face of the solid consensus of medical evidence and research. You should seriously question the motives or knowledge of someone who suggests that you should not get vaccinate for influenza, particularly if they profess to be involved in healthcare. Get vaccinated.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
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Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Cardiopulmonary (Heart and Lung) System

heart-disease

The fourth part of this series looks at your heart and lungs.

And now to today’s post.

One thing the heart and lung share in common is, left to their own devices, they could function normally for much longer than typically ends up occurring. It’s important to discuss because heart disease is the most common cause of death in people 65 and over, and it is also the most frequent cause of activity limitations. Let’s quickly review changes, challenges and solutions.

agingheart
Heart Changes: Coronary artery disease increases as your activity declines. Blockages accumulate on the inside of your arteries, and they harden as they lose their elasticity. Both of these factors resulting in lessened blood flow. High blood pressure increases with age, independently and as a result of this.
aginglungs
Lung Changes: The air sacs, airways, and tissues lose elasticity and become more rigid with age. In general however, serious disease notwithstanding, the respiratory system can serve one well throughout a very long life. However, if you’re a smoker or have lung disease (e.g. asthma, COPD), the reversible damage to the lungs starts becoming irreversible about age 35. At that time, you in effect begin tearing out useful lung tissue, which diminishes your respiratory capacity and sets you up for chronic bronchitis and cancer, as the body attempts to repair this damage and does so incorrectly.
Challenges: In the absence of structural disease or continuing to expose yourself to toxins (e.g. cigarettes), the effects of these changes on our health status need not be severe. The social implications of the effects of normal changes due to aging often would not hamper reasonable normal functioning. The real challenge is to avoid inhaling toxins that will harm you (duh, right?).
Solutions: This is much simpler than you’d think and mostly involves prevention. The biological changes can be greatly diminished and held off by a regular, strenuous exercise regimen that causes deep breathing and elevation of your heart rate over a period of time and by avoidance of toxins, especially cigarette smoke and fatty foods. Your heart and lungs are well situated for the long haul in the absence of bad genes and bad habits.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: A Look at Detox Diets

detox-diet1

Detox-Diet2

Everyone who talks to me about detox is motivated and sincere about making an improvement in his or her health.  Therefore, it’s important that they be shown respect and encouraged.  However, some of these same individuals exhibit a level of desperation that is counterproductive and leaves them subject to fads and scams that are doomed to long-term failure. The first question I ask is “Are you trying to improve your health or weight?” These are often separate considerations. Of course, I’m hoping they answer, “Both.”  Interestingly, that happens less often than you might think. Next, I’ll ask if they’re engaged in some basic, fundamental activity (click here), which is rarely the case. Once people discover the latest, greatest thing, they tend to lock in on it and just have to go for it.  So be it.

So… today and tomorrow, I’m going to discuss two very common “quick-fix” approaches to detoxification. Let’s start with the “detox diet.”  For the purposes of this discussion, all detox diets are variations of the same theme. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you or come off as dismissive, but the point of the matter is that from a medical standpoint, these actions are reducible to a set of physiologic actions that either produce biological effects or don’t.  Giving a car a new coat of paint doesn’t make it an airplane.  Similarly, taking a quick detox diet doesn’t make you healthy if you return to the same conditions that produced your pathology in the first place.  Folks, it really should occur to you that given the rates of obesity and disease that exist, if these diets really worked, the pharmaceutical and medical communities would be all over them because of their potential for profit (and of course the potential for good…).  Here’s what detox diets do and don’t accomplish.

The Premise: Going on a diet for a few weeks can clear your body of toxins, which will improve your health.
The Short Term Effects: Proponents of detox diets often claim or note the following during the diet:

  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Better mental focus

The Long Term Effects: Proponents of detox diets often make the following claims about the benefits of the diets:

  • Health promotion
  • Prevention of new diseases
  • Cure of chronic diseases

What’s Really Happening: Have you ever heard that correlation is not causation?  If you engage in any activity involving backing away from fats, drinking more water, taking in less sugar and processed food, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, and taking in more fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel better!  In fact, I’m all for it.  Refer to this blog post where I give you details on how to naturally, healthily and sustainably do this.
Now, here’s the question. Is your detox diet just a two to four-week “challenge,” or is it the launching pad for a set of lifestyle changes? The problem is that people use these diets with their better principles, but they usually don’t sustain them.  In fact, the diets themselves generally are not sustainable because they’re too restrictive. If you tried sustaining some of these diets, you’d end up hospitalized.  You’re much better off applying fundamental principles that will slowly and steadily improve your health and also help you lose weight. By the way, those long-term claims have been roundly and routinely debunked by the medical community, which has every incentive to want to discover new ways to treat disease.
Precautions and Risks

  • Before starting any diet, you need to discuss what you’re trying to accomplish with your physician. I’d venture a bet that most would not approve one of these diets, especially if you suffer from any chronic illness, especially diabetes, mental illness, moderate to severe (and poorly controlled) high blood pressure or cardiac disease. They also won’t approve it if you’re pregnant or at the extremes of age.
  • Based on the components of these diets, you are introducing certain specific risks.  These include vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, electrolyte loss and imbalance and disruption of the function of your digestive system.

