November 24, 2015

How to enjoy Thanksgiving and the holiday season while keeping your fitness goals

From the Dietitians’ Table

Holiday healthy eating

Thanksgiving is a celebration of all we have, including the bountiful feast that is at the center of the holiday tradition. But how do you keep the big meal, and all of the upcoming holiday events, from interfering with your health goals?

Loyola Medicine’s registered dietitians say it’s a matter of strategy, starting with mindful eating.

“Focus on eating your favorite once-a-year holiday foods and pass on other everyday dishes,” says Kim Sasso, a Loyola Medicine registered and licensed dietitian who works with weight-loss patients. “Don’t eat your weight in appetizers if you really are looking forward to the main meal.”

Loyola’s dietitians offer these additional tips to avoid overdoing it this year:

  • Take time to savor what your family and friends have prepared. You will enjoy your food more while also giving yourself time to realize you are full. It takes about 15 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are satisfied. Wait at least that long before going back for more food.
  • Step away from the buffet table. Avoid eating and socializing near the buffet spread, and, if possible, go to another room to enjoy the food, family and friends. This may stop you from going back for seconds or thirds.
  • Stay hydrated. Have a glass of water with you and sip it throughout the evening – even between bites of your meal – to help you to feel full.
  • Shrink your plate. Use a salad plate for the main feast. It will help keep your portions in control.
  • Don’t come too hungry. Eat breakfast and lunch, and, if dinner is later than usual or you are too hungry, grab a snack beforehand. When you come to a dinner or party starving, you tend to eat more than you expected or even realized.
  • Start with a salad. Enjoy a salad first or let vegetables take up half of your plate. By starting with low-calorie favorites, like salads, carrots or squash, you will feel more satisfied without piling on as many calories.

By following these tips, you can prevent the awful fatigue and fullness of a “food coma.” If you do feel very tired after the feast, don’t blame the turkey.

“Turkey doesn’t make you sleepy,” Ms. Sasso says. “Eating very large quantities of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie makes you sleepy.”

Loyola Medicine registered dietitians see patients at several convenient locations, and they include experts in all areas of nutrition, including weight loss, cancer care, diabetes management, cardiovascular health and more. Learn about our services at

November 20, 2015

Loyola Medicine and Palos Community Hospital launch telestroke program


There is a new option for advanced stroke care in the south suburbs. Palos Community Hospital patients have access to Loyola Medicine’s expertise in diagnosing and treating stroke when and where it matters most: at their local hospital the moment they need it.

Loyola and Palos have launched a stroke telemedicine program that bridges the distance between your local doctors and hospital and renowned stroke specialists 18 miles away at Loyola University Medical Center.

A stroke kills 32,000 brain cells each second, so when treating patients, every second counts. Neurologists say the sooner they can initiate appropriate treatments, the better patients will do. Loyola Medicine’s telestroke program helps to ensure that patients receive timely, high-quality care at their local hospital.

October 29, 2015

What puts women at risk of stroke?

Rehab patient of the year

VIDEO: Loyola patient Sheneka Sholar shares her story of recovery from stroke, which she suffered shortly after she’d given birth.

Did you know that women are more likely to die from stroke than men? And that they are more at risk of stroke?

This year’s World Stroke Day campaign is focused on teaching women (and those who care about them) what puts them at risk and how to reduce the likelihood of having a preventable stroke.

Women are more at risk of having a stroke than men in part because some stroke risks are specific to women, such as pregnancy-related diabetes, hormone replacement therapy and the use of birth control pills.

Loyola Medicine is committed to furthering research on women and stroke. Recently, Loyola stroke expert José Biller, MD, co-authored a comprehensive report on the small but significant increase in the risk of stroke in women who used birth control pills.

For women who take birth control pills and also smoke, have high blood pressure or have a history of migraine headaches, their stroke risk is significantly higher. Hormone replacement therapy with estrogen alone or combined with progesterone increases the risk of ischemic stroke by 40 percent; the higher the dose, the higher the risk, the report said. Read more about the report.

Women also are more likely to have hypertension, atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), diabetes and depression, and be obese, all of which raise the risk of stroke, according to the World Stroke Campaign. Worldwide, women are more likely to die from stroke and are less likely to receive the immediate acute care and rehabilitation needed to survive and recover.

If you are concerned about stroke, see your doctor, who will assess your health and help you find ways to reduce your chance of stroke.

Loyola’s Stroke Center boasts a nationally recognized team of experts in every facet of stroke-related care, including emergency medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, neurophysiology, neuroradiology, rehabilitative services, social work, pharmacy and specialty nursing.

Learn about one patient’s recovery from stroke, which she suffered shortly after she’d given birth.

October 22, 2015

From the dietitian’s table: Harvest the flavors of fall with apples, pears, beets and other seasonal produce

Fall produceFresh fruits and vegetables are not only for summertime eating. There still are a large variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables available in the fall, and even in the winter.

Produce is a great source of vitamins and minerals, and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases and certain types of cancer. What is the best way to eat them? Any way you like them!

You can eat them fresh, frozen, canned or dried. During the winter months, adding different vegetables and fruits that are in season can help you make healthy choices while keeping the cost down.

Try a new way to enjoy these fruits and vegetables, which are in season here during fall and winter:

  •  Apples. Slice apples thin, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 200 degrees for 1 to 2 hours. Flip apples and bake another hour until crispy.
  • Pumpkin. Roast and mix into muffins, quick breads or slow-cooked oatmeal.
  • Beets. These can be eaten raw, roasted or pickled.
  • Sweet potato. Toss with olive oil and bake them on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes for a healthy, baked alternative to French fries. Keep the potato skin; it adds fiber.
  • Spaghetti squash. Serve this as a lower carbohydrate alternative to pasta.
  • Kale. Bake the leaves for a crispy snack.
  • Pears. Slice pears thinly and place on a sandwich or add chunks or slices to a salad.
  • Okra. This classic ingredient in gumbo thickens soups and stews.
  • Parsnips. Boiled and mashed, they make a great substitute for potatoes.
  • Cranberries. Toss chopped cranberries with chopped apples, celery, parsley and walnuts, and add a little orange juice.
  • Figs. Use them to sweeten salads, sauces, or yogurt.

You can combine a healthy menu of fruits and vegetables with an active lifestyle by enjoying autumn by picking apples, raking leaves, carving pumpkins and going for a walk.

Loyola Medicine’s registered dietitians are skilled in nutrition therapy and hold advanced certifications in such specialties as weight loss, oncology, diabetes management and nutrition support for adults and children. Loyola’s dietitians provide consultations in the hospital, on an outpatient basis and in home care settings. Their services are offered in several convenient locations, including the Loyola Outpatient Center, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care at Melrose Park, Loyola Center for Dialysis on Roosevelt and Loyola health centers in Hickory Hills, Homer Glen and Wheaton.

From Loyola Medicine’s registered dietitians

October 16, 2015

Keep babies safe with these important sleep recommendations

Sleeping tips to keep your baby safeMary E. Jones, MDMary Jones, MD, child advocacy physician at Loyola Medicine and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, offers these instructions for ensuring your baby stays safe while sleeping.

Most important:

  • Always put a baby on his or her back to sleep, including night-time sleeping and naps.
  • Always put a baby to sleep on a flat, firm surface.
  • Always put a baby to sleep in his or her own bed, whether that is in mom and dad’s room or in a separate room. Never put a baby to sleep in the same bed as others.

October 9, 2015

Want to run your first marathon? Plan carefully, train hard, Loyola sports medicine doctors advise

Marathon RunMore than a million spectators will watch the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 11, and many of them will wonder whether they could complete an entire a 26.2-mile run themselves.

James Winger, MDAssociate ProfessorVertical Curriculum Director, NutritionWhether you want to run a marathon in 2016, a shorter run like a 5K, or just want to try distance running for exercise, the sport has many health benefits, including strengthening your heart, toning your muscles and burning calories.

Sports medicine specialist James Winger, MD, offers the following suggestions for people inspired to get into shape to run their first marathon:

  1. Begin by training for and racing a half marathon first – or multiple half marathons. Some experts have suggested that a person should have been running regularly for two to three years before trying to run a marathon. The so-called couch-to-marathon programs are ideal recipes for injury.
  2. Use a published, proven training plan. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Use what has led others to success.
  3. Consider training with a group. The people running with you can offer support, bonding and help cut down the boredom of the long weekend runs!
  4. Listen to your body. Marathon training is fertile ground for injury; address small injuries before they become large ones.
  5. Enjoy yourself. Many marathoners become so focused on the “prize” of finishing one that they overlook the experience of training. Relish the time spent exercising, outdoors and with friends and the wonderful effects that the workout has on your body.

For many starting runners, it makes sense to work toward a shorter distance event, such Choi_Haemias a 5K run. Haemi Choi, MD, who also is a Loyola sports medicine specialist, recommends that you start by going to a running store and getting fitted for proper running shoes. As with marathon training, you need to take it slow and gradually add mileage. Also, be careful to eat what your body can handle, she said.

Loyola’s sports medicine team, including Nathaniel Jones, MD, Drs. Winger and Choi, will be working at the marathon, tending to runners and others who need medical attention.

Dr. Winger, a family medicine physician, sees patients at Loyola Center for Health on Roosevelt in Maywood. Dr. Choi sees patients at the Loyola healthcare centers in Burr Ridge, Hickory Hills and Homer Glen.

October 9, 2015

Stopping the stigma of mental illness through science and education

brainmentalillnessWhat people don’t know about mental illness can hurt.

That is the message of mental health professionals and associations who marked Mental Illness Awareness Week with a campaign to end the stigma of mental illness through education.

The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation is sharing research-based scientific facts, especially about the biological side of mental illness, to help remove the stigma commonly associated with psychiatric and mood disorders. For example, researchers identified a biological predictor that in preliminary tests accurately predicted suicidal behavior 80 percent of the time, or more. The biomarker can be found in a simple blood test. Read more about the findings.


Murali Rao, MD

Murali Rao, MD

“Mental illnesses have been thought of as disorders of behavior and disorders of mind,” said Loyola Medicine psychiatrist Murali Rao, MD, FAPM, DLFAPA. “However with the ever increasing understanding of the workings of the brain . . . there needs to be a rethinking that these are in fact disorders of brain.”

With advancements in neuroimaging and diagramming of the brain, “in the near future, we may be able to detect several of these disorders very early.” That could lead to early interventions “and perhaps even prevention,” said Dr. Rao, who is chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences for Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

September 30, 2015

Loyola, Palos announce telestroke program, cancer infusion center


Palos Community Hospital and Loyola Medicine are expanding their unique affiliation by launching an advanced telemedicine stroke program and opening a cancer infusion center at the Palos Heights hospital. The two patient-centered initiatives connect Palos patients and doctors to Loyola’s renowned stroke and cancer experts.

The cancer infusion center will bring nationally renowned cancer treatment close to home for south suburban patients and provides an additional, convenient location for Loyola oncology care.

“Rather than asking patients to travel to us, we will come to them,” said Daniel Post, Loyola’s executive vice president for Network Development and System Integration.

High touch, high tech

The center is another way Loyola Medicine and Palos Community Hospital are serving the community’s needs by providing the best care where it is most convenient and caring for the patient. Construction will be complete November 1.

Before then, Palos and Loyola will launch the telestroke program Oct. 15.

For south suburban stroke patients, the telemedicine program will bridge the distance between the best healthcare options: being cared for at nearby Palos Community Hospital while having available the expertise of Loyola Medicine’s stroke specialists – even though they are 18 miles apart.

Expert interventions, when administered within the first few hours after a stroke, can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life. Loyola Medicine is a Midwest leader in telemedicine, and one of only a few hospitals nationwide to provide specialized stroke care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Telemedicine physicians at the world-class Loyola Stroke Center together with physicians at Palos provide expert, timely care using a remote controlled robotic system. Our rapid response treatment reduces disability and saves lives.

Loyola is a recipient of the American Stroke Association’s Gold Performance Achievement Award and the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval.®

Last spring, Palos Community Hospital, in Palos Heights, and Loyola University Health System announced a unique affiliation to give patients access to Loyola’s renowned specialty care services, such as oncology and neurology, while ensuring continued access to Palos’ primary care doctors and specialists.

Learn more about the center and our innovative partnership.


September 23, 2015

What you need to know about prostate cancer testing

mriultrasoundprostateGopal Gupta, MD, is a Loyola Medicine urologist and an expert in radiology and surgical oncology. September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Gupta answers common questions about testing for prostate cancer.

Q. I’m confused about PSA testing for prostate cancer and who should or shouldn’t get tested. Can you explain?

A. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening is a blood test used to screen men for prostate cancer. There is some controversy about PSA screening especially as men become older because prostate cancer is often a slow-growing disease and some of the men who are found to have the disease may not require treatment. The American Urological Association recommends that all men over 40 years old with a life expectancy of at least 10 years be screened. PSA screening saves lives and we are now utilizing MRI imaging of the prostate to improve on PSA screening for prostate cancer detection.

Prostate cancer screening can help identify cancer early, when treatment is most effective and can prevent death caused by prostate cancer. And a normal PSA test, combined with a digital rectal exam, can help reassure you that it’s unlikely you have prostate cancer. But getting a PSA test for prostate cancer may not be necessary for some men, and this is where guidelines from various organizations come into play.

Professional organizations that do recommend PSA screening generally encourage the test in men between the ages of 40-75 and in men with risk factors for prostate cancer.

Ultimately, whether you have a PSA test is something you should decide after discussing it with your doctor, considering your risk factors and weighing your personal preferences.

Q. What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

A. One reason that screening for prostate cancer is so important as a man ages is that localized and curable prostate cancer has no symptoms. A decrease in the force of the urinary stream or other voiding issues are more likely due to BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) than prostate cancer. For men with localized prostate cancer and some urination problems, the explanation is that BPH is occurring coincidentally with the prostate cancer.

Men with advanced prostate cancer, however, may have symptoms similar to those of men with BPH, including blood in the urine, painful urination and a decreased urinary flow. Fortunately, with today’s emphasis on screening and early detection, more than 9 in 10 prostate cancers are found in potentially curable stages.

Q. How is MRI being used in detecting prostate cancer?

A. The use of MRI in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer is an active area of research. At Loyola, we are on the forefront of using MRI with ultrasound to help improve our prostate biopsies for cancer detection.

Currently MRI is not widely used as a screening test for prostate cancer. However, MRI has an emerging role in making prostate biopsies more effective in detecting prostate cancer. In addition, MRI can provide the surgeon with important information before prostate cancer surgery

Dr. Gupta sees patients at Loyola Outpatient Center and the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, both on the Loyola University Medical Center campus in Maywood. Loyola urologists are available at several convenient locations.

September 2, 2015

Allergy alert: Very high mold levels in the air

Dr. Joseph Leija, taking the allergy count at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Joseph Leija, taking the allergy count at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

If you found it hard to breathe easily Wednesday, a heavy amount of allergens in the air may be to blame.

On Thursday morning, the daily Gottlieb Allergy Report by Joseph Leija, MD, showed “very high” levels of mold, high levels of weed and moderate ragweed in the air. A dangerous air quality alert was issued to warn people who have sensitive respiratory systems to take extra care.

The recent hot, humid temperatures coupled with rain have created the rise in mold particles. With forecasts calling for more high temperatures and some rain this long, Labor Day weekend, Dr. Leija said the air likely will continue to cause headaches – and sneezing, watery eyes, congestion, runny noses and difficulty breathing – for those who suffer from seasonal allergies.

Dr. Leija offers these tips for allergy sufferers:

  • Take your medication.
  • Consult your allergist.
  • Keep the windows closed.
  • Run the air conditioner to filter out allergens.
  • Rinse your nasal passages with saline solution to remove irritants.
  • Keep car windows rolled up when driving.
  • Take allergy medications.
  • Wash hair before bed to remove allergens.

In Chicago, 6,500 to13,000 mold spores per cubic meter is a moderate mold count. Over 50,000 signals a dangerous air quality warning for allergy sufferers, who can expect headaches, sinus congestion, runny noses and fatigue, says allergist Joseph Leija, MD.

You can follow @GottliebAllergy on Twitter for Loyola’s allergy count reports.

August 28, 2015

From the Dietitians’ Table: How to understand and tame food cravings

Portrait of beautiful young woman eating donuts at home.What should you do when you crave a certain food, especially a comfort food or a sweet treat? Treat yourself with care and think about what it is you really want and need.

Hunger and cravings are different: Hunger is the need for fuel, while cravings are an intense desire for a specific food — with or without hunger. It is essential to your health that cravings not shape your daily eating habits.

Learning strategies for handling cravings is essential. So let’s break this down into why you have cravings and what to do about them.

Hunger: Whenever you feel like eating, pause to ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” You can be hungry and crave a specific food to satisfy that hunger. Being overly hungry makes it harder to think rationally and to eat mindfully.

Stress: People commonly crave foods like chocolate, cookies, chips, and other high-fat foods because they stimulate the reward center of your brain. These foods cause your brain to release endorphins, which make you feel good.

Associations and memories: Pairing certain foods with certain places, events, or people creates a link in the brain. In the future, similar circumstances—can trigger a craving for that particular food.

Deprivation: As you resist “forbidden” foods, the cravings may increase, eventually leading to eating, and then overeating, those foods.

How to Handle Cravings

Pause for a body-mind-heart scan. Stop for a moment to notice what’s going on when

Golfers take to the course Aug. 28 to raise awareness, benefit Loyola Burn Center


golf-outing (2)

Golfers and even some non-golfers will come together for an annual event that is both a good time and a benefit to Loyola University Medical Center’s Burn Center: the 10th Annual Burn Awareness Golf Outing at Pheasant Run Resort.

The event, Friday, August 28, 2015, includes a dinner and silent auction.

You can register or make a gift today at

What you need to know


Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street, St. Charles, IL


11:30 am – Registration and buffet lunch

1:00 pm – Shotgun start

6:00 pm – Dinner buffet, awards, prizes, silent auction and split the pot raffle.

How much

$175 per golfer

$700 per foursome

$60 for dinner only

For more information, call the Loyola University Health System’s Office of Development, (708) 216-8531.

August 16, 2015

Don’t let the heat put your outdoor workouts on ice

heatworkoutsWhen you’re determined to keep working out in the heat, your strong will may not be enough to keep you from suffering.

“Sweat is our body’s way of cooling off. But as we perspire, we lose necessary body fluids, which leads to dehydration,” said Pietro Tonino, MD, orthopaedic surgeon and director of sports medicine. “When we become dehydrated, we lose the ability to sweat appropriately and become susceptible to heat injury.”

Dr. Tonino said there are many factors that can lead to injury and need to be considered before exerting yourself on a hot day. Here are 10:

  1. Humidity affects how easily sweat evaporates from skin. Sweat must be evaporated to cool off the body. When humidity is 60 percent or greater, it is difficult for sweat to evaporate into the air.
  2. Clothing choice is just as important when exercising in the summer months as in the winter months. Dark clothing absorbs heat and can drastically increase the chance of heat stress.
  3. Sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and increase your body temperature. So be sure to slather on the screen and reapply it every two hours. Also look for shaded places to exercise to help keep your core temperature down.
  4. Acclimatization allows our body time to adjust to the heat. So, take is slow at first and make sure you’re in good health before exerting yourself in the heat.
  5. Age is an important consideration. Children have a more difficult time adjusting to the heat than adults do and are less effective at regulating body heat. So, take extra care with kids in the heat.
  6. Dehydration, even in mild levels, can hurt athletic performance. If you don’t have enough fluids, you can’t effectively cool yourself off.
  7. Drinking water is a must before you head outdoors to exercise. If you are dehydrated before beginning your exercise routine, you are at greater risk for heat injury. Make sure you are hydrated before, during and after exercising in the heat.
  8. High body fat levels make it more difficult for a body to cool itself off.
  9. Medications such as diuretics and stimulants can increase your risk of heat injury so check with your doctor if you are taking any medications before exercising in the heat.
  10. Fevers already have caused the body temperature to rise. If you have a fever or recently had a fever you should not exercise in the heat. Your core body temperature is already high and this leaves you susceptible to heat injury.

August 13, 2015

VIDEO: A relaxing walk will calm your mind, reduce stress

Take a relaxing stroll

Having a tough day? Want to unwind by having a beer, eating a cupcake or plopping down on the couch to watch TV? There’s a simpler, more effective and energizing way to relieve stress: Take a walk.

A walk is one the simplest and most effective ways to relieve stress, Emily Tuerk, MD, a Loyola Medicine internal medicine/pediatrics doctor, says in a one-minute video.

It’s important to wind down after a stressful day, and a relaxing walk will help lower damaging stress hormones and can help you sleep well at night, she says.

Dr. Tuerk treats adults and children in Homer Glen. Her special areas of interest include adolescent medicine, preventive medicine, pediatric nutrition, diabetes, children with disabilities and family health.

August 7, 2015

Breast-feeding is the focus of Loyola, @30SecondMom Twitter chat

kimi-suh-081115As a mom and as a family doctor, Kimi Suh, MD, knows breast-feeding can be very rewarding but also very challenging, especially in the first few weeks. That’s why new moms need to ask questions. Dr. Suh, @loyolahealth and @30secondmom are teaming together to take your questions Aug. 11 on Twitter.

Join us at 8 pm Tuesday for an information exchange on breast-feeding. Dr. Suh and other mothers of all experience levels, including brand-new moms, will ask and answer questions.

Dr. Suh is a family medicine physician at the Loyola Center for Health in Elmwood Park, 7255 W. Grand Ave. She specializes in the care of people of all ages, but especially enjoys women’s health, prenatal care and child and adolescent medicine. She is mother of a toddler son and infant daughter.

Moms who are having difficulty breast-feeding or who have questions need to seek answers from experts, including lactation consultants, and also from other mothers, Dr. Suh said in her video interview with WJOL radio.

July 30, 2015

Learn more about cleft lip and palate treatment

A shoulder to cry onDid you know that cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects?  Called orofacial clefts, they occur when a child’s lip or mouth doesn’t form properly.

The defect can range from a small notch in the lip to a groove that runs into the roof of the mouth. They most frequently occur early in pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

A cleft lip or palate may cause a child to have difficulty eating, speaking clearly or hearing well. It can also lead to ear infections and dental problems, and well as other difficulties. Surgery is often recommended and usually performed when a child is between 9 and 12 months of age.

July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month. Learn more about Loyola Medicine’s Cleft Lip and Palate Program.

Pediatric otolaryngologist Laura Swibel Rosenthal, MD, discusses her approach to caring for craniofacial patients, including those who have cleft lip or palate. Dr. Swibel Rosenthal sees patients in Homer Glen, Oakbrook Terrace and the Loyola Outpatient Center in Maywood.

