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.
Summer 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:
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
With 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.
Adam Schiff, MD, specializes in caring for patients who have foot and ankle pain, sprains, fractures and other injuries. Dr. Schiff, an orthopaedic surgeon, is an expert in the care of Achilles tendon ruptures, which he treats both with and without surgery. Here he discusses his preferred method of minimally invasive surgical repair with WJOL radio.
Have a cough? Runny nose? Congestion? Do you have a cold or are you suffering from seasonal allergies? Loyola Medicine internist and pediatrician Tony Pangan, MD, explains in less than a minute how to tell the difference.
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 cooking 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. →
We 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.
Getting 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.
Loyola 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.
Dr. José Biller, chair of Neurology at Loyola and a renowned expert on stroke, talks about the signs of stroke and the importance of seeing a doctor after having one.
Every year, about 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the leading cause of long-term disability.
With stroke, time lost getting treatment equals lost brain cells, according to Dr. José Biller, chair of Neurology at Loyola and a renowned expert on stroke.
A stroke is a “brain attack” that can happen in one of two ways:
One type of stroke is caused by a blood clot (ischemic stroke).
The other is caused by a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke).
Symptoms of a stroke may last only 15 to 20 minutes, but that doesn’t mean the danger has passed. Call 911 and get to the hospital immediately if you experience these symptoms:
Sudden onset of severe headache
Weakness or numbness on one side of the body
Trouble speaking or understanding speech
Sudden vertigo, dizziness or loss of balance
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:
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.
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.
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 →
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:
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.
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.
In 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:
If you don’t know, ask your doctor if your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight are at the recommended levels.
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.
Ask your doctor if your vaccinations are up to date.
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.
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.
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).
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
Separate the facts from the fads in healthy eating
From the cabbage soup diet to the “blood type diet” to the HCG diet, many people are constantly searching for a way to drop pounds quickly and painlessly. Often these fad diets are hard to follow, restrictive, nutritionally unbalanced and worse, leaving us feeling like failures.
So, how can you recognize a fad diet? Ask these questions:
Does it promise quick weight loss?
Does it seem too good to be true?
Is it based on selling a company’s product?
Does it lack valid scientific research?
Does it label foods good or bad?
Does it take into account and/or discuss physical activity?
Instead of finding the “right diet” for you, focus on making half of your plate fruits and vegetables and eating at the table at every meal. Make physical activity part of your day by taking the stairs, exercising during TV commercials and taking walks throughout the day.
Instead of ritualistically measuring weight and tediously counting calories, fats and carbohydrates, make food fun and focus on health.
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.
Congratulations 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.”
The best treatment for cancer is prevention. There are many ways to reduce your cancer risk, several of which include making these lifestyle decisions:
Following a diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day can reduce cancer risk. Aim for different colors to get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals – compounds that help protect cells from damage. For example, try adding blueberries and banana to oatmeal in the morning or stir frying with red peppers, Brussels sprouts and onion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The white-sheet ghosts and little goblin costumes of Halloween can make death seem comical or cartoonish. However, this pretend, ephemeral idea of death can be confusing for children, especially a child who is trying to understand the loss of a loved one.
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.
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.
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.”
*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 inMandarin 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.
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.
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.
When a sunburn strikes, you know that something in your sun protection plan went wrong. While you can plan to better manage the sun’s strong rays next time with a good sunblock, taking rapid action to soothe your skin will help send the sting away in no time, according to Dr. Rebecca Tung, director of Dermatology division at Loyola University Health System.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Thanks to a few days of gusty winds and precipitation, the pollen levels in Chicago have really taken off.
“Allergy patients are already complaining of itchy eyes, scratchy throats and stuffy noses,” said Joseph Leija, MD, who conducts the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official allergy count of the Midwest. “Even people who have not been officially diagnosed with allergies may be suffering.”
Just days into the season, the tree pollen on April 1 was already just a few hundred short of reaching the “high” level, which was a fivefold increase from the previous day’s reading.
But maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised.
Chicago ranked 53 in the top 100 “Spring Allergy Capitals 2014” list compiled by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
Prebiotics, probiotics: What’s all the hype about?
You may have heard about prebiotics and probiotics and how they are great for your health. And that’s true, but on top of everything else, they taste good, too.
Nutritionists say that a few of the benefits of adding more prebiotics and probiotics into your diet are improved immune health, enhanced gastrointestinal function, weight loss, prevention of colon cancer, decreased risk of food-borne illnesses and fewer symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease, if you suffer from these conditions.
As families prepare to escape to warmer climates for vacation, they should exercise caution when exposing their skin to the sun after a long winter indoors. Loyola University Health System pediatric dermatologists warn that kids are especially at risk.
Loyola dermatologists warn that those traveling to tropical climates are at an even greater risk for sun damage.
“The sun tends to be more intense in areas closer to the equator, giving you more exposure to harmful UV rays,” said Wendy Schumacher-Kim, DO, pediatric dermatologist. “Children also have delicate skin, placing them in even greater danger in warmer climates.”
The Immediate Care center, which opened this month, will offer residents access to the expertise of Loyola’s patient-care team on a walk-in basis, with no appointments necessary. It will be open during hours when many physicians’ offices are closed.
Dr. Shelley Noland, a specialist in plastic, reconstructive and orthopedic surgery, talks about the causes of osteoarthritis and how it can alter a person’s life in this video. Treatment can involve anti-inflammatory medicine, splinting and rest. Sometimes the patient and doctor will decide the best option is surgery. Surgical options include resurfacing the joint or fusing the joint.
Dr. Dana Hayden, a colorectal surgeon at Loyola, talks about a subject a lot of people are afraid to talk about: fecal incontinence, or loss of control over stool movement. One of the most common reasons is injury during childbirth. Also surgery or radiation to can cause fecal incontinence. But there are many reasons why people can experience this. There is a huge spectrum of treatment options – surgery isn’t the only option. Watch video.
What is intermittent fasting and can it help me lose weight?
Intermittent fasting plans vary, but all share the same general principle: At certain times you eat nothing or much less than usual and the rest of the time you eat what you normally would or perhaps a bit less. Losing weight is all about reducing the calories you take in and/or increasing the calories you expend. Based on this logic, then, yes, intermittent fasting could aid in weight loss. When you have just consumed a meal or snack, your body metabolizes food for fuel and stores what is not needed right away in your liver and muscles for later use. Eating too much leads to the extra energy being stored as fat in the body.
Does your teen or pre-teen suffer from acne? Acne affects around 95 percent of people at some point in life. It is a chronic skin disease that usually starts around puberty or shortly before.
Unfortunately there isn’t a cure for acne but much can be done to make it better. Mild acne can be treated at home with acne cleansers and other products that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
Does your child have red, dry, itchy skin? Is your child waking up in the middle of the night to scratch?
Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is one of the most common skin conditions in infants and children, and may develop as early as a few weeks of age. Skin with eczema is dry, itchy, inflamed and prone to skin infections. Children with atopic dermatitis often flare during the winter months when it is cold and dry.
One of the most intimate and crucial relationships we have is with our physician. Finding the right doctor is a lot like finding the right relationship partner. This Valentine’s Day maybe it’s also a good time to ponder finding “Dr. Right.”
“There are a lot of great doctors out there, but finding the right one for you can be difficult,” said Anita Varkey, MD, internal medicine physician at Loyola University Health System. Varkey says the first question to ask is, “What kind of doctor do you need?”
“We all need a good primary care physician. You should think of your primary care physician as your “go to” doctor. Who do you go to when you have a question about your health or need a prescription refill?” Varkey said.
My daughter told me my New Year’s resolution should be to eat a “superfood” every day to reduce inflammation. What are “superfoods” and will they reduce inflammation?
