The secret to staying healthy: Staying active

Senior couple at homeGoing vegetarian or vegan. Eating a high-protien diet. Taking nutritional supplements. Avoiding supplements altogether. Using cannabidiol. Staying away from cannabidiol. Teetotalling. Drinking a glass of red wine each day.

Sound familiar? We’re told every day about a combination of foods and drugs that will keep us healthy longer. And, what is the “best” advice often changes from day to day.

But there is one thing about which the benefits are undeniable: the best thing you can do to maintain your good health as long as possible is to stay physically and mentally active throughout your life.

Benefits of physical activity

Physical activity brings a cascade of physical benefits, no matter what your age. It stimulates the heart, lungs and circulatory system, strengthening them and making them better able to do their jobs. Physical activity strengthens muscles and boosts the function of just about every body system.

Over the long term, regular physical activity can help prevent the loss of bone density and osteoporosis.

Physical activity also improves the health of the brain and mind, as well as the immune system. In other words, a healthy, active lifestyle makes you better able to fight off infection and disease. It’s a virtuous cycle.

Mental activity

Physical exercise or increased activity has proven, real benefits for your mental health. You may have heard of the “runner’s high” — a mood boost that follows not just running, but any physical activity that you enjoy, such as playing a sport or just moving your body. Physical activity releases hormones called endorphins, which cause you to feel pleasure and can help reduce depression.

Your mind needs exercise just as much as your body does. Books, games, music and being with other people are essential to your mental health. What’s more, good mental health can also boost your physical health.

Social activity

Physical activity can also be a social event — a chance to connect with people around you. Sports, group exercises, dancing and other activities are critical in avoiding depression, boosting your mood while exercising body and mind.

Keep it fun

Regular physical, mental and social activity are good for you, no matter who you are or what your situation is. The best news is that it doesn’t have to be extreme or expensive. Just going outside for a walk with a loved one, getting together with friends or colleagues, even gardening can have real, long-lasting health benefits.

Regular activity throughout your life is key, which means you should choose an activity you enjoy. Do what you love, whether it’s hiking solo in the woods, playing catch with your kids or joining your buddies for a weekly game of Ultimate. Whatever gets your heart thumping and your breath faster for a short time will also keep your blood flowing smoothly and your mind sharp.

Keep following us at Proactive Wellness Centers for the latest information on how to stay healthy.

Is mold behind your symptoms?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????Mold has been in the news lately because it has been causing significant health impacts on people. Following floods, or in places where a number of people suddenly become very ill, mold is often found to be the culprit.

Mold is everywhere on earth, and grows quickly wherever mold spores find moisture. Outbreaks of mold-induced illness often follow floods, as black mold grows quickly in the soaked, interior spaces after a flood. Mold can also build up in poorly ventilated or poorly maintained air conditioning or heating systems, which then spread more spores through the building.

While not everyone will get sick from mold exposure, those with sensitivity to mold can suffer significant symptoms. These can range from mild allergic reactions, like stuffy nose, irritated throat, coughing, eye irritation, sometimes skin irritation. They can, however, be more severe for those who are more sensitive, or with suppressed immune systems (seniors, those with chronic conditions, obstructive lung disease).

Symptoms of mold exposure

Mold allergies can present flu-like symptoms. They can also present as mood suppression or depression, and have been proven to trigger asthma symptoms. This means these allergies can be hard to detect for doctors with little experience in treating mold. All too often, patients do not get the right treatment for the underlying cause of their symptoms.

Our approach

At Proactive Wellness Centers, our team studies with leaders in mold and other causes of chronic disease, with a differential diagnosis approach.

We start with a thorough range of laboratory tests, for:

  • heavy metal exposure
  • tick-borne illnesses including Lyme (Borrelia bacterium) and co-infections
  • reactivated viruses

With a full picture of your condition — and remember that 50 percent of our chronically ill patients have more than one disease, with more than one cause — we can devise a comprehensive treatment plan to stop the progress of the illness, and then reverse the effects. Next, we focus on developing interventions to maintain the improvement in your wellness.

Control mold

No matter what, we all have a certain amount of mold spores in our homes. It’s important to keep them from growing.

Mold can be black, brown or other colors. It appears as spots in damp areas, and can smell musty. No matter what color it is, you should remove it immediately.

Clean mold with regular soap and water, or use a mild bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of laundry bleach to 1 gallon of water. Dry thoroughly.

Discourage mold from coming back:

  • Open your windows for fresh air.
  • Regularly ventilate damper areas, like bathrooms, showers, laundry and cooking areas.
  • Control humidity, keeping it at no more than 50 percent.
  • Fix leaky roofs, windows, pipes, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and ducts.
  • If your home is flooded for any reason, thoroughly clean and dry it as soon as possible. Replace wet insulation and any carpets that you cannot dry quickly. Clean with mold-killing products, and use paint with mold inhibitors.

Look for the signs

If you have had symptoms of aches, pains, cold or flu or allergies that persist, despite different treatments from various doctors and specialists, you owe it to yourself to investigate the possibility of sensitivity to mold, Lyme or parasites.

If you’re in the northern Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland or Pennsylvania area, visit or call us about your symptoms.

