TV Producer, Writer and On-Camera Talent with over thirty years experience. Stories and series have aired on NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox, Lifetime, Discovery, CNBC, Discovery and more. A partial list of her awards include a Media Recognition Award from American Heart Association, Medical Reporting Scholarship from American Medical Association, Outstanding Leaderships Ability Award from Pace University, National Association of Female Executives and Women In Corporate America,
She has also received the 2019 Marquis Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, a Freddie Award for Excellence in Medical Reporting, Outstanding Achievement Award from March of Dimes, Angel of a A Sponsor Award from Make-A-Wish Foundation and was nominated for an Alfred I. Dupont and a Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction for her health book.
While residing in North Carolina, she travelled extensively field producing "21st Century Medicine", a documentary series for Discovery covering pioneers in medicine.
She began her career with an executive internship at NBC, which awarded her a scholarship for graduate school at Columbia University. Author of 3 books. Owner of NewsMD Communications.
Maria is a lifelong healthy living enthusiast and advocate. She's been a health producer for NBC Miami and has developed original award winning health segments, series and programming.
If you're a journalism, communications or media major check out the book, PRESSure: Break Into Broadcasting. It's available at Lulu Publishing.
She loves cultivating sources, generating compelling, innovative story/show ideas and content, and utilizing creative writing and visual presentation skills to engage audiences. Strong presentation skills and ad-lib ability.
Maria received additional on-camera training for reporting and anchoring in New York City at Geller Media Management, Ailes Communications, NBC. and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
NewsMD now provides Media Training to broadcast journalism students and on-air experts, spokespersons and others working on-camera.
You can follow her posts on Linked In, Facebook or Twitter: @Maria_Dorfner
Diabetes is a growing world-wide epidemic, but there’s good news. Research shows choosing healthy habits makes a positive difference.
RESEARCH SHOWS CHOOSING HEALTHY HABITS MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
CLEVELAND CLINIC’S DOCTOR MARY KELLIS DID NOT TAKE PART IN THE STUDY, BUT SAYS MAKING HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES CAN SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER RISK FOR TYPE-TWO DIABETES.
CG: Dr. Mary Kellis/Cleveland Clinic
“What they found was that people who had the healthiest lifestyle, had a seventy-five percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who had the least healthiest lifestyle.”
RESEARCHERS ANALYZED DATA FROM STUDIES WHICH INCLUDED ABOUT ONE MILLION PEOPLE.THEY FOUND THOSE WHO DID NOT SMOKE, DID NOT DRINK ALCOHOL, EXERCISED, HAD A HEALTHY DIET AND WERE NOT OVERWEIGHT, HAD THE BEST CHANCES OF AVOIDING TYPE TWO DIABETES.
DOCTOR KELLIS SAYS WHEN IT COMES TO DIABETES RISK, IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT DIET. SHE SAYS EATING A DIET HIGH IN WHOLE GRAINS AND FIBER, AND LOW IN REFINED SUGARS IS KEY.
CONSUMING TOO MANY REFINED SUGARS,SUCH AS WHITE BREADS, PASTAS, RICE AND SWEET DRINKS, CAN CAUSE INSULIN LEVELS TO SPIKE VERY QUICKLY AND RESULT IN CHANGES IN BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS.DOCTOR KELLIS SAYS IF YOU’VE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH PRE-DIABETES, IT DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN YOU’LL GET DIABETES –BUT YOU HAVE TO MAKE LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO TURN THINGS AROUND.
CG: Dr. MaryKellis/Cleveland Clinic
“You can definitely prevent progression to diabetes. Importantly, we found that even losing five to seven percent of your weight can substantially reduce your risk to develop diabetes.”
DOCTOR KELLIS ADMITS IT CAN FEEL OVERWHELMING TO KNOW YOU HAVE TO MAKE MULTIPLE LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO ACHIEVE YOUR HEALTH GOALS.
SHE RECOMMENDS TAKING BABY STEPS AND TACKLING ONE NEW HEALTHY HABIT AT A TIME.COMPLETE RESULTS OF THE STUDY CAN BE FOUND IN DIABETOLOGIA.
But they’re also common if you walk or stand a lot or exercise too much.
If you suddenly find yourself with pain, remove the shoes you were wearing and make sure to be properly fitted.
Stay off your feet as much as you can.
Elevate them with pillows. Check below to recognize the type of pain you’re experiencing and what it could mean.
For women, avoid heels. Flats and sneakers should be specifically engineered for your sport or for standing all day at the office.
Then, pinpoint where you feel pain.
Overuse and repetitive motion is a common cause of foot pain. If you exercise, increasing too quickly or doing so without stretching first can do it.
You need to stretch properly before AND after exercise. Stretch your calves and toes.
Being overweight can also cause your posture and gait to change, which can affect your arches and tendons in feet and ankles.
Weight gain also increases the chance you’ll develop health conditions contributing to foot pain such as gout, tendinitis and osteoarthritis.
PINPOINT THE PAIN IN YOUR FOOT
PAIN ON SIDE OF FOOT
Most likely Peroneal tendonitis:
This condition causes the peroneal tendons to swell or become inflamed, resulting in pain on the lateral side of the foot and the heel. A person who runs excessively or places their foot abnormally may develop peroneal tendonitis. It may also occur after an ankle sprain.
PAIN ON TOP OF FOOT
Most likely Extensor tendonitis:
This is caused by overuse or tight-fitting shoes. The tendons that run along the topof the foot and pull the foot upwards become inflamed and painful. … This condition causes pain in the topof the foot and outside the ankle.
PAIN ON HEEL OF FOOT
Most likely Plantar fasciitis:
Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, a condition that is sometimes also called heel spur syndrome when a spur is present. Heel pain may also be due to other causes, such as a stress fracture, tendonitis, arthritis, nerve irritation or, rarely, a cyst.
PAIN ON ANKLE
Most likely Sprain:
Ankle pain is often due to an ankle sprain but can also be caused by ankle instability, arthritis, gout, tendonitis, fracture, nerve compression (tarsal tunnel syndrome), infection and poor structural alignment of the leg or foot.
PAIN IN BIG TOE
Most likely Turf Toe:
Turf toe is a sprain of your big toe joint resulting from injury during sports activities. The injury is usually caused by excessive upward bending of your big toe joint. Jamming the toe, and repeatedly pushing off when running or jumping are common causes. Although most common in football players, those who play soccer, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and dance also are at risk. (more below)
Refrain from activity, standing or walking on the foot in pain. Keep your foot elevated on pillows.
Keep proper fitting shoes by your bedside when you rise. See a Podiatrist in the pain persists more than a week. Ask your Podiatrist about insoles.
Here’s some more information. According to CoxHealth, if If you’re athletic, eventually you’ll have a problem with your foot or ankle.
These are some of the most common foot and ankle problems in athletes.
The injury is called “turf toe” because it’s especially common in athletes who play on artificial turf. The less-supportive, flexible shoes worn on this surface and the foot’s tendency to “stick” to turf are some reasons why artificial turf may be partly to blame.
The signs and symptoms of turf toe can include pain, swelling and limited joint movement. If turf toe iscaused by repetitive actions that cause injury, the signs and symptoms will usually begin slowly and can gradually worsen. Turf toe can also be caused by a direct injury leading to damage of the bone beneath the cartilage. If direct injury is the cause, the signs and symptoms may begin suddenly and get worse over a 24-hour period.
DIAGNOSIS TYPICALLY INCLUDES:
Physical exam of the foot
X-ray to rule out any broken bones.
TREATMENT TYPICALLY INCLUDES:
Compression and elevation
Switching to less-flexible footwear
Surgery is usually only necessary for severe cases .
A stress fracture is a common overuse injury. Usually, a fracture, or broken bone, is caused by an acute event, such as a car crash or a fall. When this is the case, the bone experiences a very high force that causes the fracture. A stress fracture occurs when the forces are much lower, but happen repetitively for a long period of time; these injuries are also known as “fatigue fractures.”
Stress fractures are commonly seen in athletes who run and jump on hard surfaces, such as distance runners, basketball players and ballet dancers. A stress fracture can occur in any bone, but most common in the foot and shin bones.
If you increase your level of activity over a short period of time, a stress fracture is more likely. The increased demand placed on these bones causes them to remodel and become stronger in the areas of higher stress. However, if the response of your bones can’t keep up with the repetitive demands, a stress fracture may result.
Dietary and menstrual irregularities can also contribute to stress fractures, as both contribute to overall bone health. Poor nutrition, anorexia, bulimia or unusual menstruation may place you at a higher risk for these injuries.
DIAGNOSIS TYPICALLY INCLUDES:
Physical examination and medical history
X-ray, which may show a bone attempting to heal around a stress fracture
MRI or bone scan, if the initial diagnosis is unclear.
TREATMENT TYPICALLY INCLUDES:
Resting the injured leg
Icing the injured area
Wearing proper equipment, especially footwear
Increasing activity gradually
One rule of thumb (but not an absolute rule) is: if there is pain, don’t do it. If jogging causes pain where you have a stress fracture, don’t jog. If walking causes pain in that location, use crutches. If pain develops and persists, see you doctor.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
The tarsal tunnel is a space in your foot formed between bones and overlying fibrous tissue. Within the tarsal tunnel lies a nerve called the posterior tibial nerve. The tarsal tunnel is walled on one side by sturdy bones, and on the other by tough fibrous tissue.
When the posterior tibial nerve is pinched in the tarsal tunnel, numbness over the bottom of the foot is common, as is pain, burning and tingling over the base of the foot and heel. Occasionally, tarsal tunnel syndrome is confused with plantar fasciitis, or heel spurs.
It isn’t always possible to pinpoint the cause of tarsal tunnel syndrome, though fractures, bone spurs, ganglions and other benign tumors, muscle impingement, and foot deformities can lead to the condition.
TREATMENT TYPICALLY INCLUDES:
Possible injection of cortisone around the nerve
Using different footwear, possible including orthotics.
If none of these measures helps, then a procedure called a tarsal tunnel release may be necessary. During this procedure, an incision is made to open up the tarsal tunnel and decrease pressure on your posterior tibial nerve. This surgery is very similar to a carpal tunnel release in the wrist.
Achilles Tendonitis or Tendon Tear
Achilles tendonitis is irritation and inflammation of the large tendon in the back of your ankle. It’s a common overuse injury in recreational athletes that causes pain and swelling. This is different from Achilles tendinosis, which is caused by degenerative, microscopic tears within the tendon, and also results in swelling and pain.
Achilles tendonitis is typically caused by a lack of flexibility, over-pronation, recent changes in footwear and recent changes in exercise training schedules. Middle-aged recreational athletes are most susceptible to Achilles tendonitis, due to a loss of flexibility in the tendons as you age.
The main symptom is pain behind the heel, usually in an area two – four centimeters above the location where your tendon attaches to your heel. The most significant pain usually occurs after you’ve been inactive – such as when you first walk in the morning, or when you get up after sitting for a long period of time. Running, jumping and other similar activities may also be painful. Achilles tendonitis pain associated with exercise is most significant when you’re pushing off or jumping.
TREATMENT TYPICALLY INCLUDES:
Icing the affected area
Resting the tendon
Crutches or immobilization of the ankle may be required
Medication, injections or surgery may be needed for more serious cases.
An Achilles tendon tear occurs when the tendon attaching your calf muscle to your heel is completely torn. This injury is common, especially in middle-aged, male, “weekend warriors.”
This injury causes sudden pain behind your ankle. You may hear a ‘pop’ or a ‘snap,’ and will almost always feel as though you’ve been kicked in the heel. If you experience this injury you’ll have difficulty pointing your toes downward, and may have swelling and bruising around the tendon.
About 15 to 20 percent of patients have symptoms of Achilles tendonitis before they experience an Achilles tendon tear, but most patients have no prior history of Achilles problems. More than 75 percent of Achilles tendon tears are associated with playing ball sports, especially basketball or tennis. Other risk factors that are associated with Achilles tendon rupture include cortisone injections into the Achilles tendon, gout and fluoroquinolone antibiotic use.
Your doctor will examine your ankle for continuity of the tendon. A defect in the Achilles tendon can often be felt after a tear. In addition, flexing your calf muscle should cause your foot to point downwards, but if you have a torn Achilles tendon, your foot won’t move. Your doctor may also order an X-ray to check for other potential conditions including ankle fracture or ankle arthritis.
There are surgical and non-surgical treatment options. If you opt for surgery, it’s likely you’ll be able to get back to the sports you love more quickly, and there is probably a smaller chance that you’ll re-tear the tendon. If you opt for a non-surgical approach, you’ll avoid any potential risks associated with surgery, and your long-term results should be similar to patients who do have a surgical procedure. Discuss the pros and cons of each approach with your physician.
If you have a broken foot, seek immediate medical attention. You may experience some of the following signs and symptoms:
Immediate, throbbing pain.
Pain that increases with activity and decreases with rest.
Difficulty in walking or bearing weight.
How to Care for Your Feet
Hiking, running and jumping are some of the enjoyable activities your feet allow you to do.
Feet contain 26 bones and joints that support the body’s total weight and travel over 100,000 miles in the course of an average person’s lifetime.
They allow you to stand, balance, walk, move about and contribute to the alignment of your skeletal system. Some people spend as much as 80 percent of their waking hours on their feet.
The condition of your feet is important to your physical and emotional well-being. Feet need to be kept strong, healthy and comfortable.
They are highly susceptible to injury because of constant use. Every year, people spend millions of dollars on over-the-counter remedies to correct problems that can be prevented with proper foot care.
This information covers common foot problems and proper foot care as well as provides tips for good foot maintenance to help keep your feet in top condition.
Common Foot Problems
About 98 percent of all people are born with normal feet; however, most people eventually suffer some form of a foot disorder by adulthood.
Children may start to show foot defects or damage as early as age two. Most foot problems are caused by improper foot care.
Here are a few of the more common problems and suggestions for treatment.
Athlete’s Foot– a fungus infection of the skin. It may begin with tiny blisters which burst and dry up, causing the skin to flake, crack, itch and burn.
Treatment: Try to keep your feet clean and dry. Wear cotton socks to help absorb moisture and discourage fungal growth. Use an anti-fungus powder or solution. If sores don’t heal after one week, see your doctor.
Bunions – Swollen and tender areas caused by misaligned joints. Usually the big toe is affected and develops an overgrowth of bone.
Treatment: Special cushions worn in the shoe can alleviate some of the pressure caused by bunions. Cortisone injections may help alleviate swelling.
Corn and calluses– Hard, thickened skin which usually causes a painful and burning sensation. Corns form on the top of toes above a center joint or on the soles of your feet. Calluses form on the heel or ball of your foot.
Treatment:Wear properly fitted shoes to reduce the friction and pressure on the feet which causes corns and calluses. Occasionally, surgical removal is necessary.
Foot Cramps – Sudden, very painful cramps in the arch of the foot caused by strained muscles.
Treatment:Stretch the arch muscle and massage it until the cramp ends.
Foot Strain– Dull, pulsating ache in the arch due to fatigue or stress on the foot.
Treatment: Rest your feet, soak them in warm water and massage them. If the pain persists, seek medical attention.
Ingrown Toenail– Corners of the toenail cut into your skin and cause pain – especially when pressure is applied to the toe.
Treatment: Soak your toe in warm water and get early medical treatment to prevent infection. Your doctor may correct the problem surgically.
Onychomycosis (Toenail Fungus)– A fungus infection which grows under the toenail, causing thickening of the toenail.
Treatment:See your doctor. Several types of anti-fungal medications are available.
Some foot problems are signs of more serious trouble. Seek medical attention if your feet suffer from chronic infection, foot or leg cramps, coldness or discoloration.
