Q. I only have about five minutes I can set aside for meditation each morning, but I’d like to start my day off right. Can you recommend a few tips to get started?
A. To make the most of your morning meditation routine, consider:
- Setting aside space in your house that is your meditation place. You don’t need special supplies, just an area that allows you privacy and ‘me’ time.
- Using a timer. You want to use all of those five minutes. Insight Timer is a free app you can download on your smartphone that guides you through a timed meditation.
- Trying one type of meditation a day to build your awareness and attention. For example, you could focus on your breath or focus on listening to sounds, but not both in one day.
Mindfulness meditation is the gold standard for rewiring your brain in ways that support your mental well-being. Just as it takes time when lifting weights for your muscles to become stronger, it takes brains time to rewire. So consistency is key, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a few days!
Q. My daughter’s wedding is coming up this summer, and I’ve been contemplating trying Botox for the first time before it. What should I expect from the process?
A. Botox works by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles. It is injected directly into the muscles so that they can no longer contract, which allows the wrinkles to soften and relax. It can be used for forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, and more, but it doesn’t work on wrinkles caused by sun damage or gravity. When you have the procedure done, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, and anesthesia isn’t required. Before treatment, you’ll want to avoid alcohol for at least one week and anti-inflammatory medications for at least two weeks to minimize bruising. I recommend trying Botox early to make sure that you love the result, and so that any adjustments can be made in time for the wedding. It takes 7-10 days for the full effect, so don’t delay the treatment until just before a big event.
Q. I know loud concerts can damage your hearing, but is it actually true that mowing the lawn can affect it?
A. There are many different causes for hearing loss, but one that is 100% preventable is noise exposure. When we engage in activities like going to movies or concerts, performing yard work, or simply participating in leisure activities, it’s important that we are conscious of the noise level and protect our hearing. Sounds at or above 85 decibels for long or repeated exposure can cause hearing loss.
Consider how loud each
of the following is:
- Rock Concerts: 110 dB
- Leaf Blower: 90 dB
- Heavy City Traffic: 85 dB
- Lawn Mowing: 90 dB
Custom ear protection is always the best option to protect one’s hearing from repetitive loud sounds. We live in a noisy world, but we have a choice to protect our hearing so that we may enjoy the good sounds of life.
Q. I’d love to start incorporating healthier dishes into my family’s dinnertime rotation. Which seasonal fruits and vegetables offer the greatest health benefits?
A. Fruits and vegetables can be great sources of important nutrients. Asparagus, snow peas, raspberries, and kale are all nutrient dense and in peak season in the spring, so consider weaving those into meals.
Asparagus is high in fiber, which is linked to a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, and it’s also rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K. These vitamins keep your eyes, skin, teeth, and gums healthy, and they help heal wounds and protect against infections.
Snow peas are high in omega-3 fat, magnesium, and vitamin A, and they have anti-inflammatory properties. They’re a great healthy option, since their properties can boost immunity, aid with weight loss, and promote eye health.
Raspberries are a delicious addition to yogurt, oatmeal, cottage cheese, and ice cream. They contain strong antioxidants and have high anti-inflammatory properties.
Kale is the most nutrient-dense offering in the green lettuce family. It’s a great source of fiber, potassium, iron, and antioxidants.
Q. Over the last few months, I’ve started to notice some pain, weakness, and swelling in my legs, particularly when walking. Any idea what could be causing this?
A. In patients who are normally active, the development of these symptoms can be the first sign of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). It is not normal to have pain in your legs with activity. This suggests that a blockage has formed and is reducing the blood flow in your leg when you walk. Simply put, if the muscles run out of blood, they will cramp and have pain. It is very important to see your primary care physician at this point because your body might be forming blockages in other areas of the body, like the heart. Simple treatment with medications can be prescribed if the diagnosis of PAD is made.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and sometimes the first symptom of artery blockages is not chest pain but leg pain with walking. Get evaluated.