Ask Dr. Bernadette and Her Colleagues a Question About Health or Wellness

Basic knowledge is important when it comes to your health and wellness. Dr. Bernadette created the Ask the Experts forum to bring together experts from various disciplines to share their knowledge of your general health concerns and support a more integrative approach to healing.

We receive many questions everyday and it is impossible to respond to each one. If your question is selected, look for the response by checking back on this page.

Click here to Ask Your Question

Q: I am interested in getting a cosmetic procedure done. How do I decide which cosmetic procedure is best for me?

A: Cosmetic surgery is done to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve appearance and self-esteem. If you are healthy and have realistic expectations you may be an appropriate candidate. Many people are getting cosmetic procedures and plastic surgery done every day. In 2014, Americans spent more than $12 billion on over 10 million cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures (data from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery).

If you are seriously interested in having a cosmetic procedure done or plastic surgery, the best way for you to find out what procedures might benefit you is to schedule a consultation with a board certified and experienced plastic surgeon in your area.                                                                             After your consultation, research the surgeon and procedure or surgery you are considering – don’t rush into anything. Be certain the surgeon clearly understands your expectations. If you want larger breasts, be sure you and the surgeon agree on the size. Bring pictures if necessary. Plastic surgery is a personal choice and should be done for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit an ideal image. It goes without saying to appreciate your natural beauty, but I won’t tell if you don’t.

Q: What steps can I take to prevent disease?

A: One important step to take is to schedule your annual physical with your primary care physician. During this appointment, she may discuss screening exams which may help to identify potential health problems early. An approximate schedule for screening evaluations includes: an annual mammogram starting at age 40, colonoscopy at age 50, prostate cancer screening at age 50 (may start at age 40 in African American men), cervical cancer screening (PAP) at age 21, and bone density scan to detect osteopenia at age 65. These screening procedures may need to be done earlier depending upon family and personal medical history. Other steps to prevent disease include regular exercise (30 minutes per day), losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet. My Plate is designed to give you healthy eating suggestions. It is an online animated program that will help you customize a diet by choosing proper foods and portion sizes based on your age, sex, and activity level. The key objectives are to help you get the most nutrition (proteins, vitamins, and minerals) out of the recommended number of daily calories and to achieve a balance between food intake and physical activity to maintain a healthy weight. Visit for more information.

Q: My mom has hypertension. I know it can be hereditary. What can I do to prevent myself from developing hypertension?

A: Yes, it true, hypertension IS hereditary. However, the genetics of hypertension is complex with no known single gene playing a major role but instead it is attributed to many genes each with mild effects reacting to different environmental stimuli which contribute to developing high blood pressure. Of note, genes also play a role in heart disease, and other related conditions. When reviewing family history, it is likely that families with a history of high blood pressure also share common environments and other potential factors that increase their risk. The risk for high blood pressure can increase even more when heredity combines with unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as smoking cigarettes, little to no exercise and eating an unhealthy diet.

To prevent yourself from developing hypertension, research has shown that regular exercise (30 minutes per day), weight loss with a BMI less than 25 kg/m2, adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, modest alcohol intake, and infrequent use of nonnarcotic analgesics are associated with a decreased risk.

Good nutrition is very important for prevention. “Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is associated with major health risks that can cause illness and even death. These include heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. Obesity Trends. 2011. Available at: Good nutrition is key for healthy living.


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