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Posts Tagged ‘MD’

5 Steps to Take Control of Your Diabetes

November 22, 2013 1 comment

November is American Diabetes Month aiming to raise awareness in the movement to Stop Diabetes®. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. If you are battling the disease, learn five tips from Michael Clark, MD, a preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, to help you take control of your health.

  1. Know your Diabetes: Knowledge is one of the best ways to combat diabetes. Diabetes is able to affect your entire body. Talk in depth and frequently with a diabetes educator and/or your physician to assure you are always up-to-date with the latest information. Aside from talking to your physician, make an effort to read the literature on diabetes. Thankfully, there are some great books available as well as online websites such as diabetes.org which give you important information in a structured, easy-to-understand way. Ultimately, every patient with diabetes should know their bodies and their condition better than anyone else, including their physician.
  2. Know Your Blood Sugar: How does diabetes affect you? Testing your blood sugar will not only let you see how you’re doing on a regular basis, but it should also help you understand your diabetes and inform your decision making. This could include choosing a suitable diet, knowing how activity affects you and how stressful days and illness should be managed. Furthermore, the more detail you record, the better prepared you will be when you meet with your physician.
  3. Pick the Right Diet: A healthy diet will help in a myriad of ways. The right diet will improve blood sugar levels, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce tiredness, improve digestion and can significantly improve clarity of thought.
  4. Get in Activity: Minimal activity each day can help improve our health and help us feel more energetic through the day. Even a 20 minute walk or 15 minutes of push-ups and/or aerobics in your own living room will get the heart pumping. The effect of regular activity is also known to help increase insulin sensitivity, which can be useful for all types of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes.
  5. Manage Sleep and Stress: Is your head hitting the pillow for at least eight hours per night? Getting at least eight hours of restful sleep will not only help manage your weight, but it will help keep your blood sugar levels in check.

With these helpful, managing tips, you will be able to tackle your diabetes head on.

For more information about Cooper Clinic or to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive physical exam, call 972.560.2667.

How Much Running is Too Much?

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

Excessive RunningResearch from The Cooper Institute has shown that the value of exercise is overwhelmingly good; however, studies also show that more is not always better. 

How much running is too much? This a very controversial question, but Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, has long said that if you are running more than 15 miles a week, you are doing it for a reason other than health. When you run beyond 15 miles a week, there is a fairly sharp increase of muscular skeletal problems in areas such as your knees and hips.

If you are training for a vigorous physical activity like endurance running, it’s important to make sure that you are not damaging your body tissues.  When you are an endurance athlete, your body can be compromised from oxidative stress as you lose essential nutrients through sweat and increased oxygen consumption. When this occurs, your body can begin to produce dangerous free radicals, which are a by-product from the metabolism of oxygen. An increase in these free radicals throughout your body can result in soreness, DNA damage, cancer, muscle tissue damage and other degenerative diseases.

Running 30+ miles per week may be linked to scarring of the heart due to a lack of oxygen and free radical damage. If you’re running this much, Dr. Cooper says it is imperative that you supplement your body with the proper nutrients to suppress any DNA damage from free radicals. Elite athletes can benefit by taking the proper dosages of vitamins E, C and beta carotene. Dr. Cooper recommends taking 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E twice a day to decrease risks associated with excess running. The Cooper Complete Elite Athlete formula provides the nutrients needed to suppress free radical damage.

Over the years, there have been reports of sudden deaths while endurance athletes were running. Dr. Cooper stresses that this is a rarity, because the majority of athletes who suddenly die while running often have an underlying congenital heart defect. This defect can typically be detected from an EKG.

Our bodies were designed to be fit and active. When you put this topic into perspective, you can clearly see that the proven benefits of exercise outweigh the risks associated it. If you are an endurance athlete, consult your physician to ensure that you are receiving the proper supplementation to stay healthy while you train.

For more information, read The Dallas Morning Newsrecent article where Dr. Cooper discussed this topic or you can view Dr. Cooper’s statement on excessive exercise that he published as a result a Wall Street Journal article on endurance sports.

BMI: A Well Proven Tool for Maintaining Health

January 10, 2013 Leave a comment

By Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics and Laura DeFina, MD, Medical Director at The Cooper Institute

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that suggests that being normal weight is associated with a higher risk of death than being overweight or mildly obese should not lead us to reject a preponderance of scientific work that has demonstrated significant medical risks associated with being overweight and obese.

There are a number of technical limitations in this publication that deserve review. In this publication, the authors used body mass index (BMI) to define normal weight (defined as BMI 22.5-24.9) or mildly obese (defined as BMI 25.0-29.9). BMI, which categorizes weight ranges according to height, is a good measure of obesity, but it is not a perfect measure. For example, the same elevated BMI could describe athletes who have a lot of muscle mass and overweight couch potatoes with loads of abdominal girth and yet these two groups of people may have significantly different risk of developing heart disease or dying prematurely. Furthermore, the BMI ranges used in this study are not the same ranges used by other investigators who have published in this field. Normal weight is more frequently defined as a BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 rather than 22.5 to 24.9. So, it is possible that dividing up the weight groups differently lead to these surprising results. There are a number of other risk factors for death that are associated with being overweight or obese (such as levels of physical activity or fitness) which were not evaluated in this study. The authors combined the findings from a number of large studies to generate a study population for 2.88 million, which often requires creative statistical manipulations to homogenize the groups which can in turn introduce bias in the results. Finally, in a very large study population, even very small differences in outcomes can reach statistical significance but may not always have clinical significance.

Independent of the methodological limitations of any analysis, it is also important to consider whether the conclusions of a study are biologically plausible and reflect clinical experience. A preponderance of scientific work supports the conclusion that significant medical risks are associated with being overweight and obese. People who are overweight suffer from more diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers such as breast and endometrial cancer. Further, there is clearly a greater death risk in those who are significantly obese.

BMI, or other measures of fatness versus leanness, are clinical measures that do not exist in a vacuum. There are important relationships among blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol profiles, physical activity, physical fitness, vascular inflammation and BMI. In addition to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, obesity increases the risk of certain cancers, arthritis and related immobility, and difficulty fighting infections. So, maintaining a BMI in the normal range as recommended by the CDC can reduce the risk of a variety of health problems.

Finally, even within groups of individuals who are overweight or obese, there are factors which influence the likelihood of elevated BMI leading to the development other medical conditions. Numerous studies from The Cooper Institute demonstrate that obese men and women who are physically fit have longer lifespans compared with those who are less fit.

So, let’s not discard a robust scientific literature which details the many health hazards of being overweight or obese based on the findings of single study. Staying or becoming physically fit and achieving or maintaining a normal BMI are not only well proven tools for maintaining wellness, they just make sense.

Podcast: Eye expert, Ophthalmologist Robert Abel, Jr., MD, is interviewed

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Todd Whitthorne recently interviewed eye expert, Ophthalmologist Robert Able, Jr., MD. Dr. Abel is the author of The Eye Care Revolution and The DHA Story. In the interview Dr. Abel explains how nutrition and lifestyle impact our eye health. Click here to listen to the interview.

In the world of supplementation, mirtogenol, a combination of pycnogenol and bilberry, is discussed. Pycnogenol is French maritime pine bark, that’s like a powerful vitamin C, and it’s extremely helpful in diabetics and protecting the cross-linking of their blood vessels. In glaucoma patients, pycnogenol helps protect the nerve fibers. Bilberry helps peripheral vision and night vision. Mirtogenol helps lower intraocular pressure.

Dr. Abel also discusses an herbal blend called Ifolia, and how it may positively impact glaucoma by reducing intraocular pressure.

There’s a new Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) device that uses optical imaging to assist in diagnosing physiologic and pathologic conditions of the eye. The scanner is hand-held, so can be used in all patients, and comes with interchangeable lenses that allow various parts of the eye, from cornea to retina, to be examined.  Using the device and looking at the eye, there’s the potential to detect early stage Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. The device is also used for MS detection too, as the thickness of the retina is changed in individuals who have MS. Dr. Abel says retinal testing may also pick up depression, because the eye and brain are so intimately connected.

Our eyes need at least five hours of darkness every day (or night) in order to rest and replenish. Sleep is needed mechanically and functionally. Stroke, increased glaucoma risk, cornea warping, and stroke in the eye, the sudden loss of vision that can occur during sleep, are all discussed.

Dr. Abel identifies the primarily culprits that make our vision worse – they include explosure to Ultra-Violet (UV) light; poor dietary choices; poor lifestyle choices; and stress.

Sunglasses aren’t just for fashion. Dr. Abel make recommendations on what kind of glasses to select.

Finally, Dr. Abel discusses eye exams, and make recommendations for how often each of us should make an appointment to get our eyes checked.

In addition to his traditional books on eye health, Dr. Abel has written two thrillers, Lethal Hindsight, and Last Sighting. He is also the author of Lumi’s Book of Eyes, a book for children about eye health. The book has QR (Quick Response) codes sprinkled throughout it, with each one teaching a different lesson.