Health Matters Blog

Women and Atrial Fibrillation

Published February 12, 2015

Phaedra McDonough, APRN by Phaedra McDonough February is Heart Health Awareness Month for women. This educational month was established to help women gain a better understanding of their risks for heart disease. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common electrical abnormality of the heart. During atrial fibrillation the two upper chambers of your heart, called atria, are quivering instead of pumping and your heart rate becomes irregular. While in atrial fibrillation your heart works less efficiently. A serious complication of atrial fibrillation is a stroke, with women at significantly higher risk than men. Strokes from atrial fibrillation are related to the po...

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Fatigue and Shortness of Breath are Not Signs of Aging

Published February 5, 2015

by Phaedra McDonough Have you noticed your energy level is lower and you are more short of breath even when performing the normal activities in your daily life? Don’t ignore these feelings, or chalk them up to “getting old.” This is not a normal part of the aging process. It is your body telling you that it is struggling, maybe even with something as serious as a heart attack. Shortness of breath and fatigue are frequently experienced by patients prior to having a heart attack. But you may not be aware just how far in advance these symptoms start to show. It’s not necessarily a matter of minutes or hours. Many people who survive...

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Gallbladder Disease — A Modern Illness on the Rise

Published January 30, 2015

Thomas-H.-Lewis By Thomas H. Lewis About 20 years ago when the laparoscopic gallbladder procedure was first perfected, there was a surge in the number of gallbladder removal operations in the United States. It made sense there would be an increase since the new procedure was much safer for patients and the recovery time was greatly reduced. Recently, surgeons are seeing another increase in the number of gallbladder removals, both nationwide and in our local community. [caption id="attachment_4098" align="alignright" width="180"] Dr. Thomas H. Lewis[/caption] The patients showing symptoms of gallbladder disease are younger than they ever were before....

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Helping Patients Navigate Life with an Ostomy

Published January 22, 2015

By Kate Foldeac As a direct result of a variety of disease processes (cancer, Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, spinal cord injuries) or traumatic injuries, portions of, or even the entire bowel or bladder may need to be removed to improve the health or well-being of a person. An ostomy is a surgical procedure in which a piece of bowel is brought to the skin surface as a stoma to allow the passage of bodily wastes such as urine (urostomy) or stool (ileostomy or colostomy). A pouch is then secured around the stoma and this acts as a collective device for the stool or urine. A potential alternative to a permanent ileostomy can be an ile...

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Varicose Veins – Not Just a Cosmetic Problem

Published January 15, 2015

Gregory R. Gadowski, MD, FACS by Dr. Greg Gadowski Varicose veins are a very prevalent condition that no one really talks about as an illness. People who have not experienced them may think they are purely a cosmetic eyesore, but they are in fact a component of a condition called venous disease. Patients who have it know all too well the pain and discomfort varicose veins cause in their legs. Our legs contain a relatively complicated system of veins which rely on little valves to circulate blood back up to the heart after it has been brought down by the arteries. These valves are fairly fragile and deteriorate over time. Once that happens, the blood doesn’t go up ...

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Modern Breast Care Close to Home

Published January 8, 2015

Joseph Rosen, MD By Dr. Joseph Rosen, MD In 2010, I had the opportunity to present the experience of developing the breast care program at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital at the 20th annual conference of the National Consortium of Breast Centers. My presentation was titled, “The Delivery of Modern Breast Care in Small Town America” and focused on the startup and early years of the BMH Comprehensive Breast Care program. Since that time our program has grown and evolved into a center of excellence in breast care with a comprehensive team of professionals all working to the same end result -- the best possible outcomes for our patients with breast disease. ...

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Team Approach Helps Take the Anxiety Out of Facing Surgery

Published January 1, 2015

By Eleanor Thomas It is natural to be nervous when you are faced with the need for surgery. Questions race through your mind about the procedure and how it is going to impact your life, both short-term and long-term. Most people know that choosing their surgeon is one of the most critical decisions they will have to make when faced with surgery. While that is certainly a huge component, it is important to know that there is a competent and caring team working alongside your surgeon. Surgeons do not operate in a vacuum. Whether in their office or the operating room, there is an entire team that makes sure patients and their families a...

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Over 65? Here’s why you should get a flu shot.

Published December 25, 2014

Dr. Sarah Fulham By Sarah Fulham, MD The holiday season is supposed to be full of comfort and joy. It coincides with the peak flu season however, which tends to be full of ache and misery. Common flu symptoms include sore throats, congestion, coughing, body aches, chills and fever. Some people may experience diarrhea or vomiting. While these effects are at best irritating and at worst incapacitating for the average adult, the flu can be especially hard on older people who tend to have weaker immune systems. [caption id="attachment_11986" align="alignright" width="200"] Dr. Sarah Fulham[/caption] According to the Centers for Disease Control, more t...

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Don’t Get Trapped by Your Depression

Published December 18, 2014

Paul Stanchfield, PA-C By Paul Stanchfield, PA-C Many people who are diagnosed with depression encounter the very real issue of stigma and misunderstanding about mental illness that exists in our society. Depression can still be seen by some as weakness, self-pity, or a character flaw. When patients experience this kind of stigma they can become fearful about speaking about their depression, avoid seeking help, or become isolated. This can create a barrier to people getting the help they need. [caption id="attachment_10949" align="alignright" width="199"] Paul Stanchfield, PA-C[/caption] Locally, the Brattleboro Retreat, and we here at Brattleboro Internal...

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Think Beyond The Pill When Planning Your Pregnancy

Published December 11, 2014

Roxanne S. Karter By Roxanne Karter, APRN The New York Times recently published an op-ed piece about the rising rate of unplanned births outside of marriage. The author, Isabel Sawhill, has been researching causes for why this is happening. A senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Sawhill has also written a book called, Generation Unbound: Drifting Into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage and says one reason for the increase is a lack of awareness about options for contraception that help women better plan for when they want to get pregnant. Some options, known as long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCs, are proven to be more effective at ...

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