Thursday, December 31, 2009

Coffee Please!

How would you like to lower your risk of Parkinson's disease, diabetes and colon cancer? Also could lift your mood, relieve headaches and lower the risk of getting cavities? Would you believe the substance may be coffee!

Harvard research learned that those who drink 1 to 3 cups of caffeinated coffee each day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by several percentage points, compared with not drinking coffee at all. The study was conduced on 120,000 people over an 18-year period. Even more noteworthy which was discovered in this study is, increasing your intake to 6 cups or more per day reduced men's risk by 54% and women's risk by 30% over those who avoided coffee.

At Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies, Researcher, Tomas DePaulis, PhD showed that coffee is far more beneficial than it is harmful. This conclusion came from its own research and tracks coffee studies around the world. People who drink coffee on a regular basis have up to 80% lower risks of developing Parkinson's disease, and some of those studies showed the more coffee they drink, the lower the risk. Just 2 cups per day lowered the risk of colon cancer by 25%, a drop in liver cirrhosis by 80%, and cut the risk of gallstones almost in half. "The evidence is very strong that regular coffee consumption reduces the risk for Parkinson's disease and that in the case of Parkinson's disease, the benefits are directly related to caffeine," according to Dr. DePaulis.

Is it just the caffeine that is responsible for those benefits? Studies also show the antioxidants in coffee beans, some of which become especially potent during the roasting process are helpful too. These antioxidants tocopherols and chlorogenic acid, as well as minerals such as magnesium have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Decaffeinated coffee in studies does show a reduced diabetes risk, but the reduction in risk was 50% that of those drinking caffeinated coffee.

Coffee may stain your teeth but can benefit them too. Coffees bitter taste and aroma comes from a compound called trigonelline, which maybe responsible for giving coffee both anti-adhesive and antibacterial properties. This may help prevent the forming of dental cavities.

Coffee is not for everyone. In excessive amounts coffee can cause nervousness, jitters, and rapid heartbeat. Other factors may include higher cholesterol levels but these results come from the coffee oils, and develop in people who drink non-filtered or boiled coffee. Over all studies show no significant adverse affects on most healthy people, although pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis may still be advised to limit or avoid coffee.

Coffee crops are one of the most heavily sprayed with pesticides, fertilizer and herbicides. So as a coffee drinker you may consider only drinking organic coffee. Also to keep yourself as healthy as possible, it is also a good idea to avoid putting milk and sugar in your coffee. Many of the positive effects of coffee are offset by the negative attributes of cream and sugar. When making that perfect brew only use non-bleached filters. White coffee filters are bleached. In the bleaching process chlorine is use and could end up in your coffee when brewed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Smile! It Could Help Your Health.

Presently in our economic climate, you might find it more difficult to crack a smile. Some people might even say “What is there to smile about?” The smile is the most universal form of expression with its meaning being the same in every language. It is the international symbol of openness and acceptance. A smile says, “I acknowledge you. I accept you.” Smiling not only brightens the day of those around you, but research shows that there are benefits of smiling.

We all want to look our best and a smile makes us more attractive. There is an attraction factor to people that smile. Frowns tend to push people away. We want to know people that smile and discover what they have to smile about.

Smiling can change our mood. So if you don’t feel good, try a smile. It feels good to smile, so it can actual trick your body into changing your mood. There's a good chance you might feel better.
When you are under stress it can show up in your face. Smiling helps to prevent us from having a tired look, appearing worn down or overwhelmed. Your smile can even reduce the stress you might be feeling.

Smiling can help boost the immune system to work better. When you smile you become more calm and relaxed whereby the immune function improves. If a person smiles, it is more typical for them to feel more optimistic. People who are optimistic have stronger immune systems and are actually able to fight off illness better than pessimists.

If you want to lower your blood pressure just try smiling. It has been shown that there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure while smiling. Take your blood pressure and take the reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling and see if you notice a difference.

Other studies have shown that a smile can work as a natural drug. It releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good, lift the spirit and gives energy.

A smile is like getting a face lift, it makes you look younger. The actual muscles that are used during a smile will lift the face, making a person appear younger. There is nothing wrong with looking younger.

Smiling makes you appear more confident and approachable. So when you get dressed for success remember to wear a smile, it will payoff. It costs nothing and people will react to you more positively.

Smiling is contagious so pass along good health.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Don’t Be Spooked by Safety

October is Halloween Safety Month and at Med File Now, Inc. (MedFN) we want to make sure that your little ones stay safe. Here are some safety hints we found at that we want to share.

When your child is deciding on a costume make sure that it will be safe. Check to see if it is fire proof. All masks should have eye holes large enough for good peripheral vision.

Make sure that any jack-o-lanterns with candles in it are far enough out of reach so that a kid’s costume doesn’t accidentally catch on fire.

If your child is carrying a prop, such as a scythe, butcher knife or a pitchfork, the tips should be smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on.

One of the fun things to do during Halloween is carving the pumpkin and kids always want to help. Never allow a young child to use a knife. Have kids participate by cleaning out the pumpkin and drawing a face on it, which you can carve for them.

Having a meal before going out Trick or Treating will decrease the likelihood of children wanting to eat the candy they collect before you have a chance to check it for them.

Teaching your kids basic everyday safety such as not getting into cars or talking to strangers, watching both ways before crossing streets and crossing when the lights tell you to, will help make them safer when they are out Trick or Treating.

Have a safe and happy Halloween for all of us at

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Flu 101

Having received a number of calls and emails about the flu season and H1N1 from people that have been driven to either hysterics or simple confusion, MedFN is dedicating this newsletter to providing you with a simpler, un-hyped list of important tips and facts from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Know the differences between seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu, their respective vaccinations and treatments. Here are some of the latest helpful postings from the CDC. - SEE BELOW

Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine

The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year.

Important – A seasonal vaccine will not protect you against 2009 H1N1 flu.This year there also is a 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine.

There are two types of vaccines:

The "flu shot" — an inactivated vaccine (containing killed virus) that is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

The nasal-spray flu vaccine — a vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses that do not cause the flu (sometimes called LAIV for "live attenuated influenza vaccine" or FluMist®). LAIV (FluMist®) is approved for use in healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Each seasonal influenza vaccine contains three influenza viruses-one A (H3N2) virus, one regular seasonal A (H1N1) virus (not the 2009 H1N1 virus), and one B virus. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year. About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection against influenza virus infection develop in the body.

The seasonal flu vaccine will not provide protection against 2009 H1N1 flu.

When to Get Vaccinated

Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the influenza season, into December, January, and beyond. This is because the timing and duration of influenza seasons vary. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.

Who Should Get Vaccinated

In general, anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting seasonal flu can get a seasonal influenza vaccine. However, it is recommended by ACIP that certain people should get vaccinated each year. They are either people who are at high risk of having serious seasonal flu-related complications or people who live with or care for those at high risk for serious seasonal flu-related complications. During flu seasons when vaccine supplies are limited or delayed, ACIP makes recommendations regarding priority groups for vaccination.

People who should get the seasonal vaccine each year are:
  1. Children aged 6 months up to their 19th birthday
  2. Pregnant women
  3. People 50 years of age and older
  4. People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  5. People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  6. People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
    a. Health care workers
    b. Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
    c. Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)

Use of the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

It should be noted that vaccination with the nasal-spray flu vaccine is always an option for healthy* people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.

The ACIP has issued separate recommendations on
who should get the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated

There are some people who should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician.

These include:

  • People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
  • People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination.
  • People who developedGuillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine.
  • Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for this age group), and
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever (they should wait until they recover to get vaccinated.)

Vaccine Effectiveness

The ability of a flu vaccine to protect a person depends on the age and health status of the person getting the vaccine, and the similarity or "match" between the viruses or virus in the vaccine and those in circulation.

Vaccine Side Effects (What to Expect)

Different side effects can be associated with the flu shot and LAIV.

The flu shot: The viruses in the flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that could occur are:

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever (low grade)
  • Aches

If these problems occur, they begin soon after the shot and usually last 1 to 2 days. Almost all people who receive influenza vaccine have no serious problems from it. However, on rare occasions, flu vaccination can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. As of July 1, 2005, people who think that they have been injured by the flu shot can file a claim for compensation from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) .

The nasal spray (also called LAIV or FluMist®): The viruses in the nasal-spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. (In clinical studies, transmission of vaccine viruses to close contacts has occurred only rarely.)

In children, side effects from LAIV (FluMist®) can include:

  • runny nose
  • wheezing
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • muscle aches
  • fever

In adults, side effects from LAIV (FluMist®) can include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • sore throat cough

More Information

For information about the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, see

* "Healthy" indicates persons who do not have an underlying medical condition that predisposes them to influenza complications.

2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine:
Questions and AnswersSept 24, 2009, 10:30 AMET

What are the plans for developing 2009 H1N1 vaccine?

Vaccines are the most powerful public health tool for control of influenza, and the U.S. government is working closely with manufacturers to take steps in the process to manufacture a 2009 H1N1 vaccine. Working together with scientists in the public and private sector, CDC has isolated the new H1N1 virus and modified the virus so that it can be used to make hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine. Vaccine manufacturers are now using these materials to begin vaccine production. Making vaccine is a multi-step process which takes several months to complete. Candidate vaccines will be tested in clinical trials over the few months.

When is it expected that the 2009 H1N1 vaccine will be available?

The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available in the fall. More specific dates cannot be provided at this time as vaccine availability depends on several factors including manufacturing time and time needed to conduct clinical trials.

Will the seasonal flu vaccine also protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu?

The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu.

Can the seasonal vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 vaccine be given at the same time?

It is anticipated that seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 vaccines may be administered on the same day. However, we expect the seasonal vaccine to be available earlier than the H1N1 vaccine. The usual seasonal influenza viruses are still expected to cause illness this fall and winter. Individuals are encouraged to get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it is available.

Who will be recommended to receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine?

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended that certain groups of the population receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine when it first becomes available. These target groups include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

We do not expect that there will be a shortage of 2009 H1N1 vaccine, but availability and demand can be unpredictable. There is some possibility that initially the vaccine will be available in limited quantities. In this setting, the committee recommended that the following groups receive the vaccine before others: pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel with direct patient contact, children 6 months through 4 years of age, and children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions.

The committee recognized the need to assess supply and demand issues at the local level. The committee further recommended that once the demand for vaccine for these target groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers should begin vaccinating everyone from ages 25 through 64 years. Current studies indicate the risk for infection among persons age 65 or older is less than the risk for younger age groups. Therefore, as vaccine supply and demand for vaccine among younger age groups is being met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people over the age of 65.

Do those that have been previously vaccinated against the 1976 Swine Influenzaneed to get vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 influenza?

The 1976 swine flu virus and the 2009 H1N1 virus are different enough that it’s unlikely a person vaccinated in 1976 will have full protection from the 2009 H1N1. People vaccinated in 1976 should still be given the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.

Where will the vaccine be available?

Every state is developing a vaccine delivery plan. Vaccine will be available in a combination of settings such as vaccination clinics organized by local health departments, healthcare provider offices, schools, and other private settings, such as pharmacies and workplaces. For more information, see
State/Jurisdiction Contact Information for Health Care Providers Interested in Providing H1N1 Vaccine.

Will this vaccine be made differently than the seasonal influenza vaccine?

No. This vaccine will be made using the same processes and facilities that are used to make the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines.

Are there other ways to prevent the spread of illness?

Take everyday actions to stay healthy.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures. These measures will continue to be important after a 2009 H1N1 vaccine is available because they can prevent the spread of other viruses that cause respiratory infections.

What about the use of antiviral to treat 2009 H1N1 infection?

CDC has issued
interim guidance for the use of antiviral drugs for this season. CDC also has published Questions & Answers related to the use of antiviral drugs for this season.

Will two doses of vaccine be required?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of one dose of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine for persons 10 years of age and older. Data from trials among children are not available at this time, so dosing schedules for children are not yet known. Data from trials among children will be available soon. At this time, FDA has approved two doses for children 6 months through 9 years of age. Immunogenicity data for the 2009 flu H1N1 vaccine among adults is similar to that for seasonal influenza vaccines. If this is also the case among children, then it is likely that younger children will require two doses and older children will require one dose. As with seasonal vaccine, children 6 months through 35 months of age should get two doses of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, which contains one-half of the dose used for older children and adults.

What will be the recommended interval between the first and second dose for children 9 years of age and under?

This will not be known until clinical trials are complete. For planning purposes, planners should assume 21-28 days between the first and second vaccination.

Can seasonal vaccine and novel H1N1 vaccine be administered at the same time?

Inactivated 2009 H1N1 vaccine can be administered at the same visit as any other vaccine, including pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Live 2009 H1N1 vaccine can be administered at the same visit as any other live or inactivated vaccine EXCEPT seasonal live attenuated influenza vaccine.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Give Your Back a Break When Going Back to School Heavy Backpacks Are Not to be Taken Lightly

MedFN thought this common yet rarely discussed precaution deserved our attention, and we hope something as simple as this might help your kids sit up a little straighter in their classes.

The following was taken from an article
By: Maryellen Cicione
Published by:

Warnings Issued About the Dangers of Overweight Backpacks Carried by Children

The tell-tale sign of a child carrying a backpack that is too heavy is pretty evident - a hunched over posture when walking. It's not a good sign, especially for developing bodies. "Youngsters are lurched forward like peasants. Some of these children are carrying nearly 40 pounds of books and other things in their packs," says Dr. Marvin Arnsdorff, co-founder of Backpack Safety America.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 6,500 emergency room visits each year by children ages 5-18 stems from injuries related to heavy backpacks or book bags. Furthermore, a CPSC study finds that backpack-related injuries have increased 256 percent since 1996. Additional research further shows that by the end of their teen years, nearly 60 percent of children experience at least one low-back pain episode.

Within the past several years, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Chiropractic Association and the International Chiropractors Association have all issued warnings about the dangers of overweight backpacks being carried by children from preschool to high school. While some schools have implemented measures, like extra copies of textbooks for school and home use, the backpack problem still exists.

According to a study conducted in Italy, the weight of the contents in a backpack carried by an average child is equivalent to a 39-pound load for a 176-pound man or a 29- pound burden for a 132-pound woman.

The problem with lifting and carrying heavy backpacks, says Dr. Kevin Donovan, past president of the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations (COCSA), is the significant back injury that can last a lifetime. Such injuries include spinal and muscular problems.

So how does a parent know when their child's backpack becomes heavy enough to cause injury? It depends on your child's body weight. The standard set by the medical profession states that a child should not carry a backpack that weighs more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight. Here's a quick weight guide to help you with your calculations:

Warnings Issued About the Dangers of Overweight Backpacks Carried by ChildrenIf Child's

Body Weight Is:
40 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 6 pounds
50 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 7.5 pounds
60 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 9 pounds
70 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 10.5 pounds
80 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 12 pounds
90 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 13.5 pounds
100 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 15 pounds
120 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 18 pounds
140 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 21 pounds
160 pounds, then maximum backpack weight is 24 pounds

In addition to lessening the load, doctors and chiropractors also recommend the following measures to ensure proper backpack usage:

* Be sure that the weight of the load being carried in the backpack is balanced and not all to one side or all at the bottom.

* Make sure the backpack does not hang more than four inches below your child's waistline.

* Be sure your child uses both shoulder straps of the backpack. Using one strap will cause them to walk bent to one side. They should also use the waist strap to stabilize the load.

* Remind your youngster to bend their knees when lifting their backpack to alleviate strain on their back muscles.

* Have your child's spine checked for proper alignment, especially if they complain of headaches, or back, neck, or shoulder pain.

* Purchase a backpack that is recommended by the medical profession. Look for backpacks, such as the DC Pack, that are engineered to redistribute the book weight from the lower back and balance it evenly across the upper body. Backpacks with several compartments help to distribute the weight. Also recommended are backpacks with wheels that a child can pull.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

UV Safety Month

Because July is UV Safety Month, Med File Now, Inc. (MedFN) and Doctors across the country are taking this opportunity to urge Americans to be informed of the dangers associated with the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Its summertime and you can’t wait to enjoy the sun. Even though the sun brings you a bright fun filled day, it can also be dangerous. Everyone is at risk for eye damage. Exposure to ultraviolet rays can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, vision loss and even blindness. Other conditions such as skin cancer, wrinkles and premature aging can accrue with prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays without protection.

Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats whenever spending time in the sun, will reduce the damaging effect of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Just buying a good pair of sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays is not enough. Also remember to use lotions on your exposed skin that will block sun's ultraviolet rays. Don't be fooled by a cloudy day. The sun's rays can still burn through the haze and thin clouds.

Don't forget to stress the importance of protection to the children. They should also wear hats, sunglasses and lotions whenever outdoors. Also be a where that the sun's ultraviolet rays are the strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Remember to protect your eyes and skin and enjoy the summer.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Drink More Water ... and Drink More Water!

With the Summer Months in full swing, MedFN wants to make sure you have all of the facts about the causes and dangers of dehydration. You might be surprised about some of this too!

Why is Water so Important? (Taken from – March 5, 2008)

More than half of the human body is composed of water, making it essential to maintaining health: adults have approximately 60% body weight in water, infants have approximately 70% water weight, small children have more than adults but less than infants, and the elderly have slightly less than that of the average adult. Water is a component of every tissue, muscle, bone, and cell in the body, although the portion of water may vary according to the location and function in the body. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

A human can live about eight weeks without food, but only a few days without water. Water is so vital to the body's health and wellbeing that the body uses devices to regulate its consumption and elimination. One such device is the thirst sensation. Thirst sensations are signals from the brain that cause a dry mouth; however, one should not wait until one feels thirsty to drink, because by the time one feels thirsty, water loss can impede performance, particularly in athletes.

Water losses through urination are regulated by the kidneys. The pituitary gland secrets an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) that will cause the kidneys to reabsorb water instead of releasing it into the urine if the ratio of water and dissolved particles (electrolytes, toxins, etc.) are out of balance. ADH can only do so much, if a lot of wastes are in the blood, they must be excreted, which mean water loss. The body does not regulate water loss in sweat, feces, or evaporation (loss through skin and exhalation). (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

Unlike the camel, the human cannot store water in the body for use when water supplies are limited; water is constantly being lost from evaporation and urination, meaning that water must be consumed regularly. The increased production of ketones and urea during weight loss must be eliminated through urination, thus increasing the body's need for water. Physical activity and a diet high in sodium or fiber also increase the body's need for water. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

Zelman says that most water (80%) is obtained through the liquids consumed, but a significant amount (20%) is derived from foods; the 20% derived from food sources can be surprising, for instance: lettuce is 95% water, broccoli is 91% water, orange juice is 88% water, a carrot is 87% water, and an apple is 84% water. Heat, humidity, illness, weight loss, and physical activity increase the body's needs for fluids. (Zelman, 2006)

The previous recommendation for eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day has been debunked: a study published by the American Journal of Physiology in 2002 says that any liquids consumed can count toward the daily liquid needs and recommends that healthy adults, not regularly performing rigorous activities or living in extreme temperatures, should simply drink when thirsty; and the Institute of Medicine released new recommendations for liquid consumption in 2004 for women to have 91 ounces (over 11 cups) and men 125 ounces (15 cups) per day from fluids and food sources. This means that most women need to drink around nine cups of water or other liquid (the other two cups are derived from food sources) and most men need to drink roughly 12.5 cups per day of water or any other liquid; however, water is the superior choice. (Zelman, 2006)

Water provides many functions in the body that regulate and maintain good health. For instance, water lubricates eyes to wash out debris, and saliva to moisten the mouth during swallowing and chewing of food, reducing complications such as choking. Water also cushions joints from impacts, and is a large constituent of the blood which is responsible for the delivery of nutrients and oxygen as well as the elimination of waste products. Water allows for the dissolution and distribution of glucose and many other valuable nutrients and minerals throughout the body. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

Water also regulates the body temperature through several processes. When the body's temperature rises, the skin gets a flushed appearance due to the increased blood flow that allows for the release of heat through the release and evaporation of sweat. In cold temperatures, the opposite occurs; blood vessels are constricted to reduce heat loss. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

When the body does not get the amounts of water it needs, the body becomes dehydrated. The first symptoms of dehydration are thirst, dry eyes, dry mouth, darkened urine, headache, fatigue, and loss of appetite; additional losses alters the ability to think and perform physical tasks. Late stage dehydration symptoms include inability to concentrate, confusion, nausea, and disorientation. Grosvenor & Smolin (2006) warn that, "a loss of about 10 to 20% of body weight as water can be fatal" (p. 286).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, too much water consumption, also known as water toxicity, can dilute electrolytes in the blood. Water toxicity early symptoms are similar to alcohol intoxication and dehydration symptoms and include disorientation, nausea, muscle cramps, confusion, and slurred speech. Late stage water toxicity can cause coma, seizure, and death. Drinking water that also contains small amounts of sodium and sugar when exercising for one hour or longer can prevent water toxicity. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

Sodium, potassium, and chloride are electrolytes that conduct electrical currents to transmit nerve impulses, muscle contraction, regulate fluid levels, and maintain the acid/base balances. Sodium and potassium are responsible for major positive extracellular ion, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and fluid balances. Chloride is responsible for major negative extracellular ion and fluid balance. Sodium is derived primarily from table salt and processed foods; muscle cramps can indicate a sodium deficiency. Potassium is derived primarily from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, milk, and meats; a potassium deficiency can cause an irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and muscle cramping. Chloride is derived primarily from table salt and processed foods. A deficiency in chloride is unlikely to happen. The body closely controls and balances these and other electrolytes. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

The diet consisting primarily of processed foods is high in sodium content but low in potassium which is derived primarily from fresh fruits and vegetables. An excess of potassium can kill you by literally causing the heart to stop beating. An excess of salt contributes to high blood pressure in those individuals who are salt-sensitive and can cause bone loss due to loss of calcium. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

Alcohol and caffeine can have a tremendous affect on hydration levels. Alcohol blocks the ADH (antidiuretic hormone) activity producing the effects described as a "hangover," but is actually due to Alcohol increases the risk for phosphorus and magnesium deficiencies, high blood pressure, and loss of bone mass. Caffeine, in a manner similar to alcohol, increases urination which increases the risk of dehydration. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)

Maintaining proper hydration is important to one's health and wellbeing. Tips to prevent oneself from becoming dehydrated include: drinking at regular intervals; drinking extra water on hot days and during strenuous physical activity; drink before, during, and after exercise; reduce salt intake by not adding salt during the cooking phase, use spices to flavor foods, limit salty snacking and salty sauces such as soy sauce; and eat more fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. (Grosvenor & Smolin, 2006)


Grosvenor, M. B., & Smolin, L. A. (2006). Nutrition: Everyday choices. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Zelman, K. M. (2006). The Wonders of Water. WebMD Feature.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Don’t Waste the Great Weather! Get Moving During National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.

MedFN is teaming up with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to Get Active and Fit.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. This year, MedFN joins the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to challenge Americans to get moving for health and to get active and fit during May Month.

“With Summer upon us, this is the best time of the year to head outside, get to the gym, dive in the pool for some laps, join a social sports league or just hit the pavement with your running / walking shoes. And just to be safe, make sure you have your MedFN ID Card with you.”

Kem Gursoy, Founder of MedFN

According to Melissa Johnson, executive director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, which started National Physical Activity and Sports Month in 1983, “Americans of all ages need to incorporate more movement into their daily lives. Adults need at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days each week. This can be done by choosing to bike or walk instead of driving, taking stairs instead of elevators, or pushing a lawnmower instead of riding one. Children need at least 60 minutes of daily active play. They need to run, climb, jump, and just get up and move around, away from their desks, the television and computer games.”

Twenty minutes of vigorous physical activity three times a week, such as sports, aerobics, working out in the gym, and running have added health benefits. Johnson says, “But it’s important to understand that you don’t need to sweat in a gym or run a marathon to reap the health benefits of daily physical activity. Even 30 minutes a day, broken up into shorter increments of ten or fifteen minutes, can greatly improve your health.”


For information about the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, go to To start a physical activity and fitness program, log on to and sign up to take the President’s Challenge.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Alcohol Abuse… Know the Signs.

With the immense pressures and challenges we all have to face in today’s uncertain economy, this month’s MedFN newsletter is dedicated to supporting the powerful efforts to build awareness of the ever-present threat and consequences Alcohol Abuse is inflicting across the country.

While Alcoholism has been a known disease for decades that has torn apart families, ruined friendships and destroyed successful careers, there still remains a number of major misunderstandings about Alcoholism of which we encourage everyone to be vigilant.

What might seem benign and “normal” can rapidly and tragically spiral out of control if ignored or dismissed in its early stages.

The following information is taken from the official web site of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and SAMHSA’s Clearinghouse for ALCOHOL & DRUG INFORMATION


When many people think of alcohol abusers, they picture
teenagers sneaking drinks before high school football games or at unsupervised parties. However, alcohol abuse is prevalent within many demographic groups in the United States. People who abuse alcohol can be:

College students who binge drink at local bars.
Pregnant women who drink and put their babies at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome.
Professionals who drink after a long day of work.
Senior citizens who drink out of loneliness.

The STATISTICS: In 2007, more than one fifth (23.3 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking at least once in the 30 days prior to taking SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This translates to about 57.8 million people. The rate in 2007 is similar to the rate in 2006 (23.0 percent).

Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse
If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you may have a problem with alcohol:

Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
Does your drinking worry your family?
Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won't?
Do you ever forget what you did while drinking?
Do you get headaches or have a hangover after drinking?

If you suspect that you might have a drinking problem, or you know someone who abuses alcohol, please contact SAMHSA’s Health Information Network at: Call 1-877-SAMHSA-7

The following free publications also will provide you with additional information about the hazards of drinking alcohol:

See more Resources Below:


Surgeon General’s Call To Action To Prevent And Reduce Underage Drinking A Guide to Action for Families

Surgeon General’s Call To Action To Prevent And Reduce Underage Drinking A Guide to Action for Communities

Surgeon General’s Call To Action To Prevent And Reduce Underage Drinking A Guide to Action for Educators

Underage Drinking: Myths vs Facts

Get Connected! Toolkit (Linking Older Adults With Medication, Alcohol, and Mental Health Resources)

Alcohol Treatment and Adolescents

The Role of Parents in Preventing and Addressing Underage Drinking

Tips for Teens: The Truth About Alcohol

Recovery Month Webcast: Alcohol Awareness Month: Recovery- It's a Family Affair and Everyone's Invited

Straight Facts About Alcohol

How to Get Help

What Families Can Do To Prevent and Intervene With Alcohol and Drug Problems

How Can I Tell if a Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Alcohol, or Other Illicit Drugs?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Diabetes… Know the Enemy.

This month’s MedFN newsletter is dedicated to supporting the American Diabetes Association’s powerful efforts to build awareness of the growing threat and catastrophic impact Diabetes is inflicting across the country.

While Diabetes has been a known disease for decades, there still remains a number of major misunderstandings about Diabetes that we encourage everyone to read.

The following information is taken from the official web site of the American Diabetes Association ( )

American Diabetes Alert Day

The 21st annual American Diabetes Alert Day is Tuesday, March 24, 2009.

The American Diabetes Alert Day is a one-day, “wake-up” call to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association encourages people to take the Diabetes Risk Test and find out if they, or their loved ones, are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Observed on the fourth Tuesday of every March, Why is Diabetes Alert Day important?

* 23.6 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes

* Nearly one-quarter of those do not know they have diabetes
* One in five Americans is at risk for developing type 2 diabetes

Early Diagnosis Can Make the Biggest Difference

For many, diagnosis may come seven to ten years after the onset of the disease. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death.

Risk Factors

Type 2 Diabetes is a major risk for people with the following characteristics:

* Overweight
* An under-active, sedentary lifestyle
* Over the age of 45
* African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and people who have a family history of the disease are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Take the Test!

The Diabetes Risk Test shows users whether they are at low, moderate, or high risk for diabetes. If they are at high risk, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with their healthcare provider.

On Diabetes Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association will "Sound the Alert" about the dangers of diabetes. To help people better recognize their own risk for type 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association encourages the public to take the Diabetes Risk Test which requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Heart Health

How healthy is your heart?

February is national heart health month, and there are some simple but effective things that can help you maintain optimal heart health. These simple suggestions take only a few minutes to read, but could make a lifetime of difference for you.

Diet and Lifestyle

A consistent, healthy diet and lifestyle can be your best defense against heart disease, but many of us surrender to the "misconception" that it is too difficult to achieve. The fact is however, that the hardest part of making positive changes in your diet and lifestyle is your fundamental decision to make the commitment. Take comfort knowing that the many risk factors for heart disease can be prevented or controlled, and it usually does not take long to actually see and feel the benefits of:

- Maintaining a Balanced Diet
- Exercising to manage stress and maintain your optimal weigh
- Not Smoking
- Not using drugs
- Maintaining a Balanced Diet

Here are some general guidelines and recommendations:

- Dairy Products - Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products.
- Trans Fat Alert - Reduce and / or eliminate your consumption of foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Dietary Cholesterol Reduction - Set a goal of eating foods with less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
- Reduce intake of anything with high sugar content.
- Drink more water. Proper water consumption delivers enormous benefits for heart health and many other aspects of your overall health.
- Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Your goal should be to eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (or less than 1,500 mg if you are in a higher risk group for high blood pressure).
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. No more than one drink per day if you're a woman and two drinks per day if you're a man.
- Limit the size of your meal portions - Even if something is healthy, it does not mean you can eat more of it. Besides you'll feel better after you eat.

Lifestyle - Exercise

Exercise is critical to maintaining a healthy heart, but before you start any exercise regime, make sure you have seen your doctor, and are healthy enough to begin. Some of the many benefits of an exercise program are that it can help lower your cholesterol level, reduce stress, help maintain one's body weight and reduce depression. Your overall quality of life increases significantly with a balanced exercise program.

No Smoking. No Drugs

Plain and simple, it is extremely important to your overall heart health that you do not smoke or utilize drugs. Today is never too soon to quit, and you will thank yourself for never engaging or stopping such unhealthy habits.

I urge everyone who has read this valuable information to share it with their families' and friends. Please let them know that this newsletter is but only one of the valuable services Med File Now, Inc. (MedFN) provides for its members. Encourage everyone to take the tour, join and take part in sharing this vision, so we may all benefit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

National Blood Donor Month (January 2009)

Typically with January being the first month of the year, I would be writing a newsletter about New Year’s resolutions. I would focus on topics such as how we can set healthy goals and how to achieve them. But, this year I want to talk about setting a goal that will help other people.

During times of crisis people may require blood throughout the year. Blood bank supplies can be reduced to critical levels and could result in shortages. January 2009 is National Blood Donor Month. I am urging people to consider, as one of their New Year’s resolutions, to become a blood donor. This time of the year the blood banks will see a reduction in supply for two reasons. Primarily, this is due to people typically staying in more during the cold weather. Secondarily, over the holidays people do a lot of traveling and are not available to give blood in their usual location.

Approximately 39,000 units of blood are required every day in our country to service our hospitals and emergency treatment facilities. This life saving blood helps victims of accidents, but is routinely administered to patients with cancer, organ transplants and other diseases. The goal of National Blood Donor Month is to help ensure that blood is available to patients at all times.

Not everyone may be eligible to be a blood donor, but if you are it should be something that you would consider. I personally have been a donor and a recipient. I did not think too much of the impact it could have when I donated my blood. As a recipient, I was so grateful to whoever that person was who made the decision to give.

Also remember on your Med File Now® (MedFN®) account you can have your blood type listed for any emergency. If you do not have an account just go to and sign up so you will be ready for those unexpected emergencies.