Author: David Yochim

Don’t Die Too Young My Friend

Last week, a lifelong friend of mine had a heart attack at 56 years old. He went to the doctor for a stress test of his heart and did not pass. He had a heart attack while on the treadmill and was wheeled straight into emergency surgery where it was discovered he had a 99.9 percent blockage. Thankfully he was in a hospital already and the doctors were able to put in a place a stent to save his life. If he had been home or on the job, this could very well have been the sad end to a good man and a great tragedy to his family and friends who all love him dearly.

Take action now!

This concept is not rocket science; no matter what you might think, a healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. This concept is nowhere near as hard as you may believe it to be!  You do not have to die young and cause pain and anguish to your family and friends, you can make smart choices to change the overall pattern of your choices that will make improve your heart health. Make the simple steps below part of your life for long-term benefits to your health and your heart:

Quit consuming excess, empty calories and lose some weight!

  • Start by knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. Nutrition and calorie information on food labels is typically based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. You can learn your daily caloric needs simply by going to our Calorie Counter Pro menu where you simply enter your age, gender, weight, and activity level to see how many calories per day you need for your goals whether they are weight loss, gain, or maintenance.
  • If you are trying not to gain weight, don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day. This is a simple concept, eat more than you burn, and you gain weight. This is true for everyone. By eating only 500 calories per day in excess of your caloric needs, you will gain one pound of fat per week. Conversely, if you eat 500 calories less than you need, you will lose that one pound of fat.
  • Increase the amount and intensity of your doctor approved physical activity to burn more calories.
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (or an equal combination of both) each week. What ever you do, do not over rate the intensity of your exercise in order to be able to eat more. We have seen it time and again where people will rate their physical activity as intense when it was moderate at best. To rate your intensity remember this:
    1. Intense exercise will have our heart pounding hard and you will not be able to breath or speak. The odds of you doing this for more than a minute or two if you are not a trained athlete are very slim.
    2. Moderate intensity is where your heart rate is elevated and your breathing is deep and hard, but you can still carry on a labored conversation. This is a great zone to be in as this where fat burning takes place. It takes the average person twenty minutes to burn through their glycogen stores before burning fat, so try to go at it for at least 30 minutes at a time.
    3. Low intensity means your heart rate is not elevated and you can breath and speak easy. While this is better than sitting on the couch, you should work yourself up to where you can enter the moderate intensity zone.

Make everything you eat count towards good health!

You may be eating plenty of food to satisfy your immediate hunger, but that is not enough. Being full does not equate your body getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have minerals, protein, whole grains and other nutrients but are lower in calories. They help you control your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Quit eating calorie dense, low nutrition foods!

The right number of calories to eat each day is based on your age and physical activity level and whether you’re trying to gain, lose or maintain your weight. You could use your daily allotment of calories on a few high-calorie foods and beverages, but you are not likely to get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Do not waste your calories on sugar filled junk foods that will only serve to drive you crazy with cravings for more later in the day. Eliminate, or greatly reduce foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients in your diet. Also limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium you eat. Read nutrition labels on your food choices very carefully – the Nutrition Facts panel tells you the amount of healthy and unhealthy nutrients are in a food or beverage.

  • Eat a variety of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars. Replace high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose fiber-rich whole grains for most grain servings.
  • Choose poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways without added saturated and trans fat. If you choose to eat meat, look for the leanest cuts available and prepare them in healthy and delicious ways.
  • Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week, especially fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout and herring).
  • Select fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products.
  • Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat and replace them with the better fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. If you need to lower your blood cholesterol, reduce saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s about 13 grams of saturated fat.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further. If you can’t meet these goals right now, even reducing sodium intake by 1,000 mg per day can benefit blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man.
  • Follow the American Heart Association recommendations when you eat out, and keep an eye on your portion sizes. (1)

Do yourself and your family a favor and get your health together today. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we freely provide all the information you need to live a healthy life. Subscription is free and easy, join us today and get each of our new articles straight to your email inbox. Please feel free to comment or ask questions in either our comments section or privately through our contact menu. We answer everyone and encourage conversation!

(1) American Heart Association

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No Hill For a Climber, The Infection

Hurry up and wait!

It appears we will be in this holding pattern for maybe the next couple of months until Loraine has healed from her mastectomy enough to begin her radiation treatments. She has had a set back with a deep infection to her incision that was discovered by the wound care specialist that Dr. Butler had referred her to a few weeks back. For all intents and purposes, Loraine’s healing appeared to be coming along fine, there was some dead skin at the incision site, but that was not unexpected and did not look abnormal to either the surgical or medical oncologists that had been seeing her. Dr. Butler, the surgical oncologist thought it would be a good idea to have some of the dead flesh removed by the wound care specialist, Dr. Matson, solely as a precautionary measure to facilitate a speedier healing process. There were no indications of a deep infection from the outside when Loraine went to see Dr. Matson, therefore it was quite the surprise to find out there was actually a very significant infection brewing under the surface within the deep tissues. Visually, there was no indication of redness, swelling, pus or any type of foul smelling discharges from her incisions. We had thought radiation treatments would be able to be started within the next couple of weeks. It is just another thing learned when dealing with breast cancer I guess..

It has been about 4 weeks ago that Dr. Butler prescribed Loraine Silvadene which is a cream that is supposed to help prevent and treat wound infections. She prescribed this solely as a preventive measure as there were no indications of infections in Loraine’s incisions. We applied this cream daily after Loraine’s showers before applying new bandages over the incisions. It turns out that Silvadene is not a medicated cream that Dr. Matson thinks should be used on these types of wounds as according to him, it inhibits the healing process instead of helping it along. When Dr. Matson cut away the dead skin from Loraine’s incision, there was a very foul smell and a bunch of pus lying underneath. He told Loraine to quit using the Silvadene and to now use SilvaSorb on the site instead. He told Loraine that he wished doctors would not prescribe the use of Silvadene on these types of wounds as it slows healing. I only bring this up, not because I think Dr. Butler was wrong in prescribing the Silvadene in the first place, but to give you information to bear in mind should you ever be presented the same situation. You might want to inquire whether the doctor means one or the other, since the names are so similar and the the two medications are both silver based and do similar jobs. Breast cancer, or any type cancer for that matter, is a great learning experience as you will be faced with so many unknowns. While we always knew infection was a possibility, we did not expect the extent of this one Loraine has been hit with. Dealing with this type of thing is not for the timid or those with a weak stomach. Whether you are prepared or not, these types of things just have to be dealt with in the home.

I have to admit, the first dressing change after the dead skin from Loraine’s incision was cut away revealing the infection was tough. There is a hole that you could fit a quarter into that is at least one fourth of an inch deep. The underlying muscle tissue is exposed along with fatty tissue and pus which must be cleaned out with sterile saline solution before applying SilvaSorb ointment and new bandages. I do not have difficulties in seeing sights like this on others, yet seeing it on the love of my life was quite hard. Changing these dressings and nursing the wounds is not a job for the squeamish at all. Once I clean out the pus, I find myself scared to death of causing Loraine any type of pain as I spread the SilvaSorb into that deep pit. Loraine has dealt with serious infections and bedsores in her work as a home health care attendant, but this was too much for her to bear looking at. Therefore, nightly dressing changes has been my job before leaving to work in the evenings. I can’t blame her one bit.

Today’s visit with the wound care doctor.

I took Loraine to see Dr. Matson this morning to have the wound looked at. The doctor took measurements and pictures which were entered into her records and compared with last weeks. Fortunately, the wound is a little smaller yet still has a long way to go before being fully healed enough for her to begin radiation treatments. After  the measurements and pictures were taken, he then cut away dead fatty tissue and debrided the wound. Thankfully, they used a good numbing gel and Loraine does not have full feeling there yet, It looked painful. And then, smart guy me, I just had to stand where I could watch and did not notice that I was standing on the seat controls that raise, lower and leans the seat. I felt like a real goober when the doctor looked at me and told me I was standing on the control. I was so enthralled with watching the procedure that I did not notice the seat was rising as he was trying to work on her. He was friendly enough, but I know it probably had to chap his ass this happened. I know it would mine. Lesson learned is to keep my ass back. Once he was through with debriding the wound, the nurse packed it with a new medicine that he wants her to use instead of the SilvaSorb. This looks kind of like a bandage except it dissolves when in the wound. It is a collagen and silver based medicine. I hope we see more healing next week, the week after and after…

Most women do not get infections after mastectomy.

From BreastCancer.org

  • More than 1 in 20 women (a little higher than 5%) developed an infection at the site of the incision after breast surgery.
  • The risk of infection was different depending on the type of surgery that was being done:
    • 4% for mastectomy with no reconstruction
    • 12% for surgery with implant reconstruction
    • 7% for reconstruction surgery using skin and/or muscle from the belly area
    • 1% for breast reduction surgery

When you are preparing yourself for a surgical procedure, odds are you are only thinking of getting fixed, or getting your diseased parts removed from your body. There is an overwhelming amount of emotions that will flood your mind when dealing with breast cancer, it is almost impossible to think of everything you might need to ask the doctors involved in your care team. If surgery is a part of your treatment for breast cancer and you’re concerned about the possibility of infection, talk to your doctor about:

  • How often infections occur after the type of surgery you’re having in the hospital you’ll be using.
  • How that infection rate compares to the infection rate at other area hospitals.
  • The possibility of your surgery being done as an outpatient procedure or with a short hospital stay after surgery. Many infections after surgery happen because of germs in the hospital environment.
  • The steps that will be taken before, during, and after surgery to reduce the risk of infection. For example, some doctors recommend that people scheduled for surgery use a special washing procedure before coming to the hospital. Other doctors may prescribe antibiotics before or during surgery to lower the risk of infection.

It’s important to remember that most women having breast surgery will NOT develop an infection. If an infection does develop, it usually can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Together, you and your doctor can develop a plan that is the best for YOU.

Plantar Fasciitis

One of the first things we military veterans learn in our military careers is the importance of foot care. We would spend our days marching from place to place for our many different training evolution’s.  During our early days of preparing for combat operations, we would be on our feet from sun up to sun down. Foot care was imperative to our success as young troops. However, proper foot care extends into our civilian lives too. If we do not care for our feet, we lose our mobility. Once we have lost mobility, we begin losing our health too. Plantar fasciitis is a debilitating condition that can cause you to lose your ability to remain mobile.

Plantar fasciitis can occur for many reasons, it is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).

When you have plantar fasciitis you will experience a deep stabbing pain that can damn near cripple you with your first steps in the morning when you get out of bed. Once you get up and move, the pain might decrease some, but it might return after long periods of standing or when you stand up after sitting. While plantar fasciitis is more common in runners,  people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support  have an increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis. If you are morbidly obese, plantar fasciitis can finish off your ability to walk on your own.

When you develop plantar fasciitis you are typically going to experience a stabbing pain in the bottom of your foot near the heel. The pain is usually the worst with the first few steps after awakening, although it can also be triggered by long periods of standing or when you get up after sitting. The pain is usually worse after exercise, not during it. When you have it, you might find yourself hating life each and every time you have to get on your feet. It will seem that nothing you do will ease the pain when you try to stand and walk.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Your plantar fascia is in the shape of a bowstring, supporting the arch of your foot and absorbing shock when you walk. If tension and stress on this bowstring become too great, small tears can occur in the fascia. Repeated stretching and tearing can irritate or inflame the fascia. Although the cause remains unclear in many cases of plantar fasciitis some factors can increase your risk of developing this condition. They include:

  • Age. Plantar fasciitis is most common between the ages of 40 and 60.
  • Certain types of exercise. Activities that place a lot of stress on your heel and attached tissue — such as long-distance running, ballet dancing and aerobic dance — can contribute to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
  • Foot mechanics. Flat feet, a high arch or even an abnormal pattern of walking can affect the way weight is distributed when you’re standing and can put added stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Obesity. Excess pounds put extra stress on your plantar fascia.
  • Occupations that keep you on your feet. Factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of their work hours walking or standing on hard surfaces can damage the plantar fascia.

Some of the risk factors such as age, foot mechanics, and occupation you have might have little to no control over. In regards to foot mechanics and occupation, it is imperative that you buy shoes that are correct for your foot type. You can also have orthotics custom made to give your arch the proper support they require.

A Factor You Can Control

You can control your weight!

The more you weigh, the harder your feet must work to support your body. This is a simple common sense fact. If your ideal body weight should be 150 pounds and you weigh 300 pounds, this is akin to you at a normal weight carrying around a 150 pound back pack 24 hours a day. That added weight is a huge strain on  the connective tissue in your feet. Simply put, people who are overweight are putting more pressure on their ankles, knees, and hips as well as their feet. The more weight you allow yourself to gain, the more you risk losing your mobility. Loss of mobility and obesity becomes a vicious cycle that feeds upon itself.

You can, and should, break the link of obesity. When the body is overweight, it tries to compensate by changing the way that it moves. An obese person may lean forward and put extra weight on the wrong part of the foot. This puts unnecessary stress on the feet. Obesity can create a flat foot posture to develop as the excessive pressure on the feet from supporting the excess body weight can change the structure of the foot. This leads to an unhealthy distribution of weight on the feet which leads to improper foot movements while walking. As the foot arch flattens, the plantar fascia ligament which runs through the bottom of the foot, stretches excessively and causes one to suffer great pain when supporting their body weight.

See Your Doctor

No matter your weight, if you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, go see your doctor who can assist you with getting set up with  “orthotics”. These are shoe inserts that support the arch and cushion the heel. The inserts range from basic, off-the-shelf supports to expensive, custom-made versions that will help your feet to get better over time. It may be pricey as you may need to see a podiatrist for this. However, the price of a loss of mobility is even worse.

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Living With Chronic Pain

There is so much to the meme in the picture that is true. Awesome things will happen today if you choose to not be a miserable cow. How we live is often how we choose to live. When we have chronic pain, we can choose to lay about licking our wounds or we can choose to get our asses up and still live life to the fullest extent possible. Every day, we have choices to make in how we are going to live and get through the day.

But that is easy for you to say!

Look, I absolutely do get what it is like to live with chronic pain. I damn well know that living with chronic pain makes day-to-day life difficult for all of us who live with it. Chronic sciatic pain from a spinal injury ten years ago touches every single part of my life, from hygiene, to cooking, to relationships, to sleeping. I’ve been living with chronic pain since I blew my spine out at L5 S1 ten years ago in an accident at work. I know what it is like to be dropped to the floor in pain that can and does turn on the water works of tears from my eyes. I have had the experience of having to learn to be able to once again walk normal because of a damaged sciatic nerve. But never the less, I made the choice to over come the pain and to live life to my fullest. We can choose to live isolated in our homes because we hurt, or we can take life by the horns and kick its ass instead. Either choice we make, still leaves us in pain, so why not learn to embrace the suck and drive on instead of cowering every time the pain gives us a bad time.

If you also live with that pain as your constant companion, you’ll probably relate to these 9 things all too well:

 You never know how you’ll feel in the morning

When you live with chronic pain, every day is an adventure. That goes double for the start of the day. We never know how much pain we’ll wake up with or how it will change throughout the day. But just because we might wake up in pain, it does not mean the pain will be bad once you have got up, hydrated your body and begun some movement. Often, how we feel in the morning is no indicator of how we will feel later, unless we choose to give in to the pain instead of overcoming it.

People don’t seem to understand what “chronic” means

Loved ones often mean well when they tell us things like, “Hope you feel better soon!” The reality is, the pain doesn’t stop, so it’s hard to know what to say. For my chronic pain, it is something I will live with the rest of my life. No matter what I might do, I will always have pain or discomfort to some degree or another.

“Have you tried ___?”

Again, people mean well and want to help. That said, I have been to professionals to get help with my pain conditions and I have done a ton of my own research. Those of us who suffer, know our own bodies best. If I am sharing frustrations about pain, it’s usually because I am venting and not in search of a pain relief strategy. I have been on narcotic pain medications that only left me with an addiction to them. I have tried numerous stretching techniques that work in the moment. What I have found is the best pain relief for me is to get my ass up and move. I work out four days per week and when the weather is nice,  I like to get out and hike.I have found the best pain relief for me is to get my heart rate elevated that gets well oxygenated blood moving through my body. I have found that vigorous exercise not only distracts my mind from pain, there is also a release of all natural pain relief from within our bodies through the release of endorphins and dopamine. Have you ever heard of a runners high? It is real and can also be obtained from heavy weight training.

Some days are easier than others

I’ve been dealing with varying levels of pain every single day for the last 10 years. Some days are a lot easier. Other days are an absolute struggle fest. Still, I refuse to be defeated even on the worst of days. There are choices to be made in how we proceed through the course of our day.

You LOL when asked questions like, “Do you have any pain today?”

