Check your skin for signs of cancer

A regular skin self-exam is the best way to look for early signs of skin cancer so you can alert your doctor, Harvard Medical School reports.

By checking your skin regularly, you’ll learn what is normal for you and can more easily note skin changes and abnormalities that require attention.

The best time to check your skin is after a shower or bath, according to the Harvard Special Health Report Skin Care and Repair. Use a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror in a room with plenty of light.

Follow these steps to check yourself from head to toe:

• Look at your face, neck, ears, and scalp. You may want to use a comb or a blow dryer to move your hair so you can see better. It may be hard to check your scalp by yourself, so you have a relative or friend check through your hair.

• Look at the front and back of your body in the mirror. Then, raise your arms and look at your left and right sides. Bend your elbows. Look carefully at your fingernails, palms, forearms (including the undersides), and upper arms.

• Check the back, front, and sides of your legs. Also check the skin all over your buttocks and genital area.

• Sit and closely examine your feet, including your toenails, the soles of your feet, and the spaces between your toes.

• Learn where your moles are and their usual look and feel. Check for anything different, such as: a new mole (that looks different from your other moles); a new red or darker-colored flaky patch that may be a little raised; a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole; a sore that doesn’t heal; or a new flesh-colored firm bump.

• Write down the dates of your skin self-exams and make notes about the way your skin looks on those dates. You may find it helpful to take photos to help check for changes over time. If you notice anything unusual, consult your doctor.

More brain injuries in elderly from falls

U.S. government researchers say elderly people are suffering brain injuries from falls at what appear to be an unprecedented rate, The Associated Press reports.

The reason for the increase isn’t certain, according to the new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But one likely factor is that a growing number of elderly people are living at home and taking repeated tumbles.

Whatever the cause, the numbers are striking: One in every 45 Americans 75 and older suffered brain injuries that resulted in emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or deaths in 2013. The rate for that age group jumped 76 percent from 2007. The rate of these injuries for people of all ages rose about 50 percent over that time, hitting a record level.

Reduce the Risk of Many Mental Disorders by a Healthy Microbiome and Exercise

Robert Leo Plucinsky, MS, Health Education and a Healthy Lombard Foundation 2017 Health Hero Award winner shared that  healthy bacteria helps digestion, nutrient absorption, increases immunity response, eases stress, and control inflammation, a key factor in degenerative diseases in body and brain. This includes Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, MS and others mental ills that can be greatly reduced by Following Doctor Perlmutter’s Five Step Plan for Brain Health.

1. Prebiotics: onions, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, Mexican yam, garlic and other
Indigestible fibers to help probiotics do their good work for health-giving bacteria.

2. Probiotics: supplements that contain 3 lactobacilli and 2 bifidobacteria. BioK sponsored Natural  Breakthroughs in Brain Health with Brenda Watson PBS show 2/12/17. Or you can eat live culture plain yogurt, Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, or drink Kefir or Kombucha tea. Fermented vegetables and fruits also help gut to brain wellness.
3. Low carb foods are good for brain and body and high carb foods increase risk of inflammation that is the basis for chronic and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Avoid consuming refined carbs and simple sugars, and grains and flours.

Long-term stress might make you fat

Recently, CNN reported that English researchers compared stress levels and body weight of more than 2,500 men and women over age 54 who participated in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing.

The study, published in the journal Obesity, looked at the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol in locks of hair gathered from participants.

“We found levels of cortisol in the hair to be positively and significantly correlated to larger waist circumference and higher body mass index or BMI,” said lead author Sarah Jackson, a research associate at the Institute of Epidemiology and Health at University College London. “These results provide consistent evidence that chronic stress is associated with higher levels of obesity.”

Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands that is released into the bloodstream in times of stress. In addition to suppressing inflammation and regulating blood pressure, cortisol helps maintain steady supplies of blood sugar and gives an energy boost to handle emergencies.

“There’s a lot of evidence that cortisol influences appetite and even our preference for high-calorie comfort foods,” Jackson said. “So I know that’s tough. But it’s best to look for better ways to manage stress and avoid using food as a crutch.”

Essential Health Screenings for Older Adults

Jennifer Scott from SpiritFinder.org shared that regular health checkups are important for people of all ages, but older adults should make getting the recommended health screenings a priority. Early detection is the key to successful management of many chronic diseases and can have substantial impacts on the odds of surviving many types of cancer. Even if you’re generally healthy and don’t rely on medications, make an appointment with your healthcare provider for a checkup and these important health screenings.

Important Health Screenings for Adults 50+

All adults age 50 and older should have a regular blood pressure screening. If you have high blood pressure or risk factors for high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you regularly screen your blood pressure at home or visit the office periodically to have your blood pressure screened by a nurse.

Beginning at age 50, both men and women should be screened for colorectal cancer. This is often done through a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or a colonoscopy every 10 years, although there are other screening methods. Talk to your doctor about your health history and determine the right screening method and frequency based on your personal risk profile.

Both men and women should also have diabetes screening and regular cholesterol profiles. Blood sugar testing is recommended at least every three years, while cholesterol screening is recommended every three years or more often.

Regular vision checkups and hearing tests are also recommended for adults, and it’s a good idea to periodically examine your skin for moles and spots that change in color, size, or texture, which may be an indication of skin cancer. While women have a higher risk of osteoporosis, both men and women may also opt for a bone density scan, which can pick up on signs of osteoporosis, at age 65 or sooner if at high risk.

Vital Health Tests for Older Men

Men age 50 and older should be screened for prostate cancer. This may be done with a PSA test (a blood test), although recent research has cast some doubt on the value of PSA testing as a screening factor. Discuss your options with your doctor to determine if PSA testing is right for you. Digital rectal exams are conducted during regular office visits and are generally considered the best screening method for detecting prostate cancer.

Men who have smoked in the past (or are current smokers) may opt for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) screening, conducted via ultrasound. This screening is recommended for men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes at any point in life.

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Helpful skin care tips

Dermatologist, Dr. Donna Hart from Kovak Dermatology & Laser Institute shared that since Spring is right around the corner this is a great time to consider the following:

  • Self Skin Checks– Skin self exams can help find spots that differ from others. If you notice a spot that changes, itches, or bleeds, make an appointment to see our dermatologist.

  • Utilize Sunscreen– Apply sunscreen before you go outdoors. Sunscreen can slow down skin aging as well as help prevent skin cancer. Look for a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 (or higher), and water resistance.

  • Use skin care products that match your skin’s needs– Using products that are formulated for your skin’s needs (oil-control, dry skin, redness, etc.) will help your skin look and feel the best.
  • Wash your face twice daily with a gentle cleanser– Washing when you wake up removes the dirt and bacteria that settle on your face while sleeping. Before bed, you want to remove makeup and any residual debris on your skin. Be careful not to over cleanse since frequent washing can strip your skin of the essential oils it needs to be healthy.
  • See our dermatologist if you dislike something about your skin– When it comes to your skin, dermatologists are the experts. These physicians can diagnose and treat thousands of different skin diseases. They also have the expertise needed to help patients safely rejuvenate and care for their skin.

To make an appointment for a skin check, or a dermatology consultation please call our office. We offer evening, as well as Saturday appointments for your convenience. 

HPV is more common in men than you think!

College of DuPage Nursing Stuent Mark Davis shared that Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is the most commonly spread sexually transmitted disease in the US. A large majority of sexually active adults will get the virus at some point in their life. Many don’t show any symptoms and are unaware that they are even infected. However, some certain types of HPV strains has shown strong relationships to cancer, including cervical, vaginal, penis and throat cancers. And new evidence may suggest that the prevalence of HPV in men may be higher than originally expected.

A recent study from JAMA Oncology surveyed over 2000 men ages 18-59 which suggests that up to 45% of males may be infected, up to 35 million men. Another striking fact from the same study concluded that of those infected, 25% were infected with a high risk strain of HPV, meaning they were more prone to developing cancer.

Preventing HPV infection is as easy as getting a vaccine however only about 11% of those surveyed were vaccinated. The HPV vaccine can be given as early as 9 years old but are generally given around 11 or 12. If you are older than that, HPV vaccine can be given to adults up to 26 years old depending on certain risk factors determined by your healthcare provider.

 

 

Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV, is the most commonly spread sexually transmitted disease in the US. A large majority of sexually active adults will get the virus at some point in their life. Many don’t show any symptoms and are unaware that they are even infected. However, some certain types of HPV strains has shown strong relationships to cancer, including cervical, vaginal, penis and throat cancers. And new evidence may suggest that the prevalence of HPV in men may be higher than originally expected.

A recent study from JAMA Oncology surveyed over 2000 men ages 18-59 which suggests that up to 45% of males may be infected, up to 35 million men. Another striking fact from the same study concluded that of those infected, 25% were infected with a high risk strain of HPV, meaning they were more prone to developing cancer.

Preventing HPV infection is as easy as getting a vaccine however only about 11% of those surveyed were vaccinated. The HPV vaccine can be given as early as 9 years old but are generally given around 11 or 12. If you are older than that, HPV vaccine can be given to adults up to 26 years old depending on certain risk factors determined by your healthcare provider.

 

 

What a Fabulous Line-Up of Fun

The Healthy Lombard February Fitness Fair has something for everyone.  There will be 35 exhibitors with fantastic ideas on how to help folks begin and continue a healthy lifestyle.  And that’s not all.  Visitors can also “sample” different ways to get moving with a fabulous selection of stage performances.  Come early and see them all.
Here’s the schedule:
Zumba at  10:20  AM – Danielle
Yoga at 10:40 AM- Karen Flynn
2 XL at 11 AM.   Eric and Howard
A kids’ contest at 11:20 AM
Aspirations Dance Company 11:40 – 12:10
A kids’ contest at 12:15
Line Dancing at 12:30 PM- Sue Loftus
Health Heros at 1:PM
Raffle at 1:20 PM

A swig of hydrogen peroxide can kill you

Lenny Bernstein shared in the Washington Post recently that hundreds of people have become severely ill and at least five have died after consuming high-concentration hydrogen peroxide that some people take as an additive to their diets, according to a new study.

The colorless, caustic liquid quickly releases a bubble of oxygen that can find its way into a blood vessel, blocking blood flow to the heart, the brain, the lungs or other parts of the body, according to the research, which was published this week in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Alternative health sites promote consumption of a few drops of high-concentration hydrogen peroxide heavily diluted in water or another liquid as a treatment for a wide variety of ailments. However, no scientific evidence supports those claims, said Benjamin Hatten, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who led the group that conducted the study.

Hydrogen peroxide was responsible for 294 emergencies in the United States between 2001 and 2011, most often after people mistook it for water in an unlabeled container and consumed a mouthful or more, according to Hatten’s research. The five deaths included a 35-year-old woman who suffered brain and heart damage. Fifteen people were permanently disabled. In all, 41 people suffered blockages from the gas bubble released in their systems, the research found.

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A Fun Way to be a Happy and Healthy Family:

College of DuPage Nursing Student Brooke Buxton shared that the days have come to where fast food, microwaved meals, and choosing unhealthy prepped meals at the store are much easier than taking the time to make your own dinner. Quick and easy seems to be the fix these days, but what are we teaching our children? These unhealthy choices also lead to obesity in children and adults, causing many complications in the future.

Quick and easy may work for some people, but there are healthier, easier ways to make mealtime a good time. A recommended way to prepare a meal involves initially picking out five recipes; one for each day of the week. Once you know the type of food you will be preparing, you can go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients. This plan may work better on a Saturday, Sunday, or a day off.

Once all of the shopping is finished, the meals for the entire week can be made and frozen so that they are already prepared and can simply be put into the oven when you get home from work.

Include the children in the meal prepping for the week. They can measure ingredients out and add them to the meal. They can also choose a healthy recipe for the week or the vegetable on the side. Children become very proud of their work and are more likely to eat the food that they have helped to create. This is also a great way to get your family to try new and interesting foods that you may have never thought they liked before.

“Planning meals and snacks in advance and eating breakfast every day may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, new guidelines from U.S. doctors say.” The American Heart Association recently recommended meal prepping ahead of time for cardiovascular disease prevention. The quality time with your family spent preparing meals for the week and the healthy outcomes that it can lead to opt for a more successful life.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-cardiovascular-meal-timing-idUSKBN15F2GW