Thursday, December 29, 2011

Save the Date...January 26th, 2012

Ever wonder what you should eat?  Ever wonder if you get enough protein?  What are the different kinds of protein?  Ever wonder what foods are carbs and if you are getting too much?  If so this program is Free and is made just for YOU!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Are You Too Sweet For Your Own Health?

I recently did a Webinar on Nutrition and how to prevent Type II Diabetes or better manage Type II Diabetes.  If you are interested in some practical daily tips on how to eat better, prevent diabetes, or better control your diabetes click here to see the Webinar.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

How to Make this Halloween Healthy

While sharing an experience with your kids, walking around outside and bonding with your neighbors are great things to come from Halloween, the copious amounts of candy and other unhealthy snacks give me mixed emotions about Halloween. However, there are tips I regularly tell my patients about how they may make it a healthy one.

11 Tips for a Healthy Halloween:
  1. Do not buy Halloween candy in advance. The day before at the earliest to avoid temptation of eating the candy and having to buy more before Halloween comes.
  2. Increase exercise the week of Halloween. Make sure you are getting plenty of lean proteins and fruits and vegetables too.
  3. Fill up your kids with a healthy snack before trick-or-treating to help prevent them from gorging throughout the Halloween festivities.
  4. Make sure the kids and parents walk when they go trick or treating vs. driving them around or using golf cart, etc.
  5. Darker chocolate options for candy is better – more antioxidants.
  6. Make sure to have a full dinner before going trick or treating.
  7. Allow only a few pieces of Halloween candy to be consumed that day. Do not allow the kids to stash the candy in their rooms.
  8. Get involved with a pumpkin carving party or go for an outing at a pumpkin maze. It’s healthy Halloween fun for adults and kids alike.
  9. Host a Halloween party. In supplement to or in lieu of trick-or-treating, try hosting a party where you control what foods are consumed. Include such healthy snacks as vegetables and dip, apples and peanut butter or even whole grain bread and lean meats for sandwiches. Not only is it a healthier option, but good way to bond with your neighbors and other parents.
  10. As the night is coming to an end, watch a Halloween movie with your kids instead of allowing them to acclimate with their new found goodies which could lead to unhealthy blood sugar levels.
  11. Donate the candy the next day to a local charity or church. If you have to dump it, dump it, and don’t feel guilty – after all it’s your family’s health we are talking about.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Heart Failure Hospitalizations Decline – First Ever Documented Decline

Heart Failure is when the heart is unable to pump blood out of the heart efficiently and then fluid backs up into the heart and lungs.  Heart failure occurs from damage to the heart.   Two of the biggest contributors to heart failure are heart attack and high blood pressure.  If a heart pumps against increased pressure for a long period of time the wall of the heart thickens and the heart swells causing an enlarged heart.  Many people do not want to treat their high blood pressure because they don’t feel any different with high blood pressure and would prefer not to be on prescription medications.  Usually what would take 1 or 2 medications to control blood pressure could lead to having to take 5 medications or more to control heart failure later.

The decline in heart failure hospitalizations was reported in the October 19th issue of the Journal of the American MedicalAssociation.   Heart Failure hospitalizations dropped 29.5% nationally over the past decade.  This occurred from 1998 to 2008 as documented through fee for service Medicare claims analysis done by Dr. Jersey Chen and colleagues of Yale University.  This is the first ever documented decline in heart failure hospitalizations in the United States and is reported to have saved $4.1 billion in Medicare costs since 1998.

Reasons given for the decline are better control of risk factors, particularly modest improvements in blood pressure control, better evidence based therapies for heart failure treatment and shift towards better outpatient management.  There is still a lot of work to do to further lower not only heart failure hospitalizations; but, also to lower heart failure incidences. 
Do you know your risk factors for heart failure?  Do you know your blood pressure numbers?  Be an active participant in your health…know your numbers and prevent heart disease in your life.  Click here for simple lifestyle modificationsto help lower blood pressure.  If you have high blood pressure; see your health care provider for optimal recommendations for treatment.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What Choices Are There When Patients Can’t Take Prescription Medications to Lower Their Cholesterol?

Some of the patients we see in the Cardio Wellness Center prefer not to take prescription medications or are unable to take some of the prescription medications we use to lower cholesterol due to side effects.  Fortunately, I have been able to rely on quality over the counter supplements to help my patients get to their cholesterol goals.  Two of the over the counter supplements I use often are CardioTabs high dose quality fish oil for triglyceride lowering  and CardioTabs Red Yeast Rice for  LDL and triglyceride lowering. 

