5 Health Resolutions to Think About for 2017

Now that 2017 has officially arrived, it’s time to think about what you want to accomplish during the next twelve months. For many people, one or more of the resolutions they set are related to health. Although getting serious about health is something we always support, the success rate of resolutions related to health is unfortunately quite low. Even if you’ve experienced this type of issue yourself, you may be wondering why that’s the case.

Some of the most common pitfalls of resolutions related to health are being unrealistic, not being specific enough and trying to sprint instead of running a marathon. These issues are heightened by the fact that even though it’s easy for humans to change our attitudes towards health for the better, taking action and sticking with that action is an uphill battle.

So, what can you do to avoid falling into this common trap? The key is to set one or more manageable resolutions for yourself. To help you get inspired, we’ve put together five well-optimized health resolutions for 2017:

1. Snack Smart

Snacking is often viewed in a negative light. That’s because people tend to snack on things that are low on nutritional value and high on calories. Instead of eliminating snacking, you can help keep your hunger under control by resolving to snack smart. Make a list of acceptable snack foods like fruits and veggies that you can eat guilt-free whenever you start to feel hungry.

2. Start An Exercise Class

Instead of trying to put together a multi-day workout, simply commit to attending an exercise class. Choose something you enjoy, and even if you only go once a week, you will have at least fifty workouts under your belt by the end of the year!

3. Run 30-Day “Experiments”

Committing to something for twelve months can create a lot of pressure. An alternative resolution is to do one 30-day experiment every month. This will give you the ability to try a number of new health initiatives over the course of the year. Then you can stick with any that benefit you and not feel bad about dropping ones that simply aren’t the right fit.

4. Set a Sleep Goal

Sleep is essential for good health, which is why we recommend setting a sleep goal like getting in bed or turning off all your electronic devices at a certain time every day.

5. Make a Bet

Think of this as a way to upgrade your resolutions. By making a bet with at least one other person, you’ll up the stakes for the resolution you set and also build accountability into what you want to accomplish.

Whether you use one of the exact resolutions we covered above or simply use our examples to inspire your own resolution, we wish you a very healthy 2017. If you want professional help with any aspect of your journey to better health this year,scheduling an appointment with Kaner Medical Group is a great way to get started.

Planning to Start Taking Blood Thinners? Read This First

Blood thinners are a common form of treatment for people who are at increased risk of stroke or blood clots. The millions of people who take these drugs include those living with with atrial fibrillation, which is a heart rhythm disorder. Although blood thinners can prevent very dangerous conditions, it’s important to understand that they can carry significant risks. The most notable risk is life-threatening bleeding.

According to the FDA, close to thirty-five thousand reports were submitted about blood thinners last year. This huge number of adverse drug event reports included close to three thousand deaths, along with a little less than ten thousand cases that required hospitalization. A common theme among the cases that required hospitalization was hemorrhaging in the head.

More Information About Blood Thinners

Warfarin is the most common type of blood thinners, which are also known as anticoagulants. This pill is commonly marketed under the brand names of Jantoven and Coumadin. The way dosing is calculated for warfarin is through a blood test that’s usually conducted on a bi-weekly basis. By consistently doing this test, the dose of the drug can be kept low enough to minimize the risk of bleeds but high enough to ensure the drug is still effective at preventing stroke and clots.

According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, which is the organization that analyzed all of the adverse drug event reports from the FDA, blood thinners are the outpatient drug treatment with the highest risk for older patients. While blood thinners are a category of medication that has been around since the 1950s, the report specifically noted that this risk has increased over the last six years due to the approval of four new anticoagulants.

The generic and brand names of those four drugs are edoxaban (Savaysa), apixaban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa). The upside to these drugs is they’re easy to use. The big downside is unlike warfarin, they don’t require blood tests on a regular basis to guide dosing.

What’s interesting is the ease of use and fact that these drugs carry a higher risk is directly related. In the case of rivaroxaban (Xarelto), it’s only taken once a day. The problem with this is the single dose is initially quite high. That can play a direct role in increasing the likelihood of bleeding. The other problem is that initially high dose drops in the blood, which then decreases the drug’s ability to actually protect against stroke.

Be Proactive About Your Health

Blood thinners can be an important treatment option. The big takeaway is to discuss risks and benefits with your doctor before finalizing any decisions about medications. If you’re in Bedford or Euless and want a medical team that will work with you to choose the rightheart treatment, you can count on Kaner Medical Group for truly excellent care.

