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:

Continue reading “Five tips for staying healthy in 2019 with Natalie Ikeman”

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MRI: a (hi-def) glimpse inside the human body

Five MRI images of the brain, all obtained in under 13 minutes. Photo courtesy Dr. Chip Truwit

CT, PET, MRI, IR, X-ray . . .  the world of radiology!  Perhaps you’ve encountered some of these tests, maybe had some of them yourself, maybe you even know what these letters mean.   For those of us in medicine, imaging studies are a critical and daily part of our work.  I order these tests all the time, and when the images show up on my computer screen, I take a look at them and marvel at them.  But then I call my radiology colleagues to tell me what I’m really looking at.

At Hennepin Healthcare in downtown Minneapolis the department of Radiology just installed the most advanced MRI machine in the country.  Before we launched the new magnet into public use – and “launch” seems the right word since the thing looks like something from NASA – the staff needed to warm the thing up.  So I volunteered to have an MRI done.

I had an MRI once before.  It was a couple decades ago for a running knee injury.  I remember it being cold, loud, lengthy, and rather claustrophobia-inducing.

Not anymore.

By Tobias from Wikimedia Commons

The new 3-Tesla MRI scanner at Hennepin’s Clinic and Specialty Center is awesome.   First of all, I was welcomed by the staff, then I changed into nice cloth gowns.  I got to pick the environment I wanted to be in from a touch screen on the wall.  Let’s see, do I want to be on a tropical island, in a forest with pandas, or maybe in an undersea fish scene?  I touched “Seychelle Islands” then entered the scanner.  The technicians put a visor-like thingie on my face, covered me with a blanket, then the woman with the British accent talked me through the scan while I watched the sea gently roll on the sand of the Seychelles on the screen in front of me.

I never even realized that my body was inside a huge magnet tube.  If fact, I fell asleep during my scan.

Three sections in this post if you read on:

  • Building the best radiology department right here in downtown Minneapolis.  What being patient-centered really means.
  • Like wheat in a field.  A short physics lesson.
  • The role of imaging in a public safety net hospital.  Something to get you thinking about healthcare for all people.

Continue reading “MRI: a (hi-def) glimpse inside the human body”

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A “Decade with Dave” – Mark your calendars

Hennepin Healthcare’s Clinic and Specialty Center

Wow.  Healthy Matters is in the midst of our 10th year on the air on WCCO Radio.  I am celebrating 10 years of joining many of you – over the airwaves – for breakfast, coffee, and some fun health and wellness chat.

To celebrate this “Decade with Dave” my Hennepin Healthcare crew and I are planning a really special event – a LIVE broadcast of Healthy Matters from our Clinic and Specialty Center in downtown Minneapolis.

We have never done anything like this before!

The show will be at its usual 7:30 am time on Sunday, June 10.  What I hope for is to fill the atrium of the Hennepin Healthcare Clinic and Specialty Center with Healthy Matters listeners.   I’ll have some of our favorite expert guests attending so you can meet them.  We’ll do a Q&A, check out the new building, and have coffee together. So mark your calendars for Sunday, June 10, and register for this free event by going to www.hennepinhealthcare.org/here4health to RSVP for the “Decade with Dave” celebration – seats will be limited!

Until then, I have a request . . .

Over the past “Decade with Dave” I have heard countless stories of listeners.   Among them:

  • Several of you come to the Minnesota State Fair every summer to hear the show live.
  • There was the person who listened to the live stream of the show from South Africa.
  • One patient at HCMC specifically informed the paramedics that he wanted to go only to HCMC because he was a loyal Healthy Matters listener.
  • Loads of you have told me that you listen to the show while getting ready for church.

So I want to hear your Healthy Matters story. To do so, please leave me a comment in the “Reply” section below.  Tell me where you listen from, or what church you attend when listening, or if you listen online, or the strangest place you have listened from, or anything else you want to share.

I’ll talk about some of our stories on the air in the coming months!

Here’s to you, my friends and listeners,

David  (aka host of Healthy Matters, aka the “Dave” part of “Decade with Dave”)

 

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Quick tips: Shingles and pnuemonia shots, blocked coronaries, antibiotics for dental work, HIV test

Hennepin Healthcare’s Clinic and Specialty Center

Hey, friends!  Here’s another “Quick tips” post in which I answer a few of the questions posed by listeners to a recent Healthy Matters radio broadcast.  As is often the case, I can’t get to all the questions, but this week’s grab bag of topics is a good one.

Read on.  Or if you are aurally inclined, you can listen to the podcast recording at your leisure by clicking the banner below.  The questions here are taken directly from listeners from Healthy Matters show #480, March 25, 2018.

I’m going to scatter pictures of our newly-opened Clinic and Specialty Center, which is a state-of-the-art medical facility in downtown Minneapolis.  Cool to see a new medical facility that still has that “new clinic” smell – ha!

Continue reading “Quick tips: Shingles and pnuemonia shots, blocked coronaries, antibiotics for dental work, HIV test”

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Get your mammogram questions answered here!

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I welcomed two outstanding experts to the WCCO studios for the live broadcast of Healthy Matters.  We focused on the common screening test – the mammogram – and tried to answer your questions about this well-known but still sorta mysterious test that women (and a few men) get all the time.

To help me, I turned to repeat radio guest and my friend Dr. Tony Severt.  He is the Assistant Chief of Radiology at HCMC (the mother-ship where I work) and is a expert in women’s imaging, including mammograms and other breast imaging (like ultrasound and MRI).

As an aside, there is a bit of wisdom that some doctors heed . . . that it is always good for us non-radiologists to have a “go-to” radiologist to help us when we need advice on the best imaging to order or how to interpret the imaging that we have.  Dr. Severt is my “go-to” guy!  He’s smart, really understands the patient perspective, and he is kind and willing to help.  So I dragged him down to the studio last Sunday morning.

But Dr. Severt is not the one who actually performs the mammogram.  That job goes to mammogram technologists who are highly skilled, patient-focused, and dedicated professionals.  These women (yes, the mammogram techs are all women as it should be) are supervised at HCMC by Leah Hahn.  Leah joined us in the studio to give the first-hand perspective of one who knows her stuff about mammograms.  For more about mammograms, click the HCMC radiology page here.  And for an advance look at Minnesota’s newest and finest breast care center, scroll to the bottom of this post!

As always, the best way to catch up on a past show is by listening to the podcast.  Click this logo to reach the main podcast page, then select Healthy Matters show #460, October 29, 2017.

Podcasts

The problem, as usual with a live radio broadcast, is that we never get to all the questions that people call and text in to us.  So the rest of this post is simply a Q&A.  I’m using the text questions that listeners sent and have asked Dr. Severt and Leah to give their responses.   Here they are . . . Continue reading “Get your mammogram questions answered here!”

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An insider’s view of the Emergency Department

I have a colleague at Hennepin County Medical Center who is into cool stuff.  He does a lot of biking, he does backcountry skiing in British Columbia, he raises bees in his Minneapolis backyard and makes honey from those bees – honey which has won awards at the Minnesota State Fair, no less.

And he tells a good tale.  His name is Aaron Rutzick.  One time he told me this one about a bike crash he had when in real-time he realized that his helmet was saving him as he hit the pavement with his head . . .

“I was riding down 3rd Ave in south Minneapolis at night, I think I hit a pothole or something in the road because I was going pretty fast and just went over my handle bars.  there I was, upside down, and yes … using my helmet.  I slid to a stop in front of some hipster bikers drinking beer.  They were sympathetic and seemed to have a keen understanding of that moment.  I was OK and took off for home before everything started hurting.  I’d say in general, I’m a pretty experienced commuter, riding most days in all seasons to get to work since 2001.  Thankfully, no car was involved, but it was a reminder that a bike crash could happen in a split second – so BE CAREFUL.  It didn’t keep me from riding, I’m certainly aware that you have to be on your game, especially with cars.  The Twin Cities has really developed its bicycle lanes over the last 10-15 years, and is one of the leading cities in the nation for supporting safe biking and bike culture.  Great place to live for this.”   – Dr. Aaron Rutzick

I especially like the image of Aaron flying over his handlebars in front of “hipster bikers drinking beer.”  Sort of sums up Minneapolis life.  I wonder if any of the hipsters looked like this:

By Lorena Cupcake [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Anyway, you should wear your bike helmet like Dr. Rutzick so you can live to tell about it. Continue reading “An insider’s view of the Emergency Department”

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Pets and peanuts! The scoop about allergies (VIDEOS)

By yasmapaz from Puerto Rico, via Wikimedia Commons

 

I like dogs.  And I like peanuts.  But like many of you, I also have allergies.  Many of us have a love-hate situation with dogs, cats, peanuts, pollen, dust, mold, trees, flowers . . .

Take a look at this puppy.  Seriously, I can’t even stand the cuteness.

 

 

John B. Sweet, MD

So this past week on the Healthy Matters radio broadcast, I coerced my medical school classmate, Dr. John Sweet, into joining me in the studio.  I’ve known John for years since we actually sat together in lecture back in med school.  He listened to the professor.  I just talked in class. Real surprise, there.

Anyway, John became a terrific allergist.  So this week after the show, we decided to record a series of short videos in which John gives us a few nuggets of solid medical info about allergies.  This post features two of those videos – one about pet allergies and the other about peanut allergies.  (Spoiler alert:  no one gets rid of their pet and yes you CAN give your little ones peanuts to help prevent allergies).

Not much reading on this post . . . you get to watch videos!  We’re all about multimedia so let’s get to it.   Continue reading “Pets and peanuts! The scoop about allergies (VIDEOS)”

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Getting to – and maintaining – a healthy weight

By D. Bernard & Co, Melbourne (photographer) Adam Cuerden (restoration) via Wikimedia Commons

It is practically an expectation in health and wellness forums to talk about weight loss after the first of the year.  New Year’s resolutions being all the rage in January.  Perhaps you plan to lose a few pounds this year?

For me, it’s always around the middle where I put on a few pounds.  You know, the little beer belly.  The muffin top.  The love handles.  Begone, all of ye!

I was doing so well last fall, eating right, exercising more and so forth.  Then winter in Minnesota hit.  Now it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon.  The perpetual ice slick on the sidewalks turn running or walking outside into a potentially bone-shattering experience.  I mean, literally, bone-shattering as in broken hips and wrists.  It has been so cold outside that your teeth hurt the minute you leave the house.

So I tend to hibernate a bit.  Evenings on the couch reading next to a warm fire, although evoking images of Norman Rockwell, are not the way to shed pounds.  Especially if I’m eating unhealthy foods all evening and maybe having a glass of wine with my chocolates.  Wow that is starting to sound good:  warm fire, wine chocolates, a good book . . . ah, but I digress.  I’m supposed to be talking about diet and exercise here.

 

Reminds me of a post I did about the challenges of staying active in northern climates. Check it out here.

To show you the depth of my dedication to the cause of fitness, I included a recent photo of me above.  Yup, that’s me all right.

Healthy life choices

So we talked weight loss and healthy livin’ on the show this week.

Natalie IkemanTo help me out, I invited a repeat guest to last Sunday’s Healthy Matters broadcast.  Joining me on the radio show was Natalie Ikeman, who is a Physician Assistant HCMC’s Golden Valley Clinic.  She runs “The Great Slim Down” weight loss program which you can check out here.

 

 

If you missed the show, you can to the podcast by clicking the “Play” arrow here: Healthy Matters logo alternate

 

Tips for losing weight and keeping it off

Natalie gave us some great tips from her work with patients trying to lose weight.  I’ll review some of them here.

Make goals.  

With her patients, Natalie meets monthly to set goals.  The good news is that they don’t have to be huge undertakings.  The goals can be small changes in your daily lifestyle which you continually adjust, a process which Natalie refers to as “turning up the dial” on your goals.

Just a few examples of achievable goals are:

  • Stress management tactics
  • Better food choices
  • Portion control when eating
  • Finding time for daily movement, like taking small walks on your lunch hour

Nothing big, nothing huge, just small changes to your daily routine.

People who are successful at weight loss have some common characteristics:

Natalie’s patients in the Great Slim Down have lost an average of about 16 pounds.  That is not only impressive but it is a sustainable amount of loss.  She points out a few characteristics of these patients:

  • They keep a daily record of their food intake.  The simple act of recording what you eat – whether on paper or using one of the many apps for your mobile device – makes a person aware and less likely to fool themselves into thinking they are eating healthier than they really are.  People usually eat more calories than they realize!
  • They are active often in their daily lives.  They find a way to move throughout the day.
  • They are striving to meet their own goals, not goals set by someone else.
  • They hold themselves accountable by sticking with it.

Pop (soda for those of you not from Minnesota) is not a healthy choice.

The sugar in soft drinks has virtually no nutritional value, and in fact, it probably leads to weight gain.  For more on that, see my previous blog post, “Just a spoonful of sugar . . . is really not good for you.”

After Natalie and I suggested that we ought to avoid so much sugary soft drinks, a few listeners asked if diet pop is healthier.  In a word, no.  Although diet soft drinks are probably better than sugary drinks, they also contain ingredients that lack much nutritional value.  Maybe stick to water!

So how about water?

For years, decades really, people have been taught to drink more water.  Most of us probably remember the “8 glasses a day” advice.  That is, in fact, what I told patients for years.  But the reality is that there is not a lot of scientific evidence that otherwise healthy people need to drink more water than they already do.  In other words, if you are thirsty you get a drink and if you are not, you don’t.