Let’s finish with two pointed questions and answers.
1.  Should I go on a detox diet?  I encourage almost any activity that motivates you to improve your health and has been shown to improve your health. If you want to naturally detox, apply these principals as the basis for a lifestyle change. As your body recovers, your natural detoxification system will take over and do just fine (assuming you are otherwise healthy).
2. I quick-flush my system with a diet every few months. Is this healthy?  It depends on what you’re doing as a “quick-flush” and even more so, what you’re doing in-between. Focus on enhancing your natural detoxification system. I can’t say that a one-time or intermittent initiative to kick things off would be a terrible thing — if you stay with the program. In the best case scenario, it’s like going to get a dental cleaning every six months. You’ll still have decaying teeth and disease if that’s the only thing you’re doing. On the other hand, if you’re brushing and flossing every day, then the six-month check up is quick (and in this case, maybe superfluous).  I’m much more concerned with you sustaining a healthy approach toward the desired goal.
Next up, and the last in this series on detoxification will be a look at colonics.  Until then, bottoms up!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Natural Methods of Detoxification

Natural-Detox
It seems that at least once a week I get asked to comment on colonics, detox diets, juice fasts, etc.  It seems to me that these are all rather extreme places to start.  How about we just talk about the threats that exist, how to avoid them, how to understand the natural detoxification process and how to optimize it?
On some level, our body is at constant war with our surroundings.  We are finely tuned machines (until we’re not).  We are well designed and equipped to filter the air we breathe and the food we eat, and to repel external poisons from penetrating our bodies.  That’s a very good thing, because toxins are everywhere.  We eat and drink them.  We inhale, absorb and ingest them.  Usually we do these things unwittingly, but for various reasons, a good number of us do these things intentionally.  By definition, toxins have harmful effects on our bodies.  Buildups of these substances can cause damage and eventually death.
In the first part of this five-part review of toxins and how they affect us, I want to point out how the body is equipped to combat and eliminate toxins – until and unless we poison it.  In the second part, I’ll offer Quick Tips to enhance your ability to naturally detoxify.  In the third part, I’ll discuss what and where the toxins are that we must combat.  In the fourth and fifth parts, I’ll discuss some of the exotic (or should that be esoteric?) methods promoted to detoxify the body.
Let’s start not by talking about toxins, but by discussing how the body protects you.  There are four areas in particular to review: the skin, the lungs, the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract (particularly your liver and intestines).
Skin: The skin is actually the body’s largest organ, and it’s the largest organ of elimination.  It is in constant contact with the environment and is our primary barrier against disease, keeping out microorganisms, dusts, pollens and other substances with no good intentions.  The constant battle leaves your skin’s pores clogged, subject to infection, lacerations, and premature aging.
Lungs: The lungs are the vessels of life, bringing oxygen into the body to supply the needs of all your organs and systems.  However, have you looked at the atmosphere lately?  Smog’s everywhere, not to mention allergens and cigarette and cigar smoke.  If the air you’re breathing is poisoning the lungs themselves, your ability to keep poisons out of you and exhale away carbon dioxide incrementally become diminished to disastrous effect.
Kidneys: Your kidneys are one of the two primary ways you visibly eliminate waste.  Consider them the blood’s strainer.  You really should learn to watch your urine.  It tells a story about your health.  If your urine is not clear to light yellow, something’s going on.  If you come to me with cloudy, straw-colored, bloody, pink, or brown urine, those all tell me about different medical conditions you could be experiencing.
Your liver and intestines: Now we’re looking at your stools.  Consider that if you were ideally healthy, you’d have a bowel movement with the same frequency with which you ate.  At the other end of the spectrum (no pun intended), you could be constipated, or your bowels could be obstructed.  You have bacteria that live in your intestines that also help naturally detoxify wastes, but that only works as intended if you continue to have stools.  The more contact time your body’s intended waste has with your intestinal tract, the more of it that will be absorbed.  Fortunately, the intestines have additional barriers in its membranes that fight against toxins reentering the body.  Your liver serves a vital function in detoxifying many directly poisonous substances. It uses its natural chemicals to facilitate excretion of toxins by the kidneys.
Most everything you think you know about extrinsic supplemental ways to detoxify are poor substitutes for what a healthy body will achieve.  If you focused on your health and fitness, you could rest assured that your body would protect you, and you could also save a ton of money avoiding all those fad diets and other ‘previously secret’ methods of detoxification.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

Vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

vaginismus

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couple maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Syphilis, The Great Mimicker

Today, Straight, No Chaser will present two phrases that you may not have previously heard: The Great Mimicker and MSM, and that means we’re discussing what has historically been a devastating disease: syphilis. Historically, syphilis really is the most important sexually transmitted disease (For what it’s worth, it’s thought that Columbus’ crew spread the disease between the Americas and Europe.). The great mimicker nickname as applied to syphilis exists because syphilis has many general symptoms that resemble and are often confused with other diseases. MSM points to the fact that treatment in the early stages is so complete that syphilis had been rapidly in decline – until it’s reemergence in a specific population. It is estimated that well over 60% of reported early stage cases of syphilis occurs in men who have sex with men (MSM).
In this review, I want to specifically address the symptoms, which are impressively and dramatically different depending on the stage.
syphilis1
Stage I – Primary Syphilis: Primary syphilis usually presents with the presence of a single, painless sore (a chancre), located wherever it was contracted. As pictured above, the head (glans) of the penis is a typical site. The sore disappears in 3-6 weeks (with or without treatment), and if treatment wasn’t received, the disease progresses. Herein lies the problems. Because it’s painless, you ignore it, perhaps thinking it was a friction sore, or you never gave it much of a thought. Because it went away on its own, you forget about it, thinking that it got better. So sad, so wrong…
syphilis2Syphilis-hands
Stage II – Secondary Syphilis: When syphilis returns days to weeks (more typically) after the primary infection, it does so quite dramatically. Rashes can appear everywhere, including across your back (as noted above) and chest to on your palms and soles, in your mouth, groin, vagina, anus, or armpits. The rash could be warts (condyloma lata) or flat. You should be scared, but you might not be because… the rash and the other symptoms again will disappear on its own. Despite what you may think intuitively, you really don’t want that to happen.
Latent Syphilis: Dormant syphilis can stay that way for decades after secondary syphilis has occurred. What you don’t know can hurt you. Syphilis can be transmitted during the earlier portion of latent phases, including to an unborn child.
Syphilis3
Tertiary Syphilis: Late stage syphilis is a disturbing thing to see (and obviously experience). The disease can result in death, causing damage to the brain, heart, liver, bones, joints, eyes, the nervous system and blood vessels. Before it kills you, it can result in blindness, paralysis, dementia and loss of motor control. If you don’t know how the research discovering all of this was conducted, for now I’ll just say it was one of the most shameful acts of medical history. I’ll blog on it later. The individuals in the above picture were alive when these pictures were taken, by the way.
A special note: The microorganism causing syphilis is rather aggressive, so much so that it can be transmitted by oral, anal or genital sexual contact. By oral, I also mean kissing. Pay attention to those oral sores. Furthermore, syphilis gets transmitted from mother to unborn child. This is a devastating occurrence – if untreated, a child may be born prematurely, with low birth weight or even stillborn. If untreated, once born, a child may suffer deafness, seizures and cataracts before death.
Prevention and Treatment Considerations: Advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. Remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: When Eating Goes Wrong, Part I – Anorexia

