May 25, 2016

How to protect yourself and your family from the devastation of stroke


José Biller, MD
Neurology & Neurosurgery

José Biller, MD

José Biller, MD

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. Yet, it is largely treatable if help is reached in time, and it is highly preventable.

A stroke is not a cerebrovascular accident. It is an event that occurs because of a variety of individual risks, many of which can be controlled or eliminated.

In addition, a stroke can be treated or stopped through the use of clot-busting drugs and medical devices. But every second counts.

By teaching the warning signs of stroke, such as through the abbreviation F.A.S.T., we have raised awareness of stroke symptoms and the need for immediate treatment. Unfortunately, it remains common for time to be lost and treatment to be delayed needlessly.

One reason is that stroke symptoms may not seem serious and may not last long. When someone has a heart attack, pain is a major symptom, it is easily recognized as serious, and it is treated urgently. During a “brain attack,” the symptoms may not seem serious, may not last long and may be attributed to something other than stroke. Some stroke sufferers will go to bed to try to feel better.

However, if you do not seek help immediately, you are wasting precious time, and we know that time is brain.

May 17, 2016

Camilo Gomez, MD: Stroke Requires Immediate Care, so Know the Signs and Symptoms


Camilo R. Gomez, MD
Neurology & Neurosurgery

What you need to know about stroke awareness is simple: the earlier the better.

There are two crucial factors to consider in stroke education: prevention and immediate treatment. Both are critically important in avoiding, surviving and recovering from a stroke; they depend on one another to minimize your risk and get you help fast.

Prevention: With your doctor’s help, you can develop a custom prevention plan. Frequent check-ups and screenings can identify warning signs such as a pre-rupture aneurysm or blockage threatening to close. Depending on what you need, all the tools are available here at Loyola. We have the expertise, technology and most sophisticated stroke treatments to deliver care that is second to none.

Immediate treatment: When you have a stroke, a blood vessel closes, starving the brain of blood flow and oxygen. If you have a stroke or witness someone having a stroke, don’t wait. Seek emergency medical attention immediately.

We’ve come a long way in stroke treatment. Neuroendovascular surgery (performed inside blood vessels) can be used as acute treatment or as a pre-emptive measure to prevent stroke.

Neuroendovascular preventive procedures include:

  • Angiography, to see how blood is flowing in the brain and diagnose vascular anomalies such as aneurysms
  • Angioplasty and stenting, to open partially blocked arteries, restore normal blood flow, and reduce stroke risk
  • Coil embolization, to treat aneurysms and prevent their rupture
  • Thrombolytic therapy, to dissolve a clot in a blood vessel

April 27, 2016

Loyola organ donor ceremony honors kidney specialist who gave and received gift of life

Susan Hou, MD, is a kidney transplant specialist

Susan Hou, MD, a kidney transplant specialist, was honored at this year’s candle-lighting event.

Each April, Loyola University Medical Center holds a candle-lighting ceremony to pay tribute to organ donors, and to support transplant patients.

This year, the ceremony, held April 21, gave special recognition to a physician who is both a living organ donor and a transplant patient: Susan Hou, MD.

In 2002, Dr. Hou, a kidney transplant specialist, donated a kidney to one of her patients, a mother of two whose polycystic kidney disease had progressed to kidney failure.

“Some people know they just have to do it, and I was one of them,” Dr. Hou said. “If you believe in the brotherhood of man, there are no unrelated donors.”

Then, 12 years to the day after she donated a kidney, Dr. Hou received a donated lung to treat a life-threatening pulmonary disease.

Dr. Hou is believed to be the only transplant physician in history both to donate an organ and receive an organ transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Now that Dr. Hou has her health back, she has resumed working with a free clinic in Bolivia that she co-founded. The clinic serves more than 3,000 patients a year.

“I worry whether the lung should have gone to someone younger,” said Dr. Hou, who was 68 at the time of the transplant. “So I feel a great pressure to make the most of the extra years I have been given.”

Learn about becoming a registered organ, tissue and bone marrow donor.

April 20, 2016

You can save lives by signing up to be an organ, tissue, marrow or blood donor

Life-and-death decisions are made every day. But you can make one simple decision today to donate life by registering to be an organ, tissue or bone marrow donor.

More than 120,000 people – men, women and children – need an organ transplant, according to current data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Another person is added to the list every 10 minutes.

Jeffrey Schwartz, MD

Jeffrey Schwartz, MD

Daniel Dilling, MD

Daniel Dilling, MD

But they may not receive one in time: 8,000 people a year die waiting – 22 people a day.

“There is no greater gift in life than the gift of life,” said Loyola cardiothoracic surgeon Jeffrey Schwartz, MD, surgical director, lung transplant.

One organ donor can save eight people, and one tissue donor can help more than 50.

“We take for granted the ability to breathe and walk across a room, shower or lie flat in bed,” Dr. Schwartz said. “Organ donation transforms a recipient’s quality of life.”

Tens of thousands of patients undergo organ transplants every year, for heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys and intestines. Thousands more receive donations of bone marrow, skin, heart valves, cornea and tissue.

“I have witnessed the transformation that occurs for donor families and for the organ and tissue recipients,” said Daniel Dilling, MD, Loyola’s medical director of lung transplant.

“Registering to be an organ and tissue donor is a quick, simple process that ensures you are part of that transformation.”

What you can do

Registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor is simple. All you need is your driver’s license. In Illinois, you can sign up through the Secretary of State’s office by visiting a facility where driver’s licenses are issued, on the website or by calling 1-800-210-2106.

April 13, 2016

Loyola heart transplant patient hiking the Appalachian Trail to honor donor, encourage more to register

Bill Spence, 62, has a new heart. Now, two years after his transplant, he’s setting out to hike the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail to encourage organ donation and to honor the donor he’ll never meet. Read his story.


On his hike, Bill Spence will stay in touch with his Loyola Medicine cardiologist, Erin Coglianese, MD.

April is National Donate Life Month.

March 24, 2016

How to cut salt and reduce your health risks

The problem with salt

From the Dietitians’ Table

By Stefany Swartz, RD, CSP, LDN

Think you’ll sprinkle just a little salt on your dinner? Better think twice.

Did you choose a fat-free treat? Watch that your “healthy” choice won’t push your daily sodium intake over the healthy limit.

While there is at least a little sodium in most foods, and we all need to eat some, consuming too much leads to health problems. The average daily recommended serving of sodium is 2,000 milligrams.

One teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium. If you eat like most Americans, it is easy to exceed your recommended serving, even without adding salt to your food.

Too much sodium in your diet is linked to several health problems, including some that are life-threatening. It can cause or worsen fluid buildup (water retention,) heart, liver and kidney disease, and high blood pressure – which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

March 18, 2016

Colorectal cancer screening can save your life, but most of us just don’t get it

Just One Day Can Save Your Life

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

By peo-naik-amar-s-md-5169 Amar Naik, MD
Loyola Medicine digestive health program

If there were a test that could prevent a common type of cancer, you would get it, right?

And if the screening was for the type of cancer that causes the second-highest number of cancer deaths, nothing could stop you, right?

There is such a screening, but only half of those who’ve been told they need it, get it.

Colorectal cancer is one of two cancers that can be prevented. It can be caught very early and treated successfully, yet only lung cancer causes more cancer deaths. About 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, and more than 50,000 people die from it.

Current guidelines call for everyone to be screened for colon and rectal cancer beginning at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history or other risk factors. It is considered standard preventive care and so generally is covered by insurance.

The most common reasons people put off or refuse colorectal screening fall under one category: fear of the unknown. Many worries are unfounded or manageable, but they are common. Understanding the process will help, so let’s address those concerns by answering questions we get from patients:

What tests are offered? ­­­­

There are two types of colorectal screening tests: those that detect cancer and precancerous tissue called polyps and those that detect only cancer.

  • Stool (feces) tests for blood or DNA are designed to detect cancer.
  • Colonoscopy, CT colonography, (virtual colonoscopy) and sigmoidoscopy (examines about half of the colon) can detect both cancer and polyps.

February 26, 2016

Get text message reminders for your Loyola appointments

Loyola text message appointment remindersWe’ve added a new service for patients who would like to be reminded of their Loyola appointments. Now you can receive an appointment reminder in a text message.

If you would like to receive text message reminders, just let us know by taking these two steps:

  • Share your cell phone with us at your next appointment or call 888-584-7888 to register your phone number for the service.
  • Text the word Loyola to this number: 622622.

The new service will send you a confirmation that you’ve signed up. Then, 48 hours before an appointment with a Loyola provider, you will receive a text reminder.

The text message reminder is one of several convenient services we offer our patients. Others include:

  • myLoyola – our patient portal, where you can communicate with your doctor, make an appointment, pay a bill and manage your account, get test results and receive important healthcare reminders. myLoyola also is offered in Spanish.
  • Online appointment request – Choose one of our hundreds of physicians by specialty and location.
  • Interactive map – Find your way to appointments, services and locations at Loyola University Medical Center with the click of your computer mouse or swipe of your smart phone.

February 22, 2016

Face the facts: Heart disease is a woman’s disease, too

heartdiseasewomen2Sara Sirna, MD

Sara Sirna, MD, cardiology
Sara Sirna, MD

Dr. Sirna answers questions about heart disease

To understand why heart disease is such a serious issue for women, you need to understand these facts:

  • Cardiovascular diseases affect more women than men, and they are responsible for 40 percent of all deaths of American women.
  • The risk of heart disease in women increases dramatically with age, and the risk is especially prevalent after menopause.
  • The life expectancy of women in the United States is age 79, which means women can expect to live a large part of their lives with an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, 1 out of 4 women older than 65 has some form of identified heart disease.

Heart disease is no longer considered a disease that affects only men. In the past, women usually received less aggressive treatment for heart disease and were not referred for diagnostic tests as often. Because of this, many women were diagnosed with heart disease at a late stage, and they typically had more advanced disease.

Women need to be aware of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the importance of making lifestyle changes to reduce those risks. Factor such as race, increasing age and family history cannot be changed. Other risk factors, however, can be changed or eliminated by making informed decisions about cardiovascular health.

Many risk factors that contribute to heart disease can be controlled by:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising
  • Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Controlling diabetes

All of these are within every woman’s grasp.

It is never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle that can afford each and every woman the chance to live an active and long life.

Sara Sirna, MD, is a Loyola Medicine board-certified cardiologist whose special interests include preventive cardiology and women’s health. She sees patients at the Center for Heart and Vascular Medicine at Loyola University Medical Center and Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge.

February 22, 2016

Cardiologist Sara Sirna, MD, answers questions about heart disease

Sara Sirna, MD, is a board-certified cardiologist with special interests in women’s heart disease and preventive medicine. Here she answers questions from readers of LoyolaHealthyLiving.org.

Q. Is there a heart disease test I can take?

A. There are many tests that can be done to determine if one has heart disease. Simple blood tests such as a cholesterol level can determine your risk. Make sure you fast a good 12 hours prior to having blood drawn.

In addition a stress test may be able to determine if there are significant blockages in one or more heart vessels and determine your heart rate and blood pressure response to exercise. There also is a noninvasive test that measures the amount of calcium in the arteries and this correlates well with blockages in the heart vessels. It is called a calcium score.

You can ask your doctor, who will know your medical history and whether any of these tests is appropriate for you.

Q. I am a 63-year-old woman, and I suffer from hot flashes constantly. I know it isn’t menopause. Some ladies said this can be a sign of blocked arteries in your heart. Are they right? Also, I am going to have an echocardiogram very soon.

A. Women tend to have different symptoms than men with regards to blockages in the heart vessels or coronary artery disease. The classic complaints of a tightness or squeezing pain in the chest may not occur in women. More typically women may complain of vague symptoms such as feeling sweaty, fatigued, nauseated or lightheaded.We don’t know why women have these more generalized complaints.

February 19, 2016

What to eat to improve your cholesterol and heart health



High cholesterol. Low cholesterol. Good fat. Bad fat. LDL. HDL. Eating a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat is important, but getting the right levels of cholesterol is very important, too.

First you need to know what cholesterol is and what it does. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. The liver produces cholesterol because your body needs it to function properly. But too much cholesterol in your bloodstream can contribute to heart attack and stroke.

What’s good? What’s bad?

Cholesterol is carried through your bloodstream by two types of lipoprotein – high-density and low-density.

LDL: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), bad cholesterol, contributes to a thick, hard substance in your arteries called plaque. Plaque can clog and narrow arteries and make them inflexible, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

HDL: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is described as good cholesterol because doctors and researchers believe HDL can help carry LDL through the arteries, to the liver and out of your system.

How fat affects your cholesterol depends on the kind of fat you eat. Saturated and trans fats increase your level of LDL-C, bad cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Fatty meat
  • Poultry skin
  • Bacon and sausage
  • Whole milk, cream and butter

Trans fats are found in:

  • Shortening and stick margarine
  • Fried foods
  • Packaged foods made with hydrogenated oils such as baked goods and chips.

February 16, 2016

Loyola Medicine launches interactive campus map

Loyola University Medical Center overview map

Looking for something? Our new interactive campus map will help you find what you need at Loyola University Medical Center.

Whether you are looking for where to park, how to get to an appointment, or even the nearest cup of coffee, you’ll find the answer with the click of a button or the touch of smartphone screen.

Our interactive map will help guide you with its 3-D building renderings, floor-by-floor plans, photos, info boxes and links to more detailed information for points of interest on our campus.

LUMC interactive map highlightWant to know where to conveniently park? The exterior map points out the visitors’ parking garage and lots, valet service locations and parking areas for the disabled.

Wondering which elevator to use? Choose First Floor from the upper left-hand drop-down menu and click on the highlighted elevators to see which areas of the hospital they serve.

In addition to the medical center, the exterior map showcases all buildings that provide patient and visitor services, including the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center and Maguire Center, which houses our dental and oral surgery center. The exterior map notes other entities on the 61-acre campus, including Loyola Center for Fitness, Loyola University Chicago’s medical and nursing schools.

February 5, 2016

Newborn babies wear a little red thanks to heart association’s Little Hats program

Little Hats, Big Hearts at LUMC

Janice Hart, RN, places a hat on a newborn boy at Loyola University Medical Center.

Each baby born during the month of February at Loyola University Medical Center and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital will receive a red hat in honor of American Heart Month. The hats are being provided by the American Heart Association as part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program.

Little Hats, Big Hearts raises awareness of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country. In the United States, about 40,000 children a year are born with a heart defect. At least eight of every 1,000 infants born each year have a heart defect.

Volunteers from around the state knitted and crocheted more than 18,000 hats for the American Heart Association, which will be distributed to hospitals throughout Illinois during February.

Loyola Medicine actively promotes American Heart Month and heart disease awareness by participating in National Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 5. Loyola Medicine is the signature sponsor of the 2016 Chicago Heart Ball, which raises money to support AHA’s mission. Loyola University Health System President and CEO Larry M. Goldberg is co-chair of this year’s ball.

February 4, 2016

Your doctor can help you reduce your cancer risk

Skin cancer screening

Cancer is one of the most common diseases in the United States, but screening and early detection can save your life and increase your ability to fully recover.

Cancer cannot always be prevented, but you can reduce some risks by managing your health.

Your primary care physician can help you adopt a healthy lifestyle and explain what exposes you to higher risk, such as smoking or living with a smoker in your home; obesity; a poor diet, and lack of physical activity. Your doctor will recommend cancer screenings based on your age, overall health, family history and other risk factors. Screenings are commonly offered for these types of cancers:

Talk to your doctor about your cancer concerns, including family history and any worrisome symptoms you may have. He or she may suggest additional screenings and tools for early detection, such as a cancer risk assessment and hereditary genetic cancer evaluation.

Loyola’s cancer risk assessment and prevention program provides a family history analysis, risk assessment, genetic counseling, recommendations for screenings and education on how to reduce your risk.

When you know your risk, you can take action to reduce it.

Learn more about Loyola Medicine’s nationally renowned cancer specialists, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and clinical research trials.

If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you can find a Loyola family physician, internist or pediatrician convenient to you.

January 18, 2016

Why frostbite is a serious threat and how to stay safe

Frostbite dangers

By Arthur P. Sanford, MD, FACS

Dr. Arthur Sanford

Winters in the Midwest are rarely mild, and when the bitter cold arrives, we do our best to handle it. But you can’t beat the severe cold by ignoring it.

Everyone needs to be aware of the signs and symptoms that occur when the skin freezes. People often underestimate the dangers of cold weather and are unaware what can happen when they don’t properly protect themselves.

Frostbite is serious and can lead to amputation, so don’t kid yourself that you can tough it out during an Arctic blast.

Here’s what happens when your body is not properly protected from the cold:

  • Exposure to cold air reduces blood flow to the skin’s surface.
  • The body will work to keep your head and internal organs warm.
  • As a result, the body parts farthest from the heart, such as toes, fingers, ears and the tip of the nose, are the most susceptible to reduced blood flow. These same areas also are more likely to be exposed to the cold.
  • The restricted blood flow can lead to freezing and death of skin tissue.

At first, the affected area may pale or turn red and hurt. Next, it may have a prickling feeling. Then the area loses feeling, and its color may fade to white or a bluish or grayish hue. When the area becomes numb, you may not realize you have frostbite until you or someone else sees it.

When frostbite does occur, it is critical to know what to do and what not to do:

  • Don’t ignore symptoms! The sooner it’s treated, the better.
  • Get out of the cold and into warm shelter. I recommend rapid rewarming using blankets or a heating pad, but only if the temperature can be controlled well and it can shut off automatically.
  • If you need to use water to warm the affected area, use room temperature or slightly warm water to gently revitalize parts of the body that have had prolonged exposure to the cold.
  • Don’t use hot water. Have someone else check the temperature before you submerge the frostbitten area. It will not sense heat as well as it normally would, and you can suffer a burn on top of the frostbite injury. Many hot water heaters produce water at a temperature that can cause a third-degree scald in less than 3 seconds.
  • Don’t rub with handfuls of snow.
  • Don’t vigorously massage any frozen area, because overstimulation can worsen the damage.
  • Seek medical help if the skin develops blisters, is pale and numb or is red and very painful. An emergency physician will assess the tissue and take the proper steps to save the body part.

Respect the cold and know the risks of being outside. How cold you – and your skin – feel is a function of three things. The first two and most simple are environmental temperature and wind speed; how the combination of cold and wind affect exposed skin is called the wind chill factor. A temperature of 0 Fahrenheit with 15 mph winds produces a wind chill of minus 19 F, which causes frostbite in 30 minutes. This and other examples of wind chill and frostbite risk are available in The Old Farmers Almanac. The third factor is water. If skin is wet, it will freeze at warmer temperatures.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Dress in layers. If a sweater, pair of socks or other article of clothing gets wet, you can quickly remove it and still be protected.
  • Wear warm gloves or mittens. Texting gloves or half-gloves may be handy for using a smartphone or showing off nails, but fingers are one of the first body parts to feel the cold.
  • Wear a snug hat that covers your ears and the top of your head. This will protect your ears and help you to retain body heat.
  • Wear warm socks and boots that will stay dry. Wet socks are especially dangerous and can lead to a condition called trench foot, which results in poor blood circulation, tissue decay, infections and even amputation.

Frostbite is preventable in most cases. So protect yourself and stay safe!

Arthur P. Sanford, MD, FACS, specializes in trauma, burn and surgical critical care.

Loyola’s Burn Center is one of the busiest in the Midwest, treating nearly 600 patients annually in the hospital and another 3,500 patients each year in its outpatient clinic. The Burn Center at Loyola Medicine provides comprehensive care for adults and children suffering from burns, frostbite, complex soft tissue infections and other conditions.


January 18, 2016

Freager Williams, MD, honored with Loyola award celebrating the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


In remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to celebrate his work and his vision, one member of the Loyola community is recognized each year for being committed to service, peace, justice and respect for others.

Freager Williams, MD, is being honored with the 2016 Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award for his leadership in education, healthcare and equality. The award will be presented to Dr. Williams on Tuesday, January 19, during the Loyola University Health System Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Williams is a Loyola Medicine physician and assistant professor of general obstetrics and gynecology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Since he came to Loyola in 2008, he has distinguished himself as an outstanding doctor and faculty leader, according to the award committee. He is a professional who demonstrates empathy, kindness and warmth towards patients, colleagues and those he trains.

Dr. Williams has been a driving force in efforts to increase diversity in medicine, the committee said in presenting the award. He is a founding member of Stritch’s Faculty Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion. He also is active in outreach programs and volunteers with high school students.

The award selection committee is made up of representatives of Loyola University Health System and Stritch School of Medicine.

December 31, 2015

Three New Year’s resolutions that truly will improve your health, and your life




You or someone you know has made a New Year’s resolution that seems important now but that will be dropped in a few weeks. But making an important, positive change is possible, and easier to accomplish if you know it’s worth the effort.

To help you choose a goal that is achievable and will significantly improve your health, we asked Jason Rice, MD, a Loyola primary care doctor and internal medicine specialist, to name the three key changes you can make to improve your health.

1. Stop smoking

“This is probably the single most important thing that anyone can do to improve his or her health,” Dr Rice said. Numerous cancers and heart and lung diseases are linked to smoking.

“Quitting smoking improves a variety of risks both short and long term,” he said. “In addition, quitting can help you ultimately get off blood pressure or cholesterol medications.”

Talk to your doctor for help breaking your nicotine addiction. The American Cancer Society also offers resources and tips to help you quit.

2. Start moving

Getting more exercise is a popular New Year’s resolution, year after year, but the key to making it happen this year is creating a reasonable plan and sticking to it.

“Someone who isn’t exercising at all shouldn’t set a goal of spending an hour in the gym daily or running every morning,” he said. “A more modest goal of walking for 30 minutes five times a week is easier to stick to, and then exercise can be increased once it is part of your routine. Planning to be active with a friend or family member can also help you maintain motivation.”

3. Get an annual physical

You need to see your primary care doctor at least once a year to stay up-to-date on vaccines and health screenings, and to discuss your health.

“Everyone should see a PCP at least once a year, even if they’re healthy, to keep up to date on vaccines and screenings,” Dr. Rice said. “Even young otherwise healthy patients need to be on top of their risk factors, and everyone should stay current on vaccines because many diseases are completely preventable with vaccination.”

December 28, 2015

Loyola Medicine offers new transportation service to patients


For your comfort, convenience and care, we have launched a new service to provide patients with medical transportation to and from Loyola University Medical Center, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital and outpatient locations or your home by medical van or ambulance.

We’ve partnered with Community Emergency Medical Service Inc., the largest non-profit ambulance provider in the United States, to create Loyola Medicine Transport so our patients can have the safest, most appropriate non-emergency transportation when they need it.

Loyola Medicine Transport operates a fleet of 25 vehicles, including 13 ambulances, out of our Melrose Park campus. The service can provide basic and advanced life support and accommodate patients in wheelchairs. Medi-ride, our new medi-van service, will serve patients who don’t need an ambulance. It also runs a courier service between locations, delivering pharmaceuticals, lab samples and more.

“Loyola Medicine Transport will provide prompt, safe and patient-centered transport services for our hospitalized and ambulatory patients, as well as for our referring hospitals,” said Daniel J. Post, executive vice president, Network Development and System Integration, Loyola University Health System.

Loyola Medicine Transport offers job opportunities for the healthcare community. To learn more, visit LoyolaMedicineTransport.CandidateCare.jobs.

December 22, 2015

Make a few healthy recipe changes to your favorite holiday foods

Served Thanksgiving table


Many people give up on keeping their goals for healthy eating this time of year. They use the excuse that it’s impossible to eat healthy during the holidays. Loyola Medicine’s registered dietitians know that this is not true.

Whether you are focusing on eating less sodium, fat, sugar, calories, or all four, you can achieve your dietary goals. Here are a few ways to make your favorite dishes a little healthier. Let’s start with dessert.


One easy tip is to reduce the amount of fat in recipes that call for light cream by using an equal amount of evaporated skim milk.

If you are feeling bold, make your own healthier crust by making these simple changes:

December 21, 2015

Online shopping available from Lori’s Gifts at Loyola University Medical Center


If you want to let a Loyola patient know you care but you can’t visit, did you know you can buy a gift online and have it delivered? Lori’s Gifts, which operates the gift shop at Loyola University Medical Center, sells many gifts online that are available for same-day, free delivery to the patient’s room.

The online shop sells floral arrangements and other gifts, too. “Welcome home” gifts can be delivered to the patient’s home, and many can be ordered with next-day delivery.angel ornament

The shop, located at the East Entrance of Loyola University Medical Center, is stocked with a wide selection of gifts, including jewelry, scarves and seasonal gifts. The shop accepts orders by phone, whether it’s for a box of candy or a pair of reading glasses. The number is 708-216-5397.

The shop carries pick-me-up and get-well gifts, greeting cards, balloons, puzzle books, candy, inspirational items, plants, flowers and much more. The staff will create custom gift bags and baskets, too.

Because Christmas is nearly here, Lori’s Gifts is open for extended holiday hours through Thursday (Christmas Eve), 7 am to 8 pm.

Learn more about the gift shop at our website.

Lori’s Gifts operates more than 300 shops for hospitals and professional offices throughout the United States.

December 15, 2015

Loyola Medicine opens cancer center at Palos Community Hospital’s Orland Park campus

The care team at Loyola Center for Cancer Care & Research at Palos Community Hospital poses with Loyola University Health System CEO and President Larry Goldberg. The care team includes Loyola oncologists, pharmacists and technicians, and specially trained nurse oncology infusion specialists.

The care team at Loyola Center for Cancer Care & Research at Palos Community Hospital poses with Loyola University Health System CEO and President Larry Goldberg.

Loyola Medicine and Palos Community Hospital have worked together to open a cancer center in the south suburbs. The new Loyola Center for Cancer Care & Research at Palos Community Hospital opened December 7 at Palos Primary Care Center, 15300 West Avenue, Orland Park.

The newly remodeled space is designed for the patient’s comfort and includes an indoor garden and comfortable, individual bays for chemotherapy infusion patients. It is conveniently located at the corner of 153rd Street and West Avenue, next to Centennial Park.

The cancer center is located in Orland Park at the corner of 153rd Street and West Avenue.

The cancer center is located in Orland Park at the corner of 153rd Street and West Avenue.

The center brings nationally renowned cancer treatment close to home for south suburban patients and provides a convenient location for receiving Loyola oncology care. It is another way Loyola Medicine and Palos Community Hospital are serving the needs of the community by providing the best care where it is most caring and convenient for the patient.

Loyola’s specially trained oncologists are nationally recognized for their expertise. As an academic medical center, Loyola can offer patients the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials of new drugs that are not available at most hospitals.

“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.

Loyola Center for Cancer Care & Research at Palos Community Hospital features individual infusion bays.

Loyola Center for Cancer Care & Research at Palos Community Hospital features individual infusion bays.

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 network.

The cancer center is one 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. In addition, Loyola has a telemedicine program that connects Palos patients and doctors with Loyola’s leading stroke experts when needed.

Learn more about the center and our innovative partnership.

November 24, 2015

How to enjoy the holiday season while keeping your fitness goals

From the Dietitians’ Table

Holiday treats

The holidays are a time of celebration, but how do you keep the holiday parties and special 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, and turkey was the main course, don’t blame the bird.

“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 LoyolaMedicine.org/nutrition.

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 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 LoyolaMedicine.org/burnawarenessouting.

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 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 Loyolamedicine.org/bariatrics 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 loyolamedicine.org

LMorgImage600We have launched our upgraded loyolamedicine.org 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 30SecondMom.com.

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:

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 19, 2015

I have on and off tingling in my face and extremities followed by stiffness, weakness, pain and fatigue. I’m 44 and had a baby in November. I have Hashimoto thyroiditis. Are hormones involved?

The underlying cause of general symptoms that come and go can often times be difficult to pinpoint. However, if you have a thyroid disorder, under or over activity of the thyroid can certainly cause neurologic symptoms, stiffness and fatigue. Having one autoimmune disease (i.e. Hashimoto thyroiditis) can place you at risk for other autoimmune diseases, so it is important to see your doctor to monitor your thyroid activity as well as discuss whether there is another autoimmune process that may be going on.

Your health history, a physical exam, and further blood tests can help answer this. During pregnancy, hormones released act to soften the ligaments to make delivery easier. Now six months after delivery, you may be feeling joint aches due to arthritis that wasn’t as noticeable during pregnancy because of those hormones. Furthermore, having a 6-month-old at home is mentally and physically demanding. It is important to try to get good, restorative sleep as much as possible, to eat nutritiously, and to try to engage in some exercise, even if it is simply pushing your little one around town in a stroller.

Finally, I also would ask your doctor to check your blood count to make sure that you are not suffering from anemia, often times caused by iron deficiency, which can cause significant fatigue if severe enough.

May 18, 2015

Three years after I suffered a femoral neck fracture that was repaired by screws, I am having intermittent hip pain that I guess is arthritis. What are the criteria for hip replacement?

Criteria for joint replacement are centered around the quality of life being decreased because of pain and functional impairment. In general, this means having severe pain that is unresponsive to a dedicated trial of physical therapy and continued maintenance through home exercise outlined by the physical therapist after formal therapy has ended. Additionally, the pain would be unresponsive to medical therapy with pain medications  such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other analgesics such as tramadol or some medications such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) that are approved for chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis and work by way of serotonin and norepinephrine modulation.

If, for example, your pain is not controlled with these measures and is constantly waking you from sleep or does not allow you to stand in one place for 20 to 30 minutes as a result of pain, it would be appropriate for you to discuss joint replacement with your orthopaedic surgeon.

If your pain is bearable, but due to mechanical factors you are unable to walk more than one block or cannot climb one flight of stairs, you should consult with an orthopaedic doctor to discuss further investigation into this functional impairment and whether it would require joint replacement for remedy.

May 18, 2015

I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. I had a Vectra test result that was 30. What does this mean?

The Vectra test’s full name is VectraDA. The DA stands for disease activity. The Vectra is a validated test designed to assess and monitor activity in a patient already diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

The test was not designed or validated to be able to diagnose patients with RA. Currently, there are no blood tests that alone can make the diagnosis of RA. The diagnosis of RA relies mainly on history and physical examination. It is often supported by laboratory tests.

Now that you have a Vectra test, it is impossible to accurately interpret

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.

May 10, 2015

My doctor said I have osteoarthritis. What does this mean, and can I slow the progression?

Osteoarthritis is a slowly progressive, noninflammatory, musculoskeletal disorder that typically affects the joints of the hand (especially those involved with a pinch grip), spine, and weight-bearing joints of the lower extremity (hips, knees, joints of the toes, especially the first toe at the ball of the foot). It is the most common articular disorder and accounts for more disability among the elderly than any other disease.

Osteoarthritis is characterized by joint pain, particularly after activity, crunching or cracking of the joints with movement, stiffness after immobility, and limitation of motion. There are no systemic symptoms, and joint inflammation, when present, is mild.

Unfortunately, no medication or intervention has been shown to stop or reverse the disease process underlying osteoarthritis. Medications are used, therefore, to alleviate symptoms and increase function with the least toxicity.

Some risk factors for osteoarthritis include:

April 24, 2015

Why men are less likely to go to the doctor than women

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

Separate the facts from the fads in healthy eating

Glass of vegetable juiceFrom the Dietitians Table:

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

How to choose foods that reduce cancer risk


From the Dietitians Table

green and red healthy food

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, miner


als, 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.

November 25, 2014

Don’t get burned while frying a turkey

Is Thanksgiving dinner a recipe for disaster? Thanksgiving Day has more than double the number of home cooking fires than an average day, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. More than 4,000 fires occur annually on Thanksgiving as families deep-fry turkeys, boil potatoes and bake pies, all with children underfoot.

“Splashes, spills, slips, burns and cuts are just a few of the many cooking hazards that occur during the Thanksgiving meal preparation,” said Arthur Sanford, MD, burn surgeon at Loyola University Health System. “Adults doing the cooking are often injured but sadly children often also get into harm’s way.”

November 24, 2014

Top heart surgeon Ed McGee, MD, joins Loyola

Internationally known cardiothoracic surgeon Ed McGee, MD, is joining Loyola University Medical Center as head of the heart transplant and assist device program.

Loyola’s cardiothoracic transplant team is greatly enhanced with the additional expertise of Dr. McGee. Previously, he was surgical director of heart transplantation and mechanical assistance at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

November 17, 2014

How to live well and live with diabetes

Diabetes, which affects more than 20 million Americans, can be thought of as being as corrosive to one’s health as rust is to a car. In many cases it doesn’t take long before the damage has a permanent effect. However, with education and disease management people can live long, productive lives. In this video, José Rodriguez talks about how determination and help from Loyola’s Living Well with Diabetes program turned around his health.

October 29, 2014

Avoid the fright of landing in the ER on Halloween

The thrills and chills of Halloween should be from trick-or-treating or during a trip to the haunted house. Overlooking some details, however, could mean a trip to the scariest place of all – the ER.

“Nothing is scarier than a trip to the emergency room,” said Mark Cichon, DO, chair, Department of Emergency Medicine at Loyola University Health System. “In a season devoted to frights, it is our goal to keep everyone safe.”

October 27, 2014

From our nutritionists’ table

Shopping strategy leads to healthier eating

One of the most important steps in eating a healthy, balanced diet is your trip to the grocery store. Being prepared before you head out is imperative. Two tips to live by are: 1.) Try to shop when you AREN’T hungry so you don’t give in to impulse purchases, which can also put you over your budget. And 2.) Decide what meals you plan to prepare in the next few days and create a list before you leave the house. If you go in with a plan, you are much more likely to stick with it.

October 17, 2014

Scary part of Halloween is in the trick-or-treat bag

For most kids Halloween is all about the candy. It is estimated that each child’s bag of goodies contains about 4,800 calories, has 3 cups of sugar and 1½ cups of fat. The real horror in the Halloween trick-or-treat bag is how it adds to an already scary epidemic of childhood obesity.

“Kids and teens love Halloween. It’s filled with fun parties, costumes and free candy. Halloween can be a great time as long as parents make sure their child doesn’t go overboard eating all that candy,” said Garry Sigman, MD, director of the Pediatric Weight Management Program at Loyola University Health System.


September 29, 2014

Stay connected with Loyola online

Do you ever have trouble remembering when your next doctor’s appointment is? Or have you wanted to ask your doctor a question that wasn’t so urgent you needed to call?

Loyola has an online service that lets you check your appointments, send a message to your physician and more. Loyola’s free and secure online service, myLoyola, lets you communicate with your doctor, make and check appointments, view test results and even pay your bill and manage your account.

It’s easy to sign up. You need an access code, which you can find on the After Visit Summary you received on your most recent office visit. You may also request one on the myLoyola site or by calling (888) LUHS-888 / (888) 584-7888. Your doctor’s office can also provide one the next time you are there.

If you already have a myLoyola account, sign in and see what’s new, including easier online bill payments, account tracking and health information.

September 26, 2014

What women can do about postpartum hair loss

New mothers have a lot of changes they have to handle after giving birth. Perhaps one they weren’t expecting is hair loss, but about 50 percent of women reportedly do experience this, usually starting around the third month after delivery.

Postpartum hair loss is due to a fluctuation in estrogen levels. Estrogen, which increases during pregnancy, stimulates hair growth.  And the drop in estrogen levels that women experience after pregnancy can cause some hair loss.  This loss is temporary and women can expect to return to a normal rate of hair growth and shedding around one year after delivery.

September 18, 2014

The pros, cons of supplements

Entire stores are filled with multivitamins and supplements that pledge to help with everything from depression to athlete’s foot. With so many options out there, it can be difficult for patients to know what is beneficial or even where to start.

“Today more than ever it’s important for patients to work with their physician or nutritionist when considering supplements. Some are beneficial, but others can be dangerous, especially when it comes to interacting with other supplements or medications,” said Aaron Michelfelder, MD, an integrative medicine and family medicine physician at Loyola University Health System. “In general there is no benefit from taking a supplement just for the sake of supplementing. So talk to your doctor about what would be beneficial for you.”

September 12, 2014

From our nutritionists’ table

Chicken Chop SueyFun Food Facts

*Chop suey was created in America by a Chinese cook who worked in a California mining camp in the 1800s. He made a stir fry of a variety of vegetables, called it tsa sui, which in Mandarin Chinese means “various things.” Americans, however, heard it as chop suey.

*French fries are not from France. They were first made in Belgium in 1876. The term “french” refers to the way of cutting the potatoes before cooking.

September 5, 2014

Athletes: Drinking too much water can be fatal

One always hears about how important it is to drink enough water while exercising, but in rare cases people have actually died from overhydration, according to sports medicine physician Dr. James Winger of Loyola University Medical Center.

Overhydration by athletes is called exercise-associated hyponatremia. It occurs when athletes drink even when they are not thirsty. Drinking too much during exercise can overwhelm the body’s ability to remove water. The sodium content of blood is diluted to abnormally low levels. Cells absorb excess water, which can cause dangerous swelling in the brain.

August 28, 2014

Does your child need the HPV vaccine?

As the school year starts in full swing many parents wonder if their child should receive the HPV vaccine, which is recommended for girls ages 11-26 and boys 11-21. There are a lot of questions and controversy around this vaccine, but many pediatricians say it comes down to protecting people from a leading cause of death.

August 15, 2014

How to help kids with back-to-school anxiety

As the days of summer dwindle, children’s anxiety levels often increase. In addition to getting school supplies, registration completed and vaccinations up to date, it’s important for parents to talk to their kids and understand how they feel about heading back to school.

August 7, 2014

Female triathletes at risk for pelvic-floor disorders

Female triathletes have more than blisters to worry about. A study conducted at Loyola University Health System finds they are also at risk for abnormal bone density, pelvic-floor disorders, decreased energy and menstrual irregularities.

The study, recently presented at this year’s American Urogynecologic Society meeting, found that 1 in 3 female triathletes suffered from a pelvic-floor disorder such as urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence and pelvic-organ prolapse. Also, 1 in 4 had one component of the female athlete triad, a condition characterized by decreased energy, menstrual irregularities and abnormal bone density from excessive exercise and inadequate nutrition.

July 31, 2014

Is your child’s school ready for kids with food allergies?

Backpacks. Crayons. Glue sticks. EpiPen?  For more and more school-age children the Epipen® is becoming a necessity for completing the back-to-school supply list. In fact, allergic conditions are one of the most common medical conditions affecting children in the U.S.

“Accidental exposure to allergens at school is a major concern for kids with severe allergies since any exposure could be fatal,” said Joyce Rabbat, MD, pediatric allergist at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.


