Quick tips: influenza, angina, kidneys, & blood pressure

Hi, everybody.  I’m back with one of these “Quick tips” posts where I answer questions that were sent to me on a recent Healthy Matters radio broadcast.  Regular listeners will know that I never can get to all of the questions, particularly those sent by text message, so I will try here to do some brief answers.  I’ll keep it to just a few topics, and will do more posts in the near future.

Here are the topics in this post.  Click the links to jump right to a specific topic.

As always, I invite you to listen to the Healthy Matters broadcasts, either live or via podcast.  Here are ways to listen:

  • Live on News Radio 830 WCCO on your AM dial.  Sunday mornings, 7:30 Central Time.  You’d be surprised how far the WCCO signal reaches from our downtown Minneapolis studios.
  • Live on WCCO.COM.  Sunday mornings, 7:30 Central Time, from anywhere on Earth with Internet
  • At your convenience, via podcast.  Simply click on the “Listen to Podcasts” link right here on MyHealthyMatters.org or go directly to WCCO.COM on the “Audio” link and find Healthy Matters.   You can listen directly online or you can download the podcast to your phone, tablet, or computer and listen anytime at your own convenience.  Without commercials!
  • Or just click the logo here:

Podcasts

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Posted in Cardiology, Diabetes, Infections, Quick tips | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you need an annual physical?

I’m a doctor (duh).  I do annual physicals sometimes (duh, again).  But I recently was put in the position of debating another doctor – on live radio –  about whether or not the annual physical is doing anybody any good.

Of course, physicals help people to, well, stay healthy.  Right?  Not so fast!  This isn’t as simple a question as it may seem.

Do people really need an annual physical?

The big debate occurred about a couple weeks ago when I was asked to be on Southern California Public Radio, KPCC 89.3 FM out of Los Angeles.  I was on the long-running show AirTalk®, hosted by Larry Mantle.  It was set up as a “pro vs. con” debate between me and a physician-researcher from Harvard, Dr. Ateev Mehrotra.  Dr. Mehrotra has done a great bit of research on just such topics.

I invite you to listen to the audio segment from SoCal Public Radio.  It’s about 18 minutes long, and you can access it from their website, KPCC.ORG, under the AirTalk® section.  It ran on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 so go to that date in the archives and scroll to the bottom. Continue reading

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections, Preventive care, Primary Care | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Scenes from a frozen Minnesota lake

On Lake Harriet, Minneapolis

Hey.  This is going to be a weird post.

I went for a run today on a balmy January day near my home in Minneapolis.  Along the way I encountered frozen canoes by a lake shore, ducks swimming in a rare patch of open water, and thousands of people on a frozen lake – walking, swinging on gigantic wooden swing sets, biking, fishing, running, dressing up like butterflies, even standing in a circle while singing old hymns.  I saw guys running in shorts.  OK, that last part is not too weird, after all, it was 39 degrees today.  In Minnesota that qualifies as shorts weather in January.

Of course, I wore headphones playing a mix of Prince songs.  It was a terrific Minnesota kind of day.

I’m going to share a bit of it with you, my Healthy Matters friends.  There’s no medical talk here – no influenza or heart disease or illness or any kind.   To those of you feeling sick today, I hope you feel better soon!  But for now just some thoughts and pictures from a day when I felt really alive.  Surrounded by active, artsy, whimsical people.  Today I’m thankful for nature, for winter days, for my Minnesota neighbors – and I’m going to share a bit of it with you.

So if you wish, I invite you to check out some scenes from a frozen Minnesota lake .  .  .  (with some links to cool stuff) . . .

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Posted in Dr. Hilden's reflections | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Your arthritis questions answered!

By James Heilman, MD via Wikimedia Commons

Hey, what were you doing on Sunday morning, December 3?  I know what I was doing – I was on the air with my colleague Dr. Rawad Nasr – and we were talking about arthritis.  Dr. Nasr is a rheumatologist and the hour on the air just flew by.  We had so many questions that we only got to a small fraction of them.

I guess you all want to learn about arthritis!

I’ve been promising to do a post with Dr. Nasr’s answers to some of the questions we didn’t get to that morning.    I asked him to give written answers to listener questions, and he has begun that huge task, so the first batch of questions is here!

I do invite you to listen to the actual audio of the radio broadcasts, which are conveniently available as podcasts, without commercial breaks, for you to listen to on your computer or mobile device.  To do that, click this logo to reach the main podcast page, then select Healthy Matters show #465, December 3, 2017.

Podcasts

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Posted in Joint and Muscle issues, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

In case you missed it: our most popular topics

I have been writing My Healthy Matters for nearly two years, and over that time there have been over 50,000 views to the site.  To all of you who read along with me, THANK YOU!

I took a pause in writing new posts today to look at the statistics on what most of you are reading on the blog.  It is really fascinating to see what strikes your collective fancy, so I thought I’d do a little retrospective post to highlight the most popular posts of the past.  You may wish to go back and read what you missed.

I’ll rank them in order of popularity, based on number of people who viewed them in 2017, and I’ll include links to the posts in case you want to read them.

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Posted in Diabetes, Diet and exercise, Dr. Hilden's reflections, Health and wellness, Preventive care, Quick tips, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New blood pressure guidelines: 130 is the new 140

Dr. Marty Stillman reassures me about my blood pressure

For many years I have been telling listeners and patients that “one-third of you have high blood pressure and many of you don’t know it.”  Turns out I need to update that to “nearly one-half of you have high blood pressure and many of you don’t know it.”

That is because the American College of Cardiology / American Heart Association guidelines for hypertension – high blood pressure – were recently updated.  Like any good scientific process, the guidelines change as our knowledge of the science changes.  That is exactly what occurred this past month.

I mentioned all this on the most recent Healthy Matters radio broadcast.  I started the show off with this information, all of which you can listen to on the podcast by clicking Healthy Matters show #463, November 19,2017.

Your doctor may be . . . should be . . .  talking about this with you at some future visit.  In this post I’ll try to break the new guidelines down for you a bit.  If you read on, you’ll find:

  • New 2017 blood pressure guidelines
  • Bad effects of high blood pressure
  • A word about garden hoses and metal pipes.  Huh?
  • How to measure your own blood pressure.
  • Treatments for high blood pressure.
  • Tips about healthy living.

Let’s get to it.

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Posted in Cardiology, Diet and exercise, Health in the News, Preventive care | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Incontinence is a great topic for a Sunday morning chat

By Dschwen – via Wikimedia Commons

It is Sunday, November 12, and you get up in the morning like you always do, splash some warm water on your face, pour yourself a cup of coffee, maybe make scrambled eggs, and you sit down at the breakfast table for a relaxing start to your day.  Maybe you read the paper, maybe someone from your family is sitting across from you.

Then you turn on the radio and there are two guys having a conversation about . . . male incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

So much for the tranquil start to your day.

Those two guys talking about male parts and bodily functions were none other than me and my guest on Healthy Matters, Dr. Travis Pagliara.  He’s a urologist at Hennepin and our topic for this fall Sunday was male incontinence and other unsettling issues.  And you know what?  It was a blast.  Dr. “P” is super knowledgeable about a topic that most men don’t like to talk about but that has a big impact on their lives.  So read on for a bit of wisdom about the plumbing, gents.  And women, read on so that you find out what guys are experiencing  . . . but maybe aren’t telling you about.

Dr. Pagliara is a riot and if you are the least bit uncomfortable with this topic, I encourage you to listen to him on the podcast of the show.  You won’t be uncomfortable after listening to this guy.  He’s fun AND he knows his stuff. Check out the podcast by clicking the logo below.  You can also subscribe to the podcast on this link.  That way you can listen whenever you want on your computer or mobile device, without commercial breaks.  What could be better?

Healthy Matters show #462, November 12, 2017

Podcasts

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

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

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Posted in Cancer, HCMC, Preventive care, Primary Care, Tips from Healthy Matters radio broadcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is is a cold or the flu?

There’s a joke, probably only funny to someone from the great frozen tundra where I live, that goes something like this . . .

Q:  How does a person from Minnesota say “Hello”?

A:  (sniffles) . . . . “Hello.”

Get it?  It does seem like everybody around here has a runny nose and they’re all sneezing and coughing and talking with a scratchy throat.   In other words, a typical Minnesota fall.  Otherwise known as “cold and flu” season.  Not to be confused with “winter” which doesn’t start for another day or two.  Also not to be confused with the season of “road construction” which lingers on indefinitely or until the first foot of snow falls . . . .

So in keeping with the season, our Healthy Matters radio broadcast this past week had lots of buzz about colds and flu.  Perhaps the most common question I get:  How can you tell if it is a cold or the flu?

Glad you asked.  Real bread and butter medical stuff.

For starters, I can’t count how many times people insist to me that they have the flu – not a cold – because their symptoms are so much worse than everybody else’s.   And the fact is that influenza (the “flu”) causes more severe symptoms than does a cold.  But most of us, even those who feel pretty darn crummy, actually have a cold, not the flu.

To listen to the podcast of our most recent “Open Lines” Healthy Matters radio broadcast (without commercials!), click the logo here.

Look for Healthy Matters show #458, October 15, 2017.  You can listen while you read this post!

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Posted in Allergies, Health and wellness, Infections, Public Health | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Why we should care about kids’ teeth

By Frank Vincentz via Wikimedia Commons

I get approached fairly often by colleagues and regular folks with ideas for radio show topics.  With over 450 hour-long radio broadcasts so far, you may imagine that staying topical and interesting is something I hope to do.  But in all those shows over the past nine years, I have never done a show about dental health in children.  Not too surprising, I suppose, since my specialty is adult internal medicine, meaning I know very little about children’s health and I know just about nothing about teeth.  (I think there are 32 or them in the human mouth, right?  Or maybe it is 28?  They don’t teach teeth in medical school).

So when Dr. Eileen Crespo approached me to do a show about the oral health of children, I was intrigued.  Dr. Crespo is a pediatrician who has a keen interest and lots of expertise in kids’ dental health.  She suggested we include two our Hennepin’s terrific pediatric dentists and – voila – we had a radio show.

So I though I’d explore a bit why the dental health of children should matter to all of us of any age.  Here’s the gang who helped me in the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis for the show.   That’s Dr. Crespo on the left, and next to her are two pediatric dentists, Dr. Andrea Leyland and Dr. Elisabeth Fulling.  Click their names to learn more!

As always, I invite you to listen to the podcast of the show (it is shorter with no interruptions when in podcast form).  When looking through the podcasts, select Healthy Matters show #456 from October 1, 2017.

In this post I’ll look at:

  • Why the dental care of children matters
  • Some basic tips for promoting healthy teeth in kids
  • A call for more dentists for children

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Posted in Dental, Pediatrics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments