The Link Between Seasonal Allergies and Reflux

While many may think of seasonal allergies happening in the spring along with blooming flowers, fall can also be a difficult time for those who are allergic. Ragweed, dust, mold, mildew, and the removal of fall crops are just some of the possible fall triggers for allergy sufferers. What many people don’t know is that allergies can be a big issue for people dealing with acid reflux disease. Separate from food allergies, seasonal allergies can also play a role in exacerbating the symptoms of acid reflux.

The link between seasonal allergies and acid reflux disease is that as allergic response becomes more active, one has more nasal drip, and more nasal drip leads to more acid, and that acid can then reflux up into the nasal passages and make the whole cycle even worse. In addition, one of the ways that seasonal allergies can aggravate acid reflux disease is the pressure from coughing or sneezing. This pressure can temporarily weaken the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and allow stomach contents to splash into the esophagus. In order to get the added acid reflux pain under control, suffers also need to get the drainage, sneezing and coughing under control.

The first line of defense in the seasonal allergy arsenal is generally the use of antihistamines. Medications provide a way to lessen the reaction the body has to the histamines produced by allergies. These medications can help many people deal with their allergies without any further treatments.

Senior man with reflux

If you do need antihistamines in the pollen season, remember that they can dehydrate and cause constipation. The latter is also a huge reflux trigger. Be sure to drink plenty of water and gradually increase your fiber intake to counteract any unpleasant side effects. You don’t want to trade one reflux trigger for another.

There are a few things that you can do this time of year to help lessen your increased acid reflux symptoms due to allergies:

  • Even though the weather this time of year can be gorgeous, keep the windows closed in at least one room of your house. Spending time in this room throughout the day will give your entire bodily system a break from the environmental stress being placed on it.
  • Shower and change clothes after working or being outside. Most aller
    gens cannot be seen. Especially on a windy day, just assume that if you have been outside, you are wearing allergens when you come inside.
  • Be proactive with your reflux medication and your allergy medication this time of year. Reflux comes in waves. One of the best ways to manage reflux is to understand ahead of time when your reflux may be troublesome and manage accordingly. An antihistamine can be helpful. It works by blocking a certain natural substance (histamine) that your body makes during an allergic reaction. This medication can also slow down your runny nose and nasal drip whichin turn can help your reflux symptoms.
  • Do not experiment with new foods. Keep your eating very simple and reflux friendly until at least the first frost in your area.
  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Allergens can be found in our environment and also in raw fruits and some vegetables. These same foods can often be better tolerated cooked. When foods are heated, the proteins are distorted and the immune system no longer recognizes the food as a problem.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are suffering from acid reflux. Schedule a consultation at VIP Surg. We can help find the right treatment for you.

 

Eating in Moderation: What Does that Really Mean?

“Everything in moderation,” says a co-worker, dipping the tines of her fork into her low-fat salad dressing.

“Everything in moderation,” says a friend helping himself to a third scoop of ice cream.

What is moderation? If this concept of moderation confuses you, you’re not alone. Everyone appears to define it differently. Eating in moderation is a subjective term, meaning something slightly different depending on your perspective. Individual perception of reasonable limits opens the door to a wide variety of complex answers for a seemingly simple question.

On one end of the spectrum, there are those who don’t put much thought into eating a healthy and well-balanced diet. Convenience and taste are the main factors influencing their dietary decisions.

On the opposite end, one may find those who label food as either wholesome and pure or downright evil, with seldom anything in between. Typical “bad” foods such as sugar, carbs, dairy, and processed or refined foods are avoided at all costs.

Both extremes can have detrimental effects on health. Eating calorie-dense foods high in sugar, fat, and salt on a regular basis, combined with a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

However, cutting out entire food groups without replacing missing nutrients can also pose problems. While “clean eating” might come in an attractive package, severe restrictions can lead to cycles of binge eating, feelings of guilt and shame, and further restriction.

Toward which end of the spectrum do you tend to lean? Where is the fine middle ground?

Eating in moderation means you do not consume more calories than your body needs to function properly. A person who does not eat a moderate number of calories gains weight, risking obesity and its associated illnesses.

The quality of the food is also an important factor when talking about eating in moderation. Consuming food your body does not need or want, such as excess sugar and fat has a detrimental effect on your body.

Eating in moderation means consuming nutritionally dense food so your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs without harmful or needless substances. According to the MyPlate scheme from the USDA, a healthy dinner plate contains lean protein, whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables.

Plan your plate to ensure you are eating the proper foods in moderation. Draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate. Fill the left half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Draw another imaginary line to cut the right half of your plate into two quarters. Fill one section with lean meat and put whole-grain products in the other section.

Moderation is about a healthy relationship with food – balancing the pleasure of eating with our basic need for sustenance. It is realizing that eating one piece of cake a week probably won’t kill you, but that doing so everyday just might.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are fighting obesity and metabolic disease, schedule a consultation at VIP SURG. We can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

The True Size of the American Obesity Epidemic

To understand the true magnitude of the American obesity epidemic, we first need to understand what it really means to be overweight. Doctors and nutritionists classify people as either underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. These different classifications are determined by body mass index (BMI), or a measure of body fat based on your height and weight.

To get a basic idea, this chart from the CDC approximates what that means for someone who is 5’9” tall.

Height Weight Range BMI Considered
Source: CDC      
5′ 9″ 124 lbs or less Below 18.5 Underweight
  125 lbs to 168 lbs 18.5 to 24.9 Healthy weight
  169 lbs to 202 lbs 25.0 to 29.9 Overweight
  203 lbs or more 30 or higher Obese

As for what is driving America’s chronic weight problem, there are no definite answers. Scientific studies often reach conflicting conclusions. Many theories are out there, but the preponderance of evidence points to the two causes most people already suspect: too much food and too little exercise.

Bigger portions, confusing “diet” for “nutrition,” and lack of exercise are a deadly combination. Today, each American puts away an average of 195lbs of meat every year, compared to just 138lbs in the 1950’s. Consumption of added fats also shot up by around two thirds over the same period, and grain consumption rose 45% since 1970.

Research published by the World Health Organization found that a rise in fast food sales correlated to a rise in body mass index, and Americans are notorious for their fast-food consumption. It is not just how much we eat, but what we eat.

The role of diet in the obesity epidemic is obviously major, but it’s also complex. Consumers are sent mixed messages when it comes to what to eat and how much. Larger portions, processed packaged food, and drive-thru meals are branded as almost classically American — fast, cheap, filling, and delicious, but yet we spend billions of dollars annually on weight loss schemes.

Lack of exercise is also a major culprit in the obesity epidemic. A far greater majority of us are sitting throughout our workday. According to one study, only 20% of today’s jobs require at least moderate physical activity, as opposed to 50% of jobs in 1960. Other research suggests Americans burn 120 to 140 fewer calories a day than they did 50 years ago. Add this to the higher number of calories we are packing in, and we get a perfect recipe for weight gain.

A number of other factors are thought to play a role in the obesity epidemic, such as the in- utero effects of smoking and excessive weight gain in pregnant mothers. Poor sleep, stress, and lower rates of breastfeeding are also thought to contribute to a child’s long-term obesity risk. Of course, these factors are not explicit or solitary causes of obesity, but they are reliable indicators of the kinds of systemic problems contributing to this crisis.

In the end, though, we can’t lose sight of the big picture. Over the past years, diet fads have come and gone, with people rushing to blame red meat, dairy, wheat, fat, sugar, etc. for making them fat, but in reality, the problem is much simpler. Genetics and age do strongly influence metabolism, but as the CDC points out, weight gain and loss is primarily a formula of total calories consumed versus total calories used.

If you are looking for answers to debilitating obesity and the health issues that often accompany the extra weight, contact VIP Surg at (702) 487-6006. We can help you find the right treatment for your unique situation.

A pair of female feet on a bathroom scale

Gallstones and Gallbladder Disease

Some people think of their gallbladder as being “expendable”. Not that anybody wants any of their organs to be removed, but since many people live a seemingly normal life after getting their gallbladder removed, many people don’t think their gallbladder plays an important role in their overall health. After all, how important can your gallbladder be if you can do just fine after it’s surgically removed? The gallbladder actually plays a very important role in your body. It is an essential part of the digestive system.

In the United States, about a million new cases of gallstone disease are diagnosed each year, and some 800,000 operations are performed to treat gallstones, making it the most common gastrointestinal disorder requiring hospitalization. Gallstones or gallbladder disease can quickly turn a great meal into a period of misery.

Gallstone disease is the most common disorder affecting the body’s biliary system, the network of organs and ducts that create, transport, store, and release bile. Bile is a thick fluid, made in the liver and stored in the gallbladder, which acts in the small intestine to digest fat. Bile contains cholesterol, water, proteins, bilirubin (a breakdown product from blood cells), bile salts (the chemicals necessary to digest fat), and small amounts of copper or other materials. If the chemical balance of bile contains too much of any of these components, particularly of cholesterol, crystals form and can harden into stones.

