Read about TIGHT JEAN SYNDROME
Per Dr. Weil...
"What Is Tight Jean Syndrome?
A friend tells me she has been diagnosed with “tight jean syndrome.” Is this a joke? She swears that her doctor also told her that wearing tight clothes can cause nerve problems, heartburn and lower back pain. He also warned that wearing spike heels can deform the feet. Is any of this true?
Answer (Published 3/28/2012)
All true. Wearing tight clothes can compress a sensory nerve called the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve that runs from the abdomen through the thigh. The compression can cause numbness, tingling, and a burning pain in the legs above the knees, a condition called "meralgia paresthetica," also known as "tingling thigh syndrome" and now sometimes termed "tight jean syndrome." Tight clothes are not always to blame; weight gain, pregnancy, trauma and diabetes are also associated with compression of the nerve. Another risk: if you combine today's fashionable tight jeans with equally stylish spike heels, you can make matters worse - the shoes push the pelvis forward, which adds to the pressure of the jeans on the relevant nerve. Clinical appraisal suggests that tingling thigh syndrome may affect policemen who wear their guns on their hips and construction workers who wear heavy tool belts.
Tight clothes can also cause digestive problems, including abdominal distention and heartburn after eating. This doesn't just apply to young women wearing skintight jeans; it can affect middle-aged men who squeeze into trousers that are too small for them.
As far as shoes are concerned, stiletto heels have been linked to many foot problems including hammertoes,bunions, stress fractures and Morton's neuroma, a persistent pain in the ball of the foot caused by thickening of a nerve in response to pressure.
High heels also can aggravate Hagland's deformity, bony enlargements on the back of the heels that can be hereditary and that are often seen in individuals whose feet have high arches, those who have a tight Achilles tendon, and those who have a tendency to walk on the outside of the heel. You can have a Hagland's deformity on one foot or both. It shows up as a noticeable bump on the back of the heel, sometimes called a "pump bump." Pressure and rubbing from shoes that have rigid backs such as women's pumps, men's dress shoes, and ice skates can irritate soft tissue near the Achilles tendon, leading to painful bursitis. You can't shrink the bony protrusions, but you can treat bursitis pain and reduce the associated inflammation. Wearing backless or soft-backed shoes can help you avoid further irritating the area.
Women who carry large and heavy shoulder bags can also become unwitting victims of fashion. The weight of the bags can throw the back out of line and cause shoulder soreness, stiff neck, muscle strain, joint pain and, sometimes, bad headaches. The obvious solution to this problem is to carry smaller, lighter bags. If you habitually carry a big shoulder bag and have back or neck pain, consider adhering to this advice of the American Chiropractic Association: make sure that the weight of your bag is no more than 10 percent of your body weight.
Andrew Weil, M.D."
Again, not surprising as fast food products are PRODUCTS, that do not necessarily contain the same nutrients as real FOOD. Suffice it to say, junk food junkies are also probably less likely to exercise routinely, get less omega-3 fatty acids from their diet and are less likely to take part in other healthy activities on a regular basis, such as stress reduction techniques and/or proper sleep. The interesting point about this study is that fast food junkies were found to have a 50% higher risk of depression than those not abstaining from junk food.
It's no surprise that Americans are so depressed and fast food companies are so rich. (although personally, I think they should be outlawed, but who am I to quench capitalistic opportunities? Moderation in everything...)
Here's the study blurb from Dr. Weil.
"Fast Foods Fueling Depression
Here's yet another good reason to avoid fast foods: a new study from Spain and the Canary Islands found that the risk of depression was 51 percent higher in junk-food-junkies than in those who don't indulge. The foods in question were processed bakery items including donuts and croissants, along with the typical fast foods such as hamburgers, hotdogs and pizza. The study found that the more fast food a participant consumed overall, the greater the risk of depression. At the study's outset, none of the 8,964 participants had ever been diagnosed with depression or taken antidepressants. Data on their eating habits was collected via food frequency questionnaires, and then the participants were followed for an average of six months. During that period 493 of them were diagnosed with depression. Those with the greatest consumption of processed baked goods and fast foods were at a much higher risk of being diagnosed with depression than study participants that ate the least amount of junk food or had started to take antidepressants. The investigators also reported that study participants who ate the most fast food and commercial baked goods were more likely to be single and less active. Smoking and working more than 45 hours a week were also common among this group. An earlier studied found a 42 percent increased risk of depression associated with eating fast food. The study was published in the March 2012 issue of Public Health Nutrition."
Fish to avoid
Per the all-knowing Dr. Weil, here's a list of 3 types of fish to avoid and why. Read on peeps!
Prevent CANCER with DIET! And how that's related to my new Fellowship program :D
Dr. Weil writes, "A healthy diet can help the body in its efforts to heal itself, and in some cases, particular foods can lessen the risks of serious illness. To help reduce your risk of some types of cancer, try the following:
These guidelines are fundamental and obvious to those attempting to prevent cancer through good diet. So what about the rest of the population who doesn't see these tidbits as useful pieces of advice? (You know who you are...) Why do so few people heed the advice of doctors, public health officials and other health care professionals??
The answer is multi-factorial and ranges from cultural norms (nobody wants to be the one not eating cake at a birthday party) to lack of provider (healthcare provider) guidance on how to go about achieving true health to the feeling of being overwhelmed with the task of change.
The fellowship I just began (Integrative Medicine at Stamford Hospital's Tully Health Center) aims to change ALL of these obstacles by providing comprehensive, holistic and thorough patient care. The Center offers intensive nutrition counseling by a PHYSICIAN (Dr. Joseph Feuerstein, who is well-known in the Stamford community as the "Diet Guru"); stress reduction through Jon Kabat-Zin's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, a Mindfulness-Based Stress EATING program and hypnosis; and comprehensive natural pain management through acupuncture, trigger point injections and hypnosis.
These three components target the obstacles that lay before people attempting to improve their dietary habits and have proven to be extremely effective over the last 2-3 years since the Center opened. I am extremely proud and honored to be able to work with such an amazing group of caregivers and cannot wait to get my learn on some more! Just in case you're wondering, I plan to bring my skills back to Houston to help as many people as possible control their weight, improve their life and their sense of well-being...in whatever form I can.
Thanks for reading and Happy Monday!
Dr. M :D
Meditation Eases Hot Flashes
This is one of the techniques I'll be learning in my Integrative Medicine Fellowship starting in July. I will mostly be using it for stress reduction and weight loss, but now, maybe for menopausal symptoms too. Here's what Dr. Weil has to say...
"It takes some training, but practicing mindfulness meditation does seem to help ease hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia in menopausal women, according to study results from the University of Massachusetts. Researchers there taught mindfulness meditation to 55 women between the ages of 47 and 69. A comparable group of 55 women of the same age who had the same symptoms were placed on a "waiting list" for training. The women in the first group attended classes once a week for eight weeks and also had a full day of training in mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing on the present. When the study began, the women reported five or more moderate to severe hot flashes or night sweats daily. After nearly two years of practice, the meditating women reported their symptoms bothered them about 15 percent less than they had at the outset, compared to a decrease of only 7 percent in the women who were on the waiting list. The study was published in the June 2011 issue of Menopause.
My take? Mindfulness is the technique of bringing all of our awareness to the here and now, to the sensations in our bodies and our breathing, for example, rather than letting much of it slip away in contemplation of the past and future or of other subjects that are not in the present. The assumption is that when we act with full awareness, our actions are more likely to achieve what we intend. These study results offer further evidence that mindfulness meditation can have a positive effect on health. Other than hormone replacement therapy, women have few options that they can count on to address menopausal symptoms. Mindfulness meditation is a risk-free method that is certainly worth trying."
Straight from the Guru's mouth!
Per Dr. Weil and multiple scientists/environmental experts (including those at the EPA),
"Even those products labeled "green" emit hazardous compounds not listed on the labels, report researchers from the University of Washington. They detected 133 chemicals in 25 popular products they analyzed, including laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, soaps, hand sanitizers, lotions, deodorants, shampoos and air fresheners. More than half the products studied were the top sellers in their categories. All the products emitted at least one chemical classified as toxic or hazardous, the investigators noted, and 11 of them emitted at least one chemical considered a probable carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The study didn't examine the health consequences of the chemical emissions. However, two earlier studies published by the lead investigator found that 20 percent of the U.S. population reported adverse reactions from air fresheners and about 10 percent complained of negative effects from laundry products. Complaints were about twice as high among asthmatics. Under current law, manufacturers aren't required to disclose the ingredients in cleaning supplies, and the Food and Drug Administration doesn't require labels to list ingredients used in fragrances in personal care products. The study was published online on October 26 in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review.
My take? If you're chemically sensitive or have allergies or respiratory sensitivities, you may want to create and use natural cleaning products to avoid exposure with compounds that can trigger your symptoms. But even if you have no sensitivities that might be activated by conventional cleaning products, you might want to rethink your use of those that contain carcinogens or suspected carcinogens. The danger these chemicals pose depends on the extent of your exposure - how often you use the products and how long you're in contact with the fumes."
Thanks, Dr. Weil! Now for my own interpretation of this information: Avoid products with phthalates, parabens, EDTA and lauryl/laureth sulfate as these have been shown to impact hormones and possibly cause cancer. Yes, the products may cost more, but ILLNESSES COST A LOT MORE (just ask any of my patients!)!!! Consumer demand for safer products can and will drive manufacturing processes. Demand also ultimately will lead to legislation that bans these products and forces companies to create safer ingredients.
I've said it once and I'll say it again...Demand more for yourself, your family and the environment! It helps ALL of us in the end!Happy Turkey/Tofurkey Weekend! I wish you nothing but a safe, healthy and meaningful holiday season!
As if you needed another reason besides good heart health, lower risk of diabetes, etc., to increase your omega-3 fatty acid intake! But in case you do...here it is!
Taken from Andy Weil's website, "Steaks, burgers and fries may be portrayed as a manly meal, but all the saturated fat those foods contain seems to result in a lower sperm production than in men whose diets include fish and healthier omega-3 fatty acids. Investigators from Harvard analyzed the sperm of 91 men who were attending the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center in Boston, and gathered information about their diets and the types of fats they ate. The researchers then found that the men with the highest intake of saturated fat had 41 percent fewer sperm than men who ate the least saturated fat. Men with the highest intake of monounsaturated fat had 46 percent fewer sperm compared with men with the lowest intake of monounsaturated fat. Interestingly, participants whose intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats was highest had sperm with greater motility (they swam around more vigorously) and those with a higher intake of omega-3s had sperm with the best size and shape. The findings were presented at the October 26, 2010 meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine."
Another benefit was discussed in a different article showing that those with high intake of Omega-3's were at less risk of gum and tooth disease. So, basically, it's a win-win situation with fish oil. In fact, I don't know a single health care practitioner who'd be against it (and that is a strong statement!). So, get out there and get some fish oil! My favorite brands are Nordic Naturals and Spectrum. They are easy to take and don't make you burp up any fishy tastes. You can get fish oil at the local grocery store or pharmacy but you may experience a burpy aftertaste depending on the brand. Consult with your health care practitioner or pharmacist to see if they have a recommended brand. There is always fish oil by prescription too! Enjoy!
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.