One day at a time Peace at Home Project helps veterans get their lives back
Playground Safety Safer teen driving Building a family emergency plan Independent living with services Importance of a colonoscopy y.o.g.a. What is asthma? Signs you may have arthritis
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Welcome to Team Healthy Horizons! Our West Georgia 2019 edition is filled with information about premier medical care providers and wellness resources in your community along with articles to help you enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Join us as we learn about the Peace at Home Project. A Carrollton horse ranch works with veterans so they can gain their independence after they return home by building an extended family for them. For more than 15 years, our goal at Healthy Horizons has been to provide a vital resource for your wellness and healthcare needs, and we recognize our duty to consciously maintain relevant content to better serve you. With our passion for God, community and family, this publication is a natural extension of our core beliefs and values. Thank you for choosing Healthy Horizons. Mark and Kimberly Helms
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Fixing the problem one vet at a time
Safer teen driving
Family emergency plan
Independent living with services
Importance of a colonoscopy
Reducing food waste
What is asthma?
Signs you may have arthritis
The rights foods can fight inflammation 4
fixing a problem
one vet at a time If you see a problem, stop complaining and do something about it. This might not be Stephanie Cirasa’s motto, but it should be. Stephanie and husband Ray own and operate Waypoint Ranch in Carrollton, and work with veterans on reclaiming their lives after serving in the military. Both Stephanie and Ray are well acquainted with military life: she grow up a military brat; and he retired after 20 years in the Air Force. Not only do many veterans have to deal with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but also with the switch from military life back into the general population. “When you come out of the military, that structure is gone,” Stephanie said. Similar to someone who is released from prison after many years, the structure, routine, and the fact that everything is taken care of (called institutionalized), a veteran can have many of the same overwhelmed feelings as a newly released
convict. Stephanie and Ray can help veterans is by created a One of the goals of Waypoint Ranch, through the huge extended family right on the ranch. Peace at Home Project, is to provide a bridge between “When I first moved here, I had the hardest time the military’s institionalization and civilian life. because there is no base, no community, so you feel The other is to help with PTSD and other mental isolated,” Stephanie said. “When you have people health issues that come from service and combat. around you, you can get all your kinks worked out. “The reason they come here is different for each “And you have to have a safe place to do that.” person,” Stephanie said. “Sometimes it’s simple, or as Not only do the veterans have an extended family complex as deconstructing the problem down to the at the ranch, but they spend time with the horses for root cause. Some therapy. join for structure Horses lives are and stability.” similar to someone on She said many active duty, she said, times veterans get because everything is lost in the shuffle done for them. because they are “The veterans can noble and too focus their attention proud to ask for on them, instead of help. The fact that themselves,” she said. both Stephanie Not only is horse and Ray have lifetherapy helpful for long experience veterans, but the with military life, ranch also has several makes it easier for licensed counselors a veteran to talk and psychotherapists to them about any on staff. There issues they face. are also several “The don’t want older veterans who to be victims!” volunteer their time Stephanie said, to help newer veterans and the Peace at navigate the Veterans Home Project Administration. is proactive in Another problem teaching veterans veterans face is trying how to take their to get help from the lives back so they VA. can be productive “The VA does civilians. NOT make it easy,” Ray and Patricia “We empower Stephanie said. them to work on “I will go to a VA their own problems and to create their own solutions,” appointment with one of the vets, and I begin to see she said. what they are dealing with. After leaving the military, a veteran might find that “The military has the most important job in the modern life is more harmful. Families were larger in nation, and the VA doesn’t have time to answer the previous generations, and extended families often damn phone.” lived close by and helped each other out regularly. The problems with the bureaucracy is one of the Nowadays, the family may be spread out and there reasons Ray, Stephanie and others like them around are fewer members to provide support. Another way the country do what they do. Yes, Stephanie said she 8
gets frustrated, but she believes the VA is beyond fixing. “This is the reason we do what we do. We need to do it ourselves or force the VA to fix their ginormous mess,” she said. “We’ve just decided we’d fix it ourselves.” Stephanie believes the best way forward is to quit focusing on the VA and just come up with new laws and new rules. She mentioned a new law that was recently passed that allows veterans to go to urgent care facilities and their benefits will cover the visit, not something that has been available to them before. “I’m just waiting to see how that goes,” she said. Up until World War II, it was normal for families and communities to pitch in and help during wartime and after. Offering labor and support to those who needed it. For wars and engagements after that, many veterans were on their own. “We have this disposable mentality now,” Stephanie said. “People are NOT disposable. “How can we have all these wars if we can’t take care of the people afterwards?” Although Stephanie and her husband never intended to turn their horse ranch into a village, she understands she has to take it day by day and do what it best for each individual who seeks their help. “We need (the veterans) back in the fight. They have so much to offer. We need them to raise kids and become independent thinkers. “We want those children to have the best version of their dads so they don’t grow up broken,” she said. “We’re just trying to fix what’s wrong so it doesn’t happen to others. “All of this is for the greater good.” www.readhealthyhorizons.com
“Ashbrook Village has been given a prestigious award that places Ashbrook in the top 1% of senior care providers in the United States and Canada. ‘The Best of 2016/2017 Awards’ was awarded by Senior Advisor. com, the largest ratings and reviews site for senior care and services in North America.” Ashbrook has been awarded the “Best of the Best” award locally for eight straight years. Ashbrook Village, located in Villa Rica, Georgia, serves the West Georgia area offering Independent
Assisted Living – Memory Care Our approach provides the ideal solution for seniors who may need some assistance with bathing, dressing, or just medication management. Our residents enjoy private rooms and baths, delicious meals, engaging social activities, laundry service, housekeeping service and transportation to local doctor’s appointments. There are no long-term contracts, just a simple
Memory Care, Assisted and Independent Living
Cottages, Assisted Living and Memory Care. Ashbrook Village is conveniently located to Tanner Medical Hospital and 2 miles from Interstate 20 so it is easily accessible to family members from several destinations. Independent Living The perfect alternative to seniors who are looking to downsize and are interested in a low-maintenance lifestyle. Our one and two-bedroom cottages are spacious and include a kitchen, dining area, living room, and handicap accessible bath and washer/ dryer hook-ups. “When I started the process of looking for an Assisted Living for my parents I visited many facilities and still was lost as what to do. Then I met Gary Tallent at Ashbrook, he had a great wealth of experience that made everything so much simpler. My parent’s health and social activity improved so much after moving into Ashbrook. I could not be happier with the care of the staff and employees. The cleanliness is overwhelming!” - Mary 10
month-to-month fee. With a variety of care options, our residents only pay for what they need and want. We support and encourage the independence of our residents through our professional assisted living and memory care services. With our safe living accommodations and 24-hour staffing, residents and their families are comfortable knowing they are safe and secure. “I looked at eight different assisted livings before I found Ashbrook for my mom! I’m so glad that I went with Ashbrook … it is so clean and I don’t have to worry about my mom when I’m not there …the care and love is the best. They truly know and understand what is involved in placing a loved one in a facility.” - Jim, Douglasville Veterans Benefits Ashbrook Village is proud to accept benefits available for U.S. veterans or the surviving spouse of a U.S. veteran. Residents may receive a federal pension of up to $2,000 per month to help pay for assisted living services at Ashbrook Village.
Carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they’re safe
Check for dangerous hardware, like open “S” hooks or protruding bolt ends.
Check for sharp points or edges in equipment.
Look out for tripping hazards, like exposed concrete footings, tree stumps, and rocks.
Make sure elevated surfaces have guardrails to prevent falls. Check playground regularly to see that equipment is in good condition. 12
Make sure spaces that could trap children, such as openings in guardrails or between ladder rungs, measure less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches.
Kids love to play on the playground and there are a lot of benefits to outdoor play. Playgrounds are an opportunity for kids to get fresh air, sunshine, exercise and make new friends. Marie Crew agrees. She’s the director of Alabama Safe Kids at Children’s of Alabama. “Alabama has a high obesity rate, so we want the children to be active. We want kids playing at least 60 minutes a day,” she said. It’s important that parents do their part to ensure their child’s time on the playground is fun and injuryfree. Each year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in hospital emergency departments for playground-related injuries. Many of these accidents are preventable with the proper supervision. “That’s the big thing. We want parents to be with their children,” Crew said. “Parents should check the playground to be sure it’s in good repair. We want parents to put their phones down and interact with their children.” Children should never play on a playground unsupervised. Young children can’t always judge distances properly and can’t foresee dangerous situations while older children like to test their limits. It’s important for an adult to be there to help keep them safe.
In addition to supervision, before children play on a playground, an adult should always check it for safety. Make sure the playground equipment is in good shape. If it has instructions on it, be sure to read them. Many playgrounds indicate the recommended age range for children. Toddlers should be on a separate playground with special equipment that is lower to the ground. Crew said a proper playground surface is important as well. “It’s best to have a soft, spongy surface that can cushion falls. Shredded tires, pea gravel and and mulch are options as well,” she said. Concrete, asphalt, grass and packed earth surfaces are not safe. Modern playgrounds are often made of plastic instead of metal, which can get too hot. Even still, Crew recommends parents think about the heat of the day and check the equipment before their child plays on it to make sure it isn’t too hot. Children love for their parents to engage with them when they’re playing on the playground. A good recommendation is for the adult to be close by, encouraging and watching their child while they play. Play is an important part of kids physical, social, intellectual and emotional development. By taking a few extra precautions, they can learn and grow through play while being more likely to stay safe and injury-free. www.readhealthyhorizons.com
Automobile crashes are the number one killer of teenagers and the number one cause of disabling injuries for teens. Sadly, many of these accidents are preventable. Leslie Brown is the coordinator of Alabama Safe Kids at Children’s of Alabama. She said parents play an important role in encouraging their children to be safe as a driver and a passenger. “Parents can start by talking to their child when in elementary school about being a safe passenger,” Brown said. “Things like modeling safe behavior, wearing a seatbelt every time and putting the cell phone down. They’re going to do what we do.” In Alabama, the Graduated Driver License Law is a mandatory restriction in place for inexperienced drivers. One of the requirements is that a new driver may not have more than one non-family passenger in the vehicle with them other than the parent, guardian or a supervising licensed driver at least 21 years of age. Brown said parents should become familiar with the Graduated Driver License Law and download a Teen Driving Agreement for their new driver to sign. This helps to establish important ground rules to keep the new driver safe. And Brown says, if the teen violates any of these rules there should be consequences. “Take away keys when they don’t follow rules,” she said. “You can also offer rewards when they do make good choices.” Brown said it’s important teens and adults do these three things: s Obey the law s Wear a seatbelt s Put down the cell phone Brown has teenagers of her own, so talking about safe driving isn’t just part of her job description, it’s personal. “I always say to my teenagers, ‘Are you a great friend or a good friend?’” she said. “I tell them, ‘Encourage your friends to wear their seatbelts. Ask, ‘Can I send that text for you?’ instead of allowing them to text and drive.” Getting a new driver’s license is an exciting time for a teenager. By helping them to know the law and apply safe driving practices, parents can play an important role in keeping their teens alive. Children’s of Alabama offers links to the Graduated Driver License Law, the Teen Driving Agreement and more resources for parents and teens. Go to www.childrensal.org/ Safe-Teen-Driving-Toolkit to access.
Country Fried Pie Festival 770.646.3369
Waco Fall Festival 770.537.3314
Greater Haralson Chamber Golf Classic 678.821.2002 MeccaFest Fine Arts Festival 770. 838.1083 Taste of Villa Rica 770.899.3118
Things to do April
Pine Mountain Days Festival 706.801.0062 Spring Fling in Warm Springs email@example.com
Bremen Towne Festival 770.537.6570
Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament firstname.lastname@example.org Trout Fishing Rodeo 770.510.8677
Tallapoosa Dogwood Festival and Dogwood Dash 770.842.7061 20
145,600 In the US, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and in women, and the second most common cause of cancer deaths when men and women are combined. It’s expected to cause about 51,020 deaths during 2019. The death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping for several decades. Colorectal polyps are now being found more often by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers or are being found earlier when the disease is easier to treat. In addition, treatment for colorectal cancer has improved over the last few decades.
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the US. The American Cancer Society’s 2019 estimates for the number of cases in the US are: • 101,420 new cases of colon cancer • 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer
51,020 Overall, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is: about 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women. This risk is slightly lower in women than in men. A number of other factors can also affect your risk for developing colorectal cancer. Stats taken from the American Cancer Society website
“Get screened and listen to your body!” Dr. Thelma Lucas with West Georgia Gastro said about getting a colonoscopy. Most of the time, when somebody hears the word “colonoscopy,” dreaded images start going through their brain, then they will put off getting this important screening done. The American Gastroenterological Association recommends getting your first screening at age 50 “before there are any symptoms,” Dr. Lucas said.
first screening at 50. Men are also at higher risk of colon cancer than women, she said, but it’s just as important for women to get screened. In addition, “sometimes we can get our men to get checked,” she said, because a woman can tell her significant other about the test and it “can encourage men to do it.” The biggest complaint Dr. Lucas gets from patients after the test is over is that the day before the screening, the patient can’t eat. Actually, clear liquids are allowed,
Patients can think of this initial screening as a baseline, so there is something to compare to if there happen to be any symptoms, polyps, etc., when they come back for their next screening. After the first screening, she said, if the test comes back clean, or there is no family history of cancer, screenings are recommended every 10 years. Environment, race and sex contributes to how likely the patient is to develop some sort of cancer, Dr. Lucas said. African-Americans should get their baseline test at 45, she said, because they are more likely to development colon problems. “It’s probably genetic,” she said, “but some may be environmental. Colon cancer is more prevalent in the African-American community.” Hispanics and Caucasians are at lower risk, so she recommends the
such as broth or patient drove, jello, but no solid would be about the foods. same as “buzzed “Most everyone driving,” and tells me that’s the they don’t allow hardest thing - they patients to leave can’t eat all day,” without a driver. she said. Dr. Lucas also At around 5 said that many p.m., the prep enjoy their day begins. There is after the test. no special prep to “Many will leave order. Dr. Lucas and go and get a Dr. Thelma Lucas has her patients good lunch,” she buy a 64 oz. said. “Or they will Gatorade and Miralax powder just go home and finish their nap, both can be purchased at almost because that sleep is so pleasant.” any store. She does tell the patient Understanding the simplicity of how much Miralax to use. the test is half the battle of getting “We are trying to get ALL of the people in to get tested. stools out,” she said. “If there are “It’s so important!” Dr. Lucas any growths or polyps, we can see said. “The earlier we find any them much easier.” problems, the more options we Patients also can’t have anything have, and the better the outcome after midnight the night before for the patient.”
their test. Once the patient arrives for their screening, and everything is set up, the anesthesiologist will give him a sedative that patients have told Dr. Lucas is a “pleasant sleep.” The effects of the anesthesia wears off fairly quickly as well, she said. “It reverses quickly, about 20 minutes and patients have no recollection of the procedure. “The patient might be a little groggy, so they need to come with a driver,” Dr. Lucas. She said the after-effect, if the
Your Opportunity for Greatness Awaits
Contrary to what may be popular belief, yoga isn’t just for people who want to twist themselves into a pretzel shape. From the youngest to the oldest, the tallest to the shortest, male and female alike, yoga should be part of your everyday life. Regardless of what your health and fitness goals may be, yoga is an accessible, affordable practice that provides many mental and physical benefits that can help you achieve inner awareness and peace. Sounds inviting doesn’t it? But what exactly is yoga?? Yoga, derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, means union or connection between mind, body, and spirit. Yoga uses breathing techniques, stretching exercises, and meditation to improve overall health and well-being. Yoga asanas (sitting posture/position) can build strength, coordination, balance and stamina. Even though this may sound like a trendy, “new age” way to exercise, yoga is actually an ancient art form that has been around for nearly 5,000 years. Today, there are many different types of yoga and the right choice for an individual is best determined not only by skill level and willingness to learn, but also by an understanding of each style’s purpose. From Hatha to Ashtanga, and VInyasa to Bikram, there is a type of yoga for everyone. Set your health and fitness goals first, then choose the style of yoga best suited to attain those goals. In addition to achieving inner awareness and peace through the practice of yoga, a state that can reduce stress levels and the negative effects of stress on the body, there are numerous health benefits documented within the medical community. One of the most obvious benefits is an increase in flexibility, which in turn can decrease aches and pains related
to tight muscles and joints. Yoga builds muscle strength, corrects posture, and prevents cartilage and joint breakdown further improving musculoskeletal performance. Yoga can improve cardiovascular function as it increases your blood flow and lowers blood pressure, and it can boost immunity with its positive effect on the lymphatic system. Focused breathing during yoga has been shown to improve
lung function even with asthma and allergy sufferers. Many digestive issues are exacerbated by stress so pracitcing yoga may reduce their occurrence as it promotes an increase in serotonin levels leaving you with a happier feeling, Less stress, a core component of yoga practice, means less health issues in general. These are just a few examples of the health benefits yoga has on the body. If these examples alone are not enough to peak your interest, take into consideration that yoga can be practiced anywhere and can be performed at any time of the day. There are yoga sequences designed to wake a person, improve digestion during meal times, act as a quick pick-me-up, as well as routines for bedtmie. Yoga can be practiced on any type of floor with or without a mat and can even be done in a chair for those that are either unable to get on the floor or are uncomfortable with the idea. It is possible even in the smallest of spaces. As a yoga practictioner for 20 years, I have practiced yoga in a
variety of areas from a traditional setting, to the outdoors, the beach, a classroom, and even completed a sitting yoga sequence in a tiny area of a hospital room while staying with a recovering relative. Simply put, It can be done anywhere at anytime. If you already have some type of fitness plan in place, consider adding yoga to your routine and capitalize on the additional benefits. Years ago, as a new high school varsity track coach, I sought out ways to prevent some of the nagging sports related injuries that are sometimes seen with track athletes. I designed a yoga based stretching regimen and required the team to complete the sequences during warmup before each practice. Prior to this, many athletes were plagued with issues but those types of injuries are now few and far between and credit goes to the yoga stretching. Even the most seasoned athlete can reap the benefits that yoga has to offer. “As a team, we attend yoga classes weekly. It makes us more flexible which is important for every sport”- Grey Y. -University of Montevallo Track & Field Athlete. I can often be heard saying “Yoga could save the world”. Truly it is said in jest, but think about it for a moment. If everyone chose to practice yoga, stress levels would decrease, overall well-being would improve and people would inevitably develop a sense of inner awareness and peace. When you are one with mind, body, and spirit ... anything is possible. Namaste.
By Krista Young, RN, MSN Krista has been a nurse for 22 years, Instructor of the Honors Medical Prep Program at Calhoun County Career Academy for 11 years, and Varsity Track Coach at White Plains High School for 7 years
Most people don’t realize how much food they throw away every day — from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. About 94 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. In 2015, we disposed 37.6 million tons of food waste. By managing food sustainably and reducing waste, we can help businesses and consumers save money, provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat, and conserve resources for future generations. Planning, prepping, and storing food can help your household waste less food. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
Planning By simply making a list with weekly meals in mind, you can save money and time and eat healthier food. If you buy no more than what you expect to use, you will be more likely to keep it fresh and use it all. Keep a running list of meals and their ingredients that your household already enjoys. That way, you can easily choose, shop for and prepare meals. Make your shopping list based on how many meals you’ll eat at home. Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and buy only the things needed for those meals. Look in your refrigerator and cupboards first to avoid buying food you already have, make a list each week of what needs to be used up and plan upcoming meals around it. 26
Storage Find out how to store fruits and vegetables so they stay fresh longer inside or outside your refrigerator. Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables especially abundant seasonal produce. Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves. Wait to wash berries until you want to eat them to prevent mold.
Prepping Prepare perishable foods soon after shopping. It will be easier to whip up meals or snacks later in the week, saving time, effort, and money. When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking. Befriend your freezer and visit it often. Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time. Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month.
Thriftiness Tips Be mindful of old ingredients and leftovers you need to use up. You’ll waste less and may even find a new favorite dish. Shop in your refrigerator first! Cook or eat what you already have at home before buying more. Have produce that’s past its prime? It may still be fine for cooking. Think soups, casseroles, stir fries, sauces, baked goods, pancakes or smoothies. If safe and healthy, use the edible parts of food that you normally do not eat. For example, stale bread can be used to make croutons, beet tops can be sautéed for a delicious side dish, and
vegetable scraps can be made into stock. Learn the difference between “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” and expiration dates. Are you likely to have leftovers from any of your meals? Plan an “eat the leftovers” night each week. Casseroles, stir-fries, frittatas, soups, and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers too. Search for websites that provide suggestions for using leftover ingredients. Eating out At restaurants, order only what you can finish by asking about portion sizes and be aware of side dishes included with entrees. Take home the leftovers and keep them for or to make your next meal. At all-you-can-eat buffets, take only what you can eat. www.readhealthyhorizons.com
Soccer star David Beckham. Actress Jessica Alba. Singer Billy Joel. What do these celebrities have in common? They all have asthma – a chronic condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, the passageways that allow air to enter and leave your lungs. There are two types of asthma: Allergic. This type is triggered by exposure to an allergen, such as mold or pet dander. Non-allergic. This is brought on by factors such as stress, exercise, illness, extreme weather, irritants in the air and certain medications. As a chronic condition, asthma is something you’ll have to manage regularly. But the good news is you don’t have to face it alone. And here’s the great news: Just like David, Jessica and Billy, you don’t have to let asthma hold you back. With the help of an allergist, many people with asthma manage the condition well and live healthy and productive lives. What Are the Signs That I Might Have Asthma?
Do you have a regular cough that you just can’t seem to kick? Do you struggle to catch your breath? Is there a whistling or wheezing sound when you breathe? The cann all be sighns of asthma. Other common symptoms include chest tightness and shortness of breath. The key with asthma is that symptoms come back over and over again. Your allergist can evaluate whether your symptoms are a sign of asthma. How Common Is Asthma? Asthma is very common: Asthma symptoms affect an estimated 26 million Americans,
including 20 million adults and 6 million children. That’s approximately 1 in 12 people. Asthma ranks among the most common chronic childhood illnesses, accounting for 13.8 million missed school days a year, as well as more than 14 million lost workdays for adults. What Causes Asthma? It’s hard to say for sure what causes asthma, but family genetics are believed to be a key factor. Asthma often runs in families. Environmental factors, such as exposure to secondhand smoke or air pollution, can also play a role. How Do I Treat Asthma? Allergists are specially trained to help you take control of your asthma so that you can live the life you want. They will work with you to identify what triggers your asthma and then build a plan to help you avoid and manage those triggers. They may also prescribe medication or, in some cases, allergy immunotherapy. If you have asthma, you should keep your rescue inhaler with you wherever you are – at work, at school or on vacation. Albuterol is a particularly effective, fast-acting treatment to relax the muscles around your airways so you can breathe easier. If your asthma is severe or uncontrolled, your allergist may speak to you about biologics treatment or a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty. What Are Common Triggers for Asthma? A trigger is something that causes a response in your body. In the case of asthma, your body sees these triggers as a threat and releases chemicals to combat them – and these chemicals, in turn, can
cause an asthma attack. Different things can act as triggers for different people, but common asthma triggers include exercise, illness and allergens such as pollen or animals. Triggers can also come from certain medications, the weather, stress, smoke and even some foods. What Should I Do if I Suffer an Asthma Attack? The best way to handle an asthma attack is to be prepared. Your allergist can help you create an asthma action plan, which can include specific steps to prevent and manage an asthma attack. If an attack does occur, stay calm and use the medications your allergist has prescribed. These are typically administered with an inhaler or nebulizer. Seek medical treatment if your coughing or shortness of breath persists or seems to get worse. Can You Cure Asthma? There is no cure for asthma, but there are effective treatments available. The best way to manage your asthma is to work with your primary care provider or with an allergist. Studies show that people with asthma who see a specialist such as an allergist reduce their: • Symptoms • Emergency room visits • Hospital stays • Sick visits to the doctor • Missed days from work or school • Health care costs
By Christina Stein, NP Peachtree Allergy & Asthma Clinic www.readhealthyhorizons.com
S i g n s you may have arthritis Do you have achy joints that don’t move the way they used to? You may be experiencing the beginning signs of arthritis. Arthritis is a painful inflammation of the joints, and there are more than 100 different types of this chronic condition. The most common is osteoarthritis (OA), which affects more than 30 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). OA occurs when the cartilage and bones within a joint begin to break down. The risk of developing OA increases with age, but even adults in their 20s and 30s can develop the condition. No matter your age, it’s never too early to start thinking about your bone and joint health. Here are five signs of arthritis to
watch out for.
Evening Joint Pain
Does joint pain keep you up at night? You’re not alone. According to the Arthritis Foundation, about 70 percent of people with osteoarthritis have trouble sleeping. Being on your feet all day can lead to soreness because arthritic joints don’t have a lot of cartilage to serve as a cushion. Because getting a good night’s sleep can help improve your ability to manage the pain, try these tips: • Avoid alcohol and caffeine a few hours before bed. • Turn your bedroom into a sleep haven by keeping it cool and dark. • Unplug by turning off your computer, phones and TV at least an hour before bed. If pain persists in keeping you awake, speak with your doctor.
While stiffness of the joints is normal when you wake up in the morning, it could also be a sign of early OA if it persists throughout the day. If you’re experiencing morning stiffness, resist the urge to stay in bed. Just go through your daily routine. You are likely to feel better once you’ve warmed up your joints. If your daily routine includes gentle exercise, that’s even better. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce pain. If the pain continues or inhibits your ability to continue normal activities, you need to discuss the symptoms with your doctor.
Reduced Range of Motion
If you find it difficult to lift your knees, stand up or twist your upper body, it could be a sign of OA. A reduced range of motion often begins in the hips and knees, and could eventually move to the shoulders and spine. Your doctor may suggest range-of-motion exercises like stretching to help relieve symptoms and protect joints from further damage.
OA can cause your joints to swell, so watch out for swelling at the ends of your fingers (closest to the nails), as well as in your hips, knees, lower back, neck and thumbs. Schedule a visit with your doctor if you are experiencing swollen joints. If there is no pain, it could be OA. But if you’re experiencing any redness or warmth, it could be rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Slappey suggests: “Set up an appointment with us so that we can diagnose your particular problem and assure that you get the appropriate treatment.” To find an orthopedist, call Tanner’s free, 24-hour physician referral line at 770.214.CARE (2273) or select “Find a Doctor” at tanner.org. For more information about orthopedic services at Tanner, visit TannerOrtho.org. Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic has locations in Bremen, Carrollton and Villa Rica. For more information, visit www. carrolltonortho.com or call 770.834.0873.
By Gregory S. Slappey, MD - Carrollton Orthopaedic Clinic 30
The right foods can
The human body and its immune system excels at fighting foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. Signaling chemicals called interleukins tell cells whether they are needed to fight illness or they should wait in the wings. While these immune defenders are doing their jobs, soreness, fatigue and swelling can occur - the natural side effects of an immune system response - but will soon dissipate. However, many people deal with immune systems that are consistently revved up, even when no invaders are present. This is the problem with many chronic diseases and immune system dysfunction. Unfortunately, the inflammation that is a hallmark of immune defense becomes a daily problem that may result in chronic pain and other complications. What many people may not realize is that the foods that they are putting into their bodies may exacerbate inflammatory responses, while others may help keep inflammation at bay. People with rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s, and other chronic illnesses may find that turning to the right diet can tame inflammation and other symptoms. Recently, many health experts, including Dr. Barry Sears, founder of the Inflammation and Research Foundation and author of the “Zone Diet,” and Dr. Andrew Weil, who offers the Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, have begun to tout certain foods that are purported to reduce inflammatory response over an extended period of time. As beneficial as some foods can be, it’s important to note that individuals are unique and certain foods may produce a particular response in some but not in others. Systematically isolating certain foods can help paint a picture of foods that can be problematic. But generally speaking, refined carbohydrates, sugar-sweetened beverages, fried foods, and processed meats may increase inflammation, advises Harvard Health Publishing. Conversely, certain foods and beverages that have been identified as reducing inflammation for many people. These include:
• tomatoes • olive oil • green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables • nuts, like almonds and walnuts • fatty fish
What you can do
control your weight
Protect your joints
• berries • avocados • green tea • peppers • grapes • turmeric • dark chocolate Including these foods in one’s daily diet may help to relieve the pain, bloating and fatigue associated with inflammation. It is important to speak with a doctor before making any dietary changes. Discuss any inflammation issues you have been having and which foods might help. Generally speaking, a diet full of diverse, antioxidant-rich foods can provide relief for those with various levels of inflammation.
see your doctor You can’t always prevent arthritis. Some causes, such as increasing age, family history, and gender (many types of arthritis are more common in women), are out of your control. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis. The three main types
are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Each type develops differently, but all are painful and can lead to loss of function and deformity. Above are a few healthy habits you can practice to reduce your risk of
developing painful joints as you get older. Many of these practices — like exercising and eating a healthy diet — prevent other diseases, too. Your doctor may be able to suggest treatments or lifestyle interventions that can slow the progress of your arthritis and preserve your mobility. www.readhealthyhorizons.com
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