Avoiding the Tragedy: A Look into Disease Prevention

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


Part 1 – Hope Was Not a Loss: A Story About Measles Encephalitis
Part 2 – Learning How to Walk Again: Barbara’s Story


Back in 1957, the year I almost died from the measles, my parents—unlike the parents of today—did not have to face the choice of vaccination, because there was no vaccine in existence (it wasn’t introduced until several years later, in 1963).

Therefore, it was important for me to share my experience with this condition because of the great controversy that currently exists over vaccines in general, and particularly the measles vaccine. Far too many children are not getting vaccinated against measles and other diseases owing to perceived risks, so now measles has returned as a virulent threat worldwide.

Continue reading “Avoiding the Tragedy: A Look into Disease Prevention”

Mind Over Body: Catarina’s Path to Health

By Catarina Rodrigues, Featured Health Story


Three and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia. A hiatal hernia is what happens when the upper portion of your stomach slides up into your chest because there is an opening (a “hiatus”) in your diaphragm. This causes the person to experience severe acid reflux and discomfort, among other symptoms. When my doctor explained this to me, as—you may imagine—it all sounded quite frightening. He told me that this was essentially an incurable condition and that surgery was not recommended at my age.

Continue reading “Mind Over Body: Catarina’s Path to Health”

Fire & Ice: The Faces of Grief

By Barbara Leonhard, Featured Contributor


Robert Frost once wrote:

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Online, one can find many poets who sing about their grief. In this lyrical piece, Frost tells us that we face changes all the time. Eden, our paradise, has been lost. Life is temporary, terminal, and short lived. The sun both rises and falls; the seasons change, and we grieve.

Continue reading “Fire & Ice: The Faces of Grief”

What’s Your Inspiration? 💚

 

What is it that gets you out of bed every morning?

What keeps you pressing on day after day, despite the hardships?

What inspires you…and why?

One of the great things about being a part of a blogging community is the ability to encourage and help one another from afar…despite geographical distance or personal differences. Many times, my heart is warmed just by reading what you share in the comments, and I believe others are too.

Your words matter. So share with us about what inspires you. You never know whose heart you will touch.

Love,

Phoebe 💙

1-2-3’s of Diabetic Carb Counting

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

When you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range is not only essential in keeping your diabetes under control, but it can help you feel your best. The easiest way to control your blood sugar is to watch your carbohydrate intake. This is because any carbohydrate food you eat (e.g., milk, fruit, bread, and pasta) is immediately digested into glucose (sugar), which causes your blood sugar level to increase.

In this post, I will discuss one of the more “advanced” methods of meal planning: the Carbohydrate Counting method. An easier (albeit less precise) method is the Create Your Plate method, so be sure to check out that post as well if you haven’t yet, along with the rest of the posts in the Diabetes Series!

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Continue reading “1-2-3’s of Diabetic Carb Counting”

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

Holidays should be times of fun and enjoyment. For most people, these special days—whether it’s Christmas, Independence Day, or Thanksgiving—can seem like a perfect time to let go in order to indulge in rich foods and alcoholic drinks. But did you know that this can be harmful to your health…and possibly even life-threatening? In this post, I will discuss why and provide an overview on what you can do during these times to maintain your best health and prevent holiday illness, so that you can spend your day focusing on enjoying the occasion.

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Continue reading “Staying Healthy During the Holidays”

Being Empowered ….. for a Healthy Heart

A blogger whom I admire who has gone through much in life. Thank you for your friendship and for the lovely book review, Don!

My2ndHeartBeat

Being Empowered

I had a heart transplant about 11-1/2 years ago. I was thrust into the world of medicine and health with no notice. Through my journey, I’ve learned a LOT about heart health …….. through not only my transplant team of great doctors, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians and clinicians, but also by reading and investigating a lot of books, articles and studies.

Recently I learned of a new book written By Dr. Phoebe Chi, “Being Empowered …. for a Healthy Heart”.

