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Livingwell A SPECIAL PUBLICATION CREATED BY REPUBLIC MEDIA CUSTOM PUBLISHING

a-z

HEALTHCARE NEWS YOU CAN USE FOR YOUR WHOLE FAMILY

AUGUST 2014

2 Safety at grandma’s house | 3 School nutrition changes | 4-5 Events & support groups | 6 Safe Havens for babies | 7 Vision care

Red Means Stop Working to eradicate red-light-running

T

By Nick Kostenko

he week of Aug. 3–9 is National Stop on Red Week, a cause all too familiar to Glendale resident Frank Hinds. In 1997, a red-light-runner hit a car containing his daughter and her friends; the accident killed 17-year-old Jennifer Hinds. This tragedy happened at lunchtime in front of Ironwood High School in Glendale — a cross commemorating Jennifer was tended for many years at the intersection of 59th Avenue and Sweetwater. After Jennifer’s death, Hinds vowed to work toward ending red-light-running for good. With that in mind, he and a number of other community members started a local coalition known as Red Means Stop. Made up of victims, family members and traffic safety advocates, the mission of Red Means Stop is to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes that injure or kill drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

oralhealth overallhealth How

affects

Educating young drivers

The group has established a number of programs geared toward educating young drivers, including sponsoring driver-training scholarships. For example, through a partnership with DrivingMBA schools in Scottsdale and Chandler, the coalition sends 15 to 20 teenage drivers a year to private driving schools they may not have been able to afford to attend. “We focus a lot on young drivers who are just now getting their permits and licenses,” Hinds said. “We have been trying to help these new drivers establish good driving habits so as they get older, they don’t have bad habits that are harder to break.”

Dentists are an important part of your healthcare team

E

‘Kids just like them’

Red Means Stop members also travel to high schools to give presentations on safe driving. “We talk to them about real-life issues and things that have happened to us and try to instill in them that these victims are not just numbers and statistics,” Hinds said. “They are real people, young kids just like them who had hopes and dreams — and they lost their lives or they were destroyed by incapacitating injuries.”

Volunteers welcome

The group is always looking for new members to fill openings on its 15-member board, as well as volunteers for events and presentations. In addition, many of the board members and volunteers have been personally touched by a red-light tragedy and can provide support to those struggling emotionally and physically. More info: RedMeansStop.org; 480-305-7900

Daunting statistics

yy In the last decade, red-light-running crashes killed nearly 9,000 people yy An estimated 165,000 people are injured annually by red-light-runners Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Story by Debra Gelbart | Photos by Rick D’Elia | Illustration by Thinkstock

arlier this year, Scottsdale resident Ruhi Streets awoke in the middle of the night with intense pain in her mouth. “Every root of every tooth, my lower jaw and my gums hurt,” she said. Streets knew that a dentist friend, Nafys Samandari, D.D.S., opens his office at 7 a.m. every day, so she decided to drive there in hopes of being able to see him without delay. Samandari extracted an infected tooth and performed a root canal on another tooth but Streets felt no relief from her unusual pain. “He said to me, ‘I think something else is going on’,” Streets said. “He made me promise to go to the emergency room or my cardiologist right away.”

Key to good health

“I believe in spending the time and attention necessary to determine a patient’s needs and concerns,” said Samandari, who practices in Scottsdale. With a proper oral examination, he said, a dentist can determine that a patient may have any of a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, liver disease and kidney failure.

Having a heart attack

When Streets arrived at her appointment shortly after noon, cardiologist Scottsdale resident Ruhi Streets (front) is thankful that dentist Dr. Nafys Samandari (rear) Suzanne Sorof, M.D., suspected almost immedi- recognized that her dental symptoms were indicative of a possible heart attack and sent her to see her cardiologist, Dr. Suzanne Sorof. She is grateful to both for saving her life. ately that she was having a heart attack. “If Ruhi had gone home from her Another example of the intertwining of dental dentist appointment and not sought further and overall health is seen in pregnancy, said medical attention, she would have died that Denise Mills, D.D.S, a clinical assistant professor at night,” said Sorof, who practices in Mesa. the Dental Institute at Midwestern University in “I had no idea that the problem was with my Glendale. She said that periodontal (gum) disease heart,” Streets said. Today, Streets is feeling good in a pregnant woman can lead to low birth weight and is grateful that two healthcare providers — of her baby because the same blood supply that a dentist and a cardiologist — saved her life.  ORAL HEALTH, continued on page 5

a-z H E A LT H C A R E N E W S B R I E F S Level 1 Trauma Center opens at West Valley Hospital in Goodyear

Dr. Christopher Salvino, West Valley Hospital’s Trauma Medical Director (far right) watches during one of the mock drills leading up to the opening of West Valley Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center. | Abrazo Health

Located in Goodyear, West Valley Hospital, part of Abrazo Health, recently earned a state designation as a Level 1 Trauma Center, the highest status attainable. The first Level 1 Trauma Center in the West Valley, the Center offers 24-hour emergency care and advanced treatment options for a variety of traumatic injuries. The designation comes after extensive preparation including a $26 million expansion project that added two trauma operating suites, two trauma resuscitation bays and 32 new private patient rooms. To prepare for opening, more than 70 mock drills were executed 24 hours a day for 17 continuous days. More info: AbrazoHealth.com


2 | Livingwell a-z | Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Keeping kids safe at grandma’s house

How to avoid dangerous hazards during family visits

Y

By Meghann Finn Sepulveda

ou might be expecting a visit from your grandkids sometime soon, or perhaps you’re a full- or part-time caregiver for those lovable little ones. No matter the length of the visit, you need to childproof your home to keep the youngest members of your family safe from unexpected harm.

