Archive for the ‘Patient Education’ Category

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm – The Ticking Time Bomb

What do Albert Einstein, Lucille Ball, Conway Twitty, and George C. Scott all have in common? They each died from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An aneurysm is an enlargement of a blood vessel. The most common place for one to occur is in the abdominal aorta – the largest blood vessel in your body.

“Aortic aneurysm is a silent illness,” said Prairie Cardiologist, Dr. Raed Al-Dallow. Like a ticking time bomb, there are no symptoms until they rupture. According to Al-Dallow, its rupture is usually fatal.

AAA’s are twice as common in men as in women. Risk factors are having a first degree relative with an aneurysm, smoking, coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, and chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease. If you are a man or woman who has had a coronary artery bypass operation and you continue to smoke, your chance of having an AAA is nearly 20%.

AAA’s are easily identified with a simple, noninvasive ultrasound. If identified early, aneurysms can be followed and treated with very little risk. A single screening ultrasound in high risk individuals has been shown to reduce the chance of dying from an aneurysm by 70%.

“If you are at risk, don’t wait,” urges Al-Dallow. “Screening is the best way to find out.” With some very specific criteria, you may be eligible for a Medicare screening abdominal ultrasound at no cost to you.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Preventative Screening

Are you:
  • A man age 65-75 years of age who has smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your life?
  • A man or woman with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms?

If the answer is “yes” you should request a FREE Medicare® abdominal ultrasound AAA screening from your physician. There is no time limit to obtain this exam and there is no Part B deductible or coinsurance/copayment applied to this benefit.

Test Performed at
Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center
618.549.0721 ext 65282

Learn from Gordon’s Story

Diabetes and Joint Pain Linked?

Many people don’t know that having diabetes and joint pain can be linked. But a article shared a CDC finding which states: “Diabetes is associated with widespread symptoms and complications in your body. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 52 percent of people with arthritis also have diabetes. There is an undeniably strong link between the two conditions.”

Read about the different types of diabetes-related joint pain.

If you and your physician have explored your treatment options and have discussed surgery, Herrin Hospital’s Joint Camp offers hip and knee replacement.

Southern Illinois Healthcare offers the only Joint Commission accredited Joint Camp in southern Illinois, which combines surgical expertise, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago affiliated therapy and valuable education to give you a better experience and faster recovery when facing joint replacement surgery.

Learn more about Herrin Hospital’s Joint Camp

Flu: Protecting you and your family

Flu, or influenza, outbreaks can happen as early as October and as late as May, so now is the time to protect yourself and your family.

Dr. Adam Henson, a family practice physician with SIH Medical Group in West Frankfort, recommends the vaccine for anyone from the age of six months to end of life. The vaccine is available via the flu shot itself or a nasal spray (the spray is not recommended for children younger than two and adults older than 50). While last year’s flu vaccine was not as effective because of the way the virus changed, experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have much more confidence in this year’s vaccine, which has been updated to better match circulating viruses.

And, is it flu or not? Dr. Henson recommends against self-diagnosis. “See your doctor, because flu symptoms like fever, cough and muscle aches are often confused with the common cold.”

A quick test can determine your best, and fastest, course of treatment, and stop the spread of the disease in your home and community.

Demystifying Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiologists at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and Herrin Hospital provide a number of minimally invasive procedures that, over time, have replaced many open procedures. These minimally invasive procedures provide you with surgical solutions that offer less pain, fewer risks and reduced recovery time.

Interventional Radiologists are physicians that use their expertise in diagnostic imaging—such as reading x-rays, ultrasound and other medical images—to accurately guide their medical instruments through tight spaces throughout the body in order to treat a variety of health problems.

An example of one such minimally invasive procedure performed by interventional radiologists is renal cryoablation. If diagnosed with a kidney tumor, our IR physicians would use their skills to guide their instruments to the exact location of the tumor to simply freeze and destroy the tumor tissue. Typically patients have a shorter recovery time and a quicker return to normal activity than with traditional kidney tumor-removal surgery.

An interventional radiologist performed a renal cryoablation procedure on patient Robert Bordenave. Robert underwent his minimally invasive cryoablation procedure at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and was home by that evening. He was able to get back to his normal routine in just a few days.

“It was a quick outpatient procedure and the biopsy I had of the tumor came back as benign—and that was a big relief.” expressed Robert. “I was very impressed by the interventional radiologist before and after the surgery. Everyone who was on the team was very helpful.”

About his procedure, Robert added, “I would definitely choose this option again. I really think it’s a great procedure and I think others should be aware of this option.”

Interventional radiologists offer a number of other procedures including:

  • Angioplasty
  • Chemoembolization
  • Embolization
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Needle Biopsy
  • Port Placement
  • Stents
  • Tumor Ablation Therapies
  • Uterine Fibroid Embolization
  • Varicose Vein Treatment
  • Venous Access (Port, Hickman, PICC)

To learn more about our Interventional Radiology team and the conditions that they treat, visit Interventional Radiology or talk with your physician about a referral.

9 Concussion Signs and Illinois’ NEW Guidelines

Recently, Illinois passed a law titled Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act. This new law will go into effect after January 1, 2016. It mandates all Illinois schools to have a concussion oversight team that will develop a return to learn and return to play protocol. This affects all athletes that may sustain a concussion in their school sport, regardless of age.

According to the CDC, supporting a student recovering from a concussion requires a collaborative approach among school professionals, health care providers, and parents, as s/he may need accommodations during recovery.

Students who return to school after a concussion may need to:
  • Take rest breaks as needed
  • Spend fewer hours at school
  • Be given more time to take tests or complete assignments
  • Receive help with schoolwork
  • Reduce time spent on the computer, reading, or writing
Do You Know The Signs Of A Concussion?


It is normal for students to feel frustrated, sad, and even angry because they cannot return to recreation or sports right away, or cannot keep up with schoolwork. A student may also feel isolated from peers and social networks. Talk with the student about these issues and offer support and encouragement. As the student’s symptoms decrease, the extra help or support can be removed gradually.

Questions? Call Sportsology at 877.656.4999 or get more information at the Illinois Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act.

You can also find more information by viewing this PDF from the CDC.

6 Steps to Prevent a Fall

Every 13 seconds, an older adult is seen in an emergency department for a fall-related injury.

Many falls are preventable. Stay safe with these tips!

  • Find a good balance and exercise program

    Look to build balance, strength, and flexibility.

  • Talk to your health care provider

    Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling.
    Share your history of recent falls.

  • Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist

    Make sure side effects aren’t increasing your risk of falling. Take medications only as prescribed.

  • Get your vision and hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses

    Your eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet.

  • Keep your home safe

    Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe, and install grab bars in key areas.

  • Talk to your family members

    Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. Falls are not just a
    seniors’ issue.

To learn more, visit and 571-527-3900.

Chronic Disease Self Management Program

Southern Illinois Healthcare is pleased to offer a new chronic disease self management program, Take Charge of Your Health: Live Well, Be Well, that empowers individuals with chronic conditions to manage their own care and improve their quality of life. Every day, millions of people with chronic conditions across the United States, and here in Southern Illinois, struggle to manage their condition and the associated symptoms. Addressing chronic conditions requires new strategies to prevent or delay complications, improve function, and address the problems people experience in their day-to-day lives.

Take Charge of Your Health

Take Charge of Your Health is a workshop given once a week for six weeks in community settings such as senior centers, churches, clinics and hospitals. This program helps individuals with chronic conditions learn how to manage and improve their own health, while reducing their health care costs. The program focuses on problems that are common to those dealing with chronic health conditions and is designed to enhance regular treatment and disease specific education, such as cardiac rehabilitation or diabetes instruction.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as pain, fatigue, isolation and frustration
  • Physical activity for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Appropriate use of medications
  • Effective communication with family, friends and health professionals
  • Nutrition
  • Decision making and problem solving
  • Setting personal goals
  • Evaluating new treatments

Who Should Attend

  • Adults over the age of 18 living with a chronic health condition such as arthritis, heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and others
  • Caregivers of anyone with a chronic health condition

Southern Illinois Healthcare has teamed up with the Diabetes Today Resource Teams and other community partners throughout the lower 15 counties of southern Illinois to offer this program at convenient locations throughout the region. For more information or to find a workshop near you, contact the SIH Community Benefits department at 618.457.5200 extension 67837.

“I have received an amazing amount of information in just the first class. I would recommend this workshop to anyone, those just diagnosed or those that have had a chronic disease for many years,” said Lynn P., self management program participant.