The How-to guide for healthy living in Kansas City The how-To guide for healThy living in Kansas CiTy
12 ways to do something in the new year
| new year, new you |
12 things you can do this year to improve your health
J a n u a r y / F e b r u a r y 2011 Ja eb r 4ulairfye .2011 w wnwu.a er nyh/afn ce co m w w w . e n h a n c e 4 l i f e . co m
A genuine winner. Richard “Lance” Snyder, MD Orthopedic Surgeon / Athlete
Dr. Lance Snyder knows sports medicine. That’s because he’s lived sports... as an athlete himself, doctor to the pros, and a specialist in repairing sports-related injuries. His new practice, KC Sports Medicine, is dedicated to the health and safety of athletes at every level, and to helping people stay active throughout their lives. It is a one-of-a-kind resource for athletes and their families. Dr. Snyder is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic problems. He has performed thousands of operations to repair sports-related injuries, many using minimally invasive techniques. Exceptional professional care, unmatched sports experience. Shoulder, Knee, and Elbow Care l Sports Medicine l Orthopedic Surgery l
Richard “Lance” Snyder, MD Suite 140, 10777 Nall Avenue Overland Park, KS 66211 www.kcsportsmedicine.com
Call KC Sports Medicine, headed by Dr. Lance Snyder, for an appointment. 913.754.4599.
Take it from me, regular maintenance is the secret to longevity.
we donâ€™t just stand behind our ďŹ ne timepieces. we get inside of them. Bring your treasured timepieces into Tivol today for repair and restoration by our master watch makers.
HEALTHY SKIN WINTER IS TOUGH ON YOUR SKIN Especially if you suffer from psoriasis or other dry skin conditions. Many skin conditions are treatable … preventable … and even curable. In fact, a dermatological examination today can catch many small problems before they become big concerns tomorrow. If you want to ensure healthy, beautiful skin for the rest of your life — or if you just have a question about your skin — please call us today about scheduling an appointment. From skin rejuvenation therapies to cancer screening and treatment, Johnson County Dermatology is here to help.
JOIN THE Y. IT WILL FREE YOUR SPIRIT. FREE Healthy Lifestyle Programs FREE Personal Wellness Coaching FREE Water Exercise FREE Child Watch NO Joining Fee NEW Open Doors income-based pricing program
JOIN THE Y. JOIN THE COMMUNITY. 816 561 9622 KansasCityYMCA.org OUR MISSION The YMCA of Greater Kansas City, founded on Christian principles, is a charitable organization with an inclusive environment committed to enriching the quality of family, spiritual, social, mental and physical well-being.
ITâ€™S A BRAND NEW DAY
+ kids =
a healthy smile Preventive dental care for kids includes: • Proper nutrition and dietary habits • Brushing and flossing • Fluoride • Regular dental check-ups • Assessing risk for cavities • Oral health education
• Evaluating oral growth and development • Protection against injuries • Management of oral habits • Guidance of erupting teeth • Sealants • Orthodontics
At Pediatric Dental Specialists, preventative dentistry is our number one goal. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental disease and helping your child build healthy habits and a cavity-free smile.
100% juice is good for you
100% juice can increase your risk for cavities with increased or prolonged daily use.
Pediatric Dental Specialists Where kids are Dino-mite!
Donna K. Thomas DDS MS • Nicole R. Hawkinson DDS Claudia Z. Lopez DDS • Frank Crist DDS MS - Orthodontist
11401 Nall Avenue Leawood, KS 66211
3351 NE Ralph Powell Rd Lee’s Summit, MO 64064
209 NE Barry Rd Kansas City, MO 64155
Celebrate the start of every new year at home. Remodel for life. LifeWise Renovations is more than a remodeling company. We make it possible for you to live safely and comfortably at home regardless of age or
Call us today to schedule a Walk Through+ Assessment: 816-363-0600 Tour a LifeWise home at LifeWiseRenovations.com.
physical ability. By combining meticulous home remodeling project management with the expertise of health care professionals, LifeWise Renovations has become the trusted source in aging in place and universal design remodeling. Plan for your future by discovering the LifeWISE Process, our four-step remodeling system that brings personalized home improvements to life.
3500 West 75th Street â€˘ Suite 100 â€˘ Prairie Village, KS 66208 â€˘ 816-363-0600
from the publisher
time to focus on yourself The end-of-year holiday rush is over, and you survived. Now take a few minutes to be selfish!
You will find some great tips in this issue of Enhance to set you on your path. Many of you will explore a healthier mind, body or spirit. Others may find ways to become better connected with our community or in your personal relationships. The best advice I’ve heard in setting and sticking to resolutions can be found in the following pages. Don’t Google the answer – just kick back, read and then act!
Publisher and Executive Editor email@example.com www.enhance4life.com. Photo © Denise Williams
You managed to give thoughtful gifts to family and friends even though you were on a tight budget. You entertained out-of-town guests flawlessly despite catching the flu bug that Aunt Nancy imported from Ohio. The turkey that you cooked got rave reviews. You even stayed awake long enough to see midnight on New Year’s Eve. I’d even wager that most of you were able to put all the holiday decorations back in their boxes by Jan. 1, safely tucked away for next year. You gave and received with a gracious heart and if you didn’t, the guilt probably made you wish you had. Congratulations on surviving the holidays. If you are like me, you welcome the post-holiday slower pace that unveils itself in January – the sun setting before 6 p.m., cold Kansas City winter nights and a long stretch before the next major holiday. What a perfect time to give yourself permission to focus on YOU. Set the stage now for a healthy new year and a new, enhanced you. Take 15 selfish minutes after you read the magazine to write down your goals. Take the same 15 minutes at some point today or tomorrow to act on at least one of those goals. If you you can’t make it happen that day, then commit 15 minutes the following day.
Lose Weight in 2011 Learn the Facts: 1. Weight loss is hard! It is difficult to lose significant weight and keep it off. The International Journal of Obesity (September, 2000) reported on self dieters in a non-medical setting after 1 year of dieting. “At 1 year of follow-up, subjects had gained on average 0.7%” (around 1-3 lbs).
2. Choose a method that delivers results. Specific, physician-supervised strategies can average 44 pounds of weight loss in 3 months for many patients. The National Institutes of Health has stated that the physician-supervised, Very Low Calorie Diet, “may allow a patient who is moderately to extremely obese to lose about 3 to 5 pounds per week, for an average total weight loss of 44 pounds in 12 weeks.” See www.KansasDiet.com for details.
3. Cravings can sabotage. Appetite and food cravings can sabotage the most well-intentioned dieter. Appetite control, through nutrition and, when appropriate, FDA approved medications, can help patients adjust to a change in eating habits without hunger and feeling deprived.
4. Metabolism affects weight loss. An impaired or “sluggish” metabolism due to age, genetics, hormones, inactivity, or poor nutrition can slow weight loss. By evaluating and managing nutritional, hormonal and biochemical status, metabolism can often be improved, resulting in weight loss and improved blood pressure, blood sugars, cholesterol and energy.
For 14 years at the Center For Nutrition, we have assisted people just like you in the pursuit of optimal weight and metabolic health. Let us evaluate YOUR situation, YOUR health concerns, YOUR biochemistry, metabolism, and weight tendencies, and make specific recommendations based on YOUR needs and goals. Let us explain how a personalized medical evaluation and nutrition plan can help you lose weight.
We make it easy to get started, call 913-814-8222 for a free consultation. Dr. Tague and our staff of Nurse Practitioners, Nutritionists and Registered Dietitians are available to offer the tools, strategies, support, guidance, problem-solving and wisdom you’ll need as you pursue your weight and health goals!
HEATHER LOST OVER 90 POUNDS IN 7 MONTHS AND HAS KEPT IT OFF FOR OVER 2 YEARS!
Whether you have 10 or 100+ pounds to lose, call us TODAY and get the facts about Dr. Tague’s unique and thoughtful approach to personalized medical weight loss!
Rick Tague, MD, MPH Board certified: American Board of Bariatric Medicine, American Board of Family Practice. Tulane medical school degrees in Medicine and Public Health. Member Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.
Call 913-814-8222 for a FREE consultation! 4963 W. 135th • Leawood, KS 66224 For more information visit us online at KansasDiet.com
Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.
â€“ Cavett Robert,
lawyer and public speaker
Clockwise from top left: ÂŠ Istockphoto.com / Piccerella; Elena Schweitzer; Silvia Boratti; Enrico Fianchini; Scott Cramer; Eva Serrabassa; Marek Tihelka
10 truths about HPV Setting the record straight about the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S.
Winterize your skin Don’t let bitter weather suck the moisture right out of your skin.
3 reasons you’re not losing weight And lack of willpower isn’t one of them.
Donating blood How to prepare before you sign up to open a vein.
healthy eating One-dish dinners Save time while you eat healthy and adventurous food.
Food and your mood Learn how certain foods have a big impact on your blood sugar.
w w w . e n h a n c e 4 l i f e . co m
Executive Editor Mark Williams Creative director Dennis Esser
Contributing Editor Emily Farris
Urology Pay attention to your downstairs region.
Contributing photographer Denise Williams
Finances It’s safe to go back into the investment waters.
Cover Photo © istockphoto.com / blackred
Diet No kidding: Eat your vegetables.
Spine Mom was right: Stand up straight!
Feet You’re not imagining it: Your feet keep growing.
Muscles Protect your back by focusing on your core.
Eyes Think about a lifelong vision plan. Skin Cover up in bright sun – even during the winter.
Teeth You can do more than brush and floss.
Hearing Protect yourself from aggressively loud noises.
Heart A healthy weight is the key to your heart health.
Hair Watch out for one ingredient in your shampoo.
healthy relationships 22
Secrets of a school nurse School nurses dish on the important topics parents might ignore.
Contributing Writers Ryan Brown, Emily Farris, Gina B. Kellogg, Jerilyn McDermed, Heather Winslow Gibbons ADVERTISING Mark Williams, mwilliams@ enhancepublications.com 913-269-9227 Publisher Mark Williams Enhance Magazine is published by Enhance Publications. Any information contained within this publication should not be considered a substitute for consultation with a licensed physician. Enhance Publications, its affiliates, employees, contributors, writers, designers, and its Editorial Board of Advisors (“Publisher”) accept no responsibility for inaccuracies, errors or omissions with information for the claims made by Advertisers. Publisher expressly assumes no liability for any damages whatsoever that may be suffered by any patient, purchaser or user for any products or services advertised or mentioned editorially herein. You expressly agree that your use of the information in Enhance is at your sole risk. Photographs of any model in Enhance in no way suggest or imply that the subject has undergone any procedure or used the products showcased. Every effort is made to ensure accuracy in the information provided. Enhance Publications assumes no responsibility or liability for errors, changes, or omissions. Photography and material in the publication as well as design may not be copied or reproduced in any form without the written permission of: Enhance Magazine, 7111 W. 151st St., Overland Park, KS 66223. Phone: 913-269-9227, Fax: 913-322-1099 firstname.lastname@example.org All rights reserved. ©2010 Enhance Publications.
Volume 3, Issue 2 January/February 2011
12 things you can do this year to improve your health
Managing Editor/ Art Director Colleen Cooke
spotlight: new year, new you
| new year, new you |
Ja n u a r y/fe b r u a r y 2011
Bioidentical Hormones An alternative kind of hormone replacement therapy can relieve the difficult effects of menopause.
w w w . e n h a n c e 4 l i f e . co m
in this issue
The how-To guide for healThy living in Kansas CiTy
healthy community • calendar
local health events and activities
68’s Inside Sports Winter Swim Lessons Saturdays, Jan. 8-Feb. 12 68 Inside Sports, Overland Park, Kan. Cost: $66 Register: www.68insidesports.com or 913-888-9247 Contact: Nancy Stone, email@example.com Learn how to swim in small classes in a heated salt water pool. For 6-month-olds through adults.
Jowler Creek Winery’s Scrap ‘n’ Sip Thursday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m. Jowler Creek Winery, Platte City, Mo. Cost: free; 816-858-5528 Bring your photos, supplies and tools for an evening of scrapbooking. While cropping, you can enjoy a taste of each of Jowler Creek’s wines.
Improve Focus and Stress in kids
Tuesday, Jan. 25, 6-8 p.m. Brain Balance Center, 13916 Flint St., Overland Park, Kan. Contact: John Quattlebaum, jquattlebaum@brainbalance
centers.com; 913-627-9412 Cost: free Is your child’s ability not reflected in his or her grades? Learn hints and tips you can use at home or school right away to improve focus and reduce frustration.
Health Insurance for Autism Spectrum Disorders in Kansas
Polar Plunge Saturday, Jan. 29, noon Longview Lake, Lee’s Summit, Mo. www.somo.org/plungekc Join Special Olympics at Longview Lake for a huge event full of music, crazy costumes and laughter. You register, create a fundraising page, e-mail your friends and family and earn great blingware.
Thursday, Jan. 27, 6:30 p.m. University of Kansas Edwards Campus, 12600 Quivira Rd., Overland Park, Kan. Cost: free; no registration necessary 913-897-8471, firstname.lastname@example.org http://kcart.ku.edu/events/autisminsurance-workshop.shtml Informational meeting on new Kansas insurance coverage for some children with ASD, covering topics such as lessons learned from implementation of autism insurance law in other states and how to file insurance claims for Applied Behavior Analysis and other services.
29th Annual Children’s TLC Groundhog Run
Life in the USA: Men’s Health Concerns
Handmade Truffle Creations
Friday, Jan. 28, noon 1025 Orr Major, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan. Contact: Denise Johnson, email@example.com This is for men only and focuses on men’s health concerns, including what they are and how we take care of them.
Sunday, Jan. 30, 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Hunt Midwest SubTropolis, KCMO Cost: $35 for each race Register: www.sportkc.org Contact: Ali Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Children’s TLC Groundhog Run is believed to be one of the only 5K/10K races in the nation that is completely underground. With a consistent temperature of 65 to 68 degrees, the Hunt Midwest SubTropolis is the ideal venue for the 3,500 runners to compete in this annual winter event.
Sunday, Jan. 30, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Culinary Center of Kansas City, Overland Park, Kan. Cost: $60; www.kcculinary.com Learn how to make handmade truffles from a master artisan chocolatier. Class includes snacks and tastings. Bring a jacket as the temperature will be kept cool for the chocolate.
Do you have a health event you’d like to promote in Enhance magazine? Send your information to email@example.com
© istockphoto.com / Dmitry Naumov
Wake-Up Workout Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. Palmer Center, Independence, Mo. Cost: $2 per class, 816-325-6200 This low-impact aerobics class benefits the cardiovascular system for 50+ adults.
YOU’ll NEVER GUESS WHAT’S BEHIND THIS GREAT SMILE! If you’re avoiding orthodontic treatment because you don’t like the look of braces, we’ve got great news. Now, you can smile with confidence, even while you’re wearing brackets and wires. Incognito™ Orthodontic Braces can’t be seen because the brackets are mounted on the back side of the teeth. No one (except you and your orthodontist) will know they’re there. Every bracket is custom designed to fit the exact contour of each tooth. As a result, Incognito Braces are less likely to interfere with speech or cause discomfort. Most patients get better results in less time. Dr. Jeff Thompson is a premier provider of Incognito. He serves as a clinical advisor to 3M Unitek, the company that makes them. Call for a consultation with Dr. Jeff at our comfortable and convenient Leawood office.
ORTHODONTICS JEFF THOMPSON
KANSAS CITY’S P R E M I E R P R OVI D E R O F
Incognito™ Orthodontic Braces are placed on the back side of your teeth, so they are completely hidden from view. No one will know that you are wearing braces unless you tell them.
A fresh and polished approach to oral health 4851 W. 134TH ST, SUITE A • LEAWOOD, KS 66209
healthy community • calendar
local health events and activities Girls’ Night In
Friday, Feb. 4 Events throughout Kansas City metro www.heart.org Join our mission to ensure we never have to deny research that could save a woman’s life. “Going Red” is as easy as putting on a red dress, a red scarf, a red tie or a red dress pin – just WEAR RED to show your support in the fight against heart disease – women’s No. 1 killer.
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 5:30 p.m. Hyatt Regency Crown Center Cost: $100 per person 913-588-8888 www.achangeofheartkc.org Host your friends for a fabulous evening of cocktails and food tasting, topped off with wit and wisdom from Lisa Lillien, author of the “Hungry Girl” cookbooks. This girlfriends’ evening of fun, food and friendship is designed to increase awareness about women’s heart health.
WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration
Friday, Feb. 4, 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Hyatt Regency Crown Center Cost: $75 per person www.winforkc.org, 816-389-4191 The luncheon, presented by Bank of America, is WIN for KC’s annual celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and is the largest of its kind in the country. Featured speaker: Olympic medalist Jennie Finch, who pitched for Team USA softball.
Child & Infant CPR for Parents and Grandparents
Winter Birds & Migration
Wednesday, Feb. 9, and Wednesday, March 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saint Luke’s Northland Hospital – Barry Road Cost: $30 per person Register: 816-932-6220 Learn basic life-support skills to assist an adult victim and children (birth through age 8) with hands-on mannequin practice, injury, poison prevention and choking management included.
Saturday, Feb. 5, 1-2:30 p.m. Prairie Oak Nature Center, 14701 Mission Rd., Leawood, Kan. 913-681-0902 x10, www.leawood.org For ages 7 to 10; cost: $8 This class for children will cover bird identification, what they need to survive, types of seed, feeders, migration routes of many birds and more. Includes a craft and short hike.
Thursday, Feb. 10, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Olathe Medical Center Cost: $25 Register: www.olathehealth.org or 913-791-4312 This class is designed to guide the 8- to 11-year-old girl and her mom or guardian through the changes of
Growing Up Girls
puberty and menarche in a gentle, humorous, non-threatening way.
Communication Tips for the Hard-of-Hearing Listener Wednesday, Feb. 23, 1:30 p.m. Overland Park Community Center Cost: $7 for Johnson County residents; $8 for non-residents Register: 913-642-6410 Reducing background noise, reducing the distance between you and the listener, good lighting – learn these tips and more to help you hear better in this 60-minute class. Class material presented by a professional from the Audiology and Balance Center.
33rd annual Westport St. Patrick’s Day run Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m. Westport Road & Pennsylvania Avenue Register online through March 8: www.sportkc.org Cost: between $18-$30 (special rates for early registration and for commission members) Take part in this four-mile run and walk in the heart of Westport. Costumes and festive attire are encouraged, so start planning your outfit. The top three most creative costumes win cash prizes. All children are invited to participate in the Fun Run afterward (around 11:15 a.m.). Cost for kids: $8 -$15.
Do you have a health event you’d like to promote in Enhance magazine? Send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org
© istockphoto.com / Nicolas Loran
National Wear Red Day
healthy community • blood donation
donating blood January is Blood donor Month
Tips and precautions 24 hours beforehand, do not smoke or drink alcohol. n On the day of your donation, drink lots of liquids, specifically those with added electrolytes, to help replenish your body after the donation. n Arrive a little early and be prepared to give some health history. n The procedure takes an average of 8-10 minutes and will include filling multiple vials with blood. n It is common to feel light-headed or dizzy during or after the procedure. Take any snacks or juice they offer you to get your sugar level back to normal and ease the symptoms. n Rest for an hour after the procedure and avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours. n Eat a low-fat meal within five hours of donating and keep drinking electrolyterich fluids. n While your body can handle more regular donations, it is suggested you stick to one donation of whole blood every eight weeks.
(www.redcrossblood.org) to find a blood drive near you (you must be 17 and weigh at least 110 pounds). Because the whole process takes only about 20 minutes, walk-ins are almost always welcome, though the site allows you to set up an appointment. Donating Platelets Platelets help control bleeding and clotting and can be siphoned out of your blood through a process called apheresis. This process takes longer than whole-blood donations – typically around two hours – and for this reason most centers do not take walk-ins. They take blood from one arm, process the platelets, and then return the blood back into your body, upon which your body will replenish its platelet supply fully within 48 hours. Donating Plasma Plasma transports water and nutrients to all the cells in your body and is used for patients who require a transfusion after suffering burns, shock or trauma. The first time you donate plasma it will take a few hours, but the process ultimately takes about 30 minutes. You will also be compensated for your plasma at most locations, around $35 per donation.
© istockphoto.com / Timothey Kosachev
Most U.S. blood centers have difficulty keeping more than a three-day supply of blood for transfusions. This means the blood you donated last month is already gone. The need for blood, platelets and plasma is constant, but only three in every 100 Americans donate blood. Baby boomers currently account for the most blood donations, but they are reaching the age when medications and health issues disqualify them from being able to donate. While some communities often have more blood than they need, others are constantly in need. The Red Cross has created a sharing program, which gives surplus to communities in need; this is particularly important in the wake of disasters. And if you were to donate blood today, it could be separated into four components, helping to save many lives. Some blood types are in greater need than others. Type O Negative blood can be given to anyone, regardless of their blood type and is invaluable in cases with unidentified victims and large-scale disasters. Type AB Negative is also incredibly valuable, as it is present in only 1 percent of the population. Giving blood is easy. Go to the Red Cross blood donation Web site
health bits • tidbits
Tidbits, fun facts and helpful hints to enhance your life
Money really is dirty
Night owls and night lights
If you stay up late and are exposed to light from a computer, TV or lamp, it might lead to weight gain. Researchers found that mice that lived with light at night put on weight even when their food intake did not increase. For one thing, the mice exposed to night light ate at different times, which led to improper metabolization. Previous studies have indicated that shift workers are more susceptible to heart disease and diabetes, and that these risks may be associated with weight gain.
Almond skins help fight infections
With cold and flu season upon us, you might want to add almonds to your diet to help fight infections. The skin of almonds contains chemicals that enhance the immune system’s response to cold and flu viruses.
When almond skin extracts were pitted against HSV-2 – a common and hardy virus that causes cold sores – the nut proved effective against the virus, but when they used almond skins that had been removed through blanching, the benefit faded significantly. Almond skins are sometimes removed before the nuts are consumed. The skins appear to improve the ability of helper T cells, a type of white blood cells, to identify viruses and also increase the body’s ability to prevent spread and replication of viruses.
Clean scents promote ethical actions Want your kids to behave better? Clean the house. A new study shows that clean smells promote ethical behavior. The findings, from Katie Liljenquist, a Brigham Young University professor, indicate that clean rooms help others act more charitable and can elevate good behavior. In the study, a few sprays of citrus scented Windex was used to create a clean smell that was found to make people more honest, ethical and charitable. The study compared the behavior of individuals working in rooms with no scent to those in rooms spritzed with Windex. Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University says that researchers have known for years that scents play an active role in reviving positive or negative experiences.
Safety Panel Bans Drop-Side Cribs
Drop-side cribs will soon be obsolete because of a ban by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Starting in June, crib manufacturers will no longer be able to make or sell drop-side cribs, which allow one side to be raised or lowered on tracks so parents can more easily access their baby. Babies can suffocate or be strangled when a side detaches and creates a gap. Drop-side rails were associated with 32 suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000.
A new study warns that a lot of paper money might be contaminated with BPA (bisphenol-A) – not to mention traces of cocaine and bacteria. n BPA: 95 percent of money in one test contained BPA, which is associated with male fertility problems and male sexual function, asthma in children and heart problems. n Bacteria: In one study of 68 old, worn dollar bills, five bills had bacteria that can cause infections like the flu, while 59 had bacteria that can cause serious illnesses in weakened immune systems. n Cocaine: Up to 90 pecent of American paper money is contaminated with cocaine. As much as 1,200 micrograms (the size of 50 grains of sand) was found on some bills, although most money had much less.
Clockwise from top: © istockphoto.com / Ed Hidden; P_Wei; Creativeeye99
There is hope.
When you’re battling
urological issues you want the best technology on your side. You want Kansas City Urology Care.
For complex procedures, robotassisted surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System may be the most effective, least invasive treatment option. Surgeons can operate with greater precision and control, minimizing the pain and risk associated with large incisions. Trust your treatments to the urology specialists.
SKILLED SURGEONS Our highly skilled surgeons provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of urological issues – and each patient is treated as a partner in his or her medical care.
The surgeons at Kansas City Urology Care are experts in diseases of the prostate, kidney stone removal and urinary incontinence. You can trust KCUC for all your urological concerns. Kansas City:
• Research Medical Center 816-444-5525
• Menorah Medical Center 913-338-5585
• St. Luke’s Plaza 816-531-1234
• St. Luke’s South 816-531-1234
• Shawnee Mission Medical Center 913-831-1003
• Across from St. Luke’s East 816-524-1007
• Shawnee Mission Outpatient Pavilion 913-831-1003
North Kansas City: • North Kansas City Hospital 816-842-6717
Chronic pain can have devastating effects on everyday life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. St. Joseph Medical Center’s Pain Clinic provides comprehensive pain management care utilizing state-of-the art treatment options. Our board-certified physicians work closely with you to develop care plans combining a variety of interventions and therapies to help you return to getting the most out of life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 816-943-3926.
Chronic Pain Doesn’t Have to Be a Way of Life
denisewilliams enhance magazine
P H OTO G R A P H Y
St. Joseph Pain Clinic’s board-certified physicians: Vincent G. Johnson, DO; Richard L. Morgan, MD; N. Wayne Brown, MD; James Edward Johnson, DO
health bits • smoking
quit smoking for new year’s:
7 tips for success One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to quit smoking, but it’s a good idea no matter what time of the year. “Be aware that smokers have different experiences when they quit,” says Dr. Norman Edelman, ALA chief medical officer. “Some may feel tired or even easily excitable. Others may feel lightheaded, nervous or irritable and experience headaches in addition to craving tobacco or sweets. Know
these feelings are normal and may last for several weeks, but eventually they will pass.” The ALA’s Freedom From Smoking program is offered over eight sessions in a group setting because the support of others is a beneficial component of the quitting process. Or, you can sign up for the Freedom From Smoking Online (www.ffsonline.org) and take part privately at home.
Quitting Tips from the American Lung Association n Talk to your doctor
about the different over-thecounter and prescription medications and various types of treatments available to help you quit smoking.
n Look into the different
smokers quit. The American Lung Association (www.lungusa.org) offers tools like Freedom From Smoking Online. n Take time to plan. Pick your quit date a few weeks ahead of time and mark it on the calendar. If you can, pick a day that isn’t stressful, such as after the holidays or a major event in your life. As your quit day approaches,
n Get some exercise every
day. Walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting. Exercise is proven to not only combat weight gain, but it also improves mood and energy levels. n Eat a balanced diet; drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. n Ask family, friends and co-workers for help and support. Having someone to take a walk with or just listen can give a needed boost. n You don’t have to quit alone. Consider joining a stop-smoking program like Freedom From Smoking offered by the ALA.
© istockphoto.com / Milos Luzanin
options available to help
gather the medications and tools you need and map out how you’re going to handle situations that make you want to smoke.
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nOrTH kansas cITy 6400 Prospect, Suite 346 Kansas City, Missouri 64132
healthy relationships • school nurses
School nurses don’t have the scary Nurse Ratched look anymore. Gone are the little white caps or creepy, soundless shoes. Maybe that’s why many parents don’t tend to give them the respect they deserve. After all, these women – the ratio of female to male nurses is still rather disproportional – see your children in situations you never do. Yet, when school nurses try to talk to parents about health issues and related topics, many parents seem to pooh-pooh their advice.
© istockphoto.com / Elena Schweitzer
Enhance asked several school nurses in the Kansas City area what they’d like parents to know. Sue Miller, M.S.N., R.N., N.C.S.N., health services resource specialist for the Shawnee Mission School District, took our questions to nurses representing area elementary, middle and high schools. Here’s what they had to say.
healthy relationships • school nurses
Secrets of a
School nurses dish on the important topics Parents might ignore.
By Gina Kellogg
What are the most important issues you would like parents to know more about?
ANNUAL IMMUNIZATIONS ARE CRITICAL Any time your child gets an immunization, please share the information with the school so that your school nurse can ensure your child’s record is complete.
YOUR NAIVETE CAN HURT YOUR CHILD Parents must educate themselves so they can talk openly and honestly with their students about issues such as tobacco, drugs and alcohol, including prescription drug abuse, healthy life habits, sexual activity and bullying. Let the school know if you have concerns so you and the nurse can work together to support your student.
And Parents, keep things in perspective: head lice is not the end of the world.
© istockphoto.com / Jeffrey Smith
Kids need good examples Every parent should communicate openly with their school and with their children and work to build strong, healthy relationships at every level. Parents should parent actively, setting examples for healthy eating and exercise, as well as setting appropriate sleep and wake times for their students. Doing so will allow students to be awake, fed and ready to learn when they arrive.
healthyrelationships mind • lists • school nurses healthy
SPecialiStS, P.a. Dr. Amy L. Gillihan* Dr. Daniel J. Thomas* Dr. Melissa A. Combs* Dr. Jonathan S. Thomas *Diplomates, American Board of Periodontology
A visit to periodoNtaL speciaLists can improve your overall health – and give you peace of mind.
What message have you tried to get across, but parents just don’t seem to listen?
11401 Nall Avenue Leawood, KS 66211 913.663.4867
Allow for healing. Students often come back to school too soon. When they do, they infect others and end up being sent back home because they can’t make it through the day. Students should stay home for an additional 24 hours if they have had a fever of 100 degrees or higher or have experienced vomiting or diarrhea.
NorthLaNd 209 NE Barry Rd. Kansas City, MO 64155 816.436.6767
Don’t ask for diagnoses.
Lee’s summit 3355 NE Ralph Powell Rd. Lee’s Summit, MO 64064 816.525.4867 (GUMS)
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Understand that, although they are professional registered nurses, school nurses cannot diagnose strep throat or broken fingers. While they can give a professional opinion,
sometimes you need to follow up with your primary-care doctor. Heed Vision and hearing. Your students’ education will be affected if they cannot see or hear adequately. Follow up if your child fails a vision or hearing screening so he or she can be successful at school. Nurses have resources to help if you need them; eye doctor appointments and glasses are expensive, and not everyone has vision insurance. Be on time. Regularly being tardy
adds up to considerable lost educational time, as well as becoming a habit for future school and work.
© istockphoto.com / Jack Hollingsworth
healthy relationships • school nurses
What common illnesses or injuries do parents need to pay attention to? Concussion. This is an injury to the brain, and it often occurs without loss of consciousness. It can cause lingering symptoms, such as headache, mood swings, dizziness, learning difficulties, forgetfulness and, most dangerous, second-impact syndrome. This is a situation where even a minor second head bump can cause the brain injury to be more severe and have more lasting symptoms. Psychological issues. Mental
illness in children, including ADHD and behavioral problems, need to be treated – and not always with just with medication but also with therapy, if possible. At the elementary level, most children with a mental illness cannot self-monitor and control their
behavior on their own. A combination of medication and therapy can help your child be successful in school and help you be more effective with your student. The school cannot do it alone. Asthma. It can become lifethreatening, so inform the school nurse if your student has asthma. Provide current rescue medicines, and follow up with your primary-care practitioner. Obesity. Being overweight can affect every aspect of your student’s life. If your child is overweight, contact your school nurse or your primarycare practitioner for resources. Don’t assume your child will “grow out of it.” Being overweight as a child leads to being overweight as an adult and can result in serious health problems.
What medications are okay for a child to have with them, on their person?
For safety reasons, students cannot carry medication with them unless it is for the treatment of diabetes or asthma. Students must check in all medications to their school nurse in the original container. This allows the nurse to be aware of what medications students are taking and lets them monitor the students for symptoms and side effects.
© istockphoto.com / RMAX; Robert Byron
Cough drops? Nose spray? Ibuprofen? Are all meds verboten or does it depend on the child’s age?
healthy relationships • school nurses
What is the bottom line when it comes to sending a child with a cold to school? If he has the sniffles but no fever, should you send him? If she is coughing but has no fever? If there’s a fever – no matter how low? Keep your child home if any of these statements are true: n she is coughing constantly n symptoms are severe n symptoms are making him miserable n symptoms would be distracting to others n he has a fever of 100 degrees or higher Otherwise, colds typically are viral illnesses, which run their course after a week or so and can be managed at school with fluids and medication if needed.
How can you tell if a child is faking illness?
What can you do at home to help ensure your child doesn’t get an illness that is spreading through school? Frequent, good hand washing is the most important thing anyone can do to prevent the spread of illness. Teach your child proper hand washing
and encourage it frequently at home and at school. You should only use antibacterial gel when soap and water are not available or practical.
“Don’t tell your student, ‘If you don’t feel better, go see the nurse.’ When you do, your child will take this advice very literally. Often, he or she will go directly from your car to the nurse’s office.”
© istockphoto.com / Sefaoncul
If you keep your child home and he seems to be doing fine once the day has started, or if she feels well enough to be up playing, talking or texting on the phone, or if he has a good appetite, etc., then that child is probably well enough to be at school. If your child simply seems to want to stay home, however, there is probably a reason. Find out how things are going at school – socially and educationally.
Sometimes you need to look closer at all the facts. We encourage you to learn as much as possible so you can be confident of your chance for success. We are the region’s most experienced in helping infertile couples become parents. We’re also the region’s leading innovator with a full range of treatment options ranging from minimal therapies to high-tech procedures. Look closely at the facts and check the stats. Visit www.rrc.com or call (913) 894-2323.
Celeste Brabec, M.D. • Ryan Riggs, M.D.
healthy body • weight loss
“If only I didn’t like pasta so much...”
“If only I could resist the chocolate croissant at the coffee shop every day...”
If any of those statements sound familiar, you’ve probably blamed your willpower, or lack thereof, for excess weight at some point in your life. But Dr. Rick Tague, M.P.H, and founder of the Center for Nutrition and Preventive Medicine in Leawood and Topeka, Kan., would tell you to stop being so hard on yourself. In fact, he says willpower has very little, if nothing, to do with weight. “For those who have not studied the science, it seems so obvious to think, ‘Well, if that person just had self control
they wouldn’t be obese.’ But the fact is that when you really research the details behind what triggers the weight gain, it’s not so simple. It’s not so much about willpower and character,” Dr. Tague says. Weight is influenced by factors more complicated than willpower, which means that the solution is more complicated than “just don’t eat that.” Tague believes that there are three reasons people don’t lose weight: appetite, metabolism and nutrition. But even if you think you’ve heard all of that before, his theory might surprise you.
losing Don’t blame your lack of willpower for your troubles at the scale
By Emily Farris
© istockphoto.com / Amy Walters
“If only I wouldn’t have had that first French fry...”
healthy body • weight loss
reason one: appetite “Adding an extra layer of warmth” might be an easy excuse for winter weight gain, but there’s a reason people tend to overeat in the colder months: The less time they spend outdoors, the less they’re exposed to the sunshine necessary for creating vitamin D in the body. This, says Tague, changes the brain’s biochemistry and can mix up the body’s appetite signals. “The brain recognizes the vitamin deficiency, for example, and it will send you out to get more food in an attempt to compensate,” he says. And unless the food is high in vitamin D, like salmon or tuna, the body won’t get what it needs and will send more appetite signals to the brain. “Then, the more weight you gain, the more the fat dilutes the fat-soluble vitamin D in the body and the levels drop further,” Tague says. “Then you crave more food, usually carbohydrates and gain more weight, so the problem gets worse.” A vitamin D deficiency, he says, is just one example of how brain biochemistry can affect a person’s appetite. And there’s
“Willpower generally isn’t an effective strategy for controlling appetite because appetite is not in the realm of willpower or character.” an important difference between appetite and hunger. Appetite, he says, is not stomach-growling physical hunger – it’s a lack of satiety, and really anything that motivates a person to consume calories. “Willpower generally isn’t an effective strategy for controlling appetite because appetite is not in the realm of willpower or character,” Tague says. “Studies have shown time and again that trying to manage appetite strictly with willpower, while ignoring the biochemistry of appetite signals in the brain, is ineffective.” What is effective, he says, is managing the levels of micro and macronutrients in the body. “You really need the whole spectrum of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids at the same time, along with a good overall nutrition plan,” he says.
While a multivitamin isn’t a magic pill for controlling appetite, it’s a start. But Tague says that in order for vitamins to truly be effective, people need to be aware of their bodies’ deficiencies so they can take appropriate supplements. Leigh Wagner, integrative nutritionist and registered dietitian at the University of Kansas Medical Center, believes biochemical testing is an important step before beginning a weight-loss program. “Sometimes people are deficient in zinc or vitamin D and will need a supplement. Or if someone is low in selenium we might recommend they eat a couple of Brazil nuts each day,” she says. “Biochemical testing is so beneficial because it helps you figure out exactly what your body needs to function at its best.”
3 reasons you’re not
(and none of them are willpower)
healthy body • weight loss
reason two: metabolism While Tague admits it takes a certain amount of dedication to get out of bed at 6 a.m. to run two miles in 20-degree weather, most slow metabolisms can be attributed to modern life. “Our bodies were not designed to be sedentary; they were designed to be physically active,” he says.
“With our sedentary jobs, we’re sitting around, our muscles are in atrophy and our heart rates are down at resting rates.” Luckily, there are plenty of ways to manage metabolism, and most of them don’t involve having the “willpower” to hit the gym regularly.
“Our bodies were not designed to be sedentary; they were designed to be physically active.”
Muscle burns fat, so exercise can increase your muscle mass. But even if you don’t run or lift weights, incorporate more activities into your day like highly physical chores and walking. And earlier is better. Not only does it affect mood, energy and appetite for the remainder of the day, but it also gets it out of the way.
“Unprocessed foods that are higher in fiber, like vegetables, require more energy to be digested, so choosing unprocessed foods will increase your metabolism,” Tague says. And a sugar-filled, flavored latte for breakfast can affect more than just calorie count. “It signals the body to increase insulin, and insulin moves those sugar calories into the fat cells and you start gaining weight that day,” he says.
Ensuring you have the right level of nutrients in your body can affect more than just your appetite; it can affect your metabolism. “If you don’t have adequate iron stores in your body, your muscles are not going to be strong and healthy,” Tague says. And he says vitamin D is as important for strong muscles as it is for bones.
Skimping on the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep can do more than affect your mood and appetite. “With sleep deprivation, your metabolism will be geared more toward fat storage than the burning of calories,” Tague says.
In cold weather, your body works harder to stay warm. So instead of cuddling up under a blanket, go for a walk. Even drinking cold water and eating ice can increase metabolism because your body uses extra calories to heat up the water or ice.
“When they do obesity studies, they’ll record an obese person at the desk job all day and then they’ll take a video of a thin person at the desk job all day,” Tague says. “There’s a major difference, and usually it is that the thin people are fidgeters.”
Sometimes increasing metabolism is as simple as acting like a thin person, Tague says. “Instead of making fewer trips across the room to get a file, or a cup of coffee, make more trips. Make it a point to get up more often.”
From top: © istockphoto.com / Olivier Blondeau; Andyd; Jill Chen
healthy body • weight loss
Tague emphasizes a diet rich in lean proteins, high-nutrient-dense, nonstarchy vegetables and some fruits – because even when people think they’re doing themselves a favor by eating lots of fruits, Tague says they could be slowing their weight-loss. “(At the center) we have an order of preference for vegetables and fruits,” he says. “Berries would be at the top and things that have a higher sugar and starch content would be at the bottom.” And when it comes to starchy fruits like bananas, Tague says half is plenty, but it’s not willpower that will keep someone from eating the second half of the banana. “If you control the appetite, then all of a sudden you can control portion sizes, but if you don’t have the appetite control, you’re going to eat the whole banana.” Which brings Tague’s theory for weight loss full circle, or at least pretty close: Appetite affects nutrition, and nutrition affects appetite; they both affect metabolism. So it must follow that bad nutrition choices can’t be attributed solely to a lack of willpower. Even putting back too much fried food can be traced back to the body’s biochemistry. “What’s the most common vegetable in America? French fries. We don’t have a deficiency of starchy carbohydrates in America; we have an excess,” Tague says. “So we end up having a deficiency of quality protein, vitamins and minerals.” Those deficiencies, combined with high consumption of starchy foods, can create the perfect biochemical storm for weight gain – and a road block for weight loss. “More carbohydrates trigger more insulin release, and insulin is such a powerful hormone that affects metabolism and appetite tendencies,” he says. “High
insulin begins to store fat, not burn it. Often times it’s related to, over time, people consuming more carbohydrates than they need.” Unfortunately, all of that can just lead to a craving for even more carbohydrates because, Wagner says, carbohydrate addiction and overeating is all rooted in malnutrition. “When your body’s not functioning properly, it’s not absorbing what it needs, which can lead to cravings,” she says. “Those cravings are going to lead you to scavenge around for more bad foods.” Tague believes the answer is an individualized approach: finding out where each person is deficient, regulating those deficiencies while factoring in other medical issues and taking the time to council patients on overall nutrition. “We have registered dieticians, and their whole job is to counsel patients on nutrition. We problem solve. We teach them how to do half a banana,” he says. “We take the time to talk about blueberries versus apples.”
“We don’t have a deficiency of starchy carbohydrates in America; we have an excess. So we end up having a deficiency of quality protein, vitamins and minerals.”
© istockphoto.com / Elena Schweitzer
reason three: nutrition
We are dedicated to one thing:
symptoms: why do my back and legs hurt? Maybe it started one morning when you woke up. Was it a dull, aching pain in your back that spread to your legs once you were up and moving around?
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are daily tasks causing you discomfort? Before mild Thickening of ligamentum flavum narrows the spinal canal and creates pressure on the nerves.
Ligamentum flavum is reduced in size, treating the source of pain by creating space and removing pressure on the nerves.
When youâ€™re active, do you notice numbness in your legs or a â€œpins and needlesâ€? sensation? Maybe you have to hold on to something to catch your balance just to bend over. Does walking or standing make it worse? Has going grocery shopping or getting the mail become a painful chore that requires resting or sitting to stop the leg pain? Does it feel any better to hunch over while walking? Do you get relief by sitting down or putting your feet up?
these are all signs of
lumbar spinal stenosis.
lumbar spinal stenosis? Your spine supports your back and body while protecting the bundle of nerve tissues that runs from your brain to your lower body, called the spinal cord. the bony channel enclosing the spinal cord is the spinal canal. Normally there is enough space between the spinal cord and the spinal canal to allow the nerves to pass freely through the Healthy spine spinal canal. With age, however, the ligaments and bones outside the spinal canal may thicken and cause the spinal canal to narrow. this narrowing of the spinal canal is called spinal stenosis. When this condition occurs in the lower part of the spine, it is called lumbar spinal stenosis. Narrowing can compress or pinch the nerve tissues and cause pain, numbness and disability. Spine with stenosis the type of spinal stenosis will determine the treatment strategy. Neurogenic claudication is a symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis, producing pain in the buttocks, thigh or leg. Symptoms may be brought on by walking and prolonged standing.
The physicians at Pain Management Associates are trained in performing the mild procedure. Call us for a consultation at one of our multiple locations throughout the Kansas City metro.
relieving your pain. introducing introducing
aasafe, safe,therapeutic therapeutic alternative. alternative. if you’re currently suffering from lumbar if you’re currently suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), you may already spinal stenosis (LSS), you may already bebe aware ofof thethe typical treatments: pain aware typical treatments: pain medications, injections, physical therapy medications, injections, physical therapy or or open surgery. open surgery. Your doctor may employ a variety of methods to rule other possible now there isout ais new treatment option now there a new treatment option conditions that can produce symptoms that could bebe just right forfor you – – that could just right you similar to lumbar spinal stenosis. You’ll be one one thatcould could asked to describe your history ofthat symptoms, whether they’ve changed, asreduce well as any oror reduce treatments or medications you’ve tried. your eliminate eliminate your
mild mildworks. works.
mild may bebe the safe, fast and simple mild may the safe, fast and simple solution you’ve been searching for. solution you’ve been searching for. typically performed using a local anesthetic with typically performed using a local anesthetic with light sedation, trained physicians useuse thethe mild light sedation, trained physicians mild procedure to to restore space in the spinal canal procedure restore space in the spinal canal while maintaining structural stability byby locating while maintaining structural stability locating and removing only those portions of of tissue and and removing only those portions tissue and bone that pinch thethe spinal nerves and cause pain. bone that pinch spinal nerves and cause pain. thethe procedure takes procedure takes only about anan hour to to only about hour perform and uses only perform and uses only a minimal entry point a minimal entry point (about thethe diameter (about diameter of of a pencil). nono sutures a pencil). sutures areare required. required.
debilitating debilitatingback back Your doctor will examine you and check for and leg pain. and leg pain. movement limitations in your spine, balance problems and pain. Expect your doctor to it’sit’scalled called check for abnormality or loss of reflexes, muscle weakness and sensory loss.
Afterwards, your doctor may use various tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as an X-ray, MRI, CAt scan or Myelogram.
Most patients areare able to to return home thethe same Most patients able return home same day. Unlike major surgery, patients generally day. Unlike major surgery, patients generally return to to their typical routine within a few days. return their typical routine within a few days. Rehabilitation following thethe mild treatment is is Rehabilitation following mild treatment usually much faster and easier than that of of open usually much faster and easier than that open surgical procedures. surgical procedures.
actual size ofof actual size portal access: portal access: 5.1mm 5.1mm there have been nono reported serious adverse there have been reported serious adverse events related to to thethe mild procedure or or devices. events related mild procedure devices.
You don’t have to live with pain. We can help. Call (816) 763-1559 • www.kcpain.com
health education • resolutions
new year |
Mark your calendar. Now’s the time to make some changes. |
Kansas City experts offer 12 focused steps to put you on the path to a healthier life this year.
© istockphoto.com / Blackred
By Gina Kellogg
health education • resolutions
new you before you start Sally Berry, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and president/owner of Bodyfuel Inc. in Overland Park, Kan., knows many people want to kick off the New Year with healthier habits. “It’s a good to time to get a fresh start – to determine what you’re going to need this year without going on another extreme dieting regime and then giving it up in four weeks when you are tired of it,” she says. She recommends clients get an expert evaluation, including blood tests, before they meet with her (or, obviously, before beginning any new exercise program). Once she is armed with recent health details, along with a medical history, she can evaluate an individual’s nutrition, fitness and overall lifestyle and determine where to go from there. She explains that a primary reason to work with a professional is the mass of information available today. “Nutrition has become very, very complicated,” Berry says. “There are so many messages out there that I think that, a lot of times, it gets confusing for people. We put so much emphasis on calories and fat grams and the like that we tend to overlook the obvious: eating nutritious foods. We need to get back to just good, basic, healthy eating.”
One of my favorite gifts is a new daily desk calendar. Each morning when I sit down at my computer, the first thing I do is rip off yesterday’s page to reveal the new day’s offering. No matter what calendar sits on my desk – “Dilbert,” “Calvin and Hobbes,” daily Bible quotations, etc. – I always relish that sense of satisfaction in tossing out the old day and starting again anew. Each year, we have 365 days to start anew. Sure, it’s easy to get discouraged when we set goals and then fall short. And it’s easy to take comfort in the fact that we’re not alone in this. Specfically, according to 2008 research by Stephen Shapiro and the Opinion Research Corp. in Princeton, N.J., only 8 percent of people are always successful in attaining their resolutions. But that’s no reason to give up. So whether you already trashed your 2011 New Year’s resolutions or you didn’t make any at all, we’re here to help. Experts from throughout the Kansas City area provide their tips on one significant step you can take in 12 areas of your life to improve it this year. Whether you choose to tackle them all at once or try just one a month over the course of the year, the key is simply not to give up when you stumble. So mark off yesterday on your calendar, and give yourself a new chance to succeed today.
health education • urology
your “downstairs” region
Ladies, quit trying to hold it. Go to the As mentioned, Padmanabhan bathroom when you feel the urge. And says that fluid modification and once you’re in there, don’t rush. Give timed voiding can prevent or yourself a chance to empty your bladder reduce incontinence and frequency completely. of urinary tract infections. When That’s the key advice from Dr. conservative methods are not adequate Priya Padmanabhan, M.P.H., assistant for management of incontinence, professor of urology/female urology medications and surgery are other and reconstructive surgery at the options. University of Kansas Hospital. As for men, Dr. Doug Tietjen, “Women are in such a rush to navigate medical director of Kansas City Urology through their days that they ignore Care, P.A. in Overland Park, Kan., says urinary symptoms that cause signifithe key to good urologic health boils cant changes in their quality of life,” down to one factor that impacts your she says. “Incontinence and recurrent general health: maintain a normal body urinary tract infections are not uncomweight. mon. Behavioral modification such as Tietjen says numerous studies show decreasing caffeine intake, limita direct correlation between ing excessive fluid intake and obesity and urologic-related urinating at regular interillnesses such as kidney The key to vals with adequate time stones, prostate cancer good urologic allowed for emptying and kidney cancer. the bladder completely “Quite frankly,” health: a are successful first-line Tietjen says, “we don’t normal body options.” know whether it is weight.
something with the added adipose (body fat) cells in the body – that, somehow, there are free radicals (a possible cause of cancer and other degenerative diseases) that are being derived from these fat cells – or whether it is the lifestyle that accompanies the overweight individual in the United States that causes these risks to increase. But there are clear differences between people who are not overweight and those having these diseases.” Having excess body fat also can lead to metabolic syndrome, a particular problem for men because of its connection to erectile dysfunction. Men can easily identify their risk: Simply measure your belly. Several studies have shown that a sizeable paunch has impact in this area. “If you are 35 inches or less, then that is an indicator you are within a favorable abdominal-obesity ratio for your height,” Tietjen says. “Therefore, you’re probably in a lowerrisk category for these diseases.”
© istockphoto.com / Jim Larson
peace of mind • finances
Finances are a complicated business. And with the current economy, it’s no wonder Kevin Hennessy, vice president and investment advisor for Country Club Financial Services Inc., insisted he couldn’t focus on only one financial factor. “No single idea or strategy is good for all people,” he says. “Considering the events of the past two to three years, many people who had been stock market investors were frightened from the stock market.”
Hennessy’s advice is fivefold 1. Revisit your personal appetite for risk. 2. Re-assess the current investing environment. 3. Compare the result to your current portfolio. 4. Get back into the equity markets (for example, stocks), if that’s appropriate for your situation. 5. Increase the amount you’re putting into your retirement plan.
No matter what the economy is doing, Hennessy says the beginning of the year is a good time to review all details of your financial picture. He suggests asking yourself these questions: n Have I updated beneficiary designations on my retirement accounts and my life insurance? n Can I contribute more to my retirement plan? n Does my investment portfolio reflect my risk tolerance and my expectation of returns? n If I am near retirement, do I have a strategy for generating income from my retirement-plan investments? n If I’m in retirement, are my investments giving me the income I want or need? “With interest rates currently at historic lows and the Federal Reserve and the govern
ment implementing policies designed to boost economic growth, it’s a good time to take advantage of the current investing opportunities,” he says. “Corporate profits are improving, and that will drive stock prices higher. Even for those who invest for income, it is possible to capture a dividend return exceeding 3.5 percent in a portfolio of stock in today’s market.” Hennessy admits that you can’t talk about investing today without acknowledging the severe pain that stock investors endured over the past 10 years. “(Despite) that pain – and the losses in investment accounts during that period notwithstanding – over the long term, stocks have a greater return than any other asset class,” he says. “For the sake of one’s retirement, investors need to overcome fear and make rational decisions about their investment decisions and asset allocations.”
Now is a good time to take advantage of current investing opportunities.
© istockphoto.com / Webking
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healthy eating • diet
Revamp your diet by emphasizing fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.
The cow in the Chick-fil-A ads implores consumers to “Eat Mor Chikin.” Given the opportunity, a panicked chicken might plead with you to “Eat Mor Plantz.” Lisa Markley would probably be holding up a sign alongside the poultry picketer. Markley is a healthy eating specialist for Whole Foods Market with an alphabet of certifications following her name (M.S., R.D., L.D., which all basically mean she knows what she’s talking about). “If I could only choose one tip to tell people about improving their diets, I’d say to adopt a plant-strong diet with an emphasis on foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains,” she says. “If someone is eating more plant-based foods, they are getting more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. That also means they are going to be eating foods that are more filling, with more volume, so their hunger is better satiated.” Another bonus, Markley says, is that these foods are known to protect against and prevent cancer and other chronic illnesses. She says not to worry that you won’t get enough protein when you take the emphasis off meat in your diet. “Protein can be found in several plant-based foods, such beans, nuts and seeds,” she says. “Even whole grains have a surprising amount of protein in them.” A serving of oatmeal, for example, has about six or seven grams of protein in it. Markley says, in general, most people require about 50-60 grams per day. “In the standard American diet, we tend to eat more than 100 grams of protein per day. Eating a more plant-based diet would help to remove much of our excess protein consumption.” She particularly encourages the consumption of dark green, leafy vegetables, such as collard greens, kale, watercress, mustard greens and turnip greens. “They top the list in terms of the number of nutrients they offer for the least amount of calories,” she says. And because they are cruciferous vegetables, they also help the body remove toxins.
© istockphoto.com / Uyen Le
Bioidentical “Natural” Hormone Study we’re seeking women who have entered menopause during the past 7 years and are able to come to Ku Medical center 5 times over a one-year period. Other prequalificatiOns: • Have a history of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes or osteoporosis. • Have had a normal Pap smear result and normal mammogram within past 12 months. • NOT have had a hysterectomy or ovaries removed. • NOT have a history of breast cancer, uterine or ovarian cancer, or any bone disease other than osteoporosis. • NOT have a history of blood clots. • If already on hormones for menopause, you will be asked to stop your hormone for 3 months before entering the trial. • You will be given 1 of 4 types of hormone to take. You will NOT know which hormone you are on until the study is over. • We will provide testing at no charge for mammogram, blood tests, and bone scan. No additional remuneration offered.
nOw recruiting call (913) 588-6104 prOgraM in integrative Medicine http://integrativemed.kumc.edu
3901 Rainbow Blvd., Mail Stop 1017, Kansas City, KS 66160
healthy body • spine and feet
If we’d all listened to our mothers when they told us to stand up straight, maybe we wouldn’t need the advice of Robert Patterson, D.C., founder of Overland Chiropractic. Patterson’s advice for improving your spine health in the coming year: Begin doing daily posture exercises. “Posture makes a difference in how we look, how we feel and how we age,” Patterson says. “Strong posture exercises involve the development of core muscles.” When you strengthen these core muscles, you help prevent back pain, as well as treat back pain you already have. “Low-back-pain patients have more asymmetry than people without pain,” he says. “The average patient spends over half his or her waking life sitting in a folded position. This produces stress in joints, muscles and ligaments. Our bodies compensate and then adapt or take on a new posture.”
www.backexercise-andpain-relief.com/ postureexercises.html www.thirdage. com/alternativeintegrativehealth/postureexercises
Now, ladies. Do not turn the advice of Dr. Susan K. Bonar into an excuse for all those shoes spilling out of your closet. While she might be giving you a reason to shop regularly for shoes, she also advises that you may need to get rid of your older sling backs and sandals – even if they could come back in style one day. That’s because anything older than a decade is
www.ergonomics. ucla.edu/ex_ posture.html
probably too small. Bonar, an orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopedics Foot & Ankle, P.C., says it’s not your imagination if you can no longer fit into the same size you wore as a teen. “Feet widen a half-size every 10 years,” she says. “Painful feet are not normal, so keep buying wider shoes through the years.”
Feet widen by a half size every 10 years.
from top: ©istockphoto.com / Ostill; Aldo Murillo
Online resources for posture exercises
Healthy Gums and a Healthy Heart: The Perio-Cardio Connection
that periodontists not only inform their patients of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with periodontal disease, but also assess their risk for future cardiovascular disease and guide them to be evaluated for the major risk factors. The paper also recommends that physicians managing patients with cardiovascular disease evaluate the mouth for the basic signs of periodontal disease such as significant tooth loss, visual signs of oral inflammation, and receding gums.
ardiovascular disease, the leading killer of men and women in the United States, is a major public health issue contributing to 2,400 deaths each day. Periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys bone and gum tissues that support the teeth affects nearly 75 percent of Americans and is the major cause of adult tooth loss. And while the prevalence rates of these disease states seems grim, research suggests that managing one disease may reduce the risk for the other.
While additional research will help identify the precise relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, recent emphasis has been placed on the role of inflammation - the body’s reaction to fight off infection, guard against injury or shield against irritation. While inflammation initially intends to have a protective effect, untreated chronic inflammation can lead to dysfunction of the affected tissues, and therefore to more severe health complications.
A consensus paper on the relationship between heart disease and gum disease was published concurrently in the online versions of two leading publications, the American Journal of Cardiology (AJC), a publication circulated to 30,000 cardiologists, and the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), the official publication of the American Academy or Periodontology (AAP). Developed in concert by cardiologists, the physicians specialized in treating diseases of the heart, and periodontists, the dentists with advanced training in the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease, the paper contains clinical recommendations for both medical and dental professionals to use in managing patients living with, or who are at risk for, either disease. As a result of the paper, cardiologists may now examine a patient’s mouth, and periodontists may begin asking questions about heart health and family history of heart disease. The clinical recommendations were developed at a meeting held earlier this year of top opinion-leaders in both cardiology and periodontology. In addition to the clinical recommendations, the consensus paper summarizes the scientific evidence that links periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease and explains the underlying biologic and inflammatory mechanisms that may be the basis for the connection. According to Kenneth Kornman, DDS, PhD, Editor of the Journal of Periodontology and a co-author of the consensus report, the cooperation between the cardiology and periodontal communities is an important first step in helping patients reduce their risk of these associated diseases. “Inflammation is a major risk factor for heart disease, and periodontal disease may increase the inflammation level throughout the body. Since several studies have shown that patients with periodontal disease have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, we felt it was important to develop clinical recommendations for our respective specialties. Therefore, you will now see cardiologists and periodontists joining forces to help our patients.” For patients, this may mean receiving some unconventional advice from their periodontist or cardiologist. The clinical recommendations outlined in the consensus paper advise
“Both periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease are inflammatory diseases, and inflammation is the common mechanism that connects them,” says Dr. David Cochran, DDS, PhD, President of the AAP and Chair of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “The clinical recommendations included in the consensus paper will help periodontists and cardiologists control the inflammatory burden in the body as a result of gum disease or heart disease, thereby helping to reduce further disease progression, and ultimately to improve our patients’ overall health. That is our common goal.” Other Mouth-Body Connections we will cover in upcoming • Osteoporosis • Stroke • Respiratory Diseases
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healthy body • core muscles
your muscles Biagio Mazza, P.T., recommends getting a six-pack if you want to improve your health this year. But don’t buy a half-dozen cans of Boulevard to fulfill this goal. Mazza, owner of and a physical therapist at Elite Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Kansas City, Mo., is instead suggesting you focus on the muscles in your abdomen – all your muscles, for that matter. “Muscles create movement,” he says. “So, muscle health can be better described as movement health. Nothing improves your ability to move as much as getting stronger does.” Strengthening exercises, when performed properly, he points out, are a key to: n Decreasing the likelihood of injury n Improving your overall fitness n Creating increased confidence n Improving body composition “I am often asked my opinion of using free weights versus machine weights for strengthening,” Mazzo says. “There are pros and cons to each. Machines can create a safe environment and are not a bad mode of exercise when they are available. However, most machines create a fixed direction of movement that does not mimic how we function in our daily lives. Free-weight exercises are the best choice to mimic natural movements of the body. They also promote stability of the abdominal and other core musculature.” That said, Mazza adds that it is essential to change up your strengthening schedule every six to eight weeks. “After that time, your body becomes accustomed to the exercise routine, and increases in strength become much more difficult.” He advises his clients who reach that plateau to switch from primarily free weights to machine weights, change up their sets and reps or alter exercises for the same muscle groups.
© istockphoto.com / geotrac
Nothing improves your ability to move as much as getting stronger does.
healthy body • vision
Dr. Daniel S. Durrie does not advise you considers your medical history and to get an annual eye exam this year. Well, current eye health. It then takes the not exactly. What he actually advises is discussion to the next level by identifying that you schedule an appointment to what steps you need to take today and create a lifetime vision plan for yourself. in future years to ensure your eyes stay The owner and founder of Durrie healthy over the course of your lifetime. Vision in Overland Park, Kan., points “It’s not just looking at your eyes and out that most people take their eyesight saying, ‘Are they healthy?’” he says. for granted. Yet, vision is important for Instead, it’s looking at the future of so many aspects of our lives: work, play, your vision. safety and more. We need to ask ourselves, “What is “I see people all the time, and they say, the plan for me as an individual? What ‘Gee, maybe I should come in and see if can I do when I’m 20, 30 and 40 to have I should have LASIK or lensthe best vision when I’m 60, implant surgery,’” Durrie says. 70 and 80,” Durrie says. “As “And I say, ‘No, you need to simple as it sounds, very Don’t wait come in and get an overall, few doctors are doing until you have a lifetime vision plan.’” that.” vision problem The all-encompassing At its essence, Durrie’s before you see a exam he describes goal is that people not
wait until they have a vision problem before they see a doctor. “This is taking responsibility for your wellness,” he points out. The advanced exams Durrie recommends weren’t feasible until recently. “With advanced diagnostics, we can look right into the inside of the retina,” he says. “We can look at the inside of the lens. We can check the focusing ability. We can measure things in the cornea that we haven’t ever been able to do before. “Even five years ago, this equipment wasn’t available. So, today, we can look at all these things, and then we can put the whole picture together and say, ‘Here’s where we are at this point in time, and this is what the next five, 10, 15, 20, 30 years look like.’”
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healthy body • skin
Dr. Glenn Goldstein’s first inclination on advising Kansas Citians about healthy skincare was to say, “Avoid the sun.” After giving it some thought, though, Goldstein backtracked a bit. “Okay, I wouldn’t say avoid the sun,” he said. “I would say, be careful about overexposure to the sun. “I don’t want to tell people to avoid it, because I want them to do what they want to do,” he adds. “I just want them to be smart about it.” Goldstein, director of the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center in Leawood, Kan., has good reasons to advise both avoidance and restraint. Sun damage, he points out, is cumulative, so the more you can avoid sun exposure, the
better off you’ll be in the long run. Not only will you decrease damage to your skin’s elasticity – which leads to wrinkles – and lessen the likelihood of age spots, but you also reduce your potential for skin cancer. Goldstein’s routine guidance is to avoid the sun during the hottest parts of the day – between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Also, wear a sunscreen with a sunprotection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater as part of your daily skin maintenance. “I always say, if you are going to use sunscreen, why not use the highest SPF you can? You’re putting it on to try and protect yourself,” he notes. You might as well make it worth your while.
The hottest part of the day is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so avoid direct sunlight during those hours.
© istockphoto.com / Oneclearvision
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healthy body • teeth
your pearly whites
You might assume that any dentist’s primary tip for improving dental health would be to brush your teeth. Bingo! But as important as brushing is, Dr. Daniel J. Thomas, a periodontist at Periodontal Specialists, P.A. in Leawood, Kan., suggests you should also give special attention to your eating habits, especially in regards to carbohydrates. Your food choices have a far greater impact on your dental health than you likely realize. “Eating habits play a large role in affecting the risk of tooth decay,” Thomas says. Tooth decay, of course, is the most common disorder affecting teeth. Most people know the detriments of sugar on their teeth, but they forget about other forms of carbohydrates that are just as perilous to your oral ivories. Pasta, rice, potato chips, fruits and bread can produce the same amount of acid as a 10 percent table-sugar solution, Thomas says.
Even worse, many of these foods tend to cling to your teeth. “They cause your mouth to produce more acids and demineralization than foods that quickly are washed away by saliva,” he adds. When you nibble on these foods or sip on drinks containing carbohydrates, your mouth produces even more acids, which begins the process of demineralization, which ultimately leads to tooth decay. To lessen the impact of these foods’ negative effects on your teeth, Thomas suggests limiting exposure to carbohydrates to only six occasions per day and to brush at least twice and floss at least once.
Sugar-free gum after a meal helps to increase saliva flow and increases the clearance of food debris.
“Finish a meal with a piece of hard cheese to increase saliva flow,” he suggests. “Cheese contains calcium, phosphate and casein, a milk protein that protects against demineralization.” Don’t try to substitute milk for the same effect, he cautions. “Milk contains the same helpful products, but the lactose in the milk can lead to caries (tooth decay).” He also suggests choosing toothfriendly sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame and sugar substitutes. “Sugar-free gum after meal helps to increase saliva flow and increases the clearance of food debris, too,” he says.
© istockphoto.com / Marta Mariatka
healthy body • hearing
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If you attended the recent Ozzy “No matter how short a period of Osbourne or Linkin Park concerts at time you are around a loud sound,” the Sprint Center, you probably took she says, “you should either wear ear home a souvenir you didn’t have to plugs or ear muffs.” pay for: diminished hearing. While Even better? “Take yourself out of your muffled sense probably returned the situation,” Niehaus says. Being to normal by the next day, don’t exposed to intensely loud sounds shrug off the experience. If you suffer – such as firecrackers, motorcycles through enough ear-splitting events, or firearms, which are generally 120 over time, such hearing loss can decibels or higher – for even a short become permanent. time can significantly impair your That’s why Nicole auditory abilities. Niehues, Au.D., CCC-A, Ear plugs are an Being a clinical audiologist easy solution if you exposed to in the ear, nose and can’t avoid the raiseintensely loud throat department the-roof salvos of sounds for even at the University your son’s “Call a short time can of Kansas Hospital, of Duty” Xbox really damage suggests stashing a exploits. Ear plugs your hearing. pair of ear plugs on are also extremely your person at all times. inexpensive – generally Do so, and you’ll likely be able about $1 per pair – and are to easily follow her No. 1 tip for imreadily available in drug stores or the proving your hearing health this year: pharmacy section of your grocery protect your ears from loud sounds. store.
© istockphoto.com / Don Nichols
ACT. SING. DANCE. LIVE.
health education • cardiovascular health
Do you honestly need a cardiologist to tell you how to improve your heart health this year? Really? Fine, then. The official advice from Dr. Brian Weiford, cardiologist at the University of Kansas Hospital and Mid-America Cardiology is this: Get off your duff and get some exercise. But what you might not know is why exercise is so critically important to your heart health. It’s this: Unless you exercise, you’re going to gain weight. Simple as that. And being overweight is simply bad, bad, bad for your bod. “Our bodies burn calories just being awake and sitting in a chair,” Weiford says. “But we’re almost always going to be taking in more calories than we burn off unless we are doing something to increase our metabolic rate.” That means for everyone (except a unique minority with hyper-fueled metabolisms), not exercising means we’ll get fat. “When we gain weight, our blood pressure tends to go up. We have more pounds loading on our joints, and that can increase our chances of arthritis and physical disability,” Weiford says. “We also tend to have higher Unless you blood sugar and diabetes, and diabetes is a major risk factor for heart and exercise, you blood-vessel disease.” will gain weight. The benefits of exercise, on the And that’s bad other hand, are unending. In addition news for your to counterbalancing all of the previheart. ously listed negatives, exercise revs up our metabolism. That means that, even when we aren’t exercising, we’re burning more calories. Bonus! As for how much exercise, Weiford doesn’t dwell on numbers. “Trying to get some exercise every day is the goal because most people tend to get no exercise, other than walking around their homes or work,” Weiford says. More important than any number is simply being active. “Whether that’s 15 minutes or whether that’s an hour, something is better than nothing,” he says.
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healthy body • hair
© istockphoto.com / Vlua Vitaly
If Princess Rapunzel had faced a problem with dry hair, she probably would have ended her days a bitter old hag in a castle tower. No prince could have climbed up her dull, lifeless locks before they broke off in frizzy fistfuls, ending her quest for a happily ever after. Regardless of her hair care regimen, Rapunzel probably wasn’t using a shampoo containing laurel sulfates, which was good news for her long tresses. Laurel sulfates are the key culprit to dry hair, says Mitsu Sato, owner and instructor of Mitsu Sato Hair Academy and Mitsu Sato Salon in Overland Park, Kan. And avoiding them is his No. 1 tip for improving the health of your hair. “Always read the ingredient label before purchasing shampoo,” Sato Avoid using advises. “Choose a sulfate-free shampoo that shampoo. Then follow with a contains laurel good conditioner.” sulfates, which Sato also recommends lead to dry washing hair once a week with a clarifying shampoo. “Using everyday hair. hair products, such as mousse or wax, will create a residue buildup on your hair, which causes hair to dull,” he says. Follow the clarifying shampoo with a deep conditioner.
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health education â€˘ bioidentical hormones
7 questions about
health education • bioidentical hormones
Her thoughts were cloudy – like “a television with fuzzy reception.” several physical aberrations, including: n hot flashes n joint or back pain n constant fatigue n insomnia n decreased libido n depression However, there is an alternative for women who have entered the menopause stage: hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). With an infusion or addition of estrogen and/or progestin, this type of therapy can provide some relief for the symptoms of menopause. This addition of hormones can come in the form of tablets, skin sprays or gels. But there is an alternative that is becoming more commonplace for women: bioidentical hormone replacement (bHRT).
Bioidentical hormones are manufactured in the lab to have the same molecular structure as the hormones made by your own body. By contrast, synthetic hormones are intentionally different. Drug companies can’t patent a bioidentical structure, so they invent synthetic hormones that are patentable (for example, Premarin, Prempro and Provera). Dr. Ajay Nangia, associate professor of Urology at KU Medical center, says that an individualized approach can generate the most success. “Usually we begin with laboratory tests of hormone levels, or a ‘hormone panel,’” Dr. Nangia says. “When warranted, a doctor would then prescribe a precise dosage of bioidentical estrogens, progesterone, testosterone and/or DHEA that is prepared at a registered compounding pharmacy. Each patient is then monitored carefully through regular follow-up hormone panels to ensure she gets symptom relief at the lowest possible dosage. In the initial stages, we will do a hormone panel every three months. Once balance is restored, we’ll do one panel a year at the time of the annual exam.”
hormones Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can relieve the effects of menopause | By Ryan Brown
© istockphoto.com / Piccerella
Meredith Poeschl had unexpectedly entered menopause, and her body was reacting violently to the change. Poeschl, a 49-year-old Shawnee resident, was suffering from insomnia and a constant low-grade headache. She also battled depression, though it went undiagnosed for some time. “I thought (the depression) had more to do with my daughter leaving for college than anything physical,” Poeschl says. “I hadn’t considered the possibility of menopause until a friend brought it up one day.” Menopause is when a female’s body stops making estrogen and progesterone and signifies the end of a woman’s reproductive cycle. This process can also create a state of instability in the hormonal balance of the female, creating
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement?
health education • bioidentical hormones
Is bHRT the first step to hormonal balance?
Bioidentical hormones can work wonders, but they are not necessarily the first place to turn when hormonal imbalance is a problem. Studies indicate the great majority of women can rebalance their hormones without the use of drugs, and even without HRT in any form. These same studies show that 85 percent of affected women can find relief through a natural approach that combines medical-grade nutritional supplements, gentle endocrine support, and dietary and lifestyle changes. Dr. Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN at the Women to Women Clinic, recommends that every woman start with this combination approach as the foundation to her health. “It’s not a cure-all,” Dr. Pick says. “It does work, and it does work very well – but it shouldn’t be viewed as a miracle cure, either.” Even with this foundation, a minority of women will need to add prescriptionstrength hormone supplements to get complete relief, at least through a transition period. Doctors recommend patients use bioidentical hormones, preferably in
a compounded form personalized to their needs by an experienced practitioner. When a woman cannot find a practitioner to prescribe compounded bHRT, there are now numerous trademarked bHRT options that conventional practitioners can prescribe for her. Either way, it is important that the hormones be used in addition to the combination approach outlined above. Note that Suzanne Somers and Oprah are among this minority – they began with a healthy diet and lifestyle that supported the endocrine system but still experienced intractable symptoms. Dr. Nangia does not recommend that any hormones be used long-term unless essential for symptom relief, and then only with a complete risk assessment. “We also don’t support the idea that bioidentical hormone therapy should be used indefinitely as some kind of fountain of youth,” Dr. Nangia says. “It is just like anything else: use it properly and it will do what it is supposed to. Use it incorrectly and it will have the wrong results.”
Are bioidentical hormones better than synthetic hormones?
Doctors and the Food and Drug Administration long ago concluded that the answer to this question is yes. The great appeal of bioidentical hormones is that they are natural, and our bodies can metabolize them as it was designed to do, minimizing side effects. Synthetic hormones are quite strong and often produce intolerable side effects. Moreover, the compounded bioidentical hormones can be matched individually to each woman’s needs – something that is simply impossible with mass-produced products. “My doctor told me that there were risks, but the rewards seemed to be much better in my eyes,” Poeschl says. “It was something I decided it was time to move forward with.”
Janet was a 54-year-old woman from Platte City who came to Dr. Pick with severe menopausal symptoms. Her diet was changed to increase her protein and vegetables and reduce carbohydrates, added a pharmaceuticalgrade nutritional supplement and did a complete blood hormone panel. At her first follow-up visit six weeks later, Janet felt better, but she still suffered too many hot flashes and sleepless nights. Janet wanted imme-
diate relief and chose to try bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Dr. Pick placed Janet on a combination of bioidentical estradiol (one of the three forms of estrogen), testosterone, DHEA and progesterone, all in cream form. Six weeks later Janet came back for another follow-up. “I feel fabulous,” she says, declaring she hadn’t felt this good since her early 30s. More than a year later, Janet still feels great. She’s carefully compliant
with her diet and exercise regime, and takes her bioidentical hormones faithfully. Her latest hormone panel shows she’s still in balance, and there is currently no need to adjust her dosages. Not every patient is as easy to help as Janet. Sometimes we have to adjust the formulas three to five times to get it right. But for women whose quality of life is profoundly diminished by menopausal symptoms, bHRT is a very effective solution.
© istockphoto.com / PESKY MONKEY
health education • bioidentical hormones
countering male andropause 04
Who is a Candidate for Hormone Replacement?
HRT is often given as a short-term relief (often one or two years, usually less than five) from menopausal symptoms. Younger women with premature ovarian failure or surgical menopause may use hormone replacement therapy for many years, until the age that natural menopause would be expected to occur. Dr. Pick urges extreme caution when determining when to use hormonal replacement. “This should not be used by young people in their reproductive years,” Dr. Pick says. “It can cause permanent issues with fertility and also cause issues with cholesterol and a person’s heart.”
Are bioidentical hormones safer than synthetics?
Methods of Andropause Treatment The most common treatment is testosterone replacement therapy. The alternatives available include skin patches and creams, among other sources. “The biggest issue with male andropause is that it is extremely difficult to diagnose properly,” says Dr. Ajay Nangia, associate professor of urology at KU Medical Center. “Once we figure out what is the problem, we then have the challenge to help assist. It could be related to lots of things – singling them out is the key.”
Top 5 Symptoms of Andropause 1. Depression 2. Sweating and hot flashes 3. Decreased libido and erectile dysfunction 4. Fatigue 5. Poor concentration and memory
Other symptoms n Decreased
muscle mass disturbance n Osteoporosis n Body fat gain, particularly abdominal weight gain n Aches and pains n Loss of height n Sleep
© istockphoto.com / Peter Hansen
European medical studies suggest that yes, bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic versions. But be cautious because they have not been well studied, especially for long-term use. And in any case, doctors recommend that women never think of any drug as completely safe.
Picture this: You are a 40-year-old man reading the newspaper on a Sunday morning. You used to enjoy this weekly ritual, but you feel irritable today. Actually, you haven’t felt like yourself recently. You are happy with your job and your relationships, but you feel tired and depressed and you don’t know why. You haven’t been sleeping well, and your sex life isn’t what it used to be. Before you reach for another cup of coffee, ask yourself: have I had my testosterone levels checked to see if I have andropause? Andropause is a medical condition caused by low testosterone levels in men. Low testosterone levels affect some men in their late 20s, and all men experience the symptoms of andropause to some extent in their 40s and beyond. It’s similar to menopause in women, except the symptoms and intensity vary greatly. It is estimated that at least 95 percent of men in their 50s experience the symptoms of andropause.
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health education • bioidentical hormones
Can bioidentical hormones be used for breast cancer patients?
The pendulum has swung so far that today, very few practitioners will prescribe any type of HRT – synthetic or bioidentical – for women who have had breast cancer or even a family history of breast cancer. In fact, many such women are given anti-estrogen drugs. Dr. Dixie Mills, who co-developed Women to Women’s Personal Program, believes that there is not enough data to rule out HRT in every case, and she prefers to look at each woman’s particular situation, history, pathology and blood work. Dr. Mills has breast cancer patients who, like Suzanne Somers, use low-dose bioidentical hormones by choice. These women have researched the issues, discussed them with their healthcare provider and made a well-informed decision for themselves.
So, are bioidentical hormones for you?
A woman’s hormonal balance is ideally in a dynamic equilibrium that shifts from day to day, week to week and through the years. When you give your body the support it needs, it can effectively reset itself because it’s equipped and programmed for balance and wellness. So doctors recommend beginning with the gentlest form of support possible to allay your discomfort and tweaking it as you go. The good news is that women can feel incredibly well right through menopause. “The effects were amazing,” Poeschl says. “The gray was gone – I was literally singing in the shower after my first treatment. My world was brighter, and the results are better than I could’ve hoped for.”
“The effects were amazing. The gray was gone – I was literally singing in the shower after my first treatment. My world was brighter, and the results are better than I could’ve hoped for.” – Meredith Poeschl, Shawnee, Kan.
© istockphoto.com / Piccerella
health education • sexual health
Setting the record straight about the human papillomavirus
1 HPV is a virus
HPV stands for the human papillomavirus. Like other viruses, it can be dormant in your body for months or years, and most people who contract HPV don’t even know they have it. In fact, most of the time, HPV is contained by your body’s immune system and will not cause any disease. However, high-risk strains of HPV can lead to certain types of cancer or genital lesions in women and men.
2 Not all strains of HPV are dangerous Of the approximately 120 known strains of HPV, only a handful are considered high risk. “While HPV is very common, just like respiratory viruses that cause colds, it is not deadly,” says Dr. Diane Harper, professor of medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine who has written extensively on HPV. “Most HPV infections do not cause any symptoms or health problems. Only those HPV infections that will not go away can cause problems, and then only half of those that refuse to go away actually progress to a precancerous lesion.” Those precancerous lesions, most often found on the cervix during routine Papsmears (and can be completely removed before they ever cause cancer, says Harper) are not caused by the same strains of HPV that can cause spots on women and men. Those spots, often referred to as “genital warts,” might be uncomfortable and unattractive, but according to Harper, they very rarely get large enough to cause any serious harm.
By Emily Farris
3 HPV can cause several types of cancer Cervical cancer is the most common cancer associated with HPV, but it’s not the only one. Because HPV is transmitted through skin cells, it can be transmitted to various parts of the body. In addition to cervical cancer, other cancers associated with HPV include vulvar, vaginal, penile, oropharyngeal (the throat area) and anal, but unlike cervical cancer, occurrences of these types of cancer are very rare in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are fewer than 4,000 cases each of vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancers per year.
health education • sexual health
Did you know?
© istockphoto.com / Eva Serrabassa
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, according to the CDC – nearly 20 million Americans are infected.
health education • sexual health
4 Sexual activity is the most common way to transmit HPV HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, according to the CDC. But you don’t need to have penetrative vaginal intercourse to get it because HPV is transmitted through skin-toskin contact with an infected person. “Skin-to-skin contact may mean that a person’s soft skin under the fingernails (which is also a common site for HPV infection) touches their own or others’ genitals – as in tampon insertion or bathing a child,” Harper says. “It is well documented in HPV studies that about 10 percent of virgins already have high-risk HPV infections through no actions of their own.” On rare occasions, a woman with genital HPV can pass it onto her baby during the delivery process.
5 You can have more than one type of HPV
Having one strain of HPV in the body is not protection against another. For example, if two people – each with a different strain of HPV – engage in sexual activity, it’s possible each person could end up with both.
6 A condom is not a fool-proof way to prevent HPV Though HPV is most commonly spread through sexual activity, unlike HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) it is not spread through bodily fluids. That means that while a condom could be helpful in preventing the transmission of HPV-infected skin cells during intercourse, HPV can also be spread through genital-togenital contact and hand-to-genital contact.
7 You, or someone you know, most likely has HPV The CDC estimates that around 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV – with six million more contracting it each year – and that at least 50 percent of the sexually active population of the United States will have some strain of genital HPV at some point in their lives. So, unlike with other sexually transmitted infections, tracing the spread of the HPV virus is often pointless because it is so common. “Trying to place blame is a moot point because we can never know who gave it to whom at what time,” Harper says. “In general, you don’t have a way of pinpointing who is the initial transmitter.”
8 There are two HPV vaccines Currently, there are two FDAapproved HPV vaccines on the market: Cervarix, which is designed to prevent infection from HPV types 16 and 18 (which cause most cervical cancer cases) and Gardasil, which is designed to prevent 16 and 18, as well as types 6 and 11 (which are estimated to cause most HPV-related genital lesions cases). Both are intended for preventing the spread of the virus and do not treat any forms of HPV already in the body – which is why both are marketed to young women and their parents. The idea is that the vaccine will be given before people become sexually active. Cervarix is labeled for girls and young women 10-25, and Gardasil is for females and males 9-26. While the vaccines can be most effective when given before young people begin engaging in any sexual activity, Dr. Jessie Holmes, a local obstetrician-gynecologist, says it’s possible the vaccines could benefit older women, too.
health education • sexual health
9 There is no clinically validated HPV test for men
10 Women can be tested for high-risk HPV
However, doctors have developed ways to look for HPV-infected skin cells on men for research purposes (and many of them actually involve duct tape, according to Harper).
Digital Mammography at the Women’s Imaging Suite
It is possible to test women for certain high-risk strains of HPV, and because of the availability of the test, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently adjusted Papsmear recommendations for certain age groups. But Harper and Holmes agree that an annual Pap smear is still a woman’s best bet for her overall health. “If the virus stays around long enough and causes a precancerous lesion on the cervix, we can detect that in a routine Pap,” Harper says.
“It is well documented in HPV studies that about 10 percent of virgins already have high-risk HPV infections through no actions of their own.” – Dr. Diane Harper, professor of medicine at the UMKC School of Medicine
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health bits â€˘ tidbits
winterizing your skin
ÂŠ istockphoto.com / Igor Stepovik
6 tips for
healthy body • winter skin
Itchy. Rough. Irritated. We’re not talking about your mid-winter attitude. We’re referring to your skin. Kansas City’s low-humidity environment tends to suck the moisture right out of our skin. Follow these tips for some well-deserved self-pampering. By Gina Kellogg
Moisturize to the max. “You want to towel off (after bathing) and leave your skin a little bit moist, then lock that moisture in by putting on a good moisturizer,” says Dr. Glenn Goldstein, director of the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center in Leawood, Kan. Pat your skin dry, rather than rubbing it. Then, lather on the lotion. Goldstein recommends choosing a product with lanolin, such as Cetaphil or Eucerin. “Anything that is going to seal your skin is what you want,” he says.
Avoid hot showers. Sure, it’s tempting to push your water heater to its limits when temperatures outside plummet. But hot water only makes dry skin drier. Hot water causes blood vessels to dilate, resulting in water loss through your skin. If you absolutely can’t deny yourself the pleasure of a balmy bath, luxuriate for no more than five minutes. And switch to soap-free, nonperfumed body washes instead of bar soap.
Use a humidifier.
Drink lots of water. Hydrate your insides, as well as your outsides. Six to eight glasses of the clear stuff is best. Avoid caffeine, which is a diuretic and will suck moisture out of your skin.
Switch lip products. If you like to plump up your pout, stop – at least until spring. Lip-plumping products, along with super-long-lasting formulas, can dehydrate your kisser. Don’t switch to any old gloss or balm as a substitute, though. Those full of artificial flavors, perfumes and colors can have nearly as adverse an effect. Goldstein prefers petrolatum-based options. Others recommend balms infused with natural oils, such as shea and cocoa butter. If lips become exceptionally dry and cracked, apply a dab of hydrocortisone cream once a day. If you get no relief after a week, call your dermatologist for a recommendation.
Goldstein recommends adding a humidifier to your furnace that will constantly add moisture to the air. But if you don’t have that option, buy several inexpensive units to plug in around your home.
Exfoliate. It seems counterintuitive to “rough up” your skin when it’s already dry. But removing dead skin actually stimulates cell renewal. The key is to be gentle – use an enzyme-based exfoliant rather than a scrub – and, again, moisturize liberally afterward.
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sneezing, or laughing. URGE INCONTINENCE, is the bladder’s inability to hold urine once the urge occurs. Some women suffer from a combination of both these urinary conditions. Many times the type of incontinence is not straightforward and requires special diagnostic testing. That’s why the urology specialists at KUMED provide the most UP-TO-DATE DIAGNOSTIC AND TREATMENT OPTIONS for the management of urinary incontinence. If you have incontinence, don’t suffer another day. To make an appointment, CALL 913-588-6147 to talk about your options for a permanent solution that can help restore your quality of life – and live life dry!
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healthy eating • recipes
one-dish Dinners yaki soba
by Celina Tio, chef and owner at JULIAN in Brookside
I love this dish for several reasons: it’s quick, has great flavor and is considered “fast food” in Japan. Most of the prep work is cutting vegetables using a chiffonade or julienne technique. Both mean, simply: to cut the food into long, thin strips.
teaspoons canola oil n 1 package Ramen noodles (or a thin, wheat-based noodle found in any Asian store) cooked according to package instructions n ¼ head purple cabbage, chiffonaded n 6-8 Shiitake mushrooms, julienned n 1 carrot, julienned n ¼ head Napa cabbage, chiffonaded n 6 oz. thinly sliced ribeye steak n Salt and pepepr
For the garnish n Toasted
sesame seeds green onions, each sliced thinly on a bias n 1 jar Beni Shoga (red, shredded pickled ginger) n 2
Directions Add the canola oil to a large sauté pan over high heat, and heat until the oil “dances” in the pan. Add the vegetables in the order they are listed. Cook until just tender, then add the beef (added last so it won’t overcook). When the beef is just under the temperature you prefer, add the prepared noodles and toss to incorporate all the veggies and noodles together. Season with salt and pepper. Plate the yaki soba and garnish with the green onions, toasted sesame seeds and pickled ginger. Serves 2-4.
© istockphoto.com / Pierangelo Rendina
Ingredients n 2
healthy eating • recipes On a cold winter night, it can be tempting to order pricey, greasy takeout, or indulge in whatever leftover Christmas candy is still lurking in your pantry. But cooking a healthy dinner doesn’t have to swallow up your whole evening or mess up your entire kitchen. In fact, with a few quick preparations (which can easily be done on the weekend or before work), you can cook an entire meal in just one dish.
© istockphoto.com / Robyn Mackenzie
Chef Celina Tio, owner at JULIAN in Brookside, and a finalist in Season 3 of the Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef,” offers up an Asian-inspired one-dish noodle dinner made on the stovetop. Chef Mark Alan, of ChefMarksKitchen.com, has a Spanish pork pot roast that can cook all day in the slow cooker while you’re at work. And Emily Farris, Enhance contributing editor and author of “Casserole Crazy: Hot Stuff for Your Oven,” shares one of her favorite gluten-free casserole recipes.
healthy eating • recipes
spanish pork pot roast
by Chef Mark Alan, www.chefmarkskitchen.com
This simple one-dish, slow cooker recipe will delight your entire family, especially if you serve it with warm cornbread. If there is any leftover, slightly drain, re-warm and wrap in a flour tortilla.
Directions Pre heat slow cooker on high. Add all the ingredients (except salt and pepper) and turn slow cooker down to medium. Cook for 7 to 9 hours. When cooked, remove pork and shred with two forks, then return pork to cooker. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and/or pepper if desired and serve. Serves 4-5.
Ingredients n 1
can (15 oz.) pinto beans, undrained can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained n 2 cups water n 1½ lbs. boneless pork loin, cut into 3 large pieces n ½ red pepper, chopped
green pepper, chopped medium -sized yellow onion, chopped n 1 rib celery, chopped n 1 jar (12-14 oz.) salsa n 1 can (15 oz.) chicken gravy n 3 slices cooked bacon, diced
bag (8 oz.) frozen corn kernels cup regular white rice n 1 tablespoon Chef Mark Alan Rio Grande Seasoning Blend (2 Tbsp. chili seasoning can be used instead, but a variation in taste will occur) n Salt and pepper to taste (after cooking)
sweet potato not pie
by Emily Farris
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cover the bottom of a 2 to 2.5-quart casserole dish with a layer of sweet potatoes. Add a layer of onions, peppers and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Repeat layers until you reach the top of dish (try to finish with sweet potatoes and a sprinkle of olive oil and salt), saving at least 1 oz. of cheese for the end.
large white onion, chopped n 4-5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced n 6-8 oz. fresh goat cheese n 1 green pepper, chopped n Sea salt n Approximately ¾ cup olive oil
Cover and bake at 400ºF for an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half or until a fork easily goes through the dish. Remove from the oven and cover with the remainder of goat cheese. Bake, uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the goat cheese begins to brown. Remove, let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 5-6.
© istockphoto.com / Joan Vincent Canto Roig
This gluten-free, vegetarian dish requires no stove-top preparation and uses just six basic ingredients, two of which are kitchen staples.
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healthy eating • blood sugar
Feeling run down all the time? A low-glycemic diet could give you a boost By Heather Winslow Gibbons
making the grade by making better choices
Sarah is a cellular biology major who had always excelled in school. But when she found herself juggling an increasingly difficult academic workload along with her part-time job as a pharmacy technician, her grades dropped a full letter. It was the wake-up call she needed to make some changes. Although she had always eaten a relatively healthy diet, Sarah had begun to eat fast food and processed convenience foods more often. In the morning she drank regular coffee or a latte, always with sugar or flavored syrup. After lunch she was “zombietired,” so for quick energy she had a sugar fix – bread, chips, cookies. Later, she would eat a healthy dinner, usually vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. “I knew that I was making some good choices, I just wasn’t doing it all the time,” Sarah says. Eventually, her hectic schedule and erratic eating led to chronic
fatigue. As she felt more run down, she was less able to cope with stress. The stress made her feel more exhausted, creating what she calls a circular problem. Sarah sought help from Dr. Alicia Johnson, a naturopath with O’Brien Pharmacy. Johnson recommended Sarah stabilize her blood sugar. This meant cutting all caffeine, alcohol and sugar, and eating a low-glycemic diet of fruits and vegetables, small amounts of protein and brown rice instead of refined carbohydrates. Instead of using vending machines, she planned and shopped for the coming week. Now she schedules time on the weekend to package her healthy food into single to-go portions. While the initial sugar and caffeine withdrawal made her grouchy, within two weeks Sarah was sleeping better. “It wasn’t the goal, but in the process of feeling better, I lost 25
pounds,” she says. Also, she felt less stressed and less anxious. She felt her life was more manageable. “But nothing about my life had changed,” Sarah says. “I was still working, still going to school, still doing all my normal activities, I was just taking better care of myself.” In class, Sarah was more clearheaded and less sleepy. By the end of the next semester, she had brought her grade point average up to its previous level. Sarah’s mother lives in Springfield, Mo., and didn’t have to see her daughter to notice a change for the better. “One day on the phone she told me she could hear the difference in my voice…that I sounded so much calmer, and that she could tell I was dealing with things better,” says Sarah, adding, “It was pretty amazing to hear that from someone who wasn’t even here.”
healthy eating â€˘ blood sugar
The blood sugar cycle
A low-glycemic diet
is a complex mechanism in which the body produces insulin to help cells absorb glucose generated when we eat sugary foods or simple carbohydrates like potato chips, white rice or white bread. The rapid uptake of glucose by the cells leaves us feeling lethargic and foggy.
uses foods that are high in fiber and protein to even out the rollercoaster ride simple carbohydrates can take us on.
ÂŠ istockphoto.com / Silvia Boratti
healthy eating • blood sugar
what we eat
n n n n n n
2 low-sugar fruits 1 cup of brown rice 4-6 ounces of fish (at lunch) 3-5 ounces of meat at dinner (Look for free-range, locally raised, grass-fed, hormone-free meats.) 5 one-cup servings of vegetables 2 tbsp of nuts twice daily (Peanuts don’t count because they don’t have the beneficial omega-3 oils in cashews and almonds.)
For breakfast, eat combinations of fruit and nuts, eggs and vegetables, or a protein drink. For snacks, combine fresh vegetables with hummus or fruit with nuts. Vegetarians can replace meat with eggs or beans. Cost concerns Some might look at the meal plan and see dollar signs. But that depends on where you shop and how much you have to buy. To feed her family of four, Johnson spends exactly $140 a week shopping at farmers markets, Costco and Whole Foods. She suggests starting with a budget of $70 per person, an amount that may seem high initially. “If you don’t own beans, olive oil, rice, nuts, frozen berries, grass-fed meat, spices, etc., you will have a higher cost at first,” she says, adding that many people spend more than $70 on coffee, convenience store foods and fast food restaurants.
Low-sugar fruits These fruits are the lower in sugar than other fruits. n apples n apricots n blueberries n blackberries n tangerines n nectarines n plums n oranges n figs (fresh)
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© istockphoto.com / Valentyn Volkov
Dr. Alicia Johnson, a naturopath with O’Brien Pharmacy, says almost anyone can improve their mood and boost their energy levels by improving their diet or by taking nutritional supplements. In fact, many of Johnson’s patients are able to stop taking expensive prescription medications when they eat three meals a day, avoid sugar, caffeine and alcohol, and eat the following foods every day:
health bits • tidbits healthy eating • blood sugar
when we eat
supplements Along with an improved diet, naturopath Dr. Alicia Johnson recommends supplements that can help put some spring in your step. These are general enough to apply to most people, but Johnson issues a common-sense caution. “Always consult your physician before taking supplements,” she says. Also, to make sure they work, take these supplements 30 minutes before or after eating. 5-HTP For low energy or an ongoing bad mood, take 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). It helps the body convert tryptophan, an essential amino acid, into serotonin, a neurotransmitter known to regulate our moods. Johnson recommends 100-200 milligrams at night. Theanine Theanine, or l-thianine, can bring calm and focus to an anxious mind. Unlike prescription relaxants, it won’t make you drowsy, and it’s not addictive. According to Johnson, two to four times a day is optimum. Liquid Kava Kava Johnson admits liquid kava kava tastes terrible but says it works for severe anxiety. She recommends 1-2 droppers (20-30 drops) as needed, but says, “If you find yourself needing kava kava two to three times a day, you should see your healthcare professional.”
Multivitamins “Even something as simple as a multivitamin with B vitamins and fish oil can help with insomnia,” says Johnson, who recommends 1,000-3,000 milligrams per day.
Three simple guidelines n
Eat within two hours of waking up in the morning. n Don’t allow more than five hours to pass without eating something. n Eat half your food before half your day is over.
PESKY MONKEY © istockphoto.com / Hanquan Chen
Quantum Adaptogen Complex This proprietary blend of herbs created by Premier Research Labs supports the body’s mental, physical and emotional response to stress. Johnson suggests taking two in the morning and two at noon.
Paula Antonacci is a registered dietitian who counsels patients with a wide range of emotional eating issues, from diagnosed eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, to habits of overeating to relieve stress or sadness. She says most of her clients eat erratically, which she believes points to a societal shift that affects just about everyone. “Americans have lost the art of taking time out in the day to stop to eat a meal. If you go out in your car and look at what people are doing, they’re eating and drinking in their cars. It seems food is the last priority. When everything else is done, we grab something to eat,” Antonacci says. In a related problem, Antonacci says most people don’t regularly shop for groceries. “They go shopping when they run out of food, or maybe four days after, and end up eating (unhealthy food), whatever they can grab, or they eat out.” The remedy? Antonacci says eating (and grocery shopping) at regular intervals is an important step in controlling blood sugar and improving your mood. “Adding some structure to your day will allow time to sit down and appreciate the food you’re eating,” she says.
health bits • final thoughts
not just a new resolution – a new life watching every new year’s goal bite the dust, I decided it was time to lose the weight – for my children By Jerilyn
Every December, I made a resolution to lose weight. Every January, I would try a new fad diet and weigh myself religiously while the latest exercise DVD got top billing in my living room. Every February, I decided that it was too hard and I would quit. Two years ago, I didn’t bother making a resolution because I didn’t want to set myself up for yet another failure. I weighed 350 pounds and had completely given up on just about everything. I couldn’t shop in regular stores, I couldn’t keep my house clean, and – worst of all – I couldn’t play with my two young children without becoming short of breath. Jan. 1, 2009, came and went without any resolutions, but I did have one big realization: My kids were essentially living without a mother. Most evenings, I locked myself away in my bedroom and surfed the Internet for hours. I spent more time eating and sitting in front of my computer than I spent with them. By late January – around the time I always started to waver on my previous resolutions — I decided it was time to make some changes, not just for me, but for my children. So instead of making yet another empty resolution, I made a decision to change my lifestyle. It wasn’t easy or quick, but two years later, I have lost nearly 150 pounds. I did it without surgery, without expensive program fees or crazy diets, and without a pricey personal trainer. I started with small changes: cutting back on fast food, eating more vegetables and counting calories. Little successes encouraged more lifestyle adjustments, and soon I had quit smoking, left an unhealthy marriage and started exercising. I made myself go to the gym four days a week, no matter how much I hated it. At
first, I couldn’t last more than 15 seconds on the elliptical machine or go faster than two miles an hour on the treadmill. But I refused to give up, and each week my strength and endurance increased. These days, the gym is my favorite part of the day – so much so that I now work out about 14 hours each week. I’ve competed in a triathlon and recently walked 60 miles in three days to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Because I’m so active, nutritional slipups no longer get me down, and it turns out that changing my mindset about eating has completely changed my life. Having a doughnut in the morning doesn’t entitle me to eat poorly for the rest of the day, and I still eat what I want when I want, just in normal-sized portions. My children don’t recognize the depressed 350-pound woman in old pictures. They both enjoy going to the gym and like to exercise with me. Together, we have learned the habits of a healthier life. While I enjoy the benefits of what I’ve accomplished, the best part is knowing that my children will never have to make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
© istockphoto.com / Jill Fromer
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