Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nancy O'Dell joins The Doctors to dish on Hollywood health headlines.
Charlie Sheen's Hiatal Hernia
On January 28, 45-year-old actor Charlie Sheen was hospitalized for severe abdominal pain. It was caused by a hiatal hernia, a common condition that occurs when weakened muscle tissue allows the stomach to bulge into the diaphragm and through the hiatus, an opening that allows the esophagus to connect to the stomach.
Abdominal tissue can be weakened by activities like coughing, vomiting, straining during a bowel movement or lifting heavy objects. Most small hiatal hernias don't have symptoms, but large hiatal hernias may cause heartburn, belching, chest pain or nausea. This condition is most common in people over the age of 50 who are overweight and smoke.
How to Reduce Strain on your Abdominal Muscles:
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Along with its slew of other benefits, eating a well balanced diet and exercising regularly will decrease the risk of a hiatal hernia.
- Eat High-Fiber Foods: Fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains will help prevent constipation and straining that can weaken abdominal tissue.
- Lift Heavy Objects Correctly: When lifting something heavy, always lift with the knees and not from the waist.
- Stop Smoking: While smokingincreases your risk of cancer, emphysema and heart disease, it also causes a chronic cough which can aggravate a hernia.
- Don't Rely On a Truss: Wearing a truss, a supportive garment to keep hernias in place, isn't a long-term solution for a hernia; trusses don't protect against complications or correct the underlying problem.
- Wear Loose Clothing: Anything that presses on the stomach, like tight clothing, can aggravate a hernia.
It is speculated that Sheen's hernia was caused by drug and alcohol abuse, and he reportedly checked into rehab shortly after his diagnosis. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that drug and alcohol addictions are medical conditions; those struggling with addiction should seek help from their doctor.
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The Skinny on No-Carb Diets
Princess-to-be Kate Middleton's mother, Carole, is preparing for Kate's royal wedding with the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Dukan Diet. Created by nutritionist Pierre Dukan, the strict regimen consists of four stages during which followers eliminate all carbohydrates, then slowly phase healthy starches back into their diet. Carole allegedly lost 4 pounds in the first four days of the diet; though it showed swift results, carb-cutting diets like the Dukan Diet can lead to a number of health problems, including kidney failure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, kidney stones, cancer and a malfunctioning metabolism. Drastically restricting carbohydrates can also send the body into an altered metabolic state called ketosis, which changes the body from a carbohydrate-burning engine to a fat-burning engine.
Hints For Staying Safe On a Low-Carb Diet:
- Be sure to eat enough protein from sources that are nutrient-rich and lower in fat and calories, such as lean meats, beans, soy and low-fat dairy. Protein contains the necessary amino-acids that make cells in our bodies, such as muscles, nails and hair.
- Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, but it cannot stand alone. A truly healthy diet includes all the food groups: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, healthy fats and lean protein.
- While weight loss might be a welcome side effect, low-carb dieters may suffer from bad breath, constipation, dry mouth and fatigue.
- To get the potential weight-loss benefit, experts advise aiming to consume around 120 grams of protein per day. If you want to increase your protein intake, do so slowly over the course of a week.
- If you are taking medication, have diabetes, liver or kidney disease, or if you are pregnant or lactating, be sure to consult your doctor before initiating a high-protein diet.
- Losing weight quickly due to a high-protein, low-fat diet can lead to loss of muscle mass, which is hard to replace, especially as you get older.
Michael Douglas Triumphs over Throat Cancer
After seven weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, actor Michael Douglas, 66, overcame oropharyngeal cancer, a disease where malignant cells develop in the oropharynx, an area in the back of the throat. Oropharyngeal cancer is becoming more common, with smoking, drinking and the human papilloma virus (HPV) as risk factors. The prognosis for the disease often depends on age and overall health of the individual.
Douglas' first step on the road to recovery is what doctors call a complete response to treatment; the tumor on the base of his tongue is undetectable at this time. Due to the effects of radiation and chemotherapy, Douglas says he has lost function of his salivary glands, as well as 40 pounds, 12 of which he's gained back since completing treatment. While the cancer is now untraceable, monthly checkups are required in the event of a relapse. Since defeating the disease, Douglas says he is making an effort to reduce stress in his life and eat more organic foods.
"When you get to that point in life, you hope that you can overcome cancer like Michael has and appreciate all you have accomplished," Dr. Travis says. "Sometimes, it takes a diagnosis like cancer to appreciate your life."
Try to Stay Cancer-Free
• Don't smoke
• Don't drink
• Get regular HPV screenings
• Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet
• Visit Rumorfix.com for more celebrity news!
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