About Dr. Jen

A family doctor in private practice in North Royalton, OH.

Toxoplasmosis

My family and I got some surprising news about our cat Domino this week.  You may remember I wrote a few weeks ago that she was sick with pneumonia.  The vet treated her with rounds of two different antibiotics and the pneumonia just wasn’t clearing up.

We were wondering if she might have a lung tumor causing the pneumonia not to get better as expected.  Then Dr. Kontur said “Let me do one more test.”

Turns out, the test came back “screaming” positive!

Domino has toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is an intestinal infection with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii that is found in some animals including cats.  Dr. Kontur tells me it usually affects young cats and older cats with asthma (like Domino) and can cause pneumonia.  Treating the infection requires antibiotics and hopefully it will clear up easily.

So why am I writing about toxoplasmosis today?  Because Toxoplasma can infect humans too.  Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted from animal feces, soil or sand contaminated with animal feces, and by eating raw or undercooked meat or seafood.

Most people who get toxoplasmosis from their cats or any other source have no symptoms at all.  In addition, those who do get sick generally just get flulike symptoms (headache, fever, body aches and fatigue).  Healthy people are at little or no risk of long-term harm from toxoplasmosis.

Who IS at risk?  Pregnant women and those whose immune systems are not normal are most at risk.  People with HIV infection, inherited immune deficiencies, or receiving chemotherapy for organ transplant, cancer or autoimmune diseases are at risk.

Pregnancy is definitely not much of a concern for me, my childbearing days are done.  However, I do have a cancer patient in my house.  As many of you know, my husband was diagnosed over 6 years ago with multiple myeloma.  As a result, we are very conscious of infection risk where he is concerned.

If you or someone you know is at risk for toxoplasmosis, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

  • Clean out your cat’s litter box every day.  It takes 1-5 days for Toxoplasma organisms to become contagious after passing in the cat’s stool.
  • If possible, have someone who is NOT pregnant and is NOT immune compromised clean the litter box.
  • Fully cook meats and seafoods before eating them.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after gardening and after cleaning a cat litter box.
  • If your kids have an outdoor sandbox, keep it securely covered to keep feral cats and other animals out of it.

For healthy people toxoplasmosis is not generally a serious health problem.  However, it can cause pregnant women to miscarry their babies and can cause infection in the unborn baby.  In additon, people with immune suppression can develop breathing problems, neurologic problems like seizures, and can affect the eyes and vision as well.

We are so blessed that Dr. Kontur discovered Domino’s toxoplasmosis infection!  Here’s hoping her infection clears up quickly and easily (although she HATES being force-fed pills).  And clearing up Domino’s infection will help protect Russ from any possibility of infection in the future.

If you’re looking for a new vet for your four-legged family member, please give Dr. Kontur a call at Summit Animal Hospital in Northfield.  She rocks!

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How To Be YOUR Healthiest You!

Have you ever had a salesperson try to sell you something you didn’t want?  Maybe you were shopping for a new TV and the salesperson tried to get you to buy something bigger or more expensive than what you were looking for?  Or you’re looking for a new lipstick and the salesperson tries to convince you that their entire line of cosmetics is Just perfect for you!

Even worse, have you been talked into buying something and got home and found it wasn’t what you thought?

When someone tries to sell you something without knowing what would make your life better, they are wasting their time and yours.

Since I can’t possibly know each and every one of you, I try to write about a variety of health topics and let you pick and choose what is helpful for you.  (And I hope you know that I LOVE suggestions for post topics.  If you want to read about something, please drop me an email and let me know!)

There is, however, a tool to help me to know exactly what would help YOU.  What would make YOUR life better.  How I can help you meet YOUR health goals.  What would help you be YOUR healthiest you!

That tool is Shaklee’s HealthPrint personalized health assessment. This assessment is a five-minute questionnaire that asks about diet and lifestyle and your individual health goals.  It then gives you suggestions to improve your diet and lifestyle, as well as adding nutritional supplementation, so that you can meet your health goals!

I realize I’ve written about the HealthPrint before, a little over a year ago, and some of you took advantage of the assessment then.  Many of you didn’t, or you subscribed to my blog since that time.

