In case you missed it: our most popular topics

I have been writing My Healthy Matters for nearly two years, and over that time there have been over 50,000 views to the site.  To all of you who read along with me, THANK YOU!

I took a pause in writing new posts today to look at the statistics on what most of you are reading on the blog.  It is really fascinating to see what strikes your collective fancy, so I thought I’d do a little retrospective post to highlight the most popular posts of the past.  You may wish to go back and read what you missed.

I’ll rank them in order of popularity, based on number of people who viewed them in 2017, and I’ll include links to the posts in case you want to read them.

Continue reading “In case you missed it: our most popular topics”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Is is a cold or the flu?

There’s a joke, probably only funny to someone from the great frozen tundra where I live, that goes something like this . . .

Q:  How does a person from Minnesota say “Hello”?

A:  (sniffles) . . . . “Hello.”

Get it?  It does seem like everybody around here has a runny nose and they’re all sneezing and coughing and talking with a scratchy throat.   In other words, a typical Minnesota fall.  Otherwise known as “cold and flu” season.  Not to be confused with “winter” which doesn’t start for another day or two.  Also not to be confused with the season of “road construction” which lingers on indefinitely or until the first foot of snow falls . . . .

So in keeping with the season, our Healthy Matters radio broadcast this past week had lots of buzz about colds and flu.  Perhaps the most common question I get:  How can you tell if it is a cold or the flu?

Glad you asked.  Real bread and butter medical stuff.

For starters, I can’t count how many times people insist to me that they have the flu – not a cold – because their symptoms are so much worse than everybody else’s.   And the fact is that influenza (the “flu”) causes more severe symptoms than does a cold.  But most of us, even those who feel pretty darn crummy, actually have a cold, not the flu.

To listen to the podcast of our most recent “Open Lines” Healthy Matters radio broadcast (without commercials!), click the logo here.

Look for Healthy Matters show #458, October 15, 2017.  You can listen while you read this post!

Continue reading “Is is a cold or the flu?”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

An introduction to acupuncture and chiropractic care

Medical school is four years long.  This is after four years of college.  It is then followed by three more years of intensive training during medical residency.  It’s a lot of learning.

So in all those years, do you know how much I learned about chiropractic care?  Just about nothing.  How about acupuncture?  Even less.  These are not disciplines that are taught in most US medical schools (at least the allopathic kind like I went to).

But research shows, and our day-to-day human experience probably confirms, that many people see chiropractors and acupuncturists for a variety of ailments.  In fact, many major medical systems, including my own at HCMC, offer a wide range of services to include chiropractic and acupuncture care.

To learn more about these disciplines, this past month on the Healthy Matters radio broadcast I invited two guests to help me out.  They were Robert Crane, an acupuncturist, and Peter Polski, a doctor of chiropractic care.  That’s the two of them in the WCCO studios during the live broadcast in the picture above.  Super nice guys, the both of ’em.

I encourage you to listen to the podcast of the show by clicking here –> Healthy Matters show #453, September 10, 2017.  Podcasts are great ways to listen, commercial-free, to the shows at your own pace.  Just download the show you want to your phone or computer and listen!

In this post, I won’t attempt to cover any of the specifics about chiropractic care or acupuncture.  They are disciplines to themselves and I couldn’t do either one justice in just a few paragraphs.  Rather, I’m going to give a bit of background on the two disciplines to give the neophytes among us a taste of what these practitioners can offer.  This is fairly new stuff to me as well as many of you, so I’m doing my best to learn something.  Read on, and more importantly, listen to the podcast! Continue reading “An introduction to acupuncture and chiropractic care”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Why I’m not a big fan of vitamins and supplements

By Mark Buckawicki via Wikimedia Commons

In 2013, people in the United States spent nearly $35 billion on vitamins and supplements.  Something like 1 in 3 people take a multivitamin, and around half of people took some type of supplement in the past 30 days.

So why, on the Healthy Matters radio broadcast the other day, did I say that I am not a big fan of supplements?.  They’re supposed to be good for you, right?  Are all those people wrong?

No, they’re not all wrong.  But I do have opinions on the use of vitamins and supplements, and I do think that for most people, they are a waste of money.  Allow me to explain . . .

But first, to hear me pontificate about supplements on the radio broadcast, download the podcast by clicking the logo here and fast-forwarding to 28:54.

(Healthy Matters show #448, August 6, 2017)

Continue reading “Why I’m not a big fan of vitamins and supplements”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Don’t blame farmers: the scoop on Daylight Saving Time

True story. . .   This past Saturday I set three alarm clocks in preparation for getting out of bed to do my Sunday morning Healthy Matters radio broadcast.  It was the start of Daylight Saving Time here in the United States and the broadcast is done live.  None of that sissy pre-taped business for me.  Oh no.  I drag my can down to the WCCO studios in chilly downtown Minneapolis to mumble my way through the show every Sunday morning.

Missed the show?  Download the podcast here.

But with that “spring forward” business with the alarm clock, I’m always worried that I’ll miss the show on this particular Sunday.  So I set three alarm clocks.

You know what complicates the adjusting of the clocks ritual?  It’s that the clocks are smarter than me.  It used to be that before I went to bed on DST Saturday, I manually adjusted all the clocks.  But now, most of them do it automatically.  The nightstand alarm clock does.  So does my backup alarm clock on my smartphone.  But the microwave doesn’t.  Neither does the one on the watch.  So I go to bed not sure which device is going to change automatically and which ones aren’t so I get confused and some of them are correct and some aren’t and holy cow am I going to be an hour late and if I wake up at 3:00 a.m. and look at the clocks some are accurate and some are not and I’m going to miss the radio show and there will be the dreaded “dead air” time on the radio and  . . . .

So I don’t like daylight saving time.

Continue reading “Don’t blame farmers: the scoop on Daylight Saving Time”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Sinus congestion, nasal irrigation, and the neti pot

It seems that about 75% of my life involves nasal congestion with sinus pressure around my eyes.   It’s probably allergies to various tiny stuff floating through the air.  Not sure about that but I am so stuffy so much of the time that the makers of decongestants have taken to sending me thank you notes for my business.

I’m particularly stuffy in the winter months which I attribute to dust and mold and whatnot floating through the air – especially when Julie (my wife) turns on the ceiling fan in our bedroom.  Which is every single night.  Even in Minnesota.  In winter.  When it is 5 degrees outside.  Let’s say she likes the place cool.  You could hang sides of beef in our room.

At the risk of exposing marital disharmony over the ceiling fan issue, I think the fan clogs me up as it perfectly distributes dust and pollen and such around the bedroom and into my nose.  It’s like a fertilizer spreader spewing dust onto me as I sleep!  So I pop the decongestants and antihistamines.   Yet my sinuses remain perpetually clogged.  In case you’re wondering about the marital harmony situation  . . . I claim the ceiling fan needs to be turned off to save my sinuses.  My wife claims I just need to vacuum and dust more often.  See what I’m up against?  How can you reason with such nonsense?

But I digress.

Basically I’m pretty sure I have chronic sinusitis which is a long-lasting inflammation of the sinuses and nasal passages.  Inflammation, being my body’s defense mechanism against all airborne invaders, tends to clog up the works in my head.  I won’t get into the issue of inflammation vs. viral infection vs. bacterial infection except to say that most of the time the problem is not bacterial and hence antibiotics are not usually needed.  Continue reading “Sinus congestion, nasal irrigation, and the neti pot”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Apple cider vinegar: a Healthy Matters investigative report!

On a recent “Open Lines” radio broadcast (in which we have no topic and I simply answer the sundry questions from listeners) somebody asked about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.  Fair enough.

Well as a highly educated medical professional I am here to firmly and unequivocally state after my extensive exposure to the best in medical science that I know nothing about apple cider vinegar, whether it be the health benefits or culinary benefits or counter top cleaning benefits.

abby-and-acvBut happily, I’m not 100% ignorant about apple cider vinegar any longer.  Just about 90% ignorant. That’s since my daughter introduced me to the stuff while I was visiting her far from home at college.  Here’s how it all went down.  I was having some queasiness in my belly or some such thing and she goes to the cupboard and pulls down a giant bottle of ACV (apple cider vinegar = ACV).  Then she starts telling me all about how ACV improves everything from colds to upset tummy to sunburn and cancer and everything in between.  But she does live in Los Angeles so I naturally wondered what the crazy Californians are teaching my level-headed Midwest-raised daughter.

But I was game to give it a try.  So  we poured some ACV into a glass of water, I held my nose, and drank it all down.  It wasn’t too horrible to drink so that was a plus.  And dang if my stomach queasiness didn’t get a little better!

So I chalk up my rapid improvement to one of two possibilities:

Placebo effect – I convinced myself that it helped because I wanted it to help.

