Answering Your Health Questions

You've flooded our inbox with health questions this week... from acid ingestion to meditation.

So today, we're sending a special "all health" edition of our weekly Q&A to answer some of your questions.

Let's get to it...

Q: Love "all" of you and your team's work. I have a comment regarding acid indigestion. I recently went to my General Practitioner complaining of acid indigestion. It seemed to occur during heavy physical exertion. I was sure it was acid indigestion but he sent me off for a tread mill stress test which I failed. That was followed up by an angiogram and resulted in a cardiovascular stint being installed. I had 90% blockage in one of my cardiac arteries. Folks should not ignore symptoms in the chest area like my supposed acid indigestion. – D.M.

A: Thank you for writing in, D.M., and we're glad you went to your doctor! Yes, knowing the difference between heartburn and a heart attack is crucial for your health.

Heartburn can feel like burning pain and pressure in your chest. Unfortunately, that's also one symptom for a heart attack. Other heart attack signs include shortness of breath, lightheadedness or nausea, jaw, neck, or back pain, and arm or shoulder pain (typically in the left arm).

What's more, women typically experience slightly different heart attack symptoms, including anxiety, sweating, and fatigue, and they may not experience chest pain.

One point to keep in mind is that heartburn typically feels better after you take some antacids. Try that first and if you still don't feel any relief, get help. If your heartburn is brought on by exertion instead of by lying down or after a meal, it could be a sign of a heart attack or angina (similar to what D.M. felt) – that's why if it continues, occurs during exertion, or doesn't involve other signs of reflux, you should go to your doctor immediately.

We also recommend the American Heart Association's guide for warnings signs of a heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest. You can view that here.

Heart disease is still the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. And about 735,000 folks suffer a heart attack each year. If there's any doubt as to what you're experiencing, err on the side of caution and get help.

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Q: I live in Hawaii where there is an abundance of fresh fruit and most mornings I have a fruit smoothie consisting of a glass of orange juice as a base then add half a cup or so each of pineapple, banana, papaya, apple and whatever else I have on hand. Am I getting too much sugar this way? – S.L.

A: If we lived in Hawaii, we'd probably be eating a lot of fruit too.

There are many benefits of eating fruit. The micronutrients found in fruits, especially those with darker colors, are powerful antioxidants. The fiber from whole fruit appears to lower risks of colon cancer. And mounting evidence shows fruit blocks cancers, lowers blood pressure, and reduces joint pain.

But juice is not the same. Fruits are loaded with both cancer-fighting antioxidants and fiber. Fruit juice lacks the fiber of whole fruit. And worse, fruit juice is high in sugar (including added sugar), which causes spikes in glucose that increase your risk of developing diabetes and cancer. There's also the added chemicals you're ingesting from processed OJ suppliers if you're drinking store-bought juice.

As long are you're avoiding fruit juice and not loading up on fruit the rest of the day, you should be fine.

So skip the OJ and try using some plain yogurt as your base – that's packed with probiotics. You might also want to try adding some vegetables to your smoothie. Adding kale or spinach will give it a health boost without adding to the flavor.

Q: Doc gives a lot of good medical advice. Is there a way to search archives for particular subjects? Where is it found? – R.R.

A: You can find an archive of Retirement Millionaire Daily issues on our website. If you're looking for a specific subject, search using our search bar. If it's a topic we haven't written about, send it to us as a suggestion at[email protected].

Q: In Retirement Millionaire Daily you frequently mention the benefits of meditation. I would certainly like to know what are you reading in this area/reference articles/anything of relevance. – S.G.

A: We read just about everything. (Have you seen my research assistant's desk?)

Meditation is one of the topics for which we're constantly seeing new research. Longtime readers know I first started meditating during my freshman year at Carleton College. Over the decades, its benefits have held up against skeptics. And I still meditate to this day.

Recently, we read about a new study about the benefits of just 25 minutes of meditation or yoga. Both practices increased energy and boosted cognitive ability, making them great additions to your daily routines.

We'll make sure readers stay up to date on the latest meditation research. And in the meantime, you can check out past issues on our website.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
September 15, 2017

P.S. Don't forget to check out this week's edition of Retirement Millionaire Daily's weekly video series. This week, Amanda talks about the importance of preparing, not just for major disasters, but minor ones as well. Click here to watch.