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The Trouble With TV… You Are What You Watch!

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When it comes to eating, you are what you watch.

We’ve all been guilty of mindless munching when sitting in front of the TV, but research from Yale University suggests that what you watch may impact how much you eat.

In the study, children and adults were shown a half hour of television with different sets of advertising in each.  Children aged 7 to 11 years who watched commercials for food ate 45 percent more snack food than the children who were shown the same programming but with commercials that didn’t feature food.  The children in the study didn’t go looking for the food that was advertised, but were interested in any snack food.

Among adults, those who saw advertisements for unhealthy snack food ate significantly more than those who saw spots for healthy food or good nutrition.  The really bad news?  Those habits continued even after the television was off.

Consumer and health groups that are concerned with America’s obesity epidemic—particularly among children—endorse government regulation of food advertising during children’s programming.  But many food marketers already self-regulate.  Frito-Lay, manufacturer of Doritos, Lay’s, Ruffles, Cheetos and Fritos, does not advertise at all during children’s programming, and General Mills, which makes Trix, Lucky Charms and other cereals, only advertises products with fewer than 175 calories and 12 grams of sugar per serving.

Both companies have joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a voluntary group of companies that have pledged to shift the mix of advertising to children to include messages about healthy eating.  Other members include McDonald’s, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Hershey.

Take note of what is being advertised when your kids watch TV.  If there’s too much food advertising, consider turning the TV off or tuning in another program.  Be ready to counter triggered snacking with healthy options like yogurt and vegetables.

And watch your own compulsive eating, too.  Be aware of hunger triggers that have nothing to do with hunger like boredom, restlessness, and food smells. And you can now add food advertising to that list.

When reaching for the chips, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”  If the answer is no, skip the snack, but also try to identify the trigger so that you’re aware of it the next time it tries to sabotage your success.  Knowing why you want to eat helps you get control of your snacking triggers.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with nutritional planning, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. Mountains Community Hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

How to Treat Sleep Apnea

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There may be a lot more to that dreaded snore!

Does your mate have bags under his or her eyes every morning?  There may be nothing wrong with your partner other than the fact that he or she is losing a great deal of sleep because you’re snoring!

Does your own snoring sometimes wake YOU up?  Do you sometimes wake up in a start, gasping because you’ve stopped breathing?  If so, you could have a very serious medical problem.

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person stops breathing or has shallow breaths while sleeping.  These stoppages are sometimes just seconds, but can last minutes. During these pauses, the sleeper doesn’t simply stop breathing, but struggles to breathe. When he finally does, there is usually a loud snort or choking sound.

When you snore, that’s a sign that you’re struggling to breathe and it could indicate sleep apnea. Not only does sleep apnea deprive your brain and lungs of oxygen, it deprives you of sleep, leaving you tired and sluggish during waking hours.

Sleep apnea can result in severe medical conditions, including stroke, heart attack and hypertension, not to mention the increased risk of motor vehicle crashes when drivers are sleepy. A recent study at Johns Hopkins University found that among middle-aged and elderly men, sleep apnea increased the risk of death by 40 percent from all causes, but especially from cardiovascular disease.

Sleep apnea is very common, affecting about one in four men and one in ten women. Those most at risk are over the age of 40 and overweight. Besides snoring, symptoms of sleep apnea include waking with a dry or sore throat; daytime sleepiness after a full night’s sleep; morning headaches; forgetfulness; and insomnia or not being able to sleep through the night.

If you are a notorious snorer or have any of these other symptoms, talk to your doctor. Sleep apnea is not something that will be diagnosed during a routine physical or with a blood test. You must report your symptoms to your doctor.

There are behavioral changes that can be made to correct sleep apnea including losing weight and stopping smoking. Special pillows that promote side sleeping or dental devices that keep the airway open may help, as well.

In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). A CPAP mask is attached to a machine and worn while you sleep. The machine delivers a continuous flow of air into the nostrils, keeping the airways open so that breathing is not impaired.

