Diabetes & Dental Care: 7 Tips for a Healthy Mouth

Good oral hygiene is important for everyone. However, there are special considerations to be aware of regarding diabetes and dental care. Diabetics are at increased risk for a variety of oral health issues, including dry mouth and inflammation of the gums.

They are also more likely to develop thrush, a fungal infection that occurs due to the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes. So, if you have diabetes, you should be sure to talk with your doctor or health educator about diabetes and dental health.

Diabetes Dental Care Tips

It’s not difficult to keep your teeth and gums healthy as a diabetic. You just need to be proactive about your oral health. Some of the keys to good diabetes dental care include:

● Be attentive to your blood sugar level. Keeping it as close to normal as possible can help you avoid infections.
● Brush your teeth after every meal. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after you eat before brushing, as the acid in foods can temporarily soften tooth enamel.
● Floss at least once a day. Removing food and plaque from between your teeth is important.
● Use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Hard bristles can irritate your gums.
● If you smoke, quit. Your doctor can talk with you about strategies for quitting.
● If you wear dentures, remove them at night, clean them and leave them out until morning. This gives bacteria fewer places to grow and multiply.
● Use an antiseptic mouthwash daily. If you get dry mouth, try a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol.

You should also talk with your dentist about your diabetes. S(he) may have additional strategies for helping you keep your mouth healthy.

Taking Control of Your Health as a Diabetic

Having diabetes doesn’t mean your oral health has to suffer. Once you know how the disease affects your teeth and gums, you can take steps to keep them in good shape. And if you notice any problems like soreness in your mouth, inflamed gums or ulcers, your dentist can help you address and resolve them promptly.

Learn about other types of diabetic risks or complications so that you can start being proactive about your condition.

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Learn about other types of diabetic risks or complications so that you can be proactive about your condition.

How Do You Know If You Have Asthma?

If you sometimes have difficulty breathing, you may wonder how to know if you have asthma. Making that determination can be challenging. However, it’s important that you do because that will allow you to get the proper treatment. Learning about the condition can give you insight on how to tell if you have asthma. You should also talk with your doctor.

The Basics: How to Tell If You Have Asthma

If you’re curious about how to detect asthma, a good place to start is understanding what it is and the symptoms it produces. Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways that go from your mouth and nose to your lungs. This swelling can be caused by a number of triggers such as cigarette smoke, pollen, animal dander, mold, or even just cold air. The inflammation is accompanied by tightening of the muscles around the airways, and the combination of these factors makes it hard to breathe, especially during what’s called an “asthma attack.”

The five main symptoms of asthma are:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath. This is the feeling that you can’t catch your breath. It is an alarming sensation, and it may come on suddenly. It makes it difficult to perform physical activities. 
  • Tightness in the chest. People with asthma describe this as an unpleasant feeling that air isn’t moving in their lungs or an uncomfortable restriction in their chest. This symptom can cause anxiety about the ability to get enough air.
  • Wheezing sounds when breathing. This type of whistling sound is the symptom most people associate with asthma. It’s heard most clearly when exhaling.
  • Coughing fits. Coughing associated with asthma is more common at night. Coughing fits can also be brought on by exercise. 
  • Poor sleep due to breathing problems. Difficulty breathing can make it hard to sleep. Consequently, people with asthma may feel tired during the day.

Some of the ways that having asthma can affect your daily routine include that you feel like your colds are much worse than those of your family and friends, and that when you work out, you seem to struggle more than those doing the same activities. Also, you may feel fatigued and lacking energy much of the time.

How Do You Know If Your Baby or Child Has Asthma?

Children can have asthma, so parents often ask, “How can you tell if a baby has asthma?”. First, babies have the same asthma symptoms as adults. They also may have trouble feeding and may make grunting sounds when nursing. Asthma can’t be definitively diagnosed in babies, but you should talk with your baby’s doctor if you have concerns.

How Do You Know If You Are Having an Asthma Attack?

How to know if you’re having an asthma attack is important, as it allows you to take action to minimize it or get medical help. Some people report that their chin itches just prior to an attack. Doctors aren’t sure why that occurs. From there, an asthma attack generally includes:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Severe wheezing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Coughing that doesn’t stop
  • Chest pressure and tightness
  • Blue lips or fingernails
  • Pale skin
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety or panic

If you’re having an asthma attack, you should seek treatment immediately.

When to See a Doctor for Asthma

Once you understand how to detect asthma and start to see signs like frequent bouts of wheezing, shortness of breath or coughing, you should talk with your doctor or an asthma specialist. They can perform tests to determine if you actually have the condition or if something else is causing your breathing issues.

If you do have asthma, there are medications you can take to control it and to address asthma attacks if they occur. Learn more about asthma treatment from Baptist Health.

What is a Strain Injury?

We all experience pain in our muscles from time to time. In some cases, it’s the result of a strain injury. What is a strain injury? Strains occur when a muscle or tendon is stretched farther than it should be or is torn. Strain injuries are common in the hamstrings (the muscles at the back of the thigh) and the muscles of the lower back, shoulders, and neck. Strains can cause pain and restricted movement.

What Is the Difference Between a Strain and a Sprain?

The terms strain and sprain are commonly used to refer to physical injuries. But what’s the difference between strain and sprain? A sprain is when a ligament (as opposed to a muscle or tendon) is twisted, overstretched or torn. Sprains are common in ankles, thumbs, wrists, and knees. Both strains and sprains produce pain, swelling, bruising, and limited movement of the affected area.

What Causes a Strain?

If you’ve ever suffered a strain, you may ask what causes neck strain or what causes back strain. The answer is that there are two types of strain: acute strain and chronic strain. Acute means a condition that comes on suddenly and tends to resolve more quickly than a chronic condition, which develops over time and can be an ongoing concern.

Causes of an acute strain include:

  • Running or jumping motions
  • Throwing motions
  • Slipping and/or falling
  • Lifting heavy objects, especially with improper technique

Causes of a chronic strain include:

  • Repetitive movements such as in sports like running, tennis or rowing
  • Sitting or standing in an unbalanced or awkward position for an extended period

What Are the Symptoms of a Muscle Strain?

If you’re wondering if you have a strain, look for these muscle strain symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of pain
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Cramping or muscle spasm
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Muscle weakness
  • Restricted range of motion in the affected area

These symptoms tend to occur immediately or soon after the injury.

Seek Treatment for a Strain

Home treatment can be effective for a strain. It can be remembered with the acronym RICE:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

However, in some cases, you may need to get medical attention.

When to See a Doctor for a Muscle Strain:

Talk with your doctor if:

  • Pain and swelling don’t improve with RICE
  • Pain and swelling worsen
  • You have tingling or numbness in the affected area
  • You have trouble standing or walking
  • Movement and flexibility in the area don’t gradually improve
  • The joint seems unstable
  • You develop a fever or chills
  • The affected area has an unusual shape

Get Back to What you Love

Turn to the Baptist Health Orthopedic team if you need help with treating a muscle strain.

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What Are The Most Common Food Allergies?

Food allergies are very common. While a person can be allergic to any food, the most common food allergies fall into just eight groups. Knowing what these foods are and being aware of any food allergy symptoms when you consume them can help you avoid a serious allergic reaction. 


Cow’s milk is a food that produces an allergic reaction in some people. It’s important to note that milk can be found in items like cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream, and margarine. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to milk are different for children and adults. Children commonly experience:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Anaphylaxis (a potentially life-threatening reaction—though this is rare)

Adults tend to experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation


Eggs are another common source of food allergies. As with all food allergies, the key to dealing with an egg allergy is to avoid eggs. However, some research suggests that heating eggs changes the shape of the proteins in them that cause allergies, preventing a reaction from occurring. Even so, you should talk with your doctor about your allergy and how to manage it.

Egg allergies produce symptoms including:

  • Stomachache
  • Respiratory problems
  • Rash or hives
  • Anaphylaxis (rarely)


The most common nut allergies are to peanuts and tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts. Other nuts can produce an allergic reaction as well. Those who are allergic to nuts will also have a reaction to foods that contain them like nut oils and butters. Nut allergies can be particularly severe, so avoiding nuts if you learn you have an allergy is crucial.

Symptoms of a nut allergy can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Itching of the skin, eyes, mouth, or throat
  • Anaphylaxis


Some people are allergic to shellfish such as lobster, shrimp, squid, scallops, prawns, and crayfish. Symptoms of a shellfish allergy tend to come on quickly. Even the vapors from cooking shellfish can produce a reaction in some people.

Symptoms of a shellfish allergy include:

  • Tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the face, throat, lips, tongue, ears, hands, or fingers
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash, hives or eczema
  • Dizziness or fainting


Gluten and wheat can cause allergic reactions in some people. A gluten or wheat allergy is different than having celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Your doctor can help you understand the difference.

Not only do many foods contain these substances, they’re also found in some beauty products and cosmetics. Symptoms of a gluten or wheat allergy include:

  • Digestive distress
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Swelling
  • Anaphylaxis (in severe cases)


A protein from soybeans causes soy allergies. It’s found in soy milk, soy sauce and other foods. Symptoms of a soy allergy include:

  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Rash
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Runny nose
  • Anaphylaxis (rarely)


Fish allergies are common and can be severe. Unlike many other types of allergies, reactions to fish can develop later in life. Symptoms of fish allergies include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Headache
  • Anaphylaxis (rarely)


Fruit allergies may be associated with what’s called oral allergy syndrome (OAS), in which the immune system sees similarities between pollen from trees, grasses or weeds and the proteins in fruits. Fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, pears, and others can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Symptoms of a fruit allergy include:

  • Itching or tingling in the mouth
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Stomachache
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing and nasal congestion

Common Food Allergies by Age

Food allergies tend to vary by age. Many of the most common allergies in babies are issues they’ll outgrow. For that reason, the common food allergies in children are different than the common food allergies in adults. The symptoms of a food allergy may change between childhood and adulthood as well. For example, as noted above, children and adults who are allergic to milk have different reactions to it.

Common Signs of Food Allergies

Many of the common food allergy reactions occur across many or all the common allergy food groups. Hives are an example of a symptom that occurs with many food allergies. Talking with your doctor about food allergies and getting tested can help you understand your condition and how to address it.

Get Tested for Food Allergies at Baptist Health

If you suspect you have a food allergy, you should get tested. If you think you’re having a severe reaction, it’s important that you get medical treatment right away.

Learn more about allergies from Baptist Health.

2019/2020 Flu Season Update

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), so far this season there have been approximately 22 million flu illnesses, 210,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths from the flu.

All but two states (Hawaii and Oregon), are experiencing widespread flu activity, and by some indicators, this season is far worse than last, especially amongst children and young adults.

A flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu, and it’s not too late to get one as flu season often lasts until April. If you start having flu symptoms and are being treated with medications, typically these are only effective when started within 48 hours of symptoms.

Bethany Crispin, MD of Baptist Health Urgent Care in Richmond, Kentucky

Dr. Crispin also offers these tips to prevent the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with other people who have been sick or had the flu.
  • Always cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • If you’re having flu-like symptoms and/or a fever, stay home from school or work until your fever subsides.
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth without your hands being free of germs.

The CDC reports that getting vaccinated for the flu is 40 to 60 percent effective in reducing a person’s risk.

It’s not too late!

If you are experiencing flu symptoms or would like to get vaccinated, visit one of Baptist Health’s convenient Express & Urgent Care locations throughout Kentucky and southern Indiana.

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An Express or Urgent Care visit is now easier than ever with Online Check-In. Go to BaptistHealthClinics.com, click on your desired location, and save your spot in line.

Obesity and Heart Disease

How Does Obesity Contribute to Heart Disease?

Obesity is a health problem faced by many Americans and people around the world, and one that causes other medical conditions. In particular, there’s a clear link between obesity and heart disease. How does obesity contribute to heart disease? The obesity and heart disease correlation has been found in many areas, including that it can increase cholesterol levels, clog arteries, elevate blood pressure, and lead to diabetes, which is a factor in developing heart disease.

What Heart Diseases Are Caused by Obesity?

People who are obese often ask, “Is heart disease caused by obesity?”. It can affect many areas of heart health, including:

High Blood Pressure

When a person is obese, it takes more blood flow to supply the body with nutrients and oxygen. As a result, the heart has to beat with more force, which raises blood pressure.

Heart Palpitations

Being obese increases the risk of developing a rapid, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) of the upper chambers of the heart. This condition, called atrial fibrillation, can cause blood clots to form, leading to heart failure, stroke, and other medical issues.

Heart Attack Recovery

Remaining obese following a heart attack means a person’s risk of another heart attack or other heart-related condition stays high. Fortunately, treatment following a heart attack often helps a patient achieve and maintain a healthier weight.

Solutions to Obesity and Heart Disease

If you’re obese, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by losing weight and keeping it off. This can be challenging, but there are a number of steps you can take to address obesity and heart disease, including:

Eating a Healthy Diet

This is a step you can take today. By substituting even one healthy food for an unhealthy one in your diet, you’re moving in the right direction. Then you can continue to add fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts, and other foods while cutting back on or eliminating highly processed foods, sugars, and fried foods.


Getting more physical activity is another way that you can start decreasing your risk of heart disease immediately. It’s important to increase your activity level gradually and in consultation with your doctor.

Bariatric Surgery

If you improve your lifestyle but still can’t lose enough weight, your doctor may recommend bariatric surgery, which makes changes to your digestive system, to help you reach your goals.

Learn More About Obesity and Heart Disease from Baptist Health

Learn more about heart care from Baptist Health. Take a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) questionnaire to estimate your personal health risk and identify your risk factors for heart disease.

Smoking and Heart Disease

How Does Smoking Cause Heart Disease?

Most people have heard that there’s a link between being a smoker and heart problems. But why does smoking cause heart disease? There are a number of reasons. 

For example, the chemicals in tobacco smoke damage blood vessels, which can lead to the development of atherosclerosis. This is a condition in which a fatty substance called plaque builds up in your arteries and narrows them, making it harder for your heart to move blood around the body. This can cause damage to the heart and organs that aren’t getting sufficient blood supply. Smoking can also damage blood cells and lower the amount of “good” cholesterol in the body.

Heart Diseases Caused by Smoking

There are a number of heart diseases caused by smoking. They include:

  • High blood pressure. As the heart works harder to move blood through clogged arteries, blood pressure increases. High blood pressure is especially dangerous, as its symptoms are hard for individuals to detect and if left untreated, it increases the risk of other serious health problems. If blood pressure gets severely high, you may experience headaches, vision problems, chest pain, blood in your urine, and difficulty breathing.
  • Stroke. Excessive pressure on blood vessels can cause them to rupture. If this occurs in the brain, it’s called a stroke. This life-threatening condition produces symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arms or legs, especially on one side of the body. It can also cause blurred vision, dizziness, and loss of coordination.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). When plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the limbs, symptoms like painful cramping in the legs, numbness or tingling in the legs or feet, and sores on the toes and feet can occur.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This condition of the lungs is caused by smoking and can go on to affect the heart, sometimes leading to heart failure. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, frequent coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest. 

If you smoke, you should be aware of the symptoms of heart disease from smoking. Smoking also increases the risk of lung cancer and other cancers.

Solutions to Smoking and Heart Disease

While smoking and heart disease go hand-in-hand, quitting smoking provides immediate and long-term benefits, including that you’ll:

Feel Better

Very quickly you’ll begin coughing less, have fewer sore throats and have more energy. You’ll also notice an improvement in your senses of smell and taste.

Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Quitting smoking decreases your risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 50%. It also reduces your risk of conditions like PAD and high blood pressure.

Reduce Your Risk of Other Health Problems

By quitting smoking, you lower your risk of a wide range of medical problems, including gum disease, ulcers, asthma, emphysema, and lung cancer.

Live Longer

The earlier you quit smoking, the more years you add to your life.

Learn More About Smoking and Heart Disease from Baptist Health

Learn more about heart care from Baptist Health. Take a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) questionnaire to estimate your personal health risk and identify your risk factors for heart disease.

Hand Pain Causes & Relief

We’re able to perform very precise movements with our hands because they have a complex structure made up of many bones, joints, tendons, nerves, and connective tissue. Unfortunately, that structure makes hands susceptible to painful injuries and medical conditions. What causes hand pain, specifically? It can develop as a result of fractures, sprains, inflammation, nerve damage, and a number of chronic health problems that cause different types of hand pain. 

What Causes Hand Pain?

There are many hand pain causes. Some can affect either hand, while there are also right hand pain causes and left hand pain causes typically associated with an activity performed with that hand.

Some of the most common causes include:


Arthritis is a condition in which joints become inflamed and painful. Although it can occur in any joint in the body, it’s common in the hands and wrists and is one of the leading causes of hand pain. Arthritis can produce many different sensations in the hand or wrist, from a dull or burning pain to grinding of the joints. Medication can reduce pain and swelling, but splinting, surgery or occupational therapy may also be required in some cases.

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled bumps that typically develop on the back of the wrist. In many cases, they aren’t painful. However, if they put pressure on nearby nerves, they can cause numbness, tingling or pain. Often these cysts go away on their own. If a cyst is causing pain, your doctor can drain or remove it.

Trigger Finger

Also called stenosing tenosynovitis, this condition occurs when the tendon sheath—a ring of connective tissue at the base of a thumb or finger—becomes swollen. This swelling makes it hard for the tendon to move and can cause pain as well. Treatment typically includes resting the thumb or finger, splinting it, taking anti-inflammatory medication, or getting steroid injections. If other treatments don’t provide relief, surgery may be required.


Injuries to hands caused by things like sports, falls or construction accidents are common. The many small bones in the hand can be broken easily, and the muscles of the hand can be strained or torn. These conditions cause pain. Treatment depends on the type of injury and includes everything from rest to surgery.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Also known as Raynaud’s disease, this condition causes fingers and toes to become numb or to have a prickly feeling when exposed to cold temperatures or when you’re stressed. The symptoms are produced by excessive narrowing of blood vessels. In most cases, no treatment is needed unless the condition is caused by another health problem.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

This condition occurs when what’s called the median nerve gets squeezed by a narrowing of the carpal tunnel, which is a passageway for nerves and tendons at the base of your hand. The narrowing can be caused by thickening tendons, swelling or inflammation in the area. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain and stiffness in the hand or wrist, as well as trouble performing certain tasks or grasping small objects. Treatment can include applying ice packs, splinting, acupuncture, over-the-counter pain medication, steroids, or surgery.

Hand Pain Treatment at Home

In many cases, sore hands will respond to hand pain treatment at home. These treatments can include:

  • Rest. Overuse can cause or worsen hand pain. Avoiding the repetitive activity that’s causing your pain for a period of time allows inflammation to subside.
  • Splinting. If rest doesn’t resolve hand pain, it can be helpful to wear a splint or brace to immobilize the hand. This may be in addition to rest, or you might wear the splint to support your hand while you perform the activity.
  • Ice. Applying ice to the affected hand can help control inflammation. As the swelling goes down, the pain typically subsides.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication. Medications called NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. These drugs have side effects, however, so you should talk with your doctor about whether they’re right for you.
  • Heat. Applying heat to painful areas can provide relief. This may include running warm water over your hands or applying a warm, moist compress to them.

Seek Medical Attention for Hand Pain

Hand pain can have a negative impact on your quality of life. However, there are many ways to treat it once you understand the cause. Your doctor can help you make that determination.

When to See a Doctor for Hand Pain:

Contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms associated with your hand pain:

  • Numbness in the hand that gets worse
  • Pain that doesn’t respond to home treatment
  • Signs of infection such as redness, chills or a fever
  • Inability to make a fist or bend the fingers
  • A deformity of the hand or fingers as a result of an injury

Request an appointment with the Baptist Health Orthopedic team if you need help with treating hand pain.

Joint Stiffness: Causes, Remedies & Prevention

Joint stiffness is something many people experience, especially as they get older. Stiff joints in the morning and stiff joints after sitting are very common. What causes stiff joints? A number of medical conditions can play a role, as can the wear and tear that occurs over decades of use.

What Causes Joint Stiffness?

In addition to normal aging, certain diseases or conditions can cause joint pain and stiffness.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is the most common cause of joint stiffness and pain. More than 1.5 million people in the U.S. are affected by rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one of the most common forms of the disease. RA is both an inflammatory disorder and an autoimmune disease.

RA tends to affect smaller joints first, with symptoms appearing later in larger joints. Overall, it can affect:

  • Fingers
  • Toes
  • Wrists
  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Ankles
  • Hips
  • Shoulders

There’s no cure for RA, but the symptoms can be managed with medication.


Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s defenses attack its own tissues and organs. The disease mimics other medical conditions, so it can be hard to diagnose. People with lupus may experience these symptoms in their joints:

  • Stiffness
  • Pain
  • Swelling

Medication can help control these symptoms.


Gout is a type of arthritis that comes on suddenly. Its symptoms may appear overnight, and the condition often affects the big toe first, though it can affect any joint. Gout symptoms include:

  • Sharp pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling and warmth
  • Tenderness

Episodes of gout tend to be short-lived. However, people with the condition typically have flare-ups throughout their life. Treatment includes minimizing symptoms and lowering the uric acid level in the blood.


When tiny, fluid-filled sacs called bursae in a joint become inflamed, the condition is called bursitis. This inflammation produces joint pain and stiffness. Bursitis can affect any joint, but it tends to occur more often in large joints, including:

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Hips
  • Shoulders

Like gout, it also commonly affects the big toe. Bursitis generally resolves on its own with rest, which allows the bursae to recover.


Osteoarthritis is a type of disease caused by the wear and tear on a joint. This degenerative condition affects more than 25 million people in the U.S. It’s most common in people over the age of 65.

Osteoarthritis affects a wide range of joints, including:

  • Fingers
  • Back
  • Knees
  • Neck
  • Hips

The condition causes joint stiffness and pain, as well as popping or cracking noises with movement. Treatment for osteoarthritis focuses on reducing swelling in the affected joints and relieving pain. In some severe cases, surgery may be required to improve symptoms.

Remedies for Joint Stiffness

Some people get stiff joint relief using simple joint stiffness remedies. These include:

  • Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • Applying hot and cold compresses
  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Taking supplements like glucosamine sulfate and fish oil

How to Prevent Joint Stiffness

If you’re wondering how to prevent joint stiffness in the first place, actions you can take include:

  • Managing your weight
  • Getting regular activity throughout the day
  • Listening to your body regarding how much exercise is right for you
  • Gently stretching your joints every day

Seek Medical Attention for Joint Stiffness

While joint pain from aging or medical conditions is common, there are steps you can take to minimize its impact on your quality of life. Your doctor can provide suggestions for preventing or addressing your symptoms.

When to See a Doctor for Joint Stiffness:

Often, joint stiffness and pain can be relieved at home. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention from your doctor:

  • Intense pain
  • Rapid swelling
  • Inability to bend or move the joint
  • Deformity of the joint
  • Red skin that’s hot to the touch

Request an appointment with the Baptist Health Orthopedic team if you need help with treating joint stiffness.

Genetics and Heart Disease

How Does Genetics Affect Heart Disease?

While lifestyle factors play a major role in heart health, there’s also a connection between genetics and heart disease. In some areas, the link is direct, such as genetic conditions that affect the heart muscle. In others, the connection may be more indirect, like when a gene causes elevated cholesterol levels, which then increases a person’s risk of heart disease.

Can Heart Disease Be Genetic?

When people ask, “Is heart disease hereditary?”, the answer is that it can be in some cases. For example, genetic heart disease types include conditions like:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This disease causes thickening of the heart muscle, which results in chest pain, rapid or pounding heartbeats, shortness of breath, and fainting.
  • Sudden cardiac death. This condition most often strikes adults between the ages of 35 and 45 and affects twice as many men as women.
  • Long QT syndrome. This condition affects the heart’s electrical system and can cause fainting, seizures and sudden death.
  • Familial atrial myxoma. This is a rare genetic disorder that causes the formation of a benign, gelatinous mass in the upper chambers of the heart. Symptoms include a heart murmur, fatigue and shortness of breath.

These are just some of the heart conditions that are caused by genetics.

Genetic Risk Factors for Heart Disease

When considering genetic risk factors for heart disease, your doctor may look for:

Genetic Markers for Heart Disease

These are found using genetic testing.

Family History of Heart Disease

It’s important to share with your doctor everything you know about family members who’ve had heart disease.

Environmental Factors

While the environment you’re raised in isn’t a genetic factor, there are behaviors that run in families such as poor diet or sedentary lifestyle that play a role in whether heart disease will develop or worsen.

These and other factors influence how an inherited heart condition will affect you.

Learn More About Genetics and Heart Disease from Baptist Health

Learn more about heart care from Baptist Health. Take a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) questionnaire to estimate your personal health risk and identify your risk factors for heart disease.

Can Allergies Trigger Asthma?

Many people who are diagnosed with breathing conditions ask their doctor, “Do allergies affect asthma?”, or more specifically, “Can allergies trigger asthma?”. The short answer to both questions is, “Yes.” Allergies can trigger asthma, worsen it or both. In people who experience this, the condition is often referred to as allergy-induced asthma or allergic asthma. Approximately 60% of people with asthma have this type.

What Are the Signs of Allergy-Induced Asthma?

Asthma and allergies share some of their symptoms such as congestion and coughing. However, they each have some unique symptoms as well. For example, asthma can cause:

  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughing in the morning or at night

Allergies, on the other hand, can produce:

  • Sneezing
  • Throat irritation
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Rash or hives

If you experience symptoms from both groups, these may be signs of allergy-induced asthma.

What Types of Allergies Can Cause Asthma?

If you have allergy-induced asthma, the same substances that cause your allergies to flare up can produce asthma symptoms. These may include:

  • Pet dander
  • Tree, grass and weed pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mite feces
  • Cockroach feces
  • Specific foods

So, if you’re wondering, “Can seasonal allergies cause asthma?” or “Can food allergies cause asthma?”, the unfortunate truth for those with allergic asthma is that they can. However, knowing your allergy and asthma triggers and doing your best to avoid them can help prevent symptoms of both conditions. These include irritants that may not cause an allergic reaction but can trigger an asthma attack such as air pollution, smoke, cold air, chemical fumes, and certain air fresheners, perfumes, or other scented products.

There are also different treatments for allergies and asthma, as well as some medications that treat allergic asthma specifically.

Allergy-Induced Asthma Treatment from Baptist Health

Learn more about treatment for asthma and allergy conditions at Baptist Health.

Arthritis and Pain Management: How to Get Relief

Arthritis is a significant cause of discomfort and physical impairment in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 20% of American adults (1 in 5) have been diagnosed with the condition. This leaves many people wondering how to manage arthritis pain. Fortunately, if you suffer from arthritis, there are a number of arthritis pain management tips you can follow. This article describes them.

Arthritis Pain Management Tips

Below are arthritis pain management tips that may provide relief. They include strategies for managing arthritis pain without medication as well as information on medication for arthritis pain management.

  • Heat/cold treatments. Applying heat and cold to joints can provide relief. Heat increases circulation, which brings protein and nutrients needed for healing damaged tissue. Cold restricts blood flow, which can reduce swelling. Heat and cold treatments with a heating pad or ice wrapped in a towel can be used for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Acupuncture. This involves having thin needles inserted into various points in the body as determined by the acupuncture provider. The ancient Chinese practice is believed to affect energy pathways in the body and restore balance.
  • Low-impact exercise and stretching. Some workouts like running can be damaging to joints, but low-impact exercise such as swimming helps keep joints flexible. It may also help you lose weight, which can reduce stress on your joints.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Arthritis can have a negative impact on your mood as well as your body. “Talk therapy” can help you overcome self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, and as your mood improves, you may do a better job of addressing your physical symptoms.
  • Medication. There are both over-the-counter and prescription medications that can help relieve arthritis pain. You should talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.

Treating Arthritis Pain: What to Avoid

Arthritis pain management is about both the things you do to address your pain and things you don’t do. For example, you should not:

  • Do strenuous exercise or activities. The more stress you put on your joints, the more they’ll hurt. It’s important to find the right type and amount of exercise for you.
  • Overuse medication. If you need medication to help control your arthritis pain, you should talk with your doctor. They can work with you to find the proper dosage of the right medication.
  • Ignore your mental and emotional health. Having arthritis and dealing with chronic pain can lead to depression or other mental health challenges. Be sure to talk with your doctor about how you’re feeling physically and emotionally as you discuss arthritis and pain management.

Start Managing Your Arthritis Pain

Arthritis can be a debilitating disease. However, through proper management of the condition, you can minimize the symptoms and improve your quality of life. The key is to be proactive.

Turn to the Baptist Health Orthopedic team if your arthritis symptoms are worsening.

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