Tag Archives: health

Eating healthy while traveling

Quick Tips to Eating Right While Traveling

Introduction

Before You Go, Pack Foods with Care

On the road again? Traveling can be exciting, educational, exhausting and energizing! Also, the food you enjoy while traveling can be delicious and memorable. However, culinary excursions while traveling can be a hazard to your health if food is not handled properly.

This month I will share some simple tips to help you eat right while traveling. Follow my blog for additional topics, that include food safety and seeking out healthy bites!

Clean your produce.

Rinse all fresh produce under running tap water before packing it in a cooler, including produce with peel-away skins or rinds.

Keep cold food cold. 

Place cold food in coolers with frozen gel packs or ice. Stashing it at 40°F or below prevents bacterial growth. Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods in another since you are likely to grab beverages most often.

Keep hot food hot. 

That means your best bet when packing is to take a pass on hot food unless you have a portable heating unit that can be used safely.

Pack healthy, non-perishable snacks. 

No matter how you travel, you can keep eating healthfully with these simple options:

  • Whole or dried fruit.
  • Freeze-dried vegetables.
  • Nuts (pre-portioned into snack-size bags).
  • Nut butters (travel packs are great for planes).
  • Whole-grain pretzels, crackers and bread sticks.
  • Trail mix.
  • Snack bars. Look for bars made with whole grains, nuts and fruit with few added sugars.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. These come in handy washing your hands or other surfaces.

Need to Nibble?

  • Choose healthy snacks. These choices are easy to carry and are available in many gas station marts and most airport terminals:
    • Part-skim mozzarella cheese stick.
    • Whole-grain sandwich with lean meat, vegetables and mustard.
    • Salad with lean protein.
    • Fat-free latte.
    • Fruit cup.
    • Pre-cut veggies (paired with nut butter brought from home).
  • Road trip stops. There might be long stretches of road with limited options between cities, but road trips don’t have to cause a disruption in eating healthfully.
  • Markets. Pick up pre-washed/pre-cut vegetables, hummus, yogurt, sandwiches, salads and fruit with peels including oranges and bananas.
  • Sandwich shops. Choose whole-grain bread, extra vegetables and mustard instead of oil or mayo.
  • Drive-thru and casual restaurants. Focus on items that are grilled, steamed, broiled or baked instead of fried or sautéed. Consider salads with lean protein and a vinaigrette-based dressing, broth-based soups, oatmeal and eggs with whole-grain bread. If you’re craving comfort food, just watch your portions — stick to the basics such as a single burger patty without special sauces, kid-size sides and water instead of soda.

Rules to Always Remember

  • Clean your hands before you eat. Even if you don’t need to use the restroom, you’ll still want to wash away germs you picked up in the airport or train station. Wash with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Be safe with water. Water is regulated and tested throughout the U.S., but, when in doubt, don’t drink the tap or well water. This also goes for anything made with water, such as ice or fountain drinks. Stick with sealed, bottled beverages if you have any concerns about the local water supply.
  • Remember the two-hour rule. If you buy cold or hot food at the airport or train station, eat it within two hours of purchasing. After that, bacteria multiply. (In hot weather, the safe time limit is one hour.) Set a timer on your watch or phone to remind you.
  • Think before eating. On the plane, clean off your tray table with disinfectant wipes. Never set food directly on the tray table. If hot food is served on the plane or train, make sure it is, indeed, hot.

At Your Destination?

  • Don’t take a vacation from food safety rules. Fish, shellfish, meat and eggs are still unsafe to eat when raw, even at a fancy hotel.
  • At a hotel, ask for a room with a mini-fridge. Then visit the local market for grocery staples. That way you can eat breakfast in your room and keep healthful snacks on hand including hummus and yogurt.
  • Make instant oatmeal for breakfast. If you have a coffee maker, you can make instant oatmeal. Stir in dried fruit, nuts and milk for a satisfying start to the day.
  • Be cautious about continental breakfasts. Enjoy this complimentary meal option by choosing whole-grain cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk, fruit or yogurt.
  • Pass on street vendor foods. Though the aromas may be tempting, consider skipping food from unknown street vendors. The safest strategy is to stick to tried-and-true dining establishments.
  • Beware of buffets.  Buffets are a license to overeat! Before you grab a plate, walk around the buffet and decide your BEST choices. Steer clear of any food that’s served at room temperature — that’s within the temperature “danger zone” where bacteria can thrive. Aim to make half your plate fruits and vegetables, one-quarter lean protein and one-quarter whole grains.

Enjoy your travel! Just don’t let it disrupt the rest of your life!

Sandra Gultry is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, specializing in nutrition & weight loss. She helps people who are suffering with losing weight and with the impact weight has on health, self-esteem, well-being and overall life. She can be reached here. Thank you, Sandra!

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Simple Weight Loss Strategies

Introduction

Simple Weight Loss Strategies

Weight Loss Strategies - Diet and Exercise

REMOVE TEMPTATION

If you’re trying to set yourself up for success, keeping donuts and chips around isn’t doing you any favors. Give your pantry and fridge a little makeover to stay on track with your goals.

When I want ice cream, I must leave the house and pay $4.00 for a scoop of ice. If I really want it, I will do it. Otherwise, I will not spend $4.00 on one scoop!

STOP EATING AFTER DINNER

Late-night noshes are usually high-calorie, large portions or snacky foods (Read: cookies, ice cream, chips and candy) eaten mindlessly out of enjoyment to unwind from the stress of the day. It’s a recipe for weight gain and disaster.

So, the real issue is not eating after dinner. The real issue is mindless eating and over doing it in the evening.

LEARN HOW TO ORDER AT RESTAURANTS

Weight Loss Strategies - Healthy Eating at Restaurants

Eating out can rack up the calories, so knowing how to make healthy menu swaps is key. Whether you’re dining at your favorite Mexican, steak, or Italian restaurants, or even if you’re ordering Chinese takeout, this very short list will help you on the right track toward making the healthiest selection. Be smarter at restaurants — but still enjoy yourself.

Note: The high sodium effect is real and still in effect until restaurants are mandated to lower sodium content. Its coming!

Mexican Healthier picks

  1. Chicken fajitas
  2. Taco salad (hold the hard shell, queso and sour cream)
  3. Shrimp or chicken taco on soft corn tortillas

Breakfast/Brunch healthier picks

  1. Vegetable omelet
  2. Oatmeal with fruit (get sugar and syrups on the side)
  3. Eggs, whole-wheat toast and fruit

American steakhouse

  1. Filet mignon and baked sweet potato
  2. Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli
  3. Tenderloin with baked potato and side salad
  4. Grilled chicken with steamed mixed veggies and brown rice

Italian

  1. Minestrone soup and house salad
  2. Chicken Marsala
  3. Grilled fish and vegetables with marinara over whole wheat pasta

Southern

  1. Pulled chicken with baked beans and collard greens
  2. Smoked turkey with green beans and corn on the cob
  3. Beef brisket with stewed okra and coleslaw

It’s easy enough to say eat less, move more, but often more difficult to do. Here are a few ideas on how to make it easier:

CONSIDER NON-SCALE VICTORIES

Your weight is determined by a variety of factors, including hydration, climate, when you last ate, bathroom habits and exercise. In other words, weight fluctuation is common, and there’s much more to good health than a number on a scale.

It’s not necessary to weigh yourself daily. In most cases, this causes unnecessary stress and unrealistic expectation. Weigh in weekly as you will have more of basis to make adjustments with eating choices.

GET ADEQUATE SLEEP

Sleep is undervalued. Getting enough quality sleep is holistically tied to your health and weight-loss goals. Sleep offers our bodies a chance at restoration and rejuvenation. When we’re sleep-deprived, we tend to eat more, exercise less and make poor food choices.

Ideally 7-9 hours PER night is recommended.  Quality sleep is key. Yes, 9 hours is possible!

Sandra  is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, specializing in nutrition & weight loss. She helps people who are struggling with losing weight and the impact that weight has on health, self-esteem, well-being and overall life. You can reach her at https://actionchoices.com/.

There’s More!

Review these additional Straight, No Chaser posts for weight loss tips and strategies.

Straight, No Chaser: Healthy, Sustainable Weight Loss – Let’s Get Started

Fiber and Weight Loss

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Eliminating Alcohol from the Body

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser post is about eliminating alcohol from the body.

vomiting and eliminating alcohol

We get questions from you all the time. In preparation for New Year’s Eve, here’s an example: “How can I eliminate alcohol from the body quicker if I get drunk?”

It’s a frequent misconception that there are a ton of remedies you can take to help you eliminate alcohol quicker or get less drunk. Alcohol is eliminated by a process called zero-order kinetics. In other words, alcohol is eliminated from the body at fixed amount per hour. Nothing you do is going to make you less intoxicated (referral to the legal definition of how much you have in your system). This includes coating your stomach, eating (including a cheese tray) or drinking coffee.

This being said, being less dehydrated does help the blood alcohol concentration. Also, drinking coffee or another stimulant can counter the depressant effects of alcohol and may make you feel more alert. However, my best advice for you is to sleep it off. Of course, if you’re intoxicated to the point that you need medical attention, doing so should be your immediate action.

Bonus question: “Does vomiting help?”

Vomiting is only of value in eliminating alcohol that hasn’t yet been absorbed into the bloodstream. Once alcohol is in your system, it is eliminated as discussed.

For further details on the initiatives listed above, please visit Straight, No Chaser at www.jeffreysterlingmd.com and type any desired topic into the search engine.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Differing Effects of Medications in the Elderly

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser addresses the differing effects of medications in the elderly.

geriatrics_clip_image

The elderly are living longer and more productively. Part of being able to do so is by maintaining an understanding of how your actions  affect you. As you’d believe, one common action of many of the elderly is taking medications. You should be aware that medications have changing effects with aging. Also, you should be aware that there are many different reasons for that fact.

It’s the physiology

First of all, changes in our physiology due to aging make the effects of drugs less predictable and consistent than in younger people. A slower metabolism, increases in body fat and alterations in the function of the kidney and liver (major mechanisms for drug elimination) have important ramifications for what ingested substances will do. Thus, the elderly require more stringent monitoring of drug levels and effects, and you may find that your physician needs to adjust medication doses. This same consideration explains why side effects are more common among the elderly.

Be reminded the presence of other diseases brings additional effects and challenges. Just as with one’s own relatively diminished function, disease imposes the same type of changes onto the body. This can speed the presence of side effects and toxicity as well as adjust the effective dose of a medication.

Drug Interactions

medications in the elderly

Have you ever seen the individual with a small ‘army’ of medications? Think about it. The more medications one takes, the more likely drug interactions will ensue and changes in effectiveness in any single medication may occur. This effect incrementally increases with each additional drug one takes. Similarly, the more medications one is taking, the most likely one is to make a mistake in taking the correct medication at the right time. Now consider your independently living parents or grandparents. The elderly often are more prone to make these types of errors.

What can you do about this? Get organized, and get help! Those daily medication containers are good solutions to incorrectly dosing medications. If you’re especially organized, a log is great—not necessarily for you, but for the physician that will be trying to figure out why you’re dizzy or have an altered mental status if and when that occurs.
Talk with each doctor you see or a pharmacist about what to expect from the combination of medications you take; it can make your lives a lot less complicated.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Answers to Questions about Vomiting and Diarrhea

Introduction

gastroenteritis.jpg. vomiting and diarrhea
You’ve all been there and done that. It’s always a bad day when you get the so-called stomach flu… First of all ‘the flu’ is a respiratory disease (affects the lungs, not the stomach and intestines), and the influenza viruses don’t cause that syndrome of vomiting and watery diarrhea. So, what you’re actually getting is gastroenteritis (gastro = stomach, entero = intestines, and itis = inflammation), an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the stomach and small and large intestines. Most cases of gastroenteritis are infections caused by a variety of viruses that results in vomiting or diarrhea. Other symptoms may include belly cramping, fever and headache from all that retching. There are other (bacterial) causes of vomiting and diarrhea. However, the overwhelming number of cases is due to viruses. Your physician will know when the other considerations come into play. Here’s a few points you really want to know.