anorexia_nervosa11

Simply put, our society doesn’t do the job it should in promoting a normal image of health at either end of the body size spectrum. The typically promoted American ideal of beauty sets standards that lead many to pursue unrealistic means of meeting that ideal. In the setting of an actual American population that is disproportionately obese by medical standards, this becomes even more of a problem, as individuals give up on realistic goals and settle into unhealthy eating habits that lead to disease due to obesity.
Most people are aware of two eating disorders (on the low side that is; obesity is another conversation): anorexia and bulimia. It is important to note that eating disorders are real medical and mental diseases. It is equally important to understand that they can be treated. It is vitally important to understand that when left untreated these disorders lead to a much higher incidence of death than in those without these conditions. These diseases cause severe disturbances in one’s diet, so much so that individuals spiral out of control toward severe disease and death in many instances. Sufferers of eating disorders often have a distorted self-image and ongoing concerns about weight and appearance. (This is as true for those pathologically overweight and in denial as it is for those pathologically underweight.)
anorexia-nervosa
Today’s Straight, No Chaser discusses anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with nearly a 20 times greater likelihood of death that those in the general population of a similar age. Why, you ask? Simply put, anorexics are suffering the consequences of starving themselves. Anorexics have a maniacal and relentless pursuit of thinness, even in the face of being extremely thin. They couple an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight with an intense fear of gaining weight. They possess a distorted view of their bodies and severely restrict their eating in response. They are obsessed.
Other symptoms and habits of anorexics include a lack of menstruation (among females, though men suffer from anorexia, too), binge-eating followed by extreme dieting and excessive exercise, misuse of diuretics, laxatives, enema and diet medications. The medical manifestations of anorexia are serious and can include osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone thinning), anemia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, infertility, chronically low blood pressure, lethargy and fatigue, and heart and brain damage. It’s worth noting again that people die from anorexia. It is a disorder to be taken seriously.
The key components of treating eating disorders in general are stopping the behavior, reducing excessive exercise and maintaining or establishing adequate nutrition. The pursuit of adequate nutrition is vital enough that when patients develop dehydration and chemical imbalances (i.e., electrolyte abnormalities), they need hospitalization to correct deficiencies.
Specific management of anorexia involves addressing the psychological issues related to the eating disorder, obtaining a healthy weight, and consuming sufficient nutrition. This may involve various forms of behavioral therapy and medication. Regarding medication use, although some (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) have been effective in addressing issues related to anorexia such as depression and anxiety, no medication has been proven effective in reversing weight loss and promoting weight gain back to a healthy/normal level. Similarly, behavioral therapy has been shown to assist in addressing the roots causes of anorexia but insufficient in addressing the medical issues that the disease contributed to or caused. Ultimately, it appears that a combination of medications, other medical interventions and behavioral therapy is the most effective course. As is the case with most illnesses, the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Please maintain a sufficient sensitivity toward those with anorexia. It’s a life-threatening condition, not the punch line of a joke about someone’s appearance.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Life Begins (To End) at 40 (Unless It Doesn’t) – The Cardiopulmonary (Heart and Lung) System

heart-disease

The fourth part of this series looks at your heart and lungs.

And now to today’s post.

One thing the heart and lung share in common is, left to their own devices, they could function normally for much longer than typically ends up occurring. It’s important to discuss because heart disease is the most common cause of death in people 65 and over, and it is also the most frequent cause of activity limitations. Let’s quickly review changes, challenges and solutions.

agingheart
Heart Changes: Coronary artery disease increases as your activity declines. Blockages accumulate on the inside of your arteries, and they harden as they lose their elasticity. Both of these factors resulting in lessened blood flow. High blood pressure increases with age, independently and as a result of this.
aginglungs
Lung Changes: The air sacs, airways, and tissues lose elasticity and become more rigid with age. In general however, serious disease notwithstanding, the respiratory system can serve one well throughout a very long life. However, if you’re a smoker or have lung disease (e.g. asthma, COPD), the reversible damage to the lungs starts becoming irreversible about age 35. At that time, you in effect begin tearing out useful lung tissue, which diminishes your respiratory capacity and sets you up for chronic bronchitis and cancer, as the body attempts to repair this damage and does so incorrectly.
Challenges: In the absence of structural disease or continuing to expose yourself to toxins (e.g. cigarettes), the effects of these changes on our health status need not be severe. The social implications of the effects of normal changes due to aging often would not hamper reasonable normal functioning. The real challenge is to avoid inhaling toxins that will harm you (duh, right?).
Solutions: This is much simpler than you’d think and mostly involves prevention. The biological changes can be greatly diminished and held off by a regular, strenuous exercise regimen that causes deep breathing and elevation of your heart rate over a period of time and by avoidance of toxins, especially cigarette smoke and fatty foods. Your heart and lungs are well situated for the long haul in the absence of bad genes and bad habits.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: A Look at Detox Diets

detox-diet1

Detox-Diet2

Everyone who talks to me about detox is motivated and sincere about making an improvement in his or her health.  Therefore, it’s important that they be shown respect and encouraged.  However, some of these same individuals exhibit a level of desperation that is counterproductive and leaves them subject to fads and scams that are doomed to long-term failure. The first question I ask is “Are you trying to improve your health or weight?” These are often separate considerations. Of course, I’m hoping they answer, “Both.”  Interestingly, that happens less often than you might think. Next, I’ll ask if they’re engaged in some basic, fundamental activity (click here), which is rarely the case. Once people discover the latest, greatest thing, they tend to lock in on it and just have to go for it.  So be it.

So… today and tomorrow, I’m going to discuss two very common “quick-fix” approaches to detoxification. Let’s start with the “detox diet.”  For the purposes of this discussion, all detox diets are variations of the same theme. I hope this doesn’t disappoint you or come off as dismissive, but the point of the matter is that from a medical standpoint, these actions are reducible to a set of physiologic actions that either produce biological effects or don’t.  Giving a car a new coat of paint doesn’t make it an airplane.  Similarly, taking a quick detox diet doesn’t make you healthy if you return to the same conditions that produced your pathology in the first place.  Folks, it really should occur to you that given the rates of obesity and disease that exist, if these diets really worked, the pharmaceutical and medical communities would be all over them because of their potential for profit (and of course the potential for good…).  Here’s what detox diets do and don’t accomplish.