The surprising effect sugar can have on your mental health

47157756_MThere are certain times of the year when we all indulge in sugar (even taking candy from our kids, if we’re being honest). We may go on baking frenzies during the holidays or have a large slice of cake during birthday celebrations. Or perhaps we sneak in an extra nibble or two of the leftover pie after dinner. It’s okay, we all do it. While everything in moderation is best, we should also consider that an extra spoonful of sugar here and there can take a toll — not just on our waistline, but also on our minds.

Read on to learn more about how sugar can affect our minds:

1. Anxiety

For adults, anxiety disorders are the most common class of mental disorders, where nearly 25% of the population experiences something of the sort. Not all conditions can be attributed to sugar, but did you know that sugar can cause certain symptoms, which can contribute to a panic attack? These symptoms include difficulty thinking, fatigue and shaking.

Cutting back on sugar can help the body to cope with stress in a healthier way by boosting your energy (and keeping you free from harmful sugar highs and crashes).

2. Depression

Speaking of the ups and downs that come with sugar consumption, this roller coaster ride sugar has us on can contribute to an increased risk of depression. Some research explains that sugar suppresses a certain hormone that is low in individuals with depression.

3. Memory

High glucose levels have shown to diminish mental capacity over time. If you’re a little too keen on the cookies, there is a chance you’ll experience deficits in memory, learning and other cognitive functions.

It’s normal to experience sugar cravings every so often. Instead of reaching for refined sugars, your body and mind will thank you for turning to fresh fruit instead. Your body and mind will benefit. Now that is sweet.

Integrative medicine: Treatment for the whole you

Well-being or wellness

A hallmark of Proactive Wellness Centers’ approach is something that we call integrative medicine. We see health as much more than the absence of disease. Integrative medicine’s perspective is to maintain and enhance your health and wellness.

Let’s make one thing clear from the outset: integrative medicine is not a replacement for conventional medical care. For example, some patients use herbal remedies to help reduce the nausea that can be an effect of some pharmacological treatments.

We see integrative medicine as a complement to conventional medicine. Also known as complementary or alternative medicine, integrative medicine takes every aspect of your life into account — mind and body, family and life circumstances.

Looking at the whole person

Each of us is different, with a unique physiology and genetic background.

Our integrative approach starts with getting to know as much as we can about you, our patient. This means getting a complete picture of your overall health with a view to developing a personalized treatment plan.

We avoid the one-size-fits-all approach, and take time and care to develop the plan that will be right for you.

When you first come to us, we do a thorough initial assessment that starts with a detailed health history. We will then send you for some blood tests. With the results in hand, we then talk to you for a more complete picture of your medical history, family history, lifestyle, nutrition, and health symptoms and goals. We also do body composition testing to determine your metabolic health.

We believe all our decisions have to be based on science and evidence. That’s why we use proven diagnostic and testing tools as well as practices for a solid understanding of where your health is now, and where it can be.

Going forward with wellness

With this picture, we start a discussion with you about our preliminary diagnosis — our evaluation of your current state of wellness — and options to help you achieve your health goals.

Treatment plans can involve a range of options, including:

  • comprehensive nutrition plan, with a focus on whole, natural foods and a move away from highly processed food
  • exercise and lifestyle changes
  • detoxification
  • nutraceutical supplements
  • hormone replacement therapy
  • specialized medications
  • other therapies

Depending on your age, vitality and condition, we may refer you for more tests, such as:

  • electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • exercise tolerance
  • prostate, testicular and pelvic ultrasound tests
  • colonoscopy
  • mammogram
  • bone density tests

We use all the information we can possibly find to develop a realistic plan to maximize wellness for your whole body, mind and spirit.

The mind-body link

There is no more important component of your overall health than brain health. That’s why we’ve developed a Brain Health Optimization Program, or BHOP.

Alzheimer’s Disease, which is strongly linked to dementia in aging people, causes more than 110,000 deaths in the United States every year. The incidence is going up around the world, as well.

While there is as yet no known cure for Alzheimer’s, and the exact cause is not fully understood, the latest research suggests that a number of factors could contribute to its development. These include genetics, history of head trauma, toxin exposure and mitochondrial damage.

Our experience has told us that mitochondrial damage can be mitigated through detoxification, nutritional supplementation, healthy eating and other lifestyle factors. We use the Breseden protocol to diagnose and treat cognitive decline from Alzheimer’s, and the related ReCODE protocol to address a number of related health impacts.

Knowledge is health

Your wellness is a product of your knowledge. That’s why we work hard to make sure every patient gets as much information as possible.

Part of every treatment plan is providing you with information and educational resources. The more you know and the better you understand your current health and where it could be, as well as how different treatments, interventions and nutrition work, the more you can be an active force in your own health.

For some treatment plans, you will receive a personalized notebook that lays out your treatment plan, lab results and educational materials. Depending on your plan, the notebook could also include details on your eating plan, exercise or activity plan, medications and nutraceuticals.

You’ll be able to take notes to record your progress and describe symptoms and changes in wellness. This will provide you with the feedback to keep getting better.

Follow-up visits are another key component of your continued wellness plan.

Focus on wellness

Instead of starting with symptoms and illness and then intervening with medications and surgery to fix it, we believe in maintaining and enhancing wellness. We want to empower you to take charge of your health with personalized precision medicine: the right combination of treatments and interventions based on your genetic profile, diagnosis results, symptoms, age, lifestyle, life stage — everything that makes you, you.

Take the first step toward taking charge of your wellness. Take a look at the resources we have available, and start the process of personalized precision medical care.