How Drinking Too Much Can Affect Your Health

New Year’s is just a few days away and party goers everywhere are making their final plans for the big year end celebration.  Many of these celebrations will center around alcohol, so I thought I’d take a weekly post to talk about the dangers and side effects of drinking too much.

Let me start by saying, if you are planning to drink for New Year’s make plans ahead of time to have some one drive you home or plan for a way to stay off the roads.  Beside all the physical effects alcohol will have on you, there’s none more dangerous than driving while drinking, or being on the road when a lot of other people who have been drinking are.  This has to be a priority to keep yourself and others safe.

O.k. now that I’ve got that out of way let’s take a look at how alcohol affects your health.  Heavy drinking messes around with chemicals in your brain.  If you are going to drink for New Year’s try to drink a glass of water or a non alcoholic drink between alcoholic drinks.  This little trick can help slow your roll when it comes to pounding drinks.

How many drinks do I have to have to be impaired?  Great question but there’s not a single answer for that question.  There are too many factors such as gender, weight, number of drinks, time spent drinking, what you’ve had to eat, etc.  Here’s a blood alcohol calculator that can help you determine if you are impaired.

Alcohol also robs you of important deep sleep.  Many people who have a heavy night of drinking will fall asleep fast but the alcohol keeps them from reaching the deep levels of sleep known as REM.  This is another reason why you feel so bad the next day after a night of heavy drinking.

Alcohol dehydrates you worse than a Christmas ham.  If you thought eating ham at grandma’s for the holidays made you thirsty wait until you slam some drinks.  There’s a whole post I could use on staying hydrated and how your body needs water to function properly.  Stay hydrated and drink lots of water.  Again this will help you cut down on the alcoholic drinks.

If you did drink too much and wake up feeling horrible the next day, don’t reach for a cocktail or beer to help you get over it.  You will feel better in the short-term, but all you are doing is delaying the inevitable.  You will eventually get the hangover symptoms.  No matter how many pills you take or recovery drinks you drink, nothing will get your body back to normal except time.  Speaking of pills, don’t take acetaminophen if you’ve been drinking.  The combination of the two could damage your liver.

So to recap….drinking too much equals an unhealthy body.  Cold showers, coffee, exercise, heavy meals, pills won’t help you get sober faster.  Driving while drinking can kill you and drinking too much too fast can give you alcohol poisoning.  This doesn’t sound like a lot of fun when think about it this way does it?

There’s nothing wrong with having a couple of drinks as long as your doctor says it’s o.k. but  don’t overdo it.

Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you in 2013.

Here’s to Your Health!

Dr. K Bennett

www.sunshinemedicalmd.com

615-942-9271

Beating Depression During the Holidays

Christmas is just a few short days away.  While many adults and children wait with excitement for the big day to come, many are not too thrilled with this time of year.  Admittedly this time of year can be very tough with people who suffer from depression.   Even if you don’t have depression it can be a tough time of year.

Think about it, you’ve got long lines at the post office, packed shopping malls with traffic jams everywhere.  Then you’ve got the whole family side of things.  Maybe you don’t get along with your family, or perhaps you’ve lost a loved on recently and this time of year causes you to miss them even more.  Then there’s the part about the year coming to an end and looking back on missed opportunities or failed goals, etc.  Let’s face it, it’s not the easiest time of year to get through.  Oh, and I forgot, It’s cold dark and the shortest day of the year is 4 days before Christmas.  Shheewww, I’m getting a little depressed writing all of this.

O.k. let’s talk for a second about some things we can do, do lessen the effects of depression during this time of year.

1. Get outside and move around.  This time of year we are often cooped up inside all day and night.  Bundle up and go for a brisk walk.   This will make you feel better.

2. Cut back on the alcohol.  This time of year brings many parties with a lot of chances to drink.  It’s o.k. to have some (as long as it doesn’t hinder medication you are taking), but don’t over do it.  Alcohol can often make little emotional things seem bigger than they are.

3. Try to cut back on all the junk food.  Christmas cookies, fruit cake, chocolate, etc.  We’ve all been there.  It’s easy to tell ourselves that it’s only one time a year and it’s o.k. to indulge.  Try to keep some balance with the junk food and squeeze in some fruit and veggies.

4. Give yourself a break.  You work hard all year-long.  Try to schedule some time off from work this time of year.  Spending time with loved ones or friends can make you feel better.

5. Give thanks.  Instead of thinking about all the things you could’ve done better or all the things you didn’t do this year, take some time to give thanks for where you are, what you have, and for being alive.  It’s not always as bad as it seems in your mind.

These are some real easy to follow tips that can make a difference on your holiday season.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas!

Dr. K Bennett

www.sunshinemedicalmd.com

615-942-9271

Beat the Cold and Flu By Doing These Things

Every fall and winter we brace for flu and cold season.   Not only do we have to endure shorter days, colder weather, and barren vegetation, but we have to be on the alert for these illnesses that can sideline us for days or weeks at a time.  The good news is there are some things you can do to help prevent these sicknesses from getting you down.  Here are some natural things you can do to protect yourself.

  1. Probably the most important thing is to WASH your hands.  Not just after you go to the bathroom but a several times throughout the day.  Germs are mostly spread by others with dirty hands.  These germs can live for several hours on your hands.  If you aren’t able to use soap and water try using some hand sanitizer.  While sanitizer isn’t quite as effective as soap and hot water, it’s better than nothing.
  2. Cut out smoking and heavy drinking.  This is good advice in general, not just for trying to avoid colds or flu.  There are several reasons behind this.  Smoking dries out your nasal passages and lungs.  There are little hairs in there that help keep these viruses out.  With heavy drinking, this suppresses your immune system….so don’t do it J
  3. Do aerobic exercise!  Exercising helps promote virus killing cells in your body.  So get out and run or jump on the tread mill during your favorite t.v. show.  Twenty to thirty minutes is enough to get the heart pumping and sweat rolling.
  4. If you have to cough or sneeze, do it on your sleeve on the inside of your elbow.  Sneezing or coughing in your hands will spread germs everywhere you touch.
  5. Along with #4, keep your hands away from your face.  The way that colds and flu enter your body is through your mouth, nose and eyes.   Think of this area as sacred territory not to be touched.
  6. Get plenty of sleep.  A solid 7-8 hours of sleep each night will help to keep your immune system ready to fight virus intruders.
  7. Eat healthy.  There are a ton of vitamins and nutrients in REAL food.  By real food I mean fruits and vegetables.  Vitamin pills aren’t quite the same.  You need the real deal.  Go to your local grocery store and stock up on healthy fruits and veggies.

Now that you’ve read this blog with fine detail and have strictly followed everything I’ve said, you may still end up with the cold or flu.  Sorry, that’s the world we live in.  However the good news is that if you do all these things you have a better chance of not getting the cold or flu than you did if you didn’t do these things.

Here’s to your health!

Dr. K Bennett

615-942-271

Sunshine Medical Clinic is a family friendly medical practice in Madison, TN that helps individuals and families feel better and get back on their feet.

Look Out for the SALT!

If you’ve been alive in the past 30 years you’ve probably heard it time and time again from health experts and doctors alike “cut your sodium intake!”.  Salt, the evil additive that makes things taste so good.  While most of us think that cutting salt means leaving the salt shaker in the pantry, you might be surprised that the high levels of sodium in our diet is not due to the salt shaker.  It has more to do with the salt that is already in the food we eat.

Here is a list of the “6 High Salty Foods” to avoid if possible.

  1. Bread and Rolls – WHAT!?  Yes, bread and rolls contain up to 230 milligrams of sodium.  The recommended limit of sodium per day is 1,500 milligrams.  Unfortunately most of us intake as much as 3,400 milligrams per day.  So you can see how quickly a few rolls or pieces of bread per day can hit your limit pretty fast.
  2. Cold cuts or cured meats – This one should come as no surprise.  Pre-packaged turkey can have as much as 1,050 mg of sodium.
  3. Pizza – Oh, how we love our pizza.  But did you know 1 slice can have as much as 760 mg of sodium.  Two pieces and you are done for the day when it comes to appropriate sodium levels.
  4. Poultry – Raw chicken has an added salt solution to help preserve it.  Three ounces of frozen chicken nuggets has about 600 mg of salt.  Ouch!
  5. Soup – Again, here’s a tricky one.  We think of soup as a healthy meal.  One bowl of chicken noodle soup has about 940 mg of sodium.  That’s almost a full day’s worth of sodium in one bowl.  Look out eating too much soup in the winter.
  6. Sandwiches – If you read #1 and #2 on this list then this is a no brainer.  Add the two together and you’ll get a sodium busting meal.   One sandwiched and you are doomed for the day.

So what can you do about it?

Keep in mind that a high sodium diet can lead to many health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

When grocery shopping keep these foods in mind.  Instead of eating a whole sandwich, replace it with half and eat a salad or snack on some veggies.  Moderation is key.  While it’s difficult to ask someone to cut out all these foods, try to not eat them as often.   Look at the labels on the food when you shop and keep the recommended daily amount in mind.

Here’s to Your Health

Dr. K Bennett

615-942-9271

Sunshine Medical Walk in Clinic, LLC is a family friendly doctor’s office in Madison, TN that offers high quality health care at affordable prices.  While most people have insurance we realize that some do not.  We keep everyone in mind when we open our doors each day.  If you don’t have insurance give us a call and see how we can help.  We accept most major insurance as well as TennCare.