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Inquirer Daily News

David Berkson

POSTED: Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 10:01 AM
Filed Under: David Berkson | Men | Women
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most common medical problems—affecting about one quarter of all Americans. It is also the most common cardiovascular condition in competitive athletes.

Blood pressure can be thought of as looking at the stress on the heart. The top number is known as the systolic pressure and measures the stress when the heart is actively beating. The bottom number is called the diastolic pressure which measures the stress when the heart is at rest, between beats. The greater the stress on the heart, the greater the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure.

In adults, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Blood pressure between 120-139/80-89 is considered pre-hypertension, which puts someone at an increased risk of developing hypertension in their future. Stage 1 hypertension is when the blood pressure is between 140-159/90-99. Stage 2 is over 160/100, which puts you at a 150-300% increased risk of having a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: David Berkson | Working Out
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Diabetes affects almost 26 million children and adults in the United States. It afflicts people of all ages, races and genders. Complications from diabetes, including problems with insulin and sugar regulation, can affect any system in the body.

The cost of diabetes is staggering: $245 billion dollars each year for both direct medical costs and lost productivity due to the disease. So why bring it up here in a sports medicine blog?  Because exercise can be very beneficial to patients with diabetes and can help to improve health and decrease costs.

Exercise can help to maintain good blood sugar control. Good blood sugar control helps the body to use proteins effectively to build muscle mass and enhances the appropriate storage of sugar and water in the muscles. Poor blood sugar control causes the breakdown of proteins and muscle mass and decreases the body’s ability to use sugar for energy, which can cause a build-up of acid in the blood and can result in a situation called diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 5:25 AM
Filed Under: David Berkson | Working Out
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Since the hot weather is here, it’s time to pay attention to fluids. Dehydration is a common cause of poor performance in athletics, but more seriously it can lead to life-threatening heat illness. Every year athletes and recreational outdoorsmen suffer from heat illness with a small number going on to die from heat stroke.

Under normal conditions, with little or no physical activity, the average adult loses between 2-3 liters of fluid in a day. Physical activity greatly increases fluid losses—sometimes up to 5 liters per day.

In order to prevent dehydration, adequate fluid intake should occur well in advance of the anticipated activity. We should all be drinking small amounts of liquids throughout the day:

  • It is also recommended to take in about 500ml of fluid about 2 hours before exercise.
  • To top off the tank on hot days, 250 ml should be ingested about 1 hour before the event.
POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013, 6:00 AM

Last week the annual conference of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was held in San Diego. This is the largest Primary Care Sports Medicine conference in the United States, with over 1,400 attendees.

The AMSSM attracts the leading experts from around the world to present on the latest research and recommendations on a variety of topics. Two of the highlighted topics this year were screening for sudden cardiac death and concussions.

Numerous cardiac abnormalities can cause a potentially fatal issue for athletes. The difficulty is in identifying these abnormalities before the event happens. Many of these conditions show no signs or symptoms for the patient. Recently a conference was held in Seattle looking at how some of these ailments may be identified by performing an EKG on the athlete during their pre-participation physical exam.

POSTED: Friday, March 8, 2013, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: David Berkson | Women | Working Out
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Women face different challenges than men when it comes to exercise. One of the big concerns for women is energy balance–getting the appropriate amount of nutrients needed to fuel exercise needs. Women, and especially young women, need the right amount of energy available to not only compensate for the energy spent exercising, but also promote good bone health and development.

A negative energy balance, defined as using up more energy than you are taking in, can result in a host of problems for women—specifically bone loss and fractures. So how do you know if you’re taking in enough nutrients or at risk for bone problems?

One of the signs of inadequate nutrition in exercising women is the loss of their menstrual cycle. Estrogen is one of the hormones responsible for menstruation. It also helps prevent or decrease the resorption of bone–the body’s way of breaking down bone and causing bone loss. The body needs appropriate nutrition to promote the normal secretion of estrogen. When more energy is spent than taken in, less estrogen is made.

POSTED: Friday, January 25, 2013, 10:11 AM
Filed Under: David Berkson | Working Out
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Countless numbers of people ring in every New Year vowing to get in shape. So here we are in late January, and if you’re like many of those people, you’re still wondering how to begin. Here’s my word of advice: don’t become a Weekend Warrior. 

Weekend Warriors are people who participate part-time in a fitness activity, attempting to squeeze in a week’s worth of fitness into a small number of sessions, usually on the weekend. Unfortunately, weekend warriors typically overload their system and do more than their bodies are ready to do.

The weekend warrior is set up to have many problems during exercise, mostly due to the overload stress on the body. These include sprains/strains, fractures, pulled muscles, contusions, and other injuries. People who are not acclimated to exercise and try to do too much also set themselves up for heat illness and dehydration. Why does the body have trouble handling the stress of participation? Essentially there exists a lack of muscular, cardiovascular and nutritional fitness, which are then combined with improper technique and cause breakdown.

About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

Robert Senior Sports Doc blog Editor
Alfred Atanda, Jr., M.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
Robert Cabry, M.D. Drexel Sports Medicine, Team physician - U.S. Figure Skating, Assoc. Team Physician - Drexel
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Symetrix Sports Performance, athletic trainer at OAA Orthopaedics
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician for the Phillies & St. Joe's
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Rothman Institute, Head Team Physician - Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon - Flyers
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director - The Center For Sport Psychology, Sports Psychology Consultant - 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Rothman Institute, Team Physician - USA Wrestling, Consultant - Philadelphia Phillies
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer at The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Cassie Haynes, JD, MPH Co-Founder, Trap Door Athletics, CrossFit LI Certified
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician - Drexel, Philadelphia University, Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Jim McCrossin, ATC Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales, Pa.
David Rubenstein, M.D. Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center, Team Orthopedist - Philadelphia 76ers
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute, Athletic Trainer - US Soccer Federation
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