This week, I want to talk about a health problem that’s nearly as prevalent as the common cold – headaches. The World Health Organization estimates that over half of all adults suffer from current headache disorder (meaning, they’ve had at least one headache in the past year). Neurologists classify headaches into two categories – primary and secondary. Primary headaches are the most widespread and include tension headaches (the most common), migraines (which affect more women than men), and cluster headaches (which affect more men than women). Since June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, here are five natural and alternative ways to relieve the symptoms of this recurring pain.
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When was the last time you went in for your annual checkup? In honor of Men’s Health Month, I want to discuss the importance of paying attention to your body and visiting your primary care physician on a regular basis. If you’re healthy, a yearly visit might be sufficient but if you have a family history of any disease, have a pre-existing condition, or have suffered an injury, you may have to follow up with a doctor or specialist more often. A doctor’s visit is as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as clean eating and consistent exercise. If you have any issues or symptoms, especially any of the below, don’t be afraid to speak up and let your doctor know.
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With the first day of summer less than two weeks away, it’s the perfect time to talk about enjoying the sun safely, cooling down with healthy sips, and exercising in the great outdoors. It’s one of my favorite times of the year because we have more time to relax and if we’re lucky enough, take a well-deserved vacation. Before you kick back at the beach, pool, or simply on your back porch, remember to keep these summer safety tips in mind. Read more »
Reading is a skill most of us take for granted. When you see the front page of a newspaper or pull up your favorite health site, you probably don’t even think about the fact that you’re reading the words on the page. You just do it. But that ability doesn’t come naturally. Reading is a skill built during childhood that allows us to communicate and learn about the world around us. The troubles that come from illiteracy extend far beyond not being able to read the latest bestsellers. Today, we’re kicking off our Books Across America book drive, so it seems appropriate to discuss how difficult reading can impact your happiness, health, and well-being.
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It’s truly amazing the variety of fruits and vegetables that are available in the grocery store all year round. From citrus fruits to tomatoes to squash to bell peppers, what the weather’s like outside has ceased to matter when it comes to what you can get at the store. While it’s great to have such variety all year, I notice a definite difference in the produce section when the weather starts to warm up. More variety is available and the fruits and vegetables often taste better than they did when I was buying them out of season.
Watch: The Best Fruits to Eat for Weight Loss
The warmer weather also means the opening of farmers markets, which offer fresh, flavorful and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. What should you be looking out for this summer? Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve been waiting for all winter.
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The weather has finally started to heat up and I’ve really enjoyed being able to get outside and enjoy walks with Lisa and occasional games with my kids and grandkids. All that time outside has reminded me of the major benefits of time in the sun, but it’s also given me pause to think about some of the harms that can come with it. I want to help you get the most out of the sunshine this spring and summer, but also sound some cautionary sun safety reminders so you don’t damage your health in the long run.
Watch: 3 Simple Summer Safety Tips
The Benefits of Time in the Sun
Our ancestors spent most of their time outside so it should come as no surprise that our health and mood are often closely tied to how much time we get outdoors. You’ve probably experienced the major boost in how you feel when you get away from the computer screen to spend some time in the outdoors. While some of that effect probably has to do with the peace of natural settings and the ability to get away from stressful modern distractions, a lot of it also has to do with the sun. That’s because sunlight governs a variety of processes in our body that play a direct role in our health. Here are a few examples.
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While we’ve made big strides as a society in being accepting of people with all sorts of illnesses, mental illness is often an under-discussed, hidden disease. It’s often the family secret kept about an aunt or uncle who just doesn’t get talked about or the unexplained day off of work you hide from friends and coworkers. I’ve made a big effort recently to try and make mental health a centerpiece of the show to try and bring it out of the shadows and make it acceptable to talk about openly.
Watch: Why Americans Need to Talk About Mental Health
This May is Mental Health Month and this year’s goal is to help people share their story of mental illness with those around them. To give you a little motivation, I want to spend some time making the argument for why disclosing mental illness to others is so incredibly important, both for you and for those you share your story with. Read more »
While the good done by vaccines rarely makes the news, the last year has been a big one in vaccination progress. Rubella, a viral infection that leads to birth defects and miscarriage in pregnant women, was eliminated from the Americas around this time last year with more progress being made worldwide on eliminating it entirely. While fear of ebola was swirling this time last year, significant steps have been made towards a vaccine that will go through trials this year to prevent the infection. Finally, trials have also started this year for dengue and malaria vaccines, two of the world’s deadliest infections. But while you might not be affected by rubella, ebola, or dengue, chances are good you know someone who’s had shingles, pneumonia, or cervical cancer. It’s World Immunization Week and I want to bring you up to speed on how you could be using vaccines to keep you and your loved ones healthy. Read more »
One of the things that first drew me to medicine was that health problems touched all people. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, young or old, black or white, college-educated or didn’t finish high school, everyone gets sick at some point. As a doctor, I focus more on diseases than demographics. But over the course of my career, I’ve come to see how much your income, race, and education can matter in determining whether you get sick and what treatment you get as a result. The perfectly equal care I dreamed of providing as a medical student isn’t the reality for most patients in most health systems. It’s National Minority Health Month and I want to spend a few minutes talking about why minority health is so important, even if you don’t fall within a minority group yourself. Read more »
Chances are you know someone with type 2 diabetes. In fact, 29 million Americans suffer from it, and if current trends continue, one in three adults will have type 2 diabetes by 2050. It’s one of the most dreaded chronic diseases we face. It results in elevated blood sugar because the body does not use insulin properly. Over time this elevated blood sugar can damage the eyes, kidneys, heart, nerves, and brain and even lead to amputations. Unfortunately, once you have type 2 diabetes you have it for life. It can be treated and well-controlled, but many people find that difficult.
Watch: Does Your Body Type Indicate Prediabetes?
Luckily, there’s a way to tell if you’re at risk for type 2 diabetes and change course before you get the disease. It’s called prediabetes and, unlike diabetes, it can be reversed. One in three Americans reading this may already have it and not even know it.
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