Blog Posts

America’s Suicide Crisis

January 20th, 2020

The United States is in a suicide crisis. America’s rate of suicide, now its 10th leading cause of death overall, has increased by more than 33 percent since 1999. That was among the findings of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics research study. The results of the study were released in June.

The worst thing you can do for someone dealing with suicide or expressing suicidal thoughts is remain quiet. Speak up, reach out, learn the best way to offer support.

The Center for Health Statistics’ research discovered that suicide among Americans ages 15 to 64 rose from 10.5 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017, the most recent year with available data. That number represents the highest suicide rate in the US since World War II.

Federal data released in October showed that suicide rates are climbing in nearly every state and across age groups and ethnicities. The suicide rate for young Americans ages 10 to 24 increased 56 percent from 2007 to 2017. It’s at its highest rate this century. Suicides by active-duty military and veterans are also on the rise.

According to one study, 10 million Americans seriously considered suicide in 2018. That certainly sounds like a crisis to me.

All of these studies confirm that suicide is a significant public health problem. The CDC also reports that on average, 129 Americans die by suicide each day. Suicide claims 47,000 lives each year. That number is probably much higher considering not all suicides are reported. Men die by suicide three and a half times more often than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide.

It’s also been determined that 90 percent of people who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death. And if it’s diagnosable, it’s most likely treatable. Suicide affects us financially as well. It costs this nation at least $69 billion per year in medical costs and lost work productivity.

Suicide is an equal opportunity problem. Anyone can be at risk, and those risk factors are varied. They include depression, substance abuse disorder, mental health disorder or a family history of such disorders. Other risk factors include previous attempted suicide, a family history of suicide, a history of physical or sexual abuse, the presence of guns in the home or an experience with a painful medical illness.

The reasons people die by suicide are complex. In general, they react to, think, and make decisions differently than people who are not suicidal. One researcher suggests there are six main reasons people kill themselves.

In many cases, people who attempt suicide or succeed at it are depressed, which typically comes with a pervasive sense of suffering, as well as a belief that their situation is hopeless. Some people who commit suicide are psychotic, some are impulsive, some are crying out for help, and others have a philosophical desire to die. This desire can develop when people have a painful, terminal illness.

Whatever the cause, it’s imperative to know the warning signs for suicide, especially if you or a loved one has any of the risk factors. Most people who take their lives by suicide show one or more warning signs in the way they talk and behave.

Be alert if someone you know starts talking about killing themselves, or about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. Other verbal warning signs include talking about being a burden to others, feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain.

Certain behaviors may be warning signs as well, especially if they are linked to a painful event, loss or major change. These behaviors include increased use of drugs or alcohol, looking for methods to end their life, withdrawing from activities and becoming isolated socially, visiting or calling people to say goodbye and giving away prized possessions.

Preventing suicide is the goal, and help is available. If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.  For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.

In emergencies, call 911 or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider. Today, many hospitals and mental health providers have redesigned their practices to include research-backed tools for determining a patient’s risk for suicide. These providers then use proven interventions to prevent suicide and initiate the patient’s recovery.

Florida Flu Cases on the Rise in 2019

January 6th, 2020

With the peak of flu season upcoming, it’s important to look back at beginning of the 2019-2020 flu season, as the number of people catching influenza is already outpacing what physicians have seen in the past.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 16 outbreaks were reported during the week of Nov. 23, up from nine the week before. Of those, nine were confirmed influenza, while seven were illness with flu-like symptoms. Six counties – Hillsborough, Pinellas, Miami-Dade, Collier, Lake and Escambia – reported five or more new cases that week.

Schools across the Sunshine State have been the hardest hit this year, unlike previous seasons where facilities serving older adults reported more cases.

Overall infection rates remain mild in most Florida counties, however. The predominant strain so far has been B Victoria, which has symptoms that mimic Strain A. However, unlike strain A, influenza B is contracted only by humans. This allows strain A to spread faster than B, which makes a pandemic less likely.

A prevalence of strain B early in the season is rare, and it could mean that folks are in for a second wave caused by stain A. Last year, a second wave hit and extended the flu season through spring. The last time that strain B dominated nationally was during the 1992-93 season. However, experts say the 2019-20 season appears to pose less of a threat.

