Straight, No Chaser: Smoking Cessation – Find Your #OneGoodReason

 cvs quits smoking

In a rather amazing decision by a multinational corporation, in September 2014 CVS Health became tobacco-free. It ended the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products at its 7,700 pharmacies across the United States. Regardless as to its motivation, CVS apparently found its one good thing that allowed it to move past being a contributor to the consequences of tobacco smoke.

We’ve turned the tide in this fight, but the decision as to whether your individual lives will be spared is dependent on your individual choices in this matter. You’ve all been asked what things you’d take with you on a desert island.  I’ll pose and answer the opposite question, but not on an island but regarding your life.  Getting you to stop smoking is certainly one of the three gifts I’d offer you if it was within my power.  This post won’t be about the dangers of smoking – I’ll continue to hit you over the head with those at every opportunity.  Given that I’m into producing positive outcomes, I’m going to discuss with you effective means of smoking cessation and the benefits of stopping.

#onegoodreason_224x200_gray

The question on your mind is obviously how to stop.  Personally, I’m of the Yoda mindset.  You know, when he was teaching Luke Skywalker, he famously said “Do or Do not. There is no try.”  I can hear you now, “But Doc, I’m addicted…”  Sure you are.  There are many things in medicine about which I’m absolutely sure.  One of these is the most effective way to stop smoking is to stop smoking.  Cold turkey.  The moment you’re motivated.  The moment you find that #OneGoodReason.

Not only is this premise supported by the data, which I’ll discuss momentarily, but here’s the benefit of over 20 years in clinical emergency medicine practice and having seen hundreds of people stop, stay stopped, and letting me know months and years later that they stayed stopped.  Despite being addicted, people are amazingly able to quit cold turkey, and their #OneGoodReason tends to be among these five occurrences.

When they develop the will

After the birth of their first child

After their first heart attack

After their first stroke

When they die

For those of you convinced that you can’t, here’s a fact: today there are more former smokers than current smokers.

I want to point out that I appreciate the difference between cigarette smoking and nicotine dependence.  My particular concern for your health lies in the delivery of smoke (containing over 7000 other toxins, approximately 70 of which can cause various cancers) into the airway system that is supposed to deliver oxygen throughout your body for the maintenance and health of your organ systems.  Still I want you to know I understand and appreciate the difficulty of smoking cessation.

  • Nicotine dependence in the most common chemical dependence in the U.S.
  • Quitting smoking often requires multiple attempts.
  • Nicotine withdrawal produces bothersome symptoms (e.g. irritability, reduced concentration, increased appetite with possible weight gain, and anxiety)

smoking stopThe good news is more than two-thirds of smokers profess a desire to stop smoking, and yearly over half of smokers attempt to stop.  That’s likely a result of knowing that no matter when you stop, you will improve your health outcomes.  Each incremental inhalation of cigarette and cigar smoke produces damage better left unproduced.  Let’s just hope you don’t wait until permanent damage has set in.  Consider a sampling of the following benefits that are sitting there waiting for you.

  • Reduction of the risk for cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx (voice box), mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and cervix, as well as certain leukemias.
  • Reduction of the risk for heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.
  • Reduction of the risk for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Reduction of the risk for infertility

Congratulations to CVS for exhibiting great public health sensibilities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services continues to seek businesses, communities, governments and individuals in the fight to make the next generation a tobacco-free generation. A previous Straight, No Chaser reviews specific methods and tips to help you and/or your loved one stop.  Today’s as good of a day as any.

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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Straight, No Chaser: Moving Toward a Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarian_1

Ok… I’m glad to have finally come across a diet option that has struck a nerve. The post on principles of vegetarianism has raised a lot of questions, and I’ll take this space to answer some of the more common and important ones.

Veghero

1. I’ve always heard vegetarian diets are low in protein. Is this true?
It’s more correct to say vegetarians need to ensure they are taking enough protein. If you’re not eating red meat, you will still get plenty of protein by eating fish, dairy and eggs. If you are a strict vegan or have mostly eliminated fish, dairy and eggs, protein options include items such as whole grains, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, beans/legumes (e.g., navy beans, split peas and chickpeas) and protein from soy.
2. Can you identify various options for soy protein?
Sure. There’s soy cheese, nuts, milk and tofu products. Veggie burgers and chicken substitutes also will get you there.
3. Any dangers in these substitute foods?
Yes. You still need to limit sugar, salt and fat. Excessive cheese isn’t a good thing. Focus more on the low-fat options such as beans and use cheese for variety.
4. Are vegetarians at nutritional risk beside low protein?
Vegetarians need to focus on eating adequate amounts of iron, calcium, zinc, Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. The way foods are fortified now, this isn’t as big of a difference as it once was, although you rarely will go wrong working with a nutritionist as you make this dietary change.

veganfoodpyramid

5. Please give examples of various foods that address the nutritional concerns of vegetarians.

Calcium: Sources of this mineral include milk, seeds, beans, nuts, green vegetables, and foods fortified with calcium such as fruit juices.

