Hypopressive Hype

By Scott LaFee

November 15, 2017 5 min read

Hypopressive exercise, also known as hypopressive abdominal gymnastics, is a relatively new type of exercise touted as a way for women to manage leaky bladders or prolapsed wombs. It's all about intensely activating postural muscles while controlling breathing.

It's also very popular, promoted by physical therapists, athletic coaches and others as a way to strengthen muscles and remedy ailments. That promotion, however, comes with no actual evidence of efficacy. In a recent editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, editors say there have been no studies to show its series of deep breaths and abdominal muscle contractions provide specific benefits.

On the other hand, a similar technique — pelvic floor muscle training developed by Arnold Kegel — has been shown to have benefits for urinary incontinence and prolapsed wombs.

Turn Down the Pressure

New data from the National Center for Health Statistics says more than half of Americans with high blood pressure do not have it under control. Unregulated high blood pressure or hypertension increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

It's also common: The overall rate of hypertension in 2016 was 30.2 percent among U.S. men and 27.7 among U.S. women, with rates increasing with age. Hypertension is most common among black adults at a little over 40 percent.

The only good news is that the bad news isn't worse. Researchers found that the overall rate of hypertension had not changed between 1999 and 2016.

Body of Knowledge

The body's bone marrow produces 3 million blood cells every second — and destroys the same number.

Get Me That, Stat!

The mortality rate for black women with breast cancer was 41 percent higher than it was for white women, as of 2014, and insurance coverage played a key factor. A new study found that black patients were likely to have larger and more serious tumors than white patients at time of diagnosis and much more likely to be uninsured or underinsured.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of playing the piano burns 170 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.2 Big Macs.

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for mayonnaise is four 32-ounce bowls in 8 minutes, held by Oleg Zhornitskiy. Warning: Most of these records are held by professional eaters with apt nicknames; the rest by people who really should find something better to do.

Doc Talk

PQRST: A mnemonic device used to quickly evaluate chest pain.

P stands for "palliative and provoking." To wit: Does anything make the pain better or worse?

Q refers to "quality." What, precisely does the pain feel like? Is it stabbing and knife-like or dull and throbbing?

R stands for "radiation." Does the pain radiate anywhere beyond the chest, such as into the arm or jaw?

S is for "severity." On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being almost no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain imaginable, what number does the pain rank?

T stands for "timing." What specifically were you doing when the pain began and how long have you had it?

Phobia of the Week

Omphalophobia: fear of bellybuttons

Best Medicine

Q: What's the difference between a general practitioner and a specialist?

A: The first treats what you have; the second thinks you have what he treats.

Observation

"Neurotic means he is not as sensible as I am, and psychotic means he's even worse than my brother-in-law."

—American psychiatrist Karl Menninger (1893-1990)

Self Exam

Q: How old is your body?

A: This seems like a trick question, either obvious or somehow beyond response. The answer is in between. Whatever your age, your body is many years younger. In fact, much of it may be, on average, 10 years old or less. That's because most cells have a lifespan and are constantly replaced. Stomach lining cells last only a few days; skin epidermal cells a few week; red blood cells a few months. Other cells last for years. One researcher found that the average age of rib muscle cells in people in their late 30s was 15.1 years.

Curtain Calls

In 1923, Frank Hayes, a jockey at Belmont Park in New York, died of a heart attack during his first race. His mount won the race with Hayes' body remaining perched in the saddle. No one realized Hayes had died until his horse's owner approached to congratulate Hayes on the victory.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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