Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Weight Loss Blues---Don't Give Up Yet!

 Just when it seems everything is going well, it happens. That dreaded period of dieting sabotage know as hitting a plateau.
 It may seem that you have done all that you can do and giving up is the only plausible solution. Before you take that step, remember it happens to everybody that is actively trying to lose weight. At this time, it is best to reflect on your current diet and exercise plan. It is possible that you only need to tweak it up a little bit. Maybe try to add an extra day or two to your workout. Maybe you are getting a few more calories per day than you originally thought. Keep in mind that you need a 500 calorie deficit each day in order to lose one pound per week.
  A great solution is to try interval training in your cardio workout. With interval training, you start out with low intensity cardio for a few minutes then you switch to high intensity for a few minutes.You alternate between low and high intensity. This goes a long way at speeding up your metabolism. It will assist you in becoming a calorie burning machine!
  A trick that I stumbled upon is the zigzag diet. Different people do it different ways. I personally do 1500 to 1900 calories each day. One day I may do 1500 calories then do 1800 the next day, followed by 1600 and so on. Just don't ever go below 1200 calories per day.
  Also remember that sometimes you are losing inches even if the scale doesn't seem to move. Recording measurements daily will help you keep track of your true fat loss.
  Just remember it is a lot easier to put the weight on than it is to lose it. It does take time. But with patience and discipline, you will soon be back on track and looking like a million bucks.

Heart Disease- Coronary Artery Disease

 Heart disease can affect anyone at any time. There is no set age for it to strike. I was diagnosed with coronary artery disease at the age of thirty two. I was shocked to be facing that diagnoses at such a young age.
 There are different types of heart disease. You can have diseases of the heart's conduction system, the valves,  the arteries, or any other part of the heart. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a very common condition in the older population, but is becoming more prevalent in younger adults also.
 In CAD, the arteries become clogged with plaque which in turn causes narrowing of that portion of the artery. This causes less blood flow to the heart. It is often caused by atherosclerosis( hardening of the arteries).
 Some of the main causes of coronary artery disease are smoking, aging, and high fat/cholesterol diet.
 With lifestyle modifications, such as quitting smoking, lowering the fat and cholesterol in your diet, and regular exercise, many times CAD can be controlled without intervention. If the artery becomes more than 50% blocked, treatment may be necessary. Some treatment options include stent placement, angioplasty(inserting a tiny balloon in the artery), or bypass surgery. Aspirin is also a good treatment option.
 It is important to remember that CAD can cause chest pain called angina. If you have a prescription for nitroglycerine, it should help if it is really just angina. If you have chest pain that does not go away, you must go to the emegency department immediately for evaluation. It could be a matter of life and death.


Some facts about Herpes

 There are many things that people are unaware of about herpes simplex. Working in a gynecology clinic, I had many patients that were affected by the disease. Initially, they were very upset at the diagnosis. When they learned the facts and that good treatments were available, they seemed relieved.
 Herpes can involve the other areas of the body, the mouth, and the genitalia. Herpes Simplex 1 is the type that causes cold sores/ fever blisters. Herpes Simplex 2 affects the areas below the waist, such as the genitalia. Chicken pox and shingles are also types of herpes infections.
 Herpes is very contagious. It can easily be spread through physical skin-to-skin contact, including oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It usually causes very painful blisters, rashes and bumps. Sometimes, the only symptom is a watery discharge. Many patients don't have any symptoms at all, but they are still contagious.
 In recent studies, it has been suggested that 1 in 5 people in America are infected with herpes. As many as 90% of those infected are unaware they have the condition. Anyone that is sexually active can have herpes.
 There are treatments available for herpes. There are medications that can treat outbreaks. Patients can even take medication daily to prevent outbreaks. It does not keep a person from spreading the disease but can prevent the uncomfortable symptoms.
 It is very important to talk to your doctor if you have the symptoms of herpes, or think you may be infected,so you can begin proper treatment. There are many people living with herpes today and leading normal, productive lives. Remember, if you are diagnosed with herpes, you are not alone.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

