ENancy Russell, MD - Personalized Internal Medicine  April 2010  
 
 
 
In This Issue

From the Desk of
 Dr Nancy
 
 

 
 
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Anti-Aging Strategic Plan: A Natural Approach 
By: Nancy Russell, MD
 
Happy spring! As I walk through my front yard and enjoy my beautiful red tulips that I planted in the fall, I think of the cycles of life, the changing of the seasons and taking time to smell the flowers!! To enjoy this amazing life for many years to come, I have been researching how and why our body’s age and how we can impact this process.

Life expectancy has approximately doubled in the last century. Walter Breuning, 112 years old, one of the oldest living persons says his secrets to longevity are: "Staying active in body and mind, practicing moderation and treating others with kindness and respect". Genetics or predisposition to diseases of aging and your longevity is based 25% on your genetics and 75% on your behaviors and life style choices.

Dr Mehmet Oz says, "Restricting your calories, increasing your strength and getting quality sleep, along with stress management can control how well you age".

Four strategic steps to anti aging include: Restful sleep, regular exercise, balanced nutrition and stress management.

  1. Sleep offers rebuilding of tissues and maintenance of a healthy metabolism. Goal: 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep; feel rested in the morning with good stamina throughout the day.
  2. Exercise builds muscle, stamina and helps with energy. Goal: at least 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week with variety. Some suggestions: Aerobic exercises with interval training, resistance and strength training, and flexibility exercise with relaxation breathing.
  3. Good nutrition is fueling your body with healthy nutrients. Guidelines include: Eat fresh, whole, unprocessed food, drink filtered water and herbal teas; and avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. Staple foods are vegetables, whole grains and legumes with smaller amounts of fruits, nuts, eggs and lean meats.
  4. Stress management revitalizes your body, mind and soul and can take you to another level of optimal health. Ideas for relaxation: Take time to be still with relaxation breathing, prayer and meditation, think positive thoughts and assess your attitude, and bring humor and laughter into your life. Develop strong connections and lasting relationships with family and friends.

I challenge you to change your life today, starting right now. Write down each of the four strategic steps above and make one or two goals in each area that you can achieve in your life today or in the next few months. No matter what kind of life you’ve already led, aging is reversible. If you perform a good habit for 3 years, the effect on your body is as if you’ve done it your entire life. Even better, within 3 months of changing a behavior, you start to measure a difference in your life expectancy.

I plan to become a centenarian; won’t you join me on this journey?

 
  
Stress 
By Ann 
 

There are many things in our lives that we cannot control. So should we not  take advantage of changing the things that we can?

  1. Avoid hassles: does a busy grocery store make you tense? Try avoiding peak hours or days of the week.
  2. Control Change: did a new baby arrive in the family? Maybe now is not the best time to remodel the kitchen!
  3. Take a break: meditate, pray, exercise, read a book etc.
  4. Ask for help: we can’t put 100% into everything, we must prioritize and delegate.
  5. Create boundaries: even healthy relationships benefit from boundaries. Being responsible for your own happiness and communicating your needs are very important aspects of all our relationships.

 There are also a few ways that we can help ourselves to relax or unwind.

  1. Deep breathing: can be done sitting or standing. Place you palms on your stomach so when you inhale you feel your abdomen expand. Inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts and hold again for four counts. Repeat cycle for 4 times several times throughout the day.
  2. Stretching: muscle tension is one of your body’s natural responses to stress. Try simple stretches for your neck, shoulders and back. In a standing or seated position let your head and arms drop towards the floor. Relax for a minute then slowly bring yourself back up, softly rolling your back, neck, shoulders, then lifting your head.
  3. Clearing the mind: sit quietly in a comfortable chair and try to picture a calming scene, a place of serenity: real or imaginary. Do this for 5-10 minutes. You can also try soothing music or an audio book.

We live in a stressful world. If we can identify the stressors in our lives and use some relaxation techniques, we can better cope with the hectic lifestyles that often overcome us. Stress does not have to control us. We can control and manage our stress.

 
 
 
 
LAB TIPS
By Melissa

All of us at one time or another will need to have our blood drawn. It is an important procedure in the diagnostic evaluation of your health. This can be a stressful time so here are some simple tips to make it easier.

  1. Drink plenty of water before the draw. This helps keep you hydrated and also increases the blood volume in your veins.
  2. Stay away from caffeine and nicotine. These both constrict your veins which increases the difficulty of the draw.
  3. Deep breathing: this both relaxes you and increases blood flow.
  4. Let us know if you are uneasy or anxious. Do not be embarrassed. We want to make you as comfortable as possible. Sometimes lying down or talking to the team member drawing your blood will help to calm you.
  5. If you are coming in for a fasting blood draw be sure not to have anything except water for 12 hours prior to your appointment.
  6. It is very helpful to know your medications and supplements, their dosages and the time of day that you take them. Taking a medication or supplement too close to the appointment may skew the results.
 
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 One of those "Cadillac Health Plans"
 
 
Nancy Russell, MD © Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved.