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2 health & wellness
Five steps to healthier feet By Katy Bowman
Spread the toes.
Toe abduction, or a movement of the toes away from each other, is a normal part of a healthy gait pattern. Years of carrying weight too far forward on the feet, wearing too small of shoes as a kid, and narrow toe boxes on certain styles of shoe have really limited the toe spreading motion. Selecting footwear that provides ample room to splay your toes when walking is the healthiest choice. Ideally, your toes should spread just as your fingers do. If tight toes have become a habit, foot alignment socks can work on spreading them for you. That way, you can work on restoring muscle and fascial tissue lengths while you watch television at night.
our foot is a complex feat of engineering and a critical element in how you stand, walk and balance. Of all your many body parts, your feet are likely the most neglected. One in four people over the age of 45 have foot pain and approximately one in six have ankle problems. These numbers hint at the scope of the issue, but they leave out the other many health ailments that stem from achy, throbbing and painful feet. Besides the obvious issues of the toes, arch and plantar fascia, foot pain can become a much larger, whole-body health issue. Two-thirds of those with chronic foot pain have reported their foot issue has created some sort of disability elsewhere in their lives, such as decreasing balance, increasing osteoarthritis in the knees and hips, or preventing them from starting or maintaining a healthy walking program. “People must recognize the fact that foot pain is not normal,” said Dr. Troy Griffiths of Grand Valley Foot and Ankle Center. “If you are experiencing foot pain, you should have your feet evaluated by a podiatrist. Many conditions that cause foot pain can be treated easily and without surgery.” The great thing about foot health is that it takes just a little effort to make great improvements. Here are five ways to drastically improve the state of your feet.
Exercise your feet. All muscles need regular exercise to stay healthy. Foot muscles are no different. Chances are you have never given much thought to the muscles that make the foot arch or the ones that move the toes. However, foot exercise is among the most basic health programs. You don’t even have to get out of a chair to do it initially. Slip off your shoes and socks, and get to work lifting each toe individually. Try it. It sounds easier than it really is.
Get rid of the heel. “Wearing well fitted, supportive shoes can ward off many different types of problems,” Griffiths said. However, he noted that many foot problems are unrelated to the type of shoes a person wears. Podiatric journals have recently become riddled with articles illustrating that for every positive degree of heel (for a point of reference, the 1 inch found on a man’s dress shoe creates an average angle of 12 degrees), there is a resulting angle of deformation in the lumbar spine, pelvis, knees and/or ankle. There is no footwear characteristic that jars one out of whole-body alignment faster than the positive heel. If a dress shoe creates 12 positive degrees, just think about what a stiletto can do to deform the rest of the body. “High heeled shoes (less than 2 inches) worn periodically usually do not pose a big problem for feet,” Griffiths said. “However, wearing heels greater than 2 inches, on a regular basis, causes significant increase in the pressure on the ball of the forefoot and can lead to significant forefoot pathology.” Bruce Benge, from Benge’s Shoe Store in Grand Junction, suggested that you choose your shoes carefully.
action between nature and foot. Foot health can become compromised, however, when you walk on unyielding, human-made surfaces that may or may not be speckled with broken glass and other dangerous items. Be attached to your shoes. Small doses of going barefoot (wearIt is surprising how quickly the ing socks is okay, too) can be done in flip-flop has moved beyond the fayour home, just make sure the area is vorite pool accessory to the ultimate free of debris before you do. fashion staple. Flip-flops are usually Vibram Fivefinger shoes are a new, enjoyed for their lack of restriction— lots of fresh air and minimal friction. minimalistic footwear designed to help restore full function of the feet. They’re also time-friendly. One big They are designed to promote betdrawback to the bikini of footwear, ter foot mechanics and are designed to be worn directly against the sole of your foot. “The fivefinger shoes can help a lot of people, but are not for everyone,” Benge said. “They strengthen your feet and lower legs, as well as create a better sense of balance, promoting better foot health.” However, Griffiths said the fivefinger shoes and running barefoot are ill advised for some patients’ feet. “They do not offer proper mechanical support or resist The Vibram Fivefinger shoes are designed to help restore the ground reactive forces full function of the feet. that occur with normal gait or running,” Griffiths said. though, is the fact that it stays on Before you go baring it all, howyour foot only with major muscle ever, keep in mind the supporting clenching and bony alteration. Research on gait patterns and poorly at- structures of the feet have been, for tached shoes demonstrates increased the most part, inert for the bulk of risk for hammer toes, plantar fasciitis your life. Loading fresh arches on long walks after removing a lifetime and knee pain with flip-flops. of support can stress and strain tis“Generally, flip-flops offer very little support for the arch of the foot sues. It is important to think about and give no mechanical support or building strength in the musculature stabilization to the many different of the feet, just as we would with any joints in the foot,” Griffiths said. other part of our body that has gone “However, some sandals with arch unused. Start with smaller doses of support can offer adequate control or barefoot walking, and make sure you protection for the stable foot type.” do lots of foot stretching in between Therefore, keep your favorite flops walking sessions. around for water and beach activities, Katy Bowman, MS, is the author and invest in the newer Roman-style of “Every Woman’s Guide to Foot sandals that offer the same open-air Pain Relief: The New Science of feel but with better binding. Healthy Feet.” She is the Director of the Restorative Exercise Institute. Barefoot time is a necessity. For more information, visit www. Optimal foot health is ultimately footpainbook.com. ■ reached through full, shoeless inter-
health & wellness 3
“Be mindful of what you’re trying on,” Benge said. “Don’t be closed off to different types of shoes that might be better for you. Let your feet tell you what you need to wear.”
