Page 1

May 19, 2010 Vol. 5, No. 8

710 N. Illinois Ave. Carbondale, Illinois 62901 618-529-5454 • 800-228-0429 fax 618-529-3774 Publisher

Bob Williams Executive Editor

Gary Metro Editor

Cara Recine

618-351-5075 • Advertising Director

Abby HatďŹ eld

618-351-5024 • Art Direction/Design/Production

Rhonda M. Ethridge


MAY 19, 2010 In This Issue

Circulation/Database Marketing Coordinator


Older Americans

Specialists focus on an ever-growing population and its unique health care needs

Kathy Kelton 618-351-5049

Online Coordinator

The Southern Health Magazine is a monthly publication of The Southern Illinoisan. Contact us via mail at 710 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, IL 62901, or at PO Box 2108, Carbondale, IL 62902. Copyright 2008 by The Southern Illinoisan. The Southern Illinoisan (USPS 258-980) is owned by Lee Enterprises, Inc. of Davenport, Iowa. All rights reserved. For more information call 618-5295454 or 618-997-3356, or visit us online.

Health News Upcoming Events Kids’ Health Ban the tan Pet Health His Health Senior Health Her Health

INSIDE Every Issue

J. C. Dart

6 3 4 5 8 9 10 10 11

May is Older Americans Month, and it’s a good time to talk about our cover story and a new column that will begin in the June magazine. A few weeks ago, Gary Metro and I met with Dr. Neil Sharma, a geriatric specialist with the SIU School of Medicine and SIU Family Medicine. That Sharma is passionate about meeting the Metro needs of aging Southern Illinoisans was evident. We talked at length about the physical changes that occur, as well as the psychological eects aging has on people. We also talked about the need for help for caregivers of the elderly. The ideas for columns by the doctor came quickly, which in itself is a testament to the importance of this issue. Our cover story will give you Recine basics you need as you care for aging parents or enter into that phase of life yourself. And be sure to watch for the June magazine and read Sharma’s ďŹ rst column. I guarantee you’ll learn something important about aging well and gracefully. The story begins on Page 6. Our secondary story – Ban the Tan – is not a new story. Everyone has heard about the dangers of tanning. What is new is that the rate of medical problems being reported relating to sun exposure. And what struck me as particularly interesting and informative is the fact if you have even a light tan, you have damaged your skin. The story isn’t only about tanning. See what you need to know about bug bites and those dreaded poisonous vines. Read it on Page 8. – Cara Recine

Comments and suggestions?

We look forward to hearing from you. Send an e-mail to For the latest health and ďŹ tness news, pick up Tuesday’s Southern Illinoisan for Mind & Body news. Check out for more features.

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Monday-Friday 10am-4pm & By Appointment

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May 19, 2010



health news No-cost health care: Touch and massage for cancer patients Simple touch and massage techniques, easily learned and safely administered by family members, reduce symptoms of cancer and side-effects of cancer treatments. Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, a recent research study has revealed that touch and massage, routinely administered by care partners significantly reduces the effects of cancer and the sideeffects from its treatment while providing comfort and improvement in the quality of life. During the study, family caregivers learned touch and massage techniques from an instructional DVD. “The magnitude of the impact of family members was unexpected. Our research found significant reductions of pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression and nausea when massage was routinely administered

at home by family and caregivers,� states lead researcher William Collinge. The study found massage by family members reduced stress/anxiety (44 percent reduction), pain (34 percent), fatigue (32 percent), depression (31 percent) and nausea (29 percent). “The discovery that family members can learn and administer simple massage techniques that can consistently reduce stress is significant. Stress is a constant that negatively impacts the lives and well-being of cancer patients,� states Collinge. “Both cancer patients and caregivers benefit because massage appears to strengthen the relationship bond. Massage provides the caregiver a way to make a difference.� — National Institutes of Health

How to eat with (and for) good form How you eat — not just what you eat — can help control weight and keep your digestive tract healthier, dietitians say: Sit down. Don’t eat while walking around, working, driving or watching television. Distractions make you more likely to overeat. Take small bites. One good measure: aim for half-inch squares when cutting chewier foods such as meat or fish. Drink between bites. Don’t use liquids to “wash down� big chunks of food. Not only is it a choking hazard, you put more strain on your digestive system. Take small sips of water after each bite to slow your pace. Chew well. Your food should feel like mush before you swallow. That gives digestive enzymes in your saliva a chance to begin breaking down food before it reaches your stomach. ‘Chew’ semi-liquid foods, too. Don’t just gulp down yogurt, soup and other items with similar consistency. Again, some time in your mouth will ease the burden on your lower digestive system. Put down your silverware. After each mouthful of food, lay your fork or spoon on your plate. Swallow completely before your next bite. Don’t copy your companions. The pace at which fellow diners are eating doesn’t matter, worry about your own plate. Don’t talk with your mouth full. You’ll swallow more air, which can lead to burping and digestive discomfort. Wait before getting seconds. Your brain generally needs 15 to 20 minutes to receive a signal from your stomach that you are full. If you eat until you’re stuffed, you’ve eaten too much. Eat when you’re hungry. You don’t have to follow the typical 9 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. meal schedule. You may do better with more frequent but smaller meals. — McClatchy-Tribune News



