3 Tips to Help You Lose Weight in 2013

I hear all the time about people who are having difficulty losing weight. They ask  for tips to help them lose weight. Here are 3 tips to help you lose those extra pounds in the New Year.

1. Cut out the simple carbs and processed foods. A big reason people put on those extra pounds is that they eat too many simple carbs. Simple carbs include sugar, snack foods, sweets, junk foods, and starches (white bread, white rice, white flour). Eating large amounts of simple carbs stimulates insulin which leads to fat storage and weight gain. Some people are much more sensitive to simple carbs than others. If you are having trouble losing weight, try cutting back significantly on the simple carbs. This may help jump start your weight loss.

2.Eat more fiber. Fiber is very helpful in weight loss. Most people are significantly deficient in their daily fiber intake. The goal is 30-40 grams of fiber a day. Fiber has no calories and helps fill you up. Furthermore, fiber slows the release of sugar into your blood stream. This keeps your insulin levels down and helps you to lose weight. See prior articles for lists of high fiber foods.

3. Exercise more. Aerobic exercise is critical to weight loss. Regular aerobic exercise helps to burn off extra calories. It also helps you to burn extra sugar in the blood stream, muscle and liver. Lower levels of sugar in the blood keeps your insulin levels down. Lower insulin levels leads to weight loss. Overall, your goal should be a minimum of 20-30 minutes 3-4 days a week.

Follow these 3 tips to help boost your weight loss in the New Year. This can be your healthiest year ever!

7 Numbers Everyone Should Know About Themselves

There are many numbers everyone should know to help gauge their health. Here are 7 important numbers everyone should know. They are easily measured at home or in your doctors office. Some are simple blood tests. Remember that knowledge is power. If your numbers are less than optimum, start making changes to improve them and your overall health.

1. C – reactive protein (CRP) – This is a very important number everyone should have measured. It may be more important that your cholesterol number. This number is a measure of your inflammation level. Inflammation has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, and possibly even cancer. An optimal CRP level is less than 1.0. CRP is a simple blood test.

2. Total LDL particle number (LDL-p) – This is a better measurement of your bad cholesterol levels than LDL. LDL alone is a concentration level of the bad cholesterol and may misrepresent your risk of heart attack or stroke. LDL-p measures the total number of bad cholesterol particles. A large number of small and dense LDL particles contributes to atherosclerosis and heart disease. A high LDL-p along with a high CRP is especially dangerous. LDL-p is also a simple blood test. An LDL-p level below 1000 is optimal.

3. Glucose – This simple blood test measures the glucose or sugar in your blood. A high blood glucose level may mean that your are a diabetic. High blood sugar levels lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye damage, and nerve damage. A normal glucose level is less than 100. A glucose level between 100-124 is considered pre-diabetes. A glucose level of 125 and above means you are a diabetic.

4. Creatinine – This blood test checks your kidney function. A high creatinine level may represent kidney failure. Kidney failure puts you at increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

5. Blood pressure – A normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less. A high blood pressure can lead to damage in the lining of your arteries and then to atherosclerosis. This can then lead to a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure at any age is abnormal and should be treated.

6. Body Mass Index (BMI) – This number relates your weight to your height. It will help you decide if you are overweight. A normal BMI is less than 25. A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. A BMI above 30 is considered obese. A BMI greater than 40 is considered morbidly obese.

7.  Waist circumference – The size of your belly is actually a better predictor of heart disease than general obesity. People with central obesity tend to develop higher blood pressure, regardless of body mass index (BMI) than those who store fat in other areas of the body. A normal waist circumference in men is less than 40 inches and less than 35 inches in females.

I am healthy. Why do I need to see a cardiologist?

CardiacSolutionsLogoYou are healthy, right? You feel good and take reasonable care of yourself. You have not seen a doctor in years. What good reason is there to see a cardiologist? The answer in one word is: prevention. Heart disease and stroke are both highly preventable and treatable. There is no reason for anyone to have either a heart attack or stroke. Prevention is the key. There are several risk factors which can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes including: hypertension, high cholesterol, elevated inflammation levels, diabetes and elevated blood sugar levels, being over weight, increased belly fat, lack of exercise, family history of cardiovascular disease, and smoking. Both heart attacks and stroke are vascular diseases. They both involve our arteries which carry blood and nutrients to the heart and brain. Many people think heart attacks and strokes are sudden events. They are not. In fact, there is usually evidence of diseased arteries (atherosclerosis) years, if not decades ahead of time. There are several non-invasive ways to assess the health of your arteries. Two methods are ultrasound and CT scans. Ultrasound is a favorite of mine, because no radiation is used. A simple ultrasound of the neck arteries (a carotid artery ultrasound) can give you important information on the health of your arteries. Plaque in the walls of the arteries can be visualized by ultrasound. In fact, it can be detected at an early stage. Even mild plaque can be visualized. If it is detected, corrective action can prevent future disasters. Clearly, if you smoke, you need to stop. Smoking directly damages the artery wall which leads to plaque formation. Lowering blood pressure will reduce risk of heart attacks and stroke. Lowering you cholesterol numbers can also help lower your risk. A new measure of cholesterol, LDL-(p), which measures the total number of bad cholesterol particles, can help define your risk. You want to avoid the small, dense LDL (bad) particles which help to promote plaque. Losing weight, shrinking your belly, and exercise all help to reduce your risk. Is your inflammation level high? Reducing inflammation levels will reduce your risk. Think of your cardiologist as a coach. He can help assess your risk and then discuss ways with you to help reduce your risk. It is all about being proactive. Most heart attacks and stroke are preventable. Do not delay! Do not procrastinate any longer! Get an assessment and reduce your risk. Reducing your risk will help you feel better and live longer.  Dr Greenberg specializes in preventive cardiology and nutrition. To make an appointment with Dr Greenberg at Cardiac Solutions please call 623.876.8816.