This is a well written book that not only covers the topics of healthy eating and exercise, but she also adds some poetry, beautiful photographs and some sections that I don’t get talked about as much as they should, but make a ton of sense. The areas of relaxation, stress relief, sleep/insomnia, intimacy and staying motivated are very important parts of a good heart healthy program. These areas are often somewhat…

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Taking Control of Depression

Depression. One word that can mean so many things. For those who have lived with or currently live with depression, you know very well the effects it can have on your daily life. Depression can drain not only your physical energy, but also your hopes, motivation, enjoyment, and personal drive. You may be aware of all the steps to getting better, but you just cannot get yourself to take even the first one. If this sounds all too familiar to you, you are not alone. And there is hope.

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Continue reading “Taking Control of Depression”

Perspectives on Dr. Chi’s book, Being Empowered

A thoughtful review by Richard Mabey on Being Empowered for a Healthy Heart. Thank you, Richard, for your support!

Journey to Truth

Perspectives on Dr. Chi’s book, Being Empowered

By Richard Mabey Jr.

I totally enjoyed reading Dr. Phoebe Chi’s book, Being Empowered …for a Healthy Heart. It is such a good read and I learned a lot from this book. It is a very well organized book and chock full of useful information, for one to maintain good health. This book is a must have and a must read for anyone interested in attaining maximum health.

As a chiropractor, I was very impressed with Dr. Chi’s chapter on back exercises. What I like so much about this chapter is that Dr. Chi writes to communicate with the reader, not to impress the reader. There is a kind of unique conversational tone in Dr. Chi’s writing style. Which is rather rare in self improvement books in the field of personal health.

The graphics and illustrations in Dr. Chi’s book are outstanding. Returning…

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Taking Control of High Blood Pressure

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Have you ever been told that your blood pressure is high? Are you already on medications for your blood pressure? If so, you are not alone. Just in the U.S., it is estimated that half of all adults–over 100 million people–live with this condition.

In this post, I will discuss the fundamentals of high blood pressure, how to properly monitor your own blood pressure, and what you can do on a daily basis to help improve your blood pressure.

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Continue reading “Taking Control of High Blood Pressure”

Sleep Apnea: Are You At Risk?

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you often feel sleepy during the day? Do you feel exhausted in the mornings, despite the amount of sleep you get? Do you snore constantly? 

If you answered yes to these questions, you may be at risk for obstructive sleep apnea. 

In this post, I will discuss exactly what this condition is, how you can find out whether you are at risk, and what you can do about it. So let’s get started!

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Continue reading “Sleep Apnea: Are You At Risk?”

An Essential Guide For Heart Health

Living with a chronic illness can feel like a constant battle.

Conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, and depression not only require vigilant management, but they can negatively affect your day-to-day functioning and deprive you of the quality of life you deserve.

Being Empowered for a Healthy Heart is designed to equip you with the tools you need to overcome the symptoms of pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety, and stress while effectively managing and reversing the diseases that cause them. By encouraging you to create personal healthy living goals and then providing valuable tools to help you achieve them, this guide will give you the confidence you need to take control of your health.

Be inspired and revitalized as Dr. Chi takes you on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment through a combination of essential health information and original poetry —a unique fusion that will both strengthen the body and touch the soul.

In Being Empowered for a Healthy Heart—Dr. Chi guides you to become empowered in the self-management of your chronic conditions, with each chapter containing practical exercises and personal health trackers to help you better monitor your conditions and manage your symptoms.

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Covered Health Topics

  • Chronic Pain
  • Stress Management 
  • Depression
  • How to be an Empowered Patient
  • Fighting Fatigue
  • Back Pain Exercises
  • Heartburn
  • Angina (Chest Pain)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Failure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Reaching Your Health Goals
  • Medication Management
  • Heart-Healthy Eating
  • Physical Activity & Exercise
  • COPD, Emphysema, and Asthma
  • Insomnia & Sleep Apnea
  • Intimacy with Heart Conditions

What Readers Are Saying

“We are bombarded with daily stresses! This book helps us to decompress and focus on self-care, spirit, body and soul to reach our goals and purpose in life.” – Margaret S., Heart Failure Patient

“Dr. Chi’s book is truly a breath of fresh air. Every chapter is full of detailed but easily understood information about a variety of chronic health issues. It’s like sitting down with your personal physician but being able to understand everything rather than having to ask a lot of questions about things you just don’t “get”. The added blessing of inspiring and pertinent poetry by Dr. Chi makes this book more “personal”. An imminently “readable” book and one that I will be returning to frequently. Be inspired to care about your heart – as much as Dr. Chi does!” – Pam K.

“This is a well written book that not only covers the topics of healthy eating and exercise, but she also adds some poetry, beautiful photographs, and some sections that don’t get talked about as much as they should, but make a ton of sense. The areas of relaxation, stress relief, sleep/insomnia, intimacy and staying motivated are very important parts of a good heart healthy program. These areas are often somewhat neglected. Overall, a fabulous book, an easy read, and great for reference.” – Don P., Heart Transplant Patient 

“This book is a must have and a must read for anyone interested in attaining maximum health. As a chiropractor, I was very impressed with Dr. Chi’s chapter on back exercises. What I like so much about this chapter is that Dr. Chi writes to communicate with the reader, not to impress the reader. There is a kind of unique conversational tone in Dr. Chi’s writing style. The graphics and illustrations in Dr. Chi’s book are outstanding. As an additional treat, Dr. Chi provides the reader with a scattering of poems, that she has penned, throughout the book. These poems are uplifting and inspiring. They add a touch of class to the book. This book is 343 pages long. So bang for buck, it’s quite a bargain! This is a must read for anyone interested in having a healthy heart!” – Richard M., Chiropractor


Phoebe Chi MD Being Empowered for a healthy heart

Click for a Sample Chapter


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Exercises for Back Pain

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Back pain. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know how debilitating it can be. In this post, I will be discussing simple exercises that you can do to strengthen your core muscles, help alleviate back pain, and prevent future injury. For a more detailed discussion on back pain, please refer to this article

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Continue reading “Exercises for Back Pain”

Being Empowered for Your Health

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Have you ever left one of your health appointments disappointed with your visit? Maybe you had just spoken to a health care professional, but instead of feeling like all of your concerns were addressed, you found yourself with even more questions? In this post, I will provide you practical tools that you can starting putting into use today that will empower you in your health care visits by helping you prepare for encounters you might have with the health care system–whether it is a routine doctor’s visit or an unexpected trip to the ER—and by helping you make the most out of your interactions with your health care professionals.

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Continue reading “Being Empowered for Your Health”

Exercising with Heart Conditions

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Getting enough physical activity is important for your health and is particularly important when you have chronic conditions. However, many people with heart problems or chronic pain are often hesitant or apprehensive when it comes to exercising, as they fear that it will trigger their symptoms or make them feel worse. If you currently have concerns about exercising or have not been physically active for a long time, there is no need to worry! It is never too late to increase your physical activity. The key is knowing how to do it safely and effectively. In this post, I will equip you with the tools you need to confidently plan and achieve your personal fitness goals.

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Continue reading “Exercising with Heart Conditions”

Strengthen Your Muscles While Sitting

Do you spend a lot of time sitting? Perhaps you sit at a desk for work, or maybe you have some mobility challenges. When you sit for hours at a time, you might not only start feeling stiff and uncomfortable, but your body is also suffering from the lack of movement. The following stretches and strengthening maneuvers are designed to be done while sitting, so that even if you find yourself stuck in your seat, you can get your circulation going while toning your muscle groups. 

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Taking Control of Chronic Pain

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

In my last post, I discussed the cycle of chronic pain and how it works. In this post, I will focus on tools that you can incorporate into your life that will help break this cycle and empower you to take better control of your days…so that you can always look forward to each one. 

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Continue reading “Taking Control of Chronic Pain”

Chronic Pain & You

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you live with chronic pain? Does pain seem to infiltrate every area of your life, to the point that it is affecting your quality of life?

If so, you are not alone. 

In this post, I will focus on the complex condition that is chronic pain and discuss how it works. In a subsequent post, I will present a “Chronic Pain Toolbox” that will equip you with essential self-management skills, so that you can be empowered to regain the quality of life you deserve.

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Taking Control of Diabetes [part 2]

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

In my previous posts, I discussed both the importance of knowing your Diabetes A-B-C’s as well as how to easily meal plan your way to health. In this post, I will focus on another essential skill that everyone with diabetes needs to have: how keep your blood sugars at an optimal level. By knowing what to watch for and knowing how to react, you can be empowered to truly take control of this condition. 

So let’s get started!

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Continue reading “Taking Control of Diabetes [part 2]”

Eating Successfully with Diabetes

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

In my last post, I introduced one of the fundamental elements of effective diabetes management, which consists of knowing and understanding important health indicators— such as your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Now I will discuss another important skill that will play a large role in determining whether your condition worsens or gets better in the future—and that is meal planning. 

For those who do not have diabetes, or have been told that they have pre-diabetes, you will find that this method is so simple and practical that you can easily incorporate it into your life to help you eat in a more balanced way. So let’s get started!

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Continue reading “Eating Successfully with Diabetes”

Taking Control of Diabetes

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Like most chronic condition, diabetes is a disease that–while serious–should not deprive you of a long and fulfilling life. With that said, the seemingly little things that you do on a day-to-day basis can end up making a big difference in how the disease affects your health and quality of life, with what you do (or don’t do) playing an important role in determining how well your diabetes is controlled and whether or not the disease gets worse over time.

In this post—which is a part of my Taking Control of Chronic Conditions series—I will discuss what you can do to manage your diabetes, so that you will be equipped with the skills you need to take control of your health once again.

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The Ketogenic Diet: Fact or Fad?

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Over the past year, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the ketogenic diet. Not surprisingly, I have encountered many questions regarding them. What is it? Is it safe? Would I recommend it? 

Despite the recent trend, a “ketogenic diet” is actually not new at all. In the 1970’s, Dr. Atkins popularized his low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other popular diets also incorporated similar approaches for weight loss. But in medicine, we have been using this method for almost a century to treat some forms of epilepsy, especially drug-resistant types in children.

As you know, whenever something is popularized, much information goes around—some accurate, some not so accurate. The purpose of this post is to summarize for you what the medical community actually knows so far through its research on the health effects of ketogenic diets. This post is not to make a stance either for or against, because as you will see, there are both pros and potential cons (as well as some unknowns); rather, I simply want to equip you with the right information in order to empower you to make the best decision for your personal situation.

So let’s get started!

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Continue reading “The Ketogenic Diet: Fact or Fad?”

Action Planning for Health

Have you ever thought of something you either wanted to do (“I want to lose weight“) or felt like you should do (“I should eat healthier“), but you just cannot get yourself to take the first step, because the task seems too overwhelming or out of reach? Or maybe you start making changes, but then after a while start to feel discouraged at your apparent lack of progress?

If so, you are not alone.

Starting today, I want you to begin incorporating something into your life—a type of goal-setting called Action Planning. Many of you may already be familiar with this. The purpose of an Action Plan is to set you on the road towards your personal goals by breaking them down into small, actionable steps. So let’s get started!

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How to Stay Motivated

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you ever find yourself losing interest in something you know is good for you? Maybe you took a healthy living course and for a while you were gung ho to make changes in your life…but then the determination faded — and you found yourself going back to your old, bad health habits.

If you do…you are not alone.

The key to continuing down the path towards better health and wellness (or whatever goal you have set for yourself) is to keep a positive mindset and to not allow yourself to get discouraged–even when you experience a setback. Not sure how to maintain your motivation? Read on–this guide will give you some practical tips on how to do just that.

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Complete Relaxation Techniques

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

For many, relaxation means zoning out in front of the TV or staring at the phone at the end of a stressful day. But this does little to reduce the damaging health effects of stress. To effectively combat stress, it is necessary to activate your body’s natural relaxation response. One way to do this is by practicing effective relaxation techniques. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress, boost your energy and mood, and improve your mental and physical health. When combined with effective stress management skills, you end up with a powerful, stress-busting combo. 

