Is Your Clothing Bad For Your Health?

For most of us, picking an outfit for the day is driven by a few factors including where we plan on going (work, the grocery store, hiking, etc.), what is seasonably appropriate, and to a varying degree, what looks good. When we are getting dressed or picking out clothes at the store, we are typically thinking thinks like, “Is this flattering? Is it appropriate for work/school/etc.? Does it match my new shoes? Does it match anything I have in my closet?” One question that isn’t typically top of mind (but might be the most important) is, “Is this bad for my health?” If that question wouldn’t even occur to you to ask, than the rest of this article may just be great information for you …

How Can Your Clothes be Bad for You?

In general, wearing cloths isn’t particularly bad for you. In fact, I would venture that wearing them on a daily basis probably keeps you out of trouble. However, there are a few things we should be cognizant of when we’re picking out our attire. Here are just a few examples:

Bowties, Neckties, and Shirt Collars:
Make sure you are measuring correctly for your shirt collar size and wearing your ties loose enough to feel comfortable. If they are too small or tight, you may be causing a decrease in blood flow to your head, causing tingling and numbness, in addition to, well, less blood flowing to the brain. According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, wearing your shirt collar too tight can even increase intraocular pressure, possibly leading to glaucoma. How many men could possibly be walking around with their collars and ties to tight? According to some studies, it’s as high as 70%!

Skinny Jeans:
We’ve all seen them, and a vast majority of us may even have a pair or two. However, if you do have them, check for these signs that they are a little too tight: tingling in the thigh, numbness, or the feeling that your foot is no longer under you. If you have any of these symptoms when you’re sporting your trendy trousers, it may be time to take them off and opt for a looser-fitting style.

Tight Belts & Tight-Waisted Pants:
Belts and the waistband of your pants are designed to keep your britches on, not change your shape. Wearing your belt cinched too tight a waistband a few sizes to snug can cause a myriad of problems including acid reflux, indigestion, bowl discomfort, and can even cause temporary nerve damage.

Compression Wear/Shape Wear:
Shape wear (Spanx, etc.) are designed to smooth you out, not shrink you down. Wearing a garment of this nature is not inherently bad, you just have to make sure it’s the right size. Much like a tight belt, shape wear can cause increased acid reflux and indigestion. In addition, wearing restrictive clothing can limit your lung capacity and ability to breathe. If you are uncomfortable, lightheaded, or you’re experiencing trouble breathing, it’s too tight.

Finding clothes that fit could be better for your health

So the next time you open those closet doors and decide on an outfit, make sure you add one additional question to your list … “Is this a healthy choice?” Wearing clothes should be a comfortable experience. If something doesn’t feel right, choose another option. Don’t sacrifice your health for fashion.

If you’d like more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.

What is ‘Skier’s Thumb’ and how does it happen?

‘Skier’s Thumb’ refers to a specific injury to the hand that occurs, primarily, when a significant force is applied pulling the thumb backwards and away from the palm. This causes injury to the ulnar collateral ligament which connects your thumb and hand as well as provides the tension and stability of your thumb. Skier’s Thumb is often seen as a result of a skiing accident, hence the name, when someone falls with their poles still in hand. When this happens, the poles can either snag and pull back on the thumb, or, the hands can hit the ground with the poles underneath, popping the thumb in the air. Another common ‘off-the-slopes’ cause includes car accident injuries when the driver has their thumb(s) wrapped around the steering wheel, puling the thumb back on forceful impact.

So, what are the symptoms?

  • Pain and swelling of the thumb and hand
  • Weakness and instability of the thumb
  • Inability to ‘pinch’ something or hold objects between the thumb and forefinger

If you are exhibiting the above symptoms, it’s best to visit your physician for an x-ray.

How is Skier’s Thumb Treated?
The treatment of Skiers Thumb can vary depending on the severity and extent of the damage. If the ulnar collateral ligament is torn or completely separated from the bone, extensive treatment is most likely necessary including:

  • Brace or casting for 3-4 weeks
  • Surgical mending or reattachment followed by a brace or cast
  • After the above, physical or occupational therapy will be necessary for an additional 4-6 weeks to improve/restore range of motion and flexibility.

While Skier’s Thumb can, and does, occur in other situations, it’s best to let go of your poles if you’re heading for a spill on the slopes to minimize your risk of this type of injury.

Fun Fact: Years ago, this condition was often referred to as ‘Gamekeepers Thumb’ as it was seen in game farmers caused by the repetitive motion of wringing a birds neck between the thumb and forefinger. We’re really not too upset with the name change.

Skier's Thumb Injury

If you’d like more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Beth Dollinger, click here to find her contact information listed in our provider directory.

Why is it important to walk after knee or hip surgery?

If you are undergoing a knee or hip replacement procedure, we want you to be aware of the entire process, including what to expect before, during, and after your surgical procedure. Patients are often shocked to hear their physician ask, just hours post-surgery, for them to get out of bed and take a walk. This, I assure you, is for a very good reason, and that reason is the prevention of blood clots.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), or the formation of a blood clot, is a serious post-surgery complication. Blood clots can form in the lower extremities due to excess swelling, debris in the veins, and immobilization- basically all things that occur with hip or knee replacement surgery. Blood clots can block the flow of blood to the immediate and surrounding areas causing local damage or, they can dislodge travelling to other parts of the body including the heart or lungs causing very serious complications including heart attack, stroke, or death.

How Does this Effect You and Your Post-Surgery Experience?
Following your hip or knee replacement surgery, ensuring that blood continue to flow properly returning it quickly and effectively back to the heart is essential in the prevention of blood clots. You can expect your physician to take one or more of the following steps to reduce your risk including:

  • Mechanical prophylaxis: a pneumatic pump to compress the foot and/or leg aiding in blood return
  • Chemical prophylaxis: Xarelto, Aspirin, etc. to thin the blood
  • Getting you out of bed, on your feet, and walking

Understanding Your Risk:
While anyone can develop a post-surgery blood clot, there are certain risk factors which may increase the possibility of developing a clot such as:

  • Advanced age
  • Varicose veins
  • Smoking
  • Estrogen therapy
  • Cancer
  • Factor 5 deficiency
  • Genetic predisposition

It may seem counter intuitive, or even downright cruel, to get you on your feet following these particular procedures, however, we assure you it is for your benefit. Blood clots are a very real, and very serious, post-surgical risk. Once you develop a blood clot, you are more likely to develop them again in the future; taking proper measures to prevent them now can have an impact on your present and future health. Your healthcare team is committed to your safety, and that means getting you moving as soon as possible post-surgery.

DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis is the formation of a post-surgery blood clot

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), or the formation of a blood clot, is a serious post-surgery complication.

Heart Month at Arnot Health: Stress Relief and Support

Throughout the month of February, we’ve been sharing important heart health tips from the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, an advanced support team that provides high-quality, compassionate care in state-of-the-art facilities. This final week, we’re talking about the negative effects of stress and how to find relief.

Dealing with stress is part of growing older; it’s a side effect of life that many of us find unavoidable. However, life itself does not have to be all about dealing with stress. We may not be able to get rid of it altogether, but we can learn strategies on how to deal with it in a positive way.

According to Maureen Tuite, Clinical Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, stress becomes dangerous when we search for unhealthy coping mechanisms. “Some people choose alcohol, cigarettes, or over-eating as ways to distract themselves from life’s troubles,” she said, “but these distractions only cause more health problems.” Maureen says weight gain and rising blood pressure can result in increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. She also said that sleeplessness is one of the most common signs of stress on our bodies.

One positive way to cope with hardships is by being physically active. Some people prefer the solitude of walking or running while others choose to engage in healthy competition by joining area sports leagues. Swimming, golfing, skiing, bowling, and tennis are all ways to engage friends and deal with stress positively. Prayer and meditation are also common activities for rest and relaxation after a long day.

The Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute recently launched two support groups for patients dealing with heart disease, which can help ease the mental anguish that commonly accompanies – and even enhances – the effects of the disease.

“Heart to Heart” is an open forum that provides a safe, peer-to-peer support environment. Members listen, share their experiences and discuss lifestyle changes, recovery and treatment. The group meets every six weeks through December 14 in the Heart & Vascular Institute Conference Room.

“Mended Hearts” is a program that assists patients and caregivers from diagnosis through the journey of recovery with social, emotional and practical support. Meetings include special guest speakers on a variety of topics. The group meets the second Tuesday of each month in the Heart & Vascular Institute Conference Room.

As Heart Month comes to a close, the Heart and Vascular Institute is always available for educational programs, free screenings, counseling, and cardiac rehab. Follow Arnot Health on Facebook for updates on these programs and more, or call the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at (607) 737-4442 for more information.

Heart Month at Arnot Health: Stop Smoking Right Away

Throughout the month of February, we will be sharing important heart health tips from the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, an advanced support team that provides high-quality, compassionate care in state-of-the-art facilities. This week, we’re talking about the effects of smoking – and quitting – on your heart and body.

According to the American Heart Association, smoking by itself increases the risk of coronary heart disease. It decreases your tolerance for physical activity and increases the tendency for blood to clot; a severely dangerous combination.

“Smoking can stress the entire body,” said Maureen Tuite, Clinical Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute. “Inflammation in the lungs makes it harder to breathe, and increased blood pressure and high cholesterol leads to heart disease.”

Many people are familiar with the dangers and side effects of smoking, but the inverse benefits of quitting can be just as powerful. Your lungs can begin to heal themselves right away, and your whole body can recover over time. “After you quit for a year or two, you can help reverse some of the damage to your heart,” said Maureen. The statistics below from the American Heart Association highlight the benefits of quitting:

  • After 20 Minutes: your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike
  • After 12 Hours: the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal
  • After 2-6 Weeks: your circulation and lung function begin to improve
  • After 1-9 Months: clear and deeper breathing gradually returns
  • After 1 Year: your risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by 50 percent
  • After 5 Years: your risk of stroke is similar to that of someone who has never smoked

Quitting is very difficult because tobacco is so highly addictive, but success is more likely with aids like gum, patches, or prescription medications. The New York State Quit Line offers free access to replacement products like these. One of the most important factors, of course, is never starting in the first place.

According to Maureen Tuite, “We work hard in the community to keep adolescents from picking up the habit. While tobacco companies spend exorbitant amounts of money advertising to young people, it’s imperative to keep providing education on the harmful realities of smoking.” As other products like e-cigarettes emerge, it’s important to understand the dangers of those, as well. Manufacturers are not required to release the ingredients of e-cigarettes, and they have not been around long enough to understand their long-term effects.

More research and resources are available from the American Heart Association, and the most important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to quit.

Follow Arnot Health on Facebook for daily heart health tips and more throughout the month of February.

Heart Month at Arnot Health: Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Throughout the month of February, we will be sharing important heart health tips from the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, an advanced support team that provides high-quality, compassionate care in state-of-the-art facilities. This week, we’re talking about the important transition to a healthier lifestyle through better nutrition.

Eating is such a huge part of life. Sharing meals is a way to bring family and friends together and it’s a way to step back from the daily grind. The choices we make about the things we eat are rooted in everything from taste and experience to mere convenience and simplicity. That’s why, when we find ourselves stuck in unhealthy eating habits, it’s very hard to change.

“We train ourselves to like certain foods,” said Maureen Tuite, Clinical Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute. “In order to make nutritional changes, it takes a real focus on overall health and lifestyle.”

When deciding to eat healthier, it’s best to think in terms of small changes and realistic goals. It’s also good to build knowledge and awareness around nutrition. For example, keeping a food journal is a very effective way of understanding some bad habits and seeing opportunities for change. This can make it easier to know where the total in-take of calories comes from and how to structure an improvement plan. Another way to build awareness is by reading food labels at the grocery store. You should avoid high levels of sodium or cholesterol in order to improve your overall heart health.

Here are some additional tips on making small changes toward healthier eating habits:

  • know your numbers; checking your cholesterol and blood pressure often can allow you to regulate your diet accordingly before extreme measures are required
  • always choose real over processed foods; the amount of sodium and unnatural ingredients in processed foods can deteriorate your health over time
  • understand the difference between fat and sugar; many foods may claim to be low in fat, but high sugar content can easily contribute to undesired weight gain and even diabetes
  • cut down on overall calories; one of the easiest ways to take in fewer calories is by substituting water for those sugary sodas and energy drinks

If you’re serious about changing your lifestyle and improving your heart health, the American Heart Association has several resources for getting started and staying on track. It’s never easy to make a true lifestyle change, but your heart will be forever grateful for your effort and determination.

Follow Arnot Health on Facebook for daily heart health tips and more throughout the month of February.

Heart Month at Arnot Health: Exercise for Your Heart

It’s Heart Month, and throughout February we will be sharing important tips for taking care of your heart from the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute, an advanced support team that provides high-quality, compassionate care in state-of-the-art facilities.

The first thing to think about is physical activity and how we can start improving our overall health right away. This time of year brings lots of opportunities for outdoor fun in the Twin Tiers. Those big winter storms also bring out the shovels and snow plows that we have all learned to despise. No matter how you’re getting your exercise these days, it’s important to remember to start small and build your way to a healthier heart.

“We all know the advantages of exercise, but sometimes our ambitions – to get the driveway clear, to go sledding with our kids – outweigh our abilities,” said Maureen Tuite, Clinical Director and Nurse Practitioner at the Arnot Health Heart and Vascular Institute. “This time of year, we see lots of patients in our cardiac cath lab from over-exertion; trying to lift heavy snow or running up the hill with a sled can strain the heart. Additionally, the cold air makes it a little more difficult to breathe and causes more cardiac stress than warm-weather climates.”

Here are some tips for those who would like to be more active this winter, but are not used to strenuous activity:

  • Go for walks at the mall or in a school gym, or find an indoor workout facility like the Senior Center or YWCA/YMCA
  • Shovel lightly and take breaks often. When a big storm is upon us, try shoveling more often so the snow never becomes too deep
  • Dress warmly to help prevent the affects of extremely cold air on your lungs
  • Drink lots of water to help hydrate your muscles and keep your body working efficiently

Preventing injuries and set-backs by setting realistic goals is important to long-term success. Your heart and your whole body will be much healthier in the long run, and your driveway will still be clear (until the next storm)!

Follow Arnot Health on Facebook for daily heart health tips and more throughout the month of February, and visit our Heart Month page to find out more about free screenings and classes.