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body. mind. spirit. A Times Union Publication

Winter Blues? We’ve got solutions!

Passion Play

Putting zip back into your sex life

Plus...

• Dealing with bipolar • Managing chronic pain • Eye-care tips everyone should know

February 2013

Let’s Dance Ballroom dancing for fitness AND fun s Don't mis our FREE e f HealthyLi n seminar o! March 5 36 See page s il for deta


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Grilled Salmon with Citrus-Tomato Salsa Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 15 min.

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Ingredients: 2 medium tomatoes, chopped 2 large navel oranges, peeled, sectioned and coarsely ely chopped 2/3 cup sliced green onions 6 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro 2 tsp. finely chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (optional) 4 Tbsp. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® All Purpose Sticks 4 salmon fillets (about 1 lb.) Directions: 1. Combine tomatoes, oranges, green onions, 4 tablespoons cilantro and jalapeno pepper in large bowl. Season, if desired, with salt and ground black pepper; set aside.

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2. Blend I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro and, if desired, salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. 3. Grill or broil salmon, brushing with cilantro spread, until salmon is opaque, turning once. Serve salsa with salmon.

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body. mind. spirit.

Publisher George Hearst III Editorial Janet Reynolds, Executive Editor Rebecca Haynes, CT Division Editor Brianna Snyder, Associate Editor

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Design Tony Pallone, Design Director Colleen Ingerto, Emily Jahn, Designers Krista Hicks Benson, CT Division Designer

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Contributing Writers Beth Cooney, Laurie Lynn Fischer, Valerie Foster, Jayne Keedle, Carin Lane, Georgetta Lordi Morque, Lee Nelson, Emma Tennant, Linda Tuccio-Koonz, Melinda McGarty Webb

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HealthyLife is published ten times per year. If you are interested in receiving home delivery of HealthyLife magazine, please call (518) 454-5768 or email magcirculation@timesunion.com. For advertising information, please call (518) 454-5358. HealthyLife is published by Capital Newspapers and Times Union 645 Albany Shaker Road, Albany, NY 12212 518.454.5694 The entire contents of this magazine are copyright 2013 by Capital Newspapers. No portion may be reproduced in any means without written permission of the publisher. Capital Newspapers is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hearst Corporation.

Love the Way You Look!

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28

56

body

mind

every issue

24 Let’s Dance

55 Ask Emma

  8 talk back

28 Sexercise!

56 Living with Bipolar

Ballroom dance is good for you Exercise your way to better sex

32 Smitten in the Kitchen

Deb Perelman’s cooking tales and recipes

40 Tommy, Can You See Me? Vision loss is part of aging.

45 Alphabet Soup

M.D., D.O., N.D. — which doctor is which?

48 The Long and Short of It

Keep your hair looking good

Lessons of Newtown

10 on the web

And dispelling negative stereotypes

12 editor’s note 14 fit & fab

spirit

16 news & views

61 My Word

36 ask the doc

22 did you know?

A bittersweet diagnosis

62 The Best Sex Ever

Perk up your love life this Valentine’s Day — and beyond

66 Winter Got You Down? Try thinking positively!

Fighting chronic pain

39 owner’s manual

All about your gall bladder

70 cover model Q&A

with Monica Muamba

Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park, Clifton Park Center, (518) 348-0800. On the cover: Pants by Jones NY, blouse by Chaus, jacket by Robert Louis. At right: Sweater by Calvin Klein, print top by Nine West, pants by Jones NY. Photos taken by Suzanne Kawola at Stickley, Audi & Co., 151 Wolf Road, Albany.

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talk back

The story behind the story from our contributors Winter Blues Lee Nelson  I truly get cabin fever around February. The experts have the right idea about filling your calendar and not forgetting about your own happiness. I try to have other couples over for dinner or schedule trips back to see my family three hours away. Some great laughs with my sister can cure me. See Lee’s story on page 66.

Brain Power Laurie Lynn Fischer  I ’d heard of biofeedback, but didn’t really know what it was before writing about it. It struck me as a nonintrusive, drug-free alternative that helps people gain control over their own bodies. It’s used to address everything from insomnia to Attention Deficit Disorder. See Laurie’s story online at timesunion.com/healthylife.

join the conversation!

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Makeup Tips

Hair Health

“I was pleased to hear stylists say there isn’t a set age at which people should cut their hair.” Melinda McGarty Webb  As a 41-yearold with long hair, I was pleased to hear stylists say there really isn’t a set age at which people should cut their hair short. I also thought it was useful advice that we should avoid harsh lines and angles in our hair as we age, as it will draw attention to the lines in our faces. I’d like to avoid THAT at all costs! See Melinda’s story on page 48.

Dancing for Fitness Georgetta Lordi Morque   I discovered there’s a whole world out there of ballroom dancing and it looks like everyone is having a lot of fun. Could I possibly remember the steps I learned as a child in dance class? I’m really tempted to give it a whirl. See Georgetta’s story on page 24.

Brianna Snyder  I’m ambivalent about makeup. I wear it, but I resent it sometimes. But what I like about Bobbi Brown’s makeup book is that it talks as much about using makeup to bring out your inner beauty as it does about enhancing your outer beauty. Confident women are beautiful women, and if makeup helps us get there, I’m all for it. See Brianna’s story online at timesunion.com/healthylife.

Sexercise Valerie Foster  I always knew the importance of kegels but had no idea they could enhance your sex life. Been doing them religiously for months now and have to say the experts are correct! See Valerie’s story on page 28.

We asked, you answered!  The worst part about a big snowstorm is ... Sue: The cleanup after.

 What’s your favorite food to cook in the winter?

Linda: All the hype preceding the storm!

Kathryn: Salisbury steak w/ mushrooms ... Rachael Ray recipe ... great and easy.

 Pick one! Bubble bath or shower?

Amy: Crockpot beef stew or a beef roast in the crockpot.

Melissa: Long hot shower for sure!

Jenn: White bean and rosemary soup is my kiddo’s favorite when it’s cold. I think Oprah originally published the recipe — it’s to die for.

Brigid: Bubble bath, followed by a tepid shower rinse.

Jenna: Homemade sauce and meatballs.

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healthylife

Shepard’s pie. Chicken pot pie with homemade biscuits. Homemade mac ‘n cheese. Gotta stop ...mouth is a waterin’. Danielle: Pot roast, pork roast, baked chicken (Then I make chicken pot pie and chicken soup with the leftovers), shepherd’s pie, meatball subs in the crockpot, spaghetti with meat sauce. Colleen: Tomorrow I’m making the southwest stuffed peppers recipe from Real Simple!


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on the web facebook.com/ HealthyLifeNYmagazine

check out the healthylife channel

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

Photos Read our Q&A with cover model Monica Muamba on page 70, and head online to see more pictures that didn’t fit in the magazine!

healthylife

blogs

Recipes Read about The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman on page 32; then head online for more recipes, including “Tres Leches” rice pudding, plus pancetta, white bean and Swiss chard pot pies.

Midlife Mom Rebecca Haynes, editor of HealthyLife Connecticut, offers her perspective on life and motherhood while she navigates the teen years and beyond.

Writer and freelance editor Beth Cooney scans the web to bring you the latest info and tips for healthy living.

Healthy Life

Stories Check out our online-only preview of Bobbi Brown’s latest makeup book and read about the benefits of biofeedback, and why family therapy is worth it.

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healthylife

Writer and designer Carin Lane shares her success stories with losing weight her way — without a gym membership, a personal trainer, or special foods.

VIDEOS Check out our exclusive online video teaching you how to do a few great sexercises. Read the story on page 28. Got a smartphone? Scan the QR code at right to link directly to our YouTube page. 

Illustration: Computer mouse, ©Irina Iglina/Dreamstime.com.

Healthy Tips


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editor’s note

Up and at ’Em

I

Photo by Suzanne Kawola.

admire — and maybe hate just a teensy little bit — people who run every morning at 5 a.m. or who regularly lift weights. I envy as well those who practice yoga and/or other more solitary pursuits such as meditation. I am not one of those people. It’s not that I haven’t tried running — after six months, my knees shout “NO!” — or yoga in my living room. It’s just that I am a group exercise person. My ability to sustain solitary exercise lasts maybe five days, max. I need that person in the front of the room telling me it’s time to do a Down Dog pose or to move to the left. My ideal exercise also involves music. Over the years — and depending on the fad — I’ve done jazzercise, Zumba and just about every variation of cardio dance invented. Today, my dance and exercise preference is Nia, something I describe as a sort of dance yoga. As we hit the winter doldrums, exercise can keep our spirits up and our bodies in good shape. Here’s hoping you find something that gets your hearts — and spirits — racing. HL

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fit and fab ◀  Reach Your Peak Reach your fitness peak with this workout system from trainer Michelle Dozois that was designed to burn major fat and calories "using repetitive cycles of peaks and rests" with moves that "trick your body into performing at a higher level." The package includes 10 easy-to-follow DVDs, a nutrition guide, a workout calendar, tape measure and a challenge resistance band. $89.95. Visit www.peakfitsystem.com.

▼  Staying on Track This little tracker can keep record of your steps, distance, calories burned, stairs climbed as well as your sleep pattern so you can learn to sleep better. Then Fitbit wakes you to start all over again! To make it even easier to check your progress, Fitbit data can be downloaded to fitness apps such as SparkPeople, Lose It!, and MyFitnessPal or your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad and soon select Android phones. $99.95. Visit fitbit.com.

by carin lane

Love is in the air and there is no better time to show your body some love than with these Fit and Fab finds.

You can visit Carin on facebook at www.facebook.com/ carinlane.healthylife or follow her on twitter @tiredorinspired and Pinterest at pinterest.com/carinlane.

Want to fill your body with wholesome goodness? Get juicing with this "Nutrition Extractor" whose high-speed motor, extractor blade and "cyclonic action," can tear through seeds, nuts, stems and skin. I loved watching my kids devour the Immune Booster Juice — greens, banana, orange, pineapple, blueberries and water — that will help keep all those school germs at bay. The system includes the extractor blade, a milling blade, a flat blade, the power base, and a tall, extra tall and two short cups with handles, two stay-fresh resealable lids, a user guide recipe book and a pocket nutritionist. Available at Target, WalMart, Amazon.com and Best Buy. $119.94. Visit nutribullet.com.

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They look like socks, but protect your feet like sneakers. These light, stretchable and airy footwear stay snug while providing enough traction to wear them around the house, out shopping or during a workout. They also are available with a high ankle for extra support or a split toe to help you stay more balanced. If you are looking for the minimalist effect in a hearty shoe, the ZEM360 or Terra ZEMgear will do the trick. Available in a variety of bright colors. $34.99-39.99. Visit zemgear.com.

For more Fit and Fab goodies, go to timesunion.com/ healthylife. Have a new product you’d like to share? E-mail Carin at clane@timesunion.com.

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news and views compiled by beth cooney

Red (Head) Melanoma Alert but scientists believe there’s something about being a redhead when it comes to risk factors for developing the particularly lethal skin cancer known as melanoma. The deadliest of all skin cancers, melanoma seems to proliferate more in mice with red fur — even those with virtually no sun exposure — according to a recent study reported in the journal Nature and conducted by doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Does that mean red heads are doomed to contract melanoma? Researchers offered a qualified no. They acknowledged this is preliminary research and far from medical gospel, but explain what they learned is that mice with certain features and certain genetic mutations seemed to be the most vulnerable to the effects of ultraviolet light exposure that is known to play a role in all skin cancers. At the very least, they say their findings suggest that there is a predisposition to melanoma in certain populations. Meanwhile, the brunettes and blondes in the crowd should continue to join their redheaded friends in making high SPF sunscreen — and visits to the dermatologist for annual skin evaluations — a regular health and beauty practice. source: tinyurl.com/hl13red

Decongestant Kid Warning Now that we’re in the thick of cold and flu season, it’s not unusual to have a nasal decongestant on the bathroom counter or by the bedside for relief of those stuffy, sneezy noses. And while these products can be effective in relieving uncomfortable clogged noses, they also pose a particular danger to young children who may ingest them accidentally. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued a consumer safety warning after several cases were reported of children becoming severely ill from ingesting these nasal sprays as well as eye drops used to reduce redness. The products contain ingredients that narrow blood vessels to relieve congestion and

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inflammation. While no deaths have been reported, the active ingredients in these products, including tetrahydrozoline, oxymetazoline and naphazoline, have been associated with incidences of coma, sedation and compromised respiratory function in children who accidentally ingested these over-the-counter products, the FDA reported in a recent public health advisory. The FDA is considering mandating these products have special childproof safety caps as a result. If a child in your care should accidentally ingest any of these products call your pediatrician or the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222. source: tinyurl.com/hl13safety

Photos: Red head, © Andre Blais/Dreamstime.com; Nasal spray, © iStockphoto.com/Watcha; Wine glass, © Johnfoto/Dreamstime.com; Cigarette, © iStockphoto.com/newphotoservice.

It’s a theory that’s only been proven in mice,


The Younger You Quit,

The Longer You Live The sooner a female smoker quits the less likely her cigarette habit is to kill her. A powerful new study out of Europe amounts to yet another compelling call for women to snuff out their cigarette habits as soon as possible. Indeed this long-term study of more than one million European women — which included smokers and former smokers — found that the women who quit smoking before age 30 have comparable longevity to women who never smoked. Meanwhile, women who quit before age 40 also enhanced their lon-

Red Wine

Blues

gevity, although the rates were not quite as impressive as the earlier quitters. Keep smoking after age 40 and you stand to shave at least 10 years off your life expectancy. Indeed, researchers found that a whopping two-thirds of deaths of women in their 50s through 70s who smoked could be attributed to their tobacco habits. The take-away: Quit while you’re ahead! The study was reported recently in the journal The Lancet. source: tinyurl.com/hl13smoking

Here’s some sobering news for fans of red wine. Despite its touted good-for-you benefits, researchers have found that resveratrol, the compound often said to be among wine’s chief healthful properties, is not so beneficial on its own. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis concluded that supplements of resveratrol (consumed as pills rather than in sips of wine) did not benefit the cardiovascular health of women in their 50s or 60s evaluated in the study. The supplements also did nothing to diminish the onset of diabetes. Still, researchers cautioned that it’s not necessarily cause to toss your wine if you’ve been drinking a little each day in hopes of improving your overall health profile. They say it’s possible that the compound, along with other nutrients in wine, may be beneficial when combined. source: tinyurl.com/hl13wine

Bariatric Baby Benefits Here’s one case where it’s good to take after Mom: Babies born to obese women who’ve dropped a voluminous amount of weight following bariatric weight loss surgery have fewer cardiovascular risk factors than siblings born before their moms had the operations, according to new research. That’s because the weight loss and metabolic changes that occur following the surgery have a positive effect on inflammatory disease-related genes, according to a new study unveiled at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress. What’s intriguing about the research is that when comparing the children of female bariatric surgery patients in these pre- and post-surgery samples, the researchers were able to find through extensive blood analysis that there were genetic differences in the two groups of children. They concluded the changes in the biological profiles of the children and their overall health were not simply a factor of their mother’s improved diet or a healthier post-surgical lifestyle. The study is an exciting revelation from the cutting-edge field of epigenetics, which examines how genes can be switched on and off by environmental changes. source: tinyurl.com/hl13cardio


news and views

Aspirin

does a body (and mind) good Aspirin

Water Exercise

as Effective as on Land

therapy

has been getting a lot of buzz ever since comedian Rosie O’Donnell popped one after suffering a heart attack last year and credited it with saving her life. Now, Swedish researchers have concluded daily low-dose aspirin therapy is not only good for your cardiovascular health, it may also be good for your mind. Researchers in Sweden looked at a large sampling of elderly Swedish women deemed to be at cardiovascular risk, but who exhibited no clinical signs of dementia. They gave some of these women daily low-dose aspirin for a period of five years, while a placebo group received no aspirin. At the end of the study, the women in the aspirin group not only had better cardiovascular health, they were also less likely to show any clinical signs of depression. The study was reported recently in the periodical BMJ Open. source: tinyurl.com/hl13aspirin

Turns out that despite the stereotype as being the workout of the senior set, water aerobics really can do the body as much good as running, walking and most other landlubber workouts. Canadian researchers say this is particularly good news for people who are avoiding other types of workouts — such as people suffering from arthritis and painful injuries — who find other kinds of exercise too painful to sustain. In a study recently presented to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress researchers said that despite perceptions that water workouts are less taxing, they found that working out on a special exercise bike placed in the water required as much exertion as riding a land-based

stationary bike. The researchers evaluated the study participants for maximum oxygen consumption — an indication of whether something’s a good workout — and found the levels were the same in the water- and land-based groups. And there was more good news for the group that joined the crowd in the pool. “Exercise during water immersion may be even more efficient from a cardiorespiratory standpoint,” says Dr. Mathieu Gayda, a clinical exercise physiologist at the Montreal Heart Institute. That’s because researchers found the heart rates of those participating in water workouts were actually slightly lower than their land-based counterparts. source: tinyurl.com/hl13pool

Sex Addiction: It’s Officially Sick Some people scoff at the notion that someone can be addicted to sex in the same way a person can be hooked on booze, drugs or gambling. But researchers say a new UCLA study justifies the inclusion of hypersexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the comprehensive manual used by psychiatric professionals to diagnose and treat personality disorders. The study, reported recently in the

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Journal of Sexual Medicine, concludes that there are certain specific characteristics, behaviors and consequences associated with hypersexuality or sex addiction. For example, people deemed to have a sex addiction may show patterns such as using intimate encounters to cope with stress or depression. While their findings are sure to be controversial (even some respected psychiatrists says it opens the door for

lots of randy folks to justify their infidelities by claiming they have a disorder) researchers say it’s a gateway for improved treatment, diagnosis and research into the emotional disorder. The diagnosis of sex addiction is set to be included in the next edition of the DSM, considered the bible of mental health clinicians. source: tinyurl.com/hl13sexaddict


Photos: Aspirin, © Veniamin Kraskov/Dreamstime.com; Woman in pool, © iStockphoto.com/CEFutcher; Woman extending hand, © Studiovespa/Dreamstime.com; Baby, © Vasaleks/Dreamstime.com.

Make a Lasting Impression (With Your Handshake)

Healthy for the

The best way to leave a lasting impression when meeting

Canadian

Long Haul

strangers? Shake on it. While some people avoid it because hands are notorious germ spreaders, in business and social situations the age-old practice of extending a hand may be the best way to leave your social mark, according to researchers at the University of Illinois. For their study, social psychologist researchers had male and female subjects view videotapes of various social and business interactions and rate how the meetings proceeded (positively or negatively) and scanned their brains using MRIs to confirm their findings. Videos with handshakes elicited the most positive responses from viewers of both genders. “We found that it not only increases the positive effect toward a favorable interaction, but it also diminishes the impact of a negative impression,” researcher and doctoral student Sanda Dolcos, said in a university news release. “Many of our social interactions may go wrong for one reason or another, and a simple handshake preceding them can give us a boost and attenuate the negative impact of possible misunderstandings.” The research was first reported online in October and later in print in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

researchers

have found that having a pattern of healthy habits in midlife has a strong influence on longevity and quality of life in the senior years. While the research may seem like a no-brainer, this study identified four key factors in successful aging and longevity. They included (and this should surprise no one!): not smoking, moderate drinking, regular exercise and eating fruits and vegetables. The group of British men and women who exhibited these habits most consistently during a 16-year study period that began in middle age had a much higher survival rate in their senior years than men and women who did not practice these good life-long habits. The findings were recently published in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association. source: tinyurl.com/hl13health

source: tinyurl.com/hl13shake

Summer Babies Less Likely to Be CEOs If you want a baby that’s a happy, healthy, cute little chief executive officer in training, you may want to plan its due date to avoid the summer months. That’s because researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that babies born in summer months, most notably June and July, don’t seem to grow up to be leading corporate executives. Not that they’re doomed to failure, mind you, but the UBC business scientists say they just don’t seem to exhibit the kind of attributes that land them in the executive suite. So what’s behind the analysis of the researchers affiliated with the Sauder School of Business? Their sampling of CEOs at top 500 companies on the Standard & Poor’s index found a scant six percent of CEOs had a June birthday and five percent were born in July. By contrast, April and March seemed to be particularly bullish months: both had double-digit percentages of CEOs born. It seems some of the theories set forth by

author Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers (which analyzed innate factors in all kinds of success) are also at play here. The UBC researchers noted that summer-birthed boys and girls are often the youngest in school because of typical school admission cutoff dates. March and April babies are often among the oldest kids in class. “Older children within the same grade tend to do better than the youngest, who are less intellectually developed,” explains Maurice Levi, a UBC professor of finance who was involved in the research. “Early success is often rewarded with leadership roles and enriched learning opportunities, leading future advantages that are magnified through life.” Levi says the take-away from the research is that some children may have their potential diminished by being enrolled in school too soon. source: tinyurl.com/hl13summerbabes

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

19


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Vitamin C boosts your ➺ immunity and reduces inflammation, one of the ways stress can show itself. So load up on the vitamin this winter, whether it’s in juice, whole foods or a supplement.

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body Did You Know? 22    Ballroom Fitness 24    Sexercise 28 Cookbook 32    Ask the Doc 36    Your Gall Bladder 39 Eye Health 40    Doctor Differences 45    Doing Your Hair 48 timesunion.com/HealthyLife

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fast facts

did you know?

compiled by brianna snyder

10,000 The first person ever to have blue eyes probably lived between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. Everybody had brown eyes before then. So if you have blue eyes, you share a common ancestor with every other blue-eyed human on the planet. source: tinyurl.com/hl13eyes

source: tinyurl.com/hl13sex

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Chronic pain, particularly in the lower back, is a problem for many Americans. A National Institute of Health Statistics survey showed that lower-back pain affected 27 percent of those responding. Fifteen percent said they had severe headache or migraine pain and another 15 percent said they suffered from neck pain. source: tinyurl.com/hl13chronicpain

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healthylife

Chronic pain? Check out page 36 for info on our Ask the Doc seminar.

14

About half of all mental disorders begin around age 14, and about 20 percent of the world’s children are estimated to have a mental disorder or problem. source: tinyurl.com/hl13mental

Photos: Baby, © Kate Reynolds; Couple kissing, © Oleg Tovkach/Dreamstime.com; Woman with backache, © Kenneth Man/Dreamstime.com.

3

The average person burns 26 calories a minute from kissing. And having vigorous sex for half an hour burns up to 150 calories. That means having sex seven or eight times a month can drop you three pounds per year. And who said exercise can’t be fun?


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exercise

Let’s

Dance why a twirl around the ballroom floor is good for you

by georgetta lordi morque   |   photos by krishna hill

E

 Anne-Marie Schwartz, dancing with instructor Serge Nelyubov at Fred Astaire

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rase any stodgy image you might have of ballroom dancing. Revitalized by popular TV shows Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, ballroom dancing — particularly the Latin variety — is hot and dance studios are embracing the trend with salsa socials, practice parties and more. Those passionate about ballroom dancing say they’ve found a new way to get fit, reduce stress, gain confidence, meet new friends and most of all, have fun. Dancing has rekindled romances, served as an outlet during tough times and even transformed some lives. Louise Giuliano and her husband, Paul, of Albany wanted to do something special for their 25th wedding anniversary, so they clipped a coupon for ballroom dance lessons. They were so taken by their new activity that they built a ballroom in their basement. Fast-forward 17 years and the Giulianos are the U.S. National DanceSport Champions in two senior divisions, including the Ten Dance category, which means they had to master 10 different dances. “You get involved and doors open,” says Louise. Word spread about their talents, so the couple now teaches others in their ballroom on a part-time basis. While the pair participated in some sports in school, and Paul is musically inclined, they entered the dance world as newbies. “I had it in me but didn’t know it,” says Louise, who practices with her husband at least five times a week. “It certainly has improved our lifestyle and health,” she says, adding neither are fans of working out, but both have gained strength and endurance through dance. Plus, they’re medication-free. The couple travels for competitions and also enjoys the social


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exercise

 Louise and Paul Giuliano dancing at Danceland in Latham

aspects of dance, making new friends and connections. “Dancers are great people,” Louise says. Ann-Marie Schwartz of Scotia has lost 25 pounds since she started dancing three years ago. A professional violinist with the Musicians of Ma’alwick, she initially took up ballroom dancing to enter a competition to raise money for her

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ensemble. After placing second, she dove into dancing more intensely at Fred Astaire in Latham, where she practices three to four times a week. Her music background was helpful and she had taken ballet as a child. “It’s an enjoyable hobby and great for bodies,” says Schwartz, who is practicing now with her husband for another competition. “If you want to be serious, like any other sport, you need to work at it,” she adds. Boris Spitchka, originally from the Ukraine, who owns the Fred Astaire Latham studio, says TV’s Dancing with the Stars has generated a buzz about dancing, particularly for men since the strong athletes on the show negate any thoughts of ballroom being unmanly. He also finds that dancing makes people look younger. “It’s the way they move; they have more flexibility and are generally more positive.” Sharon Silverman of Halfmoon has been dancing at the Arthur Murray studio in Saratoga Springs for nearly five years and doesn’t ever want to stop. She and her husband had danced casually but were mesmerized by studio manager Leslie LaGuardia, who performed at a dance showcase. The couple immediately signed up for lessons. Although an illness prevented her husband from continuing, Silverman, a former teacher, has kept at it once or twice a week, perfecting the Latin dances that she loves. Physically she feels more comfortable and flexible. “Almost everyone can learn and the social aspect is excellent,” says Silverman, who has enjoyed meeting people at open dance nights and social dances. Overall, she says: “Dancing makes you feel good.” For her instructor, Ricardo Sopin, dancing was a lifechanger. Embarrassed at 19 when he was the only one among his friends in Haiti who didn’t know how to dance, he was determined to learn. After taking lessons and perfecting his dances, he competed internationally and made dance his career. He even performed on Dancing with the Stars. For the past several years, he’s taught at Arthur Murray, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. He’s seen many students benefit from dancing, including one woman who was at risk for heart disease and was able to lose weight. “The doctor told her to keep dancing.” HL

GETTING STARTED

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Dance studios are happening places, typically offering lessons in all styles of ballroom dances, special classes for weddings and more. Often, a studio offers an introductory offer or complimentary trial lesson and a variety of packages, some customized. Costs vary depending on the studio, the number and type of lessons — group or private — or a combination. Prices can start at $15 for group classes and go up from there. Private lessons can range from $50 to $95. All ages are welcome, with or without partners.

Fred Astaire Dance Studio 368 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham (518) 783-3130, albanyfads.com

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Arthur Murray Dance Studio 543 Broadway, Saratoga Springs (518) 691-0432, dancelessonssaratogasprings.com Eileen’s Dance Studio 1020 Barrett Street, Schenectady (518) 869-7086, ballroomdances.org/eileens.shtml


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sexy life

Sexercise! Photo: Š Yuri Arcurs/Dreamstime.com; ; Lunges,

yes, you CAN exercise your way to better sex

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by valerie foster

W

ant a new incentive to start exercising? How about a better sex life? “Not enough people are talking about the exercise-sex connection,” says personal trainer Lisa Lynn. “If you exercise, get in shape and stop being ashamed of your body you will have more sex.” Today, our three experts — Lynn, Dale Kelley and Suzanne Nicklas (see Meet Our Experts) — share their surefire exercise suggestions for pumping up your bedroom action.

Top Pick Kegels.

It’s the one exercise our trio agrees every woman should do. “Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor, which is part of the primary core muscles,” says Dale Kelley, a personal trainer in Colonie. “They are important for all women, but especially important for women who have had children. They help with bladder leakage after having kids, which is one of the main reasons women do not exercise. In addition, kegels help with weight loss by improving your core strength.”  To find the pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. When you can do it, you’ve found the right muscles. (Don’t make this a habit: Doing kegels while emptying your bladder could weaken the muscles and lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder, increasing the risk of infection.)  Pelvic floor muscles ID’d, empty your bladder and lie on your back. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for 5 seconds, relax 5 seconds. Repeat four or five times. Goal: holding contraction for 10 seconds; resting for 10 seconds.  Do not flex muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks and remember to breathe freely instead of holding your breath.  Repeat at least three times a day.  Once you are comfortable with kegels and understand what muscles to contract, kegels can be done anywhere — sitting at your desk, driving a car, during a meeting.

continued on page 30 


sexy life continued from page 29

Lunges

1. Mula Bandha, one of three interior body “locks,” to tighten the pelvic floor.

Lynn says the fastest way to get your body into shape is a combination of lifting weights, core strengtheners and cardio. And don’t worry about building bulk — Lynn says her suggested exercises will simply get you into the best shape you have ever been in.

 “Basically, this is very similar to kegels and helps with the blood flow to the sex organs,” she says. “In yoga, we do these throughout our practice, tightening the muscles between the vagina and the anus. This is so important for women to do.” 2. Her next suggestion:

1. For cardio, invest in a pedometer and start walking, either inside on a treadmill or outside, Lynn says.  The goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, seven days a week. Her favorite time to exercise is early morning, before her family wakes up. In addition to exercise, this is time Lynn prays and meditates, exercises for her mind and soul. 2. Squats, for your thighs and butt.  Stand with your feet shoulderwidth apart, holding dumbbells in each hand. Start with light weights, but ones that offer a challenge.  Squat down as if you were sitting in a chair — until the tops of your legs are parallel to the floor.  Push yourself back up using your heels to drive the move and press the dumbbells above your head on your way up.  Repeat. Start off with two sets of 10 repetitions and work your way up to three sets of 20 each. 3. Planks, for your whole body, including core, abs, glutes and legs.

 “I think that any exercise we do to strengthen any part of our body strengthens the rest of your body. The goal is to get blood flowing through your entire body, awakening your body. This will help with sex.” 3. of tight pants. Squeeze your butt tightly. Be sure to keep your body flat and your head in line with the rest of your body. Don’t let your head drop.  Start with one plank trying to hold at least 30 seconds, working your way up to one to two minutes. Lynn’s words of encouragement: “You can do it!” 4. Traveling lunges, for thighs, butt and core.  Stand straight, with good posture.  Take a step forward.  Lunge with the leg you took the step with, dropping the back knee to the floor — don’t let your lunge knee go over your toe.  Push with lunge leg’s heel and bring your back leg up to front leg.

 Plank position is lying face down on the floor, with elbows on floor directly under your shoulder.

 Repeat with opposite leg while traveling across the floor. This is one set.

 Prop yourself up on your toes and elbows using them as your “legs,” keeping your body flat like a table.

 Start with one set of 10 repetitions, working your way up to 25 sets of traveling lunges. Count with your right leg. Start slow, working your way up by adding more lunges each week.

 Hold your stomach in, like you are trying to put on a pair

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Susanne Nicklas’ picks

Tantra yoga.

 Mention tantra, and most people think sex. “Tantra is more than just sex and orgasm,” Nicklas says. “Like other forms of yoga, it’s about going inward and connecting with different parts of ourselves that we are usually not in tune with. It’s about connecting with breath. Connecting with your body. Naturally connecting with your sexuality.” Which leads Nicklas to her favorite sexercises, no flexibility required.  Sit on your bed, back to back and start breathing. Begin connecting with each other’s breath. “This is especially valuable for people who have intimacy issues,” she says.  The goal is to eventually face each other, look into each other’s eyes, and breathe together. Either certainly sets the stage, like no 10-pound weight ever could.

Mula Bandha

Photos: Lunges, © iStock photo.com/asiseeit; MUla Bandha, Warren Goldswain. Bird Dog exercise photo by Tyler Murphy.

Lynn’s four sexercises


Kelley’s fave sexercises 1. Cardio.  “Sex is more about what is in the head than anything else,” Kelley says. “Cardio exercise relieves stress by increasing endorphin and serotonin levels.” As for what type of cardio to choose, she says: “Anything that you enjoy and will do, and can do, for 20 to 30 minutes a few times a week, without pain. It’s different for everyone.” For example, she prefers walking on a treadmill rather than outside but she understands that treadmills make some people “crazy.” 3.

Baby pose for flexibility.

 Lie on the floor on your back.

 Apply pressure downward, pushing knee toward the ground to give your inner thigh a good stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times. 2. Bird

dogs for core strength.

 Get on hands and knees on the floor.  Place palms on the floor, below your shoulders.  Raise your left arm to about the level of your ears.  Raise your right leg so it is parallel to your butt.  Draw your navel up to your spine. Keep back flat, not arched.

 Grab your feet (or your knees or calves) with both hands. Calves should be folded over your thighs. A yoga strap can also be used over your feet.

 Hold for as long as you can, working up to 30 seconds.

 Pull your knees away from each other so they are a bit wider than your chest.

 Repeat this sequence two more times. HL

 Do the same with your right arm and left leg. This is one sequence.

Bird Dogs

Want to learn more? Watch our video on sexersize techniques. Got a smartphone? Scan the QR code at right to link directly to our HealthyLife YouTube playlist.

Meet Our Experts Lisa Lynn has been a personal trainer for 25 years, including 13 years working with her most visible client, Martha Stewart. She is also a specialist in metabolic disorders and performance nutrition and a frequent guest on TV shows, including the one segment for which she is most remembered, when she introduced Dr. Oz to pound-shedding raspberry ketones, igniting an international craving for this product. Her Leaner Lifestyle DVD of four workouts in addition to her line of nutritional supplements and protein powder, have helped thousands of women get into shape all over the world. — lynfit.com Dale Kelley, now a buff personal trainer in Colonie, has lost 70 pounds – twice. She admits that her weight issues sent her through severe depression, thoughts of suicide and feelings of helplessness, which today aids her as she helps clients reach their weight and exercise goals at Fit Expectations. “My goal is to help my clients make the same empowering changes I have made,” she says. — fitexpectations.com Suzanne Nicklas owns Shanti Yoga in Troy, and is a registered nurse and holistic health coach. “I combine all these different modalities to improve people’s health and wellbeing,” she says. She is also the mother of five, and knows that in many cases a woman puts the needs of others first, taking care of themselves last. Her motto: “Peace in your community. Peace in your home. Peace in your heart.” — shantiyoga.ws

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

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cookbook

Smitten in the Kitchen blogger deb perelman’s cooking tales and recipes by janet reynolds   |   photos courtesy knopf

B

logger, and now best-selling cookbook author Deb Perelman, is not a professionally trained chef. Nor does she come from a long line of serious home cooks. She’s just, by her own admission, obsessive about cooking — OK, maybe other things, too, but that’s another story. It is this obsession that got her writing online about her quest for the best, the perfect, the guaranteed recipes for muffins, or a roast, or whatever it was that caught her cooking fancy. That was in 2000 and today her website, smittenkitchen.com, has 5 million visitors a month. “I was getting more and more into cooking,” she says, “but I was always playing recipe roulette. I had arrived at so-called adulthood, but I had no list of go-to recipes.”

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So she started researching relentlessly and tweaking and writing about it. “I ended up with recipes. This is the recipe you should make (for muffins or latke or whatever). That’s why I have the site, so hopefully fewer people play the roulette game.” The cookbook is in the same chatty, we’re-justfriends-talking-about-food-over-coffee tone as the website. In addition to recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as a healthy smattering of desserts and party snacks and drinks, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook also offers tips on precisely the details many other cookbook authors assume the reader is going to know. Can’t find panko or maybe aren’t entirely sure what it is? Not to worry. Perelman tells you how to fake it with some white bread. Her choice to do this stems from her own curiosity/concern while cooking — is the scone

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook, by Deb Perelman, Knopf, 322 pages, $35.


  “Tres Leches” rice pudding. Below: Pancetta, white bean and Swiss chard pot pies.

dough really supposed to be this sticky? “What if the creator said it’s supposed to be sticky. I felt a lot of recipes were missing that detail,” Perelman says. “If you could add those details that people are going to ask and anticipate the areas where home cooks are going to struggle, you can write a recipe that anyone can follow no matter their expertise.”

“When our car needs any service or repair, there’s only one place we trust.”

W

hile Perelman grew up in a home where food mattered — her mother, she says, taught herself, as many women of a certain era did, via Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking — it wasn’t a family hobby. “Our families love great cooking, but with me it’s the way it mixed with my personality. I remember thinking, Why is it so hard to find the lemon cake? I don’t really want to cook anything. I want to cook something great. I’m really picky.” Perelman’s eclectic cooking styles are reflected by the cooks she calls muse. There’s Child, of course, her “anchored ace.” Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, reminds Perelman that basics matter. “People are killing themselves making crown roast (for guests), and Ina makes spaghetti and meatballs,” she says. “Sometimes a well-made classic in the best version is way more exciting than something fancy.” see recipe on page 34 

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cookbook continued from page 33

Plum Poppyseed Muffins 12 standard muffins

method

ingredients 6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffin cups 1 large egg, lightly beaten  1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar  1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark or light brown sugar  3/4 cup (180 grams) sour cream or a rich, full-fat plain yogurt  1/2 cup (60 grams) whole-wheat flour 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour  3/4 teaspoon baking powder  3/4 teaspoon baking soda  1/4 teaspoon table salt Pinch of ground cinnamon Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg 2 tablespoons (20 grams) poppy seeds 2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about 3 /4 pound (340 grams) Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 12 muffin cups.

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Whisk the egg with both sugars in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then the sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and poppy seeds, and then stir them into the sour-cream mixture until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in the plums. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Rest muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 2 minutes, then remove them from the tin to cool them completely. HL

Head online for more recipes, including “Tres Leches” rice pudding, plus pancetta, white bean and Swiss chard pot pies. Visit timesunion.com/healthylife.


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ask the doc

Everybody Hurts diagnosing and handling chronic pain

by brianna snyder   |   photos by colleen ingerto

T

he numbers are fairly shocking. According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects about 100 million Americans per year. That’s more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined, the institute reports. “It’s kind of a staggering amount,” says Dr. Charles Argoff, professor and director of comprehensive pain management at the Albany Medical Center. Argoff is speaking at the upcoming Health­ yLife seminar on pain management, held at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center on March 5 at 5:30. (See box for details.) According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), chronic pain can come as a result of a sprained back, serious infection, or an ongoing cause of pain — arthritis, cancer or ear infection. Common chronic pain complaints include

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healthylife

headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), psychogenic pain (pain not due to past disease or injury or any visible sign of damage inside or outside the nervous system), NINDS reports. A person may have two or more co-existing chronic pain conditions. Such conditions can include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia. The variety of sources — and symptoms — of chronic pain, Argoff says, make diagnosing and treating it challenging. “People view chronic pain as a disease unto itself,” he says. “The basic approach to managing one’s pain is working with a qualified health care professional to identify the cause of the pain, if possible,” he says.

  DR. CHARLES ARGOFF of Albany Medical Center


FREE Argoff gives an example: Say you sprained your ankle and for a couple of weeks it hurts. “That’s acute pain that lasts maybe for a month or two, but then it’s gone,” Argoff says. “That’s very different from having arthritis of the knee, where for over a decade or two you don’t quite need a replacement because it’s not that bad, but you keep having episodes of severe pain inflaming in the knee. Those recurrent episodes actually change the way the sensory apparatus of the knee operates.” Your body starts to adapt to the pain, which then alters your nervous system. “You would hope the nervous system would be working to stop the pain, but it doesn’t,” Argoff says. Instead, you become less sensitized. The goal, according to the doctor, is to treat the condition before it corrupts your nervous system.

A

rgoff says one major flaw of the American health care system is its broad-stroke approach to treating conditions such as chronic pain. “It is so difficult to know what the right treatment is for each person,” Argoff says. “Pain medicine is a recognized specialty. … It’s a very young field. We’re maturing and we’re growing.” Drugs are often a short-term, superficial solution. Physical therapy is a more long-term approach. Acupuncture is “a scientifically valid treatment,” according to Argoff, and some people say visiting a chiropractor three times a week is the solution to their pain problem. It all depends. Argoff says, on how you react, what your pain is, what causes it and how bad it is. For this reason, it’s important to consult a doctor as soon as possible if you’re experiencing regular and undiminishing pain. While we all hope to prevent pain from ever happening, that’s unlikely. What is optional, however, is how we respond. “Pain is inevitable, due to the number of diseases we face as we live and mature,” Argoff says. “But at the same time, misery is optional.” The best approach to avoiding pain, Argoff says, is the obvious healthy-life prescription: nutrition, exercise and sleep. Be good to yourself. “Ask not what your body can do for you,” Argoff says, “but what you can do for your body.” HL

Join us for our next HealthyLife seminar on dealing with chronic pain: Tuesday, March 5, 5-7 p.m., at The Desmond The seminar, sponsored by Albany Medical Center, will feature Dr. Charles Argoff, professor and director of comprehensive pain management and Dr. Andrew Dublin, associate professor at the department of physical medicine and rehabilition. The seminar is free but pre-registration is required. All registrants will be automatically entered to win a girls’ getaway from the Cranwell Resort and Spa in Lenox, Mass.

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owner’s manual compiled by linda tuccio-koonz

Your Gall Bladder T

— a primer

he gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ found just under the liver on your right side. It stores and concentrates bile, a fluid made by the liver that helps us digest fats in the small intestine. Three to 4 inches long, the gallbladder contracts during digestion, releasing about a pint of bile daily. Gallstones Gallstones can block the flow of bile, causing a painful attack sometimes mistaken for a heart attack, since both can involve severe chest pain. Other symptoms of gallstones include nausea, vomiting, or pain in the abdomen, back or just under the right arm.

Gallstones are rocklike formations made of cholesterol and other substances. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/JohnnyGreig. Illustration: © Alila07/Dreamstime.com.

 Gallstones are the biggest risk factor for gallbladder cancer. However, gallstones are very common and most people who have them never develop cancer.

Risk factors for gallstones: being a female 60 or older; being overweight or obese; having been pregnant; eating a diet high in fat and cholesterol; eating a low-fiber diet; family history; being diabetic; losing weight quickly; taking some cholesterol-lowering medications and/ or medications that contain estrogen, such as hormone therapy drugs.

Treatment of gallstones may mean surgical removal of the gallbladder, which you can live without since bile has other ways of reaching the small intestine.

If symptoms are mild, stones may be dissolved instead of removed. Gallbladder surgery often can be performed laparoscopically. Gallbladder cancer Gallbladder cancer is relatively rare, with approximately 9,500 new cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. Most begin in the mucus glands that line the insides of the organ and typically strike those age 70 and above. Women are more than twice as likely as men to get it.

To prevent gallbladder disease, exercise, eat a well-balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight. Try to stick to your usual mealtimes each day and don’t skip meals.

Gallbladder cancer is more common among Mexican Americans, southwestern Native Americans, and people from certain South American countries, particularly Chile. The risk is lowest among African Americans.

Symptoms are few when it comes to gallbladder cancer, except when it reaches an advanced stage. Signs

liver

gallbladder

and symptoms may include abdominal pain (particularly in the upper right area), abdominal bloating, itchiness, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, and jaundice.

Porcelain gallbladder occurs when the gallbladder becomes covered with calcium deposits, resembling porcelain ceramic. This is a cancer risk factor.

Gallbladder polyps are growths that protrude from the gallbladder’s mucous membrane, usually showing no symptoms. Some polyps are precancerous and can progress to cancer..

Gallbladder cancer is confirmed through biopsy. Treatment may include a combination of surgery and other procedures such as embolization (blockage of blood flow to the tumor), chemotherapy and radiation.

Removal of the gallbladder, regional lymph nodes and some surrounding tissue is the most effective treatment for localized gallbladder tumors.

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39


eye health

Tommy, Can You Me?

See

vision loss is an inevitability as we get older. here’s what to expect by brianna snyder

L

oss of vision, like graying hair and menopause, is just one of the inevitable parts of aging. Starting in our late 30s and early 40s, many of us begin to have a harder time reading small print and genetic diseases, such as glaucoma, start to show up. “The need for reading glasses usually starts in the 40s,” says Dr. David Kwiat of Kwiat Eye and Laser Surgery in Amsterdam. “What happens is the eye changes and loses its natural ability to see up close.” Doctors treat a handful of common afflictions found in patients who are starting to get a little older. Those afflictions include glaucoma, dry-eye syndrome, cataracts and presbyopia, among others. Here’s a rundown of what you should be on the lookout for in your own eyes:

According to a 2011 report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), nearly 22 million Americans age 40 or older are affected by cataracts. And nearly half of Americans over the age of 80 have cataracts. Cataracts are little clumps of protein that develop in the lens of the eye. They can begin to develop well before they start to have a major impact on your vision, but it’s uncommon to have major vision loss from cataracts until your 60s and 70s, according to the American Optometric Association. The biggest risk factor for cataracts is old age, but researchers have found that lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc reduce the risk of certain eye diseases, including cataracts, the AOA reports. (And there are surgical procedures -- that are pretty common -- to remove them.) Dry-Eye Syndrome

This syndrome occurs when your tear ducts begin to slow production of moisture in your eyes. The result can be burning, stinging and general discomfort. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision, according to the American

40

healthylife

Photo: Dreamstime.com/ © Retina2020..

Cataracts


Making Life A Little Easier

If you or your loved one needs help with the challenges of every day life such as standing up, preventing falls and dealing with short and long range mobility come see us.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a comprehensive eye exam for all adults starting at age 40, and every three to five years after that if you don’t have any glaucoma risk factors. If you have other risk factors or you’re older than age 60, you should be screened every one to two years.

We have a wide selection of products to overcome the challenges of aging including lift chairs, walkers and transport chairs. Lift chairs lifts are our specialty. Largest selection of lift chairs on site in the Capital District including junior petite through bariatric sizes.

We bill most insurance plans directly. If you’re African-American, your doctor likely will recommend periodic eye exams starting between ages 20 and 39; blacks are more at risk of glaucoma than any other ethnic group, so regular eye exams are important.

Optometric Association. Eye moisture source: Mayo Clinic keeps the lens lubricated and clear of damaging dust and particles; without it, your eyes are vulnerable to infection. In women, menopause can trigger the syndrome, Kwiat says, “due to changes a woman’s body goes through at that time.” “The most common demographic for dry-eye is a woman over the age of 40,” Kwiat continues. “That’s what I see in 75 percent of my office visits.” That same AAO study found that an estimated 3.2 million women age 50 and over are affected by dry-eye syndrome. The syndrome is treatable. Flaxseed and fish oil supplements, for instance, can help keep the eyes moist, thanks to fatty acids and other nutrients your body needs to keep your eyes hydrated. Symptoms in more severe cases can be helped by prescription eyedrops. Presbyopia

This is the condition that causes that need for reading glasses, says Dr. Peter Duffy, an opthamologist in Albany. A natural part of aging, presbyopia is the diminishment of your eyes’ ability to focus on things that are close to you. The National Eye Institute reports that anyone over the age of 35 is at risk of presbyopia — which means it’s pretty much inescapable. Kwiat says it’s “a huge misconception” that Lasik can be a solution to presbyopia. “The technology is trying to be developed to fix that,” he says. That’s the good news. The other bit of good news is that, while presbyopia is continued on page 43 

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eye health

continued from page 41

annoying, it’s also so common that reading glasses are sold inexpensively at most grocery stores and pharmacies.

Photo: Dreamstime.com/ © Monkey Business Images.

Glaucoma

“Glaucoma is a combination of genetics and time,” Kwiat says. “If you weren’t born with it, it’s more likely going to show up in your 30s, 40s and 50s.” The AAO reports nearly 2.3 million Americans over the age of 40 are afflicted with glaucoma. While predominantly genetic, glaucoma has also been attributed to steroid use and diabetes. Overwhelmingly, though, glaucoma — which affects and damages your optic nerve, gradually deteriorating your ability to see — is a disease of genetics. Regular eye exams — and catching it early — can prevent severe symptoms. The doctors suggest a couple of preventative measures: “Very simply, a well-balanced diet, with green, leafy vegetables or, if you’re not big on a balanced diet, a multivitamin” says Kwiat. Duffy agrees, citing vitamin A, found in foods such as carrots, as a great nutrient for your eyes. Both doctors also stress the importance of sunglasses, which protect from eyedamaging UV rays. Though a healthy diet and decent shades won’t prevent vision loss — it’s something we all have to deal with eventually — it can help stave it off a little longer. HL

Tiny Screens Turns out that when your mom warned you not to sit too close to the TV for fear of ruining your eyes, she was perpetuating a widelyspread myth. In fact, looking at your computer all day or spending too much time playing Angry Birds on your iPhone doesn’t do much of anything to your vision. What it can do, our doctors warned, is dry out your eyes. Why? Because, Kwiat says, you forget to blink. Too consumed by Candy Crush Saga to remember to blink? There’s an app for that; it will ping you, reminding you to relax your eyes. A good way to exercise your eyes? Pick a distant object, out the window, for instance, and stare at it for about 15 seconds. Blink a few times. This “allows your eye to relax,” Kwiat says. And if you notice your eyes are dry, keep preservative-free eyedrops on hand and use them once every hour you’re on the computer.

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health care

Alphabet Soup

M.D., D.O., N.D. — what’s the difference between docs?

S

ick? Who ya gonna call? Your doctor, of course. But here’s where it gets muddy since today’s doctors can sport a plethora of initials after their names: M.D., D.O., N.D. Which got us thinking: What do those initials really mean, and who should we really call? Let’s tackle the easy part first, the initials:  M.D.: Doctor of Medicine  D.O.: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine  N.D.: Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/skynesher.

A Brief History

According to eNotes.com, an Egyptian, Imhotep, was the first medical doctor. He lived around 2560 B.C. and wrote a textbook on the treatment of wounds, broken bones and tumors. You might call Imhotep a before-his-time Renaissance man, since he was also an astrologer and the architect of Egypt’s earliest pyramid. Future Egyptians actually worshipped him as a god. Hippocrates, founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine, lived in Greece circa 460-370 B.C. and established medicine as a profession. Today, we know him as the father of Western medicine and the author of the Hippocratic Oath, taken by physicians who swear to practice medicine ethically and honestly.

The first medical school to award academic degrees opened in Baghdad during the Middle Ages, followed by schools in Egypt, Spain, Persia and Northwest Africa. The first United States schools to grant the M.D. degree were Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and the University of Maryland in the late 18th century. Andrew Taylor Still opened the first school of osteopathic medicine in Missouri in 1892. Still was a medical doctor and surgeon who served the Union Army during the Civil War. From his work on the battlefield, and the death of three of his children from spinal meningitis in 1864, he devoted his life to studying the human body, searching for a better way to fight disease. Still believed that by correcting problems in the body’s structure through the use of manual techniques now known as Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, the body’s ability to function and to heal itself could be greatly improved. In 1902, Benedict Lust founded the American School of Naturopathy. The following 15 years, the various forms of natural medicine were combined and merged into naturopathy. Today, naturopathic medicine focuses on holistic treatments, prevention of disease and comprehensive diagnosis.

by valerie foster

Our experts M.D. The American Medical Association would not supply a spokesman and referred us to the AMA’s website to answer our questions. D.O. Ronald Marino, D.O., spokesman for the American Osteopathic Association, is an associate chairman of pediatrics at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., and a clinical professor of pediatrics at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury and the State University of New York Medical School in Stony Brook, where he teaches students training to become M.D.s. N.D. Jared Skowron, N.D., a fulltime professor at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine (the only naturopathic medical school on the East Coast licensed by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education), specializes in pediatrics and treating autistic spectrum disorders in children. He is author of Fundamentals in Naturopathic Pediatrics.

To learn about the differences among these professionals, turn to page 46.

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

45


health care continued from page 45

What sets them apart

M.D. — Medical Doctor A statement from the AMA: “A D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) is a physician just as an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) is a physician.” From the AMA website: “Physicians diagnose and care for people of all ages who are ill or have been injured. They take medical histories, perform physical examinations, conduct diagnostic tests, recommend and provide treatment (including administering pharmaceuticals) and advise patients on their overall health and well-being.”

According to Marino, M.D.s and D.O.s have many similarities, and in many cases, especially in hospitals, patients have no idea whether their hospital doctor is an M.D. or D.O. Osteopaths perform all the tasks as outlined previously for medical doctors. The main difference is that a D.O. takes a holistic approach to treatment, believing that all parts of the body work together and influence one another. They are specially trained in the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system through OMT — using their hands to gently move muscles and joints to diagnose injury and illness and to encourage the body’s natural ability to heal. Some traditional osteopaths primarily practice OMT, although their numbers are decreasing.

 College graduate

 College graduate

 Requires MCAT (the standardized test that is part of the medical school admissions process)

 Requires MCAT

 141 U.S. medical schools* licensed by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (4 years)

Education

D.O. — Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine

 Federally mandated residency after medical school, its length dependent on the medical specialty chosen. (Note: the AMA no longer uses the term internship to designate the first year of residency.)  Medical doctors can be divided into three broad categories: primary care physicians, surgeons and specialists.  Fellowships for additional training are offered.

 26 U.S. osteopathic medical schools operating in 34 locations licensed by the American Osteopathic Association (4 years)  Federally mandated residency after medical school, its length dependent on the medical specialty chosen. Osteopaths have a choice between allopathic (M.D.) residencies or osteopathic residencies, accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.  Osteopaths can be divided into three broad categories: primary care physicians, surgeons and specialists.  Fellowships for additional training are offered.

Licenses and Requirements

* Although it’s possible to become a U.S. doctor after training in a non-U.S. medical school, the process is quite complicated.

46

 M.D.s receive their licenses from the New York State Board of Regents:

 D.O.s receive their licenses from the New York State Board of Regents:

 Graduated with the M.D. or D.O. degree from a medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association;

 Graduated with the M.D. or D.O. degree from a medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association;

 Completed at least one year of post-graduate medical training as a resident physician in a New York-state approved residency program.

 Completed at least one year of post-graduate medical training as a resident physician in a New York-state approved residency program.

 Graduates of unaccredited/unregistered medical schools must complete three years of residency and pass a proficiency exam.

 Graduates of unaccredited/unregistered medical schools must complete three years of residency and pass a proficiency exam.

 Successfully passed a Stateapproved licensing examination.

 Successfully passed a Stateapproved licensing examination.

 Cost: License, $735. Limited permit: $105.

 Cost: License, $735. Limited permit: $105.

healthylife


N.D. — Naturopathic Doctor “We are the most highly trained experts in the field of natural medicine,” Skowron says. Although trained in pharmacology, their medicines are vitamins, herbs and homeopathic remedies, but because of their training, naturopaths understand drug interactions. In addition, they diagnose, treat illness and can perform minor surgeries. Like medical doctors and osteopaths, they rely on blood work and tests to make diagnosis. Skowron adds that naturopaths welcome opportunities to work with a patient’s medical doctor or osteopath to discover the underlying reasons why someone is not feeling well or living up to their fullest expectations. “We firmly believe that the future of medicine is in integration,” Skowron says. There are a few specialties open to naturopaths.

 College graduates  Requires MCAT  Five U.S. naturopathic medical schools licensed by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Evaluation (4 years)  Residencies are not federally mandated or required in every state except Utah. Only 5 to 10 percent of naturopaths participate in approved residencies, although Skowron says the residency opportunities increase annually, including the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Instead, new naturopaths either practice or shadow an experienced N.D. before setting up private practice.  1- to 3-year research fellowships are the research equivalent of a residency, according to the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute.

Photo: Dreamstime/ ©showface.

 The majority of naturopaths are primary care doctors. The most common specialties are in cancer and pediatrics.

 N.D.s are not licensed in New York State, although anyone with an N.D. designation is a graduate of a four-year, graduate-level, in-residence naturopathic medical school and maintains a license as a naturopathic physician in at least one of the 14 states that currently licenses naturopathic doctors. There are bills now before the State Senate and the State House calling for N.Y. state licenses for N.D.s. For a list of N.D.s licensed in other states and practicing in New York visit nyanp.org.

What about...

What about...

Malpractice According to MDNationwide. com, an estimated 50 to 60 percent of physicians have been sued at least once during their career. Keep in mind that one or two malpractice suits does not necessarily signal an inferior doctor. Some people just like to sue. The search:  Contact the state’s medical board, but in most cases, these boards provide little information.  Type the doctor’s name followed by lawsuit or malpractice into a search engine. If there has been any legal decision, you might find it online.  Some websites, such as MdNationwide or healthgrades.com, charge for a full background report. The information you receive can be extensive, including training, education, awards, license status and malpractice history.  Head to your local courthouse, where current and previous lawsuits are public record. In many cases, this information is available electronically at the courthouse. Information on suits that are pending or have been dismissed probably will not be available online but will be available at the courthouse-

Rating boards So who rates doctors? It seems everyone — at least online — has an opinion. The best source we found is the aggregator, Informed Patient Institute — informedpatientinstitute.org — an independent nonprofit organization that rates the online rating sites according to state. You will not find information here on individual doctors, hospitals and nursing homes. That information you find on the individual sites IPI rates. For example, the IPI’s top five of online sites for Connecticut residents (none received an A!) are:  A “B” for The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, www. sts.org/quality-researchpatient-safety/sts-public-reporting-online.  A “B” for the Physician Directory, www. recognition.ncqa.org  A “unique content” rating for DocFinder, www.docboard.org/docfinder.html  A “C” for www.vitals.com  A “D” for www.WebMd. com’s physician directory.

So who ya gonna call? For most of us, it comes down to trust, comfort levels and the state of your health. If you have some medical issues and are not getting relief from your current doctor or doctors, it might be time for a second, third or fourth opinion. If you are open to exploring natural healing, you might consider visiting a D.O. who practices OMT or an N.D. But as Skowron says, it would be helpful if the doctors could work together to solve your medical issues. The good news? We have options.  HL

timesunion.com/HealthyLife

47


your style

The

Long and style — not length — help

by melinda mcgarty webb | photos by krista hicks benson

I

Alexa Lane, 47, has always worn her locks long. It creates more possibilities that way, she says.

48

healthylife

t used to be that once women hit a certain age — often the big 5-0 — they cut their hair short. It was a right of passage, of sorts. They were doing what they considered appropriate — even if many secretly bemoaned the loss of their long, beautiful locks. But those days are gone. The emphasis has shifted to finding a cut and color that best suits an individual‘s face and style, and ushers her effortlessly through her 30s, into middle age and then her senior years. “I abhor that idea that everyone should have short hair after a certain age. It’s something I just don’t understand,” says Jaysie Walts, owner of Hair Creations in Saratoga Springs. “At any age, you can look great with length. It just needs to fit your features and bone structure. “What’s really crucial — and I say this with women of any age — is that you assess facial features, bone structure, body type, and then we use the word suitability,” she says. “The reason we use that word is that there are so many characteristics that play a part in suitability — your lifestyle, your career, personality, how you dress, and how you wear your makeup. “If you look at the big picture, and all the things that factor into finding a great hairstyle that suits you, then age is only a component, just one thing you add into the equation,” Walts says. “You shouldn’t just cut it short because you think it will be age-appropriate. I think you should be age-appropriate, but also still stylish, and still feeling like yourself.” It’s also important to find a cut that draws attention away from your least flattering facial features and contours, and draws it toward the most youthful and attractive aspects of your face. If you have an issue with a sagging jaw line, for example, opt for “a cut with movement that will soften that area,” Walts says. “You wouldn’t want to cut it bluntly right in the same location as something you’re trying to diminish. It will draw the eye right into the spot. Instead, I always focus on positive features.” “When we’re young and we don’t have lines in our faces, we can have lines and angles in our hair,” says Katie Cottrell, manager of Jean Paul Salon and Spa in Albany. “As we


Short of It keep your hairdo age-appropriate

age, though, those lines and angles should be softer. You should have softer layers around your face. Kindergarteners look great with straight-cut bangs. College students look great with really blunt bangs. As we age, though, we don’t want those harsh lines because they bring out the lines in our faces. “A lot of people feel like longer hair is for younger women, and once they hit that certain, magic age, they shouldn’t have it anymore. A lot of women want a quicker style that they don’t have to spend the time blow-drying,” says Cottrell. “But the other thing is, a lot of younger women feel like they need to have longer hair to be feminine and confident, whereas when we age, we start to realize we don’t need long hair to be confident in ourselves. We can have short hair and still be feminine and pretty. So I think some of it comes from the fact that as we age, we get the guts to cut it off.”

B

ut the cut is by no means the only factor that determines whether your hair shaves years from your chronological age, or makes you look as if you could pass for one of your mother’s contemporaries. Sheila Hageman, Your hair color plays an equally important role. 41, has had hair “My personal rule of thumb is that if you stay of all lengths, but within two shades of your skin tone, it’s going to recently went work. That means using a base color that’s two really short. She shades lighter or two shades darker than your loves her new look skin tone, and then adding either highlights or because it helps lowlights,” says Cottrell. her live her life out It’s important as well to be unafraid of change. loud, she says. “Sometimes women stick with what they’ve always done. So let’s say there’s a woman who has extremely dark hair and every time she gets her grays done, she continues to get a very dark color,” says Walts. “The conversation I will have with her will be about how skin tone normally changes, too. So it’s important you formulate color to go with the skin tone you have today — not what worked for you 10 or 20 years ago. We fall in love with things along the way, but it’s important to find something new to love, so you look fresh and current, and that it’s suitable to you now.” continued on page 51 

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49


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your style

10 Tips 

for Great Hair Through the Years

HealthyLife asked our experts for their top tips on great hair, from your 30s on up.

1

Embrace color, but be wary of solid-color dyes.

2 3 4

Add highlights or lowlights.

Opt for a contemporary cut.

Buy products designed for the hair you have now, not the hair you had 20 years ago.

5

Try to control thinning hair. Have your hormone levels checked, and use products that will keep hair follicles open.

6

Shy away from cuts with harsh angles or straight lines.

7

Add body and curves — it can soften your appearance.

8

If you like gray hair, but not your shade of gray, have your stylist tweak the color.

9 10

Look for a cut with some volume.

Choose a style based on your age and bone structure, but don’t forget lifestyle, career, personality and how much time you have to devote to styling.

Stacey Mintz, 49, still wears her hair long because it keeps her feeling, and looking, younger.

continued from page 49

Your hair’s texture also changes with the years. “With changing hormones, women’s hair changes, and it does tend to thin a bit as we age. Also, we tend to lose moisture. Just like we need to moisturize our skin, we also need to moisturize our hair and scalp,” says Cottrell. “Also, as we age, we tend to use harsher products. We’re using harsher colors to cover our gray hair, so it’s important to use products that are healthy and put the moisture back in our hair.” When many women cut their hair short, she says, it’s often a style that requires blow drying and using heat tools, which is not always great for your hair. “That’s why it’s important to replace some of the proteins that are lost, and the fats and lipids normally found in hair that make it seem softer and younger looking — and give it shine,” Cottrell says. “One thing we suggest is color. Not only will it enhance a person’s complexion and accentuate the positives, but it also softens the cuticle,” adds Walts. If you want to keep it long, though, it’s important to keep it healthy. “Long hair will only look as healthy as your ends are, so it’s a good idea to come in and get your ends trimmed regularly, and a blow-out once a week. Try not to wash your hair as often at home, and try not to blow dry as often at home,” says Cottrell. “We don’t necessarily have to wash our hair to keep our hair clean. It’s about keeping our scalp clean and healthy with our shampoo. If you have an oily scalp, you might want to shampoo more often, or there

To read more about hair health, go to timesunion. com/healthylife

are fantastic dry shampoos these days that let women, even with oily scalps, help stretch their shampoos and blow outs a few more days.” Each situation is different, though. “It’s really about getting a good consultation with your stylist, finding what works for you, and getting products that are appropriate for your hair,” says Cottrell. “A lot of women are not happy with their hair, but they’re not using the appropriate products.” A contemporary hairstyle is also important, both stylists say. “Just like when you look in your closet, if you haven’t changed your wardrobe in five years, it might be time to go shopping. Well, if you haven’t changed your hairstyle in five years, it might be time to do something bold,” says Cottrell. “In fact, some people change something every season. They start getting highlights in the spring, and getting lowlights in the fall.” HL

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mind Ask Emma 55     Living with Bipolar 56

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ask emma

Coping with the Unthinkable the lessons of newtown by emma tennant

A

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Lise Gagne.

