Tag Archives: Straight No Chaser (composition)

Straight, No Chaser: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

hypertension-34

High blood pressure is called the silent killer. It’s common for me to see someone who thought they were ‘fine’ drop dead from its effects, never knowing it was about to happen and not having been aware of the warning signs and risk factors.

In lay terms, your heart is just a muscular pump pushing blood (containing oxygen and nutrients) around the body keeping stuff alive. The more you poison that pump (by ingesting unhealthy foods and inhaling other toxins) and strain the muscle by adding weight and clogging its vessels so it has to pump against more force (by being obese, not exercising and engaging in other unhealthy behaviors), the more likely that muscle is to strain until it gives out. Once it does, blood isn’t delivering what’s needed to your vital organs, and that’s when bad stuff happens.

bloodpressureThe vital organs in question and those bad effects include the following:

• The heart itself (no blood flow and no oxygen = heart attack; when the heart’s not strong enough to pump blood around the body = congestive heart failure)

• The blood vessels, especially the heart’s main offshoot, the aorta (too much strain = aneurysm, an outpouching from the main tubular system, stealing valuable blood from the rest of the body)

• The brain (no blood flow and no oxygen = stroke; aneursyms also occur in the brain)

• The kidneys (not enough blood flow or adequate enough function to clear the toxins from the kidney = renal failure)

• The eyes (poor blood flow and/or diseased eye blood vessels leads to vision loss)

blood_pressure_5_treat-img_1280x720-jpg

Bottom line: The heart is a muscle best thought of as a machine. Here’s three easy things you can do to reduce your risks.

• Get off your butt. Any exercise helps to get your heart pumping and blood flowing; strive for 20” three times a week at the very least.

• Close your mouth. Everything in moderation is cool, but introduce some fruits and vegetables into your life.

• Lose the salt shaker. At least taste your food first. It’s likely the food was already prepared with salt.

Did I mention stop smoking? Any questions?

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Cardiology/Heart, General Health and Wellness, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Here’s How You Complete End-of-Life Planning

durable-power-of-attorney

Now that you’ve had a chance to wrap your mind around the concept of needing to make end of life decisions, let’s discuss some specific mechanisms by which you can ensure your wishes are honored.

Living Will: This document, also known as medical directives, addresses those scenarios where you are unable to communicate your near death choices. The key consideration is that a living will keeps the power and decision-making in your hands, even when you’re incapacitated or otherwise unable to state your preference. You’ll want to have a copy of this form with you or with your family.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR): A DNR form takes the living will consideration straight to the end of life question and explicitly states your preference not to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) if needed.  Your physician will retain a copy of this document in your medical record as a way of alerting other medical providers (such as in the emergency room–if and when you show up there) of your desire.

Healthcare Power of Attorney (POA): The healthcare POA is your designee to carry out your medical wishes beyond what you have explicitly stated. A healthcare POA may serve more than one function.

  • If you haven’t made DNR or living will type decisions, a POA will make those decisions for you.
  • If you’ve made some decision and not others, the POA will fill in the gaps.
  • Making a POA designation is literally putting your life in someone else’s hands. Be very careful who you choose for this role. Some people will simply designate next-of-kin or a family member.  Others will want someone objective with no other motives (e.g., financial) than fulfilling their wishes. Either choice is much better than no choice, which too often leaves family members with competing interests and potentially having to carry the burden of making decisions for you that you could have made in advance.
  • Your POA will not be able to overturn decisions you’ve designated on the DNR form or your living will.
  • Your POA will not be able to make any decisions for you while you’re still able to do so unless you ask him/her to do so.

It’s important to know that you can simultaneously have a living will, DNR declaration and a Healthcare POA.  If you’re able, it may be wise to engage an attorney to sort through the various documents.

I hope for your sake and the comfort of any family you may leave behind that you take the time to engage in end-of-life planning for yourself and others in your family.  I’ve seen all too often how messy it gets when issues aren’t addressed in advance.  You really don’t want that happening to you at the end of your life.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under General Health and Wellness

Straight, No Chaser: Rashes on Your Palms and Soles; It’s Not Always Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

 

In the world of rashes, there aren’t an abundance of rashes that appear on the palms and soles.  However, there are a few of note, so here’s some Quick Tips to point you in the right direction. This doesn’t take long for you to learn, so commit this to memory, and you could save yourself a lot of drama down the road. Don’t forget to wear gloves and wash your hands!

There’s actually an entity called hand, foot and mouth disease, commonly seen in children and caused by the Coxsackie A virus.  It’s rather benign.

Hand-Foot-and-Mouth-Disease-3hand-foot-mouth-disease1hand-foot-mouth

If you’ve spent any time in the woods of the Southeastern U.S. (usually between April and September), you may recall being bitten by a tick (which will transmit an infection from a bacteria named Rickettsia Rickettsii).  If you contract Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (yes, it’s misnamed – the Rocky Mountains aren’t in the Southeastern U.S.), your rash may look like this.

RMSFRMSFfeet

If you’re a child with five or more days of fever, pink eye, dryness in the mouth, big lymph nodes in the neck and this rash, your physician should consider Kawasaki’s disease.  This is caused by an inflammation of blood vessels, and demographically, it is seen more often in those of Asian descent.

kawasaki

Sometimes in Kawasaki’s disease, the tongue may look like a strawberry.

Kawasaki2

And yes, secondary syphilis presents with rashes on the palms and soles.  The real take home message is this.  Primary syphilis is so overlooked (because the initial genital lesion is painless and may come and go without much announcement), the development of rashes on the hands and feet may be the first time you get diagnosed.  Trust me, you want to get treated before tertiary syphilis develops.  Here’s what that rash looks like.

2ndsyphilis2ndarysyphilis

The long and short of it, is if you or a loved one develop a rash on the palms and/or soles, get it evaluated.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Pediatrics/Kids Health, Skin/Dermatology

Straight, No Chaser: The Curse of the Weekend Warrior – Achilles Tendon Rupture

Kobe

In high school I led the league in stolen bases, and in college my cohorts and I loved inventing ever more creative ways to dunk a basketball. Apparently, my calf muscles worked well. Somehow at a certain age, I quit those competitive sports cold turkey, partially because I knew an Achilles rupture was lurking out there somewhere.

achilles-tendon-rupture

The Achilles tendon connects the muscles at the back of the calf to the heel. The formula for damage is pretty simple and consistent. As you age your tendons tend to stiffen and shrink. As you age you change from the fine-tuned wannabe athlete most of us were to a recreational player, and we overextend ourselves. Others of us, in making a comeback (or just rushing to train for something like a 5K run), try to go from zero (0) to 60 way too soon. In either scenario, that overextension causes the tendon to tear or snap. You’ll recognize it immediately by the sound (pop) and the inability to walk/stand on your toes, which results from the lack of connection from the calf to the heel. (You need to point your foot downward to walk, which is where the Achilles comes in.) Other common occurrences of Achilles tendon rupture include falling from a height and landing on your feet or stepping into a sizeable hole.

achilles-Figure2

Besides being an older guy (or gal, but it’s about five times more common in men) trying to reclaim past glory, steroids and certain antibiotics (flouroquinolones, examples of which are Levafloxacin, aka Levaquin, and Ciprofloxacin, aka Cipro) weaken the tendons enough to predispose you to this injury.

Depending on your age and preexisting health status, you will have surgical and/or nonsurgical options available to you to repair the tendon. Nonsurgical treatment involves a specific type of walking boot or cast, and surgery is more likely when the tear is complete. You’ll need extensive rehabilitation and strengthening of the muscle around the repaired tendon to avoid reinjury. Don’t expect to return to your previous level of strength and activity for four to six months.

So what’s your take home message? Once again, know where opportunities for prevention are. Given how important it is to maintain physical activity as you age, it’s important to remind you to learn how to stretch and maintain musculature so you don’t injure yourself while trying to exercise. Don’t engage in more strenuous activities until and unless you’ve built up to the level where you’re prepared to do so. Achilles injuries occur most often when you’re trying to do too much too soon. Also, be mindful of slippery surfaces; that slide acts the same as an attempt to accelerate too rapidly.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Musculoskeletal System, Orthopedics/Bones, Sports Medicine, Trauma

Straight, No Chaser: So… You Skipped Your Period? Let’s Discuss Secondary Amenorrhea

missed-periods-300x205

It happens all the time, but one thing that makes both men and women anxious is a missed menstrual period. Everyone’s always worried about being pregnant (and you should be).

amenorrhea

While a missed menstrual period is the defining feature of early pregnancy, it can be due to a number of other factors and conditions.

Skipped periods are a fact of life. Doctors use the term amenorrhea—primary and secondary amenorrhea—to describe the absence of menstruation.

Primary amenorrhea, which is very rare, is when a female has not yet started her monthly periods, though she is older than age 15 and has otherwise completed puberty. We discuss primary amenorrhea over at www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com.

Secondary amenorrhea, which is much more common, is the absence of periods in a previously menstruating woman. Periods may be irregular, with the woman skipping periods for the first few years after she begins menstruating and during perimenopause (the time preceding menopause). However, when the lapse in regular periods last for over six months, it is called secondary amenorrhea. (This designation does not pertain to post-menopausal, pregnant or breast-feeding women.)

Let’s jump right into the risk factors and causes. There are many, and these conditions tend interfere with the balance and levels of the body’s sex hormones.

Risk factors

You are more likely to have amenorrhea when the following factors are present:

  • Excessive exercise
  • Significant, sudden weight loss (e.g., gastric bypass, extreme diets)
  • Obesity
  • Severe anxiety or emotional distress
  • Very low body fat (less than 15% – 17%)

Other possible causes include the following:

  • Brain tumors (e.g., pituitary tumors)
  • Cancer/chemotherapy treatment
  • Dilatation and curettage (D&C)
  • Drugs used to treat schizophrenia or psychosis
  • Overactive thyroid gland
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Reduced function of the ovaries
  • Severe pelvic infections
  • Use of hormone shots (e.g., Depo-provera) and the six-month period after cessation of these shots

Of course, you’re going to get evaluated, and the first question will be whether or not you are pregnant. The good news is for secondary amenorrhea (and even more so for skipped periods), simply addressing the underlying cause resolves the situation in most cases. However, don’t take it lightly. Get evaluated if you have concerns. Of course, you can feel free to contact your SMA expert consultant with any questions you have.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic, Medical Treatment, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Straight, No Chaser: STDs – Pubic Lice (Crabs)

Unfortunately, there’s no pleasant way around this topic. I hope the topic doesn’t make you crabby.

public lice_01

There is a story of legend in the medical community regarding the trends to start waxing or shaving pubic hair. It involves crabs (pubic lice). Back in the 1920s, when the clear preference for appearance involved a full “bush,” this was often accompanied with the frequent presence of pubic lice, particularly in the brothels of Las Vegas. Women took to shaving in an effort to relieve themselves from the presence of the lice. However, the newly shaved appearance apparently wasn’t good for business; as a result, these women began wearing pubic toupees.

So why am I telling this story? The toupees were made of beaver hair. That’s the origin of that terminology, in case you didn’t know… On to common questions about pubic lice.

 pubic-lice-hair

What are pubic lice? Pubic lice (aka crabs) a parasitic insects found in the genital and pubic areas of humans.

 pubiclicevsheadlice

Where are pubic lice found? By definition, pubic lice are predominantly found in the genital and pubic areas in one’s hair. However, pubic lice have also been found in other areas of the body with coarse hair, such as the armpits, beard, eyebrows, eyelashes, legs and mustache. In fact, pubic lice on the eyebrows or eyelashes of children are regarded as a prompt to search for sexual abuse. It also is of note that lice on the scalp are head lice, which is a different consideration than pubic lice.

Whom do pubic lice infect? Anyone and everyone seem to be affected. Pubic lice are seen all over the world across all races, classes and ethnicities. Public lice are not seen in animals. Pubic lice are most commonly seen in adults, are considered to be a sexually transmitted disease (infection, aka STD or STI) and should prompt a search for other STDs. There have been occasional cases of spread through contact with articles such as bed linens, clothing or towels, but this is extremely rare. Lice can’t live away from the warmth of a human body very long, and their feet don’t allow for walking on or attaching to smooth surfaces, so they generally are limited to staying on their hosts.

Can I get public lice by sitting on a toilet? This commonly expressed concern is quite overstated. As noted, lice can’t live away from the warmth of a human body very long, and their feet don’t allow for walking on or attaching to smooth surfaces, so they generally are limited to staying on their hosts.

 pubicLice

What do pubic lice look like? Pubic lice have three forms: the egg (also called a nit), the nymph, and the adult.

  • Nit: Nits are lice eggs. When seen, they are usually found firmly attached to the hair shaft. They are oval and usually yellow to white. Pubic nits hatch in about 6–10 days.
  • Nymph: The nymph is a young, immature louse that just hatched from the nit. Pubic lice nymphs take about 2–3 weeks after hatching to mature into adults capable of reproducing. To live, a nymph must feed on blood.
  • Adult: The adult pubic louse resembles a miniature crab. Pubic lice have six legs; their two front legs are very large and look like the pincher claws of a crab. Pubic lice are tan to grayish-white in color. Females are usually larger than males. In can’t you’re thinking that doesn’t matter to those infected, it should because females lay eggs, continuing the cycle that causes human discomfort. To live, lice must feed on blood. If the louse falls off a person, it dies within 1–2 days. 

What are the signs and symptoms of pubic lice? The symptoms of pubic lice infestation include genital itching, visible lice eggs (nits) or visible crawling lice.

Pubic-lice

How is a pubic lice infestation diagnosed? The diagnosis of pubic lice is simply made by visualizing a louse or nit (egg) in the pubic hair or elsewhere. It is more common to need a magnifying glass to identify lice or eggs.

How are pubic lice treated? We will go into the treatment of pubic lice in some detail in an additional Straight, No Chaser. It’s too important to simply give a quick answer on this.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Genital/Urinary, Infectious Disease, Obstetrics and Gynecology

Straight, No Chaser: Prevention and Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

carpel-tunnel-relief-

If you have carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS) or are at significant risk for developing it, you really should learn strategies to either prevent, limit progression or treat the condition. Of course, once you develop it, you’ll be more focused on treatment. Fortunately, very good options exist for all of these, and that’s what we’ll be reviewing in today’s Straight, No Chaser. Feel free to review this previous post on carpal tunnel syndrome, discussing its causes and risk factors.

carpal-tunnel-at-work prevention

How can carpal tunnel syndrome be prevented in the workplace?

Here are activities you should employ if you’re at risk for CTS. Your employer (through employee health services or even without such an entity) can develop an ergonomics program. This involves adapting the workplace (e.g. conditions and job demands) to the capability and needs of workers to complete assigned tasks. Components of ergonomics may include the following.

  • Redesign of workstations, tools and tool handles, and tasks to enable the wrist to maintain a natural position during work
  • Frequent rest breaks
  • Job rotation among workers
  • On-the-job conditioning
  • Stretching exercises
  • Use of splints to keep your wrists straight
  • Use of correct posture and wrist position
  • Wearing fingerless gloves to keep your hands warm and flexible

carpal tunnel syndrome keyboard

Of course if you have high-risk conditions such as obesity, arthritis or diabetes, you will do well to manage these conditions. Doing so will lessen the risk of subsequent development or worsening of CTS.

How is carpal tunnel syndrome treated?

In this post, we will address general, drug and surgical treatments. More detailed treatment considerations are covered at www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com.

Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome-ice

General

  • Treatments for CTS should begin as early as possible and under a doctor’s direction.
  • Underlying causes such as diabetes or arthritis should be treated first.
  • Initial treatment generally involves resting the affected hand and wrist for at least 2 weeks, avoiding activities that may worsen symptoms, and immobilizing the wrist in a splint to avoid further damage from twisting or bending.
  • If there is inflammation, applying cool packs can help reduce swelling.

Carpal-tunnel-wrist-bracing

Drugs

  • In special circumstances, various drugs can ease the pain and swelling associated with CTS. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonprescription pain relievers) may ease symptoms that have been present for a short time or have been caused by strenuous activity.
  • Other drugs occasionally used include diuretics (“water pills”), meant to decrease swelling. Corticosteroids (such as prednisone) or the drug lidocaine can be injected directly into the wrist or taken by mouth (in the case of prednisone) to relieve pressure on the median nerve and provide immediate, temporary relief to persons with mild or intermittent symptoms. (Caution: persons with diabetes and those who may be predisposed to diabetes should note that prolonged use of corticosteroids can make it difficult to regulate insulin levels. Additionally, some studies show that vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) supplements may ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

carpel-tunnel-syndrome-eagle-arms-cow-face-arms-open-the-shoulder-stretch-your-hands-the-idea-girl-says-youtube

Exercise and Alternative Therapies

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises can be helpful in people whose symptoms have abated. These exercises may be supervised by a physical therapist trained to use exercises to treat physical impairments, or an occupational therapist, who is trained in evaluating people with physical impairments and helping them build skills to improve their health and well-being.
  • Acupuncture and chiropractic care have benefited some patients but their effectiveness remains unproven. An exception is yoga, which has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength among patients with carpal tunnel syndrome.

carpal-tunnel-surgery

Surgery

  • Carpal tunnel release is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. Generally recommended if symptoms last for 6 months, surgery involves cutting the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve. Surgery is done under local anesthesia and does not require an overnight hospital stay.
  • Although symptoms may be relieved immediately after surgery, full recovery from carpal tunnel surgery can take months. Complications may include infection, nerve damage, stiffness, and pain at the scar. Occasionally the wrist loses strength because the carpal ligament is cut. Patients should undergo physical therapy after surgery to restore wrist strength. Some patients may need to adjust job duties or even change jobs after recovery from surgery.
  • Recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome following treatment is rare. The majority of patients recover completely.

If you focus on the prevention strategies, the need for surgery will be lessened, and treatments will be guided by your physician. Your first job should be to discuss the safety of your work environment and ensure you’re doing what’s needed to minimize your risk.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Neurology, Occupational Health, Orthopedics/Bones