University of Pennsylvania Health System

Penn Health and Wellness

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

38th Annual Penn Medicine Radnor Run

It’s time to lace up your sneakers! The 38th annual Penn Medicine Radnor Run will be held on Sunday, October 25.

The Radnor Run is a great race for an even better cause. This family-friendly event benefits the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania and their effort to help improve the lives of those currently living with chronic lung disease. The money raised will help fund important programs, including asthma camp, clean air in schools and smoking prevention/cessation for teens and adults.

By participating in this event you help support the American Lung Association’s mission: to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

Date: Sunday, October 25, 2015
Race Day Registration: 7:00 a.m.
Health Fair to follow.
Location: Radnor Township Building
               301 Iven Avenue
               Wayne, PA 19087

Five-Mile Race

Whether you are an experienced or occasional runner, you’ll enjoy the challenging five-mile course through scenic Radnor Township. The run is sanctioned by USA Track & Field and uses certified course PA110135WB. It starts at 8:30 a.m. and finishes at the Radnor Township Building.

One-Mile Fun Run

There is also an untimed walk/run for adults and youth of all ages. The Fun Run starts at 8:40 a.m. Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers and the first 100 kids to cross the finish line.

Consider organizing a team to participate. Rally family and friends in honor of someone who suffered from lung disease, or gather your work colleagues together for a day of giving back. Organizing a team is a fun and easy way to be healthy and support an important cause.

Register today. For more details, contact the ALA office at 610-941-9595.

Find out more about the lung program at Penn or request an appointment.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Six Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Charles I. Schwartz, MD, a pediatrician at PennCare for Kids Phoenixville, provides some tips for parents as they help their children prepare for the new school year.

It’s almost that time of the year again - leading to a collective sigh of relief from parents everywhere.

For children across the country, school will soon be back in session. This is a difficult time as schedules become filled and new pressures are put on children and parents. Making sure your child gets off to a good start is crucial and can influence your child’s confidence, attitude and performance in the classroom.

"It is important to plan ahead when helping your children prepare for the first day of school," explains Dr. Schwartz. "If parents are calm, optimistic and supportive, children will feel confident and ready to start the year.

Here are a few suggestions to help get your child on the right track to having a successful school year:
  • Get your forms ready: There may be certain vaccinations your child needs prior to the start of the new school year. Most fall sports programs require completed medical forms prior to student participation.
  • Don't hit snooze: Help your child get used to the back-to-school routine by beginning the transition to earlier-wake up times and bedtimes during the end of summer. This will ensure your child is ready for when the school year starts. Proper rest is vital for a healthy and productive school year.
  • Feed their bodies and brains: Good nutrition influences your child’s school performance. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school.
  • Pick the right size pack: Ensure your child is carrying a backpack which is the right weight and reduces stress on their back.
  • Wash hands: Before your child goes back to school, make sure he or she understands the health importance of proper hand washing, especially before eating and after using the restroom.
  • Exercise: Fitness will help your child sleep easier and allow them to better handle physical and emotional challenges - from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.
Has your child received a back-to-school physical
and all required vaccinations?
Learn more about Penn Primary Care or schedule an appointment today.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Sleep Apnea

Karen K. Baird, MD, an internal medicine physician at Penn Family Medicine Southern Chester County, explains why you shouldn’t ignore your sleep troubles.

Do you wake up abruptly throughout the night? Is it from snoring (or from your significant other nudging you because you were snoring)?

Most know that heavy snoring and sleep apnea is not good for your health, but many tend to ignore these signs.

Occasional snoring is usually not very serious. However, if it happens frequently, you are impairing your own sleep quality and could be setting yourself up for several health problems. It doesn’t matter if you wake up every few minutes or once an hour. If your sleeping pattern is making you feel tired the next morning, it’s time to see your doctor.

An individual that wakes up throughout the night could be suffering from sleep apnea. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep. This means the brain -- and the rest of the body -- may not get enough oxygen. Often times, an individual may wake up suddenly, which allows the muscles in their airways to readjust, and then fall back asleep without even knowing what happened.

sleeping problemsSleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, weight gain, heart problems and other health conditions. If you, or your partner, notice any of these symptoms, call your physician for evaluation.