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Losing weight in the real world By Sandra Gordon
ouldn’t it be nice if whenever you went on a diet, everything in your life would change to make losing weight easy? In this fantasy, your husband likes steamed vegetables better than hot dogs and ice cream, or a gourmet salad bar would open across the street from you at work, or the company that makes your favorite kind of candy might vanish from the face of the Earth. Unfortunately, in the real world, it seems like you›re always facing temptation, and need smart and easy ways to stay on track. Here, we offer you tips from top nutrition experts on how to stick to your diet even when the following scenarios of everyday life get in the way.
Diet dilemma: It’s summertime and the living is easy.
Losing weight should be less difficult to do in the summer. Longer, warmer days tend to give you a lighter appetite and more daylight hours in which to exercise. But if you don’t continue to pay strict attention to everything you put in your mouth, all those three and four-day weekends filled with parties, cookouts and barbecues can add up to an overload of calories. When you’re the hostess, you can prepare plenty of salads, vegetable dishes, fruit desserts and lowcalorie punches to satisfy your needs. It gets trickier, however, when you’re the guest. One solution: volunteer to bring a fruit salad and the crudites platter. That way, you’ll know there will be at least two things you can eat at the party. You might also consider having a salad before you go. This will help take the edge off your appetite so you can make better food choices later. Since calories from alcohol can add up quickly, stick with nonalcoholic beverages, such as sugar-free iced tea, diet soda or seltzer with a twist of lime.
Diet dilemma: Your family loves nothing but meat and dessert. You can’t expect your extended family to make drastic changes in their diet just because you are. But you don’t have to start making lowcalorie meals for yourself and the usual meals for them, either. Instead, compromise. Give them their meat, but buy and prepare a lower-fat cut that you can eat too (Hint: anything with the words “loin” or “round” in the name, such as sirloin or round steak). To balance the meal, make plenty of vegetables. From a nutritional standpoint, half your plate should be filled with vegetables. Serving a green salad, peas and carrots, for example, not only gives you plenty of good stuff to fill up on, it helps educate your family’s palate. Whether they’ll actually eat the vegetables is not the point (your grandkids may not gobble them up—at least at first). All you can do is expose them to healthy foods and hope they’ll try them eventually. The same holds true for sweets. You can let your family have their beloved desserts, but serve them alongside a plate of sliced peaches and plums. Or you might make a fruit dessert like baked apples or a low-fat blueberry crisp with a dollop of nonfat whipped cream.
Diet dilemma: You’re at home taking care of the grandkids or working. While it’s true that having easy
access to the refrigerator can make slimming down more difficult, it doesn’t have to in your diet. But you have to avoid grazing all day. If you allow yourself to nosh mindlessly on a cookie here and a handful of Goldfish crackers there, before you know it you will have consumed a huge number of excess calories. It also pays to have a firm idea of what you’re going to have for breakfast and lunch, rather than waiting until you’re famished to rummage around in the kitchen for whatever looks en-
May 2012 ticing. Don’t succumb to peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese sandwiches every day come lunchtime just because you know the grandkids favor them. Expand their horizons by serving grown-up food more often, such as chicken salad sandwiches with lite mayonnaise, and baby carrots dipped in fat-free Ranch dressing. Eventually, your grandkids will follow your lead if you’re enthusiastic.
Diet dilemma: You’re going on vacation. When it comes to eating
healthfully, travel can be treacherous. If you’re not careful, restaurant food can quickly get the better of you. Studies show that you also might eat more when you’re tired. Rule No. 1: Realize that you do have control over what you’re eating, even when you’re traveling. No matter where you’re headed. Whether you’re cruising through an airport or down the highway, you can usually find restaurants that have at least some healthy menu options. If you’re flying, bring your own fruit or wholegrain cereal bars, or eat before you leave so you’re not hungry at the airport. Rule No. 2: If you’re tired, take a nap on the plane or at your hotel.
Diet dilemma: You have fast-food lunches delivered to your desk at work because you’re too busy to leave. Being desk-bound doesn’t have
to send your diet to the dogs. These days, almost any fast-food place offers healthier and lower-calorie options. No matter which take-out menu is being passed around, there’s usually a tossed salad with lite dressing, a baked potato or a turkey, roast beef or grilled chicken sandwich to order. One caveat: If your sandwich comes piled high, consider saving half the meat for the next day or asking for half the meat at order time. Even a roast beef sandwich, which can be a healthy choice, can add up to a whopping 759 calories if it’s loaded down with 8 ounces of meat. Other potentially fattening lunchtime options to steer clear of are tuna salad, chef salads (which often contain loads of calorie-dense meat and cheese), crispy chicken or fried fish sandwiches, and any mayonnaise or
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oil-based pasta or vegetable salad.
Diet dilemma: Your co-workers keep a goodie jar stocked with candy. If you’re trying to slim down, the last thing you need is easy access to candy. To burn off the calories in a handful of plain M&M’s, for example, a 140-pound woman would have to walk briskly for 43 minutes. Try to get the candy positioned out of your way so you won’t be tempted every time you walk by. You might also try taking a longer route to and from your desk. Or be the office hero and volunteer to fill the jar, but stock it with something you don’t like.
Diet dilemma: You and your partner are used to eating treats together. A
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sure road to weight gain is deprivation. If you’re watching TV with your spouse and he’s eating your favorite chocolate ice cream, instead of trying not to have anything, you might satisfy your craving by just taking a bite of his dessert. You could also opt for a more sensible treat, such as chocolate sorbet, nonfat frozen yogurt or a low-cal chocolate pudding. Just be sure to make room for the extra calories in your daily food plan.
Diet dilemma: Your work schedule is irregular. Research suggests that
working the night shift can put you at a disadvantage weight-wise. In a study conducted by research scientist Allan Geliebter, Ph.D., hospital shift-workers who worked late gained more weight over time than those who worked during the day. One possible reason is that metabolism tends to slow at night, when night workers do most of their eating. But you can beat this bodily slowdown by getting more exercise, such as by standing or walking more during your shift. Working rotating day and night shifts can wreak havoc on your diet in a different way. When your schedule is erratic, there’s a tendency to wait too long between meals, letting yourself get ravenous and then making unhealthy food choices. Try to plan out what you’re going to eat ahead of time. You might consider bringing in a turkey sandwich, or yogurt and fruit, or a low-fat frozen dinner that you can just pop in the microwave. ■
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My teeth were eating into
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Confidence and youth regained in a healthy smile By Heather Zeilman
Why have healthy teeth? Well for one, teeth are for eating. Few things are better than a marvelous meal and fine-wine pairing, or a quality stout beer, to savor with family or friends. We eat for sustenance and pleasure. The psychological happiness between food’s tastes and textures is well-documented. Think of the last time you had a smooth, dark piece of chocolate followed by a fresh cup of coffee... happiness indeed! You’re now in your golden years: Done working or nearing retirement, and reaping the rewards of hard work. However, you meet your friends for lunch or family for a festive dinner, and can’t truly enjoy it because: • You don’t have enough teeth to chew with, or • Your teeth won’t stay in, or • Your teeth hurt too much to chew with, or • Your bite is so “off” it’s painful to eat even normal foods Thanks to technology, shakes and pre-made soft foods, we can survive without teeth, but strong and healthy teeth provide a better quality of life. The confidence to eat out socially, and the ability to enjoy a meal’s tastes, textures and flavors is priceless.
Additionally, we all know how a dazzling smile can light up a room, connect us with others, or help us land a job. The self-assurance we have when we like how we look empowers us. Undeniably, significant changes in life can be seen in those who improve their smiles. So, why have healthy teeth? Simple! It will improve your confidence and your quality of life. Montrose dentist Dr. Dan Clader began his practice 28 years ago and considers his personal relationships to be just as important as his clinical work. His patients love the warmth and welcome they feel from the building’s comfortable, old-home ambiance and the interactions they have with the Colorado Smiles staff. “Our entire team is committed to providing an avenue for ideal health through caring experiences for each person that comes through the door,” Dr. Clader said. “If you weren’t smiling when you walked in, we’re pretty sure you will be on your way out.” Dr. Clader has completed advanced education for surgical placement of implants and is a KOIS instructor and mentor on treatment ranging from fillings, crowns and bridges, to cosmetic restorations in porcelain veneers. To contact Dr. Clader at Colorado Smiles, call 249-6955. ■
Dr. Dan Clader and his staff at Colorado Smiles in Montrose value a healthy, beautiful smile. If you weren’t smiling when you walked in, they’re pretty sure you will be on your way out.
