Take Personal Responsibility for Your Health

Dr. Andrea PenningtonThe vigorous debate about health care reform is grabbing headlines, and I think the energetic conversation is an extremely important one to have. The bloated, inefficient way we deliver what we call health care is costly, and the results we get for the money are not satisfactory. So it is a good thing to shine a focused light of inquiry on ideas to improve the situation. But it could take a long time, and it won’t be easy.

In the meantime, my mantra is choose health over health care. That means we each take personal responsibility for the state of our health and what we need to do to improve or maintain it. Far too many of us require some kind of health care service every day – from emergency surgery to walk-in care clinics to private nurses. People with chronic disease states – often caused by poor personal choices regarding diet, exercise, and lifestyle – consume expensive resources.

Choosing health over health care means that by making wiser choices, you simply don’t require many health care services, aside from routine exams and tests. And it means you actively participate in the state of your health by keeping current on topics relevant to your well-being.

Continuing research shows that the skin, our largest organ, is often a visible indicator of overall health. Our panel of expert dermatologists has prepared current information and insights on skin care and concerns and dermatology practice trends we should all know more about.

National Psoriasis Month
The National Psoriasis Foundation promotes this campaign every August to raise awareness about psoriasis and treatment options. Dr. Elaine Gilmore tells us about fascinating links between psoriasis and other conditions, such as psoriatic arthritis, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Psoriasis affects 125 million people worldwide and inflicts both physical and emotional pain on its sufferers.

Vitamin D: Crucial to Health
The role vitamin D plays in overall health has been the subject of new studies. The body manufactures the vitamin when unprotected skin is exposed to sun.  As Dr. Ramsey Markus writes, recent reports link deficiencies with forms of cancer, osteoporosis, elevated blood pressure, infection, and cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders. Another international study shows that people around the world have low levels of the vitamin, with wide-ranging implications for health. Dr. Markus gives us helpful information about getting adequate vitamin D and cautions that supplementation is better advised than unprotected sun exposure.

Ethnic Skin and People of Color
As the US becomes a more global community, dermatologists are seeing more patients of diverse skin tones and learning more about how conditions and diseases present on darker skin tones. Dr. Lisa Ginn suggests we start with terminology this trend has spurred. What do the terms ethnic skin and people of color really mean? Dr. Ginn helps us understand the differences and highlights particular concerns affecting darker skin tones.

Topical Skin Cancer Treatments
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer annually. By now we’re all familiar with the common litany of rules – use sunscreen, stay inside or in the shade, and wear protective clothing. But Dr. Adam Rotunda offers an insider view about advances in noninvasive topical treatments that are highly effective in finding and destroying precancerous cells, stopping skin cancer in its tracks, before it can take hold. This is good news!

As summer starts its fade into fall, take stock of how your skin fared over the past few months. If you’ve neglected it, now is the time for a visual inspection to identify potential trouble spots. Your skin may merely need super moisturizers to recover from all those summer days, or you might want to talk to your dermatologist about adding a retinoid to your skin care routine.

By the end of the month, many schools are back in session after summer breaks. In most households, “back to school” means “back to routine.” I hope your transition is a smooth and healthy one!

I would also like to mention that VisualDxHealth will soon be replaced by Skinsight.com as part of our ongoing efforts to create the Web’s best site for skin care and skin health information. Skinsight will bring you trusted information and images about skin conditions and even more access to experts and information about skin care and skin health.

Be well,
Dr. Andrea Pennington

Published on 08/06/2009 | Last updated on 10/18/2018