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Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and affects the vast majority of patients with arthritis pain. Some refer to osteoarthritis as “wear and tear” arthritis. Another term is degenerative joint disease.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint but most commonly affects the weight bearing joints, specifically the knees and hips. Basically, the padding between the joint deteriorates and, as the joint nears bone touching bone without padding, the joint hurts.

Treatment varies from activity modification to joint replacement. Conservative treatment includes avoiding impact exercises, such as running and jumping. As a general rule, exercises that are better for arthritis are as follows: swimming is better than biking, biking is better than elliptical, elliptical is better than walking, and walking is better than running. Weight loss is another method to lessen the impact across the joint.

Medications are frequently used but are often limited by side effects. Typical medications include anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or Aleve. These medications have to be used with caution due to gastrointestinal side effects and kidney side effects. Other medications include glucosamine, which has very few side effects.

Injections are an alternative for certain joints such as the knees. There are two types of injections. First, steroid shots have been the standard for many years. Although generally well tolerated, they have some limitations. A more recent advancement includes injection of a rooster cartilage derivative into the knee commonly referred to as rooster comb shots. These shots help to pad and lubricate the diseased joint.

Occasionally, certain types of braces can help arthritis pain. These are called off-loader braces and work to take weight off of the arthritic area.

When other treatment has failed, surgery may be the best option for osteoarthritis. We are often asked about arthroscopy for arthritis. The short answer is that scope surgery will not fix arthritis. Joint replacement is the only good option for stopping arthritis pain. It involves replacing the bone on bone joint that no longer has a pad with an artificial joint that is separated by a plastic cushion. We will be covering the specifics of these topics of surgeries in future publications of Athens Now. Look for us in future editions.

OrthoSports Athens is your hometown connection to cutting edge orthopedics and we are happy to evaluate and discuss specifics with you.
By: Dr. J. Patrick Boyett, Orthopedic Surgeon

11-18-2016-3-27-56-pmFalls are a leading cause of disability and death in adults over the age of 65. Statistics show that every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall-related injury and many more are injured. While most falls do not cause harm, 1 out of 5 falls result in a serious injury, such as a fracture (broken bone) or bleeding into the brain. When an older adult gets a fractured bone, it limits his/her ability to perform daily activities and often leads to severe disability, which can be stressful for both patient and family. Also, even if no injury occurs, someone who has had a fall may experience a fear of falling, which tends to limit their mobility. This starts a vicious cycle wherein they get weaker (because they are not moving around as much) and increases their tendency to fall even more.

Several conditions are associated with an increased risk of falling. Lack of Vitamin D, arthritis or any condition that leads to difficulties with walking or balance, taking certain medications, problems with eyesight, and weakness of the lower body are just some of the conditions that can predispose to a higher tendency to falls. Environmental factors such as poor lighting in the home, increased clutter and trip hazards, and lack of railings and grab bars, also play a role in increasing fall risk. It is usually a combination of multiple factors that lead to a major fall in most adults over 65 years old.

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What can you do to reduce your risk if you or a loved one is over 65 and is at risk for falling (or may have already fallen)? Here are some tips:

1. GET ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMS. Get your eyes checked every year, and see your primary care provider so that they can identify medical conditions or medications that can increase your risk of falling. If you have Medicare, take advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit that it offers.
2. SPEAK UP. Tell your healthcare provider if you have fallen, if you are afraid of falling, or if you are unsteady on your feet. Most patients do not tell their healthcare providers about a fall unless they have sustained an injury, but you would not want to wait until that happens.
3. STAY ACTIVE. Most experts recommend activities that help with strength and balance, such as Tai Chi. As with any exercise regimen, consult with your healthcare provider before initiating a new program to see if it is right for you.
4. CHECK YOUR HOME. Most falls happen at home. Fall-proof your home by doing the following:
a. Keep your floors and stairs free of clutter.
b. Make sure wires and cords are close to the walls and not in areas where you can walk over them.
c. Remove rugs that you do not need or make sure that they are secure to the floor (use double-sided tape if you have to).
d. Make sure every room has good lighting. Make sure you can easily reach a light switch or a lamp from your bed (in case you have to get up at night).
e. Add grab bars in the bathroom – one next to the toilet, and another in the shower or tub. Place non-slip mats on the floors in the bathroom.
f. Add railings and lights to all staircases (lights at the top and bottom of each staircase). The railing should extend the length of the entire staircase and there should be a railing on both sides.
g. Repair any loose or torn carpet.
h. Fix loose or uneven steps.
i. Keep the items that you use frequently within reach (so you do not have to use a step stool). Never use a chair as a step stool.
j. Put a phone near the floor in case you fall and cannot get up (so you can use it to call for help). Keep numbers in large print near each phone. Have your loved ones check on you regularly to see if you are doing well (especially if you live by yourself).

Falls affect a lot of people each year – whether it is an older person or their family who may be burdened when their loved one cannot be independent anymore. Take these simple steps to reduce your fall risk. Do not underestimate your risk – fall-related injuries are costly, dangerous and lead to significant disability.
By: Sasha Acelajado, MD

11-4-2016-11-14-00-amVaccines have received a lot of criticism recently, but no other health intervention is more effective at reducing the spread of infection.Vaccines stimulate the immune system to recognize a specific organismas foreign, destroy it, and “remember” it, resulting in immunity to the disease that the organism causes. Immunity can decrease over time for many diseases, so adults who received vaccines in childhood may require a “booster.” Below is a list of recommended vaccines for adults.

Flu (Influenza)
Common symptoms of the flu virus include fever, cough, muscle aches, and fatigue. Flu season occurs between October and Mayand up to 1 in 5 people in the U.S. get the disease.The flu can weaken the immune system, which can lead to complications like pneumonia, blood infections, or death.The flu vaccine reduces the risk of having the disease by half and results in shorter and less severe illness in individuals who get the flu despite vaccination. The flu shot is recommended every year for everyone age 6 months and older.

Pneumococcus
Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can cause many types of illnesses including pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections, and sinus infections. It is estimated that 900,000 Americans get pneumococcal pneumonia each year and about 5-7% die from it.There are two vaccines for pneumococcus (PCV13 (Prevnar) and PPSV23 (Pneumovax)) and they are recommended for adults with certain chronic illnesses and all adults who are 65 years or older.

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Shingles (Herpes zoster)
Shingles is a painful rash that develops on one side of the face or body and is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body and can reactivate years later, causing shingles. Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. As many as 20-30% of people who develop shingles get post-herpetic neuralgia or severe pain in the areas where they had the shingles rash, even after the rash clears up.The shingles vaccine is recommendedfor all individuals age 60 and older.

Tetanus
Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria called Clostridium tetani. Tetanus bacteria are everywhere in the environment, including soil, dust and manure. The bacteria can get into the body through broken skin, usually through injuries from contaminated objects. Tetanus infection causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness which can lead to difficulty breathing (death occurs on 10-20% of cases). A tetanus booster shot is recommended every 10 years in adulthood.

Whooping cough (Pertussis)

Pertussis is a very contagious disease that usually starts with cold-like symptoms and can progress to a severe cough that can last up to ten weeks.Pertussis is most dangerous for babies and can cause them to stop breathing. Vaccine protection for pertussis fades with time, so all adults 19 and older who have not previously received a Tdap vaccine need a booster shot.

Additional vaccines are recommended for adults with certain chronic diseases or who were not vaccinated in childhood. The adult vaccination schedule is updated every year so talk to your doctor about your vaccination history and what may be appropriate for you.
By: Shanna Ndong, MD

10-21-2016-3-14-00-pm“All disease begins in the gut.”-Hippocrates

Hippocrates was a classical Greek scholar born in 460 B.C. His wisdom is over 2,000 years old, but has stood the test of time. He has become one of the most outstanding contributors to medicine, and is even counted the “Father of Western Medicine.” In fact, every doctor who graduates from medical school takes the Hippocratic Oath, one of the oldest binding codes of ethics that exists.
This quote on the relationship between disease and gut health isn’t just a nice saying. It is backed up by science. It is thought that three quarters of our immune system resides in the gut, with over 500 different species of bacteria that live there. The number of microorganisms present in the gut alone is 10 times the number of cells in the entire human body. Research now suggests that this is not merely a peaceful co-existence, but more of a mutual relationship. Without a healthy immune system, you are susceptible to all kinds of disease, thus the reason Hippocrates said, “Disease begins in the gut.”

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In modern times, we have severely harmed the health of our guts. Between overuse of antibiotics, sanitizing EVERYTHING, a lack of proper nutrition, eating highly processed foods and sugars, we have effectively destroyed gut bacteria. Old World, or traditional diets around the globe include the use of raw and fermented foods that are full of bacteria. These cultures aren’t afraid of it; they understand its beneficial relationship with their gut.

