March 18, 2008 [Volume 2, Issue 8]
Archives      Unsubscribe      Update e-mail address
In this issue of To Your Health:
Sweet Success
Dangerous Curve
Preventing Food Allergies

Sweet Success

Diabetes currently affects almost 21 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Even more alarming is that the age of onset has dropped dramatically. It used to be that diabetes was primarily a "senior" disease, affecting those over age 45. Sadly, this is not the case any more.

There are two main types of diabetes: type I, which usually is diagnosed in childhood and requires insulin; and type II, which does not require insulin treatment but may require medication. Most cases (about 95 percent) are type II, which can be prevented in the overwhelming majority of cases with proper diet and exercise. What is particularly frightening is the rise in type II diabetes among children.

The effects of diabetes can be felt, literally, from head to toe, according to the CDC.

People with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a stroke than those without the disease.
Poorly controlled blood sugar may lead to glaucoma and blindness.
Gum disease and high blood sugar are related.
Diabetes, particularly in conjunction with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, may lead to heart disease.
Kidney damage may result from diabetes, especially in combination with high blood pressure.
Diabetes has been linked to male sexual dysfunction (impotence).
Nerves in the feet may become damaged, sometimes leading to amputation.

Fortunately, there are much easier and less dangerous ways to not only control diabetes if you have it, but actually prevent getting it in the first place. Both the CDC and the National Institutes of Health agree that there are two basic elements to this: exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week; and eat foods low in fat and reduce total caloric intake. Pay attention not only to the types of food you eat, but also the portions. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the following:

Eat a variety of fruits (2 cups per day for a 2,000 calorie diet) instead of just juice. You can have these fresh, frozen, dried or canned. An example would be: one small banana, one large orange and ¼ cup of dried apricots or peaches.
Make your veggies more colorful by adding dark green (broccoli, kale, spinach) and bright orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and other winter squashes). Also add more beans and peas to the mix (kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, lentils).
Eat more calcium for healthy bones. The USDA recommends three cups of low-fat or fat-free milk per day. You can substitute the same amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1 ½ ounces of cheese is equal to one cup of milk). Try lactose-free milk if you have trouble digesting dairy products.
Focus on whole grains. Make them at least half of your total grain intake. Try to eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains per day. This is equal to one slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta.
Go lean with the protein. Opt for lean meats such as chicken or fish. Be sure to prepare it in a healthy manner, such as baking or broiling. Don't forget that nuts, beans and peas are also good sources of protein.

The point is that while it might seem that preventing a major disease such as diabetes is a daunting task, it actually isn't. All it really takes is common sense, a bit of creative planning and a positive attitude. With these three things, you are well on your way to success.

Read More

Dangerous Curve

Did your mother ever nag you to "stand up straight?" Well, that's because she cared about you. What was annoying to mom was the "slumping" posture, so common in our teenage years. But if she had noticed a "side bend" to your spine, she probably wouldn't have nagged at all. She would have taken you to a physician or doctor of chiropractic. And the chances are, that professional would have told you that you had scoliosis.

There are two basic types of abnormal curvatures. First, the curve may be on a long "C" shaped bend. This was common with those youngsters who contracted polio in the 1950s, primarily because of weak muscles on one side of the spine. The second type of scoliosis is an "S" shape, where the curve "zigs" to one side, then "zags" to the other. The real issue about these curves is, how much do they curve? If your spine is only a little curved, like a slightly bent flag pole, there is probably nothing to worry about. But if it resembles the Snake River in Idaho, it's time for an exam.

Scoliosis is not a death sentence, but it can be a significant health challenge. If the abnormal curvatures worsen, the spine can twist and interfere with the nerves coming out between the vertebrae, or spinal bones, as well as just plain hurt. The lungs and diaphragm can be crowded, making breathing more difficult.

Scoliosis appears sometime in childhood, usually between age 6 up to the beginning of puberty. Since it's painless, the problem can easily go undetected at first. Visual screening programs at schools have been very valuable in diagnosis, but a definitive diagnosis must be done with a standing full-spine X-ray. Your doctor will measure the curve. A curve that is only mildly "leaning" probably has an angle of 20 degrees or less, and usually does not need treatment at all. Doctors measure the angle of the curves by comparing the "flag pole" position of zero degrees of curvature to the horizontal, or parallel to the floor position of 90 degrees. If the curve is greater than 20 degrees, advice regarding treatment is important. Angles greater than 45 degrees are considered serious.

In cases of scoliosis, chiropractic physicians are front-line doctors in maintaining proper motion and function of the spinal joints or vertebrae. There are two general categories of techniques used in these cases. One is the hallmark joint manipulation or adjustment, which stretches the joint tissue and releases joint pressure wherever individual vertebrae are locked or fixed. A second category includes muscle and tendon techniques, usually using deep pressure, friction or pin-point stimulation.

When scoliosis is severe, chiropractic treatment is even more important because of the threat of muscle and joint degeneration that insidiously occurs over time. One cause of mild to moderate scoliosis is when one leg is shorter than the other. Chiropractic doctors are especially trained to deal with complications of curvatures associated with leg inequality. Sometimes one leg can be shorter (an inch or more) congenitally, with the associated curvature noted especially with standing. But a lesser known, yet common problem is a functional short leg. This is when locking and fixation of spinal joints, or muscle imbalance, actually causes or aggravates a mild scoliosis. Chiropractors are the best practitioners to identify and correct this problem.

Read More

Preventing Food Allergies

Food allergies, most commonly to milk, eggs, soy, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish or peanuts, can cause severe reactions and, at a minimum, make daily life a challenge. According to recent research, breast-feeding during a newborn's first three months of life helps shield children from developing these types of food allergies.

According to Dr. Robin Wood, international health director for pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, "A review of 18 studies demonstrates a significant protective effect of exclusive breast-feeding for at least three months for children with high risk atopy (genetic tendency to develop allergic diseases) against the development of atopic dermatitis and early childhood asthma-like symptoms."

For children at high risk for allergies, Dr. Wood provides the following suggestions to parents:

During pregnancy and breast-feeding, avoid peanuts and tree nuts.
Use a hypoallergenic formula (extensively or partially hydrolyzed) to supplement breast-feeding.
Hold off on feeding solid foods until 6 months of age.
Introduce egg and milk only after age 1, and peanut and tree nuts only after age 3.
Take steps to intervene as early as possible when food allergy symptoms appear.

Read More

Thank you for subscribing to To Your Health. If you have received this newsletter in error or wish to unsubscribe, you may remove your name from our e-mail subscription list at

Update your e-mail address
To update the e-mail address your newsletter is sent to, click here.

If you have any questions regarding your subscription, please complete this form at


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.