Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Sweeping The Nation

Even though it's the middle of summer, a particularly aggressive virus is attacking communities all across America. Almost all its victims are kids. It's the coxsackie virus, also known as Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. This is NOT to be confused with Mad Cow disease or Foot and Mouth disease, which are different.

Coxsackie virus is one of the few viruses that's common in the summer. It's highly contagious.

The good news is it usually clears-up on its own within 10 days, often sooner, with no lasting complications. But the bad news is its victims are in a great deal of discomfort while it's working it's running its course.

CBN News Internet producer Sarah knows about this first hand. Her 15-month-old Jay is recovering from the Coxsackie virus now. She said her first clue was his high fever and fussiness that kept him up in the middle of the night.

"He was inconsolable, which is not like him," she said. "Sometimes he's fussy from teething, but this was not the usually fussiness."

Then came the tell-tale rash a day later. As the virus' nickname implies, the rash is usually most noticeable on the hands, feet , including the soles, around the mouth and down the throat. As you might imagine, it's itchy and painful, making children climb the walls. Other areas such as the buttocks and genitals may be involved. Some kids deal with it in their eyes.

"At first I noticed his lips were unusually red," Sarah recalled of the first day with the fever. "Then the blisters showed up all over his lips, on his hands, and down his legs the next day."

Sarah couldn't imagine how her son picked-up the virus.

"I didn't take him anywhere. He mostly stays at home. He's not around a whole lot of kids," she said.

Then she remembered taking Jay to the doctor for his 15-month check-up a few days earlier. She now believes Jay probably picked up the virus doctor's office, since Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is very contagious.

Most doctors will recommend parents give their child with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce the fever and discomfort. Mouthwashes and sprays may lessen the oral irritation. Fluids are also suggested to prevent dehydration.  For more information about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, the Centers For Disease Control has a whole web page devoted to it.

However, acidic juices may irritate the mouth ulcers. Cold milk may sooth the oral discomfort. Sarah gave Jay lots of milk, which he gladly preferred above anything else.

Some physicians also recommend Benadryl to treat the itching. And tepid oatmeal baths and oatmeal lotion (Aveeno) can help soothe the skin irritation. All those treatments worked for little Jay, and then the moment of peace....when after all that anguish, he finally fell asleep!

Prevention of coxsackie virus infections is nearly impossible because it requires children to be extremely hygienic. Regularly cleaning items they contact, especially toys, pacifiers, and any items they may place in their mouths, may help. Hand washing, as usual, is the best prevention technique. Currently there's no vaccine for it.

Pregnant women should avoid contact with children (or adults) with Hand, Food and Mouth Disease, because some studies suggest that coxsackie virus may cause developmental and other defects in the fetus.

posted @ Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:00 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Give Gluten-Free A Try: You'll Be Surprised How Good You Feel!

It's truly amazing how many health problems are caused by gluten, specifically wheat. Much of the time, the person suffering has no idea the problem is gluten. So they take allergy pills, arthritis medicine, antacids and more to treat the symptoms, then suffer from the side effects of the medication...when all the while all they had to do was give up gluten.

As one who has been living gluten-free since October of 2012, I can tell you it's one of the best decisions I ever made. I do not miss it at all! I REALLY do not miss the way it made me feel tired and the way it made me crave more gluten. Yuck. Poison.

The reason I gave up gluten was not for any problems I was experiencing, such as gastrointestinal discomfort or allergies, which are common reasons other people give up gluten. No, I gave it up because I learned how unnecessary it was and also how starchy wheat has become.

As a result of avoiding gluten I lost weight and I sleep better and have more energy, which is consistent throughout the day, no more roller-coaster of sleepiness and coffee jolts.

Sadly, the wheat that is grown in the United States today is not the wheat of our forefathers. It has been hybridized to produce a higher yield. But the grain itself is has a higher starch content and more disruptive to our digestive system. Unfortunately, this goes for whole grain as well as the refined wheat products.

I was pleased to interview one of America's leading gluten-free physicians, Dr. Patrick Fratellone, whose New York City medical practice is thriving because of his cutting-edge views on health and nutrition. Too bad there aren't more doctors like him.

"When I went to medical school I did not have a course on nutrition," he said.

Fratellone has the distinction of being one of the few integrative cardiologists in the United States. The Manhattan physician learned about nutrition on his own, after completing medical school.

As a result, he said he thinks many of his colleagues prescribe drugs and even perform surgery when only a change in diet might be needed.

"Physicians in general do not know about nutrition," he stated.

Fratellone believes the root of most diseases lies in the small intestine, also known as the gut.

That's why he advises his patients to avoid gluten, which means no wheat of any kind, not even whole wheat, and no rye, barley, or oats.

Fratellone said an easy way to remember the gluten grains is to think of your eyebrow: B.R.O.W (Barley, Rye, Oats, Wheat).

"Gluten is bad because it's a protein that causes an insult to the gut," he explained. "So if you insult the gut there are three things that can happen: you can't absorb food and its nutrition properly, you won't absorb your vitamins, you cannot make vitamin D."

"Vitamin D3 is made in the small intestines and 90 percent of the happy hormone seratonin is made in the small intestine. So if gluten is causing an insult to the gut you can see the cascade of effects it has to the whole body," he added.

Many people who suffer from gluten sensitivity are unaware they even have it and so are their doctors.

"The symptoms of gluten intolerance vary from gastrointestinal, which could be bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, to unbelievable other symptoms like tremors, dermatitis: itching, it could be nerve disorders. So it varies from patient to patient," he explained.

People who experience the most extreme reaction to eating gluten have what's known as celiac disease.

"Celiac is an allergy, not a sensitivity," he continued. "The difference is a person who has celiac that has gluten can get severely ill, meaning more than the symptoms we talked about. They could have bloody diarrhea, they could have a seizure, they could lose eyesight. So being celiac and having gluten is very dangerous."

Fratellone said for some people, avoiding gluten is only part of the solution. Since gluten can damage the gut, some may need to repair it the natural way with herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, or slippery elm.

Way out on the other coast, in sunny southern California, I spoke with one of America's fittest 60-year-olds, who credits his buff body and excellent health largely to his gluten-free lifestyle.

At an age when most Americans slow down, 60-year-old Mark Sisson said he feels the healthiest he's ever been. That's saying a lot because he used to be an all-star athlete.

"I wound-up being one of the best runners in the country," he said. "I was a marathoner and then I turned into a long-distance triathlete."

But Mark hid a secret.

"As fit as I appeared to be, in terms of my racing skills and ability to go fast, I really endured a lot of issues with health problems," he said.

They ranged from sinus pain to respiratory infections to heartburn and more.

"When I got into my 40s I developed arthritis in my fingers to the extent that I would cringe if a strong guy would put his hand out to shake mine," he recalled.

The worst was his irritable bowl syndrome that plagued him since childhood.

"I lived my life sort of wondering what gas stations are open with a bathroom, you know, on the way to the airport, for instance. Or if I have something I have to do in two hours, how can I be ready for that without having, you know, an episode," he recalled.

Searching for relief, he tried all kinds of doctors and drugs, but nothing helped.

"One day, a bunch of years ago, my wife said, 'I've given up grains, why don't you try giving up grains for 30 days and see what happens,'" he continued.

He took his wife's advice, and all of his problems virtually disappeared.

"The irritable bowel syndrome that had run my life, for most of my life, went away. The heartburn went away. The arthritis went away," he said.

Although Mark was thrilled to finally feel better, he was also frustrated that that cure -- giving up gluten, was so simple.

Yet all those years conventional medicine never had a clue.

posted @ Thursday, July 03, 2014 2:48 PM | Feedback (0)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Atlanta Hot Car Death: Accident or Intentional?

At this point, only God knows what was going on in the mind of the Atlanta father who left his 1-year-old son in the car to die from the heat. Was it accidental or intentional?

This I do know: the combination of rear-facing car seats in the back seat, a sleeping child, and a million things on the driver's brain is a recipe for disaster.

ACCIDENTAL hot car deaths involving parents who mistakenly leave their infants to die in the car are all too common and THERE ARE THINGS PARENTS CAN DO TO MAKE SURE THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN TO THEM.

Click here to watch the short segment with life-saving tips. Remember this is not just for parents, but also grandparents, baby-sitters, anyone who drives children.

Two years ago I interviewed a couple who mistakenly left their sleeping child in the back seat of the car, where she died.

I also interviewed a psychologist who explained how easy it is to do such a thing, mainly because our brains can only hold a small amount of items in our short-term memory, and without a trigger, such a crying baby, or a visual cue, such as the baby in the seat next to you, it's easy to forget.

Many people find this outrageous. That no caring parent would ever forget a sleeping child in the back seat of a car.

I beg to differ.

Since the time I reported on the tragedy of children left to die in hot cars, I've noticed in the news many more instances of this horrific tragedy. They usually always sound the same...on the way to daycare, but forget to go to daycare and instead drive straight to work, because the baby was asleep and out of sight, parent reports to work as usual and discover baby upon returning to the car at lunch or at the end of the work day.

Although by the grace of God I have never forgotten my sleeping child in a hot car, I can admit to driving to a place that was not my intended destination. For example, I have, on occasion, meant to make a certain stop, such as the post office or a store, on my way to work, but once in the car I forgot to make that stop, and instead, out of habit, drove straight to work since that's usually what I do when I leave home and get behind the wheel. Some people joke that their car "automatically goes to work," and I think we all know that feeling.

People might say, yes, but the Atlanta hot car death is different from most, because the parents were searching hot car deaths on the Internet before the child's demise. I'm not so sure that means they were planning to murder their child. However, one would think after those searches they'd be more careful about not allowing their child to be left in a hot car, though.

We'll have to see how this particular case plays out. But in the meantime, anyone who drives youngsters in their car should put safety measures in place, such as the ones described in the link above, to make sure no more children are mistakenly left to die in hot cars.

posted @ Monday, June 30, 2014 4:28 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mmmm Sugar! Makes You Dumb and Forgetful

By now you already know that too much sugar harms your body. It makes you fat, leads to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and the list goes on and on.

If you have a health problem, chances are it's caused by, or made worse by, too much sugar in your diet. An easy test is to stop eating sugar, including carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and rice (which affect your body the same way as sugar) for a couple of months and see how you feel.

Chances are, you'll feel better. Remember, sugar comes in many forms. The most popular is high fructose corn syrup, but there are many other forms, including other types ending in -ose, starches, and, of course, cane sugar, syrups and honey.

If you don't think you can bear to go without the sugar and refined carbohydrates outlined above, you are most likely a sugar/carb addict. That is a subject for another blog, but in short, science has determined that in some people, sugar and carbs cause the release of dopamine in the brain, which is connected with pleasure and reward, so you never get enough...in fact, always want more.

This is a big problem for your health, but perhaps more importantly because no person should be in bondage to any substance, whether sugar, carbs, alcohol, pain killers, cocaine, and so on.

If you find yourself thinking, "I can't go without...." and you complete the sentence with a substance, you are an addict, and you need help. Humans are not made to be slaves to substances. We should be in control of them, not the other way around.

But take heart: if you are under the control of a substance, you can change! In the case of sugar and carbs, you probably only need to go cold turkey, exercise extreme self-control for a time, and your cravings will go away in a few days to a few weeks.

I am speaking from experience. However, if you're addicted to any of the other substances listed above, please get help from one many treatment centers and organizations available.

So while we've established that sugar is terrible for your body, did you also know it wrecks your brain? It does!

Researchers at UCLA fed three groups of rats the same food: "rat chow," or regular rat food. During this time, the researchers trained all three groups of rats to navigate a maze. The maze had lots of walls, visual markings, so the rats could learn their way, and one exit. All three groups of rats learned the maze the same.

Then the researchers substituted one rat group's water with water spiked with fructose.

Sound familiar? That's what soda is. So that group of rats ingested lots of sugar over a period of six weeks. At the end of the six weeks the rats who'd been fed fructose were slower and had greater difficulty remembering how to get through the maze than the rats who hadn't been fed the sugar.

According to one of the researchers, "Their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting their ability to think clearly and recall the route they'd learned six weeks earlier." 

The rats that were fed fructose also developed insulin resistance. Researchers suggest this disrupts learning and causes memory loss and corrupts the brain's ability to process thoughts and emotions.

According to one scientist with the study, "Insulin is important in the body for controlling blood sugar, but it may play a different role in the brain, where insulin appears to disturb memory and learning," he said. "Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new."

