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It’s time to establish your health and wellness related New Year’s Resolutions!
Visit this page periodically for helpful tips on keeping those New Year’s Resolutions to be healthier this year.  Just imagine what being healthier can mean to you in your personal and professional lives!
To help you achieve your goals, NY NATAS teamed up with Aetna, our Health Insurance Company of Choice and multi Emmy® Award winner Dr. Max Gomez to provide you with useful tips you and your loved ones can use now. We hope you will find this information beneficial.
The first tips were added in 2010 ... and we'll continue to offer new tips to help you achieve success in all of your health-related goals!
We will present a broad spectrum of medical tips all focused on helping us live healthier. Weight loss will be top of the list as well as tips for lowering blood pressure, steps to quit smoking, benefits of exercising more and a special focus on children. Dr. Gomez will explain ways to make easy changes, so getting healthier will not be such an overwhelming and daunting task.  He will take us through helpful steps to achieve success in a 21 day period - the continual length of time it takes to correct a bad habit and replace it with a good one. Please continue reading below.
One of TV’s most respected medical journalists, Dr. Max Gomez has produced award-winning health and science segments for network stations in New York and Philadelphia.  Dr. Max has reported for Dateline, Today Show and 48 Hours. Over almost three decades, he’s earned nine Emmy® Awards, three NY State Broadcaster’s Association awards and UPI’s “Best Documentary” award.  In addition to NYC’s 'Excellence in Time of Crisis' for his September 11 coverage, Dr. Max has been singled out for special award  recognition by the Leukemia Society and The National Marfan Foundation.  He was also named the American Health Foundation's “Man of the Year.” Dr. Max is the co-author of “The Prostate Health Program: A Guide to Preventing and Controlling Prostate Cancer.”  The 384 page book explains how an innovative program consisting of diet, exercise and lifestyle changes may prevent prostate cancer.  He serves on many boards, including…American Heart Association, Princeton Alumni Weekly, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America – Long Island Chapter.  The Partnership for After School Education, a city-wide group of 1,600 community-based programs that tutor and mentor students.  Dr. Max also mentors undergraduate journalism students, as well as medical students and physicians, who are interested in medical journalism. 
TIP #1
The Little New Year’s Resolution that Could
By Dr. Max Gomez
Yes, I realize it’s not January, but the fact that we’re quite a few months into the year supports my point that much more.
            First, let me explain why I put this report together in the first place. Every day, millions of Americans make poor choices about their health, eating high-fat, salty or sugar-rich foods, smoking cigarettes and avoiding exercise. Why should I care? Because people are dying every day as a result, and I want to do something about it.
            I thought a good place to start would be by putting together tips about healthier choices we all can make as well as tools to put these ideas into action as easily as possible. Feel free to use this for your own benefit or pass along as you see fit.
            Last December, I did a story on CBS about New Year’s resolutions (Click here to view.)and, no surprise, losing weight, as always, was right near the top of the list. We all know the host of complications people suffer when they are overweight, so this one is really important – life or death important. No one disagrees with how much each of us can benefit from taking better care of ourselves, so why do we have such a hard time following through?
            If you’re like most folks, your 2010 resolutions are already a memory. In fact, I’ve heard that by March 1, only .001% of resolutions are still being followed.
Have you ever wondered why that is? I’ll tell you why. Because our subconscious, which is the driving force behind our habits, knows we haven’t kept our word in the past.
            We make declarations such as I am going to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to work out three days a week, I’m going to cut out the sweets --- and what does our subconscious say? Yeah right. We’ve been through this before. I don’t believe you.
In other words, a part of you is sabotaging your resolutions and commitments before you even get started!
            Sounds like bad news. It’s not. It’s life-altering news. Why? Because actually we have the ability to direct and influence our subconscious, and it’s easier than you ever dreamed possible. I’ll tell you how, but promise you’ll report back to me on your progress. I love when people discover how truly easy this can be.
             Let me ask you what may seem like an odd question. What’s a belief we all have about riding a bike? Once you learn, you never forget, right? Even if it’s been 20 years since you’ve ridden, you hop on, start pedaling, and off you go. Have you ever wondered why that is? In large part, it’s because you believe it’s true.
