Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hip Impingement

Hip impingement is increasingly recognized as a common cause of hip pain in athletes, adolescents, and young (less than age 50) adults. The hip is a ball and socket joint with a wide range of motion, stabilized by a capsule, surrounding muscles and cartilage (the labrum). Hip impingement happens when the ball hits the edge of the socket due to structural mismatch. This causes injury to the cartilage and can lead to hip arthritis if untreated. While activity increases symptoms, this is not due to overuse.

Activities that are troublesome include prolonged sitting, leaning forward, getting in or out of a car or pivoting in sports. People are predisposed to impingement by congenital or development abnormalities. The onset of pain is usually gradual and progressive. Since the normal activities of daily living cause pain, it’s not helpful to recommend rest. Anti-inflammatory medications can sometimes be helpful and it’s wise to try physical therapy to improve hip muscle flexibility and strength, as well as posture. Success with these measures may be due to the young age of the patients. If these measures do not give adequate relief, consultation with an orthopedist is needed as well as imaging studies.

Arthroscopy can give good results. The goals are to alleviate impingement, to repair or remove injured tissue and to prevent or delay osteoarthritis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Binge Season

Who doesn’t love comfort food? Unfortunately, the American population is far too comfortable. Americans love to eat and drink and at this time of the year there are fewer opportunities to be physically active. 

The binge season (Thanksgiving through New Year’s) is a good time to really pay attention to what we eat and much we consume. No one gained weight from eating too much turkey – it’s the second helpings of everything else that are deadly. Not only do we all eat too much but we drink too much as well. Non-alcoholic beverages can pack a huge caloric punch (be sure to be seated when reading the nutrition label on the eggnog).  

We need to set better examples for our children. Today, two-thirds of adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. It is certainly not easy but we need to save ourselves and our children.

Enjoy the holidays and enjoy your food – just enjoy a little less food.

To get started:

Healthy Eating: Make It Happen

Losing Weight

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2011-2012 Influenza Season Week 43

Flu activity is minimal across the United States and there has not yet been confirmed influenza in Connecticut as of the week ending October 29. This is certain to change in the coming weeks. Flu shots are plentiful and easy to obtain. There are very few people who should not be immunized – almost everyone should have a flu shot. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Can Chocolate Reduce Heart Disease?

Diet is a key life-style factor in the development of cardiometabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Based on observational evidence, and as published in the British Medical Journal, increased levels of chocolate consumption seem to be associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of cardiometabolic disorders.

Recent studies, both observational and experimental, have suggested that chocolate consumption has a favorable effect on human health. Cocoa products have a positive effect on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis and insulin resistance. It is not clear if chocolate consumption is related to a decrease in heart attacks or stroke. The advantageous effects seem to be mediated by the high content of polyphenols present in cocoa products; these in turn lead to the increased bioavailability of nitric oxide resulting in beneficial effects on blood pressure, insulin resistance and blood lipids.

Unfortunately, one has to consider other aspects associated with chocolate consumption. Commercially available chocolate products have a lot of calories (from sugar and fat) and excessive ingestion will induce weight gain (a risk factor for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes).

It’s possible that chocolate might be a delicious therapy to prevent cardiometabolic disorders if consumed in moderation and if efforts are made to reduce the sugar and fat content of currently available products. 

To read more: BMJ, 29 Aug 2011

For more fun: Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet by Lora Brody