How to Lower Your Blood Pressure

From time to time students will come to see me with mildly elevated blood pressure.  The goal is to have a blood pressure reading that is < 120/80.  I don’t typically start medications unless the blood pressure is > 140/90.

If you find your blood pressure slightly elevated, how do you go about lowering it without resorting to medications?

  • Control your weight, striving to keep your BMI < 25, through a good diet and regular exercise.
  • No smoking
  • Keep alcohol at a minimum, no more than 1 drink daily for women and 2 drinks daily for men.
  • Monitor your blood pressure, there are BP machines in the RPAC near the Sport Shop on the ground floor.

After making the above changes for 3 months, schedule an appointment with your health care provider for a re-evaluation.

Douglas Radman, M.D.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Do you wonder if you could have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Adults with ADHD likely had symptoms as a child. However, the diagnosis might not be made until later in life. It is estimated that around 4-5% of adults have ADHD, but many do not get diagnosed or treated.   Symptoms include trouble following directions, concentrating, organizing tasks, finishing work, and remembering information.

If you are having the symptoms that suggest ADHD that are significantly affecting your academic or work performance, you should consider making an appointment to discuss with your provider. They will ask questions and do an exam to assess for ADHD and other problems that can mimic or occur with ADHD. Likely, they will refer you to a psychologist for further evaluation and diagnosis.

What can you do if you are diagnosed to have ADHD?

  • Good Support: It is very important to have good support including an academic advisor that can help you stay on course.
  • Stay organized: make lists and use them.
  • Rest: get plenty of sleep.
  • Exercise: studies show that regular exercise helps ADHD symptoms.
  • Counseling: consider counseling for support and cognitive therapy to help symptoms.
  • Medications: discuss medications options with your provider. These medications are effective and safe when used properly.

People with ADHD are typically very creative and energetic, but sometimes need help using those qualities effectively. There are effective treatments that can make a huge difference.

 

Matthew Peters, MD

Student Health Services

The Ohio State University

#TBT Bigger Bust Belief Burst

SpencerTurner---BiggerBustBeliefBurstDr. Turner received a question on bust developing courses in 1975. The question asked if they are safe and do they cause any side effects in the future. While I personally have not received such questions, a quick search on Google shows that this is still a very popular topic.

It is possible, with exercise, to increase your bust measurement, but as Dr. Turner indicated this measurement does not actually measure the size of your breasts, but rather the circumference of the chest.  The breasts themselves do not contain any supportive muscle tissue. Therefore it is not possible, through exercise to increase your cup size.  What exercise can do, however, is develop the muscles behind your breasts to make them more attractive.

The original article can be read in the Lantern Archives.

Proved: Exercise is good for the mind

Student Life’s Center for the Study at Ohio State recently conducted a study of students who either participated in group fitness classes or intramural sports.  The GPAs of these students were compared to those of the Ohio State population as a whole.

They found that those who participated in group fitness classes had a cumulative GPA that was higher by 0.18 then students who never participated.  Those who participated in intramural sports were higher by 0.17.

So, if you’re looking to boost your GPA check out the RPAC and get some exercise.

Read more about the study

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Get a Jump on Exercise

Are you looking for a cheap, portable workout?  Try jumping rope.  A good jump rope typically sells for under $20, will fit in your backpack, and one size fits all.  Extra bonus, jumping rope is a great calorie-burner.  A 15-20 minute workout will burn off the calories from a candy bar.  To see how many calories you would burn, check out the calorie counter at WebMD.  Select sports for the activity and rope jumping for the exercise.

“It’s certainly good for the heart,” says Peter Schulman, MD, associate professor, Cardiology/Pulmonary Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. “It strengthens the upper and lower body and burns a lot of calories in a short time.”

If you’re looking to get started, WebMD gives the following as the basic requirements:

For novices, a beaded rope is recommended because it holds its shape and is easier to control than a lightweight cloth or vinyl rope.

  • Adjust the rope by holding the handles and stepping on the rope.
  • Shorten the rope so the handles reach your armpits.
  • Wear properly fitted athletic shoes, preferably cross-training shoes.

You’ll need a four-by-six-foot area, and about 10 inches of space above your head. The exercise surface is very important. Do not attempt to jump on carpet, grass, concrete, or asphalt. While carpet reduces impact, the downside is it grabs your shoes and can twist your ankle or knee. Use a wood floor, piece of plywood, or an impact mat made for exercise.

Give it a try.  Who knows, perhaps you’ll find yourself following in the footsteps of Tori Boggs, a second-year industrial design student at Ohio State.

 

Read more at WebMD….

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

To supplement or not to supplement – Creatine

 

I grew up in the “No pain, no gain” era, meaning that if you wanted to become stronger, faster, whatever you had to work at it.  You had to do the reps, run the sprints, you had to sweat.  Now, however, it seems that more and more people want to skip the “pain”/sweat part of the equation and go right to the “gain” through supplementation.  One option people are considering for this short cut is creatine.

Creatine is something we already have.   It is a compound produced by the kidneys, pancreas, and liver and it plays a role in releasing energy when the body moves quickly or powerfully.  So, when you are sprinting or lifting weights creatine is involved.  It gives us the energy to do the lifting and sprinting and, like everything else, as we progress through our workout our creatine levels become depleted and our ability to keep pumping that iron or running those sprints diminishes.  In other words, we run out of energy.

The whole point of creatine supplementation is to allow the body to produce more energy and with more energy you will be able to complete another set of reps or run a few more sprints and with these additions you will become stronger and/or faster.  So, it’s not really a shortcut, it just gives you the energy to be able to put in some extra work and through that extra work you will see additional results.

Now, just because creatine is naturally produced by our bodies does not mean that taking it in supplement form is good for us.  As with any supplement you should talk with your doctor before taking it.  You should also be aware of potential side effects, such as:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramping
  • Diarrhea

Patients with kidney disease should completely avoid using creatine, and caution is advised for diabetics and people taking blood sugar supplements.

If you chose to take creatine supplements, you should expect to gain weight.  Initially this will be due to retention of water, approximately 2 to 4 pounds in the first week, but after that it will be due to an increase in muscle as a result of being able to exercise longer and harder.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Kendra McCamey, MD

Shake Your Groove Thing

www.laquaimage.co.nz

Public Health Image Library

Public Health Image Library

As we settle into the fall season, we would like to share a 2010 article from The NYTimes to anyone who spends most of their day sitting in chairs and staring at computers.  I’m talking to you, engineering and liberal arts students, artists, bench scientists, graduate students en masse; anybody writing papers, sitting in class, studying for tests, counting beans, watching a lot of TV or playing a lot of video games.

Turns out if your buns are being warmed by a chair for the majority of your day – at school, work, home, on planes, trains or automobiles-your heart is probably suffering.   Even if you exercise regularly.

Animal models suggest that as you withdraw the regular isometric contractions and active muscle activity from walking, bending, lifting, etc. on a daily basis, muscle cells experience deleterious microscopic changes like those associated with Type 2 Diabetes as well as insulin resistance and elevated levels of free fatty acids in the blood. 

Research has shown that males who are sedentary for 23 hours a week (that’s only a little more than 3 hours a day!) have a much greater chance of dying of heart disease (67%) than males who are sedentary less than 11 hours a week.   What is striking about this is that the risk is greater in the more sedentary group even when they exercised regularly.  So all those hours of studying, prepping, working, researching and vegging out in front of the boob tube can take their toll on your muscles even if you hit the gym afterwards.  And remember, your heart is the most important muscle you got.

I’m not suggesting you stop heading over to the RPAC to hit the elliptical machine and weight room – just make sure you’re moving around the rest of the day too.  Use the restroom on another floor; take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk out of your way at lunch; do a few push-ups or crunches in your cubicle if you can; deliver a message on foot, in person with a smiling face, rather than a bland email.  

And then go hit the gym.

Victoria Rentel, MD (OSU Student Health Services Alum)

Students – Ride for Team Buckeye in Pelotonia 12!

pelotonia.org

 Did you know that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer?

Help change this startling statistic by riding with us on August 11th in Pelotonia 12! Pelotonia is a grass roots bike tour with one goal: to end cancer. Last year, Pelotonia raised a record $13.1 million for life saving cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

  • Every dollar raised by ridersgoes directly to cancer research.
  • Every rider will receive a Team Buckeye jersey.
  • As a Buckeye, the registration fee is reduced and your fund raising minimum can be as low as $650, depending on how far you commit to ride.
  • All funds must be raised by Friday, October 12, 2012.

Please read the Full Student Guidelines carefully, and then visit here to register. 

Thanks and Go Bucks!

John Vaughn, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Check your calendar, Groundhog!

USDA.gov

Jogging with tunes

Courtesy cksinfo.com

 February 2.  Your New Year’s resolution is officially 33 days old.  How are you doing?  Did you decide to

  • Eat healthier?
  • Stop smoking?
  • Get more exercise?
  • Party less?
  • Finally address your moodiness and depression?

One challenge of a New Year’s resolution is that it is so permanent.  If you stop smoking on January 1, only to catch yourself with a cigarette on the 3rd, all is lost.  So, how can you make this more productive and less discouraging? 

Well, if the universe can be committed to fair or foul weather for a few weeks by the emergence of a groundhog from its hole, what say you?  Can you set a short term goal for the next 6 weeks? 

Healthy eating – Can you add another fruit and vegetable to your daily diet each of the next 6 weeks? Remember, while fresh fruits and veggies have a lot of health benefits, you can also get some of these servings from microwave soups, packaged fruit bars, etc., that may be a bit easier to carry around campus.

Smokers – how about setting March 15 as your planned stop date?  Between now and then, look at your smoking habits, try to wean yourself down on the number of cigarettes used every day, and consider a visit to Student Wellness or the Health Center to talk to a professional about the health benefits. 

Exercise – Are you a couch potato?  Try starting with a twenty-minute walk tonight.  Over the next 6 weeks, see if you can progress to 30 minutes of activity that gets your heart beating a little faster, and do it at least 5 days of the week. 

Alcohol – We all know that alcohol should be used legally and in moderation.  If you occasionally cross the line, try this trick – when you go out, see if you can limit yourself to no more than one alcoholic drink each hour. If you meet your goal, then slip a five-dollar bill into your piggy bank when you get home.  At the end of six weeks, see how many “Abes” you have accumulated.

Depression – The National College Health Assessment reports that more than one in four college students is suffering from depression, but only of third of them have consulted a healthcare professional.  Did you know that in six weeks of treatment, either with medicines, counseling, or both, you can see significant improvements? 

6 weeks.  Enough time to get out there and let the sun shine on your new healthier lifestyle?  Or maybe you want to just stay in your dark, wet, wormy hole in the ground?  It’s your decision.  Will you risk seeing your shadow?

Happy Winter!

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health Services)

Trouble losing weight? You might have a caloric handicap.

npr.org

I recently came across an interesting blog post on NPR called Losing Weight: A Battle Against Fat and Biology.  You should check it out – it brings up an interesting concept called a “caloric handicap” that helps explain why it so hard to lose weight and even harder to keep it off once you do.

Basically, the premise is that your body fights your attempt to lose weight.  Weight loss always comes down to taking in less calories than you expend.  The problem is that once you go into a state of less coming in than going out, your body takes that as a sign that starvation is on the way and starts sending out hormones to not only slow down your metabolism but increase your appetite.  (Unfortunately, these systems developed at a time when starvation was a real possibility – if our early ancestors had fast food drive throughs and 1400 calorie Frappa-lattes, we’d all be better off right now.)

So, to use NPR’s example, a person who weighs 230 pounds and loses 30 pounds cannot eat as much as someone who has always weighed 200 pounds.  The difference in the number of calories that the dieter can eat vs. the number that the naturally thinner person can is that dieter’s caloric handicap – and it can be up to 500 calories a day.

None of this information makes it easier to drop those pounds and keep them off, but at least it lets you know that it isn’t just a matter of will power – so give yourself a break.  The other take home point is that exercise is the key – no matter what type of diet you do, without a good 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, it most likely won’t last. 

So hit the RPAC, park farther away from your building, take the stairs, do whatever you can to burn those calories.  I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but you gotta keep trying.  If you ever need help, come in and talk to our nutritionists – they can give you some great advice.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University