Dr. Jake McMillin discussing patients with Computer Eye Strain resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. He also relates how the pandemic is affecting children.Click Here to Watch the Full Video
Have you become less active during COVID? Since the onset of the pandemic, millions of Americans have become more sedentary. According to the American Psychological Association, 42 percent of adults have gained weight during COVID, at an average of 29 pounds. With 36.5 percent of Americans obese and another 32.5 percent overweight, additional “COVID weight” further increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, joint pain and arthritis.
A recent study found that the biggest challenge for desk workers is the lack of physical activity. Long periods of sitting affects joint and spine health, flexibility, posture and mobility. As you sit, the hip muscles progressively tighten from being hinged for long periods of time. Exercising after work is not sufficient to relieve tight hips, an aching back and sore shoulders. It is essential to find ways to remain active throughout the day.
How to Increase Activity During the Work Day
Taking regular breaks throughout the day can prevent health problems from unnecessary eye strain to joint stiffness, and chronic pain in the shoulders and neck. More important than how you move is how often you move.
Here are ten ways to stay active during your workday, even if you have a desk job:
- Add steps to your commute—Get your body moving before the workday begins. Do you live close to your job? Try walking or riding your bike. If you take public transportation, get off at an earlier stop to walk a few extra blocks.
- Park far away from the door—Try parking at the top of the parking garage or finding a space that is farthest from the front door of the office.
- Sit on an exercise ball—An exercise ball is perfect for strengthening the core and the lower back. Sit in the ball during breaks, or use a headset and take calls while sitting on the ball.
- Choose an active commute—Try to get some exercise before your workday even begins. If you live close to work, walk or bike to your job. If you ride a subway or bus, try getting off at an earlier stop to walk a few extra blocks to work.
- Alternate sitting and standing—For every 30 minutes of sitting, stand for five minutes. It is even better if you can walk around during those five minutes.
- Take the stairs—When you have the choice of taking the elevator or the stairs, choose stairs. Let everyone else wait in line for the elevator while you get in some extra steps.
- Get a standing desk—There are so many options for standing desks and even treadmill desks. You can take conference calls or answer emails while moving your body.
- Elevate your feet—Do you feel heaviness in your legs and feet? Elevating your feet on a bench, ottoman or stool can be very helpful. You could even take a break, lie down and elevate your legs against the wall.
- Keep some fitness gear in your office—Consider keeping a fitness ball, resistance bands or even small, handheld weights in your office so you can do some strength training or stretching during a break.
- Join a fitness center near your work—Instead of eating lunch, grab your gym bag and do a mid-day workout.
Call Your Orthopedist to Treat Joint Pain
Staying active is essential for your physical and mental health. If you are experiencing chronic pain, there is an underlying cause. Your orthopedist may have some treatments to reduce your pain, or it may be time to discuss total joint replacement.
You don’t have to live with joint, back or neck pain. Call today to get relief.
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among people older than 55. In the United States, 20.5 million people have cataracts, which is about one in six Americans older than 40.
How Does a Cataract Form?
The eye is similar to a camera, and it uses a lens to focus. The lens is comprised of water and protein, arranged in a specific way to allow light to pass through it. A cataract forms when the proteins in the lens begin to clump together, and create cloudiness. This cloudiness is called a cataract, and it causes images to appear blurry or distorted.
What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. The procedure is simple, virtually painless and usually has a rapid recovery time. A skilled surgeon will remove your cloudy lens during cataract surgery and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL) customized to your vision needs. Cataract surgery can often provide people with the best vision they have ever experienced. In fact, many patients comment after surgery that they wish they had chosen cataract surgery sooner.
What Type of IOL is Right for You?
There are many types of IOLs from which to choose:
- Monofocal lens — This lens is designed to provide sharp distance vision. Medicare and other insurance plans usually cover it. Glasses may still be necessary for reading, and in some cases, distance vision, especially if you have astigmatism.
- Astigmatism-correcting monofocal lens — Your surgeon may be able to correct your astigmatism as well as your cataracts during one simple procedure. With the advanced technology of astigmatism-correcting monofocal lenses, most people only need glasses for reading after surgery.
