Archive for January, 2013

My Favorite Wellness Quotes

January 19, 2013

My favorite quotes re: health, wellness, aging, and miscellany

Genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. (Anonymous)

Nature, time, and patience are the three great physicians.  (Chinese fortune cookie)

The best disinfectant in the world is fresh air and sunshine.

(Joel Salatin)

You really only have two choices in life—the pain

of discipline or the pain of regret.  And I’d rather have

the pain of discipline than the pain of regret.

(Joseph Plumeri)

Today the most common form of physical abuse is disuse.

(Stephen Seiler)

Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.

(Edward Stanley)

 

The first wealth is health. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings.  Let food be your medicine.  (Hippocrates)

 

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease. (Thomas Edison)

Don’t worry about upgrading your equipment;

 upgrade your body.  (Anonymous cyclist)

No alcohol. No caffeine. Nothing with a face. (I’m eating organic eggs once in a while – they don’t have a face) No gluten. No processed sugar. I’d rather GO HUNGRY than eat crap. I’m super strong, sleep like a baby, have tons of energy and FIRED UP! Why would I ever eat meat, ice cream, cheese, bagels or chocolate again? Radical? Rare? Revolutionary? Maybe. Does the way I feel supersede a few minutes of oral satisfaction? Without a doubt. Will I make healthy adjustments over time?  It’s possible. Workout discipline is step one. This is the final piece to the ultimate health and fitness lifestyle. Food discipline. Eat the healthiest foods you can find – ALL OF THE TIME. Period. Let the naysayers find loopholes and make excuses. If I ever hear one of them bitch and moan that they’re tired, or bloated, or sick, or moody or weak or can’t lose weight, I will have little sympathy. Find a way to control what your mind tells your hand to put in your mouth. It’s about the FOOD. It always has been. It always will be. FOOD POWER!

(Tony Horton)

When you see the Golden Arches, you are probably

on your way to the Pearly Gates.  (Dr. William Castelli)

To continue to treat illnesses while ignoring prevention

is like a plumber mopping up a kitchen floor rather than

turning off the tap in an overflowing sink. (Dr. Denis Burkitt)

Pain is temporary.  It may last a minute, or an hour, or a

day or a year, but eventually it will subside and something

else will take its place.  If I quit, however, it lasts forever.

(Lance Armstrong)

Just as distracted driving causes car accidents,

so distracted eating causes eating accidents.  (Leslie Siegel)

It is the curse of the middle-aged male body simultaneously to shrink and enlarge. Your belly pooches out, ever more parabolic, while your legs dwindle down to mere sticks, two knobby rods with the surface tension of plucked poultry. One day you look down at your half-sphere atop its two spindly rods and realize ‘I’ve turned into a Weber grill’.  (Henry Alford)

Most diets fail because the conscious forces of reason and will are simply not powerful enough to consistently subdue unconscious urges.  (David Brooks)

It does not belong to medicine to produce health,

but only to promote it as much as possible. (Aristotle)

What surprises me most about humanity is man– Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.  (Dalai Lama)

 

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food: www.promiscuouseating.com

Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition

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Coffee: Friend Or Foe?

January 12, 2013

Andrew Siegel, M.D.   Blog #90

 

I have always reasoned that a beverage that can make you more alert and focused and can help obviate fatigue and prevent car accidents is a very good thing—particularly so when it has a great aroma and taste and can warm you up when you’re chilled.  What an enjoyable social drink as well—let’s go out for coffee…no wonder the popularity of such establishments as Starbucks. Rarely a day is started in my home without the coffeemaker brewing robust coffee before the alarm goes off—what a terrific scent to awaken to.

Coffee is similar to tea in that a natural product—the coffee bean—is grown, harvested, roasted, grinded, and then its essence is obtained in liquid form by dripping boiling water through the grind.

Studies have documented a variety of medical benefits associated with coffee intake.  Coffee beans contain anti-oxidants that can help mitigate cellular damage that can cause tissue inflammation, aging, cancer, and even death.  Surprisingly, a typical serving of coffee contains more anti-oxidants than a serving of blueberries or raspberries, with coffee being the major source of anti-oxidants for many Americans!  Coffee consumption lowers the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cirrhosis of the liver.  Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee have been shown to be of equivalent benefit, so the stimulating effect of caffeine does not appear to play a role in the major health attributes of coffee.

Coffee does confer many positive benefits due to its caffeine content.  Clearly, it is quite effective in keeping those of us who are sleep deprived more awake, alert and focused, as well as better able to perform cognitive and motor tasks.  Caffeine has been shown to improve physical performance in endurance sports.  Caffeine reduces our awareness of muscle pain and the perception of how much effort we are expending during exercise.

Caffeine is useful for headaches, because they are often on the basis of dilation of the blood vessels supplying the brain. By constricting blood vessels, caffeine can alleviate headaches.  Several studies have demonstrated that high amounts of caffeine intake reduce the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine use has also been associated with a decreased risk for gallstones.

The problem is that regular caffeine users build up a tolerance to caffeine.  Ultimately, it can get to the point that the positive and stimulating effect of caffeine results from the alleviation of caffeine withdrawal symptoms, including drowsiness, difficulty in concentrating, and headache.

Caffeine has numerous other negative side effects as well. Too much caffeine can promote high blood pressure, a rapid pulse and, on occasion, an abnormal heart rhythm.  It not only may contribute to insomnia, but also promotes a significant disturbance in our sleep cycle. Caffeine can have harmful effects in pregnant women in terms of the potential for issues with miscarriage and fetal growth.

Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and mocha ice cream, chocolate candy and chocolate drinks.  It is present in numerous over-the-counter pills, including both weight loss supplements and headache medications.  For example,

Starbucks Venti has 415 mg of caffeine, Grande 330 mg,

Tall 260 mg; Dunkin’ Donuts medium coffee 178 mg.; Snapple lemon tea (16 ounces) 62 mg; Mountain Dew 54 mg; Diet Coke can 47 mg; 5 hour energy drink 208 mg; a Red Bull 80 mg; and a Hershey’s Kiss has 1 mg.

The effect that caffeine has on a given individual is highly variable.  It truly has a profound stimulant effect on me.  After drinking a mug of strong black coffee in the morning I can literally feel a wave of alertness surging within.  If I am reading, I feel like my eyes sweep over the written words faster and with more comprehension and focus.  Whatever activity I am involved in, it becomes much easier to engage in the task at hand.  The downside to this is that if I ever consume caffeine after 2 PM, I can count on a night of tossing-and-turning insomnia.  It always amazes me how other people can drink coffee after dinner with minimal effects.  I have to resort to decaf.

Bottom Line: Coffee is much more our friend than our foe, as long as we exercise moderation.

Reference: Caffeine!  by David Schardt, Nutrition Action Health Letter, December 2012

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food: www.promiscuouseating.com

Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition

Blog subscription: A new blog is posted every week.   On the lower right margin you can enter your email address to subscribe to the blog and receive notifications of new posts in your inbox.  Please avail yourself of these educational materials and share them with your friends and family.

 

Testicular Torsion

January 5, 2013

Andrew Siegel, M.D.   Blog # 89

 

All organs and tissues need a blood supply to remain alive and vital.  The blood supply to each testicle is located within a rope-like “cord” of tissue that travels from the groin into the scrotum.  Both the testicular artery and the testicular vein are within this spermatic cord that can be considered to be the life support of the testicle. The artery delivers oxygen and other vital nutrients to the testicle; the veins convey carbon dioxide and other products of cellular metabolism from the testicle to the heart.

Anything that can jeopardize the blood supply to the testicles can affect their vitality. Torsion is defined as a twist of the testes and spermatic cord around a vertical axis, resulting in a kink and thus compromise to the blood flow—this can lead to possible strangulation of the blood supply and infarction (death by lack of blood flow) of the testicle. The testicle can spin 360°, 720° or any conceivable amount.  When this occurs, it typically causes an acute onset of pain and swelling in the testicle, and often the pain radiates to the groin and lower abdomen; it can be easily confused with appendicitis when it involves the right testicle.  Although torsion can occur at any age, it is most common among adolescents at the time of or shortly after puberty, typically ages 12-20.

When torsion occurs, the spermatic cord is foreshortened and the testicle tends to rise higher in the scrotum than its normal anatomical location.  On examination, the twisted testicle is usually very tender and swollen.  Torsion is a surgical emergency, because if the testicle is not untwisted on a timely basis, the testicle can die (suffer an infarction).   However, when diagnosed on a timely basis, the testis can be untwisted and surgically fixated to prevent recurrent episodes.   When it comes to torsion, time is of the essence.  It is for this reason that testicular pain needs to be expediently checked out by a medical professional.

Torsion of the testicle can be misdiagnosed as epididymitis, an infection/inflammation of the epididymis which is the sperm storing structure located immediately above and behind the testicle. If the situation is equivocal, a color Doppler ultrasound or testicular scan can be helpful in making the distinction.  If there is any doubt, a trip to the operating room is in order.

At times, the testicle can be untwisted in the office or emergency room and the patient can then be electively brought to the operating room where the testicle is fixated to the scrotal skin to prevent it from re-torting in the future. Typically the other testicle is fixated as well.  The fixation is done by placing three or so sutures in each testicle, thereby anchoring the testicle to the scrotal wall with this three-point fixation technique.

At other times, the testicle cannot be untwisted and the patient must be brought to the operating room in an emergency (as opposed to elective) basis for a scrotal exploration and untwisting of the testicle under direct vision to determine its viability. Typically once it is untwisted, the testicle shows signs of life (turning from a dusky color to pink), but if too much time has transpired, the testis can appear to be black and necrotic (dead) and instead of being fixed to the scrotal skin, it must be surgically removed.   Correction within 6 hours of the onset of pain usually will salvage a testicle.

 

Bottom Line:  Torsion of the testicle is a surgical emergency. If you or someone you know has acute onset of unremitting testicular pain, make sure you/they get to the emergency room ASAP, because time is of the essence with respect to being able to salvage a twisted testicle.

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food: www.promiscuouseating.com

Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition

Blog subscription: A new blog is posted every week.  On the lower right margin of the blog you can enter your email address to subscribe to the blog and receive notifications of new posts in your inbox.  Please avail yourself of these educational materials and share them with your friends and family.