Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Avoiding the New Year’s Day Hangover

Ahhhh…..the best party of the year finishes with a bang…..unfortunately a painful one for most.  Hangovers fill us with physical and psychological regret and always appear to get topped off with someone telling you “I told you so!”…….

So what is a hangover?

Its a constellation of symptoms that occur post-partying…..and include headache, muscle ache, nausea, anxiety, moodiness, wanting to avoid light and loud sounds, eye redness, thirst and dizziness, though some hangovers may have many more symptoms.

They could be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Dehydration – alcohol isn’t the best choice to replace lost fluids during a night of dancing, plus it causes increase in urination
  • Low blood sugar – caused by lack of good nutrition over the last 12 hours and enhanced by drinking alcohol
  • Poor sleep – let me guess, you didn’t get a good nice, cuddly, deep sleep for 9 hours once you came home
  • Irritated stomach lining – alcohol tends to do that and ticks off the pancreas as well
  • Acetaldehyde – a chemical converted from alcohol that has been postulated to make you feel nauseous and achy, either during its breakdown in the liver or after its metabolism
    • acetald
  • Cytokine production and release – seen in inflammatory states and can make you achy

Other theories suggesting lactic acid build up, withdrawl from drinking the night before, and congeners that are compounds that vary in alcohol types (red wine vs vodka).

So how do you avoid the dreaded hangover?

Want to avoid a hangover?  Here’s how:

Firstly, try to avoid getting drunk.  Set your limits and stick to it.

Secondly, drink plenty of water throughout the night and once you get home.

Finally, don’t drink on an empty stomach to “speed up the buzz”. Your empty gut will absorb alcohol quicker so eat a good nutritious meal prior to partying.

Avoid popping antiinflammatories or Tylenol once you get home because your stomach and liver are already irritated from the alcohol and this may make matters worse.

Chinese researchers back in 2013 found Sprite to be the best hangover cure but the jury is still undecided on that.

sprite

What is “hair of the dog”?

Originally it was a treatment to ward off rabies.  One would, after being bit by a dog, put a piece of dog hair on the wound.  A treating fire-with-fire strategy. It later was used for hangovers.  Treating a hangover with a chaser of alcohol was supposed to elevate moods and lessen the withdrawal.  To date there is not enough scientific support to recommend hair of the dog.

My suggestion is to pace yourself, enjoy a mocktail or glass of water throughout the evening, make the veggie tray your best friend to get as much nutrition in you, and take over the mic when its karaoke time.

Then you won’t have to regret getting a hangover…… although you may regret the videos of you singing posted online the next day……..

Happy New Year!  Here’s to a great 2017!

 

                                                                                                         LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news, Sports

Using the NFL Injury Report to predict this week’s winners

Week 17!  Here we go!

Falcons

Bengals

Packers

Colts

Patriots

Vikings

Jets – but too close to call

Cowboys/Eagles – Eagles look good from the injury report standpoint but I will never root against my COWBOYS

Steelers

Panthers

Titans

Giants

Broncos – but too close to call with their three concussions

Cardinals – again too close to call

Chiefs

Seahawks

 

 

We pray that no one gets hurt and those who do recover quickly.  Here’s to rounding out a safe season of one of the best sports ever!!  FOOTBALL!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Health, news

The easy New Year’s Resolutions no one thinks to make but should

Nothing is more of a buzzkill preparing for the biggest party of the year than the discussion of New Years Resolutions. Let’s be honest….what are these resolutions anyway?  They’re a promise to do the right thing in exchange for no one nagging us while we abuse ourselves over the holidays.  So its no wonder most New Year’s Resolutions fail.  If your heart’s not it and if the goals aren’t realistic, resolutions won’t be met.

The most common (and commonly failed) New Years Resolutions are:

  1. To lose weight
  2. To stop smoking
  3. To drink less
  4. To make more money
  5. To spend more time with family
  6. To perform better at work
  7. To save more money
  8. To eat healthier
  9. To go to church/temple more often
  10. Get a boyfriend/girlfriend

Look how general and insurmountable some of these can be.  They’re too broad and if these were easy to do, you would already be accomplishing them.

So which New Year’s Resolutions can be practical and attainable?

Choose easy, finite, small discreet steps.  You’ll feel better since they are easier to accomplish.

water

 

  1.  Drink more water
  2. Call your mother once a week – sorry, sorry, how about once a month…  better?
  3. Lose 5 pounds in January.  Then try to lose 5 lbs in February
  4. Eat more vegetables
  5. Take $20 a paycheck and put into savings
  6. Make 7 pm – 8 pm playtime with the kids
  7. Walk 10 minutes a day in January.  In February bring it up to 15 minutes, and so on
  8. Plan the third Saturday of the month to be date night with your spouse
  9. Go to church/temple more often – no short cuts here
  10. Put out each cigarette after 1-2 puffs
  11. Check your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, etc
  12. Make an appointment for a physical
  13. Plan a mid year vacation
  14. Organize your desk at work
  15. Walk the dog for an extra half hour on Sundays

savings

 

The list goes on.  But you see how making small, baby goals can build on themselves to the point where you will lose weight, eat healthier, save more money, preserve your relationship, perform better at work, etc.

Oh, I forgot one last important New Years Resolution….listen to more stimulating medical talk radio.  Tee-hee…..

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year!!!

 

                                                                                                     LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

 

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

 

 

 

 

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Preventing Hypothermia this New Year’s Eve

2016 is almost over. The holidays flew by us way too quickly and left the wind chill in its wake.   Unfortunately with all the hustle and bustle this time of year, we tend to forget how dangerous the weather can be.  It would make sense to stay indoors, and for the most part we do….except for New Years.  All rules go out the door with this party.  The most exciting night of the year can sometimes be the coldest night of the year.  And the party ends up outside.  And do we don a ski mask, goggles, gloves, galoshes, thermal underwear, winter coat and ear muffs?  No. That would make the most unsexy New Year’s outfit. 
Throw some alcohol into the mix and this can be a deadly combination. The CDC estimates that 1300 deaths occur each year due to hypothermia.  So what is hypothermia?

What is hypothermia?

 Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in body temperature and can occur in minutes.   Human body temperature averages around 98.6 degrees F.  But hypothermia starts setting in at 95 degrees with shivering, increase respiratory and heart rate, and even confusion.  We forget that glucose stores get used up quickly so hypoglycemia can ensue as well, making matters worse, especially in someone who is intoxicated.  Frostbite can occur as blood flow decreases to the tips of the ears, fingers, nose and toes. As hypothermia progresses,  the shivering and muscle contractions strengthen, skin and lips become pale, and confusion worsens. This can lead to severe hypothermia, eventually causing heart failure and/or respiratory failure, leading to a coma and if not reversed, death.

Hypothermia can mimic looking drunk

Someone who is hypothermic may slur their speech, stammer around and appear uncoordinated.  This sounds identical to your drunk buddy on New Year’s Eve.  Unfortunately, this can be deadly as many hypothermic partiers get written off as being drunk.
So if you suspect hypothermia, call for medical assistance.  Anyone you think is eliciting signs of hypothermia should be brought indoors, put in dry clothes, covered in warm blankets, and then wait for paramedics to arrive.  It’s important to try and warm the central parts of the body such as head, neck, chest, and groin,  but avoid direct electric blanket contact with the skin and active rubbing if the skin is showing signs of frostbite.

Why not use hot water to warm up a hypothermic individual?

Hot water will be too caustic and can cause burns. Remember, the body is shunting blood away from the ears, fingers, toes, hands and feet to warm the heart, brain and other vital organs.  The skin will be in a vulnerable state during hypothermia and frostbite and will burn the underperfused skin.

Alcohol increases the risk of hypothermia

We’re outside in the cold, not bundling up, dancing, sweating, becoming dehydrated. Add alcohol to the mix, and its deadly.  Here’s the scoop on alcohol toxicity.

