January 9, 2013 at 11:38 am , by Amelia Harnish
‘Tis the season for New Year’s Resolutions, which means all over the country people are renewing their vows to get fit and lose that weight. Are you working on your own health goal? We figured you might be.
It’s a sad truth that most women who resolve to get their butts in gear in January are back to their old habits by springtime. That’s why we asked Carla Birnberg, the personal trainer behind MizFitOnline.com and a member of our brand new blogger network, to give us some novel tips for sticking with it.
Do less than you think you can do.
Yes, you read that right. Do less. It’s not helpful to push yourself as hard as you can when you’re first getting started, Birnberg says. That’s just going to lead to burnout. Instead, jog fewer miles at a slower pace than you think you can do, or better yet, start by simply going for an evening walk and build from there.
Play instead of work.
Instead of thinking about exercise as another chore, turn your workouts into a game. One of Birnberg’s favorite things is playing hopscotch with her daughter. The hopping around works your balance, core strength and it gets your heart pumping. It’s fun, calorie-torching perfection, she says. (That’s Birnberg above during one of her recent “playouts” with her daughter.)
Break your big goal into smaller goals.
So you want to lose 20 pounds? That takes a long-term commitment, which can easily wane when you don’t see any payoff right away. Instead, try breaking it down into a bunch of smaller goals. For example: “This week I’ll go for a jog three times,” or even, “Today, I will eat five servings of vegetables.” Not only does this way give you more chances to succeed and gain confidence, it also forces you to recommit to your big goal every day.
January 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm , by Julie Bain
We just love top 10 end-of-year lists, especially when they dispense helpful health information. The FDA just released its list of the most popular health updates on its site for 2012. Here are four you should know about it, in case you missed them the first time around:
Number 9: Statins to prevent heart disease
Have you resisted your doctor’s efforts to prescribe Lipitor or another statin drug because of concerns about side effects? The FDA recently expanded and clarified its advice on the risks of these drugs. You may have heard that you need frequent testing of your liver enzymes while on these meds, but here’s some good news: it’s no longer considered helpful or necessary. But there are other potential risks of these drugs, including memory loss, type 2 diabetes and muscle damage. Read more details.
Number 7: Triclosan in antibacterial products
Should you be washing your hands with antibacterial soaps? As we reported in our Guide to Germs in the November issue, triclosan is an ingredient that can kill the really nasty bugs, but studies show that plain old soap and water do just as good a job of it. And while the FDA doesn’t come right out and say you should avoid it, they do say that several scientific studies that have been done recently merit further review. And many experts believe triclosan can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That’s reason enough for us to avoid the ingredient (easy, since it’s required to be on the label). Click here for more info.
Number 5: Arsenic in rice
This topic made headlines a few months ago. Does it mean your sushi is poisoning you? Probably not—unless you’re eating mountains of the stuff. The FDA has been testing samples of all kinds of rice products, and it’s shocking that they’re finding inorganic arsenic in everything from cereals to rice cakes. So far the folks at the FDA are not saying you should stop eating rice. They’re still studying this. But we say if rice is one of the main staples in your diet, you may want to go for a little more variety in the grains you eat till experts know more. Get the full scoop here.
Number 1: Getting rid of unused medicines
The new year is a good time to check your prescription and OTC drugs for expiration dates and clean out your overstuffed medicine cabinet. But how do you dispose of medicines safely while protecting kids, the environment and your own medical information? Follow these FDA guidelines.
Check out all the latest consumer updates from the FDA. And have a safe and healthy 2013!
December 18, 2012 at 11:37 am , by Amelia Harnish
In addition to your mammogram and colonoscopy, the CDC wants you to add another screening to your list: a one-time blood test for hepatitis C.
Ever heard of it? Don’t worry if you haven’t; you’re not alone. When people find out my father died of hepatitis C, I can count on two reactions. The first is, of course, “I’m so sorry to hear that.” The second is confusion.
Hepatitis C starts out as a virus in your blood after a needle stick, blood transfusion or other blood exposure. Some people exposed to the virus can clear it, but for 75 to 85 percent of people the infection becomes chronic and can lead to liver scarring (known as cirrhosis), liver failure and liver cancer. Chronic infections may not cause symptoms for 20 to 30 years, when damage to the liver is already done.
“There are between 3 and 4 million people infected, and the vast majority of them are baby boomers who don’t know it,” says Martha Saly, executive director of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. That’s why the CDC recently announced recommendations urging anyone born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested.
Before 1992, there wasn’t a test for it, so it was impossible to screen for hepatitis C in the blood supply. As a result, many people were infected from a transfusion they got years ago. Other common ways of transmission include a history of needle drug use or contact with unsterile instruments, say, at a tattoo and piercing parlor or through a needle stick, says Shmuel Shoham, M.D., an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a member of the LHJ Medical Advisory Board. But there are plenty of people who don’t know how they got it.
While new cases of hepatitis C have remained low since the early ’90s, experts are bracing for the crop of people who were infected years ago and need to be treated. Deaths from hepatitis C have risen steadily for more than a decade to more than 15,000 in 2007, says Bryce Smith, lead health scientist from the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis.
When my dad was diagnosed in 2004, no one ever talked about hep C, and by the time he got tested he was already really sick. It’s bittersweet to see it in the news so much lately now that new treatments bring the cure rate up to 80 percent. I know the thought of another screening test may sound daunting, but trust me, it’s worth the peace of mind. If every boomer did it, the CDC estimates that it will save more than 120,000 lives.
Infographic via the CDC. Click here for an enlarged, shareable version you can post on your Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to spread the word about screening for hepatitis C.
Categories: Health, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: Bryce Smith, Hepatitis C, infectious diseases, liver cancer, liver disease, liver failure, Martha Saly, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, screening, Shmuel Shoham | No Comments
December 5, 2012 at 9:34 am , by Julie Bain
Don’t you just love those end-of-year top 10 lists? Time magazine’s “Top 10 Everything of 2012” is a must-read—even if just to disagree with the editors. (Their #4 pick on the movie list was my fave.) Don’t miss the health-related lists. The Top Medical Breakthroughs are fascinating, while the Top 10 Ridiculously Obvious Study Findings provide a fun “duh” moment.
Our friends at Yahoo! just released their Year in Review, too—covering everything from the serious (Libya, the election) to the sublime (Mars Rover, the U.S. women’s gymnastic team) to the ridiculous (Gangnam style, Honey Boo Boo). The trends based on the daily search habits of millions of people include health, too, of course. Among the top 10 searched health symptoms of 2012 on Yahoo!, four were stories we covered in a major way in the pages of Ladies’ Home Journal. Here’s something surprising we learned about each:
No surprise this was number 1, as the numbers are skyrocketing. Nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes now, according to the CDC, while another 80 million may have prediabetes. And women are more at risk of dying from it, we learned in the story that ran in our September issue. You’ve probably heard that the major warning signs are being really thirsty and having to pee all the time. But those symptoms usually show up only after damage has already been done. “Early on, especially in the prediabetes phase, most people have no symptoms at all,” says Gerald Bernstein, M.D., director of the diabetes management program at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. That’s why it’s so important to get a glucose test, especially if you’re overweight.
2. Lung cancer
Lung cancer kills more women than breast, ovarian and uterine cancers combined, yet it gets the fewest research dollars of any cancer. That’s one of the things we learned in our touching story by Wesley Fay, “Just Breathe,” in our November issue. Each breast cancer death correlates with $19,419 in federal research funding. For lung cancer, that plummets to $1,888. This gap has real consequences: Since the early 1970s, breast cancer’s five-year survival rate climbed from 75 to 90 percent, while lung cancer’s barely budged from 12 percent to 16 percent. Blaming the victim won’t help: 20 percent of women with lung cancer never smoked, and experts say those numbers are climbing.
4. Colon cancer
Doctors are seeing colon cancer in younger people more than ever, we learned in our October story on colon health. “For women, getting a colonoscopy at 50 or sometimes even sooner is crucial, especially since I’ve been seeing women as young as their 30s being diagnosed—and with no family history,” says Robynne Chutkan, M.D., medical director of the Digestive Center for Women in Washington, D.C., and a member of the LHJ Medical Advisory Board. Don’t ignore symptoms such as blood in the stool, unusual abdominal pain, a change in how often you go to the bathroom, anemia or unexplained weight loss. For more information, read our candid interview with Dr. Chutkan.
6. Heart attack
When Rosie O’Donnell had a heart attack in August at age 50, she scared the crap out of a lot of women. (I’m one of them!) She researched online and knew her symptoms could be a heart attack. She even took an aspirin. But she didn’t call 911. That happens way too often, says cardiologist Holly Andersen, M.D., a member of the LHJ Medical Advisory Board. In our blog that week, we learned that “40 percent of women having a heart attack never feel chest pain,” says Dr. Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital. For lots more information on women and heart disease, see our February story, “Heart of the Matter.”
