It’s never too early to start thinking about your new year fitness routine. Like most people, you’re probably tired of the same old routine. You want something new to help ring in the new year and help you rev up your fitness routine and hit your goals.
Lucky for you, we’ve searched high and low and found the hottest fitness trends for 2019!
1- The biggest trend for the new year is wearable technology. If you are the lucky recipient of a smartwatch, a fitness tracker, heart monitor, or any other techie fitness gift for the holidays, all you have to do is throw on a pair of shoes (or not) and get outdoors, or better yet, walk up and down your stairs at home. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do. Studies have shown that people move more when they have one of these devices reminding them to get off the couch and take a few steps. So, grab your tracker and start moving! You’ll be the leader of the pack in no time flat.
2- Group training classes are hot! Any class you can take with other participants is worth it for the motivation. There are even online group classes you can join and enjoy from the comforts of your home. What’s not to love about that?
3- HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) was number one in last year’s list of fitness trends. It’s taken a slight hit as far as numbers are concerned, but it’s still big in the fitness industry and should not be ignored. This training involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a brief resting period, then, repeat for several intervals. Training usually lasts about 30 minutes or less and no gym required.
4- Many new and exciting fitness classes are popping up for people of a certain age and certain mobility levels. Let’s face it, our population is aging and it only makes sense that we continue to keep our bodies fit and healthy well into old age. Exercise, even moderate exercise, is a wonderful way to maintain bone density and build or keep muscle mass as you age.
5- Bodyweight training is great because there are no barbells to lift and no kettle balls to manage. All you need for this is the weight of your own body. Think planks, push-ups, and other exercises that use your body’s own resistance.
6- Certified personal trainers in it for the win. The fitness industry has exploded and for good reason. People are more conscious of what they eat and how they move. Why not hire a professional to help you meet your optimal fitness level and help you reach your goals?
7- The ancient practice of yoga has made the top ten in fitness trends for years. It’s taken on many forms and revved up what one can do in yoga, but that hasn’t changed the great impact it can have on your life. You can take a power yoga class, or hot yoga, or even goat yoga. No wonder it’s on the list of best workouts!
8- Functional fitness training uses exercise to help improve balance, coordination, strength, and endurance. Turning these weaknesses into strengths can help you in other areas of your life, like when you want to go on a hike or play an affable sports match with family or friends. On the whole, these exercises help you function better in your daily life.
9- Interestingly enough, many health care providers are ditching their prescription pads and advising patients to exercise instead. A morning walk, an evening run, and step goals all play a role in this new trend. It’s about teaching you how to better care for yourself through exercise.
No matter how you decide to workout, it’s important to be active every day, and with this list of the best workouts, you have many options to make it fun and far from ordinary.
Everyone wishes they could grow strong, healthy hair. But anyone who has ever waited years for their dream of long, luxurious hair, knows it can take years before you see any results of your efforts, and even then, there are no guarantees what you’ve done will garner the results you’d hoped for. As much as it pains someone to think about it, the sad fact is there is almost nothing we can do to accelerate that process, but don’t let that stop you. There are, however, things you can do to ensure better results the next time you try to grow out your hair. The key is to take proper care of it while you wait.
Despite what you may have heard, there are no proven treatments to make your hair grow in faster. Even if there is, by the time you stop taking the pill or applying the lotion, your hair will slow down and regain its regular process and time of growing.
Instead, what you can do is build strong building blocks by having enough proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Treat your hair in the same way you would treat your face. Use quality products, no harsh chemicals, protect it from damage like the sun’s rays, heat, or any other kind of chemicals.
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp, that’s the real secret. The scalp is also skin it needs to be cleaned, stimulate, and exfoliate every month. Prep the scalp with the Rocco Donna Professional Scalp Stimulator – Exfoliating Elixir, which gently exfoliates, removing build-up around the hair follicles and stimulates circulation for hair growth and stronger roots. Natural Jojoba, Argan, Lavander and Sunflower oils moisture to balance pH levels and reduce excessive oil production by the scalp. Vitamin B5 and Soy Protein promote thicker and improved hair texture.
Here are a few tips to help you as you grow your hair out:
– Take supplemental vitamins like biotin. – Get some sunshine. If your vitamin D level is low, it may actually slow down hair growth. – Distress with exercise, yoga, or mindfulness training. Too much stress can actually lead to hair loss. – When using blow dry, curling iron or flat iron, protect your hair with a heat protectant product. – Don’t wash it too often, wash it every other day. Washing it too often can strip away the natural oils that keep it healthy. – When washing your hair, finish with a cold rinse to close the cuticle. This will help seal your hair and prevent it from being damaged. – Protect your hair from UV damage, wear a hat and use sun protection products. – Apply a deep restorative treatment every month.
Your overall health is important in order to have healthy hair; taking multivitamins, have a healthy diet, exercise frequently, protecting your hair from heat is vital.
As celebrity hair artist, artistic advisor and spokesperson, I recommend you to use good quality products, without sulfate and rich in nutrients and moisturizing agents.
As for your scalp, you can use the Scalp Stimulator Exfoliating Scalp Treatment; you can apply it once per month, to allow the hair follicle and the hair to grow freely. This product eliminates build up from styling products, dust, salt and chlorine from the pool.
To follow up at home care is very important, I recommend to use every night the Rocco Donna Professional Anti-Aging Scalp Renewal, a daily scalp treatment for stronger and fuller hair. This treatment works at the celluar level to stimulate and regenerate dormant hair follicles.
These super resilient cells can replace damaged ones, allowing hair to grow healthier, providing thicker and fuller hair with plenty of body and bounce.
The most important thing is to be consistent, always keep your beauty routine as a priority and reach out to experts if any question or concern.
Melanie Rinaldi is an athlete through and through. She’s an exceptional diver who at one point existed among those at the pinnacle of her sport. While she was with the University of Miami, she won an ACC Championship, an ACC MVP, and All-American Honors. She also won two national championships in her native Canada, and competed in several international tournaments for the National Team, winning four medals and ranking her in top four worldwide. But unfortunately, her body began to feel the wear and tear so injuries started plaguing her. So much so that she narrowly missed making the Olympics twice. But she’s never let anything stop her. Even though she may no longer be diving professionally, Melanie has used her wisdom from the lessons she’s learned to flourish in this second part of her career. This month, we’re speaking to her about Rinaldi Performance— the current love and labor of her life.
Your bio describes your fascinating career as an athlete, but can you tell us a bit more about your professional journey? How did Rinaldi Performance come to be?
I created RP to act on my vision of providing people with a special place to develop into the best version of themselves. Throughout my athletic career, I had the opportunity to visit many facilities all over the world. I became fascinated by the different ways distinct countries provided care for their population. An overall theme– most places had a singular focus, be it physical therapy, pilates, yoga, strength training, nutrition etc… It was often difficult to find high-quality services in different health & wellness areas all under one roof. I wanted to create that. I wanted to be able to provide the best possible service for anyone that came through the door, no matter what they were looking for in this industry.
You come from Montreal, went to school at the University of Miami and then decided to stay here. What made you fall in love with the city? Anything you’d like to say to the community?
The weather and The U! I was recruited by one of the most prestigious Diving programs in the country, and it was an honor to compete for The University of Miami. My two coaches, Randy Ableman and Dario Difazio, became father-figures for me— the amount of care they gave me as a student-athlete shaped me into my best self. The U became my family away from home and still is today.
I also must admit that the spectacular weather South Florida has to offer definitely influenced my decision to stay. I am a very outdoorsy person, and the unforgiving Montreal winters clashed with my personality. I now live and work in Coconut Grove and absolutely love this community. I come from a multicultural background and really enjoy the diversity South Florida has to offer.
Resilience seems a key theme throughout your life’s story. Have any advice for someone going through similar setbacks that may seem out of their control?
You are always in control. No matter the situation, you always have control over how you will respond to any situation. Your reactions are the key to your success or your failure. Setbacks are inevitable, and sometimes unforeseen or unfortunate things just happen. Even so, you have a choice as to how you will handle the situation and overcome any challenges. If you give your absolute best effort, work hard, and make the best decisions you can with the information you have at that moment, your setback will turn to triumph.
Can you tell us a bit about the GYROTONIC® method? How does it work in layman’s terms? How does the GYROKINESIS® method differ?
Simply put, The Gyrotonic method decompresses your body and helps get your mobility and strength back. If you have compressive issues in your spine, pinched joints, arthritic joints, sciatica issues or any type of pain or discomfort due to tension, tightness, trauma, overuse, or compression- this exercises system can help. The difference between Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis exercise is that the former uses specialized equipment to assist in learning and performing the movements. Gyrokinesis exercise only uses your body (similar to yoga or Thai chi), a stool, and mat so it can be practiced anywhere.
How does Gyrotonic exercise compare to other rehabilitation techniques? What does it offer that others don’t? Are there any it may work in great conjunction with?
Gyrotonic exercise is exceptionally versatile and works in conjunction with all rehabilitation and exercise techniques. You can think of it as a positive addition to (instead of a replacement of) movement practices. You can add it to your weight training routine, yoga or pilates practice, rehabilitation or sport because it is a compliment to all movement practices.
An exceptional quality of this system is that it focuses on decompressing the spine, joints, and overall body while strengthening all connective tendons, ligaments, tissues, and muscles especially the stabilizing ones. Moreover, it really focuses on spiraling, turning, and 3-dimensional movements which are vital to a healthy body and often times overlooked in other movement systems.
Are there any common misconceptions about Gyrotonic exercise? Any little-known facts you’d like to share?
Yes, that it is only used for stretching. Although flexibility is highly emphasized in this program, stabilization, strength, and breathing patterns are also highly stressed and all connected. The special thing about Gyrotonic exercise is that you can work out hard to get stronger, stretch to become more flexible, and not feel that compressive pain and tightness which usually arises after a hard gym workout. It is incredibly liberating, stress-stress-relieving, and highly effective in aiding in healing an injured or unbalanced body. It definitely opens up your body.
What sorts of people do you imagine coming through to Rinaldi Performance? Is it mostly for people rehabbing from injury, or is it accessible for anybody looking to get in shape?
Everyone! I have worked extensively with the disabled population in helping their body build strength and release tension from being confined in a wheelchair; Traumatic Brain Injury patients from Jackson Memorial Hospital needing help with coordination and balance; Olympic medalists recovering from injuries or to improve their performance in preparation for the next games.
Since I am certified in Personal Training, Olympic Weightlifting, Gymnastics training and have a 20-year extensive background in fitness and strength training, RP welcomes those who are looking to challenge themselves and get into the best shape of their lives as well.
Have you learned anything throughout this process of being a trainer that you wish you knew when you were an athlete?
Yes! To take better care of my body on a daily basis and not just when I was injured. Also, that everything matters- sleep, nutrition, stress levels, personal and professional life. Most importantly, to maintain them in a state of balance so that I may exude the best version of myself every day.
I see you also offer motivational and mentoring services, what led you to go down that road as well?
I love public speaking and connecting with people. I felt I had learned valuable lessons about determination, resilience, and courage throughout my athletic career that I wanted to share with others. I wanted mainly to express that failure is not always harmful but instead necessary to help push us to the next level and test our determination to succeed and reach our goals. I was fortunate to be surrounded by Olympic coaches and mentors my entire life, and as a result, I gained valuable life lessons. My goal in my mentoring and speaking is to pass those lessons onto the people wanting to learn, grow or change something in their lives and to help them become the best version of themselves.
Who do you envision coming to your mentorship program? What do you believe to be the value of offering such a program?
Everyone from business CEO’s to children struggling or wanting to improve their performance in school, sports or social situations. The value is immense. It is providing a support system outside of your circle that you can connect to for help. I believe everyone should have a mentor in their lives that can help guide them when needed. In my program, we focus on mindset because ultimately, your thoughts control everything. Therefore, if we work on developing a positive mindset, learn coping tools for challenges, and develop a strong work ethic– we can drastically alter the outcome of our future for the better.
Can you tell us anything fun or interesting about yourself? Who is Melanie Rinaldi outside the gym?
I love to have fun, take risks and spend time with loved ones. I speak 5 languages and grew up with a tough older brother that taught me how to play every sport and to be competitive. I danced all throughout high school and was the MVP track athlete 2 years in a row all while competitively training in Diving. I love animals and being outside in nature. I’m a fan of classic muscle cars and have spent a lot of time observing my brother and father rebuild them. I love learning and invest a lot in my education and constant emotional and intellectual growth.
In case you haven’t heard, eating sugar is one of the worst things you can do. It has so many negative effects on your overall health. It contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, vascular diseases, tooth decay, cancer, and obesity.
If we all know this, why do we still consume it? Studies have shown that eating sugar is addictive. One tiny morsel and you’re hooked, but it’s not worth all the damage it could potentially cause.
While it can be found naturally in fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you. Besides, there’s a difference between natural sugars and processed sugar. The kind found in nature has little effect on our blood sugar levels and is widely considered to be healthy to eat because the fruits and vegetables in which they’re found also contain valuable vitamins and minerals. The danger is when you eat processed foods with added sugars. Those are not good for you.
The average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day. That’s way more than the recommended upper daily limit of sugar that experts say we should consume. According to the experts, women should consume less than six teaspoons of sugar per day and men should consume less than nine per day.
How do you cut back on the amount of sugar you consume?
1. Avoid sugar – filled drinkslike sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and fruit drinks. You don’t need them. Watch out for the so-called healthy drinks like smoothies. They often have more sugar than a soda. Keep in mind that your body doesn’t recognize calories from drinks in the same way it does food. Drinks don’t tend to make you feel full, so we inevitably end up drinking more than we need to. Drink water, tea, or black coffee instead.
2. Skip the sugar – loaded desserts:Opt for a piece of fruit instead. You don’t need the blood sugar spikes or the empty calories.
3. Skip the sauces: Most sauces, like ketchup and barbecue sauce, require sugar for flavor. A single servingcan have as many as one teaspoon of sugar. A dollop or two more and you’ve exceeded your limit for the day.
4. Eat full-fat foods: They’re better for you. Peanut butter, salad dressing, and yogurt are healthy natural alternatives and will keep you full longer.
5. Skip processed foods: Whole foods are much better for you as they are free of additives and artificial ingredients.
6. Read food labels: Sugar has many names, many of which end in -ose. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, chances are you shouldn’t eat it.
7. Bag healthy snacks and carry them with you: They’ll help you resist sugar cravings and will stave off hunger.
8. Breakfast foods can be a nightmare: Start your day with a healthy full-fat meal. You will stay full longer and can avoid copious amounts of sugar in your diet.
9. Eat high-protein foods and fats to help reduce hunger and reduce your food intake.
10. Try natural sweeteners like stevia: Read the labels. Use it in place of sugar.
How do you know when you’ve gone too far when exercising? Our bodies will tell us when that new fitness routine we’re obsessed with has taken its toll. It’s normal to have some aches and pains after a workout, but if you should suffer from long periods of muscle soreness following a vigorous exercise regimen, it might be the first sign that you’ve overdone it.
A day or two with slight discomfort isn’t a big deal. If after a week you’re still feeling the effects, that could be a sign that you’ve gone too far. Couple that with sleep changes and feeling sluggish and unenergized, you could have the perfect cocktail of overtraining.
The last thing anyone who works out wants or needs is to be sidelined by an injury. It breaks momentum. While consistent training is important, overdoing it can lead to significant injuries. The key is to be cognizant of cues that you may have gone too far.
Here are some signs to watch out for:
1. Reduced Health or Well-Being: What you eat and how you feel play a significant role in preventing illnesses and injuries. If you’re overworked or are working out too much, you run the risk of falling prey to an illness or injury. Pay attention to what you put in your body and try as best as you can to stick to a healthy fitness routine.
2. Sore muscles that last for extended periods of time: If you wake up and find yourself in pain from yesterday’s workout, you might have an issue. It is highly unusual to be in significant pain post workout. Exercising more than recommended won’t help you reach your goals faster. In fact, it may slow you down.
3. Feeling sluggish: If you’re feeling sluggish, it could be due to a number of factors, including poor sleep habits and stress from work or home. Failing to give your body the rest it needs between workouts only adds to the feeling of sluggishness. A good exercise program and routine will leave you feeling energized.
4. Lack of motivation: If you don’t get out of your funk and move, your mind and body will pay the price. The problem presents itself when you jump in without a plan.
5. Feeling agitated for no apparent reason: Exercising has been proven to be a mood booster, but over-exercising is counterintuitive. It doesn’t make us feel more motivated. It leaves us in pain and feeling overwhelmed. Don’t let that happen. Stick to an achievable goal and routine and reap the benefits in due time.
6. You’ll see an increase in injuries if you overwork your body, so don’t try to cram a month’s worth of exercises into an evening. All you’ll do is wear yourself out mentally and physically. Your body needs time to get used to a routine. It needs ample breaks between workouts. You also need to be properly nourished and hydrated and to get enough sleep. All of these will help with a speedy recovery after an intense workout.
Your face. It’s you and it’s beautiful, especially when you laugh! You know it’s true. At the same time, though, don’t you wish you had that glowing, smooth skin of a 20-something? Or, maybe you are 20-something and hope to keep your beautiful skin until you fare no more. You may be surprised to know that with a consistent skin care routine of quality products, you can revive your skin and keep your beauty from fading.
There are three aspects that help make a face beautiful—fresh-looking skin, smooth texture, and a smile! So, the question remains, how do we achieve and maintain fresh-looking skin and smooth texture? Both begin with high-quality skin care products that are formulated for your skin type and a few of my secrets—a battery-operated cleansing brush to help clean pores and keep your face looking bright, and cleansing and moisturizing in the morning and at night.
Because I have very oily skin, let’s talk about that first. The key is not to dry it out. All that does is result in even more oil production. Definitely find a product specifically formulated for oily skin and continue trying various brands until you find the one that makes your skin comfortable. Of all the products I’ve tried, Mary Kay’s TimeWise line has been the best, including the moisturizer. Yes, even oily skin needs a moisturizer and eye cream if you want to minimize fine lines and wrinkles or delay their onset. Your next best friend is a battery-operated cleansing brush. I use mine once a day and it keeps the blackheads and tiny white pimples from forming, so much so that I don’t even need a cleansing mask anymore. Oh, and even if you don’t wear foundation, you will love the results of a foundation primer to keep the shine away all day long without feeling heavy or clogging pores.
Dry skin requires as much attention as oily skin because it is extremely prone to wrinkles and dullness, which is why it’s so important to moisturize every day, morning and night, with high-quality products made for dry skin. Although you may not feel the need to cleanse twice a day, you should for three reasons—your skin needs the hydration that your cleanser and moisturizer deliver, your eyes need the eye cream to minimize crow’s feet, and your face simply needs to be washed. Think of your sunglasses. Somehow the lenses get dirty even though you hardly touched them. It’s the same with your face. You may also want to use a weekly exfoliator. You are going to love your skin!
So, you’re lucky enough to have normal skin. That doesn’t let you off the hook, though. To fight the aging process, minimize skin issues, and keep your skin looking healthy, use a high-quality product line formulated for normal skin. As problem-free as your skin may be, it benefits from being cared for, just like oily and dry skin. Trust me, you’ll notice the difference, if not today, you will when you’re older.
No matter which skin type you have, if you want your face to glow and look youthful, every day you have to give it the attention and products it needs. But remember, the most direct path to a beautiful face is a positive attitude. The second is a great skin care regimen.
With the holidays upon us, we are beginning to realize that time is not on our side. We try to prepare for the food-laden holidays, buying all the baking goods, purchasing gifts, and trying to keep some semblance of normalcy in our lives. With times so hectic, all too often we turn to convenience foods, so we’ll have enough time to fit in all the tasks and errands we want to accomplish.
That’s where trouble sets in. We forget about exercise because our to-do lists are hanging over our heads. We nibble on snacks as we’re baking the cookies or preparing a yule log for the company holiday party. We’re busy people, but all that fuss takes a toll on our fitness.
Here are a few tips that are quick and easy to get you through the harried holiday season :
– Portion control is your friend. It’s okay to have a cookie but avoid eating the entire tray of cookies. Carry or serve healthier alternatives.
– Drink plenty of water. You may not realize it, but those hunger pangs you think you feel may actually be a signal that you’re dehydrated. Choose water first. If your tummy is still growling after that, have a light snack. Don’t overindulge.
– Keep moving. It may feel like you’re constantly on the move, but you may be surprised to see you haven’t moved as much as you think you have. Use a fitness tracker to help keep track of your steps or calories burned. Set a goal and stick to it. You’ll have more energy to get the things done that you need to do.
– Add exercise and sleep to your to-do list. You’ll need both to keep you feeling alert and energized, make both a priority.
– Say yes to your favorite carb-heavy meal or dessert, just don’t make it a habit. One night to indulge is all you need and commit to not doing it again for another seven days.
– Carve in exercise bursts throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park far away from the store entrance. Walk during your lunch hour. Take a nice evening stroll to look at the holiday decorations. Do squats while you brush your teeth. Use a couple of cans of cranberry sauce as light weights while you oversee what’s on the stove.
– The point is to keep fitness in the forefront of your mind during the busy holiday season, so you can maintain (or increase!) your energy level and feeling of wellbeing. Plus, you won’t have to make that dreaded New Year resolution to lose weight and get into shape!
Tis the season of giving and, although sharing your talents should be a year-round action, now is the time of year when many people yearn for something more than a wrapped gift. Sure, giving your time and effort to charities by way of donations is wonderful and appreciated by many, but how about donating your artistic talent for a good cause this year? Sharing with others your artistic skill as a singer, painter, dancer, or actor may be exactly what some people may need to brighten up their holiday season.
Here are some ideas:
• Donate artwork for rooms of nursing homes, hospitals, foster homes, or homeless shelters • Decorate a cake and cookies for a homeless shelter • Go Christmas caroling at your local nursing home or hospital • Create a holiday-themed recital for long-term care residents • Decorate holiday cards and deliver them to local patients • Dress up in Disney costumes and sing for a children’s hospital • Host a holiday movie night • Volunteer to read books to children or nursing home residents • Create flower arrangements and deliver them to hospital rooms • Write motivating quotes and place them on meal trays at a hospital or homeless shelter • Paint a mural to brighten up a local space • Host an event to teach children your art skill • Create an advertisement for a charity • Lead a book discussion at a library • Create funny postcards for children in hospitals • Host a free exhibition to raise awareness of a cause • Donate your photography skills at shelters for family portraits • Help paint a school or shelter • Volunteer at an arts center
Be as creative as you can possibly be! Focus on what you love to do and what your community needs. Giving is so much greater when you can connect with the joy of sharing your talents.
Driscoll gastroenterologists such as Ashok Jain, MD, and Vera Okwu, MD, travel from Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, to the Specialty Center in Brownsville to treat patients with gastrointestinal and liver disorders, as well as nutritional problems of infants, children and adolescents. The clinic also has Sabeen Syed, MD, on staff who treats patients at the main campus.
“I’ve been seeing patients in the Rio Grande Valley for the past 25 years,” said Dr. Jain.
“We started in Harlingen, and then expanded into McAllen and Brownsville.”
Dr. Jain said at that time he was able to hold clinic once per month while he was the only gastroenterologist. In the last several years, the clinic has gastroenterologists seeing patients every week at the Driscoll Children’s Specialty Center.
Patients they see most often will come through referrals after visiting their family practitioner, though it is not uncommon to see a patient for the first time in emergent care.
According to Dr. Syed, once the patient is referred to them, the reputation of Driscoll Children’s Hospital is comforting to the family.
“I think part of the reason is the care we provide is well known, and that someone is always on call to answer their questions after hours, including weekends,” said Dr. Syed. “If the patient needs to be admitted, then we transport them to the main campus in Corpus Christi, taking care of them and always following up with after care once they return home.
“The quality of care we provide is why we see the number of patients that we do.”
Dr. Jain added, “There are also many patients who are transferred from other hospitals from the Rio Grande Valley into our neonatal or pediatric intensive care units that we treat, who require a lot of care, and sometimes we are following up with those patients for many years.”
Driscoll Children’s Hospital continues expanding its care throughout South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, so that more children receive more care and they do not have to travel outside of their communities.
Gastroenterology complications are complex.
“We see patients with all gastrointestinal-related problems in our clinics,” said Dr. Jain. “These conditions can include inflammatory bowel disease, chronic abdominal pain, intestinal bleeding, constipation and others. We also follow patients who are discharged from Driscoll Children’s Hospital and need continued care.”
With the number of symptoms and variety of ailments connected to gastrointestinal problems, Driscoll gastroenterologists are very experienced in their practice.
Some of the health concerns the physicians treat are:
• Gastroesophageal reflux • Recurrent abdominal pain • Diarrheal disorders • Constipation/encopresis • Inflammatory bowel disease • Peptic ulcer disease • Chronic active hepatitis • Disease of the pancreas
“We provide not only the quality of care aspect that is so important, but the efficiency in providing that care,” said Dr. Okwu. “We’re very good about getting our patients in without delay so they are not waiting hours to see the doctor and then reaching out with test results, and next steps that need to be taken to extend that necessary care.”
Dr. Okwu, a graduate of Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, completed her residency in Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and is board certified in General Pediatrics and Pediatric Gastroenterology, as are all physicians in the clinic. She has been with Driscoll for the past three years.
The clinic also has a dietitian on staff, so a patient may easily be seen for nutritional and dietary issues.