In some cases, surgery may be required to repair a deviated septum or remove soft tissue from the mouth, back of the throat or upper airway, thereby reducing obstructions and increasing the size of the airway. These are all relatively simple surgical procedures and you can learn about all your options by simply consulting with your mountain physician.

Amazing Miracle Treatment for Exhaustion…SLEEP!

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Miracle cure for exhaustion...Sleep!

These are truly demanding times.  A very difficult economy has made it necessary for most people to work harder and longer hours.  Many people find themselves working two jobs… and juggling all of their normal responsibilities.  If you frequently find yourself burning the candle at both ends, chances are, you  have discovered all kinds of tricks to keep your body and brain running.

The demand for more powerful energy drinks and stimulants to keep you function during overtime ours continues to surge.  Likewise, tried and true energy boosters like caffeine and sugar have become more of a crutch than ever for those needing a temporary “fix” to get through the day.  But the cold, hard reality is this;  When your body needs sleep, it needs sleep and nothing else will do.  Plus, relying on stimulants can serve to make you even more tired in the long run.

When you’re having an overloaded day, there’s probably little harm indulging in something sweet to give you a temporary boost.  However, that sugar rush is usually followed by a sugar crash.  So, it’s not a good practice if you need long-term energy.  The higher you boost, the farther you’ll crash until it’s impossible to keep your eyes open.

Of course, many of us depend on caffeine to get our brains up to speed first thing in the morning, but if you’re using caffeine as a substitute for regular rest, you’re starting a vicious cycle.  Too much caffeine late in the day could be robbing you of some of the hours you do have to sleep, meaning you’re even more tired the next day, meaning you’re likely to crave even more caffeine, resulting in even less sleep, and so on.

If you know that a particularly busy or stressful time is looming, like an intense project at work or moving your home, prepare for it ahead of time so that you’ll make it through without crashing.  Here are some positive things that will really help:

  • Work out.  Get some exercise now before you can’t schedule it in.  Getting your heart rate up on a daily basis not only builds up your stores of energy, but makes your sleep more restful, too.
  • Fuel up.  Skip the “empty” calories found in sugary snacks and pastries and try to get lots of lean proteins and whole grains.  These foods provide real energy, not the substitute variety found in sugar and caffeine.  You’ll feel less fatigued if you keep up this diet when you get busy, too.  While vending machine snacks might be easier when you’re on the go, try to avoid fatty, sugary foods that will just let you down later.
  • Take your vitamins.  B vitamins are some of the best energy enhancers you can get.  If you know that your schedule is going to push you to the limit, start eating salmon, avocado and nuts, as well as soy products and lentils.  After you get busy, be sure to at least take a B Complex vitamin each day.
  • Sleep.  There is no substitute for sleep.  When you know you’ll have to do without your eight hours for a while, it’s a good idea to be as rested as possible going in.  And when it’s all over, make sure to schedule time to catch up on your missing Zs.

While one of the basic laws of physics is, “A body in motion stays in motion,” it simply does’t apply to the “human body.”  It is surely more accurate to conclude, “A body in motion for too long will eventually come to a screeching halt.”  Accordingly, don’t allow yourself to fall victim to that age old axiom, “There’s no rest for the weary.”

We absolutely will not be offended if this article puts you to sleep!

Reducing Cholesterol Doesn’t Mean Living a Life of Deprivation

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The doctor glances at your test results, “Hmmm,” he says with a note of concern. “Your cholesterol levels trouble me.” It’s at that point that thoughts of celery sticks, grapefruit and other equally uninspiring foods taunt your butter-loving palate.

The good news is there is no need to adopt a diet of “rabbit food.” You can still choose delicious foods you want to eat while reducing your cholesterol.

The Good News

Here are just a few substitutions that you can make that won’t rock your world:

Go nuts. Instead of crackers or chips, get your crunch fix from almonds and walnuts. Almonds and walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fat, the “good fat” that can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol), while boosting HDL (good cholesterol.” Plus, clinical studies show that almonds are a great weight loss aid, filling you up quickly, so you feel satisfied and eat less.

Give turkey a try. Ground turkey contains half the saturated fat of 85 percent lean ground beef and is an easy substitution i most recipes. When you add your favorite seasonings, you won’t be able to tell that the marinara, meatloaf or chili is made with turkey.

There’s something fishy going on! While turkey and children are good low-cholesterol substitutions for beef, your best bet is fish. Not only is seafood low in fat, it contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends you eat fish at least twice a week.

Get creative with Condiments. One of the biggest culprits is a high-cholesterol diet is condiments. Salad dressings, mayonnaise and dips can have more cholesterol and fat in two tablespoons than the entire rest of your meal. When making dip or dressing, use plain yogurt instead of sour cream. make sandwich spreads from avocado or tofu. Try vinegar and lemon juice on salads, or add in flavorful fruits and vegetable and a nice piece of grilled salmon and forgo dressing altogether.

Minimize your Loss with Applesauce. Applesauce can be substituted for oil in almost any baking recipe, not only eliminating the fat and cholesterol in the oil but also adding the fiber and nutrients of the applesauce to your cookies, cakes and muffins. Substitute the amount of oil called for in the recipe with the same measured amount of applesauce. Don’t like applesauce? Try mashed bananas or zucchini.

Making these substitutions does not give you a pass to eat all the cheese, ice cream and eggs you want. To get a handle on high cholesterol, you still have to eat a diet low in fat, watch your weight and get more exercise. But with just a little effort, you can learn to eat foods that will better help you to control your health without sacrificing taste.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with cholesterol testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

Saline Nasal Irrigation: A Viable Alternative

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How to Treat Upper Respiratory Conditions

Sinus sufferers–there may be relief available to you that is simple, effective and inexpensive! According to David Rabago, MD, and Aleksandra Zgierska, MD, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, nasal irrigation with liquid saline is an excellent way to manage symptoms associated with chronic rhino-sinusitis.

Saline nasal irrigation is type of therapy for upper respiratory conditions that bathes the nasal cavity with spray or liquid saline. There is also some evidence, though it is less conclusive, that spray and liquid saline nasal irrigation might be used to manage symptoms of mild to moderate allergic rhinitis and acute upper respiratory tract infections.

According to an article in American Family Physician,

“Consensus guidelines recommend saline nasal irrigation as a treatment for a variety of other conditions, including rhinitis or pregnancy and acute rhinosinusitis”

The quality of a patient’s life can be seriously diminished by upper respiratory conditions, such as acute and chronic rhinosinusitis, viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), and allergic rhinitis. The use of saline nasal irrigation was first described in medical literature in the early 20th Century. Saline nasal irrigation is an effective management strategy for many sinonasal conditions. In a survey of 330 family physicians, 87 percent reported recommending it to their patients for one or more conditions.

Here’s how the procedure works:

  • Saline is injected into one nostril and is allowed to drain out of the other nostril, bathing the nasal cavity.
  • Saline nasal irrigation can be performed with low positive pressure from a spray or squirt bottle, or with gravity-based pressure using a vessel with a nasal spout, such as a Netti pot. Both are available over the counter.
  • Of course, before attempting this or any other type of treatment, consult your physician.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with allergy testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

Untimely Allergy Season Underscores the Benefits of Testing

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Are you a victim of allergies?

Are you far from being your usually healthy and chipper self?  Are your sinuses clogged and sore?  Are your eyes watering so it looks like you’ve been crying for days? How about your nose; it is running like the Danube river? Are you sneezing all the time but don’t have a cold? If so, that may not be a cold you’re contending with.  An unusually damp late summer and early fall, combined with an unusually mild winter thus far has resulted in a significant amount of pollen in the air that typically doesn’t arrive until spring.  The result is a lot of misery for a lot of people who have been caught off guard

With one out of every five Americans suffering from some type of allergy, if they find out what’s causing it the allergy is almost always treatable. While it may take awhile to pinpoint the source of the irritant, it is almost always possible to get relief by either staying away from it or taking some type of medication to prevent the symptoms.