We are born with completely sterile digestive tracts because while in utero, we have no need to break down nutrients since our mother is doing that for us. We become colonized with various strains of bacteria (good and bad!) from our mothers during the rather messy but necessary process of vaginal birth. Breastfeeding also supports this process in infancy, due to strains of immune-boosting bacteria found only in breast milk, and provides a balance.

This is not to say babies who are born via c-section and/or are formula fed have no hope from the beginning. These babies just need a little extra help with supplementing what they didn’t get through vaginal birth and/or breastfeeding. Also, toddlers put everything in their mouths (dirt included), which helps build up the relationship of good bacteria in the gut if given proper resources for it to flourish, and thereby boost immunity.

Unfortunately, we don’t do a very good job at this anymore. We clean with bleach and make our worlds sterile. We eat too much sugar, starch, and processed foods, which alter the balance in the gut, leading to all kinds of problems with the integrity of its lining. This in turn allows the harmful bacteria to get into our bloodstream and deposit toxins throughout our cells and tissues. Problems with poor gut health have been linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Chron’s disease, Celiac disease, colitis, allergies, and even some mental illnesses.
Preventing a problem is always easier than treating it once we have it. Below you will find some tips to prevent the depletion of the good bacteria in your gut, and ways to increase the balance if you haven’t been so proactive in the past.

Ways to Prevent Good Bacteria Depletion:

•Careful use of antibiotics and other prescription drugs

•Limiting use of antibacterial soaps

•Avoid overuse of harsh cleaning chemicals

•Adequate self care to reduce the amount of stress on the body that is the result of a lack of sleep, overexertion, etc.

How to Boost Probiotic Balance:

•Cut down on sugars, grains, starches, and vegetable oils. These things quickly destroy good bacteria, suppress the immune system, and can lead to a plethora of health problems.
•Eat real food. Fruits, vegetables, protein and fats help support the beneficial bacteria. Certain bacteria are needed to help break down fiber from fruits and vegetables, and support the body to culture more of the same.

•Consume fermented foods and drinks. Sauerkraut, kombucha (a fermented tea), kimchi (a spicy Korean form of sauerkraut), fermented salsa, kefir (a fermented milk drink), yogurt and naturally aged cheeses are all good sources of foods with naturally occurring probiotics that help build beneficial bacteria in the gut.

•Natural soaps and water instead of antibacterial. Antibacterial soaps are now thought to be a part of the problem with drug resistant bacterial infections like MRSA and C. diff. Instead, use good quality natural soaps like Bronner’s or goat milk soap.

•Begin gardening. A little dirt won’t hurt you! In fact, it’s good for you. You will get your Vitamin D from the sun, probiotics from the dirt (bacteria can enter through your skin), and you are growing your own food and/or flowers. What’s to lose?

•Take antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. While there certainly are times when antibiotics are needed, many illnesses can be left to run their course, like the stomach bug, colds, or ear infections. Antibiotics don’t just target harmful bacteria, they also kill all the good stuff. In addition, antibiotics don’t work on viruses, only on bacterial infections.

•Take a probiotic supplement. This should be done in conjunction with a change in your diet, otherwise you are just throwing your money away. Make a few simple changes, one at a time, and consider supplementing your new habits with a probiotic source other than foods or drinks. It is also a good idea to help replenish your gut after a round of antibiotics by adding the supplementation of oral probiotics in addition to the fermented sources already in your diet.
By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN

The Limestone County Council on Aging (COA) is a department of the Limestone County Commission. Its services are also supported by Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments (TARCOG), the Area Agency on Aging, the City of Athens, and other local agencies. The COA is located at 912 West Pryor Street in Athens. The COA was designed to help seniors stay in their homes and be independent as long as they can. Through the COA, seniors are provided with services such as transportation, Meals on Wheels, homemaker services, SeniorX, SHIP (Medicare Part D. counseling), and legal assistance. Our services are offered at no charge to those 60 or older, although donations are always welcome.

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There are seven senior centers throughout the county; Athens, East Limestone, Ardmore, Elkmont, Good Springs, Owens, and Tanner. All centers, except for Ardmore and Good Springs, serve a nutritionally balanced lunch five days per week. Each center offers daily activities for seniors such as exercise classes, music entertainment, games, etc. The centers also take fun trips throughout the year, and have done such things as attend picnics, musicals, visit the Amish community, and other community events. Just recently, they went on a trip to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, which is an especially popular outing.

Transportation is provided to each center if needed. The COA also transports seniors to doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping, and errand routes are offered as well. Meals on Wheels are available for those 60 or older who are homebound and cannot prepare meals for themselves. Currently COA provides 14,000 meals a month to seniors of Limestone County! In-home services are offered to those who cannot perform daily housekeeping duties. The SeniorX Program assists those 55 or older, who meet the requirements for free or reduced prescription drugs. The COA also offers legal assistance to the seniors. The attorney assists with a variety of legal needs, such as powers of attorney, wills, consumer issues, and long term care. Medicare Part D/ SHIP counseling is available year round. We can help with Medicare questions, enrollment, and help for those who qualify.

Medicare Part D Open Enrollment begins October 15th, and will last until December 7th, 2016. The Limestone County Council on Aging provides free counseling sessions during this period, and usually averages seeing 400 or more clients. It is very important to remember that with the Medicare Open Enrollment campaign there are unfortunately a lot of scams that are run which are designed to part seniors from their money. Remember, no one from Medicare will come to your door, and they will not contact you by phone or email. Medicare always sends their correspondence the old fashioned way, by letter. DO NOT give ANYONE any of your financial information, Social Security number, or bank account numbers. If you have any questions, you need to make an appointment to see the trained counselors who know how to protect and defend seniors! All sessions, whether they are regarding Medicare in general, or possible scams, are by appointment only. Call (256) 233-6412 to set up your appointment as soon as possible.

The counselors are briefed each year on the latest changes and developments and can offer you updated information about changes in premiums, deductibles, etc. Call the COA at (256) 233-6412 for more information about various activities and programs. COA is always looking for volunteers to help with Meals on Wheels, educational and recreational programs, classes and special events. Any volunteers are appreciated.
By: Madison Curnutt

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9-16-2016-11-15-27-amHigh blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects 30% of Americans, and the older one gets, the higher the chances are of developing this condition. It has been called the “silent killer” as it is responsible for a significant number of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney disease. However, a lot of patients are unaware that they have the disease (up to 8%) or do not have any symptoms from it. The risk factors for developing high blood pressure include advancing age, family history, obesity or weight gain, race (more common in African-Americans), high salt intake, excessive alcohol consumption, and being physically inactive. Looking at this list, it is obvious that while one cannot change their age, race or family history, the other factors can be modified by key lifestyle changes. Let’s talk about those.

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Salt
Sodium has been associated with a higher risk of developing hypertension, and certain individuals are “salt-sensitive,” where the blood pressure becomes more elevated with a certain level of salt intake compared to non-salt sensitive persons. In patients who have high blood pressure, a high salt intake can make their medications become less effective. Most medical organizations and societies recommend a sodium intake of 2.3 grams (2300 mg) or less per day. Food labels provide the sodium content per serving, and gives a general idea of whether you are getting your entire day’s worth of salt per serving or if it is truly “low sodium.” For my patients who don’t want to bother with adding up sodium throughout the day, the general rule of thumb I tell them is to avoid processed or canned food, as well as fast food, as these tend to be very high in sodium.

Salt substitutes typically contain potassium instead of sodium, which may be fine for some people, but in those with kidney issues, an excess of potassium in their diet can be problematic. If you would like to use salt substitutes, ask your physician if this is something that you can do safely. Likewise, experiment with using non-salt options to flavor food – herbs and spices can be used to make food tasty without using salt.

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Reducing alcohol consumption
Moderate alcohol consumption has been defined as no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day in women. If you consume alcohol only while watching the football game on Saturdays and didn’t drink at all during the week, this does not mean that if you are a male, you can consume 14 drinks on that day (2 drinks per day x 7 days should be 14 drinks, right?). No. Anything above the recommended daily amount mentioned above will count as “excessive.” This blood pressure-lowering benefit of moderating alcohol intake has been shown for people who drink excessively, and if you already do not consume alcohol, this does not mean that you should start.

Weight gain and obesity
The presence of obesity at 18 years of age and at midlife has been associated with the development of hypertension. Weight gain of 10-20 lbs. has also been shown to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, and this risk is even higher with greater weight gain. Excess weight also makes blood pressure medications less effective. On the other hand, for every 2-lb weight loss achieved, the blood pressure is lowered by 1 point. A sustained weight loss of more than 12 lbs. reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure by as much as 26%. Weight loss also has a number of benefits on overall health. Always discuss with your physician regarding which weight loss strategy will be safe for you.

Increased physical activity
Being physically inactive (extended sitting time at work, watching television for long periods, etc.) increases your risk of developing hypertension (and other diseases like diabetes, certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease) and also your risk of early death. The simple act of replacing an hour of one’s day with non-exercise activity (such as performing household chores, yard work, or walking) in persons who are physically inactive has been shown to decrease mortality significantly. For most people, 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity (such as walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week) is recommended, and it is important to ease into an exercise regimen slowly, in order to let your body adjust. People with known heart, kidney, or lung disease and older folks should discuss exercise options with their physician prior to starting.
By: Sasha Acelajado, MD

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Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.

Have a comprehensive eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more
light into a dark room. This enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you’re seeing your best. New technology is also used today to provide a comprehensive retinal examination. The OptoMap retinal exam allows your eye doctor to see retina in a way it has never been viewed before. It is important to have a retinal exam every year.

Know your family’s eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition. Eat right to protect your sight. You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes. But
eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too.iResearch has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor. Wear protective eyewear. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.

Quit smoking or never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness. Be cool and wear your shades. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued.

Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain. Clean your hands and your contact lenses— properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as appropriate.

Practice workplace eye safety. Employers are required to provide a safe work environment. When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type at all times and encourage your coworkers to do the same.
By: Chad Davis OD

8-19-2016 10-15-04 AMLet’s face it; cancer is an unfortunate fact of life. The American Cancer Society predicts that over 1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with a form of cancer in 2016, and almost 600,000 will die from the disease. Fortunately, we are learning more about who is most at risk for cancer and ways to help detect cancer at earlier stages, or prevent it altogether.

Most cancers develop by chance, and are influenced by a combination of factors including behavior/lifestyle (examples: smoking, lack of physical activity), environmental exposures (examples: asbestos, sunlight), and normal genetic variations which may make some people more at risk for certain cancers than others.

In approximately 1 out of 20 people who develop cancer, the disease is caused by an abnormal gene change, or mutation that was inherited from one or both parents. This type of cancer, known as hereditary cancer, has been linked to multiple genes in the body.

Mutations in genes associated with hereditary cancer may dramatically increase the risk for cancer in specific organs, including the breast, colon, pancreas, prostate, kidney, and more. Examples of hereditary cancer genes include BRCA1 and BRCA2 (hereditary breast and ovarian cancer), MLH1 and MSH2 (Lynch syndrome/hereditary colon cancer), and CDKN2A (hereditary melanoma).

You should suspect possible hereditary cancer in your family if three or more relatives have been diagnosed with the same cancer; cancer has been diagnosed at an earlier age than usual in your family (less than age 50 for breast and colon cancer); multiple unrelated cancers have been diagnosed in the same person; cancer has occurred in the sex not usually affected (breast cancer in a man); or you belong to a higher risk racial/ethnic group (example: breast cancer in Ashkenazi Jews).

Advances in gene discovery and genetic testing have made it possible to test for mutations in multiple hereditary cancer genes with a simple blood test. Most insurance companies, including Medicare and Medicaid, now cover genetic testing for hereditary cancer if you meet certain criteria.

If your personal or family history is suggestive of hereditary cancer, then genetic testing may help you understand your risk for cancer and make decisions about your health. Genetic testing may also provide information to relatives who may be at risk, such as your children.

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A positive result may lead your health care provider to recommend that you have cancer-screening tests earlier or more frequently. If you do develop cancer, finding it early (when the cancer is small) often means that treatment is more likely to be helpful. You may undergo screening tests that are used only for people known to have an increased cancer risk (example: breast MRI for hereditary breast cancer). Also, there may be options to help reduce the risk of cancer, such as drugs or surgery.

You should notify your doctor of all cancer diagnoses in your family and discuss whether genetic counseling and testing is appropriate for you.
By: Dr. Shanna Ndong

8-5-2016 12-26-32 PMMindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a technique gaining ground as an adjunct or alternative treatment to various medical problems. The technique was developed in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabatt-Zin, Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His studies of yoga and meditation, and relationships with various teachers in those respective fields led him to integrate those teachings with science and medicine. According to the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at U Mass, the programs “central focus” is intensively training “mindfulness meditation,” and ways to incorporate the practice into everyday living, especially as challenges arise.

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Over the last 35 years, MBSR has been shown to help with anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, sleep issues, eating disturbances and disorders, cancer, and heart disease (to name a few). MBSR programs typically last 8 weeks, and the changes can last for years after the initial program. There are special training programs available for healthcare practitioners to attend so that they can integrate MBSR into their practices. The training classes are not intended to create “clones” or “cookie cutter” replicas; instead they teach the basic underlying principles of the practice that you can customize to fit your needs and those of your clients.

The principles are as follows:

• Experience is a challenge not a chore: turns “observing life mindfully” into an adventure and not just another “healthy fad.”
• Stressing need for your own achievements and motives, in addition to daily practice, regardless of whether you want to or not
• Immediate lifestyle change with serious commitment, especially in the area of time
• “Making each moment count” and being aware of things in real time
• Education vs therapy mindset which allows for larger classes and provides a social and emotional support.
• Allows for wide range of people with various diagnoses to be in the same class without being separated by diagnosis. It focuses on the commonality rather than differences between people. However, it can be done in specialized groups when necessary as well.

Though the training was originally developed through Kabatt-Zin’s study of Buddhism, the principles are universal and can be adapted to any religious belief system. It is compatible with other therapeutic modalities, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy.

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Treatment programs consist of daily 1-2 hour sessions for 8 weeks, and a day long “retreat” between weeks 6 and 7. It also requires daily homework. Instruction is in 3 areas: mindfulness meditation, body scanning, and simple yoga. Kabatt-Zin says it is “moment to moment, nonjudgmental awareness.”

The program doesn’t cure the disease, but it does help deal with the repercussions of disease, increasing quality of life in participants. Outcomes of this therapy have been studied in multiple populations with randomized clinical trials showing its effectiveness, especially in such disease process as anxiety and depression.

For more information on this technique, visit http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/stress-reduction/.
By: Rachel Clark, RN, BSN

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The science and medicine of chiropractic is based on the central nervous system and its control over the function of every cell, muscletendon, organ, and system of your body. Your
nervous system consists of your brain, spinal cord, and the millions of nerves that run throughout your body. Even though your brain is protected by your skull, your spine is composed of not one, but of twenty four moving bones or vertebrae. Many everyday activities can cause these twenty four bones to shift and lose their normal position. When this occurs, the nervous system begins to experience dysfunction such as pain, swelling, and ultimately this causes ill health. The chiropractic approach is to find the problem and then help the nervous system prevent dysfunction that damages, and thus promote healthy living.

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Disc Decompression
One of the largest issues chiropractors and orthopedic doctors face today is the compression of discs in the spine, also known as disc compression. Chiropractors and others combat this issue with non-surgical Disc Decompression Therapy. This therapy is the world’s most advanced non-surgical treatment for low back conditions.

The Disc Ease Therapy targets lumbar level discs by creating a negative pressure or vacuum effect in the disc, allowing the center of the disc to return to its proper position, unherniating the disc.

7-16-2016 10-48-35 AMNon-Surgical Disc Decompression Therapy is a valued therapy over surgery offered by chiropractors and orthopedic doctors alike. Lately surgery, physical therapy, and medication have been the chosen regimen for patients who suffer from a compressed disc. Spinal surgeries, however, come with inherent dangers. Patients can suffer from permanent debilitating conditions, and medications
make it difficult to carry on with day to day living. Most importantly, spinal surgery only treats the pain, not the cause of the problem.

Non-surgical Disc Decompression Therapy has been proven to be a successful treatment for low back pain due to disc herniations, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, arthritis, and posterior facet syndrome. It is even a more preferable treatment for the health and well being of the elderly.

Why Hazel Green Chiropractic?
Hazel Green Chiropractic serves a wide base of patients from Franklin, TN to Decatur, AL to Athens AL, and anyone in the Tennessee Valley Area. Hazel Green Chiropractic is the premiere place to receive health care because we believe that it takes a team approach to provide all the up to date service for a wellness program customized to your needs. We have six decompression tables for therapy, and a no waiting policy. Both Doctors John Boyle and Jerry Steckler use their years of expertise to help you succeed in living a fuller, richer, and healthier life. After taking a complete case history to review the immediate instance and overall state of your health, a thorough examination will be conducted by our highly skilled professionals. In the examination we check your posture, reflexes, muscle strength, and possibly conduct other tests to gain the necessary knowledge so that we can help you. Based on the findings of the examination, X-rays images, or other types of tests and imaging, the doctor can then guide you by creating a health care program based on your needs and spinal condition. The purpose of Hazel Green Chiropractic is to educate
and serve as many families as possible, helping them to move toward a healthy life through natural chiropractic care.
By: Dr. John Boyle, D.C.