I can never avoid laughing at this question. I usually feel bad when I do. I know the person asking isn’t doing it out of malice or a lack of understanding, but because they might feel the need to ask. If you know I suffer chronic pain, then you can rightly assume I have some degree of pain no matter what time of day you might ask if I have any pain. My pain is chronic, it never leaves me.

Doctors without pain don’t always understand

Healthcare providers are amazing people. But too often they will turn to a medical treatment for your pain rather than getting you to do anything physical that might relieve your suffering.

Managing pain is more than pills

Patches, kinesiology tape, exercises, meditation, self-care … These are all a part of the chronic pain toolbox. Too often people want pills to treat their pain over trying anything else that might initially bring more discomfort at first, such as physical therapy exercise and stretches. People are adverse to pain , pills are the quickest and easiest form of pain relief, yet can also lead to destruction of lives.

The relief you feel when painkillers start working

Pain can greatly affect our lives, it can influence how we interact with others. When relief starts to hit, it helps to eliminate so many of those symptoms of pain. Hell, if we do not get too settled into our sofa’s, we might even become productive! We can go back to being ourselves instead of someone struggling to survive the day. Conversely, we might lose all color from our world. Early on in my case when I was still on narcotic pain relievers, I found that I only existed and was not living. Hence the reason I made the choice to learn to just live with and deal with my pain.

Still, medications don’t completely remove pain

Pain is still a constant companion. It’s always with us, even when we’re on medication. Oxycodone never made me quit hurting, it just made it where I did not dwell on it so much. What I learned through my personal experience is that as long as I took pain medications for chronic pain, my pain would never go completely away. I was just a drug addled individual who still lived on pain. Ten years later I live a full life even with the pain still there. Today, as a serious weight trainer, my chronic pain helps to keep my ego in check when lifting heavy weights.

Both through my email contact here on the website, and in person, I often get asked about how to deal with pain, to which I will always tell the individual to exercise and strengthen their body. That being said, I will also always tell them to ensure they have their doctor’s clearance before beginning any exercise regimen. I always recommend strengthening exercises as building strength is important for stabilizing the joints and preventing future injuries. For people living with chronic pain, adequate core strength is especially important. It helps you maintain proper posture and balance and reduces the risk of injuries that could lead to more pain. Regular workouts can boost the production of feel-good endorphins, including dopamine, and reduce chronic pain. Plus, besides preventing your muscles from weakening, and your joints from stiffening, a good workout regimen  will help remove extra pounds from your hips, thighs, and midsection. Face it, it is not rocket science to figure out the closer you are to a healthy body weight, the better your body is going to feel. If you should weigh about 130 to 150 pounds and you are obese, you are going to have unnecessary aches and pains.

What you do with your chronic pain is a personal choice. You can choice to let it kick your ass each and every day, or you can choose to live life to your fullest despite the pain. It is a choice to be made, I know what I chose for myself, and it works better than laying about licking my wounds in the hopes it would magically disappear one day. That is not going to happen any time soon now is it…

 

Childhood Obesity’s Effect on Bone and Joint Health

Over the last few decades, with each passing year our society has gotten fatter and fatter. Obesity has no prejudice, it impacts people of all races, genders, religions, sexual orientation and ages. There seem to be few boundaries that obesity does not trample all over and the problem is only getting worse. It is a huge travesty that we are allowing our nation’s children to become obese such as we are. When we allow this, or help it to happen, we are only dooming our youth to a lifetime of misery at some point. And this point in time is coming earlier and earlier as the obesity epidemic spreads, just think of all the younger people you might know who are all stoved up with what at one time we referred to as exclusively “old people” issues. Look at the younger people in your life, family, friends and coworkers, how many of them suffer from arthritis, back pain or joint issues? Unless you are a hermit living in solitude, odds are great that you know someone who is prematurely handicapped by entirely preventable bone and joint issues. And then take note of how many of these individuals are also over weight or obese.

Getting to a healthy weight or body fat percentage will either greatly help or entirely fix your aches and pains!

If you are one who suffers hip, knee and ankle pains, what are you doing to remedy the pains you live with each day? Are you on pain medications for arthritis? Do you take any anti-inflammatory medications to help you through the day? Have you had to have surgical procedures to fix any of these issues even if they have not come about as a result of an accidental injury? Or for the most important question;

Have you tried to remedy these issues by watching every damn thing you put into your mouth at the dinner table?

You have more control than you think over your aches and pains when they do not come from disease or injuries.

I have heard countless people tell me it is too expensive to eat healthy. To which I say bullshit. Eating less than healthy garbage costs you more than healthy eating ever will. You might save a few dollars at the grocery store when you do your weekly shopping. But these savings will be greatly offset by the expense of doctors visits, medications and therapies.

Have you looked at how much medicines cost now days?

Have you ever paid for a CT Scan, X-rays, and surgical procedures to fix your hip and knee problems?

You can bet that whatever you saved through buying sugary foods and processed garbage was more than ate up by medical expenses. You do not have to live your life with those expenses. You do have the power to control your weight if only you will.

Did you know that for every one pound you weigh, your knees feel the force of three pounds of pressure with each step you take? 

If you are at a healthy weight for your stature, this is not a problem no matter your age. But think of the implications when you are obese. If you weigh in at a whopping three hundred pounds, your knees absorb nine hundred pounds of pressure with each step. This is the kind of force that is absorbed by elite level power lifters when they are squatting or dead lifting competitive weights in the heavyweight class of lifters. Unless you are an elite power lifter, your body cannot handle this kind of abuse for too long before it begins to give you massive problems.

Now just imagine the problems that will arise when you allow your child to become obese!

When I was a kid, we used to get up early and venture out on our bicycles for the day, or maybe we would get together for a game of baseball or Frisbee throwing. We were active and obesity was not common among kids of my generation as it is today. We did not sit in front of video games all day while drinking soda pop and eating cookies and cakes all day long.  Today, approximately 32% of American children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, are considered overweight or obese. Why the hell did we allow this to happen?

