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Know the Warning Signs of Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a sudden uncontrolled rise in body temperature that affects the brain so that it can't function properly. It should never happen to you because you get plenty of warning. First your muscles are affected, then your circulation and then your brain. As your temperature starts to rise, your muscles feel like a hot poker is pressing against them. As it rises further, the air that you breathe feels like it's coming from a furnace and no matter how rapidly and deeply you try to breathe, you won't be able to get enough air. When this happens, stop exercising and cool off by moving into the shade or pouring water over your head. If you continue to exercise, your body temperature will rise further and affect your brain. Your head will start to hurt, you'll hear a ringing in your ears, you may feel dizzy, you may have difficulty seeing and then you will end up unconscious on the ground.

When a person passes out from heatstroke, his brain is being cooked just as the colorless part of an egg turns white when it hits the frying pan. Get medical help immediately. Usually, the victim should be carried into the shade and placed on his back with his head down and his feet up. He should be cooled by any possible means. Liquid should be poured on him, and it doesn't matter whether it's from a hose, a water bottle or a cup. It could be water, soda, beer, milk or whatever you have. After he is revived, he should be watched for more than an hour as his temperature can start to rise to high levels again.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Are trans fats as bad as we have been led to believe?

A study from Harvard Medical School on almost 33,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study shows that eating a diet high in partially hydrogenated fats triples a woman's chances of suffering heart disease (Circulation, April 10, 2007). Researchers can tell how much partially hydrogenated fat a person eats by measuring its content in red blood cells. In this study, the women with high levels of partially hydrogenated fats in their red blood cells were far more likely to have high blood levels of the bad LDL cholesterol and low blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol.

Many manufacturers are eliminating trans fats from their products, but they are still found in many processed foods such as cookies, doughnuts, cakes, chips and fried foods. New York City passed laws banning restaurants from serving foods containing trans fat, and other cities are following their lead. When you shop, remember that nutrition labels can proclaim "zero grams of trans fat" if a single serving contains less than half a gram. That can add up to a lot of trans fats when you eat several servings. You can protect yourself by reading the list of ingredients on all packaged foods, and avoiding those that include the words "partially hydrogenated" before any type of vegetable oil.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Will chondroitin or glucosamine treat my arthritis?

Despite the fact that Americans spend almost a billion dollars a year on these supplements, a review of 20 studies found little evidence that chondroitin or glucosamine prevent joint damage or promote healing (Annals of Internal Medicine, April 2007). Some studies have shown that chondroitin or glucosamine may help to relieve joint pain. One frequently-quoted study from the British medical journal Lancet showed that glucosamine may help to preserve cartilage. The authors asked patients to take either glucosamine or placebo and showed on X rays that those who took glucosamine had a wider space between the bones of the knee joint. Since cartilage lines the ends of bones, a wider joint space usually signifies more cartilage. However, if chondroitin or glucosamine indeed help to relieve pain, the people taking these supplements would have less pain and therefore be able to straighten their knees better. Straightening the knees would make the joint space appear to be larger. Since chondroitin and glucosamine appear to be harmless, the only argument against taking them is that they may be a waste of money.

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Recipe of the Week

Cuban Mango Salad

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

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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