Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

Diet and Exercise May Reduce Risk of Cancer

January 21, 2017

There isn’t a day that goes by that the Internet or the print media isn’t bombarding readers with a new diet that prevents cancer.

Every day, there are headlines that bombard readers with various diets that purportedly prevent cancer: “The Diet That Stops Cancer” and “Eating Your Way Out of Cancer.” But what do the hard data really say about lifestyle choices preventing cancer?  Studies have shown that the combination of healthy eating, not smoking, and regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease by 80 percent and of stroke and some cancers by 70 percent.

Although no diet has received conclusive evidence of presenting cancer, there are lifestyle choices such as exercise that support conclusions that they can serve as deterrent of cancer.  Even the American Cancer society recommends avoid being overweight and includes being physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.  They also suggest eating a mostly plant-based diet; limiting red meats and avoiding processed meats; limiting alcoholic drinks (two glasses of wine a day for men and one glass for women); and to protect against cancer (Table 1). Other recommendations include avoid sugary drinks, limit consumption of processed foods and eat more vegetables, whole grains, and legumes such as beans.  Limit salt intake to 1.5 grams per day and limit consumption of salty foods, chips, pretzles, smoked or cured meats like salami, baloney, and beef jerky.

Other Cancer Prevention Recommendations

To prevent breast cancer, the ACS recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, alcohol intake of one or fewer drinks per day, and maintaining a body mass index (BMI) less than 25 kg/m2. In a study of 2905 women at high-risk for breast cancer, adherence to these three recommendations reduced the risk for breast cancer by 44%.

Perhaps this shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that BMI itself is a risk factor for cancer. Too much body fat triggers insulin resistance, raising levels of insulin and growth factors that promote cancer. Fat also increases estrogen production, which can fuel some cancers, and fat secretes enzymes that promote inflammation.

Numerous medical studies have concluded that avoiding adult weight gain confers protection against certain types of cancer, particularly among nonusers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The study found that for each 5-kg increase in adult weight gain, the relative risk was increased 11% for postmenopausal breast cancer among no or low HRT users; 39% and 9% for postmenopausal endometrial cancer among HRT nonusers and users, respectively; and 13% for postmenopausal ovarian cancer among no or low HRT users. For each 5-kg increase in men, the risk for colon cancer increased by 9%. The relative risk for kidney cancer comparing highest and lowest level of adult weight gain was 1.42.

In addition to lowering the risk of cancer, eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk for all-causes of death and lower risk of dying of cardiovascular causes such as heart disease or stroke.

Bottom line on diet and exercise and cancer prevention:  Weight gain, lack of exercise, and high alcohol intake are the key factors for leading a healthy lifestyle and decreasing the risk of cancer.

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Blood Pressure Up? Lower It Without Medication

September 24, 2015

Millions of Americans have hypertension. Millions are taking medication to lower their blood pressure. Now the new guidelines indicate that blood pressure should be less than 120 systolic or the highest number and less than 80 diastolic or the lowest number. Here are a few ways to lower the blood pressure that do not require medication.

Exercise more

By following current guidelines on exercise—30 minutes a day, most days a week—you can bring down your blood pressure significantly. If you’ve been sedentary, try aerobic exercise to reduce your systolic blood pressure—the top number—by three to five points, and the bottom by two to three,.

People who get moving are often able to reduce the number of hypertension medications they’re on, he adds. Pick something you like—walking, running, swimming, cycling—and stick with it.

Eat bananas

You probably know that eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, but most people aren’t aware of the benefits of potassium, which counters sodium’s ill effects. Most don’t get enough of this mineral.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people with hypertension may especially benefit from upping the amount of potassium in their diet. Adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams a day. A few good sources: bananas (422 milligrams each), a baked potato with skin (738 milligrams), orange juice (496 milligrams per cup), and nonfat or low-fat yogurt (531–579 milligrams per 8 ounces).

Cut salt

People with normal blood pressure, moderately high blood pressure, and full-fledged hypertension can substantially reduce their blood pressure by cutting salt intake. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that people with hypertension limit their intake of salt to less than 1,500 milligrams (600 milligrams of sodium) a day.

We get most of our sodium from processed foods, so stick with whole foods. When you do eat foods with nutrition labels, be sure to check their sodium content.

Don’t smoke

Smokers are at higher risk of hypertension. But even though tobacco and nicotine in cigarettes can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, smoking itself is not thought to cause chronic hypertension.(Instead, factors associated with smoking, like heavy alcohol consumption and lack of exercise, might be responsible.)

Nevertheless, quitting smoking may help you lower your blood pressure a bit, the other health benefits are countless.

Lose weight

Research has consistently shown that dropping just a few pounds can have a substantial impact on your blood pressure. Excess weight makes your heart work harder. This extra strain can lead to hypertension, while losing weight lightens your cardiovascular workload.

If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight may be enough to get your blood pressure under control.

Cut back on alcohol

Even though moderate drinking—no more than one drink a day for women, and two a day for men—has heart-health benefits, drinking too much can elevate blood pressure in some people.

Research has found that consuming more than two drinks a day increases the risk of hypertension for both men and women. If you do drink, enjoy your alcoholic beverage with a meal, which may blunt its effects on blood pressure.

Reduce stress

Managing the stress in your life effectively may help reduce your blood pressure, but there’s not enough research to offer a step-by-step stress-reduction plan for everyone.

There are a number of things that people have developed as practices to induce a state of relaxation and … which one is better, which is the right one, these are questions that remain to be answered in clinical trials. Nevertheless, Burg recommends that people with high blood pressure look into stress management and find an approach they will be able to practice consistently.

Yoga

Yoga is a great de-stressor. A recent study from India recently found that yogic breathing exercises reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension, possibly through their effects on the autonomic nervous system, which governs heart rate, digestion, and other largely unconscious functions.

But people should not think of yoga as providing the same benefit as aerobic exercise. Each potentially produces benefit in different ways.

Skip caffeine

Coffee has some health benefits, but lowering blood pressure isn’t one of them. Caffeine can cause short-term spikes in blood pressure, even in people without hypertension.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to moderate your caffeine intake to about two cups of coffee per day. You can check whether you’re sensitive to caffeine’s blood-pressure-boosting effects by checking your blood pressure before and within a half hour after consuming your caffeinated beverage. If it increases by 5 or 10 points, you could be caffeine sensitive.

Meditate

Meditation—whether it involves chanting, breathing, visualization, or all the above—can be an effective stress-management tool for many people, Burg says. Again, the important thing is that it makes you feel good, and that you can commit to doing it consistently.

Bottom Line: High blood pressure should be controlled in order to avoid heart disease or a stroke. Many people can decrease their dependence on medication if they use a few of these ideas to lower their blood pressure. Of course, if the blood pressure does not decrease, you should speak to your doctor about one of the many blood pressure lowering medications.

To Your Good Health. Give Me a High Fi-Ber!

September 30, 2014

We are trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Doctors advise us to avoid processed food, take vitamins, and to exercise on a regular basis. Part of leading a healthy life style includes including plenty of fiber in our diets. Most men and women consume only 15gms of fiber a day. The daily recommendation for men is 35gms daily of fiber and for women the recommendation is 25gms. You can increase your fiber by 7gms a day by increasing vegetable and fruit consumption by two portions a day.

Good sources of fiber include what, rice, oats, barley and beans. Also fiber can be found in nuts and seeds, carrots, cauliflower, citrus fruits, strawberries and apples.

There’s no shortage of research showing how fiber may boost your health. Some of its top potential benefits include:

  • Blood sugar control: Soluble fiber may help to slow your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control.
  • Heart health: An inverse association has been found between fiber intake and heart attack, and research shows that those eating a high-fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.
  • Stroke: Researchers have found that for every seven-grams more fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent.
  • Weight loss and management: Fiber supplements have been shown to enhance weight loss among obese people,3 likely because fiber increases feelings of fullness.
  • Skin health: Fiber, particularly psyllium husk, may help move yeast and fungus out of your body, preventing them from being excreted through your skin where they could trigger acne or rashes.
  • Diverticulitis: Dietary fiber (especially insoluble) may reduce your risk of diverticulitis – an inflammation of polyps in your intestine – by 40 percent.
  • Hemorrhoids: A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Fiber may provide some relief from IBS.
  • Gallstones and kidney stones: A high-fiber diet may reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones, likely because of its ability to help regulate blood sugar.

Bottom Line: High-fiber foods are good for your health. But adding too much fiber too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Finally, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.

Modified from article by Dr. Maureen Hecker-Rodriguez from Touro Infirmary

Weight Loss Surgery May Help Ease Urinary Incontinence

August 6, 2014

Urinary incontinence is a condition that significantly impacts a woman’s quality of life. Many have tried medical, non-medical, and surgical solutions. However, there is one sure way to improve control of urine loss and that is weight loss. Weight-loss surgery appears to have an additional side benefit — it may improve urinary incontinence symptoms in women.