Sleeping

†Additional child safety tips Ÿ Secure couches, bookcases, dressers and TVs with furniture straps to avoid tipping and falling Ÿ Keep guns unloaded and stored and locked separately from ammunition Ÿ Prepare a fire escape plan with at least two exits Ÿ Install window-guards on secondfloor windows Ÿ Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove Ÿ Unplug small appliances Ÿ Keep plants out of reach Ÿ Post emergency numbers and poison control information in a visible location

Depending on their age, children create a different set of safety concerns. For example, sleep recommendations have drastically changed over the last few decades. “It’s very important that infants under the age of 1 sleep on their backs,” said Tomi St. Mars, RN, chief of the office of injury prevenSource: Jessica Varela, Injury Prevention Specialist, Phoenix Children’s Hospital tion for the Arizona Department of Health Services. Takeaway: “Create a safe sleep area away “Stairs should have gates, and venetian blind from any pets, such as on the floor or in a cords need to be rolled up and put up high.” portable crib free of pillows, blankets or toys to avoid suffocation,” St. Mars said. Medications At grandma’s house, pill boxes can be Eating especially concerning because they can If grandkids are at your house for meals, be unintentionally be easily child-accessible. sure to avoid food that could cause choking. “If you think your grandchild has The American Academy of Pediatrics cites consumed any medication, you should hot dogs, hard candy, peanuts/nuts, seeds, immediately call 911,” said Laura Crouch, whole grapes, raw carrots, apples, popcorn, RN, nursing chair, American Red Cross Grand chunks of peanut butter, marshmallows, Canyon Chapter. “The number one concern chewing gum and sausages as high-risk foods. with young children is that breathing may be Takeaway: “Stay away from giving your affected, or there is an allergic reaction.” grandchildren any food item that can fit Takeaway: “Store medication up high where through a toilet paper roll,” St. Mars said. a child can’t reach or in a locked cabinet or “Cut food like grapes in half.” drawer,” Crouch said.

Exploration

Since younger children are developmentally curious by nature, it’s important to make sure safety precautions are taken before a visit occurs. Takeaway: “Cleaning products and chemicals should be out of reach,” St. Mars said.

Livingwella-z

Approximately 35 accidental medication exposures occurred at a grandparent’s home in Maricopa County in 2013. Source: Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center

August 2014 | Vol. 4, No. 8

Living Well A-Z publishes on the first Wednesday of the month. From A to Z, we tackle a broad range of health issues and offer resources to find more specific information. For questions concerning content in this publication, please contact Editor Paula Hubbs Cohen.

Thinkstock

Pool safety

As of press time, Children’s Safety Zone reported 11 child drownings in Maricopa County so far this year — and that doesn’t include near-drownings, which often result in long-term neurological damage. “Ninety-five percent of drownings occur due to breached barriers,” said Bob Hubbard. Hubbard is the owner of Hubbard Family Swim School which has locations in Phoenix, Peoria and Mesa. “A lot of times grandparents don’t have a fence around their pool because it isn’t cosmetically appealing and children aren’t in the home on a regular basis. The pool must be secured.” In addition to secure barriers, swimming lessons are important because they not only teach water safety, but also appropriate

pool behavior for children — and adults. Hubbard said it’s beneficial to get children comfortable around water as early as birth. “Regardless of how old the child is, reinforce good safety habits by not overreacting and by encouraging confidence which will lay a foundation for skills to last a lifetime.” Many pool tragedies occur when there’s a crowd of people around, but no one is specifically designated as being responsible for constant water-watching. That’s why during gatherings where water is involved, Hubbard recommends implementing the ‘water watcher’ concept. Takeaway: “Have everyone share the responsibility of the pool for 10 minutes,” Hubbard said. “Trade off regularly so there are always eyes on the pool.”

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014 | Livingwella-z | 3

Healthier school menu options now available

New regulations ensure children have access to nutritionally balanced meals

C

By Meghann Finn Sepulveda

hildren heading back to school this year may notice new menu options for breakfast and lunch as well as healthier selections in vending machines for snacks. As part of new federal requirements, these changes are intended to improve the overall health and well-being of children, increase the consumption of nutritious food and reinforce the development of good eating habits.

Menu changes

New mandates now require all grains to be whole-grain-rich, as opposed to last year when only half of the grain items on the menu needed to be whole-grain-rich. These changes were designed to reflect the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Children will now see items such as brown rice, whole grain pasta and whole wheat pizza crust on the menu,” said Cara Peczkowski, registered dietitian and co-director for the Arizona Department of Education school nutrition programs. Fruit offerings have increased to one cup daily at breakfast (half a cup at lunch) and include whole fruit or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice without added sweeteners. “Menu planners can choose if students are served all items or they can implement the ‘offer versus serve’ concept, where students are offered all menu items but are only required to put a certain number of items on their tray,” Peczkowski said.

Nutrition education

Schools are also teaching students how to properly peel, cut and eat many different kinds of fruit and vegetables, even if they may not look appealing at first glance. Nutrition staff members will often encourage children to take and try something new. For example, Sandra Schossow, registered dietitian and director of food and nutrition for the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD), said that the district served kiwi in all of its school cafeterias last year. One of Arizona’s largest school districts, PUSD currently has more than 36,000 students in 33 elementary schools,

During the 20132014 school year, Mesa Public Schools’ food and nutrition department served 37,077 lunches and 17,598 breakfasts per day. Source: Mesa Public Schools Image: Thinkstock

†More info Arizona Department of Education azed.gov; 602-542-5393; 800-352-4558 U.S. Department of Agriculture usda.gov (search for‘school nutrition’)

seven high schools and one non-traditional high school. “It took some time to educate the students on how to eat it [kiwi], but once we cut it open, they were willing to try it.”

Reducing waste

Nutrition staff members are constantly analyzing the way food is presented to ensure there is less waste. “We consider the age of the children and the time it takes to eat,” Schossow said. “We cut oranges since peeling takes time and we slice apples because biting one whole might be difficult for younger students with loose teeth.”

Many schools now offer fruit and vegetable bars that are stocked with fresh and colorful options, especially those that pack nutrients like dark leafy greens. In PUSD’s schools, low-fat and fat-free salad dressings are tested by students, Schossow said. “If it doesn’t taste good, it’s not worth putting out there,” she said.

Sodium reduction

Another new regulation decreases the amount of sodium allowed in school meals. However, the federally mandated sodium requirements are not going to be drastically different from our state nutrition standards that were already in place, Peczkowski said. “Arizona schools have already implemented lower than required sodium levels in their menus,” she added.

‘Competitive foods’

What may be considered the most noticeable change this school year are the new standards for the ‘competitive foods’ program.

As required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages sold outside of the federal reimbursable school meals program during the school day. The standards set limits on calories, salt, sugar and fat in foods and beverages and promote snack foods that have whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables or protein foods as their main ingredients. Typically, these food items are found in vending machines, school stores, snack bars or are used for fundraising programs. Loretta Zullo is a registered dietitian and director of food and nutrition for Mesa Public Schools, the largest school district in Arizona with 82 schools and approximately 64,000 students. She said that food and beverage manufacturers will need to make adjustments to meet the new criteria for competitive foods. “Not only are portion sizes reduced, but sports drinks and chips will be replaced with healthier options,” she noted.

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4 | Livingwell a-z | Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Left: Maricopa Integrated Health System Below: Banner Health

AUGUST

Takeadvantageofopportunitiestomeetotherswithsimilarissues andlearnmoreaboutvariousaspectsofyourhealth—fromAtoZ. Allgroupsandeventsarebelieved, butnotguaranteed,tobefreeunless otherwisestated.Everyefforthasbeen madetoverifyaccuracy,butpleasecall beforeattendingtoconfirmdetails.

WELLNESS MEDICATION CHECKS Calltoscheduleapersonalappointment St.Luke’s,1800E.VanBurenSt.,Phoenix TempeSt.Luke’s,1500S.MillAve.,Tempe Register: 877-351-WELL (9355) WALKING GROUPS Various dates & locations, 9–10 a.m. By Humana; 480-325-4707; humana.com NUTRITION SEMINAR: SUPER-FOODS Aug. 19, 2–3 p.m. Humana Guidance Center 5943 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa 480-325-4707

ONLINE NETWORKING (DUET) Aug. 9 & 26, various times Register: DuetAZ.org (Events tab) 602-274-5022

Pet positive

Therapy animals — dogs, cats and even horses — are often a welcome presence in healthcare settings

F

By Rhona Melsky

†More info

ido is not just for petting and playing fetch. These faithful companions not Banner Health Pet Therapy Program: only shower humans with uncondiBannerHealth.com, select‘Donate’then tional love, they also are known to ‘Become a volunteer’. Each location has relieve stress and lower blood presits own program. sure, so it’s no wonder that pet therapy has Hospice of the Valley Pet Connections become so important — the mere presence of HOV.org/pet-connections; Program: dogs and other animals in healthcare facilities 602-636-6336 can be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, Maricopa Integrated Health System numerous hospitals, rehab centers, hospices Pet Therapy Program: and the like have pet therapy programs. volunteers@mihs.org; 602-344-5348 “There are so many physical things that happen when a dog comes into the room, from lowering a person’s blood pressure last far longer than just a few minutes that to providing a calming effect,” said Lyndy somebody spends with the animal.” McKay, pet therapy chairperson at Banner From Yorkshire Terriers to Great Boswell Medical Center in Sun City. Pyrenees and all dogs in between, pet therapy dogs run the gamut without breed Training and certification specification. “With the right handler and McKay has been volunteering with with dogs that have the natural temperBanner for 16 years; she now tests the ament, it really can work with any dog,” dogs for Banner’s training program, which Hyatt said. uses Therapy Dogs Inc. as the agency for registration. Based in Cheyenne, WY, Nearly 200 pet teams the organization provides insurance and With nearly 200 pet teams visiting clients support for members who volunteer their throughout the Valley in homes, group pets and time through animal-assisted homes, skilled nursing and assisted living activities. facilities, Hospice of the Valley’s pet therapy Pet therapy dogs must be registered program features three cats, 175 dogs, two through a recognized organization, as bunnies and a miniature horse, with the registration ensures that guidelines are in majority being rescued animals. place, including no licking or barking. The The program started in 2006 as a small dogs must also be comfortable in situations research project to see if pet therapy was such as crowded elevators, must be used effective with dementia patients, accordto sitting for long periods of time and must ing to Ann Roseman, pet team volunteer refrain from growling. “All of that has to be coordinator with Hospice of the Valley’s trained into the dog so we can focus on the Pet Connections program. It proved to therapy visit,” said Liz Hyatt, director of work very well, consequently becoming an volunteer and guest services at Maricopa official program which was opened up to all Integrated Health System (MIHS) in patients due to staff requests. Phoenix. Registered animals and their handlers are connected with clients depending on the Good matchmaking client’s needs, desires and history. “We are The relationship between the handler and very careful to match up the correct species the dog, as well as the dog’s personality, is with the client,” Roseman said. what makes a good therapy dog, according to McKay. She also indicated that it’s import- A horse — of course ant for the dog to be comfortable. Lilly, a rescued miniature horse, started At MIHS, the pet therapy program (which with the program in 2013. During one of began in 1959 and continues to grow) works her visits, a dementia patient began talking in partnership with the nursing staff to about a horse she had as a child. make sure patients do not have pet allergies “The family was standing with their and that they have no fear of dogs. It’s also mouths agape and tears streaming down important to have a good match between their faces because they didn’t think she patient and pet. “We have some animals that remembered,” Roseman said. Dementia work much better with children than adults, patients who have not spoken in some time so we design the program to make the pet will oftentimes speak after long periods of successful with whatever they are naturally silence due to a pet visit. inclined to do as a dog,” Hyatt said. For patients who choose to visit with a It works therapy dog, “it gives us an opportunity “We don’t know why pet therapy works, but to give those people a chance to cope in it does,” Roseman said. “It would be lovely a different way,” Hyatt said, noting that someday if scientists could tell us why it it helps both the patient and their family. works, but until that time, we know it works “The health benefits of the therapy visit can so we’ll continue.”

MANAGING YOUR DIABETES Aug. 12, 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. Humana Guidance Center 5943 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa 480-325-4707 CHARTING YOUR COURSE AGAINST DIABETES Aug. 18, 2–4 p.m. Banner Del E. Webb 14502 W. Meeker Blvd., Sun City West Register: 602-230-CARE (2273)

ALZHEIMER’S & MEMORY SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 12, 19 & 26, 10 a.m.–noon By Benevilla at Faith Presbyterian Church 16000 N. Del Webb Blvd, Sun City 623-584-4999; benevilla.org

GENERAL CAREGIVERS GROUP Various dates, times & locations By Duet; 602-274-5022; duetaz.org

Hospice of the Valley

DIABETES SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 11, 3 p.m. Mountain Vista Medical Center 1301 S. Crismon Rd., Mesa Register: 877-924-WELL (9355)

ALZHEIMER’S/ DEMENTIA

CAREGIVERS

Furry therapy: Lily (top), a French Bulldog, visits with a pediatric patient at Maricopa Medical Center. Lyndy McCay (middle, left), a 16-year volunteer at Banner Boswell Medical Center, visits patients with Faith, her Black Labrador Retriever. At Hospice of the Valley’s Coronado Home (left), Kenny the cat and Queenie, a Corgi, visit with a patient.

DIABETES

ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 17, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Dignity Health’s Huger Mercy Living Center 2345 W. Orangewood Ave., Phoenix 602-406-5600

CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 11 St. Joseph’s Outpatient Rehab 114 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix Call for time: 602-406-6688

CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 18, 1:30–3 p.m. By Tempe St. Luke’s at Pyle Adult Recreation Center 655 E. Southern Ave., Tempe Register: 877-351-WELL (9355)

CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 13, 2:30 p.m. Mountain Vista Medical Center 1301 S. Crismon Rd., Mesa Register: 877-924-WELL (9355)

CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 19, 12:30–2 p.m. By Duet at Church of the Beatitudes 555 W. Glendale Ave., Phoenix 602-274-5022; duetaz.org

CAREGIVING SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 15, 9–11 a.m. By Benevilla at Birt’s Bistro 16752 N. Greasewood St., Surprise 623-584-4999; benevilla.org

LEWY BODY DEMENTIA Aug. 28, 1–2:30 p.m. Arbor Rose Senior Care 6033 E. Arbor Ave., Mesa 480-641-2531

GRIEF GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP Various dates, times & locations By Hospice of the Valley hov.org/grief-support-groups; 602-530-6970

BREAST CANCER

GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2–3:30 p.m. Banner Heart 6750 E. Baywood Ave., Mesa Info: Rev. Cindy Darby, 480-657-1167; BannerHospice.com GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 14 & 28 St. Joseph’s 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix Call for time: 602-406-3275

BOSOM BUDDIES SUPPORT GROUPS Various dates, times & locations Ahwatukee/Chandler: 480-893-8900 East Valley: 480-969-4119 Northwest Valley: 623-236-6616 West Valley: 623-979-4279 METASTATIC BREAST CANCER Aug. 6, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Banner Desert 1400 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa 480-412-HOPE (4673)

GRIEF BEFORE LOSS Aug. 27, 10–11 a.m. By Benevilla at Birt’s Bistro 16752 N. Greasewood St., Surprise 623-584-4999; benevilla.org

BREAST CANCER SUPPORT Aug. 11, 2–4 p.m. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers 685 S. Dobson Rd., Chandler Register: 480-340-4013; ironwoodcrc.com

PAIN

BREAST BUDS SUPPORT Aug. 16, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. MidFirst Bank Conference Room 6508 W. Bell Rd., Glendale 480-657-0500; breastbuds.org

CHRONIC BACK PAIN Aug. 8, noon–1 p.m. By IASIS Healthcare at Burton Barr Central Library 1221 N. Central Ave., Phoenix Register: 877-351-WELL (9355) HOPE FOR TODAY Aug. 12, 19 & 26, 3:30–4:30 p.m. By Chronic Pain Anonymous at Temple Chai Shalom Center House 4635 E. Marilyn Rd., Phoenix cpa-az@cox.net; ChronicPainAnonymous.org

HEART/STROKE STROKE SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 20, 1 p.m. Mountain Vista Medical Center 1301 S. Crismon Rd., Mesa Register: 877-924-WELL (9355)

BREAST CANCER SUPPORT Aug. 26, 5–6:15 p.m. Banner Desert 1400 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa 480-412-HOPE (4673) TRIPLE NEGATIVE SUPPORT Aug. 27, 6–7:30 p.m. By Cancer Support Community AZ at Banner Good Samaritan 1111 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org

CANCER SUPPORT GROUPS

ABCs OF HEART HEALTH Aug. 22, noon–1 p.m. By Tempe St. Luke’s at Tempe Public Library 3500 S. Rural Rd., Tempe Register: 877-351-WELL (9355)

MULTIPLE MYELOMA SUPPORT Aug. 7, 10–11:30 a.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org

PROSTATE SUPPORT Aug. 7, 6–7:30 p.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org CAREGIVER SUPPORT Aug. 7, 6–8 p.m. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers 6111 E. Arbor Ave., Mesa Register: 480-324-5279; ironwoodcrc.com LYMPHOMA SUPPORT Aug. 9, 10–11:30 a.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org PANCREATIC SUPPORT Aug. 9, 10–11:30 a.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org CARCINOID SUPPORT Aug. 9, 1–2:30 p.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org LUNG SUPPORT Aug. 9, 1–2:30 p.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org LIVING WITH LOSS Aug. 12 & 26, 1–2:30 p.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER Aug. 12, 5–6:15 p.m. Banner Desert 1400 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa 480-412-HOPE (4673) CANCER SUPPORT Aug. 12 & 26, 6–7 p.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org SURVIVORSHIP SUPPORT & SYMPTOM MANAGEMENT Aug. 13, 6–7:30 p.m. Banner Gateway 1900 N. Higley Rd., Gilbert 602-230-CARE (2273) COLORECTAL SUPPORT Aug. 16, 10–11:30 a.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org OVARIAN SUPPORT Aug. 16, 10–11:30 a.m. Cancer Support Community AZ 360 E. Palm Ln., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org CAREGIVER SUPPORT Aug. 16, 10 a.m.–noon Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers 685 S. Dobson Rd., Chandler Register: 480-340-4013; ironwoodcrc.com ORAL, HEAD & NECK SUPPORT Aug. 21 Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center 10460 N. 92 St., Scottsdale Call for time: 602-377-2447 ESOPHAGEAL SUPPORT Aug. 21, 6–7:30 p.m. By Cancer Support Community AZ at Banner Good Samaritan 1111 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix Register: 602-712-1006; rsvp@cscaz.org PROSTATE SUPPORT Aug. 25, 7–9 p.m. Banner Desert 1400 S. Dobson Rd., Mesa 480-412-HOPE (4673)

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014 | Livingwella-z | 5

Please call to confirm reservations and cost (if any).

AUGUST 13

AUGUST 23

HEALTH LECTURE: HEART ATTACK & STROKE WHAT: Captain Mario Santos of the Goodyear Fire Department will discuss signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke, treatments, what to do and what not to do. WHERE: Banner Thunderbird, 5555 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale TIME: 5:30–7 p.m. PRESENTED BY: Banner Health COST: Free INFO/REGISTER: 602-230-2273

BREAST CANCER RESOURCE EXPO WHAT: Local businesses and organizations will provide resources, education and information for patients, survivorsandfamilymembers. WHERE:TempeMissionPalmsHotel, 60E.FifthStreet,Tempe TIME: 9 a.m.–3 p.m. PRESENTED BY: My Hope Bag COST: Free; complimentary valet parking INFO/REGISTER: 480-987-6898; MyHopeBag.org

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I N F O R M AT I O N O N L I N E

ABRAZO HEALTH CARE: AbrazoHealth.com Arizona Heart Institute and Arizona Heart, Arrowhead, Maryvale, Paradise Valley, Phoenix Baptist and West Valley hospitals BANNER HEALTH: BannerHealth.com BARROW NEUROLOGICAL INSTITUTE: TheBarrow.org CARDON CHILDREN’S MEDICAL CENTER: BannerHealth.com CHANDLER REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: ChandlerRegional.org JOHN C. LINCOLN HOSPITAL: JCL.com MARICOPA INTEGRATED HEALTH SYSTEM: MIHS.org MAYO CLINIC: MayoClinic.com MERCY GILBERT MEDICAL CENTER: MercyGilbert.org MOUNTAIN VISTA MEDICAL CENTER: MVMedicalCenter.com MUHAMMAD ALI PARKINSON CENTER: TheBarrow.org/NeurologicalServices PHOENIX CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: PhoenixChildrens.org SCOTTSDALE HEALTHCARE: SHC.org ST. JOSEPH’S HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CENTER: StJosephs-Phx.org ST. LUKE’S MEDICAL CENTER: StLukesMedCenter.com TEMPE ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL: TempeStLukesHospital.com

METASTATIC CANCER SUPPORT Aug. 27, 3–4:30 p.m. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers 685 S. Dobson Rd., Chandler Register: 480-340-4013; ironwoodcrc.com

PARKINSON’S PARKINSON’S SUPPORT Aug. 19, 3–4 p.m. By Benevilla at Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church 13658 Meeker Blvd., Sun City West 623-584-4999

SENIORS HEALTHY COOKING DEMO Aug. 6, 10 a.m.–noon Humana Guidance Center 5943 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa 480-325-4707 SAFETY-PROOF YOUR HOME Aug. 13, 2–3 p.m. Humana Guidance Center 5943 E. McKellips Rd., Mesa 480-325-4707

GASTROINTESTINAL OSTOMY SUPPORT Aug. 21, 12:30 p.m. La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church 6300 E. Bell Rd., Scottsdale 623-580-4120

RESPIRATORY BETTER BREATHERS/ COPD SUPPORT Various dates, times & locations By the American Lung Association 602-429-0005; BreatheEasyAZ.info BETTER BREATHERS CLUB Aug. 8, 10:30–11:30 a.m. Mayo Clinic Hospital 5777 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix 480-342-2348; BreatheEasyAZ.info CAREMORE BETTER BREATHERS CLUB Aug. 12, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

North Phoenix Care Center 750 E. Thunderbird Rd., Phoenix 480-297-5360; BreatheEasyAZ.info BETTER BREATHERS CLUB Aug. 15, 10–11 a.m. Red Mountain Active Adult Center 7550 E. Adobe St., Mesa 480-586-2787; BreatheEasyAZ.info CAREMORE BETTER BREATHERS CLUB Aug. 26, 10:30–11:30 a.m. West Phoenix Care Center 2330 N. 75th Ave., Phoenix 480-297-5360; BreatheEasyAZ.info BETTER BREATHERS CLUB Aug. 28, 1:30–3 p.m. John C. Lincoln North Mountain 9202 N. Second St., Phoenix 602-870-6060; BreatheEasyAZ.info

BRAIN PROGRESSIVE SUPRANUCLEAR PALSY SUPPORT GROUP Aug. 9, 1:30–3:30 p.m. Pyle Adult Recreation Center 655 E. Southern Ave., Tempe 480-966-3391; aludwig@asu.edu YOUNG ADULT BRAIN INJURY Aug. 13, 6–7:30 p.m. St. Joseph’s Barrow 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix 602-996-1396 or 602-406-6688 BRAIN BANK INFO MEETING Aug. 15, 9–11 a.m. Banner Neuro Wellness 207 N. Gilbert Rd., Ste. 205, Gilbert 480-699-0537 BRAIN ANEURYSM SUPPORT Aug. 20, 6–8 p.m. St. Joseph’s Barrow 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix 760-333-7658; Kimberly@ JoeNiekroFoundation.org BRAIN TUMOR SUPPORT Aug. 26, 6–8 p.m. St. Joseph’s Barrow 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix 623-205-6446

