Archive for August, 2006

Want to Lose Weight or Stay Slim?…Go Vegetarian!

August 31, 2006

imagesthm.jpgWe are always taught that vegetables are good for the body. But eating vegetables should be learned from the time we learn how to eat! The problem comes with parents who don’t like vegetables and therefore don’t teach kids to eat them.

With the rising trend of obesity, we try to resort to anything that will give us a quick fix to this problem BUT the truth is… there will never be a quick fix. With the theory behind the Vegetarian Diet…it is really a healthy option and one alternative I’ll recommend to everyone who wants to lose weight!

So what do we know of eating vegetables and weight loss?

A study conducted by Cancer Reasearch UK from the EPIC Project looked at dietary habits of around 22,000 subjects and studied them over a 5 year period.

The findings are interesting:

People who ate meat and continued doing so in the next 5 years gained more weight than those who switched to becoming vegetarians. The meat eaters gained around 2 kilos while the vegetarians gained only 0.5 kilos.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post on High Protein Diet regarding protein sources, protein from vegetables definitely has lesser fat and calorie content than protein coming from a meat source.  It is therefore understandable as to why a diet fully on vegetables will have its advantages!

  • The high fiber content of vegetables make you feel fuller faster and therefore you eat lesser quantities of food and lose weight.
  • The fat and calorie content is lesser and therefore you don’t gain weight and stay slim!

So there you go guys, eat all the greens you like and you’ll never go wrong!

Stay Slim…Go For Veggies!

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The Benefit of Drinking Apple Juice

August 30, 2006

234652767.jpgI usually refrain from taking apple juice because any fruit juice for me is plain sugar. I always have this rule: A fruit is better than a puree… a puree is better than a juice! BUT new studies may change my way of dealing with juices.

A recent study done in University of Massachussets Lowell published in the August issue of the International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease looked at the effect of apple juice in animal models and its effect in memory.

The FINDINGS are interesting:

The apple juice fed animals had more neurotransmitters produced in the brain important for memory signaling.  Likewise the animals tested did better in memory and learning evaluations.

What’s the implication of the Study in out daily practice?

With the baby boomers reaching the age where we fear the era of forgetfulness… this study is pretty reassuring. The antioxidant properties in apple may have helped in increasing the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain that improved the outcome in terms of memory.

I usually recommend apple as fruit serving to my patients with diabetes because it has a lower glycemic index- meaning it does not significantly increase ones blood sugar.  With this new data on apples… I may have helped them unknowingly in helping preserve their memory!

Other vegetables and fruits may have similar outcome but for now, foods rich in antioxidant properties like apple are known to possess properties that may prevent cognitive decline due to dietary and genetic deficiencies and aging.

An Apple A Day Keeps Your Mind Being Blown Away!

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Negative Comments on Your Overweight Kids

August 29, 2006

24803847242.jpgOne interesting blog  I read on health issues recently highlighted the obesity epidemic especially among children that is being sensationalized by the media for public consumption. People are now made aware of what health ill effects they bring so everytime I counsel patients regarding diabetes and obesity, I always ask the parents to bring the kids. And what I’ve noticed is when we start discussing about obesity, the parents then turn to their kids with comments regarding their weight.

Comments from parents ranged from being ugly, lazy and fat! These comments according to Medline Plus of the National Institute of Health sourced from the August issue of the Journal of Pediatrics result in kids developing low self esteem and the notion of lack of support from the family. Negative remarks on their weight resulted in lasting harm.

Practical Application of the Study Findings:

1. We can be critical in our comments but contstructive.

2. Focus in discussing about healthy food choices rather that the bad image of being overweight.

3. Indulge yourself in outdoor activities with your children.

4. Set an example to the kids by following your own rules: on healthy food options, and by exercising. Kids who see their parents exercise have been shown to result in leaner weights as adults.

 So Parents…Remember your comments now may have negative lasting harm to your kids.

Lets Take Care Of Our Kids…Handle Them With Love!

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High Fiber Diet: Any Benefits?

August 28, 2006

imagesfghy.jpgJust talked with a patient regarding her weight and her risk for diabetes and other diseases related to being overweight. Her relative apparently just died of colon cancer. That’s when our focus of discussion shifted to dietary habits and how high fiber diet can help prevent diseases that are now so commonly affecting the health system.

We know that high fiber diet has benefits including preventing constipation, improve bowel function, lowering ones risk to develop diabetes and of course help obesity by decreasing our urge to eat and therefore alleviate hunger. In a recent article published in Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology, a low fiber diet has been shown to result in rising trend of obesity among children. Likewise, a low fiber diet has also been shown to increase ones risk to cancer especially colon cancer however some studies published in New England of Medicine have not shown beneficial effects of high fiber diet in reducing risk of colon adenomas and cancer.

In the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Southwestern University looked at a very high fiber diet in relation to blood glucose and cholesterol… 2 very important risk factors for heart disease. The 50 gm fiber content in the study was twice the recommended daily intake for fiber by the American Diabetes Assc which is around 25 gms. 

The Results:

A high fiber diet resulted in a decrease of blood glucose by 10%; it likewise decreased the insulin levels and the cholesterol levels as well.

Clinical Implication:

By lowering ones blood glucose and cholesterol, aside from its benefits in weight loss …a high fiber diet can therefore result in reducing ones risk for diabetic complications including heart disease and stroke.

Examples of Fiber that we can incorporate in the diet:

  • Insoluble fiber like wheat bran, nuts and vegetables like okra
  • Soluble fiber like oats, peas, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, psyllium, papaya, grapefruit, cantaloupe

Here’s To A High Fiber Diet for a Healthier You!

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Facts and Tips on High PROTEIN Diet

August 25, 2006

imagesdfgt2.jpgThe fad of low carb and high protein diet has put protein at the center stage!  People are now aware of protein.  And I see people in parties filling up their plates with beef, pork and cheese obviously following the Atkins or the South Beach diet! But what’s the use of protein and are all proteins the same?

Our body requires 1 gm of protein per kg body weight. If we dont get enough protein- it can lead to growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decrease heart and lung function and decrease ones immunity.

Too much protein can also cause harm. It can take a lot of calcium from the bone and can lead to fractures based on the Nurses Health Study.

Different protein sources give different effects to health. Proteins coming from vegetables definitely are healthier than those coming from meat. A steak and a salmon may have the same amount of protein but the saturated fat in beef is more than half that of the fish. While the fat in vegetable is almost zero. And we know the connection between FAT and HEART disease!

Tips in Choosing Your Protein Sources wisely:

1. If you like meat… get the lean cuts for beef or pork BUT fish and chicken are better alternatives.

2. Go for vegetable proteins like nuts, lentils, beans and whole grain

3. Get a mix source of protein to get a even portions of protein for your daily needs.

4. Soy based foods are also good alternatives to red meat but limit to 2 to 3 servings a week.

So if you’re into this kind of diet… be aware of the protein package… get a mixture of protein sources and go for the proteins with the least amount of fat!

Choose Your Protein Wisely!

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Being SINGLE Can Be Bad For Your Health

August 24, 2006

671582262.jpgThe September Issue of the Journal of Epidemiology revealed an amazing fact. It is often believed that staying with friends or having friends or being with somebody you love makes a dull day bright!

Several research studies have already been done looking at longer life spans and lesser heart diseases among happily married couples. But this is the first study done at University of California that I know of,  that looked at singleblessedness and decreased life span.

THE FINDINGS:

1. A 58% increase in death rate among single persons versus those who are married.

2. Unmarried persons whether divorced, separated or widowed had higher death rate.

3.The effect was STRONGEST among those NEVER MARRIED and more pronounced in men than in women.

Practical Implication of the study in our decision making:

Being unmarried is a high risk condition. In fact it was assessed that… the risk of being unmarried is similar to ones risk if he has high blood pressure or high cholesterol and the risk of death!

*Does this mean married couples lead happier lives? Or live  healthier lives because of the children or because they want more happier years together that they live healthier lives? OR

*Do you think being single equates to being lonely and less health conscious? …. What do you think? 

As the saying goes…

The Happier You Are…The Longer You Live!

How To Prevent BAD BREATH

August 23, 2006

imageslll1.jpgPatients with diabetes are prone to gum disease. Good blood sugar control helps prevent gingivitis or gum disease but once they develop gum problem comes the dreadful BAD Breath!

