Tag Archives: health

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!

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

sexaging
The third part of this series is about your genital system after 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).
Changes: 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.
repro
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).

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 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

Crisis_300x300

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.

PreventingSuicide2ndPageTop

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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Straight, No Chaser: Asthma Basics – (Part 2 of 2)

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, and then the situation’s completely different, possibly predisposing asthmatics to other conditions such as chronic bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and lung cancer.  This simply reiterates the importance of identifying and removing those triggers.
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

  • Avoid cigarette smoke (including second hand smoke) like the plague!
  • Avoid long haired animals, especially cats.
  • Avoid shaggy carpets, window treatments or other household fixtures that retain dust.
  • If you’re spraying any kind of aerosol, if it’s allergy season, if you’re handling trash, or if you react to cold weather, wear a mask while you’re doing it.  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.
  • Be careful to avoid colds and the flu.  Get that flu shot yearly.

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.

asthma-inhaler-techniques-15-638
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.

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

Straight, No Chaser: Asthma Basics – (Part 1 of 2)

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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.
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.
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.

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!
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From the SterlingMedicalAdvice.com Health Library: “My Doctor Said I Was a High-Risk Asthmatic. What Does That Mean?”

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If you have an asthmatic in your life, it’s important to know that asthmatics die.  The risk of death is higher in certain asthmatics. If you or your loved one is in this subset of asthmatics, you really must be diligent in avoiding those triggers that cause asthma attacks. You must also be attentive and consistent in taking your ‘controller’ medicines.
These circumstances define a high risk asthmatic:

  • A history of sudden severe asthma attacks
  • Prior need to be intubated (placed on a respiratory aka breathing machine)
  • Prior admission to a hospital ICU (intensive care unit)
  • Greater than one admission or two ER visits in the past year
  • An ER visit within the last month
  • Needing to use two or more inhalers per month
  • Current or recent oral steroid use
  • Illicit drug use
  • Concomitant cardiopulmonary or psychosocial disease

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: The Roof Is On Fire – The Trauma of Residential Fires

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As Trauma Week winds down on Straight, No Chaser, we work our way back home, which sadly is the site of most traumatic injuries.  In fact, about 85% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in homes.
The good news is the number of residential fire-related deaths and associated injuries is going down, but that won’t help you if you aren’t aware of how to prevent them and get to safety and cared for in the event a fire occurs in your home.  Let’s address this right off the bat.  You’re most likely to die or be injured from a fire if you’re in one of the following groups, according to the Center for Disease Control (but of course, the fire doesn’t check who’s being burnt):

  • Poor
  • Rural
  • African-American
  • Native American
  • Ages less than 4 or over 65

Based on new injury statistics (2016), an American is accidentally injured every second and killed every three minutes by a preventable event.   Interestingly, victims aren’t burning to death as much as they are dying from inhalation injuries from smoke and gases (estimated to be the cause of death in between 50-80% of cases).  Speaking of smoke, although cooking is the #1 cause of fires, smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths.  Alcohol consumption is a contributing factor in 40% of residential fire deaths.  Most fires occur in the winter.
So What To Do?

  • Install a smoke alarm.  They work.  Over one-third of residential fire deaths occur in homes without alarms.
  • Plan your escape in advance.  Have an exit strategy based on where a fire might break out in your home.
  • Don’t fight the fire.  Nearly ½ of fire related injuries occur from efforts to fight the fire.  Get out of the house.  Of course if you have easy access to an extinguisher, use at your discretion.

Tips on How You’ll Be Treated
Fire-related injuries commonly involve burns and bony injuries (bruises, sprains, fractures), which will be addressed as needed.  However, the most important fire-related injuries involve the airway.  These injuries may be due to the heat’s effects on the airway (burns, swelling and inflammation) and/or the effects of carbon monoxide and/or cyanide (inability to oxygenate).  One important fact for families to realize is the presence of any soot/burns anywhere near or in the mouth or nose needs to be evaluated.  Such signs and symptoms are powerful predictors of potential airways damage and imminent failure.

