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LEADING MEDICINE SP RING 06

DON'T FALL FOR THESE WORKS OF FICTION

Put Back Pain

Behind You 4 SIGNS

IT’S TIME FOR JOINT REPLACEMENT

YOUR LINK TO HEALTH INNOVATIONS, NEWS AND TIPS IN WEST HOUSTON/KATY


SausageStuffed

BAKED APPLES Hearty sausage and delicious apple juice mix for a sweet, savory dish

A

n apple a day actually may keep the doctor away. Researchers say both the fruit and the juice may reduce your risk of colon cancer. This hearty entrée combines the goodness of apples and their juice to create a sweet and savory dish that’s perfect for spring. INGREDIENTS: 1 8-ounce bulk raw sweet Italian turkey sausage or 2 3.9-ounce links raw sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed ⁄2 cup onion, minced

2 tablespoons currants

⁄3 cup apple juice, divided

1 s lice whole-wheat bread, toasted and cut into small cubes

1 2

⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon

1

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

4 large baking apples

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350° F.  ombine sausage and onion in a C large nonstick skillet. Brown over medium heat, breaking up with wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.  tir in 2 tablespoons apple juice S and scrape browned bits in skillet.  tir in cinnamon, almonds S and currants. Stir in bread cubes.

Core apples to create a large cavity.  eap 1⁄4 of the sausage mixture H into each apple.

Pour in remaining apple juice. Tightly cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes.

SERVING STATS:

Carefully remove foil.

Calories...................300

 poon pan juices over apples S and stuffing.

Total fat...................7.5 g

 ake 10 to 15 minutes longer or B until apples are tender when pierced with a knife.

Carbohydrates......49 g

Makes 4 servings (1 apple and 1 ⁄2 cup stuffing each).

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Protein.....................11.5 g Cholesterol............35 mg Sodium....................424 mg Fiber........................ 6 g

PHOTO BY THINKSTOCK

 emove skin from top quarter R of apples.

 tand apples in an 8-inch square S nonstick baking pan.


We’ve Got Your

BACK Learn about two common causes of back pain, and what you can do to heal

Back pain is like the common cold. Nearly everyone (eight out of 10 of us) will feel it at some point. With such a complicated structure at work — 24 vertebrae and Dr. B. Christoph 23 disks, plus nerves, Meyer the spinal column and muscles — it’s no wonder that back pain is so common. Want to put that pain behind you? First, you need to know what may be causing it. Dr. B. Christoph Meyer, a board-certified surgeon at Houston Methodist West Hospital, highlights two common causes and what to do to get back in action.

CAUSE: OVERTRAINING

PHOTO BY THINKSTOCK

SYMPTOMS: Lower-back pain that

can range from achy to stabbing, accompanied by stiffness and limited range of motion. WHAT’S HAPPENING: You’re probably familiar with this variety of backache — the most common source of back pain. “Tightness or fatigue in the muscles can result from overworking,

poor posture or unusual activities for that person,” Meyer says. “The muscles are reacting to the changes and protesting by causing pain in the lower back.” WHAT’S NEXT: While you can expect the pain to settle down in a few days, it’s important to maintain some level of activity in the meantime. Mild exercise will speed up your recovery. If the pain doesn’t go away in 48 hours, make an appointment with your doctor, Meyer suggests. Once you feel better, work to strengthen your back and abdominal muscles to avoid future strains.

CAUSE: HERNIATED DISK

SYMPTOMS: Sharp leg or hip pain,

or both, usually relegated to one side of the body. It may include back pain and numbness.

WHAT’S HAPPENING: Think of the

intervertebral disks in your spine as jelly-filled shock absorbers that sit between each of your vertebrae. A herniated disk occurs when the intervertebral disk’s gooey center pushes against the hard outer ring that houses it, putting pressure on nearby nerves, which may lead to a variety of symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, burning and muscle weakness. So what makes the disk bulge in the first place? Certain movements, including lifting, bending, twisting or pulling. WHAT’S NEXT: Avoid strenuous activity and talk to your doctor about what medication might help. While most people respond well to this treatment and can return to normal activities, some may need steroid injections or surgery. n

Meet Our Expert Physicians

For an appointment with Dr. B. Christoph Meyer, call 832.522.BONE (2663) or visit houstonmethodist.org/west.

CHECK OUT OUR DIGITAL MAGAZINE AT HOUSTONMETHODIST.ORG/NEWSROOM/NEWSLETTERS  3


Women’s Health

MYTHS Don’t fall for these works of fiction

T

here’s a lot of misinformation about women’s health out there, making it difficult to know what’s true. Here, we debunk five common myths that it’s time to retire.

MYTH #

1

NOTHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT URINARY INCONTINENCE.

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2

MOST BREAST CANCER IS HEREDITARY.

FACT: Only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are hereditary. Even so, it’s certainly useful to recognize if breast cancer runs in your family. After all, “if a woman does have an affected gene for breast cancer, she has a 40 to 80 percent chance of having breast cancer in her lifetime,” said Holt. Whether you have a genetic risk or not, you have control over factors such as exercising, limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, breastfeeding, and limiting use of combined hormone replacement therapy after menopause, Holt explains. But the biggest risk factors for breast cancer are two things you can’t do anything about: being a woman

PHOTO BY THINKSTOCK

FACT: While the condition is common, you don’t have to live with it. Urinary incontinence, which is the involuntary leakage of urine, has a number of treatment options, including behavior techniques and both nonsurgical and surgical procedures. Some also believe that urinary incontinence can occur only after a vaginal delivery. Whether you gave birth through a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section, you might experience incontinence afterward, according to Dr. Todd Holt, an obstetriciangynecologist at Houston Methodist West Hospital. Talk to your doctor about what you can do.

MYTH #


and getting older. So make sure you talk to your doctor about your situation and the best age to begin screening mammograms. MYTH #

3

WOMEN DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT HEART DISEASE.

FACT: Heart disease is the leading killer of women. It’s especially important for women to know the signs of a heart attack because they are more likely to have more subtle symptoms, such as jaw pain (instead of the classic chest pain), increased shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, or extreme fatigue. Plus, you need to understand your personal risk for heart disease

and have your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked regularly. Holt also recommends that as women get older, they consider seeing an internist or a primary care provider in addition to their obstetrician-gynecologist. “Medicine is becoming more specialized, and because of this, gone are the days when one doctor can manage all of your different needs,” he said. “Make sure you’re getting the specialized care you need. If you have cardiac risk factors, you want to make sure you have a doctor who can follow you and work with you to prevent a major cardiac event such as a heart attack.”

IF YOU’RE DONE HAVING CHILDREN, 4 YOU DON’T NEED AN ANNUAL WELLWOMAN EXAM. MYTH #

Talk to a Doctor

Call 832.522.5522 or visit houstonmethodist.org/ west to find a physician who can answer your questions.

UNDERSTANDING GYNECOLOGIC CANCERS You’ve heard it time and time again: Listen to your body. That’s because it’s true. Symptoms, such as abnormal bleeding or pain, are trying to tell you something. They could signal something harmless and easy to treat, but they can also be signs of cancer. Our chart highlights a few women’s cancers and the symptoms to watch for.

FACT: These annual exams are potentially even more important as you get older. “Yearly exams are designed to help catch things early,” said Holt. “As a woman ages, her risk for female cancers (breast, uterine, ovarian, cervical and vaginal) also increases. We do the exam to check for signs and symptoms.”

Symptoms

Cervical Cancer

Menstrual irregularities, which are important to review with your doctor yearly, can signal other health issues, he notes. And don’t confuse the well-woman exam with a Pap test. While a Pap test might not be necessary every year, the well-woman exam remains important. MYTH #

5

CALCIUM ALONE WILL KEEP YOUR BONES STRONG.

FACT: Calcium is important, yes, but vitamin D and lifestyle choices are also essential. “Women reach their peak bone mass by their 30s, and bone mass drops significantly the year leading up to menopause,” said Holt. “So it’s important not to wait until after menopause to worry about your bone health.” Doing regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, jogging, hiking and weight training, and not smoking are key to having strong bones. So is making sure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D. Premenopausal women need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, and postmenopausal women, 1,200 milligrams — preferably through diet. And 800 IU is a good daily goal for vitamin D, Holt suggests. n

Ovarian Cancer

Uterine Cancer

Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal bleeding or discharge that isn’t normal for you Pelvic pain Back pain Bloating A change in bathroom habits (increased frequency or urgency with urination or constipation or diarrhea)

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Is It Time? We break down the top four signs it might be time for a joint replacement Aches and pains are all just a part of getting older, right? Not necessarily. For many adults, joint pain can be a thing of the past thanks to joint replacement Dr. Christopher surgery. Read on K. Smith to find out if it’s time to talk to your doctor about upgrading your joints.

SIGN #1: JOINT PAIN HAS STARTED AFFECTING YOUR QUALITY OF LIFE.

When the pain in your knee, hip or shoulder becomes so bad that it limits everyday activities like walking, bending, climbing stairs and getting in and out of a chair, it could be time to seek help. Also, if the pain continues even when you’re resting or sitting down, or wakes you up at night, go ahead and call in the pros.

SIGN #2: YOU’VE TRIED OTHER TREATMENTS BUT NOTHING SEEMS TO HELP.

Ibuprofen can only do so much. Same goes for prescription medications, cortisone injections and physical therapy. For some people, these treatments can delay joint replacement, but for others, they just don’t cut it when it comes to relieving the pain of osteoarthritis.

SIGN #4: YOU’RE READY TO MAKE A FEW CHANGES.

To get the most out of joint replacement, you’ll need to put in some postoperative work. Physical therapy, maintaining a healthy weight and getting daily exercise will help keep your new joint working well for years to come. n

SIGN #3: YOU’VE LOST THE WEIGHT, BUT YOU’RE STILL IN PAIN.

Every extra pound you carry around puts an extra four pounds of pressure on your knees, according to the Arthritis Foundation, so it’s a no-brainer that losing excess weight can help relieve joint pain. But if you find that you’re still suffering, it may be time to consider surgery.

Make an Appointment

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PHOTO BY THINKSTOCK

If you are experiencing joint pain, call orthopedic surgeon Dr. Christopher K. Smith at 832.522.BONE(2663).


Here Comes the Sun A few simple actions will help you protect against skin cancer this summer With more than 2 million people diagnosed every year, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It’s one of the most treatable cancers when Dr. Katherine Cox diagnosed early, but it’s also largely preventable if you avoid the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. “These rays can cause damage in as little as 15 minutes, but a few simple actions can go a long way toward safeguarding ourselves,” said Dr. Katherine Cox, dermatologist at Houston Methodist West Hospital. Staying out of the sun is the first and foremost recommendation. But when you can’t avoid being exposed, the combination of sunscreen and protective clothing is your best bet. “Sunscreen alone is helpful, but

loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection,” said Cox. “Obviously, we can’t completely cover ourselves in fabric, so sunscreen is good for those areas of the skin that remain exposed.” A hat helps protect your scalp, face, ears and even your neck. Choose canvas over straw, which can let rays through its holes. Sunglasses not only protect the sensitive skin around your eyes, but they can also help prevent cataracts.

SUNSCREEN SAVVY

Be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes ahead of sun exposure and reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling off. Water-resistant sunscreen still needs to be reapplied often. You can use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 15, but the higher the number, the better.

PHOTO BY ISTOCK

Sign Up for a Skin Screening

If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer, you should visit a dermatologist for screenings. To learn more, visit houstonmethodist.org/west or call 832.522.5522.

Don’t forget to check the expiration date on sunscreen. That bottle from your cruise three years ago has most likely lost its effectiveness. If there is no expiration date, three years is considered the standard shelf life for sunscreen, but higher temperatures can shorten the lifespan.

WARNING SIGNS

Check your skin at least once a month for warning signs of precancerous or cancerous moles or lesions, using these ABCDE guidelines: • Asymmetry: One half does not match the other half. • Border: The border or edges are ragged, blurred or irregular. • Color: The color varies throughout the spot or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red. • Diameter: The diameter is larger than the eraser of a pencil. • Evolution: There is a change in size, shape or color. “If you find anything questionable, even outside the typical warning signs, be sure to ask your physician,” added Cox. “Skin cancer can present itself in a multitude of ways, so it is better to get checked early when it is more easily treated than to wait until it grows.” n

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Leading Medicine Spring 2016, Houston Methodist West Hospital edition  

Learn about two common causes of back pain, and what you can do to heal; the debunking of five women’s health myths; the top four signs it m...

Leading Medicine Spring 2016, Houston Methodist West Hospital edition  

Learn about two common causes of back pain, and what you can do to heal; the debunking of five women’s health myths; the top four signs it m...