It’s a cold . . . it’s the flu . . . its FluChat!

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fluchat

 

 

It’s dreaded “cold and flu” season here in the not-yet-frozen tundra of Minnesota and probably where you live as well.

This is a quick post to announce #FluChat – which I am doing along with my friends at HealthFair 11 and the Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday, December 6 from Noon to 1:00 p.m.

We are observing National Influenza Vaccination Week with what will be my 3rd Twitter chat.  What is a Twitter chat, you say?  I’m glad you asked.  Our Twitter chat is one-hour of LIVE questions and answers about colds, flu, and vaccinations.   To join in, simply tweet our team any question or comment you have about influenza and vaccinations via your own Twitter account.  Include my handle @DrDavidHilden and include #FluChat in your Tweet.  And then look for our response!

I’m not doing this alone!  Joining me for #FluChat will be:

  • Jennifer Heath, DNP, MPH, RN from the Minnesota Department of Health.  She’s the supervisor of education and partnerships unit for the MDH immunization program.
  • Lynn Bahta, RN, PHN.  Lynn is the immunization clinical consultant for the Minnesota Department of Health immunization program.
  • Sam Ives, MD.  Sam is a friend and colleague of mine in Internal Medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center.  Regular listeners to HealthyMatters on WCCO radio may recognize him as an occasional guest host for me.

The whole shebang is moderated by our partners in health, HealthFair 11.

I hope you’ll join us.  It is easy and fun.  Yes, fun!  I have done two previous Twitter chats (one on Allergies and one on Mammograms) and it is fast-moving and energizing.

So put it on your calendar.  What better way to spend your lunch?

It’s #FluChat on  Tuesday, December 6, Noon – 1:00 pm.

You’ll find us @DrDavidHilden and use the hashtag #FluChat.

For more information, check out my partners at HealthFair 11 and the #FluChat page at the Minnesota Department of Health.

-David

20160211_hcmc_393

 

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Posted in Health and wellness, Preventive care, Primary Care, Public Health | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

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grandma-h-alexMy grandfather, Heizel “Bill” Hilden, before he died used to say the goofiest things.  One doozy that I remember was when he flatly reported that the cane he carried came from the moon. It was a lovely gnarly wooden cane with white indentations if I recall.  But I doubt its provenance was the moon.   At least I’m pretty sure.

At the same time as Grandpa was talking about the moon and canes and such, he could also sing songs from his boyhood.  In Norwegian.  I doubt he had sung those songs in seven or eight decades, but apparently he nailed them – words and tune and all – in a language that he no longer spoke with any frequency.  That’s Grandpa with our son, Alex, in about 1994.  That kid is now 6’4″ tall.

I guess that is dementia in a nutshell.  My 90-something year old gramps had amazingly accurate long-term memory but couldn’t be dissuaded about the lunar origins of his wooden cane.

I bet many of you could tell a similar story of someone in your life with waning cognitive functioning.

In recognition of November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, I hosted Dr. Anne Murray, a nationally-recognized researcher in dementia (and a colleague of mine) at the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis.  We talked about dementia, both Alzheimer’s and other types, and about the latest in research for this disease which is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.  To hear the podcast of the radio broadcast about Alzheimer’s click the logo here:HM logo

Last July I discussed dementia in a previous post featuring another colleague of mine (Dr. Abigail Holley), so if you missed that post (the 6th most-popular post of the past year!), you may want to read it by clicking “Dementia is not normal aging.  It’s a Disease.”

So this post will not be information so much as a few stories.  The first was about my grandfather.  Let’s look at a couple more . . .  Continue reading

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Posted in Geriatrics and aging, Medical research, Primary Care, Traumatic Brain Injury | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Insomnia Part 2: “Sleep is incredibly behavioral” (VIDEOS)

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Photo: nocnalunatyczka

Photo: nocnalunatyczka

Hey, Early Birds and Night Owls!

This post is the second part about insomnia which is a topic I’m finding resonates with a whole lot of people.  If you missed Part 1 about Insomnia, I recommend reading that post here for some basic information.

To help us learn more about insomnia, I’ve done a series of short interviews with Samantha Anders, PhD LP.  Sam is a psychologist who specializes in behavioral therapy for sleep disorders like insomnia.  I’m using more custom-made videos in this post.  I hope you like it – if so I’ll do more videos in the future!

Here we go! Continue reading

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Posted in Health and wellness, Mental Health, Primary Care, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The 36-hour shift

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I was reading the paper this morning over my tea and crumpets when this headline caught my attention:

“First-year doctors would be allowed to work 24-hour shifts under new rules”

For web Dave Hilden

An old picture of me

Now there’s a topic near to my heart, so I decided without much forethought to subject you to my ramblings about physician training and the unbelievably long work hours that our society subjects physicians to all the time.  But you may be surprised about what my conclusions are on the topic.

For those of you who read my last post Insomnia Part 1 and are looking for Insomnia Part 2, please bear with me because that second part is coming next week, complete with more insights from Samantha Anders, sleep expert from the Sleep Center at HCMC.  I’m hoping to get some video interviewing done with Dr. Anders about behavioral therapy for insomnia, so stay tuned for that.

Why should you care about work rules for doctors-in-training?

That headline was from a Washington Post article covering the a proposed relaxation of work-hour restrictions for interns in hospitals.  So here are some stories from my own experience about the rigors of medical training.  Hopefully you’ll find something in here to get you thinking.   Continue reading

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Health in the News, Medical Education | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.

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By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA

I think I may hold the world record for the fastest time in falling asleep.  Usually I’m out about a nanosecond after my head hits the pillow.  And that’s just at night.  I’m pretty good at falling asleep just about anywhere during the day as well.  I think it’s a relic from my medical training days where the ability to sleep anywhere at anytime comes in really handy.

So falling asleep?  No problem for me.

But every now and then, somewhere around 2 or 3:00 in the middle of the night, I wake up.  And when this happens, I almost immediately start thinking about a zillion different thoughts.  Last week when I inexplicably woke up at 3:00 a.m., I started thinking about a creepy discovery that my wife and I had made earlier in the day.  It involved rodents, birdseed, and a crack in our house’s foundation.  So my mind was racing, lying in bed in the middle of the night, and nothing I could do helped me get back to sleep.

I seriously considered counting sheep until I realized that the specifics of how one actually counts sheep while lying in bed are not apparent to me.  Do you envision sheep leaping over a fence like in a cartoon?  Or do the sheep pass in front of you in a single file line?  Perhaps there is an audio component and you count the “baa” sounds.

Does anybody really know how to count sheep to help insomnia?  I’m desperate here.  So let’s turn elsewhere for some tips on sleep.

In this post you will find:

  • Two short videos about insomnia.
  • Links to insomnia resources.
  • Some background about the types of insomnia.
  • Practical tips to help you sleep.

Continue reading

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Posted in HCMC, Health and wellness, Medications, Mental Health, Psychiatry, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Burns 1-2-3

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fire_from_brazierHey hey we are going to talk about burn injuries to your skin in this post.  It’s a follow-up to the radio broadcast of last week where I talked with a burn surgeon.  We learned some really important information about what to do when you or a loved one gets burned and we picked up cool lesser known (at least to me) factoids about burns and your skin.

 

Factoid:  Your skin is the largest organ in your body.  OK, maybe you knew that one already.

Read on to learn more about:

  • Most common causes of burn injuries in children and adults, including a short video of some knuckleheaded guys.
  • The classification of burns – that 1st, 2nd, 3rd degree business.
  • First aid for burns.  What to do if you get burned.  And what not to do.
  • An insider look at a modern Burn Unit, complete with a slick video.

Continue reading

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Posted in Dermatology, HCMC, Surgery, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Join our #yesMAMM Twitter Chat on October 27

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breastcancerawareness

Save the date: October 27, Noon-1:00

As I have mentioned both on the air and in previous blog posts right, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

So far this month we have talked about breast cancer detection on the Healthy Matters radio broadcast (which you can check out here via podcast) and I did a longer post about mammography right here on the blog.

Now we’re planning a cool and interactive way to keep the conversation going: a Twitter chat!  What’s that, you say?  Good question!

Dr. Tony Severt

Dr. Tony Severt

The Twitter chat will feature Dr. Tony Severt (the radiologist who was on the radio broadcast) answering your questions via Twitter, LIVE on October 27 from Noon – 1:00 p.m.  To participate, simply share your breast cancer or mammography story, ask a question, or raise a comment using the hashtag #yesMAMM and using my Twitter handle: @drdavidhilden.  Then sit back and watch the conversation, hear Dr. Severt’s answers, and learn a bit more about breast cancer detection.

Pass the word on to your friends:  October 27, Noon – 1:00 p.m.

@DrDavidHilden

#yesMAMM

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Posted in Cancer, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Do you need a mammogram?

