By Scott D. Miller, MD
As we come to the end of another year, we look forward to the holidays, good food, and resolutions. We also buy gifts for ourselves and others, sometimes using that beloved credit card that we will pay off next year. All is good.
Unfortunately, “health debts” are not as easily reconciled. At the top of the list is balancing food and exercise. Let’s just think in terms of calories. A bagel and cream cheese for breakfast will provide 300 calories to start your day. If you chose to eat an egg and sausage biscuit, it would set you back 500 calories. That’s an extra 200 calories without any additional time commitment. In order to burn off those 200 calories, you will need to sweat for 20 to 30 minutes. Now repeat the calculation for all of the other dietary choices you make during the week. Balancing the budget can quickly become a challenge.
Now let’s talk sleep deficit. Sleep is not a luxury, it is a requirement. Although we often talk about “catching up” on our sleep over the weekend, the lost sleep creates a lot of other common health deficits along the way.
Here are some examples:
- Increased cortisol levels leading to higher stress and weight gain
- Increased appetite
- Becoming accident prone
- Decreased cognitive ability
- Poor memory creation and recallTo make matters worse, the more sleep- deprived we become, the less we recognize the problem. Unlike calories and body weight, there is no good way to track sleep debt.
Unlike sleep, we have an abundant supply of water. However, dehydration is one of the most common health deficits. Unfortunately, once we are thirsty, we are already dehydrated. Good hydration leads to the following health benefits:
- Better kidney and intestinal function Higher energy level
- Appetite and weight control
- Improved thought processing
Many men are weekend warriors. We workout or compete athletically as time permits. Sometimes the days between workouts turn into weeks, so we tend to compensate by increasing the difficulty of our training. Since cardiovascular and strength gains can quickly decline between exercise routines, intensity on an infrequent basis can be a recipe for injury.
A sensible person will minimize their financial debt to a modest mortgage, affordable car payment, and maybe a small credit card balance. When it comes to health maintenance, pay a little now or pay more later. After all, isn’t cardiac bypass surgery the health equivalent of ling bankruptcy?
Look for my article on “Listen to Your Heart” in the next issue.
Scott D. Miller, MD, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at WellStar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with WellStar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years.
WellStar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call 770-956- STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Scott D. Miller, MD • WellStar North Fulton Hospital • 470-956-4230 • ScottDMillerMD.com