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Visit us at May 19, 2010


The Southern HEALTH Magazine



upcoming events

Southern Illinois Workshops and Seminars

Blood Drives

Classes, Seminars and Events

American Red Cross blood drives, Southern Illinois

Saturday Morning Yoga

May 21: 3 -7 p.m., Mount Vernon Eagles, Mount Vernon May 22: 8:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, Mount Vernon May 23: 12 - 4 p.m., Elks Lodge 572, Murphysboro May 23: 1 -5 p.m., Galatia First Baptist Church, Galatia May 24: 8 a.m.- 12 p.m. Chateau Girardeau, Cape Girardeau May 24: 2 - 6 p.m. First United Methodist Church, Carbondale May 24: 2-7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, Harrisburg May 24: 3-7 p.m., Cutler Community Center, Cutler May 25: 1-5 p.m., Aldersgate Methodist Church, Marion May 25: 2-6 p.m., Mount Vernon Fire Department, Mount Vernon May 25: 3-7 p.m., St. John Nepomucene, Dahlgren May 26: 10:30-3:30 p.m., Heartland Regional Medical Center, Marion May 26: 2-6 p.m., American Legion Post 127, Murphysboro May 26: 3-7 p.m., Unity Point School, Carbondale May 27: 10 a.m.-2 p.m., VFW Hall, Cape Girardeau May 27: 2-6 p.m., Grand Tower Civic Center, Grand Tower May 29: 12-6 p.m., Hickory Point Mall, Forsyth June 1: 12-6 p.m., Perryville Park Center, Perryville June 5: 12-4 p.m., Equity Masonic Center, Equity June 15: 1-6 p.m., United Methodist Church, Eldorado

Conferences and Workshops Free Skin Cancer Screening

When: 3:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 Where: St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, O’Fallon Medical Building, Registration: 618-235-8500 Dr. David Haymes of New Dimension Cosmetic and Reconstructive surgery will perform free skin cancer screenings. Screenings limited to specific lesions (not entire body). Screenings are free but pre-registration is required.

Bariatric Surgery Information Series

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 27 and Thursday, June 10 Where: Herrin Hospital, Conference Room B/C Registration: Pre-registration necessary. Call 618-988-6171. Dr. Naresh Ahuja, M.D., bariatric surgeon and medical director of the New Life Weight Loss Center at Herrin Hospital, will hold a in a series of upcoming informational sessions for those considering the surgery. These informative sessions highlight lifestyle changes necessary to have a better quality-of-life. Please call 618-988-6171 to pre-register. The session is free.

Parish Nurse Basic Preparation Course

When: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 9 and 23, July 7 and 21 and Aug. 4 Where: John A. Logan College Registration: June 1 deadline. Call Jo Sanders at 618-457-5200, ext. 67830 or e-mail Sponsored by SIH, the five-session, parish nursing basic preparation course focuses on the promotion of health within the context of values, beliefs and practices of a faith community. The course is designed for registered nurses who want to become part of a ministry team by using their skills and learning how to spiritually care for patients. The course provides more that 20 contact hours for continuing education. Current R.N. licensure required as well as three days experience. Cost is $200 for all five sessions which includes course materials, contact hours, lunch and a parish nurse pin.



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When: 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21, 28 and June 7, 14 Where: One O One Yoga, Carbondale Registration: Shanti Miller 618-457-7896 This yoga class cultivates the positive mind and heart. Learn precise alignment of the body and coordination of movement with the breath while exploring and expressing the deeper attitudes of the poses – from the inside out. $12 drop-in price. Packages available at discounted price.

St. Elizabeth’s Sibling Preparation Class

When: 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, May 24 Where: St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Belleville Registration: 618-234-2120, ext. 2300 Designed for Children 3 to 10 years of age who are anticipating the arrival of a sibling, the class offers them an opportunity to develop positive feelings about a new sibling and to become familiar with the hospital setting. Parents are expected to attend with their children.

Western Baptist Hospital GirlTALK

When: 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 Where: Western Baptist Hospital, Doctor’s Office Building 2, Atrium Classroom Registration: 270-575-2229 Class helps preadolescent girls learn about their changing bodies and help them feel more self-assured and confident about becoming women. Class is free but registration is required.

Western Baptist Hospital Breastfeeding Classes

When: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 or 9-11 a.m. Saturday, June 12 Where: Western Baptist Hospital, Doctor’s Office Bldg 2, Atrium Classroom Registration: 270-575-2229 Class helps expectant mothers prepare for the breastfeeding experience. Free.

I Lost a Child Support Group

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, May 25 and June 1, 8 and 15 Where: Christian Covenant Fellowship Church, Carterville Registration: 618-549-0721, ext. 65291

Williamson County Diabetes Support Group When: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 26 Where: University of Illinois Extension Office, Marion Registration: 618-993-3304

St. Elizabeth’s Evening Childbirth Class

When: 6:15-8:45 p.m. Wednesdays, May 26 and June 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 Where: St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Belleville Registration: 618-234-2120, ext. 2300 This six week series teaches relaxation techniques, controlled breathing, offers pain control options. Included are an introduction to inductions and Cesareans, a discussion of infant care and a hospital tour of Labor and Delivery, Postpartum and Nursery. Call for more information.

Western Baptist Sibling Class

When: 5-6 p.m. Thursday, May 27 Where: Western Baptist Hospital, Doctor’s Office Bldg 2, Atrium Classroom Registration: 270-575-2229 This class helps prepare children ages 2 to 9 for the arrival of a new brother or sister.

May 19, 2010

SIH Mended Little Hearts

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, May 27 Where: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Conference Room C Registration: Stephanie Hill 618-318-2863 Mended Little Hearts connects families in crisis with other parents who have survived the shock of learning a child has a heart problem, navigated the maze of medical decisions and procedures, and mapped out a plan for the future. The group meets the fourth Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. Free.


When: 6:30-7:30 Thursday, May 27 and June 3, 10 and 17 Where: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. Conference Room D, E or F, behind the gift shop. Registration: None required. For questions call Sandy Fark at 618-453-4271. Learn how your baby is developing, meet other parents and share stories, let your baby make some new friends, learn more about being the best parent you can be, be supported in the role of your child’s first teacher. The program is sponsored by Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Southern Region Early Childhood Programs and WSIU Public Broadcasting. The program is free and open to parents and their babies age 0-3.

Western Baptist Hospital Relaxing from Within

When: 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 1 Where: Western Baptist Hospital, Doctor’s Office Bldg 2, Atrium Classroom Registration: 270-575-2229 Class designed to help expectant mothers become more familiar with relaxation techniques. Distraction methods, breathing, birthing positions, comfort measures and massage will be taught. Participants are asked to bring a blanket, pillow and support person. Free.

SIH Southern Illinois Parkinson’s Support Group

When: 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 2 Where: SIH complex, University Mall Registration: 618-684-4282 For Parkinson’s disease sufferers and their family, friends or caregivers. Group meets the first Wednesday of every month. Free.

SIH Prepared Childbirth Course

When: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 5 and 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays, June 8, 15, 22 and 29 Where: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Registration: SIH Physician Referral and Event Registration Center, 866-744-2468 Mothers and fathers will prepare both mentally and physically for participation, sharing and individual satisfaction in pregnancy, labor, birth and introduction to parenthood. Reservations required

Women with Hope Breast Cancer Support Group

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 5 Where: The Breast Center, Carbondale Registration: 618-521-3915 or e-mail Support for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Western Baptist Hospital Diabetes Class

When: 1-4 p.m. Monday, June 7 and Wednesday, June 9 Where: Western Baptist Hospital, Paducah

Registration: 270-575-2918 All classes are led by Kathy West, Western Baptist Hospital’s Certified Diabetes Educator, and follow the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines. Classes are free. Registration is suggested.

Western Baptist Prepared Childbirth Class

When: 5-8 p.m. Monday, June 7 and 14, or 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, June 19 Where: Western Baptist Hospital, Doctor’s Office Bldg 2, Meeting Room A-B Registration: 270-575-2229 Class designed for expectant parents in 2nd or 3rd trimester.

Western Baptist Hospital Childbirth Refresher Class

When: 5-8 p.m. Monday, June 7 Where: Western Baptist Hospital, Paducah Registration: 270-575-2229 Participants will join the first session of the regular Prepared Childbirth Class.

SIH Life with Baby

When: 6-8 p.m. Monday, June 7 and 14 Where: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Registration: SIH Physician Referral and Event Registration Center, 866-744-2468 This class empowers parents by offering an opportunity to gain knowledge and comfort with baby basic care. This is a two hour class that will be taught on two consecutive Mondays. Prospective parents are asked to bring a baby doll and receiving blanket to the class.