            So to make your resolutions stick or to alter virtually any unwanted behavior or habits, all you need to do is set in place simple and easy rituals that convince your subconscious that you follow through. In other words, you need to prove to yourself you can succeed.
            For example, if you made the commitment to lose weight by getting more exercise, what is one easy bit of physical activity you can do every day, no matter how you feel or what the weather is like? Could you jog 30 steps, do 8 sit ups or pushups every day, no matter how busy you were or how you felt? Or what if your decision was to eat healthier, could you leave one bite of food on your plate at each meal, drink an extra glass of water each day or eat one piece of fruit a day? Of course you could.
            Here’s what I want you to do. Pick one small activity you can do in support of your commitment to living healthier - something that is super-easy and do that one activity for 21 days in a row. Why 21 days? Because that’s all it takes to form a new habit. Then you’ll be operating on virtual auto-pilot. This is exactly what you want… healthier habits that no longer feel like a sacrifice or struggle. How great will that be?
            I’ve even enclosed a chart to help you keep track. Now, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. None of us are. It’s OK. If you miss a day, just pick up the next day and keep at it.
            Don’t believe me? Prove it to yourself. What do you have to lose (other than a few pounds)? Do this just one time, with one change, and watch what happens. After that, you can choose to adjust any unwanted behavior.
            Just imagine what being healthier will do for you. What will it do for those you love? How will it help you accomplish your most important goals? You want your brain to work better for you? Get some regular exercise. Did you know that although our brains make up about 3% of our body weight, it consumes about 30% of our oxygen? So anything that helps your heart and lungs (the oxygen delivery system of your body) is going to help your brain too!  
I’m sincerely interested to know how this works for you, so e-mail me at and let me know. I can’t wait to hear about your results.
            I wish you much health and happiness. Feel free to check out my website for free health tips. And by the way, if anything I suggest for you isn’t perfectly clear and you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Daily Ritual Log
My mission:_______________________________________________________
Rate yourself each day: 1 = Not successful, 5 = Very successful
1) Be precise in the timing and other details surrounding your ritual.
2) Start with only a few (or just one) ritual to start.
3) Place your log someplace in plain sight and easily accessible.
4) Consider having a friend or relative hold you accountable.
5) Be obsessive about completing the log.
Tip #2
Relax for Life - Simple Ways to Live More and Stress Less
By Dr. Max Gomez

If I told you stress was bad for your health, you wouldn’t be surprised. You’ve heard it before.  As a matter of fact, you’ve probably heard it so often that you don’t even pay attention anymore.  But what if I told you that out of the top 5 causes of death in the United States, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and accidents, all will list stress as a contributing factor? Would you pay more attention?
Nine out of ten people I spoke to told me they experience too much stress; the other one is either not telling the truth or is deluding himself.  All of them told me they didn’t have a choice; that their life circumstances determined their stress and they weren’t in a position to change their circumstances.
What does that mean?  Everyone is at increased risk for chronic disease and a shortened life span.  Virtually everyone accepts it as a given.
That’s the bad news. But wait, I do have some good news for you.  Some very good news.  Something that may surprise you.  What I am about to share with you could change the course of your life and those you love forever.  No, I don’t have a magic wand to instantly rearrange your life exactly as you wish and give you sudden magical control over everything around you.  I’m only going to open your eyes to a magic wand of sorts that you already possess to alter your thoughts, which you do have control over.
If you lived a perfectly balanced life, free of constant demands on your time, you could meditate twice a day for 20 minutes.  Unfortunately, that’s not a luxury most of us have.  Fortunately, you don’t need that to alter your thoughts and reduce your stress.
If you haven’t noticed before, when we are stressed our internal dialogue speeds up.  “I don’t know what to do.  I’m going to lose my house.  Why doesn’t life cut me a break?  I hate my job.”  Worse:  “I’ve lost my job.”  Whatever it may be.  Stop and think for a minute about others you have encountered who you consider stressed out.  Were they talking rapidly or slowly?  They were talking rapidly; an external reflection of their internal dialogue.  The moment you realize your internal dialogue is fast-paced, S L O W   I T   D O W N.  Turn the speed down on your dialogue and increase gaps between your thoughts.  The physical result is a reduction in your feelings of stress.  
