We interviewed one of the most respected – and engaging – names in the industry, One on One Matchmaking President Sarah Kathryn Smith, who explained, "If you're okay with quantity over quality, then online dating is for you. If, however, you are truly interested in finding the right person for a serious relationship (they've produced thousands!) or marriage (over 300!), consider engaging pros to help you navigate the world of dating."
As a 17-year veteran of the dating industry, she and her team of professional matchmakers guide upscale singles in both Atlanta and New York City; and she's been featured as an expert on relationships and singles by top media outlets such as: CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Cosmopolitan, The Wall Street Journal, Men's Health, and many more.

Over the past few years, personal matchmaking has become even more popular and widespread than ever before – especially for busy professionals. "We have compiled the largest database of singles in the Southeast, but we know that we're not the right choice for everyone." She offers these tips:

This should be a no-brainer. In order to match you and your preferences, your matchmaker needs to know all about the latest and/or greatest nightlife and attractions in your area. As an Atlanta native, I make sure our entire staff – me included – stays current (like up-to-the-minute current) and immersed in our city's culture.

If you genuinely want to find the best person to date, get serious, or get busy (not necessarily in that order) – then it is best to choose a highly customized service. One on One guarantees great dates because we gather feedback after every single date. We're not a factory churning out dates, but we do believe in "continuous learning for continuous improvement."

When "shopping" for the right matchmaker, it's important that you understand what the fees are before you invest in an in-person meeting. This is the one part of the process where your head should definitely rule your heart.

Make sure that you and the matchmaking service you select clearly understand what your goals are and the strategy on which you'll be teaming up.

Matchmaking may be serious business, but having a good time while doing it is part of One on One's mission. Ultimately, we're in the business of improving the quality of people's lives – their love lives that is!


Sarah Kathryn Smith
One On One Matchmaking

Founder and owner of Eight at Eight Dinner Club and One on One Matchmaking, Sarah Kathryn Smith and her team of professional matchmakers work with upscale singles in both Atlanta and New York City. Smith, a 17-year veteran of the dating industry, is one of the most respected names in matchmaking and has been profiled as an authority on relationships and singles by The Wall Street Journal, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," CNN, Men's Health and so many more.

Her expertise has led to more than 300 marriages and thousands of serious relationships. One On One Matchmaking not only sets up singles, but can also help plan your perfect date.


Sponsored by: One on One Matchmaking  |  3102 Roswell Rd NE  |  Atlanta, GA 30305  |  (404) 355-4646
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   |  www.1on1matchmaking.com


Monday, 22 June 2015 16:50

Breast Density and Your Mammogram

Breast density is a measure of how the breasts look on a mammogram, not how your breasts feel. Dense breast tissue is not abnormal but it can make interpretation of your mammogram difficult. The breasts normally contain fatty, fibrous (connective) and glandular tissue. The fibrous and glandular tissues appear white on the mammogram. Fatty tissue is black, and the contrast provided by the fatty tissue allows the radiologist to identify abnormal areas. The pockets of fibroglandular tissue surrounded by fat create an image that resembles a smoky haze on the mammogram. High breast density means there is a greater amount of glandular and fibrous tissue as compared to fat. The mammogram image looks whiter in dense breasts. Most breast cancers also look white on the mammogram. So with dense breasts the addition of Tomosynthesis, ultrasound or MRI allows the Radiologist to see through the white, fibroglandular tissue to find smaller cancers.

MammogramBreast Tomosynthesis (3-D mammography) allows the doctor to examine breast tissue one layer at a time to find cancers hiding in the white fibroglandular tissue. Digital Tomosynthesis can help to detect more cancers in dense breasts, but the 3-D mammogram still relies on the contrast provided by fat. Some breasts are so dense that another screening modality is needed, in addition to the mammogram, to assure that there is no cancer hiding in the white fibroglandular breast tissue. Most breast cancers can be seen on a mammogram, but ultrasound and/or MRI can help find breast cancer that cannot be seen on the mammogram.

You may be called back for a Screening Breast Ultrasound or MRI based on your breast density and individual risk for breast cancer. A recall for additional screening does not mean that your mammogram is abnormal. So don't panic if you are called back! It is best to follow the recommendations of the interpreting radiologist and your personal physician.


Carolyn G. Dudley, MD
Diagnostic Radiology Ultrasound & Breast Center

Carolyn G. Dudley has over 30 years' experience in breast imaging. She attended Bryn Mawr College, Howard University and completed her Diagnostic Radiology residency at Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan. She is board certified by the American Board of Radiology and is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society.

Dr. Dudley was one of the pioneers in developing techniques to diagnose breast cancer utilizing MRI. Presently, she has a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia where she offers patients a wide range of outpatient diagnostic services in a convenient and patient-friendly environment. Her practice is the first non-hospital facility in Georgia to offer the latest advancement in mammography: 3D Mammography (breast tomosynthesis). In addition, Dr. Dudley provides 2D Digital Mammography, bone densitometry and ultrasound utilizing the most up-to-date technology available.

Diagnostic Radiology is pleased to announce that beginning in January 2015 3D mammograms for Medicare patients are now covered by Medicare insurance.

Sponsored by: Diagnostic Radiology Ultrasound & Breast Center
755 Mt. Vernon Highway, Suite #310 | Atlanta, GA 30328  |  (404) 252-3430 | www.mammogramatlanta.com


A: Dr. Mefferd: Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure that helps heal soft tissue injuries. A patient's blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge which separates the platelets from the red blood cells. These growth factor-containing platelets are then reinjected into damaged tissue to stimulate tissue generation and repair.



A: Dr. Mefferd: Any soft tissue injury; chronic tendon pain and ligament damage.



A: Dr. Mefferd: The ultimate goal of PRP therapy is to minimize pain and optimize overall healing.



A: Dr. Porter: Both procedures can be used for tendonitis, either alternatively or in conjunction. Your physician can help you determine which option may be best for you.



A: Dr. Porter: Our philosophy is aligned with our patients' philosophy. Patients want to get better in the safest and quickest way possible. We want to identify the source of their pain and the safest, most cost effective way to treat it.



A: Dr. Porter: Our patients tell us that our experience, professionalism and focus on service separate us from other practices.



The Physicians Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists of Georgia

Since 1995, The Physicians Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists of Georgia has provided innovative, effective and comprehensive treatment of pain with special emphasis on spinal pain and care of the injured worker.

They strive to improve their patients' quality of life and restore function to individuals suffering from acute and chronic pain conditions. They offer non-surgical treatment of spinal pain using the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic techniques to identify and eliminate or minimize pain at its source.

Their board-certified physicians work with patients to help them better understand their condition and the treatment options available to them. They are committed to excellence and compassion in caring for our patients, and they welcome the opportunity to serve you.







Sponsored by: The Physicians Spine and Rehabilitation Specialists of Georgia
5730 Glenridge Drive, Suite 100  |  Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328
Phone: (404) 816-3000  |  www.thephysicians.com


Monday, 22 June 2015 15:33

Men’s Health: The Boys Are Back

By Kathy Kantorski

Healthy lifestyle changes and regular check-ups make these men feel years younger!

Annual check-ups are a crucial part of staying healthy – after all, you don't know what steps to take if you don't know where you're starting. In addition to your regular check-ups, it's especially important for men to check things like their PSA and cholesterol levels to avoid the health issues that commonly take guys out of commission. (Find out more about those tests on p. 17!) These three Atlanta men learned the value of regular check-ups and broad lifestyle changes after their own health journeys. Now, with closer attention on their health, these boys are back and feeling better than ever.


Pavuk-RonRon Pavuk

Cancer hit Ron Pavuk hard. Up until late 2013, he considered himself pretty normal: he didn't exercise regularly, he ate a typical American diet and he dealt with everyday stresses as best he could. There was no history of cancer in his family. He experienced mild acid reflux, but he considered that fairly common among men his age. Then, in the fall, he began to have problems swallowing. In December, a scope procedure detected esophageal cancer. After that, as Pavuk describes it, "Two weeks of musical chairs in different doctors' offices had me feeling even more lost than when I was first diagnosed." Finally, he found the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and began his battle.

"My treatment was five weeks of daily radiation with chemo weekly," he recalls. On May 2, 2014, he underwent a surgery to remove the cancerous mass. The surgery also removed part of his esophagus and pulled up his stomach to replace what was removed. He recounts: "Five days later, my surgeon came in for my morning check-up with a bigger smile than usual. 'It's gone,' he explained. The treatment had worked."

In the weeks that followed his surgery, Pavuk was on a strict diet to aid his recovery. As a result, he lost more than 50 pounds and he won a new lease on life. He saw the errors of his previous lifestyle: he had been overweight, his diet was unhealthy, he had too much stress and he didn't exercise regularly. So after he recovered from his surgery, he changed his lifestyle. He "stopped letting the little things bother me," as he puts it, and he now makes healthy choices for what he eats, including as much organic food as possible and proper planning. "Prior to my healthy diet, there was no planning for what I was eating – I ate whatever I felt like or wandered into that particular day," he explains. "Now, I plan my meals more strategically. Before going out to eat, I decide in advance what I'm going to eat when I get there instead of going with impulse."

Besides overall healthier living, one of Pavuk's main takeaways from his bout with cancer is that early detection is the key to faster recovery. You never know when that annual check-up might help stop a disease in its tracks.


Nears-KenDr. Ken Nears

Selflessness is often praised as a virtue, but as Dr. Ken Nears has learned, you must also take care of yourself if you want to be alive to help others. As a single father who was granted custody of his daughter when she was 11 months old, Nears has spent more than 20 years devoting his time to caring for others. His history also includes the launch of a mentoring program for middle-school minorities, volunteer work for the American Red Cross and foster parenting for at-risk youth. When he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, his frustrations about the lack of treatment information available caused him to again think of helping others and develop a website (prostatecancerassessment.com) that serves as a one-stop shop for prostate cancer information.

Since his diagnosis and subsequent treatments in 2010, Nears' cancer has never officially been in remission. That fact, combined with the shock of his brother's death from a massive heart attack a couple of years ago, has led Nears to recommit to his own life. "I decided, if I was going to die from anything, it wasn't going to be from stupidity," Nears says. He began by eating "a simple, healthy diet," he says. He also started working out at a gym, and he took up tap dancing as a hobby. Then he found the Dance 101 dance studio. Offering classes in both mornings and evenings six days a week, Dance 101 allowed Nears to dabble in several dance styles and stay motivated.

Nears also focused on reducing the stress in his life. Prior to his diagnosis, he was a workaholic. "I taught full-time at a local university, conducted psychotherapy on the side and attempted to start several businesses," he says. "I believe that all of these factors combined, including my lack of rest, contributed greatly to my cancer by weakening my body's ability to keep dormant cancer cells under control." To reduce his stress, he makes a constant effort to think positively, visualize his goals, relax, stay centered and balanced and take time for reflection. As a result of his diet and exercise changes combined with his lifestyle changes to reduce stress, Nears is now 50 pounds lighter. "I look and feel better now than I have ever felt in my adult life."


Aparacio-Luis cred-Tony-BennerLuis Aparacio

He's been rowing for 48 years, since the age of 13. He's a three-time Olympian. He's a 64-year-old who works out two hours a day. Luis Aparacio is not a person you'd expect to suffer a near-fatal heart attack.

Yet earlier this year, when he was competing with the Atlanta Rowing Club in the world's largest two-day rowing event, the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston (his eleventh time competing in the event), he suffered a massive heart attack mid-race. In the hospital, the doctors put him into an induced coma, and his wife was instructed to prepare for the worst.

"In the morning, I was dead, and in the evening, I moved my toes," Aparacio says. Indeed, his recovery was miraculous. Nine days later he was transported to Atlanta, and he began cardiac rehabilitation at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital. "The first day I walked into rehab, I wasn't able to put one foot in front of the other," he says – he had suffered nine rib fractures from the CPR administered during his heart attack. "After three months of constant hard work, I got in shape and gained 87 percent of my muscle back."

He adds that, at 153 pounds, he is in better shape now than when he was prior to the heart attack. "I will always be grateful to the cardiac rehab staff," Aparacio says. "They saved me and encouraged me to go on and fight for a better life."

So what caused Aparacio's heart attack? He had a blockage in one of his arteries due to high cholesterol. "My biggest regret is that I should have seen the signs of heart problems and [monitored my] cholesterol levels," he says. Today, he advocates for awareness of your body's health. "Eat well, exercise hard, sleep, take no salty foods, avoid fat and junk food," he says. "Be grateful to God for your family and your friends, and don't forget to go to your doctor for as long as you live."



Monday, 22 June 2015 15:21

Sam Champion: Loving Life in Atlanta

By Amy Meadows

It was early 2010. Sam Champion, the beloved, award-winning weather anchor for ABC's top-rated "Good Morning America" was dealing with something that was all too familiar to him: skin cancer. His first diagnosis came in his mid-20s, and by his mid-40s, he knew the drill. He had five suspicious moles, and they had to be checked and treated by a dermatologist. "The problem is that there is no way to treat it other than to cut it out," Champion says. "But I'm on television every day, and that means that other people are aware of what's going on. When I have scars and loop stitches, people notice."

Twitter was just taking off, and Champion decided to reveal his skin cancer history to his growing number of followers. "It wasn't a conversation people were having on a regular basis. I just wanted to discuss with people why I had these scars and stitches," Champion explains. "I was so taken aback. I got a huge response. People were sending me pictures and asking if I thought they had skin cancer. I thought, 'We need to create awareness. People don't want to feel like they're being preached to, but we need get people talking about skin cancer.'"

With that in mind, Champion decided to have surgery live on air that May. He had a spot of basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, removed from his left shoulder. The well-received piece allowed him to share more details about his personal experience and gave him a platform to create a new level of understanding about skin cancer. "I wanted people to know what I didn't know. When I was a kid, there was no discussion about skin cancer. You were told to get your first good burn of the year, and then your skin would acclimate. But I was a blond, blue-eyed kid. And every time you burn, you damage your skin," he notes. "The only way to prevent skin cancer is to use some kind of protection against the sun. Today, there is a huge variety of skin care products that include sunscreen. Those aisles in the stores are miles long, and they're there for a reason. Anyone can get skin cancer."

It's that kind of straightforward, educational discourse that has endeared Sam Champion to the millions of viewers who watch him every morning on television. Of course, today they tune in to The Weather Channel, Champion's home since early 2014, when he left GMA to serve as anchor of the flagship morning show "AMHQ: America's Morning Headquarters" and managing editor for the Atlanta-based weather network. The move may have surprised many people, but for Champion, it was a completely natural step.

SAM-1"I'm a project guy," he asserts. "A lot of people like to plan their career and know where they want to be. That was never me. I like a project. We took 'Good Morning America' to number one. We did that, so that project was done. And the opportunity with The Weather Channel came at a really wonderful time."
With a plan to move away from longer-form programs and reemphasize the weather again, The Weather Channel offered the perfect environment – and new project – for Champion, who was a longtime fan. Like many, he had become disillusioned by the shift in programming in recent years and was thrilled to hear about the new strategy. "I was a Weather Channel viewer. Like everyone else, I had to have my weather," he says. "And they wanted to get back to weather full time."

Champion's love for climate and science proved to be a perfect match for The Weather Channel's plan of action. The excitement of revamping the network's quality programming brought Champion back to the enthusiasm he felt during his earliest days in the industry. "In the '80s, the thing that excited me was live television. You could get a truck out there and be on a live feed and actually show people what was going on. Then in the '90s, there were all of these incredible computer graphics being used for the weather. It was something you'd never seen before. It was very visual, and I was drawn to that," he explains. "Today, we have even more knowledge. We can be live anywhere around the world in a moment's notice. And there really is zero competition for The Weather Channel in terms of being able to do that."

The feeling of admiration clearly is mutual. "Sam is one of the hardest working talents I have ever come across throughout my years in the television industry," says Nora Zimmett, senior vice president of live programming for The Weather Channel. "Not only is Sam terrific on air, but he is also an incredibly talented producer. He is able to view AMHQ and the whole network from multiple perspectives, which helps in the entire 360-degree production."

The opportunity also felt like the right move for Champion and his husband, Rubem Robierb, who married in December of 2012. New York City had been home to the couple, but relocating to Atlanta offered Champion the chance to do something that he truly enjoys. "I love learning a new town. I love exploring," he observes. "I grew up a military brat. My dad was a Marine, and we moved all over the world." Interestingly, Atlanta never made the list of cities in which he lived. In fact, the only time he visited the metro area was to report on the weather, from the severe droughts to the crippling ice and snowstorms of the past few years. However, once he and Robierb arrived, they quickly became taken with their new hometown.

SAM-2"We're outdoors people. We love the bike paths around the city, and we love living by Piedmont Park," Champion says of the couple, who split their time between Atlanta and Miami. They also enjoy the many dining options the city boasts. "The weight gain is horrible," Champion admits. "There is such good food here. If you're a gourmet or a foodie, Atlanta should be at the top of your list when it comes talking about food that excites you. It's an incredibly delicious city."

For Champion, it also feels like the best of both worlds. "Atlanta is a wonderfully progressive town. It's an international, world-class city, but I love that it still has a hometown feel," he says.

One thing Champion isn't as crazy about in Atlanta: pollen season. In fact, he jokes that his first year in Atlanta almost sent his body and his red, swollen eyes into shock. Fortunately, year two has been a bit easier on his sinuses. However, he is still waiting for the temperate winters he was promised before he left the Big Apple. "Since we've been here, we've had double ice storms, brutal cold and gray winters. I'm waiting for that nice, mild winter," he laughs. "But spring in Atlanta is amazing. When the season rolls in, you can go outside and just feel the warm sun. And the tulips and flowers look like they exploded overnight. Does someone come in and plant them in the middle of the night?"

While Atlanta has been a great fit for Sam Champion, he has been an equally great fit for The Weather Channel. And whatever he's reporting, from major weather events to skin cancer awareness and beyond, viewers can depend on his information being as fascinating as it is useful. It has become a hallmark of his impressive 27-year career. "Everyone loves an interesting tidbit," he concludes. "This is a new Weather Channel. It's about providing ongoing education with a purpose. We've spent a year now putting The Weather Channel's focus on the weather again. It feels good. It feels like a success."


Monday, 22 June 2015 15:12

Hair Apparent

By Amy Meadows

It was 1988, and Ken Anderson was talking to the father of a friend. The young man knew he wanted to be a physician, but he also had a passion for art. He had always been the class artist in grade school, and his parents purchased a drafting table for him in the eighth grade. He seriously considered pursuing art as a career, but "I didn't want to be a starving artist," he says. That's when his friend's father opened his eyes to an interesting option. "He said, 'You want to be a doctor, and you like to draw. You should consider being a plastic surgeon,'" Anderson recalls. It sounded like a perfect fit: the ability to have a career in medicine while enjoying the artistic nature of facial plastic surgery.

Anderson received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He then completed seven years of specialty surgical training, including a residency in ENT surgery and a fellowship in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Michigan Medical Center. But the double board-certified plastic surgeon realized something. "Facial plastic surgery is not very artistic. It's technical," he reveals. "All facial plastic surgery – from facelifts to nose jobs – is landmark-based surgery. There's a certain place to start the incision, you go skin deep and then you focus on how much tension you are putting on the suture. It's very technical, but I felt it just was not artistic."

In 2003, though, everything changed for Anderson, who today is the founder and director of the Anderson Hair Sciences Center. "I discovered hair restoration," he says. "It required a sense of artistic talent in terms of designing hairlines. A man who is losing his hair loses the frame to his face. With hair restoration, I have to look at the shape of the face. There are no guideposts. Without any landmarks, I have to draw a hairline. I have to look at it and get creative. And people are like snowflakes. No two hairlines are the same, and no two hair loss patterns are the same." What's more, hair restoration allowed Anderson to employ his many years of surgical training, thanks to the technical nature of the non-invasive Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) method; it involves removing hairs from the back of the head, which are immune to the molecular receptors that cause balding, and placing them into sites on top of the head, where those permanent hairs will continue to grow as if they are still in the permanent hair zone. The challenge is not only to make sure that the relocated hair looks as if it has always been there, but also that any scars on the back of the head from the hair removal are virtually undetectable.

002For several years, Anderson practiced hair restoration in Beverly Hills. During that time, he also worked as a commissioned medical illustrator, designing and creating detailed pen-and-ink medical illustrations for scholarly book chapters and journal articles. In 2008, Emory Healthcare recruited him as Division Chief of Hair Restoration in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. And in 2011, he opened the Anderson Hair Sciences Center, a state-of-the-art boutique practice that is dedicated to the field of hair restoration surgery. What makes the center so unique is that, unlike other plastic surgery practices, hair restoration is the sole offering. "This is not a menu item on a website for us. This is all we do," Anderson states. "I am the only board-certified plastic surgeon in Georgia who does hair restoration full time. I am a surgeon and artist who has a dedicated career and practice to treat hair loss in men and women with an emphasis on natural, full results, patient comfort and overall patient care."

Anderson is supported by a full-time staff of highly trained technicians, who have a combined 45 years of experience. "It gives me tremendous peace of mind to have such an experienced staff," he says. Together, the staff uses the most cutting-edge technology, which Anderson says has changed hair restoration surgery. "People are reluctant to come to a doctor for hair restoration because they're afraid of bad hair transplant jobs," he notes. "But this is not your father's hair surgery. These are not hair plugs. There have been quantum leaps in technology that have come onto the scene. It's worth an hour to come down and check it out. And patients meet with me every time they come in. I personally show them how we apply traditional medical principles and today's technology to hair restoration surgery."

Anderson's concentration on hair restoration surgery has allowed him to stand out in the field. In 2004, he set a world record for the most single follicles extracted in one hair restoration procedure using a small biopsy punch. He also has become a sought-after lecturer and, in 2012, received the Okinawa Award for a presentation about FUE procedures delivered to the Japan Society for Clinical Hair Restoration. Additionally, Anderson is the only surgeon in Georgia to offer the ARTAS Robot Assisted FUE System, which his practice received in 2013 after a rigorous interview process and with which he is able to transplant hair without any linear or noticeable scarring, using no scalpels or stitches and providing a dramatically shorter recovery period for patients. Most recently, Anderson was nominated for the 2015 Doctors' Choice Award for Plastic Surgery.

"I love the artistic demands and creativity of this job," Anderson concludes. "Most of all, I love how happy the patients are. We all have hair, and when you lose it, it's distressing – for men and women. There's a psychology behind hair restoration. It's absolutely transformational. When you give a man or a woman back their hair, when you give them back their natural appearance, it brings such happiness. I've never seen happier patients. And I enjoy doing the procedures. It's a fun career that I've created for myself."

Monday, 22 June 2015 14:46

My Best Self: Rich Kenah

Every year on July 4, the Atlana Track Club hosts the world's largest 10K: the Peachtree Road Race. Executive Director Rich Kenah heads up this organization and brings years of Olympic-level running experience to the planning and execution of this fantastic event. Kenah's event was the 800, and he brought home the bronze in the 1997 World Indoor Championships and World Championships in Athens. He went on to run in the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney. After retiring from the track, Kenah says, "I spent most of my days marketing fast athletes and events that featured Olympic-caliber athletes." Now, he's settled down in Atlanta to encourage people who simply run for fun and fitness. We caught up with him about his vision for the ATC and what keeps him going in the sport after all these years.

What is the most rewarding part of working in the running world?
Helping people at every stage of the runner life cycle enjoy the sport, from beginner runners to Olympic athletes.

Since joining the Atlanta Track Club, what are you most proud of?
I am most proud of our staff and the effort they put forth to ensure all of our programs align with our mission of making people more active and fit through running and walking.

What developments do you envision for Atlanta Track Club's future?
We are in the final stages of a new real estate purchase, and the building we are acquiring will allow us to create a destination for all of our runners. Whether you are looking to sign up for a race, attend a running clinic, pick up a race number or simply go for a run, our address will be on the "must visit" list for runners.

What can our readers expect from this year's Peachtree Road Race?
They can expect the world's largest gathering of runners celebrating a 10K like only Atlanta can. Some of the new things participants should look out for include: The Verizon Wireless Family Fitness area at the Peachtree Expo on July 2 and 3, a new style for the all-important Peachtree participant shirt and the inaugural Peachtree Cup elite team competition.

Do you ever struggle to stay motivated with running?
I don't struggle to stay motivated, but I do struggle to make time to run as much as I would like. The great irony of working for a running organization is that I am generally working on the days and at the times that most people get the chance to run, so it takes discipline to guard my "run time."

What is your favorite place to run in Atlanta?
Cochran Shoals. Flat, shade covered, cinder trail...it doesn't get any better.

What do you look for in a running shoe?
I look for something fairly simple, lightweight and performance oriented. I wear the Mizuno Wave Rider.

What's your number one tip for a beginning runner?
Don't overthink it. Your body can accomplish more than you ever imagined as long as you don't let your mind convince you otherwise.

Thursday, 18 June 2015 15:28

Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D


by Morgan A. McLaughlin McFarland

Vitamin D is an essential component in absorbing calcium to the body and preventing several serious health problems. Our own bodies actually produce this vitamin, yet vitamin D deficiency has become widespread in the United States. Vitamin D deficiency has no reliable symptoms, either, so an inadequate amount of vitamin D could go undetected for years. Learn what you might be risking if your levels are low, and be sure to get a vitamin D test – a simple blood test – at your next annual check-up.

The Dangers of Deficiency

Vitamin D is a vital component for health. Without it, the body cannot absorb calcium. Rickets – a condition where the bones don't have adequate calcium and become deformed and at increased risk of fracture – is one major condition that can result from a lack of vitamin D. Dr. Richard Hansen, Director of Primary Care at Emory Specialty Associates, also lists kidney disease and psoriasis as conditions with strong evidence linking them to vitamin D deficiency. While studies have not yet shown a significant link, researchers are also examining possible correlations between vitamin D and autoimmune diseases, cancer prevention, cognition, fertility, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, mood disorders, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, stroke and diabetes.

Dr. Richard Ellin, a primary care physician with Kaiser Permanente, says other studies are exploring links between vitamin D deficiency and "certain vaginal infections in pregnant women, fetal loss, cognitive decline, seasonal depression, and increased gastrointestinal and ear infections in children, among other things." Though these studies are only preliminary, they do strongly suggest that vitamin D deficiency can have an impact on the entire body.

Risk Factors

Some risk factors for deficiency are beyond our control. Because melanin offers natural protection against the sun's UVB rays, darker skinned individuals absorb less sun and thus produce less vitamin D. Age is another factor; as we age, less vitamin D is absorbed in the intestines from food or supplementation.

Seasons and location also play a role in vitamin D production; our bodies are less able to manufacture vitamin D in the winter and at higher latitudes, due to the angle of the sun's rays.

Some risk factors can be influenced and changed, such as weight. Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient, meaning that excess body fat can absorb vitamin D and prevent it from going where it's needed. Reducing body fat can help you better use the vitamin D you take in.

Even something as simple as an increase in indoor activities and can put you at risk. "With group fitness classes and boutique specialized gyms on the rise, more and more people are working out indoors rather than outside," says Jennifer McGlown, Inpatient Clinical Nutrition Coordinator at Northside Hospital.

Whether your risk factors can be changed or not, vitamin D deficiency can be reduced in several ways, many of them as simple as taking a short walk outside or making small, but important, alterations to your diet.

Let the Sun Shine In... Safely

What is one of the greatest factors in our natural trend toward vitamin D deficiency? The answer may be a surprise: sunscreen. In our quest to prevent skin cancer, we've cut ourselves off from the most significant natural source of vitamin D: the sun.

"The major source of vitamin D for humans is exposure to sunlight," says Kathy Taylor, the director of nutrition services at Grady. "Anything that decreases the penetration of solar radiation into the skin will affect the synthesis of vitamin D. Sunscreen and sun protection when applied properly decrease the penetration of solar radiation, thus decreasing synthesis of vitamin D."

"People are more diligent about applying sunscreen, and at any SPF greater than 8, you are blocking UVB rays," adds Dr. Sharon Bergquist with Emory Healthcare. She also notes that because of the sun's cancer-causing effects, recommending more sun exposure is a controversial issue for health care providers.

SB-001If consistent sunscreen use is partially to blame for the rise in vitamin D deficiency, but failure to use sunscreen increases the risk of skin cancer, how can we safely intake enough vitamin D to keep us healthy? Luckily, concerns over sun exposure and vitamin D intake don't have to be mutually exclusive.

"Early morning sunlight is the best way to get exposed to Vitamin D. It's safe and not harmful to the skin," says Dr. Saju Mathew, a Family Medicine specialist with Piedmont Physicians. Dr. Zach Cohen, with the Atlanta Center For Holistic & Integrative Medicine, agrees that safe sun exposure can make a significant impact on vitamin D levels.

"If we all got about 15 minutes of unfiltered (no sunscreen) sunlight to the arms, hands and trunk 2-3 times per week, I think the incidence of vitamin D deficiency would decrease," says Dr. Cohen, who added that he doesn't recommend unfiltered sunlight to the face or scalp, suggesting a wide-brimmed hat and SPF-protective clothing, and reminds us to cover up after our 15 minutes of sun.

From the Inside Out

Many doctors and nutritionists also recommend oral supplementation as the safest and most reliable way to ensure an adequate vitamin D level. The first step in knowing if supplementation is needed (and if so, how much) is the blood test performed by your primary care physician. The normal range for vitamin D is between 20 and 50 nanograms per milliliter.

In the case of patients who turn out to have a slight deficiency or whose vitamin D levels are on the low side a normal, a daily dose of 2000 IU of vitamin D is the common course of treatment.

Along with supplementation, vitamin D can be improved through diet. Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna contain vitamin D in their naturally occurring oils. Many commercially available dairy products have been supplemented with vitamin D, including varieties of milk, yogurt and cheese. Vitamin D can also be found in egg yolks and beef liver. If diet and sun exposure alone are enough to bring your vitamin D levels within a normal range, supplementation shouldn't be necessary.

Enough is Enough

If a yearly blood test indicates normal, healthy vitamin D levels, supplementation typically isn't necessary. In fact, while higher-than-recommended levels of vitamin D aren't toxic, taking too much vitamin D can have negative long term effects on health.

"Because we've done a decent job trying to get message out, people are taking supplements and we're starting to see the opposite problem, with too high a level of vitamin D," says Dr. Bergquist. "There's a sweet spot, probably between 30 to 50 nanograms per milliliter. When you go above 50, it can start to work against you!" So before supplementing on your own, altering your diet or basking in the sun too long, check with your doctor about your current vitamin D levels and the best course of action.


Editorial Resources

Sharon Bergquist, MD, Emory Healthcare – www.emoryhealthcare.org

Zach Cohen, MD, Atlanta Center for Holistic & Integrative Medicine – www.atlantaholisticmedicine.com

Richard Ellin, MD, Kaiser Permanente Alpharetta Medical Center – www.kaiserpermanente.org

Richard Hansen, MD, FACP, ESA Primary Care Division – www.emoryhealthcare.org

Jennifer McGlown, RDN ,LD, CDE, Northside Hospital – www.northside.com

Saju Mathew, MD, Piedmont Physicians – www.piedmont.org

Kathy Taylor, Grady Health System – www.gradyhealth.org



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