The Water Myth
As necessary and helpful as water can be, there is a point where too much can deadly. In 2007, during a radio station contest offering a prize to the person who could drink the most water without going to the bathroom, 28-year-old and mother of three Jennifer Strange drank nearly two gallons of water and died shortly after of water intoxication.
So, how much is too much?
According to new research, the adage of drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is not necessarily accurate; you should only drink as much water as you lose in a day, which is about five glasses. The Doctors say not to worry about drinking too little water since you actually consume most of your water from food and advise just drinking when you’re thirsty.
There are times, however, when you should make sure to drink a lot of water or electrolyte-filled drinks, such as during exercise or during hot days.
Medical Secret Shoppers?
Many hospitals and private practices hire “secret shoppers” to evaluate their service. The undercover agents pose as patients and report on the facility’s customer service including wait times, attentiveness and overall care. In many cases, they will be hired to provide feedback on how well the hospital or doctor’s office is run, which can be beneficial to doctors, administrators and patients.
“In some instances I think this can be good,” Dr. Lisa says. “We get so focused on a lot of things, and we have good intent, but sometimes you forget if a patient is waiting out there and it’s a good thing for the nurse to actually go and tell them how long the wait is. If you don’t have those checks and balances, you’re not going to see that. So sometimes, it’s actually a good thing.”
The Doctors note that secret shoppers can be an impediment when a facility becomes busy, and the agents may delay care for those who really need it. But Jodi Manfredi, president of Examine Your Practice , an organization that sends “mystery patients” to medical facilities to report on customer care, assures The Doctors that secret shoppers are instructed to always put the “true” patient first. Jodi ensures that secret shoppers are instructed to leave if the hospital or doctor’s office is busy or chaotic and forfeit their appointment or bed to someone who really needs it. The shoppers also decline any recommended diagnostic tests and treatments and reveal themselves as a secret shopper before any test is conducted.
“Doctors do need feedback,” Dr. Travis says. “There are plenty of doctors out there who don’t communicate well, [so] that can be very helpful.”
THE FOUR F’s THAT WOMEN FEAR
No. 4: The Fifties
Many women dread turning 50. Lisa, 49, says she is definitely in that group, and has even planned a funeral-themed 50th birthday party where everyone will be dressed in black to mourn -- rather than celebrate -- the occasion. She says her fears about turning 50 include facial wrinkles, menopause, weight gain and her overall health.
Lisa stays young at heart by keeping herself in a youthful environment, being a “groupie” with her husband’s rock ‘n’ roll band and wearing hand-me-down clothes from younger people.
To help Lisa cope with aging, Dr. Ordon gives her a big surprise: facial injections of Juvederm Ultra Plus, the longest-lasting filler available, to help diminish the fine lines and wrinkles around her mouth. Lisa and The Doctors think she looks 10 years younger with just a 10-minute procedure.
“This is good now,” Lisa says. “You’ve got me back down to 40!”
OB-GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson talks about bone loss and ways for women to keep their bones strong, such as staying active. Weight-bearing exercises like walking are very important, as well as making sure she has enough calcium and Vitamin D in her diet. Dr. Lisa also says women should embrace menopause because it can be liberating because there will be no more periods.
Dr. Ordon reminds Lisa that “Today’s 50 is [the new] 40.”
No. 3: Fatigue
Pam, 43, feels constant fatigue, but cannot fall asleep. She was diagnosed with hyperthyroid 20 years ago and takes the drug Syntroid to combat the disorder. Endocrinologist Dr. Eva Cwynar, however, says not all of Pam’s symptoms are thyroid related. After a series of tests, Dr. Cwynar had some answers and solutions for Pam.
“She’s a busy mother, she’s a working woman, she’s a wife,” Dr.Cwynar says, “so I was wondering ‘Do you get your breakfast?”’
Pam was not eating breakfast or eating right throughout the day. Dr. Cwynar says breakfast is very important and gives the body energy. Also, Pam was not taking the appropriate dosage of medicine for her thyroid problems. Additionally, Pam is going through pre-menopause, indicating that her insomnia could have multiple causes. Since Pam does not sleep well at night she wakes up exhausted, which creates a cycle that causes fatigue.
“Fatigue isn’t limited to just one disease state,” Dr. Cwynar says.
Dr. Ordon suggests a change in lifestyle, which includes eating correctly and regularly, while Dr. Jim advises when you feel fatigued, to try to get a quick workout in because it will actually help your body more than if you rest.
No. 2: Forgetfulness
Do you forget to return phone calls, take the coffee mug off the roof of the car before driving or remove food from the stove until it burns? Sylvia, 49, says it happens to her all the time. Sylvia even forgot about a previous commitment and had to call into the show instead of being in the audience!
Dr. Lisa says post-childbirth memory loss -- or “momnesia” -- is relatively normal and its primary cause is sleep deprivation. But Sylvia had her son eight years ago, and she’s still forgetful. In fact, one day she took the family’s four German Shepherds to the dog park, but only came back with three. Her husband, John, had to drive back to pick up the forgotten fourth.
“I was trying to be all responsible and I thought ‘I’ll go to the doggy park and run them around before I go pick up our son,” Sylvia says. “I was in such a rush to do that, and get them all in the car … I honestly thought they were all in the car. It wasn’t until I got home with our son and the dogs, and my husband [asks] ‘Where’s Maya?’”
Sylvia and John laugh about her forgetfulness and the tricks and tools she uses to remember things, such as sticking notes all over the house. But her mind lapses are not always a laughing matter.
“This is something that women are afraid of because we do so much,” Dr. Lisa explains. “With all the tasks, with the family, with the cooking, with the cleaning, with the taking care of the husband, you’re taking care of everybody and it can be overwhelming. Forgetfulness is a normal part of it, but it can be scary.”
In addition to using notes to remember certain tasks, The Doctors suggest other methods to help Sylvia improve her memory. Mental exercises as simple as counting backwards or mnemonic devices can help a great deal. There are also certain foods and supplements that are proven to boost memory, including fish, eggs, Omega-3 supplements, broccoli, purple grapes, purple onions, red apples and blueberries -- or “brainberries,” as pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears calls them.
No. 1: Fat
Cynthia, 39, had gastric bypass surgery in June, 2008, and has lost 53 pounds in the last five months. After topping out at 270 pounds, she is down to 177 and hopes to lose at least 40 more. Despite her success, Cynthia says she is worried she will gain the weight back.
The Doctors turn to fitness and weight loss expert Robert Reames, head trainer for “The Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge” on the Dr. Phil show to explain to Cynthia how she can achieve her goal weight and keep the weight off for good.
Robert says there are three major lifestyle changes Cynthia will need to implement:
- Strength training: Building muscle is important because it will make your body burn fat 24/7. Every pound of muscle you build will help you burn up to 50 or more calories a day by doing absolutely nothing.
- Keep your body moving: Stay active by walking or running on the treadmill, using the elliptical and rowing machines, boxing or swimming. Do physical activity on a consistent basis.
- Eat enough calories: Cynthia has been eating just 800 calories a day, which is not enough to help build muscle. Eating so few calories will actually teach the body to store fat, and that will not help to lose weight.
The Doctors surprise Cynthia and tell her that Robert will help her reach goal weight by working with her to make the three lifestyle changes.
The Doctors use a technology called WeightView to give Cynthia an idea of what she will look like when she loses another 40 pounds. WeightView alters an uploaded photo and shows what you will look like at a target weight. It can be a good motivational tool in weight loss.
When The Doctors show Cynthia the journey she will take through the photos, her face brightens, and all she can say is, “Wow!”