Category Archives: General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate, aka Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Got Dark Chocolate?

dark-chocolate

As you may know if you’re a regular reader, Straight, No Chaser is big on you enjoying life and making healthy choices while doing so. In that spirit, on this day of roses and chocolates, we’re here to share with you the benefits of dark chocolate.

That’s right. Chocolate does have health benefits, but all chocolate is not created equal. If your loved one gives you chocolates today, that’s great (if that’s your thing). If s/he gives you dark chocolate, that’s an extra level of loving!

Straight, No Chaser has previously discussed the health benefits of antioxidants. Here’s the thing: antioxidants are substances that prevent or delay cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are byproducts of many activities that create cell damage. Think about cigarette smoke, trauma (even excessively vigorous exercise), excessive heat and sunlight (and its radiation), to name a few examples. The process of creating and releasing these molecules is called oxidation. The key point is free radicals are unstable and too many of them lead to a process called oxidative stress. This process is implicated in the development of many illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cataracts and other eye diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Antioxidants fight this process; this is why foods rich in antioxidants are called superfoods!

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Here are the known benefits of dark chocolate:

  1. It lowers blood pressure.
  2. It increases the levels of antioxidants, which reduces the incidence of heart disease of other conditions.
  3. It potential slows the onset of many (if not any) disease made likely by increased levels of free radicals. This points to benefits for brain health, slowing aging, cancer prevention and many other conditions.

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Here’s how to enjoy the benefits of dark chocolate:

  1. Remember, it’s dark chocolate (not white chocolate or milk chocolate) that provides these health benefits.
  2. Offset the extra calories you’re ingesting by exercise or otherwise eating less.
  3. Don’t drink milk while enjoying your dark chocolate; it appears to interfere with the body’s absorption of the dark chocolate.
  4. Go for European dark chocolate if available. It’s richer in cocoa phenols (the specific compounds known to lower blood pressure).
  5. Remember that a dark chocolate diet is not a thing! This is you making healthy choices even as you enjoy sweets.

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So if you’re going to chomp down on a truffle or bon-bon today, make it dark chocolate. And hold the milk. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Cardiology/Heart, Detoxification, Diet and Nutrition, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Staying Alive – A Ridiculously Simple Approach to CPR

cpr

Hopefully, this video is the hokiest thing I’ll ever post, but modern understanding of CPR is such that every single one of you should know exactly how to respond in the event someone collapses near you. Simply put, this is how you save lives. I would think every one who reads this would do well to forward or post this message within your networks.

CPR video

In case the video doesn’t launch for you, here’s your two steps.

1) Have someone call 911.

2) Interlock your hands and fingers (one on top of the other) and use them to apply compression to the center of the affected person’s chest, right between the nipples. Push fast and hard; and yes, the correct rate (100 reps/minute) can be approximated by pump to the beat of The BeeGee’s hit “Staying Alive.” Forgive me, but this is important enough to go there.

You may have noticed the deemphasis of rescue breathing. That makes this process even easier. Combine this with my past comments regarding an AED (automated external defibrillator – click here for details), and you are really giving someone the best opportunity to have a successful outcome.

Don’t worry, in a future post, I’ll address how to get that song out of your head.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: What Will You Do If Your Baby Starts Choking?

infchokingcons

We’ve previously discussed how to address choking in adults. Today, we address the twin horrors of needing to save a baby’s life (those younger than 12 months old) from choking and how to help yourself if no one else is around to help.

In case you didn’t realize it, infants haven’t had time to accumulate enough disease and toxins to have heart attacks in the way adults do. When they are in a life-threatening situation, it’s far more likely to be from a respiratory cause, such as choking. Infants and young children are exploring their world and seemingly will place most anything near or in their mouths. Too often this leads to choking. Please keep this in mind if you’re ever faced with an infant in danger.

In discussing how to help a child in danger, let’s focus on two considerations: how to assess the situation and how to act.

It is vital to assess these situations accurately. There are important splits in treatment algorithms based on your assessment.

Simply put, the first thing you want to do is determine the infant’s level of responsiveness. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume we’re discussing conscious choking.

If an infant is suddenly unable to cough or cry, it’s a reasonable to assume that something may be blocking the airway.

  • When this is the case, help will be needed getting the object out.

If an infant is coughing or gagging, it’s likely that the airway may be partially blocked.

  • Coughing is actually the most effective way to dislodge an object, so you shouldn’t interfere in this setting.

If an infant is somewhat responsive in the context of a recent insect bite, bee sting or other possible allergic exposure, the throat could be closing because of an allergic reaction.

  • When this is the case, you are facing a potential life-threatening emergency. Call 911 immediately.

Infant Choking

When you’ve made your assessment, your next step (unless you’re performing CPR, calling 911 or the child is still coughing) is to try to assist in getting the object out. Think “back blows, chest thrusts, repeat unless the infant gets unconscious.” Yes, that was meant to be a jingle.

backblow

Back blows:

  • Hold the infant face up on one forearm, and hold the back of his head with the hand.
  • Stabilize the infant’s front with your opposite hand and forearm.
  • Flip the infant face down so that he’s now in the control of the other forearm. Use your thumb and fingers to stabilize the jaw while flipping. Lower your arm onto your thigh; now the baby’s head will be lower than his chest.
  • Using the heel of your hand, deliver five firm back blows between the infant’s shoulder blades in an effort to dislodge the object. Maintain head and neck support by firmly holding his jaw between your thumb and forefinger.
  • Finally, place the hand that had been delivering the back blows on the back of the baby’s head with your arm along his back. Carefully, turn him over while keeping your other hand and forearm on his front.
  • If you have dislodged the object and the infant is responsive and/or coughing, you are done. Otherwise, proceed to chest thrusts.

chestthrust

Chest thrusts

  • Use your thumb and fingers to hold his jaw while sandwiching him between your forearms to support his head and neck. Lower your arm that is supporting his back onto your opposite thigh, still keeping the baby’s head lower than the rest of his body.
  • Place the pads of two or three fingers in the center of the baby’s chest, just below an imaginary line running between his nipples. To do a chest thrust, push straight down on the chest about 1 1/2 inches. Then allow the chest to come back to its normal position.
  • Do five chest thrusts. Keep your fingers in contact with the baby’s breastbone. The chest thrusts should be smooth, not jerky.

Repeat

Continue alternating five back blows and chest thrusts until the object is forced out, the infant starts to cough forcefully, cry, breathe on his own or becomes unconscious. If he’s coughing, allow him to do so.

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If the infant becomes unconscious

If a choking infant becomes unconscious, you should proceed to modified CPR as follows:

  • Open his mouth. If you can see an object, remove it with your little finger.
  • Give two rescue breaths. If you don’t see the chest rise, tilt his head and try two rescue breaths again.

 If his chest still doesn’t rise, do 30 chest compressions.
  • Check the mouth again, looking for an object. Remove it if seen.
  • Repeat the cycle with rescue breaths and chest compressions until help arrives.

Regardless of the outcome, the infant will need prompt medical attention.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness, Respiratory/Lungs

Straight, No Chaser: How Can I Save Myself If I’m Choking?

choking

If you’re the type that is cool under pressure, you’re well positioned to think your way out of many dangerous situations. If you’re the type that’s inclined to panic, Stop! The life you save may be your own!

At Straight, No Chaser, we’re big on you knowing when to appropriately engage the healthcare system, knowing when you can contact us for advice and information, and knowing simple tips that can help you prolong your life. Here’s a very important example.

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Think it through. If it happened today, how would you react if you choked on something and no one else was around?

Can you perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself?

HEIMLICH

Here’s what you do.

  • Make a fist. Place the thumb below your ribs and above your navel.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand. Using a quick, upward motion, press your fist the area.

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As noted in the diagram, while perform this maneuver you can also lean over a chair, the edge of a table edge, couch or other object of similar height. In this example, you will quickly thrust your upper abdomen against the edge.

You should repeat this motion until the object blocking the airway comes out or until help arrives.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: What Will You Do If You See Someone Choking?

choking1

So … what would you do if someone around you starting choking. Or if they choked, then lost consciousness? What would you do if you choked and no one else was around? Don’t you think you should know? Read on …

First things first. You’ve all heard of the Heimlich maneuver, even if you don’t know how to do it. My job today is to make this easy for you. My first task will be to pass on the physician’s mantra of “Do No Harm.” To that end, let’s start with things you shouldn’t do.