Is vomiting and diarrhea ever serious?

  • In most cases of viral gastroenteritis, the symptoms and condition are rate limited and will come and go without much further ado. Your symptoms will last up to 10 days in most cases.
  • The concern isn’t nearly as much with the vomiting and diarrhea as it is with the dehydration that can result from all those fluid losses. Dehydration can cause all manner of electrolyte abnormalities, leading to serious acute illness and even death. In fact, diarrhea and dehydration have long been the number one cause of death worldwide outside of the United States.

Is it contagious?

  • Absolutely. This is one of the main reasons you wash your hands, especially after using the bathroom. Fecal-oral (yes, anus to mouth) transmission of viruses makes gastroenteritis and many other illnesses contagious. Hand shaking and other forms of contact (including eating food poorly handled or undercooked) extend the risk of transmission.

diarrheaemergency

How can I avoid gastroenteritis?

There are good options available to you.

  • Avoid food and water that you believe to be contaminated, perhaps because others have had problems with it.
  • Frequent hand washing is very important.
  • Similarly, wash and disinfect possibly contaminated clothing and surfaces, preventing this before it gets started.
  • A vaccine is available for two of the more common causes of gastroenteritis. Discuss whether it’s appropriate for your child with his/her pediatrician (it needs to be given during your child’s first year of life).

How will it be treated?

  • Fluids, fluids and more fluids will be given. Unless you can’t keep anything down at all, the fluids should be given by mouth. It’s interesting to note that the U.S. overuse intravenous (IV) fluids much more in these instances than the rest of the world. Learn about oral rehydration therapy (ORT). It’s how the rest of the world (very successfully) treats most cases of vomiting and diarrhea. Furthermore, ORT is roughly approximated by all those popular rehydration brands. The key is to take in enough fluids to stay ahead of the fluid losses. ORT is available over the counter, and remember that you don’t have to guzzle it. As little as a teaspoon at a time still can keep you hydrated.

It’s important to discuss some other treatment considerations.

  • Antibiotics don’t work against these viruses, so in this example, they won’t be helpful.
  • In select instances, your physician may provide symptomatic treatment for vomiting and diarrhea, but in the absence of this, they should be avoided. There are significant consequences to taking these medications. Get your physician involved in taking that risk.

In summary, you don’t always have to run to the ER when you get the runs. Stay hydrated, my friends.

Follow us!

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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Flu Prevention without Receiving the Vaccine

Introduction

This post discussion flu prevention options.

influenza-virus flu preventionfluchildsneeze_in_arm

Many people choose not to get the influenza vaccine (the “flu shot”). There are various reasons for this decision. One of those reasons is due to an allergy to eggs. If you have an egg allergy, your options to combat influenza are different and don’t contain vaccination.

Flu Prevention Tips

Avoiding exposure is the best method of flu prevention! Adopt these healthy habits before you ever get exposed.

  • Wash your hands frequently with warm soapy water. You know when they’re dirty. Most certainly wash your hands before you use them to eat or put anything else in your mouth.
  • If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • If your hands are dirty and neither soap nor sanitizer is available, still rinse and dry your hands with warm water if you can.
  • Use disinfectant to clean surfaces.
  • Avoid unnecessarily touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Politely limit close contact with people who are ill, coughing and sneezing.
  • When coughing or sneezing use the bend of your elbow or a facial tissue to help cover your nose and mouth. Learn to avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands.
  • When you become sick, stay home. It’s the proper thing to do to avoid spreading your infection to others.

Do Supplements and Herbals Work?

Claims have long existed that Vitamin C, echinacea and zinc are effective for cold and flu prevention. There are no studies confirming or refuting this claim. Despite assurances that these and other herbal medicines are safe alternatives because they’re “natural”, the active ingredients in them are the same as found in certain prescription medicines. Thus they too may interact with other medications and worsen certain medical conditions. Given this, you should discuss your use of supplements with your physician or pharmacist prior to use.

Antiviral Medications

Another level of defense for you involves use of certain antiviral prescription medications. If you are exposed to someone (e.g. a family member) with influenza, and especially if you begin having flu-like symptoms, immediately contact your physician to discuss taking medicines to prevent catching the flu. Such medications include Tamiflu® (generic name: oseltamivir), Relenza® (generic name: zanamivir), Flumadine® (generic name: rimantadine) and Symmetrel® (generic name: amantadine). If you make the request more than 24-48 hours after the onset of symptoms, you likely won’t be given the medication, since it isn’t likely to be effective outside of this timeframe.

Follow us!

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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Flu Myths and Questions

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser addresses flu myths and address a few frequently asked questions.Flu season aheadEvery 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 in one of two ways. They can be made with ‘inactivated’ vaccine viruses that are not infectious. Alternatively, 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 vaccines are pretty minor things. This include 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 myths

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. Many other viruses cause similar symptoms. Most notable of these is the common cold, which is also most frequently seen during “flu season.” The flu vaccine only protects against influenza. 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.

Two More Reasons!

  • 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. This means what covers you this year may not apply next year.

You can make a decision not to get vaccinated. However, that flies in the face of any reasonable risk/benefit analysis. Also, not getting vaccinated runs against the solid consensus of medical evidence and research. The evidence is so one-sided toward the benefit of getting immunized that you should seriously question the motives or knowledge of someone who suggests that you should not get vaccinate for influenza. This is especially true for those involved in healthcare. Get vaccinated.

