The Feel Good Report
The latest in health, fitness and beauty.
Fixing That Foot Pain
Few things are more miserable than having your feet hurt. You kinda need those puppies to feel OK in order to get through the day. But plantar fasciitis, also known as heel pain/spur syndrome, is an excruciating pain on the bottom or back of the heel that can severely limit your mobility. It’s caused by inflammation of the soft tissue that inserts into the heel bone. According to Dr. Kevin Lam of Family Foot & Leg Center in Naples, surgery isn’t usually necessary.
“Most patients will respond to anti-inflammatories, stretching exercises, physical therapy and proper shoes,” says Lam. “We also have shockwave therapy, or lithotripsy, for this condition for patients who don’t respond to the more conservative care.”
The technology was originally used for kidney stones in the operating room. It sends strong sound waves into the foot to jumpstart the body’s own healing. New blood vessels will form, and the tissues will start to repair themselves. The pain tends to resolve over five months or so. “Professional athletes use this for tennis elbow, shoulder pains, Achilles and heel pain,” says Lam. If it works for them, it should work for the amateurs among us. For more information, check out familyfootandlegcenter.com.
Never Let Them See You Sweat
Let’s not kid ourselves; it gets hot in Southwest Florida. And though the winter brings some relief from the massive humidity of the summer, it doesn’t take long to experience “sticky.” And that’s doubly true for those who tend to perspire excessively. No amount of antiperspirant seems to keep your underarms from starting the wet T-shirt contest early. But there is hope. Dr. Stanley Gulin, a cosmetic surgeon in Naples, has recently taken delivery of the only miraDry System in Southwest Florida, a non-invasive, FDA-approved piece of technology that uses heat and suction to permanently eliminate sweat glands.
During an office visit, the patient’s underarm is given local anesthesia before the hand-held device uses microwave energy to literally melt the tens of thousands of sweat glands that seem to have a grudge against your shirts. According to the company, the volume of sweat is reduced by 82 percent. That’s a pretty great result. Just imagine starting off the year dry. For more information, contact Plastic Surgery Associates of Naples at drgulin.com
Beware of Your Cell Phone
Another month, another horrific realization that we’re surrounded by things that can kill us. It seems that our cell phones are more disgusting and contaminated than a bathroom stall at a Vegas nightclub. Recent studies have shown that one in six cell phones is contaminated with fecal bacteria (and the other five are still covered with slightly less gross bacteria). Just think about where your phone spends its time: in your hands, pressed against your face, on the table next to your food … Adding to the deliciousness, the warmth of our phones encourages bacterial reproduction—a little cell phone and Gomorrah, if you will.
And while cleaning your phone with disinfectant is a step in the right direction, liquid cleaners are frowned upon by smartphone manufacturers. (Apparently the glass has a special coating that may or may not be ruined.) Luckily, there is a new product on the market, PhoneSoap, that uses UV-C light during overnight charging that effectively kills all bacteria, giving you a fighting chance at survival each and every morning. phonesoap.com
A Tip for Avoiding Heart Attacks
If one of your New Year’s resolutions was “not have a heart attack,” we’ve got some encouraging news for you. Two studies presented to the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress suggest that getting a flu shot cuts your risk of a heart attack or stroke by up to 50 percent. In the presented studies, more than 3,000 patients were followed, half of whom had been previously diagnosed with heart disease. The participants were randomly assigned to get either a flu shot or a placebo, then tracked for 12 months. Those who got the flu shot were 50 percent less likely to experience a major cardiac event and 40 percent less likely to die from it.
Inflammation brought on by flu is the match that lights the fuse. It causes the plaque in your artery walls to rupture, which your body attempts to heal with a blood clot. If those clots block an artery or travel to the brain, your 2013 is shot. So be smart; get a flu shot.
Obesity and Dementia
If you’re looking for one more reason to get more active and shed some pounds, you’ve come to the right place. A study recently published in the journal Neurology links obesity with dementia later in life. Approximately 6,400 participants averaging 50 years of age were followed for 10 years, during which they were tested three times to assess reasoning, short-term memory and verbal fluency. The study included people considered normal weight, overweight and obese.
The results showed that people who are obese, have high blood pressure and have other metabolic risk factors see a faster decline in cognitive skills than people of normal weight. It should be noted that all participants saw some decline over the 10-year period, so, Mr. Skinny Guy, don’t get too cocky.
Best Time for Everything
Chicago once asked the immortal question, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? The answer is yes, scientists. While pop culture has already helped us schedule A Time to Kill, A Time For Us, (the right time to) Roll With Me and a time to make the doughnuts, recent studies have discovered that our body clocks are filling in the rest, thanks to our physiological ebbs and flows.
It seems that our circadian rhythm is geared toward giving us an edge on certain activities throughout the day. For example, exercise is best timed to late afternoon/early evening. Hand-eye coordination peaks around 4 p.m. while critical thinking seems to be best around 10 a.m. (It was 10:46 a.m. when we wrote this, if that means anything to you.) Creative thinking seems to kick in best later at night. (Researchers believe fatigue may allow for more offbeat ideas to creep in.) And, because Twitter is ubiquitous, we now know that more upbeat tweets hit the world around 8 a.m. while re-tweets peak between 3 and 6 p.m. (because we’re too busy working out to think on our own).
Another recent study found that you are most likely to die at 11 a.m. So if you’re reading this and it’s 10:50 a.m., be careful, very, very careful. Actually, this is a great time to keep reading.