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by Dave Emke — February 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Northern Virginia OrthodonticsIf you’ve been needing to visit the dentist but didn’t think you could afford it, now is your chance.

Northern Virginia Orthodontics has teamed up with nonprofit Dentistry From The Heart to offer a free dental care day Saturday at their Reston office (12110 Sunset Hills Road #475). Free cleanings, fillings and extractions will be offered from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

This will be the first time Northern Virginia Orthodontics, which opened its Reston office in December, has offered such an opportunity. But it isn’t the first time the business has reached out to help others, said Casey Peterson, practice relations manager.

“We support and help so many different organizations, schools and community groups,” Peterson said of the Loudoun County-based practice, which also works in partnership with Inova Children’s Hospital on pediatric cancer efforts. “We’re centered around giving back to the community.”

Florida-based Dentistry From The Heart is a worldwide nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free dental care to those who need it but cannot afford it. It sponsors hundreds of such events nationwide each year, according to its website, helping thousands of patients and giving millions of dollars in free dental care.

“Dental health is linked to so many other full-body issues, and anything we can do to help somebody get in complete health is something we’ll try to do,” Peterson said. “We’re hopeful that there are people out there who’ll take advantage of it.”

Registration on Saturday will begin at 8:30 a.m., and care will be first come, first serve. Peterson said top dental-care providers from around the area will be part of the event, and referrals will be offered to patients if additional care is necessary.

For more information, call 703-574-2174.

by Dave Emke — February 7, 2017 at 11:30 am 2 Comments

Nisa KatzEverything was coming together nicely for Nisa Katz, a 2010 graduate of South Lakes High School.

“I actually was able to get an internship with Disney World, which was my dream job,” she said. “I was offered a regular full-time position, but I ended up getting sick.”

After a long series of doctor’s visits, Katz was diagnosed in 2014 with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a condition that causes an increased heart rate when standing upright — resulting in dizziness, migraines and more. Because of it, Katz was forced to give up her photography position at Disney World and return home to Reston to her parents, Gina and Bert.

Since, Katz said she has been diagnosed with a series of other conditions — Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Chiari malformation and trigeminal neuralgia among them.

Now 25, Katz finds herself traveling down a new path in life, raising awareness for rare diseases and chronic illnesses. She has started an awareness campaign called Spoonspirations — the name of which is a reference to “spoon theory,” a term coined by lupus patient advocate Christine Miserandino about how sufferers of such conditions must ration their energy.

“She wanted a way to describe it to people who don’t have a chronic illness, so they could understand,” Katz said. “Basically, it’s kind of like if you get up to walk the dog, you use three spoons out of your 12 total spoons for the day.”

SpoonspirationsThrough Spoonspirations, Katz is using her love of art to spread the word about chronic illness. Katz studied graphic design as well as photography, and she has designed a number of different pieces of apparel for various related causes.

She is raising money for research in the process, as all proceeds from sales of the clothing are given to chronic illness organizations. In 2016, she said, she raised $8,000 that was donated in large part to Dysautonomia International and the Dysautonomia Support Network, organizations she became acquainted with through her personal journey.

This year, Katz has become involved with rare disease advocacy organization Global Genes. She will travel to Southern California at the end of the month to participate in a fashion show for the organization as part of World Rare Disease Day.

“Everyone is walking in honor of someone who has a rare disease,” she said. “I’m the only one walking who actually has a rare disease.”

Katz is hopeful that she will be able to make more connections during the event to help her expand Spoonspirations and raise more awareness for the hundreds of millions worldwide suffering from chronic illnesses.

“Rare diseases affect approximately 350 million people worldwide and often times are invisible,” she said. “So you never know who might be affected.”

Photos courtesy Nisa Katz/Spoonspirations

by Karen Goff — March 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

2013 Run Your Heart Out 5K/Credit: Potomac River RunningFairfax County was named Virginia’s third-healthiest — behind Arlington and Albermarle Counties  — in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2015 County Health Rankings.

The rankings look at 30 factors, including poverty, education, transportation, housing, violent crimes, jobs, access to healthy foods and access to medical care.

Some stats contributing to Fairfax’s high marks:

An adult smoking rate of 11 percent, and lower-than-average rates of obesity (20 percent), physical inactivity (15 percent) and excessive drinking (20 percent). Fairfax also earned very high marks for access to health care professionals and exercise opportunities.

But some lifestyle factors are not so great here. Fairfax was No. 37 (out of 133 counties) for physical environment. That means average levels of air pollution and housing problems and a way-above-average length of commute for many residents.

In Maryland, Montgomery County earned top honors.

Too see all Virginia stats, visit the County Health Rankings website.

Running in Reston/file photo

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