Photo: Jean Fortunet
Photo: Jean Fortunet

So that’s it?  Is that all there is to the water story – that it doesn’t matter?

Well, maybe not so fast. . . as we talked about on the radio program, there are some studies from this past year that suggest that there really is a benefit to drinking more water.  One study found that more water was associated with less obesity.  You can read about that one here.  Another study found that drinking more water made people consume fewer calories, – check out this article about that one from the Atlantic.

I should caution that no single study can be used to definitely prove anything.  Truth with a capital “T” is hard to come by in medical science!  So whenever I refer you to studies like these, I do so to get you thinking about your own situation and not to imply that one study is proof of anything.  Replication is the key in scientific studies (the findings of one study must be confirmed with separate studies).

But the water studies are at least thought-provoking.  It makes sense to me that if you are focusing your liquid intake on water, you will be less likely to drink soft drinks and fruit juices that are loaded with calories and sugar.  That has to be a good thing.

As Natalie said on the show, none of us should be “drinking our meals.”  Amen to that.

Move more

One half of the healthy equation is Eat Less.  The other half is Move More.  But how?  Most of us are not about to lace up our running shoes and hit the pavement for a long run.  Most of us can’t get to the gym for a run on the treadmill or an exercise class.  If you can do those things – great!

But lots of us have physical limitations that prevent vigorous work outs.  And gym memberships ain’t cheap!  So what can we do?

Let’s turn to Natalie again.  As a companion to “The Great Slim Down” program, she has produced a series of short videos to give you ideas for exercise that may be right for you.  Some are low intensity, others more vigorous.  Some require standing and moving while others can be done by people from a seated position.

Here’s an example of one of Natalie’s videos:

To see the rest of them, go to the HCMC YouTube channel.  If the link doesn’t work, simply search online for “HCMC YouTube channel” and click Playlists.  You’ll find them there.

Housework is good for you

Listen to the show podcast (the player is above in this post).  We talked about housework as a form of exercise.  And you know what?  It works.  One listener to the show moved nearly 10,000 steps in one day simply doing housework.  I complained that now I really have no excuse not to vacuum the house.  Rats.

The Great Slim Down

I’ll close with one last word about the Great Slim Down.  If you are in the Minneapolis area and struggling to lose some weight, maybe you should see Natalie.  Simply call 612-873-6963 or check out the Golden Valley Clinic site here.  No better time than now!

Thanks for reading.  Hope you are all having a good day, a good week, a good winter where ever you are!

David

 

 

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9th year of Healthy Matters. . . and you have homework

japanese_urban_expwy_sign_number_9Friends, in January we will be launching the 9th year of the Healthy Matters radio broadcast on WCCO 830 AM radio!

When HCMC decided to produce a radio show in late 2008, they put out a call for a host.  I was minding my own business practicing general internal medicine, when two friends of mine (thanks, Anne and Heidi) independently prodded me to audition.  After all, they both knew me well and pretty much said I talk a whole lot so why not give it a try.  So I did an audition tape at the Minneapolis WCCO studio and in January 2009 we launched the first Healthy Matters show.

I thought it would last 6 months or a year, tops.

That was 8 years and 416 shows ago.  9numbernineincircle

My friend and co-host Denny Long and I are still on the air because of one thing and one thing only: you the listeners!

 

Here’s the homework assignment

virginia_9

To celebrate our 9th year, I want to compile the Top Nine Reasons you listen to the show. So I have a request:  leave me a comment below  on this post with the top reason you listen to the show.

Or you can send me a Tweet @DrDavidHilden using the hashtag #HealthyMatters

Special Christmas Eve show

I’ll compile the Top Nine and read them on the air at our special Christmas Eve show, which will be on Saturday, December 24 at 7:00 a.m (Central time) on WCCO 830 AM in the upper Midwest and streaming live on WCCO.COM

200px-bundesautobahn_9_numberWhy do you listen?  Is it a specific medical topic?  Maybe you like the range of expert guests?  Maybe it is the Open Lines shows?  Maybe you just like the sound of Denny Long’s voice (I know I do!).  Maybe it is to hear me get stumped with a medical question that I can’t answer!  Maybe your wife makes you listen and you actually wish you were watching football instead.  Ha.

Whatever it is – leave a comment below or send it to me with a Tweet @DrDavidHilden using #HealthyMatters.

Maybe I’ll read it on the air on Christmas Eve!

motorway_exit_9_irelandAnd I am genuinely thankful for you, the listeners.  You’re the best.

-David

 

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Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.

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 “Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.”

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