Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wine with dinner - healthy or harmful?
By Anthony Policastro, M.D

There is an old proverb about wine, women and song. The news recently had been about wine and women. It has not mentioned song. However, it probably won't be long until it does. A recent study suggests that limited alcohol intake in women can increase the risk for breast cancer. Other studies have shown that limited alcohol intake in women decreases their risk of heart disease. The question then arises as to whether it is a good thing or a bad thing to have a glass of wine with dinner if you are a woman. The answer is yes if you have a family history of heart disease. The answer is no if you have a family history of breast cancer. We need to remember that things like cancer and heart disease have many factors involved. Some of those factors are genetic. Others are environmental. You need both to develop the condition. The best example of this is diabetes. We know that diabetes runs in families. We also know that diabetes is associated with being overweight. If you have a family history of diabetes and you are overweight, then you are asking for trouble. Effects of cigarettes are similar. We all know people who have smoked for many years with no ill effects. They likely do not have genetics that make them prone to things like lung cancer and emphysema. However, there are also stories of people who have stopped smoking for a number of years and still get lung cancer. They likely have genetics that make them very prone to lung cancer. They needed to not start smoking in the first place. We know that alcohol addiction runs in families. The genetics are strong for it. That is why individuals with that kind of history need to be careful about their drinking habits. The list goes on and on. What is important for each of us to remember is that there are certain conditions that run in our family. That will tell us which things we are liable to get. The next step is to find out what the triggers for those conditions are. It might be obesity for diabetes. It might be cigarettes for lung cancer. It might be alcohol for alcohol addiction. Whatever the trigger is, we need to try to avoid it. Thus if you are a woman with a strong family history of heart disease and no history of breast cancer, plan to have a glass of wine with dinner. If you are a woman with a strong family history of breast cancer, avoid that glass of wine with dinner. If you are one of the ones who can't have that glass of wine, perhaps you can take up song. Two out of three may not be bad.

Do you know how to breathe?
By Angie Howard, RRT

Are you thinking, "Now that's a silly question? Sure I know how to breathe. What is not to know?" You do it every day, 24/7, 365 days a year. Yes, we all breathe, but for those suffering with a lung disease, every breath can be a struggle. In Pulmonary Rehabilitation we teach those with lung disease how to breathe. There are two techniques: Pursed Lip Breathing (PLB) and Diaphragmatic (Belly) Breathing (DB). PLB is breathing in through the nose for a count of two and breathing out through the mouth through puckered up lips for a count of four. The breath in is a normal breath and not a deep breath. The goal is not to master the count of two and four, but to breathe out twice as long as breathing in. This technique is used with activities of daily living. DB is more difficult to master. When breathing in, push the belly out to allow air to flow into the lungs. When breathing out, pull the belly in to help push the air out of the lungs. This can be done with PLB for most benefit. Keep in mind that when practicing any type of breathing technique, dizziness may occur because of not breathing correctly. Patients who complete the Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital learn how to breathe by incorporating these techniques with exercise. Education is given so individuals can master these techniques in their own lifestyle. Pulmonary Rehabilitation is an individualized program designed to help those suffering from lung disease. Specific criteria are set to qualify patients to participate. One criterion is that a pulmonary function test (PFT) must be completed six months prior to beginning the program. Specific values from the test must be 60% or lower to qualify for Medicare reimbursement for Pulmonary Rehabilitation. If you have shortness of breath and are interested in this program, ask your physician for a PFT. March 15-21 is National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week. The theme is "Building Better Lives One Breath at a Time." Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will have a table displaying pulmonary information to include brochures and other informational materials. Visitors are encouraged to participate by visiting the display. Nanticoke is the first and only hospital in Delaware to have received pulmonary rehabilitation certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). If you feel you or a loved one may benefit from such a program and want to ensure breathing for the future, talk to your physician or call, 629-6611, ext. 3815.

Cancer Networking Support Group The Wellness Community of Delaware offers a "General Cancer Networking" support group the third Monday of each month from 4:30- 6:30 p.m. held at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center second-floor library, Seaford. Professionally led cancer support programs offer hope, education, and emotional support for adults with cancer and their loved ones who want to fight for recovery and the quality of their lives. Learn how to feel less isolated and more in control. All programs offered through The Wellness Community of Delaware are free of charge to people affected by cancer. For further information, or to register, call 645-9150.

Cancer Center hosts program Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can now receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of treatment. Look Good...Feel Better, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer conceal loss of hair, skin problems, and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will host the program on Monday, March 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Cancer Care Center's 2nd floor conference room. The program is free to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required and space is limited. To register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 629-6611, ext. 2588.

CHEER plans healthy living expo On Tuesday, April 21 the CHEER Community Center in Georgetown will host a free Healthy Living Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Healthy Living Expo, which is open to the public, has room for more vendors to set up a table at the expo. The fee is $75 or $50 if you offer a health screening. For registration or more information, call 302-854-9500.

Tunnel Cancer Center fundraiser The Sussex County Cancer Survivors Fund will host a fundraising event for the Tunnel Cancer Center patient-relief fund from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, at Gray Hare on Route 24 in Lewes. The event includes food, music and other entertainment. Proceeds will benefit the relief fund at Tunnel Cancer Center, which helps patients in financial duress while they fight catastrophic illnesses. For more information, email or contact Frank Shade at 302-542-5582.

Nanticoke offers cholesterol class Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next cholesterol class is Tuesday, March 31 at 5 p.m. at the hospital. The class will focus on foods and eating habits that may help manage cholesterol levels and incorporate practical suggestions for overcoming the barriers to eating in a heart healthy way. Topics include risk factors, saturated, unsaturated fats, trans fats, portion sizes and other American Heart Association guidelines. Class fee is $20 and pre-registration is required. For more information and to register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 2455.

Diabetes education classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford will hold a four-session diabetes educational program beginning Wednesday, April 8 and continuing April 15, 22 and 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the hospital. Registration is required and the cost of the four-session program may be reimbursable by insurance. This four-session program includes weekly education sessions and individualized meal planning for diabetes self-management. Family members/significant others are welcome to attend. For more information and to register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Diabetes Education Department at 629-6611, ext. 2446.

Stroke and Osteoporosis Screening Residents living in and around the Seaford community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. The Seaford VFW Post #4961 will host Life Line Screening on April 8. The site is located at 9767 Middleford Road in Seaford. Appointments will begin at 9 a.m. Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Packages start at $139. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. For more information call 1-877-237-1287 or visit Pre-registration is required.

Respiratory care recognized Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Respiratory Care Department has earned Quality Respiratory Care Recognition (QRCR) under a national program aimed at helping patients and families make informed decisions about the quality of respiratory care services available in hospitals. Nanticoke Memorial Hospital is one of only 700 hospitals in the United States to apply and receive this award. To qualify, Nanticoke proved it met a series of criteria regarding staff competence, availability of critical services, and a physician designated as medical director of respiratory care services. Dr. Amir Quefatieh is the medical director of respiratory care services at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The Respiratory Care Department provides assessments, diagnostics, and treatment for patients with pulmonary disorders and also offers education, prevention practices and screenings at community health events.