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Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Corticosteroids come in many different forms. They can be taken orally, used topically, inhaled, or even injected. Additionally, are also known as being systemic or localized. Systemic steroids are typically delivered orally, via IV, or intramuscularly, and work by moving through the blood; whereas localized steroids target a specific part of the body and are usually applied topically through things like skin creams, eye or ear drops, and inhalers.

In many cases, corticosteroids are often only taken for a short-term basis due to their many and sometimes unusual (and even sometimes severe) side effects. However, if your physician has prescribed a corticosteroid to you, then he or she has determined that the benefits outweigh the risks. That being said, it’s still important to be aware of the potential side effects that can develop when on a corticosteroid – especially if you have taken them for an extended period of time – which will be outlined later on in this article. But first, let’s take a look at the reasons why corticosteroids are prescribed in the first place.

The most common reason why an individual is prescribed a corticosteroid is due to inflammation in the body. Signs of inflammation include things like swelling, redness, warmth, and pain. When on a corticosteroid, it will reduce the production of the chemical that causes the inflammation by decreasing the body’s immune system activity. Another reason why a corticosteroid may be prescribed is when a patient has undergone an organ transplant. In this case, suppressing the immune system with a corticosteroid can help reduce the likelihood of your organ transplant being rejected. Autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), skin conditions (such as eczema and dermatitis), and respiratory conditions (such as asthma.)

As for the side effects, as mentioned, the longer you are on a steroid, then the more you will notice them. The side effects that you experience also depend on the way in which you are taking the corticosteroid. If you are on a corticosteroid for asthma, then these are generally well-tolerated, though if they are used on a long-term basis it’s not uncommon to develop a condition known as oral thrush – a type of fungal infection that develops in the mouth. When you are on injected corticosteroids, it’s not uncommon to experience pain and swelling at the site of the injection, just as you would from any other medication injection/vaccination. Typically, this will dissipate within a few days, although if you give injections repeatedly then this can cause your muscles to weaken. Corticosteroids that are given intravenously can cause things like stomach irritation (including heartburn and indigestion), nausea, a metallic-like taste in the mouth, insomnia, and may even cause you to have a rapid heartbeat in addition to mood changes. Oral corticosteroids, when taken on a short-term basis, can cause a temporary increase in appetite as well as weight gain, fluid retention, insomnia and mood swings, while long-term use can result in things like high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, increased infection vulnerability, eye problems (i.e. cataracts and glaucoma), thinning of the skin, and bruising.

If you happen to develop any of the aforementioned side effects, you should always report them to your physician as soon as possible but also never suddenly stop taking the medication in which you have been prescribed, as this, too, can result in some unfavourable symptoms, such as fatigue, weight loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Whether side effects are or aren’t present, doctors typically like to get patients off steroids by using a taper-down method. For example, if you are taking 2 tablets, you might decrease to one the next day, followed by half the following day, and so on – as this will be much easier on the body.

Understanding Cholesterol

Understanding Cholesterol | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Cholesterol is made by your liver and is a type of fat that is found in your blood. We also get cholesterol from some of the foods we eat, such as high-fat foods, which can lead to health problems – something we’ll talk about more. As we age, it’s important to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly – though trying to interpret what your cholesterol numbers mean can sometimes be confusing, which is why it’s important to know about terms like LDL and HDL, as well as which foods are good and which are bad when it comes to ensuring your cholesterol levels are where they need to be at so that you’re as healthy as possible.

As mentioned, there are two types of cholesterol: LDL and HDL. LDL, which is abbreviated for low density-lipoprotein, is known as the “bad” cholesterol as it can build up on the walls of your arteries which ultimately increases your risk of developing heart disease, which also increases your risk of things like heart attacks. If you’re someone with a pre-existing condition like heart disease or blood vessel disease, then it’s ideal for you to have an LDL level that is less than 70, while other high-risk individuals (such as those with various risk factors for heart disease, or those who’ve been diagnosed with other medical conditions like diabetes) is to have an LDL level of less than 100. HDL, abbreviated for high-density lipoprotein, is known as the “good” cholesterol and protects against heart disease by removing the “bad” cholesterol from your blood. HDL levels should always be higher, with an optimal level being around 60; while an HDL reading of less than 40 is also considered to be a major risk factor for heart disease.

The number one patients have when it comes to improving their cholesterol levels is, “What can I do?” – and the answer is simple: Live a healthier lifestyle. Of course there are things like age, gender, and genes that can all play a role in our cholesterol levels changing, and these are things that we cannot alter; however, things like diet, weight and physical activity level also all play a major role in keeping your cholesterol levels from being healthy or skyrocketing to levels that are considered unhealthy. By getting regular exercise (at least 30 minutes each day) and staying at a healthy weight, you will not only lower your triglyceride levels but also raise your HDL level. When it comes to diet, foods that are high in saturated and trans fats play the biggest culprit in having unhealthy cholesterol levels, so try to decrease the amount of these fats from your diet.

Foods that should typically be avoided if you’re wanting to improve your cholesterol include things like red meat (such as fatty beef, sausage or bacon), organ meats (such as liver or kidney), pork, lamb, poultry with skin, certain dairy products (especially those made from whole or reduced-fat milk), packaged foods (such as cookies), desserts (such as cakes, donuts and pastries), potato chips, crackers, buttered popcorn, as well as saturated vegetable oils (such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil) and anything containing partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated vegetable oils.

As for the foods you should include more of in order to improve your cholesterol, these include foods that are high in fibre (such as nuts, seeds, legumes, and fish like salmon, sardines and tuna.) You can also cook with and eat foods that contain nontropical natural vegetable oils (such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil, and safflower oil.) You should change your cooking methods; for example, use a rack to drain off any excess fat with roasting, baking and broiling meats and/or poultry, and opt for broiling your foods rather than grilling or pan-frying them. You should also remove skin from poultry and cut off any visible fat from meat, in addition to avoiding basting meat with fat drippings.

For more information on the lifestyle changes you can make to improve your cholesterol levels, visit HealthLink BC.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Dr. Ali Ghahary

In Canada, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is estimated that as many as 26,300 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year (that’s 72 women each day.) Fortunately, due to advancements in research that have helped to improve things like early detection and diagnosis, the current 5-year survival rate of breast cancer is 87% – and the death rate has dropped by 44% since the 1980s. However, because breast cancer continues to be one of the most commonly diagnosed types of cancer and the second-leading cause of cancer-related death among Canadian women, there’s still a lot more that can be done when it comes to raising awareness. It’s also important to note that it isn’t just women who can be affected by breast cancer, as approximately 230 Canadian men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of this year.

When most people think of breast cancer, they equate it with finding a lump in the breast – though this isn’t necessarily the case for all types of breast cancer. In fact, many breast cancers are first found through screening mammograms and detected at a much earlier stage, before they’re even able to be felt and before any symptoms will develop. Common symptoms that can develop due to having breast cancer can include things such as changes of the skin (including swelling, redness or itching/irritation and peeling/flaking of the skin), changed in the size, shape or colour of the breasts, general pain/discomfort in or on the breast, nipple discharge, as well as thickening of the breast. These are all symptoms that you should report to your healthcare provider as soon as possible, as early detection is key.

Most breast cancers start as ductal cancers or lobular cancers, while a small number of breast cancers start in other tissues in the breast which are known as lymphomas or sarcomas. If you do happen to find a lump in the breast, this also isn’t necessarily an indicator that you have breast cancer, as many lumps are benign and not malignant. That being said, if you do have a lump, it is always important to have it checked out by a healthcare professional to make that determination – as, in some cases, some lumps can also increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer in the future. Other risk factors can include things like there being a family history of breast cancer, age, inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, race and ethnicity, early menstrual periods or late menopause, exposure to radiation, and even certain lifestyle-related habits such as drinking alcohol, being overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, and even taking certain types of birth control. While things like genes are things you cannot change, you can make positive changes to your lifestyle in order to help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer – such as getting more exercise and eating healthier foods.

As for who should be screened for breast cancer, the Canadian Cancer Society suggests women who are between the ages of 50 and 69 should have a mammogram done every 2 years. A mammogram is a type of medical imaging test similar to an x-ray that can detect changes within the breast that could be indicative of breast cancer. It’s not uncommon to feel some discomfort during a mammogram, but you should let your technologist know if you are experiencing extreme pain during the test. Other medical imaging tests such as a breast ultrasound or breast MRI can also be ordered by your physician. An ultrasound can look at breast changes and lumps, as well as determine the difference between fluid-filled cysts and solid masses, in addition to being useful during a breast biopsy in guiding the needle into areas where cells need to be removed for further testing; while a breast MRI is usually done in individuals who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer and can determine the size of tumours as well as detect if there are any further growths.

When it comes to treating breast cancer, it is often dependent on things such as the type and stage of the cancer, as well as your overall health. Common treatment approaches include those that are systemic and those that are local. Systemic therapy includes chemotherapy, in which drugs are administered either by mouth or directly into the blood stream; while local therapies include things like radiation therapy as well as surgery.

Protecting the Spine

Protecting the Spine | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Since 2012, World Spine Day has been recognized on every continent in the month of October and has become a major focus in helping raise awareness surrounding back pain and a wide variety of other spinal-related issues with the help of healthcare professionals, exercise and rehabilitation experts, public health advocates, schoolchildren, as well as patients. For many spinal-related problems, prevention is key, which is why a day like World Spine Day is so important.

The spine consists of 33 bones that are stacked on top of the other, along with the spinal column which is what provides your body with support and allows you to do things like stand, bend and twist, in addition to protecting your spinal cord form injury. The spinal column is divided into five separate regions consisting of the following: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and coccyx.

Each of these aforementioned regions have their own special functions that help your back function – for example, the main function of the cervical spine (also known as the nick) is to support the weight of your head. The first vertebra (known as C1) is what connects directly to the skull and allows for motion of the head (such as nodding), while the second vertebra (known as C2) is what allows you to move your head in a side-to-side or “no”-like motion. The thoracic spine (mid back) is made up of twelve vertebrae numbered from T1 to T12. Its main function is to hold the rib cage as well as keep your heart and lungs protected. The lumbar spine (lower back) consists of vertebrae numbered from L1 to L5, with its main function being to bear the weight of your body and absorb the stress your spine might be under from lifting or carrying objects that are heavy. The sacrum is fused together with five sacral vertebrae, forming a ring known as the pelvic girdle; its main function is to connect your spine to your hip bones. Lastly, the coccyx region, which consists of four fused bones also known as the tailbone, providing attachment for different ligaments as well as pelvic floor muscles. There are also many other parts to the spine, including intervertebral discs, spinal nerves, and more. You can learn more about the anatomy of the spine by clicking here.

The most common type of back problem that people complain of is pain, which can come in many forms including shooting or stabbing pain, muscle aches, pain that radiates down the leg, pain that worsens with activities like bending, lifting, standing and walking, as well as pain that happens to improve when in a reclined position. Among the most common conditions linked to back pain are things like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, scoliosis, bulging or ruptured discs, as well as the very common muscle or ligament strains. One way you can help manage things like back and neck pain is with things like movement and exercise, which is why this year’s them for World Spine Day is called Get Spine Active. Whether you go swimming, walking, jogging, or to the gym, physical activity is a great way to not only relieve back and neck pain, but can also help maintain your overall health and wellbeing and give you a much better quality of life.

It is important to note that when dealing with someone who may have suffered a spinal injury, that you not only get them immediate medical help but also keep them still to prevent further injury from occurring. Signs that someone may have a serious spinal injury include loss of sensation or abnormal sensation such as tingling in the hands and/or feet, as well as impaired movement or loss of movement.

Pneumococcal Pneumonia

Pneumococcal Pneumonia | Dr. Ali Ghahary

There are many different types of pneumonia – a very serious infection affecting the lungs – that individuals can be diagnosed with. These include hospital-acquired pneumonia, community-acquired pneumonia, walking pneumonia, viral or bacterial pneumonia, and fungal pneumonia. There is also a type of pneumonia known as pneumococcal pneumonia, which is considered to be the most common type of bacterial-related pneumonia that individuals are diagnosed with. It is caused by bacteria living in the upper respiratory tract, and can be spread from something as simple as coughing. Along with invading the lungs, the bacteria can also invade the bloodstream (resulting in a condition known as bactereemia) in addition to invading the tissues and fluids that surround your brain and spinal cord, potentially resulting in meningitis.

Common symptoms of pneumococcal pneumonia include the following:

• Coughing
• High fever
• Sweating
• Fatigue
• Trouble breathing
• Shortness of breath
• Rapid breathing
• Chest pain

The aforementioned symptoms can develop without warning and they can persist for at least two weeks – sometimes even longer. In cases where pneumococcal pneumonia is severe, you may even need to be hospitalized, and it can also lead to death, which is why it’s important to address any symptoms you develop upon first signs.

There are many risk factors when it comes to the development of pneumococcal pneumonia. For example, age, as it typically affects individuals aged 65 or older (though it can also affect children under the age of 2.) To decrease your risk of getting pneumococcal pneumonia, it’s important that you take good care of your health and stay active. However, that being said, even if you live the healthiest lifestyle possible, that doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods and are guaranteed to avoid developing pneumococcal pneumonia, as there are other risk factors that could increase your chances of getting it, including whether or not you’re a smoker, as well as other chronic medical conditions like asthma, COPD, and diabetes.

The best way to protect yourself against pneumococcal disease is by getting vaccinated. One vaccine, known as a conjugate vaccine, is suggested for children under the age of 2, while another vaccine known as a polysaccharide vaccine, is recommended for adults over the age of 65 as well as children over the age of 2 that have underlying medical conditions. The polysaccharide vaccine can protect against 23 types of streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, which is responsible for as many as 90% of pneumococcal pneumonia in adults, while the conjugate vaccine protects against up to 86% of the bacteria that causes blood infections in children, and 83% of the bacteria that causes meningitis. You can find more evidence-based information on these and other types of vaccines by visiting www.immunizebc.ca.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) | Dr. Ali Ghahary

According to the Canadian Women’s Health Network, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (known more commonly as PCOS) affects anywhere from 6 to 10 percent of women. PCOS is a hormone-related disease that causes the ovaries to produce higher than normal amounts the male hormone known as androgens, causing interference in the production of eggs, which then ultimately leads to the development of cysts that can not only build up in the ovaries, but also become enlarged.

As for who gets PCOS, it can happen at any age after puberty (as early as age 15) all the way to age 44; however, it is most commonly discovered in women who are in their 20s or 30s. In some cases, women may not even be initially aware that they have the condition. There is no known cause of PCOS, though research has found potential links between it and high insulin production, as well as inflammation. Studies have also found PCOS to run in families.

There many symptoms that are associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, each of which can vary in intensity. Due to the imbalance of hormones that are associated with this condition, a woman may find it difficult to get pregnant as well as notice that they do not have a menstrual period or that their periods are irregular. It’s also possible to develop heavier bleeding than usual with PCOS. Further symptoms of PCOS can include skin issues, such as skin tags and darkening of the skin, hair thinning or excess hair growth (on the face and body), acne, weight gain, headaches, and even anxiety or depression. Having higher than normal androgens can also impact your body in other ways, too. For example, you could develop metabolic syndrome (this includes high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure), sleep apnea, and you’re even at an increased risk of developing endometrial cancer.

PCOS is diagnosed through a variety of different methods, including the symptoms in which the patient presents to their physician with, as well as upon a physical exam. Further testing, such as a vaginal ultrasound, can also detect if there are any ovarian cysts, while blood tests can also be done to measure hormone, insulin and glucose levels – as well as to rule out any other conditions that have symptoms similar to PCOS, such as thyroid disease.

While there is no cure for PCOS, there are certain treatments available that can help to balance out the hormones in your body as well as relieve some of the symptoms you experience. There are also certain lifestyle changes you can make in effort to help yourself. For example, having a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise can help regulate your cycles, while avoiding certain endocrine disrupting chemicals may also be beneficial.

One of the most common questions that women with PCOS ask is whether or not they will be able to get pregnant. Because women with PCOS do not ovulate regularly, your doctor may decide to put you on a medication to stimulate ovulation – though there is no guarantee it will work. When all avenues have been exhausted, you could be a candidate for certain procedures – including laparoscopic ovarian surgery, as well as in vitro fertilization (also known as IVF.)

What is ARFID?

What is ARFID? | Dr. Ali Ghahary

As a physician, eating healthy is something that I encourage all of my patients to do. Food plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing and can impact our health in a number of different ways, from how we feel internally to how we look externally. Among the most common health conditions that can occur as a result of poor eating habits include obesity and diabetes. These are two conditions that are often linked to consumption of junk food (i.e. foods that are high in calories, sugar and fat) and making generally poor meal choices on a consistent basis. However, there is one particular eating disorder that can make healthy eating habits a very difficult task for some, and it’s known as ARFID.

Just a few weeks ago, a teenager from the UK made headlines after going both legally blind and deaf – which had been linked to their diet (consisting mostly of processed foods, i.e. French fries, potato chips and deli meats.) Complaining of extreme and chronic fatigue, blood tests ultimately showed that the teen was suffering from several significant deficiencies, including vitamin B12, vitamin D, copper and selenium – and while some chalked it up to the boy simply being a fussy eater, there was actually more to it than that, as in 2013 they had been diagnosed with ARFID – also known as Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (formerly known as Selective Eating Disorder.) While ARFID is still considered to be a newer diagnosis, it is very much a real one. This particular disorder is most commonly seen in kids aged 13 or younger and is characterized as having a lack of interest in or sensory aversions to food. In some cases, those with ARFID may also fear the thought of eating, thus making it a condition that can eventually become medically compromising. While it can usually be easy for almost anyone to eat healthy, conditions such as ARFID (and other eating disorders) make it all the more difficult.

There is not one specific root cause that has been linked to ARFID. However, researchers have determined a variety of contributing factors that could be associated with this particular disorder, including biological, psychosocial, and even environmental. For example, ARFID could be triggered by a traumatic event. It has also been seen to co-occur with other mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. In fact, as many as 72% of those diagnosed with ARFID were also found to have a comorbid anxiety disorder. In addition, ARFID has also been linked to developmental disabilities, as well as autism (affecting approximately 13%.)

Because ARFID most commonly affects children and teenagers, there are certain symptoms and warning signs that parents can watch for that may be indicators of a problem. For example, your child may have a short list of foods they find acceptable or will want to eat foods that have similar characteristics (such as being crunchy in texture.) They may also have a preference for the way in which the foods they eat are prepared, while avoiding things like fruits and vegetables – and sometimes even eliminating certain foods from their diet all together. From there, complications can also occur as a result of being diagnosed with ARFID. A child may become malnourished, begin losing weight (and ultimately have trouble gaining weight), develop gastrointestinal problems, become emotional, and have negative social behaviours.

Once a child has been diagnosed with ARFID comes the treatment, with CBT (also known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) being the top choice. CBT uses systemic desensitization as well as teaches relaxation skills in effort to help individuals not only overcome their fears (in this case, it would address the potential fears one might have surrounding food), in addition to helping them manage any co-occurring conditions.

Click here to learn more about ARFID.

What is Melatonin and Why Do We Need It?

What is Melatonin and Why Do We Need It? | Dr. Ali Ghahary

Made by the pea-sized pineal gland, melatonin is a type of natural hormone (often referred to as the “sleep hormone”) that helps regulate your circadian rhythm and tells your body when it’s time to go to sleep and when to wake up. While many people don’t have any issue getting to sleep at night, there are other individuals who might have a hard time falling or staying asleep, which is also commonly referred to as insomnia – and if you happen to be one of those people, then your body may need additional melatonin, which can be obtained through taking a melatonin supplement. Aside from treating insomnia, melatonin has also been known to help with the treatment of other sleep disorders, including delayed sleep phase, and even jet lag. It also acts as an antioxidant and can improve or reduce the risk of many different health conditions.

While melatonin is considered safe for both short and long-term use, it is typically recommended to only be taken on a short-term basis due to the potential for developing side effects, including things like headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, confusion/disorientation, and low blood pressure. In addition to these side effects, it’s also possible to become dependent on melatonin the longer you take it – and it may even have a decreased effect over time. Melatonin can also interact with certain medications, including anti-depressants, blood pressure medication, blood thinners, diabetes medications, contraceptive drugs, and immunosuppressant drugs (just to name a few.) Therefore, if you are taking medication and are considering adding in a melatonin supplement, you should always first check with your physician or pharmacist to ensure that there won’t be any interactions between it and any of the medication in which you’ve been prescribed.

Before trying melatonin, you may be able to get a good night’s rest simply by figuring out why you aren’t getting a good night’s rest. One of the most common reasons why people have such a hard time falling and staying asleep at night is due to spending too much time in front of a computer, their smartphone, or watching TV before bed. By cutting down your screen time and avoiding it at least 2 hours prior to going to bed, you may find yourself able to sleep better. Another mistake people make is drinking coffee late at night. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant – so unless you actually need to stay awake for all hours of the evening (i.e. if you’re cramming for an important test), then coffee is something I would suggest avoiding late at night. As an alternative, you can try tea. Tea has not only been known to help people fall asleep (chamomile, especially), but one cup of tea also contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

Something else you can consider looking into is magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxant and also blocks the production of cortisol in the brain, which then causes the body to experience an overall calming effect and help you fall asleep. When you don’t have enough magnesium, the opposite occurs, and you may find yourself feeling more excitable or irritable, nervous, or stressed out than you usually would. Many of the North American population has less than the suggested levels of magnesium in their body, so it might not be a bad idea to start. In addition to helping you get better sleep, magnesium can also help fight depression, decrease high blood pressure, boost exercise performance, prevent migraines, and even has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Visit HealthLink BC for more on melatonin and how it impacts the body.

ACL Injuries

ACL Injuries | Dr. Ali Ghahary

There are as many as a quarter of a million ACL injuries that occur each year in both Canada and the United States, making this specific type of injury among the most common to affect individuals. An ACL (also known as Anterior Cruciate Ligament, the key ligament that helps stabilize the knee joint) injury is the type of injury that occurs as a result of sudden changes in movement, such as direction, quick decelerations, and hard or awkward landings. They are more commonly seen in individuals who play sports (such as football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball.), though ACL injuries aren’t necessarily specific to just sports alone and can happen to anyone at any time.

When someone suffers an ACL injury, it is often described as feeling like a “popping” sensation in the knee followed by severe pain and other symptoms such as feeling of instability, decreased range of motion, and rapid swelling. Like any injury, it is important you stop doing whatever it was that you were doing that potentially led to the injury in the first place, as you not only put yourself at risk of worsening the injury but could make your recovery period even longer, in addition to increase your risk of developing further or repeated injuries in the same area the future. There are also some complications that can arise as a result of ACL injuries, such as the development of osteoarthritis in the knee, though this depends on a variety of factors such as how severe the injury was, if there were any previous injuries, and your level of activity before and after the injury.

To diagnose an ACL injury, your physician will do a thorough examination of your knee and the surrounding area, looking for things like pain and swelling, and will often compared it to the knee that is unaffected, as well as assess your range of motion. To determine the severity of the injury, it’s also not uncommon for doctors to send patients for medical imaging tests, including x-rays, which can also help rule out bone fractures, MRIs, which create images of both the soft and hard tissue in your body and the extent of the damage, and even ultrasounds, which can show injuries in the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the knee.

If you suspect that you have an ACL injury, prompt care is important, as this can significantly help to immediately reduce things like pain and swelling. First and foremost, keep the area iced and do so for at least 2 hours, 20 minutes at a time. This can help reduce inflammation, as can keeping the knee elevated. Rest is also important, as it not only limits the amount of weight bearing onto your knee but allows for a quicker healing process. Doing too much too soon, or not taking the appropriate steps to ensure your healing, could result in those aforementioned complications.

Nonetheless, prevention is key when it comes to these types of injuries. Athletes or individuals who play sports on a fairly regular basis can help reduce their risk of ACL injuries be engaging in exercises that help strengthen the leg muscles, the core (such as your hips, pelvis, and your lower abdomen), as well as learning proper techniques and knee positions for certain jumps and landing movements. Keeping the body strong is crucial when it comes to providing your knees with the proper support. It’s also important to ensure you’re wearing the proper footwear for the activity you’re doing. For example, if you happen to be someone who goes skiing, make sure that you are waring your ski bindings correctly and that they are adjusted properly. It’s also important to be aware that wearing something like a knee brace won’t necessarily prevent or reduce your risk of developing ACL injuries in the future, which is a common misconception that people have about these types of injuries.

In some cases individuals may require further treatment for an ACL injury, such as rehabilitative therapy (with a physical therapist) – and, cases where the injury is more severe, even surgery.

The Health Dangers of Vaping

The Health Dangers of Vaping | Dr. Ali Ghahary

As you may be aware, vaping has been making headlines in recent weeks after being linked to the cause of as many as 6 deaths across and a total of 380 illnesses across 36 different states in the USA including Oregon, California, Illinois, Kansas, Indiana and Minnesota, and even more potential cases of illnesses related to vaping being investigated elsewhere.

Vaping, which was first introduced in 2007, is characterized as “the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor,” and it is a term that it used because unlike regular cigarettes, vaping devices (also sometimes referred to as mods, vape pens and e-cigarettes) do not produce tobacco smoke. That being said, just because these devices are technically marketed as being a “safer” alternative to regular cigarette smoking doesn’t mean they don’t come with their own set of risks, which is important for anyone to know who might be considering using one of these devices – particularly parents, as many vaping devices are marketed toward and used by the younger generation.

While the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) say they’ve yet to identify the direct cause or any specific device or product/substance, some reports suggest the illnesses and deaths may be linked to products containing THC (also known as tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the chemical that is responsible for giving you marijuana’s psychological effects, in addition to some cases being reported where nicotine was also involved as well as potential cutting agents, pesticides, additives, toxins, and even opioids – and while there have yet to be any confirmed vaping-related illnesses or deaths in Canada, some vape shop owners in the Eastern part of the country say that they are now hearing from more customers expressing their concerns in light of the recent news across the border.

So just what are some of the signs and symptoms that you could be experiencing a vaping-related illness? There many. However, coughing and shortness of breath are typically among the most commonly reported symptoms that health officials are seeing – especially in a higher rate of young people – along with other respiratory symptoms including wheezing, chest tightness, lung inflammation, and even extreme fatigue and fever. If you happen to use a vaping device and you are experiencing symptoms such as these, or any other symptoms that may seem abnormal to you, then it is recommended that you be seen by an emergency room physician immediately. The unfortunate side to this is the fact that THC remains illegal in several states, and because these particular devices and products are more commonly used by the younger generation, they may be less willing to be forthcoming about their use – which can only cause a worsening of symptoms – and, if left untreated, could be fatal.

The CDC currently recommends avoiding use of vaping devices and products while they continue their investigation, and warns that if you do plan on vaping then you should not purchase any of your products from the street nor should you make any additional modifications or add any other substances to them.