Is Life Expectancy Heading Downward?


shutterstock_309649415 (1)Have we reached the tipping point?

An interesting article recently appeared in the prestigious Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA) about life expectancy and death rates in the US. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US (CDC) noted that death rates for the first nine months of 2015 increased significantly most notably due to obesity. Leading some to predict that life expectancy would decline in the United States by the middle of the 21st century.
The CDC report suggests that a “tipping point may have been reached beyond which technological advances may no longer compensate.” The article goes on to point out that between l961 and l983, life expectancy increased in a relatively consistent fashion throughout the United States. However, between 1983 and 1991 life expectancy decreased significantly for men in 11 US counties and 180 counties for women. The counties were those most severely affected by the obesity epidemic.
Some experts like David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Centre in Boston predict that the downward trend will almost certainly accelerate as the current generation of children- with high body weights earlier in life than ever before—reaches adulthood.

You might be aware that death rates have been dropping. This is largely due to modern medical care that may be able to prevent premature deaths among adults who develop obesity at a young age, by prescribing blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medications, heart bypass surgery, and various other medical interventions.

But over time, some experts are predicting that obesity-related chronic diseases might outstrip the ability for technology to counteract the rise in obesity and its consequences.

As a physician, I can tell you that the most important step you can do for yourself and your family is to choose to live a healthy lifestyle and make healthy choices.That means getting regular exercise of at least thirty minutes a day, five days a week,eating fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes and nuts while eliminating high fat, processed foods and added sugars in your diet.

Read labels on packaged food and educate yourself and your family on the value of eating nutritional foods and not to be swayed by advertising.

A few actions today may forestall the predictions that children of today and tomorrow will lead a shorter less healthy life than their parents.

Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

 

 

 

 

Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Let a viral cold run its’ course

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It’s that time of year again—when colds, flu, bronchitis, sore throats and many sinus and ear infections start to surface at home, school and our workplaces. The tendency when someone gets sick these days is to presume they will need an antibiotic to get better. The facts are that taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses not only won’t work; it can have dangerous side effects—over time. It could result in the development of resistant bacteria that don’t respond to antibiotics that may have worked in the past. Antibiotics that could be vital to recovering from a bacterial infection when you need them the most or are required to take increasingly higher doses of an antibiotic.

Antibiotic resistance is a widespread problem, and one that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US call “one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.” Bacteria that were once highly responsive to antibiotics have become more and more resistant. Among those that are becoming harder to treat are pneumococcal infections such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and meningitis.

The Differences Between Bacteria and Viruses
Although bacteria and viruses are both too small to be seen without a microscope, they’re as different as giraffes and goldfish.   Website WebMD says it best: Bacterial and viral infections have many things in common. Both types of infections are caused by microbes — bacteria and viruses, respectively — and spread by things such as coughing and sneezing, contact with infected people, especially through kissing and sex, contact with contaminated surfaces, food, and water, contact with infected creatures, including pets, livestock, and insects such as fleas and ticks. But the infections are dissimilar in many other important respects, most of them due to the organisms’ structural differences and the way they respond to medications.

When do you ride out a cold or see a doctor?
While viruses and bacteria can cause similar symptoms, the concerns that suggest your infection is more serious, include fever and chills, muscle aches and pains, decreased appetite and overwhelming fatigue. These symptoms are more generalized and may need an expert opinion to decide how best to proceed. Symptoms such as a sore throat and swollen glands can occur with either bacterial or viral infections. If this infection/sore throat/flu like illness or cough is overwhelming and feels like the worst infection you can recall, go get checked by your health care professional! Or if you are not improving in a couple of days, with an easing up of symptoms, this may need further attention.

Taking Antibiotics Safely

So what should you do? To minimize the risk of bacterial resistance, keep these tips in mind:

  • Take antibiotics only for bacterial infections. It’s a good idea to let milder illnesses (especially those thought to be caused by viruses) run their course. This helps prevent antibiotic-resistant germs from developing. But leave it to your doctor to decide if an illness is “mild” or not.
  • Remember: Antibiotics can only treat bacterial infection if taken for the full amount of time prescribed by the doctor
  • And most important, never use antibiotics that have been lying around your home.
  • Help fight antibiotic resistance by taking simple steps to prevent the spread of infections such as frequent hand washing and immunization such as a flu shot and pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Ask your healthcare professional about over-the-counter treatment options that may help reduce symptoms.
  • Drink more fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Use a cool-mist vaporizer or saline nasal spray to relieve congestion.
  • Soothe your throat with crushed ice, sore throat spray, or lozenges. (Do not give lozenges to young children.)Disclaimer The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

#flu #healthy #health

Disclaimer: The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions

 

Top ways to protect prevent skin cancer

shutterstock_564313852.jpgSkin Cancer in Canada is on the rise While the rate of new cancer cases and death rates for many types of cancers are going down, Melanoma or –skin cancer- is on the rise.   It is the most common cancer in Canada affecting one in five people today. A tan especially among young people is associated with attractiveness and looking healthy, but there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Using tanning beds and getting sun burnt in childhood and |Some alarming facts from the Canadian Cancer Society

  • Melanoma is the most common and deadliest forms of cancer in young people between the ages of 15 and 29.
  • Using a tanning bed before the age of thirty-five increases your risk of developing skin cancer by 75 per cent.
  • UV rays from tanning beds can be five times stronger than the mid-day summer sun.
  • Tanned skin is damaged skin. Even when the tan fades, the damage is still there.While it’s wonderful to feel the warmth of the summer sun and enjoy the outdoors sun there are also risks. Here are a few ways to protect you from the Skin Cancer Foundation
  • The sun is most intense between 10 AM and 4 PM –so seek the shade between those hours.
  • Do not burn.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens can be used on babies if needed, over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
  • If you are a beach goer, remember the intensity of sun exposure is elevated. Both water and sand can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, however, beach and pool activities can be enjoyed safely as long as people take some extra precautions if f you use plenty of sunscreen
  • For effective ultraviolent A (UVA) radiation protection, select products that have some combination of the following ingredients: avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Everyday sun exposure counts…Sun Protection is year round While we mostly think about protecting ourselves against the sun during the summer months, protection should be year round to reduce your lifetime sun exposure. So make putting on sunscreen a daily habit.

#sun #suntan #summer #healthy #skincancer

Disclaimer The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without

Menopause: Hot tips and a new technology can help keep hot flashes at bay

shutterstock_181675298.jpgAny menopausal woman will tell you that hot flashes seem to come out of nowhere, usually when they are least expected, accompanied by an embarrassing outbreak of  ‘the sweats’ which can leave you drenched in sweat, flushed, and feeling uncomfortable.Hot flashes develop when your brain reacts to changing hormone levels in your body, which happens during menopause. The change in hormone levels causes your temperature regulation mechanism to be slightly impaired. Body temperature rises too easily. Your body then wants to disperse blood flow to cool you down and sends blood to the surface, to your neck, chest and face, causing you to sweat.
While you can’t stop the changes going on in your life, there are a few things you can do to help weather those hot flashes and keep them in check. Let’s look at lifestyle options for treatment of hot flashes. The most common one is dressing in layers. Dressing in layers, with a tank top with and a shirt on top of the tank allows you to open the shirt or take it off when you start getting hot. There are also many new fabrics that will wick away the perspiration from your skin to help you cool down faster. Check travel stores and outdoors stores for products that can take the heat. Turn your thermostat down, open the windows or use an air conditioner to help maintain a lower body temperature, especially at night.
Drink lots of water and stay hydrated.   Drinking lots of water helps keep your body’s cooling system from over heating. If you do have a hot flash, drink cool water right away to replace what you’ve lost.   Stay away from hot foods and spicy foods.
One of the most interesting ways of cooling quickly I’ve come across recently is a new technology called a Menopod. It’s a simple electronic cooling device that looks similar to a computer mouse. With one press of the power button, the device drops to 5 degrees Celsius or 41 Degrees Fahrenheit and provides instant relief for hot flashes. It can be used discretely anywhere and anytime.
The Menopod, contains a cooling technology inside the device. There are no fans or moving parts. When you turn the power on, it instantly drops to a cool temperature) so that you can discreetly place it on the back of your neck to stop the hot flash. By applying the Menopod to the base of your neck, you are telling your brain you are not hot and the flash decreases or goes away. This is a Canadian invention which was recently introduced at the International Menopause Society World Congress, and doctors loved it. It’s worth checking out.

In an upcoming blog, I will discuss other prescription options for those women that are having ongoing symptoms, not responding to lifestyle options.

#women #menopause #menopod #mature #healthy

 

 

 

 

 

Flu Season is here!!!

