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Houston, TX 77065
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Tomball TX 77375
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Cypress, TX 77433
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The Woodlands, TX 77385
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Have A Heart, Take Care Of Your Heart!

February is the season of love, making it the perfect time to focus on your heart.  Having a healthy heart is important to having a healthy body. Each year, 1 in 4 Americans die of heart disease each year. In the state of Texas, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the state.   Heart disease can also complicate other medical conditions such as colon cancer, diabetes and obesity.  

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease describes a range of conditions that impact your heart.  These conditions involve narrow or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain or stroke.  Many mistakenly view heart disease is limited to older adults, but heart disease is diagnosed in adults of all ages. To prevent heart disease and increase awareness of its effects, Dr. Ahmad and Associates is proudly participating in American Heart Month.

The good news is that heart disease is largely preventable when making healthy lifestyle choices.

  • Add color to your diet: A good rule of thumb is to eat the colors of the rainbow.  Eat foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium. 
  • Maintain a healthy body weight: Obesity is inextricably linked to heart disease and a shortened life span.  Obesity is also linked to hypertension, increasing risk for heart failure.
  • Exercise Consistently:  Regular physical exercise reduces the risk of many aging-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease.  The American Heart Association recommends adults get 40 minutes of moderate physical activity 3-4 times a week.  
  • Avoid tobacco products: Smoking is the largest preventable cause of heart disease and 30% of heart disease deaths are caused by tobacco use.  It’s never too late to stop smoking.
  • Limit alcohol intake: Heavy alcohol intake increases the number of fat cells in your blood.  It can also lead to high blood pressure and obesity which can increase your risk your risk for heart disease.  

6 Questions to ask yourself in 2019

six questions to ask yourself when getting healthy

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get serious about getting healthy in 2019.  Countless American’s list getting healthy and/or weight loss as their #1 resolution for the new year.  However if you want to be successful, there are a few questions you need to first ask yourself. 

How serious are you about your health?  
Before you start making changes to your health, start by asking yourself is “what is your mindset”? Are you willing to make your health your top priority? Do you have time in your schedule to exercise, eat healthy, and sleep?  What obstacles from preventing you from accomplishing these goals?

What are your goals?
What goals do you have for 2019?  Most resolutions fail because they are wishes more than goals, so setting a goal of getting healthy or losing weight is doomed to fail.  Use SMART goals to ask yourself:

  • Is it Specific?  (i.e. – lose 10 lbs. vs. lose weight)
  • How is it Measured? (how the goal is quantified:  minutes exercised, lbs. lost)
  • Is it Attainable? (are you capable of accomplishing this goal?)
  • Is it Realistic?(is the goal realistic based on schedule, life stage, etc.)
  • Is it Time-based?(how long will it take you to accomplish this goal?)

What support system do I have to help me succeed?
Most American’s ditch their resolutions by mid-January because they are trying to succeed using will power alone.  Accountability is key!  Success is found in fit-friends and family who are committed to helping you stick to your goals.  Find people who will go to the gym with you when you don’t feel like exercising or keep you accountable for the foods you eat. Which people do I need to avoid right now as I make changes to my health.  

What’s your plan of attack?
Ask yourself how are you going to achieve your goals?  When are you going to exercise?  When do you have time to go to the grocery store?  What do I need to change to get 8 hours of sleep?  Treat your health like a priority because without your health you can’t work, take care of family or have good quality of life.  This means making time in your schedule to exercise, eat healthy, going to the doctors (and physical therapist) and sleep. Treat these times like appointments on your calendar that can’t be missed or rescheduled. 

When and how are you most stressed?
We don’t always have control over our lives but you can certainly control your responses?  Ask yourself – “When do I feel most stressed” and just as importantly, “how do I react to stress?” If your tendency is to eat sugar when stressed, it’s time to develop a new coping mechanism like taking a walk or deep breathing exercises.  The good news is adding exercise, nourishing foods and sleep will also help your body’s ability to cope with stress.  

How are you going to celebrate success?   
American’s love to plan for failure, but it’s equally as important to plan for and celebrate success both when you accomplish your goal but as you achieve milestones along the way.   Before you start working on your goal, find something (non-food/alcohol) to motivate you. Ideas may include a massage, a new gadget, a vacation or even a day off of work.  

How To Know Which Weight Loss Treatment Option is Best for a patient?

Losing weight is beneficial for a person’s health. It lowers blood pressure, decreases the risk of diabetes, decreases the risk of heart disease, improves mobility, and reduces back pain, in addition to numerous other benefits. The idea and intention of losing weight is often easier than the actual process. For some people, having assistance is necessary.  If you are morbidly obese, have tried every diet and exercise routine imaginable and still struggle to lose weight, you may want to consider weight loss surgery.

When it comes to weight loss, there are a variety of different methods and procedures to try.  With so many options on the market, it is difficult to determine which option is best for you.   Sometimes those procedures require surgery. In the end, it doesn’t matter how a person loses the weight, as long as they find themselves in place where they are happy and healthy.

Obalon
This is a three-balloon system that a person swallows to assist them with weight loss. It is often recommended for people who have not had any luck losing weight with diet and exercise. It is a short-term treatment program that requires diet and behavioral changes to be successful. All three of the balloons have to be removed 6 months after the first balloon is swallowed.

How does it work?
The treatment works by having the balloons take up space in a person’s stomach so that they eat less. It is incredibly important that they receive nutrition and exercise support from a professional so that they can make appropriate behavioral changes so that once the balloons are removed they will be able to maintain their weight loss.

How are the balloons placed?
The patient will go into a physician’s office to have the balloons placed. They swallow a capsule, and then the doctor inflates the balloon. There is no sedation, and most patients are able to return to normal activities after the procedure.

How are the balloons removed?
After the treatment period of 6 months, the patient will return to a physician’s office to have the balloons removed through an endoscopic procedure. This usually only takes 15 minutes, and the patient will be under light sedation.

Gastric Sleeve
This procedure requires surgery and full sedation. The process involves a surgeon removing 3/4 of the patient’s stomach. The rest is then folded over and stitched to form a sleeve or tube. The operation takes approximately an hour to perform, and the patient may then be in the hospital for 2 or 3 days to recover. This process is permanent.

What happens after the surgery?
After the surgery, the patient will be on a liquid or pureed food diet for up to 4 weeks. After that, they’ll have to change their eating habits for the rest of their life. Eventually, they’ll be able to resume eating solid food, but they won’t be able to eat as much as before and will have to take supplements daily.

How do I know which treatment is right for me?
Talking to a doctor will determine which weight loss treatment is best for the individual.

What To Do When You Experience Gallstones

Gallstones are something that people all over the world experience everyday. Although many people with gallstones never know it, they can cause significant health problems over time if left untreated.

Gallstones are a result of bile, which is the substance that assists with fat digestion and helps with the absorption of some vitamins. The liver makes the bile, and then it is carried to the gallbladder where it is stored. Gallstones are solid lumps that occur when the stored bile becomes crystallized.

When someone finds out that they have gallstones, it can be very scary. They have a well-deserved reputation for being painful to deal with, and most people chose to get them taken care of as soon as possible. Here are a few considerations to read up on if it feels like there may be a gallstone in the picture.

Most Gallstones are Tiny
It’s important to remember that the vast majority of gallstones are much too small to cause any problems. Many people have gallstones and never know it because of their tiny size. These gallstones are known as “silent” because they don’t usually cause any issues.

A trip to the doctor for unrelated symptoms will often result in the discovery of a gallstone. Doctors can recommend that best treatment for a gallstone, and their recommendation is usually based on the size of the gallstone in question.

Main Symptoms
Smaller gallstones may cause no symptoms at all. But if the gallstone grows and becomes lodged in a duct within the body, then it may cause blockage to occur, and the person experiencing the gallstone well definitely feel it.

Pain is the most common symptom that alerts individuals that they may be inflicted with a gallstone. The pain is usually sudden and intensifies quickly. The upper right part of the abdomen is where the pain usually comes from, but it can result in a number of places on the body. Pain at the center of the abdomen, between shoulder blades, or on the right shoulder can all be symptoms caused by gallstone blockage.

Methods of Treatment
Most doctors only believe a gallstone should be treated if it is causing adverse symptoms in the patient. If someone who repeatedly experiences pain associated with a gallstone goes to the doctor, then the recommended treatment is most often removal, which is called a cholecystectomy. There are a few options here that can be pursued.

Unfortunately, all of the options require surgical procedures of some kind, but some of the options require surgery that is much more invasive than other options. Historically, the surgery usually requires a five-inch incision in the patient, and that came along with a week’s stay in the hospital. Now the operation can be completed with a procedure called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This is a surgery where the doctor removes the gallbladder with instruments inserted through small incisions in the patient’s skin.

Anyone who is experiencing the painful symptoms associated with having a gallstone should seek expert medical advice immediately. Although a trip to the doctor for a gallstone can be scary, the other options are much worse, and modern medical procedures have come a long way.

 

 

Tips For Working Out In Warmer Weather

The dog days of summer are upon us.  Between the heat and humidity, it can be tough to get a good workout.  When you workout, the sweat your body creates helps create a natural cooling system.  Factor in humidity, and the sweat sticks to your skin making it harder for your body to cool off.  During summer months, don’t jeopardize your health when working out.  Take advantage of these tips to exercise in warmer weather.

Start Slow:
Begin your workout with a warm-up such as a slow jog.  This allows your body to better acclimate to the heat.  You’ll know that you are warmed up when your body begins to sweat.

Change your routine(Whenever possible):
Parks, beaches and trails are filled with trees that provide natural shade that can keep your body cool when you workout. Working out at the beach or in the pool are also great alternatives to keep your body cool in warm weather. It is also better to workout in the early morning or afternoon to avoid peak heat.

Stay Hydrated (and keep drinking water):
We can’t stress the importance of drinking water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated.  The more you sweat, the more water you need to consume.  A good strategy is to drink small amounts of water throughout the day to replenish the fluids in your body.  If you are participating in strenuous exercise, you may also need to consume electrolytes.

Protect your skin:
Before you start your workout, apply sunscreen to your arms, legs, and face. You should also avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, that keep sweat trapped on your body.  Instead wear loose fitting shirts and shorts that will wipe away moisture.

Know Your Body
Know your limits, and know when you need to stop.  Be aware of the signs of heat stroke, which is where your body temperature rises to 115 degrees or higher.  Signs can include seizures, dry skin (body doesn’t sweat), confusion, rapid or weak pulse and unconsciousness.

Spring Into Action: Tips for Weight Loss For Morbidly Obese Patients

If you are 100+ pounds overweight and want to start losing weight, congratulations, this is a huge step in the right direction.  Diet, movement and mental outlook all play a role in contributing to your weight loss success.  Weight loss can be more complicated when a person has considerable weight to lose.  Even if you are considering weight loss surgery or the gastric sleeve, these habits will help you keep the weight off over time.

Movement:
Not all workouts are created equal.  Before you commit to a gym or a workout routine, it’s important to do your research.  Exercise can be hard on your joints.  Look for workouts and classes that are low intensity and low impact.  You may even want to enlist the help of a personal trainer.

Even 30 minutes a day of exercise can be effective.  Workouts in the water or on a spin bike are great workouts to try.  You can even divide your workout into two 15-minute sessions.  Once you’ve lost 10% of your body weight, you can up the intensity, working out longer and using weights.

Changing your diet:
Did you know that cutting 500 calories in your daily food intake can result in losing 1-2 pounds per week.  Adding a lean protein and veggies to every meal can be effective way to get the nutrients your body needs.  Your doctor can help determine your body’s exact caloric needs.  Logging your food will also keep your nutrition on track.

Find a good support system:
Weight loss is most effective when you have a group of people to support you along the way.  Accountability is extremely important, especially when you are changing your exercise and nutrition habits.  A good support system can also help guard against depression and/or giving up when you are discouraged.  Finding a therapist can also be helpful in keeping you on track.

Final thoughts — A person who is morbidly obese is also at risk for serious health complications so before you join a gym, start a new workout routine, or commit to a new nutrition plan always consult with your doctor first.

Healthy Smoothies to Help You Lose Weight

Struggling to lose weight?  Eating vegetables are a great way to help you achieve your weight loss goals.  For some, getting your daily dose of greens can be a challenge.  Other people don’t like the taste of vegetables making it hard to get the nutrients your body needs to lose weight.

Smoothies are the perfect solution.  In a single drink, you can get a nutrient dense drink with relatively low calories.   Smoothies can also help you feel full faster so you aren’t tempted to eat excess meals.   But be aware, not all smoothies are created equal.  Ingredients such as juices and some fruits are high in sugar which are high in calories and can spike your blood sugar.  Check out some of our favorite smoothie recipes to help you lose weight!

Berry Pie Smoother

  • 1 Cup frozen berries
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 Cup of coconut milk
  • ¼ cup of walnuts
  • ¼ cup of rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together in a blender. One serving.

 

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie:

  • 1 Cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1 Large apple peeled and cubed (red apples work best)
  • 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Stevia
  • 1/4 Cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1 Cup of ice
  • 1 Scoop of vanilla protein powder (whey protein powder only)

Mix ingredients together in a blender. One serving.

 

Berry Banana Smoothie

  • 1 Cup of almond milk
  • 1 Cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1 Cup spinach
  • ½ tsp of vanilla
  • ½ banana
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (whey protein powder only)

Mix ingredients together in a blender. One serving.

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Smoothie

  • 1/2 Frozen banana
  • 1/4 Cup of frozen spinach
  • 1 Scoop of chocolate protein powder (whey protein powder only)
  • 1/4 Cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup of rolled oats
  • 1 Cup of almond milk
  • 1/4 Tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Tsp of cinnamon

Mix ingredients together in a blender. One serving.

 

Spinach Avocado Smoothie:

  • 1 avocado, pitted
  • 1 Cup fresh or frozen spinach
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter or PB2
  • 1 Cup almond milk

Mix ingredients together in a blender. One serving

Preparing for Weightloss Surgery: 6 Steps to Make Your Weight Loss Results More Successful

Did you know that preparing for weight loss surgery will actually make you more successful over the long run?  It will also minimize your risks of complications, reduce stress and increase the overall amount of weight you will lose over time. Preparation for surgery should start at least 6 months before your surgery date and involves reversing poor habits.  Weight loss surgery cannot be effective if you don’t change your habits, so start know so you are mentally, physically, and emotionally ready for the journey ahead.

Here are the habits you need to start adopting before surgery:

#1: Change Your Eating Habits:
After weight loss surgery, you will eat much smaller portion sizes.  Start now by  start eating smaller portion sizes and a diet that is rich in vegetables and proteins.

#2: Start taking a multivitamin:
After surgery, it is harder for your body to absorb nutrients and you are consuming less food.  A multivitamin is needed to help supplement your body with the nutrients needed for your body to be healthy.

#3: Start moving:
Movement is essential to weight loss surgery because it reduces the risk of complications.  Find an activity you enjoy and exercise at 20-30 minutes each day.

#4: Drink more water:
Start increasing your water intake an additional 64oz. each day.  Water will help you fill fuller faster and also help flush out your digestive system.

#5: Stop any alcohol or tobacco use:
Studies show that both alcohol and tobacco use can cause complications to your recovery after surgery.  Alcohol is absorbed at a much faster rate into your blood stream causing intoxication at a much quicker rate causing patients to give into cravings at a much higher rate.  Tobacco use can cause clots in your blood stream complicating your recovery after surgery.

#6: Seek Out Support:
Connecting with others who have been through weight loss surgery is critical to your own weight loss success.  Find a support group that can help you before and after the surgery because they can provide advice and support that your family and friends cannot provide.

If you are considering weight loss surgery and need more information, don’t hesitate to give us a call or check out our frequently asked questions!

What To Expect From Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

So, you’re considering laparoscopic colon surgery for your gastrointestinal disorder. That’s great news! Well, as great as surgery can be. Laparoscopic is a minimally invasive approach to complex colon surgeries. Unlike traditional surgical approaches that require large incisions, laparoscopic surgery uses advanced technologies and techniques, and micro tools to perform surgical procedures via 4 or 5 small incisions (about a quarter inch in length).

During laparoscopic surgery, a tiny camera is used to view the surgery site instead of a large, open incision. The camera captures high quality imaging of the patient’s internal organs and magnifies them on a monitor for the surgeon’s reference.

The most noteworthy advantages of having laparoscopic colon surgery instead of traditional surgery is reduced pain and recovery time. In many cases, patients are able to go home within a few days, and may be able to return to solid food more quickly. Laparoscopic colon surgery also produces less scarring and allows patients to resume work and activities much sooner.

In fact, a 2010 study of laparoscopic colon surgery in patients with colon cancer found that even in high risk patients, the procedure was highly effective. Likewise, a 2012 study involving 85,712 patients found that (in general) laparoscopic colon surgery had better outcomes than open colectomy.

Are You a Candidate for Laparoscopic Colon Surgery?

Laparoscopic colon surgery may not be suitable for individuals with certain pre-existing conditions, including:

  • Obesity
  • Dense scar tissue from prior abdominal surgery
  • Bleeding problems
  • Large tumors
  • Low organ visibility

To determine if laparoscopic colon surgery is a viable option for you, you must first schedule a consultation with your physician. During your consultation, a thorough medical history will be taken as well as a physical exam. Two tests may be recommended to reach a diagnosis:

1)    Colonoscopy: A soft, flexible tube with a tiny video camera that is inserted through the anus into the large intestine.

2)    Barium enema: A white fluid is flushed into the rectum while being observed via X-ray and other screening methods.

Pre Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

In preparation for laparoscopic colon surgery, you may undergo blood work, a chest x-ray and electrocardiogram (EKG). A blood transfusion or blood products may also be prescribed depending on your condition. You will be asked to shower and drink a special fluid to clean out the bowels before surgery. The cleaning out of the bowels may require several days of drinking clear liquids, laxatives and enemas prior to surgery. You may also be prescribed an oral antibiotic to help fight infection.

It is extremely important you refrain from eating or drinking anything 12 hours prior to surgery. You will also be required to stop taking aspirin, blood thinners, Vitamin E, and anti-inflammatory medications several days before your operation.

Post Laparoscopic Colon Surgery

Following post operative instruction is critical to your recovery. Your surgeon will instruct you to resume activity the day after surgery to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness. Because your digestive system will be healing, you will not be permitted to eat solid food right away. Instead, you will be placed on a clear liquid diet, and instructed to slowly work your way back to solid food over the span of a couple weeks. Within 1 to 2 weeks, you may resume normal activity, including working, showering, driving, walking up and down stairs and sexual intercourse. A follow-up appointment is customary at least two weeks after surgery to check incision sites and ensure your body is healing properly.

Risks

As with all types of surgery, certain risks or complications are possible, including:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Leaking where the colon was reconnect
  • Injury to surrounding organs
  • Blood clots

If you are interested in learning more about laparoscopic colon surgery for your gastrointestinal condition, contact a licensed and experienced laparoscopic surgeon. He or she will conduct a full evaluation of your condition before deciding if this minimally invasive approach is right for you.

Get SMART About Your Goals: Make 2018 A Healthier New Year

Did you know that January 17th is known as “national ditch your resolutions day” in other words, the day when most Americans have given up on your goals. Don’t let this be you. If your goal is to be healthier in 2018 you need an action plan to keep you focused on your goals. Get SMART about your goals: make 2018 a healthier New Year!

You’ve probably have a vision in your mind of how you want to be different. Losing weight, more exercise, and cleaner eating are all great goals, but with out a plan, you are doomed to failure. Like any goal, it is important to break your goal down into smaller, attainable steps that can be achieved over a long period of time. So that come December 31st, you will celebrate having achieved your goals.

If you’re ready to make a change, don’t rely on willpower alone; the key is to success is found in making SMART Goals an acronym for SPECIFIC – MEASURABLE – ATTAINABLE – REALISTIC – TIME BOUND. Countless studies have shown those who use this method are far more successful than those who make general resolutions like weight loss or stop smoking. Here are some qu

estions to ask yourself as you are creating goals for 2018.

S – Specific: Like any goal you have to have be specific and clear about what you want to accomplish. It helps to have the following questions in mind when you work on your goals.

  • What do I want to accomplish? (Weight loss surgery? Daily Exercise? Improved nutrition?)
  • Why is this goal important? (Improved health, less joint pain, weight loss, lower insurance costs?)
  • Who is involved? (Myself, spouse, an accountability partner, ?)
  • Where is it located? (At my house? At the park, At the gym?)
  • Which resources or limits are involved? (time, money, insurance)

M – Measurable: You must be able to track your progress which is why measurement is super important. Questions like “How Many” and “How Much” help you determine the measurable outcomes of your goal. Attach a time table to your goal such as “I will exercise twice a week” or “I will schedule a visit to the doctor by January 31st to talk about weight loss” which make your goals doable.

A – Attainable: Your goals must be attainable to accomplish by December 31st. Think about what obstacles or barriers may constrain your goals and how you can overcome them. If you have a goal of having weight loss surgery, think about the money you may need to set aside now so you can achieve your goal.

R – Realistic: It is important to make sure your goals are attainable at this phase of your life. Do you have the resources, time, and knowledge to achieve your goals. For instance, you may not be able to exercise daily, but may be able to commit to exercising 2-3 times per week.

T – Time Bound: Having enough time to achieve your goals is the difference between success and failure. Think about how long it will take over time (now, in six months and a year from now).

Now that you have the tools to develop your goals, it is time for you to start writing and more importantly, start acting! If your goals involve weight loss surgery or other medical related appointments, don’t delay.