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Meet the team at Elevated Dental in Vail

Going to the dentist may not be the most pleasurable experience, but the team at Elevated Dental in West Vail aims to provide excellent dental care in a relaxed and friendly environment so that you can keep your smile looking good.

“A lot of people are very fearful and nervous when it comes to the dentist,” said Justin Moses, DMD, and owner of Elevated Dental. “Our team does a wonderful job helping that person relax and leave feeling great.”

Originally from Pennsylvania, Moses is a third generation dentist who completed dental school at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and did an advanced training residency at the University of Colorado. 

“With extensive training in advanced dental procedures such as implants, wisdom teeth and cosmetic dentistry, we try to keep things simple for our patients and treat them at our office without them having to drive to another office for services,” Moses said.

The Elevated Dental name may be new, but the practice isn’t. Shortly after moving to the Vail area in 2015, Moses crossed paths with Dr. Paul Corcoran, who has been a dentist in the area for over 35 years. Corcoran and his wife Jean have provided excellent care to many valley locals through their dental practice.

“I met Dr. Corcoran through my soon-to-be brother-in-law, Andy Larson, and we worked out the best path for the future of the practice,” Moses said. Following in the Corcoran’s footsteps, it will be a husband and wife team at Elevated Dental. Moses will wed Maddy Larson, who takes care of the business side of the office, later this month.

Elevated Dental also wants to take care of your financial worries by focusing on preventative care and early diagnosis. “Thousands of dollars and hours of appointment time can be saved by diagnosing a cavity in the early stages,” Moses said. 

They also offer the Elevated Care Plan, which helps if you don’t have insurance or have poor coverage.

“No need to worry about the extra cost of x-rays, we just package your x-rays, cleanings and check-ups together for just $300 a year and you can add additional family members for $250,” Larson said. “If you are a member of the Vail Valley Partnership, we offer the Elevated Care Plan for $250.”

“I love seeing the transformation that our patients go through when they come to our office. I love helping patients who are a part of our community and visitors who made need our services while on their trip. Nobody wants a vacation ruined because of a toothache,” Moses said. 

To learn more about Elevated Dental’s services and care plans, call 970-476-3991 or visit www.elevateddentalvail.com.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

According to the American Cancer Society, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all other cancers combined. Pair that sobering statistic with the fact that many of us in the Eagle Valley live an active outdoor lifestyle and have higher UV exposure in the Rockies, and skin cancer awareness becomes something we shouldn’t take lightly. But there is some good news.

“If caught early, skin cancer is more curable,” said Karen Nern, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and owner of Vail Dermatology. Being an advocate for your health and doing self-checks and going in each year for a full cancer screening is a good way to protect yourself from the disease. But also changing the way we think about the sun and how it affects our largest organ is key.

As the temperatures rise and the days grow longer, many are heading outdoors and exposing more skin than during the winter months. This makes May a perfect time to remember to wear sunscreen and learn about the dangers of skin cancer during Melanoma Awareness Month.

“I think there is a misconception about tanning. A lot of people think that tanning is good for you, so there are some people who still tan. There’s no such thing as a healthy tan,” Nern said. “We’re also a young, healthy, active population here and I think people don’t realize they can get skin cancer until it happens.”

Skin cancer is non-discriminatory when it comes to age. “We’ve seen skin cancers in patients as young as 17 or 18 years old. I’ve diagnosed a melanoma on a 16-year-old girl’s ear before,” Nern said.

Another misconception is your hair, eye and natural skin color. “If you’re fair skinned and light eyed, you have a much higher risk for skin cancer. But even if people tan easily, they can still get skin cancer. I’ve done lots of ski cancer surgeries on people who have darker skin types,” Nern said.

If you are doing self-checks, follow the ABCDE rule:

  • A – Asymmetry, where one half of the mole doesn’t match the other.
  • B – Border irregularity.
  • C – Color that is not uniform.
  • D – Diameter should be no greater than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser).
  • E – Evolving in size, shape or color.

“I think the main thing is for people to just pay attention to something that’s not healing or is growing and changing,” Nern said. “When in doubt, get yourself checked.”

Vail One Mind program helps response to mental health cases

VAIL — Police are often the first to respond to people in crisis. Vail’s police department is working to make sure those first responders can provide as much help as possible.

The Vail Police Department is participating in the One Mind program, which was developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger has long been associated with that group.

According to the organization’s website, One Mind focuses on “uniting local communities, public safety organizations and mental health organizations so that the three become ‘of one mind.’”