The Premise: Going on a diet for a few weeks can clear your body of toxins, which will improve your health.
The Short Term Effects: Proponents of detox diets often claim or note the following during the diet:

  • Weight loss
  • More energy
  • Better mental focus

The Long Term Effects: Proponents of detox diets often make the following claims about the benefits of the diets:

  • Health promotion
  • Prevention of new diseases
  • Cure of chronic diseases

What’s Really Happening: Have you ever heard that correlation is not causation?  If you engage in any activity involving backing away from fats, drinking more water, taking in less sugar and processed food, eliminating alcohol and caffeine, and taking in more fruits and vegetables, you’ll feel better!  In fact, I’m all for it.  Refer to this blog post where I give you details on how to naturally, healthily and sustainably do this.
Now, here’s the question. Is your detox diet just a two to four-week “challenge,” or is it the launching pad for a set of lifestyle changes? The problem is that people use these diets with their better principles, but they usually don’t sustain them.  In fact, the diets themselves generally are not sustainable because they’re too restrictive. If you tried sustaining some of these diets, you’d end up hospitalized.  You’re much better off applying fundamental principles that will slowly and steadily improve your health and also help you lose weight. By the way, those long-term claims have been roundly and routinely debunked by the medical community, which has every incentive to want to discover new ways to treat disease.
Precautions and Risks

  • Before starting any diet, you need to discuss what you’re trying to accomplish with your physician. I’d venture a bet that most would not approve one of these diets, especially if you suffer from any chronic illness, especially diabetes, mental illness, moderate to severe (and poorly controlled) high blood pressure or cardiac disease. They also won’t approve it if you’re pregnant or at the extremes of age.
  • Based on the components of these diets, you are introducing certain specific risks.  These include vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, electrolyte loss and imbalance and disruption of the function of your digestive system.

Let’s finish with two pointed questions and answers.
1.  Should I go on a detox diet?  I encourage almost any activity that motivates you to improve your health and has been shown to improve your health. If you want to naturally detox, apply these principals as the basis for a lifestyle change. As your body recovers, your natural detoxification system will take over and do just fine (assuming you are otherwise healthy).
2. I quick-flush my system with a diet every few months. Is this healthy?  It depends on what you’re doing as a “quick-flush” and even more so, what you’re doing in-between. Focus on enhancing your natural detoxification system. I can’t say that a one-time or intermittent initiative to kick things off would be a terrible thing — if you stay with the program. In the best case scenario, it’s like going to get a dental cleaning every six months. You’ll still have decaying teeth and disease if that’s the only thing you’re doing. On the other hand, if you’re brushing and flossing every day, then the six-month check up is quick (and in this case, maybe superfluous).  I’m much more concerned with you sustaining a healthy approach toward the desired goal.
Next up, and the last in this series on detoxification will be a look at colonics.  Until then, bottoms up!
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Natural Methods of Detoxification

