Tag Archives: Dr. Susan Locke

Myths and realities of depression

Millions of Americans suffer from forms of depression, but help is available . . .

Dr. Susan Locke

Dr. Susan Locke

An estimated 19 million American adults are living with “major depression.” Depression can be caused by life events, biochemical components or a combination of both. Whatever the trigger, it’s never easy for the person struggling.

Most people suffering from depression want to feel better, but the nature of the disease makes it difficult for them to find the motivation to take the necessary steps.

How can you know if you or a loved one is depressed or just feeling down? To help, here are some symptoms of different depressive disorders.

Major depression: The diagnosis of major depression requires five of the following symptoms, at least one of which is depressed mood or loss of interest. The symptoms must be present for at least two weeks and must cause clinically significant impairment in social, work or other important areas of functioning almost every day.

  • Depressed mood most of the day
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in most activities
  • Significant unintentional weight loss/gain or significant increase/decrease in appetite
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Agitation or psychomotor retardation
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death

Dysthymic Disorder: This disorder is distinguished from major depression. The diagnostic criteria require a depressed mood most of the day for more days than not, for at least two years and the presence of two or more of the following symptoms which cause clinically significant impairment in social, work or other important areas of functioning.

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Bipolar disorder: Recurrent major depressive episodes commonly occur in bipolar disorder. To make a diagnosis of a major depressive episode as part of bipolar disorder, the individual must have had at least one manic or hypomanic episode.

Manic episodes are characterized by a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood lasting at least one week. During the period of mood disturbance, three or more of the following symptoms have persisted (four symptoms if mood is irritable).

  • Increased self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • More talkative/pressured speech
  • Flight of ideas/racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Increase in goal-directed activity/psychomotor agitation
  • Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences.

Adjustment disorder with depressed mood: This is a psychological reaction to overwhelming emotional or psychological stress resulting in depression or other symptoms. These symptoms do not reach the level of severity of major depression and do not last as long as dysthymic disorder.

Substance-induced mood disorder: Disturbance in mood is the direct physiological effects of a substance such as prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Depression may also result from use of an illegal substance. Alcohol does not tend to cause depression, but can significantly worsen existing symptoms.

Mood disorder due to a general medical condition: Some underlying medical conditions cause mood disorders like Parkinson’s disease or hypothyroidism.

Depression is a treatable disorder and you should call your primary care physician if you concerned about your symptoms. Healthnetwork may also be able to assist with treatment centers for more severe cases of depression.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s medical director. An abridged version of this article appeared in the December 2012 issue of Legatus magazine.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

 

Focusing on macular degeneration

Learn how to spot a troubling and common age-related eye affliction known as AMD . . .

eyeFor many older people, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and may be the likely culprit of blurred vision, difficulty recognizing faces, and straight lines that appear wavy. AMD gradually destroys the sharp, central vision needed to see objects clearly, making common daily tasks such as driving nearly impossible.

There are two types of AMD: “dry” and “wet.” Dry AMD accounts for 85-90% of cases and occurs when light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down. It typically progresses slowly and individuals who have the condition can lead relatively normal and productive lives. However, at any time dry AMD can develop into the more severe form of macular degeneration known as wet AMD.

Wet macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula. These vessels often leak blood and fluid and can damage the macula rapidly, causing a quick loss of central vision. Wet AMD does not have stages; all are considered advanced.

Treatment options differ for wet and dry AMD. If you are diagnosed with dry AMD, treatments may delay the advancement of the disease. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) from the National Eye Institute found that a specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduced the progression from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage of AMD.

Although there are several treatment options for wet AMD, there is no cure and vision loss may progress despite treatment. One should discuss treatment options with an ophthalmologist.

Neil Bressler

Dr. Neil Bressler

I talked to world-renowned ophthalmologist, Neil Bressler, MD, chief of the Wilmer Eye Institute’s Retina Division at Johns Hopkins Hospital.*

Can people with an early stage of AMD take the AREDS formulation to help prevent the disease from progressing to an intermediate stage?

The AREDS formulation has only been shown to reduce the risk of progression from the intermediate stage of AMD to an advanced stage. If one has no AMD or only an early stage of AMD, regardless of one’s family history, the strongest evidence suggests that the AREDS formulation will not reduce one’s risk from developing an intermediate stage of AMD.

Does quitting smoking significantly reduce the risk of AMD?

There is strong evidence to suggest that cigarette smoking is associated with the development or progression of AMD. Since there is strong evidence that when one quits smoking, one reduces the risk of progression of other diseases, one should consider quitting smoking. It’s not known how long one must quit to reduce the risk.

Do you recommend any alternative medicine techniques?

The strongest scientific evidence would not suggest that one should take any complementary or alternative medicine technique for AMD at this time.

*Bressler’s participation in this article does not constitute or imply endorsement by the Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins Hospital or the Johns Hopkins Health System. Healthnetwork partners with over 30 top-tier medical institutions. If you have questions about AMD or if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with an ophthalmologist, contact Healthnetwork today.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families with access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

Calling all weekend warriors

Non-professional sports injuries cost Americans more than $18 billion a year . . .

healthnetWeekend warriors beware! For those of you Legates who spend the week mostly sedentary and then plan to make up for lost time by exercising excessively on the weekend, know that sports injuries frequently occur. Nonprofessional sports injuries are the second most common reason for doctor visits, costing more than $18 billion a year.

Sprains (stretching or tearing of a ligament) and strains (stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon) are the most common. Ankle, groin, hamstring and lower back are most susceptible to sprain or strain. Preventing injuries is simple:

• Warm up and stretch first.

• Start slowly and increase activity gradually by no more than 10 % per week.

• Spread out your exercise. Ideally exercise at least three days a week.

• Listen to your body. Stop when it hurts; see a doctor if it doesn’t stop hurting.

• Recognize that for most people, what you could do at age 20 is not the same as what you can do at 50.

• Before starting an exercise program, educate yourself and develop a balanced program, or hire a professional trainer for a customized program.

In addition to sprains and strains, weekend warriors frequently experience several other injuries. “Shin splints” — tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner part of your lower leg — are most commonly brought on by running. Additionally, sudden stops or turns can cause a strain or a tear of the knee’s ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). A tear is usually heralded by a popping sound. Patellofemoral also causes knee pain, but it results from repetitive movement of your kneecap against your thigh bone. Iliotibial band syndrome is the cause of lateral knee pain common in runners and cyclists. Tennis elbow (epicondylitis) usually presents as pain on the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist with pain also occurring when you extend your wrist.

Most sports injuries are mild to moderate and can be treated with the PRICE therapy method.

P – Protect from further injury (use splints, pads, or crutches if necessary)

R – Restrict activity

I – Ice the injury immediately after it occurs (20 minutes every one to two hours for the first 48 hours after the injury)

C – Compression with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling

E – Elevate the injured area to reduce swelling

Seek medical attention if you suspect a serious injury. Signs of serious injury include deformities in the bone or joint, excessive swelling, changes in skin color beyond mild bruising, inability to bear weight on the limb without it giving way, or no signs of improvements after a few days of PRICE therapy.

Supplementing a sedentary week with highly physical activity on the weekend is tempting. Just remember, the drastic change of physical stress on your body can come with a PRICE tag. Contact Healthnetwork if you have questions about sports medicine or if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with an orthopedic specialist.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families with access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

Five for 50

Healthnetwork presents five points to consider as you near your big five-oh . . .

healthnet

You’re 50 years old and you feel great. Like your fellow Legates, you’re focused on your career, your family and your faith. So why schedule an appointment with your doctor? Screenings save lives. Here are five diagnostic tests that are particularly important during this decade.

Skin cancer screening

Skin cancer accounts for at least half of all cancers and effects nearly 1 million Americans each year. The deadliest skin cancer is melanoma. Although it accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases, it’s responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths. A full-body screening by your primary care physician or dermatologist is an important step in identifying skin cancers. And by engaging in periodic self-checks, you’ll increase the likelihood of identifying potentially harmful growths. Consider your ABC’s as warning signs when examining growths: Asymmetry, irregular Border, variation of Color, Diameter > 6mm, and Elevation.

Cholesterol screening

The National Institutes of Health report that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the U.S. The higher your blood cholesterol level is, the greater your risk of developing heart disease. Doctors use a simple blood test, known as a lipid panel, to measure triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, and HDL “good” cholesterol. A lipid panel should be drawn every five years beginning at age 25. Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides are treatable by lifestyle modifications and, if necessary, lipid-lowering medications.

Colorectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., according the American Cancer Society. If diagnosed early, the relative five-year survival rate is 90%. In order to keep your colon healthy, a screening colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years beginning at age 50. Colonoscopy looks for polyps, colon cancer and other diseases in the large intestine.

Prostate cancer screening

Every day 500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Declining mortality trends suggest that early detection using the prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) or digital rectal exam (DRE) may be beneficial. Beginning at age 50, a baseline level should be drawn for men and monitored annually. A high PSA level may indicate prostate cancer, but the rate of change of PSA levels may be a more important indicator than the absolute value. If PSA levels are rising quickly, further testing is needed.

Breast cancer screening

A screening mammogram is recommended annually, beginning at age 40. Screenings reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer, especially for those aged 50 and older. Conventional mammography stores the image on X-ray film while digital mammography has the advantage of storing the image on a computer, allowing the radiologist to enhance the image for further evaluation. In addition, some studies suggest that digital mammography may be better for detecting cancer in women with dense breasts.

There is no better way to stay healthy than through prevention. Regular screenings help you monitor changes in your health that may ensure early detection. For more about health screening guidelines, or to schedule an executive physical, please contact Healthnetwork Foundation.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a health care “concierge service” that provides members and their families with access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. One Call Starts It All: (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. Email: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

Genetics 101: in search of a cure

A look at genetic testing’s benefits and possible personalized treatments . . .

healthnet

Researchers around the world are focusing on gene mapping and DNA sequencing with the hope that personal genomics (the study of an individual’s genetic makeup) will help in the determination of personalized medical treatments.

Genetic testing examines your DNA, the chemical database that carries “instructions” for your body’s functioning, and looks for changes in your genes that may account for illness or disease.

Typical genetic tests include newborn screenings, carrier testing (identifies people who carry a gene for a disease and their likelihood of passing it on to their children), pre-symptomatic testing for genetic diseases in adults with a family history (determines one’s risk for developing that condition), and diagnostic testing in a person who has disease symptoms (will confirm if the individual has a suspected disease).

Most genetic tests are done by either a blood sample or a swab of the inside of the cheek. Tests are available in most hospitals, and results usually take three to four weeks.

The results are not always straightforward, and a person’s medical history, family history and type of genetic test must be taken into account. No matter the result, the goal remains the same: to empower patients through knowledge and allow them to be proactive about their health.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s Medical Director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a health care “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. To learn how this can work for you, call (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. E-mail: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

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Making sense of genetic testing

Dr. Charis Eng

Dr. Charis Eng

by Dr. Charis Eng

We are made up of cells. I tell my patients a cell is like an egg with a yolk and white. The yolk is the nucleus of the cell or the command center. It holds the DNA and the genes.

There are 30,000 different genes in humans and they are like 30,000 encyclopedias. These genes or encyclopedias can be small with only one volume or very large with 80 volumes. For the cell and body to be well, all 30,000 encyclopedias have to be arranged in order, and read well without typographical or grammatical errors. When a bad typographical error occurs in one sentence of a volume of an encyclopedia, a mutation has occurred.

Mutations in different genes mean different risks of different diseases. So finding the affected gene allows for very accurate diagnoses and begins the process of personalizing health care. Once a family-specific mutation is uncovered, then we can look for that one specific typo in every single member of the patient’s family in the setting of genetic counseling. This is called predictive testing because it can predict which family member who has yet to develop a disease has a high likelihood of doing so.

It is important to keep in mind that genetic testing is only one small part of the entire genetics evaluation, which includes genetic counseling and risk assessment as well. Based on a patient’s history, physical exam and the family health history, a tentative list of genetic diagnoses is formed in the genetic professional’s mind. This tentative list guides which gene to offer testing (after all, there are 30,000 genes and we cannot and must not offer testing indiscriminately at this time).

Charis Eng, MD, PhD, is founding director of the Genomic Medicine Institute (GMI) at the Cleveland Clinic.

Tackling childhood obesity

Over the last three decades, childhood obesity has doubled for preschool children . . .

Dr. Susan Locke

Childhood obesity is a major problem in the United States. In fact, Michelle Obama recently kicked off a campaign to fight childhood obesity — an initiative aptly titled “Let’s Move.”

Americans spend $150 billion every year to treat obesity-related conditions, and that number is growing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 16% of children ages 6-19 are overweight or obese and 15% are at risk of becoming overweight.

Over the last three decades, the rate of childhood obesity has more than doubled for preschool children (2-5 years), adolescents (12-19 years) and tripled for children in between those two categories (6-11 years). A child who is overweight as an adolescent has a 70% chance of becoming an overweight or obese adult. This number increases to 80% if one or more parents are overweight or obese.

Diagnosis and risk factors

Assessing obesity in children can be difficult because children can grow in unpredictable spurts. Most often children become overweight from lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns or a combination of both. There are a few rare genetic diseases and hormonal disorders which may predispose a child to obesity. Your child’s pediatrician will be instrumental in diagnosing and assessing your child.

Robert Siegel, MD, medical director of the Center for Better Health and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center points out several risk factors:

Diet: High-calorie foods are a main culprit. Regular consumption of fast foods, baked goods, soft drinks, candy and desserts often lead to weight gain.

Inactivity: Sedentary kids are more likely to gain weight.

Family: A family’s diet and lifestyle choices are key factors in whether or not a child will be overweight.

Socioeconomic factors: There is a higher rate of obesity in low-income families.

Complications and treatment

boy-fruitOverweight children often are at risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, early puberty and skin infections to name just a few. The social and emotional complications of being an overweight child can be enormous. An overweight child is often the target of bullying, which can lead to low self-esteem and depression.

There are several recommendations to combat this epidemic, and Siegel says the message is getting out. In recent years, families have been more receptive to discussing their child’s weight problems with their pediatricians.

In rare cases medication would be prescribed for an obese child or weight-loss surgery would even be considered. In most cases the whole family is involved in developing healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity. Parents must lead by example by living a healthy lifestyle. Their children benefit by watching the parents make good food choices and pursue a more active way of life.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is one of 10 children’s hospitals in the country to make the honor roll in the U.S. News and World Report 2009-10 America’s Best Children’s Hospitals survey. It is one of the three largest children’s hospitals in the U.S. and second in pediatric research grant funding received from the National Institutes of Health. Cincinnati Children’s is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. To learn how this can work for you, call (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. E-mail: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

Prepare for healthy travel

You can never be too prepared when it comes to traveling; here are some tips . . .

Dr. Susan Locke

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s imperative that you arrive and remain in good health throughout the duration of your trip. Here are some tips for staying at your peak, no matter your destination.

Traveling a long distance? Jet lag is an inevitable physiological consequence exacerbated by difficulty sleeping. Although jet lag usually resolves itself, a variety of interventions may ease the process. Try shifting daily activities prior to departure to correspond to the time zone of your travel destination. Also, stay well-hydrated, avoid alcohol and pursue activities in sunlight upon arrival.

Several studies in humans have concluded that in about 50% of subjects, melatonin can significantly improve jet lag by reducing the number of days to establish a normal sleep pattern, reducing sleep latency (amount of time to fall asleep) and decreasing daytime fatigue. The dose for jet lag is 5 mg taken orally at bedtime for 1 week beginning 3 days before the flight. Additionally, your physician can prescribe a short-acting sleeping medication, such as Lunesta or Ambien. Potential side effects may include a mild amnesic syndrome (you might not remember any details of your flight) and some mild “hangover” effect. Other sleep-aid options include over-the-counter medications like Benadryl or Tylenol PM.

Travel health kit

Prescription medications

• Pack in carry-on luggage in original pill bottles with copies of prescriptions

• Controlled substance and injectable medication: pack a letter on prescribing physician’s official letterhead

• Check with the American embassy in the country you’re visiting to confirm if your medications are allowed into the country (optional)

Over-the-counter medications

• Antidiarrheal medicine
• Medicine for fever or pain
• Antihistamine
• Decongestant
• Anti-motion sickness
• Antacid
• Antifungal and antibacterial ointment or cream
• Hydrocortisone cream

Special prescriptions

• Consider obtaining prescription for an antibiotic for cases of severe diarrhea
• Depending on travel destination, anti-malarial medications

Other useful items

• Sunscreen
• Insect repellant
• Band-Aids, gauze, ace bandage, tweezers, small scissors, antiseptic
• Copy of your health insurance card

Vaccinations

Routine immunizations

• Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
• Polio
• Tetanus-diptheria
• Influenza
• Pneumococcus

Travel immunizations

Hepatitis A is part of routine U.S. childhood immunization. It’s recommended for all unvaccinated travelers going anywhere other than Australia, Canada, western Europe, Japan or New Zealand.

Typhoid: Recommended for travelers to Asia and other developing countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa

Malaria prophylaxis: If traveling to countries with a risk of malaria

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. To learn how this can work for you, call (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. E-mail: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

Vital information on cataracts

The only cure is surgical removal of the lens, replacing it with a clear implant . . .

Suan Locke, MD

Suan Locke, MD

More than 20 million Americans suffer from cataracts, a clouding of the lens in the eye. Common symptoms include blurred vision, faded colors, poor night vision and problems with bright lights and sunshine. You may experience eyestrain or find yourself blinking more often to clear your vision.

In an effort to safeguard your vision, I spoke to Healthnetwork’s 2008 Service Excellence Award recipient, Walter Stark, MD, distinguished professor of ophthalmology and director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

We discussed cataract risk factors, prevention tips and treatment options. More than 50% of Americans will develop cataracts by age 75. Cataracts occur more frequently in African Americans, Hispanics and individuals with a family history of diabetes.

Environmental factors and personal behavior also increase an individual’s likelihood of developing cataracts. Significant exposure to UV rays from sunlight, glaucoma and some medications to treat glaucoma, and chronic use of oral corticosteroids (used to treat asthma and other medical conditions) are associated with an increased risk.

Walter Stark, MD

Walter Stark, MD

Although cataracts are not completely preventable, lifestyle changes may delay their occurrence. Quitting smoking, avoiding excessive alcohol and overexposure to UV light are important protective measures. Research connecting nutrition and cataract development is focusing on antioxidants and carotenoids.

The only cure for cataracts is surgical removal of the clouded lens, which usually includes replacing the lens with a clear lens implant. Sometimes cataracts are removed without reinserting implant lenses. In such cases, vision can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Cataract removal is one of the most common eye surgeries in the U.S. and is successful 95% of the time. Surgery is generally recommended when cataracts begin to affect your quality of life or interfere with your ability to perform normal daily activities.

Surgery is performed on one eye at a time. It is generally scheduled on an outpatient basis, usually with local anesthesia. Recovery is quick. You can often resume your normal daily activities beginning the night of your surgery. However, not all cataracts require surgery. Some cataracts eye-chartdevelop only to a certain point and then stop. Often a cataract progresses slowly and may take years before it interferes with vision. Consultation with an ophthalmologist can help determine if surgery is needed.

Regular eye exams and an open dialogue with your personal physician or ophthalmologist is the best way to safeguard your vision. Legates are encouraged to contact Healthnetwork to schedule an appointment with a leading ophthalmologist at one of our medical centers of excellence.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s medical director.

Healthnetwork is a Legatus membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. To learn how this can work for you, call (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. E-mail: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org

Weighing in on osteoporosis

Preventive treatments can help maintain or increase bone density to avoid osteoporosis . . .

Suan Locke, MD

Advertisements for drugs that make your bones stronger are everywhere — in magazines, on television and in doctors’ offices. Actress Sally Field endorses a medicine that is so simple she only needs to take it once a month.

Osteoporosis is a common disorder characterized by a progressive decrease in bone density and mass. This causes the bones to become brittle and weak, which makes them more susceptible to fractures. It has been estimated that over 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, and another 34 million have low bone mass which places them at risk for osteoporosis.

Preventive treatments can help maintain or increase bone density. For those already with osteoporosis, therapies may slow down further loss and may increase bone density.

Non-drug therapy and prevention

Calcium: The recommended daily intake of calcium is 1000 mg for premenopausal women and men and 1500 mg for postmenopausal women who don’t take estrogen. Supplements of calcium carbonate or calcium citrate are often needed since dietary calcium may be insufficient.

Vitamin D: The recommended intake is 800 International Units a day.

Exercise: At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3 times per week.

Smoking cessation: Smoking accelerates bone loss.

Fall prevention: Repeated falls increase risk of osteoporotic fractures.

Monitor medications that may increase bone loss: These include steroids (i.e., prednisone), heparin, Vitamin A, and antiepileptic (seizure) medications.

Medications for prevention and treatment

Patients with the highest risk of fracture would most likely benefit from drug therapy. In the U.S., treatment is recommended for post-menopausal women and men over 50 years old with a history of hip or vertebral fracture or with osteoporosis. Some patients with osteopenia and other risk factors may benefit from drug treatment. Your healthcare provider can help assess your risk.

Healthnetwork will assist Legatus members with executive physical appointments or geriatric assessment appointments, both of which could include bone density diagnostics – a very important health screening tool.

Susan Locke, MD, is Healthnetwork Foundation’s new medical director.

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Who should be screened?

Bone density measurements are the most common way of determining whether a person has osteoporosis or is at risk for developing osteoporosis.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends bone density testing in:

• All women 65 and older and men 70 and older regardless of risk factors

• Postmenopausal women and men 50 – 70 years old when risk factors are present (including cigarette smoking, long-term use of steroids, body weight less than 127 lbs, rheumatoid arthritis, excessive alcohol consumption)

• Adults who have a fracture after age 50

• Adults with a condition or taking medication associated with low bone mass/bone loss

• Anyone being treated for osteoporosis to monitor response to therapy

Healthnetwork is a membership benefit, a healthcare “concierge service” that provides members and their families access to some of the most respected hospitals in the world. For information on how this can work for you, call (866) 968-2467 or (440) 893-0830. E-mail: help@healthnetworkfoundation.org