Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Staying Healthy During Tough Economic Times

Many of us are feeling the economic crunch these days. Money is tight and the bills continue to arrive in our mailboxes. Stressful times such as these demand resiliency on our part, particularly in terms of our exercise and diet habits. Interestingly, a mentally stressed state can promote inflammation throughout the body. Avoiding mental stressors is not likely to be easy during these times, so we must consider the importance of avoiding inflammation caused by other factors, such as poor diet and lack of exercise.

When you hear the word inflammation, you probably think first about swelling, redness, pain, etc., that can occur following an acute injury, irritation or infection. In general, this is short-term, localized inflammation (confined to a certain area of the body). But inflammation can also occur without physical injury. This is general, body-wide (systemic) inflammation, and it can cause subtle biochemical injuries to body tissues, increasing the risk of developing a number of serious diseases over time.

Lean meat, fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables and nuts form the foundation of a diet that limits a postprandial inflammatory response. This is referred to as an "anti-inflammatory diet." Not surprisingly, this diet is recommended to help prevent the above-mentioned pro-inflammatory diseases, the treatment of which represents a massive drain on financial resources, both personally and for businesses. A common argument is, "I can't afford to eat lots of fruits and vegetables," or "Healthy foods are expensive." Let's do a quick comparison. A cup of coffee and a doughnut can cost up to $5. A 20 oz. bottle of soda costs more than $1. In contrast, a 5-pound bag of frozen carrots, broccoli and cauliflower costs $5 at Sam's Club, and a 1-pound container of pre-washed organic salad greens costs about $4. Both of those items can be consumed over several days by several people.

A large sweet potato that can be split between two meals costs about 75 cents. While certain nuts are very expensive (macadamias, for example), many are very reasonable. Lean meats, fish and chicken are reasonably priced and can be added to the vegetables and sweet potatoes. Fresh fruit remains very reasonable and should be one of the snacks of choice. Dark chocolate is inexpensive and can be mixed with raw nuts and raisins for a great snack or dessert.

It is not more expensive to eat healthy, anti-inflammatory foods, if one shops wisely. Certainly, preventing the expression of chronic disease will save countless dollars and heartaches associated with the accelerated morbidity and mortality associated with pro-inflammatory living. In short, we cannot afford to eat any other way but anti-inflammatory. Paying for expensive medical care will put most of us into debt even when economic times are good. So it makes no sense to pursue disease and expensive medical care with a pro-inflammatory lifestyle when economic times are not so good.

Talk to your doctor for more information or if you life in Las Vegas, please feel to stop by my office for a consultation.

Be Well,
Dr. Jon Wise

5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118

Friday, June 19, 2009

Seven Medical Myths

An interesting article appeared in the December 22, 2007 issue of the British Medical Journal. In that article, the authors, Rachel C Vreeman, fellow in children's health services research of the Indiana University School of Medicine, and Aaron E Carroll, assistant professor of pediatrics Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, tackled the seven most common medical myths.

The authors researched each of these common myths and reported on them in the BMJ article.

The synopsis of their findings is listed below.

1) People should drink at least eight glasses of water a day

The researchers noted that the 8 glass number is seen in many places in the popular press. However, they found that this number actually came from recommendations first put forth in 1945. In those original recommendations it was suggested that adults should have 1 milliliter of water for each calorie of food, which equates to about 2.5 liters daily or about 8 glasses of water. However, the researchers note that one important sentence in the original recommendations is commonly overlooked. That sentence reads. "Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods." With this discovery and other information they uncovered the article notes, "studies suggest that adequate fluid intake is usually met through typical daily consumption of juice, milk, and even caffeinated drinks."

2) We use only 10% of our brains

The authors found that this myth goes back as far as 1907. This myth probably had more to do with the desire for self improvement than the actual amount of the brain being used. The authors note that this myth is totally false and there are no unused or dormant parts of the brain.

3) Hair and fingernails continue to grow after deathAgain this is untrue.

The authors note that dehydration of the body after death may lead to skin retraction which may make the hair and fingernails appear to be more pronounced and therefore look like they have grown.

4) Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser

The authors state that this myth continues to be carried by popular media. However, they note that this myth has been scientifically disproved in multiple studies dating back as far as 1928. They clearly state, "recent studies confirm that shaving does not affect the thickness or rate of hair regrowth."

5) Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight

The authors note that reading in dim light can create eye strain and decreases the rate of blinking which can lead to discomfort. However, they note that none of these symptoms persist. After consulting many experts, the authors conclude, "reading in low light does not hurt your eyes."

6) Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy

The authors note that this myth is based on the fact that turkey contains tryptophan, which does contribute to sleepiness. However, they note that turkey contains no more tryptophan than chicken or ground beef. They explain that the sleepiness is more likely related to the volume of food consumed when turkey is eaten as a holiday meal.

7) Mobile phones create considerable electromagnetic interference in hospitals

This may be the only myth that could be true. Although the researchers could find no scientific evidence to support this myth, there have been a few reported cases of equipment malfunction in hospitals that could be attributed to cell phones. As a result, and probably precautionary, many hospital have banned cell phones in critical areas.

The Well-Adjusted Spine!!!

How many visits does it take to have a well-adjusted spine? It depends on your definition of well-adjusted.

For many patients who experience complete pain relief after their first adjustment, the answer might be one. But if you understand you can have a problem even without pain, you'll see that it takes a lifetime of minor tune-up visits to be at your best. These minor tune-ups also prevent many of the problems that can show up in your 40s and 50s. It's important to look at the big picture to understand what is going to take place during your lifetime. This can help you see how chiropractic can work to preserve many of your body's functions and prevent degeneration of your spine.

Childhood and the Teen Years: In your first two decades of life, you will have indirect and direct stresses. Indirect stress is poor posture and direct stresses are sprains and strains from sports activities or other childhood traumas. These stresses, if left untreated, can lead to degeneration and other problems - such as arthritis - down the road.

Your 20s and 30s: This period of time is when your chiropractor can start to see the early stages of degeneration and arthritis that actually had its beginning in your childhood and teens. You may begin to experience diminished flexibility and joint aches and pains. Athletic performance typically begins to decline. The early signs of joint degeneration begin to appear on X-ray. These are all signs of long-standing physical decline, yet you still don't have pain most of the time.

Your 40s and 50s: This is the time frame during which we start to see the effects of arthritis. Generally this is when your activities start to become limited because of reduced muscle flexibility and joint pain. Chronic pain is commonplace and destruction of cartilage in the knees and hips often results in joint replacement surgery.

How to Prevent or Slow the Damage:

Using a combination of proper diet, exercise, regular chiropractic adjustments and custom orthotics if necessary, you can have an active role in preventing damage (or slowing down the wear-and-tear process). Your chiropractor or nutritionist can suggest what you should be eating, but it's up to you to actually follow this plan and choose a healthy lifestyle.

The five keys known to contribute to longevity are:

1. Don't smoke.
2. Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
3. Drink plenty of water.
4. Drink alcohol in moderation.
5. Get regular exercise.

Getting exercise on a regular basis goes hand-in-hand with proper nutrition in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Here are some easy tips to get you started:Start slow, gradually increasing the intensity of your workout. Always warm-up and cool down when working out. Drink plenty of water (8 ounces before you work out, 8 ounces while you work out and another 8 ounces after).

Listen to your body - stop exercising if you experience pain or dizziness. Wear proper-fitting, supportive athletic shoes. Being evaluated by your chiropractor even when you are pain-free can have a very valuable payoff in the later years. Healthy joints, muscle flexibility and a healthy nervous system will allow you to continue to exercise and be active, which we all know contributes to overall health. The key to a well-adjusted spine is starting early and continuing to keep your body in balance. This is a lifetime's approach to overall wellness and health.

Thanks for Reading
Dr. Jon Wise

Wise Chiropractic
5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118