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You’re never too old to play
he Colorado Department of Human Services Aging and Adult Services Division encourages all Coloradans to live healthier lives. Healthy living can help prevent diseases and certain disabilities, and it can ensure that today’s older persons, as well as future generations, not only live longer, but better. Older American Month is celebrated each May to honor and recognize older Americans for the contributions they make to our families, communities and society. To assist, our National Aging Network and other groups plan activities during the month of May or throughout the year. The Administration on Aging issues a theme for Older Americans Month. This year’s theme, “Never Too Old to Play,” encourages older Americans to stay engaged, active and involved in their own lives, and in their communities. Unfortunately, the elderly sometimes miss out on family activities, or are excluded from fun events because of false beliefs and misconceptions about their age and abilities. The elderly are an important part of families and should be able to participate in family activities whenever
possible. Elderly family members are frequently able to do most of the things that everyone else does. It is unwise to assume that elderly individuals are unable to participate in fun activities because of their age alone. Don’t forget to invite your elderly relatives to your fun family activities. Visit the BEACON’s website at www.BeaconSeniorNews.com for a list of “100 Fun Family Activities” for ideas to do with your family (including elderly family members). In some cases, elderly people are affected by degradation of brain function and/or memory loss. It is important not to stigmatize elderly individuals who are afflicted with mental dysfunction or disease. Always remember that elderly people are victims of uncontrollable conditions and should not be abused or ridiculed for what they cannot change. For elderly individuals who are affected by the challenges of declining brain function, simple activities are usually appropriate and appreciated. Sharing conversations, going for walks, or even singing songs can be helpful. Choose activities that allow
Healthy living can maintain healthy minds By Lisa Adams, Colorado State Veterans Home at Rifle
edical evidence has suggested that heart-healthy living and eating may help protect your brain from dementia. A Mediterranean diet including minimal amounts of red meat, emphasizing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, shellfish, nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats is one way to help fight the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Our diets may have one of the greatest impacts on our brain health. Regular physical exercise may be beneficial in lowering the risks of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Some evidence suggests that exercise may increase the blood
and oxygen flow through your brain. Other evidence suggests that exercise can also benefit the cardiovascular system. Because of these known benefits, a medically approved exercise program is a valuable part of a person’s overall wellness plan. Does your loved one or someone you know have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? The Colorado State Veterans Home at Rifle offers a secure dementia memory care neighborhood, where we promote activities that motivate both physical and mental well being. Veterans are treated with respect and love at Colorado State Veterans Home at Rifle. For more information, call us at 800-828-4580. ■
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The Healthy Geezer By Fred Cicetti
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The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says joint replacement surgery is successful in more than nine out of 10 people, and replacement of a hip or knee lasts at least 20 years in about 80 percent of those who have the surgery. In the procedure, an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. Artificial joints are medical devices, which must be approved by the FDA before they can be marketed in the U.S. The goal of surgery is to relieve the pain in the joint caused by the damage done to cartilage, the tissue that serves as a protective cushion and allows smooth, low-friction movement of the joint. Total joint replacement is considered if other treatment options will not bring relief. In an arthritic knee, the damaged ends of the bones and cartilage are replaced with metal and plastic surfaces that are shaped to restore knee function. In an arthritic hip, the damaged ball and socket are replaced by a metal ball and plastic socket. Several metals are used, including stainless steel, alloys of cobalt and chrome, and titanium. The plastic material is durable and wear-resistant polyethylene. The two most common joints requiring this form of surgery are the knee and hip, which are weight bearing. But replacements can also be performed on other joints, including the ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow and fingers. After total hip or knee replacement, you will often stand and begin walking the day after surgery. Initially, you will walk with a walker, crutches or a cane. Most patients have some temporary pain in the replaced joint because the surrounding muscles are weak from inactivity and the tissues are healing, but it will end
in a few weeks or months. Exercise is an important part of the recovery process. After your surgery, you may be permitted to play golf, walk and dance. However, more strenuous sports, such as tennis or running, may be discouraged. There can be complications from joint-replacement surgery. These include infection, blood clots, loosening of the prosthesis, dislocation of the joint, excessive wear, prosthetic breakage and nerve injury. There are remedies for all of these complications, but sometimes the correction will take more surgery. Surgeons are refining techniques and developing new ones, such as minimal-incision surgery. Instead of a 6 to 12-inch long incision used in a standard total knee replacement, some surgeons are using a 4 to 5-inch incision. Instead of the typical 10 to 12-inch incision in a total hip replacement, surgeons are operating through one 4-inch cut or two 2-inch cuts. Minimal incisions reduce trauma, pain and hospital stays. Not all patients are candidates for minimalincision surgery. There is a surgical alternative to total hip replacement. It’s called hip resurfacing. The primary difference in hip resurfacing is that the surgeon doesn’t remove the ball at the top of the thighbone. Instead, the damaged ball is reshaped and then a metal cap is anchored over it. Hip resurfacing, unlike hip replacement, preserves enough bone to permit a total replacement if it is necessary later. Resurfacing is not recommended for patients with osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones porous and vulnerable to fractures. Some health care experts advise getting a replacement hip joint, not a resurfacing, if you are older than 65. ■
If you would like to read more columns, you can order a copy of “How to be a Healthy Geezer” at www.healthygeezer. com. If you have a question, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good teeth should last a lifetime By Dr. Scott VanDusen, DDS
ith proper care, we can help you keep the teeth that you have. Not only do good teeth help create a beautiful smile, but without a nice, strong set of teeth, your dietary choices become much fewer and usually unhealthy. As a consequence, your overall health may be in jeopardy. Older patients who visit my practice often fall into one of several categories.