Recently we did an open label study on 8 patients who took CardioTabs Red Yeast Rice 2 capsules twice daily with food and 1 teaspoon of CardioTabs liquid fish oil daily.  After just  6 weeks of taking these supplements we saw significant changes in their cholesterol profiles.    The average changes were as follows:
Total Cholesterol  Reduction:  22 %
LDL Reduction:       28% 
Triglycerides Reduction:  22%
HDL (Good Cholesterol)  Raising     15%
Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio Reduction:  27%

 These results are similar to what we have seen with some cholesterol lowering prescription medications.  The patients in the study were amazed at the results they achieved with these over the counter supplements. This is an excellent non prescription regimen that is both safe and effective for patients who need support for achieving optimal cholesterol levels.  

*Please note  Red Yeast Rice should not be taken with statin medications.  If you are interested in changing your current regimen or need advice on how to better control your cholesterol profile please consult with your health care provider. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Clutter = Energy Drain

I remember a few years back attending a conference where one of the presenters spoke on “clutter”.  The more clutter in one’s life  would lead to decreased energy.  Not only does it decrease energy but it is also a distraction; thus, making it hard to complete the tasks at hand.  Clutter leads to losing items and wasted time trying to find them (if you can).  It clouds your natural energy field, can effect your work performance, your health and ultimately your life.
Since that presentation I have tried to make a mental note of what is “cluttering” my life.  I remember coming home from the presentation and I decide to take on the kitchen closet.   This is where we kept the trash, recycle bins, trash bags, phone books, and all the dog stuff.   It was easy since the trash was close.  I pitched everything that we hadn’t used in the prior 6 months.  I added another shelf for neatness – so we can see what we have.  Just by doing that small area-it made a big difference in energy.  When we would go to give our dog a treat or take out the trash it was an up lifter instead of a downer. 
Do You Have Clutter In Your Life?  Don’t know where to start?  Here are a few tips:
·         Work on one room at a time.  Pick the room you spend the most time in for starters.  Pitch items you haven’t used in the last 6 month.  If you can’t pitch them-donate them
·         Give yourself a full day or a full week per room/area if needed (remember you didn’t collect all this clutter overnight)
·         Set a time limit for cleaning each day…1 to 3 hours so you don’t get overwhelmed
·         Once you have decided to pitch or donate your items- put them in the trash or in your car to take to the donation destination.  Do NOT  “store” them in another location in your home.
·         Do a little each day- for some of you it may have taken years to accumulate all your clutter
We recently put new carpet in our home.  I remember thinking I’d rather move than ever install new carpet again -as everything that touches the floor has to come up.  That means everything in your closets that are on the floor has to be moved.  Books and papers in bookshelves have to come out so they can be moved.  It was a lot of work-but now all our closets are cleaned, book shelves are de-cluttered and the energy in our home is boosted. 
Make a commitment today to work on de-cluttering you life and adding energy back into your life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weight Loss Competition Winners

Congratulations to the Winners of our Weight Loss Competition!

                                    Prize Money                 Name              Percentage Weight Lost
1st place                      $2,239.59                    Deborah                          16.25%
2nd place                        $447.92                    Dana                                15.14%
3rd place                        $298.61                    Meghann                          14.32%

1st place                        $415.41                    Jason                                 16.79%
2nd place                         $83.08                    Ben                                   13.42%
3rd place                         $55.39                    Jim                                     12.28%

There were 147 weight loss contestants who used the motivation of the competition to reach personal  milestones and goals.  We will continue to hold this competition annually each February thru May as we see the difference it makes in lives.  Keep persuing your goals and congratulations to all who participated.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How Is the Work Force Wellness Index Holding Up?

Thomson Reuters Workforce Wellness Index measures the cost of 6 modifiable risk factors in employed, privately insured populations.  The 6 risk factors include:  Body Mass Index (BMI), Total Cholesterol, Blood Sugar, Blood Pressure, Tobacco Use, and Alcohol Use.

The U.S. Workforce Wellness Index is on a declining trend.  The ideal state where no behavioral risk factors are present would be reported as a Wellness Index of 100.  The U.S. Wellness Index from 2005 to 2009 has declined from 86.4 to 84.4. 

Thomson Reuters research demonstrates around 14% of increased health care expenditures in the employed, privately insured workforce is related to the 6 modifiable risk factors above.   Thomson Reuters data suggests in the third quarter of 2010 these risk factors accounted for about $670 per employee  of the rising healthcare costs annually. 

