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Mind Your Health

Gleanings from the healthcare industry

Heat Index Chart

What the combination of heat plus humidity feels like. 


70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 110 115 120
0% 64 69 73 78 83 87 91 95 99 103 107
10% 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 111 116
20% 66 72 77 82 87 93 99 105 112 120 130
30% 67 73 78 84 90 96 104 113 123 135 148
40% 68 74 79 86 93 101 110 123 137 151
50% 69 75 81 88 96 107 120 135 150
60% 70 76 82 90 100 114 132 149
70% 70 77 85 93 106 124 144
80% 71 78 86 97 113 136
90% 71 79 88 102 122
100% 72 80 91 108

Heat Exhaustion Possible
Heat Stroke Possible
Heat Stroke Imminent

Source: KRLD News Radio 1080

More Weight Loss Myths Busted

The following are not true:

  • High-fat diets are good for you.
  • Exercise makes you hungry.
  • Weigh yourself every day to make sure you are getting results.
  • Combining protein and carbohydrates in the same meal leads to weight gain. 
  • Fasting is a good, quick way to lose unwanted fat. 
  • Diet pills are all you need to lose weight. 
  • Crash diets are best because you see results quickly. 
  • Snacking between meals is bad. 
  • The older I get, the more I need to eat. 
  • Lifting weights will give women big, bulky muscles and keep them from reducing. 
  • White bread is more fattening than wheat bread. 
  • Butter has more calories than oil. 
  • If you parents were fat, you will be too - and there's nothing you can do about it. 

Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever — And Other Half Truths

There is no truth to the saying, "Feed a cold, starve a fever." Your body needs nutrients to recover from both illnesses. 

Here is the straight dope on some other health issues:

  • Being cold will not give you a cold. A cold is a virus, and the only way you can get it is coming in contact with the virus.
  • Don't leave wounds exposed to air. They won't heal faster. Bandages protect wounds from drying out, from dirt, and from bacteria.
  • Don't repeatedly pour antiseptics like iodine or hydrogen peroxide into a wound. Continuous presence of antiseptics will kill white blood cells and slow healing.
  • Don't heat a wound. It dries out the wound and slows healing.
  • Vitamins do not provide energy.
  • Margarine is not healthier than butter.
  • Fasting does not flush out toxins.
  • Eating gelatin does not make your fingernails strong.
  • White bread does not have fewer calories when toasted.

Food Allergies

Food allergies are pretty rare in adults — only 1 to 2 percent of adults suffer from food allergies. The symptoms include nausea, itchy hives, breathing difficulty, and swelling. These symptoms can appear within minutes of eating, but almost always occur within two hours.

Any food can cause a food allergy, but the most common culprits are tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish (especially shrimp), milk, eggs, and whitefish.

Most people who think they suffer from food allergies really suffer from food intolerance. Food intolerances are adverse reactions to foods, so they appear to be allergies. The most common symptoms are vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and cramping.

With a food allergy, even a small amount of the offending food will cause an adverse reaction, as opposed to a food intolerance where small quantities may cause no problems at all. 

Common causes of food intolerances include:

  • Lactose intolerance - As they age, most adults' produce less and less lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Nearly 70% of the adult population is thought to be lactose intolerant. Lactose is the main sugar in milk products. Symptoms include bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and excess gas. Over-the-counter products such as Lactaid and Dairy Ease may prevent problems.
  • Food additives - Asthma can be worsened by sulfites which are often used as preservatives for fruits and vegetables. Monosodium glutamate and coloring agents can also cause adverse reactions. Fortunately, sensitivity to additives makes up only three to five percent of all food intolerances.
  • Food poisoning - Self explanatory.

Measles Kills 900 in March

That got your attention. A measles outbreak in Afghanistan killed 900 people in March, 2000. In May of this year, 2000 people were infected with measles in the Central African Republic, killing 300. Nearly 1 million children die of measles worldwide each year.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States had only 100 confirmed cases of measles reported in 1999, the same number as 1998. Compare this to the 3 year period of 1989-1991 which had 55,000 cases of measles reported in the U.S.

