Category: Wellness

Rosacea Awareness Month

Rosacea is a chronic condition that cannot be cured. But treatments can keep the symptoms under control. It most commonly starts as rosy cheeks and nose. Sometimes there are tiny vesicles that should not be extracted. While it can appear at any point in life, it often first shows up in the 30s.

To know if your rosy cheeks are rosacea, you should have it diagnosed by a doctor. Estheticians can help you keep it under control, but diagnosis is the scope of the physician. Sometimes the doctor will prescribe an oral product. Be sure to let him know of any side effects. Pair this with good professional skin care treatments.

There are several different levels of rosacea. If it is ignored, rosacea can worsen. Rosy flushed cheeks with some tiny vesicles is the mildest form. Papules and nodules along with the redness is more severe. Occasionally, it can affect an eye. The most severe form causes reddening and enlarging of the nose.

Once you know you have rosacea the best way to control it is to learn what your triggers are. Triggers are the things that cause it to flare up. It could be stress, heat, spicy or hot foods and many other things.

A journal can be your friend. If you note your face feels hotter, redder or breaks out pause. Think about what you have done in the last few hours or previous day. Note this in your journal.

  • If you had four cups of coffee instead of your normal two and you are more flushed… that could be a trigger.
  • Spent the day on the mountains or at the beach… sun/heat could be a trigger.
  • More problems in the summer? Heat could be a trigger.

There are an almost endless list of possible triggers, so learning what yours are can be invaluable.

Scientists are still debating the causes behind rosacea. Bacteria, skin inflammation, vaso-dilation, fair skin and genetics are all contributing factors.

Look for skin care for chronically sensitive skins. Avoid perfumes, harsh stripping ingredients strong chemical peels or abrasive treatments.

Think calm, sooth, heal.

  • Anti-inflammatories or anti-redness formulas help reduce the red appearance.
  • Calming and soothing ingredients help make your skin more comfortable.
  • Anti-bacterial ingredients help those with combination or oilier skins.
  •  Studies have shown rosemary helps control the demodex mite.
  • Hot humid climates can worsen the condition. Be sure to have those calming soothing products on hand.
  • Treat your skin gently.
  • Avoid extreme heat, showers or saunas.
  • Learn your triggers and avoid them.
  • Learn stress management techniques to keep stress levels down.
  • Work with a skin professional experienced with rosacea to find what works for you.

It may take a little practice but those symptoms can be kept at bay and your skin look and feel its best.

Human Microbiome – Whats it all About?

Recently I have seen the term microbiome pop up in blogs, articles and discussions.  Slightly skeptical after 35 years, I wanted to know what it was all about and what its real importance is to us in the spa and permanent cosmetic industries.

Time for research – my favorite pastime…

Definition:  microbiome is defined as “the microorganisms in a particular environment (including the body or a part of the body).”

We knew that the human body was covered in microorganisms but that the stratum corneum did a great job of keeping them on the outside. We also knew that our gut had to have microorganisms to digest food.  Now we have a new name for these groups of workers – microbiomes.

Internally, if the microbiome group is out of balance we have digestive disorders or even disease.  Each of us has 10 – 100 TRILLION microbiotic cells in our bodies.  These are found in the greatest numbers in our gut and allow for the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. When the microbiome is out of balance disease, obesity, personality disorders and many other problems occur.  When microbiomes are in balance we “live long and prosper.”

With new technology, microbiome studies have blossomed all over the world.  Study of the human microbiome date back to the late 1600s but the human geome project completion, and expanded abilities of computers, has launched us into far greater understanding.  It has also created even more questions.

Of greatest interest to those who have direct physical contact with clients is understanding the microbiome of human skin.  The surface of the skin has 100 trillion microorganisms living on it. That is 10 times the number of skin cells. Hand hygiene is of crucial importance to reducing transfer of microbiome from one person to another.

In our industry practicing good hand hygiene and regular hand washing are the best defense to prevent contracting or sharing of disease. Routine use of gloves when there is the risk of exposure or transfer of OPIM (other potentially infectious materials), is the best practice.  If we need to touch something and there is a risk our gloves may be contaminated – change gloves!  Wash hands before work, between clients, before eating, after using the restroom and before going home.

Scientists are just learning about the hand microbiome and its relationship to health outcomes. Better control and studies will expand our knowledge. In the meantime, keep practicing good hand hygiene.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Common Workplace Hazard

Sore wrists? Tingly fingers? Little electrical sparks in wrists, arms, fingers?

Any or all of these and you may be developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).  A buildup of pressure in the wrist, it can also extend to the elbow or even the shoulder.  Carpal Tunnel used to be a problem typically found in the elderly, worn out wrists.  Today it is showing up in Generation X, the Milennials and more.  Why?  Repetitive motion of the wrist or hand.  Texting, gaming, twisting of the wrist can all contribute.
Its not uncommon for the first symptoms to be a tingly sensation in the fingers.  Maybe it wakes you up at night.  Maybe you notice it when using your gaming control. Maybe when driving long distances or gripping something firmly. Massaging or shaking your fingers may help, temporarily.
Ignore the symptoms and it will get worse. You will feel more pain, tingling, numbness, sparking. You might start dropping things.  The good news – there are treatments and preventative measures. The sooner you take action, the less risk of permanent nerve damage or disability.  Early diagnosis is key.
Often the first treatment will be wrist braces that you can wear at night.  When we sleep we curl our hands and wrists into odd angles as we snuggle into our favorite fetal curl. While everyone is different, I found the braces eliminated over 80% of the symptoms.
Did you know that if you have these symptoms and they are potentially work related in Colorado you will be referred to see someone who practices Active Release Tecniques (ART) before you see a doctor.  Typically ART is performed by a specially trained provider, often a Chiropractor.  ART is so unique it has been granted a medical patent.
Who likes surgery?  If you are like me, you don’t.  If I can find a good way around it I will.  On the suggestion of a great friend, I decided to try ART before undergoing the surgery route.  No down time!  Its like other chiropractic treatments. Quick and back on the road.  My first time following the ART they hooked me to an EMS machine to stimulate nerve repair. It was odd but certainly not painful.
Your wrists may be a little tender where the doctor broke up the build-up of crunchy bits.  This goes away in a day or so and they will generally follow up with you a few days later.  Based on how your symptoms are they will repeat the ART.  Everyone is different but its common for 3-4 visits over about 3 weeks.  For most people they are back on the road. You may need a follow up treatment every few months.
Surgery is always there as an option.  It comes with a much higher price tag, downtime and rehab time. If you are prone to keloid scarring, this can affect your outcome.
Next time – tips for preventing CTS.

Why Estheticians Wear Gloves

My recent post on wearing gloves got positive support from many, thank you.  I did find it sad that one spa said they got a negative review for their technicians wearing gloves.  This shows the need for consumer education.  Maybe a little flyer or insert on your web page that explains how you are protecting clients by wearing gloves.  Feel free to use the following to promote client safety and help consumers understand why more and more estheticians are wearing gloves during services.

Gloves are often used in esthetic services to protect the client, and the technician from transmission of potentially infectious microbes (OPIM).  These tiny organisms cannot be seen by the human eye, or even with the magnifying glasses commonly found in a treatment room.  If you have ever had a manicure and noticed an irritated cuticle the next day, or had a waxing done and then experienced tiny red papules in the area, this is likely caused by those microbes.

Today’s technicians are taught to practice infection control and the prevention of cross contamination.  During a wax procedure this would include wearing gloves, disinfecting the area, remove the hair and then disinfect the skin again.  Each step is an important link it preventing irritation or infection.

Any time your esthetician performs an exfoliation treatment; microdermabrasion, scrubs, galvanic, chemical peels, or ultrasonic, it can allow tiny portals in the skin to let bacteria in or out. The same is true for extraction. To protect both the client and the technician, gloves may be worn for the duration of the treatment.  It is that extra step to protect you that is important to us, your professional estheticians. Even if there is no visible openings in the skin, we do not want to risk transmitting a microbe from ourselves or any other object in the treatment room onto a “potentially” open surface.

Some states now require all technicians to wear gloves for all treatments.  They are taking a pro-active stance to prevent any possible problem.  The good news?  Today’s gloves are thin, protective and have great tactile feel.  You probably won’t even know your esthetician is wearing them.

Most estheticians no longer use latex gloves, but if you have a latex allergy please do bring it to their attention.  Today’s gloves are generally vinyl or nytrile. They should be exam glove quality.  In the future you can expect to see more nytrile gloves in use as they are much more environmentally friendly, even though the cost of use is still more than vinyl.

Rosacea

Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that if not controlled can worsen over time.  It used to be thought to be a form of acne, but research has shown that it is more vascular in nature. While it can occur on any skin it tends to be more prevalent on lighter skin tones. It is more common in women than in men, but it can be more aggressive in male sufferers. In the United States it affects more than 16 million people but some are never diagnosed or know what is behind their ruddy cheeks.Rosacea can manifest at any age, but it is more common to show up in the 30’s to 40’s. Symptoms include redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead, small blood vessels on the face, watery eyes and sometimes acne like breakouts. Typically breakouts look like tiny bumps or pimples. In more severe cases nodules or cysts can form which  must be treated by a medical professional.

For each person different things can trigger the face to become more red and or a breakout to occur or “flare”. It is important to become aware of what your individual triggers are. Keeping a diary is handy.  If you have a flare think back to what you have been doing and eating in the last 24 hours. For most people sun will cause a flare.  Always wear sun protection when going outdoors and don’t let the fact you are using an SPF lure you into staying too long.  Some sufferers find sun protection products can trigger a flare.  If you have this problem, look for “physical” blocks.  These typically have zinc oxide and or titanium dioxide in them. They seem to be much less problematic for those with rosacea.  Other common triggers can be caffeine, wine, spicy foods, or heat, especially humid.

Look for skin care products designed for sensitive skin as these will be free of triggers like fragrance. Rosacea skin is sensitive skin.  Gentle cleansers not harsh soaps are the best choice. In moisturizers go for something light weight.  Look for products with calming, soothing ingredients like chamomile, allantoin, arnica Montana, panthenol, sea whip, reversatrol and many others.  The guidance of a well trained skin care professional can be quite helpful.  Avoid rough or abrasive scrubs, harsh masks, extreme heat, or stimulating facial treatments.  Think calming and soothing.

As a skin care professional for over 30 years, I have found gentle enzyme treatments, ultrasonic treatments, LED therapy all work very well for my rosacea clients.  Avoid most chemical peels unless they are specifically designed for your skin type and microdermabrasion treatments are not your best choice. Properly selected products and treatments can keep your skin in balance and the redness controlled or eliminated. Some of my clients have reported even a doctor did not realize they had rosacea.

Only a doctor can diagnose rosacea. Because it can worsen over time, it is best to get it diagnosed so that if appropriate a topical or oral prescription therapy can be implemented. This in conjunction with learning your triggers, selecting gentle sensitive skin products, using SPF and finding a good esthetician to help you in the ongoing battle and your skin can look its best leaving you less concerns and more able to enjoy life.

Non-Surgical Facelift??

With the huge demand for ways to stave off the signs of age medical technology is working overtime. First there were facelifts – but a rhytidectomy (face lift) has significant down time, risk of infection, scarring and is very expensive. A facelift is normally the lower 2/3 of the face and if you add a forehead lift and or blepharoplasty (eye lift) the price will go up.  Typically it runs $20,000 – $50,000. So options were explored for ways to get a more youthful appearance without the full surgery. CO2 resurfacing can smooth the skin and get rid of brown spots, but it doesn’t remove excess skin or give you that “tuck”.

The next evolution uses radio frequency most commonly sold under the trade name Thermage. It markets that it can tighten and smooth the skin non-surgically.  While it can lift and tighten it won’t remove excess skin like surgery can. Thermage describes its Ideal Patent as:

  • Patients who are not candidates for surgical face lift
  • Middle-aged women beginning to show signs of neck/brow/eyelid sagging
  • Middle-aged women beginning to show signs of drooping jowls/cheek folds
  • Patients who want to achieve subtle lift or tightening of the face without invasive surgery
  • Patients who have had a prior face lift and desire further tightening of the skin.
Cost runs from $1000 – $5000 depending on the area to be treated. The skin will look improved immediately but results will continue to improve for several months. By the results from their own studies, about 50% of the clients report being happy to very happy with the results. There is generally no down time or skin discoloration. They state that typically results last about 2 years. The results are permanent but that the natural aging process could indicate the need for one or two maintenance treatments. While this has been a popular service, the discomfort and success rates triggered more research.
Another new technique is using ultrasonic sound waves to transfer heat into the skin in a manner similar to radio frequency. The surface of the skin is not damaged but tiny micro-wounds place at varying depths in the dermis and below trigger tightening and collagen production. Patients have reported that afterwards it feels like the muscles have been doing ab crunches. While there may be some visible tightening this is a long term process where the skin appearance continues to improve over 3 – 6 months. Recent studies have shown that new collagen is still being deposited 2 years following a single treatment. That indicates this is a very long lasting therapy. The ideal patient would be similar to that for Thermage.  Nothing will remove very lax or excess skin outside of surgery.  But if you start younger, before the problem becomes severe, then yes, there are non-surgical ways to lift the face.
Because of post treatment tenderness of the muscles and along bony ridges, patients should wait 4-6 weeks before resuming facial treatments and permanent cosmetic procedures that involve pressure or stretching. A light touch treatment can probably be tolerated well at 2 weeks. If in doubt have the client get an ok from their medical professional.

 

BHRT Hormones for Health

Whether you are in your 20s, 40s or 60s your individual hormone balance plays a hugs part in how you feel physically and emotionally, how you look – quality of the skin, and all the aspects of your life.  BHRT refers to bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, something that has been around for over 70 years, but that mainstream western medicine, dominated by male physicians, has ignored. In fact many will tell their clients no hormones – your issues are just part of aging that you have to live with.  Each person is different and so are their hormonal needs. Fortunately there are a growing number of physicians and naturopaths who offer women better alternatives.

Did you know that there are many forms of testosterone therapies that are accepted by the medical community for men, and they are all covered by insurance, while for women the options covered by insurance for women are much more restricted?  It is important that women become pro-active for their own health and use the internet and other resources to find a specialist who can best meet your needs whether that be to control bothersome symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, painful intimacy, breakouts, thinning skin or more.

Within the field of BHRT there are many options available including creams, suppositories, vaginal rings and pellets.  The doctors that offer these also take a look at the whole person to see what other factors may be affecting hormonal balance including diet, thyroid issues and much, much more. They will always need some sort of a chem-panel to see where your hormones are. In addition to the hormones they may also suggest natural supplements to make sure your body is functioning not just at normal, but at optimal level.

In 1900 most people did not live far beyond menopause. By the time you reached 50 you were old and the life expectancy was under 60.  Loss of hormones didn’t matter much.  Now in 2015 80 is considered the new 60 and life expectancy is well into the 80s for the bulk of the population. I recently heard through a client whose mother is 100 that doctors are expecting more and more people to reach or live beyond this landmark.  With that kind of a change, it is crucial that we work to keep all of our internals operating at optimum so they will last as long as we do.

It is time we wake up and take care of ourselves so that we can have a long, active, healthy progression into maturity.

Can Medications Really Affect My Esthetic or Permanent Cosmetic Service?

This is a common question clients often ask and the one word answer is Yes, medications can affect even the most simple skin care services.  Many medications have effects on the body aside from the reason they are being taken.  This is easily demonstrated – just listen to one of the many television commercials for prescription medications.  The list of possible side effects is rather staggering.  Of course not every person has these side effects but they can happen. Be sure to let your esthetician or permanent makeup artist know about all prescription and non-prescription drugs, supplements, topically applied products, eye drops, etcetera.  The more they know about what you use, the better an outcome they can help you achieve.  Do NOT stop taking your medications. Depending on the problem there are often workarounds. If your medication is a contraindication to doing the desired service your technician will probably recommend you talk to your doctor. Or they may request you confirm with your physician that having this procedure is safe for you. Your health and safety is our number one concern.

Cholesterol and blood pressure medications while not blood thinners, work to make the blood platelets not stick together. In permanent cosmetics this often means there may be more chance of a blood droplet coming to the surface. The down side is this molecule is bigger than the tattoo pigment molecule and can wash some of them away.  This leads to more color loss than would experienced on a client not on these medications.

Clients on thyroid medications often need permanent cosmetic procedures re-enhanced a little more frequently.  We have noticed that for whatever reason their color fades a little more quickly.

Blood thinning medications can also cause issues with permanent cosmetic procedures. You may be referred to get clearance from your physician.

Diabetic clients who are insulin dependent often do not heal as well and may be at a heightened risk for infection. They may need clearance from their physician for permanent cosmetic services, waxing or other more aggressive skin care treatments.

Use of retinoids (Vitamin A) or acids like Glycolic, Lactic or blends work to thin the dead skin of the epidermis. This means that a service like waxing, microdermabrasion or other exfoliating therapy increases the risk of skin irritation or even creating a wound.  Be sure to discuss use of any of these products, prescription or over the counter with your technician.

Restasis is a new concern as it has been observed that those who use it have increased sensitivity of the eyelid to the point that a permanent cosmetic eyeliner procedure is not well tolerated. Your technician may want you to discontinue use for 30 days before doing the tattoo procedure.  Do not restart use of the restasis for at least two weeks after your technician has determined it is completed. (Wait until all follow up work is finalized.)

Patients on chemotherapy drugs have a compromised immune system and may not heal well.  All of these drugs need your doctor’s written permission that this procedure is safe for you.

Botox and injectables are extremely popular today.  Any skin care or permanent cosmetic procedure is fine before having botox or injectables.  If you have had either a neurotoxin or filler injectable wait at least 2 weeks before having a facial massage, other skin care treatment, waxing, or permanent cosmetic.  The manipulation of the skin has a small potential for affecting the outcome and lasting of your injection site.  For a lip coloration procedure the best timing is before any fillers are injected. This has been clinically observed to produce the best most predictable outcome.

Herbs and supplements can also have an impact on the skin.  Some can cause blood thinning or skin thinning.  Be sure to provide your technician with a complete list of everything that you take so that we can avoid unexpected complications and make sure you have the safest procedure with the most positive outcome.

Women’s Health Issues Can Be Sneakier…..

Women need to understand how their bodies work differently than men’s to best protect themselves and respond to undiagnosed health issues promptly and appropriately.  The first and foremost signal is “change”  if you notice a change in your body or how it operates, this can be a clue that something needs to be checked.

As women we are trained from youth to take care of those around us.  Unfortunately, this can mean we disregard our own health signals and this can lead to serious consequences.  In the past most of the symptoms for serious health risks we those for men.  It wasn’t noted how women’s bodies were different and that their symptoms were often more obscure.  Now that this information is coming to light, it is important to educate ourselves, and if you are a service professional, be able to respond appropriately if your client has concerns or you note changes in their health.  While we cannot self diagnose, or diagnose medical issues in others, we can learn when to get something checked.One of the tricky parts is that different medical challenges can often have similar symptoms.  This is reinforcement that if we see the symptoms, we need to get them checked.  In this blog we are going to cover 4 important conditions that can lead to serious medical issues if not checked and treated: dehydration, anemia, heart attack and sleep apnea.Dehydration happens when the water levels in the body drop to unsafe levels. When we become dehydrated more water is moving out of our cells and the body than we are taking in.  With the water loss comes salt loss.  Salt loss can cause the body to become out of balance and severe dehydration can even lead to death.  Existing medical health conditions, diseases that cause diarrhea and/or vomiting, no access to water or a severe injury can all lead to dehydration.  Symptoms include:
Increased thirst
Dry mouth and swollen tongue
Weakness
Dizziness
Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
Confusion
Sluggishness fainting
Fainting
Inability to sweat
Decreased urine output
If you note any of these symptoms is is important to seek medical advice.  In the mean time get the person seated and comfortable, try to cool the person down and get moisture in them via water, popsicles, ice chips, sports drinks. If this doesn’t help, get medical assistance.

Anemia is caused by a lack of adequate red blood cells. It is sometimes challenging to address as there are over 400 different types. Medical assistance is important. We know anemia is common in women in child bearing years, but there are women who are genetically predisposed to this condition and fight it their entire life.  Anemia can also be caused by internal bleeding.  This might be triggered by medications being taken for another condition, such as aspirin or ibuprofen for headaches or other aches and pains.  Or it could be caused by other medical conditions.  Anemia can have sneaky symptoms that are often confused with other disorders.  The most common symptoms of anemia include:
Easy fatigue and loss of energy
Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
Difficulty concentrating
Dizziness
Pale skin
Leg cramps
Insomnia
Since there are lots of potential causes that need unique treatments, if someone is experiencing potential anemia symptoms it is important that they see a physician. It is not something that can be addressed by self medication and could make the problem worse.

Heart attacks in women can be very different from those in men.  Part of this may stem from the way a woman’s body handles cholesterol build up different from her male counterpart.  When men develop a plaque buildup it occurs in the major arteries.  They tend to carry their excess fat in the belly. We women on the other hand are hiders and smoothers.  We send the excess cholesterol to the tiniest little arterioles where the blood oxygen interchange is supposed to take place.  We smooth it away across all of our body.  We are excellent at hiding the problem.  So when the body does go into a heart attack while the symptoms can be similar as a mans, more frequently they are not. This is because the problem causers are not in the same place. In a CPR First Aid class I recently took, one of the attendees, a woman told of having a heart attack 8 years ago.  She never had any chest pain.  She had indigestion.  Then she had it again.  She did notice some tiredness and a bit of tightness but mostly indigestion.  Her husband finally took her to an emergency room to get checked up.  The technician on duty noticed her pallor and too intervention steps.  She was having a heart attack.
Web MD says there are 6 symptoms for heart attack in women and if you have one or more signs you should call 911 and seek immediate medical care.  Those symptoms include:

  1. Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but some women may experience it differently than men. It may feel like a squeezing or fullness, and the pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side. It’s usually “truly uncomfortable” during a heart attack, says cardiologist Rita Redberg, MD, director of Women’s Cardiovascular Services at the University of California, San Francisco. “It feels like a vise being tightened.”
  2. Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw. This type of pain is more common in women than in men. It may confuse women who expect their pain to be focused on their chest and left arm, not their back or jaw. The pain can be gradual or sudden, and it may wax and wane before becoming intense. If you’re asleep, it may wake you up. You should report any “not typical or unexplained” symptoms in any part of your body above your waist to your doctor or other health care provider, says cardiologist C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
  3. Stomach pain. Sometimes people mistake stomach pain that signals a heart attack with heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer. Other times, women experience severe abdominal pressure that feels like an elephant sitting on your stomach, says cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
  4. Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness. If you’re having trouble breathing for no apparent reason, you could be having a heart attack, especially if you’re also having one or more other symptoms. “It can feel like you have run a marathon, but you didn’t make a move,” Goldberg says.
  5. Sweating. Breaking out in a nervous, cold sweat is common among women who are having a heart attack. It will feel more like stress-related sweating than perspiration from exercising or spending time outside in the heat. “Get it checked out” if you don’t typically sweat like that and there is no other reason for it, such as heat or hot flashes, Bairey Merz says.
  6. Fatigue. Some women who have heart attacks feel extremely tired, even if they’ve been sitting still for a while or haven’t moved much. “Patients often complain of a tiredness in the chest,” Goldberg says. “They say that they can’t do simple activities, like walk to the bathroom.”
  7. So if you experience any of these, or more than one, seek help to save a life.
Sleep Apnea is a really sneaky disorder and can be even sneakier in women.  Typically tied into loud snoring this symptom is very typical in men. With the slightly different structural differences in women this symptom can present, come and go, or be completely absent.  A big part of the symptoms will be dependent on the cause.  In most people one side of the nose and sinuses is slightly larger. If the person sleeps with this larger side up there are less breathing issues. But if they sleep on their back or other side, symptoms may be more pronounced.  If the problem is being caused by a physical structural blockage these symptoms may be absent.
This problem is one I had a rather personal encounter with.  In the past I used to have a problem with sometimes loud breathing that was generally not prolonged but rather interrupted with perhaps gasps. But as a physical blockage in my throat became enlarged the symptoms changed and I quit snoring almost complete.  Problem cured 🙂  Not exactly.  It just morphed.  Instead of snoring I had morphed into the more insidious symptom. I quit breathing.  Thank goodness a friend alerted me.  They had sleep apnea and recognized it for what it was.
 At first I wanted to blow it off, but when I researched it online and saw the health ramifications: high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, asthma, acid reflux, and car accidents.
 I made the call and saw a specialist in sleep disorders.  I found out that I was stopping breathing for 30-60 seconds many times an hours.  My blood oxygen levels were dropped from the normal 99-100% (normal is above 90%) to 60%.  In the educational discussion I realized that my falling asleep sitting on the sofa at night was probably sleep deprivation from not sleeping anywhere near normally.  I underwent a sleep study, spending the night at the sleep center wired into a computer via probes all over my head and upper body.   They actually interrupted the study after only about 2 hours and pronounced the problem and hooked me up to a fine trickle of oxygen. When they woke me in the morning it was the first time in a very long time I had gotten up without a headache – another symptom of the oxygen deprivation.  They put me on a fast track and in a week I had a device to help assure good airflow and elimination of the problem.  I fully admit it takes a bit of getting used to but the health benefits are well worth it. By the follow up visit the doctor tested my blood oxygen and it was 99%. He even assured me if I missed a night or didn’t have a full night sleep with the device it was just fine.  I was very concerned how this would impact my personal life but found it has not been an issue.  It has however left me with elevated blood pressure which is now being treated and monitored.
When I visited a new PCP in January I was rather surprised to see the signs in the patient room about the symptoms of sleep apnea. Clearly, this disorder is finally being more aggressively treated by medical professionals as controlling it will control many other medical disorders.

Chemotherapy and your skin

Having to undergo chemotherapy is a challenge in itself but some of the drugs that are necessary to treat the cancer can bring their own set of challenges to the skin. According to Dermatology Times, November 5, 2014 review of a research report from the European Medical Journal Dermatology the new generation of anticancer drugs are more apt to cause skin reactions than their predecessors. In addition to hair loss and drying out of  mucous tissue, skin side effects can range from mild widespread dryness to severe debilitating issues.

Here are 5 key points:

*  Wide spread skin dryness and papulopustular rash (acne like) are known skin side effects of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors.  These inhibitors include cetuximab, erlotinib, gefitinib, lapatinib, panitumumab.  EGFR eruptions do not have comedones, instead they present at a rash and their severity is related to improved tumor response and survival.

 

*A side effect called hand foot syndrome because it most commonly occurs on the palms of the hand and soles of the feet occurs in 30-60% of patients.  If you develop these symptoms be sure to advise your doctors so it can be managed.

In mild to moderate hand-foot syndrome, the following symptoms may occur on the palms of the hands and/or the soles of the feet:

Redness (similar to a sunburn)
Swelling
A sensation of tingling or burning
Tenderness (sensitive to touch)
Tightness of the skin
Thick calluses and blisters on the palms and soles
Symptoms of severe hand-foot syndrome include:

Cracked, flaking, or peeling skin
Blisters, ulcers, or sores on the skin
Severe pain
Difficulty walking or using the hands

*Paronychia, an infection that occurs around the nails, affects 10-30% of those receiving EGRF inhibitor therapy.

*Cranial radiation therapy and neuroleptic drugs, (antipsychotic drugs that are now being used to treat other disorders), can trigger a variety of skin rashes.

*Studies have shown that hydration, antimicrobials, sterile tissue, protective ointment, and specific dermatological therapies can reduce the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.   It is important to be aware of and manage skin dryness and see dermatologist if there are signs of peeling, blistering, bleeding or pain. Your dermatologist or  esthetician may be able to provide you with skin care products with ingredients that have been shown to be helpful in research studies.  These ingredients include: calendula, corticosteroids, topical sodium hyaluronate, urea and allantoin. Plain, non-scented, lanolin-free hydrophilic (water based hydrating) creams may help prevent radiation skin reactions.

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Eugene, OR 97401

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