Wellness Wednesday: Give the Gift of Life

Did you know that more than 119,000 Americans are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant? One-third of those people will die before they even receive an organ.

NDLM-2017-InstagramAd_WebApril is National Donate Life Month. When you choose to become a donor, you are choosing to do your part to help others in need.

There are many myths and misconceptions about organ donation that keep individuals from registering to be a donor. Before you make your decision about becoming a donor, arm yourself with the truth. This information is from the Donate Life PA website:

MYTH: Doctors will not try to save my life if they know I am a registered organ donor.

TRUTH: Paramedics, doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. The medical staff is completely separate from the transplant team. Transplant surgeons are called only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted. Learn more about the donation process.

MYTH: I can only sign up to donate when getting/renewing my driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID.

TRUTH: You can sign up to be an organ donor at any time—and it only takes 30 seconds. Sign up now.

MYTH: My religion does not approve of donation.

TRUTH: Many organized religions support organ donation, considering it a generous act that is the individual’s choice. Learn more about religion and donation.

MYTH: I don’t need to tell my family that I’d like to be a donor, because it’s already written in my will.

TRUTH: By the time your will is read, it will be too late for you to be a donor. Telling your family now that you want to be an organ and tissue donor is the best way to help them understand your wishes and make certain they are honored.

MYTH: Minorities should refuse to donate because organ allocation discriminates by race.

TRUTH: Organs are matched by many factors including blood type, medical urgency and time on the waiting list. A patient’s age, gender, race, ethnicity or wealth does not affect who receives available organs. Minorities make up more than half of the people currently on the organ transplant waiting list, and patients are more likely to find matches among donors of their same race or ethnicity. This is why it is especially important for minorities to sign up to be organ donors. Learn more about minorities and organ donation.

MYTH: I can’t be a donor because of my age or health issues.

TRUTH: Anyone can decide to be a donor regardless of age or health. In fact, the oldest organ donor in the U.S. was 92.  Your ability to donate is determined at the time of death.

MYTH: Donation will interfere with plans for my funeral.

TRUTH: Donation should not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings. Doctors maintain dignity and respect for the donor at all times.

MYTH: Organs are sold, with enormous profits going to the medical community.

TRUTH: Federal law prohibits buying and selling organs in the United States. Violators are punishable by prison sentences and fines.

MYTH: The recipient will know who I am.

TRUTH: Information about the donor is released to the recipient only if the family of the donor requests or agrees to it. Otherwise, the strictest confidence of patient privacy is maintained for both donor families and recipients.

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Doctors’ Day: Mercy Philadelphia Hospital Golden Stethoscope Awards

Mercy Philadelphia Hospital announced the winners of its Golden Stethoscope Awards today. The Golden Stethoscope Awards are colleague-voted awards given out annually at the Doctors’ Day Luncheon.

And the Golden Stethoscope goes to …

Golden Stethoscope on whiteBest Penmanship:

Priyanka T. Bhattacharya, MD, hospitalist

Friendliest:

Daniel J. Sung, MD, hospitalist

Best Bedside Manner:

David J. Addley, DO, cardiovascular disease

Quickest to Answer Beeper:

Daniel J. Sung, MD, hospitalist

Best Dressed:

Gerald L. DeVaughn, MD, cardiovascular disease

Funniest:

Ravindra C. Hallur, MD, hospitalist

Most Dedicated:

John B. Fobia, MD, general and vascular surgery (tie)
Sushma Kaveti, MD, hospitalist (tie)

Best Leader:

Kevin S. Fleming, MD, hospitalist

Hardest Worker:

Gul Madison, MD, infectious disease

Best Team Player:

Malgorzata E. Goralczyk, MD, radiology

Best Personality:

Arafat Hakim, MD, hospitalist

Congratulations to all of our winners! And thank you to all of our MPH physicians for their dedication and commitment to caring for our community!

Doctors’ Day: Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital Golden Stethoscope Awards

Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital announced the winners of its Golden Stethoscope Awards on Tuesday. The Golden Stethoscope Awards are colleague-voted awards given out annually at the Doctors’ Day Luncheon.

And the Golden Stethoscope goes to …

Golden Stethoscope on whiteBest Penmanship:

Richard A. Seifert, MD, cardiology

Friendliest:

James M. Minnella, MD, internal medicine

Best Bedside Manner:

Brad S. Bendesky, MD, emergency medicine

Quickest to Answer Beeper:

Judith T. Tran, MD, psychiatry

Best Dressed:

Manzoor A. Rather, MD, hospitalist

Funniest:

John Makopoulos, MD, emergency medicine

Most Dedicated:

Anthony S. Mazzeo, MD, emergency medicine

Best Leader:

Martin J. O’Riordan, MD, cardiovascular disease

Hardest Worker:

Prashanth R. Ramachandra, MD, bariatric and general surgery

Best Team Player:

Jayamohan V. Nair, MD, hospitalist

Best Personality:

Peter Correnti, DO, cardiovascular disease (tie)
Michael J. Korman, MD, pulmonary medicine (tie)

Congratulations to all of our winners! And thank you to all of our MFH physicians for their dedication and commitment to caring for our community!

Wellness Wednesday: Eighty by 2018

Mercy Health System has joined with more than 1,000 organizations who have pledged to work together to increase the nation’s colorectal cancer screening rates and embrace the goal of reaching 80% screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.

eightyby201880% by 2018 was developed through the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) initiative with the goal of screening 80% of those aged 50 and older for colorectal cancer by the year 2018. The NCCRT was co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How did the NCCRT settle on the ambitious goal of 80% by 2018?

GetTestedIn 2013, the member organizations of the NCCRT were challenged to develop a goal to advance colorectal cancer screening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already had an 80% goal for its Colorectal Cancer Control Program. Massachusetts, the first state to have health reform, was already at 76%. And most importantly, college graduates are already over 80% screening rate.

How Colorectal Cancer Survivors Can Help

As a cancer survivor or family member, the most important thing you can do to support 80% by 2018 is to share your story. You have the power to make screening relevant and personal.

People who have not been screened for colorectal cancer are much less likely to have had a close friend or family member with cancer than those who have been screened. Those who have not gotten screened don’t really understand the significance of the disease or think that they are at risk.

When survivors share personal stories, it helps put a face on colorectal cancer and conveys the necessity for screening.


If we can achieve 80% by 2018, 277,000 fewer people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 203,000 lives will be saved by 2030.


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Progress is Being Made

Colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. in the last decade among adults 50 and older. In the simplest terms, this means people aren’t developing colorectal cancer at the same high rate as in the past, because more people are getting screened.

There’s Still Work to Do

While colorectal cancer incidence rates have dropped , it is still the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. Across the country, approximately 1 in 3 adults, around 23 million people aged 50 and 75 years old are not getting screened for colorectal cancer as recommended. Within the Mercy Health System service area alone, 33% of adults have not received colorectal screenings in the past 10 years.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More Information

NCCR: 80% by 2018

Colorectal Cancer Screening Fact Sheet

Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Vital Signs: Colorectal Cancer Tests Save Lives

Wellness Wednesday: Take Care of Your Kidneys

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine.

o-KIDNEY

Each kidney is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. A nephron has two parts. The glomerulus strains blood cells and large molecules from the toxins and fluid. The fluids and toxins that pass through then go through the tubule. The tubule collects minerals that the body needs and puts them back into the bloodstream and filters out more toxins. The final product becomes urine.

Every day, the kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine, composed of wastes and extra fluid. The urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two thin tubes of muscle called ureters, one on each side of the bladder. The bladder stores urine. The muscles of the bladder wall remain relaxed while the bladder fills with urine. As the bladder fills to capacity, signals sent to the brain let a person know it’s time ‘to go’. When the bladder empties, urine flows out of the body through a tube called the urethra, located at the bottom of the bladder. In men the urethra is long, while in women it is short.

The kidneys also make hormones. These hormones help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and promote bone health.

Problems with your kidneys can be short-term or long term concern. From kidney stones to kidney failure, it’s important to know more about healthy kidney function.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys. The stones are made of mineral and acid salts. Kidney stones form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute.

Nephritis

Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney, usually due to a bacterial infection. In the majority of cases, the infection starts within the bladder and then migrates up the ureters and into the kidneys.

Interstitial nephritis is when the spaces between the kidney tubules become inflamed. This inflammation causes the kidneys to swell.

Glomerulonephritis produces inflammation in the glomeruli. Damaged and inflamed glomeruli may not filter the blood properly.

Nephrosis

Nephrosis is any degenerative disease of the renal tubules. Nephrosis can be caused by kidney disease, or it may be secondary to another disorder, particularly diabetes.

Renal (Kidney) Failure

Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys fail to adequately filter waste products from the blood. Kidney failure can be divided into two categories: acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease.

Acute kidney injury (AKI), previously called acute renal failure, is a rapidly progressive loss of renal function. AKI can result from a variety of causes. Dialysis may be necessary to bridge the time gap required for treating these fundamental causes.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) develops slowly and, initially, shows few symptoms. CKD can be the long term consequence of irreversible acute disease or part of a disease progression. The most common causes of CKD are diabetes mellitus and long-term, uncontrolled hypertension. Polycystic kidney disease is another known cause of CKD. The majority of people afflicted with polycystic kidney disease have a family history of the disease. Other genetic illnesses affect kidney function, as well.

Chronic kidney failure is measured in five stages, which are calculated using a patient’s GFR, or glomerular filtration rate.

  • Stage 1 is mildly diminished renal function, with few overt symptoms.
  • Stages 2 and 3 need increasing levels of supportive care from their medical providers to slow and treat their renal dysfunction.
  • Stages 4 and 5 usually require preparation of the patient towards active treatment in order to survive.
  • Stage 5 is considered a severe illness and requires some form of dialysis or kidney transplant.

Keep your kidneys healthy

kidneymonthKeep fit and active: Keeping fit helps to reduce your blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of Chronic Kidney Disease.

Keep regular control of your blood sugar level: About half of people who have diabetes develop kidney damage, so it is important for people with diabetes to have regular tests to check their kidney functions.

Monitor your blood pressure: Although many people may be aware that high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, few know that it is also the most common cause of kidney damage.

Eat healthy and keep your weight in check: This can help prevent diabetes, heart disease and other conditions associated with CKD. Reduce your salt intake. The recommended sodium intake is 5-6 grams of salt per day (around a teaspoon).

Maintain a healthy fluid intake: Although clinical studies have not reached an agreement on the ideal quantity of water and other fluids we should consume daily to maintain good health, traditional wisdom has long suggested drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day. Consuming plenty of fluid helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body which, in turn, results in a “significantly lower risk” of developing chronic kidney disease.

Do not smoke: Smoking slows the flow of blood to the kidneys. When less blood reaches the kidneys, it impairs their ability to function properly. Smoking also increases the risk of kidney cancer by about 50 percent.

Do not take over-the-counter pills on a regular basis: Common drugs such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are known to cause kidney damage and disease if taken regularly. Such medications probably do not pose significant danger if your kidneys are relatively healthy and you use them for emergencies only, but if you are dealing with chronic pain, such as arthritis or back pain, work with your doctor to find a way to control your pain without putting your kidneys at risk.


Sources:

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Mayo Clinic
Healthline

Wellness Wednesday: Portion Control is Key to Healthy Eating

Plate SlickMarch is National Nutrition Month and eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

This means not just watching what you eat, but how much of it you eat. Portion control is the key to a healthy plate. The type of calories you consume can either give you energy or take it away. So before you ‘super size’ your next meal, here are some tips on how to keep your plate healthful.


The Vegetable Group

Fill half your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Eat something from the five veggie groups every day. A diet rich in vegetables helps reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers.myplate_blue_vegetables

  • Dark green
  • Red and orange
  • Peas and beans
  • Starches
  • Other

The Fruit Group

Eat whole fruit more often than you drink 100% fruit juice. Fruits are an excellent source of fiber, water, vitamins and phytochemicals. Most fruits are low in sodium, fat and calories, and all of them have no cholesterol whatsoever.

myplate_green_fruitsTry a variety of different fruits every day!

  • Stone fruits
  • Berries
  • Fleshy fruits
  • Pome fruits
  • Melons

The Grain Group

myplate_magenta_grainsMake sure half the grains you eat are whole grains. Processed grains aren’t nearly as good for you.

  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal

The Protein Group

Keep your portions lean and on just a quarter of your plate. All these foods are part of the protein group. Protein is a macronutrient that your body needs in order to function.

  • myplate_yellow_proteinMeat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Beans and peas
  • Processed soy
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds

The Dairy Group

Keep your portions small and low in fat. There really can be too much of a good thing, especially with the dairy group. All foods in the dairy group are good sources of calcium, which helps build and maintain bone health.

myplate_yellowThe dairy group includes…

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Milk-based desserts
  • Natural cheeses
  • American cheese

More Information:

Portion Distortion

ChooseMyPlate.gov

MyPlate, My Wins Tipsheet

MyPlate Daily Checklist

Focus on Fruits

10 Tips: Build a Healthy Meal

10 Tips: Enjoy Your Food But Eat Less

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Wellness Wednesday: Colorectal Cancer Screenings Save Lives

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. No one wants to talk about it; but colorectal cancer screening saves lives. If you’re 50 years old or older, talk to your doctor about getting screened.

AA couple bicyclesColorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, among cancers that affect both men and women, in the U.S. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. But this disease is highly preventable, by getting screened beginning at age 50.


About 1 in 3 adults between 50 and 75 years old–about 23 million people–are not getting tested as recommended.


What You Can Do

  • If you’re aged 50 to 75, get screened for colorectal cancer. Screenings help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps so they can be removed. Screening also finds this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.

Fast Factsccs_ads_300x250_final2

  • Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people aged 50 and older.
  • Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. If you have symptoms, they may include—
    • Blood in or on the stool.
    • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
    • Losing weight and you don’t know why.
    • These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of them, see your doctor.
  • Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. If you think you may be at high risk, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.

Screenings Tests

There are several screening test options. Talk with your doctor about which is right for you.

  • Colonoscopy (every 10 years).
  • High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), stool test or fecal immunochemical test (FIT) (every year).
  • Sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years, with FOBT every three years).

eightyby2018

Mercy Health System has joined with more than 1,000 organizations who have pledged to work together to increase the nation’s colorectal cancer screening rates and embrace the goal of reaching 80% screened for colorectal cancer by 2018.

80% by 2018 was developed through the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCR) initiative with the goal of screening 80% of those aged 50 and older for colorectal cancer by the year 2018. The NCCR was co-founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


If we can achieve 80% by 2018, 277,000 fewer people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 203,000 lives will be saved by 2030.


eightyby2018_emblem-01
Across the country, approximately 1 in 3 adults, around 23 million people aged 50 and 75 years old are not getting screened for colorectal cancer as recommended. Within the Mercy Health System service area alone, 33% of adults have not received colorectal screenings in the past 10 years.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


More Information

NCCR: 80% by 2018

Colorectal Cancer Screening Fact Sheet

Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Vital Signs: Colorectal Cancer Tests Save Lives