Archive For: Wellness

The Connected Patient: Keeping Up with Apps

apps-

The ubiquitous smart phone has boosted its useful- ness tenfold in the past decade with a mushrooming library of health and wellness apps. Some aim to help you monitor your condition day-to-day, understand and stay on track with medications, or diagnose your symptoms, while others prepare you for an unforeseen emergency, allow you to share information electronically with your physician or receive education and encouragement between doctor’s appointments. With almost 200,000 apps already on the market, the real challenge is identifying the treasures that are credible, accurate and can guide you toward a healthier lifestyle. Some notable apps are listed below; all are available for iPhone (in iTunes store) and Android (Google Play).

Condition-specific information

Diabetes Tracker and One Drop offer comprehensive logging of glucose, food, medication and activity; GluCoMo works as an electronic diary to store data for blood sugar levels, weight, insulin intake, pulse rate, blood pressure and other information.

AsthmaSense and AsthmaMD provide tools to manage the disease with a digital record of triggers, medications and testing.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Patient Guides for Cancer covers 25 different types of cancer, with medical illustrations, information on screening, treatment and follow-up, and questions for patients to ask their physician.

A healthier lifestyle

MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker remains one of the best diet trackers, allowing you to log meals and weight data for an at-a-glance view of your intake on the dashboard.

Nike+ Running and Garmin Connect lets you log distance, time and intensity of jogs and runs; Endomondo enables logging and sharing of information from walks, hikes and cycles; Trails, known as the ‘ultimate walker’s app,’ provides topographical tracking of your strolls; and 7 Minute Workout provides exercise timers, instructional videos and a personalized exercise plan.

Buddhify and Omvana offer guided meditation tracks, ranging from three minutes to an hour.

Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson features step- by-step instructions to guide yourself into meditation and a restful sleep and Sleep Cycle provides easy- to-read graphs to help you make sense of your sleep patterns and wakes you when you will feel the least groggy.

Medication tracking

Drugs.com is an easy way to look up drug informa- tion, identify pills, check interactions with different drugs and foods and set up your own personal medication records. A symptom checker powered by Harvard Health Publications is included with the app. CareZone will curate a list of medications, dosages, and schedules directly from your photo library, enable you to share symptoms with your doctor, store insurance information and schedule reminders for upcoming appointments.

GoodRx shows current pricing for your prescrip- tions at nearby pharmacies.

Round Health and Medisafe make it easier to follow a medication regimen with reminders on timing and dosage for each prescription, customized to your schedule.

Healthcare news

For information you can trust, check out Medscape MedPulse, a robust news aggregator for the world of medicine and UptoDate’s patient information section, featuring evidence-based, peer-reviewed information on hundreds of medical topics.

First aid

Download First Aid by American Red Cross to receive simple step-by-step instructions to guide you through everyday first aid scenarios, from asthma attacks to broken bones; there’s a Pet First Aid app as well; and Resuscitate! CPR AED & Choking, developed by doctors and educators at the University of Washington, features short videos on how to perform CPR, operate commonly available Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and aid a choking victim.

New parents

BabyBump helps parents-to-be keep track of the stages of pregnancy, doctor’s appointments, and share their news on social networks when baby arrives; Sprout offers 3D images of baby’s growth by the week and advice on essential items needed for the newborn.

KidsDoc from the American Academy of Pediat- rics offers expert advice to help parents make smart decisions on level of care needed for their child’s illness or injury.

Please remember: an app, no matter how sophisticated or technologically advanced, cannot replace a phone call or visit to your personal physician.

Sources: Digitaltrends.com, Harvard Health, imedicalapps.com

The post The Connected Patient: Keeping Up with Apps appeared first on Specialdocs Consultants.

For more information on the benefits of Concierge Medicine, please visit Logan Square Medical Group. To enroll as a new patient, please call us directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Current patients with any health concerns, should call Dr. Brown’s office directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Thank you!

Gut Instincts: Can More Bacteria Mean Better Health?

bacteria

Healthy bacteria may seem like a contradiction in terms, but years of research and real world experience point toward an unexpectedly promising finding: the microorganisms continually forming in your intestine may confer health benefits that we are only just beginning to understand.

Here is what we know: each of us has an individual set of microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, from the moment we are born, starting with our mother’s bacteria and then continuing to gather new microbes throughout our life as a result of environmental influences. Among these are probiotics, needed and beneficial bacteria which support the bacteria that live within us. Their numbers can become challenged by factors that include antibiotics, poor diet or travel. Scientific investigators are finding their impact on overall health can be significant. The chemicals they emit may interfere with the way food is digested, medicine is deployed, and even how a disease progresses, according to experts.

Research in the last decade on manipulating the microbes within has been varied and extensive, involving antibiotics, probiotics and prebiotics (dietary fibers that promote the growth and met- abolic activity of beneficial bacteria, including probiotics). The results of numerous studies suggest that certain types of probiotics may play a potential role in reducing gastrointestinal illnesses, including inflammatory bowel diseases, antibiotic-related and infectious diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, the benefits of probiotics may extend into enhancing immune function. The idea that probiotics can improve the ability to fight off colds, promote a healthy urinary tract, reduce the risk of eczema, allergies and possibly Parkinson’s disease, in preliminary studies, has gained traction with nutritionists and gastrointestinal physicians alike.

As with all touted healthcare advancements, however, a note of caution should be sounded.

According to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, adding probiotics to your diet, especially in the form of a supplement, should only be done in consultation with your physician. Some probiotics may not be appropriate for seniors, others may interfere with or interact with medication. Not all strains are the same, and while a specific kind of Lactobacillus may help prevent an illness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that Bifidobacterium probiotics would work. The same advice applies to adding prebiotic supple- ments to your diet. Although a great deal of research has been done, much remains to be learned. The encouraging news: gaining a comprehensive picture of the microbiome is a matter of intense interest to the medical community, and will be further advanced in 2017 by programs such as the government-funded $121 million National Microbiome initiative.

The best approach now? To promote intestinal health, make sure your diet includes foods that are good sources of fiber, probiotics and probiotics:

  • Fiber: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Prebiotics: Oats, flaxseed, onions, garlic, chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas and greens
  • Probiotics: Yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, soft cheeses, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods like kombucha

Did you know?

100 trillion
Number of bacterial cells in the human digestive tract
Source: International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics

The post Gut Instincts: Can More Bacteria Mean Better Health? appeared first on Specialdocs Consultants.

For more information on the benefits of Concierge Medicine, please visit Logan Square Medical Group. To enroll as a new patient, please call us directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Current patients with any health concerns, should call Dr. Brown’s office directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Thank you!

Gut Instincts: Can More Bacteria Mean Better Health?

bacteria

Healthy bacteria may seem like a contradiction in terms, but years of research and real world experience point toward an unexpectedly promising finding: the microorganisms continually forming in your intestine may confer health benefits that we are only just beginning to understand.

Here is what we know: each of us has an individual set of microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, from the moment we are born, starting with our mother’s bacteria and then continuing to gather new microbes throughout our life as a result of environmental influences. Among these are probiotics, needed and beneficial bacteria which support the bacteria that live within us. Their numbers can become challenged by factors that include antibiotics, poor diet or travel. Scientific investigators are finding their impact on overall health can be significant. The chemicals they emit may interfere with the way food is digested, medicine is deployed, and even how a disease progresses, according to experts.

Research in the last decade on manipulating the microbes within has been varied and extensive, involving antibiotics, probiotics and prebiotics (dietary fibers that promote the growth and met- abolic activity of beneficial bacteria, including probiotics). The results of numerous studies suggest that certain types of probiotics may play a potential role in reducing gastrointestinal illnesses, including inflammatory bowel diseases, antibiotic-related and infectious diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, the benefits of probiotics may extend into enhancing immune function. The idea that probiotics can improve the ability to fight off colds, promote a healthy urinary tract, reduce the risk of eczema, allergies and possibly Parkinson’s disease, in preliminary studies, has gained traction with nutritionists and gastrointestinal physicians alike.

As with all touted healthcare advancements, however, a note of caution should be sounded.

According to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute, adding probiotics to your diet, especially in the form of a supplement, should only be done in consultation with your physician. Some probiotics may not be appropriate for seniors, others may interfere with or interact with medication. Not all strains are the same, and while a specific kind of Lactobacillus may help prevent an illness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that Bifidobacterium probiotics would work. The same advice applies to adding prebiotic supple- ments to your diet. Although a great deal of research has been done, much remains to be learned. The encouraging news: gaining a comprehensive picture of the microbiome is a matter of intense interest to the medical community, and will be further advanced in 2017 by programs such as the government-funded $121 million National Microbiome initiative.

The best approach now? To promote intestinal health, make sure your diet includes foods that are good sources of fiber, probiotics and probiotics:

  • Fiber: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Prebiotics: Oats, flaxseed, onions, garlic, chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, bananas and greens
  • Probiotics: Yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, soft cheeses, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods like kombucha

Did you know?

100 trillion
Number of bacterial cells in the human digestive tract
Source: International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics

The post Gut Instincts: Can More Bacteria Mean Better Health? appeared first on Specialdocs Consultants.

For more information on the benefits of Concierge Medicine, please visit Logan Square Medical Group. To enroll as a new patient, please call us directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Current patients with any health concerns, should call Dr. Brown’s office directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Thank you!

Try a New Approach to Food in the New Year: Stop Dieting and Focus on Mindful Eating

photo

The dieting-overeating-weight regain cycle is almost inevitable, not because people fail diets but because diets fail people. It is important to understand that rebound overeating happens to almost everybody, and should not be viewed as an individual weakness or fault. The main reason diets do not work over the long term is they create deprivation and promote a loss of the internal signals for hunger and fullness that are necessary for normal eating. In fact, dieting sets in motion physiological and psychological factors that actually trigger overeating.

How does mindful eating address the dieter’s dilemma?

Mindful eating begins when you ask: Do you know when you are hungry? Do you eat when you are hungry? Do you eat what you are hungry for? Do you stop when you are full? If you answered “yes,” you’re in tune with your body’s natural hunger signals. If you replied “no,” you may be out of touch with your true hunger needs.

How do you teach people to change their eating habits of a lifetime and adopt mindful eating?

It begins with learning how to identify your physical hunger. If you experience symptoms such as headaches, weakness, shakiness, irritability and lightheadedness, you may have waited too long to eat, and unfortunately, are now at high risk for overeating. Instead, look for an empty or gnawing feeling. The Hunger Scale above is a tool to help you evaluate your internal state. Ideally, you would stay in the range of ‘hungry’ to ‘full’ so you don’t become ravenous or stuffed. As you consistently ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” you will become better able to recognize your body’s needs.

The next step is deciding what to eat when you are physically hungry. When people eliminate categories of food in pursuit of weight loss, they frequently experience deprivation that ultimately leads to overeating the very foods they tried to avoid. Instead, think of what will truly satisfy you and supports your body as you make the match. Also take into consideration what will best support your body’s needs. For instance, those with high cholesterol might choose sorbet instead of ice cream if they are craving a cold, sweet snack. Consider not just taste, but feel – do you crave hot, cold, crunchy, smooth, salty, sweet, spicy, etc? If you eat what you are hungry for when you are hungry, you will find a moment when your stomach feels satisfied.

Is this process effective for most people?

Absolutely. The key is to be consistent and keep accumulating attuned eating experiences day in and day out.

 Will I lose weight by becoming a mindful eater?

If weight loss occurs, it will be a side effect. However, I urge people to not use weight as a measure of success or failure. Health is so much more than just numbers on the scale, and a positive relationship with food along with a focus on physical activity, good sleep habits and regular medical care are much more important.

Did You Know?