  • If the person is able to speak, don’t interfere.
  • If the person is coughing and still has a normal level of awareness, don’t interfere.
  • If the person is able to breathe in and out without excessive difficulty, don’t interfere.
  • If the person is conscious, don’t place anything in his/her mouth trying to extract an object.

Next, let’s review a few quick points to help you understand what could be going on.

  • Choking is occurring because something is blocking the airway (aka windpipe).
  • Choking is dangerous because complete blockage will prevent oxygen from circulating thorough the body.
  • Choking is deadly because without oxygen, permanent brain damage will likely occur in four to six minutes.

Partial blockage isn’t the same as complete blockage. The body has protective reflexes to deal with blockage. That’s what coughing is. Once blockage has become complete, you’re facing a life-threatening emergency, and the risks of doing something outweigh the risks of doing nothing.

choking

It’s not that difficult to know if someone’s choking; they’re likely grabbing their throat. You would do well to know what it looks like if someone has already choked or is choking but can’t use his/her hands. Here are some clues:

  • Coughing may be increasingly weaker.
  • They likely will exhibit difficulty breathing.
  • They may be unable to speak.
  • Their skin may have a bluish or purplish color.
  • You may hear high-pitched musical sounds while they’re breathing.
  • They may have blacked out (from the blockage).

heimlich

Here are universally accepted steps to the Heimlich maneuver (in someone not obese or pregnant):

  • Ask the person, “Are you choking?”
  • Then ask them to speak. If they can speak or are vigorously coughing, you watch and wait. If not, proceed.
  • Standing behind the person, wrap your arms around his/her waist.
  • Placing your thumb just above the belly button (navel), make a fist with one hand.
  • Grasp the fist with your other hand.
  • Thrust your fist quickly, upward and inward.
  • Repeat until the person either loses consciousness or the object is dislodged.

If the person is obese or pregnant, wrap your arms around the chest, not the abdomen. Place your fist between the nipples on the middle of the breastbone, and make firm thrusts back toward you.

If the person loses consciousness, there are four steps you must take.

  1. If you see something blocking the airway, try to remove it.
  2. Lower the person to the floor, preferably on his/her side until you start CPR or if vomiting starts.
  3. Have someone call 911.
  4. Begin CPR.

Of course, prevention is key. Take care to chew your food slowly and thoroughly.

Here are three more tips for those most at risk:

  • Children: Keep them away from small objects that can be placed in their mouths.
  • Elderly: Make sure their dentures fit appropriately.
  • Adults: Limit alcohol intake around the time of eating.

In an upcoming Straight, No Chaser, we’ll also add a post for you regarding how to handle yourself and infants (less than one year old) if choking.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Cardiology/Heart, General Health and Wellness, Respiratory/Lungs

Straight, No Chaser: Let’s Boost Your Metabolism

fat crying

It would be improper for me to have dragged you through the mud for three days and depressed you into thinking you can’t improve your situation. Hopefully, you’re not feeling that way. You should now have a better understanding of how the body works, how to count calories and how to compare yourself to a baseline for health. What left is giving your body a leg up on your efforts. Yep, I’m talking about boosting your metabolism. Any of you that have been with me for a while know that means I’m not promoting something you’ll find in a bottle, although there are many good supplements that can assist in that effort. I’ll refer you to your (or my) favorite personal trainer for those considerations. As always, I want to offer you the tools to be self-empowered. To that end, here’s five Quick Tips to boost your metabolism. Why five? Because five is easier to implement than six. Once you get these five down, let me know, and we can get a bit more intricate.

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1. Eat smaller meals, and eat more frequently. It’s true. More meals more often is better, but only if they’re smaller. Calorie counting is still a major part of the equation. The point of more frequent meals is preventing the body from going into starvation mode, which slows your metabolism as the body attempts to conserve energy. If you do this, you’ll discover those meals are smaller and you will get closer to eat more appropriate portions than we typically do. Also, make those in-between meals healthy choices like a handful of fruits or nuts.

2. Prime your pump. Remember, it’s all about your heart’s ability to efficiently move blood around the body anyway. The healthier your heart is, the better your metabolism will be. You need aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate for 20-30 minutes at a time. Learn your target heart rate for your age, and exercise to get into that range. Your metabolism will better approximate that of a fine tuned machine rather than a sputtering old car.

3. Weight train. This is very simple. The more muscular you are, the more calories you will burn, especially relative to someone of the same weight who is obese. Not only will you become a finer calorie-burning machine, in this case you actually will look better! Add weight training to your exercise regimen.

