Ways to Combat Spring Allergies

spring allergiesFor many us, spring is a time of the year that we look forward to. That is, unless, you or someone close to you suffers from seasonal allergies. Then, spring can be a dreaded time of year where your thoughts are consumed with simply being able to breathe and the constant fight against the symptoms associated with allergies. At Brentwood Medical Clinic, patients presenting with allergy symptoms (sneezing, congestion, etc.) is something Dr. Ghahary sees quite frequently, especially during this time of year.

Asthma and allergy rates are on the rise across Canada, with mounting evidence that the allergy season now lasts up to one month longer than previously. In addition, parts of Canada that were once too cold for allergy-inducing plants are now seeing more frequent allergy activity. This has been attributed to global warming and the higher temperatures experienced so soon after winters end. It is important for Canadians to plan for allergy season and ensure that both your home and workplace are spring season ready.

allergiesUnlike normal allergic reactions, springtime allergies can appear one season and be gone the next. This is due to the various pollens that make up the irritants in the air changing every year – and while there is nothing we can do about the pollens and other natural pollutants in the air, we can, however, follow some simple steps to gain some relief from the symptoms that are associated with airborne pollutants.

Between home and work, most of us spend the majority of our days indoors. If you control your indoor environment and protect both your home and workplace from airborne pollutants, it is possible to significantly reduce the symptoms associated with allergies. Believe it or not, allergies can often become worse indoors. This is due to the buildup of natural allergy triggers that can occur over multiple seasons.

During the springtime, it is important to ensure that you keep your windows and doors closed as much as possible. While this won’t be possible for everyone, another alternative is to install shade screens. Shade screens are equipped with a fine mesh material and can make a huge difference to the amount of dirt and pollen that can pass through the screen and into your home. It is also recommended that you run your air conditioner during the spring. Circulating the air in your home or office can help filter out any pollen in the air. It is also important to be smart about how you go about your day-to-day activities. Always think about how you can limit your exposure to the allergens that bring about your symptoms. Think about the simple things that you can avoid.

Spring allergies are, for many, unavoidable, and in severe cases can be treated with medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays and eye drops.

Cosmetic Fillers: Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic AcidDr. Ali Ghahary at Brentwood Medical Clinic offers patients the option of injectable cosmetic fillers in effort to reduce fine lines and winkles, and to give a more youthful appearance. These fillers have become a popular choice amongst Canadians over the years, especially products containing Hyaluronic Acid (such as Juvaderm.) Cosmetic fillers are an alternative to more invasive procedures such as plastic surgery, and have become a commonplace option in Canada for individuals of all ages.

Most have a good elementary understanding of what cosmetic fillers are, but you may still have some questions regarding what they do, how long they last, and why they are so popular.

What are the Risks and Benefits of Synthetic Fillers?

Synthetic fillers are a very small category of laboratory made substances that help to reverse the aging process, fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and add a youthful volume to the face. The ingredients in synthetic fillers are generally ones that are not found naturally in the skin; therefore, they come with some side effects including bruising, redness, swelling, and bumps under the skin. The primary benefit of using a synthetic filler is that it has a longer lasting effect, usually several months to more than a year.

Hyaluronic AcidWhat are Cosmetic Fillers Used For?

There are a variety of functions that cosmetic or dermal fillers have, including:

  • Reducing wrinkles and filling in fine lines, especially around the nose and mouth
  • Plumping thin lips
  • Filling out the hollows under the eyes
  • Evening out scars or indentations from acne or chickenpox
  • Enhancing the shape of cheeks and restoring a youthful appearance

Particularly, products with hyaluronic acid like Juvaderm are used most effectively to reduce the signs of aging. It is generally used as a complementary treatment to your already established rejuvenation regimen. It is designed to both soften wrinkles and fill fine lines, as well as add back the volume that gets lost through the normal aging process.

Over time, hyaluronic acid in the skin declines, which is what causes the look of aging. This is a natural process, but can be disheartening to many. Juvederm and other hyaluronic acid fillers help to restore those levels in your skin. Hyaluronic acid works by attracting moisture and expanding, resulting in a plumping effect.

Juvederm is one of the more popular fillers on the market that is FDA approved. Its main ingredient is hyaluronic acid. Specifically, it is made from a biodegradable, stabilized, and non-animal hyaluronic acid. The thing that makes this so unique is that it is a natural type of filler, which means it can be found in small levels in the skin, so it is not completely laboratory designed.

Most synthetic and hyaluronic acid fillers can be found in your general practitioner or family physician’s office.

Caring for Patients with Dementia

dementiaDr. Ali Ghahary is a general practitioner at Brentwood Medical Clinic with experience treating chronically ill and geriatric patients, including those suffering from dementia. Alzhiemer’s is the most common form of dementia affecting the brain functions, especially those concerning memory. This happens because the brain cells and connections die, affecting the ability to think coherently and remember things both in the long- and short-term. Currently, there is no cure for the disease, but there are ways to help advance the field and assist the people suffering, including both patients and loved ones.

There are multiple types of dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common, accounting for 60% to 80% of cases. Dementia is a term that means loss of memory and other cognitive functions, which interfere with activities of daily living. Living with any form of dementia can take a toll on the patient and caregivers. It can come as a shock, and it will be a moment of crisis where strong support is needed.

The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada is an active community-centered organization dedicated to helping those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Their focus is to provide adequate and thorough education, counseling, support, and resources for help outside the doctor or hospital setting not only to patients, but to families, caregivers, and healthcare professionals who work with Alzheimer and dementia patients.

Alzheimer Society of CanadaAdvocacy is an important role of the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada. They work closely with government officials and the community to push for legislative changes that will improve the programs that work towards finding a cure or better treatment for this degrading disease. The goal is to improve the care offered to Alzheimer and dementia patients, while providing the support needed to those who suffer alongside them.

Alzheimer Society of CanadaNo referrals are needed to contact your local Alzheimer’s Society of Canada chapter. Even if you are unsure if there is even a diagnosis of dementia lurking in your family, this organization can help you figure out the best healthcare providers in your area who can make a diagnosis and recommended treatment options.

Mounting research and evidence shows that the earlier the disease is caught, the better the patient and family tend to fare. There are services offered by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada that will help newly diagnosed patients and families become more familiar with symptoms and how to handle them. For example, First Link is a referral service that helps you find the appropriate practitioners; MedicAlert Safely Home is a program offered to help ensure the Alzheimer sufferer does not get lost or injured, assisting with a safe return home. On the MedicAlert bracelet is critical information about the person’s health, so as to avoid medical errors if there is an emergency.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada.

Treatment for Insomnia

Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, affects up to 40 percent of the Canadian population with more than 30% of adults suffering from this condition. Approximately 60 percent of adults over the age of 60 suffer from insomnia. This disorder is more prevalent than cancer, heart disease and diabetes. If left untreated it can affect your quality of life and performance at school and/or work.

Insomnia is a broad term that includes several sleeping disorders. The most common forms are acute insomnia, chronic insomnia, and transient insomnia. It is a condition that can affect people of all ages, especially adult women, and may have various causes such as stress, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and alcohol and caffeine consumption. It may also be caused by other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Genetics can also increase your risk of insomnia, with approximately 35 percent of those suffering from this condition having a family history of insomnia. Other risk factors include aging and hyperthyroidism.

Most people with insomnia only sleep for short periods of time, are awake for hours before falling asleep, or wake up too early, oftentimes feeling tired and fatigued, and as if they haven’t slept at all. Chronic insomnia, which can last for years, causes mood disturbances, daytime, sleepiness, poor memory, fatigue, headaches, inability to focus, low motivation and gastrointestinal issues. Insomnia symptoms may vary from one person to another and can be short-term or long-term.

Treatment for insomnia can be as simple as adjusting your daily routine to introducing music therapy or requiring dimmer lights in your home or office.

At Brentwood Medical Clinic, Dr. Ali Ghahary helps to treat those suffering from insomnia by recommending good sleeping habits, and in severe cases, prescribes sleep aides. While Dr. Ghahary is presently not accepting new patients, if you are dealing with insomnia it is a good idea to monitor your sleeping patterns and consult a physician.