“It can be easy with the busy routine of medicine to fall into poor eating habits,” says Dr. Wang. “After all, fast food and unhealthy options are much easier to come by. I feel it is important to make conscious decisions to eat healthier. The easiest way to do this is bring my own lunch to work when I can. Because food cooked at home can generally be prepared much more healthy than what is bought from a restaurant, it is a good way to control exactly what I am eating in the correct portion. It also has another benefit of avoiding the stress that can come from trying to grab a lunch if the lunch hour is busy.”
“Ballroom dancing has been a passion of mine since college at Harvard and MIT, when I was members of ballroom dancing clubs,” says Dr. Ming Wang, MD, PhD, an ophthalmologist in Nashville. “I still practice it today weekly and participate in local and regional championships. I find it to be a great way to relax, relieve stress, as well as stay active.” He also believes it’s helped him become a better doctor. “Through learning ballroom dancing, which requires connection and communications between two people as they move together synchronously, I have learned to feel what a patient feels, to listen to my patients, to communicate with them better, and the be more sensitive and aware of their suffering and needs.”
Jennifer Aniston is 50 years old. No wonder she’s doing ads for dry eye. “With age, the tear gland–called the lacrimal gland–has been shown to produce less tear volume,” says Dr. Ming Wang, an ophthalmologist. “Glands in the eyelids–called themeibomian glands–also start to atrophy and often produce less of the oily part of the tears that prevent their evaporation. Both of these factors contribute to nearly everyone over age 50 suffering from some form of dry eye. Dry eye produces symptoms including grittiness, watering, red eye, intermittent blurred vision, and discomfort.”
Recommendation: “Treatment includes over the counter tears. If these are not sufficient, a doctor can prescribe medications or treat with in office therapies,” says Dr. Wang.
“As women enter menopause and estrogen levels drop off they may experience unexpected symptoms like fatigue, daytime sleepiness, unexplained weight gain, chronic neck and shoulder pain and grinding of the teeth,” says Dr. Sharona Dayan, DDS, DMSc, a board certified periodontist. “These are all signs and symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing, SDO.”
Here’s what happens when you have SDO: “Estrogen keeps the muscles of the airway tight and as the levels drop off the muscles become looser and the tongue can fall back into the throat blocking oxygen flow. The brain then has an immediate microarousal and signals the body to correct the oxygen situation. These microarousals may not be long enough to wake the person up, but just long enough to go from deep restorative sleep to light unrefreshed sleep.”
You then grind your teeth because it’s your “body’s compensation to open the airway and increase blood flow…that delivers oxygen to the brain.” You might also sleep on your side (causing a stiff neck or shoulder) or undergo chronic stress (from lack of sleep) without even knowing why.
Recommendation: “If a person turns 50 and begins to notice these symptoms it’s time to get the sleep and airway checked out by an airway-focused dentist who can address tongue posturing and tongue space for a multitude of health benefits,” says Dr. Dayan.