Top Tips for Allergy Management

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff/StatePoint Media on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Allergy symptoms can lead to a major disruption in quality of life. And unfortunately, they affect a lot of people. Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis (also commonly known as hay fever), according to the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology.

The Obesity Epidemic in Children

Written by Dr. Jared Hershenson on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Obesity is currently the most common pediatric chronic illness in developed countries. In a 2016 study published in JAMA, authors reported that one out of three children in the United States are overweight and nearly one out of five classify as obese based on body mass index percentiles. Obesity is associated with many other cardiac risk factors for early heart disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or pre-diabetes. Additionally, obese individuals can develop joint problems, sleep apnea, and social/psychological problems. Poor diet including high glycemic foods, specifically high fructose drinks, larger portion sizes, fast food, less structured play with less exercise, and increasing screen time are likely contributing to this epidemic. A 2016 New England Journal of Medicine study linked early cardiac death with childhood/adolescent obesity. As a pediatric cardiologist, I see many patients with these problems, and strive to help them take the necessary steps to prevent later-onset heart problems. Intervention is necessary, as the current generation of children is on track to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.

How to Fight Better

Written by Rivka Sidorsky on . Posted in Health & Wellness

In a 14-year study of married couples, conducted by the Gottman Institute and published in the Journal of Marriage and Family Therapy in 2000, psychologists were able to predict divorce correctly 93 percent of the time by watching the couples fight.Every relationship has conflict, but any couples therapist will tell you that how couples fight is more important than what they fight about or how often. Learning how to fight effectively and kindly is an essential skill in any relationship, and particularly so in a marriage.

Four Things to Monitor for Better Health

Written by Justin Gedalia Walls on . Posted in Health & Wellness

We spend a lot of time throughout the day gathering information and reviewing it. What do I need for work? What do I need for home? What tasks need to get done? Did someone ask me to do carpool today? Many of us rely on something external to help us recall all this information rather than rely on memory alone, aiding us to make the best decisions all day and helping us plan how to get everything done. Whether it’s old Post-It notes, day planners, or apps on our smartphones, we tend to have something handy to help us accomplish the things we want to get done.

There are four major practices or measures of wellbeing that health and wellness professionals suggest should be monitored: mindfulness, sleep, activity, and nutrition. Keeping a record of these four functions has demonstrated gains in overall health, stress reduction, restful sleep, and improved problem solving. I am going to discuss some techniques to monitor and manage each of these four, including some cool technological solutions.

When Back Pain Has You in Its Grip

Written by Simeon Pollack on . Posted in Health & Wellness

One morning, many years ago, when I was a young man, I woke up unable to move without terrific pain in my back. Any way I tried to turn produced previously unknown and unbelievable pain. No one was home and I could not figure out how to get out of bed and call for help. Finally, I managed to slither out of bed and over to the phone.

The next time I experienced back pain, I was running some phone wires in my room one Sunday. After completing the work, I could hardly stand up. To make matters worse, I had to get in my car and drive three hours because I had an exam the next morning! I have had more experiences with back pain since then.

In all those instances, my back pain stemmed from soft tissue problems; in other words, muscle spasms. I am now familiar with all the muscles in the back from the neck down, so I now know exactly which muscles contracted so forcefully in my back and caused me so much pain and immobility.

Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Muscle Growth, But Then So Does Running Marathons

Written by Justin Walls on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Yes, real scientists in a real laboratory did a real study to conclude that getting hammered hinders your ability to produce new muscle fibers. However, not all studies concluded that consuming alcohol was necessarily always a bad choice for a post-workout refreshment.

Here are some interesting facts: an alcoholic beverage contains antioxidants, electrolytes and carbohydrates. In some ways, it’s not much different than a sugar free Gatorade, because a regular Gatorade has about 30 grams of sugar and beer has none. It’s also interesting to note that an alcoholic beverage such as beer has metabolic benefits such as improved blood flow that can offset some of the metabolic issues that may have arisen from poor diet and lack of exercise over an extended period.

Building Your Own Walking or Running Program

Written by Justin Walls on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Now that the weather has warmed up, it’s a great time to start taking advantage of the amazing trails and parks available in the Greater Washington area. This would also be a good time to work on either a steady walking or running program. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines suggest either 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times per week, or 20-50 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity three times per week. Walking would be considered moderate intensity, and running would be considered vigorous. In order to properly build a program, you would need to find out the heart rate goals for the individual client in order to assess if the intensity is appropriate. You may want a fitness professional to help walk you through (no pun intended) any of the many questions you may have during your program-building process.

Muscle Tension-Release Techniques for at Home or at Work

Written by Justin Walls on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Back and neck discomfort can develop at any age as a result of weakened muscles, lack of exercise, and poor posture. The suggestions I make in this article can help address common muscle tension. (If you are experiencing chronic pain or numbness, contact a doctor.)

I’m going to walk you through simple methods for how to release tension in the lumbar spine, thoracic spine, and cervical spine. Having discomfort in these areas can reduce range of motion and regular functioning, such as limiting how far you can stride or how high you can raise your arm, and just ruin your day.

Making (and Keeping) Friends

Written by Rachel Ravin on . Posted in Health & Wellness

“How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them”by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown

When I heard that this issue of Kol HaBirah was going to be showcasing local camps, I immediately thought of the opportunity kids have to learn and practice friendship skills in summer camp settings. Therefore, I decided to profile the book “How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them.”

This children’s book is recommended for kids ages four to eight, and I have also used it in therapy with older kids who benefit from learning concrete social skills with a visual presentation. Some takeaways include:

Celebrate National Nutrition Month by ‘Putting Your Best Fork Forward’

Written by Kol HaBirah Staff/StatePoint Media on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Are you finding it difficult to keep up with your healthy New Year’s habits? Trying to bounce back after overindulging on Purim? Tackle your health with renewed energy in March during National Nutrition Month and remember that small changes, made over time, can add up.

The 2017 National Nutrition Month theme, “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” encourages everyone to start small—one forkful at a time. Whether you’re planning meals to prepare at home or making selections when dining out, it’s crucial to develop a healthy eating style that you can maintain.

“To make lasting, healthful changes to your eating habits, it’s important to start small,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Caroline Passerrello. “Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you develop personalized solutions that will keep you healthy and allow you to still enjoy your favorite foods throughout your entire life.”

Purim and the Gift of Genetic Testing: Reflections of a Genetic Counselor

Written by Estie Rose for JScreen on . Posted in Health & Wellness

I was recently sent a cute “Countdown to Passover” ticker, reminding me that Passover is only 63 days away. And while I almost had a conniption about this (How will I ever pull it together by then?), I remembered that we first get to celebrate the more joyous and upbeat holiday of Purim.

I have always felt a connection to Purim because I am so interested in the many themes of the story of Queen Esther, the biblical heroine for whom I was named. The name Esther is a Persian name, derived from the word ishtar (star), but there is another meaning to the name in Hebrew, which is “hidden.” One of the themes of the story of Purim is how G-d is hidden in everything, and often sends us the “remedy before the plague.” In the story of Purim, He placed Esther, the ultimate heroine, in the palace of the king before the decree to kill all the Jews was made. Once the evil Haman had suggested the murder of the Jewish people, Esther had already earned her keep in the palace and was able to convince her husband to stop this decree from moving forward. By placing Esther in the good graces of the king early on, G-d had performed a miracle for us, regardless of whether the Jews of the time were aware of it.