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Exercisers Can Prevent Blisters

Blisters don't happen without warning; you'll feel pain before they appear. If you feel pain in the skin of your feet while you're exercising, take off your shoes and look for a cause. Usually, your sock will be wrinkled or your shoe will be rubbing because it doesn't fit properly. If it's your socks, straighten the wrinkle. If it's your shoes, take them off. You can try to soften the shoe where it irritates your skin by rubbing bath oil or cooking oil into the shoe and stretching it. If you still develop blisters, buy a new pair of shoes. If you're too frugal to throw away shoes, take a piece of adhesive tape and place it tightly on the spot on your skin where the shoe rubs.

Wetness causes skin to stick to anything that rubs against it. Adding powder to the toes of your socks can help to keep your feet dry. It doesn't matter whether it's cornstarch, medicated powder or baby powder. Studies at Walter Reed Army Hospital showed that the most effective treatment for blisters is to sterilize a pin and the skin over the blister, stick the pin into the side of the skin over the blister, express the fluid, and then tape the skin tightly over its base.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: I received an email selling insoles and supplements that are supposed to make me grow taller. Will they work?

These ads are so unbelievable that the people who wrote them must be laughing as they steal your money for totally worthless products. They tell you that if you wear their insoles, your brain will be stimulated to release growth hormone so you can continue to grow until you are as tall as you like, at any age. If that were true, we would see people who are 15 feet tall and basketball would be an entirely different sport.

Bones do not grow throughout their length. They grow from growth centers, called the epiphysis, near their ends. When a person reaches puberty, growth centers close one after the other until all the growth centers are closed forever and a person's bones can never grow again. After that, a person can grow wider, but not taller. Even legitimate growth hormones have no effect on height once the growth centers are closed.

These bogus products will have absolutely no effect on growth, even if you use them before reaching puberty. The pills include ingredients such as kudzu, which grows so rapidly that it covers trees and buildings, and they want you to believe that you will grow like the vines. Of course this is ridiculous. Kudzu vine grows rapidly because of its genetic structure (DNA). But you cannot absorb DNA from plants or animals that you eat; the DNA is broken down in your stomach and intestines into its nucleic acid building blocks, and digested as any other food.

The tragedy is that some people will shell out their hard earned money for these worthless products. They may offer a money-back guarantee, but they know you will probably be too embarrassed to ask for your money back. People who have fallen for similar scams report that their money is never returned when they request it.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can my cholesterol be too low?

A sharp drop in cholesterol in an older person may indicate a hidden cancer or some other serious disease that interferes with his nutrition. One important study showed that older men and women with the lowest cholesterol levels also had the weakest grip strength and had other measures of frailty. That means to me that they are missing something from their diet or exercise programs. We may be putting too much emphasis on cholesterol as a predictor of disease in older people, because anything that interferes with absorption of nutrients can cause heart attacks or cancers and shorten your life.

I believe that everyone should eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts; limit meat, poultry and whole milk dairy products; avoid foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils; don't be obese and try to exercise at least five times a week. If you do all of these things and your cholesterol is very low, ask your doctor to check for malabsorption problems.

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Recipe of the Week:
Mix and Match Salad

Mix and Match Salads are the basis of my SHOW ME! Diet. Are you willing to give two weeks to prove to yourself that you can control your blood pressure and cholesterol with diet? Give the SHOW ME! Diet a try; you'll surprise yourself and your doctor!

List of Diana's Healthful Recipes

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June 26th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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