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breastcancerawarenessOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I wrote this post about 4 or 5 times.  The first draft found me in the weeds of details and statistics.  In the second draft I sounded too preachy.  My third attempt covered every aspect of breast cancer from risk factors to diagnosis to treatment and was waaaaaaay too long.   I just couldn’t seem to get it right.

Then I realized that breast cancer is a multi-headed beast.  It has technical clinical aspects.  It has emotional overtones.  It has a definite gender angle that I, as a man, really cannot fathom.  It has controversy.  It is scary.

It is just too much to cover in one blog post, ergo, my troubles in writing about it.  So I’ve decided to talk about a single aspect of breast cancer – that being the role of mammography in screening.

I know people with breast cancer.  I bet you do as well.

Do you know anyone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer?  I’m guessing you do.  Perhaps someone you love died of breast cancer.  Perhaps you know someone living with breast cancer.  Perhaps you or someone in your life was recently diagnosed.  Perhaps you are a survivor yourself.

I know so many people in my life (not just my doctor life, I mean my real life) who have or have had or did have breast cancer.  It is really sobering.  Really close friends.  Several women from my church congregation.  Relatives.  My own mother-in-law.  Wonderful strong women all of them.

The point is that breast cancer is a relatively common disease that affects nearly 1 in 8 women in their lifetime.  The other point is that breast cancer takes a variety of forms and affects women (and men) with many different faces from every community.  And another point is that breast cancer is treatable.

This Sunday on Healthy Matters (my weekly health and wellness radio show) we talked about breast cancer screening with the major focus on mammography as the single most effective screening method available.  In this post I will cover:

  • Expert advice from last Sunday’s radio broadcast featuring radiologist and mammography expert Dr. Tony Severt.
  • Some solid information about breast cancer screening – the guidelines for mammography, including the newest 2016 guidelines
  • A look at the controversy around mammography guidelines.

Thanks for joining me.  Let’s learn something together . . .

Continue reading

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Posted in Cancer, Geriatrics and aging, Health and wellness, Preventive care, Primary Care | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Just a spoonful of sugar . . . is really not good for you

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img_1852Hey, everybody.  Thanks for checking in with me at the blog.  If you are new to MyHealthyMatters, this is the companion blog to my weekly radio show, coincidentally called HealthyMatters.  The show airs on Sunday mornings, at 7:30 a.m. Central Time on WCCO 830 AM radio in Minnesota and surrounding states and streams live at that time on wcco.com if you aren’t in our part of the world.  Anyway, thanks for spending some time with me on the blog.  Go ahead and subscribe by e-mail (at upper right or at the end of this post) if you like what you see.

Preview of this post

Here’s what I’ll cover today:

  • The sordid past of sugar and fat research.
  • The great sugar vs fat debate of 1967.  And 1987.  and 2007.  And today.  This is one debate that never seems to go away.
  • A few words about processed foods.
  • And of course, links to further information for the extra-curious reader.  You know who you are.

So with apologies to Mary Poppins, here we go . . .  Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Reflections (but no pictures) from 9/11 and this week’s Emergency Preparedness topic

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nycA remembrance:

Fifteen years ago today at around 8:00 Minneapolis time, I was in the Intensive Care Unit at HCMC.  I was a medical resident on that day doing my rotation in Nephrology and was visiting a critically-ill patient in the ICU with really bad kidney problems.  My attending physician on that day was my med school adviser and my residency program director, Dr. Morris Davidman.  Though no longer practicing, he’s still a mentor, role model and friend.  He was the first person I talked to about what was certain to be a much-changed world  that day.

I remember that day well, and today marks its 15th anniversary.  That is long enough that my own kids were too young to remember and a whole generation is growing up not having been born yet in 2001.  To me that’s a strangely weird thought.  I’m not going to write about those events per se, as enough is already written and said about it and I have no insight whatsoever that each of you reading this doesn’t already have.  And I’m not posting pictures of the tragedy after reading a provocative blog post from a New Yorker basically saying that the none of that is helpful  . . . we all know what it looked like.  Instead, I’m showing the NYC skyline as it looks now from my recent ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  I do love New York.

That being said, I think it therapeutic and natural for us to remember where we were, what we were doing, and then stop and remember those who were impacted so directly – people in New York City and Washington, people on those planes, their loved ones, the firefighters and cops and first responders.  Perhaps take a few deep breaths and remember that though we cannot prevent bad things from happening, we can still dedicate ourselves to doing good in the world and remember the terrific and loving people in our lives.

So I remember standing next to Dr. Davidman watching the TV above the head of a critically-ill and comatose patient.

Do you remember where you were?


National Preparedness month

Regional 2016 National Preparedness Month Logo

“Americans have been tested by trial and tragedy since our earliest days — but year after year, no matter the hardship, we pull through and forge ahead.”

                                   President Barack Obama

September is National Preparedness month so that was the topic today on our Healthy Matters radio broadcast.  I guess it was apropos given that today is September 11.  To help me, I invited Mark Lappe, the Director of Emergency Management here at my hospital.  Did you know most hospitals have a Department of Emergency Management?  I knew my hospital does, given that it is a major Level I trauma center, but I guess I didn’t know that most other hospitals do as well.

We talked about community-wide preparedness as well as the steps hospitals take to stay prepared for bad situations.  Like the generators that kick in at HCMC (my hospital) within 2 seconds of a power outage across a campus spanning 6 downtown city blocks.  Wow.  Then we moved to emergency preparedness in your own homes, so as promised, I’m going to put some links here for more information.  You’ll find them in a bit.  In the meantime, listen to Mark on the podcast if you wish.

To read President Obama’s full proclamation, click here.

Why worry?

When I think about 9/11 and about the other disasters that we hear about just about every week in the news, I often wonder if it makes any difference whether we plan for them or not.  Have you ever felt that way?  After all, between flooding in Louisiana and shootings in Orlando and terrorism on the French Riviera, it’s easy to feel like we live in a whole new world in which we are powerless to defend ourselves.

But I resist that thought whenever it hits.

Certainly, there are loads of events that we are powerless to either predict or prevent.  That being the case, I think I find myself drawing two conclusions:

  1.  I am not deterred by awful events in living my life.  I will continue to travel, attend big celebratory events, meet new people, welcome the immigrant to our community, learn about new cultures, enjoy fine art, and most of all see new places in the world.
  2. But I think it wise to listen to those among us who have expertise in keeping us safe, like Mark Lappe on my radio show today

The first point reflects my belief that we need to keep on living boldly and not let scary things paralyze us.

I know terrorism is real but the terrorists score a victory when we demonize immigrants, pre-judge people in the name of safety, allow the government to invade our privacy and scale back our liberties  . . .  all out of fear.  Benjamin Franklin was right when he said:

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”

And the Zika virus is also real and scary.  But we have the knowledge, if perhaps not the willpower, to do something about it, so let’s do it!  See below for one suggestion on how you can act.

And earthquakes and tornadoes and flooding are real as well.  But we can do something about climate change and when natural disasters do occur, we can do like we always do and help each other out.

Which leads me to the 2nd point above, now that I’ve been on my soapbox a little bit (sorry!) and that is that a bit of advance planning seems to make some sense.  So now onto some resources you may wish to check out in keeping your family safe and secure during emergency situations.

Great resources and a call for action

A good place to start is ready.gov which is a comprehensive site from the US Department of Homeland Security.   Click around the site for a while; it is really comprehensive with information on a variety of topics for you and your family.

One of the recommendations from the experts to prepare your own family for emergencies is to make an Emergency Plan.   Get help with making a plan for your family here from FEMA.  There are printable checklists of supplies you should have in an Emergency Kit.  (One aside . . . those of you who watch The Big Bang Theory may know that Sheldon has not one, but two, emergency kits in his apartment.  And he’s a genuine genius.)

We learned on the show that texting is preferable to calling on the phone if you or a loved one is caught in a disaster situation.  Teach your kids to text you “I’m OK and I am currently at location here” if you ever find yourself separated.  Phone lines, even cellular lines, often don’t work in disasters!  It’s also a great idea to write down all your contact information.  The FEMA site has some downloadable sheets to help with as well.

A call for action

I encourage you to contact your member of Congress and US Senator and urge funding for overcoming the Zika virus.  We have the medical knowledge and the public health knowledge to solve the spread of Zika.  We just need our leaders to act!  Or if you don’t favor such an approach (hey, people have different views on how best to act and that’s OK) then tell your elected officials your own view.  It’s no longer just in other countries (though we should have acted to help other countries long before this), it is our neighbors in Florida and Puerto Rico we are talking about with Zika.

Public enemy #1

Public enemy #1, Aedes aeygptii

 

So some thoughts on risk and planning, disasters and planning for disasters.  I admit you probably have as much insight into these issues as I do, which I’d love to hear!  Next post will be about something medical.  Since this is a medical blog and all.

Thanks for stopping by!

David

 

 

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Health in the News, Public Health, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment