Archive for July, 2016

Exercising in Hot Weather

July 22nd, 2016 by Dr.Chang

heat

Beat the Heat!

How heat affects your body
Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body. If you don’t take care when exercising in the heat, you risk serious illness. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your core body temperature.

To help cool itself, your body sends more blood to circulate through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which in turn increases your heart rate. If the humidity also is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn’t readily evaporate from your skin. That pushes your body temperature even higher.

Heat-related illness
Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you’re exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long.
Symptoms of heat related illness:
  • Heat cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle contractions.  Your body temperature may be normal.
  • Heat syncope and exercise-associated collapse. Heat syncope is a feeling of lightheadedness or fainting caused by high temperatures, often occurring after standing for a long period of time, or standing quickly after sitting for a long period of time. Exercise-associated collapse is feeling lightheaded or fainting immediately after exercising.
  • Heat exhaustion. With heat exhaustion, your body temperature rises as high as 104 F (40 C), and you may experience signs and symptoms including nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, and cold, clammy skin. If left untreated, this can lead to heatstroke.
  • Heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency condition that occurs when your body temperature is greater than 104 F (40 C). Your skin may be hot, but your body may stop sweating to help cool itself. If your heatstroke occurs during exercise in hot, humid weather, you may continue to sweat for a short time after exercising.If you develop signs and symptoms including confusion, irritability, heart rhythm problems, dizziness, nausea, visual problems and fatigue. You need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or even death.
  • When you exercise in hot weather, keep these precautions in mind:

    • Watch the temperature
    • Get acclimated
    • Know your fitness level
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Dress appropriately
    • Avoid midday sun
    • Wear sunscreen
    • If you plan to exercise over an hour, consider a sports drink instead of water. Sports drinks can replace the electrolytes you lose through sweating.

    Exercising in the heat can improve your fitness level. Heat-related illnesses are generally preventable by taking a few basic precautions.  Be mindful of your body and stop exercising if you begin to have symptoms of heat-related illness.  Pace yourself, allow your body to acclimate to the hot temperatures, and always drink plenty of  fluids before and after you exercise.

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Toenail Fungus

July 15th, 2016 by Dr.Chang

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What Causes Toenail Fungus?
Bare feet in damp places are particularly susceptible to coming in contact with fungi, but the excessive perspiration that happens inside of a shoe during workouts can also create the same kind of environment. Therefore, frequent time spent in the pool or at the gym is often cited as the cause for fungal infections in the toenails.
In some cases, the fungus is contracted because of an initial injury to the nail bed. Even something as simple as a stubbed toe or an ingrown toenail can make the area more susceptible to the development of a toenail fungus.
What is Toenail Fungus & How will I know if I Have it?
Toenail fungus is an infection beneath the surface of the nail. It can be present on a toe for years without producing noticeable pain, but usually changes to the color and quality of the nail are the first indicators of its presence. The timing and severity of symptoms vary from patient to patient, but generally include:
  • darkening/discoloration of the affected nail
  • a foul smell from the nail
  • thickening of the nail
  • white marks on the nail plate
  • redness and swelling
  • spreading of the infected area
  • pain when walking or wearing shoes
If you’ve noticed a progressive change in a toenail’s color or thickness, make an appointment with your doctor to have it checked. A variety of conditions many cause thick, or discolored toenails, including psoriasis, diabetes, trauma, and constant nail polishing. If your doctor is not sure of the cause, she/he may choose to take a sample of the nail and have a fungal stain done at the lab, this will confirm whether the nail is fungal.
There are treatments available for nail fungus,  including oral medication, topical treatments and laser treatments your doctor will help you decide what is best for you.

Whatever treatment you choose, take these precautions to prevent recurrences:

  • Keep your feet as clean and dry as possible
  • Wear waterproof sandals at swimming pools or other wet public areas
  • Change your socks or hose daily
  • Clip toenails straight across and keep them shorter than the tips of your toes
  • Avoid tight hosiery, which promotes moisture retention, and wear synthetic fabric socks that wick moisture away from feet better than cotton or wool

At Blue Ridge Foot and Ankle Clinic, we pride ourselves in offering advanced treatment options and research-based medical solutions for fungal toenails and all foot and ankle conditions. If you would like more information or feel you may benefit from our services, please contact the office to learn more or schedule an appointment

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