Bile is stored in the Gallbladder and is concentrated up to five times by the removal of water. Gallstones form when liquid stored in the gallbladder hardens into pieces of stone-like material. Bile contains water, cholesterol, bilirubin and other substances. Ideally these minerals remain in liquid form until they are passed out of the body. However, excessive amounts of these minerals in bile can cause them to crystallize.

These small crystals that form out of the saturated bile may begin to clump together. Any existing crystals makes it easier for other crystals to form. If they stay in the gallbladder too long, the crystals gradually grow larger until they become a gallstone so large that it cannot pass through the biliary ducts.

In terms of size, gallstones can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. A person can form one large stone in his or her gallbladder, or hundreds! About 10 percent of the population has gallstones, but the vast majority experiences no symptoms and need no treatment. However, in 1 percent to 2 percent of these people, gallstones can cause problems by lodging in bile ducts, stopping the flow of bile or digestive enzymes, and leading to severe abdominal pain, vomiting, inflammation, and even life-threatening infection.

Gallstone attack has some classic symptoms:

The most agonizing pain is experienced in the upper right part of the abdomen under the ribs. Usually it appears suddenly, sometimes an hour or two after eating a fatty meal. The pain may get worse quickly, and then last for several hours. Many times the pain may radiate to the back between the shoulder blades or under the right shoulder. Inhaling deeply, or moving, often makes the pain worse. The primary therapy for gallstones that are causing pain, inflammation, or infection is removal of the gallbladder.

A number of factors put people at higher risk of gallstones:

  • Gender: Women between the ages of 20 and 60 are 3 times more likely to develop gallstones than are men in the same age group. By age 60, 20 percent of American women have gallstones.
  • Age: The incidence of gallstone disease increases with age.
  • Genetics: Family history and ethnicity are critical risk factors in development of gallstones, though no gene responsible for gallstone formation has yet been discovered. African-Americans seem to have lower rates of gallstone disease than American Indians, whites, or Hispanics.
  • Obesity: Obesity is a significant risk factor, particularly for women. Obesity also slows down the emptying of the gallbladder.
  • Location of body fat: Belly fat, that spare tire around the middle, dramatically increases the chance of developing stones.
  • Diabetes: People with diabetes often have high levels of triglycerides in their blood, and these fatty acids tend to increase the risk of gallstones.

Even if you’re not at risk for gallstones, it is wise to maintain a healthy body weight, by among other things, sticking to a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber.

If you are in the Las Vegas area and suffering with gallstones or gallbladder disease, schedule a consultation with Dr. Shawn Tsuda.

Gallbladder Disease - Doctor with chalkboard on white background

What you Need to Know about Protein

You probably know you need to eat protein, but what is it and where exactly do you find it? The answer is – everywhere – if you’re talking about the body. Proteins make up about 42% of the dry weight of our bodies. The protein collagen—which holds our skin, tendons, muscles, and bones together—makes up about a quarter of the body’s total protein. Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Your muscles, your organs, and your immune system are made up mostly of protein. All of our cells and even blood are packed with protein molecules.

Proteins, along with fats and carbohydrates, are the macronutrients that form the basis of our diets. Once consumed, some people associate protein only with helping to build muscle, but keep in mind that’s not all it does for us. In our bodies, protein performs a range of duties, from building new cells to regulating metabolism to helping cells communicate. Proteins help shuttle oxygen throughout the body in the form of hemoglobin, as well as build muscle.

When you eat foods that contain protein, the digestive juices in your stomach and intestine go to work. They break down the protein in food into basic units, called amino acids. The amino acids then can be reused to make the proteins your body needs to maintain muscles, bones, blood, and body organs.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Our DNA directs the body to join various combinations of amino acids into a variety of sequences and three-dimensional shapes for an arsenal of over 2 million different proteins, each serving a unique function. Our bodies can make some of these amino acids, but there are nine that are considered “essential amino acids” because we must consume these through our diet.

Many foods contain protein, but the best sources are:

  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • legumes like black beans and lentils

While our bodies can store fats and carbohydrates to draw on when needed, we do not have a storage pool of amino acids. We need a fresh source each day in order to build the body proteins we need. If the body is missing a particular amino acid to form the protein it needs, it will pull that amino acid by breaking down existing muscle protein. If we consistently lack certain amino acids we will lose muscle weight, energy and, eventually, fundamental functions.

The amount of protein you need depends on your weight and health. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein for the healthy individual is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or 3 to 4 grams per 10 pounds, and two to three servings of protein-rich food will meet the daily needs of most adults. Athlete’s protein intake recommendations may be higher.

The good news is that you don’t have to eat all the essential amino acids in every meal. As long as you have a variety of protein sources throughout the day, your body will grab what it needs from each meal.

You can look at a food label to find out how many protein grams are in a serving, but if you’re eating a balanced diet, you don’t need to keep track of it. It’s pretty easy to get enough protein.

*Dr. Shawn Tsuda is a General Surgeon specializing in robotic bariatric surgery. Schedule a consultation to learn more.
gabel mit verschieden Proteinen

Your Chemical Romance

It’s no secret that many of us eat for emotional reasons, but did you know that research suggests that the brain circuit for eating overlaps with the brain circuit for interpersonal relationships? The neurobiology suggests that improving social relationships can actually help you lose weight. There may even be a few ways to trick the brain to achieve the same effect.

The neurotransmitter responsible for close, trusting relationships is oxytocin. Oxytocin is released by physical contact and supportive interactions with other people. Release of oxytocin increases feelings of trust and generosity. It also reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.

Amazingly, the act of eating actually releases oxytocin. In fact, eating releases oxytocin in dopamine rich brain areas, which helps explain why eating can be soothing and pleasurable. After all, part of the reason we’re drawn to emotional eating is that eating mimics the same feelings of comfort we get from close friends and family.

If you’re trying to lose weight, try boosting your oxytocin. Luckily, the best way to do that is to improve the quality and closeness of your relationships with family, friends, and significant others.

It seems like a simple suggestion, but unfortunately, problems with these relationships are often what triggers emotional eating in the first place. As a temporary measure — while you’re working on your relationships — here are a few ways to boost your oxytocin that don’t involve snacking:

  • Get a massage. Physical contact with another person is the surest way of boosting oxytocin. If you’re not in a relationship, it can be difficult to accomplish that. If you are in a relationship, then yes, your partner is a great source of oxytocin, but don’t rely on getting all your oxytocin from one person. Getting a massage releases large amounts of oxytocin, and will help you de-stress.
  • Say or do something nice for a friend. When other people trust and rely on you it boosts your oxytocin. Showing support for someone else helps that happen.
  • Pet a pet. Petting furry pets, whether it’s yours or someone else’s can help increase oxytocin. Part of it is their furry warmth, and part of it, particularly with dogs, is their trust in you. Being trusted helps increase oxytocin whether it’s a person or a dog.
  • Hug a friend. Ask a friend for a long hug, or ask them if they would like a hug. Hugs, particularly long ones, release oxytocin. In fact frequent hugging not only increases oxytocin, it also decreases blood pressure.
  • Have a conversation (in person or on the phone). The human voice can release oxytocin in ways that the written (or texted word) doesn’t.
  • Have a warm cup of tea while wrapped in a blanket. Physical warmth helps promote feelings of trust and generosity.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for ways to treat your obesity and the diseases that often accompany it, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his expert team can help you find the best treatment for your unique situation.

Happy group of diverse people, friends, family, team together

Fitness Trends for 2017

We’re more than a month into 2017, but you still might be wondering what’s trending in the fitness world this year. While the following certainly aren’t “new,” and this list includes only few of many options, these trends will be huge this year according to an annual report published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

  • wearable tech
    • Fitness trackers and smartwatches have been hot holiday gifts for the last few years, and the ACSM says that trend won’t be going anywhere in 2017—and in fact, it will only get bigger. Today’s wearables track distance, and also provide heart rate readings, GPS route tracking, move reminders, and much more. Recent updates from brands like Garmin, Apple, and Fitbit have sent the trend to number one for this year.
  • body weight training
    • It’s easy to see why no-equipment workouts are popular. They’re relatively easy to learn, they can be modified to suit any ability level, and they can be done just about anywhere. Plus, body weight exercises are an efficient way to get fit for free. Pushups and pull-ups are classic bodyweight moves, but there are plenty more to choose from, like squats, lunges, and planks, just to name a few.
  • high-intensity interval training (HIIT)
    • HIIT helps torch calories fast by alternating quick bursts of high-intensity exercise with short rest periods. It can be found in all types of workouts, from Pilates to CrossFit and boot camp classes. To try a high-intensity interval training workout yourself, spend 20 to 30 minutes total combining repeated short bursts of work with short break periods, like 45 seconds of burpees with 15 seconds of rest followed by 45 seconds of squats.

Keep in mind that in addition to helping to maintain a healthy weight, regular exercise lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, and other chronic diseases, and serves as a powerful stress-reducer and mood-booster. With obesity and its accompanying health problem on the rise, using exercise as a preventive health tool is perhaps more important than ever.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are looking for ways to treat obesity and metabolic disorder, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his expert team can help find the right treatment for you.

 

Workout Trends card with a beach on background