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Dr. Reldan









"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

A healthy lifestyle did not prevent Dr. Jane Reldan's husband's brain tumor, or her breast cancer (with no family history of it.) Nevertheless, you are far more likely to enjoy more years of good health if you take a few simple preventive measures.

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According to Dr. Reldan, a good start includes sleeping the recommended seven to eight hours each night, as sleep is essential to health. It is also very important to treat sleep-disordered breathing. Avoid fast food and fat calories. Instead, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, organic whenever possible. Learn the ingredients of everything you eat -- and if the ingredients include chemicals that you've never heard of, realize that this is probably not something you should be voluntarily putting in to your body! Dr. Reldan also stresses the importance of abstaining from the use of tobacco, and alcohol should be consumed only in moderation. Exercise at least one hour daily.

Especially in San Diego, it is imperative that you use sunscreen whenever you're going to be outdoors -- even if it's only for a few minutes, and even if the sun doesn't appear to be shining at all. (This is because the harmful rays that cause skin cancer are just as destructive to your skin on a cloudy day as they are when there's not a cloud in the sky.) The sunscreen you use should have the highest SPF rating possible, such as #70, and it should contain Avobenzone and/or Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX). Never use tanning beds!

It is important to check your Vitamin D level in order to determine if you need a Vitamin D supplement -- it should be greater than 30.

The recommended guidelines for checkups are as follows:

  • every year up to age 21
  • every 3 to 5 years between ages 21 - 40
  • every year again from age 40 on

Some other important tests and screenings that people need to be aware of include:

  • Blood Pressure measurement; goal is less than or equal to 130/80

  • Cholesterol measurement every 5 years over age 20. Your goal is to keep your total cholesterol level under 200, and (most importantly) to keep the LDL (= the "bad" cholesterol) under 100.

  • Women should get a mammogram every year starting at age 40. This should be done at the same breast radiology facility each year when possible. You are strongly encouraged to consider an MRI to clarify an ill-defined mammogram report.

  • Men should have their PSA checked each year starting at age 50; at 40 for African-Americans and for first degree relatives of prostate cancer patients.

  • Colonoscopy starting at age 45 - 50 every 5 to 10 years, depending on family history and results such as polyps.

  • Pap smears every year starting with sexual intercourse or at age 18 - 21. Have the gardisil vaccine to prevent HPV prior to becoming sexually active.

  • Regular vision testing is crucial, in particular the Amsler Grid test should be taken by those over 50 to screen for the possible onset of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD or AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss and legal blindness in persons aged 60 and older. It is a disease that destroys your sharp, central vision. In the United States alone, over 15 million persons over the age of 60 have this disease, including 33 to 40% of all individuals over the age of 75. Because there is currently no known cure for macular degeneration, prevention and early detection are crucial. The two main risk factors which contribute to the likelihood of developing AMD are smoking and poor diet, so please, quit smoking today, and stay away from high-fat, high-cholesterol foods. For prevention of AMD, it is recommended that you take the following every day: 1 Preserve Vision vitamin, 20 mg of Lutein, and 4 mg of zeaxanthin.

Keep your immunizations up to date, including:

  • TdaP: tetanus, diphtheria and acellular petussis (whooping cough) once, then Td every 10 years, or immediately if you have sustained a dirty wound.

  • Pneumovax starting at age 55 to 65 to prevent the 23 most common pneumococcal pneumonias; repeat once in 5 years.

  • Zostavax at age 60 to prevent shingles.

  • Everybody should have the flu vaccine yearly in the fall. If you are over the age of 65, the high dose flu shot is advised.

For up-to-date and accurate information and immunizations and vaccinations, the web site of the Immunization Action Coalition is strongly recommended. Their "Ask the Experts" section is particularly informative; it is comprised of literally thousands of questions and answers about immunization and viral hepatitis which have appeared in their periodicals over the years.

One of the simplest and most underrated ways to prevent getting sick in the first place is to wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently (rubbing both hands together vigorously for 30 seconds.) Equally effective is the use of an antibacterial handwash, such as Purell. Again, it is essential that you rub both hands together for a good 30 seconds. This minimizes your susceptibility to acquired infections.

Do not share towels, plates, cutlery, or drinks with strangers or with loved ones. People with early infections may not yet manifest any symptoms, but can still be contagious.

Remember to discard nasal sprays, inhalers, and eye drops used during an infection. Get a new one at the end of your illness for future use! Also remember to discard any medicines at their expiration date and replace with a new one. This could be life-saving.

Use sunglasses with 100% UV protection.

Use ear protection around loud noise, and in cold water, such as Mack's earplugs (lowers decibels by 22).

An excellent resource for patients to obtain accurate and timely medical information is the Patient Information section of the UpToDate web site, found at http://www.uptodate.com/patients/index.html.

If you're concerned about the ever-increasing cost of prescription drugs, don't forget that many high-cost drugs have name-brand and/or generic alternatives in the same category that are equally effective, yet considerably less expensive. The Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs web site is a free resource which allows you to look up medications in a particular class to find the safest and most affordable generic alternatives available.

Most importantly, focus on good health and happy moments. Life is all about love.




Copyright © 2007 - 2018 Jane R Reldan, MD Inc