Monday, 24 June 2013 15:13

Vitamins and Supplements:

Chances are you’ve been told from a young age to take your vitamins. But just how important are they in our daily routines? Is a multivitamin “one size fits all,” or can vitamin supplementation be targeted to your specific dietary needs? Do vitamins really ward off ailments like the common cold, or could they be doing more harm than good? We’re answering some common questions about vitamins and nutritional supplements, and clearing up some misconceptions surrounding their ability to protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.

Vitamins: Exactly How Important Are They?
“In a perfect world, we would get all of the nutrients we need from our dinner plates,” says Melissa Bennett, certified natural health practitioner at Natural Health Atlanta. “Unfortunately, with today’s processed food and our natural affinity toward refined flour and sugar, we really fall short of the nutritional mark.”

Bennett says the best way to determine what vitamins you need to be taking is to have a nutritional evaluation and micronutrient test. This will determine if you are absorbing nutrients, or if you need to increase the amount through supplementation or food sources. “As a general baseline, I always recommend a good whole food multivitamin, a probiotic and opti DHA/EPA as foundation products,” she says.

That is not to say that taking vitamins gives you a free pass from eating healthily. “Food cannot be replaced with vitamin supplements,” says Amanda Bakalar, lead nutritionist at Dramatic Weight Loss. “The body absorbs vitamins much better in their natural state from fresh foods rather than taking a supplement.”

Also keep in mind that over-supplementing could be too much of a good thing. “Some vitamins have toxicity levels, and getting too much of them could actually cause harm,” Bakalar says. “A lot of foods are already fortified with vitamins. So if you are already a healthy eater, then it is probably best to focus only on supplementing certain vitamins where your diet may fall short.”

Could You Be Vitamin Deficient?
It is possible to be vitamin deficient and not know it because it usually develops slowly, and in the early stages, there are no classic symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, some common characteristics of low vitamin status include fatigue and lethargy, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite and poor concentration.

It is also important to note that “clinical” vitamin deficiencies result in specific diseases. For example, a lack of vitamin C eventually produces scurvy and is characterized by swollen joints, bleeding gums and aching bones. Scurvy is  treatable by increasing vitamin C intake with supplements or citrus fruits.

Other cases of vitamin deficiency could be the result of a medical procedure. “Some people who have had bariatric surgery, for example, need supplements because they are unable to absorb vitamins normally,” explains Dr. Sylvia Morris, a board-certified physician in internal and holistic medicine at Emory University. Certain health conditions, especially those that affect how our bodies absorb nutrients, can cause vitamin deficiencies as well. “People suffering from celiac disease are extremely sensitive to gluten, which is a type of protein found in wheat, barley and rye,” says Dr. Kelly Degraffenreid, chief of primary care at Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. “Doctors often prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure those patients get the nutrients their bodies need.”

But more often than not, a vitamin deficiency is easy to diagnose and requires just a simple fix. “People who avoid sun exposure may be low in vitamin D and need supplementation,” Dr. Morris says. “Bone fracture in elderly or post-menopausal women may be an indicator of vitamin D or calcium deficiency. Change in memory may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency. Cheliosis (splitting of corners of mouth) is associated with vitamin B deficiency.”

Organic vs. Synthetic Vitamins
With so many multivitamin supplements on the market, it can be difficult to decipher what’s what. “Always look for a ‘whole food supplement,’” Bennett says. “These supplements are easily assimilated and processed by the body. If a supplement has too many additives, dyes and other fillers, your liver has to process these as well as the supplement. I always say ‘if you can’t pronounce it, don’t ingest it.’”

So just what makes a vitamin “natural” or “organic”? “Natural vitamins often have a plant-based source, rather than a chemically manufactured source,” explains Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, Medical Director at Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine. “Organic labeling means the products comply with certain requirements as regulated by the USDA and have minimal pesticides, phthalates or parabens. A product cannot claim it is organic unless it meets the certification guidelines.”

It’s also important to understand that there are two types of vitamins—water-soluble and fat-soluble. “B vitamins, such as folic acid and biotin, are water-soluble,” Dr. Degraffenreid says. “If you take too much of those vitamins, your body can flush out the excess through your kidneys. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. The body can store these vitamins, which may lead to health problems. Although you will find ‘mega’ doses of vitamins on the market, the most efficient and cost-effective is a regular multivitamin.”

And when considering a new vitamin, always read the labels. “All ingredients should be listed, in the appropriate amounts,” Dr. Bhatia says. “Some supplement companies seek certifications that verify authenticity of the product. Common seals are the NSF, GMP and USP.”

Vitamins and Drug Interactions
It is always important to tell your doctor or healthcare provider what vitamins or supplements you are taking due to the risk of certain drug interactions. “Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can inhibit magnesium, calcium and iron absorption,” Dr. Morris says. “Iron supplements and thyroid medications should be taken separately (morning and night or at least two to three hours apart), as iron causes reduced concentration of levothyroxine. Iron also reduces the concentration of levodopa (Parkinson’s medication).”  

Certain medications can also make your body deficient of certain nutrients. “For example, antibiotics may cause nutrient loss in zinc and iron,” says Saira Gillani, naturopathic doctor at Natural Health Atlanta. “And antidepressants may cause nutrient loss in vitamin B12 and CoQ10.”

Do Vitamins Help Prevent Disease?
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on supplements and disease prevention. “Vitamins’ role in cancer and disease prevention is not clearly understood,” Dr. Morris says. “Vitamin E and beta carotenes were reported to prevent cancer, however, the study results have not been consistent and therefore recommendations cannot be made.”

Dr. Degraffenreid concurs. “With the exception of vitamin D and calcium supplementation being beneficial for bone health and possibly colon cancer, additional vitamins are not needed, according to evidence-based medicine,” she says. “Researchers initially thought many vitamins would help prevent heart disease, cancer, dementia and respiratory illnesses, but that has not been proven by controlled studies.”

Still, many experts do see a connection between vitamin deficiencies and certain diseases. “Many diseases can be traced back to pathways that begin as a result of dietary or genetic nutritional deficiencies,” Dr. Bhatia says. “Breast cancer and heart disease, for example, can be diseases of B vitamin and magnesium deficiency, or poor utilization. If caught early enough, these micronutrients can prevent disease.”


Did You Know? Vitamins and the FDA

Unlike medications and prescription drugs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have to approve or even inspect vitamins sold in the United States. Federal law classifies vitamins as a “dietary supplement,” which places them under the category of food and not drugs.

As a dietary supplement, the FDA does not need to “authorize” a vitamin for sale, so it is the job of the manufacturer to ensure that the vitamins it sells are safe before entering the market. However, the FDA can limit the sale of vitamins if it finds a product is unsafe.

Manufacturers have to be sure that the product is safe, and if the manufacturer receives any reports of harmful health effects from people using its product, it has to report those to the FDA. The FDA can then investigate these claims and issue a recall if it concludes a product is unsafe.


Editorial Resources:
Amanda Bakalar - Dramatic Weight Loss

Melissa Bennett ND, Saira Gillani ND - Natural Health Atlanta

Tasneem Bhatia MD - Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine
Kelly Degraffenreid MD - Kaiser Permanente of Georgia

Sylvia Morris MD - Emory Healthcare

Monday, 24 June 2013 13:49

The Adventures of Ty

Ty Pennington can't seem to slow down. Whether he's renovating the storm damaged homes in New Jersey as part of the Craftsman "Make a Difference Tour" or building a "First to the Future" home with NextGen TV, he is passionate about building stronger communities and giving back to others in need. Pennington spoke with Best Self Atlanta about his different projects with the same enthusiasm he was known for on the show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." And that excitement is contagious. His interest in building began at a young age when he and some friends decided to construct a three-story tree house. Years later, Pennington took his love of carpentry and parlayed it into a successful career. During his commencement speech at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) graduation ceremony, he admitted to the graduating class of 2012 that he had no idea at first how to turn his love of design into a job, but he believed in himself and was ready when opportunities came knocking.

At the Starting Line
The world was first introduced to the Atlanta native on a TLC reality show called "Trading Spaces." Before then, Pennington had done some modeling and commercial acting, however, he really wanted to find something that would give him a creative outlet for his design ideas. His career picked up momentum in 2003 when he became part of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," a show that took him all over the U.S. helping deserving families by redesigning their homes in a week or less. "You become very connected to their stories—they become part of you," Pennington says. "The experience of seeing what can happen when a lot of people come together, that's inspiring." When the show ended in 2011, Pennington and his team had rebuilt over 200 homes. Next Pennington went on to host the short-lived, lifestyle-based talk show "The Revolution." After only six months on the air, the show was canceled, but Pennington continued to work, focusing on personal ventures.

Opportunity Around the Bend
Pennington kept busy with various projects of his own including expanding his furniture and home decor line, but once again television came calling, this time in the form of a new series on HLN called "American Journey." Launched in January of this year, the show gives viewers an inside look into the lives of different people striving to better themselves and follow their dreams. With Pennington as the host, the episodes have included everything from occupants of a nature commune to lobster fishermen. "The thing I like about (the show) is it dives into the subculture of America and shows you what people are really going through," he says. "In 'Extreme Makeover,' I traveled around the country and we focused on telling the story of the family that we were helping, and I always wanted to come back to that. I think 'American Journey' really does that – takes you into these untold stories of interesting people doing amazing things with their lives."

A Bump in the Road
Going from project to project and still loving what you do can seem like a daunting feat. But for Pennington, keeping busy through different design ventures is how he channels his creativity, his seemingly boundless energy and deals with his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). After being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 17, Pennington found that juggling various building projects helped him stay focused. As his career grew, Pennington did not shy away from sharing his disorder with the public, even naming his L.A. design boutique ADHD(Art Design Home Decor), as a nod to his condition. He has remained very outspoken about treatment and support for adults with ADHD. "I really wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't gotten treatment," he says.

Bringing it Home
Pennington knows firsthand that life will give you obstacles, and it's up to you to find a way around them. "The best thing you can do is find out what it is that makes you happy. What are you passionate about? Is it music, art, dancing, writing? That thing you want to be doing when you've got time on your hands - keep that in your life. That's the key. And hopefully you can turn that into a job," he says. "It's really hard to do, but go after whatever it is that really makes you happy and don't let it leave your life." Pennington reveals he is working on some more TV ideas and has additional projects on the horizon, but is hesitant to give out details because he can be "really superstitious." And in between it all he is just trying to live his life to the fullest and have fun while doing it. "I think my life is a project, the best project in the world."


The Last Word

Last book you read that really inspired you?
I read Keith Richards' book, "Life." I think it is books like that that make you realize you have to live every single moment in the moment and really appreciate every breath.

How do you stay fit and active?
I grew up being very active, I played soccer and skateboarded. I'm not a weightlifter or anything, but I like to run. I also like to stretch and do some yoga.


What do you do to relax?
Honestly, a lot of people don't know this but I play a little bit of music, I like writing funny songs and playing my guitar. The other thing that helps me come down is just laughing at funny things that come up, spending time with family and friends – that's how I relax. I also find it calming when I'm working on the next project. For me, I like working on a project because I'm creating solutions to the problems and it elates me. I was one of those kids who got tested a lot. And my mom noticed the only time I was calm was when I was drawing something, when I had a pen in my hand. And I think that still holds true today.

In an interview with "Parade" earlier this year, you spoke of the 50 things you'd like to do before turning 50 (including swimming with whale sharks, coaching a Little League soccer team and going white water rafting down the Snake River). Have you accomplished anything on that list yet?
I have. I've started the process. One of the things on my list was to visit national parks, take really good pictures of them and then figure out a way to raise awareness to help protect them. I've started to knock some other the things off the list too—it is a big list and hopefully I can get it all done!

What do you miss about living in Atlanta?
I love the South. There's something so charming about it, maybe it's the fireflies, maybe it's the kudzu, maybe it's the sweet tea, but when you grow up there, you never lose it. Of course there's some of my favorite restaurants like Little Bangkok. I think Atlanta has some very good restaurants and the music scene is one of the best in the country. All we need now is to figure out a way to deal with traffic and we're good.

What is integrative medicine, and how does it differ from holistic, homeopathic and alternative medicine?

Integrative medicine is defined as healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person (body, mind, spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. (Rakel and Weil, Integrative Medicine, 3rd edition) Alternative medicine is everything they don't teach in conventional medical schools and may encompass holistic and homeopathic approaches. Integrative medicine may include theories and practices that are beyond the scope of our current conventional medical model, but without dismissing its therapies or accepting alternative ones uncritically. It offers so many valuable tools, some of which may be perceived as common sense, but with profound effects when applied

Who is an ideal candidate for integrative medicine?

In the midst of our current health care crisis, everyone would be a candidate for some aspect of integrative care. Conventional medicine focuses on the study and management of disease processes, which usually involves expensive diagnostic testing and treatment with synthetic therapies. This current model is what is slowly mortgaging our country's healthcare system with virtually no emphasis on healing.  You can treat asthma with a drug without healing the asthmatic subject. Healing facilitates change, such as stress reduction, a healthy diet, encouraging regular physical activity, and promotes a sense of community in which one can thrive spiritually.

Does insurance cover integrative medical treatment?

Third parties are starting to accept and reimburse more integrative models.  For example, Dean Ornish has developed a comprehensive system (stress management, diet, exercise, love and support) that actually reverses heart disease, a claim which no statin drug or coronary stent can make. His system is covered by Medicare as well as some private payers.

What should patients look for in a physician or practice that offers integrative medicine?

Someone who recognizes the critical role of the doctor-patient relationship and develops sacred, intimate relationships with their patients by listening intently and offering therapeutic, evidence-based options individualized to their patients' needs.


Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road
Suite E200
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 977-9300

Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI serves as director of Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. He specializes in integrative medicine and allergy, asthma and immunology, and his interests include the role of inflammation in various disease states, diet and nutrition, and botanical medicine.

Friday, 21 June 2013 17:43

Turn Back the Clock on Your Skin

Who is the ideal candidate for the fractional CO2 laser?

The ideal patient is light skinned with acne scars, or has scars from trauma or wrinkles from age and sun exposure. Former smokers are also good candidates for treatment. Fractional CO2 laser in darker skin is generally not recommended since the laser will heat the skin, causing it to darken. Lighter skinned people may also have some temporary darkening of the treated areas of skin, but this will fade over time.

How does the procedure work?

The fractional CO2 laser works by drilling tiny pin sized holes to a specific depth in the skin surface. These "holes" heat the deeper portion of the skin, causing the collagen to "remodel," thus smoothing wrinkles and other defects.

Is the procedure painful?

Prior to the procedure, a topical anesthetic is applied the skin, so any discomfort during treatment is minimal. Immediately following the procedure, you will be pink to red, and may feel swollen and tender for a few hours. This can be relieved with ice packs, topical or oral steroids and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen.

Is the treatment safe for all skin types?

People who are active outdoors should have the CO2 laser treatment in the late fall and winter to avoid excessive darkening. Tanning bed users, tattooed skin, pregnant women and anyone who has recently taken Accutane should not be treated.

What types of results can patients expect, and how long will these last?

Most people take about two weeks for the redness to go away. If the laser darkened the skin, this may take 8 to 12 weeks to fully fade. Wrinkle reduction and scar improvement may take 6 to 12 months. The longevity of most cosmetic procedures depends upon your lifestyle and genetics. If you do not wear sunscreen, expect less durability from your cosmetic results. If your parents aged gracefully, you will likely do the same.


North Atlanta Dermatology
3850 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, Georgia 30096

Dr. Damian Dhar is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology. He is a member of a number of professional societies including the American Academy of Dermatology, Atlanta Dermatological Association, Medical Association of Atlanta and others.


As the niece of author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, Christy Ziglar didn't have to look far for inspiration. "He inspired so many people to take action to change their lives," she says. "I think one of the things that most impressed me about Zig was the very unique way that he was able to deliver perfect nuggets of wisdom in humorous and practical ways that would resonate with everyone." Christy decided to continue in those footsteps with her unique children's book series, the Shine Bright Kids stories aimed at helping kids learn to make better choices in life.


How did you first decide to write these books?
Because of my background as a financial planner, I was asked to help develop a financial literacy program for first and second graders in the Atlanta Public Schools several years ago. It was during my work on that project that I first became aware of the need to teach our kids how to make better choices. It became clear that until kids could learn to say 'no' to the instant gratification, no amount of talking about saving or budgeting was going to make a real difference. As a mom, I'm always looking for creative and fun ways to teach valuable life lessons. My twins have always loved books so it seemed natural to write a children's story to provide a relevant context to convey this concept of delayed gratification and waiting for the very best. As soon as I started working on my book, "Can't-Wait Willow!," I began to think of other characters and stories that would highlight equally valuable life skills and so, the Shine Bright Kids series was born.

How has your uncle influenced your career and personal life?
I love hearing stories from so many people who share how one of his tapes or books directly impacted their life. It wasn't very long after I'd written the stories that I had a "middle of the night" moment when it occurred to me that the life lessons and values I was trying to teach through my children's stories were the same leadership principles and motivational messages that my Uncle Zig had spent his life teaching to adults.

Best takeaway from becoming an author?
It is so much fun to see a book come to life! I never realized how challenging and how rewarding writing a children's book could be. My favorite thing is seeing childrens' reaction to the story and hearing from the parents about how the book is helping their family become more purposeful and proactive in general.

Best message to pass on to children?
It's simple. Choose Right. Shine Bright.

Best accomplishment?
My family! I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband who is my best friend and two incredible kids that make everything more fun.

Best way to spend your free time?
I love to have adventures and I love to be outside. Whether it's exploring a new part of town, going on a hike, having a picnic, or just hanging out in the backyard, there's nothing more cherished than some unscheduled time.

Best thing you've learned from your uncle?
My two favorite quotes from him are, "It's not what you've got, but what you use that makes a difference," and "You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."

The people who help you be your best self:
My husband, my kids, my family and my favorite friends.

"Life begins at forty." –W. B. Pitkin

The winners of the 2013 Over 40 & Fabulous! contest have followed their passions, achieved rewarding careers and stopped to help others along the way.

These amazing Atlantans seem tireless in their efforts to continue to improve themselves and the world around them in their own special way.

This year's top 10 winners were nominated by their friends, family and peers, and in accordance with contest guidelines, choosen by the number of votes they received. Here we celebrate this year's fabulous top 10!





kim-vaughnKim Vaughn – Winner

"In 54 years, I have learned that today I am the youngest me I will ever be. As a result, I choose to celebrate life every day and live it to the fullest."

Bio: Kim is a professional model as well as an image and pageant consultant who has coached numerous local, state and national title winners. She also served as a national spokesperson for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I have learned that beginning my day with a positive attitude is critical and impacts everything and everyone. As a role model and mentor to young people, I must lead by example. This means that I must take care of myself first, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

What is your favorite quote?
"And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)" –Dr. Seuss

What is your favorite getaway?
Maui - it is heaven on Earth!

Name something on your bucket list.
Going to Australia.

Where do you go for "me" time?
I like to wake up early and have my quiet time with God before my family gets up. For me, beginning each morning with calmness and a heart filled with gratitude makes for a blessed and productive day. My daily motto is, "I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection."

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
I achieve my best self by surrounding myself with people who love me simply for being me. I am thankful for the "village" of folks who help me maintain optimum health. Living with a disease has made me keenly aware of how important it is to take excellent care of myself. In addition to my traditional physicians, I have gone to Body Logic for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. I believe chiropractic care (Dr. Jason Regis at Transition Chiropractic) as well as massage (Christine Klusovsky at Healing Solutions, LLC), have proven to be beneficial to my health. In addition, Tracey Prinzbach at Personal Best Personal Training has been an excellent trainer and helped me to gain a greater understanding of nutrition and taught me to love weight lifting. I highly recommend Barbara Weber, RN at The Image Academy for injectables and advice on skin care. For hair care, I love Siggers Hairdressers. My hairdresser, Brittany, is an amazing stylist and friend. Lastly, for my fashion advice, I rely on Randall K. Smith. His sense of style is amazing and he always knows how to make me look and feel like a star.

What is your favorite new experience/discovery?
Currently, I am learning deep breathing exercises as a form of relaxation.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
By far, my favorite ways to give back to my community involve youth and raising awareness for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation, Inc. (SSF). I became an advocate for SSF after being diagnosed when my first child, Davis, was born. I was honored to serve as a national spokesperson, and currently I am focusing my charitable efforts on fundraising events for the foundation. My goals when working with youth include helping them achieve high levels of self-confidence through honing communication skills and earning college scholarship money. As a former teacher, I believe that education is the key that unlocks a lifetime of opportunity. In addition, I encourage my clients through my image and pageant consulting business to achieve their personal best.


ursula-lentineUrsula Lentine

"I feel centered, and no matter what happens to me, I am steady inside. I have happiness from within."

Bio: Ursula is a certified Pranic Healer, a practitioner of Self Leadership Therapy and has founded several programs for youth like Mountain Wisdom's First Rites of Passage Experience and Girls to Women teen camp.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I would say the fact that I design my life now. Everything about my world is because of my consciousness. I have peace. It takes work, but it's worth it. I am dedicated to my spiritual practices. I feel centered, and no matter what happens to me, I am steady inside. I have happiness from within. I am my only limitation. I may have learned these things the hard way, but it's mine now; I can own it!

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I am living my purpose; that is my greatest accomplishment. It's to the degree that each day the choices I make are deliberate and along with the spiritual truths as I know them. An effective way that purpose is expressed is through Pranic Healing®, which is a refined energy healing for emotional, physical and mental issues that are beyond what the eye can see. I also facilitate subconscious healing work at Internal Family Systems. Witnessing people's lives change is truly the best job in the world.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I absolutely love dirt bike riding and I go nearly every Monday. My runner-ups are West Coast Swing dancing, Red Hot Yoga and straight-up, hardcore yard work.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
My teachers: Master Glenn Mendoza, MD, Master Marilag Mendoza, Dr. Valerie Davis, Master Choa Kok Sui and Dr. Dick Schwartz. Pranic Healing® and Internal Family Systems are the two models I use in my practice as a healing therapist. The children and young adults I have the privilege of serving at the Spiritual Living Center on Sundays definitely call me to be my best self.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Twin Hearts Meditation is a meditation group I started four years ago. It is an incredible gift to witness the personal growth of others and lives changing in such profound ways.



doug-barronDoug Barron

"Being able to raise ovarian cancer awareness though social, fundraising and educational events across the state is so rewarding."

Bio: Doug is the executive director of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, an organization that spreads awareness and education about ovarian cancer throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
Not to take myself so seriously, to quit trying to impress everybody [and] to be comfortable with who I am and just be myself.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finding a career I truly love. After 30-plus years in the financial services industry and following the death of my mother-in-law, Wendy Sheron, to ovarian cancer, I became the executive director of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Being able to raise ovarian cancer awareness though social, fundraising and educational events across the state in her memory is so rewarding.

What is your favorite book?
"For One More Day" by Mitch Albom. It focuses on the importance of living in the now and making the time and effort to recognize and appreciate the people who are always there for you.

What is your favorite way to work out?
Swimming. I have been a competitive swimmer for over 45 years and still compete in the Atlanta Adult Summer Swim League.

What is your favorite getaway?
Any beach – it is the one place I can truly shut down and do nothing.

What makes you laugh?
Silly, sophomoric humor.

Where do you go for "me" time?
The nail salon for a manicure and pedicure. There is something about a good pedicure and foot massage that is so relaxing. I do catch some grief from friends, but don't knock it until you have tried it. Also, [I like] being outside doing yard work.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
I would have to say my mother-in-law, Wendy. Right up until the time of her death, her strength and composure never ceased to amaze me. I became involved with ovarian cancer awareness in her honor and continue to be guided by her actions.

How would your family and friends describe you?
Trustworthy, dependable, goofy, dedicated and devoted.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Educating women of all ages across Georgia about the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer.



dr-neil-cooperDr. Neil Cooper

"I try to find something enjoyable in every day and try to perform one act of kindness daily."

Bio: Dr. Cooper is the chief of diagnostic imaging services for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. He is also a physician, husband, father, volunteer and motorcycle enthusiast. After surviving a heart attack, he changed his diet and became even more passionate about his health and the health of others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I know my strengths and weaknesses, have learned to accept who I am, understand my limitations and realize I can only control what I can control and not worry about the rest. The most important thing I have learned since passing 40 is not to take life's ups and downs too seriously. I have learned that staying connected with friends and family is most important. At this age I realize our time here is limited. So I try to find something enjoyable in every day and try to perform one act of kindness daily.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Recently, my best accomplishment has been returning to school for a Master's degree in health administration and now working on a Master's degree in health promotion and exercise science. Studying at this age is good exercise for the brain and keeps the cobwebs cleared.

What is your favorite book and why?
I have many favorite books, but the one with "staying power" that can be read over and over is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. It's a reference book and a way of life. My favorite chapter and the one thought that stays in my head is Begin with the End in Mind. Very powerful.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I have exercised routinely for years with many good trainers. Up until a year ago, I thought training meant lifting heavy weights for strength. If it didn't include a bicep or a pectoral, it wasn't worth my time. How wrong I was! More recently, my trainers and my own reading have helped me see the light. I have learned that working out starts with a strong core. Next is flexibility, followed by balance, then strength, endurance and power. My favorite workouts are at FormWell Personal Fitness Training where they mix it up with circuit training, resistance, CrossFit and endurance.

What is your favorite new experience/discovery?
My new favorite discovery is the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet. With my wife, Shelley, leading the charge, we are on a path of discovery — learning how to stop and reverse chronic disease such as coronary heart disease. Together we are reading books by authors such as Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, attending conferences like Georgia Organics and Farms to Forks, and discovering wonderful vegan restaurants and ways to eat vegan in any restaurant. Giving up animal products and substituting with healthy grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits makes mealtime empowering, healthful and energy-boosting. After I became convinced that plant-based nutrition truly leads to a better lifestyle, I have found the journey to be a lot of fun, full of new flavors and experiences, and very satisfying.



dr-Leslie-C-grayDr. Leslie C. Gray

"I've found that in my 40s, I'm more able to appreciate my strengths, and that gives me confidence in all areas of my life."

Bio: Dr. Gray is a passionate dermatologist who founded Dermatology Center of Atlanta in October 2000. She is also a wife and mother of three. Today, she and her staff donate to North Fulton Community Charities, among others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
The best thing I've learned is the peace and satisfaction that comes with accepting yourself as you are and not feeling the pressure to measure up to other people's expectations. I've found that in my 40s, I'm more able to appreciate my strengths, and that gives me confidence in all areas of my life. I also know my weaknesses, but I am better able to work on them than when I was younger.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finding balance in my life with the things that mean the most to me. Especially after 40, I know what my priorities are and I keep myself accountable to them — family, faith, fitness, home, health, work and fun!

What is your favorite way to work out?
I have a library of the Beachbody DVDs and I mix and match cardio and strength. I also love that my children can see that my health and fitness are a priority and I hope that will positively influence them too.

What is your favorite getaway?
I have two favorite getaways. The first is Seaside, FL, where we have gone for our family summer beach trip for more than a decade. It's a great place for reconnecting and family time. My other favorite getaway is our lake house at Lake Burton.

Name something on your bucket list.
Learning Italian and then going on a trip to Italy.

What makes you laugh?
My husband, Glenn, has always made me laugh. He has a great sense of humor and he's especially funny with our kids.

Where do you go for "me" time?
Working out in my gym is the best "me" time. I always feel more energetic and clear-headed after a great workout.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Donating the services and resources of my practice to the many local charities, schools and causes that approach us. As a group, we also try to give back. Last year, instead of our traditional secret Santa gifts, employees could opt instead to donate to North Fulton Community Charities. This year, we are planning a group volunteer day at the Murphy-Harpst Children's Center, which helps children who are severely abused.



ann-marie-weeksAnn Marie Weeks

"Teaching fitness has never felt like a job to me; it is my passion and I would do it regardless of if I got paid."

Bio: Ann Marie is a Flywheel instructor and passionate about fitness. She is also a wife, mother of three and supporter and volunteer at Mary Hall Freedom House.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I am able to do what I love every day and get rewarded for it both financially and spiritually. Teaching fitness has never felt like a job to me; it is my passion and I would do it regardless of if I got paid. I look forward to every class I teach. I love my clients and feel so fortunate to be able to encourage and motivate them in their pursuits of a healthy lifestyle.

What is your favorite book and why?
"The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. It provides great insight on the benefits of staying in the present moment instead of holding onto the past or worrying about the future. It is about enjoying exactly where you are at the present time and fully embracing the experience.

What is your favorite way to work out?
Flywheel. I cannot get enough of this spinning class! I have taught in the fitness industry for over 25 years and this is hands down my favorite class to teach.

What is your favorite getaway?
My home on Peaks Island, Maine. I was born and raised in Maine and feel so fortunate to be able to go back and spend the summers there. Being on an island forces [me to] slow down and provides a perfect place for quality family time without being pulled in a million directions. My children love choosing the activities of the day with no schedule and the freedom of independence afforded to them with the safety of being on an island. There is just nothing more relaxing to me than laying in a hammock on the deck, and seeing and hearing the crashing of the ocean waves.

Name something on bucket your list.
Hiking the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu, Peru is number one on my bucket list.






kitsy-roseKitsy Rose

"I wake up feeling excited, creatively challenged and energized by my clients."

Bio: Kitsy has run her own boutique PR firm (KitsyRose PR), specializing in fashion and hospitality for the last eight years. She also sits on the board of the Humane Society and is an avid breast cancer awareness supporter.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I would have to say that, to date, my career is my biggest accomplishment. I have been extremely blessed to work with the people and businesses that I do every day over the past six years [and] that I have had my own business. I actually can say that I wake up feeling excited, creatively challenged and energized by my clients, [who are] the great media of Atlanta and so many [other] partners that I call for various event collaborations. Working hard never felt so good or rewarding.

What is your favorite way to work out?
As I started to approach 40, I really wanted to be my best self for the big day. I hired a friend and personal trainer from H.E.A.T. (High Energy Alternative Training) and was introduced to Flywheel. I quickly became addicted and loved the results.

What is your favorite getaway?
Traveling is a huge passion of mine and I feel fortunate to have experienced many places and different cultures. But my softest spot is for Paris – I love the art, food, fashion and the champagne! It was an honor that 14 of my closest friends made the journey to Paris to celebrate the big 4-0 with me. I will treasure those memories forever.

Name something on your bucket list.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I'm a softy for dogs and was thrilled to have been invited to spend the last four years as a member of the 1873 Society Club, which is the "junior board" for The Atlanta Humane Society. I am also a huge breast cancer supporter. Every year for the past four years, I have walked with my friend Mia's family. It is an early Saturday rise, but [it's] such an empowering feeling when you see the masses decked out in pink.




mary-pompeo-williamsMary Pompeo Williams

"My son makes me laugh - the innocence and honesty of a six-year-old is priceless!"

Bio: Mary is a dedicated champion for Open Hand, having successfully co-chaired and elevated their event Party in the Kitchen from 2010 to 2012. She is also a mother, wife and community advocate.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I enjoy running with friends every morning! Since all of us have such busy schedules, it is a great way to catch up and work out.

What is your favorite getaway?
One & Only Palmilla Resort in Cabo San Lucas.

What makes you laugh?
My son, Harrison, makes me laugh. The innocence and honesty of a six-year-old is priceless!

Where do you go for "me" time?
My afternoon walk. It gives me a chance to unwind a bit and clear my mind before the nighttime routine starts. I have always said my morning run is for my physical health and my afternoon walk is for my mental health.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I volunteer for several charities and organizations; however, I am most passionate about Open Hand. They do so much more than deliver meals to people in need; they cook and prepare fresh, nutritional [and] healthy food that is medically appropriate for homebound seniors and those who are chronically ill. Their main focus is the importance of preventive health care and nutritional education. One of the things that really impresses me about Open Hand is that they don't just deliver meals to the person who is ill, but to every member of the family.




maryclaire-andresMaryclaire Andres

"Life is too short not to do the things you want to do."

Bio: Maryclaire is a dedicated mother of four. She also owns a promotions and event company. She sits on the board of Arts with Heart and works with the Boys & Girls Clubs, among others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
Don't sweat the small stuff. I plan events for a living, so I am used to being in a high stress, high-energy environment. The key to succeeding at that is to be flexible and not too easily rattled. I also realized that life is too short not to do the things you want to do. I have learned how to live in the moment.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Besides my four children, it's the work I have done on events in Cobb County and building my business from scratch. I have been working with Taste of Marietta for 14 years now and we are now the largest one-day food festival in Georgia. I am also proud of another event that I started with a wonderful committee from the Boys & Girls Club of Cobb County in 2009. It is called the Whole Hawg Happenin' BBQ & Music Fest.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I use the StairMaster. I also get a lot of exercise through my work and keeping up with four young children! I like to hike and do things like zip-lining, skating and bike riding.

Name something on your bucket list.
I want to visit the current Seven Wonders of the World.

What makes you laugh?
Almost everything! My children do — they are 8, 10, 10 and 13. I have two boys and twin girls and they are my joy. My husband and friends make me laugh too.

Where do you go for "me" time?
If I do get any free time, it would be to go out with my girlfriends or go away on a girls' trip.

How would your family and friends describe you?
Probably bubbly, crazy, funny — always going and not ever resting.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I work with several non-profit organizations. In addition, I donate my company's (Promo-Photo) services to many different organizations for their fundraising events. I also involve my children in non-profit charity work.



sean-okeefeSean O'Keefe

"Most of my life has been dedicated to the belief that even the smallest effort can be rewarding."

Bio: Sean is an event stylist, designer, chef, non-profit specialist, equestrian and founder of Sean O'Keefe Events. He has helped raise nearly $2 million for the fundraising community.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I would have to say that it has to be that I am truly happy being me.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Creating Sean O'Keefe Events and finding my voice in the Atlanta non-profit community.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I love hiking!

What is your favorite getaway?
Anywhere my car feels like taking me — most often it is Kentucky. I just love the Highway 127 garage sale. It is always so very beautiful there and the people are almost as nice as the people in Georgia.

Name something on your bucket list.
Does it have a handle to help me carry it? Buckets can only hold so much and there is way too much on my list.

What makes you laugh?
To be honest, almost everything. I find that in order to survive in this world we have to laugh. Everything is funny if you take the time to feel and see the laughter.

Where do you go for "me" time?
The river in Roswell. There is something so peaceful about walking along the banks of the Chattahoochee. It's such an amazing place to be and it is the best alone place that I have ever known.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
There are so many people that I consider to be blessings in my life. As they say, "It takes a village..."

How would your family and friends describe you?
I think that my family and friends would describe me as a fun, loving and dedicated man. Slightly odd, but definitely fun, loving and dedicated.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Most of my life has been dedicated to the belief that even the smallest effort can be rewarding, and that if we can tap into our best self, all that we do can be a way of giving back.

What is the miraDry® procedure?
The miraDry® procedure is a quick, safe, non-invasive treatment that is FDA cleared to eliminate sweat glands under the arms. No surgery is involved. The hand piece of the miraDry® System is placed on the underarm area and delivers precisely controlled, localized microwave energy to the region where the sweat glands reside. The result is elimination of the sweat glands in the targeted area. The glands do not grow back, so there is a dramatic and lasting reduction in underarm sweat.

What is the procedure like?
The clinician customizes treatment for each underarm with multiple placements of the miraDry® System. The underarms are numbed prior to the procedure for your comfort. You should be able to return to normal activities or work right after the procedure, and you can typically resume exercise within several days. Some localized soreness or swelling is normal, and typically clears within a few weeks. Some patients have temporary, short-term altered sensation in the skin of their underarms or upper arms, which gradually disappears.

What results can I expect?
Most patients report a dramatic reduction of their underarm sweat – in a recent clinical study, the average underarm sweat reduction was 82%. You should see a reduction in sweat immediately after treatment. Two procedures spaced three months apart are required to maximize the results and duration. As with any medical procedure, results will vary by person. The results are lasting because the sweat glands do not come back or regenerate after they have been eliminated.

Is the miraDry® procedure right for me?
If embarrassing underarm sweat outbreaks, stained clothing or frequent antiperspirant application interfere with your daily life, then you may be a good candidate for the miraDry® procedure.

DERMATOLOGY CENTER OF ATLANTA is one of the first in Georgia to offer the FDA Approved miraDry® technology. We are experienced and well-trained in performing miraDry® treatments. To learn more about this revolutionary procedure, call our office for a consultation.

Dermatology Center of Atlanta

Dr. Leslie C. Gray is board certified in dermatology and founded Dermatology Center of Atlanta in 2000. She built the practice on her belief of combining the highest quality dermatologic care with outstanding patient-centered customer service. At Dermatology Center of Atlanta, our board certified dermatologists provide comprehensive Medical, Surgical and Cosmetic skin care services.

Is the treatment of my spider veins cosmetic or medical?
Most people think those unsightly spider veins on their legs will cost them a fortune to treat, so they decide to just live with it. But if simple activities like standing at a soccer game cause your legs to ache and become so painful that you just want to shake them, this is more than just a cosmetic issue. The discomfort you are feeling is a sign of an underlying issue called venous insufficiency.

What will happen if my venous insufficiency is left untreated?
The condition starts with minor symptoms and small veins, but can lead to large, painful veins and other conditions like full-blown venous disease if not treated early. Don't be fooled into costly cosmetic treatments, because chances are, the veins will continue to come back.

What is the safest (and most cost-effective) way to treat my venous insufficiency?
There is only one way to reduce the appearance and relieve the symptoms, and the best news is that 95 percent of procedures are covered by insurance! So stop throwing money away by treating the same veins over and over. Let us treat it right the first time.



Be proactive about your circulation and prevent further damage to your legs by having them evaluated for venous disease.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 19:11

Get Strong, Sexy, Healthy Legs

Everyone would love to have a set of great legs, and by paying some attention to diet, exercise and a few aesthetic extras, beautiful legs can be yours at any age. Ready to get started? Begin by focusing on the inside to keep joints healthy, muscles strong and ensure good blood circulation. Consider laser and vein treatments when necessary, then finish up with a few refining services and you'll be seeing improvements in no time.

Start from the Inside

While the goal is to have great looking legs, the journey begins on the inside by keeping muscles, ligaments and veins healthy. Legs are home to the largest muscles in the body, and they need to work properly to support most of the activities we do. Maintaining good flexibility and range of motion in the joints will not only keep legs healthy, but also impart a more fluid and graceful appearance.

Beginning with the joints, which are the places where bones connect and allow movement to happen, proper working order is key. In the legs, joints include the hips, ankles and knees – all common areas where injury can occur. Dr. Krystal Chambers, a physical medicine and rehabilitation spine physician with Resurgens Orthopaedics, recommends keeping joints healthy by consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. "This includes foods such as salmon, halibut, fresh tuna and walnuts," she says. Fortified foods like eggs, milk and yogurt can also be helpful or fish oil can be taken in capsules or even a smoothie form. "Other supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin may be helpful in decreasing joint pain in people with mild to moderate arthritis," she says.

