Testicular cancer is cancerous cell growth that originates in the testicles (or testes). The testicles are the two small round organs enclosed in a skin sac — scrotum, hanging from each side of the penis. The testicles’ main function is to produce male sex hormones called androgens and sperm. This type of cancer is the leading cancer in men ages 15-35, but can occur at any age.
What Are the Causes of Testicular Cancer?
The causes of testicular cancer are largely unknown. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done in this area, but there are risk factors that may be connected.
The potential risk factors include:
Types of Testicular Cancer
Germ Cell Tumors – the two types of germ cell tumors are seminoma and nonseminomatous germ cell tumors. Seminoma tumors tend to develop and spread slower than the nonseminomatous variety. Germ cell tumors make up 95% of testicular cancer cases. The prognosis is often very good with this type of cancer.
Stromal Gonad Tumors — they affect the production of male sex hormones. Most of the tumors are benign and don’t spread throughout the body. It makes up 5% of the testicular tumors in adults and up to 20% of testicular tumors in children.
Treatment for Testicular Cancer
To treat testicular cancer, there are three main pathways of treatment: radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. The type of treatment is also dependent on the kind of tumor and severity.
Surveillance: With very early stages of seminoma testicular cancer, the recommended course of action is surveillance and careful observation with regular checkups and CT scans. Sometimes the removal of lymph nodes and chemotherapy will be considered.
For more advanced stages of the cancer, chemotherapy and radiation will be used. As a last resort, surgery may be required, in the way of removing a testicle. But overall the survival rate is very high at over 90%.
This time of year, many of us may be thinking about how to successfully lose weight – especially if we’ve experienced unintentional weight gain over this past year. People are usually more successful with weight loss when a diet plan is tailored to their own unique macro and micronutrient needs – an individualized approach is key.
What really works for long-term weight loss?
Most nutrition experts (Registered Dietitians, Nutritionists, and evidence-based health organizations) would agree on these 9 strategies for long-term healthy weight loss.
healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
management, and body movement.
or a tracking/ journaling system. Share your goals with someone.
What we choose to eat for a healthy weight goes beyond “calories in – calories out”. An effective diet covers all the bases by maximizing “your” nutrient needs for better sleep, good mood brain chemicals, hormone and insulin support, and a body that can feel energized for movement. These will all indirectly affect achieving a healthy weight.
What about all the trendy diets?
There are hundreds of weight loss diets out there calling for our attention. And the reality is that most diets — the good and bad — will help you shed pounds in the short term. But the difference is in keeping it off with a doable plan that fits your lifestyle. Also, important to consider is a plan that protects your overall physical & mental health and your metabolism along the way.
How can you evaluate what’s right for you?
I won’t go into detail about all of the diets out there (and boy there are 100’s) but when choosing how to trim down without compromising your health, ask these questions:
– Can you get the nutrients you need while following this diet?
– Is there “wiggle” room to support you emotionally and socially?
– Does the diet encourage lifestyle recommendations that support sleep, stress
management, movement and behavior strategies for success?
– Does the plan protect your overall physical & mental health and your
metabolism along the way?
– Can you follow a trendy diet but “tweak” it some with a Registered Dietitian
to make sure your health needs are supported?
What can you do starting today?
Begin by assessing the balance of your diet. A good balance can leave your appetite satisfied so that your portions stay in check. A balanced diet not only helps your metabolism, hormones, and blood sugars but also gives you the energy you need for healthy movement later on.
You can assess your overall balance by looking at your plate and asking these questions:
or nuts for example.
Regardless of whether you want to lose weight or if you just want to eat healthier, visit with a registered dietitian to make sure you are getting the nutrients that you need. At Fluid Health and Fitness, we help people navigate individualized plans for success. This includes personalized strategies and support needed for long term success.]]>
What is an Anatomical Sling?
An anatomical, or myofascial, sling refers to a given group of muscles, fascia, and ligaments functioning together to create stability and mobility. When we refer to a given movement we often think of certain muscles contracting in isolation in order to create a force within the area of that muscle, however in reality, muscles act in unison, or synergy, with other tissues in order to maintain alignment and create an efficient, predictable movement. Moreover, when a given muscle contracts, a force vector is created throughout the body causing additional muscular activity far from the initial contraction. Furthermore, these sling systems can be functionally connected, physically overlapping, or distantly related.
What are the Body’s Sling Systems
There are four major sling systems within the body, each with a unique purpose and composition of tissues.
Anterior Oblique Sling
The anterior oblique sling (AOS) consists of the ipsilateral (same side) internal and external oblique muscles connected to the contralateral (opposite side) adductors via the adductor-abdominal fascia. This sling system acts to both stabilize through opposing forces causing force (compression) closure at the symphysis pubis, while also creating a small amount of relative pelvic movement to assist with achieving heel-strike during gait. In addition, as movement becomes more advanced, as in running, the demands of the AOS become more prominent.
Posterior Oblique Sling
The posterior oblique sling (POS) developed as humans evolved into bipedal, or two-legged, creatures, thus increasing the stress and demand on the structures on the back side of the body. The major components of the POS include the ipsilateral (same side) gluteus maximus, and the contralateral (opposite side) latissimus dorsi. These two large muscles are functionally connected by the thoracolumbar fascia, and play a major part in dynamic lumbopelvic stability during functional movement. This system is most active during the stance phase of gait beginning just before heel strike, when a force vector is created at the ipsilateral hamstrings spreading up through the gluteus maximus to control, and offset, the opposing quadriceps contraction. As the body moves in to double limb support and transitions in to swing on the contralateral side the latissimus dorsi is contracted to eccentrically control the forward movement of the limb as well as maintaining stability as the trunk counter rotates. In addition, the POS is thought to have spring-like qualities assisting with conservation of energy during movement.
The lateral sling consists of the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fascia latae, and iliotibial (IT) band. This system of interconnected tissues is most active in frontal plane stability. Functionally, this is best exemplified during single limb support activities such as walking, stairs, and higher level activities such as lunging and, single leg squatting, and landing mechanics during plyometrics. During these activities the lateral sling will come into tension in order to prevent hip drop while one limb is suspended and the other is in contact with the ground. The typical compensation for a weak or dysfunctional lateral sling is known as a Trendelenburg sign wherein the hip on the suspended side will drop, and the trunk will laterally flex toward the stance side in order to compensate for the lack of ability of the lateral sling to offset the force of gravity.
The longitudinal sling consists of ipsilateral erector spinae, multifidus, thoracolumbar fascia, sacrotuberous ligament, and biceps femoris. The longitudinal sling system is responsible for creating ipsilateral lumbopelvic stability while also allowing for movement in the sagittal plane. This is achieved by creating nutation at the sacroiliac joint. Additionally, the longitudinal sling system is primarily responsible for preventing sheer forces at the lumbopelvic region, thus will increase tension and activity during more demanding spinal flexion/extension activities such as deadlifting.
Myofascial Slings and Their Impact on Pain
As stated above, force vectors created by internal or external sources begin the chain of reactions and tissue interactions needed in order to produce functional movement. That being said, these force vectors create innate instability within the body and therefore the primary purpose of myofascial slings, in a global systems approach, is to offset these vectors and create stability. In addition, myofascial slings connect the upper and lower body segments to each other, generally intersecting at the lumbopelvic hip complex, transferring energy and force through the sacroiliac joint and lumbar spine. Therefore, given a dysfunctional sling system, whether related to a physical trauma, microtrauma, or weakened muscles, lower back pain can present, and recur due to inefficiencies and asymmetries in the transfer of force.
Lee, J.-K., Hwang, J.-H., Kim, C.-M., Lee, J. K., & Park, J.-W. (n.d.). Influence of muscle activation of posterior oblique sling from changes in activation of gluteus maximus from exercise of prone hip extension of normal adult male and female.]]>
Light consists of several different wavelengths of color (violet, blue, cyan, green, yellow, and red, ranging from 380 nanometers to 800 nanometer). The shorter the wavelength, the more energy it emits and the more visible it is. Since blue is the second shortest wavelength on the color light spectrum, it emits a lot of energy.
Blue light can be found everywhere because our primary source comes from sunlight and the outdoors. Other common sources include LED lights, phones, televisions, other screens, etc. Its main functions are to help us stay alert, boost memory and reaction times and regulates the body’s circadian rhythm.
The Health Risks of Too Much Blue Light
Our eyes are not good at blocking out blue light because it passes through the cornea and lens and penetrates to the retina. The retina houses color-sensitive cells which can be damaged by too much blue light exposure and may potentially lead to eye strain and vision damage over a long period of time. The extra strain prompts us to hunch over more while looking at our screens, leading to kyphosis (a forward curvature of the spine)
Additionally, because it is vital to the regulation of our circadian rhythm to keep us awake, too much blue light from screen time exposure suppresses the production of melatonin (the hormone responsible for helping us relax and fall asleep).
How Do I Limit the Negative Effects of Blue Light?
Locomotion is described as the ability to move from one position to another. Gait, on the other hand, is defined as the style or manner of walking dependent on a complex interplay of major parts of the body systems including the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, and cardiovascular system. Moreover, locomotion encompasses gait, with the overarching goal of maintaining stability through a progression of the center of gravity within the base of support, while utilizing the least amount of energy as possible..
The Gait Cycle
Locomotion and gait are produced by a series of predictable joint movements (kinematics) and forces (kinetics). Additionally, these movements and forces work together and can be summarized into a consistent sequence known as the gait cycle.
The gait cycle consists of two phases: Stance phase, in which the reference limb is in contact with the ground, and swing phase, in which the reference limb is not in contact with the ground. Stance phase involves closed chain (compression) mechanics and comprises 60% of a single gait cycle while swing phase involves open chain (suspensory) mechanics and comprises the other 40% of a cycle. The phases of gait are as follows:
Suspension mechanics vs. Compression mechanics
In general, the forces of the gait cycle encompass a perpetual balance between outside forces including gravity and ground reaction, and internal muscle forces. Furthermore, each phase of the gait cycle involves different forces working on the individual segments and can be broken down further into compression or suspension mechanics.
Compression occurs when the leg is in contact with the ground and involves increased tension of ligaments, muscles, and fascia compressing the joints and decreasing space to improve stability. The major muscles involved in compression mechanics include the gluteus maximus on the ipsilateral (same) side, and the latissimus dorsi on the contralateral (opposite) side. Weakness in either of these muscles consequently leads to dysfunction and instability.
On the contrary, suspension mechanics occur when the leg is not in contact with the ground. During this phase there is greater space between the joints and involves more mobility with less stability. Major muscles involved in suspensory mechanics include the hip flexors, quadratus lumborum, and spinal extensors.
In development, motor skills and coordination progresses in a proximodistal fashion, or in other words, from midline outward. Moveover, muscles in the thorax and abdomen develop first to maintain stability and provide a stable foundation for limb movement. For example, a child must first develop the ability to stabilize and hold their head against gravity, then they must develop their abdominal musculature through rolling and sitting, then they will progress to standing and finally active limb movement. This development continues and becomes more refined and reflexive over time, and is evident in movement patterns such as gait.
How is Gait Controlled
Human bipedal walking is controlled by high level central nervous system regions and central pattern generators (CPGs) located in the spinal cord which create a rhythmic pattern of flexor and extensor muscle force generation. These CPGs are furthermore impacted by feed-back and feed-forward control. Feed-forward control involves predetermined timing and force predictions in order to create an efficient and accurate movement. In other words, feed-forward mechanics involve repetitive learning and pattern recognition throughout development. Feed-back control involves the body’s response to external perturbations and subsequent adjustment. For example, if one steps in a hole during normal walking, proprioceptive input will react accordingly to adjust muscle force and activation to adapt to the changing environment. In general, normal locomotion is achieved through a combination of balanced input from both feed-forward and feed-back control.
1). Get enough sleep – can’t stress this enough. Aim for 7-9 hours of good sleep if you really want to focus on enhancing your immune system this time of year. While good sleep is beneficial for our immune system, on the flip side, we know that poor sleep is associated with weight gain, food cravings, anxiety, and low energy. If you’re not sleeping well, pursue options to find a solution. Visit with your doctor about a sleep study or a health coach for ideas about good sleep hygiene.
2). Tame your stress level. Stress does indeed affect our immune system. So instead of overexposing yourself to a worrisome environment (for example excess news or negative influences) keep your environment in balance. Choose to include things that make you feel empowered like taking care of your health and nutrition, meditation, prayer, laughter, helping others, being with friends and family who fill your life with positivity.
3). Make sure to keep up on your hydration by filling up a large water bottle a few times each day. Fruits can also be a hydrating food source. Flavor your water with lemon, lime, or other fruits.
4). Learn about eating balanced meals that include healthy carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Include 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables to really set yourself up for optimal health this season. Limiting excess sugary drinks and treats will benefit your healthy weight goals AND YOUR immune system. Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks.
5). Protect yourself from nutrient deficiencies. Many trendy diets put people at a higher level of risk since they often leave out whole food groups. Work with a registered dietitian to make sure you are Including all the nutrients & foods that enhance your immune system this time of year.
3 Important Nutrients
Along with good balanced meals – make sure you are getting enough vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc in your diet. As a Registered Dietitian, I have always been a ”food first” proponent. The decisions we make in the kitchen matter. Here are food sources of some of the big players that can help support our immune system.
Vitamin C – go for the brightly colored orange, red, and green fruits and vegetables. If you need additional vitamin C ask a health practitioner about supplementing with 500mg 1-2x/day. There is not good evidence for taking more than that and excessive amounts of vitamin C can cause diarrhea – and diarrhea is NOT good for your immune system.
Vitamin D – crucial for our immune system and some of us may already be deficient. Vitamin D is mostly found in dairy and eggs. The best “helper of Vitamin D is sunlight. If you don’t eat these food sources of vitamin D or don’t get enough sunshine (15-30 minutes at least twice a week) then you could be at risk for a low Vitamin D. Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels to understand if you need to replenish it. Vitamin D has been implicated in a significant number of severe cases of COVID 19. If you are low, you’ll want to supplement to be sure you are optimizing your immune system. For most individuals it’s safe to aim for 2000 to 4000 IU of vitamin D this time of year. If you are taking a good multivitamin it may include this amount already. If you are deficient you will likely need a higher absorbable recommendation.
Zinc – In the form of lozenges (better than getting zinc in pill form) has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds and upper respiratory symptoms. Without onset of symptoms or a documented deficiency – it is likely not necessary for healthy individuals to supplement with Zinc. Instead aim to get good food sources of zinc which includes chicken, grass fed beef, beans, nuts, yogurt, whole grain breads, crackers, and cereals.
The Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) is also looking at potential immune health benefits of some of these nutraceuticals: vitamin A, selenium, quercetin, green tea, resveratrol, elderberry, echinacea, melatonin, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and curcumin. With any decision to use supplements, always look to your doctor, health practitioner, or registered dietitian for individual recommendations – since we are all very different humans.
Create A Healthy Nutrient Shopping List
Here are some examples of how to incorporate nutrient-dense foods to support your immune system through your eating:
What can you do today?
Meet with a registered dietitian for healthy nutrition recommendations if you have challenges related to high blood pressure, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes. Managing these health conditions will be especially important since all 3 of these health conditions are linked to more severe COVID infections. Eating a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains can be a good place to start.
Regardless of whether you want to optimize your immune system or if you just want to eat healthier ~ At Fluid Health and Fitness we help people navigate individualized plans for success.
Menopause is the biological process when women stop having menses (the ability to ovulate and reproduce), in their 40s and 50s. Biochemically, this means that the production of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, is stopped. Estrogen plays a role in the health of the bones, muscles, organs, bladder, pelvis as well as the brain (cognition and mood). As a result, menopause can lead to hot flashes, moodiness, impaired concentration, loss of bone and muscle mass (which can lead to weight gain), and an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
Treatments for Menopause
In addition to the aforementioned treatments, moderate exercise (ex. brisk walking, biking, resistance training/cardio) for a total of 150 minutes a week is beneficial to alleviate the symptoms of menopause and to maintain health. The benefits of exercise include the following:
Because of the nature of the big transition, exercise is a great tool to maximize one’s health. Also, remember to stretch beforehand and start out with the exercise!
Why Is Exercise important as We Age?
Aging is a natural part of life where the body gradually deteriorates over time from biological and environmental influences. There are certain things we do that alter the effects of aging. For example, the body was designed to move, primarily in an upright position. However, if we become sedentary and sit too much, the unhealthier we become and it expedites the aging process. Symptoms associated with aging include the following:
Aging is inevitable but we can partially impact the outcome of the aging process by living heathier – eating a balanced diet with regular exercise. These things help to slow down the effects of aging. Even just a brisk 30-minute walk 5x a week, for a total of 150 minutes a week, can do wonders for the body. For more intense physical activity, only 75 minutes a week, allows you to reap the same benefits.
Exercise has been shown to help with the following:
Exercise can sometimes seem like an optional tedious chore but it has vast benefits to keep our bodies healthy for as long as possible. Some forms of exercise and activities include:
To reduce the risk of injury, remember to strength and take things slow, because the healing process takes longer as we get older.
Type 2 Diabetes or Insulin resistance is a condition that affects the way the body uses blood sugar (glucose we get from food). With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or there is an inability to use their own insulin properly. Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, weight loss or gain, and blurred vision. Treatments include diet, exercise, medication, and sometimes insulin therapy.
About half of the US population is at risk for insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and diabetes. For these individuals it makes sense to be on the “safe side” and eat a well-balanced diet to prevent blood sugar and insulin imbalances. Even if somebody does not have a diabetes diagnosis, they can still have insulin resistance or some blood sugar abnormalities which can lead to weight gain and inflammation as we get older.
What are the Risk Factors ~
For Insulin Resistance, Pre-diabetes, and Diabetes
To find out more about your own risk check out the website for the American Diabetes Association https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-risk
The Weight Management Connection
Excess insulin can make some of us gain weight. The balance of our diet is of the utmost importance to avoid the ill effects of excess insulin. Sometimes when we think we are doing well with nutrition and exercise – it can be surprising to learn about carbohydrate portion sizes and how it compares to what is actually recommended for individuals. Also, many of us could increase our fiber as well. Currently, dietary fiber intakes among adults in the United States average about 15 grams a day. That’s only about half the recommended amount. The American Heart Association recommends dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day.
To be on the safe side aim for a balanced diet with 2-4 servings of healthy carbohydrate at each meal along with some protein and fiber and healthy fats. Fiber helps “calm the rise in blood sugar” so choosing carbohydrates that are high in fiber is the key.
Strict dieting or skipping meals can actually be problematic for some individuals. Sometimes people end up with high blood sugars if they go too long between meals. As we get older it’s trickier to regulate the amount of insulin and sugar that our body decides to put out. The pancreas puts out insulin and our liver will put out sugar if needed. If some of us go for too long without food our blood sugar can drop too low and then our liver turns around and can dump extra sugar into our blood system. So actually skipping meals (for some people) can make us have high blood sugars. Erratic eating patterns can contribute to insulin resistance and high blood sugars especially for people who have a family history or are prone to diabetes risk. If you are considering the trending “Intermittent Fasting” way to lose weight – consult with a registered dietitian to see if this would be a risk for you or how to choose which hours to fast for the healthiest way to execute a plan like this.
What can you do today?
