Staying Healthy on the Go Is Easier Than Ever

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As the summer continues and most of us spend more time outdoors and on the go, I want you all to take a moment to think about how you track your health when you are on the move. It’s so important to be in tune with our bodies, whether we are relaxing at home or lounging at the beach (with sunscreen of course!). The great thing is that nowadays it is easier than ever to keep track of your health wherever you are.

You’re probably familiar with AskMD by now – we’ve talked about it on my show and I’ve featured it here a few times, too. It’s a great resource for learning what could possibly be causing symptoms you’re experiencing, and you can use the app on your mobile phone or right here at doctoroz.com/askmd.

This week, my friends at Sharecare launched AskMD for Apple Watch. AskMD for Apple Watch helps make you more proactive about your health because it makes it easier to manage your health.

You can start a consultation right from Apple Watch by opening up the AskMD app and using Siri to let AskMD know what symptoms you are experiencing. And because AskMD saves your consultations in your profile, you can access that information in the app on your phone or on Apple Watch.

You can even use Siri to add more detail as your symptoms evolve. Let’s say your back pain has moved from the center of your back to your lower back, or has become more intense. Use Siri on Apple Watch to add notes to your completed back pain consultation anytime, to make sure you remember to share them when you check in with your doctor.

And speaking of checking in – AskMD gets a little more personal with Apple Watch! A day or so after you’ve finished a new consultation, Apple Watch asks how you’re feeling, and keeps track of whether you’re feeling better or worse, and tracks that with your consultation. It’s like having a gentle reminder to make sure you’re keeping an eye on your well-being, which is something we all need time to time.

I know everyone doesn’t have an Apple Watch, but whether you do or not, AskMD makes it simple to take care of yourself. If you haven’t yet, download it today in the App Store or check it out here to start managing your health – easily.

Why Knowing You Have Atrial Fibrillation Could Save Your Life

High resolution man drawing chart heartbeat

As a cardiothoracic surgeon, taking care of the heart is central to what I do in keeping my patients alive and healthy. While sometimes that means surgery, often times it means figuring out what’s causing heart troubles so they can be treated and damage to the body prevented. One of those diseases is atrial fibrillation (AF), which affects millions of Americans and can play a role in devastating and deadly and strokes. In spite of that, many people don’t even know what atrial fibrillation is and whether they should be worried about it. In the spirit of Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, I wanted to run through some of the essentials of this common condition. Read more  »

Tackling the Misinformation on ‘Healthy’ Soda

Children Drink A Lot of Soda

If you’ve been following the news lately, you might have seen a lot of press about soft drinks. The New York Times recently published an article about how Coca Cola has been funding researchers to publish results that make their products seem healthy. San Francisco was also recently sued by the American Beverage Association, which represents the interests of companies that sell sugary drinks, for passing laws that would put health warning labels on their drinks. In reading through some of the legal documents, I was struck by the way soda companies were arguing that sugary beverages have nothing to do with the obesity and diabetes epidemics surging in our country. With all we know about how unhealthy these products are, how could that be? I want to some time this week to talk about the misinformation these companies are using to trick you and to help you try to figure out what to believe.

Not All Calories Are Alike
Beverage companies want to make it seem as though the source of the calories you eat matters less than the number you eat. The problem is, we’ve seen time and again in a variety of studies that not all calories are created equal. We know that fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains lead to better health than potato chips, candy bars and soda. They might have similar calorie counts, but their effect on your body is radically different.

Some of that is because different sugars are broken down in different ways by your body and can have different effects on your metabolism. The differences in digestion of these foods can also play a role. But there’s a lot we still don’t understand that probably has to do with the complex ways our body handles the nutrients present in fruits and vegetables that makes them so much better for us than processed foods.

Ultimately, beverage companies want you to think it doesn’t matter so that you’ll choose their drinks over healthier options. But it does matter and choosing a diet low in added sugar and high in fresh, whole foods is the best way to take care of your body. Read more  »

Why Tracking Your Progress Is so Important

Overweight Woman With Digital Tablet Checking Calorie Intake

I’ve seen a few patients recently who have been trying to lose weight for a long time. Most of them feel like they’ve tried everything, but many feel like they’re getting nowhere. Sound familiar? I’ve met a lot of people who find themselves in a similar situation and I want to share a tip from some of the healthiest people I know: track your progress. Tracking can be a great motivator and help you to figure out when something’s working for you and when it isn’t. But even with all of the fancy calorie counters and fitness trackers on the market, tracking progress can be harder than it might first appear. Here’s my advice on how to do it right. Read more  »

What to Do When Exercise Starts to Hurt

Family walking on cliffside path

The weather has been great lately and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunities to get outside get active with my family. But all that ball kicking and frisbee throwing has reminded me that I’m not quite as young as I used to be. While staying active is a great way to stay healthy well into old age, going overboard too quickly can lead to muscle soreness, joint pain and even injury. So what should you do if you find yourself lying on the couch cursing yesterday’s burst of exercise enthusiasm? Here are a few tips to help you recuperate. Read more  »

How Immunizations Save Your Life and Probably Already Have

shot vaccine immunization woman doctorImmunizations have been in the news a lot this year. It seems like everyone’s been interested in vaccines for one reason or another, from the measles outbreak and the seasonal flu to the Ebola virus. But while we talk a lot about these life-saving preventative medicines, only a few of us really know how they work and what sort of an impact they’ve had on us. In the spirit of Immunization Awareness Month, here’s some information on how vaccines work and why we all need them. Read more  »

Keeping Your Eye on the Big Picture of Nutrition

woman eating salad healthy vegetablesWe talk a lot about eating on the show. In the more than 1,000 shows we’ve put together, I’ve covered everything from diets to nutrients to health fads and more. While I always try to connect those messages to the bigger picture, I know that it’s easy to get lost in the details and forget that there’s more to nutrition than what vitamin or mineral happens to be good for you this week. In the spirit of helping to make a forest out of all the trees, I wanted to spend a little bit of time this week talking about the big picture on nutrition and how to make sense of all the information that’s out there. Read more  »

Protecting Your Hearing Well Into Old Age

woman listening to music earbuds headphonesThe last 50 years have seen a revolution in the way the music is made, distributed, and consumed. I grew up listening to records, then cassettes, then CDs and now digital files and have watched speakers get smaller and smaller. The discovery of tiny, powerful magnets have meant that we can make powerful speakers smaller than the size of your fingernail. But there’s a problem that doctors have been increasingly picking up on. These tiny speakers put into headphones and earbuds are delivering often-damaging levels of sound directly into your ears and many doctors are already starting to see a wave of hearing loss as a result. What can you do to protect your hearing? Here are a few tips. Read more  »

Powering Up Your Summer Plate

Mango,Pomegranate and Rocket saladSummer brings with it the main growing and harvesting season of the year, which means that farmers’ markets are overflowing with fruits and vegetables of amazing diversity. I like to take advantage of this season to try something new every week when I drop by my local farmers’ market. So which nutrient-packed items could you be using to power up a usually boring meal? Here are a few of my favorites to add to anything from salads to desserts. Read more  »

Staying Healthy During Barbecue Season

women men outdoor picnic barbequeI fired up the grill with my family yesterday, and I have to say that few things taste better than food hot off the grill. Unfortunately, grilling can also be a major source of food-borne illness for many summer revelers looking to enjoy the warmer weather. When cooked or prepared improperly, meat can harbor all sorts of bacteria, some of which can be deadly. To help you avoid getting sick this summer, I’ve put together a few recommendations that will allow you to enjoy the grill while keeping your family safe. Read more  »