FOCUS ON HEALTH
A SUPPLEMENT TO TIMES BEACON RECORD NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
PAGE S 2 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
Each Resident, At Artis Senior Living is designed to promote The Artis Way in many ways, including:
• A holistic team approach means everyone who cares for your loved one knows their preferences and passions. • Engagement programming is unique to each community because it is developed around each resident’s partnership profile. • The Director of The Artis Way Experience serves an important role in advocating for residents and communicating with families.
EMPOWERED IN CARE AND COMMUNITY
• Transparent and frequent communication regarding the care of your loved one is the norm. • An adaptive environment allows each resident to do as they wish versus participating in mandatory group activities. • 24-hour care and supervision provides quick response times and proactive safety measures and monitoring.
For more information or to schedule a tour: TheArtisWay.com/Commack 631-410-6478
Artis Senior Living of Commack: 1131 Jericho Turnpike, Commack, NY 11725
MAY 26, 2022 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S 3
Spring clean your diet in four easy ways
n addition to decluttering your home this spring, why not declutter your diet? We've all heard the phrase "clean eating" or eating minimally processed foods and getting rid of the excess "clutter" in the form of added fats, sugars, salt and SUSAN BOWERMAN unnecessary additives. But for some, creating a daily diet made up of only these foods can be intimidating, especially when looking to put a healthy meal on the table at the end of a busy day. Fortunately, "eating clean" doesn't have to be daunting. There are plenty of packaged nutritious, wholesome foods like frozen loose pack veggies and fruits, canned tuna, salmon or beans and whole grains like brown rice or whole grain pasta that can simplify preparing meals. Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND, senior director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and training at Herbalife Nutrition, shares four ways to clear your diet clutter:
Read food labels to help you ditch extra sugar, salt and fat. Check labels for fat, sodium and sugar content, and compare brands to find those with the least amounts. For example, choose plain yogurt and whole grain cereals rather than pre-sweetened and refined products, and look for unsalted or low sodium canned and frozen veggies. Lose the refined starches and up your fruit and veggie intake. Including a fruit or vegetable at every meal can "squeeze out" many of the unwanted foods and ingredients you might otherwise eat. Swap sugary, fatty ice cream for a bowl of berries, or try snacking on baby carrots and hummus instead of chips. Get rid of the calorie clutter in your beverages. Between sugary sodas, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and fancy coffee drinks, many people take in hundreds of calories a day from beverages alone. Aside from water, which can curb your hunger, help you feel full, fend off fatigue and give you more energy, plain tea is a great alternative because it can be consumed hot or cold, has virtually no calories, and has natural compounds that may offer some health benefits. Miss flavored drinks? Try infusing your water or tea with a slice of citrus or sprig of mint.
Sunset on the Harbor
Thursday, June 9, 2022 @ 6 pm The Head of the Bay Club Huntington, NY Please join us on June 9, 2022 at 6PM at The Head of the Bay Club in Huntington, NY as we host our inaugural Sunset on the Harbor event. We hope we can count on your support! Contributions will have an immediate impact on our community, and your generosity is appreciated more than ever. The COVID-19 crisis has been hard on many organizations, and St. Johnland is no exception. Despite limitations imposed by the pandemic, we are proud to have moved forward with some very exciting projects to help benefit the many Long Islanders we serve, including establishing a Licensed Home Health Care Service Agency and an Assisted Living Facility (opening Fall 2022!).
Scan qr code to register
For more information, please call Trish Rongo at 631-663-2734
Clear the clutter from your fridge, freezer and pantry. A little kitchen spring cleaning can really help you declutter your diet. Fill your pantry with high-fiber whole grains like 100% whole wheat pasta, bread, cereals and flour, and foods like quinoa, millet and brown rice. Buy beans and canned tomatoes for soups, stews and
pasta. Stock your refrigerator and freezer with plain fruits and veggies and nonfat or low-fat dairy products. And keep canned tuna or salmon, frozen fish filets or chicken breasts on hand to add protein to your quick, healthy meals. For more nutrition tips from Susan Bowerman, visit www. IAmHerbalifeNutrition.com.
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PAGE S 4 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
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MAY 26, 2022 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S 5
Perfect vision? Eight tips to keep it that way
he prospect of vision loss is not typically a concern for most people until a decline in visual acuity becomes noticeable. Vision changes as a person ages, and it also may be affected by injury. But there are entirely preventable factors that contribute to poor vision or diminished eye health as well. Taking inventory of behaviors that put eyes at risk, and making important changes, can safeguard the eyes for as long as possible.
1. Get routine wellness exams
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 93 million adults in the United States are at risk for vision loss. Factors that contribute to vision loss can include being overweight or obese, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. A wellness exam also may uncover family history issues that increase risk for hereditary eye conditions.
2. Receive a dilated vision exam
Many eye diseases, like glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), have no warning signs, states the CDC’s Vision Health Initiative. The only
way to determine if there is an eye health issue or compromised vision is to get a complete vision exam, which includes dilating the pupil to see the retina, blood vessels and other components of the inner eye. This is the only way to detect diseases in their earliest stages.
3. Step up healthy eating
Many eye-healthy foods are rich in vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and collards are good for the eyes, according to the National Eye Institute. In addition, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, halibut and tuna, also are good choices for maintaining eye health, as they lower the risk for dry eyes and eye diseases such as AMD and cataracts.
4. Practice smart contact hygiene
Always wash hands before inserting or removing contact lenses. Lenses should be stored properly in cleansing solution and discarded after the recommended amount of time for the particular type of lens (daily, bi-weekly, monthly). Unless they are approved for overnight use, remove contacts before going to bed.
5. Wear protective eyewear
Always don sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection when outdoors. Protective eyewear is a must for those who work in an industry that requires eye protection or athletes who play sports in which eye injuries are a consistent threat.
6. Discard old cosmetics
Exercise caution with outdated eye makeup. Experts suggest discarding mascara that is more than four months old. Avoid applying eyeliner to the inside of the eyelid, as that can lead to irritation or infection.
7. Sip on green tea
True Eye Experts says green tea is a great source of antioxidants that can keep eyes healthy and defend them from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
8. Quit smoking (or don’t start) Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing various eye diseases and can make diabetic eye disease more severe, says the CDC. It’s never too late to make changes that can preserve vision.
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PAGE S 6 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
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MAY 26, 2022 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S 7
Warning signs of mental health issues
ecognition of the vital role mental health plays in overall health has been on the rise in recent years. The pandemic undoubtedly contributed to that growing awareness, as individuals from all walks of life were forced to confront mental health issues stemming from the COVID-19 virus, fears about getting it and the measures implemented to prevent its spread. Though the world might be gradually emerging from the pandemic, mental health issues related to it could linger far longer. Mental health disorders like depression affect hundreds of millions of people across the globe. A 2021 report from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation indicated that approximately 280 million people in the world have depression, making it the most common mental health disorder across the globe. Tens of millions more have been diagnosed with other mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses.
The brain-boosting benefits of word games
Mental health disorders like depression affect hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Mental health statistics are estimates and don’t necessarily reflect the real scope of mental health disorders, many of which go unreported or undiagnosed due to various factors, including lack of access to health care. That underscores the importance individuals from all walks of life must place on learning to recognize the common signs of mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs may include the following: • Excessive worrying or fear • Feeling excessively sad or low • Feelings of confusion or difficulty concentrating and learning • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria • Prolonged or significant feelings of irritability or anger • Avoiding friends and social activities • Difficulty understanding or relating to other people • Changes in sleeping habits or feelings of fatigue and low energy • Changes in eating habits, such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
• Changes in sex drive • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in reality) • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality. Some individuals experience a lack of insight known as anosognosia, which NAMI describes as unawareness of one’s own mental health condition. • Overconsumption of substances such as alcohol or drugs • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes, such as headaches, stomach aches and vague and ongoing aches and pains • Suicidal thoughts • Difficulties handling daily life, including an inability to carry out activities or handle problems and stress that arises each day • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance
Pre-adolescent children also can experience mental illness, which can manifest itself through these symptoms: • Changes in academic performance • Excessive worry or anxiety. Some children may fight with parents to avoid going to bed or school. • Sadness a lot of the time • Aches and pains that don’t go away quickly • Loss of appetite or being picky with food • Hyperactive behavior • Frequent nightmares • Frequent disobedience or aggression • Frequent temper tantrums Individuals who are experiencing any of these symptoms or those who recognize them in loved ones, including children, are urged to contact a health care professional, including their general physicians, who may be able to recommend a mental health specialist. More information is available at www.nami.org.
ord games continue to be popular pastimes and provide a great opportunity to engage in lighthearted competition among family and friends. Wordle is perhaps the most popular word game to become popular in recent years. Created by software engineer and former Reddit employee Josh Wardle and launched in October 2021, Wordle was devised as a way to pass the time during the pandemic lockdown. Today it is played by millions of people and was even purchased by The New York Times Company in 2022. There are scores of other word games for people to try, including WordHurdle and Knotwords. In addition to their entertainment value, these games may provide some benefits that surprise even the most devoted wordsmiths. • Builds your vocabulary: Word games enrich vocabulary and may introduce people to new words. They also may help reinforce spelling skills. • Improves focus: Nowadays people are pulled in many directions and are expected to multitask more than ever. Word games in large part require focusing exclusively on the task at hand and employing strategy. • Stimulates the brain: Word games require critical thinking skills that could stimulate the brain. Word games train the brain in a way that’s similar to how physical activity trains the body. • Improves memory: According to WebMD, word games may help seniors avoid memory loss and possibly delay the onset of dementia. But seniors are not the only ones to benefit. Word games may improve short-term memory and the cognitive abilities of people of all ages. • Boosts feel-good substances: When a person is happy, the body releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters. Healthline indicates an “endorphin rush” often occurs after engaging in a fun activity. Playing word games may release endorphins, which can improve mood, boost self-esteem and reduce pain and discomfort.
PAGE S 8 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
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f you have pets that enjoy spending time outdoors, it's important to make sure your yard is a safe place for them to be. Consider these hazards that can negatively impact the well-being of your furry friends. Poisonous Plants Some common plants can be dangerous for animals, causing anything from mild oral irritations and upset stomachs to cardiovascular damage and even death. The following are some of the toxic plants the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has identified as harmful for either cats or dogs: Aloe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, anorexia and depression Azalea can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, cardiovascular collapse and death Burning bush can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and weakness, as well as heart rhythm abnormalities with large doses Caladium can cause burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing Daylilies can cause kidney failure in cats Hibiscus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and anorexia Unripe, green or raw potatoes can also be severely dangerous to dogs. Fertilizer and Insecticides The chemicals used to get rid of pests or make your lawn lush can be toxic to pets. Some of the most dangerous pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poison, according to the ASPCA. Follow all instructions carefully, and store pesticides
and fertilizers in a secure area out of the reach of animals. Mulch and Compost The decomposing elements that make compost good can be bad for pets, according to the National Garden Society. Keep compost in a secure container or fenced off area so pets can't get to it. Cocoa bean mulch can be a particular problem for dogs. A byproduct of chocolate production, cocoa bean mulch can cause digestive problems and even seizures in dogs. Shredded pine or cedar mulch is a safer choice. Fleas and Ticks In addition to using appropriate flea and tick prevention methods such as collars, make sure your yard isn't a welcoming environment for these pests. Keep the lawn trimmed and remove brush and detritus, where fleas and ticks often lurk. Fleas can cause hair loss, scabs, excessive scratching, tapeworms and anemia. Ticks can do all of that, plus bring you and your family in contact with diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Too Much Sun Dogs and cats can get heatstroke, become sunburned or get dehydrated. Protect them by offering some shade, and provide lots of fresh, clean drinking water. Watch older pets, or those with health problems, and bring them into the air conditioning if you see heavy panting, drooling or other signs of distress. Garden Tools Dropped rakes, garden forks and other tools can cut little paws if the tines are facing up. Prevent trips to the pet E.R. by storing these items when you’re finished with them. Find more tips for keeping pets safe in your yard at eLivingtoday.com.
MAY 26, 2022 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S 9
Prostate cancer screenings: What you need to know
rostate cancer is an illness that develops in the prostate gland, which is found only in males. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among American men and the second-leading cause of cancer death among men after lung cancer in the United States. Men of any age are susceptible to prostate cancer, but it tends to be more prevalent in men age 50 and older and those who have had a brother or another close relative with the disease. As with most types of cancer, early diagnosis can mean getting on the road to treatment faster, potentially improving the outcome of recovery. One of the ways to catch cancer early is through screening. Prostate cancer screening recommendations: The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which is an organization made up of disease experts and doctors who study research and make recommendations on the best ways to prevent diseases or find them early, offer their guidelines regarding prostate cancer screening. USPSTF says the following: • Men who are aged 55 to 69 should make individual decisions about being screened for prostate cancer with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. • Before making a decision, individuals should consult with doctors about the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening. • Men who are 70 years old and older should not be screened for prostate cancer routinely.
wherein a doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate, are not always preferred by patients, who may only opt for PSA testing for screening.
