Monday, July 06, 2015

Lake Health Blogs

Do you have high PSA levels? Levels of a substance called prostate specific antigen (PSA) is often high in men with prostate cancer. However, PSA can also be high with other prostate conditions. Since the PSA test became common, most prostate cancers are found before they cause symptoms. Symptoms of prostate cancer may include

  • Problems passing urine, such as pain, difficulty starting or stopping the stream, or dribbling
  • Low back pain
  • Pain with ejaculation

Prostate cancer treatment often depends on the stage of the cancer. How fast the cancer grows and how different it is from surrounding tissue helps determine the stage. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or control of hormones that affect the cancer.

During the month of September, Lake Health will provide free prostate cancer screenings for all men between the ages of 50 and 70 or men ages 35 to 49 who are considered high risk (African American, Hispanic, family history of prostate cancer). Men who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer or who are currently under treatment for prostate disease are not eligible.
The prostate cancer screenings will be held on September 21 and 22 at the Lake/University Ireland Cancer Center, 9485 Mentor Ave., Mentor, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

As part of the prostate cancer screening, men will receive a digital rectal exam by a volunteer urologist and a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test. Combined, these two tests can detect prostate cancer at an early stage. Men will also receive a total cholesterol and an HDL level screening, too.

Please call The Best of Health at 440-953-6000 to reserve your appointment.


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Library on Sep 21, 2010

Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a health care provider. It has been estimated that up to 80% of the world's population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, with the low back as the most common. Typically, low back sufferers may get a prescription from their physician for muscle relaxers or pain relievers.  When the frequency or intensity becomes more chronic and severe, some may try steroid injections, pain patches, and/or surgery.  In the last few years, alternative therapies have emerged and have become more popular, one of them being acupuncture. 

The use of acupuncture to treat low back pain has dramatically increased over the past 20 years.  One of the increases of acceptance is the many hundreds of evidence-based research studies which have been done over the past few decades.  If you are one of those people who are skeptical of acupuncture because you think it is still a mystical ancient Chinese voodoo, think again.  Modern acupuncture is science based.  Thousands of years ago in China, they may have not known why a specific acupuncture point decreased low back pain, but in modern times, scientists have validated acupuncture as a reliable method of pain relief through controlled studies, fluoroscopy MR imaging and physiology of the central and peripheral nervous systems. 

A 2009 randomized controlled study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that acupuncture helps relieve chronic back pain.  The study also demonstrated that acupuncture resulted better than standard care such as medications or physical therapy. [Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(9):858-866].  Another study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain (2001) provide further proof that acupuncture is a safe and effective procedure for low-back pain, and that it can maintain positive outcomes for periods of six months or longer without producing the negative side-effects that often accompany more traditional pain remedies.
After a detailed history and evaluation, I will use very thin, single-use, pre-sterilized needles placed strategically in the back and different areas of the body.  Many times electrodes are attached to the needles (electroacupuncture) which has shown in increase endorphin (your body’s natural pain killer) release to decrease pain and inflammation.  A typical treatment may last 30-45 minutes.  A typical treatment plan is 1-2 times a week for 4-6 weeks.   

So if you have chronic low back pain, why not give acupuncture a try, what do you have to lose—except for your back pain!

Susan M. Kim DC, CCN, CSCS on Sep 10, 2010

Nothing peeks our national interest quite so much as transformation and redemption.  We also love instant gratification.  TV shows like "Extreme Home Makeover" and the new Tony Robbins show "Breakthrough", score big by pushing all three buttons.  But a key starting point for these shows--and one that is disturbing-- is that we must feel sorry for those who await transformation.  This is the "Queen for a Day" phenomenon.  Queen for a Day was one of the earliest daytime TV shows and was basically a shameless pity-fest.  Three down and out women would tell their sob stories, one more awful than the next.  The audience would then vote (by applause-meter) on which contestant presented the saddest spectacle.  The winner would receive a crown, a cape and a household appliance (generally a washing machine). 

Today's transformational epics begin with families that are penniless, children with handicaps and marriages that are stressed to the breaking point. They also feature another group that inspires pity: obese people. The Biggest Loser and all the many epics that focus on the redemption of the obese start with the same premise:  these are people who have lost all control and have descended to some rocky bottom.  This makes good drama, since there can be no uplift without beginning in a very sad valley. 

Many people say that they are inspired by these programs.  But I have always felt that, when the subject is obesity, these kind of shows merely reinforce the belief that fat is the fault of the fat person.  I dislike this perspective intensely because it deflects blame from the true culprit: our profligate and disturbed food-culture.  People are overweight because they become hypnotized by and addicted to modern foods which are designed for just such a purpose.  Once metabolically "broken", their increased hunger levels and strident cravings multiply the problem.  There is precious little consideration of the real causes of obesity in these TV shows.  In between vignettes of tears and transformation, we are mindlessly fed commercials that glorify over-consumption and turn their back on any responsibility for the illness they are causing. The big message: it's all a matter of personal choice and a little will power.

All of this brings me to the subject of weight loss contests.  The popularity of The Biggest Loser, coupled with the ubiquity of the obesity problem has seen weight loss challenges popping up in every organization, company and community.  Do these contests, with their focus on pounds lost and crowning winners do anything to address what is nothing less than a national crisis?  Until recently, I would have said no.  But that was before I met Bob K.

Bob is just a guy who has two young daughters and wants to see them grow up.  One day, he realized that he had become way too overweight (by about 90 pounds) and that he was seriously out of shape.  One of Northeast Ohio’s newspapers, The News-Herald, was looking for contestants in its second annual weight loss competition.  Always the extrovert, Bob saw a great opportunity in this situation.  First, he would write a letter that would get him into the contest.  One of the requirements for participants was writing a weekly blog that would be featured in the paper.  Next, calling on his background in sales, Bob would recruit various professionals to a team that would support his efforts.  They, in turn, would be happy to be part of his publicly acknowledged support system. 

Six months ago, Bob came to see me and asked if I would help him lose weight.  I wasn't sure how he would do because he was so focused on the competitive aspect of the project, but his enthusiasm eventually won me over.  Bob promised to do whatever I asked and assured me that his real goal was to completely remake his health.  This was particularly important since he had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, was taking blood pressure medicine, and had high cholesterol. 

During the contest, Bob's natural optimism received an enormous boost from the email support he received, from friends and co-workers who cheered him on, and from monthly reports that were printed in the paper.  He learned a new skill--blogging.  He developed relationships with several trainers and worked hard with each. I will never forget the day, about a month into the contest, that he invited me to view one of his workouts.  A trainer had him running very short sprints, a task that Bob could barely do without becoming severely short of breath.  I was worried about him and insisted he see his primary care doctor.  His back bothered him and a then a heel spur acted up. Despite it all, he persisted.  Determined to complete his project successfully, Bob followed every instruction I gave him just as he had promised.  He also worked extremely hard on his fitness transformation.  At the final weigh in, Bob had lost 85 pounds and was routinely running a distance of 5k.  

By the end of the News-Herald contest, I was a believer.  It wasn't just Bob. Many of the other contestants, inspired by the process, were able to make major transformations. Indeed it seems that the ability to declare a public goal and recruit supporters along the way is a strong motivator.  And significant life change is a very daunting task.  We need lots of ways to make it challenging, compelling, and even fun.  View my video of the contestants.

Do weight loss contests focus too much on weight loss and ignore the skills of maintenance?  Absolutely.  That is why, with the help of Bob K. and some of the other contest participants, I am working on a Refuse to Regain group which will keep everyone focused on solidifying their changes long-term.  My idea is to create a group, not just of maintainers, but of community representatives who continue to have a public voice and who represent the idea that permanent change IS possible.  We hope that, like the thrill of the now completed contest, our group will be challenging, compelling and yes, even fun.

Dr. Barbara Berkeley on Sep 09, 2010

Today, children in the United States routinely get vaccines that protect them from more than a dozen diseases such as measles, polio, and tetanus. Most of these diseases are now at their lowest levels in history, thanks to years of immunization. Children must get at least some vaccines before they may attend school.

Vaccines help make you immune to serious diseases without getting sick first. Without a vaccine, you must actually get a disease in order to become immune to the germ that causes it. Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. For example, children don't receive measles vaccine until they are at least one year old. If it is given earlier it might not work as well. Although some of the vaccines you receive as a child provide protection for many years, adults need immunizations too.

This week’s blog post focuses on immunizations for children and adolescents.  Please see last week’s blog post for information and resources on adult immunizations. 


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Library on Sep 07, 2010

A strength and conditioning program is not complete without a suitable diet.  It’s very easy to fall into the convenience of the fast-food trap, except there is little if any nutritional value in fast-food.  Your body and workouts will suffer greatly if your diet is not balanced.  I came a crossed an interesting journal article, “Nutrition as a Key Player in Injury Recovery”.  This article gave me a new perspective on how important good nutrition is for enhancing performance and repairing damaged tissue.  We all know our body runs on fuel for energy production however, are people aware that certain types of fuel help to promote the healing process by decreasing inflammation?  Long and short term injuries such as sprains, strains, cuts, bruises and, fractures will benefit from the right nutrition if consumed during the phases of healing.  Don’t get mislead by thinking proper nutrition is only needed if you have an injury.  Recovery of muscle and joint soreness after exercise can be reduced by eating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties.  I ask myself, is taking Advil or ibuprofen for my aches and pains the right decision if the cause could be what I’m eating?  I’m an avid runner, so I know what it feels like to have sore muscles and joints.  I wonder if my cravings for certain foods have anything to do with their anti-inflammatory capability.  The chart below lists foods that suppress inflammation.  Foods rich in Vitamin C and E and Omega 3 have high anti-inflammatory effects.




Herbs/ spices









Curry powder




Olive oil


*1-2 beers or red wine




Black/ green tea



Alcohol must be consumed in moderation with meal.

One or two alcohol drinks per day. 



Next blog entry will discuss why overweight athletes are more prone to higher amounts of inflammation in their body.

Denise.Fisher on Sep 02, 2010