Think back on the times you felt most relaxed.  Perhaps when you were getting a massage or like most people, when you were away on vacation.  And if you’re like most busy people living a high stress life, it took you a day or two to “unwind” and get into the relaxed groove of vacation.  Why is that?  Because without realizing it, the demands on your thoughts lessened and the pace of your internal dialogue slowed down.  That’s one of the key reasons vacations relax and re-energize us.  
Who doesn’t love a vacation?  Remember the Club Med commercial that shows a stressed-out guy on day one of his vacation?  Then as each day goes by, you see him stop shaving, relax, the furrows in his brow ease, until by the end of the week he looks like a totally laid-back beach bum.  But the reality is we can’t stay on an endless vacation.  You can, however, slow down the pace of your thoughts and both relax and re-energize yourself in just a few minutes or even a few seconds a day.  And the more you become aware of this and slow down your thoughts, the more it will become automatic for you and you will more regularly and consistently feel less stress.
That’s step one.  Recognize rapid, accelerated thinking and slow it down.  A good way to do that is to remember to BREATHE!  STOP, take a deep breath or two before you move on.  It’s one of the central teachings of yoga, the ancient Hindu discipline of relaxation.
Step two, and this is simple yet powerful also, is to change the questions that you ask yourself.  
Let’s think about the sorts of questions we are asking ourselves when we are feeling down and stressed.  Do any of these sound familiar?  “Why does this always happen to me?  Why doesn’t my boss pay me more?  Why do I never have time for myself?  Why can’t I make more money?  Why does my husband/wife always bust my chops?  Why can’t I lose weight?”
When you ask yourself these questions, your brain is going to say “OK, here’s a whole bunch of reasons and if that’s not good enough, I’ll make up a bunch more.  You don’t deserve it, you’re lazy, you have no self control, you’re just not lucky and on and on.”  And then what happens?  It begins a downward spiral of feeling even worse about yourself and raising your stress level.  You are asking for all the reasons you aren’t where you want to be in life and are further defeating yourself.  Plus, most often, in a sub-conscious attempt to not blame ourselves for our situation, our thoughts will lead us to external forces, over which we have no control, for the reason life sucks.
So what are better questions and what will they do for you?  Begin to ask yourself more empowering questions, more solution-based questions.  Instead of: “Why can’t I make more money?”  Ask yourself “What do I need to do to make more money?”  This does two things.  It turns your brain around to think about the solution, not the problem.  And guess what?  Just as your brain will deliver all the reasons for your failure, it will begin to deliver to you the solutions.  Plus, and this is a big one, what is the other huge difference between the two questions above?  Look back, read them both, see if you can figure it out.
The first question focuses not only on the reasons why you can’t, but it will most likely deliver an answer like “I’m not lucky.  Opportunity doesn’t come my way.” Something along those lines, which are outside of your “perceived” control.  
The second question, “What do I need to do to make more money?” gives YOU the power.  You are asking yourself what YOU can do to make more money.  You have power and control over your actions.  This is really key.  A sense of powerlessness is a huge stressor.  When we allow ourselves to feel trapped or a victim of circumstance, we render ourselves helpless.  When we begin to ask ourselves the right questions, empowering questions, about what we CAN do, our life will begin to change.  The answers will come to you because you are now looking for them.  
Here’s an interesting perspective, which you can use to turn stress into a good thing for you.  Ask yourself, “How can I use this stress I’m feeling to be more relaxed?”  Your answer now is, “I can slow my thoughts down.  I can slow my breathing down.  I can become more relaxed.”  So what happens is you now use feelings of stress as a cue to take you to relaxation.  
Another great question is “How can I do what I’m doing in a more relaxed way?”  I’ll share with you a story about a friend of mine.  It may not be for everyone, but I thought it was an example of how to turn a stressful situation into a perfectly relaxing one.  My friend has a young son, 6 years old.  His son was misbehaving, getting into everything and my friend was about to blow his cork.  His wife was out, and he needed to change the child’s behavior and get himself relaxed.  So my friend asked himself, “How can I improve his behavior and make it fun and relaxing for me?”  His answer was brilliant. 
It was summer and it was a beautiful day.  He decided his son’s punishment would be to sit outside, in a lawn chair for 30 minutes, and write a story about a boy who learned to listen to his parents.  That was only half of it.  The other half was my friend mixed himself up a margarita, grabbed a book, got his own lawn chair, put his feet up and enjoyed himself thoroughly for the next 30 minutes.  Plus his son got to see the calming effect just “stopping” for a few minutes had on both him and his father.
 Here are a few more suggested empowering questions, based on the most common stressors:
 How can I do this better?
 How can I handle this better?
 How can I handle this economy better?
 What can I do to handle my finances better?
 What can I do to lose weight?
 What can I do to increase my energy?
 What can I do to improve my relationship(s)?
 What am I grateful for in my life?
 Who loves me and who do I love?
Just those last two questions will completely change your focus.  When you change your focus, you change your emotions.  When you change your emotions, it changes your behavior.  When you change your behavior, it changes your actions, which changes the way your life goes.  The key is stopping, taking a deep breath and reframing or refocusing.
Take Donald Trump as an example.  During the last major economic downturn, he asked himself “How can I get rich while everyone else is afraid?”  Look what happened.  It’s a good question to ask ourselves right now.  It will automatically change how you think and feel, which is what we all want.
The questions you ask yourself consistently are what determine how your life goes.  If this is an “Aha!” for you and makes sense, take it one step further.  Write out your new empowering questions and list all the possible solutions in writing.  I would suggest you hand write them, at least to start.  When you take your thoughts and write them out, it creates a powerful link between your conscious and subconscious mind, so they will be working together instead of against each other to get you what you want.
What you can now do with this knowledge is create a stress-reducing ritual for yourself, to the point where it becomes easy and automatic, a new and better way of living.  “When I feel stressed, this is what I do.  I slow my thoughts down.  I ask myself better and more empowering questions.  I breathe deeper.  I slow my breathing.  I slow down the speed at which I talk.  My physiology changes right away.”
I’ll leave you with one final thought.  There are two things that make successful people different from everyone else.  And let me be clear what I mean by successful.  It’s not simply a matter of who has the most money.  What I mean by successful is someone who accomplishes what they want and lives a happy and fulfilling life.  Successful people are very clear about what it is they want.  And, they are committed to do whatever is necessary to make it happen.  
Those are two skills/attributes you will find in every successful person.  What happens with everyone else is they are focusing on what they don’t want.  They want to get away from something, so they’re walking into their life backwards.  
Decide what you want; ask yourself what YOU need to do to have it.  Move toward what you want rather than away from what you don’t want.
Special thanks to James May and Keryl Pesce 

TIP #3
Special Report: “You Have the Power to Prevent Cancer”
How our daily choices can reduce our risk of getting cancer by up to 70%.
By Dr. Max Gomez
Ask most people what disease they fear most and chances are the answer will be “Cancer.” Heart disease is the nation’s biggest killer, but cancer is the most feared. But contrary to popular belief, you are not helpless in the battle against cancer. Not by a long shot. In fact, you actually have the upper hand. I’ll tell you why.
It’s not about fancy new treatments or exotic supplements. It’s about simple things everyone can do to prevent cancer.
Virtually all cancer experts agree that preventing cancer is one heck of a lot better than treating it. Ask anyone who’s lost a breast, lung, prostate or part of their colon, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, if they would have rather prevented their disease in the first place…even if they are now cured.
But do we really have a choice about cancer? How do we go about preventing cancer? After all, most cancer is something that happens TO us, right? It’s a result of something in the air or water, pollution, electromagnetic fields, pesticides, radiation from nuclear power plants, etc., etc., etc.
Or is it?
In some ways, it would be nice if that were the case . . . then we could just demand that someone, usually the government, clean up the problem and make those ‘bad people’ stop killing us. We would have very little personal responsibility, or hard work to do, to prevent cancer.
The truth is that the vast majority of what causes cancer is NOT the environment or anything else “they” do to us. The cold, hard fact is that the vast majority of all cancers are things we do to ourselves . . . we die of self-inflicted wounds.
What I mean by that is lifestyle: smoking, sun exposure, terrible diet, lack of exercise, excessive drinking and so on. That’s the bad news . . . the good news is this:
These are all things we can change. We can modify our own behavior to prevent cancer . . . take control ourselves, right now . . . no waiting for FDA approval.
Even a casual surf through the internet will yield numerous sites that seem to be devoted, in large part, to cancer prevention, all fantastic resources for you:
Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation:
Society for Cancer Research and Communication:
CDC’s Cancer Prevention and Control site:
National Cancer Institute:
National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Prevention:
HarvardSchoolof Public Health: (Use this cancer risk web tool)
Of course, there is the American Cancer Society (ACS):
American Institute for Cancer Research:
Some years back, the American Cancer Society issued these challenge goals:
BY 2015:
A 50% drop in cancer mortality rates.
A 25% drop in cancer incidence rates.
To achieve this, they wanted to:
- Lower adult tobacco use to 12% and youth tobacco use to 10%.
- Raise the proportion of people following the American Cancer Society’s dietary guidelines to 75% of the population.
- Physical activity - another powerful cancer preventative . . . increase that to 90% in high school students and 60% in adults.
Since then, their challenge goals have become somewhat more general and are now called “The Great American Health Challenge.” But the essential message is the same: YOU HAVE THE POWER TO PREVENT CANCER.
Now granted, it’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. We are talking about the nation’s second leading killer after all, and the Grim Reaper doesn’t go quietly into the night. But let’s take a crack at it.
First and foremost:
I know that is not news to you, but do you really know how big a risk smoking is? Half of all those who continue to smoke will die from smoking-related diseases. So if you have a smoking partner who steps outside with you for a smoke, one of you is likely to die from a smoking related disease.
In the US, tobacco use is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 premature deaths; this equals an estimated 443,600 early deaths each year between 2000-2004. And the harsh reality is most of those deaths don’t come quickly and quietly during your sleep. They slowly, painfully, sickeningly waste you away with your family watching as you suffer.
STILL NOT ENOUGH? How about this:
Smoking is associated with an increased risk of at least 15 different types of cancer: cancers of the nasopharynx, nasal cavity and para-nasal sinuses, lip, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, lung, esophagus, pancreas, uterine, cervix, kidney, bladder, stomach, and acute myeloid leukemia. Even if you don’t get lung cancer from smoking, it almost certainly will give you emphysema and other lung diseases. And I haven’t even mentioned yet what smoking does to your heart.
Don’t bail on me now. Keep reading, because this is really important.
Smoking increases blood pressure, decreases exercise tolerance, decreases HDL (good cholesterol) and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Smoking also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery, and because it constricts blood vessels, circulation is impaired which means it dramatically increases the chances that diabetics will have fingers, toes, feet and legs amputated.
Now I realize quitting is incredibly difficult, but it’s the single most important thing you can do to prevent cancer. The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and Lung Association all have quit-tips and programs. Many local hospitals and health departments also have quit-smoking programs. New York City even offers free Nicotine patches to help you quit.
Here they are. Check them out today:
Please, please try. It’s the greatest gift you can ever give to those who love you.
Now on to the next best things you can do to prevent cancer . . . and this is for everyone, whether you smoke or not . . . and that’s diet and exercise.
You may think that this is not all that powerful a prevention tool, but there’s hard science to back this up. Numerous studies suggest that about one-third of the cancer deaths in the US each year are due to nutritional and physical inactivity factors, including excess weight.
If you do not use tobacco, your dietary choices and physical activity are the most important things you can control and change to reduce your cancer risk.
Let’s start with physical activity . . .
Studies have shown that leading a couch-potato lifestyle is as bad for your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day! The good news here is that you don’t have to become a gym rat to improve your odds. Something as simple as walking briskly, swimming, gardening, doing housework, and even dancing can substantially reduce your risk of cancer, not to mention help control your weight! The more you do the better. If you have children, be active together.
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 5 or more days a week. Every little bit helps… take the stairs up or down a couple of floors instead of the elevator. It’s exercise and helps reduce global warming by reducing electricity consumption!
Speaking of global warming, how often have you driven around the parking lot at the mall looking for that spot that’s an extra 10 yards closer to the entrance? Why not park your car at the far end of the lot and walk to the door? You’ll use less gasoline, get some exercise and keep your car from getting dinged by a careless parker next to you.
Now let’s talk diet . . .
Again, this doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or give up foods that taste good. It means making little, smart choices every day, consistently, like these:
Substitute vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in place of higher calorie foods.
Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day.
Choose whole grains over processed (refined) grains and sugars.
Limit your consumption of processed and red meats.
Choose beverages wisely… soda, beer and fruit juice all have the same calories, ounce for ounce. Water or small servings of fruit juice are good choices.
And speaking of beer… alcohol is a known cause of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast. But alcohol consumption also lowers your risk for heart disease. Most experts recommend moderation: no more than two drinks per day for men and one a day for women. By the way, that doesn’t mean you can save up all week and have a dozen drinks on Saturday night!
For more details on the American Cancer Society’s nutrition and exercise guidelines, click here:
Food choices are very personal and influenced by everything from culture to other health issues to even whether your teeth are healthy. So rather than spell out specifics, check out this link to the American Cancer Society’s “Great American Health Check”: for some great ideas, recipes and tips for everything from diet, to exercise and quitting smoking.
Finally, what I most want you to take away from this report is this:
You are not a victim. You have the power to control and to improve your health. It may just be the most important thing you can do in your life because, as the old TV commercial used to say: “When you have your health, you have everything.”
To your health and well-being!!

Tip #4
Special Report: “Respond for Life” 
How our mind and body’s response can mean life or death.
By Dr. Max Gomez
Have you ever been upset by, offended, or perhaps angered by something that happened to you or by the actions of another person?  Of course you have.  Who hasn’t?
What’s interesting to point out is the feelings you felt when you became upset were actually your chosen response.  In other words, the feelings you felt were brought on by your reaction or response to something.  Not the “something” itself.  Why is this important to know?  I’ll explain.
When our response to events in life or actions of other people causes us to become upset or angry, a number of physical things happen to our body:  
-Our heart rate increases
-Our blood pressure increases
-We release stress hormones
All of this puts a strain on our heart, kidneys, brain and other organs… not to mention makes us feel lousy.  
The long-term effects contribute directly and indirectly to many of the leading causes of death in this country, including the top three: heart disease, cancer and stroke. 
When you think about it, the human body is a marvelously complex machine that has evolved over eons to be able to handle all sorts of challenges and stresses.  Unfortunately, many of those adaptations work against us in the modern world.
The same autonomic (a fancy word for automatic) responses our body puts into play were “designed” to protect us, like when our ancestors were being chased by another caveman or a saber-toothed tiger.  Our body’s instinctive and involuntary reactions (heart races, blood pressure rises, hormones prepare muscles and nerves for action) are all part of the “fight or flight” reaction; “I’m either ‘gonna’ try to turn this tiger into my dinner or run like hell to keep from becoming his.”
Trouble is, as we’ve evolved and had less need (or opportunity) to fight or flight, all those stress responses have actually become not just unnecessary but harmful.
Now here’s the point to all this.
I know I said that these responses are all involuntary and automatic but that’s not entirely true.  We actually have a fair amount of control over our responses to stress and, ultimately, to what it can do to your health.  Another way to look at it is that the response our mind chooses can be more damaging than the event itself.
Take a stroke as an example.  When a person suffers a stroke, relatively little damage is done immediately.  It’s the body’s response to the blockage that ends up causing the bulk of the damage.  Inflammatory chemicals are released, blood vessels leak fluid, edema sets in, swelling the brain and further impeding blood flow.  