So in summary, aim for a balanced diet, avoid eating excess carbohydrate and sugar, and manage your stress & sleep cycle. Also, daily healthy movement can significantly improve insulin resistance and prevent diabetes.
If you have a family history of diabetes, healthy weight challenges, or any symptoms listed above, it would be worth it to annually get your hemoglobin A-1 C checked. This is a screening for pre-diabetes and diabetes. It looks at your average glucose levels over a 3 month time frame and is a better indicator of your risk over only checking a fasting glucose.
If you do ever receive a diagnosis of diabetes don’t be alarmed. Instead learn about what to do with diet and lifestyle which can really make a difference for your health. If diagnosed take advantage of the hours offered for education with a diabetes dietitian and nurse specialty team.
Regardless of whether you want to manage or prevent diabetes and insulin resistance, reach a healthy weight, or if you just want to eat healthier ~ At Fluid Health and Fitness we help people navigate individualized plans for success.
If you are looking for 2-3 visits to jumpstart your weight loss efforts or if you want to work with a Registered Dietitian long-term to make a significant transformation contact us to set up a free 15-minute call to learn more about Fluid Health and Fitness. We are also offering Chromium Picolinate which can help to maintain already normal glucose levels and insulin sensitivity and can assist in weight management.
Frame/Reframe it as a Positive
To increase motivation, try to limit complaining and joking regarding exercise. This just gives us more ammo to come up with a list of excuses. Try to focus on the positives and long-term benefits.
We know the benefits of exercise: better health, increased longevity, stress-reliever, increased mobility, decreased pain, etc. But the idea of exercise as being optional, a luxury, for shallow people, and as being a chore has become part of the norm of casual conversations. Complaining and joking about exercising or the lack of it and being regularly exposed to it by others can significantly affect our desire to exercise. This is because negative cues create negative associations within our minds.
Set Gradual and Realistic Goals
Becoming and remaining healthy is an ongoing journey for everyone! So taking gradual steps towards our health helps to stay consistent for the long haul, such as starting out with 1 exercise class a week or doing exercises at home for 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Once a routine is established, exercise frequency and intensity can be increased.
Setting the bar too high is a sure-fire way to lose steam and give up prematurely (ex. 100 planks a day, forcing yourself to get up at 4AM everyday to exercise if you’re not an early riser, going on runs if you are having knee issues). There’s no shame to starting out slowly and adjusting the goals to suit physical, medical, and even time limitations. This helps to ensure the efforts can be sustainable, practical, AND safe.
Be Mindful of Your Priorities and Energy Level
Being deliberate in our intentions, staying honest, and setting aside time for exercise (prioritizing it) can help take away some of the anxiety and anticipation with actually starting. Having a passing thought of doing something is different from actually making an action plan and following through. Carve out time and put it on the calendar or set an alarm.
Another thing that goes hand in hand with prioritizing time is to be mindful of one’s energy level. Motivation plummets if we are tired or starting to feel burnt out from other responsibilities so the worst time to schedule exercise is when you know you will feel exhausted or overly stressed (or the exercise will likely be put off for “another unspecified day”… which throws off the routine and motivation).
Physical activities are often more fun, engaging, and rewarding when done with another person or in a group. It creates an atmosphere for comradery, encouragement, and accountability. Others’ positive energy can pump us up!
Incorporate Physical Activity into Everyday Activities
To maintain fitness, it is important to not think of exercise as separate from the other areas in our lives but as an element incorporated into the big picture. People who stay fit long-term maintain relatively active lifestyles beyond and outside the gym. They engage in a hobby or two that keeps them moving and add variety to the physical activities, such as swimming, hiking, gardening, dancing, jogging, fishing, recreational sports, biking, cleaning the house, etc.
Chart Your Progress
Last but not least, recording one’s progress is vital for staying motivated. There needs to be a baseline to track and measure what has improved and what needs to be fixed. Just mindlessly doing sets of exercises is not going to be motivating because the goals and purpose won’t be clearly defined. Seeing our rate of progress helps us to see the value and trajectory of the efforts we put forth.]]>