Many allergies are genetic and are passed down from generation to generation and can include everything from mold and mildew to flowers, animals, the weather, food, smog, medication and latex gloves to name only a few. Did you know if one of your parents had allergies that increases the chance 30 percent that you will have them too at some point in your life? If both parents suffer or suffered from allergies the chance that their children will have them jumps to a whopping 60 percent.

Historically, when people have an airborne allergy it almost always affects their head and what otherwise might be a cold, isn’t. Allergic reactions can be classified as those that occur when the immune system encounters and overreacts to substances that are not genuinely harmful. According to the Nasonex website people who are susceptible to nasal allergies have immune systems that react to an airborne allergy by creating an antibody called immunoglobulin. This antibody fights the airborne substance but it also creates inflammation which ends up as that stuffy feeling in your head.

Asthma may be tied to allergies. According to researchers at the National Institute of Health, more than half of all current asthma cases can be attributed to allergies.

Unfortunately, during certain times of the year many different types of pine trees emit allergens that affect many people living in or visiting the mountains. Naturally the Santa Ana winds, which usually appear in southern California in October and November, can wreak havoc on people who suffer from plant or tree airborne allergens.  Surprisingly, we have already experienced Santa Ana conditions in recent weeks.

Fortunately many people can cope with and/or be relieved of their allergic reactions by having allergy testing performed through their physician. Knowing what you’re allergic to goes a long, long way in being able to manage outbreaks and making life, on the whole, a lot more pleasant. Being tested for allergies is easy and it gives you the choice to stay away from the substance(s) causing the sneezing, stuffiness, rash or other symptoms or, particularly in the case of food allergies, giving into temptation and accepting the risks involved with having a reaction. Testing is well worth the investment of time and money.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with allergy testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

The Vaccine Controversy

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Are vaccines safe?

Childhood vaccinations have been under intense scrutiny by the public over the past 2 decades.  Vaccines have been blamed for the rise in autism, neurological problems, cancer and even unexplained death.

By the age of 2, American children can receive up to 29 vaccinations.  According to an article in the Salem News, American children receive far more vaccines by the age of 5 and still have a higher death rate than other developed countries (US -36, Norway – 13, Denmark – 12, Japan, Sweden and Iceland – 11).   More parents are deciding not to vaccinate their children, thinking that is a safer option.

The fact is that many serious, infectious diseases have been decreased or eradicated by vaccinations.  For example, smallpox is a virus that has a 30 -50% death rate.  Because of world wide vaccinations, naturally ocurring smallpox has been eliminated and vaccines for the disease are no longer needed.  The incidence of Polio has been reduced by 99%. Vaccinations are a community health issue, not just a personal issue. You might be the fortunate one that does not get overwhelmed by the bug, but the person in the market or the student sitting next to you in class may not be so lucky. Our world is shrinking because of ease of travel.  An infectious disease that was once contained in a small area is quickly spread worldwide with one plane trip.

The most publicized controversy is the possible link between autism and vaccinations.  Thimerosal, a mercury containing preservative, has been the main suspect in the rise of autism and neurological problems.  Although the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) attest to it’s safety, Thimerosal has been removed from “all routinely recommended vaccines for U.S. infants”.  There are studies that both prove and disprove the autism-mercury link.

There is still a question about aluminum in vaccinations and it’s effects on infants and children.  There have been studies showing a link between aluminum in medications and neurological damage, but few studies on the effects of aluminum in vaccines.

Gardasil, the vaccine for HPV, a common cause of cervical cancer, has been the topic of concern recently.  According to the CDC, 40 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed and they have received reports of 20,996 adverse reactions.  The reactions range from fever, dizziness and nausea to blood clots, severe neurological problems and death.

Vaccines, like any other medication, can have side effects and cause mild to severe reactions.   The best strategy is to get informed; ask your doctor, seek information from reputable sources.   Important information to gather would be:

  • Is your child or anyone in the family sick at time of vaccination?
  • Know the disease risks and the vaccine risks
  • Do you have a family or personal history of vaccine reactions, neurological disorders, or immune system problems?

Many physicians are vaccinating their patients on an alternative schedule, stretching out the traditional schedule.  Once you have gathered and digested the information, you can make an educated decision for you, your family and the community.