Franklin County Diabetes Support Group When: 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 9 Where: Franklin Hospital, Benton Registration: 618-439-0951

SIH Breastfeeding Basics Class

When: 3-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, and 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17 Where: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Registration: SIH Physician Referral and Event Registration Center, 866-744-2468 Breastfeeding is more than just a way to feed a baby! Learn the benefits that breastfeeding provides to both baby and mother. A certified lactation consultant will share information and give suggestions to help get breastfeeding off on a good start. Free.

United Ostomy Association Support Group When: 3-4 p.m. Thursday, June 10 Where: Herrin Hospital, Conference Room 1C Registration: 618-942-2171

SIH Big Kids and Babies Sibling Class

When: 10-11 a.m. Saturday, June 12 Where: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Registration: SIH Physician Referral and Event Registration Center, 866-744-2468 Designed for children 3 to 7 years old, this class offers upbeat information on becoming a big sister or brother. Children develop an understanding of the special needs their new sibling will have. They are encouraged to bring a stuffed animal or doll so they can practice holding, diapering and being a good helper to mommy and daddy. Parents will want to bring a camera as the children have fun dressing up as a doctor or nurse.


kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; health

If you need help to maintain your independence, You may qualify for the Illinois Supportive Living Program.

Spanking is out, talking is in for most parents Misbehaving is part of growing up and learning right from wrong. Parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; choices of discipline for their kids today include a wide range of options, from verbal discussions to physical punishment. But these days, how do parents let kids know they have stepped out of line? In the latest C.S. Mott Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital National Poll on Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Health, the three most common discipline strategies parents report they are very likely to use include: ď Ź Explain or reason with the child â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 88 percent ď Ź Take away a privilege or something the child enjoys â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 70 percent ď Ź Put child in a time out or grounding â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 59 percent â&#x20AC;&#x153;Results of this national study indicate that the vast majority of parents are choosing not to spank or paddle their kids,â&#x20AC;? says Dr. Matthew Davis, associate professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases in the CHEAR Unit at the U-M Medical

School. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While physical discipline is an option for some parents, the majority of parents are opting for verbal ways to get their points across.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Especially in light of recent research that points out how spanking can have negative affects on children, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to know that spanking and paddling are not the national norm among parents today,â&#x20AC;? Davis adds. Results of this poll show that 22 percent of parents report that the they are very likely to spank their children, while 10 percent paddle their children. Parents of preschool children are more likely to spank than parents of older children. Researchers also found differences in choices of discipline by region. Parents who live in the West (31 percent) and South (20 percent) are more likely to spank their children compared to parents in the Midwest (16 percent) and Northeast (6 percent). â&#x20AC;&#x201D; National Institutes of Health

Is your child ready to use a potty? Children are usually ready begin potty-training around ages 18-24 months. They often signal that they are ready by letting you know when their diapers need changing. You should be prepared to commit to three months of daily encouragement. Successful trips to the potty should be rewarded. Missteps shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get as much attention. Training requires patience. If it is not successful, it may mean your child is not ready.

Many children wet the bed until they are 5 or even older. A childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bladder might be too small. Or the amount of urine produced overnight can be more than the bladder can hold. Some children sleep too deeply or take longer to learn bladder control. Children should not be punished for wetting the bed. They donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it on purpose, and most outgrow it. Until then, bed-wetting alarms, bladder training and medicines might help. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; National Institutes of Health

The Program enables you to... â&#x20AC;˘ Live in your own private apartment. â&#x20AC;˘ Receive the personal assistance you need. â&#x20AC;˘ Benefit from the availability of three meals a day, housekeeping, and laundry service. â&#x20AC;˘ Enjoy the companionship of friends and neighbors and the opportunity to participate in social, recreational and educational activities. Seniors on Medicaid or who only receive Minimum Social Security Payments can qualify. For further information, call our Supportive Living Community




Apartments available for immediate Occupancy for low income order adults!!!




May 19, 2010


The Southern HEALTH Magazine




Make it fun Healthy Seniors Fun Fest

Americans Specialists focus on an ever-growing population and its unique health care needs

Take advantage of a fun festival and get the information you need to stay healthy at the Healthy Seniors Fun Fest. The festival, which will be at John A. Logan College in Carterville, will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, June 11. There will be lots of exhibits, as well as entertainment, music, dancing, lunch and door prizes. A donation of $3 is requested and places must be reserved. Call The Second Act at 877-480-4040. The festival is being presented by the Franklin/Williamson Healthy Seniors Action Team, as well as many local sponsors.



problems, chronic health conditions, medication management, emotional and social issues, living arrangement, financial concerns and family issues. “Geriatric medicine is the specific subspecialty of medicine that is focused on understanding the needs and providing appropriate medical care to the geriatric population,” said Dr. Neil Sharma, who is with SIU Family Medicine in Carbondale. “Medical issues change according to age demographics,” Sharma said. “Whether it may be the management of chronic medical issues such as heart disease and diabetes, preventative medicine in the form of screening for various cancers, osteoporosis, dealing with end of life care or even formulating exercise and weight loss regimens for the weekend warrior, the geriatric provider has a special expertise in these issues.” To meet the needs of America’s aging population, geriatric medicine clinics are popping up nationwide, including in Southern Illinois. Dr. Sharma is chief resident with the geriatric clinics sponsored by the SIU School of Medicine at the SIU Family Medicine office in Carbondale and West Frankfort Family Medicine office in West Frankfort. Both clinics put an emerging generation of geriatric medicine specialists in touch with the people who need them most. “The family medicine residency People older than 60 or their caregivers can call for an appointment at program at one of the these geriatric clinics sponsored by the SIU School of Medicine: SIU offers specific training West Frankfort Family Medicine SIU Family Medicine in geriatric SIU School of Medicine SIU School of Medicine medicine, and it Miners Memorial Health Center 305 W. Jackson St., Suite 200 is an integral part 2553 Ken Gray Blvd. Carbondale, IL 62901 of our teaching,” West Frankfort, IL 62896 618-536-6621 Dr. Sharma 618-932-3937 9 a.m.-noon Thursdays said. “Before 9 a.m.-noon Tuesdays graduating from

ay is Older Americans Month in Illinois, and the face of America is, indeed, getting older. The aging Baby Boomer population — with the first wave celebrating their 64th birthdays this year — are leading the trend toward a more “gray” America. Also, many of the parents of these Baby Boomers are living well into their late 80s and even 90s thanks to improved access to better medical care, among other cultural and lifestyle factors. So, it’s no surprise that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 14 percent of Americans will be 65 years old or older in 2015. That percentage is expected to jump to nearly 20 percent by 2030. Caring for this expanding elderly or “geriatric” population poses new challenges for health care providers. Just as pediatricians provide specialized care for infants and children, a new generation of geriatric medicine specialists is responding to the unique health care needs of Americans age 60 and older. According to the American Geriatric Society, geriatrics is focused on improving the quality of life for older adults. Geriatricians are trained to consider all of the aspects of the elderly patient’s situation when providing care — mobility and balance issues, mental acuity, vision and hearing

Geriatric Clinics in Southern Illinois



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May 19, 2010

the program, each resident will gain a high level of proficiency in geriatric care.” As with typical doctor’s visits, normal Medicare co-payments and deductibles apply, and most secondary insurances pay remaining balances for geriatric clinic appointments. But that’s where the similarities end.

What to expect at a geriatric clinic appointment “Patients should expect to allow about an hour and a half for their appointment at the geriatric clinic rather than the typical 15-minute doctor’s visit,” said Emily Clutts, licensed clinical social worker with the SIU School of Medicine. “Our patients are often referred to us by other physicians or by family members, but anyone 60 or older who is experiencing age-related concerns, such as memory issues, can make an appointment with the geriatric clinic.” Clutts said even senior citizens who are generally healthy now but may be starting to experience one health-related issue, for example, would benefit from the full health assessment provided at the clinic. That initial visit will provide a baseline of the person’s health that can help alert the physician to any significant changes or new age-related issues at future appointments. Clutts is one member of a geriatric medicine team at the SIU geriatric clinics, — physician or resident, dietitian and social worker — who assess the patient across a wide range of areas. The dietitian interviews the patient about his or her eating habits and diet and recommends changes, if necessary, for improving nutrition. Next, Clutts or another social worker on the team will evaluate the patient against an “activity of daily living” scale to determine if the patient can take care of himself or herself independently or would need assistance from a caregiver. Clutts also usually performs screenings to determine if the patient is suffering from depression or has

memory issues that interfere with daily activities. Next, a physician or one of the residents from the SIU School of Medicine performs a comprehensive physical exam, which may include lab tests if they need more information to better evaluate the patient’s condition. The physician will also review all of the medications the patient takes to help ensure against dangerous interactions, so patients are asked to bring their actual medications to the appointment. Also, because falling is a common risk for the elderly, the physician’s team will also work with social services agencies to recommend preventative measures, such as installing railings in a bathroom. Caregivers also play a big role in the geriatric care process. “It’s especially helpful if the patient can bring along a caregiver or someone who regularly helps them or lives with them to the appointment,” Clutts said. “Their observations can help us make a more comprehensive evaluation.” Clutts said caregivers have told her they’re grateful for the amount of time the geriatric clinic’s team spends with their loved ones. “They feel as if their loved ones really received a thorough assessment,” Clutts said. “Sometimes the geriatric patient may not be fully aware of all of the intensity that goes into it, but the caregivers feel that it gives them some added support in helping their family member or loved one.”

Care beyond the clinic Helping the elderly maintain a good level of independence is another goal of geriatric

Meeting your needs Dr. Neil Sharma, a geriatric specialist with the SIU School of Medicine, will begin a regular, monthly column addressing the needs of older Americans and their caregivers. Watch for June’s Health Magazine.

TOM BARKER / THE SOUTHERN Dr. Neil Sharma of SIUC Family Medicine talks to Second Act members about health problems senior citizens should be looking for during the program’s Learn and Lunch event earlier this year at Southern Illinois Healthcare in University Mall in Carbondale.

medicine. As such, these geriatric services are sometimes provided not just in clinics, but also in the home and in assisted living and nursing home facilities. Both the patients and the doctors benefit from this more personal, focused brand of healthcare. “I personally have provided care in multiple in-patient and out-patient settings, including nursing homes,” Dr. Sharma said. “My experiences have led me to take a 360-degree approach to treating elderly patients in not just focusing medical issues, but also taking into account the many social issues they face. Therefore, it is important to have social services, home health, and case managers involved in the management of the geriatric patient. And I enjoy coordinating these services and others for my patients.”




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May 19, 2010


The Southern HEALTH Magazine



Ban the tan

Skin cancer, other problems occurring at high rates

BY LES O’DELL Kimberly Lillig loves summer. While the season gives Lillig a chance to enjoy long evenings and being outside, local dermatologists say the relaxed nature of summer should not lead her to forget about caring for her skin. In fact, they say skin care is more important in the summer than any other time of year. “The sun is at its closest and strongest during the summer months,” says Dr. Ted G. Van Acker, owner of Southern Illinois Dermatology. “The most damage is done during the summer months as people use less protective clothing and are outdoors more.” It’s a combination that makes for lots of skin problems, says Dr. Sean Burke, a dermatologist with offices in Herrin and Murphysboro. “As far as summer goes, we have issues with ultraviolet exposure, and we see lots more contact allergens such as poison ivy. Insect bites are also a problem,” he says.

Sun blocks, bronzing and burns Burke says the problem with the summer sun is astronomical, literally. “What makes summer different is that the intensity of the UV light is much higher than any other season because of the axis of the earth,” he explains. The intensity can quickly lead to sun-related problems such as sunburns, sun stroke and sun eruptions, called polymorphous light eruptions, which appear as a rash. Van Acker urges prevention. “The most important issue is limiting the amount of exposure,” he says. He adds that people should avoid exposure to the sun’s rays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the rays are the strongest. “Using a sun block with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher should be part of a person’s daily routine,” he adds. SPF is a measure of protection from the

STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN Dr. Sean Burke inspects a few questionable spots on the arm of Kendall Adams of Carbondale during a visit to Burke’s office in Murphysboro.



The Southern HEALTH Magazine


‘A tan usually means there’s already some damage. It’s a way for our bodies to protect our DNA from being harmed.’ — Dr. Sean Burke, local dermatologist

radiation of ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays. Burke says even though the American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of 15, a block with an SPF of 30 is much better, providing 98 percent of complete protection. He warns, however, that users have to be certain to apply and reapply the correct amount. “People often don’t use enough sun block because they don’t like the feel of it, but you have to use more to get the block you need,” he says. “Keep in mind that it doesn’t last all day. You have to reapply every 1 ½ to 2 hours. If you’re sweating, do it every hour.” He also recommends protective clothing, including long-sleeve shirts, long pants and widebrimmed hats. “For folks who have short hair or no hair, a hat is a must, especially broad-brimmed ones. Caps are fine for your forehead and nose, but your cheeks and ears are still exposed. One of the problems is that skin cancer in ears and on lips has the highest risk for spreading to other parts of the body.” Dr. George T. Nahass of Skin Care of Southern Illinois in Mount Vernon says people of all ages should be vigilant about using sunscreen. “It should be a habit just like brushing your teeth,” he says. “When you’re going to be outdoors you should be putting on sunscreen. It’s about being sun smart.” Lillig says she follows Nahass’ advice and uses plenty of sunscreen. “I tend to just burn,” she says. She says she has friends who are constantly in search of the “perfect” tan. Van Acker says there is no such thing. “No tan is good,” he says. “If a person wants added color, self-tanners come in many forms, but sunscreens should still be used with these products.” Burke said the idea of a tan providing protection is also false. “A tan usually means there’s already some damage. It’s a way for our bodies to protect our DNA from being harmed,” Burke explains. “A tan does provide some SPF — maybe a 2 or a 4 — but I never recommend getting a base tan before

May 19, 2010

vacation. It just causes damage and could lead to bigger problems.” Those bigger problems include skin cancer and cancerous lesions. “There’s more skin cancer being diagnosed today than ever before,” Burke says. “Some speculate it might be due to ozone; others think maybe we’re just better at identifying it. Regardless, one in five people will have some sort of skin cancer.” One solution, Nahass says, is to personally ban the tan. “Just don’t explicitly tan,” he says. “I put tanning on the same level as not exercising and eating a high-fat, high-salt diet. It just increases your odds of trouble later in life.”

Don’t forget the little things and the little ones When it comes to the summer sun, the dermatologists remind people to not overlook small things. Van Acker encourages the use of sunglasses, also with UV protection, to protect the eyes. Burke says a variety of lip balms are available with SPF built in, and some cosmetics also include some protection. “Don’t forget to reapply them during the day, just like sun block,” Burke says. All three dermatologists emphasize the importance of protecting small children such as Lillig’s infant daughter Katelyn, from potentially harmful rays. “Sun protection is important for everybody,” Nahass adds. “And trust me, putting on sunscreen is a lot less painful than getting skin cancer removed.”

Brush, bugs and bites: Covering up is the best solution Other summer skin problems often seen by dermatologists are related to outdoor environments, specifically insects and allergens including poison ivy. Local dermatologist Sean Burke says for optimum protection, avoid shorts and tank tops. “It’s OK to be outside, but if you’re in heavy brush or in the woods, wear long pants and maybe even long sleeves,” he says. “If you don’t, make sure you wash your exposed skin thoroughly when you get back inside. It is the oils of the plants that interact with proteins in our skin and cause rashes.” He says rashes such as poison ivy or poison oak cannot be passed from one person to another or from one part of the body to another. However, he says he has seen cases where people have gotten a rash from coming in contact with clothing worn outside or from an indoor pet who went exploring in the woods. Also troublesome in the woods and backyards are insects. Avoiding bug bites can be accomplished through the use of insect sprays. “The regular Deet spray is one of the better ones,” Burke explains. “Typically, if you get the lower percentages, like 10 or 15 percent active ingredient, they will be safe for anyone including children.” Burke says there also are alternative insect repellents that can be used, including some with an organic base. He says that most of the sprays will protect wearers from all types of biting insects including mosquitoes, chiggers and ticks, but it is still a good idea to carefully examine children for ticks when they come in from playing outdoors. — Les O’Dell

pet health


Traveling with Fido? It takes planning, preparation If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re planning on taking the family pet with you on vacation this summer, here are some important things to consider: For car travel, consider whether or not your pet is comfortable in the vehicle before committing to a long road trip. A car-sick pet is sure to make the trip miserable for everyone. When planning your trip, if you will be staying with friends or family along the way, be considerate and ask them in advance if your pet is welcome. The same applies to choosing hotels, motels, parks, and campgrounds. Always check if pets are allowed or if kennel facilities are available. If a hotel or motel claims to be â&#x20AC;&#x153;pet friendly,â&#x20AC;? clarify exactly what that means to be sure it will accommodate you and your petâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needs. If your pet must be left alone in a hotel room, place a â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do Not Disturbâ&#x20AC;? sign on the door and inform the maid and the front desk. Before leaving home, consider bringing a portable kennel for use in hotel rooms or the homes of friends or relatives who are not comfortable allowing your pet

to roam freely when no one is home. Be sure your pet is wearing an ID tag and, if possible, also has an imbedded identification microchip. While both should contain accurate contact information, consider not including your petâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name on its ID tag. Grooming (bathing, combing, trimming nails) before a trip, plus taking along your petâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite food, toys and dishes will make your pet more comfortable. Carry proof of rabies vaccination and a current health certificate when crossing state or international borders. Finally, keep a printed photograph (a digital copy is also good to have) of your pet with you to assist with identification in case your pet is lost. Most importantly, before undertaking any trip, consult your veterinarian to ensure that all required vaccinations are up-to-date and to receive a certificate of veterinary inspection within ten days before travelling by air.





â&#x20AC;&#x201D; American Veterinary Medicine Association





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May 19, 2010


The Southern HEALTH Magazine



his health Screening tests: What you need and when Health experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have made these recommendations, based on scientific evidence, about which screening tests you need and when to get them. Abdominal aortic aneurysm. If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever been a smoker, talk with your doctor about being screened. Colorectal cancer. Have a test for colorectal cancer. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. Depression. Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. If you have felt â&#x20AC;&#x153;down,â&#x20AC;? sad or hopeless during the last two weeks or have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things, you may be depressed. Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression. Diabetes. Have a blood test for diabetes if you have high blood pressure.

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The Southern HEALTH Magazine


May 19, 2010

High blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. High cholesterol. Have your cholesterol checked regularly. Obesity. Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.) You can find your own BMI with the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at: http://www.nhlbisupport. com/bmi/. Sexually transmitted infections. Talk to your doctor about being tested for sexually transmitted infections. A note on other conditions. Every body is different. Always feel free to ask your doctor about being checked for any condition, not just the ones above. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; National Institutes of Health

senior health Staying active is the true fountain of youth There is a fountain of youth. Millions have discovered it the secret to feeling better and living longer. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s called staying active. Finding a program that works for you and sticking with it can pay big dividends. Regular exercise can prevent or delay diabetes and heart trouble. It can also reduce arthritis pain, anxiety and depression. It can help older people stay independent. There are four main types of exercise and seniors need some of each: ď Ź Endurance activities like walking, swimming, or riding a bike which build â&#x20AC;&#x153;staying powerâ&#x20AC;? and improve the health of the heart and circulatory system ď Ź Strengthening exercises which build muscle tissue and reduce age-related muscle loss ď Ź Stretching exercises to keep the body limber and ďŹ&#x201A;exible ď Ź Balance exercises to reduce the chances of a fall â&#x20AC;&#x201D; National Institute on Aging

Good news for elderly sleep apnea suďŹ&#x20AC;erers Findings from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology could provide good news for elderly patients who suffer from sleep apnea. The research results show that elderly patients with moderate sleep apnea live longer than their counterparts in the general population. In an article published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the researchers hypothesize that the intermittent lack of oxygen (hypoxia) that occurs with sleep apnea actually provides protection to elderly patientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; cardiovascular systems. This would explain, they say, why elderly patients with moderate sleep apnea show significantly lower mortality rate compared with the general population. The findings were based on a study of 611 individuals with a media age of 70 and a five-year follow-up period. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; National Institutes of Health

her health Know all your mastectomy options before surgery In the U.S., more than 180,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year. Many of these women will undergo mastectomy surgery that will result in disfiguring scars because they are unaware of the availability of skin-sparing mastectomies and did not ask their surgeons about this treatment option. Skin-sparing mastectomy is a surgical technique to remove cancerous breast tissue by using the same minimal and judiciously placed incisions used by plastic surgeons for elective breast surgery. Despite the availability of skin-sparing mastectomies, a recent California study published in The American Surgeon found that more than one-third of board-certified breast surgeons surveyed still

regularly use the archaic practice of cutting across the whole breast, resulting in unnecessarily disfiguring scars even after breast reconstruction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Amidst the shock and anxiety of a breast cancer diagnosis, many women and some physicians consider the appearance of the breasts of secondary importance and not worthy of consideration compared to the treatment of cancer,â&#x20AC;? said Dr. Joel Aronowitz, clinical chief of plastic surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and founder of the Breast Preservation Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness and educating women and their caregivers about skin-sparing mastectomy. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Breast Preservation Foundation / NIH

Learning to love what you see in the mirror Is your body image positive or negative? If your answer is negative, you are not alone. Women in the U.S. are under pressure to measure up to a certain social and cultural ideal of beauty, which can lead to poor body image. Women are constantly bombarded with â&#x20AC;&#x153;Barbie Doll-likeâ&#x20AC;? images. By presenting an ideal that is so difficult to achieve and maintain, the cosmetic and diet product industries are assured of growth and profits. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no accident that youth is increasingly promoted, along with thinness, as an essential criterion of beauty. The message weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re hearing is either â&#x20AC;&#x153;all women need to lose weightâ&#x20AC;? or that the natural aging process is a â&#x20AC;&#x153;disastrousâ&#x20AC;? fate. Other pressures can come from the people in our lives. Family and friends can inďŹ&#x201A;uence your body image with positive and negative comments. A doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health advice can be misinterpreted and affect how a woman sees herself and feels about her body. We all want to look our best, but a healthy body is not always linked to appearance. In fact, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes!

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Changing your body image means changing the way you think about your body. At the same time, healthy lifestyle choices are also key to improving body image. Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what they can do for you: Healthy eating can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones. Regular exercise has been shown to boost self-esteem, self-image and energy levels. Plenty of rest is key to stress management. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



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May 19, 2010


The Southern HEALTH Magazine





The Southern HEALTH Magazine


May 19, 2010

Health Magazine  

May's Health Magazine

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May's Health Magazine