Tag Archives: Sterling Medical Advice

Wear a Mask: The New Normal

The answer really has been in front of our faces all along (no pun intended). I’ve long appreciated the wisdom of foreigners at airports walking around with their masks. It’s really a pretty simple proposition: no garbage out, then no garbage in. I’ve been saying for a while now that I wear a mask to protect you from me. It’s easy to combine that with the notion that everyone should act as if they’re infected and not trying to give it to anyone else. A great way to lower the chances of spreading COVID-19 is to put a mask on potentially infected people. In this case, that means everyone.

The name of the game here is risk reduction. As I mentioned in yesterday’s Straight, No Chaser blog, you should consider one of your essential to-dos wearing a mask or any available covering on your face upon leaving your house (yes, I’m assuming you’re not entertaining inside of your homes). Anything provides some measure of protection, even if it’s not an N95 mask.

This simple maneuver covers your sneezes and coughs. It eliminates your needless debate on whether COVID-19 is airborne. Wearing a mask avoids your potentially transporting COVID-19 around on your sleeve or elbow. It is what Sweden credits with bending the curve in their country.

Of course, this is where I remind you that all that’s really necessary to accomplish this in the US is further (how about full) enactment of the Defense Production Act. We need enough masks as not to not take away from medical personnel. We need those masks made in America to further assist with the economy.

Message to everyone involved: wear a mask! Just do it. Masks aren’t just for Halloween anymore.

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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample what you can get from http://www.docadviceline.com. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Coping with COVID-19

Introduction

How are you coping with COVID-19? This disease has produced and is producing more cases in the U.S. than any other country in the world. Therefore, it’s time to appreciate that we all can and in some way likely will be touched by it. Sadly, for some that means dying from the disease. For others, that means contracting the disease and recovering. Perhaps, we’ll watch someone we love become ill, not knowing if or that we were the cause of transmitting it. For others, our employment may be terminated or our relationships will be strained. For others still, we watch and wait.

Are You Coping?

However, for all of us, there is a measure of uncertainly. Every day, we have to either choose to socially isolate or not. We have to actually pay attention to when and how to wash and touch our faces. We have to be measured in how we show greetings and affection. Did you ever imagine the day would come that we’d question whether or not hand shaking was still appropriate? Can you imagine the anguish in needing to adjust the way we conduct funeral services?

Whether or not you’ve realized it yet, everything has changed – including us. However, the issue of how we come out of this pandemic is not yet the issue. How we cope with the stress and uncertainty currently before us is something we each should take a moment to reflect upon.

Tools for Coping with COVID-19

Let’s refer you to these two Straight, No Chaser posts that address stress management and how to develop a stress management plan.

Things To Do!

Now let’s acknowledge that the stress we’re enduring is a different kind and level of mental trauma than most of us have previously had to endure. Please consider the following suggestions about keeping focused and even productive during this time.

Break

COVID-19 has consumed our lives. Give yourself a break from news and social media engagement around the topic. It’s stressful!

Virtual

We are social creatures. If used correctly, social media can be quite the uplift. Engage in a virtual happy hour, class reunion, dance party or book club. Phone a friend. Often.

Activity

Yes, binge watching those television shows and movies you’ve always wanted to catch up on are options. Engage them! However, take advantage of this time to meditate, get in shape, learn a new language or develop a new hobby. I hear some of you have taken to sewing face masks!

Take Care of You and Yours

Make sure you’re getting sleep. Find things that make you smile. Learn to appreciate your time away. Create your own home vacation world. Get creative! And don’t forget about the kids!

Medical Information and Advice

Your health is a big source of stress right now. You should take comfort in knowing that nurse advice lines, telehealth and telemedicine are a phone call away. These vehicles can and should be your first steps in addressing any developing health concerns (assuming that your primary physician can’t be reached of course).

Whatever your level of stress, you’ll do better by not facing it alone, literally and figuratively. Remember, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Stay active and engaged so the stress created by coping with COVID-19 is left behind.

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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample what you can get from http://www.docadviceline.com. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Why Isn’t There a Coronavirus Vaccine?

Introduction

Creating a coronavirus vaccine seems like such a simple thing, doesn’t it? However, creating any vaccine is among the most complicated and arduous endeavors in medicine. As opposed to most medicines, a successful vaccine will be distributed to billions of people worldwide. In this Straight, No Chaser, we’ll look at the general process of vaccine creation as a means of understanding what has to happen prior to having a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.

The Decision to Make Any Vaccine

The decision and process of making a vaccine is quite involved. I’ll summarize several of the considerations here.

Rationale and Target Immunization Rates

  • First, there has to be a public health rationale for a vaccine. There has to be an infectious disease present that’s severe and frequent enough to pursue a vaccine beyond other preventive strategies. That’s why there’s no vaccine for the common cold. Although everyone gets it, the body handles it just fine.
  • The ability to achieve target immunization rates has to seem reasonable. The World Health Organization has a target of 90% coverage for all vaccines by 2020. That level of coverage ensures protection for the others in the population who can’t receive the vaccines due to allergies or other reasons. If this goal can’t be approximated by the verbalized support of target populations around the world, the effectiveness of the vaccine may not be enough to justify the process of developing it.

Efficacy and Side Effects

  • Efficacy of the vaccine in preventing the disease sounds like a given, but it’s not. First, a vaccine needs to stimulate an immune system response that doesn’t under react or overreact. Either scenario could be deadly, so a level of precision is a must. This also involves discovering if a live vaccine or inactivated particle proteins from the virus can be used to stimulate that response. Furthermore, good efficacy takes into consideration that viruses are quite adept at mutating. The art of vaccines involves adjusting to keep current with the different viral strains and the viruses’ efforts to stay alive. We can expect this coronavirus to be an adaptor and/or mutator because it’s an animal virus. It’s already proven able to adapt from the environment of bats to humans.
  • The frequency and severity of vaccine side effects and adverse reactions are equally as important as efficacy. Can you imagine the consequences of giving a deadly vaccine to billions of people without having fully tested it? In a world prone to medical skepticism anyway, it’s a must that at least the medical, public health and regulatory communities are in agreement about safety considerations based on science, even if the public is not. Typically, each stage of studies (including pre-clinical, animal and human trials) will need to be replicated at multiple medical institutions in multiple different types of populations to ensure the results of one anecdotal case or study weren’t a dangerous random event.

Remembering that a pharmaceutical company is pursuing the development, testing and distribution of a vaccine, there has to be a business case for one. Vaccines don’t get made just because a new disease shows up. The costs of development ultimately will need to be recouped. However, the public will be equally insistent that the vaccine be cost-effective. There’s a lot to consider. There certainly appears to be justification for creating a coronavirus vaccine.

The Incentives to Make Any Vaccine

Here’s where I remind you that it’s not a governmental endeavor to make vaccines. These are decisions made by pharmaceutical companies. Potential vaccines are subject to approval by the equivalent of FDAs (Food and Drug Administrations) countries around the world. There are many regulatory hurdles to be cleared by the FDA before a coronavirus vaccine could be given widely to the US population.

This process is so arduous that it historically has taken between two and fifteen years to develop a vaccine. In fact, the most recent vaccine with which you may be familiar (the varicella vaccine, for prevention of chicken pox) took about 11 years to be licensed by the US FDA.

Considering all of that, think of the investment that must be made into making a coronavirus vaccine. There’s the study of a new virus, with the need to learn its genetic code, the means of causing disease and how it reacts to different threats. Mutation and other modes of adaptation need to be considered. There is a ton of work to be done before the process of creating a vaccine can even begin. Then the process has to go through animal models and rounds of human clinical trials prior to approval. As noted, the “chickenpox vaccine” took about an 11-year investment that needed to be paid for by the pharmaceutical manufacturer. That’s a long time and a big financial risk to take. Even while the public is demanding cost-effectiveness, somehow the manufacturer has to recoup its investment and make a profit.

The Prospects of a Coronavirus Vaccine

Now having discussed these things, consider where we are with a vaccine for the virus causing COVID-19. It’s named SARS-CoV-2, by the way. As a reminder, the world outside of China first gained access to the RNA sequence of the virus in January – just two months ago. There are now facilities in the US, Europe, Australia and possibly China already beginning the arduous process of learning enough about the virus that a vaccine may be proposed, developed, tested and approved.

Honestly, there is no way to predict when a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will be available because there are multiple substantial steps to be taken. Each of these steps come with challenges, potential obstacles and potential setbacks. It would be irresponsible to even present a best-case scenario (but a target of 12-18 months has been placed as a challenge). However, you can rest assured that multiple entities across the world are putting forth their best efforts. In the meantime, prevention and early detection remain our best defenses while efforts continue on a coronavirus vaccine and effective treatment.

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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample what you can get from http://www.docadviceline.com. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Actual Criteria for Coronavirus Testing

Introduction

Do you have any idea about the actual criteria for coronavirus testing? Even if you don’t want to know, if you’re talking or visiting a physician, you should be aware of what’s being used to determine (under current recommendations) your eligibility. This Straight, No Chaser presents an active set of criteria for your review.

Meanwhile, the need to expand coronavirus testing criteria and to expand the availability of tests continues. Let your voices be heard. #WhereAreTheTests

Whom Should Physicians Test for COVID-19?

Physicians may test any patient with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Examples of these typically include fever, cough and shortness of breath. As commercial testing becomes even more increasingly accessible, expect criteria to expand.

However, the following patients should be prioritized for testing:

  • Critically ill patients receiving ICU-level care with unexplained viral pneumonia or respiratory failure. This is regardless of travel history or close contact with suspected or confirmed COVD-19 patients. This is meant to inform decisions about infection control and investigational therapeutics.
  • Any persons with fever (subjective or confirmed) and/or symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness and a history of close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of symptom onset. This includes all residents of a long-term care facility that have had a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case.
    1. “Close contact” is defined as being within approximately six feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period. A prolonged period equals more than about 10 minutes per current public health contact-tracing practice. It also includes those having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
    2. Here’s when physicians and other health care personnel (e.g., nurses and administrative staff) should be tested. Testing may be considered if there has been exposure to a person with suspected COVID-19 even without laboratory confirmation. Even mild signs and symptoms (e.g., sore throat) of COVID-19 should be evaluated among potentially exposed health care personnel. This is warranted given their extensive and close contact with vulnerable patients in health care settings.
  • Any symptomatic individuals with a history of travel within 14 days of symptom onset to geographic regions where sustained community transmission has been identified.
  • Any symptomatic individuals who may be at higher risk of poor outcomes. These include those who are ≥ 65 years of age, immunosuppressed, or have high-risk chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease).
  • Individuals with fever and/or symptoms of a lower respiratory tract illness who are critical to pandemic response. These include health care personnel, public health officials, and other essential leaders.

Whom should physicians NOT test for COVID-19?

  • Asymptomatic individuals are not recommended to be tested for COVID-19, regardless of exposure history.
  • If an alternative diagnosis can be determined (e.g., rapid strep, rapid flu, BioFire viral panel), a clinical determination can be made that a COVID-19 test is not necessary. This is especially true if there is not yet community transmission of the disease in your area.
  • CDC recommends that mildly ill patients should be encouraged to stay home. You should contact your physician by phone for guidance about clinical management. If telemedicine is available and determines that symptoms are mild, patient’s should be referred to a mobile testing site if available. Otherwise, your doctor may elect to test you at the end of the day in the office away from other patients. This can protect staff and other patients and preserves the use of personal protective equipment.  

You would do well to print this out. Use it as a guide to determine if your symptoms meet criteria for coronavirus testing under current guidelines. Use it to insist on testing if you meet criteria. #KnowledgeIsPower #KnowledgeIsHealth

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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample what you can get from http://www.docadviceline.com. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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The Coronavirus Good News Post

Introduction

Would you believe me if told you there was Coronavirus good news? Even in the first of what is likely to be weeks of a shutdown of activity for many places across the nation, it’s my professional inclination to look at things from multiple angles. I want to make a good faith effort to point out where we are from about as optimistic of a point of view as possible. Consider this an academic exercise as much as a reflection of any reality.

This has been a conversation about style, preferences and metrics. We’d do well to be reminded that the current process of combating the disease is based on a different philosophy (for better or worse) than has presently been used. This philosophy is based on less reliance on the federal government, with outsourcing of solutions to the states and the private sector. This is still America, and even with a slow start and what appears to be half measures when compared to best practices, we have seen a relatively low amount of deaths and the abilities of American innovation begin to come to bear on our behalf.

Coronavirus Good News

Here are five particularly positive developments and innovations of note from America and around the world.

  • Cleveland Clinic developed a COVID-19 test that gives results in hours. (Source: News 5 Cleveland)
  • South Korea has not only “flattened the curve,” but recoveries from documented cases now outnumber new cases. These occurred after implementation of mass testing. (Source: NBC News)
  • Isreali scientists are poised to announce the development of a coronavirus vaccine. (Source: The Economic Times)
  • The first three Maryland residents to test positive for coronavirus have completed treatment and are now doing well. (Source: WBAL)
  • The Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said it was developing a new coronavirus drug derived from the blood plasma of people who have recovered from Covid-19. Its approach is based on the idea that antibodies developed by recovered patients might strengthen the immune system of new patients. This is the type of effort that led to dramatic improvements during the pandemic of 1918.

Stay Calm and Do Your Part

Furthermore, the response from the most at-risk States and citizens across the country has been quite admirable (with a few notable exceptions). The ongoing enforcement of CDC recommendations, which are now mostly being endorsed (if not enforced) by the federal government will substantially improve the outcomes of Americans and people around the world.

Of course, all of this is to be balanced against other information. The situation will get worse before it gets better. However, in total, circumstances speak to the need to maintain diligence and determination instead of panic and feelings of helplessness. We can come out on the other side of this better and more self-empowered in our health.

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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample what you can get from http://www.docadviceline.com. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Coronavirus Myths, Part I

Introduction

Yes, Coronavirus myths are a thing. Coronavirus is not an all-powerful entity that spells the end of mankind. We just have to be diligent in attacking this pandemic. There’s so much information and misinformation out there that Straight, No Chaser needs to clarify some of the more important facts to know and egregious myths to avoid.

Myth: The virus is a variant of the common cold

No, it’s not, but it is part of the Coronavirus family of viruses. Different Coronaviruses cause different disease, and in fact four different members of that family cause common colds. However, SARS-CoV-2, the specific virus that causes COVID-19 is not one of them. So if you have the cold, don’t worry. The world isn’t about to end!

Myth: The virus was made in a lab

This particular Coronavirus myth/conspiracy theory is easy to combat (no pun intended) if you believe in science. All evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease of COVID-19) seems to have originated in bats. Also, there is no evidence that the virus was man-made.  Furthermore, there are other viruses that have originated in animals that migrated to humans.  This particular virus’ characteristics and activity fall in line with that of those other examples.

Myth: Any face mask protects you from Coronavirus

The problems with regular surgical masks is those viral particles aren’t blocked from penetration. However, the masks do have value in potentially blocking large respiratory droplets that you expel when coughing or sneezing. The most effective masks are the N95 respirators that medical staffs use. However, these need to be fitted to prevent air from escaping around the edges. Also, they must be checked for ongoing effectiveness after each use. Truthfully, it’s a matter of risks. Use the best option you have, and focus on prevention.

Myth: Getting COVID-19 is guaranteed to kill you

Here’s the data. Just over 2% of people infected with COVID-19 are killed by it. About 14% contract a severe illiness (significant shortness of breath), and just under 5% are critical (respiratory or multi-organ failure or septic shock). Over 80% of the infect have mild infections that may not include symptoms. The elderly and those otherwise immunocompromised are those most at risk, but there is some level of risk of severe disease and death for every individual contracting the disease.

Myth: The worst has passed in the US

We’ve continued to tell you (and most experts are agreeing) that the worst of COVID-19 has yet to come. We have seen incremental steps toward full quarantine and isolation in the US, seemingly in hopes that it won’t become necessary. However, as testing reveals the full extent of the disease, expect more of the school closures, athletic arena fan bans, city curfews, airport screening of the need to fly and other once-thought draconian measures to take hold, complete with military enforcement of the new rules. You probably didn’t know this, but state and federal laws are already in place for these considerations in the face of a public health emergency.

There are a lot more Coronavirus myths out there for us to beat down. If you have some you’d like us to address, leave them in the comments section. Stay tuned!

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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample what you can get from http://www.docadviceline.com. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Combating Coronavirus: In Support of a Mobilized National Response

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser discusses combating Coronavirus in the midst of the current pandemic. Here’s the question of the day: What’s the best public health response? What’s not being done that should be done?

How We Got Here

Let’s begin by acknowledging that much of this has become necessary because of the failure to have testing and treatment available. As such, we have been placed in a situation that most Americans would find abhorrent. We’re particular when it comes to our freedom and suspicious of government power expansion that tends to occur during crises. Similarly, the “best” and “most practical” actions aren’t necessarily the same thing; this is often the tug of war that occurs between the public health and political communities. However, here we are.

Public Health vs Political Approaches

Beginning the conversation with identifying the most effective path of care and making practical (or political) adjustments based on that is a prudent approach. This is logistically more difficult now because of the misinformation and denials that haven’t paved the way for decisive action. Such action now may seem to be panic or overreaction. However, we must move past political posturing and move toward epidemiology as the way forward in promoting best practices. The science of data analysis, model formulating, predictions and deriving public health policy based on these considerations is incredibly effective.

Look at the attached chart. It’s incredibly instructive. Basically, there are two groups of countries: those with a high rate of new cases and those with a very low rate. Unfortunately, the trajectory of the US is consistent with those having a high trajectory – in fact, our trajectory is virtually the same as Italy’s, and we know how that turned out.

What does this mean? Simply put, act now, or we will suffer the consequences. The trajectory can be shifted.

How do we accomplish this? As I’ve said before, half-measures are inadequate. The data is in. It’s time to define the parameters of a total, temporary lock down of the U.S. Yes, that’s a national quarantine. Despite what you think, this isn’t that radical a proposition and would only represent an adjustment from current recommendations.

Combative Coronavirus: Straightforward Best Practices

The formal governmental apparatus should consider from among the following options. These are meant to be samples of options, not an exhaustive list. To the extent necessary, our military is going to have to participate in enforcing this process. For the purpose of discussion, let’s assume these measures will be implemented for 14 days and when applicable will apply to groups over 50 people. These recommendations are meant to be taken in isolation as public health measures. Additional societal and economic matters need to be addressed.

Prevention

  • Canceling local and international travel outside of that deemed essential to considerations of public health, medical and national security interests. This includes train, bus and train travel.
  • Postponing events that involve mass assembly. Eliminate public congregation. Schools, universities, churches, shopping malls and large community centers need to be closed. Restaurant activity needs to be exclusively converted to drive through offerings.

Health Promotion

  • Improve the supply chain. Mass production of masks, gloves and hand sanitizers must be fully increased in the way production occurs during war economies. Similarly, the supplies of medical equipment and supplies must occur, both for home and hospital use.
  • Engage in food promotion to the most vulnerable communities and citizens. Maintaining health and immunity are vital to arresting the spread of the disease and survival of those obtaining it.
  • Continue and expand upon current public information and education campaigns.

Testing

  • Allowing for full, widespread testing. The prior focus on deaths as the prime metric needs to change to the identification of cases. Doing so would allow for greater prevention of downstream clusters and additional deaths.
  • Centers and shelters must have immediate testing and treatment capacity.
  • Establish regional drive-through testing centers across the nation.
  • Create a mandatory testing protocol for healthcare workers and other key societal figures (e.g. those continually exposed to multiple people).

Treatment

  • Empower hospitals and other healthcare facilities to expand supportive and critical care capacity.
  • Empower expedited testing of existing and newly created antiviral medicines and immune enhancing medicines and remedies to combat Covid-19.
  • Fast track vaccination development.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) needs to be cut off at the head. A few decisive measures would go a long way to both reducing the risks and shifting the curve away from ongoing increases in cases. This type of plan would address current fears, plan the path forward and make clear to citizens what’s required. Do your part. Follow the recommendations. We’re in this together.

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Feel free to #asksterlingmd any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample what you can get from http://www.docadviceline.com. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Self Empowering Weight Loss Strategies

Introduction

When you’ve tried, what have been your weight loss strategies? Excuse me for being Straight, No Chaser, but here it goes! Unless you have one of a few medical conditions or take medications that promote weight gain, weight loss strategies are simple and mostly variations of the same theme. Also, no, the best answers aren’t found in a pill.

If you actually want to loss weight – and regardless of the method – you must demystify the process. Your weight is simply a function of calories in or out. You spend your days consuming and burning them. Whether you lose or gain is dependent on the relative ratio of those two considerations. Simply put, weight loss (or gain) is nothing more than a math equation. If you take in more than you expend, you’ll gain. If you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight.

Nothing anyone ever tells you will be more simple or true than those facts. Diets and exercise routines are just means to an end. They’re all variations of a theme: close your mouth and get off your rear!

This next post in the Straight, No Chaser empowerment series gives you some basics. If you focus on these in the midst of everything you do, you will be pleased with the outcome. Meanwhile, those of you with medicines or medical conditions causing weight gain, have a conversation with your physician – early and often.

Straight, No Chaser Resources

Here are some posts to help empower you. They’re simple, effective and to the point.

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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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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Self-Help Through Activity and Exercise

Introduction

Today’s topic is self-help through activity and exercise! Let’s start with your take home points:

  • Lesson one is on activity and exercise. Remember, these are two different considerations!
  • Lesson two is that every level of activity provides benefit to your heart.

In today’s post, we explore different options for you to produce heart benefits. Therefore, choose your strategy based on your objectives.

Activity and Exercise: What You Need to Know

Here are a series of Straight, No Chaser posts meant to give you the information you need. Of course, we suggest you learn it all!

The Benefits of Activity and Exercise: Let’s start with an understanding of what you’re trying to do. Also learn how and why it matters.

Invisible Health: This post discusses how healthy habits and activities produce ongoing health benefits. That’s right; you can get some things done without having to pack up and go to the gym!

Fat Burn vs Cardio: How Do I Best Exercise? There are levels to exercise. Accordingly, there are different benefits found in different types of exercise. We discuss those in this post.

Straight, No Chaser Exercise Vlog: Let’s chat for 2 minutes. View Dr. Sterling discussing exercise as a wrap up to the lesson!

Whatever you do, do something! Your activity today prepares your heart and other organs to protect you tomorrow. Toxins and disease aren’t inclined to go away by themselves. Get up!

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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Healthy Eating is Healthy Living

Introduction

Healthy eating is about as fundamental a proposition as you get on your journey to taking control of your own health. This Straight, No Chaser offers you tips that represent the basics of nourishing your body!

healthy eating tips

If you want to eat healthy, you really must learn about and try to eat in accordance with the Healthy Eating Plate. It doesn’t get more complicated that that, and you shouldn’t attempt to make it much more complicated.

Today, I’m going to speak on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which I’m building upon for your success. These bakers’ dozen of healthy eating tips represent simple, easy-to-do tasks to keep your meals healthy.

Your Healthy Eating Tips

  • Eat at home. This accomplishes so many things. If you eat at home, you know exactly what you’re eating. That quality control is important, and it allows you to both save money and get creative in your pursuit of health.
  • If possible, take the cooking out of your hands. Those of you with less self-discipline would do well to simply express your healthy desires to your loved one. Give her or him directions on your health goals and eat what’s brought to you.
  • Use a smaller plate. This act with help you with portion control. If you’re one of those who must finish your plate, this will help prevent you from overeating.
  • Stop eating when you’re full. The body actually is trying to tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re not. Try to overcome that voice in your head that tells you “finish your plate.” Calorie control is the vital component of health.
healthy eating tips - fruits!
  • Make half your plate colorful fruits and vegetables. If you just remember dark green, red and orange colors are consistently full of nutrients and healthy, you’ll do well. Think of tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli as examples.
  • Eat slowly. Even if you’re not chewing each morsel 20-25 times before swallowing, learning to savor your food will improve your eating experience and promote a sense of fullness and satisfaction with smaller portions. No, it won’t necessarily make you want even more.

More healthy eating tips

  • Lean Protein. Limit your red meat. Learn to appreciate lean meats, such as chicken, turkey and seafood. Beans and tofu are also excellent protein sources. When you do eat beef and/or pork, ask for lean cuts.
  • Seafood, not see (more) food. Make it your main course at least twice a week.
healthy eating tips - whole grain
  • Whole grains. Just say the words and look for the words. When you’re buying breads, look for 100% whole grain. At a restaurant? Specifically ask for whole grains in your breadbasket. You cannot assume your breads are whole grain otherwise.
  • Avoid the extra fat. There’s no good in eating healthy if you cover the goodness with heavy sauces, gravies, syrups or salad dressings. Ask if low fat, low-calorie alternatives exist.
  • Got dairy? Learn to move beyond whole milk. Fat-free, low-fat, soy or almond milks (or yogurt without a daily drink) are all better options and provide the same amount of calcium and other nutrients without all the fat and calories.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth in a different way. Learn to enjoy a fruit cocktail, yogurt parfait, baked apples or other healthy options as your dessert. All you’re really wanting is a dab of sugar anyway!
  • Learn variety; build your choices. Have you ever tried mango, kiwi, lentils or kale? If so, did you give up after the first taste? Many healthy foods need to be prepared to your liking. Think seasonings and preparation. Get creative!

Whatever you do, fast food is not the option. Invest a touch of time into these very simple tips and undo the bad luck to be found in most of your diets.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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ask your physician

Ten Questions to Ask Your Physician

Introduction

Today’s message is simple: Ask Your Physician! Straight, No Chaser continues this empowerment series with this simple direction. Think about it. When exactly was the last time you took questions into your physician’s office to ask? This post compiles a top ten list of questions we suggest you should ask and get addressed ASAP! Knowledge is health!

Questions

What’s the best approach to preventive care?

This question is a great lead in to a discussion on medical screenings and vaccinations. You should also use it to get direction on diet and exercise.

What internet resources can I trust for medical information?

There’s a big difference between you asking a physician about something you googled and you asking your physician’s thoughts on where you can go for good information on the internet. Don’t be surprised if you get sent back to www.jeffreysterlingmd.com!

Why am I taking/receiving this medicine?

Blind trust is much less important than informed empowerment. Understand why you need to take medicines and if there are alternatives to taking them. Be very careful about any substances you place in your body that change the way you function!

How do sleep and stress impact my health?

These are two rarely discussed topics during physician visits. Adequate sleep and being relatively stress-free are fundamental considerations upon which you build a foundation of health. Make sure you’re right on these!

How do you (the physician) protect your own health?

No, this isn’t imposing! There’s a lot to learn by this question. There’s not much that I’m doing for myself that I wouldn’t recommend for you!

Do I (or my child) really need an antibiotic?

If only you’d ask this question. However, it requires more insight than fear. You really do yourself a disservice by inappropriately and unnecessarily taking antibiotics. There will come a day that you really need them to work. Let’s hope whatever is infecting you hasn’t become immune due to using them for viruses that would have gotten better in a few days anyway and without them.

I’m really afraid about this? How concerned should I be?

You’re spending a ton of money on your fears. Why not address them directly during your physician visit. Or are you the type that’s going to do what you think is best anyway? Don’t let your fears overwhelm facts.

Can we discuss my wishes for end-of-life care?

No one seems to ask end-of-life considerations unsolicited in advance. Unfortunately, not doing so seems to extend family arguments until the most inappropriate time. There’s a way to have the conversation in a sensitive way. And no, it won’t lead to any death panels invading your home.

When do I need to be seen again and what would make being seen earlier necessary?

Between visits, you will have fears, concerns and issues that arise. Get clarity on these matters in advance.

What should I do if I think I need to go to the emergency room for something?

Although you have the right to go to the ER for anything you think could be an emergency, that can come with a tremendous cost and expenditure of a lot of time. It’s good to understand options for options for emergency visits with your doctor’s office. You should also get his/her advice on how to use call centers, urgent care and 911 for different levels of threats.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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Stress Management is Health Self-Empowerment!

Introduction

Doesn’t it seem logical that if you want to be fully empowered you need adequate coping and stress-management skills? This is the fourth of the Straight, No Chaser self-empowerment series. Today, we’re giving you the tools to be aware of and combat your levels of stress.

Key Considerations in Stress Management

stress management - stress and performance

The way our bodies treat stress is not dissimilar to the use of a cattle prod (and we don’t endorse animal abuse!). A bit of it stimulates and optimizes performance. On the other hand, too much of it becomes counterproductive and debilitating. Therefore, you inevitably will have to deal with certain factors shown to either enhance or moderate your physical and emotional stress, based on how you handle them. These include your attitude, dietary habits, level of physical activity, methods relaxation and availability of support systems. Here’s a full post on these considerations.

Developing a Stress Management Plan

stress management

Unfortunately, we all have to deal with stress. However, if you invest the time, you will find how having an actual plan that reminds you of your best actions toward reducing stress helps! Here’s another post that works it out with you in detail. Remember, stress management saves lives! Mastering it is equivalent to being empowered and promoting living your best life.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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Cost Effective Self Care

Cost effective self care

Introduction

Cost effective self care is probably something you’ve never verbalized. However, it’s more likely something that’s constantly on your mind, whether consciously or otherwise. This is the third in the Straight, No Chaser series on health self-empowerment. If and as you become more inclined to become a better steward of your health, you’ll come to appreciate the considerations in this post!

