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Prevention & Wellness

E-cigarettes Can Be Addictive & Harmful

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There’s been much in the news recently about e-cigarettes. In a new report published on April 14, 2014, a group of Congress members recommended the need for federal regulation of e-cigarettes, citing marketing efforts aimed at minors and a need for more information for consumers on the risks associated with inhaling nicotine vapors.

E-cigarettes, also called vape pens or e-hookahs, are made to resemble cigarettes. They are battery-operated, which allows conversion of liquid nicotine into a vapor which enters the lungs and is easily absorbed into the blood stream. There’s no tobacco, flame, smoke, tar or carbon monoxide which is probably the only good thing that can be said for this product, says Terry Hollenbeck, M.D., of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.

In this blog post, Dr. Hollenbeck answers some common questions and concerns regarding electronic cigarettes.

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Are You a Distracted Driver?

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Driving distracted is the leading cause of car crashes and near-crashes in the United States. It kills about 3,300 people each year, and injures nearly 400,000 more.

Yet, what safety experts call ‘distracted driving,’ many people think of as multitasking – making use of the daily commute. Whether it’s taking  a hands-free call on the road, eating a sandwich, changing the radio station, or checking makeup in the mirror, many don’t think of these activities as distractions – but part of their daily routine.

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Don’t Neglect Your Kidneys!

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When is the last time you gave your hardworking kidneys a second thought? In this blog post, Ronesh (Ron) Sinha, M.D., a PAMF Internal Medicine doctor, explains what the kidneys do and how to screen for problems, and prevent and stop kidney disease.

Kidney 101

Where are your kidneys and what do they do? The kidneys are in your lower back just below the rib cage. They are the size of your fist and weigh about five ounces. Most people are born with two kidneys, but you only need one. The kidneys filter 200 liters of blood every single day, keeping the blood minerals in balance by removing toxins, wastes and water. This is the job the kidneys are known for, but did you know that the kidneys do a lot more? The kidneys also help regulate blood pressure and fluid levels, control the production of red blood cells, and activate vitamin D for strong, healthy bones. When the kidneys fail, people must go on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant to survive. Unlike most other organs, because you only need one kidney, one of your kidneys can be donated while still living.

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The Truth About Heart Health

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We are bombarded with messages about heart health these days – on the TV, on radio, on billboards. But are they the right messages? Maybe not.

“There’s a lot of mixed information in today’s environment,” says Terence Lin, M.D., a cardiologist with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Fremont. “People get obsessed with fad diets, drinking coconut water, taking fish oil. But these things are not as influential as people think.”

Dr. Lin has seen young, trim software engineers who go to the gym regularly, but don’t know that the all-nighters they pull on an important project, fueled by six cups of coffee, is undermining their heart health.

He has seen well-educated professionals in their 50s take supplements to lower their cholesterol, but turn down statin medications or avoid the dietary changes that could really make a difference.

Advertising and fads can overwhelm good health sense, Dr. Lin says. He tries to keep his tips simple and very specific.

Burn as Many Calories as You Eat

“If you eat 2,000 calories a day, make sure you burn 2,000 calories a day,” Dr. Lin says. That means getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week. Swim, spin or walk briskly. At a brisk pace, you can speak a sentence, but you don’t have enough breath to speak a paragraph or to sing. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to burn more calories than you eat. Read More

The Perils of Perfectionism

Many of us make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more or become better parents. In short, we all want to be perfect. But before you set your new resolution bar too high, take a minute to consider the perils of perfectionism.

Perfectionists deal with chronic stress from trying to fulfill nearly impossible expectations in every area of their life, says Ronesh (Ron) Sinha, M.D., an internal medicine specialist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. As a result, they’re susceptible to psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.

What’s the difference between perfectionism and “healthy striving” that helps you achieve your goals? People who strive and fail learn from their experiences and move on. A perfectionist, on the other hand, feels shame from missing the goal, and may never try again.

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Healthy Holiday Eating

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The holiday season – it’s the most delicious time of the year! But it can also bring lots of extra sugar, fat and calories. A study by researchers at Texas Tech University found that participants gained an average of 1.7 pounds between mid-November and early January – more than half the average adult’s annual weight gain.

“Sharing traditional holidays foods with family and friends can be one of the most pleasurable parts of the holiday season,” says Andrea Lerios, a registered dietitian at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. But you don’t have to sacrifice your waistline. “By using a few simple strategies, it is possible to enjoy your favorite holiday foods without overindulging.”

Follow these seven tips from Lerios for healthy holiday eating:
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