Health Matters Blog

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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OUCH! (Falls)

Published December 4, 2014

Richard Burtis, MD By Richard Burtis, MD It is well known that as the population is aging, there are many older Americans suffering serious injuries due to falls. Available data indicate that in 2012 alone, 2.4 million Americans over age 65 were treated in emergency departments for injuries from falls. During the 10-year period ending in 2012, there were 201,000 fall-related deaths. There are many contributing factors that account for this, including problems associated with aging. Lack of physical exercise and conditioning causes muscles to weaken, interfering with recovery from missteps and with the ability to rehabilitate after injury. Decreased balanc...

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Life Expectancy and Men’s Health

Published November 20, 2014

Craig Rinder, MD By Craig Rinder, MD It has been well known for years that the life expectancy of men is less than that of women. According to a 2013 report from the Nation Center for Health Statistics, the life expectancy for males born in 2011 is 76.3 years versus 81.1 years for females. In fact, in every country in every region of the world for which statistics are available (with the sole expectation of the tiny state of Qatar). Men have shorter life expectancies than women. And yet, there has been little understanding of why this should be so. The Assumption in the past was that biological differences between men and women were sufficient to accoun...

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