Why am I writing about it again? Because it is still true that in order to know how to help YOU, I have to know where you’re coming from.  I have to know what’s important to you.  In order to help you be your healthiest you, I have to know what your personal challenges and goals are.  And this is such a quick and easy way to learn about you!

This week I want to invite you to take Shaklee’s HealthPrint and let me learn a little about you.  In return, I can help YOU learn a little about you too!  Maybe you already know you don’t get enough sleep.  Maybe you DIDN’T know that you aren’t getting quite enough exercise.  Maybe you didn’t realize drinking that soda in the afternoon isn’t a good choice.

Yes, the HealthPrint makes suggestions for adding supplements.  If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’re aware that I’m a firm believer in nutritional supplementation.  Surveys show 95% of Americans don’t get all the nutrition they need from their diet.  I don’t think I eat healthier than 95% of Americans, do you think YOU do?  And going without essential nutrients just isn’t acceptable.

Nutrition therapy put my migraines in remission 8 years ago.  It helped my mother heal what SHOULD have been permanent neuropathy in her hands and feet from chemotherapy for breast cancer.  It helped my husband avoid serious adverse effects from HIS chemotherapy for multiple myeloma.  My boys are tall and healthy and strong with the highest quality nutritional support available on the market.

And it’s hard to argue with scientific proof that those who use Shaklee supplements are healthier than those who don’t use them.  Don’t believe me?  Click this link to see the research.  Want more?  Okey dokey, here’s more 🙂

Whether your health goals include weight loss, better physical fitness, stress relief, better sleep, healthy aging, or just good overall health, I can help.  Shaklee can help.  The first step is the 5-minute, 20-question HealthPrint questionnaire.

Don’t you have 5 minutes to spend, to learn how to be YOUR healthiest you?

Click this link and take the HealthPrint assessment now!

PS – Even if you took the HealthPrint last year, you can still take it again.  Maybe things have changed!  Maybe you’re eating better, or your goals are different 🙂

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Should Doctors Fire Patients?

“Just tell her to send in the f*@&ing prescription!”

Really?  This is how you talk to people?  Unfortunately, sometimes this is EXACTLY how patients talk to my staff.  The question is, how should a doctor handle a patient like this?

What if this is YOU speaking to my staff this way?  Should I fire you? Should doctors fire patients?

That is an important topic of discussion among medical personnel especially in the outpatient setting.  Clearly, a patient who uses abusive language towards staff members should get the “You have 90 days to find a new doctor” letter.  But are there other reasons why patients should be dismissed from the practice?

Your relationship with your doctor is really not like your relationship with anyone else.  It’s a unique mix of cheerleader, parent, coach and cop.  There has to be mutual respect and trust.

Patients often talk about the trust they have in their doctor.  I agree, that trust is critical.  You have to be able to trust that I know my stuff, that I’ll be able to listen to your symptoms, ask the right questions, recognize the physical findings on exam, order the right tests, then put it all together to come to the right diagnosis.

What patients often don’t understand is that I have to be able to trust YOU.  For example, I have to know you’ll answer me truthfully when I ask you questions.

For instance, how much alcohol do you drink?  Do you use drugs?  Are you taking your medicine every day?  How many sex partners have you had in your life?  This year?  This week?  Did you really lose that prescription or did you sell it?  Are you seeing three other doctors who are prescribing the same medication I am?

The relationship we have is absolutely necessary for us to be able to work together as a team.  I’m not painting the walls in your living room, I’m guiding you to your healthiest and best self possible.  Are you listening to me and giving me honest feedback?  Are you helping me craft a good treatment plan that makes sense to us both?

If I were to poll friends of mine in the medical field I would guess these are the most common reasons we have to dismiss patients from our practices:

  • Repeated no-call/no-shows (lack of respect for the office and other patients)
  • Abusive language and behavior towards the doctor and/or staff
  • Failure to pay their bill (an unfortunate reality of business)

However, I would submit there are other valid reasons to dismiss a patient from the practice:

  • Dishonest behavior such as lying
  • Consistent failure to keep up their part of the treatment plan, such as a diabetic who neglects taking their medication, going to the dietitian or checking blood sugars
  • Failure to maintain appropriate boundaries

By the way, I’m dead serious about that last one.  I had a patient once who wanted to see me socially.  That is, he wanted to date me.  Never mind the fact that both of us were married (me very happily, him not so much).  Never mind that such a thing would violate my oath, State Medical Board regulations, and all the profession’s ethical standards.  He was very persistent.  His find-a-new-doctor letter got mailed out the next day!  What a nightmare…

My patients are awesome.  I absolutely love my practice and the vast majority of my patients are a pleasure to see.  However, I’m not shy about dismissing patients.  If they make me and my staff miserable, or if I’m not effective in motivating them to get their health conditions under control to the best of their ability, then it is in everyone’s best interest that they choose a new doctor.

QUESTION:  Do you work with the public in your job?  Do you have the ability to “fire” clients?  Would you add any reasons to fire patients to the ones I listed above?

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Alkaline Vs. Alkalinizing Foods

Lately I have been seeing a lot of ads for “alkaline” foods and beverages.  Companies are marketing everything from “alkaline water” to specially packaged convenience foods to improve the pH of your body.  Companies promote these foods to decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease, arthritis and kidney stones.

Do they work?

In a word, no.  The pH of a food itself has little to no impact on the pH of your body.  The stomach is extremely acidic and easily overwhelms the intrinsic pH of the food itself.  So “alkaline water” is water that has had its pH adjusted above 7 through artificial means.

However, there is evidence that a diet rich in ALKALINIZING foods is quite healthy for you.  This change in acid is accomplished because of how the foods are processed in the body, NOT based on the pH of the food itself.

There was a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that reported the amount of acid produced by the digestion of certain foods can be estimated almost entirely based on two nutrients.

Protein, especially animal protein, produces acid when it is processed in the body, which must be buffered by the cells and eliminated in the kidneys.  Buffering the acid tends to leach minerals from the bones. This can promote osteoporosis and the formation of kidney stones in the acidic urine.

Potassium salts tend to neutralize acid and decrease the amount of acid excreted in the urine.  In fact, potassium citrate is a medication prescribed for patients with certain types of kidney stones. It also has been shown to protect bone density in patients at risk for osteoporosis.

If you want to properly balance the acidity and alkalinity in your body, which may be a marker of health and risk for disease, you should do three things.

  • Limit or eliminate animal protein (meat, dairy and eggs) from your diet. Your body creates a lot of acid when processing this type of protein.  Replace animal protein with healthy plant proteins like soy, quinoa and beans.
  • Get plenty of potassium in your diet.  You can estimate the amount of potassium in your diet using a calorie tracker like MyFitnessPal.  Examples of high potassium foods are oranges, bananas, potatoes with the skins, broccoli and spinach.  You can see more options here.
  • Eat fresh whole plant foods at every meal.  Include plenty of fruit, fresh veggies, whole unprocessed grains, beans, nuts and seeds.

Don’t bother with “alkaline” foods or beverages like high-pH water.  There is little evidence they impact acid production in the body, or any other marker of health, at all.

QUESTION: Have you seen marketing for “alkaline” foods and beverages?

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You CAN Lose Weight And Keep It Off

As a family doctor and a doctor who enjoys providing medical supervision for weight loss, I have a lot of REALLY big patients.  They struggle with their weight for many reasons, but they all have one thing in common.

My patients have tried and failed to lose weight and keep it off many, MANY times.

As a result, some of them have given up.  One patient actually said that, in so many words.  “I tried to lose weight, but I couldn’t do it, so I gave up.  Now I just eat whatever I want.”  Yikes!

I LOVE helping people lose weight.  It is the highlight of not only my medical practice, but my Shaklee business as well.  Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to get patients to see that yes, you CAN lose weight, there IS a program that will work for you!   Even if you’ve failed before, you can lose weight AND keep it off!

Why do people fail at losing weight?  There are so many reasons!

  • Diets ask people to give up their favorite foods
  • People don’t have time to spend hours per week at the gym
  • People are too busy to cook multiple meals each day and do a lot of food prep
  • What reason would YOU add?

These are all reasons why I’m so excited about a soon-to-be-published research article proving that people who have failed multiple times to lose weight and keep it off CAN lose weight without a restrictive diet and punishing hours-long sessions at the gym.

Let me have Dr. Wayne Wescott, PhD, professor of exercise science at Quincy College in Massachusetts, explain about this research project.

Talking points from the study:

  • Participants had failed at weight loss an average of TEN times
  • The program design was very doable.  A 40-minute exercise program twice per week, incorporating both resistance training and cardio.  Modest calorie restriction only in the first phase, participants could resume their normal diet in the second phase, just continuing a single protein shake per day.
  • Over 80% of participants completed the initial phase of the program (not too hard or too restrictive)
  • 75% of participants completed the second phase of the program
  • Participants had success!  They lost an average of 14 pounds of fat and added almost 4 pounds of muscle.  That may not sound like a lot for those of us who watch the “lose 10 pounds in your first week or your money back” commercials on TV, but this is healthy, real, sustained weight loss for those who had failed A LOT in the past.

This is the exercise program used in the study.  Each exercise is done in a single set, at a weight where you reach temporary total fatigue between 8 and 12 reps.  This means that you can do 9 reps but not 10, or 10 reps but not 11.  Do the exercises slowly and with control, with proper form.

DISCLAIMER: If you aren’t familiar with resistance exercises, you should invest in a session with a good personal trainer before starting any new exercise program.  Many gyms have trainers available and some gyms provide a free session when you join.

  • Leg extensions
  • Leg curls
  • Leg presses
  • Cardio x 6 minutes
  • Chest press
  • Lat pull-down
  • Shoulder press
  • Cardio x 6 minutes
  • Abdominal crunches
  • Lumbar extensions
  • Torso twist
  • Cardio x 6 minutes

Some suggestions for cardio would be the elliptical treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine, stair-stepper, or a fast walk or a jog on the treadmill.  As long as you get your heart rate up and get a little out of breath, do what you like!

The meal-replacement protein shakes used in the research project were the Shaklee 180 products.  They are easy to use, tasty, and manage hunger well while providing protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics.  The shakes are supplemented with the branched-chain amino acid leucine to support and preserve muscle mass.  The products are low-glycemic and therefore diabetic friendly and never contain artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or genetically-modified ingredients.  You can see more about the products at this link.

The bottom line is that, even if you have failed at weight loss in the past, you CAN lose weight and you CAN keep the weight off.  Shaklee and Dr. Wescott have proven it!  Please don’t give up!  Email me at drjen@jenniferwurstmd.com and let’s get started 🙂

QUESTION: Have you tried to lose weight and failed in the past?

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Update From Shaklee Live

Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia!  I am spending a few days at Shaklee’s annual Global Conference learning about all the new products and tools from the number-one natural nutrition company in the USA.

There is so much to tell you! Shaklee really only releases a small number of brand-new products per year, because the development and testing process is so rigorous.  But this year we have BIG news!

This year we have the YOUTH skin care line, which was 8 years in development.  This product is so advanced the science team worked with dermatologists to develop a Skin Age Index in order to be able to test it!  This index takes into consideration things like wrinkles, pigmentation and pore size to give skin an age score.

After 60 days, 100% of women saw younger skin, and 2/3 of women saw their skin age go down into a lower decade!  Ten years off their face!

Now, as a physician I don’t usually pay much attention to how people LOOK, I’m more interested in their health and how they FEEL.  But I AM a woman, I’m 46 years old, and I would like to keep my skin looking young as long as I can!  And I know that many women feel the way I do about their skin and their appearance.

My shipment of Shaklee YOUTH skin care products should be waiting for me when I get home from Atlanta tomorrow and I can’t WAIT to start using it!  I already have my “before” pictures taken!

BTW if you’re on Facebook, I did a Facebook Live event this morning, with no makeup on (YIKES!) to show the Radiance C+E capsules.  Click this link to watch it!

The other group of products that have been updated are the fitness products.  So many of my team and customers are excited about these products!  The company recognized that not all of us are going to be marathon runners or long-distance swimmers or Olympic athletes, and we still have fitness needs too.

Shaklee has introduced products for fitness athletes while keeping the line of products for endurance athletes as well.

The Shaklee Performance fitness products are

Shaklee also has the Performance products available in an Endurance Pack for high-performance athletes and in a Fitness Pack for recreational athletes and those who work out for health and fitness.

As always, Shaklee has new technology to support distributors in building their businesses.  This year, though, they have greatly simplified the process of sponsoring new members and distributors.  If you are interested in learning more, please let me know!

If you’d like to hear more or have questions you’d like answered, please hop on to my Zoom webinar Sunday night at 9 PM.  Click this link a few minutes before 9 so you don’t miss anything!

5 years ago I started my blog while at Shaklee Live in Las Vegas so it seems a good time to take stock of where I am with my blog and with my Shaklee business.

I get asked a lot why I write my blog.  Especially since I only have a handful of people that actually read it!  (Thank you!  You know who you are!)

The reason I write my blog is the same reason I started my Shaklee business.  To help people be healthier.  There is so much misinformation and just downright misleading information on the internet, I wanted to create a place that had reliable and scientifically sound information for folks to read.

One other benefit of writing my blog is that it forces me to keep reading.  When I’m coming up empty for a blog topic, I usually go to the research database to look up something that I saw in the office that week.  Things like shingles, vitamin D deficiency, and gallstones became topics because of patients I saw or questions that were asked in the office.

So thank you for reading this far, and I hope you continue to read what I write!  YOU are the reason I do what I do <3

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How To Get Kids To Swallow Pills

It seems like more and more, I’m seeing older children and teenagers, fully adult-sized patients, who refuse to take medication in tablet form.  “I can’t swallow pills.”  “They make me gag.”  “I’m going to choke.”  I talk a lot with parents about how to get kids to swallow pills.

The problem with older kids and adults that won’t take pills is that a ten-day course of antibiotics for an adult can be quite a lot of liquid.  Some medications just aren’t made in a liquid because they aren’t meant for children, and sometimes they can’t be crushed or cut into pieces to make them easier to swallow.

Before we go into how to work with your kids to help them achieve this adult skill, I want to be very clear on how we use words.  I hear “I can’t” a lot, both from patients and parents.  If your child is eating solid food, he or she CAN swallow pills.  It is physically possible to do so.  A single bite of food is MUCH larger than any tablet that is made to be swallowed intact.

So what is the problem?  Your child (and maybe you as well) has bought into a self-limiting belief.  They BELIEVE that they are unable to swallow pills and if they try, something unpleasant will happen.  Maybe they half-swallowed a piece of hard candy once and had a choking sensation that scared them.  Maybe they DID swallow a piece of ice from their drink or a piece of hard food they didn’t chew well, and it hurt a little going down.  Whatever the reason, they firmly believe that swallowing something intact will hurt.

Your job as their parent is to help them prove to themselves that they CAN swallow it and it WON’T hurt.

How do we do that?  Candy to the rescue!  (Yes, you read that right, Dr. Jen is actually advocating you giving candy to your child.  In this instance, though, the candy isn’t candy but a training tool and a necessary evil, LOL!)

Start with a small package of really tiny candies.  Some examples are Tic-Tacs, M&M Minis, and Mini SweeTARTs.  You know your child, what would they like?  It just has to be really small.  Get one small package and tell your child if they are able to swallow the first (insert small number, like 3 or 5 or 10) whole, they can have the rest of the package to eat.  Use milk or juice to wash the candy piece down.  Watch them to make sure they don’t chew them first (and if they do, that’s OK, it just doesn’t count) and apply liberal amounts of praises and atta-boy/girl.

Gradually work up to larger and larger pieces of candy until they are able to swallow pieces as large as an average medicine tablet.  Examples are Skittles, plain M&Ms and Reese’s Pieces.  Once they are able to confidently swallow these, they should be ready for an ibuprofen or acetaminophen tablet in case of a headache or minor injury.  Be sure to use the correct weight-and-age-based dose for your child.

Also, since children’s supplements are usually formulated to be chewable and to taste good, they often contain sweeteners and flavors that really aren’t good for your child.  Not to mention that they are EXPENSIVE!  I recommend to parents that they move their child to a high-quality adult supplement as soon as they are able.

I started my children learning to swallow pills when they were five years old.  The first pill they took was Shaklee’s Optiflora probiotic, which is so tiny that if you drop it, you won’t find it again unless your flooring is really dark:

Shaklee OptiFlora

After the probiotic we moved on to Shaklee’s OmegaGuard which is also small.  (Plug for those of you who don’t like fish oil because they’re horse pills – OmegaGuard is little!)

Shaklee’s OmegaGuard

And now both my boys, at 15 and 10, take Shaklee’s Vitalizer Men.  I laugh when people ask me what I’m feeding my 6’2″ teenager who has sprouted up about 8 inches in the last 2 years.  He’s my Shaklee kid!

Shaklee’s Vitalizer Men

Your child CAN take pills, if he or she is able to swallow solid food.  It is physically possible.  It’s your job to help him or her past the fear and get the confidence to learn this adult skill.  Like so much of parenting, it just takes patience, persistence and lots of positive reinforcement.

They can do it!  And so can you 🙂

QUESTION: How did you help your kids learn to swallow pills?  Do you have a child that can’t or won’t do it yet?

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What Are The Health Benefits Of Having Pets?

My cat is sick.  She has been coughing for a few weeks, which is unusual for cats.  Yesterday I took her to the doctor and found out she has asthma (I didn’t know cat asthma was a thing…) and pneumonia.  Yesterday I started her on her medicine and she already seems to be feeling better.

Because my cat has been on my mind this week, I got to thinking about how much better my life is because she (and her sister) are in it.  I started to wonder if people with pets are healthier than those who don’t have companion animals.  What are the health benefits of having pets?

There was an interesting article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine that explored this very topic.  I learned a new word – ZOOEYIA – which is the term for pets’ benefit to human health.

Turns out there is a huge amount of research of all different types of studies that supports the benefits of having pets on human health.  Pet ownership is pretty widespread.  It is estimated that 68% of us in North America, including over three quarters of all children, have at least one pet in their home.  (Here’s a sad fact – children are more likely to live with a pet than with their biological father or with a sibling.  That’s a topic for another day.)

There are four main ways pets benefit our health.

Builders of Social Capital

Having pets enhance feelings of happiness and belongings and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.  As I’m sitting here my cat is trying to climb into my lap (never mind that the computer I’m trying to use to write this post is already in my lap!) and get my attention.

Pets tend to decrease the impact of stressful events on our health.  Medicare patients that have pets see the doctor less often and have lower medical costs.

Harm Reduction

Having a pet is a great way to motivate someone to reduce their harmful behaviors.  One good example is cigarette smoking.  Cigarette smoke is harmful for cats and dogs just as it is for humans.

Many people who aren’t motivated to quit smoking for their own health are more willing to tackle smoking cessation for the benefit of a beloved pet.

Motivators of Change

I can’t tell you how often when I ask about exercise that patients say they walk the dog every day.  Hooray!  Your pup is making you healthier!  Kids with dogs are more physically active than kids who don’t have dogs.  Dogs are a great exercise “buddy” and are always up for a good brisk walk.

Participants in Treatment Plans

Having a pet can directly impact your health in a positive way.  There was a study published where a pet was better than a pill at controlling high blood pressure in response to a stressful life event.  Patients with mental health problems like anxiety and depression respond well to pets.

Having pets isn’t completely without risks.  Some pets can transmit so-called zoonotic diseases to humans.  People, especially small children, are at risk of being injured by animals.  And pet owners can take on a large financial burden if a beloved pet falls sick and needs expensive treatments.

All in all, however, having companion animals in your life enriches your life and helps improve your health.  If you choose to add a new furry or feathered family member, please consider adopting rather than buying from a pet store or breeder.  Most shelters have cats and dogs, of course, but many also have rabbits and reptiles and other species available for adoption.

QUESTION: Do you have pets?  Do you feel they improve your health?

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Treat Yourself Like Your Best Friend

My patient Anna was in the office today and she shared with me that a few weeks ago she was feeling poorly.  She was on vacation and had a day where she really didn’t feel well.  On further questioning and on exam it was obvious that her symptoms could have signaled a serious problem.

She took some OTC meds and rested, but didn’t seek medical care.

