SEARCH

Monday
Mar112019

Study says taking a nap can lower your blood pressure just as well as pills -- but there's a catch 

Tinpixels/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Monday is National Nap Day, and now there's a serious medical finding that may convince you to get some midday shuteye.

Taking a nap isn't just about recharging your batteries -- a new study says clocking out for a bit during the day can lower your blood pressure as much as taking blood pressure medication can.

Researcher Manolis Kallistratos with Asklepieion General Hospital in Greece and his colleagues studied 212 people who had high blood pressure, and prescribed a nap for some, and none for the other group. Those who napped at least 49 minutes in the afternoon saw their systolic blood pressure fall an average of  5mm/Hg lower compared to those who didn't take a nap.

Kallistros noted, "These findings are important because a fall in blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, by up to 10 percent."

The researchers are presenting their findings at the upcoming American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans.

But before you throw your pills in the trash, the ABC News Medical Units had some caveats, most notably, that the study was a small one, and the researchers don't say for how long the effect was sustained.

At any rate, a nap is not a substitute for pills if prescribed by a physician.

What's more, the effect the nappers enjoyed might very well be from living an existence that's chill enough for them to actually be able to take a midday nap and not the nap itself.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Mar112019

Woman born with one arm does intense workouts that are pure inspiration

tawanlubfah/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Amanda Tighe can do pushups, pullups, handstands and just about every other exercise that requires a full-body effort.

And Tighe, of Connecticut, does it all with one arm.

The 33-year-old speech pathologist was born with a congenital amputation birth defect that left her without a right arm, but she never let that stop her from pursuing her fitness dreams.

She's now an ambassador for an Equinox gym in Greenwich and the founder of AdaptDoRepeat, a platform where she hopes to inspire others.

"One woman told me about how her daughter had a doll whose arm broke off. Their first reaction was to go to the store but then she showed her my page and they had a discussion about not being perfect," Tighe told ABC News' Good Morning America. "Now her daughter asks to see my page all the time."

Tighe played nearly every sport as a child, from soccer to basketball and swimming. She said she decided at an early age that a prosthetic arm "wasn't something that I needed."

"My parents were really wonderful in providing me with all the top prosthetics when I was younger," she said. "They recently told me that they got me this top of the line prosthetic and I would go to school and hang up my coat and my arm."

Tighe instead sees doing everything -- including working out -- with only one arm as a challenge to solve.

"Becoming a really good problem solver inside the gym has translated to me being a great problem solver when I face a challenge outside of the gym," she said. "I have a greater sense of who I am because of [exercise]."

Tighe works out around five days a week, some on her own and some with her trainer, Eric Pellini, a Tier X coach at Equinox.

"I just noticed this member working out in the gym and she was doing these heavy back squats and really high box jumps," Pellini said of his first encounter with Tighe. "I don’t think I even noticed she was an amputee until maybe five minutes into noticing her workout."

Pellini noted that he does not treat Tighe any different than his other clients, saying, "She mentally put no limitations on herself and I certainly wasn’t going to put any limitations on her."

Tighe and Pellini use ropes, blocks, straps, basically any equipment possible to make sure Tighe can master any workout move she wants to try. Tighe calls it "MacGyver-ing" her way around her workouts.

"I’ve always had this kind of grit," Tighe said. "I try to do things on the path of resistance because it sets me apart and it makes me different."

"What I’ve found is working out is about so much more than calories in and out, it’s really an opportunity to test my resilience," she added.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Mar092019

Whoopi Goldberg announces near-death battle with pneumonia, sepsis: What you should know

Lou Rocco/ABCDR. LEILA HAGHIGHAT

(CHICAGO) -- Whoopi Goldberg announced on Friday that she had been absent from co-hosting “The View” because she had been dealing with pneumonia and sepsis, saying that the two illnesses nearly killed her.

“I am here. I am up and moving around. Not as fast as I’d like to be, but I am OK. I’m not dead,” Goldberg, who last appeared on “The View” on Feb. 5, said in a message recorded for the show. “I came very, very close to leaving the Earth. Good news: I didn’t.”

Pneumonia and sepsis are two illnesses that can get pretty serious. Here’s what you should know about them.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that ranges in severity.

In the United States, pneumonia is the most common cause of hospital admission aside from women delivering children. In 2013, pneumonia was responsible for 960,000 hospital stays and nearly 60,000 deaths that year. The illness is now the eighth leading cause of death.

The severity of the lung infection depends on what’s causing it and who is affected by it. Pneumonia can be caused by a wide variety of bacteria, fungi or viruses, which enter the lungs from the air we breathe. A single organism can account for as many as 10 percent of cases, the most common being a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Influenza, also known simply as the flu, has the potential to cause pneumonia, too.

A weaker immune system raises the risk of getting a serious case of pneumonia. At-risk groups are considered to those who are young, such as children, the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems.

Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, shortness of breath and cough. Doctors who suspect their patients have pneumonia will often order blood tests and a chest X-ray to look for other signs of infection. However, not all pneumonias require hospitalization. Mild pneumonias can be treated in as little as five days with antibiotics.

Doctors may ask patients to stay in the hospital for closer monitoring in cases where pneumonia doesn’t improve or where it began as severe.

Survival from pneumonia has improved significantly over time. But death rates still range from as low as 3 percent in those who are treated outside of the hospital to 50 percent in those who require care in a hospital’s intensive care unit. For some people with pneumonia, recovery can take up to six to eight weeks.

Complications from pneumonia can make it a much more serious problem.

There are several complications that can make pneumonia a bigger problem. Pleural effusion, which is sometimes called “water in the lungs,” occurs when fluid accumulates just outside the area of the lung where the infection is located. The fluid can sometimes turn into pus, too. If it doesn’t improve on its own or with antibiotics, the fluid may have to be drained with a needle in a bedside procedure called thoracentesis.

Severe pneumonia and pleural effusions may block the transfer of oxygen from the air we breathe into our blood. When respiratory failure like this develops, doctors will likely have to intubate the patient, which requires placing a breathing tube down their throat and connecting it to a breathing machine. This allows doctors to control the patient’s breathing.

Sepsis is severe complication of pneumonia that worsens a patient’s outlook.

Sepsis is preceded by a condition known as bacteremia, which occurs when the organisms that cause pneumonia spread into the blood. People who develop bacteremia should go to a hospital immediately to receive intravenous antibiotics. If the bacteremia worsens to the point where vital signs are affected — blood pressure drops, heart rate goes up, breathing rate increases, fevers rise and blood oxygen levels drop — then they’re considered to have sepsis.

It’s worth noting that sepsis can develop from any kind of infection, not just pneumonia. However, pneumonia is the leading cause of sepsis. It’s a big deal because sepsis is more likely to lead to a worse outcome; mortality rates from sepsis can be as high as 15 percent.

There are steps you can take to prevent pneumonia.

Because the elderly are especially vulnerable to pneumonia, it’s recommended that everyone receive pneumonia vaccinations at the age of 65. There are two types of pneumonia vaccines — Pneumovax and Prevnar. Each contains bits of different strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia, allowing the body to develop antibodies and therefore immunity to fend off any future infection. Studies show that 69 percent of elderly people who are eligible to receive the vaccine don’t. Other at-risk groups should get vaccinated even earlier, including smokers, diabetics, alcoholics and people with compromised immune systems.

Other preventive measures people could take include receiving an annual flu vaccine and quitting smoking.

In high-risk people, pneumonia can develop into something serious and potentially fatal. But more commonly, it is easily treatable and patients’ outlooks are good. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are up to date with your pneumonia vaccinations if you are part of an at-risk group or over the age of 65.

Dr. Leila Haghighat is an internal medicine resident at Yale New Haven Hospital and a member of the ABC News Medical Unit.


Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Mar092019

Former Miss Teen Universe Lotte Van Der Zee, 20, dies following heart attack

Instagram/@lotte_zee(WESTENDORF, Austria) -- Former Miss Teen Universe Lotte van der Zee has died two weeks after suffering a sudden heart attack, her parents shared Thursday on the model's Instagram.

The 20-year-old from Holland died on Wednesday her parents said.

"Our pearl, our everything passed away on Wednesday evening March 6th at 22:47," her parents, Bert van der Zee and Eugeniek van der Zee van het Hul, shared. "It is incredibly surreal that our dearly beloved Lotte is not around us anymore. Our hearts are truly broken.

"We would like to thank you all again for all the support and heartwarming messages."

Lotte van der Zee was named Miss Teenager Universe in 2017.

Pageant organizers sent their condolences to family and friends, saying, "Losing someone we loved is not easy, but knowing that we have been able to be part of her life, it has been an amazing journey, we now realize that we were blessed to share your life and career with us."

Her parents first posted on Feb. 22 that van der Zee had gone into cardiac arrest while the family was on a ski vacation in Westendorf, Austria, celebrating her 20th birthday.

"She was helped to the nearest hospital where she got into a coma and is since then kept a sleep under intensive supervision of the doctors in order to monitor her health," her parents wrote on her Instagram page.

Van der Zee has 170,000 followers on Instagram and documented her life, traveling around the globe.

She was flown to a hospital in Munich last week, her parents said, but was still in a coma. She never regained consciousness before her death Wednesday.

"Even though the feeling of powerlessness made us think that we were in this alone at first we were able to draw a massive amount of strength from all your loving support," they wrote. "We are convinced that Lotte feels this too. Lotte's situation is unfortunately still unchanged. However, she has now been transferred to an academic hospital in Munich, where she is still kept a sleep under intensive supervision of the doctors in order to monitor her health."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar082019

Unvaccinated 6-year-old boy spent 57 days in hospital after tetanus diagnosis: CDC

Hailshadow/iStock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- An unvaccinated 6-year-old boy in Oregon spent 57 days in a hospital, including 47 days in the intensive care unit, and racked up almost $1 million in medical costs after being diagnosed with tetanus, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

The boy was Oregon's first case of tetanus in almost 30 years, according to the CDC, citing the Oregon Health Authority. Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in dirt that can enter the body through breaks in the skin, and vaccines are the best way to prevent it, per the CDC.

The child was cut while playing outside on a farm in 2017 and his wound was treated at home, according to the report, which was written for the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report, which was written by members of the Oregon Health and Science University Department of Pediatrics and the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Division, comes after a large measles outbreak in Clark County, Washington, on the Oregon and Washington border.

In that outbreak, 61 of the 70 cases were in non-immunized patients, according to the Clark County, Washington, Public Health Department.

The report also comes days after an Ohio teenager spoke to a Senate committee about getting vaccinated after growing up in an anti-vaccine home and after Facebook pledged to fight misinformation about vaccinations.

Six days after the Oregon boy got the cut, according to the CDC report, he had "episodes of crying, jaw clenching, and involuntary upper extremity muscle spasms," then had arching in his back and neck as well as more spasms. Once he had difficulty breathing, he was transported by air to a pediatric medical center, where he was diagnosed with tetanus, according to the CDC.

The report said the boy had jaw muscle spasms and could not open his mouth for water, requiring doctors to insert a tube in his trachea and a ventilator.

He was given a tetanus immune globulin as well as the diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine, and then taken to the pediatric intensive care unit to be treated in a darkened room with ear plugs and minimal stimulation due to his spasms, according to the report. He also had his wound cleaned and treated again, the CDC said.

The report said after 47 days in the ICU, the boy spent another 10 days in an intermediate care unit, where he was able to walk 20 feet with assistance and have his tracheostomy removed.

He was eventually transferred to a rehabilitation center for 17 days, and one month after rehabilitation was able to go back to normal activities, according to the report.

The family's total charges for the hospital stay were $811,929, not including air transportation, rehabilitation and follow-up costs, per the report, which noted the average pediatric hospitalization in the U.S. in 2012 cost $11,143.

Use of tetanus vaccines and tetanus immune globulin had led to a 95 percent decrease in tetanus cases and 99 percent decrease in tetanus-related deaths since the 1940s, according to the CDC, which recommends that children receive the DTaP vaccine at ages, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and then at 4-6 years old, and that adults receive tetanus and diphtheria (Td) boosters every 10 years.

The Oregon family ultimately decided against a follow-up DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccination "and any other recommended immunizations" for the boy after his recovery from tetanus, according to the report.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar082019

'I came very, very close to leaving the Earth': Whoopi Goldberg opens up on 'The View' about pneumonia battle

Lou Rocco/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Whoopi Goldberg, co-host of The View, opened up Friday about her extended absence from the show in a videotaped message played for the audience in which she revealed a battle with pneumonia.

"I am here; I am up and moving around," said Goldberg in the message. "Not as fast as I'd like to be, but I am OK. I'm not dead."

Goldberg, who last appeared on the show Feb. 5, said that she had been battling "septic pneumonia" in both lungs.

"I came very, very close to leaving the Earth," she said. "Good news: I didn't."

Pneumonia alone is a serious condition, and paired with sepsis, it can be life-threatening.

Sepsis is "a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body's response to an infection," according to the Mayo Clinic. "The body normally releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight an infection. Sepsis occurs when the body's response to these chemicals is out of balance, triggering changes that can damage multiple organ systems."

Goldberg thanked everyone for the well wishes sent to her during recovery.

"Ladies, I cannot wait to see y'all," Goldberg said. "This has been interesting, and I'll tell you all about it when we're all at the table."

Every episode of ABC's award-winning talk show The View is now available as a podcast! Listen and subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Spotify, Stitcher or the ABC News app.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar082019

'Unseen' work of motherhood captured in this blurry photo

Tolimir/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Much has be written about the "mental load" of motherhood: the never-ending to-do list, keeping track of everything like a spreadsheet with hundreds of tables open at once. An always-running narrative inside a mom's brain that focuses on the well-being of everyone else in her life.

Some think it's that invisible "mental load" that contributes to the stress and exhaustion of motherhood. But there's also work being done, very much in plain site, that goes unseen.

Brandy Ferner is a mom of two kids from southern California, and the host of the parenting podcast An Adult Conversation. She was out to lunch with a friend when she snapped a now-viral photo of a woman in a restaurant, taking care of her baby while her friends and family ate, laughed and generally had a grand old time.

"The mother was completely away from the table, bouncing the baby, touching the art on the wall, playing with a balloon. She was doing every last thing to entertain the baby. Not once did someone try to bring her back to the table."

In a Facebook post that's been shared around 37,000 times, Ferner wrote in part, "The entire time her family enjoyed their birthday celebration with food and drinks and lively conversation. No one stepped in to let HER enjoy being part of the group. This image is an accurate visual of the constant, UNSEEN care-taking of motherhood many moms do that leave us out of the group. Either no one noticed the subtle work she was doing, or no one wanted to give up their enjoyment to let her have a taste of it too."

Ferner told Good Morning America she was at the restaurant for three hours.

She went on to write, "And people wonder why postpartum depression, rage, and resentment are a common part of modern motherhood. ?? We don't just need better diagnosis and doctors to help new moms -- we need our families and friends to notice us, and to help bring us back to the table."

The comments on her post, Ferner told GMA, range from "wonderful" to "atrocious."

She said the comments that "the mom should ask for help" were especially frustrating. "The mom should ask? We should have to everything and then also ask for help?" she asked.

One of her followers commented "she could also be the person who picked the date, sent out an invite (or made the phone calls), bought the present(s) & balloon, made the reservation, arranged transportation for grandparents, and will send out the thank you cards; despite not being able to be *present* at the event that she created."

Ferner said that could very well be true. After all, it's the role of many moms.

She said the answer to why mothers bear the role of "default parent" the majority of the time is "nuanced."

"But to blame it on the mom, to blame the one who is already carrying the load, is not fair," she said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar082019

Yo-yo dieting linked to greater heart risks in women: Study

RapidEye/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly half of all Americans try losing weight each year. While some people succeed, many others will see their weight fluctuate, going down then back up again -- and sometimes even repeating the cycle -- in a pattern known as yo-yo dieting.

New research has found that women whose weight yo-yoed like this -- losing 10 pounds then regaining it at any point in their life -- were more likely to face heart risks than those whose weight remained stable. The study, from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center is slated to be presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association this week.

“The take-home message is that it’s possible that going up and down in weight might be worse than just remaining slightly overweight, but we don’t know that for sure quite yet,” Dr. Brooke Aggarwal, senior author of the study from Columbia University Medical Center, told ABC News.

For a long time now, fluctuations in weight have been linked to increased rates of heart disease. What’s unique to this study is its focus specifically on women and their diversity. Over half identified themselves as belonging to an ethnic minority group.

Aggarwal said that the reason yo-yo dieters seem to fare so poorly may be related to what’s known as the “repeated overshoot theory,” which suggests that every time a person regains weight, their cardiovascular risks increase to higher levels than they were before the person lost weight -- such as their blood pressure, heart rate, insulin resistance and cholesterol.

Other researchers have shown that yo-yo dieting may also reduce muscle mass and increase body fat, especially around vital organs in the abdomen. Studies have shown that higher levels of fat in the abdomen pose an increased cardiovascular risk.

Aggarwal said that this study really highlights the importance of making exercise and a healthy diet a lifestyle. That means incorporating healthy foods into one’s diet consistently over time until they become the main component, rather than participating in a fad diet, which is often temporary. That said, if you choose to try a fad diet, consider whether it’s something you can really sustain before committing to it.

The study included 485 women in New York who were part of a nationwide study looking at cardiovascular health. The women were asked in a survey to report changes in their weight over their adult life. Over 70 percent of women reported yo-yo dieting at one point in their life, with the number of times it happened ranging between zero and 20.

Yo-yo dieters were 82 percent less likely to have optimal body weight and 65 percent less likely to have optimal cardiovascular health. Women who yo-yoed more tended to have poorer scores and the associations were stronger in women who had never been pregnant. The study did not ask women whether their weight loss was intentional and did not assess for eating disorders, which could influence their ability to maintain weight.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar082019

Kayla Itsines busts pregnancy myths, shares her go-to pregnancy workout

Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC(NEW YORK) -- To her more than 11 million followers on Instagram, Kayla Itsines is known for her hardcore workouts that deliver results.

The Australia-based BBG and SWEAT app founder is now pregnant with her first child, and as with any woman's pregnancy, her workouts have changed too.

"Prior to pregnancy, I was working out three to four times a week — high-intensity training. I was also doing walks five times a week and giving myself a break on the weekends," she told ABC News' Good Morning America. "Now I am doing one to two sessions, sometimes three, of low-intensity training. I’m also just doing a lot of walking, resting [and] relaxing."

Itsines, who is in her third trimester, also wants women to know that just like other women at certain times of their pregnancy, she also experienced the inability to exercise.

"I think that [women] see my workouts now and are like, ‘Oh she must have worked out the whole time,’ but that’s not necessarily true," Itsines said, explaining that feeling sick prevented her from working out until about 18 weeks into her pregnancy. "Now in the 20ish weeks I’m feeling much better so I’m able to work out."

"I’m not pushing myself, I’m not striving to set personal bests," she said.

Itsines has been open about her pregnancy with her followers and hopes that sharing her workouts gives women an idea of what an active pregnancy can look like.

"Active pregnancies are not new but they definitely are new to social media," she said. "Having someone work out with weights on social media — that definitely can be different — but I think now, after 10 weeks of them seeing me workout, I think they’re feeling more comfortable and they’re now realizing these are pregnancy-safe workouts."

Itsines is working with a health care professional to design her pregnancy workouts. When asked about the possibility of releasing a pregnancy workout program in the future, Itsines said she is exploring that and her fans must "wait and see."

"I feel like now that I am pregnant, women are looking at me and thinking, ‘She’s doing it. She’s going through it.’ And there’s more of a respect there from everyone. I really feel that," she said. "I really feel this warmth and I really feel this sense of community."

Kayla's top five pregnancy workout tips

1. Just do what you can: "I’m not pushing myself, I’m not striving to set personal bests. I’m honestly just working out so I feel good and have a clean mind. It actually makes me feel great and sleep better."

2. Don't feel pressured to work out: "Right now I’m providing pregnancy-safe workouts, but that’s if you’re able to do them. Don’t feel the pressure that you feel like you need to work out. If your doctor has told you to rest, if your doctor has told you to relax, that’s important for you to do as well."

3. Listen to your doctor: "It is so important to work with your doctor, prior to your pregnancy, if you’re trying to get pregnant, and during your pregnancy when you’re trying to work out. There are so many opinions out there so you have to work closely with your doctor. You have to work with your body as well and what feels right for you."

4. Focus on preparing your body for the baby: "There are a lot of benefits if you’re able to work out. Things like walking to clear your mind, working on postural exercises, the sort of things [where] you’re prepping your body for the baby, rather than not doing anything at all."

5. Don't fear exercise: "I think a lot of women are scared. I’m able to show women that an active pregnancy is okay."

Kayla's five-move pregnancy workout

"This upper- and lower-body pregnancy workout incorporates five exercises to help maintain strength and fitness. It is designed to be completed wherever is most convenient, whether that’s at home, the park or the gym," she said.

"The aim of the workout is not to go as fast as you can but to complete every exercise with quality repetitions in a full range of motion," Itsines noted.

"Remember pregnancy is not a time to set any personal bests, also, if you are a beginner, remember to start slow. Every pregnancy is unique, so ensure that you check with your health care professional prior to working out," she said.

Equipment:
1. Exercise mat
2. Bench (or use a chair if working out at home).
3. Dumbbells (around 10 pounds; use soup cans or alternate items for weights if working out at home).

Exercise 1: Sit squat

This exercise is great for strengthening your quads and glutes (using a bench for added stability and to help assist in the movement pattern).

Place a bench (or chair) horizontally behind you. Plant both feet on the floor hip-width apart.

Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until you are able to sit on the bench behind you, ensuring that your back remains within a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips. Lean back slightly to sit up tall.

Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to the starting position.

Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Exercise 2: Bent-over row

This exercise can help to maintain good posture, which is beneficial in pregnancy.

Holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing inwards), plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. While maintaining a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward from your hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor. Extend your arms directly below your chest.

This is your starting position.

Inhale.

Exhale. Bend your elbows to lift the dumbbells in toward your body, ensuring your elbows remain in close contact with the sides of your body. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.

Inhale. Extend your elbows to lower the dumbbells and return to the starting position.

Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Exercise 3: Curl and press

This exercise targets the biceps, triceps and shoulders, and is a great way to build muscular strength and endurance in the arms.

Holding a dumbbell in each hand in a neutral grip (palms facing inwards) with arms extended on either side of your body, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.

Inhale. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells in toward your chest, ensuring that your elbows remain in close contact with the sides of your body.

Exhale. Using the muscles in both your shoulders and arms, extend your elbows and press dumbbells up above your head, ensuring that arms are in line with your ears on either side of your head.

Inhale. Lower the dumbbells to shoulder height, then extend your elbows to return to the starting position.

Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Exercise 4: Bent-over reverse fly

This is another great exercise to help maintain posture, which could help to minimize aches and pains in the upper back during pregnancy.

Holding one dumbbell in each hand, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Hinge forward from your hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor. Bend your knees slightly and extend your arms to hold the dumbbells directly below your chest. This is your starting position.

Inhale.

Exhale. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells outward and upward from below your chest until they reach shoulder height. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.

Inhale. Gently lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Exercise 5: Front raise

Another simple shoulder strengthening exercise.

Holding one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) in front of your legs, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.

Inhale.

Exhale. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, gently raise the dumbbells forwards and up to chin height.

Inhale. Slowly lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Mar082019

Man walks into clinic thinking he has kidney stones, walks out with cancer diagnosis

Keith Alexander(FORT COLLINS, Colo.) -- Keith Alexander had been feeling sick for a few days before he finally decided to walk into an urgent care clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado. Little did he know he would walk out of that UCHealth facility a few hours later with a colon cancer diagnosis.

He half expected it to be kidneys stones again -- he had suffered from the affliction some 15 years earlier and the discomfort was similar. Maybe it was a urinary tract infection.

“To be quite honest, I wasn’t really feeling pain,” Alexander told ABC News, recalling the September 2018 visit. “But you know when you get that feeling, where you don’t feel that well?”

Alexander, 55, was on his way to work when he texted his wife and said he was swinging by the clinic. His wife voiced her concern and insisted on coming with him.

“She knows that I normally don’t ask to go to a doctor. I sort of ‘cowboy-up,’ if you will,” explained Alexander, adding that he very rarely misses work.

After walking through the front doors of the Urgent Care Harmony Campus, they put their name on the wait list. It was a fairly busy day at that location, the waiting room filled with “regulars” -- people suffering from the flu, nursing broken bones, breathing through their chest pains or clutching their stomachs with abdominal issues.

But that day, Alexander and his wife were invited back quickly and taken into another area of the clinic -- a room that’s entrance is closed off with a curtain. Alexander, a father of four, had just taken a seat on the edge of the bed when Dr. Michele Clingenpeel walked in.

“He presented with a few days worth of fever and discomfort in his right lower quadrant, and said he lost his appetite,” Clingenpeel told ABC News.

Clingenpeel gave Alexander a once-over and ordered a CT scan and blood work, as well as a few other tests. She too, expected it to be kidney stones, based upon Alexander’s explanation of his symptoms. Or maybe even atypical appendicitis.

“There’s a science behind medicine, but also an art -- a little nuance,” explained Clingenpeel, adding one of the perks of their specific clinic is that it has both a CT scanner and an ultrasound machine on campus.

“A lot of times we do these evaluations and it’s nothing, but we try to rule things out,” she said.

Minutes ticked by as the tests were sent off to be analyzed. Alexander and his wife waited patiently in their room, regularly checked on by the nursing staff. In another part of the clinic, Clingenpeel was picking up the phone to talk to the radiologist, calling with Alexander’s results.

After having not seen a soul for about 30 minutes, Alexander turned to his wife, seated on a chair beside the bed.

“This seems to be taking a little long,” he recalled telling her.

Right as that moment, Clingenpeel walked in and took a perch on the corner of his bed.

“Keith, I kind of have some bad news. I have to admit you to the hospital,” Alexander remembered her telling him.

“I can’t be admitted to the hospital. I have to go to work,” he told her.

The doctor paused.

“From everything I can tell and everything I can see, the diagnosis tells me you have colon cancer. And it’s spread,” she told him.

His wife’s jaw dropped.

“Are you sure? Are you sure?” his wife kept asking. She had lost her own mother to cancer and her mind immediately went to the worst-case scenario.

And despite hiding her emotions, Clingenpeel was shocked as well.

“I wasn’t expecting to find that. We sometimes get something that’s [going to be] the last thing you think about when you’re treating a patient,” said Clingenpeel. “But when you get that news for a patient, it kind of takes you back a little.”

In fact, Clingenpeel had only ever diagnosed three other incidents of cancer at that facility -- lymphoma, thyroid and pelvic.

Alexander, for his part, tried to be strong for his wife.

“I didn’t think, ‘Oh, poor me.’ I took it as, ‘What do we have to do to fight this? What is the plan of action? Let’s go execute it,’” Alexander said.

Clingenpeel spent the next several minutes explaining the mass on his colon and how it looked like it had metastasized to his liver. She suggested he check himself into a hospital that day because of a possible infection in his colon and because blood results showed he was anemic.

After answering all their questions, Clingenpeel gave both Alexander and his wife a hug -- a small gesture that Alexander never forgot, and intended to pay back one day. Before Alexander and his wife left the clinic room, one nurse even came in and got down one knee, taking Alexander’s hand.

“Do you mind if I say a prayer?” she asked him.

“Absolutely not. All prayers are welcome,” he told her with a smile.

After gathering their things, Alexander and his wife walked out to their car, where he immediately called his mom and stepfather to break the news.

“It was heart wrenching,” Alexander said, recalling his stepfather answering the phone. “I could hear my mom in the background asking ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong?’”

After the call, Alexander and his wife went home, packed a bag full of clothes and other personal items, and threw in an iPad for good measure before returning to UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital to be admitted for monitoring.

For the next several days, surgeons and other medical staff sent him through an army of tests, from MRIs and CT scans to additional blood tests and more. Alexander was on a constant dose of antibiotics to get the inflammation and infection down, and hopefully, bring his blood count up.

In 2015, the most recent year statistics are available, 140,000 new cases of colon cancer were reported, while 52,000 died of the disease, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention. The Atlanta-based research facility said it’s the second deadliest cancer that affects both men and women.

The medical team at UCHealth ultimately decided to operate on Alexander to remove the mass in his colon, and while he was under the knife, also took out 42 possibly infected lymph nodes, 35 of 42 which were later identified as infected.

After a few days of recovery, Alexander returned home to Wellington but started to feel pain. Severe pain, in fact.

“I kept telling [my wife] I would get through this but a few days after the surgery, she had woken up to check on me at 5 in the morning and I was curled on the floor,” he explained.

His wife wouldn’t hear any more of it. She ordered him to get in the car because they were going back to the emergency room. As it turned out, Alexander’s gall bladder had reacted negatively to everything he had been through in recent weeks, and had become so swollen it had to be removed.

Another surgery later, and Alexander was finally ready to start chemotherapy, the latter of which worked well -- it shrunk the lesions on his liver by half, allowing doctors to plan surgery to remove them on March 13. If all goes well, Alexander will technically be in remission, but will still need to be on “chemo maintenance,” meaning he will continue to take the cancer-fighting drug by pill form to ensure all microscopic cells are still being killed.

A year before all this started, Alexander’s doctor had recommended he schedule a colonoscopy, but he put it off. His blood work at the time was, according to his doctor, “outstanding,” so he figured it wouldn’t hurt to wait. It’s a lesson he learned too late, and wishes to impart upon others as March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

“A colonoscopy is a short period of time out of your life. It’s painless, it’s outpatient, it’s easy to go,” he said. “And it’s very possible that something could be caught in the early enough stages that it can save lives.”

It’s possible he even saved the lives of those in his circle. After his diagnosis and sharing his story with loved ones, he’s had an old boss, a few coworkers and two brothers-in-law get colonoscopies. From the test, his two brothers-in-law each found a cyst in the colon and a lump on a prostate, respectively.

According to the CDC, 67 percent of U.S. adults aged 50 to 75 were screened for colon cancer in 2016. That number is up from 66 percent two years prior.

Alexander is quick to applaud the staff at UCHealth, who he says contributed to his recovery via their care and kindness.

“The one thing I think is very important too is the care that you actually receive. It does wonders for your wellbeing and attitude. ... It’s not just what they do, but how they do their jobs,” said Alexander.

And as for that hug Alexander intends to pay back? He stopped by the clinic one day last year but unfortunately Clingenpeel wasn’t working that day. When she later heard he came to see her, she admitted she actually cried.

Alexander say’s he’ll try again. And again. And again. Until he gives her that hug.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio