Review Category : Contributors

The benefits of exercise and alcohol

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

In 2020, the number of people in the United States with visual impairment – sight loss often caused by eye disease, trauma, or a congenital or degenerative condition that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses – is projected to increase to at least four million. This is a 70 percent increase from 2000 and is due to the growing aging population and prevalence of age-related eye diseases.

To help determine ways to decrease the incidence of visual impairment, researchers at the University of Wisconsin examined the relationships between the incidence of visual impairment and three modifiable lifestyle behaviors: smoking, drinking alcohol and staying physically active. The research was conducted as part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term population-based cohort study from 1988 to 2013 of nearly 5,000 adults aged 43 to 84 years.

The researchers found that regular physical activity and an alcoholic beverage every now and then is associated with a lower risk of visual impairment. The data showed that over 20 years, visual impairment developed in 5.4 percent of the population and varied based on lifestyle behaviors. For example, people who were physically active had a 58 percent decrease in the odds of developing visual impairment compared to people who were not physically active.

The researchers also found that people who drank alcohol occasionally (defined as those who have consumed alcohol in the past year, but reported fewer than one serving in an average week) had a 49 percent decrease in the odds of developing visual impairment compared to people who had consumed no alcohol in the past year.

As with most epidemiologic research, the researchers caution that a limitation to their study is that the findings may be due, in part, to unmeasured factors related to both lifestyle behaviors and development of visual impairment. The data does not prove that these lifestyle behaviors are directly responsible for increased risk. The researchers still believe the research shows good promise for indicating ways that people can lessen their risk of visual impairment through lifestyle changes.

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Health Tip of the Week – Never diet again

By Ian Hart

The word diet usually has a negative connotation. Diets also never really work long-term. A diet is usually a short-term fix that is perpetuating an issue of the mind. This issue is that we do not do the right things for our bodies on a regular basis, therefore, we need a quick fix because we’ve gone down the wrong path. A lifestyle change is what is needed to create long-term results. A lifestyle change means that we have changed how we think and how we feel about ourselves in relation to the foods we eat. So, in a nutshell, if you never want to diet again, change your thoughts and feelings about yourself and the food that you eat. It is easier said than done because people can be addicted to certain foods and created bad habits over year and years which is hard to reverse. Try this one simple tip: every time you’re about to eat, ask yourself 2 questions:

- Is this food nourishing to my body?


- Will it make me feel good?

Then think about every single bite you put into your mouth and nothing else and focus on chewing the bite at least 20 times. This is called mindful eating and can change the way you think and feel about food and how the body will assimilate it. Your brain is constantly talking to your gut and when mindful eating is initiated, so our your gastric juices which will allow for faster and easier break down of food and therefore more nutrients to be absorbed, leading to a instantly increased health.

Ian Hart is creator of EarthFIT Transformation Systems and co-creator of the Back Pain Relief4Life Formula. Contact him at or 800.718.7FIT.

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What’s that you say?

By Tracie Korol

When Dave, our 30-pound brown dog, first joined the family we had a period of adjustment. Dave’s previous life was on a chain outside a mobile home in Mt. Gilead, Ohio.   While a very nice dog from the outset, he had no experience with things of the human world, what was off limits and what was not.  My glasses were his target.

On the third return trip to the optician with crunched frames, the technician asked if I knew why Dave was eating my glasses.  Um, sport? No… love.   Apparently, opticians see this all the time:  dog adores his person so much he wants to ingest the face oil smelling frames, the lenses just a bonus crunch.  It’s a compliment, a very expensive compliment. The solution?  Keep the glasses where the dog can’t reach.  I felt just a little stupid at the obvious.

Dogs seem to have the same fascination with hearing aids though I can only imagine, to a dog’s nose, the light coating of ear wax is even more enticing than temple sweat.  But it’s hard to appreciate a dog’s adoration when you have to replace that really, really expensive device.  Another reason for that kind of destruction, according to a local audiologist, is that hearing aids, even when turned off, emit a high-pitched whine, the classic “sound only a dog can hear”.  In that case, I can imagine a dog might smash a hearing aid simply to kill the offending noise or, alternately, make a new friend.