“That is a big plus,” added Dr. Jain. “When we see a patient in Brownsville, they are able to be seen the same day to help figure out the dietary needs of the patient and how to improve there so that the impact of care can take hold.”
“There is a lot of specialized care available with Driscoll that is not readily available at even the largest medical centers across the country, particularly with therapies that help with issues related to constipation,” added Dr. Syed.
Driscoll Children’s Specialty Center – Brownsville also has Radiology Services on location so if the gastroenterologists need to see why a child’s stomach or liver is swollen, those diagnostics are readily available to help expedite decision-making at the point of care.
Pediatric radiologists read the results and physicians have immediate access, throughout the entire Driscoll Health System, to relay to parents right away.
Caring for children is Love.
Dr. Jain, who completed his residency at Saint Luke’s in Cleveland, Ohio, has always felt there is such a need to work with children and has done so throughout his entire medical career.
“As we have better resources, we have more challenges,” said Dr. Jain. “To meet those challenges is exciting and offers rewarding opportunities.
“You can create such a change through pediatric medicine,” he added. “We can help children with a wide array of digestive health problems, whether they are simple problems like constipation or soiling, or serious problems like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, bleeding ulcers, celiac disease and liver diseases. Patients with short bowel syndrome can require years of intravenous nutrition. To see these children grow is very rewarding.”
Each Driscoll gastroenterologist understands that you have to create an environment that is comforting for the child, and try to have fun whenever possible, in order to complete the process of care.
“We enjoy working with children at Driscoll,” said Dr. Syed. “Everyone has pediatric experience, everyone wants to be there and we have a process to turn difficult situations into something much easier to handle for the pediatric patient.”
Dr. Okwu adds that she appreciates the happiness a family shows when their child is feeling better.
“I really enjoy working with families and little patients,” she said. “Taking care of a child, you’re essentially taking care of their family.
“There is no greater reward than to care for our patients, eliminate their pain and guide them toward living a healthier lifestyle, so that they may live, laugh and love together,” said Dr. Okwu.
There continues to be an increase in certain gastroenterological conditions in children that the Driscoll gastroenterologists see that is concerning to them.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of cases of inflammatory bowel disease in young children. South Texas has an obesity epidemic that has contributed to adult disease, however we are finding these same problems in children such as fatty liver, gall stones and pancreatitis,” said Dr. Jain.
Parents can take steps to help combat the rise of obesity and gastrointestinal diseases.
“We are what we eat,” Dr. Jain added. “Parents can adopt a healthy lifestyle for their children eating healthy snacks, sitting down to eat a meal together instead of eating on the run; teaching children how to eat slowly and mindfully.” He also recommends avoiding sugary drinks and limiting juices.
In order to improve access to quality care, Driscoll continues to grow throughout the Rio Grande Valley by providing physicians with specialties that otherwise would not be available or difficult to come by.
“We are going to continue to expand,” said Dr. Jain. “We want to accommodate every child’s healthcare needs throughout the Rio Grande Valley.”
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. It’s the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.
The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are 65 years of age or older, but it doesn’t just affect older adults. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, nearly 200,000 people in the United States who are under the age of 65 also have early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms usually develop slowly and become more severe over time. The most common early symptom of the disease involves difficulty in remembering newly learned information. As the disease progresses, more severe symptoms may present that include disorientation, confusion about information, mood changes, behavior changes, unfound suspicions about known individuals, and even difficulty in walking, speaking, or swallowing.
While there’s currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s, treatments for symptoms are available.
At Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital, our specially-trained, interdisciplinary team works with Alzheimer’s patients and their families to help them maintain their abilities and independence for as long as possible. This in turn can help to decrease caregiver stress.
Depending upon the stage of the disease, we create individualized treatment plans with patients and family members, which can include:
• Physical Therapy: Focuses on improving balance, muscle strength and mobility; fall prevention
• Speech-Language Pathology: Focuses on cognitive and communication skills; swallowing difficulties
• Occupational Therapy: Focuses on daily living activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, toileting
• Neuropsychology Counseling: Helps patients and family members adjust to emotional and physical changes
• Home Evaluations: Identifies necessary modifications to provide a safe home environment
• Family/Caregiver Education: Teaches caregivers about disease process and how to best help
• Community Resources: Provides patients and caregivers with educational resources, including respite care
For more information on Weslaco Regional Rehabilitation Hospital’s Alzheimer’s services, call 956-969-2222.