Document 183552

VOL. 13 | NO. 5
health | self-care | work & family | lifestyle | exercise
JULY 2011
Healthy Recipe ..................... 2
Physical Activity .................. 3
A Publication Of
The Wellness
Council Of America
The Eyes
Have It .................................... 4-5
Healthy Lifestyles .............. 6
Wise Choices ........................... 7
How To Steer
Clear of Acid
Heartburn is a word people use
to describe reflux, but reflux is
also sometimes painless—you
may have trouble swallowing or
get a dry cough, perhaps some
wheezing. Occasional episodes of
reflux are normal for all of us, but
if you are having multiple episodes
per week, it should be discussed
with your health care provider to
avoid further health issues.
To help prevent acid reflux, you
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Eat smaller meals.
• Avoid triggering foods,
including alcohol.
• Don’t lie down for 3 hours
after a meal.
• Raise the head of your bed
6 to 8 inches by putting wood
blocks under the bedposts.
• For an infant, try burping
frequently during feeding.
Keep the infant upright for 30
minutes after feeding.
• If you have reflux twice or
more per week, see
your health care provider.
Want to learn more about acid
reflux? See the article on page 6.
Pets Are Good For Your Health But
Precautions Need To Be Taken
People and animals have a long history of
living together and bonding, but today,
animal companions are more popular than
ever. The pet population nationwide has been
growing dramatically for nearly a half century,
from about 40 million pet cats and dogs in
1967 to more than 160 million in 2006.
About two-thirds of U.S. households now
own at least one pet.
People have lots of reasons for owning
pets. Now a small but growing body of
research suggests that owning or interacting
with animals may have the added benefit of
improving your health.
Some of the largest and most welldesigned studies suggest that four-legged
friends can help to improve our cardiovascular
health, lower heart rates and blood pressure,
and quicken our recovery from stress when we
are with them. Several studies have also shown
that dog owners may get more exercise and
other health benefits than the rest of us.
Our furry friends bring many good
attributes to our homes by fetching our
slippers, protecting us from intruders and
giving us loving nuzzles. But kids, pregnant
women and people with weakened immune
systems are at greater risk for getting sick from
animals. Here are some things you can do to
reduce your risk of getting sick from your pets:
• Wash hands thoroughly after contact with
• Keep your pet clean and healthy, and keep
vaccinations up to date.
• Supervise children under age 5 while they’re
interacting with animals.
• Prevent kids from kissing their pets or putting
their hands or other objects in their mouths after
touching animals.
• Avoid changing litter boxes during pregnancy.
Problem pregnancies may arise from
toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease spread by
exposure to cat feces.
Measure Ingredients
2 tbsp
¼ cup
1 tbsp
1 tsp
Roma red, ripe tomatoes
large oranges, peeled
and diced
large Vidalia onion, chopped
large jalapeños, seeded
and minced
lime juice, fresh
orange juice, fresh
1-oz Splenda packets
fresh cilantro, chopped
salt (optional)
Endive leaves and baked
tortilla chips for garnish
Bring small saucepan of water to a boil.
Blanch tomatoes for 30 seconds, then
rinse with cold water. Peel, remove
seeds and chop tomatoes. Place all
ingredients in a large bowl and stir until
mixed thoroughly. Allow to stand at
room temperature for 1 hour. Mix and
serve. Refrigerate any unused salsa.
Serve salsa in endive leaves and garnish
with baked, crumbled tortilla chips.
Also excellent on top of grilled chicken
or fish.
Calories 65 (From fat 3), Total Fat 0g
(Sat 0g), Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 6mg,
Total Carbohydrate 16g, Dietary Fiber
3g, Sugars 12g, Protein 2g
W A L K I N G ••
1 oz bag
2 tbsp
Number of Servings
1 tsp
2 tbsp
about Richard Collins md
Dr. Richard Collins, a leading
authority and speaker on the prevention
and reversal of heart disease, emphasizes
the connection between eating well and
living long. His delicious low-fat recipes
have been shared with millions through
his cookbook, videos, and his nationallyrenowned cooking seminars. For more
information, visit Dr. Collins’ website at
½ cup
1 tbsp
1 dollop
corn or taco chips
southwest-flavored black
beans, drained
taco seasoning
veggie burger (optional)
reduced-fat cheddar cheese,
lettuce, shredded
tomato, diced
salsa or taco sauce
fat-free sour cream (optional)
First, crush the chips in the bag. Cut along the side of the bag to create a
lengthwise envelope for a bowl. Drain the beans and add one teaspoon of
prepared taco seasoning. Add 2 tablespoons of the beans to the chip-bagenvelope bowl. If using the veggie burger, crumble and place into the chip
envelope. Add lettuce, tomato and cheese. Top off with the salsa and sour
cream, if desired.
