NEW YEAR, NEW DENTAL WELL BEING MISSION
by Christy Hager, DDS
Dental Well Being Foundation Board Director
Written January 2015
Do you even know what the Dental Well-Being Foundation is? Well, I didn’t! And now, I am proudly on the Board, because I believe in our mission (and I really believe we, as dentists, need this Foundation).
But still … what is the Well-Being Foundation?
Well, the Dental Well-Being Foundation has a new mission: “To promote a healthy dental professional, dental team and their families by providing education, resources and support.” We hope to grow and become a strong, encouraging resource for dentists.
Now personally, I had a major breakthrough my last year of dental school. I was unhealthy and unhappy. Maybe I was unhappy because I was unhealthy. Either way, I don’t think my best traits were on display to my family, peers and patients. That year I made a promise to myself to change. And every year since, I have been focused on making healthier life choices. I started using my undergraduate nutrition degree, creating athletic goals, and today I still am pursuing graduate nutrition education. I want to be part of a team that promotes healthy healthcare providers, because I am grateful for those who stood by my side during times of change. This aligns perfectly with the Dental Well Being Foundation.
New Year’s Resolutions focused on preventing Sarcopenia
There’s still plenty of time to set a New Year’s Resolution. My favorite saying is, “If you don’t have a target, you’ll hit nothing,” which is a spin on a Zig Zigler quote. Here’s the target: Create a physical fitness goal for 2015. Pick something you enjoy. My first goal was to run a 5k without stopping. That goal took me almost eight months. Sports do not come naturally to me, but that does not stop me. We are dentists—we excel at all things teeth, not necessarily sports. But we still can be very successful just by participating in physical activities.
Physical activity is critical to prevent Sarcopenia. This is applicable to all generations of dentists, as well as families and friends.
Sarcopenia is a loss of muscle mass, strength and function that occurs with age; it was first defined in 1989 by Irwin Rosenberg. It appears around the age of 40, with dramatic increases in muscle loss after age 75. The rate of muscle loss seen in Sarcopenia varies from 0.4 percent to 2.6 percent per year. Sarcopenia is associated with various factors such as sedentary lifestyle, malnutrition, age-related cellular changes, muscle apoptosis and genetic predisposition. It also is associated with an increase in fall rate and osteoporotic fractures.
The goal is to maintain mobility with age, as mobility limitations impairs quality of life and is a precursor to functional decline. Physical exercise can preserve muscle structure and function with age, to prevent or slow the atrophy process. The addition of physical exercise is extremely beneficial to those young and elderly. Age-related Sarcopenia also is important to understand in the elderly due to the accelerated loss of lean body mass seen with weight loss. There must be a balance between potential health gains to negate the side effects of weight loss associated with muscle loss in the elderly.
Overall, it is important to maintain muscle mass. Whether you set a target for walking 30 minute three times a week, running a 5k, practicing yoga or lifting weights at the gym—2015 is a great year to set a new goal for physical activity.
It’s this kind of information we hope to share in each issue of the Focus magazine, as the Dental Well Being Foundation strives to deliver on its new mission: “To promote a healthy dental professional, dental team and their families by providing education, resources and support.”
We hope you’ll continue to learn and be involved in your own well-being and that of your dental colleagues.
I had a major breakthrough my last year of dental school. I was unhealthy and unhappy. Maybe I was unhappy because I was unhealthy. Either way, I don’t think my best traits were on display to my family, peers and patients.
That year I made a promise to myself to change.