From the Doc

Stroke Symptoms


A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is cut off or when a blood vessel bursts. If you think that you or someone else is having a stroke, call 911 immediately. All the major symptoms of stroke appear suddenly, and often there is more than one symptom at the same time. With timely treatment, the risk of death and disability from stroke can be lowered. By knowing the signs and symptoms of stroke, you can be prepared to take quick action and perhaps save a life—maybe even your own.

Take a few minutes to learn the five major signs and symptoms of a stroke:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs


  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others


  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes


  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination


  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause


  • If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T and do the following simple test:

    • F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
    • A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
    • S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
    • T—Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.


    Note the time when any symptoms first appear. Some treatments for stroke only work if given in the first 3 hours after symptoms appear. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.



     

From the Doc

Outsmart Diabetes


Diabetes affects the lives of more than 29 million people in the united states, and more than eight million don’t even know they have the disease yet. Diabetes is the inability to manufacture or properly use insulin, and it impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches, and other foods into energy.

The long-term effects of elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can lead to serious damage to the eyes, heart, kidney, nerves, and feet. While there is no cure for diabetes, there is hope. With proper diet, exercise, medical care, and careful management at home, you can help outsmart diabetes! Many people avoid the most serious complications and enjoy a full and active life.

Today’s podiatrist plays a key role in helping patients manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot-related complications. Podiatrists are highly trained physicians and surgeons focusing on the foot and ankle and should be an important part of your diabetes management team.

FAST FACTS

1. More than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated annually due to complications from diabetes.

2. Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent.

3. Inclusion of care provided by podiatrists for those with diabetes will save our health-care system as much as $3.5 billion per year.

4. Almost 28 percent of people with diabetes don’t know they have it.

EVALUATE YOUR RISK

Podiatrists play a key role in the early identification and treatment of foot problems in people with diabetes. if any of the statements below applies to you, make an appointment with a podiatrist today. you may have an increased risk of foot complications.

*Numbness in the feet or toes.

*History of foot ulcers.

*Foot deformity.

*History of tobacco use.

*Prior amputation.

*Documented diabetes for more than 10 years.

TAKE CONTROL

• INSPECT FEET DAILY.

Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.

• WEAR THICK, SOFT SOCKS.

Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.

• EXERCISE.

Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.

• HAVE NEW SHOES PROPERLY MEASURED AND FITTED.

Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.

• DON’T GO BAREFOOT.

Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.

• NEVER TRY TO REMOVE CALLUSES, CORNS, OR WARTS BY YOURSELF.

Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.

• SEE TODAY’S PODIATRIST.

Regular checkups by a podiatrist—twice per year—are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.

 

From the Doc

Fall Prevention


Did you know:

* One-third of Americans aged 65+ falls each year. * Every 14 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 29 minutes, an older adult dies following a fall.

* Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.

* Falls result in more than 2.4 million injuries treated in emergency departments annually, including over 772,000 hospitalizations and more than 21,700 deaths.

* In 2012, the total cost of fall injuries was over $36 billion. The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages and may reach $59.6 billion by 2020.

Read more here.

Fall prevention may not seem like a lively topic, but it's important. As you get older, physical changes and health conditions — and sometimes the medications used to treat those conditions — make falls more likely. In fact, falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults. Still, fear of falling doesn't need to rule your life. Instead, consider six simple fall-prevention strategies.

Begin your fall-prevention plan by making an appointment with your doctor. Be prepared to answer questions such as: What medications are you taking? Make a list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements, or bring them with you to the appointment. Your doctor can review your medications for side effects and interactions that may increase your risk of falling. To help with fall prevention, your doctor may consider weaning you off certain medications — such as sedatives and some types of antidepressants.

Have you fallen before? Write down the details, including when, where and how you fell. Be prepared to discuss instances when you almost fell but were caught by someone or managed to grab hold of something just in time. Details such as these may help your doctor identify specific fall-prevention strategies.

Could your health conditions cause a fall? Certain eye and ear disorders may increase your risk of falls. Be prepared to discuss your health conditions and how comfortable you are when you walk — for example, do you feel any dizziness, joint pain, numbness or shortness of breath when you walk? Your doctor may evaluate your muscle strength, balance and walking style (gait) as well. Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention.

With your doctor's OK, consider activities such as walking, water workouts or tai chi — a gentle exercise that involves slow and graceful dance-like movements. Such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. If you avoid physical activity because you're afraid it will make a fall more likely, tell your doctor. He or she may recommend carefully monitored exercise programs or refer you to a physical therapist.

The physical therapist can create a custom exercise program aimed at improving your balance, flexibility, muscle strength and gait. Consider changing your footwear as part of your fall-prevention plan. High heels, floppy slippers and shoes with slick soles can make you slip, stumble and fall. So can walking in your stocking feet. Instead wear properly fitting, sturdy shoes with nonskid soles. Take a look around your home. Your living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, hallways and stairways may be filled with hazards.

To make your home safer:

Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.

Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.

Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.

Repair loose, wooden floorboards and carpeting right away. Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.

Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food. Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower.

Keep your home brightly lit to avoid tripping on objects that are hard to see.

Also:

Place night lights in your bedroom, bathroom and hallways. Place a lamp within reach of your bed for middle-of-the-night needs.

Make clear paths to light switches that aren't near room entrances. Consider trading traditional switches for glow-in-the-dark or illuminated switches.

Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs. Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.

Your doctor might recommend using a cane or walker to keep you steady.

Other assistive devices can help, too:

Install hand rails for both sides of stairways.

Use non-slip treads for bare-wood steps.

Use a raised toilet seat or one with armrests.

Install grab bars for the shower or tub.

A sturdy plastic seat for the shower or tub — plus a hand-held shower nozzle for bathing while sitting down.

If necessary, ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational therapist. He or she can help you brainstorm other fall-prevention strategies.

Some solutions are easily installed and relatively inexpensive. Others may require professional help or a larger investment. If you're concerned about the cost, remember that an investment in fall prevention is an investment in your independence.

 

From the Doc

Beach Fabulous Feet


You have the perfect swimsuit, you’re stocked up on your sunscreen and you pulled out your favorite sandals! It’s that time of year to unveil the feet after a long winter stuck inside socks and shoes-it may be a little daunting!

Whether it’s discolored toenails, dry flaky skin or those pesky little corns and calluses-your feet can suffer from being cramped up during the cooler months. To get the summer season kicked off on the right foot-here are some tips to get your feet sandal savvy:

Soak you feet with warm water for at least 10 minutes. If you want to really relax-try adding some epson salt, oils or herbal soaks!

Right after soaking-remove any thickened, dead skin build up around your heels, balls and sides of feet with a pumice stone or foot file. Warning-DO NOT use a razor because it can remove too much skin and cause more harm than good!

Use an exfoliating scrub on the soles, side and tops of the feet to get rid of dry flay skin.

Apply and massage your feet with an emollient-enriched skin lotion to hydrate the skin and increase circulation. One tip-be sure to remove any excess moisturizer from your toenails and in between your toes.

Use a straight edge toenail clipper to cut your nails. Clip just above the top of each toe to make sure nails do not become curved or rounded in the corners.

Before going to bed-very lightly wrap your entire foot with cellophane. This will help lock in moisture-sort of light a little sauna!

Apply nail polish to only healthy toenails. It’s a good idea to remove polish on a regular basis to let the nail bed breathe.

If any skin or nail conditions exist-see a foot specialist for a checkup

Check your sandals and flip flips –discard any that look too worn. There are some companies that have designed flip flops for comfort and support. Several companies include: Aetrex, Spenco and Zori. Check them out!

Practice good foot hygiene all year round! (daily washing with soap and water, drying feet carefully-particularly between the toes.

 

From the Doc

Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen


While some would argue that Florida doesn't actually have springtime, we still engage in that ritual known as "spring cleaning". This year, put a new twist on this tradition and do some spring cleaning in your kitchen that will help you eat healthier and be healthier. Here are some ideas to get you started:

. Ditch those platter-sized plates. Since 1970, dinner plates have grown by 25%. According to Cornell University, switching to plates that are 2 inches smaller (10 inches wide or less) will reduce calories by 22% a day and equal a two pound weight loss in one month.

. Move any television and computer out of the kitchen. Because kitchens are now 50% larger than 35 years ago, they are no longer just for eating. Studies have shown that munching while watching television encourages overeating that is equivalent to one extra meal a day.

. Rearrange your refrigerator so fruits and vegetables are at eye level in clear containers. These are loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals that fight many diseases and have been shown to help with weight loss. But, fruits and vegetables make up one quarter of all the food thrown away weekly (Does out of sight, out of mind ring a bell?). Here's a tip: oranges, grapefruit, mangos, and tomatoes store better outside the refrigerator.

. Organize your pantry and break down large containers of food. While bulk buying is popular, it leads to overeating. We tend to eat 23% more food that comes from large containers and twice as much candy coming from large bags. So divide large containers of food into small ones, or into individual portions. And the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research suggests keeping fewer varieties of "temptation" foods in the pantry. With human nature being what it is, you will eat more cookies just by having more on hand.

. Rethink your drinking glass. Because we focus on the height of the beverage container we are drinking from, we will drink more when using short, wide glasses as opposed to tall, narrow ones. So put those short glasses on the top shelf for special occasions and have the tall, narrow ones handy for everyday drinking.

So this year, set aside time for some extra spring cleaning in your kitchen and get healthier in the process!

 

From the Doc

Fit Beyond Fifty


Think about it-when we hit our forties and fifties there’s a strong emphasis in our country about getting ready for retirement. But how about all those lifestyle changes we need to make to stay healthy and fit during those years. I know many folks who hit their fifties – they look in the mirror and they don’t recognize themselves because they’re so out of shape.

For fifty-six-year-old government worker Barbara Seabrease takes an active lifestyle seriously because of the changes she noticed as she aged.

“As I got into 50 I could feel that I had put on more weight than I wanted to, especially in my middle and my thighs I didn’t have as much energy, I felt, as I used to have.” Boomers and seniors are the forgotten demographic in America’s obesity battle. That’s why Dr. Michael Gloth wrote “Fit at Fifty and Beyond,” a common-sense approach to help these folks understand and combat the affects of aging. “We’ve changed, our environment has changed, but our genes haven’t changed. So everything is programmed to eat, eat, eat, eat, eat. So we have to use our higher intellect to overcome those primitive programmed urges that we have I think it is under recognized as a problem and part of the reason is that you have a lot of folks around you who are in the same state.”

Dr. Gloth, a Johns Hopkins gerontologist, has spent his life listening to and helping the elderly. He knew this age group was his passion early on, when he was a hospital orderly. “I worked the night shift, took care of patients on a unit that had mostly people over the age of 70. My shift would start to quiet down somewhere around maybe 4 o’clock in the morning. When that happened, as it turns out, a lot of older adults have their sleep cycles change and they start to wake up pretty early in the morning.

I would occasionally see a light go on down the hall, I’d go down to check and make sure everything was OK and usually it was just somebody up for the day and they might be reading the newspaper, etc. I would find myself in conversations with individuals that were part of the wisest, most experienced, very respectful group of people we had in the whole hospital. Ironically, a lot of physicians didn’t really see enthusiastic about taking care of them. I thought, wow, if I could become a physician, that’s the group I’d like to have as my focus for medical care.” Barbara isn’t to that age yet, but she wants to make sure her golden years are active years. “As soon as I get up in the mornings. It has to be, I have to do that first thing in the morning, do my exercises. I have a routine I do every morning. I do stretching. I do exercises. I need to do that first thing. I feel like I get a better start for the day.” Though she collects ceramic bulldogs, the real things – Baxter and Bubbles – help in Barbara’s fitness routine. And she takes to two wheels for peace, solitude and cardiac conditioning.

“It just makes you feel so free just to get out there and ride your bike. On a beautiful day, it just makes you feel so good. If I go for a walk, I can be real stressed. I come home from work and I’m tired and I go outside and walk around the house even. When I come home from work, I take my dogs outside and we have a little joke: “Do you want to walk around the house?” and we’ll walk around the house two or three times and then I feel better. It just gives me energy to go outside and take a walk..” Seniors recognize they’re getting a little older, there are some changes that have taken place and some of the changes, they don’t like. Some of the things we talk about can get them back to feeling the way they were when they were younger. Dr. Gloth’s book “Fit At Fifty And Beyond” is full of healthy tips for exercise and mealtimes. It also talks about how to combat disease like diabetes and hypertension prevalent in the boomer/senior set.

“Having people improve the way they eat, maintaining better strength and function, working to get in better shape and in better condition – all of these things are associated with improvements in survival. The reality of it is, some of these exercise interventions, some of these nutritional interventions, can actually help you live longer. But it’s not so important just to add years to your life, this also helps you to add life to your years.” It is so important for people to realize that this is the chance that we have to take care of ourselves. What we put into our body to eat and how we take care of our body for exercise, we are the only ones that have control to do that and it will take care of us for the rest of our lives.

Remember-it’s YOUR LIFE…Live It Well!

 

From the Doc

Beat Heart Disease


Hi Everyone! Being born in the mid-60’s and being the youngest of six kids-especially an older sister-I was inadvertently introduced to a weekly half-hour TV show called the Monkees. Being only a toddler, I really didn’t get it but thirty years later I was able to experience and appreciate this 1960’s pop phenomenon.

You see-it was my sister Sandy’s 48th birthday and it was also the Monkees 30th anniversary tour. What a perfect gift! For years my sister reflected back to her sixteenth birthday party in 1967 when she saw the teen idols live at the Convention Center in Philadelpia, PA. And imagine-Jimmy Hendrix opened for the Monkees! To make my sister’s birthday even more special-I surprised her with a signed photo with a special birthday wish from her favorite Monkee-Micky Donlenz. Through the act of getting this autographed photo-I met the band’s sound engineer and production manager at the time, Todd Trepiccione. Today Todd is my right hand man and production manager for my production company. I always joke “Todd see’s the cartoon in my head and brings my vision to life.”

Since 1997-I had the opportunity, on several occasions, to meet the members of the Monkees. I must admit one of the most vibrant and friendliest of the band had to be Davy Jones-this passionate performer would never turn away a fan and truly appreciated his position in life. That’s why it truly breaks our heart that we’ve recently lost Davy to heart disease. This talented 66 year old who loved life, had a passion for horses, and nowhere in his vocabulary would you find the word “retirement”, was deeply dedicated to his family and fans. When Davy Jones died from a heart attack-many folks asked…isn’t 66 too young to have a heart attack? The answer (drum roll please!): No, according to the American Heart Association, Davy Jones was actually right on target.

The average age of first heart attack is 66 for men, 70 for women. Sadly, where Davy differs from the norm is that a heart attack does not have to kill. Approximately 75 percent of men and 60 percent of women live at least one year and often much longer after a heart attack. Key thing to survival is rapid response and quick treatment. And that means being familiar with the risk factors for heart attack so you can protect yourself. You can check your heart health by logging onto the American Heart Association’s handy risk assessment tool. It’s also very important to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack so you can act quickly as possible once it starts. Pain in the chest is the most common and typical sign of a heart attack. But there are many other signs of heart attack, too, that are often missed.

Signs Of A Heart Attack:

1. A clenching sensation in the chest. Blockages of fatty deposits in an artery can reduce or cut off the blood supply to the heart, causing what feels like tightness, squeezing, or pain — most typically in the chest but sometimes lower down.

2. Neck, shoulder or jaw pain. During a heart attack, nerves from damaged heart tissue send pain signals up and down the spinal cord to junctures with nerves that extend out into the neck and shoulder, down the arm, or even up into the jaw. Numbness or tingling may radiate up or down as well.

3. Nausea, stomachache or indigestion. A bout of severe indigestion and nausea can be an early sign of heart attack, particularly in women. In one study, women were more than twice as likely as men to experience vomiting, nausea, and indigestion, even months before a heart attack.

4. The inability to catch your breath. When too little blood is getting through the arteries to carry sufficient oxygen to the heart, the result is breathlessness. It’s often described by heart attack patients as the same feeling you’d have at high altitude; like you can’t draw enough oxygen into your lungs. Some people also experience a sharp pain when they try to draw in a breath.

5. Dizziness and light-headedness. Lack of oxygen can make you feel like you’re going to fall or pass out. Sometimes this feeling makes people think they’re having a panic attack rather than a heart attack. Be pro-active! Know your numbers and protect your heart health! Here are the basics:

1. Maintain blood pressure below 120/80

2. Maintain cholesterol below 200

3. Lose weight until you’re within the normal BMI range (18.5-24.9)

Heart disease is a leading killer in this country, so taking the proper steps to keep your heart healthy is so important. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your heart in tip-top shape:

The Doctor Is In: Get your blood pressure tested and your cholesterol checked on a regular basis to make sure your numbers are at a healthy level.

Exercise On A Regular Basis — even 20 minutes a day will do the trick. Select an activity that will get your heart rate up, such as light jogging, swimming , in-line skating, a salsa dancing class, kickboxing, bike riding or tennis-pick one that you enjoy!

Eat more heart-healthy foods, including fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cheese and skim or low-fat milk.

Stress Less: Long-term uncontrolled stress can cause chronic conditions like high blood pressure, so it’s important to take the right steps to keep it under control. Next time you’re feeling stressed, take a break somewhere comfortable and quiet and focus on taking deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Activities like taking a bath, listening to calming music and exercising are also great stress-reducers.

If you smoke, it’s time to quit: This is a deadly habit! Cigarette smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States today.

Start Walking: Do you walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day? If not, it’s a great health goal to strive for! Invest in a pedometer and start walking! 10,000 steps burns approximately 300 calories and, over time, has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

If these lifestyle changes seem overwhelming, consider the alternative. Hopefully, this blog will keep you pursuing your passions in life as long as you can. Remember-it’s Your Life Live It..And Live It Well!

 

From the Doc

Get Your "Go" Back - Get Up and Dance


Does watching some of the popular dance TV shows get you motivated to get up and dance? Whether it’s doing the Cha Cha or hip-hop, dancing is a great overall mind, body and soul workout! You probably know it’s good for your joints and muscles but did you know dancing also works out your brain cells?

Studies show that regular exercise increases neuron-protective brain chemicals and strengthens connections in an area of your brain responsible for memory. While all forms of exercise produces this response, dance can improve your memory skills in more ways because in order to dance you have to learn complex steps and patterns. Researchers found that regular ballroom dancing was associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia.

Body Benefits of Dance:

Body toning and sculpting

Improved Balance and Posture

Increased flexibility

Reduced stiffness

Less stress and tension held in your muscles

Better Self Confidence

Bonus Benefit:

Many people find the social benefits of dancing to be as wonderful as the physical exercise. Now, even though you don’t need a partner to take a dance class-taking classes with a friend can help keep you motivated. Who knows-maybe you can turn your joy for dance into community service by volunteering to perform at local community centers or nursing homes.

Get Started!

Before you turn on the music-be sure you’re body is ready for exercise by taking a look at your overall health. Dancing takes a lot of energy and stamina-so you want to be sure that you’re eating a diet rich in protein, carbs, and healthy fats like Omega-3-fatty acids. A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids protects you from heart disease, joint issues and even improves your skin and hair health! You could easily add more omega 3’s into your diet by eating more fish, nuts, flaxseed or beans (I LOVE to snack on soybeans!). Another option, you may want to add an omega 3 supplement to your diet. If you’re saying “oh, no! I cannot take the fishy smell or aftertaste”-think again, there are some great tasting softgel brands out there. The one I take has a refreshing peppermint taste!

To help keep up your stamina-you may want to talk to your doctor about adding a B complex vitamin your daily health regimen. B vitamins basically work by helping with the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, energizing every cell in your body including your brain and muscle cells. Another supplement that I take daily includes a joint health product that contains glucosamine chondroitin sulfate and avocado/soybean.

A good range of motion of your joints and flexibility in your muscle groups are essential to every form of dance. If you’re reluctant to start dancing, or any physical endeavor because of the worry about having to deal with sore muscles, stiff joints and pain-think again. Exercise, done properly, will not increase joint or muscle discomfort. In fact, studies show that regular movement will lessen stiffness and actually improve your joint mobility.

Last but not least-check with your doctor to see what’s right for you. If you have any medical conditions that may limit your physical activity level, you want to play it safe and be sure to check with your doctor before signing up for classes or starting a dance regimen. If you get the thumbs up from the doctor, you’re ready to hit the dance floor but before your debut-be comfortable by selecting shoes that are appropriate for your chosen dance style and wear loose fitting clothing. Turn up the music and dance your way to a healthier energetic lifestyle!