Ask the Doctor

February 20, 2013



This year, we are excited to announce our new collaboration with UnitedHealthcare to bring you wellness information throughout the year to support your journey to better health. In addition, you now have the opportunity to ask UnitedHealthcare’s Dr. Jacqueline Stiff some of your most burning health questions. By the way, Dr. Stiff loves the sport of running, too! Every month, she will answer five (5) questions from BGR! members ranging from injury prevention to clinical check-ups. If you have a question, please send it to and look for answer in an upcoming post. Click here to download information, such as wellness tips, articles and healthy recipes. PRESERVE THE SEXY and PRESERVE YOUR HEALTH! ASK THE DOCTOR by Dr. Jacqueline Stiff Dr. Stiff   The following information provided by UnitedHealthcare herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for your doctor’s care. Please discuss with your doctor how the information provided is right for you. 1. What kind of diet is best for women at different ages? Most doctors will agree that it’s important for woman of all ages to have a balanced healthy diet – make sure your “plate” is filled with fruits and vegetables – half of your plate is the latest recommendation. Your grains take up another ¼ of a plate, and should be mostly whole grains. Protein is ¼ and in addition, you must add dairy to complete this diet. Limit your fats, sugary foods or empty calories.   2. What types of supplements are best for women of all ages? Are there times when you may need a vitamin or supplement in your life? Check with your doctor – but one critical time is right before pregnancy and during pregnancy – the correct amount of folic acid is a must to prevent birth defects such as spinal defect. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women between the ages of 15 – 45-old should supplement with folic acid due to this factor. Also, the amount of calcium and Vitamin D in a women’s diet is critical to bone health. Our bones are the strongest and at its peak “mass” by the time we are 20. So the amount of calcium (and Vitamin) that young girls get is critical before this time. The strength of women’s bones decrease with age, especially if we don’t get enough calcium or have adequate physical activity. And it gets much worse after menopause, increasing the risk for osteoporosis. Therefore, to get adequate amounts of daily calcium, it’s important to have a diet rich in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, such as spinach. Vitamin D is also found in many foods, but sunlight is a great source. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements can be added if needed. So make sure you have a healthy diet throughout your entire life and talk with your provider about if and when you should supplement with vitamins. 3. How often should I exercise? Many studies have shown and continue to show the importance of physical activity in health and well-being. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, in addition to strength training. Using all of your muscle groups at least 2 times/week is also critical. So what does this really mean? This doesn’t have to be an impossible task. The gold standard would be 30 feet of very brisk walking, 5 days/week, however, you can work your way up to that amount. You can split up your activity into 10 minute bursts. Begin by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Also there are many other activities, such as common chores like lawn mowing, house cleaning, sporting activities – running, volleyball, tennis – that count towards your health. So don’t put it off – begin a program that meets your needs & lifestyle today! Tip: Be sure to check with your doctor before starting a new workout regimen. 4. What is your best advice for someone who feels like they're coming down with a cold/cough? This has been a long winter, especially for those who have battled the common cold, which usually includes a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, and sometimes a fever and headaches. It is typically caused by any one of over 200 viruses, most common rhinovirus. We get colds by being exposed to someone else who has had the virus – touching surfaces that were in contact with these cold germs. You can also be exposed the virus in the air if someone has coughed or sneezed near you. The viruses enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth and attach to lining in your throat, nose – and our body then reacts to this with increased mucus to attack the virus. Since colds are caused by viruses, there is no need for antibiotics. Most health providers will recommend “symptomatic” relief – that is treating the actual symptoms that you have. This includes rest, plenty of fluids, and over-the-counter medications as needed. While many people like to use vitamin c, the data is not there to prove that this works to prevent a cold. So how can we prevent the spread of the common cold? Make sure you wash your hands frequently; cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow; and avoid touching your face as to keep viruses you may have picked up from getting into your eyes, nose and throat. So overall – the best advice if you are getting a cold - is to take care of yourself! 5. What is the nasal flu vaccine? Does it work the same as a flu shot? What are the risks/benefits? Getting the seasonal flu vaccine is a great way to prevent the flu vaccine each year. There are different types of vaccines now available, including the nasal spray. The nasal spray flu vaccine, as opposed to the shot, is made from a weakened flu virus. These viruses do not cause the flu themselves, but help you build antibodies to the flu and this occurs about 2 weeks after the vaccine. It gives the same type of protection to seasonal flu as the shot does. For this 2012-2013 flu season, it protects against h1n1 and 2 other flu viruses. But only certain individuals should have this type of vaccine – healthy people between the ages of 2 – 49-years old only. It is not used for infants, those 50 or over, pregnant women or anyone with a chronic disease. Please check with your doctor on what type of flu vaccine you should receive. LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. JACQUELINE STIFF

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Liquid error: Could not find asset snippets/bookthatapp-widgets.liquid