Caring for Your Feet
Proper foot care also includes foot maintenance. Here are a few things you can do to keep your feet healthy and prevent problems.
• Keep your feet clean and dry — wash your feet, change your socks and air out your shoes to prevent fungus infections.
• Rest and relax your feet every day. Lie back and elevate your feet for a few minutes. Give your feet a soothing massage with your fingers or roll your feet over a golf ball, tennis ball or a rolling pin for a similar effect.
• Exercise your feet to maintain blood circulation. Walking is best. Try taking brisk 30-minute walks five to seven times a week.
• Check your feet regularly. Look for sores, cracked skin and redness. Don’t forget to inspect the areas between your toes.
• Clip your toenails straight across, leaving nails a little longer than the tips of your toes to avoid ingrown toenails.
• If you notice problems with your feet, get it treated right away so it does not get worse.
Tips for Buying Shoes
Many people who shop for shoes put style above comfort, cramming their feet into shoes that are too tight or too high. Ill-fitted shoes can cause many foot problems. Buy shoes that are right for your feet by following these tips:
• Shop for shoes at the end of the day when your feet tend to swell.
• Use the hosiery or socks you plan to wear regularly with the shoes when you try them on.
• Avoid very high heels, platform shoes, clogs and other extreme styles.
• Try on both sides of the shoes and walk around, jump, lean or jog to see how the shoe feels. Don’t buy uncomfortable shoes. They can make you miserable and seriously damage your foot or another part of your body.
• Make sure there is a thumb’s width between the end of your big toe and the tip of the shoe and the ball of your foot fits comfortably in the widest part of the shoe.
• Buy the size that fits your larger foot, if one foot is slightly bigger.
• Look at the shoes while wearing them. If they are being pushed out of shape, they are too tight, Leather and fabric shoes are the most comfortable since they mold to the shape of your feet.
• Check the shoes for good quality, strength and durability. Look for good workmanship such as smooth stitching and finished edges.
• DO NOT buy shoes that you have to “break in.”
• Remember that brand name shoes do not guarantee comfort. If “no name” shoes fit well, buy them.
Especially for children
Use the above guidelines to buy shoes for your child, and:
• Get the appropriate footwear to match your child’s activity.
• Buy shoes that fit your child now; over-sized shoes that the child can grow into can cause foot problems such as blisters.
• Avoid using hand-me downs to save money. Each child’s feet are different and shoes that fit one child may be uncomfortable for another.
Everyone needs to take care of their feet. However, there are certain groups of people who need to take extra good care of their feet because they are likely to develop foot problems. These people include diabetics, the elderly, children and athletes.
Diabetes can cause poor circulation in the feet, making infection a serious danger. Here are some special tips for diabetics:
• Never go barefoot; wear shoes or slippers whenever possible.
• Try not to wear garters, rolled hose, tight girdles, tight or elasticized socks or ace bandages.
• Don’t cross your legs for extended periods of time.
• Wear comfortable shoes and socks.
• Use lotion on your feet to keep the skin soft and supple. Avoid letting your feet get cracked and dry.
• Do not treat corns and calluses yourself. See your doctor.
• Use only lukewarm water on your feet when you wash or soak them.
Do not use hot water, heating pads, iodine or hot water bottles which can cause burns. Also, avoid Epsom salts or alcohol.
As you grow older, your feet are more prone to injury because of poor blood circulation. Older adults can protect their feet by following these suggestions.
• Be faithful about daily foot care.
• Try not to stand for long periods of time or over-exert yourself.
• Avoid over-the-counter remedies for foot ailments. See your doctor.
• Use properly fitted, good-quality shoes.
• Do not expose your feet to extreme temperatures.
Children’s feet develop during the first 18 years of life; this is when abnormalities usually can occur. Give your child the best foot care possible:
• Allow babies to kick freely by leaving their covers loose or off.
• Try not to force your child to walk before he/she is ready.
• Be alert to abnormalities in your child’s walk. If you notice anything odd about the way your child walks or if he/she is bowlegged, pigeon-toed or flat-footed, inform your pediatrician.
• Teach your child about proper foot care.
• Check the fit of your child’s shoes regularly since their feet grow rapidly.
Most sports put a lot of strain on the feet and demand the best performance from them. This makes feet extremely vulnerable to injury. You can prevent infections and injury by doing the following:
• Use shoes appropriate for your activity . Look for leather or fabric shoes which are cushioned and don’t cram your toes.
• Stretch and warm up before you begin any physical activity and take the time to cool down and stretch afterwards.
• Begin slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your activity at a comfortable pace.
• Keep your feet clean and dry; air out your shoes after using them and change your socks daily.
• Deal with injuries immediately. See a doctor for persistent pain or swelling.
• Listen to your body. Stubborn muscle cramps and spasms that can’t be worked out may be a signal for you to rest.
Protect Your Feet on the Job
More than 100,000 foot injuries result each year from accidents at work. These injuries can cause pain, suffering, disability and losses of time on the job and income. Save your feet and toes from disabling injuries by using the basic form of protection — the safety shoe. To get the most out of protective footwear:
• Ask your supervisor about the type of shoes you need for your job.
• Be aware that you can add special features to your shoes for protection against specific hazards.
• For maximum protection, choose your safety shoes carefully. They should protect your feet against any work hazard and be comfortable.
• Wear your protective footwear every time you need it.
Care for your protective footwear properly so it stays in good shape:
• Check them regularly for damage such as cracks or dampness which could lessen their effectiveness.
• Clean and condition them.
• Repair or replace them when necessary. Repairs made should not decrease the protective ability of the shoes.
• Let your supervisor know of any problems with your shoes.
“Triumphs of Experience” by George E. Vaillant published four years ago, is an interesting read on the longest longitudinal study of human development beginning in 1938. The study was led by psychiatrist & Harvard professor, Robert Waldinger.
At a time when many people around the world are living into their tenth decade, the longest longitudinal study of human development ever undertaken offers some welcome news for the new old age: our lives continue to evolve in our later years, and often become more fulfilling than before.
Begun in 1938, the Grant Study of Adult Development charted the physical and emotional health of over 200 men, starting with their undergraduate days.
The now-classic Adaptation to Life reported on the men’s lives up to age 55 and helped us understand adult maturation. Now George Vaillant follows the men into their nineties, documenting for the first time what it is like to flourish far beyond conventional retirement.
Reporting on all aspects of male life, including relationships, politics and religion, coping strategies, and alcohol use (its abuse being by far the greatest disruptor of health and happiness for the study’s subjects), Triumphs of Experience shares a number of surprising findings.
While the study confirms that recovery from a lousy childhood is possible, memories of a happy childhood are a lifelong source of strength.
Physical aging after 80 is determined less by heredity than by habits formed prior to age 50.
The credit for growing old with grace and vitality, it seems, goes more to ourselves than to our stellar genetic makeup.
George E. Vaillant, M.D. determined your relationships are the most important single thing in your well-being.” The author adds, “It’s been gratifying to find support for something as sentimental as love.”
The Harvard Grant Study is the longest scientific study of male development and adjustment to life. It began in 1938 and is still active today, 79 years later.
Listed below are 10 findings:
The most important contributor to joy and success in adult life is love, and the second greatest contributor is the individual’s involuntary coping styles.
What goes right in childhood predicts the future far better than what goes wrong. A warm childhood predicts joy and success in adult life.
The capacity for intimate relationships predicts flourishing in all aspects of men’s lives.
Marriages become happier after age 70.
Alcoholism was the most important factor in divorces.
As men approach old age, their boyhood relationships with their mothers were associated with their effectiveness at work, continuing to work until age 70, and late-life income. Men’s warm relationships with their fathers (but not with mothers) seem to enhance their capacity to play. Good father-son relationships predicted subjective life satisfaction at age 75.
After age 40, IQ does not count for much.
Men’s military rank once discharged from WWII was significantly correlated with a cohesive home atmosphere in childhood and warm relationships with mother and siblings. Body build, parental social class, endurance on a treadmill, and IQ were not associated with attained military rank in any way.
Of the 26 personality traits assessed when the men were in college, the one called Practical, Organized best predicted objective mental health at ages 30 through 50.
Men who live to be 100 years old are usually pretty active at age 95.
The study conducted an in-depth examination of the lives of 268 Harvard University sophomore men (classes of 1942, ‘43, and ‘44) commencing at age 19 and following participants to the end of their lives. Some are still alive. They include blue-collar workers, professors, artists, and a former U.S. president. The purpose of the Study was to “transcend medicine’s usual occupation with pathology by learning something about optimum health and potential, and the conditions that promote them.” The study has uncovered clear predictors of physical and psychological health of men.
Vaillant joined the study as head researcher 45 years ago when he was only 32 years old. As he notes throughout the book, this study is a telescope of sorts: it has gathered valuable insights that suggest the variables that predict success and optimum health of men. The variables studied were diverse and included (but are not limited to) childhood environment, genetics, maturation, work, alcohol use and abuse, coping styles, marriage, and social support.
Researchers also conducted interviews with three generations of relatives. As you can imagine, 75+ years, 268 men, information from their relatives, and thorough objective psychosocial and biomedical health data have generated a vast reservoir of information about the antecedents of optimum health and success for men.
The Gift of Longitudinal Prospective Research
The Grant Study employed a longitudinal prospective design in which participants continue to be followed in real time, information is collected on numerous variables of interest as their lives progress, and outcomes are identified as they occur.
This is unlike retrospective designs in which the outcomes are known before the variables are identified, which can lead to errors in distinguishing between causes and correlations.
In prospective longitudinal research, the outcomes and what led to them are documented throughout the person’s life. Researchers can look at behavior in-the-moment, which makes it easier to see what predicts future behaviors. The dynamic resource of information gives context to the outcomes.
A Glimpse Into the Findings
The entire list of interesting discoveries documented in this book is much too long to encompass in a short review, but I’ll share a few captivating teasers.
The men supplied thorough information about their biomedical and psychosocial health. A few of the biomedical variables were EEG, scrotum length, and blood pressure.
Some aspects of psychosocial health were childhood experiences, first marriages, divorces, second marriages, lost loves, first jobs, active duty in WWII, volunteer work, friends, children, grandchildren, psychological difficulties, being institutionalized for major disorders, and alcoholism, as well as participants’ greatest regrets and joys.
In line with the study’s purpose, the book describes Vaillant’s Decathlon of Flourishing. The Decathlon is a set of 10 accomplishments in late life that covered many different facets of success.
Examples include good subjective and objective physical and mental health at age 80, being in a good marriage between ages 60 and 85, and being close to kids between ages 60 and 75. He wanted to see how and if these accomplishments correlated with three predictor variables:
A loving childhood
These three variables often showed to have very significant associations with late-life success, as researchers processed the goldmine of valuable information, with the most important being:
This is a story worth repeating because these statistics are alarming.
An estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2019
Last year, an 82-year-old woman who suffered from dementia, who couldn’t recognize her own son, miraculously got her memory back after changing her diet.
This is exactly what Dr. Daniel Amen recently talked about on a recent episode of Late Night Health with Mark Alyn. Your brain needs nourishment with good food, beverages, sleep and exercise to function at its best today, tomorrow and in the future.
Dementia is not a natural part of aging, nor is Alzheimer’s. And it can be reversed.
Dr. Dean Ornish and his wife Anne also talked to Oprah on Soul Sunday about how what foods you eat and lifestyle changes can reverse chronic disease like heart disease. His book, “UnDo It!” talks about how simple lifestyle changes can reverse most chronic diseases.
This 82-year-old woman reversed her dementia by changing her food and lifestyle.
When his mother’s condition became so severe for her own safety she had to be kept in the hospital, Mark Hatzer almost came to terms with losing another parent.
Sylvia had lost her memory and parts of her mind, she had even phoned the police once accusing the nurse who were caring for her of kidnap.
A change in diet, which was comprised of high amounts of blueberries and walnuts, has proven to have had a strong impact on Sylvia’s condition that her recipes are now being shared by the Alzheimer’s Society.
Sylvia also began incorporating other health foods, including broccoli, kale, spinach, sunflower seeds, green tea, oats, sweet potatoes and even dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao. All of these foods are known to be beneficial for brain health.
Mark and Sylvia devised to diet together after deciding that the medication on its own was not enough, they looked into the research showing that rates of dementia are much lower in Mediterranean countries and copied a lot of their eating habits.
Mark, whose brother Brent also died in 1977, said: “When my mum was in hospital she thought it was a hotel – but the worst one she had ever been in.
“She didn’t recognise me and phoned the police as she thought she’d been kidnapped.
“Since my dad and brother died we have always been a very close little family unit, just me and my mum, so for her to not know who I was was devastating.
“We were a double act that went everywhere together. I despaired and never felt so alone as I had no other family to turn to.
“Overnight we went from a happy family to one in crisis.
“When she left hospital, instead of prescribed medicationwe thought we’d perhaps try alternative treatment.
“In certain countries Alzheimer’s is virtually unheard of because of their diet.
“Everyone knows about fish but there is also blueberries, strawberries, Brazil nuts and walnuts – these are apparently shaped like a brain to give us a sign that they are good for the brain.”
There were also some cognitive exercisesthat Mark and his mother would do together like jigsaw puzzles crosswords and meeting people in social situations, Sylvia would also exerciseby using a pedaling device outfitted for her chair.
Mark said, “It wasn’t an overnight miracle, but after a couple of months she began remembering thingslike birthdays and was becoming her old self again, more alert, more engaged..
“People think that once you get a diagnosis your life is at an end. You will have good and bad days, but it doesn’t have to be the end. For an 82-year-old she does very well, she looks 10 years younger and if you met her you would not know she had gone through all of this.
“She had to have help with all sorts of things, now she is turning it around. We are living to the older age in this country, but we are not necessarily living healthier.”
The Body’s Ability To Heal Is Greater Than Anyone Has Permitted You To Believe
This story just goes to show how resilient our bodies really are if given the right environment. Most of these types of diseases are often related to diet in the first place so that means that they can indeed be reversed with a proper diet.
Sure, some of them are genetic and you might be a carrier of the gene, but that is not a guarantee that it will become active, there are things you can do to minimize the risk.
Our health is our greatest wealth. We have to realize that we do have a say in our lives and what our fate is.
“We now show that some of the highest levels of aluminium ever measured in human brain tissue are found in individuals who have died with a diagnosis of familial Alzheimer’s disease.” -Professor Exley
Please share this article with anyone you know who knows someone who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Everyone gets anxiety. It’s when you worry about something in the future, which let’s face it, can be tomorrow. A meeting, an interview, an exam, a commute, the weather…so much to worry about, right? Wrong.
STOP those thoughts from spiraling because you’ve no control of tomorrow.
You have THIS moment. Make it a HEALTHY ONE. Repeat that. STAY in the NOW.
Number ONE: Exercise daily. Don’t make excuses like rich people have a personal trainer.
When I was a kid I was influenced by one man I saw on TV. He had nothing, except ONE chair beside him. I was in the first grade when I first saw him.
His name was Jack La Lanne. He spoke about the benefits of daily exercise. I listened. Kids brains are like sponges. Mine absorbed his message. His message is still true.
It is proven your brain benefits at the 45-minute mark. So, if you’re feeling anxious it may be a signal from your body or brain that you need to move.
Look at all the benefits you get simply from walking. Best part? Do it anywhere.
And stay hydrated. Drink water, even when you’re not thirsty. Look at all the benefits of staying hydrated in the photo below.
When people tell me they get headaches, the first thing I ask is how much water they drink. Most say none.
Well, that’s why you have a headache. Most tell me they drink coffee, which DE-HYRDRATES. Your brain needs water.
Your doctor in a rush to get his or her next patient will be too quick to give you pills for headaches or migraines before even asking you this simple question.
