Tag Archives: Behind the Curtain

Straight, No Chaser: Me on the Business End of a Colonoscopy, aka Getting Screened for Colorectal Cancer

colonoscopy

The last two posts have highlighted recommended screening examinations for men and women between ages 40-64. In today’s Straight, No Chaser, I want to pay special attention to one examination in particular: the screening colonoscopy, largely because I had the experience of getting it done just yesterday – but more on that later in the post.

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in the United States after lung cancer (stop smoking!). As previously noted in the post on recommended screenings, everyone should have a screening colonoscopy at least by age 50. Certain groups of individuals, such as African-Americans and those with positive family history for colon cancer should have the test done earlier. Simply put, colonoscopy is definitive in screening and diagnosing colorectal cancer, and it is one of the most successful ways to both prevent and treat early cancer.

Here’s a bit about how a colonoscopy is done.

colonoscopy-icons

First, you have to do a bowel prep. Over a few days, you’ll eliminate certain foods (e.g. corn, nuts) from your diet, then progress to an all liquid diet, followed by taking a few doses of a very strong laxative to completely clean out the contents of your intestines (those of you looking for a good detox should be so lucky). I actually lost 3.5 pounds doing this.

colonoscopy_procedure

The exam involves using a tube (colonoscope) to view your digestive tissue from your rectum all the way up the large intestine (approximately 5 feet). It includes cleaning away and suction stool that blocks the view, direct visualization of the intestines and real-time removal of suspicious tissue (e.g. polyps) that could be cancerous or early signs of cancer. You may or may not choose to be sedated (put to sleep) during this. Of course, my medical curiosity was such that I wanted to see everything on the screen in real time, so I went without any medications, and yes, I lived to tell the story: the level of discomfort never got higher than a 3 on a scale of 1-10.

The point here is simple and straightforward: Most people in whom colon cancer is found and treated early will not only be alive 5 years later, but many will live a normal life span. On the other hand, when it’s not, colorectal cancer is very dangerous because it often doesn’t cause noticeable signs or symptoms until the cancer is advanced and much more difficult to treat. The screening colonoscopy gives you the best chance to know where you stand.

colonoscopy-s2-why-is-colonoscopy-done

So this isn’t that complicated. If you’re older, African-American, have a positive family history for colon cancer or inflammatory intestinal conditions, live a sedentary lifestyle or have a low-fiber, high-fat diet, you are at risk. A word about your diet: you should know that according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, just 1.7 ounces of processed meats consumed daily (equivalent to less than two strips of bacon) roughly increase a person’s risk for colorectal cancer by 21 percent. More definitely, no amount of processed meat is considered safe for consumption.

Thankfully, my colonoscopy was perfectly normal: I keep telling you diet is 75% of health (unless you’re either lucky or unlucky in your genetic makeup)! The actual colonoscopy took just over 10 minutes, and I won’t have to go through this for another 10 years. Isn’t that investment of time worth giving yourself the best chance for a clean bill of colon and rectal health?

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

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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 Gastrointestinal, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention, Hematology & Oncology/Blood Disorders/Cancer

The Straight, No Chaser Guide to Health Screenings for Women

Typically, this is the time of the year when you start to inventory all the things for which you’re thankful. In the event health or your family comes to mind, you might be interested in preserving your health. This and the previous Straight, No Chaser looks at current health screening recommendations. Whether it’s an ounce of prevention or early detection, you’re much better off knowing what your health status is. Today, let’s focus on women’s health. Women are much more likely to have encountered a physician, so that results in longer life expectancies, but to be clear, here’s what you should be protecting against. Please remember: these recommendations are in effect regardless of “how you feel!”

health-screening-womens-screening-wpahs 

Health Screening For Women – Ages 40 to 64

Blood Pressure Screening:

  • At age 40, you should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you’re seeing a physician at any point during the year, this will be done. Be sure to ask for and document your numbers. If you aren’t seeing a physician, these days local pharmacies and various other opportunities through communities will allow you to stay aware of your blood pressure.
  • If you’re getting it checked on your own, remember the following numbers: if the top number (systolic) is above 140 or the lower number is more than 90, you should schedule an appointment with a health care provider.

Breast Exam

  • Although opinions are evolving about the benefits of breast self-exams in finding cancer or saving lives, it still remains the case that the benefits of early detection without much risk in performing exams render monthly exams harmless. You should discuss this with your physician, and contact him or her immediately if you notice any change in your breasts.

Cholesterol Screening

  • Cholesterol levels should be checked no less than every 5 years.

Colon Cancer Screening

  • All men between 50-75 should be screened along one of these guidelines:
    • A stool test for blood every year
    • A flexible sigmoidoscopy test every 5 years with a stool test for blood every 3 years
    • A colonoscopy at least every 10 years, and perhaps more often with risk factors such as ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal adenomas
  • Men under 50 years may need screening if a strong family history of colon cancer, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease exists.

Diabetes Screening

  • After age 45, all men should be screened every 3 years.
  • If your blood pressure is more than 135/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, you may be checked at any age.
  • If you are overweight, you likely will be screened at younger ages; ask if you should be checked whenever you engage the healthcare system.

Dental Exam

  • At these ages, you should be visiting the dentist once or twice a year for an exam, cleaning and screening for oral cancer.

Eye Exam

  • At ages 40-54: an exam every 2-4 years
  • At ages 55-64: an exam every 1-3 years
  • Exams may be needed more frequently if you have visual difficulties or a significant risk for glaucoma. If you have diabetes, you need an annual eye exam.

Heart Disease Prevention

  • At these ages, an examination is needed to quantify your risks for heart disease.
  • When you have a physical examination, specifically ask if you should be taking a daily aspirin.

womens-health-screening-h-img-goals-for-women

Immunizations

  • Influenza: you should get a flu shot every year.
  • Shingles (herpes zoster): you may get a shingles vaccine once after age 60.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria: you should get a booster ever 10 years, assuming you’ve received the primary vaccine series – if not, you’ll need that first.

Lung Cancer Screening

  • You will receive annual screening for lung cancer if between ages 55-80 and you have a 30 “pack-year” smoking history and if you either are a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years.

Mammogram

  • Ages 40-49: Your physician may or may not choose to have a mammogram performed every 1-2 years.
  • Ages 50-75: You should have an exam performed every 1-2 years (frequency based on your risk factors).
  • Mammograms may be recommended at earlier ages with strong family histories (e.g. mother or sister) of breast cancer.

Osteoporosis Screening

  • If you are under age 65 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should be screened.
  • All women over 50 years of age should have a bone density test after a fracture.

Pelvic Exam and Pap Smear

  • Women should have a Pap smear every 3 years, unless your physician is performing both a Pap smear and a human papilloma virus (HPV) test. If so, you are likely to be tested every 5 years. If you have had a total hysterectomy you will no longer receive Pap smears in the absence of a previous diagnosis of cervical cancer.
  • If you are having high risk sexual activity you should be screened for chlamydia, gonorrhea and other considerations at the physician’s discretion.

Physical Exam:

  • Yes, this is a very important and basic screening tool. Every year if not more often with every exam, your height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiratory (breathing) rate) should be checked.
  • Your annual exam will also assess your risks due to alcohol, tobacco and other illicit drug use, depression, inadequate diet and exercise, and improper use of seat belts and smoke detectors. You should expect to receive a skin exam as part of your physical exam.

If this seems like a lot, well, you’re worth it. You can always print this out and compare notes with your physician; odds are they’ll have all of this covered. The most important thing is to get checked!

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

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

The Straight, No Chaser Guide to Health Screenings for Men

health_screening

Typically, this is the time of the year when you start to inventory all the things for which you’re thankful. In the event health or your family comes to mind, you might be interested in preserving your health. This and the next Straight, No Chaser looks at current health screening recommendations. Whether it’s an ounce of prevention or early detection, you’re much better off knowing what your health status is. Today, let’s focus on men’s health, as men are much less likely to have encountered a physician. Please remember: these recommendations are in effect regardless of “how you feel!”

 

Health Screenings For Men – Ages 40 to 64

Blood Pressure Screening:

  • At age 40, you should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you’re seeing a physician at any point during the year, this will be done. Be sure to ask for and document your numbers. If you aren’t seeing a physician, these days local pharmacies and various other opportunities through communities will allow you to stay aware of your blood pressure.
  • If you’re getting it checked on your own, remember the following numbers: if the top number (systolic) is above 140 or the lower number is more than 90, you should schedule an appointment with a health care provider.

Cholesterol Screening

  • Cholesterol levels should be checked no less than every 5 years.

Colon Cancer Screening

  • All men between 50-75 should be screened along one of these guidelines:
    • A stool test for blood every year
    • A flexible sigmoidoscopy test every 5 years with a stool test for blood every 3 years
    • A colonoscopy at least every 10 years, and perhaps more often with risk factors such as ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal adenomas
  • Men under 50 years may need screening if a strong family history of colon cancer, polyps, inflammatory bowel disease exists.

Diabetes Screening

  • After age 45, all men should be screened every 3 years.
  • If your blood pressure is more than 135/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, you may be checked at any age.
  • If you are overweight, you likely will be screened at younger ages; ask if you should be checked whenever you engage the healthcare system.

Dental Exam

  • At these ages, you should be visiting the dentist once or twice a year for an exam, cleaning and screening for oral cancer.

Eye Exam

  • At ages 40-54: an exam every 2-4 years
  • At ages 55-64: an exam every 1-3 years
  • Exams may be needed more frequently if you have visual difficulties or a significant risk for glaucoma. If you have diabetes, you need an annual eye exam.

health-screening1

Heart Disease Prevention

  • At these ages, an examination is needed to quantify your risks for heart disease.
  • When you have a physical examination, specifically ask if you should be taking a daily aspirin.

Immunizations

  • Influenza: you should get a flu shot every year.
  • Shingles (herpes zoster): you may get a shingles vaccine once after age 60.
  • Tetanus-diphtheria: you should get a booster ever 10 years, assuming you’ve received the primary vaccine series – if not, you’ll need that first.

Lung Cancer Screening

  • You will receive annual screening for lung cancer if between ages 55-80 and you have a 30 “pack-year” smoking history and if you either are a current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years.

Osteoporosis Screening

  • Discuss with your healthcare provider if you’re between ages 50-70.

Physical Exam:

  • Yes, this is a very important and basic screening tool. Every year if not more often with every exam, your height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiratory (breathing) rate) should be checked.
  • Your annual exam will also assess your risks due to alcohol, tobacco and other illicit drug use, depression, inadequate diet and exercise, and improper use of seat belts and smoke detectors.

Prostate Cancer Screening:

  • Discuss with your physician at age 45 if you’re African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer in a first-degree relative younger than age 65.
  • Discuss with your physician otherwise if your older than 50.
  • In case you’re wondering, prostate exams are no longer routinely done on men without symptoms. Furthermore, the PSA test is falling out of favor; the potential benefits of PSA screening haven’t been shown to outweigh potential harm done by treatment.

Testicular Exam

  • Testicular self-exams are no longer recommended (source: US Preventive Services Task Force). Your physician may choose to examine you based on risks and/or symptoms.

If this seems like a lot, well, you’re worth it. You can always print this out and compare notes with your physician; odds are they’ll have all of this covered. The most important thing is to get checked!

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

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Cancer, The Big C

 

The Straight, No Chaser vlog (video blog) series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Today’s Straight, No Chaser focuses on Cancer, the Big C. Early detection is paramount. Learn to take CAUTION with cancer. We’re wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season!

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

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention, Hematology & Oncology/Blood Disorders/Cancer

Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Diabetes

The Straight, No Chaser vlog (video blog) series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses diabetes. Learn about the early indicators of diabetes, over 18 Million people are undiagnosed. Please don’t let that be you! Have a healthy and Happy Holidays!

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

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Diet and Nutrition, Endocrine/Metabolic, Health Prevention

Basic Questions and Answers about Anemia

What is anemia?

Anemia is a condition defined by blood containing a lower than normal number of red blood cells or if the blood cells present don’t contain sufficient hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen throughout the body). Anemia from iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency.

What causes anemia?

There are many causes of anemia and many different types of anemia, but the most common causes are blood loss (the moss common cause), a lack of red blood cell production and higher than normal rates of destruction of red blood cells.

What are the symptoms of anemia?

One of the major points of blood is it is the vehicle for carrying blood and removing carbon dioxide (waste) from your body. The presence of anemia means the absence of sufficient oxygen through the body. This produces symptoms such as fatigue (the most common symptom), weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, cold feeling in the hands and feet, pale skin and chest pain. Severe or long-lasting anemia can cause actual damage to your heart, brain, and other organs in your body and can lead to death.

Are there risk factors?

Practically, the biggest risk factor is being a woman of child-bearing age because of the ongoing blood loss that occurs from menstruation. Additional major risk factors include a poor diet (meaning one low in iron, vitamins or minerals), blood loss from surgery or an acute injury, long-term or serious illnesses and infections, and a family history of inherited anemias (e.g. sickle cell anemia or thalassemia).

How is anemia diagnosed?

It’s important to note that all anemia is not created equal. Whether or not suggestive symptoms are present, anemia is rather easily identified with a simple blood test (the complete blood count, aka CBC). In many instances, that’s the beginning of the assessment. Additional tests may be needed to identify the specific test of anemia.

How is anemia treated?

Believe it or not, in many instances, the treatment of anemia isn’t as simple as taken an iron supplement, and thus medical assessments should be considered essential. Treatment for anemia depends on the type, cause, and severity of the underlying condition. Anemia treatment may involve dietary changes and/or supplements, but it may require other medicines, procedures, or surgery to treat blood loss.

What can I do?

Focus your efforts on these specific actions:

  • Prioritize getting routine evaluations and evaluations as needed in the midst of suggestive symptoms.
  • If you fall into a risk category, your diet and iron supplementation matters, as iron is needed to make hemoglobin. You can enhance iron absorption by eating red meats, chicken, turkey, pork, and fish/shellfish. If you don’t eat meat, foods that are good sources of iron include dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, tofu, peas, dried fruits (prunes, raisins and apricots), prune juice and iron-fortified cereals and breads. Maintaining Vitamins B12, Vitamin C and folic acid, are also important in maintaining healthy cells and absorbing iron.

The good news is quite often anemia can be easily identified, treated and controlled. As with many other conditions, early diagnosis and treatment are key for improving one’s quality of life and life expectancy.

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

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Diet and Nutrition, Hematology & Oncology/Blood Disorders/Cancer

Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Hypertension: A Ticking Time Bomb

 

The Straight, No Chaser vlog (video blog) series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Straight, No Chaser has addressed high blood pressure (hypertension) on many occasions, simply because it’s just that important. Hypertension is a common denominator for so many additional illnesses and in many deaths. We address it in today’s vlog because it is a health care basic. Learn what’s needed to keep yours under control. Happy Holidays!

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

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Cardiology/Heart, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention