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1026 A Avenue NE PO Box 3026 Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-3026


We apologize for mailing problems such as duplicate copies. If you have questions or concerns, please call us at 319/369-7044 or e-mail © 2012 by St. Luke’s Hospital, Cedar Rapids, IA

Spring 2012

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Healthcare information on your phone or computer

Call today.

LiveWell update Skin Cancer 101 (and screening) Tuesday, May 8 • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Take five minutes for a free skin-cancer screening appointment – if you’re not already seeing a dermatologist. Note: this is not a full-body screening; please identify specific areas of concern. An appointment is required, call early.

Living With High Blood Pressure Friday, May 18 • 1 - 2 p.m.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, commonly occurs in Americans of all ages and levels of fitness. There may be no obvious symptoms, but left untreated, hypertension can significantly increase your chances of stroke or heart attack. Learn more about high blood pressure – including risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and tips for managing chronic hypertension.

Dr. Thomas Warren, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa medical oncologist and Jane Stevens, cancer survivor

If you or a loved one has cancer, every second counts. You want answers and you want the best treatment. Call the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center. It’s time for Cedar Rapids’ only physician-led cancer center.

We’ll see you today.

These free events will take place at St. Luke’s Hospital, 3rd Floor Nassif Heart Center Classrooms. Register by calling 319/369-7395 or register online at

Learning FAST – one stroke patient’s journey

St. Luke’s Stroke Clinic

Experiencing a stroke last June – at only 48 years old – turned Gregg Driscoll into an advocate for FAST, the National Stroke Association’s quick test for recognizing the signs of stroke. “I wouldn’t be talking right now, today, if my wife didn’t understand FAST,” Driscoll said.

Thirty percent of people who’ve experienced a stroke will have a second stroke within five years. St. Luke’s Stroke Clinic works closely with stroke patients and their families to prevent recurrence.

Driscoll and his wife, Kim, were attending a family graduation in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, when he began feeling ill and went to bed early. Waking up some time later, he was unable to move or speak and rocked himself out of bed, breaking a vase and catching the attention of his brother-in-law. When Kim, a nurse, tested him for facial and arm weakness and speech problems, she realized he’d had a stroke and called 911. Her quick response saved him brain function. A neurosurgeon in LaCrosse placed four stents to keep the blood flowing to his brain. Five days later he was transported by ambulance to St. Luke’s Hospital. He soon moved to Physicial Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Call 319/369-7331 to learn more.

Gregg Driscoll is biking again and has ridden 300 miles since recovering from a stroke last spring.

“Every day they had a schedule in my room. Schedules for speech, physical and occupational therapy. It was like a work schedule. They work you very hard,” Driscoll explained. He couldn’t walk or write, and the team of therapists pushed and challenged him, using humor and compassion to motivate and inspire him. “If something happens they know how to overcome that issue. Everybody is so friendly. They make you feel good about yourself. They’re amazing people,” he said. When Driscoll left the hospital in July, 2011, he continued rehabilitation as an outpatient. Although he struggles with some left-side deficiencies and can’t drive, he has regained many abilities and returned to work. “You don’t see the healing of your brain,” Driscoll said. His advice to anyone recovering from a stroke is to expect setbacks, push yourself and embrace what you’ve accomplished. He said, “I don’t dwell on the ‘why me.’ I try to get better. I’m a very fortunate stroke survivor. I thank God about it every day.”

FAST – the Stroke

Association’s test to recognize stroke

F acial weakness? A rm weakness? S peech problems? T ime to call 911


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Living Longer. Living Well.

Health after cancer

Chronic kidney disease – A silent epidemic by Dr. Paramesh Ramadugu, IPC nephrologist More than 10 percent of people in the United States age 20 and older have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Most don’t know they have it. It occurs when kidneys gradually lose function over time, from several months to several years. About 35 percent of people with diabetes and 20 percent of those with hypertension are estimated to have CKD, which is usually irreversible, progressive and permanent. If untreated, CKD can lead to kidney failure, also called End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). CKD does not cause symptoms in most people until the disease is fairly advanced. This makes early diagnosis difficult. This is called the “silent” phase of the disease. As kidney function gets progressively worse, symptoms* become more apparent. When someone is diagnosed with ESRD, there are two choices: start dialysis or get a transplant.

The second time Todd Behrends dealt with cancer, he knew what not to do when his treatment was done. “Before, I didn’t exercise at first and it took a while to get back to normal. This time I wanted to be more aggressive and get back to normal quicker. And I did,” he said.

It is important to talk to your family doctor about your risk of developing CKD or to find out if you already have it. Your doctor can screen for CKD through blood and urine tests.

Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005 – which has been in remission for over five years – and colon cancer in 2010, Behrends was treated for both by Dr. Zenk, Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa, P.C. (PCI) Hematology and Oncology, and Amy Ganske, PCI nurse practitioner. He said they did an outstanding job and he’s now an experienced and healthy cancer survivor. “It takes a good year after you’re done with treatments before you’re completely back. During the treatments you lose a lot of muscle. It’s just hard on you,” Behrends said.

*Common symptoms of poor kidney function: decrease in amount of urination, night-time urination urge, fluid buildup, fatigue, bone pain and fractures, loss of weight and appetite, numbness in the feet or hands, nausea, trouble sleeping restless legs and trouble thinking clearly.

Risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease • • • • •

Age 50 and older Diabetes Hypertension Cardiovascular disease Obesity

• • • • •

Elevated cholesterol Kidney stones Prostate problems Urine infections Autoimmune diseases

• Urinary obstruction • Prolonged use of anti-inflammatory drugs like Aleve and Advil • Family history of chronic kidney disease

Learn more about kidney specialist Dr. Ramadugu at or call IPC, at 319/363-3565.

Ask the Expert: What is hypertension? Hypertension occurs when blood pressure is too high. Blood pressure is produced by blood flowing in the veins and arteries. When blood pressure is high it can damage the walls of the vessels and may cause heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. It does not make people feel bad and that is why it is called the silent killer. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers. The top number represents the pressure when your heart is contracting, the bottom number is the heart relaxing. Blood pressure is considered: Normal: Less than 120/80 mmHg Prehypertension: 120 – 139/80 – 89 mmHg Hypertension: Equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg To lower your blood pressure • Lose weight (if you are overweight) • Eat less fat and more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products • Reduce the amount of salt you eat • Get active for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week • Cut down on alcohol (no more than two alcoholic drinks per day) • Take medications regularly if prescribed by your doctor Dr. Abha Saxena, Nephrologist (Kidney Specialist) Internists, P.C.

Dr. Saxena specializes in treating high blood pressure and kidney disease. For more information, visit IPC, at or call 319/363-3565.

Cancer treatments make the body more susceptible to illness and sometimes cause other health concerns. Behrends stressed exercise regimes should begin slowly. “Once you get done with treatment, like colon surgery and chemotherapy, it’s difficult to start exercising safely,” Behrends said. He worked with a personal trainer through Cook Cancer Wellness Program to set up an exercise schedule that progressively increased as time went on. He also attended nutrition education to learn how to eat healthier. Behrends worked his way up to doing cardio exercises five times a week, along with light strength training. “After going through the different cancers, I’ve learned exercise gets you back to normal in a much quicker fashion than if you choose not to exercise,” Behrends said. “When you’re going through cancer treatment, you don’t realize things have the opportunity of getting better. Right now I’m feeling very healthy and very good.” Go to to learn more about the Helen G. Nassif Community Cancer Center’s Survivorship Clinic, or call 319/369-7116. Exercise helped Todd Behrends recover from cancer treatment.

New St. Luke’s services in Hiawatha On May 21, St. Luke’s Hiawatha Campus opens at 1001 N. Center Point Road, Hiawatha, offering Urgent Care, internal medicine, Imaging Services, Therapy Plus (physical and occupational therapy) and MedLabs. Two existing St. Luke’s clinics are relocating to the new campus, St. Luke’s Internal Medicine from 855 A Ave. NE and St. Luke’s Bowman Woods Urgent Care from 6911 C Ave. NE. St. Luke’s Bowman Woods Family Medicine will remain at 6911 C Ave. NE and will add Please join us at the a third healthcare provider in the fall. Look for Hiawatha Urgent Care wait times online at beginning May 21.

Hiawatha Campus grand opening July 16 Ribbon cutting • 4 p.m. Open house • 5 – 6 p.m.

How to spot medical fraud Track your services. Kris Gross from the State of Iowa’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) said, “When you get healthcare services, record the dates on a calendar and save the receipts and statements you get from your providers. Compare this information with the summary you get from Medicare to make sure you or Medicare weren’t billed for services or items you didn’t get.” Request a free tracking envelope to help spot billing errors. Call SHIIP at 800/351-4664 (TTY 800/735-2942). You can review claims three ways: • Check your Medicare Summary Notice. • Online, go to, a secure website to view your personal Medicare information. Your claims will generally be available within 24 hours after Medicare receives and processes the claim. • Call the Medicare Advantage Plan (for example an HMO or PPO) or the Medicare prescription drug plan you’re enrolled in for more information. If you see a charge that may be wrong, call the doctor, healthcare provider or supplier to ask about it. They may realize a billing error was made and correct it. If you contact the provider and suspect Medicare is being charged for a service or supply you didn’t get, or you do not know the provider on the claim, call 800/Medicare. SHIIP’s services are free, confidential and objective. Call 319/369-7475 for an appointment with a St. Luke’s SHIIP counselor.

St. Luke's Advantage Spring 2012  

Produced by St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids for Advantage members

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