BRAIN INJURY SUPPORT Aug. 28, 6–7:30 p.m. St. Joseph’s Barrow 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix 602-508-8024 or 602-406-6688

BREASTFEEDING BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT Aug. 11, 18 & 25, 10–11:30 a.m. St. Joseph’s 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix 602-406-4954 NURSING MOMS SUPPORT Aug. 12, 10:30 a.m.–noon Banner Del E. Webb 14502 W. Meeker Blvd., Sun City West 623-524-4464

PARENTING GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN Various dates, times & locations By Benevilla; 623-207-6016; benevilla.org GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN Various dates, times & locations By Duet; 602-274-5022; duetaz.org SUPPORT THROUGH OTHER PARENTS (S.T.O.P.) Aug. 7, 14, 21 & 28, 7–9 p.m. First Presbyterian Church 161 N. Mesa Dr., Mesa 623-846-5464; SupportThroughOtherParents.org GUARDIANSHIP CLINIC Aug. 8, 3–5 p.m. By Duet at Church of the Beatitudes 555 W. Glendale Ave., Phoenix Register: 602-274-5022, ext. 31 SUPPORT THROUGH OTHER PARENTS (S.T.O.P.) Aug. 12, 19 & 26, 7–9 p.m. Larkspur Christian Church 3302 W. Larkspur Dr., Phoenix 623-846-5464; SupportThroughOtherParents.org MOTHER-TO-MOTHER SUPPORT Aug. 22, 10–11:30 a.m. St. Joseph’s 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix 877-602-4111

WEIGHT LOSS BARIATRIC INFO SEMINAR Various dates, times & locations By Banner Health 480-543-2606 or 623-327-8200 WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY SEMINARS Various dates & times By Bridges Center for Surgical Weight Management at St. Luke’s Medical Center, 555 N. 18th St., Phoenix Register: 800-248-5553; webinar: BridgesAZ.com

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT GROUPS WOMEN WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS Aug. 30, 10 a.m. St. Joseph’s Barrow 350 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix 480-829-6563

VALLEY FEVER INFO AZ VICTIMS OF VALLEY FEVER ArizonaVictimsOfValleyFever.org; 623-584-8331; pat-valleyfever@live.com; or 602-242-9527; mmfcreate@aol.com VALLEY FEVER CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE 602-406-8253; vfce.arizona.edu; ValleyFeverCenter@dignityhealth.org

POISON CONTROL BANNER GOOD SAMARITAN Poison & Drug Information Center Hotline: 800-222-1222

“Good oral health is key to the rest of your health.”

(Front) Maureen Romer, D.D.S., associate dean for post-doctoral education and director of the Center for Advanced Oral Health at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health in Mesa. (Back) Christopher Wilde, third-year dental student (student doctor) at ATSU’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health with Tanya Vanley (patient).

Rick D’Elia

Oral health

„ continued from the cover nourishes the mouth also circulates in the womb, noting that if there’s a problem in the mother’s mouth, it’s not unlikely that the fetus may experience some degree of difficulty as well.

Diabetes and oral health

The millions of Americans with diabetes may not realize that the disease also affects their oral health. “Numerous studies have shown a connection between oral health and inflammation or other issues in the rest of the body,” according to Maureen Romer, D.D.S., associate dean for post-doctoral education and director of the Center for Advanced Oral Health at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health in Mesa. “We know there’s a connection between inflammation in the mouth (i.e., periodontal disease) and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), for example,” she said. “And poor circulation in fingers and toes that can come from diabetes can also affect the tiny blood vessels in the mouth, contributing to gum disease.” Mills, of Midwestern University, pointed out that gum disease in diabetics also makes it more difficult for them to control their blood sugar. “In diabetic patients with serious periodontal disease, their blood sugar will come down when the gum disease is brought under control,” Romer said. Both she and Mills said it’s not that unusual for a dentist to be the first to let a patient know that diabetes may be present. The dentist will then refer the patient to a physician for a work-up, Romer said.

Medications and dry mouth

Blood pressure medications, sedatives, decongestants,

Sedation dentistry can calm nerves Many dentists offer sedation, said Maureen Romer, D.D.S., associate dean for post-doctoral education and director of the Center for Advanced Oral Health at A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health in Mesa. It allows patients who are anxious about seeing a dentist or who are experiencing significant pain to get relief. She advises patients experiencing anxiety about oral care to ask their dentist about the availability of sedation. pressure helps a dentist understand what’s visible in the mouth,” she said, adding that ideally, a dentist should check a patient’s blood pressure at almost every visit. Romer said that helping patients optimize their oral health — and therefore, their overall health — may require a change in the mindset of the healthcare community and a better understanding of the link between oral health and overall health. Separate Communicate insurance coverage for with your dentist medical and dental care, Letting your dentist know for example, encourages about your overall health viewing oral health and is vital, Mills, Romer and Samandari said. Inform your general health differently, she said. dentist about all medica“We need to start looking tions that you take and at oral health as integral to about any health problems overall health and view an you’re experiencing, they oral problem as an ongoing advised. One of the most important issue, not necessarily something we just fix once,” Romer tasks for a dentist is to take said. Improving oral health a thorough medical history and to determine a patient’s may even help to improve outcomes whenever a patient blood pressure, Mills said. has a medical problem “Knowing whether a elsewhere, she added. patient has high blood smoking cessation agents, antacids and inhalers can cause dry mouth, Mills said, and dry mouth can lead to other issues. “When your mouth loses its natural cleaning ability because of loss of saliva, plaque sticks more easily to the surfaces of teeth,” Mills said. The best remedies for dry mouth, she said, are over-the-counter gels, sprays, toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Passport to Health: Charting Your Course Against Diabetes September 17, 6-8 pm Banner Baywood Medical Center September 18, 7-9 pm Banner Health Center Verrado AR-0008242740-01

a-z T O P E V E N T S

September 24, 6-8 pm Banner Desert Medical Center RSVP: (602) 230-CARE (2273) www.BannerHealth.com/Events

All of my big plans were put on hold when I thought I had a bad cold and it turned out to be heart failure. After a heart transplant, I feel lucky to be here. My answer was Mayo Clinic. Adam Janusz

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“No matter how scared, alone or desperate you feel, there is a way, without telling your name or any personal details, you can make sure your newborn is safe and will have a good chance at a healthy, happy life.”

CORNEA, VISION CORRECTION & CATARACT Robert Fintelmann, MD, FACS

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Dr. Fintelmann provides excellence in care of corneal disease, cataract and vision correction surgery (including LASIK and ICL). He performs a range of procedures including partial, full thickness and laser assisted corneal transplants (DSAEK, DMEK, DALK). In addition, he teaches residents and medical students. BARNET DULANEY PERKINS EYE CENTER Locations throughout Arizona www.GoodEyes.com 800-966-7000

Heather Burner, executive director, Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation

GERIATRICS, PRIMARY CARE Sarah A. Payne, DO

Emergency Department Technician Judit Imre, from the Arizona Children’s Center at Maricopa Medical Center, checks her hospital’s anonymous Safe Haven baby drawer.

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A graduate of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Payne is a primary care physician who provides a personal and individualized approach to caring for her geriatric patients. She is board certified in Family Practice and Geriatrics and specializes in long-term and end-of-life care. Banner Health Center 13640 N. Plaza del Rio Blvd., Peoria Floors 2 and 3 www.BannerHealth.com/HealthCenterNWPrimaryCare 623-876-3800

Maricopa Integrated Health System

INTERNAL MEDICINE, PRIMARY CARE Karen Connally-Frank, DO

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Board-certified in internal medicine, Dr. Connally-Frank works to educate her patients and provide a personalized experience. A graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, Calif., she completed her internship and residency in Indiana at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. Banner Health Center 13640 N. Plaza del Rio Blvd., Peoria Floors 2 and 3 www.BannerHealth.com/HealthCenterNWPrimaryCare 623-876-3800

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles on Arizona’s Safe Havens for infants.

John Toth, DO

Dr. Toth graduated from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale, AZ. He specializes in arthroscopic treatment of diseases and conditions involving the hip, knee, and shoulder as well as general fracture care, knee replacement, general trauma and sports medicine. He has a special interest in arthroscopic, minimally invasive hip surgeries. AR-0008246323-01

Safety for newborns; relief for their moms — with no questions asked By Susan Fuchs

ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY, ORTHOPEDICS

Banner Health Clinic 1920 N. Higley Road, Suite 206, Gilbert 480-543-6700 www.BannerHealth.com/ClinicGilbertOrthoSurgery

SPEECH AND HEARING CLINIC Ingrid McBride, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Ingrid McBride is Director of Audiology at the ASU Speech and Hearing Clinic. She earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from University of Florida. Her clinical interests include adult/pediatric hearing assessment, hearing aid and assistive technology services, and group audiological rehabilitation. She is the founder of Hearing for Humanity. AR-0008249044-01

Arizona’s Safe Baby Havens

ASU SPEECH AND HEARING CLINIC 975 S. MYRTLE AVENUE TEMPE, AZ 85257 480-965-2373 chs.asu.edu/livingwell

S

ince 2001, 26 Arizona infants have not been tossed into garbage dumpsters or abandoned in squalid alleys. According to statistics reported by Child Protective Services (now the Department of Child Safety) these young lives were saved because the babies were brought to Arizona’s designated Safe Havens by new parents — usually their birth-mothers — who felt they could not provide the care the newborns needed. One of the first infants saved by the law was dubbed ‘Baby Amanda’, a blue-eyed beauty who arrived in the Emergency Department

†Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation The Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation has several dedicated volunteers who set up at health fairs and give presentations at public events to spread the word about Safe Haven.“But we always need more volunteers,” said the foundation’s unpaid executive director, Heather Burner.“I encourage any interested citizens who want to help to call us.” More info Website: azsbh2.org Phone: 866-707-BABY (2229) Email: ArizonaSafeBabyHaven@gmail.com Facebook: facebook.com/AZSBH

According to the Maricopa Medical Examiner, during 2000-2006, the morgue received 767 deceased babies under 9 months old. Of these babies, at least 23 were known to have been born alive and abandoned. Source: Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation

at Banner Thunderbird Hospital in Glendale soon after Arizona’s Safe Haven for infants law went into effect some 13 years ago.

Safe Haven law

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Arizona’s Safe Haven law says a parent or an agent for a parent may surrender a newborn infant — one who is no more than 72 hours old — at any hospital, outpatient health facility, fire station, church, child welfare office or licensed adoption agency. Newborns will be accepted, no questions asked. As long as the child is healthy and uninjured, the parent is not guilty of child abuse or abandonment.

Heroic moms

“These moms are heroes for loving their babies enough to make sure they’ll have a better chance at good lives,” said Peoria resident Nicole Olson. Nicole and her husband, Michael, adopted a Safe Haven baby who is now 3 years old. Her opinion is shared by firefighters and nurses who have received other Safe Haven babies — and by those who are still waiting for their first. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know a traumatized young woman has made a good decision by bringing the baby to us,” said Jill Bish, RNC, director of women’s services at Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital. Bish was part of a team that received a Safe Haven baby several years ago, and said that obviously, Safe Haven saves infants. “But it also saves women from having to live the rest of their lives with the pain and guilt of abandoning their babies to die in dumpsters or gutters,” she added. “They can move on without regret, because they know what they did means their baby will be safe.” The only problem with Safe Haven, its advocates agree, is that in spite of ongoing

Glendale Fire Captain Patrick Frey checks the Safe Haven logo on his truck at Station 156. Glendale has installed Safe Haven signage at all of its fire stations and Safe Haven logos on all its trucks, ambulances and automobiles. | Susan Fuchs efforts to publicize the program, its provisions are not widely known, especially by the people who need it most. “Safe Haven is a critical resource that, sadly, is not well enough known and not often enough utilized,” said Deputy Chief Chris Ketterer of the Phoenix Fire Department. Phoenix Fire has received just one infant since Safe Haven went into effect.

No questions asked

“The beauty of the Safe Haven law,” Ketterer said, “is that we will accept this precious cargo with no questions asked. A new mom who thinks she has no viable options can deliver her baby to us without fear. She can make the most beautiful lifesaving decision.” At the Glendale Fire Department, which was the first in the Valley to post Safe Haven signs on its fire stations right after the law passed (and now has Safe Haven decals on all their vehicles), firefighters are trained to accept and care for infants and all facilities are stocked with supplies a newborn might need. “Like other Safe Haven providers throughout the Valley, we have had press conferences and public education programs about Safe Haven,” said Michael Young, public information officer for the Glendale Fire Department. “We have a website and Facebook and Twitter that are all used to get the news out about the law. But we have yet to receive our first baby,” Young said. “We can only hope that ongoing efforts will eventually make an effective impact.”


Wednesday, August 6, 2014 | Livingwella-z | 7

See the importance?

Eye exams do more than aid vision; they reveal other health issues, too

A

“Consider an eye exam a regular appointment you should keep, just like going to the doctor or dentist.”

By Gremlyn Bradley-Waddell

lthough healthcare professionals encourage regular eye exams, lots of folks don’t follow through, according to Renée McCoy, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Cigna Medical Group’s C.J. Harris Multi-Specialty Center in Tempe. But regular exams are crucial to one’s overall health, she and other eye care providers say. What’s more, eye exams often reveal underlying health issues patients don’t even know about.

Typical eye exam

Richard Pinkert, O.D., F.A.A.O., is an optometrist and director of clinical services for Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center in Phoenix. He said a typical eye exam should include an inquiry into your medical history and any family history of eye disorders. The doctor will measure your visual acuity by having you read letters on a chart and he or she will check your eyes’ pressure both internally and externally. You should also expect a refraction exam, during which you’ll look through numerous lenses and be asked which combinations offer you the best vision. In addition, the optometrist will examine the edges of the retina, check your eyes’ motility — verifying that they move in a uniform direction and work together at all distances — and perform a test to check peripheral vision.

—Richard Pinkert, O.D., F.A.A.O., Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center

Normal view

Cataracts

Age-related macular degeneration

Glaucoma

A normal view of an image, and how the same image might be viewed by a person with cataracts, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

A trio of trouble

During an exam, the eye care professional is also looking for signs of eye disease, primarily the three most common ones, which are: CATARACTS: Leland Sherlock, O.D., an optometrist with Southwestern Eye Center in Mesa, said that people with cataracts suffer from blurred vision and have difficulty seeing in dim light. What’s happening is the lens in the eye is becoming cloudy as proteins bunch together, which is part of the aging process. Fixing cataracts requires the patient to undergo a few minutes of local anesthesia, during which time a plastic lens is implanted. “It’s one of the only cures in medicine,” Sherlock said.

AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION: This loss of vision occurs in the center of vision, since the macula is the focus point in the center of the retina, Sherlock said. Patients, who commonly are 65 or older, may experience blurred vision and/or a change in color perception; these symptoms can occur in one or both eyes. There are two versions of the disorder: ‘dry’ and ‘wet’. Dry cases are treated with supplements containing the carotenoid vitamin lutein, which helps slow degeneration. Wet cases, so named because of the bleeding that occurs when blood vessels in the back of the eye break and destroy the retina, are treated with injections, which don’t always work. Sherlock said

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist — what’s the difference?

An optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) who examines eyes for the purpose of prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses as well as screening to detect certain eye abnormalities. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who specializes in all aspects of eye care including diagnosis and management of as well as surgery for ocular diseases and disorders. Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology, aao.org

that genetics and time are the biggest risk factors for macular degeneration. GLAUCOMA: This group of age-related conditions is often called the sneaky

(or silent) thief of sight because symptoms usually only present at the late stages of the disease when the optic nerve has been damaged, Pinkert said. The majority of patients with glaucoma develop the disease after age 65; those with a family history of the disease face a higher risk. Glaucoma is caused by damage sustained through elevated eye pressure or trauma to the optic nerve in the back of the eyeball. The eye is like a balloon; it needs pressure — in the form of fluid — to pass into the eye and then drain out, Sherlock said. But sometimes the eyes produce too much fluid or the drainage canals get clogged and the pressure inside the eye becomes too high. The associated loss of peripheral vision is hardly noticeable, so most people don’t even recognize they have a problem, said Michael Horsley, M.D., a glaucoma specialist and ophthalmologist with Southwestern Eye Center. Horsley said that’s why a baseline eye exam and annual checkups are so important. Detected early, glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, while more advanced cases may be referred to a glaucoma surgeon.

‘Unique view of the body’

One of the most amazing things about a standard eye exam, however, is the “unique view of the body” it affords, Horsley said. Dilating the pupil allows a good look at the retina, optic nerve and blood vessels, sites where indicators of a patient’s health — including conditions not yet diagnosed — can be seen. For example, Horsley said that subtle changes in the retina, the presence of small blood spots, or even the appearance of blood vessels may indicate diabetes, high blood pressure or an embolic plaque, the latter of which could cause a variety of complications, including stroke.

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Livingwell AZ - August 2014  

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