Breast Cancer: Risks and What to Watch For

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Most cases occur in women over the age of 50 but breast cancer can occur in younger women, especially if they have a family history of it. It’s important to be mindful of your body and stay aware of signs of early detection. If you notice any lump or change to your normal breast then you should see a doctor promptly.

Risk Factors

Women with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors (such as drinking alcohol) can be avoided. But most risk factors (such as having a family history of breast cancer) can’t be avoided. Having a risk factor does not mean that a woman will get breast cancer. Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.

BRCA: The Breast Cancer Gene

All inherited traits are passed down through genes. Each person has two copies of every gene: one gene from each parent. Since each parent passes down exactly half of their genes to each child, any of the parent’s genetic traits has a 50% chance of being passed on to their offspring.

The name “BRCA” is an abbreviation for “BReast CAncer gene.” BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two different genes that have been found to impact a person’s chances of developing breast cancer.

Every human has both the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Despite what their names might suggest, BRCA genes do not cause breast cancer. In fact, these genes normally play a big role in preventing breast cancer. They help repair DNA breaks that can lead to cancer and the uncontrolled growth of tumors. Because of this, the BRCA genes are known as tumor suppressor genes. However, in some people these tumor suppression genes do not work properly. When a gene becomes altered or broken, it doesn’t function correctly. This is called a gene mutation.

Early Detection: Signs and Symptoms

Most people who have breast cancer symptoms and signs will initially notice only one or two, and the presence of these symptoms and signs do not automatically mean that you have breast cancer.

By performing monthly breast self-exams, you will be able to more easily identify any changes in your breast.  Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional if you notice anything unusual.

  • A Change In How The Breast Or Nipple Feels
  • A Change In The Breast Or Nipple Appearance
  • Any Nipple Discharge—Particularly Clear Discharge Or Bloody Discharge

Women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years. Women who are younger than 40 and have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their healthcare professional whether mammograms are advisable and how often to have them.

Treatment

Do your research. Speak with support groups and breast cancer survivors. The more information you gather about your treatment options, the better decisions you’ll make. Your treatment options depend on the stage of your disease and these factors:

  • The size of the tumor in relation to the size of your breast
  • The results of specific pathology tests (hormone receptors, HER2 receptors, grade of the cells, proliferation rate of the cells)
  • Whether you have gone through menopause
  • Your general health
  • Your age
  • Your family history or other risk factors associated with a predisposition for developing breast or ovarian cancer

Remember that while your doctors can make recommendations and provide options, the final decisions regarding your treatment are yours. With good research, you can have confidence in the path you take. By embracing your part, you’ll give yourself the best odds for a long and healthy life.

Finally…

If breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, there is a good chance of a cure. In general, the more advanced the cancer is (the more it has grown and spread), the less chance that treatment will be curative. However, treatment can often slow the progress of the cancer. Her Care encourages women to take charge of their health! Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

(Some information provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation).

Stay Awake at The Wheel: Putting an End To Drowsy Driving

Your body requires three things: water, food and sleep. You can choose not to drink water or not eat food until you eventually die. Your body’s need for sleep is so strong, however, that you can try not to sleep, but your brain will eventually make your body sleep. When you deprive yourself of sleep (or aren’t getting quality sleep), you become drowsy.

Drowsiness is a feeling of being sleepy and lethargic. Drowsiness can be triggered by your body clock, exposure to daylight/darkness and how long you’ve been awake. The average amount of sleep recommended for an adult is eight hours. Any less can impair you speech and motor skills. It is even likened the effects of being under the influence of alcohol.

How Common is Drowsy Driving?

Drowsy driving is responsible for 100, 000 police-reported crashes annually, involving 76,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths. However, studies suggest an even higher rate of drowsy driving. One study goes as far as to say 55% of people drive while drowsy, while 23% fall asleep behind the wheel without incident, and 3% have been in a drowsy/sleep-related accident.

Drivers that are drowsy are usually unaware of how tired they are prior to an accident, and as of now, there is no test for sleepiness after a wreck.  This is due, in part, to the release of adrenaline that an accident causes the brain to release. Drowsy drivers are often fully alert after an accident, which can be misleading. Drivers also tend to be reluctant to tell police they were drowsy after a crash.

What are the Common Characteristics in Drowsy Driving Accidents?

The time of day could be a cause for a driver being drowsy. Our brain tells our body to sleep in the quiet midnight hour, but we get a similar call at the peak hours of the afternoon. In turn, most accidents happen between midnight and 8 a.m., closely followed by 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. So, if you must drive during these times, provide yourself with plenty of sleep beforehand.

82% of reported drowsy crashes involved an individual driving alone. Another person in the vehicle provides a buffer to keep the driver alert. At very least, the passenger has the opportunity to notice when the driver is getting sleepy. Driving with the “buddy system” can allow the passengers in the vehicle to drive on a shift schedule.

One report stated  4% of all fatalities are attributed to people driving drowsy. Good indicators can include no skid marks or witnesses not seeing brake lights.

Who is Most at Risk?

Young drivers make up the majority of drowsy drivers. 55%, to be exact. Males make up 75% of those car wrecks, while females account for the the remaining 25%. Other attributing factors include lifestyle or behavioral choices. Younger people to make tiresome decisions such as to stay up late and work longer hours.

What are the Signs of Drowsy Driving?

  • Drifting from your lane or hit the rumble strip.
  • Finding yourself yawning frequently.
  • Catching yourself “nodding off” and have trouble keeping your head up.
  • Weakened attention or wandering mind.
  • Tailgating and missing of traffic signs.
  • Having trouble focusing and keeping your eyes open.

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving?

Prevent drowsy driving by making sure you (or your driver) is well rested before extended car trips-trips. Another effective measure is to stop and sleep when you feel tired. Also, avoid alcohol and medications that impair your ability to drive. Don’t fall under the fallacy that you’ll be able to shake it off and be fine when you can feel your eyes getting heavy.

Alerting devices can save your life. One of the most effective alerts is the roadway rumble strip to wake a driver who is drifting off but it isn’t a cure-all. Auto manufacturers are also creating new devices to help keep a driver awake on the road.

If healthy sleep habits don’t help your drowsiness, you should get a sleep study. Learn more about sleep studies and sleep disorders.

Give Your Heart a Break: Overcoming Chronic Stress

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When you are constantly experiencing stress, your body remains in high gear off and on for days or even weeks at a time. Chronic stress that causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure may damage the artery walls.

Chronic Stress

On one hand, stress is inevitable and a necessary part of life. There is, however, serious consequences to not handling stress in a healthy manner. Even short-lived stress can have an impact. Chronic stress has been proven to increases the risk of developing health problems including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and a weakened immune system. Chronic stress also has a significant negative effect on a person’s mental health. Many studies show a correlation between stress and the development of mood disorders such as anxiety disorders and depression. According to the American Psychological Association, 66 percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress, and 63 percent experience psychological symptoms. Some people don’t realize the effects of stress until the effects have already negatively affected them. 

Can Managing Stress Reduce or Prevent Heart Disease?

Managing stress is a good idea for your overall health, and researchers are currently studying whether managing stress is effective for heart disease. A few studies have examined how well treatment or therapies work in reducing the effects of stress on cardiovascular disease. Studies using psychosocial therapies – involving both psychological and social aspects – are promising in the prevention of second heart attacks. After a heart attack or stroke, people who feel depressed, anxious or overwhelmed by stress should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professionals.

Tips For Managing Stress

Fortunately, there are many ways to manage the unhealthy stress. Some of these tips may be more helpful than others, and some might already be included in your daily routine. Regardless, here’s a few tips that will help:

  • When feeling stressed, slow down and take deep breaths. Try to Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth
  • Exercise
  • Find a friend or family member you can trust and talk it out
  • Laugh
  • Be Positive
  • Seek out activities that involve others
  • Manage your time, be sure to not overwork yourself
  • Take a walk
  • Don’t self-medicate with alcohol or other drugs

Medicines are helpful for many things, but usually not for stress. If you are experiencing chronic stress, try learning how to manage your stress through relaxation or stress management techniques. Be careful not to confuse stress with anxiety. If you suffer from severe anxiety, speak with your doctor about your options.

Even the most organized people aren’t immune to experiencing stress. If you have questions or need more advice on managing stress, contact us or schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by the American Heart Association).

A Quick Guide: Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis, affecting more than 1.3 million Americans. Of these, about 75 percent are women. In fact, 1–3 percent of women may get rheumatoid arthritis in their lifetime. The disease most often begins between the fourth and sixth decades of life. However, RA can start at any age.

RA is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling and limited motion and function of many joints. While RA can affect any joint, the small joints in the hands and feet tend to be involved most often. Inflammation sometimes can affect organs as well, for instance, the eyes or lungs.

Features of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints
  • Symmetrical pattern of affected joints
  • Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand
  • Joint inflammation sometimes affecting other joints, including the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles and feet
  • Fatigue, occasional fevers, a loss of energy
  • Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest
  • Symptoms that last for many years
  • Variability of symptoms among people with the disease.

Who has Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Scientists estimate that about 1.5 million people, or about 0.6 percent of the U.S. adult population, have RA. Interestingly, some recent studies have suggested that although the number of new cases of RA for older people is increasing, the overall number of new cases may actually be going down.

RA occurs in all races and ethnic groups. Although the disease often begins in middle age and occurs with increased frequency in older people, older teenagers and young adults may also be diagnosed with the disease. Children and younger teenagers may be diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (a condition related to RA). Like some other forms of arthritis, RA occurs much more frequently in women than in men. About two to three times as many women as men have the disease.

How does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect People’s Lives?

RA affects people differently. Some people have mild or moderate forms of the disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Others have a severe form of the disease that is active most of the time, lasts fro many years or a lifetime and leads to serious joint damage and disability.

Although RA is primarily a disease of the joints, its effects are not just physical. Many people with RA also experience issues related to:

  • Depression
  • feelings of helplessness
  • low self-esteem

RA can affect virtually every part of a person’s life, from work life to family life. It can also interfere with the joys and responsibilities of family life and may affect the decision to have children.

Finally…

The rheumatologists at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic specialize in treating patients with arthritis, gout, lupus and related diseases.  Knowledge of these diseases continues to expand through research efforts.  Our major goal is to limit any arthritic damage, especially in rheumatoid arthritis.  Our services include bone density testing, joint injections and an IV infusion clinic for new medications.  Our rheumatologists are armed with the latest information regarding your disease and treatment options to improve your quality of life. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by the American College of Rheumatology).

Probiotic Powerhouse: How Good Bacteria Can Benefit Your Body

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Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits. Products sold as probiotics include foods (such as yogurt), dietary supplements, and products that aren’t used orally, such as skin creams.

Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful “germs,” many microorganisms help our bodies function properly. For example, bacteria that are normally present in our intestines help digest food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and produce vitamins. Large numbers of microorganisms live on and in our bodies. In fact, microorganisms in the human body outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies.

Why Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

Researchers have studied probiotics to find out whether they might help prevent or treat a variety of health problems, including:

  • Prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  • Promote healthy cholesterol
  • Help aid depression and anxiety
  • Immune system support
  • Soothe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Eradicate ulcers
  • Helps melt belly fat

Are all probiotics the same?

There’s preliminary evidence that some probiotics are helpful in preventing diarrhea caused by infections and antibiotics and in improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but more needs to be learned.

Probiotics are not all alike. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing.

When Is It Time to Visit a Gastroenterologist?

A gastroenterologist is specially trained to manage diseases of the digestive tract from the esophagus to the anus.In many cases, people who are diagnosed with a chronic digestive condition are under the long-term care of a gastroenterologist. If you are experiencing a recurrence or a flare-up of an existing condition, you should contact the gastroenterologist who has been managing your treatment. If you are experiencing new symptoms, patients are usually referred to a gastroenterologist by their primary care physician. Your physician may recommend you see a gastroenterologist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of GI disorders:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Leakage/underwear stains
  • Bowel movement urges that are hard to control
  • Diarrhea
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Dark urine
  • Heartburn (acid reflux)
  • Abdominal pain or bloating
  • Excessive gas or belching
  • Esophageal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or weight
  • Lethargy

Finally…

The gastroenterologists at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic have some of the latest tools to diagnose and treat diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, liver and pancreas.  Your gastroenterologist will manage the most simple to the most complex gastrointestinal diseases. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by the National Canter for complementary and Integrative Health).

Key Points Your Endocrinologist Wants You to Know About Diabetes

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The Endocrinologist at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic is thoroughly trained in the management of hormonal and metabolic disorders. With the aid of our experienced staff, our Endocrinology Department can assist in the management of your diabetes, complex metabolic bone disease, or disorders affecting the thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands. Patient education services are available for patients in the care and management of these disorders. We also provide dietary counsel for lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to properly utilize blood sugar. Carbohydrate foods create blood sugar and the body needs insulin in order to process the sugar into energy for the body to function properly.

Type I diabetes is a condition in which the body’s immune system damages the pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. This form of diabetes is treated with insulin replacement by injection since the body is no longer capable of producing enough of its own insulin.

Type II diabetes is a much more common form and is progressive in nature. This form of diabetes causes insulin resistance which means the body still produces insulin but had difficulty utilizing it. There are various medications in pill form to treat Type II diabetes, but because of the nature of Type II diabetes, sometimes the pancreas wears out and insulin replacement by injection is required.

At this time there is no permanent cure for diabetes. Your physician will determine what medications you may need and should be carefully used daily. You should visit your doctor every three to six months so that the efficacy of treatment can be re-evaluated. Good glucose control is essential in order to prevent or retard the onset of diabetic complications. These include, but are not limited to damage to the small vessels of the eye, kidney damage, coronary artery disease, and peripheral nerve damage. These complications can lead to blindness, heart attack or stroke, dialysis, and amputation.

The good news is that with proper self-care and medical expertise you can significantly reduce or avoid these complications altogether. The following will help:

Weight Control

Weight control through diet and exercise is important. If you are overweight, your chances of diabetes increase significantly and you are putting yourself at risk. The Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic has a patient education specialist to assist you in the care and management of diabetes through diet and exercise. You need to exercise on a regular basis, preferably every day for at least 45 minutes. An exercise program should be initiated slowly and built up gradually to avoid injury and build stamina. Go for the distance rather than intensity. Our patient education specialist can assist you in starting an exercise regimen that will work for you. Be sure and obtain clearance from your physician before starting any exercise regimen.

Check Your Blood Sugars

You can do this with a home glucose monitor regularly. Your physician or diabetic educator will prescribe a routine and frequency that best suits your needs, but many doctors ask that you monitor before breakfast and before supper. Please be sure to record your numbers and to bring your results along with your meter when seeing the doctor. He or she will want to discuss those readings with you.

Periodic Checks

Glychohemoglobin is a test developed to give information about your average blood sugar level during the past two or three months. It should be checked every three to six months. The American Diabetic Association recommends that the patients diabetic regimen be adjusted to achieve a glycol hemoglobin of less than 7%. Any contributing risk factor for vascular disease should be aggressively assessed and treated. Cholesterol, triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure, and smoking are all factors that need to be addressed. Your physician or educator can help you understand your results and your treatment options. Some medications typically used to treat elevated blood pressure also have a protective effect in preventing kidney complications of diabetes. Any medication prescribed by your physician should be taken only as directed. Consult your doctor before adding or deleting any medication including over the counter meds.

  • Microalbumin: urine testing should be performed yearly to evaluate the likelihood of diabetic kidney involvement.
  • A visit to the Ophthalmologist should be scheduled at least yearly. He or she will evaluate any diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, or other conditions and plan treatment accordingly.
  • You should have a comprehensive medical examination yearly that includes a treadmill exercise test. Underlying coronary artery disease is often more common in an individual with diabetes and needs early intervention.

Sick Days

Sick days require special consideration. Anything your body perceives as stress can and will increase your blood sugar. This stress can be physical or emotional in nature. If you are ill your blood glucose will rise even if you cannot eat. Rules of thumb for sick days are as follows.

  • Stick to your meal plan if you can eat.
  • Take your diabetes medication unless your physician tells you to stop.
  • Check with your doctor before taking any other medication.
  • Drink at least one large glass of liquid each hour. If you are eating, these liquids should be sugar-free.
  • Test your blood sugar every 4 hours.
  • Ask someone to check in on you or have them call every few hours to make sure you are all right.
  • If in doubt, consult your physician. Early and effective management of sick days will reduce your chances of developing diabetic coma.

Finally…

An endocrinologist diagnoses and treats hormone problems by attempting to restore hormone balance within the body’s systems. It is a good idea to compile a list of any existing symptoms before the visit so that none are missed. We are here to help! Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Understanding Sleep Apnea: How Common Is It?

 

adc-understanding-sleep-apnea-infographicSleep apnea is a very common disorder in which people stop breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea may stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, often for a minute or longer and as many as hundreds of times during a single night.
Sleep apnea can be caused by either partial or complete obstruction of the airway (obstructive apnea) or temporary loss of the stimulation from the brain to take a breath during sleep.  As a result, the brain is forced to awaken slightly to restore normal breathing or to relieve the obstruction.  These brief awakenings lead to a substantial decrease in sleep quality.

  • Sleep apnea is very common, as common as type 2 diabetes. It affects more than 18 million Americans, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  • Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, impotence, and headaches.
  • Sleep apnea is seen more frequently among men than among women, particularly African-American and Hispanic men.
  • Because of the lack of awareness by the public and health care professionals, the vast majority of sleep apnea patients remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

Think you might have a sleep disorder? We use the latest technology for diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in a comfortable and home-like atmosphere. Our team of sleep professionals is dedicated to providing the highest quality of sleep for our patients. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule and appointment.

(Some information provided by the National Sleep Foundation).

Precipitating Factors For Each Common Headache Type

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Almost everyone has had a headache. Headaches are the most common form of pain and a major reason people miss days at work, school or take a visit to the doctor. The most common type of headache is a tension headache. Tension headaches are due to tight muscles in your shoulders, neck, scalp and jaw. They are often related to stress, depression or anxiety. You are more likely to get tension headaches if you work too much, don’t get enough sleep, miss meals, or use alcohol.

Other common types of headaches include:

 Sinus Headaches

Sinus headaches include gnawing pain over the nasal area and often increase in severity throughout the day. Pain is caused by acute infection, usually with fever, producing blockage of sinus ducts and preventing normal drainage. Fortunately, sinus headaches are rare…however, migraine and cluster headaches are often misdiagnosed as sinus in origin.

Precipitating Factors: Infection, nasal polyps, anatomical deformities, such as deviated septum that blocks the sinus ducts

Treatment: Treat with antibiotics, decongestants, surgical drainage, if necessary

Prevention: None

Arthritis Headaches

You can point out an arthritis headache by the pain at the back of head or neck which intensifies on movement. It is caused by inflammation of the blood vessels of the head or bony changes in the structures of the neck.

Precipitating Factors: Cause of pain is unknown

Treatment: Anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants

Prevention: None

Caffeine-Withdrawal Headaches

Skip your morning coffee? Caffeine withdrawal headaches include a throbbing headache caused by rebound dilation of the blood vessels, occurring multiple days after consumption of large quantities of caffeine.

Precipitating Factors: Caffeine

Treatment: Treat by terminating caffeine consumption in extreme cases.

Prevention: Avoiding excess use of caffeine.

Chronic Daily Headaches

This refers to a broad range of headache disorders occurring more than 15 days a month; two categories are determined by duration of the headache (less than four hours and more than four hours).

Precipitating Factors: Typically evolve from transformed migraine. Although not related to chronic tension-type headache, they can evolve from episodic tension-type headache. Can be associated with medication overuse.

Treatment: Depending on the type of CHD, different treatment options exist. It is important to limit analgesic use.

Prevention: Based on diagnosis of headache, how long they last, and the number experienced per month.

Depression and Headaches

Depression seems to be especially closely linked to certain kinds of chronic pain in the body, including migraine headaches, severe non-migraine headaches, and lower back pain.

Precipitating Factors: Causes can originate from a wide variety of complaints that can be categorized as physical, emotional, and psychic.

Treatment: The presence of depression is often subtle and the diagnosis is frequently missed. Depression is a wide spread affliction that can be treated, but first it must be unmasked.

Prevention: Physicians can prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or monoamine oxidize inhibitors in the treatment of headaches associated with depression.

 Exertional Headaches

Symptoms of exertional headaches include generalized head pain of short duration (minutes to an hour) during or following physical exertion (running, jumping, or sexual intercourse), or passive exertion (sneezing, coughing, moving one’s bowels, etc.)

Precipitating Factors: Ten percent caused by organic diseases (aneurysms, tumors, or blood vessel malformation). Ninety percent are related to migraine or cluster headaches.

Treatment: Cause must be accurately determined. Most commonly treated with aspiring, indomethacin, or propranolol. Extensive testing is necessary to determine the headache cause. Surgery is occasionally indicated to correct the organic disease.

Prevention: Alternative forms of exercise; avoid jarring exercises

Fever Headaches

Fever headaches include generalized head pain that develops with fever and is caused by the swelling of the blood vessels of the head.

Precipitating Factors: Caused by infection

Treatment: Aspirin; acetaminophen; NSAIDs; antibiotics

Prevention: None

Hangover Headaches

Migraine-like symptoms of throbbing pain and nausea, but it is not localized to one side. Hangovers can last up to 72 hours after drinking, but most are shorter in duration. Again it depends on how much was consumed, how dehydrated you became, nutritional status, ethnicity, gender, the state of your liver, medications, etc.

Precipitating Factors: Alcohol, which causes dilation and irritation of the blood vessels of the brain and surrounding tissue.

Treatment: Liquids (including broth); consumption of fructose (honey, tomato juice are a good source)

Prevention: Drink alcohol only in moderation

Hunger Headaches

Have you ever experienced pain that strikes just before mealtime? Chances are it’s a hunger headache, and it is caused by muscle tension, low blood sugar, and rebound dilation of the blood vessels, oversleeping, or missing a meal.

Precipitating Factors: Strenuous dieting or skipping meals

Treatment: Regular, nourishing meals containing adequate protein and complex carbohydrates

Prevention: Regular, nourishing meals containing adequate protein and complex carbohydrates

Hypertension Headaches

Generalized or “hair band” type pain that is most severe in the morning. It diminishes throughout the day. Very high blood pressure can trigger an event known as malignant hypertension. Malignant hypertension is also referred to as a hypertensive crisis. … In addition to a headache, malignant hypertension usually is also associated with blurred vision, chest pain, and nausea.

Precipitating Factors: Severe hypertension: over 200 systolic and 110 diastolic

Treatment: Treat with appropriate blood pressure medication

Prevention: Keep blood pressure under control

Menstrual Headaches

For some women, Migraine-type pain that occurs shortly before, during, or immediately after menstruation or at mid-cycle (at the time of ovulation). The cause or trigger is thought to be the fall of the level of estrogen. The blood level of this chemical (hormone) falls just before a period. It is not a low level of estrogen that is thought to be the trigger.

Precipitating Factors: Variances in estrogen levels

Treatment: Taking a magnesium supplement might make your headaches shorter and your periods easier. But talk to your doctor before you start using it. It’s also a good idea to limit how much salt you eat before your period starts so your body doesn’t hang on to water in your tissues, which could create extra pressure.

Prevention: Biofeedback; beta blockers (propranolol, timolol); anti-convulsant (divalproex sodium); calcium blockers; and NSAIDs

For many people, finding out what triggers a headache or migraine can help them avoid or lessen the effects of their headache symptoms. Fortunately, we can help. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by the National Headache Foundation).

Top 6 Foods That Can Help You Get the Sleep You Need

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Have you ever noticed how some foods make you feel sleepy while others give you a lift? Not only does food add nourishment to our bodies, but the things we eat and drink can pick us up or slow us down. Knowing how food and beverages affect the body can help keep you alert during the day and get the sleep you need at night. Here are a few foods that will help you avoid sleepless nights:

Lentils

This superfood is rich in magnesium, a mineral that plays a key role in sleep. It’s also a good source of potassium and protein to help you sleep through the night.

Almonds

These crunchy nuts do more than add flavor to a party snack. Almonds contain magnesium, a muscle-relaxing mineral that plays a key role in regulating sleep. A handful of almonds or a tablespoon of almond butter before bed may help you fall asleep — and stay asleep.

Bananas

These nutritional powerhouses contain tryptophan, an amino acid that has been linked to sleep quality. They also offer abundant amounts of magnesium and potassium, notes UCLA’s Avidan. “Both minerals help to relax muscles and may ease a painful charley horse that can wake you during the night,” he says.

Milk and Cereal

Milk contains the sleep-promoting tryptophan, which the brain uses to make serotonin and melatonin, hormones that promote relaxation and control sleep and wake cycles. The carbohydrates in cereal make tryptophan more available to the brain, according to the National Sleep Foundation. For the best nutritional bang, choose a small bowl of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal.

Hummus

Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), the main ingredient in hummus, are not only rich in tryptophan but also in folate and vitamin B-6. Folate helps to regulate sleep patterns, especially in older people, and vitamin B-6 helps to regulate your body clock.

Chickpeas are a great snack if you’re looking to add some diversity into your diet. You can also eat raw chickpeas by tossing them in a salad, or cooking them up and adding them as a side dish to any meal. Better still, turn to hummus. Hummus is made with chickpeas and it makes a healthy snack or delicious condiment on sandwiches.

Peanut Butter

Next time your sweet tooth is craving something after dinner, swap your dessert out for some peanut butter. PB is rich in tryptophan. Spread some on a few whole-grain crackers, which provide carbs to help the tryptophan reach the brain more easily.

Finally…

If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, consider the foods in your daily diet to see how they might be impacting your sleep cycle. Each item on this list can be eaten individually or mixed together for diverse meals and snacks to add to your diet. Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Contact ADC’s Sleep Center for more information or to schedule an appointment.

(Some information provided by AARP).

Heart Health and Exercise: It’s Never Too Late to Start

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To protect your heart, the first step is to learn your own personal risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make you more likely to develop a disease. Risk factors can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse.

Certain risk factors—like getting older or having a family history of heart disease—can’t be changed. But you do have control over some important risk factors such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, excess weight, diabetes and physical inactivity.
Many people have more than one risk factor. To safeguard your heart, it’s best to lower or eliminate as many as you can because they tend to “gang up” and worsen each other’s effects.

Your Heart Needs Exercise

Did you know that being physically inactive increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%?

Your heart is a muscle and needs exercise to help keep it fit so that it can pump blood efficiently around your body. Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function well.

Lifelong physical activity, such as a brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes a day, is important for:

  • Preventing heart disease
  • Lowering your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
  • Helping to fight the battle to quit smoking
  • Aiding cardiac rehabilitation
  • Establishing good heart-healthy habits in children
  • Building stronger immunity
  • Reducing blood pressure in people who already have high blood pressure
  • Helping to reduce stress, tension, depression and anxiety
  • Helping to control weight
  • Improving overall health and wellbeing, prolonging your optimal health.

For each hour of regular exercise you get, you’ll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don’t start until middle age! Whatever type of activity you choose to do, the more you move the better

Getting Started

It’s never too late to start. Everyone can benefit from moving more – whatever your age, size or physical condition. The good news is that inactive people that start to do moderate physical activity feel the biggest health benefits – your health risks will decrease as soon as you start to move!

Getting started is easier than you think. Changing a few daily habits can soon add up to a more active you. Be active in as many ways as possible every day. Every 10 minutes counts. And if you don’t think you can squeeze anything else into your day, see if you can reduce the time you spend sitting still and free up time to be active.

  • Start in small amounts
  • Find an activity that you enjoy doing
  • Ask family or a friend to join you
  • Set yourself a realistic target to do a little exercise each day
  • Gradually increase the amount you are doing. Go for a little longer or a little further
  • Build up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day.

For more information about your heart health, or about becoming a patient at ADC, visit our website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube Channel.

(Some information provided by the Heart Foundation).