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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Belly Fat! Why it is Such a Problem for Men

We think of belly fat as being a storage depot for energy that can be accessed during times of low food supply, but researchers are learning that fat is much more than that. Fat also produces hormone-like compounds called cytokines that increase inflammation. This is especially true of visceral fat. These inflammatory compounds can trigger the type of low-grade inflammation that plays a role in heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.

How much is too much?
If you're a male, how do you know if you have too much? You don't have to be overweight to have too much visceral fat. In fact, relatively thin men can have problems with visceral abdominal fat and not know it, since visceral fat lies deep in your pelvic cavity.
The best indication? A waistline greater than 40 inches in circumference. Combine that with elevated lipid levels (triglycerides or LDL cholesterol) and high blood pressure and you almost surely have a problem with visceral fat. A 40-inch waistline is an arbitrary cutoff point for a higher risk for health problems, but it's important to take an expanding waistline seriously. A 38-inch waist can very quickly turn into a 40-inch one unless you make the appropriate lifestyle changes.

Since visceral fat produces cytokines that are pro-inflammatory, it can quietly do harm, like cause blood vessel inflammation that leads to heart disease and high blood pressure, increase insulin resistance, and promote the growth of tumor cells. There's another problem too. Some of the excess fat can deposit around the liver, leading to a common condition called fatty liver. In some people, fatty liver progresses to liver inflammation and then cirrhosis. That's another reason to keep belly fat under control.
What can you do about it?
Fortunately, if you're a male with excess visceral abdominal fat, you can reduce your risk by making appropriate lifestyle changes. Here are some things you can do to tame belly fat:
  •  Lose weight if you're overweight.
  •  Do vigorous exercise several times a week. All exercise helps to reduce visceral fat but high-intensity exercise appears to be best. Start out walking but as you build up your fitness level, alternate walking with short periods of running, gradually increasing the intensity over time. Don't forget about the importance of resistance training to help improve body composition.
  • Choose the right kinds of carbs. Avoid processed carbs that are rapidly absorbed and choose more whole foods that are naturally high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Cut back on sugar, soft drinks, and "white" foods like white rice, potatoes, and bread made with white flour. Avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup or trans-fats, present in many packaged foods. Fill up on vegetables! Veggies contain natural compounds that help reduce inflammation.
  • Cut back on saturated fats in animal foods and full-fat dairy products. Instead, choose healthier forms of fat like monounsaturated fats in nuts, olive, and avocados, and omega-3 fats in fatty fish. Substitute plant-based protein and fish for a portion of the meat you eat.
  • Cut back on alcohol. Drinking three or more drinks a day can increase visceral fat. 
The Bottom Line
If you're a man, you may have too much visceral belly fat and not know it. Measure your waistline every few months and make sure it's not expanding. If you're approaching 40 inches, it's time to make some lifestyle changes. The good news? A combination of diet and exercise will go far toward decreasing belly fat. So take a closer look at your diet -- and get moving!

Total Family Healthcare has an individualized, medically supervised weight loss program to help you get those unwanted pounds off and more importantly keep them off! Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation, (352) 394-4237.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Signs of Adult ADHD

You routinely forget appointments and miss deadlines, you can’t stand to wait in line, and other people complain that your mind always seems to be going in a dozen directions at once. Are you just a little scattered and impatient? Or could the problem be adult ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) begins in childhood, causing trouble paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and/or hyperactivity. Although it’s often outgrown, the disorder persists into adulthood in as many as 60 percent of cases, according to the National Resource Center on ADHD.

Challenges in Everyday Life
Many with adult ADHD don’t know that they have a disorder. They simply know that they find it extra-challenging to get out of the house in the morning, make it to meetings on time, check off items on a to-do list, sit through a long movie, or cope with many other demands of daily life.

You may be thinking that this description could apply to you—and almost anyone else—at one time or another. But ADHD is only diagnosed when there are multiple, long-lasting symptoms that are severe enough to cause serious problems at home, work, or school. One study found that people with ADHD do about three weeks less work per year, on average, than those without the disorder. Some of that is due to more sick days, but most is due to decreased productivity on the job.

Warning Signs to Watch For
DSM-IV-TR, the standard diagnostic manual for mental health professionals, divides the symptoms of ADHD into three main categories:

* Inattentiveness. You may find it difficult to tune out distractions, stay focused, get organized, and follow through on instructions. Or you may be chronically forgetful, lose things you need, and make careless mistakes.

* Hyperactivity. You may be prone to fidgeting, squirming in your seat, and talking a blue streak.

* Impulsiveness. You may have trouble waiting in line and sitting in traffic. Or you may butt into conversations and blurt out answers prematurely. In some cases, problems with impulse control lead to angry outbursts.

Stressed Jobs, Strained Relationships
Such symptoms tend to be more clear-cut in children. In adults, they may be vaguer and more varied. Often, it’s the consequences that get noticed instead: lost jobs, unstable relationships, traffic accidents, impulsive spending sprees. Because the symptoms of ADHD resemble those of several other disorders, it’s important to see a health professional for an accurate diagnosis.

It’s also wise to heed the comments of those around you. A recent study in European Psychiatry found that adults tend to underestimate their own ADHD symptoms. You may not be fully aware of how you unfocused, restless, or impulsive you seem. But if your partner, friend, and coworker all say, “That sounds just like you,” you might want to listen.

If you would like to be evaluated for ADHD just give is a call to schedule an appointment, (352) 394-4237.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What Do Your Cholesterol Numbers Mean?

Your cholesterol levels are more than a routine medical test.  Stay heart-healthy by knowing what your cholesterol numbers mean and how to keep them in check. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. For that reason, each September celebrates Cholesterol Education Month as a reminder to keep your number in a healthy range.

So, what do all of the numbers mean? Let's simplify it.

What is measured?
blood cholesterol screening looks at HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol; LDL, the bad cholesterol; and your triglycerides.

The good
HDL is the good cholesterol your body needs to help keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Ideally, your HDL level should be over 60mg/dL.

The bad
LDL represents the main source of cholesterol build-up and blockage in the arteries. Your LDL level should remain below 100 mg/dL.

The ugly
Triglycerides are another form of fat in your blood. Your triglyceride levels should remain at 150 mg/dL or lower.

The score
Your cholesterol level is calculated by adding your HDL plus your LDL plus 20 percent of your triglyceride level. A desirable cholesterol level is below 200 mg/dL, which lowers your risk for coronary heart disease. The higher your level, the higher your risk. Cholesterol levels at 240 mg/dL and above are considered to be high blood cholesterol.

The choices
When you have high cholesterol, you physician may prescribe medication. However, you can help keep your levels in check with these lifestyle choices:

· Exercising at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week

· Losing weight

· Eat a diet low in fat and rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein

If you need to lose weight, you do not have to do it alone. The Total Family Healthcare & Wellness Centers can help you reach your weight-loss goals. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

Clermont Office
3115 Citrus Tower Blvd., Suite A
Clermont, Florida 34711
Toll-free: (866) 212-2943
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Orlando, Florida 32835
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