s you read this, the murder of 20 young children and six teachers and administrators in Newtown will — for most of us — have faded, but I’m writing three days later. I work near Newtown. I have patients who are neighbors of the families. One little boy used to visit one of my patients to play with the dog. Another patient employs a mother of one of the children. I have sat with a lot of suffering, but I’ve never felt an entire community plunge into the dark like this before. Everything has changed. These lines from Auden seem to follow me everywhere: “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone/ Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone/Silence the pianos and with muffled drum/Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.” But the clocks don’t stop, do they? I have spent many hours talking about Newtown with my patients. My own thoughts and feelings are themselves raw and scrambled, but I have some conclusions that I want to share, in no particular order. There is no right way to feel about this: There is a surprising amount of survivor guilt in an event of this scale. It’s not that people think “It should have been me,” so much as they feel their problems are no longer important or they feel guilty because they’re happy it didn’t happen to them. This kicks up feelings of worthlessness. People believe they ought to feel the immediate grief that the media tells them they should feel. They feel as if they should be consoled at the candlelight vigils, as if they should be able to put their own problems in perspective and stop worrying. But they don’t feel these things and so they feel alienated and worthless. “What is wrong with me?,” they ask. I’ve heard that a dozen times in the last few days. “There is no right way to feel,” I tell them. Very often, once they get over feeling that they’re terrible people, I’ll find the conversation drifting to a loss they themselves once experienced — a deceased parent or lover. Long-concealed anger and hurt over our own losses can be triggered by an event like this. Why didn’t anyone care when my father died? Who

cared how I felt? The continual banging of the drum of public mourning can reignite hurt, anger and grief that attended an early loss. All I’m saying is that if you find yourself feeling irritable and touchy, you are not alone. There is no right way to feel about this. Don’t judge yourself because you don’t feel the way NBC and CBS say you should be feeling. I worry about the siblings: It is a bit of a media cliché to say “the shock will be felt for years to come,” but it is true and that is what really troubles me. I particularly think about the brothers and the sisters of the children who were killed. For the rest of their lives, they will have to deal with parents in profound shock, parents in depression, parents who will, in some cases, divorce. They will wonder why it didn’t happen to them. They will feel that all the love went out of the family. The sister who was lost will never age, never fail and never disappoint her parents. I’m not saying this will happen in all cases, but there will be devastating psychological implications for living children who will be marked by this event into their adult lives. Connect with others: Everyone that I have ever worked with — depressed, anxious, sexually assaulted, neglected — suffers because of a shared experience: isolation. In the place they are the most wounded and ashamed, they are alone. When that isolation is broken and they are not alone anymore, what seemed unbearable begins to lighten. Obviously, the gunman here had profound difficulties, but I have to believe that if he could have connected to someone in that place where he was the most angry and frightened, this would not have happened. And this is the take-away from this tragedy: connect with others. HL Emma Tennant (not her real name) is a practicing psycho­­ therapist. All advice offered here is simply that. If you have a pressing concern, you should see a specialist in person. If you have a question you’d like addressed or a comment for Emma, send it to askemma@timesunion.com. Inquiries will be treated with confidentiality.

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55


mental health

Living with

Bipolar Disorder S

he lost her house, car, motorcycle, cats and the life she once knew. Celeste Trotz, 57, of Schenectady had once worked as a television engineer and production specialist. But without the right medications and help, her bipolar disorder got in the way. “When bipolar people get sick, we get angry. I was under extreme stress and getting no support to resolve it. It got to a point that it was bringing on panic attacks which turned into mania. Instead of committing suicide, I left this highpaying job,” she says. She regrets doing what she did, but it all made sense to her at the time. Impulsivity is just one of the symptoms that make it a tough illness to manage for those with it and for loved ones to understand. “Later on, when a bipolar person comes out of the mania, they look back and think ‘where did I get that thought?’” Trotz says.

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and dispelling negative stereotypes  by lee nelson Today Trotz is happy and talks about being in recovery from her disease. She believes those with bipolar can find good balance in their life with the right medications and a good support system that includes the right doctors, peer support, talk therapy and smart care of their bodies. What is Bipolar?

The disorder is a treatable medical illness that can come in many forms. It is characterized by excessive changes in mood, thinking, energy and actions, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (or DBSA) with headquarters in Chicago and many support groups throughout the nation. The illness is also known as manic-depressive disorder because someone’s mood varies between symptoms of mania and depression. Dr. Anthony Ferraioli, a Latham psychiatrist, says several types of bipolar disorder exist but all involve episodes of


mania and depression – just with varying degrees. Bipolar I involves severe mood swings. “These are the people that have delusions of grandeur. They believe they can fly or their best friend is the president. They can be very infectious and very fun. But when they crash, they become very angry and assaultive sometimes,” he says. The person with Bipolar II has milder versions of the illness. The disease does not discriminate on gender, race, age or socioeconomic status. Bipolar disorder affects more than 2.5 million adult Americans every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Up to 90 percent of bipolar disorders start before age 20, although the illness can start in early childhood or as late as the 40s and 50s. The institute also has found that more than two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder have at least one close relative with the illness or with major depression. “It could be your lawyer, your postman, your next-door neighbor or your cousin. With the right medications and support, you wouldn’t know who has it and who doesn’t,” Ferraioli says.

Need Help? Look to these organizations: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

Dbsalliance.org Clifton Park: DBSASaratogaCounty.com call Christine Jasikoff (518) 580-1064 or email her at cmj24@aol.com Contact 2: Sue Pollack, (518) 664-1514 or e-mail her at Marty501@msn.com Saratoga Springs: www.DBSASaratogaCounty.com call Christine Jasikoff (518) 580-1064 or email her at cmj24@aol.com Contact 2: Wanda Daly, (518) 373-9804 or email her at wmdaly@verizon.net Schenectady: www.dbsaschenectady.org call Kathryn Tomaino (518) 346-8817 or e-mail: dbsaschenectadyny@gmail.com National Alliance for Mental Health

Nami.org Several programs for families and mental illness.

Illustrations: © Spectral-design/Dreamstime.com.

What the illness looks like

Chris Jasikoff still remembers acting badly in middle school and then becoming the high school rabble rouser. “I talked back to teachers. I talked a lot. But why didn’t someone send me to the counselor? If someone had a clue what was going on, I might have gotten help back then,” says the 50-year-old Ballston Spa woman. She never felt as if she was in the “in crowd.” She had one or two close friends, but she still didn’t feel like she fit in anywhere. Staying quiet and totally withdrawing from the world were her other ways of escaping her illness besides seeking out attention by being bad. “I missed out on my entire childhood because I was depressed and no one noticed. I remember getting off the school bus in 9th and 10th grade and just bawling my eyes out. I’d wipe the tears from my eyes, walk in the house, tell my mom things were fine, and go in my room. That was it. I dealt with whatever feelings I had by not dealing with them,” she says. In her mid 20s after a major depression and social anxiety attacks, Jasikoff found the right psychiatrist for her, whom she continues to see. She travels four hours to see him since she moved to the Capital Region from Massachusetts. “Thank goodness for my doctor who worked diligently with me,” she says. Jasikoff gets anxious and doesn’t want to go out in a crowd when she starts to cycle into the depressed state. When she goes into the mania stage, she kicks into high gear and cleans the house frantically. “I can’t sit still. I do rapid cycling. My moods change very quickly. Plus, my moods are mixed with severe anxiety. But I’ve learned to call my doctor when I feel something changing, and he’ll tell me that we need to either lower the medicine or a certain medicine can get dropped,” she says. Some of the other symptoms of mania described by the

DBSA include inflated self-importance, hurried speech or flight of ideas, difficulty concentrating and reckless behavior such as erratic driving, drinking binges and sexual indiscretions. But when the depression cycle hits, it can be devastating to many. In fact, one in five patients with bipolar disorder commits suicide, according to the institute. The stigma, family strain and help/treatment

Telling others that you suffer from bipolar disorder can be a challenge. People don’t know what to say and most don’t understand mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (or NAMI) tries to educate people across the country on mental illness such as bipolar disorder. It also offers many programs for those with the illness and their families. They have 48 affiliates across the state of New York and hundreds more across the country. “There definitely remains a stigma attached to mental illness, and part of our job is making people more aware of what it is and bust that stigma,” says Donald Capone, executive director of the NAMI New York State office in Albany. One of the organization’s signature programs is Familyto-Family. “It is designed for family members to help them come to grips with reality of what is going on and caring for someone with a mental illness such as bipolar,” he says. “One in four families is addressing a mental health issue.” In 2008, Jasikoff founded the DBSA in Saratoga County and trained to be a certified peer specialist. She runs three support groups — two in Clifton Park and one in Saratoga Springs. Trotz is among the dozens of people who attend the meetings and have become close friends with Jasikoff. continued on page 58 

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57


mental health Facts about Bipolar Disorder

 Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is 15 to 30 percent. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50 to 75 percent.  Some 20 percent of adolescents with major depression develop bipolar disorder within five years of the onset of depression.  Up to one-third of the 3.4 million children and adolescents

with depression in the United States may actually be experiencing the early onset of bipolar disorder.  Bipolar disorder results in 9.2 years’ reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder commits suicide.  Those with bipolar disorder face up to 10 years of coping with symptoms before getting an accurate diagnosis, with only one in four receiving an accurate diagnosis in less than three years.  Up to 90 percent of bipolar disorders start before age 20, although the illness can start in early childhood or as late as the 40s and 50s. Source: Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

continued from page 57

“The meetings lift people, and we have formed a little family. They call me. We go out to lunch and go for walks,” Jasikoff says. “No one can understand being bipolar unless you experience it yourself. We don’t want to hide it anymore. The worst thing to do is hide it. As a recovery goal for many people is to work on the secrecy of the disease.” Those families raising children with mood disorders can find answers and support through The Balanced Mind Foundation. The website, balancedminds.org, offers webinars, forums, chats, professional resources, support groups, research studies and more. “Being bipolar is not being hopeless. You can have a quality life if you manage it and stay healthy,” says Thelma Costello, licensed mental health counselor in Albany. “I’m not saying it will be 100 percent, but you can have a good 98 percent normal life by grasping and learning coping skills.” She first talks with her bipolar patients about their nutrition. She can’t prescribe medications, but she works closely with nurse practitioners and psychiatrists to help patients get the right combination of medications, talk therapy and other help. “I take a very natural approach to all of this. If they are vitamin deficient — there are so many people deficient on

58

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90 percent of

bipolar diagnoses happen before age 20, although the illness

can start in early childhood or as late as the 40s and 50s.

vitamin D — we talk about how important it is to get exposure to the sun. The nutrient piece is a key along with proper exercise and a social component,” she says. A recent study measuring vitamin D deficiency with 12,600 participants aged 1 to 90 showed that those with the lowest levels of the vitamin were more likely to report symptoms of depression compared to people with higher blood levels of vitamin D. The study was done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas. Many medications are available to treat bipolar patients’ symptoms. They may include mood stabilizers, antidepressants and antipsychotics. “Chances are you will be OK if you are diagnosed with bipolar,” Costello says. “However, your family and friends have to get over the trauma of it, and begin understanding it and helping you through it.” HL

Illustrations: © Spectral-design/Dreamstime.com.

 Although bipolar disorder is equally common in women and men, research indicates that approximately three times as many women as men experience rapid cycling.

Thinking about trying family counseling? Read our online exclusive story at timesunion. com/healthylife.


Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park. Dress by Connected Apparel, jewelry by Ashley Cooper. Photo taken by Suzanne Kawola at Stickley, Audi & Co, located at 151 Wolf Road, Albany. Stickley is a leader in fine furniture design with a history dating back over 100 years. Visit online at stickleyaudi.com. See more pictures of our photoshoot at timesunion.com/healthylife.

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spirit My Word 61    Improve Your Sex Life 62

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HealthyLife magazine brings you stories and advice geared at living a balanced life, and nourishment of your mind, body, and spirit. Life@Home is packed with inspiration to help you make your house a home. Capital Region Women@Work is the in-print component of an innovative network of local women in managerial and executive positions. VOW: Your Wedding. Your Way. is the secret to creating your fairytale wedding using local resources. If you are interested in receiving free home delivery of any of our magazines, please (518) 454-5768 or email magcirculation@timesunion.com.