Preventing hypothermia

When it comes to hypothermia, the best thing you can do is prevention.   Its the biggest party of the year so prepare yourself by doing the following:
  • Wear multiple layers of clothing
  • Bring an extra pair of dry socks
  • Avoid getting wet (i.e. falling off a boat, getting splashed with champagne)
  • Change your clothes if you worked up a sweat dancing
  • Check with your medical provider if some of your medical conditions (i.e. hypothyroid) or medications (i.e. narcotics, and sedatives)  put you at risk for hypothermia
  • Avoid alcohol intoxication
  • Keep an eye on your more vulnerable buddies who include children, older individuals, and those with intellectual disabilities.
A Happy New Year should also be a Healthy New Year.  So be warm, dry, safe and have fun!!

                                                                                                         LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Alcohol poisoning, sadly a New Year’s Eve tradition for some

The most exciting evening of the year is coming and we start celebrating hours, even days before.  Champagne, beer, vodka, rum…you won’t find a venue without it.  Unfortunately the pace at which alcohol is consumed can be just as deadly as the quantity.  What you read below may be difficult to swallow, but its necessary to know to stay healthy.

What is acute alcohol intoxication?

Simply put, its alcohol poisoning.  Alcohol consumed in high quantities and at too fast a pace will disrupt metabolic processes in the body.  A healthy human body will break down alcohol at a rate of 1 oz per hour.  So if the average shot glass contains 0.6 – 1.5 oz of alcohol and someone does 4 shots in one sitting, math dictates that the body will not be able to keep up.  Whatever the liver does not metabolize continues to circulate in the body.  As a defense mechanism, your gut may try to throw it up, which is why vomiting is a red flag of acute alcohol intoxication.  Alcohol is additionally a sedative so respiratory rate can drop, to the point of causing the drinker to become unconscious.  Slow respiration, and high alcohol blood content will cause drinkers to have impaired brain function (loss of memory, acting confused) and dilation of blood vessels.  This can hypoperfuse certain organs as your body tries to preserve blood flow to the heart and brain, thus giving a the drinker a pale, clammy look.

How much alcohol is safe to drink?

The CDC website states the following:

A standard drink is equal to 14.0 grams (0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in

  • 12-ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
  • 5-ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
  • 1.5-ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

  Women metabolize alcohol differently from men, so they are encouraged to drink less.

According to the National Institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism, a man should drink no more than 2 standard drinks a day and for women, no more than 1.

Binge Drinking” is defined as 4 or more drinks (woman) or 5 or more drinks (man) in a 2 hour period.

 

What if I’m taking medication? Can I still drink?

There is no official list of what medications can be swigged with alcohol.  Many sources will say “Tylenol” however one’s liver may not agree as both acetaminophen (its key ingredient) and alcohol may cause liver disease.  We suggest to speak with your medical provider first before drinking.

The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provides this list of medications that could produce serious side effects when mixed with alcohol (even during the same night).  For example NSAIDS ( non steroidal antiinflammatories, such as ibuprofen, could increase risk of GI Bleed.

How much alcohol is toxic to the body?

Any amount of alcohol can be toxic to the body depending on their baseline health and how their body metabolizes alcohol.  One drink has even been linked to cancer of the throat and/or GI tract.  So we don’t have an official “safe level” of alcohol to consistently promote.  How we determine ranges of toxicity depends on one’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) which can be measured.

The following tables come from the University of Notre Dame, Student Well-Being McDonald Center…….

BAC-Specific Effects

BAC Level Generalized Dose Specific Effects
0.020-0.039% No loss of coordination, slight euphoria, and loss of shyness. Relaxation, but depressant effects are not apparent.
0.040-0.059% Feeling of well-being, relaxation, lower inhibitions, and sensation of warmth. Euphoria. Some minor impairment of judgment and memory, lowering of caution.
0.06-0.099% Slight impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time, and hearing. Euphoria. Reduced judgment and self-control. Impaired reasoning and memory.
0.100-0.129% Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Speech may be slurred; balance, peripheral vision, reaction time, and hearing will be impaired.
0.130-0.159% Gross motor impairment and lack of physical control. Blurred vision and major loss of balance. Euphoria is reducing and beginning dysphoria (a state of feeling unwell)
0.160-0.199% Dysphoria predominates, nausea may appear. The drinker has the appearance of a sloppy drunk.
0.200-0.249% Needs assistance in walking; total mental confusion. Dysphoria with nausea and vomiting; possible blackout.
0.250-0.399% Alcohol poisoning. Loss of consciousness.
0.40% + Onset of coma, possible death due to respiratory arrest.

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Males

Weight 1 drink 2 drinks 3 drinks 4 drinks 5 drinks 6 drinks 7 drinks 8 drinks 9 drinks 10 drinks
100 lbs .043 .087 .130 .174 .217 .261 .304 .348 .391 .435
125 lbs .034 .069 .103 .139 .173 .209 .242 .278 .312 .346
150 lbs .029 .058 .087 .116 .145 .174 .203 .232 .261 .290
175 lbs .025 .050 .075 .100 .125 .150 .175 .200 .225 .250
200 lbs .022 .043 .065 .087 .108 .130 .152 .174 .195 .217
225 lbs .019 .039 .058 .078 .097 .117 .136 .156 .175 .195
250 lbs .017 .035 .052 .070 .087 .105 .122 .139 .156 .173

Estimating Blood Alcohol Level (Based on Weight) – Females

Weight 1 drink 2 drinks 3 drinks 4 drinks 5 drinks 6 drinks 7 drinks 8 drinks 9 drinks 10 drinks
100 lbs .050 .101 .152 .203 .253 .304 .355 .406 .456 .507
125 lbs .040 .080 .120 .162 .202 .244 .282 .324 .364 .404
150 lbs .034 .068 .101 .135 .169 .203 .237 .271 .304 .338
175 lbs .029 .058 .087 .117 .146 .175 .204 .233 .262 .292
200 lbs .026 .050 .076 .101 .126 .152 .177 .203 .227 .253
225 lbs .022 .045 .068 .091 .113 .136 .159 .182 .204 .227
250 lbs .020 .041 .061 .082 .101 .122 .142 .162 .182 .202

Time Factor Table

Time is the only factor to lower one’s Blood Alcohol Content. Coffee, cold showers, etc… are all myths.

Hours since first drink 1 2 3 4 5 6
Subtract from blood alcohol level .015 .030 .045 .060 .075 .090

 

A Happy New Year should also be a Healthy New Year.  So be warm, dry, safe and have fun!!

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Broken Heart Syndrome: Is it real?

Much research has surrounded stress cardiomyopathy, or Broken Heart Syndrome.    When couples who have lived together for years, loses his/her partner, we often hear of their death within months, if not weeks later.  The official name of Broken Heart Syndrome (BHS) is Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, where cases have been seen in Japan, the US and many other countries.  The stress of a loved one puts such strain on their heart that they are too vulnerable to withstand the injury. The heart tries to compensate by enlarging and we see a bulging apex of the heart in these patients.

Actress Debbie Reynold’s lost her daughter Carrie Fisher one day prior and then herself became ill with possible “stroke”.  She passed later that day, with one report citing her last words were “I want to be with Carrie”.

What makes Broken Heart Syndrome so unique is its a rare and possibly fatal disease initially induced by stress.    Mind over matter plays a key part here.

What occurs in Broken Heart Syndrome?

Unlike heart attacks which are usually caused by clogged arteries, BHS appears to be induced by a rush of stress hormones.  These include cortisol and adrenaline.  Paramount stressors such as losing a child or spouse would be enough to start the cascade.  Then come chest pain, shortness of breath, blood pressure changes, the heart enlarges to compensate for low output, arrhythmia can occur and this list goes on.  Heart failure or cardiogenic shock can occur when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the body.

 

How does Broken Heart Syndrome differ from a heart attack?

BHS if identified early can be treated promptly.  If arteriosclerosis is absent, then surgery wouldn’t be needed to bypass the blood vessels or clear out the arteries.  Treatment of BHS would include medications most typically used in heart failure patients (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, betablockers) to reduce the work load on the heart.  If a heart attack did occur during the BHS period, or inducing BHS, protocols for heart attack treatment would executed immediately. BHS patients without coronary artery disease) are more likely to recover quicker than heart attack victims.

How do we prevent Broken Heart Syndrome?

When living in stressful times, its imperative to be around friends and families, support groups, etc.  The stress is the inducing component and although it will not be eliminated entirely, could be managed constructively.  Avoiding alcohol and tobacco and poor diet habits are also key.  Asking for help is life saving, and those who see a loved one suffering offer your support immediately.

In addition, make sure you are taking care of yourself.  A medically unstable family member may not be strong enough to go on after losing their closest loved one.  The grieving process is a healthy process however, and should not be avoided. Distraction may help, focusing the love for the lost family member into a cause/scholarship/foundation can also be helpful in the grieving process.

The last thing we haven’t discussed is guilt.  When a loved one dies, we feel guilty over how we treated, spoke to, and spent time with them.  This guilt will consume you.  While you have your loved ones with you, remember that any day could be their last and let them know you love them.

                                                                                                         LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

 

Posted in Entertainment, Health, news

Debbie Reynolds passes at age 84

The 84 year old actress, who has been dealing with the tragic loss of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, was taken by ambulance to the hospital for possible “stroke”.

According to TMZ, Ms. Reynolds was at her son’s house, Todd, planning funeral arrangements for Carrie when around 1:00 pm Wednesday afternoon, the paramedics were called.

We learned she passed away Wednesday.

What is a stroke?

A stroke occurs when an area of the brain does not get the proper oxygen and blood flow it needs. There are two major types of stroke.  Ischemic and Hemorrhagic.

Ischemic strokes are more common than the latter and occur when a clot prevents blood flow to part of the brain.  80% of all strokes fall under ischemic.  It is a likened to a heart attack, except the brain tissue is being deprived of blood and nutrients.  Plaques commonly arise from arteriosclerosis that break off travel to the smaller vessels of the brain.

Hemorrhagic strokes are less common and occur when there is a bleed of one of the brain vessels.  The bleed prevents blood flow into the brain since it is seeping outside the brain tissue, causing damage to nearby cells.  The bleeds could occur from high blood pressure or aneurysms that rupture.

What are the signs of a stroke?

Since a clot or bleed usually affect one area of the brain, we see symptoms on one side of the body, many times its contralateral (opposite) side.  We can also see central effects.  The symptoms of stroke include the following:

Weakness of one side of the body

Loss of balance

Numbness on one side of the body

Slurred speech

Vision issues

Headache

Facial droop

and more…..

How are strokes treated?

If the stroke was caused by a clot (ischemic) immediate treatment includes dissolving/removing the clot.   Aspirin is used initially and if within the proper time frame, tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).  These clots can also be surgically removed and arteries widened to bring blood flow to the brain.

With a hemorrhagic  stroke, we need to stop the bleed and improve flow to the brain.  Controlling the bleed, bypassing the vessel, “clogging” the aneurysm with techniques such as “coiling” (endovascular embolization) are sometimes utlized.

Time is of the essence, so its crucial to identify the warning signs and call 911 immediately.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym “FAST” (Facial drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, and Time to call 911).  The sooner a stroke victim receives medical attention the better the prognosis.

fast

Courtesy of the American Stroke Association

What are the risk factors for stroke?

The following put us at risk of having a stroke.

High blood pressure

Family history of stroke

Diabetes

Cardiovascular disease (artery clogging, such as the heart and carotid arteries)

Abnormal heart rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation

Smoking

Drugs

Obesity

Inactivity

Clotting disorder

Sleep apnea

Being older (greater than 55)

African Americans appear to be more at risk than Caucasians and Hispanics

Men seem to be more affected than women

I would also like to add extreme stress.  With Debbie Reynold’s losing her daughter this week from a heart attack, its not shocking that the stress could take its toll on such a loving mother.

How do we prevent strokes?

Avoid the following:

Excessive drinking

Drug use

Tobacco products

Control blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol

Get evaluated by a medical provider if at risk for heart disease or stroke.

 

                                                                                                         LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician