Health Matters Blog

Upper Respiratory Issues Part 1: Head Colds

Published January 17, 2014

John Todd, APRN By John Todd, APRN, FNP We’re deep in the season for head colds, chest colds, and flu and if you haven’t gotten a flu-shot, it’s not too late. Getting a flu shot reduces a person's likelihood of needing to visit an Emergency Department by 50% during that flu season. As a Family Nurse Practitioner, I note the weather changing from autumn to winter by the respiratory conditions that patients bring to the office. There's that moment in the fall that we feel in our sinuses and lungs as the trees shed their leaves. Some of us barely feel it; some develop a sore throat with post-nasal drip; others develop a seasonally predictable sinusi...

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Airborne Allergies Don’t Fly South for the Winter

Published January 10, 2014

By William Wood, MD This time of year can be tough on allergy sufferers, believe it or not. Some people experience the same hay fever symptoms during the winter that others might feel during warmer months, and sometimes these symptoms are just as severe. Hay fever symptoms occur when the immune system mistakes an airborne allergen for bacteria trying to infect the body. The sneezing, itchy eyes and clear runny nose are a side effect of the body releasing a chemical called histamine in response to that attack. What’s different in the winter is the type of airborne allergen that triggers the response. [caption id="attachment_5560" al...

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Resolve to Have a Happy and Healthy 2014

Published January 2, 2014

Another year has begun and with it comes a chance to make a fresh start. A lot of people make health-related resolutions after spending the holiday season eating, drinking and being merry, but not everyone follows through on these promises. Here are a few simple strategies that can help you set -- and keep -- the resolutions you make to improve yourself in 2014.

Make a List. Write down every aspect of your life where you might make a change or an improvement that leads to a healthier lifestyle. Don’t worry if the list starts getting too long. Once everything is down on paper, choose three to five items ...

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The Gift of Giving

Published December 27, 2013

By Gail Murray, LICSW During the holidays there is a sad reality for many people who, for the most part, remain invisible to many of us. They are the less fortunate among us who have fallen on hard times or live with difficult situations for much of their lives. With the significant stress of managing our own lives in these hard times, it is easy for us to overlook those who truly need our help, especially during the winter months when needing to find warmth can be a matter of life or death. The holidays can be the very best of times as children lie tucked in their beds and moms and dads look for the perfect bow for the perfect present....

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Stopping Diabetes Before it Starts

Published December 20, 2013

By Hoty Smith Two years ago, the American Diabetes Association launched “A Day in the Life of Diabetes.” This ongoing initiative combines online and offline programs with the goal of making people aware that diabetes doesn’t stop. Not for the 26 million children and adults in the United States who live with type 2 diabetes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and not for their families and the communities in which they live. You may already be aware of the tremendous strain diabetes puts on a person’s health, even beyond the symptoms of the disease. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart failure or stroke. It is the l...

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The Community Health Team

Published December 13, 2013

Wendy Cornwell By Wendy Cornwell, RN Over three years ago, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital joined the Vermont Blueprint for Health, a state-wide initiative designed to transform health care delivery and empower patients. The effort began with the recognition that improving patient health required a team-orientated approach, improved management of chronic conditions, and increased access to care. Crucial to these efforts are Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) and the Community Health Team (CHT). Patient-Centered Medical Homes are primary care practices certified by the National Committee of Quality Assurance (NCQA). This certification means that these...

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PMS/PMDD- It’s No Laughing Matter

Published December 6, 2013

Barbara Evans, MN, WHNP-BC By Barbara W. Evans, NP I’ve heard the jokes, seen the cards……and also met the women for whom it’s no laughing matter. I’m referring to PMS and PMDD, Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. While it is thought that up to 90% of women experience mild physical and/or emotional symptoms in the days preceding menstruation, there are some for whom the symptoms are severe enough to adversely impact quality of life. PMS, which is estimated to impact up to 30% of women of child-bearing age, is characterized by a combination of physical and emotional symptoms. This may include (but is not limited to) bloating, headac...

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Checking in on the Male Check-Up

Published November 29, 2013

Tony Blofson, MD [caption id="attachment_9619" align="alignright" width="199"] Tony Blofson, MD[/caption] By Tony Blofson, MD You may have heard about men’s health initiatives that are happening in our community right now. From Movember to the BEARDS for BMH campaign, there is increased focus on getting men to see their healthcare practitioner on a regular basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, men are half as likely as women to schedule physicals or preventive services. One explanation is that routine screening tests for women—such as pap smears and mammograms—are clearly connected to particular age brackets. As a result, women are ...

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A Surgical Road Map for Treating AAA

Published November 22, 2013

Daniel Walsh, MD By Daniel Walsh, MD An aneurysm of an artery is one of the most common blood vessel diseases causing disability and death. Aneurysms are defined as a permanent and focal widening of an artery at least 50 percent greater in width than the normal size of the vessel. More than 70 percent of all aneurysms involve the aorta (the largest artery in the body) located in the abdomen. In the United States, ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms, or AAA, are the tenth leading cause of death in men older than age 55 and the fifteenth leading cause of death overall. The median age for a rupture to occur is 76 years old for men and 81 for women. The overal...

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Does Your Diet Really Help Prevent Prostate Cancer?

Published November 15, 2013

Craig Rinder, MD By Craig Rinder, MD Links between diet and preventing prostate cancer seem to get a lot of media attention. Newspapers frequently run articles about new studies claiming that specific foods, beverages or supplements prevent or slow the advance of prostate cancer. When visiting websites of very reputable institutions like Johns Hopkins or the Mayo Clinic, you’ll find long lists of certain foods you should eat or avoid in the name of better prostate health. [caption id="attachment_542" align="alignright" width="200"] Craig Rinder, MD[/caption] The excitement is understandable. Prostate cancer is the most common, non-skin, solid cance...

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