Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N.
Director of Community Education

Warning! This column is for women only!!!

They are undoubtedly from another planet. They leave the toilet seat up, and their dirty socks down (on the ground wherever they took them off!). They are slow to fix a leaky faucet but quick to disappear at the dreaded phrase, “let’s go shopping.” They have no clue that television programs should be watched one at a time, unless of course it’s a football game.

They are the men in our lives, and despite their idiosyncrasies, they are treasures. They may not understand why we cry, but they dry our tears. They patiently explain the mysteries under a car hood or extol the virtues of their collapsible ladder, blissfully oblivious to our blank stares.

They are little league coaches, landscapers, handymen and even short order cooks. They are our fathers, brothers, husbands, lovers and friends. Exasperating and wonderful, these great guys are nonetheless not invincible.

June is National Men’s Health Month. Time to lovingly nudge the men in your life toward improved health. Consider these facts:

1. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the U.S.
2. Men are 30% more likely to suffer a stroke than women.
3. In 2006, over 90% of lung cancer deaths in men were attributed to smoking.
4. Overall, seven of 11 adults visiting doctors are women, despite the fact that men die younger than women.
5. Men who watch television for three or more hours per day are twice as likely to be obese as men who watch for less than an hour.
6. In a decade-long British research study, the death rate (from all causes) of least sexually active men was found to be twice as high than the most sexually active group.

Given the above statistics, try these nearly painless strategies:

1. Urge your gentlemen to visit a physician on a regular basis. Many risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, have no symptoms but are easily detected through simple procedures. Likewise, many cancers respond wonderfully to therapy, but early detection and treatment are vital.
2. Don’t expect the man in your life to get off the couch unless you join him. Walking together three to four times a week will do you both good. Have that doctor’s visit first if exercise has long been a foreign word.
3. If your guy is a smoker, strongly support his non-smoking efforts.
4. Re: #6 above. Advice is self-explanatory. Go for it, ladies!

Celebrate those precious men in your life with love and gratitude!

Reference: Center for Disease Control; wholefitness.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sallie Eissler Wins Ruby Award

Sallie Eissler, MSN, R.N., director of Partnership Development and Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Family Health Connection Mobile Health Clinics, received the 2010 Ruby Award from Soroptomists International of Woodbridge.

Eissler was given the Ruby Award for her many efforts to improve the lives of women and children in our area, including her work with the Pediatric Primary Care Project and Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Family Health Connection Mobile Clinics. Soroptomists International also made a monetary donation to the Sentara Potomac Hospital Auxiliary in honor of Eissler’s award.

Eissler came to Sentara Potomac Hospital in 1990 as the director Women’s and Children’s Services. In 1995 she was named director of Partnership Development and was the driving force behind starting a mobile health clinic in eastern Prince William County. Due to overwhelming demand, a second mobile clinic was put into service just two years later.

The Family Health Connection Mobile Clinics provide much needed general medical care to residents without health insurance along the Route 1 corridor of Woodbridge and in Dale City. Both mobile health vans serve thousands of residents each year, preventing serious illness and frequent emergency room visits.

Eissler also serves as chairman of the Board of the Greater Prince William Community Health Center.

Soroptomists International is a non-profit organization of professional women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in the local community and around the world.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stay Safe During Summer Storms

By Maureen Deutermann, MSN, R.N., Director of Community Education

When Midwest thunderstorms raged, my mother would declare: "The angels are bowling." Childish wisdom prevailed. Recognizing her poorly disguised terror, I imagined it was only a matter of time before a telltale lightning bolt incinerated our house. Years later during similar Virginia storms, the howling of my two Irish Setters pretty much told me the same thing. Ditto the frantic shaking and quaking of my three current pups…ever have a 70-pound German Shepherd-mix wake you from a sound sleep by leaping on your head? Yep, no bowling tales for these crafty canines…they know when we’re doomed.

I still have a healthy respect (ok, fear) of thunderstorms, with good reason. While thunderstorms take up less space and time than hurricanes, these dainty dangers are plentiful. Some 16 million thunderstorms occur annually worldwide; 100,000 occur in the United States. In Virginia, we experience 35-45 thunderstorm days per year, mainly during summer afternoons and evenings.

All thunderstorms are dangerous. It’s important to know the dangers: 140 fatalities per year are attributed to flash floods, the greatest thunderstorm killer; most flash flood fatalities occur at night or from being trapped in cars; lightning, a by-product of all thunderstorms, averages 93 deaths and 300 injuries per year, and causes millions in property damage annually; straight line winds are responsible for most thunderstorm damage, and such winds can exceed 100 mph; hail and tornadoes can accompany thunderstorms, causing death, property and crop damage.

Before a storm: Listen for severe weather warnings, issued by county or parish; check the weather forecast before leaving for an outdoor event, especially if you will be in a situation where shelter is hard to find quickly; watch for these signs: darkening skies, increased wind, flashes of lightning, thunder, radio static; and have access to an AM/FM radio.

When a storm is approaching: If you hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Seek shelter immediately; move to a sturdy building or car. Avoid small shelters, lone trees, or convertibles; leave boats and water; avoid using telephones and electrical appliances, anything that could conduct electricity; avoid taking a bath or shower; turn off air conditioners as power surges from lightning can overload compressors; get to higher ground if flash flooding is a danger. Once flooding occurs, abandon cars and move to higher ground.

Being safe means staying alert and knowing your "enemy", be it a thunderstorm or other hazardous weather conditions. One last piece of advice: don’t tell your kids (or dogs!) the angels are bowling. They’ll know you’re lying.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Using Microscopic Surgery to Tackle Male Infertility

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love and get married. Then, along comes baby…..well, it’s not always that easy. Between 15 and 20 percent of couples are unable to conceive a baby after one year of unprotected intercourse.

Even though the media seems to focus on female infertility, male reproductive problems directly account for about 20 percent of all infertility cases, plus in an additional 30 percent of cases it is a combined male/female issue.

According to Dr. Ash Kshirsagar a urologist on Sentara Potomac Hospital’s medical staff and an associate with Potomac Urology, male infertility can be caused by a number of reproductive problems.

“Common fertility problems in men include underlying genetic problems, obstruction in the reproductive tubes, and side effects from medications,” explains Dr. Kshirsagar. “The most common problem is something called varicocele, which are dilated veins in the spermatic cord leading to the testicle. Dilated veins can cause low sperm production, which obviously leads to trouble conceiving a baby.”

Dr. Kshirsagar is the only physician in the area who is fellowship trained in male infertility and microscopic surgery. He uses this surgery at Sentara Potomac Hospital to treat varicocele and other male infertility problems.

“Microsurgery allows me to precisely treat the affected area to allow for better sperm production. We can also use this type of surgery to perform reverse vasectomy. Men who wish to reverse their vasectomy (elective male sterilization that blocks sperm from entering semen) now have a very effective option that can increase their chance of successful reversal to about 90 percent.”

“These procedures have provided excellent outcomes for many men and couples,” says Dr. Kshirsagar. “Infertility can be a very trying issue for couples and it’s gratifying to know that we can help these couples reach their dreams of becoming parents.”

Urologist Dr. Ash Kshirsagar is the only physician in the area who is fellowship trained in microsurgery for male infertility. He can be reached at 703-680-2111. Potomac Urology is located in The Potomac Center, 2296 Opitz Boulevard, suite 350, in Woodbridge, Virginia.