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Dr Russ Blog - Specific disorders
Shingles Vaccine Follow-up - What If You've Already Had Shingles?
Created on 5/4/2012
As discussed in a previous blog posting, shingles is a painful disorder of the skin caused by the same virus that is behind chicken pox.

The good news is that there is a vaccine against shingles which offers very effective protection against the condition.

But what if you've already had shingles?

Most people don't get a second bout, but the vaccine is still presently recommended for generally healthy people over age 60 years. Read More>>
Should You Get Vaccinated Against Shingles?
Created on 4/27/2012
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful skin condition characterized by a collection of small blisters on reddened skin.

The virus that causes chicken pox can remain in nerves and sleep there for decades; but it can also wake up, and when it does shingles occurs.

While there are medications that can be used to treat shingles, it is best to prevent the illness in the first place. That's where the vaccine comes in.

If you've over age 50-60, ask your doctor if they recommend you have the vaccine against shingles, now or in the near future. Read More>>
Feeling Better with Fibromyalgia
Created on 3/9/2010
Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness associated with a variety of symptoms. Most notable, however, is diffuse pain. J has fibromyalgia, and wonders if there have been any advances in understanding and treatment.

Results of research into the causes of fibromyalgia have led to greater understanding of the disorder, and there is now reason for hope that the illness may be successfully treated, as well as prevented, one day soon.

Until that time, if you have fibromyalgia there are a number of things you can do to help your self heal. Read on to learn more...

And be well. Read More>>
Created on 2/19/2010

A recent Time magazine article reported that a new mental health diagnosis is being considered – orthorexia, presently loosely defined as an obsession with trying to avoid apparently unhealthy foods.


As I state often, food is more than medicine – it’s part of the joy of life! When we continually break food down into its components, picking every meal apart, we rob the meal of some of its potential for joy.


Yes, we should try to eat healthily. But health can be defined as balance, and it’s a balanced approach to eating well that will best keep us well.

Read More>>
National Eating Disorders Week!!!
Created on 2/27/2009
Experts believe that millions of Americans suffer from a range of eating disorders that includes anorexia nervosa (anorexia), bulimia nervosa (bulimia), and binge eating disorder. You likely know or have heard of someone who has one of these illnesses, but you may not know the extent of the challenges faced by those with such health issues, or those faced by their loved ones. You also may not know that eating disorders can be successfully treated.

A great place to learn more is the web site of The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) - There you can learn about specific eating disorders and gain insight into what can be done to help those who suffer from these illnesses. Spread the word - eating disorders can be defeated if we all work together! Read More>>
Diet as treatment for low-risk prostate cancer?
Created on 10/10/2008
A recent interesting study by Dr. Dean Ornish' group looked at the effects of dietary and lifestyle changes (low-fat diet emphasizing fruit and vegetables, regular exercise and stress management, and group support) on the activity of specific genes reportedly associated with cancer cell growth in men with low-risk prostate cancer. After only 3 months, the researchers found that activity of the genes was lowered significantly, and that other potentially beneficial health changes had occurred, too.

This trial studied only a relatively small number of men with low-risk prostate cancer, so the results are not definitive, but they give us all added reason for hope that we have more control over our health and wellbeing than we might think.  Read More>>
High Blood Pressure and Potassium
Created on 8/5/2008
A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension suggests that if most of us get a little more potassium in our diets by eating more fruits and vegetables each day we might be able to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). In addition, for those of us who do have high bloood pressure, taking in adequate potassium can help treat it. In general, recommendations to increase potassium intake are paired with another recommendation, that being to lower salt (sodium) intake. Together these dietary manipulations could have a significant impact on your health. Remember, though, the data focus on eating foods high in potassium and not taking over-the-counter potassium supplements. To be safe, talk with your doctor first before making big changes in your diet, and avoid over the counter potassium supplements. Read More>>
Bloating with dairy products? It could be lactose intolerance.
Created on 7/11/2008
Miss C has been told by her doctor that she may be lactose intolerant. It turns out that many people around the world experience the symptoms of lactose intolerance when eating dairy products, which typically include diarrhea, bloating and nausea. Remember, there can be many reasons for these symptoms, so speak with your doctor if have experienced abdominal discomfort.

Rather than being a food allergy, people with lactose intolerance do not possess the intestinal enzyme lactase which is required to break down lactose, a common dairy sugar. A trial dairy elimination diet can help determine whether or not lactose intolerance is present. The disorder is not dangerous, and can be managed by avoiding certain foods, using readily available over-the-counter remedies, and enjoying some low-sugar yogurt products.


Read More>>
Take the "Ow" Out of Gout
Created on 6/27/2008
A diagnosis of gout typically occurs following the development and medical evaluation of a painful, red joint. Inflammation with gout occurs in response to the accumulation of monosodium urate crystals, often in the great toe, and pain is episodic but intense. Conventional medical treatment is usually very effective at managing the condition. That stated, dietary manipulation is one of the primary means of controlling the disease. The dietary recommendations offered in association with a diagnosis of gout can seem daunting, but the idea is to cut back on specific foods like red and organ meats, not necessarily to avoid them completely. You can still splurge on occasion! Read More>>
When a Friend Has Celiac Disease
Created on 6/3/2008
M has a friend coming to visit who has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where intestinal inflammation develops in response to eating foods that contain the protein gluten. M is concerned about providing her friend appropriate meals, and is seeking guidance regarding the types of foods she can buy at Harris Teeter and the recipes she can follow to make sure her friend stays well and has a good time during her visit.

There are a number of good resources that M can tap into, my favorite being the web site of the Celiac Sprue Association ( Here you can find excellent background information about celiac disease (also called celiac sprue), as well as recipe ideas that will help guide your shopping at your neighborhood Harris Teeter. I hope this is of help to you, and that you have a wonderful visit with your friend. Read More>>
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