Make room for some down time

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

It seems to be a mark of status in our society to be forever busy. Ask someone how they are and a likely response is, “Busy.”

Now there is nothing wrong with attending to business, family and other responsibilities. However, it seems to me that the slavish value we give to always being busy often goes too far.

What about down time? What about taking time when we just stop our endless busyness to rest, reflect, recuperate, and recharge? Isn’t this just as great a value to our health and happiness as constant motion?

My favorite Chinese philosopher, Lao Tsu had much wisdom to offer us on this topic. More than 2,500 years ago, Lao Tsu said “Always be busy, and life is beyond hope.” And on the benefit of quietude: “Who can wait quietly while the mud settles? Who can remain still until the moment of action?” Here’s another: “A truly good man does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone. A foolish man is always doing, yet much remains to be done.” Continue reading

Sex is a window into who we are as a person

Drs. Tristi Muir and Catherine Hansen

Drs. Tristi Muir and
Catherine Hansen

We treat women, sometimes men and, ultimately, couples for sexual dysfunction. A lot of the time, problems in the bedroom are an indicator of something much bigger. The relationship needs help.

Research has found that married men and women are healthier, happier and live longer than their unmarried counterparts.

We understand on many levels something that our patients may not be aware of when they ask for help — that healing a sexual relationship heals people. It restores individuals, couples, marriages and even families.

Studies have shown that growing up with married parents is associated with better physical health in adulthood and increased longevity.

Keeping our patients’ relationships strong can improve their individual overall health and improve how they function at home, work and in the community.

All relationships go through stages, with the first stage marked by an inability to use necessary brain functions, mainly critical thinking. This is the “honeymoon phase” of infatuation and romance. Continue reading

Bodies change after birth

Drs. Tristi Muir and Catherine Hansen

Drs. Tristi Muir and
Catherine Hansen

Bringing a new life into the world is truly a miracle. Yet in the aftermath of the birth and all the excitement surrounding bringing the baby home, many women find themselves noticing something not so miraculous — their body is not the same.

The uterus, vagina, pelvic muscles and nerves undergo tremendous change during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.

The uterus shrinks back to approximately its pre-pregnancy size within six weeks. Bleeding can persist throughout this time, but resumption of an actual period is variable and often significantly delayed if a woman decides to breast-feed.

The hormones a woman’s body produces around the time of delivery empower the cervix and vagina with the tremendous capacity to expand and contract.

Frequently, though, the baby exceeds the body’s powers of expansion and tears the vaginal skin. Minimal tears or abrasions will heal on their own (although they can sting with urination during the healing phase), while deeper cuts require stitches. Continue reading

How can we detect early prostate cancer?

small prostate caThis is a high-resolution high-strength magnetic resonance (MRI) image of the prostate gland below the bladder. Notice the 6 mm dark spot to your left (white arrow on the right side of the prostate). This represents an early prostate cancer confined to the gland. Often, these small cancers can be treated with lasers and no surgery.






The Right Choices for a Healthy, Smart, Super Baby

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Dr. Victor Sierpina

Infertility, premature birth, children with neurological conditions such as autism spectrum and attention deficient disorders, obesity, and diabetes are now rampant in our society.  Scientists have determined these problems have been increasing rapidly over the last decade and longer.  

No single cause for these trends been agreed upon by specialists. Factors such as brain injury, genetics, behavioral, and social problems all play a likely role.

I am going to suggest a not so radical idea. These problems in the ability to conceive, to have a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby are primarily linked by several common causes: nutrition, lifestyle, and environment.

To put it basically, we are living very different lives than our ancestors whose diet was mainly whole, home-cooked foods, without the chemicals that are part of our contemporary environment. In the past, babies were all breast-fed and obesity in adults or children was rare.  And how about daily activity levels? Stress?

Our environment has changed radically. Foods are now highly processed, pesticides and insecticides in them are common, chemicals from plastics disrupt vital hormonal pathways, and nutrient deficiencies alter expression of genes and increase birth defects. Continue reading

Study Shows Big Improvement in Diabetes Control Over Past Decades

At the Stark Diabetes Center, one of the ways we strive to improve the health and quality of care for Texans is through  a specific emphasis on prevention of diabetes and its complications. So, we’re very encouraged when we hear more people are meeting recommended goals in the three key markers of diabetes control, according to a recent study conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, recently published online in Diabetes Care, shows that, from 1988 to 2010, the number of people with diabetes able to meet or exceed all three of the measures that demonstrate good diabetes management rose from about 2 percent to about 19 percent. Each measure also showed substantial improvement, with over half of people meeting each individual goal in 2010.

The measures are A1C – which assesses blood sugar (glucose) over the previous three months – blood pressure and cholesterol. They are often called the ABCs of diabetes. When these measures fall outside healthy ranges, people are more likely to be burdened by complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation.

Despite improvement, the results show continued need for better diabetes control. In particular, young people and some minority groups were below average in meeting the goals. Read more and access the full report…

Lynn Maarouf is a registered dietician offering diabetes education and nutrition counseling at the Stark Diabetes Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.