Quiz of the Month: Valentine’s Day, Doctor Style

February 7th, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

There are sweethearts, heart-to-hearts, heartfelt confessions and candy hearts. As Valentine’s Day approaches, hearts are all over the place. But to many of us, our own heart remains a mystery—not just poetically but literally.

So this month, we’re testing your hearty knowledge in our “Valentine’s Day Heart Quiz.” Here’s a teaser question. Do you know the answer?

This large vein moves blood from the upper body to the heart:

After the quiz, if you want to learn more about that most romantic of organs, here are a few interesting articles:

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

A Day in the Life of a Doctor Detective

January 31st, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

You’re a family doctor. You walk into a patient’s room where a man in his mid-50s waits for your wisdom. His complaint: He hasn’t been feeling well.

You ask the normal questions and find out that he’s had has no weight loss, pain, rash or new stresses. You can’t find any clues, in fact. Where do you go from here?

Walk with a family doctor as she solves this head scratcher in this week’s featured article, “Medical Mystery: A True-Life What-Done-It,” and see how doctors make the decisions they make—and how listening to your body may save your life.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Strawberry-Cheesecake Yogurt? That Can’t Be Good (for You).

January 24th, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

Mmmm. Key lime pie, orange crème, vanilla. Can’t you just taste the rich, creamy flavors? Now mix a little yogurt in. No, really!

Have you tried dessert-flavored yogurts? I like them. I guess not everyone does. That commercial comes to mind—the one where the husband searches the fridge for the decadence he hears his wife talking about. All the while, he overlooks the healthy yogurts.

But did you catch that? I just called them healthy. Are they really? I mean, strawberry yogurt has strawberries in it. What does strawberry-cheesecake yogurt have except sugar?

We asked Mindy Podolsky Owens, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles, for the hard, harsh truth. She dishes it out in this week’s featured article.

Here’s a hint at what she says: I went to the Dannon Light & Fit website and compared the nutritional information for the strawberry and strawberry cheesecake flavors, both fat-free. Guess which flavor fits which profile below.

Flavor 1

  • Calories: 80
  • Sodium: 75 mg
  • Sugars: 9 g
  • Protein: 5 g


Flavor 2

  • Calories: 80
  • Sodium: 80 mg
  • Sugars: 11 g
  • Protein: 5 g

Both flavors have the same percentage of listed vitamins and minerals.

Have you guessed? Here’s the answer …

Flavor 1 is the strawberry cheesecake.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Full disclosure: We’re not connected with Dannon or any other yogurt company, and we do not receive compensation for this article or the links in it.

Do Abortions Affect Women Negatively? Experts Debate

January 17th, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

Have you been watching the Republican presidential debates? Or are you waiting for the big guns in the fall?

During every heated election cycle, some of the most contentious issues are related to health care. Should we have universal health care? What do we do about Medicare? Should abortions be legal?

We’ve held our own debates on these issues, skipping the politicians and going straight to medical experts. For this week, though, we go beyond the usual talking points—the normal election-cycle questions—and delve into a less-discussed issue related to a commonly debated topic: abortion.

There’s plenty of discussion about whether it should be legal. But some other aspects don’t get a lot of air time. So, to deepen understanding about the topic, we asked our debaters to answer a seemingly simple question: Does abortion cause long-term negative effects? Believe it or not, there’s disagreement over the answer. Some say it can lead to medical and psychological problems. Others say it doesn’t. In our debate, a pro-life ob-gyn and a pro-choice one give us their take.

What’s the most important issue to you this election cycle? Does it have to do with health care, or is that on the back burner for you right now?

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Oh, Go Ahead, Sleep Through This Test

January 10th, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

Lots of us resolved to move more this year, but how about resting more too? Getting enough sleep is important for our health. And it might give us more energy for that exercise!

So this month’s fun health quiz is all about slumber. You can take it here. How do you think you’ll do? Here’s a sample question:

This is a dangerous sleep disorder in which you stop breathing periodically:

a. Sleep oxidation
b. Sleep apnea
c. Sleep asthmatic syndrome

Do you know the answer? Hint: Symptoms include snoring loudly and being sleepy during the day.

By the way, after you take the quiz, you can now share it on Facebook. There’s a handy dandy button to make it easy. You can compare your score with your friends’.

And if you need help getting your snoozes in, check out this Q&A article, which gives tried-and-true tips to sleep lots and sleep well.