Sufferers of chronic joint pain should limit high impact, weight-bearing exercises like running and high impact aerobics. "Look for lower impact exercises such as swimming, water aerobics, treadmill walking or the elliptical trainer," Dr. Chambers explains.

You will also want to take good care of your tendons and ligaments – they connect muscle to bone and bone to bone respectively, and can become injured due to repetitive use or overuse. Additionally, lack of stretching prior to exercise can cause problems. "Always stretch or warm up properly prior to engaging in a sport or exercise," Dr. Chambers says. Invest in proper shoes, and when new to a sport, begin slowly and gradually increase your intensity level.

Even with prevention, injuries do sometimes occur. For muscle pain or soreness after exercise, applying ice to decrease inflammation offers a quick fix. Over-the-counter analgesics can also help. For tendon, ligament or joint injuries, Dr. Chambers recommends resting from activities that aggravate the pain and OTC anti-inflammatory medications. If symptoms persist for seven days or more, it's time to see a doctor.

Keep it Circulating

Part two of keeping legs healthy on the inside is maintaining vein health. In many cases, unhealthy veins are apparent on the outside, so properly functioning veins can have an aesthetic importance too. There are two components to good leg circulation: arteries and veins. According to Dr. Louis Prevosti of VeinAtlanta, you can maintain artery health in the legs in the same way you maintain heart health – with exercise, keeping blood pressure stable and controlling blood glucose.

While getting a handle on the health of your arteries may sound easy, the vein side can be more challenging because the two main risk factors for developing problems are heredity and gender.

Also, people with professions that require long periods of standing must battle gravity as it pulls on veins and causes blood to pool. People with a family history of vein problems and those who stand a lot should utilize compression stockings when standing, sitting or traveling for long periods of time.

The bad news is that there are no known vitamins or dietary supplements that prevent vein disorders. And once the varicose or spider veins have developed, they will not go away, but compression stockings can help keep them from getting worse. On a positive note, Dr. Prevosti says that wearing high heels and crossing legs have not been shown to cause varicose or spider veins.

While damaged veins will not repair themselves, a variety of treatment options are available, and they are considered minimal, in-office procedures requiring no downtime. These treatments typically take less than an hour to perform, and normal activity and light exercise can be immediately resumed.

For spider veins, which are dilated capillaries visible through the skin, treatments include sclerotherapy and laser therapy, which are quick, relatively painless procedures. Sclerotherapy consists of medicine being injected into the vein with a fine needle, causing the vein to close. Until less than two years ago, sclerotheraphy injections contained a saline solution that burned, but the recently FDA-approved medicine, polidocanol, does not cause that stinging sensation. For smaller spider veins, laser treatments are also used, and again cause the vein to close down. Sometimes sclerotherapy and laser treatments are used together.

Varicose veins are the large, twisted veins that can be seen protruding underneath the skin's surface. People with varicose veins have a fourfold increase in developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot. "The best test to check for a dangerous blood clot is a venous duplex ultrasound. A blood test to check for elevated levels of D-dimer can signify a blood clot. Both of these tests would only be done if there was a suspicion of a blood clot. Many blood clots are detected before they break off and become pulmonary emboli, which is a dangerous event," Dr. Prevosti says. "Wearing compression stockings will help prevent DVTs and ankle swelling."

In the past, varicose veins were dealt with by vein stripping, a surgical procedure performed under anesthetic that required a recovery period and possibly a hospital stay. For the past 10 years or so, doctors have treated varicose veins with endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) – using an optic fiber to shine a laser into the vein, causing it to contract – and micro phlebectomy – a piece-by-piece vein removal performed by making very small incisions along the vein. Both treatments are minimal procedures.

According to Dr. Prevosti, spider and varicose veins, as well as other issues like restless or achy legs, are caused by chronic venous insufficiency. Some venous insufficiency sufferers have visible symptoms like spider veins, but many will not, and will only experience issues like night cramps, swollen ankles or heavy, tired legs. Anyone with leg discomfort can get a venous ultrasound to determine whether there is an insufficiency issue. "Most people with venous insufficiency do not have varicose veins," Dr. Prevosti says. And sufferers from venous insufficiency only have a slightly increased risk of developing a dangerous blood clot – about five percent. Still, for those with venous insufficiency, treatment with radio frequency closure or EVLT will alleviate discomfort and provide a good deal of relief.

Power Through

While keeping muscles strong will help develop beautiful looking legs, it is important to assess your kitchen before hitting the gym. "Diet is really important in keeping the legs strong," says Tammy Stokes, founder of West Coast Workout. "Beans and greens supply an excellent source of absorbable calcium for healthy bones."

Once you incorporate plenty of omega-3s, calcium-rich foods and a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet, lower body exercise is next on the menu. According to Jeff Wolfson, a personal trainer with Lone Wolf Fitness, engaging in cardiovascular exercise as well as resistance training is a must because these training methods isolate individual muscles that make up the legs.

Wolfson advocates beginning your leg training with the feet. "Our feet are vital to maintaining proper hip and spinal alignment," he explains. "However, not only are they rarely trained, but for the most part, (feet) are flat out ignored."

He recommends working the feet and lower leg muscles by doing calf raises, toe raises and everting and inverting the feet. And then it's time for squats. "The best overall resistance exercise for the legs is squats – all kinds – air squats, jump squats, angel squats, power squats..." They can be performed anywhere, so take advantage of the time you spend standing in line, cooking dinner, brushing your teeth and performing other stationary activities. Round out this leg-friendly resistance routine with at least four days of cardiovascular exercise like cycling, walking or running.

Most people might feel that bulk is generally not a desired look. "I favor the look of toned legs over muscularly built legs," Stokes says. "Sexy legs are subtly defined, not overly muscular." She focuses workouts on exercises that lengthen and tone the hamstrings and quads and combine them with "bum lifting" exercises. "This creates a longer, leaner, dancer shape," she says. "When the inner thigh muscle is toned, the legs appear slimmer and ultimately shapelier, making the quad muscles appear smaller." Stokes advocates that there is no big secret to keeping legs healthy and strong. "Nothing outdoes a good diet, proper exercise, tender love and care," she says.

The Finishing Touches

For the icing on the cake, you may want to try an aesthetic treatment to have the outside match the inside. "Many of our patients come in for an overall 'summer leg makeover,'" says Dr. Alan Gardner, with Gardner Dermatology & Med Spa. "There are numerous treatments and products available that can make your legs look great."

Hair Be Gone

Laser hair removal is one of the most popular treatments to get legs summer ready. Remember it is best to start early because a minimum of five treatments are generally necessary, and they need to be spaced six to eight weeks apart for best results. If you're not a fan of lasers, there are plenty of other methods such as waxing, sugaring and even hair removal creams that can help keep unwanted hair at bay.

The Color Wars

Any unwanted coloring on your legs may make wearing skirts or shorts embarrassing. If you have any discoloration on your legs due to age spots or other pigmented areas, there are laser treatments or creams that will lighten these areas.

Leave Your Mark

Stretch marks and cellulite are one of the greatest areas of concern for many women. "We treat these with the Sublative-RF and Submime laser with great results," Dr. Gardner says. These treatments tone and tighten the skin and can be combined with body firming and tightening creams to use at home.

What's Hue?

The final step in creating beautiful legs is getting a good glow. "Tanning helps hide veins, sun spots, freckles, stretch marks and scars," says Julie McGee, owner of True Glow Spray Tan. Avoid harmful tanning in the sun or a tanning bed, and opt for a good spray tan. The latest and greatest in spray tanning is a technologically advanced HVLP spray gun that delivers an even, natural looking tan. "The air pressure creates a mist that hits the body so precisely, that the days of streaky, splotchy sprays are long gone." A good spray tan will give you an immediate glow for up to 10 days, so the color will last through showers, sweating and sandy beach trips.


Editorial Resources
Dr. Krystal Chambers — Resurgens Orthopaedics,
Julie McGee — True Glow Spray Tan,
Dr. Louis Prevosti — VEINatlanta,
Tammy Stokes — West Coast Workout,
Jeff Wolfson — Lone Wolf Fitness,

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 18:53

Living with ADHD

Whether you’re a parent, a teacher or simply a bystander, most of us have encountered a child who is hyperactive, easily distracted, has trouble sitting still, or all of the above. You may have also met an adult with similar behaviors. Unfortunately, many people believe these types of behaviors are the result of poor parenting or just plain laziness. Thanks to medical advancements, however, science tells us that it’s more than just people behaving badly.

In 1980 we first heard the term ADD (attention deficit disorder), but today it’s referred to as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is a neurobiological condition that is characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately three to five percent of children have ADHD and about 4.4 percent of adults in the U.S., ages 18 to 44, experience symptoms.
“Typically, children with ADHD will grow out of their hyperactivity symptoms. However, their ability to focus can remain a problem.
Statistically, 60 percent of childhood cases will continue to have problems with focusing as an adult, which is why it is so important for early diagnosis and treatment,” says Dr. John A. “Jay” Faber, a clinical and forensic psychiatrist at the Amen Clinics.

Oftentimes, ADHD goes unrecognized as a child and the individual is not diagnosed until adulthood. The symptoms of ADHD are similar in children and adults, minus the hyperactivity. Children with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention and following instructions. They become bored or frustrated with simple tasks, and are easily distracted. These common symptoms can lead to academic and behavioral problems. “ADHD often brings with it poor grades and work performance, discipline problems and low self-esteem,” notes Beth Ardell, MPT, co-owner and director of LearningRx in Atlanta-Buckhead and Alpharetta-Johns Creek.

For adults, their symptoms tend to be more varied and may not be as clear cut. The NIMH also states that many times adults who have the disorder   don’t know it. They may experience anxiety and depression, mood swings, chronic restlessness, low self-esteem and impulsivity. Daily tasks such getting ready for work and being productive can also pose a challenge.

Proper Diagnosis

Parents who suspect their child may be exhibiting these common symptoms should seek a professional ADHD review. “Typically, your pediatrician will make a referral for psychological testing to confirm a diagnosis of ADHD and to rule out other possible contributing factors to the symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity that might also explain these concerns,” says Dr. Thomas G. Burns, Director of Neuropsychology at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Family history is also important to understand factors that might predispose the child to certain behavioral or medical conditions.”

Treatment Options

As for treatment, medication is not the only answer. “We know there are multiple factors influencing ADHD. There are two key neurotransmitters that are turned ‘off’ in children who have the disorder: serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are influenced by diet, stress, nutritional deficiency and sleep—all of which are my starting points when evaluating children that exhibit ADHD symptoms,” says Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, medical director and founder of Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine.


Many children with ADHD are exceptionally sensitive to certain foods. “Changes in diet, including avoidance of artificial colors and food additives, have been shown to improve focus and attention. Dietary guidelines supplied by a nutritionist can only help the effectiveness of other interventions for focus and attention,” Ardell says. Offer your child a diet that is low in sugar and high in protein, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids.

Stress levels

ADHD is not only aggravated when stress levels are high, but it can cause stress in families as well. Develop a few relaxation techniques with your family and communicate with one another. Additionally, remove unnecessary “noise” like video games and television.

Nutritional deficiency

Despite how well your child eats, it is quite common for children—ADHD or not—to lack a sufficient amount of vitamins. “The most prevalent nutritional deficiencies are the B vitamins, magnesium and the healthy fats, including both omega-3 and omega-9,” Dr. Bhatia says. Check with your doctor first before giving your child nutritional supplements. 


“Sleep is critical for children with ADHD,” Dr. Bhatia says. They need 10 hours of sleep per night.” Lack of sleep in any child has been shown to have negative affects in behavior. Add to it the disruptive symptoms of ADHD, and there is little room for success.


People dealing with ADHD face many decisions when it comes to medication. “Medications, particularly stimulants, can play a role in alleviating symptoms of decreased concentration,” Dr. Faber says. “However, not all individuals suffering from ADHD will respond to these medications.” If you choose to pursue medication for your child, it is important to work closely with a certified physician. Finding the right medication with the least amount of side effects does not happen overnight. Adds Dr. Bhatia, “I have had a lot of success in managing children with ADHD without medications, but I often warn parents that every child is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all type strategy.”

Many adults choose the medication route to help alleviate symptoms as well. When choosing medication management as a method for ADHD treatment, make sure your physician is monitoring your use and behavior closely, as stimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall can be addictive.
While studies have shown that medication is the most effective way to treat ADHD in adults, it is not the only method. Similar to children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, other treatment techniques include a well-balanced diet, regular exercise, plenty of sleep, support groups and professional therapy.

Getting Support

There is comfort in knowing you’re not alone, and fortunately there are many support groups as well as informational events such as the 14th International Adult ADHD Conference on July 18 organized by the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA). Whether you are a parent caring for a child with ADHD or an adult living with it, staying actively informed and more aware of the symptoms, can help with managing them and keeping disruption to daily life at a minimum.


Editorial Resources
Attention Deficit Disorder
Beth Ardell, MPT – LearningRx,
Dr. Tasneem Bhatia – Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine,
Dr. Thomas G. Burns – Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) –
Dr. John A. “Jay” Faber – The Amen Clinics,