Discover These Super Foods For The Holidays

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You don’t have to set aside or give up on good nutrition during the Christmas holidays.

Yes, you can enjoy your cookies, cakes and goodies once in a while, but the holidays also offer a time to enjoy healthy, nutritious seasonal foods, according to Jennifer Wood, a Gundersen Lutheran registered dietitian.

“It’s a great time to eat foods that add lots of good nutrients and a lot more fiber,” Wood said.

“You will be eating more heart-healthy if you can stay away from processed foods like cookies and cakes, and only enjoy them occasionally, and add more traditional and nutritious Christmas and Thanksgiving favorites,” she said. Continue reading “Discover These Super Foods For The Holidays” »

Food For Thought: ‘Tis the Season for Sweet Potatoes

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At Thanksgiving, many will serve up a dish of sweet potatoes for their dinner. And I encourage you all to shop your farmer’s market for the freshest sweet potatoes out there. They are in peak season and taste their best!

This vegetable is an excellent source of beta-carotene, and a very good source of vitamin C, both these nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties and can be helpful in reducing symptoms associated with arthritis. Continue reading “Food For Thought: ‘Tis the Season for Sweet Potatoes” »

Restless Leg Syndrome

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Trying to get a good night’s sleep can be difficult as you get older. Continue reading “Restless Leg Syndrome” »

The Top 5 Healthiest Cities In America And The World

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Staying healthy is as much a personal effort as it is a community effort. If you’re a person trying to improve your health, it’s easier and more fun if the place where you live encourages you to be fit. Many people don’t like to walk, or bike, along the shoulder of the road, so if the community where you live has very little outdoor fitness resources, and the population tends to be rather sedentary and out of shape, you may not get the motivation many people need to become fit.  Let’s start with the United States… Continue reading “The Top 5 Healthiest Cities In America And The World” »

Tell Us Your ‘Bad Boyfriend’ Stories and Win!

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Calling all angry girlfriends! If you have a “bad” boyfriend or if you have EVER had a bad boyfriend, or even if you have one with a few annoying bad habits, now you can get even and maybe win some money in the process. Continue reading “Tell Us Your ‘Bad Boyfriend’ Stories and Win!” »

Diabetes of the Brain

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The scariest part of Alzheimer’s Disease is that doctors still don’t quite fully understand it. However, it’s effect on the brain is quite clear. Continue reading “Diabetes of the Brain” »

COPD and Anorexia: Are You Starving To Breathe?

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A few of my patients suffer with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Often, they do not want to eat much as it can put pressure on their lungs and make it harder to breathe comfortably.  There are also other reasons why their relationship with food becomes difficult which I’ll explain below. Continue reading “COPD and Anorexia: Are You Starving To Breathe?” »

May Is Mental Health Month – Do More For 1 In 4

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May is mental health awareness month and I’d like to make you aware of two special themes this year.  First, did you know that 1 in 4 Americans live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition? It’s true. And yet, like my patients who have such conditions, most live full and productive lives.

Second, many people carry mental/emotional “wounds” from prior traumatic life events.  Healing from these events requires support from not only the people closest to you, but from the community at large and making mental health services available.  The following is information about mental health awareness and what you can do to help a loved one, or neighbor, who face these particular challenges.

Do More For 1 in 4

The first issue is basically a call to action to help the 1 in 4 Americans, or roughly 60 million people, who are afflicted with a mental health condition. According to Mental Health America, mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability in the United States today.  Their initiative to help people with mental health conditions involves:

  • Removing the stigma of mental health diagnoses
  • Encouraging help-seeking behavior
  • Education about mental health disorders so people are able to recognize symptoms in themselves or a loved one, and get help
  • Education about the most common mental (can also have physical causes) health disorders that include:  stress/anxiety, depression, bipolar (manic/depressive) disorder, eating disorders, substance abuse
  • Making resources available for treatment.   Many people do not seek help for mental health issues because they simply cannot afford it and/or do not have adequate health insurance that will cover it

Healing Emotional Wounds

Like several of my patients, you may have suffered emotional “wounds” from some sort of traumatic life experience that may have left you with a mental health disorder – most often stress, chronic anxiety or depression.  These wounds can be hard to deal with and require support from loved ones and people you come in contact with on a daily basis such as co-workers, friends and even neighbors.  It’s even tougher to deal with these wounds if there are limited funds, or no medical insurance coverage with which to seek treatment.  Here are some things I suggest to my patients who have been affected by traumatic life experiences as a kind of self-help until they can get professional help.

  • Recognize and accept the trauma.  As I tell my patients, it’s never fun to revisit unhappy events from the past.  But in order to get rid of the “baggage” left behind that you are carrying every day, it’s important to go back to it in your mind and allow yourself to grieve for the pain and loss it has caused you.  Often times, mental (and even physical) health disorders arise from the fact that people block grieving.
  • Assign a neutral position to the trauma.  Removing the “bad” label from something that happened allows you to look objectively at it and not let guilt set in. If there was something you did that perhaps brought the trauma on, vow to change your behavior so it will not happen again.  However, you must also accept that life is random and things happen that you often have no control over.
  • Count your blessings. Try stopping everyday and think about all the good things in your life.  In doing so, you will likely be more willing to let go of this trauma as just an unhappy something that occurred in your mostly happy and good life.
  • Ask for/accept help.  We often don’t tell people around us that we need a little help to get over some traumatic event.  We tend to put on a happy face to make others feel comfortable around us.  However, this only buries your grief and doesn’t help you heal.  Let people know that you’re not up to emotional par these days and need their support until you’re feeling better.  Similarly, if you have a friend or loved one going through a traumatic event support them through phone calls, cards, or by doing something nice for them.  It can go a long way to making someone get their bearings again.
  • Forgiveness.  Traumatic life events can cause a lot of anger that causes stress and anxiety if we hold onto it.  From here it festers like a dirty wound that never heals.  Try to find it in your heart to forgive whomever, whatever caused the trauma to begin with.  This process helps you “cleanse” the emotional wound and move on.  Then mentally put the trauma, and people associated with it, in a “locked room” in your mind/heart and move away from it.
  • Strengthen yourself.  There’s an old saying that goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.   Well, this may be a little dramatic, but there is truth in it.  You’ve suffered some traumatic event but you’ve also survived it.  Give yourself credit for that and realize that you can survive other such events in life. This helps you develop coping skills that will help you to survive anything else that comes along in life.  Keeping strong physically through regular exercise helps you feel better by releasing “feel good” serotonin.

As I tell my patients, if you are wrestling with a mental health disorder, don’t suffer in silence.  If you don’t have insurance, or money for a doctor, talk to a clergyman, friend, or even a grief counselor at your local hospital.  Often times, just putting stressful feelings into words helps lift an emotional burden.  Or, during the Mental Health Awareness month of May, perhaps volunteer some of your time to a shelter, or hospital, or your church’s grief centers.

Stay Well,

Mark Rosenberg, M.D.

USDA Aims To Boost School Lunches

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The number of obese American adults outweighs the number of those who are merely overweight, according to the latest statistics from the federal government, and nearly one in three children in America is overweight or obese. Adults have the freedom to choose to choose what they eat, but children’s meals are provided by adults. It clear that as a nation, we need to make better choices for ourselves and for our kids. Continue reading “USDA Aims To Boost School Lunches” »

CDC Announces Leading Causes of Death

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Let’s face it: death is a difficult subject. Most of us like to put into the “let’s not think about” folder in our brains. But knowing the most likely causes of death may just help you avoid them and, therefore, live a longer, healthier life. Some enlightening new research has been done on the subject and the results are quite surprising.

A list of the top 15 causes of death was recently complied from records of deaths, which were received from state vital statistics offices and processed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The top 2 leading causes didn’t come as a shock, diseases of the heart (mainly heart attack) and cancer, but the influence tobacco has on this list is a bit of a plot twist.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is a major cause of many of the world’s top killer diseases – including cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer. In total, tobacco use is responsible for the death of almost one in 10 adults worldwide. Smoking is often the hidden cause of the disease recorded as responsible for death.

When looking at lists broken down by age, the causes differ: in general, youth is more vulnerable to violent death (accidents and homicide); middle age is more vulnerable to disease conditions affecting high risk individuals (cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.); and old age is more vulnerable to diseases related to general debility (infection, dementia, chronic disease and accidental falls).

The ethnicity factor is also interesting when determining which group of people are affected more by certain factors. The National Vital Statistics Report released the following pie charts detailing the death factors among select ethnicities:

Top 15 Causes of Death

The final results for 2007 were just published, the causes here are the preliminary numbers for deaths in the United States for 2009. The preliminary number of deaths for the year was 2,436,68–here is how the numbers are represented:

15. Assault (homicide): 16,591

14. Parkinson’s disease: 20,552

13. Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease (high blood pressure, kidney failure caused by high blood pressure): 25,651

12. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis: 30, 444

11. Septicemia (systemic infection): 35,587

10. Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,547

9. Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease): 48,714

8. Influenza and pneumonia: 53,582

7. Diabetes mellitus (diabetes): 68,504

6. Alzheimer’s disease: 78,889

5. Accidents (unintentional injuries): 117,176

4. Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke): 128,603

3. Chronic lower respiratory diseases (emphysema, chronic bronchitis): 137,082

2. Malignant neoplasms (cancer): 568,668

1. Diseases of heart (mainly heart attack): 598,607
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