From the potential dangers of med spas and cosmetics to binge drinking and more, discover the health risks that you didn’t even know you were taking.
Are Elderly Drivers Dangerous?
A recent surge of national news reports surrounding elderly drivers and vehicular accidents is bringing senior citizens behind the wheel into the public spotlight.
“I think the controversy here has more to do with [how] people are lumping elderly drivers in a category and saying, ‘Not safe to be on the road,’” E.R. physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “But the reality is that we know, as physicians, that you can be dangerous on the road at any age.”
Road safety analysts speculate that by 2030, the number of U.S. drivers over the age of 65 will have doubled to approximately 57 million. This surge of senior citizens behind the wheel is predicted to be responsible for 25 percent of fatal crashes. Currently, elderly drivers are responsible for 11 percent.
“I think it has to do with mental acuity. I think it has to do with reflexes and ability,” OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. “So many accidents actually occur [with] younger drivers and newer, inexperienced drivers.”
According to a federal report, based on miles driven, drivers 75 years or older have the highest chances among all age groups of being involved in a deadly collision; however, age-related fragility is the predominant factor explaining elevated mortality rates among older drivers. Macular degeneration, as well as physical and cognitive impairments may also affect the driving abilities of older adults.
The Doctors debate who should be responsible for determining if and when an elderly citizen should no longer be granted a license to drive.
• More information on driving laws in your state.
Med Spa Dangers: The Doctors’ Investigation
The Doctors’ Investigative Reporter, Melanie Woodrow, examines the alarming cases of two Tennessee women who were left severely burned after undergoing a common laser treatment at two different med spas. Lisa Foust and Daphne Carroll elected to have a cosmetic laser treatment to reduce the signs of aging. Both women are now permanently scarred and Daphne has facial nerve damage.
“My son said I looked like someone had beaten me in the face with a baseball bat,” Daphne says. “It’s debilitating pain through my face.”
Daphne has since created a social media group to raise awareness and is speaking with her state’s legislators to rectify the issue and prevent it or similar cosmetic blunders from affecting other women.
Melanie explains how in Tennessee, there is no law regulating med spas nor is there a requirement for a doctor to supervise treatments; however, many Tennessee med spas advertise that they have a medical director on staff. Dr. Steven Bengelsdorf, a general surgeon specializing in cosmetic surgery, explains that some doctors act as “ghost medical directors” at certain med spas. Although a medical director’s name may be on the door, it does not mean they are always on sight.
“I’m not advocating that only physicians do these treatments,” Dr. Bengelsdorf says. “I’m saying that someone who does this treatment should be qualified, well-trained and be able to get medical attention for a patient who is being treated.”
Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon explains how laser technology has many beneficial medical and cosmetic applications; however, all of them are potentially dangerous if performed incorrectly, due to the intense light and heat they can generate. Many skin factors, including surface texture and color, are imperative to consider when determining a specific laser treatment.
The 24 to 48 hour aftercare period of a cosmetic procedure is critical and important, as it can make the difference in terms of scarring or other harmful reactions.
“Here’s the thing: Because you can get these treatments sometimes at the same place you would get a haircut or your eyebrows waxed, some of these women said, ‘It just didn’t seem like that big of a deal,’” Melanie explains.
“Find out what the rule is in your state and really know who is doing the treatment, what is their training, is there a medical director that’s actually on site, or is that person maybe doing some other job but is available by phone – these are the types of questions you want to ask,” Melanie says.
Breast Augmentation Regret
More than 400,000 breast augmentation procedures are performed in the U.S. each year, and while the majority of women are satisfied with the results, a small percentage of women regret their surgical decision.
Raquel elected to undergo breast augmentation after pregnancy, as she says breastfeeding significantly changed the shape and size of her breasts.
“The skin was really saggy, kind of like if you took a size C/D cup balloon and deflated it,” she says. “This took a toll on my self-esteem.”
Raquel was given two choices: either undergo a breast lift, which would leave visible scarring, or have implants put in to fill out her loose breast tissue.
“Since I had gone into this consultation to look good – it wasn’t to come out with scars – I opted to fill them up,” Raquel explains.
Since the procedure, Raquel experiences pain in her neck, shoulders and back and finds it difficult to exercise. The added volume in her breasts has also become a distraction for others during conversations, creating an uncomfortable experience for both Raquel and her husband, Daniel.
“I don’t even care what size my breasts are. I just want to feel good about myself and be able to live life to the fullest,” Raquel adds.
Dr. Ordon discusses the negative consequences that oversized implants can have. See how to create an at-home test to gauge what size of implants work best for you. Plus, see how a breast implant reduction and breast lift are performed.
Weekly Alcohol Allowance
After a long work week, many people elect to indulge in wine, beer or spirits to kick off the weekend. While moderate alcohol consumption can have health benefits, imbibing too much, too often can have an adverse effect. Discover the dangers of binge drinking and how it can cause a range of health problems.
Dr. Lisa stresses that women are physiologically unable to drink as much alcohol as men. “We have lower water concentration in our bodies, which increases the blood alcohol content. We don’t have certain enzymes in our stomachs to digest the alcohol, as well. So, there are factors that definitely affect how we metabolize alcohol and how it affects us in a different way than it does men,” she explains.
Learn the typical alcohol content by volume for a standard serving of beer, malt liquor, wine and liquor.
“What I hear people say all the time is, ‘I never touch alcohol during the week. I only drink on the weekends,’ and I think that’s what I want people’s mentality to get away from,” Dr. Travis says. “I would much rather you enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner on Monday night. And on Wednesday night, you go out with your girlfriends and you enjoy another glass of red wine, so that there’s not so much pressure on this one night to just get all the drinking in, because that’s where it really has the negative effect.”
Frequent Nighttime Urination
Is the need to urinate keeping you up at night? The Doctors explain what may be causing the symptom and whether it’s related to an overactive bladder, a urinary tract infection or a seemingly unrelated condition, such as sleep apnea.
Can Contacts Contract Sickness?
More than 30 million people in the U.S. and 71 million people worldwide depend on contact lenses for better vision; however, could contacts actually be a risk factor for contracting illness?
A study published in the journal Optometry & Vision Science showed that only 2 percent of contact lens wearers actually follow all the proper rules in relation to hygiene and contacts. This potentially creates a greater risk for a bacterial infection, such as conjunctivitis, and other cold-causing germs to enter the system through the ocular cavities.
If able, The Doctors recommend wearing eyeglasses instead of contacts when sick, and if contacts must be worn, take extra care in sanitizing hands and following the proper cleaning and storage regimen for contact lenses.
Scents of Danger?
Cindy from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida writes:
I wear perfume oil and noticed that I spilled a drop on my dresser and it took the finish off! Right down to the wood! Can the chemicals in my perfume oil be hazardous to my skin?
The Doctors discuss the risks of cosmetic toxins found in many perfumes and colognes. Phthalates, chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors, are found in most mainstream cosmetics and have a correlation with diabetes, behavioral problems and metabolic disorders. Learn which phthalates to look out for and try to avoid.
Botanically-derived essential oils tend to be a safer alternative to perfumes; however, these oils should also be tested first to assure there is no negative skin reaction.
• More on perfume dangers.
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