- Multifocal Lens — Imagine not needing to rely on corrective glasses anymore. Multifocal lenses can help you see both near and far, so you may have the luxury of being glasses-free after cataract surgery.
Although most insurance and Medicare only cover the cost of a monofocal lens, there are many factors to consider. For example, selecting a multifocal lens may reduce your dependence on glasses after surgery. When making your decision regarding the type of lens you prefer for your cataract procedure, compare the one-time cost of purchasing the multifocal lens with the cumulative cost of buying contacts or glasses for the rest of your life. You may find that a multifocal lens proves to be the most affordable choice.
Find an Ophthalmologist Near You
Are you interested in cataract surgery? You have many IOL choices that can help meet your vision needs. You may think you need to wait until your vision is significantly impaired, but recent studies cite many benefits of getting cataract surgery at a younger age. Therefore, you may not need to wait.
Your eye doctor can help you decide the best lens choice for you. Call today to schedule a consultation or a comprehensive eye exam.
Undergoing colorectal cancer (CRC) screenings starting at age 45 could be a new lease on life for millions of people in the United States.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on May 18 released its final recommendation to lower the colorectal screening age from 50 to 45, providing an opportunity for earlier detection and prevention of the disease. The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine.
“The incidence of colorectal cancer in 45-year-olds is the same as it was in 50-year-olds when the screening benefit for age 50 was implemented,” said John Popp Jr., MD, Medical Director for AMSURG. “Dropping the age to 45 may get those 50 and older screened earlier. We have found in our AMSURG data that the average age for initial screening is about 58.”
Increase in Cases
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates 104,270 new cases of colon cancer and 45,230 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed this year.
The number of colorectal cancer cases have been increasing since the mid-1980s in adults ages 20-39 and since the mid-1990s in adults ages 40-54, according to the ACS.
“In 2020, about 12 percent of all cases of CRC occurred in the under 50 year old population. Furthermore, patients diagnosed prior to age 50 were more likely to have advanced disease at diagnosis,” Popp noted.
The task force also recommends people ages 45 to 75 should undergo screenings, while individuals ages 76 to 85 should be screened based on the patient’s situation.
According to the USPSTF, “These recommendations apply to adults without symptoms and who do not have a personal history of colorectal polyps or a personal or family health history of genetic disorders that increase the risk of colorectal cancer.”
Colorectal cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed in the early stages. For screenings, the task force recommends direct visualization tests (colonoscopy) and stool-based tests.
Individuals with any abnormal stool-based test result must follow up with a colonoscopy to see whether they have cancer or polyps which might become cancer.
Colorectal cancer is preventable through routine colonoscopy, the gold standard for colon screenings.
“The best screening test is the one that gets done, but colonoscopy is the only test that can prevent CRC by removing premalignant polyps,” Popp said.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires both private insurers and Medicare to cover the costs of colorectal cancer screening tests, because these tests are recommended by the USPSTF. To avoid any confusion, contact your health insurance agent or employer’s human resources department.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The disease is expected to cause about 52,980 deaths this year, according to the ACS.
Avoiding delays in diagnosis is important, Popp said, noting that there could be 40 percent fewer deaths if the stage at diagnosis could shift from stage 4 to stage 3.
An increase in screenings and improved treatments through the years has led to more than 1.5 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States, according to the ACS.
Individuals beginning screenings at age 45 will help doctors to diagnose more cases earlier and possibly prevent colorectal cancer in many patients.
If colon cancer runs in your family, it could affect your colon cancer screening age – the age when you should begin getting screened for the disease.
How Family History Affects Colon Cancer
About one in every twenty-five adults will develop colon cancer, making it the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Most colon cancer develops independently, but five to ten percent of colon cancers have a genetic component. Therefore, family history is is a significant risk factor in developing colon cancer. If you have a first-degree relative who has had colon cancer, you should be screened at age 40 or ten years before he or she was diagnosed, whichever is earlier.
According to a new study examining adults aged 40 to 49, most cases of colon cancer could have been discovered earlier if patients were screened using family history-based screening guidelines.
Samir Gupta, MD, of the VA San Diego Healthcare System and the University of San Diego, and other researchers analyzed data on patients between the ages of 40 and 49. Among the patients, 2,473 had colon cancer and 772 did not. Dr. Gupta determined 25 percent of patients with colon cancer and 10 percent of patients without cancer qualified for earlier screening based on family history. Over 98 percent of patients with colon cancer who met the requirements should have gotten screened at a younger age than they were at cancer diagnosis.
“Our findings suggest that using family history-based criteria to identify individuals for earlier screening is justified and has promise for helping to identify individuals at risk for young-onset colorectal cancer,” explained Dr. Gupta. “We have an opportunity to improve early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer under age 50 if patients more consistently collect and share their family history of colorectal cancer, and healthcare providers more consistently elicit and act on family history” (Medical Xpress).
Your Colon Cancer Screening Age
If colon cancer runs in your family, talk to your gastroenterologist about your colon cancer screening age. Due to increased screening measures and compliance, colon cancer incidence among adults over 50 is declining. This is good news, indeed. However, young-onset colon cancer continues to rise. Recently, the American Cancer Society lowered its recommended age for baseline colon cancer screenings from 50 to 45 for all adults at average risk for colon cancer.
Many insurance companies will not cover colon cancer screening until 50, but talk to your doctor about getting tested anyway. Even if your insurance company does not cover the exam, it is worth your time and money if it prevents cancer.
Know the Symptoms of Colon Cancer
You are never too young for colon cancer, so it is essential to know the symptoms of the disease. Make an appointment with your gastroenterologist right away if you experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Changes in bowel habits
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis, a condition caused by joint inflammation, affects 50 million Americans and 350 million individuals worldwide. Women are slightly more prone to arthritis than men, but the disease can affect anyone, even children.
What are the Types of Arthritis?
There are three main types of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis—This is the most common type of arthritis. It forms when the cartilage at the end of a joint deteriorates and bone nerve fibers become exposed.
- Rheumatoid—This type of arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system targets the joints and causes joint inflammation and pain.
- Psoriatic—This kind of arthritis affects people with psoriasis. The immune system not only attacks the joint but also the ligaments and tendons near the joint.
Chronic Stress Linked to Arthritis
Many factors can cause arthritis to develop, including age, injury and inflammation. A new study published in Arthritis Care & Research suggests stress can play a significant role in arthritis. The researchers found a strong association between chronic stress and the development of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Very few studies have explored the effects of “chronic stress-related physiological burden on musculoskeletal health,” but stress is a major contributor to arthritis, said Sarah N. Schwetlik, BPhysio, MMuscsklSportPhysio, of the University of South Australia. She and her colleagues examined 54 studies, and 41 of the studies showed associations between chronic stress and arthritis.
Scwetlik also discovered an “increased prevalence of both [osteoarthritis] and [rheumatoid arthritis] with increasing degrees of childhood difficulty” (Healio).
COVID-19 and Increased Stress Levels
Stress is not just a risk factor in arthritis development. Being under stress can also make arthritis symptoms worse. Pandemic-related job loss, financial strain and mental health pressure due to COVID-19 have caused millions of Americans to experience more anxiety than ever before. Although more Americans are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations daily, the pandemic’s effects will continue for several years.
Stress response triggers chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol, increasing muscle tension and setting off an inflammatory response in the immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and lupus are all fueled by inflammation. As the duration of stress increases, inflammation levels increase as well and become more destructive.
Ways to Manage Stress and Get Joint Pain Relief
One of the best ways to prevent arthritis or manage your arthritic complications is to manage your stress. By implementing stress-management techniques, you can reduce joint pain and improve your quality of life. Here are three ways to manage your stress and get joint pain relief:
- Exercise every day—Regular exercise like walking, swimming, biking and aerobic exercise can help release endorphins, chemicals that boost your mood and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Yoga and meditation—Deep breathing, movement and mindfulness help slow the pulse and quiet the body to a calm state.
- Find a licensed therapist—Counseling can help you implement cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a technique that allows you to view your worries from a different perspective (Arthritis Foundation).
