Supporting Patients With Chronic Illness

Chronic disease definitionChronic illness can oftentimes be difficult to treat; they can be complex and multifactorial in nature. Even more so, they can be debilitating on the patient, physically & emotionally draining, and can significantly impact one’s quality of life.

Some examples of chronic illness include certain health conditions such as MS (Multiple Sclerosis), kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and even chronic pain such as migraines and fibromyalgia. Other forms of chronic illness also include depression and anxiety, diabetes, allergies, and even chronic pain disorders such as migraines and fibromyalgia. Many times a chronic illness may actually be referred to as “invisible” illnesses – meaning that while the patient may not necessarily look ill via their outward appearance, they still feel ill.

invisible illnesses

When a patient is diagnosed with a chronic illness, it means that the illness itself does not have any specific cure. There are, however, ways in which underlying symptoms that are associated with chronic illness can be treated. For example, a patient living with MS can take medications in effort to slow down the progression of the disease as well as cut down the number of flare-ups in which they might experience including fatigue, weakness, visual problems and pain; while patients with cancer will usually require antiemetic medication (such as Ondansetron) in order to ease nausea as a result of chemotherapy treatment.

Dr. Ali Ghahary
Vancouver Physician Dr. Ali Ghahary

As a primary care physician in Vancouver, Dr. Ali Ghahary plays a major role in being part of a patient’s support system – whether it’s prescribing medication, conferring with specialists, or simply being there for patients and their families by addressing any concerns they may have.

As mental health in those living with chronic illness can also be severely impacted, Dr. Ali Ghahary also recommends patients seek outpatient therapy – either with clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, or licensed therapists – in order to further discuss the ways in which their mental health might be affected by their illness and for better coping methods.

To find a therapist in your area, visit counsellingbc.com. There are also great resources available via the Canadian Mental Health Association at cmha.ca.

Natural Ways to Treat Depression and Anxiety

boy-1758232_1280Burnaby physician Dr. Ali Ghahary works with many patients suffering from depression and anxiety, conditions that often co-exist together. As many as 4.5 million Canadians aged 18 or older, as well as some younger children, are diagnosed with a mental disorder at least once in their lives, which can have a significant impact on their ability to lead normal and healthy lifestyles – including underperformances at work and school, as well as a steady decline in social interactions.

Some of the common symptoms of depression and anxiety include panic attacks, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in once enjoyable activities, disturbances in sleep, changes in appetite and weight loss/gain.

At Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, Dr. Ghahary works in combination with clinical psychologists and psychiatrists in helping patients come up with appropriate treatment plans specifically designed for them, usually consisting of medications in conjecture with behavioural therapy as well as lifestyle and habit changes. While medication is often successful as a standalone treatment, making some natural changes to one’s daily life is also recommended when dealing with mental health.

First and foremost, setting goals, i.e. ‘What do I want to accomplish with my treatment?’ As depression can often interrupt the structure that you were once used to, discussing any goals you have with your physician, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist will help pave the path to a successful outcome and help you with your future plans. In addition, goals can also be something small, such as doing the dishes every day or setting your alarm to wake up at a specific time every morning – which is also another key factor when dealing with depression and anxiety, as it can disrupt sleeping patterns. Trying not to take naps and ensuring you don’t surround yourself with any distractions (computers, television) will also help your sleep improve over time.

sports-1050966_1280To boost the brain’s feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, regular exercise is also helpful. Going for 20 to 30 minute walks a few times a week is a great way to alleviate symptoms associated to depression and anxiety. If outdoor activities aren’t your thing, joining a community centre with exercise equipment is another option. If you are one who has difficulty sleeping as mentioned above, there are also several 24-hour gyms in Canada that you may benefit from joining. As long as you are keeping fit somehow.

You may also want to try taking on new responsibilities. Those suffering from depression tend to avoid taking on too much at once, and it often get in the way of school or work, but it is important to remain involved. If you previously worked full-time, think of re-entering the workforce by taking on a part-time job. You could also consider volunteering; helping others will make you feel good about yourself.

question-1301144_1920When struggling with depression and anxiety, it is also important to avoid thinking negative thoughts. Naturally, we often jump to the worst possible conclusions, but that is especially so in individuals who are depressed. If you constantly tell yourself that you don’t feel good enough, try to change your thinking by listing all of the reasons why you are good enough, and remind yourself of all the things you have accomplished in the past and hope to accomplish in the future.

By making these lifestyle changes and implementing new things, you are altering the dopamine levels in your brain, and in time you will find that you not only feel more energized and focused, but have more pleasure and enjoyment out of life.

Aging and the Benefits of Cosmetic Fillers

Aging and the Benefits of Cosmetic FillersAging is a natural process as we get older that involves everything from increased infection susceptibility to bones that break more easily. However, one of the most noticeable changes of the aging process is oftentimes seen on the skin. As we age, our skin loosens and becomes thinner, making lines and wrinkles more visible. While most individuals would previously turn to facial serums and other similar products in effort to reduce the effects of aging, Canadians are turning to other minimally invasive procedures, with the most popular being cosmetic fillers.

Similar to serums, cosmetic fillers are geared towards reducing the effects of aging by adding volume to problem-areas (lines, wrinkles) and giving you a more youthful appearance. Not only are these cosmetic fillers far less invasive than other surgical procedures, but they are also inexpensive and can provide lasting results depending on the type of cosmetic filler that is used. It is important to note that while most cosmetic fillers strive to have the same or similar outcome, not all cosmetic fillers are alike, nor do they contain the same components.

The most popular cosmetic filler on the Canadian market today is Botox, otherwise known as Botulinum Toxin, and is used on a variety of patients. The most common use for Botox is to treat frown lines that appear around the eyes or on the forehead by injecting small amounts into the problem-areas in order to relax the muscles. However, Botox is also a popular choice due to its ability to relieve other non-cosmetic complaints such as muscle spasms, excessive sweating, and migraine headaches. Alternatives to Botox include Dysport and Xeomin.

dr ali ghahary	You also may have heard of brands such as Juvaderm and Restylane. These are hyaluronic-acid based fillers. Similar to Botox, hyaluronic acid based fillers work to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, as well as provide a more youthful appearance to the skin. Hyaluronic-acid is a natural substance that is found within the human body, thus making these types of fillers safe to use (and with less side effects) in comparison to calcium-based fillers or poly-l-lactic acid based fillers, which may require a series of treatments and even local anesthetic prior to being administered.

Overall, cosmetic fillers are a perfect, easy and economical way to not only enhance and revamp one’s appearance, but they can also boost your self-esteem in the process.

If you are interested in trying cosmetic filling agents, contact Dr. Ali Ghahary at ghaharymedicalcosmetics@gmail.com today.

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.