Author Archives: Ivan Earls

3 Shoulder Injuries That Require Early Orthopedic Consultation

Orthopedic doctor with his patientAre you experiencing persistent pain and tingling whenever you lift your upper arm? Perhaps you suffer from a limited range of motion in your shoulder joint.

If you have persistent shoulder and upper extremity discomfort upon repetitive movement, there might be an underlying musculoskeletal injury. The shoulder is a highly mobile joint that is responsible for unrestricted flexion and extension of your arms. If exposed to trauma, infection, or stress, the joint becomes more vulnerable to injury.

Several orthopedic conditions and injuries may cause shoulder pain and discomfort. Here are some of them:

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome

This condition often occurs among overhead athletes, such as swimmers and baseball players. It is characterized by the compression of the rotator cuff muscles that play a major role in shoulder support. Due to shoulder overuse, the connective tissues become inflamed, which then causes subsequent damage to the surrounding ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues.

If you live in Torrance, CA, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon who will perform special tests to assess the extent of joint damage. Based on the severity, the doctor may recommend and perform rehabilitation, steroid injection, and surgery to provide symptomatic relief.

Shoulder Dislocation

Shoulder dislocation is an orthopedic problem wherein detachment occurs between the upper arm bone and its adjacent socket. As the shoulder can move into different directions, it becomes susceptible to injury if maximum position and angulation are exceeded. As a result, you may experience chronic pain and instability of the shoulder. Orthopedic surgeons may perform surgical closed reduction to restore normal shoulder configuration.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a condition wherein prior injury or overuse results in scar formation in the shoulder tissues. Previous systemic diseases, such as stroke and uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, may cause irreversible connective tissue injury. As such, surgery may be done in refractory cases wherein medical management no longer provides relief.

Shoulder injuries may significantly affect your quality of life especially when pain, immobility, and tenderness persist despite intake of pain relievers. Immediate orthopedic consultation is necessary to prevent progression of underlying connective tissue damage that contributes to pain.

Making the Unbearable Bearable: Hospice Care for Your Loved One

Two senior citizens talking to a nurse in a hospice care centerTerminal cancer patients have very sensitive and emotionally charged decisions to make, while all along trying to lead a dignified life. Once they have exhausted all the forms of treatment available, planning for their remaining time should be somewhat of a priority.

This is an extremely difficult time for these patients and their families. A few steps can help them spend their last days peacefully.

Plan for remaining care

When the treatment available can no longer slow or stop the spread of cancer, the next thing to do is to keep the patients free of pain as possible. You should do everything to keep your loved one peaceful. Palliative care offers social, emotional, and spiritual support for patients and their families.

The team of palliative care providers includes doctors, nurses, therapists, psychologists, and social workers who can address all the requirements of the patients. The treatment includes medication and counseling.

Hospice volunteering here in Indiana is available at certain hospitals and patients’ home too. The costs and the competencies of caregivers at Hospice centers is the primary consideration when opting for one.

Planning for support

Last stage cancer patients and their caregivers require mental, emotional, and physical support from doctors, family, friends, social workers, and society in general. The local cancer society can offer support to these terminally ill cancer patients and their families through many programs and assistance.

The role of family and caregivers become very important in the last stages. This all-important support plans should include peer support, emotional support, compassionate care assistances and social support.

Cancer patients will also have to prepare for the worst and work with a lawyer to make a personal Will. This will help their friends and family manage their property, money, investments, and young children after their passing.

They can even plan other details such as funeral services, the funeral casket, donations, readings, cremation or burial and other such details.

Cataract Surgery — What You Should Know

Doctor checking a patients eyesCataract removal is regarded as one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures. Seasoned ophthalmologists and eye surgeons know that cataract surgery is effective, safe, and requires only a short period of recovery.

A cataract surgery is usually done as a day surgery and the patient may go home after 3-4 hours’ rest in the hospital. Most patients are back to their normal activities the very next day, says Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre, one of the clinics in Singapore offering cataract surgery.

Surgical Procedure – What to Expect?

Once the doctor confirms the diagnosis of a cataract and the patient decides to undergo a cataract surgery, there will be additional tests before scheduling the surgery.

Firstly, Blood Pressure and Electrocardiogram (ECG) tests will be run by nurses to determine that the patient is in good health for the surgery. Then, biometry measurements will be carried out by the optometrists to enable the surgeon to calculate the lens implant power for the patient.

After going through a counselling session to ensure the patient fully understands the procedures involved in a cataract surgery, some eye drops will be dispensed and the patient will be required to start instilling them 2 days prior to surgery day.

More recently, phacoemulsification with intraocular lens implantation has become a popular choice among surgeons to remove cataracts due to faster healing and less incidences of complications. The corneal incision can be made so small that it doesn’t need any stitches to heal.

Most cataract surgeries go well, and side effects are rare. Nevertheless, post-surgical follow-up consultations with the surgeon and ophthalmologist are necessary. The patient must comply with the monitoring schedule, and follow the instructions from the medical team.

Cost of Surgery – What is the Difference?

In Singapore, you can choose to go for a subsidised procedure with the National University Hospital (NUH) for a standard lens implant procedure. Patients can also choose to upgrade their cataract surgery as a private patient. The cost all depends on the skills of the surgeon and the kind of lens you want for your procedure. To avoid surprises about coverage, enquire about specific aspects as soon as the doctor recommends it.

Currently, there are no alternative treatments that can cause a cataract to disappear once it has formed. It is important to note that neither diet nor lasers can make a cataract go away.

Patience and Practice: Teaching Your Kid to Swallow Pills

Variety of medicines and drugsWhen it comes to children’s medicines, most parents are likely to choose chewable ones or those in liquid form. If this is the same for you, it is important to know that some medicines work best when taken as a tablet. Certain pills, furthermore, should never be chewed or crushed, as they are designed to work gradually. This is why it is important to teach your kid how to swallow pills.

Take it Easy

The ideal age at which children should learn this habit varies. Note the every kid is unique, so it is best to do it when your little one seems motivated to learn something. In most cases, kids should be at least four years old, but there is no need to pressure. It is best to start with something small (like mini M&Ms), then gradually increase the size, until you can move to a non-chewable pill or tablet.

Be a Role Model

Pediatric doctors in Lehi note that when kids are about to swallow their first pill, explain first the importance of taking medicines so they will not feel scared about it. You might also want to demonstrate how it is done by taking one of your vitamins or pills. Be sure to stay calm, as being nervous will cause your child to feel the same way. Also, avoid giving negative feedback if they didn’t do it right the first time.

Things to Do

Start by having your kid sit up straight. Let him take a few sips of water to practice the act of swallowing. This will also prevent dry mouth, which can make swallowing difficult, or cause the tablet or capsule to stick to the tongue. Proceed with placing the medicine on your kid’s tongue and let him drink water again.

If your child did it, praise him or acknowledge his effort. If not, tell him that it’s fine and you can always try again. If your child is reluctant, it is best to take a break and try again some other time. Note that some kids may find it difficult, so be patient and keep on practicing. You may, however, want to see a doctor if your kid is very anxious about taking new medicines or trying new things.

Preventing and Controlling Tartar Buildup

Woman having dental check upApart from contributing to bad breath, plaque compromises the health of your teeth and gums. When not removed, this colorless film of bacteria can harden and lead to tartar or calculus buildup. Hardened plaque is difficult to remove, with other repercussions like cavities, gum irritation, and periodontal disease.

Tartar usually forms underneath the gum line, which then gives the plaque more area to grow and multiply. The sad part about this is that it’s more porous than plaque, making it more susceptible to stains. Discoloration with yellowish or brownish deposits at the gum line or lower front teeth are the most common signs of tartar.

The good news is you can prevent tartar from forming, as well its repercussions. Dentists in Bloomington, MN share how:

  • Brush and floss. Be sure to brush your teeth at least two times a day, two minutes each. Research suggests that powered toothbrushes are more effective than normal brushes when removing plaque. Flossing is also necessary to remove the plaque that collects between two teeth, which is also beneficial in reducing the likelihood of gum disease.
  • Mind your diet. The bacteria in your mouth grow and multiply using the sugar and starch from the foods you eat. This makes it important to eat a healthy and balanced diet, while also limiting the sugary food and beverages you consume. Note that every time you eat or snack fuels the bacteria in your mouth. Avoid mindless snacking and drink water to rinse your mouth and minimize plaque.
  • Quit smoking. If you smoke, quit. This benefits not just your lungs, but also your whole mouth. Research suggests that smoking or using tobacco products increase your risk of developing hardened plaque, as it is a known factor that promotes tartar accumulation. The habit is also associated with gum disease, tooth stains, and bad breath.

Don’t let plaque accumulate and become tartar. Note that when this forms on the teeth, only a dentist or a hygienist can remove it. Hardened plaque that accumulates above the gum can damage the gums and cause periodontal disease.

Effective Ways to Exercise

Effective Ways to Exercise and Stay Motivated

Effective Ways to ExerciseExercise does not only help you lose weight, it also has additional benefits of helping reduce risks for diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, and even some types of cancers. Moreover, it also helps boost your self-esteem and mood, as well as have an increased energy.

But, while most people do want to get fit, they rarely find the time and energy to actually exercise—particularly the recommended half hour to an hour each day. QLD Kettlebells shares more information below:

Break it up

Why not try breaking your exercise time into chunks? During weekdays when presumable you are busiest, you can sneak in your exercise if you break it up into 5 to 10 minute chunks. Walk to the office if you can. Take the stairs, if possible. Or how about 5 minutes of jumping jacks in the morning?

While these exercises can prove to be beneficial, do keep in mind that they are more supplemental in nature. On your less busy days, try a full hour workout. Keep at least a once a week regular fitness routine to ensure that you get the full effects of exercising.

Keep it fun

Exercise should not be a chore. While it is necessary, you should not feel like that you’re simply obligated to do so. Think about activities that you do enjoy and pair that with exercise. Love music? Tune up your radio and start dancing! Love animals? Try getting a dog for a pet. Walking your dog is not just going to be a bonding time between the two of you—you’d get some exercise, too.

Make it a social activity

Exercising can get boring if you’re doing it alone. Having friends while exercising will not only make it more fun, it can also help keep your motivation up. A team sport, such as soccer or volleyball, is a perfect pick-up activity that can double as exercise. If you’re not into competitive activities, taking dance or kettlebell classes will probably be more right up your alley.


Vein Care Tips for Frequent Travelers

TravelersFrequent travelers think that their active lifestyle will lessen their risk of incurring diseases. Travelers are also at risk, especially for those taking long journeys, unfortunately. Studies suggest that they are at risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DVT happens due to blood clot formation in veins of the legs, arms and heart. This disease can be life threatening if left untreated. If you’re a frequent traveler, here are things you can do to prevent it:

Pre-travel checkup

The last thing you want to do is suffer the disease while on a trip. See a doctor before traveling especially if you have drinking or smoking habits, you’re obese or pregnant. The chances of getting DVT are higher for people with those conditions. You may also have to check their treatment options for DVT if you’re showing symptoms like swellings, pains or tenderness in your legs.

Wear comfortable outfits

Ill-fitting clothes and shoes may increase your chances of getting the disease. These may clog your veins and lead to blood clots. Wear loose clothes when you travel. Alternate between heels and flats to prevent clots on your ankles. If you’re already at risk of DVT, wear compression stockings and other articles to keep the blood flowing.

Move around

A 2007 study revealed that travelers have the highest risk of venous diseases. Hours of sitting in cramped positions common in long travels slow down the blood flow through the vein, thus causing blood clots. Exercise on your seat if you’re in for a long flight. Move your arms and legs, stretch and walk along the cabin to maintain your blood circulation.

Right diet

What you eat might render your efforts to prevent DVT useless if you’re taking anticoagulant drugs. Eat less of foods rich in vitamin K like green leafy vegetables to make the drug more effective. It also helps if you stay hydrated with water during the trip. Drinking alcohol or coffee not only dehydrates you, but also increases your chances of developing blood clots.

While DVT is not life-threatening most of the time, the traveler’s lifestyle might aggravate it and lead to early demise. By taking these steps, you’re not only making your travel safe, but also reducing the health risks early.

tooth decay

Tooth Decay: The Most Expensive Diet-Related Disease in Australia

tooth decayThe Australian Dental Association‘s (ADA) objective is to encourage all Australians to take care of their oral health.  Good oral health is the absence of active disease in the mouth. It affects people’s overall well-being and self-esteem.  To promote this advocacy, the association annually celebrates a Dental Health Week.  This brings awareness about good oral habits.

Last 2014, the program’s theme was about sugar consumption. Research reveals that Australian children are overdosing on sugar based on the findings of University of Wollongong and University of Sydney researchers. Dr. Timothy Gill, its Principal Research Fellow, said,  “The results indicate that current diets of Australian children remain high in added sugars.”

This lead to tooth decay, the most common oral health problem kids encounter nowadays.

How Bad is a Tooth Decay?

The tooth gets damaged when bacteria go into the mouth and then make acids that eat away at a tooth, leaving it with a hole called a cavity – the start of a tooth decay. This can cause pain, infection and tooth loss, which leads to chewing difficulty, causing under nutrition and impaired physical development.  It is a fact that children suffering from severe tooth decay may weigh significantly less than those who don’t.

Psychologically, it causes children to have difficulties, leading to school absences, difficulty concentrating, and even poor appearance. If left untreated, it may lead to gingivitis, which usually precedes periodontitis.  In extreme cases, these problems may lead to more serious problems,  including heart attack and dementia.

Childhood dental decay is increasing in Australia, according to ADA. The country’s National Health and Medical Research Council said that the incidence of this problem continues to rise and has become the most expensive diet-related disease in the country.

The Good News

The good news is it is highly preventable! Have your kids visit their dentists – they can assist you with practices and treatment that your children need.

Remember, the key to having good oral health is not in complicated procedures, but in following basic regimen. Teach your children to take care of their teeth as early as possible to avoid problems in their adulthood.

Wisdom Teeth

Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom TeethPatients who undergo wisdom teeth extractions often wonder where all these teeth come from.

According to anthropologists, the third set of molars—which people generally refer to as wisdom teeth—were an evolutionary necessity suited for the diet of human ancestors. Since people depended on coarser diets in days of old, they needed much more chewing power than we do today.

Lacking in Wisdom Teeth

Often times, wisdom teeth do not come out properly, if at all, and that is where the problem lies. This makes teeth vulnerable to disease and need extraction to protect the overall health of the mouth. It is hard to reach these teeth, making them more prone to bacteria. There is also the problem of having food trapped in between teeth, causing plaque, cavities, and gum disease.

Though many people have to deal with wisdom teeth and the pains they commonly bring, there are the rare ones who are lucky enough to not have to go through the often painful ordeal. This does not mean, however, that they lack wisdom teeth altogether.

Growing Under the Radar

Highlands Ranch Dental Group says although some people may think that they never grew wisdom teeth, the truth is that they simply do not erupt. Such is the case of most impacted teeth. Whether or not you do have them, only your dentist can tell you for sure.

A Question of Higher Evolution?

If wisdom teeth are a link to the past in which people have already outgrown the uses, then this brings up the question of whether or not people lacking wisdom teeth are more highly evolved than the rest.

Wisdom teeth are a part of growing up for most of us. For the few lucky enough to never go through the pain—especially in impacted cases—it is well and good. Unfortunately, more people still have to deal with them. It is important to determine whether or not wisdom teeth can be functional or prone to causing problems down the road.

Always consult your dentist and make it a point to keep your regular appointments to make sure you won’t have to go through the pains of wisdom teeth complications.

white capsule supplement

Protect Yourself and Buy Quality Over-the counter Medicine

white capsule supplementYou take a paracetamol for headaches, aspirin for fevers, and ibuprofen for body pain. Like most people, chances are you don’t visit the doctor to get a prescription when experiencing minor and usual issues with your body. After all, you can easily purchase these over-the counter(OTC) medicine at your nearest pharmacy.

However, Jolley’s Sandy Compounding Pharmacy says it is important to practice utmost safety when buying OTC drugs.

Check your medical history

Unless you are keeping track of all your illnesses and the medicines you’ve taken, you should consult your personal or family doctor about OTC drugs that your body can take. Discuss your options to understand the possibility of allergic reactions and the likely effects of different OTC drugs on your body.

Carefully read the label

While the Food and Drug Administration has set guidelines and standards for labelling medicine, it’s still safer to make sure that the bottle you are holding has the right information. Read the label carefully to find the active ingredients and determine the right dosage, especially for kids. Also see the warnings particularly about pregnancy and allergy information.

Always, always check the expiry date

You do not want to take expired medicine. This may be far-fetched these days because expiry dates are clearly printed in all medicine packaging, but be on the safe side and always verify. The employees in your local pharmacy in Draper have probably been extra careful when stocking their medicine supplies but there’s still the possibility of human error in logistics.

Approach the pharmacist for help

When in doubt regarding which medicine to take for skin itch or toothache, you can approach the pharmacist for assistance. They may not be directly authorized to advise customers on OTC drugs, but their experience and extensive knowledge in medicine can help you choose the right generic or branded medicine.

While it is possible to self-diagnose and understand what medicine the body needs for the moment, it’s still better to consult a physician. You can play doctor sometimes but you should exercise caution if you want to protect yourself.