Got good teeth? Great! Let’s keep them that way. I imagine that you’re brushing at least twice a day and flossing before bedtime. Do not under estimate the importance of flossing. If you hate to stand in front of the mirror and floss, then get some of the new “floss picks” and floss while you watch television. Be sure and get a professional cleaning and check-up twice a year. Our oral hygienist, Katherine, will provide you with the best cleaning you have ever experienced. (I have had many patients tell me just that.)
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health & wellness 9 • Stress • Smoking • Diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer • Sometimes medications can aggravate gum disease • Brushing too hard The “good news” is that the earliest stages of gum disease can usually be reversed, but it is important to spot it early on. So, yes, you need to check in with your dentist.
Warm and friendly
Missing a few teeth?
Don’t feel bad. It happens. Perhaps you may want to consider dental implants, which are small metal anchors placed in the jaw to hold crowns, bridges or dentures in place. They are not for everyone, but for some people, they qualify as minor miracles. Of course, your gums must be healthy and your jawbone able to support the implants. If implants are not an option, you may restore your smile with crowns, bridges and/or partial dentures. Above, you’ll see my patient’s before and after photos. Now, that’s a difference that you can smile about!
Wow, you really should have come to see me sooner. But again, the gums are the key to wearing dentures comfortably. Speaking of comfort, your dentures shouldn’t be causing you pain. They also shouldn’t cause your mouth to smell bad. With dentures, you should visit your dentist yearly.
One thing that I take a great deal of pride in is my office and my staff. My office is located about one and a half blocks north of North Avenue on the west side of Seventh Street in Grand Junction. My staff is professional, competent, and as hokey as it may sound, “warm and friendly.” We are also a contracted provider for most insurance companies.
Speaking of gums
If you are over 40 years old, then you have an increased risk of gum disease. You may have beautiful pearly white teeth, but without healthy gums, they could fall right out of your head. There are a number of factors that increase your chance of gum disease: • Poor oral hygiene
I am happy to answer your questions regarding your treatment needs, specific procedures and other options. If the unusual case arises where I can’t be of service to you, I will refer you to a suitable local specialist. For more information, call 255-7070. ■
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Depression is not a normal part of aging By Janey Sorensen
epression affects more than 19 million Americans every year, regardless of age, race, or gender. While depression is not a normal part of the aging process, there is a strong likelihood of it occurring when other physical health conditions are present. For example, nearly a quarter of the 600,000 people who experience a stroke in a given year will experience clinical depression. Unfortunately, symptoms of depression are often overlooked and untreated when they coincide with other medical illnesses or life events that commonly occur as people age (e.g., loss of loved ones). However, clinical depression is never a “normal” response. It is a serious medical illness that should be treated no matter the person’s age.
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Co-occurring illnesses • Symptoms of clinical depression
can be triggered by other chronic illnesses that are common later in life, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
Widowhood • One-third of widows/widowers meet criteria for depression in the first month after the death of their spouse. Half of them remain clinically depressed after one year.
Health care costs • Older patients with symptoms of depression have roughly 50 percent higher health care costs than nondepressed seniors. Fortunately, clinical depression is a very treatable illness. More than 80 percent of all people with depression can be successfully treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both, according to Mental Health America. Do you know someone suffering from depression? Call the Center for Mental Health at 252-3200 or visit our website at www.centermh.org. ■
Free flower bowl class at Crossroads Fitness
here’s nothing quite as charming as a colorful flower bowl, and nothing as rewarding as creating it yourself. Come join Mona from Bookcliff Gardens, who will give a free demonstration on planting your own flower bowl so that you can enjoy blooms throughout the summer. Light refreshments will be served. The event is at noon on Thursday, May 24. It’s all part of the senior social scene at Crossroads Fitness’ airport location at 2768 Compass Drive in Grand Junction. The class is free and open to the public.
While you’re visiting us at Crossroads Fitness, be sure and ask for a free tour. We’re an authorized Silver Sneakers Fitness Program provider and we have a number of classes geared to our 50 and older members. In particular, our Sweat and Sculpt class focuses on helping you improve your balance, increase your flexibility, and have fun. For more information, we’re just a phone call away. Call us at 242-8746. We also have a downtown location, located at 225 N. Fifth St. in Grand Junction. ■
health & wellness 11
Healthy hearts forever
Stop high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes By Jim Creasey
ardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke) is the no. 1 cause of death in the U.S. and has been every year since 1900, except during the great flu epidemic in 1918. In 2012, 1 million people in the U.S. will die of heart attacks or strokes, which is more than the combined totals from the next four top causes of death, which are cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease and accidents (unintentional injuries). “The first symptom of cardiovascular disease, for most people, is a heart attack or stroke,” world-renowned endocrinologist Dr. J. Joseph Prendergast, of Palo Alto, California, said. That did not surprise me, as I had already lost a few friends and acquaintances to heart attacks or strokes “without any warning.” But Prendergast’s next statement angered me. “It is 20 or 30 years, sometimes 40 years, before CVD shows its deadly ‘first’ symptom,” Prendergast said. “A heart attack or stroke.” I wondered why I hadn’t heard this before and why I hadn’t heard my doctors talk about this deadly reality, or what to do to prevent it except for the traditional diet and exercise advice. Though the medical community can assess the presence and extent of CVD through a femoral cardiac catheterization, that process is too costly and too risky to become part of a person’s annual, preventative physical exam. This is not an acceptable answer or a credible approach to discovering, assessing, and treating a disease that is known as the “silent killer” because it is too often unknown until it’s too late for its victim.
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12 health & wellness
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HBOT helps heal damaged tissues from cancer and radiation therapy HBOT can restore tissues and cells damaged from chemotherapy and radiation treatments in cancer patients. Head, neck and other cancer treatments that damage the jawbone may require HBOT to restore the tissues. Side effects of cancer therapy may cause damage to the bladder (hemorrhagic cystitis), damage to the intestines (radiation enteritis) and other conditions that may be improved by HBOT. Breast cancer patients undergoing reconstruction may need HBOT to allow radiation-damaged tissues to heal. For more information, call Dunnagan Chiropractic at 252-3360 or visit www.teamDCmontrose.com. Reprinted with permission from The Hyperbaric Therapy Center, www. hypertc.com. ■
health & wellness 13
Fighting the control of Huntington’s disease children. Currently, three nieces are ongoing human trials to measure the affected and five grandchildren of my effectiveness of therapies. Research y earliest awareness of Huntingsiblings are at risk to have inherited breakthroughs are being made in the ton’s disease was as a young the defective gene. This disease conlab using various lab animals. Howchild, when it affected my mother tinues to haunt our family today, but ever, to date, no cure for the disease and one of her older sisters. Even to is no longer a secret. exists. Treatment today is confined to a youngster, their HD is a degensymptoms such as depression and inbehavior was erative brain disvoluntary movements. There is hope strange. They had order caused by and optimism that a more effective involuntary, jerky a defective gene treatment or possibly a cure will removements; lack that is inherited. sult from ongoing trials and research. of balance; and Each child of an In 1967, Marjorie Guthrie, wife of difficulty comaffected parent famed folksinger Woody Guthrie, municating. It is has a 50% chance who passed away from HD, brought hard to remember of inheriting the together a few friends at her kitchen exactly when I gene and is born table, which evolved into today’s became aware, with the defective Huntington’s Disease Society of but by age 10 or gene. America. Visit their website at 12, I knew someHowever, most www.hdsa.org. thing was not commonly, the right. A remark symptoms do by a classmate Larry Luebke inherited Huntington’s disease not appear unwould haunt my through family genetics. til middle age. childhood years. A Over time, the defective gene causes remark similar to, “Your mother must destruction of brain cells, ultimately Riding for Huntington’s disease be crazy” made me feel isolated and Charlotte Reicks, 76 and Marie resulting in uncontrolled movements, alone. Nemac, 68 have become known in loss of balance, changes in personMy father’s attempts to explain Grand Junction for their cross-counality, loss of communication and what was happening with my mother intellectual faculties. Also, there is try rides to raise funds for research only confused me and reinforced and to help people with HD. This progressive difficulty with swallowa sense of fear. For me, it became a ing, walking and talking, and eventu- year, these “Bicycling Grandmas” are family secret that I could not share. riding to Las Vegas, Nevada, leaving ally death. It is a devastating disease I did not talk about it and tried not to both the individual and the family, Grand Junction on Sunday, May 27 to think about it, but it was always who most often become the primary and arriving in Las Vegas on June 7 there. I was in a denial of sorts, hold- caregiver. It is financially and emoto attend HDSA’s annual convention. ing onto a terrible secret. My mother This will be their 14th crosstionally stressful for the victim and was institutionalized in 1951, around country trip for family. Depresthe time I was 14, and she died some HD. Sherri Kole, sion is common. 10 years later. whose son has There has By the time I was 40, the disease HD and Gary been substantial reappeared in my family. This time, it progress made in Heiman, whose was in individuals of my generation— the understandwife is an HD siblings and cousins. Over the next social worker, ing of HD in the few years, two sisters, one brother will join them. past 20 years. It and four cousins developed sympThis year’s ride is now possible toms. They all passed away in their is dedicated to to diagnose an 40s and mid-50s. When a younger Scott Lambert individual for the sister became unable to take care from Grand Juncdefective gene of her two daughters, another sister tion, who had through a simple and myself took them into our homes blood test (alHD and died in January. when they were in high school. One though some at There will be of these girls, now age 45, is in a risk choose not to a send-off breaknursing home, no longer able to live be tested). There at home with her husband and three are a number of Charlotte Reicks, 76 (left) and Marie Nemac, 68, fast from 8:30 (right) are bicycling grandmas for a cure. By Larry Luebke
a.m.-10 a.m. at Sherwood Park on May 26. All are invited to enjoy a breakfast of fruit, juice, coffee and muffins, generously provided by Home Style Bakery, City Market and Safeway. To make a contribution, purchase a T-shirt, or be a sponsor, contact Nemec at 250-5997, or visit www. firstgiving.com/bikeforcure. There is a Huntington’s disease support group that meets at 6 p.m. on the last Tuesday of every month at the First United Methodist Church, 522 White Ave. in Grand Junction. ■
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14 health & wellness
Don’t skip your annual eye exam By Edward A. Joseph
had my first physical in over 20 years at the age of 48. The reason I went was because a job promotion required one. After he finished the examination, the doctor asked, “Where have you been for the last 20 years?” “Busy,” I answered. “Well you are lucky because as far as I can tell you have no major health problems, but remember, all guarantees run out when you reach 40.” The doctor knew what he was talking about. Over the next decade, I developed a cholesterol problem, a thyroid prob-
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lem, and an eye problem. Because of my procrastination, the eye problem remained undiagnosed. After my promotion physical and the doctor’s “guarantees run out” warning, I did start having regular check-ups, and at each one my doctor reminded me that it was important to have my eyes checked annually. Unfortunately, I did not act on his advice because it reminded me of having my car checked by a new mechanic: invariably something is found wrong and it costs big bucks to fix. Nevertheless, I realized that the saying “penny wise and pound foolish” might prove true in this case. So, as I approached my 60th birthday, I made an appointment for an eye exam. My examination did not have a happy ending. After a vision and glaucoma test, the doctor looked into my right eye with a special instrument for about 10 seconds and then looked into my left eye. My heart started to pound when the seconds kept ticking by and he kept looking into my left eye. Eventually, he lowered the instrument and went over to write in my chart. He then turned to me and said, “I think you need to see a retina specialist.” Oh my God, what am I going to do? I can’t sing like Ray Charles. Will anyone have time to read to me? How does one obtain a Seeing Eye dog? “Okay, Doc, if you think I need to. What’s the problem?” “I am not sure, but to be on the safe side, I want a specialist to look at it.” If no one reads to me, I can always rent a book on tape.
May 2012 “You don’t think it’s anything serious do you?” I asked as I scanned his face for information. Was that an “I am sorry this is not working out for you look?” “I think it is important that you see a specialist,” the doctor repeated. The grandkids are going to be upset about having a blind grandfather. Susan, my spouse, accompanied me to my appointment with the retina specialist because the drops that would be put into my eyes as part of the examination would prevent me from driving afterwards. A technician took me into a room and in between tests put drops into my eyes a number of times. After returning to the waiting room for 10 minutes, the doctor then called me into the examination room. She looked into each eye with a special instrument and then informed me that I had a mild case of preretinal macular gliosis. The only word I liked in what she said was “mild.” The doctor then went on to explain
that the eye is like a camera and that there are lenses in front of the eye which focus light on the back of the eye onto a thin membrane called the retina. The retina is comparable to the film in a camera, as it is sensitive to light. Within the retina there is a small area known as the macula,
www.BeaconSeniorNews.com which is responsible for fine and color vision. My problem was that a membrane was starting to form in front of the macula (this can occur spontaneously, usually in people over 50). It occurs in both eyes about 20 percent of the time. The good news was that about 80 percent of the people with preretinal macular gliosis have stable vision. I was elated when the doctor told me that nothing had to be done at this time and that my vision could be fine for the next 40 years. She then gave me a copy of an Amsler Recording Chart and told me I had to check my eyes once a week. This chart is a large grid consisting of many small squares. I was to cover each eye and stare at the chart and if the lines appeared wavy, I was to call her immediately. She also mentioned the importance of eating dark green vegetables like broccoli, wearing sunglasses whenever the sun was shining, and taking a good multi-vitamin that contained folic acid. These proactive behaviors were necessary because she believed that the depletion of the ozone layer was adversely affecting eye health. She gave me an appointment for another checkup in six months. My life now has more green vegetables, sunglasses, and vitamins in it, but it also has a comfort zone concerning my eyes. I no longer skip my annual eye exam. To schedule your eye exam, call the professionals at the Optical Center in Grand Junction at 245-6821. ■
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health & wellness 15
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16 health & wellness
People eager to drive again can shift to independence trose, people with illness, injury, or age-related changes in their physical abilities, but who still want to drive call Burke at her business, Shift to Independence. This driving evaluation and rehabilitation program helps clients, families, and physicians determine if a person is able to safely get behind the wheel again. “Driving is one of the Janine Burke drives to clients’ homes for evaluation and most frequently performed training. Physicians or therapists refer many of activities and it’s one of the most dangerous,” Burke said. “People her clients, but individuals or concerned family members may contact on the road must be able to drive her directly, too. Most of her clients safely. That’s our goal. It’s a great are seniors between the ages of 70 feeling to hand back the car keys to and 90, but she helps all ages. successfully rehabilitated clients.” For several years, Burke worked Burke, 45, has been in practice for through St. Mary’s Life Center in its 12 years. She has a master’s degree return-to-driving program, which and is a registered occupational was discontinued in 2011. Burke therapist that specializes in rehabilistruck out on her own and created tative driving. She is a provider with the Division of Vocational Rehabilita- Shift to Independence. “People who want to drive again tion and the Brain Injury Trust Fund. are highly motivated, and they’re willing to fight for that freedom and privilege most of us take for granted,” to get back behind the Burke said. “That’s one reason I love focusing on this single-minded goal wheel and back to life? and helping people achieve it.”
By Marsha Kearns
magine surviving a stroke, serious injury, or debilitating disease and being told that you can’t drive any more. Suppose you start to notice your vision deteriorating to the point where you wonder if you’re safe on the road. How can you retain or regain the freedom and independence that driving gives you? “Call Janine Burke. She will get you where you need to go,” said Sallie Stout, one of Burke’s very happy clients who has multiple sclerosis and lost the use of her legs when she was in her 40s. Now 51, Stout recalled her training with Burke. “She is very professional, but also compassionate and easy to talk to,” Stout said. “She makes you feel comfortable and confident. She taught me how to use hand controls to accommodate my weaknesses and built on my strengths to help me drive again.” From Glenwood Springs to Mon-
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The process Burke travels to clients’ homes for evaluation and training. With people in their own familiar environment, Burke can observe closely and learn much more about how they function. Her thorough clinical assessment includes vision screening, reaction and balance testing, evaluation of dementia and other age-related issues. She also addresses a client’s medical factors, mobility, perception, and understanding. After her initial evaluation, Burke sends her report to the client’s physician with her recommendation for the client’s driving rehabilitation or revocation of the client’s driver’s license. The physician then sends the report and determination to the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles, so a client who cannot drive safely cannot
May 2012 hold a valid driver’s license. If Burke’s assessment indicates that the client has the potential to drive safely again, she continues with an on-the-road driving assessment and training session that emphasizes: • knowing Colorado driving rules and regulations • demonstrating adequate safety and judgment for the driving task • transferring from a wheelchair into a car, if applicable • training on driving in residential, business, and highway settings • retracing a client’s commonly used routes • recommending and helping acquire equipment adaptations for a car For the road test and training, Burke uses a 1999 Ford Taurus with adaptive safety equipment that can accommodate disabilities such as inability to use an arm or leg, the need for extended mirrors, and hand mobility. She doesn’t train new drivers and clients must have a valid driver’s license or permit, which Burke can help them obtain. “With Janine’s instruction, you feel like you’re safe on the road for yourself, those who travel with you, and the other drivers on the road,” Stout said. Burke charges $300 for evaluation and training in the Grand Valley and $400 if she must travel out of town. The price includes a thorough clinical assessment and hands-on driving experience, using necessary modifications if needed. The rate for further evaluation or individual work is $100 per hour. Call Shift to Independence at 201-2264 for more information or to schedule an appointment. ■
Burke uses a Ford Taurus with adaptive safety equipment to accommodate disabilities.