OR

Apple cider vinegar really does help upset tummies.

Which is it?

So in the spirit of hard-hitting investigative journalism and to be true to my medical credentials and only stick to the best science, I’ve done some looking into ACV as a health option.  Here’s what I found: Continue reading “Apple cider vinegar: a Healthy Matters investigative report!”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

It’s a cold . . . it’s the flu . . . its FluChat!

fluchat

 

 

It’s dreaded “cold and flu” season here in the not-yet-frozen tundra of Minnesota and probably where you live as well.

This is a quick post to announce #FluChat – which I am doing along with my friends at HealthFair 11 and the Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday, December 6 from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

We are observing National Influenza Vaccination Week with what will be my 3rd Twitter chat.  What is a Twitter chat, you say?  I’m glad you asked.  Our Twitter chat is one-hour of LIVE questions and answers about colds, flu, and vaccinations.   To join in, simply tweet our team any question or comment you have about influenza and vaccinations via your own Twitter account.  Include my handle @DrDavidHilden and include #FluChat in your Tweet.  And then look for our response!

I’m not doing this alone!  Joining me for #FluChat will be:

  • Jennifer Heath, DNP, MPH, RN from the Minnesota Department of Health.  She’s the supervisor of education and partnerships unit for the MDH immunization program.
  • Lynn Bahta, RN, PHN.  Lynn is the immunization clinical consultant for the Minnesota Department of Health immunization program.
  • Sam Ives, MD.  Sam is a friend and colleague of mine in Internal Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center.  Regular listeners to HealthyMatters on WCCO radio may recognize him as an occasional guest host for me.

The whole shebang is moderated by our partners in health, HealthFair 11.

I hope you’ll join us.  It is easy and fun.  Yes, fun!  I have done two previous Twitter chats (one on Allergies and one on Mammograms) and it is fast-moving and energizing.

So put it on your calendar.  What better way to spend your lunch?

It’s #FluChat on  Tuesday, December 6, Noon – 1:00 pm.

You’ll find us @DrDavidHilden and use the hashtag #FluChat.

For more information, check out my partners at HealthFair 11 and the #FluChat page at the Minnesota Department of Health.

-David

20160211_hcmc_393

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Insomnia Part 2: “Sleep is incredibly behavioral” (VIDEOS)

Photo: nocnalunatyczka
Photo: nocnalunatyczka

Hey, Early Birds and Night Owls!

This post is the second part about insomnia which is a topic I’m finding resonates with a whole lot of people.  If you missed Part 1 about Insomnia, I recommend reading that post here for some basic information.

To help us learn more about insomnia, I’ve done a series of short interviews with Samantha Anders, PhD LP.  Sam is a psychologist who specializes in behavioral therapy for sleep disorders like insomnia.  I’m using more custom-made videos in this post.  I hope you like it – if so I’ll do more videos in the future!

Here we go! Continue reading “Insomnia Part 2: “Sleep is incredibly behavioral” (VIDEOS)”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA
By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA

I think I may hold the world record for the fastest time in falling asleep.  Usually I’m out about a nanosecond after my head hits the pillow.  And that’s just at night.  I’m pretty good at falling asleep just about anywhere during the day as well.  I think it’s a relic from my medical training days where the ability to sleep anywhere at anytime comes in really handy.

So falling asleep?  No problem for me.

But every now and then, somewhere around 2 or 3:00 in the middle of the night, I wake up.  And when this happens, I almost immediately start thinking about a zillion different thoughts.  Last week when I inexplicably woke up at 3:00 a.m., I started thinking about a creepy discovery that my wife and I had made earlier in the day.  It involved rodents, birdseed, and a crack in our house’s foundation.  So my mind was racing, lying in bed in the middle of the night, and nothing I could do helped me get back to sleep.

I seriously considered counting sheep until I realized that the specifics of how one actually counts sheep while lying in bed are not apparent to me.  Do you envision sheep leaping over a fence like in a cartoon?  Or do the sheep pass in front of you in a single file line?  Perhaps there is an audio component and you count the “baa” sounds.

Does anybody really know how to count sheep to help insomnia?  I’m desperate here.  So let’s turn elsewhere for some tips on sleep.

In this post you will find:

  • Two short videos about insomnia.
  • Links to insomnia resources.
  • Some background about the types of insomnia.
  • Practical tips to help you sleep.

Continue reading “Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.”

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail