Archive for the ‘Doctor Is In’ Category

DOCTOR IS IN: Controlling your cholesterol

BY CHERYL WILLIAMS, RD, LD

Clinical Nutritionist, Emory Heart & Vascular Center, Emory HeartWise Cardiac Risk Reduction Program

If you’re a healthy weight and exercise regularly, you probably don’t think you need to worry about your cholesterol, right? Wrong.

Cheryl-Williams_EMORYWhile it is a fact that diet and exercise play crucial roles in controlling cholesterol, eating too many fatty foods – especially those high in saturated fat and trans fat – is the primary cause of high cholesterol. Thin, active people may not be aware of how much bad fat they consume.

Saturated fats are derived primarily from animal products and are known to raise cholesterol levels. They are found in common foods like butter, cheese, whole milk, pork and red meat. Lower-fat versions of these foods usually contain saturated fats, but typically in smaller quantities than the regular versions. Certain plant oils, like palm and coconut oils, are another source of saturated fats. You may not use these oils when you …

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DOCTOR IS IN: When flu is, and isn’t, an emergency

BY JIM FORTENBERRY, M.D.

Pediatrician-in-Chief, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

The first thing on many parents’ minds right now is how to protect their children from the flu. And, time after time, parents bring children with flu symptoms to the emergency room when it’s not an emergency.

While H1N1 flu is a new strain, at present it is acting just like a mild-to-moderate case of the flu with the same type of outcomes as seasonal influenza.

Parents should take away that H1N1 title and name, and think of this as the flu. Think of it this way: “If this was the regular flu, would I be going to the emergency room?”

The symptoms of H1N1 flu in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with H1N1 flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The great majority of children don’t have a level of illness that needs medication or requires hospitalization, and can …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Electronic Medical Records bring slow but substantial change

BY MARK WULKAN, M.D.

Surgical Director, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Director, Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, and Medical Director of Informatics, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; and Associate Professor of Surgery and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine

The electronic medical record (EMR) is slowly transforming the way doctors, nurses, and other health care providers deliver patient care. Patients financial records have been electronic for decades; however, clinical data (the information entered by doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals) has been lagging. Processes for capturing lab and radiology results, history and physical details, operative reports, discharge summaries and other critical data have been very basic; paper charts remain the primary means of documentation and communication among the health care team.

Today, some hospitals are creating comprehensive EMRs for their patients that include the …

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DOCTOR IS IN: The Stress Sandwich

BY CHARLES RAISON, MD

Assistant professor of psychiatry, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program, and director of the Behavioral Immunology Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine.

Stress is everywhere today, both in our private and public lives, but also relentlessly in print, with discussion after discussion regarding what it is and what can be done to ease it. At the risk of adding to the din let me touch upon one aspect of stress here that has implications for ways we can reduce its bad effects in our lives.

Think of stress like a sandwich. There’s a piece of bread on the top, a piece of bread on the bottom and usually something tastier in the middle (except for a poor college student friend of mine who put two pieces of white bread together and called it a wish sandwich!). Think of bad stress as the bread on the top and bottom and let’s call the good stuff in the middle something like …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Protecting your child from heat-related illness

BY DAVE L. MARSHALL, M.D.

Medical Director, Sports Medicine Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine.

From recreational activities to free-play to team sports to camps, outdoor activities in the south during the late summer months have one thing in common — the heat.

Heat-related illness is responsible for thousands of emergency room visits.  Heat injury can range from mild heat cramps to heat stroke and death.  It’s always concerning when I get a call from an athletic trainer, coach or parent telling me a child had to go to the hospital to be treated for dehydration or heat illness, because these conditions are largely preventable.

Armed with basic knowledge about how the body regulates temperature and simple hydration tips, parents can reduce the risk of children suffering heat-related illness.

How children’s bodies regulate temperature

Kids generate more heat during …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Long summer days bring sunshine and skin challenges

BY CARL V. WASHINGTON JR., MD

Associate Professor of Dermatology, Emory University School of Medicine, Co-Director of Dermatologic Surgery for Emory Healthcare.

Doctors who specialize in caring for the skin know it is a complicated, living organ system that fulfills important functional and aesthetic roles. The skin is the envelope that not only covers our body, but it is also the structure that gives rise to our hair, our nails and allows us to sense hot, cold and pressure.

Skin protects virtually all other organs, plays a key role in body temperature regulation and is equipped with myriad early warning systems. The skin serves as a barrier between germs, such as bacteria, and internal organs; and prevents the loss of too much water and other fluids.

With the important role skin plays in our health overall, dermatologists are always talking about protecting the skin by preventing problems whenever and wherever possible. We all want our skin to look its best as we age, and …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Back-to-school means back to germs for kids

BY VIVIAN LENNON, M.D.

Medical Director, Primary Care, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

When preparing your children for going back to school, germs, immunizations, and healthy habits are just as essential as reading, writing and arithmetic.

With the start of the school season comes the battle against germs. The CDC states that nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to the common cold, flu and other infections.

Schools are a breeding ground for germs as some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes to more than two hours on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.

The unfortunate reality is that your child will get sick, but you can help keep him healthy by teaching habits such as good hand washing and coughing into the elbow. Be extra cautious if there is a known illness in the home or at school. In addition, if your child has medications that need to be taken at school for a common cold they need to be labeled by the pharmacy, and …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome

By JENNIFER A. CHRISTIE, MD

Assistant professor of medicine and director of Gastrointestinal Motility in the Emory University School of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases. Specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer and digestive disorders in women.

Do you have bellyaches, and either diarrhea or constipation, or both off and on? If so, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This problem can be a real annoyance and can affect your health.

About 15 percent to 30 percent of the U.S. population has IBS, a bowel disorder with a complex of abdominal pain and stool alterations. It is not in your head, it is a real diagnosis defined as chronic, recurrent abdominal pain with relief after a bowel movement.

Symptoms of IBS can include:

•    loose stools at pain onset
•    increased frequency of bowel movements with pain
•    abdominal distension or bloating
•    mucous in the stool and
•    constipation or a feeling of incomplete …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Common sense and science agree — an ounce of prevention works

BY KENNETH E. THORPE, PhD

Robert W. Woodruff Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy & Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Executive director of the Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions/Center for Entitlement Reform. Co-director of the Emory Center on Health Outcomes and Quality. Executive director of the national Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

As Congress and the Obama administration work to hammer out the details of health reform, consumers — and by that I mean everyone who has been, is now or will be a patient, or a taxpayer, or both — should pay close attention to prevention.

Both the House and Senate versions of the draft legislation include important investments in prevention, and President Barack Obama has stressed that prevention must be part of comprehensive health reform.

Prevention can be divided into three parts:

1. Things we do to avert disease, like vaccinations for children or obesity prevention programs.

2. …

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DOCTOR IS IN: Childhood obesity bigger than a weight issue

BY SEEMA CSUKAS, M.D., Ph.D

Medical Director, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Child Wellness and Medical Director, Georgia Children’s Health Alliance.

Childhood obesity is a problem throughout America, but it’s an epidemic in Georgia, where approximately 37 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese.

If those numbers aren’t staggering enough, a recent report by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation listed Georgia as the third-highest population of overweight and obese youths in the U.S.

Obese children are prone to suffer from a host of chronic medical conditions, including asthma, gallbladder disease, pneumonia and Type 2 diabetes. They also have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, typically found only in adults. Furthermore, overweight or obese children also have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

Poor health outcomes impact children and their …

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