2012 Summer Newsletter

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that aids in the maintenance of strong bones. Without enough Vitamin D, one may develop soft, brittle bones that can lead to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. The immune system needs Vitamin D to ward off bacteria and viruses, and the muscles need it to help them move. How much a body needs depends on your age. A newborn needs 400 IU (individual units), individuals ages one to 70 need a minimum of 600 IU and older adults ages 70+ need 800 IU.

You can get Vitamin D in several ways – through your food, the sun and supplements. Some of the foods fortified with Vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. Milk, cheese, many breakfast cereals and egg yolks also contain small amounts of Vitamin D. While you may get doses of Vitamin D from the sun, this method is not recommended due to the increase in skin cancer risk as you increase sun exposure. Supplements are widely available and come in two different forms – D2 and D3. Both of these increase Vitamin D levels in the blood. Your doctor will check your Vitamin D level at your physical through a blood test. If you have questions about how much you should be getting each day, call your doctor to speak further about your vitamin needs.

On average, woman say 7,000 words per day.  Men speak just over 2,000.


Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Make You Fat!

It may sound like a gimmick, but the truth is that if you are not logging enough sleep on a daily basis, you may be causing yourself to gain weight. Think about how you feel when you are sleepy. Chances are you reach for a fatty snack or some sort of comfort food to make you feel better. You may skip your workout and head for takeout instead of fixing a healthy meal. All of this is a cycle that leads to those extra pounds.

There also is a hormonal connection to lack of sleep. Two hormones play a big role, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you have less sleep you produce more ghrelin. Leptin tells you when to stop eating, and if you are sleep deprived you have less of the leptin hormone.

The solution is to find the amount of sleep that works best for you and to ensure your sleep is productive and not interrupted. Follow these tips for a restful night’s sleep:

  • Establish a bedtime routine and keep a regular schedule.
  • Keep the noise down and the room cool.
  • Don’t watch TV in your bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and any liquids close to bedtime.
  • Wake up around the same time every day.
  • Exercise regularly.

If you feel sleepy during the day, a short nap, when possible, may be the solution. See your doctor if you have ongoing sleepiness during the day, experience insomnia or feel fatigued. Research in recent years has advanced sleep medicine treatment and we offer this specialty care at Wake Internal Medicine.

Natural Ways to Reduce Stress

Reducing stress is imperative for a healthy lifestyle. If you are too stressed, it can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression. Successful stress reduction techniques vary by individual, so experimentation is required to learn what will work for you. Here are some natural remedy suggestions, and most of them are free or relatively inexpensive:

  • Sleep – best reducer of them all. Get seven to eight hours a night.
  • Aromatherapy – some scents such as lavender, cypress and rosemary have been shown to reduce stress.
  • B vitamins – help to promote functioning of the brain and induces relaxation.
  • Massage – used for thousands of years to increase circulation and relax tense muscles.
  • Exercise – anything from yoga to aerobics. It releases endorphins that improve the mood and help prevent obesity and other stress-related health issues.
  • Meditation
  • Healthy diet – whole grains and protein help your mood and provide energy. Don’t overdo the caffeine either. Too much can make you anxious.
  • Limit cell phone and internet use – our connected world quickly leads to mental overload.
  • Breathing – deep breathing and breathing exercises can be used anytime and anywhere.
  • Sex – releases endorphins that reduce stress.
  • Laughter – it relaxes the body and improves your mood.
  • Drink green tea.
  • Limit alcohol intake – alcohol is a depressant.
  • Write in a journal.

Research has shown that when people exercise by walking, they walk 30% longer if they walk to music.


Does Healthcare Reform Impact Your Relationship With Wake Internal Medicine?

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled on the Healthcare Reform Act, we have been inundated with questions as to how these reforms will or will not impact your ongoing relationship with the Wake Internal Medicine family of healthcare practices. The answer is slightly murky. In the short run, the impact will be minimal, if any at all, to you. Things will continue to be taken care of the same way we have been handling them all along.

In the long run there are number of questions that will come into play. Your coverage may be impacted, the way forms are filed may be impacted and even the insurance company you choose could be impacted. The effects won’t be known for some time. In the meantime, we will inform you of any and all changes that result from healthcare reform as soon as we are able. If you have questions, we will try to answer them to the best of our ability. There will be growing pains as the plan is fully implemented and we will do our best to minimize their impact on our patients.