Advances in Women’s Healthcare

northern connection womens health

We, at Northern Connection magazine, are proud to have a monthly section devoted to the health and wellness of the people and families in our community. In this, our women’s health issue, we examine several healthcare concerns facing women today and present the amazing and innovative advances that exist to help women take care of themselves.

Breast Cancer Screening – New technology is available with 3D mammography, known as tomosynthesis, for identifying potentially harmful masses in breast tissue. This state-of-the-art technology is the same procedure as with a typical mammogram, but takes many more pictures, showing very thin layers of breast tissue and a very clear identification of potential masses. With a standard mammogram, which only takes two pictures, there was often an overlapping of dense tissue that could result in a call-back for another mammogram. Now with 3D mammograms, there are less call-backs and the finding of much smaller masses, as small as only a few millimeters, and at earlier stages. For more information, visit the AHN Wexford Health & Wellness Pavilion at https://www.ahn.org/locations/healthwellness-pavilion.

Cardiac Care and Heart Health – While some women may have the “classical” symptoms of a heart attack including chest pain, with pain emanating into the jaw, back or down the arm, women may also have much more subtle symptoms such as shortness of breath doing typical activities, nausea and vomiting upper abdominal pain, chest pressure and pain emanating into back or shoulder. Women will often dismiss symptoms that they may be having with excuses such as, “I’m just out of shape,” “must have been something I ate, “ and even “what, if I’m wrong, I’ll be embarrassed.” According to cardiac nurse and heart-attack survivor, Lauren McCune, RN BSN with Butler Memorial Hospital, “It is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. Don’t put off seeking help. EVERY caregiver would rather see patients get any treatment and care they might need BEFORE it is too late.” Subtle symptoms in women coupled with a tendency for excuses has caused the American Heart Association to begin their innovative “GO RED For WOMEN” initiative to educate more women about heart disease. To learn more, visit https://www.goredforwomen.org. For more information, contact www.butlerhealthsystem.org. Butler Memorial Hospital is an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care.

Concierge and Preventative Healthcare – Women often develop healthcare issues because they are so busy taking care of everyone else that they forget to take care of themselves. With concierge medicine, the focus is to provide a guide for you and your family through the healthcare system. In addition to making sure you and your family receive the current tests, procedures and prescriptions you may need, concierge medicine also focuses on preventative measures to keep you and your family healthy through the years. If want assistance through the maze of healthcare options for you and your family, to be proactive about your health and that of your family, and to make sure you and your family are well taken care of, contact Connected Health. To learn more about concierge medicine and preventative healthcare, visit the “ConnectedHealth For You” website at www.wegiveadarn.com or www.chforu.com. For more information or to schedule a tour to see what Connected Health has to offer, call us at (724) 933 – 4300 or send them an email at Michelle.Leibow@chforu.com.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab – Whether it is due to the loneliness of an empty-nest or the stress and pressure of daily life, women may find themselves turning to alcohol or prescription drugs for relief. If you, or a woman you love, is often turning to alcohol or has become dependent on prescription or illicit drugs, she may need assistance to return to living a sober lifestyle. If so, she should have an innovative, individualized and customized program, addressing her specific needs. For more information, contact Brooktree Health Services located at 6500 Brooktree Road in Wexford, at www.brooktreehealth.com or call (724) 935-0460.

Massage Therapy – Recent studies show the remarkable positive effects of massage therapy for both the body and mind. There are several types of massage available including Swedish, deep tissue, sports, pre-natal during a woman’s second and third trimester, and trigger-point massage where one particular tight or tweaked area is worked. Massage therapy is also known to assist in the physical therapy after a surgical procedure such as rotator cuff surgery and with bone and joint health as people age. In the case pre-natal massage, it is proven to lower stress for both mother and child through the release of dopamine and serotonin into the system, as well as, stimulating the tissues to reduce the collection of fluids in the joints, it also reduces back pain and stress, eases headaches and promotes relaxation for both mother and child. To receive the latest in massage therapy, contact Elements Message at http://elementsmassage.com/wexford or call (724) 940-2244.

Menopause and Perimenopause – Perimenopause, also known as menopause transition, refers to the time when the reproductive system begins to slow down prior to entering menopause. During both of these stages of a woman’s life, her body goes through significant changes. However, unlike in our grandmother’s day, there have been significant advances in medical practices to assist women through this time. For symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness, there are now a wide variety of treatments.  These include hormonal and non-hormonal treatments as well as lifestyle changes which can help reduce the menopause symptoms. Today, there are many innovative treatments and technology available to help women to treat or hopefully prevent medical problems as they age.  One such diagnostic tool is the dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan which is a noninvasive procedure that measures bone density.  Based on the results, recommendations for treatment may help prevent further breakdown or help to build bone density with the goal to prevent a fracture. If you are experiencing difficulties as you enter midlife, there are exceptional new treatments and assistance available. Please contact the Midlife Health Center at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC at (412) 641-8889 with any questions, or to make an appointment at any of their convenient locations. In the North Hills, the Midlife Health Center is conveniently located in Wexford at 9000 Brooktree Road, Suite 400, (724) 934-1600 or visit their website at http://www.upmc.com/locations/hospitals/magee/services/midlife-health-center to learn more.

Peripheral Neuropathy – Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged or destroyed and can’t send messages to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves go from the brain and spinal cord to the arms, hands, legs and feet. When damage to the nerves takes place, numbness and pain in these areas may occur. Many patients are suffering from symptoms of painful cramping, burning and tingling, difficulty walking, numbness and even interruption of sleep. However there is now an innovative, specialized treatment protocol that includes 9 specific combination of treatments that are designed to heal rather than just deal with the symptoms. Locally, this innovative treatment protocol is offered at the Chiropractic Family Health Center. For a FREE Consultation contact Dr. Shawn Richey at (724) 940-9000 or through the website at www.backnline.com.

Podiatry – New innovations in dealing with unsightly toe-nail fungus are many and varied. Fungal infections of the nails are not related to personal hygiene. Every person in the world has fungus living on their skin, which usually doesn’t cause a problem. Typically, an injury to the nail bed is the most common factor in causing fungal infections. It may lie dormant for years or the nail may start to discolor very quickly. Fortunately, there are now many treatments to cure nail fungus For example, Antifungal Nail Polish is now available because covering a nail with typical polish traps moisture under the nail, and fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. Also, there is a new and innovative laser treatment for the elimination of toenail fungus. Quick and painless, it has proven to be effective for the treatment of mild, moderate and severe cases of toe-nail fungus. In addition, there is Periodic Debridement by your podiatrist: Regular nail trimming by your foot doctor is the most common treatment for nail fungus and is recommended for diabetics, those taking blood thinners and elderly patients with poor circulation. When the nails become so thick and deformed that it hurts to wear shoes, this service (which is covered by most insurance companies) is recommended, especially for those who may not be able to heal properly if they injure themselves with home treatment. The treatment you decide to use will depend upon the severity of your toenail fungus. It is always in your best interest to consult your podiatrist to obtain an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment options available. For more information on these and all the treatments available, contact the Beaver Valley Foot Clinic at 724-772-FOOT (3668) or visit www.BVFootClinic.com.

Varicose and Spider Veins – The field of treating varicose and spider veins is light years ahead of where it was only a few years ago. Today, varicose veins are treated in the office, with A LASER FIBER. The laser fiber is inserted into the diseased vein with a catheter that does not require anesthesia or time off work. After the procedure, patients return to their usual routine and are encouraged to be active. Patients DO need to wear compression socks following the procedure and even these have evolved to be fashionable and available in a multitude of varieties from chocolate to hot pink to tie-dye and more. Treatment for spider veins has also grown leaps and bounds with now TWO, FDA-APPROVED, injections available. For more information regarding varicose or spider veins, visit the American College of Phlebology at www.phlebology.org. If you have varicose or spider veins, help is available, contact The Vein Institute of Pittsburgh. The Vein Institute of Pittsburgh, led by Dr. Terrance R. Krysinski MD, RVS, RPhS, who specializes in the treatment of varicose and spider veins, so if you are experiencing these issues, learn more at www.veininstituteofpittsburgh.com or contact them at (724) 934-VEIN (8346) for either of their two locations: 16000 Perry Highway, Suite 2, Warrendale 15086, or 6507 Robinson Centre Drive, Pittsburgh, 15205.

Be sure and look for more Innovations in the Healthcare in our upcoming issue on family health! If you know of additional healthcare treatments and procedures, be sure and let us know so that we can continue to inform and create awareness for the community by emailing NorthCon@consolidated.net or calling (724) 940-2444.