Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

August 2021 // Archive

Date based archive
24 Aug

Snoring is the occasional or chronic noise produced during sleep that happens when air flows through the throat causes tissues to vibrate during breathing. This noise can be disruptive to others near the sleeper and might be the sign of an actual health problem. Three possible solutions to snoring include losing weight, sleeping on your side, or not consuming alcohol near bedtime.  

There are a number of factors that can cause snoring. When we sleep, the muscles of the throat and tongue relax. These muscles can be so relaxed that they block part of the airway and vibrate. The anatomy of a person’s mouth can increase their risk for becoming a snorer. People who are overweight have extra tissues in the back of their throats that can block the airway. A person might have an elongated uvula (the triangular piece of tissue that hangs from the roof of the mouth). Nasal congestion or having a deviated septum can lead to snoring. Sleeping on the back narrows the airway. Being sleep deprived and overly tired increases the risk for snoring. Finally, alcohol can actually relax the throat muscles causing their functioning to become impaired. Snoring can actually be hereditary, and men are at higher risk to be snorers.  

For some snorers, the condition can be more serious and considered to be a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Some of the tell-tale signs include having a soar throat upon wakening, gasping or chocking during the night, being very tired during the day, having chest pain at night, and overall having restless sleep at night. People with OSA usually experienced bouts of slow breathing during the night and even might stop breathing a few times. For diagnosis, a doctor might request an x-ray of the airway or refer the person to complete a sleep study. The person will stay at an overnight sleep center and perform a polysomnography. Information will be obtained regarding heart rate, eye and leg movement, brain waives, blood oxygen levels, and breathing rate. A doctor might then create a mouthpiece for the patient that keeps the airway passage open. The doctor might prescribe a continuous positive airway passage (CPAP) mask to wear which directs pressurized air to keep the airway passage open. Surgery is also an option to open up the airway.  

Sleep should not be deprived for the sleeper or those in the same vicinity. Methods to try first include losing weight, sleeping on the side, limiting nighttime alcohol use, using nasal strips, raising the head about 4 inches up, treating nasal congestion and allergies. Getting enough sleep is also of importance. Sleep is associated with quite, relaxation, and peace, not noise and frustration. Be courteous to others and take the steps to lower the volume so that everyone can enjoy their head to pillow time at night.  

17 Aug

I’m not talking about the kind at the end of a book. I’m talking about your body part the appendix, which the thin 4-inch tube at the junction of your small and large intestine located in the lower right abdomen. Some say it has no purpose. Others say it is the storage unit for the good bacteria of our digestive system, coming to the rescue after a bad bout of diarrhea. For whatever reason, the good old appendix has stayed with us through evolution.

 When the appendix is removed, well nothing happens. We only notice this body part when it has to be surgically removed due to appendicitis.  The appendix really only gets attention when it becomes inflamed or infected and needs to be taken out. When a person is experiencing pain to the lower right abdomen, nausea, and vomiting, antibiotics won’t always do the trick.  This leads to a surgery called an appendectomy. Without surgery, the appendix can rupture. Luckily, minimally invasive procedures are being used that help with quicker recovery, less time in the hospital, and best of all… less pain. Chances are slim of this occurring in the body. In fact, males are only at 8.6% risk and females only at 6.7% of contracting appendicitis. Having a low functioning immune system is a probable cause of having this and sometimes drinking contaminated water can be the culprit.

The downside of the appendix is that is can be a store house of tumors with cancer. This is another reason for removal. After an appendectomy, the chances of having Parkinson’s disease later on in life does increase.

So all in all, the appendix is sort of like that ugly vase your great aunt Suzy gave you that is sitting on the table that serves no pretty purpose. It is just there and probably would be better served to be removed from the setting. In the meantime, no harm no foul. But then when it shatters it’s time to clean it up and finally get it out of the house. The appendix is an interesting part of our body due to its “serve no purpose” nature. Since I’ve been working on my Doctorate, anatomy has been ever so prevalent in my life. The appendix is an easy one to remember thank goodness. A fitness journey must go on, with or without that appendix. I’ll never forget the time one of our FIT family members vomited during a workout. That was her appendix…. yep removed and back to workouts the next week.

13 Aug

Which is the lesser of two cancer causing evils??

While both cigars and cigarettes contain tobacco, there are some differences between these two forms of smoking. The obvious, visible difference is that a cigar is wrapped in leaf tobacco, while a cigarette is wrapped in paper that does not contain tobacco. In general, cigars are bigger, more expensive, last longer and thicker, and have more tobacco.

Regardless, both types can cause cancer.

One cigar can contain as much tobacco as one pack of cigarettes, which is close to 200 mg of nicotine. Cigarettes contain about 10 mg of nicotine. Therefore, cigars are typically saved for special occasions and events. Cigar smoking is often considered more sophisticated. They’re more popular in the U.S. then other places in the world, and more popular among men than women. Cigars have a masculine appeal and are associated with capitalism. Statistics show that 21% of adults smoke cigarettes, while 2.2% of adults smoke cigars. This is why people tend to focus more on the health risks of cigarettes because they are more widely used. However, cigars contain more cancerous chemicals than cigarettes as well as more tar. Those who wish to disbelieve this information believe that because cigars are not inhaled into the lungs, they do not cause cancer. Cigars pose a threat to cancer anywhere they touch. Even if not lung cancer, one has to consider that cigars do pose quite the risk for mouth and throat cancer.

Those who are around cigar smokers also experience second hand smoke equivalent of smoking a cigarette. The type of tobacco leaf used for a cigar wrapper increases the concentration of toxic chemicals emitted when burned, mores so than the paper of cigarettes. These chemicals include ammonia, tar, and carbon monoxide.

Cigar smoking causes double the risk for airway damage that causes lung disease. This leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Asthma can become exasperated. The risk for heart disease and stroke also increases. Teeth become stained, gum disease can develop, tooth loss can occur, and bad breath become regular.

The bottom line is that when it comes to smoking, it’s your call. Nicotine is highly addictive and habit forming. For some, quitting seems impossible and picking up the habit has lasted for years and years. Others can stick to just social occasions. The mind and body learn to crave nicotine and the withdrawals can be troublesome. Occasional smoking still can have poor health consequences. The lungs can return close to their original functioning over time once the nicotine stops entering. The functioning of the cilia which clean and repair the system, can reverse some of the damage, but this is not to be relied upon. It’s easy to find yourself addicted and hard to quit, so the best choice is not to start.

03 Aug

Society deems the term “fat” in a derogatory manner for sure. The word doesn’t shout positive images or associations with good concepts. Our bodies do need fat. Over the years we have learned of low-fat, less-fat, and reduced fat items. So what are the healthy fats we are supposed to have?? Let’s take a look at good vs. bad fats for us. 
Fat in the body is an energy source for us. This to me is ironic in the sense of the simplicity of the statement. Having more fat seems like activity becomes harder to complete and health risks increase. But in reality, “It helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. Fat is needed to build cell membranes, the vital exterior of each cell, and the sheaths surrounding nerves. It is essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good). 

Good Fat = monounsaturated & polyunsaturated

Somewhere in the middle = saturated

Bad Fat = Trans fats

It’s that crazy cellular form jargon of hydrogen bonds that make the different types of fat. 

Good Fat:

Vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. These are liquid at room temperature               

*Monounsaturated Fats: “Good sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good).                

*Polyunsaturated Fats: “Polyunsaturated fats are essential fats. That means they’re required for normal body functions but your body can’t make them. So you must get them from food. Polyunsaturated fats are used to build cell membranes and the covering of nerves. They are needed for blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good). Good sources are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil.

In the Middle Saturated Fats:

Keep to about 10% of calories per day because can increase cholesterol (moderation right??)“Common sources of saturated fat include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good). 

Bad Fat:

Trans Fat: Think solids

Increased risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Usually you see on the label as partially hydrogenated oil. So the fats turn solid and clog our arteries. That oil that fast food is cooked in.

Our bodies are unique to exactly how much fat we need. Good vs. bad as most choices become. Just know that a healthy fat doesn’t mean it’s a free for all on the portions. Watch your total daily intake and plan accordingly. And ask me questions. So maybe some fat is good, unlike what we have been socially taught to believe.