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NCH Blog

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Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) employee wins Volunteer Achievement Award

Monday, May 21, 2018
Stephanie Chan Vo, Director of Guest Services at Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) has received the Illinois Secretary of State’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Volunteer Achievement Award

More than a pap smear: Why women over 50 still need an annual gynecologic exam

Friday, May 18, 2018

We asked Womancare at NCH’s Obstetrician and Gynecologist Randall Kahan, M.D. why it’s still important for women over 50 to schedule an annual gynecologic exam, and how WomanCare at NCH can help.

Can you multi-task better than your liver?

Friday, May 18, 2018

A multi-functional organ, the liver often is taken for granted by patients who don’t understand its importance until they experience some form of liver disease. We talked to two NCH specialists to gain a better understanding of why the liver is so important and the diagnostic technology now available at NCH.

Bunions, a real pain in the toe

Friday, May 18, 2018

Bunions, a protruding deformity on the big toe, can cause pain and suffering but surgery can help.

How opioids and alcohol affect seniors

Friday, May 18, 2018
A significant percentage of seniors struggle with alcohol or prescription medication use, according to Dr. Shalu Gugnani, M.D., Medical Director of Addiction Services at Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH).

Signs and symptoms of problematic substance use in the older adult can be subtle. Symptoms suggesting an underlying substance use disorder include depression, anxiety or sleep disturbance. 

“Sometimes people may look at a recently retired, aging relative and think, ‘Oh, they’re just depressed because they’re not working anymore, so they don’t have a sense of fulfillment, or they just lost their spouse.’ It is important to consider that there might be a substance use issue as well,” Dr. Gugnani says.

Sleep problems sometimes become more prevalent. Subtle signs should be communicated to a physician, alerting them to screen for a substance use disorder or other mental health condition.

Anxiety, depression, mood swings, and cognitive changes, like memory loss, are all signs that an average on-looker might attribute to normal aging. Other times, seniors have poor hygiene or may fall frequently. It is important to understand that there may be more than just age behind these symptoms.

Prescription misuse

Of those prescribed psychoactive substances, most commonly benzodiazepine, and opioids, it is estimated between 18 and 41 percent are misusing these medications in some way, according to Dr. Gugnani. Regardless of whether a patient’s misuse is intentional or not, it can be hazardous and put seniors at risk for injury or medical complications.

According to a recent National Institute of Health (NIH) supported study, benzodiazepine has been increasingly prescribed to seniors as a sedative or anti-anxiety medication, despite guidelines that caution of dangers.

“Today, there is a push to treat pain as the fifth vital sign,” says Dr. Gugnani. “We tend to go to the easiest mechanism to treat pain—opioids. This is appropriate in some settings, like in the management of acute or post-operative pain such as cancer or palliative care.”

Dr. Gugnani explains that we have to look at the long-term benefits and potential dangers of prescriptions and move forward in a slow, cautious manner.
 
“In terms of chronic pain, I think we need to look at what solution will do the least amount of harm and work forward in a step-wise manner,” Gugnani says. “If we do need opioids, proceed with caution in limited quantities, frequently checking in on the patient’s condition.”

Seniors and alcohol use

“Up to 16 percent of our senior population has an alcohol use disorder,” Dr. Gugnani says. 

In cases involving aging adults, alcohol use can impact other medical problems significantly.
According to the National Institute on Alcoholism Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as we age, we become more sensitive to alcohol and can feel the effects more quickly than when we were younger.

The NIAAA states, “healthy adults over age 65 who are healthy and do not take medications should not have more than three drinks a day or seven drinks in a week.”

A senior adult drinking more than this amount is at greater risk of serious alcohol problems.

There are two types of prevalent alcohol disorders:

Early onset drinkers who may have had issues w

Spring cleaning for your fridge...and you!

Friday, May 18, 2018

If you’re motivated to freshen up your home this spring, why not your eating habits? Your fridge is a good place to start. The benefits are improved nutrition and perhaps a few pounds lost in time for summer fun.

Medical Director joins Behavioral Health at Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) Medical Group is pleased to welcome Uzoma Okoli, M.D., who will be the new Medical Director of Behavioral Health at 901 W. Kirchhoff Rd.

Woman’s caring heart leads to advanced heart care at Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH)

Monday, May 14, 2018

A luncheon held on May 8 at the hospital celebrated the generosity of Palatine resident Martha “Marty” Atherton who donated $1 million to the NCH Foundation. Her gift will play an instrumental role as NCH establishes a state-of-the-art Structural Heart Program.

 

Two thirds of women who’ve been pregnant experience this muscle problem

Friday, May 11, 2018

Diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA) is a condition in which the two sides of the abdominal muscle separate. This can happen during the third trimester of pregnancy and it can be identified by a healthcare professional with a simple test.

 

Bundles of joy, bundles of cash for moms at Northwest Community Hospital

Friday, May 4, 2018

Nine families of babies born at Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) yesterday were surprised by the fact that in addition to their new bundles of joy, they got a big bundle of cash from Fifth Third Bank. 

Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) publishes 2017 Community Benefit Report

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) is proud to announce the release of the 2017 Community Benefit Report which details how the hospital has helped to care for patients and neighbors in the northwest suburbs.

Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) opens new location to serve Luther Village

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Responding to a need to serve older adults in the community, Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) will open an NCH Medical Group Physician Office inside the Lutheran Home at 800 West Oakton Street.

New technology at NCH protects the heart during radiation treatment

Monday, March 26, 2018
C-RAD Optical Surface Monitoring System is being used at Northwest Community Healthcare to help track a patient’s position before and during radiation therapy, aiding in setup and treatment accuracy. In particular, it helps reduce damage to the heart from radiation for patients with left-sided breast cancer.

NCH the first in Chicago area to use innovative, 3D neurosurgery technology

Monday, March 26, 2018
Neurosurgeons at NCH are utilizing new 3D tools and technology to perform brain and spinal procedures, improving safety and accuracy.

Could your menstrual pain be a sign of endometriosis?

Sunday, March 25, 2018
When are painful periods a sign of something more than typical menstrual pain and discomfort? Farah Alvi, M.D. of WomanCare, a Board-Certified Gynecologist and Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon, discusses endometriosis and why it’s important to see a specialist if you experience endometriosis symptoms.

Mother and baby skin-to-skin contact yields lasting benefits

Sunday, March 25, 2018
Skin-to-skin contact for a mother and her baby produces priceless moments and can help promote breastfeeding and regulate baby’s temperature and breathing. Julie Springer, M.D., an Obstetrician/Gynecologist with Northwest Women’s Consultants, explains how it works.

Living better…one healthy bite at a time

Sunday, March 25, 2018
This National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging everyone to "Go Further with Food" by eating healthy and finding ways to cut back on food waste. Get practical tips for you and your family along with a simple, healthy and hearty breakfast recipe.

The case for colonoscopies: Marge’s story

Sunday, March 25, 2018
On the fence about whether or not to get that colonoscopy? Don’t wait! Take it from Marge Koperny, who shares her story of colorectal cancer diagnosis, treatment and care from the experts at Northwest Community Healthcare this Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

New geriatric physician joins Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH)

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH) Medical Group is pleased to announce internal medicine and geriatric physician Jowella Pineda, M.D., who joined the 1538 North Arlington Heights Road practice, in Arlington Heights.

Heartburn? We've got you covered

Thursday, February 15, 2018
This heart-healthy and heartburn-prone recipe will have you seeing green, not firey red! Find out how to prepare a delicious pesto to be paired with your favorite vegetable pasta.
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