Top 10 Health Questions of 2019 Answered

10. How long does alcohol stay in your system?

Many things determine a person’s blood alcohol level and how long alcohol stays in a person’s system, says Dr. Adam Algren, a physician in our Health Sciences District Emergency Room.  Those include gender, weight, having food while drinking, and the amount of alcohol a person drinks.  Dr. Algren, who is also a toxicologist, says for an average size man, it take two to three hours for two beers or two glasses of wine to leave their system.  For an average size woman, it takes four to five hours for the same amount of alcohol.

 

9. How many calories should I eat a day?

Start counting! TMC Endocrinologist Dr. Peminda Cabandugama - his patients affectionately refer to him as Dr.C- says dietary guidelines are based on your age, gender, and how much you move every day- but on average, recommendations are:

1600-2400 calories/day for Adult Women

2000-3000 calories/day for Adult Men

Looking to shed a couple pounds? Dr.C. says your intake will need to be around 1,500-1,800 calories a day for women and 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day for men.

Want to know more? Ask your primary care physician to make a referral for you to our Weight Management Clinic.

 

8. How to lower cholesterol

It’s never a fun answer, but the secret to lowering your cholesterol is diet and exercise.

TMC’s Dr. Adnan Choudhury has the following tips:

Exercise

  • About 3-4 hours per week

- This increases your good cholesterol which acts like a "sponge" to absorb some bad cholesterol

- Improves weight loss and waist circumference

  • Overall, exercise is good to lower cardiovascular risk (i.e. chance of heart attack )

 

Diet Control

  • Portion control, don't overdo
  • Reduce trans-fat intake. A general rule of thumb is to avoid any fat that is solid in room temperature.
  • Avoid any form of soda
  • Decrease sugar intake
  • Reduce simple carbohydrates (i.e rice, pasta).  Try to substitute with complex carbohydrate (i.e. sweet potato).

 

Medication (as assessed by your Doctor)

  • If cholesterol still high after the above interventions, you may need to consult your doctor. 

Dr. Choudhury reminds us the above tips are just the basics and urges you to consult your doctor if you have any other questions. To learn more about cardiology care, click here.

   

7. What is HPV?

HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It’s a common sexually transmitted infection. It can be symptomless and often goes away by itself. But if left untreated, it can cause cervical cancer in women and head, neck, and penile cancer in men.

We’re guessing that it’s searched often because of the talk about the HPV Vaccine. The vaccine is approved for people nine to 26-years old. Depending on a patient’s age, it’s either a series of two or three shots.

 

6. What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones can occur for many reasons. Some of the more common ones include patients who have diets high in sodium or oxalate. “Often times the body overproduces or under produces certain substances that may promote kidney stone formation,” says Dr. Amit Patel. If you have had more than one kidney stone, please see a kidney specialist for further evaluation as it may be able to be treated and prevented from happening again.  Avoid (painful) stones by drinking plenty of water and reducing your sodium intake. You’ll want a low oxalate diet, so steer clear of nuts, spinach, kale, coffee, tea and soda. 

 

5. What causes hiccups?

“A hiccup is an involuntary, intermittent spasm of the diaphragm and rib muscles,” says Dr. Fariha Shafi, a provider in one of our internal medicine clinics on the Health Sciences District campus. “This sudden spasm causes the air to be sucked in and the vocal cords shut abruptly causing the ‘HIC’. Nerves in the diaphragm have to interact with the brain through specific pathways for this to occur. It has a variety of causes like reflux, post-surgery, infections, stress and anxiety.”

 

4. How long does the flu last?

“Symptoms last five to seven days,” says Dr. Gary Salzman, TMC critical care pulmonologist.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, people with the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins.  Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.  Dr. Salzman stresses that it is never too late in the season to get a flu shot.  In the United States, the flu season usually peaks between December and February, and can last until May.

 

3. How to get rid of hiccups

We once again asked Fariha Shafi, MD, for this question about hiccups.  She provided the following tips to stop them: holding your breath, sipping cold water, gargling or swallowing a teaspoon of dry sugar. “All these are designed to inhibit the original path of the hiccup by obstructing the passage of air or irritating the back of your throat,” says Dr. Shafi.

 

2. What is keto?

“’Keto’ refers to the ketogenic diet, which has exploded in popularity in the past few years. The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, very low carbohydrate diet,” says endocrinologist Brandon Barthel, MD.  According to Dr. Barthel, “there is evidence that it can be helpful for weight loss and can help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. The name refers to the fact that the diet tries to force the body to preferentially break down fat to use as energy, which helps to promote fat loss. When the body breaks down fat, it forms ketones, which are used as energy, hence the name ketogenic.” Dr. Barthel advises, “Patients who are thinking about trying a ketogenic diet to treat their diabetes should discuss with their physician prior to initiation.”

 

1. How to lower blood pressure

First, know your numbers. We’ve included this chart from the American Heart Association that shows normal and high blood pressure levels.

 

Talk to your physician about levels both above and below normal. He or she will probably talk to you about diet, exercise and possibly about medication. 

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