If you’ve seen the statistics on teens and driving, you can’t help but be shocked. Every day in the U.S., seven teenagers are killed in car accidents; annually, a quarter of a million or more end up in the emergency room.
The highest risk comes during the first six months they have their license, and it’s especially risky when more kids are in the car and at night.
If you have a teenager asking for the keys, here’s how to keep him or her safe.
1. Provide driving lessons – and consider that you might not be the best choice for teacher!
2. Provide opportunities to practice with an adult onboard (in empty parking lots, empty streets, then gradually in higher-traffic zones).
3. Inspire your child to be a careful driver. How? By example: When you drive, don’t talk on the phone, text, speed or drive without your seat belt.
(Just developed and hopefully available soon, the CAP, or cellphone accident preventer, which blocks a driver’s cell, but not passengers’.)
4. Insist on check-ins to help your new driver resist peer pressure that puts your teen and friends in danger. And make it clear: Breaking rules means no driving.
Men do get fibromyalgia
Michael Hastings may not be a name that’s on the tip of your tongue (he had a small recurring part on "The West Wing" as Captain Mike), but that obscurity is far less painful to him than his diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a neurological pain disorder that forced his retirement from acting.
If he’s the only guy you’ve heard of who has fibro, you’re not alone. Some health-insurance companies refuse to accept the diagnosis; some doctors won’t diagnose it; and some men don’t believe they have it. No wonder a new study reveals that 20 times more men are dealing with this mysterious condition than have been diagnosed.
Why is this? First, nine out of 10 diagnosed sufferers are women; second, because of hormone differences, men’s symptoms typically are different in duration, location and degree of pain than women’s; third, men are reluctant to go see a doctor for hard-to-pin-down aches and pains; and fourth, ads targeting lack of energy imply that men have low testosterone. Wrong diagnosis.
So, guys, if you have chronic pain not caused by injury, arthritis or another disorder and you’re fatigued despite sleep, here’s what we suggest:
• Find a doctor who will take your complaints seriously; the National Fibromyalgia Association can help.
• If you’re diagnosed, start treatment with prescribed medications and lifestyle changes. Massage, meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy work. And push yourself to get plenty of physical activity.
The medical community finally is getting hip to how many men suffer needlessly with this condition; let them help you.
Dining on iodine
“When it rains it pours" is a catchphrase that lets you know that an anti-caking agent has been added to your table salt.
But far more important is the fact that many kinds of salt (although not Kosher or sea salt) contain added iodine, and for good reason. Iodine deficiency reduces production of thyroid hormones, and that can cause mental retardation in children and poor thinking skills, infertility and thyroid problems such as goiter in adults.
When the U.S. and Canada first put iodine in salt in the 1920s, for example, the goiter rate plummeted from 30 percent to 2 percent of adults in Michigan.
So it may surprise you to find out doctors have recently sounded the alarm that pregnant and breast-feeding women aren’t getting the iodine they need.
The recommended daily allowance during pregnancy is 220 mcg/day; while breast-feeding, 290 mcg/day.
But put down that salt shaker! Good sources of iodine are low-fat yogurt, strawberries, seafood (a 4- to 6-ounce serving of fish might deliver 100 to 1,000 mcg or more, so we say, stick with salmon and trout for omega-3s and to avoid mercury pollution).
Even poultry, fed iodine-enriched grain, can deliver 16 to 60 mcg per serving. And many multivitamins contain as much as 150 mcg.
Bonus alert: Expecting and breast-feeding moms should go easy on seaweed. It can pack an over-the-top wallop of iodine, and you want the benefits without the risks.
The skinny on fatty liver
NASH – nonalcoholic steatohepatitis – is a condition that develops when excess fats and triglycerides build up inside liver cells (from poor nutrition, eating too much, not managing stress and not exercising). It causes swelling and inflammation. Untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis and even a liver transplant.
More than 28 million people in North America (20 percent of adults and 70 percent of those with type 2 diabetes) have fatty liver – kind of pre-NASH, just like pre-diabetes. Another 2 percent to 5 percent have full-blown NASH.
Nearly 100 percent of heavy drinkers have fatty liver. But perhaps most upsetting, an estimated 6 million kids have the condition.
The good news: Fatty liver is reversible, and its consequences preventable, if you act early enough! To kick-start your liver-lovin’ lifestyle:
1. Stop consuming alcohol, trans fats and most saturated fats and all animal protein except for fish; we favor salmon and trout.
2. Eat lots of broccoli, spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts, and only 100 percent whole grains.
3. Take 900 milligrams of DHA omega-3 supplements and 420 milligrams of purified omega-7. Cook with olive and canola oil.
4. Walk for 30 extra minutes daily and meditate 30 minutes daily.
Once you’ve given your body a vacation from your liver-harming habits, you can add back one glass of wine a day and skinless poultry, and up your physical activity, aiming for 10,000 steps daily.
More and more folks are eating like they’re starved for good nutrition, because they are. The fruits and vegetables you eat contain 5 percent to 40 percent fewer nutrients than they did a century ago.
Broccoli contains less calcium and magnesium; wheat may have as much as 39 percent fewer minerals; raspberries are depleted of the copper they once contained; and overall, you get less potassium, vitamin B-12 and fiber than your parents or grandparents did.
Fortunately, it’s not all going downhill: Fortified foods and enriched grains have increased the amount of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and iron that you get. And you get more vitamin C now that everyone has access to citrus fruits year-round.
But you still need to make sure you’re getting the balance of what your body needs.
1. Take a multivitamin. Dr. Mike likes to break his in half and take one part in the morning one at dinnertime. Great insurance against an imperfect diet, and you especially need this if you’re going mainly (or all) vegetarian.
2. Add supplements of omega-3 DHA (900 milligrams daily); vitamin D-3 (1,000 IU daily); a total of 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day (1,200 after age 60); and 400 milligrams of magnesium from food and supplements.
3. Buy local produce (fresh frozen is also good); it hasn’t lost nutrients because of travel time. Increase your veggie and fruit intake so that you get a minimum of nine servings a day.