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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Quick tips: shingles, dementia & depression, high blood pressure medications

Since you asked . . . here’s another “Quick tips” post from last week’s Healthy Matters broadcast.    I have included links to point you toward reliable information if you want to learn more.  The Internet is full of not-so-reliable information so I try to include sources that I think you can trust.  That’s assuming you trust me.  As my texting daughter would say “hahahaha”!

 

To listen to the podcast of this recent “Open Lines” show, click this banner and look for April 29, 2018 show (Healthy Matters show #485)

On to the questions from listeners . . .

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“Decade with Dave” and Here 4 Health series

Hi, friends!  See that sign in the picture?  Those signs are all over the campus at Hennepin Healthcare.  Let’s just say my co-workers have shown no mercy in teasing me about them.

But hey – we have something to celebrate!  I’m super pumped to be launching “Decade with Dave”  – our celebration of 10 years of our Healthy Matters broadcast!

We’re starting with a live broadcast of Healthy Matters from the atrium at Hennepin Healthcare’s Clinic and Specialty Center complete with a LIVE audience.  That’s where you come in.  I’m inviting you –  my Healthy Matters listening friends – to be that live audience on Sunday, June 10.   Denny Long will be there, I’ll be there, and I hope YOU will be there.

Here’s what we’re planning for the live broadcast of Decade with Dave . . .

Diabetes and the Sweet Life.  I’ve invited an old friend from my medical training, Dr. Laura LaFave, to introduce her to Healthy Matters listeners.  Dr. LaFave recently rejoined the Hennepin Healthcare faculty in Endocrinology – in fact I don’t even have a link to her picture yet!  She’s a friend, a smart doctor, and a genuinely good person.  She’s been practicing for over a decade but only been back to Hennepin for a few months, so to welcome her back to our family I’m putting her in front of a live audience.  She’s a good friend, eh?  We’ll talk about diabetes and other hormone-y topics.

Arthritis Treatment Options:  Moving from Pain to Gain. Dr. Rawad Nasr is Hennepin’s Director of Rheumatology and another colleague with whom I go way back.  We dragged him back from his practice in Bemidji to join our Hennepin faculty.  His recent show about arthritis was a huge hit with listeners so he’s coming back to chat with me about arthritis and joint questions.  You’ll love this guy.

 

Sleep Health:  What Keeps You Up at Night. Another really popular topic – in fact, perhaps the most popular topic – is sleep.  We all need it, we all want it.  Many of us struggle to get the best sleep we can.  Another Healthy Matters veteran, Dr. Ranji Varghese, will be at the broadcast to meet you, to help us understand sleep, and to answer a few questions.

 

Following the broadcast, we’ll have a bit of Q&A and show you around the place a bit.  We’ll have coffee and munchies (donuts, anyone?).

Let’s fill the place!  The broadcast is free to attend, but we need you to RSVP if you plan on attending.  Click here to RSVP for our special “Decade with Dave” LIVE broadcast.

But that’s not all . . .

Announcing . . . Here 4 Health

Hennepin Healthcare’s Clinic and Specialty Center

After kicking off the summer with “Decade with Dave” we are launching an exciting new health education program for the curious and inquisitive among you.  “Here 4 Health” is a series of three educational sessions on a variety of health topics sort of like a mini Medical School.   Except more fun.  And not nearly as grueling.  Come to learn about health topics from cool experts from Hennepin.

You can attend 1, 2, or all 3 sessions.  They’re all free of charge, but you do need to send your RSVP by clicking here.  All events are at the Hennepin Healthcare Clinic and Specialty Center.

Here’s what we have planned for “Here 4 Health” (subject to change if any of these colleagues chicken out):

Session 1:  Thursday, July 12, 5-7 p.m

How to live to 100 or die trying.  Dr. David Hilden (that’s me) will be updating a popular session I’ve been giving for years.  I’ll take you behind the scenes at a state-of-the-art working clinic with insider tips on staying healthy.

The Ins and Outs of GI Health.  OK, some smart aleck (probably the same guy who decided to make a career of doing colonoscopies) made up the name for this informative session about colon cancer.  Learn from Hennepin gastroenterologist Dr. Jake Matlock  about colon cancer and colonoscopies!  I know Jake.  Great guy.  Ask him to show you a colonoscope.  Then ask him why the heck he thought it would be cool to look at people’s intestines all day.  You’ll also get the special chance to tour a colonoscopy suite – when you’re NOT on the cart getting your own colonoscopy


Session 2:  Saturday, August 11, 9-11 a.m

Dermatology – your skin questions answered.  Hennepin dermatologists Dr. Sara Hylwa and Dr. Jenny Liu will be on hand.  You’ll never get a better chance to tap into a skin doctor’s expertise.  They are smart and they know skin like the back of your hand – literally.  Just don’t ask them if you can skip wearing sunscreen.   (Spoiler alert. . . you can’t .  . these two are so stingy on that point).

 

The Ancient Art and Modern Practices of Integrative Medicine – Acupuncture and Chiropractic.  A certified acupuncturist and chiropractor will show you around the world of integrative medicine.  Maybe you’ll come away just a little less mystified at these ancient practices.  Ask to see an acupuncture needle.   Dr. Richard Printon and acupuncturist Jessica Brown will be on hand!


Session 3:  Saturday, September 15, 9-11 a.m.

You Gotta Have Heart.  Recent Healthy Matters guest and cardiologist Dr. Michelle Carlson will show you around the world of heart health.   You’ll learn from her particular expertise in women’s heart health and the link between heart health and cancer.  You may want to check out the recent post I did with Dr. Carlson here.

 

Best Practices in Breast Health.  Leah Hahn is the supervisor of the mammography program at Hennepin.  See a mammogram machine for yourself.  Men, you too should attend this session.  It will give you a new appreciation for the women in your life.  And men get breast cancer too!  Check out this post I did with Leah Hahn from a few months ago.

 

A Little Help for your Friends.  Hennepin has the best Physical Therapists AND therapy facilities in the region.  Come see a PT gym and look at the amazing possibilities for therapy.  This is state-of-the-art stuff which you can learn from Senior Physical Therapist Beth Stegora.

 

 

Attend all three sessions or pick and choose the ones you want.  They’re all free and all at the Hennepin Healthcare Clinic and Specialty Center in downtown Minneapolis  Probably the most important part of all .  . . the parking is right there underground.  Could not be simpler.

Why should I go learn something?

Here’s why I think you should attend the LIVE Decade with Dave broadcast and why you should attend the Here 4 Health series . . .

You could sit home and watch TV.  Or stare at the grass and watch it grow.  Or sit on your couch and get bad health information from the Internet.

Or you could get out of the house, come to the Here 4 Health series, and learn from fun, smart, and reliable doctors and health professionals.  All while taking in the art-filled and warm setting of a state-of-the-art health facility.  

RSVP here.

Looking forward to meeting lots of you!

David

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A variety of everyday health concerns . . . from the Fair!

Healthy Matters LIVE from the Minnesota State Fair!

Last Sunday I joined 197,890 of my closest friends at the Minnesota State Fair.  Along with the best radio person in the business, Denny Long, I did a live, in-person broadcast of Healthy Matters.  This was our 451th (!) live broadcast and my 9th year doing it from the state fair. I’m serious about the 197,000 figure.  That is literally the number of people who attended – on just this one day – the country’s second-largest state fair (Texas is bigger but also runs twice as long).

To all of you who came out to see the show in person, thank you!  It was great to meet people from all over the region . . . Moose Lake, Lonsdale, St. Louis Park, Woodbury . . . . but for those who didn’t make it last week, you have another chance!  Come out to the Minnesota State Fair on Sunday, Sept 3, at 7:30 a.m. and say hi!  We’ll do the show live from the veranda at the WCCO radio booth.  If you come up and introduce yourself, I’ll put you on the radio and you can ask a health question.  The WCCO radio booth is easy to find on Carnes Ave between Nelson and Underwood.  It’s right by the Ye Olde Mill and right next to a Sweet Martha’s cookies.

As always, you can listen to podcasts of all previous shows by going to the WCCO website. Continue reading “A variety of everyday health concerns . . . from the Fair!” Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Ask the Dermatologist!

Things are very serious in the WCCO studios!

Hey hey!

A couple of weeks ago on the Healthy Matters radio show we featured two of my colleagues from Dermatology, Drs. Jenny Liu and Erin Luxenberg.  You’ll find us in the photo to the left in the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis getting ready for the show.

We’re obviously a pretty tense and serious group, eh?

We mostly focused on skin cancer during that show and it was really informative and fun.  If you missed the show, you can listen to the commercial-free podcast by clicking here (Healthy Matters show #434, April 30, 2017).

As usual, we get way more calls, texts, and tweets than we can get to on the live broadcast.  So for this blog post we are continuing the show, in a way, by having Dr. Luxenberg and Dr. Liu respond to some of the text questions from that show.  So if we didn’t get to your question on the air, maybe we will cover it here.

Here goes . . .  Continue reading “Ask the Dermatologist!” Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Burns 1-2-3

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.

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Skin cancer is as easy as A-B-C . . . and D . . . and E

Melanoma
Melanoma

May is Skin Cancer Month and Monday, May 2 is “Melanoma Monday” so let’s talk about your skin.  You probably have heard many times about many types of illness –  “Catch it early and it is really treatable but catch it late and it’s pretty serious.”  Well, that is really true for skin cancer, particularly the scary one – melanoma.

So knowing a bit about preventing and detecting skin cancer could quite literally save your life.  I hope to give you some tools to do so here.  When preparing for this topic, I found just an enormous amount of information floating around the Internet, most of it quite solid but some of it frankly dangerous in its inaccuracy.  For instance, there are some cringe-worthy sites out there claiming you can cure skin cancer by applying some salve you bought on the Internet.  (No, you can’t).

So I’ll try to limit this to the two key areas of prevention and detection.  We’ll leave treatments and slogo_healthy-matterso forth to another time.   To help, I’ll rely on two of my colleagues who joined me on the Healthy Matters broadcast this week and also point you toward reliable and easy-to-use interactive resources from some trustworthy sources.  Click the logo at left to access the podcast from the radio broadcast.  Maybe listen to it while you are reading this post!
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Quick tips: ABCs of cholesterol and other meaty topics

Hi from the mailbox!DRH Letterbox

Another great Healthy Matters show this week -thanks to the listeners who are up on a Sunday morning – getting dressed, eating breakfast, going to church, drinking their coffee – and tuning in to listen to me talk about fungus and pus.   So a heartfelt THANK YOU to Healthy Matters listeners and for your terrific questions by text and phone.  

If you have not heard the show yet, you can do so a few ways:

  • Live radio broadcast:  WCCO 8-3-0 AM dial  – Sundays 7:30 a.m. Central
  • Live streaming on your computer/mobile: WCCO.COM  – Sunday 7:30 a.m. Central
  • Podcasts for listening at your convenience – podcasts available here.

The whole shebang is sponsored by my organization, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in be-yoo-tee-ful downtown Minneapolis.

This week’s post features quick answers to questions I received on the show.  These are quick and incomplete, so make sure to talk to your own doctor to learn more.

I’ll also be doing some video posts where I can answer questions by talking rather than typing . . .  look for those soon.

From the Healthy Matters mailbag

iStock_000022745765_Large

Several questions this week about cholesterol numbers, like this one . . . 

“My doctor recommended coming back in 6 months for repeat of cholesterol numbers and tweaking my lifestyle.  Is there an alternative to statins?”

Short answer:    Dyslipidemia, which basically means your cholesterol is out of whack, is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular problems in the future.  Statins remain the medications with the most scientific evidence to prove that they work.  There are alternatives, but none with such strong proof to back them up.

Longer answer:

  • LDL = low-density lipoprotein.  LDL = bad.  You want this one low.
  • HDL = high-density lipoprotein.  HDL = good.  You want this one high.
  • Triglycerides = fats floating around your blood stream.  You want this low.
  • Total cholesterol = a combination of the above (but you can’t simply add up the 3 of them to get your total cholesterol – it is a more complicated formula).

Your body actually requires cholesterol for life since it is part of cell membranes and an important part of the normal steroid hormones that your body makes.  Most cholesterol is manufactured in your liver, with only a modest amount coming from your diet.

The trouble for many of us is that our cholesterol factories (aka your liver) don’toff switch have an “off” switch.  It simply makes too much.  Think of statin medications as the “off” switch.  Yes, they have side effects (the most common one is muscle problems) and as science progresses, we will undoubtedly learn more about these medications.  But for now, for the right people, if you have cholesterol problems statins are the best way to reduce your risk of heart disease.

Who are the right people for statins?  Here are the latest guidelines (new in 2015):

  • People who do not have known cardiovascular disease and are between 40 and 75 years old and have a 7.5 percent or higher risk for heart attack or stroke within 10 years.

      This is cool and you should do this –> to find out your 10-year risk of heart disease, click here.

  • People with a history of heart attack, stroke, stable or unstable angina, peripheral artery disease, transient ischemic attack, or coronary or other arterial revascularization.  (Basically if you have known cardiovascular disease).
  • People 21 and older who have a very high level of bad cholesterol (190 or higher).
  • People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who are 40 to 75 years old.

There are a LOT of people who could be taking these medications and receiving the benefit of reduced risk of heart disease.  Click here for a nice discussion of the guidelines.

 


Read on for another related question . . . 

“I thought the higher the HDL cholesterol the better.  My HDL was 100, LDL was 128, triglycerides 27.   Doctor expressed concern that sometimes an HDL at either extreme can be a problem . . and ordered a VAP test.”

Here is an analogy that works for me.  Bear with me, I made this up . . . 

Cropped shot of rubbish that's been put out for garbage collection day

Think of LDL and triglycerides as “garbage” floating around your bloodstream and attaching itself to your blood vessel walls, like garbage accumulating on the curb.

 Too much garbage = a mess of badness.

Now think of HDL as the “garbage trucks” driving around, picking up the garbage from the curb (vessel walls), and delivering it back to your liver where it can be processed and removed.  

You want lots of garbage trucks.

So in general, you want an HDL that is high (preferably 50-60 or more).  But can it be too high, as this questions asks?  Well, yes, it is true that HDL that is not working properly is not only ineffective in its garbage truck duties, but may actually be harmful.  However, we really don’t know what to do with that information.

The VAP test is a series of advanced tests that can more accurately pinpoint your cholesterol situation.  As I mentioned on the radio, however, we still don’t know what to do with the information since  getting the test will usually not lead to any change in treatments.  After all, we don’t really have any additional proven treatments.  So you can get the VAP test if your doctor recommends it, but be prepared to hear the same advice when it is back:  eat healthy, exercise, don’t smoke, take a statin if indicated.

And choose your parents carefully.


On to a new topic from the mailbox . . .

iStock_000021022726_Large“Do acid control medications cause Alzheimer’s Disease?”

Short answer.  We don’t know.

Longer answer:  This one has been in the news as of late since a group of German researchers published the results of their study which showed an association between proton-pump inhibitor use (PPI) and the development of dementia.  The study was in people over 75 who did not have dementia at the outset, but who were taking one of the common acid-suppressing agents called PPIs.  Examples (among many others) of these drugs are omeprazole (Prilosec) and lansoprazole (Prevacid).

 The study showed that more people on these medications developed dementia than those not taking them.  Why this may be the case is not known.  But it is really important to note that the association between these medications and dementia is not proof of causation.  In other words, these medical studies do not prove that doing one thing (taking the acid-suppressing medications) actually causes the other thing (getting dementia).   Here’s a link to the actual study if you are super into medical journal articles with subtitles like “A Pharmacoepidemiological Claims Data Analysis” – I’m not joking, that is the actual subtitle of this real page-turner.

Bottom line:  this is not a reason to stop taking your acid-suppressing medications if you have a strong indication to do so (you have proven acid-reflux disease, for instance).   I should add that many people take acid-suppressing medications for shakier reasons and probably don’t need them in the first place.

 


One more for the good measure . . . 

“Paryonychia on thumb. Causes?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Paronychia is an inflammation around the finger- or toenails.  It is sometimes chronic (long-lasting) but often acute (comes on quickly and resolves).  It is usually due to a bacteria or fungus getting in the grooves around your nails.  It shows up as a sore, red, and swollen area around the nail.  The acute kind may be due to minor daily-living types of activities (dishwashing, trimming nails, minor trauma . . . ) and may not need any specific treatment other that putting warmth or topical anti-inflammatories on it.

If there is pus oozing out of it, you may need antibiotics or drainage by your doctor.  Chronic paronychia may be due to a fungal or allergic type of dermatitis, and may require topical treatments with anti-inflammatories or anti-fungals.


The rest of the mailbox

To give you a sense of the range of topics on a typical Healthy Matters Open Lines show – I’ll show you a partial and condensed list of the topics listeners raised this week but that I did not get to cover.  I’m struck by the range of questions – and also just how legitimate they all are!  Doing the radio show really makes me aware of the shared human condition – I bet most of us can relate to something on this list . . . !

  1. Febrile seizures in infants.
  2. What is neuropathy?
  3. Clostridium difficile infections.
  4. Atrial fibrillation.
  5. Cold sores in a young adult.
  6. Epilepsy in children.
  7. Ear infections.
  8. Testing for Diabetes type 2.
  9. What is pre-diabetes?
  10. Causes of dry tongue?
  11. Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  12. High calcium in blood tests.

Keep listening, keep checking out the blog . . . and if you have a preference for what I should cover in the future please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best!

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