Monday, January 30, 2017

It happened to her, watch out for yourself

You might think that only someone careless might be tricked by a drugged drink, and you would think wrong.  Actress Mischa Barton found herself feeling more drunk than she thought she should be, and discovered she had been slipped GHB.  Learn from her story, and keep your eyes open

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pneumonia Turns Off The World’s Smile

When entertainment icon Mary Tyler Moore succumbed to pneumonia, we saw another star fall to this ancient killer.  Although many still picture her as the girl who “could turn the world on with her smile,” Mary Tyler Moore was an 80 year old type 1 diabetic, with both her age and her underlying disease increasing her risk for this far too common disease.  That she did so well for so long is an inspiration, with her story serving as a valuable lesson to us all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pneumonia strikes again without regard to fame or fortune

If two jumbo jets crashed every week, killing some thousand people every week, the newspapers would be filled with analyses and thoughts of how to stop the carnage.  But that is just how many people die of pneumonia, about 50,000 yearly, and for most people, it goes unnoticed.  The recent illness of former President George H. W. Bush joins a long list of celebrities who have been afflicted with various types of pneumonias, with the possibility that chronic health conditions made him more susceptible to some forms of the disease.  

Mr. Bush is just the latest high profile person to contract pneumonia.  Recent news has highlighted others, discussed here on the blog, including Merle Haggard and Glenn Frey, as well perhaps, your friend, neighbor, or relative.  Speak with your physician to see if you are at risk, and what you can do to lessen your odds of contracting this deadly disease.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Too late for a flu shot? Not by a long shot!

Influenza is no laughing matter.  Some 30,000 people die annually of this infectious disease, and it’s not just the very old who succumb.  Korin Miller of the Self website was curious as to whether January is too late to get the shot, and the answers, from a variety of sources including mine, appear to be in agreement.  If you have not yet had a flu shot, get one!

And this is nothing new.  Three years ago, right around this time, the peaking flu season again made news with my appearing on WBAL with a spot that I cited on my blog as:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kick start your health by going dry?

People are always looking for motivators, ways to get started to accomplish a goal.  With one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions being to improve one’s health, stopping, or at least cutting back, on those habits viewed as having a negative impact would seem a valid avenue for success.  One such movement is to have a “Dry January,” forsaking alcohol for the month.  Here is a little piece with some of my thoughts from the Self website:

More than just a regional thought, this piece was picked up by Fox News for its website as well, helping to promulgate the idea of starting to change your behavior with the first month of the year.

So stay with me for a couple of paragraphs as I expand on my views of this issue.  I will begin with a word of caution.  If one is a heavy drinker, suddenly stopping could result in symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.  As with any diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician before, and during, such efforts.  

Normally, reduction of a “bad” habit is always good, so there should be some benefit to be derived by a “dry January.”  There are some studies that point to benefits of modest alcohol consumption, perhaps one drink daily, so one may not want to stop that if there is such a potential.  A medical review of one’s base health and level of consumption should be a part of the decision.

But what if you are not a drinker, can this method be used to help other behaviors?  Of course, you can use a month of changed behavior as a motivating starting point to push that behavior into a healthier range, and then maintain that benefits going forward.  So while the “dry January” should result in no alcohol to excess for the rest of the year, a “Fat Free February” would see a reduction in dietary fat intake to a healthy level, or a “Marching March” would result in more exercise being started and continued through the year, and so on, so that by next December we really could be enjoying a Happy and Healthy New Year.

This idea has such traction that there was an article in the January 1, 2017, New York Times proposing a “Month Without Sugar,” another lofty goal that many of us could consider.  So take a moment, look at your health and your habits, and see if you can commit to changing just one habit during the coming month in a positive direction.  You never know where it might lead!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Had a New Year's Eve Hangover? Advice for the next one.

One has to assume that all of those New Year's Eve revelers in Times Square turned to the New York Times for a solution to their morning after hangover.  If so, they would have found this article, in which I am quoted, looking at all of the various cures offered for this morning after condition.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sepsis remains a sneaky killer

Not that long ago, we learned that Patty Duke, star of stage, screen and film, had died from an overwhelming infection called sepsis.  While not often spoken of as a common disease, sepsis remains an opportunistic killer of the very young, the very old, and those with some compromise of their immune systems; as well as sporadic cases without obvious cause.  Here is a little clip from our local NBC affiliate, where I discuss sepsis, what it is, and what to do if you suspect it.