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: National Minority Organ Donor Awareness Month

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August is National Minority Donor Awareness Month, which brings attention to the more than 118,000 people nationwide waiting for lifesaving organ transplants. Of the these men, women and children listed on the national organ transplant waiting list, 56% are minorities. People of most races and ethnicities in the U.S. donate in proportion to their representation in the population. Minorities are disproportionately affected by illnesses, like high blood pressure and diabetes, which can lead to end-stage renal disease and the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.  This contributes to a disproportionately higher number of minority patients on the national organ transplant waiting list.
Here’s a representation of waiting list candidates by ethnicity:

  • Caucasians: 43.7%
  • African-Americans: 29.6%
  • Hispanics/Latinos: 18.4%
  • Asians: 6.7%
  • Native Americans and Alaska Natives: 1%
  • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders: 0.5%
  • Multiracial: 0.5%

In 2012, 11,309 minority patients received organ transplants; while there were 2,762 minority deceased donors and 1,711 minority living donors. The wait is long and, sadly, 18 people die every day because the transplant they desperately needed did not come in time.  These facts make the need for more donors from ethnic minority groups critical.  However, minority organ donation often lags due to misinformation about the need and process.
Learn The Facts (most information provided by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
These facts may help you better understand organ, eye, and tissue donation:

  • Fact: Regardless of age or medical history, anyone can sign up to be a donor. The transplant team will determine at an individual’s time of death whether donation is possible.
  • Fact: Most major religions in the United States support organ donation and consider donation as the final act of love and generosity toward others.
  • Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to a hospital, the number one priority is to save your life.  Hospitals simply are not in the business of allowing patients to die to harvest their organs.
  • Fact: When matching donor organs to recipients, the computerized matching system considers issues such as the severity of illness, blood type, time spent waiting, other important medical information, and geographic location. The recipient’s financial or celebrity status or race does not figure in.
  • Fact: An open casket funeral is usually possible for organ, eye, and tissue donors. Through the entire donation process, the body is treated with care, respect, and dignity.
  • Fact: There is no cost to donors or their families for organ or tissue donation.
  • Fact: Every state provides access to a donor registry where its residents can indicate their donation decision.
  • Fact: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the U.S. Violators are punishable by prison sentences and fines.
  • Fact: People can recover from comas, but not brain death. Coma and brain death are not the same. Brain death is final.

In order to sign up to be on the donor registry, or to receive more information, visit http://organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/stateregistries.html.
Meet the challenge.  Address the need.

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: Toxin and Detoxification Series Summary

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I want to thank you for all the positive responses to the series of posts on toxins and detoxification. You have shared many personal stories and asked many great questions. I guess I’ll continue to accept your being shy (especially on these topics) about asking personal questions publicly, but keep contacting me here. To that end, I’ll summarize by sharing some of your thoughts and making a few final comments.
You can’t escape toxins, but you can pretty easily reduce your exposure to them. For the things you can control, “everything in moderation” is a pretty good rule of thumb for most, except for cigarette smoke into your lungs. That just needs to stop.
Your body does a great job of detoxification through the lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines and skin. This process is retarded by age and the effects of toxins on these systems.
There are a lot of fad diets and questionable methods of detoxifying. Most have risks that should make you cautious. None are more effective than tuning your body to do its best work. Furthermore, these methods are invariably more effective in the short-term than the long-term.
Now, to some of your questions.
1. So are you saying bowel movements are good enough to detox the intestines?
Until and unless your bad habits catch up with you, yes. Consider the ways the large intestines (the colon) handle toxins.

  • If healthy, the colon sheds old cells about every three days, preventing a buildup of harmful material. It regenerates new healthy cells in their place. It’s lining includes mucus membranes that can keep toxic substances from reentering the blood and tissues.
  • You have “natural” bacteria that reside in the colon. They actually detoxify food wastes for you. (One of the potential issues of colon cleansing is the removal of these bacteria.)
  • The liver’s main function is to neutralize toxins.
  • Your bowel movements remove waste and toxins from you. Although the number of bowel movements vary between individuals, your body (if healthy) is able to regulate when you defecate based on your needs.
  • Increasing the number of bowel movements doesn’t improve weight loss. That’s because the body absorbs most calories before they reach the large intestine.