Nightmares Wake You Up

There’s nothing wrong if you experience the occasional nightmare. The problem arises if you have chronic nightmares that cause you to wake in terror at least once a week. Since you are not sleeping through the entire night, nightmares can lead to fatigue, anxiety and depression.

Chronic nightmares tend to be triggered by psychological stress -- such as that stemming from posttraumatic stress disorder or a severe anxiety disorder. However, other factors such as alcohol abuse, sleep apnea, some dementias and the use of certain medications can lead to nightmares.

You Do Things You Can’t Remember

When you wake up in the morning, does your significant other tell you about the odd things you did the previous night? This isn’t something you should simply laugh off. If this happens frequently, you could have a REM sleep behavior disorder. This occurs when your brain is in REM sleep, but your muscles are acting out your dreams. Frequently, many of the common sleep medications that people take, such as Ambien, are the cause of this issue. You should see a doctor if you are experiencing this, as it could escalate to sleep walking or sleep driving depending. Also, speak to your physician if you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep – there are many things you can do without relying on medications that can have potentially dangerous side effects.

You Wake Up With Tooth and Facial Pain

Many people that experience this type of discomfort when they wake up are grinding or clenching their teeth throughout the night. This action can be caused by a number of things, including stress, depression and dreams. Interestingly, this action occurs during short awakenings throughout the night.

If you do these actions for an extended period of time, call your dentist or your physician. There may be ways you can relieve stress prior to bed or wear some type of night guard that will help to protect your teeth, thus relieving pain.

You Experience Stomach Aches in the AM

There can be several causes of morning abdominal pain including constipation, indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. If this is the case, simple changes to your diet or workout regimen, or medications, could help to reduce the discomfort. However, one of most common, and potentially most serious, reasons to experience stomach pain is gastric reflux, or even peptic ulcer disease. Individuals with gastric reflux and ulcers often feel nauseated in the morning. This may be accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea and fever. It is important to see a doctor if you experience these symptoms, consistently.

If you are experiencing any of the problems listed above, schedule an appoint with a primary care doctor today.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ticked About Lyme Disease?

Awareness and Prevention are Key.

The weather is warmer, the days are longer and all you and your family want to do is spend time outside. It really doesn’t matter if it’s hiking, camping, or playing sports -- as long as you are outdoors-- you are happy. It is important to remember that higher temperatures and the more time you spend outside increases the risks of being bitten by a tick and contracting Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans from the bite of the deer tick. Most Lyme disease in the northeastern United States occurs during summer or fall, when the small nymphal ticks are most prevalent.

Lyme disease in the summer
The early stage of Lyme disease is usually marked by one or more of these signs and symptoms:
  • Tiredness
  • Chills and fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • A characteristic skin rash (erythema migrans)
When caught early, Lyme disease is highly treatable and curable with a single course of oral antibiotics. If the disease is left untreated, it can cause neurologic complications, including facial palsy, numbness, tingling and headaches, abnormal heart rhythm and large-joint arthritis.

Tips to avoid ticks

  • Wear light-colored clothing. You’ll have a better chance of spotting a dark tick crawling around.
  • Wear high socks, sneakers and long pants. Tuck your pant legs into your socks, your shirt into your pants and avoid wearing open-toed shoes to minimize areas where ticks can find its way to your skin.
  • Use insect repellents. Apply repellent to any skin that is unprotected. You may need to apply every few hours. Make sure to avoid contact with your eyes!
  • Shower or bathe within two hours. If possible, always wash off within a couple hours after being outdoors to wash away loose ticks. Do a daily tick check. Search all the places ticks love to hide: your hair, under your arms, between your legs, behind your knees and in your belly button.
  • Don’t forget about the kids and pets. Be sure to check any children and pets before they enter the house. Ticks can easily drop off on carpets and furniture.
  • Check all gear. Thoroughly examine all items you brought with you on your trek.
  • Wash and dry your clothes. It is possible for ticks to survive the washing machine, even if hot water is used. Always dry your clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour as well.
  • Create a tick-free zone at home. Mow your lawn frequently, stack wood neatly and in a dry area and discourage animals by putting up fences. It is also good to keep playground equipment, decks, lawn chairs, etc. away from yard edges and trees.
Tick prevention tips
“While Lyme disease can seem frightening, it is preventable! If you are vigilant about looking for ticks, and can pull the tick off the skin within 48 hours of the exposure, you can't get Lyme disease from that tick. If you're not sure how long the tick was on your body before you were able to remove it, contact your doctor to discuss a one-time dose of an antibiotic to help prevent the symptoms of Lyme disease from developing,” says Lori M. Noble, MD, a primary care physician at Spruce Internal Medicine.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

