The Heart/ Mouth Connection in Reverse

By Dr. Scott L. Rose

When I thought about what I was going to write about this topic, I wanted to share some personal experiences rather than spew out some boring facts. So let’s get the classroom stuff out of the way first. Yes, there is a connection between oral health and heart health. And yes, poor oral hygiene and oral disease can adversely affect the function and health of your heart. But that street runs both ways. Taking care of your oral health is no guarantee that you won’t develop heart disease. You can have great hygiene, no decay, healthy gums, and still develop heart disease. I was one of those people.

Having suffered and survived a massive heart attack, having good oral health was one thing I did not have to worry about in my ongoing recovery. I see many patients who have had all kinds of heart conditions and this can complicate dental treatments and long term oral stability. So while it is important to take care of your mouth as a preventive action, it also serves to help eliminate problems and complications should something happen to your health in another area.

Recovery from acute heart problems (or any other major illness) can be a long and complicated process. We all personally have been through something or know someone who has been through something. And during that process, one little thing can often tip the scales in a bad way and stop or reverse the recovery process. Taking care of your oral health with regular dental examinations, cleanings, and doing necessary dental work can help you on both lanes of that health road. This is a bonus double effect. Recovering from any major medical issue is hard enough; take away some of that risk. Do the right thing. See your dentist.

Best Foods for Healthy Skin

We’ve said it time and time again: what you put into your body has a major impact on what appears on the outside.

“Skin is the largest organ in our body and reflects our overall well-being”, says Ringaile Sirvaitis, Certified Nurse Practitioner at Apex Dermatology in Concord. “The foods and drinks we consume directly impact what our skin looks like on a day-to-day basis. Nutrition has a very strong correlation with various skin conditions such as acne, premature aging, and other inflammatory skin conditions.”

This is why it’s not always wise to only rely on external medicines in order to aid skin conditions, but rather to use them in unison with foods that can support healthy skin from the inside out.

About Ringaile Sirvaitis, CNP

Born in Lithuania, she has resided in the United States since 1999. In addition to English, she is fluent in Lithuanian and Russian. For many years, her passion and interests were focused on health, and more specifically, on beautiful skin.

Ringaile says, “It gives me huge satisfaction to see my patients looking and feeling better.”

During her advanced nursing training she studied in the dermatology department of Cleveland Clinic. Her diverse background and expertise in skin care gives her an excellent platform for sharing her knowledge and educating patients about the preservation, nurture, and well being of the skin.

And that includes which foods and drinks can help your skin in the long run.

What foods are good for skin overall?

Your skin is comprised of many layers and in order to properly care for them, they need nutrients that supports them.

When you want to buy foods and drinks that are good for your skin look for:

  • Fatty fish – such as salmon (wild-caught better than farm-raised to avoid hormones and antibiotics), mackerel, herring, sardines. These fish are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids that act as building blocks for healthy skin cells and maintain a healthy skin barrier.
  • Eggs – are protein rich and contain biotin, a B vitamin that is essential for healthy hair, skin and nails
  • Grass-fed meat that does not contain hormones or antibiotics
  • Vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, spinach, broccoli, green beans, peppers, sweet potato, tomato, carrots, squash, pumpkin – contain antioxidants, minerals and vitamins as well as fiber.
  • Fruits – lemon, papaya, avocado, orange, watermelon, honeydew, mango, pomegranate, apple, kiwi, apricot, banana, organic berries (blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, acai berries, cranberries, strawberries, bilberries) – contain antioxidants, are rich in vitamins and minerals, are anti-inflammatory and high in fiber.
  • Mushrooms – rich in vitamin D
  • Whole grains, beans and legumes – high in B-group vitamins, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. Good source of folate. Low in saturated fat.
  • Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds – contain natural fatty acids and vitamin E that helps to increase skin hydration and keeps away wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Green tea contains antioxidant EGCG that fights DNA damage from UV rays to prevent skin cancer. Also has anti-inflammatory effect improving skin tone and reducing acne.
  • Water has ability to flush toxins from our system, keeps our skin clean, well hydrated and more youthful.

What foods and drinks are bad for your skin?

It’s just as, if not more, important to understand which foods and drinks can also hurt you in your quest for perfect skin.

These are foods and beverages you should consume in moderation if you want to maintain healthy skin:

  • Refined carbohydrates – white flour foods such as white bread, pasta and white rice have a high glycemic index. This causes an insulin surge after consumption and leads to production of androgen hormones that cause sebaceous glands to produce more oil and cause acne.
  • Sugar/corn syrup – soda, juices, sport drinks, protein-granola bars cause inflammation and destruction of collagen and elastin in the skin that leads to wrinkles and premature aging and also same mechanism as with refined carbs, where an increase in serum insulin leads to more oil production by sebaceous glands and the overproduction of oil leads to clogged pores and acne.
  • Dairy products – high inflammatory food that will contribute to skin conditions such as acne, eczema and wrinkles.
  • Overconsumption of alcohol – pro-inflammatory, causes dehydration, increases likelihood of broken capillaries due to skin vasodilation, increases skin dullness and wrinkle formation.

To read more about the Best Foods for Healthy Skin click here to check out the Apex Skin Blog.

Hormones Protect Our Heart

By Tara D. Scott, MD, FACOG, FAAFM, ABOIM, CNMP

My struggle with hormones and infertility prompted me to start studying a holistic approach and eventually led to me completing a fellowship in functional medicine and getting another board certification in Integrative Medicine.

When people hear that we specialize in hormones we usually get mixed reviews. One camp still believes that hormones cause cancer, which stems from a study in 2002 called the Women’s Health Initiative that studied a synthetic form of hormone replacement (HRT) and found that in women over 65 there was an increased risk of blood clots and breast cancer. Since then, other studies have proven that the risk of blood clots is only with oral estrogen, so we never prescribe estrogen in an oral form. Furthermore, another study in Europe in 2008 observed that there was no increased risk of breast cancer in women aged 40-64 who took estrogen through the skin in a patch or a cream form, and a bio-identical form of progesterone. They compared this group to a group of women who took no hormones at all. So, the type of hormone and the way you take it, and the dose, all come into play. So you need someone who is an expert to manage your hormone replacement if you choose to take it.

Aside from the confusing data about the risks of HRT, we need to remember that the #1 killer in women is heart disease. Also, the studies are pretty clear that estrogen is protective of heart disease, that’s why we don’t see women dying of sudden heart attacks before 50 as often as we see that with men. Moreover, let’s not forget that the DEATH rate two years after a hip fracture is higher than TEN years after breast cancer diagnosis, so osteoporosis is very serious. Estrogen has been shown in many studies to slow bone loss and help osteoporosis.

However, aside from risks & benefits of HRT, I would advocate for everyone to KNOW their hormones. That means you should be aware before and after menopause what your levels are. I see many women that have much too high of estrogen levels that are at increased risk for cancers of the breast or uterus. Knowing their levels, we can craft a plan for prevention.

There are many ways to test hormone levels. Traditional blood testing helps us see what your ovaries are producing, but saliva levels are best to test the stress hormone cortisol or to see what your tissues are exposed to. For example, a blood test is like your balance for your checking account at that very moment. It doesn’t take into account if you are getting deposits or withdrawals. So if I’m an accountant, I won’t just look at your balance, I will look at your checkbook, your receipts, and how much you have been paid to make an assessment. Urine testing lets us see how your body is processing hormones and make sure you aren’t stockpiling estrogen, which would be bad. So, even if you don’t think you need hormones, you should get tested to make sure you are in balance!

We can help you get your life back too.

Preventive Care is Essential for Women

Medina County Health Department offers health services, screenings, and treatments to live a longer, healthier life so you can be there for your family.

AN ESTIMATED 66% OF CAREGIVERS ARE FEMALE.

Women provide the majority of informal care to spouses, parents, parents-in-law, friends and neighbors, and they play many roles while caregiving—hands-on health provider, care manager, friend, companion, surrogate decision-maker and advocate. We need to care for ourselves to care for others! Source: caregiver.org

Provided By Medina County Health Department

Our mission at the Medina County Health Department is to prevent disease, assure a healthful environment, prolong life, and promote the well-being of the citizens of Medina County. Many of our services and programs focus on educating all citizens, but we also recognize that women experience unique health issues and conditions.

The Health Department has a full-time family practice physician, a full-time family nurse practitioner, and a certified nurse midwife who are all trained to provide complete services for women. General physicals, breast and cervical cancer screenings, low cost reproductive health care, and consultation for gynecological issues are just some of the services available.

Regular health exams and tests can help and problems before they start. Some health issues that are common to both men and women affect women differently, so it is important to work with a provider who recognizes this and works with you as an individual. By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments you are taking steps for living a longer, healthier life. For women of reproductive age it is especially important to address issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and substance abuse, which may affect future fertility, pregnancies, and birth outcomes.

The Health Center at the Medina County Health Department accepts private insurance, Medicare plans and all Medicaid plans. Our staff is committed to your health.

Hours of Service: Same day appointments available. 
8:00am to 4:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday
8:00am to 7:00pm on Tuesday 
8:00am to 2:00pm on Friday