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The Sequoia Advisor

IN THIS ISSUE                                                           March 1st 2012

  • Bone Quality, Density and Fracture Risk
  • The Best Time to Check Vitamin D Levels
  • Posture Perfect!TM Workshop at Dream Yoga Studio
  • Making Medical Decisions for Your Pet
  • Osteoporosis Support News Special Event Tonight
  • Read My Latest Blog Post on The RestonPatch

Feel Better... Live Better

Bone Quality, Density, and Fracture Risk
By Woody McMahon

Bone's Major Functions
Bone has three major functions. The first involves providing a structural
support for your heart, lungs, marrow and other organs and the attachment
sites for muscles so that you can move your arms, legs and head. Think of
what a blob you would be without your bones to give you structure. The
second function involves providing protection for your brain and other
internal organs. Finally, bone acts as a mineral storage bank for calcium
and phosphorus helping to maintain a proper acid/base balance in your body
called pH. So you can see that your bones have more than just one function.

The Importance of Bone Quality
The term bone quality may be new to you but it is an important one to
understand. Bone quality describes all the components that keep it
strong and fracture free. By weight, bone is composed of about 10%
collagen matrix, 65% minerals and 25% water. It is not just the minerals
but all three components working together that keep your bones strong and
fracture free.

Bone Density Numbers

Bone quality however is very different from the term bone density.
You may have completed a DEXA test and been told they found a change
in your bone density. Your bone density was either normal or you received
a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia. Take heart because all is
not lost. The DEXA scores you received only tells you about the mineral
density and content of the bone. It cannot tell you the amount or the
health of your matrix or water content. The mineral density then is
considered one
of many risks. It is used, along with other risk factors,
when calculating fracture risk. It is important to remember that
no one risk factor by itself can predict fracture risk.

Bone Density; Only One Risk Factor
Sometimes in the rush to osteoporosis treatment, it is lost in the shuffle
that your DEXA scores are just one risk factor of many to consider
when predicting fractures. It is also important to remember that you
want to prevent fractures, nothing more nothing less. It also bears
repeating that only one risk factor by itself cannot predict fracture risk,
not even DEXA. According to Dr. Susan Ott, MD at the University of
Washington, "In an individual, the quality of the bone, the shape of the
bone, the presence of a fracture or other risk factors, weight, muscle
strength, and the tendency to fall (balance) are all important to
predicting the risk of fracture."

Fracture Risk... Using the
The FRAX tool is a better predictor of fracture because it uses 12
independent risk factors, including bone density, to determine your course
of treatment. The FRAX tool was developed by the World Health
Organization to evaluate fracture risk of patients. The FRAX models have
been developed from studying population-based cohorts from Europe,
North America, Asia and Australia. The FRAX tool gives the 10-year
probability of a hip fracture and/or a major osteoporotic fracture
(clinical spine, forearm, hip or shoulder fracture).

Limitations of the FRAX Tool
The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that the FRAX tool has
the following limitations:
  • Does not include all known risk factors
  • Lacks detail on some risk factors
  • Depends on adequacy of epidemiological information
  • Limited country models available
  • Model relevant only for untreated patients
  • Does not replace clinical judgment
Improving Bone Quality
Now you know that keeping your bones healthy is more complex
than just trying to increase bone density. Your bones and the rest of
your body work together and are dependent upon each other. So your
general health will, to a great degree, determine your bone health.

Lifestyle factors like drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet,
exercising safely and effectively, drinking and smoking habits and how
well you manage your stress are all important in keeping your bones
healthy. Just focusing on one lifestyle change, like eating healthier
foods, is rarely enough to improve your bone health. It takes multiple
changes, in the right proportions, to really make a significant difference
in your bone and body health.

Would you like to improve your bone quality but don't know where
to start?
I provide an easy to follow program called Be Bone Strong!
that helps improve your bone health, posture and balance while reducing
fracture risk. Contact me anytime for a no cost consultation at
703-628-2880 or email to

The Best Time to Check Your Vitamin D Levels
by Woody McMahon

Lowest Levels of the Year
In the winter months, your body uses stored vitamin D from the liver. If
your liver stores are not adequate at the end of the summer, the blood will
show low levels just before spring. Checking levels now gives a much more
accurate indication of whether you are getting enough vitamin D during the
rest of the year. If you supplement regularly with vitamin D, your values
should be much higher and maybe even in the normal range.

The Growing Importance of Vitamin D
Once thought to be just a vitamin necessary for strong bones, recent
research indicates vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing seventeen
varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension,
autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis,
osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, and
periodontal disease.

Cancer and Vitamin D
A recent study of women who took vitamin D and calcium showed a 60 %
decrease in breast, lung and colon cancer at the end of the trial over the
women who took a dummy pill. When the researchers dropped the cases
discovered in the first year, assuming those cancers had been present but
unnoticed when the trial began, the reduction in cancer in the vitamin D
group was an astonishing 77% lower. This study reinforces other studies
showing that it is harmful to your health to have low blood levels of
vitamin D.

Vitamin D Basics
Vitamin D was originally misnamed and is actually not a vitamin at all.
It's a naturally occurring hormone, produced when ultraviolet B rays (UVB)
from the sun strike your skin. If the skin produces more vitamin D than is
needed, your liver stores the excess. In a natural vitamin D cycle, the
skin produces enough vitamin D in the spring and summer lasting you
through the winter when vitamin D production is at its lowest due to
clothing and  reduced hours of sunlight. If you live in the northern
latitudes, this is the time of year your body will have its lowest
levels of vitamin D.

What Steps Should I Take?

1. Get Your Vitamin D3 Levels Checked
Your physician can administer a simple blood test to check for 25
hydroxyvitamin D levels. Optimal levels are around 50 ng/mL (125 nM/L).
You can also order a home test kit for vitamin D from the Vitamin D council

2. Get Sunscreen Free, Sun Exposure (5 to 15 minutes)
5 to 15 minutes in the middle of the day is adequate for vitamin D
production. The average person needs about 5000 units of vitamin D
daily. You make approximately 20,000 units of vitamin D after 15 minutes
of summer sun.

Depending on the color of your skin (darker skin requires longer exposure
times) this brief sun exposure should be adequate for healthy vitamin D
production in the spring and summer months. In the fall and winter,
vitamin D supplementation is about the only way to keep blood levels
within the normal range.

3. Supplementing with Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is readily available from health food stores and is
inexpensive. It's always recommended to have your doctor check your
vitamin D3 levels before taking supplements. Excess vitamin D3 can be
harmful to your body.

Vitamin D from Food
It is almost impossible to get enough vitamin D from your food alone. For
all practical purposes, Vitamin D must come from either sun exposure or
supplementation. Here are the primary foods that are naturally high in
vitamin D listed in International Units (IU): Salmon (3 1/2 oz.) 360 IU;
Mackerel (3 1/2 oz.) 345 IU; Sardines (3 1/2 oz.) 270 IU; Fortified juice
(8 oz.) 100 IU; Milk (8 oz.) 98 IU; Egg yolk 25 IU

To learn more about vitamin D go to:

Try these healthy lifestyle changes for 30 days. Feel what it is like
to become
part of the health solution rather than a health burden. If you
need additional suggestions and advice on living a healthier lifestyle, email
call me for a no cost consultation, at 703-628-2880 or email to

Workshops at Dream Yoga Studio

Come and Join us for the next two workshops at
Dream Yoga Studio

Posture Perfect!TM Workshop March 17th from 2 to 4 pm
The New Year is a great time to start looking and feeling your best.
Posture Perfect!TM is a safe and effective program based on clinically
proven exercises that will have you standing taller, sitting straighter and
sleeping sounder. Woody's program offers you a simple, easy-to-follow
system that improves posture, balance and strength while reducing stress in
as little as 10 minutes a day. It's also designed to compliment an existing
yoga practice, if you have one; boost your energy; and improve self-
confidence and body image. Posture Perfect!TM provides the tools and
support you need to successfully change how you look and feel.
This workshop is a good introduction to Woody's 8-Week Posture Perfect!TM
Mini-Course that starts at Dream Yoga on March 23rd.  
Handouts Provided.

Be Bone Strong!TM Osteoporosis Workshop April 21st from 2 to 5 pm
This 3-hour workshop offers a complete, personalized bone and joint
health program that nicely compliments your yoga practice, if you have
Be Bone Strong!TM goes beyond just increasing bone density, and clearly
and easily teaches you a step-by- step process to improve bone health.
Some of the topics that will be covered are eating for a stronger body,
stress and bone health, vitamin D essentials, reducing inflammation for
healthier bones, and bone health exercise strategies. Based on the
principals and teaching of the Meeks MethodTM; this is the only program of
it's kind in the Northern, VA area. This workshop is a good introduction
to Woody's 8-Week
Be Bone Strong!TM Mini-Course that starts at
Dream Yoga on April 26.

If you have questions or need more information please contact
me at or call 703.628.2880.

Why The Workshop Series?
Luann Fulbright, the owner of Dream Yoga Studio asked me to offer
three of my signature Fresh Start!TM programs in workshop format.
The workshops bring you practical and valuable information to help
kick-start your health and fitness program for the New Year.
Each workshop is followed by an 8 week series of continuation
classes. These classes help
you learn new skills and get the support
need to more easily accomplish your health and fitness goals
for 2012.

Dream Yoga Studio and Wellness Center is located in McLean, VA.
Luann and I thought that my Be Bone Strong!TM, Healthy Weight!TM
and Posture Perfect!TM programs would fit nicely with her ever
expanding wellness vision and class offerings. You can learn
more about the interesting and diverse offerings at Dream Yoga

and Wellness Studio at

Pets and People 

Making Medical Decisions for Your Pet
By Ingrid King 

Recently, two friends had to make difficult decisions about medical care
for their cats, and it got me thinking about what a challenging task this
is for so many of us. Advances in veterinary medicine make it possible
to treat medical conditions in pets that would have been a death
sentence a decade ago. From chemotherapy to kidney transplants, pets
can now receive almost the same level of medical care as humans. But just
because these treatments are available doesn't necessarily mean they're
right for each pet.

Pandora is an 18-year-old calico in chronic renal failure. It's unclear
which stage her disease is currently in, because my friend has chosen not
to pursue medical treatment beyond the basics: Pandora is on medication to
control her high blood pressure, and she gets a thorough check up every six
months to monitor her lab values. Pandora goes through phases were she
doesn't want to eat and becomes withdrawn, but so far, she has always
bounced back after a few days. My friend has chosen to keep Pandora
comfortable at home, and when that's no longer possible, she'll be ready
(or as ready as any of us will ever be) to let her go.

The decision for Bob, a 14-year-old orange tabby , was more difficult.
He's FIV positive, and an ultrasound a couple of months ago showed a large
mass that was wrapped around his liver. Without a biopsy, there was no
telling what was going on. Surgery is always a risk, but especially for a
senior FIV positive cat. The surgeon told my friend that, in a worst case
scenario, if it was cancer and it had spread, she needed to be prepared to
authorize euthanasia while Bob was still on the table. On the other hand,
there was also a chance that the mass could be removed, and Bob could have
many more months, if not years, of good quality of life. My friend agonized
over this decision, and eventually decided to have the surgery done. The
mass was removed, and as of this writing, Bob is undergoing chemotherapy
for lymphoma.

Not every pet owner would have made these decisions for their cats. In
Pandora's case, some would choose more aggressive treatment and more
frequent visits to the vet, and possibly hospitalization for IV fluids. In
Bob's case, some would have elected to forgo surgery and just let him live
out however much time he may have left without intervention. These
situations are never black and white, and there is no one right decision.
The only wrong decision in these cases would be indecision when it
translates into pain and suffering for the pet.

So what factors should a pet owner take into account when faced with
making medical decisions?

The most important thing is to get all the facts first. Be sure you
understand the medical condition your pet is dealing with. It can be
difficult to know what questions to ask your veterinarian when faced with a
frightening diagnosis, so don't be afraid to ask follow up questions once
you've had a chance to process the initial information. Make sure you
understand all the treatment options, along with cost, side effects, and
prognosis for each option. Get a second opinion and/or go see a specialist
if you're not comfortable with what your veterinarian tells you.

By all means, research your pet's condition on the internet, but use
common sense and look for sites that present facts and not just anecdotes
and opinions. Dr. Nancy Kay, the author of Speaking for Spot: Be the
Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Healthy, Happy, Longer Life has written a
series of fantastic articles about how to find accurate pet health
information on the internet.

Once you understand the medical facts, the decision becomes more personal.
Factors that come into play are your pet's temperament, your comfort level
with providing any follow up care that may be required at home, and your
finances. In my years of managing a veterinary practice, a question many
clients often asked was "what would you do if it was your pet?" I wish I
could have answered it, but I couldn't. I couldn't because, first of all,
I'm not a veterinarian. I also couldn't have answered it because what I
would do for my pet could be completely wrong for the client's pet.

But after having faced having to make difficult decisions for two of my
cats in recent years, I now have an answer I would give these clients. For
me, it comes down to this: Listen to your heart. After weighing all the
factors, try to set aside your fear and worry for your pet long enough to
connect with your center. Some call it gut instinct, or intuition. And then
make the best possible decision for your pet. Because when it comes down to
it, the one thing you know better than all the veterinarians in the world
combined is your pet.

(c) Ingrid King 2012

Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer. She is
the author of Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher. Her

online magazine News for You and Your Pet goes out to subscribers around
the world. Her blog, The Conscious Cat, has been called "educational cat
nip for the cat lover" and is a comprehensive resource for conscious

living, health and happiness for pets and their people. For more
information about Ingrid, please visit

Osteoporosis Support News

2012 Osteoporosis Resource Center's (ORC) Classes

Current Class Schedule

Tai Chi for Osteoporosis
When: Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30-2:30 PM
Where: Qi Elements Center, 464 Herndon Parkway, Suite 215, Herndon, VA
Tuition: $105 for one class a week, $190 for both classes
Email or call Roger 703 435-4400 for more

Special Event Tonight
Experience Full-Body Relaxation & Feel Revitalized
With Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation!
When: Monday, March 5 from 6:45P to 8P
Where: Qi Elements Studio - 464 Herndon Parkway, Suite 215, Herndon, VA
When: Monday, March 5 - 6:45P to 8P
Cost: $20.00

NEW Yoga for Boomers & Beyond
When: Mondays 6:45PM to 8PM
Where: Qi Elements Center, 464 Herndon Parkway, Suite 215, Herndon, VA
Tuition: $154 for one class a week for 7 weeks
Email or call Bonnie at
703-407-2065 for more information.

Posture Perfect!TM Level 1 Class
When: Mondays 7:00PM to 8PM for 8 Weeks
Where: Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc. 483 Carlisle Drive, Herndon, VA
Tuition: $160 for one class a week for 8 weeks
Email or call Woody at
703-628-2880 for more information.

What is the ORC?
The ORC is unique in the Northern Virginia area offering safe and effective
exercise classes including Personal Training, Yoga, Tai Chi and
Posture Perfect!TM We also offer classes and consultations for people with
osteoporosis, osteopenia, back, hip and neck pain as well as other
bone and joint health problems.

"What makes the ORC unique is that it offers safe and effective exercise
programs that can help improve posture, balance and strength for bone
and joint health problems" says Woody McMahon one of the center's
co-directors. "For the first time people that come to the center can feel
comfortable that the exercises they are performing will only do good and
not cause any harm. "

Who Benefits From Our Classes
Beginners: Our unique classes are great for someone who wants to begin
a safe and effective exercise program but does not know where to start.

Post Rehabilitation:
Our classes offer a safe and effective transition from
physical therapy to more general exercise helping to safely strengthen
important stability muscles.

The classes are perfect for tennis players, golfers or runners
who want to enhance their bodies to improve their sport.

Newsletter Sign-Up
Sign-up for our FREE newsletter The Sequoia Advisor to stay informed
about all of our future class offerings, workshops and seminars. It is
easy... just go to and enter your
name and email address.

We look forward to seeing you soon at one of our classes.
Please call Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880 or email to for more information.

People in The News

Latest RestonPatch Blog Post

It's Time to Release Your Inner Jock!
This blog post was inspired by a glowing testimonial that
Karen Smith recently sent to me. Click Here to read more
about how to release your Inner Jock!

4 pm Posture Perfect!TM Class Starts March 8th
Posture Perfect!TM classes are a great way to improve posture,
balance and strength especially if you have a health problem
requiring special attention.
Each one hour class will help you
alleviate joint and muscle pain, reduce fracture risk and prevent
falls. The exercises are based on the The Meeks MethodTM,
created by Sara Meeks, PT to safely build bone and muscle,
improve posture and balance and relieve back pain.

According to Sara Meeks "Abdominal crunches, sit-ups, and other
common exercises that bend the spine can cause back pain and even
spinal fractures. It's frightening that most people with low bone mass
are not aware of it," Meeks says. "They think osteoporosis is a disease
that only affects older Caucasian women."

Please contact us to register for the next Posture Perfect!TM class.
If you would like to host a
Posture Perfect!TM  class at your church,
synagogue or office please contact Woody McMahon
at or by phone at 703.628.2880.

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon
The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Drive
Herndon, VA

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be
construed as a health-care diagnosis, treatment regimen or any other
prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with
the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of
medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a
health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The
publisher does not advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action
with regard to matters relating to their health or well-being other than
suggesting that readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in
such matters. No action should be taken based solely on the content of
this publication. The material and opinions provided herein are believed
to be accurate and sound at the time of publication, based on the best
judgment available to the authors. However, readers who rely on material
in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals, or
who fail to consult with health-care professionals, assume all risks of
such conduct. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

Copyright (c) 2006-2012 by Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.


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    A mindful and holistic approach to Fall Prevention, Balance, Full Body Functional Strengthening and Posture Exercises for All Ages! Our Science-Based Exercises are Safe and Appropriate for Your Ability. Our Exercises Help Improve Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, Fear of Falling, Balance and Strength Problems. Reston, Great Falls, Herndon, Middleburg, Arlington Sterling and Northern Virginia.

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