You cannot get measles from the measles vaccine. If you or your children have not been vaccinated for this deadly disease, talk to your physician. That's right, adults get the measles also, and they should be vaccinated. Of the 100 cases reported in 1998, 32 were people over 20 years old.

Measles is contagious from four days before to four days after the rash appears.

Cleanliness and Asthma

A study at Bristol University in England found that children who bathed twice a day and washed their hands more than five times a day had a 1-in-4 chance of developing asthma. For those who bathed every other day, the odds decreased to 1-in-7. Source: Dallas Morning News, June 14, 2000

Eat at Night: Gain Weight?

People often eat heavily at night to help relieve the stress of their day, especially since the contents of the refrigerator seem to provide a solace. But calorie for calorie, those eaten at night don't add any more weight than those eaten at any other time of day.

When dietician Nancy Keim, PhD, RD, studied the effect of food eaten at various times, she found that those who ate 70% of their daily calories in the evening gained no more weight than those who ate 70% of their calories before noon. Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, October 1999

Back Pain: Who Do You Trust?

If you experience low-back pain, who is going to get you better quicker: a primary-care doctor, an orthopedist, or a chiropractor? A study of 900 patients over a period of 22 months found that the recovery time is virtually the same for each, as is the recurrence of low-back pain. One difference is that chiropractic treatment usually costs more because more visits are usually involved. Source: Medical Care, Vol. 37, No. 2

Head Colds

Because you become immune to each different cold virus when you have it, the older you get, the less likely you are to have a head cold. Adults, on the average, get two to four colds a year; the average kid gets up to eight.

If you do get a cold, the treatment hasn't changed much over the years: rest, drink fluids and take aspirin if you are over 18 (an aspirin substitute if you are 18 or younger) to treat fever and discomfort. Source: Hope Health Letter, September, 1999

Interpreting Labels

Just what does it mean when a label says "low fat" or "may reduce cholesterol?" Here are the FDA guidelines on decoding food labels.

On the label

What it means

Extra lean Less than 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol per serving
Lean Less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, and 95 mg cholesterol per serving
Fat-free Less than .5 g fat per serving
Reduced Fat 25% less fat than the regular food version
Light (or Lite) Half the fat of the regular version, which doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy for you
Low calorie Fewer than 40 calories per serving
Low cholesterol No more than 20 mg per serving
Low fat No more than 3 g fat per serving
Low sodium Less than 140 mg per serving

Another Reason to Drink Water

A 10-year study of 48,000 men found that those who drank six 8-ounce glasses of water a day had half the bladder cancer rate as those who drank much less. And those at least risk were those who drank 10 or more 8-ounce glasses of water.

Water, it turns out, is the best of the liquids to offer this protection. Milk, tea, juice, beer, and the like, helped to a lesser degree.

Though the study included only men, researchers think the protection is afforded to both sexes. They theorize that water helps in two ways: 1) by increasing the frequency of urination, speeding potential carcinogens in your urine through your bladder; 2) by further diluting the urine, lowering the odds that carcinogens will come in contact with the bladder wall. Source: New England Journal of Medicine, May 6, 1999.


About 450,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year, and about 25,000 of them are considered extremely pre-mature — 27 weeks of gestation or less. In the past 10 years, the edge of viability hasn't changed much; it's still between 23 and 24 weeks. But more of these micropreemies are surviving. Source: Life, May 2000

A personal note: Our baby daughter, Grace Caroline, was born at 22 weeks of gestation and lived only 15 minutes. She was a 10 -inches long and weighed 13 -ounces. Her sister, Mary Margaret, was born at 29 weeks of gestation and weighed a whopping 2  pounds. Mary Margaret is a healthy adult today.

