Dear readers: Many of your questions revolved around Hypertension – elevated blood pressure, which is the most common condition seen in primary care and leads to myocardial infarction, stroke, kidney (renal) failure, and death if not detected early and treated appropriately.
Whether you are checking your blood pressure (BP) at home as advised by your physician or at your physician’s office, it is important to do it right and get an accurate measurement.
Check out this infographic with 7 simple tips to help you get the most precise BP measurement.
Dear readers: Some time ago, father of a friend of mine had suffered a stroke – he’s still alive and on his way to recovery mostly because of the prompt and immediate reaction of the people who were there when it happened.
Those first few hours following a stroke are what decide between living or dying, between serious and irreversible brain damage and a minor, repairable one.
Identifying and treating a stroke as quickly as possible can and does save brain cells, brain function, and ultimately, lives. With this in mind, all of us need to know the warning signs of a stroke and when to get help as fast as possible.
So, what signs to look for to suspect a stroke?
I like The U.S. National Stroke Association’s mnemonic FAST as it both conveys the urgency of the situation and it helps us memorize the most important clues. Remember it as Act FAST!
Dear Dr. Mo: Someone I know has just had a stroke. What can I do to reduce my risks of stroke? I’m middle aged and generally in good health.
Dear reader: What we have long suspected, the latest study published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke confirms: By making small changes in our lifestyle, we could reduce our risk of having a stroke by up to 48%, depending on our general health status – the better our overall health, the larger the reduction in stroke risk!
Dear Dr. Mo: My wife loves zucchini. I am not a big fan but she insists that zucchinis are healthy without stating any specific health benefit. Are zucchini really that healthy?
Dear reader: Zucchini are indeed very good for your health. They help you control and manage your weight and its vitamins and minerals boost your immune system, health of your heart, skin, eyes and lungs.
One cup of boiled zucchini (according to the USDA), contains as little as 27 calories but it also has 2 g of fiber, which is pretty good!
Here are 5 very specific health benefits and good reasons to have zucchini in your diet (give this list to your wife so that she can have some concrete facts the next time she intuitively advocates for this healthy veggie): Continue reading …
Dear readers, our modern diets are plagued with unhealthful food choices. Many people are struggling with excess weight and our arteries are taking the toll over the years – they begin to accumulate plaque. Plaque buildup increases the chances for heart disease, heart attack and/or stroke.
This basically means accelerated death. Or debilitation. Then death.
We can use a healthy diet to keep our arteries in good shape and preserve their fitness into the old age.
The following 4 foods are very powerful arterial cleansers – I cannot say which of the first three I hate more but these are my top 3 foods I’ll never ever eat even if it kills me. The 4th food is actually pretty cool.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat them and in fact, you’ll benefit greatly if you introduced all 4 to your daily diet. Here’s why: Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo: My blood pressure has recently been slightly elevated. Are there some ways to control it with a healthy diet before I turn to meds?
Dear reader: The so called ‘high normal’ blood pressure (130-139/85-89 mmHg) and even sometimes Stage I hypertension (140-159/90-99 mmHg) can actually be alleviated and managed with mostly life-style changes like salt restriction, proper hydration, quitting smoking, exercise and of course diet adjustments. I am not suggesting you shouldn’t take the meds prescribed by your doctor – do take them by all means as these are usually necessary to act as short-term blood pressure regulators. (In some cases, meds are constantly required). Continue reading …
Dear readers: Many posts on this site discuss different aspects of a healthy diet and mostly emphasize the importance of balanced, versatile and flexible but
Versatile and healthy food choices
healthy food choices, whether you are staying put or travelling.
This pattern of eating could be named in different ways and many have heard of the so called Mediterranean diet, which is in fact exactly that – a variety of good foods arranged in a flexible manner throughout the day.
The most recent and very exciting results came out of one Spanish trial just a few days ago, proving without a shadow of a doubt, the benefits of this ‘Mediterranean’ eating style. Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo:I love butter but is margarine better for my health? And which one?
Butter is tasty but could hurt health
Dear reader: I remember when I was a child, I used to steal a stick of butter from the fridge and eat it whole, biting on it as if it were an apple. I loved the way it melted through my little fingers and the greasy and salty taste it had as I munched on it. Whenever my theft was discovered, my grandmother wasn’t too happy about it – she thought I would spoil my stomach with that much butter – often times she was right.
For a little child to eat food high in fat content is actually beneficial so my ventures to the fridge weren’t too harmful to my health (apart from occasional diarrhea) but as we age, eating a lot of butter on a regular basis can hurt our health. Butter is made from animal fat (usually from cow’s milk), which is high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Continue reading …
Dear Dr. Mo: I want to know some basic facts about alcohol and what it does to me when I drink. Is there a safe amount that’s actually good for health?
Don’t drink and drive!
Dear reader: Sometimes you might hear from a doctor that moderate alcohol consumption is good for health.
The peril lies in the word “moderate” for it is arbitrary; it is not the same for everyone and one could easily slip from moderation to amounts that are not at all useful to health. We could certainly argue if alcohol is useful in any amount because while it may be beneficial to one part of the body, it is damaging to another.
We don’t really need alcohol as far as maintaining our health is concerned so if you’ve never drank, don’t start as risks outweigh potential benefits.
Dear Dr. Mo: Why is Ibuprofen so ‘good’ and always prescribed as a medication in flu conditions? Are there any known side effects for using it?
Dear reader: Ibuprofen belongs to a class of medications called NSAIDs – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It works by discontinuing the body’s production of chemical messengers that cause pain, fever, and inflammation. These substances are called ‘prostaglandins’. But prostaglandins also help protect the lining of your stomach and other tissues, so blocking their production can cause side effects such as ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding, which is the most common concern when NSAIDs are being used.
Use pain relievers with caution
Ibuprofen is one of the drugs used to relieve pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis (arthritis caused by a breakdown of the lining of the joints) and rheumatoid arthritis (arthritis caused by swelling of the lining of the joints).
Most people use ibuprofen to reduce fever and to relieve mild pain from headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, menstrual periods, the common cold, toothaches, and backaches. Ibuprofen also works well to alleviate hangover symptoms (mostly headache and chills).
All these effects are reasons why this drug is so often prescribed and used.