Organizing Your Cost Effective Self Care

Let’s view this from five approaches: mental health, physical health, emotional health, social health and spiritual health. If you think about your life, these are its major considerations. Now, start organizing your approach to better care for yourself.

Mental Health

We put mental health first, because… “sound mind, sound body!” We’ve discussed how to optimize mental health before, but keep in mind this principal: the body can only perform as well as the mind is able to direct it. Let’s keep this simple and return to the notion of cost effective self care: exercise your brain on a daily basis with something as simple as reading a book, doing a Sudoku or crossword puzzle, or learning something (try a new language!). These activities produce massive benefits.

Physical Health

If you’ve followed Straight, No Chaser before, you likely appreciate the value of “close your mouth, and get off of your backside.” Physical health isn’t an absolute construct for anyone. Incremental measures produce relative improvements for everyone at every level of health. To that end, we’ve discussed better food choices more than emphasizing “dieting.” We’ve discussed activity even more than “exercise.” Remember, everything you place in your mouth either helps or hurts you. Everything your body is able to do is based on what you’ve trained and empowered it to do. Choose wisely.

Emotional Health

In many ways, emotional health involves stress-reducing coping mechanisms. You must prevent undue stress from choking off your best function and performance. Are you prone to express anger, anxiety, naivete, pessimism or sadness? If so, these are direct threats to your living your best life. We refer to you this stress management guide, but keep this in mind. Regarding emotional health, cost effective self care is – again – a relative consideration. Pick one area to work on at a time. Try a specific mental challenge to improve upon an area, such as road rage. Actively attempt to identify the best case scenario among your options. Commit to spend one day surrounded by an environment that is positive, affirming and stimulating. Then do it everyday!

Social Health

In the era of social media, there are more social threats to your mental and physical health than ever before. Even without social media, maintaining meaningful relationships with family and friends is often a challenge. Simply put, the important consideration here is making your exposure to social networks as affirming as possible. Spend as much time with family, friends and social media as produces positive benefit to you. Minimize exposure to (or just avoid) them all when they become sources of negative energy or produce an undesired mental state of mind.

Spiritual Health

Did you know that a lifestyle that includes spirituality (with or without religion) is generally healthier? Whether it’s the organizing approach of religion or the general positive effects on mental health, spiritual health has been shown to be a key contributor to a healthy life. Cost effective self care measures here can be quite simple. Consider simple reflection, meditation, prayer or church. These activities all help you appeal to an affirming part of your existence.

Specific Steps for Cost Effective Self Care

As luck would have it, the Straight No Chaser post on increasing life-expectancy addresses this exact consideration. Review these tips. You’ll notice how simple (and cost-effective) these are. Go for it!

Tips 1-5

1. Take a walk. Just give yourself a brisk 30-minute walk three times a week. Effect? Reverse your age by about 10 years.

2. Eat more fish. Doing so one to two times a week can reduce your heart attack risk by approximately one-third.

3. Lift weights. Yes, it gets tougher, but I’m not recommending a Schwarzenegger workout. Lifting reverses muscle and bone loss if you do it twice weekly. For those in their 50s or 60s, it can produce strength scores similar to those in their late 30s.

4. Get a pet. This is a pretty easy way to avoid depression and all that comes with it.

5. Hydrate. Your body is almost 70% water. Not soda, water. Learn to embrace clear fluids. When you’re not going clear, coffee and wine also have significant health benefits.

women increase your life expectancy

Tips 6-10

6. Equip your home. Everyone should have a functioning smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguish, and everyone in your home should know where they are and how to use them.

7. Put a helmet on your head. 1,000 people die every year in the U.S. from motorcycle, bicycle, scooter or skydiving injuries related to not wearing protective helmet.

8. Engage in safe sex. Yes, people are still dying prematurely and living compromised lives because of the failure to wear condoms while others protect themselves.

9. Be optimistic. This keeps the negative effects of the body’s physiologic stress response from harming you.

10. Reduce your red meat intake. Even the daily intake of just one serving of red meat equivalent to the size of your fist decreases life expectancy by approximately 13 percent.

life expectancy

Tips 11-15

11. Spend time with friends. Healthy social networks have been shown to add as much to your life expectancy as healthy endeavors such as lowering high blood pressure and reducing high cholesterol levels.

12. Be generous. Studies consistently show that those who help others report better health than those who don’t. It may just be correlation, but being on the right side of this fence makes the world a better place.

13. Sleep. Seven hours a day gets done what your body needs to function optimally.

14. Discover blueberries. There’s been much talk about “superfoods.” Blueberries meet the criteria. Consuming approximately two cups a day has been shown to prevent chronic diseases, reduce depression and improve memory.

15. Enjoy sex and orgasms. There are a million jokes about the benefits of sex, but legitimate benefits include burning calories, reducing stress, inducing sleep and reducing pain.

life expectancy by race and gender

Tips 16-20

16. Snack on nuts. Healthier nuts include almonds, cashews and pistachios. Eating them five days a week has been shown to add nearly three years to your life expectancy.

17. Get up! Sitting for more than three hours at a time independent of other activities can reduce your life expectancy. Take breaks, stretch and move around.

18. Maintain adequate intake of vitamins. You shouldn’t need supplemental vitamins if your diet is appropriate, buy if it’s not, here are the daily requirements that ensure optimal function. Vit C (1200 mg/day), Vit D (400-600 IU/day), Vit E (400 IU/day), Vit B6 (6 mg/day), calcium (1000-1200 mg/day) and folate (400 mcg/day).

19. Measure your blood pressure. Work to maintain your blood pressure at or below 115/75. This will help you function as much as approximately 25 years younger than someone of a blood pressure at or about 160/90.

20. Brush. Floss. Daily brushing and flossing can improve your functioning by approximately six years.

life expect throughout history

Tips 21-25

21. Wear your seatbelt. The combination of seatbelt wearing and driving within five MPH of the posted speed limit can improve your life expectancy by approximately three and a half years.

22. Eat fiber. The number to know here is 25. If you get 25 grams of daily fiber in your diet, that improves your function by approximately two and a half years over consuming half that amount. Look for high fiber dietary options.

23. Learn to laugh. Laughter actually does have clinical benefits. It strengthens your immune system by decreasing the stress-induced release of certain hormones. Learn to take or tell a joke!

24. Love fruits and vegetables. The more fruits and vegetables you eat compared to red meat, the better your life expectancy becomes.

25. Consume medical care, information and advice. Being proactive about your health increases both your life expectancy and life functioning compared to someone a dozen years younger  who does not. This includes getting recommended screenings and immunizations.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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How to Find Health Insurance

Introduction

Do you have health insurance? Even if you do, do you still feel like you pay a lot for your medical expenses? Here’s the point: do you know what the #1 cost of personal bankruptcy is in the U.S.? Medical bills. Want to know a very easy way to rack up huge bills? That would be using the emergency room as your source of care. The average cost of a visit to the ER for over 8,000 patients across the U.S. was $2,168, according to a recent study funded by the National Institute of Health. Look at these average costs (the interquartile range (IQR) represents the difference between the 25th and 75th percentile of charges, looking at the wide discrepancy in charges).

Can you afford this without insurance (or even with insurance, given your co-pays and deductibles)? This Straight, No Chaser post is the first of your empowerment series. Remember, health empowerment starts with knowledge. Remember it’s the above types of charges that you’re trying to avoid.