“Overall, this season has not been as scary. Of course, it’s still early,’’ Ogbonnaya Omenka, assistant professor and public health specialist at Butler University told USA Today. “So far, different health departments have been able to contain it in ways that have allowed us not to have some type of significant outbreak or problem.’’

Nationally, activity continues to increase but the amount of activity and flu strains vary by region. Also, four of 10 regions in the United States were at or above their baselines in the number of visits to outpatient providers, with 2.9 percent of all visits reported as flu-like illnesses. That’s up from 2.4 percent reported during each of the past three weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu has already killed five pediatric patients this season.

As for this year’s vaccine, it’s still too soon to determine its effectiveness. However, the fact that World Health Organization changed the strains for the upcoming season in the Southern Hemisphere may indicate what one epidemiologist described as “a mismatch.”

That said, a vaccine still gives you better odds that you would get in Vegas and are still available in most areas. Health care providers say it’s never too late to get one. In addition to a vaccine, other ways of preventing the spread of flu are to avoid being around people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow, and of course, regular handwashing. Here are tips on proper handwashing techniques.

Spinal Decompression Therapy FAQs

December 30th, 2019

Neck and back pain are unfortunate issues that most of us experience at some point in our lives. Our bodies are, after all, flesh and blood, and we often forget how much we put them through on a daily basis. Americans spend over 50 billion dollars every year on pain management, which includes everything from MRIs to pain medications. It’s safe to say that people are trying whatever they can to improve the quality of their lives. But who wants to deal with the pain, baggage, and potential problems that can result from surgery or taking narcotics?

Fortunately, there is another option available. Spinal Decompression Therapy has exploded throughout the chiropractic world over the last decade as more and more chiropractors are implementing the treatment into their services. Why? Because it works. We’ve broken down the top questions and concerns and debunked a few myths so you can familiarize yourself with a new potential option to treat your pain.

What Is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal Decompression Therapy (SDT) is a method of gently decompressing or stretching the spine. The spine itself is not actually the main focus through this procedure – that is the intervertebral discs. Through stretching, space is created between each vertebrae to relieve pressure and give the intervertebral discs room to correct themselves.

What Are Intervertebral Discs?

Intervertebral discs are gel-like cushions that sit between each vertebrae of the spine. Their purposes are to hold the vertebrae together, absorb shock, and protect the spinal nerves. When these discs are damaged or injured, they can cause severe pain and discomfort. They also can bulge or break off, which puts pressure on the surrounding nerves.

What Can Spinal Decompression Therapy Treat?

Spinal Decompression Therapy can treat:

  • Spinal Radiculopathy – A condition due to a compressed nerve in the spine that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness of the nerve. It is most common in the neck and lower back.
  • Myelopathy – A nervous system disorder that affects the spinal cord.
  • Claudication – A common symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis which causes inflammation of the nerves emerging from the spinal cord.
  • Bulging, Degenerating, or Herniated Discs – A condition where the soft center of a spinal disk pushes through a crack in the tough exterior casing. It can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg.
  • Sciatica – Pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs from the lower back. It primarily occurs when a herniated disk or bone spur in the spine presses on the nerve and usually only affects one side of the body.
  • Spinal Stenosis – A narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on the nerves. It occurs most often in the neck and lower back.

What Is the Recovery Time for Spinal Decompression Therapy Surgery?

Spinal Decompression Therapy is non-surgical and non-invasive, so there is no surgery recovery time. As a therapy, SDT takes place over time and is not a solution that can be completed in a single visit.

How Long Does Spinal Decompression Therapy Take?

The length of time and number of visits you’ll need to schedule will be different for each individual based off of your specific circumstances and physical needs. On average, most people need to attend between 15 to 30 separate sessions. Each SDT session usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes.

What Equipment Is Used?

Chiropractors who follow the most recent advances in industry standards use state of the art equipment, such as the Accu-SPINA table, to perform Spinal Decompression Therapy. The Accu-SPINA system was developed by physicians and scientists to help combat neck and back pain that is unresponsive to other therapies. Clinical trials performed with the Accu-SPINA system revealed that 86% of participants experienced symptoms of pain relief.

Where Can I Find Spinal Decompression Near Me?

An experienced chiropractor in your area that has successfully completed the Spinal Decompression Therapy training and certification program can help bring you relief through Spinal Decompression Therapy.

When Should I Try Spinal Decompression Therapy?

If you’re experiencing neck and back pain and have not had any relief or progress with other kinds of therapies, Spinal Decompression Therapy may be your next option. Whether you’ve been battling chronic pain for years or have just recently been involved in an auto accident, Spinal Decompression Therapy is an option at any time in your recovery process. Don’t hesitate to see an SDT trained and certified chiropractor as soon as possible since it is possible for many injuries our bodies sustain to not make themselves known right away and worsen over time. Also keep in mind that if you’ve been in an auto accident, you only have 14 days from the date of the accident to seek medical care and have it covered by your personal injury protection insurance.

Researchers say psychedelic substance found in mushrooms may prove to be magic for mental health

December 24th, 2019

Critics encourage use of less risky alternatives.

The term “magic mushrooms” typically conjures images of hippies in tie-dyed t-shirts tripping out while listening to psychedelic rock music during the 1960s. However, the reputation of the fungi that is synonymous with the counterculture is changing.

Recent scientific studies at leading academic institutions point to promising results in the use of psilocybin, the hallucinogen in these mushrooms, for treating some of the most challenging mental health issues as well as addiction. This shift in mindset has also resulted in some cities and states moving to decriminalize possession of “shrooms.”

After nearly 20 years of research with psychedelics, Johns Hopkins Medicine announced the launch of a $17 million privately funded research center to study the potential for the drugs to treat severe mental health and addiction issues. The announcement follows the work of two professors who gave psilocybin to more than 350 volunteers who suffered from depression, anxiety or addiction. The ultimate goal of the center is to focus on the most challenging problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, opioid addictions and major depression and anxiety.

Some test subjects shared their experiences with psilocybin during a recent segment of CBS’s 60 Minutes newsmagazine. All reported relief from debilitating depression and addictions to smoking and alcohol. One woman who had advanced cancer said she no longer feared death.

“This is extraordinarily interesting” the center’s director and professor of behavioral biology, Roland Griffiths, told reporter Anderson Cooper. “It’s unprecedented and the capacity of the human organism to change. It was just astounding.”

Researchers say the drug quiets two parts of the brain that talk to each other while opening up communication lines among parts of the brain that don’t. This results in a loss of identity and accounts for the subject’s ability to perceive things differently.

Subjects, who are screened for psychotic behavior, are given large doses of the drug and monitored for six hours by a trained guide while in a special study room. They lie on a couch with a blanket, sleep mask and wear headphones that play classical or choral music.

Griffiths and his assistant director, who won FDA approval for the studies in 2000, told CBS that about a third of the subjects reported unpleasant experiences while on the drug. He said they have no way of predicting who will have a pleasant, deeply spiritual experience and who will have a “bad trip.”

However, those who reported nightmarish experiences said those proved to be the key to improving their outcomes.

Stories like these, along with the growing acceptance of medical marijuana, have prompted some cities to relax laws dealing with possession of such mushrooms.

In May, Denver voters passed a ballot measure to decriminalize psilocybin and direct local law enforcement to give psychedelic mushrooms the lowest arrest priority for adults 21 and older. The council in Oakland, California, also voted to loosen its mushroom laws soon after Denver. Advocates in other parts of California and in Oregon now are pushing for the same.

In Florida, the situation is complicated. Possession of psilocybin remains illegal. However, in 1978 the Florida Supreme Court found that mushrooms could not be reasonably found to be “containers” of the drug. The court essentially held that if the Florida Legislature wished to outlaw wild psilocybin mushrooms, it would have to name them in the law. So far, lawmakers have not done so.

This is why when Florida Fish and Wildlife officers catch suspected “Shroom hunters,” they typically charge them with removing plant life from a wildlife management area, as it’s hard to prove they intended to use the mushrooms to get high.

Reformers hope that the research will change the stereotypes related to psychedelics, which were banned from being studied in 1970 after they became equated with the hippies and liberalism. Also, scandal resulted after it became known that the CIA gave LSD to people without their knowledge in an attempt to develop a mind control program during the 1950s and 60s.

Critics say that other treatments are available that work on depression, including ketamine, a common anesthetic that won FDA approval for depression after researchers at Yale University spent two decades studying it. This year, it came out in the form of a nasal spray that patients give themselves while in a physician’s office.

“Depression is a brain disease,” said Robert Pollack, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist from Fort Myers. “It’s not just a moment in time.”

The Yale studies have shown that depression is caused by abnormalities of the neurotransmitters GABA and glutamate, which are responsible for most activities in the brain. Ketamine, which Dr. Pollack offers at his practice, triggers glutamate production.

He also expressed concerns that the recent coverage of psilocybin studies might endanger lives by encouraging people to experiment on their own.

“The media just sensationalizes this because it’s about psychedelic drugs,” he said. “It’s irresponsible journalism.”

If you want to know just how dangerous psychedelics can be, he said, “Ask any emergency room doctors who treated patients who took LSD in the 1960s and 70s. The problems they saw were terrible.”

What’s Causing Our Superbug Crisis? Sneaky Germs

December 19th, 2019

A report issued in November by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed some bad news and some good news about infections caused by antibiotic-resistant microbes, or superbugs, in America. Superbugs are germs such a bacteria and fungi that can’t be destroyed by the medications currently available to fight them.

First, the bad news: In the report, the CDC noted that antibiotic-resistant superbugs have killed nearly twice as many people as previously believed. Also, the CDC announced it has identified two new, potentially deadly superbugs, bringing the total of most threatening superbugs to five.

One of the new superbugs,, a fungus called Candida auris, was a bit of a surprise to CDC officials. Five years ago, they weren’t even considering Candida auris as a serious threat. But it is now.

Among the superbugs we’ve known about, C difficle is a particularly nasty one. It is considered an urgent threat by health officials. C difficle alone caused nearly 250,000 infections in 2017, the most recent year for available data. It also caused at least 12,000 deaths that year.

The good news is that the total number of deaths from superbug infections has declined by 18 percent. The CDC estimates that 36,000 Americans died as a result of superbug infections in 2017. Compare that to 44,000 deaths in 2013. The decline is attributed, at least in part, to more judicious prescribing of antibiotics by physicians.

Antibiotic resistance is considered one of the world’s most pressing health problems. It happens when the germs find a way to survive the onslaught of death caused by the drugs. Bacteria are sneaky. They can alter antibiotics’ effect on them in several ways. I’ll describe a few of those ways soon.

Just to be clear, it’s the bacteria that become resistant to the medications. Individuals don’t become resistant. But resistant germs can be spread from person to person, and before you know it, an entire community is at risk.

So how do germs become resistant to antibiotics? The short answer is: They fight back!. They develop defense strategies called resistance mechanisms. Bacteria develop these mechanisms by altering the coded instructions found in their DNA. They can then share altered pieces of their DNA with other germs, making them resistant as well.

One of the resistance mechanisms bacteria use is to restrict the access of the antibiotics. Bacteria do this by changing or limiting the entryways for the antibiotics into their cells. That way, the drugs can’t get inside the bacteria to destroy them.

A second defense strategy of bacteria is to rid themselves of the antibiotic. They use pumps located in their cell walls to pump out any antibiotic that gets into the cells. A third strategy is to change or destroy the antibiotic using enzymes and proteins that break down the medication, rendering it useless.

Many antibiotics are designed to single out and destroy specific parts of a bacterium. These are the medications’ targets. One resistance mechanism is to bypass the effects of the antibiotics by developing new cell processes that avoid using the antibiotics’ targets.

Bacteria also develop resistance by changing the antibiotics’ targets. As a result, the antibiotics no longer fit and the drugs can’t do their job of destroying the bacteria.

The CDC and the World Health Organization continue to call on physicians to prescribe antibiotics only when they’re absolutely necessary and appropriate to treat patients’ infections. They ask us to take action as well to use antibiotics wisely. Here are a few suggestions for things you can do:

  • Don’t pressure your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic for a viral infection such as a cold or the flu. Antibiotics aren’t effective on viruses. Ask your doctor about other ways to treat your viral infection.
  • Don’t save antibiotics you didn’t use for the next time you get sick. Discard any medication that’s left over once you’ve completed your prescribed course of treatment.
  • Take your antibiotics exactly as your doctor prescribes. Don’t skip doses, and be sure to take the medication until it’s gone. For it to be most effective, you must take the medication for the entire time of your treatment .You may start to feel better and think you don’t need the medication anymore, but take it for the full course anyway. Some germs may survive the antibiotics’ initial effect and re-infect you if you stop too soon.
  • Don’t take someone else’s antibiotics. They may not be right drugs for your type of infection. Taking the wrong antibiotic can delay your treatment and allow the bacteria to multiply.

 

Buy Safe Toys During Season Of Giving

December 9th, 2019

The wrong toys can cause serious injuries or death.

It’s the season of giving and that means toys. Whether they’re given to children during Christmas or Hanukkah or donated to toy drives or pediatric hospitals, toys can put smiles on the faces of those who give and those who receive.

However, toys that are unsafe and inappropriate for a child’s developmental stage can be harmful and even cause injuries that send kids to the emergency room.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency rooms across the United States in 2018.

Of those injuries, an estimated 73-percent happened to children younger than 15, and 37-percent of those injured were younger than 5. And nearly half of all those injuries involved the head and face.

So, before you go on that holiday shopping spree, here are some important things to keep in mind when toy shopping.

“Those developmental ages on the box are important,” says Joe Perno, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. He says choking is the most common accident among younger children, who tend to put things in their mouths. Small parts can be dangerous, especially magnets and button batteries.

“You’ve just got to be very cautious with the toys to make sure the parts are appropriate,” he says.

Toys intended for older children should be kept away from younger siblings to ensure they don’t swallow small parts. Also, children with special needs will require toys for ages that match their developmental stage as opposed to their chronological age.

Other safety tips include:

  • Check for recalls. You can find the most updated list here.
  • To avoid shocks and burns, do not give children under the age of 10 a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy battery-operated toys for those children.
  • Children can suffocate on broken or underinflated balloons. Do not allow children younger than age 8 to play with them.

If donating toys to a pediatric hospital, consult the hospital’s website or child life department to see what they are able to accept. Most hospitals are unable to accept stuffed animals due to infection control issues. Also, with a few exceptions, toys must be new, unwrapped and latex-free. All video games should be rated E or E 10-plus.

If donating to a toy drive, consult their websites. Most will not accept toys that include weapons or promote violence because possessing them can endanger children in some areas.

If giving toys such as scooters, bicycles, skateboards or roller blades, always include protective gear, especially a helmet.

If giving toys that include foam projectiles, always make sure protective eyewear is included, and the children use it.

“Every year, we’ll see an eye injury from this,” Dr. Perno says.

You can find more toy safety tips at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Most Common Car Accident Injuries

December 2nd, 2019

Most Common Car Accident InjuriesThe most recent available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in 2016, there were 7,277,000 auto accidents in the U.S. That breaks down to an average of 19,937 accidents each day, which does not include the countless accidents that went unreported. Being involved in an auto accident can be a traumatizing event with many opportunities for disaster. You could be facing property damage, serious injuries, wage losses, hospital fees, emotional damages, and more. The most important asset to take care of after an accident is yourself.

Since injuries are not always immediately apparent and may not be until after your injuries have worsened, it’s imperative to get yourself checked out immediately after you’ve been in an accident. You only have 14 days from the date of the accident to seek medical attention in order to be covered under your auto insurance’s personal injury protection policy. Even if you feel fine, schedule an appointment with your local auto accident doctor to make sure you don’t have any underlying injuries that will need medical attention. Here are some common bodily injuries that we frequently see as the result of an accident.

