Health & Fitness

Find a “New You” This Fall

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Instead of making excuses as to why you’re unsatisfied with your appearance, how about embracing a new, more confident version of yourself? Meet some of our region’s providers who can help you to reach your goals.

Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Elgin has created the N.E.W. You Center, a wellness program that emphasizes nutrition, education and wellness.

You don’t have to wait for the start of a new year to make a resolution to get in shape and re-work those bothersome parts of your complexion. If you’re unhappy with the way you look, what’s wrong with doing something about it now? Summer is as good a time as any to refresh your appearance and recharge your personal goals. The confidence boost you’ll get from looking and feeling your best is unequivocally priceless.

Maybe you’re afraid to undergo an expensive, invasive procedure. Maybe you’ve decided to simply live with “the problem.” The truth is, reasonably priced, minimally invasive procedures are at the forefront of today’s health care.

In some cases, losing those varicose veins or getting to the bottom of those migraine headaches may lead to the confidence you desire.

Although true beauty comes from within, physicians around our region can help you to achieve a new look that you’ve only imagined. Not only are today’s procedures safer, quicker and more effective than before, but the doctors administering care are genuinely concerned with the overall well-being of their patients.

So what are you waiting for? Self-improvement is just around the corner.

Cheers to a brighter, healthier, happier “new you.”

Traveling with Varicose Veins

By Jermaine Pigee, deputy editor

Just because you suffer from varicose veins doesn’t mean you can’t visit your friends and family across the country.

You just need to take proper precautions and pack plenty of water.

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein in your body could become varicose, but the veins in your legs are the ones most commonly affected.

When this condition occurs, the valves inside the vein stop working properly and fail to keep blood flowing normally. As these valves weaken, blood can flow backward into the veins and collect there, says Dr. Rimas Gilvydis, who treats varicose veins at Gilvydis Vein Clinic, at 2127 Midlands Ct., Ste. 102, in Sycamore, and at a recently opened office at 2631 Williamsburg Ave., Ste. 202, in Geneva.

When the backed-up blood bulges into the veins and makes them larger, they become varicose.

Symptoms include achy or heavy-feeling legs, muscle cramping, swelling, itching, inflammation of the skin and restless legs in the evenings. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to more serious problems such as leg swelling, ulcers, blood clots or bleeding.

“The sheer fact that you get out of bed every day is the true cause, as this causes the pressure in the leg veins to increase,” Gilvydis says. “Family history is a strong predictor, with increasing age, pregnancy and obesity as some of the other causes.”

This disease can cause pain and discomfort, especially when traveling by car or airplane for hours at a time.

“Varicose veins get bigger over the years, because when you stand, blood pours down these veins,” Gilvydis says.

While you’re traveling, one thing Gilvydis suggests is waking up your calves by doing heel lifts in the plane or in the car. Simply lift your heel like you’re getting on your tippy toes. This process engages your calf muscle.

“Your calves act as a natural pump, moving blood from your legs to your heart,” Gilvydis says. “You don’t want blood stagnating or sitting in your leg for a long period of time.”

Another useful tip is to drink plenty of water, instead of alcohol and other drinks that can dehydrate you. Staying hydrated helps to keep vein walls from narrowing and can prevent constipation, which also puts stress on the venous system.

One final tip is to use compression stockings, which are designed to improve blood flow from the legs to the heart.

“They are tight on the lower part of the leg and get looser as they go up your leg; they help to push the blood out of the legs,” Gilvydis says. “I wear them when I travel because I had varicose veins. If you want to purchase some, make sure you go to a store that will take your leg and foot measurements. Compression stockings need to have a good fit in order for them to work appropriately.”

With the help of advanced ultrasound diagnostics, the team at Northern Illinois Vein Clinic can detect varicose vein disease and recommend the most effective treatments to eliminate venous issues. One possible route is through a laser procedure, which is quicker, safer and less invasive than surgery.

With the proper preparation, you can keep symptoms in check, lessen your risk for blood clots, and feel more relaxed and comfortable during your trip.

Building a N.E.W. You

By Jermaine Pigee, deputy editor

Presence Saint Joseph Hospital-Elgin has launched a new, interactive way to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet.

The N.E.W. You Center hosts an innovative wellness program that emphasizes nutrition, education and wellness. The staff works closely with you to build a plan tailored to your weight loss goals, which will help you on your journey to improved health.

“This program is designed for people to lose weight and feel healthier,” says Anandita Gephart, M.D., medical director of the N.E.W. You Center.

The program includes weekly professional coaching, weight loss management meetings with staff members, and a complimentary 12-week Y-FIT program membership at the Taylor Family YMCA in Elgin.

Once you meet with a health coach, you can decide which weight loss program is best for you.

One option is the Ideal Protein method, which is a natural and effective weight loss plan. This program combines partial replacement meals and snacks, such as shakes, with protein and vegetables.

With this protocol, you will get personalized support by a certified coach, keep a daily journal, and receive a program workout book where you’ll outline what and how much you eat.

While an average patient may reach their weight loss goal in 12 weeks, they’ll be encouraged to participate in additional coaching for up to a year to maintain a healthy weight.

“This program uses shakes and healthy snacks, and it’s designed to help with the protein part of your diet,” Gephart says. “When patients use the Ideal Protein method, we put them on a high-protein, low-carb diet.”

Then, there’s CORE 4, a 12-week, adult weight management program that provides guests with knowledge and tools needed to successfully manage their weight.

The program includes three one-on-one dietitian sessions, nine weekly group workshops, metabolic and cholesterol screenings, and weekly goal setting and progress updates.

Curtis Perrin, of Elgin, participated in the CORE 4 program.

“I decided to go with CORE 4 because I don’t need any supplements,” he says. “What I really needed was guidance.”

Perrin, who has arthritis in his back and left hip, was having a hard time working out. But with this program, he was able to exercise in the swimming pool with a class aimed at people who have arthritis.

He uses a workbook to track his weight loss and the food he eats. “There were 12 people in the class, and everyone would set weekly goals and we would talk about our experiences,” Perrin says.

He was 397 pounds when he started the program and currently weighs in at 372 pounds – a difference of 25 pounds lost in just 12 weeks.

“My body fat percentage has gone down, and my muscle mass has increased,” Perrin says. “I like the goal setting, I like the participation from the students and I like working with Jackie [Caul, a CORE 4 dietitian], because she really knows her stuff. It’s been an interesting class, and I enjoy it.”

For more information on the program, call (847) 622-2080 or visit presencehealth.org/NEWYou to download a health profile, complete your risk assessment or sign up for a free workout.

Helping Patients Achieve Optimum Health

By Jermaine Pigee, deputy editor

Don’t let your fear of needles stop you from seeking an age-old form of pain relief.

Nature’s Balance Acupuncture & Wellness Center, 802 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Ste. 101, Crystal Lake, is built upon a practice of using acupuncture and other treatments to help patients feel and look their best.

Janine Jozwiak, owner and clinical director of Nature’s Balance, opened the clinic in July 2007 with a goal to help others achieve optimum health. In 10 years, the clinic has helped more than 3,000 patients to realize their health goals.

Nature’s Balance specializes in acupuncture therapy, a technique based in traditional Chinese medicine that involves stimulating specific points on the body to restore the body’s natural healing ability.

“Acupuncture is all about freeing up the body so that blood, nutrients and oxygen flow freely,” Jozwiak says.

The needles involved in acupuncture are about the size of a cat whisker, and at worst feel like a mosquito bite, says Jozwiak. They’re so small, in fact, that about 20 of these needles will fit inside a standard hypodermic needle.

“When I leave the room, the patient should be totally comfortable,” Jozwiak says. “They lay on a heated bed in a dark room with soft music playing. It’s like a massage without a massage therapist.”

Jozwiak earned a degree in applied psychology from Loyola University and a master’s in counseling from George Williams College. She spent several years in private practice counseling children and adults. She then spent several years in the corporate world before turning her attention toward acupuncture and earning a degree in the field from Midwest College of Oriental Medicine.

Jozwiak has extensive training in the Balance Method of acupuncture, a 2,500-year-old approach that uses the strongest of more than 2,000 points found on the body. When this method is used, she says, pain relief ends within seconds.

“We use points from the elbows to the fingertips and from the knees to the toes, and that’s how you treat the whole body,” Jozwiak says. “I can also do a targeted treatment, so if you come here with back pain, I’ll only treat your back.”

There’s more to Jozwiak’s clinic than just acupuncture. Other services include massage therapy, nutrition and weight loss therapies, thermography and infrared sauna therapy, which uses heat and light to help the body detoxify and relax.

“A lot of clinics only use acupuncture and herbal medicine,” Jozwiak says. “There are new technologies and new ways to help me treat my patients the best way possible, like infrared sauna therapy. That wasn’t around 3,000 years ago, but it’s a great way to help someone detoxify and heal faster. Any therapy we use in the clinic supports the theories of Chinese medicine – just in a 21st century way.”

Nature’s Balance also performs Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture, which is a natural alternative to plastic surgery, facelifts and other cosmetic treatments. This procedure brings increased energy and blood to the face and can improve or increase the production of collagen and elastin – a protein found in the skin and connective tissues.

“This helps to tighten and tone the face and neck, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles,” Jozwiak says. “It rejuvenates and refreshes your face, and it makes you look younger.”

Jozwiak may have her education in a thousands-year-old form of medicine, but she remains active in seeking new therapies that can help her patients.

“We want to help people achieve their goals quickly, and sometimes, you need more than just acupuncture,” she says. “That’s why I like trying new things.”

Nature’s Balance serves people all around the McHenry County area. For more information or to make an appointment for a comprehensive health evaluation, call (815) 788-8383.

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