4 Lifestyle Habits That Worsen Back Pain

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD, FAAOS.

newsThe millions of people who experience some level of back pain – from occasional aches, to chronic discomfort – are encouraged to read the latest article by minimally invasive spine surgeon Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD, FAAOS, in which he reveals the four most common lifestyle habits that trigger back pain and destroy spine health.

“Back pain isn’t always the result of an injury,” commented Dr. Gleiber, who is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and a Spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. “Often, it’s the things people do – or neglect to do – in their daily lives that is the root cause of their pain and deteriorating spine health. Tragically, many of these people don’t even know the damage that they’re doing until the pain becomes unbearable, and they can no longer carry out their day-to-day tasks at home or at work.”

According to Dr. Gleiber, the four lifestyle habits that are causing the most back pain and spine injury are:

1. A sedentary lifestyle that is virtually devoid of exercise. This causes the muscles that support the spine to become weak, and in turn forces the vertebrae and discs to absorb extra stress.

jumpingrope2. Exercising strenuously only on the weekends, and doing little or no exercise the rest of the week (“Weekend Warriors”). This imposes excessive strain on the back and spine, which is not prepared or strong enough to absorb the shock – ultimately causing back pain and, ironically, greatly increasing the risk of injury.

3. Sitting down for several hours a day at work. Staying for prolonged periods of time in any single position is damaging to spine health. However, to make matters worse, most people who sit for many hours each day have incorrect posture; often because they are hunching forward to see their computer screen.

4. Regularly eating junk food, which often leads to weight gain and therefore puts extra stress on the spine. In addition, people who eat too much junk food are typically not getting the nutrients they need to keep their spine strong and healthy, such as Calcium and Vitamin D.

Added Dr. Gleiber: “The good news is that with commitment and the right guidance, people can create new, better lifestyle habits that not only alleviates and ideally eliminates their back pain, but vastly improves their overall health and wellness. For instance, people can start exercising at least three times a week to strengthen their core muscles, get up from their desk once an hour to stretch and walk around a bit, and muster up all of their willpower to make eating junk food an occasional indulgence rather than a regular occurrence.”

The full version of Dr. Gleiber’s latest article entitled “How Your Lifestyle Can Contribute to Back Pain” is available on his website at http://michaelgleibermd.com/news/lifestyle-can-contribute-back-pain.

Additional articles by Dr. Gleiber on spine health, back pain relief, effective exercising and more are available at http://michaelgleibermd.com/news.

About Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD

– Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD is a trusted expert in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery. He currently serves as Spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is a writer for The Huffington Post, and is frequently invited to provide his medical expertise in the media. Dr. Gleiber has been honored with multiple recognitions, including Castle Connolly Top Doctors for Spine Surgery, SuperDoctors of South Florida, Top 10 Spine Surgical Specialists Florida by Vitals.com, and is listed amongst Top 50 Spine Surgeon Leaders.

Learn more at http://michaelgleibermd.com

Brisk, Regular Walking Helps Lessen Heart Disease Risk

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your comments below…..

familywalk2A regular walking routine can lower blood pressure, stave off diabetes, and prevent heart disease. Finding walking buddies, using a pedometer, and following a walking workout plan may help people stick to a program.

Walking is a low-impact, do-anywhere exercise that helps lower blood pressure and stave off diabetes. And two large, long-term Harvard studies suggest that walking for about 20 minutes a day may cut the risk of heart disease by as much as 30%, according to the December 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

But many people need some added inspiration to start — and stick with — a walking program. One of the best ways is to find walking buddies, says Dr. Lauren Elson, physical medicine and rehabilitation instructor at Harvard Medical School. “I find that if I can get someone to walk with — a partner, a spouse, or a friend — that helps a lot.” Even better is getting several friends to walk together, because they all hold each other accountable. “They call each other up and say, ‘Where are you?’” Dr. Elson says.

Other people find motivation by using a pedometer to track their steps and distance, says Dr. Elson. One review of 26 studies found that people who used pedometers raised their physical activity levels by nearly 27%, adding about 2,500 steps a day. Most stores that sell exercise equipment have inexpensive pedometers. Other options include smartphone apps that track steps, such as Moves, Breeze, or Pedometer++.

For people who’ve had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease, walking is an ideal exercise because it can be easily adapted based on a person’s fitness level. People with heart failure should ask their physician to recommend a cardiac rehabilitation program to safely reap the benefits of exercise. This type of supervised exercise is particularly helpful for people who haven’t been active for a while.

Read the full-length article: “Marching orders: How to start a walking program”

Also in the November 2015 issue of the Harvard Heart Letter:

* Cardiac rehabilitation: Best medicine for recovery

* Heart-friendly holiday eating

* When blood pressure dips too low

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Punching Up The Fitness Regimen

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Courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, feel free to comment below….

newsFitness boxing is a great aerobic activity. It also helps improve muscle strength, endurance, balance, and possibly eye-hand coordination.

Boxing isn’t just a sport anymore. It’s also a popular way to stay fit — even among older adults — through a version known as fitness boxing, reports the November 2015 Harvard Health Letter. “This kind of boxing has many health benefits, because it constantly requires you to think, change your position, and change your posture,” says physical therapist Linda Arslanian, director of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Unlike traditional boxing that requires each boxer to spar with a partner, fitness boxing for older adults involves throwing punches at the air or at a punching bag, usually in a class. There are two main types of these exercise classes. In one, the class follows a leader and completes a series of boxing moves choreographed to bouncy music, similar to an aerobics class. The other type of exercise class involves strength training, stretching, and hitting a punching bag.

Don’t have the strength to stand and do boxing moves? Both types of classes are available for people who wish to remain seated while punching at the air or at a punching bag.

There’s no proof that fitness boxing is superior to any other types of exercise, but it does have many health benefits. It’s a great aerobic workout, it builds upper body strength, and it improves balance.

Read the full-length article: “Punch up your exercise routine with fitness boxing”

Also in the November 2015 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

* Which blood pressure medication is the right one for you?

* How to tell if your medications are making you depressed

* Avoiding foodborne illness at home and at the holiday buffet

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Strength Training Improves Heart Health

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health….please share your comments below…..

healthyheartStrength training has been linked to several factors that improve heart health, including weight loss, less belly fat, and a lower risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, biking, and swimming, is good for the heart. Strength training, also known as weight training or resistance training, also has cardiovascular benefits, reports the June 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

“Strength training maintains and may even increase muscle mass, which people tend to lose as they age,” says Dr. Rania Mekary, a visiting assistant professor of surgery at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and assistant professor at MCPHS University. Increased muscle mass has a trickle-down effect that benefits blood vessels and the heart.

Boosting muscle mass speeds up metabolism, which helps people burn more calories, even at rest. A faster metabolism also helps prevent weight gain, which puts extra strain on the heart. Strength training seems to be especially important for keeping off belly fat. This so-called visceral fat, which surrounds the internal organs, is particularly dangerous.

Mekary and colleagues at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that healthy men who did weight training for 20 minutes a day had less of an age-related increase in abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic exercise.

Strength training can help control blood sugar levels by drawing glucose from the bloodstream to power muscles. High blood sugar, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, is also a leading risk factor for heart disease. Building more muscle mass also makes the body more sensitive to the effects of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.

Read the full-length article: “Add strength training to your fitness plan”

Also in the June 2015 Harvard Heart Letter:

* Get cracking: why you should eat more nuts

* Get a leg up on varicose veins

* Bypass plus angioplasty: the best of both worlds?

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

When Back Or Neck Surgery Doesn’t Work

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below…..

didyouknow?Dr. Praveen Kadimcherla with Atlantic Spine Center explains ‘failed spine surgery syndrome’ and offers tips and hope to patients.

Most of the time spine surgery achieves its goal, with pain relief being among the top benefits for beleaguered back or neck pain sufferers. But occasionally, a patient’s pain and other symptoms return – a situation known as failed back surgery syndrome – which isn’t necessarily as doom-and-gloom as it sounds, according to Praveen Kadimcherla, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Atlantic Spine Center.

The vast majority of the 600,000 spine surgeries that take place in the United States each year are highly successful, decompressing nerve roots that are pinched or stabilizing painful spinal joints that have led to chronic pain, numbness or loss of function. But when back or neck surgery goes wrong, it can be devastating to both patient and surgeon, even if it’s statistically impossible for all surgeries to be effective.

“The amount of trauma, scarring, and hardware such as bone grafts and screws that are used in spinal surgery all factor into the chances someone may develop this condition,” explains Dr. Kadimcherla, who is fellowship-trained in orthopedic and spine neurosurgery. “Joints at the surgical site can also become inflamed, and scar tissue might form where a section of bone has been removed from the spine. In short, there are many reasons back or neck surgery can go wrong, so failed spine surgery syndrome is very difficult to totally prevent.”

Why might spine surgeries fail?
As a rule, spine surgeries are performed as a last resort when neck or lower back pain cannot be relieved by more conservative measures, such as medications or physical therapy. But at least 5% are left with lingering pain after an operation, Dr. Kadimcherla says. Symptoms may include back, leg or arm pain that is dull and aching; sharp, stabbing pain; and tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.

But why might spine surgeries fail? Dr. Kadimcherla offers these possible reasons:

* Residual disc herniation

* Recovery has created undue stress on another weakened portion of the spine

* Improper fusion after spinal fusion

* Misaligned spine hardware

* Incomplete bone removal

* Infection in a disc space

* Nerve damage

* Improper diagnosis of original problem

humanbody“Undergoing back surgery is rarely a decision patients take lightly or rush into, so when pain persists afterward it can be very distressing,” he says. “Yet, there are many viable options for improvement in these patients going forward. All is not lost if their back or neck surgery has been deemed a failure.”

Tips and hope for failed spine surgery patients
The first step toward relieving back or neck pain after a failed surgery is making sure a patient has the correct diagnosis, Dr. Kadimcherla says. This is done by using imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI or CT scans, and certain diagnoses can be confirmed with the help of procedures such as nerve blocks or other injections.

Once the reason for ongoing pain has been established, a multi-pronged approach for pain relief usually works best, Dr. Kadimcherla explains. Treatments can include:

* Physical therapy or exercise

* Psychological counseling

* Medication

* Procedures such as epidural steroid injections or nerve blocks

* Spinal cord stimulation, a device emitting electrical pulses into the spinal region

Tellingly, however, one of the best options for treating failed back surgery is undergoing another surgery, but not an “open” procedure involving a long incision and recovery. Dr. Kadimcherla often recommends endoscopic spine surgery – a minimally invasive approach with boasting a rapid recovery – to those experiencing lingering problems after an initial procedure.

“Endoscopic spine surgery can represent a safer, less risky and less complicated solution,” he says. “I’ve treated many patients after spine surgery with residual symptoms with endoscopic nerve decompression, and I strongly feel a patient with failed back surgery syndrome can benefit from consulting with a doctor who’s an experienced endoscopic surgeon.”

“Obviously, someone who’s experienced failed spine surgery already has dealt with a less-than-optimal scenario,” Dr. Kadimcherla adds. “But with a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, pain can often be eliminated or very well managed. “When all else fails, make sure you don’t let a failed spine surgery have the last word.”

Atlantic Spine Center is a nationally recognized leader for endoscopic spine surgery with several locations in NJ and NYC. http://www.atlanticspinecenter.com, http://www.atlanticspinecenter.nyc

– Praveen Kadimcherla, MD, is a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon at Atlantic Spine Center.

Caffeinated Drinks Associated With Decreased Risk Of Liver Scarring

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This article is provided by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your thoughts below…..

cupcoffeeModest daily consumption of caffeinated drinks is associated with less advanced liver scarring in people with hepatitis C, according to a recent study by Baylor College of Medicine researchers that appears online in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Dr. Hashem El-Serag, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor and at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and lead author of the study, said the results showed that the risk of liver scarring in hepatitis C patients was decreased when individuals regularly consumed caffeinated coffee, and to a lesser extent tea and soda.

“We found that participants who drank caffeinated coffee daily had the best results,” he said. “This is most likely do to the fact that one coffee drink has more caffeine than tea or sodas.”

He said the researchers saw no benefit to patients who drank decaffeinated coffee, tea and soda.

This cross-sectional study consisted of 910 participants aged 18 to 70 years of age with confirmed hepatitis C who were not receiving antiviral therapy.

“We specifically chose to study hepatitis C patients because they are at an increased risk for hepatic fibrosis (liver scarring), and there is limited data on the effects of coffee or caffeine on the progression of scarring within this patient population,” said El-Serag, also a member of the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor.

Liver scarring can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and liver cancer, and may require liver transplantation.

Of the participant study population, 37.6 percent of them had advanced liver scarring while 62.4 percent had milder scarring. Participants with advanced fibrosis were significantly older, more likely to have type 2 diabetes and were more likely to be overweight or obese.

“Most participants reported drinking caffeinated coffee, and about half of those drank one or more cups of coffee per day,” El-Serag said. “Patients with milder liver scarring had a higher average daily intake of caffeinated coffee compared to those with more advanced cases.”

“An estimated 100 milligrams of caffeine from coffee, tea or soda was associated with approximately one-third reduction of advanced scarring, and higher consumption didn’t produce an additional benefit,” he said.

Others who took part in this study include Natalia Khalaf, Donna White, Fasiha Kanwal, David Ramsey, Sahil Mittal, Shahriar Tavakoli-Tabasi and Jill Kuzniarek, all of Baylor.

This research was funded in part by a VA Clinical Research and Development Merit Award (H-22934, PI: El-Serag) and the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R03 DK095082, PI: White). The efforts of White and El-Serag effort were supported in part by the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Diseases (K24 DK04-107 and K01 DK081736, respectively) and the Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence (HFP90-020).

New Research Study Goes Against Popular Belief On “39-week” Pregnancy Rule

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pregnantThis article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your comments below. Questions or concerns about the article should be addressed directly to the Baylor College of Medicine.

Women who are managing low-risk pregnancies are advised to follow the “39-week rule” – waiting until they are 39 weeks to deliver. This rule is intended to eliminate elective inductions and cesarean deliveries at 37 and 38 weeks, when outcomes for the newborns are believed to be worse than those born at full term.

But new research by a Baylor College of Medicine epidemiologist suggests that babies delivered after elective induction at 37 to 38 weeks may not have an increased risk of adverse neonatal outcomes, compared to those infants who are expectantly managed (i.e., medical observation or “watchful waiting”) and delivered at 39 to 40 weeks. The findings appear in the current issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“Our findings caution against a general avoidance of all elective early-term inductions and call for continued research, based on better data, in what is still a relatively new arena,” said Dr. Jason Salemi, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor and lead author of the study.

The national initiative to eliminate all elective deliveries before 39 weeks began to gain momentum around 2008, Salemi said, and was supported by professional organizations and adopted by healthcare institutions.

“Until then, I had never observed a campaign so enthusiastically embraced and that resulted in such widespread implementation of practice improvement efforts,” Salemi said.

But he saw limitations in many studies used to justify the 39-week rule. Most notably, he recognized what he believed to be an inappropriate choice of comparison group for elective early-term deliveries.

“A number of studies reporting worse outcomes for elective early-term deliveries compared them with later term spontaneous deliveries, a low-risk group. However, the clinical decision that must be made is not between elective early-term delivery and later spontaneous delivery, but between elective early-term delivery and expectant management, in which the outcome remains unknown,” Salemi said.

Salemi and his colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study that used data on more than 675,000 infants from a statewide database. All live births were classified on the basis of the timing and reason for delivery. The research study compared elective inductions and cesarean deliveries at 37 to 38 weeks to expectantly managed pregnancies delivered at 39 to 40 weeks.

“We focused on serious conditions in early life. Our outcomes included neonatal respiratory morbidity, sepsis, feeding difficulties, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit and infant mortality,” Salemi said.

Salemi cautions that the research findings do not lend support for elective deliveries before 39 weeks and, in fact, provide evidence that supports the avoidance of elective early-term cesarean deliveries. The study found that infants delivered after cesarean delivery at 37 to 38 weeks had a 13 to 66 percent increase in the odds of damaging outcomes.

However, infants delivered after elective early-term induction experienced odds of adverse neonatal outcomes that were largely the same as infants who were expectantly managed and delivered at 39 to 40 weeks. Through the research findings, Salemi hopes to increase awareness on the many issues that surround the timing and reasons for delivery.

“Each pregnancy is unique,” He said. “I cannot overstate the importance of open and ongoing communication between pregnant women and their healthcare providers so that the potential risks and benefits of any pregnancy-related decision are understood fully.”

Other authors that contributed to this research study and article are Dr. Elizabeth Pathak, during her time as an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, and Dr. Hamisu Salihu, professor and vice chair for research in family and community medicine at Baylor.

This research was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (grant number R01HS019997).

Easy Ways To Reduce Neck Pain

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and Harvard Health Publications, please share your comments below…..

doctorOnline access can help people improve their health. The Internet can offer a means to research health conditions, connect socially, reach health care providers, find diet and nutrition information, and learn about exercise.

When the source of neck pain seems like a mystery, the culprit may be a smartphone or laptop, reports the June 2016 Harvard Health Letter. Bending the head down to look at a screen puts the body in an unhealthy position. “Think of it as an overuse injury. The neck and shoulders are being forced into one static position for too long,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist and clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Looking down flexes the neck forward. Supporting this position requires the help of the muscles in the neck, and sometimes the shoulder and shoulder blade muscles. “After a while, the muscles will get tired, overstretched, and weak, and will begin to hurt,” says Dr. Safran-Norton.

But there are plenty of simple fixes. Many focus on raising the screen or reading material to eye level to avoid looking down. For instance:

* Place a pillow on the lap, then rest the laptop or tablet on the pillow.

* Raise a monitor to eye level by placing it on a stack of large, sturdy books.

* Prop up a book in a book holder, and then place that on top of a pillow or table.

Simple neck exercises can also help reduce pain. But when pain lasts more than two weeks, Dr. Safran-Norton recommends seeking professional help. More serious causes of neck pain include arthritis, neck bone spurs, ruptured discs in the spine, fractures, scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine), old whiplash injuries, and poor posture.

Read the full-length article: “Do your habits cause your neck pain?”

Also in the June 2016 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

* Five ways the Internet can help boost health

* How stress affects seniors, and how to avoid it

* What to know when taking multiple medications

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/health or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Best & Worst Exercise Equipment For People With Back Pain

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Thank you to PRWeb and Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD, FAAOS for supplying this article, please share your thoughts below…..

humanbodyMinimally invasive spine surgeon Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD, FAAOS has published a new article in which he lists the four kinds of exercise equipment that can help alleviate back pain and support recovery from a spine injury, and the three kinds of exercise equipment that people with back pain should definitely avoid.

Minimally invasive spine surgeon Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD, FAAOS has published a new article in which he lists the best and worst exercise equipment for people with back pain.

“Many people who suffer from back pain or have a spine injury believe that they must give up their gym membership,” commented Dr. Gleiber, who specializes in treating all spinal disorders including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, myelopathy, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spinal trauma, and tumors and infections of the spine. “However, exercise can actually help alleviate their back pain and support their recovery — provided that they are using the right equipment in the right way, and steering well clear of the wrong equipment.”

According to Dr. Gleiber, the four kinds of exercise equipment he recommends for people suffering from back pain are:

1. Elliptical machines, which place minimal stress on the back and other joints.

2. Stationary bikes (both upright and recumbent), which provide an aerobic workout and strengthen the lower body, with little to no impact.

3. Treadmills, which are ideal for people who are out of shape, or resuming an exercise program after a lengthy break.

4. Weight machines, which can be particularly helpful for upper body exercises, and unlike free weights, do not require bending of the knee in order to lift the weight.

And on the other end of the spectrum, the three kinds of exercise equipment that people with back pain should definitely avoid are:

1. Lying leg press machines, which place enormous stress on the lower back.

2. Hip abductor machines, which strain the spine with each squeeze or pull.

3. Loaded standing calf raise machines, which place excessive weight on the shoulders and stress on the spine.

Added Dr. Gleiber: “Even when using this recommended equipment, people should immediately stop exercising if they experience additional back pain. And if they have any doubt about an exercise machine, they should check with their medical doctor – and not gym staff!”

The full version of Dr. Gleiber’s latest article entitled “The Best (and Worst) Exercise Equipment for Back Pain” is available on his practice’s website at http://michaelgleibermd.com/news/best-worst-exercise-equipment-back-pain/

Additional articles by Dr. Gleiber on spine health, pain relief, effective exercising and more are available at http://michaelgleibermd.com/news.

About Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD

– Dr. Michael A. Gleiber, MD is a trusted expert in the field of minimally invasive spine surgery. He currently serves as Spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, is a writer for The Huffington Post, and is frequently invited to provide his medical expertise in the media. Dr. Gleiber has been honored with multiple recognitions, including Castle Connolly Top Doctors for Spine Surgery, SuperDoctors of South Florida, Top 10 Spine Surgical Specialists Florida by Vitals.com, and is listed amongst Top 50 Spine Surgeon Leaders. Learn more at http://michaelgleibermd.com

Why Annual Eye Exams Can Improve Heart Health

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eyeThis article is courtesy of PRWeb, please leave your comments below. Although it discusses February as Heart month in the article, it still has some great tips…..

Many people may not be aware that an eye exam could prevent a future heart event or know that vision health is linked to cardiovascular health. During American Heart Month, Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center shares why scheduling regular eye exams may also improve heart health.

“A trip to the eye doctor can identify other diseases before symptoms appear,” says Dr. Shofner. Some health conditions can also cause vision loss when not addressed timely. During an eye exam, an optometrist or ophthalmologist thoroughly examines the retina and can view small changes in the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Changes in the eye’s blood vessels can indicate more serious systemic diseases such as hypertension (high blood pressure). Hypertension affects over 65 million Americans and many don’t even know they have it. “This disease doesn’t always show symptoms,” says Dr. Shofner.

The more advanced digital retinal imaging allows an eye doctor to quickly and painlessly detect and monitor blood flow in the retina. Ongoing research is proving that these changes in the retina can predict cardiovascular disease. This includes predicting one’s risk of having a stroke, high blood pressure or even a heart attack. Prevention is key to maintaining both vision health and heart health.

Vision Changes
“Anyone that experiences vision changes and has not had an eye exam in over a year should schedule an appointment with their local vision center,“ says Dr. Shofner. In some cases, hypertensive retinopathy can cause vision loss from retinal veins becoming obstructed.

Prevention
Researchers continue to confirm that certain risk factors such as smoking, obesity and high cholesterol levels can increase cardiovascular disease and put one’s vision at risk. Exercising, refraining from smoke (includes second hand smoke), maintaining a healthy weight and eating a heart healthy diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3s will help improve vision and heart health. It’s always recommended that patients consult with their primary care physician before starting an exercise program or taking nutritional supplements.

Many people may not be aware that an eye exam could prevent a future heart event.

American Heart Month
The CDC reports heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Supporting American Heart Month could positively impact lives. Shofner Vision Center along with other leading health professionals encourages Americans to visit the Million Hearts® website to find tools that can assist with making heart-healthy goals that last a lifetime.

About Dr. Shofner
Recognized by his peers as one of the most outstanding Board Certified Ophthalmologist in the United States, Dr. Stewart Shofner has performed over 30,000 LASIK procedures and 10,000 ocular surgeries and his business continues to grow…mostly from patient referrals. Dr. Shofner has outstanding credentials to deliver the best care and surgical outcomes for patients.

About Shofner Vision Center
Shofner Vision Center provides comprehensive vision care services including LASIK/PRK vision correction, cataract surgery and eye disease diagnosis and treatment. Shofner Vision Center utilizes the most advanced, proven technology to deliver the best solutions safely and reliably. Patients can schedule appointments online or call 615-340-4733.