More specifically, employees with a high Body Mass Index accounted for approximately  $400 of the increased healthcare expenditures per employee annually in 2009.  High blood sugar level came in as the next most significant risk factor in increasing health care costs.  Each of which can be changed given the right wellness plan and the right motivation.

Want to decrease costs in the work place?  Enroll your employees in a Wellness Program that will assist your employees in optimizing their health and taking charge of their life.  Here's a  Wellness Program that addresses each of these risk factors and offers individulized health care assessments and plans:    The Cardio Wellness center will also provide educational presentations to your employees. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Want to Reduce Your Risk Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes?

I see a lot of patients with pre-diabetes (fasting blood sugars 100-125) and with Type 2 Diabetes (2 fasting blood sugars of 126 or greater).  For the most part, patients can prevent Type 2 Diabetes through diet and lifestyle.  That is often why I tell my patients they are sitting in a good seat...this is something they can prevent.

In October 2010 Dr. Salas-Salvado and colleagues published a study on how the Mediterranean diet reduced development of Type 2 Diabetes by 52%.  There was no change in physical activity or weight.  Just a change in diet.  The study reported by utilizing the Mediterranean diet, development of Type 2 Diabetes was cut in half (52%).  The principle components of the Mediterranean diet utilized in the study:
  • Increased use of olive oil for cooking and dressing (participants were given free allotment of 1 liter virgin olive oil per week and 30 g of mixed nuts per day)
  • Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • Increased consumption of legumes and fish
  • Decreased consumption of meat (recommending white instead of red meat)
  • Avoidance of fast food, sweets, pastries (simple sugars)
  • In alcohol drinkers, moderate consumption of red wine
So, if you are pre-diabetic or have Type 2 Diabetes, change up your diet to optimize your health.  Type 2 Diabetes in many cases can be prevented.

Salas-Salvado, Jori, MD and Colleagues. Reduction on the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with the Mediterranean Diet. Oct. 7, 2010 Diabetes Care.

Alcohol: Slippery Slope

I am in New Orleans presenting at the Nurse Practitioner Associates of Continuing Education (NPACE) seminar. This morning at 0830, I walked down the stairs from my hotel room to the front lobby...looking for some oatmeal, nuts and fruit.  When I got to the lobby, there was a man sitting on the sofa drinking from an oversized bottle of Blue Moon and his buddy, holding a big jug of whiskey and taking sips. Both participating in a conversation that made no sense to the sober passerby and both leaning on their free hand to keep their heads propped up for the conversation.  The front desk employee saw me take a triple look smiled and said, "Welcome to New Orleans - what can I do for you?"  

So, as I sat down to eat my healthy breakfast I couldn't help but think about those 2 guys in the lobby.  Obviously, this isn't the time or place to inform them of the effects of alcohol; but, alcohol is the source of much individual and societal suffering and morbidity.  In fact, alcohol abuse is the 3rd largest preventable cause of Death.  There are health benefits to alcohol as well.  In fact, light to moderate drinking is associated with cardioprotective benefits.  This constitutes 1 drink daily for women and 1-2 drinks daily for men.   (For further clarification:  1 drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces 80 proof spirits, or 1 ounce 100 proof spirits.  All of these contain 13 g- 15 g of ethanol.) 

Many people who are light drinkers believe that occasional "binge drinking" won't hurt their health.  But binge drinking even in light drinkers increases cardiovascular events and mortality(death).  Alcohol is a double edge sword and if you misuse it ... it can lead to much suffering (physical suffering too- heart disease, stroke, hypertension, liver disease, etc).  Because of that, the AHA guidelines caution people not to start drinking if you do not already drink alcohol; because it is not possible to predict who will develop alcohol abuse tendencies.  If you do drink without addiction tendencies 1 drink for ladies and 1-2 drinks daily for men will add some cardioprotection. 

After I finished my breakfast and headed back through the lobby to my room the employee said,  "Be glad you weren't here for Mardi Gras".

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007 Sep 11;50(11):1009-14. Alcohol and cardiovascular health: the razor-sharp double-edged sword.  O'Keefe JH, Bybee KA, Lavie CJ.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

6 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

High blood pressure is the measurement of the force applied to the artery wall as the heart pumps blood through the body. Having high blood pressure can raise your risk of having a heart attack, stroke and for developing heart failure if left untreated.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.
Prehypertension is 120-139/80-89.
Hypertension is greater than 140/90.

