Healing body, mind, spirit

Jill Ciccarello’s sister died of cancer. Lorrie Stonehocker’s husband is still battling cancer that has caused him to lose organs, including part of his stomach, as the chemo is shutting down his kidneys. Yet these cancer nightmares have inspired both Spokane women to help other … Read more

Latest stories

Flu kills 14 in region; precautions urged

The flu has put 249 people into Spokane hospitals and is blamed for 10 deaths this season – including four in the past week. The numbers are higher than last year, as the virus has been toughest on people older than 60 – especially those in their 80s, according to data from the Spokane Regional Health District. Read more

House Call: Pap test important for cervical health

Women have become accustomed to Pap smears being a necessary part of adulthood. However, there has been confusion in recent years about when women should begin having this screening test, how often to have one and when to stop having them. Because January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, it is a good time to talk about the many different steps, including Pap smear, you can take to stay healthy and reduce your risk of cervical cancer. A Pap smear is performed with a small brush that looks like a long mascara brush. Cells are brushed from the cervix (the opening of the uterus) and sent to a lab to determine if there are any precancerous or cancerous changes. Read more

Ask Doctor K: Keep salt intake low for heart health

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have high blood pressure, and my doctor advised me to cut back on salt. Can you explain how salt affects blood pressure? DEAR READER: Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg. High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, loss of vision and other health problems. Many studies show that blood pressure rises with a higher-salt diet. Read more

Study tracks opioid use among women age 15 to 44

MILWAUKEE – Narcotic painkillers – which can cause birth defects – commonly were prescribed for women of reproductive age, according to new data presented Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research, which looked at the years 2008-2012, found that 39 percent of women age 15 to 44 on Medicaid and 28 percent of those on private insurance received an opioid prescription. Read more

Vegetarian, vegan diets aid weight loss, research shows

Evidence that vegetables are good for you abounds. And here’s more: Researchers who analyzed studies of people put on vegetarian or vegan diets found that they lost more than 7 pounds regardless of calorie counting or exercise plans. The study published Thursday in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics comes as many people are trying to stick to – or already have abandoned – New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Read more

Ask Doctor K: Abdominal adhesions may cause pain

DEAR DOCTOR K: I had abdominal surgery last year. Soon after, I started experiencing severe pain and swelling in my abdomen. It turns out I have abdominal adhesions. I’d never heard of them. What are they, and how are they treated? DEAR READER: Abdominal adhesions are bands of fibrous scar tissue. They can cause organs that are normally not connected to stick to one another or to the wall of the abdomen. Read more

Doctor K: Testicular cancer one of curable kinds

DEAR DOCTOR K: I’m in my 30s. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. What should I know about this cancer? Should I be screened for it? DEAR READER: Testicular cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both testicles (testes). Nearly all testicular cancers start in germ cells. These are the cells that make sperm. Read more

Zorba Paster: Eating fish provides health boost

If you take fish oil every day for your heart, then pay attention. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows it’s a dud. It’s not worth the money you’re paying. I, for one, am disappointed. I’ve been swallowing these super large capsules for years assuming I’ll have a stronger heart and live longer. Every time I had a fish oil burp, I thought, “Good for me. Good for my heart. I can take it.” Read more

Ask Dr. K: Have teeth checked twice yearly

DEAR DOCTOR K: I take good care of my teeth, brushing and flossing regularly. Do I still need to have regular dental checkups? DEAR READER: Even if you brush your teeth three times a day and floss daily, regular checkups with a dental professional are a must. For most people, two checkups per year are enough. That’s what I have. Read more

House Call: Surviving sore throat season

Just before winter break, some local school classrooms were down by five or more students daily due to sickness. It is a sure sign that we are in high gear for cold and flu season. That means that you, a friend of yours or someone in your family may be experiencing a sore throat. Most sore throats are caused by these viral infections, and will resolve by themselves over time. Other viral illnesses causing sore throat include mononucleosis, measles and chickenpox. Sore throats caused by viruses will not go away faster with antibiotic treatment. A sore throat may also be caused by bacterial infections like strep throat, whooping cough or diphtheria. In these cases, a visit to your health care provider is necessary for treatment to get rid of the infection. Untreated strep throat can result in rheumatic fever and heart damage. Whooping cough and diphtheria can be deadly in very young children. Read more

Quiet time OK for adolescents after concussion

It might seem sensible for parents to “cocoon” their children so they can recover from a concussion. That could mean five days in a darkened room devoid of superhero movies, music, bright lights and smartphone chirping, but a randomized controlled trial that a former University of Pittsburgh Medical Center fellow led found that the current regimen of quiet time until symptoms are gone followed by a step-by-step return to normal levels of activity is likely preferable to cocooning. Read more

Grief differs from person to person

DEAR DOCTOR K: My spouse passed away last year, and I am still grieving. Is this normal? DEAR READER: By coincidence, I’m writing this reply to your question on the 51st anniversary of my father’s death. He died very young. This is a sad day – at least for me, this grief never fully ends. Read more

Her pace in her space

HASLET, Texas – Kaitlynn Curtner was 12 when she went to a school counselor’s office in Round Rock with a headache on Sept. 2, 2011. She suffered a seizure in the office and then became unresponsive. Read more

Health bulletin board www.spokesman.com/livewell

New listings Orthopedic Seminar - Learn about the Joint Restoration Centers at Deaconess and Valley hospitals. Seminars will be held from 6-7 p.m. Wednesday and Feb. 11 and March 11 at Deaconess Health and Education Center, 910 W. Fifth Ave.; Jan. 22, Feb. 12, March 12 and April 9 at Valley Health and Education Center, 12606 E. Mission Ave. To register, visit RockwoodHealthSystem.com or call. Free; light refreshments will be served. (509) 473-5755. Read more

Easing pain of Morton’s neuroma

DEAR DOCTOR K: I have something called Morton’s neuroma. Can you explain what it is, and what I can do to relieve the pain? DEAR READER: A neuroma develops when a nerve is compressed, injured or pinched, causing swelling and pain. A neuroma in the area between the third and fourth toes, or between the second and third toes, is known as a Morton’s neuroma. Read more

Dr. Zorba Paster: Loneliness can weigh heavily on elderly

Imagine what it must be like to be old and alone. Not a pretty picture, is it? Now imagine that your loneliness causes your body to decay. The picture looks worse doesn’t it? Now imagine that same loneliness makes you more likely to die early. Isn’t that a miserable thought? I hate to tell you, but research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows just that — loneliness causes mental distress, physical deterioration and premature death. Read more

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