Shingles! Complete with Greek art.

Public domain, from the National Historic Museum of Greece

Hi, friends!  If you are wondering why I inserted the cool-looking Greek dude in the picture here, then read on.  It has something to do with his belt. . . 

It has been a while since I have posted here on MyHealthyMatters blog.  That’s because I have been lying on a beach in the South Pacific, drinking cocktails with little umbrellas in them and in general being slothful.

Actually, no, I’ve been around doing my usual doctor stuff at Hennepin Healthcare.  If you click on that link and scroll down just a bit you’ll find a picture of me and WCCO radio host Denny Long taken in the WCCO studios.  I usually don’t like pictures of myself but I rather like this one!  Check it out. 

Of course, we’re still streaming on wccoradio.radio.com with our live Healthy Matters radio broadcast every Sunday morning at 7:30 Central time and also at 830 on your AM radio dial.  I hope you tune in.  

I’m going to resume posting so look for topics from the broadcast.  We’ve recently done great shows about leukemia, hearing loss, kidney transplant, preventing foot amputations, skin cancer, and more!  In the meantime, I recommend you listen to the podcasts of any of our previous shows at wccoradio.radio.com

For now I’m going back to last Sunday, June 30, where I did an open lines show and the overwhelming topic of the day seemed to be shingles.  So read on to hear more about:

  • What is shingles?  (Yes, it is grammatically correct to use “is” and not “are”).
  • Clinically, what does shingles look like?
  • Who gets shingles?
  • What is post-herpetic neuralgia?
  • Maybe most important, I’ll answer the common questions about the shingles vaccine at the end.
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Posted in Dermatology, Geriatrics and aging, Infections, Primary Care, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five tips for staying healthy in 2019 with Natalie Ikeman

 

Natalie Ikeman PA-C outside the WCCO studios in Minneapolis

Hey what’s up Healthy Matters people!

On the Healthy Matters radio broadcast this week, my colleague Natalie Ikeman, MPAS, PA-C from Hennepin Healthcare’s Golden Valley Clinic joined us by phone to offer some tips for staying healthy in 2019.

You know what is really cool about her advice?  It is achievable even for people like me and you!  She doesn’t tell you to go to the gym 7 days a week.  Or run 10 miles.  Or eat nothing but pine cones every day. She gives advice that real people can follow.

I asked Natalie if she would be guest write this blog post and she agreed so most of this post is her words.

To listen to the podcast of the show (Healthy Matters show #523, January 20, 2019), including Natalie’s portion at time 22:05, click the logo here:

In this post you will find:

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Posted in Diet and exercise, HCMC, Primary Care | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Start 2019 with zero gravity . . . and some physical therapy tips

Me in the “Zero-G” harness. This is literally what I do at work.

Hello, friends!

I’ve been on a two month hiatus from writing but I’m back.  Of course, I’ve still been filling the airwaves with medical shenanigans every Sunday morning on Healthy Matters (which you can hear at wccoradio.com at 7:30 Central Time).  In fact, last Sunday was the first show of our 11th year broadcasting Hennepin Healthcare‘s brand of accessible, accurate, and hopefully lighthearted medical information.  To all of you who listen to the show, THANK YOU!

We started 2019 by talking about Physical Therapy and what it can do for you and your painful and sore bodies.  It turns out that Hennepin (my health system) has probably Minnesota’s most technologically-advanced Physical Therapy gym.  That’s me in the zero-gravity harness which helps people with stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other injuries safely learn to walk again.  The PT department also has a dizzying (pun intended) range of services.

I encourage you to check out the Hennepin Healthcare Department of Physical Therapy and learn about treatments for:

  • Dizziness/vestibular problems
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Women’s prenatal, post-partum, and incontinence issues
  • Orthopedic therapies
  • Stroke care
  • Lymphedema
  • Mobility issues, including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs
  • Pediatric physical therapy
  • And much more!

Kelly Rettman DPT and Beth Stegora DPT in the WCCO studios

But more than machines and technology, the Physical Therapy department at Hennepin has awesome people.  So to launch our 11th year, I invited two of them to help listeners navigate Physical Therapy (I’ll call it PT from now on).  Joining me in studio were two Doctors of Physical Therapy, Beth Stegora and Kelly Rettman.

That’s the two of them in the WCCO studios

 

If you missed the show, check out the podcast of Healthy Matters show #521, January 6, 2019 here with all commercial interruptions conveniently removed.

In this post, I’ll summarize a couple topics that we covered on the show, like how physical therapy can help people with rotator cuff injuries, knee injuries, and even women with incontinence.  Read on for just a few words to get you thinking.

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Posted in Joint and Muscle issues, Pediatrics, Physical Therapy, Prenatal Care, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast, Traumatic Brain Injury | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aspirin for people over 70? New science right here.

Photo: NIAID

I know many people who take a daily aspirin in an effort to stay healthy.  I even know many doctors who recommend it.  But you may be surprised to know about what the actual medical science says about aspirin.

Back in 2016, I wrote a post that proved to be one of the most-popular that whole year.  In that post I described the guidelines for who, and who should not, be taking a daily aspirin.  Fortunately, that post is still largely accurate and these guidelines have not changed in the past two years.  You can read that 2016 post here.

But there is now a massive new study about a group of people for which there was no medical science one way or the other.  The new study, called ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) was just published in September 2018 and it specifically looked at healthy people over age 70.

The one thing you need to know

There is no data to support healthy people 70 and older for taking a daily aspirin, and in fact, it likely has more risks than any potential benefit.

I will expand a bit on this new data in this post.

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Posted in Geriatrics and aging, Medical research, Pearls from Medical Science, Preventive care, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Music and wellness

In this post I’m going to diverge slightly from my usual medical writing to talk about a different part of being healthy and well.  So I’m going to ask you to read an essay I wrote this past summer for the Minnesota Orchestra.  The link is repeated below after a few introductory comments.

How does music – or art in general –  relate to health and wellness?

There is a notion in healthcare that I think we need to explore further.  In brief, it is likely true that stress in our lives may lead to health problems, probably via some complex inflammatory changes in our bodies.  So reducing stress in our lives is probably a good idea.  Art can certainly do that.

But beyond that rather nerdy physiologic reason, I think it is vitally important that each of us find beauty in our world.  Our national discourse is so ugly and uncivil that it is making us sick.  Our daily lives are filled with screen time, busy schedules, bills to pay, and the daily tasks of life.  All of this makes music and art and beautiful things all the more important.

I often turn to orchestral music.  I spend lots of evenings at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis and I am privileged to have met some of the talented people at the Minnesota Orchestra.  They have graciously published my thoughts on music on the orchestra’s website and I invite you to read it by clicking below.

For my essay, click on “A Life with Music” at the Minnesota Orchestra website.

I also wrote a piece in August 2016 about my trek to Europe with the Orchestra in which I talk about saunas full of naked people, Beethoven, bicycles in Europe and my thoughts on being abroad with a world-class orchestra.  Read about all that in “The Finer Things” here.

Comments are welcome below.  Subscribe by e-mail to MyHealthyMatters if you wish to receive non-commercial health and wellness info!

David

 

 

 

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Posted in Humanities and Medicine | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

OK what’s a hernia and how do you get rid of it

Anybody know what a hernia is and how to get rid of it?   Well, I’ll tell ya!

Many think of hernia as something old men get.  Reminds me of a TV show that I watched repeatedly years ago.  The show was “Cheers” and it followed the gang from the Boston bar where “everybody knows your name.”  In one episode, Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson) develops a hernia and he’s struggling since he considers it a condition old men get and it called into question his youthful virility.  There must be something with men and aging and our fragile egos.  Or so says my wife.

Technically speaking, and I know how smart and techy all you MyHealthyMatters readers are, a hernia is when an organ or other body tissue gets squeezed through a weak spot in the surrounding tissue or muscle.  This can happen in lots of places in your body, among them (warning the following few sentences may make you go “ewwww”):

  • Intestines poking through a weak part of the abdominal wall (inguinal, umbilical, abdominal hernia).
  • Stomach getting pushed through the diaphragm so part of it lands in the chest instead of the abdomen (hiatal hernia).
  • Even the brain can herniate, which is a fatal condition in which the stem of the brain gets forced out of the base of the skull due to swelling, inflammation, bleeding, or trauma.

I’m going to focus on the first kind of hernia.  I’m doing so because on a recent Healthy Matters broadcast, we had a great discussion about hernias with my two guests, both terrific surgeons at Hennepin Healthcare.

Read on to meet those surgeons, to learn a bit more about hernia, and especially to learn of a great opportunity to attend an event in Minneapolis.  For the aurally inclined, you can listen to our hernia show via the podcast here:

See that 16th century hernia surgery in the picture above?  Thankfully, hernia surgery is much more civilized now.  Read on . . .  Continue reading

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No amount of alcohol is safe. Oh, c’mon now.

