Breaking Free from Your Alcohol Addiction

At some point, having a drink with friends becomes more than a social event. You find that you don’t even go out with the group unless they plan to drink. You’ve fooled yourself into believing that when you are drinking alcohol, you have more fun and you’re more outgoing.

What your friends talk about is how outrageous you behave and how you’ll say anything to anyone. They’re laughing at you, not with you.  When you’re sober, you regret what you said or did.10846141_10152878994164400_2949797533172704497_n

You also ran up the credit card buying rounds for everyone and you lost money being too hung over to go to work the next day.  No matter how tired you are of listening to your family or friends tell you that you have an alcohol problem, in your sober moments you know that drinking is taking over your life. Continue reading “Breaking Free from Your Alcohol Addiction” »

How to Know If You Have a Migraine Headache

Headaches come in all shapes and sizes.  But if you have chronic problems with painful, debilitating headaches you could be suffering from migraine headache.  There are several clues that you may be having a migraine instead of another type of headache.  You’ll want to start by keeping a journal of your symptoms so that you can track patterns in your pain and determine what type of headache you have.

People who suffer from migraine headache often have an early warning sign called the “aura”.  This is typically the feeling of seeing flashing lights.  You can compare it to the feeling of seeing spots when someone has taken a photo of you with a flash on their camera.  However, this feeling doesn’t go away for several minutes to an hour.  For many people this is the first sign they are having a migraine headache instead of another type.

Migraine headache is also usually accompanied by severe head pain on one side of the head about 30 minutes after the aura begins.  The pain can also be accompanied by nausea and even vomiting.  Pain can be so severe that you want to just lie in a dark, quiet room.  You may find it difficult to sleep while experiencing the pain of a migraine. Continue reading “How to Know If You Have a Migraine Headache” »

I Have Knee Pain! Am I Too Young for Knee Replacement Surgery?  


It’s a fact—people getting knee replacements just keep getting younger and younger. The number of knee-replacement operations in folks ages 45 to 64 has nearly doubled in less than 10 years. If arthritis is hurting your knees, no matter your age, the thought of knee replacement has almost certainly crossed your mind.

If you’re in your 40s or 50s or even early 60s, though, think twice. Getting a new knee or two this young might be a mistake. That’s especially true if you want to stay active now and in your later years. Even if you really need a knee operation—and not everyone with knee arthritis does—there may be a better surgical option.

We spoke with Jack Bert, MD, a nationally recognized expert in cartilage restoration who is an orthopedic surgeon at Minnesota Bone & Joint Specialists in Woodbury. Dr. Bert recently addressed his fellow orthopedists on the topic at a medical conference sponsored by the publication Orthopedics Today. He recommends that younger candidates for knee-replacement surgery consider a more conservative treatment that’s better for an active lifestyle. It used to be more widely used but has waned in popularity—it’s called high tibial osteotomy (HTO). We’ll see why—but first, what’s with all these hurting knees in people who aren’t very old?


One reason for the rise in osteoarthritis in middle age is that more people are active and involved in high-intensity sports, putting them at increased risk for knee injuries like tears to the meniscus (the knee cartilage that cushions the joint) or damage to the joint surface itself. These injuries, and often the surgery to repair them, are linked to an increased risk for arthritis at a young age. On the other side of the equation, arthritis is becoming more common in younger people who are obese because of the extra load on their knee joints. Being overweight by 10 pounds can put an extra 30 to 60 extra pounds of pressure on your knees with each step.

In younger people, however—and by younger, we mean up to around 60 or so years old—the arthritis is often limited to one side (compartment) of a given knee, either because that’s where the injury occurred or because of gait issues, like being bowlegged or having “knock knees” deformities, which tends to put more wear and tear on the inner or outer part of the knee. If you’re discussing surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will likely recommend a “partial knee replacement” if your arthritis is confined to just one of the compartments of your knee. But here’s why even that may be a bad choice.

“When you do a knee replacement in a young person, you’ve committed that poor patient to having two or three knee revisions (implant re-dos) in their lifetime,” says Dr. Bert. That’s because knee implants wear out in 10 to 12 years. In very active people, the lifespan is on the short end of the range. “Every time you do a revision, the success rate of the implant drops significantly,” he adds. That could leave you with painful untreatable knees in your 60s or 70s when you hopefully have many more years to go!


So what about the alternative—the high tibial osteotomy mentioned above? At a recent medical meeting for orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Bert recommended that surgeons perform this HTO procedure, in which a wedge of bone is cut out of the shinbone (tibia) under the healthy side of the knee. The opening is either closed or opened further, and a bone graft added to fill the space to align your leg better and take pressure off of the arthritic knee joint surface. A plate is then screwed over the repaired bone. By shifting your weight off of the damaged side of the joint, the procedure can relieve pain and improve function. Studies have also shown that by reducing the load pressure on the injured part of the knee joint, HTO allows new cartilage to grow back to some extent, providing a little more comfort and protection.

The advantages over a knee replacement are obvious. You’re preserving your own knee joint and delaying, or possibly even preventing, the start of a cycle of repeated knee replacement that may not help for your entire life. Even if you eventually need a partial or total knee replacement, you may be able to hold out long enough to take advantage of new techniques being researched that use stem cells or other biological approaches to preserve the joint. Research also shows that the success of a total knee replacement, if you do eventually need one, is just as good in people who’ve previously had an HTO as in those who go directly to knee replacement.

HTO is also a better choice if you’re a runner, play competitive tennis or are otherwise very active, Dr. Bert says, because you really can’t resume high-intensity activity at nearly the same level after having a knee replacement.


Dr. Bert admits that HTO is a tough sell to patients. The main reason is that recovery time is longer than that for knee replacement. Patients are on crutches for six to 12 weeks, or even longer in some cases, because the bone has to heal, versus only a few days after a partial knee replacement for most healthy middle-aged people. “We’re a society that wants a quick answer to everything, so it’s a challenging discussion for a surgeon to have with a patient,” he says.

You do need to be committed to the recovery phase if you’re going to do this. The operation itself has a low rate of complications, but if you put pressure on the knee too soon, the bone may not heal well.

You may be hard-pressed to find a surgeon who does HTO, too. The main reason is that partial and total knee replacements have become so successful that there’s less interest in HTO. At the conference of orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Bert asked for a show of hands of who has performed the operation. Fewer than one in 10 of the surgeons in the room raised a hand. “It’s not being taught universally in orthopedic residency training programs, so some surgeons feel very uncomfortable doing the procedure,” says Dr. Bert.

If you’re under age 60 (or even 65), and are a candidate for a partial knee replacement, consider nonsurgical options first. Exercise may help quite a bit—see Bottom Line’s  You Need Exercise—Not a Knee Replacement, and The Ultimate Knee Workout. Get physical therapy, and work with your doctor, who may prescribe injections, pain meds, knee braces and other short-term approaches to help you stay active.

If it’s really time for a knee operation, though, ask your surgeon about HTO before considering a partial or total knee replacement. Each medical case is different, so it is not the best option for everyone. But it’s worth exploring. If your doctor doesn’t do HTOs, seek a second opinion. Make sure any physician you’re considering for an HTO has done at least 30 to 40 of the procedures because there is a learning curve. You may have to head to a large medical center to find an experienced surgeon.

Source: Jack Bert, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon and adjunct clinical professor at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, and medical director of the Minnesota Bone & Joint Specialists in Woodbury. He is the founder of the Cartilage Restoration Center of Minnesota and is a nationally recognized expert in cartilage restoration and speaks throughout the world on the subject.

Continue reading “I Have Knee Pain! Am I Too Young for Knee Replacement Surgery?  ” »

18 Signs You Are With The Woman You Should Marry

  1. She cares how your friends are doing.

She knows all your friends by name and is genuinely invested in whether or not your roommate Kate gets together with that guy she likes because they would be so cute together and she wants her to be happy.

  1. You can go on trips together and not fight constantly.

If you can survive being in a nightmare spa resort full of screaming children, no clean towels, and weak drinks with old pineapple on the rim without fighting constantly, you have something pretty amazing.

  1. You still catch her checking you out.

For no reason, really. She just thinks you are the hottest human always and is happy to let you know.

  1. You share the same values.

You both want the same type of relationship, you know where you both stand on having children, and your goals for the future are the same. If you want to work until you’re 90, so does she. If you want to retire early and eat only pudding for the rest of your life, she’s cool with that.

  1. She loves bragging about you.

To her friends, coworkers, everyone. Because she’s proud of you and thinks you are the coolest person she’s ever met. Her friends and roommates and coworkers know every little thing about you before you even meet them. You’re basically like a boy band she’s obsessed with that she also gets to date.

  1. You hear your friends complain about their significant others and you can’t really relate.

Just keep it to yourself that you and your girlfriend have fun staring at blank walls and she’s incredibly supportive and thoughtful and compassionate. Not the time to share that info.

  1. She’s your biggest supporter.

She believes you can do things even you’re not sure you can do because she has the utmost faith and confidence in you even at your lowest moments because she believes you are magic.

  1. You feel comfortable planning things way,wayin the future.

You can buy concert tickets or book a vacation in advance without worrying if she’s going to break up with you or you’re going to break up with her before then because you trust her completely and she’s become such a part of you that your future together seems as certain as anything.

  1. She makes sacrifices for you and you do the same for her.

And she thinks nothing of it because she genuinely enjoys making sure you’re happy and you feel the same way about her.

  1. She doesn’t try to change you.

She knows every messed up, weirdo thing you do when you sleep and when you’re awake and when you’re tired and when you’re cranky, and she’s OK with all of it in a way that you weren’t sure anyone ever would be. Because you have a lot of weirdo stuff.

  1. Your friends are really, genuinely happy for you.

After suffering through countless drink dates and morning-after breakfasts with your horrible exes, your friends are so relieved you’re actually with someone who is as cool as you are because you’re truly right for each other, which is something they’d wanted for you for a long time now. It’s like seeing your really tall friend find workable pants, but instead of pants, it’s a person.

  1. You can be completely honest with her about anything.

No matter how anxious or worried or nervous or scared you’re feeling, you know you can tell her anything at all and she won’t judge you. Sexual fantasies, awkward illnesses, a fight you had with your parents; anything.

  1. She’s the first person you want to talk to when something cool/funny/weird happens.

You used to text your best friend all of this stuff but your best friend isn’t even mad about that because she’s so happy you’ve found someone you’re so close and connected with.

  1. She indulges your guilty pleasures.

She knows you love sitting in track pants and eating an entire Funfetti cake, and not only totally accepts that, but sometimes she brings one home and lets you tear that stuff up.

  1. You want to protect her.

Even though she totally doesn’t need protecting. It’s just an impulse because you love her so much.

  1. She fights fairly.

She doesn’t get excessively angry or mean-spirited, and she doesn’t bring up old issues or low blows just to hurt you. She might be mad, but she wants to work it out with you, so you talk about it like adults who love each other.

  1. She has her own life outside of your relationship.

She knows you two are going to function best when she does her own thing and you do your own thing and then you both come together and forget about the rest of the world existing.

  1. You tell her you miss her when she’s gone, and you really mean it.

Like you say you wish she were there because you actually wish she was there. All the time. Maybe in, like, a live-in situation. A live-in situation with wedding rings. And all of our friends there. And then someone gives us fancy kitchenware. Maybe like that.

Our Bodies Without Sodas: What would happen?


First and foremost, you’ll be taking better care of your heart the moment you put down the soda. A 2012 Harvard University study found that sugary drinks increased a person’s risk of chronic heart disease (CHD). Participants who drank the most soda were 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack, the researchers discovered. Another study, published in 2011, found that sugary beverages raises a person’s blood pressure, and it increases the more you drink. Even cutting back by one soda per day can decrease your blood pressure and improve your heart health.



Many people reach for a Diet Coke or a soft drink in the drowsy after-lunch hours at work, hoping to get a caffeine and sugar boost. It may help you focus temporarily, but in the long-term drinking a lot of soda can have a negative effect on your brain function and thinking processes. One study found that long-term consumption of sugar could lead to impaired learning, memory, and behavioral plasticity.

“We have investigated a potential mechanism by which a diet, similar in composition to the typical diet of most industrialized western societies rich in saturated fat and refined sugar (HFS), can influence brain structure and function via regulation of neurotrophins,” the authors of the study write. They found that animals placed on this high-sugar diet had reduced amounts of a chemical called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which in turn impacted their ability to learn and remember things.

Various other studies have also found a link between drinking a lot of soda and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia; the link showed an increased amount of plaque deposits in mice that were given sugary sodas — signals of Alzheimer’s or other disorders. Continue reading “Our Bodies Without Sodas: What would happen?” »

Depression Problems Help

Depression and Christmas

Some people have a tough time at this time of year.  Let’s discuss this….  Help is on the way!

When you’re feeling distraught enough that you can recognize you need help for depression, there are many options for you to choose from. This can be a blessing for those who like choice, or it can be overwhelming at a time when you have no energy or motivation.

Sometimes it can be embarrassing to admit that you’ve fallen into a funk, so thankfully, there are some discreet products and services that can help you cut through the fog of depression and see the light again.

Depression doesn’t discriminate. You can be a child or a senior citizen, man or woman and suffer from depression. Because of the wide range of people who suffer from this, there have emerged many forms of treatment. Continue reading “Depression Problems Help” »

Lets Learn How To Read A Food Label

The most important things you can do for your own nutrition is to know what you’re eating.  In recent years, food labels have become much more user friendly and you really can know exactly what you’re putting in your body.

How we think about food is very important.  What you eat can help to give you energy, improve your immunity, and allow you to combat many diseases.  But it can also do the opposite – leave you feeling weak and even cause disease. food_labels

But if you’ve never given your food much thought, reading food labels can be intimidating.  There’s a lot of information there.  Deciding which information is important and which isn’t can be challenging.  Once you know the basics, though, you’ll read those labels with confidence.

Know Your Serving Size

Look at the serving size on the label.  Sometimes people miss this part of the label and then have an inaccurate idea of what’s actually in the food.   For example, if you have a can of soup and the label says it’s 2 servings, that means that the information on the label would be doubled if you ate the whole can. Continue reading “Lets Learn How To Read A Food Label” »

Minor Eye Surgery

Here is a fascinating minor surgical procedure to remove a worm that had gotten imbedded in this patient's eye.