Vitamin B12: You’ll find adequate amounts in dairy products, eggs and other foods labeled as fortified with B12.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is found in fatty fish, egg yolks, cereals and soy milk labeled as being fortified with vitamin D.

Zinc: Zinc is abundant in beans and foods labeled as being fortified with zinc, such as milk and cereals.

Iron: Iron is found in beans, green vegetables, and foods labeled as being fortified with iron, such as cereals.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps the body increase iron absorption, so eating foods that are high in vitamin C (e.g., bell peppers) at the same meal as iron-rich foods is a good thing.

If you’re serious about making the conversion to a semi- or fully vegetarian diet, discussing your plans with a nutritionist is a good idea. Of course, you can talk to a nutritionist anytime at http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com or 844-SMA-TALK.

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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Straight, No Chaser: An Introduction to Vegetarian Diets

 Vegetarianeat

If you are on a vegetarian diet, congratulations to you, but if you’re not, you still should be interested in the principles that make a vegetarian diet a healthy choice. Even if you think you have no interest in becoming a vegan but still want to eat a healthy diet, you will find yourself inching relatively closer to a vegetarian diet.  After all, the various vegetarian diets are just the maximal application of increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables.

Before we even define the different types of vegetarian diets, let’s answer a simple question: “Why in the world would I ever consider being a vegetarian?” The answer to the question is best given by discussing some outcomes of interest.

  • Vegetarians generally have longer life expectancies than meat eaters.
  • Vegetarians are less likely to have heart disease.
  • Vegetarians are less likely to be obese.
  • Vegetarians are less likely to have high blood pressure.
  • Vegetarians are less likely to have certain types of diabetes.

 Vegetariantypes

The vegetarian diet focuses of the products of plants. These include the following types of foods: fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils). There are different types of vegetarian diets (representing levels of strictness), including the following:

  • Vegan: only plant-based floods (with “nothing from anything with feet”)
  • Lacto-vegetarian: Plant-based foods with an allowance for some dairy products
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Plant-based foods with an allowance for some dairy products and eggs
  • Semi- or partial vegetarian: The diet excludes red meat. It includes plant-based foods with an allowance for dairy products, eggs and certain meats (chicken and fish).

If you’re a semi-vegetarian, you may be further categorized based on the meat you eat:

  • Pescatarians eat fish but not red meat, pork or poultry.
  • Flexitarians (aka semi-vegetarians) occasionally eat red meat.

vegetarians_full_13415909341

Now look back at the last six bullet points. The closer you get to being a strict vegetarian, the lower your risks of high blood pressure, diabetes and other certain other medical conditions. You can think of each bullet point as a stepladder to better health.

The point of this is there’s more than one approach to incorporating the principles of vegetarianism. You don’t have to be an absolutist to make your diet healthier. Just remember, the more plant-based your diet is, the healthier you’ll be. We’ve discussed this previously in the healthy eating plate. The bottom line remains the same. Most of you reading this don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains or legumes. The more your diet is tilted away from red meats and toward these options, the healthier you’ll be.

vegetariannobacon

The next Straight, No Chaser will discuss specific concerns of vegetarian diets.

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 Diet and Nutrition

Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Exercise

The Straight, No Chaser vlog series “health care basic” aims to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Today we present a few words on the role of exercise toward your health. Hopefully the video will get your heart rate pumping and you motivated to perform. So grab a seat (or even better, move while you watch), give us two minutes of your time, and let’s see if you’re on track with your healthy habits!

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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Straight No Chaser: Examining Obesity – Is It Really a Choice Between Health and Happiness

Healthy-80FoodBalanceScale

Obesity in the United States places many at a crossroad between self-esteem and health.  Often, larger frames are celebrated as more desirable.  Other times, they are celebrated because we must learn to ‘love ourselves’, which is seemingly easier than laboring to diet and exercise.  Of course, our culture embraces and contributes to obesity.  Consider the ramifications of “As American as Apple Pie” or “Coke Adds Life” or the size of our favorite athletes in our most popular sport.  In this previous post we discussed the calorie counts of soft drinks and desserts and their contributions to obesity. At the end of the day, we now have a culture that views what’s physiologically most healthy for our hearts as visually less desirable and a culture where one can ‘reasonably’ (i.e. based on evolved cultural norms) make the decision that having a permissive attitude toward obesity is a more desirable state of being than the pursuit of health.obesity_trends_20092

Odds are, you’re overweight. It was a both a joke and a cause for celebration that Mexico just overtook the US as this hemisphere’s fattest country, but it did bring attention to the fact that more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese, and nearly two-thirds are overweight. Over the next three days, we’ll review various components of obesity that affect your health. To be clear, this is not about your perceived physical attractiveness (and while we’re at it, just because you’re slim, that doesn’t mean you’re anorexic). It’s about your health.  If you’re sensitive about your size or have made an educated decision to ‘love yourself as you are’, you don’t have to read through this. If you’re at all interested in how your body is affected by weight, and if you can handle a little truth, proceed.  As always, the goal is to educate and stimulate thought, discussion and action.

