Archive for October 17th, 2012|Daily archive page

The 2-Minute Checkup

In Communication, Griot, Networking, News, Science, Self Improvement on October 17, 2012 at 6:15 am

We don’t all have time to stop by the doctors office for a tighten and sway,
Perhaps we have time to peruse Ebony Mag‘s 2-Minute Check up today?

Q & A is rolling in:
Is diet soda a calorie building sin?

I constantly drink diet soda. Is it true that these zero-calorie drinks have been linked to weight gain?

There’s little direct evidence that diet soda –or the sugar substitutes in them — actually causes weight gain. Support for the idea that artificial sweeteners may alter insulin function or change the “food reward” system in the brain, however, is growing. Experimental data suggests that sugar substitutes promote increased calorie consumption by altering the communication between the taste buds and the centers in teh brain that tell us we are full, leading to increased cravings or defective calorie sensing. The counter argument is that people over consume diet soda because they wrongly assume that doing so means there are calories to spare (when eating a burger and fries, for instance). the bottom line is that the debate is far from over.

Here’s what we do know: If you overeat and don’t exercise, your weight will go up. Many people never touch diet soda and struggle with weight. So don’t look down in amazement at your growing waistline and blame it ll on diet soda.

Are food allergies inherited? My mother had a bad allergy to penas and it seems to now be hitting me at age 28.

Although food allergies can occur later in life, it’s more common to develop them in childhood. Research shows that siblings of those with food allergies are at increased risk, yet parental allergies may also be a risk factor. The primary strategy for managing these allergies is avoidance of the culprits, which is easier said than done; tree nuts are used in many food and nonfood products. Unintended exposure through cross-contact of foods must also be avoided. Finally, exposure to allergen-containing saliva may occur during kissing or utensil sharing, so be careful and always remember to tell restaurant servers that you have this allergy.

What causes fibroids, and how can I manage them? My periods are beyond horrible — I almost always have to take a day off because the cramping and bleeding are so bad.

Fibroids are non-cancerous muscular tumors of the uterine wall, and the causes can be varied. While your own hormones, particularly estrogen, can lead to fibroid growth, they don’t actually cause the tumors. There are a number of risk factors, however, that predispose women to fibroid tumors, including family history, young age at first menstrual period (younger than 10 years old), obesity and race. In fact, Black women are two to three times more likely than White women to develop fibroids.

The classic symptoms you describe, heavy and painful menstrual periods, are heavy and painful menstrual periods, are more likely with fibroids larger than 4cm. In fact, fibroids can be so large that they push on the rectum or bladder and cause constipation or urinary difficulty, respectively. They can also lead to reproductive problems, causing infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Many women experience relief of symptoms at menopause (in the absence of hormone replacement), since fibroids tend to shrink at this time.

Schedule a visit with your gynecologist, who will want to examine you and perhaps perform an ultrasound. Depending on your age, the size and location of the tumors, and your plans to become pregnant, your doctor will lay out the options for treating your symptoms. This may require surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.

Dave Montgomery, M.D., PhD, is a board certified physician, health coach and EBONY’s Special Contributing Editor, Health. Web:
Illustrations by: Daniel Krall

I don’t drink diet soda but I do crave a Dr. P every now and then.
I do have food allergies against iceberg lettuce – my health sin.

I did have fibroid tumor issues — likely because I’m black.
It’s a cultural medical issue – can’t play the race card on that.

Medical Science – today is duly on my side
Now if only I could rid the extra pounds from my leisureful hide…

I’m working on being more fit. Keeping my metabolism up is rough,
I’m Qui 
Sharing these concerns with you via this quick 2-Minute Check up.