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Doctor's Consultation  by Dr. Iain Corness


Happy, healthy 2014 is within reach

This week’s column has really the same message as last year’s column at this time. This is because it is that time of year when we make all those good resolutions that we have absolutely no intention of keeping, but it all sounded right at the New Year parties! Well, that’s the truth, isn’t it?

Now guess how many people actually complete their New Year Resolution? The official stats say eight percent. Or in other words 92 percent fail!

The commonest resolution is to lose weight, especially after the excesses of Xmas and New Year parties. Xmas chocolates and prosecco are certainly not low in calories! 40 percent of New Year resolutions is just from that - Lose some weight!

One of the reasons that people fail with their resolutions (like 92 percent) is that they make their resolution so vague that it becomes too easy to break them. Going back to the “lose weight” resolution, you have to be much more specific. Try this - No fries, fast foods and sodas for two months! With this resolution, there is a detailed plan to reduce calorie intake and a cut-off date. That makes it “do-able”.

And here is another way to keep you in the weight loss program - make a public announcement through the social media networking and check in weekly allowing everyone to see your goal and encourage you on the way.

Losing weight is an excellent resolution, but there is another just as important, if not more so - and that is to stop smoking. The resolution should read, Give Up smoking on (your chosen day). Again yes, inform the social networks and give up on your chosen date, and share your trials, cravings and wins with others.

We have shown, more than adequately, that cigarettes are the greatest killers of mankind, even including all the terrorists on the planet. All smokers are on borrowed time. End of story. And I don’t care if your grandfather smoked 60 a day and lived to be 123. The big numbers that have been examined in studies all over the world say it all - smokers do not live as long as non-smokers. Smokers get all kinds of cancers much more than non-smokers, and that’s all kinds - not just lung cancers.

Smokers get more heart attacks than non-smokers. Do you want me to go on? In the face of all the evidence, continuing smoking in 2014 is just plain dumb. So how do you give up? I am not going to say it is easy, but the best method still remains your positive desire to give up and then go Cold Turkey. You tell yourself you are giving up on your specified date, and never take another cigarette. Forget the other ways of giving up. Cold Turkey has been shown to be the best - and as a bonus, it costs you nothing!

The next resolution is very easy. Take 100 milligrams of aspirin every day. Once again, the big numbers prove the hypothesis. Your chances of having a heart attack are very much less by that simple expedient of 100 milligrams of aspirin a day. You can either buy 100 milligram tablets, such as Cardiprin, or take quarter of an ordinary 500 milligram aspirin tablet, which is 125 mg. Or ‘baby’ aspirin (1 mg) which is close enough.

Another easy resolution is to get more exercise - daily. This is a resolution that will tone up your cardiovascular system and reduce your chances of having that final coronary occlusion (or as it is often called, a coronary conclusion)! You don’t need to go to a gymnasium, pump iron, take steroids or wear those silly strappy lycra singlets either. Half an hour of brisk walking, or fifteen minutes of exercising each day will do.

Now that’s not difficult is it? You don’t even have to go jogging!
Of course there are many more organs you can protect with some sensible New Year Resolutions. Perhaps you should include alcohol reduction in your resolutions too. Four ‘standard’ drinks a day for men and two for women plus at least one AFD (alcohol free day) per week.
Give these a try this New Year.

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Happy, healthy 2014 is within reach