March 12, 2020
We care about your health and we understand that you may be concerned about COVID-19, the coronavirus that has spread to several countries including the U.S.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Even if you have these symptoms, it is still most likely that you have a regular cold or flu. The risk of exposure to COVID-19 is higher if you recently traveled or if you were in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19. If you recently traveled to China, Japan, South Korea, Italy or Iran, or you believe you were in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, please call us so we can advise you. It is important to know that most people exposed to COVID-19 will fully recover.
If you have symptoms, please call us before you visit your health center. If you call first, we can prepare so we can take care of you and so it is less likely you will pass any illness to others. Call your health center if you have flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough or shortness of breath. If you have difficulty breathing, call 911.
There are a few simple steps you can take to stay healthy:
• Wash your hands often. Use soap and warm water and scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing. If you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands).
• Don’t touch your face (especially your eyes, nose or mouth) unless your hands are clean.
• If you feel sick, stay home unless you need medical care.
• If you’re well and you haven’t yet gotten your flu shot it is recommend to get vaccinated against seasonal flu today.
• Stay informed by visiting cdc.gov or https://www.ok.gov/health/ Remember, not all of the information you may hear from other people or on the internet is true. Get your information from trustworthy sources like CDC and https://www.ok.gov/health/
A majority of teens and adults use technology with handheld devices. Unlike television, these devices are viewed by holding naturally in the hand or hands, but because of this holding position, the head must tilt down to view the device. This repeated positioning of the head is resulting in different physical issues. With the discovery of these physical complaints, “Tech Neck” was recognized as not only a diagnosis, but a health concern.
The average human head weighs around 10 pounds. With a slight tilt of the head, at around 15 degrees, the pressure on the neck can be over 25 lbs. With a 60 degree tilt, that pressure on the neck can cause the equivalent effect of holding up 60 pounds. This repeated pressure on the neck, and more importantly the spinal cord, results in many physical problems. Some of these are severe.
The concern about Tech Neck came with the widespread frequency of this injury and also the occurrence in younger people. Kids were developing hunchbacks and scoliosis because of the injury.
Because the severity of longterm consequences, it is important to adjust habits. Tech Neck is easily recognized by the amount of time spent on devices, coupled with the physical symptoms it is causing. Those symptoms, or physical issues, are pain in the neck, back, and shoulders. Other indicators to look for are poor posture, headaches, nerve disruption, and loss of hand strength.
What To Do
Once Tech Neck is realized, there is an explanation for pain and difficulty you may have been experiencing. But that mystery being solved is not enough. To avoid more serious complications and lifelong pain, there must be changes made to break habits with tech device use.
When you are aware of your daily use on devices, it is time to cut back. But, while limiting time on devices will help, exercises must accompany your limited use to counter the strain on your neck.
One such exercise is to lie on your back on a bed, with your head at the foot of the bed. For 30 seconds, lie with your head completely on the bed, repeat two more times, but move the head down further with half of it supported by the bed. Finally, the last time, have only the neck supported. After completing 30 seconds with each position, raise back slowly. Do this nightly. Other daily exercises include working on posture and strengthening neck and shoulder muscles. When working at a desk or computer for long periods, don’t forget to get up hourly and stretch the spine and neck.
Genitourinary Menopause Syndrome is a new classification for genital, sexual and urinary changes in the lower genital tract associated with menopause. Around 50 million women are over age 51, with as many as 17 million experiencing Genitourinary Menopause Syndrome symptoms.
What is Genitourinary Menopause Syndrome?
As we age, our bodies change. Our bodies go through puberty and reach a peak with prime health and ultimate balance. After that peak, our bodies start changing again, unfortunately in the opposite direction. One of these changes is hormone production. Another change is loss of muscle mass and bone density. Even sexual functions change.
For women, a big change happens later in life, menopause. Menopause marks the end of reproduction for women. This change can begin as early as your 40s. The average time is in your early 50s. Recently, this change has been evaluated and realized many symptoms of change are due to Genitourinary Menopause Syndrome. Instead of just an end to reproduction, there is change in sexual function and urinary function. With the decrease in estrogen, and loss of collagen and lubrication, urinary and sexual function become difficult and sometimes unmanageable.
How To Fix
Menopause happens after a year of no periods. Even if there are no eggs being produced, the total absence of periods must happen. This change cannot be reversed. Unfortunately though, along with the end of reproduction, comes other changes such as frequent urinary infections and frequent urination. Also, there are genital changes as dryness which causes uncomfortable or painful sex. The classification of these symptoms being related to menopause is helping this stage in life become more recognized and treated.
A treatment for urinary and sexual function is Viveve. The 45 minute procedure uses electro stimulation to help revive the vaginal area to improve intercourse. The lubrication is increase with the procedure, minimizing pain during sex. The procedure also aids in reviving sexual pleasure, with heightened experiences.
Besides improved sexual function that has decreased due to Genitourinary Menopause Syndrome, urinary issues can be improved. As women go through this stage in life, there are increased urges to use the restroom. Increased infections happen and urinary leakage. The leakage starts as stress leakage, when you sneeze or laugh, but then progresses into everyday leakage. The Viveve treatment stimulates the area that has lost collagen so it can once again produce and stop the urge or stress leakage.
Menopause can not be reversed, but the symptoms that come along with it, can be fixed. Talk with us about Viveve if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Inflammation happens naturally in the body. It’s triggered to defend against toxins, infections, and injuries. This release of white blood cells and their antibodies and proteins can last for hours or even a few days with acute inflammation. However, when the inflammation does not diminish naturally, it can lead to damage of tissue and organs.
Chronic Vs Acute
Acute inflammation is easier to recognize as there will be pain, swelling, and/or redness. Acute inflammation will resolve in a few hours or days. However, chronic inflammation can last for months or years. Chronic inflammation is more subtle and usually goes unrecognized. Because of the symptoms, it is sometimes mistaken for other ailments. Some of the more common symptoms of chronic inflammation may include fever, fatigue, rash, chest pain, and abdominal pain.
One cause of chronic inflammation is untreated injury or infection. Other causes can be an auto immune disorder or longterm exposure to chemicals or irritants. There are also contributors to chronic inflammation…smoking, obesity, alcohol, and consistent stress. Because chronic inflammation can lead to internal scarring and even tissue death, lifestyle changes should be made to eliminate the contributors. When an infection and injury are not present and there is no lifestyle contributors, such as tobacco or alcohol use, then consult a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Because this natural defense mechanism does not resolve itself and keeps fighting, the result can be an increased risk for several diseases. The increased risk can lead to heart disease or stroke, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
Your medical care professional can test for inflammation with blood tests. The treatments can include NSAIDS such as Advil or Aleve or steroids. Longterm use of either cone with side effects so it is important to effectively reduce inflammation with other lifestyle changes such as diet. Supplements are a safer addition. Consider fish oil or lipoic acid. There are also spices that can be consumed to reduce inflammation, such as ginger, cayenne, and garlic. To change you diet, you should also avoid processed and red meats, refined carbs, and fried foods. Instead, opt for leafy greens such as kale and spinach, nuts, olive oil, fatty fish such as salmon or sardines, tomatoes, and fruit, especially cherries, oranges, and blueberries.
You have been breathing every day of your life and it happens naturally without thinking. But, with a bit of extra thought, we can be more mindful of our breathing and this breathing can lead to better health, emotionally and physically.
What You’re Doing Wrong
Take a moment and recognize what your body does during breathing. Are your shoulders moving up and down? Do you feel your torso stretching upwards? Do you feel your chest move in and out quickly with your inhale and exhale? This is not ideal breathing. While the lungs are in the chest cavity, the smallest section of the lungs is in the upper chest. The lungs get larger and extend past the upper chest. When we are using that smaller section and quickly exhaling, we are not completing a full breath or fully emptying our lungs.
What Is Happening
The body needs oxygen. When the lungs are not emptied completely, not enough oxygen is getting to the body. This quick breathing we do is causing a deprivation of oxygen in systems such as digestion and metabolism. Not only is food not being properly digested, low energy is a result of the shallow breathing. And because we are using shoulders and the neck, stress is being created unnecessarily.
Beyond the digestive system, our brains are not receiving enough oxygen and this can result in anxiety, depression, and even dementia.
Our bodies were not designed for quick, incomplete breathing, so what has happened? Simply put, our lifestyles have adapted this new breathing to compete with obesity, pollution, stress, and even poor posture.
How To Fix
The good news is we can fix our breathing. The fix will help maintain the optimum performance of our body systems, emotionally and physically.
First, posture should be worked on, especially if your job consists of a lot of sitting down. Make an effort to stand up against a wall daily for a few moments. If you do sit at work, take time each hour to get up and walk around for a few minutes. Proper posture will aid in better breathing.
A stroke is a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain that causes damage to brain cells. There are also different types of strokes. An ischemic stroke, that accounts for around 80% of strokes, is caused by an abrupt blockage of arteries leading to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts and there is bleeding into brain tissue. Although strokes can happen at any age, nearly 3/4 of strokes occur in people who are 65 and older. With those numbers, prevention has been focused on that age group. But, during the past decade, strokes have increased over 40% in the 18-34 age group.
Identification Is Crucial
Stroke identification has helped decrease deaths. Since there is an increase of stroke with younger people, education is needed for this group with identifying symptoms.
Symptoms of stroke include difficulty walking, trouble speaking and understanding, as well as paralysis or numbness of the face, arm, or leg. Also consider these indicators…paralysis of one side of the body, overactive reflexes, stiff muscles or paralysis with weak muscles, slurred speech or speech loss, blurred or double vision, sudden vision loss, and pins and needle sensation or loss of sensation. Also common: difficulty swallowing, headache, inability to understand, mental confusion, or rapid involuntary eye movement.
A stroke is a medical emergency. Knowing the signs of stroke helps decrease the chance of death by receiving treatment quicker.
Decrease Your Risks
But even knowing the signs isn’t enough, prevention is also crucial.
Since this age group is younger, it is important that blood pressure be checked regularly. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening your brain’s blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture or leak. High blood pressure can also cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke.
Cholesterol should also be regularly checked. Cholesterol is the fatty substance in the blood. It can be either produced by the body or be found in food. High cholesterol in the arteries can block normal flow to the brain and cause a stroke.
Besides regular checkups, testing these levels, smoking should be stopped and exercise should be a normal routine to help prevent stroke.
Over 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain. Chronic pain is recurring pain each day or most days for a significant amount of months and longer. Unlike an acute pain that happens because of a direct injury or illness, chronic pain is a persistent pain many adults live with every day. Advances in the health industry are improving the future of those with chronic pain. With the opioid epidemic, it is now time to treat chronic pain wholly and not just with medication. Some of these advances are studies that have determined what can make chronic pain worse, therefore realizing certain lifestyle changes can improve pain management of chronic pain.
In the 2008 Health Psychology, a study was published with findings showing among individuals with chronic pain, high levels of anger are often associated with greater muscle tension, pain severity, and pain behaviors. Just as with fear, anger starts the ‘fight or flight’ response in our bodies. This preparation consists of the adrenal glands secreting adrenaline and cortisol and an increase in body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Blood is also pumped to the muscles for possible exertion. Because anger affects much of the body physically, it results in more pain. From tension to inflammation, chronic pain is made worse.
Since anger worsens chronic pain, it must be managed. First, it might be time to recognize signs of uncontrolled anger…being impatient, agitation, verbal outbursts, sleep issues, eating problems, slamming or hitting, poor concentration, the feeling of losing control, and obsession over a situation. Once someone becomes aware of anger, the next step is to realize what triggers the anger. And when these are recognized, the 3rd step is to learn new behaviors to control the anger and better communicate feelings. This change will help to eliminate unnecessary worsening of chronic pain.
The inflammation resulting from anger causes worse pain. With chronic pain patients, the inflammation must be regulated or controlled. Another source of inflammation comes from a poor diet. A healthy diet will support a healthy immune system while a poor diet will cause the immune system to act abnormally, causing consistent inflammation. The immune system is essentially reacting to the poor diet as it would an infection. But more important than avoiding all foods that cause inflammation is maintaining a balanced plate that is made of half whole grains and healthy proteins and the other half with mostly vegetables and some fruit.
Chronic pain, poor sleep, depression and/or anxiety can be a cycle that just continuously results in the next issue. The cycle must be broken to improve pain management.
Healthy sleep should be a goal. Healthy sleep is at around 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Those with chronic pain however, have difficulty being comfortable enough to fall asleep or perhaps waking because of pain. Healthy sleep can relax tension and sleep is time for the body to regenerate and heal.
Besides reducing inflammation from working on anger and diet, there are habits to begin/stop doing that helps sleep. First, eliminate caffeine intake altogether, but if you do consume caffeine make sure no later than 6 hours before bedtime. Also, stop drinking fluids 4 hours before bedtime, unless in the smallest, necessary amount.
Next, keep the same bed time each day, this routine is very important with our ‘internal clocks.’ Our bodies are designed to rest and when it is not consistent, the body reacts to the confusion.
Finally, change your routine by creating a calm environment for sleeping. No loud sounds, low or no lights, and no electronics. And invest in learning and implementing relaxation techniques. This relaxation or meditation will calm the central nervous system.
At this time in history, we are witnessing a generation that is less healthy than the generation before them. According to a study by Blue Cross Blue Shield, millennials have larger numbers with many health issues than Generation X did at that same age. A generation that is known for healthy practices such as exercise and good diet should be healthier than Gen X, so what is happening?
What Are The Health Concerns?
In the study, there were health concerns more prevalent with the millennial group…major depression, substance abuse, Diabetes Type II, alcohol use, psychotic conditions, high cholesterol, hyperactivity, Crohn’s disease, hypertension, and tobacco use. With 8 of these 10, older millennials had higher numbers than Generation X did when they were that age.
There were surprises with the health issues. First, such use of alcohol, substances, and tobacco, are surprising from a generation that cares so much about a healthy lifestyle. Though, this may be in connection somehow with the depression.
Another surprise was the high cholesterol and hypertension, along with Diabetes Type II. These are conditions for older adults. The concern with this is the possible result from obesity. Are millennials truly living healthy or are there factors such as busier lives and stress that are contributing to decline in health?
What Are We Facing?
There are 73 million millennials with the younger ones just finished with college and the older ones having families. This group also represents 1/3 of the workforce.
The worst discovery was millennials’ health is starting to decline at age 27. This is a much younger age than the other recent generations. Also, women from the millennial group are 20% less healthy than the men.
These findings are discouraging. An entire generation that is more aware of a healthy lifestyle is facing more health problems and some conditions are happening earlier than normal. With more medical advances now than ever, health should be bettering, not getting worse.
This change in health needs to be addressed. A start, is only 68% of millennials report having a primary care physician. A primary care physician and annual checkups should be as important to millennials as their workout at the gym.
Also, now having this information, there needs to be guideline changes and awareness made. This group should be informed and addressing possible health concerns.
Over half of older women have a health issue that they feel they don’t need to discuss with their healthcare provider because of the belief that it is a normal part of the aging process. This health problem is urinary incontinence and it should be discussed. If your daily routine is affected by continuous bathroom trips or loss of control, your healthcare provider is there to help with treatments and lifestyle changes that will improve or eliminate this health issue. Because this topic is often embarrassing to discuss and has been virtually ignored as a widespread need, we are here to help.
