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Health Q&A

Posted January 09, 2013 in Advice Column, Greene County

Q: What happens when we lose weight?

A: Weight loss occurs when you use more energy each day than you take in through foods. When food does not supply all the energy you need, fat stores are used as an energy source. When you lose weight by reducing your calorie intake, about 75 to 85 percent of the loss is fat and 15 to 25 percent is lean tissue and water.

• Why do we need fat? The triglycerides stored in fat cells act primarily as energy reserves. After your body uses all the available sugar (known as glycogen) for energy, it begins to use the stored fat.

Fat cells have several other roles, as well. They cushion and protect vital organs, insulate the body against heat loss, secrete chemicals that play a part in appetite and other processes, protect nerve tissue and help regulate women’s menstrual cycles.

• How can I reduce the size of fat cells? The formula for obesity is simple: When the number of calories you eat exceeds your daily energy requirement, the excess is stored as fat. To eliminate unwanted weight, use exercise and portion control to burn more calories than you eat.

• How fast should I try to lose weight if I need to? Try to lose between one and five pounds per week. If you attempt to lose too rapidly, your body may go into starvation mode, which will make it harder to lose. Be patient. The pounds went on over time, and they should come off over time.

Information provided by Medicap Pharmacy, 400 N. Elm St., Jefferson, 515-386-2164.

Q: How can I stick to my New Year’s resolutions?

A: The start of a new year feels like a fresh start, a great opportunity to eliminate bad habits and establish new routines. Resolutions are much easier to make than to keep, and by the end of January many of us have abandoned our resolve and settled back into old patterns. These tips can help keep those resolutions:

• Choose a specific, realistic goal. Instead of selecting an ambiguous goal, (lose weight, get in shape) focus on something more concrete. Choosing a concrete, achievable goal gives you the opportunity to plan how you are going to achieve your goal.

• Pick just one resolution. While you may have a long list of potential New Year’s resolutions, pick just one and focus your energies on it.

• Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve. Experts suggest planning out how you will tackle a major change. Start by writing down your goal, making a list of things needed to achieve that goal and noting any obstacles.

• Remember, change is a process. Those habits that you want to change took years to develop. Don’t expect to change them in a matter of days or weeks. It may take longer than you think to achieve your goals, remember this is not a race.

• Don’t let stumbles bring you down. Encountering a setback is one of the most common reasons why people give up. If you suddenly relapse into a bad habit, don’t view it as a failure. There are always going to be challenges.

Information provided by Jefferson Family Chiropractic, 216 N. Wilson Ave., 515-386-3747.

Q: What are some guidelines to prevent winter falls?

A: The weather outside is beautiful, but it can be a little frightful if you are attempting to walk outside on the icy sidewalks and streets. Serious falls and injuries occur most frequently during the winter months. Most of all they can cause broken bones, lots of pain and unwanted hospital stay or doctor visits.

Here a few tips to keep in mind as you venture outside during the cold season:

• Only walk on pathways that are cleared and completely salted. If they are not, (especially if it’s a business) make the effort to remind them to shovel or lay salt that will keep your pathway “fall free” while you are out and about.

• Take it easy and add 15 minutes to your schedule to allow time to walk slowly through the snow and ice to each destination. Most accidents happen when you are in a rush to get where you’re going.

• Use added support such as a cane or walker for better weight distribution as you walk.

• Pay attention. Most falls happen when people are not focused on what they are doing. In today’s society we have many distractions, so put the cell phone away while you walk outside.

• Take time to enjoy the holidays, and stay safe during the winter months ahead.

Information provided by Kathryn Allen, activity director/social services Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center, 100 Ram Drive, Jefferson, 515-386-4107.

Q: What do cardiopulmonary services cover, and who might need them?

A: Cardiopulmonary is the medical term relating to the heart and lungs. It can cover a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services when offered in a hospital and outpatient setting. Cardiopulmonary focuses on disorders of the lungs such as asthma and chronic obstructive lung disease. Completing a breathing test, called a pulmonary function test, will alert a doctor of changes in the airways and allow the doctor to recommend appropriate treatment. There are prescriptive and non-prescriptive therapies available to help with many other lung disorders as well.

Cardiopulmonary also focuses on disorders of the heart. Patients who have had symptoms of chest pain or abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) might be asked to walk on a treadmill and have pictures of their heart taken in order to make a definite diagnosis.

Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and chronic insomnia, are studied in cardiopulmonary. If someone has been told he or she snores a lot or stops breathing while asleep, a sleep study should be considered. A registered sleep technician monitors sleep overnight and determines if further treatment options are needed.

Registered or certified respiratory therapists, working in conjunction with physician orders, support people who have problems breathing. Many respiratory infections and diseases can be treated before permanent damage is done. Treatments can improve, restore and, in some cases, cure respiratory disease. All cardiopulmonary services require physician orders — patients are encouraged to discuss their symptoms with their primary care giver before treatment.

Information provided by Greene County Medical Center, Jefferson, 515-386-2488.

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