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GFP Talks to Congress about Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Visits Capital Hill

GFP team member Carinne McKeever Woodworth, PA-C, went before Congress in May to advocate for people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Carinne, who previously shared her story of Crohn’s Disease on our blog, traveled with her husband to speak during “IBD Day On The Hill” organized by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

“Our goal was to be a voice for the 5 million suffering from Crohn’s and Colitis,” she said.

Advocating for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients

Carinne and other North Carolina residents spoke in person with Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and with Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-NC) legislative assistants. Their goal: to encourage legislators to include 'inflammatory bowel diseases' in the Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program. To obtain the funding, IBD must be listed by Congress under this program.

“This money does not only help find a cure, but to also fund research of other treatment options,” Carinne said. “There are many Crohn’s and Colitis patients like myself who have ‘failed’ all medications currently on the market. Luckily, we learned there are now two drugs in Phase Three of clinical trials. These drugs will be available to the public in 1.5 years. Without funding for research these drugs would have never came into fruition and many would continue to suffer without a viable treatment option.”

Carinne also spoke with legislative staffers for North Carolina House of Representatives, including the teams from the offices of Rep. Alma S. Adams (D-12), Rep. David Price (D-4), and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-1). There, she lobbied against step therapy.

“Step therapy is when your provider prescribes a certain medication but your insurance companies makes you try older, cheaper medications before paying for the drug that was originally prescribed,” Carinne explained. “This process could take months before the insurance companies approve the medication. For an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, patient this may be the difference between saving your colon and having it surgically removed. Currently Step Therapy gives all the power to insurance companies -- we lobbied to put the decision back into the provider-patient hands.”

Finally, Carinne also argued against a potential law that would discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, which would affect not just those with Crohn’s, but people with diabetes, cancer, and other health problems. According to an analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, 50 to 129 million (19 to 50 percent of) non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition.

Carinne said she doesn’t know for sure if her efforts made a difference, but she is glad she went.

“At the end of the day I always hope that I have made this world a better place,” Carinne said. “Most days I am not sure if I did any good, but on May 18 I was able to go to bed knowing that I was an advocate for the 5 million suffering from this incurable disease. The experiences I had and the people I met with will always have a special place in my heart.”
 

7 Ways to Improve Men’s Health This Month

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Improve Mens Health

What should you know about men's health? Men live sicker and die younger than women. Yet that doesn’t have to be true. June is National Men’s Health Month. It’s time for men to step up and take care of their health. Consider this:

  • Men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death.
  • In 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women.

One reason for these statistics is that men engage in more dangerous occupations, such as coal mining. Also, a higher percentage of men have no health insurance. Research shows men’s attitudes about health plays a role as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are 100 percent more likely visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.

Seven Steps for Improving Men's Health:

  1. Make an appointment for a checkup and physical. Regular visits to the doctor each year can save your life. During those visits, your physician will run tests and look for signs of serious diseases. A regular checkup ensures a better chance of addressing health concerns before it’s too late.
  2. men's healthKeep track of extra tests needed and get them done. Beginning at age 50, men should receive a prostate exam every one to two years. Men often feel uncomfortable about this exam, but it is critical to catching prostate cancer early. At age 50 men should also get a colonoscopy every 10 years. While this exam is also uncomfortable, these two tests can save your life.
  3. Make healthy lifestyle choices. Society, as a norm, discourages healthy behaviors in men and boys. Start a trend by choosing to exercise, eat well, quit smoking, drink less alcohol, and more.
  4. Have conversations with male friends. While society may make your healthy choices seem less appealing, you can help this change by mentioning your doctor checkups to other men. Men are often less comfortable sharing such details, and we’re not suggesting you give the moment-by-moment account of your prostate exam. However, mentioning your appointment is a good reminder to others to schedule theirs.
  5. Educate yourself about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. In 2013, 321,000 men died from it — that’s one in four. You know some of the main contributors: high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, and excessive alcohol use. Learn more about heart disease and take steps to prevent it.
  6. Take charge of your health. Men are more reluctant to go to the doctor when they experience symptoms. “Oh it’s probably nothing” is something you might have thought. While that might be true, it might not. Take charge of your health by investigating odd symptoms.
  7. Take part in Men’s Health Month activities. Wear blue on June 16 and share your photos on social media with the hashtags #ShowUsYourBlue and #MensHealthMonth. Doing this will help spread word.

Do you have questions about men's health? Contact us to set up your annual physical or to come in and chat with a doctor about any concerns.
 

Anti-Pollution Skincare: Prevent Pollution from Aging Your Skin

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
anti-pollution skincare
Why is anti-pollution skincare important? Emerging scientific studies are showing that air pollution can prematurely age our skin. Studies show that residents of cities, especially large cities, have more wrinkles and age spots at younger ages. They are also more prone to hives and eczema. City dwellers tend to have drier skin, too.
 
Most of the urban pollution comes from traffic, and tiny particles, called PMs, seem to cause the most problems. Combine that with smoke, soot, acid, and all the other junk out there, and none of it is good for your skin. Plus, pollution doesn’t just sit on top of your skin; the particles are often so small they can penetrate the outer layer.

Anti-Pollution Recommendations for Protecting Your Skin:

  • Hydrate. Skin that is properly moisturized stands a better chance of protecting itself. Moisturizer should always be part of your daily routine.
  • Cleanse gently. Use a mild cleanser in the morning to prepare your skin and again at night to remove particles, makeup, oil, and pollution.
  • Avoid harsh scrubs. Facial scrubs can irritate the skin and ruin its efforts to protect against pollutants and repair damage. If you must use a scrub, do so sparingly.
  • Look for products that talk about pollution. Cosmetic companies are aware of the problem and are working to find solutions. You should start to see this mentioned on labels soon. 
  • Stay healthy. One cosmetic company study shows Vitamin B3 (niacin) to be helpful and is increasing the amount in its products. But the overall health of your body affects everything, including your skin. Be sure to eat a healthy mix of nutrients each day.
  • Glycolic acid can affect the skin’s protective barrier. Unfortunately, so can retinoids, which are often used in anti-wrinkle products. Research on this is still new, but it’s best to avoid these if possible.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen. While protecting your skin from pollution is the next focus of many skincare products, we cannot forget the sun’s UV rays. Keep up with the sunscreen.

Not surewhat to do with your skin care routine? Contact us for guidance on the best approach for your skin type and specific problems.Anti-Pollution Skincare

Graduate Checklist: Vaccines for College and More

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
medical checklist for graduates

If your child is graduating from high school this month, you may be thinking about vaccines for college students and how to keep your rising scholar healthy. If she is heading off to college this fall, there are a few medical things on her to-do list. Be sure your child prepares this summer by taking care of the following:

Vaccines for College Students

If your child has been with Generations Family Practice for several years, she is probably up to date on vaccinations, but may need a few more. When it comes to vaccines for college students, many colleges recommend students get a meningitis vaccine before enrolling, along with Hepatitis B. Check with your doctor about whether a TDAP is needed. Your teen should probably get the HPV vaccine if she hasn’t already. You’ll also want to make sure your child starts getting an annual flu shot and starts doing this on her own each fall.

vaccines for collegeMedical Form

In our newsletter this month, we talk about the importance of legal forms that give you access to your child’s medical records and the ability to make decisions for him if he cannot do so. Be sure your 18-year-old signs a health care proxy and a durable power of attorney. Without these documents, you will have get court approval to act on your child’s behalf or even get information about them if hospitalized. Get more information in our May newsletter (Make sure to sign up for our newsletter by going to our website and entering your email address in the request box).

Sex

Your teen is now an adult and will make his own decisions about sex. Although health classes may have given him some basic education, make sure he is ready to take responsibility. Speak to your children about birth control, safer sex practices by using condoms, and getting tested for sexually transmitted infections each year. Colleges have on-campus physicians; be sure your student knows where they are located and makes an annual appointment for a checkup.

Drugs and Alcohol

You’ve no doubt raised a child who can make good decisions, but once out on their own, kids may find it tempting to experiment or to overindulge. While your teen may roll her eyes at you, studies show parents have an influence. Talk to your child about the pressures of drinking or drugs. Make sure you talk to your son or daughter about drugs and what to do if they are present at a party or if someone offers them.

A 2013 national survey showed that most high school seniors have tried alcohol, but the pressure and the appeal become more intense in a free environment. Be sure she is vigilant about not driving and not getting into a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking. Make sure your child has taxi service phone numbers saved in her cell phone, along with numbers for campus police.

Emotional Well Being

Going off to college or moving out on your own is an adventure most kids can’t wait to experience. But for many, the challenge of living on your own or with roommates and making all of your own decisions leads to emotional struggles. The change can feel drastic to some. You may have prepared your kids for adulthood by teaching them about money, but what about relationships? Speak to your kids about what to do if they feel down. Remind them you are available, but don’t be willing to rush in and fix everything. Talk to our team if you’re not sure your young adult is emotionally ready or have questions about this. 

Questions about your graduate? Contact us for a wellness visit.
 

Concussion 101 for Child and Teen Athletes

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
Sports injuries are usually something you can see right away, whether it’s a cut on your finger, a scrape on your elbow, or even a broken bone. On the other hand, concussions are invisible. But this type of injury can cause a lot of damage, especially in teens and children.
 
April is National Facial Protection Month; it’s an opportune time to consider how we can protect our children from head, face, and teeth injuries during sports and other activities.

What is a Concussion?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “a concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way the brain normally works.” During a concussion, the brain moves rapidly back and forth inside the skull. A concussion can be caused by a bump or jolt to the head. Even mild bumps to the head can be serious and have a greater impact on young, developing brains. If left undetected, a concussion can result in long-term brain damage or even death.
 
Concussions are becoming more common. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that emergency room visits for concussions in kids ages 8 to 13 years old has doubled, and concussions have risen 200 percent among teens ages 14 to 19 in the last decade.

concussion symptoms and prevention

Signs of a Concussion

Signs that a concussion has occurred may show up immediately after the injury, but sometimes appear hours or even days later. Watch your child to see how he or she is feeling. Many people assume a concussion will cause someone to faint, but people with concussions do not always lose consciousness. If your child or teen has two or more of the following symptoms, get him or her checked by a doctor.

Symptoms You Observe

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about events
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Repeats questions
  • Can’t recall events before the hit, bump, or fall 
  • Can’t recall events after the hit, bump, or fall
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes
  • Forgets class schedule or assignments

Symptoms Reported by Your Child/Teen:

  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Feeling more slowed down
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Fatigue or feeling tired
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Does not “feel right”
  • Irritable
  • Sad
  • More emotional than usual
  • Nervous
  • Drowsy
  • Sleeps less than usual
  • Sleeps more than usual
  • Has trouble falling asleep

Warning Signs

If you witness or your child experiences the following symptoms, immediately take him/her to the emergency department or call 911.
  • One pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
  • Drowsiness or cannot be awakened
  • A headache that gets worse and does not go away
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Difficulty recognizing people or places
  • Increasing confusion, restlessness, or agitation
  • Unusual behavior
  • Loss of consciousness (even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously)

What to Do in the Event of a Concussion

If your child or teen has a concussion, he/she needs to stop all activity immediately. Returning to normal physical activities, such as sports, and mental activities, such as focus and concentration in school, can cause damage. Encourage rest and allow breaks. Your child’s doctor may request you to keep him/her home from school for a day or two. He/she will instruct you when it’s OK to return to normal activities.

Prevention is the Best Cure

Physical activity and sports are healthy pursuits that promote teamwork and fitness. However, concussions can be dangerous, and child and teen athletes are also exposed to numerous other potential injuries. To prevent injury as much as possible, rely on the following measures:
  • Wear a helmet. No helmet is concussion proof, but it will go a long way to protecting your child. Be sure the helmet is the correct one for the sport in which he/she participates, whether that’s bicycle riding or lacrosse. Check out this fact sheet for helmet types.
  • Wear other protective gear as needed. These might include pads — neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin — protective cups, mouthguards, other face guards, or goggles/other eyewear.
  • Create a safe sports culture. Be sure your child’s team is one in which rules are followed, and he/she feels comfortable reporting injuries or problems to the coach. 
  • Take breaks. Rest periods during play and practice can help, especially during hot times of the year.
  • Have a rest day. Your athlete should have at least one full day of rest and recovery each week, plus one month off per year.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during play and practice, even more so when temperatures climb.
  • Stretch before and after play.
  • Teach your child not to play through the pain. Pain is one of the body’s warning signs that something is wrong.
If you are concerned about your child’s well-being during sports or other activities, contact us today and talk to his/her doctor at Generations Family Practice. We’re happy to help your child enjoy sports and physical activity. 

5 Signs It's Time to Seek Treatment for Skin Rashes

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
skin rashes

Skin rashes are fairly common and most are harmless. Red bumpy skin can be inflamed, itchy, or uncomfortable (or all three.) While some rashes are simply irritated skin, some are very serious and may be a sign to call your doctor.

Some common rashes are caused by eczema, poison ivy, athlete’s foot, and diaper rash. Some people get rashes from laundry detergents or cleaning products. If you’re prone to that type of rash, simply changing those products should prevent irritated skin. Many over-the-counter products can help with athlete's foot, eczema, poison ivy, and diaper rash. You can talk to a pharmacist about which products may help. See a doctor if things do not improve with treatment.

However, some rashes are a sign of something more serious. 

skin rashes treatment

Call a doctor if you have skin rashes:

  1. accompanied by a fever. In this case, call the Generations' office immediately. Rashes with a fever may indicate scarlet fever, measles, mononucleosis, or shingles.
  2. accompanied by other general illness, which may indicate more serious illnesses or infections. 
  3. all over your body. This may be a more serious allergic reaction or sign of infection.
  4. including blisters. Blisters and open sores in your rash may indicate an internal cause or a reaction to a medication.
  5. that are painful or infected. Signs of infection are a yellow or green fluid, swelling, crusting, pain and warmth in the area of the rash, or a red streak coming from the rash.

Even if your rash does not fall into those categories, and you are concerned about it, do not hesitate to make an appointment with our doctors at Generations Family Practice.

Pediatric Epilepsy

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
pediatric epilepsy

Seizures are a scary thing to witness, especially if it happens to your child. More than 3 million Americans have epilepsy, and many pediatric epilepsy diagnoses begin in childhood.
 
Epilepsy is a problem in the central nervous system in which electrical signals of the brain misfire. A seizure occurs when these misfires cause communication problems between nerve cells. This “electrical storm” can cause a person to behave in odd ways. There is a lot of false information surrounding epilepsy.

What You Need to Know About Pediatric Epilepsy:

  • One or even several seizures does not mean your child has epilepsy.
  • Epilepsy isn’t the only cause for childhood seizures, so the diagnosis needs to be made by a doctor.
  • The good news is that epilepsy does not usually worsen over time.
  • It is not a mental illness and does not affect intelligence.
  • Epilepsy is not contagious.

If your child has seizures or spells of confusion, shaking, or staring, visit his or her doctor. He or she will refer you to a pediatric neurologist, who can conduct tests to determine problems with the brain or neurological system. Blood tests may help find the cause of the seizures, but in more than half of epilepsy cases, doctors cannot find a cause.
 
March 26 is Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness. Purple Day was started in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, a child with epilepsy. Her goal is to raise awareness through events. Visit her website to learn more about how you can help.

Carinne Woodworth's Story: Life With Crohn's Disease

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
crohns
crohns & colitis foundation

An estimated 1.6 million people -- 80,000 of those being children -- are living with Crohn’s Disease or Colitis in the United States today. That’s 1 in every 200 Americans! Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)are debilitating, medically incurable diseases that attack the digestive system. Many patients experience numerous hospitalizations. About 23-45% of people with ulcerative colitis and up to 75% of people with Crohn’s disease will eventually require surgical intervention for their disease. Although considerable progress has been made in IBD research, the cause is not yet known, nor is there a cure.

Carinne Woodworth, PA-C is asking for your support as she “Takes Steps” to fight Crohn’s and Colitis!

Triangle Take Steps is a walk being held April 29 to raise awareness and money for research in the hopes of finding a cure. Your support can be achieved through well wishes and prayer, as well as financial support. Donations can be made directly to the The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation via Carinne’s Walk page. Or you can chose to join Carinne and her walking group, Carinne’s CUREageous CROHNies, for a fundraiser dinner at Diced Gourmet Salads & Wraps. Carinne has set a fundraising goal of $5000 and would love your support in reaching that milestone!

Carinne's Story

I knew at a very young age, 5 years old in fact, that I was going to go into the medical field. Twenty years later I completed my school to do just that. In 2009, I received my license to practice medicine as a Physician Assistant. I met my best friend, and now husband, five years prior, in 2004. We had our lives planned out. I was going to finish my schooling. We would move to North Carolina, get married and continue on our path to live our dreams with a few kids added to the mix later on. However everything changed the fall of 2011.

I can remember to this day laying on the gurney looking at the television screen of my colon during my colonoscopy. Unfortunately, the medication they had given me did not put me to sleep. I heard the doctor say, "yep, that is definitely Crohn’s." I began to cry.

I was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in Fall of 2011. I met with a few different doctors in the area to get additional opinions since nothing was working to make me feel better. I was put on many different medications, none of which were helping. I became increasingly ill. I was having difficulty functioning on a day-to-day basis. I remember getting IV fluids in between seeing patients while I was working in the ER just to function. My mom insisted I get another opinion and pushed me to go to Mayo Clinic. We were not sure how I could even get to Mayo from NC in my condition; a two hour flight was concerning. Once at Mayo, I was immediately seen by a doctor. Due to being so sick, I was admitted to the hospital. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s disease when just a few months earlier I had been diagnosed with mild to moderate Crohn’s disease. They immediately started me on an infusion that I would get every 8 weeks and a weekly injection. This allowed me to feel better for a very important event in my life - my marriage to my best friend, Chad in June of 2012.

After our wedding I began to get sicker. The doctors began a regimen of medications including pills, injections, and infusions trying to find just one that would put this awful disease into remission. No such, luck. I was prescribed all of the traditional medications and still no relief. The doctors discussed trying clinical trial medications, however this meant I would not be able to get pregnant for years. This was really was not an option in my mind. After many discussions with doctors and family I had my first surgery in 2014 to remove the most diseased part of my intestines. Although this helped my symptoms for a few months, my symptoms came back with a vengeance. I was once again put on high doses of steroids with other medication. We still could not get my Crohn’s under control. In Early 2015, my doctor recommended getting a temporary ileostomy and a colon resection to give my body time to heal. Reluctantly, I agreed to the surgery. But I had so many questions: How was I going to function with an ileostomy? Would I be able to do the same things? Would my husband still want to hug me? Would I ever feel pretty again? Unfortunately, I was so sick I did not have any other option…so surgery it was.

Surgery did not go as planned. My intestines were much more diseased than what the surgeons thought. One month later I went back into surgery to revise my ileostomy. This began the scariest time of my life. The next three months were spent in the hospital. I was in so much pain and was physically unable to eat. I remember the doctors, my mother, and husband just begging me to eat but I physically could not - it was not a matter of choice. I lost 80 pounds in 3 months. It is such a scary feeling knowing that you are literally wasting away and you have absolutely no control over it. The surgeons, doctors, and residents did not know what was happening either. Since they had no medical reason why this was happening they began to doubt me wondering if I was intentionally not eating. It was a very hopeless feeling knowing that the nurses and doctors were judging me, not believing my symptoms. During this time my mother was flying from Chicago to North Carolina multiple times to stay with me. I remember sobbing when she had to leave -- this meant I would be in the hospital all by myself, as my husband had to work and take care of our furry family at home.

After 3 months of wasting away, I was finally consulted by another surgeon at a different hospital. He initiated TPN (food through an IV) right away. This allowed me to get some key nutrients, which in turn allowed me to gain some strength and heal a little. Finally, I was able to leave the hospital and go home – even though I was still unable to eat and in a lot of pain. I remember how hard it was to just take a shower.  It took over an hour due to sitting down multiple times because I was so tired and weak. I was still unable to work and sat at home 24 hours a day just waiting to get better. I struggled watching my husband work nine hours a day only to come home and take care of me and the dogs day in and day out. I couldn't help but think how much stress I was putting on him and that he would be better off with someone else, someone who was healthy, could enjoy life and could be a 50/50 partner. I was incredibly depressed.In October 2015, I was still unable to do much on my own.  When my husband had to go out of town for work I flew to Chicago so my mother could take care of me. The night before my flight home to NC, I developed a 102 degree temperature and became very ill. My mother called the ambulance and I was admitted into the hospital for sepsis (infection in my blood stream) from my port. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. After treating my infection they transferred me to Northwestern Hospital to be further evaluated for my Crohn's disease.

While at Northwestern I was consulted by Dr. Strong, one of the best Crohn’s surgeons in the nation. He was able to take me to the operating room in November 2015 to fix my ileostomy and take some more diseased intestine out. This was a huge success. After the surgery my mother and husband felt that it was best to stay in Chicago for 4 weeks while I healed. My mother was able to help me since I was still getting my food and fluids from an IV as well as giving myself IV antibiotics at home. I remember calling Chad daily the first week just sobbing, begging him to allow me to come home. I was so homesick.

Life with Crohn's Disease

crohn's

2015 was a rough year for my family and I, to say the least, but I fought through it with the help of my extended family and friends. After numerous wound infections, port placements, PICC placements, an 80-pound weight loss, sepsis, bacteremia, septic emboli, TPN (nutrition from an IV), and over 100 days in the hospital, I can officially say I am on the road to recovery. I will always have Crohn's disease, but I am finding ways to manage it. This includes getting a 45-minute IV infusion monthly and taking injections weekly. My recent colonoscopy in January 2017 showed no disease in my intestine and mild disease in my esophagus and stomach. This was an improvement!

I am not a believer in the phrase "things happen for a reason." I do not believe that God gave me Crohn's disease and allowed me to suffer. I do believe though that He has given me the choice on how I handle the situation I was dealt. I chose to fight this head-on and to make the best of it. I have learned so many valuable lessons over the past few years but I think the biggest one is pretty easy - life is short and can change in a moment. So live it to the fullest. Chad and I have done just that in 2016. We were able to travel, deep sea fish, watch the Cubs play in Atlanta, see my sister play flute for the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Orlando, FL, and be with family and friends. We truly do not take life for granted anymore. We are once again living out our dreams and hope in the near future we can start a family.

I still do have an ileostomy and if given the choice in the future to reverse it I would decline. I am very proud of my stoma, whom I have named ‘Stella’. She has given me my life back. ‘Stella’ does not define who I am as a person; she is just a part of me.

I thank you for reading my story and would greatly appreciate any donation you are able to give. 100% will go directly to Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis research. I hope one day we are able to eradicate this painful disease. My hope in the future is to work with young adults who are faced with the same life-changing event as I was - living with an ileostomy. While going through this experience I found that there is not enough support and education for new ileostomy patients. It is a very traumatic experience and something that is not spoken about openly. I want to educate others that there is life on the other side - you are able to do everything you did pre-ileostomy, you will feel pretty again, and your husband will definitely still hug you.

I would like to thank all my family and friends for their love and support on my journey. I personally want to thank my husband, Chad, and mother, Pam, who have been my biggest supports and have truly been my angels. I thank God for them every day. Thank you to my Dad and friends for the visits and support as well. I sincerely thank Generations Family Practice for being so supportive and holding my job while I was out most of 2015. I can honestly say I have the BEST work family! Thank you to Bob Sweet and Streamline Plumbing for supporting my husband while we were on this difficult journey. Lastly to all my friends and family for their prayers, good wishes, cards, and visits. I am truly blessed!

 

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Inside the Autism Spectrum

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
autism spectrum disorder

Autism is treatable. People often have ideas about autism and what it means, but autism spectrum disorder can mean a wide variety of things.

More importantly, while children do not outgrow autism, early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. Knowing that it’s treatable means helping more people at a younger age.

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that affects people’s ability to communicate and interact with other people. Some people experience these on a mild level while others are severely disabled, which is why it is referred to as a spectrum. The signs of ASD usually appear during early childhood. There is no known cause of autism. Signs of autism include:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

These are just a few signs. Read more at the National Institute for Mental Health.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

autism spectrum disorderWhile people previously labeled autism separately from similar disorders, in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association merged four previously distinct diagnoses into one umbrella diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These are autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome.

Your pediatrician will check your child for signs of autism during regular well visits in his or her early life. Autism cannot be diagnosed in a single meeting. Parents may raise concerns about autism, but later learn their child has Sensory Integration Disorder or even ADHD. 

Treating Autism

The Centers for Disease Control estimates autism is present in about 1 in 68 births, a large increase from the 2004 estimate of 1 in 125 births. This increase means more people are aware of autism and its costs. While there is no cure, “treatment and education can address some of the challenges associated with the condition. Intervention can help to lessen disruptive behaviors, and education can teach self-help skills for greater independence,” according to the Autism Society. There are many treatment and education options, but because the autism spectrum varies widely, it’s best to select an approach based on the best interests of your family.

This new interest in autism is important as those in the spectrum begin to age. There are high demands and pressures on families living with someone who has autism. Included in that is planning for the future.

If you have concerns about your child, don’t hesitate to ask your Generations Family Practice physician. The sooner autism is diagnosed, the sooner treatments can begin to help you, and your family, figure out a path forward.

Caregiver Resources & Challenges

Saturday, 21 October, 2017
caregiver resources

There is a very real need for caregiver resources as the challenges that caregivers face are broad and can be overwhelming. 

"Aging Matters" is a joint project among Transitions GuidingLights, Transitions LifeCare, and local Raleigh news station WPTF. This wonderful radio show helps you navigate the many choices and issues we face as we age or as we care for an aging loved one.

Our very own Doctor Melanie Minzter was a recent guest! Listen to the spot here.

caregiver resources with Dr. Melanie Minzter

Show Notes & Caregiver Resources

  • According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 4 out of 10 Americans are caring for an older adult with a chronic condition and 50% of Americans anticipate doing so at some point.
  • Key Takeaway: Consider beginning the conversation about end of life care with loved ones before they are critically ill or in crisis.
  • If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, regardless of age, consider end of life planning,
  • Guiding Lights Caregiver Support Center has been designed solely with caregivers in mind. It is their goal to have the very best resources and means of support for all local family and professional caregivers, that they might maximally diminish the fear, doubt, and overwhelming stress that accompany this very important aspect of family life.
  • Transitions LIfeCare cares for individuals and families with compassion, support, and expertise as they navigate the end of life or life-changing illness. Wherever you or a loved one may be on a path of a serious illness or grief, Transitions LifeCare surrounds you with a comprehensive circle of expert care and support. It’s your life. It’s your choice.

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