“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!”

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Cool event in Minnesota: “Science: Why Don’t Facts Seem to Matter?”

Hey, gang, just a quick post about an event I want you to know about.  It is called “Science in Society:  Why Don’t Facts Seem to Matter?” and it is happening this Thursday, June 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Central time at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

 

The event is hosted by Valery Forbes, Dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota and is co-sponsored by the ARCS Foundation and the Science Museum of Minnesota.  I’m excited to share a panel with outstanding people who have keen insights on science and communication.

Joining me on the discussion panel are:

  • Patrick Hamilton
    Director of Global Change Initiatives
    Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Maggie Koerth-Baker
    Senior Science Writer at FiveThirtyEight
  • Kris Ehresmann
    Director of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division
    Minnesota Department of Health

There is a networking portion over light snacks in which promising young scientists will be present to share their work and be recognized as ARCS Scholars.  So we get a glimpse of the future of science through these incredible scholars.  The way I see it, we need to promote science and those who pursue it as a career – now more than ever.

Register at the ARCS Foundation site here.  You get free parking and admission to the Science Museum as part of your registration so make an afternoon and evening out of it!

If you’re a person who likes to think, learn, ponder, question, explore –  and tie it all together with our collective life as a society, then join us at the Science Museum this Thursday.

And if you do attend, be sure to introduce yourself to me!

David

 

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Pearls from Medical Science – High Blood Pressure

Reading this stuff . . . so you don’t have to.

One goal of mine for this blog is to connect people to medical science. But ask any doctor – staying current on the latest in medical evidence is not easy.  Look at this picture – it could be the nightstand of many a doctor.  It is actually the table in my office after I simply grabbed a few recent journals from my shelf.  Seriously.  Glamorous it may not be, but it is oh, so important.  By staying abreast of latest medical science, we can give you the best advice possible.

So every now and then I’m going to do a pJournals photoost highlighting a “Pearl from Medical Science” in which I will summarize one item from the medical literature – a pearl, if you will.  Basically reading this stuff so you don’t have to.  I’ll try to distill the medical jargon and heady science into something meaningful – something you can act on in your own life.

So here goes this first pearl, which is taken from the Annals of Internal Medicine from November 2015.

PEARL: Get your blood pressure checked

Continue reading “Pearls from Medical Science – High Blood Pressure”

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No more ipecac! National Poison Prevention Week 2016

I have the great fortune to work side by side with the smart folks at the Minnesota Poison Control Center, which is housed right here in my hospital.  Each year we try to do a service to the community by higJon Cole studiohlighting National Poison Prevention week, which is going on right now.   Dr. Jon Cole is the Medical Director of the Poison Center, and Kirk Hughes is the Education Director.  You won’t find two more dedicated experts than these two guys – and I was happy to have them on the Healthy Matters broadcast this week.  That’s Dr. Cole’s smiling face on the left and Kirk below – bright and early on a Sunday morning.   Now wouldn’t you want this guy to be the one helping you?

Listen to the podcast of the show here by clicking the logo here –> .logo_healthy-matters

I encourage you to click the link to the Minnesota Poison Center.  It is a site loaded with information, including tip sheets that you can download for your own use.

My own daughter and the iron tablets

First my personal tale of woe.  I mentioned on the radio show about a brush with poisoning with our own daughter.  The story is a scary one for any parent . . . our little one was just 1 or 2 years old when we found her on the floor with an open bottle of iron tablets, some of them spilled out.  We had no idea if she had swallowed any of them.  Yikes.   Iron tablets don’t sound all that bad, right?  But these common supplements are really dangerous in overdose for the wee ones.  So we took her to a doctor and she had to have a x-ray (to look for the pills in her digestive system).  Thankfully she was all right, but today we would have called 1-800-222-1222 and talked to the poison experts.

What I learned about poison prevention

Here are just a few of the things our listeners learned from Dr. Cole and Kirk (that’s Kirk in the picture below – he’s a guy with a head-full of knowledge from his career as a nurse, a basic EMT, and a poison prevention educator).  And down below, look for a neat video of Kirk in action with a grateful parent.  It’s worth a few minutes.

  • The most important thing of all – know this number.  1-800-222-1222.  This is the number for the Poison Center, and the beauty of it is that it is valid nationwide.  The system will direct your call to the Poison Center nearest you, based on thKirk Hughes studioe area code you are calling from (or the area code of your cell phone).
  • Calling the Poison Center number is the first thing you should do if you have a question about poisoning – unless you or a child is experiencing chest pain, difficulty breathing, or seizures.  In that case, call 911.
  • It doesn’t have to be an emergency – call if you simply have a question.
  • In the vast majority of cases (>90% of the time), the experts at the Poison Center can safely get you advice and treatment recommendations while you stay at home.  It is highly likely that you can avoid a trip to the Emergency Department or clinic by calling them first.
  • Program the number into your cell phone under Poison Center!

A word about keeping kids safe

More than half the calls to Poison Centers involve children under the age of six, and the problems are usually right in their own homes.  Kirk and Dr. Cole told us that there are several reasons why kids are at risk in the home.  Could these happen at your house?

  • Poisons are not stored properly.  Keep them up high, in original containers, well out of reach of curious minds.  Grandparents, your home may have your pills out on the counter or bathroom sink where you won’t forget them.  But if little ones come to visit, it takes just a second for them to grab them and swallow them.  Keep your grandchildren safe by keeping the medications out of sight!
  • Children are naturally curious.  Pills look like candy.  Spray bottles look interesting.  Brightly colored liquids look pretty.  But all can be deadly.
  • Many poisonous liquids look and smell like something safe to drink.  Fuels, cough syrups, even shampoo are like this.  Keep them out of sight and not accessible to kids.
  • Children imitate adults.  They see you taking medications or drinking liquids, they are certain to try to do the same.

This all sounds like common sense but in reality, many if not most of our homes are not particularly safe for children.  So if you have kids coming to visit, think of how to keep them safe.  It just takes a second when you are not paying attention for a kid to get into something that is really dangerous to them.  In my little story of my daughter’s scare with iron tablets, we failed to do these simple things.  Now I know better!

What about good ‘ol syrup of ipecac?

Lots of us probably still have an old crusty bottle of syrup of ipecac in our cabinets, especially if you are a bit older.  Well get rid of it!  It is no longer recommended to use ipecac to get kids or adults to vomit.  If fact, you should not even keep it in your home.  Ipecac is yesterday’s news.  Today, call 1-800-222-1222 instead.

Final thoughts

Poison prevention is a huge topic that I could never cover in a blog post such as this.  Rather, I hope to have provoked you to think a little bit more about keeping ourselves and our kids safe.

A listener to our Poison Prevention show on Healthy Matters posed the simple but really good question – just what is considered a poison?   I learned that a poison can be darn near anything – medications, cleaning supplies, fumes in the air, plants in your garden.  I also learned that poisoning is the leading cause of injury death in the United States.

Here’s that video of Kirk Hughes in action, about a family far away from a hospital but who did the right thing and called the Poison Center:

A final word on the Poison Control system in the United States.   Poison Centers are available to you:

  • Anytime.  24/7, including holidays
  • Anywhere.  Call from home, school, business.  Anywhere in the country.
  • Anyone.  Whether you are a concerned parent, a caregiver, a senior, a teenager, a teacher, a clinician – experts are there to help you.

And it comes free of charge to you.  

1-800-222-1222.  It’s a number you should know.

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Diabetes care and research with Dr. Elizabeth Seaquist

If you missed the show this morning about diabetes with Dr. Elizabeth Seaquist from the University of Minnesota, you’re going to want to check out the podcast.  She is not only a terrific person to hang out with but she is also incredibly accompHesy-Ra_CG1426_clished in her career as a clinician and researcher.  And she is terrific at explaining diabetes, why it matters, and how she and others are doing research that promises to help us all in managing diabetes into the future.  No, that is not Dr. Seaquist in this picture (I think it is Hesy-ra, the Egyptian who first described diabetes in 1552 BC).  I was going to take a selfie of Dr. Seaquist at the microphone but alas and alack, I forgot.  Here’s her bio page at the University of Minnesota.  There is a short video from Dr. Seaquist later in the post as well.

For those of you checking for information about the GRADE study that we discussed on the air today, the number is 612-301-7040 or grade@umn.edu for the University of Minnesota location.  Read more about GRADE later in this post.

And I’ll do a couple quick tips from the phone and text line at the end of this post.  OK, on to the business of honey sweet urine.  Ew.

Sweet urine

First I can’t resist a quick aside about the origins of the name “diabetes mellitus”  (which is the full name of the disease).  Diabetes is from the Greek for “siphon” (or “passing through”) and mellitus from the Latin for “honey” or “sweet.”  Put ’em together and it loosely means “sweet urine” – sugar passing through the body and kidneys into the urine.  Ancient people were aware of what was probably diabetes in Egypt, China, India, Persia, and Greece, but it was an intrepid British doctor who really latched onto the sweetness of urine (and now for the “ew” factor – I guess that they used to actually taste the urine.  Makes one immensely thankful for modern lab equipment).

OK, enough history.

Diabetes basics

For Type 1 diabetes, the body lacks the normal function of creating insulin, which is necessary for life.  This is the less common form of diabetes and it always requires insulin for treatment.  I’m not going to talk about it here.

Type 2 diabetes is in some ways more complex and thus harder to summarize.  Basically, the body creates some insulin, but it is either in insufficient amounts or the body is resistant to the usual effects of insulin.  This is called insulin resistance.  It correlates with excess body weight, so being overweight does put one at higher risk for developing diabetes (and conversely, diabetics who can lose weight can improve their sugar control).  However, as Dr. Seaquist mentioned on the show today, there is more to the story than being overweight, something that should be evident when you consider that some lean people develop diabetes while many overweight people do not.  So there is a genetic component that we are still trying to understand.

Diabetes is such an important topic that people spend their whole careers diagnosing, treating, researching, and support patients with diabetes.  It is certainly too much for a blog post.  I would refer you to the American Diabetes Association for solid information.  Just a couple of points here.

If you have Type 2 diabetes, you should:

  • Know your A1c and your A1c goal (usually aim for <7%, but this can vary with your personal situation so ask your doctor).
  • See your doctor regularly (every 3 months, or more frequently if sugar control is not adequate).
  • Manage your glycemic control (aka sugars) with diet and exercise, and if that is not enough to reach your A1c goal, then with medication.
  • Pay attention to the parts of yourself that are vulnerable – get eye exams, protect your feet and wear good shoes, monitor your kidney function, and do what you can to lower your risk of heart disease (keep cholesterol down, consider taking an aspirin a day, do not smoke . .  ).  Of course, these are general guidelines only – you should do all of this in consultation with your doctor.
  • And finally, consider enrolling in the GRADE study if you meet the criteria

GRADE study

There are oodles of treatments that are FDA-approved to manage Type 2 diabetes.  A healthy diet and exercise are important for everybody  After that, the first choice for most people will be a medication called metformin.  Medical data has shown that this is the most effective at safely bringing blood sugars under some control.

The problem is that for many people, metformin alone does not control the high blood sugars adequately.  In other words, metformin alone does not bring their glycosylated hemoglobin, or A1c below ~7%.  (You may have a slightly different goal based on factors unique to you, but for most people getting below 7% is a good goal).  So a second agent is needed, and that’s where there is not rock-solid data to tell doctors and patients what to use next.  Is it insulin? One of the older classes of drugs called sulfonylureas?  Or perhaps one should use some of the newer drugs, of which there are many.  After all, they are all FDA-approved, but after metformin we still don’t know which ones are best.

So that is the big question that the GRADE study is going to help us answer.  Check out the short video about GRADE:

If you have diabetes type 2, ask yourself these 2 questions:

  1. Have I had diabetes less than 10 years?
  2. Is metformin my only diabetes medication?

If the answer is YES to both of these, then you may qualify for the GRADE study.  If you enroll, you can expect the following:

  1. Ongoing care at the University of Minnesota (in Minneapolis, or at another GRADE site near you) for medical visits 4 times per year.
  2. You will get your diabetes medications at no cost to you.
  3. You will get your physical exam and diabetes lab tests also at no cost to you.