This guide provides relaxation techniques that are best performed when you have 15 minutes and a comfortable environment, but which are extremely effective at countering your body’s stress response (by eliciting the “Relaxation Response”)….as a result leading to calming effects that can linger for days. 

Don’t have 15 minutes? Then you need these quick relaxation techniques. 

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Continue reading “Complete Relaxation Techniques”

Instant Relaxation Techniques

Even when equipped with effective Stress Management skills, sometimes one just needs a break from the stresses of a busy day—in the middle of the day.

These mini-relaxation techniques are powerful stress busters that you can reach for anytime. Whether you’re preparing for an important meeting, stuck in traffic, or in the middle of an uncomfortable situation—these exercises can be a fast and effective tool to help you achieve a relaxed state so that you can confidently face the stresses of the day. So go ahead—take some time to try them all to see which ones work best for you.

Have 15 minutes to spare? Try a full relaxation session for a total de-stressing experience.

Continue reading “Instant Relaxation Techniques”

Taking Control of Stress (part II)

In my last post, I discussed Stress Management in terms of practicing the “4 A’s.” In this post, I will be discussing the other essential components of stress management (if you missed the initial post on the effects of chronic stress on your health, I encourage you to glance at that when you get the chance).

Need immediate de-stressing? This article will show you some instant ways to relax.

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Continue reading “Taking Control of Stress (part II)”

Taking Control of Stress

Now that I’ve discussed how harmful chronic stress is to your health…what can you do about it? The very necessary next step (after recognizing what is causing your stress) is to make the decision to take control of it. To decide to take control means that you are determined to start making positive, proactive changes in your life to effectively manage your stress—as opposed to allowing yourself to feel like a victim to it and merely trying to cope with it. This difference in mindset can make a significant difference—the difference between feeling like you’re keeping pace while staying ahead in a race as opposed to lagging behind trying to catch up.

So really, what does this all mean? This post will introduce the most practical way to start taking control of your stress: by practicing the “4 A’s.”

Feeling stressed out right now? Take a few seconds to do one of these quick relaxation techniques.

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Continue reading “Taking Control of Stress”

Stress and Your Health

Do you often feel stressed out? Do you have things in your life that frequently cause you high levels of stress? Do you find that you have little time for self-care, or you spend most of your time caring for others? Do you just feel burned out?

If you do, you are not alone. 

In this post, I will talk about the effects of stress on your body—both short and long term (chronic) stress—and then introduce the most fundamental aspect of Stress Management: the identification of the causes of your stress and the identification of unhealthy coping mechanisms. In subsequent posts, I will discuss tried and true Stress Management techniques that have been proven to work in both lowering stress and decreasing the harmful effects of it on your health.

This post is the first in a series on Stress Management. The other articles are listed below for your convenience:

Taking Control of Stress (part I)
Taking Control of Stress (part II)
Instant Relaxation Techniques
Complete Relaxation Techniques

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Continue reading “Stress and Your Health”

Taking Control Over Salt

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Do you enjoy salty snacks? Or find yourself reaching for the salt shaker at the dinner table?

If you do, you are not alone.

In general, people in the U.S. eat much more sodium (salt) than they should. But why is it important to watch the amount of sodium you eat? It is because the more sodium you consume, the higher your blood pressure becomes. Some conditions, such as certain heart and kidney problems, cause the body to hold onto sodium, which causes extra fluid to build up in the body. This extra fluid forces the heart to work harder. Therefore, if you live with chronic conditions, it is especially important to control the amount of sodium you eat.

So how much sodium should you be consuming in a day? While for most people it is recommended to not go over 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium, for those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney problems, the daily limit for sodium is even lower– 1,500 mg ideally, but no more than 2,000 mg.

Pop quiz: How many milligrams of sodium are in one small teaspoon of salt?

Answer: 2,300 milligrams!

1 teaspoon of salt
=
2,300 mg of sodium

Surprised? What this means is that adding any salt to your meals can cause you to go over the recommended limit. So is it even possible to stay within this recommended limit? Yes–it is possible! And today I will discuss exactly how.

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Continue reading “Taking Control Over Salt”

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