If you are prone to headaches –you need to check how much water you should be drinking (use search in my blog to find that) daily and do that. Your headaches will probably magically disappear. You’re welcome.
The times you need to visit a Physician is when you’re doing everything right and you’re still experiencing some sort of pain.
But if you’re not doing the basics of self-care, then you need to make a LIFESTYLE change first to find out if that’s what’s causing your pain. We were created to be healthy and feel good, but we need to take care of ourselves. Here’s that photo magnified.
Speaking of sweat, if you can get to a SAUNA after you exercise, even better. If not, no worries. Can’t get to a sauna? Take a long hot shower or hot bubble bath with Epsom salt afterwards. They now make Epson salt with bubbles.
Try Dr. Teal’s. It contains Magnesium, which can only be absorbed through the skin. CVS sells it. It costs about six dollars. Smells nice too. Like lavender. It’s usually near the soap section. A lot of people lack Magnesium.
Remember, the second you start to feel anxious get up, DRINK WATER, STRETCH, BREATHE and MOVE. Drink water, even when you’re not thirsty. Go for a walk.
WALK. WALK BRISKLY and TAKE DEEP BREATHES (BREATHE IN…AND HOLD FOR 4 SEC. AND breathe out slowly) until the feeling passes. It will. You can do this anywhere, even in a tiny room. Stand up. STRETCH AND HOLD. Then, walk. Every cell in your brain and body benefits when you do this. Don’t focus on what you were worried about. Instead, repeat the words “You can do it…” while breathing. Yes, you CAN walk off anxiety.
Number TWO: Take a good look in your refrigerator and pantry. Toss out the garbage. You don’t need me to tell you what’s garbage. Sugar, soda, junk food, processed foods, white bread, alcohol, cookies, cake, donuts, potato chips.
NOW replace those things with healthy go-to items like alkaline water, almonds, walnuts, blueberries, strawberries, greek yogurt without sugar in lieu of ice-cream or cottage cheese, veggie sticks instead of regular chips, cook veggies in olive oil and garlic, green tea.
Veggie sticks are so yummy I regret blogging about them because like everything else I blog about –it’s suddenly SOLD OUT on store shelves the next day.
I’ve blogged about emotional eating in the past and which foods to reach for when you feel a certain emotion because having different emotions are part of being a human being. Don’t let anyone numb them with pills.
The healthiest thing you can do is try all the good stuff first, because the good stuff works.
The good stuff is what they mean when they say the proof is in the pudding.
Proven healthy lifestyles are proven time and time again from centenarians and those of us who are healthy.
If someone gets through their 40’s and 50’s feeling great with natural energy and no prescription medications they are doing something right.
Unfortunately, there are males and females in their 20’s and 30’s who still think how they look, even if it’s through plastic surgery, or extreme dieting, makes them healthy. Health magazines (which I no longer buy) fuel this misinformation by placing these cropped top people on their covers. That’s insecurity, folks.
The good news is what it means to really be healthy is rising above all that noise.
As I predicted decades ago, the world has shifted conscientiousness regarding health. Take a look at this circle. There’s no bikini in it. There are no six or twelve pack abs for men.
HEALTH comes from inside and it doesn’t need external approval.
There is no longer any denying how interconnected the following are:
Every generation goes through the same feelings as the one before them, so it’s time to start educating ourselves on how to LIVE HEALTHY and PREVENT ILLNESS while living in a crazy world. Even if we live in a healthy bubble and try to shield ourselves from all the craziness –there is no escaping it. Even family members, friends, partner, colleagues, boss, kids, parents, strangers driving near you on the road can infiltrate your peace. You can’t control that.
The healthiest advice anyone can give you is DON’T REACT. The calm one is the healthy one. Did someone less qualified get a position you earned, because they’re related to or know someone? Don’t react. Don’t despair. Didn’t close a deal when something less deserving did? Same thing. It may make you angry. You’ll want to grab a bag of chips or drown your sorrows in ice cream.
Keep your pantry or refrigerator stocked with healthy stuff you can grab instead. A bag of cherries, a large bowl of blueberries or those veggie sticks I told you about earlier. You can snack on a ginormous bowl of these thing and not be left feeling even worse afterwards, as you will with regular chips and junk food.
Number THREE: Turn off TV. Get out in nature instead or read a good book. I’ve been reading a book a day since I was a kid. I thought everyone did until my younger brother laughed and said I was crazy and people are lucky if they read one a year.
Fine. Then, make it one positive book a year.
Keep that ONE book on your nightstand and reread it when you need inspiration. For non-readers I recommend you start with, “The 7 Laws of Spiritual Success” by Deepak Chopra. I used to give them out as gifts. Little gem of a book. Then, get “The Four Agreements.” These are 2 books you can re-read during stressful times.
My book, “Healthy Within” is one every celebrity who writes a Tell All Memoir should read. The reason is I never mention my ex’s name, or what actually happened. No details. Why? That part is not important. That part is no one’s business. What’s important is how to get through anything that at the time feels like a personal or professional tsunami.
That is the HEAL part in HEALthy. Other than that, it’s tabloid toxicity.
When you’re blaming someone else or pointing out all of your ex’s flaws, people reading it are actually cringing. No one wants someone in they’re in an intimate relationship with to write a kiss and tell, so to speak. There are two people in a relationship or marriage. Two.
Advice to Demi. Let.It.Go
I don’t know who advised her to write this in the first place. It feels like something that should have never been made public. When someone is in the public eye and they reveal they were someone entirely different than we believed them to be –it feels like WE were lied to and betrayed. So, I felt more let down from who I thought Demi Moore was than anything having to do with Ashton. Even when the other person betrays you it’s enough to know it was a betrayal –we don’t need details, thank you. I would have passed on this book. I’m an avid reader and have zero desire to buy it.
Back to self-care. Fuel your body and brain daily with nutritious foods. What does healthy food look like? Here are a few visuals.
And do not forget how important SLEEP is…
NUMBER FOUR: REST. NAP. SLEEP. Allow your brain and body to shut down and reset itself just like you do when your computer has lost it’s charge or starts acting up. Shut it down. Anyone who brags about only getting or needing little sleep isn’t healthy. Every cell in your brain and body is created to regenerate and health itself, but you need to sleep and shut it down in order for it to do what it does naturally. It’s called Beauty Sleep for a reason.
I’ve blogged about foods that help you sleep. If you’re a late-nigh snacker keep bananas, cottage cheese, blueberries and a bag of cherries in your pantry, along with decaf organic tea. Turn off all electronics 2 hours before a set time. Keep the room you sleep in a little chilly. Wear eye shades. Take that hot bath with lavender and you will crash naturally.
If you are on any type of anti-anxiety or depression medication it needs to be under the supervision of a physician, who should ONLY prescribe TEMPORARY low-dose if you are in crisis mode, say after the death of a loved one or other tragedy. It needs to be in combination with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, fancy word for Talk Therapy, to taper you off prescribed medication.
It’s not dealing with what is causing your anxiety or depression. What’s causing it is change and stress from it. That change can come from work, finances, seasons, relationships, age, moving, parenthood –anything in life.
That’s why it’s natural and you need to LEARN healthy coping mechanisms for LIFE. Having a trusted confidante in life to go through ups and downs also helps keep your brain and body in top form.
Healthy relationships are a wonderful buffer against daily stressors in life. It’s having someone in your life to talk to, bounce ideas off of and be there during good times and bad. Healthy relationships proven to be a positive constant in a sea of change. Positive because healthy relationships release all the feel good chemicals and hormones in your body and brain. Love releases oxytocin. When you have LOVE and commitment everything is less stressful.
So what do you do when you don’t have a trusted hand to hold during it all?
Revert to the Four Tips solo, because HEALTHY attracts HEALTHY. Be your best you in mind, body and spirit. Work on healing any past hurts. Put them in the past. Forgive. Move on. YOU need to BE that which you want to attract. Think about that. You want a healthy, intelligent, kind, independent, fun, supportive, honest, loving, faithful, committed, loyal, trustworthy partner?
