Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wellness Wit and Wisdom

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

Fall is definitely here. What led me to this brilliant conclusion? It could have been the ocean of leaves that appeared in my back yard overnight, but it wasn’t. It might have been the first sniff of wood smoke wafting through the crisp evening air, reminding me I need to get the chimney swept, but it wasn’t. Even my imminently expiring county automobile sticker didn’t jar me to the reality of the season as much as the sight of…PUMPKINS!!

Actually it was my lack of pumpkins that jolted me into an awareness of the season. There I was, the morning of Halloween, realizing that for the first time ever, I may not have a pumpkin to carve! Friends from church, oblivious to my anxiety, cleverly lured me out to breakfast; assuring me I would find orange orbs aplenty at the local Wal-Mart.

Imagine my considerable horror when the pumpkin bin at Wal-Mart was strewed only with several warty, downright scary looking gourds!! With literally minutes to spare before the closing bell, I raced over to the Farmer’s Market, not daring to hope what I’d find. Lo and behold, there, in the middle of the market, was a sea of the most beautiful, perfect pumpkins I’d ever seen. A bargain at only $3, or 2/$5, I chose two beauties and dragged them back to the car, to be turned into my best Jack O’ Lanterns ever!

No doubt about it, pumpkins are certainly an integral part of the fall foliage, as well as a traditional part of our fall and winter holidays. What other squash can claim the dual role of Halloween Jack ‘O Lantern and Thanksgiving dessert? I mean have you ever tried to carve a zucchini?

When the amazing pumpkin isn’t busy scaring trick-or-treaters off the front porch, it actually packs quite a nutritional punch. One cup of pumpkin puree boasts a modest 80 calories, 19 grams of carbohydrates, zero cholesterol, less than 1 gram of fat, a whopping 588 milligrams of potassium (move over banana!), 2.4 grams of protein, 20% RDA of Vitamin C and a hefty 310% RDA of Vitamin A. It’s also high in the “f” word:(fiber).

Unfortunately many traditional pumpkin recipes are doused with high fat ingredients: eggs, butter, and cream. They may be yummy, but not worth your arteries slamming shut. Try substituting lower fat ingredients in recipes so as not to negate the good nutritional impact of the pumpkin. Just in time for holiday feasting, here’s a skinnier version of pumpkin pie, one that rivals my mother’s heavier, more labor intensive version:

Light Pumpkin Cream Pie
1 prepared reduced-fat graham cracker crust
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 small packages sugar free instant vanilla pudding/pie filling
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 8-oz. container Cool Whip Free, divided

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today is the Great American Smokeout

Becoming Tobacco-Free Can Reduce Your Cancer Risk
By Snehal Patel, DDS, M.D.
Sentara Potomac Hospital Medical Staff

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation close to 36,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal (throat) cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly one person per hour, 24-hours-per-day.

Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in five years. This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

The death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Often it is only discovered when the cancer has metastasized to another location. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in a localized intra-oral area. There are several types of oral cancers, but around 90 percent are squamous cell carcinomas. It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States each year on the treatment of head and neck cancers.

Studies have shown that the death rate from oral cancer is about four times higher for cigarette smokers than for nonsmokers. It is also widely believed in the medical field that the heat generated by smoking pipes and cigars irritates the mouth and can lead to lip cancer.

Those at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer are over 40 years of age, heavy drinkers and smokers, or users of smokeless tobacco, including snuff. Campaigns to promote the safety of smokeless tobacco are being initiated, but it is clear that while it may reduce lung cancers, it has a negative effect on the rates or oral cancers.

Suspicious lesions of the oral cavity can undergo a simple biopsy under local anesthesia in the office, in order to obtain a definitive diagnosis.

Want to quit?
If you need help to stop using tobacco products, join Sentara Potomac Hospital’s Nicotine Anonymous Support Group. This friendly group meets every Wednesday, 7 – 8 p.m. at Sentara Potomac Hospital to offer support and tips for staying tobacco free. We know you can do it! Free. For information call the Health Connection at 703-221-2500.

The American Cancer Society is marking the 35th Great American Smokeout on November 18 by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By doing so, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to know what you're up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. Visit cancer.org for more information.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weight Loss Surgery Seminar

A free informational program from Sentara Potomac Hospital

With weight loss, it’s not so much about what you’ll lose, but rather what you’ll gain – a way to improve your quality of life. A way to feel better.

For those facing the struggles and frustrations of living with obesity, this free seminar is for you. Learn about Sentara Potomac Hospital’s surgical solutions to weight loss including laparoscopic gastric banding, gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and revisional procedures.

Also, find out more about insurance coverage and the Sentara Potomac Hospital team at this free event.

Sentara Potomac Hospital is designated a Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The ASMBS Center of Excellence designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of excellent outcomes in bariatric surgery.

This free event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 4 at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House, Palm Room, 2801 Plank Rd., in Fredericksburg.

The first session will be held at from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.; and the second session will be held from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Free. To register call our Health Connection at (703) 221-2500 or register online.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Seminar: Prostate Health and You

On Tuesday, November 9, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., a board-certified urologic oncologist from Sentara Potomac Hospital will discuss what prostate health means to you including prostate cancer treatments, side effects and risks, and professional medical advice regarding screening and general prostate health.

This seminar is free and will be held at Westminster at Lake Ridge, 12191 Clipper Drive in Lake Ridge. To register, call 703-221-2500 or register online.