Let’s start today with making it clear what obesity is and who’s obese. Be reminded the heart is only a pump meant to move blood around the body, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells in different parts of the body. The heavier you are, the more work your heart has to do and the more likely it becomes that this pump will not function ideally and will functionally ‘give out’ over time. It is this functional failure that produces many diseases.
obesity4

Let’s start with Ideal Body Weight (IBW). For humans (not ‘Northerners’ or the ‘Small-Boned’ or the ‘Non-Athlete’ or ‘Women Who Haven’t Had Children’), the formula for calculating IBW is as follows:

Women: 100 lbs for the first 5 feet, then 5 lbs. for each additional inch.
Men: 100 lbs for the first 5 feet, then 6 lbs. for each additional inch.

Ideal body weight refers to health, especially heart health, not ‘grown and sexy’ or any other concocted notion of what looks good. So as an example, if you’re a 6 ft tall male, your IBW is 172 lbs. If you’re a female and 5’5”, your IBW is 125. Now before those of you ‘in the know’ tell me there are limitations to IBW and BMI considerations, I’ll stipulate the point and note that doesn’t change the point of this conversation one bit.

‘Overweight’ and ‘Obesity’ are about your risks for disease. We’ll talk about those risks tomorrow, but here are the definitions of each.

bmi-for-men-and-women

Being Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher; Obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. BMI gives you an indication if you’re over/underweight or at a healthy weight for your height.

If you’re interested in your BMI, use the following calculator:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Let’s talk about it. This is important for your health and longevity.

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 General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Cervical Health Awareness

cervical_health_awareness_month

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and to that end, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) boldly proclaims “No woman should die of cervical cancer.”

It’s cervical health month in the United States, and this point has a rather simple message: Cervical cancer is highly preventable and can be cured when discovered and treatment early. Here are some quick tips to help you check this off of your list of concerns.

  • Every child should get vaccinated at age 11 or 12. Even if you’ve reached age 26 and haven’t been vaccinated, you should discuss options with your physician.
  • The most important thing you can do to help prevent cervical cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 21.

pap smear

  • The Pap test (or smear) should be performed regularly at age 21. It looks for precancerous changes to the cervix that identify the need for early treatment. In many cases a normal test will eliminate the need for another test for the next three years, but your physician will discuss your individual circumstances in this regard.
  • The HPV test looks for the virus that is now known to be the cause of cervical cancer. Furthermore, human papillomavirus (HPV) is sexually transmitted. The HPV test can be done at the same time as the Pap test from the same examination.

Hopefully knowing these simple tools will convince you to be attentive to preventing and managing your cervical health. This is a public health success story in that cervical cancer could be eliminated if everyone followed the above steps. The rest is up to you.

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 Health Prevention, Hematology & Oncology/Blood Disorders/Cancer, Infectious Disease, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Straight, No Chaser: The Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Frostbite

hypotherm1

There’s a cold front coming. You can’t avoid the exposure. Some of you will end up cold as ice. Would you really know what to do if you caught frostbite? I thought not, and the bad news is some of your instinctive tendencies are exactly what you ought not to do in this situation. Here are some do’s and don’ts if you ever find yourself or a loved one in this particularly precarious position.

frostbitehands

The Do’s

A lot of this depends on the circumstances.

  • Give warm fluids if possible.
  • If the person is wet, remove wet clothing.
  • If s/he is wearing tight clothing, remove whatever’s constricting.
  • Move to as warm of a climate as feasible; if not possible, then shelter the person from the cold. Avoid movement of the frostbitten parts to the extent possible.
  • Gently separate affected fingers and toes, and if you can, wrap them loosely in sterile dressing.
  • If you have transportation, get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
  • If immediate care or transportation is not available, soak the affected areas in warm (preferably circulating and never hot) water. Alternatively, place warm coverings to affected areas for up to 30 minutes at a time. If skin is soft and feeling returns, you’ve done a good job.
    • Be mindful that burning pain and swelling will occur during rewarming.
  • Apply dry, loose and preferably sterile dressings to the frostbitten areas. Keep frostbitten fingers or toes separated with dressings.
  • Delay rewarming if you are not in an area safe from the risk of refreezing. Refreezing of thawed extremities is even more dangerous than the initial freeze.  

frostbitefeet

DO NOT

  • Rub or massage the frostbitten area.
  • Peel or pop any blisters that may be present.
  • Use dry heat, such as from a hair dryer, a radiation, heating pad, electric blanket or campfire. These heat source may be ok to keep the rest of you warm (particularly your core), but this type of direct heat can further damage frostbitten tissue.
  • Rewarm until you can be sure it can stay thawed.
  • Smoke or drink alcohol during recovery. These activities can interfere with blood circulation and cause additional problems.

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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