Fortunately, high blood pressure is a risk factor that can be managed. Here are 6 simple ways to lower your blood pressure naturally.
  1. Exercise
  2. Decrease sodium in diet
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Weight loss (if needed)
  5. Limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks daily
  6. If you snore - see your health care provider

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stay Focused

We have had several people weigh in this past week for the Month 1 weigh in. Congrats to all of you who are participating both formally and informally. If you have lost a pound or 2- Congrats! It's just been 4 weeks and you are off to a great start and a healthy weight loss. Stay with it! This second month is one of the most important months of the competition. This is where we lose people due to inability to keep their inner drive and mental energy focused on their health and weight loss program. For those of you who have lost 5-10 pounds or more...stay with it and keep your mental energy up. Sometimes when we start out of the gate strong we often lose steam. The key for this month is to stay focused. If you hit a plateau, it will pass....just keep at it.

After all, this isn't just about weight loss-it's about your total health, empowering yourself to live the life you've always wanted. You can start living the life you were meant to live when you decide too. Remember the strongest tool to assist you in your weight loss and optimal health is your Mind. You will lose weight and change your life when you decide to. All weight loss consists of is less calories in and more calories out.

Need a boost? Join us in our 3 Week Health Challenge. Start now and make it your 2 Week Health Challenge. You CAN do this- and when you do, not only will it inspire others; but, it will have a ripple effect on your life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

WOW! Lose Weight AND Win BIG!

For those of you in our Weight Loss Competition (WLC) don't forget the monthly weigh in for March is this week! March 9th, 10th and 11th.

The prize Monies are as follows:

Women's Weight Loss Competition Prize Monies

1st Place - $2,239.59
2nd Place - $447.92
3rd Place - $298.61

Men's Weight Loss Competition Prize Monies

1st Place - $415.41
2nd Place - $83.08
3rd Place - $55.39

Wow! What a way to get healthy AND win BIG. Good Luck to all our participants.

You might want to check out our 3 week Health Challenge that starts today to help Rev up your weight loss!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

3 Week Health Challenge

*For those of you in our Weight Loss Competition (WLC) you'll want to participate after you hear the prize money you can win just for being healthy and losing your weight. We'll announce prize monies on Monday, March 7th, 2011.

Rules of the 3 Week Challenge

Eating Habits

1. No simple carbs or sugars for 3 weeks

2. Each meal will have a lean protein and 2 colors (fruits and/or vegetables)

3. One day per week you can have a higher calorie meal (if you want to)

Exercise Routine

1. Complete 30 min of aerobic (cardio) exercise (or what you can work up to) 4 days per week *Even if you start at 2 minutes twice per day it's better than nothing! Increase each week by 2 minutes. So on week 2 you are completing 4 minutes of cardio twice daily.

2. Complete light weight lifting or toning of the arms 2 days per week

3. Complete 2-3 different abdominal exercises 2 days per week

*Encourage each other by posting progress and stumbling blocks on Fridays!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dramatic Cholesterol Results withOUT Presciption Medications

For the past decade I have recommended CardioTabs supplements because they are pure, high quality AND they work. Many patients and providers ask how much change I expect to see in someone’s cholesterol on these products. Here is just one of many examples.

Erik is a good friend of mine who has a worrisome family history of heart disease. Despite his efforts to follow a healthy diet and a regular exercise program, his cholesterol levels run in dangerous ranges, which puts him at high risk for developing heart disease at a young age, like his father did.

Erik is only 36 years old and he has reservations about getting started on potent prescription cholesterol lowering drugs like Lipitor or simvastatin that are typically taken for the remainder of one’s life. He has no heart plaque at this time. So he decided to give CardioTabs supplements a try instead.

Upon my advice he took:
CardioTabs Red Yeast Rice, 4 capsules daily,
CardioTabs CardioSterol, 4 capsules daily,
CardioTabs Omega 3, Extra-strength, 2 capsules per day.

He measured his fasting lipid profile at baseline, prior to starting the supplements and then rechecked the lipid profile after one month on the CardioTabs regimen outlined above. And here’s what happened to his cholesterol levels:

Total cholesterol: 230 to 150
HDL (good cholesterol): 42 to 49
LDL (bad cholesterol): 138 to 76
Triglycerides: 250 to 125

His bad cholesterol fell by about 45% and his good cholesterol rose by 17%. The CardioTabs regimen of safe and effective over-the-counter supplements cut the ratio of total cholesterol/HDL almost in half from a worrisome 5.5 to a very healthy 3.1. These types of dramatic improvements in his cholesterol profile can be expected to help keep Erik’s heart and blood vessels clean and healthy, and the results rival those that would be expected by the most potent of our prescription drug regimens. And Erik is delighted because he feels good about accomplishing these strikingly beneficial changes without having to resort to expensive and sometimes troublesome prescription drugs.

Please note: You should not take Red Yeast Rice AND a prescription statin (Lipitor, simvastatin, etc) together.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rev Up Your Metabolism: 4 Simple Steps

Start Your Engines
Begin your day with a healthy breakfast. It prevents mindless nibbling and gets your metabolism going for the day. Cooked Oatmeal with nuts and fruit, egg white omelets, or a handful or healthy nuts and fruits and vegetables are all examples of a healthy breakfast.

Increase Your Workout Intensity
For those of you who have been walking the same 2 miles the last 6 months in the same timeframe…change it up! Increase your intensity for 30 seconds to 1 minute intervals and then return to your regular pace. Do this throughout your workout and you will see results. Once or twice a week I recommend increasing your workout intensity. You will be amazed at the changes you will start to see.

Build Muscle
If you do the same activity everyday; how do you expect your body to change? Choose a weight you can lift with good form for 12-15 reps (1 set). Make sure you are pushing yourself some. Lifting weights is just as much mental as it is physical. Slowly work yourself up to 2 to 3 sets at this weight (adding a set every 1 to 2 weeks). When you’ve added sets and can comfortably lift your current weights increase your weight to the point where you can only do 8-10 reps and then repeat the process. Muscles use more energy than fat cells.

Green Tea
New studies suggest, catechins, the active ingredient in green tea may actually boost metabolism and reduce belly fat. These studies were completed in individuals who drink 5- 8 ounce cups of green tea daily.

The only thing standing between the old you and the new you is your Mind. Focus, commit and the changes you will begin to see will have a ripple effect on your entire life. We all have but one life. Let’s make it our best.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Preparing for Weight Loss?

If so, you better bring the right tools!

For those of you in the Weight Loss Competition (WLC) or those of you wanting to lose weight....your strongest tool to assist you in your weight loss is your MIND. Thoughts become behavior. The way you think of yourself turns into your reality. Your self talk can make all the difference. So let's change it up! "I am going to eat healthy today." " I am going to lose weight." "I can do this."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sodas and Orange Juice Lead to Gout?

Twenty-two year prospective study which included 78,906 (gout free) women in the Nurses Health Study found intake of sugar sweetened soda increased risk of gout. Women who consumed 1 serving per day of sweetened soda had a 74% higher risk of developing gout than women who consumed less than one serving a month. Women who had 2 or more servings of sugary soda daily had a 2.4 times higher risk of developing gout.

Think your off the hook if you consume Orange Juice? Think again. The study also revealed that women who had 1 serving of OJ daily had a 41% increase risk of developing gout than women who had less than 6 ounces a month. Women who consumed 2 or more servings of OJ daily had a 2.4 times higher risk of developing gout.

There is no way around it, consuming sugary drinks leads to health issues. Remember yesterday's decisions affect your health today; but, today's decisions affect your health tomorrow.

Clinical Advisor 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tip For Your Health

You should never ignore persistent fatigue or nausea, shortness of breath, jaw, shoulder or arm pain. You should also never ignore any type of pressure especially if it radiates across the chest; these could be symptoms of a heart attack. (Time is muscle...the longer you wait the chances for loss of heart muscle increases.)

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Dietary Guidelines: Get off your SoFAS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released new Dietary Guidelines on January 31, 2011. One of the main themes is to "Get off our SoFAS" (get moving and stay away from Solid Fats and Added Sugars). For Americans, that may change many of our meals. No more morning Lattes (fancy milkshakes) and pastries. No more fast food after a long day at work. It's back to the basics. Lean proteins and fruits and vegetables.
Recommendations Include:

  • Consume more seafood (at least 8 ounces per week)

  • Consume more fruits and vegetables

  • Consume more fiber

  • Lower sodium intake

  • Maintain plenty of potassium and Vitamin D

  • Avoid fast foods

  • Avoid sugary drinks

  • Eat/Drink more nonfat or low fat dairy products

  • Replace high fat meals with lean meats

Lets get moving and get off our SoFAS.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Taking Care of Our Bodies: 5 Simple Actions

Being healthy can be quite simple. Here are the 5 things we need to do everyday to take care of the "homes" we are given to live in. And if we don't take care of the "homes" we are given to live in, Where would we live?

1) Get 6-8 hours of sleep each night

2) Exercise (hunt & gather our food or get in some exercise each day....even a 15 min walk)

3) Have 4 Fruits & all the Veggies you want (at least 4)

4)Have Lean Protein for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

5)Drink water (replenish the fluids you excrete)

If you are hungry make sure you have fed your bodies before you have anything else. The more color in your diet the better.