February is American Heart Month: Let’s get make our heart healthy for 2019

By Liliya Slutsker, M.D.

Special to The Tribune

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The month of February is American Heart Month and a time for us, as a community, to stay aware of the disease and steps to take for prevention.

Although it remains the leading killer in both men and women, according to the American Heart Association, the number of deaths from heart disease has dropped in the recent decades due to public health campaigns addressing common risks factors such as smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, a diet high in saturated fat and alcohol abuse.

So, what are biggest lifestyle changes people can address for prevention of such disease? 

The answer seems obvious, but it can be a difficult thing for people to embrace. If you are at risk for heart disease, ask your health care physician to help you embrace a healthy lifestyle and help empower you to take control of your health in order to halt and reverse this disease. There are options other than medication and surgery.

There have been pilot studies where people with heart disease were asked to eliminate any kind of oil, meat, chicken, fowl, turkey, eggs and avoid all dairy products (cream, butter, cheese, ice cream, or yogurt) and cut back on sugar. Patients began to lose weight and began to lose symptoms of heart disease. Some patients completely reversed the changes.

And a lot of patients would say: “I could never give up meat. I could never give up dairy,” but along the way, their quality of life improves so much that they were thankful they changed their lifestyle.

Some patients I see are fighting diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. At CMS we provide a non-invasive medical approach to weight loss by choosing the best diet, exercise, and pharmacotherapy. Together, we can keep you on the path to a healthy lifestyle, but the power is in your hands.

The results have been very rewarding in that they began to lose weight and lose symptoms of heart disease. There are also patients that find it difficult to make sudden changes but are agreeing to take small steps to increase a healthy lifestyle. It is important to know, however,  that many people look for excuses not to make a lifestyle change before realizing its great benefits. Once we begin to change our mindset, we can really think differently about the benefits or damages of certain foods.

In fact, we can all agree that the Western diet looks, smells and taste good. One may not feel pain while eating these foods, it can injure our health. On the other hand, whole foods and vegetables also look, smells and taste good. It also can heal your body to provide health benefits as discussed above.

“How about if I just meet in the middle,” you ask? You can have a small heart attack or a small stroke or have a modest amount of erectile dysfunction – but if you are really going to keep your vessels clean and protect yourself from heart disease, you need to commit to an overall healthy lifestyle and follow a plant-based diet.

You can do this and Carrington Medical Spa is happy to help you embrace and empower you during your journey. Let’s work together this February during American Heart Month! 

Dr. Liliya Slutsker is a board-certified physician and member of the Obesity medicine association and has proudly served communities in New York, Georgia, and Alabama for over 22 years guiding patients to a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Slutsker believes in a holistic approach to weight loss and management, including diet, exercise, genetic testing and the aid of medication — all tailored to an individual’s need.

Letter to Santa: ‘Tis the Season to Get Healthy’

Dear Santa,

I don’t know if you can remember me or not. It’s been many years since I have written you – Marie from Jacksonville, Florida, AKA Marie from Center Point, Alabama back then. First, I want to apologize for not staying in touch. I guess the transition from a little girl, to college student, then to a married woman with a family of my own has kept me preoccupied.

Back then, my Christmas wish list was pretty simple: A Cheer Bear (Care Bear), a new bike with a banana seat, and my favorite doll- Suzie – would have made my day. Life back then seemed much more carefree. Suffice it to say – running a busy marketing office, keeping up with my kids, social and other family responsibilities have finally gotten the best of me. I find myself older, stressed out, irritable, not sleeping well, and overweight. Please help.

I need:

  •    A sprinkle of joy
  •    To lose weight around the middle
  •    A good night’s sleep
  •    More energy

Love, Marie xoxox

Dear Susan,

Ho-Ho-Ho! Happy to hear from you after all these years. Of course, I remember you. How could I forget those fresh baked chocolate chip cookies left by the fireside or those cute hearts, hugs, and kisses at the end of every letter you wrote. I do agree, life seemed simpler back then.

Throughout these years, I have kept my eye on you and I’m pleased to report I am very proud of the woman you’ve become. It’s not easy, as you say, balancing all the many facets of adult life. Throw in trying to find time to take care of yourself and you’ve got a real quandary.

Rest assured, no need for an apology. It’s not unusual for my ‘adult children’ to touch base with me about this time of life. In this ‘pedal to the metal’ world of ours where there’s little time for yourself, your hormones and metabolism can be thrown off leaving it hard to find your way back to wellness without help.

Fortunately, I have just the right gift in mind. It’s in the form of advice.

Call the folks down at Carrington Medical Spa on Highway 11 in Trussville. I’m sure they can get you on the road to a new you. You’ll find the staff and Dr. Liliya Slutsker friendly, experienced, and passionate about helping patients reach their health goals.

Dr. Liliya is Board Certified in Pediatrics, Obesity Medicine and member of the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. She has years of experience helping women such as yourself.

Toni Falls, a licensed esthetician, is trained in a host of beauty including skin care and rejuvenation to certain ailments such as acne, melasma, rosacea, hair loss, and hair removal.

Carrington Medical Spa’s Bioidentical Hormone Balancing, Metabolic Weight Loss programs, and aesthetics should be just the remedy you need to get your Christmas started off with that ‘Sprinkle of Joy.’

So good hearing from you again. Must go now to attend my reindeer. Stay in touch!

To Your Good Health!

Santa

My Journey Through Weightloss

Patient “A” Intro Bio

Hi!  I was asked by Dr. Liliya to share my weight loss experience.  I would love to share my experience as I definitely think that many could benefit from working with her. However, as I share, I would like to keep my privacy and perhaps one day, I’ll share my identity.  Not that it really matters, but it just makes me more comfortable.

So I’m about 40 years old, have two amazing kids and an adoring husband.  We have a lot of stress with our lifestyle as he works a lot of hours and I like most of you, juggle a job, kids and all around manager of the house.  I love my life and family but I need to love myself and I’m learning how to do that again.

I was diagnosed as a teen with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Blah! Other than irregular periods and the needs to occasionally was my upper lip, I didn’t really have much trouble with my PCOS until after kiddo #2. Suddenly, I was in my late 20s, two babies and things did not bounce back as I had hoped.  Months passed, I dieted, exercised and nothing really happened. I think during this time my insulin resistance started to show its ugly self.

I tried weight watchers, 5am boot camps, shakes and it all just felt like punishment. I would have some minor successes, but I have never obtained my target weight again.

In the last couple years we’ve had some major life changes and my attempts to eat well, were sidelined because it was just another stresser that I couldn’t seem to spend the mental energy on.  As a result, I gain another 50 lbs. It just happens so fast. About 3 years ago, I also developed High blood Pressure. It’s passed time that I get serious.

As a someone who deals with PCOS and insulin resistance, my metabolism moves as slow as a turtle on a lunch break. So I’m getting some help from Dr. Liliya.  This is my process… I hope you will gain some knowledge and encouragement.

Week 1

When I first met with Dr. Liliya, she did some blood test. I think she expected that I would at least be pre-diabetic. However, my cholesterol, A1C and whatever else she tested, actually came back fine. There were certain medicines I think she wanted to use to help me , but she could not justify them based on my blood work.

She did suggest a medication called Saxenda.  It is an injection that looks like an epipen that you slowly increase the dosage of weekly. Kind of odd but I chose to give it a chance.  She mentioned that she had one patient that lost 10 lbs in a week! Well, after my first week, I lost 2 lbs. No 10 pounds but I’ll take it.

Week 2

So, I lost another 2 pounds.  But I learned a hard lesson. I was at an outside event and nearly passed out.  I was seriously embarrassed. It wasn’t hot or anything. My blood sugar had dropped.  Saxenda works by sending signals to your body that you are not hungry. But guess what… you do need to eat!  I had also started a diuretic to help with my blood pressure which Dr. Liliya believes was a major factor. I was busy and just completely forgot that I did not eat dinner and then failed to eat breakfast because I was in a hurry. So eating is key! But I guess the medicine works. Ha!

Week3

You guys, Dr Liliya is wonderful.  She will treat you with kindness, respect and truly wants to help you succeed. But I have to learn to help myself as well.  I have to get back in the gym and I know it. I typically go 1-2 times a week, and that just isn’t enough. I’m supposed to increase the Saxenda dose each week. I have not increase until this week. I was a .6ml and I increased to 1.2 ml. Some days I sense a little nausea, but it goes away.  Usually the afternoon is when I have those snacky cravings, but I’ve noticed that I don’t have those anymore. I eat smaller portions as well. I lost maybe another 1-1.5 pounds.

Week 4-9

I have stayed on track with the Saxenda, but my journaling has not been great.  But I’m back! I have slowly increased my dose weekly all the way to a dose of 2.4ml.  I have steadily lost 1-2.5 pounds a week. Dr. Liliya wants me to lose 20% of my goal using the medication. Which I guess that would be 14 pounds.  I have done that, so not sure what is next. I still am not in the gym enough. The juggle of life is difficult. Maybe I’ll try early morning… ugh!

Week 10

I have not been to see Dr. Liliya but really need to get by there. I am out of medicine and I need to talk to her about what is next. I would love to find something else to replace the medicine to reduce my appetite. The crazy thing is, I have never thought of my self as an over eater. However, I have learned that women with PCO and insulin resistance only burn about 1,116 calories a day!  The average woman who doesn’t suffer from PCOS/Insulin resistance will burn approximately 1868 calories a day. So I may not feel like I’m eating much but my body just does not need much fuel.