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Parit Patel, MD, talks about caring for patients with cleft lip and cleft palate. Dr. Patel sees patients in Oakbrook Terrace, Burr Ridge and in Maywood at the Loyola Outpatient Center and Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital.

July 27, 2015

If you can breathe, you can meditate. Here’s how: VIDEO

Kit Lee, MD

Kit Lee, MD

Stress is a contributor to heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women. Meditation is a simple way to reduce stress and release tension, and it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. Kit Lee, MD, says meditation can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths.

Dr. Lee is a family medicine physician who has special interests in mind-body medicine, acupuncture, and preventive medicine. She cares for adults and children at Loyola Center for Health on Roosevelt.


July 24, 2015

Do you really need to eat whole grain foods?

Different bread and bread slices.

By Stefany Swartz

Bread is bread, right? So does it really matter whether it’s white bread or whole grain bread? If you’ve been eating white bread, white pasta, and white rice your whole life, you might think switching to whole grains is too hard isn’t important, or you may think it’s impossible​.

Think again!

One of the most important differences between whole grains and refined grains is fiber. Whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats, and bran are naturally high in fiber, which can:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels from spiking.
  • Reduce bad cholesterol.
  • Help you feel fuller longer.

Unfortunately refined white grains have almost the exact opposite effect on the body causing your blood sugars to rise quickly and making you feel hungrier sooner.

Is it whole grain or not? How can you tell?

July 11, 2015

Six summer weight loss tips from Loyola Medicine

weightcroppedSummer is an especially good time to start new, healthy routines. Warm weather, abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, outdoor grilling and ample opportunities to be active outdoors make new habits easier to adopt than in the cold of winter.

“By getting into better exercise and eating habits now, you will start to look and feel healthier,” says Lauren Zuro, registered dietitian at Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care. “And if you keep it up, you will be in better shape and more confident for the winter holiday parties and celebratory photos.”

Zuro offers six tips on how you can use summer to your advantage and improve your health:

  1. Keep meal patterns consistent. “The onset of summer brings about vacations, barbecues, graduation parties, and other social events. Don’t skip meals thinking you are saving calories; plan meals around social engagements and other activities. Be sure to make time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, which will help you stick to your weight loss/nutrition plan.”
  2. Bring something healthy. “When going to an event, bring a healthy dish to share. That way, you will know there is something for you to eat to stay on track. Try a recipe for a new salad, slice a variety of fresh seasonal fruit or cut up vegetables for a colorful display.”
  3. Stay hydrated with water. “As the temperatures increase outside, your body’s need for water increases inside. When out in warm or hot weather, be sure to sip water every 15 minutes to stay hydrated. Avoid sugary beverages such as soda, juice (even 100 percent fruit juice), and sports drinks that contain added sugar. They are just empty calories.”
  4. Visit farmer’s markets. “Increase your fruit and vegetable intake by taking advantage of local produce available at farmer’s markets during the summer months. You will find a variety of locally grown produce at reasonable costs and you are supporting local farmers.”
  5. Avoid long periods of sedentary activity after eating. Go for an evening walk after dinner, or a morning bike ride after breakfast, or pack a picnic lunch to take along on a hike.
  6. Avoid ballpark and concession stand meals. If you are going to be at the ballpark during mealtime, if possible, pack healthy options to bring with you, such as a sandwich, fresh fruit or mixed nuts.

Zuro regularly counsels weight loss patients at Loyola’s bariatric center and specializes in non-surgical and surgical weight loss medicine.

Learn more about surgical and non-surgical weight loss options by visiting or by calling (800) 355-0416.

July 8, 2015

Is your lingering cough or cold bronchitis?

summercoughWhen your cough or cold seems like it’s lasted too long, it is time to see a medical professional.

What started out as a common cold virus or influenza may have become bronchitis. And bronchitis can lead to more serious or even dangerous conditions, such as pneumonia, according to Khalilah Babino, DO, an immediate care doctor at Loyola Center for Health at Homer Glen.

Khalilah Babino, DO

Khalilah Babino, DO

“We see a lot of cases of bronchitis at our immediate care centers,” Dr. Babino said.

Bronchitis is a serious condition of the lower respiratory tract and occurs when bronchi of the lungs become inflamed. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Chest congestion
  • Productive cough that lasts longer than five days

July 6, 2015

Loyola doctor suggests a simple stretch to end neck tension and pain

peo-lee-kit-md-1260Loyola primary care doctor Kit C. Lee, MD, suggests a simple stretch to reduce neck tension and pain. In the video, she demonstrates how to do the stretch.

Dr. Lee is a family medicine physician whose special interests include children’s and women’s health, preventive medicine, mind and body medicine and acupuncture. She sees patients at the Loyola Center for Health on Roosevelt in Maywood.


July 4, 2015

10 tips to help manage your child’s screen time

blogtechtimeWith even toddlers using tablets, smartphones and other tech devices parents need to manage children’s screen time to ensure kids still spend enough time talking and developing language skills.

“Talking to children in the first years of their life sets them up for academic and social success for a lifetime,” says Kathleen Czuba, a Loyola Medicine speech and language therapist. “Studies link the number and variety of words a child hears and later academic achievement.”

Summer break is often more unstructured, and a prime time for using technology to fill empty hours.

“Remember that the best opportunities for conversation and learning are often found in situations that may be viewed as boring, such as while running errands or on a long car trip — particularly for the youngest children,“ Czuba says.

Loyola’s Speech and Language Therapy Services team and the American Speech Language Hearing Association offer these tips for keeping tech use in balance:

June 24, 2015

From the dietitian’s table: Prepare to be healthy every week

nutritionblogfoodprep062415By Stefany Swartz, RD, LDN

More often than not, our excuse for not eating right is that we don’t have enough time. We tend to focus so much on work and daily duties that we often skip preparing food and Stefany-Swartzcooking at home.

Fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy — especially if you make your own by having the right foods ready and available, and by keeping your house stocked with the basics.

If you do, you can eat healthy food when you need it.

How to start

First, pick a time during the week or weekend when you can set aside a few hours to grocery shop and prepare food – clean, portion out and store – to last the week, or, at the very least, for a few days.

June 21, 2015

Check out the newly redesigned

LMorgImage600We have launched our upgraded website with far more content, a new, simpler format and a more robust search engine.

You will find fresh content on all types of medical conditions and the world-class diagnosis and treatment options offered by Loyola Medicine and our hundreds of doctors. You easily can search for the doctor you need by specialty and location and see the depth of our clinical offerings simply by choosing the medical service that interests you.

Come see for yourself, and let us know what you think.

June 17, 2015

The facts about prostate cancer screening

Prostate Cancer ScreeningGetting screened for prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men, used to be pretty standard and routine. But several medical groups came out with their own, sometimes conflicting, recommendations for who should have the prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) and when. If you wonder whether it’s time for you to be tested, Loyola Medicine’s Michael Gill, MD, has the answer best suited to you. Watch Dr. Gill’s video.

Dr. Gill is an internal medicine and pediatrics physician who sees patients at Loyola centers for health in Wheaton and Park Ridge.

June 17, 2015

Learn about summer safety with @LoyolaHealth, @30SecondMom

Dr. Bridget BoydLoyola Medicine and parenting lifestyle site 30Second Mom are hosting the second in a series of Twitter chats Wednesday, June 17, at 8 pm. The chats are designed to provide helpful health information to on-the-go parents.

Wednesday’s special guest will be pediatrician Bridget Boyd, MD, who will provide essential safety tips to help families make the most of their summers. Dr. Boyd is the medical director of the newborn nursery at Loyola University Health System. She is an ardent proponent of pediatric safety, especially now that she’s the mom of two active kids.

To follow our chat, use #30SecondMom and follow @loyolahealth. To review tips on health and dozens of other subjects, download the 30Second Mom app for iPhone or Android, or visit

May 22, 2015

Know the signs of stroke to save time, save brain

Dr. José Biller, chair of Neurology at Loyola and a renowned expert on stroke, talks about the signs of stroke and the importance of seeing a doctor after having one.

Every year, about 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the leading cause of long-term disability.

With stroke, time lost getting treatment equals lost brain cells, according to Dr. José Biller, chair of Neurology at Loyola and a renowned expert on stroke.

A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen in one of two ways:

  • One type of stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke).
  • The other is caused by a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).

Symptoms of a stroke may last only 15 to 20 minutes, but that doesn’t mean the danger has passed. Call 911 and get to the hospital immediately if you experience these symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of severe headache
  • Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden vertigo, dizziness or loss of balance
  • Double vision

In addition, people often will suffer mini strokes (transient ischemic attacks) before they have a full stroke. Symptoms of mini strokes can last just a few minutes, but they should be promptly evaluated.

 FAST action is crucial

A simple way to remember the signs of a stroke is to think of the word “FAST.”

  • Face = Is one side of your face drifting downward?
  • Arms = Is one of your arms falling lower?
  • Speech = Does your speech sound slurred or not normal?
  • Time = Time is crucial. If you have any of these signs, call 911 immediately.

Dr. Biller explains how to recognize signs of a stroke for the American Heart Association:

About stroke care and prevention at Loyola

  • Loyola Medicine has achieved the American Stroke Association Get with the Guidelines® – Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award.
  • Our Stroke Center is accredited by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.

If you’ve sought treatment and wonder whether further treatment would help, call Loyola’s Second Opinion Stroke Clinic at (708) 216-2438.

May 15, 2015

How to prepare for your first 5K


Dr. Haemi Choi

In honor of Women’s Health Week, Loyola Medicine doctors are sharing tips. Today, Haemi Choi, MD, family medicine and sports medicine doctor, shares another tip.

If you’re thinking about participating in your first 5K event, you’ll want to get ready for that 3.1-mile run (or walk).

Dr. Choi recommends the following:

  •  Go to a running store and be fitted for proper running shoes.
  • Take it slow with gradual progression in mileage.
  • Find a running group or buddy to train with.
  • Listen to your body and eat what it can handle.
  • Enjoy the experience.

Dr. Choi sees patients at Loyola Center for Health at Hickory Hills and Loyola Center for Health at Homer Glen. Her interests include arthritis, general rehabilitation, musculoskeletal injuries, acupuncture and sports injuries. To make an appointment with Dr. Choi, call 888-584-7888.

May 14, 2015

Health tip for women: There are many ways to exercise, including dancing


In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Loyola Medicine is sharing tips to help women live healthier lives. Today’s tip comes from Haemi Choi, MD, a Loyola family medicine and sports medicine doctor.

Dr. Choi says:  Make time for regular exercise at least four to five times a week for 30 minutes at a time, but exercise can come in all forms:

  • Gardening
  • Doing household chores
  • Taking a yoga class at the gym
  • Running several miles
  • Just going out dancing with friends.

Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health, reduces stress, increases energy, helps to regulate sleep and improves one’s mood and sense of well-being.

Dr. Choi sees patients at the Loyola Center for Health at Hickory Hills and the Loyola Center for Health at Homer Glen. Her interests include arthritis, general rehabilitation, musculoskeletal injuries, acupuncture and sports injuries. To make an appointment with Dr. Choi, call 888-584-7888.

May 13, 2015

Women’s health tip: Look into cause of pregnancy pain

In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Loyola Medicine is sharing tips to help women live healthier lives. It’s National Women’s Health Week, and we’re sharing tips to help women live healthier lives. Today’s tips come from Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor who specializes in women’s pelvic pain.

Dr. Fitzgerald says:

Pain in the lower back or leg during pregnancy is common but not normal. It isn’t typically a sciatic nerve problem. More likely it is pain from the pelvic joints (sacroiliac, pubic symphysis), ligaments and muscles and can be treated easily with the right kind of physical therapy. Don’t accept pain as a normal part of motherhood. The sooner you get it treated, the less likely it will stick around.

Dr. Fitzgerald sees patients at the Loyola Outpatient Center and at the Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge. To make an appointment with her, call 888-584-7888.

May 12, 2015

5 strategies to optimize your health

Dr. Anita VarkeyIn celebration of National Women’s Health Week, Loyola Medicine is sharing tips to help women live healthier lives. Today’s message comes from Anita Varkey, MD, an internist who specializes in women’s health.

Dr. Varkey says these five strategies will optimize your health:

  1. If you don’t know, ask your doctor if your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight are at the recommended levels.
  2. If you don’t know, ask your doctor if your personal and family history increases your risk for certain types of disease, such as cancer or heart attacks.
  3. Ask your doctor if your vaccinations are up to date.
  4. Be honest with yourself and your doctor about your eating, drinking and exercise habits. We often underestimate our food and alcohol intake and overestimate our exercise efforts.
  5. Remember, it is not selfish to take time to care for yourself. If you are not feeling well, then you are not able to care for and nurture all of the family and friends who depend on you.

Dr. Varkey sees patients at the Loyola Outpatient Center. To make an appointment with her, call 888-584-7888. Learn more about her from her profile video.

May 11, 2015

Women, for your health: breathe, relax, move

In honor of National Women’s Health Week, Loyola Medicine wants to share tips to help women live healthier lives. Today’s message comes from Mary Adeli Lynn, DO, a Loyola obstetrician and gynecologist.

Dr. Lynn says:

Find time every day to:
Find your breath.
Relax your mind.
Get your body moving.

Daily exercise helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression. (Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or routine).

Dr. Lynn sees patients at Loyola Center for Health at Oakbrook Terrace and Loyola Outpatient Center. Her special interests in OB/GYN include endometriosis, uterine bleeding, menopause, menstrual problems, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, sexual wellness and minimally invasive surgery.

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.