Teens Learn Finance
at the Farmers Market

While shopping at any of the
Farmers' Markets in Citrus
Heights, Midtown, Folsom or...

read more

Getting a Leg Up
on Varicose Veins

As we get older, our bodies
tend to acquire a variety of
undesirable features. Unsightly...

read more

Fad Diets: How to
Tell Fact from Fiction

With all the focus on weight
in our society, it isn't
surprising that millions of...

read more

Lower Your
Breast Cancer Risk

When it comes to breast cancer
- as with most diseases - there
are certain risk factors that we...

read more

Good News for
Gallbladder Surgery

Chances are, either you or someone
you know has had a gallstone attack.
Gallstones can attack any one...

read more

Teens Learn Finance at the Farmers Market

While shopping at any of the Farmers' Markets in Citrus Heights, Midtown, Folsom or Carmichael, you may notice lots of helpful teenagers hard at work. The teens can be seen working alongside the farmers and vendors who sell their produce and products at these weekly markets. The kids are all students of a youth entrepreneurship program offered through local non-profit BeMoneySmartUSA, which organizes and manages eight farmers' markets throughout Sacramento County. The goal of the organization is to help teens learn valuable work skills while also serving local farmers and the community.

The markets provide opportunities for kids to participate in the organization's "Rent-A-Teen" program. Participating teens work jobs in communication, hospitality, marketing, media, journalism, event coordination, administration, and sales. Students applying for these jobs are required to complete a minimum of 10-12 hours of financial and business training through the non-profit's FREE education programs. Once the students have completed the courses, they have the opportunity to apply for the job positions offered at the markets.

"When we started this program in 2010 in Carmichael with our first Certified Farmers' Market, we had only 15 farmer/vendors with 10 teens working. In three years we have opened eight local Certified Farmers' Markets, providing jobs for more than 85 teens," says Don Hall, co-founder and CFO of BeMoneySmartUSA.

Participants are taught to be creative, think critically, and to develop skills necessary to succeed in the system. They learn this through the hands-on work experience they get at the markets. "Much like the teaching hospitals that operate as a business while teaching medical students, we run a teaching business, where our students continue to learn while on the job and receive lessons each week that they have to be prepared to discuss and practice," says Marie Hall, Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA.

"What makes this market so unique is the fact that it not only provides a great service to the community and an opportunity for the farmers and vendors to sell their products, but it also provides a safe and healthy venue where young people can work, learn, and connect with their community," explains Twyla Teitzel, BeMoneySmartUSA Market Manager for Sunrise Mall.

BeMoneySmartUSA works with local schools, churches, and youth groups to offer on-site personal finance and business education workshops, year-long elective semester programs, weekend and special event speaking engagements, and independent public workshops and camps. Many of the programs are offered for free to local youth.

When you shop at a BeMoneySmartUSA Farmers' Market know that your patronage is supporting farmers, the community, and local youth. The weekend markets are open year-round and seasonal midweek markets continue through the second week of November. The Sunrise Mall, Midtown on 20th and J and in Historic Folsom on Sutter Street locations are open Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. while the Carmichael Park Farmers' Markets is open on Sundays.

For more information on all BeMoneySmartUSA Farmers' Market locations and youth programs, visit their website.

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Getting a Leg Up on Varicose Veins

By Brian Fellmeth MD

As we get older, our bodies tend to acquire a variety of undesirable features. Unsightly varicose veins rank as a common, unwelcome feature to becoming older, particularly for women and especially women who have had multiple pregnancies. In some cases, the problem is merely cosmetic. However, varicose veins can be a sign of a serious medical circulatory disorder - chronic venous insufficiency. Whether your varicose veins are merely a "skin deep" cosmetic problem, or a sign of unhealthy circulation deeper in the leg, there are excellent minimally invasive treatments available.

Women with underlying venous reflux disease should seek treatment even if they are unconcerned with the appearance of their legs. Untreated reflux can slowly lead to serious disability including severe swelling, chronic pain, difficulty with ambulation, development of dark blotches in the skin around the ankles and eventually skin ulceration. Usually, when the varicosities are large and ropey, and the leg has symptoms (such as itchiness, pain, swelling, all worst at the end of the day), then it is likely that reflux is in the picture. The distinction can be made very accurately with a painless, standing ultrasound exam. I would add that it is possible to have venous reflux with some of the symptoms listed above but no visible varicose veins.

Ninety-five percent of varicose vein disease can be treated with two types of procedure: endo venous ablation and injection sclerotherapy. Either or both may be appropriate depending on the pattern of vein abnormality. Both can be performed in a less than 2 hour outpatient visit without sedation. Neither requires a recovery: the patient is free to resume normal activity immediately. Both treatments have excellent safety profiles with complication rates under 1%.

Because venous reflux is an established medical disorder of deranged circulation, these treatments are covered by insurance. When venous reflux is not present, (just unsightly veins in the skin), then the treatment is considered cosmetic and is not covered.

If your varicose veins are becoming uncomfortable or unsightly, talk with your doctor about which treatment options would be best for you.

To learn more about the varicose vein treatment options available at Mercy Imaging, contact Dr. Brian Fellmeth's office at 916.965.1913.

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Fad Diets: How to Tell Fact from Fiction

With all the focus on weight in our society, it isn't surprising that millions of people fall prey to fad diets and bogus weight-loss products. Conflicting claims, testimonials and hype by so-called "experts" can confuse even the most informed consumers. The bottom line is simple: If a diet or product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are no foods or pills that magically burn fat. No super foods will alter your genetic code. No products will miraculously melt fat while you watch TV or sleep. Some ingredients in supplements and herbal products can be dangerous and even deadly for some people.

Steer clear of any diet plans, pills and products that make the following claims:

Rapid Weight Loss

Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes. Healthy plans aim for a loss of no more than 1/2 pound to 1 pound per week. If you lose weight quickly, you'll lose muscle, bone and water. You also will be more likely to regain the pounds quickly afterwards.

Quantities and Limitations

Ditch diets that allow unlimited quantities of any food, such as grapefruit and cabbage soup. It's boring to eat the same thing over and over and hard to stick with monotonous plans. Avoid any diet that eliminates or severely restricts entire food groups, such as carbohydrates. Even if you take a multivitamin, you'll still miss some critical nutrients.

Specific Food Combinations

There is no evidence that combining certain foods or eating foods at specific times of day will help with weight loss. Eating the "wrong" combinations of food doesn't cause them to turn to fat immediately or to produce toxins in your intestines, as some plans claim.

Rigid Menus

Life is already complicated enough. Limiting food choices or following rigid meal plans can be an overwhelming, distasteful task. With any new diet, always ask yourself: "Can I eat this way for the rest of my life?" If the answer is no, the plan is not for you.

No Need to Exercise

Regular physical activity is essential for good health and healthy weight management. The key to success is to find physical activities that you enjoy and then to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.

If you want to maintain a healthy weight, build muscle and lose fat, the best path is a lifelong combination of eating smarter and moving more. For a personalized plan, tailored to your lifestyle and food preferences, consult a registered dietitian with expertise in weight management. A registered dietitian can help you find a realistic, flexible eating style that helps you feel and be your best.

Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To learn more about Dignity Health's cancer care and support services and the Mercy Cancer Center, visit our website.

When it comes to breast cancer - as with most diseases - there are certain risk factors that we can't control. These include family history, age, and race. But did you know there are risk factors that you can control to some extent? These are known as modifiable risk factors - things every woman can, and should, do to lower their personal risk for developing breast cancer.

Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle say as many as 25% of all breast cancer cases could be avoided simply by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. To understand why this is true, you must understand that exposure to estrogen is one of the greatest causes of breast cancer. Body fat causes your level of estrogen to rise. If a woman is overweight, she has more body fat, which means she is probably producing more estrogen and more estrogen means more likelihood of developing breast cancer.

The good news is that when it comes to weight loss, it doesn't have to be dramatic or extreme for you to significantly reduce your breast cancer risk. Even losing just 5-10% of your body weight can have an impact. If you are unsure what a healthy weight is for you, ask your doctor.

The other significant modifiable risk factor is activity level. The Women's Health Initiative found that 1.25 to 2.5 hours per week of brisk walking could reduce a woman's breast cancer risk by 18%. Walking ten hours per week reduced the risk even more. It is important to note that increasing your activity level means not just adding exercise like walking to your routine but also cutting back on the amount of time you are sedentary. If you must sit at a desk for work, try to take the stairs whenever possible and get up and walk around the office every hour or so. Every day activities like cleaning the house, walking through parking lots, taking the stairs and walking to the mail box can improve your overall health.

Research also shows that alcohol consumption can affect a woman's breast cancer risk. The risk increases with as few as three drinks per week. This increased risk can have an even greater impact when combined with menopausal hormone therapy. To lower this risk, allow yourself no more than one drink a couple times a week.

Finally, one risk factor that we should all be controlling is tobacco use. Smoking is associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including breast cancer, as well as a myriad of other health problems. The increased breast cancer risk is especially evident in premenopausal women. The earlier you start smoking, the longer you smoke and the more you smoke each day all increases your risk. For your health - and the health of those around you - if you smoke, quit now!

Breast cancer is, understandably, a frightening thought for women. However, taking control of your health and well-being now can decrease your risk of developing it in the future. Not to mention, a healthier you is better equipped to fight whatever battles come your way!

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Good News for Gallbladder Surgery

Chances are, either you or someone you know has had a gallstone attack. Gallstones can attack any one, at any age - although it is most common among middle-aged women. Gallstones are hardened deposits of digestive fluid that form in your gallbladder. This small organ is found in the right side of your abdomen and contains digestive fluid (bile) that is released into the small intestine. Some gallstones do not cause symptoms. When a gallstone causes a blockage symptoms ranging from moderate to severe arise and surgery becomes necessary.

Although anyone can experience gallstones, there are risk factors that can increase your chances, including being female; being overweight; being over 60 years old; eating a high fat, low fiber diet; being pregnant; having diabetes; and having a family history of gallstones. Symptoms of gallstones may linger for months without diagnosis - discomfort in the right side of your abdomen; bloating or nausea after eating; or pain behind your right shoulder blade. Or, the symptoms may appear suddenly and intensely - sharp, severe pain in the right side of your abdomen, below your breastbone or behind your right shoulder; high fever; pain so severe you cannot sit still or get comfortable.

In these cases, surgery to remove the gallbladder (a procedure known as cholecystectomy) is typically necessary. The gallbladder is an organ you can live without. While gallbladder removal in the past was performed using open surgery through a large incision, most procedures now are done laparoscopically during a minimally invasive surgery. Traditional laparoscopic surgery to remove a gallbladder involves four small incisions, including two near the ribcage and one under the breastbone. It is an outpatient procedure but does involve some post-operative pain, particularly around the ribcage incisions.

Fortunately, there is now another option. By using a robotic-assisted surgical system like the daVinci, surgeons are able to use just one incision on the patient's belly button. By using the robotic system, the surgeon has remarkable vision and can be more precise despite having just one, small incision. For the patient, the robotic-assisted procedure means less scarring, lower risk of infection, less blood loss and, typically, less pain following the procedure. That leads to a quicker recovery and less use of post-operative pain medication.

If you would like more information about robotic-assisted gall bladder removal, contact Dr. Joelle Jakobsen with Mercy Medical Group. Dr. Jakobsen is one of the first surgeons in the Sacramento area to perform this procedure.

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