7 Common Pains You Shouldn’t Ignore

Regardless of age, everyone experiences body aches at one time or another. These discomforts could be the direct result of a workout or sports injury, or from simply sleeping awkwardly one night.

Rahul Kapur, MD
Obviously, not all aches and pains require a visit to the doctor’s office. But, some do.

Rahul Kapur, MD, Penn Sports Medicine physician and lead medical physician for Penn Athletics, discusses certain pains that need your attention.

Wrist Pain

Oftentimes, minor wrist ailments occur from repetitive movement, such as writing or typing on a keyboard. Relieving this type of pain may be as simple as making a change to eliminate repetitive strain, performing stretches to relieve tension, or wearing a splint or brace to stabilize and put pressure on the joint.

More serious pains – for instance, discomfort on the thumb-side of your wrist – should be examined by a physician, as it could be a scaphoid fracture.

Groin Pain

Especially in athletes, this type of pain is typically caused by a muscle, tendon or ligament strain. It may occur immediately after an injury, or develop gradually over a period of weeks or months. In many cases, simply reducing the use of the injured area can help to alleviate the discomfort.

If you experience a sudden onset of sharp, intense pain in the groin, buttocks or thigh at the time of an injury, this could indicate a high-risk stress fracture of the femoral neck (a break in the neck of the femur or thigh bone). If this occurs, it is recommended you seek medical attention.

Shoulder Pain
shoulder pain

Getting dressed or lifting an item over your head shouldn’t cause pain. The shoulder has a wide and versatile range of motion and when something is wrong, it can hinder your ability to move freely.

If you experience pain that radiates down your arm during one of those activities (or at all), this could indicate a disc issue in your neck - especially if you have numbness, tingling or weakness.

Heel Pain

Heel pain is most often caused by plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of the band of tissue (the plantar fascia) that extends from the heel to the toes. This condition can be treated by performing stretching exercises, avoiding going barefoot and icing the heel several times a day.

If pain is present in the back of the heel or Achilles region and is accompanied by swelling or bruising, this could indicate a partial tear and should be examined by a physician.

Foot Pain

Don’t ignore or try to suffer through foot-related conditions simply because it’s “only your feet”. If you have trouble walking, you are more likely to stop being physically active, which can lead to further health issues down the road.

Nagging pain at the top of your foot, especially over the outside (pinky side), could be from a stress fracture. You may be told to keep pressure off the foot for a while or need a cast for a few weeks.

Shin Pain

If you train too hard over a short period of time, you may experience shin splints. They often plague runners who do not build their mileage gradually enough or who abruptly change their workout regimen. Treatment for shin splints can be as simple as decreasing, or completely stopping, your training until the pain subsides.

If there is pain in the lower leg, this could be the result of a stress fracture (an incomplete crack in the bone), which is much more serious. If it’s accompanied by numbness or tingling, you could have what is called exertional compartment syndrome (an exercise-induced muscle and nerve condition). It is important to see a physician so that they can perform the necessary tests to correctly diagnose the injury.

Big Toe Pain

Because we are constantly on our feet, there are many causes of toe pain. Cuts or scrapes and blisters can easily be treated at home. Your toe, though, supports the majority of your weight when you push off your foot and pain there could also be an indication of something more serious, such as gout or arthritis, or in some cases a tear or stress fracture.

While there are aches and pains that don’t warrant a visit to the doctor’s office, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you have been experiencing pain for some time or are concerned about a recent development, it is best to get checked out by a physician.

Related Posts with Thumbnails