A little over a month ago, a small town in upstate New York's Oswego County called Mexico — of all names — was buried under 8 to 10 feet of snow. All I could think about at the time was the aerobic exercise one gets from shoveling snow: the rosy cheeks, the warm muscles, the immediate gratification of getting something accomplished — for one's body and one's driveway!
But, doing what I do for a living, I also remembered that shoveling snow puts enormous strain on the heart and back, as our WebMD news team has often reported.
My point here is not really about the benefits or risks of snow shoveling, per se. It's that weighing health benefits and risks is so dependent on an individual's situation and a point in time.
That's why the pervasive question at WebMD is: How can we help you better understand what is right for you and your family right now? Even though I have been involved in the creation of health information for more than 20 years, I still need constant reminders, refreshers, new facts, and insights to answer that question.
Enter Katie Couric. At CBS Evening News she has made bringing important health news to the public a critical part of her new job. People such as Couric make what they do seem easy and natural. But as she points out in this issue, delivering health news we all can use is a challenging combination of asking the right questions and translating the answers into practical information.
This is a passion we at WebMD share, and we've partnered with CBS to bring you the most relevant and insightful health news. As for Couric, read about her personal approach to health, doctors, well-being — and cupcakes.
One of Couric's insights is how much she values a good night's sleep — an observation shared by Entourage actress Debi Mazar, who tells us about her struggles with insomnia.
In this issue you'll also find information about heartburn and its clinical cousin, GERD (short for gastroesophageal reflux disease). About 20% of the U.S. population experiences reflux at least weekly — that's more than 60 million people!
And we look at MS (multiple sclerosis) through the eyes of Neil Cavuto, Fox News Channel's vice president of business news and television anchor of Your World. Cavuto has been diagnosed with both MS and cancer in his lifetime. What we like about him: He does not hide his MS, nor has he ever let it get in his way. Bravo.
Finally, we send you visions of spring flowers — minus the allergies!
Yours in well-being,
Nan-Kirsten Forte, MS
Editor in Chief, WebMD the Magazine