When your friends and the people you surround yourself with are healthy –you’ll learn healthy coping mechanisms, even through observing their habits.
Post note: I love tea and have blogged about the benefits of tea and my favorites in the past. USA Today and Washington Post now says tea bags contain plastic and that it is toxic. I cut right to the bottom to find out which brands contain plastic bags because not all of them do. Here are brands to avoid.
Mostly, it’s those cute triangle bags. Apparently, it looks like they are made out of paper, but it’s plastic that holds them together. They are cute. Recently, a restaurant served me on that looked was so cute. I commented asking how it was held together Now we know.
Avoid brands in RED
“So which tea bags contain plastic?
Brands that use plastic sealants include Tetley, Twinings’ ‘heat-sealed’ and ‘string and tag’ ranges, Yorkshire Tea and some Aldi tea bags.
Co-Op and PG Tips have all switched to 100% compostable bags.
Abel & Cole and Teapigs using plant-based SoilOn and Clipper makes a plastic-free teabag made from bananas, while some Tetley and Twinings ranges are biodegradable.
But if you want to be absolutely sure your tea is plastic free, loose leaves are the best way to go.” [Source: USA Today, September 2019]
It’s not all tea and it’s not all brands, so get past their hype to the facts. Then, get back to:
Remember, when you have a bad day, week, month or year –don’t call it a bad life. Think of it as a bad season, like leaves falling off a branch in Fall. What do you need for leaves to grow back? Oxygen, water, nourishment, sunshine. Nourish yourself every day and your leaves will return one day at a time. You got this!
Basically, it describes the effects on the body and mind when a person is sedentary.
Disuse syndrome was first characterized around 1984 and, since that time, has received much attention in relation to back pain problems, other chronic pain disorders, and other illnesses. It has been generalized beyond chronic pain problems and some feel it is related to “the base of much human ill-being.”
This disuse of our bodies leads to a deterioration of many body functions. This is basically an extension of the old adage “Use it or lose it.”
There are several physical consequences from disuse. These occur in many body systems, most notably those of the muscles and skeleton, cardiovascular, blood components, the gastrointestinal system, the endocrine systems, and the nervous system. For instance, consider the following:
In the musculoskeletal system, disuse of muscles can rapidly lead to atrophy and muscle wasting. If you have ever had an arm or a leg in a cast, you will be familiar with the fact that the diameter of the affected limb may be noticeably smaller after being immobilized for some time.
Cardiovascular effects also occur due to disuse including a decrease in oxygen uptake, a rise in systolic blood pressure, and an overall blood plasma volume decrease of 10 to 15 percent with extended bed rest.
Physical inactivity also leads to nervous system changes, including slower mental processing, problems with memory and concentration, depression, and anxiety.
A key factor in chronic pain
Many other detrimental physiological changes also occur. Disuse has been summarized as follows:
“Inactivity plays a pervasive role in our lack of wellness. Disuse is physically, mentally, and spiritually debilitating.”
Many experts believe that the disuse syndrome is a key variable in the perpetuation of many chronic pain problems.
The disuse syndrome can result in a myriad of significant medical problems and increase the likelihood of a chronic pain syndrome developing or becoming worse.
Unfortunately, common attitudes and treatments in the medical community often lead to more passive treatment without paying attention to physical activity and exercise (of any type).
The disuse syndrome can also lead to a variety of emotional changes that are associated with an increased perception of pain.
“Research has demonstrated that disrupted sleep will, in turn, exacerbate chronic back pain.3 A lack of restorative sleep also hampers the body’s immune response and can affect cognitive function. Thus, a vicious cycle develops in which the back pain disrupts one’s sleep, and difficulty sleeping makes the pain worse, which in turn makes sleeping more difficult, etc.”
You may have heard that doctors are getting away from prescribing opioids for chronic low back pain. New guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) advise doctors to start with options that don’t involve any type of medication.
This breaks from the World Health Organization tiered medication scale favored in the past. The scale previously focused on drugs that included opioids.
“We interpret the new guidelines as saying, ‘Try a number of non-pharmacological options before starting the use of long-term medication for low back pain.’ That’s a positive step,” says spine specialist E. Kano Mayer, MD.
While the ACP reviewed lots of studies to formulate its guidelines, he notes that it failed to look at how long each intervention was effective or at outcomes other than pain reduction.
“Cleveland Clinic spine specialists favor the active, rather than the passive, therapies recommended,” says Dr. Mayer. “We prefer that you do things actively to control pain and improve function, rather than waiting for things to be done to you.”
What to try first for your back pain
Cleveland Clinic spine experts support the following ACP recommendations, he says:
Physical therapy “Cleveland Clinic very much advocates active physical therapy,” says Dr. Mayer. An exercise prescription can help to ease back stiffness and strengthen muscles that support the spine.
Acupuncture This ancient Chinese technique involves inserting hair-thin needles at key points to ease pain. “Acupuncture is better at relieving the radiating leg pain that can accompany low back pain. We often recommend acupuncture because relieving pain allows you to exercise and be active,” says Dr. Mayer.
Exercise Individual, group or supervised exercise can make you sore at first. “But it can help improve your core strength, spine flexibility, endurance and balance,” he notes.
Yoga and tai chi
Practicing these meditative forms of exercise from ancient India and China “has shown good benefit for those with low back pain, improving their function, endurance and symptoms,” says Dr. Mayer.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
“Research shows this popular form of talk therapy improves coping, lessens social isolation and decreases the social impact of pain on your life,” he says. Combining psychological therapy with physical therapy and social work support is also beneficial.
Biofeedback Placing electrodes at certain points allows you to control and release tension in your back muscles. “This improves function, positional tolerance and muscle pain,” says Dr. Mayer.
Progressive relaxation Gradually releasing tension in each part of the body can be helpful in easing pain, especially before bed.
Remedies less likely to help
Cleveland Clinic spine specialists generally do not support the use of passive treatments for low back pain.
“Chronic use of low-level laser therapy, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and spinal manipulation may only help in the short term,” Dr. Mayer points out. “We don’t want you to waste your money on treatments unlikely to provide more than a day of benefit.”
When you may need medicine
If non-drug interventions don’t help, the ACP recommends first trying non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, indomethacin or meloxicam. While NSAIDs provide some pain relief, they may put you at risk for GI bleeding or kidney damage.
As second-line drugs, the ACP recommends duloxetine (an antidepressant) or tramadol (a novel opioid, but still subject to abuse).
Due to their serious side effects and addictive nature, opioid medications (morphine, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, tapentadol) should be used only as a last resort when patients fail all other therapies, the ACP advises. The rule of thumb: Use the lowest possible dose of opioid for the least amount of time.
If you’ve been suffering with long-term low back pain, it’s worth exploring these non-drug treatment options before resorting to pills. You’re likely to find your quality of life improving.
How Doctors Are Treating C-section Pain — Without Opioids
A Q&A examining the reasons behind this change and what it means for new mom + their babies
As the opioid epidemic rages on, some doctors are facing the problem head-on by looking in the mirror — reducing the amount of opioids and opioid prescriptions given out after surgeries, including cesarean sections.
Anesthesiologist Eric Chiang, MD, is on the frontlines, helping spearhead a change in pain meds prescribed after C-section at Cleveland Clinic. He explains the reasons behind this trend — and what it means for both mom and baby.
Q: Why are doctors reducing opioid prescriptions to treat pain after a C-section?
A: In the U.S., for the last two decades and continuing to today, we’ve focused on opioids as the main pain medicine. And not just for after C-sections — for after any surgery.
But this single-minded approach has led to excessive prescribing, which fuels the opioid crisis: Overprescribing means people are frequently left with extra pills. The meds are often diverted and sold on the street. A lot of people are exposed to these narcotics, which eventually lead them to heroin and other drugs.
Overprescribing has become a habit for doctors. There was pressure to prescribe them. There was pressure from the government on treating pain. And there’s been a demand for these medications from patients. Culturally, American patients think opioids are a stronger pain medicine. It all snowballed.