A study found that nearly half of women in a weight-loss surgery program reported having incontinence prior to the procedure. After surgery, most of those women said their urinary symptoms either improved or disappeared.

The women “lost almost 30 percent of their body weight, and about two-thirds who had incontinence at the start were cured at one year with that amount of weight loss. Among those who continued to have incontinence, their incontinence frequency improved.

The women included in the study were severely obese, with a median BMI (body mass index) of 46. (Normal BMI is 25 or less. A women who is 5 feet 4 inches tall who weighs 268 pounds has a BMI of 46.

Health experts refer to obesity and incontinence as the “twin epidemics.” 25 to 50 percent of women have urinary incontinence. Of those, 70 percent are obese or a BMI greater than 25.

There are several types of weight loss surgery — also known as bariatric surgery. Most of the women in the study had procedures known as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or gastric banding.

The improvement in incontinence symptoms continued during the study follow-up.

Both the weight loss and the improvement in incontinence lasted through three years. At year three, [about] 60 percent had remission. Remissions were defined as less than weekly episodes of incontinence. A quarter were completely dry.

The amount of weight loss was the strongest predictor of whether incontinence would improve or go away. Losing more pounds made urinary symptom improvement more likely.

In a previous study, a six-month focused program of weight loss and diet information helped reduce incontinence in obese women better than four weekly education sessions about weight loss and physical activity.

Personally, I have patients who have lost weight and it ended their stress incontinence. Those who lost by nonsurgical means also noticed improvement.

Weight loss improves leakage, probably due to less pressure on the bladder, less weight pressing on the bladder from above and beside. So it stands to reason that bariatric surgery would also benefit the problem of incontinence.

Like all surgeries, bariatric surgeries are not without risk. The procedures are accompanied by possibility of infection, blood clots and heart attacks, among others.
Costs for the surgery range greatly, from about $12,000 to $26,000, but are sometimes covered under insurance policies.

Bottom line: Incontinence affects millions of American women. Many women who are incontinent of urine are also overweight. A weight loss program may result in improvement in urinary incontinence.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/health/topics/HealthDay689981_20140723_Weight_Loss_Surgery_May_Help_Ease_Urinary_Incontinence.html#aKqadsre5sGCHck4.99

Healthy Living-Healthy Sex Life: 5 Action Steps To Improve Your Sex Life

July 7, 2014

Millions of American men after age 50 suffer from ED or erectile dysfunction. Many of these men are prescribe drugs such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis which are often successful. However, men can take a non-medical approach to solving ED. This article will discuss five action steps that any man with ED can take to reduce the risk and even treat his problem of ED.

There are five action stseps that can help men with ED. These are proper weight management, adequate sleep, a structured exercise program, limited alcoholic intake and a proper, balanced diet.
Sometimes men need to make changes in their lifestyles. Sexual dysfunction in men is often caused by something that is also life threatening, such as cardiovascular problems. Men who take these lifestyle action steps are often able to go off of medication including increase their sexual performance.

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Men who are obese have much lower testosterone levels, which plays a major part in sexual function. I suggest that overweight men lose the pounds by changing their diet and increasing physical activity, which helps in improving erectile problems.

ADEQUATE SLEEP
Men who snore should be evaluated for sleep apnea. This is because sleep apnea will interrupt a man’s sleep cycle, affecting the normal cycles of erections that happen during the night. I also recommend that men get adequate sleep, as sleep deprivation can affect a man’s sex drive. A good sign of a good night’s sleep is a man’s early morning erecttion. If that involuntary morning erection is missing, then men are advised to improve their sleep habit.

REGULAR EXERCISE
Without question, a man in good physical health will have a much better sex life. The fitter you are, the better your sex life will be. A structured exercise program is not only a great way to lose weight and decrease obesity, but it also helps a man to feel better about himself and boost his confidence. Regular exercise also boosts his testosterone, which will rev up his desire.

BALANCED DIET
Lowering cholesterol can help increase a man’s testosterone levels, so diet is crucial when it comes to sexual function. Plus, high sugar levels in men with diabetes can affect the function of the nerves in his penis. Men are advised to change their diet to a more nutritionally balanced one, which will lead to an overall better health, aid in weight management and sugar control, which will get the nerves in the penis going again.

LIMITED ALCOHOL
Surprisingly, a little alcohol can actually help men with ED. One to two drinks a day decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems – a major cause of erectile dysfunction. But don’t go overboard, this can lead to the reverse effect. Moderation is the key here. Animal studies have shown that high volumes of alcohol cause the penis to contract, which is the opposite of what should be going on during sexual arousal.
Alcohol is a suppressant, and the suppression of the central nervous system will cause a decrease in sensitivity to sexual stimulation.

Bottom Line: ED is a common condition that can significantly impact a man’s quality of life. Although medications are helpful, men can take alternative non-medical solutions to get his ED back on track. Not only are these suggestions helpful for controlling ED, they lead to overall health improvement in so many other areas of a man’s life.

Penis Size-Facts, Fiction, and What You Can Do To Get a Bigger Penis

November 5, 2013

“It’s not the size that counts, it’s how you use it.”
– Anonymous

As a urologist I am asked every day “Is my penis normal? What can I do to make it larger?” One of the most widely searched topics on AskMen.com, penis size has remained an enduring interest to men for decades and is understandably a source of much anxiety. However, while size does matter, it really does not matter as much as most men think. The issue here is one of perception: Men perceive it as the defining element of their masculinity, while women often evaluate the whole package: looks, style, intelligence, personality, behavior, and even a man’s sense of humor.

Regardless of whose perceptions are misplaced, penis size will forever persist as a primary concern for men worldwide, which is why AM has explored the topic so deeply. Look no further, as all you need to know is here, standing at the ready.

Penis Size Fact
When surveyed, women consistently claimed that girth was more important than length. This surprising response is seemingly odd as there appears to be no physiological basis for such claims, although more girth may provide more clitoral stimulation.

In fact, plenty of well-endowed men are ashamed of their penises, while lots of men with smaller penises strut their stuff with confidence, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Men worry far more than women about penis size, according to Veale and his colleagues. One study, published in April in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that women preferred larger penises only up to a point anything bigger than a flaccid length of 2.99 inches did not additionally impress women.

So what is average? A recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study found that the average American man’s penis measures 5.6 inches long when erect.

Now let me leave you with a guaranteed method to make your penis 1-1.5 inches longer. Let me ask you if I could offer you a pill that would lower your blood pressure, decrease your risk of diabetes, lower your cholesterol level, decrease your risk of prostate cancer and colon cancer, improve your mood and libido or sex drive, help you lose weight, it’s very inexpensive and, yes, it will make your penis longer, would you take the pill? Every man answers, “Yes, of course. Where do I get those pills? I then smile at the man and say, “I’m sorry, it’s not a pill, it’s exercise!” Why is this the case? When you exercise, lose weight and lose the girth of your abdomen, your penis will appear longer. If you don’t believe me, try it. Lose 25 pounds and see for yourself. You’ll also be able to see your toes or shoes, too!

Bottom Line: It’s true, use it or lose it. It’s a good idea to have regular sex and to not be preoccupied with the length of your Johnson!

Dubai On Dieting-Gold For Gut Loss

July 30, 2013

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There are so many fad diets on the market but this idea is certainly unique and one of a kind.
Dubai’s government will pay residents in gold for losing those extra pounds as part of a government campaign to fight growing obesity in the Gulf Arab emirate.

For every kilogram dropped by Aug. 16, contestants who register from Friday can walk away with a gram of gold, currently worth about $42 US.

Health officials in Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, and in neighboring Gulf nations are spending millions to control obesity among their citizens.

Bottom Line: There’s a law of thermodynamics that you have to consume less or burn more calories by exercise to lose weight. There really is no other way to lose those extra pounds. Maybe adding a little gold to equation might just be the magic elixir to inspire the overweight citizens of the UAE to take off a few kilos.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/07/19/dubai-weight-loss-gold.html

The Skinny On Water-A Convenient Diet Aid

June 16, 2013

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Would you believe that drinking plain water, good ol’ H-2-O can produce a significant weight loss?  It’s as easy as drinking two glasses of water before each meal.  If you drink two glasses of water, it is likely that you will consume 75 less calories at each meal compared to those who do not drink water. 

How does it work?

Water fills the stomach before you start the meal and gives you a feeling of satiety even before you start consuming any food. 

Water also boosts metabolism because your body has to work to bring the ingested liquid to your core temperature.  Those who drink 8-12 glasses of water a day had a higher metabolic rate than those who just drank four glasses a day. 

Bottom Line:  Water is a calorie free appetizer.  It’s also free and it does work and you can expect to lose an additional 6.6 pounds a year.  So drink up…..water that is!

Medical Testing At Age 50-This Is Test You Can’t Afford to Fail

January 20, 2013

Most men and women do not need the services of the medical profession between the time they leave their pediatricians around age 18-20 until age 50. The exception is women who see their obstetrician for perinatal care and deliverying their children. Around age 50 you should start making regular visists to your doctor. This article will discuss the routine tests that you should consider when you reach middle age.

When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. (Note that your doctor may recommend additional tests based on your personal health profile.)

Thyroid hormone test. Your thyroid, that innocuous looking gland in your neck, is the body’s powerhouse, producing hormones needed for metabolism. Aging (and an erratic immune system) can wreak havoc causing a variety of problems, especially in women. That’s why women should get a thyroid test at age 50 and then every 5 years.
The rectal exam. Dread it; hate it; joke with your friends about it: Just make sure you get one — every year. Along with other tests your doctor may recommend, it may give clues to treatable problems in your colon (think colon cancer) or prostate for men. Screening colonoscopy is recommended for everyone at 50 years old.
Stepping on the scales. This is the age when most people start gaining weight. Watch this weight gain carefully, and fight back with healthier eating and exercise. Being overweight puts you at high risk for developing a number of diseases — and studies show that weight loss can improve your odds.
Blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure is an equal opportunity killer: It kills your heart, your brain, your eyes, and your kidneys. Don’t let hypertension sneak up on you. Get the test. It’s simple; it’s cheap; and it’s quick.
Cholesterol profile. Do you have high cholesterol? Find out — at least once every 5 years (more if you’re at risk for a heart attack). Controlling your cholesterol can add years to your life.
Blood sugar. Untreated diabetes can destroy your health, causing heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness. Don’t let it. Get a fasting blood sugar test at least once every 3 years and take control of diabetes early.
For women only: Pelvic exam and Pap smear. You may think you have suffered enough — at least 20 years of pelvic exams and Paps! But you still need these — especially if you’re sexually active. Ten minutes of mild discomfort once every 1 to 3 years pays big dividends in protecting you from cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.
For women only: Breast exam and mammogram. At this age, don’t ever let a year go by without getting a mammogram and having your doctor examine your breasts for any changes. Early detection of breast cancer can save your breast and your life.
Looking for moles: Love your skin. Check your skin monthly for any unusual spots or moles. Be sure to ask your doctor to check your skin once a year, as well.
Protecting your eyes. Vision-robbing diseases become more common as you age. Be sure to get your eyes examined regularly — every 2 years until age 60 and then yearly after that. Go more often if you have vision problems or risk factors for eye problems.
Checking your immunizations. People over age 50 should get a flu shot every year. And don’t forget, even healthy people need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years, and one of those should contain the pertussis vaccine for whooping cough. Be sure to ask your doctor to update any immunizations that you might need. Consider Hepatitis A and B vaccines if you haven’t already had them.

Use your birthday as a gentle reminder to schedule a visit to your dentist, and call your doctor to see if there are important tests you should take. By investing an hour or two now, you may be able to add years to your life.

Bottom Line: When you go for your annual physical, make sure your doctor performs or recommends these simple tests that may save your health — and your life — later. Remember of you don’t take time for your health, you won’t have time to enjoy life in your senior years.

For more information on women’s health, I suggest my new book, What’s Going On Down There-Everything You Need To KnowAbout Your Pelvic Health. the book is available from Amazon.com

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Move Over Viagra-Weight Loss May Be An Alternative To Medication For Treating ED

December 26, 2012

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function

Losing Weight Will Improve Sexual Function


Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence is a common problem that affects nearly 30 million American men. ED is often associated with diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and obesity. A new study shows that shedding as little as 5 percent of body weight helped obese diabetic men reverse erectile dysfunction.

31 obese men with type 2 diabetes were placed on a low calorie diet. The researchers found that modest weight loss rapidly reversed sexual and urinary problems that plague men with diabetes. And the effects lasted for as long as a year.

Previous research had shown losing larger amounts of body weight through surgery, like 30 percent, would improve sexual symptoms in overweight men.

Bottom Line: Most men know that carrying extra weight can have an impact on more than just a man’s quality of life. Losing weight can reduce blood pressure, brings the blood glucose and cholesterol levels under control. If those aren’t reason enough to lose weight, think about your erections which may become stronger and last longer.