   Flu HRPA email blast (4)                    

      Ontario has already documented a few cases of flu and the vaccine is HERE

      Influenza vaccines authorized for use in Canada are safe and associated with minimal side effects and can be administered to anyone over 6months of age. *We know that between 10% and 20% of all Canadians will get the flu this winter.  And for some of us it can be severe, life threatening and perhaps even life ending. About 4000 Canadians die every year of flu and related complications. Generally the very young and the very old are most at risk, but we know pregnant women, children under 5, those with asthma, COPD, heart disease and diabetes are also at significant risk compared to the general population.  And even if you personally are not a high risk individual, chances are you will spread this easily to others in your family or community who are at greater risk.  You need to protect yourself and others!
Does the flu shot eliminate every case of flu? NO.  But if you have been immunized, but still get the flu, chances are it will be much less severe than if you were unprotected.  So you are less likely to need the emergency room and in- hospital treatment.  And that’s what it’s all about.  We can’t avoid every case of influenza, but we can decrease our chance of a serious episode!

      I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get a flu shot.  I have taken mine, immunized my family, my staff and my coworkers!  Have you had yours?

      Aside from having flu shot,  here are everyday preventative measure to protect you from colds and flu

Top ways to fight the flu*
Wash your hands with soap and water
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs spread this way
Sneeze into your arm or sleeve
After or blowing your nose with a tissue, throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
Stay home and avoid crowds if you feel sick

*Health Canada, Flu Watch

Top Ways to Manage Stress & Lead a Healthier Most Positive Life

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A few more tips..Part 2

We all have stresses in our lives…but if those stresses are positive and stimulating, we are productive, interesting and ultimately satisfied.   It is also important to recognize that stress that can be overwhelming but if you adopt the appropriate strategies you will be able to cope and conquer stress.

Here are a few more tips to manage stress.

Change your behaviour

Get organized—poor organization is one of the most common causes of stress. Prioritize your objectives and your duties and activities to make them more manageable and achievable.  Good organization will help to avoid personal and professional chaos and protect against “out of the blue” problems.

Vent–A problem shared is a problem halved. Develop a support network through friends or colleagues to talk with. It’s not always events that are stressful but how we perceive them. Often friends add new perspectives that could lessen your stress.

Use humor—cliche as it might seem, laughter is the best medicine. It is a good stress reducer at home and at work and it relieves muscular tension, improves breathing, pumps those good endorphins into the bloodstream.

Take time out—Get away from things that bother you and give yourself time to reduce your stress level and calm down to think logically.

Be assertive

Assertiveness helps to manage stressful situations, and will, in time, help to reduce their frequency.  Lack of assertiveness often shows low self – esteem and low self – confidence.

Time Management  

Make a list.  What MUST be done vs. What SHOULD be done vs. What would you LIKE to do? Cut out time-wasting and unimportant activities. Learn to drop unimportant activities

And JUST SAY NO.  Plan your day. Set achievable goals. Don’t waste time making excuses for not doing something

Change your lifestyle

Diet.  Nutritional stress is actually a major type of physical stress in today’s 2.0 world.  Are you eating chemically and toxin loaded food and expecting your body to cope? Are you smoking and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol?

Exercise.  Exercise.  Exercise.

Exercise uses up excess energy released by the “Fight or Flight” reaction. It helps improve blood circulation and pumps those feel good endorphins into your bloodstream. We are less stressed, less fragile, when we feel strong and healthy.

Sleep

Sleep is essential for adequate brain function. Often when people are stressed they lose sleep. One great way to purge your body of stress so your mind can relax is to learn progressive muscle relaxation and deep muscle relaxation techniques. Meditation is also a valuable tool to relax your body and quiet your mind — it can easily transition you into sleep.

Is 60 the New 40? Healthy Aging -Part 2

shutterstock_116332582.jpgWe know that healthy aging is a lifelong process for preserving and improving your physical and mental well-being. The choices we make today may impact on our future health. So how healthy are Canadians?  We have good overall longevity

  • A man who is currently 65 can expect to live another 17.4 years.
  • A woman who is currently 65 can expect to live another 20.8 years.
  • BUT, men are more likely (59%) than women (52%) to have overall good health
  • We have an epidemic of high blood pressure, which puts us at risk for stroke and heart disease. And we need to be more aggressive about medication.
  • Over 19% of Canadians aged 20 to 79 are hypertensive or 4.6 million and another 20% are pre-hypertensive or 4.8 million.
  • 42% of Canadians living with high blood pressure are unaware of their condition and only 16% have it treated and under control
  • About 1.8 million Canadians aged 12 and over have been diagnosed with diabetes. Researchers project an increase of diagnosed diabetes in Canada to 2.4 million by the year 2016.  Combined with obesity and high blood pressure this is a serious increasing risk both to the individual and to our health care system!

So Is 60 the new 40? 

Well, we need to be aggressive about modifying our risks, whether taking medications as prescribed, exercising, losing weight and overall living a much more healthy lifestyle.  For 60 can be the new 40…BUT…40 can be the new 60 if we are not careful!!!