Thursday, 25 July 2013 20:01

The 4-1-1 on Essential Tremor

Tremor is a common condition and leads many people to seek neurological evaluation. While some tremors are due to conditions that can become debilitating or dangerous, many patients have a benign condition known as an essential tremor. In most cases, this is a very treatable disease.

What is an essential tremor?

Essential tremor is the most common movement disorder. It consists of an involuntary shaking usually in the hands, but can also involve the legs, head, or other parts of the body. The cause of essential tremor is unknown, but it does tend to run in families.

Is an essential tremor harmful?

Essential tremor can be very bothersome, interfering with the patient's life and also increase the concern that he or she might have a serious disease. While patients with essential tremor do have an increased risk of developing Parkinson's Disease in the future, this risk is still quite low overall; in the majority of cases these patients do not progress to serious illness or disease.

What should I do if I have a tremor?

See a neurologist who has been trained in the assessment of tremor and other movement disorders. By performing a comprehensive history and physical examination, a neurologist can clarify the nature of your tremor and determine if it is a benign essential tremor or if it may represent a more serious condition. In some cases, additional testing such as blood tests, brain MRI, or PET scans can help clarify the diagnosis.

essential-tremorIt there a cure for essential tremor?

There is not a cure for essential tremor, but there are many oral medications that can dramatically reduce the symptoms. These medications can be used daily or on an as-needed basis and are well tolerated by most patients. In those few patients with severe disease who do not respond to oral therapy, more advanced treatments such as Botox and deep brain stimulation have been shown to be effective.

Calli Cook, MSN, FNP-C
Midtown Neurology P.C.

(404) 653-0039

Calli Cook, MSN, FNP-C, is a Nurse Practitioner at Midtown Neurology. She received her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Thursday, 25 July 2013 19:36

Health Insurance Exchanges 101

For years, savvy online shoppers have turned to web sites that allow you to comparison shop for the best price on airfares or hotel rooms. You mark the box next to your must-haves—a non-stop flight or 4-star accommodations—and see how the competition stacks up.

While the process is sure to be much more complex, starting October 1, 2013 and continuing through March 31, 2014, millions of Georgians should be able to click their way to health coverage on, the federally-run online Health Insurance Marketplace or, as it is often called, health insurance "exchanges." Small business owners with fewer than 50 full-time employees will have an exchange of their own, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), to find plans for their employees.

What are health insurance exchanges?
The exchanges are a central part of health care reform. Under the Affordable Care Act, all U.S. citizens and people who are legal residents will be eligible for some form of coverage and cannot be turned down because of a medical condition.

The exchanges are just a new avenue to health coverage—employers and individuals can still purchase plans directly from insurance companies or through brokers. In fact, the 169 million Americans covered under employer-funded insurance plans will have little reason to peruse the exchanges' offerings or do anything at all to keep their current health plans.

However, if you are uninsured or purchase your own health coverage, shopping on the exchanges could have an advantage—federal subsidies. will require users to fill out an application to determine eligibility for financial assistance, which can reduce the out-of-pocket cost of health plans and medical expenses. The federal subsidies are only available to those who purchase health plans through

Small business owners could also see savings by purchasing coverage through the SHOP marketplace, which is designed to give them similar power to large businesses when it comes to getting better choices and lower prices for health insurance. Small businesses with 24 or fewer full-time employees may qualify for a tax credit to offset the cost of providing coverage, if they purchase health plans through SHOP.

health-insuranceWhat will the health insurance exchanges look like?
We're beginning to get a clearer picture of what the exchanges will look like. All health plans sold on the exchanges will be broken into four "metal tiers": bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The purpose of the tiers is to make it easier for consumers to understand the cost and value of benefits. These four categories offer different levels of copayments, coinsurance and deductibles.

Every health plan sold on must provide what the federal government has identified as "essential health benefits" and meet new standards related to quality and cost-sharing. So, the offerings in each metal tier will look very similar online, with cost being the most obvious differentiator. But to get the best value, shoppers have to do some research. will provide limited information about each health plan on the site, but the onus is on the buyer to determine what's offered beyond the basic requirements. If you are considering a new insurer, find out how its plans compare to the competition. Each year, the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) and J.D. Power and Associates rank health plans based on a number of factors, ranging from quality of care to customer satisfaction.

What if I need help navigating the health insurance exchanges?
If the thought of obtaining insurance through the exchanges is overwhelming, "navigators" and "assisters" will be available to guide shoppers through the online marketplaces. The navigators will have expertise in eligibility and enrollment options. They cannot be affiliated with insurance companies and are required under law to provide impartial and accurate information. Assisters can provide in-person help and actually enroll you in a health plan.

With coverage effective January 1, 2014 for health plans purchased through the new health insurance exchanges, insurers and health care providers alike are preparing for unprecedented change. Every business and individual will feel the impact of health care reform differently. Now is the time to get educated on the choices ahead.

Kerry W. Kohnen
Kaiser Permanente of Georgia

(404) 364-7000

Nine Piedmont Center,
3495 Piedmont Road NE,
Atlanta, GA 30305

Kerry W. Kohnen is president of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, a health care organization serving 240,000 members through 29 medical centers across metro Atlanta and Athens.

Protecting Your Vision and Overall Eye Health

by Taylor Arnold

eye-1It can be easy to overlook routine eye care, especially if you are already seeing clearly. But regardless of the current state of your vision, it is important to be aware of common vision problems as we age. From difficulty reading fine print to more serious disorders like macular degeneration and glaucoma, knowing what's normal (and what's not) can help you maintain strong eye health.

How Your Eyes Change Over Time
"Eyes develop fastest in the first decade of life," explains Dr. Takeia Locke of Family Eye Care Center. "This is when it is most important to begin good habits for prevention of vision problems later on." During these years, she suggests proper UV protection, good reading posture, a diet rich in zinc, vitamin A and lutein, and avoiding prolonged time in front of a computer.

"Slower changes occur up through age 40, so maintenance is key during these decades," she says. "During the 50s and 60s, the lens begins to lose its focusing ability for reading, therefore, most people by age 50 will be diagnosed with presbyopia." Hormonal changes and systemic diseases may impact your eye health as well, causing dry eye, early cataracts, macular degeneration and many other vascular changes.

"In the 50s and 60s, the lens becomes hazy, or cataract," says Dr. Niraj Desai, a cataract, cornea and refractive surgeon at Milan Eye Center. "With the eye itself, properties change, so even if you don't have cataracts, it can still be more difficult to drive at night. The retina can also change over time and degenerate." During the golden years, most vision-threatening conditions do not have early symptoms, so by this point annual eye exams are crucial.

A Glimpse Into Your Family History
Many vision diseases are genetically linked, so knowing your family history will guide your care. Personal health history such as smoking and high cholesterol impact the eyes as well.

"Vascular disorders like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol really affect the eyes," Dr. Desai says. "In the back of eye, you can have swelling of the retina, which steals your vision very quickly. That's why it's important to have routine exams of the retina, because diabetic eye disease can happen even if diabetes is well controlled."

A family history of diseases like keratoconus can predispose you as well, even though there may be varying degrees of severity among affected family members. "Diseases of the retina, such as macular dystrophies and retinitis pigmentosa, are most often hereditary in nature," explains Dr. Richard Pare of North Fulton Eye Center. "Even some forms of retinal detachment and optic nerve disorders such as glaucoma have a strong hereditary propensity."

In cases where these genetic defects are already known, a patient's risk for disease can be determined with genetic testing. "In any case, an individual with a family history of known eye disease or unexplained blindness would be well advised to have regular, complete eye examinations including a dilated exam of the back of the eye," Dr. Pare says. "Healthy adults should obtain a comprehensive baseline eye examination by age 40. Those with family history of eye disease should begin comprehensive screening exams in their twenties. With early detection, many hereditary eye diseases can be prevented or successfully treated."

Looking Out For Your Eyes Today
"The main environmental factor that affects our ocular health is sun exposure," Dr. Pare says. "Heavy or sustained exposure to ultraviolet light can accelerate formation of cataracts and possibly macular degeneration."

Wearing sunglasses is one of the easiest ways to protect your eyes. "You wear sunscreen for skin, and it's the same principle for the eyes," Dr. Desai says. "Exposure to UV radiation can cause pterygium or pinguecula, which is sunlight-related damage to the white part of the eye."

A colorful diet can do wonders for maintaining your eye health too. "Eat a diet heavy in greens, and go for more pigmented fruits and vegetables, as these can slow down premature aging of eyes," Dr. Desai says.

The Latest Treatment Options
Beyond Lasik, a new surgical option for restoring vision is a clear lens exchange. "The natural lens of the eye is removed before it forms a cataract, and an implant is placed into the eye that allows the patient to see both near and far," Dr. Desai explains. "Lasik only corrects distance – the near vision isn't corrected, so people still have to wear glasses to see up close. With a lens exchange, the artificial lens gives people the ability to see far and near."

Traditionally cataract surgery has been done manually, but today more practices are turning to the laser. "We are the second practice in the U.S. to employ the femtosecond laser to do cataract surgery. ," Dr. Desai says. "With laser, there is more precision, so it is safer. Implants are becoming extremely sophisticated and complex, and they work best when done in an exact fashion." Laser is also cutting down the recovery time from cataract surgery to one week. "The cost difference is patient-specific depending on implants they pick, but not very much," he says.

And today patients have more options than ever when it comes to selecting their implants. "There are numerous lens implants on the market that allow people to have more freedom from glasses and contacts," says Dr. Susanne Hewitt of North Fulton Eye Center. "There are multifocal implants such as Alcon's Restor and Abbott's Tecnis, and accommodating implants such as Bausch & Lomb's Crystalens, that allow people to be significantly less dependent on their distance and reading glasses after lens replacement/cataract surgery. There are several toric implants that correct astigmatism at the time of lens replacement as well.  Also, people who have been successful with monovision with contact lenses can achieve this effect after lens replacement surgery to become less dependent on readers."

Common Eye Conditions

Presbyopia - This is the lack of ability to focus up close and affects such tasks as reading, computer use, cell phone use or any task within arm's length. It is caused by the thickening and hardening of the crystalline lens and can be corrected with reading glasses, multifocal glasses, contact lenses or clear lens exchange.

Droopy eyelids - These are usually caused by ptosis or dermatochalasis. Ptosis can be caused by the age-related weakening or stretching of the major muscle that lifts the eyelid called the lavation muscle. Dermatochalasis is an age-related decrease of skin elasticity, allowing the skin of the eyelid to loosen and sag. When there is a loss of vision associated with droopy eyelids, insurance usually covers the blepharoplasty surgery, which involves the removal of excess skin and fat causing the drooping of the eyelids.

Dry Eye Syndrome - This occurs when the eye does not produce a sufficient amount of tears, or when the tears are not of the proper consistency to wet the eye normally. Treatments include prescription eye drops, over-the-counter drops, surgical cautery or silicone plugging of the tear drainage canals to slow down the drainage of tears into the nasal canal.

Flashes and floaters - These are caused by the liquefaction of the vitreous gel located deep within the eye. They can also occur when the vitreous capsule detaches from the retina. Floaters can be annoying but are usually not a cause for alarm and are a natural consequence of age. Flashes of light can be a more serious symptom caused by retinal detachment, migraine headaches or a by product of the vitreous merely pulling on the retina.

Cataracts - A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye, which causes decreased visual acuity. The lens of the eye is made of proteins arranged in a precise manner, but as we age, the proteins can clump in a random manner, rendering the lens opaque instead of transparent.

eye-2Macular Degeneration - The macula is the center of the retina, and this tissue can break down with age, causing a loss of central visual acuity. The two main types are classified as dry and wet macular degeneration. There is no real curative treatment for dry macular degeneration, but a healthy diet and nutritional supplements can slow its progression. Wet macular degeneration is characterized by hemorrhages in the macula area that can cause permanent vision loss. This is treated by injecting therapeutic agents into the back of the eye that reduce abnormal blood vessel growth and subsequent bleeding. New genetic tests can predict the likelihood of developing macular degeneration.

Glaucoma - This disease is characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve inside the eye and is usually associated with an elevated intraocular pressure. It often has no symptoms during the initial stages, and only a qualified eye doctor using advanced diagnostic equipment can diagnose it during the early phases. The first sign is often the loss of peripheral vision, but as the disease progresses it can lead to blindness.

— Information courtesy of optometrist Dr. Alan Hymowitz

Over 40 Eyes

It's an exciting time for patients over 40, particularly now that presbyopia can be managed with clear lens exchange surgery and with increasingly accurate digital lenses. "Lens materials are getting thinner and more lightweight, so comfort should not be an issue," Dr. Locke says. "Now we even have contacts targeted for early or emerging presbyopes (age 40-50)."

According to Dr. Pare the use of oral antioxidants or "eye vitamins," is gaining popularity as well. "Their effects have demonstrated a slowing of the progression of macular degeneration, but their ability to actually prevent eye disease is less understood and less demonstrated with controlled clinical trials."

Most experts still agree, however, that glasses are the gold standard for improving vision non-surgically. "Decreasing near vision after age 40 is caused by physiologic changes to the lens inside the eye and the muscle that works to change the focus power of the lens," Dr. Pare says. "While it is problematic for most people, it is rarely due to any pathologic condition. Some oral medications can exacerbate this condition, but it is most often addressed with the use of reading glasses or bifocals."


Editorial Resources

Dr. Niraj Desai – Milan Eye Center,

Dr. Susanne Hewitt and Dr. Richard Pare – North Fulton Eye Center,

Dr. Alan Hymowitz – Eye Haven of Atlanta,

Dr. Takeia Locke – Family Eye Care Center of Atlanta,

The unstoppable Elaine Sterling sets a new standard in beauty education

What can you accomplish with a hope, a prayer, a credit card and six students? Well, if you're Elaine Sterling, quite a lot actually. This was how the South African native started The Elaine Sterling Institute School of Esthetics (ESI) in Sandy Springs, a school that houses both a learning facility and a spa.  As I wait to speak with the visionary behind ESI, I notice a lone Betta fish, staring aggressively at me from his bowl in the middle of the table. These fish are known for their fighting temperament and I idly wonder if he was chosen on purpose as a warning? Or maybe he is a mascot? I don't have time to ponder this further as Sterling comes striding purposely through the doors, an easy smile on her face and her hand outstretched in greeting. It's hard to imagine this confident woman was ever anything but successful.

Rocky start
The road that got Sterling from being an out-of-work esthetician to running her own school was definitely paved with challenges.  A short time after arriving in Atlanta, her marriage fell apart and Sterling found herself in a strange country, divorced and raising two children.  But she had a skill in her arsenal – her esthetician degree.  She knew she could do something in the beauty field, so after getting the accreditations for working in the U.S., she began her career. In the beginning, she worked three jobs to make ends meet. After working as an esthetician, she became a sought-after trainer for Spa Sydell and began teaching others. Then, at the age of 35, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "The cancer was really a gift," Sterling recalls. "It changed me. It made me stronger and bolder. When I finished my radiation, I made a decision to change my life. I was not going to be afraid. I didn't know that my school would be successful, and everyone thought I was crazy when I opened it. I didn't listen to anybody, because I knew I had a vision and a dream."

Path full of promise
Today that dream is a reality and has paved the way for others to achieve their goals of working in the beauty field. "The beauty industry – and education – is really about empowering women," Sterling says. "It's giving them a hand up, not a hand out." The students that fill the rooms at ESI are diverse in age, background and culture, but they have one thing in common: the desire to fulfill their dreams. Many students come to the school because they want to change careers, reinvent themselves or simply start over in a field that has always called to them. Sterling explains that the majority of the students are on their second or third career, and only five percent are just coming from high school. "Women can really design a career for themselves (here)," says Sterling. "They can add it to their existing career; they can still be a mom if they want to be and work part time, or they can do it full time." As an entrepreneur and trained esthetician, Sterling creates a unique learning environment for her students. She knows first-hand both sides of the business and is able to pass that knowledge on.

Graduates of ESI get hands-on training experience and can earn a variety of accreditations and certifications including the ITEC (International Therapy Examination Council) from London and the CIDESCO (Comité International d'Esthétique et de Cosmétologie) from Switzerland. These certifications make it possible for students to work at spas outside the U.S., which opens up a world of possibilities. Beyond the education students get at ESI, they also receive job placement assistance. "I always tell my students, if you're not as good as or better than me when you graduate, then I have failed you," says Sterling. "So that is my goal is for them: to be brilliant."

elaine-sterlin-1Success achieved
Even with the ever-changing economy and its ups and downs, Sterling believes we are slowly coming out of the recession. She comments that there is always a need to help people learn new skills. "We're changing women's lives by educating them, giving them the skills, and empowering them to really create their own destiny.  Whether it is direct sales, or spa, or doctor's office, equipment sales, education, whatever it is, they can really create their niche." She notes that no one is retiring at 65 anymore and she hopes to still be working into her 80s. "I think working keeps us young, keeps us connected, and keeps us inspired," she says.

Sterling believes that part of achieving success is to never stop learning. "Fifteen years ago, there wasn't much on the Internet, and I had to teach myself and find somebody to train me," she notes. "Now the students have access to so much information that I didn't have. So, grab onto that information and never stop learning." Sterling admits that even after so many years in the business, she is still educating herself. "I'm still going to class, I'm still learning and that is what made me better, faster, stronger than everybody else, the fact that I kept going to class, I kept pouring (knowledge) into myself, so I was able to give back to the industry."

Maybe it's her bravery in the face of the odds she's overcome or her unapologetic way of discussing her successes, but like that Betta fish, I can see that nothing has dulled Sterling's fighting spirit.  She believes in what she is doing and sees her school having a positive effect on the people that walk through its doors. "I want the students to have the opportunities that I had, I want them to get the top jobs, and to never give up on their dreams."

Thursday, 25 July 2013 18:27

Following Your Dreams into a New Career

It's never too late to follow your dreams

Adult learners, typically defined as over the age of 25, have comprised close to 40% of the college-going population for the last two decades, according to the American Council on Education.

Once upon a time, people worked for one company for the duration of their career and then retired. But in the 21st century, not only do most people hold several jobs during their lifetimes, but they also undergo complete career changes. Gone are the days of suffering through a job you hate—today, you can find your passion, go back to school at any age, and create a life you love. Plenty of older, professional and retired workers are returning to school and reaping huge rewards. It can feel like a daunting process, though, so we'll break it down into a manageable plan so you can end up in your dream job with minimal headaches and maximum happiness. The first step, appropriately, is to do your homework.

Why Make the Switch?
A career change is typically driven by one of two things, according to Jerry Heilpern, career services director at the Art Institute of Atlanta (AIA). The first reason is that the person has been stuck in a career they dislike while longing to do something that actually excites them. The second reason is that some workers have seen the effects of the economic shifts and realize their industry is either unstable or could even become obsolete.

David Dixon, assistant director of admissions at Oglethorpe University, also sees students he calls "career advancers," who have hit a ceiling at work and need a higher degree to break through it. "We've really come into an age where the bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma," he says.

Reality Check
Before you dive into researching educational opportunities, you should first investigate the profession to be certain that your dream is in line with the reality of the job you want. "If you're going to make that major life-changing decision, first you need to do some soul searching and find out what you are passionate about," Heilpern says. "Do serious research on that industry and what the career path looks like for that industry." He recommends learning about where you would start out in the profession, and if you would have to start at the bottom, how long should you expect to stay there? Get to know what an actual day in the life is like in that profession. Once you are certain that you have selected the right career, you are ready to find the educational program that will best prepare you.

New degrees? Yes, please!
Adult degree programs are so varied that you're almost guaranteed to find a program that's perfect for you and your career switch. Dixon explains that Oglethorpe's most popular programs for adult learners are business, psychology and communications. At AIA, students flock to the culinary arts program, with audio production coming in second, followed by graphic design, fashion retail management and video production.

Kennesaw State University's College of Continuing and Professional Education offers 45 professional certificate programs, according to Dean Barbara C. Calhoun. "Our offerings represent a variety of industries, including culinary, web design, paralegal, human resources, healthcare, languages, computers and technology," she says. This college alone serves more than 20,000 people annually.

Kennesaw State University also houses the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), which offers educational and social opportunities specifically for adults age 50 and older. OLLI students, about 2,800 of them a year, enjoy classes in art, history, fitness and music appreciation. Students can even receive a certificate upon completion of computer courses, where they'll learn everything from the basics to advanced programming.

If health and wellness is something you are interested in, Life University offers a variety of degrees including chiropractic health, exercise science and nutrition. They also offer masters of science degrees in sport health science, exercise sport science and sport injury management. For adults over the age of 55, Life University has the LIFE Center for Seniors which gives adults the option to continue learning, working on self-improvement, health enhancement and connecting with fellow students. Class offerings include fitness, computer literacy, wellness, nutrition, cooking, tennis and more. Life College was established in 1975 as a college of chiropractic, and by 1990, it had grown to become the largest chiropractic college in the world. In 1996 Life College expanded its degree offerings to include an undergraduate school and became Life University.

Money Matters
Now that you've researched your new field and identified some possible educational programs, it's time to figure out payment. Some schools have special programs for adult learners; for example, Oglethorpe offers these students a type of flat rate per-class fee rather than a per-hour fee. AIA is aggressive with internal scholarships and grants that can be received in addition to federal aid. Belhaven University Adult Continuing Education Program includes the use of textbooks in their tuition fees, so you don't have to plan for that added expense. Military benefits can also offset financial burdens, and the Workforce Investment Act provides funds for workers who have been displaced.

No Fear
For adult learners, readjusting to the life of a student can be difficult, and some fear the idea of being the old person in the classroom or being embarrassed. Study habits and note-taking skills must be redeveloped. For students who have been out of school for a decade or more, working with technology may seem daunting. But don't worry—good schools and programs will make sure that you fit right in and have plenty of support. Oglethorpe's adult degree program offers classes during the evening that cater to older and working students, and the Academic Success Center helps students get the support they need.

Back to Work
Once a student completes the educational portion of a career change, the reality of re-entering the workforce comes with its own difficulties. "It's really like starting all over again," Heilpern says. In some industries, it will not matter what you used to do, how high up the ladder you had climbed or how successful you were. You will still have to pay your dues in the new profession, and starting with a completely clean slate will "change your life in a dramatic way," Heilpern says.

Although balancing school, life and expenses can be tough, the reward is "being happier with yourself and your life overall," Dixon says. A new degree or certification can move you into a career with a long-term trajectory. Putting some time and thought into planning your career realignment up front will help lead to a positive lifelong transition. Just keep your eye on the prize—waking up every day and doing a job that really feeds your soul. Eventually, Heilpern says, you'll be able to say, "It's the best decision I ever made."


Real Success Stories

cindy-kaufmanCindy Kaufman was 41 years old when she left her position as a marketing director in the beverage industry. "I realized more and more how much I wanted to extricate myself from 'Corporate America,'" she says. "I also grew resentful of the fact that I was working 90 hours a week and making someone else rich. There was little personal satisfaction left in what I was doing. I was just a number on a corporate cost center spreadsheet."

She left her job to attend the interior design program at Savannah College of Art & Design in Atlanta full time. She found herself surrounded by young students, where her life experience turned out to be an advantage. "There is no way I could have done this program as my original undergraduate degree at age 18 and been successful at it," she says. Currently, she's living her dream working for a small independent design firm called Holt Interiors. Though the career shift was a little scary, Kaufman says, "It's worth it. Life is really beautiful when you see it through an unclouded vision of how you wish to live."


karen-carrFor Karen Carr, finding a program that fit with her lifestyle enabled her to complete the degree she had started after high school. "I went to Oglethorpe because they had an evening program," she says. She entered with lots of transfer credit and completed a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in art in two years while working full time.

While Carr is still searching for the right job in her new profession, she already has a sense of accomplishment for completing what she started. "I know having that degree is going to be helpful," she says. "No one can take your education away from you." Addtionally, people should try to avoid accruing heavy debt. "Have a solid plan on how you are going to pay for it or pay it back."



tammie-gruhnWhen she was laid off from her job, Tammie Gruhn benefited from the Workforce Investment Act by receiving funds to earn training in a different field. Entering KSU's paralegal program at 44, Gruhn attended full time and doubled up on classes to finish in one year instead of two. While in school, she made a point of networking and interning continuously, which she credits with her success at finding a position when she graduated. For someone considering a career change, she recommends the same type of dedication. "I would find somebody that does the job you think you want to go to school for and do an internship or shadow that person. You really need to know what the job is and what it's like." While it was the economy that pushed Gruhn into her current field, working in family law has given her a sense of purpose. "I like to think that with my job, I can make a difference in somebody's life. I was just a grandmother who decided to go to school in her 40s," she says. Today she is a senior paralegal at The Gunn Firm and president of the Cobb Legal Professional Association.


Average Job Wages: How do they stack up?

Chef/head cook: $42,480

Graphic designer: $44,150

Paralegal: $46,990

Computer programmer: $74,280

- Courtesy of the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics' report on occupational employment and wages, May 2012

Editorial Resources
Barbara C. Calhoun, Kennesaw State University College of Continuing and Professional Education –
Belhaven University –
David Dixon, Oglethorpe University –
Jerry Heilpern, Art Institute of Atlanta –
Life University –

Where to go in Atlanta

Belhaven University (404) 425-5590 See ad p. 49

International School of Skin, Nail Care & Massage Therapy (ISSN) (404) 843-1005 See ad p. 47

Life University (770) 426-2884 See ad p. 2

10 ways to stay fit and healthy on the job

Businesses always have money in mind, and when it comes to getting healthy, this can work to your advantage. Some employers offer financial breaks on healthcare costs or even cash bonuses to encourage employees to implement healthier habits in their lives like eating less fast food, taking walks on their breaks, and stopping smoking. Incentives can give you a tangible result for your hard work perhaps before you see the physical results. And who doesn't want a little extra cash? Now that you're motivated, here are some ideas to help you and your coworkers achieve your get-healthy goals.

You Are What You Eat
During a busy day at the office, sometimes it's hard to pause your work and figure out how to have a healthy lunch. Instead of scrounging up 75 cents for M&Ms from the vending machine, why not opt for a healthier snack option? Companies like Healthy Vending can install eco-friendly vending machines in your office that offer better-for-you products like coconut water, dried fruit, and pita chips.

Challenge Your Team
With all that energy you'll have from your healthy snacking at the office, it's time to get the whole company up and moving. Larry Lipman's Fun Team Building offers Atlanta Ropes Courses to encourage creative problem solving, teamwork, and of course, physical fitness. Companies have two ropes courses to choose from—the low ropes course, which is a ground-based obstacle course, or the high ropes course 30 feet up in the trees that will really get your heart pumping and burn some calories. Whichever course your company opts for, you're sure to see physical benefits of the activity and mental benefits from the deeper connection with your coworkers.

Join a League
Another way to build team spirit while improving your fitness is to literally join a team—a sports team, that is. Get a group of coworkers together and join a local softball or basketball league through an organization like Atlanta's ZogSports. Even if your level of play is lower than others, you can still get out there and run around with your officemates. Any sport you choose will boost your heart rate, your mood, and your bond with each other.

Get Climbing
If you really want to test that bond, let a coworker hold your belay rope as you tackle the 60-foot rock climbing wall at Stone Summit Climbing & Fitness Center. Rock climbing is a great total body workout, even exercising your mind as you analyze which hand or foothold to head to next. And where better to do it than the largest indoor climbing wall in the U.S.? Stone Summit offers corporate memberships, so rally the troops and head out for a climb.

One Step Forward
For those of you quivering in your desk chair at the thought of having to throw a ball or be high off the ground, don't think you're off the "office fitness" hook! There are still plenty of options for you, like starting a running or walking group with your coworkers. Take a mile-long walk together during part of your lunch break to stretch your legs, give your eyes a rest, and catch up on each other's lives outside of work. You'll return to the rest of your day more productive, more cheerful, and one mile more fit. Another option to include coworkers from every fitness level is to go on a corporate fitness retreat.

Team Building Events
Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk
Many companies get motivated by participating in different events. Corporate Environments and J.M. Huber Corporation are two companies who have formed teams for this year's Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk. This year marks Corporate Environments' fourth year participating in the event. As a company, this is the biggest event they are involved with outside of the office. With nearly 20 employees currently registered, the captains of J.M. Huber Corporation's team are organizing team walks during lunchtime at or near the office and encouraging team members to participate in the free, eight-week Get Active Atlanta! training program.

We asked our Facebook community:
How does your company keep its employees healthy?

Anisa International – Gym memberships
Anisa believes in wellness coming from within and promotes exercise and well-being as part of a balanced lifestyle. The company offers a pay-back program where the company covers the cost of gym membership fees. They have also brought in yoga instructors to the office a few times.

— Shana A. King, Senior Director, Beauty & Education

Advanta Total Health – 90-day office health challenge
All of the employees wanted to lose a few extra pounds, so we all decided to participate in a program designed to eat healthier for 90 days. We start our morning with a meal replacement shake by Visalus and for lunch we have a spinach salad. Each person eats a healthy dinner at home. We weigh-in every Monday and at the end of the 90 days we each will receive a $50 gift card for participating, courtesy of Dr. Schuyler. To us it is not who loses the most, it's the journey.

— Corde Carter, Clinical Director

DeKalb Medical – Training programs
We created an employee health and wellness program called "I REACH! 4 Health" to reinforce the connection between our employees' health, wellness and ability to demonstrate our values. We are empowering our employees to get active, eat healthy, reduce stress and improve sleep. Our goal is to have at least 250 employees participate in the Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program.  The "I REACH! 4 Health Corporate Run/Walk Challenge" is a means for employees get into better shape, train to run or walk in the race, and build healthy social connections.

— Shealynn Buck, MD, Executive Director Employee Health Solutions

Kaiser Permanente of Georgia – Healthy snack options
Kaiser Permanente of Georgia is introducing "Healthy Picks" inside its vending machines. The snack items must fall into one of three categories: heart healthy, low sodium or low sugar. Taste tests were held to introduce the Healthy Picks to patients, employees and doctors. "We want to show people that healthy food can taste good and be convenient and affordable," says Kathryn Harrison, manager of health promotion at Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. "Although we realize that this change alone may not dramatically alter our dietary habits, it is an important first step toward helping us all achieve a healthier diet."

— Kerri Hartsfield-Johnson, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia


Editorial Resources
Healthy Vending –
Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk –
Larry Lipman's Fun Team Building –
Stone Summit Climbing & Fitness Center –
ZogSports –

16,000+ Runners/Walkers and over 400 Companies

Enjoy Fun, Fitness & Company Camaraderie

Turner Field, Thursday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.


What is it?
Calling all runners, walkers and joggers! If you're looking for a great way to stay in shape, build camaraderie with your fellow coworkers and be a part of the largest organized corporate fitness event in the Southeast, then you won't want to miss a second of the excitement planned for the 2013 Kaiser Permanente Corporate Run/Walk & Fitness Program. Directed by U.S. Olympian Jeff Galloway since 1983, this workplace-organized fitness program has become an annual tradition in the Atlanta business community. The start date for this year was July 15 when the 8-week "Get Active Atlanta!" training phase kicked off. The current phase will last through Thursday, Sept. 12, when this year's 5K Corporate Run/Walk & Company Picnic steps off at 7 p.m. in downtown Atlanta.

What's included?
The free 8-week training program for registered participants includes:

• Walking and running training schedules from Jeff Galloway for beginner and veteran walkers and runners

• Ongoing weekday walks and runs with pace groups at both Phidippides stores, Atlanta's premier running specialty stores (Sandy Springs 6:15 p.m. Wednesdays and Ansley Mall 6:30 p.m. Thursdays)

• Saturday morning Running & Walking Training Program with pace groups - Kickoff on July 20, 7:30 a.m., Phidippides at Ansley Mall

• Kaiser Permanente Boot Camp in Piedmont Park, July 20-Aug. 24

• Fitness tips emailed weekly

• Discount coupons on fitness items and services

• Aug. 15-Sept. 11 - Complimentary workouts at LA Fitness – all Metro locations

kp-1What's happening September 12?
The program culminates in a giant celebration of fitness on Thursday, Sept. 12, across from Turner Field, with a 5K (3.1-mile) run/walk that winds through the business district of downtown Atlanta. After the finish line, there are commemorative T-shirts for all participants, team and candid photos with unlimited free downloads, music by The Rupert's Orchestra, awards ceremony and a Healthy Living Expo (starting at 4 p.m.), plus company teams (employees, family, friends) gather in tents for hundreds of office picnics, popularly known as the "World's Largest Office Party." Individuals have the option of purchasing a boxed dinner from Jason's Deli at registration.

Run/Walk details:
There will be separate, monitored start areas for elite runners, CEOs, runners/joggers and walkers. Seeded runners must include a qualifying event on registration form, and elite runners must submit official documentation for qualifying times:

• Open Men – 6 minutes/mile

• Open Women – 7 minutes/mile

• Masters (40 and over) Men – 6:15 minutes/mile

• Masters Women – 7:15 minutes/mile

• Awards are handed out to top Overall and Masters Men and Women, best team times, Most Overall Participation and best T-shirts. CEO Cups will go to the fastest male and female CEOs.

kp-5The Kaiser Permanente Corporate Cup is presented to Atlanta's "most fit" companies in four categories, based on the number of full-time employees. Participation awards also are given to companies in each of 38 industry categories.

kp-2New this year for an improved start:

• Walkers and runners will have different colored event numbers. Follow the signs to the appropriate start area.

• Seeded runners must include 2012-13 qualifying race information with registration by Aug. 22, 5 p.m., and will receive a seeded section pass from their team captains.

• Elite runners must submit official race results documentation from 2012-13 race to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Aug. 22, 5 p.m. to receive a special race number, which will allow entry into the upfront section.

• Elite and seeded sections will be monitored and must be in place at the start line by 6:30 p.m.

kp-3Back by popular demand:

• Expanded CEO categories: 30 employees and 30 or more employees

• Music by The Rupert's Orchestra

• Healthy Living Expo hosted by Best Self Atlanta magazine

• T-shirt contest

• Free team and candid photos

• A portion of the proceeds benefits the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Back on My Feet and the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Corporate Can Contest benefits the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The McCart Company is the reigning champion, winning the last three contests.

kp-42012 Healthy Company Award Winners:

• Kaiser Permanente Corporate Cups

• <100 – Meadows & Ohly, LLC

• 100-999 – Cotton States Insurance

• 1000-4999 – Verizon

• 5000+ – Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

• Highest Number of Participants: Verizon

How do I sign up?
For more information or to register, visit or call (404) 843-8727. Follow the program on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 24 June 2013 19:39

Head to Toe

The Mane Event
It's no secret that a head of healthy hair is sexy. Keep yours intact by eating a diet of salmon, walnuts and spinach. These foods provide essential nutrients for growing health such as protein, vitamins D and E, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Don't worry if you don't see immediate results. It can take several months before you see a difference in your hair, depending on how quickly your hair grows. Losing some off the top? Maybe it's time to consider implants or hair restoration surgery – make sure to see a professional before starting any treatment.

Skin Deep
According to a new study published in the "Journal of Investigative Dermatology," men get more cancer in the "peripheral" areas of the scalp, forehead, temples, ears and neck. The Skin Cancer Foundation found that men over 50 are more than twice as likely as women to develop skin cancer. The reason for this is they are less likely to visit the doctor. The bottom line? Protect all areas of your skin by applying sunscreen (at least 30 SPF), wearing protective clothing and limiting your time in the sun. Also, make sure to get an annual skin screening.

Gut Check
Stomach troubles can originate from foods you may be eating every day. An elimination diet can help you identify foods that have been causing the low-level chronic conditions such as heart burn that have been plaguing you for years according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, developer of the GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) diet. To start an elimination diet, cut out common allergenic foods for three to four weeks. This would mean avoiding foods like dairy, wheat, nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes), conventionally raised meats, legumes, sugars and citrus. After the initial 21 to 28 day period, add back in one type of food per week. Take note of any changes in your mood, energy level, or general state of wellness. Consult a professional to make sure you are cutting the right foods from your diet.

Leg Go
Your legs may not seem like an area of major concern, but as the essential method of getting from place to place, you should keep them in top condition. Dr. Marc Hamilton of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the nation's leading obesity research facility, tells us that one of the biggest threats to your leg health is sitting in a chair all day. Sitting creates unnatural points of pressure, which can cause poor blood circulation and (in extreme cases) deep vein thrombosis. So, get moving and walk around! Take frequent breaks throughout the day to get moving. The simple motion of walking helps blood pump through your legs, improves muscle tone, and can actually improve your insulin sensitivity. Another trick used by professional athletes to help with legs is to blast them with cold water at the end of your shower. According to a study published in the "Journal of Science Medicine," cold water helps improve circulation. It can also help reduce soreness and swelling after a workout.

Eye See You
If eyes are the windows to the soul, make sure you keep those windows clear. The two biggest dangers to eyes are the sun and a computer screen. Protect yours by wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB light. Spending hours a day staring at a computer screen or cell phone can cause eyestrain, dry eyes and headaches, so take frequent breaks. If you find your eyes hurting, try using glasses specially designed to reduce glare. As we age the muscles in the eyes weaken, however by maintaining a healthy diet, you can slow this progression. The American Optometric Association recommends getting five sources of nutrients to support eye health: lutein and zeaxanthin, found in green leafy vegetables, can help reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases; Vitamin C can help reduce the chance of developing cataracts; Vitamin E helps protect eyes from free radical damage, and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to support development and function of retinas.

Tough Tooth
Brushing and flossing daily is essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, but diet is also an important factor. The key is choosing foods that promote mineralization and suppress bacterial growth because your teeth are living tissue, and need the proper building blocks to stay healthy. Eat foods high in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D such as sesame seeds, dried herbs, almonds and herring. The bacteria that live on your teeth and gums are responsible for producing plaque and dental decay, so keep bacteria at bay by avoiding sweets. Try anti-bacterial foods like coconut which has been shown to be effective against oral bacteria. Lastly, make sure you go in for regular dental check-ups.

Keep It Pumping
You're probably aware that risk factors like being overweight, stress and smoking can increase the chances of having a heart attack, but what you may not know are two of the latest findings in heart health research:

• Work stress may be a killer, but as it turns out, the stress of unemployment has been connected to heart attacks in recent years. The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Aging, suggests that you are 22 percent more likely to have a heart attack if you are unemployed.

•Probiotics, foods rich in healthful microorganisms, like sauerkraut, yogurt and fermented pickles can help your body increase beneficial levels of HDL cholesterol, which are associated with low levels of inflammation and relaxed veins and arteries. The healthier your pipes, the healthier your pump.

What's Up Down There?
Keeping everything south of the border functioning normally depends a lot on good health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the U.S., after skin cancer. There are two tests to screen for prostate cancer, a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. This test looks for PSA, a substance that may be found in high amounts in men with prostate cancer. However, a high PSA level does not always point to cancer. Consider your own health and lifestyle and talk with a health care professional about your personal risk for prostate cancer. Keep your groin and prostate functioning well by paying attention to diet, stress levels and fitness. The leading physical cause of erectile dysfunction is inflammation associated with high blood pressure. When a man becomes aroused, the constrictions on the blood supply to the penis are relaxed, allowing an erection to develop. But if you have high levels of inflammation, those constrictions cannot be relaxed. Lower your body's level of inflammation with proper diet and exercise. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids will help to balance the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids found in processed foods. Other causes of erectile dysfunction can come from certain medications, depression, low levels of testosterone and stress. Be sure to consult a physician if you suspect any of these might be causes.

Plant Your Feet
Home to 52 bones and approximately 15,000 nerve endings, your feet are critical for your overall health. Unfortunately, the shoes we wear do little to help us in this regard according to authors Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee of the book "Barefoot Walking." Shoes push your toes together, which creates a narrower plank on which to stand. This creates abnormal stress on arches and ankles. Additionally, the sole of a modern shoe can tilt your hips forward and create hip and back pain.

The good news is that going barefoot for a little bit each day can help address all these problems. Taking a walk in your yard barefoot will accomplish several different things. First, it helps strengthen the muscles in your feet and legs. Second, walking barefoot will improve your gait so that you glide smoothly over the ground rather than stomping and causing shock waves to travel up your body. Third, in a discovery made recently by UK researchers, the exposure of your feet to beneficial microorganisms in the soil can actually lighten your mood and prevent depression.

Monday, 24 June 2013 18:57

Men on a Mission

While their lifestyles, jobs and goals in life are different, these five locals do have one thing in common: their desire to stay fit and active. These guys are passionate about their health and have different ways of getting their hearts racing.










don-carllDon Carll
CEO of Natural Health Atlanta

Don began his career selling real estate, and before long, he was renovating and managing apartment complexes across the southeast. Now he is active in a diverse group of companies, dealing with everything from commercial food service equipment to naturopathic medicine. He combines his work experience and personal enthusiasm for wellness into his role as CEO of Natural Health Atlanta.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
Golf would normally be my favorite way to stay fit, but time constraints allow only for occasional golf anymore. To be time/result efficient, I rotate biking or swimming into my weekly routine. For me, staying fit requires constant motion, and that's good because I'm no good at sitting around. I also lift weights and do various fitness machines for one hour three times a week.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
The most important health habit by far is to eliminate deficiencies. If you have deficiencies in your body you need to fix them. By deficiencies I mean vitamin, mineral, thyroid, HDL (good) cholesterol and hormone deficiencies. Our environment is loaded with forces that constantly attack our bodies: pollution, genetically modified foods, pesticides, herbicides, and the list goes on. If your body has deficiencies it cannot effectively fight these forces.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
In the past it was Little League baseball; I was a coach for 15 years at Frankie Allen Park in Buckhead. I also like to travel and visit my three wonderful and incredible children.

What is the last book you read?
"Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia" by David Lamar Cook​.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
The Silver Comet Trail.

What challenges you?
I'm a perfectionist, or so I am told. My challenge is to constantly improve in everything I do. Making mistakes is expected, but making the same mistake twice is something I find unacceptable.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
Competition, I guess. I don't need to be the fittest person in the room, but I don't want to stray too far from the top.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
I am lucky in that I work with a lot of medical professionals who have tremendous knowledge of the human body. When it comes to making yourself your best, knowledge really is power.

What is your favorite place to visit?
I like the ocean, probably because I was born in a small coastal town in Florida, and sometimes it calls to me. A close second would be Italy. Historically speaking, there's nothing quite like it.

What is a quote that inspires you?
I have lots: "Lead, follow or get out of the way" - Ted Turner, and "You want to be successful? Hang out with successful people." - Terri Savelle, just to name a few.

What is a fitness goal you have?
My goals are simply to continue my fitness routine with enthusiasm and to test for and eliminate nutritional deficiencies in my body.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
I have a new invention. It took the past three years to get my first patent on a better designed food service product. I am looking forward to launching it!


john-sloan-2John Sloan
General Manager at High Country Outfitters

John was born in the outdoor industry, beginning his quest at High Country from the time he could crawl through the front door. He has been the acting general manager of High Country for over five years, parlaying his business degree from Auburn University into his current position. For John, this is not just a job, but a family business that he runs with integrity and passion.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
Stand Up Paddleboarding is my new passion. It challenges me from head to toe. Not only is it fun, but it keeps me fit without the monotony of a treadmill!

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
Every man should break a sweat at least once a day. Turn your passions into your workout. I call it "earning your dinner."

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Free time to me means time to get on the water or in the mountains. With proper planning, you can turn one day into an adventure.

What is the last book you read?
"No Easy Day" by Mark Owen. These guys are the epitome of healthy.

What challenges you?
Surrounding myself with other positive and active individuals. Your peers can motivate you to be the best.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
The Chattahoochee. The river is the reason I love Atlanta. When you're on the water, you totally forget your busy surroundings. Peace and serenity are only a few miles away.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
My motivation is my youth. I want to feel like I'm in my twenties forever. Health and strength make everything in life more enjoyable.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
I have to say my dad. He will be 63 this year but can still hang with the best. His energy, drive and positivity are truly inspiring.

john-sloanWhat is your favorite place to visit?
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is like a second home to me. The adventures there are endless.

What is a quote that inspires you?
"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both." - James Michener

What is a fitness goal you have?
My goal is to race on my standup paddleboard in 10 different events this year. By spending my free time doing what I love, this will be an easy goal to reach.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
I'm excited to get back to Southern California and spend a week traveling down the coast, surfing at every beach from San Diego to the tip of Baja Mexico.


harry-woodHarry Wood
Founder and CEO of Six Figure Hairdresser

Harry Wood IV is a leading stylist and educator for Van Michael Salons, and has been in the business for over 20 years. His book, "Six Figure Hairdresser," offers practical steps for stylists to take their business to the next level. Although his target audience is stylists, his formula works for anyone in the beauty industry.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
I like to go to the gym and swim, bike and run. I was an avid triathlete for 12 years, now it's for fitness.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
Make sure you stay on top of your diet and exercise. Most successful men have an element of balance with work versus leisure, but most enjoy disconnecting from life for a few hours a week to work out and decompress.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
With my daughter. I'm very glad she's old enough now so that we can ride bikes and live a healthy lifestyle together.

What is the last book you read?
"The Thank You Economy" by Gary Veynerchuk, a great read about social media and the art of appreciation.

What challenges you?
Having a goal of some sort. Whether it's a triathlon or to finish reading a book in a certain time frame, it's good to have short term and long term goals to reach your full potential and keep from getting complacent.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
Going for a bike ride or walk with my daughter at the Chattahoochee River park.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
Knowing that I want to be around for a long time for my daughter. I am also a hairdresser at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, and you can't be unhealthy if you want to perform at the highest level for your clients.

harry-wood-2Who are the people that help you be your best self?
My mentor, Van Council, an avid mountain biker, and my best friends and personal trainers Jeff Wolfson and David Nassick, who help keep me on track. If you want to be healthy, surround yourself with healthy people.

What is your favorite place to visit?
I enjoy going to the Caribbean and just chilling, completely relaxing and working out and getting some sun, good food, music and fun.

What is a quote that inspires you?
"Spectacular results are preceded by spectacular preparation." - Coach Troy Jacobson

What is a fitness goal you have?
I'd like to do the Tugaloo Triathlon in September again. It's the best and hardest USAT-sanctioned race of the year.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
My 9-year-old daughter is training for her first triathlon and I am looking forward to being by her side every step of the way, especially when she crosses the finish line. I hope I don't cry.


freddy-benschFreddy Bensch
Co-Founder of SweetWater Brewing Company

Freddy Bensch is the co-founder of SweetWater Brewing Company, the second largest craft brewery in the southeast. After numerous kayaking adventures on SweetWater Creek, Bensch, along with co-founder Kevin McNerney, landed on the name SweetWater Brewing Company and they opened the doors in 1997. Bensch is an avid fisherman, outdoor enthusiast, environmentalist and family man.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
Anything that involves the outdoors...paddle boarding, surfing, fishing, golfing and diving are some of my favorites.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
An activity or a place to get away and release. For me, it's fly fishing. It allows me to collect my thoughts while also hopefully outsmarting a couple fish.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Drinking beer, fly fishing, surfing and hanging with my friends and family, including my wife and two children.

What is the last book you read?
"Life" by Keith Richards.

What challenges you?
Personally, my biggest challenge is myself. I guess you could say I am wired to constantly strive to do better and do more. I like to win!

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
Hands down, the Hooch.

freddy-bensch-2What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
Keeping fit has always been one of my core values. I stay fit for myself, which in turn spills over into my work, my family and all other facets of life. I want to be able to stay young and enjoy as much of life as I can, while I can.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
I'd have to say my wife and the people I'm surrounded with at SweetWater. We all seem to be self-motivators, which fuels an incredible energy and desire to be the best.

What is your favorite place to visit?
Anywhere that has waves, tarpon and beer.

What is a quote that inspires you?
"We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time" hands down nails it. Live by it, and you will lead a fantastic life.

What is a fitness goal you have?
To me it's not really about specific fitness goals; it's an overall healthy lifestyle perspective applied to everyday life. I live a pescatarian lifestyle and have been for 22-plus years now, alongside keeping active and having fun.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
Going on a safari in Africa with my family and watching the kids' eyes get really big when they see their first lion – sweet!


jeff-wolfsonJeff Wolfson
Owner of Lone Wolf Fitness

Jeff Wolfson is a health professional with a background in nutrition and biochemistry who started an in-home personal training business called Wolf Training Systems in 1999, and later renamed it Lone Wolf Fitness. In addition to being a persional trainer, Wolfson opened hCG Weight Loss Atlanta in 2010. This medical weight loss center focuses on helping people lose weight and stay healthy.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
A combination and plethora of cycling (both mountain and road), trail running and resistance training.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
The 80/20 Rule. Eighty percent of time you eat perfectly and exercise regularly. The other 20 percent of the time you can get away with doing pretty much anything you want.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Riding my bike in the North Georgia Mountains.

What is the last book you read?
"Inside a Dog" by Alexandra Horowitz.

What challenges you?
Trying to beat my mom in Scrabble.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
Teela Taqueria.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
The way it makes me feel - young, energetic, sharp minded, sexy and alive.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
My best friend and wife-to-be, both of whom happen to be the same person.

What is your favorite place to visit?
Costa Rica.

What is a quote that inspires you?
Jimmy Valvano's acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards when he received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. "There are three things you should do every day - laugh, think and cry."

What is a fitness goal you have?
The Great Wall of China Marathon. My preparation will consist of stair repeats up and down any high rise buildings I can find.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
I'm looking forward to taking my boat out on the Beaufort River to attend Water Festival in Beaufort, S.C.

Monday, 24 June 2013 15:47

Plump Up the Volume

These days, there seem to be endless options for anyone seeking a more youthful appearance. With the abundance of non-surgical procedures, anyone can turn back the clock with just one office visit. And while anti-aging injectablesand fillers are based on science, the results can seem more like magic. "Injectables and fillers are a great way to treat, smooth, or 'fill in' wrinkles, lines, creases, depressions or scars," says Dr. Alan Gardner, board-certified dermatologist with over 20 years of experience and owner of Gardner Dermatology and Med Spa. "Many patients call injectable fillers the 'liquid face lift' and love the instant results they receive without the downtime associated with surgical cosmetic procedures."

Going Under the Needle
These products, which are injected with a fine needle, work in two basic ways. Neurotoxins can be injected into specific muscles of the face reducing muscle contractions so they cannot pull the underlying skin, helping to stop the source of wrinkles. "Fillers literally fill areas that have lost volume due to aging," says Jessica Crawford, a physician assistant with Atlanta Dermatology & Laser Surgery.

When considering injectables and fillers keep in mind there is not one best product or procedure for everyone. There are various treatments available, and it is important to find a doctor who is skilled in the range of injectables so he or she can help you decide which one will best treat your area of concern.

The Starting Point
The category of injectables most people are familiar with is neurotoxins, and many patients will find the best results come from combining a neurotoxin and a filler. While Botox® has become the household name for this botulinum toxin, in recent years, additional products like Myobloc®, Dysport® and Xeomin® have come on the scene. "These are all FDA-approved products that reduce or eliminate wrinkles primarily on the upper half of the face by weakening or paralyzing the target muscle," says Dr. Katia Castillo with WOW Aesthetics. Patients usually get neurotoxin injections for the forehead, glabella (area between eyebrows) and crow's feet area around the eyes.

While injectables like Botox® soften lines, fillers are used to restore fullness mostly in the lower half of the face. The most well-known fillers are hyaluronic acids (Juvederm® and Restylane®, or Perlane®), calcium hydroxylapatide (Radiesse®), man-made biodegradable polymers (Sculptura) and microscopic beads and bovine collagen (Artefill). These fillers are most commonly injected into nasolabial folds (creases from the sides of the nose to the corner of the mouth), marionette lines, cheeks, fine lines above the mouth, hands and upper or lower lip. They are also sometimes used to treat scars, hollow areas under the eyes and earlobes.

It is important to note that the various fillers differ in their thickness and should be matched to the patient's needs. "To reduce fine, thin lines, a very thick filler may not be the best choice because it could result in unnatural looking lumps. However, to add volume to deeper lines, wrinkles or shallow contours, a heavier, thicker filler may be better to use," Dr. Gardner says. Radiesse®, for example, works to boost the body's own natural collagen production. It is a mineral component of bone and is thicker than many other fillers.

Restylane®, on the other hand, is a gel made of small molecules and is used for correcting thin superficial lines around the mouth, forehead and smile lines, according to Dr. Matteo Taerri of Advanced Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine. Fillers can also be used to replenish volume under the eyes. "There are several FDA-approved fillers as well as one's own fat that can be safely injected into the hollowness under the eyes," says Dr. Seth Yellin of Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery.

Options, Options, Options
New products are developed regularly, which means treatments are increasingly specific to patients' needs. "The industry is always coming up with new products, and coming on the horizon are new injectables like Volumna and Belotero®, stem cell injections, a topical Botox® called RevanceTM and new wrinkle repair agents like PurTox. All of these promise to be better options," Dr. Castillo explains.

Belotero Balance® is a new cross-linked hyaluronic acid injectable filler that satisfies a niche in the injectable product market by being less viscous and less stiff. According to Dr. Yellin, it is best suited for the treatment of fine lines around the mouth and is superior to any other available injectable for that purpose. Advancements also work to combat known reactions like allergies. For example, Xeomin® is the newest botulinum product. "It works just like Botox® but has the advantage of being pure botulinum without any additional carrier proteins that can create an allergic reaction in a small number of patients," he explains.

Another anti-aging treatment called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) uses the patient's own blood that has been transformed into platelet rich plasma to stimulate the stem cells of the dermis. "The PRP is injected into areas to rejuvenate or volumize them by supercharging the body's capacity for healing and tissue repair," Dr. Taerri explains. This method can be used to repair crinkling skin around the eyes, on cheeks, smile lines and even the neck. And according to Dr. Jerry L. Cooper, owner of Atlanta Dermatology & Laser Surgery, "everything old is new again." He uses silicon (brand name Silikon 1000®), which he calls "a very safe and pure, FDA-approved compound" to create a permanent correction for wrinkles and folds.

Sharpen Your Plan
With so many options, the most challenging aspect of injectables and fillers could be fashioning the best and most cost-effective treatment plan. Being armed with information and the right questions will help ensure good results that won't break the bank. Dr. Cooper suggests finding out what to expect from the treatment, how long the results should last and whether there are any unwanted side effects. You will also want to know exactly who will perform the injections and how long the doctor has worked with cosmetic injectables and fillers. Is the injector board-certified by the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Plastic Surgery or American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery? If not, what are their credentials and how long have they been administering injections?

Next, find out where the practice obtains injectable products. The best response to this question is that the product is shipped directly from the manufacturer to the doctor. In fact, Dr. Gardner says you should be able to see the box to know it is legitimate, make sure that the product is not expired and that it was shipped properly from the company in the United States.

Finally, develop a treatment plan that is based on your actual needs and considers the long term. Keep your budget in sight by remembering that "more is more and not necessarily better," Dr. Castillo says.

While there is typically no real downtime with these procedures other than some temporary bruising and swelling that can be easily covered with makeup, the length of results vary considerably. Over time the body breaks down and rejects the fillers, which means that repetition of the procedures is necessary. Injections like Botox® typically last three to six months. Fillers usually last longer, from about eight months to up to two years, and silicone injections are more permanent.

The Price Point
Comparing prices on procedures can be another challenge. Most people have seen billboards that advertise Botox® for as little as $10, but in that case, the fee refers to the unit of product, not to the entire treatment cost. Each area of the face will typically require several units. Many doctors charge by the area treated rather than by the unit, and it gets even more complicated than that. "Pricing can vary based on anything from location to amount of product used to injector experience," says Dr. Robert Colgrove of Vinings Surgery Center and Blue Divine Aesthetics.

Beware of very low prices, which could indicate that the products were not purchased in the United States. This may allow the injector to offer a cheaper price, "but could be dangerous to patients," Dr. Castillo cautions. In fact, it is very easy to "cheat" when injecting a neurotoxin because the product comes dehydrated and must be reconstituted with saline. There is no standard dilution, and therefore no way for a patient to know how many units she receives per area, according to Dr. Yellin.

The average price per unit for Botox®, when injected by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, is about $12 to $15 per unit. If a patient needs 25 units for full correction of forehead wrinkles, and the doctor charges $12 per unit, it would cost the patient $300. If that patient went to another doctor for a second opinion, he may recommend injecting only 15 units, resulting in a partial correction, but the patient would pay a lot less. "The results, of course, will depend upon the placement, skill and ability of the injector," Dr. Gardner says.

Although legally, many professionals are permitted to inject these products, choosing the right injector is as important as selecting the right product. "When entrusting your face to a health care professional, the provider you choose can mean the difference between looking fabulous or freaky," Dr. Yellin says. "From the initial analysis of your face, to the products and techniques selected to correct sagging skin, textural changes and volume loss, the rejuvenation of your face is an artistic endeavor honed by years of experience."

Physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants and registered nurses who have been trained in injectables can inject, but experience and training of the injector are always most important. "Referrals from other patients are a great way to find good injectors," Dr. Colgrove says.

So if you are considering injectables, discuss the many options available with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon to develop a treatment plan that is ideal for your face. When done correctly, these small, non-surgical procedures can take years off your appearance.


New Cannula Injecting Technique Decreases Bruising
The most common concern regarding fillers is bruising or swelling. Any time a sharp needle is used for a treatment, it can lead to discoloration or inflation; however, using a blunt cannula, (a tube that can be inserted into the body), as part of the injecting technique has many benefits including:

  • It can significantly reduce swelling from injectable fillers.
  • They are especially helpful for decreasing bruising and swelling with lip augmentation and nonsurgical rhinoplasties (nose jobs).
  • The cannulas are not a guarantee that you won't bruise, but it definitely decreases the likelihood by 90 percent.

— Courtesy of  Mike Majmundar, MD, Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery


Editorial Resources

Katia Castillo, MD – WOW Aesthetics

Robert Colgrove, MD – Blue Divine Aesthetics and Vinings Surgery Center 

Jerry L. Cooper, MD – Atlanta Dermatology & Laser Surgery

Alan Gardner, MD – Gardner Dematology & Med Spa

Mike Majmundar, MD - Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Matteo Taerri, MD – Advanced Anti-Aging