Call Your Orthopedist
Are you suffering from chronic joint pain? Your orthopedist can help you get your arthritis under control by providing you with a treatment plan that may include de-stressing methods, medication, daily exercise and diet modifications. Call today to schedule an appointment so you can discuss your symptoms and get relief.
Have you canceled or delayed your eye exam due to COVID-19? Healthy vision is not just a luxury. It is a medical necessity.
The leading causes of vision loss in the world are cataracts and refractive errors, or the need for glasses. Eighty percent of vision problems are correctable; however, millions of adults and children experience vision impairment.
Your Vision Affects Your Health
A recent study in The Lancet Global Health, showed a link between vision impairment and mortality. After studying 48,000 people from 17 different studies, a meta-analysis found that patients with severe vision impairment experienced a higher risk of mortality than patients with normal vision or mild vision impairment.
The mortality risk for those with mildly impaired vision and severely impaired vision was 29 percent and 89 percent, respectively, compared to those with normal vision.
Eye Diseases Require Consistent Treatment
Since the beginning of the pandemic, people of all ages have canceled or delayed comprehensive eye exams and eye procedures. Although COVID-19 is still a serious threat, it is essential to stay current with your eye appointments.
Ophthalmologists are reporting that many of their patients with chronic eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration are skipping important treatment appointments. Without regular treatment, these diseases can progress and cause permanent vision impairment or vision loss.
Do Not Ignore These Eye Symptoms
There are also many reasons you may have to call your eye doctor to make an appointment for an eye emergency (The Conversation). Call your ophthalmologist right away if you experience:
- Eye pain
- Eye injury
- Red eye
- Blank or wavy spots
- New floaters or flashes of light
- A sudden change in vision
Comprehensive Eye Exams are Essential for Wellbeing
Even if you do not have an eye disease or an eye emergency, a comprehensive eye exam is an important part of preventive care. Don’t wait for an eye problem to arise before calling your ophthalmologist to make an appointment.
You can feel confident knowing your eye center is making great effort to ensure your safety during this time. Your eye center is putting you first by spacing out appointments and implementing social distancing and rigorous sanitation procedures. Call today to make an appointment.
A routine colonoscopy led to an unexpected diagnosis – and a life-saving surgery – for a Fresno, California man and his physician.
In November 2020, Dr. John Garry of Central California Endoscopy Center reviewed the findings from a colonoscopy performed on Tony Capozzi, an attorney in the Fresno area. The scope, Dr. Garry said, uncovered benign polyps, but it was markers of something much less common that caught the long-time colon and rectal surgeon’s attention.
“Interestingly in the upper rectum sigmoid colon and descending colon there were some really large, unusual blood vessels,” Dr. Garry said.
Capozzi was diagnosed with having an arteriovenous malformation (AMV) in his lower abdomen. An abnormal tangle of blood vessels connecting the arteries and veins, AMV disrupts normal blood flow and oxygen circulation.
Surprised by his “highly unusual” findings, Dr. Garry referred the case to his colleagues at Stanford Health Care, who also expressed shock over the diagnosis. It was decided that Capozzi continue his care locally with Dr. Garry and a team at Community Regional Medical Center, where Dr. Garry performed a nine-hour surgery to remove the mass of vessels.
“As soon as we opened the abdomen, we had an encounter of this massive abnormal appearing mesentery and tissue that just filled our entire incision,” Dr. Garry said.
The surgery was a success, as Capozzi spent 11 days recovering in the hospital before returning home and to his legal work defending clients in the Fresno area.
Speaking to KSEE, Fresno’s NBC affiliate, Capozzi said the trust he put in Dr. Garry and his team was rewarded with a new lease on life.
“As the days went on, (Dr. Garry) said, ‘It’s working. It’s just going to take time.’ And it did. I said, ‘I put my trust in you,’ and as the days went on, it got better and better, and the tubes started coming out, and I felt 100-percent better,” Capozzi said.
The words “You have celiac disease,” may bring about many emotions – stress, sadness, and even grief over the loss of favorite foods.
While diving into the world of celiac disease may feel overwhelming at first, we’re here to remind you that while it is completely normal to feel a wide range of feelings, it is also important to know it is possible to have a happy and full life!
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a genetic digestive and autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine, interfering with nutrient absorption from food. Some people may experience no symptoms at all, while others may have a range of physical and digestive symptoms.
It is important to schedule a visit with us if you suspect you may have celiac disease since it can cause malnutrition and other health issues.
Once diagnosed, there is a world of language you will be introduced to. Below, we breakdown those words and facts to simplify what life is like for those with celiac disease.
ABC’s of Celiac Disease
Autoimmune disease. Contrary to popular belief, celiac disease is not an allergy, it’s actually an autoimmune disease.
Bloating, cramping, constipation and diarrhea can be symptoms for those who are diagnosed.
Currently the only treatment of celiac disease is a lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.
Development. Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten.
Estimated to affect 1 in 133 Americans, celiac disease happens in approximately 1 percent of the population in the U.S.
Finding foods that work for your body is key with celiac disease.
Gastroenterologist. The type of doctor that can diagnose celiac disease.
Hereditary. Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, child, sibling) have a 1 in 10 risk of developing celiac disease.
Immune response is what happens when people with celiac disease eat gluten.
Just read labels or ask questions. Products should be certified gluten-free to ensure no cross contamination occurred when making the food you plan to consume.
Knowledge is power! The more you know about what it means to have celiac, the better your quality of life will be.
Lip balm, medicine, and even envelope glue are a few examples of everyday items where gluten may pop up, though it is mainly found in food.
Malnutrition can be a symptom of celiac disease, so it is important to visit a doctor for proper diagnosis.
Nutrient absorption is an issue for those with celiac disease and without proper care, it can cause damage to the small intestine.
Oats are a tricky food for those with celiac disease. While they do not contain gluten naturally, often times they are grown and harvested with wheat, which contains gluten.
People with celiac disease have twice the risk of developing coronary artery disease, and a 4 times greater risk of developing small bowel cancers.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and generally well tolerated by those with gluten sensitivity. Other gluten-free grains can be found here.
Re-invent. Eating a strict gluten-free diet can feel like a challenge at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to re-invent favorite meals to be compliant.
Symptoms can come in a variety of ailments. While some may be depressed, tired and irritable, others may experience seizures, missed periods and infertility, in addition to digestive issues.
Testing. Many people with celiac disease don’t know they have it. Two blood tests can help diagnose it as well as further investigations with an endoscopy or a capsule endoscopy.
Untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems.
Villi are small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine. They work to promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged through things like ingesting gluten, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.
Wheat, rye and barley are three ingredient triggers for people with gluten sensitivity.
Xanthan gum is a gluten-free ingredient for those who enjoy baking.
Your mental health is important, too. Being newly diagnosed with celiac disease can feel scary. Please give yourself grace as you start your journey.
Zillions of websites, recipes, and stores cater to living a gluten-free lifestyle, so there’s no shortage of resources available.
Overall, nothing can prepare you to chart the waters of celiac disease like visiting a doctor. Visit Gastrointestinal Specialists, P.C. in Troy, Michigan, to receive a true diagnosis of what’s causing your stomach issues so we can help you. Request an appointment with us today.
The medical director and two members of the nursing staff from Surgical Center at Millburn in Millburn, New Jersey, have been giving back to the community by serving as volunteer vaccinators.
Dr. Andrew Levy, Medical Director, Jorge Sidron, Director of Nursing, and Melinda Colon, RN, have been volunteering at the Livingston Mall to help administer the initial COVID-19 vaccine to 1A healthcare and first responders. They began the initiative in December as part of an Essex County collaboration, and they have not stopped since.
“In these difficult times, it has been a special experience and an honor to help be a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Levy. “Few things are as rewarding as watching the effect of a vaccination on someone who has been unable to see their grandchildren in a year. The tears of joy and watching someone dance with their walker are not easily forgotten.”
Jorge Sidron said he is thankful to be able to serve the community and be a part of the vaccination effort. “As a nurse, volunteering to be among the first to administer the COVID vaccine to my fellow healthcare workers and first responders was both an honor and a privilege.”
Melinda Colon found that being part of the vaccination effort brought her back to the core of her profession. “Volunteering made me realize why I became an RN in the first place,” she said.