Uncross Those Legs

You've probably suspected that crossing your legs can contribute to the development of varicose veins. Well, you were right. Studies have shown that the habit, which most of us are guilty of, does, in fact, speed up the process of the formation of spider veins. Source: Health, September 1999


Hyponatremia means low levels of salt in the bloodstream. If you exercise for three hours at a time, as marathoners do, you run the risk of depleting the body of salt through perspiration.

If you exercise for three hours and replace perspiration with plain water, the level of salt in the blood can drop to the point that it becomes disastrous.

Symptoms of hyponatremia include malaise, confusion, nausea, and fatigue...with the possibility of progressing to seizures, coma, and death. Often the symptoms are mistaken for dehydration and the victim is given more water which further dilutes the salt concentration in the body.

One culprit is the current fad of replacing lost fluid with bottle after bottle of spring water. (If you are female, the risk of hyponatremia is higher than if you're a male.)

So when your total activity level will exceed three hours, plan to replace fluids with sports drinks and also maintain salt concentrations in your body by eating 10 pretzels about every half hour or so. Source: Medicine and Science in Sports

Cholesterol Levels

Here's the latest on cholesterol and triglyceride levels from James Cleeman, M.D., coordinator of the National Cholesterol Education Program in Bethesda, MD:

Total Cholesterol

Ideal less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high 200 mg/dL to 239 mg/dL
High 240 mg/dL or above

LDL (bad) Cholesterol

Ideal less than 130 mg/dL
Borderline high 130 mg/dL to 159 mg/dL
High 160 mg/dL or above

HDL (good) Cholesterol

Ideal 60 mg/dL and above
Mid-range 35 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL
Too low less than 35 mg/dL


Ideal less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high 200 mg/dL to 399 mg/dL
High 400 mg/dL or above
Source: Copyright 2000 by Harvey W Watt & Co.

Destined to Be Fat?

Think it's in your genes to be fat? Just because members of your family are overweight is no indication that you need to be.

Studies at St. Vincent's Hospital weighed and measured the body fat of 970 middle-aged twin sisters. Focusing on the pairs where one of the twins was overweight, researchers compared the activity levels and eating habits of each twin.

The study found that being active overcame any genetic tendency to be fat. The twin who consistently exercised at a moderate rate weighed on average six pounds less than her inactive sister. Vigorous exercisers were 12 pounds lighter. Source: Health, September 1999

Weight Loss Myths

Here are some demythologized weight-loss myths.

  • Celery takes more calories to chew and digest than it contains. Nope! All foods contain calories that count. Some just contain less than others.
  • Fat makes you fat. You don't have to give up fat to lose weight. In fact, dieters who cut back on portion size, keeping fat to 35% of calories consumed, actually do better at maintaining their weight loss than those who rely on very low-fat diets to lose.
  • High-protein diets help you shed pounds fast. In the short term, high-protein diets appear to give you a quick weight loss, but most of the loss is in the form of water. There are two reasons for this: when carbohydrate intake is low, the body uses its stored carbo supply (known as glycogen) for energy. These molecules are bound with water, which is released as fuel when the glycogen is burned. Second, when excess protein in the diet is burned as fuel, it — unlike carbos — is flushed out by the kidneys, which requires additional water form body tissues.
  • "There is no evidence that protein diets are any better in the long run," says David Levitsky, Ph.D., professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University. "In fact," he says, "high-protein diets can be dangerous" because they contain animal protein which has been linked to higher incidences of colon cancer, kidney disease and heart disease.
  • To lose weight, do aerobic exercise. While aerobic exercise — walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming — burns calories, you shouldn't forego strength training. Lean muscle tissue, developed through strength training, will burn fat even when the body is at rest.

Source: American Health, September 1999


The information contained above is intended for general reference purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment. Medical information changes rapidly and while Married and its content providers make efforts to update the content on the site, some information may be out of date. No health information on Married, including information about herbal therapies and other dietary supplements, is regulated or evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore the information should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a medical doctor.

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