But wait, there's more: a fascinating twist. Remember there were three rat groups? One stuck with the original diet, the other was fed a bunch of sugar, and the third was given a bunch of sugar AND...Omega-3 fats, like the kind found salmon, walnuts, and flax. The group of rats that was fed sugar and Omega-3 fats navigated the maze much better than the group of rats that had just sugar.

The conclusion is obvious. Omega-3 fats lessen the destructive impact of sugar on the brain.

We can learn a lot from this study. The first thing is to avoid fructose like the plague. Regardless of what we do during the day, we must perform at our best intellectual ability, and fructose simply handicaps our thinking process.

We must look at the list of ingredients in all the things we purchase, because fructose is added to an estimated 80 percent of the items at the typical grocery store. If you see fructose in the list of ingredients, or one of its sugary cousins, such as ingredients ending in -ose, or "starch" or "syrup," don't purchase it.

Of course fructose and related sugary ingredients are added to sweets like cookies and candy. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. They're in foods that many people do not consider sweet, but they really are, such as bread, crackers, pasta sauce, granola bars, cereal, yogurt, jelly, and on and on and on.

So read the list of ingredients! Remember the list begins with the ingredients the food contains the most of, and goes from there. So if sugar is the first ingredients, run for the hills! That means it contains more sugar than anything else! This applies to many foods. Don't believe me? Check out the ingredients of soda or kiddie cereal.

If you are less than perfect, and choose to eat something sugary, this study teaches us that we can mitigate the damage from that sugar by consuming Omega-3 fats. Although these healthy fats are found in foods like salmon, walnuts, and flax, it's actually difficult to get enough Omega-3s from our diet.

So it's best to take a fish oil supplement. Make sure you look at the label of the supplement and get the one that tells you how many milligrams of DHA are in each capsule. Take enough capsules each day to equal about one gram of DHA per day.

By the way, you should know that the consumption of too many Omega-6 fats blocks your body's ability to process Omega-3 fats. So it's best to cut way, way back on Omega-6 fats. These are vegetable oils, corn, soybean, canola, etc. These are the oils in the clear, plastic bottles that line the grocery store shelves. Also check the list of ingredients on processed foods for these unhealthy oils.

A good diet consists of consuming EQUAL amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. However, the average American consumes 20 times more Omega-6 fats than Omega-3s, and this imbalance leads to massive inflammation, a known killer. And since the two types of fats compete against each other, eating too many Omega-6 fats blocks your body's ability to process the healthy Omega-3s.

So to summarize, for healthy brain function, including memory and thinking, stay away from sugar and take one gram of DHA in a supplement form each day. Finally, drastically reduce your consumption of Omega-6 oil

posted @ Tuesday, June 24, 2014 3:38 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

6 Ways to Stop Mindlessly Eating Yourself Out of Your Pants

Most of us have lived long enough to see trends in nutrition come and go...and come back again. Snacking is one of them.

Back in the day, we were told not to snack in between meals. Then we were told that "grazing," several small meals throughout the day, was better.

Now the pendulum is swinging back the other way, to not snacking so much.

The reason is simple: Snacking tends to cause weight gain. Snacking is often mindless eating, which means we really aren't paying much attention to what we are eating, and more importantly, how much we're eating, because we are often preoccupied with something else, such as television or work.

So while a good goal is to avoid snacking all together, it's perhaps unrealistic. A more practical guide might be how to snack wisely.

Dave Zinczenko, author of the new book Eat It To Beat It, shares his tips.

1. Don't in the morning. If you find yourself hungry in the morning that means your breakfast isn't doing its job. Eat something that will stick with you, such as heathy fat and protein.

2. When you snack, choose something colorful. No, not rainbow Skittles or peanut M&Ms. Usually, colorful foods tend to be vegetables or bright fruit....such as red bell peppers, carrots, blueberries, and so on. Also, colorful foods add variety to your diet and you tend to be more aware of every bite you take, thus cutting-down on mindless eating.

3. Make sure your snacks contain protein. Protein tends to cause us to feel fuller longer because it requires more energy to burn than carbs or fat. Check the grams of protein on your snacks and at the same time look for sugar content. Sometimes items with protein also contain too much sugar, in which case, you should choose something else.

4. Here's an interesting trick: eat your snacks with your less dominant hand. In other words, if you are right-handed, eat with your left hand. This gets back to our attempts to avoid mindless eating. When you are fully engaging your brain in eating, you will eat less. Eating with the opposite hand certainly engages your mind. If you don't believe me, try it!

5. When you snack, choose smaller plates and bowls. Instead of pouring the whole bag of chips in a giant serving bowl, just put a little bit in a small cereal bowl. That way your portion will be smaller, and you'll be amazed how full you feel after having only eating a fraction of what you normally eat. You won't even miss it!

6. Don't fall for the advertising hype on the labels of foods. Food manufacturers know that if they make something appear healthy you'll choose it, and research shows you'll eat more of it than something you think is unhealthy. Therefore, many foods that are actually unhealthy only SEEM healthy because of words like, "antioxidant" "low fat" "no trans fats" "low sugar" and so on.

Oftentimes these are gimmicks that are either not true, or if they are true, are low in whatever bad ingredient they're advertising, but very high in something else. For instance, many food items advertise the fact that they're low fat, but don't tell you about the fact that they make up for the fat with extra sugar.

In short, remember that in today's world we must be discriminating about what we eat, how much and when.

posted @ Tuesday, June 17, 2014 1:03 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Why Stress Kills and What You Can Do

Beware of choosing the wrong attitude. It can literally kill you.

There are big dangers looming for your health if you choose stress. This is indeed a choice, and it's a deadly one. In fact, the more scientists learn about stress, the more they realize it's more harmful than they previously realized.

Stress produces a chemical response in our body to which we rarely pay attention. When we have bad emotions, stressful emotions, such as anger, depression, frustration, a sense of unfairness, we secrete adrenaline and cortizol throughout the body.

Most of us have heard about adrenaline. It is what gives us super-human strength and speed. It's a gift from God, to be sure, but is only supposed to be used under certain circumstances: in an emergency, and only for a very short period of time, such as 5 minutes or less....20 minutes tops.

So for example, if you were out in the woods and a mountain lion jumps out at you, wonderful adrenaline would kick in and would give you the ability to literally run for your life. A short time later, when the danger subsided, you would stop secreting adrenaline and your body would go back to its normal, peaceful functioning. That's the way it's supposed to work.

If you understand how adrenaline and cortizol work, then you can understand why their constant secretion is deadly.

When adrenaline and cortizol are secreted, your body turns-off vital machinery in every single cell. In other words, your body stops it's regular healthy functioning, such as warding-off disease and metabolizing vitamins. They turn off the parts of our body that are built to repair us, to redo the damage that comes from daily life, to keep our cells young and nourished and healthy.

That's actually not a problem if, and only if, it's for a short time. Adrenaline and cortizol cause your entire body to shut down and divert its energy to focus in unison, on the crisis at hand. It's sort of like a village of people where everyone has their various tasks to perform, but when the village is under attack, everyone stops their regular jobs and joins together to fight the enemy. When the enemy is defeated, they go back to their jobs.

That's important. Imagine what would happen to that village if nobody ever went back to their regular jobs and was just positioned for battle all the time? The village would fall apart.

Now you can see why the problem with stress is that adrenaline and cortizol are CONSTANTLY SECRETED. In a bad, toxic situation you can experience stress for hours or days or weeks or months or years! All that time your body is secreting adrenaline and cortizol, because it feels like it's in crisis mode, all the while, every cell in your body ages and the sum of that is you going downhill.

It's also quite likely that they let the cancer cells escape the immune surveillance system, that they accelerate the inflammatory damage of atherosclerosis and leads to heart attacks and strokes. We know that cancer, heart attacks, strokes and Alzheimer's are driven very powerfully by stress.

The good news is most of these things reverse very quickly.

If you go from stressed to peaceful, add in a shift from a sedentary lifestyle to a fit one, your rate of heart disease reduces by half. Same for the risk of Alzheimer's, some cancer risks go down, too. When you have a positive emotional attitude and you are relaxed, you have a much healthier, freer flow of blood through your brain.

That means your brain can regulate the rest of your body far more effectively. All of your blood vessels relax and so blood flows exactly where it's needed in your body. It brings the right chemicals, the right nutrients, you can heal in all the different areas that otherwise are chewed-up with stress.

When researchers conduct MRI scans of people who are visualizing happy, optimistic circumstances versus stressful ones, not only do they see changes in blood flow to the brain and massive changes in blood flow, but they measure all kinds of changes in blood pressure, in heart rate, in blood flow to the legs, blood flow to the kidneys, throughout the body you are always changing it for better or worse by how you feel.

So how do you reduce stress? First and foremost establish a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Throughout scripture we are commanded to trust God, fear not, don't worry. So we need to obey God in his command to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and know that God will take care of us beyond that.

In other words, stop worrying about every little thing and only focus on doing God's will. That's going to bust that stress.

Pray for peace, ask God to give you peace. He will.

There are a couple of other things you can do. Exercise is a natural stress-reliever. Prayer has also been proven to relieve stress. Get enough sleep, preferably eight hours a night.

When we understand how devastating stress is to our health, we are motivated to make minimizing it a top priority.

posted @ Friday, May 30, 2014 4:24 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sun Exposure: Good or Bad?

Is the sun bad for you? Yes and no! We get one of the healthiest vitamins of all, vitamin D, from sun exposure (without sunscreen). This is especially important because research shows most Americans are vitamin D deficient. But too much sun can lead to deadly skin cancer.

So how much is too much? Usually anything over 15 minutes or so. A more accurate way to gauge how much sun you should get is to look at your skin. If the sun caused your skin to TURN PINK, you got too much. Skin cancer is caused by sunBURNS (and tanning booths, a.k.a. death traps).

Sometimes we wear sunscreen and are mystified by the fact that we still turned pink, or worse, still got a sun burn. How does this happen? It's probably because we used the wrong sunscreen, didn't apply it correctly, or both.

Many of us have sunscreen left over from summers in the past. In an attempt to be frugal, we keep using that same old bottle until it's gone....just like we do with make-up, am I right ladies?

In both cases, however, it's healthiest to throw away old sunscreen and old make-up, even though it hurts to waste.

So get yourself a brand new bottle of sunscreen, paying close attention to the label. Looks for a "BROAD SPECTRUM" sunscreen, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher for protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.

Make sure you apply your sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes BEFORE GOING OUTSIDE and then reapply it every two hours. This is where most people mess-up.

Better yet, read the label on your sunscreen because different ones have different lengths of effectiveness, especially the water resistant ones. Avoid another major mistake by applying sunscreen after you've been swimming or sweating a lot.

Some people are concerned about the aging effects sun has on the skin...with good reason. That's why when you get your sun, just get it on parts OTHER than your face. Sunscreen on the face is always a good idea. A hat is even better!

Even if you are getting some vitamin D from the sun, it's still a good idea to take a Vitamin D supplement to make sure you're getting enough. As with all vitamins, make sure you take it in powder or gel form. The compressed vitamin pills often do not absorb properly.

posted @ Thursday, May 22, 2014 11:41 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lyme Disease Dos And Don'ts

It's that time of year again, when we venture outdoors and are vulnerable to Lyme Disease. This is a very serious condition if left untreated. However there are simple, common-sense ways to minimize the chance you will contract Lyme Disease, as well as easy-to-recognize symptoms in case you do get it.

Furthermore, if you detect Lyme Disease early enough, the treatment is not a problem. On the other hand, if you don't recognize you have Lyme Disease and it goes untreated it can result in serious, permanent damage to your health.

Lyme Disease comes from the bites of ticks that are infected with it. Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease. Most people never feel a tick bite.

The best way to prevent getting Lyme Disease is to minimize your exposure to ticks. This means wearing insect repellant. Also, wear protective clothing, covering as much of your body as possible, especially your head.

Be aware that walking under trees exposes you to the possibility to a tick falling on your head. Tick bites on the head are some of the worst kind because it is difficult to spot the tell-tale bullseye mark, pointing to Lyme Disease.

If those early signals are missed, it's often months later, when the disease has progressed throughout the body that it's ever detected.

It's a good idea to check yourself for ticks every night before bed, especially if you've been outdoors. But keep in mind just walking from your front door to your car exposes you to ticks if you live in an area with tall trees.

Ticks often do not end-up on your body in the place where they first contact it. They like to travel to the warm nooks and crannies and hang-out there. So pay close attention to your groin area, under your breasts, in the armpit.

Make sure to check your scalp or better yet, get someone else who can inspect your entire scalp, even in the back.

If you do see a tick on your body, take it out. Brace yourself, because ticks are disgusting. They burrow their mouths into our skin and suck our blood. Therefore, be aware that when you see a tick on your body, its mouth is probably under your skin.

So take a pair of tweezers and grab that nasty creature as close to the skin as possible and gently pull. You want to try to make sure not to separate the body from the mouth, thus leaving the mouth under your skin.

Try to pull both the body and the mouth out. If you are unable to do that, and you notice the mouth parts are still in your skin, use the tweezers to try and get those mouth parts out. But if you can't, just leave it alone and let the skin heal.

Now that you've removed the tick, keep an eye on the area for the next couple of weeks. You want to look for a bulls-eye looking rash, or any other type of rash at the area and be on the lookout for a fever.

Other symptoms of Lyme Disease are fatigue, chills, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes

If any of these occur, go see the doctor and make sure to mention your tick bite and also where you think you picked up the tick in the first place.

If your Lyme Disease is fresh, meaning your tick bite was only within the last 30 days or so, you'll be given an antibiotic and that Lyme Disease will be history in no time.

The really scary situation is if you don't detect the Lyme Disease right away.

Once the Lyme Disease makes its way though your entire body over a period of months, sometimes years, the symptoms become much more severe and difficult to treat. Approximately 60 percent of patients with untreated infection may begin to have intermittent bouts of arthritis, with severe joint pain and swelling.

Large joints are most often affected, particularly the knees. Up to 5 percent of untreated patients may develop chronic neurological complaints months to years after infection. These include shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and problems with short-term memory.

Often times people with these types of symptoms are completely unaware that the culprit is Lyme Disease, and unfortunately, their doctors are just as clueless.

I had a very good friend with these symptoms who was wrongly diagnosed for years from things like lead poisoning to depression until the right doctor finally figured out she had Lyme Disease.

So be on guard. Avoid those ticks the best you can, but check yourself, and your kids, daily for ticks. If you see one, get rid of it and watch the area and the way you feel for the next few weeks.

posted @ Wednesday, May 14, 2014 10:58 AM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss, Improved Health

Many of the admonitions in the Bible produce not only spiritual health, but physical health as well. For example, Jesus tells us not to worry, but instead to trust God. If we obey this command, we grow closer to God.

But also, as medical science has taught us in recent years, if we obey this command not to worry, but to instead put our trust in God, we are much healthier than people who choose to worry. This is because worry is stress and stress is enormously harmful to our health. In fact, the role of stress as a contributor to major disease and illness is growing the more we research it.

Another admonition we see in the Bible, that of fasting, is one that produces health benefits as well as spiritual. We know that fasting is a time to go without food so that you can grow closer to God through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit moving in you during this time of humility.

But did you know that fasting is also really good for your health? Once again, God's commandments benefit us on many levels.

Fasting leads to weight loss, which of course is good for most people because most people are overweight. But fasting also boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, gives your digestive system a chance to relax and repair, promotes detoxification and can even help fight addiction.

It's important to remember to drink plenty of water while fasting so you don't get dehyrated, which can lead to problems such as migraine headaches. Pregnant women and some people with health issues like heart arrhythmias and kidney problems might be advised not to fast.

There are many ways to fast. You can simply go without any food at all for days at a time. That's pretty tough.

Then there are people who simply restrict their calories every day and only eat certain healthy food. The "Daniel Fast" is like that. It's very popular among Christians these days and harkens back to the Old Testament prophet Daniel, who only ate vegetables and the like.

The "Daniel Fast" involves eating only food in its natural state, such as fresh vegetables and fruit. Some fasts consist of going without food for one or two days a week and eating regularly the other days.

Then there's what's known as intermittent fasting, which means you go without food for 18 hours every day and only eat during a six hour window. For instance, one might eat only between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 pm.

This type of intermittent fasting is arguably the easiest type of fasting to stick with. The health benefits are numerous. Although the above example of eating only between 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. might raise the ire of those who promote breakfast eating as a path to weight loss and good health, one could always choose to eat between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and still eat breakfast.

Believe it or not, it takes about six to eight hours for your body to burn all the sugar out of your system after you eat. It's only then that the body switches into fat-burning mode. If you eat so often that your body is always in sugar-burning mode, you never have a chance to burn-off that unhealthy fat.

As if the idea of intermittent fasting isn't convincing enough, the good news is scientists have conducted many studies on the results of intermittent fasting, and they reveal positive health outcomes. These include increased insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, which translates into a slowing of aging and disease.

Also, intermittent fasting has been shown to mimic exercise, in that it causes the body to resist stress, disease, and aging by triggering a cellular stress response in which our bodies are strengthened in a manner that increases our capacity to cope with all kinds of stressors it encounters.

Furthermore, intermittent fasting has proven to reduce oxidative stress, which means the number of oxidative radicals in the cell are fewer, therefore preventing oxidative damage to the cells, which is linked to aging and disease.

On a personal note, I have been intermittent fasting every day for three weeks and l love it! I have more energy and mental clarity, I've lost weight and sleep better. I choose to eat only between the hours of 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

I was told you can eat "anything you want" during your six hours of eating, but there are certain foods I just won't eat, no matter what, such as sugar, gluten, processed foods, and dairy.

I am a huge proponent of healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avacados and nuts, so I eat plenty of those healthy fats during my eating hours, as well as vegetables, of course, and some berries.

If you are curious about whether intermittent fasting is right for you, there's one way to find out....try it! Just try it for a few days. It will get easier as time progresses, you start experiencing the positive results in both your physical health and hopefully your spiritual health as well.

posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 2:27 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lose Weight in 30-Second Spurts?

The latest health science proves that the new exercise trend not only helps you lose weight, but makes you healthier. It's called HITT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. I've tried it and can attest to the results.

The only problem is, it violates one of the cardinal rules of exercise: do something that you like.

Those HITT classes at my gym are always packed, but I have yet to find a person who actually enjoys the workout! If you don't like your form of exercise, research shows you are less likely to continue with it. Nevertheless, people do seem to stick with it because they must like the results.

The key to HITT, or simply interval training as some people call it, is pushing yourself to the absolute maximum energy output you are capable of. In other words, run like you are literally running for your life. It hurts! And you can't do it for long before your body gives out.

Going full-strength, in a sprint, whether you are running, biking, swimming, climbing stairs, or what have you, only lasts for a short period of time before you burn out. Most intervals consist of 30-second spurts. Then you rest for a minute or two and do it again.

You don't want your heart rate to go back down to normal between sprints, but you do want to make sure that you are rested enough to go again.

One of the most appealing aspects to interval training is that most of these workouts are short...much shorter than traditional workouts. You can find trainers who recommend as few as a couple minutes of high intensity interval training only a couple of days a week, to trainers who recommend 20 to 30 minutes of interval training one to three times a week. That's less of a time commitment we're used to hearing we need to make to maintain good cardiovascular health.

A word of caution: don't try interval training if you are not used to exercising at all. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Compared to traditional exercise regimes, HIIT is superior in that it boosts the human growth hormone in ways less intense workouts do not. According to the journal Cell Metabolism, HIIT almost immediately and significantly improves the DNA, such as the genes involved in fat metabolism.

The research shows that when you exercise full-on, everything-you've got, in short bursts, your body activates genes that increase the production of fat-busting enzymes in a way that moderate exercise does not.

As if that's not enough, another study showed the importance of HIIT on the reduction of diabetes. After only two weeks of HIIT, consisting of three workouts a week, the participants noticed they were able to improve their insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation. Another study showed people suffering from Type 2 diabetes were able to improve their blood sugar levels for 24 hours after just one session of HIIT. That's pretty impressive.

HIIT has been shown to activate mitochondria, the precious building blocks of our cells that provide us with the vital energy we all want and need to live our lives efficiently. Scientists say the reason HIIT promotes mitochondrial formation is because it causes STRESS on the body.

This does not happen when you are simply walking or performing some other type of low intensity exercise. It's the stress, the taking your body to its limit, that causes this wonderful mitochondrial reaction.

Bt let's face it, you pay a price. It hurts. But it's worth it. Other stressors that improve the mitochondria are fasting and calorie restriction. ame theme...tricking your body, throwing it a curve-ball causes it to work harder and ultimately work better.

posted @ Wednesday, March 26, 2014 2:25 PM | Feedback (0)