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Germs live everywhere and are spread through the air in sneezes or coughs, or through body fluids such as sweat, saliva or blood. Once these pesky little germs get into your body, they can damage or destroy healthy cells, use your nutrients and energy, and produce waste products, known as toxins, which can cause a variety of illnesses. But rather than leaving out the welcome mat for some not-so-friendly germs, you can take steps to help germ-proof your home.

Hand washing is the first line of defense against spreading germs. Use soap and warm water to wash hands thoroughly. Remember to wash for 20 seconds and clean under your fingernails. Dry with a clean towel. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Cleaning surfaces with soap and water on a routine basis to remove germs usually is enough, but sometimes you may want to use a disinfectant to destroy germs. Areas that should be disinfected include food preparation counters in the kitchen and all surfaces in the bathroom.

Stop the spread of germs in the kitchen by washing cutting boards, utensils, dishes and counter tops. Do not cross-contaminate foods. Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables under running water. Cook foods to the proper temperature to kill bacteria that can cause food-borne illness. Remember to refrigerate foods promptly and store leftovers properly.

If you have animals in your home, do not let children play in areas where pets go to the bathroom. Litter boxes should be cleaned daily; however, pregnant women should not clean litter boxes.

A little prevention can go a long way. Practicing simple habits, such as hand washing, can help protect your health. To learn more, take the free, online germs quiz on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/GermsQuiz.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214 324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Urinary incontinence, or the loss of bladder control, is a symptom, not a disease. On a temporary basis, it can be caused by vaginal infections, constipation or certain medications. Persistent urinary incontinence (UI) can be caused by weakness of the bladder or the muscles supporting it, overactive bladder muscles or urinary tract blockage.

There are four types of UI. Stress incontinence happens when certain activities such as coughing, sneezing or laughing increase abdominal pressure on the bladder. Urge incontinence occurs when the need to urinate happens too quickly to get to the bathroom in time. Overflow incontinence involves small amounts of urine leaking from the bladder that never empties completely. Functional incontinence affects people with normal bladder control but who cannot get to the bathroom quickly due to physical limitations such as arthritis that make moving difficult.

Once the cause of UI has been identified, treatment options usually fall into three main categories:

Behavioral techniques require making certain lifestyle changes, such as following a regular toilet schedule. Pelvic floor muscle exercises are recommended to strengthen the muscles below the bladder that control urination.

Medications can be prescribed to treat urge incontinence. These drugs block nerve impulses to the bladder, decreasing the urgency and frequency of urination.

Medical devices or surgery are also available to treat incontinence. Women can use a urethral insert (a small tampon-like disposable device) or pessary (a vaginal insert) to help manage stress incontinence. Commonly used surgical procedures performed to treat UI include sling procedures, bladder neck suspension or artificial urinary sphincter implantation. 

UI should not be suffered in silence. Hiding incontinence can lead to rashes, sores, and skin or urinary tract infections. To learn more, take the free, online UI quiz on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/IncontinenceQuiz.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214 324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Spring is almost here and summer is just around the corner. Are you ready to wear shorts? If you suffer from varicose veins you may prefer to wear capris, but that won’t change the fact that varicose veins can be an unsightly and painful condition.

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted and painful superficial veins that result from poorly functioning valves. In normal veins, valves in the veins keep blood moving forward toward the heart. With varicose veins, the valves do not function properly, allowing blood to remain in the vein under high pressure. It’s these characteristics that cause varicose veins to enlarge and become painful.

Varicose veins most commonly appear in the legs, and mainly occur after age 50. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly half of women and about 45 percent of men have some form of varicose conditions.

Treatment for varicose veins may begin with exercise, elevating your legs when you are resting and using compression/support hose. You also may want to wear loose clothing and avoid long periods of standing.

If conservative treatments aren't effective, you do have other options. Now is the time to treat varicose veins so you can have beautiful legs this spring and summer.

The Wound & Vein Center of Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake offers numerous treatments for varicose veins, such as injecting the affected veins so they close (sclerotherapy), or using lasers to collapse the vein (thermal ablation). All patients receive personalized care designed to help minimize pain and discomfort and expedite healing.

For more information, call 214-324-6770 or visit DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/WoundandVeinCenter.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218

214-324-6100
www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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When it comes to cooking, if the words “heart healthy” conjure up images of tasteless soups, bland casseroles and plain vegetables, think again. You can develop a heart-healthy meal plan that is anything but boring.

Before heading out to the grocery store, invest in a few heart-healthy cookbooks and recipes for cooking ideas. Develop a shopping list that includes the following basic items:

  • Opt for “choice” or “select” grades of beef and cuts of meat that are labeled “loin” or “round” because they typically have the least amount of fat.
  • For poultry, choose leaner light meat such as breasts.
  • Keep cholesterol in check with lean pork and certain types of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and mackerel.
  • Buy a variety of fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables.
  • Look for milk and milk products that are fat-free or low-fat.
  • Select breads, cereals and grains that list whole-wheat or whole-grain as the first ingredient.

Instead of frying, cook with less fat by stir-frying, roasting, grilling, broiling, baking, poaching, sautéing or steaming. For added flavor, try squeezing lemon juice on melons, drizzling vinegar on steamed vegetables, adding onion to meat, baking chicken with low-fat Italian dressing, or shaking lemon pepper on chicken.

It may be tempting to go for seconds now that your meals are so heart healthy, but you still need to control portion size. For example, one serving of pasta (1/2 cup) is approximately the size of a hockey puck, and a serving of meat, chicken or fish (two to three ounces) equates to the size and thickness of a deck of cards.

To learn more about heart-healthy foods, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/HealthyPractices.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
214-324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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As a woman, you may spend your days working at the office, chasing after children, running errands, cleaning house, organizing activities, or attending to an endless list of other activities. But, you also need to take time to take care of yourself — especially your heart. 

Approximately one-third of women do not perceive heart disease as a health concern, even though it’s the number one killer of American women. That’s why it’s so important for women to learn more about heart disease and take care of their heart with five simple steps:

  1. Be active. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily.

  2. Eat smart. Opt for fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. 

  3. Know your risks. Age, gender, race, family history and other medical conditions can increase the risk of developing heart disease.

  4. Pay attention to your heart. Be aware of warning signs and visit a doctor early to avoid serious complications.

  5. Read all about it. Learn about heart disease to be better prepared to prevent and fight it.

In honor of National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 1, Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake is encouraging people to wear red to show their support of women and the fight against heart disease. The hospital also is offering a free Red Dress lapel pin in recognition of Go Red for Women, a nationwide movement created by the American Heart Association that celebrates the energy, passion and power that women have to band together and wipe out heart disease.

Women can learn more about heart health on the hospital’s website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/GoRedForWomen. For a free Red Dress lapel pin, call 866-764-3627 (offer good while supplies last).

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
214-324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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The foundation of good health is the food we eat. A well-balanced diet contains portions from all food groups including grains, vegetables, fruits, meat and beans, milk, and healthy fats and oils.

Grains provide the body with energy and fiber. Whole grains are especially beneficial because they may help control blood sugar levels and protect against heart disease. Whole grains include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread or pasta, and popcorn.

Eating large portions of fruits and vegetables can decrease the chances of a heart attack or stroke, and may protect against some forms of cancer. The best veggies are dark green or orange, such as broccoli, spinach, squash, corn and sweet potatoes. Healthy fruits include apples, bananas, strawberries and grapefruits. 

The meat and beans category also includes nuts, seeds, tofu and eggs. These protein rich foods, such as almonds and pistachios, can help reduce the risk of heart disease and provide the body with fiber. The best meat choices are fish and poultry because they contain less saturated fat and more heart-healthy omega-3 fats, such as salmon, tilapia and chicken. When eating red meat, choose lean or low-fat options. 

Dairy products help build bones because they provide the body with calcium. Smart dairy choices are fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese. Healthy fats and oils such as olive, canola or peanut oils can improve cholesterol levels and may protect the heart from potentially deadly rhythm problems. 

It is important to remember to focus on the quality of the foods you and your family eat rather than the quantity. By emphasizing nutrient-rich choices, you can lower both the portion size and salt intake. For more simple ways to make your diet better, visit the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/EatingHealthy.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
214-324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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They say that a wish can come true if you throw a penny in a well, blow out the candles on your birthday cake, win a tug-of-war with a turkey wishbone, or make 1,000 origami cranes. But unfortunately, just wishing you could lose weight isn’t going to make it happen. You will need to take steps to make your weight loss a reality.

The Surgical Weight Loss Center of Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake offers a quality program with many bariatric surgery options, including Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, LAP-BAND® and gastric sleeve. Our knowledgeable staff members provide an extensive support system — staying with you from insurance pre-qualification and pre-operative assistance to post-surgical support groups, dietary counseling, aquatic classes, and more. We understand that some people may feel overwhelmed or a bit intimidated when starting their weight loss journey. That’s why we are here to offer you the personal touch, words of reassurance, and one-on-one connection you may need as you embark on this life-changing experience.

Losing weight not only reduces your risk of developing health problems, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes, but also has numerous benefits. Reaching a normal weight can help you feel better, have more energy, improve breathing and mobility, and avoid reproductive problems for women. You may also face less prejudice or discrimination at work, school or in social settings after losing weight.

Don’t let another year pass you by wishing you had lost the weight. Make this year a year to remember. Join us for a free weight loss surgery seminar so you can start your journey to lose the weight and improve your health. To register, call 888-228-6466 or visit SurgicalWeightLossCenterDallas.com/Seminar

Bariatric surgery is designed for those with a body mass index equal to or greater than 40, or equal to or greater than 35 with serious co-morbidities. As with any surgery, bariatric surgery has risks.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake

9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
214-324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Happy New Year! Did you make a resolution to get fit? Maybe you want to lose weight, or perhaps stop smoking? If so, you’re not alone. Each year, Americans make their list of resolutions for the New Year, and each year many forget those resolutions within a short time. But, don’t give up. Here are a few tips to help you keep those resolutions so you can make your health goals a reality.

  • Don’t make too many resolutions. Choose the most important one and concentrate on that.
  • Plan ahead and don’t make your resolution at the last minute. Make sure your resolution is something you personally want to achieve.
  • Have a realistic goal that you can attain. Set mini-goals and keep track of your progress daily.
  • Write out a plan and put it on display. Remember that a short and simple list is more achievable than one that starts to look like the Gettysburg Address.
  • Celebrate your success and reward yourself with something that doesn't contradict your resolution.
  • Do the best that you can each day and don’t be too hard on yourself if you make the occasional slip.
  • Stick to you plan, but remember to be flexible. Allow for making changes in order to reach long-term goals.
  • Don’t give up. Healthy habits can take a long time to become second-nature.
  • Ask your family and friends to help you achieve your goal. They can provide motivation when you need it and cheer you on from the sidelines.

To help keep New Year’s resolutions and achieve your best year of fitness, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/YearofFitness.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
214-324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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Are tanning beds safe? The answer depends on who you ask. Don’t expect employees at a tanning salon to warn you about the dangers of tanning. 

Even with federal guidelines on how much exposure people should have in a tanning booth, most tanning parlors said customers could come in as often as they wanted. And, some even denied that tanning indoors could cause cancer or prematurely age the skin.

However, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, people who use tanning beds and lamps have a considerably higher risk of developing basal and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common kinds of skin cancer. 

Tanning salons use lamps that emit both UVA radiation, which penetrates to the deeper layers of the skin, and some UVB radiation, which goes through the top layers of skin. When using a tanning bed, the concentration of UVA rays is higher than that from the sun. As a result, the skin absorbs more rays in the long term resulting in both skin aging and a higher risk for skin cancer. 

Both UVA and UVB rays can cause potentially cancerous changes in the DNA of skin cells. In addition to increasing the risk of skin cancer, tanning can also cause:

  • Premature aging that occurs when skin loses its elasticity and wrinkles prematurely
  • Immune suppression that can leave the body more susceptible to diseases
  • Irreversible eye damage due to exposure to UV radiation

Despite the risks of tanning beds, you don’t have to go without that sun-bronzed look. New self-tanners and spray-on tans provide a quick, safe alternative that is better for your skin.

To learn more about tanning safety, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/SunSafety.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
214 324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com

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While energy drinks are becoming increasingly popular — especially among teens and young adults — these drinks often have large amounts of sugar and caffeine. Depending on the brand, you could be consuming as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine in a 20-ounce serving, compared to 200 milligrams in a 12-ounce cup of brewed coffee or 35 milligrams in a 12-ounce serving of Coca-Cola Classic.

Caffeine, which is a stimulant, may be safe in moderation for most people, but it can have some unpleasant side effects including jitteriness, upset stomach, headaches and sleep problems. Caffeine also may be dangerous for those who have any type of heart disease or high blood pressure. Consuming caffeine can further increase some people’s blood pressure, or make the heart beat faster and trigger abnormal heart rhythms. 

Mixing alcohol with an energy drink could lead to dangerous heart rhythms — even in people who don’t have an underlying heart condition. Another danger from combining energy drinks with alcohol is that you may feel alert enough to drive, even when the alcohol actually is impairing your responses.

Quickly drinking an energy drink isn't a good idea either. The high levels of caffeine and sugar may cause a number of symptoms and have sometimes been severe enough to require hospitalization. 

Like many things in life, energy drinks may be OK if consumed in moderation. However, your best way to feel energized each day is to eat healthy foods, drink plenty of water, and get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week. And don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep.

To learn more about how caffeine affects your body, take the free, online How Much Do You Know About Caffeine? quiz available on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/CaffeineQuiz.

Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake
9400 Poppy Drive
Dallas, TX 75218
214-324-6100

www.doctorshospitaldallas.com