High Blood Pressure in Young Adults

 Many people don't realize that high blood pressure ( hypertension ) can strike at anytime in someone's life. My husband was diagnosed with hypertension at the age of 23. Most of his family members have had the disease and many of them were diagnosed at a young age also.
 Hypertension can be primary or secondary. With primary hypertension, there are no underlying diseases causing the high blood pressure. Many times, this type runs in families. Secondary hypertension is caused by some other underlying condition, such as kidney disease.
 It is often difficult for a younger person to accept the disease and follow the treatment plan the doctor has prescribed. As in my husband's case, this can be an extremely challenging hurdle. Much explanation is needed for this group of people. The risks of not receiving treatment, as well as treatment options should be discussed.
 There are many different types of medications for hypertension. Also, patients who participate in regular, moderate exercise and follow the proper diet can sometimes avoid having to take medications.
 For my husband, it took him finally realizing the risks, such as stroke and heart attack, to finally make a change. He has been working out regularly and watching his salt intake. He has not had to be on medication for a year now!
 Hypertension can be controlled with the right treatment plan. The key is detecting this "silent killer" in patients who are young or patients without overt symptoms.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some facts about HPV

While working in a gynecology office for many years, I was often confronted with questions about HPV ( Human Papilloma Virus ). With the disease being so prevalent in today's society, it is amazing how little the public really knows about it.
It was once thought that HPV was only transmitted through sexual intercourse. In recent studies, it appears that it may also be passed through any sexual contact.
There are vaccines to protect against certain types of the disease. The problem is that not many patients are asking for it yet.
Through annual pap smears, HPV can be detected. If the disease has caused abnormal cervical cells, there are treatments for them. Many times, a person's own immune system can rid the body of the virus. For some, however, treatment is required.
Many patients are afraid that they have cancer when they are told that they have abnormal cervical cells. I always try to reassure them that most cases of abnormal cervical cells are pre-cancerous and at an early stage. Some of them do have a little more severe dysplasia, which requires more invasive treatment. On some occasions, it can lead to cervical cancer, especially if not treated.
 There are also types of HPV that can cause genital warts ( condyloma ). These can be treated by cryotherapy, chemical products, or any other approved method that the patient and doctor agree on. If left untreated, the condyloma can get worse and eventually lead to vulvar cancer. With treatment, they usual go away in time, however, sometimes several treatments are required.
The best way to prevent HPV is to use barrier methods during sexual activity and by receiving the vaccine. Annual pap smears remain the best way to detect the disease.

Weight loss

I have researched many different diet and exercise plans. Finding the right one takes a lot of time and effort to maximize fat loss.
First of all,you have to consider a few factors. I learned that you should pick a diet that you can stick with from now on. It truly is a lifestyle change, not a diet. It is easy to gain the weight back as soon as you come off of your "diet". For me, the zigzag diet has been very good. On this diet, you can pick and choose the foods you eat. All you have to do is alternate the number of calories you get each day. One day you may eat 1500 calories, the next 1800 calories and so on.
Another very important aspect to weight loss is exercise. It is important to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 times per week. I have found that interval training works well. That is where you add a couple of minutes of high intensity cardio several times during your session. So, you start out doing your low to moderate intensity and add resistance every few minutes and then drop it back down every few minutes. You continue this for the full 30 minutes. Works great!
You also need strength training at least two days per week. I try to do high reps with lower weight on problem areas and lower reps with more weight on areas that just need toning.

Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Having been a smoker for 25+ years, it was very difficult. I used the nicotine gum. It worked very well for me. I've been cigarette free for about five months now. I just find other things to do when i am bored and think of smoking. It still crosses my mind when I am around smokers, but I know that smoking was causing a lot of the health problems that I currently have. I am pretty young to have heart disease, but it happened. There are some health care professionals that do smoke. For me, it was a sense of denial or " it won't happen to me". In my case, it did happen. But, I have many friends that still smoke and that is their right. To each his own, I guess.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Zigzag dieting

I have been doing the zigzag diet for about two months now. I really like it. I have a lot more choices and it is pretty easy to do. I have lost about 10 lbs. since I have been on it. It is really good for people like me that have a hard time losing weight. I have tried Weight Watchers and the low-fat diet several times in the past. They worked okay for a little while, but I could never stick with them. This is a diet I can live with!