Monday, February 28, 2011

What to do about Unwanted Hair...

Getting rid of unwanted hair can be a time consuming, sometime costly and even painful experience. Some people wax, others shave and still others go through the process of electrolysis and laser treatment. Some processes, like waxing and shaving, are temporary solutions for the unwanted hair. Others are permanent. One particular method of permanent hair reduction is the laser treatment. So what is it? And why would one consider it?

Laser hair removal is done by laser energy (or light) delivered into the skin where the hair follicles are. The laser energy is absorbed through either a component within hair and skin called melanin or hemoglobin which feeds the hair follicle depending on the type of laser. As the energy is absorbed, it creates an increase of heat and thus the follicle dies. The laser penetrates the skin but it is absorbed by the follicle. Most patients only have the sensation of heat if they feel anything at all. There are no permanent side effects nor is there collateral damage to the skin itself.

Hair grows in cycles. Basically it is comparable to the four seasons. At any given time there are multiple hair follicles in the process of a growth or resting season. The spring would be when a hair follicle is just starting to produce hair. It progresses into the active growth period, or anagen period, where the hair is deeply rooted into the follicle. It is during this time that the laser treatment is most effectively absorbed. The hair you find in your brush or comb in the morning is hair that is in the resting stage of growth, or telogen phase. Hair in this stage will not readily absorb the laser energy. Laser treatments are timed to occur during the growth cycles. The average person has around 6 growth cycles in a year.

There are multiple types of lasers. However, the Fotona Nd:Yag laser is considered to be the gold standard in that it is absorbed primarily by the hemoglobin; thus it is safe for individuals with darker skin, as well as being accompanied by a computerized handheld scanner. The scanner increases the speed and efficiency of the treatment ensuring that there is 100% coverage of the treatment area and treats multiple hair follicles at the same time.

Overall, laser treatment is a safe, highly cost effective approach to moving from the world of shaving and wax to a more permanent solution. If you would like more information or would like to schedule a FREE no obligation consultation, visit us at Eastside Family Health Center or call us at 425-899-2525.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Infrequent bowel movements or a difficulty with stool passage is a common problem called constipation.

There are two basic types of constipation. One type is due to factors such as medications of which pain killer or narcotics would be the most common. This second type of constipation is called functional and has to do with way the body functions. Some functional factors would be low thyroid conditions, neurologic diseases, or an individual’s body has a physical problem that causes an obstruction in the mechanical processes of digestion and elimination.

The disorder is characterized by straining during the bowel movement, hard stools with small size, a person may have the sensation of still having to go or incomplete emptying, a feeling of blockage, or less than three bowel movements per week.

If you are 50 years old or older and have not had a screening colonoscopy, then you need to consider one. This is very important to do to rule out a cancer of the colorectal area. Early detection can lead to cure. Constipation that does not relieve easily or readily with standard treatment should always lead to discussion of a study such as colonoscopy.

Some common treatments include increased water intake, exercise, ground flax seed one quarter cup in cereal, psyllium husks, decreased processed flour, decreased carbohydrates, as well as a getting into a regular routine.

As always, any blood in the bowel movement is abnormal until proven otherwise. Therefore it is important to be seen by a physician or health care provider.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Runner...and Common Injuries, Part 2

Running injuries of the lower extremity are primarily due to training errors and the accumulation of excessive mileage. Reducing the weekly running distance and decreasing the amount of hard surface running may therefore be reasonable suggestions if you have recurrent running related injuries. Running more than 40 miles or more a week was the most important predictor of injury for men.

Other important factors include proper shoe fit and recognition of excessive shoe wear to prevent injury. Since the foot often widens with age, shoe size should be reexamined at each time of purchase. Width should be determined while standing. Women in particular should be sure that the heel provides adequate support since women’s heels are typically much narrower than those of men. New shoes lose approximately 40 percent of their cushioning after running between 250 and 500 miles. Running shoes should be changed every 350 to 500 miles.

Orthotics can be helpful for runners with excessive pronation or rolling of the foot, leg length discrepancy, foot pain and/or plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the Achilles tendon, shin splints or knee and knee cap disorders. For most runners, over the counter orthotics should be just fine. Others need specialty made ones. In my experience the quality of these being made is quite variable.

Prompt evaluation for foot, ankle, and knee pain should be done. There are many possibilities. Absolute rest from running, or at least a reduction in pace and running mileage, is the basis of an effective treatment plan for most running-related injuries. Runners can frequently maintain cardiovascular fitness through alternative non-impact activities, like biking or swimming. It is essential to identify biomechanical stresses and correct them as well as perform active warm-ups.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Runner...and Common Injuries, Part 1

Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise in America. The benefits include low cost, easy access, improved cardiovascular function, reduced obesity, and enhanced mental health. There are, however potential risks. There are approximately 35-45 percent of runners who suffer a running related injury every year. These include mostly foot and leg. Surprisingly, most injuries have an insidious onset and not related to a specific trauma.

Studies have identified some risk factors for increased injury: poor physical condition, high or low on the flexibility scale, a sedentary lifestyle, and tobacco usage.

Other risks include higher mileage as well as misalignment problems such as the foot pronation (inward rolling of the foot), or issues of the knee including torsional or twisting. Among female recreational runners, increasing age also appears to be a factor for a new injury (age greater than 50). If you have had an injury it is important to have complete rehab as residual injury is another factor.

Traditionally, poor flexibility has been associated with an increased risk of injury. Although no studies have proven this to be true, it is widely accepted that stretching is part of normal health of our muscles and skeletal bones as we age.

Part 2 Coming...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Check out Rita's New Blog!

What is Vitamin D Deficiency?

Low amounts of Vitamin D, or Vitamin D deficiency, is a common medical condition seen in patients in the primary care setting. Vitamin D is a vitamin created in our bodies by sun exposure. However, when a person has limited sun exposure or in some cases is obese, has dark skin, or kidney disease, vitamin D deficiency may result.

Vitamin D is important as it helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in our body and also promotes healthy cell differentiation which is considered a factor in protecting against cancer and diabetes. Moreover, vitamin D also assists in calcium absorption in bone thus building healthy bone formation and density.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include depression, fatigue, weight loss, and medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. In women, these symptoms may also be seen as mood changes, PMS, or seasonal affective disorder.

Here in the northwest where we experience less time in the sun, we see a particularly high incidence of vitamin D deficiency. Thus all men, women, and children are encouraged to see their primary care provider for evaluation and treatment of vitamin D deficiency.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

White Coat Hypertension...What is it??

What is one of the first things that happen when you walk in a Dr.’s office? Your blood pressure is taken. It is one of several vital signs. If your values are above a certain rate consistently, you are said to have high blood pressure which is a condition that may need to be treated. But did you know that there are some people that have high blood pressure only in the medical office? Sounds funny, but it’s true. Being professionals, we have to give it a snappy name so we call it White Coat Hypertension. It’s when your blood pressure is elevated but only when you’re at the Dr’s office. In other words, normal blood pressure at home, high blood pressure readings when in the physician’s office. Believe it or not, this is actually quite a common scenario.

So how does someone recognize and diagnose this condition? First, you need at least three separate office visits where your blood pressure measurements are high, typically above 140/90. Second, you should have at least two sets of measurements more in the normal range, below 140/90. These should be taken at home or even at your local pharmacy.

Alternatively, there is one device that you can wear which takes your blood pressure automatically that is called an Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor or ABP Monitor for short. (And no, this doesn’t mean you have to ride around in an ambulance all day long while it takes your blood pressure!) Measurements taken with the ABP Monitor are considered the gold standard in making a White Coat Hypertension diagnosis since it affords multiple readings taken over a 24 hour period. It records your blood pressure at different intervals as you are going about your daily routine. This allows for readings all through the day and at night as well as monitoring the difference between awake and sleeping pressures.

Ok, so you’ve done all of that and now you have all your blood pressure readings and they are still on the high side. What now? If the ABP Monitor readings average above 140/90, it may indicate the need for an ultrasound of the heart, also called an echocardiogram. What this procedure does is look for blood pressure in the heart, also known as hypertensive heart disease. A physician will also look for other complications such as eye involvement or kidney disease.

Finally, what all that means is this… those with White Coat Hypertension are at a lesser risk than those with sustained hypertension or even hypertensive heart disease.

Dr. Frank