How to Ease Pain Caused by Varicose Veins

How to Ease Pain Caused by Varicose Veins

If you have varicose veins, you’re not alone. According to the American Society for Vascular Surgery, more than 20 million Americans are affected by raised and enlarged veins, which most often occur in the legs or feet.

Our veins have tiny valves that work to circulate our blood, carrying it from the rest of our body to our heart. When these one-way valves quit working or are weakened, blood doesn’t flow as it should and pressure beings to build from the blood collecting in the legs.

For some, the resulting varicose veins may only be a cosmetic concern, but for others they could indicate a more serious problem and require treatment. It’s important to speak with your doctor about any concerns that you have regarding varicose veins. Your doctor can check for common symptoms, like swelling, sores, skin discoloration or tenderness, to make a diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan, if necessary.

If you are experiencing large bulging veins, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can try to minimize discomfort. Here are four at-home therapies that may help ease pain associated with varicose veins or prevent them from getting worse.

  1. Exercise

Exercise has a number of health benefits, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that getting your blood pumping can be good for your vein health too. Low-impact exercises that get you moving but don’t put additional stress on your veins can help minimize symptoms by promoting blood flow.

Walking and bicycling can be great options to help relieve pain and discomfort from swollen veins. You should consult your doctor before starting a new workout routine. Some exercises can be counterproductive to vein health and your health care provider can help determine what’s safe and effective for you.

  1. Compression Stockings

Your doctor may recommend compression stockings – a special type of hosiery that applies pressure to your lower legs. Wearing compression stockings compresses the surface veins in your legs, which encourages circulation and blood flow from the legs and feet to the heart. Compression stockings vary in strength, size, brand and type and can be purchased online or at a pharmacy.

  1. Elevating Your Legs

Our veins are having to work against gravity – pumping blood back up from our legs to our heart. Elevating your legs, however, works with gravity to help encourage blood flow and alleviate pressure. Less pressure can mean less pain and much needed rest for your veins and body.

  1. Over-the-counter Medication

Over-the-counter medication might be recommended to manage discomfort. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help. But if you notice any issues with your varicose veins or symptoms become too painful, treatment may be needed. Varicose vein treatments can include laser surgery, sclerotherapy and catheter-assisted procedures.

If you are experiencing pain from varicose veins, speak with your health care provider. Your health care provider can provide additional information on available options and determine if treatment may be necessary. Making a few lifestyle adjustments, like adding low-intensity exercise to your day and remembering to elevate your feet, can be conservative approaches to easing varicose vein pain.

Your primary care provider can help diagnose and manage a wide range of health issues, and refer you to a specialist when needed. Don’t wait to speak with your provider if you have any questions or concerns. If you need a primary care provider, find one near you today.

Hand Safety Tips while Working on the Lawn or Garden

Hand Safety Tips while Working in the Lawn and Garden

Hand Safety Tips while Working on the Lawn or Garden

Warm weather and longer days bring many people outside for fun in the sun, including tending to their lawns and gardens.

Participating in these activities brings an increased chance for serious hand and upper extremity injuries, especially when using lawn mowers and other garden tools.

Special precautions should be taken when gardening and working on the lawn to prevent injury. We’ve gathered a few recommended safety tips to keep in mind while working on the yard.

Lawn Mowing Safety

  • Keep all children away from the area being mowed. The safest place is inside.
  • Make sure there are no sticks, stones or other objects that could get in the path of mowing.
  • Reach under the mower only when it has been turned off and the blade has completely stopped.
  • Refuel the mower only when it has cooled completely.
  • Do not give children rides on lawn mowers.
  • Wear tight fitting clothing so it does not get caught in machinery.
  • Store garden tools in their proper place when they’re not in use.
  • Always wear sturdy, close-toed shoes.
  • Never alter safety mechanisms on tools and mowers.

Gardening Safety

  • Avoid the sun’s rays with a light, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat.
  • Wear gloves that are pliable with no restriction of movement and padded to avoid the development of calluses.
  • Keep tools clean and sharp.
  • Use ergonomic tools with grips that fit your hand.
  • Provide proper storage of tools to prevent rust or from tripping over them.
  • Use a wrist splint if signs of wrist tendinitis develop.
  • Poison ivy or poison oak plants should be avoided. Exposure to poisonous plants should be immediately followed with washing hands and effected area.
  • Remove splinters or thorns by washing the infected area, removing the object with a magnifying glass and pointed forceps and treating the area with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Scrub and trim torn fingernails; apply an antibiotic ointment if necessary.

To learn more about the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, contact 502.540.3727.

Colon Cancer Awareness [Infographic]

Colon Cancer Awareness Infographic

Did you know that colorectal cancer is treatable if caught early through screening?

Colorectal cancer refers to a type of gastrointestinal cancer that usually begins as a growth, called a polyp, in either the colon or the rectum. Kentucky has some of the highest rates of colorectal cancer deaths in the country. In 2013, the Commonwealth ranked fourth in the nation for colorectal cancer deaths, according to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project.

Fortunately, through early detection and treatment, the disease is also highly preventable. At least 60 percent of deaths from this cancer could be avoided if those 50 years or older had regular screening test, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Review the infographic below to learn more about risk factors for colon cancer and warning signs.

Colon Cancer Risk Factors and Warning Signs

 

Preventive health screenings are key to detecting diseases before you have symptoms. Speak to your primary care provider to learn more about each type of health screening available.

Stay Safe on Two Wheels

Staying Safe on Two Wheels

Staying Safe on Two Wheels

The right protective equipment and respect for the rules can help keep a bicycle accident from spoiling much more than your ride.

In 2015, emergency rooms across the U.S. treated more bicycle injuries — approximately 488,000 — than injuries from all but one other sport, basketball, according to the National Safety Council.

Low rates of helmet use may be to blame, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — fewer than half of riders wear one. Riders who don’t wear helmets typically experience the most serious injuries, such as damage to the brain or spinal cord.

Bicycle safety starts at home and continues on the ride. Here’s how to protect yourself.

Before You Go

  • Do your homework. “Plan your route before you leave home so you won’t encounter any surprises,” said Kathy Panther, director of the brain injury program and inpatient therapy at Frazier Rehab Institute, part of KentuckyOne Health, and a cycling lover. “If possible, ride with a group, which is safer because you are more visible.”
  • Gear up. Every rider needs a fitted helmet (see “4 Steps to Helmet Harmony”), white headlight and red rear reflectors.
  • Keep your hands free. Outfit your bike with a rack, basket or handlebar bags — or wear a bike shirt with multiple pockets — so you can devote your hands to steering.

On the Road

  • Don’t ride distracted. Put your phone away and leave the earbuds at home.
  • Go with the flow. Travel the same direction as car traffic, which carries less risk of injury.

If you have recently suffered a brain injury from a bike accident or while playing a sport, Frazier Rehab Institute has a concussion helpline open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Just call 502.420.0125 to speak with an expert.

4 Steps to Helmet Harmony

  1. Check the label. Choose a helmet certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  2. Focus on fit. The helmet should cradle your head snugly with no forward or backward tilt or side-to-side movement. Above all, it should protect your forehead — the most likely point of injury in a crash.
  3. Adjust appropriately. Make sure the side straps form a “V” over the ears, and pull the chinstrap until it fits snugly.
  4. Know when to let go. If the helmet takes a hit in a crash, replace it.

This story originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Pills, Pills, Pills: Safety First

Pills, Pills, Pills: Safety First

Pills, Pills, Pills: Safety First

Staying organized is an Rx for prescription safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly a quarter of Americans currently take three or more prescription medications. Managing multiple medications can be complicated, especially when many medications interact with each other.

One way to keep track is to create a list of all the medications you take. Share this information with your pharmacist and primary care physician. They can help make sure you don’t have duplicate prescriptions or mix the wrong medications, which can cause adverse side effects.

“Be open with your health care team about every pill you take, including vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter medications,” said Kevin Poe, PharmD, BCPS, clinical pharmacy manager at Saint Joseph Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health. “If you notice unusual side effects, speak up. We can often find alternative prescriptions or adjust your medication list to help you feel better.”

Simple Is Best

“To make medication management easy, consider using the same pharmacy to fill all of your prescriptions,” said Carrie Schanen, PharmD, managed care pharmacy specialist with KentuckyOne Health Partners. “Create a relationship with your pharmacist. That way, he or she knows you and your history.”

Poe recommends asking your pharmacist for tips about organizing your medications. Your pharmacy may recommend tracking apps or sell color-coded pillboxes to sort medications.

“Having a routine can help you remember when to take your medications,” Schanen said. “Try pairing each dose with a memory trigger, like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast.”

Pharmacists are there to help you get the most out of your prescriptions and make sure you take them safely. Always follow their recommendations for handling, storing and taking medications. Keep prescriptions in a dry location away from sunlight, preferably not in the bathroom where humidity can be an issue.

“Be aware of what medications you take and why you take them. You are your own best safety and health care advocate,” said Poe.

This story originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Farm Safety Tips for Your Hands

Farm Safety Tips for Your Hands

Farm Safety Tips for Your Hands

It’s hard to imagine life without the benefits of powerful farm equipment, but farm implements also pose dangers to the people who use them. Each year in the United States farming is ranked as one of the most dangerous professions, with many farming accidents involving the upper extremities.

Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center offers the following safety guidelines to help keep you, your family and employees safe while working with farm equipment.

Farm Equipment Safety

  • Know the proper use, and limitations of your equipment. If you do not have instructions, contact the manufacturer.
  • Match tractors with equipment of same power and speed levels to prevent machine failure and possible serious injury.
  • Use heavy-duty equipment for heavy-duty jobs.
  • Do not modify or remove safety features such as kill switches, roll bars or control bars. Use safety features and heed the manufacturer’s warnings!
  • Use runners and chain guards on mowers.
  • Keep power transmission shafts covered and shield power takeoff shafts properly.
  • Disengage or unplug all power takeoffs, blades, cutterbars, crimper rolls or other moving parts before handling equipment.
  • Do not use hands to clear jammed equipment.
  • Keep hands and feet clear of moving parts.
  • Inspect controls and parts for loose nuts and bolts before each use.

General Farm Safety

  • Avoid working alone. Use “the buddy system.” Your buddy should know safe usage of equipment and will be able to get help immediately in case of an accident.
  • Never allow children to operate equipment, ride double or play or work nearby. Children may be hit by flying debris or dragged into moving parts. They are not strong or knowledgeable enough to handle equipment properly.
  • Avoid loose or baggy clothing. Clothing can be dragged into machinery.
  • Be vigilant of area and terrain. Stumps, rocks, and hidden debris can cause overturns, and low tree limbs can knock an operator off a tractor.
  • Inspect banks and slopes for stability. On steep slopes, plan path of travel downhill. Never take shortcuts!
  • Report any skin conditions to your physician. Farm soil contains many pathogens conducive to serious infection. Use chemical-resistant work gloves to prevent burns and infection.

To learn more about the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, please contact 502.587.4799 or 502.561.4263. For additional information on hand care emergencies, call 502.540.3727.

9 Tips to Keep Your Hands Safe

9 Tips to Keep Your Hands Safe

9 Tips to Keep Your Hands Safe

We use our hands so frequently that we rarely stop to consider how much they are exposed.

With hand injuries being a common cause for emergency room visits, Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center offers some helpful tips to keep injuries at bay.

  1. Use warm water and soap to keep hands clean.
  2. Carefully and routinely clean your fingernails. Clip your fingernails regularly and file any rough edges. Never bite or chew your fingernails.
  3. Wear protective gloves when cleaning with harmful chemicals.
  4. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Do not put water on a grease fire. Leave the flaming pan in place and put out the fire with an extinguisher.
  5. If a burn occurs, immediately place the injured area in cold water, then contact a doctor.
  6. Stay alert when using knives in the kitchen. Always cut away from hands.
  7. Trash cans and bags can lead to serious injury – your hands will inevitably find the dirty, sharp object your eye could not see.
  8. Be aware of what dishes have been placed in a dishwater; the blade of a sharp knife may lead to a cut.
  9. Refrain from slamming doors shut to prevent crushed fingers or hands.

Is It the Flu or Something More?

 

Is it the Flu or Something More?

Though the flu can often be treated at home without a visit to the physician’s office, more serious conditions can present flu-like symptoms or result from the virus unexpectedly.

Typically, a healthy person who contracts the flu virus can recover from the disease safely at home. Common symptoms of the flu include headaches, muscle pain, sore throat, coughing, runny nose, congestion, fatigue, fever and sweaty chills.

What to Watch For

 

In some cases, however, the flu does require the attention of a physician. If you think you have the flu and are trying to treat the illness at home, keep an eye out for symptoms such as a fever above 103 degrees Fahrenheit or that lasts longer than five days, severe earaches or chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, confusion, persistent vomiting, and coughing up colored phlegm. These symptoms may be the result of a new condition developing as a result of the flu, such as a sinus infection, ear infection or pneumonia.

In extreme situations, organ failure, sepsis, or inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues can also result from the flu.

Risk Factors

 

Certain people should always contact the doctor if they have the flu, especially if they have a pre-existing or chronic condition. If you have asthma, heart disease, a neurological condition, or a disorder that affects your blood, immune system, liver or other organs, then you should schedule a visit with your physician as soon as possible after common flu symptoms present themselves.

Additionally, pregnant women, nursing home residents, children younger than age 5, adults older than age 65 and people with a body mass index greater than 40 should always contact their physician if they develop flu-like symptoms.

If you’re unsure whether or not your flu symptoms warrant a visit to the physician’s office, consider scheduling an appointment regardless to prevent further health complications.

Women, Don’t Let a Heart Attack Sneak Up on You

 

Occasionally, flu-like symptoms can precede a heart attack, especially for women. These symptoms can manifest days or weeks before the incident of a heart attack and are fairly mild. Sometimes, simple nausea may be the only warning that a heart attack is on its way.

If you feel strange or believe that your symptoms may be more than just the flu, don’t hesitate to contact your physician or head to an emergency room. Quick and early action is the best way to recover from — or prevent — a heart attack.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Fall edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Anywhere CareWhen it’s not possible to see your primary care doctor, try Anywhere Care. Anywhere Care is a quick and convenient way to consult with a health care provider over the phone or by web camera 24/7 without leaving home. Request care online, download the app or call 855.356.8054.

 

When Wounds Won’t Go Away

When Wounds Won't Go Away

When Wounds Won't Go Away

Diabetes and poor blood flow can turn minor cuts and sores into major problems. KentuckyOne Health wound care centers have the expertise and advanced treatments to heal them.

Chronic wounds can occur anywhere on the body, but two of the most common locations are the legs and feet.

“Venous or arterial insufficiency can lead to blood flow or swelling complications, and in turn, cause ulcers on the legs or feet,” said Tina Hasty, BSN, CWCA, clinical program director at Saint Joseph Hospital Wound Care and Hyperbaric Oxygen Center, part of KentuckyOne Health. “Individuals who have diabetes may not notice a small wound on the bottom of the foot because the disease can cause nerve damage. Over time, these wounds may grow bigger without their knowledge, unless they check their feet regularly.”

Approximately 15 percent of patients with diabetes develop foot ulcers (open sores or wounds). This happens because healing is typically slower for those with diabetes.

“High levels of blood glucose can negatively impact one’s blood circulation and nervous system, which ultimately affects the body’s ability to heal,” said Timothy Ford, DPM, podiatric physician and surgeon. “It is very important for patients with diabetes to take care of their feet and look for any wounds. If not treated properly, wounds could lead to amputation.”

A Two-pronged Approach

If you have a wound that hasn’t healed in 30 days, you should visit a wound care center, where specially trained physicians and nurses can treat the wound and ensure you receive care for its underlying causes. KentuckyOne Health has three wound care centers, which are located in Bardstown, Louisville and Lexington.

“Our wound care team develops treatment plans for patients and as indicated, refers them to specialists, including vascular surgeons, infectious disease specialists and podiatrists,” Hasty said. “We have a variety of treatments we can use to heal wounds, including advanced dressings, compression therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Educating patients about their wounds is also an important part of our work.”

Have a wound that won’t heal? Learn more about treatments and find the wound care center nearest you.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.

Innovative Intervention for Pancreatitis

Innovative Intervention for Pancreatitis

Innovative Intervention for Pancreatitis

Local doctors pioneer treating pancreatitis without the onset of diabetes at Jewish Hospital.

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach that produces enzymes to help digest food and insulin to control blood sugar. In some people, genetic predisposition, medical conditions such as gallstones or lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol lead to inflammation in the pancreas called pancreatitis. This condition can be dangerous if left untreated.

Based on 2013 data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, chronic pancreatitis in Kentucky contributed to over 4,500 emergency room visits, 3,200 hospital admissions and approximately $75 million in annual medical costs.

“Removing the pancreas is the only way to cure pancreatitis,” said Michael Hughes, MD, transplant surgeon with Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, associate professor of surgery at the University of Louisville and surgeon with University of Louisville Physicians. “But the pancreas is responsible for creating insulin — the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Without the pancreas to create insulin, patients who have the organ removed to correct pancreatitis used to develop brittle diabetes. The islet auto-transplant procedure changes that.”

What Are Islets Cells?

 

The pancreas contains clusters of cells that produce hormones. These clusters are known as islets, and they are the source of insulin. In patients who undergo islet auto-transplant, their islet cells are harvested from the pancreas when it is removed. The process takes place at the Clinical Islet Cell Laboratory at the University of Louisville, under the direction of Balamurugan Appakalai, PhD, a leader in the field of islet cell transplantation.

Cells are processed into a solution that is then slowly reintroduced into the patient’s body through catheters connected to veins that feed the liver. The islet cells make themselves at home in the liver, where they begin producing insulin again. Doing this allows doctors to effectively prevent diabetes from developing permanently in patients who have had their pancreas removed.

Watch the video to learn more about islet auto-cell transplantation from Dr. Hughes.

“Islet auto-cell transplantation is a complex process that takes cooperation and collaboration during each step of the process,” Dr. Hughes said. “We are fortunate to be in an environment where medical professionals and institutions embrace the spirit of collaboration for the benefit of patients.”

To learn more about islet cell transplantation, call 844.739.2998.

A Growing Program

 

The islet cell transplantation program has, in a very short period of time, grown to become one of the largest in the world. Islet cell recipients experience excellent outcomes, raising the hopes for continued breakthroughs in the years to come.

Islet cells are separated from the pancreas in a clean room facility and will later be infused into the patient’s liver, where they will produce insulin to control the body’s blood sugar levels.

This article originally appeared in the 2017 Summer edition of One Health Magazine. Sign up for your free subscription.