Natural-Detox
It seems that at least once a week I get asked to comment on colonics, detox diets, juice fasts, etc.  It seems to me that these are all rather extreme places to start.  How about we just talk about the threats that exist, how to avoid them, how to understand the natural detoxification process and how to optimize it?
On some level, our body is at constant war with our surroundings.  We are finely tuned machines (until we’re not).  We are well designed and equipped to filter the air we breathe and the food we eat, and to repel external poisons from penetrating our bodies.  That’s a very good thing, because toxins are everywhere.  We eat and drink them.  We inhale, absorb and ingest them.  Usually we do these things unwittingly, but for various reasons, a good number of us do these things intentionally.  By definition, toxins have harmful effects on our bodies.  Buildups of these substances can cause damage and eventually death.
In the first part of this five-part review of toxins and how they affect us, I want to point out how the body is equipped to combat and eliminate toxins – until and unless we poison it.  In the second part, I’ll offer Quick Tips to enhance your ability to naturally detoxify.  In the third part, I’ll discuss what and where the toxins are that we must combat.  In the fourth and fifth parts, I’ll discuss some of the exotic (or should that be esoteric?) methods promoted to detoxify the body.
Let’s start not by talking about toxins, but by discussing how the body protects you.  There are four areas in particular to review: the skin, the lungs, the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract (particularly your liver and intestines).
Skin: The skin is actually the body’s largest organ, and it’s the largest organ of elimination.  It is in constant contact with the environment and is our primary barrier against disease, keeping out microorganisms, dusts, pollens and other substances with no good intentions.  The constant battle leaves your skin’s pores clogged, subject to infection, lacerations, and premature aging.
Lungs: The lungs are the vessels of life, bringing oxygen into the body to supply the needs of all your organs and systems.  However, have you looked at the atmosphere lately?  Smog’s everywhere, not to mention allergens and cigarette and cigar smoke.  If the air you’re breathing is poisoning the lungs themselves, your ability to keep poisons out of you and exhale away carbon dioxide incrementally become diminished to disastrous effect.
Kidneys: Your kidneys are one of the two primary ways you visibly eliminate waste.  Consider them the blood’s strainer.  You really should learn to watch your urine.  It tells a story about your health.  If your urine is not clear to light yellow, something’s going on.  If you come to me with cloudy, straw-colored, bloody, pink, or brown urine, those all tell me about different medical conditions you could be experiencing.
Your liver and intestines: Now we’re looking at your stools.  Consider that if you were ideally healthy, you’d have a bowel movement with the same frequency with which you ate.  At the other end of the spectrum (no pun intended), you could be constipated, or your bowels could be obstructed.  You have bacteria that live in your intestines that also help naturally detoxify wastes, but that only works as intended if you continue to have stools.  The more contact time your body’s intended waste has with your intestinal tract, the more of it that will be absorbed.  Fortunately, the intestines have additional barriers in its membranes that fight against toxins reentering the body.  Your liver serves a vital function in detoxifying many directly poisonous substances. It uses its natural chemicals to facilitate excretion of toxins by the kidneys.
Most everything you think you know about extrinsic supplemental ways to detoxify are poor substitutes for what a healthy body will achieve.  If you focused on your health and fitness, you could rest assured that your body would protect you, and you could also save a ton of money avoiding all those fad diets and other ‘previously secret’ methods of detoxification.
Feel free to ask any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: When Sex Hurts Her – Vaginismus

Vaginismus

The human body is fascinating and mysterious in so many different ways. Unfortunately, that’s not always a good thing. Not every medical condition has to be life threatening to have a powerful and detrimental impact on one’s life. Vaginismus is an example of that. It’s a condition in which women suffer involuntary contractions of the floor of the vaginal walls. These contractions can be so violent and incapacitating that it renders sex very painful and uncomfortable at best and physically impossible at worst. No, this is not esoterica. Many women suffer through this, not knowing what it is or ascribing the pain to ‘size’.

Here’s three things you need to know:

She’s not faking it. 

Vaginismus is horrible for the sufferer, as you’d imagine, and it’s a tremendous stress on relationships.  It is the number one cause of unconsummated marriages, and can be complete or situational.  It may be complete, impacting ability for a physician to complete a pelvic examination or for a woman to even place a tampon.  These contractions can be reflex occurrences such that the symptoms occur when presented with any effort to penetrate the vagina.  That said, the reflex is thought to be physiologically learned, and it has been demonstrated that it can be unlearned (Consider your immediate impulse to lift your arm when a fast object comes at you; one episode of vaginismus can prompt a lifetime of similar reactions during efforts at sex.).

vaginismus

Vaginismus can be cured.

It stands to reason that in the many cases in which vaginismus is a learned reflex, the reflex can be overcome.  Muscle training and control are the keys to overcoming vaginismus and is a process that can be accomplished over weeks to months.  The good news is developing this level of training and control can also have wonderful benefits for couples that do get past the problem.  Many women are familiar with Kegel exercises from prenatal classes.  Application of these in the correct manner (with systematic progression until penetration is possible) provides success in approximately 90% of patients.  If you require details, feel free to ask, or discuss this with your physician.

Vaginismus requires patience (and flexibility) to overcome.

Healthy sex lives are enjoyed by many couples without penetration.  This is an important frame of mind to have, less the additional stress can hinder treatment and torpedo the relationship.  It may seem like a lot to ask for some, but believe me, many couple maintain happy relationships in the midst of this, either during treatment or throughout a lifetime of suffering through it.  Taking this mindset into the period during which treatment is ongoing can lead to a very happy outcome once the vaginismus has been overcome.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Syphilis, The Great Mimicker

Today, Straight, No Chaser will present two phrases that you may not have previously heard: The Great Mimicker and MSM, and that means we’re discussing what has historically been a devastating disease: syphilis. Historically, syphilis really is the most important sexually transmitted disease (For what it’s worth, it’s thought that Columbus’ crew spread the disease between the Americas and Europe.). The great mimicker nickname as applied to syphilis exists because syphilis has many general symptoms that resemble and are often confused with other diseases. MSM points to the fact that treatment in the early stages is so complete that syphilis had been rapidly in decline – until it’s reemergence in a specific population. It is estimated that well over 60% of reported early stage cases of syphilis occurs in men who have sex with men (MSM).
In this review, I want to specifically address the symptoms, which are impressively and dramatically different depending on the stage.
syphilis1
Stage I – Primary Syphilis: Primary syphilis usually presents with the presence of a single, painless sore (a chancre), located wherever it was contracted. As pictured above, the head (glans) of the penis is a typical site. The sore disappears in 3-6 weeks (with or without treatment), and if treatment wasn’t received, the disease progresses. Herein lies the problems. Because it’s painless, you ignore it, perhaps thinking it was a friction sore, or you never gave it much of a thought. Because it went away on its own, you forget about it, thinking that it got better. So sad, so wrong…
syphilis2Syphilis-hands
Stage II – Secondary Syphilis: When syphilis returns days to weeks (more typically) after the primary infection, it does so quite dramatically. Rashes can appear everywhere, including across your back (as noted above) and chest to on your palms and soles, in your mouth, groin, vagina, anus, or armpits. The rash could be warts (condyloma lata) or flat. You should be scared, but you might not be because… the rash and the other symptoms again will disappear on its own. Despite what you may think intuitively, you really don’t want that to happen.
Latent Syphilis: Dormant syphilis can stay that way for decades after secondary syphilis has occurred. What you don’t know can hurt you. Syphilis can be transmitted during the earlier portion of latent phases, including to an unborn child.
Syphilis3
Tertiary Syphilis: Late stage syphilis is a disturbing thing to see (and obviously experience). The disease can result in death, causing damage to the brain, heart, liver, bones, joints, eyes, the nervous system and blood vessels. Before it kills you, it can result in blindness, paralysis, dementia and loss of motor control. If you don’t know how the research discovering all of this was conducted, for now I’ll just say it was one of the most shameful acts of medical history. I’ll blog on it later. The individuals in the above picture were alive when these pictures were taken, by the way.
A special note: The microorganism causing syphilis is rather aggressive, so much so that it can be transmitted by oral, anal or genital sexual contact. By oral, I also mean kissing. Pay attention to those oral sores. Furthermore, syphilis gets transmitted from mother to unborn child. This is a devastating occurrence – if untreated, a child may be born prematurely, with low birth weight or even stillborn. If untreated, once born, a child may suffer deafness, seizures and cataracts before death.
Prevention and Treatment Considerations: Advanced syphilis is especially disheartening because it is so easily treated and prevented. Prevention is as simple as always wearing condoms, being in a monogamous relationship with someone confirmed not to have it, checking your sexual partner prior to sex and not engaging in sex if any type of sore/ulcer is in the mouth, genitalia or anal region. Regarding treatment, syphilis once upon a time was quite the plague until penicillin was discovered; treating syphilis is how penicillin ‘made a name’ for itself. Treatment with penicillin easily kills syphilis but unfortunately does nothing for damage that has already occurred. Remember that treating syphilis at any point can prevent the most severe complications that lead to death.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: When Eating Goes Wrong, Part I – Anorexia

anorexia_nervosa11

Simply put, our society doesn’t do the job it should in promoting a normal image of health at either end of the body size spectrum. The typically promoted American ideal of beauty sets standards that lead many to pursue unrealistic means of meeting that ideal. In the setting of an actual American population that is disproportionately obese by medical standards, this becomes even more of a problem, as individuals give up on realistic goals and settle into unhealthy eating habits that lead to disease due to obesity.
Most people are aware of two eating disorders (on the low side that is; obesity is another conversation): anorexia and bulimia. It is important to note that eating disorders are real medical and mental diseases. It is equally important to understand that they can be treated. It is vitally important to understand that when left untreated these disorders lead to a much higher incidence of death than in those without these conditions. These diseases cause severe disturbances in one’s diet, so much so that individuals spiral out of control toward severe disease and death in many instances. Sufferers of eating disorders often have a distorted self-image and ongoing concerns about weight and appearance. (This is as true for those pathologically overweight and in denial as it is for those pathologically underweight.)
anorexia-nervosa
Today’s Straight, No Chaser discusses anorexia. Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with nearly a 20 times greater likelihood of death that those in the general population of a similar age. Why, you ask? Simply put, anorexics are suffering the consequences of starving themselves. Anorexics have a maniacal and relentless pursuit of thinness, even in the face of being extremely thin. They couple an unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight with an intense fear of gaining weight. They possess a distorted view of their bodies and severely restrict their eating in response. They are obsessed.
Other symptoms and habits of anorexics include a lack of menstruation (among females, though men suffer from anorexia, too), binge-eating followed by extreme dieting and excessive exercise, misuse of diuretics, laxatives, enema and diet medications. The medical manifestations of anorexia are serious and can include osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone thinning), anemia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, infertility, chronically low blood pressure, lethargy and fatigue, and heart and brain damage. It’s worth noting again that people die from anorexia. It is a disorder to be taken seriously.
The key components of treating eating disorders in general are stopping the behavior, reducing excessive exercise and maintaining or establishing adequate nutrition. The pursuit of adequate nutrition is vital enough that when patients develop dehydration and chemical imbalances (i.e., electrolyte abnormalities), they need hospitalization to correct deficiencies.
Specific management of anorexia involves addressing the psychological issues related to the eating disorder, obtaining a healthy weight, and consuming sufficient nutrition. This may involve various forms of behavioral therapy and medication. Regarding medication use, although some (such as antipsychotics or antidepressants) have been effective in addressing issues related to anorexia such as depression and anxiety, no medication has been proven effective in reversing weight loss and promoting weight gain back to a healthy/normal level. Similarly, behavioral therapy has been shown to assist in addressing the roots causes of anorexia but insufficient in addressing the medical issues that the disease contributed to or caused. Ultimately, it appears that a combination of medications, other medical interventions and behavioral therapy is the most effective course. As is the case with most illnesses, the earlier treatment is initiated, the better the outcome tends to be.
Please maintain a sufficient sensitivity toward those with anorexia. It’s a life-threatening condition, not the punch line of a joke about someone’s appearance.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Flu Myths and Questions

Flu season ahead
Every year 36,000 people die and over 200,000 are hospitalized each year due to the flu—in the U.S. alone. If you’re not getting a vaccine every year, you are subjecting yourself to a significantly higher risk and allowing fears and myths to get the better of you. Knowledge is power. Learn the facts.
Does the flu shot give you the flu?
No, no, no. The influenza vaccine cannot cause flu illness. There are vaccines that involve the delivery of live virus, including mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox and polio. Influenza is not in that category. Flu shots are made either with ‘inactivated’ vaccine viruses that are not infectious or they contain no flu vaccine viruses at all (and instead have recombinant particles that serve to stimulate your immune system).
The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur. These symptoms are among the same symptoms you see with influenza, so it’s easy to confuse them as flu symptoms. They are not.
Controlled medical studies have been performed on humans in which some people received flu shots and others received shots containing salt water. There were no differences in symptoms other than increased redness and soreness at the injection site for those receiving influenza vaccine. The flu shot does not give you the flu.
flu-shot-myth
I swear I’ve gotten the flu right after getting the flu shot! How is that possible if I can’t get the flu from the flu shot?
I always remind people that the flu vaccine does an even better job of preventing you from dying from the flu than it does in preventing you from catching the flu (and it does that at a 70–90% rate).  It primes your immune system to better fight off the influenza virus when you’re exposed to it.
There are several reasons why someone still might get a flu-like illness after being vaccinated against the flu:

  • Influenza is just one group of respiratory viruses. There are many other viruses that cause similar symptoms including the common cold, which is also most commonly seen during “flu season.” The flu vaccine only protects against influenza, so any other infection timed correctly can give you similar symptoms.
  • When you get immunized against influenza, it takes the body up to two weeks to obtain the desired level of protection. There is nothing preventing you from having been infected before or during the period immediately before immunity sets in. Such an occurrence will result in your obtaining the flu despite being vaccinated.
  • An additional reason why some people may experience flu-like symptoms despite getting vaccinated is that they may have been exposed to a strain of influenza that is different from the viruses against which the vaccine is designed to protect. The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends largely on the match between the viruses selected to make the vaccine and those causing illness among the population that same year.
  • It is also the case that the flu vaccine doesn’t always provide adequate protection against the flu. This is more likely to occur among people who have weakened immune systems or people age 65 and older. Even if the vaccine is 90% effect, some individuals will contact the flu despite having been vaccinated.

Please don’t get the wrong message from this section. These explanations are the exceptions, not the rule. In the overwhelming number of cases, the influenza vaccine does an excellent job of protecting against and prevent disease from the influenza virus.
Is it better to get the flu than the flu vaccine?
No. Influenza causes tens of thousands of deaths every year. If you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or are especially young or old, you are placing yourself at significant risk by not getting vaccinated. Even if you aren’t in one of the above categories and are otherwise healthy, a flu infection can cause serious complications, including hospitalization or death.

flu-vaccine-facts-myths

Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone six months and older. Once vaccinated, your immune protection decreases over time. These boosters are scheduled and dosed to help you maintain the best level of protection against influenza. Additionally, the virus mutates (changes) every year, so what you were covered for this year may not apply next year.
You can make a decision not to get vaccinated, but frankly, that’s accepts a risk that you flies in the face of a reasonable risk/benefit analysis, and you would be doing so in the face of the solid consensus of medical evidence and research. You should seriously question the motives or knowledge of someone who suggests that you should not get vaccinate for influenza, particularly if they profess to be involved in healthcare. Get vaccinated.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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