Why do varicose veins most often occur in the legs?
Varicose veins most often occur in the legs because of gravity and the way the veins work in the body. Veins have one-way valves that help pump blood from your extremities toward your heart. However, if these vein valves become weak and damaged, the pressure builds and the blood can no longer flow upwards toward the heart but rather pools. Since gravity pushes everything down, the blood pools in our lower extremities (i.e. legs and ankles), which is why we tend to notice these places more.
Varicose vein disease can also occur in other regions, like the hands, face and breasts, but are rare and are often the result of broken capillaries, causing spider vein clusters.
Are electrical toothbrushes better than manual?
Yes, I have memories of my Snoopy electric toothbrush with the snappy little tune saying it will be fun to brush my teeth. The reality is that electric toothbrushes can help us do a better job at maintaining our oral health.
Regardless of which manufacturer you choose, most electric toothbrushes have a built-in, two-minute timer. It is recommended that we brush for two full minutes. The longer your brush, the more plaque you will remove. Can you do the same with a timer on the counter? Maybe. Will you utilize a timer on the counter? Probably not.
Most patients I see do a pretty good job cleaning their front teeth but struggle with their back ones. Not only are you fighting to get the toothbrush in the right spot, you still have to get your toothbrush to move in the right way to remove the plaque. Don’t brush too hard—be gentle, but thorough. With an electric toothbrush, if you get the brush in the right position, the action of the toothbrush will help you accomplish your goal to remove more plaque. “Close down slightly to relax your cheek muscles, and gain better access to your back teeth.
What other dental tips should I follow to ensure I am taking care of my teeth well at home?
Brush at least twice a day, floss daily and see your dentist (or visit Neu Family Dental) at least twice a year. Cut out sports drinks and soda—event diet soda.
Can topical skin creams actually remove wrinkles?
We all would love to believe that a $100 bottle of topical cream, easily applied in the comfort of our own home, will magically erase the years. Unfortunately, topical skin care products can only lessen the appearance of a wrinkle, not actually take them away. Over-the-counter products and products sold at department stores can rehydrate skin. Wrinkles appear minimized because the skin is temporarily hydrated, plumping the skin from the epidermal layer and filling in the wrinkle with moisture.
Medical- or prescription-grade products can structurally change the skin by stimulating fibroblast function, producing more collagen and softening a wrinkle by exfoliating the dead surface skin cells, lessening the depth of the wrinkle. However, once a wrinkle forms, you cannot physically remove it with a topical product.
Only products like Botox can “freeze” facial muscles from contracting and forming wrinkles around the eyes, forehead, and glabella areas. Dermal fillers fill in deeper wrinkles and facial folds caused by dermal thinning, subcutaneous volume loss and gravity. Good skin care products can, however; smooth the surface of the skin, brighten and hydrate the skin, and minimize textural issues, large pores, discoloration, and brown spots, which will improve the overall appearance of the skin.
Do complications during pregnancy increase my risk for stroke?
In 2010, 6.8 million people in the United States suffered from a stroke; more than half of these strokes occurred in women. Women are disproportionately affected by stroke compared to men, primarily because women live longer than men, so the lifetime risk of stroke is higher in women, especially in the 55 to 75 years age group.
In 2014, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association released guidelines specifically for the prevention of stroke in women. Among the many risk factors addressed, these guidelines recognized that hypertension during pregnancy and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia not only increases the risk of stroke during pregnancy and the post-partum period, but also beyond the childbearing years.
If you have a history of pregnancy-related high blood pressure or preeclampsia/eclampsia during any of your pregnancies, be sure to tell your provider. This may influence management of your next pregnancy, as you may have to take an anti-platelet medication (aspirin) and possibly calcium supplementation for stroke prevention. Even if you are not planning on getting pregnant again, be sure to tell your provider about complications in prior pregnancies as they may treat your other stroke risk factors more aggressively.
Why do I always have pain in my arches? And how can I get relief?
Arch pain and heel pain are usually caused by the same culprit, plantar fasciitis. You might think, “What the heck is that? It sounds like something I get from gardening?” Plantar means bottom of the foot. Fasciitis means inflammation of the fascia. The fascia is a tough band of tissue used to compartmentalize muscles or to connect parts of the anatomy, similar to the inedible, chewy part of a cut of meat.
The plantar fascia is attached to the heel bone, and each of the five long bones at the base of the toes. The fascia acts like a bow string, while the bony part is the bow. The fascia maintains the arch of the foot while providing some of the “spring” in your step.
With injury, overuse, a new exercise program, a new dog or a different activity that suddenly increases your walking, you can get plantar fasciitis. Injury usually occurs at the heel, with microtears in the fibers. This sets up an inflammatory response that brings in a large volume of fluid. The sudden influx of fluid plus the microtear results in excruciating pain.
For relief, rest, ice the heel, take ibuprofen and wear supportive shoes or insoles. The longer the injury, the longer the time for resolution. Consult your podiatrist if the pain remains for months.
No matter how hard I exercise, I can’t get rid of my cellulite. What is the cause of cellulite, and what can I do?
Cellulite is caused by many factors. Cellulite is often hereditary, so it’s likely your family members also have cellulite. Dieting too hard or too much (less is more ladies), hormonal factors (estrogen is said to be one of the hormones to initiate and aggravate cellulite) and changes in metabolism all contribute. Food also plays a part in cellulite, so cut down on refined and processed foods and foods that contain artificial sweeteners, additives or chemicals, along with high-fat products.
Cellulite forms in areas with the least amount of circulation. Without activity, that fat is very hard to budge. Energizing movements and skin warming exercises will help with that dimpled skin, if you are consistent with it. Running, swimming and brisk walking are the best forms of exercise for increasing blood circulation and loosening the fat in those stubborn areas.
Applying cellulite products after exercise will help them absorb better, as metabolism and blood circulation are stimulated. The key ingredient to look for in a cellulite product is Centella Asiatica. Daily body brushing, stroking in the direction toward your heart, will increase fat dispersion and decrease cellulite, if done on a regular basis. Ultrasonic Cavitation is another treatment that can help decrease cellulite, which we offer in our office.
What are some of the benefits of receiving osteopathic treatment in cancer recovery?
Osteopathic medicine takes into account the whole person, and the practice is based upon four key points:
1. The body is a unit; the person is a unit of body, mind and spirit.
2. The body is capable of self-regulation, self-healing and health maintenance.
3. Structure and function are reciprocally interrelated.
4. Rational treatment is based upon an understanding of the basic principles of body unity, self-regulation and the interrelationship of structure and function.
Considering all of you—physically, mentally, socially and spiritually—is an important part of helping you heal. In addition, gentle, hands-on techniques seeking to help the body heal and restore its self-regulation, self-healing processes is a tremendous benefit.
If you’ve researched “natural pain relief,” you may have come across a description of osteopathic manipulation. Osteopathic manipulative medicine, or OMM, is manual therapy that uses physical contact to facilitate healing. While manual treatment techniques are often not indicated during an acute metastatic cancer, once the cancer is contained because of concerns about spreading active cancer through the lymphatic system, osteopathic treatment can be helpful in pain relief, restoring movement, relief of restricted tissues and scars, and enhanced recovery, once acute treatment is completed.
Gentle, hands-on techniques to promote recovery and healing can help you on your healing journey. Could you benefit from a hands-on, comprehensive osteopathic approach to your healthcare?
What are long-term effects of stress on the body, and how can I best manage my stress level?
Any stress is unpleasant, even when transient. A stressful situation – whether environmental, such as a looming work deadline, or psychological, such as persistent worry over a loved one – can trigger a cascade of stress hormones.
Initially, the body’s response to stress is protective, helping people react quickly in life-threatening situations. However, research has shown that prolonged exposure to stress adversely affects the body. It raises blood pressure, promotes artery-clogging deposits, and causes brain changes leading to anxiety, depression and addiction. It causes fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and weakens the immune system. There has even been evidence linking stress with breast cancer.
So what are ways to manage stress? Stress often leads to unhealthy behaviors – overeating, smoking, and consuming alcohol. There are much healthier options:
• Exercise – The “Runner’s High” is a real reaction. With exercise, the brain releases endorphins that bind to the same receptors as opiates. This decreases pain and improves mood. Yoga lowers blood pressure.
• Sleep – Make sure you have good “sleep hygiene.” Sleep is essential for the brain and body to recuperate and deal with daily stress.
• Relaxation - Slow abdominal breathing, focusing on soothing words or picturing tranquil scenes are simple and don’t take much time.
• Social Support – Rely on friends, family and coworkers. Those with close relationships receive emotional support that helps during times of stress and crisis. And sometimes laughter is the best medicine!