It’s the body’s response to the initial stroke that ends up causing the bulk of the damage...  More damage than the event that started the chain reaction.
A few months ago, I did a story on a fascinating new procedure called therapeutic hypothermia where soon after a stroke or heart attack, the body is slowly cooled and held at 92 degrees for 24 hours to slow this cascade of life-threatening events in the brain. The idea is to slow the brain’s metabolism and all the other chemical responses that lead to the kind of brain damage we often see after a heart attack or stroke.  Then when the worst threat has passed, the body is slowly warmed to a normal temperature over the next 12 hours.
The story I did was about a 30 year-old school teacher from Brooklyn.  She had suffered a full-fledged cardiac arrest as a result of a congenital heart rhythm defect.  The EMT’s managed to get her heart started again but her brain had gone 12 minutes without oxygen!  She was in a deep coma and the chances that she would survive without massive brain damage were vanishingly small.  So doctors decided to try the cold therapy on her and a few weeks later, she was back in the classroom teaching.
The development of this procedure has already shown so much promise for saving lives that on January 1, 2010, New York City Emergency Medical Service (EMS) implemented a policy that requires EMS to bring cardiac arrest victims to the nearest hospital equipped to perform therapeutic hypothermia.  Some experts think that a similar technique and policy could save many lives and prevent much disability due to stroke as well. 
Again, all by altering the body’s response to something.
OK, now back to my original reasons for writing all this.  My purpose is two-fold.  For starters, I wanted to make sure you knew about this procedure.  It could mean life or death for someone you love and I thought you ought to know.  You may even want to find out if your local or regional hospital is equipped for this procedure.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly because it affects everyone, not just those who suffer a heart attack or stroke, to help illustrate that our responses to things are what determine our outcomes.   
So next time you are faced with a situation that you aren’t pleased with, remember that how you respond will determine your body’s physical response and, which, as I pointed out earlier, in turn affects your health.
I tell friends that you have to pick your battles, not every aggravation in life is worth going to nuclear weapons.  And by that I mean more than just what fights are worth having, it also means deciding which of life’s many irritations and annoyances are worth getting worked up over.  
We all know people who seem to let even tiny things get to them.  Their bodies are probably marinating in stress hormones with all kinds of negative health effects.  Plus they’re just not fun to be around.  
You just can’t let every little thing get to you. 
For a reminder on how to easily control your responses and stress level, refer to the “Relax for Life” report previously sent to you.
To your health and well-being!

Tip #5
The Seven Steps to Good Health and Long Life
By Dr Max Gomez
OK, so far we’ve talked about stress and how to handle it better, how to convince your mind that you really can change your behavior and even about how you can prevent cancer. All of which has been leading up, in a way, to this special report because now we’re going to tackle the number one killer by far in America and that is heart disease. Actually, we’re going to go after all cardiovascular disease, which is a fancy way of saying heart, blood vessels and stroke.
And just in case you fear cancer or some other disease more, here are a few facts and figures that should grab your attention. More than 81-million American adults have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. That means more than one in three of you reading this report right now have cardiovascular disease! Just under a million of us will have a heart attack and nearly half a million will die of a heart attack this year alone.
As if that weren’t bad enough, stroke is the number three killer of Americans and the leading cause of serious disability. That translates into about 800-thousand strokes this year and almost 150-thousand deaths. And anyone who’s seen a stroke survivor, suffering with paralysis, unable to speak or walk or feed themselves knows what serious disability means.
Do I have your attention yet?
Good, because here comes the good news… you have the power to prevent most heart disease and stroke! It’s sort of like the cancer report we sent out a couple weeks ago: some fairly simple lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke, and a whole bunch of other, related cardiovascular problems.
I know, you’re probably thinking you’re going to have to live like a monk and eat nothing but tofu, twigs and berries but that’s not what I’m going to tell you. I’m going to tell you about seven things that will make a difference in your life. They may be a little tough for some of you but just use my behavior modification technique (a fancy way of saying “bad-habit-changer”) from an earlier email and just watch what you can accomplish!
Now I can’t take credit for these seven steps, they’re the handiwork of the American Heart Association. But since I’m on their National Board of Directors and head their Communications Committee, I feel like I can borrow some of their work to spread the gospel. The AHA calls them “Life’s Simple Seven” and they’re backed by lots of solid scientific research so you can trust them. I’ll give you the link to the Simple Seven website later but first let me summarize them for you.
In no particular order, they are:
  1. Manage your blood pressure
  2. Stop smoking
  3. Lose weight
  4. Reduce your blood sugar
  5. Control your cholesterol
  6. Eat better
  7. Get active
There are lots of reasons these seven things are so important to your health but I’ll just mention a few high points to help convince you that this is really worth doing.
First, high blood pressure: Hypertension is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can injure or kill you. It's sometimes called "the silent killer" because it has no symptoms. High blood pressure can stretch arteries causing microscopic tears that can lead to blood clots then heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Know your blood pressure and if its high (anything above 120 over 80), see a doctor who can help you bring it down.
Next, smoking: Do I really have to tell you how bad this is? It’s the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. That means a number of cancers and lung disease in addition to heart disease and stroke. There are quit-smoking programs at many hospitals and many states have hotlines with trained staff to help you with quitting. New York City even hands out nicotine patches! Oh, and parents… please talk to your kids about not smoking; stats show us that if a young person makes it out of their teens as a non-smoker, they will likely never smoke.
OK, here’s a big one… pun intended. It’s no secret that we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic… 145 million of us are overweight or obese. This one may be even tougher than quitting smoking because we all have to eat. But excess weight has been shown to raise your risk for heart disease, as well as cancer, back, knee and hip pain. Check your BMI (body mass index) on a chart and get help watching and burning those calories if you’re too heavy.
When it comes to blood sugar, we usually mean diabetes although even slightly elevated blood sugar (pre-diabetes) can be bad for your heart. Without going into a lot of science, suffice it to say that adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes. So just like your blood pressure, know your blood sugar numbers and get a doctor’s help lowering it if it’s high.
Hang in there; we’re more than halfway done!
Next up is cholesterol. Now unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past decade, you know that too much cholesterol in your blood leads to clogged arteries and that leads to heart attacks and strokes. Seeing a pattern here? Once again, learn your cholesterol numbers; there’s good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. A healthy diet low in animal fats can lower your cholesterol but most people with high cholesterol will need some medication to bring it down. Again, see your doctor for help.
And speaking of diet, how about eating better? This can get a little complicated but just remember a few general guidelines. Fruits and vegetables are great for your heart, your weight and even help prevent cancer. Avoid animal fats, especially in red meats, they clog your arteries. Fish a couple times a week is good for your heart and brain. And try to use vegetable oils for salads and cooking… olive oil is especially good for your heart and it’s tasty!
Our last point is something that can actually help you take several of the other steps … that is getting active. It helps burn calories, lose weight, lowers blood sugar and blood pressure and also lowers your risk for cancer. Now notice I didn’t call it exercise… this doesn’t mean that you have to join a gym and start pumping iron. It means just being more active every single day… walking counts so park further away from your destination or take a brisk stroll after dinner or during the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator… you’ll be saving energy while you save your heart. Remember every little bit counts!
Now there are a lot of ins and outs, details and helpful tricks that are part of the Simple Seven… I’ve just tried to hit the high points. For more info check out the Heart Association website: (
Not only will you find help there, they even have a Heart Check you can take that will give you a personalized idea of your own heart risk… and how you can lower it.
I know this sounds like a lot to do but it’s really, really important, so I’ll leave you with a parting thought. You don’t have to do it all. It would be great if you could but we’re all human and not many of us will get to an ideal place on weight, physical activity, blood pressure, sugar, diet, etc, etc. But ANYTHING you do to move from where you are right now towards a healthier lifestyle WILL make a difference in your health!!!
Don’t despair that it seems overwhelming… just DO SOMETHING. Every little bit helps. Your heart, your brain and your loved ones will thank you!
To your health and well-being.
Dr Max

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