The problem with Halitosis or bad breath however is not unique to diabetics.  Even your close friends may have it but not as a result of a disease but because of the more common cause of halitosis : poor oral hygiene.

I recently read an interesting article in The National Institute of Health Medline Plus August issue on a study conducted to determine if flossing helps prevent halitosis.  This study involved a total of 51 subjects: half of them brushed their teeth and tongue 2 x a day while the other half did the same plus regular flossing.

The RESULTS after 2 weeks of study showed that:

The group that did regular brushing plus flossing had 38% reduction in gum bleeding and bad breath.

Clinical Implication:

Just 2 weeks of regular brushing plus dental flossing can reduce gum bleeding and bad breath!

So guys…After brushing your teeth…

To Prevent BAD BREATH… Don’t Forget to Floss!

Hyperacidity or Heart Attack?

August 22, 2006

imagesasdfgh.jpgAlmost always when a patient presents in the ER with massive heart attack, a history of heartburn symptoms were noted days or months prior to the ER visit.  The patient has been complaining of on and off ” heartburn” apparently due to bad food or missed meal symptoms of hyperacidity.  Neglected for days, the patient then presents himself in the ER in an emergency situation.

Practical Tips to know whether you have plain hyperacidity or a serious heart attack:

1. Heartburn tends to occur after meals when you have the most acid being produced, while most chest pains from heart attack occur during times of heavy exertion like exercising, running or doing strenuous activities that require the heart to beat fast.

2. Hyperacidity is burning like sensation in the chest relieved by plain antacid or H2 blocker medications like Ranitidine ( Zantac).  Chest Pain from a heart ailment is more like pressure sensation, squeezing or deep pressure sensation that is often associated with shortness of breath. However if ones burning like sensation is persistent or not relieved by antacid and associated with dizziness, shortness of breath or discomfort… seek medical help immediately as this may mean a more serious heart ailment.

3. If the pain starts to go somewhere else, radiating to the back or down to the left side of the arm… this may signal a heart attack.

4. If you have chest pain of any type and you have risk factors for heart disease especially, Diabetes, or a family history of sudden death in the family, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a smoker… then have yourself evaluated for heart disease.

My Recommendation:

A simple exercise treadmill stress testing can help determine if your chest pain is due to heart disease or some other ailment. A cardiologist can do this anytime and the results are out within the same outpatient visit.

Don’t Take Your Chest Pain For Granted… Better Early Than Late!

Diet Tips From The Stars

August 21, 2006

imagessder.jpgOne very interesting blog I’ve read on health and diet is titled Health, Fitness and Dieting Tips that has excellent articles on proper nutrition and dieting tips.

One article that I find interesting which will please my women readers are the dietary habits of the stars namely Oprah Winfrey, the Friends star Jennifer Aniston and supermodels like Christy Brinkley.

What I noticed is that they don’t resort to fad diets but rather they have routine dietary habits that are considered safe and healthy that incorporates an exercise regimen.  They stick to their diet and again The Key To Succesful Weight Loss, is the adherence to the diet and not the specific diet that makes one lose weight!

In short to keep ones weight down is simple… follow a diet… stick to it based on the following principles:

1. Eat the right food in its right amount.  I always recommend the following proportions:40% of calories from fat ( < 10% from saturated fat, 10% polyunsaturated and 20% monounsaturated); 20% from protein and 40% from low glycemic carbohydrates. Talk with your dietician regarding this distribution.

2. Avoid Junk Foods and

3. Exercise : find the activities that you like that will burn calories.

Just look at the stars… if you believe you deserve to have the same bodies as they have then follow their rules in dieting.

Follow the 3 Rules to Weight Loss!

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What You Need To Know About DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

August 20, 2006

imagesehi.jpgI take my daily multivitamin. Any Vitamin preparation is a dietary supplement. But also those in the market sold as health food supplements such as herbals, amino acids and energy bars.

So, How do we protect ourselves from taking supplements that may be harmful to us?

Based on studies by the the US FDA Center for Apllied Nutrition, some supplements can really help us but they can also harm us. Be aware of the potential side effects of each supplement before you buy especially if you are taking other medications.

Examples of combination of dietary supplements and common medications that we dont recommend:

1. Calcium and Digoxin ( a heart medication)

2. St John’s Wort and Antidepressants

3. Magnesium and Diuretics like Lasix 

4. Vitamin K and blood thinners like Coumadin

Remember the following tips before buying supplements:

1. Avoid supplements with “cure it all” claims- unless the company has been awarded the Nobel Prize for A Miracle Drug.

2. Don’t be fooled by the word: NATURAL. It does not necessarily equate to being SAFE! Any supplement taken in excess can be toxic to the body and harm either the liver or the kidney. Don’t be fooled by these marketing strategies.

3.DO NOT attempt to substitute a prescription medicine for a dietary supplement based on the product claim… this may kill you, physically and financially! They’re also expensive!

A Take Home Message:

– Dietary Supplements ARE NOT intended to treat, prevent or cure a disease or to be used as replacement for healthy food options.

– Do not self diagnose your condition and treat it based on claims. Talk with your doctor as how best to utilize a supplement and how safe it is in combination with your other drugs.

Dietary Supplements Can Be Your Partners in Health or Your Foe!

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A Vaccine For OBESITY…A Reality?

August 19, 2006

imagesrm1.jpgWe have vaccines for infections like flu and pneumonia… now comes a vaccine for obesity?  This would really be interesting.

As we are facing a tremendous increase in the prevalence of obesity, we are likewise faced with the burden of treating the diseases that come with it! Wouldn’t it be ideal to have a vaccine solely to prevent our kids to be obese?

Published in the August 2006 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is one interesting study which really caught my attention. This involved giving mice a vaccine against the effects of a protein called Ghrelin – a protein closely associated with weight gain! The study involved the mice to eat as much as they want. 

The FINDINGS: 

The mice that were given the vaccine gained 1/2 that of the group without the vaccine suggesting that the vaccine prevented the weight gain!

Clinical Human Implication of the Study:

This vaccine will definitely help in PREVENTING Obesity in those who are not obese yet and those at risk due to genetic makeup and family history… rather than as a Treatment of Obesity!

So… While awaiting research to come up with miracle drugs to treat obesity and before this vaccine becomes a reality…

Prevention Is Still The Best Option!

Advice on Disciplining Our KIDS…Because They Will Remember!

August 18, 2006

54796148.jpgI am extra careful with regard to disciplining my kids. In certain times of stress… your voice may become loud enough for you to realize later that you need to lower it down a bit! My wife always remind me to take it easy and we resort to non verbal or non contact strategies like no Gameboy privileges or standing in one corner for a number of minutes which usually work!

I thought of sharing with you a certain article that I read related to stress, anxiety and depression in later life and what contributes to them.  Medical News Today  highlighted this particular study by Florida State University which included 5000 subjects between 15 to 54 years of age. 

Verbal abuse included insults, swearing, threats of physical abuse and spiteful comments or behavior.

The FINDINGS

1.The study showed that people who were verbally abused as children grew up to be self-critical adults prone to depression and anxiety.

2. People who were verbally abused had 1.6 times as many symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

3. Those verbally abused as a child were twice as likely to suffer a mood or anxiety disorder over their lifetime.

IMPLICATION OF THE STUDY….

As parents therefore, it is our duty to understand that our verbal abuse can have long term effects on our children which can forever affect their lives as adults and as parents….

Avoid calling them names or hurl insults to their behavior because these will forever hurt them… and they will remember!

Be Critical in Disciplining Your Kids…

Think Twice Before You Act! 

The Truth About Vitamin E

August 17, 2006

imagesdtk.jpgI used to take Vitamin E daily. The fad on antioxidants was so noisy that you cant help it but follow the trend. Anyway it’s only a vitamin is the argument!

Due to its antioxidant properties, Vitamin E was touted to provide the promise of heart protector and cancer reducer! Preliminary studies which were ” Chart reviews” or retrospective in nature showed promise! But… again we look for studies that are long term with huge number of subjects to really tell if a drug is worth our penny and our time.

The Womens Health Study is the biggest so far that involved 40,000 women who were followed from 1992 to 2004.  That’s pretty huge number with long term follow up period and therefore the results considered reliable. The study was published in the JAMA in July 2005 with extensive review in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The FINDINGS:

Vitamin E did not protect women from cardiovascular disease nor did it protect from cancer!

So if you are taking Vitamin E because of its antioxidant properties hoping to help you protect against heart disease and cancer… think again….

Go for the proven remedies…. Don’t go for the shortcut!

Healthy Lifestyle means Healthy Life!

Obesity Genes:Why We Become Obese May Not Be Our Fault After All!

August 16, 2006

imagesftu.jpgWe always think of the equation: what you take in EQUALS what you take out!  A simple equation now being questioned with new findings on studies that this may not be so….

Studies involving twins who ate the same amount of calories had different weights. Subjects given the same quantity of calories- one gained 1 pound a week the other did not. So what made the difference?

New research has shown that Obesity genes now numbering to 50 regulate the way we eat…whether its enough to stop…the way our body utilizes the calories.. and the way fat is built up. This may explain the difference why with so little fuel, some patients gained weight a lot.

Recently… a new cultprit is believed to contribute to this menace… The Microbes just like the way ulcers are made.

In short… it is not ones fault if one has these biological factors causing them to be obese but the whole problem still boils down to too much eating with too little exercise. We may not be able to change the biological makeup, but we can definitely change the way they manifest.

So…It May Not Be Your Fault After All….

…But You Still Take Responsibility Of The Outcome!

The Truth About Mercury Contamination and Eating Fish

August 15, 2006

802970253.jpgIt’s indeed a CATCH 22… The Benefits of Fish versus The Fear of Mercury Contamination!

It’s been reported that contamination of fish with mercury has stopped a lot of consumers from eating fish and therefore denied themselves of the benefits of fish.

Because of the many benefits of fish, the National Institute of Health, National Academy of Sciences, The US Dietary Guidelines recommend eating fish at least 2 x a week.

However, The Food and Drug Administration recommends to avoid shark, white tuna, swordfish and king mackerel because they contain high levels of mercury and therefore harmful to children and pregnant women.

The general consensus however is that…

The general public should not avoid FISH out of the concern for mercury. Because even eating high mercury laden fish… IF NOT EATEN FREQUENTLY… will cause no harm!

Likewise,according to Harvard School of Heath…” Neither the Mercury Concern nor the Polychlorinated Biphenyls (known to cause neurological disorders) conatamination in fish are enough for people to reduce their fish intake!”

There You Go…

Fear of Mercury Should Not Put The Fish At Bay….

The PAINKILLERS and Erectile Dysfunction

August 14, 2006

571729226.jpgNon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen or Advil that we are familiar with have been shown in one study to not only Kill Pain but also Kill your Erection!… Whew… That’s pretty scary!

In a an item in Diabetes Control, 2006… it is a known fact that Diabetics are at highest risk of erectile dysfunction.  However drugs apparently are culprits of causing it too.

This study is the first to note the relationship between chronic intake of painkillers and the higher risk of developing impotence. This study involved 1126 men, between 50 and 70 years of age, without erectile dysfunction in 1994. Arthritis was the most common reason for NSAID use.

FINDINGS:

For whatever reason they were taken…

 NSAIDs increased the risk of erectile dysfunction by 50% 

Although arthritis in itself has been shown to increase ones risk…this study noted that the presence of arthritis without NSAID use increased the risk of erection difficulty by only 30 percent …SUGGESTING  that NSAIDs were largely to blame for the link between arthritis and erectile dysfunction. 

Until further studies are done…before you Grab Another ADVIL….

Better Check….Down Below! Be Sure He’s A OK! 

Being Forgetful Maybe Due To Your Blood Sugar

August 14, 2006

imagessdfg.jpgIf you are a diabetic… or if you have family members who are diabetics… then this post is for you!

We all know the major complications associated with Poor Blood Sugar Control.  We know it can lead to major disabling complications like heart attack and stroke.  Now comes this new finding that links poor blood glucose control and the early problem of forgetfulness!

Are there Vitamins to stop my being forgetful? … is one of the common questions I get from my diabetic patients.  Alzheimer’s or Dementia now becomes a part of why we need to control our blood sugar.

Dr Ronald Peterson of the Mayo Clinic and as spokesman of the Alzheimers Conference noted this study involving 22,000 patients with Type 2 Diabetes and looked at their records from 1997 to 2005.  The HBA1c: a measure of patient’s overall glucose control in the past 3 months were recorded and compared.  The Ideal level should be < 6.5%.

The FINDINGS:

1. Patients with A1c of > 10% but < 12% were 16% more likely to develop dementia.

2. Patients with A1c > 12% but < 15% were 34 % more likely to develop dementia

3. Those with > 15% were 78% more likely to develop dementia.

Suggesting That

Those with less well controlled blood glucoses are at high risk to develop early signs of forgetfulness and dementia!

The higher the level of A1C… the higher the risk!

As always…. I have been an advocate of INTENSIVE DIABETES THERAPY because lowering ones A1c to goal has been shown to prevent the onset and progression of complications especially heart disease and stroke…and now a potential benefit would be lowering ones risk to develop DEMENTIA!

Be Aggressive…Avoid Dementia…

Help in The Campaign for Aggressive Sugar Control!

An Interesting Tip To Curb Consumption

August 13, 2006

8750941121.jpgMore interesting tips are coming our way to curb consumption.  The more practical the tips the better for consumers to follow.  The less need to medicate… the better! 

I just spent this weekend with my family at Shangrila Mactan and had dinner at the Tides Restaurant.  This place is famous for its sumptuous food and buffet dinner.  What’s interesting is how the place uses a small plate and after getting only few choices… you feel you’ve taken enough because the plate looks full! Smart move…

It seems to be more than common sense knowledge that small plate will entail less intake but studies need to be done to have these observations confirmed. This new study published recently in American Journal of Preventive Medicine looked at partygoers and see if size matters with regard to the bowl and utensils they have and the amount of food they eat!  An amusing study but really interesting….

The researchers provided the subject with either a 17 ounce or 34 ounce bowl as well as a 2 or 3 ounce serving scoops.  They were told to get the ice cream themselves.

THE RESULT:

Doubling the size of the serving bowl resulted in a 34% increase in consumption!

This study supports the fact that environmental factors affect the way we eat. Visual Illusion working overtime here… 2 scoops of ice cream may be too much for a small bowl but it may seem too little in a big bowl. Two scoops using a small ice cream scoop may be enough but 1 scoop from a big scoop utensil may be too little!

There you go…Change Your Plates!

Every Little Step Goes A Long Way! 

The Tylenol Controversy

August 12, 2006

imagesdfghhjj1.jpgI take tylenol everytime I have a headache.  I use Tylenol for my fever.  I use Acetaminophen or Paracetamol if my kids have fever! They are all the same with acetaminophen as the generic brand of Tylenol.

The recent controversy surrounding this drug started when an article published in Journal of American Medical Association in July of 2006 reported an increase risk of liver damage with intake of acetaminophen.

THE FINDINGS:

1.  Taking more than 4 gms of acetaminophen per day increases the risk of liver damage with 40% of study population having a 3 fold increase in liver enzymes considered a danger zone!

2. Taking the above dose for long periods of time from 3 days to 2 weeks (especially those with chronic pain and arthritis) increases the risk of liver injury.

3.  Taking other medications together with a high dose of acetaminphen increases the risk further.

The good news is:

The liver injury recovers with cessation of intake!

My recommendationS:

1.Take tylenol only as needed for headache or pain.

2. Do not exceed more than 4 gms per day.

3. Do not exceed taking it more than 2 to 3 days!

Read The Labels…Do Not Exceed The Limit!

Interesting Tips on How To Comment on the Blog

August 11, 2006

imagesrcvb.jpgSo far, I’ ve had great comments from the readers of my blog.  But for those who are afraid to write comment for fear of not knowing how to write and what to write… I found this wonderful site  Lorelle on Worldpress that gives tips on:

How To Comment on A Blog:

1. Say something Intelligent

2. Ask something intelligent

3. Write Something Intelligent

4. Add To The Conversation

5. Regard Your comment as a mini resume.

So guys…If you have comments or questions regarding my posts or other health issues… just follow the tips!

Enjoy my Posts…But

 I Love To Hear What You Think!