Heads Up for Winter

It's snow fun to slip-n-slideAs you and your friends or family head out to enjoy activities during the winter season, it’s important to use your head – or more specifically, protect it. That’s the message Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) trauma and critical care surgeon Rovinder (Bob) Sandhu, MD, with Surgical Specialists of the Lehigh Valley – Allentown, wants to share. “In my line of work, I care for patients who have suffered some type of catastrophic injury,” he says. “While we can help restore many people to ‘near normal’ after they’ve sustained a serious injury, one of the most troubling injuries we encounter is a head injury.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a head injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. In 2010 alone, 2.2 million people nationwide sought emergency care for TBI. This type of injury includes bumps, jolts or blows to the head or an injury that penetrates the skull. While TBI symptoms may eventually go away, this type of injury also may cause long-term damage, including memory or thinking impairment, personality change, or loss of vision or hearing.

Falling is the leading cause of head injuries. “Nationwide, falls are responsible for more than 40 percent of TBI emergencies, a rate of injury we also see here,” Sandhu says.

While falls are a year-round problem, during the winter you may encounter situations that put you at higher risk for a fall – and that’s where your advance awareness and preparation comes into play. Read More »

Check In: Could Your Child Have Diabetes?

Diabetes - Check It, Share ItRanita Kuryan, MD, helps families and children learn to live with diabetes, but it’s not easy news to share. “It’s hard to tell a 10- or 12-year-old child and his or her family that their child has diabetes,” Kuryan says. “Whether a child is diagnosed with type 1 or type 2, diabetes is a chronic condition that he or she must learn to manage for the long term.”

Ranita Kuryan, MD

Ranita Kuryan, MD
Pediatric endocrinology
Watch a video to learn more about her.

Kuryan, a board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric endocrinologist who practices at Pediatric Specialists of the Lehigh Valley, affiliated with the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, has noticed an increase in the number of diabetes diagnoses among children – an observation confirmed in published research. “Researchers with the ‘SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth’ study reported that the number of diabetes cases among children between 2001 and 2009 increased dramatically. They found a 21 percent increase in type 1 diabetes diagnoses and a 30.5 percent increase in type 2 diabetes diagnoses among children ages 0 through 19.”

It isn’t clear why the number of children with diabetes increased.  For type 1 diabetes, environmental factors are under investigation, including whether exposure to some viruses can trigger an immune system attack against insulin-producing cells. Vitamin D deficiency has also been hypothesized. To date, there is no conclusive evidence to support these theories. It has been suggested that the increase in type 2 diabetes in youth is a result of an increase in the frequency of obesity in pediatric populations.Obesity in youth has been increasing since the 1960s. Read More »

Talk to Your Doctor Before Pregnancy

Is your body ready for baby?When you’re thinking about starting or growing your family, you have many questions. Can we afford a child? Is our home large enough? Are we ready to be parents? Before you answer any of them, there’s one question women must answer first: Am I healthy enough to have a baby?

To get a definitive answer, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) obstetrician/gynecologist Patrick McIntyre, MD, with College Heights OBGYN Associates, advises you to see your doctor before pregnancy. “You may have a condition that could affect your health and the health of your baby,” he says. “By addressing the issue early, your doctor can help you minimize any risk you may have.”

Here are some things your doctor will talk with you about to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible. Read More »

Urinary Puzzles: Minding Your Child’s ‘Pees’ and ‘Qs’

Urine for a SurpriseIf you’ve ever taken a child for a pediatric exam, it’s a sure thing that your child’s bathroom habits have come up in conversation. Routine elimination of urine and feces is a part of life, but if things aren’t going well in that world, then not much else matters until it’s resolved.

Pediatrician Becky Thomas-Creskoff, MD, with ABC Family Pediatricians–Trexlertown, knows how tricky it is to talk to children about sensitive topics. “Kids can feel embarrassed about toileting issues or concerns about genitalia development,” she says. “But it’s important to discuss and ask those related questions then children and their caregivers become more aware of their normal health and recognize when they need to seek medical care.” Read More »