Did you know that according to the Census Bureau, there are still about 27.5 Americans without health insurance as of 2018 (that number was estimated to be as high as 50 million prior to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare)? 2018 was also the first year since 2008-09 for which there was an increase in this number. Draw your own inferences about why this is the case (or just look at the below picture!).

Insurance Options

Where do you start if you don’t have insurance? What should you do if you have insurance? What if it’s an emergency? Let’s go through a series of options you have available to you that you may not know how to enlist.

How do you choose affordable insurance coverage if you don’t have a job, your job doesn’t provide health benefits, or if you just don’t have enough money to afford it? Work through the following steps.

  1. Look For Coverage Through Your Spouse or Domestic Partner. If you have a spouse or partner, there’s money to be saved by piggybacking off the other’s coverage. Explore this option before accepting a new plan that requires you to pay more.
  2. Explore the Health Care Marketplace as Your First Stop. This is especially the case if you’re otherwise uncovered or are an entrepreneur or small business owner. It’s also especially applicable if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Go to healthcaregov.org for details.
  3. Medicaid: In more than half the US, state Medicaid expansion accompanied the Affordable Care Act. This has resulted in the number of people qualified to receive Medicaid increasing dramatically. It’s also included many above the poverty line who previously hadn’t been eligible. Google your state insurance commissioner for your specific set of qualifications.
  4. Medicare: You can qualify for Medicare if you receive Social Security disability benefits or if you’re age 65 or older. Check with the Social Security Administration for your eligibility.
  5. Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA): COBRA is another short-term coverage option. It might be for you if you’ve been laid off or aren’t working. It’s especially appropriate if you had insurance through your former job or otherwise participated in a group health insurance plan. This is great for access but is a more expensive option than the health care marketplace.
  6. Workers Compensation: If you are being treated for a workplace injury, your state’s workers’ compensation program might have health care solutions for you.

Less Obvious Insurance Options

  1. Short-Term Health Insurance Coverage: Short-term coverage is available! Think about this if you need to avoid gaps while searching for other options. A simple Google search will point you in the right direction in your state.
  2. High Deductible Health Plans: A high deductible “emergency” policy is another way to maintain a low-cost health insurance plan. However, it’s akin to making a bet that you won’t get ill. Maintaining a Health Savings Account (HSA) for smaller health issues will probably save you money in the long run. 
  3. Group Insurance from Organization Memberships: If you belong to any kind of membership organization (e.g. an alumni association, professional organization, business bureau, independent worker associations), it’s worth asking if they have a health insurance plan. These also provide reduced health insurance premiums for their members. You don’t have to go the route of employer-provided insurance.
  4. Group Health Expenses Sharing Plan: These health expenses sharing plan involves a group of people pooling money together to pay each other’s health care costs. They operate a bit like their own insurance company. Members’ pooled contributions are invested and are usually reserved to pay major medical expenses. These plans aren’t typically used for basic day-to-day health costs like checkups or small procedures. Group health expense sharing plans aren’t insurance plans, so they’re not regulated in the same way as insurance. Look into the history of any of these plans before you join one.
  5. Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs): A health care sharing ministry (HCSM) is another example of a group of people with shared beliefs creating a health expenses sharing plan. An HCSM is a non-profit entity, so again, it’s not health insurance and it’s not regulated in the same way. This alternative to insurance often include provisions that accommodate the beliefs of the group. As a result, procedures (e.g. abortion) that are deemed objectionable would not be covered. 
  6. Health Insurance Discount Cards: These aren’t insurance options but a way of obtaining discounts on medical services. They provide low-cost health services in exchange for a membership fee. They also don’t offer any medical reimbursement but lower your costs when you use the services of members participating in the plan. 

These are options. However, the question many of you have remains unaddressed: what if you believe you can’t afford any of these? Well actually you can; some of the above have eligibility based on financial status, such as Medicaid and Medicare. It’s up to you to do the work and discover where you’re eligible.

Furthermore, this is why health prevention is so important. This is why the rest of the health empowerment series focuses on what you can do to swing the pendulum away from waiting to need sick care toward being proactive with preventive and self-care. Stay tuned.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

Copyright © 2020 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Wishing You Health and Happiness for the Holidays!

Straight, No Chaser has been offering you health and happiness for seven years. It isn’t a medical encyclopedia. It’s meant to empower you to make choices that best suit your lifestyle – the intersection between health and happiness. Even though today is Christmas, remember we offer you the gift of knowledge every day.

After more than 25 years as a physician, I still am fascinated at the health trade-offs people make for their pleasure – or “quality of life.” We have previously discussed your habits and how some of them negatively impact your health. Click here for that discussion. The literature on negative energy and health is well documented and robust. In short, avoid negativity and those that bring it to you! That said, we’re following our own advice and going positive today. To that end, here’s the other half of the “health and happiness” equation:

STATE OF MIND = STATE OF BODY

 

Research from the Harvard School of Public Health (Go, Crimson!) led by Laura Kubzansky, Associate Profession of Society, Human Development and Health, identified personal attributes that actually do translate into better health. Specifically these personality traits have been shown to help avoid or healthfully manage depression, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and other diseases.

Her landmark 2007 study followed over 6,000 men and women for over 20 years, discovering that a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement in life and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Her studies have also demonstrated that children with a positive outlook and ability to focus on a task at age seven are in better health with fewer illnesses 30 years later. An additional finding of hers is that optimism cuts the risk of coronary heart disease in half.

This isn’t that hard. It just requires a rewiring of some of our outlook on life. Make a change today. Become a more positive person, and you’ll become a healthier person! Incorporate these mental lifestyle changes and reap the benefits.

Emotional vitality: a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement

Optimism: the perspective that good things will happen and that one’s actions account for the good things that occur in life

Supportive networks of family and friends

Good “self-regulation,” i.e., bouncing back from stressful challenges and knowing that things will eventually look up again

Healthy behaviors such as physical activity and eating well

Avoidance of risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, drinking alcohol to excess, and regular overeating

Speaking of Christmas, the Straight, No Chaser team greatly appreciates your readership, support and feedback. Over 40,000 of you both follow us and like us on social media and WordPress. We’ve had readers in approximately 200 countries around the world with well over 1,000,000 page views. We’ll continue to give you information to make a difference in your lives. Please continue to share your stories. It is very fulfilling and fascinating to hear how these efforts have made a difference in your lives. Feel free to continue to send us topic requests. We generally find a way to work them into the schedule.

Thank you so much, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, peace and blessings throughout the holiday season.

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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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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Health Self-Empowerment: 2020 Vision!

Introduction

Straight, No Chaser is committed to health self-empowerment. In this new year, we’re going to help you have 2020 vision. Over the next ten weeks, we will systematically offer you an approach to becoming an active consumer of health. Simply put, gone are the days when you can afford (literally and figuratively) to leave 100% of your care in the hands of your medical team.

Health Self-Empowerment Series

Consider this series health self-empowerment. Here are the various topics we’ll discuss, all of which focus on health prevention. Let this be the year you move past sick care and googling.

  • 1/13: The best ways to access health care (hint: it’s not the emergency room)
  • 1/20: Health screening recommendations
  • 1/27: Cost effective self-care
  • 2/3: Stress and mental health management
  • 2/10: Ten Questions to Ask Your Physician
  • 2/17: Think healthy eating first, then diet
  • 2/24: Think activity first, then exercise
  • 3/2: Weight control
  • 3/9: Avoiding accidents
  • 3/16: Avoiding toxins
  • 3/23: Putting it all together

You’ll notice that during this time, we are setting aside conversations about sick care and diseases. You should already know that there are over 2000 blog topics within Straight, No Chaser here at www.jeffreysterlingmd.com. You can find whatever you need in that regard by simply typing it in the search bar in the upper right corner. In the meantime, take control. After all, it is your life.

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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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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Avoiding the Most Frequent Causes of Death

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser is all about avoiding the most frequent causes of death because… life!

avoiding the most frequent causes of death

It is interesting and curious to hear everyone obsess over how esoteric and rare conditions can potentially kill you. Here are some words to the wise: common things happen commonly.  I’m going to make this a very simple post (with links to previous Straight, No Chaser posts covering the individual topics in greater detail). Let’s help you extend your life expectancy by offering very simple tips (three to five for each) key to avoiding the most frequent causes of death. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you follow the achievable steps mentioned, you’ll be much better off than if you don’t.

The Five Most Frequent Causes of Death

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are the five most common causes of death in the United States for the year ending 2016. I’ve also included the number of annual deaths per condition; click on the heading for those blogs.

  • Heart disease: 635,260
  • Cancer: 598,038
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201  (e.g., asthmaCOPDemphysemachronic bronchitis)
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 142,142

Heart disease

Learn early recognition of heart attacks.

 agingheart

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Exercise daily. Walk at least two miles each day. It’s a final common denomination of other problems and is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. You want your LDL (“bad cholesterol” levels) low and your HDL (“good cholesterol” levels) high. If your LDL and/or overall levels are high, it’s an immediate prompt to reduce your belly, change your diet and exercise more.
  • Limit your calories. Never supersize anything. Eat only until you’re full. Learn about healthy plate sizes.

Cancer

Get screened! Early detection is the key to survival.

cancer

  • Don’t use tobacco in any form.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.
  • Become physically active: strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week.
  • Limit sun exposure and avoid tanning. (Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.)
  • Limit alcohol intake to one to two drinks/day (women and men, respectively).

Accidents

Secure your surroundings!

impact of motor vehicle crashes

  • Learn CPR.
  • Wear safety belts (shoulder and lap) every trip. Seat belts reduce auto crashes by approximately 50%.
  • Stop all distracted driving (drinking, cell phone use, eating, etc.).
  • If you’re going to swim, and even if you know how to swim, take a formal lesson that focuses on life-saving maneuvers.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

Asthma and COPD can take your breath away.

COPDer

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Get your home tested for radon.
  • Follow workplace guidelines for workplace exposures to particles known to cause cancer.

Stroke

Learn early detection.

strokerecog

  • Control your blood pressure. This is the most important risk factor in stroke prevention. High blood pressure increases your risk for a stroke four-fold.
  • Control your blood sugar levels. Diabetics have a 1.5 times higher risk of stroke.
  • Control your cholesterol.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for a stroke between 1.5-2.5 times above the risk of non-smokers.
  • Control your weight through diet and exercise, which is bundled in each of the first three considerations.

There is no fountain of youth. Your cure won’t be found in a bottle, a fad or any other quick fix. It really is about diet, exercise and risk management. The choices you make matter. Remember, although these tips were focused on prevention, early detection and treatment at the time of crisis give you the best chance to survive. Learn early detection of heart attacks and strokeslearn CPRget screened for cancer and learn how to survive car crashes. It’s not that hard if you’re actually trying.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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It’s Handwashing Awareness Week – You’re Doing It Wrong!

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser is for National Handwashing Awareness Week and its related activities.

handwashing awareness week

Yes, we need to have this conversation. I see you all day everyday. The simplest of acts – washing your hands – is also one of your most important daily acts. Doing it right helps you avoid all manner of illness. Doing it incorrect creates opportunities for disease to exist at multiple places on and in your body.

Of course the above picture is not an actual photo, but it’s a good depiction of what’s happening. Simply put, most of the day, your hands are pretty disgusting. You handle money that’s been handed hundreds if not thousands of times and never cleaned. You grab handles and door knobs all day long. You’re coughing and sneezing throughout the day, spewing germs into the air to be inhaled by others. And you spend time in the restroom. Your unclean hands contribute to many ailments, including colds, influenza, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) and skin infections.

Are you sickly or do you get colds more frequently than others? Respectfully, a big part of that is because you have habits that put you at risk. Common things happen commonly.

Simple Steps to Lower Your Risk

sneeze_in_arm

  1. Do it right

    Experts recommend washing your hands with soap and clean water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to get a good lather going and clean the back of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails. Dry them using a clean towel. There is a lot of science behind these recommendations, so be sure to follow them each time you wash your hands.

  2. Memorize the five steps

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls hand washing “a do-it-yourself vaccine” and suggests remembering five easy steps: Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry.

  3. Learn the Four Principles of Hand Awareness

    Endorsed by the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians, the four principles are: 1) Wash your hands when they are dirty and before eating; 2) Do not cough into hands; 3) Do not sneeze into hands; and 4) Don’t put your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth.

These important points are simple things you can do to lower your risk for infections. First, you have to stop assuming you know more than you do about basic hygiene and allow yourself to start practicing better habits. For example …

  • When you sneeze, do you sneeze into your hands or into the air around you? Please learn the habit covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough by sneezing/coughing into your elbow and not your hands.
  • How often do you wash your hands? You must wash every time you begin to cook, before you eat, after you use the rest room, before you change a diaper and before you apply any topical medicine.
  • Have you ever noticed how much you keep your hands on parts of you that can become infected by doing so? Keep your hands out of your eyes, mouth and nose, and stop picking at your skin!

handwashing hygiene

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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

25 Tips That WILL Increase Your Life Expectancy

Introduction

life expectancy

Want to increase your life expectancy and live better longer? You may want to keep this post. I haven’t exactly found the Fountain of Youth, but I do know what activities lead to a longer life expectancy. In honor of Thanksgiving, and in the spirit of being thankful for life, here are 25 tips that you can incorporate into your daily life to help you live a younger life every day and a longer life.

Tips 1-5

1. Take a walk. Just give yourself a brisk 30-minute walk three times a week. Effect? Reverse your age by about 10 years.

2. Eat more fish. Doing so one to two times a week can reduce your heart attack risk by approximately one-third.

3. Lift weights. Yes, it gets tougher, but I’m not recommending a Schwarzenegger workout. Lifting reverses muscle and bone loss if you do it twice weekly. For those in their 50s or 60s, it can produce strength scores similar to those in their late 30s.

4. Get a pet. This is a pretty easy way to avoid depression and all that comes with it.

5. Hydrate. Your body is almost 70% water. Not soda, water. Learn to embrace clear fluids. When you’re not going clear, coffee and wine also have significant health benefits.

women increase your life expectancy

Tips 6-10

6. Equip your home. Everyone should have a functioning smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguish, and everyone in your home should know where they are and how to use them.

7. Put a helmet on your head. 1,000 people die every year in the U.S. from motorcycle, bicycle, scooter or skydiving injuries related to not wearing protective helmet.

8. Engage in safe sex. Yes, people are still dying prematurely and living compromised lives because of the failure to wear condoms while others protect themselves.

9. Be optimistic. This keeps the negative effects of the body’s physiologic stress response from harming you.

10. Reduce your red meat intake. Even the daily intake of just one serving of red meat equivalent to the size of your fist decreases life expectancy by approximately 13 percent.

life expectancy

Tips 11-15

11. Spend time with friends. Healthy social networks have been shown to add as much to your life expectancy as healthy endeavors such as lowering high blood pressure and reducing high cholesterol levels.

12. Be generous. Studies consistently show that those who help others report better health than those who don’t. It may just be correlation, but being on the right side of this fence makes the world a better place.

13. Sleep. Seven hours a day gets done what your body needs to function optimally.

14. Discover blueberries. There’s been much talk about “superfoods.” Blueberries meet the criteria. Consuming approximately two cups a day has been shown to prevent chronic diseases, reduce depression and improve memory.

15. Enjoy sex and orgasms. There are a million jokes about the benefits of sex, but legitimate benefits include burning calories, reducing stress, inducing sleep and reducing pain.

life expectancy by race and gender

Tips 16-20

16. Snack on nuts. Healthier nuts include almonds, cashews and pistachios. Eating them five days a week has been shown to add nearly three years to your life expectancy.

17. Get up! Sitting for more than three hours at a time independent of other activities can reduce your life expectancy. Take breaks, stretch and move around.

18. Maintain adequate intake of vitamins. You shouldn’t need supplemental vitamins if your diet is appropriate, buy if it’s not, here are the daily requirements that ensure optimal function. Vit C (1200 mg/day), Vit D (400-600 IU/day), Vit E (400 IU/day), Vit B6 (6 mg/day), calcium (1000-1200 mg/day) and folate (400 mcg/day).

19. Measure your blood pressure. Work to maintain your blood pressure at or below 115/75. This will help you function as much as approximately 25 years younger than someone of a blood pressure at or about 160/90.

20. Brush. Floss. Daily brushing and flossing can improve your functioning by approximately six years.

life expect throughout history

Tips 21-25

21. Wear your seatbelt. The combination of seatbelt wearing and driving within five MPH of the posted speed limit can improve your life expectancy by approximately three and a half years.

22. Eat fiber. The number to know here is 25. If you get 25 grams of daily fiber in your diet, that improves your function by approximately two and a half years over consuming half that amount. Look for high fiber dietary options.

23. Learn to laugh. Laughter actually does have clinical benefits. It strengthens your immune system by decreasing the stress-induced release of certain hormones. Learn to take or tell a joke!

24. Love fruits and vegetables. The more fruits and vegetables you eat compared to red meat, the better your life expectancy becomes.

25. Consume medical care, information and advice. Being proactive about your health increases both your life expectancy and life functioning compared to someone a dozen years younger  who does not. This includes getting recommended screenings and immunizations. Also, have you heard of www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com?

Here’s a bonus tip: Avoid getting hit by that truck.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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

November is COPD Awareness Month

IntroductionCOPDer

November is COPD Awareness Month. Unfortunately, you already know a lot about COPD without realizing it or even having to think about it. You’ve seen patients walking around with the oxygen tanks or tubes in their noses. However, that’s just the extreme. COPD is the third or fourth leading cause of death in the US depending on the source, with millions of individuals diagnosed. You also know COPD and cancers are why your doctors always warn you against smoking in any form. You know smoking is the leading cause of this. This Straight, No Chaser provides a brief overview of COPD and answers some key questions.

What Is COPD?

emphysema
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe and advances in severity over time.
Appreciate that air goes from your mouth or nose through the windpipe (trachea) through several branches of airways, eventually connecting to blood vessels meant to carry oxygen to the organs of your body. These same blood vessels drop off waste gas known as carbon dioxide, which we exhale with each breath out.

Airway Changes Causing COPD

In COPD, less air flows in and out of the airways because of one or more of the following:

  • The airways and air sacs lose their elasticity. Elasticity is the stretchiness your lungs need to fill up with and push out air. In COPD, these sacs act less like a balloon and more like a lead pipe.
  • The airways make more mucus than usual, which clog them and make breathing more difficult. The inflammation caused by smoke and other irritants produce mucus. It’s not a good thing when instead of breathing air, you’re attempting to breathe a smoke-filled swamp of snot-like material.
  • The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed. Over time, inflammation can cause permanent changes in the walls of the airways to compensate for the environment you’ve created.
  • The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed. Ongoing inflammation overwhelms the body’s ability to repair itself, and eventually sheets of tissue in your airways are destroyed beyond repair, providing you with less tissue to exchange oxygen from the lungs to the blood vessels that carry oxygen through the body.

COPD

What causes COPD? 

Cigarette smoking is far and away the leading cause of COPD. Most of those with COPD are current or former smokers. Heredity, childhood respiratory infections, and long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust may contribute to or cause COPD.COPD pix

I’ve been told I have bronchitis. Is that the same thing?

There’s acute bronchitis, and there’s chronic bronchitis. In the US, COPD refers to two separate but similar conditions, emphysema and chronic bronchitis; most with COPD have both conditions. Now if you have acute bronchitis, it means something (like and likely cigarette smoke) is currently inflaming your airways. Over time this can permanently damage the airways and produce an ongoing state of inflammation – chronic bronchitis – with airway wall thickening and increased mucus production within the lungs. Let the smoker beware.

How is this different from emphysema?

In emphysema, the walls between many of the air sacs are damaged, losing their shape and elasticity. This damage also can destroy the walls of the air sacs, leading to fewer, larger and less efficient air sacs instead of many more efficient tiny ones. If this happens, the amount of gas exchange in the lungs is reduced, meaning you’re not getting enough oxygen in you and enough carbon dioxide out of you.

What are some symptoms of COPD?

copd sxCOPD can cause coughing with mucus production, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, decreased ability to exert yourself and walk around. Even more symptoms may develop as a result of inadequate oxygen supply and inadequate carbon dioxide disposal.

How can I know if I have COPD?

One big problem with COPD is many have the disease and don’t know it until it starts becoming quite advanced. It’s safe to assume that if you’re a smoker and have difficulty breathing, you’re experiencing changes to your airways that aren’t in your best interest. You are advised to get evaluated. You are best advised to remove yourself from the source of the inflammation (in other words, stop smoking).

How does COPD affect my life?

For starters, it shortens it. It also markedly increases your cancer risk. At some point all the damage and changes to your lungs is going to cause some abnormality. Given this is the area you use to breathe, deliver oxygen to your organs and eliminate toxins from your body, all manners of things can go wrong, and they often do. COPD is a chronic, progressive disease. You may or may not pick up on the slow creep of diminishing ability to perform routine activities, or maybe you’ll just attribute them to aging (COPD occurs most often in middle-aged to elderly individuals). Once severe enough, COPD may prevent you from doing even basic activities like walking, breathing without difficulty, or taking care of yourself.

What’s the cure for this? 

Here’s the frightening part: we’re talking about irreversible lung tissue change and destruction. Once layers of your airways have been ripped out (figuratively), they aren’t coming back. The damage is done. Prevention is your best defense.
COPD treatment-chart

So how is it treated?

There is no real treatment without removing the trigger feeding the ongoing inflammation. In other words, you’ll have to stop smoking to stop further progression. Additional measures involve support.

  • Supplemental oxygen may be needed to deliver enough oxygen to the tissues as an effort to combat the destruction and inflammation of tissue meant to facilitate oxygen exchange.
  • Medicines to reduce the inflammation and mucus may be prescribed.
  • Medicines to better open the airways past the clogging caused by inflammation and mucus may be prescribed.

Your physician will discuss these and other options. The truth is COPD has no cure. Once you have been diagnosed with COPD, efforts switch to slowing the progression and implementing measures to improve the quality of your life within the parameters defined by the advancement of your disease.

Finally, here is a short video from the National Institutes of Health.

Follow us!

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, 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. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

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