4. Choose the fish (and not the fried variety). Fish oil contains substances called omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) which increases levels of fat-burning enzymes and decreases levels of fat storing enzymes. Daily ingestion has been shown to help by approximately 400 calories a day.

5. Enlist a personal trainer. Everyone needs help and motivation. Some of us need a lot of help and a lot of motivation. We also need expertise. There’s nothing more frustrating than working hard yet not seeing any results because you’re working incorrectly. A good trainer can put you on the path, supervise your regimen, and hold your hand through the process. The minutia of age, sex and body habitus considerations that also play a role in this can be managed by a good trainer. Your ideal trainer will have knowledge of nutrition, wellness and supplements that are tailored to your specific considerations. This will get your metabolism revved up!

By the way, if you’re into green tea, caffeine or spicy/hot peppers, enjoy them for their other benefits, but don’t expect them to contribute significantly to your efforts to improve your metabolism. At least that’s what the consensus in the medical literature points out.

metabolism rev up

Finally: yes, it’s true that metabolism naturally slows with age (starting as early as age 25); everyone has heard that fact. However, here’s what you don’t usually hear: that’s not inevitable and is more a result of your becoming less physically active than just aging. That demonstrates the need for you to be even more diligent in your efforts. Good luck, and I welcome your questions and comments.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: Healthy, Sustainable Weight Loss – Let’s Get Started

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How to Lose Weight, and What is Healthy Weight Loss (AKA, How Much, How Soon and How)?

Let’s start with the How. Commercial voice: “You should contact your physician before starting any weight loss routine”. We ended things on the last post talking about the caloric balance equation, which (simplified) means you need to get off your derriere, and close your mouth. Without getting too technical, to lose weight, 1 pound equals 3,500 calories, so your net caloric intake must be cut by at least 500 calories per day to lose a pound a week. Here are some Quick Tips to cut calories (and I will not be discussing any of the popular diets or medical remedies (with one exception in the next post); you can see your physician or nutritionist about those. Besides, guess what? Most of you don’t need a fad diet. Keep it simple. And…more importantly, you should be more concerned with healthy regimens that help you keep the weight off, not drastic efforts that have proven to have quick short-term but unsustainable long-term outcomes).

Weight_Loss_Exercise_Nutrition_Weights

1) Work out: If you can sprint, do so. If you can’t, jog. If you can’t jog, walk. I like working out while watching sports, because my heart’s pumping anyway. Weight training at the same time is even better. Once you hit a good exercise regimen, your metabolism will improve, making weight loss that much easier.  By the way, the next post is on metabolism; stay tuned.

2) Hungry?  Start counting calories.  Use this standard to determine what your daily calorie intake should be.  Meal plan so you don’t exceed that level.  Remember the caloric equation to lose weight: Amount expended minus the amount eaten should be 500 calories a day.  In the next post, I’ll give you a Quick Tip for an extra 400 calories a day you can lose.

drink water

3) Still hungry? Try brushing your teeth. Don’t laugh. It actually works. And it gives you nice teeth. Otherwise try drinking water or chewing calorie-free gum. All these are nice, simple inexpensive appetite suppressants.

How Soon? It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1-2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits. Think health instead of weight, and the weight will improve.

weight loss pix

How Much? If you were my patient (but you’re not!), I’d tell you to forget about ideal body weight and BMI – for now. Focus on a modest weight loss, like 5-10% of your current weight. Even this success will improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Once you accomplish that goal, do it again. So even if the overall goal seems large, see it as a journey rather than just a final destination. Seek to learn new eating and physical activity habits that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. These habits may help you maintain your weight loss over time. To that end, I love healthy challenges. Try a 30-day water instead of pop (soda)/coffee, etc. challenge, or even better, give yourself a 30-day ‘fruit for dessert challenge’ or ‘salad of your choice for lunch’ challenge. When that’s done, immediately do it again.  Learn to integrate healthy habits into your quest to lose weight, and you’ll increase the odds of having sustainable weight lost. At the end of the day, it’s been well established that those who maintained a significant weight loss report improvements in not only their physical health, but also their energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence. Good luck, and check back for the next post on how to fine-tune your metabolism!

find the best way to lose weight and tips

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Diet and Nutrition, General Health and Wellness