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Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Understanding Heartburn: Day 2

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 31, 2012 at 8:00 am

What are the symptoms of GERD?
The main symptom of GERD in adults is frequent heartburn, also called acid indigestion—burning-type pain in the lower part of the mid-chest, behind the breast bone, and in the mid-abdomen. Most children under 12 years with GERD,
and some adults, have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they may experience a dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing.

What causes GERD?
The reason some people develop GERD is still unclear. However, research shows that in people with GERD, the LES relaxes while the rest of the esophagus is working. Anatomical abnormalities such as a hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach and the LES move above the diaphragm, the muscle wall that separates the stomach from the chest. Normally, the people of any age and is most often a normal finding in otherwise healthy people diaphragm helps the LES keep acid from rising up into the esophagus. When a hiaover age 50. Most of the time, a hiatal hernia produces no symptoms.tal hernia is present, acid reflux can occur more easily. A hiatal hernia can occur in people of any age and is most often a normal finding in otherwise healthy people diaphragm helps the LES keep acid from rising up into the esophagus. When a hiaover age 50. Most of the time, a hiatal hernia produces no symptoms.

Other factors that may contribute to GERD include
• obesity
• pregnancy
• smoking
Common foods that can worsen reflux symptoms include
• citrus fruits
• chocolate
• drinks with caffeine or alcohol
• fatty and fried foods
• garlic and onions
• mint flavorings
• spicy foods
• tomato-based foods, like spaghetti sauce, salsa, chili, and pizza

Understanding Heartburn: Day 1

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

What is Heartburn/GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a more serious form of gastroesophageal reflux (GER), which is common. GER occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens spontaneously, for varying periods of time, or does not close properly and stomach contents rise up into the esophagus. GER is also called acid reflux or acid regurgitation, because digestive juices—called acids—rise up with the food. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. The LES is a ring of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that acts like a valve between the esophagus and stomach.When acid reflux occurs, food or fluid can be tasted in the back of the mouth. When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus it may cause a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn or acid indigestion. Occasional GER is common and does not necessarily mean one has GERD. Persistent reflux that occurs more than twice a week is considered GERD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems. People of all ages can have GERD.

Diabetes: Things to Know

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

Did you know that diabetes can lead to heart attack and stroke, blindness, or kidney failure?

Too much glucose, a type of sugar, in your blood can cause diabetes problems over time. High blood glucose can cause heart and blood vessel disease, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Damage to the eyes can lead to loss of sight or blindness. Nerve damage and poor blood flow can cause foot problems, sometimes leading to amputation.

You can prevent or delay diabetes problems by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control.

How can I tell if I have diabetes problems?

You may have diabetes problems if

  • your blood pressure is 130 over 80, written as 130/80, or higher
  • you have pain in your chest
  • you have blurry or double vision, or feel pain or pressure in your eyes
  • you have foot problems-such as blisters, ingrown toenails, or cracked skin-that get infected
  • your arms, hands, legs, or feet feel numb, or you feel shooting pains

Some diabetes problems don’t have symptoms at first. For example, you cannot tell if your kidneys are damaged until they stop working altogether. Your doctor should test your urine every year to see how well your kidneys are working.

What can I do to stay healthy with diabetes?

Controlling your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol can make a big difference in staying healthy. Talk with your doctor about what your ABC goals should be and how to reach them. A stands for the A1C test-a measure of what your blood glucose has been for the last three months. B is for blood pressure, and C is for cholesterol.

You can take these steps each day to reach your ABC goals:

  • Follow the healthy eating plan that you and your doctor or dietitian have discussed.
  • Be physically active for 30 to 60 minutes most days.
  • Take your medicines as directed and keep taking them, even after you’ve reached your goals.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Ask your doctor if you should take aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
  • Check your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, swelling, redness, or sore toenails.

Pre-Diabetes: Control it before it becomes a Monster

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 22, 2012 at 8:00 am

Did you know if you are 45 years old or older, overweight, and inactive, you may have prediabetes?

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes means you have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Glucose is a form of sugar your body uses for energy. Too much glucose in your blood can damage your body over time. Prediabetes is also called impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).

If you have prediabetes, you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Being overweight and physically inactive contributes to prediabetes. You can sometimes reverse prediabetes with weight loss that comes from healthy eating and physical activity.

How do I know if I have prediabetes?

Most people with prediabetes don’t have any symptoms. Your doctor can test your blood to find out if your blood glucose levels are higher than normal.

Who should be tested for prediabetes?

If you are 45 years old or older, your doctor may recommend that you be tested for prediabetes, especially if you are overweight. Being overweight means your body mass index (BMI) is over 25. BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. If you’re not sure, ask your doctor if you are overweight.

Even if you are younger than 45, consider getting tested if you are overweight and

  • are physically active less than three times a week
  • have a parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
  • have high blood pressure
  • have abnormal levels of HDL cholesterol or triglycerides, two types of blood fats
  • had gestational diabetes-diabetes during pregnancy-or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • are African American, American Indian, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • have dark, thick, velvety skin around your neck or in your armpits
  • have blood vessel problems affecting your heart, brain, or legs

If the results are normal, you should be retested in 3 years. If you have prediabetes, you should be tested for type 2 diabetes every year or two.

What can I do about prediabetes?

Losing weight-at least 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight-can prevent or delay diabetes or even reverse prediabetes. That’s 10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds. You can lose weight by cutting down on the amount of calories and fat you consume and being physically active at least 30 minutes a day. Physical activity also helps make your body’s insulin work better.

Ask your doctor if you should also take medicine to help control the amount of glucose in your blood.

The National Diabetes Education Program’s “Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent type 2 Diabetes” campaign has more information about preventing diabetes.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Nightmare which can be fixed by changing Lifestyle

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 21, 2012 at 8:00 am


Did you know that if you often have stomach cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation, you could have irritable bowel syndrome?

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the large bowel, meaning the bowel doesn’t work, or function, correctly. IBS is not a disease, but a group of symptoms.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

The main symptoms of IBS are

  • pain or discomfort in the abdomen, often relieved by a bowel movement
  • chronic diarrhea, constipation, or both

Other symptoms include

  • whitish mucus in the stool
  • a swollen or bloated abdomen
  • the feeling that you have not finished a bowel movement

Women with IBS often have more symptoms during their menstrual periods.

How will I know if I have IBS?

Your doctor may diagnose IBS based on your symptoms. No specific test for IBS exists, but your doctor may do some

What can I do about IBS?

IBS has no cure but you can take some steps to relieve symptoms. You might have to try a few different things to see what works best for you. Your doctor can help you find the right treatment plan, which may include

  • avoiding foods that can trigger symptoms, such as fatty foods, milk products, and carbonated drinks
  • eating foods with fiber
  • eating four or five small meals instead of three big meals
  • taking medicines that help relieve symptoms
  • reducing emotional stress


Lactose intolerance: A common suffering

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

Did you know that if you don’t feel well after drinking milk or eating milk products, you may have lactose intolerance?

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose intolerance means your body has trouble digesting, or breaking down, lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in milk and milk products. The small intestine—an organ in the digestive tract—needs lactase enzyme to break down lactose. With lactose intolerance, your body doesn’t make enough lactase enzyme to properly digest lactose.

How will I feel if I have lactose intolerance?

If you have lactose intolerance, you may not feel well after you have milk or milk products. You may also have stomach cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or nausea.

Other illnesses can cause these same symptoms. Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms and perform tests to see if your problems are caused by lactose intolerance.

Who gets lactose intolerance?

Many people have lactose intolerance. Some people become lactose intolerant as children. In others, the problem starts when they are teenagers or adults. Asian Americans, African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics/Latinos, and people with southern European heritage are more likely to be lactose intolerant than people of northern European descent.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition

You can change your diet to manage the symptoms of lactose intolerance. People differ as to how much milk and milk products they can eat or drink without having symptoms. Most people with lactose intolerance do not have to give up milk or milk products. You may be able to eat or drink small amounts—4 ounces or less—of milk or milk products without symptoms. Yogurt and hard cheeses, like cheddar and Swiss, are easier for some people with lactose intolerance to digest.

Over-the-counter products, such as tablets or liquid drops that contain lactase enzyme, can help you digest milk and milk products. You can also buy lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and milk products.

Milk and milk products are the most common sources of calcium. Calcium is a mineral the body needs for strong bones and teeth. To absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin D. It’s hard to get enough calcium and vitamin D even if you eat and drink milk and milk products. Talk with your health care provider about how to get calcium and vitamin D in your diet and ask if you should also take calcium or vitamin D supplements.

How will I know if a food has lactose?