Follow us!

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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Tips on Buying Safe Toys and Gifts

Introduction

safe toys kids

If you’re shopping today, don’t you want to make sure you’re buying safe toys? At Straight, No Chaser, we review the literature and give you the goods. While you’re out and about shopping for toys, print out this list to help you select safe toys, then post it in your home to be reminded of how to keep your kids safe. People tend to think such things aren’t necessary until after something horrible has happened. Be smarter than that; after all, it’s Safe Toys and Gifts Month (of course it is – when else could it possibly be?).

Facts on Toy Safety

Let’s review shopping tips, adopted from recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, The National Safe Kids Campaign and the National Safety Council. We’ll keep this short and sweet.

safe toys choking

  • Falls and choking cause most toy-related deaths and injuries in children. Choking alone causes one-third of all toy-related deaths – most often from balloons.
  • Children younger than age 3 are at the greatest risk of choking because they tend to put objects – especially toys – in their mouths.
  • Children 4 years old and younger account for almost half of all toy-related injuries and almost all deaths.

safe toys blocks

  • Remember…the best way to keep your child safe while playing with toys is to BE THERE!

Recommended Shopping Tips

  • Consider the child’s age, interests and skill level. Actually pay attention to what you’re buying. Look for quality design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels. They’re not just pulled out of thin air!
  • Use a small parts tester to determine whether toys may present a choking hazard to children under age 3. Small parts testers can be purchased at toy or baby specialty stores. Here’s a simpler way to decide: use the cardboard core of a toilet paper roll – if a toy can pass through, it is too small for young children and may cause them to choke if swallowed.
  • Avoid toys with sharp points or edges, toys that produce loud noises, and projectiles (e.g., darts).
  • Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches. These may pose a risk for strangulation for young children.
  • Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
  • Avoid cap guns that use caps that can be ignited by the slightest friction and can cause serious burns.

safe toys header

The selection of gifts and toys you bring into your home should be taken seriously. Let’s keep the holiday season happy!

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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End of Life Decision Making

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser post addresses considerations related to end of life decision making.

Having this conversation when death is staring you or a loved one in the face is not the most ideal situation. Do you have a living will? Do you know what advance directives are? Have you assigned a healthcare power of attorney? For the overwhelming majority of you who do not, I hope to turn those answers to “Yes.”

I’m not talking about anyone’s fictitious “death panels.” What I’m describing are the legal tools at your disposal that enable you to control the circumstances surrounding your death. It needs to sink in: at any age your life could be at risk, and at any age you could die. When your life is threatened, if you have specific desires, someone will need comply with decisions you have made. It could happen today. You need protect yourself – now. You’re much more protected having declared your interests and desires than not. Read on.

Advanced Directives

AdvanceDirective

Simply put, advance directives should result after a thoughtful conversation between you and your loved one(s) and subsequently with your healthcare provider. Advance directives document your preferences on what specific decisions should and shouldn’t be made in an effort to save your life or allow your life to end. Here are some of the decisions covered by advanced directives. They don’t all have to be addressed. You may just include the ones of interest to you, leaving discretion to your physicians and/or family just as may have occurred, say, when you weren’t in a coma.

Items to Consider

  • Do you care to be intubated? The use of breathing tubes to either protect your airway or breathe for you when you’re unable to is a big deal. The decision to accept or forego this might be an immediately life-prolonging or life-ending decision.
  • Do you care to have advanced cardiac life support in the event that your heart either stops or is unstable? As with intubation, there’s an immediacy to this decision that’s better addressed in a moment of quiet reflection than in the emotion of crisis.
  • Do you want transfusions of blood or other blood products? Some religions have strong declarations on the topic. If you haven’t made your decision not to receive blood known in a legal document, and you are unable to express that decision in a life or death situation, physicians will try to save your life with an infusion. They will not adhere to your choice, because they won’t know what it is. That scenario doesn’t have to happen.
  • Do you want “every possible thing done for you,” or might there be a limit in the face of perceived medical futility (i.e., minimal chance of any success)? Basically, this question gets at whether you’d like to go in peace or in a blaze of resuscitative glory and heroic effort.
    • If you’re in the midst of a terminal illness and/or are comatose with no perceptible chance of recovery, will you want medicines and treatments (such as dialysis to remove toxins from your body) to ease pain and suffering, or will you want to be allowed to die?
    • Will you want the medical staff to feed you if you can’t feed yourself?
    • Will you want to donate your organs?

endoflifedeath

As you can see, these are serious questions to consider. I’d hope you’d agree they are worthy of conversation well in advance of a tragedy. In our next post, I’ll discuss some related logistical considerations around end-of–life care and decision-making. I hope this has you thinking and planning on having important conversations.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Does drug use cause kidney damage?

Introduction

This post addresses your question on drug-induced kidney damage.

cocaine-kills-1

drug-induced kidney damage acute_cortical_necrosis

Drug-Induced Kidney Damage

Each kidney filters about 1700 liters of blood per day and concentrates fluid and waste products into about one liter of urine per day. Because of this, the kidneys receive more exposure to toxic substances in the body than almost any other organ. As a result, they are highly susceptible to injury from toxic substances.

You actually produce an immune response to drug use. Inflammation from this immune response to drugs may injure the structures of the kidney. This usually causes various types of glomerulonephritis or acute tubular necrosis (tissue death). Injury to the kidney may result in short-term damage with minimal or no symptoms. It may also be life threatening from bleeding and associated shock, or it may result in acute renal failure or chronic renal failure.

In short, your kidneys are yet another reason to avoid illicit drug use.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

IntroductionHoliday_Depression-300x199

Have the holiday blues? I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. There are others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year. The holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.

Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
Holiday Blues and Depression

Here’s five tips to support your holiday mental health.

