Author Archive

Nonsurgical Vaginal Rejuvenation

An exciting new treatment for vaginal rejuvenation promises to restore what aging and loss of collagen in vaginal tissue can take away. It also helps women experiencing vaginal laxity after childbirth or from the natural aging process.Dr. Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, is now offering treatment with ThermiVa® for vaginal rejuvenation at Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness.

ThermiVa® procedures revitalize vulvovaginal tissue through the application of gentle radiofrequency energy. Treatments performed in the doctor’s office are painless, with no downtime. They can help resolve the aging process of menopause, including the vaginal dryness and thinning of vaginal walls that can make sexual intimacy less enjoyable or even painful.

Hormonal imbalance can cause pelvic floor weakness leading to prolapse or the gradual descent of the urinary bladder, rectum and small intestine from their normal positions before menopause.

Two of the most severe complications of prolapse include urinary incontinence when coughing or sneezing as well as fecal incontinence.

“ThermiVa works by restoring collagen in the vagina, along with restoring tightness, moisture and support,” states Deborah A. DeMarta, MD, at the Institute of Health & Wellness. “It can relieve the symptoms that can occur from hormonal imbalance.”

“I’m thrilled to offer women this procedure,” she continues.

Improving Tone and Laxity

Many women may know to expect hot flashes and night sweats during menopause and perimenopause. They may not, however, be aware of how hormonal changes will affect the health of their vagina.

A decline in estrogen contributes to vaginal walls becoming thinner and producing less moisture.  The vaginal canal can also become shorter and less flexible. Results include vaginal dryness that not only makes sexual intimacy uncomfortable but also raises the risk of frequent yeast infections and urinary tract infections that may become recurrent.

Dr. DeMarta is a board-certified colorectal surgeon who also specializes in integrative and anti-aging and aesthetic medicine. The goal of her holistic approach is to help patients achieve optimal wellness and feel their best. She founded the Institute of Colorectal Health & Wellness to offer a comprehensive approach through medical, surgical and aesthetic services that promote health rejuvenation.

To help restore colorectal function, the ThermiVa device gives individuals an additional option for successful treatment of fecal leakage or unsightly perianal hemorrhoid skin tags.

“Fecal incontinence can be treated through dietary modification and physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor. However, some women need more than that. Previously, the options were pretty invasive,” notes Dr. DeMarta. “The exciting part about the ThermiVa is that it is much gentler and noninvasive.”

The ThermiVa procedure takes approximately 30 minutes, and feels like a warm massage. A treatment is recommended once a month for three consecutive months.

“No anesthesia is needed,” says Dr. DeMarta. “Patients come in, have the procedure and go home. Due to the non-existence of leakage, a pad is not needed, and normal activities can resume immediately.”

Treatments work on both the internal and external regions of the female pelvic floor. Stimulation occurs through radiofrequency and heat generation to restore collagen in the affected tissues. The formation of collagen helps improve laxity of the vagina and surrounding tissues to the pre-menopausal state.

“Most importantly, ThermiVa treatments improve a woman and her partner’s interest and sexual response that may have diminished through vaginal changes,” notes Dr. DeMarta.

“The ThermiVa is a superior addition to help women and their partners achieve and accomplish enjoyable intercourse,” she adds. “I’m excited to have this option for my patients. It not only results in enjoyable intercourse for couples, but also solves concerns such as laxity, prolapse, leakage, UTIs vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, lack of sexual desire and orgasmic dysfunction.”

A Message About Men’s Health

June 3rd, 2018

This blog may be about men’s health, but women need to read it, too. Women have to encourage the men in their lives to pay more attention to their health. June is Men’s Health Month, and it’s the perfect time to review a few of the biggest health issues men face.Message About Men’s Health

Since forever, women have lived longer than men. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that on average, women today live more than five years longer than men, and that gap is getting wider. Men have higher rates of death in most of the top ten causes of death. They also tend to have higher rates of complications from many disorders.

According to a report from the World Health Organization, men have higher death and complication rates for conditions like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Yet, many of the risk factors for those diseases that have increased in the past few years aren’t male-specific and are preventable. These include increases in smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyles and obesity.

According to WHO, there’re other factors that can contribute to a poorer life expectancy for men. For instance, men generally have greater exposure to occupational hazards such as physical or chemical hazards. They tend to engage more often in behaviors involving risk-taking, they’re less likely to see a doctor when they’re sick, and when they do, they’re less likely to fully report their symptoms.

A board member of the Men’s Health Network notes that certain conditions common in men, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, have no detectable symptoms. Many cancers also have few detectable symptoms in their early, most treatable, stages, so health care monitoring is crucial.

That’s where women can come in. We can help our men be aware of screenings, adopt healthy eating habits and promote exercise by setting an example and doing it with them. We can also encourage them to see the doctor when they complain of not feeling well or show signs of illness. They’re protecting the family by staying healthy.

So, what are the big health issues facing men? I read a couple of articles that listed the Top 10 or Top 5 Men’s Health Issues, but I’m going to condense the list to three big ones. You can read more at these three sites:

Still high on the list is cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association tells us that one in three men have some form of cardiovascular disease. It’s the leading cause of death for men in the US, responsible for one of every four male deaths. Another condition that’s common in men and can contribute to cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure, which slowly damages the heart and blood vessels over time. These disorders can be controlled if detected early.

Here’s one you might not have thought of but is a growing problem. It’s skin cancer. Men 50 and older are at high risk for developing skin cancer, more than twice as likely as women. The reason is because men have generally had more sun exposure and tend to have fewer visits to the doctor for skin checks. More men than women die of melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer. Regular skin checks can catch skin cancer in its early stages.

Diabetes is a problem in itself, and it can result in a whole bunch of other problems. It can lead to erectile dysfunction and lower testosterone levels. Low testosterone also decreases a man’s muscle mass and energy level. Low blood glucose can cause depression and anxiety, as well as damage to the nerves and kidneys and lead to heart disease, liver disease, stroke and vision issues. Routine blood work can monitor blood glucose levels and detect pre-diabetes.

Men face many more health issues that affect them not just physically, but mentally as well. This month, encourage the men in your life to take advantage of screenings, get regular physicals, lead a healthy lifestyle and see the doctor when necessary. Help them take control of their health and live longer.

“Brain Attack” Can Strike Anyone, Anytime

May 31st, 2018

Strokes don’t just happen to the elderly. They can disable or kill men and women of working age, too. That fact is just one of the awareness-raising messages the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is spreading during May, which is American Stroke Month.

A stroke or “brain attack” happens when blood flow to part of the brain is cut off. As a result, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die, which threatens the abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as muscle control, speech or memory.

Someone who suffers a minor stroke may have only temporary challenges, such as slurred speech or weakness of an arm or leg. But more serious strokes may lead to permanent paralysis or inability to speak. More than two-thirds of stroke survivors are left with some form of disability.

The faster a stroke victim receives treatment, the better the chances for survival and recovery. For each minute a stroke goes untreated and blood flow to the brain is blocked, the patient loses about 1.9 million neurons, which are nerve cells that transmit information throughout the body.

Be alert for these common symptoms of a stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately if they occur. Also, note the time the first symptom appears, because that can affect treatment decisions.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, an arm or a leg, especially on one side of the body;
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding what’s going on or being said;
  • Sudden difficulty seeing out of one or both eyes;
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance or coordination;
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

There are two types of “brain attacks” classified as strokes. A hemorrhagic stroke happens when a brain aneurysm bursts or a weakened blood vessel leaks. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks a vessel carrying blood to the brain.

A transient ischemic attack, commonly known as a TIA, can mimic stroke-like symptoms and lasts less than 24 hours. A TIA occurs when blood flow to part of the brain stops for a short period of time. While they generally don’t cause permanent brain damage, TIAs are a serious warning sign of a future stoke and shouldn’t be ignored.

Some risk factors for strokes can’t be controlled, including age, gender or family history. But people can minimize other things that make them more susceptible, such as high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, smoking, drug and/or alcohol abuse, poor diet and lack of physical activity.

The bottom line: Up to 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

Here, courtesy of the National Stroke Association and the American Heart Association, are other stroke facts by the numbers:

  • A stroke happens every 40 seconds.
  • Nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke every year.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States.
  • Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in women and the fourth leading cause of death of men in this country. Some 185,000 people die from a stroke each year.

Women have higher risk of fatal strokes

May 29th, 2018

Some 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year, and more women die as a result, according to the American Heart Association, which has deemed May as American Stroke Month.

Women share many of the same risk factors as men, such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, depression and emotional stress. But for women, hormones, reproductive health, pregnancy and childbirth also can influence how likely they are to suffer a stroke.

For instance, stroke risk increases during a normal pregnancy because of natural changes in the body such as increased blood pressure and stress on the heart. And women who have preeclampsia, or high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy, double their risk of a stroke later in life.

Women who have more than one miscarriage may be at greater risk for blood clots, which in turn increases their stroke risk.

Taking birth control pills, meanwhile, may double the risk of stroke, especially for women with high blood pressure.

Many women undergo hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats and pain during sex. Once thought to lower stroke risk, hormone replacement therapy actually slightly increases it.

Irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, quadruples stroke risk and is more common in women than men after age 75.

Strokes also are considerably more common in women who suffer from migraines with aura (flashing or shimmering lights, zigzagging lines or stars) and who also smoke.

Autoimmune diseases such as diabetes or lupus can increase the risk of stroke, too.

Because women generally live longer, a stroke is more apt to negatively impact their lives. They also are more likely to be living alone when they suffer a stroke and to end up in a long-term health care facility, and they have a more difficult recovery, according to the National Stroke Association.

Some stroke symptoms are unique to women, including hiccups, seizures, sudden behavioral change and hallucinations. Those might not be recognized as signs of a stroke, however, which could delay treatment and magnify the damage caused. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is diagnosed within three hours after the first symptoms appear.

While strokes typically affect women in their later years, doctors now are focusing on helping women reduce their risk earlier in life. That means more screening for high blood pressure – which is more common in women than in men – along with other health challenges.

Eating right and exercising can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve overall health for anyone. A healthy diet includes vegetables (dark green, red and orange), legumes (beans and peas), fruits (especially whole fruits), grains (at least half of them whole grains), fat-free or low-fat dairy, oils and proteins (seafood, lean meats and poultry, nuts, seeds and soy products). Limiting saturated and trans fats, added sugars and sodium also is part of eating healthier.

As for physical activity, a recent study shows that people can reduce their stroke risk if they exercise five or more times per week.

 

Suffering from shin splints?

May 7th, 2018

It’s not just fitness fanatics adamant about getting in their daily jog who are in danger of developing shin splints. Anyone who has flat feet, poorly fitting shoes or weak ankles, hips or core muscles are susceptible to shin splints as well.Stock photo from istockphoto.com.

Referred to by some doctors as medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints usually develop as a result of continuous force being applied to the shin bone (tibia) and the connective tissue that attaches the shin bone to the muscles around it.

That continuous force can lead to a swelling of the muscles around the tibia. When those muscles are swollen, more pressure is applied to the tibia and the result can be a variety of symptoms, most of which are more annoying than anything else.

For example, someone suffering from shin splints may feel nothing more than a dull ache in their shins or a swelling in the lower leg. Others, however, may experience sharp, jabbing pains in and around their shin during exercise or numbness in their feet.

In more severe cases, the shin of someone suffering from shin splints may feel hot or painful to the touch, the lower part of their legs may feel weak, or they may experience prolonged bone or muscle pain in the lower leg and calf.

In those more severe cases, some of which are the cause of small cracks or fractures in the bone, it may be best to consult a doctor. In most cases, however, shin splints can usually be treated by adhering to some common treatment methods.

The most effective treatment method is rest – and lots of it. Depending on the cause of your shin splints, the time needed to recover properly can be anywhere from three to six months. In less severe cases, however, a few weeks of rest may do the trick.

That may seem like a lot, particularly for a workout warrior type who is accustomed to hitting the gym three or more times a week or running every day, but there are other activities that can be done to maintain good fitness while shin splints are healing.

Riding a bike, swimming or using an elliptical machine provides many of the same cardiovascular benefits that running does, and none of those activities put the same degree of stress on the legs that running does.

In addition to rest, icing the area of the leg that is painful or uncomfortable for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a day until the pain is gone helps to reduce the bothersome effects of shins splints, too.

As is the case with a lot of aches and pains, taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin if your doctor allows it will further advance the healing process as well.

With extensive use of all the above, though, some side effects such as bleeding and ulcers can develop. Always be sure to follow label directions specifically when using those over-the-counter aids and if possible consult your doctor before taking them.

Finally, for those whose shin splints are more a result of physical issues such as flat feet or poor-fitting footwear, the use of orthotic shoe inserts or a better fitting pair of shoes can make all the difference in the world.

You’ll know your shin splints are gone when you resume whatever constitutes normal activity and you can apply pressure to the area that used to hurt without feeling pain or run and jump without feeling any pain in or around the shins.

Prior to that, though, strengthening your core muscles and the area around your hips and increasing your intake of foods such as milk and yogurt that are high in calcium and Vitamin D can help prevent shin splints from coming back.

Remember, it’s not just weekend warriors and fitness fanatics who get shin splints. Anyone can get them. The good news is that no one has to suffer from them for very long.

Alternative to Surgery

New procedure eliminates pain from spinal stenosis.

At 75, Michael* wasn’t ready to feel old. Yet, maddening back pain made it difficult for him to feel youthful and stay active. The pain from his back traveled all the way down his right leg, which affected his walking and put a stop to his morning exercise routine. Even standing was painful, and Michael found himself instead sitting in his chair doing nothing. When he tried to cook, he had to lean over his kitchen sink, which provided some relief from the agony in his back and leg.Stock photo from istockphoto.com.
“I really enjoy cooking for my family,” Michael shares. “It’s something I have always tried to do several days a week, but the pain I would get in my back when I stood too long at the stove forced me to stop cooking as much as I used to.”
Michael’s primary care physician suggested a few options to help ease his pain. But when a trial of conservative treatments, including heat and ice, physical therapy and pain medications, failed to deliver lasting results, Michael’s doctor recommended he visit Harold J. Cordner, MD. Dr. Cordner is board certified in pain management and anesthesiology, and practices at Florida Pain Management Associates in Sebastian and Vero Beach.
At Florida Pain Management Associates, all patients who come in with severe back and leg pain are given a careful evaluation that includes a thorough history and physical examination, as well as imaging studies such as x-rays and an MRI. After his evaluation, Dr. Cordner was able to confirm his initial suspicion; Michael was suffering from spinal stenosis.
The spine is made up of 24 small bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are stacked one on top of the other with an open canal in the middle through which the spinal cord runs. On the back of the vertebrae are projections of bone called spinous processes. Between these sections of bone are openings called neural foramen, where the spinal nerves exit the spinal cord and travel to the rest of the body.
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal and the neural foramen. Because these spaces become narrower, the nerves become crowded or pinched, causing symptoms.
“Generally, the symptoms are back pain with leg weakness or a feeling of heaviness or pain into the legs,” describes Dr. Cordner. “Sometimes, the patient just has back pain; other times, the pain radiates into the legs. The pain is typically worse with prolonged walking or standing, and is relieved as soon as the patient sits down or leans forward.”
Spinal stenosis is most often caused by the wear and tear of arthritis that occurs with aging. To make up for the degenerative changes caused by arthritis, the body sometimes grows new bone to help support the vertebrae. These new bone pieces are called bone spurs. They can narrow the openings for the spinal cord and nerves. Arthritis can also cause the ligaments in the spine to become larger, which can irritate the nerves and cause symptoms.

A New Option

Traditionally, treatment for spinal stenosis begins with nonsurgical steps, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, chiropractic manipulation and steroid injections. When all nonsurgical efforts have failed, surgery is generally the next step.
“The treatment for spinal stenosis was often epidural steroid injections,” confirms Dr. Cordner. “If those did not help, patients would undergo a decompressive laminectomy. However, there are patients who are elderly or have other diseases or complicated medical illnesses who cannot get cleared for or are too sick to have surgery.”
During a laminectomy, the surgeon removes some of the bone, and any bone spurs and/or pieces of ligament that are compressing the nerves. Doing this opens up the space for the nerves and relieves pain. However, it requires one large or multiple smaller incisions and a lengthy recovery, and may fail.
Now, Dr. Cordner offers an alternative to laminectomy. It’s a new, minimally invasive procedure to treat patients with spinal stenosis who have back and leg pain that is relieved by bending forward or sitting.
“The procedure uses an implanted device that decompresses the spine,” states Dr. Cordner. “The device goes in and opens up, enlarging the space where the spinal nerves exit as well as the central canal.”

Product photos courtesy of Florida Pain Management Associates.

Superion InterSpinous Spacer

Product photos courtesy of Florida Pain Management Associates.

The Superion InterSpinous Spacer is placed where the vertebrae have collapsed. There it opens up and pushes the bones apart.

The device is the VertiFlex® Superion® InterSpinous Spacer System. The Superion spacer is an H-shaped implant made of a titanium alloy that fits between two adjacent bones in the lower back. It is designed to limit movement of the spine when the patient stands and walks, and to open up the nerve spaces, relieving symptoms. VertiFlex describes the Superion as a “Safe and effective alternative when conservative treatment has failed and laminectomy is too aggressive.”
“During the implant procedure, I make a small incision in the back and clear out some tissue between the spinous processes,” explains Dr. Cordner. “Then, I insert the device through a small tube about the size of a dime. As I engage it and screw it open, two arms emerge that push the spinous process bones apart, and that creates more room inside the spinal canal and the neuroforamen.
“The ideal candidate for this procedure is a patient who has spinal stenosis that is worse with standing or walking, and relieved with bending over a little bit. These are patients who are walking in the stores leaning over their shopping carts, which helps ease the pain.”
Such was the case with Michael, as he mentions he found relief when he would bend over, but not when he was standing up straight.
Implanting the Superion device is a simple, outpatient procedure with less tissue damage and blood loss than surgery, and a rapid recovery time.
There was a similar device in the past called the X-StopPK®. However, there were drawbacks to it. In some cases, it moved out of its implanted position. With the Superion, there have been no reports of the devices moving out of position in the thousands of cases that have been performed to date.

Product photos courtesy of Florida Pain Management Associates.

The Superion InterSpinous Spacer is placed where the vertebrae have collapsed. There it opens up and pushes the bones apart.

There are four years of data to support the effectiveness of the Superion InterSpinous Spacer. According to studies, 48 months after having the procedure done, patients’ leg pain was reduced 79 percent, and patient satisfaction was 87 percent.
“Thus far, there have not been any patients whose condition deteriorated after the procedure, which certainly can happen with back surgery,” stresses Dr. Cordner.
“The Superion is the only FDA-approved, standalone device for the treatment of moderate lumbar spinal stenosis. Medicare has approved it as well, and I am the only physician in Indian River County certified to do this procedure.”

Nonsurgical Relief

For Michael, Dr. Cordner was the answer to a prayer, and the Superion spacer was a godsend. He became one of those patients in the “satisfied” category.
After having the device implanted, Michael’s pain is gone. He is now able to get out of his chair and take his morning exercise walks. He can cook without leaning over his sink, and he no longer feels the aching all the way down his leg.
“It’s been a miracle for me, it truly has,” Michael raves. “I am so thankful that I found Dr. Cordner. I feel better than ever, and I no longer have to live with pain!”
Michael is back to being active and feeling more youthful. And that’s affected his attitude about his age as well.
He remarks, “Seventy-five isn’t old at all!”

* Patient name witheld at their request.

Plantar Warts

Don’t let them go untreated.

Verruca plantaris, or plantar warts, can be painful and embarrassing.
The most common breeding grounds for plantar warts are communal showers, floors in public swimming pools, even your shower at home. Breakouts can also occur among people who share gym or athletic facilities or in settings where bare feet are the rule. Stock photo from istockphoto.com.
“Warts can occur on any compromised skin surface, but they are most common on the bottoms of the feet and on the hands,” explains board-certified podiatric surgeon Robert P. Dunne, DPM, who has offices in Melbourne and Palm Bay. “They tend to invade the skin through small abrasions or cuts, some that you may not even realize you have.
“The plantar wart can be quite painful since you are putting pressure on the area by simply standing. Paring them down can often relieve some of the pressure, but a more aggressive treatment may be required.”
Dr. Dunne treats a wide variety of podiatric complaints such as fungal nails, tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), dermatitis; heel, foot and ankle pain; tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, hammer toes, bunions and other bone issues.
“There are several treatment options for a plantar wart, but not all are invasive,” the doctor reveals. “Treatments can be oral, such as Tagamet®, or topical, such as salicylic acid or retinoid cream. There is also a slightly invasive procedure called cryotherapy, which causes the wart to scab and fall off, or an invasive procedure, where there is an excision of the wart. Both of these procedures are done in the office in just a few minutes.”

Risk Factors for Plantar Warts

There are many risk factors for plantar warts, especially in our Florida environment.
“Age can be a factor in the development of a wart,” explains Dr. Dunne. “Children are more susceptible because they have not built up an immunity to the virus.”
Dr. Dunne accentuates that “there are several over-the-counter and home remedies that people can use to treat plantar warts, but we strongly caution those who are susceptible to infection or persons with diabetes not to try these without consulting their doctor.”
People with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible to the virus, he notes. People should keep in mind that warts are contagious and, if affected, one should take precautions so as not to spread the virus.
Preventative measures include: not touching other people’s warts; not sharing towels, shoes or socks; wearing flip-flops in the shower (if affected, this should be at home or in a community shower setting), covering the wart to prevent exposure and not scratching or picking at the wart, which can easily cause them to spread.
Lake Washington Foot & Ankle is a comprehensive podiatric medicine clinic offering treatment for everything from bunions to hammertoes. “We treat ingrown toenails, warts and neuromas,” assures Dr. Dunne. “We also do clinical trials for onychomycosis [fungal toenails] in an effort to find better and more effective treatment for this ailment.
“Our patients come first, and we recommend they take action now if they have a problem.”

Article courtesy of Lake Washington Foot & Ankle Center.

Oral Cancer Concerns

April 10th, 2018

Let’s discuss something we don’t usually think about and don’t often hear about: oral cancer, or more specifically oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. Often grouped together, these cancers are not among the most hyped, but they’re disfiguring – and deadly – just the same.Stock photo from istockphoto.com.

Where are we talking about? The oral cavity, essentially the mouth, includes the lips, inside lining of the lips and cheeks, teeth, gums, front two-thirds of the tongue, floor of the mouth under the tongue, and bony roof of the mouth, or hard palate.

The oropharynx is the top part of the throat that starts in the back of the mouth. It begins where the oral cavity ends. The oropharynx generally includes the area behind the wisdom teeth, the last third of the tongue, the back part of the roof of the mouth (soft palate), the tonsils, and the side and back wall of the throat.

Anatomy of the pharynx (throat). The three parts of the pharynx are the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and hypopharynx.

There’s a lot we don’t know about what causes cancer, but we know it often occurs when mutations in certain genes cause certain cells to grow out of control, causing tumors to form. What researchers are trying to pin down in most cases is what causes the mutations in the first place. That’s a really simplistic explanation.

Here, I’m going to tell you about risk factors and symptoms, so maybe you can catch an oral cancer in its early stages. Then, I’ll give you a few strategies for prevention, but if you want the full scoop on oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer, read this information from the American Cancer Society.

One of the things you’ll read is that the American Cancer Society estimates 51,540 American will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2018, and an estimated 10,030 of them will die from it. Fortunately, the death rate has actually been declining over the last ten years. These cancers are much more common in men than women.

Let’s start with risk factors. What traits and behaviors put you at greater risk for becoming one of those estimated 51,500 people to get one of these cancers. The top two risk factors are using tobacco and drinking alcohol. The tobacco risk increases the more you use it and the longer you’ve done so.

Also, about seven out of ten people with oral cancer are heavy drinkers. The risk is increased even more in people who use tobacco and drink heavily. Some studies suggest the combination leaves people as much as 100 times more at risk than people who don’t smoke or drink.

There are some genetic syndromes that can lead to oral cancer, and a weakened immune system can make a person more susceptible. Risk also increases with age and is affected by an unhealthy diet. Researchers are now finding that infection with the HPV virus is a rising risk factor for some forms of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer.

These cancers generally appear as a growth or sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away. It can be on anywhere in your mouth, including your lips, tongue and cheeks Here are a few other symptoms to watch out for:

  • White, red or speckled patches in your mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Loss of feeling
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Hoarseness or persistent sore throat
  • Lump in the neck

There are other signs and symptoms as well.

Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer are generally treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, or a combination of these treatments. The choice of treatment depends on the patient’s age and how advanced the cancer is, it’s stage. Treatment can leave you disfigured or with problems speaking or eating. Additional treatment may be necessary.

Today, patients also have the benefit of biological and targeted therapies. These therapies kill cancer cells without damaging the surrounding healthy tissues.

Some of the risk factors can’t be controlled, but these are things you can do to reduce your risk or find oral cancer early. These include:

  •  Limit your tobacco use
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables
  • Protect yourself against HPV infection
  • Examine your mouth at least once a mouth and look for lumps or spots
  • See your dentist regularly. The dentist can often spot suspicious areas in your mouth before you do.

You don’t want to be one of the 51,500 who will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer this year, and you especially don’t want to be one of the 10,000 who don’t make it. Now that you know about these cancers, be aware of your risk factors and on the lookout for symptoms.

Easy and Effective

Microcurrent electrolysis relieves hemorrhoids without surgery.

David* suffered from hemorrhoids for ten years and never told anyone, not even his wife. During visits with his doctor, he didn’t mention them.Stock photo from istockphoto.com.
His silence wasn’t because the hemorrhoids weren’t bothersome. “I’d wake up in the middle of the night, itching like crazy,” he confides. “I’d use hemorrhoid cream but it didn’t do anything. It was horrible.
“I guess like a lot of people I was too embarrassed to talk about it.”
David is retired after a career in the broadcasting industry, where he managed radio and television stations. He learned about HemRelief and heard its question – “Why suffer in silence?” – and had a moment of recognition.
“I said to myself, You know, that’s me. I’m not telling my wife. I’m not telling anybody,” recalls David. “I went home and said to my wife, I’m having a little problem down there. I’m going to make an appointment.

Microcurrent Electrolysis

“Hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the rectum or anal canal, are extremely common,” notes Linh B. Nguyen, MD, of HemRelief. “In fact, more than fifty percent of people age fifty or older have them to some degree.”
Most sufferers are understandably reluctant to try the available treatment options, some of which have traditionally been both painful and inconvenient.
Fortunately, Dr. Nguyen offers microcurrent electrolysis (MCE), an FDA-approved, nonsurgical method for treatment of hemorrhoids. The noninvasive, relatively painless outpatient procedure has been helping patients for more than 20 years and is completed right in the doctor’s office.
Graphic from istockphoto.com.“A low current is applied to the base of the hemorrhoid, causing a chemical reaction that induces the hemorrhoid to shrink,” explains the doctor. “The procedure is well tolerated by patients and does not require anesthesia.
“The MCE method is considered revolutionary because it is highly effective, safe and convenient. Up to ninety percent of people who have it done get relief from their hemorrhoids,” Dr. Nguyen reports. “It doesn’t cause the agonizing pain often associated with traditional hemorrhoid surgery and is also covered by most insurances and Medicare.”
The treatment is quick, convenient and can be safely repeated as needed.
“There’s no need to take any special preparation to clear the bowels,”
Dr. Nguyen notes. “Patients can have the procedure done and go back to work immediately, so there is no downtime. The entire procedure takes approximately twenty minutes.”

Quick Results

David appreciated how Dr. Nguyen helped him feel at ease. “Dr. Nguyen makes you feel very comfortable,” he reports.
The procedure was painless, he says, and results were evident right away. The constant itching was gone.
“I walked out of the doctor’s office after the procedure, and I felt like a
new person.”
David is no longer embarrassed to talk about hemorrhoids. In fact, he talks about them freely now, in case it helps others.
“I tell people that this is the most comfortable treatment and it’s not an embarrassing situation,” he notes. “If you’re putting treatment off because of embarrassment, don’t wait another second. Pick up the phone and get it done because it’s not embarrassing at all.”

* Patient’s name withheld at their request.

 

Decreasing “Diabesity”

February 20th, 2018

Obesity is a huge problem in our country, pun intended. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third (37.9 percent) of adults aged 20 and over in the US are obese, which is defined as having a Body Mass Index of 30 or above. Obesity puts people at risk for a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.Graphic from istockphoto.com.

One of the most common health conditions associated with obesity is diabetes, specifically Type 2 diabetes. These conditions are so intricately entwined that experts have coined the term “diabesity” to describe their relationship. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95 percent of all cases of diabetes in the US, and more than 90 percent of people with the disorder are overweight or obese.

Our bodies need energy to function, and they get that energy from the food we eat. During digestion, food is broken down into a sugar called glucose that travels through the bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, is like a key. It opens up your body’s cells to let the glucose enter to be used by the cells as fuel.

Some people’s bodies don’t make enough, or any, insulin, or they don’t use insulin appropriately, and glucose remains in the blood instead of getting into the cells. When the glucose level in your blood is too high, you’ve got diabetes. High glucose levels can damage many parts of the body, including the eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves and feet. With Type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin properly. Its onset can occur at any time, but it most often starts when people are middle-aged or older.

Many studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and diabetes, but just how diabesity occurs is complex and yet to be understood fully. What we do know is that people who are overweight or obese put added pressure on their bodies’ ability to use insulin properly to control glucose levels in their blood. This makes them more susceptible to developing diabetes.

One way obesity may lead to diabetes is by triggering changes in your metabolism, the processes that occur in your body in order to function. It’s believed that these changes cause fat tissue to release fat molecules into the blood. The increased fat in the blood affects the cells that are responsive to insulin and reduces insulin sensitivity. Calorie-dense foods leads to increased fat accumulation, and calorie-dense diets are common with overweight individuals.

When the body has to store excess fat and cannot properly control insulin levels in the blood, substances called free fatty acids are deposited in the liver, causing a condition known as fatty liver. Free fatty acids also move through the circulatory system causing reactions within other organs such as the pancreas, heart and muscles. This starts a vicious cycle of organ damage, inflammation, and deteriorating insulin resistance and insulin secretion from the pancreas.

Where the fat accumulates on your body is also a factor in diabesity. If your fat is primarily located around your belly, which is a predictor of visceral fat that lies around your internal organs, you are at an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Like diets high in fat and carbohydrates, visceral fat is associated with worsening insulin resistance.

It’s no surprise that major factors contributing to diabesity are chronic unhealthy behaviors, including eating a high-calorie diet and avoiding physical activity. We know weight loss has a beneficial effect on blood glucose control and fat metabolism, so lifestyle modification through changes in diet and exercise is generally the first diabesity management strategy. If you are also taking diabetes medications, your doses will have to be reviewed regularly, as they may need to be adjusted as you lose weight.

In certain cases, weight loss medications may be used to assist those with diabesity achieve and sustain substantial weight reduction. For some people, a surgical weight loss option, such as a gastric band or bypass, is a good choice, especially if they’ve not achieved positive results with lifestyle modification and medication therapies.

With 90 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes being overweight or obese, diabesity is expensive, too. More than one in five US health care dollars are spent on diabetes, about $245 billion. That doesn’t include the indirect costs of absenteeism, reduced work productivity, inability to work and lost workers due to premature death, accounting for another $68.6 billion.

Because it can damage many organs and tissues, diabesity lowers quality of life as well. If you are overweight, especially if you notice any symptoms of diabetes, have your blood glucose level checked by your doctor. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t always have symptoms, but some of the possible symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue and blurred vision.

Don’t wait until diabesity damages your body, get tested today, and get on the road to weight loss and glucose control. And a healthier, higher quality of life!

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