Photo copyright Ocskay Bence, Shutterstock.com
November 28, 2012 at 9:54 am , by jbrown
‘Tis the season when your “I’m too busy to exercise” excuse seems 110% legit. You’ve added parties, Christmas shopping, travel planning, holiday card-addressing and about 50 other things to your already packed schedule, so how are you supposed to find time to work out too? Don’t sweat it! We found plenty of quickie at-home workouts you can easily sneak into your day.
* Got 5 minutes?
No matter what your fitness level, Jim Parker of Muffins to Marathons (how great is that name?) has a cardio blast that’s perfect for you. The beginner, intermediate and advanced versions are all on YouTube.
* Got 7 minutes?
That’s just enough time to target every muscle in your butt. Bonus: The moves are pretty TV-friendly so you don’t even have to tear yourself away from Elf to work on your rear view.
* Got 8 minutes?
A fast core workout that doesn’t involve crunches? It’s a Christmas miracle! All you need is a towel and a mat and you’re good to go.
* Got 10 minutes?
The best things about trainer Andrea Orbeck’s full-body circuit workout: 1) It doesn’t require equipment, and 2) There’s no complicated footwork, so even hopelessly uncoordinated people like me won’t get lost.
* Got 12 minutes?
* Got 15 minutes?
Image via Shutterstock.
November 14, 2012 at 9:53 am , by Julie Bain
Oh, the glamor of television! He was unzipping my dress to hook a microphone pack onto my bra so I could talk to Hoda and Kathie Lee about the Germs story in our November issue. We wanted to show some household items that may (or may not) carry germs that can make you sick. Thus, the toilet.
It’s cold and flu season, and you’ve got to protect yourself from those viruses. But do you need to obsessively clean every square inch of your home? No.
In fact, experts told us, while germs are everywhere, only about 1 percent of them are the bad kind that can make you sick—and many actually keep you healthy. Plus, even if you come in contact with bad bacteria or viruses, they won’t make you sick unless they get into your body. How do they do that? Mostly by your hands. So your first line of defense is to keep your hands out of your eyes, nose and mouth. And wash your hands often with good old plain soap and water. (The antibacterial kind may contribute to antibiotic-resistant bugs.)
Before we went on the air, Kathie Lee shared that she’s not a germophobe at all—and she seldom gets sick. Good for her! See our TV segment by clicking here. Some of the advice will surprise you!
And see all of our info and advice in “A Non-Neurotic Guide To Germs” in the November issue of Ladies’ Home Journal or by clicking here.
November 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm , by Amelia Harnish
As the Northeast hunkers down for another difficult storm today, we wanted to share some pictures we snapped this past week during Hurricane Sandy. LHJ staffers were pretty lucky. We’re all safe, back at work and most of us have power (keyword: most). New York City is crawling back toward normal, but we’re not there yet. So many of our neighbors are without electricity and heat. We’re still cleaning up and assessing the damage. Worst of all, lots of people lost their homes and some even lost their lives.
If you’d like to help, check out these great organizations working to restore New York, New Jersey and other places along the East Coast that are still suffering and make a donation if you can. Share your own experiences or ways to help in the comments.
• American Red Cross The Red Cross has 5,400 workers and 250 shelters spread from Virginia to Rhode Island. Donate online or text REDCROSS to 90999.
• Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund Tireless New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his wife Mary Pat established a relief fund of their own to restore the hardest-hit areas in New Jersey.
• United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund United Way has set up its own fund to help disaster areas with teams of volunteers and lots of supplies all along the Eastern Seaboard.
• The Mayor’s Fund for NYC Hurricane Relief You can donate directly to New York City’s recovery with an online donation or find in-person volunteer opportunities if you’re in the New York-area and want to help out.
Preparing for Hurricane Sandy
LHJ's health editor Julie Bain believes in being well prepared! Here she tests the batteries on her headlamp before the storm. She lost power at her place in Manhattan on Monday, October 29, and the lights came back on Friday night, November 1. The headlamp was great for walking up and down pitch-black stairwells, leaving her hands free. Read Julie's other lessons for storm preparedness here.
Categories: Do Good, Health, Ladies' Lounge | Tags: Do Good, Gov. Chris Christie, Hurricane Sandy, Mayor's Fund for New York City, New Jersey Relief Fund, Occupy Sandy, Red Cross, Sandy, United Way, volunteer | No Comments