Henninger said it has only been recently that there have been enough partners able to help with those goals. Vail police are working with the recently-created Eagle County Hope Center.

Henninger said longtime provider Mind Springs Health — which serves much of the Western Slope — simply hasn’t had the resources in Eagle County to provide the level of services needed for the One Mind program to be effective.

A growing need

The One Mind program works to build a model that involves police and medical first responders. And the need for services has been climbing, and climbing rapidly.

During a recent presentation to the Vail Town Council, Eagle County Human Services Department Director Chris Lindley laid out some of those numbers.

The county in just the past four years has seen a 360 percent increase in emergency room visits for anxiety or depression. There has been a similar increase in emergency room visits for alcohol or drug intoxication.

The number of suicides in the county has also roughly tripled, going from six in 2016 — a longtime county average — to 16 in 2017 and 17 in 2018.

Lindley said there has also been an increase since 2011 in the number of middle schoolers who have made suicide plans. That number was 15 percent in 2017, compared to 5 percent in 2011.

Vail Town Council member Jenn Bruno noted during the meeting that her two sons are both in middle school.

“I believe those numbers,” she said.

Lindley then ran through some of the efforts to improve mental health care in the county, starting with a sales tax on marijuana sales passed in 2017.

While that tax by itself won’t generate enough to cover all the county’s needs — Lindley’s estimates show more than $200 million in need over the next decade — Lindley said voter approval of the tax helped jump start the local effort.

Work is coming along to create facilities, including a 24-hour walk-in clinic.

But the needs are great. Lindley said Eagle County would need another 66 mental health professionals just to get the area to the state per-capita average.

One Mind, one community

Vail’s One Mind is another attempt to help as much as possible.

Henninger said One Mind is an effort to “have good policies in place.”

The program aims to train everyone working for Vail’s police department, from clerks to dispatchers to street officers.

The training is extensive — the 40-hour course includes both classroom work and role-playing exercises. The role-playing portion of the course includes actors trained to represent people in crisis.

Henninger said most of the department has taken the training. The entire staff may be trained by the end of this year, barring staff turnover.

The program is paid for with the department’s regular training funds.

Henninger said the One Mind training is useful for cases beyond those in a mental health crisis.

The “de-escalation” techniques can help with risk protection orders and other cases, he added.

Henninger said the reasons aren’t well known for the increases in mental health cases. But the need is there, for money and resources.

“Why don’t we have something similar to Pink Vail for mental health?” Lindley asked. “Wouldn’t it be nice to do that for mental health as well?”

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2930.

Haims: Bone density is different for men and women (column)

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” When our bones are viewed under a microscope, healthy bones appear to look honeycomb. However, bones that are osteoporotic, have often experienced a loss in mass and density. When osteoporotic bones are viewed under a microscope, they appear to have larger spaces in the honeycomb and therefore are not as strong. Consequently, bone fractures often result from falls and such innocuous actions as bending over or coughing can cause devastating consequences.

Osteoporosis is common

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “About 54 million Americans have osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Studies suggest that approximately one in two women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone due to osteoporosis.”

The most common fractures occur in forearms and the humerus. These fractures are most often incurred as people place their arms out to brace for a fall. The next most common fracture occurs in the hip — often the result of a fall. It is estimated that osteoporotic fractures occur every three seconds.

Risk factors

While we cannot control all the risk factors associated with osteoporosis, whether or not you will develop osteoporosis may play a part on your diet, exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol, and the medications you use.

  • Women are much more likely to develop osteoporosis than are men. One in three women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. Comparably, one in four men aged over 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture.
  • Thyroid problems. Too much thyroid hormone can cause bone loss. This can occur if your thyroid is overactive or if you take too much thyroid hormone medication to treat an underactive thyroid.
  • Family history. Having a parent or sibling with osteoporosis puts you at greater risk, especially if your mother or father experienced a hip fracture.
  • Body frame size. Men and women who have small body frames tend to have a higher risk because they may have less bone mass to draw from as they age.

Keeping bones strong

There is no cure for osteoporosis, nor is there a way to completely prevent it. However, there are ways to help avert it and there are steps you take to reduce your risk.

One of the easiest ways you can help lessen the chance of getting osteoporosis is to integrate calcium, exposure to sunlight, and vitamin D into your diet.

For people between the ages of 18 and 50, it is recommended that 1,000 milligrams of calcium be consumed daily. As people age, there becomes a disparity between the needed amount of calcium for men and women. As women near 50 years of age, it is recommended that they ingest about 1,200 mg of calcium a day. However, men often do not need this amount until they near 70.

Given not everyone consumes adequate calcium and vitamin D in their diet, The Mayo Clinic suggests that the following are good sources of calcium:

  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Canned salmon or sardines
  • Soy products, such as tofu
  • Calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice

When diet and the use of supplements do not provide the body with enough assistance to maintain strong bones, drug therapy is often recommended. Some drugs have proved to aid in slowing bone loss, and others have shown to help rebuild bone. Nonetheless, many of these drugs have quite a bit of controversy surrounding them. You should do your own research and consult your doctor(s) when considering an approach that may be best for you.

Be proactive

As we age, keeping mobile, eating right, and incorporating balance exercises such as tai chi may help in lowering the risk of falling.

When ordered by a medical provider, Medicare Part B covers a bone density test once every 24 months. Take advantage of this opportunity to get screened.”

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care. His contact information is, www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-376-1447

How to prepare for cold and flu season

By Katie Coakley, brought to you by Kaiser Permanente.

Fall is a beautiful time of year in the High Country, with leaves changing and the first dustings of snow decorating the mountains. However, the arrival of colder weather also brings a less pleasant season: cold and flu season.

Cold weather itself does not cause the cold or flu (despite what your mother might have warned you) — it’s that people are spending more time indoors in close contact with each other, possibly infected people. As a result, the cold and flu viruses are more easily transmitted.

However, there are ways to avoid the spread of these unwanted winter visitors.

The first priority in the fall is to get a flu shot.

“Make sure you’re vaccinated,” said Dr. Jeannine Benson, an internal medicine physician at the Kaiser Permanente medical offices in Edwards. “Even if you’ve already had the flu once, get the shot after you recover.”

A wide range of viruses can cause the common cold, which means that a vaccine for the cold is almost impossible. However, the flu is caused by a certain group of viruses; this more narrow range means that a vaccine is not only possible, but is also 60 percent effective. If you happen to be one of the unlucky few that do catch the flu after being vaccinated, you’re still likely to have a milder version.

After vaccination, there are other tactics you can employ to avoid colds and the flu.

“The number one thing is hand washing — hand hygiene,” explained Benson.

If someone in your house or vicinity is sick, and they touch a surface like a door handle, the virus can be transmitted to you when you touch that same door handle, and then touch your mouth, nose or eye, Benson said. Viruses, especially cold viruses, can be very contagious.

The easiest way to prevent this spread of contagion is frequently washing your hands with soap and water while rubbing vigorously for at least 20 seconds.

“The hygiene piece is the biggest part,” Benson said.

Along with hand washing, keeping your surroundings clean and disinfected can also help you avoid the cold. Door handles, countertops, faucet handles, telephones and other surfaces that you come in contact with frequently can be homes for the virus. Wipe down these areas often with a disinfectant to help minimize the spread of the virus.

Of course, even the best-laid plans can go awry. If you do contract a cold or the flu, Benson encourages you to be kind to others and stay home.

“Especially with the flu, we really do recommend that people stay home from work when they have the symptoms,” Benson said. “Otherwise, your whole office will have it.”

If necessary, she’ll provide a letter to your boss, explaining the situation.

Unfortunately, if you do contract a cold or the flu, Benson said that there’s really not much that a doctor can do for it. Take ibuprofen or Tylenol for fevers or muscle aches; stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. Most colds or the flu can last between five and 10 days. If a cold or flu lasts two weeks and you’re not seeing any relief, see a doctor.

“I think the basics are get vaccinated for the flu and practice good hand hygiene,” Benson said. “If you do catch a cold or the flu, there’s little to be done so stay home, stay hydrated and get some rest.”

For more information on the flu shot and how you can protect yourself this season, visit kp.org/flu or call the recorded flu hotline at 1-866-868-7091.

 

 

 

Fight diseases before they start by vaccinating children and adults

By Jessica Smith, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente

While immunizations are important year-round, the month of August is considered National Immunization Awareness Month. The goal is to bring to the public eye the importance for people of all ages to receive and update their vaccinations.

Why is this important?

“We tend to forget that there were large epidemics of serious illnesses that hit tons and tons of people, and we’ve been so good about immunizing that we’ve almost lost touch with why we do them,” says Dr. Patricia Dietzgen, who practices family medicine with Kaiser Permanente in Frisco. “It wasn’t that long ago that polio was rampant, and people got seriously ill, and (had) devastating, life-threatening permanent disability from it.”

Diseases like polio, pertussis (also known as whooping cough), diphtheria and others are not a thing of the past, but have passed out of public concern as strict immunization schedules have resulted in fewer cases, Dietzgen says. But if people stop vaccinating, those diseases can rapidly return to the forefront, as was the case with a measles outbreak in Los Angeles in 2015.

As reported by the Lost Angeles Times in April of last year, California epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chaves “said immunization rates in some schools are at 50% or lower, creating an ideal environment for the virus to spread quickly.”

“They don’t ever go away,” Dietzgen says. “It’s not like they’re completely eradicated. If you (aren’t) constantly vigilant, they’re going to come back.”

How does it work?

A vaccination injects a small amount of a germ into the body, which the immune system easily fights off, therefore making the recipient immune to the disease without having to go through the potentially life-threatening process of fighting the germs at full strength.

Doctors like Dietzgen recommend that patients follow an immunization schedule, based on age (see fact box). Some vaccinations can be taken care of with one shot, while others require several booster shots over a period of time, which Dietzgen says is to build immunity safely in phases.

Who needs them?

In short, everybody.

“It’s the idea of public health, we’re in this together,” Dietzgen says. “If we all immunize our kids and if we immunize ourselves as adults, with these booster immunizations, we’re going to cut these epidemics down.”

While some people ascribe to the idea of “herd immunity” — protection from diseases not through receiving a vaccine but because the majority of people nearby have received a vaccine, therefore reducing the possibility of the non-vaccinated ever coming into contact with the disease — this only works if the majority of the population is immunized.

“It’s only because of a concerted effort of everyone — not just in the United States but worldwide — we’ve been able to lessen the frequency of these serious illnesses,” Dietzgen says. “The immunizations protect us but it’s very important that everyone do it, or as many people as we possibly can, because if we don’t, and we don’t keep these illnesses at bay, they don’t ever go away.”

Those most at risk for these diseases are the very young, the very old and people with compromised immune systems, such as diabetics or those going through heavy medical treatments, like chemotherapy. Those people should definitely be up-to-date on immunizations, Dietzgen says. However, there are a few vaccines that healthy adults should take, such as the T-Dap for tetanus and whooping cough, recommended roughly every 10 years.

Are vaccines safe?

This question has been on many minds, especially in the past few years as anti-vaccination movements have grown. Despite trends of delaying or even avoiding vaccines altogether, Dietzgen says that immunization remains important.

“In my opinion, following the scheduled recommendations is best, but even delaying vaccinations is still better than not vaccinating your child at all,” Dietzgen says. “I think that’s hugely important. The risks of immunizing are pretty minimal. They really are very safe.”

While Dietzgen says it’s rare for a child to have an allergic reaction to a vaccine, even if it occurs, it often isn’t life-threatening.

“It’s extremely, extremely rare to have any kind of reaction, but the benefits are tremendous. You’re protected from 12, 13 seriously life-threatening illnesses that are out there,” she says.

After receiving a vaccine, some people may fall ill with a mild version of the illness, but, Dietzgen says, “it’s just infinitely less than if you’d been un-vaccinated.”

Those who aren’t recommended to receive vaccinations are in extreme circumstances, she says, such as someone whose immune system is severely compromised, particularly after any kind of organ transplant, where arousing the immune system could lead to rejection and further complications.

Where can I get vaccinated?

At your doctor’s office or the public health department, Dietzgen says. While most insurance companies will cover basic vaccinations, the local public health department will likely also offer immunizations either for free or for a greatly reduced rate.

Smarter, healthier snacks

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‘Healthy’ foods That aren’t. Want something to munch after lunch? Be smart about these sneaky snacks.

If 2016 finds you vowing to eat healthier, pay attention to packaging. “Food marketers’ jobs are to draw you in and view their food as healthy,” says Sue Heikkinen, a Kaiser Permanente registered dietitian.

Here are six snacks to be smart about:

YOGURT. “Some popular brands have close to 40 grams of sugar. That’s as much as you can get in a can of soda,” Heikkinen says.

“VEGGIE” CHIPS. They are light and airy, but the first ingredient is usually potato or corn, just like any other chip. Don’t be fooled by the vegetable powder.

FRUIT CHEWS. Gummies tout vitamin C content and come in packaging featuring “real fruit.” In reality, these sticky snacks are terrible for teeth and often have very little actual fruit.

ENERGY BARS. Many bars are loaded with sugar and lack nutrition. Pick products with at least 5 grams of fiber. Protein is a plus.

BRAN MUFFINS. Bakery bran muffins — especially the supersized ones — have enough calories to qualify as cake.

SMOOTHIES. Most ready-made fruit or veggie smoothies soar in sugar content. The fix? Make your own, with cow’s milk or soy milk (not fruit juice) as the base.

Money-saving snack action plan

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Do snack attacks and poor nutrition bust your waistline as well as your budget? Fight back with these tips to create a money-saving action plan.

  • Post grocery sale fliers on the fridge and have the whole family circle the healthy items. This gets your kids involved in meal planning and helps identify where to save money.

  • Take stock of your pantry. Full shelves can help you whip up healthy meals in a pinch, so that you don’t resort to fast food on the fly.

  • Make a grocery list and stick to it. Add healthy basics, such as whole-wheat bread, low-fat dairy, and plenty of produce. Your list will ensure your dollars are spent keeping your healthy eating plan on track.

4 tips to add to your family’s daily life

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No more excuses! Without breaking a sweat, you can probably rattle off a dozen reasons for not exercising. I’ve already showered for the day. I’m too tired. My schedule is packed.

It’s time to make fitness fit into your life. Kayla Harris, MS, Kaiser Permanente workforce health consultant, offers easy ways for anyone to get started with physical activity.

1. Maximize your downtime. Virtually everyone has a favorite TV show, right? “Use commercial breaks as two- to three-minute intervals for lunges or stair climbs,” Harris says. Better yet, walk on a treadmill, use a resistance band, or sit on an exercise ball during the program.

2. Schedule your exercise. Harris recommends putting it on your to-do list daily, even slotting it into a specific time. “Make it another appointment you wouldn’t miss,” she says.

3. Join a class. “Whether you prefer to swim, practice yoga, or cycle, there’s a class for everyone,” she says. “Plus, instructors will challenge you and will add variety to your routine.”

4. Create reminders. Sometimes we just plow through a day and forget fitness, so leave your walking shoes by the door. Stash a gym bag in the front seat of your car. Wear a pedometer or a fitness tracker. “These are visual reminders,” Harris says, “and fitness technology helps you to track your progress throughout the day.”

Sunscreen myths and truths

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Are you in the dark about sun protection? A Kaiser Permanente dermatologist separates fact from fiction.

You’re wearing sunscreen — that’s great! It can help you avoid wrinkles, sunspots, and skin cancer. Just be forewarned that it doesn’t give you free rein for endless alfresco fun. Kaiser Permanente dermatologist Nicole Annest, MD, sheds light on a few falsehoods that prevent optimal protection.

Myth: I don’t need to wear sunscreen when it’s cloudy.

Truth: Shade does not completely protect from ultraviolet (UV) light. In fact, 50 percent of UV exposure on sunny days occurs when in the shade.

Myth: A sunscreen with SPF 30 gives me twice the protection as SPF 15.

Truth: Sun protection factor (SPF) does not increase proportionally. SPF 15 absorbs 93 percent of UV radiation, while SPF 30 absorbs 97 percent. I recommend “broad spectrum” SPF 30 sunscreen to block both UVA and UVB rays.

Myth: A little dab’ll do ya.

Truth: Most people apply 25 to 50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen, so the SPF becomes far less than what is on the bottle. You need 1 ounce — enough to fill a shot glass — to get full protection.

Myth: I need a base tan before I go on vacation.

Truth: A base tan is approximately SPF 2, so it’s not very protective. Furthermore, a tan is really just a sign of skin damage.

Myth: I have dark skin, so I can skip the sunscreen.

Truth: Although it is more protected from ultraviolet light, darker skin is still susceptible to the harmful effects of the sun. I frequently treat skin cancer in patients with darker skin types.

Made in the Shade?

Taking cover might not give us the relief we think. A recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology examines the actual SPF of life in the shade.

SHADE SOURCE PROTECTION IT PROVIDES:

Shade umbrella SPF 4

Wide-brimmed hat SPF 2 for the chin; SPF 7 for the nose

Narrow-brimmed hat SPF 1.5 for the nose; minimal to no protection elsewhere

Makeup foundation without sunscreen SPF 2–6

Trees SPF 4–50+, depending on density of leaves

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR SKIN?

Learn how to protect your skin from irritation, infection, and sun damage. Visit kp.org and search “learning about your skin.”