What kind of life is in store for a 12 year old who already weighs in excess of 200 pounds?

Does anyone in their right mind believe a 200 pound 12 year old is not going to have weight related health issues along with mobility issues as they get older? Obesity can cause many health and social problems beginning in childhood, and continuing and intensifying throughout life. These problems include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, metabolic syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, low self-esteem and depression.

In addition, excess weight can cause vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and increased stress and tension that can affect bone growth and overall musculoskeletal health, causing deformity, pain, and potentially, a lifetime of limited mobility and diminished life quality. Obesity is why we have people in their  thirties and forties living as if they were already in their senior years. The younger one is allowed to live an unhealthy life, the earlier these health issues are going to affect them.

The Prevalence of Obesity in the U.S.

Childhood obesity is among the most serious health challenges of the 21st century.

  • Over the past three decades, the prevalence of children in the U.S. who are obese has doubled, while the number of adolescents who are obese has tripled.
  • About one in eight preschoolers (ages 2 to 5) in the U.S. are obese.
  • Children who are overweight or obese as preschoolers are five times as likely as normal-weight children to be overweight or obese as adults.

According to the CDC, the environmental factors that may contribute to excess weight in children and adolescents include:

  • Greater availability of less healthy foods and sugary drinks.
  • Advertising of less healthy foods.
  • Lack of daily, quality physical activity in schools.
  • No safe and appealing place, in many communities, to play or be active.
  • Limited access to healthy foods. If you are a parent, YOU are the one who limits your child’s access to healthy foods!
  • Increasing portion sizes.
  • Greater exposure to television and media. U.S. children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media including TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies.

Too much weight also can seriously impact the growth and health of bones, joints, and muscles.

Bones grow in size and strength during childhood. Excess weight can damage the growth plate — the area of developing cartilage tissue at the end of the body’s arm, leg and other long bones. Growth plates regulate and help determine the length and shape of a bone at full growth or maturity.

Too much weight places excess stress on the growth plate which can lead to early arthritis, a greater risk for broken bones, and other serious conditions, such as slipped capital femoral epiphysis and Blount’s disease.

What is Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis?

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis is an orthopedic disorder of the adolescent hip. It occurs when the ball at the upper end (head) of the femur (thighbone) slips off in a backward direction due to weakness of the growth plate. The condition can cause weeks or months of hip or knee pain, and an intermittent limp. In severe cases, the adolescent may be unable to bear any weight on the affected leg. (1)

This condition is not rare, and often develops during periods of accelerated growth or shortly after the onset of puberty.

Not rare!

Let that sink into your mind as you gaze at your obese child.

What is Blount’s Disease?

Blount’s disease, or severe bowing of the legs, is another condition in which hormonal changes and increased stress on a growth plate, caused by excess weight, can lead to irregular growth and deformity (1)

In younger children and less severe cases, a leg brace or orthotic may correct the problem. However, surgery may sometimes be needed. Surgery consists of either growth modulation or tibial osteotomy. With growth modulation, use of a metal plate and screws around the growth plate leads to a gradual correction of the bowing over time. With tibial osteotomy, a wedge of bone is removed from the outside of the tibia (shinbone) under the healthy side of the knee. When the surgeon closes the wedge, it straightens the leg.

Children diagnosed as overweight or obese have a higher risk of complications related to these procedures, including infection, delayed bone healing, failure of fixation, and recurrence of Blount’s disease.

Fractures and Related Complications

Children diagnosed as obese or overweight may have a higher risk for fractures (broken bones) due to stress on the bones or because of weakened bones secondary to inactivity. In addition, these children may have more complications that can delay or alter treatment outcomes.

For example, traditional metal implants may not be sufficiently strong to repair broken or misaligned bones. In addition, crutches may be difficult to use for children who are obese or overweight, and cast immobilization may not sufficiently stabilize broken bones. As a result, surgery, in addition to casting, is often required. (1)

Flat Feet

Children who are overweight or obese often have painful, flat feet that tire easily and prevent them from walking long distances. Many children with flat feet are treated with orthotics and stretching exercises focused on the Achilles tendon (heel cord). (1)

Because weight loss is often enough to ease the pain of flat feet, low impact weight reduction exercises, such as swimming, may be recommended.

Impaired Mobility

Children diagnosed with obesity often have difficulties with their coordination, called developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The symptoms of DCD may include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Problems with gross motor coordination such as jumping, hopping or standing on one foot
  • Problems with visual or fine motor coordination, such as writing, using scissors, tying shoelaces or tapping one finger to another

Developmental coordination disorder may impair or limit a child’s ability to exercise, potentially resulting in more weight gain.

Take action on your child’s behalf.

Do your child a favor and instill good nutritional habits early on. Encourage your child to play and exercise. Keep your child active and teach them what healthy nutrition is and what it means to them. As nutritional consultants, it is amazing the number of young people who have reached out to Brenda Sue and myself through our website contact and personally, who have zero clue what it means to eat healthy. It is mind boggling when a twenty year old does not understand that you cannot live on junk food and soda pop and still be able to live a healthy life. It becomes absurd when one does not understand the correlation and causation that bad nutrition and laziness has on your quality of life. It is maddening when one who has had a lifetime of bad nutrition is now unable to break their unhealthy habits even with they have been informed over and over how healthy eating will improve their life quality even as they face their own demise from disease.

Imagine if you will, a point in your child’s life that having a piece of cake or a cookie becomes more important than their own life.

Think it can’t happen?

Then you would be sadly mistaken.

It can…

(1) orthoinfo.aaos.org

Guy’s, We Are Not Invincible!

Face it gentlemen, we go through life  as hard working fix it men, ready to face all the adversity life might throw our way. We arise early and retire long after sundown in order to take care of our families. We are tough and hard to kill, in our own minds. You might even still be riding the legacy of being the toughest guy on the high school wrestling team or the star quarterback, yet are beginning to feel the ill results of that former glorious life. As men, we often do not know when to slow down. We will simply refuse to listen to our wives wisdom when they tell us to take a day off and rest. We will continue to report to work even when deathly ill, that is, until we no longer can. Even if you feel healthy enough, a little planning can help you stay that way. The top threats to men’s health aren’t secrets: they’re known, common, and often preventable. Often, these threats will jump up and bite us on the ass when we are least expecting them. And if you are the type who ignores unusual aches and pains, once these have reared their ugly heads at us, we have plain and simply already screwed ourselves. Look smart guy, it’s important to be aware of possible dangers to your health and to make changes in your life when required. Remind yourself of these top threats to men and how to avoid them.

Depression and Suicide

Depression is not a personal weakness or character flaw. Most experts believe depression can be the result of family history, early life experiences, stressful events, or a combination of these factors.  Many of us military veterans might have been dragon slayers at one time in our lives, we have faced dangers head on that are the nightmares of the common man, yet we can still have symptoms ranging from mild, to moderate, and severe.  Or we might experience any combination of each symptom in no particular order. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Losing interest in or not getting pleasure from most of your daily activities.
  • Gaining or losing weight.
  • Sleeping too much or not enough.
  • Feeling tired or have little energy.
  • Eating more or less than usual almost every day.

The signs and symptoms of depression may be hard to notice at first, so it’s important to be aware of your thoughts, moods, and behaviors. The good news is that even the most severe cases of depression are treatable. If you are a military veteran suffering from depression, PTSD, or thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the Veterans Administration for help. They can be reached at :

My brothers, you are not alone. The VA has improved their care for us who suffer. It takes strength to get help, you are not a weak individual. I reached out and sought help for my own issues with PTSD, and I dare anyone to confront me as being weak.

Note: this article was aimed at men, but my sisters in arms, this applies to you as well. We are brothers and sisters, we have each others backs.

Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease

Look guys, unless you are actively training to be a Sumo wrestler or an elite level power lifter, there is no reason for you to have a gut on yourself that will only serve to rob you of your health and vitality. No matter how loud your bark might be, that gut shows you are not capable of actually running with the big dogs. Do yourself a huge favor if you want to continue an active lifestyle into your senior years, clean up your diet and get into some sort of exercise that will improve your cardiovascular health. If you cannot look down and see your toes and the little guy in between, you are too damn fat.

One in four men have some form of heart disease. It’s the leading cause of death in the United States. Risk factors depend on your age, gender, race, and sometimes family history. You may not be able to change those factors, but you can reduce your risk by:

  • Managing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
  • Not smoking and limiting alcohol use. You already know that smoking is one of the dumbest habits you can ever pick up. Just don’t.
  • Managing stress as best you can. If you are like me and have PTSD, get your ass in for some help. It is not a sign of weakness to seek it.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. It’s good to know what symptoms to look for so you know when to see your physician. If you’re concerned about lung cancer, be on the lookout for these signs:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time or has blood in it.
  • Constant chest pain or shortness of breath,wheezing, or hoarseness.
  • Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis.
  • Swelling of the neck and face.
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss.
  • Fatigue

The earlier cancer is found, the better your chances of beating it. But, the best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking.

Prostate Cancer

OK, none of us ever liked the humiliation of having a doctor shove their finger up our butt to check for prostate cancer, but this is not how most doctors do it any more. Today, we can simply get a PSA test where blood is drawn to check for prostate cancer. The test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. It usually grows slowly and occurs in men over the age of 65 years old. If you notice the following symptoms, talk to your health care provider right away.

  • Problems passing urine, such as pain, difficulty starting or stopping
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain with ejaculation

There is no way to know for sure if you will get prostate cancer. The older a man is, the higher his risk of getting prostate cancer. Talk with your health care provider to take the next steps in identifying prostate cancer earlier.

Diabetes

Anyone can get diabetes, but it’s more common among people over 40, if you’re overweight, or lack physical activity. Other risk factors for diabetes include:

  • Family history
  • Certain races, such as African American or Native American
  • If you take certain medicines

You can’t change certain risk factors, but you can make changes to help prevent diabetes. If you’re worried about diabetes, explore ways to:

  • Maintain a healthy weight and eat nutritious, low-calorie foods
  • Stay active and try to reduce stress levels
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor

Guys, most of us want to be recognized as strong capable individuals, it is a part of our nature as men. However, many of us are getting soft and in less than stellar physical condition. We are prone to eat bad foods when busy and on the run. We are also known to eat in large volume when we have skipped meals in order to meet schedules and deadlines. I believe most of us want to live healthy lives, yet we allow the clutter that comes from living to send us on detours down the worst of life’s rutted out dirt roads. We stand strong even when life is crashing down around us, and we are known to refuse help until we cannot stand any longer.  We place family needs over our own until we finally crash hard. Yeah, we can be kind of dumb in this way. Sometimes others will try to intervene and get us back on a healthy course, to which we might tell them our lives are none of their business. Let me tell you something, your actions when detrimental to yourself will always become the business of someone else. Someone will have to care of your business when you no longer can. Someone will have to take care of your funeral arrangements and the disposition of your estate. Your life and how you live it is the business of others around you, it is selfish to believe otherwise. In the words of my wise friend Jeffery – Selfishness is a slow death.

Take care of yourself so that you can take care of those you love. Take care of yourself so that you are not prematurely moving into a nursing home. Take care of yourself so you do not become a burden on others. Take care of yourself, simply because that is what true men do.

No Hill For a Climber, Radiologist Visit

Stand down from the Alert 5!

Most of my military career was spent in Naval Aviation, nine of those years in helicopter squadrons with Search and Rescue missions which meant that we were always at a heightened state of readiness – Alert 5, Alert 15, and Alert 30. These alerts are the time we would have from receiving word to launch our alert aircraft until they had to actually be airborne. Alert 5 being the highest state of readiness meant we would have 5 minutes from getting the order to launch and getting an aircrew in the air for a rescue mission or to respond to hostile situations. Alert 30 was a more relaxed readiness posture, but you still had to be prepared for the worse case scenarios to arise. Cancer is like being on an alert status, it keeps you on edge because this evil disease can ramp up and down with a swiftness…

Loraine and I got up this morning still under an Alert 5 status in our heads. Her radiology appointment was this morning, so while we were excited to be getting an idea of what her treatments would be, there was still the trepidation of venturing into the unknown. I have said that cancer can take you on an emotional roller coaster ride, but in between those rides there is little down time in our house as we also having been caring for Loraine’s brother Howard for the last year. Howard has Hepatitis C, advanced cirrhosis of the liver along with liver cancer to boot. With two in the house with cancer, we have our hands full. Just when that emotional roller coaster we are on creeps back into the loading station, it launches again before ever coming to a complete stop.

To help ease the stress this morning I made us a special breakfast of steel cut oats cooked with Saigon cinnamon, nutmeg, and  ginger. I added butter and Swerve brown sugar substitute to the oats and then drizzled a little sugar free maple syrup over the top. This would have been even better if I would have had some chopped pecans to add to it.

Once Loraine and I had eaten, we ventured off to Kansas City to meet Dr. Boersma, the radiology doctor who will be doing Loraine’s radiation treatments.  Once there, we were taken back to an exam room almost  immediately by a wonderful nurse who spoke very glowingly about the doctor. This kind woman really helped to settle our nerves by filling us in on as much information as she could. We are so thankful for all the thoughtful doctors and nurses we have encountered thus far.

The treatment plan.

Dr. Melisa Boersma gave me a good vibe as soon as she entered the examination room. My thoughts that she was truly down to earth was solidified when I noticed that she was wearing cowboy boots. Having lived in many different places, I know the idea of a woman wearing cowboy boots might sound strange, but here in the fly over country of the American mid-west, this is a  sign that you are dealing with a straight shooter who has a very kind soul.

After an examination of Loraine’s incisions, Dr. Boersma began discussing the treatment plan on her part. It could not be said exactly when radiation treatments can begin because as of that moment, we still had not received word on the OncoType test results. Additionally, chemotherapy, if required would have to be completed before radiation can begin. But at least we now know how this part of her treatment will be done.

Loraine will be undergoing External Beam Radiation treatments. It is amazing how far medical science has come with computer technology. For all the times, I have thought technology is advancing too fast, I am also very thankful we have brilliant people who have been able to figure these things out. On her first treatment visit, there will not be any radiation involved. The first visit will be a dry run where the doctor and her technicians essentially get Loraine and the equipment all calibrated to each other in order for the radiation beam to be focused exactly where it needs to be with each and every visit that will be five days per week for six weeks in duration once they begin.

As custom motorcycle builders will create a jig in order to build frames that have true alignment, Doctor Boersma is essentially creating a jig for Loraine.  To do this, Loraine will get three small tattooed dots in specific locations in order to get her body properly aligned for treatment. These tattoo’s will be nothing more than permanent marker points where steel beads will be stuck as guidance points for placement with a CT scan. Once the beads are in place, she will be placed into a CT Scan machine where the team can position her body. Her body will be in the exact same position with each treatment, there will be zero deviations of positioning, all the reference points will be stored in a computer for each use that is specific to Loraine.

Following what I will call the initial set up visit, Loraine will receive the treatments that are essentially like a powerful x-ray. Getting her positioned and the equipment set up will take longer than the procedure itself.  The total time for each treatment visit is scheduled for only fifteen to twenty minutes maximum. Once her treatment is done for the day, she will be able to return to work. I’m sure her gracious employer will be happy about that! Prestige Home Health Care is owned by a wonderful couple, I cannot speak highly enough for them.

With external beam radiation there are very few side effects to be expected. There may be a decline in appetite, and a general feeling of fatigue, but this is not a sure thing. What is to be expected is once the course of treatments are coming to an end, there will be some skin irritation much like a sunburn. The doctor told us, this is actually a good sign that the radiation treatment is going as planned and the beam is hitting it’s target every time. There are a couple creams available to help with this, one being aloe vera based. Essentially, she might need a glorified sunburn ointment.

Dr. Boersma was very thorough and answered all of our questions. We left feeling good about the treatments, but still had the question hanging over our heads about whether or not chemo or hormonal treatments would be the order of the day. After the visit we were able to relax our posture to an Alert 15 status. We were able to rest a little easier but the doctor visits were not over for the day, we still had to do a follow up visit with Dr. Butler so she could examine the incisions once again.

Alert 30 Assumed!

After a brief nap, Loraine and I began our drive over to see Dr Butler. On our way there, we got a call from the medical oncologist, Dr. Satelli, who gave Loraine the good word we have been waiting for.

Praise God above, our prayers were answered!

The OncoType test results are back and Loraine will be able to undergo hormonal therapy treatments rather than having to do chemo-therapy! Of course we are not out of the woods yet, but this is great news for us. Chemo is such an ugly treatment with all the sickness involved. Being real about it, chemo is akin to poisoning the body to kill off cancer cells. Chemo kills cancer and healthy cells alike. The difference being that cancer cells cannot repair themselves as healthy cells are able to. We are very thankful that Loraine will not have to go through such an ugly treatment protocol. The next part of this good news is the hormonal treatments can be given at the same time as radiation treatments. She does not have to wait much longer now for treatments to begin! All that is required now is Loraine needs to be fully healed from the surgery, and she is getting there.

Once at Dr. Butler’s office, she examined Loraine and as a precautionary measure recommended she see a wound care specialist for her incision. The incisions are healing fine, but with some of the dead skin that comes from a flap type wound, she wants a wound care specialist to trim back some of the dead skin and to give her specialized ointments to help with further healing. The last bit of good news for the day is Dr. Butler released Loraine to return to work once she has seen the wound care specialist. With radiation and hormonal treatments, my dear wife can be able to get her life back to as normal as possible under the circumstances. She will be able to work during these treatments, where should she have had to undergo chemo-therapy, there is no way she could have worked. My sweet wife has been a hard worker her entire life, and she is not one to ever sit still. I cannot help but to believe that with the grace of God, and life returning back to normal, she is going to kick this third cancer in the butt good and hard. Loraine is a fighter, she is a damn tough woman. She will prevail in this fight!

We are so thankful and blessed.

We are so thankful and proud of how our daughter Jennifer and our three beautiful granddaughters have come through during this time of need. They have brought meals to us that we can heat in the crock pot to ease our stress. And, to keep Grandma’s spirits high, they have been making arts and crafts together. I love seeing my girls enjoying each other the way they have been. I only wish our daughter Molly and  granddaughter Nishi were here too. As it is, Loraine gets calls daily from Germany, we know that if they were closer, they would be here too.

In life, we can be knocked down. Then to add insult to injury, we can be kicked before we get back up. Sometimes cancer can feel like a steel toed boot smashing into the ribs when you are down. But, the pain of cancer is greatly mitigated by a faith in God, and the loving support of family and friends. To all who have checked in on us, and kept us in your thoughts and prayers, we love each and every one of you. God bless, and thank you for reading.

David

Eat Your Oats!

Monday morning during our drive to Loraine’s surgical oncologist visit, we were discussing nutrition when she asked me the difference between steel cut oats and rolled oats. This was a good question and a topic I thought would be good to share with others.

I love oatmeal and usually have it at least three to four times per week for breakfast. I know a lot of people might think it too bland for their taste, to which I would have to inquire just how many ways have they ever tried preparing oatmeal. You see, oatmeal is a very versatile cereal grain that provides many health benefits to our bodies. Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits that include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.

(A point to remember for the gluten intolerant folks, while oats are naturally gluten free, they can contain some traces of gluten due to cross pollination with wheat, barley or rye in some fields. Check to ensure your packaging states gluten free if you are intolerant.)

Another great aspect of oats is they are an inexpensive food choice, costing only about thirteen cents per half cup serving of dry oats before cooking. I always kind of chuckle when I hear people say it is too expensive to buy healthy food choices when there are plenty of options that will not break the bank. Seriously, one has to ask themselves, is it not cheaper to make good nutritional choices that help to keep medical expenses down? Or do you find it less expensive to treat your body like a garbage disposal by consuming calorie dense foods that provide little to no nutritional benefit. Face it, many if not most common ailments that are not from a virus or bacteria are all related to poor food choices. Quality nutrition is the key to good health, the point is not  arguable at any level.

Steel Cut or Rolled Oats, Which are Best?

There is a fine line of difference in which oats are best for you. There is little difference in the nutritional values of steel cut or rolled oats. Which oats are best for you is a matter of personal preference more than anything, but lets go over the differences between the different choices:

Steel Cut

Steel-cut, rolled and quick oats all start out as oat groats. The oat groats are then processed in different ways to create either steel-cut, rolled or quick oats, all of which have distinct characteristics.

Steel-Cut Oats, are also known as Irish oatmeal. Steel-cut oats are most closely related to the original, unprocessed oat groat. The groats are chopped into pieces with large steel blades.

Steel cut oats have a coarser, chewier texture and nuttier flavor than rolled or quick oats.They also take longer to prepare, with average cooking times varying 15–30 minutes. To reduce cooking time, you can soak steel-cut oats beforehand.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats, or old-fashioned oats, are oat groats that have gone through a steaming and flattening process. They have a milder flavor and softer texture and take much less time to make than steel-cut oats, as they have been partially cooked. You can prepare a bowl of rolled oats takes 2–5 minutes.

Rolled oats can also be added to goods like cookies, cakes, muffins and bread.

Quick Oats

Quick oats or quick-cooking oats are rolled oats that go through further processing to decrease cooking time. They’re partially cooked by steaming and then rolled even thinner than old-fashioned oats. They cook within a few minutes, have a mild flavor and soft, mushy texture.

Quick oats are not the same as instant, packaged oats that sometimes contain other ingredients like skim milk powder, sugar and flavoring.

 Oats are a well-balanced, nutrient dense cereal grain, no matter the type you prefer. They are an excellent source of complex carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan, and contain more protein and fat than most other grains.

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains:

Manganese: 191% of the RDI

Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI

Magnesium: 34% of the RDI

Copper: 24% of the RDI

Iron: 20% of the RDI

Zinc: 20% of the RDI

Folate: 11% of the RDI

Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI

Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)

This all comes with 51 grams of complex carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber, while only consisting of 303 calories. This means that oats are among the most nutrient dense foods you can eat.

The chart below compares the nutritional differences between 2 ounces (56 grams) of rolled, steel-cut and quick oats. As you can plainly see, there is an insignificant difference in the nutritional values between the different styles of oats.

For good health, incorporate oats into your day. They do not have to be just for breakfast, there are many savory oat recipes to be found on the internet to enjoy at any time of the day. Get creative and try something new with the  heart healthy grain. Your body will love you for it.