Learn to read food labels carefully. Look for milk and lactose in the list of ingredients. Also look for words such as whey, curds, milk by-products, dried milk, milk solids, and powdered milk. If any of these words are listed on a label, the product contains lactose.

Lactose is found in milk and milk products, such as

  • ice cream
  • cream
  • butter
  • cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • yogurt

Rarely, people with lactose intolerance are bothered by even small amounts of lactose. Lactose may be added to boxed, canned, frozen, packaged, and prepared foods such as

  • breads and other baked goods
  • cereals
  • breakfast and lunch meats
  • salad dressings
  • mixes for cakes, cookies, pancakes, and biscuits
  • frozen dinners and breakfast foods
  • instant potatoes and soups
  • snacks such as potato chips and corn chips

Bladder Control: What Women Need to Know

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

Did you know urine leakage is a common problem for women of all ages?

But urine leakage doesn’t have to be an unavoidable part of a woman’s life. Bladder control problems can be treated.

Who is likely to have bladder control problems?

About half of adult women say they have had urine leakage at one time or another. Many women say the problem occurs daily.

Often women leak urine when they are pregnant or after they have given birth.

Women who have stopped having their periods-menopause-often report bladder control problems.

Many women leak urine when they exercise, laugh hard, cough, or sneeze.

What causes bladder control problems in women?

Urine leakage has many possible causes.

  • Weak muscles. Most bladder control problems are caused by weak pelvic muscles-the muscles that hold the bladder in place. These muscles may become stretched and weak during pregnancy and childbirth. The sphincters-muscles that keep the bladder closed until you urinate-may also be weakened.
  • Nerve damage. Damaged nerves may send signals to the bladder at the wrong time, causing the bladder to push out urine without warning. Or damaged nerves send no signals at all, so the brain can’t tell when the bladder is full. Trauma or diseases such as diabetes can cause nerve damage.
  • Medicines, alcohol, and caffeine. Leaking can happen when medicines or alcohol affect the nerves or muscles. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee or cola cause the bladder to fill quickly, which may cause the bladder to leak.
  • Infection. A urinary tract infection can irritate bladder nerves and cause the bladder to squeeze without warning.
  • Excess weight. Being overweight can put pressure on the bladder and contribute to leakage.

What can I do about bladder control problems?

Just changing some daily habits may help. If you tend to leak urine at certain times of the day, you can make trips to the bathroom ahead of time to avoid an accident. If you notice that certain foods and drinks cause you to urinate more often, try avoiding them.

Don’t be embarrassed to talk with your doctor about your problem. Your doctor may prescribe a medicine that can calm muscles and nerves to treat an overactive bladder. If your leakage is caused by weak muscles, your doctor or nurse can help you learn to do exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles. Or your doctor may fit you with a device worn in the vagina that helps lift the bladder. If other treatments fail, your doctor may suggest surgery to improve bladder control.

Erection Problems: What Men Need to Know

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 18, 2012 at 8:00 am

Did you know erection problems can be a sign of other health problems?

What are erection problems?

If you often have trouble getting or keeping an erection, you may have erectile dysfunction, or ED. ED used to be called “impotence.”

What causes an erection?

When you are sexually stimulated, your brain sends nerve signals to the penis, causing the muscles in the penis to relax and let blood flow into it. The penis becomes larger and firmer, like an inflated balloon. The veins in the penis are then closed off to trap the blood. After climax or after the sexual arousal has passed, the veins open up and blood flows back into the body.

What causes erectile dysfunction?

ED is most often caused by health problems that require treatment to help prevent more serious complications. Some of the problems that can cause ED are

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • some prescription drugs
  • unhealthy habits like smoking, overeating, and not exercising
  • treatments for prostate cancer
  • an injury or disease that affects the nerves

How is erectile dysfunction treated?

Lifestyle changes-including exercising more, quitting smoking, losing weight, and cutting back on alcohol-may solve the problem. If you have made these changes and still have erection problems, your doctor can offer a number of other treatments. Treatment may include

  • Counseling. Even though most cases of ED have a physical cause, counseling can help couples deal with the emotional effects.
  • Oral medication. Your doctor may prescribe a pill to treat ED. Current brands include Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis. These drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis. Do not take any of these drugs if you are taking nitrates, a type of heart medicine.
  • Injection. Medicines injected into the shaft of the penis or inserted into the tip of the penis usually cause an erection within minutes.
  • Vacuum device. A vacuum tube inserted over the penis can create an erection. As air is pumped out of the tube, the penis expands and blood flows into it. After the tube is removed, a specially designed rubber band is placed at the base of the penis to keep the blood from flowing out.
  • Penile implant. If other options fail, a surgeon can implant a device into the penis that inflates or can be straightened to create an erection.

How much should I eat?

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 17, 2012 at 9:20 am



To control your weight, you should look at the kinds of food you eat and how much you eat at a time.

To control your weight, you need to do more than just choose a healthy mix of foods. You should also look at the kinds of food you eat and how much you eat at a time. This brochure will help you understand how much you need to eat. It also will give you tips on how to control food portions so that you can eat just enough for you.

How much should I eat?

How many calories you need to eat each day depends on your age, sex, weight, genes, and level of physical activity.

To keep a healthy weight, you need to balance the calories you eat with the calories you burn. People who are more active may burn more calories. Being more active may be a good way to help you offset the calories you eat.

No set number of calories or amount of physical activity will help everyone to lose weight or keep weight off. How many calories you need to eat each day depends on your age, sex, weight, genes, and level of physical activity. For example, a 150-pound woman who burns a lot of calories through intense physical activity several times a week may need to eat more calories than a woman of similar size who is mostly inactive and only goes for a short walk once a week.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides information that outlines the number of calories that a person should consider eating based on a number of factors. Check the Resources section at the end of this brochure for links to more information.

What is the difference between a serving and a portion?

The portion sizes you should eat may or may not be the same as the serving sizes on food labels.

A serving size is the amount of food listed on a product’s food label and it varies from product to product. A portion is how much food you choose to eat at one time, whether in a restaurant, from a package, or at home. Sometimes the serving size and portion size match; sometimes they do not.

For example, according to a food label, 1 cup of macaroni and cheese is one serving. But if you make yourself a large bowl of macaroni and cheese, that portion is much bigger than one serving. The same may be true if you pour yourself a large bowl of cereal for breakfast. You should be the judge of how the portion you choose to eat relates to the serving size noted on the food label.

How can I use the Nutrition Facts food label?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nutrition Facts label (food label) is printed on most packaged foods. The label tells you how many calories and how much fat, protein, sodium (salt), and other nutrients are in one serving of food. Most packaged foods contain more than a single serving.

Figure 1. Sample Macaroni and Cheese Label
Start Here food label
Check Calories
Limit these Nutrients
Get Enough of these Nutrients

Adapted from http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/NFLPM/ucm274593.htm.

Keep in mind that the serving size on the food label is not a suggested amount of food to eat. It is just a quick way of letting you know the calories and nutrients in a certain amount of food. The serving size may be more or less than the amount that you should eat, depending on your age, weight, sex, and activity level.

Serving Size and Servings Per Container

Take a look at the food label for a box of macaroni and cheese in Figure 1. To see how many servings a package has, check the “servings per container” listed on the top part of the label.

The serving size is 1 cup, but the package has 2 servings. This means that if you eat the whole package, you need to multiply the number of calories and nutrients by 2 to find out how many calories you are eating. For example, if you eat 2 servings of this product, you are eating 500 calories, as shown below:

250 calories per serving x 2 servings eaten = 500 calories eaten

Other Helpful Facts on the Label

The food label has other facts about what is in 1 serving of the chosen food. For example, as you can see in the label on page 4, 1 serving of this macaroni and cheese has 3 grams of saturated fat and 3 grams of trans fat, a type of fat that is unhealthy for your heart. The package includes 2 servings. If you eat the whole package, you will be eating 6 grams of saturated fat (2 servings x 3 grams per serving) and 6 grams of trans fat (2 servings x 3 grams per serving). Check the FDA listing in the Resources section for the link to more information on how to use the food label to help you eat healthier.

How can I keep track of how much I am eating?

A food diary can be a good way to keep track of how much you are eating.

A food diary can be a good way to keep track of how much you are eating. Write down when, what, how much, where, and why you eat. This action can help you be aware of how much you are eating and the times you tend to eat too much. You can keep a food diary in a notebook, on your cell phone, or on a computer.

Figure 2 shows what 1 day of a person’s food diary might look like. As shown in the diary, this person chose relatively healthy portion sizes for breakfast and lunch. At those meals, she ate to satisfy her hunger. She had a large chocolate bar in the afternoon for an emotional reason. She ate because she was bored, not because she was hungry.

By 8 p.m., this person was very hungry and ate large portions of food that were high in fat and calories. She was at a social event and did not realize she was eating so much. If she had made an early evening snack of fruit and fat-free or low-fat yogurt, she might have been less hungry at 8 p.m. and eaten less. By the end of the day, she had eaten a total of 3,930 calories, which is more than most people need to eat in a day. Repeatedly eating excess calories over time can cause weight gain.

Try walking with a friend instead of eating when you are not hungry.

If, like the woman in the food diary, you eat even when you are not hungry, try doing something else instead of eating:

  • Take a break to walk around the block.
  • Read a book or magazine or listen to your favorite music.
  • Try doing something with your hands, like knitting or playing cards or checkers.
  • Try drinking water or herbal tea without sugar or eating a low-fat snack such as an apple if a craving hits you.
  • If you are at work, grab a co-worker on the job and go for a quick walk.
Figure 2. Example of a Food Diary
Time Food Amount Place Hunger/Reason Calories*
8 a.m. Coffee, black 6 fl. oz. Home Slightly hungry 2
Banana 1 medium 105
Low-fat yogurt 1 cup 250
1 p.m. Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread with mustard, tomato, low-fat cheese, and lettuce 3 oz. turkey, 1 slice low-fat cheddar cheese, 2 slices bread Work Hungry 363
Potato chips, baked 1 small bag 150
Water 16 fl. oz.
3 p.m. Chocolate bar 1 bar (5 oz.) Work Not hungry/ Bored 760
8 p.m. Fried potato skins with cheese and bacon 4 each Restaurant/
Out with
Very hungry 667
Chicken Caesar salad 2 cups lettuce, 6 oz. chicken, 6 Tbsp. dressing, 3/4 cup croutons 633
Breadsticks 2 large sticks 226
Apple pie with vanilla ice cream 1/8 of a 9-inch pie, 1 cup ice cream 638
Soft drink 12 fl. oz. 136

Total Calories = 3,930

*Estimates are based on the USDA’s online tool that measures diet and physical activity (http://www.choosemyplate.gov).

Through your diary, you can become aware of the times and reasons you eat less healthy foods or more food than your body needs. This can help as you try to make different choices in the future.

How can I control portions at home?

Try to eat meals at regular times without distractions like TV.

You do not need to measure and count everything you eat for the rest of your life—just do this long enough to recognize typical serving sizes. Try the ideas below to help you control portions at home:

  • Take the amount of food that is equal to one serving, according to the food label, and eat it off a plate instead of eating straight out of a large box or bag.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV or while busy with other activities. Pay attention to what you are eating, chew your food well, and fully enjoy the smell and taste of your food.
  • Eat slowly so your brain can get the message when your stomach is full.
  • Try using smaller dishes, bowls, and glasses. This way, when you fill up your plate or glass, you will be eating and drinking less.
  • Control your intake of higher-fat, higher-calorie parts of a meal. Take seconds of vegetables and salads (watch the toppings and dressing) instead of desserts and dishes with heavy sauces.
  • When cooking in large batches, freeze food that you will not serve right away. This way, you will not be tempted to finish eating the whole batch before the food goes bad. And you will have ready-made food for another day. Freeze leftovers in amounts that you can use for a single serving or for a family meal another day.
  • Try to eat meals at regular times. Skipping meals or leaving large gaps of time between meals may lead you to eat larger amounts of food the next time you eat.
  • When buying snacks, go for fruit or single-serving prepackaged items and foods that are lower-calorie options. If you buy larger bags or boxes of snacks, divide the items into single-serve packages right away so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
  • When you do have a treat like chips or ice cream, measure out only one serving as shown by the food label. Eat only 1/2 cup of ice cream or 1 ounce of chips, eat them slowly, and enjoy them!

How can I control portions when eating out?

Try to prepare more meals at home. Eat out and get takeout foods less often.

Research shows that the more often a person eats out, the more body fat he or she has. Try to prepare more meals at home. Eat out and get takeout foods less often.

Is getting more food for your money always a good value?

Have you noticed that it only costs a few cents more to get larger sizes of fries or soft drinks at restaurants? Getting a larger portion of food for just a little extra money may seem like a good value, but you end up with more food and calories than you need for your body to stay healthy.

Before you buy your next “value combo,” be sure you are making the best choice for your wallet and your health. If you are with someone else, share the large-size meal. If you are eating alone, skip the special deal and just order the smaller (healthier) size.