If creating this at work, pre-pack the lettuce and tomatoes in a zip-top bag.
The beans or meat substitute can also be packed in the zip-top bag with the
Nutritional Analysis
Calories 275 (From fat 123), Total Fat 14g (Sat 4g)
Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 410mg, Total Carbohydrate 27g
Dietary Fiber 5g, Sugars 3g, Protein 13g
Keeping Bones Strong and Healthy
Let’s Talk About
Our bones are alive. We might not think of them that way—but our
bones are always changing. “Bone is living, growing tissue,” says Dr.
Joan McGowan, a scientist at National Institutes of Health. “It’s
constantly breaking down and building up. It keeps refreshing itself.”
As you get older, your bones may be at increased risk for
osteoporosis, when the bones become weak, fragile and are more
likely to break. And once they break, they take longer to heal. This
can be both painful and expensive.
Current estimates suggest that around 10 million people in the
U.S. have osteoporosis, and 34 million more have low bone mass,
which places them at increased risk. Osteoporosis is a “silent”
disease. You may not realize you have it until a sudden strain, twist
or fall causes a broken bone (also called a “fracture”). With
osteoporosis, even a minor tumble can be serious, requiring
surgery and hospitalization.
You can promote bone health by increasing your amount of load-bearing exercise
such as walking, and by making good food choices that are rich in calcium and
vitamin D. Physical activity is important for building bone, because the more work
bones do, the stronger they get. Most of our bone is made of a rigid protein
framework. Calcium (a mineral) adds strength and hardens that framework. Vitamin
D helps the intestine absorb calcium. Some people get all the Vitamin D they need
when they’re exposed to sunlight, but others need to take Vitamin D pills. Talk to
your doctor to find out how much calcium and Vitamin D you should get each day.
Unfortunately, some factors are beyond your control. Women are
more likely to have osteoporosis and related fractures. Osteoporosis
becomes more common the older you get. Low body weight, certain
medications (such as steroids) and certain diseases and conditions (such as
anorexia nervosa, rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal diseases, thyroid
disease and depression) also increase the risk of osteoporosis. You can talk
to your doctor well before the age of 50 about your risk for osteoporosis,
and when to start having bone mineral density tests.
“A large part of osteoporosis and fracture risk is inherited,” says
McGowan. “If close relatives have suffered a fracture in their later years, this
may be a clue to think carefully about your own risk. But diet and physical
activity are major ways to build and maintain the best possible skeleton.”
Your bones are so important because they support you and allow
you to move. They also protect your heart, lungs and brain from injury.
They’re a storehouse for vital minerals you need to live. Your bones
take care of you in so many ways. Learn to take care of them.
Keep Your Eyes Healthy
For Years To Come
ou may barely notice the changes at first. Maybe you’ve found yourself reaching
more often for your glasses to see up-close. You might have trouble adjusting to
glaring lights or reading when the light is dim. You may even have put on blue socks
thinking they were black. These are some of the normal changes to your eyes and vision
as you age.
Although you can’t prevent all age-related changes to your eyes, you can take steps
to protect your vision and reduce your risk for serious eye disease in the future. Effective
treatments are now available for many disorders that may lead to blindness or visual
impairment. You can also learn how to make the most of the vision you have.
Potential Problems
elieve it or not, the clear, curved lens at the front
of your eye may be one of the first parts of your
body to show signs of age. The lens bends to focus
light and form images on the retina at the back of your
eye. The flexibility in this lens lets you see at different
distances—up-close or far away. But the lens hardens
with age. The change may begin as early as your 20s, but
it can come so gradually it may take decades to notice.
Eventually, age-related stiffening and clouding
of the lens affects just about everyone. You’ll have
trouble focusing on up-close objects, a condition called
presbyopia. Anyone over age 35 is at risk for presbyopia.
In addition, cloudy areas in the lens, called cataracts,
are another common eye problem that comes with age.
More than 22 million Americans have cataracts. By
age 80, more than half of us will have had them. Some
cataracts stay small and have little effect on eyesight, but
others become large and interfere with vision. Symptoms
include blurriness, difficulty seeing well at night, lights
that seem too bright and faded color vision. There are no
specific steps to prevent cataracts, but tobacco use and
exposure to sunlight raise your risk of developing them.
Cataract surgery is a safe and common treatment that
can restore good vision.
Prevention Is The
Best Medicine
he only way to detect these serious eye diseases
before they cause vision loss or blindness is through
a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Your eye care
professional will put drops in your eyes to enlarge, or
dilate, the pupils and then look for signs of disease. There’s
no question, having regular comprehensive eye care gives
your doctor a chance to identify a problem very early on
and then treat it.