Most prostate cancers grow slowly or not at all, and the USPSTF says the goal of prostate cancer screening is to find cancers that may be at high risk for spreading if untreated, and to find them early before they spread. What is a PSA test? A PSA test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen in a man’s blood. PSA is a protein produced by both noncancerous and cancerous tissue in the
prostate gland, states the Mayo Clinic. While small amounts of PSA are normally found in the blood, higher levels of PSA may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. It’s important to note that a high PSA score is not indicative of cancer. It is only one factor to consider regarding prostate cancer risk. The presence of an enlarged prostate or the presence of lumps or hard areas in conjunction with a PSA may lead to further testing. However, digital prostate exams,
Ways to alleviate everyday aches and pains
ain occurs for a variety of reasons. Pain may be a byproduct of overuse of a particular part of the body, or it could signal an underlying illness or condition. Sometimes injury is at the heart of aches and pains. Daily aches and pains may be seen as a normal byproduct of aging, but that does not mean aging individuals should simply accept pain. In fact, daily discomfort can be remedied with some relatively easy techniques. Get moving. Lower back pain is common among adults, and most often appears when individuals are in their mid-30s and 40s. Strength training and cardio exercises can remedy this pain because these activities increase blood flow and help build core muscles, which support the spine. Support can alleviate pressure on the discs in the back. Exercising also will build strength in other areas of the body and support joints. Practice good posture. Sitting and standing with optimal posture can help the body feel better. The body
is designed to stand in a “neutral” position that stacks the pelvis, head and torso, according to DMC Healthcare. When posture is out of whack, this puts undue stress on muscles, leading to pain. Dropping your head or shoulders also can create unnecessary tension that leads to headaches. Good posture can alleviate this. Exercise more often. Certain pains arise when exercising for the first time or performing a new activity.
Benefits and detriments to screening The key benefit of undergoing prostate cancer screening is to find prostate cancers that may be at high risk of spreading so they can be treated and contained, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One possible consequence of prostate cancer screening is the risk of false positive test results. False positive results may lead to further testing, including a biopsy of the prostate. Older men are more likely to have false positive results, according to the CDC. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also says prostate cancer screening can lead to stress and overtreatment — with some men getting operations or radiation with side effects that might not have been necessary since prostate cancer is often very slow-growing and doesn’t warrant treatment. The MDPH also says complications from prostate cancer treatments can include blood clots during surgery, impotence, urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. Men must make their own decisions regarding prostate cancer screening. A discussion of the risks and benefits with a doctor can help men make informed decisions.
Allan H. Goldfarb, Ph.D., a professor and exercise physiologist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, says when you do the same activity again and again, your muscles will start to get used to it and soreness will be reduced. Don’t give up on exercise too soon, but include off days in your routine to give your body time to become more acclimated to increased physical activity. Get tested. Speak with your doctor if you have chronic pain in one or more areas. Such pain may be a sign of osteoarthritis, an inflammatory condition that is associated with aging. Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions can cause aches and pains as well, leaving the joints and tendons inflamed and a body with low energy. A doctor can rule out these conditions or help you get the therapy and/or medications you need. Increase stretching and movement exercises. Incorporate stretching and movement exercises like yoga, pilates or tai chi into your daily regimen. These activities slowly stretch areas of the body and can improve range of motion and flexibility over time. These are just a few ways to address common aches and pains. Medical interventions, physical therapy, occupational therapy and ergonomics assessments, and massage therapy may also help.
PAGE S10• FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
The Center for Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
GADI AVSHALOMOV, M.D. Diplomate of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology
Gadi Avshalomov M.D. Suffolk County now has a new weapon in the ongoing war against everything from pollen and dust mites to fatal reactions to peanuts, thanks to Dr. Gadi Avshalomov. The board-certified specialist in adult and pediatric allergies, asthma and clinical immunology opened his new Center for Allergy and Immunology at 120 North Country Road in Port Jefferson.“It has always been our plan to have a full-service center for those who suffer allergy and immunology conditions,” Dr. Avshalomov explained. “The center is really going to help a community that lacks these important services. I don’t know of any real center in Suffolk that dedicates itself wholly to allergy sufferers and asthmatics.” The new center couldn’t have come at a more pivotal time. Suffolk, as well as the rest of the world, is in the middle of an “allergy and asthma epidemic, and post Covid-19 there is a desperately growing need for immunology services” Dr. Avshalomov explained. With each passing day, more and more people are diagnosed with allergies or have heard of someone who could have a fatal reaction to something as common as a peanut. Many others suffer from immune driven conditions. Dr. Avshalomov says that, according to recent Dr. Avshalomov performs several studies, 20 percent of the population suffers from regular allergies. Upwards of four percent of the population allergy tests on Valentina as her dad Phil have allergic reactions to the proteins in peanuts and and brother Ricardo look on tree nuts. “Allergies like this are becoming a bigger and bigger problem in our communities,” he said. “People are developing allergies to relatively banal products that anyone said. Modern medicine has also helped prolong and propagate the problem. “Once upon a time, people with asthma used to can find in their home or workplace.” Dr. Avshalomov blames what he die,” he said. “Now, thank God, they’re living full lives with their calls the hygiene hypothesis for the condition, but at the same time they’re passing the problem epidemic. Basically, 21st century down to the next generation.” Today these genetic curses can be thwarted at Dr. Avahsloresidents are living in ultra-sterile homes. This lifestyle reduces mov’s Center and his three-step approach to battling most allerthe frequency of infectious ill- gies. First, the patient comes in for an appointment where their ness. They can go their entire symptoms are scrutinized and analyzed with the utmost care lives without being exposed to and attention. Since he started practicing in 2000, Dr. Avshalothe germs, oils and proteins they mov has seen it all, from runny noses to rash-raw skin. Patients could have an allergic reaction to. have come to him with eczema and dermatitis, sinus and pulmoAs a result, the immune system nary problems all the way to having their throats swollen closed. finds other things to develop, such “It’s fascinating how tiny invisible things can affect us to such a as allergies. When they are finally ex- degree,” he explained. “These allergens don’t actually harm us, posed, the reactions are far greater, he it’s just that our immune system perceives that it’s going to do us
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harm and responds accordingly. That’s why knowing how to master the immune system is so important.” Through a battery of tests, Dr. Avshalomov begins to root out suspects – the allergens that are causing the uncomfortable physical reactions that patients are suffering from. He notes that most patients suffer from environmental allergies – dust mites, cats and dogs, pollen or seasonal changes. Many also suffer from “benign neglect,” he said. “Many times the symptoms start out small, so they don’t seek an allergist’s help,” he said. “They fall into a trap that only leads to more severe symptoms. They then try to treat the problem with overthe- counter drugs. But after they try about 10 to 20 different pills and all the sprays, they’re still suffering because those medications are nothing more than Band-Aids. The only effective treatment is an allergy shot.” Once the tests are completed, Dr. Avshalomov goes to his new state-of-the-art lab in the center and arrests these allergic reactions with custommade sera and allergy shots. “Nothing is ever generic or ‘one size fits all,’” he said. “Everyone has a unique reaction to allergens, so everyone needs a unique treatment regimen,” he said. For patients with severe food allergies, Dr. Avshalomov carefully takes them through every step of the process. He also develops an action plan with them so both the patient and their families know how to respond when an emergency reaction – which could be quite dangerous – takes hold. “Education is the cornerstone of this practice,” he said. He also has a special respiratory lab where patients walk on treadmills and are put through a variety of exercise techniques so Dr. Avshalomov can accurately pinpoint just how activity and stress trigger their asthma. “These techniques have been around, but most patients don’t have access to them because their doctors do not have enough asthmatic patients,” he said. “We’re reaching that threshold.”
Dr. Gadi Avshalomov Diplomate of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology
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MAY 26, 2022 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S11
Corraling spring allergies
Turning on the AC when outdoor allergen counts are high can make seasonal allergies more manageable.
pring is synonymous with rebirth. Each spring, flowers begin to bloom again, grass starts to grow and people from all walks of life rekindle their love affair with the great outdoors. Spring also marks the return of a familiar foe: allergies. Seasonal allergies can put a damper on even the most welcoming spring day. After all, a day soaking up the sun isn’t so relaxing when it’s also spent sneezing and confronting allergy symptoms like congestion, runny nose and watery eyes. Thankfully, it’s possible for seasonal allergy sufferers to have their spring and enjoy it, too. • Pay attention to seasonal allergy trackers. Seasonal allergies are now easier to track than ever. For example, Pollen.com is an easily accessible and free site that allows visitors to type in their zip codes and access daily allergy reports for their towns and cities. Visitors also can see five-day forecasts that can help them plan trips and other
outdoor excursions. Weather.com also offers free allergy reports and forecasts. Individuals with seasonal allergies can make use of these sites and plan their activities based on the information they provide. • Stay indoors when allergen levels are especially high. The Mayo Clinic notes that there are several things individuals can do to reduce their exposure to seasonal allergy triggers. That includes staying indoors
on dry, windy days. This doesn’t mean individuals need to lock themselves indoors all spring. But it’s important that seasonal allergy sufferers recognize that some days might be too much to handle. Rain helps clear pollen from the air, so individuals who are avoiding the outdoors on days when pollen counts are high should be able to get outside after a good rain without triggering an attack.
• Maintain clean air indoors. The great outdoors is not the only place where allergens percolate. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America notes that improving air quality in a home can reduce allergy triggers. Air conditioners can prevent outdoor allergens from entering a home, so utilize units on warm spring days when you might otherwise open the windows. Open windows and screen doors provide easy entry points for allergens like pollen, so turning on the AC when outdoor allergen counts are high can make seasonal allergies more manageable. • Consider treatments. Over-the-counter treatments like antihistamines, nasal sprays and decongestants provide most individuals with sufficient relief from their seasonal allergies. If OTC remedies are ineffective, treatments such as allergen immunotherapy and a consultation with an allergen may be necessary. Seasonal allergies can spoil an otherwise welcoming spring day. But there are many ways for individuals to corral their seasonal allergies and still enjoy spring sun.
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PAGE S12• FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
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rotecting and caring for skin should be part of people’s year-round health care regimens. Such an approach can help people look their best and also uncover any minor issues before they escalate into something more significant. National Geographic says adults can carry eight pounds and 22 square feet of skin on their bodies. Skin guards a person from harmful chemicals, protects the body against extremes in temperature and prevents internal organs and other components from evaporating. The skin also guards against harmful sunlight. Skin care is not seasonal, though efforts to protect the skin may need to be stepped up during the summer. The American Academy of Dermatology says one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetimes. In the summer, ultraviolet radiation levels are elevated and people often wear less clothing that exposes more of their skin. According to Dr. Ron Shelton, a boardcertified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, the bulk of sun damage to the skin happens in the summer. These skin wellness tips can help protect the skin and keep it looking its best when the mercury rises.
Drink more water
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Higher temperatures and increased perspiration can lead to dehydration. That may cause headaches, dry skin and even lightheadedness. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.
Choose lightweight products for summer usage. This includes cleansers, makeup and oil cleansers. For instance, rather than an oil cleanser, choose a gentle, foaming option. Thicker products mixed with increased perspiration and humidity may lead to clogged pores and inflammation.
Lather on sunscreen
Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more is recommended to protect the skin from
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UV damage. But it’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen. However, using a lightweight moisturizer with SPF built in reduces product usage and time spent caring for skin.
Utilize vitamin C serums
Hyperpigmentation can occur in summer. According to Omer Ibrahim, a boardcertified dermatologist and codirector of clinical research at Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, vitamin C serum can improve the appearance of fine lines, help with collagen production and also prevent hyperpigmentation.
Stay in the shade
In addition to using sunscreen daily, try to stay out of the sun as much as possible when UV rays are at their strongest, which is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. In addition, wear clothing that offers sunscreen protection. It’s important to care for the skin daily, but especially so during the summer.
MAY 26, 2022 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S13
Three ways to maintain brain health
any people are fearful of developing Alzheimer's disease, especially those with a family history of the condition. Researchers are investigating innovative treatments for Alzheimer's and other dementias, but no cure exists right now. There are steps people can take, however, to help maintain and support their brain health. Get Physical. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise keeps the brain healthy by helping release chemicals that support the development of new nerve cells and connections between brain cells. Exercise also improves mental health, blood pressure and the regulation of blood sugar, all of which can impact the development of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer's and other dementias. Staying physically active can become more difficult if someone's health declines, but doctors and other medical providers can share ways to maintain physical activity even if mobility is limited. Keep your brain active. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities may help
keep the brain fit and potentially stave off dementia or other types of cognitive decline. For example, people who have cognitively demanding jobs (like accountants or math teachers) or who engage in cognitively stimulating activities (like learning a second language or how to play a musical instrument) may be at lower risk for developing cognitive decline and dementia, according to Harvard Medical School. Activities like these and more can also decrease feelings of depression, isolation and loneliness, which
occur more frequently as people age and are also associated with an increased risk for developing dementia, according to the National Institute on Aging. Track your brain health and get help early. One way to detect changes in brain health is to track memory and other thinking skill performance over time. Detecting changes in memory is critical to slowing the progression of Alzheimer's, which can begin 15 to 20 years before the onset of obvious symptoms. Some changes in mood
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or memory that may raise red flags are often noticed by other people, not by the individual experiencing the changes, making it important for older adults who live alone or who do not have large social circles to track their own brain health. One option for tracking brain health is the Alzheimer Prevention Trials (APT) Webstudy (APTwebstudy.org), funded by the National Institutes of Health, which monitors an individual's brain health through regular online memory testing that can be completed anywhere, anytime from a computer, laptop or tablet. Participants take no-cost, online memory tests quarterly that are automatically shared with researchers who track results over time. If changes in memory are detected, and a participant is close enough to a study site, he or she may be invited to an in-person evaluation and, if appropriate, given the option to join an Alzheimer's clinical trial. While researchers are working to advance treatments and find a cure for Alzheimer's, it's important that people practice healthy brain habits and monitor their brain health as they age to detect any changes in memory as early as possible. Without a cure, taking preventive measures and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the best defenses against the disease.
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PAGE S14• FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
Common fitness mistakes to avoid
Protect pets in hot weather I
t’s best to keep safety in mind when soaking up the sun. That’s important for all members of the family, including pets. Cats and dogs are as susceptible to heat-related illnesses as their human companions. Recognize heat stroke. Certain breeds of dogs are highly susceptible to heat stroke, particularly those with short snouts, such as pugs and bulldogs. Excessive exercise in hot weather, lack of appropriate shelter outdoors and leaving a dog in a hot car may precipitate an episode of heat stroke. It’s important to get the pet out of direct heat right away and check for signs of shock, which include seizures, a body temperature of 104 F or higher, stupor, increased heart rate, or excessive panting. Placing water-soaked towels on the pet’s feet, head, neck, and abdomen can bring down its temperature. Be cautious of hot surfaces. Humans wear shoes on their feet for protection, but pets do not have that luxury. Think about how hot your feet can feel when you scurry barefoot across hot sand en route to the shoreline or to cross a deck to get to the pool. When the sun beats down on surfaces, those surface temperatures rise quickly.
Avoid cutting fur too short. If a veterinarian suggests a hair cut may be beneficial for keeping a pet cool or comfortable, resist the urge to shave down to the skin. Having at least one inch of fur will protect the pet from sunburn. Provide extra water. Be sure to provide constant access to fresh water, even for young puppies who may be learning to house train. Outdoor hazards. Warm weather may bring out a high number of insects. Use a flea and tick preventative product and medication to protect against heartworm, which is transmitted through mosquitoes.
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t is important to follow appropriate guidance when pursuing fitness goals. However, with so much information available online, it can be challenging to sift through the advice and determine what is safe and effective and what is not. Fitness enthusiasts may make certain mistakes along the way to achieving their goals. Recognizing which practices should be avoided can lower risk of injury and produce the desired results.
Warm-ups are vital before a workout. They help muscles in the body become acclimated to exercise by gradually building up heart rate and muscle flexibility and endurance. A warm-up can include walking, biking or light repetitions of exercises.
Getting caught up in 'low-fat' foods
It is important to eat a balanced diet that includes real, wholesome foods, according to Lucky 13 Fitness. Many people fill their carts with sugar-free desserts or fat-free items thinking this is healthy eating. When fat or sugar is removed, chemicals often replace these ingredients. Rather than embracing an extreme diet, focus on balance and moderation.
Some people operate under the assumption that the weekend or another less regimented day is an opportunity to let loose and stray from a diet and exercise regimen. This can be a mistake. A better approach is to find a routine that has enough balance so a person doesn’t feel like he or she needs to go off the rails to indulge.
or school. If exercise seems to be getting in the way of family time, engage in a group workout with the kids or your spouse.
Pushing too hard
Many people exercise under the assumption that “more is more.” Injuries can occur when one pushes too far in a workout, particularly if he or she is lifting more weight than his or her body can handle. It is essential to give the body some time off to recuperate. Rest helps to prevent injuries.
Making vague goals
Establishing fitness goals helps people reach markers that make it easy for them to gauge their success. Statements like “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get stronger” make it hard to measure progress, as they lack specificity. It is much better to make firm goals, such as specific pounds to lose or being able to lift a certain amount of weight by a predetermined date.
Hopping from program to program
There is no such thing as being too busy to exercise. Making exercise a necessary part of a daily routine requires finding time for fitness. Individuals may need to squeeze in exercise in the early morning before work
It’s tempting to try everything the gym or the fitness world has to offer. It is better to learn the basics and stick with a program for some time before moving on to another one; otherwise, you may never have enough time to master any routine. These are just a few of the fitness mistakes to avoid as you begin a journey to improved health and wellness.
The right time to exercise is a different time of day for everyone. But there is YOU good reason to consider KNOW? moving your workout to the morning. The health experts at Healthline say that morning workouts are less vulnerable to distractions as phone calls and texts will typically take place later in the day. Piedmont Medical group says there are mental health benefits of exercise, including the secretion of neurotransmitters that promote mental clarity and improve
attention span. Working out first thing in the morning can help you focus and take charge at work or in school soon after. Since exercise can boost metabolism, it starts the day out on a good foot, and may help you make healthier decisions throughout the day, including choosing more nutritious foods. Healthline also says that cortisol is a hormone that keeps you awake and alert. Cortisol increases in the morning, peaking around 8 a.m. Working out around this time may make workouts more efficient and effective.
Using the 'I’m busy' excuse
MAY 26, 2022 • TBR NEWS MEDIA • FOCUS ON HEALTH • PAGE S15
Seven ways to keep your heart healthy With the icy patches of winter behind us, it's time to welcome the bright sun, mild temps and feeling of renewal that is the spring season. What better time than spring to assess and improve on some of our heart-healthy habits and routines. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S., and over 80% of heart problems are preventable. Stony Brook Heart Institute cardiologist and advanced heart failure specialist, Edlira Tam, DO, has seven suggestions to help you stay heart-healthy — not only through the spring but all year long.
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EDLIRA TAM, DO Photo by Jeanne Neville/Stony Brook Medicine
1. Add Some Spring to Your Step ■ As a rule of thumb, try for the familiar ■ To lessen allergen exposure, avoid being ■ Researchers have found that living a 8 cups or so of water daily. Choose herbal outdoors on windy days, especially from sedentary lifestyle can put you at increased risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association notes that the simplest, most positive change you can make to improve your heart health is to start walking.
■ Strive for at least 30 minutes a day, five
days a week, of moderate movement. If you spread the 30 minutes out into bite-sized 10-minute chunks you can still reap the benefits. If you will be outside during the peak sun of the day, be sure to bring along plenty of water and apply sunscreen 30 minutes before you head out. Listen to your body. If you aren’t used to regular exercise, are over 50, or have questions about your heart health, see your doctor before participating in any strenuous activities.
2. Go Green - and Red and Orange ■ Spring is a great time to welcome
seasonal fruits and vegetables into your diet. Aim for 4-5 servings daily to help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and ensure that you are getting the diverse mix of phytonutrients — disease fighting compounds — that each variety of colorful fruits and vegetables offers.
■ To follow a heart-healthy eating pattern, limit or avoid those items with saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars and/or sodium listed near the top of the ingredients label.
3. Stay Well Hydrated ■ Drinking plenty of water not only
regulates your body temperature, it also helps your heart pump more easily and helps keep your organs functioning properly.
teas and fresh vegetable juices over coffee, fruit juices (high in sugar) or soft drinks. The ability to sense thirst can decrease as we age, so if you’re over 60, it is important to monitor your water intake. About 20 percent of our water intake comes from food. A warm weather diet that emphasizes salads and fruits can both satisfy hunger and provide extra fluid.
■ Some common heart medications such
as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and diuretics can make heart patients more sensitive to rising temperatures and can increase hydration needs.
mid-morning to mid-afternoon when pollen counts can be highest; keep doors and windows closed and run the A/C; change your clothes and take a shower after being outside.
6. Get Enough ZZZ’s ■ It turns out that in addition to the many other worthwhile reasons for a good night's shut-eye, sleep is an essential part of keeping your heart healthy. One study found that adults over the age of 45 who slept fewer than six hours per night were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept between 6 to 8 hours.
4. Connect With Others ■ To help ensure a good night’s sleep: stick ■ Hormones released as a natural stress to a regular sleep schedule, don’t over eat or response are known to harm blood vessels or cause blood pressure to spike. Positive relationships can have a beneficial effect on the brain, in turn reducing the detrimental stress response.
■ Researchers say that those with satisfying
social connections tend to live longer and recover more quickly from heart attacks and other health problems. Older adults who volunteered at least four hours a week saw their blood pressure drop by 40%.
5. Beware of Springtime Allergies ■ For most hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
sufferers, sensitivity to airborne grass and tree pollen is mainly a sniffling, sneezing and coughing nuisance from about April to June. New research, however, has found a possible link between these allergens and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
consume coffee late in the day; create a room that is cool, dark and quiet; and as tempting as it might be to use your computer or phone before bed, these devices have been shown to interfere with sleep by suppressing the sleep hormone melatonin.
7. Know Your Numbers ■ Check in with your healthcare provider
to discuss any health concerns you might have and to make sure you’re up to date with your recommended health screenings and immunizations. Knowing your numbers and your risk factors is an important part of heart health, especially before engaging in warm weather outdoor activities. Learn about your heart health risk factors by taking Stony Brook Heart Institute’s free heart health assessment now by visiting https://hear t.stonybrookmedicine.edu/ hearthealthy.
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PAGE S16 • FOCUS ON HEALTH • TBR NEWS MEDIA • MAY 26, 2022
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