Great care for your diabetes, free tests and medications, and you will be doing an important service to people living with diabetes everywhere by helping us all understand the best treatments.  I encourage you to give the GRADE researchers a call.  Their University of Minnesota number is 612-301-7040 or e-mail them at grade@umn.edu.  If you live elsewhere, go to the GRADE site at gradestudy.com to find a location in your part of the country.

I really want to thank Dr. Betsy Seaquist for joining me this morning.  HCMC and the University of Minnesota are partners in clinical care and research!

Quick tips from Healthy Matters text line

I received way more questions from listeners than I can answer on the air Sunday mornings.  Here are short responses to a few text questions from today (I paraphrase the questions a bit here).

Is macular degeneration the eye condition associated with diabetes?  Although macular degeneration is a common eye condition, it is not the one we most associate with diabetes.  Diabetes does lead to a higher risk of retinopathy (sometimes with excess blood vessel growth in the eye), macular edema (swelling in the back of the eye), cataract, and glaucoma.   These are treatable conditions, so people with diabetes should get regular eye exams.

Is it possible to stop taking diabetes medications if I lose weight?  For many people, yes, this is not a myth.  Sometimes losing just 10-20 pounds may be enough to control blood sugars.  Certainly there is strong evidence that people who are very overweight and then get a weight-reduction surgery often are able to stop their diabetes medications almost right away.

Can prednisone raise blood sugars?  You bet it can!  We touched on this on the radio today a bit.  Any corticosteroid (like prednisone pills that you swallow, or intravenous steroids that some people in the hospital need, or even injections into your knee or other joints) can and usually do raise your blood sugar levels.  Usually the blood sugar levels come down after these anti-inflammatories are stopped, but be prepared to adjust your diabetes medications if you are also on these corticosteroids.  As always, consult your doctor before changing any of your diabetes medications and be sure to let your doctor know if you need to take these steroid medications.

Healthy Matters – next week on the radio:  Open Lines!  Get your general health questions ready.

 

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Quick tips: injecting goo into your knee

Time for a logo_healthy-matterstopic from the Healthy Matters mailbag.  Today’s “Open Lines” show was a busy one, and as is the case for these shows, I leave many questions from listeners unanswered, or not fully answered.  Mea culpa, Healthy Matters listeners!   Miss the show today?  You can always listen to the podcast at your leisure –  in your pajamas, in the car, while out exercising.   Anywhere you want.  You’re so connected like that.

I’ve picked just one of today’s queries to highlight here.

Injecting goo into your knee

Here’s a text from today’s show (paraphrased a bit):

“I recently had injections of hyaluronic acid over 3 weeks.  Now I’m having severe pains in knee and calf when walking. . . taking ibuprofen and resting and ice-packing . . . “

I can relate to this question since I’m no stranger to bone and knee pain.  Witness the body work I needed after a marathon a few years back.  I think I may actually be unconscious in this picture:

Napa Valley Marathon 064

Alas, injections of hyaluronic acid or steroids or fairy dust or salt water or anything else aren’t going to help me.  None of that is probably going to help the person who asked this question, either.

First, some definitions:

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the very common “wear-and-tear” type of joint disease (not to be confused with inflammatory joint problems, of which rheumatoid arthritis is the most familiar one).  In OA, the cushioning cartilage wears down over time, leading to pain with movement of the joint.

(Don’t get me wrong, my problem in the picture above is not osteoarthritis.  My problem is entirely self-inflicted but I’m going for the sympathy vote here).

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is the naturally occurring goo in your joints, which helps to lubricate the moving parts.  Viscosupplementation is the practice of injecting a manufactured version of hyaluronic acid into the painful joint.  By the rooster combway, viscosupplementation, although the proper medical term, doesn’t sound nearly as cool as injecting goo, so I’m going with the latter term.

Some brands of injectable hyaluronic acids are made from bacteria, I think.

Other brands are made from rooster comb.  Seriously.  I’m not making that up.  You are literally injecting chicken parts into your body with some of them.

 So does it work?

In a word, no.

It has long been proposed that injecting a manufactured form of HA will aid in the pain of osteoarthritis.  It does make some sense, I think.  After all, lubrication is good for the pistons in my Mini Cooper.  It worked for the Tin Man as well.  And people have been trying it for years.  A lot of years.  To be fair, many people do seem to report some relief from it.  If it is going to work at all, the relief should be expected to be delayed (a few weeks after the injection) but may last for many months.  And you can find some fairly respectable Internet sites that discuss it as a viable therapy.

The problem is that there is no convincing evidence that it has any significant clinical benefit.  This is where medical science comes in.  Research has been done (lots of studies), and it is to the science that we must turn.  Here’s the no-nonsense clinical guideline from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

“We cannot recommend using hyaluronic acid for patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee. Strength of Recommendation: Strong

You can read the whole guideline by clicking the link above – it is not exactly a page-turner but it is thorough and covers everything you want to know about knee arthritis.  You can believe these guys from AAOS.  The little teensy-weensy clinical benefit that may or may not be present from these injections just isn’t to be found.  May as well inject sugar water as best we can tell.

So what does work for osteoarthritis?

A whole lot of us, doctors and patients alike, wish we had a cure, or just better treatments, for the many people who have joint pain.  What we do have that has some scientific basis is what you might expect:

  • Strengthening and exercise program to build up the support structures of the joint.
  • Weight loss if overweight (BMI 25 or greater).
  • Use NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen.

So for our texter who raised the question, you raise a really good topic and I hope you get some relief!  Here’s my thoughts:

  • First, make sure you have tried a good course of physical exercise, including strengthening exercises.
  • Second, unless you have a contraindication to using them (and there are many – like heart failure, intestinal ulcers, kidney disease to name a few), then give the NSAIDS a try for a while.
  • Maybe not surprisingly, acetaminophen (trade name Tylenol) has not been shown to help much.
  • If your osteoarthritis is only mild to moderate (not severe), and you have received relief from the hyaluronic acid injections, then it may be something to consider for you (it does carry FDA-approval for what that is worth), but there is no evidence to support it and so I don’t recommend it for my patients.
  • If your pain is severe, see an Orthopaedic Surgeon.  Knee replacement does work for many people.
  • What about the symptoms the texter is experiencing – the calf and knee pain?  Well that could well be a side-effect of the injection itself.  Nothing is risk-free, including these injections.  Could be an infected knee (a serious problem which requires attention) or a fluid-collection or something else.  I recommend going in for evaluation to rule these things out.  I suggest an Orthopedic specialist or a Rheumatologist for that.

Thanks for listening to HealthyMatters and for checking out the blog!

Next week on the radio broadcast:  Diabetes – the latest research on controlling your blood sugars.

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Ready to launch . . . HCMC radio doc blog is here!

Welcome to MyHealthyMatters!

So where exactly do you get your health information?  Your doctor?  The evening news?  Your Aunt Mildred, you know, the one with the bunion and all the answers?   Maybe you just Google it.  Cable news channels (oh, please)?  The government?  Maybe the insurance companies, since they must have your best interest in mind.   How about just asking your Mom – she was probably right all along, anyway.

I hope to helpDRH HCMC Helistop, just a little.  Let me introduce myself, and explain why I am standing on a helicoptor pad on top of a building overlooking downtown Minneapolis.  (Hint – you can tell it is Minneapolis in winter by the utter lack of sunshine).

My name is David Hilden.  I’m a real doctor, serving the good people of Minnesota and beyond at Hennepin County Medical Center (hereafter known as “the Mother Ship”) in downtown Minneapolis.  We are the largest Level I trauma center in town, as well as a shining example of what health care can really look like at a safety net hospital.   Continue reading “Ready to launch . . . HCMC radio doc blog is here!”

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