Understanding Overactive Bladder
By Blaine Kristo, MD
If your days and nights are marked by frequent trips to the bathroom, you may have a treatable condition called overactive bladder (OAB). OAB affects between 12 to 29 percent of adults. The percentage increases with age, and the condition is twice as common in women as in men. Women may begin to notice symptoms of OAB in their forties, while men may start in their sixties.
OAB is usually accompanied by a sudden or strong urge to urinate, with or without bladder leakage. This condition can greatly impact a person’s quality of life, as it can cause embarrassment, interruptions in your daily activities, missing work, and sleep disturbances.
Only about 6 percent of people who have symptoms of OAB take medication for it, indicating that many do not seek treatment. If you are going to the bathroom more than seven times a day or multiple times at night, you should see your primary care doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a urologist – a physician who specializes in conditions that affect the urinary tract.
The first steps to treat OAB typically include lifestyle and behavior changes, such as avoiding bladder stimulants, like alcohol and caffeine, and avoiding liquids for two hours before bedtime. When lifestyle and behavior changes are not enough, the next line of treatment is medication.
In recent years, new oral medications with minimal side effects have been effective in treating OAB. The medications help relax the bladder muscle to regain some elasticity, resulting in fewer trips to the restroom.
Botox injections are another treatment option when other conservative treatments and medications have not worked or cause unwanted side effects. By relaxing and partially paralyzing the bladder muscle, Botox reduces over-activity and the frequent and urgent need to urinate.
Most patients tolerate the injections well and quickly experience relief. The results last about six months, and the procedure may be repeated when symptoms return. If OAB is disrupting your life, take steps to improve your condition. There are a variety of methods and treatments available to manage and relieve symptoms.
See a doctor for a proper diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan to improve your quality of life and overall well-being. With the right approach, OAB can be successfully managed, allowing you to lead an active and fulfilling life as you age.
Dr. Kristo is a board-certified urologist with more than 18 years of experience. He practices at Baptist Medical Center Nassau and specializes in overactive bladder, kidney stones, erectile dysfunction, and voiding problems in men and women. For an appointment, call (904) 277-2003.
Three Steps for a Better Life
By Andrew Parker
The famous allegory, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” demonstrates that slow and steady wins the race. This lesson is particularly applicable to personal health and wellness. One day of intense physical exertion or an overindulgence of petit fours and cupcakes does not make or break one’s overall health. A constant and consistent approach is essential to living a healthy life.
An abundance of health and wellness mania attempts to hypnotize us with new wording and attractive labeling, but the basics of wellness have never changed. Though it’s fun to try new things and new routines, the fundamentals have proven to be the best, even as our bodies change and mature.
Sleep, diet, and exercise are three crucial items to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Good sleep is needed to maintain one’s health and physical well-being regardless of age. In fact, it’s a top priority for many doctors and health experts. A healthy lifestyle begins with good sleep. Sleep allows our bodies to perform cellular maintenance, promote healthy brain function, recover energy, and much more.
Though sleep tops many healthy living lists, it’s heavily influenced by diet and exercise. A good night’s rest begins before bedtime since our bodies are susceptible to the precursors of sleep. Caffeine and sugar intake, amounts of physical activity, sunlight, and social activity all combine to form the springboard for good rest.
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins make up a balanced diet. They provide the body with the essential fuel to perform daily activities such as dressing, walking, and working. Dynamic activities such as hiking, pickleball, and swimming also rely on a balanced diet with healthy foods producing the long-lasting high energy necessary for these types of activities. A helpful tip: remove the daily super-sized candy bar from your menu and add more legumes.
Walking, hiking, and dancing are all forms of physical exercise. Ice baths, intermittent fasting, and consuming newly discovered minerals are trendy supplements to a basic course of moderate, sustained exercise and should not be the basis on which a lifestyle is built. To achieve optimal results, it’s best to implement a holistic approach that is easily managed and rarely interrupted.
At Osprey Village Life Plan Community, the entire lifestyle is built upon the belief that anyone, at any age, can live a better life. With an executive chef and dining team preparing delicious and healthy meals, programming directors leading daily aquatics and aerobic classes as well as indoor and outdoor social events, the consistent are winning the race and enjoying every minute of it.
Andy Parker is Creative Director at Senior Living Communities.
What Is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?
By Diane Pennington Mimick, DMD, MD
For many people, a loose tooth, tooth pain, or even general oral discomfort might bring back memories of anxiety-inducing visits to the dentist. It also can be difficult to find time to visit a dentist, let alone schedule time to see a specialist. It is important to remember that when unexpected oral health issues arise, a visit to a nearby oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) may be the best way to address your dental issues.
An OMS is a dental specialist who completes at least four years of a hospital-based residency after dental school. During this time, an OMS resident gains vast experience treating patients with problems involving the teeth, jaws, oral cavity, and associated facial structures. This includes advanced training alongside medical residents in anesthesia, general surgery, surgical specialties, and internal medicine. Some OMSs also complete medical school as part of their training.
Regular visits to the dentist are essential for maintaining oral health, and patients should visit a dentist for routine teeth cleanings and checkups to assess the risk of tooth decay and gum disease; have damaged teeth repaired with fillings, onlays, or crowns; get dentures; or have a root canal. When it comes to more complicated procedures, such as removing wisdom teeth or placing dental implants, a patient should visit an OMS.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the surgical specialists of the dental profession, undergoing extensive training that begins with dental school and continues with their hospital-based surgical residency. An OMS is truly an expert in face, mouth, and jaw surgery.
Procedures performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons include dental implants; wisdom teeth management and extraction; tooth extractions; TMJ and facial pain management; facial cosmetic surgery; corrective jaw surgery; facial injury and trauma surgery; oral, head, and neck pathology; cleft lip/ palate and craniofacial surgery; obstructive sleep apnea; extractions and dentoalveolar surgery; surgery to assist orthodontics; oral soft-tissue surgery; and the administration of anesthesia.
While there is an overlap in their respective areas of care, it should be noted that the surgical and anesthesia scope of OMSs is beyond that of dentists. Put simply, when patients need attention beyond maintenance and repair, it may be time to visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Dr. Mimick is a Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon at Camden Oral Surgery in St. Mary’s, Georgia.
The Top Ten Healthiest Foods in the World
By Steve Adams
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for overall well-being and longevity. Learn to consider your daily food choices as either medicine or poison, an investment or a costly expense. Incorporating nutrient-dense foods into our daily meals can provide various health benefits, from boosting the immune system to reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Although there are many healthy foods worldwide, here are the ten most nutritious foods and why they are considered nutritional powerhouses.
Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard). Leafy greens are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are rich in Vitamin K, which supports bone health, and Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Their high fiber content aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut.
Berries (Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries). Berries are antioxidant powerhouses that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals. They are also rich in Vitamin C and fiber, which promote heart health and aid in weight management.
Fatty Fish (Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines). Fatty fish are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain health and reduce inflammation. They also provide high-quality protein and essential nutrients like Vitamin D and selenium.
Nuts and Seeds (Almonds, Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds). Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They support heart health, aid in weight management, and provide essential nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium.
Avocado. Avocado is a nutrient-dense fruit packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, potassium, and fiber. It supports heart health, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes satiety.
Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts). Cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also contain compounds like sulforaphane, which have anti-cancer properties and support liver health.
Whole Grains (Quinoa, Brown Rice, Oats). Whole grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. They promote digestive health, stabilize blood sugar levels, and provide long-lasting energy.
Legumes (Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans). Legumes are rich in plant-based protein, fiber, and essential nutrients like iron and folate. They support heart health, aid in weight management, and promote gut health.
Garlic. Garlic is a potent natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory agent. It supports the immune system, promotes heart health, and may help lower blood pressure.
Tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers, especially prostate cancer. They are also a good source of Vitamin C and potassium.
Incorporating the top ten healthiest foods into your nutritional choices can profoundly impact your overall health and well-being. By making these foods a regular part of your meals, you can nourish your body naturally and enjoy the many health benefits they provide.
Steve Adams is the owner of Nassau Health Foods and Amelia Fresh Café.
When You Can’t Hear the Television Clearly
by Alexander Barnard, AU.D.
It I’s becoming more common for me to see a patient for a hearing test whose only concern is that they can’t understand television dialogue. For many, their hearing is normal or near-normal, and they are confused as to why they can’t understand their favorite shows.
As televisions became thinner and lighter, the built-in speakers became worse. Today’s televisions typically have speakers that are positioned on the bottom or rear of the device, which leads to the sound bouncing off the wall behind the unit before it reaches the viewer on the other side of the room. This often leads to the voices sounding muffled, and raising the volume can make the dialogue uncomfortably loud before it becomes clear.
Fortunately, there are multiple things we can do to make the dialogue clearer for both those with normal hearing and those who use hearing aids.
A dedicated speaker, such as a soundbar, is a great investment. Soundbars are long, horizontal speakers that plug into an audio-out port on your television and project the sound towards the viewer. Just about any major electronics brand produces soundbars, and quality devices can be found at supermarkets for around $100.
Another option that can be purchased online are RF (Radio-Frequency) headphones. These headphones allow one user to hear the dialogue clearly, and they have a base station that plugs into the television and sends a wireless signal to the headphones worn by the viewer. These are great for those who live by themselves, those who stay up late watching television, and those who want to watch live sports for hours without annoying their partner.
While these headphones are becoming less popular as newer “Smart TVs” can pair with Bluetooth earphones, the RF headphones are available online from multiple manufacturers and can be connected to almost any television.
The final and most comprehensive way to increase the clarity of television dialogue is in the audio settings menu on the television. Many televisions have multiple listening mode presets. Some of the most beneficial modes are called “night,” “speech,” or “news.”
These settings vary between manufacturers, but they typically turn down the ambient background sounds while seeking to preserve human speech. The other option is to find your television’s bass and treble adjustments. For more clarity, we want more treble and less bass.
The most common hearing loss also makes it sound like people are mumbling more than they are. Prior to making any changes, it’s always a good idea to get a baseline hearing test to make sure that this is a problem with your television and not your hearing itself.
Dr. Barnard is a Doctor of Audiology at Amelia Audiology. For more information, call Amelia Audiology at (904) 491-1515 or visit www.AmeliaAudiology.com.
Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Sight
by Tony Stubits, O.D.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. It is a disease that slowly damages the optic nerve. The optic nerve is like a fiber optic cable containing over a million tiny nerve fibers that connect the eye to the brain. With glaucoma, the pressure builds up inside the eye and damages the delicate nerve fibers in the retina and optic nerve. It starts with the peripheral nerve endings and leaves the central vision intact until the very end, allowing it to sneak up on people.
The main cause of glaucoma is increased eye pressure. The eye is a hollow ball filled with fluid. That fluid, called aqueous humor, is constantly being pumped in and should drain out at the same rate. Open angle glaucoma, which is the most common type, happens gradually and is due to the fluid not draining out as well as it should. This causes the pressure to build up and starts to damage the optic nerve. Regular eye exams, including pressure checks, optic nerve scans, and visual field testing are necessary to detect and manage glaucoma.
The initial treatment for open angle glaucoma are eye drops that either reduce the inflow or increase the outflow of fluids. There are numerous drops and combinations of drops to keep pressures in a normal range to prevent further damage from glaucoma. If drops are too cumbersome, or if the patient is allergic to drops, a Durysta implant can be performed. For severe cases, or where multiple drops will not keep the pressure in an acceptable range, a goniotomy can then be performed. A goniotomy is a surgical procedure in which the doctor creates an opening in the trabecular meshwork which helps the fluid drain from the eye.
The second type of glaucoma is called closed angle glaucoma. This is when the iris gets too close to the drainage area. This can make the eye pressure rise dramatically and cause what is called an acute glaucoma attack. This can make the eye suddenly become red, blurry, and have severe pain. Other symptoms include headaches, nausea, halos, and vomiting. This is a true eye emergency and should be seen by an eye doctor immediately if any of the symptoms present. The treatment for closed angle glaucoma is an emergency laser iridotomy to reduce the pressure and prevent any future episodes.
So don’t let glaucoma sneak up on you. Although the damage from glaucoma is irreversible, it is usually quite preventable, only if detected early enough. So see the eye doctor at least once per year so they can look for the early warning signs of glaucoma.
Dr. Stubits is an optometrist with Coastal Vision Center, located at 6 South 14th Street in Fernandina Beach. For more information, call Coastal Vision Center at 261-5741.
What is Direct Primary Care?
By Jan Carver, APRN
Direct Primary Care (DPC) started in the mid-2000’s as an insurance-free model. In DPC, patients are charged a monthly fee, with no third-party payer (insurance) involvement. Direct primary care is a primary care practice model in which consumers pay healthcare practices directly (hence, direct primary care) and do not accept or bill third-party payers (insurance companies).
The traditional healthcare model can make it difficult to see patients, as providers add more and more new patients. Medicine can be more about checking boxes than caring for patients. Insurance hurdles make it harder for patients to get needed care, with co-payments increasing and deductibles skyrocketing. For example, patients might have a $7,000 deductible, but it could cost them $150 every time they see a healthcare provider until they reach that deductible.
For the healthcare provider, there is often a need to see as many patients as possible in order to cover increasing overhead. Detailed phone discussions are almost impossible because of the heavy schedule of patients. Sadly, medicine has become more and more impersonal.
Patients are using urgent care and pharmacy clinics more and more. Why don’t they contact their primary care practice? Sometimes there is a two-week wait, the phone tree system is difficult to navigate, they leave a message and wait for a call back, and after-hours service can’t help them. Finally, when they get an appointment, they must take time off from work, sit in a crowded waiting room, sometimes for an hour, and see the physician for a few minutes.
Direct Primary Care is growing in popularity because it provides accessible and affordable care. In a DPC practice, patient panels are limited to a quarter of the size of a traditional practice, allowing for same-day or next-day visits, unlimited visits, visits that start on time, and the chance to interact by phone, text, video, or email. And DPC is affordable, with monthly costs less than a cell phone or cable bill. The DPC mode offers the ability to use phone, text or video during off-hours to treat patients at their convenience, resulting in fewer ER and urgent care visits.
My hope is that the DPC model will become more and more prevalent as patients ask for medicine the way it should be: a doctor/nurse practitioner – patient relationship, not a doctor/nurse practitioner – front office – insurance – administration – nurse – patient relationship.
Jan Carver is nurse practitioner and primary care provider at 8 Flags Direct Primary Care, located at 1890 S. 14th Street, Suite 102. For more information, call (904) 206-6329 or visit www.8flagsdpc.com.