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Be Prepped for your Primary Care Doctor

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The average visit with a doctor lasts mere minutes. Bring a list of your top three concerns and questions to make sure they get covered.

On average, visits to a family doctor generally last about 15 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to cover every facet of your health. Going to your appointment as prepared as possible can help both you and your doctor make the most of every minute. Before your visit, make a list of your top concerns. Why are you there? What’s been bothering you? Be prepared to describe your symptoms as accurately as possible: Where does it hurt, when did it start, does it get better or worse with movement, and how bad is the pain? Jotting everything down ahead of time will help you communicate your questions and concerns more accurately. Be prepared with a list of all the medications you’re taking, including supplements. If you see multiple doctors, make sure they all have an updated list. Lastly, write down your top three questions for your doctor, in order of importance. That way you’ll be sure to cover your most pressing concerns.

 
 

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Mean People….Just Stay Positive

CC_Wellness TipTo deal with mean people, “Stay positive and courteous,” says mind-body coach Jane Ehrman. “Fighting back only fuels the problem.”

From rude coworkers to short-tempered bosses to impatient drivers, mean people do make an appearance now and then. As we all know from experience, being the recipient of someone else’s antagonistic behavior can really bring us down, even on an otherwise great day. Research shows that a negative interaction has a five times greater impact on us than a positive one. In other words, it takes five good things to offset just one bad thing. So how do you keep a mean person from ruining your day? Instead of attacking back, kill that meanie with kindness. And treat yourself with kindness too. Sometimes we don’t want to admit that someone has gotten under our skin. Instead of denying your hurt feelings, acknowledge them.

As for the other person, try to see past their actions. “Mean-spirited people are unhappy, to say the least. Inside they are hurting, living out of fear, insecurity and anger. They don’t feel good about themselves or their lives, so they lash out at others,” says Jane Pernotto Ehrman, MEd, mind-body coach and behavioral health specialist at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute’s Center for Lifestyle Medicine. “Mostly, it isn’t about you, it’s about them. Recognizing that there are underlying issues can make it easier for you to respond with compassion and understanding. Take the high road and respond with kindness.” After all, while you can’t change another person’s behavior, you can change your reaction to him or her. Being kind to someone who has hurt you may inspire that person to see the good in themselves as well.

 

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Everyone Needs a Pedometer

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Need a new way to motivate yourself to be active? Put on a pedometer to move more, weigh less and monitor how much you move each day.

Researchers have found that the simple act of wearing one encourages people to walk more and be more active when they would otherwise be stationary for hours at a time (like at work or in front of the TV). Even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, you may also spend a lot of time sitting. Taking breaks to stand up, stretch and move around at least once an hour can go a long way toward keeping you healthy and fit. According to Dr. Mike Roizen, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic, a pedometer is a must-have for everyone. In fact, he recommends owning two. “Buy a backup pedometer, and overpay for it. It is one of the four things in life for which you should overpay: chef’s knife, great walking/exercise shoes, an engagement ring and two pedometers,” he says. That way, you’ll never have an excuse for not using one. Your ultimate walking goal is 10,000 steps per day. No excuses, says Dr. Mike.

 

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USA Today: Patients with back pain often get Wrong Treatment

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Patients with back pain often get the wrong treatment
Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY 5:18 p.m. EDT July 29, 2013
“The majority of cases of patients with new back pain tend to get better with conservative treatment in three months.”

Story Highlights
• Back pain is one of the most common reasons for going to the doctor
• With treatment of back pain, often “less is more”
• Conservative treatments work for the majority of patients with back pain

Many patients are getting overly aggressive treatments for their back pain, says a large study out today. Physicians today are increasingly giving patients with back pain narcotic drugs, ordering expensive imaging tests or referring them to other physicians rather than offering them the recommended first line of treatment. That more conservative treatment calls for the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), aspirin and naproxen (Aleve), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) and physical therapy, according to national guidelines from the American College of Physicians.

The guidelines caution against early imaging or other aggressive treatments, except in rare cases, says the study’s lead author John Mafi, a chief medical resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston. These guidelines are similar to those from other groups, and the bottom-line message is “less is more,” Mafi says. “The majority of cases of patients with new back pain tend to get better with conservative treatment in three months. If they don’t get better, physical therapy is an option. Narcotic medications, such as Percocet or Vicodin, have no proven efficacy in improving chronic back pain.”

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for going to the doctor; more than 10% of visits to primary-care physicians are for this problem and amounts to about $86 billion in health care spending annually, says senior author Bruce Landon, a professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School. That’s a conservative estimate because it doesn’t account for lost productivity, he says. Using data from two national surveys, the researchers studied almost 24,000 visits to the doctor for back pain, both acute and chronic, from 1999 to 2010.

Findings published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association Network publication:
– The recommendation for using NSAIDs or acetaminophen per visit decreased from almost 37% in 1999 to about 24.5% in 2010.
– Narcotic drug use increased from about 19% in 1999 to about 29% in 2010.
– Physician referrals increased from about 7% in 1999 to 14% in 2010.
– Scans, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance images (MRIs), rose from about 7% to about 11% during that same period.
– Physical therapy remained unchanged at about 20%; X-rays remained unchanged at about 17%.

“With health care costs soaring, improvements in the management of back pain represent an area of potential cost savings for the health care system while also improving the quality of care,” the study says. So why are doctors using these types of treatments? “Patients expect doctors to have some kind of magic cure, and so doctors want to offer them something,” Landon says. “Often it’s easier to offer them something rather than explaining why more aggressive treatments and testing won’t make them better in the long run.”
Donald Casey Jr., a clinical professor of medicine in the department of population health at New York University School of Medicine, who wrote the accompanying editorial, says there are a lot of different reasons for the findings, including the fact that there are 183 different guidelines just for treating low back pain. “A well-constructed clinical practice guideline doesn’t always give you the exact treatment for every single patient every time. But it should give physicians guidance about which treatments are most likely to work best for most patients.”

 

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Stay Away from the Market when you’re Hungry…

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If you need to stop by the market on your way home from work, eat a healthful snack first to avoid splurging on high-calorie items.
Dropping by the grocery store on your way home from work? Here’s why that could make it harder for you to maintain a healthy diet: Research shows that even short-term food deprivation (like the hours between lunch and quitting time) is enough to make you buy nutritionally bankrupt food. A better time to shop: after you’ve already eaten. If you know you’re stopping by the market on your way home, be sure to have a healthful snack first. Keep a small fruit bowl on your desk, or stock some nuts, sunflower seeds and dried fruit in your drawer. Other good choices to keep in the office fridge: baby carrots, hummus, no-fat string cheese and no sugar added Greek yogurt.

 

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Magnesium helps your bones absorb Calcium!

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For strong bones, make sure you’re getting enough magnesium. Without it, bones can’t absorb calcium.

Many Americans do not get the recommended amounts of this essential mineral. Magnesium helps your immune system, maintains normal muscle and nerve function, keeps your heart rhythm steady and your bones strong. Having an adequate supply of magnesium in the body may also help protect against heart disease. Without this mineral, bones have a hard time absorbing calcium. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes normal blood pressure. Some foods that are high in magnesium include pumpkin seeds (pepitas), spinach, almonds, wheat germ, peanuts, Swiss chard, halibut, black beans, sunflower seeds, wheat bran, bananas, avocados, dried apricots and soybeans.

 

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Don’t Lose Sleep!

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Don’t let work eat into your sleep. Lack of rest is the biggest predictor of on-the-job burnout.
Are you letting your job impact your sleep? According to a study published in the journal SLEEP, the more hours a person works, the less sleep he or she gets. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of employed Americans get less than the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a day. Though you may not feel especially tired, lack of sleep could be affecting your performance at work. One study found that sleeping less than six hours a night was one of the best predictors of job burnout. Another study calculated that our collective lack of sleep costs U.S. businesses and medical centers $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. In other words, you’re actually doing yourself — and your career — a disservice by letting work take away from your sleep time.

 

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Don’t Forget to Neglect Strength Training!

cleveland clinicWalking every day? Good for you! But don’t neglect strength training, which helps preserve muscle and improve balance.
When it comes to preventing health problems, exercise is one of the best medicines we have. It eases anxiety, lowers stress, stabilizes mood, and improves body image and self-esteem. It also helps with hot flashes, back pain and depression. Still, only 20 percent of U.S. adults get even less than the optimal recommended aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though we’re making progress with aerobic exercise — nearly 52 percent of Americans meet the weekly, but in our opinion still minimal, guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise — only 29 percent of us make strength training a priority. Wondering why you have to do strength training if you’re already walking 150 minutes each week? Strength training helps preserve and build muscle; you otherwise lose one-half of one percent each birthday. Having more muscle also helps you burn calories, which keeps weight under control. It also improves balance to keep you injury-free, and it maintains bones, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic fitness centers. “I think the biggest obstacle I see for Cleveland Clinic employees is that they simply don’t know what they should be doing,” says Hendricks. “And weight rooms can be very intimidating places!” The good news is that you don’t even have to set foot in one to get a good workout. To get started, try these moves, which are perfect for beginners and require nothing more than your body and a set of dumbbells.

Original Post from Cleveland Clinic

 

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Stuck in your Car? Find ways to still be Active

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Drive time means less time for exercise. Find a gym near work and go during rush hour!

Research shows that the more time you spend commuting, the less likely you are to exercise. Time spent behind the wheel takes away valuable minutes that could be spent being active. It also adds to the total time you spend sitting each day. As Mike Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, points out, “People who sit eight to 11 hours a day are twice as likely to die (in a given three-year time period) than folks who sit for four hours a day or less.”

Even if you can’t change how far away you live from work, there are ways to get healthier and decrease your drive time. For instance, if you’re going to be caught in gridlock, why not drive in before the rush and then go work out or take a walk near your office? Or consider doing the same after work while you wait for traffic to subside. If none of these options work, says Dr. Roizen, use your time behind the wheel to de-stress. Practice breathing exercises to elicit a sense of relaxation. Bring your attention to your breath. Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing your belly to rise as it fills with air. Allow your belly to fall as you slowly exhale. And do not close your eyes — keep ‘em on the road!

 

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Get Your Vitamin D3 Levels Tested

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Get your vitamin D3 levels tested. Proper amounts will help your body absorb the calcium you need and reduce your risk of disease.
Vitamin D3 may be calcium’s best friend. Without it, calcium has a really tough time being absorbed into your bones. Besides being essential for bone health, research suggests that vitamin D3 also helps slow the progression of arthritis, hypertension, kidney disease, atherosclerosis (a cause of heart disease and stroke), wrinkles, memory loss, and even impotence. It may also decrease the incidence of several cancers. Do yourself a favor and pop your D3 with healthy fats such as fish, olive oil and avocados. Or spend 10 minutes in the sun. Michael Roizen, MD, the chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic, recommends that you start with 1,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D3 if you’re younger than 60 and 1,200 IU if you’re over 60. Then get your levels checked to make sure they fall into the desired range.

Excert from the Cleveland Clinic Daily

 

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