By Richard P. Holm MD
We're right on the heels of the Holiday season, and all that goes with it: the decorations, the marketing, the catalogs, and all the busy shoppers. Indeed, it is the retailers profit time. And kids love it too, as it is a time to get, get, get… What's more it's also the end of the year when every fundraiser is calling for another donation. Everyone seems on the take.
But for every "take" there is a give, which is what truly makes this season such a special time. For it is giving which causes most of the warm feelings, fond memories, and spiritual meaning. Kids grow up to be parents who love the season even more than their children, because it is give, give, give.
In a book entitled Who Really Cares? Arthur Brooks writes, "Tangible evidence suggests that charitable giving makes people prosperous, healthy, and happy." He tells us that giving (and that means donating time or money) seems to be the ultimate source of our greatest wealth and happiness, and that we simply do best, as a nation, when people are free and they freely give.
Brooks states that four characteristics generally define the most generous. The biggest givers are family oriented, churchgoers, hard workers, and skeptical of the government. He compares giving in areas of our country, and it's interesting to note that the people of South Dakota give more time or money as a percentage of wealth than any other region of the country. Somehow that doesn't surprise me.
In that spirit, I would like to point out that without a lot of giving, our TV show "On Call with the Prairie Doc" would not be possible. Our sponsors have given funding, SDSU has given personnel and vision, many patients have been willing to be on camera, and the doctors of the state have given unselfishly of their time and expertise.
'Tis the season to be thankful for all the giving that's been goin' on 'round here.
Take home message:
1. You get what you give, and then some;
2. Prairie people are some of the biggest givers in the country;
3. This is to say thank you to all who have given to On Call with the Prairie Doc, which makes it possible.
By Richard P. Holm, MD
Talk to a man about a complicated physics-type issue, and he will often have some working knowledge about it. Ask a guy about the Twins or Vikings, and usually he is following and knows some stats. Ask him to fix a mechanical whatsit and commonly he can figure it out. But ask a guy about how many calories are in the biscuits and gravy on his plate, and you’d think you were expecting him to know how to sew on a button or plan a shopping trip.
It is amusing to kid around about manly men stereotypes, but it’s no joking matter that eating too much food and too many calories can bring on heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and early death. And men are usually the big eaters.
We find rats live about 40% longer when they are fed about 40% less and we think humans work the same way. It seems the rats who are on the “eat anything and everything you want diet,” die prematurely, just like humans. Researchers believe those vascular and malignant medical problems are due to premature oxidation, which is, in turn, due to excessive calorie intake. You reduce that oxidative load NOT by “antioxidants” but by eating less.
We’re not just talking about obesity; we’re talking about learning to eat right. Obese or not, we need to realize that having seconds and thirds, constant snacking, ordering high calorie foods, drinking non-satiating sugar or alcoholic drinks, all can be poisonous. Plain and simple, too many calories are dangerous to your health.
Dietary experts have defined a normal sized man’s total goal for a full day of eating should be about 2000 calories, and to lose weight about 1500. Not surprisingly, a single fast food meal often approaches our entire daily caloric need. For example, a loaded big burger with bacon, large fries, and a 12ounce soft drink adds up to 1334 calories. Try this: ask your smart phone how many calories are in each portion of food you eat for three days, or write it down, keep track, and add up your daily count. Ask for help if needed. Knowing the total calories in food will help you eat less.
Indeed, men in general usually don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, but the most important error in their modern diet comes from eating too many calories. And, by the way, there are about 400 calories in a single order of biscuits and gravy.
By Richard P. Holm, MD
Some say that humans are the only animals that are able to achieve self-consciousness, and one can argue that great social good and bad has resulted from this human self-awareness. However, for the individual, there are several reasons why it can be very harmful to spend too much time looking into a mirror, and the obvious one is called acne.
Think about the overwhelming self-consciousness you experienced as a teenager while hormones were raging at the same time that acne was blossoming all over your face. Can you remember looking into a mirror before that first date, seeing a rosy red bump growing right on the tip of your nose, and then making it so much worse by squeezing it? I can.
Something like 89% of all adolescents grow up with acne problems and frequently it continues into adulthood. It is interesting to note that typical acne in youth is appropriately named acne vulgaris, and the version of such a chronic facial skin infection in adults is given the nicer name acne rosacea. I think the heaviest toll from acne by far is psychological, and all the consequences of reduced self-esteem. What could be more important to any young individual than to develop a healthy sense of self worth?
It appears the treatment for acne vulgaris and rosacea is pretty much the same. There are anti-infectious lotions, creams, and pills that can help, and I prescribe them when necessary. Primary care providers can handle most of it, and a referral to a dermatologist occasionally is needed. I especially like Vitamin A cream called tretinoin, which has the fortunate side effect in adults of decreasing wrinkles. I think more important, however, is that one should learn to prevent drying out the natural oils and harming the normal flora of the skin with too much washing and the overuse of soap. Certainly much of the scarring, which can follow acne is a consequence of picking, so that should also be avoided.
If you think about it, most of the problems related to acne are a consequence of excessive looking into a mirror. That should be a lesson to us all.