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Ask the Doctor Segment: Week 1

Question: What are the most important things to know about my heart?

Answer from Doctor Wright: The most import thing to know about your heart is that God only gave you one of them, and you should do your best to take care of it! We know now that conditions like heart attack, strokes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even some cancers are (in many cases) not the result to bad luck, but bad choices! We can not prevent every stroke, heart attack or many other medical problems, but by making better life style choices, we can improve our chances for a longer healthier life. Medical science shows that the foods you choose to feed yourself and your family can improve or shorten your life! Exercise is not something that people do to entertain themselves, but it is a must! The reason we are doing this program is to create a culture of health in the Zeta community and eventually our entire community! Now I know, old habits die hard and that is ok. Small changes can make big differences. Did you know that if you lowered you Systolic Blood Pressure (top number) by just five point that you statistically improve how long you will live. So, let’s start with simple actions that will make major improvements! I always say, a Healthy Heart Starts in the Head! So Zetas, let’s make healthy actions the norm, NOT the exception!

Ask the Doctor Segment: Week 2

Question: I have high cholesterol, what is the best way to reduce cholesterol?

Answer from Doctor Wright: Cholesterol is a substance that is natural and needed for our bodies to function. We need cholesterol to keep our cells intact and to perform many essential functions in our body. However, if we take in too much cholesterol from the foods that we eat, then things start to go bad. It’s amazing how the lessons we learn as children truly apply in life. Too much of a good thing is BAD! When our cholesterol levels start to rise, then our arteries start to narrow and even possibly close completely! If the artery that closes off goes to our heart, it is called a heart attack. If the artery that closes off goes to our brain, it is called a stroke. The best way to prevent our arteries from closing off is by avoiding foods that are higher in cholesterol, Saturated fats, or Trans fats. All three of these substances can aid in narrowing our arteries and lead to our premature death or severe disability (i.e. stroke). Exercise has also been shown to decrease the blood levels of cholesterol. If these nature measures are not enough, your doctor can prescribe medications that can lower your cholesterol levels. So, to get you started quickly, read your food labels to look for foods that are low in cholesterol, low in saturated fats, and low in Trans fat. Stay tuned for future post on healthy eating and healthy cooking tips, and food label reading to help you to put this theory into practice.

Ask the Doctor Segment: Week 3

Question: I would like to control of my diabetes, what are some rules that I need to abide by to make sure it is in control for the next three months?

Answer from Doctor Wright: Each person is different and there are a few different types of diabetes. The most important thing to do is to speak with your doctor about your particular case and what you need to specifically do. If he or she prescribes you medication, then make sure you take it exactly as prescribed. Not taking medication correctly can lead to worse medical problems in the future. So please do what your doctor recommends! Many doctors also recommend regular exercise. Clinical studies show that people who exercise regularly have much better control over their blood glucose levels than those who do not exercise. Talk to your doctor about the type and frequency of exercise that is best for you. And finally, watch what you eat. The foods you eat can directly affect your blood glucose levels! If you have not spoken to a nutritionist about you diet yet, then get to it! To many people live with diabetes and just eat whatever food they want to, not realizing how those foods directly affect their health. So next time you grab that triple layer chocolate cake, think “is a quick thrill work a visit to the ER?” So, remember, take your medication, exercise like you doctor prescribes, and work with your nutritionist to find the best eating plan for you. Diabetes is beatable, but you need to make sure your working with your body to give it the best!

Ask the Doctor Segment: Week 4

Question: What are the best vitamins and nutrients that I need to do to improve my overall health?

Answer from Doctor Wright: Healthy individuals with access to a variety of foods do not normally need supplements. The American Heart Association feels that there is not enough data to suggest that supplements enhance or improve the human condition by replacing a fundamentally sound diet. The AHA specifically advises that vitamin supplements should not be used as replacements for a well-balanced diet.

