RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- While affording quality health care may seem like an impossible feat at times, experts in cardiovascular health, exercise and family health, point out that there are dozens of smart, affordable tactics that can help you make 2010 a healthier year for you and your family. Here are five life-changing finds for less than $100 each that can get you on the right track to better health. The advice is from Raleigh-based LipoScience Inc., award-winning innovators of diagnostic tests for cardiovascular and metabolic disease, and Novant Heart & Wellness of Raleigh, a leading provider of comprehensive disease prevention and management services for optimal family health.
- NMR LipoProfile Test – "Although a traditional cholesterol panel that measures 'bad cholesterol' (LDL-C) is commonly used to gauge a patient's risk of heart disease or even heart attack," explains William C. Cromwell, MD, medical director for Novant Heart & Wellness/Raleigh, "the NMR LipoProfile test, may be your heart's best friend now and for the future. This diagnostic test analyzes the number and sizes of lipoproteins that transport cholesterol in the blood, and also provides standard cholesterol measures. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests this test identifies patients who may have a normal cholesterol level, but too many lipoprotein particles. [It's actually the lipoproteins that interact with the arterial wall and deposit plaque-building cholesterol.] The Mayo Clinic and other centers of excellence are conducting important studies with this NMR technology. It's also been used to assess heart health in retired NFL football players in screenings conducted by the Living Heart Foundation. The test is available through LabCorp and most individuals can get the test by asking their physician." Cost: About $100 – many insurance plans cover it. [More information is available at www.lipoprofile.com]
- Pedometer – "Walking is a terrific activity for your heart, muscles and to help you burn off some of the pounds holiday meals may have put on," notes Dr. Cromwell, MD, who is an internationally renowned lipid specialist, researcher, physician and Taekwando Black-Belt Master instructor. "Physical exercise can make an enormous difference in your ability to fight disease. If you don't currently have a vigorous exercise program, walking is a good start. Depending on your weight, walking at a moderate pace can burn 80-130 calories per hour. By clipping an inexpensive pedometer to your belt as you leave the house in the morning, you'll incentivize yourself to walk more. Many people like to aim for walking 2000 more steps each day until they achieve 10,000 steps per day. The road to better health may begin with this one simple step!" Cost: $15-45 (Some more expensive models can talk, play music, read your heart rate and more)
- Gym from household objects – "Although not all of us can afford a gym membership, most of us don't realize that the equipment for a handy gym workout may be as close as your kitchen," notes Mirabai Holland, nationally respected exercise instructor whose exercise DVD Skeletal Fitness has been championed by Prevention Magazine as well as the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Water bottles, soup cans and even sacks of flour can be your weights for toning upper arms and enhancing weight-bearing lunges to tone buttocks and strengthen bones. A towel pulled taught behind your back and moved up and down, can increase flexibility. And mopping the floor can strengthen your back as well as tidy things up! Your kitchen gym is good for your heart, your shape and your self esteem." Cost: $10-30
- Smoking cessation programs and products – Dr. Cromwell observes: "There are more than 46 million adult smokers in the U.S. Smoking kills more than 440,000 Americans each year and is the leading preventable cause of death, causing chronic and deadly lung cancer, heart disease and more. With statistics like these you might well ask, 'How can I afford not to try to quit?' That's my point exactly. There is a wide range of smoking cessation programs and products to choose from. Your physician can help you with the selection. Many states offer free quit support and minimal cost for cessation products. Nicotine Replacement Therapy as well as some of the newer non-nicotine products demonstrate good quit rates. Some smokers seem to do best with the help of an in-person support group. The costs vary. But the alternative…not trying to stop…takes an unforgivable toll in terms of lives lost." Cost: $40-400
- Magnifying glass – "Sherlock Holmes isn't the only one who could benefit from a magnifying glass. Why not purchase one and take a closer look at some of the nutrition labels on some of the products in your kitchen cabinets? In no time at all you'll be sensitized to words to watch out for on the front and back of products on the grocery shelves. Note how many servings in the package versus calories per serving. Some 'individual' ice cream containers actually have four servings at 250 calories per tiny serving. Some healthy ingredients touted in big letters on the front of the label, are found only as trace ingredients in the product. There are blueberry waffles with no real blueberries; strawberry yogurt with only strawberry flavoring. And MSG often masquerades by other names or is found in: Autolyzed yeast; Calcium caseinate; Gelatin glutamate; Glutamic acid; Hydrolyzed protein; Yeast extract. I'm sorry to be the nutrition Grinch who breaks the bad news to you, but you'll thank me for it in the end. The magnifying glass will help you see the truth in the label, which is often in the smallest print." Cost: $7-15
"While we all feel that health care costs go only one way, and that's 'up', there are opportunities to get great bargains in health care and make small changes that can do you and your family a world of good in 2010," Dr. Cromwell encourages.
SOURCE LipoScience Inc.; Novant Heart & Wellness of Raleigh