“Superfoods” carry claims that they reduce inflammation, but inflammation can be a protective process. It’s the body’s way of healing itself after an injury or exposure to a harmful substance. However, chronic inflammation is not good for you because it attacks healthy cells and may play a role in heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
How do you know where to start? Actually, a lot of research has been conducted on this topic. One such organization, the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), consists of about 4,000 Americans who have each lost, on average, about 30 pounds and have maintained this loss for five years.
“This registry provides a tremendous source of information about the behaviors associated with successful weight-loss maintenance. I often help my patients identify and incorporate these same behaviors into their own lives,” said Jessica Bartfield, internal medicine and medical weight-loss specialist at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery & Bariatric Care.
Smartphones, laptops, tablets and video games were happily crossed off the wish lists of many young children and teens this Christmas. But for parents, giving children electronic devices has to be about more than just saving Christmas, it has to be about making sure kids are safe when they start getting online.
The first Monday after the holidays can be a depressing time for people coping with the post-holiday letdown and a type of depression triggered by short days called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
And this year the first Monday will be especially blue, due to the added stress of the brutal cold in the forecast, said Loyola University Medical Center psychiatrist Dr. Angelos Halaris, who specializes in treating depression.
For the 133 million Americans living with chronic conditions, the best holiday gift is something that will make navigating a daily routine easier. There are almost 40 million people age 65 and older, making up almost 13 percent of the population.
“Sweaters, pajamas, candy and perfume are all very nice, traditional and thoughtful gifts for the compromised, but if you want to really show them you are concerned about their well-being, check out your local pharmacy for gifts they’ll use every day,” said Debbie Jansky, assistant nurse manager, Home Health Services at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
Getting out the boxes of holiday decorations from years gone by is a time-honored tradition. But in addition to stirring up memories, it also stirs up allergies.
“The dust from the boxes and on the decorations that have been packed away in dank basements or dusty attics is triggering reactions in allergy and asthma patients,” said Joseph Leija, MD, allergist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. During the allergy season (March through October), Dr. Leija provides the official allergy count for the Midwest that is carried by Chicago’s major media outlets.
Carol Leopold suffers from severe allergies, and so do her 12-year-old twins. “My husband and daughter are fine, but fresh Christmas trees and fur from Santa’s suit make my sons and I choke up and stop breathing,” she said. “I still go all out for the holidays – but with three artificial trees, silk poinsettias and lots of carefully scrutinized nut-free foods,” she said.
Dr. Tony Pangan, medical director of primary care at the Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge, talks about what you can do to keep your kids safe this winter in this video. Hypothermia and frostbite occur more quickly in kids than adults. We may forget, but children are not small adults.
You know it’s the holidays. It’s colder outside, the heat is blasting at your job and time for a good night’s sleep just cannot be found.
But these things aside, it is still the most wonderful time of the year because you get to see your friends and family in festive settings with delicious treats. With all of this going on, your skin can, well, act out. With acne, cold sores, dry puffy skin and eczema. What can you do?
Endometriosis is a condition found in 5 million women in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus (called the “endometrium”) grows outside of the uterus. The tissue can grow anywhere in the body, although it is found most commonly in the pelvis. It is most often found behind the uterus, on ovaries and inside of ovaries creating cysts.
Most women with endometriosis experience pain with their menstrual periods. This pain is usually more severe than most women have and can be associated with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The other feature of pain that may be different in women with endometriosis is that the symptoms of pain can radiate or be felt in other parts of the body such as the legs and back.
I need help with overeating when I am stressed. What can I do?
Nine million Americans call themselves “emotional eaters.” Emotional eating can be caused by stress, boredom or the desire to silence emotions such as fear, sadness or anxiety. Emotional eating can also be the result of positive emotions, for example the happiness of sharing a dessert at a special dinner or celebration of a holiday feast. Researchers have also demonstrated that high fat foods activate certain chemicals in the body that create a sense of contentment and fulfillment.
For most kids Halloween is all about the candy. It is estimated that each child’s bag of goodies contains about 4,800 calories and 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 a pediatric weight management specialist at Loyola.
Chocolate bars, caramels, sour lemons, wherever you go next week, there will be candy. Parents will be tempted by it at the office and kids will compete for who can trick-or-treat for the biggest stash. Halloween marks the beginning of the yearly holiday spread for most adults while kids who suffer temporary tummy aches from all the sugar may later end up at the dentist’s office for cracked teeth or cavities.
Yes, even more frightening than Halloween itself can be the mountains of leftover candy that will take over offices across the country on Friday, Nov. 1. Many co-workers, trying to keep temptation out of their houses, bring candy into the office. But you may be sorry you brought it in.
Halloween. With good reason it’s a favorite holiday for lots of people, not just kids. You don’t have to shop for gifts. No angst over your love life. No family arguments.
It’s candy and pretending to be some wild character for a while, or seeing adorable kids dressed up and having fun. But just to make sure everyone has a good time and doesn’t get injured, here are a few tips to avoid going bump in the night and taking a ride to the ER.
With marathon trainees about to take to the streets of Chicago, Loyola University Health System’s sports dietetics specialist offers the top 10 nutrition tips runners can follow to help them cross the finish line come race day.
The flu shot was first distributed in the 1940s by the U.S. government to soldiers. Loyola University Health System was one of the first academic medical centers to offer mandatory flu vaccines to not only its employees but also vendors, medical students and volunteers. →
Work, home, even in the car, stress is a constant struggle for many people. But it’s more than just exhausting and annoying. Unmanaged stress can lead to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
“The American lifestyle is fast-paced and productive, but it can be extremely stressful. If that stress is not addressed, our bodies and minds can suffer,” said Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, professor of Family Medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
You may have heard of “superfruits” that pack an extra wallop in nutrition and antioxidants, but which fruits qualify for this group?
Some of the more exotic superfruits are acai, goji, mangosteen, noni, pomegranate and starfruit. However, you don’t have to go to a specialty grocery store to get fruits in this category. More common superfruits are blueberries, cranberries and red grapes.
They’re small, creepy and suck your blood. Every parent dreads it, but it’s inevitable—the “lice letter.” Though a lice infestation is about as common as a cold, trying to rid your life of them can be as much of a head-scratcher as those disgusting bugs themselves.
Much has been written about the dangers of sun exposure, but 20 minutes of sun can be healing for those with psoriasis, said Julie Moore, MD, dermatologist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. “I encourage my patients with the skin disease psoriasis to sit out on their deck and bathe their afflicted arms, legs or feet in the sun.”
Some parents may shy away from talking to their daughters about puberty, but Loyola University Health System obstetrician and gynecologist Akua Afriyie-Gray, MD, stresses the importance of sitting down with your tween when the time comes.
“Most girls enter puberty without much education on the topic,” Dr. Afriyie-Gray said. “Parents should be proactive about talking to their daughter about puberty, so that she knows what to expect when her body begins to change.”
Part of heading back to school is actually getting your kids back to school safely. On average, there is one pedestrian death every two hours in the U.S. and a pedestrian injury every eight minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Parents need to go over and enforce safety rules when kids head back to school, says Loyola pediatrician Bridget Boyd, MD. “Talk to your kids and have them verbally repeat the rules back to you. Don’t just go with a head nod – make sure they know the rules and why they are important.” →
Sports medicine specialist Neeru Jayanthi, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center, offers this tip to help prevent injuries in young athletes: A young athlete should not spend more hours per week than his or her age playing sports. For example, a 12-year-old should not spend more than 12 hours a week playing sports. The reason is that younger children are developmentally immature and may be less able to tolerate physical stress.
While it is hard to lose weight at any age, overweight tweens and teenagers have a higher chance of becoming obese adults than normal-weight teens, said Dr. Garry Sigman, medical director of Pediatrics at Loyola University Health System.
If you think that your teen will just grow out of it, statistics are not on your side. You have to be proactive to change the course of your child’s future health.
So what should you do? Dr. Sigman recommends this course of action for children, which is easier to remember as the acronym S-H-A-P-E-S (developed by the University of California at San Diego):