Doctors for USA WEEKEND
Sit less. The advice is so simple that it sounds silly: A recent study of 63,000 middle-aged men found those who sat four hours or less daily were much less likely to have a chronic condition (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure) than those who sat more. Men who sat at least six hours day? They had greater risk for diabetes. If you have a desk job, make the effort to move more — pace while you’re on the phone, or walk to the farthest deli to buy lunch.
Don’t drive drowsy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1 in 24 adult drivers admit they recently fell asleep while driving. Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year; car crashes are the leading cause of fatal accidents among men; and up to 33% of deadly crashes involve drowsy drivers. Solution: Take a pit stop.
Eat fewer chips, more potatoes. Chips are super-salty; fresh spuds are packed with potassium: Three new studies show that reducing sodium while increasing potassium can significantly lower blood pressure and help prevent deaths from heart disease and stroke. Americans, on average, eat more than twice the sodium recommended by the American Heart Association. Surprisingly high in sodium: bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza and canned soups. Potassium sources: potatoes with skin, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, tomatoes, lima beans, citrus fruits, bananas and cantaloupe.
Stop smoking and drink less alcohol. Men do both more than women. These habits contribute to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, stroke. So quit.
Make a fist for memory. Need to remember your hardware-store shopping list? Clench your right fist for about 90 seconds before memorizing it; then when you get to the store, clench your left fist to recall the items. It may sound wacky, but a new study out of Montclair State University in New Jersey suggests fist-clenching activates brain regions associated with memory formation, and a right-left sequence worked best.
Do a mole check. Older men are more at risk for melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer. Almost twice as many men than women will die from it this year — but when found early and treated, the cure rate is nearly 100%. Smartphone apps designed to detect cancerous moles are available, but many return inaccurate results, says JAMA Dermatology. Answer: Do old-fashioned (and thorough) self-exams, and visit a doctor if you see a mole different from the rest, with a diameter larger than a pencil eraser, or changing size, shape or color.
Ask about cell therapy for hair loss. It’s called platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and it’s a promising regeneration option. How it works: Doctors draw a small amount of your blood, spin it in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets, and inject it back into your scalp. Blood platelets contain growth factors that can help stimulate new hair, decrease thinning and make hair healthier.
Stock up on ice for sprains. If summer makes you play more sports, it’ll also up your odds for injury. Every day, 25,000 Americans sprain their ankles, accounting for almost half of all sports injuries. To treat a sprain, ice it at least three times a day, up to 20 minutes each time, for at least three days. The cold helps ease pain, swelling and stiffness. Rest your ankle, wrap it with an elastic bandage and elevate it above your heart (especially at night) until swelling eases.
Be wary of herbal ED cures. Researchers in Pennsylvania recently tested 10 popular “natural” erectile dysfunction remedies they bought online and discovered sildenafil (Viagra’s active ingredient) or a similar compound in seven of the 10. That means you could be taking unknown levels of potent ingredients that have dangerous side effects, such as very low blood pressure.
The Doctors is an Emmy-winning daytime TV show with pediatrician Jim Sears, OB-GYN Lisa Masterson, ER physician Travis Stork, plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon, health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels and psychologist Wendy Walsh. Check www.thedoctorstv.com for local listings.