Monday, April 15, 2019

Ouch!!--Pain at the Base of the Thumb

  Pain and soreness at the base of the thumb may be De Quervain’s tendonitis. Tendons at the bottom of the thumb are irritated, inflammed, and constricted.
There may be swelling, tenderness to touch, and moving or using the thumb is painful. Turning the wrist or gripping something will hurt.
This is called De Quervain’s tendonitis, and it is often caused by repetitive motions or overuse of the hand, wrist & thumb. Tendons attach muscles to bone; repetitive uses of the hand / wrist / thumb, such as gripping, twisting, wringing, chopping, etc., irritates the tendons & causes the inflammation.  
As with other inflammatory conditions, ice is your friend. Protecting the inflammed tendons is key, so limit usage to allow healing. Application of anti-inflammatories such as arnica, as well as ice, is helpful.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare recipients have an option of buying private insurance outside of Medicare, often called “Advantage” plans. These plans are offered by private companies that contract with Medicare, and often include benefits not provided by regular Medicare, such as vision, dental, etc.
This type of private insurance plan must conform to the rules of Medicare--such as limiting charges for certain services--but is administered by Blue Cross, United Health, or other private companies. Patients still have the rights and protections provided under original Medicare.

Monday, April 1, 2019

6 Facts You May Not Know About Carrots

Orange carrots contain beta carotene, but purple carrots have more antioxidants & potentially more health benefits.
Some vegetables are as nutritious frozen as they are fresh, but not carrots. Peeling, processing, freezing, & thawing destroys much of their antioxidants.
Though convenient, baby carrots, pretrimmed & scrubbed, are actually misshapen mature carrots that have been whittled down to smaller, more uniform size. The part that’s thrown away, the outer skin & what’s just beneath it, is much more nutritious. As much as 1/3 of phytonutrients are lost by rimming away the outer parts.
Carrots are better for you when cooked. Cooking breaks down their tough cell walls, making their nutrients more bioavailable. And it matters how you cook them--boiling allows their water-soluble nutrients to leach into the cooking water. Steam or saute them instead. Also, cooking them whole instead of sliced or chopped retains more of their food value and natural sweetness. Cook first; then slice. 
Eating carrots that have been cooked whole may even reduce cancer risks. Carrots contain falcarinol, a cancer-fighting compound. Whole cooked carrots have 25% more of it than those that have been cut before cooking.
Lastly, carrots are best eaten with a healthy fat or oil, because some of their best nutrients are fat-soluble.
       (Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, by Jo Robinson. Little, Brown & Co., 2018)