If you’ve had a recent medical test, you may never get the results!

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A new study examined the medical records of 5,000 patients from all across North America. And it found that doctors fail to contact patients about abnormal test results at least 7% of the time – or about one in 14 patients.

Now “abnormal” test results doesn’t always mean something’s wrong with you – or your health is in danger – it could just mean you need another test. But no matter what the results are, patients need to get their medical information, because a minor illness could turn into something more life-threatening.

So what should you do if you have a test and never hear back from your doctor? The experts say always call the doctor yourself one week after the tests were conducted. That’ll give plenty of time for most test results to come back. Also, make sure your doctor confirms the results personally…even if the receptionist or a nurse gives you the results, make sure you speak with your doctor directly.

Do you live on protein shakes?

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Drinking too many protein shakes can load you up with cancer-causing toxins like arsenic, lead and cadmiumthe chemical used to make batteries.

We read about this study on the Consumer Reports website.

Store shelves are full of ready-to-drink protein shakes, and big canisters of protein powder. They’re all used to build muscle mass, get a fast energy fix or to replace meals. If you have a regular workout regime or you’re always on the go, these kinds of shakes can be a quick, easy way to pump yourself with protein.

But researchers say there’s poison along with the protein. Dr. Urvashi Rangan and a group of scientists tested 15 different types of protein shakes and found each one contained arsenic, cadmium, lead or mercury. In fact, drinking just 3 protein shakes a day can expose you to more of these metals than is safe to consume daily.

So if you live off protein shakes what can happen?

Once chemicals like arsenic or lead get in your body they metabolize and can stay in your system for a long time. They’re known to cause cancer, and lead can also damage your central nervous system, kidneys and blood cells.

And federal regulations don’t require protein drinks to be tested for contaminants.

So, what can you do to stay safe?

Eat your proteindon’t get it from a mix. A chicken breast, a glass of milk, and 2 scrambled eggs will give you more than enough protein for an entire day, over 60 grams.

There’s still time to enjoy this super-healthy summer treat:

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Lobster!

One pound of lobster meat provides a day’s worth of proteinplus, it’s a good source of key vitamins and minerals, like B12, copper and selenium.

But don’t worry about the cholesterol: a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found no link between the dietary cholesterol in shellfish, and heart disease risk.

If you’re cooking: Drop a live 1-pound lobster into a large pot of boiling salted water, and cover the pot. Cook about 10 minutes, until the shell is a deep rusty red…And add 2 minutes for every additional one-quarter pound.

But ditch the butter. Lobster meat is rich enough all by itself. So, top each forkful with a squeeze of lemon instead.

Loneliness is on the rise!

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Loneliness is a growing problem these days, and it could ruin your health. According to Newsweek Magazine, we’re three times lonelier today than we were 20 years ago.

So why is loneliness on the rise? Well, psychologists say there are several reasons. One is that we lead far more separate lives now than we used to. Before, we stayed close to our families and hometowns and developed life-long relationships.

And social networking sites like Facebook, aren’t helping the situation either. Dr. John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago is an expert on loneliness. He says keeping up with people on Facebook can actually increase lonely feelings. Cacciopo says those virtual connections are like celery… At first they feel good, but ultimately they leave you feeling empty.

Psychologists agree: Quality relationships won’t just keep you happy, they’ll keep you healthy too.

New research has linked loneliness to heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, depression and suicide. Other studies have shown that lonely people drink more, eat more and exercise less than happier people.

So how do you turn this around? For some it’s easy – join a group, take a class, attend church. But for other people, loneliness can be very deeply ingrained. For them, therapy might be the answer. It could help a lonely person develop meaningful relationships, which is the best way to fight back.

Need an energy boost? Go for a walk!

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If you find yourself nodding off each day after lunch…Forget trying to get an energy boost from Starbucks or RedBull. Take a walk, instead!

Researchers at the University of Birmingham discovered that people who took a short, leisurely walk during their lunch hour got a significant mood boost, had longer attention spans, and were better able to fend off work-related stress than those who consumed caffeine – and the change lasted for several hours. That’s because walking increases oxygen flow to the brain, and boosts the production of energizing, feel-good brain chemicals.

You can grow your own antioxidants!

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If you have a little patch of yard, or even a window box, you can grow your own veggies! Just pick up a tomato plant, or a strawberry plant – or seeds for peppers or squash. They’re easy to tend and grow fast. And they’ll provide super-powered produce all year long.

Plus, when we grow our own fruits and vegetables, we’re inspired to eat more of them.

Need another reason to always look for the silver lining?

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It could help you avoid heart disease.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that adults with a positive attitude were 33% less likely to develop coronary heart disease than more pessimistic people. And even among people with the highest risk for heart disease – because of age or family history – having an upbeat outlook cut their risk of heart disease in half.

Here are two possible reasons why:

• Being positive protects against heart-damaging stress, which triggers inflammation.

• And studies show that positive people are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors, like exercise.

How clean is your home?

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That’s what our friend, germ specialist Dr. Philip Tierno wanted to know! He recently surveyed the hygiene habits of more than 20,000 people across North America. Here’s what he learned:

  • Let’s start with: Your bed. Dr. Tierno recommends changing your pillowcases and sheets every week, to guard against the build up of dust mites, and lower your risk for bed bugs.

But this survey found that at least one-in-four people wait a month or more to change their bedding.

  • Next: Your shower. Dr. Tierno says bathtubs and shower stalls need to be scrubbed and disinfected weekly, to remove the build-up of “biofilm.” That’s the thin layer of dirt, sweat and grime that you leave behind every time you step out of the shower. But this survey shows that about half of all people wait anywhere from a month to six months to scrub the tub.
  • Finally, how hygienic is your fridge? Dr. Tierno says refrigerators should be cleaned at least once per month to limit your exposure to sickness causing E-coli and salmonella. But a whopping 40% of people surveyed say they wait anywhere from three months to a year before cleaning their fridge.

Are you having leftovers tonight?

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If you’re having leftovers and you don’t trust your nose when you do the “sniff test” on your food – go here: StillTasty.com. Search by food or category – like meat, dairy, or produce.
You’ll also find answers to food safety questions, like, “Is it okay to eat chicken that’s been frozen for over 2 years?” The answer, by the way, is yes.

Going to sleep at the same time every night will stop your food cravings in their tracks.

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Brigham Young University found that people who went to bed and woke up at the same time each day were significantly slimmer than people with inconsistent sleep schedules. That’s because an erratic sleep schedule prompts changes in the brain that not only cause it to pump out more hunger hormonesthose brain changes trigger cravings whenever you see images of food. So go to bed at the same time every night to get rid of your out-of-control food cravings.

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