| VailDaily.com

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.”

Haims: Living with Parkinson’s and turning challenges into success

Life has a way of presenting us with many challenges. Those that face the challenges and have the fortitude and perseverance are the ones who experience success.

Over the years, I have had to take more than a couple profile tests. Perhaps my first was with a college advisor who explained to me that such a test would help him, and me, better understand my personality traits and therefore be helpful in directing me to a college best suited to me and my goals. I took another when applying to the Air Force and another when purchasing Visiting Angels.

I have found a recurring question often found in these test — “tell me about your heroes.” Steadfastly, I have always responded that I do not have heroes. Rather, I have people I respect and admire. Consistently, all such people are those who have experienced adversity and turned challenges into success.

Life is a challenge

Challenges are a part of life. Without them, life would be meaningless as we’d have little understanding of achievement and failure. Life would be complacent and boring.

Facing and living through life’s challenges and adversities provides us with experience that define our lives. The secret to our successes is rooted in our challenges, failures, and adversities.

As with any ailment, people have the choice of letting the disease take over or fighting back. Fighting back against Parkinson’s is taking many people to places they may have never thought of. Some are attending yoga, Tai Chi, pool exercise programs, and even the boxing ring.

Recently, I assisted a few locals to a Parkinson’s therapy session at a somewhat unlikely place — a martial arts and boxing studio. If the paradox is not clear, let me illuminate. Parkinson’s inhibits movement and boxing is all about movement.

Research is showing that non-contact boxing is therapeutically beneficial for Parkinson’s patients — physically and mentally. Physically, boxing is proving to help balance, agility, and hand-eye coordination. Mentally, boxing provides a stress release and is empowering. The sport teaches people to be mentally strong and overcome adversity. If nothing else, a right hook to a punching bag or strike mitt can curb anger and can be quite cathartic.

One gentleman in the group is just shy of his 90th birthday. I was informed that prior to his joining the boxing program, his family was distraught that they could not motivate him to get out of the chair. As I sat and watched him work out, I was quite impressed every time I heard the loud crack from his hands as he hit the hand pads of the instructor. Should I make it to be close to 90 years of age, I hope I move as deftly as he. He is inspirational and has turned formidable adversity into success.  

Others in the group were in their 70s and 80s. Each had donned their red boxing gloves except for one who danced around the floor mats in bright pink gloves. Yes, women too participate. 

Watching the comradery of this group and their united front to work through the difficulties this movement disorder presents them with is encouraging to me and should be encouraging to anyone who may be fighting a health ailment.

I admire each and every one of these people. They have not given up, nor do they whine and ask “why me?” While I am sure each has had their down moments, they have not thrown in the towel and given up. They have chosen to fight adversity.

My mother has Parkinson’s, as did my grandmother. It sucks. But does Parkinson’s suck more or less than cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS), cardiovascular diseases, ALS, vision or hearing loss?  

While many people living in our valley are pretty fit and try to be healthy, it won’t last forever. If we want to remain in the valley we love when life’s challenges present themselves, we must take action NOW to promote and develop resources that can help us stay here.

Within the past three months, I know of four longtime locals who have had to leave the valley they love because we do not have the resources needed to assist them. (I’m sure there’s many more.)

There are organizations that are being proactive. Howard Head Sports Medicine has developed a program called Brain & Balance. The program helps treat stroke patients, Parkinson’s patients and those with impaired balance and proprioception concerns. Additionally, the Parkinson’s Association of the Rockies has brought Power Punch to both our community and Colorado.

We are all going to get old and experience challenges with our health. Get involved, donate, better utilize resources we already have, and think out of the box. These are things we can do to help build a community that will assist us in ensuring we can remain in the valley we love.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County.  He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is, www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-328-5526.

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: Antibiotics and alternative choices for urinary tract infections (column)

Respiratory and sinus infections, along with strep throat, are some of the most common reasons for antibiotic use worldwide. Antibiotics are commonly used for the treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

UTIs are caused by microorganisms — usually bacteria — that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Generally, a UTI is defined as an infection of the urinary system that may involve the lower urinary tract or both the lower and upper urinary tracts.

Lower UTI

Lower urinary tract infections occur when the urethra and/or bladder is infected. The propensity of UTIs occur in the lower tract. Symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection often include one or more of the following: cloudy, bloody or bad-smelling urine, urinary incontinence, pain or a burning sensation when passing urine. In the elderly, delirium and/or acute confusion often occurs.

Upper UTI

Upper urinary tract infections generally occur when the ureters (duct by which urine passes from the kidney to the bladder) and kidneys become infected. While this type of UTI typically occurs less frequently, the effects are usually more severe as bacteria has greater potential to enter the bloodstream.

Symptoms of an upper UTI can include fever, nausea/vomiting and pain in the upper back and flanks. It is not uncommon for such an infection to necessitate admission to a hospital or medical facility.

In the United States, UTIs are quite common. They account for 6 million to 8 million visits to medical providers a year — 20 percent of which involve emergency room visits. Approximately 25-40 percent of women aged 20-40 years have had a UTI and 11 percent of women over the age of 18 experience at least one episode annually. Unfortunately, the probability of recurrence after the first UTI in healthy women 18 to 29 years of age is one in four.

Treatment and prevention

While antibiotics are the go-to medicine of choice for UTIs, they do have a downside — repeated use often leads to antibiotic resistance. This is why many medical providers will start treatment with narrow-spectrum antibiotics which are less likely to lead to antibiotic resistance and side effects.

When antibiotics are used frequently, resistance to these drugs can occur causing them to be ineffective. Some of the most frequently used antibiotics that treat UTIs are Cipro, Bactrim, Nitrofurantoin and Fosfomycin. Resistance to such antibiotics is occurring with greater frequency. Further, some of these medications may not be optimal for people who have concerns about chronic kidney disease or take blood pressure medication.

Natural treatments exist though. According to doctors at the Cleveland Clinic (ranked as one of the leading urology departments in the United States) in addition to information provided by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), there are a number of alternatives to antibiotics.

Alternatives include probiotics, D-mannose, Methenamine Hippurate, estrogens, intravesical glycosaminoglycans and cranberries. It is not just a wives’ tail, the medical benefits of cranberries cannot be ruled out.

Although you may need to get Methenamine Hippurate, estrogens and intravesical glycosaminoglycans from your medical provider, probiotics and cranberry choices are readily available. However, you need to educate yourself about the efficacy and use of probiotics and cranberry choices.

Should you have interest in trying probiotics, you need to choose one that is resistant to gastric and bile acids in order to reach the intestinal system. Probiotics species containing Lactobacillus are believed to prevent the adherence, growth and colonization of uropathogenic bacteria.

If cranberries are more to your flavor, then you should know that they have been proven to be effective at helping prevent bacteria from clinging to the walls of the bladder which helps flush bad bacteria out of the urinary tract. A sugar found in cranberries, peaches, apples, broccoli and green beans called D-mannose has shown promise to aid in the treatment of UTIs.

Prevention

  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently.
  • Apply an estrogen-containing vaginal cream in post-menopausal women to reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection.
  • Follow good hygiene practices of the genital area.
  • Urinate frequently. This flushes bacteria out of the bladder and may reduce the risk of cystitis in those who are prone to urinary tract infections.
  • Change adult diapers frequently and as soon as possible after leakage occurs. This assists in mitigating the reintroduction of bacteria.

While antibiotics must be used with caution in the treatment of UTIs, so should natural alternatives. You should always consult your medical provider when it comes to UTI concerns — a simple infection can become a serious concern.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is, www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-328-5526.

Tips for keeping men healthy while enjoying a mountain lifestyle

By Jessica Smith, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente

While June is well known for Father’s Day, it is also national men’s health month. Across the nation, this month is celebrated with health fairs, screenings and a variety of pro-health activities. And even though those of us — both men and women — who live in the Rocky Mountains may consider ourselves healthier and more active than people in other areas, it’s important to pay attention to our health and what our bodies are telling us.

Develop good habits

Jeannine Benson is a primary care physician at Kaiser Permanente in Edwards, and sees patients ages 18 and above. This generally makes her the first stop, health-wise, for people seeking anything from a check-up to focusing specifically on a particular set of issues.

Benson recommends that men start visiting the doctor on a yearly basis once they turn 40 — or earlier, if they are dealing with a chronic medical problem. The key, she says, is to create “a good habit of going to the doctor” in order to stay in top-notch condition and prevent any problems from worsening.

Even those who see a specialist for chronic issues can rely on primary physicians like Benson to keep an eye on their overall health.

“We look at the patient as a whole, not just their heart or their lungs, but how it all relates,” she says. “The primary care (physician) should be a very important part of that person’s follow-up if they have a lot of stuff going on.”

Common symptoms and ailments

While individuals may vary, Benson mentions several common symptoms that men start to develop as they age. One of these is prostate complications, which can include enlargement and urinary difficulties.

Another is pain in joints and muscles, particularly after strenuous physical activity, or if the pain is consistently affecting day-to-day activities and lifestyle.

“The goal for these men is to stay active,” Benson says. “They want to ski, they want to hike, they want to ride their bikes. My goal is — I want to help them do all these things, be as active as possible, and deal with those aches and pains.”

Benson also recommends that men not forget the usual health screens for cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Cancer screenings are also important, she says, because often if an issue is caught early, the treatment can be easier on the patient and more successful.

Benson adds that this type of preventative mindset in patients is key and one that will lead to a healthier life. Since she started working in health in 2009 in Denver, she says she’s noticed an increasing trend of people, particularly men, showing more interest in preventative care when it comes to their health.

Altitude adjustments

Whether or not someone lives at higher altitude or is simply visiting, Benson recommends they keep an eye on how they are feeling. Dehydration is a common issue and easily fixed.

“It’s so easy to get dehydrated up here, with the active lifestyle most people lead,” Bensons says. “That’s important to keep ahead of.”

She also recommends awareness of fatigue, dizziness and chest pain, which, while they may not necessarily mean something serious, should get checked out, particularly if they’re consistent and long lasting.

“It’s a big thing to pay attention to your body when it’s telling you you’re doing too much,” she says.

A healthy lifestyle

Overall, Benson suggests men remain aware of their general feeling of well-being, and take care of themselves through both diet and exercise.

“Having good, healthy habits starting young is important, because it makes people so much more able to continue that their whole lives,” Benson says. “So starting early is important. Sometimes it’s very hard to change these habits when they’re bad.”

Back pain mistakes and back-friendly advice

!

Exercise is a great way to manage many kinds of back pain. Just make sure you’re doing it right!

Mistake: Jumping into exercise can aggravate pain.

Fix: Warm up a little longer. Ease into physical activity.

Mistake: If abdominal crunches alone make up your strength routine, a weak back may accompany your six-pack.

Fix: Support your back with strong muscles in the stomach, hips, and thighs. Visit the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (aaos.org) and search for “low back pain exercise guide.”

Mistake: Do you hop off the treadmill and into the shower? You’re missing the best part.

Fix: Take ample time to stretch when your muscles are warm. You’ll improve elasticity in tight areas.

Brought to you by Kaiser Permanente

When to seek help for back pain

!

For many Americans, persistent back pain is a fact. When added to everyday demands, the pain can seem like the straw that broke, well, the camel’s back.

How can you cope? These simple strategies can help you manage the pain and get back to your life.

RX FOR EXERCISE

Back pain affects eight out of 10 adults. Of course, serious pain brought on by trauma or injury should be examined by a doctor. But for pain that flares periodically or lingers over time, exercise can help.

“It’s important to get moving. Exercise will create the blood flow that delivers nutrients to your spine to help it heal,” says Kaiser Permanente senior wellness consultant Andrea Groth, MS. “Exercise also releases natural, pain-fighting chemicals called endorphins into your brain.” Exercise may not only help decrease back pain, but it also may speed recovery and prevent pain from flaring up in the future.

HOW TO ‘MOVE’ ON

Groth recommends this gentle road to recovery: Rest for a day or two and use ibuprofen and ice to calm inflammation. “Then, start with general movement and stretching,” Groth says. Here are additional strategies that might work for you:

– Ease into light exercise. “Try activities that you can control the intensity of and that don’t have a lot of impact, such as walking, easy biking, or swimming,” Groth says. Avoid exercises that involve lifting, twisting, or bending from the waist.

– Strengthen your core. The muscles that support your back are interconnected. Tight hamstrings, for example, will only aggravate back pain. “For the spine in particular, you need strong supporting muscles,” Groth says, noting that strong abdominal and gluteal muscles, hamstrings, and quadriceps are essential for the pain-free performance of everyday activities.

– Seek physical therapy. Learning exercises and stretches specifically designed to strengthen weak muscle groups can help you overcome pain.

– Explore alternative therapy. Acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care may help reduce pain.

WHEN TO SEEK HELP

If pain prevents you from doing normal activities, or if it’s triggering depression or stress, it’s time to talk to your doctor. Additionally, sudden or severe symptoms such as pain, fever, chills, weight loss, or weakness should be reported to your doctor. Likewise, if it hurts to exercise, try to be specific about what that means. Sometimes exercise can be uncomfortable, triggering a dull aching or tightness. “But if pain is sharp, stabbing, or radiating to other areas of the body,” Groth says, “those are warning signs that you should see the doctor.”