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Dog Collar for GERD sufferers

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The Milwaukee Journal / Sentinel carried an article on March 19, 2012 expounding the creation of a device that will help sufferers of gastric reflux / GERD. If you are not familiar with this ailment you probably have heard it referred to as heart burn.

The food we eat enters the stomach through the esophagus and a valve that separates the two – the Cardiac Sphincter. Acid in the stomach works to break down the food so that it can be properly and fully digested by the body as it leaves the stomach and travels though the intestines. Okay – probably more biology than you wanted, but stay with me here a while longer.

The Cardiac Sphincter is designed as a one way valve – let the food into the stomach and keep the acid and digesting food from escaping back up. You can probably see where this is going. Gastric Reflux is when the stomach acid creeps back up the esophagus either due to mechanical failure of the valve, over production of acid or other medical causes. As a person who suffers from GERD I can tell you it is no fun to bolt up in bed in the middle of the night, awakened by the yucky surge of acid in your throat. The constant little cough during the day as gas fumes rise up through your throat and the bloated feeling after eating the wrong foods that encourage over production of acid.

The key is in the last sentence – the wrong foods. This implies that there are ‘right’ foods. Back to biology 101 – opposite of acid is alkaline. PH scale. Without going into too much detail here (but getting a full understanding of this is crucial to everyone’s health) our bodies tend toward acid through much of our diet and our activities. We need to consciously rebalance ourselves through making alkaline forming food choices. Enough said – back to the new invention.

Dr Reza Shaker, a gastroenterologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin has designed a collar that a GERD patient can wear around their neck while sleeping that will exert just enough pressure on the throat so as to keep the acid from rising up to where is detectable. Called the Reza Band it has caused the creation of a new company – Somna Therapeutics LLC.

Now I admit my only source of information about this devise is the Milwaukee Journal article, and this is only my opinion (heck, it my blog) but isn’t this a little lazy, poor health management and only asking for more trouble. Much of western medicine is focused on removing symptoms rather than solving the underlying cause of an illness. I think this takes the cake.

The symptom is a burning sensation in the throat, the cause is gas rising up the esophagus, the cause of that is a dysfunctional valve or too much acid which is usually the result of acidic food choices. So rather than having to make different food choices (all of which are healthier options anyways) I can simply wear a collar (like my dog).

When I was first diagnosed as having GERD, I had an endoscopy exam. Picture long flexible tube down your throat with a camera. The years of undiagnosed GERD had caused some serious damage to my esophagus, not bad enough that it couldn’t heal, but now my medical records read “precancerous”.

If a person chooses to wear a collar rather than redesign their menu, it seems to me they will still have acid running up their esophagus, and while it may not wake them up today, cancer or esophogial ulcers will be a real wake up call down the road. But hey, then I’d have to give up my white bread, fast food and junk food!

Here’s your take away – learn about acid / alkaline in your body and your food choices. For literally hundreds of years it has been believed that the PH balance of our bodies is the root cause of all disease. The blood and brain require specific PH values. The body robs other important organs to maintain this blood PH level. If you are not visibly dealing with gastric problems – you will be or might already be causing other problems without being aware of it. Do you pop TUMS or carry Rolaids with you? A teaspoon full of baking soda in water is an immediate help in nuetralizing stomach acid. The problem here is that the stomach needs the acid to properly digest the food. If we eat the wrong foods, or fail to mix acid forming foods with alkaline forming foods on our plate so they balance themselves, and then follow supper with some TUMS, we effectively diluted the needed acid and we don’t get the benefit of the nutrients in the food we ate. Enough said. Now go research this on your own – stay healthy, live to be old and wise.

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Fitness

If I knew I was going to live this long

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If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.
Mickey Mantle,(attributed) US baseball player (1931 – 1995)
I’m not sure what other regrets a man like Mickey Mantle may have had at the end of his life, but this quote has deeper meaning than giving us a short chuckle. Wouldn’t it be great to go peacefully to your grave with no regrets and no remorse for what you meant to do or say and never got around to accomplishing. And since we have no idea when that time will come, the question needs to be restated: Wouldn’t it be great to never have a regret or be remorseful over something left unsaid or undone?
Another, lighter way of saying it is – “If I had only (fill in the blank) sooner.”
Not wanting to have any regrets, – this is not meant to be presented in a remorseful way, I am a firm believer that timing is everything and “when the student is ready the teacher will come”. Yet as a parent and coach I often find myself wanting to say “one day you are going to wish you had……..”
So what is yours? For me it would be; If I had only appreciated my wife more in our early years together. If I had only not ridden the horse that day. If I had only spent a little more time listening and less time talking. (still can do that). If I had only written more notes to my family (still can do that too). If I had only learned sooner about healthy foods. If I had only spent more time reading and less time watching television. In fact there is very little that I can’t start doing right now. Not too old, not too weak, not too stubborn. Truth is – the only thing standing in the way is me. No Regrets, No Remorse. Just doing it. Borrowing some cliche’s and looking back with a smile.
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Fitness

“You are strong enough for another five minutes.”

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A sign at the gym read – “You are strong enough for another five minutes.”

How true I thought, but I saw it on my way out, already showered and dressed for the day.

Had I seen that inspiration a half hour earlier I would have given it another 5. Maybe another machine, maybe another rep, maybe another muscle group.

Only later in the day did I recognize that my strength was something I used all day long.

Am I strong enough to stick to my morning project five minutes more before I took a break?

Could I make one more prospecting call? Am I strong enough to get that yard work done instead of relaxing after work today. Am I strong enough to finish reading that book I started so long ago. Do I have what it takes to write that letter to my son that I’ve only been thinking about.

The truth is everyone of us is stronger than we think. We can reach higher, hold our breath longer, push ourselves a little further, challenge ourselves a little more and in the end – Enjoy ourselves and our life a little deeper.

Where would be a good place to push yourself a little further – where would a stretch feel right?

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Fitness

Men need to join the battle against violence.

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Most men in their lives will not commit sexual violence,
but most acts of sexual violence are committed by men.”

There is a sad reality to that truth. Now add that a great percentage of mental illness is the result of abuse, either the abused or a witness of the abuse and we men should hang our head in shame.

If you found out it was your sister, wife or mother you’d probably get all macho and start talking about beatings or lawsuits, jail or the back alley. But just some other woman, the girl down the street, or the college student working in the file room, and we join the ranks of gossipers and guys that do nothing. We men should hang our head in shame.

The increase in violence & domestic abuse goes up during hard times. And we are in hard times. Chances are there are men you know, maybe even yourself, that are facing the strain of economics and job lose. The image we hold of ourselves is fragile and threatened. We don’t know where to turn for solutions or even someone who understands. If this is the case – I offer myself as a listening ear and a friend to turn to.

But this in no way lets anyone off the hook or excuses the use of violence to any degree what so ever. We will never see the end of violence against women unless men step up and do something. We need to hold our heads high and take a stand to support and defend.

Here’s a good article worth your time. Then add your comments here. Thank you.

How men are necessary in the movement to end sexualized violence   http://goo.gl/Vv54b

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