Thursday, October 27, 2011

Is the flu vaccine effective?

This post is not intended to start a debate on whether or not one should be vaccinated for the flu. I think that vaccinations need to be an independent decision. I do encourage patients to educate themselves on both sides of the vaccination debate...that includes vaccinations for children as well as vaccinations for yearly illness (such as the flu).

With that said, a study recently came out about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Actually, this was a review of many flu vaccine studies. I think that most people feel that getting the flu vaccine makes the chances of "catching" the flu almost non-existent. Well, it turns out that this is far from the truth. The new data shows that for adults between the ages of 18-65, the flu vaccine is only 59% effective! Personally, this was very surprising to me. There are certainly situations outside of this demographic where the flu vaccine appears to be warranted, but knowing some of the side effects possible with the vaccine, I would stick with keeping my body healthy through proper nutrition and activities if I was in this age range.

I have never gotten the flu vaccine and I feel this has been the right decision for me. With this new information, I would have to think long and hard before getting the flu shot. I feel bad for individuals working in environments (mostly hospitals) who are forced to receive the vaccine in order to continue working. I think that this oversteps bounderies of personal freedom and choice. I only wonder if this new information will make some of these workplaces reconsider their positions.

Again, choosing whether or not to vaccinate is an individual decision. Make sure to educate yourself on every substance that goes into your body. Also, be aware that there is not a magical shot or vaccine that will prevent all disease. You must take care of your body through diet, exercise and peace of mind.

To read more about this study, follow this link:

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More proof exercise is good for the heart!

Recent findings in Sweden demonstrate that men with higher levels of testosterone had less risk for developing heart disease and/or having a stroke. To be specific, the study showed those in the highest testosterone grouping had 30% less risk for these occurrences.

The question then becomes...How do men keep their testosterone level high as they age? One option is HRT (hormone replacement therapy). HRT in women has been shown to actually lead to more heart disease and strokes. With that said, there is a safe alternative...exercise! Exercise increases lean muscle mass and will keep testosterone levels higher than they would be without it.

I encourage every patient of mine to exercise is some fashion. This doesn't mean they must go to a fitness facility and lift weights. Exercise comes in many forms, from taking brisk walks to pool aerobics to organized sports. The type of exercise often is not important...the act of exercising in some form is very important!

To read more about this study, follow this link:

If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to call our office at (847) 673-6600 or visit us on the web at!