Order an appetizer such as minestrone soup for a main meal.

When eating out, try these tips to help you control portions:

  • Check the menu for terms and icons that indicate healthy items, such as low-fat, low-calorie dishes.
  • Share your meal, order a half-portion, or order an appetizer as a main meal. Examples of healthier appetizers include grilled or steamed seafood, minestrone soup, tomato or corn salsas, and vegetable salads with dressing on the side.
  • Stop eating when you no longer feel hungry. It may take 15 minutes or longer for your stomach to signal to your brain that you are full. Put down your fork and focus on enjoying the setting and your friends or family for the rest of the meal.
  • Avoid large beverages such as “super size” sugar-sweetened soft drinks. They have a large number of calories. Instead, try drinking water with a slice of lemon. If you want to drink soda, choose a calorie-free beverage or a small glass of regular soda. Other options are small glasses of slightly sweetened iced tea or lemonade.

On the Road Again? Tips for Traveling

  • Pack a small cooler of foods that are hard to find on the road, such as fresh fruit, sliced raw vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat yogurt.
  • Include a few bottles of water instead of sugar-sweetened soda or juice.
  • Bring dried fruit, nuts, and seeds to snack on. Since these foods can be high in calories, measure and pack small portions (1/4 cup) in advance.
  • If you stop at a restaurant, try to choose one that serves a variety of foods such as salads, grilled or steamed entrees, or vegetables.
  • Consider drinking water or low-fat or fat-free milk instead of sugar-sweetened soft drinks with your meal.
  • If you choose a higher-fat option like fries or pizza, order the small size. Or, you can ask for a single slice of pizza with vegetable toppings such as mushrooms or peppers.

How can I control portions when money is tight?

Check out your local farmers market for deals on fruits and vegetables.

Eating better does not have to cost a lot of money. Here are some ways you can keep track of your portions without adding extra costs to your grocery bill:

  • Buy meats in bulk. When you get home, divide the meat into single-serving packages and freeze for later use.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Buy only as much as you will use, so they will not go bad. Check out your local farmers market, as it may be less expensive than a grocery store.
  • Watch your portion sizes. Try to stick to the serving sizes listed on the food label of prepackaged foods. Doing so can help you get the most out of the money you spend on that food. You can also better control the fat, sugar, sodium, and calories you eat.


The amount of calories you eat affects your weight and health. In addition to selecting a healthy variety of foods, look at the size of the portions you eat. Choosing healthy foods and keeping portion sizes sensible may help you eat just enough for you.


Kidney Stones: What You Need to Know

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on August 16, 2012 at 8:00 am


Did you know severe pain in your back or side that won’t go away could be a kidney stone?

What is a kidney stone?

A kidney stone is a hard mass that forms in the kidney out of substances in the urine. Kidney stones may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pearl. Some stones are even as big as golf balls. Most kidney stones pass out of the body with urine. But sometimes a stone will not pass by itself and needs a doctor’s care.

Who gets kidney stones?

You are more likely to get a kidney stone if

  • you are Caucasian
  • you are male
  • you are 40 or older
  • you have had a kidney stone before

How do I know if I have a kidney stone?

Kidney stones often do not cause any symptoms and pass through the body without being noticed. But sometimes stones can cause great pain.

You should call your doctor if you have

  • extreme pain in your back or side that will not go away
  • blood in your urine
  • fever and chills
  • vomiting
  • urine that smells bad or looks cloudy
  • a burning feeling when you urinate

What can my doctor do about a problem stone?

Your doctor may use a machine that sends shock waves to the stone and breaks it into smaller pieces. The small pieces will then pass through your urinary system with your urine.

Sometimes a stone is removed through “tunnel surgery.” The surgeon makes a small cut in the back and creates a narrow tunnel into the kidney. The surgeon then locates and removes the stone using a special instrument.

If the stone is in the ureter-the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder-the doctor may use a ureteroscope. This slender instrument is inserted into the urethra-the short tube that carries urine out of the bladder when you urinate-through the bladder, then into the ureter. The doctor will catch the stone with a small cage in the uteroscope and pull it out. Or the doctor may shatter the stone with a device inserted through the ureteroscope.

What can I do to prevent kidney stones?

Drink lots of water. Water helps to flush away the substances that form stones in the kidneys. If you have had a kidney stone before, you’re likely to have others. Talk with your doctor about other ways to avoid more stones.


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