Take This to Heart

Did you ever notice how we use the heart to describe almost everything about ourselves? It’s built into the way we talk. If you’re close to someone they’re “near to your heart.” You can want something “with all your heart.” If you say what you feel you “get to the heart of the matter.” When you’re happy and carefree you’re “young at heart,” and when you see something uplifting it “warms your heart.”  You can use it to paint a picture of almost anything good, happy and inspiring.  The heart is at the core of our health, wellbeing, fitness and love.  Sadly, diseases of the heart are collectively also the leading cause of death among men and women in the US and worldwide.  Fret not; 80-90% of heart or cardiovascular diseases are preventable. And contrary to popular beliefs, it has little to do with cholesterol or saturated fats. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ultimate Gift

Now that we are in the midst of another holiday season when our thoughts turn to good tidings and well wishes, we also begin the often difficult task of deciding on the best gift for ourselves and loved ones.   Gifts for our kids tend to be fairly easy, since they usually want or “need” everything they see.  Where does that leave us, the adults?  Sure, there are plenty of clothes, gadgets or trinkets we can buy because we are feeling generous, prosperous or affluent.  But these aren’t the things that really matter.  For those we care about we don’t usually wish them a new iPod or new necklace, we wish them love, good health, and a long life.  But merely wishing for things does not make them happen.  Instead of just wishing for health and a long life, consider giving the gift that can help it come true. Read the rest of this entry »

Food: Medicine or Poison?

Posted on 21. May, 2013 by drebanks in Nutrition

We all need food to exist, and nearly all of us derive substantial pleasure from a well prepared meal. Unfortunately, we live in a time where the quality of food has come into question. Most of us recognize foods that should be avoided, including highly processed foods with added sugars, calorie dense fast food, chemically laden foods, and genetically modified foods. These are all likely culprits in many of the chronic ailments and the obesity epidemic that plagues a growing portion of our population. But what about foods considered “healthy”? Are there really any universally beneficial foods? It turns out that there are crucial individual differences that can cause an otherwise healthy food to become a source of chronic symptoms. In contrast to more commonly recognized food allergies that cause immediate reactions like a rash, swelling and difficulty breathing, food sensitivities can cause delayed immune reactions that insidiously make us ill. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping Your Heart Healthy

It should be very encouraging that the average cholesterol numbers for Americans has dropped over the last twenty years.  A recent study found that trend even in those that did not take cholesterol lowering drugs.  That was surprising to many experts considering the explosion in obesity during that same time period, and the presumed connection between excess dietary fats, excess body fat and blood cholesterol.  This good news must be tempered, however, by another alarming fact:  despite all the advances in medicine, statin drugs, stents and balloon angioplasties, and bypass surgery, heart disease remains the number one killer of Americans.  And, as our American lifestyle has been exported around the world, it has become the number one killer worldwide.  How can these seemingly inconsistent facts be reconciled? Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking You Are Healthy Doesn’t Mean You Are

Medical Test Results You Should Know

Most of us are inundated with numbers every day.  From the mundane phone numbers, passwords, sports scores and spreadsheets to the more esoteric Wall Street derivatives and mortgage-backed securities, our society couldn’t function without numbers.  The specific numbers may vary from profession to profession but without exception, numbers are how we keep track.  But as important as any of those numbers may be, when is the last time one of them saved your life?

In medicine, knowing the right numbers can tell how healthy you really are; ranging from how well you are aging to your individual risk of developing diseases that could impact or shorten your life.  When it comes to your health, what you don’t know can really hurt you.  So, what are some of the key parameters to check?  Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Fat Shrinking Your Brain?

Posted on 22. Jan, 2012 by drebanks in Blog, Dementia, Exercise, healthy aging, Men's Health, Nutrition, Obesity, Women's Health

It isn’t breaking news that the majority of the US population is overweight or obese.  The situation has been spiraling out of control for decades.  Prospects for impacting this trend have been so bleak that new data indicating that US obesity rates have stabilized generated extensive news coverage, including segments on two national television networks, with many sources contrasting the high prevalence of obesity with the fact that rates are not climbing.  Should we really be celebrating that a third of adults[1] and one in six kids and teenagers[2] are heavy enough to be considered obese, even if that percentage hasn’t statistically increased since 2003?  Well, let’s consider the population.  From 2003 to 2011, the US population increased by approximately 18 million.  So that would mean about 6 million more obese adults even though the percentage did not increase.  During this same period, humans as a race set a new milestone; for the first time in history there are more overweight people in the world than underweight.[3]  Read the rest of this entry »

Feed Your Brain to Avoid Dementia

As an unprecedented number of Americans approach middle and old age, there is growing public concern about the loss of mental acuity that often is attributed to aging. Medical advances have dramatically increased the likelihood of surviving into the period of life that has been associated both with wisdom and mental decline. It is becoming more and more common to enter into the eighth and ninth decades of life in generally good physical health, increasing the probability that the body will outlive the mind.  Maintaining cognitive competency is crucial for personal independence and quality of life.  Factor in the growing evidence that how one lives in earlier stages of life, including our food choices, affects cognitive aging; we all should be paying a little more attention to what we feed our brains. Read the rest of this entry »

Recapture Your Youth

Posted on 22. Sep, 2011 by drebanks in Blog, Cancer, Exercise, healthy aging, Nutrition, Preventive Wellness, stress, Youthful Aging

Healthy aging is a topic that gets more and more vital each year.  More than 40 million Americans are 65 years old or greater and the proportion the U.S. population over 65 is anticipated to keep increasing.  Human lifespans are now at the longest they have ever been but more and more are questioning the best ways to ensure the quality of those extra years.

Aging is a complex process with many contributing environmental and genetic factors.  While a person’s lifespan is not absolutely programmed into their genes, longevity is dependent on genetic mechanisms.  This means that a doctor can’t run a genetic test to see what age you will live to, but they can see how well or poorly you are aging on a genetic level.  The damage that we accumulate through our lives is reflected in certain areas of our genes, and these areas in turn shape the ability of our cells to continue to function.

These genetic keys to aging are called telomeres.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sugar: Villain in Disguise?

Mary Poppins may have recommended adding a spoonful of sugar to make some things a little more palatable, but Americans have taken that benign suggestion and run amok with it.  American consumption of added sugars has increased drastically over the last several decades.  While excessive sugar consumption is arguably the main reason for our epidemic of obesity and type-2 diabetes, the extra empty calories may just be the tip of the iceberg.  As researchers delve deeper into the fundamental causes of the diseases of Western lifestyles, they are starting to see links to sugar consumption; and the evidence implicating added sugars as a contributing factor in the development of heart disease, hypertension, and several common cancers is starting to look pretty good. Read the rest of this entry »

For Better Longevity, You Are What You Eat…And Do

So what does that say about most Americans?  An increasingly large segment of the US population is overweight or obese, and nearly as many admit to being couch potatoes. Convincing evidence shows that weight gain and obesity increases the risk of several different cancers, including colon, prostate and breast cancer. Studies continue to reveal a link between food consumption, exercise, lifestyle choices and health impact. And the latest research suggests eating fruits and vegetables, limiting alcohol intake and regular exercise just may lower your risk for cancer.  Read the rest of this entry »

About Alternity Healthcare

Alternity Healthcare, LLC is an innovative medical practice emphasizing proactive, preventive care designed to help patients avoid degenerative diseases, regain lost vitality and achieve optimal health.