Category Archives: Men’s Health


Stay Motivated

Putting the ‘Fun’ Back Into Fitness

Top athletes and movie stars have the time and motivation to stay in great shape. The rest of us, though, often find it a challenge to fit fitness into our lives.

It’s a matter of attitude. If you view exercise as a chore or punishment, that makes it hard for you to do what’s necessary. You’ll secretly try to avoid it.

Instead, start thinking of fitness as fun. If it’s something you want to do, then you’ll figure out ways to find time for it.

For example, if the word “workout” sounds too much like work, think of it as “recreation.”

Use fitness as an excuse to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature–or as a chance to play with your children or your dog. When you see how much it adds to your life, you’ll make time for it.

It also helps to focus on health, not vanity. Looking good is really a short-term goal. As soon as you lose those pounds or get your abs looking tight, you say, “OK, I’m done.”

But your health is with you forever. And if you devote a little bit of every day to feeling good, pretty soon you’re going to start to look better, too.

Time out for health

Once you view fitness as a priority in your life, it’s easy to come up with ways to fit it in.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Break it up. If you don’t have a half-hour or an hour block of time to exercise, that’s OK. Studies show you’ll still get benefits by working out for just 10 minutes at a time. Find at least two or three such periods during your day.

Make an appointment with yourself. If you’re a slave to your schedule, schedule time for fitness on your calendar, too.

Make it easy on yourself. Find a place to work out that’s close and convenient. For ultimate convenience, you can exercise at home with a simple set of hand weights or on a staircase.

Do it early. If you leave your fitness routine until the end of your day, it may fall victim to late meetings and traffic delays.

Do more with less time. For example, if you’re strength training, lift heavier weights for shorter sets with fewer reps. Or, do compound exercises, such as squats, that work several muscles at the same time. Strength-trainers can also save time with “supersets.” Simply work back and forth between opposing muscles–for example, your chest and your back–without resting in between.

Lunch on fitness. Instead of spending your lunch hour at your desk or in the cafeteria, brown bag it and take a brisk walk.

Make weekends count. If you struggle to squeeze in short periods of exercise during the week, schedule one hour per day on Saturday and Sunday to build endurance.

Double up. If you simply can’t turn off your favorite television show, do floor stretches or step-ups in front of the TV. Grab a hand weight and do some bicep curls while you read your morning newspaper.

Work out with the kids. Bicycle with your children, or, if they’re younger, trot alongside them while they bike. When you take them to soccer practice, do laps around the field or climb the bleachers a few times instead of just sitting and watching.

Ask a trainer. Even one or two sessions with a professional trainer can help you assess your needs and figure out how to meet them safely and effectively.

Online Medical Reviewer: Haines, Cynthia, M.D.
Online Medical Reviewer: Sather, Rita, RN

Last Review Date: 9/24/2011
Copyright Health Ink & Vitality Communications

Benefits of a Colonoscopy

When we think of cancer prevention, we typically think of those we hear the most about, such as breast cancer or lung cancer. One of the most common cancers is actually colon cancer: cancer of the large intestine and lower part of the digestive system. It is the third most common cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. – and early detection dramatically increases the survival rate.


More than 145,000 new cases of colon cancer have been diagnosed in the U.S. over the past five years, according to the National Cancer Institute. If detected before it spreads, the five-year survival rate is about 90 percent – but if not caught before this point, the survival rate dips to just 10 percent.


The exact causes of colon cancer are unknown. One of the most important preventive steps is to get a colonoscopy, a screening test to detect any signs of cancer. A colonoscopy is a procedure to see inside the colon and rectum. Used as either a screening test or a diagnostic tool, it can help your doctor investigate unusual symptoms such as unexplained changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.


A colonoscopy is performed using a long, thin, flexible tube, which is inserted through the rectum into the lower digestive tract, while the patient is sedated or asleep. The tube is equipped with a light and a tiny camera that transmits images of the patient’s intestinal lining to a computer screen located at the bedside. This enhanced view allows the doctor to see inflamed tissue and any abnormal growths.


If polyps (growths) are found during the exam, they are quickly and painlessly removed at that time, and later tested in a laboratory for signs of cancer. Polyps are common in adults, and usually harmless. However, most colorectal cancer begins as a polyp, so removing polyps early is an effective prevention method. Your doctor can also take samples from abnormal-looking tissues – a biopsy – during the colonoscopy, so that any suspicious areas can be examined for signs of disease and treated, if necessary.


Your risk level for colon cancer varies according to your age, gender and ethnic background, as well as your overall health and lifestyle. Factors that affect your risk level include:

– Advancing age (over age 50)

– Male gender

– African American ethnic status

– A family or personal history of polyps(growths inside the rectum or colon), or colorectal cancer

– A high-fat diet

– Certain digestive diseases, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis

Depending on your age, a colonoscopy screening may be a covered “wellness” test under your insurance plan – and most plans cover a colonoscopy completely as a follow-up test or diagnostic tool. Check with your insurance provider and your doctor’s office for help in scheduling a screening exam.


About the Author:  Kenneth G. Sigman, MD, is a board certified gastroenterologist and Chief of the GI Division atTrinity Medical Center.

Source: Trinity


Need to Lose Weight? Do it the Right Way.

The heat is rising in the South, and the rest of the country soon will follow. Of course this means swimsuit season, and a plan to arrive at a healthy weight will help you look good at the pool and make you healthier overall, say University of Alabama at Birmingham experts.

“Start by throwing away all clothing catalogs with skinny models in skimpy bikinis on the front,” says Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D., UAB assistant professor of nutrition sciences. “Then buy a bathing suit that flatters yourshape. Going to extremes for weight-loss leads to yo-yo dieting and makes you feel bad about yourself.”

Healthy living is not about the number on the scale, but rather feeling good about yourself and being comfortable or confident in your skin, says Lauren Whitt, Ph.D., UAB Wellness coordinator. “The goal is to be a healthy size for you, so focus your attitude and energy on becoming the best version of yourself and enjoy the journey to health.”

Be realistic about attainable weight loss, says Retta Evans, Ph.D., UAB associate professor of health education. Talk to your doctor to find out how much weight you need to lose to be healthy and set a date for achieving that goal. If it’s summer – try June 1. Then, count the weeks that you have to lose weight.

“You can safely be able to lose up to 2 pounds per week. So if you have four weeks until your specified date, for example, you can set a goal to lose 6 to 8 pounds,” Evans says. “If you need to lose more, you can always establish new goals after some weight-loss.”

With a healthy goal weight and date in place, avoid overwhelming yourself, says Whitt. Make only one lifestyle change per day. “Taking small steps towards your goal will make it more attainable. Try little things, such as drinking one fewer soda a day or eating breakfast,” Whitt says. “An early morning meal with protein should keep you satisfied until lunchtime and help you resist high-fat, sugary mid-morning snacks.”

But skipping meals is a no-no when trying to be healthier. If you want to reduce calories, Kitchin advises you keep a food record for a few days or use a weight-loss app on your smart phone that requires you to note what you eat. “You’ll find out where extra calories are coming from,” she says.

Our experts suggest these meal guidelines:

  • Make half your meals fruits and vegetables, a quarter should be grains, and the last quarter should be lean proteins such as poultry and fish
  • Choose recipes that are low-fat and high-fiber
  • Eat smart portion sizes and skip the seconds
  • Choose fried foods less often or share/cut portion sizes
  • When dining out, order items that are baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted or steamed
  • Don’t order items that are batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed or breaded

Plus, swap the sugary drinks for diet sodas, unsweetened tea or water, and limit the alcohol you drink. Whitt says women should stick with one drink and men can have up to two. “Alcohol tends to increase your appetite and provides calories without nutrients. If you skip it altogether, you can reach your goals more easily,” she says.

You also must increase your activity levels.

“Start slow and be consistent. Make exercise an event on your work calendar so you have a reminder,” Evans says. “Pack a bag with your work-out gear the night before and leave it in your vehicle so you have no excuse.”

Now choose the right workout for you.

“If you are a social person, try going to a group class like Zumba or step aerobics,” Whitt says. “Conversely if you are more into a solo workout, go with walking, running or even swimming.”

Aim for getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, says Whitt. “If you burn at least 250 calories through exercise and cut out at least 250 calories from food — one 20 oz. bottle of soda — you easily can lose at least 1 pound a week.”

Finally, don’t set your goal of getting in shape with an “all or nothing” approach, says UAB clinical psychologist Josh Klapow, Ph.D.

“One splurge doesn’t mean all is lost and you should give up your efforts to get healthier,” says Klapow.

“You can have the summery, not-so-healthy foods and still stay healthy,” Klapow adds. “If you go to a barbecue one night and ignore your diet, no worries. Getting in shape does not require perfection; just get back on track the next morning.”

Bottom line: work up a good sweat and watch what you eat. Just losing 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight can lead to improvement in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugars, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Healthy lifestyle changes will benefit you for a lifetime.

Source: UAB


4 Signs of a Heart Attack

Knowing these four signs can save your life—or the life of someone else. Watch our short video; then read on for more interesting heart attack facts from Jose Tallaj, MD, medical director of the UAB Heart Transplant Program.

Time is Muscle
“Intervening on a myocardial infarction (heart attack) can prevent death, and we also say “time is muscle,” Dr. Tallaj says. “The longer it takes to fix a blockage, the more damage you will have down the line. The damage can be immediate, for example if the patient develops arrhythmia or goes into shock and dies, or it can be long term, for example if someone develops heart failure.”

Different Symptoms for Different Patients
It’s also important to note that heart attack symptoms vary from person to person. “Men usually experience the typical symptoms: pressure radiating through the shoulder, jaw, and down the left arm,” Dr. Tallaj says. “Women, however, might have a more atypical presentation: their pain might be on the right side versus the left, or they might experience back or jaw pain only.”

Patients with diabetes also experience different symptoms. “Because diabetes affects the nerves, patients with the disease might have heart attack symptoms—shortness of breath, feeling faint, breaking out in a sweat—without the associated pain in the chest, shoulder, and down the arm,” Tallaj says.”

Anatomy of a Heart Attack
“A heart attack means that an area of the heart is not getting enough blood flow, indicating that the heart muscle begins to die, and this is what causes the pain,” Dr. Tallaj says. “To treat the condition, we restore the circulation to that vessel with either medication or a procedure like angioplasty or placing a stent to keep the artery open, to prevent long-term damage.”   Learn more about UAB’s renowned cardiovascular team »  

Call 911
If you experience heart attack symptoms or see someone who is, call 911 immediately. If you have aspirin on hand, take it, says Dr. Tallaj.

Make an Appointment
If heart attacks—or heart disease—run in your family, make an appointment with UAB. “Patients with hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, or family history of coronary disease are at a greater risk for a heart attack,” Dr. Tallaj says. “For family history, we mean a first degree relative—either a sibling or a parent who had coronary disease at an early age: less than 50 in men and less than 60 in women.” To make an appointment at UAB, call 800-UAB-8816 (800-822-8816) or  make an appointment online.

Source: UAB


The Top 3 Myths about Weight-loss Surgery

Bariatric surgeon, Dr. Andrew DeWitt, debunks the old rumors about weight-loss surgery. It’s come a long way, baby.


For those battling with morbid obesity, bariatric surgery may seem too dangerous. But not so, says Andrew M. DeWitt, MD, a bariatric surgeon in Birmingham. Today’s options and techniques for weight-loss surgery make it as safe as gallbladder removals. But people still underestimate the dedication needed to make this option successful.


Myth #1.  “Many people still think that if they have weight-loss surgery than there’s a good chance they’re going to die,” says Dr. DeWitt. “But that’s not accurate.” It’s an old piece of information that dates back to when gastric bypass techniques were more extreme and relied on malabsorption of nutrients alone for the weight loss.


Myth #2. “You will not have diarrhea for the rest of your life if you eat the food you’re supposed to,” explains Dr. DeWitt. Old procedures removed a long portion of the intestine, which then caused diarrhea. “Now it’s kind of uncommon to see diarrhea. In fact, these days we see people more with constipation than diarrhea.”


Myth #3. “The biggest misconception about bariatric surgery is that it’s the easy way out of the morbid obesity dilemma. But weight-loss surgery takes a lot more commitment than a diet. You must make lifelong changes. Your life can depend on it,” stresses Dr. DeWitt. “If you’re not willing to make that level of commitment, don’t have the operation.”


Myth #4. There’s only one type of bariatric surgery. In fact, there’s three types. The most common is the restrictive options that lessen the available room in your stomach using bands or by removing part of the stomach. “This restricts the amount of food you can eat, so it works well with volume eaters, especially men,” says Dr. DeWitt. The other recent common option is a hybrid that combines restricting the stomach size — to a pouch about the size of your thumb — with bypassing part of the stomach. So you eat less and you absorb less.


To find a good bariatric surgeon. Ask questions. “Ask them how many weight loss surgeries they’ve performed. It should be over 100 a year,” says Dr. DeWitt. That’s the minimum quantity needed to be designated as a Center Of Excellence by the American College Of Surgeons. “That certification also shows that they do good follow-up with their patients, and good follow-up goes hand-in-hand with good results. You have to have a pretty good success rate or you won’t have the certification.”


by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Andrew M. DeWitt, click here.

For more on Andrew DeWitt Bariatric and General Surgeon in Birmingham, click here.

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Facial Fat Grafting Offers a Natural Alternative to Temporary Fillers

Facial Fat Grafting Offers a Natural Alternative to Temporary Fillers


Fat can be your friend when it comes to fighting certain signs of aging, like sagging cheeks and deepening lines.


You may never have thought of fat as being your friend. But when it comes to fighting aging, fat becomes your natural ally when used as a facial fat graft to restore that youthful lift and plumpness to your face.


“Most people are surprised to hear about this procedure, because they’ve only heard of temporary fillers, like Juvederm or Restylane,” says Al Cohn, MD, a plastic surgeon with Grotting & Cohn Plastic Surgery in Birmingham. ”But with facial fat grafting, you can have all that a temporary filler can give you and then some, often for less cost.”


What is it? “It’s a cosmetic surgical technique where fat is moved from one part of your body, like your tummy, and placed where we’re using temporary fillers now to fill hollows in the cheeks and under eyelids or smooth out lines that become more prominent with aging,” says Dr. Cohn.


Better than fillers. “Unlike temporary fillers, facial fat grafting is relatively permanent,” says Dr. Cohn. “And once the living fat is in place, you don’t traditionally have it repeated, unlike with fillers that dissipate in six months to a year.”


Back on your feet. Facial fat grafts do require more recovery time than fillers, though. “When fat is injected, the instrumentation is larger than with fillers, so there’s generally bruising that lasts a couple of days following this out-patient procedure,” says Dr. Cohn.


Costs less. “Two to three syringes of a temporary filler equals the entire cost of facial fat grafting, and it’s permanent,” says Dr. Cohn. With this cosmetic surgery, you’re just paying for the procedure, because everyone has enough body fat to achieve their relevant facial goals.


Choose wisely. “Get your facial fat grafting done by someone who has done a lot of them,” advises Dr. Cohn. “Performing liposuction is not the same. Just because you have removed fat from some part of your body doesn’t necessarily make it usable for a graft. Ensuring that your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a good starting point.”


by Jane Ehrhardt


To read more about Dr. Al Cohn, click here.

For more on Grotting & Cohn Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, click here.

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