The problem is that medical professionals work very hard to teach people about what symptoms they should watch for and what symptoms may signal a serious problem.  For instance, suppose you twist your ankle and can’t walk on it AT ALL and it is obviously deformed? You would need to see the doctor ASAP to have it checked.

What if Anna’s best friend had been on vacation with her and had the exact same symptoms she was experiencing? She wouldn’t have thought twice about taking her friend to the emergency room to be checked out.  But because it was her own symptoms, she minimized them and chose not to seek care.

Why do we DO that?!  I’m not exempting myself from this sense of frustration.  This time last year I worked almost a whole day in the office with worsening abdominal pain that turned out to be appendicitis (see this post for more information).

We can easily minimize symptoms of illness or injury. Sometimes we don’t want to inconvenience others.  Also, nobody WANTS to be sick or hurt.  However, ignoring symptoms of illness can be very dangerous.  Illnesses are often easier to treat if they are caught early.

How do you know if you should see the doctor if you’re sick or hurt?  My best advice is to treat yourself like your best friend.  Look at your situation as if your best friend was feeling this way.  If you would take your friend to the emergency room or to the doctor, then you should go.

Many people die every year because they think their chest pain is heartburn.  Even though they KNOW chest pain can be heart pain.  Or they convince themselves the severe headache is just sinus trouble. The dizziness and numbness is just a pinched nerve.

YOU are important!  YOU deserve to be treated with care and respect, and have your symptoms taken seriously.  Especially by YOURSELF.  Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.  You deserve it!

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How To Exercise In The Heat

Summer is finally here, for real!  We’ve had some really hot days over the last few weeks and workouts have been a challenge for me.  The heat just really seems to sap all your energy and leave you a soggy, sweaty mess with half your workout left to complete.

Credit: physiqueft.co.uk

You can get amazing workouts in the summer but, like when it’s super-cold, it takes more planning.  Here are 3 tips to help you safely exercise in the heat.

Work Out Indoors

I know, I know, it’s beautiful and you want me to stay INSIDE?  No, not necessarily, but if you find yourself skimping on your runs or hikes or whatever your exercise of choice is, moving the workout indoors can help you stay a little more comfortable so you can push yourself a little more.

If you’re a runner, give the treadmill a try, or do some cross-training in the weight room.  It’s only for a few weeks until the weather cools off.

Work Out Early Or Late

If you absolutely MUST work out outdoors (for instance if you’re like me and take your life in your hands trying to run on a treadmill, LOL!) shift your workouts to early mornings or late in the evenings when it’s cooler and the humidity is lower.

I personally LOVE running early in the morning.  It’s quiet, you have the trail to yourself and you can enjoy the rest of your day knowing you’ve done good for your body.

Stay Hydrated

If you play a sport like baseball or soccer where you don’t get to pick your workout times or where you practice, the key is staying hydrated.  Drink copious amounts of water to replace what you lose by sweating.  Watch for symptoms of dehydration like dizziness, muscle cramps and nausea.

If you play a sport where you sweat a lot in the heat, consider using an electrolyte replacement drink.  Electrolyte replacement drinks maintain better blood glucose levels than water alone, and also replace salts and minerals lost in sweat.

Be careful which electrolyte replacement drink you choose.  Many of them have artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners (yuck) that definitely don’t contribute to health or optimal sports performance.

I recommend Shaklee’s Performance which has been proven to hydrate better than water alone, is completely free of artificial ingredients, and was developed for NASA to keep the astronauts well-hydrated in space.

Through the end of July, Shaklee is running a summer athlete special on Performance.  When you buy 3 canisters of Performance (or Physique, Shaklee’s muscle recovery shake) you get 3 canisters at 50% off.  If you’re interested in this promotion please let me know – it’s only open to members but I can make some magic happen if you’d like to take advantage of it 🙂

If you’re struggling to get your workouts in because of hot weather, there are a few ways to make them safer and more comfortable.  Change up the time and/or place you work out.  Stay well hydrated, and consider adding a good electrolyte replacement to keep your stamina up.

We’ve got quite a bit of summer left!  Get out there and have fun 🙂

QUESTION: Are you having trouble getting your exercise in the hot weather?

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