June 2016 4
It seems like everyone is worried about something called Zika virus, but what is it? Should you be worried? Can you avoid it?
Zika is a virus that is transferred to humans by a mosquito bite. This is same mosquito that also transfers dengue and chikungunya. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In some cases, the person can be infected but not realize it. In addition, a Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, and other severe fetal brain defects. Zika virus has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, where the nervous system is affected.
There is very little we know about the Zika virus. New research is being published every day. A blood or urine test can be performed to determine whether a person is infected with the Zika virus. However, the test takes a long time and isn’t available at every lab. It does looks like once a person has been infected by the Zika virus, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. Currently there is no known vaccine against the Zika virus or a medicine to treat a person with the Zika virus. Hydration, rest & Tylenol are the best treatment options. Avoid non steroidal anti -inflammatory.
The Zika virus spreads to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. People can transfer Zika through unprotected sex with an infected person, and the virus can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. In order to prevent a Zika virus infection learn about mosquito avoidance and travel awareness. Visit the CDC Zika Prevention web site for more information and areas to avoid.
Right now the Zika virus is highly active in Brazil, where the Summer Olympic and Paralympic are scheduled to take place this summer. Over 500,000 tourist and athletes are expected to come to Rio. It is very risky and there is a chance of global contamination.
Keep yourself informed! Read the CDC Zika Information and the World Health Organization Zika information to learn more about the virus. Make a smart choice, especially if you are traveling or might be pregnant or planning on a pregnancy. If you traveled to an area where Zika is common and/or you think you have been exposed to Zika, SEE YOUR DOCTOR immediately.
Are there any questions you have about the Zika Virus? Leave it in the comments below.
At some point of our life, we all experience stress. Stress can be a good or a bad thing. Knowing the type of stress you might be experiencing and how it effects your body can help you overcome it. Some examples of types of stress include work stress, financial stress, relationship stress, school related stress, stress due to life events and even lifestyle stress. Wow, that is a lot of stress.
Stress is a very common feeling. We all live a busy life and often we experience stress on a subconscious level and are able to pull through, not realizing we were stressed in the first place. However, unmanaged stress can eventually accumulate and become very harmful. Stress can cause mental and physical damage. This is why stress need to be acknowledged, recognized and treated with before it causes any damage.
My patients often ask me: “What happens to the body at stressful times?”, “How can stress be helpful and harmful at the same time?” Well, when our body faces a situation, for example a very important test or presentation, we produce Adrenalin and Cortisol. Both are hormones produce naturally by our body under stressful situation. Ever heard the phrase “fight or flight”? This is how our body respond and how we are able to preform under stress. Adrenalin and Cortisol can help increase our stamina, energy and ability to focus for a brief period of time. This process is great when in moderation or small amount. For example, when you need to avoid hitting that car that just cut into your lane. However, when the level of stress is very high and/or for a prolonged amount of time, it becomes difficult for the body to manage the production of Adrenalin and Cortisol. This is when too much stress has been accumulated and the body starts responding in a damaging way.
So how does the body respond when stress level is to high, the demands start to increased? How can you detect high stress levels? Well, this is a tricky thing. Often we are not ware we are under too much stress. Too many people live every day with working long hours, lack of sleep, little to no exercise, bad eating habits, and no personal time. While some types of stress are obvious, like lost of a love one, it is the every day lifestyle and activities that are overlooked as stress and considered a “normal” part of life. We believe that this is how life should be. That we should work long hours, so we can make more money and be more successful at work. We should stay up late and finish that paper so we can get a better grade. In order to avoid this “daily” stress, you must acknowledge the stress you are under and set limits in order to manage the stress and avoid any unwanted physical or emotional consequences.
What kind of physical warning signs should I be looking for? Your body is an amazing machine. It will give you warning sign for many medical conditions, if you are willing to listen. A body under too much stress will start to give warning such as body aches, irritability (short temper), fatigue, depression, weight gain or loss, lack of motivation, digestive issues and irregular sleeping patterns. If stress continues over a period of time, it can eventually lead to an increase in blood pressure, lower immune system capabilities, rashes & skin problems, heart conditions, strokes and other health issues. It is important to listen to your body and to recognize when stress is overloading the body and mind. If you feel like you exhibit any of these warning signs, it is time to do something about it.
What can you do about stress? There are many activities you can do to lower your stress levels. Exercise, group fitness, walking a dog, proper nutrition, mediation and reading to name a few. Just taking the time to take care of yourself is a great way to prevent stress overload. It is also strongly recommended you see a doctor and discuss what you feel, especially if you plan on taking up any form a physical activity. A doctor will have you go through a physical exam and may consider a short time medication to help you manage stress. He or she will also check to verify that what you are feeling is indeed stress and not some other underlying health concern. I recommend that you take time for yourself every day. Do something that is just for you. It doesn’t have to be long. 15 minutes could be enough. Take time to reevaluate your lifestyle and try to identify what is it you should change in order to reduce your stress level.
Personally, I love taking my dog on a long walk. What do you do to reduce your stress levels?
In modern times, proper nutrition has become a know and critical key to preventing diseases and obesity. Good eating habits can be established at any age. Many parents are starting to raise their children with nutrition awareness from a young age. Nutrition is just one factor that can help prevent diseases and heal your body. After all, we are what we eat. Our body requires nourishment in order to function at a maximum capacity.
A healthy and happy life starts with the proper lifestyle. That means having a good consistent diet, with proper balanced meals, regular exercise and practicing methods to reduce unnecessary stress, like Yoga & Meditation. There are endless diets you can find. Many people often ask me about Crash Diets. These diets might help you in shed a few pounds shortly, however, if you don’t change your lifestyle and learn proper eating habits – you will gain the weight back. It is just a matter of time.
Aside for the short lived results of Crash Diets, these diets are very stressful. For most individuals they are impossible to keep up with. These diets are known to cause fatigue and have other negative physical side effect. Our body does not respond well to these diets. One thing most crash diets forget is to include vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are found in food. For example, vitamins C is found in oranges and the mineral calcium is found in dairy products.
If you are trying to loose weight, keep in mind that you should follow proper nutrition guidelines. There are many online apps, such as myFitnessPal, that will calculate a nutrition guideline specifically for you. It will also calculate vitamins, minerals salts and more. The results from any app are recommendations for the healthy active individuals, if you have diabetes, edema, or any other health issues please see a nutritionist or your doctor for your individual recommendations. These apps will let you log food you intake, making it easier to stick your daily nutritional needs.
After all is said and done, a proper nutrition and diet are better than any crash diet.
We all know sticking to a diet is hard. Here are some of my personal tips for sticking to a healthy diet:
- Drink water – this is very important! hydrate! Water is the required for the body to burn fat.
- Eating well balanced meals will not leave you fatigued, frustrated or hungry.
- Eating a good breakfast will create a foundation for a good day.
- Make sure you eat at least three full meals a day and a healthy snacks between meals.
- Add a physical activity as your routine.
- Avoid any sweets, sodas, deep fried food, high sodium foods, and reduce caffeine intake.
- Get organized, decide what you are going to eat in advance and prepare your food ahead of time.
- Take food with you to work or school. It will prevent the temptation of eating junk or fast food.
- Avoid eating out. If you must, make eating out an option only on a special occasion.
- When you go shopping, look for fresh (organic when possible) fruits and vegetables.
- Read and stay up to date with new nutritional information.