March 7th 2020 - Dr. Fred Buckhold, Dr. Andrew Kichura, Diane Brunts, & Katie Smith

Health Matters
Friday, March 6th
Dr. FRED BUCKHOLD, SLU Care general internist with SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.  Answering our questions about the coronavirus -- as cases continue to grow worldwide.  How are hospitals preparing?  Dr. Buckhold says they need to have the right amount of space, supplies, and staff -- just in case.  Concerned about having enough protective equipment on hand.  What is surge capacity?  The CDC now says anyone can get tested IF they get their doctor's approval.  How will that work?  What does broad testing mean?  Is travelling ok?  Dr. Buckhold says domestic travel should be no problem.  You may want to reconsider flying overseas.  Check with the government travel restrictions first.  Most cases of coronavirus are mild.  Not many in children.  Elderly still most at risk.  What are the basic protection practices we need to know? Wash hand, wash hands, wash hands -- says Dr. Buckhold.  Soap and water is preferred, alcohol based solutions are okay if not soap and water, don't touch your face, stay home when sick, sneeze and cough into your sleeve.

Dr. ANDREW KICHURA, cardiologist with SSM Health Medical Group, practices at SSM Health St. Mary's and St. Clare hospitals. A new study shows that diabetes nearly doubles your risk of heart failure.  What does the study find?  Why?  Diabetes damages cells and the heart muscle over time.  What is heart failure?  Dr. Kichura says it means the heart is failing as a pump, or has a problem in the relaxing stage and not able to fill up with blood adequately. How common is congestive heart failure? About 6.5 million Americans have heart failure -- accounting for 1 in 8 deaths overall.  What can a patient with diabetes do to lower their risk of heart failure?  Lifestyle changes are critical.  Some medications can help.  Can be genetic but a lot of diabetes cases are preventable.  Good diet, good exercise. But the course can be reversed with major changes in lifestyle.  Dr. Kichura says he sees diabetes patients with heart failure everyday.  They also need ongoing and frequent doctors visits and get admitted to the hospital much more often. Awareness is so important, he says.  Dr. Kichura says patients need to stay in touch with their doctors and pay attention to their signs and symptoms.

DIANE BRUNTS, palliative care nurse at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital.  Do you know the difference between palliative care and hospice care?  Many people do not.  Palliative care is for anybody with serious illness.  Focused on the symptoms and stress of the patient.  What is hospice care?  More focused on comfort and not curative care.  Who can benefit from palliative care?  Who provides palliative care?  Where is it provided?  At hospital, sometimes at a facility and always at homes.  Why are the two often confused?  What sort of palliative care does SSM Health offer?  Do you have to give up your own doctor?  No, says Brunts.  Does insurance pay for palliative care?  When can you ask for palliative care and how do you ask for it?  You can ask for it at anytime after your diagnosis.  Brunts says you need to talk with your doctor about your choices. 

KATIE SMITH, outreach manager for SSM Health Sports Medicine.  If you saw any of last weekend's St. Louis Battlehawks XFL football game, you may have noticed a couple of on-field injuries that brought out several trainers and doctors to provide assistance.  That medical help is provided by SSM Health -- which has signed a partnership with the Battlehawks to be their official medical provider. What does the medical staff do for the team?  They care for players at practice, during games at home and on the road.  They also are in the sideline tents to deal with game day injuries.  SSM Health is also partnering with the team on "community hustle days."  And partnering with the Battlehawks and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital on the "Recruit Squad" -- the official Battlehawks kids' club providing free and exclusive activities and events for kids and families year-round and on game days. Smith also wants listeners to know that the same quality care provided by SSM Health Sports Medicine staff is also available to the general public, as well.  Call 833-776-7767 for more information -- that's SSM Health's 24/7 triage help line -- to talk about an injury or set up an appointment.