The Flu Vaccine - Everything You Need to Know

Since December 4th through 12th is National Influenza Vaccination Week, we want to use this opportunity to cover everything you need to know about the flu vaccine. Before we dive into this topic, it’s worth mentioning that Kaner Medical Group hasemployer-sponsored health programs which include an annual flu shot. Contact usonline or by calling 817-857-6565 for more information about this program. 

Is the Flu Vaccine Really Worth It? 

The short answer to that question is yes! Even if you aren’t in a group that’s considered high risk for the worst effects of getting influenza, this condition can be quite unpleasant to go through and cause you to miss important events during what’s supposed to be a very enjoyable time of the year.

How Does This Type of Vaccine Work? 

The two main types of flu vaccine are trivalent and quadrivalent. The way both vaccines work is once injected, antibodies are encouraged to develop in the body over the course of about two weeks. It’s the antibodies which provide protection against the viruses that can cause the flu.

Should Anyone Avoid This Vaccine? And When Is the Best Time to Get It?

For the last six years, the CDC has recommended that everyone over the age of six months should get an annual flu vaccination. Taking this action is especially important for people who are considered high-risk for developing the worst complications related to the flu. Groups who fall into this category include children 2 to 5, adults over 65, women who are pregnant and individuals who live in any type of long-term care facility. Other high-risk groups related to specific medical conditions include individuals with asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, blood disorders, kidney disorders, liver disorders or weakened immune systems. 

In terms of anyone who should avoid the vaccine, there are very few exceptions to the general recommendation to receive it. Those with an egg allergy do need to bring this issue to their provider’s attention prior to vaccination. And while it’s generally best to get the vaccine as close to when it becomes as available as possible, getting it in December or even January is still better than not having it administered at all.

What Side Effects Are Associated with the Flu Vaccine? 

The most common myth about this vaccine is it can give you the flu. While that’s simply not true due to vaccines either not containing the virus or having a virus that’s attenuated, there are some potential side effects of the shot or nasal spray. They range from low grade fever to sore throat. The good news is in almost all cases, any side effects will begin soon after vaccination and are short-lived.

We hope this gave you a better and more accurate understanding of why flu vaccination is so strongly recommended. And if you have any additional questions about this topic, don’t hesitate toget in touch with us.

How to Stay Well and Enjoy the Christmas Season

Now that December has arrived, there are a lot of fun things related to Christmas going on all month long. Because this is such a busy and special month, the last thing you want is to be put out of commission by getting sick. However, given that colder temperatures outside mean warmer temperatures inside (which is exactly what viruses need to thrive), staying well can be a challenge.

Although there’s no guarantee that you can avoid getting hit by any type of sickness in the coming weeks, the good news is there are steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of that happening. Since Kaner Medical Group believes that being proactive about health is important for family care of any age, we want to share five tips to help you enjoy the Christmas season by staying well throughout it:

1. Start With a Flu Shot

Given that a flu shot can cut your risk of this illness by at least half, it’s a smart starting point for winter wellness. If you have any hangups about needles, be sure to look into the quadrivalent vaccine, which is available as a nasal spray for healthy individuals between 2 and 49.

2. Use Your Own Pen

It may sound silly, but much of the viruses that spread during this time of the year do so through contact of shared objects like pens. So if you want to eliminate that possibility, all you need to do is buy a pack of pens now and then you’ll never have to worry about being stuck without one that you know is clean.

3. Don’t Be Shy About Hand Sanitizer

While hand sanitizer isn’t a replacement for fully washing your hands, soap and water isn’t always easily available when you’re on the go. That’s why it’s worth always having a bottle of hand sanitizer with you. And if you can’t remember whether or not you washed your hands, it’s better to be safe by using sanitizer instead of sorry when you get hit with something like a stomach bug.

4. Take a Deep Breath

Even though there are a lot of fun things about this time of year, there are also plenty of opportunities to get stressed. From a packed schedule to anxiety about hosting in-laws, there’s a lot that can come up. When you find yourself in this type of situation, do your best to stop and take a deep breath. Not letting stress overwhelm you will ensure your immune system doesn’t get overly taxed.

5. Keep Exercising

Getting motivated for a workout can be hard when the weather outside is less than ideal. But not only can keeping up with exercise help you stay well this season, it can also help a lot with weight management.

By starting with a flu shot, always using your own pen, not being shy about hand sanitizer, taking a deep breath and continuing to exercise, you can stay well this Christmas season and enjoy all the great things about it to the fullest!

Gestational Diabetes - What Happens After Pregnancy?