There are different types of urinary incontinence that are not due to physical or mental impairment. The first type is Stress Incontinence. This type of incontinence is the loss of small amounts of urine when you exert pressure on your abdomen and bladder while coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. This happens because the muscle that keeps the bladder closed has weakened over time. In women, this is usually due to pregnancy, childbirth, and loss of collagen.
Another type is Urgency Incontinence, or what is also referred by some as ‘overactive bladder’. This type is the loss of larger amounts of urine with little or no warning. This type of incontinence causes a rush to the bathroom because of the urge sensation being more than normal. Often though, this type is caused by infections, or other irritants.
Changes To Be Made
When there is a medical issue such as infection, tests can be performed to determine what medication is needed to end that infection.
But if there is no underlying infection, there may be changes that should be made to help with the incontinence. First, medications should be evaluated that could be causing complications such as overactive bladder. Also, hygiene products and habits will be discussed for optimal vaginal and bladder health. And finally, caffeine is a stimulant that should be rarely consumed if there is urinary incontinence.
The Latest Technology Is Here
But what if the problem is more than simple lifestyle changes? Stress Incontinence is due to loss of collagen and increasing laxity. Lifestyle changes cannot help the sudden loss due to exerted pressure on the bladder or abdomen. There is a new technology though that is helping with laxity. We now have Viveve, a non-surgical, 45 minute treatment that rebuilds collagen where it’s needed to help with incontinence. The procedure has no downtime and changes are seen within 30 days, with maximum results in 90 days.
Urinary incontinence should not only be discussed, but also helped. We provide full evaluations, medical care when needed, and now this new solution for incontinence.
Women’s health has been at the forefront for decades, improving prevention, but men face health issues also. Women, on average, are living 5 years longer than men. Is male prevention of screening and exams being dismissed? It is just as important for men to know their risks for disease and commit to self exams and provider screenings. Here is a guideline to keep in mind for optimal health.
It is suggested women give themselves self exams for better breast health. This is also suggested for men. While the chances for male breast cancer are significantly lower, occasional self exams are advised.
Another self examination is for the testes. Testicular cancer, although rare, is the most common cancer for males, ages 15-34.
Also, skin should be regularly examined to watch for any changes. This requires mirrors or partner to examine. Remember to follow the A,B,C,D,E guide for any spots. This guide is to check for possible skin cancer. A-asymmetry, half of the ‘mole’ does not match the other. B-border, look for a jagged border. C-color, the color could be mixed with shades of brown, black, white, pink, red or blue. D-diameter, the size is 5mm across. E-evolving, there are changes in shape, size, or color.
It is important to know these self examinations are not a substitute for provider examinations and testing, they are only a possible early detection.
Both men and women should do an annual checkup with their provider. Not only is this a perfect time to discuss any concerns with your provider, it is the time to record your different ranges, numbers, or levels.
Checkups consist of checking weight, pulse, blood pressure, and a blood pull if desired to measure your cholesterol and other levels.
The goal is to stay in the healthy range for all of these. Especially with blood pressure, a change night not be noticed until a checkup with your provider. Approximately 28% of men have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. But with heart disease being the number 1 killer of both men and women, many men are going undiagnosed. There sometimes no signs, so ab annual checkup is necessary to stay aware of your numbers.
On top of regular self exams and checkups with providers, certain screenings need to be done.
If there is a history in the family of conditions or disease, regular screenings will start early and be continued for prevention.
Also, if you are overweight, additional screenings may be needed. These should include testing for Diabetes. And even if weight is in the healthy range, as we age, the chances increase, so a test should be done regularly after the age of 45.
Another age to keep in mind is age 50. At that time, it is advised that there is screening for colorectal and prostate cancer.
Please keep these in mind and we are here to discuss all healthy prevention.