Have a blast … and then go take a nap. Tell everybody it’s for your health.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Bad Nutrition Tips for 2012

January 3rd, 2012

by Leigh Ann Otte

Happy New Year!

Did you make a resolution to get healthier this year? Well, we could support you in your admirable vow by giving some healthy nutrition tips. But nah. How ’bout busting some bad ones?

That sounded like fun, so we expanded our nutrition myths-and-facts article for 2012, adding even more questionable claims. Here’s a teaser: Of the following, which is the one true claim?

  1. Bottled water better is for you than tap.
  2. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables have more vitamins than those that aren’t as colorful.
  3. The more sugar you eat, the more you crave.
  4. Even if you’re not on a low-carb diet, you should keep your carb intake low.

Do you know the answer? Check your work here. If you’re brave, post how you did below!

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Time for a Little Post-Christmas Therapy?

December 27th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

How was your Christmas, or how’s your Hanukkah going? Hopefully fantastic. But for some people, spending time with family dredges up long-lived issues they thought they’d buried (at least stuffed down and ignored) long ago.

So in this week’s featured article, we explore four common types of therapy, including whom they might help and the pros and cons of each. Also, here’s our article on how to find a good therapist.

If you’re worried about a loved one, here’s our article on how to help someone you know with things like depression, alcoholism and addiction.

If you’re feeling suicidal, you can get immediate help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TTY: 1-800-799-4889). It’s free and confidential.

Here’s to a healthy, happy 2012—and to having the strength to seek help when we need it.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

5 Tips for Serving a Healthy Christmas Meal Everyone Will Enjoy

December 20th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Merry Christmas!

Looking for some healthy twists to dish out this year? Here are five tips, based on advice from registered dietitians Jill Weisenberger and Sarah-Jane Bedwell in this week’s featured article, “Healthy Christmas Tips: Meals, Eggnog and Parties“:

  1. For every calorie-rich dish, serve two vegetable dishes or something else that’s healthy.
  2. Dairy free Silk Nog saves you almost half the calories of eggnog and all the saturated fat. (It’s in the dairy-free milk-alternatives section of your grocery store. It’s made of soymilk.)
  3. If anyone balks at the idea of a healthier Christmas, invite the person to bring a traditional dish he or she would enjoy. It’s OK to have options.
  4. If you can find it, serve festive-looking star fruit (pictured right) with the Christmas cookies.
  5. Serve crustless pie.

After a wonderful meal, go for a wonderful walk! Above all, enjoy the weekend. Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Calling All Nuts! How Well Do You Know Yourself?

December 13th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Are you a complete and utter nut? Do friends tell you, “You’re crazy!” Whether it’s holiday madness or a lifetime fling with your own drummer beat, this month’s quiz is for you.

“Mixed-Nuts Quiz: How Nutty Are You?” tests your knowledge about chestnuts, pine nuts, CornNuts and more. (One of these things is not like the other ….) Find out whether you’re nutrageously bad or a nutty professor! (Really. You get a score at the end.)

On another, perfectly non-nutty note: The editors over at Healthline.com nominated us as one of the best health blogs of 2011! Woo-hoo! Won’t you jog on over there and vote for us? It’s easy. Just search “My Family Doctor.” Thank you in advance.

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

Unlikely Allies: The Flu Shot and Your Immune System

December 6th, 2011

by Leigh Ann Otte

Seems like your immune system and the flu shot would be mortal enemies—fighting to the death. But that would mean they’d both have to be alive to start with. And they’re not. The flu shot’s dead, poor thing.

Besides, it and your immune system are on the same side, working together to help you battle the flu shot’s evil twin: the live flu.

Internist Bruce Heckman explains in this week’s featured article, “Flu Shot With a Compromised Immune System: Good Idea for Most”:

When a healthy person gets sick, the body produces antibodies in the blood to help fight off the disease. The flu shot works because of this mechanism. It contains dead flu viruses that trigger the body to produce specific antibodies to combat the flu strain (or strains) going around that year. Because the shot only contains dead viruses, it doesn’t actually give you the flu.

Though we hear about people getting flu-like symptoms after the shot every year, the CDC says it’s rare for that to happen. When it does, the yuckiness doesn’t last more than a couple of days.

Do you usually get the flu shot? Why or why not?

Feel healthy. Live well. Smile. With our free, upbeat health newsletter.

Leigh Ann Otte is the managing editor of MyFamilyDoctorMag.com and a freelance writer specializing in health and aging. This information is not meant to be individual advice. Please consult your doctor for that. See our disclaimer here.

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