Younger Looking Hands Help Turn Back The Clock

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washhandsDermatology specialist Dr. Meryl Joerg with Advanced Dermatology with tips on ways to make your hands appear younger.

The hands on the clock (unfortunately) never stop moving, and neither do our own – which is one of the reasons our hands are likely to give away our age even more than our faces, according to Meryl Joerg, MD, of Advanced Dermatology P.C.

“Our hands are always exposed to the elements, so between that and normal aging, they can become wrinkled and discolored over time,” Dr. Joerg explains. “But many people don’t maintain their hands with the same kind of attention as they give their face. This can cause a real double-take for others, who may think someone looks relatively young until they spot their hands.”

In what ways do our hands show our age? One of the first things that occurs is they lose plumpness and firmness, starting to look bony. The veins on top of the hands become bigger and more prominent, the skin becomes thinner and crepe-like, and age spots – a byproduct of decades of sun exposure – start to speckle the tops as well.

“Luckily, there’s much we can do to slow the hands of time, at least as far as our own hands are concerned,” Dr. Joerg says.

Tips for younger-looking hands

How to accomplish this? For starters, Dr. Joerg suggests these easy, non-invasive measures:

* Exfoliate your hands with a gentle sugar or salt scrub to rid your hands of dead skin.

* Moisturize daily. “This tip is intuitive – obviously, softer hands make for younger-looking hands,” Dr. Joerg says. “For a more aggressive approach, use moisturizers containing retinol or hydroquinone, which help lighten age spots.”

* Use soap-free cleansers for hand washing, which aren’t as drying.

* Use gentle non-fragranced dishwashing soaps and/or wear gloves for this daily chore.

* Don gloves while gardening during the warmer months, since dirt and grime aren’t gentle to the skin. *

* This also protects the skin from the sun’s damaging rays.

* Get a hand massage. “These aren’t only luxurious, but they get the blood circulating to the hands, which brings nutrients with it,” Dr. Joerg notes.

* Get a manicure to keep hands looking younger. Do not cut cuticles as this can cause infection and swelling around nails. Simply push the cuticles back. I advise against using UV light machines to cure nails as this directly damages the skin and can lead to discoloration and skin cancer.

* “Keep fingernails short – which is the style at the moment – and consider using ‘younger’ nail polish shades such as grays, blues or greens, which look very current,” she suggests.

* Wear sunscreen on your hands daily, even during colder months. “Exposure to ultraviolet light through the windshield while we’re driving can really add up over time, aging the hands” she says.

Cosmetic procedures offer a helping hand

Many people don’t maintain their hands with the same kind of attention as they give their face. This can cause a real double-take for others, who may think someone looks relatively young until they spot their hands.

Cosmetic procedures done by dermatologists represent a more involved approach to younger-looking hands but also offer more dramatic results. “These techniques can pick up where diligent personal efforts leave off,” Dr. Joerg says. These cosmetic procedures include:

Fillers: Radiesse has been FDA-approved for use in the hands, and this injectable product fills in lines, folds and depressions. “Radiesse is injected into the skin on the back of the hands to add volume and can reduce the visibility of bones, veins and tendons in the hands,” she says. “In addition, injecting filler into the hands helps stimulate the body’s own production of collagen, which enhances the end result.” Results are immediate and can last from 1 to 2 years.

Lasers: Diffuse sun damage on the tops of our hands – showing up in the form of profuse freckling or larger, unsightly age spots, and thinning of the skin – can be reduced by laser treatments. Some lasers specifically target the brown pigment of freckles and age spots. Other lasers such as Fraxel stimulate collagen in the skin to diminish the wrinkles, break apart the pigment, and thicken the skin “Usually 3 to 5 sessions are needed for the full effect of the lasers to be apparent,” Dr. Joerg explains.

Regardless of which combination of tactics you use to attack aging hands, Dr. Joerg encourages everyone to be as proactive about their hand maintenance as they are about their face. “We slather sunscreen, hydrating creams and wrinkle-reducing serums all over our face to look younger, and often we consider cosmetic procedures to bring the results to the next level,” she says. “Why wouldn’t you give your hands the same consideration? You don’t want your hands to give away your age.”

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com.

– Meryl Joerg, M.D., is board certified and specializes in dermatology at Advanced Dermatology P.C.

Common Sports Surgeries: How Orthopedics Help Sports And Fitness Related Injuries

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By Steve Barker

doctorSports stars commonly have orthopedic surgeries to fix injuries they receive during practice & games, like Oakland A’s catcher, Josh Phegley’s recent knee surgery. While most of us are aware of the importance of taking steps to avoid injury during physical activity, reading about these celebrity surgeries makes you wonder what sort of injuries sports stars (and us regular folk that just like to stay active) rely on surgeons at Orthopedic Associates to treat. There are a good number of injuries, but we’ve picked out a few of the most common to discuss the importance of orthopedics in helping with sports/fitness related injuries.

Common Injuries Sustained from Sports

Most injuries related to sports have something to do with joints, sprains, tears, and breaks, but do you know where? And what methods are commonly used to treat them?

Shoulder joint tear – About 20% of all sports injuries involve the shoulder, and that includes things like shoulder joint tears. Any of the three bones involved with the shoulder joint (scapula, clavicle, humerus) can become disturbed in such a way that injures the joint. One could sustain a severe fall which pulls the shoulder suddenly, or tear the joint while attempting a throwing motion incorrectly. The result is a typical one for joint problems: pain, reduced movement, and an overwhelming loss of strength in the joint. The treatment? Commonly, anti-inflammatory medicines, rest, and rehabilitative exercises can relieve symptoms. In other cases, though, a surgeon may have to perform an arthroscopic surgery to correct the issues within the shoulder, after which a period of rest and rehab will be necessary to regain full use of the joint.

Achilles tendon rupture – It’s the largest tendon in the body, so injury can occur in a number of ways. The actual structure of the tendon may become separated above the heel, but the tendon can also break away from the spot where it is connected to the heel bone. Ouch. It can be brought about in just about any sort of sport since a rupture of this nature can be induced from even simple actions like running. An achilles rupture can be treated by immobilizing the area with a cast (or something similar) and allowing the tendon to repair itself. Surgery can also suture the tendon back together, followed by a period of immobilization and then physical therapy.

joggerAnkle sprain – Almost everyone has seen one of these. The ligaments in the ankle are pushed too far and then tear apart. Perhaps you were walking on an uneven surface and fell? Or you were attempting a sports technique and twisted your foot? Sprains may even result from a blow to the foot. If the injury is minor enough, it can be treated at home with basic rest and application of ice. If it is a more severe injury, however, the type that causes intense pain and swelling, the doctor might need to intervene. They might have to do some X-Rays, and examine your ankle to assess the level of pain and range of motion. After this, the severity of the sprain will be graded. It could be a mild, grade 1 sprain, or it could be a very severe grade 3 sprain. The remedy? Most involve a combination of rest, compression, elevation of the ankle, and icing it down. If the injury is severe enough, you may also need to use crutches or an ankle brace for a period, and perhaps even undergo physical therapy.

Meniscus tear – One of the most common of all injuries to the knee. The cartilage in the knee, which serves to cushion it and keep it stable, can become torn through athletic activity. A bad squat, direct contact, and many other regular sports occurrences can bring about meniscus tears. Tears can limit mobility and should be treated correctly, depending on their size and location. Some meniscus tears can heal on their own. Others will need to be dealt with surgically. Knee arthroscopy is one of the most widely used procedures and involves trimming away damaged parts of the meniscus or suturing torn pieces back together. As with many procedures, therapy is often recommended afterwards to complete the healing process.

In Summary

Injuries happen, especially when engaging in strenuous physical activity! Thankfully, orthopedic procedures are an excellent way to correct many of the most common sports-related injuries. Orthopedics procedures are also a good option for treating joint injuries sustained through day-to-day activity. If you’ve experienced an injury, orthopedic consultation might be the way to begin your road to recovery.

5 Tips To Help Your Lawn Prepare For Next Season

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grassCool temperatures, light rainfalls and beautiful autumn leaves signal that fall is nearly here. These same signs tell lawns that fall has come and winter is on the way, too. End the season with a bang by rejuvenating the lawn and prepping for the cooler season ahead.

Early autumn is the best time to repair damage, browning or dead spots, fertilize and improve the yard. Follow these five tips from experts at The Espoma Organic Company to have a greener, lusher and healthier than ever yard next spring.

Help The Lawn Hang On All Winter Long

1. Know How to Mow. Continue mowing as needed throughout the fall months. Keep the mower blades high (3” or higher) to encourage healthy roots.

2. Rake it up. Remove fallen leaves as soon as possible. Leaves that haven’t been cleaned up tend to become a soggy mess that can suffocate grass and breed diseases. Either rake or use a lawnmower with a collection bag to keep on top of the leaves. Compost leaves to use as mulch in the spring.

3. Agree to Reseed. If the entire lawn looks dry and brown, overseed the whole thing. If only certain areas look bare, reseed only those spots. First, perform a soil test and improve if needed. Then cut grass lower than normal and remove clippings. Level, rake soil smooth and spread Espoma Organic Lawn Starter. With a broadcast spreader, apply a seed that best suits your region and weather. Finally, water.

4. Prepare with Care. Get the lawn ready for the cooler weather ahead by fortifying it with nutrients. Fertilize now with Espoma’s organic fall winterizer. A fall feeding will promote growth, increase winter hardiness and helps lawns recover from drought. Apply organic fall winterizer to a dry lawn after seeding and mowing. Use a drop or broadcast spreader and be certain to overlap slightly to prevent striping. For best results, water lightly after the application if rain is not expected within 24 hours.

5. Fido First. Always use organic products. Harsher, chemical lawn products can be eaten, ingested or passed on to pets (and brought into the home). This exposure has been linked with a higher risk of canine cancer. Keep pets alive longer by making sure their paws are safe by using organic lawn products.

The Espoma Company has been the pioneer in natural gardening solutions since 1929. Espoma provides an extensive selection of natural products that work in harmony with nature and are safe for people, pets and the planet. The company produces more than 100 products to cover the nutritional needs of plants and to grow beautiful lawns and gardens. Visit espoma.com for more information and tips about organic lawn care.

Recent Mayo Clinic Studies Help To Highlight The Value Of Cardio Testing

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healthyheartThe Northern California Medical Associates Cardiovascular Services offers regular cardiovascular screening tests and is committed to educating patients about heart and stroke prevention to highlight the importance of a long-term commitment to heart healthy living.

A report out just last month gives a clear indicator that the single best option for avoiding cardiovascular disease is exercise and maintaining fitness. This study reveals that fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death — a finding that emphasizes the significance of maintaining lifelong heart and lung fitness.

The Importance of Cardiovascular Screening

The key to preventing cardiovascular disease is no doubt heading off potential risk factors such as high blood pressure, high total cholesterol or high blood glucose. The best way to determine overall risk factors is through screening tests recommended by physicians as part of a regular doctor visit. Routine cardiovascular screening is important to detect risk factors in their earliest stages. Risk factors that are determined early enough help doctors treat the risk factor in patients prescribing lifestyle changes and medication where appropriate, before the risk has the opportunity to the development of cardiovascular disease.

What the Latest Studies Reveal

According to a recent study titled the ‘FIT Treadmill Score’ described in the March 2, 2015 issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings that collected data from 58,000 heart stress tests performed by cardiologists who created a formula that estimates one’s risk of dying over a period of 10 years based on a person’s ability to exercise on a treadmill at an increasing speed and incline. Researchers analyzed information collected from more than 58,000 people between 18-96 years of age who underwent standard exercise stress tests over an 18 year period for evaluation of chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness.

Study participants were tracked within each fitness level to determine how many died from any cause over the next decade. The results reveal that among people of the same age and gender, fitness level and peak heart rate reached during exercise was the ultimate indicators of death risk. Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death. Researchers believe that the finding underscores the significance of heart and lung fitness.

NCMA Cardiovascular Services

The American Heart Association stipulates that the most common risk factors for developing heart disease are high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history, diabetes and smoking. Women in the post-menopausal stage are also at higher risk as are men over the age of 45, and obesity for both men and women is considered to be a risk factor. Determining risk factors through routine screenings can help to save lives.

Cardiovascular screening results can also serve to put patients on alert as to the importance of diet modification and lead them to embrace the idea of adopting a routine of healthy physical activity — changes that can impact long term health for life. Most regular cardiovascular screening tests should begin as early as age 20, the frequency of follow-up then determined by the individual’s assessed level of risk.

From cardiac catheterization to open-heart surgery, from electrophysiology to rehabilitation and prevention, the Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) Cardiovascular Services team is dedicated to delivering the highest quality care and the best patient results. NCMA Cardiovascular Services offers patients a comprehensive range of cardiac services, interventional procedures and comprehensive care to meet the needs of patients. All procedures are performed by highly skilled and trained registered sonographers, registered nuclear technologists, and/or registered nurses and medical assistants, under the support of physicians. To learn more visit our website.

Interesting Product – Bouncy Bands Help Students With Test Anxiety

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Article courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below on this product. Do you think it will help some kids?

groupkids38% of students have moderate to severe test anxiety. 86% of students surveyed said that a new product called “Bouncy Bands” helped them feel calmer when they take tests; 87% of teachers said kids focused better.

Kids who get stressed-out taking tests can bounce and wiggle their way out of anxiety, according to new surveys.

Out of more than 400 students surveyed nationwide 86% reported that a new product called Bouncy Bands helped them feel calmer when they took tests. And their teachers agreed. From over 100 teachers surveyed, 92% said Bouncy Bands helped students release energy and 88% said that movement tended to give students sharper focus.

Bouncy Bands strap between the legs of chairs or desks allowing students to bounce their feet while they work and release some of their extra energy. They’re a boon to students at any time of year but, with the end of school year approaching, parents and teachers are looking for any resource to help their children perform better, especially those who suffer from test anxiety.

This is important, says the product’s creator, elementary school counselor, Scott Ertl, because the American Test Anxieties Association reports that a majority of students are more stressed by tests and by schoolwork than by anything else in their lives. About 20% of students have high test anxiety, making this the most prevalent scholastic impairment in schools. Another 18% are troubled with moderate test anxiety.

Ertl created Bouncy Bands in 2014 for his own students and since then they have already been enjoyed by more than 15,000 kids across the globe.

Ertl said, “Bouncy Bands help kids relieve their extra energy, anxiety, stress, and hyperactivity while they sit at their desks. Kids love being able to move instead of having to sit still for five to six hours every day. I like to say they can ‘wiggle while they work.’ Bouncy Bands enable high energy kids to fidget without distracting others. They discreetly soothe student anxiety, frustration, and hyperactivity and increase their attention so they can spend more time on tasks.”

Made from a heavy-duty rubber rope that is stronger than bungee cord, inner tubes, and stretch bands, Bouncy Bands have been featured by Creative Child Magazine as a 2014 Product of the Year and named as a “Great Find” by AblePlay.

Over 120 teachers throughout the U.S. have been fully funded through DonorsChoose.org for every student in their class to receive a free Bouncy Band. Teachers who received grants for Bouncy Bands have been singing their praises.

Mike Adams, of R.H. Gettys Middle School, Easley, South Carolina, said, “The students are rushing to my classroom every day now in order to get a desk with the bouncy bands. Their focus has increased tremendously.”

Renee Drake, fourth grade teacher at South Columbia Elementary School, Augusta, Georgia, said, “These bands have truly impacted my room in the best way possible. The noises in the room have gone down significantly because the students are able to silently bounce their feet and fidget without tapping or bouncing pencils on their desks.”

Colleen Kennedy, school counselor at Camp Ellen Elementary School, Norfolk, Virginia: “Students are staying in their seats longer, completing tasks in their entirety, and very excited about their new desk accessory. They have very happy feet and if their feet could smile I’m sure that they would.”

And Molly McCarthy, sixth grade teacher at Piedmont Open IB Middle School, Charlotte, North Carolina, said, “There are students who rely on the bands as much as their pencil and eraser.”

Harlem Globetrotters star Julian “Zeus” McClerkin, who is normally seen bouncing around a basketball court, is also a fan. He said “I wish I’d had Bouncy Bands when I was in school. Even now, I like to bounce my feet when I sit. I can see a lot of kids who would love these!”

For more information please visit: BouncyBands.com.

Partnership To Help Families Make Healthy Eating And Fitness Routine

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familyjogAlliance for a Healthier Generation and 24 Hour Fitness are joining forces to give families the power to live healthy, active lives. Through a partnership announced today, the Alliance and 24 Hour Fitness will launch Nutrition Revolution 5K, an event series in ten cities across the country that will educate and inspire children and adults to eat healthier and move more in 2015.

Nutrition Revolution 5K is an important part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s mission to combat childhood obesity. Childhood obesity has almost tripled in children and adolescents in the past 30 years. Today about one out of three children and adolescents (ages 2-19) in the United States is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for serious health problems.

“Educating and inspiring kids and adults to develop lifelong, healthy habits is at the core of what we aim to do at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation,” says Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “We couldn’t think of a better partner than 24 Hour Fitness to join our team and launch this exciting new event series. Together, we will help families start a health revolution.”

For 24 Hour Fitness, Nutrition Revolution 5K provides another opportunity for people to get the most out of the physical activities they enjoy – and get more out of the rest of their busy days. Nutrition Revolution 5K will feature simple steps to make healthy eating and fitness a part of daily life – before, during and after the event series.

“24 Hour Fitness shares a vision with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation for healthy, active living that’s within everyone’s reach,” said John Tovar, Senior Vice President, Club Operations, 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. “We are proud to sponsor Nutrition Revolution 5K and show our commitment to families and members in the communities we serve.”

Learn more about how your family can join the revolution and make sure the finish line is only the start. Details on dates and locations for Nutrition Revolution 5K events will be posted on http://www.nutritionrevolution5K.org.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, empowers kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments for millions of children. To learn more and join the movement, visit HealthierGeneration.org.

About 24 Hour Fitness

Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., 24 Hour Fitness is a leading health club industry pioneer, serving nearly 4 million members in more than 400 clubs across the U.S. For more than 30 years, the company has been dedicated to helping members change their lives and reach their individual fitness goals. With convenient club locations, personal training services, innovative group exercise classes and a variety of strength, cardio and functional training equipment, 24 Hour Fitness offers fitness solutions for everyone.

Please call 1-800-224-0240 or visit 24hourfitness.com for more information and to find the club nearest you.

Smart Shopping Tips To Help Maximize Holiday Spending

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newspaperDo you remember the gift you received for Christmas last year? Planning ahead is the key to staying ahead this season.

As consumers prepare for the holiday season, Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management, Inc. (“Springboard”) is encouraging individuals and families to be mindful of the financial goals they established at the beginning of the year. Failing to plan can lead to impulse shopping and overspending, especially during the gift-giving season. Considering that most adults do not recall the gifts they gave or received last year calls for some planning ahead this holiday season. In preplanning, consumers can avoid the pressure to make unnecessary purchases, and the possibility of derailing the financial progress they have worked so hard to achieve. Melinda Opperman, Springboard’s senior vice president, encourages consumers to make their memories different this year by being creative and resisting the urge to make purchases that exceed their budget.

“We’re hoping that consumers will connect with relatives and friends over Thanksgiving as that’s the perfect time to pull names for a holiday gift-exchange or choose other new holiday gift giving traditions that won’t break the family budget,” says Opperman. “Consumers should ask themselves if they remember the gifts they received last year.”

There are many variations to a holiday gift exchange. From a theme-based activity such as the white elephant game where participants bring their wrapped “gift” to the party. This can involve everyone in the family, and numbers are chosen and a gift is selected and opened, and the gift can be ‘stolen’ up to three times! This leads to some good natured laughter and fun memories. Rather than exchanging gifts with co-workers, consumers may want to consider pooling their funds to donate a toy or meals to individuals and families who are less fortunate. Selecting a charity-given focus provides a way to make gift-giving memorable without taxing the family budget.

“Make it fun by selecting a theme that’s meaningful to your family members,” says Opperman. “This will save you time and money. Rather than purchasing multiple gifts, you will only have to buy a gift for the person’s name you pulled over Thanksgiving,” says Opperman.

Springboard also offers the following additional wallet-friendly tips for consumers this holiday season:

Make a Plan

Create a holiday budget and set spending limits. Knowing how much one can truly afford to spend is a crucial first step in controlling costs. Be sure to include all anticipated holiday expenses, including decorations, holiday cards, postage, and gift-wrap.

Make a List

After the budget has been established, make a list of gifts, decorations, and food items that need to be purchased. Sticking with an established budget will help prevent overspending. If it has been a challenging year financially, it is a good idea to shrink the holiday gift list.

Plan a Time to Shop

Running around on lunch hours and evenings after work or shopping with young children is exhausting and not very productive. Arrange for a day or half-day off to do shopping. Consider trading babysitting with a friend in order to have more shopping time.

Be an Efficient Shopper

If looking for a specific gift, “let your fingers do the walking” and call stores to find out if they have that special item.

Use malls. Whether it’s the local retail mall or an outlet mall, go where there is a large selection of stores to shop.

Read the newspapers and sales flyers for deals and specials. Use the newspaper to comparison shop.

Separate shopping trips (when comparing prices, quality, value, etc.) from spending trips (when making a purchase), and resist taking cash, credit cards, or a checkbook on the shopping trips.

Pay with cash and avoid using credit cards. Charge cards tend to encourage indiscriminate spending. Credit card users often say they had no idea how much they spent on the holidays until the credit card bills arrive in January or February.

Plan ahead – shop year-round and make a “gift drawer” or box with pre-holiday presents inside. Don’t forget to make a list and keep track of gifts as they are purchased throughout the year. Be sure to keep all gift receipts in an envelope where they can be easily retrieved at gift-giving time.

Liquidators, buying clubs, and factory outlet stores usually offer lower prices. Bulk buying with other family members or friends can also yield savings. Shop during off-peak times such as early morning or mid-week to avoid crowds and pressure.

Do it online. Online auctions such as eBay are great places to find bargains, but be aware of how much similar items cost at retail. Many retailers have clearance sections on their shopping sites that offer big savings.

Make gifts at home. Handmade craft items, special desserts or breads and other “goodies” can help stretch a holiday budget.

Throughout the nation, Springboard offers assistance with money and credit management through educational programs and confidential credit and debt counseling. Springboard offers various financial literacy workshops, including Surviving the Holidays, where consumers learn how to prepare for costs associated with the holidays, manage holiday spending and begin the New Year without holiday debt. In addition to free educational seminars, Springboard offers interactive financial tools, online courses, and helpful resources that may be downloaded from its Financial Instructional Training (FIT) Academy.

About Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management

SPRINGBOARD® Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit personal financial education and counseling organization founded in 1974. Springboard is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency and a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a national organization of nonprofit credit counseling agencies, and a member of the Association of Independent Credit Counseling Agencies. The agency offers personal financial education and assistance with credit counseling, housing counseling, debt and money management through educational programs and confidential counseling. Springboard is accredited by the Council on Accreditation, signifying the highest standards for agency governance, fiscal integrity, counselor certification and service delivery policies. The agency provides pre-bankruptcy counseling and debtor education as mandated by the bankruptcy reform law. The agency offers nationwide phone counseling services and has locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Florida and Maryland for in-person counseling sessions. Not all types of counseling are available in-person at all locations, please call for details. For more information on Springboard, call 800-449-9818 or visit their web site at http://www.Springboard.org.

Treating Gum Disease May Help The Heart

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smileGum disease, which happens when sticky, bacteria-laden film builds up and hardens around the teeth, has been linked to cardiovascular disease.

Gum disease has long been linked to heart disease. New research suggests that for people with both conditions, treating the gum disease may lower their health care costs and the number of times they end up in the hospital, reports the November 2014 Harvard Heart Letter.

Gum disease begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film known as plaque builds up around your teeth. Daily tooth brushing and flossing and regular cleanings by a dentist or hygienist can prevent and even reverse gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease (also called periodontal disease). Left untreated, gingivitis can turn into gum disease. The gums pull back from the root of the tooth, creating a tiny pocket that gradually widens. Eventually, the infection and inflammation attack the tissue that holds the tooth to the jawbone, which can cause the tooth to loosen and possibly fall out.

A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reviewed the medical and dental records of people who had gum disease in addition to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease (usually a stroke), or another chronic health problem. People who had at least one periodontal disease treatment had lower medical costs and fewer hospitalizations within four years of the treatment compared with people who weren’t treated. For cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, health care costs were between 10% and 40% lower.

Treating gum disease reduces the body’s burden of infection and inflammation, which seems to help people respond better to treatments for other health conditions, like heart disease, says periodontist Dr. Alpdogan Kantarci of the Harvard-affiliated Forsyth Institute, a not-for-profit research organization focused on oral health. “As we’re always telling our physician colleagues, ‘Make sure your patients are getting regular dental care,’ because we may be able to help improve their overall health,” Dr. Kantarci says.

Read the full-length article: “Treating gum disease: Save your smile, help your heart?”

Also in the November 2014 Harvard Heart Letter:

* Exercise: The best medicine to slow aging

* Treating narrowed arteries in the neck

* For heart health, less salt makes the most sense

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).

8 Ways To Help Your Teen Survive A Breakup

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By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

teensOne of the toughest parts of parenting I ever had to participate in was when my daughter went through a breakup. It doesn’t matter if you’re 13 or 63, breakups hurt. When you are older, you have the experience of years and your self-esteem is formed and you are not as dependent on being liked or fitting in. For a tween or teen it can be devastating because their feelings for the other person are very deep and their self-esteem is not fully developed. Telling them this will pass and they will have many more loves is not effective because they live very much in the present and their pain is immediate.

I see patients every day who “medicate” in unhealthy ways when getting over a breakup. They use food to comfort themselves, or they drink, or they spend excessive money at the mall. We don’t want our children to model these behaviors, and they won’t if we help them during this fragile time.

Here are some tips for parents that I think will help you help your child deal with the emotional pain of breaking up, and they may help you too. http://youtu.be/j_1lHkfr5Ts.

* Begin to journal or write a letter each day to the person you broke up with. Tell them how you are feeling, but don’t send your writings. This helps you get it out of your head and on to paper.

* Begin to exercise. Maybe you can walk or attend a yoga class with your child. Getting out of the house and focusing on something else helps.

* Join a club and learn a new skill. This is a great time for piano lessons, a writing class or learning a foreign language.

* Surround yourself with family and friends as much as possible. This prevents rebounds.

* Focus attention on yourself. Maybe you gave everything to this other person and you lost yourself in the relationship. Host a PJ party or pizza party with friends you may have neglected.

* Buy a pet or adopt an animal. Animals have a way of loving you no matter who you are. They have love for you when you cannot even love yourself. Having to take care of a pet is healing, you have a purpose, you are necessary.

* See a therapist. If your child is seriously depressed or sad for more than two weeks, talking with a therapist will really help.

* Don’t forget your faith. Praying may help you become more comfortable with the quietness, and meditation can help center you.

If you have a relationship, at some point you will have to learn to let go. Although it is painful, it teaches us more about our own capacity to love, and therefore, is a necessary part of growing up. Parents who understand that breakups are a learning experience and an opportunity to help them grow closer to their children have kids who learn to let go and love again.

– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at StartTalkingBook.com and more about Rapini at maryjorapini.com.

How Social Media And Texting Actually Help The Grief Process

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By Bob Livingstone

womanI have been one of the fiercest critics of America’s fixation with electronic devices. In an age where adults and children of all walks of life have their heads buried in the latest phone or tablet; face to face communication is at an all time low. Matter of fact, many children are very uncomfortable with direct communication, preferring to text or Facebook their friends.

However, I feel that when someone loses a loved one through death, social media and texting can be helpful tools in the grieving process. The bereaved at one time had to rely on friends or other family members to inform everyone about this devastating and sometimes abrupt loss.

Now the person in mourning can send a group text or a Facebook message to announce the death and to inform what the funeral plans will be. If you have lost a lover, close friend or family member, contacting all the folks who would want to know about the death could be an overwhelming job.

Now through a few clicks, all will be informed. The bereaved can also write down his initial feelings about the loss setting the tone for other’s responses. For example, If John’s wife died after a long battle with cancer, he may write a short profound note or he may share more details about his feelings. His friends can then decide to write a brief response or a longer one.

It is common for friends and family of those who lost a loved one not to know how to approach folks in a traumatic state. There is a school of thought that you shouldn’t bring up anything that will remind your friend of the recent death. There is another belief that those in grieving need to talk so it is fine to bring up issues regarding the death.

The reality is that everyone has different needs. There is no cookie cutter approach that is useful here. However, if you text your friend, “I really miss Emily. Her smile always light up the room.” Your friend may or may not respond. His reply may be one that expresses deep appreciation for your memory or he may be too overwhelmed to answer you. He will have the text on his phone to refer to when he’s ready to face painful memories. You must be prepared that he may not immediately reply and you shouldn’t take it personally.

smartphoneIt is possible to have written conversation with your friend about her loss through electronic devices that may be too painful to have face to face. Lots of folks are too distraught to have much face to face discussion immediately after the death of a loved one. They are reluctant to show their vulnerability to anyone outside their closest circle. They particularly don’t want to cry in front of others because in American society, tears are seen as a sign of weakness. This is an unfortunate myth that is upheld daily.

Therefore it may be easier for your friend to convey her feelings through a text message because the impersonal aspects of indirect communication provide a level of safety for her at this point of her loss.

You may be wanting to reach out to your friend whose mother died. Instead of waiting to get together and losing the momentum of what you want to express, you can text or Facebook him. Social media while reinforcing those who are impulsive, also provides a forum for those who want to pass on a thought or feeling immediately. These thoughts and feelings can be powerful words that provide healing for those in despair. A group discussion can then connect several folks who are hurting and they can find strength and solace together.

Social media and texting don’t take the place of direct, face to face communication. They can be tools for preparing and setting the stage for looking into your friend’s eyes and hearts. You cannot hug your friend through social media. You cannot see their tears and they cannot fully experience your compassion in cyberspace.

Bob Livingstone is the author the critically acclaimed Unchain the Pain: How to be Your Own Therapist, Norlights Press 2011, The Body Mind Soul Solution: Healing Emotional Pain through Exercise, Pegasus Books, 2007 and Redemption of the Shattered: A Teenager’s Healing Journey through Sandtray Therapy, Booklocker 2002. He is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker in private practice in The San Francisco Bay Area and has nearly twenty five years experience working with adults, adolescents and children.