An additional concern beyond the cost and annoyance of replacement is the possibility of a vet bill if your Best Friend ate the battery.  While tiny, those batteries can be dangerous if punctured or crushed by little needle teeth and then swallowed.  (Those tiny batteries are also in singing greeting cards, talking books, flash light pens, key chains, novelty jewelry, digital thermometers, watches and cameras, to name a few.)

If you think your pet could have swallowed the battery a trip to the vet for an x-ray might be in order. It’s possible it could have gotten stuck on something on the way through. Certainly, if you see redness or ulcers in dog’s mouth (lips, tongue), discolored teeth (black or grey), frequent swallowing, drooling or painful or distended abdomen, it’s time to see Dr. WhiteCoat.

From a first aid angle, this is a situation where vomiting should not be induced. This could make any corrosive injury worse.  Activated charcoal should not be used, either. It will not bind the toxic components, and may increase the chances of vomiting.

When a battery is swallowed and is in contact with digestive juices, it generates a small electric current, which burns the tissue next to it.    (An experiment showed that a button battery could burn straight through deli meat after only 2 hours.)  If the battery is intact you might be advised to feed the dog something bulky—white bread, for instance—to cover and push the battery through to the end. Of course, you’ll have to examine the results to make sure the battery made it all the way out.   If the battery is damaged or stuck in a loop of tubing, surgery or removal via endoscope might be in order.

As I learned, the hard and expensive way, to put my glasses beyond Dave’s reach, when you take your hearing aids off, put them high up and in a safe place—a designated box with a grinning dog on it would be a good reminder. Most hearing aids come with comprehensive warranties that cover everything, even damage by pets and loss, so your audiologist probably will just smile and get you a new one.

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Health Tip of the Week – The easiest way to lose 5 pounds

By Ian Hart

If you want the simplest and most effective way to lose weight, I have the answer – and I will give it to you in minute – but before I tell you what it is, I think we all know ultimately what needs to be done to lose weight… it’s the actual action steps of losing the weight that is lacking. Many times people need accountability, motivation and a support systems to get them out of the unhealthy pattern so that caused the weight gain.

With that being said, this tip I am about to give you should be one of the easier things to take action on, because it requires very little willpower and takes verylittle effort.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way. The simplest and easiest way to lose 5lbs is to go to bed early. Go to bed at a time when you can ensure that you get a good eight hours or so of sleep for 1 week straight and I can assure you that you will lose weight. But… that’s not all. I want you to shut down your wifi and shut off all your electronic gear and move it far away from where you sleep (at least 10 feet). It is also good to even shut down all your circuit breakers in the house. This will allow you to get a deep rest.

All the extra wifi and electrical activity doesn’t allow your body to get a good night’s sleep. Give it a try, I think you will be surprised by the results.

Ian Hart is creator of EarthFIT Transformation Systems and co-creator of the Back Pain Relief4Life Formula. Contact him at or 800.718.7FIT.

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Five tips for proper skin care

By Takiya Smith

This past Saturday I had the wonderful luxury of receiving a 60 minute facial. Though this was not my first facial it was amongst the first in quite a while. Living here in the South amidst dry lips and skin chapping winters and sticky, humid summers can add a bevy of outbreaks, irregularities and pore clogging factors to our delicate layers of skin. Throw in the gleaming rays of the Sun and the light to not so light and visible mists of pollen and voila you have now achieved complete and total skin disaster. All of which, without proper cleansing, moisturizing and care could lead to even more unwanted effects such as acne, wrinkling and premature aging.  Our skin is the body’s first layer of defense and with a few small tips and changes you can begin and continue to be well on your way to fresh, soft, supple and healthy glowing skin.

Step 1: Determine your skin type. 
Ask any Esthetician and they will tell you that the foundation to any good skin care regimen is knowing your skin type. Its your starting place and ultimate road map to reaching your skin’s proper and healthy destination. There are 5 skin types: Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination and Sensitive. Consulting with a licensed skin care professional can help you pinpoint your skin type and select what products work best for you.

Step 2: Cleanse. 
Start with a fresh palette, free and clear of any makeup, residue, oils or chemicals.

Step 3: Exfoliate
. Meaning to gently rub or slough (scrub) away layers of dirt, build up and unhealthy, dead skin. Exfoliating the can leave the skin looking healthy and vibrant as well as give it a soft and supple feel.

Step 4: Moisturize. 
No matter the skin type, added moisture to the skin is a must. Our bodies are composed of over 50 to 65 percent water and a vital source of element and nutrient to all else. Selecting a good moisturizing agent helps to add and lock in that water thus deterring the effects of dryness leading to chaffing, fine lines and wrinkles.

Step 5: Protect. 
In addition to eradicating excess penetration from the rays of the suns UV effects, a daily SPF (Sun Protection Factor) will block and guard our skin from the damage of sunburn, skin cancer and aging.

For more information regarding skin care and consultation visit my blog at or contact me at (843) 263-0426.  Mention this article and receive a 60 minute Cleansing Basic Facial for just $37.50 through August 9!

Takiya La’Shaune Smith is mother, licensed cosmetologist, and local business owner. Find her at or on Facebook, email her at or call 843-263-0426.

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The art of letting go

By Lee Scott

Adjusting to a new setting means letting go of things that you are used to having around you. With so many military personnel in our area and retirees, they can appreciate the “art of letting go.”

I am talking about when you move. The transition between your old home and your new home. There are the normal places we become so accustomed–our grocery stores, our dry cleaners, the hair salon or barber shops. Sometimes we luck out and the name brand is the same, like a Publix or a Bi-Lo. But some of the difficulty of letting go is harder still when you still get the emails from Amazon for the local deals-restaurants and movie theatres that you know. Or you get the emails from your old hardware store or wine store. There is a point when it is time to unsubscribe, time to let the old newspaper digital subscription lapse. Time to unsubscribe from all those old organizations you belonged to like the local hospice or the book clubs.

Now is the time to change your calendar at home and start filling it with local events. What festivals are coming up? Is there a local hospice group? How about meeting other people that are in the same boat you are in?

The local newspaper will tell you what is going on about upcoming events or volunteer opportunities. There are leadership programs that will introduce you to the whole county. Before long, the emails will be from new friends and organizations.

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Hot feet

By Tracie Korol

Next time you take a trip to a big box store in the middle of the day, park on the far end of the parking lot. Slip off your flip-flops and walk to the store. Chances are you won’t get too far before you slip your sandals right back on, or dance quickly over to a grassy area.

Because asphalt is black it absorbs rather than reflects the heat from the sun. In fact, a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine noted that 35 seconds of exposure, from 10 am to 5 pm, to hot asphalt pavement could result in second-degree burns to the exposed area. That shouldn’t be surprising, given that on sunny summer days, the temperature of pavement can easily reach 300 degrees.  For a dog forced to barefoot it over such a surface, the result can be painfully burned paw pads.

Or, take off your shoes and hop up into the back of your pick-up in the middle of the day. Chances are you won’t spend too much time up there, either. We prudently do not allow our toddlers to play on the metal slide at midday for fear of searing their little fannies, but we load our dogs into the bed of a pick-up to go for a ride. Can you even imagine how painful it is to stand on what is essentially a hot frying pan?

Notice, next time you attend one of the local festivals, how uncomfortable the attending dogs are as they wait patiently beside their humans. These dogs, while you may think are having a great time on an outing, are standing barefoot on hot pavement, sometimes for long periods of time. While a dog’s paws are the toughest part of his skin, they still need protection from heat, just like yours do.

A day at the beach is not much fun for your dog, either, especially if he is not inclined to get wet. Hot sand can scald paws. Even heading down the metal boat ramp for a family day at sea can fry Fido’s feet in minutes.

Unlike obvious wounds such as lacerations, foot infections (fungal, bacterial or foreign bodies—like stickers and thorns), burned pads may not be readily apparent to the eye.  That’s why pup parents need to be on the lookout for blisters or redness on the pads. Also, suspect a burn if you notice missing parts of the pads or they seem dark in color. Your dog may try to compensate for the pain of a paw pad burn by limping, refusing to walk, or licking and chewing at his bottoms of his feet.

If you suspect your dog has a pad burn it is important to keep the area cool and clean. As soon as you notice the problem (limping along on the road, lifting paws in rotation, excessive licking), flush with cool water or a cool compress if available. Sacrifice your cup of beer at the festival, if necessary. Get your dog to a grassy area or if possible, carry him.

At first chance, examine your dog for signs of deeper burns, blisters and possibility of infection. Washing the feet with a gentle cleanser and keeping them clean is important. Bandaging can be difficult to do and to maintain (monitor and change often), but licking must be kept to a minimum, easier said than done. Some dogs will tolerate a sock for a few minutes but most dogs I know would rather chew off the sock and eat it. Lick deterrents (bitter sprays) may help reduce the damage caused by licking but many of my dog friends view the spray as a condiment.

Best advice is to be mindful of hot surfaces — asphalt and metal (i.e. boat dock, car or truck surfaces). Put yourself in his place just for a few minutes; how would your bare feet feel? Walk your dog on the cool, shady side of the street or in the grass. Schedule exercise for early or late in the day or after a good rain. And while it may look silly and your human friends may razz you, lay down a wet towel for your Best Friend to stand on when grassy areas are not available. Your Best Friend deserves to be treated as a best friend.

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If I knew then what I know now …

By Martha O’Regan

Do you ever wish you could have a “do over” of experiences in your past? As it turns out, you can — it is called imagination.  The brain records everything in present time and doesn’t know the difference between what we perceive and what is imagined — they both create neural pathways that affect our health, behaviors, relationships and even our surroundings.

Martha O'Regan

Martha O’Regan

We can go back to any experience recorded from our past, even decades ago, that at the time we judged as “bad” or “wrong” and imagine or re-create it with a perspective of “good” or a lesson learned and it will actually create a new network in the brain, completely altering our physiology in that milli-blip of time. We don’t change the facts, only the energy in which it is stored. Remember when we used to transfer files on our computer and the little file would dance across the screen?  Well, think about moving the story from one file to the next: from the fear file to the gratitude file just by choosing to. The trick is keeping it in the positive file.  Every time we pull it out and express it from the victim perspective, we dump it right back in affecting our life all over again.

At the risk of being repetitive, remember that everything in all of creation is energy including every thought, feeling, word and deed. Simply put, positive energy is expansive and alive with frequency while negative energy is contractive and sluggish in frequency.  Every experience is neutral until you decide which charge to attach to it — positive or negative — and that perception immediately translates into your physical body as either one of survival (contractive) or ease (expansive). As an example, 20 people can witness the same car accident: Five of them put the event in their fear file as it could’ve been them; five will walk away in gratitude that it wasn’t them; five will walk away worried about the victims; and five will just be ticked off that they are late for work. Same experience, different perspectives, with each one being correct for each person.

Every experience we have ever had — including everything we have ever seen, heard, touched, tasted or smelled — gets filed in our mental hard drive (aka the brain) based on the perspective that we deemed appropriate in the moment, even the ones that belonged to the “big people” who were in our lives during our early years. These files set up a neural pathway or network that is instantly retrieved for future use, whether it be for learning, becoming proficient in a hobby or sport, determining the best course of action in a project, or just basic survival. These pathways also have an energy attached that will emit into our physical body or surroundings. Those experiences that we perceived as negative, with either great intensity or long duration, can set up a message into the body that over time can become a symptom, habit or behavior that we wish we didn’t have. So, an experience that created immense fear for a short time can get us just as stuck in the mental hard drive as long-term worry.  Both can set up a mental loop that can lead to such things as tight muscles, high blood pressure, self-sabotage or procrastination.

Think about an experience that you wish had never happened and tune into how it feels in the body.  Notice how fast you were able to retrieve that stored memory? Think about the gazillion stored memories that we judged as negative in our lifetime that are controlling our physiology 24/7. Eewwwhhh — not interested in that.

So, knowing what we know now about the brain, we can go back to an experience and, without changing the facts, see the lesson or look at it again through the lens of forgiveness, gratitude, love, peace or joy, creating a brand new neural pathway in the brain, allowing for more appropriate physiology. Aahh, that feels better already.

Live Awake … Have Fun.

Martha O’Regan, is Your “B.E.S.T. Life” Coach, supporting you in creating and allowing the B.E.S.T. Life of your Dreams! Contact her at 843-812-1328 or to discover how easy it can be to create change in your life.

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Do you have plenty to smile about?

By Dr. Jennifer Wallace

Have you always wanted a brighter smile? Well you aren’t in the minority. It’s one of the most popular concerns among patients I talk with these day. Many ask, “Dr. Wallace, how can I get my teeth whiter?”

A recent survey I read had these staggering statistics: Fifty percent of people consider the smile the first facial feature they notice and yet 80 percent are not happy with their smile. Your smile — simple, straightforward, and most important, sincere — can attract more than admiring looks. A smiling face tells people that you’re an outgoing and intelligent person worth getting to know.

How white should your teeth become? Well that depends on a few factors. Bleachers should aim for a color that matches the whites of their eyes. If you bleach your teeth a whiter color than the whites of your eyes, this color will cause your teeth to become your focal point (the place people’s eyes go to first and keep being drawn back to).   If the color of your teeth is a brighter white than the whites of your eyes, this  will not only cause your teeth to look fake, but it may make your skin look dull or washed out next to the very bright white of your teeth.

Well, there’s no reason for those closed-lipped smiles in holiday, vacation or Facebook pictures anymore, due to being self-conscious of dingy teeth, because there’s an app for that! Well, not actually an app, but there are options.  Some people want an instant and dramatic change, while others prefer more gradual whitening such as the type that results from a whitening toothpaste or gel. Surface stains and internal discoloration can be caused with age of course, but as a dental professional we take into consideration habits such as tobacco use, drinking coffee, tea, colas or red wine, and eating pigmented foods such as cherries and blueberries. The accumulation of plaque and tartar deposits, prior trauma or even exposures with the antibiotic tetracycline during childhood tooth development, can also affect the overall color of a tooth to appear gray or brown.

There are many reasons for whitening your teeth, including:

• The boost to your confidence and self-esteem that comes from a great smile

• A younger appearance

• A special event such as a wedding, job interview or class reunion

• To make a positive first impression on others

• To simply reverse years of everyday staining and yellowing.

Whitening is safe as long as people follow the directions and use a product that carries a seal of approval from the American Dental Association. While whitening can occasionally change tooth color nine or more shades, the majority of people who whiten their teeth see a change of between two and seven shades. Each procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. Laser whitening and other in-office bleaching procedures, for example, may produce the most dramatic results, but obviously cost more. Final results depend on your natural tooth color, any prior dental work you have, how stubborn any stains are and the treatment you choose. Keep in mind that a change of just two or three shades can make a noticeable difference in most smiles.

Whitening products work mainly in one of two ways. The first is a “non-bleaching” approach to abrasively help remove surface stains. Drug store whitening toothpastes have polishing agents that provide additional stain removal that regular mild abrasion toothpastes do not. A professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist also uses abrasion and polishing to remove most external staining caused by food/tobacco and is always recommended before starting any whitening procedures. The second approach to whiter teeth would be those bleaching procedures offered by your dentist to actually change your natural tooth color, usually anywhere from five to seven shades brighter. In-office whitening procedures like Zoom rely on hydrogen peroxide in concentrations of 25% that is applied by a dental professional in a careful, controlled ‘all at once’ application. At-home tray whitening bleaches contain an active ingredient called carbamide peroxide. Both hydrogen and carbamide peroxide professional bleaching techniques help to remove both deep and surface stains. However, after several months or a year of eating and drinking normally (coffee, tea, soft drinks, wines, berries, and red sauces), your teeth can become slightly discolored again and develop new stains. It’s a good idea to plan a maintenance whitening regimen with your dentist to protect your new smile.

Everyone responds differently to different whitening procedures. Some people respond well to whitening toothpastes, while people with gray teeth or other serious discoloration may require porcelain veneers or bonding to achieve the smiles they’ve always wanted. Only your dentist or hygienist can determine what’s right for you.

Dr. Wallace practices at Palmetto Smiles of Beaufort and can be contacted at 843-524-7645 or

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Canine cabin fever

By Tracie Korol

It’s another day of smothery heat. The humidity is neck and neck with the temperature and the AC runs constantly. We’re all getting a bit crabby; even a walk to the mailbox requires resolve before, and icy beverages afterward. Your dog bursts out of the house expecting his usual run but stops dead in his tracks, turns to glare at you with the dog equivalent of WTF?.

We already know the important summertime safety tips: Do not leave your dog in the car alone, even with the AC running. Save the big runs for early morning or late evening. Keep our flat-faced and heavy-coated friends indoors as they have little hope of self-cooling.  Here are a few ideas for hot-weather, boredom-relieving dog fun when it’s Too. Darn. Hot.

Bobbing for Hot Dogs: Scoring food always ranks high among favorite canine activities. With a cheap kiddie pool and a few hot dogs you can engage your dog’s brain in the lowest-key way possible.  Fill the pool in a shady spot in the yard or the garage, pull up a chair and toss hot dog pennies into the pool for Best Friend to fish out.  You could turn this game into a teaching moment with cues or command review, but it’s just too hot to think about that. Just have fun.  Remember to cut dinner rations by an equal amount of wet hot dog. And, please, hose the slimy hot dog goo out of the pool when the game is over or you’ll have to buy a new pool.

Nose Games: We have a mere five million olfactory receptors in our noses, while our dogs have upwards of 125 million. That’s why our dogs sometimes seem distracted when we think there’s nothing of interest around; they’re reading the air. Having a big smeller is also great for indoor low-energy doggy brain games. An easy one to teach is find it!  (Your dog needs to know how to stay for this game.)

Ask your BF to stay. Show her a small, high value treat — a fingernail-size piece of cheese or freeze-dried liver is perfect. Tell her, find it! and drop the treat on the ground near her. Hopefully, she’ll find it in a split second. (praise, praise, praise!) Always starting from a Stay, do several reps, tossing the treats farther away, and have her return to you and the Stay.  The challenge: Put the treat down just out of sight — around the corner of the couch, for instance, or behind a table leg. Remember to show her the treat in advance, so she knows what scent she’s hunting for and cue to find it!.

When BF’s attention begins to wander, up the ante. Park her in a Stay and hide the treat in the next room. Or put the treat in the same room but hide it under a throw pillow or a shoebox. Up the ante again: put out three empty shoe boxes with a treat under just one of them. Take the game outside when it cools off.  Hide the treat above ground level — on a chair, or windowsill. BF will keep going as long as you have snacks and as long as you praise.

The Sniffy Walk: All dogs need regular, off-leash aerobic exercise to burn off pent-up energy. But when it’s too hot to move, it’s time for the pokey, sniffy walk. Sniffy walks, an important counterpart to aerobic exercise, meet doggy behavioral needs at any age. My granddog, now an elder gent, excels at the sniffy walk, going into a trance at a rock, a can or something else seemingly uninteresting to us. His thoughtful upward gaze, the one that makes you think that dogs do understand the complexities of the world, is the pay-off. Pure satisfaction!  Half an hour of nosing around, with pauses for inspection at every bush and fire hydrant, can leave your dog refreshed and content. I think it’s comparable to how we feel after we’ve had our coffee, read the paper, and checked our email. When it’s too hot to play fetch or wrestle with other dogs, slow, sniffy walks become even more important as boredom killer.

This week I have three giant dogs with me. Normally, we’d spend hours every day on long rambling off-road walks to burn off big dog energy. But this week we’re all flattened by the heat. Today, I placed a big sheet over the carpet and everyone worked on large, frozen bones, indoors, in the AC and in front of a fan. Then, nap.  We’ll go for a short run later. Maybe.

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