Hi, friends!  I’ve been gone on a bit of a hiatus but am back and ready to weigh in on the health care news of the day.  Like this eye-catching headline I recently read:

“No amount of alcohol is safe, health experts warn”

A new study was recently published that pretty much came to that conclusion.  The authors did a big retrospective look at previous medical research into alcohol use and concluded that there was no amount of alcohol consumption that could be considered safe.  This really made the news all over the place, like this sobering 30-second blurb:

Due to my unending dedication to finding sound medical advice . . . and even more because I had just enjoyed a nice glass of a dry rose wine on a hot summer evening and didn’t want a bunch of egghead researchers to spoil it for me . . .  I had to investigate further.   Read on for my take on the latest alcohol brouhaha. Continue reading

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Posted in Diet and exercise, Health in the News, Medical research | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Alicia’s incredible story. Read this post, save a life.

Alicia Bravo, BAN RN CEN TCRN CPEN
Brad Bart, MD

Be brave.  That is Alicia’s message.

This is undoubtedly the most powerful story we’ve yet told in 10 years of Healthy Matters broadcasts.

If you missed last week’s show, you missed a doozy of a personal story.  Alicia Bravo is a nurse at Hennepin’s Emergency Department and just one year ago this healthy triathlete experienced a sudden cardiac arrest while swimming.  Her dad and husband saved her life with CPR and now she is spreading the word about it.  You’re going to want to listen to her tell the story on the podcast by clicking Listen to Podcasts at the right of this page.

To give us additional expertise, we were joined in the studio by Dr. Brad Bart, Director of Cardiology at Hennepin Healthcare.    As a follow-up to the show, I asked each of them to respond to some written questions.   What follows is from Alicia and Dr. Bart.  There are powerful and wise words in this post, some links to helpful sites, a way you can donate to CPR education, and even an event that involves drinking beer.

I encourage you to read it through.  You may save a life someday.

Please share this post on Facebook, Instagram, and with your friends by clicking the icons above.  This is a message we need to get out!  

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Posted in Cardiology, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast, Trauma and emergency | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Diabetes Part 2 with Dr. Laura LaFave

By www.Pixel.la, public domain photo

Hi, everybody and thanks for stopping by.  This is Part 2 of our look at diabetes, aided by my colleague, endocrinologist Dr. Laura LaFave.  Click on Part 1 here if you missed it from last week.

 

 

 

In this part, I’ll cover:

  • Risk factors for developing diabetes.  (Includes a BMI calculator that you should try).
  • Complications of diabetes.
  • Tips for reducing your chance of getting diabetes.

Here we go!

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Diabetes Part 1 with Dr. Laura LaFave

Endocrinologist Dr. Laura LaFave

This week we did a Healthy Matters show about diabetes and I wanted to write a post about that topic while it is fresh in my head.  So I sat down to write but quickly realized that diabetes is probably the most wide-ranging medical condition of them all.  It has complex causes, different types, multiple risk factors, numerous complications, and lots of treatments.  It is a chronic illness that requires a team of health care professionals and dedicated patients to manage.  So I really can’t cover diabetes in a blog post.

At least one that isn’t of Tolstoy-like length.

Then I remembered a comment from a caller to last Sunday’s show.  Betty had called in with a question about diabetes, and she noted on the air that she had learned more in the previous 15 minutes of our broadcast than in all the years she had been living with diabetes.  (I love our listeners!)

So I thought, hey, I don’t have to cover all of diabetes, I’ll just summarize what we talked about in those 15 minutes, putting it in progressive levels of detail.  Sort of like college.  Except without the tuition.

Of course, those first 15 minutes of diabetes discussion didn’t come from me.  It was my guest, Dr. Laura LaFave, who skillfully broke it down for us.  That’s Laura in the photo above, taken just before we went on the air from the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis.  Dr. LaFave is an friend and colleague with whom I did my training at Hennepin County Medical Center many years ago.  Recently, she re-joined our clinical and teaching faculty at Hennepin.  (Hint:  you, too, can see Dr. LaFave as a patient if you need an Endocrinologist by clicking this link).

For the aurally-inclined among you, I really encourage you to listen to the podcast of the broadcast by clicking the banner here.  For those drawn to the written word, I’ll summarize the key learning points in the the following paragraphs.  Your choice!

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Posted in Diabetes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment