When loved ones are experiencing long-term health issues, we naturally feel compelled to devote every moment we can to see them through this difficult period. The stress of dealing with their care, however, either in person or long distance, can lead to problems the caregiver doesn’t even recognize.
An alarming new report from the American Heart Association (AHA) released last week found that nearly half of all Americans—nearly 121 million adults—have some form of heart disease, defined as those with coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, or high blood pressure. The new figures partly stem from changes in what constitutes high blood pressure or hypertension. In 2017, the cut-off point for what is considered high blood pressure was revised downward, from 140/90 to 130/80, and only about half of those who are now considered hypertensive have it under control.
Because cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America, a great deal of emphasis is placed on not only maintaining cardiovascular
You’re sitting there watching your son’s basketball game, chatting with friends in the stands, when suddenly you have an overwhelming urge to flee. You don’t know where or why, but you just know you have to leave. Now!
But what does that really mean? Sometimes people use the term to describe gassiness or constipation, thinking “bloated” sounds more polite. But it can be confusing because, in addition to those two causes, there are many other reasons why a person can be experiencing a feeling of fullness or pressure in the abdomen.
Your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, realize that to some people “exercise” is a chore. But study after study demonstrates the health benefits of regular movement, as well as the dangers of little-to-no exercise.
The danger of not exercising
Here’s another study that underscores the dangers of the sedentary lifestyle. Published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), this one found that a lack of regular exercise is as detrimental to health as smoking, diabetes, and heart disease.
“Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told CNN. The senior author of the study, he called the results “extremely surprising.”
“We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this,” he added. “[Being unfit] should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise.”
Researchers investigated 122,007 former patients at Cleveland Clinic who were tested on a treadmill between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2014. They found those with the lowest level of fitness, i.e., a sedentary lifestyle, had a risk of death almost 500 percent higher than those who were the most physically fit.
This is only the latest study to document the danger of the sedentary lifestyle. Here are just a few others:
- A Texas study published in January found that for people over 50, regular exercise reversed the effects of aging, including hardening of the arteries and less efficient heart muscle action.
- Another showed a 40 percent decrease in cancer deaths among those who were more active than their sedentary counterparts.
- In the famous Nurses’ Health Study, those who exercised for a half-hour or more a day halved their risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Another Texas study found that men who were considered physically active lowered their stroke risk by two-thirds.
There are many others, and they all reach similar conclusions: A lifestyle that includes little physical exercise is deadly.
Too late to start?
But what if you’re no longer in the so-called “prime of life”? It’s a little late to bother with exercise, isn’t it? The answer is a resounding no. One study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology tracked the progress of 33,000 Swedish men from 1998 to 2012 who began exercising at an average of age 60. They reduced their risk of heart failure by 21 percent.
The important thing to remember when starting an exercise routine later in life is to start slowly, don’t push yourself, and work your way up to maximum fitness level. You may never compete in the Olympics, but you’ll notice improvements in every area of your life.
Benefits of exercise
Whatever age you begin regular exercise, you’ll begin to notice the positive effects within days. According to the Mayo Clinic, here just 10 of the many benefits of regular aerobic exercise:
- Losing weight and keeping it off
- Increased stamina
- Warding off viral illnesses like colds and flu
- Reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer
- Control of chronic conditions including coronary artery disease
- Strengthening the heart muscle to slow the pulse, pump blood more efficiently, and improve blood flow to the entire body
- Boost the “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins or HDL) while lowering “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDL) helping to reduce plaque buildup in the arteries
- Reducing tension, anxiety, and depression
- Helping maintain mobility and brain function in older age
- Living longer.
We cannot stress this enough: Regular exercise is vital to your overall health and well-being. If you’re tired of feeling tired and dealing with various aches and pains, pick an exercise and go for it. Just be sure to check with us first.
Last year, 80,000 Americans died from complications of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2017-18 flu season death toll was the highest in nearly 40 years, and almost twice as high as what health experts would typically consider a “bad” flu season. It also lasted longer—from November to March—than any recent flu outbreak.
Some four million Americans consume probiotic supplements thinking they’ll improve their health. Claims for these supplements range from improved digestion and intestinal function to better-looking skin to boosting mood and relieving anxiety. With such wide-ranging health claims, it’s no wonder that consumption of probiotics has surged in recent years.
Fried chicken. French fries. Even fried vegetables. If it’s edible, Americans have probably fried it. We then feel guilty, because we’ve been told to avoid fried food at all costs, not only for the weight it can pile on but because it’s unhealthy in so many ways.
There’s something about dropping food into hot oil until it comes out all brown and crispy that makes us gravitate toward this method of cooking. We want to explore this common cooking method, and show you a way to enjoy fried foods without endangering your health.
Why does frying have such a bad reputation?
1. Added calories and fat.
Frying versus baking can sometimes double or even triple the number of calories in foods. A small baked potato contains 93 calories and zero grams of fat. Take that same small potato and turn it into French fries and the same-sized potato will deliver 319 calories and 17 grams of fat.
2. The presence of acrylamide, which is a suspected carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance.
Foods cooked at the high temperatures required for frying causes amino acids to combine with natural sugars present in many foods like potatoes, producing acrylamide as a byproduct.
3. The cooking method.
When oils are heated to the high temperatures required for frying, they become hydrogenated, transforming them into the very unhealthy trans fatty acids. Trans fats are difficult for the body to break down, causing the inflammation which has been linked to heart disease. They lower the so-called “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins—HDL) and raise the “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins—LDL).
4. Salt & Breading
In addition, fried foods are often liberally dusted with salt, which is known to raise blood pressure and increase cardiovascular risk. Can you imagine French fries without salt? Finally, many if not most fried foods are breaded, which soaks up additional cooking oil, making the dish even higher in fat and calories.
What’s the good news?
First, an occasional helping of deep-fried chicken won’t kill you, as long as it’s balanced with a healthy diet the rest of the time. So dig into a heaping pile of French fries or fried fish once every couple of weeks, and have a salad along with them.
Second, there are ways to enjoy the taste of fried foods without all the extra guilt. When frying, skip the trans fats (e.g., lard, butter, coconut oil) and use oils high in the healthier mono- and polyunsaturated fats: canola, olive, and sunflower oils. And don’t crowd food in the pan. Doing so temporarily lowers the temperature of the oil, increasing the required frying time, allowing the food more time to absorb oil. Another trick is to drain the finished food on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
For the taste of fried food with almost no guilt, oven “frying” is the go-to solution. Prepare any food as you would to pan fry, then spritz with olive oil and bake in the oven. You’ll still get the same crispy result without the extra fat calories. And if you can manage to get along without adding salt afterwards, you’ll be even better off. Many herb combinations and salt substitutes are satisfying substitutions that your heart will thank you for.
We don’t want you have a long-but-joyless life, just to make healthier choices most of the time. If you have any questions about these or any other diet issues, please your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida.
Because August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and because kids will soon be heading back to school, your concierge family practice doctors at MD 2.0 in Jupiter, Florida, thought this would be a good time to review the importance of vaccinations and to knock down some myths about them.