33 – 66 Percentage of dieters that regain more weight than they lost on their diets

 What is ‘mindful’ or ‘attuned’ eating?

Attuned eating teaches people to reconnect with their natural, inner signals that guide them as to when, what and how much to eat…literally bringing harmony into their relationship with food and allowing them to experience the real joy of eating. Mindfulness means bringing awareness to the experience without judgment or distraction. It is a transformative process that takes some time before people are able to honor their natural cues for hunger and satiety.

The post Try a New Approach to Food in the New Year: Stop Dieting and Focus on Mindful Eating appeared first on Specialdocs Consultants.

For more information on the benefits of Concierge Medicine, please visit Logan Square Medical Group. To enroll as a new patient, please call us directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Current patients with any health concerns, should call Dr. Brown’s office directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Thank you!

Try a New Approach to Food in the New Year: Stop Dieting and Focus on Mindful Eating

photo

The dieting-overeating-weight regain cycle is almost inevitable, not because people fail diets but because diets fail people. It is important to understand that rebound overeating happens to almost everybody, and should not be viewed as an individual weakness or fault. The main reason diets do not work over the long term is they create deprivation and promote a loss of the internal signals for hunger and fullness that are necessary for normal eating. In fact, dieting sets in motion physiological and psychological factors that actually trigger overeating.

How does mindful eating address the dieter’s dilemma?

Mindful eating begins when you ask: Do you know when you are hungry? Do you eat when you are hungry? Do you eat what you are hungry for? Do you stop when you are full? If you answered “yes,” you’re in tune with your body’s natural hunger signals. If you replied “no,” you may be out of touch with your true hunger needs.

How do you teach people to change their eating habits of a lifetime and adopt mindful eating?

It begins with learning how to identify your physical hunger. If you experience symptoms such as headaches, weakness, shakiness, irritability and lightheadedness, you may have waited too long to eat, and unfortunately, are now at high risk for overeating. Instead, look for an empty or gnawing feeling. The Hunger Scale above is a tool to help you evaluate your internal state. Ideally, you would stay in the range of ‘hungry’ to ‘full’ so you don’t become ravenous or stuffed. As you consistently ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” you will become better able to recognize your body’s needs.

The next step is deciding what to eat when you are physically hungry. When people eliminate categories of food in pursuit of weight loss, they frequently experience deprivation that ultimately leads to overeating the very foods they tried to avoid. Instead, think of what will truly satisfy you and supports your body as you make the match. Also take into consideration what will best support your body’s needs. For instance, those with high cholesterol might choose sorbet instead of ice cream if they are craving a cold, sweet snack. Consider not just taste, but feel – do you crave hot, cold, crunchy, smooth, salty, sweet, spicy, etc? If you eat what you are hungry for when you are hungry, you will find a moment when your stomach feels satisfied.

Is this process effective for most people?

Absolutely. The key is to be consistent and keep accumulating attuned eating experiences day in and day out.

 Will I lose weight by becoming a mindful eater?

If weight loss occurs, it will be a side effect. However, I urge people to not use weight as a measure of success or failure. Health is so much more than just numbers on the scale, and a positive relationship with food along with a focus on physical activity, good sleep habits and regular medical care are much more important.

Did You Know?

33 – 66 Percentage of dieters that regain more weight than they lost on their diets

 What is ‘mindful’ or ‘attuned’ eating?

Attuned eating teaches people to reconnect with their natural, inner signals that guide them as to when, what and how much to eat…literally bringing harmony into their relationship with food and allowing them to experience the real joy of eating. Mindfulness means bringing awareness to the experience without judgment or distraction. It is a transformative process that takes some time before people are able to honor their natural cues for hunger and satiety.

The post Try a New Approach to Food in the New Year: Stop Dieting and Focus on Mindful Eating appeared first on Specialdocs Consultants.

For more information on the benefits of Concierge Medicine, please visit Logan Square Medical Group. To enroll as a new patient, please call us directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Current patients with any health concerns, should call Dr. Brown’s office directly at (773) 489-7040a>. Thank you!