July 29, 2014

State changes immunization requirements

Parents are starting to see the back-to-school commercials on TV and thinking of the things they have to do to get their children ready for the first day of school. To avoid the rush at the doctor’s office, they should schedule appointments now for their children’s school or sports physicals. And they should also know that the state of Illinois has made some changes to students’ vaccination requirements.

July 18, 2014

From our nutritionists’ table

Is grilling healthy?

It can be! Grilling is a lighter way to cook meats and vegetables, while still adding quite a bit of flavor. Based on research findings, eating moderate amounts of grilled meats such as fish, lean meats and poultry is fairly healthy, so long as you don’t char it.

Research has shown that grilling meats for a long time at high heat may trigger the formation of carcinogens, heterocyclic amine (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).  PAHs come from the smoke, while HCAs come from blackened bits of charred meat.

July 11, 2014

Bugs: Tips to help you avoid bites this summer

Summer means more bugs, including pesky mosquitoes and ticks. Our specialists have tips about which insects are harmful, what diseases they carry and how to safely avoid them.

“Mosquitoes and ticks are the two pests you primarily want to avoid because they can carry infectious diseases,” said Jennifer Layden, MD, PhD, infectious disease specialist at Loyola University Health System. “Ticks can carry Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus.”

To avoid these pests, you may buy insect repellent. But what levels of protection do they offer?

July 3, 2014

What if fireworks meant no texting for life?

With Independence Day nearly here, emergency departments and trauma centers nationwide are beginning to treat patients injured by fireworks. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, hand and finger damage are the most common fireworks injuries and account for 32 percent of all reported injuries.

That can have huge financial, social and emotional implications. It can also change how you communicate for life.

June 24, 2014

Safety tips for summer grilling, fire pits, campfires

Summer means cooking out and gathering with friends and family around the fire pit or campfire. It also means a seasonal increase in trips to the emergency department and burn unit for burn injuries.

“The old adage of ‘When you play with fire, you get burned’ is true; you must always be very serious and attentive when fire is involved,” said Richard L. Gamelli, MD, director of the Burn & Shock Trauma Research Institute, director of the Burn Center and senior vice president and provost of the Health Sciences Division at Loyola University Chicago. ”Injuries due to fire happen easily and fast, especially when children are involved or alcohol has been abused.”

June 20, 2014

The truth behind the ‘5-Second Rule’

The burger patty that slides off the plate, the ice cream treat that plops on the picnic table, the hot dog that rolls off the grill – conventional wisdom has it that you have five seconds to pick it up before it is contaminated.

But is that fact or folklore?

June 12, 2014

Bounce house safety tips may save you ER trip

Summer block party season is here and that means inflatable bounce houses will be springing up in neighborhoods across the country. As kids jump into this fun summer activity it’s important to ensure they are safe.

“Bounce houses are a great way to get kids active and are considered a relatively manageable risk since the severity of injuries is usually less than that of a trampoline. Still, injuries and fractures are fairly common from bounce house play and parents need to supervise the children,” said Teresa Cappello, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.


June 4, 2014

From our nutritionists’ table

Should I be taking a multivitamin?

Research indicates it is best to receive vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants from their natural food sources.  For the majority of people, if you are eating a well-balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes and lean meats, then you are likely meeting your nutrient needs. Those people with specific conditions or restrictive diets, such as for osteoporosis or a known vitamin-deficiency, may benefit from supplementation. It is best to discuss these concerns with your health-care provider to determine if you have any specific needs.  Bottom line? Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone.

- From your registered Loyola dietitians

May 29, 2014

Balance even more important as we age

Trips and falls can happen at all stages of life, but as we start to age they can become more numerous. Aging can magnify the impact of risk factors associated with falls and also brings up new and often less obvious factors that affect balance and stability. The causes of balance issues could come from a number of different sources, many that don’t have a seemingly direct connection to balance or falls.

“Maintaining good balance becomes even more important as our joints and bones begin to weaken, making the impact of a trip or fall even more devastating,” said Jason Rice, MD, primary care internist at Loyola University Health System.

May 22, 2014

Don’t let GI cancer rob you of your future

Did you know that colorectal cancer ranks second in all cancer-related deaths in the U.S?  However, with early detection and treatment 9 out of 10 people recover and are alive and kicking five years after diagnosis, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With the goal of reducing our patients’ risk of colorectal cancer, Loyola has launched a multidisciplinary program to screen patients at increased risk of the disease.

May 15, 2014

With stroke you have to act F.A.S.T.

At Loyola, we know that seconds count when it comes to stroke. The faster you receive treatment, the more brain cells we can save. If you suspect that someone is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY. If you are having a stroke, do not try to drive to the hospital. Call 9-1-1 or ask someone else to make the call. Even if the symptoms decrease, you need to seek medical attention.

May 5, 2014

Best to avoid alcohol before pregnancy

Women should refrain from drinking alcohol before they try to become pregnant, according to maternal-fetal medicine specialists at Loyola University Health System.

“A woman can conceive at any point in her cycle, so women should avoid alcohol well in advance of becoming pregnant,” said Jean Goodman, MD, lead investigator, division director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Loyola University Health System. “We recommend that women begin taking folic acid supplements starting three months prior to conception. This is an ideal time to refrain from alcohol use as well because you are in the mindset of preparing your body for pregnancy.”

May 1, 2014

How to help your daughter prevent an ACL injury

As more girls and young women become involved in soccer and basketball, they and their parents should know that these student athletes are more prone to debilitating ACL knee injuries. But a simple stretching and exercise program could help prevent many of these painful and often season-ending ligament tears. Dr. Pietro Tonino, director of orthopaedic Sports Medicine at Loyola, urges these students and their parents to look into bringing this injury prevention program to their schools.

The numbers are eye opening. Female athletes who play basketball and soccer are two to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL injury compared with male athletes, according to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.