Although opioid use is on the rise around the world, the U.S. remains an extreme outlier. In other countries, Tylenol® and Motrin® are the first-line drugs. You hear statistics about how the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population and uses 80% of the world’s opioids. It’s totally true.
Q: What opioids have doctors traditionally prescribed during C-section recovery?
A: One of the main pain meds we used to give after C-section is Percocet®. It was very common to prescribe Percocet after any kind of surgery. Percocet is a combination drug. It’s an opioid (oxycodone) plus 325 milligrams of Tylenol. Vicodin® is similar — it’s an opioid (hydrocodone) plus Tylenol.
One problem is that if you prescribe Percocet to your patients, it becomes their go-to pain medicine. If they have 2 out of 10 pain, they’re going to take Percocet. If they have 10 out of 10 pain, they’re going to take Percocet.
We have had tremendous success by separating these drugs instead of giving a combination pill. This approach provides options: The patient can maximize non-narcotic medications (4,000 mg acetaminophen plus Motrin) and only take opioids if she really needs it — if she has “breakthrough” pain.
What happens if you prescribe a combination pill? Patients will have to make complex calculations and keep track of dosages. “How much Tylenol is in that Percocet? How much is in this pill that I’m going to take now? How much am I getting over 24 hours? I can’t go over 4,000 milligrams.” In our experience, patients end up taking Percocet for all pain, increasing their exposure to opioids unnecessarily.
Q: What pain meds do the doctors in your program prescribe after C-sections? What have been the results?
A: One of the objectives of our project at Cleveland Clinic was to try to address over-prescription. We made Tylenol and Motrin our primary pain meds after C-section. There are very few side effects, and they’re not opioids.
We have patients take Tylenol and Motrin around-the-clock, alternating them every three hours. Patients can use oxycodone in addition to the Tylenol and Motrin if they really need it. We let the patients decide.
When we did this, patients decided they didn’t want or need opioids:
Opioid use on our postpartum floors went down by 70% almost overnight.
Now, almost half of our C-section patients never get any intravenous (IV) or oral narcotics.
Previously, even if a patient did not use opioids during their hospital stay, we gave them an opioid prescription when we discharged them. We are trying to change this practice — patients who don’t need opioids in the hospital are no longer sent home with a prescription for them.
For patients who do need opioids in the hospital, we now sending them home with five oxycodone pills. For comparison, in 2016, C-section patients were going home with around 32 pills. We also give people prescriptions for three days of Tylenol and Motrin, emphasizing that these are their primary pain medicines for C-section recovery.
Q: How does reducing opioid prescription after C-section help both mother and baby?
A: Women need effective pain relief after childbirth because they need to take care of an infant. They need to learn how to breastfeed. Poorly controlled pain is also associated with postpartum depression.
Our patients are doing much better and are better able to care for their babies. They have fewer problems with issues associated with opioids. Patients are:
Walking around more.
Passing their bowel movements sooner.
Patients have more control as well. They’re not left feeling like their only option is a narcotic pain med after C-section. They can decide what they want to take and if they’re going to take an opioid.
It’s also better if the baby is not exposed to opioids through breast milk. While all of the oral medicines we use are generally considered safe for breastfeeding, we prefer for the baby to get Motrin or Tylenol than oxycodone. Opioids can be a risk because they can cause respiratory depression — a decrease in the drive to breathe, both with the mother and the baby.
“It seems universal that we all carry great pains and great feelings of loneliness and regrets. I had a friend who worked in a hospice. The ONLY thing that people talk about is their loves and then their regrets in love, dealing with love.”
“I thought, man, that’s really interesting. If that’s our focus on the way out, better start working on that now.”
This issue of GQ is on news stands next month (Oct. 2019)
Mary Teruel is a senior author and professor of chemical and systems biology at Stanford University, conducted a study published last April in CELL METABOLISM.
“When glucocorticoids are constantly high, as is the case when we’re chronically stressed out, it can boost the chances for a certain type of cell to morph into fat cells, the study found. And that could bump up our weight. So basically it’s not about food intake. It’s about timing.”
Tercel says, “While mice and people are certainly different, both are greatly influenced by circadian rhythms and both produce glucocorticoids in response to stress. Although the research was done in the lab, it’s likely human body would react in a similar fashion to the mice to continuous high levels of glucocorticoids.”
Tercel says the increase in fat is likely related to the fact under normal circumstances glucocorticoids wax and wane with our circadian clocks. So our bodies are designed to ignore short-term fluctuations of these hormones.
But everything is thrown out of whack when levels stay high — as they will if a person’s stress doesn’t diminish, even after the day’s work is done.
“So maybe it’s OK to get stressed during the day, but not at night,” Teruel said.
That makes sense to Dr. Anthony Heaney, an endocrinologist and an associate professor of medicine and neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine.
“It would suggest that any method people can use to beat stress could be of benefit,” Heaney said. “I think the challenge is for people who are stressed often. I don’t think jumping into a 30-minute yoga or Pilates class will be enough to address that.”
We recommend MINDFULNESS before jumping into any class, running out to the gym or any exercise after work. That’s actually keeping your stress level high.
What you need to do is de-compress first.
If you’ve had a stressful day, sat all day at the office or had an awful commute –close your eyes for 20 minutes when you get home and focus on your breathing.
RELAX. BREATHE. This study reinforces why SLEEP is so important to maintaining a healthy weight. If you only sleep 4, 5 or 6 hours a night, you are sending a message to your fat cells to stay ON.
Every cell in your body and brain needs to rest and replenish itself. You throw yourself out of wack when you deprive your body of this. The damage may not show up immediately, but it will in the long-run.
CHRONIC STRESS can be alleviated by consistent sleep. If you have to chose between exercise or sleep when you’re going through a stressful time, pick consistent sleep and you will get through it. You can get your daily exercise through walking after you’ve allowed your mind to calm down.
Burning the candle at both ends will do just that –leave you burned out. Allow yourself a REST and RESET, so your fat cells stay turned off.
You may not be able to control the amount of stress in. your life, but you can make a note to turn everything OFF at a certain time at night so you deactivate your glucocorticoids.
HOW TO COPE WITH DAILY STRESS
1. Find the optimistic viewpoint in a negative situation.
One of the simplest but most effective ways to build a more positive outlook has in my experience been to ask more helpful questions as often as possible.
When I am in what seems like a negative situation – maybe I have been lazy, made a mistake, failed or stumbled in some kind of way – then I like to ask myself questions like:
What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
What is one opportunity within this situation?
Doing so is a whole lot better than what I used to do in such situations. Because back then I usually asked myself how much I sucked and how things could get even worse now.
I do however not always use these questions right away.
Oftentimes I need a bit of time to process the thoughts and feelings that arise in situation before I can do that.
Trying to force optimistic thinking when you are still in an emotional turmoil or a bit shocked usually don’t work that well.
2. Cultivate and live in a positive environment.
Who you choose to spend your time with and the input you get from further away like the TV, the internet and magazines will have a huge effect on your outlook.
To be able to stay positive it is essential to have influences in your life that support you and lift you up instead of dragging you down.
So carefully consider what you let into your mind.
You can for example ask yourself:
Who are the 3 most negative people I spend time with?
What are the 3 of most negative sources of information I spend time on?
Consider the answers. Then think about how you can start spending less time with one of those people or information sources this week.
And how you can spend more of the time you have now freed up with one of the most positive sources or people in your life.
3. Go slowly.
I have found that when I go too fast, when I try to think, talk, eat and move around in my world really quickly then things don’t go too well.
Stress builds up. Negative thoughts about just about anything start to well up and I feel like my own personal power decreases.
But if I slow down just for a few minutes – even if I have to force it by walking, talking and eating slower – then my mind and body calms down too. It becomes easier to think things through clearly again and easier to find the optimistic and constructive perspective.
4. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.
It’s very easy to lose perspective, especially if you are stressed and you are going too fast.
A simple three step way to handle these situations so they don’t get out of hand is to:
Say stop. In your mind, shout “STOP!” or “NOPE, we are not going down that path again!” as soon as thoughts of this kind starts to spin in your head.
Breathe. After you have disrupted the thoughts by shouting stop sit down and just be still. Breathe with your belly and focus on just your in-breaths and out-breaths for a minute or two to calm your mind and body down.
Refocus. Question your mountain building thoughts by talking to someone close to you and getting a more grounded perspective on the situation by just venting or by getting his or her input.
Or simply ask yourself this to widen your perspective and to chill out: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?
5. Don’t let vague fears hold you back from doing what you want.
Sometimes you may want to take a chance in life. Start a new habit that feels unfamiliar, your own business on the side or ask someone out for a date.
A common trap when you want to do one of those things is to get lost in vague fears and about what could happen if you actually took action.
And so the mind runs wild fueled by fear and it creates nightmare scenarios and plenty of self-doubt.
I know. I have been there many times.
So I have learned to ask myself this: honestly, what is the worst that could happen?
When I have figured that out I also spend a bit of time on trying to figure out what I could do if that that often pretty unlikely thing happens.
I have over the years discovered that the worst thing that could realistically happen is usually not as scary as the nightmare my fear-fueled mind could produce.
Finding clarity in this way doesn’t take much time or effort and it can help you to avoid much mind made suffering. And help you to get going, step outside of your comfort zone and take that chance.
6. Add value and positivity to someone else’s life.
What you send out you tend to get back from the world and the people in it.
Not from everyone. And not every time.
But what you send out there matters a whole lot.
What you give them and how you treat them is what you’ll get back. And they way you treat others and how you think of them also tend to have a big effect on how you treat and think about yourself.
So give value and spread the positivity by for example:
Helping out. Lend a hand when moving. Give a friend a ride in your car. If he or she needs information then help out by checking it up on Google or asking a friend of yours.
Just listening. Sometimes people don’t want any direct help. They just want someone to be there fully and listening as they vent for a little while.
Boosting the mood. Smile. Give hugs when appropriate. Play uplifting music when hanging out with a friend or suggest an inspiring movie for your movie night. Or encourage when someone has had a bad day or are going through a tough time.
7. Exercise regularly and eat and sleep well.
This is very obvious of course.
But I know the big, big impact a good night’s sleep or good workout can have when my thoughts are pessimistic and I have a lot of tensions on the inside.
And I know how much simpler it is to think clearly and optimistically when my belly is not empty.
So I highly recommend being careful about these basic habits that may sound boring. Because they do have a huge effect either way depending on how you manage them.
8. Learn to take criticism in a healthy way.
One of the most common fears is the fear of criticism. It can hold people back from doing what they want in life.
Because having negativity flowing out of someone’s mouth or email and it being about you can hurt. And being rejected can sting quite a bit.
But if you want to take action on what you deep down want then criticism is pretty much unavoidable. So the key is learning to handle it in a healthier way.
By doing so your fear of it will lessen and it will hurt less if you do get criticized.
I usually use four steps when I get some criticism. Maybe they can help you out too:
Step 1: Don’t reply right away.
When you are angry, upset or riled up then is time to calm down a bit before you reply. Take at least a couple of deep breaths or a little time to process the message before you respond.
Step 2: Really listen to the criticism.
Try to remain open and level-headed and figure out how this message can help you.
Ask yourself: Is there one thing I can learn from this criticism? Is there something here that I may not want to hear but could help me?
Step 3: Remember the criticism isn’t always about you.
Some criticism is helpful. Some is simply attacks or someone lashing out because they are having bad day, year or job.
To lessen the sting of such criticism – often really angry or overly critical in an unconstructive way – I try to be understanding. I think to myself that this person might not be feeling so good at the moment.
Step 4: Reply or let go.
No matter the content of for example an email I try to keep my reply level-headed and kind. I may add a question or two to get more specific feedback that is helpful.
And if they don’t reply or I have simply gotten a nasty attack then it is time to delete it and to let that situation go.
9. If something still gets under your skin then know what to do.
Sometimes something can still get under your skin and hurt you. Even if you use the steps above.
Two things that have helped me with that challenge are:
Let it out. Just letting that issue out into the light talking it over with someone close can be very helpful to see it for what it actually is. And to find a healthier perspective on the situation.
Improve your self-esteem. I have found over the years that with a stronger self-esteem things drag me down less and they don’t ruin my day as much anymore. Negativity from others bounces off me much more often instead. If you want to practical help with this then have a look at my 12-week, step-by-step Self-Esteem Course.
10. Start your day in a positive way.
How you start your day usually sets the tone for the rest of your day.
So be careful about how you spend your mornings.
If you get going at full speed, lost in future troubles in your mind then the stress, perceived loss of power of over your life and negative thoughts will ramp up quickly.
If you on the other hand start your day by moving slowly, by having an uplifting conversation with your family or friend or you spend some time with reading or listening to inspiring and helpful articles or podcasts over breakfast or during your bus ride to work then that can make a big difference for how your whole day will go.
11. Mindfully move through your day.
When you spend your time in the present moment then it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions and to stay practical about what you can actually do about something in your life.
When you get lost in the past or future like so many of us have spent a lot of time on doing then worries very easily become bigger. And failures and mistakes from the past being replayed over and over in your mind drag you down into pessimism.
By moving slowly through your morning and hopefully through much of the rest of your day it becomes easier to mindfully stay in the moment you are in.
Another simple way to reconnect with the moment you are in and to put your full attention there again is to focus just on what is going on around you right now for a minute or two with all your senses. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Feel the sun, rain or cold wind on your skin.
It might sound like a small and insignificant thing to do. But this simplifying reconnection with the moment can have a very positive effect on the rest of your day.
Named the most popular psychiatrist in America by the Washington Post
Find out what helps and hurts brains and what causes your brain to prematurely age. The good news is even if you haven’t taken care of your brain up to now, you can still reverse the damage.
Dr. Amen tells you what you need to do FIRST.
Since 50% of people age 85+ will be diagnosed with some form of dementia, this is a topic EVERYONE needs to care about, including teenagers.
According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers. Find out why it’s critical to pay attention to brains first.
Dr. Amen talks to Mark Alyn about what has a negative impact on your kid’s brain AND adult brains, and what has a positive impact.
Children and teens are vulnerable because they’re experiencing increased stress when their brains aren’t fully developed and won’t be until their mid-to-late 20s. Find out the number one thing kids can do to improve their brain’s health.
Dr. Amen says ignoring environment, nutrition, physical, spiritual and mental health can result in behavior problems, depression and anxiety.
Dr. Amen also answers questions about playing football and your brain, the use of marijuana or CBD and your brain.
We’ve heard a lot of opinions on this topic. Find out what the brain expert says based on hundreds of thousands of brain scans. He has seen first-hand what helps or harms your brain.
Dr. Amen has scanned over 160,000 brains and what he’s learned is something everyone needs to know, especially kids, who currently face increased on and offline pressure.
And test performance requirements, and competitiveness to get accepted into colleges.
Mark Alyn, Host of Late Night Health talks to Dr. Amen about how to boost your brain power and prevent it from aging faster than you do.
Dr. Daniel Amen co-authored more than 70 professional articles, 7 scientific book chapters and 40-plus books, including the No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, “The Daniel Plan” and “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.”
“Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades,” includes editorial contributions from his teenage daughter, Chloe Amen, and niece, Alizé Castellanos.
Late Night Health host, Mark Alyn and Dr. Amen share funny stories about raising daughters and what it’s like to have a psychiatrist Dad.
Known for his work in treating the most complex psychiatric issues through eight Amen Clinicsaround the country that hold the world’s largest database of functional brain scans on behavior.
With the release of his 40th book, “Change Your Brain, Change Your Grades,” Dr. Daniel Amen provides students, parents and teachers simple steps to improve brain health for better performance in school and in life