Expert Health Articles

  • Depression versus Sadness
    Depression is a common mental illness affecting thousands of people around the world. However, many people suffering from depression may believe they are simply just sad. Likewise, those who do not suffer from depression may mistake extreme sadness as depression. It is important to understand the difference between typical sadness and abnormal depression. While sadness is a normal human emotion that may be healthy at times, depression is an abnormal mental disorder that causes individuals to suffer from a variety of symptoms.
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  • Technology's Toll on Productivity and Connection
    Although many believe technology helps people connect with one another, it may have a negative effect on how we interact. Mirror neurons are brain cells that activate when we are present with each other and allow us to experience empathy and compassion. However, mirror neurons do not activate when we are communicating via technology. Additionally, technology gives us the false sense of productivity, since multitasking actually harms our performance. It is important to take time away from our devices and cherish our in-person conversations, as they are crucial to our success and relationships.
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  • Athletic Concussions (Part 2)
    This continuation of “Athletic Concussions” discusses how research has affected the evaluation and treatment of concussions in athletes. Over the past few years, research has revealed at least six different subtypes of concussion syndromes, each with their own symptoms and unique treatment methods. Additionally, research has found that previous rest methods for athletes are not sufficient, and new techniques have been developed. If you or a loved one experiences concussion symptoms, speak to your provider right away.
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  • Athletic Concussions (Part 1)
    Concussions have been a major topic in sports for the last few years. Research on concussions has taught us more about the evaluation and management of concussions than ever before. Certain symptoms act as signs of concussion, and players experiencing these symptoms should be taken out of the game and seen by a physician. Currently, tests are still being developed to tell if a patient has a concussion, but physicians still rely on reviewing the patient’s history and examination.
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  • Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease in Children
    Hand, foot and mouth disease is most commonly contracted by children, especially those under 5 years of age. This virus causes painful blisters in the mouth and throat as well as on the hands, feet and diaper area. Fever and sore throat are typically the first signs of this disease. Fortunately, hand, foot and mouth disease is a minor condition, but parents are encouraged to contact their family physician if their child experiences these symptoms and/or refuses to eat or drink.
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  • Fermentation Frenzy
    Fermented foods may seem like a new trend, but the process is actually one of the oldest ways to preserve food. There are many health benefits to fermenting food at home, as long as the proper precautions and steps are taken. It is important to have accurate temperature, ingredients and storage time to produce a safe and quality fermented product.
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  • Speech Delay
    Children who begin speaking at a later age than usual may be experiencing speech delay. This column includes speech and language benchmarks children ages 1-3 usually reach at specific times. Children who are falling behind in this development may need to attend speech therapy with a speech-language pathologist, who will use play strategies to help increase the child’s speech and language skills.
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  • West Nile Virus
    The West Nile virus is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who are infected with this virus do not develop any symptoms. Those that do can often treat their symptoms with over-the-counter medicine. However, less than 1 percent of infected individuals require hospitalization. The best way to prevent the West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites using commonly known techniques.
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  • "All-inside ACL Reconstruction" Procedure
    The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the ligament in the center of the knee that prevents the shin bone from separating from the thigh bone and prevents the knee from being stretched beyond its normal limits. Tears to this ligament can be especially painful and may lead to further damage. The All-inside ACL reconstruction procedure is minimally invasive, shortens recovery time and reduces pain for patients who need ACL reconstruction. Ask your provider if this procedure is right for you.
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  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition for those who frequently partake in repetitive or vibratory activities such as construction or factory work, hair styling, driving and more. This occurs when the median nerve within the carpal tunnel inside the wrist becomes surrounded by inflammation. Patients with this syndrome may experience numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the hand as well as "shooting" pains from the hand through the forearm.
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  • Lung Cancer Screening and Prevention
    Lung cancer is currently the leading cancer death in the United States. There are several ways to lower your risk of lung cancer, including smoking cessation and lung cancer screening programs. Several services offer assistance to patients who are trying to quit smoking, and providers can refer patients to screening programs. Defend yourself against lung cancer with these prevention tactics.
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  • Defining a Whole Grain
    Whole grains provide nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, contributing to a well-rounded diet. The most common types of whole grains in the United States are wheat, rice, corn and oats, but other types include barley, rye, quinoa and more. Whole grains are made up of three parts—the bran, endosperm and germ—that each provide nutrients. Purchasing whole grain products can be tricky, since labels are often misleading. Look for specific words on labels and ingredient lists to add healthier, whole grain products to your diet.
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  • Summer Exercise and Heat Illness
    Many people enjoy taking advantage of summer’s warm temperatures by exercising outdoors. However, exercising in the heat increases the risk of heat illness, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat cramps are muscle spasms caused by being overly hot, heat exhaustion is dehydration as a result of excessive sweating, and heat stroke—the most serious heat illness—occurs when the body can no longer maintain a normal temperature and extreme symptoms occur. Take preventative actions to reduce your risk of heat illness before exercising outside.
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  • Everything You Need to Know About Abdominal Herinas
    Abdominal hernias occur when an irregular or abnormally large hole appears in the lining fascia, a thin layer of tissue that encloses muscles or organs. While certain holes in the fascia are normal, over time holes can enlarge or new holes can appear that cause organs to slip out. Under certain conditions, these can be painful and even dangerous. It is important to take preventative actions such as exercising regularly and quitting smoking to prevent holes from enlarging. Talk to your provider about the steps you can take to prevent or repair hernias.
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  • Beyond the Backpack: Back-to-school shoe shopping tips to keep kids healthy and parents happy
    Foot health is directly related to an individual’s overall health, no matter their age. Proper footwear is essential to foot health, so it’s important for parents to ensure kids go back to school with a good foundation on their feet. Shoes are one of the most important back-to-school purchases parents will make.
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  • Reflux in Infants
    It is very common for a baby to have reflux after feeding, also known as spitting up. At least 90 percent of babies have some reflux symptoms by four months of age and more than 50 percent of babies spit up regularly in the first months of life.
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  • The Challenges of Managing Asthma
    Management of asthma requires understanding the underlying condition, knowledge about specific triggers (viral infections, weather changes, cigarette smoke, exercise, allergens), recognition of signs/symptoms and prompt treatment with rescue medications. Children with persistent or poorly controlled asthma may also need to use daily medications to adequately control their symptoms.
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  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program
    The #Metoo movement has empowered men and women to come forth and share their story regarding sexual assault. However, recent statistics reveal that only five to six percent of sexual assault cases are reported. Come to the emergency room. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault a medical and forensic exam can be provided free of charge.
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  • Hold the Gluten
    Gluten is a protein found in grains such as barley, wheat and rye. It is the protein that gives bread its chewy texture. When someone with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, the body reacts to the protein and causes damage to the villi of the small intestine, which then cannot properly absorb nutrients. Celiac is not a food allergy, but rather a condition that causes intestinal issues. Patients can be diagnosed with celiac disease by blood tests or endoscopy and must follow a strict gluten-free diet after being diagnosed.
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  • The Benefits to Healthy Snacks
    In America, snacking can have a large impact on your health. The average American eats 2.2 snacks per day and can consume up to one-quarter of their total calories from snacks. If the snacks you choose to eat are healthy, they can be beneficial by increasing nutrient intake, sustaining energy and recovering quickly post-exercise. Additionally, if you struggle with blood sugar levels, eating snacks high in fiber and protein can prevent the fluctuation of blood sugar levels between meals. Managing your portion sizes is important to avoid weight gain, so preparing healthy snacks ahead of time can help you control how much you are consuming.
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  • Female Urinary Incontinence
    Many women experience symptoms of urinary incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine. Urinary incontinence can have a negative impact on an individual’s quality of life, so it is important to understand the causes and treatment options. This condition can be a result of risk factors such as age, obesity, parity with vaginal delivery and smoking. Symptoms may be experienced when there is increased abdominal pressure, such as coughing, laughing and/or sneezing. While treatment varies between women, options include pelvic floor therapy, lifestyle modifications, medical devices, medications or surgery.