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my word

My Son’s

Bittersweet Diagnosis by lee nelson

Photo: © Ilona75 | Dreamstime.com

H

e looked up at the rafters of our garage with a glazed look in his eyes. “I could just hang myself, and no one would care.” These words came out of my son when he was 15. He was in a deep darkness that I couldn’t understand. I hugged him, told him I loved him and that we would get him immediate help. Then I begged him not to kill himself, telling him how much I would miss him. But he’d suffered in despair and agony before in his short life. He never felt like he belonged anywhere. In school, he struggled to make friends, especially anyone close. Brett also lied a lot – more than most parents experience with their children. He made up stories to make himself seem better. Starting around age 5, he’d withdraw into a fetal position when he didn’t want to deal with criticism or do something he didn’t want to do. Finding out what was wrong was a long journey. But finally, this past summer during a routine school physical, Brett’s doctor suggested he might be bipolar. His bouts of depression, when he’d lie in his dark bedroom for days, and his hot temper were clues. She gave him a simple, 13-question bipolar test. Yes answers to 5 indicates the possibility of some type of bipolar diagnosis. Brett answered yes to 12. She suggested we find a psychiatrist to figure out the right medicine to help stabilize his moods and also get him off the antidepressant prescribed by a previous psychiatrist. Giving an antidepressant to someone who is bipolar can be like putting gasoline on a fire — it can push them into a manic mood. The diagnosis is bittersweet. My son is glad someone has finally put a name to it. The more I research bipolar disorder, the scarier it seems. But we also know now what’s wrong and how to deal with it. Since I can remember, Brett has asked me what “normal” should feel or look like. Our psychologist tells him there is no “normal.” She is helping him understand who he is and how he can cope with his illness. An active teenager, he hides his bipolar disorder very well

from others. His friends, teachers, and even most of my family wouldn’t suspect a thing. His odd behaviors, words and emotional roller coasters usually are shown only to me and my significant other. Before the doctor put Brett on a mood relaxer, he blew up at me every two or three days. If he was in a high manic mood he would talk fast, have big ideas about his future and be impulsive with his money, if he had any, and search for true love on Facebook. The signs of his rage include a few holes punched in our drywall. He’s broken two tables, destroyed paintings, and he even tried to drill a hole into our small steel safe, where I had put his video game system after he failed to complete the agreed-upon tasks necessary for him to earn video time. He ordered hundreds of dollars of pornography through our cable carrier when he was awake late at night. I found out about it when the next month’s bill arrived and put a parental control on the television. Restlessness and bad sleeping patterns have been a problem since he was a toddler — a common symptom for those who are bipolar. A nightly regimen of melatonin is helping now, along with a busy school schedule. One of the worst times was the afternoon he glared at me, got two inches from my face and yelled, “I could kill you in one second with my bare hands.” He was so mad at me for something so trivial. When we talk about these episodes with the psychologist, he tells her that when it happens, he doesn’t even know what he’s doing. He blanks out. When he threatened me, I knew I had to get the right medical and mental help. I’m so glad to finally know what it is. We’ll seek out a support group — both for him and for me. The stigma of mental illness is strong and Brett understands that. He’s hoping it won’t get in the way of enlisting in the military. That’s just one more hurdle. I don’t jump very high, but I’ll be right with him advocating for his future.  HL


sex life

The Best Sex Ever! how to perk up your love life this valentine’s day Is your sex life vanilla when you’re longing for rocky road? Try these surefire tips to spice up your love life: • Set the mood for romance with scented candles. • Ditch that old t-shirt and slip into silk and lace lingerie at bedtime. • Stock a bedside drawer with toys to enjoy. • Use a blindfold to enhance your sense of touch. • Feed each other (oysters on the half shell or chocolate-covered strawberries have aphrodisiac qualities) or slather your partner with whipped cream and honey and lick it off. • Pretend you don’t know each other and role play a fantasy. He’s the bad cop. You’re the call girl.

A

rticles in women’s magazines abound with tips like these. Are they bad ideas? Sure, many of them would be fun to try. Would they spice up your sex life? Maybe. But are they realistic? If you’ve been with the same partner for a while, then you know that desire waxes and wanes depending on what else life throws at you. And even if the frequency of your close

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encounters remains the same, sex can become a little routine, even perfunctory, when you both feel you know exactly which buttons to push and when. But though you may be bored with your sex life, it doesn’t follow that doing something that is essentially a sexual cliché will make it more exciting. A new nightie might change the mood for one night but in a long-term relationship, you need lasting satisfaction. If you really want to jumpstart your love life, you need to go deep.

Your Sex Life Isn’t a Cosmo Quiz You greet your partner wearing nothing but Saran Wrap. Your beloved says: a) I’ve got to have you. Now! b) Problem with the microwave? c) Are you having a spa day? b) Have you gone completely bonkers? If you’ve ever seen the range and assortment of toys available at an adult store, then you know that when it comes to sex, one size most definitely doesn’t fit all. “Sexy” lingerie isn’t sexy if you feel as if you’re going to a costume party or if that naughty nurse outfit you wore on Halloween brings back painful memories of a recent prostate exam for your significant other.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Justin Horrocks.

Stop me if you’ve read a variation on this before:

by jayne keedle


If there’s one thing we can probably all agree on, it’s that sex is personal and each person is unique. To have a really great sex life, you need to find out what your partner likes and, through show or tell, let your partner know what pleases you. This isn’t a one-time-only conversation, however. Your desires and those of your partner are also prone to change. “Couples must be willing to stretch their comfort zones and think outside the box. It’s not cookie-cutter. It really has to be personal and they can be really out there sometimes,” says Ploussard. “So it’s being able to have enough sense of yourself to share a very vulnerable part of yourself with your partner, and not fearing.” Of all the rooms in your home, your bedroom should be a judgment-free zone. Be open to new ideas and, as long as both partners are willing participants, don’t be afraid to experiment or to negotiate. If your partner wants to do something that really goes against your core values, you should be free to say no — minus the need to shame or blame, says Ploussard. Everyone likes spontaneity, but sexual surprises may not always yield the happy endings you were hoping for and they might actually backfire. If you want to try something new, you might want to test the waters first. But no matter what you want to try, you should at least feel that you can broach the idea. “You have to have this trust that they’re not going to attack you,” says Ploussard. “Then you can build on that trust.”

Create a Time and Space for Romance While we might all prefer to be swept away by the passion of the moment, when you’re living together, working full time, and raising children, those moments may be few and far between. Couples in therapy often roll their eyes at the suggestion that they should schedule time for intimacy. But we forget that even in the early stages of courtship, when most people can’t keep their hands off each other, most of our sexual encounters were, in fact, scheduled. That’s why it’s called dating. You make a date for dinner and you secretly hope you’ll skip dessert and go home for something sweet. There’s no reason why you can’t recapture those moments, though, especially if your relationship has stalled. “I often find it helpful for couples to go to where they originally met or had some very intimate times early in their relationship to reignite their sexual experiences,” says Albany-area therapist Ronald Nathan. When you live together, of course, there’s none of that “will we or won’t we?” uncertainty and there’s precious little mystery either. You know you’ll end up in the same bed and, if we’re honest, there are probably times when our partner’s snoring, cover-stealing, bed-hogging and TV-viewing habits make us long for separate rooms. “If you wait until you’re in the mood and your partner’s in the mood, and until you’ve both got the time and energy,

you could be waiting for months for all of those things to happen at the same time,” Ploussard says. So while it might seem unromantic, set aside a time at least once a week to be alone together. When couples first meet, they really focus on each other. Ploussard describes this as “nose-to-nose energy.” “That energy can be very intense, very erotic,” she says. Over time, Ploussard says, couples tend to have more “side-by-side energy.” They’re cohabiting, co-parenting, and cooperating but it’s more goal-oriented. “The danger in couples is you get into this side-by-side energy and the nose-to-nose energy doesn’t happen naturally,” she says. “You can get out of connecting with your partner in that kind of intense erotic way.” That’s why you have to make a point to reconnect. This doesn’t have to be a “date night” — you don’t have to go anywhere and it’s often better if you don’t. Instead, this is a time you set aside to focus solely on each other without any distractions. It’s a time and place to reconnect and have intimate exchanges that may be intellectual, emotional, or physical. But when you’re nose-to-nose, a kiss will often follow.

Building a Bridge of Desire With hectic schedules that include work, kids, and household chores, it’s very easy to go from A to ZZZs and skip right over the X. That’s why Ploussard suggests her clients find a bridge to intimacy. This most often turns out to be an activity that engages the senses in some way. “For some people it’s listening to music, taking a shower together or bathing together, going for a walk, doing something nice for each other, giving compliments, setting the mood that way,” she says. Nathan suggests that his clients get physical. “Exercising together, that does a lot of different things,” he says. “It increases their self-confidence, it’s healthy, and can sometimes change their physiology so they’re more attractive to one another.” Sometimes it’s no more than a look in the eye but like any spark created by friction, you can blow on it and nurture it until it burns hot. A text message, a passing caress, a longerthan-usual hug, a neck massage to ease the day’s tension, all these things can add up to something that holds the promise of fulfillment once you’ve finished dealing with e-mails, doing the dishes, and have put the kids to bed. Bottom line, spectacular sex is born of true intimacy and trust. So let your partner know what it is that you really want, find out what your partner really wants, guide each other, trust each other, and just do it. Take up Tantric Yoga if you’re curious and, by all means, try every position in the Kama Sutra. But if, at the end of the day, you find you’re both missionaries at heart, don’t feel as if you’re missing out on something. Enjoy the moment. It’s your moment, after all. HL

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A DV E R T I S E M E N T

Have you heard about this new technology that is FDA cleared, and non-surgical treatment for back pain?

Herniated Disc?

Non-surgical spinal decompression may be the last back pain treatment you will ever need. And you may be able to forget the pills, getting endless shots, struggling through exercise programs...and...risky surgery...because with this amazing new technology...if you are a candidate... they may be a thing of the past. You’re about to discover a powerful state-of-the-art technology available for: Back pain, Sciatica, Herniated and/or Bulging discs (single or multiple), Degenerative Disc Disease, a relapse or failure following surgery or Facet syndromes. Best of all -- you can check it out yourself for FREE! CALL 518-300-1212

I

magine how your life would change if you discovered the solution to your back pain.

In this article you’ll discover powerful new back pain technology that has the potential to be that solution for you. This incredible technology is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression and the DRX 9000. Here’s the amazing story how it was discovered and why it has a chance to help YOUR back pain...

How Science Helps Back Pain The lower back is a series of bones separated by shock absorbers called “discs”. When these discs go bad because of age or injury you can have pain. For some the pain is just annoying, but for others it can be life changing...and not in a good way. It has long been thought that if these discs could be helped in a natural and noninvasive way, lots of people with back and leg pain could lower the amount of pain medication they take, be given fewer epidural injections for the pain and have less surgery.

Recent medical breakthroughs have led to the development of advanced technologies to help back and leg pain suffers!

Through the work of a specialized team of physicians and medical engineers, a medical manufacturing company, now offers this space age technology in its incredible DRX 9000 Spinal Decompression equipment.

The DRX 9000 is FDA cleared to use with the pain and symptoms associated with herniated and/or bulging discs. . . even after failed surgery. What Conditions Has The DRX 9000 Successfully Treated And Will It Help YOU? The main conditions the DRX 9000 has success with are: • • • •

Back pain Sciatica Spinal Stenosis Herniated and/or bulging discs (single or multiple) • Degenerative disc disease • A relapse or failure following surgery • Facet syndromes A very important note: The DRX 9000 has been successful even when NOTHING else has worked. Even after failed surgery. What Are Treatments On The DRX 9000 Like?

After being fitted with an automatic shoulder support system, you simply lie face up on the DRX 9000’s comfortable bed and the advanced computer system does the rest. Patients describe the treatment as a gentle, soothing, intermittent pulling of your back. Many patients actually fall asleep during treatment. The really good news IS... this is not something you have to continue to do for the rest of your life. So it is not a big commitment. Since offering the DRX 9000 in my Colonie office, I have seen nothing short of miracles for back pain sufferers who had tried everything else. . . with little or no result. Many had lost all hope. Had herniated disk operation 8 years ago another disc became herniated. Doctor wanted to operate have arthritis from 1st one (did not want to go under knife again) very grateful to DRX9000 (thank you Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC) Very happy camper. Raymond F Niskayuna, NY Age 55 This treatment was a miracle for my cervical disk herniations. Only other alternative was surgery, which I no longer have to face. William I Schenectady, NY Age 63

I was told by a doctor I wouldn’t be able to work. I cannot afford to not work so I tried Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC, and not only did the pain go away but I never missed a day at work. Rick S Clifton Park, NY Age 42 I would love to shake the hand of the person who invented this machine. It was a life saver for me and a lot better than going under the knife. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone with chronic back pain. Dawn H Colonie, NY Age 49 Before the DRX 9000 treatment. I had no quality of life. Couldn’t do anything for myself. Thank God for Dr. and the DRX machine. I can live again. Yvette K Schenectady, NY Age 47 I suffered for three years, before I received treatment on the DRX 9000. Today, I can sleep and get out of bed like a normal human being. Before, I couldn’t even drive my car because the pain in my hips, legs and feet were so bad from the sciatica nerve being pinched by my Herniated Disc L4 and L5, which also prevented me from sitting in a chair or even using my computer lap top at any time. Today things have changed due to advance technology therapy on the DRX 9000. They always try


A DV E R T I S E M E N T I would definitely refer people to your office. Dr. Guerra and his staff have made this experience a pleasure. Ed H Hoosick Falls, NY Age 70 Pain free, numbness in the left foot is gone. DRX 9000 is GREAT and does work. Sal L Niskayuna, NY Age 50

Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC demonstrates the DRX 9000 to a patient

to regulate the treatments that work. What is up with this taught process???? The world is changing and so have I. Frank A Troy, NY Age 52 Before receiving the DRX treatments, my quality of life was very poor. I could hardly do anything other than going to work and going to bed. After the DRX treatments my quality of life has improved 90% which has resulted in me being able to go for long walks without a cane and go shopping. Anne P Burnt Hills, NY Age 70 I am so appreciative of this method of therapy because when I came to the office I had to use a cane and had muscle pain in walking. After 2nd treatment sciatica nerve pain was gone in my left leg. Judith W Albany, NY Age 64 Prior to this treatment my only options appeared to be invasive pain management, or surgery. After receiving 24 sessions on the DRX, I am markedly improved, relatively pain free and am able to function as I had in previous years. Highly recommend to anyone with disc issues. Alan P Scotia, NY Age 53 I would choose this therapy again! Painless treatment that gets your life back to

normal. Stick with it-it works! Linda G Broadalben, NY Age 53 I am so happy I came to Dr. Guerra. I was in a lot of pain and after being on the DRX I tell you I do not have pain. I feel wonderful and the staff are very nice. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is wonderful. If you are in pain try the DRX it really helps. Edith C Schenectady, NY Age 71 I think more people should know about this procedure before considering any surgery. Medications help the pain but they don’t cure the cause. I am back to my old self again. Lorraine B Scotia, NY Age 78 I highly recommend this machine. I had my doubts but it really and truly works. Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC is a wonderful doctor and his staff is great too. Linda D Clifton Park, NY Age 46 I was extremely skeptical at the beginning of treatments - Progress was slow in coming - But... then it worked! What a relief!!! Joan K Delmar, NY Age 71 I had no where else to go with this problem. The DRX 9000 was just what I needed. Many thanks! Burton S Mechanicville, NY Age 50

I’m able to go on long walks and get all night sleep (I’ve had 3 surgeries since 2006) Without the DRX I would be in for a 4th back surgery. I’m getting back to doing activities with my 10 year old son. Lisa V Catskill, NY Age 45 I wish to thank you very much for all the help I received with the spinal decompression therapy. Your entire office was very helpful and compassionate. No longer do I sit at night with my heating pads, moving them from sore spot to sore spot. My knees are no longer on fire and I’m able to go up and down the stairs much easier than before. Mable D Ballston Lake, NY Age 68

SPECIAL OFFER Call Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC’s office at 518-300-1212 and mention to my assistants that you want a FREE back pain/DRX9000 qualification

consultation. It’s absolutely free with no strings attached. There is nothing to pay for and you will NOT be pressured to become a patient.

Here is what you will receive: • A consultation with me, Dr. Claude D. Guerra, DC to discuss your problem and answer the questions you may have about back pain and the DRX9000 • A DRX9000 demonstration so you see for yourself how it works! Due to current demand for this technology, I suggest calling today to make your appointment. The consultation is free. We are staffed 24-hoursa-day, 7-days-a-week. Call 518-300-1212 right now!

It’s absolutely FREE with no strings attached. There is ONE Big Problem: My busy office schedule will limit how many people I’m able to personally meet with... so you will need to act fast. Call 518-300-1212 right now... to be sure you are among the first callers and we will set up your free consultation today. We have the phones answered 7 days a week 24 hours a day so call now... 518-300-1212. (Free consultation is good for 45 days) 2016 Central Ave., Colonie www.albanyDRX.com


feeling good

Beating Those

Winter blues fight doldrums with positive thinking and social activity by lee nelson

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Photos: © Martinmark/Dreamstime.com.

Y

ou wake up on a dark, blustery winter day and just don’t want to get out of bed. You feel down in the dumps, with no desire to do anything but pull the covers over your head. You’ve got the winter blues. The desire to hibernate is strong and that tired, sluggish, I-don’t-want-to-get-out-ofmy-jammies attitude takes over. Melancholy is the only emotion you can muster. “Everyone can get the winter blues. It’s not unusual,” says Dr. Robin Tassinari, psychiatrist at the AMC Psychiatry Group in Albany. “It is depressing in the winter to go to work in the dark and return home in the dark. There are less hours of light, and it is cold out there.” The sun has a big affect on our bodies and minds, he adds. Levels of melatonin and serotonic — natural substances that regulate sleep, mood, appetite, memory and more — are affected when we are exposed to less light. “It is important if you know you are the kind of person to get the winter blues to be prepared,” Tassinari says. “Don’t stock up on lots of carbohydrates to comfort you and don’t increase your cable prescription for more movies. You need to eat well and get out of the house.” The winter blues are real and can be triggered by certain events such as the end of the holidays or the first snow storm. It can also affect people from Halloween to the first sight of spring.


Are You SAD?

“People feel like they don’t have much energy. They withdraw from others. They may gain weight because they eat too many carbohydrates and fats to comfort themselves. They have trouble concentrating and sleeping,” Tassinari says. But there are many ways to prevent the winter blues — or at least shake yourself out of them. The right food, drink and exercise can help

The type and quantity of foods and beverages can help fight depression and help prevent — or at least lessen — the winter blues, says Lori Mershon, clinical nutritionist at One Roof in Saratoga. “Sometimes, it’s just using common sense. For instance, drink a lot of water. Water dehydration is one of the main causes of depression,” she says. “Our minimum requirement is half of our body weight in ounces per day.” She realizes some people will read that amount and think they could never drink that much water in a day. But for a 150-pound person, that means drinking 75 ounces of water or about six 12-ounce glasses. “The best way to start is have a glass of water sitting by your bed. In the morning, drink it before you get up,” Mershon says. “That will activate your thirst mechanism. You’ll eventually crave water. We can condition our bodies to crave good things.” What people should be wary of is turning to alcohol as their liquid of choice. Using alcohol to try to self-medicate their sadness can instead often exasperate the problem because alcohol is a depressant, Tassinari says. continued on page 68 

If you or someone you know is depressed every winter, they might be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. “SAD spells true behavior dysfunction to the point of not being able to cope with work or family,” says Dr. Michael Terman, head of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and the Clinical Chronobiology Program at New York State Psychiatric Institute. SAD symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, weight gain, appetite changes and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. Terman says that SAD occurs at the same time every year and that about 3-5 percent of the U.S. population affected by this disorder, while 20 percent are burdened by the winter blues. “Multiply the percentages by current population numbers, and you’re up into the millions, the balance weighted toward the upper half of the country,” he says. Light therapy has been around a long time and has shown to be effective for those with SAD. “In Scandinavian countries where winter depression is very common, all the restaurants, factories and other public places have bright lights everywhere,” says Dr. Robin Tassinari, psychiatrist at the AMC Psychiatry Group in Albany. Lights run about $150 online and should have 10,000 lux (a measurement of light intensity). The light should be angled toward the

eyes. Most people need about 30 minutes in front of the light to get results. “I have one in my office, and I love it. It is a great preventative tool,” says Teresa Reinhardt, licensed master social work and psychotherapist at Maria College in Albany. “Physicians are accepting them more and more as a typical method for healing someone.” Terman recently released his book titled Chronotherapy — Resetting Inner Alertness. The book talks about his research on light therapy for seasonal and chronic depression. “Bright light therapy is the first-order of treatment that will be most effective for most people,” Terman says. “Standard anti-depressant drugs can also help and even be combined with light therapy as the situation may require in some cases.” Light therapy works because the nervous system connects directly from the eyeball to the brain’s inner clock. When that inner clock sees the light, it can respond. “Without the light signal at the right time of day, the inner clock easily slips — like when the battery is slowly dying in the clock on the wall,” he says. “When the inner clock gets out of sync with the time of day in the environment, it’s a formula for depression.” Whatever type of depression you might be feeling, it is best to seek out advice from your doctor. “It is important to recognize that your hopelessness is interfering in your life, and you aren’t functioning well,” Reinhardt says. “Sometimes people suffer in silence. There is help out there. If you are fearful or don’t know where to go, reach out to a family member or friend. Find someone who can find the resources you need.”

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feeling good

1. Be social: Invite others to your home for a game night or dinner, go to the library or enjoy your morning coffee at a nearby coffee shop so you are surrounded by people. Don’t sit at home just because it’s cold. 2. Exercise: Feel

better about yourself and make your muscles move. It not only will make you stronger but will kick in your endorphins for a happier mood.

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to Bust the Winter Blues

3. Try something new: Exciting your

brain and your creativity can only make things better. Take a cooking class, paint or join or start a book club. 4. Volunteer: Giving

to others gives you a purpose for getting up in the morning and can stop the depression because your focus is on someone else. 5. Get the right nutrients and vitamins: Eating well

can always help your

mood. In the winter, comfort foods such as soups actually warm your body. Try to eat good portions of foods with omega 3s and vitamin D to stabilize mood. Too many sweets and carbohydrates can get you down and cause weight gain and sluggishness. 6. Drink water:

Dehydration can be a big cause of depression. Your body needs water. Keep drinking it and your body will

begin craving it. Sometimes people grab for food because they think they’re hungry, when in fact they’re just thirsty.

try “I will be happy throughout the day.” Whatever it takes, keep believing it.

7. Bring color into your life:

something new that excites you and gets your creative juices flowing.

Wear bright colors, bring flowers into your home or add colorful pillows to your living room. 8. Use positive affirmations: Find

your own mantra that helps you stay balanced, and say it a few times a day —

9. Dust off your cookbooks: Try

10. Keep in touch with loved ones:

Whether you write an old-fashioned letter or call them on the phone, reconnect with those you don’t often see. You might just cheer them up, too!

Photos: © Martinmark/Dreamstime.com.

10 Ways


Million Bucks without breaking LOOK LIKE A

the bank.

continued from page 67

Eating foods rich in Vitamin D and other nutrients can also help keep depression at bay. “Have salmon once in awhile or take Omega Three fatty acid supplements. It can’t hurt, and if it helps with the depression, all the better,” he says. “You can also take melatonin. It can help with sleeping problems too.” Mershon recommends soup as a winter food. “Some places have great farmers markets all year round, so you can get the root vegetables and organic meats to put into those soups,” she says. Foods to avoid in the winter, she says, are tropical fruits or produce like watermelon. “Those type of fruits cool your system,” she says. Apples and pears, in contrast, are good winter fruits. Understanding what your body needs is important. Getting a blood test to see what is missing or what is diminished in your system is a good way to start. “Often times, people will have multiple symptoms,” Mershon says. “They think the solution has to be big. But it could be one mineral that is affecting so many things.”

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Don’t sit alone in your house. Just because it’s dark outside doesn’t mean you should hibernate. Getting out and about is especially important for those suffering from winter blues. “People are relying on technology too much to distract themselves from their feelings,” says Teresa Reinhardt, licensed master social work and psychotherapist at Maria College in Albany. “They need to schedule time to socialize instead of being on their computers or iPads. We are certainly not solitary animals. We need a sense of community.” She suggests scheduling events that bring joy and keeping your calendar full. “We are so good at scheduling things for work or our kids, but we don’t make our own joy a priority. When we have joy, it affects our brain chemistry in a good way,” she says. Being with others — whether it’s going to a movie, out to dinner or entertaining at your own home — can bring a sense of belonging when you might be feeling down and alone. Helping others during this time of year — such as going to the grocery store for a homebound neighbor — can also help release endorphins in the brain that makes you feel better about life, Reinhardt suggests. “You can take a short walk in the winter just to get outside,” says Tassinari. “Get outside even if you don’t like the snow or the cold. Dress in layers. Just a few minutes can help.”  HL

· call 518- 454-5358

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Connect through community, family and friends


cover model q&a

up close with...

Monica Muamba by brianna snyder   |   photo by suzanne kawola

I

t’s been 22 years since Monica Muamba moved to the Capital Region from Congo. “My husband had to come here (for a job), so I just had to join him,” she says. Muamba, 45, is an education specialist at Albany Medical Center, a job she’s had and loved for the past 12 years. She lives with her husband and two children — 19-year-old Jonathan and 13-year-old Josette — in Guilderland. Muamba is the president and founder of Sister to Sister’s Keeper, an organization “about empowering women and girls through any area of life,” as she describes it, and she recently won an award for promoting education in the community. “I love it,” she says. “It’s very empowering. You empower them and they empower you too.” What does “empowerment” mean to you? Empowerment is the power that is in us, that gives us the potential to achieve the best we can, by gaining knowledge and understanding. Best memory? The birth of my children. It is a life change, the fact that those are my natural gifts from God. They are a blessing to me. I have learned that children are a huge responsibility and require a great deal of self sacrifice. So in this sense, there is a burden involved. But the Bible portrays the blessing of children to be so much greater than the burden of their care and upbringing. What do you do to stay healthy? I really do the treadmill. I love to be at the gym on the treadmill or lifting weights. I look at what I’m eating and try to eat more healthy and get good-enough sleep. I try to just enjoy life.

Where do you like to travel? I just love to travel different places. I love to discover new things and new cultures and I like challenges. What’s your favorite food? I love any type of food, as long as it’s healthy and it’s cooked the right way. I love trying new food and different food. Guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is being myself and saying no without feeling guilty. This is a part of healthy living. HL

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“Before” photo by Colleen Ingerto.

What do you like to do for fun? I love empowering people and I love reading. I love just even going to exercise. I enjoy doing anything (where) I can use my hands and just make something. I crochet, I braid hair and I sew. I also love traveling.

More Online! Select clothing available at Boscov’s Clifton Park. Above: sweater by Calvin Klein, print top by Nine West, pants by Jones NY, jewelry by Ashley Cooper. Photo taken by Suzanne Kawola at Stickley, Audi & Co. 151 Wolf Road, Albany. See more pictures of our photoshoot at timesunion.com/healthylife.


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HealthyLife February 2013