Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Macular Degeneration involves the deterioration of the retina which is responsible for the central part of the vision in the eye. Damage to the macula, or central spot of the retina, is what gives it its name. The retina is critical to clear central vision and is what allows us to see objects straight ahead. Generally, it is referred to as Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) because it primarily affects people over 60 years old. There is one type of macular degeneration that affects young people and is caused by a recessive gene. This is called Stargardt Disease and is relatively rare with only 1 in 10,000 people likely affected. In contrast, AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over 50 years old. It affects approximately 11 million people in the United States and 170 million worldwide. AMD has two basic types-dry and wet forms. Dry AMD

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Say Hi to Sleep Hygiene

Something that we all love dearly, but most of us cannot get enough of. Sleep is one of our body’s delicate processes that is important for physical and mental health. Sleep hygiene refers to behavioral practices that will lead to a good night’s rest. Following these behaviors can decrease the need for prescriptions and boost your daily energy. “It takes me forever” “I never get enough” “I can’t seem to get comfortable These are common phrases that are uttered when someone is asked about their sleeping patterns. Although people are quick to realize the symptoms of lack of sleep including lack of concentration, heightened emotions, and malaise, what most fail to do is change their bad sleep habits. Bad sleep hygiene includes taking too many naps during the day, eating or drinking excessively too close to bedtime, and bringing stress to the bed. If you are someone who has difficulty

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Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that affects how your body uses blood glucose. Diabetics have too much glucose in their blood, which can lead to health issues. There are a few different types of diabetes including diabetes Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, presence of ketones in the urine, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, slow-healing sores, and frequent infections. Type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune beta-cell destruction. Type 1 diabetes can be referred to as juvenile onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is characterized by progressive insulin secretory defect and insulin resistance. It is commonly referred to as adult onset diabetes and makes up 90-95% of all diabetes cases. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include: first-degree relative with T2DM, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, history of pre-diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome. It is recommended that all

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Health Misconceptions

1. A Gluten free diet is good for you There is no indication that eating a gluten free diet is better for your health. There is no research that supports cutting back on gluten will reduce health risks, other than those with celiac disease. Some processed foods labeled as gluten free (bread, waffles, cereals, etc) often have more fat, sugar, calories, and sodium than gluten containing foods, actually making them unhealthier food choices. More than 1/3 of Americans think that going gluten free will help them lose weight. The opposite is true. Researchers say that a gluten-free diet seems to increase the risk of overweight and obesity. While cutting back on gluten containing foods such as bagels, breads, pastas, and other carbohydrates can help some people lose weight, if you are replacing those foods with gluten-free versions, it’s more likely you will gain weight since the gluten-free alternatives are higher

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OTC Pain Relief

Although there is an abundance of over the counter products that can be used for pain relief, we often hear “I’ll just take some Advil, I’ll be fine.” For most cases this is acceptable, but there are more things to look at than just the label that says, “rapid pain relief.” There is a plethora of products that can either be used for their anti-inflammatory properties, their use as a local anesthetic, or as a counterirritant to pain. Each also carries a different mechanism of action that helps to alleviate pain at specific parts of the body. Some of these products have side effects that can easily be avoided and specific directions for use that can prevent further harm to your body. Oral products that are available over the counter include NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and Naproxen (Aleve), and centrally acting pain relievers such

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Additives

Time has changed the way we generally look at food, pharmaceuticals, and other products that we either use or consume. There are many things that we don’t ordinarily focus on when searching for a product such as its inactive ingredients or even the manufacturer. Often these ingredients are overlooked, but they may contain hazardous additives and preservatives that are used to prolong the products shelf life, make it look more desirable, or capture a more delectable taste. Though “natural flavors” and preservatives seem like they enhance these products, they may not be the most health-conscious ingredients. Some of these “inactive” ingredients have even been linked to cancer prevalence and increases in mortality, which raises the question of why they were ever placed on the market in the first place. To aid in product selection, it is helpful to know some key words, and what they are, when skimming through an

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Probiotics

Probiotics are known as the “good bacteria” that are normally found in our gut and digestive tract. They serve an important role in supporting our immune system and can even rid the body of certain harmful bacteria that are consumed in our foods. These helping hands are often recommended after or during a course of antibiotics, in efforts to replenish the normal flora of gut bacteria that get wiped away by the antibiotics. Some people have what is considered “leaky gut syndrome” where tiny holes in their digestive system allows good bacteria to escape, which leaves their body susceptible. Most of our foods are treated to get rid of any bugs that may invade them, but this also destroys the probiotics that grow within and leaves us with a lackluster source of probiotics. Good sources of probiotics include: Fermented foods such as cheeses and yogurts Dark chocolate and tempeh Various

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Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer death in the United States. A woman has roughly a 1.3% lifetime chance of developing it. It occurs more commonly in a woman who is 63 years old or older. The symptoms of this type of cancer can be very vague and it is often not until the cancer is more advanced that it is noticed and detected. Signs and symptoms may include abdominal bloating and swelling, weight loss or gain, urinary urgency, and a sensation of being full even if a large meal isn’t consumed. Other vague symptoms can include constipation, upset stomach, or back pain. There is no routine test for ovarian cancer. A routine pelvic exam would not be useful in detecting an ovarian tumor because it may be very small and is not found. Transvaginal ultrasound may be able to better see a tumor but certainly cannot

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GOUT

Gout is a form of arthritis that often occurs on the joint of the big toe. It occurs suddenly with the affected joint getting very red, swollen, and painful. While the toe is frequently affected because it is the furthest body tissue from the heart and is therefore the coolest part of the body, gout can actually affect other joints as well. Other affected areas include the ankle, heel, knee, wrist, fingers, elbow, and instep.  Gout occurs when higher than normal uric acid develops in the blood. Uric acid is a substance that occurs naturally in the body from the breakdown of cells as well as in response to certain foods that contain high levels of purines. When the body cannot eliminate enough uric acid through the kidneys the level can increase and in some patients cause symptoms of gout. The higher levels of uric acid can then cause urate

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Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP)

The mitral valve is located on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and left ventricle. As many as 2% of the population may be affected with MVP, also known as Floppy Valve Syndrome or Click Murmur Syndrome. Fortunately, most of those individuals affected will not experience any symptoms or need any treatment. Mitral valve prolapse can occur at any age and is sometimes genetic. In some individuals, often men older than 50, serious symptoms can sometimes occur. When the mitral valve prolapses, the two valve flaps don’t fully close and this can allow blood to flow back into the left upper heart chamber (left atrium). When the mitral valve prolapses, it allows blood to flow backwards into the heart chamber, this become what is known as mitral valve regurgitation. For those individuals who are symptomatic, they may experience some chest pain or dizziness/lightheadedness. Fatigue can also

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