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Health Q&A

Posted January 02, 2013 in Advice Column, Johnston

Q: Do chiropractors treat more than the spine?

A: Chiropractors are trained to treat pain and injuries in the rest of the body as well as the spine. Chiropractors understand that for an extremity to function properly, a solid foundation must exist for the extremity musculature to attach to, and work with, for proper function. If there is a weakness in the body’s foundation, the extremities will not work or heal properly. The pain may go away, but your ranges of motion will be limited and the surrounding musculature will become chronically shortened leading to problems later in life.

Once a strong foundation is present in the spine, the affected extremity can be treated properly.

First a thorough examination of the problem area will be performed. Muscles/ligaments surrounding joints can be treated using soft tissue techniques such as Graston and Active Release. Once movement restrictions and misalignments are reduced and range of motion is restored, the strengthening phase will begin. Strengthening includes various activities ranging from isolated movements to functional patterning activities that mimic the once painful motions that you weren’t able to perform correctly at the onset of treatment.

Millions of people utilize chiropractic care for their joint pain. Here is a list of the most commonly treated extremity problems in our office: shoulder pain, golfer’s or tennis elbow pain, knee pain, ankle and foot problems such as plantar fasciitis. Extremity pain is effectively treated using a variety or chiropractic/chiropractic rehabilitative techniques and affordable on any budget. Call today.

Information provided by Dr. Aaron Rector, Active Wellness, 8711 Windsor, Parkway, Suite 7, 867-2900.

Q: January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Is there an alternative to the ‘air puff’ test?

A: Yes! The “air puff” test is done to measure the intraocular pressure of the eyes. There are a few different methods of obtaining this measurement. Our office prefers the standard method, called Goldmann Tonometry, which uses a blue light to measure the pressure instead of a puff of air. Dr. Cooper feels that this method is more accurate, more reliable and is much easier for her patients!

Similar to blood pressure, eye pressures need to be monitored in order to maintain proper eye health. When the intraocular pressure is too high, the risk of developing glaucoma significantly increases.

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve resulting in a progressive loss of peripheral vision. Once the nerve tissue is damaged there is no way to get it back and no way to restore the vision loss. Most often glaucoma is caused by high pressure; however, there are other forms of the disease that occur even with normal pressure.

The most common form of glaucoma is not painful, nor does it cause any other noticeable symptoms. Other forms of the disease can occur in very early childhood or can occur suddenly in later adulthood. There is currently no cure for this disease, rather ongoing treatment and management. If left untreated, glaucoma can result in blindness.

Intraocular pressures are not the only determining factor to developing glaucoma. The best way to see if you are at risk is to receive your annual comprehensive eye exam.

Information provided by Tara J. Cooper, O.D., Lifetime Vision, 5525 Merle Hay Road, Suite 155, Johnston, 259-9009.

Q: Should I go to the dentist during my pregnancy?

A: It is important to see your dentist during your pregnancy for oral exams and dental cleanings. Make sure to tell your dentist if you are pregnant. For most women, routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy. For women with high-risk pregnancies, your doctor or dentist may recommend delaying dental treatment. Your gum tissue can be more sensitive to the effects of plaque due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Some women develop “pregnancy gingivitis” which is an inflammatory condition of the gums that can cause tenderness and swelling. Good daily home care is important — brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth with floss once a day can help prevent problems.

Your baby’s teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth months of the pregnancy. A sufficient quantity of vitamins and nutrients are needed for healthy development. Making smart food choices now can help set your child’s oral health for life. If you have morning sickness and are vomiting frequently, try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water afterward. Make sure to tell your dentist if you have noticed any changes in your oral health. While not taken routinely during pregnancy, dental X-rays are sometimes necessary if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed urgently. Your dentist will cover you with a leaded apron that minimizes exposure to the abdomen. The benefits of receiving dental care during pregnancy far outweigh potential risks of lack of care.

Information provided by Julie Smith, DDS, Johnston Dental, 5541 NW 86th St., Suite 100, Johnston, 276-2500.

Q: How can I keep my family healthy this winter?

A: Keeping your family healthy during the winter season is important, but often put off because of weather or is forgotten. Healthy habits benefit your whole body like avoiding winter weight gain, reducing stress and fatigue and keeping your immune system strong. With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the colder months in a healthy way.

• Tips for healthy winter eating. Feed your kids a light, healthy meal before going to a holiday party. This will curb their appetite and help them avoid overeating at the party.  Teach your children about portion control. Most servings are well over the standard portion size. Help your child choose small portions of things they really want to try or offer to share a food item with them to reduce the amount they eat.

Avoid feeding your family fast food while on the go. If you must grab something on the go, try a grilled chicken sandwich with water instead of pop.

• Tips for physical activity. Have fun with your family outside. Shoveling snow, building a snowman and sledding are all fun activities that can provide your child with some physical activity.

Go on an active family outing. Ice skating, bowling and skiing are a good way to bond with the family and in a healthy way.

Limit TV and video games. When you do watch TV, get up and move instead of sitting during commercials. Encourage your child to play video games that allow for physical activity like Wii-Fit or Xbox Kinect.

Information provided by Kali O’Brien, ChildServe, 5406 Merle Hay Road, Johnston, 727-8750.

Q: What is a phase angle?

A: We often here about cholesterol or blood pressure, but what about your phase angle? Your phase angle is a number that calculates the health of your cells. The healthier you are on the inside, the higher your number, up to 10. When you are healthy on the inside you shouldn’t feel tired, will have energy for training and exercising and not have difficulty losing weight. Your phase angle is an important number that is not affected by your height or weight, but is a lifestyle marker much like laboratory tests.

Your phase angle can be measured with a quick, electrode test (much like body fat testing) called BIA. Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) shows your individual results for three of the four top markers of aging, along with your phase angle. Results given will provide body fat percent, muscle mass, calorie count, phase angle, total body hydration and fluid inside and outside of your cells.

The first sign of failing health can be shown with a BIA test (by monitoring fluid shift from inside to outside of the cell) as supported by more than 2,000 studies. Be preventative with your health, and age well.

Information provided by Dr. Juliet O’Donnell, DC, Heartland Chiropractic and Wellness Center, 5521 N.W. 86th St., Johnston, 252-8668.

Q: How important is screening for cervical cancer?

A: The incidence of cervical cancer in the United States has decreased more than 50 percent in the past 30 years because of widespread screening with cervical cytology. New technologies for cervical cancer screening continue to evolve as do recommendations for managing the results.  In addition, there are different risk-benefit considerations for women at different ages, as reflected in age-specific screening recommendations.  Approximately 60 percent of diagnoses of cervical cancer are the result of inadequate screening.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is commonly acquired by young women shortly after the initiation of vaginal intercourse. Nearly all cases are cleared by the immune system within one to two years without producing cancerous changes. Cervical cancer screening should begin at age 21 years. Women younger than 21 should not be screened regardless of the age of sexual initiation or the presence of other behavior-related risk factors. Earlier onset of screening than recommended may increase anxiety, morbidity and expense and lead to overuse of follow-up procedures.

Women aged 21 – 29 should be tested with cervical cytology alone, and screening should be performed every three years. For women aged 30 – 65 years testing with cytology and HPV testing every five years is preferred, however screening with cytology alone is acceptable. Screening of any kind should be discontinued after age 65 in women with negative prior screening results. Your physician will determine your individual needs after age 65.

Regardless of the frequency of cervical cancer screening, patients should have well-woman visits even if cervical cancer screening is not performed at each visit.

Information provided by West Des Moines OBGYN, 4949 Westown Parkway, Suite 140, West Des Moines, 515-223-5466.





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