How You Might Be Sabotaging Your Efforts to De-Stress

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There are many things in life that can add to our stress levels, from work to family to the daily commute. A little stress can be good, but too much is a bad thing. Chronic high levels of stress can be damaging to your body and lead to a variety of health problems including high cholesterol and heart disease. One of the biggest challenges is acknowledging the problem and figuring out the source of your stress.

The problem is, even when you get started on removing stress from your life, sometimes old habits can get in the way of real change. Here are a few ways to keep your de-stress efforts on track. Read more  »

Reframing Thanksgiving to Stay on the Weight-Loss Bandwagon

Family at the dinner table at the Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving comes with mixed emotions for many of my patients. The ones with cardiac conditions have to constantly be on top of their weight and monitor their diet closely. But for most of them, Thanksgiving is about the opposite. It’s about forgetting that diet for one day and eating a few of the things you’ve been staying away from for the entire year. Feeling accountable to your health while also wanting desperately to participate in the festivities can be a serious challenge. More often than not, Thanksgiving wins out over healthy eating.

I know that my patients aren’t the only ones who struggle with these opposing goals during the holiday season. Tomorrow, many of you will reunite with family and friends who will have put hours into the preparation of a meal for your enjoyment. While you might have been good about your diet all year, you’re going to arrive at that Thanksgiving table wanting nothing more than to throw all restrictions out the window. For many of you, like my patients, Thanksgiving will win over whatever healthy pledges you may have made. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Female Bosses, Calorie Labels and Morcellators

Female bosses are more likely than males to be depressed. In many ways, breaking gender norms to get into positions of power can be stressful for women. A new study out this week has found that the added stress is taking a toll. “In men, authority, such as the ability to hire and fire people, decreases depressive symptoms, the study said.” But the opposite was true for women. “When the job included hiring, firing and influencing pay, women were predicted to have a 9% increased rate of depressive symptoms over women without authority. Scientists also said men were more likely to decide when to start and finish work than women and were less frequently monitored by their advisers.” According to the researchers, “female bosses had to deal with interpersonal tension, negative social interactions and stereotypes, prejudice, social isolation, as well as resistance from subordinates, colleagues and superiors. Women were often trapped by the gendered notion of a good leader. When women adopted traditionally masculine behaviors as leaders they were criticized for being unfeminine, yet colleagues would not believe the women were good leaders if they saw only their feminine characteristics.” According to the researchers, the key is to accept the way women lead as a new form of leadership, rather than forcing them to fit into male norms. (BBC)

Most things you eat will now have calorie counts. While calorie counts can now be found on most packaged items and some menus, new rules from the FDA will ensure that those counts are found on more items. “Under the rules, calories must be displayed on all menus and menu boards. Other nutritional information–including calories from fat, cholesterol, sugars and protein–must be made available in writing upon request. The new calorie rule covers meals at sit-down restaurants, take-out food, bakery items, ice cream from an ice-cream store and pizza, which will be labeled by the slice and whole pie. Seasonal menu items, such as a Thanksgiving dinner, daily specials and standard condiments will be exempt. The final rule includes movie theaters, amusement parks and alcoholic beverages served in restaurants, but not drinks mixed or served at a bar. The rules aim to close a gap in the 1990 Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which established nutrition labeling on most foods, but not restaurant or other ready-to-eat foods.” (Reuters)

FDA’s “black box” warning to be added to morcellators. Morcellators are tools used by surgical OB/GYNs to remove a fibroid uterus without making a large cut. But they’ve been a source of controversy after they were found to seed cancer in some people with undetected tumors in their uterus. “The FDA used its authority to call for an immediate ‘black box’ warning for laparoscopic power morcellators, the strongest caution the agency issues that indicates morcellators shouldn’t be used on most women during hysterectomies. Typically, such warnings on product labels undergo a lengthy comment period before being completed.” According to the FDA, “we believe that in the vast majority of women, the procedure should not be performed. The move strengthens guidance issued in April and draws tight boundaries around use of a device that divided gynecologists and alarmed women.” While the FDA can’t prevent doctors from using the tool if they choose to do so, “the warning could raise legal exposure for manufacturers or physicians who act counter to the FDA advice.” (WSJ)

Possible Mechanism for Multiple Sclerosis Uncovered

brain MRI

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects millions of people across the United States. It has a predilection for younger women and usually first causes symptoms in the third or fourth decade of life. Symptoms vary and can be as subtle as fatigue or more obvious such as numbness or loss of vision.

Most diagnosed with the disease have symptoms that come and go over time. This version of the disease is called “relapsing-remitting” MS and is the less severe form. Over time, attacks can get worse and closer together with shorter normal periods in between. Treatment for these individuals aims at trying to keep relapses far apart while preventing symptom progression when they occur. Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Ease Fears About Thanksgiving Travel, Try Diabetes-Friendly Smoothies, Avoid Menopausal Weight Gain

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On Sharecare we’re offering: ways to travel in comfort and without fear of Ebola this Thanksgiving, recipes for diabetes-friendly smoothies and easy ways to avoid weight gain during menopause.

1. Headaches and nausea are classic signs of motion sickness, and they can make your plane or car ride miserable. With Thanksgiving travel around the corner, now’s the perfect time to get Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen’s solutions to tame these symptoms.

2. Speaking of Thanksgiving travel, are you anxious about getting on a plane during the Ebola outbreak? Here are three reasons to pack your bags and fly without fear.

3. Juice-bar smoothies are calorie and carbohydrate bombs, which can be a problem for people with diabetes. Instead, add these delicious blood sugar-safe smoothies to your menu for a healthy breakfast or energizing snack.

4. If you’re nearsighted, you’ve probably had plenty of awkward moments when you weren’t wearing glasses or contacts. But there may be a perk to this vision impairment after all. Learn about the brainy side of being nearsighted.

5. If you’re facing menopause and worry about the weight gain that often comes with it, check out these three tips to help you keep your waistline in check.

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

woman-eating-pepper

The winter holidays are quickly approaching, and we are all excited for the happiest time of the year. Everyone gathers together to celebrate the season with family, friends, fun, food, and more food. All is well, for a while, until just before New Year’s when we start to reflect on our resolutions for the upcoming year and discover that fitness or weight-loss goals top the list again. Read more  »

Drink Soda, Age Faster?

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Want to age faster? I’m guessing that your answer, of course, is no. But that’s exactly what you might be doing when you drink soda. If the thought of obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular disease isn’t enough to make you think twice before picking up a can or bottle of some sugary brew, a new study reports that drinking soda may make our cells age faster. Looking at telomere length in more than 5,000 healthy U.S. adults between the ages of 20 and 65 years old, researchers found telomere length to be shorter in subjects who sipped on sugar sweetened soda. Read more  »