Soft Tissue InjurySoft Tissue Injury

Soft tissue injuries are those that involve injuries to tendons, muscles, and ligaments. They most commonly seen in those who play sports, but can also be the result of a high impact car wreck. They can include:

  • Bursitis – The painful condition that includes swelling, or irritation of the bursae (the small, fluid-filled sac located by the joints) that usually occurs in the shoulder, knee, elbow, or hip.
  • Contusions – Areas of the skin or underlying tissue where blood capillaries have ruptured. Also called a bruise, these injuries can happen when your body is hit with blunt force by another object, or vice versa.
  • Sprains – The damage or tearing of a ligament or ligaments surrounding a joint. Sprains usually occur when a joint has been taken beyond its normal range of movement.
  • Strains – Injuries to the muscle or tendon caused by overuse, stretching, or force.
  • Tendonitis – Irritation or inflammation of the tendon. In an auto accident injury, this might be caused by sudden or direct force applied to the area of concern.

WhiplashWhiplash

Whiplash is a neck injury that can occur when the neck is forced to move forward and backward in a quick motion, like the cracking of a whip. It usually occurs during rear-end collisions, but can be a result of other types of collisions as well. Symptoms of whiplash include pain and swelling of the neck and shoulders. In some instances, physical therapy or neck injections may be required for persistent pain, so it’s important to get yourself checked out right away.

Spinal Cord InjurySpinal Cord Injury

The Mayo Clinic reported that car accidents account for nearly 50% of all reported spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury results from damage to the spinal cord or to the ligaments, discs, or vertebrae of the spinal column. A car accident can cause a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that can crush, compress, dislocate, or fracture the vertebrae. Additional injury can occur in the days or weeks following the accident due to inflammation, swelling, fluid accumulation, and bleeding around the spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can include:

  • Claudication – A common symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis, causing inflammation of the nerves emerging from the spinal cord.
  • Bulging, Degenerating, or Herniated Discs – A condition where the soft center of a spinal disk pushes through a crack in the tougher exterior casing. It can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg.
  • Sciatica – Pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs from the lower back. It’s primarily caused when a herniated disk or bone spur in the spine presses on the nerve. It usually only affects one side of the body.

Seat Belt SyndromeSeat Belt Syndrome

Wearing your seat belt is one of the most important decisions you can make when getting into a vehicle. It can save your life and prevent further debilitating injuries in the event of an accident. However, that doesn’t mean wearing one will leave you without injury. Medical professionals have coined the term “seat belt syndrome” to include a handful of common injuries that occur in accidents from the seat belt itself. The abdomen, chest, neck, and spine are the areas of the body that are primarily affected by seat belt syndrome.

  • Abdomen – The stomach, small and large intestines, liver, spleen, and pancreas often experience bruising or tearing.
  • Chest – Bruising, lacerations, and rashes from the belt can be clearly visible and painful. The belt can also cause rib and sternum fractures, damage to the lungs and trachea, connective tissue and cartilage tearing, damage to the chest wall, and heart contusions.
  • Spine & Neck – Spinal injuries are the most common since the spine is the shock absorber for the body. Injuries can include fractures, paralysis, damage to facet joints, and damaged discs.

Many injuries can also occur because seat belts are not being worn or faceted correctly. The concept of the belt is to keep the body aligned and sitting up straight so any potential blow or force would be distributed evenly across the body. Always wear your seat belt, and wear it correctly.

Airbag InjuryAirbag Injury

Similar to the primary function of a seat belt, the deployment of an airbag is to ensure the damage during a collision is lessened and your body does not receive the full force of the blow. However, you can still experience additional injuries because of an airbag. Depending on the speed you and the other driver were going at the time of the crash, as well as the trajectory of each vehicle in relation to one another, you may experience:

  • Whiplash from the force of the bag against your head and neck
  • Damage to your eyes if they remained open while the airbag deployed
  • Broken or fractured nose
  • Irritation to eyes and skin from chemicals and dust on the airbag
  • Other injuries due to the airbag’s deployment

Every injury is different. The best way to handle any injuries you’ve sustained is to begin the healing process with the best treatments for each injury. If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s imperative that you seek medical treatment immediately to ensure your body is functioning properly and no injuries go undetected for any period of time.

Preferred Injury Physicians

Travis Utter, DC, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Central Florida in Orlando and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic. He received additional training in NCV/EMG from the Neurodiagnostics Institute and in whiplash and accident reconstruction from the Spine Research Institute of San Diego. Dr. Utter is certified in whiplash and accident reconstruction.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

November 18th, 2019

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 100 million adults in this country are living with diabetes or prediabetes. Of those, 30.3 million – that’s 9.4 percent of the US population – have full-blown diabetes.

Another 84.1 million US adults have prediabetes. That’s a condition that, if left untreated, can lead to type 2 diabetes within five years. More than a third of adult Americans has prediabetes, and most of them don’t know they have it.

Why should we take note of these figures? Because consistently high blood glucose (sugar) levels, the hallmark of uncontrolled diabetes, can cause serious injury to your body’s nerves and blood vessels, impairing circulation and damaging your heart, liver, brain cells and eyes.

Most serious eye diseases related to diabetes begin when high blood glucose damages the eye’s tiny blood vessels. The four main eye diseases that can threaten the vision of a person with diabetes are diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss for people with diabetes and the leading cause of blindness for all adults in the US. It occurs when high glucose blocks the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, the part of your eye that detects light and sends signals to your brain. These damaged blood vessels can begin to swell and leak fluid. This stage is called non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

In some cases, non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy progresses into the proliferative stage. That’s when the eye grows new blood vessels to make up for the blocked vessels in a process called neovascularization. But the newly formed blood vessels are highly unstable and leak and bleed easily.

These leaking blood vessels may even hemorrhage into the jelly-like material that fills the center of your eyes, called the vitreous. Blood in the vitreous results in dark spots that can block vision.

Diabetic retinopathy can also cause scar tissue to form in the back of your eye, which may pull the retina away from the back of the eye. This is called a retinal detachment, and it’s a serious complication that can cause loss of vision if not repaired quickly.

As the unstable blood vessels in your retina continue to bleed, they eventually cause the macula, the area of the retina that enables you to read, drive and see faces, to swell. This condition is called diabetic macular edema. Over time, this condition can destroy your sharp vision and lead to partial vision loss and eventually blindness.

The natural lenses of your eyes are clear structures that provide sharp vision. But over time, they can become cloudy, a condition called cataracts. People who have diabetes can develop cataracts at an earlier age than people without the disease, and people with diabetes are two to five times more likely to develop cataracts. It’s believed that high glucose levels cause protein deposits to build up on the lenses, leading to the cataracts.

Sometimes, blood from the leaking vessels blocks the normal drainage channels for fluid in the eyes. As a result, fluid builds up and pressure in the eye increases, which can damage the optic nerve and affect vision. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases related to increased eye pressure. Having diabetes nearly doubles your risk of developing a type of glaucoma called open-angle glaucoma.

The best way to prevent vision loss from these eye diseases is to control your blood glucose levels and get regular exams by your eye doctor to look for swelling and changes in the blood vessels in your eyes.

To help control your diabetes, eat a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can affect your blood glucose level, so take all medications your doctor prescribes for these conditions and get them checked regularly. Don’t smoke and drink alcohol in moderation.

Regular eye exams can help find problems early, when they’re easier to treat. Early detection can save your vision. See you eye doctor yearly or as often as your doctor recommends. Call your eye doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Black spots in your vision
  • Flashes of light
  • “Holes” in your vision
  • Blurred vision

 

Amid his own battle with the disease, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek participates in pancreatic cancer PSA.

November 11th, 2019

Game show host Alex Trebek, who has battled pancreatic cancer since March, has teamed up with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition to star in a public service announcement aimed at raising awareness and donations for research.

“In nearly every country, pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year survival rate in the single digits,” Trebek said in the clip, filmed on the set of Jeopardy!, which he has hosted for 36 seasons. “Now, in order to help patients fight and survive this disease, more attention and awareness are needed. And that’s why I’ve joined forces with the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, to help raise global awareness of the risk and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.”

The PSA came out on Nov. 1, which marked the start of Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. Pancreatic cancer accounts for 3 percent of all the cancers in the United States and 7 percent of all cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society projects that about 56,770 people (29,940 men and 26,830 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer by the end of this year. About 45,750 people (23,800 men and 21,950 women) are expected to die from the disease this year.

The exact cause of pancreatic cancer is not well understood, though risk factors include age and family history. The disease is slightly more prevalent in men than in women. African-Americans and Ashkenazi Jews also report more pancreatic cancer cases. Lifestyle choices such as a diet high in red and processed meat consumption, heavy drinking or smoking also may play a role. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may lower risk.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009. Soon after, surgeons removed her pancreas and spleen. Actors John Hurt, Alan Rickman, Patrick Swayze and Michael Landon all died from pancreatic cancer. Other notables who lost their lives include Sally Ride, the first female astronaut in space, legendary Oakland Raider Gene Upshaw, Benjamin Orr, co-founder of the 1980s band, The Cars, and Charlotte Rae, the wise boarding school house mom in the hit TV show “The Facts of Life.” Apple founder Steve Jobs and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin each died after being diagnosed with pancreatic tumors, though not cancer.

No screenings for pancreatic cancer exist, which is why it’s important to get checked out if you have any of the symptoms. Often, the disease is diagnosed in its late stages, which makes treatment more challenging. Trebek’s cancer had already reached stage four when doctors diagnosed him.

“I wish I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer,” Trebek said during the clip.

Other common symptoms can include mid-back pain, unexplained weight loss, new onset diabetes, stool changes and the yellowing of the skin or eyes.

To help determine if you have pancreatic cancer, your doctor will ask you about your family history, perform an exam that includes looking at your body, skin and eyes and pressing on your abdomen to check for changes around the pancreas, liver and gallbladder, and possibly order blood, urine and stool tests. Your doctor also will order an imaging study such as computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and get a tissue sample called a biopsy.

Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of these. You may also have opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

For more information about pancreatic cancer and to see Trebek’s PSA, visit the Pancreatic Action Network.

 

 

National Diabetes Awareness Month:

November 6th, 2019

Time to turn sugar highs into sugar lows.

It’s fitting that the day after the sugar high of Halloween marks the start of National Diabetes Month.

No doubt the folks who came up with the idea for a low-sugar awareness month figured this to be a good time to start keeping it real before the pumpkin pie, chocolate peppermint brownies and sugar cookies start to derail our diets. And well they should.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, diabetes is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States. One in 10 Americans have diabetes — that’s more than 30 million people. And another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In Florida, it is estimated that more than 2.4 million people have diabetes and more than 5.8 million have prediabetes. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The numbers are expected to get worse as the population continues to age, with 54.9 million Americans diagnosed in 2030, according to a study by the Institute for Alternative Futures, analyzed by PsyD  Programs. That’s an increase of 38 percent from current rates.

The study estimates that 5,393,800 Floridians will have diabetes in 11 years. That’s 19.8 percent of the state’s population and puts Florida as the second-highest state in the nation for diabetes cases. The top state is expected to be West Virginia, with 20.5 percent. The three states with the lowest percentages are Utah, Alaska and Colorado, each with slightly more than 10 percent.

When broken down by metro area, Miami leads the nation with 18.8 percent of the population projected to be diabetic in 2030. The lowest metro is Minneapolis, with 11.7 percent.

“Diabetes is a very serious disease affecting millions of Americans, but it can be managed with a healthy lifestyle,” says Florida Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. “This year, I encourage you to know your risk factors for diabetes and act as a support system for those in your life who may be affected by the disease.”

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes, so it is especially important for women to be aware of their risk factors for developing diabetes, including having a family history of diabetes as well as age, weight, and physical activity level.

The good news, especially for those with prediabetes, is that it can be prevented. A healthy diet, regular exercise and medical monitoring can go a long way toward ensuring that diabetes never gains a foothold.

Some feel smoothies are filled with sugar. It’s true for many store-bought options, but at home you’re in total control.

That’s important because adults with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as people without diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart.

This year, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is emphasizing that tie-in to cardiovascular health.  Here are their tips to take control of your health:

  • Stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
  • Manage your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
  • Develop or maintain healthy lifestyle habits – be more physically active and learn ways to manage stress.
  • Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

Yes, that also includes throwing out that bag of candy corn you bought on clearance.  For more information about diabetes and what you can do to prevent, control it or support a loved one, click here.

 

Page 3 of 22