September 14th 2019 - Dr. Jennifer Wessels, Dr. Timothy Pratt, Amanda Meyer, & Dr. Doug Barton

Health Matters
Friday, September 13th
1.  Dr. JENNIFER WESSELS, a family medicine specialist with SSM Health Medical Group and VP of Medical Affairs for SSM Health.  Vaping and e-cigarettes were the big health story for the week -- with the Trump Administration looking to ban flavored e-cigs within a few weeks -- hoping to cut down on teen vaping.  Dr. Wessels says she supports banning flavored e-cigs because of the growing health concerns surrounding severe lung illnesses.  A new Trust for America's Health report finds Missouri is the ninth most obese state in the nation with an obesity rate of 35-percent.  Illinois is number 24 -- with a 31.8-percent obesity rate.  Why are we getting heavier?  And what can we do about it?   Dr. Wessels also talks about a new study that finds it is much harder to lose weight as we grow older.  She also talks about another new study that shows high blood pressure among pregnant women is on the rise.  How serious is that and what can mothers-to-be do about it?  Is napping good for your health?  A new study says it can help prolong your life - if you nap a couple of times a week.  A new study finds men would rather do just about anything besides going to the doctor.  Why is that?  Can binge watching our favorite tv shows lead to poor eyesight?  Screentime tips for parents.  And what is it about free food at work that gets us to go off our diets?  

2.  Dr. TIMOTHY PRATT, Chief Medical Officer at SSM Health St. Clare Hospital and a geriatrician.  New study finds getting married might lower our odds for getting dementia.  What is dementia?  How does it differ from Alzheimer's?  What does this new study find? This is an observational study -- not a cause and effect one -- says Dr. Pratt.   He says one possible reason for lower dementia rates among married people is because of the social interaction found in marriage. Married people, on average, have higher education, higher income, less stress, regular job, and are  more likely to go to the doctor.  Those are all contributing factors to preventing dementia.  And stress and the lack of a social support system for divorced dads can be a contributing factor to increased dementia risk.  Does diet and sleep habits change for divorced dads?  That contributes to increased risk.  Dr. Pratt has some tips for all of us -- marital status aside -- on how to lower our dementia risk.  They include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly. staying active and keeping your brain active.  He says brain games are a good way to do that.  Controlling your risk factors makes a huge difference.  As does controlling your health conditions.  The only thing we cannot control, Dr. Pratt says, is aging.  


3.  AMANDA MEYER is a Registered Nurse and a diabetes specialist at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital at Lake Saint Louis.   A new study finds diabetes control has stalled across the United States -- not improving much since 2005.  Why is that?  How many people get diabetes?  What types of diabetes are there?  Type 2 diabetes is the main culprit here.  What causes that?  What are the risk factors?  Age, overweight, improper diet, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.  What is A1C?  What changes in lifestyle are needed?  Healthy eating and exercise is the start -- 150 minutes a week of physical activity.  You can also get an oral medicine and non-insulin injections.  How have treatments changed -- are they better?  How expensive are diabetes medicines? Does insurance pay for this?  What accounts for the fact that maybe a third of people with diabetes don't know it? Don't be embarrassed to have Type 2 diabetes, Meyer says.  She's not surprised more Americans are not reaching their diabetes control targets.


4.  Dr. DOUG BARTON, VP of Medical Affairs for SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles.  SSM Health is  inviting St. Charles County residents to get fit and have fun doing it by participating in the Fitness Forward challenge.   How does it work?  Why the need?  How does SSM Health assess the physical health needs of residents?  Why is this important?  This is for individuals and families.   Dr. Barton says the overall goal of the challenge is to be active for a minimum of 30 minutes for 30 of the 42 days.  For every five days of achieving the daily goal, participants will be entered into a drawing to win one of three prizes.  Activity can be tracked manually or by using a smartphone, FitBit, or other fitness tracker and managed through a fitness tracking platform known as MoveSpring.  Registration is underway with the challenge taking place from September 14th through October 26th.  To sign up or to get more information, visit ssmhealth.com/FitnessForward.  PLUS our health tip of the week with our co-host Dr. JENNIFER WESSELS, a family medicine specialist with SSM Health Medical Group and VP of Medical Affairs for SSM Health.  Today, Dr. Wessels talks about safety around bonfires -- as we get into the fall months. Keep kids and pets away from an open flame.  Adult supervision is a must.
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