Close to ten percent of all women develop gestational diabetes during the course of their pregnancy. Even though there are a number of factors that affect how much weight women gain while they’re pregnant, recent research has found that close to half of all women gain too much weight during this experience. When that happens, women risk conditions that include pre-eclampsia.

Gaining too much weight while pregnant is also the main cause of around twenty percent of all cases of gestational diabetes. One of the key factors of this condition is that a woman's blood sugar levels get too high. Not only will we discuss how gestational diabetes can affect a woman’s health after pregnancy, but it puts babies at risk of hypoglycemia, jaundice and breathing problems after they’re born.

Although hearing about everything that goes along with gestational diabetes can be scary, the good news is it’s something the medical community understands quite well. While this is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously, once it’s identified via a glucose screening test, steps can be taken to control it and minimize the likelihood of complications during pregnancy.

Another positive note about gestational diabetes is once a mother delivers her baby, it’s most common for her blood sugar levels to return to normal. That being said, this isn’t an issue women should completely put out of their mind.

Gestational Diabetes Does Increase the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

The reason women shouldn’t assume that making it through a pregnancy that includes gestational diabetes without any complications is the end of this issue is having this condition does increase the future risk of Type 2 diabetes. Several studies have been done on this subject. Depending on the exact one, the risk for a women in this position to develop Type 2 diabetes in the five to ten years after her pregnancy is between 35% and 60%. That puts a woman with a history of gestational diabetes at being around seven times more likely to develop diabetes than someone who didn’t have this issue.

So, what should a woman do after her pregnancy? It’s standard practice to be screened six to twelve weeks postpartum. Then from that point, women with this increased risk should be proactive about getting screened at least once every three years. In addition to staying on top of the issue via screenings, standard recommendations for reducing the risk of diabetes apply. Those recommendations include consistent exercise, working to maintain a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced diet.

Get Expert Help During and After Your Pregnancy

Kaner Medical Group offers
pediatrics care, as well aswomen’s healthcare services. So whether you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant or are dealing with some issues after a pregnancy, you can count on our caring team to help you. Scheduling an appointment with our Bedford or Euless office is as easy as submitting your basic contact informationthrough our website or calling us at 817-484-0353.

The Best 5 Tips for Combating the Winter Blues

From spending time with family to enjoying lots of delicious food, there’s a lot to like about the winter months. However, not everything is always a breeze during this time of year. Not only can harsher weather conditions make driving and travel a challenge at times, but these seasonal changes affect many people in a negative way. For some, the winter blues take the form of feeling a little less energetic or sad without any specific cause. And for others, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may rear its head. SAD is a form of depression that’s triggered by the shift to winter.

Since these types of problems can make it difficult to enjoy all of the joy that the holidays are supposed to bring, we want to cover five different tips for boosting how you feel during the coldest and darkest months of the year:

1. The Sun is Your Friend

A common reason that people feel down during the winter is they don’t get as much sunlight as normal. Although staying out in the sun during the summer without any sunscreen isn’t the best thing for your skin, a healthy dose of consistent sunshine is important for a number of functions in your body, including your circadian rhythm. Supplementing Vitamin D or using a light therapy box are two options you should consider discussing with a medical professional.

2. Stay Active

When the weather is cold and wet, it’s very tempting to stay inside and enjoy watching Netflix. However, getting less activity can definitely contribute to feeling worse during the winter, which is why it’s important to find a way to consistently be active for at least 20-30 minutes a day.

3. Be Smart About Your Diet

There’s nothing wrong with indulging a few times throughout the holidays. But during the rest of this season, try to eat a healthy balance of foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.

4. Try New Things

Another reason people fall into a funk during the winter is they get stuck in the same routine all the time. By making a point of trying new things, you can avoid that trap. Whether it’s taking a fun class or exposing yourself to different types of music, this type of positive stimulation can be very helpful.

5. Get a Checkup

If you try some of the tips we covered above and are still feeling blue, there may be an underlying issue that’s causing you to feel this way. Whether that issue is a vitamin deficiency or you are dealing with a more challenging problem like SAD, the only way to know for sure is to get checked out by a medical professional.

At Kaner Medical Group, we pride ourselves on offering great health services to men, women and children. We also care about making the process of visiting us as simple and stress-free as possible. That’s why we offer the ability toschedule an appointment online. By coming in for a visit with an experienced member of our team, you’ll be able to figure out if there’s something specific bringing you down this winter and what steps you can take to remedy the problem.

5 Ways to Reduce Insomnia and Sleep Better

For many years, there was a culture in the work world that celebrated surviving on as little sleep as possible. However, over the last few years, more people than ever are realizing just how critical quality sleep is to both productivity and overall health.

There is a long list of problems that can arise from not getting enough sleep on a consistent basis. Those problems include weight gain, greater risk of heart disease, increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, higher likelihood of depression, increased inflammation and decreased immune function. Since those are just some of the problems that not getting enough sleep can create, it’s easy to understand why sleep needs to be a priority in everyone’s life.

However, for people who struggle with getting enough sleep, there is often a big gap between acknowledging the importance of sleep and being able to get enough. While improving your sleep habits is generally an ongoing process, we want to share five proven ways to reduce insomnia and start sleeping better:


1. Stay Out of Your Bedroom Until It’s Time to Sleep

Between the declining costs of TVs and the prevalence of laptops, many people use their bed as a secondary couch. Although people who don’t have trouble sleeping can get away with this bad habit, it’s a behavior that anyone with sleep problems needs to end.

2. Get Out of Bed If You Can’t Sleep


One of the most frustrating aspects of insomnia is getting in bed and then not being able to fall asleep. When this happens, you should actually get out of bed after approximately twenty minutes and go to a different room. However, that doesn’t mean you should turn on your TV or pull out your laptop. Instead, either read a book in paper form or listen to relaxing music until you feel tired.

3. Be Conscious of Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption

Caffeine has a long half-life, which means even one cup of coffee later in the day can stick with you late into the night. That’s why a common recommendation is to cut caffeine consumption after 2PM each day (some people go as early as noon). And contrary to popular belief, alcohol can lessen sleep quality instead of improving it, which is why you’ll want to monitor how it affects your sleep.

4. Limit Bright Light Exposure in the Evenings

Computer, phone and similar screens emit what’s known as blue light. This can signal the brain to wake up. Try to avoid these screens during the last couple of hours of the day. And if you are going to look at them, use a solution like Flux or Night Shift to reduce a screen’s blue light by warming its color temperature.

5. Be Active During the Day

Whether it’s going to the gym or simply getting out for a walk, engaging in at least thirty minutes of exercise each day can be a very effective way to improve your ability to fall asleep at night and stay that way.

If sleep is a major challenge in your life, we encourage you to look at our sleep medicine offerings that can help you understand clinical conditions that occur during sleep and find the best solutions for those issues.

 

 

Should You Consider the Mediterranean Diet?

In February of this year, we wrote a blog post about National Heart Month. In the post, we covered different ways for both men and women to reduce their risk of heart disease. One of the tips we covered is to consider the DASH or Mediterranean diet. As we explained, unlike the majority of diets that aren’t designed for long-term success, both the DASH and Mediterranean diets are sustainable approaches to eating.

The other reason we mentioned those diets in that post is both have been linked to supporting heart health. Recently, new research about the Mediterranean diet provides even more detailed insights into how this eating strategy can reduce cardiovascular risks. We’re going to cover that research, as well as the basics of the Mediterranean diet.

What the Mediterranean Diet Can Do for Heart Health

The study in question was published in the European Heart Journal earlier this year. It found that older adults who adhered to the Mediterranean diet were at lower risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death than those who followed a Western diet. Specifically, the study found that out of 23,902 healthy adults, the cardiovascular disease and death risk for adherents to the Mediterranean diet is between six and sixteen percent lower. As the researchers explained, “these results add to the pool of evidence on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, even in a non-Mediterranean country where an optimal dietary pattern is unknown.”

The Basics of the Mediterranean Diet

Now that we’ve established why the Mediterranean diet can be so beneficial to heart health, we want to cover the basic elements of this diet. The first issue we want to clear up is the name of the diet. Instead of referring to specific foods like Italian or Greek foods, the word refers to the origins of the diet.

So, what exactly does this diet consist of eating? A big part of why this diet stands out from most others is it consists primarily of guidelines instead of overly strict rules about what to eat and what to avoid. The first principle is to maximize your intake of vegetables, peas, legumes, fruits and wholegrain cereals. Next, red meat intake should be limited. The primary sources of protein for this diet are chicken and fish.

Another principle of the Mediterranean diet is to use mono-unsaturated olive oil or rapeseed oil whenever possible in place of animal fat such as butter or lard. The next principle is to keep your intake of highly processed fast foods and ready meals to a minimum. The reason is those items are generally high in saturated fat and salt, which are both things this diet minimizes. In terms of beverages, water is emphasized. And for alcohol, red wine can be enjoyed with meals but should be limited to two small glasses per day.

If you have any additional questions about yourheart health orweight loss management, you can get 1-on-1 answers byscheduling an appointment with our talented medical team online.

Weight Management Strategies for Teens

Since 1980, the percentage of children and teens in the US who are obese has tripled to 19%. The definition of obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of body fat that results in someone being more than 20% heavier than their ideal body weight.

 

In addition to the 19% of children and teens who fall into the obese category, another 30% of this age group is classified as overweight. Based on this data, it’s clear that weight is an issue for many teens in the United States. While there are a number of explanations for this, a recent study found that many of the weight management strategies typically used with teens are counterproductive.

 

Why the AAP Wants Parents to Focus on Health

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has had guidelines that address childhood obesity and eating disorders. However, what’s new about the information recently released by the AAP is that the two are often connected.

 

Research by the organization found that the majority of teenagers diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia weren’t initially overweight. However, overweight teens who try to lose weight may develop eating disorders.

 

Excessive exercise, laxatives, diet pills or fasting are all examples of risky tactics a teen may utilize in an attempt to lose weight. The good news is parents can lessen the risk of those actions by steering teens away from the concept of dieting.

 

How Parents Should Talk to Teens About Weight

 

Even when dieting doesn’t go too far, the data shows that it’s generally not effective for teens. In fact, members of this age group who diet are more likely to end up overweight. What’s worse is things get even more complicated for teens who do go too far with their attempts at dieting.

 

If a teen is overweight, it’s possible for them to develop an eating disorder and parents to miss any signs of the disorder because the teen is not excessively thin. However, that doesn’t change the fact that teens can still experience complications often associated with anorexia like low blood pressure or an unstable heart rate.

 

So if dieting isn’t what parents should focus on with teens, how can they help a teen who is struggling with his or her weight? The first strategy is to get rid of junk food in the house and keep it stocked with plenty of healthy options.

 

The next is to eat together as a family as often as possible. Another is to encourage a positive body image. Encouraging this type of body image means not teasing teens about their weight. Although that may seem obvious, it can be easy to overlook for families who are used to constantly joking around with each other.

 

 

Kaner Medical Group offersweight management andadolescent healthcare services. So if you want to be sure that your teen is getting the right care from experienced professionals, we encourage you toschedule an appointment with us online.

Should You Be Worried About the Zika Virus?

If you have lots of questions about the Zika virus, you’re definitely not alone. Although there has been an explosion in media coverage of this virus over the past few months, much of that coverage fails to cover what regular people in the state of Texas need to know. Since this is a topic that regularly comes up at the Kaner Medical Group offices, we want to cover the main information you need to know:

 

The Basics of the Zika Virus

 

The Zika virus was first isolated all the way back in 1947. However, prior to February of 2016, very few people had heard of this virus. Google Trends shows that there were virtually no searches across the entire Internet for this condition until four months ago.

 

The reason that media coverage and subsequent concerns about this virus suddenly exploded was due to information about how quickly it’s spreading in Brazil. Researchers believe that there are at least 1.5 million people of all ages in Brazil who have been infected by the virus.

 

The other element that has kept Zika in the news is the negative effect it can have on pregnant women. The biggest risk factor associated with Zika is microcephaly, which is a birth defect. This condition manifests as an underdeveloped fetal brain and can lead to neurological deformation or death. It’s worth noting that women who get pregnant after being infected are also at risk.

 

Of the 1.5 million people who are believed to have the Zika virus in Brazil, around 3,500 cases of microcephaly were reported in the country between October 2015 and January 2016.

 

Recent Spread Into the United States

 

Another reason that Zika has remained a prominent story in the media is the 2016 Summer Olympics are taking place in Brazil. Given that over half a million people from across the globe are expected to travel to Rio de Janeiro for this event, there are lots of worries about a rapid acceleration of Zika spreading around the world. That’s because in addition to mosquitoes spreading the virus, it can also spread through sexual contact.

 

Adding to the media’s fixation on Zika is a recent story from Time. According to the article, which quotes a top US health official, Zika is expected to begin spreading in the United States within the next month or so. While there are currently more than 500 cases in the US, those are primarily travel-related. The article focused on the need for forceful preparation based on evidence that mosquitoes will begin the process of local transmission throughout the US.

 

The Bottom Line

 

 

As of now, Zika is unlikely to affect the majority of Texans in a significant way. That being said, if you’re currently pregnant or thinking about trying to get pregnant, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor any additional questions you have about the Zika virus during your appointment. It’s also a good idea for everyone to take basic measures to protect against mosquito bites this summer.