Pulse of UTMC

Archive for June, 2011

Keeping outdoor exercise enjoyable

With the sun shining and the temperatures heating up, summer time can be an enjoyable time to begin an exercise program.  However, there are some precautions you should take if you plan to exercise outdoors this summer.

  • Take the weather seriously. Be especially careful when it’s very hot. Avoid exercising during peak hours.
  • Wear light clothing, and try to stay in the shade.
  • Pay attention to air quality.  Try to exercise when and where there are fewer cars on the road.
  • Rehydrate your body. While exercising in hot weather you can easily lose up to a quart of water an hour. Drink water before, during and after exercising.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen! Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block the sun’s UV rays.
  • Be aware of the symptoms of heat stroke. When the body has difficulty cooling itself, there can be a sudden rise in body temperature. Symptoms can include very hot and dry skin, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. Remember, these symptoms can appear rapidly.
  • Cool off in the water. Swimming is an excellent way to exercise during the summer months.

Heart and Gravity

Most people take the act of standing for granted. They do not think about the gravitational stress that standing places on the body. In most cases, the normal mechanisms we have to keep a normal blood pressure and heart rate despite standing operate well without our realizing this is going on. Sometimes, however, the process can be disrupted by a problem with the part of our body that controls the automatic functions of the body (the autonomic nervous system or ANS). One type of ANS disturbance is referred to as the Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (or POTS).

Dr. Blair Grubb, UT Professor, Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, Pediatrics, and Director, Electrophysiology Services, is widely considered one of the world’s leading authorities on syncope (fainting) and disorders of the autonomic nervous system. He also has been recognized as one of “Americas Top Doctors” for six years in a row. He recently was quoted in England’s largest newspaper regarding one woman’s struggle with POTS…read a portion of her struggle below.

How gravity can knock you sideways

For some people, standing up is a hazard that puts them at risk.  Barbara Rowlands explains.

A summer’s evening in London and 21-year-old Sophie Mortimer was squashed between tourists and commuters on the Piccadilly Line. As she stood, swaying, she felt increasingly lightheaded. Just before the train pulled into the station, she fainted.

“It was a family of American tourists who carried me off the Tube,” she recalls. “I woke up on the platform and the Underground staff gave me water and called an ambulance.” At the hospital, doctors said she might have glandular fever, although they also said she “looked too healthy”.

But Sophie, a student at the London School of Economics, was not at all healthy. She had indeed had a lengthy bout of glandular fever a year before, and the symptoms – sleeping 14 hours a night and difficulty concentrating on her degree had lingered on……. click here to read this young woman’s story and Dr. Grubb’s quote.



Men’s Health Month

Did you know June is men’s health month?  Coincidentally this falls within the summer months when everyone is preparing their beach bodies for their upcoming vacation.  If you want to be as healthy as Fabio keep reading…

Men commonly ignore their health and feel that they can push through whatever pain or misery they are currently dealing with.  With this type of thinking, the life-expectancy gap between men and women will only increase.  Men tend to smoke and consume more alcohol than women and define themselves by their work, which can add to stress.  The top threats to men’s health are heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injury.  Fortunately, to a certain degree, these can all be prevented.  The first step one should make is to live a healthy lifestyle.  This means eating a healthy diet and regular exercise.  Alcohol consumption should be in moderation and smoking should end.  In addition to these changes, men should also meet with their family physician.  This last point becomes much more important as men age as they are more likely to encounter certain health conditions later in life.

Men should get regular checkups that range from blood pressure and cholesterol levels to colorectal screenings.  Blood pressure should be checked every 2 years starting at age 18.  Those who use tobacco, are obese, or have diabetes should have their cholesterol checked as early as their 20s.  If you don’t have any of the issues previously described, then regular checkups should begin around the age of 35.  As for colon cancer, screenings should begin at age 50 and the schedule to continue checkups depends on the tests.  Check with your physician to make sure you follow the correct screening schedule!

One of the most common problems among males is the issue of belly fat.  Belly fat increases the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and even sleep apnea.  Sit-ups alone will not reduce belly fat; they will only make your abdominal muscles stronger.  If you’re looking to impress the ladies with those washboard abs, you need to lose the fat covering your abs.  This requires the lifestyle changes mentioned above.  Change is difficult and requires patience.  To be more successful, take small steps:

  • Take a walk instead of having a cigarette.
  • Try a green salad instead of fries.
  • Drink water instead of soda or juice.
  • Skip the salt.

Don’t mock your friends because they get a vegetarian burrito at Chipotle instead of a giant steak burrito with double meat.  Instead, encourage your peers and try to learn from their healthy habits.  If you take nothing else from this, at least try to reduce the amount of calories you consume in a day and EXERCISE.  Also, take the fun quiz below that discusses the myths and facts of Men’s Health.

Ever wonder if shaving really does make your beard thicker?  Click the link below.

Men’s Health: Fact or Fiction

Additional information: Mayo Clinic & Osteoporosis. Men’s Health Urban Competition

“A Safe Home is in Your Hands”

Did you know that each year home related injuries cause approximately 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits? Thus it is important to take the necessary measures to make you home safe.  June is Home Safety Month, a month where the Home Safety Council is working to educate and motivate families to take actions that will increase the safety of their homes.

The following 10 Safety Tips can help make your home a safer place for you and the rest of your family.

  1. Install grab bars in the tub and shower. Use non-slip mats.
  2. Have bright lights over stairs and steps and on landings. Keep stairs clear of clutter.
  3. Keep cleaners, medications and beauty products in a place where children can’t reach them. Use child safety locks.
  4. Keep all cleaners in their original containers. Do not mix them together.
  5. For Poison Help call 1-800-222-1222. Call if you need help or want information about poisons. Call 9-1-1 if someone needs to go to the hospital right away.
  6. Have working smoke alarms and hold fire drills. If you build a new home, install fire sprinklers.
  7. Stay by the stove when cooking, especially when you are frying food. Use back burners and turn pot handles toward the back of your stove.
  8. Install carbon monoxide detectors near sleeping areas.
  9. Keep your hot water at 120?F degrees to prevent burns. Use a travel mug when you drink something hot.
  10. When your children are in or near water, watch them very carefully. Stay close enough to reach out and touch them. This includes bathtubs, toilets, pools and spas – even buckets of water.

If you do many of these, great job, you are already on the right track! If not, it may be useful to pick one safety tip/measure at a time to implement rather than trying to implement them all at once.

The Home Safety Council’s website has sections geared towards families with babies and toddlers, families with pre-school/middle school age children, individuals of all ages, and older adults. In addition to the tips mentioned above the website includes additional tips on topics such as:

  • falls prevention
  • poison prevention
  • fire prevention
  • choking prevention
  • water safety
  • baby safety
  • toddler safety

For more information go to: http://www.homesafetycouncil.org/AboutUs/HSM/au_hsm_w001.asp

World No Tobacco Day

Tuesday was World No Tobacco Day but it is never too late to discuss this important topic.  We all know smoking cigarettes is bad but what exactly are the risks?  The risks include: Shortness of breath and dizziness, chronic bronchitis and emphysema; heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, vascular disease, and aneurysm (burst blood vessel); Lung, mouth, throat, bladder, pancreas and kidney cancer; dry skin and premature wrinkles (AbovetheInfluence, 2001).  Smoking is the number one preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the US. At abovetheinfluence.com it is said that, “More than 440,000 Americans die from tobacco-related causes each year, most of whom began using tobacco before the age of 18 (AbovetheInfluence, 2011).”  Not only do you affect yourself if you smoke but you also affect everyone around you.  Did you know that around 3,000 people die each year from second-hand smoke?  That’s 3,000 too many of your friends and family (AbovetheInfluence, 2011).

So what can you do to stop?  There are so many programs out there to help those interested in smoking cessation.  The University of Toledo Medical Center offers services to help you kick this deadly habit.  Even without a face-to-face program a study found that self-help materials and quitting rate compared to no-intervention control, the rate of quitting increased by 20% (Lancaster, 2009). The best solution is to get help.  Get as much support as you can because just getting paper in the mail increases your chance of quitting.  One drug on the market now is Chantix which, has a 70% rate of quitting.  Chantix also provides a support program to improve quitting chances (Chantix.com).  Also, If you have someone in the house who smokes, it decreases your chance of quitting.  Many health insurances have a program put into place for smoking cessation to decrease their costs by improving your health.

There are so many programs and resources out there for those attempting to quit.  Try taking one step closer to quitting and have one less today.

Visit: http://utmc.utoledo.edu/clinics/cardiacrehab/smoking.html for UT’s services.

Also visit chantix.com for information their smoking cessation program.


Lancaster, T., and L. F. Stead. “Self-help Interventions for Smoking Cessation (Review).” The Cochrane Library 2 (2009): 1-21.

“Drug Facts | Tobacco.” AbovetheInfluence.com. Web. 03 June 2011. http://www.abovetheinfluence.com/facts/drugstobacco/.

Quitting – CHANTIX Official Site – CHANTIX Is a Prescription Medicine to Help Adults Quit Smoking. Web. 03 June 2011. <http://www.chantix.com/index.aspx?source=google>.

About the Pulse of UTMC

A journal about how the people at UT Medical Center are improving the human condition. UTMC provides compassionate, university-caliber patient care while supporting and enhancing the health education of The University of Toledo.

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