Thursday, November 24, 2011


It is Thanksgiving today and I am not going to try to give anyone a guilt trip for how much they ate or for how lazy they were. Remember there is a time appointed for all things and today is a time to celebrate and eat. I will however recycle the appropriate topic of flossing since most of us will be picking turkey out of our teeth today

I find few things to be more tedious and boring than flossing my teeth. For nearly 10 years I was cavity free each time I went to the dentist. Over time my flossing efforts were less than stellar and as a result I found myself in need of a $1,600 root canal and crown. What added to the sting of this experience was the fact that I had no dental insurance at the time. This is another fine example of how neglecting simple preventative measures can create a bigger and more expensive problems.

I've heard some people say that if you had to choose between brushing and flossing that flossing is even more important for prevention of cavities since it cleans out the harder to reach areas where they originate. I'm not going to go into the boring details about how to floss but we all know it is beneficial. I still think flossing is ridiculously boring and I can't stand it, but now that I know what a root canal is I will gladly submit to this monotonous and burdensome practice. 

If you have slacked off when it comes to flossing your teeth, then I encourage you to do a better job. Flossing is a simple thing, but it can save you a lot of money and pain down the road. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Muscle Spotlight: Abs

Abdominal muscles are one of the most popular muscle groups. It seems everybody wants to have a toned and defined midsection, but few people actually have a visible six pack. This is ironic since everyone already has these muscles, but you just have to do some excavating (weight loss) to see them.

Many people claim to want a six pack, but since it requires single digit body fat levels, there are few people who actually have them. I respect anyone who is disciplined enough to sport a visible six pack, but at the same time, I think it can be an over-rated sign of fitness. Having a six pack shows that a person has a low body fat level, toned midsection, and that they are a disciplined eater, but there is more to over all health and fitness than mere aesthetics.

The muscle responsible for a 6 or even 8 pack look is the rectus abdominus which is a long muscle which runs vertically down the abdomen. This muscle is intersected and divided by bands of connective tissue which creates the segmented look. Other abdominal muscles include the external and internal obliques and the transverse abdominus.

There are countless offers for miracle drugs, belts, exercise equipment and other gadgets to help people get their dream midsection, but that will only be achieved if they have the discipline to keep their body fat percentage low enough to make them visible. You can do 1,000 sit ups every day or use every ab machine in existence, but unless you have the weigh loss portion of the equation under control, you will never look like the guy above (No, that's not me).

A defined 6 pack is a pretty cool thing, but unless you are a body builder or fitness competitor, you probably don't have one and that's okay. For most people, working to achieve a healthy body fat percentage is a more realistic goal than having washboard abs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Prescription Drug Safety

According to the Journal of Preventative Medicine, poisoning from prescription opioids, sedatives, and tranquilizers has increased by 65 percent over a seven year period. Opioid prescription drugs now cause more deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Abuse of prescription drugs has gotten so bad that the CDC has categorized it as an epidemic.

Some of the drugs in this category include Percocet, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Vicodin, and many others.The abuse of these substances is not an issue that just affects junkies in back alleys. This problem affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. I believe one reason for the increase of this problem is because these drugs are not considered "dirty' since you don't smoke or inject them. It's also easier to rationalize taking something that has been prescribed by a physician.

As a teenager I was prescribed Percocet when I got my wisdom teeth out. I loved how it made me feel light headed, sweaty and warm when I took it. When I had similar drugs prescribed years later after a surgery, I was reluctant to use them since I was afraid of becoming addicted. When I've seen pain killers prescribed for myself and others, I have been shocked at how large the supply is. Why prescribe a huge bottle of addictive drugs that will last a whole week, when the immediate pain of surgery is usually only intense for a couple days? No wonder so many people become addicted to these substances.

Here are some guidelines to protect you and your family against prescription drug abuse.

1) If you don't feel you really need a heavy duty pain killer, then don't accept the prescription. Use alternative pain relief when possible.
2) If you have been prescribed pain killers, follow the directions carefully.
3) Don't use old or expired prescriptions.
4) When using prescription drugs, be aware of other drug interactions.
5) Keep drugs in a safe place out of the reach of children.
6) Don't drive or operate machinery when using drugs that cause drowsiness.
7) Dispose of old drugs so they don't become a temptation for misuse or potential theft.
8) Don't share or offer your prescriptions to others.

It's a shame when lives ends prematurely due to accidental overdose, misuse, or abuse of prescription drugs.