Health

Daily Habits That Wreck Your Body, Say Experts — Eat This Not That

We all have daily habits that probably aren’t the best for us, but there are some bad behaviors that are much worse than we think. Eat This, Not That! Heath talked to top ranking doctors in the country who explain what daily habits wreck our bodies and why. Read the five tips below. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

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Dr. S. Adam Ramin, MD, urologic surgeon and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles explains, “While much of the United States was still under some form of either stay-at-home orders or physical distancing measures, the result was and is that we’re moving around a lot less. But being quarantined inside our homes may also be causing us to develop or continue some poor sedentary behaviors that can spell disaster for our overall health – including our urologic organs. Many people know that sedentary habits can lead to obesity, which can severely impact heart and spine health, for example. But, you may be surprised to learn about the ways that too much sitting can also hurt your urologic organs.”

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I know this one is hard to hear for many. As much as we love binging our favorite shows, Dr. Neel Anand, MD, MCh Orth, professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles explains why it’s not good for our backs and how we should take breaks.

“With the pandemic, Many people are now watching more TV on their phones, another small device, or a laptop computer,” Dr. Anand states. “We can take these devices to bed, flop out on a couch, or watch them while en route to work or school. As a result it is affecting our spine health as I am seeing a growing number of patients with back spasms and neck pain. 

We can sit for hours on end now, lay back propped against the wall or arm of a couch, or even in specially-designed ‘gaming’ chairs. When you sit for long periods, whether at your desk at work or watching tv, you may not realize what it does to your posture. Your shoulders may tense up, your neck is likely not positioned correctly, and your spine abnormally curves. Sitting for extended periods in this unnatural position will put pressure and strain on your spinal vertebrae and discs. The result can range from a dull backache to a sharp, stabbing, and debilitating back pain or back spasms.

A back spasm is the tensing or contraction of the spinal muscles that results in a sudden and sharp jolt of pain. Back spasms may also feel like they are affecting other areas, like the hips or the legs. Back spasms can be caused by a variety of issues, but poor posture and lack of enough regular exercise are among them – as the muscles become strained from being held in the same position for an extended period.

If you want to avoid the pain and strain on your spine and plan to sit for a long duration of time, make sure you take breaks.”

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Dr. Vernon Williams, MD, sports neurologist, pain management specialist, and founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles says, “We all have battled some sort of backache, headache, or knee pain in our lives and most of us simply pop a few over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers to ease the discomfort we are feeling. Doing that seems harmless enough, right? After all, we think, ‘if it’s sold at the local grocery store it must be safe.’

As a neurologist and pain management specialist, I am seeing an alarming trend amongst people who think that buying and taking a variety of OTC pain relievers is a safe and effective way to alleviate their pain – faster. For many, the thought is that if one pill helps a little, two must surely help a little more and maybe three will help even more than that. This thought process, though well-intentioned, can quickly turn into a dangerous prescription.

In a recent radio interview, I was asked about an important survey conducted by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). The AGA surveyed more than 1,000 adults and 250 gastroenterologists about OTC medicine practices. The results were sobering. The results showed that people who take OTC medications for chronic pain often mix the medicines with other drugs, view label instructions simply as ‘general suggestions,’ are unable to recognize signs of an overdose, and fail to mention their OTC medication usage in conversations with their doctors.”

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According to Dr. Natasha Trentacosta, MD, sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, “Proper hydration means taking in about 30-50 ounces of water a day, but doing it periodically throughout the day. Hydration includes water from drinks but also from water rich or ‘wet’ snacks like fruit and vegetables. Adequately hydrated individuals have pale and clear urine.

Overhydration is When there is an excess of water intake compared to water loss. Overhydration is often seen with athletes if they drink an excessive amount of water, diluting the sodium in their bodies and resulting in hyponatremia.

Overhydration may occur with lower amounts of water intake in persons who have kidney diseases and are unable to regulate excretion of the water in their urine. Normally, drinking large amounts of water, even up to 6 gallons, can be managed by the natural ability of our bodies to regulate water excretion through the combined efforts of the pituitary gland, kidneys, liver, and heart. If any of these organs are dysfunctional, that upper limit can be lowered. 

The signs and symptoms of overhydration are the result of our electrolytes being diluted. Hyponatremia may present with lethargy or altered mental status as the brain is sensitive to sodium levels in the blood. Nausea and Vomiting, and loss of coordination may occur as well. If it continues and is not corrected, seizures or coma can develop.” 

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Dr. Trentacosta says to “Call your mother, or friend, or other family member,” on a regular basis. She adds, Or “Take time to connect with family and friends. Humans are inherently social animals; positive human connection lowers our cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and decreases anxiety and depression risks. Connection could be a phone call, a walk around the neighborhood (masked of course), or even an online get-together. If you’re feeling low on social connections, make a few new ones. Libraries, museums, and universities have opportunities for online get-togethers based on common interests.” And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.


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