Many of the healthy behaviors that help reduce your
risk for long-term diseases, like heart disease and cancer,
can also help to protect your eyesight. These include not
smoking, eating a healthy diet and controlling conditions
like diabetes and high blood pressure.
What’s more, the passage of time can also weaken
the tiny muscles that control your eye’s pupil size. The
pupil becomes smaller and less responsive to changes in
light. That’s why people in their 60s need three times
more light for comfortable reading than those in their
20s. Smaller pupils make it more difficult to see at night.
To be sure, trouble seeing at night, coupled with a
normal loss of peripheral vision as you age, can affect
many daily activities, including your ability to drive
safely. Loss of peripheral vision increases your risk for
automobile accidents, so you need to be more cautious
when driving.
If you’re not convinced you should have regular
eye exams, consider that some of the more serious agerelated eye diseases—like glaucoma, age-related macular
degeneration (AMD) and diabetic eye disease—may
have no warning signs or symptoms in their early stages.
Glaucoma comes from increased fluid pressure
inside the eye that damages the optic nerve. Fortunately,
it can be treated with prescription eye drops, lasers or
surgery. If not treated, however, it can lead to vision loss
and blindness.
Diabetic eye disease, another leading cause of
blindness, can damage the tiny blood vessels inside the
retina. Keeping your blood sugar under control can help
prevent or slow the problem.
Recommendations To
Keep Your Eyes Healthy
For Years To Come
• Have a comprehensive eye exam each year after age 50.
• Stop smoking.
• Eat a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish.
• Exercise.
• Maintain normal blood pressure.
• Control diabetes if you have it.
• Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat any time you’re outside in bright sunshine.
• Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing work around the house that may cause eye injury.
Healthy Lifestyles
Reflux or
ost of us get heartburn from time to time. It may come as a burning
sensation in the chest, or a bitter taste in the back of the throat.
Heartburn is one word people use to describe reflux. It happens
when stomach contents come back upwards. Reflux is sometimes painless: You
may have trouble swallowing or get a dry cough, perhaps some wheezing.
Occasional reflux episodes are normal. Like millions of Americans, you can
manage reflux by avoiding foods that don’t agree with you—things that are fatty,
spicy or acidic—or by eating smaller meals. If reflux occurs less than once a week,
you can usually cope by making lifestyle changes or using over-the-counter
“We all have a little reflux when we burp or belch,” says Dr. John
Pandolfino of Northwestern University. But of the 20 million or more
Americans with reflux, about 5% have significant episodes 2 or 3 times per
day. When severe events occur this often, it’s not ordinary reflux. It may be
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and you may need prescription
medications to control it.
GERD should be taken seriously. Stomach (gastric) contents
contain acid needed to digest food. In reflux, these contents wash
upward into the esophagus, a slender tube connecting the mouth
and the stomach. Because the lining of the esophagus isn’t meant to
touch gastric acid, the acid can irritate the lining of the esophagus
and lead to bleeding and scarring. In adults, GERD can raise the
risk of cancer of the esophagus. And if you have asthma, GERD
can make it worse.
Dr. Michael Raymond Ruggieri, Sr. of Temple University
is researching the root causes of GERD. The problem isn’t that
the stomach makes too much acid. In GERD, the special set of
muscles between the esophagus and the stomach is weakened.
“The stomach muscle fibers are not doing their job, and
we’re trying to understand why they’re not,” says Dr. Ruggieri.
His team is among the first to look at how nerves receive and
send messages to these muscle fibers. Their goal is to develop
drugs that prevent GERD altogether.
People of any age can have GERD. Available medications,
whether over-the-counter or prescription, can make the acid in the
esophagus less intense, but medications don’t prevent GERD. Surgery
can be an option if symptoms are severe and medicine and lifestyle
changes don’t seem to help. For more information about steps you can
take, please see the tips on page 1.
If you have reflux twice or more per week, talk to your health
care provider. It’s best to start treatment early to prevent GERD from
leading to more serious health problems.
Coffee Conversations…
Because it tastes so good, you may assume coffee is bad for you. Maybe you’ve heard
rumors that your morning brew causes everything from heart disease to cancer. But
researchers are finding that coffee poses little to no health risk for most people. Not only
that, coffee drinking might have some health benefits. Let’s look at some of the pros and
cons of coffee.
Caffeine Concerns
Caffeine is probably the most well-known compound in coffee. It can make you feel more
awake and alert, which is why most people drink coffee in the first place. But too much
can be harmful. In fact, according to Harvard’s Walter Willett, caffeine causes the most
common problem reported by coffee drinkers: trouble sleeping. Caffeine can also blunt
your appetite and cause headaches, dizziness, nervousness and irritability.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, Willett says, simply drink less of it. If you have trouble
falling asleep at night, make sure to avoid it later in the day.
But be warned: caffeine is mildly addictive, so you might get headaches, drowsiness,
irritability, nausea and other symptoms if you suddenly cut back. You can avoid these
effects, though, by gradually reducing your caffeine intake.
“There’s some evidence that high amounts of caffeine during pregnancy may cause
problems with the pregnancy,” says Dr. Jared Reis of NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood
Institute. That’s why doctors recommend that pregnant women cut back on coffee and
other caffeinated beverages.
Studies also suggest that caffeine may interfere with calcium absorption. Calcium is an
important nutrient for growing and maintaining strong bones. Make sure you get enough
calcium in your diet to help reverse this effect.
Is Coffee
Good or Bad
For You?
And Now For The Good News…
But here’s the good news. Overall, says Dr. Rob M. van Dam of Brigham and Women’s
Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “Caffeine doesn’t seem to have the wide array of
detrimental health effects we first thought it had.”
“Coffee’s been looked at in detail in relation to many cancers, and there’s really not
been any good evidence that any type of cancer is increased by coffee consumption,”
Harvard’s Willett says. “I think we can say quite confidently that there’s no increased risk
of cancer with coffee consumption.” Some evidence even suggests that coffee may help
reduce the risk of liver cancer. Moreover, some doctors thought coffee might cause heart
attacks or strokes, because caffeine can raise blood pressure. But recent research suggests
that a cup of coffee won’t lead to a dramatic increase in blood pressure for regular coffee
drinkers. In fact, in long-term studies, higher levels of caffeine have not led to a higher risk
of cardiovascular disease.
It is hypothesized that coffee can also help your social life, if you meet good friends to
talk over coffee. Studies have clearly shown that people who have more social relationships
have less stress and live longer. Research also suggests they’re less likely to show mental
declines as they age.
So, for now, go enjoy that cup of coffee—in moderation of course. It might not be the
guilty pleasure you may have thought. Stay tuned!
Tips For Healthier Coffee Drinking
• Drink coffee that’s been filtered through paper.
• Avoid specialty coffee drinks loaded with sugar and fat, which can contribute to weight gain.
• Consider adding a little non-fat milk if you’re concerned about bone health.
• Don’t drink caffeinated coffee late in the day if you have trouble sleeping.
• Avoid caffeinated coffee if you’re pregnant.
Tips To Remember
Your Medicines
A Publication
Of The Wellness
Council Of America
We forget things every day—people’s names, our
keys—but when it comes to taking your medicines,
don’t let your memory fail you. Taking medicines the
right way could mean the difference between life and
Information is reviewed by a prestigious Medical Advisory Board comprised of physicians and healthcare professionals and is intended to help
you make smart health decisions for yourself and your family. Although editorial content is based on sound medical information, we ask that
you consult a healthcare professional for all matters of concern. We also encourage you to keep your copies to build a handy home-medical
reference or recycle issues to friends and family.
2011 Wellness Council of America, 17002 Marcy Street, Suite 140, Omaha, NE 68118; phone 402.827.3590; fax 402.827.3594; visit our Web site at All rights reserved. ISSN 1549-9367 Executive Editor: David Hunnicutt, PhD; Vice President of Operations: Brittanie Leffelman;
Director of Marketing: William M. Kizer, Jr.; Creative Project Manager: Graden Hudson; Design Consultant: Brad Norr. Information may not be
reproduced, copied, cited, or circulated in any printed or electronic form without written permission from the publisher.
“Keeping track of different medications can be a
problem for everybody, whether you’re young or old,”
says Dr. Marie Bernard, of NIH’s National Institute
on Aging. The more you know about your medicines
and talk with your doctor, the easier it will be to avoid
Use these simple steps to remember what medicines to
take, and when to take them:
 Make a daily checklist of all the prescription
and over-the-counter medicines you take.
 Post your checklist in an obvious location in
your home. Keep another copy in your wallet or
 Use a pillbox that keeps track of a week’s worth
of medications.
 Make taking medicines part of your daily
 Try to fill all your prescriptions at the same
pharmacy, so all your records are in one place.
Protect Your Vision
 Talk to your doctor about all the medications,
remedies and vitamins you use. Your doctor
can make sure they’ll work together safely and
Have a comprehensive eye exam each year after age 50.
Stop smoking.
Eat a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish.
 Technology, such as cell phones, programmable
wristwatches and other types of timers can
remind you when it’s time to take your
Maintain normal blood pressure.
Control diabetes if you have it.
Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat any time you’re
outside in bright sunshine.
“We live in a wonderful age where there are a lot of
good medications that can help a lot of conditions,”
says Bernard. “But medications must be taken as
prescribed, and always in careful coordination with
your health care provider.”
Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing
work around the house that may cause eye injury.
Want to know more? See the article on pages 4-5.