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Health Tip of the Day

Listeners of Seattle’s Star 101.5 (KPLZ-FM) can get healthier even while they’re sitting in traffic. Every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning at about 7:35, Star 101.5 presents the Northwest Hospital Health Tip of the Day. On-air personality Ana Kelly has teamed up with Northwest Hospital to bring listeners useful information and interviews about diet, fitness and preventing disease. Tune in today to learn how to live a happier, healthier life!

Excess Weight and Joint Pain - Joint Health

You’ve already heard about the obesity epidemic in the United States. It’s being blamed on everything from too much fast food to not enough exercise. Dr. Julie Carkin, a rheumatologist with The Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says with people carrying so much extra weight, another epidemic is striking women in particular.

"Extra weight can cause osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis in the hips and knees and other weigh-bearing joints, even in young woman," Dr. Carkin says. "Many of us weigh a lot more than our skeletons were designed to support, and that causes pain and excess damage."

If you’re finding that your knees or hips are stiff and sore when you get up from a chair, and the pain gets worse as you continue to walk around, you may have osteoarthritis. It may be time to take off some excess weight if you’re carrying too many pounds. Talk to your doctor, to find out what to do to keep osteoarthritis in its place, while you keep moving.

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Organizing Tips for Cancer Treatment - Cancer

Cancer is a complex illness. Battling the disease often involves multiple doctors, different medications and various treatments. Dr. Howard Muntz, a gynecologic oncologist at Women’s Cancer Care of Seattle, says that because of the intricacies of the disease, organization is key.

"A good doctor’s office will help patients keep organized," Dr. Muntz says. "You should go to your appointments with a folder that has all the reports that you need so you can keep track of your own progress. Remember, your relationship with your care team is a collaborative partnership. The more you participate, the more successful your treatment will be.”

For information on how to manage the disease, visit the American Cancer Society online at

Cord Blood Banking - Childbirth

Are you preparing for a friend’s baby shower or maybe even the arrival of your own newborn? If you are getting your shower gift registry ready, Dr. Dawn Frankwick, an obstetrician with Meridian Women’s Health, says you might consider setting up a cord blood banking fund.

“Cord blood banking options can be fairly costly to set up at first, sometimes more than $1,500, but the benefits could save the life of one of your family members or loved ones," she says. "Instead of registering for gifts, register for a cord blood bank account. That way, your friends and family can contribute to some of the upfront costs.”

If you are interested in learning more about pregnancy and cord blood banking, contact your obstetrician or visit

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How to Prevent Knee Pain - Joint Health

Do you ever feel that creaking in your knee when you walk up stairs, or when you go for a run? Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says women are more susceptible to weak knees and pain.

"People in Seattle like to exercise and play outside, but if you are a woman and often do high-impact exercises like running, hiking or tennis, you should try to mix up your exercise routine a bit," Dr. Klimisch says. "Try lower impact sports like swimming and biking. Some studies are showing that women are six times more likely than men to suffer from knee injuries like ACL tears. So, if you are experiencing achy, weak, or stiff knees, talk to your doctor. They can suggest some useful exercises that will help get you back on track.”

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The Truth About Your New Shoes - Foot Care

Did you know "breaking in new shoes" is a myth? Don Greiert is a certified pedorthist with The Sports Medicine Clinic. “Feet and shoes must have a good marriage. Shoes should not be uncomfortable or make us work harder. First, match the shoe type with the activity. Consider your shoe volume – wide, medium or narrow – and the lacing system. If either of these is incorrect for your feet, it will cause pain. The back of the shoe should not compress when pressure is applied. If it does, it’s not a stable shoe. Also, make sure you have a stable insole so the shoe does not make you wobbly. ” Greiert says better shoe stores offer free foot screenings where they evaluate your shoe wear patterns and evaluate your foot needs.

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Choosing the Right Shoe for You - Foot Care

How do you know if a shoe is a good shoe? It’s an important consideration because a bad pair of shoes can destroy your feet. Don Greiert is a certified pedorthist with The Sports Medicine Clinic. “Grab the front and rear of the shoe and wring it. If you can twist it too much, it’s too soft. Also, the natural bend of your toes should match where the shoe bends. If it doesn’t, the shoe is not for you. Shoes should always be level and centered. Do they look twisted? Do they sit perpendicular on a counter? Do they wobble? If so, find another shoe.” Greiert says most of the foot problems he sees are directly related to inappropriate footwear. It’s important to match your foot type with the best shoe for your activity.

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Baby's First Shoes - Foot Care

When does a child really need shoes? Not until they begin walking, according to Don Greiert, a certified pedorthist with The Sports Medicine Clinic. “When a child starts to stand or walk, shoes provide protection from injury. Never force a child’s feet into new shoes. The shoes should fit well and provide enough space for growth. Check your child’s feet periodically for signs they may need new shoes, such as redness, blisters or calluses. Sneakers are a good choice for a first pair of shoes. High-top shoes offer no advantages over lower-cut shoes in terms of foot or ankle support.” Greiert recommends visiting a shoe store that specializes in children’s shoes because they will take more time to ensure a proper fit.

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Benefits of Whole Grains - Weight Management

Did you know switching to whole grains may reduce body fat and aid heart health? Whole grains reduce surges in blood sugar following a meal, says Tricia Clement, an outpatient nutritionist at Northwest Hospital. “Whole grains are not processed and have all the naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire seed. Over 40 percent of Americans never eat whole grains. We should eat three to five servings a day. We have so many interesting and tasty whole grains to choose from now, such as millet and quinoa. These are terrific added to salads or soups and can even be used as a hot cereal for breakfast.” Clement says look for the words “whole grain” on food labels to get more nutritional value from foods like bread, pasta, crackers and breakfast cereals.

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How Much Salt Should You Eat? - Weight Management

You could be eating three times the recommended amount of salt every day. Many people do, according to Tricia Clement, Northwest Hospital’s outpatient dietitian.“Most people tell me they never use salt at the table. What they don’t realize is that 75 percent of the average daily consumption of salt actually comes from prepared or pre-packaged foods. To help reduce sodium, limit canned soups and chili, processed meats and cheese and frozen entrees. Prepare your entrees at home and use herbs and other spices to boost flavor instead. Try salt-free seasoning blends (like Mrs. Dash), garlic and onion powder, and spices such as cumin and chili powder. Fresh herbs like basil, cilantro or mint, can make ordinary foods taste special. Flavored vinegar, lemon or lime juice or zest also adds lots of flavor with very little sodium.”

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Does Breakfast Matter? - Weight Management

Think that cup of coffee and a sugar coated donut were safe bets for some quick energy this morning? Tricia Clement, Northwest Hospital’s outpatient dietitian, says both will provide a quick boost of energy, but there are better options to increase your metabolism and burn calories all day long. “Try foods with protein or complex carbohydrates and see how much better you’ll feel throughout the day. Make your metabolism work harder as you start your day with foods that take the body longer to break down. Choose a hard-boiled egg, a cup of oatmeal or nut butter on whole grain toast. Your appetite will be more satisfied, too.” Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

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Tricks to Get Your Family to Eat More Vegetables - Weight Management

Need some fresh ideas to get your family to eat more vegetables?  Tricia Clement is Northwest Hospital’s outpatient dietitian.“Think of ways to make vegetables fun and interesting. Jicama and kohlrabi have interesting names and taste good raw or cooked. You can now find fun-colored vegetables like bright green broccoflower, purple-colored carrots, potatoes and even tomatoes. Kids generally like raw vegetables better than cooked ones. You can also put your leftover vegetables to good use by making them into soup: add low-sodium broth, herbs and spices to chopped or frozen vegetables and simmer 30 minutes. This soup base freezes well and you can add leftover meat and grains or pasta to it for a light, nutritious meal.” Clement recommends the website for more ideas.

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Weight vs. BMI - Weight Management

Years ago, if you wanted to know if you were overweight, you got on a scale, crossed your fingers and hoped for the best. Dr. Nicole White, a weight-loss surgeon at Northwest Hospital, recommends calculating your body mass index, or BMI, instead.

"BMI is the ratio of one’s weight to height, and it’s a reliable indicator of total body fat for both men and women," Dr. White, says. "Total body fat is related to the risk of disease and death."

To find out where you stand, put “BMI” into a search engine and you’ll find an online calculator, plus what the results mean in terms of being underweight, overweight and obese. The results may surprise you.

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What to Watch Out For in an Aging Parent - Aging

Sometimes it’s not easy to care for aging parents while trying to keep up with the needs of your kids and other demands like your job ... not to mention time for yourself. If your parents are still living in their home, you may be wondering if it’s the best place for them.

Dr. William Solan at Northwest Hospital’s Gero-Psychiatric Center says to watch for signs that raise red flags.
Whether you live close by or only visit occasionally, look for signs that familiar housekeeping routines have changed. If your mother once kept the house very clean and tidy, neglecting to do chores may signal the need for outside help.

If your elderly parents are not able to take care of personal needs like laundry, cooking or paying bills on time, talk with a doctor who knows them and their health history. Sometimes it’s smart to make a change BEFORE it becomes an emergency situation.

Help for Cancer Survivors - Cancer

If you know someone who is a cancer survivor – whether that person is a friend, colleague, boss or family member, you are also living with cancer. Cancer Lifeline at Northwest Hospital is devoted to making sure that everyone living with cancer, from co-workers to caregivers, gets help with emotional, spiritual, and mental components of facing cancer, beyond the physical part of the illness.

Cancer Lifeline phone lines are open 24 hours a day, and all services are free of charge. Last year Cancer Lifeline served over 10,000 people in Washington, one client at a time, with practical solutions to the problems cancer presents. For more information, call Cancer Lifeline at 800.255.5505 or 206.297.2500.

Household Chemicals and Kids - Safety

If you’re outside gardening, painting, or getting ready for a barbecue, chances are the kids will be out there with you. Dr. Hunter Hodge, director of emergency services at Northwest Hospital, has some advice on keeping your kids safe during the season of house projects.

"Make sure that all the equipment and chemicals you’re using on your house projects are stored safely out of the reach of your children. Everything from weed poisons and barbecue starter to lawn mowers can cause serious injuries that are preventable."

Locking cabinets where you store household chemicals and gardening equipment is a good idea. While your children might not try to play with these things while you’re with them, younger kids may try to imitate your activities when you’re not around, so keep these items out of reach.

Scar Prevention - Skin Care

If you or one of the kids has had an accident that leaves cuts on the face, neck or hands, you may want to get something done about it right away. Dr. Josh Cooper, a plastic surgeon with Seattle Pacific Surgeons, says, "Once the injury has been cleaned, apply an ointment such as vitamin A and D or Bacitracin to keep the injured skin moist. Keeping wounds and cuts moist helps promote the healing process. Letting wounds dry out slows down healing. Additionally, you won’t really know what the scar’s final appearance will be until about a year after the injury. If a scar widens or is very thick, talk with a plastic surgeon, because some scars can be made less noticeable."

Dr. Cooper also says to keep fresh wounds and scars under a sunblock or bandage, since sunburn can make a scar worse.

Safety Glasses Can Prevent Disaster - Safety

If you love to garden or work on projects around the house, it’s tempting to try to do as much as you can as fast as you can. Dr. Hunter Hodge, director of emergency services at Northwest Hospital, says "We all need to slow down and make sure that we are totally ready for all those garden and home improvement chores."

"It’s important to wear safety gloves and safety glasses when you’re trimming trees and shrubs or removing flaking paint from walls and decks. People often get corneal scratches on their eyes from falling branches or flying paint chips."

Safety glasses are really inexpensive, and they’re available at any hardware or garden shop. They’re great insurance against the pain and burning of a corneal scratch, which can sometimes lead to infection and even blindness.

Hidden Sources of Cholesterol - Weight Management

When your doctor tells you to lower your cholesterol, do you cut back on extra butter, fatty meats and omelets? That may not be enough. Northwest Hospital internist Dr. James Bowers says cholesterol comes in hidden forms too, so it is important to pay attention to everything you eat, not just the usual suspects.

"People today eat a lot of processed and packaged foods, which come with large quantities of saturated fats," Dr. Bowers says. "The best way to bring down your cholesterol levels is to begin eating more simply. Prepare heart-healthy vegetables and chicken with a light coating of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Also cut back on things like cheese and scones from the coffee shop.”

Make small adjustments and you’ll notice results.

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What to do About Mold - Lung Health

In the damp Pacific Northwest, mold and mildew are constantly growing and they can cause health problems including asthma and chronic sinusitis. But how do you avoid them if they’re everywhere? Northwest Hospital pulmonologist Dr. Helena Jones says cleaning is the number one preventative measure.

“In this climate, especially in old houses, moisture will get trapped around windows and mold will grow. You can use bleach to clean it, but make sure to use proper airway protection," Dr. Jones says. "Make sure to check you basements, showers, windows and window frames, and any other damp area in your house. This is where mold will typically grow.”

But remember, mold can also grow in between the walls. Dr. Jones recommends calling in a professional to see if the problem is extensive.

Do You Really Want to Look Like a Star? - Surgery

Images of Hollywood celebrities are everywhere. Some people want to look like their favorite movie star, but Northwest Hospital plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Downey says it’s important to remember that your facial features and bone structure are unique and that’s what makes people beautiful.

"If you are considering plastic surgery, talk to your surgeon about matching up your expectations with the results your doctor can actually produce, so you will be satisfied with the final outcome," Dr. Downey says. "A thorough consultation with your plastic surgeon will educate you about your anatomy, the options available for treatment, the risks of treatment and expected recovery time.”

Plastic surgery may be very commonly depicted in the tabloids, but like any major medical procedure, it requires education and preparation to achieve a great result.

Is it Time to Take the Keys Away? - Aging

Northwest Hospital internist Dr. James Bowers says one of the most difficult conversations to have with an aging parent is when he or she should hand over the keys and quit driving.

"You can monitor your parent’s driving by walking around and inspecting their car for dents or scratches every couple weeks. The car will not lie," Dr.Bowers says. "If you think your parent needs to get off the road, talk to his or her physician. Taking the keys away from parents feels a bit like stripping them of their independence, so be patient and understanding. You can let their doctor be the bad guy, who lets them know they need to limit driving.”

If your parents are interested in refreshing their driving skills, Northwest Hospital offers an AARP Driver Safety Program on campus.

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Symptoms of Asthma - Lung Health

Do you wheeze, feel tightness in your chest, and have trouble getting a full breath of air? You might be asthmatic. Northwest Hospital pulmonologist Dr. Helena Jones says as spring approaches, pollens emerge and so do allergens.

“There are many different kinds of asthma, but one of the most common types is caused by allergies," Dr. Jones says. "These can be allergies to pollens, dust mites or mold and mildew. If you are allergic to dust, try using special hypoallergenic sheets and pillowcases and make sure to wash your bed linens frequently. And if pollens make your asthma worse, try to stay indoors on days when the pollen count is high.”

If you notice a flare-up, consult with your doctor immediately. Asthma can be managed with proper treatment and by preventing your exposure to triggers.

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Why You Don't Want to Go For a Jog - Exercise

You love to run – or, at least you used to. Now there are times you do it only because you feel like you’re supposed to. A HREF="/physicians/md_detail.asp?mdid=8978"> Dr. Mark Lacambra, family medicine specialist at Olympic Medical Center, says the problem may be that you’re over-training.

"If you’re stuck at a plateau in your training, where you just aren’t improving like you think you should, you may be putting in too many hours," Dr. Lacambra says. "A sudden drop in performance can be a sign, too."

Instead, try some cross-training for a week or so. For example, if you’ve been training for a marathon but not getting past the wall at 13 miles, take a break and try a few games of tennis instead.

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Why You Should Inspect Your Ladder - Safety

It’s time again to clean the gutters on the house, way up there by the roof. Before you haul the ladder out of the garage, though, Dr. Hunter Hodge, director of emergency services at Northwest Hospital, says to take a look at the condition of your ladder.

"Make sure the ladder doesn’t have any cracks or broken joints, especially if it’s been stored for a few months. Then set the ladder on stable, flat ground – not on rocks or in mud, for example," Dr. Hodge says. "Remember that some gutters can’t support the weight of a ladder, and can give way once you’re up at the top, so check that out in advance."

Also, many home ladders can only support up to 200 pounds, so if you’re buying a new ladder, look at the labels, to make sure it can handle the weight of the person using it.

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Prevent Sports Equipment Injuries - Exercise

Planning to grab your bike or stroller and head out for some exercise? Before you take off, Dr. Hunter Hodge,director of emergency services at Northwest Hospital says to give your sports equipment a safety check.

"Many people put their bikes away for the whole winter, and forget that some repairs were needed," Dr. Hodge says. "Chains come off because they weren’t lubricated, or other problems occur since the bikes haven’t been used for months. These breakdowns can result in anything from a sprained wrist to broken bones."

Before that first spin around the neighborhood, check the bike, rollerblades, strollers and other outdoor sports equipment to make sure that everything is in great condition. Most of all, remember to wear your helmet if you’re biking, skating or boarding.

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Is Your Bike Making Your Knees Hurt? - Exercise

Do you love to bike, but your knees ache afterward? Dr. Chris Peterson, of The Sports Medicine Clinic says if your knees hurt, there may be something wrong with the relationship between you and your bike.

The key is to make sure your bike fits your body, whether you ride a racing, road or mountain bike. Even if you stretch carefully and warm up before you get on your bike, riding with the wrong configuration can be very painful.

Why Colonoscopies Are Necessary - Cancer

A colonoscopy gives a specialist an up-close view of your lower intestine to spot any inflammation, bleeding or other problems that could be causing stomach pain or trouble digesting some foods.

The small camera and remote control tools also let the doctor take out small tumors before they can become cancerous. That’s why researchers say colon cancer is the only preventable cancer – because having a colonoscopy when it’s recommended by your doctor stops cancer in its tracks, before it can get a start.

Encourage members of your family who are over age 50 to have a colonoscopy once every ten years. Although some people really don’t want to have this simple twenty-minute test, it’s better to have a colonoscopy than to die of embarrassment.

Hike Without Getting Blisters - Exercise

Hiking season is here, and for many of us that means blisters. Dr. Brian McInnes, a podiatrist and surgeon at The Sports Medicine Clinic, says "a successful summer’s hiking starts with getting in shape before you tackle difficult terrain."

"Your feet, and your body for that matter, have to adapt to increases in activity. Start gradually, with short, easy day hikes, so your muscles can adjust to the demands you’re making on them. Just like any other sport, give your body time to build up strength and stamina."

Make sure you have quality hiking boots that fit well and socks that wick moisture. This helps prevent blisters and other problems that can come from wearing shoes not suited for hiking. And as you get your pack ready, take some extra socks and a few band-aids just in case.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women Are Different - Heart Health

Women are more likely than men to have subtle symptoms of heart attack. In addition to the classic symptoms, Dr. Michael Duong, an interventional cardiologist with Western Washington Cardiology in Everett, says women are more likely to have less common signs as well.

“These include heartburn, arm or neck pain, shortness of breath, fatigue and heart flutters. Remember, the more heart attack signs you have, the more likely it is that you are having a heart attack. If you think you or someone else may be having a heart attack, wait no more than a few minutes before calling 9-1-1.”

One in four women living in the U.S. dies from heart disease and more women who have heart attacks die from them. For more information, visit

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Signs You Might Have Heart Disease - Heart Health

How do you know if you have heart disease? According to Dr. Michael Duong, an interventional cardiologist at Western Washington Cardiology in Everett, heart disease often has no symptoms, but there are some signs to make us pay attention.

“Chest or arm pain or discomfort can be a symptom of heart disease as well as a warning sign for a heart attack. Other signs are shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, abnormal heart beats or feeling very tired. Talk to your doctor if you are having any of these symptoms.”

Dr. Duong says to always tell your doctor if you are concerned about your heart. You doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam and may order tests. For more information about Western Washington Cardiology, visit

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Heart Disease in Young Adults - Heart Health

Do you believe you’re too young to have heart disease? Dr. Michael Duong, an interventional cardiologist with Western Washington Cardiology in Everett, says heart disease is not just reserved for old age.
br>“People of all ages discover they have heart disease that, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. This includes congenital heart disease – meaning the heart did not develop properly before birth – and irregular heartbeat, also known as heart arrhythmias.”

Dr. Duong says quite often congenital heart disease has no symptoms among adults, but some may have shortness of breath or poor tolerance for exercise. Half a million adults in the U.S. alone have it. Irregular heart beat can increase a person’s risk of stroke, heart failure and premature death. For more information, visit

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The Speed of a Heart Attack - Heart Health

Sometimes the signs of a heart attack happen suddenly, but Dr. Michael Duong, an interventional cardiologist with Western Washington Cardiology in Everett, says they can also develop slowly, over hours, days and even weeks before a heart attack occurs.

“If you’re not sure you’re having a heart attack, you should still be checked by a physician. If you’ve had a heart attack before, your symptoms may not be the same for another one.”

Dr. Duong says heart attack signs most often include mild or strong pain in the middle of the chest, in one or both arms, or the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Other signs are nausea, feeling faint or dizzy, breaking out in a cold sweat and shortness of breath. For more information, visit

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Insomnia and Pregnancy - Sleep

Are you pregnant and just can’t sleep? You’re not alone. Cindy Rogers, a certified nurse-midwife at the Northwest Hospital Midwives Clinic, says most pregnant women often can’t go to sleep or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t return to sleep.

“Many medications for insomnia aren’t recommended during pregnancy, but there are a number of things that can help. Try some exercise during the day or before bed, use a warm bath or shower or do some light reading. If you wake in the middle of the night, don’t add distress by worrying about not sleeping. Remember sleepiness comes in waves so consciously relax your muscles, breathe and catch the next wave back to sleep.”

More information can be found at

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The Benefits of Omega-three Fatty Acids - Childbirth

Omega-three fatty acids are vital for the development of a baby during pregnancy and nursing. Michelle Grandy, a certified nurse-midwife at the Northwest Hospital Midwives Clinic, says Omega-threes – specifically DHA and EPA – are essential for the baby’s brain and eye health.

“Our bodies do not produce these fatty acids, so pregnant women especially should consider taking a supplement or consume foods rich in them. Most of us do not get enough Omega-threes from our American diets. They’re found in cold water fish, like salmon, tuna or anchovies. Because of concerns about mercury and other toxins in fish, I recommend pregnant women also consider supplements of purified fish oil or oil derived from marine algae.”

The recommendation is 300 milligrams daily. More information can be found at

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The Risks of Early Delivery - Childbirth

There are risks to inducing the early delivery of a baby before 39 weeks.

Michelle Grandy, a certified nurse-midwife at the Northwest Hospital Midwives Clinic, says pregnant women anxious to plan their delivery for convenience prior to 39 weeks need to know inductions may contribute to a growing number of babies born with medical problems.

“Even with ultrasounds, it can be hard to determine when your baby is due. Being off by a week or two can make a huge difference in infant development and can affect how well a baby learns to breastfeed or maintain its temperature. Inductions can also cause extra long labors and increase a woman’s risk for having a C-section. It’s best if inductions are reserved for medical indications. Starting labor on your own is best for you and baby.”

More information can be found at

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Exercise to Support Aging Joints - Joint Health

Dr. Caroline Chebli, an orthopedic surgeon with The Sports Medicine Clinic, says age-related declines in bone and joint health may be slowed or even reversed with exercise. “Exercise increases bone strength and joint flexibility. Studies show there is no medication available that improves bone and joint health and physical independence more so than exercise. Benefits include a decline in age-related bone loss and an increase in muscle mass and neuromuscular coordination. This can prevent falls and injuries.” Dr. Chebli recommends 30 to 50 minutes of aerobic exercise a day for three to five days, plus one set of weight training exercises twice a week. Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

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Simple Steps to Prevent Falls - Aging

To prevent falls, improve your coordination with exercise. Dr. Caroline Chebli, an orthopedic surgeon with The Sports Medicine Clinic, says exercise strengthens muscles and increases coordination. “There are so many benefits to regular exercise. It helps maintain neuromuscular coordination and this can prevent falls and broken bones or fractures. Studies show that in sedentary individuals, muscle strength declines by 15 percent per decade between age 50 and 70 years. This increases to a staggering 30 percent per decade after age 70.”

Dr. Chebli recommends 30 to 50 minutes of aerobic exercise a day for three to five days, plus one set of weight training exercises twice a week. Talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

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Can You Prevent Osteoporosis? - Women's Health

Dr. Caroline Chebli, an orthopedic surgeon with The Sports Medicine Clinic, says osteoporosis prevention should start at a young age for men and women. “I strongly recommend regular exercise plus adequate intake of vitamin D and calcium. Everyone gradually starts losing bone mass at age 35 and exercise increases bone strength. Postmenopausal women lose bone mass at an accelerated rate. Many of the risk factors for osteoporosis are preventable.”

Risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol intake and sedentary lifestyle. Always speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. For more information, visit

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How to Tell if You Have Osteoporosis - Women's Health

How do you know if you have osteoporosis? Dr. Caroline Chebli is an orthopedic surgeon with The Sports Medicine Clinic. “For most people, a bone fracture is the first sign. A bone density test confirms the diagnosis. It’s very important for people to understand that the first fracture they receive from a low-energy injury is the time to seek treatment to prevent future fractures. We know people who experience a prior fracture have an 86 percent chance of having another one. Treatment is a combination of better nutrition, medication, bone building exercises and adequate vitamin D.” Chebli says more than 1.5 million fractures related to osteoporosis occur every year. Women are more affected than men.

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Is Snoring Common? - Sleep

Are you kept awake at night by the sounds of your partner snoring? Studies show that 45% of normal adults snore at least occasionally and 25% are habitual snorers. Dr. Karen Lin of Northwest Hospital says snoring, or having a partner that snores, can seriously affect your sleep patterns, leaving you tired and lethargic the next day.

“There are a few things you can do to try and stop snoring. Losing weight can greatly reduce snoring and avoiding alcohol and meals before going to bed can also result in less snoring," Dr. Lin says. "Sleeping on your side may also be effective in reducing how much and how loud you snore.”

If your snoring does not improve, consult with an ear, nose and throat specialist for more options.

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Keeping Your Vaccinations Up To Date - Women's Health

Staying healthy and paying attention to prevention also includes familiarizing yourself with which inoculations you should have. Dr. Anita Uppal, an internist at Sandpoint Internists, says there are several vaccines recommended for adult women over the age of 18.

"Review with your physician which vaccines you need," Dr. Uppal says. "The pneumonia vaccine is recommended for adults over 65. A tetanus booster is recommended every 10 years. Between the ages 18 and 64, one of these should be a Tdap, which protects from whooping cough. This is particularly important for women because either we have children or have friends with children and occasional outbreaks do still happen."

For more information on vaccines, talk to your doctor.

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Make Time for Your Health - Women's Health

If you are a woman, you are probably a lot like me. You try to do everything and take care of everyone in your life, but if you’re like me, you probably forget to take care of yourself in the process. Dr. Anita Uppal, an internist at Sandpoint Internists, says this is a common problem for women.

"Today, my female patients have more demanding lives than ever before," Dr. Uppal says. "We all try to do everything, juggling friends, families and jobs. Along the way, we sometimes neglect our own health. Make sure to check in with your doctor at least once a year for an annual pelvic exam. At that time we can update your vaccinations, do the necessary blood work and screenings for blood pressure and cholesterol. It won’t take too much of your time and the return is 10-fold.”

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Don't Forget Your Vitamin D - Women's Health

We all know that calcium helps build strong bones, but did you know that vitamin D helps you absorb that extra calcium? Dr. Anita Uppal,an internist at Sandpoint Internists, says most of us in the Pacific Northwest are Vitamin D deficient and this can pose a problem for our bone health and preventing osteoporosis in the future.

“Calcium and Vitamin D go hand in hand. Most women should get about 1000 mg of calcium," Dr. Uppal says. "A glass of milk is about 300 mg. If you are watching your diet, look to other rich sources of calcium like broccoli or fat free yogurt. In addition to calcium, you should take a vitamin D supplement – 1,000 units a day is the standards.”

Dr. Uppal says if you are curious if you are vitamin D deficient, talk to your doctor. They can run a simple screening test.

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Know Your Risk Factors - Women's Health

Did you know that one of the greatest threats to a woman’s life may have no warning signs at all? Dr. Benjamin Lerner, a vascular surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says if you have certain risk factors such as high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, heart disease, high cholesterol or diabetes, your cardiovascular health may be jeopardized, and you may not even know it.

"Conditions such as high blood pressure are often called “silent killers”, but it doesn’t have to be that way," Dr. Lerner says. "People who have high blood pressure, or other problems such as smoking and diabetes, can have their vascular health safely and easily evaluated by their doctor.”

For more information on surgical services at Northwest Hospital, visit us online at

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Are You Putting Too Much Weight on Your Joints? - Joint Health

Today, joint pain in the hips and knees are affecting more and more Americans. Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says that obesity is one of the major causes of joint pain in adults.

"When we walk, three to five times our body weight is absorbed by the joints in our hips and knees," Dr. Klimisch says. "This means your body is absorbing that impact every time you take a step. Over time, that can be very strenuous on your body. Some people who are overweight may already be feeling the toll this daily joint strain has on their bodies and they may also begin to modify their lives to avoid the pain. You may find yourself avoiding walking, climbing stairs, or taking long car trips.”

Dr. Klimisch says if you are overweight and experiencing joint pain, the best thing you can do is lose weight. Losing as little 10 pounds could be the equivalent of taking 50 pounds of your knees. This will help you return to a higher level of function and mobility.

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Should You Consider Joint Replacement? - Joint Health

If you have mild signs of osteoarthritis pain, Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says the best thing you can do is stay active. But what do you do if the pain and inflammation in your joint has progressed?

"If you are experiencing pain in your hip or knee and are suffering, you should ask one question: Do you want to continue suffering or do you want to get back to living your life?" Dr. Klimisch says. "You may think you are too young for a joint replacement, but there are a number of minimally-invasive treatment options for younger patients who want to avoid a total hip or knee replacement.”

Dr. Klimisch suggests talking to your primary care doctor for a referral to an orthopedic surgeon skilled in the latest advancements in joint care.

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Symptoms of Osteoarthritis - Joint Health

The pain in your knee or hip might mean you are beginning to feel your age. Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says that that pain could be a symptom of osteoarthritis.

“Most patients feel pain in their knee that occurs with prolonged activities like sitting or standing, or strenuous activities such as walking up stairs," Dr. Klimisch says. "If you are just showing the beginning signs of osteoarthritis, the best thing you can do is to stay active and keep stretching so you can maintain the range of motion in the affected joint and strengthen the muscles surrounding the joint.”

These tools can help counteract the joint pain and stiffness, keeping you active for many years to come.

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You're Not Too Young For Heart Disease - Heart Health

Do you believe you’re too young to have heart disease? Dr. Michael Duong, an interventional cardiologist with Western Washington Cardiology in Everett, says heart disease is not just reserved for old age.
br>“People of all ages discover they have heart disease that, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. This includes congenital heart disease – meaning the heart did not develop properly before birth – and irregular heartbeat, also known as heart arrhythmias.”

Dr. Duong says quite often congenital heart disease has no symptoms among adults, but some may have shortness of breath or poor tolerance for exercise. Half a million adults in the U.S. alone have it. Irregular heart beat can increase a person’s risk of stroke, heart failure and premature death. For more information, visit

What To Do If You're On Your Feet All Day - Foot Care

Do you have a new job that requires you to stand a lot more than you used to? If you’ve recently taken a job waiting tables or in retail, you can expect some foot pain during the first couple of weeks, according to Dr. Brian McInnes, a podiatrist and surgeon at The Sports Medicine Clinic.

If the pain continues, however, and you don’t feel like you’re adapting to the increased exertion, your feet may not be handling the stress very well and you may be injuring yourself. It’s probably time to see a physician who can diagnose the problem and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Some foot stress problems can be handled with orthotics or more supportive shoes. Instead of suffering and assuming that pain is just part of the job, go talk to a podiatrist and find out what you can do to help your feet feel better.

Does Arthritis Run in the Family? - Joint Health

If your mother has arthritis, you may be at a greater risk of getting it, too. Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says that nearly 43 million Americans have the disease, which can also be hereditary.

"Medications can help reduce pain and inflammation, but many patients may require a joint replacement sometime in their lifetime," Dr. Klimisch says. "It’s a safe and common procedure but like with any surgery, there are risks involved. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider all your options if your doctor does recommend a replacement. Today, older folks are more active than they have ever been before. A surgery might help you get back to playing golf, hiking in the mountains, or being on your feet in the kitchen. Those activities are what make retirement years wonderful. And that’s incredibly important.”

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Facts About the HPV Vaccine - Women's Health

You may have been hearing a lot about HPV lately, and that the vaccine can prevent cervical cancer and may save your daughter’s life. Northwest Hospital gynecologist Dr. Pat Rodrigues says HPV, or the human papilloma virus, is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Currently, the FDA recommends the vaccine for women ages 9 to 26.

"The vaccine is very important for women today because it can significantly reduce a woman’s risk of cancer," Dr. Rodrigues says. "Ideally, a woman would get the three shot series before she becomes sexually active.”

To learn more about the vaccine and your options, talk to your doctor today.

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How to Choose Your Kids' Shoes - Foot Care

Those of us who are parents know how hard it is to keep up with our kids’ growing feet and the challenge of making sure they’re wearing shoes that have the right fit and support. Dr. Brian McInnes, a podiatrist and surgeon at The Sports Medicine Clinic, says "there are signs you can look for that will tell you if your kids are wearing the right shoes."

"Young kids may not complain that their feet hurt. Instead, children under about 8 years old may just give up doing activities that make them sore. If your child wants to sit on a park bench instead of running around, foot pain might be the reason."

Kids’ shoes need to be the right length and width. It’s also a good idea to take a look at how your child is walking or running. Your pediatrician can recommend a podiatrist who can advise you on shoes that will encourage pain-free play.

Tips for Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis - Joint Health

How do you live with a disease that can cause severe and chronic pain? Dr. Philip Moberg, a rheumatologist with The Seattle Arthritis Clinic, says living with rheumatoid arthritis can be challenging, but there are some things you can do to make you healthier and more equipped to tackle the disease.

"Exercise is very important," Dr. Moberg says. "Low impact activities like biking or swimming that don’t jar the joints as much are ideal. The more mobile you are, the looser the joints will be. Patients can also adopt a low-inflammatory diet which emphasizes foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids such as fish like mackerel, salmon and tuna. You can also use fish-oil which is loaded with omega-3s.”

For more information on rheumatoid arthritis, visit

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How Osteoarthritis Can Impact Your Life - Joint Health

You have lived the last few years avoiding the things you love most. Biking, hiking, strolling around Green Lake, and skiing. Today, even climbing the stairs is a challenge and impossible to do without pain. Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says if this sounds like you then you may have osteoarthritis, a condition that affects the knee or hip joints and results in the gradual breakdown of cartilage and inflammation in the joint.

“If you let it go long enough, eventually you will begin to feel bone on bone pain. The pain may take hours to resolve and eventually over-the-counter and prescription anti-inflammatories just don’t work quite as well," Dr. Klimisch< says. "Visit a doctor. They can diagnose the condition with X-rays and a physical examination and can offer some immediate treatments that may improve your function.”

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Care for Facial Cuts - Skin Care

All of us got banged up when we were kids, sometimes with cuts on our faces or necks. Back then, the treatment for cuts and scrapes was to let them dry out. What we didn’t know then was that drying out injuries can lead to more noticeable scars. Dr. Josh Cooper, a plastic surgeon with Seattle Pacific Surgeons at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center, says any cut can leave a scar, but there is something you can do to improve a cut’s appearance before it heals completely. In addition to keeping the cut moist with Bacitracin or Vitamin A and D ointment, a licensed clinical aesthetician can really help, since the right makeup can help conceal a scar without looking heavy or “too made-up.”

To find a licensed clinical aesthetician, talk to your doctor, dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Makeup can camouflage the scar until the healing is complete.

What is HDL Cholesterol? - Heart Health

Do you know your level of HDL cholesterol? Adults should have this checked every five years along with their lipid levels (total cholesterol includes HDL, LDL and triglycerides). High-density lipoprotein or HDL is good because it sponges up excess cholesterol in arteries and sends it to your liver to be disposed. When HDL falls to 50 mg/dL or lower for women or 40 mg/dL for men, it signals an increased risk of heart disease. Levels greater than 60 mg/dL may be protective. Genes strongly influence HDL levels, but you can improve your numbers with regular physical activity and diet.

A recent study in the British Medical Journal suggests drinking alcohol in moderation may boost HDL. This means up to one drink daily for women and up to two for men. More important is eating a diet moderate in fat, only 25 to 35 percent of calories. Most should come from polyunsaturated fats (nuts, seeds and their oils plus omega-3 fats in oily fish) and monounsaturated ones (olives and avocados).
The real heart disease villain is LDL cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein. Increasing healthy fats and eating these in place of transfats (margarine), saturated fats (full-fat dairy and fatty meats), and refined carbohydrates can lower your level of this ‘bad’ cholesterol.

What to do If You're Coming Down With a Cold - Wellness

A special focus on your diet may help you avoid coming down with a cold or the flu. Give your immune system a boost with these three simple tips:
• Get plenty of Vitamin D. Our bodies make it from sunlight and it’s also found in fatty fish like salmon and fortified milk. Experts suggest a supplement because most of us just don’t get enough naturally. This may help our immune cells identify and destroy bacteria and viruses. Check with your physician first for a recommended dose.
• Trim calories. Cutting calories in a healthful way may reduce levels of compounds in the body that drag your immune system down. Add more fruits and vegetables and choose lean protein sources, such as fish, chicken and low-fat dairy.
• Reach for oranges and oats. These foods are rich in soluble fiber, which helps fight inflammation, according to researchers at the University of Michigan. They found mice that ate a diet rich in soluble fiber for six weeks recovered from a bacterial infection in half the time it took mice eating meals with mixed fiber. Insoluble fiber, like whole grains and leafy greens, are important for health, too, but these do not have the same impact on immunity. Try to get 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day, with extra attention to consuming the soluble kind.

The Benefits of Garlic - Wellness

Garlic is good for your heart and may help prevent certain kinds of cancer. We’ve been hearing that for years. A recent study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry suggests that combining garlic with whole grains may help boost the absorption of the grains’ iron and zinc. These minerals help shuttle oxygen to cells and keep your immune system healthy, respectively. Researchers don’t know what exactly in the garlic is responsible for increasing mineral absorption, but suspect sulphur compounds. Concerned about garlic breath caused by these sulphur compounds? Milk or green tea can help reduce garlic breath. Green tea contains compounds called polyphenols that break down sulphur compounds.

Vaccinations for Adults - Disease Prevention

We all know about immunizations that our kids get during their first few months and then later the booster shots, but did you remember to get your vaccines this year? Dr. Tom Merritt, an internist at Richmond Internal Medicine, says this year, more than ever, it’s important to get vaccinated, no matter your age.

“Whether you are 14 or 47, there are some key vaccines that are important," Dr. Merritt says. "And now, with the rising cost of healthcare, protecting yourself from unwanted preventable diseases like shingles, pneumonia and the flu will not only protect your body, it will protect your pocketbook too.”

For more information on vaccines and current recommendations for adults, visit the King County Public Health Department website at

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Autoimmune Problems Women Should Be Aware Of - Women's Health

Autoimmune problems affect more than 50 million Americans but Dr. Philip Moberg, a rheumatologist with The Seattle Arthritis Clinic, says they occur more often in women than in men.

"We don’t know why women in general have the disease more often than men," Dr. Moberg says. "It is speculated that it is because women have robust immune systems to help protect their reproductive organs and the children they carry to term. The diseases can be hereditary, but just because your mother had an autoimmune illness doesn’t mean you will get one.”

Dr. Moberg says the best way for women to prepare themselves is to know their family medical history and be aware of any changes that may occur in their bodies as they age. For more information on autoimmune disease, visit

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Diagnosing Osteoporosis - Women's Health

The women in your life may have a silent bone condition. Osteoporosis and osteopenia often have no symptoms, and both diseases are usually detected following a bone break. Dr. Anita Uppal with Sandpoint Internists, says all women should focus on prevention, especially women with a family history and those who smoke and drink alcohol.

“Women typically reach peak bone mass in their 30s. Two factors having the greatest impact on bone health are good nutrition and physical activity. Incorporate calcium and vitamin D into your diet. In order to absorb and use calcium, you must have enough vitamin D, especially during winter months when there isn’t enough sun.”

Check with your doctor at your next annual exam to see if you do need a bone density screening or a blood test to check vitamin D levels.

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The Threat of Carbon Monoxide - Safety

Did you know there is something colorless, odorless and tasteless that can kill you? It’s carbon monoxide and it’s known as the silent killer for a reason. Every year, particularly during power outages, people get sick or die from this hazardous gas.

When the weather turns cold and the lights go out, people often use gas-powered generators near the house or indoors and without proper ventilation. Sometimes people even move gas or charcoal BBQs into the house to cook. This can quickly fill a house with deadly carbon monoxide. This winter, during times of severe cold and power outages, take the necessary precautions. Keep generators in a well-ventilated area, do not use a grill in the house and make sure to mount carbon monoxide detectors on ceilings outside sleeping and main living areas.

Cravings and Seasonal Affective Disorder - Wellness

You’ve probably heard about SAD or seasonal affective disorder. In the winter, when it’s darker outside, many of us suffer from mild depression. Experts think lack of sunlight decreases serotonin levels, a brain chemical that affects mood. Northwest Hospital registered dietician Tricia Clement says one of the ways we self-medicate against SAD is by eating large quantities of starchy carbs that are rich in serotonin and make us feel good.

"Listen to your body and its cravings," Clement says. "You may feel better by eating carbs, especially after dark, but be sure to choose healthy ones like whole grains, legumes and sweet potatoes. These have more nutritional value than just your good old white bread and starchy potatoes."

New Year's Resolutions - Wellness

Are you wondering about the best way to approach your new year’s resolutions? Are the same resolutions that you set last year still at the top of your to-do list? This year, forget resolutions and focus on goal-setting. Specify key things you can actually accomplish -- and be specific. Lose 10 pounds by April. Save $500 by February. Set aside two hours of quality time for yourself each week. These goals have a few things in common. First, they can be measured. Setting goals works when you can measure progress and see the changes you are making. Second, they have specific deadlines. When you work towards a date and time to complete your goal, you’ll be sure to have your resolutions in the bag and not on your list next New Year’s eve.

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What You Should Know About Carbon Monoxide - Safety

Winter in Seattle, with all the power outages, frigid temperatures and icy streets, can be particularly harsh. And it’s during the winter that the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning increases. Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer for a reason. It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless and almost unnoticeable until the first symptoms of poisoning occur.

Symptoms range from a mild headache and some dizziness to nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and loss of consciousness. If you or your family experiences these symptoms, get out into fresh air and seek medical help immediately. And remember, you can prevent exposure to the deadly gas by having up-to-date carbon monoxide detectors in your home, running generators in well-ventilated areas outside the house, and never using a barbeque grill indoors.

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Wellness and Your New Year's Resolution - Wellness

The holidays are over almost and it’s the new year -- time to embrace a new you. But all the resolutions and promises you made to yourself to exercise more, eat healthier and quit smoking can get overwhelming and cause more stress. Why not try a different resolution this year. Put stress management at the top of your things to do. Block out an hour each week to relax. Keep your life simple by organizing a messy room or your basement. Get a massage. Play with your pets. Turn off the TV and turn on some music. Read a good book. All these things can help you reduce stress and increase calm. And remember, resolutions don’t end after January. Make a year-long commitment and you’ll be one year closer to a stress-free, happier you.

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Do You Have Acid Reflux? - Wellness

Heartburn, indigestion, regurgitation -- all words that describe acid reflux, a burning in the stomach that moves up into the chest. Dr. Nicole White, an esophageal surgeon with Northwest Hospital, says one in every 10 Americans experiences acid reflux, and that weight is often a factor.

“Acid reflux occurs when fluid from your stomach moves up into your esophagus toward your mouth," Dr. White says. "If you are overweight, your reflux may improve with weight loss.”

While you’re working to lose weight, there are some other things you can try, like eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding foods like peppermint, alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, tomatoes, or other spicy or acidic foods. Remember if your reflux is severe, always see your doctor.

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Winter Weight Management - Weight Management

During the winter, the weather is windy and rainy outside, while inside, holiday tables are filled with tasty morsels and other temptations. Dr. Nicole White, a weight-loss surgeon at Northwest Hospital says to make room for a little exercise during all the celebrations.

“This time of year always brings on holiday stress, but you need to remember to find a balance. Going to the gym 5 days a week might not be an option, but you can still grab a friend and go for a walk around the mall or at an indoor parking lot.”

If you start today, you won’t be overwhelmed when the New Year comes around and you set new diet and fitness goals.

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A Hidden Source of Weigh Gain - Weight Management

If you are spending a lot of time in the kitchen, you also might be putting on a few pounds. Dr. Nicole White, a weight-loss surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says that grazing while preparing meals is one of the surest ways to gain weight.

“Small bites of mashed potatoes, cookie dough, or pumpkin pie can really add up. I like to chew gum while I am cooking, that way I won’t end up tasting all the food while I am preparing it.”

If you have to graze, make sure to keep healthy, crunchy options around to snack on. If you save the treats for later, they will taste more rewarding.

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Seasonal Produce for All Seasons - Wellness

Nutritionists recommend that people eat seasonal produce, but many people don’t find winter options appealing. Even so, Northwest Hospital registered dietician Tricia Clement says you shouldn’t ignore winter fruits and vegetables. They’re even more important because the body’s immune system need an extra boost during winter.

"Fresh fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins A & C and other antioxidants our bodies rely on to stay healthy," Tricia says. "For a powerhouse of nutrients, it’s hard to beat dark greens like Kale or many types of winter squash."

Understanding the Glycemic Index - Weight Management

Wonder how you can prevent weight gain? A good understanding of the Glycemic Index may help. Dr. Anita Uppal with Sandpoint Internists, says this index measures the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels.

“Foods are scored from zero to 100 according to how much they raise glucose levels. The higher the score, the more quickly sugar is released into the blood. Lower scoring foods, like some fruits, non-starchy vegetables and whole grains, contain carbs that break down more slowly. These foods may improve long-term blood sugar control and ultimately, our health.”

“Dr. Uppal reminds us to not forget about beverages during holiday celebrations. Liquor and wine are sources of carbs. And while meats and fats don’t have a GI score, they contribute calories to our diets.

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The Benefits of a Snack - Weight Management

It’s hard for many of us to focus on smart ways to not gain weight during the holiday rush, but Dr. Anita Uppal with Sandpoint Internists, says to not starve in anticipation of celebrations.

“If you’re going to a party with abundant holiday food, grab a healthy snack beforehand. Arrive satisfied and this will prevent you from overeating. Treat yourself to a healthy attitude and a positive outlook. Nutrition lapses happen. If you overindulge, forgive yourself and start fresh the next day.”

Dr. Uppal also recommends planning lighter meals this time of year, with a focus on lean protein, fresh veggies and whole grains. She also says to prevent stress by sticking with a routine as much as possible, including regular exercise.

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Pay Attention to Hidden Sugar - Weight Management

While many of us watch our waistlines, Dr. Anita Uppal with Sandpoint Internists, says for diabetic patients, a lapse can critically impact their health.

"Remember to pay attention to total calories, including fat and proteins. Because many treats contain hidden sugars, it’s so important to be mindful of the number of calories spent on carbohydrates, too. Make smart choices, whether you are diabetic or just trying to control your weight.”

Dr. Uppal recommends learning more about healthy food choices and the Glycemic Index, which measures the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels, by visiting the American Diabetes Association at

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How to Avoid Gaining Weight Over the Holidays - Weight Management

You’ve probably heard that most people gain weight over the holidays, thanks to all the good food and drink. Sometimes it can feel like there’s no point in fighting the urge to pig out, since you don’t have time to go to the gym or even take a fast walk. Just the same, remember that the celebrations don’t have to include a holiday from your workouts, followed by weight gain and New Year’s resolutions. Before you just give up and dive into the cookie jar, take a look at your schedule and make room for your workout by making it a priority. If you’re bored with the usual exercise, this is the time to try something new. If you take a Pilates class every Tuesday, how about a belly dancing class for a few weeks? If you’d love to go on a walk, but the kids are home, take them along – or get them to teach you how to dance to their favorite music. Follow their moves for a while, and you’ve got a workout that’s both aerobic and fun.

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When is it Safe to Let a Teen Driver Hit the Road? - Safety

When it comes to your kids health, a lot of time, energy and patience goes into keeping kids happy, healthy and productive. Dr. Mark Lacambra of Northwest Hospital recommends exercising a bit of caution when debating whether or not to let your new teen driver use your car.

“The first rain is always the slickest and most dangerous time to drive. Consider setting limits on new drivers in these conditions. Also, set a good example when you are driving with them in the car.”

Part of those examples includes driving slowly and cautiously, with two hands on the wheel. That way your teen driver will learn to be safe when they are driving in good or bad weather.

Healthy Snacks for Kids - Weight Management

Kids are more susceptible to munching on junk food and sweets instead of healthy treats like apples and oranges. Dr. Mark Lacambra of Northwest Hospital recommends putting put the chips away and instead, setting a bowl of fruits and vegetables out on the kitchen counter where kids can see it.

“Giving your kids the chance to make healthy decisions is the most important factor in encouraging kids to eat wholesome food rather than junk," he says. "Seasonal fruits like apples paired with cheese work great. Celery and peanut butter is always a big hit with my kids.”

So, put the chips and junk food in the back of the cupboard and only bring it out on special occasions, that way they will get more accustomed to eating a well-balanced diet and they’ll feel better.

The Right Way to Wash Your Hands - Disease Prevention

Everyone keeps saying that washing your hands frequently is the best way to stop cold and flu germs right in their tracks. It really is, if you do it right. First of all, it takes a little more than a quick splash of warm water. Here’s what the hand hygiene experts at Northwest Hospital advise.

First, get your hands wet, then add some soap. Now rub your hands together for a good fifteen seconds. Now rinse thoroughly. This sends the germs down the drain, and out of your life. Dry your hands completely, and you’re good to go. The important thing about hand washing is to do it often, especially before eating, after using the bathroom, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing and before and after taking care of someone who is sick. When in doubt, wash often so cold and flu germs have a hard time traveling from hand to hand.

Is Organic Food Healthier? - Weight Management

We hear a lot these days about how we should eat locally-grown, organic produce. But what are the benefits of spending extra money on these items? Northwest Hospital registered dietician Tricia Clement says organic produce has fewer pesticides and foods harvested close to home retain more nutrients.

"The longer it takes to get from the farm to your table, the more nutrients foods lose," Clement says. "You get more nutrition if foods haven’t travelled long distances. If you can’t get fresh produce, frozen vegetables are a good alternative. They are often just as nutritious as locally-grown produce because they are usually picked fresh and packed within 24 hours and they keep most of their nutritional value.”

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Eating and Acid Reflux - Wellness

Does eating or drinking cause a burning sensation in your chest? Does it make you unable to sleep? Dr. Nicole White, an esophageal surgeon with Northwest Hospital, says these could be signs of acid reflux, a condition that can cause complications such as asthma and esophageal damage and can seriously impact your lifestyle.

"People sleep upright in recliners because they can’t lie down," Dr. White says. "They can’t go out to eat with their friends because there is nothing there is nothing they can stomach. They can’t drink wine because the pain is so severe. It truly affects every aspect of their life.”

White says surgical options are available but it is important to see your doctor about lifestyle changes before thinking about surgery.

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Should You Eat Sushi When Pregnant? - Pregnancy

Sushi is one of Seattle’s favorite foods. Just check out the lines at the sushi restaurants any night of the week. Dr. Dawn Frankwick, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Meridian Women’s Health, says that for pregnant women, though, raw fish is definitely off the menu.

"They also need to stay away from raw beef and unpasteurized dairy products," Dr. Frankwick says. "I tell expecting mothers to minimize their use of canned tuna and to microwave any deli meats until they are steaming hot. This helps prevent some food-borne illnesses pregnant women may not be able to fight."

As for the rest of your diet during pregnancy, your doctor can give you guidelines on how much calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients you need in your meals to have a healthy baby, as well as advice about taking pre-natal vitamins.

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Exercise for a Healthy Pregnancy - Childbirth

Congratulations – you’re pregnant! This doesn’t mean that you can spend the next nine months just shuttling between the couch and the refrigerator, though. Dr. Dawn Frankwick, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Meridian Women’s Health, says, "It’s time to strap on those walking shoes."

"I recommend that an average woman who isn’t already doing an exercise routine when she gets pregnant should walk for 45 minutes every day. Of course, she should start out walking 15 minutes each day at first, and work her way up to 45 minutes."

Just to make it clear, that walk is not just a stroll – it’s a purposeful stride. Wear a pedometer and get up to ten thousand steps a day. Getting or staying fit while you’re pregnant leads to less weight gain and an easier delivery for both the baby and you.

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Rotator Cuff Injuries Can Happen to Anyone - Joint Health

Have you ever fallen and heard a “pop” in your shoulder, or maybe felt a sudden, sharp pain while lifting weights? Northwest Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Smith says this could indicate a tear, strain, or inflammation in the rotator cuff muscles that help move your shoulder.

"Many people know of rotator cuffs because they hear about them in baseball pitchers, but it is a common injury that can occur in older people simply due to age and overuse," Dr. Smith says. "The tendons can progressively deteriorate just like the fabric on the knees of your blue jeans thin over time. If it's pain resulting from a fall, you should probably see your doctor right away, but if it’s from overuse after 36 holes of golf or you just woke up with it, take an anti-inflammatory, get some rest and stretch your shoulder gently.”

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Are You Depressed? - Wellness

Everyone has bad days and trying times, but how do you know when your normal everyday Monday blues aren’t something more? Dr. Vara Kraft, an internist at Olympic Medical Center, says it is important to pay attention to your baseline mood, even if you have no family or personal history of depression.

"It can be difficult to realize something is wrong because in many cases, mental health problems and declines into depression happen slowly over time." Dr. Kraft says. "Ask yourself a few questions. Is your sadness severe and prolonged? Do you feel tired all the time and not want to get out of bed? Are you isolating yourself from your friends and loved-ones? Do you drink by yourself to control your nerves? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider talking to your doctor.”

Help is available and you don’t have to feel alone.

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Treatment for Cold Sores - Wellness

One in three people have reoccurring cold sores. If you get one, do you know what you should do? Dr. Michael Lee, an internist at Northwest Hospital, says cold sores are viral infections that appear around the mouth during times of stress.

“The key to cold sores is to treat them at the first sign of symptoms such as tingling, itching and burning," Dr. Lee says. "The best solution is an oral antiviral medication prescribed by your doctor. If this is the first time you have had a cold sore, schedule an appointment. Over the counter medications like Abreva can be moderately effective.”

Remember, thebest thing to prevent cold sore breakouts is doing what you can to reduce stress by getting enough sleep and eating well.

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Easing Spring Allergies - Wellness

Dr. Michael Lee, an internist at Northwest Hospital, says spring and summer are some of the most difficult times for people with seasonal allergies.

“The best thing you can do is to avoid whatever is triggering your allergic reaction," Dr. Lee says. "Do simple things, like keep the windows in your car or house shut tight so you can keep the allergens out. In your house, make sure to replace the air filter regularly”

We know it is tough to shut yourself inside during the best time of year, but the more you limit your exposure to allergens, the fewer reactions you will have.

The Impact of a Stroke - Stroke Prevention

Dr. Michael Lee, an internist at Northwest Hospital, says when it comes to stroke, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

"Major risk factors include a family history of stroke or heart attack, smoking and obesity," Dr. Lee says. "Some of my older patients say they are already old, so why do they need to take care of their health? Once you have a stroke, you will have a dramatically different quality of life .You want to remain as independent and capable as long as you can.”

Do the leg work now to prevent stroke. It will pay off in the long run. Talk to your doctor to learn about prevention.

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Think F.A.S.T. to Prevent Stroke - Stroke Prevention

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of adult disability. But Dr. Michael Lee, an internist at Northwest Hospital, says 80 percent of strokes are actually preventable.

“A stroke happens when a blood clot blocks an artery that carries blood to the brain. When this happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs," Dr. Lee says. "This can affect a person’s speech, movement and memory. The acronym F.A.S.T. can help you recognize symptoms: Face, Arms, Speech. Are any of these affected? And lastly, Time. If you observe any symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately to get to the nearest stroke center or hospital.”

Remember, if caught early, stroke can be treated by a well-trained care team like the ones at Northwest Hospital.

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Tanning and the Risk of Skin Cancer - Skin Care

If you’ve been doing a lot of tanning lately, listen up: recent research shows a rise in the rates of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, in young women. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says increased ultraviolet, or U-V, ray exposure from tanning beds may be the culprit.

"Young women are spending more time outdoors and in tanning beds without protecting themselves from damaging UV rays," Dr. Reichel says. "Tanning beds in particular are being associated with melanoma in some research."

If you just can’t give up tanning, here’s how you can detect most kinds of skin cancer early. Ask your primary care doctor or dermatologist to do a baseline survey of any moles you may have on your skin. Then, every month, check your skin from top to toe, and report any changes in existing moles, new moles or any other unusual spots that have appeared on your skin.

Tips to Help You Quit Smoking - Lung Health

Humans are creatures of habit. This is especially true of smokers. In order to quit, it’s important to remember that the act of inhaling a cigarette is as much of a habit as it is an addiction. Knowing what triggers your cigarette craving can be very helpful. Some smokers like to light up over morning cups of coffee, others get the itch when they get in the car, and still others find that they eat less when they smoke, so they light a cigarette every time they feel hungry. Pay attention to these and other triggers and instead of lighting up, try focusing on another task. Wash the dishes, get outside for some exercise or read a book. Distraction can be a strong tool in helping kick the habit. And remember, even if you continue smoking but are able to cut back by one or two cigarettes a day that’s an achievement.

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Medical Power of Attorney - Aging

It’s never too late to figure out who should make medical decisions for you in case you are unable to. Dr. William Solan of Northwest Hospital’s Gero-Psychiatric Center says this is something we all need to think about. After all, accidents happen to everyone. If you’re in a crash and can’t explain what you want, your medical team will need the guidance of the person you name in your medical power of attorney. If you are an older adult, making sure your desires are known and followed is especially important.

If you’re an adult, it’s time for you to make some serious decisions, whether you are young or old.

Joint Stiffness May Signal Auto-Immune Disease - Joint Health

Do you experience pain and stiffness in your joints? Dr. Philip Moberg, a rheumatologist with The Seattle Arthritis Clinic, says it can sometimes be difficult for people to determine whether or not they need to go see a doctor.

"If you start developing problems such as morning stiffness and swelling in the joints, then it is definitely worth talking to your primary care provider or arranging an appointment with a rheumatologist," Dr. Moberg says. "People who have autoimmune problems generally feel very stiff in the morning when they get out of bed and that stiffness remains for more than an hour."

The stiffness works itself out later in the day because once you are up and mobile, the cells in the surrounding tissues lubricate the joint, making it less painful and easier to move.

For more information on autoimmune diseases, visit

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Celebrating With Diabetes - Wellness

Diabetes is a challenging disease that involves a lot of time, energy, planning and patience – especially during the holiday season. The temptation of all the delicious holiday treats is one of the hardest things for a person to resist. Northwest Hospital’s Diabetes Services Coordinator Cheryl Cummings says if you have diabetes and want to stay healthy during the holidays, just plan ahead.

“When going to holiday parties, bring your own hors d’oeuvres, not only for yourself but to share as well," Cheryl says. "That way you know you are eating healthily.”

Exercise is important too, so if you can walk to that holiday party, you can burn calories as well.

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Holiday Weight Gain - Weight Management

Dr. Nicole White, a weight-loss surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says if you are trying to avoid gaining extra holiday pounds, try filling up on something healthy before moving on to dishes that are high in fat and calories.

“We wait all year to eat some of these foods and there is no reason you should deprive yourself," White says. "If you start the meal with a large salad, though, you will feel full when you move on to other dishes. And if you serve up smaller portions, you will be able to try all your favorites.”

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Dealing With Aging Parents - Aging

We all worry about our children, but what about our parents? As our parents get older, they begin to experience more health problems. Northwest Hospital internist Dr. James Bowers says it can be particularly difficult to monitor your parent’s health when they live far away.

"Ask your parents about how they are getting around. In older people, falls are the leading indicator that something might be wrong," Dr. Bowers says. "If your mom or dad develops a pattern of falling, you should encourage them to talk to their doctor immediately.”

As your parents age, it’s a good idea to have an open conversation with them about their health. The more you talk, the more you’ll be able to safeguard them from unnecessary accidents or injuries.

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What to do About Varicose Veins - Women's Health

Your mother probably had them, and you might be developing them as well: varicose veins, which are unsightly veins on your lower legs. Dr. Benjamin Lerner, a vascular surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says varicose veins are fairly common, but they can sometimes cause health problems.

"Many people think varicose veins are just a cosmetic nuisance," Dr. Lerner says. "But if they are causing pain or skin changes, there are new, minimally invasive treatments that can be covered by your insurance. Most treatments can be completed as an outpatient, with almost no scarring and a quick recovery. Talk to your family doctor about your options.”

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Vascular Disease Prevention - Heart Health

Your body’s arteries are like the highway to your heart, so it’s important to keep them healthy and running smoothly. Dr. Benjamin Lerner, a vascular surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says there are a few things you can do to improve your circulation.

"Smoking is the number one preventable factor in vascular disease," Dr. Lerner says. "The effects of even one cigarette can last for two days, so quitting smoking is very important. Also, exercise, good control of your blood sugar if you are diabetic, and taking all blood pressure and heart medication your doctor has prescribed are the keys to blood vessel health."

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What to do With Halloween Candy - Weight Management

Halloween means flashlights, costumes and bottomless pillowcases full of candy. After returning from your trick-or-treat jaunt around the neighborhood, Dr. Mark Lacambra of Northwest Hospital suggests a little candy plan between you and your kids.

“Give them just enough candy to last them a week. Say they get a big bag of candy and you want them to have two pieces a day to take to school," he says. "Store the rest in a safe place or just give it away and replace it with a small toy or maybe a flashlight.”

If you are involved in helping them make healthy choices, it sends them a message that you are concerned about the food they are putting in their mouth. By working with your kids to set a few ground rules, you can turn what could be a bad situation into a healthy one.

Eating for Weight Management - Weight Management

If you want to improve your health and control your weight, Dr. Vara Kraft, an internist at Olympic Medical Center, suggests eating more fresh vegetables, fruits and fish.

"In the summer its really easy to improve your diet because there are so many fresh, farm-to-table options," Dr. Kraft says. "Try limiting your intake on frozen, canned, or fried foods, creams, processed sugars and take out. With proper diet, portion control and exercise, you’ll reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity, and all the other downsides that are associated with these two diseases.”

But remember to always consult with your physician before making any major lifestyle changes.

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Guide to Yearly Mammograms - Cancer

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to begin giving yourself monthly breast exams.

Women age 40 or older should be getting a yearly mammogram and continue to do so for as long as they are in good health. Dr. Craig Hanson of Northwest Hospital strongly recommends that women who have family members with a history breast cancer start getting yearly mammograms as early as 30.

“The goal of frequent screening and early detection is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms," says Dr. Craig Hanson, a radiologist at the Seattle Breast Center.

Seated Posture is Important - Wellness

Do you sit a lot during the day? Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says that proper posture is even more important today because we sit so much.

“Slouching or other bad habits can turn into musculoskeletal pain and weakness in key parts of your body such as your lower back and hips," Dr. Klimisch says. "The best way to ensure proper sitting posture is to exercise your core muscles. Building up muscle strength in your abdomen and lower back will help teach your body how to maintain its alignment on its own. So when you are sitting at a desk, in a car, or at the movies, you don’t have to constantly correct your position. Eventually, with the proper exercise, your body will just do it on its own.”

Why Good Posture is Important - Wellness

Dr. Justin Klimisch, an orthopedic surgeon at The Bone and Joint Center of Seattle, says that not slouching will improve our health and our appearance at the same time.

"Good posture is any position in your body that aligns your bones properly and doesn’t put undue stress on your muscles and joints," Dr. Klimisch says. "Poor posture results from poor habits, so make sure to be more conscious of how you are sitting and standing. Proper posture is when your shoulders are level, head is straight, your hips are level and your kneecaps and ankles face straight ahead. Correct posture will reduce muscle fatigue and help you to avoid unnecessary strain on your joints and ligaments.”

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Preventing Tennis Elbow - Exercise

Most of us have heard the term tennis elbow. Dr. Caroline Chebli, an orthopedic surgeon with The Sports Medicine Clinic, says the root cause of this pain is inflammation around the tendons on the outside of the elbow.

“If you are an avid tennis player, you know that a preventive approach is the best," Dr. Chebli says. "Use accurate form. Stretch and warm up properly before you start playing. And most important of all, do strengthening exercises. You can use hand weights to increase muscle strength in your arms. But make sure to stop if you feel any pain. That is your body telling you it needs to rest.”

For more information on sports related injuries visit

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Whooping Cough Vaccination for Adults - Disease Prevention

If you have kids, you know that the pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccine is routinely given to infants and children, but adults need the immunization too. Dr. Tom Merritt, an internist at Richmond Internal Medicine, says there has been a reemergence of the disease in adults.

"As you get older, your immunity to the original vaccine wears off, meaning adults absolutely need a booster shot sometime in their 30s or 40s," Dr. Merritt says. "Adults who haven’t had the vaccine are not only at risk of getting Whooping Cough but also exposing children who are too young to be immunized to a potentially fatal disease. If you work with or are frequently around children, whooping cough and the flu vaccines should be your top priorities this fall.”

For more information visit the Center for Disease Control at

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Why Your Feet Hurt When You Exercise - Foot Care

If your feet hurt during every workout and for hours afterward, or you’ve been trying to run through the pain, it may be time to visit your primary care or foot doctor. You could be working on a stress fracture in one of the bones in your feet.

If you’re noticing some swelling on the top of your foot toward your toes, or redness, swelling or increasing pain the longer you’re on your feet, you may have a problem that needs expert attention. Get the pain treated, and ask your foot and ankle specialist how to prevent future injuries. A simple over-the-counter orthotic, shoe insert, or custom orthotic, along with the right shoes, may be what you need to get back out there.

Preventing Pneumonia - Disease Prevention

A short visit to your doctor to update your vaccines can keep you out of the hospital. Dr. Tom Merritt, an internist at Richmond Internal Medicine, says that, in addition to a flu vaccine, make sure you get the pneumonia one, too.

"Pneumonia can often come on after the flu, so if you go to the doctor to get your annual influenza vaccination, kill two birds with one stone and get the pneumonia one at the same time," Dr. Merritt says. "It will protect you from 23 different strains of bacterial pneumonia. Both these vaccines are particularly important for senior citizens, young children, and expectant mothers.”

For more information, visit the King County Health Department or the Centers for Disease Control at

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Avoiding a Common Tennis Injury - Exercise

Tennis is a difficult sport which requires coordination and conditioning to run, position, swing, and hit the ball. Dr. Caroline Chebli, an orthopedic surgeon with The Sports Medicine Clinic, says the majority of tennis injuries are a result of overuse, but some can be acute as a result of a fall.

"It can be difficult to know when to seek treatment and when to wait it out," Dr. Chebli says. "Tendonitis or inflammation is a common result of working too hard. If left untreated, it can eventually lead to a rotator cuff tear. Make sure to treat that shoulder pain with rest, gentle stretching, anti-inflammatory medication and ice. If your shoulder pain occurs suddenly after a fall or a specific motion and is accompanied by a pop or tearing sensation, it is probably more serious and will require immediate medical attention.”

For more information on sports-related injuries visit

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Do You Need a Booster? - Disease Prevention

We all know about immunizations, the ones our kids get during their first few months and then later the booster shots, but did you remember to get YOUR vaccines this year? Dr. Tom Merritt, an internist at Richmond Internal Medicine, says this year, more than ever, it’s important to get vaccinated, no matter your age.

“Whether you are 14 or 47, there are some key vaccines that are important," Dr. Merritt says. "And now, with the rising cost of healthcare, protecting yourself from unwanted preventable diseases like shingles, pneumonia and the flu will not only protect your body, it will protect your pocketbook too.”

For more information on vaccines and current recommendations for adults, visit the King County Public Health Department website at

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How to Keep Your Aging Parent Safe - Aging

As our parents grow older, we sometimes begin to worry about their ability to get around and take care of themselves. Northwest Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Smith says this is completely natural and encourages people to make simple adjustments to ensure your aging parent can live life as independently as possible.

"Make the home safer for your parents by installing elevated toilet seats and hand bars," Dr. Smith says. "Some people can even do well with a chair in the shower and a mobile nozzle so they can bathe while sitting down rather than having to stand for an extended period.”

These tips won’t only improve the home but it can likely improve your parent’s mobility around the house and ensure that their independence continues well into their old age.

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Choosing an Obstetrician - Childbirth

You just found out you are pregnant and after the first excitement subsides, your next thought might be choosing a doctor to care for you and your baby. Dr. Dawn Frankwick, an obstetrician with Meridian Women’s Health, says you should chose a doctor who makes you feel comfortable and who listens to you.

“Ask about the provider’s reputation," Dr. Frankwick says. "Think about how you feel when you talk to your doctor. Is the office staff kind and considerate? Is the location convenient for you and your partner? Does the provider have a team of doctors working together? Sometimes a group practice can be reassuring for expecting moms because there are other OBs that you can access if your doctor is unavailable.”

For more information on finding the best prenatal care for you, visit

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Prenatal Care and Testing - Childbirth

If you are planning to get pregnant or are in your first trimester, you might be thinking about where to get your prenatal care. Dawn Frankwick, an obstetrician with Meridian Women’s Health, says the right care is important for a healthy pregnancy and includes regular checkups and prenatal testing.

“Your first visit will usually be the longest and will include a thorough history for both you and your partner, a comprehensive physical exam and blood tests for certain inherited diseases like cystic fibrosis, among other things," Dr. Frankwick says. "Testing positive for a genetic disorder is not cause for immediate worry, but it is something you and your partner should discuss thoroughly with your obstetrician.”

For more questions on prenatal care, visit

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Are Generic Drugs Safe? - Wellness

We are hearing a lot lately about the rising costs of healthcare and today more than ever, patients are trying to find ways to spend less without sacrificing quality. Northwest Hospital internist Dr. James Bowers says opting for generic drugs instead of brand names can be one way to drastically cut costs.

"In many cases, generic drugs are as effective as brand name ones and they are often made by the same manufacturer," Dr. Bowers says. "Over the course of treatment, generic options can save patients quite a bit of money so make sure to talk about different options with your doctor. They will work with you to get your drug costs down.”

Patients can always refer to the Federal Food and Drug Administration website for information on prescription medicine and generic equivalents.

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Do You Have a Gluten Allergy? - Wellness

Do you sometimes experience allergic reactions? You could be allergic to gluten. Dr. Vara Kraft, an internist at Olympic Medical Center, says gluten is in common food we eat every day.

"Breads, pastas, soy sauce, crackers, gravy. Gluten is in a lot of things that we don’t even think about. It might be making you feel backed up and cause gas, joint pain, and even certain types of diabetes," Dr. Kraft says. "Allergies to gluten can cause anemia and iron and vitamin D deficiencies. If you have a history of any of conditions, you should ask your doctor to perform a simple screening test for the allergy.”

If you do discover an allergy to gluten, you can do something about it. Consult your doctor. For more health tips, visit

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Protect Your Cartilage - Joint Health

As people age, the cartilage that lines their joints can become thin and sometimes vanishes all together. Northwest Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Smith says when this happens, you might feel some bone-on-bone pain. Dr. Smith suggests avoiding unnecessary stress on your joints.

"Exercise to maintain range of motion can help lessen pain, but try to avoid activities that put excessive pressure on your joints, such as running or weight lifting," Dr. Smith says. "Low-impact exercises such as swimming or bike riding are better options for most people. Surgical treatment options are also available when time and conservative measures fail to maintain satisfactory comfort and function.”

For more information, talk to your doctor or visit

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Should You Always Wear Sunscreen? - Skin Care

There are few places that are as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest, even when the days are hazy and gray. Dr. Vara Kraft, an internist at Olympic Medical Center, says it is important to remember that even on overcast days, you are susceptible to damaging ultra-violet rays.

"You should be wearing an SPF 30 or more every day that has UVA and B protection. Make sure to apply frequently if you are spending a lot of time outside," Dr. Kraft says. "And remember that applying SPF is just as important as doing routine skin checks. Look for persistent rashes or moles with asymmetric or irregular borders, dark coloring and large diameters. If you notice something out of place or that concerns you, contact your doctor immediately and have them check it out.”

For more information and health tips from Olympic Medical Center physicians, visit

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Activities for Joint Maintenance - Joint Health

As people age many gradually lose cartilage in joints like their knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and more. Northwest Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Smith says that arthritis is a degenerative problem – it gets worse as we age.

"Joint replacements should be a last resort. I encourage my patients to adopt a joint maintenance program that is just like the routine maintenance you might have on your car," Dr.Smith says. "One of the best things you can do is to stretch the affected joints for several minutes a few times each day. Even if your joint is arthritic, a flexible joint feels better than a stiff one. If you are planning on playing a round of golf, try taking an anti-inflammatory before and after your game. It can keep your symptoms from flaring up mid-swing or later than night.”

For more information on arthritis and orthopedic care, visit

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Ear Wax 101 - Wellness

Did you know that earwax is how the ear cleans itself? Even so, if you feel like excessive wax buildup might be affecting your hearing, consult a doctor. A Q-Tip just won’t do the trick. In fact, Dr. Karen Lin of Northwest Hospital agrees with the old saying that you shouldn’t put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow.

“To clean your ears, wash the external ear with a cloth, but do not insert anything into the ear canal," Dr. Lin says. "Wax blockage is one of the most common causes of hearing loss, which is often caused by attempts to clean the ear with cotton swabs. This actually pushes the wax deeper into the ear canal, causing a blockage.”

If you have frequent and troublesome buildups, make sure to talk to an ear, nose and throat specialist for a safe remedy.

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A More Comfortable Hospital Stay - Wellness

Do you ever step into a hospital and a feel like you’re in a foreign country? Sometimes it can feel that way. People talk, dress and act differently. Whether your trip to the hospital is planned or because of an emergency, a few things can make your stay less stressful.

Bring things that remind you of home, and your favorite toiletries. Once you are admitted, get to know the nurses, doctors and other people on your care team. They are there to help you feel safe and comfortable Ask questions if you don’t understand something and become an active participant in your own care.

Most important, make sure to share details of current medications, past illnesses or surgeries and any allergies you may have, so your care team can keep you safe during your stay.

What to Bring to the Hospital - Wellness

Not all hospital stays are unexpected. Many times patients need to prepare for a routine surgery, a birth, or a short overnight stay. Bringing your pajamas or toothbrush or iPod with you to the hospital may seem obvious, but what most people don’t know is that it’s critical to bring a complete and up-to-date list of all the medications you currently take and their dosages.

Knowing what medications you take helps hospital staff identify what other medications they can – and can’t – give you during your stay in order to keep you safe. Don’t bring your medications to the hospital with you, though, unless your physician tells you to. Your care team at the hospital will provide all the medications you will need.

The Proper Way to Use a Mouse - Wellness

You don’t have to be a cat to do a lot of playing with a mouse. Most of us spend a lot of time with our computer mice every day. Ergonomic experts say using your mouse the right way can prevent muscle tension, strain and other problems. Make sure the mouse is sitting close to you – if you have to reach across the desk to maneuver your mouse, it’s too far away. Your elbow should be at about ninety degrees as you use the mouse, so it can move easily without making you stretch too far all day long. Also, hold onto the mouse lightly--holding it too tight will cause problems with your hand and forearm. If you make some adjustments and still end the day with soreness in your hand and wrist, take a look at using a different mouse design. Go to an office supply or computer store and take a few mice for a test spin, to see if a smaller or larger one might be a better fit for the job you do.

The Right Place for Your Keyboard - Wellness

Where are you keeping your keyboard these days? Believe it or not, many of us place our computer keyboards too high and too far away from us. You may find that the height or size of your desk and chair prevent you from putting yourself in the right position for comfortable, efficient typing. You may be hunching over your keyboard and pushing your shoulders up too high. Or your wrists may not be in correct alignment, making any tension in your upper back worse.

Try making some changes: First, see if you can get a drawer for your computer keyboard that will hold the keyboard lower and close to you so that your elbows form a right angle as you type. Or raise your chair to get your arms at the right angle and get a footrest to support your feet. It will be easier to sit up straight and will be better for your upper back.

Computer Ergonomics - Wellness

Office ergonomic experts will tell you they can guess who goes home with a sore neck just by look at where keyboards sit in relation to computer monitors. Keeping your monitor so you have to turn your head to see the screen as you type is a very common cause of muscle soreness in the neck and shoulders. To work effectively and comfortably at your desk, put the monitor and keyboard so you can face straight ahead as you write. Then check your monitor for height: you should be able to look right at the screen without having to look up or down to see it clearly. To get all this right, think about keeping your spine so it’s not twisted or extended too far in any direction for hours on end. Then remember to get up and stretch every once in a while, so you can keep working comfortably.

Two Questions to Ask Before Plastic Surgery - Surgery

Plastic surgery may seem like an instant, magical solution for people who want to change a body feature like their bra cup size or that dip in their nose. Northwest Hospital plastic surgeon Dr. Dan Downey says while surgical options are generally safe and gratifying, every patient should remember to ask a few questions when researching a surgeon.

"Two of the most important things you should ask your potential surgeon are, ‘What can you tell me about your training and board certification’ and 'How many operations of the kind I am considering do you (the plastic surgeon) do on a monthly basis?'” Dr. Downey says. "The answers to these questions will speak volumes of the surgeon’s skill level.”

One thing is certain - make sure your doctor’s board certification is among the commonly recognized specialties of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

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How to Prepare for Plastic Surgery - Surgery

The majority of plastic surgeries are performed on people who are healthy, so if you are considering an operation, you may think there isn’t much to prepare for. Northwest Hospital plastic surgeon Dr. Dan Downey says people thinking of having operations like eyelid surgery or a breast enlargement should be in good general health and have a comfortable understanding of the feature of their body they wish to change.

“In a perfect world, you have to try to improve that part of your body before moving on to surgical options. Plastic surgery is an immediate change," Dr. Downey says. "Every patient needs to feel a commitment to their own body. The work a surgeon does in partnership with the patient is a true celebration of everything they already accomplished.”

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Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis - Joint Health

If you wake up in the middle of the night with your knee, wrist or hand hurting, swollen and red, then, when you got up, you couldn’t begin your usual morning routine because of the pain, Dr. Julie Carkin, a rheumatologist with The Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says you may be showing the first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

"If you are having pain at rest or pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night, that is sign that it might be inflammatory arthritis. One type is rheumatoid," Dr. Carkin says. "We now have excellent medications for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis that will prevent destruction and disability."

The inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can signal damage to your joints, so see your doctor as soon as possible. Letting arthritis go untreated can put a real cramp in your dance through life.

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Achieve Peak Bone Mass - Women's Health

If you’re under 35 years old, you’re probably adding to your bone bank account, even if you don’t know it. Dr. Julie Carkin, a rheumatologist with the Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says up to that age, if you eat well and take in enough calcium and vitamin D, you’re building up important reserves of high-quality bone.

"Everyone's goal should be to achieve the highest peak bone mass by the time they are 30," Carkin says. "Menapause, certain medications and other medical issues cause withdrawals from that bank account. Starting off with a high peak bone bank account gives you a safety net for future bone loss and prevents fractures."

The latest research says most women don’t have enough vitamin D, and that the recommended amount has gone way up – to between 800 and 1000 international units a day. Vitamin D is extremely important, since you can’t absorb calcium without it. Calcium and vitamin D are the building blocks of bone, so making sure you include them in your daily life is the way to insure that you’re making deposits in your own personal bone bank.

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Mental Health Boosts Cancer Fight - Cancer

Do you ever wonder how your emotional health affects your physical health? Dr. Howard Muntz, a gynecologic oncologist at Women’s Cancer Care of Seattle, says taking care of your mental health is vital when it comes to fighting cancer.

"I tell my patients that it is okay to lean on others; in fact that is how you get the strength you need to get through this illness," Dr. Muntz says. "Take advantage of your personal connections with your family, friends, church, and any other group you belong to. Plug into this support – it will sustain you through your treatment.”

Improving your emotional well-being will pave the way to improving your physical well-being. For more resources talk to your doctor, friends and family.

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Networking for Cancer Patients - Cancer

Life brings challenges, but nothing tests the human spirit quite like a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Howard Muntz, a gynecologic oncologist at Women’s Cancer Care of Seattle, says a strong support network is one of the most important things to have.

“When I am treating my patients, my first question is always ‘who is going to take care of my patient when she goes home from the hospital?’" Dr. Muntz says. "As fellow human beings, we need to step forward and help create networks for patients who need them or have no one to rely on.”

Dr. Muntz says those networks are offered at Northwest Hospital’s campus, where patients can attend cancer support groups and connect and talk with people facing a cancer diagnosis. For more information on cancer support groups, visit

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Supporting a Friend With Cancer - Cancer

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, friends join together to offer encouragement and support. But after a sudden burst of attention, the support can begin to wane. Dr. Howard Muntz, a gynecologic oncologist at Women’s Cancer Care of Seattle, says that a reliable support group is incredibly important for someone struggling with cancer.

“Friends should realize that this is a long process," Dr. Muntz says. "Keep treating your friend who has cancer just like they would normally want to be treated. If you typically meet for lunch with your friend every month, keep doing that.”

Regular routines like these can help keep your friend strong in spirit, body and mind. For information on cancer support groups, please call 206.368.1848.

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Safety When Traveling - Safety

Twenty years ago, travelers took off to Europe on month-long summer vacations, but Northwest Hospital internist Dr. James Bowers says today’s travelers are more adventuresome and taking off to more exotic and remote places around the world.

"One thing every traveler should do before they leave is to read up on traveler’s health for the country they are visiting on the Centers for Disease Control website," Dr. Bowers says. "This will help vacationers know if they need anti-malarial medications, vaccinations or other medications for that region of the world.”

Remember to carry your vaccination card with you. Some countries require a vaccination history to pass through customs.

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Facts About Asthma - Lung Health

Did you know asthma affects more than 20 million Americans? Northwest Hospital pulmonologist Dr. Helena Jones says you might have asthma if you cough, wheeze, feel tightness in your chest or have shortness of breath. Asthma makes it more difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs, but Dr. Jones says there are preventive treatments that can help.

“If you have asthma, the goal of therapy is to keep you without symptoms and to make it so that you don’t have to take rescue medications such as an inhaler," Dr. Jones says. "If you are not at that point, are still having symptoms and need your inhaler, then you are not being adequately managed.”

If you want to be symptom-free, schedule an appointment with your physician.

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Causes of Male Pattern Baldness - Men's Health

Some say wearing hats or using hair products causes it. Other myths blame too much sun or a traumatic experience. Northwest Hospital internist Dr. James Bowers says that while male pattern baldness is relatively common, it isn’t always a part of the aging process and, in some cases, can be reversed.

"Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about going bald. Sometimes losing your hair has nothing to do with aging," Dr. Bowers says. "Thinning hair or missing clumps can be attributed to underlying health problems such as low iron levels, anemia or a thyroid imbalance. Your physician will know the appropriate tests to run and what options are available to you.”

So put all those hair loss products back on the shelf, at least until you talk with your primary care doctor.

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Air Pollution and Your Health - Lung Health

Air pollution is everywhere and while some cities in the world like Tokyo and Mexico City are more polluted than others, Northwest Hospital pulmonologist Dr. Helena Jones says that even in Seattle, toxins in the air can make healthy people cough and wheeze and can be particularly troublesome for those who already have lung problems such as emphysema and asthma. "Air pollution is incredibly toxic to the lungs. If the pollution count is particularly high on a certain day, I counsel my patients with severe lung problems to stay home, keep the windows closed, and to avoid exerting themselves.”

Check your daily paper or local health department to find out more about daily air-quality levels and if there are any warnings in affect.

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The Right Way to Care for Minor Cuts and Scrapes - Skin Care

We are all prone to scrapes, cuts and minor burns, but what do you do to prevent those common everyday mishaps from scarring too much? Dr. Dan Downey, a Northwest Hospital plastic surgeon, says it’s important to remember that skin is relatively fragile, so treat it quickly and with gentle care.

"For surface injuries like a scrape, “road rash” or a burn make sure to clean them as soon as possible. Usually, you are missing the top layer of skin and keeping wounds and cuts covered with a greasy non-adherent dressing helps to promote healing," Dr. Downey says. "Don’t let the wound scab or dry out. Almost any bland salve works well. Spending tons on scar crèmes is usually not necessary. Deeper cuts or incisions benefit from regular massage. And all wounds need protection from the sun, with both sunscreen and shielding with clothing.”

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What to Do Before You Get Pregnant - Childbirth

If you are planning on having a baby soon, Northwest Hospital gynecologist Dr. Pat Rodrigues says there are a few things every woman should do before they get pregnant.

"Get up to date on all you annual screening tests with your physician," Dr. Rodrigues says. "Be at a reasonable, healthy weighty because being over or under-weight can affect your pregnancy. Kick bad habits such as smoking drinking. Make sure you are getting an adequate intake of folic acid, which should be about 400 micrograms a day. This will decrease the risk of serious birth defects in your baby if you do get pregnant.”

Follow these fertility tips and you’ll increase your odds when trying to conceive.

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Are You at Risk for Endometriosis? - Women's Health

Northwest Hospital gynecologist Dr. Pat Rodrigues says endometriosis affects an estimated 5.5 million women nationwide.

"Any woman can get it, but you are at 10 times greater risk of acquiring the condition if you have a first degree relative, such as a mother or sister, who has it," Dr. Rodrigues says.

Endometriosis can sometimes go unnoticed in women, so if you experience any changes in your cycle such as an increase in pelvic pain, talk to your doctor and get evaluated. While there is no clinically proven way to prevent the disease, Dr. Rodrigues says maintaining a healthy weight is good for everything in your body, including the prevention of endometriosis, so make sure to exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced and healthy diet.

When to Consider a Colonoscopy - Preventive Health

You want to be healthy inside and out, but why would you ever need a colonoscopy? If you have frequent pain in your abdomen or trouble digesting some foods and your doctor has ruled out the obvious causes, a colonoscopy may be the only way to find out just what is going on. It’s also the only way to prevent colon cancer.

A colonoscopy lets the doctor use a small camera to examine the walls of the large intestine, to find and remove small tumors. Once you’re ready, the test only takes about 20 minutes, and it’s a painless way to make sure you’re absolutely healthy, from the inside out.

Bike Racing Made Safe - Exercise

Triathlon season may inspire you to strap on a helmet and jump on a bicycle. Physical Therapy Aide Todd Gallaher says that before you start training, have your bike fitted, to avoid painful repetitive stress injuries.

"These are injuries similar to carpal stress syndrome, where you inflict small injuries to your knees, back or shoulders over time, until the muscles and tendons break down, and sometimes even require surgery," Todd says.

When you have a bike fitting, an expert like Todd, who has over 20 years of professional bike racing experience, looks at how the bicycle works for your body. The goal is to make the bike’s technology work for you, to get the best ride possible.

Resources for Alzheimer's Caregivers - Aging

Having an elderly parent who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease isn’t easy, but you don’t have to cope with the situation all alone. As the adult child, of an Alzheimer’s patient you’ll have a lot of new responsibilities, but also a lot of help. The trick is to know where to look for resources for your parent, yourself and your family.

Agencies like the Seattle-King County Division on Aging, Catholic Community Services and the Aging and Adult Services Administration can help you identify problems and solutions and find chore help and respite care for the primary caregiver. It’s also possible to hire a social worker by the hour, to help you cope with the changes confronting you. While it’s important to make sure that the person with Alzheimer’s has good, loving care and attention, it’s also important that the entire family’s needs are cared for, too.

Are You at Risk for Heart Disease? - Heart Health

How do you know if you are at risk for heart disease? While obesity and smoking are major factors, Dr. Margaret Hall, a cardiologist at Northwest Hospital, says sleep apnea can play a role in developing congestive heart failure, a condition that affects more than 2.5 million Americans. Sleep apnea refers to periods of not breathing during sleep. Obstructive apnea, often marked by snoring, can lead to hypertension and heart rhythm abnormalities.

"Sleep apnea is a subtle contributor to heart disease," Dr. Hall says. "If you have disturbed sleeping, snore, or have a partner that hears you stop breathing in the middle of the night, talk with your physician about sleep apnea. It can lead to higher blood pressure, heart rhythm irregularities and heart muscle problems.”

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The Dangers of Smoking - Heart Health

Are you smoking a cigarette right now? If you are, put it out and throw away your pack -- what better time than this to make a commitment to improving your heart health? Dr. Margaret Hall, a cardiologist at Northwest Hospital, says it is important to make heart healthy decisions, and not smoking is one of them.

"Smoking can be a major risk factor for women and heart disease," Dr. Hall says. "Smoking is a game changer for women.”

So get to the heart of the matter, quit smoking. It’s good for you, your heart, and your life.

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Heart Health for Women - Heart Health

If you are a woman and are overweight and a smoker Dr. Margaret Hall, a cardiologist at Northwest Hospital, says you might be putting yourself at greater risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

"The number one most important thing a woman can do to prevent heart disease is to maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy weight," Dr. Hall says. "You don’t have to kill yourself at the gym. One hour of brisk walking each day can do wonders.”

And if you’re busy with work and family, try fitting exercise in by making things less convenient. Park in the back of the lot when you go to the grocery store or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Small lifestyle changes will go a long way.

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The Truth About Blood Pressure - Heart Health

Each time you go to the doctor, the first thing they do is check your blood pressure, but what do those two numbers really mean and why are they important? Dr. Margaret Hall, a cardiologist at Northwest Hospital, says the first number, cystolic, measures the pressure generated by the heart when it beats, and the other number, diastolic, is a measure of the pressure in the blood vessels between beats.

"High blood pressure has no symptoms, but an elevated BP can accelerate aging in blood vessels and kidneys and put you at greater risk for heart disease," Dr. Hall says. "For a normal young person 100-120 over 70 is a good pressure but if yours begins to rise above 130 over 80 consistently, consider talking to your doctor.”

If you are healthy, make sure to check your BP at least twice a year.

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Flu Prevention - Disease Prevention

The seasonal flu is spread by not covering up your cough or sneeze and not washing your hands. Keep your family healthy and flu-free this season by practicing good hygiene. Northwest Hospital says the strongest defense in preventing the flu is washing your hands. Wash them frequently with hot, soapy water.

Scrub your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds, which is about the time it would take you to sing the ABC’s once. If you can’t wash your hands, carry an alcohol-based hand cleanser. And remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your face. Germs hang out around your eyes, nose and mouth, and touching these areas can spread germs.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. If you have questions about the flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control or King County Public Health web sites for more information.

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Pregnancy and the Flu - Childbirth

Are you wondering what to expect from this flu season if you are expecting? If you are pregnant and start to feel flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, sore throat and a cough, what should you do? Dr. Carol Salerno of Northwest Hospital says if you start to feel sick, stay home, limit your contact with others and report any symptoms of flu or exposure to the flu to your doctor immediately.

“Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you should avoid all medications," Dr. Salerno says. "If you have symptoms of the flu or if you have had close exposure to a known case of flu, prompt treatment with antiviral medications may prevent or significantly reduce the severity of illness.”

It’s also important for a doctor to properly diagnose you before determining whether or not you need medications to treat an infection, so make sure to contact your healthcare provider immediately if you think you have been exposed.

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Traveling With Diabetes - Wellness

If you have diabetes and are traveling, finding nutritious meal options and maintaining a proper diet might be challenging. Northwest Hospital’s Diabetes Services Coordinator Cheryl Cummings says the most important thing to remember when eating on the fly is portion control.

“When traveling, people with diabetes are often faced with more difficult decisions on what and when to eat. Remember, it’s okay to choose your favorite foods, just make sure to eat them in moderation.”

So if you’re eating at the airport, on a train, or in the car try ordering a smaller appetizer as a meal rather than the large plate of fries and chicken strips and opt for water instead of sugary drinks.

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Diabetes and Celebrations - Wellness

If you have diabetes and are trying to manage your blood sugar, holiday parties and office festivities may end up being more stressful than fun. Northwest Hospital’s diabetes services coordinator, Cheryl Cummings, says that carving out time for relaxation and physical activity is just as important for someone with diabetes as avoiding the temptation of certain treats.

"Exercise is key. It can reduce stress, promote calm, and go a long way in helping control blood sugar levels.”

So if you’re diabetic, just hit the gym or get outside for a bit. A twenty minute walk can help you have a healthy, happy and stress-free time.

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Weight Loss for Busy People - Weight Management

You have activities, things to do and places to go all week long. Dr. James Bowers, an internist at Northwest Hospital, knows all these distractions can keep you from exercising.

"It’s important to not give up on the exercise routine you developed. Promise yourself to keep that exercise going. So many people give up exercising once summer ends, and before you know it, they’re up five pounds or more."

Gaining weight every year makes it harder to lose weight the next time. This creates a vicious cycle that can pile on more pounds every year. This time, rather than trying to lose weight, focus on maintaining your current weight.

Help Your Kids Cut Down on Sugar - Weight Management

You try to feed the kids healthy food, despite their love of fast food. Since they don’t know how to do it themselves, you work on cutting down on sugar in their diets, but there is still plenty of sugar hidden away in otherwise healthy food.

For example, a 12-ounce carton of orange juice contains eight teaspoons of sugar. And while you may think that a carton of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt is a great snack, it contains eleven teaspoons of sugar.

So, what can you do? Make a few changes – substitute an orange for that orange juice, and you add fiber to the healthy vitamin C. Trade an afternoon yogurt snack for some low-fat string cheese, or mix a tablespoon of no-sugar-added fruit preserves or dried fruit with a cup of plain yogurt. You’ll still have some natural sugars in the yogurt, but none of the processed sugar you want the kids to avoid. And that will put them on the path to life-long healthy eating habits.

Maintain Your Weight All Year Long - Weight Management

Fall is what some people call "food season." It starts with all the tailgate parties and snacks in front of the TV during football games, and goes on through Halloween, the turkey and ALL the trimmings at Thanksgiving, the December holidays and doesn’t end until Super Bowl Sunday, some time in January. Dr. James Bowers, an internist at Northwest Hospital, says you can get through food season without gaining weight.

"Choose small plates to put your food on. Patients tell me this works, and I’ve tried it. It forces you to take smaller portions. Then, make sure you don’t go back to the buffet for a second serving. Smaller servings of a variety of foods will help you maintain a healthy weight."

To be more conscious of what you’re eating, try to eat away from the distraction of the TV or the Internet.

Treatment for Sun Spots - Skin Care

If you got lots of sun this last summer, now you may have something on your face that you’ve never seen there before: sun spots. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, says they look a lot like big freckles, but sun spots don’t fade away once you’re out of the sun.

"These spots can appear on your face or hands at any age, and can be caused by tanning booths as well as the sun," Reichel says. "People with light skin are especially susceptible. The good news is there are a couple of prescription medications that can fade these spots."

Once you’ve been to the doctor and started fading your sun spots, remember that to keep them from coming back, you need to avoid further sun exposure. Staying away from tanning beds and wearing a high-SPF sunscreen this winter when you go skiing or hiking will help.

Avoid the Flu When Pregnant - Childbirth

If you are pregnant, your body is working overtime to provide for and protect the health of two people, you and your baby. This year, expectant mothers may be at greater risk for the common cold and seasonal influenza, so it is even more important to take every precaution to ensure a healthy fall. Since pregnant women are at high risk for infection, Dr. Carol Salerno of Northwest Hospital encourages all expectant mothers to get both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines, wash their hands regularly and avoid contact with sick people.

"When women are pregnant, their immune system is suppressed, which puts them at higher risk of complications from viral infections," Dr. Salerno says. "To avoid these complications, it is important for every expectant mother to get the available vaccines early in the flu season in order to protect her and her baby."

And remember, watch out for symptoms and report them to your doctor immediately. Early detection and treatment will reduce the risk of complications for pregnant mothers.

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The Importance of Folic Acid - Childbirth

If you are planning on having a baby soon or if you are already expecting, you are probably filled with excitement and a have a ton of questions too. With so many things to prepare for, Dr. Carol Salerno of Northwest Hospital says start with the basics like vitamin supplements. Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a vitamin commonly found in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice and enriched grains. Studies show that women who take at least 400 micrograms of folic acid prior to becoming pregnant have a reduced risk of birth defects.

“Folic acid is extremely important during pregnancy," Dr. Salerno says. "A proper supplement for 3 months prior to conception and during the first trimester can reduce the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect like Spina Bifida.”

Dr. Salerno also suggests DHA, a fatty acid supplement that can help improve fetal eye and brain development. It seems just a few supplements a day can go a long way in helping you to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

When to Get a Mammogram - Cancer

There’s a lot of information out there about who should have a mammogram and when. It can be confusing, but all women should be doing a monthly self-exams starting at age 20. These frequent self-exams will help you “memorize” the way your body feels so you can recognize changes or potential problems. If a lump does show up during your self-examination or doctor’s visit, it’s important to make sure you get the right care, including a digital mammogram, breast MRI and skilled interpretation by a breast radiologist to find out as soon as possible just what that lump is. Catching breast cancer early means a much better of chance of surviving and living a long, healthy life.

Is Reddened Skin a Problem? - Skin Care

Skin redness takes more people to the dermatologist than any other skin condition. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, says folks of every age worry when their skin starts looking too red.

"This is a problem that shows up more in people with light complexions, and it can be due to inherited problems, as well as too much sun or broken blood vessels right below the surface," Reichel says. "The good news is that this is usually a cosmetic problem, rather than serious medical issue."

Many cases of redness on the face can be treated with a specially tuned laser or medications fairly easily. Before you decide to go for laser treatment though, talk with your dermatologist about just what is making you look like you’re blushing all the time.

Food for Perfect Skin - Skin Care

Lots of magazine articles are about what you should eat if you want perfect skin. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, says while there is no magic combination of foods that will clear up acne or stop wrinkles, you can take some simple nutritional steps to improve your skin.

"Try for a balanced diet, without going overboard on carbs or fats and with lots of fresh vegetables, fruit and fiber," she says. "Get good hydration, too, by drinking plenty of water every day and using the right moisturizer for your particular skin."

If you find that a particular food disagrees with your skin, take it off your menu. Scientific research doesn’t show that any one food causes everyone to break out, but you may be sensitive to certain ingredients, like chocolate or cooking oil.

Annual Mammograms - Cancer

If a member of your family has had breast cancer, you already know how devastating it can be. If the person with breast cancer was your mother or sister, you are now in the high risk category. That’s pretty scary, but it means you can actively take part in preventing the illness. You should start having an annual mammogram when you are ten years younger than your family member was when she was diagnosed. For example, if your mother was 45 when her breast cancer was diagnosed, you should start having an annual mammogram at age 35.

The American Cancer Society recommends high risk women also have annual screening MRI exams. Whether you’re in a high risk group or not, the best breast cancer prevention is a monthly self-exam, and an annual mammogram.

Finding the Right Moisturizer - Skin Care

Almost everybody needs a moisturizer to help keep faces and necks smooth and attractive. The trick, says Dr. Jennifer Reichel , a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, is to find and use the right one every day.

"You don’t need a moisturizer if you have really oily skin, but for everyone else, the right moisturizer can help prevent problems," she says. Make it part of your daily routine – wash and then moisturize every morning, using a cream or lotion that has an SPF between 15 and 20, to reduce potential sun damage.

You don’t have to buy fancy creams at a department store to find a moisturizer that works for you. Less expensive products from the drug store can be just as effective. Look for one that doesn’t leave a lot of shine. Watch out for the cream’s alcohol content, too, since it can sting and dry out your skin.

The Truth About Breast Pain - Cancer

Breast pain is so common that it’s almost normal – but not quite. A lot of women have it for a few days during their monthly cycles. If you’re worried that it might be a sign of a serious problem, you should know that persistent breast pain very rarely is a sign of cancer. More often, it’s a sign you should be cutting back on caffeine, working on reducing stress by better time management, and making a little time for daily exercise. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner about your breast pain, and follow their suggestions. Giving up coffee or stressful situations will be worth it. If, however, your breast pain is in one place and does not change with your cycle, talk to you doctor about a diagnostic mammogram, breast MRI or both.

Restless Leg Syndrome - Women's Health

Most people have heard of restless leg syndrome, but did you know that the more children a woman has, the more likely she is to have restless leg syndrome? Dr. Sarah Stolz, of Sleep Medicine Associates at the Northwest Hospital Sleep Center, says this disorder can disrupt sleep by causing your legs to jerk suddenly as you sleep or giving you an uncontrollable urge to move your legs.

"Restless legs can also be related to the level of iron in the bloodstream, so consider asking your doctor to check to see if you could improve your RLS symptoms with dietary changes or iron tablets," Dr. Stolz says. "Gentle stretching and hot or cold baths at bedtime may help, too. If you’re having restless leg problems, talk it over with your doctor. In some cases, the solution may be a lifestyle change, like maintaining a better sleep schedule."

What is West Nile Virus? - Disease Prevention

You may have heard a lot about West Nile virus in the media, but most people don’t know what it is. West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes, and it mostly causes fever, a little rash and an achy feeling. If you catch it, you’ll need to rest and take an over-the-counter medication for the fever. Dr. William Ehni from Northwest Hospital says in some cases West Nile can cause serious complications for older people who have diabetes or immunity problems.

“A more serious disease would be meningitis with headache and fever. People usually recover from that,” he says. “But the more serious illness is encephalitis, an infection of the brain that can, on some occasions, lead to permanent brain damage and long-term deficits.”

Mosquitoes are at their most active at dawn and around sunset, so if you must be outdoors then, wear long sleeves and pants. And, make sure to use an insect repellent containing D-E-E-T or Picaridin on any exposed skin.

Signs That You're Over-Training - Exercise

It’s important to have fitness goals, even if you’re just trying to take off a few pounds. But, as Dr. Mark Lacambra, a family medicine specialist at Olympic Medical Center, points out, if you’re losing interest in your workouts, it may be more than just a little boredom. Many runners track their heart rate. If you find that your heart rate is creeping up about 20 beats a minute higher than usual, you may be over-training, and ready for a break in your routine.
Take your resting pulse in the morning, to get a baseline number to compare with over the coming weeks. If that number begins to rise, it could be a sign that your body is ready for a change. Taking a week off from training may get your heart rate back to normal, and your body ready to make more progress toward your goals.

How to Prevent Wrinkles - Skin Care

A lot of us don’t mind getting older, but we sure don’t like getting that first set of wrinkles. Dr. Josh Cooper, a plastic surgeon with Downey Plastic Surgery at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center, says there is something you can do to help delay wrinkles, but you need to do it every day. He says wear a sunscreen. Sun is really our biggest enemy when it comes to both wrinkles and skin cancer.

If you can avoid sunburns on the face and neck, you’ll have a lot less wrinkling as you get older, and have healthier looking skin.It’s even more important to make sure that the kids wear sunscreen when they’re outdoors. Studies show that sunburns in childhood definitely increase the chance of getting skin cancer as an adult.

Too Much Exercise - Exercise

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much exercise. We all know what happens when we eat too much chocolate, but it can actually be hard to tell when we’re working out too much. Dr. Mark Lacambra, a family medicine physician at Olympic Medical Center, says one sign is feeling really tired and washed out and not really knowing why.
You need to take a close look at how much exercise you’re doing. If you feel this way and you’re running five miles every day, you may be over-training, and it may be time to take things a little easier.Of course, if you’re only walking a mile three days a week, your fatigue may be caused by something else. Either way, check with your doctor to find out what’s at the root of your being tired all the time.

Plastic Surgery After Weight Loss - Surgery

Maybe you used to be really heavy, and you either had weight loss surgery or you did a lot of exercising and dieting. Either way, you dropped a bunch of pounds, and now you have a lot of very saggy skin. Dr. Josh Cooper, a plastic surgeon with Downey Plastic Surgery at Northwest Hospital and Medical Center, says removing excess skin is sometimes actually medically necessary. Often patients left with an excess of abdominal skin can develop severe rashes or even sores. Specialized operations to remove the extra skin and fat will reduce the skin irritation and produce a sleeker figure and even a smaller pant size. Removing saggy skin after weight loss is sometimes covered by health insurance. If you’re interested, check with your health insurer and then look for a plastic surgeon experienced with this type of surgery.

Exercise for Stress Reduction - Wellness

If you’ve been getting tensed up over things at work, you may have the cure right at your fingertips. Instead of taking a pill for anxiety, some researchers say you can reduce the symptoms of stress by getting a little exercise instead. According to some studies, aerobic exercise like walking, running or playing tennis can be as effective as medication in treating depression. Keep it up for a few weeks, and exercise can help reduce anxiety, relieve depression and even help you sleep better. Add in enhanced self-esteem and improved muscle tone, and you’ve got results that don’t come in a pill bottle. The trick is to start low and slow, walking for a few minutes each day until you’re ready for longer, faster walks. Then you might try jogging, a fitness class, handball – whatever suits you. Before you start, though, make sure to let your doctor know about your exercise plans.

Start Exercising Safely - Exercise

You've decided it's time to start exercising. But before you run out the door, jog to the end of the driveway and collapse, Dr. Justin Rothmier of the Sports Medicine Clinic says it’s important for you to start slowly, especially if you’ve been spending every night in front of the TV.

Take the time to make a trip to the doctor, to see if you’re ready for the level of exertion you’re planning. Also, ask for advice on choosing sports gear to suit your skill level and needs. A little bit of muscle soreness is to be expected as you get back into shape, but generally speaking, if it hurts, don’t do it! If you have pain after exercise that continues to be a problem, and that doesn’t get better within a few days, rest and then head back to the doctor for an evaluation.

Keeping the Weight Off on a Cruise - Weight Management

Some people are focused on losing weight and getting into shape. But then, along comes vacation on a cruise. Cruise ships offer lots of enticing food, but also many kinds of exercise and games. Take a moment each day to think about choosing healthy foods and plan for some active fun, too. During a long road trip, plan ahead for healthy food. Stop every two hours to stretch and walk. Try focusing on healthy eating and getting in some walks, or maybe even going dancing. You will be able to really relax and really have a good time – and come home refreshed without packing on the pounds.

Choosing the Right Chair for You - Wellness

You spend a lot of time with your office chair, so it should work with you, not against you. Office chairs don’t come in “one-size-fits-all.” To make sure your chair fits you, look for good lumbar support: in other words, it should support your lower back and help you sit up straight but comfortably throughout the workday. Also, you’ll want a contoured seat that has what they call a waterfall front edge, to reduce pressure on your thighs. The right chair height will allow your legs to bend at the knees at a 90-degree angle as your feet rest comfortably on the floor.

You should be able to adjust your chair so the back provides you the right amount of support and the seat is at the right height and position to fit your body, and not the guy across the hall. Using the right chair and good working posture will help you work better all day long.

The Real Formula for Losing Weight - Weight Management

The formula for losing weight is less food, more activity. In other words, fewer calories in, plus more calories spent on physical activity equals fewer pounds. The problem is, if you over-do the exercise and cut back too far on the calories, your body is bound to rebel. If you don’t provide your body with the fuel it needs, including calcium for your bones and protein to rebuild muscles, bad things can happen. You could end up with anything from painful shin splints to stress fractures that will take you out of the game for a long time. Before you combine an extreme diet with extreme sports six days a week, go see a sports medicine physician or a certified sports nutritionist. The right food will start you off on the right foot, fueling you up to do your own personal best.

Desk Management for Stress Reduction - Stress Management

You sit at your desk for hours and hours every day. We’re all working a lot more these days. The trick is to make your time at work more comfortable, to cut down on stress and tension. Pay attention to how you sit in front of your computer. Sit up straight, with your back supported by your desk chair. If you can avoid leaning forward over your keyboard or rolling your shoulders forward, you’ll be in better shape to avoid sore muscles in your neck and upper back. Remember to change positions once in a while: even perfect posture can tire you out if you sit rigidly for too long. Get up out of your chair once or twice an hour and stretch, to keep yourself fresh and alert. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, keep it in easy reach of your chair, so you don’t have to reach to get it. And don’t hold the receiver under your chin – get a telephone headset instead.

How to Choose a Sport - Exercise

Even if sports aren’t your thing, Dr. Justin Rothmier at The Sports Medicine Clinic says finding pleasure in whatever activity you choose is very important. He adds that if we enjoy a sport, we’re more likely to do it. It’s not so much a chore, it’s a pleasure to do it, so finding different types of sports to participate in, allows us to maintain our exercise program with very little effort. The important thing is to look at your sport as something you can do for the rest of your life, whether it’s running, folk dancing or cycling. Just get off the couch and do it.

The Right Bicycle for You - Exercise

You may be ready to get out for a ride on your bike. The question is, is your bicycle ready for you? If you got your bike several years ago, if it was a gift or hand-me-down, or if you bought it without being measured to make sure it fits you, Todd Gallaher, current Washington State champion amateur racer and cycling fitting specialist at The Sports Medicine Clinic, says you’re setting yourself up for a painful ride.

Most store clerks are not trained to fit bikes. It’s a lot more than seat height – adjustments have to be made to the handlebars, saddle, brake levers and fore and aft balance to suit the individual rider. Skipping these adjustments won’t hurt you if you just take the bike for a quick ride to the store. But if you ride more than that, a poorly fitting bike is like wearing shoes that are two sizes too small. A bad fit can make your life miserable and cause injuries.

Sources of Vitamin D - Joint Health

For most of us, vitamin D is just another name on the side of the vitamin bottle. Did you know that we need to consume at least 800 international units of vitamin D every day to help us build and maintain healthy bones? Dr. Julie Carkin, with the Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says that, while vitamin D is rare in most of the foods we eat, you can find it in certain kinds of fish, and elsewhere, too. Vitamin D is available in oily fish, like salmon, mackerel and sardines, and in fortified milk. Vitamin D is important every day of your life, to help prevent osteoporosis and crippling fractures.

Your body can also manufacture vitamin D if your face, neck and arms are exposed to bright sunlight – without sunscreen -- for 10 minutes every day. Around here, vitamin pills and fresh salmon are a lot more reliable – and safer for your skin – than sunlight.

Back Pain 101 - Pain Management

If your back hurts and you’re not sure if you should go to work, Dr. Walter Trautman, pain specialist at Northwest Hospital, says if the pain is bothering you, but you can still go about your daily activities, most of the time the pain will go away on its own. If the pain is severe, it’s probably time to see your doctor, or possibly a specialist. They may try medications or physical therapy. Occasionally you may need more advanced treatments, which may include injections or surgery. The physical therapist will help you do some specialized exercises that will both ease the pain and make your back and core muscles stronger. Once you’ve learned the exercises, continue to do them at home. Making them a habit may help prevent future back pain and injuries.

The Link Between Posture and Back Pain - Pain Management

Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself in a store mirror, and immediately straighten up? You might not realize it, but that could be the first step toward keeping your back healthy and pain-free. Dr. Walter Trautman, pain specialist at Northwest Hospital, says being aware of your posture and how you do things like getting in and out of the car can help prevent back aches. Staying active and exercising your core muscles will help your back stay strong. Walking and keeping your weight down will certainly help, too, in many cases. If you have minor back pain, resist the urge to stay in bed for a couple of days – it doesn’t help in many cases, while ice and heat packs and gentle exercise will. Call your doctor, though, if you have numbness in the legs or if you have so much pain that you can’t go to work or take care of your family.

Early Pregnancy Milestones - Childbirth

Once you think you’re pregnant, it’s time to check in with your doctor. Dr. Patricia Rodrigues says once your pregnancy is confirmed, your physician will want to schedule a few more appointments, to follow the progress of your pregnancy until the birth. She says the initial prenatal visit will include a physical, a full health history, and maybe some lab work. That early in a pregnancy, the doctor wants to try to spot those women who are at risk of a miscarriage. Most healthy women will have normal pregnancies – but there can still be problems that may threaten the mother or baby. Prenatal care is to make sure that everything goes the way it should, from the first few weeks all the way up to a successful birth.

Preventing Premature Labor - Childbirth

If you’re having a baby, you’ve probably thought about the possibility of premature labor. Dr. Gina LaGalbo, an OB-GYN at Salish Women’s Health Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says a pre-term birth is anything under 37 weeks gestation, compared to the average 40 week pregnancy: Depending on how premature the baby is, it may have trouble with its lungs or other body systems and may be too small to breast feed or to stay warm. That’s why we focus on maintaining the pregnancy to at least 37 weeks if we can. The risk factors for having pre-term babies include having multiples, like twins or triplets, certain infections, or having had a premature baby in a previous pregnancy. It’s important to stay in close touch with your doctor or midwife throughout your pregnancy, to spot problems early.

Video Gait Analysis - Foot Care

Some people suffer significant pain from just walking or running. Instead of just living with the ache, more and more people are using video cameras to find out why their feet, legs and backs hurt so much. It’s called video gait analysis, and in the hands of an expert team of sports medicine specialists, it can diagnose the problems and put walkers and runners back on track.

By using four cameras aimed at the top of the head, the side, the back and the front of a walker or runner, a trained physical therapist can evaluate what’s happening as you walk and then run on a treadmill. After reviewing the video, a podiatrist and a pedorthist may design the right orthotics to stop the pain in its tracks. If your feet, knees, lower back or even your shoulders hurt when you’ve been walking or running, talk to your doctor about video gait analysis.

Snacking for Weight Loss - Weight Management

It used to be that if you were trying to lose weight, you were told to give up any and all snacks. Now a lot of nutrition experts say carefully chosen snacks can help you keep your appetite under control and keep your weight-loss plan on track. The trick is choosing two hundred calorie snacks that help you meet your goals.

Try a six-ounce mixed-fruit non-fat yogurt with a tablespoon of raisins, or an ounce of peanuts with a half-ounce of pretzels. Another snack that’s easy to fix is a slice of whole-wheat bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of jelly. You can even have a low-calorie serving of comfort food, by baking a medium-sized potato in the microwave, and adding a quarter-cup of low-fat cottage cheese. If you’re on the run, stop in for an all-vegetable sandwich, but leave off the cheese and mayo, for a snack that’s just over 200 calories.

Is It Acne or Rosacea? - Skin Care

It looks like teenage acne, but you’re an adult. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, says the redness and bumps across your cheeks, nose and forehead could be caused by something else. Rosacea is an adult skin problem that affects both men and women and can look like acne.

Rosacea often presents as bumps or pustules on the face, and can cause redness and a burning sensation on the skin. Women tend to get adult acne more often than men do because of the difference in how their hormones work. Men tend to get rosacea more often than women, but both problems can show up in either sex. Check with your primary care doctor or dermatologist, for diagnosis and treatment to make both conditions a thing of the past.

Update Your Shoes for a Better Workout - Exercise

A lot of runners and walkers consider their shoes old friends. They lace them up every morning and can’t figure out why their feet, ankles or knees hurt after they exercise. The fact is, they may not be paying attention to the signs of wear that mean it’s time for new sports shoes. For example, it may be time to check the tread wear on the sole of the shoe. If the tread is compressed on one side of the shoe but not the other, or the tread is worn away, it may be time to toss the old shoes. While some walkers and runners need soft shoes, depending on the type of foot they have, most of us need some support from our running shoes.

If your shoes have become too flexible and flimsy, it’s time to go get fitted for new shoes. If your feet hurt, putting on the right pair of shoes will likely help you feel more comfortable and reduce the chances of injuries that might take you off the road.

Adult Acne - Skin Care

If you’ve been having breakouts on your face for months and months and you keep thinking it will go away on its own, Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, says it may be time for you to face reality. Often adults try to treat acne with home remedies for months before seeking medical help, because they don’t think this should be happening to grown up skin. Often, however, that skin needs professional help.

Since adult acne is often more than just a few blocked pores or blackheads, your primary care doctor or dermatologist may prescribe an oral antibiotic or other medications to control the bacteria lurking in your oil glands. If you have breakouts more than twice a month, it’s time to make the call for serious help.

Choosing Supportive Shoes for Running - Exercise

Do you ever wonder why your feet sometimes hurt when you walk or run? Your feet are full of tiny moving and supporting parts, including 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles, any of which could be bothered by your shoes. That’s why it’s important for runners and walkers to go the extra distance to make sure their shoes are not only the right size, but give their feet the right kind of support. Many people can just wear a generic sports shoe and get along fine, but if you have bunions, hammer toes, a wide or narrow foot or a narrow heel, you need to have your feet measured and analyzed , including your foot and body type, how active you are and other factors to make sure you get the right fit. In many cases, it’s a good idea to schedule a workup by a foot and ankle specialist, to help prevent problems before they get the chance to start.

iPod Safety - Exercise

Your iPod can be a great tool for making your workouts more fun instead of just another chore. But as exercise physiologist Liz Dickson says, you need to think about safety, too, particularly if you exercise outdoors.

It’s always important to be aware of your surroundings. Wear just one earphone, or keep the volume low enough that you can hear passing traffic or the voices of people around you. Getting run down by a bike or a car is not good exercise. There’s another safety hazard, too. Listening to loud music can cause permanent damage to your hearing. While your favorite tunes may help you get into your workout, that harm may be permanent if you keep the volume all the way up day after day.

A Quick Trick to Get More Exercise - Exercise

It can be really tough to get yourself to do a regular workout, unless you can combine the exercise with something you love. Exercise physiologist Liz Dickson says research shows playing your favorite music will actually help you exercise longer and more often. He points out that the great thing about music is that it makes us want to move. Often, listening to music can help you to work harder during your workout, without making you feel like you are.

It’s not necessary for you to worry about how many beats per minute a particular song has. With the exception of CDs designed for workouts, finding the beats per minute can be a real pain. Just pick out the music you really like, whether it’s salsa, jazz or good old rock and roll, and get your body moving.

How to Keep the Common Cold at Bay - Disease Prevention

You may have wondered just how long a cold virus can survive outside the body. Dr. Jim Bowers says cold and flu viruses actually do better in cold weather.

He notes that a recent study shows that these bugs can survive up to seven minutes outside a host, but they have longer survival when the weather is cold and the humidity is low. That’s why winter is cold and flu season.

The bottom line is that to avoid colds, you need to stay warm and drink plenty of water. It also helps to wash your hands frequently, because viruses can live on doorknobs and other surfaces long enough to be passed along. If you already have a cold or the flu, make sure to cover your coughs, to help keep viruses away from the people around you.

Start a New Exercise Plan Today - Exercise

You can start a new exercise plan today. Here’s how.

First, take five minutes for a brisk walk. After a few days, make it ten minutes, and work up to three times a day. Then, start parking a little farther away from your office, or start riding the bus to work and getting off a stop before your usual stop. By adding just a few minutes of exercise each day, you can start reaping the benefits: more energy and better sleep.

As you get used to the exertion and your workouts get longer, remember to warm up and cool down by walking slowly for about five minutes at the beginning. Walk briskly, then do a few stretches once your muscles are warm. Slow down for the final 10 minutes.

Prevent Hypothermia - Safety

Hypothermia isn’t just something that happens in the remote Cascades. With our winter weather, even a fender-bender can leave you standing in the wind and rain. That’s why Dr. Richard Bouché, a podiatrist at The Sports Medicine Clinic and a long-time skier, says the first stage of mild hypothermia is complaining of being cold and shivering.

He says person may then have difficulty using their hands, and start walking clumsily. The person may also start acting like nothing matters. If the symptoms of hypothermia aren’t recognized, the person can get worse very quickly and even die of exposure. The first thing to do is to get the affected person into a warm room. Get the individual into dry clothes and offer warm liquids. The best treatment is to be prepared and prevent hypothermia. Dress warmly and stay dry.

Should You Eat More After Exercising? - Exercise

You know how important it is to get aerobic exercise at least three times a week. According to commercials on TV, if you work out, you should consume a special sports drink, a gel or a bar. But do you really need the extra calories?

The answer, according to independent researchers, is that it depends on how you exercise. If you exercise for more than 90 minutes and work up a good sweat, you may need the electrolytes in a sports drink. But for most exercisers the drinks, bars and gels just add extra calories for you to work off.

To fuel your exercise, depend on food like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein. If you hate exercising on an empty stomach, eat a small snack an hour before you hit the gym. If you’re ravenous afterward, eat something that will satisfy you without filling up on empty calories.

Proper Fit For Ski Boots - Foot Care

It can take more time to fit a pair of ski boots than to alter a wedding dress. Afterward, however, some people's feet hurt after just a couple of hours on theirskis. It could be that they need more than another new pair of boots.

Dr. Richard Bouché, a podiatrist at The Sports Medicine Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says it is important for all skiers to have boots that fit and are comfortable. Many times, the skier is already in the right boot – it just needs to be fine-tuned to their particular needs. If a boot is personalized so it fits properly – you shouldn’t have to loosen the buckles all day. If you’ve had your boots fitted in a store, and they still hurt, it’s time to see a doctor of podiatric medicine. He or she can help you achieve the fit you need in the boots you may already own.

When to Call 911 - Safety

You and the kids know to call 911 in the event of a serious medical emergency. The problem is, sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you should call for help. If you think the problem is the result of a suicide attempt, domestic violence or rape, make the call and let professional emergency responders make an assessment of the patient. If the person is having seizures or convulsions or may be suffering from a drug overdose or poisoning, again, make the call to 911.

If the person doesn’t show any obvious signs of injury, but doesn’t seem to know where they are, call 911, because shock can be as deadly as a heart attack in some cases. Once you’ve called, do what you can to help the person more comfortable, but don’t give the patient anything to eat or drink: that can delay needed medical care.

Quit Smoking Today - Lung Health

The longer you put off quitting smoking, the harder it is. Years of smoking mean years of letting cigarettes get ingrained into your life. To be a successful quitter, start by getting ready to quit. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medications that can help you quit, get the prescriptions filled and take them as directed. Your doctor may also have information for you about quit-smoking programs, which often work better than trying to quit on your own.

Make a trip to the grocery store for healthy snacks that will get you through the cravings gacefully. Adding more crunchy, tasty vegetables to your diet will keep your mouth and hands busy. Plan some activities that don’t leave any room for smoking, like taking a class in a subject that really interests you. The main thing is to keep your eyes on the prize – being happier, healthier and smoke-free.

Pain After a Car Accident - Pain Management

You’re a good driver, but sometimes even the best can end up in a traffic accident. Dr. Evan Cantini, rehabilitation medicine specialist at Northwest Hospital, says the most common injury after a crash is to the neck, with pain across the shoulders or down the neck to between the shoulder blades. He adds that this would be nearly constant pain, at least half the day, and gets worse with activity. While most of these muscle injuries improve over time, our goal is to speed up the healing process. If the pain is interfering with your work and sleep, talk to a doctor about physical therapy, advice on modifying your lifestyle to ease the pain and perhaps some medication.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment, which can include medications, braces or therapies, can reduce your pain and help you return to your usual activities quicker

Should Ski Boots Hurt Your Feet? - Foot Care

Here’s a news flash for a lot of us: ski boots are not supposed to hurt your feet. Dr. Richard Bouché, a podiatrist at The Sports Medicine Clinic, says some people may need more than just a fitting at the store to make sure their ski boots are comfortable to wear. He adds that in the clinic, they not only look at foot length and width, but also at foot volume – whether you have a long, thin foot or a wider, thick foot. They need to consider whether you’re a beginner or advanced skier. Then they check the balance of your foot inside the boot. Once your boot has been adjusted to your feet, additional “corrections” can be made to enhance comfort as well. The goal is to be able to wear your ski boots all day without ever needing to take them off. What a great idea – skiing in comfort, so you can focus on having a great time.

The Benefits of Alcohol-Free Wine - Weight Management

If you’re trying to count calories, consider cutting a few calories by taking a bottle of alcohol-free wine along to the next big event. Alcohol-free wine has about 25 calories in a four-ounce serving, while a regular red or white wine will set you back 90 calories for the same amount.

Then there’s the health bonus that comes with wine: alcohol-free wines have the same anti-oxidants as regular wines. That means they can help prevent damage to the heart, blood vessels and other organs. Alcohol-free wine also can help you look like you’re enjoying the party, whether you’re pregnant, the designated driver or have health issues like diabetes.

Your Mother's Weight Affects Yours - Weight Management

Do you know how much your mother weighed when she was your age? Doctors say they are seeing young women now who already weigh much more than their moms did at the same age. They are also seeing an increase in cancers that are associated with being overweight in women who are only in their late 30s. These include breast, colon and uterine cancers. It used to be that these were rare before age 55.

If you’re worried about your weight and your future, do something: go for a walk, eat a vegetable snack this afternoon, pack your own lunch tomorrow, or cut down on sodas and coffee drinks at work. Every little bit you do now helps cut down on your weight – and your possible health problems – in the future.

Tackle Your Craving to Quit Smoking - Lung Health

If you’re quitting smoking, you know how long an hour, or even a minute, can be. As tough as it may seem, learning to delay that next cigarette could be just the trick you need to quit completely.

When you get a really serious craving for a cigarette, distract yourself and wait for an hour. By the time that hour has passed, your craving may have gone away, too. Drinking a big glass of water, going for a walk, or eating something crunchy and healthy like a handful of baby carrots or bell pepper strips can help. Try some deep-breathing exercises or brush your teeth. Play with the kids, read them a favorite book or make a grocery list. If you’re able to put off having one cigarette for an hour, you’ll show yourself that it is possible for you to quit smoking altogether.

Why Sleep Loss May Equal Weight Gain - Sleep

Many people who don’t sleep well gain weight, but not for the reason you might think. Dr. Sarah Stolz, a sleep medicine specialist in the Northwest Hospital Sleep Center, says the latest research shows that your metabolism slows down when you cut back on sleep. She says some people believe that if you’re not sleeping very much you ought to burn more calories, and therefore you should be skinny. In fact, it’s the other way around: people tend to crave more food and gain weight when they are sleep-deprived. In other words, to be successful at maintaining a healthy weight, you need to make sure you get all the sleep your body needs every night. Building up a sleep debt during the week and then trying to make up for it on the weekends will also build up your body fat – something you definitely don’t want.

Do You Really Have the Flu? - Disease Prevention

You may think you have stomach flu when you’re nauseous, vomiting or have diarrhea, but it may not actually be the flu. Flu causes chills, fever, runny nose and a cough, while vomiting and diarrhea can be caused by something called rotavirus or norovirus, that illness you’ve heard about ruining ocean cruises and closing schools. The virus can travel on contaminated hands and in moisture droplets, and it can survive on a variety of surfaces. That means if you start having symptoms like these, the best thing to do is to take yourself out of circulation until you feel better. The good news is that thorough hand washing with soap or cleaning of contaminated clothing or surfaces with detergent will send the virus down the drain. Also, drink plenty of fluids and stay away from the very young and the very old, because this illness is the most dangerous for them.

Know Your Family's Health History - Women's Health

You may know a lot about your family tree, but how about your family’s health history? Many women don’t realize that their family’s history can put them or their children at risk for ovarian or breast cancer. A small proportion of women who develop these cancers have a faulty gene called B-R-C-A 1 and 2.

If some of your blood relatives, like your mother, sister or grandmother, had breast or ovarian cancer, you should consider genetic counseling to see if you are at risk. There may be a lot you can do to avoid getting cancer, including preventive surgery. The first step is to ask your doctor if you should have genetic counseling or take the blood test for B-R-C-A 1 and 2. While the faulty gene that increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer is not common, it is more common in those with a family history. It’s an easy test and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Why You Should Get a Physical - Wellness

With everything else you’ve got going on, you may wonder why you need to have a physical, since there’s nothing wrong with you. Going to the doctor when you feel well is actually a good idea. It helps your doctor compile a lot of baseline information about you, like your weight, blood pressure, recent inoculations, family health history and a lot more. You’ll add to your health history every time you go back to the doctor.

These visits also help your doctor look ahead to potential problems and work with you to prevent them. When you get ill, your primary care physician will have a record of what’s normal for you. Stay healthy in your 20s and you’ll only need a physical every five years. Once you hit 30, ask your doctor how often you should have some basic screening tests--for example, a pelvic exam and PAP test for women or blood cholesterol tests for both men and women.

Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women - Heart Health

Being a woman doesn’t make you immune to heart attacks, although yours may come later than your husband’s. Heart attack symptoms for women are often different from the ones men suffer. For one thing, a woman may not have pain or discomfort in the center of the chest. It may occur in other parts of the upper body, like the back or the jaw. In some cases, she may have only shortness of breath, extreme exhaustion, nausea or breaking out in a cold sweat.

If you’re having these symptoms, or you see someone else is in trouble, remember, minutes matter. Call 9-1-1 immediately and follow the dispatcher’s instructions. Get treatment for any heart attack quickly. Any delay could be deadly, and hurt the people who care about you.

Tricks to Help You Quit Smoking - Lung Health

You remember how long it took to learn how to ride a bike or skate. Quitting smoking is a lot like that. While some people can quit cold turkey, most of us will quit smoking until the craving gets too hard to handle. The trick is to not give up, no matter how challenging quitting seems. Back up, take a look at the problem, and if what you tried the last time wasn’t the solution, look for a new one. Maybe you need to do a little journaling, not just about why you want to quit smoking, but steps you can take to succeed.

For example, your first step could be to figure out how often you light up. Then you can start spreading your cigarettes out, from once every 20 minutes to once every half hour. Add a few other strategies, and before you know it, you’ll have quit smoking/

Pedicure Safety Tips - Foot Care

Before you make an appointment to have a pedicure, Dr. Richard Bouché, a podiatrist at The Sports Medicine Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says you need to ask some questions, and take a look around the salon: you need to see that the salon not only looks clean, but that the tools the technician will use on you have been sterilized since they were last used. Ask questions, since people can catch serious illnesses in nail salons. Those infections can be prevented by the nail technician. Ask the shop owner for details on when and how tools and foot baths are disinfected. Find out if the same procedures are followed when the shop gets busy, because mistakes could seriously affect your health.

Tricks to Prevent Weight Gain - Weight Management

Bears put on fat so they can sleep through the winter, but some people start adding the pounds when the weather gets cold, planning to get back in shape when spring rolls around. Dr. James Bowers, an internist at Northwest Hospital, says there are some clever tricks you can use to prevent gaining weight, without going on an actual diet.

He suggests that you mentally divide your plate into quarters. Half the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetable, a quarter of the plate should be starchy food like rice, potatoes or bread, and the last quarter of the plate should be for protein and a little fat.

Drinking more water helps control weight, too. If you start craving chocolate or something, try drinking some water and waiting a few minutes, to see if the craving goes away.

Tips to Improve Your Skin - Skin Care

There are three things that anyone can do to improve their skin. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, says the first step is to avoid tobacco, especially cigarettes. Tobacco smoke cuts off the oxygen to the skin, plus it causes more wrinkling and thickening of the skin. The second trick is to avoid the sun. Sunlight makes delicate skin age faster.

The third step is to drink alcohol in moderation. Dr. Reichel says if you drink too much, your skin will definitely suffer. Alcohol causes small blood vessels to widen and sometimes break under the skin. And because it’s dehydrating, it can also lead to premature wrinkles.

High Heels Without the Pain - Foot Care

It is possible to wear high heels without any pain – but only if you have an extremely rare kind of foot. If you’re like most people, however, if you wear heels, your feet hurt. Crunching your toes together in a pointy high heel is setting yourself up for serious pain. You can even predict if those shoes will hurt. Trace around the shape of the shoe, then see if your toes fit within that outline. The right shoe will help prevent pain and even damage to your feet. Look for shoes with removable insoles to give your toes a little extra breathing room.

When to Get a Flu Shot - Disease Prevention

You probably remember a few years back, when it was hard to get a flu shot. This year, there’s a good supply of vaccine available, and it’s easy to get the shot at local pharmacies and clinics. Before you take the whole family out for a little vaccine, talk to your family doctor, especially if you have any severe or life-threatening allergies, or if you’ve been diagnosed with certain other syndromes. Also, if you’re ill at the moment, put off getting flu vaccine until you’re feeling better.

As for who should get the inoculation, it’s for anyone over six months of age who is at high risk of complications from flu, or anyone interested in staying healthy this winter. Anyone who lives with or cares for others who are at high risk should also get vaccinated. This will help protect you and everyone around you, including seniors and young children. The best time to get a flu vaccination is between October and December, but it’s really never too late to get that ounce of prevention.

Are All Flu Vaccinations Shots? - Disease Prevention

It’s time for flu shots, but some of us don’t like injections very much. The vaccinations can be given to anyone age six months and older. Your arm might be a little sore for a couple of days, but serious side effects are extremely rare. You can also try the vaccine in mist form, which is sprayed into the nose.

This form of the vaccine is for healthy people ages 2 through 49, who do not work with people who are at high risk of complications from influenza. High risk people are over 65 years old, or between six months and five years old, residents of long-term care facilities, people with chronic health problems or pregnant women. No matter what people may say, you can’t get the flu from injectable flu vaccine, since it’s made of inactivated virus. In the meantime, wash your hands frequently, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, to help prevent passing on any germs this flu season.

The Truth About Measles - Disease Prevention

You may wonder why public health officials think measles is a big deal. Though it is much less common than 40 years ago, measles can be deadly. The Centers for Disease Control says there have been a lot of cases of measles in Washington.

The symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, a rash that usually starts on the face and red, watery eyes. In about one out of five cases, patients develop ear infections, pneumonia or seizures. Children can, and do, die of these complications every year. The good news is that measles can be prevented with vaccinations – talk to your doctor. If you find out that your child has been exposed to measles, call your doctor right away, and keep your child away from others, to prevent the disease from spreading. Measles can be especially dangerous to babies under a year old, since they are too young for the vaccine.

Who Should Get a Flu Shot? - Disease Prevention

You can tell from all the coughing when we are at the start of flu season. For many of us, that means we need to get some family members flu shots. Public health authorities recommend the vaccine for children between 6 months and five years old, and for all children up to age 18 who have chronic illnesses, like diabetes or asthma. The shots are also recommended for adults with chronic illnesses, or those over 65 years old, and family members and others who live and work with them.

You don’t have to be in a high-risk group to get the shot – it’s a great tool for maintaining good health. By getting the vaccine, healthy parents and healthcare workers can also help protect others in the community. Although flu shots don’t prevent every flu-like illness, the shot should protect you from severe symptoms and help you and your entire family have a happier holiday season.

Hydration For Hot Days - Safety

Since we usually have moderate temperatures in Seattle, most of us aren’t ready for temperatures in the 90s, which require lots of water and cool beverages. Experts say we should avoid caffeine drinks in very hot weather, because caffeine causes dehydration – something you’re already in danger of if you’re hot and sweaty. And although a cold beer may sound like a good idea, grab that cold water instead. Alcohol can change your body’s temperature regulation center, making you think you’re feeling cooled off when you’re not. That could cause you to stay outside and active in extreme temperatures longer than you should. Next thing you know, you could be dehydrated and on the way to the emergency room.

The Dangers of Melanoma - Cancer

Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says you need to take melanoma seriously, since it can be a killer. Melanoma can metastasize, or spread, from the skin to other parts of the body, like the lungs, liver or brain. Once it has done that, melanoma is very hard to treat, and can lead to death. The number one thing you can do is to protect yourself from the sun, and stay away from indoor tanning beds. Wear a hat when you’re out in the sun and put on a minimum SPF 15 sun screen every single day. If you’re going to be out in the sun, participating in your favorite activity, wear an SPF of 25 or more, and reapply your sunscreen often, especially after swimming or sweating.

Be Prepared for a Power Outage - Safety

Whether we have a huge wind storm this year or not, you can count on your power going out for at least a few minutes sometime this winter. In the Pacific Northwest, some emergency preparedness experts call this our number one hazard, so you need to be ready.

Stock up now on extra flashlights and fresh batteries, so everyone in the house can find their way safely from one room to another. Remember, candles are a fire hazard, especially if kids are trying to carry them around. Also, figure out how to keep everyone warm if your electric heat goes out. Closing rooms off and letting everyone sleep in front of the fireplace works in an emergency. Don’t set up a barbecue or gas-powered generator anywhere indoors. Burning charcoal and gasoline motors give off deadly carbon monoxide, and they can change an emergency into a tragedy in a very short time.

Diagnosing Melanoma - Skin Care

More young women these days are being diagnosed with melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer, but greater awareness of skin cancer symptoms means women are being diagnosed earlier when treatment is more effective. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon at Northwest Hospital, says you can spot melanoma early by using your “A-B-C-Ds” while standing in front of a mirror,
you should check your skin once a month for new moles or changes in familiar ones. Look for A for Asymmetrical, or uneven in shape and B for Border: if the border is scalloped or rough, you should talk to your doctor. Look at C for Color of your moles, especially any that are black or have more than one color. The D is for Diameter of a mole: anything bigger around than the eraser on a pencil needs attention as soon as possible. Run through your A-B-C-Ds, and you could stop melanoma in its tracks.

Emergency Preparedness 101 - Safety

Emergencies have a way of happening, whether you’re ready or not. Planning ahead is important, so emergencies have less of a chance to become real disasters for you and your family. As you put together emergency supply kits, make sure you remember to gather important phone numbers like your doctor, pharmacy, neighbors and friends. Just because you can remember those numbers right now doesn’t mean they’ll come to mind as easily in the aftermath of a disaster.

Also, make sure that everyone who lives at your house has two numbers in particular: one for someone who lives nearby, and the other for a relative who lives outside the area. Then, even if everyone can’t get home, every member of the family will have someone to call who can keep track of where everyone is, and relay messages. Here’s hoping we don’t have any winter emergencies – and that you’re ready if we do.

What to do About Adult Acne - Skin Care

Everyone who is a teenager – or who has ever been a teenager – knows that having a face full of pimples is no fun. Dr. Jennifer Reichel, a dermatologist at Northwest Hospital, says acne can be even worse for adults. When you’re in your twenties, thirties or even older, acne can be very difficult emotionally. Adult onset acne can be deeper in the skin, presenting as sore, tender, bumps. It can be even more severe than the kind of acne you may have had as a teenager and certainly can be emotionally difficult to deal with. There is some good news, though: your primary care doctor or dermatologist has several medication options for treating adult acne. If one kind of medicine doesn’t work for you, it is very possible that another one will, clearing up your skin and putting a smile back on your face, where it belongs!

The Benefits of Measles Vaccination - Disease Prevention

The measles vaccine is 99 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The problem is that babies under one year old are too young to get the shots. When parents make sure that older kids are up to date on their measles vaccinations, they reduce the risk that kids will bring the potentially deadly illness home to the baby. Measles is easily spread by sneezing and coughing, especially if kids aren’t protected.

If your children have a high fever, cough, runny nose, a rash that started on the face and red, watery eyes, keep them away from school, and call the doctor. While you’re at the doctor’s office with the sick child, ask for a mask to cover the child’s nose and mouth, to prevent passing measles on to others. Measles’ complications can kill, so protect your child, your family and your community by making sure your children are inoculated against measles

What You Can Do About Back Pain - Pain Management

It’s one of the most common medical problems. About 8 out of 10 people have back pain, so chances are if your back hasn’t hurt you so far, it will someday. Back aches can be anything from a dull constant pain to a sudden, sharp one. Dr. Walter Trautman, pain specialist at Northwest Hospital, says the pain doesn’t necessarily come from an injury.
He says it can occur for a lot of different reasons, from a herniated disk to a muscle strain. That’s why treating back pain is so complex, and why each patient has to be individually evaluated, to find the cause and the right treatment. Most back pain will go away, but it may take a while. Chronic back pain that sticks around for three months, or keeps you from your regular activities, calls for a trip to the doctor’s office.

The Dangers of Whooping Cough - Disease Prevention

People think of whooping cough as just another childhood disease, but it’s an illness that can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, developmental disability or even death in babies. Whooping cough may start out looking like a cold, but if your child has a runny nose and slight fever, and a repeated cough that ends in a “whooping” noise, talk to your doctor immediately. Babies under 18 months are especially at risk, because their breathing may stop during coughing spells. Experts say that cough medicines don’t help with whooping cough and actually should be avoided. And if you or your child has whooping cough, it’s important to cover your cough, wash your hands and stay away from other people as much as possible to keep from spreading the disease.

Protection From Cervical Cancer - Cancer

It’s now possible to protect young women from a viral infection associated with about 70 percent of the cervical cancers in the United States. Generally speaking, the vaccine is given to women 26 years of age and younger. Dr. Patricia Rodrigues says some older women may qualify for the vaccine as well. She says a woman who is a virgin or has had only one lover, but is facing a divorce or other change in her life may want to protect herself from the virus that causes cervical cancer.
Insurance coverage for the vaccine varies. Compared to the cost of analyzing even one abnormal pap smear, it’s cost-effective, and a lot cheaper than treating a cancer that kills almost four thousand women a year in the United States.

Migraine vs. Cluster Headaches - Pain Management

Unlike migraines, which mostly affect women, cluster headaches occur most frequently in men. Dr. Bjorn Krane, a neurologist at Northwest Hospital, says they’re called cluster headaches because they can happen up to three times a day for about six weeks. He says most people who have migraines will want to stay motionless in a dark room, but someone with a cluster headache will be pacing or rocking back and forth. The pain is usually behind one eye, and that eye will be reddened. Lying down will actually make a cluster headache worse. Since this kind of pain can be a symptom of a serious problem, see a doctor. Treatment can include steroids and, believe it or not, oxygen. Talk to your doctor about any stubborn recurring headache, so you can work together on finding a diagnosis and a solution that works for you.

The Symptoms of Whooping Cough - Disease Prevention

It starts out looking like a cold, but whooping cough can turn into a dangerous illness for babies and small children. The first symptoms are a runny nose and slight fever, followed by severe, repeated coughs that can cause choking spells and make it hard to breathe.

Because whooping cough can cause permanent disabilities or even death, doctors urge parents to have their children immunized against this illness, before they enter school. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the bacteria that causes whooping cough travels on large droplets. Since adults and older children may not have severe symptoms, they may pass whooping cough on without knowing it. Remember to cover all your coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands frequently, just in case.

Bats and Rabies - Disease Prevention

A lot of kids think bats are really cool, but the fact is that those flying animals can carry rabies. Rabies is almost always fatal if bites from bats and other rabid animals are not evaluated immediately and vaccine not administered in time, according to the Public Health department.

Rabies is spread by the saliva of an infected animal. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep bats out of the house. Close and lock pet doors when you’re not inside, and make sure window and door screens are in good condition. If you find a bat either in your house or on the ground outdoors, stay away from it. Be sure to vaccinate your pets against rabies, and make sure the kids know they should avoid touching or playing with bats.

Rabies Prevention - Disease Prevention

A lot of people figure that if they get bitten by a rabid animal, they’ll just get arabies vaccine from the doctor and be done with it. The problem is that there can be periodic shortages of vaccine. This makes it important for you and your kids to avoid contact with bats, the main carriers of rabies in Western Washington.

Do what you can to prevent these animals from being attracted to your house. Check screened windows, doors and vents for holes that a bat might crawl through. A normal bat will fly around and try to avoid you, so if it is crawling on the ground or otherwise acting oddly, stay away from it. If you discover that a bat has been in your child’s bedroom over night, talk to your doctor immediately. He or she will tell you what to do next. Since bats can leave very tiny bite marks that can be hard to see, it’s important to get professional advice as soon as possible.

Tips for Building Strong Bones - Women's Health

Strong healthy bones don’t show from the outside, but it sure shows when you don’t have them. Exercise is one way to make your skeleton stronger. Basketball, tennis and other weight-bearing sports help make your bones denser. Dr. Julie Carkin, with The Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says exercises like tai chi and yoga can help prevent fractures by building strength and improving balance.

Any exercise you do for bone strength should be something you like to do, and are likely to do regularly. Building balance and muscle strength helps prevent falls and resulting broken bones. Having a good set of bones calls for both healthy muscle and bones. If you don’t do some sort of weight-bearing exercise – even a little walking – your bones become weaker, so get out there and do something.

Steps to Prevent West Nile Virus - Disease Prevention

Since mosquitoes spread West Nile virus, if you don’t have plenty of mosquito repellant on hand, follow the advice of Dr. William Ehni at Northwest Hospital. He says covering up is the best way to prevent catching West Nile virus. Since mosquitoes are at their hungriest around dusk and dawn, making sure everyone in the family is wearing mosquito repellant, if they want to be outside in the evening. After all, covering up and wearing mosquito repellant is a small price for avoiding the fever, aches and pains that can come with West Nile virus.

Self-Care for Anxiety - Stress Management

Sometimes it feels like all we do all day long is worry. Anxiety has been around forever, and it’s helped keep us alive for thousands of years. Worry becomes a real problem, though, when you start suffering from unrealistic fears. It’s one thing to be worried when you walk down a dark alley at 2 in the morning, but you shouldn’t be feeling that way in your neighborhood on an ordinary afternoon.

If anxiety is causing you a lot of stress, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, try distracting yourself from your fears by thinking about a favorite hobby or activity, do some deep breathing, or exercise to reduce muscle tension and use up some of that excess energy. Sometimes, drinking too many cups of coffee or sodas can make you feel stressed out, so cutting back on caffeine can be a big help, too.

Coping With Road Rage - Safety

Some mornings, you can put up with all the crazy drivers with no problem. Other times, somebody cuts you off, and you want to explode. Road rage is common these days, but Dr. William Solan, psychiatrist at Northwest Hospital, says it is not a part of normal life. He says if you’re losing it on the road, it’s not because other people are bad drivers. It’s because you have other things that are going on in your life that are making you unhappy or anxious.

The key to beating road rage before it starts is building your stress management skills. Take time to unwind before you get in the car, so you can be a relaxed but alert driver. If you do find yourself boiling over, take time at the end of your drive to figure out what’s really bothering you – and then take steps to make things better for yourself and the people around you.

Prepare for Your Next Hike - Foot Care

The weather is finally getting warmer, which means that a lot of us are getting ready to hit the hiking trail for the first time since last fall. Dr. Richard Bouché, podiatrist at The Sports Medicine Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says the key to enjoying the very first hike of the season is to get ready beforehand. It is important to prepare for any hiking or walking activity by actually going for short walks or hikes at first, then gradually increasing the distances.

If problems occur, ask your doctor to check the foot and leg, and then make sure the hiking boots or walking shoes fit properly.Many times, hiking boots need a tune-up so your feet won’t get sore and blistered. Adding an arch support or some padding, and finding the right socks, may be what your feet need to enjoy a fun, pain-free hiking season.

Could You Have Osteoporosis? - Women's Health

You may have osteoporosis and not know it. Like high blood pressure, osteoporosis is a silent disease. Until you have a crisis, like a broken wrist or hip, you might think your bones are perfectly healthy. Dr. Julie Carkin, with The Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says if you have certain health events, you should ask your doctor for a bone density assessment.

For example,if you are past menopause, taking steroids for asthma, multiple sclerosis or arthritis, or your periods have stopped due to underweight or high amounts of exercise, your bones are at risk for osteoporosis. You might not have any sign of osteoporosis until bone breaks, so do what you can now to build and maintain healthy bones. Take vitamin D and calcium every day and talk about bone health with your doctor.

Are You an Apple or a Pear? - Weight Management

When you look in the full length mirror, do you see an apple or a pear? Nurse practitioner Pat Giurgevich at Summit Cardiology at Northwest Hospital says the location of excess fat on your body can affect how healthy your heart is.

Extra fat around the waist means more fat around the heart and other organs. That increases the risk of heart disease. The tendency to be either apple or pear-shaped is determined by our genes. That’s why it’s important for people who tend to be apple-shaped to try to maintain a healthy body weight for their height. It’s important for both apples and pears to get regular exercise. It promotes healthy blood cholesterol – and that’s good, no matter what shape you’re in.

The Right Socks for Your Shoes - Foot Care

You’ve got the perfect outfit, but you almost never wear it because the shoes that go with it hurt. Dr. Richard Bouché, podiatrist at The Sports Medicine Clinic, says that if the shoes fit your feet, the problem may be that you’re not wearing socks or stockings. The right hosiery can definitely prevent blisters and add to your comfort by keeping your feet dry and cushioned. You can even find socks that are anti-fungal, to help avoid athlete’s foot. Those are all good things, plus they help prevent blisters.

Dr. Bouché recommends synthetic socks, since cotton doesn’t wick moisture away from the foot, and cotton socks can get sticky. Socks that provide cushioning are even better.

More Reasons to Quit Smoking - Wellness

Not only does smoking increase your risk of heart disease, it’s bad for your lungs and it’s bad for the people around you. It can even lead to all kinds of cancers, from your mouth to deep in your lungs. You might also be surprised to hear that cigarettes and other tobacco products make it hard for your cells to use insulin. In other words, smoking triples your risk of developing full-blown diabetes. Talk to the folks at the American Lung Association about ways to quit smoking, and to your doctor and pharmacist, too. They can tell you about new treatments and tools for smoking cessation. If you don’t succeed the first time you try to quit smoking, get ready to try again. Eventually, you’ll find the way to quit that works for you and makes your life healthier, too.

Headache vs. Migraine - Wellness

Most of us get tension headaches, and most of us know what to do. We take some aspirin or ibuprofen, we go for a walk or we just try to relax for a few minutes. Getting rid of a migraine is much more difficult. Dr. Bjorn Krane, a neurologist at Northwest Hospital, says that’s because the roots of the headache are deep in the brain. He explains that migraine headaches are a syndrome, caused by a disorder in the brain near the hypothalamus. Besides pain, migraine sufferers also tend to have nausea and increased sensitivity to noise, light, smells and movement. These symptoms can be overwhelming. If you want to prevent migraines, the first step is to regulate your sleep and meal schedule. A lot of migraines crop up on the weekend, because we stay up late and sleep in, and eat whenever we want. You can fight these tough headaches by sticking to a regular schedule, seven days a week.

Stress and Migraines - Wellness

You know a lot about stress. If you don’t suffer from it, you know someone who does. One of the results of continuing stress can be a migraine. Dr. Bjorn Krane, a neurologist at Northwest Hospital, says while migraines usually start early in life, a cluster of migraines can be traced to what’s going on in your daily life. He adds that if you can deal with the stress, you’ll find that the migraines are easier to handle. Of course, it’s common for migraines to develop four or five days before the start of menstruation, because of hormonal changes. If you feel a migraine coming on and you don’t have specific medication for that type of headache, find someplace quiet and just rest for a while. Take some acetaminophen or ibuprofen as early as you can during the onset of the headache. Surprisingly, a good strong jolt of caffeine, in a soft drink or cup of coffee, can help you fight the migraine, too.

Where Should Your Parents Live? - Aging

Being the caregiver for your parents can be a tough job. You may have to make difficult decisions, like, when should you look for a nursing facility or adult family home? Dr. William Solan from Northwest Hospital’s Gero-Psychiatric Center says the choice often comes down to whether or not you are able to spend quality time with your parents.

It’s important to focus on the well-being of the entire family and the caregiver – it’s hard to have quality time with your parents when you’re stressed out and depressed, due to all the demands on your time from parents, kids and your job. When the situation becomes unsafe, because an elderly parent is wandering away from home, or when caring for your folks becomes a huge burden, it may be time to make other arrangements, but nearby, so you can spend quality time with them.

Reality TV and the Secrets of Weight Loss - Exercise

Watch enough episodes of Celebrity Fit Club, Biggest Loser and any of the other reality weight loss shows and you start thinking there must be a perfect exercise or sport out there. All it takes is joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer and devoting several hours every day to developing the right technique.

What real fitness takes is a sensible, flexible diet and finding an activity you enjoy doing for at least 30 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week. That’s it. While reality TV shows focus on massive weight loss and minimum calories, what works for you may be a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, with an occasional treat. This will lead you to gradual weight loss. As for the perfect sport, whether you love weight lifting or running , talk to your doctor, then get out there and do it.

What to do About Restless Leg Syndrome - Wellness

The discomfort of restless leg syndrome builds up for several minutes, until the person with RLS finally moves. That relieves the sensation of having soda pop or ants in the legs for a while, until the discomfort starts building up again. Dr. Gandis Mazeika, a sleep specialist at Northwest Hospital, says there are several things you can do to temporarily relieve the restlessness. He says he tells patients to go into the kitchen and use a rolling pin to massage their legs for about five minutes before bedtime. Taking a warm bath at bedtime also calms down the restlessness. That can give you enough relief that you can get to sleep.

Prescription medications can relieve the symptoms of RLS. The good news is that it tends to come in waves, so after a series of bad nights, RLS will go away for weeks, or even months.

Links Between Food and Migraines - Wellness

If you get migraines, you’ve heard that some foods can trigger them. Aged cheese, foods containing MSG, processed meats, red wine and even chocolate are on the list. Dr. Bjorn Krane, a neurologist at Northwest Hospital, says you’re lucky if you can find out that a particular food causes your headaches, but you shouldn’t drop a food from your diet just because it’s on the list. He advises that you approach this problem scientifically: eat some chocolate, for example, and then wait. If you’re going to get a migraine, it will happen in the following two to three hours. If you don’t get a headache, go ahead and enjoy chocolate. Dr. Krane says it’s actually rare for migraine headaches to be set off by foods. If you’ve been avoiding certain foods, choose a day to run a little test, one suspect food at a time. You could be surprised!<

Restless Leg Syndrome 101 - Wellness

Restless leg syndrome, or RLS, is more common then you think. It affects about 10 percent of the population. People with RLS get an uncomfortable sensation, usually in the legs, and especially just when they’re starting to relax in the evening. The discomfort builds until the person absolutely has to move. Dr. Gandis Mazeika, a sleep specialist at Northwest Hospital, explains that RLS can sometimes be mis-diagnosed. He says restless leg syndrome tends to come on in adulthood, but some kids have it. It can mimic attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, so some kids have been misidentified as hyperactive, when they actually have RLS. There are some things you can do to ease the symptoms without medication. Warmth can relieve the restlessness, so take a heating pad to bed, or put it on your legs while watching TV to get a break from the discomfort.

Sneaky Ways to Cut Fat in Your Diet - Weight Management

You decided to cut back on fatty foods, but you don’t want to give up bacon or sausage. How about giving up fat somewhere else in your daily meals? Look for low-fat lunch meats when you’re making sandwiches to take to work, and choose a soft margarine instead of a stick. Instead of a smearof mayonnaise or cream cheese, try a dab of mustard – it’s fat-free and low calorie. Add a couple of slices of reduced fat or fat-free cheese between two slices of whole-wheat or eight-grain bread, and you’ll have a hearty lunch that is a little lower in saturated fats – the ones that are unhealthy. Instead of chips, try celery sticks, carrots or an apple for a satisfying crunch. Besides reducing calories, you’re taking steps toward preventing diabetes and heart disease.

Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Workout - Exercise

If you don't enjoy using a treadmill, elliptical trainer, rowing machine or stationary bike at the gym, Liz Dickson, exercise specialist at Northwest Hospital, says you can make your aerobic workouts more interesting by creating your own cardio medley. Once a week use every kind of aerobic machine in the gym. You’ll still get a great workout, and you may find a new favorite machine.

If the problem is the gym itself, try some activity away from the gym, like running with the family dog, rollerblading with your kids or taking your sweetie dancing. Sometimes just changing the location of your workout can make it feel fresher, and keep you on the road to a healthy body.

Preventing Boredom During Exercise - Exercise

You’ve been trying to get to the gym a little more often, but your aerobic routine is getting boring. Liz Dickson, exercise specialist at Northwest Hospital, says getting into shape doesn’t have to be dull. She suggests using your time on the treadmill or the elliptical trainer to get some basic aerobic fitness, and look for classes in activities like belly dancing, water aerobics, dodge ball, boxing or hip-hop dance. Include some weight training in your workouts to tone your muscles, too. The point is to get clearance from your doctor, and then get out there and move. You’ll feel fit, you’ll look great and your heart and every other part of your body will appreciate the effort.

Facts About the HPV Vaccine - Cancer

For the first time, it’s possible to get an inoculation against cancer. The vaccine prevents HPV infections, the virus associated with cervical cancer.

Dr. Patricia Rodrigues at Meridian Women’s Health says all women ages 9 to 26 should have the vaccine. The vaccine is not a live virus, so it can’t give you HPV, and it could protect her from cervical cancer – something that nothing else can do right now. The vaccine can be given to older women as well, depending on their personal histories. If you’re concerned about preventing cervical cancer, talk it over with your healthcare practitioner.

Should You Have Caffeine in the Afternoon? - Sleep

A lot of us live for a mid-afternoon mocha with an extra shot, but it may come back to haunt you at about 3 in the morning. Dr. Gandis Mazeika says that’s when the caffeine in your afternoon coffee drink could wake you up from a sound sleep.

He explains that once you’ve had a few hours sleep, you may still have enough caffeine in the bloodstream to wake you up, leaving you jittery and sweaty. Everyone has what’s called a “sleep drive,” that makes you need to go to sleep. There may not be enough caffeine in that drink to stop your going to sleep, but enough to jar you awake later. The solution is to cut down on coffee and caffeinated soft drinks, especially in the afternoon and evening.

Selecting Treats - Weight Management

It is easy to eat all the treats that show up at home, at work and at parties. If you’re trying to avoid gaining weight, how do you decide what to eat? Here’s a trick that might work: try rating the treat from 1 to 10.

It’s your own personal opinion on how wonderful that cookie or drink might be. Of course, you’re only going to eat that goodie if it rates a nine or a ten. If it rates less than that, the calories probably aren’t worth the trouble. If it’s something you can have any old day, like a piece of plain chocolate, it also might not be worth it. On the other hand, a homemade hazelnut truffle that you don’t see any other time of the year might definitely be worth the calories. At some other point in the day, try a low-calorie vegetable snack to make up the difference.

The Facts About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Wellness

Your hand hurts, and your thumb and fingers feel numb and tingly. And strangely enough, those symptoms get better on the weekend, when you’re not at work. You may have carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS. If you’re a woman, your chances of developing CTS are three times higher than most men. Nobody knows why, exactly, although it may have something to do with the smaller size of the median nerve, the nerve that passes through the wrist and helps you feel heat, touch and so on in your hand. The only way to know for sure if you have CTS is to see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment will help you avoid permanent damage to the nerve. Once you’re diagnosed, the typical treatment is to wear what’s called a carpal tunnel splint, and perhaps take an anti-inflammatory medication, like aspirin. The best treatment, though, is to rest and to learn how to modify the motions that cause you pain.

The Impact of a Car Crash - Safety

Driving a car is a lot safer than it used to be, thanks to seatbelts and airbags. Still, as Dr. Evan Cantini, a physical medicine and rehabilitation medicine specialist at Northwest Hospital, says, that doesn’t mean that everyone walks away from car crashes without any injuries. He says with head-on collisions, there are a few milliseconds before the airbag deploys. That’s probably enough time for your head and neck to suffer strain injuries. These muscle injuries can be very painful. If your car is hit from behind, you can also suffer this kind of muscle strain, since it’s natural to tense up your shoulder muscles when you feel the impact. It’s surprising how long the pain from these injuries can last. That’s why, it’s important to establish a good relationship with your doctor to help manage your specific problems. And don’t get discouraged – eventually you’ll start feeling a lot better.

Do You Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? - Joint Health

Your hand hurts and sometimes the pain, numbness and tingling goes all the way up to your elbow. You could be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS. For most people with this problem, the solution requires some changes in how you work.

It’s important for your doctor to identify the reason for your carpal tunnel problems: are you using a paintbrush or screwdriver every day on the job, or typing on the computer for lots of hours? Those repeated motions could be what are causing your pain. The dead give-away is when all the symptoms go away while you’re on vacation.

Talk to your doctor, and consider some changes in how you work. Getting better could require that you wear a splint on your wrist. While that’s not a hot fashion look, think about the alternative: just letting the problem continue could end in serious nerve damage and surgery.

What to do if Your Child Sleepwalks - Safety

If you have a child who sleepwalks, you know it can be pretty scary to find him wandering the house late at night. Dr. Gandis Mazeika, a sleep specialist at Northwest Hospital, says sleepwalking in itself is not usually harmful. If it’s a small child and there are stairs in the house, the parents should put a locking gate at the top of the stairs. If the sleepwalker is doing something that might be unsafe, it’s a good idea to direct them back to bed, or stay with them until they wake up.

Contrary to the popular myth, it’s not actually dangerous to wake up a sleepwalker, although the person is probably going to be disoriented for a while. Usually, you can put sleepwalkers back to bed, and they won’t recall what happened the following morning. And most children outgrow sleepwalking by the time they reach adulthood.

Night Terrors - Sleep

Some kids don’t just get the kind of nightmares you can soothe before they go back to sleep. A child who has night terrors wakes up screaming and in panic, and are very difficult to calm down. Dr. Gandis Mazeika, a sleep specialist at Northwest Hospital, says that, although they’re frightening to many parents, night terrors aren’t a sign that something is seriously wrong with your child.
He says children who have night terrors are actually well adjusted. These incidents are not signs of abuse or trauma in the household, and they disappear by the time the child reaches puberty. The good news is, the terror is temporary. Once children calm down and go back to sleep after having night terrors, they usually don’t remember anything in the morning about being scared.

When to See a Doctor About Your Migraine - Pain Management

You wake up with a migraine, so you do what you’re supposed to do: you take a painkiller and a caffeinated drink and you rest. The problem is, in some cases the headache doesn’t go away when it should, in under 24 hours. Dr. Bjorn Krane, a neurologist at Northwest Hospital, says on occasion, you should take your migraine to the emergency room.

He says you want to see your doctor if the migraine lasts longer than 72 hours, or if you are over age 40 and having a migraine for the very first time. Also, if you’ve been vomiting a lot, you may become dehydrated – another good reason to go to the hospital. If you’re having migraines more than four or five times a month, and they’re interfering with work or school, go see your doctor. Some people have actually lost jobs or dropped out of school due to migraines, and that is definitely avoidable.

The Truth About STDs - Women's Health

Romance is wonderful – unless it leads to a sexually transmitted disease. Unfortunately, STDs are common in today’s society, in large part because they can have no symptoms. Dr. Patricia Rodrigues at Meridian Women’s Health says it’s important to be tested for STDs, since most of them have no symptoms. She says you need to be tested and then treated, because you could spread these things. Also, they can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, and that, left untreated, can kill you, despite 21st century medicine. Even if you don’t have that severe an infection, leaving an STD untreated can result in chronic pain and infertility. On the other hand, early detection and treatment can make you healthy again – and maybe just a little bit wiser. Go ahead – talk it over with your doctor.

Hidden Sources of Sugar - Weight Management

Cutting down on some of the sugar in your diet is easier than you think. Often the flavoring in your morning coffee drink is mostly sugar. Get used to less sugar in your latte, and then see if you can cut down on the sugar on your cereal. When you go buy groceries, take a look at the nutrition labels, and be a little choosy. Watch out for excess sugar in some desserts that are labeled low-fat, and go for fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in water or juice, instead.

Nasal Surgery - Surgery

Noses come in all shapes and sizes, and a lot of people think about changing the appearance of theirs. But it’s not just a matter of appearance. Dr. Dan Downey says you need to think about how your nose is working for you. He believes it’s important for the patient to think about all the reasons he or she may have for wanting to change her appearance. It may be that it’s difficult to breath through the nose, and surgery may be able to resolve that problem as other changes are made in the external look of the nose.
Another big consideration is whether your face is fully grown – believe it or not, some people grow into those noses that seem so big when we’re teenagers. If you decide you do want a different nose, though, think about just how you expect your life to change if you change your appearance, and talk it over with your surgeon.

Early Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis - Joint Health

You woke up in the middle of the night, with your knee, wrist or hand hurting, swollen and red. Then, when you got up this morning, you couldn’t even begin your usual morning routine because of the pain. Dr. Julie Carkin from The Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital says you may be showing the first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

She notes it’s important to have rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed and treated early. The good news is that with specific treatment – not just aspirin – you stand a good chance of controlling rheumatoid arthritis and preventing joint damage. The inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can signal damage to your joints, so see your doctor as soon as possible.

Should You Take Natural Estrogen to Prevent Breast - Cancer

Most of us have been touched in some way by breast cancer. But unfortunately there is no medicine or herbal supplement that is proven to prevent breast cancer. In fact, some supplements have actually been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in some women. Taking what’s sold as natural estrogen can actually harm you by encouraging the growth of cancerous cells – but again, that’s only in some women.

The decision to take natural estrogen is something you should talk over with your healthcare provider. The very best prevention for breast cancer is a combination of a low-fat diet, frequent exercise, monthly self-exams, and an annual mammogram once you reach your 40th birthday. Keep up with your monthly self-exams, and encourage your friends and family members to do the same.

How Your Weight Affects Your Diabetes Risk - Weight Management

We all have different reasons for wanting to lose weight. You might have a high school reunion, while your sister-in-law might want to fit into her favorite dress. Here’s a really good reason to drop a few pounds: the more fat you carry around, the less your body’s cells are able to use your own insulin.

People who carry most of their weight around their waist – or “apple-shaped” people - have a greater risk of developing diabetes than those who carry most of their weight below the waste. If your waist is larger than 35 inches, or your husband’s waist is larger than 40 inches, you both may be at risk. No matter where you carry your excess pounds, though, it’s never too late to start working your way back to a healthy weight.

Hidden Calories in Snacks - Weight Management

You figure you should be losing weight. After all, you substitute a mid-morning latte for breakfast, never leave your desk at lunchtime and skip the afternoon coffee break. Of course, by the time you get home, you’re hungry as a bear, so you eat a hearty dinner. Then you eat a snack while you watch TV.

If you were to write down when you eat, you might find some surprises. You may be cutting overall calories, but you’re cramming all of them into the evening hours, right before you go to bed. That gives your body nothing to do but convert calories to fat, rather than energy. It’s like your mother always said, winners eat breakfast, and so do people who succeed at losing weight. Go ahead, reduce your calories a reasonable amount, but also spread them throughout the day, so you can be both thinner and energetic.

How Much Calcium Do You Need? - Wellness

No matter how much you need it for healthy bones, your body will only absorb so much calcium at one time. Dr. Julie Carkin, with the Seattle Arthritis Clinic at Northwest Hospital, says your body can use only about 500 milligrams of calcium at once. Since you need about 1200 milligrams of calcium a day, it’s important to spread out your servings through the day. Have a glass of milk at breakfast, a yogurt at lunch and a calcium pill in the evening, to help make sure you get the maximum benefit. If you can’t eat dairy products, there are lots of calcium fortified foods around, including fruit juices, cereal, sports bars and soy products. And watch out for adding loads of calcium to your diet all at once. You tummy may rebel, since for many people, too much calcium can cause constipation. Adding calcium to your diet gradually is the best way to do your body good.

Safeguarding Your Medical Documents - Safety

You know where all the important documents are in your house or apartment right, but could you find them in the event of a major disaster? The key is to put things like insurance policies, deeds, property records and photos of your family in a fire-proof safe. A small safe can be bolted in place in a closet or cabinet, where you can find it even if the house is damaged. If you take medications regularly, keep them in the refrigerator unless your pharmacist advises otherwise. The fridge will be recognizable in the event of an earthquake that damages your home. And make sure you have a list of medications you take every day on a card in your wallet. You can get a wallet card from your doctor or pharmacist – it’s just another way to be prepared.

Is Your Parent Ready for Assisted Living? - Aging

Your parents say they’re ready to move out of the family home and that they need more help in with day-to-day living. The question is, how much help do they need?

If they only need a nurse to check in with once in a while, Dr. William Solan of Northwest Hospital’s gero-psychiatric center says a condo or apartment in a retirement community may be the answer. He notes the important thing there is the social contact with the rest of the community, along with the option of having some meals prepared by the facility’s central kitchen. Some seniors may need the help they’ll find in an assisted living facility.

Assisted living, which offers more independence than a skilled nursing facility or adult family home, can include housekeeping, help with showering or assistance with taking medications.

Disaster Prep 101 - Safety

We may not have hurricanes, but we do have some crazy weather. Local scientists also say it’s just a matter of time until we have a major earthquake. Since nobody can tell when a disaster may strike, it’s time for you to get prepared. First, get together important family documents, like insurance policies, deeds and property records, photos of your family members and your pets, and a list of emergency contacts – both people nearby and family members living out of state. In an emergency, you may not remember everyone’s phone numbers. Put aside some cash or traveler’s checks, too, since the cash machines may not work in the event of a major power outage

Making an Emergency Kit - Safety

Do you want to make an emergency kit before the next big emergency, but you don’t know where to start? The first thing on the list should be a gallon of water per person per day. Three gallons of water for each person in your household will get you through three days. Don’t store water in old plastic milk jugs. Clean screw-top soda bottles work a lot better. Next on your list should be non-perishable food for you and for your pets. Add a first-aid kit and extra medications you might need. Also pack a flashlight, portable radio and extra batteries. You’ll want sleeping bags or extra blankets, work gloves and matches, too. Whatever you do, make sure you add a can opener to your emergency kit. For more information on setting up your emergency survival kit, Google "Three Days, Three Ways," a government website that has all the information you need.

What You Need to Know About West Nile Virus - Disease Prevention

Not long ago, West Nile virus actually appeared in King County and the rest of Washington State. Humans catch West Nile from infected mosquitoes. There is no specific treatment for West Nile, so the body has to fight off the fever, aches, rash and possible complications on its own. But Dr. William Ehni at Northwest Hospital says the good news is that it is not contagious from person to person – humans catch West Nile from infected mosquitoes. This is a disease that’s fought by avoiding mosquito bites. Stay covered up at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are the most active, and wear mosquito repellant containing D-E-E-T or Picaridin on exposed skin if you need to be outside. There is still no vaccine for West Nile virus, but if you can successfully fend off the mosquitoes until around the first of October, that’s when the West Nile season will end.

How Tense Are Your Shoulders Right Now? - Exercise

You’ve been working for a couple of hours and all of a sudden you notice that familiar ache in your shoulders. Peter Rigby, director of therapy services at Northwest Hospital, says that is the perfect time to relax your upper back by doing a shoulder roll.

“When you roll your shoulders by moving your shoulder blades forward, bringing them up towards your ear, pinching your shoulder blades back and then dropping them back to the resting, starting position, the muscle in the shoulders will feel more relaxed than uptight."

So remember, if you stay hunched over a computer or at the wheel of a car for hours, your brain may start thinking your shoulders should be tense all the time. It's probably time for a stretch.

Cross Training Can Improve Your Workout - Exercise

Have you ever considered cross training? It’s not just for top athletes. If you love playing tennis and or softball in the summer, try doing something completely different during the off season, such as golf or dance lessons. The point is to keep in shape and help prevent overuse injuries like stress fractures.

Cross training helps to prevent overuse problems like runner’s knee and tennis elbow. Muscles also get the chance to develop more evenly, reducing the chance of joint injuries.

Take a Deep Breath and Relax ... - Stress Management

We all have to take care of many responsibilities, but heart health researchers say we all need to take a few minutes for ourselves in order to stay healthy. Listening to your body is an important tool in managing your health. Do you need to relax more? Would you feel better if you went for a short walk? Do you feel really wound up or even a little nervous? Or are you feeling serene and happy? Pay attention to what your body has to say. It will help you learn how to beat heart disease and live a happier, healthier life.

Can You Prevent West Nile Virus Infection? - Safety

You can prevent the West Nile virus from attacking by doing some simple things around the house. Since the disease is spread by mosquito bites, the trick is to get rid of standing water around your yard that will provide a good environment for the bugs. Mosquitoes can breed in just a few inches of water in only a couple of days, so drain plant saucers and empty rainwater out of kids’ toys, and change the water in birdbaths every few days. Mosquitoes can breed in just a few inches of water in only a couple of days.

West Nile virus doesn’t harm most people, but it can cause permanent damage to people with diabetes, immunity problems and those over 40 years old. Children and men tend to get it more often because they spend more time outdoors on summer evenings, so take steps to get mosquitoes off your property and keep West Nile virus out of your life.

Balance Your Muscles for a Better Workout - Exercise

Ever thought about balancing your muscles? It sounds funny, but if you ride a bicycle a lot, you could be developing some muscles while neglecting others. In other words, you could end up being really good at moving forward and backward, but have some trouble moving sideways.

Dr. Chris Peterson from The Sports Medicine Clinic says this can be a sign that your body needs something more from you than frequent bike rides. He says a large majority of the people he sees in his clinic are tight in at least some muscle groups and poor in core strength, so they need a strengthening and stretching program to deal with chronic tendonitis.

If you love to bike, it’s important for you to do some cross-training, like soccer, dance, lifting weights, or core strengthening programs like yoga or Pilates. A balanced, flexible cyclist means a better bike ride.

Do You Need a Living Will? - Aging

It would be great if we could all stay healthy and never have to be a patient in a hospital. But sometimes life takes turns we are not expecting. How can you make sure your wishes regarding your care and treatment are followed? Under Washington State law, hospitals that provide either emergency care or more routine surgical procedures must inform you about a “Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.”

If you are unable to make decisions for yourself, this “power of attorney” allows a person or people you choose to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. A separate document, called a Living Will, only applies if you’re terminally ill and want to document your wishes for medical personnel and caregivers. A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare form is available on-line, at an office supply store, or you can pick one up on your next hospital visit.

How to Prepare for a Disaster - Safety

Suppose we have a big wind storm or an earthquake. Where is the safest place in each bedroom in your house or apartment? Where is the safest place in the building, away from windows and heavy book cases? While you’re looking for those places, plan a family evacuation drill. If we have a major earthquake, you’ll want everyone to know how to get out of the house safely when the shaking stops. Make sure everyone in the house knows where to meet outside, so you can count heads and make sure everyone is okay.

Once you have an evacuation plan, practice it, so that even the youngest kids know what to do in an emergency. Meanwhile, check out a local CPR class, because knowing how to save lives could mean a lot to the people you love. For more emergency planning information, check out Three Days, Three Ways online.

Manage Stress for a Heathier Heart - Heart Health

You can have a healthier heart and enrich your life by learning how to manage stress. Some studies show being depressed, worried about money, or stressed out in traffic, at home or on the job can increase your risk of having a heart attack, whether or not you have a history of heart disease.

It’s important to recognize your symptoms of stress. Learn some ways to relax. Try progressive relaxation technique, yoga or some simple stretches. You can even take up an active hobby, since experts say activities like dancing, rollerblading, or softball, can boost your energy, work off stress and get your heart healthy, all at the same time.

Do Adults Nees Bike Helmets? - Exercise

You wouldn’t send your kids out to play in traffic. That’s why you make sure they have bike helmets that fit correctly, and even more importantly, they put them on. Another way to make sure your kids wear their helmets is to make sure they see you wearing yours. Chances are, you and your kids won’t get into any accidents. But if something does go wrong, a helmet will help reduce injuries, and prevent life-long disability caused by brain damage. The fit is just as important. You want your helmet to comfortably touch the head all the way around. It should be level and stable enough to stay in place, even when you shake your head really hard. The strap should be slightly snug. Use the pads that come with the helmet to adjust the fit so it’s both comfortable and safe.

The Right Way to Get Back in Shape - Exercise

You have spent the winter and spring "bonding" with your couch. It’s time to get moving! But don't just run out the door and start jogging. It’s important for you to ease into it. A little bit of muscle soreness is normal as you try to get back into shape, but remember, if it hurts, don’t do it. If you have pain after exercise that doesn’t get better within a few days, rest and then go to the doctor for an evaluation.

The No-Surgery Chin Tuck - Exercise

Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, and immediately think, where’s my neck? That’s what happens when you work in front of a computer all day long. The solution: the chin tuck. But don’t let the name fool you. It’s a stretch, not some kind of surgery.

Sit up straight and slowly move your head back over your rib cage. You’ll feel the muscles at the back of your neck stretch very gently. Hold it for just a few seconds, and then relax. Repeating the chin tuck a few times a day will help you correct your posture, and will also help you fend off tension headaches by relaxing the muscles at the back of your neck.

Battle Insomnia And Win - Sleep

The first step in fighting a serious case of insomnia is to start getting up at the same time every day, whether it’s a weekend or a work day. The next step is staying in bed only to sleep. If you don’t doze off in the first ten minutes, get up. The best thing to do is to not linger in bed too long. If about 10 minutes has gone by and you’re still awake, you should be getting up out of bed and out of the bedroom, going someplace else and waiting until you’re tired and sleepy again. Then it’s time to go back to bed and try to fall asleep again. You may be a little more tired the next day, but you’ll find that the following night you’ll have an easier time falling asleep.

In a week or two, you’ll find yourself dozing off when you first go to bed, and sleeping through most of the night.

Sneaky Ways to Cut Back on Sugar - Weight Management

If you're trying to lose weight, cutting down on some of the sugar in your diet just might be part of the answer. Some people love vanilla or other flavorings in their morning coffee. But often the flavoring is full of sugar. What to do?

Start by using less sugar in your latte, then see where else you can cut down on sugar, like in your morning cereal. When you go grocery shopping, take a look at the nutrition labels and be a little more choosy. Watch out for excess sugar in some desserts that are labeled low-fat. Instead of a chocolate treat, go for fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in water or juice.

Healthy World Travel - Travel Safety

You’re counting the days ‘til vacation, and planning what you’re going to do on the other side of the world. Now’s the time to prepare to have a healthy trip, by clicking on It’s the fast way to find out about health issues at your destination, and to find out if you need any vaccines before you take off.

The CDC has great information about vaccines that are needed, prescriptions that you’ll also need to take with you, as well as recommendations for insect repellent and if you need to take malaria medicine.

Make sure to pack some Pepto-Bismol and maybe a prescription drug for diarrhea, since you may not be able to buy those medications in some countries.

Want to Look Thinner? Start With Your Feet - Foot Care

If you really want that long, elegant look, start by considering your feet. They are the foundation for good posture. If your feet aren’t working properly, it can affect everything all the up your ankles, legs and back. It can event affect how you carry your head. Some people tend to roll their feet inward as they walk, and correcting this can change how your posture looks. Asking your doctor for an evaluation of your posture is the first step. A podiatrist might recommend orthotics, inserts to wear in your shoes that will improve your foot movement, and eventually improve your posture.

Snoring or Sleep Apnea? - Sleep

If your husband snores from the minute he goes to sleep, it can keep you awake most of the night, and really mess up the following day. Before you banish him to the couch, or move into the rec room yourself, Dr. Gandis Mazeika says you need to get your husband checked for sleep apnea.

Whether your partner has sleep apnea or just snores a lot, there are effective treatments out there. They will help both of you sleep like a dream.

What to Wear When Hiking - Foot Care

You’ve probably seen those hiking sandals in the stores. They look a lot sturdier than flip-flops or the strappy little sandals you’d wear to a party, but are the strong enough for real hiking? The truth is, hiking sandals are fine for predictable, even terrain, like walking on a beach. You need a sturdy hiking boot, with ankle support and protection for your toes, for hiking along trails and scrambling over rocks. Finding the right hiking boot may take more time. Make sure you have the correct fit. It will pay off in happier feet after you’ve been on the trail several hours.


The Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award
Northwest Hospital Earns The Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award
The Emergency Medicine Excellence Award
Northwest Hospital Earns The Emergency Medicine Excellence Award
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