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAYGet Help!

Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Diabetes Basics and the Importance of Education

Introduction

Today we focus on diabetes basics.

diabetes basics treadmill

Diabetes is a disease in which education is vital. For a diabetic, knowing the disease well allows him or her to better prevent long-term consequences of the disease. It also allows the diabetic to make real-time adjustments when sick or otherwise  in danger acutely. In Straight, No Chaser, we’ve provided a series of posts meant to empower diabetics (and you can review any or all of them via the search box on the right). Remember, it all should start with a basic understanding of the disease.

Diabetes Basics

We eat, and the process of digestion is for the purpose of converting food into glucose (sugar) that’s used by our body for energy. The blood delivers the glucose to different organs of the body where the cells take it up for use. In order for that process to work, an organ that’s part of the digestive tract called the pancreas has to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin facilitates the glucose getting from the blood to inside the cells. Diabetes is a disease where insulin isn’t being made by the pancreas or isn’t working optimally.

Now think about what happens when you’re not getting sugar into your cells. It’s as if you’re starving (because physiologically, you might as well be). You get symptoms such as weight loss, hunger, fatigue and excessive thirst. Because your cells don’t have energy, they aren’t functioning well. In fact, blood and nerve vessels lose significant function, resulting in significant vision loss and lack of sensitivity in your extremities. Anyone who’s been a diabetic for about 10 years know this because you’re wearing glasses and because you’ve lost a fair amount of sensation, especially in your feet. There are other symptoms that are variations of the same theme, including excessive urination, dry skin, increased infection rate and slower healing from those infections – all due to poor function of your blood vessels.

Risk Factors

Sometimes diabetes is a disease that happens to you because of unlucky genetics (or simply a family history). Other times it is a disease that you find. Risk factors for developing diabetes includes obesity, older age, and physical inactivity. Gestational diabetes (i.e. that occurring during pregnancy) is an entirely different conversation.

diabetes-treadmill

Prevention and Treatment

Let’s take a moment to discuss prevention and treatment. There are different types of diabetes, but the risk of one form of diabetes in particular can be reduced by – you guessed it – diet and exercise. In fact, diet, exercise and medications are the three legs of the diabetes treatment stool regardless of type. Some patients require regular insulin injections and others require pills. Still others who are successful with diet and exercise are able to markedly reduce, and in some instances eliminate medications.
If you’re a diabetic, make an investment in your education. It could not only save your legs or eyes, but it may just save your life. I welcome your questions and comments.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Low Blood Sugar – Hypoglycemia

Introduction

Low blood sugar is as dangerous as high blood sugars. They just cause danger in different ways.

hypoglycemia is low blood sugar
In a previous post, I provided an overview of diabetes. Everyone knows about diabetes, and most understand how dangerous diabetes is over the long-term. However, as an emergency physician, I’m more concerned with what will kill you immediately, and on that front, low blood glucose (sugar) is usually much more concerning. I want you to know up front that a low enough blood glucose will kill you – now. As we say in the ER, a high glucose level will hurt you and may kill you, but a glucose level that goes to zero means ‘Cancel Christmas’.

If you’re not sure if it’s low blood sugar or high blood sugar, feed them!

Therefore I will start with a simple statement. Any diabetic (or individual known to have low glucose levels) with altered mental status needs to be given juice, or if they can handle it, some soft food to chew on. If they’re in the midst of a high sugar reaction, it won’t make much of a difference. However, if that glucose level was zero, you’ve just saved a life. Now let’s briefly discuss symptoms and causes.

Symptoms and Causes of Hypoglycemia

hypoglycemia1

Low glucose levels can present many different ways including dizziness, jitteriness, numbness, tingling, blackouts, seizures and other symptoms. However, it’s usually the confusion or other change in mental status that’s most predominant and concerning. Just remember, this is not something about which you should wait around to see if it gets better.

Regarding causes, unintentional overdosing of insulin or oral medication (particular the sulfonylureas class of medicines) are especially concerning and common. Sometimes a family member, particularly a child, may take such a medicine to disastrous effects. Beyond that, heavy alcohol consumption on an empty stomach is another common cause due to its effects on the liver (Alcohol locks glucose stores in the liver, preventing release to the blood; as a result you have less to use.).

Other causes are more exotic and fortunately less common; they will be evaluated upon arrival to the hospital when a rapid response isn’t seen with simple administration of glucose. Dysfunction of certain organs (the adrenal and pituitary glands, the liver due to hepatitis, or tumors of the pancreas – the organ that produces the insulin that drives glucose into your cells – can cause problems with regulating either glucose itself or insulin. These conditions can drive your blood glucose dangerously low.

So, the causes are varied, but the message is simple. Be careful with insulin administration, remember to check those blood sugar levels and act promptly in the face of mental status changes. Usually I note that time is tissue, but in this example, you’ll run out of time before your tissues are damaged.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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The Other Side of 40 – The Cerebrovascular System (Your Brain) – Changes, Challenges, Solutions

brain-alive

Last but not least, in the last part of this series, let’s talk about your brain. But first a summary comment. Life after 40 poses both opportunity and obstacles. 35 to 40 is either the age when your lifestyle begins to catch up with you, or the work you’ve put in begins to pay off. For those who’ve lived life smartly and healthily, 40 really is the new 30. For those who’ve lived life less diligently, 40 may as well be 60, and your health probably reflects that. It’s really not that difficult. Diet, exercise, don’t smoke and alcohol in moderation keeps a body strong. Now to your brain…

Changes: As you age, cholesterol based blockages (plaque formation) inside the arteries and hardening of the arteries in the blood vessels that supply the brain is called cerebrovascular disease, and it causes strokes. These changes begin in earnest at about age 35. Prior to the complete blockage of the blood vessels, the brain is deprived of adequate blood flow (and oxygen) resulting in less than optimal brain functioning, such as confusion, disorientation, memory loss and ‘mini-strokes’ (TIAs). Strokes may result in paralysis, speech disorder, and sensory deprivation in varying degrees.
brainaging
Challenges: Unlike many of the other systems I’ve discussed, the effects of these changes on our brain health status can be drastic, ranging from slight discomfort to death, and they involve major physical as well as social components. The social implications of these effects can be just as severe as the physical, as those suffering become less functional both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, in varying degrees stroke survivors become or perceive themselves to be a burden to others. Social interactions are doubly inhibited: internally, the patient is less able to interact; and externally, family, friends, and others may be less interested in interacting with them. This is sad, but true (think about the lives of the stroke survivors you may know…).
Solutions: The alternatives are twofold: after the fact, education is essential by a loved one’s support group and community, otherwise a stroke becomes a different type of life sentence. Physical and occupational therapy save lives and the quality of lives. Continuing to value and show value to your loved ones can make all the difference in the world. Before the fact, again, it’s preventive measures such as diet and exercise that have been shown to decrease or even prevent strokes. I cannot overemphasize how vital diet, exercise and the avoidance of toxins are to your long-term health.

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!
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 SNC! 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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The Other Side of 40 – The Genital System: Changes, Challenges, Solutions

Introduction

The third part of this series is about genital system changes after age 40. There’s a lot here both for the ladies and the gentlemen, but everyone should want to know all the information provided. As before, I’m going to go through changes – challenges – solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.

Prologue

Sex is good for your long-term genital and mental health. I can’t think of a better, more sexy application of the truism ‘knowledge is power’. Men, feel free to discuss this with your ladies. Ladies, I promise you I’m not being biased here (wink).

Genital System Changes after Age 40

Allow me to start with the most important point: sexuality is not truly an issue of aging as much as it is more an issue of education, psychological response and health. However some changes specific to the genital system do occur with aging. In men, the prostate may enlarge (does so in 50% of men at age 50), potentially causing frequent and urgent needs to urinate and difficultly holding urine. However, more changes occur in women than in men. In women, the uterus shrinks, and several changes occur in the vagina, resulting in decreased lubrication and elasticity being lost.

genital system changes

Challenges

The challenges here are interesting ones. Simple rules to better genital health – Women: Stay sexually active! Men: Be confident in your sexual stamina! It is important to understand that the changes that occur in the genital system are not as related to age as they are to one’s sense of sexuality. The physical changes in the genital system should be non-problematic, especially if sex has been occurring without long periods of abstinence.

Venus Challenges 

On the female side, the physical changes all can be dealt with if the woman has maintained some regular level of sexual activity. Yes, genital responses to stimulation slow gradually in both men and women, but you can have normal sexual relations at any age, as long as you are healthy. If after the age of about 40, a woman abstains from intercourse for prolonged periods (such as 3 to 5 years) the ability to secrete lubricating fluids, and much of the elasticity of the vagina are permanently lost.

Mars Challenges

On the male side, a particularly annoying challenge for some men with prostate enlargement is to avoid self-wetting. The even greater challenge is (not believing, but) ‘knowing’ your sexual prowess and stamina are still intact, particularly if dealing with an intimidating female partner (e.g. better conditioned, more adventurous or perhaps younger). For males, premature ejaculation and impotence are dramatically reduced in men when they become legitimately confident in their sexual skills set. Work on that! Women, feed your men confidence! It will come back to you!

Venus Solutions

Masturbation can effectively help to maintain female capabilities to provide lubrication and elasticity, especially if object insertion is included. Since most research shows that less than 50% of women practice object insertion during masturbation, these women who also abstain from intercourse lose some vaginal elasticity, even with regular masturbation. In the event that the woman has been sexually abstinent for a period of 3 to 5 years or more, the use of K-Y Jelly or some other non-alcoholic, non-petroleum lubricant specifically designed for compatibility with the chemistry of the vagina may sufficiently reduce discomfort in sexual intercourse.

Mars Solutions

Remember that most sexual problems are social/psychological problems, and they occur at all ages. Men: work on learning what’s necessary to give you confidence, and better performance will follow. For some it’s a certain partner, for others it’s a pill. Do not underestimate this point: if you’re otherwise healthy, that enhances your ability to perform sexually! It’s all about blood flow anyway.

Solutions Epilogue

The main solution to age-related issues of the genitalia are all within your reach (no pun intended): it’s all about activity, especially continued regular sexual activity, exercise, good nutrition and other healthy habits.

Post-script

Petroleum products such as baby oil and vaseline must never be put in or on the vagina, as they will upset the pH balance of the vagina, making it susceptible to yeast infections and other problems like BV (bacterial vaginosis).

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: The Other Side of 40 – The Musculoskeletal System – Changes, Challenges, Solutions

The second part of this series on how your body changes with age is about your muscles. This section combined with the previous skin section explains why you wrinkle. As before, I’m going to go through system – changes – challenges – solutions. If you’re keeping score, especially focus on the take home messages within solutions. I welcome any questions or comments.
Changes: Did you know that muscle cells are unable to replace themselves once they are formed? Therefore, muscle cell loss is permanent. Plus, muscular response gradually slows with age. That said, the loss of muscular capabilities over time is by far the result of cell loss due to inactivity. As muscle cells are lost, weakness and slowness increase. Plus, some of you don’t exercise at all, or as much/vigorously as you used to, so you’re not building up anything new.
Challenges: The effects of these changes on our health status are mostly due to the fact that the muscles are the main tools for effecting strong circulation throughout the body (i.e. muscular contraction pushes blood around). As the muscles become smaller, including the muscles in the face, and as fat tissue accumulates, including in the face, the entire appearance changes to that of an older person, with all the ramifications described in the post on the description of skin changes with aging. In addition, as muscle fibers decrease, weaken, and slow, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with younger people, who may make allowances, but who may also become avoidant. Your recognition of this creates a vicious cycle, and you eventually settle into ‘being old’.
Physical Therapist Working with Patient
Solutions: In two words – exercise & activity. A well designed, consistently followed exercise program addressing both strength and response is indispensable for the maintenance of muscle cells, and of good health over time. A personal trainer is a pretty good idea after a certain age. You neither need to under nor overdo your weight lifting regimen. In any event, move those muscles as much as you can, whether via walking, yoga, running or sex. Being a couch potato is never a good thing.
Post-scripts:

elderly-couple-stretching

  • Another thing that very few of us do is stretch. Those old muscles are tight, and the tendons/ligaments are short and ready to pop. You really must stretch before your weekend warrior events or most any big exertional activity. That’s a big part of why yoga promotes longevity.
  • Fortunately, the main muscles of the heart and the diaphragm (your breathing muscle) do not lose muscle fibers with age because they are continually active. Yet, your heart and lungs have their own problems besides the muscles. That topic is forthcoming. All that said, be mindful that through ongoing exercise and training, you can stem the tide on these changes.

Young is as young does.

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: The Other Side of 40 -The Skin – Changes, Challenges, Solutions

September is Healthy Aging Month. A big part of healthy aging is prior healthy living, particularly as you reach the age at which your unhealthy habits begin to catch up with you or otherwise naturally aging processes begin to demonstrate themselves emphatically. Being on the other side of 40 is an exercise in self-reflection and understanding of limitations previously not existent. I’m still pushing the rock up the mountain, but I’ve seen the challenges of maintaining and continuing to advance. This is a lot to digest, so I’m going to go through five different body systems this week in a simple way: system – changes – challenges – solutions. If you’re keeping score, especially focus on the take home messages within solutions. And don’t be depressed! Forewarned is forearmed. Take action! I welcome any questions or comments.

Part 1/5: Your Skin

Changes: As the skin ages, blood flow to the skin is decreased, and nerve endings are lost or become less sensitive. As a result, the skin loses some of its effectiveness as a protector against bacteria, as an insulator, as a heat/cold regulator, and as a sensory receptor. These losses cause wrinkling, loss of elasticity, freedom of movement, and expression are inhibited. The slowing of circulation results in slower healing. The loss of color is also seen, as the hair becomes gray.
Challenges: The skin generally functions well throughout life though, and most changes in the skin due to aging are not life threatening. Most of the damaging changes in the skin are cosmetic. The drying and thinning result in sagging and wrinkling, the hair becomes sparser and gray or white, and the fingernails become rigid, tend to yellow, and are prone to splitting. Skin disorders more common in the aging skin include enhanced itching, thickening in patches, skin cancer, ulcers/pressure sores, and herpes zoster (shingles). These effects bring social implications based on a significant cultural tendency toward ageism. One’s social life becomes more limited as younger people view elders as “not fun”, “slow”, “grumpy”, less desirable as friends and sexual partners, and so on. These views spill into the workplace or what might be a potential workplace, as one who looks “old” is not considered as having ‘much’ to offer.
Solutions: Two words: hydrate and moisturize. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun, maintain moisture in the skin, provide adequate nutrition so that the skin can be maintained and repaired, and get regular exercise to maintain circulation in the skin. Sounds simple, but we really fail to adhere to this consideration. Many of these changes can be delayed for very long periods of time.
Post-Script: I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that those of you of all races and ethnicities must be diligent in getting rapidly growing or changing moles evaluated. It is an untruth that Blacks and Browns don’t get skin cancer.
Post-Post-Script: Ever imagine what effect holding a cigarette up to your face for decades has?  Here’s a depiction.

agesmoke

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: Suicide – Crisis on Campus

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I  had the privilege of spending time at my alma mater addressing issues on behalf of students and mental health services. Among many other things discussed, I was shocked by the extent to which college suicides have become present on college campuses. I wonder when things changed. Isn’t college supposed to be the “best four years of your life?” It really doesn’t take much though to appreciate how this becomes the case.

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Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students in the United States and the third leading cause among those aged 15-24. There are approximately 1,100 deaths by suicide occurring in this age group each year. A recent study from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland went in-depth in surveying and analyzing why students may have thoughts on suicide. Here is a summary of some of the study’s findings:

  • 12% of those studied admitted that they had thought of committing suicide.
  • Of this group of 12%, approximately 25% of them said they had those thoughts repeatedly.
  • Depression and lack of social support appeared to be major factors contributing to thoughts of suicide.

depression_suicide_stats
If you actually think about it, college brings together a lot of risks for suicide.

  • Late adolescence and early adulthood represents the period of highest risk of developing a major psychiatric disorder.
  • The academic environment can be a stress-producing inferno for some, who may find themselves overwhelmed and feeling lost and as if they have nowhere to turn.
  • For many, the college experience represents the first time many are away from home and/or completely detached from the family and friends they’ve had their entire lives. Unless and until a sufficient new social network is established, levels of isolation can be overwhelming.
  • Even among those with social networks, the academic failure and any social rejection that may occur could be perceived by students as having life-long consequences, so much so that hopelessness and thoughts of suicide could set into a young adult’s mind.

Suicide-Rates-Among-College-Students

Practically, how might you consider the risk in any one individual? The presence of any of these risk factors should prompt implementation of a support system to counter feelings of suicide.

  • It shouldn’t be difficult to appreciate how the lack of social support is one of the most powerful predictors of persistent suicidal thoughts. Someone who expresses or has feelings of being unappreciated, unloved and uninvolved with family and friends should be considered at risk – even in the absence of any other risk factors.
  • A history of clinically diagnosed depression or other psychiatric diagnoses
  • The exposure to domestic violence (either witnessing or having been abused) in childhood
  • Having a mother with a history of clinical depression

There are many Straight, No Chaser posts that address suicide prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Feel free to use the search box on the right for additional information.If you are a college student or a family member of a college student, you would do well to review your college’s support system and learn about services and support available for those in need of mental/behavioral health services. College should represent the beginning of one’s adult life, not the place where it ends.
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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Asthma Basics – Control and Treatment

Introduction

This post discussions asthma basics – control and treatment. The previous post discussed asthma triggers and symptoms.

As we move into discussing asthma treatment, remember that asthmatics die at an alarming rate.  I mentioned yesterday (and it bears repeating) that death rates have increased over 50% in the last few decades.  If you’re an asthmatic, avoid taking care of yourself at your own peril.  Your next asthma attack could be your last.

The other thing to remember is that asthma is a reversible disease – until it’s not.  At some point (beginning somewhere around age 35 or so), the ongoing inflammation and damage to the lungs will create some irreversible changes. At that point, the situation becomes completely different. These changes predisposes asthmatics to other conditions such as chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and lung cancer.  These points simply reiterate the importance of identifying and removing those triggers.

Asthma Control is the Best Treatment

Given that, let’s talk about asthma control as treatment.  Consider the following quick tips you might use to help you reduce or virtually eliminate asthma attacks:

asthmatriggers

  • Eliminate your exposure to cigarette smoke (including second hand smoke)!
  • Avoid long haired animals, especially cats.
  • Avoid shaggy carpets, window treatments or other household fixtures that retain dust.
  • Wear a mask to avoid triggers! It’s better to not look cool for a few moments than to have to look at an emergency room for a few hours or a hospital room for a few days. The conditions for which you should consider these include the following:
    • If you’re spraying any kind of aerosol
    • During allergy season
    • If you’re handling trash
    • If you react to cold weather
  • Be careful to avoid colds and the flu.  Get a flu shot yearly.

Asthma Treatment Options

If and when all of this fails, and you’re actually in the midst of an asthma attack, treatment options primarily center around two types of medications.

AsthmaHispanic

  • Short (and quick) acting bronchodilators (e.g. albuterol, ventolin, proventil, xopenex, alupent, maxair) functionally serve as props (‘toothpicks’, no not real ones, and don’t try to use toothpicks at home) to keep the airways open against the onslaught of mucous buildup inside the lungs combined with other inflammatory changes trying to clog the airways.  These medications do not treat the underlying condition.  They only buy you time and attempt to keep the airways open for…
  • Steroids (e.g. prednisone, prelone, orapred, solumedrol, decadron – none of which are the muscle building kind) are the mainstay of acute asthma treatment, as they combat the inflammatory reaction and other changes that cause the asthma attack.  One can functionally think of steroids as a dump truck moving in to scoop the snot out of the airways.  The only issue with the steroids is they take 2-4 hours to start working, so you have to both get them on board as early as possible while continuing to use the bronchodilators to stem the tide until the steroids kick in.

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If you are not successful in avoiding those triggers over the long term, you may need to be placed on ‘controller’ medications at home, which include lower doses of long-acting bronchodilators and steroids.

So in summary, the best treatment of asthma is management of its causes.  Avoid the triggers, thus reducing your acute attacks.  Become educated about signs of an attack.  When needed, get help sooner rather than later.  And always keep an inhaler on you.  It could be the difference between life and death.

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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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright ©2013- 2019 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Asthma Basics – Triggers and Symptoms

Introduction

This post is on asthma basics, including triggers and symptoms.

asthmaBasics-enHD-AR1

Asthma concerns me. I’ve had many close friends and family suffer with the disease. In fact, a very good friend died of an attack while in medical school, because he didn’t have his inhaler with him. In other words, this is somewhat personal. I’ve probably given more lectures on asthma than any other topic over the years, and I can say without hesitation that relative to how much we know about its prevention and treatment, I can’t think of another disease where we under perform as much as with asthma management. According to data from the National Institutes of Health, over the last few decades the death rate has increased by over 55%. The prevalence rate has increased by 75%, and among African-Americans the hospitalization rate has increased over 35%. The good news is asthma can be controlled and effectively treated. In this primer, we’ll discuss quick tips to improve the health of the asthmatic in your life.

Asthma Made Simpler

The encouraging thing about asthma is that if you understand what causes it, you understand how to treat it. Here’s what you need to know about what causes asthma. For the purposes of discussion I am simplifying matters for general consumption.
asthma

  • Asthma is a result of certain triggers, causing inflammation to your airways over a long period of time with the occurrence of attacks (intermittent exacerbations). These triggers can be thought of as allergens. Examples of these triggers include cigarette smoke, dust, aerosols, cold air, long-haired animals (especially cats), seasonal pollens, and exercise (in some).
  • These triggers create a state of inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in the lungs, leading to the excessive production of mucus within the lungs’ various airway branches. If bad enough this will lead to complete obstruction of the airways. In other words you’ll stop breathing, and you will die without assistance and/or reversal.
  • Exacerbation of asthma include breathlessness, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing. Basically, because you have the functional equivalent of snot in your lungs, your airways are narrowed, and you’re having difficulty breathing. After all, it’s harder to breathe snot than air. Now imagine how your lungs feel when you’re adding cigarette smoke to that mix.

Asthma Symptoms Word Circle Concept with great terms such as coughing wheezing and more.

Asthma Management Considerations

Let’s get logical. Asthma management is theoretically straightforward if you can pull it off. Prevention is treatment. I used to describe this as “Kill the Cat.” (This blog neither supports, advocates, nor is responsible for the harming of any animals resulting from this information.) In short, if you identify the triggers that precipitate your asthma attacks and then remove yourself from that environment, you will dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, your attacks. This is often described (incorrectly) in kids as “growing out of their asthma.” No one grows out of it, and you don’t cure asthma; asthmatics just stop having attacks because they’re not around the triggers.

In Part II, we discuss asthma management. In case you’re wondering, that’s where the toothpicks come in.

Follow us!

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!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s 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. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright ©2013- 2019 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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