The American Dietary Association recommends vitamins and/or dietary supplements only in specific cases, such as when a woman is pregnant or of child-bearing age, when a person has a daily caloric intake of less than 1,600 calories or a medical condition that limits food choices, such as a vegan or strict vegetarian diet, or if someone is elderly with a poor diet. We should not take the mindset that taking certain vitamins can replace eating fruits and vegetables. We should also be careful about looking for the panacea pill that cures all. In fact, some supplements have unknown side effects.The true road to a long and healthy life includes knowledge, moderation, and persistence. It begins with food, a necessary fuel for life, continues with exercise, also a necessity, and is punctuated by the need for a positive attitude. As we said earlier, if you don’t have any special requirements and you eat how you are supposed to, then you don’t need extra vitamins or supplements. The sad truth is, most Americans don’t eat what they’re supposed to—far from it—and they are prime candidates for vitamin and supplement manufacturers to prey on their insecurities and preferences for a quick-and-easy fix. It’s almost as if the industry has been observing how Americans eat over the past few decades and came to realize that they could make a fortune offering vulnerable Americans a host of vitamins and supplements based on the fact that we don’t want to bother watching what we eat so they can simply take care of that with a medley of pills, preservatives, and pipe dreams.

The same thing happens with getting enough sleep. Take this pill and you’re off to dreamland. Groggy? Drink a ton of coffee and you’ll go go go! Better still, try this energy drink! Want to lose weight? Pop a diet pill. Don’t eat enough fruits and veggies? No problem, we’ve got your back. Who needs to eat real food when you can swallow greens in a bottle, fruit capsules, or protein shakes?

Time out! Let’s give the vitamin and supplement industry a break. After all, there are many reputable companies, manufacturing quality products, and some people, especially those who don’t eat a sufficiently well-balanced diet, can benefit from taking some of these products. For example, what about the ten-year-old child who won’t eat anything green? No spinach, no broccoli, no salad greens—nothing! And this food aversion is not limited to green vegetables; it’s any color vegetable, or fruit! None at all. Ever. Not once. Even when the pediatrician lays down the law, no dice! That’s when a vegetable pill can come to the rescue, so to speak, providing this child with a minimal amount of vegetable-based sources of vitamins and minerals. But while such a dosage is worthwhile, assuming the pill is all-natural, it can’t be used as a substitute. Pills will never replace a good diet. They have appropriate uses, but far too many people use vitamins and supplements inappropriately, often out of sheer laziness.

Ask the Doctor Segment: Week 5

Question: I am not sure if I am Diabetic, so could you briefly explain it? I am not sure if I have it but would like to know what symptoms to look for before going to my doctor?

Answer from Doctor Wright: Diabetes is a group of diseases in which the person has very high glucose levels. This is either due to the person’s body not creating enough insulin or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. High blood sugars can lead to symptoms such as frequent urinations (polyuria), being very thirsty (polydipsia) and very hungry (polyphagia). Other symptoms include: extreme fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing of cuts and bruises. If diabetes has been present for a long time, people can develop complications from diabetes. Such complications include neuropathy (burning and numbness in the feet), eye problems, skin changes, and it can lead to heart disease and stroke. Diabetes can be managed, but it takes effort from the person with the disease. It is very important to take all medications as prescribed by your doctor. However, healthy eating and exercises are two activities that can truly be a beneficial in reducing blood glucose level and thus reducing your chances of developing the complications of diabetes.

Ask the Doctor Segment: Week 6

Question: Question: I recently went to the Dr and he states I have high cholesterol. What should I do? Help, I do not want to be on medication so he gave me 3 months to control it or he will put me on medication. Help doc!

Answer from Doctor Wright: Having high cholesterol is a known risk factor for heart attack and stroke. People can have a predisposition to have high cholesterol levels, but most people in America have high cholesterol level due to their life styles. Eatting fatty foods and not exercising are the typical reasons why people have high cholesterol levels. If you have high cholesterol levels, then it is time to take action to better you health. The first thing to do is take you medication as your doctor has recommended. They next thing is to start adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Make it a new habbit to start muching on veggies when even that chocolate cake tempts you. In addition to eating more frutis and veggies, start cutting back foods high in cholesterol, saturated and trans-fat. The fats are often found in meats, fried foods, butter, ice cream, cookies, and a whole bunch of other foods. Exercise is another way to help decrease your cholesterol level. The healthy eating and exercise sound simple, but these are very powerful tools that you should use to make you healthier.

Ask the Doctor

Sorors, as you begin your fitness program, ask the doctor questions that will help you on the road to living healthier lives. Two questions and answers will be posted weekly from our brother and doctor, Randall Wright, MD
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