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  • What’s a thyroid and what does it do?
    4/20/2021 Jill wants to know, “what’s a thyroid and what does it do?” Thyroid problems are common in a family medicine setting. For those like Jill who don’t know what the thyroid gland is or does, keep reading.
    The thyroid is an endocrine gland found in the front part of the neck below and to the sides of the larynx or Adam’s apple. Endocrine glands make hormones that are secreted into the bloodstream and travel around the body where they interact with cells in different tissues signaling them to perform particular functions.
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  • Do not believe in everything you hear!
    4/13/2021 We are definitely living in a post-truth world. It’s not just in the political sphere that we have to be careful of facts and “alternative facts.” It also extends to the scientific world as well. The public is being constantly bombarded with scientific information through popular media, especially the Internet. How is a non-scientist supposed to filter through all this information and figure out what to believe? I want to give you some tips to use when evaluating what you see or hear.
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  • The menopausal malady that is hot flashes
    4/6/2021 Sometimes I get asked questions in unusual places. A few months ago at church I was pulled aside and asked if I could write my column on the menopausal malady of hot flashes.
    Hot flashes are usually described as a feeling of intense heat, usually with sweating and a rapid heartbeat. They can last a few minutes up to a half hour or so.
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  • Speaking about breast cancer awareness and BSE
    1/12/2021 I failed to release this column during breast cancer awareness month in October. Women are always interested to learn about what they can do to reduce their risk of developing this dread disease. Breast self examination (BSE) is one thing women have traditionally performed, but some readers may have read that this monthly ritual is no longer recommended. 
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  • Cold sores and information regarding herpes simplex viruses
    1/5/2021 I saw a patient with a rather large “cold sore” on his upper lip the other day and he asked me to write a column on this unsightly condition.
    People use the term “cold sore” to describe different types of lesions that occur on the lips or inside the mouth. I’m not sure of the origin of the term, but I presume that it came into being to describe sores that sometimes appear when a person has an illness like the common cold. 
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  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or more commonly known as GERD - part 2
    12/29/2020 I left you hanging last week wondering about the treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). First, a quick review. Recall that acid from the stomach (gastro) is found in the tube that connects the mouth and stomach (esophagus) and goes in a backward direction (reflux).
    When I see someone complaining of GERD symptoms in my office I review my patient’s history to try and identify any risk factors for GERD such as decreased tone of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), loss of normal muscular function of the esophagus, excess production of stomach acid, delayed emptying of the stomach and overeating. 
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  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or more commonly known as GERD
    12/22/2020 I’ve been asked to re-run my columns about Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, more commonly known as GERD. Breaking down the term translates to: acid from the stomach (gastro) is found in the tube that connects the mouth and stomach (esophagus) and goes in a backward direction (reflux).
    It’s helpful to know the anatomy when trying to understand GERD (top diagram).
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  • How noroviruses affects the body and cause symptoms
    11/17/2020 In addition to COVID-19 we’re starting to see some “stomach flu.” I have to start by dispelling a common misconception people have that all types of “flu” are the same. “Stomach flu” is not caused by the same viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. Flu shots, given to prevent respiratory influenza, will not protect you against viruses affecting the gastrointestinal tract that cause viral gastroenteritis.
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  • My head is spinning, whirling and reeling
    11/3/2020 This week I want to address a specific variant of a condition that I’ve been seeing a lot of lately – dizziness. Primary Care doctors in the U.S. see about six million patients a year who complain of “dizziness.” 
    Dizziness means different things to different people and can be a symptom of many different medical conditions. People use “dizzy” as a universal term to describe feeling faint, lightheaded, or when they feel like their environment is spinning.
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  • Restless leg syndrome can really shake things up
    10/27/2020 Someone told me the other day that they thought “restless leg syndrome” (RLS) was dreamt up by pharmaceutical companies to sell more medications. You may have seen commercials for Requip® and Mirapex®, both drugs used to treat this condition.
    People have described symptoms suggestive of restless legs since the 17th Century. The Swedish neurologist Erik Ekborn initially coined the term in the 1940’s. It’s estimated that between ten to fifteen percent of Americans suffer from restless leg syndrome to some degree.
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