Nothing in a colonic or juice fast will match this level of effectiveness. Spend your efforts keeping your body healthy. Increase your fiber, water, fruit and vegetable intake. Lower or eliminate the intake of red meat, cigarettes and alcohol. There’s your detox program all day long.
2. So what’s the verdict on the detox diets and colon cleansing?
Consult with your physician. I’d imagine that using the diets as a starting point for lifestyle changes would be endorsed. I’d doubt that any fad diet would be endorsed.
3. You said tap water is no longer good? Should I exclusively drink bottled water?
Actually filtered water is even better.
4. Are you suggesting I stop wearing makeup?
You’re beautiful just the way you are.
5. Have you ever had a colonic?
Yes, and it made me feel dirty. (Was that serious, or a joke?)
6. I’d never do that.
Actually, you will. (Well, almost.) Many men over 50 will have a colonoscopy to evaluate for the possibility of colon cancer at some point. If and when you get that, you’ll get your colon cleanse solution one to two days before the procedure and maybe an enema in addition. At least you’ll be under the care of a physician, and you’ll get a sedative first!
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 Colon Cleansing (Colonics) as a Means of Detox

C’mon. Be honest. You knew we’d end up here (no pun intended). Isn’t colonic cleansing one of those things that makes you wonder who the Greek guy was who first thought of this centuries ago? Perhaps even more interesting would be talking to the first guy who volunteered for this …  I promise to (try to) do (most of) the rest of this post with a straight (no chaser) face.
What Is It? Colon cleansing is done primarily via two methods.

  • You can take supplements by mouth that will stimulate expulsion of the contents of your intestines.
  • You can have a tube inserted through your rectum to irrigate your intestines.

Why Do It?  Allow me to set the table by explaining the premise for colonic cleansing. It’s actually a pretty simple and linear train of thought.

  • You have toxins in your intestines from undigested food.
  • Over time, those toxins can get reabsorbed back into your blood and cause damage to your organs (as previously discussed here).
  • You’d like to get rid of the toxins by flushing and irrigating them out of your system.

Proponents of colonic cleansing claim potential benefits such as weight loss, improved immunity and mental outlook and reduction of the risk of colon cancer.
The Methods
Oral colon cleansing (through supplements, oral laxatives, or enzymes) and colonic irrigation (through inserting of a tube) are variations of the same theme. Oral cleansing stimulates massive contractions of your intestines with subsequent massive bowel movements. (Think of the effects of Draino – and please don’t try taking any Draino and say I told you to; it’s just an analogy.)
Colonic cleansing involves placement of a tube through the rectum into the colon and irrigating the colon with several gallons of the chosen solution (sometimes including herbs, enzymes, caffeine or probiotics) until the contents are clear, suggesting the stool has been removed (like a high power wash or enema – again please don’t do that at home…).
At the end of either process, all we can say for sure is that you will have a lot less stool in your intestines.
The Risks
I love the phrases “Natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe” and “Safe doesn’t necessarily mean effective.” They especially come to mind when I see the phrase “natural colon cleansing.” Colonic cleanses, even if effective, are risky. Keep in mind the following.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these colonic procedures.  Don’t ask me why, but that means that nothing about the procedure has been quality checked in the same way medicines and medical procedures have to be. To be fair, there is a massive case history of these procedures being done safely in the overwhelming number of cases.
  • If you decided to get a colonic, you may be receiving one from someone who’s not licensed, depending on the state or country. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but ask to see credentials before you allow someone to give you a colonic … and please speak with your primary care physician about options.
  • Consider the fact that this is a medical procedure. Even in the hands of the best therapists, things go wrong. If and when something happens, will the therapist be able to address the issue? Ask your therapist what will happen if you have an allergic reaction to any solutions being used.
  • Other risks include dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, infection, rupture of the intestines and depletion of probiotics. (You may recall that in my previous post that I discussed that the intestines have toxin-repellent mechanisms already in place. Probiotics are part of that internal process.)

You should not be undergoing colonics without your physician’s approval under any circumstance and not even then if you suffer from any of the following:

  • Any lower digestive tract tumor (cancer)
  • Any recent surgery, especially of the intestines
  • Specific digestive tract conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis
  • Bad hemorrhoids (as opposed to the good ones)
  • Significant heart, lung or kidney disease (You will be receiving a medical procedure in a place not equipped to deal with emergencies should one occur, and no one can tell you that one won’t happen while you’re on the business end of a rectal tube.)

Does it work?
I can make the following comments with complete confidence and no equivocation.

  • There has been very little medical research on the benefit of colonic cleansing. Therefore, any global claims of benefit, include those listed above, are unjustified when placed against the standard by which the medical community judges these things. It is very unlikely that will ever change, as I don’t exactly foresee a sufficient number of research subjects lining up (or backing up) for a randomized, double-blinded study anytime soon … That’s not to say it doesn’t work, and there is a theoretical basis for why it would work. It’s just that sufficient medical evidence that it works hasn’t been put forth.
  • I know individuals (and not just the colonic hydrotherapists/hygienists who are obviously incentivized to promote the procedure) who swear they feel better getting this done. Of course, this could be attributable to a placebo effect. Alternatively, here’s something that proponents of colonics don’t seem to discuss that is quite reasonable. There are specific medical ailments related to the nervous system (which has several trigger points in the intestines) that are improved by relieving constipation; clearly colonics do that. Perhaps proponents don’t want to see the procedure reduced to a complex way to provide an enema.
  • I know there are natural methods of cleansing that are at least as effective as colonics.  I’ve discussed these here.

So what does all this mean?  Given the last bullet point above, the issue can be addressed with either of two analogies.

  1. If you wash a car that already has rust on it, you aren’t really fixing anything.
  2. If you repair a car that still functions as new, you aren’t really improving anything. I’m all for maintenance, but when you’re discussing the body, if you take care of it, it sustains itself rather well.

In my “toxin summary post” tomorrow, I will answer your questions on the entire toxin and detoxification series and add a few final thoughts.
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

Introduction

In this post we take a look at detox diets.

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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!

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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Straight, No Chaser: Quick Tips to Detoxify Yourself Naturally

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Here are 3-4 Quick Tips for each of the organs involved in naturally detoxifying you; I’ve limited what I’m giving you to do in the effort to make this manageable for you. I don’t think you’ll find anything here beyond your ability to implement into your routine. If you incorporate the items listed below, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier life.
Quick tips to naturally detox your skin: 

  1. Diet: think fruits and vegetables, and cut back on refined sugar.
  2. Sweat: You know I prefer you exercise, but if you’re healthy enough, the sauna works too. Or you can just move to Texas in the summer.
  3. Exfoliation is a beautiful thing. There are dozens of ways to do it. Find one that works for you.
  4. Hydrate and moisturize. You spend too much time in the sun and lose too much water from your skin not to replenish (You get a bonus tip because your skin is such an important detox organ.).

Quick tips to naturally detox your lungs:

  1. Avoid inhaling cigarette and cigar smoke. Duh.
  2. Exercise makes your respiratory machinery more effective and efficient. Go for it.
  3. Learn to deep breathe. Take it in from your belly. Learn to breathe slowly and deeply. Yoga is a great complement to this.

Quick tips to naturally detox your kidneys:

  1. It’s all about fluids. Remember that your body is over 60% water, and you have to stay hydrated and keep flushing. I’ve discussed this previously but remember to get in at least 64 ounces of fluids a day.
  2. Learn about cranberries. Many of those urinary tract infections are successfully addressed by drinking cranberry juice.
  3. Remember that diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney disease. You want to detox your kidneys? Control your blood pressure and avoid/control diabetes.

Quick Tips to naturally detox your liver and intestines:

  1. Increase your water intake. Water makes your entire body function better but also softens your stools, facilitating transport.
  2. Increase your fiber intake. Fiber bulks your stools and makes it easier to expel.
  3. Decrease your alcohol intake. As everyone knows, alcohol will sufficiently damage your kidneys to the point where your body will be unable to eliminate many toxins. Liver disease is a very unpleasant experience and way to die.

It bears repeating: if all of this sound fundamental, it’s because it is. You have the ability to help yourself if you consistently apply basic health and wellness principles. You can do this.
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.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPres

Straight, No Chaser: Our World is Filled with Toxins

toxic-world-2
You can’t escape all toxins, but you can certainly minimize your exposure to them.  A handy way to classify them involves reminding you of the organ systems that help us detoxify and how, over time, toxins fight and sometimes win the battle against our defenses.  In the interest of space, I’m going to give you the names of several chemicals that you may want to know about and should be wary of using, without giving you details on their individual effects.  If you have questions about any of them specifically, call me at 1-844-SMA-TALK.
Lungs
The toxins: We are fighting what we breathe and inhale.  Air pollution includes levels of carbon monoxide and methane.  Exhaust fumes, factory emissions, first and second-hand smoke all contain substances damaging to our lungs.  Did someone mention cigarettes?  Tobacco smoke has been fascinating to me.  The idea that we would introduce smoke into the very area we use to deliver oxygen to our entire body is one of the most curious actions of humans.  Look at this diagram of the toxins found in cigarettes.
chemicals-in-cigarettes-arsenic-etc
The effects: The lungs are impressively effective at handling toxins up to a certain point and up to a certain age (approximately 35 years old).  At that point what had been reversible airway damage begins to not only change the structure of lung tissue, but it results in lung tissue loss that does not get repaired.  It’s as if when you run your hands through your hair, you discover that you’re pulling out large clumps of it.  Of course, the problem is that this isn’t your hair, but the lung tissue that you need to breathe.  The list of diseases contributed to, exacerbated by or caused by toxins is long, including COPD (emphysema, chronic bronchitis), asthma exacerbations, asbestos and lung cancer.
Skin: 
The toxins: Do you trust your skin products – you know, mascara, styling gel, tanning oil, soaps and body washes, shampoos, hair sprays, shaving creams, cologne and lotions, just to name a few?  Toxic chemicals you’re commonly absorbing through your skin include propylene glycol, parabens, glycerin, triethanolamine and sodium lauryl sulfate.
The effects: You thought acne and the occasional allergic reaction were bad?  This group’s collective effects includes respiratory, immune system and skin toxicants and known throat carcinogens.  I’d suggest you become more conscious of what you’re using and seek organic options when available.
Kidneys
The toxins: The water we drink seems to get worse with time.  Does anyone remember when tap water was “just fine?”  Now our drinking water is liable to contain ammonia, chlorine, bleach and other toxic substances.  An entire movie (Erin Brockovich) was made over the issue of toxins in drinking water.  You may recall that the kidneys bear the burden of the actual elimination of urine.  They need to maintain excellent health to perform this function.
The effects: The consequences of the kidney’s inability to perform can be so dramatic that dialysis (which is basically manual, external filtering of your blood once the kidneys go into failure) becomes necessary.  Prior to that, toxins “gumming up” the kidneys can be left free to create havoc in other parts of the body.
Gastrointestinal system (particularly your liver and intestines)
The toxins: The food you eat is toxic.  To be clear, usually I’m asking you to eat healthily.  Today, that’s still true, but it’s not the only issue.  I’m pointing out that your food contains actual toxins, including food additives and dyes, pesticides on your non-organic fruits, aspartame, MSG, hormones, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, mercury, bisphenols, and alcohol.  Did someone mention alcohol?  Alcohol is directly toxic to the liver.
The effects: I’m just going to focus on the alcohol.  Alcohol produces conditions known as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis.  Chronic, excessive alcohol use is the single most important cause of illness and death from liver disease in the U.S.  Moderation or abstention is the order of the day, my friends.  Liver transplants are very hard to come by.
The purpose of this is not to paralyze you into inactivity but to stimulate you into action.  Between now and tomorrow, when you read the fourth post in this toxins series, I’d suggest you review this post about natural detoxification.  Compare that to some of the other options I’ll be discussing later.  I’d recommend an ounce of prevention.
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.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPres

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: Contact Dermatitis, Diaper Rash, Poison Ivy and the Like

contactderm1

Let’s pick up where we left off. In our discussion of eczema and psoriasis, we described the common theme of underlying inflammation manifesting in rashes of different appearances. The theme continues today, with the difference being overlying inflammation. Contact dermatitis (dermatitis = skin inflammation) results from some external entity becoming a nuisance to your skin and generating a response in the form of a rash. You know this in many different forms (shown in the pictures below) – think about those old nickel coated watches, piercings gone bad (piercings also cause actual infections, which is a different consideration), clothing (below is a picture of contact dermatitis caused by flip-flop slippers), poison ivy and diaper rash. I bet the lead picture, which seems like a brand of a butterfly necklace pendant, as well as the following pictures look familiar to many of you.

contractdermwatch

contactdermearcontact-dermatitis-feet

poison-ivy-rash

diaperrash

These rashes are examples of allergic contact dermatitis. Your immune system is generating a response because it believes it is under attack by whatever has touched you. The way the body defends itself leads to release of various chemicals (most notably histamines) that cause the rash. The reason I picked the illustration of the diaper rash is to remind you that the rash actually is in the distribution of the diaper (not just under it), meaning that it may be the diaper that’s the culprit. In other words, don’t just zone in on feces and urine as the problem.  Allergic contact dermatitis can occur from – well, anything you’re allergic to, but it’s commonly associated with latex, fruit peels (especially citrus), lotions, perfumes and other topical substances applied to the skin.
When we discussed eczema earlier, we were describing irritant contact dermatitis, which occurs because something damages the skin (remember eczema is called “the itch that rashes”). Imagine that you’ve sensitized and damaged your eczematous skin by scratching away at it and then place something irritating on it. That’s what this is. The longer the new irritant stays on the already damaged skin, the worse the inflammation is, and the more violent the rash appears.
So let’s get to the bottom line: the name of the game is avoidance (as in poison ivy, latex or other known irritants), prompt recognition and removal of irritants, and symptomatic treatment. If you come in contact with a substance that burns or rashes immediately, remove the object or get away from it, and then wash the affected area with mild soap and moderate water. Consider oral histamines (e.g. benadryl) and a mild OTC hydrocortisone ointment. If the rash isn’t better within a few days, or if you ever feel short of breath or as if your throat is closing, contact your physician or the local emergency room immediately for evaluation. Unless you have an underlying condition like eczema or psoriasis, contact dermatitis should resolve within 2-4 weeks with this approach to management.
So in closing, remember: it’s not just the more you itch, the more you scratch. It’s also the more you scratch, the more you itch. Break the cycle.
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.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: When that Eye Problem Could Be an Eye Emergency

emergency-eye-injury
Now you may look at the topic and think, “Well, isn’t that obvious?” I’m here to tell you that as many people who come to the emergency room for seemingly minor things, there’s even more that delay coming because of a thought that things will get better. When it comes to your eyes, you only have two, and can’t afford to lose even one. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, come in while you still can see (if indeed you still can).
Sudden vision loss: The problem with sudden vision loss is that it didn’t happen by accident, and it’s not likely to get better without prompt relief. This could represent a stroke involving the eyes’ blood vessels (amaurosis fugax), a blockage of those blood vessels (central retinal artery occlusion), a retinal detachment and a few other critical considerations. The point to be made is that in most of these examples, you should assume that only a limited amount of time exists to repair the damage before the eye injury causes permanent damage.
Eye pain: Yes, there’s a lot of benign things that cause eye pain, but there are some serious considerations, including the following:

  • Burns (seen very commonly in welders and those using chemicals)
  • Conjunctivitis (yep, even this can be serious when caused by gonorrhea or a herpes virus – wash your hands!),
  • Glaucoma,
  • Inflammation of various components of the eye (uveitis, keratitis)
  • Migraines
  • Scratches and ulcers to the eye surface (the cornea – do not sleep in your contacts unless this has been approved by your eye doctor; it just sets you up for bad things to happen),
  • Trauma
  • Tumors

Something is in your eye: Whether a chemical splash, a piece of metal, a branch or other foreign body, there are several concerns you should have. In the example of the chemical splash, something may be burning through the layer of your eye, putting it at risk for rupture. One word – IRRIGATE! If some object is in there that you can remove by blinking, odds are it’s not going away. Don’t cause more damage than is already there by digging around in your eye. Get evaluated.
Visualization of flashing lights and floaters: The most concerning cause of this phenomenon is a retinal detachment, which is a serious eye-threatening emergency. Visualize (no pun intended) wallpaper peeling off a wall. Unfortunately in this analogy, the retina is like the film in your camera, capturing the images of the world you see. If your retina’s gone from its natural position, you’re not seeing anything.
I welcome any questions, comments or thoughts. Otherwise, I’ll see you tomorrow.
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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