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  • Comprehensive Stroke Care is Closer Than You May Realize
    Blanchard Valley Health System in partnership with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center offer telemedicine services through telestroke in the emergency departments of Blanchard Valley Hospital and Bluffton Hospital. One of the major goals of the Telestroke Network is to increase access to advanced stroke care in regions of Ohio. When someone is taken to one of those emergency departments with stroke symptoms, experts are mobilized both there and at Ohio State through a “stroke alert.”
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  • Why Fiber?
    Most people are told throughout their lives that eating more fiber is healthy. This is because fiber is only present in plants and does not naturally exist within animals, yet it provides significant health benefits. Soluble fiber assists us in forming gasses to maintain intestinal bacteria, while insoluble fiber aids the passage of food through the digestive system. Additionally, fiber improves satiety and reduces risk of heart disease. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend men and women consumer differing amounts of fiber each day to experience the benefits.
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  • The Importance of Professional Grade Monthly Facials
    Despite how busy life can become, it is important to take time to care for our skin. Receiving a monthly facial can simulate blood and oxygen flow to increase elasticity, slow aging processes and protect the top layer of skin from imperfections. Facials bring balance to the skin and promote cellular turnover to help achieve these results. Additionally, most facials include a certain amount of face, neck, décolletage and shoulder massage to help rid the body of toxins. Facials are an excellent way to distress and bring your skin to full health.
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  • Pain Associated with Endometriosis
    Endometriosis is a common disease affecting an estimated 1 in 10 women of reproductive age, equating to approximately 5 million women in the United States alone. This disease involves the lining of the uterus growing outside the uterus, leading to severe pain that worsens during menstruation. Unfortunately, many women with endometriosis avoid telling their health care providers about the pain they experience due to lack of awareness, feeling as if they are exaggerating their pain or avoiding the subject out of embarrassment. Awareness of endometriosis can help provide women with a variety of treatment options and prevent them from missing out on work and activities due to pain.
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  • Preparing for Spring
    Many people tend to prepare for spring by cleaning indoors. Keeping your surroundings fresh and clean gives you a calm and accomplished mentality, which is good for your health. During the winter, take advantage of not wanting to leave your home by completing inside cleaning projects. Start small, such as organizing your kitchen drawers and cabinets. Donate duplicate items and sort through your kitchen supplies. Then think bigger: De-clutter all closets, scrub marks off cabinets and doors or clean your carpets and furniture. Spring cleaning helps you feel mentally and physically better, so start today.
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  • Massage Therapy and Your Immune System
    Massage has been known to reduce pain, depression, anxiety and stress along with boosting the immune system. Stress can cause a number of health problems, and massage therapy can help decrease the stress we encounter in our everyday lives. Research has shown that receiving regular massage therapy can also increase the activity of white blood cells, which help our body fight diseases and boosts our immune system. If you feel stressed on a regular basis, massage therapy may be a way for you to avoid health problems that may result. Ask your health care provider if massage therapy is right for you.
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  • The Composition of a Fad Diet
    Fad diets are diet plans that claim unrealistic or unhealthy outcomes. These types of diets are commonly found in magazines or internet advertisements and promise some sort of implausible outcome. These outcomes may sound appealing, but a closer look reveals they are unreasonable to keep up. Learn to spot the red flags of these fad diets to help ensure you will not fall for their empty promises. Instead of fad diets, consider making small dietary changes and exercising to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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  • Kawasaki Disease
    Kawasaki disease is a self-limiting, acute febrile illness associated with generalized vasculitis, which is defined as the inflammation of the small and medium-sized blood vessels, causing thickening and obstruction of coronary arteries. This most commonly occurs in children and can lead to a number of health problems, such as coronary artery aneurysms, myocardial infarction and sudden death. While the etiology of Kawasaki disease in western countries is still unknown, diagnostic criteria and treatment procedures have been defined.
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  • The Dangers of Dr. Google
    Anyone can collect essentially any type of information from the internet. This can become dangerous when overconfidence in that information tricks us into thinking we know more about a subject than the experts of that field. When people research medical problems online, they often receive non-reputable sources. Placing trust in our health care providers rather than these sites will help patients receive better care.
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