April 24, 2015

Men are less likely to go to the doctor than women, experts say

Doctor with male patient

“A lot of men think going to the doctor is just one more thing on a seemingly endless ‘to do’ list,” said Kevin Polsley, MD, a Loyola Medicine primary care physician. “Men need to start thinking about their health and making it a priority.”

Dr. Polsley, an assistant professor of internal medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, lists these top three health concerns for men and what they can do about them.

Sleep apnea
An estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, but many aren’t tested for it. Symptoms include snoring, waking up frequently in the night, headaches in the morning or waking with a dry mouth.

“Many men’s health issues can be helped if they take steps to manage their sleep apnea. Long-term complications from the disease include high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks and stroke, so it’s an important condition to diagnose and treat,” Dr. Polsley said.

Loyola’s Sleep Disorders Center tests for sleep apnea and provides treatment options. Weight loss may help decrease this problem as well.

April 8, 2015

Rolling out muscles can smooth out your workout, says Gottlieb fitness expert

Woman doing yoga

So, you’re ready to stretch out before you start your workout? There is something else you may need to do first. If your muscles are tight, a foam roller can help you work out the knots, advised Mike Ross, exercise physiologist, Gottlieb Center for Fitness.

“Think of your muscles as shoelaces,” he said. “If you have a knot in your muscle, stretching pulls it tighter.” The two- to three-foot-long foam cylinders used properly can roll out the knots, restore flexibility and reduce the potential for injury.

March 26, 2015

4 questions you need to ask about your colonoscopy

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancers are the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and yet the disease is preventable and treatable, especially when detected early.

A colonoscopy is an important method for screening for colon cancer, rectal cancer or other colorectal diseases

“Once you’ve decided it’s time to get a screening colonoscopy, the next step is to make sure that you get a high-quality one,” says Neil Gupta, MD, MPH, director of endoscopy at Loyola University Health System.

Dr. Gupta, who has performed thousands of colonoscopies, published numerous studies on colonoscopy and quality in healthcare and taught physicians around the world about endoscopy, said patients should ask these four questions.

March 24, 2015

From our nutritionists’ table

Glass of vegetable juice

Separate the facts from the fads in healthy eating

From the cabbage soup diet to the “blood type diet” to the HCG diet, many people are constantly searching for a way to drop pounds quickly and painlessly.  Often these fad diets are hard to follow, restrictive, nutritionally unbalanced and worse, leaving us feeling like failures.

So, how can you recognize a fad diet? Ask these questions:

  • Does it promise quick weight loss?
  • Does it seem too good to be true?
  • Is it based on selling a company’s product?
  • Does it lack valid scientific research?
  • Does it label foods good or bad?
  • Does it take into account and/or discuss physical activity?

Instead of finding the “right diet” for you, focus on making half of your plate fruits and vegetables and eating at the table at every meal. Make physical activity part of your day by taking the stairs, exercising during TV commercials and taking walks throughout the day.

Instead of ritualistically measuring weight and tediously counting calories, fats and carbohydrates, make food fun and focus on health.

-From your registered Loyola dietitians

February 26, 2015

What women need to know about commonly ignored sign of heart disease

Medical illustration of a heartLoyola University Health System internal medicine physician Anita Varkey, MD, urges women to protect their health and prevent a common warning sign of heart disease.

Angina is characterized as pain or discomfort in the chest that results from plaque buildup in the arteries causing reduced blood flow to the heart.

“With angina, the pain can be mild, so just because a woman doesn’t feel like she is having a traditional heart attack doesn’t mean that she should ignore chest discomfort,” said Anita Varkey, MD, who also is an associate professor of internal medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

February 24, 2015

Loyola lung transplant patient completes Hustle up the Hancock

Bob SenanderCongratulations to Loyola Medicine’s Hustle up the Hancock team – including lung transplant patient Bob Senander – who climbed 94 flights of stairs Sunday, February 22, 2015, to raise awareness about lung disease.

Mr. Senander, 69, completed the climb in 2 hours and 50 minutes alongside the nurses and a doctor who cared for him.

“It was a great weekend, and hopefully this will help others suffering terminal lung disease,” Mr. Senander said.

He took on the challenge less than a year after having lung transplant surgery.

Mr. Senander, of Winfield, Illinois, made headlines last May when he became one of five people to undergo a lung transplant at Loyola University Health System in little more than 24 hours. It was the first time in Illinois that five successful lung transplants had been performed in such a short time.

Before his transplant, Mr. Senander had been fighting for his life. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2009. This is a disease marked by scarring of the lungs and difficulty breathing. There is no cure and most people only live for three to five years after diagnosis.

Mr. Senander used supplemental oxygen for five years before undergoing a successful lung transplant that saved his life.

“Mr. Senander is truly my champion and my inspiration,” said Jennifer Johnson, RN, lung procurement coordinator, LUHS. “I am thankful to him for having faith in himself and in our team.”

February 9, 2015

From our nutritionists’ table

Bowl of fruit saladHow to choose foods that reduce cancer risk

The best treatment for cancer is prevention. There are many ways to reduce your cancer risk, several of which include making these lifestyle decisions:

Following a diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day can reduce cancer risk. Aim for different colors to get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals – compounds that help protect cells from damage. For example, try adding blueberries and banana to oatmeal in the morning or stir frying with red peppers, Brussels sprouts and onion.

January 9, 2015

Tread lightly to protect yourself from a bad fall

Winter is officially here and sidewalks are slippery. Nearly 1 million people tumble every year in the U.S. and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 20,000 people die annually due to fall-related injuries. Don’t become a statistic from a fatal fall; tread lightly and don’t be too confident.

“Many falls can be successfully avoided or the impact minimized by applying a few basic strategies,” said Mike Ross, author of The Balance Manual and an exercise physiologist at Gottlieb Center for Fitness, part of the Loyola University Health System. 

Ross teaches balance classes year-round at Gottlieb, primarily to individuals who are 50 and older.

December 31, 2014

5 weight-loss strategies to avoid in the new year

Is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Here are five bad strategies to avoid, shared by Aaron Michelfelder, MD, of Loyola University Health System:

Bad Strategy No. 1: I’ll lose weight at the gym. Working out is good for your health and can help to maintain your weight. But exercise alone is not very effective in shedding pounds. To lose weight, you will need to eat fewer calories.

December 16, 2014

From our nutritionists’ table

To avoid holiday pounds, arm yourself with a game plan 

The holiday dinners, the eggnog, the gifts of chocolate – let’s face it, temptations are lurking around every corner during the holiday season. With obesity on the rise, you may be wondering how to make the right choices during this busy time of the year.

December 11, 2014

Do you really have time for the flu?

This may be a year to remember when it comes to the flu. The Cook County Department of Public Health reports that the flu has hit earlier and harder than in the last two years. And a flu outbreak prompted one La Grange Park high school to close for a few days this week.

Loyola Medicine has seen a jump in the number of flu cases over the past few weeks. Loyola physicians last week recorded 76 confirmed cases of the flu, nearly double the number of cases seen during last season’s peak week. (To see current Loyola, Cook County, Illinois and U.S. flu statistics, check out Loyola Flu Central.)

One concern is that a flu strain that was predicted to hit the U.S. – the H3N2 virus – has mutated slightly since the flu vaccine was formulated. Loyola physicians and public health officials, however, are urging people to get the flu shot because it still will lessen the severity of symptoms of the mutated strain and completely protect against the other predicted flu strains.