#WellnessWednesday – Protect Your Skin

TOWNE HEALTH

Towne Health is a monthly article covering diverse health care topics in the interest of providing information to our fellow residents about important health topics.

By: Penny D’Souza, DO & Terra Wubbenhorst, MD

Skin Cancer

With so many fun outdoor activities this summer it is important to remember to take care of one’s skin.  Skin cancers are the most common of all the different types of cancer.  Luckily, skin cancer is a highly preventable and highly treatable (when caught early) condition.  The basic types of skin cancer include:  melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell.  Less common types of skin cancer include: Merkel cell, Kaposi sarcoma, and skin lymphomas.  Dermatologists are specialized doctors that diagnose and treat skin disorders, including skin cancer.

Risk Factors

Sun exposure is the biggest risk factor for skin cancer development because the sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage the DNA in our skin cells, leading to cancer.  Melanin is a pigment in the skin that helps protect against the UV rays and people with darker skin colors have a lower risk of developing skin cancer.  People with light skin, especially if it freckles or burns easily, are at a higher risk.  It is important to note that although a tan is caused by increased amounts of melanin in the skin, there is no such thing as a “safe tan.”  Some people may try to achieve a “safe tan” or “base tan” in order to prevent sunburns, but the skin has already been damaged by the tan!  Any tan is an indication of sun damage, whether from the sun or from a tanning bed (tanning beds use UVB rays to darken the skin).

Other risk factors include: older age, male sex (may be related to increased sun exposure), family history of melanoma, having a large number of moles, certain chemicals (such as arsenic), radiation exposure, previous skin cancer, long-term or severe skin injury or inflammatory skin disorders, weakened immune system, certain HPV (human papilloma virus) strains, and certain inherited diseases (such as xeroderma pigmentosum).

Detection & Screening

While many physicians may due a skin screening at your annual physical, it is important for each individual to check their own skin regularly for any changes.  A monthly exam is recommended of the entire body, including soles of feet and between toes, entire scalp, behind ears, genitals, and under nails.  A partner can help examine the harder to see areas or a handheld mirror can be used.  Many skin cancers can look like normal skin or do not follow the typical characteristics of their type of cancer.  The most important thing to look for is a new or changing spot on your skin.

Basal Cell:  These lesions are usually found on sun-exposed areas of the body, especially the head, face, and neck but can occur anywhere.  They are often fragile and bleed easily.  These cancers can present as: flat, firm, pale or yellow areas, similar to a scar; raised, reddish patches that may be itchy; small, pink or red, translucent, pearly bumps which may contain blue, brown or black areas; pink growths with raised edges and lower area in the center, possibly with blood vessels spreading out from the center; open sores that do not heal or heal and come back.

Squamous Cell:  Appear commonly in sun-exposed areas like the head, ears, back of hands, neck, and lips.  These cancers may look like:  rough/scaly red patches which may crust or bleed; raised growths or lumps, sometimes with a lowered area in the center; open sores that do not heal or heal and come back; wart-like growths.

Melanoma:  A new or changing mole, moles that appear later in life (most develop in childhood/early adulthood), and a mole that looks different from other moles on your body (ugly duckling sign) should be checked out by a dermatologist.

The ABCDE rule is also helpful in determining if a mole may be melanoma, but not all moles follow the rules.  A dermatologist should check moles that meet any of the ABCDE criteria.

A- Asymmetry – one-half of the mole does not match the other half

B- Border – edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred

C- Color – color is not consistent throughout the mole and may contain different shades of brown or black, even patches of red, pink, blue, or white

D- Diameter – larger than 6mm (about size of pencil eraser)

E- Evolving– mole is changing in shape, size or color

Need help remembering these rules or keeping track of your moles?  Try Body Mole Map available through the American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/learn-about-skin-cancer/detect/body-mole-map

Resources, including pictures of harmless and cancerous skin lesions are available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/skin-cancer.html and https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/skin-cancer.

Testing

In the event your physician finds a suspicious spot, most often they will perform a biopsy (removal of a small area of skin).  This is typically performed in the office and involves minimal discomfort.  You will be given an injection of local anesthetic to numb the skin  and a small area will be removed, often a small suture will be used to close the skin.  The sample will be sent out for testing to confirm if cancer is present, and if so, what type.  If caught early, sometimes the biopsy removes the entire cancerous spot; if not you may be required to undergo more testing or an additional procedure to remove the remaining cancer.  Although many skin cancers are superficial (are located on the top layer of skin), some forms of skin cancer can extend deeper in the skin or spread to distant areas of the body.  Keep in mind that what you see on the surface may not reflect the entire size of the cancer below the skin.  The best chance for a cure is to catch it early, so be sure to check your skin regularly.

Sun Exposure

Sunscreen is important, especially in south Texas.  Be sure to lather up before heading outdoors and to wear protective clothing, eyewear, and headgear and to seek out shade when available.  It is important to make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA & UVB (broad-spectrum coverage).  Also, the American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org) recommends using SPF 30 or higher (SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, but no sunscreen blocks 100%).  It is important to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours because the sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time and after sun exposure.  Water-resistant sunscreens are available and should be reapplied every 40-80 minutes, depending on the product’s labeling. (if you stay dry, follow the 2 hour rule).  No sunscreen is waterproof.  Sunscreen is not recommended for children 6 months of age or younger and small children may need a product for sensitive skin (look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide containing products).  Keep in mind that “sensitive skin” is a term not defined for sunscreen by the FDA.

Dr. D’Souza is a Towne Lake resident and board certified cardiologist practicing in Northwest Houston.  Her professional interests include women’s health, heart disease prevention and heart failure.

Dr. Wubbenhorst is a Towne Lake resident and board certified anesthesiologist with fellowship training in critical care.  She currently practices in West Houston.

Please send any questions or suggestions for future posts to: townelakedoctors@gmail.com

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

#WellnessWednesday – Towne Health

Towne Health is a monthly article covering diverse health care topics in the interest of providing information to our fellow residents about important health topics.

By: Penny D’Souza, DO & Terra Wubbenhorst, MD

Summer Health Reminders

Summer time in Texas is coming up, and while that means lots of fun in the sun, it is also time to be aware of common health concerns as the season changes.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat related illnesses, including heat exhaustion are common in the summer.  Heat exhaustion typically occurs as the temperatures and humidity climb, or with strenuous physical activity, and your body is unable to prevent your inner temperature from rising.  If not treated quickly, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, which can be fatal.  The earliest symptoms you are getting overheated are excess sweating, thirst and muscle cramps.  If your body is unable to cool itself, you may develop symptoms of heat exhaustion including: weakness, feeling dizzy or faint- particularly with standing, excessive sweating- which may be a cool sweat with goose bumps even in the heat, and a rapid or weak pulse.  Other symptoms include headache and nausea.

Keep in mind that children under 4 and adults over 65 years old are more susceptible to heat exhaustion and very young children may not be able to tell you what symptoms they are having.  Alcohol, obesity and excess clothing/sports padding may also impair your body’s ability to cool down.  Certain medications used to treat heart disease or blood pressure (diuretics and beta blockers) may impair your body’s ability to respond to the increased heat, as well as certain medications like antihistamines, sedatives and antipsychotic medications.  Infections and dehydration also can lead to increased risk of heat exhaustion.

If you suspect that you or someone you are with has heat exhaustion, make sure to stop all activity and move to a shaded or cool location.  If possible take a cool shower or bath, or loosen/remove clothing.  Be sure to drink plenty of cool water or sports drinks, which can also help replace electrolytes lost from sweating.  If you have an oral temperature greater than 104 degrees, feel like passing out or if symptoms are not improving within an hour, you should seek medical attention right away.

The best way to prevent heat exhaustion is to be prepared.  If the heat index is 91 degrees or higher: wear light/loose fitting clothing, drink plenty of fluids (avoiding excess alcohol), seek shade, and rest when able.  And remember to never leave children in parked cars- even with windows open or the engine running.

Zika

Zika virus is still a concern this summer.  It is not known how much it will spread this year, but based on what was seen in Brazil, it’s important to remain vigilant.  Zika causes a mild illness (fever, rash, joint pain, red eyes) or no symptoms at all in most people infected, but the effects on fetuses are especially worrisome.  Microcephaly (a significantly smaller head than comparable children of the same age that can lead to developmental issues) has been associated with Zika exposure in the womb and it is not clear if other neurological issues may be associated with the virus.  Expectant mothers need to take precautions against infection, such as mosquito repellent w/ DEET, wearing pants and long sleeve clothing and limiting standing water around your house that can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitos.  It is also important to know that Zika can be spread through sexual contact and if there is concern about possible exposure in a sexual partner to use protection.  Also, anyone traveling to an area where Zika is known to be spreading should take precautions.  For more information, check out: http://texaszika.org/index.htm

With all the news about Zika, it is easy to forget about the other diseases that mosquitos spread.  West Nile Virus has already been reported in Montgomery County this year and can cause severe neurological symptoms in some cases.

For updates, visit the Texas Dept. of State Health Services’ website: http://dshs.texas.gov.

Travel

If traveling this summer, be sure to check the CDC website for any health notifications for your travel destination.  Certain precautions may be necessary, such as certain vaccinations.  Be sure to pack any medications you take on a regular basis and keep them in a bag you will keep with you throughout the trip.  It can be difficult to get replacement medications, especially outside the country.  Also, if you’re worried about the dreaded traveler’s diarrhea, you may want to pack some pepto-bismol (or any generic with the active ingredient bismuth subsalicylate), as well.  It has been shown that taking 2 tablets four times a day can decrease one’s chances of getting traveler’s diarrhea.  If that seems like too much, you may want to pack it anyway – taking it after the onset of GI distress may help shorten symptoms.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/22/528802722/tips-for-staying-healthy-when-traveling-abroad

Sun Exposure

Sunscreen is important, especially in south Texas.  Be sure to lather up before heading outdoors and to wear protective clothing, eyewear, and headgear and to seek out shade when available.  It is important to make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA & UVB (broad-spectrum coverage).  Also, the American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org) recommends using SPF 30 or higher (SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, but no sunscreen blocks 100%).  It is important to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours because the sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time and after sun exposure.  Water-resistant sunscreens are available and should be reapplied every 40-80 minutes, depending on the product’s labeling. (if you stay dry, follow the 2 hour rule).  No sunscreen is waterproof.  Sunscreen is not recommended for children 6 months of age or younger and small children may need a product for sensitive skin (look for zinc oxide or titanium dioxide containing products).  Keep in mind that “sensitive skin” is a term not defined for sunscreen by the FDA.


Dr. D’Souza is a Towne Lake resident and board certified cardiologist practicing in Northwest Houston.  Her professional interests include women’s health, heart disease prevention and heart failure.

Dr. Wubbenhorst is a Towne Lake resident and board certified anesthesiologist with fellowship training in critical care.  She currently practices in West Houston.

Please send any questions or suggestions for future posts to: townelakedoctors@gmail.com


The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

#FitnessFriday – Meet Towne Lake Trainer Viki Young!

Feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your fitness routine?  Looking for a personalized approach to your workout and nutrition approach?  Look no further than right here in Towne Lake!  We are excited to partner with awesome personal trainers who can help you achieve your goals!  Featured on this edition of #FitnessFriday is TL Trainer Viki Young.

vickieViki Young is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Cypress-area Group Exercise Instructor.  She has been a fitness enthusiast for the last decade and decided to turn her passion for health and fitness into a career in 2015. Over the years, she has enjoyed taking and teaching a variety of classes; boot camp, strength/muscle conditioning, high-intensity interval training, cardio/strength intervals, and many more.

She is particularly passionate about strength training. She believes that women, in particular, don’t put enough emphasis on the importance of building lean muscle and increasing strength as it pertains to overall health and fitness. Building lean muscle mass burns calories that we need to burn to lose weight and transform our bodies.  After having two children just 15 months apart, she began to emphasize building muscle in her own body, and experienced rapid change and positive transformation.
Join Viki for Muscle Conditioning Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at 10:30 AM, Boot Camp Tuesdays & Thursdays at 9:00 AM, or contact her today to get started on personal training sessions with her!
Check out Viki’s intro and quick fitness tip below!

#FitnessFriday – Meet Towne Lake Trainer Robbie Goshen!

Feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your fitness routine?  Looking for a personalized approach to your workout and nutrition approach?  Look no further than right here in Towne Lake!  We are excited to partner with awesome personal trainers who can help you achieve your goals!  Featured on this edition of #FitnessFriday is TL Trainer Robbie Goshen.

robbieRobbie Goshen has been in the fitness industry for almost thirty years. G3fit, “Building
warriors Beyond Fitness” operates in three fold, not just image or aesthetics. He believes
where people are lacking in self-worth and confidence, they try to gain by creating a “six
pack” or losing 30 pounds. While this is a short-lived solution, Robbie has developed a three-step approach with focus on Spirit, Mind and Body to get his clients in shape in those three major areas of their lives, working both online and in person.
TowneLake Email 3-2017

#Mondays with Mike – Pool Openings

Spring break is almost here which means the pools are almost open! This week we are giving you a run-down of what is open and when. Check it out below:

At the Lakehouse, the lap pool, kiddie pool, adult pool, and beach will be open from 8 AM to 9 PM Tuesday-Sunday. On Mondays, the pools are closed for cleaning.

At the Clubhouse, the pool is open from 8 AM – 9 PM every day except for Tuesday.

Lots of people will be traveling over spring break so please make sure to lock your doors as well as your cars to prevent any unnecessary break-ins.

Have a fun and safe spring break!

#MondaysWithMike – Summer Camp Night

On this week’s episode of Mondays with Mike, we are telling you guys about Towne Lake’s Summer Camps! We have lots going on this summer so you need to come to the Summer Camp Preview Night on Tuesday, February 28th from 6-8pm! Some of the camps that we will have are:

  • KidVenture
  • Cook, Learn, Grow,
  • Towne Lake Wake Swim Team
  • Swim Lessons
  • Master Swim

Want to know more? Come to the Lakehouse and get a firsthand look at what these spectacular camps have to offer!

#Mondays with Mike – Lake Water

Do you know here the lake water in Towne Lake comes from? If you guessed a magical contraption, you are incorrect! (Although, that would be pretty cool!) Even though the lake is man-made, it is entirely dependent on rainwater to stay full.

Want to hear Mike explain it while almost getting struck by lightning? Watch below!