We had a fresh face in the studio for this week’s Fitness Friday. Josiah Hartley from LA Training was teaching Joy and Wayne some quick variations on tricep extensions. He showed how to do the very quick an easy exercise in different stances to add varying levels of difficulty.
The wet weather left Joy inside this week for Thursday’s segment of Gardening with Bob Bangs. To learn more about any of the topics discussed on this gardening segment, visit windsweptgardens.com. If you have a topic you’d like to see discussed with Bob Bangs, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Fernald of Brookings Smith was in the studio Wednesday for this week’s Senior Spotlight. This time, he spoke to Wayne about “who’s in charge” during funeral pre-planning, both before and after.
Gallstones: who is at risk of getting them and what can be done about it?
Gallstones and gallbladder issues are one of the most common and costly gastrointestinal diseases in this country. Over the past several decades we have seen an increase in the incidence of the disease. We have seen a sharp increase in the number of cholecystectomies (gallbladder removal surgery) since 1990 when the laparoscopic method was introduced (tiny incisions instead of a large one).
It is estimated that millions of Americans have gallstones or will get them. Depending on your ethnicity and gender you may have up to a 20% risk of developing gallstones (although it is about 10% for the general population). Other risk factors are age over 40 years, use of hormone treatment, obesity, history of multiple pregnancies, rapid weight loss (such as with crash diets or severely restrictive diets), family history, and inactivity. There are also certain medications which can make gallstone disease more common: hormone therapy, octreotide (a GI hormone not commonly used), clofibrate (a drug used for cholesterol treatment), ceftriaxone (an antibiotic commonly used in hospitals). Diseases which are associated with gallbladder disease include diabetes (mechanism not understood), cirrhosis, lipid disorders, spinal cord injury (because it causes a “lazy” gallbladder), and other gastrointestinal illnesses which may induce prolonged fasting or diet changes.
Gallbladder disease in females usually happens during the younger years (30′s-50′s) because this is when the estrogen and progesterone levels are the highest. This is one of the reasons why estrogen replacement therapy may cause a postmenopausal woman to develop gallbladder disease. In men, they are usually older because of the relative increase in those hormones as the testosterone level decreases.
Some of these risks you cannot do anything about. However, many of the risks are modifiable. A patient at risk of gallbladder disease can eat a healthy diet, exercise, keep their weight in the recommended range, and avoid certain hormone treatments. Other things that have been found to be protective are being on statins (a class of drugs used to control cholesterol levels), vitamin C, coffee, and eating vegetable and nuts proteins.
Many people with gallstones have no symptoms and so no treatment is recommended. They may know they have stones because they had a medical imaging study for some other reason and stones were seen as an incidental finding. Gallstones that are symptomatic will usually cause pain in the upper abdomen just under the chest and on the right after eating a fatty meal. This pain may even radiate around to the upper right back. It usually starts an hour or so after eating and may last for a few hours. A severe attack may last for many more hours and may even cause a gallbladder infection. In this case, the patient has usually sought medical attention because of the pain. Sometimes a stone may pass out of the gallbladder and travel into the common bile duct and cause a liver or pancreas problem. In that case, admission the hospital is usually indicated and often surgery is recommended.
Sometimes gallbladder disease can be confused with a heart attack, an ulcer, a back problem, muscle spasm, and kidney stones. A physician will take a careful history to try determining if these other diagnoses are likely or if further workup is needed.
Patients with gallstones often ask if there is a medication they can take to dissolve the stones. In fact there is one medication (ursodeoxycholic acid) available but it only works for certain stones and even then it doesn’t work well. Some studies suggest that certain patients may want to take this medication before undergoing planned rapid weight loss. Patients also ask if the stones can just be removed and the gallbladder left in place. This is not done because the gallbladder just makes more and this is an ineffective remedy that does not get rid of the pain. The gallstone is more just the sign of gallbladder disease but not the cause of it.
In summary, if you have gallstones you do not automatically need surgery. The most effective prevention is eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle. If you do need surgery, you can rest assured that it is a very common surgery and quite safe with a low rate of complications and usually a fast recovery time.
Marion Syversen was in for this week’s Finance is Fun to talk about back to school shopping.
Everyone is facing the same joy and dread of back to school and all the joys and hassles that accompany this time of transition. Here are some strategies for your family.
Bobbie Fowler was in from the Old Town Animal Orphanage with a furry friend for us to meet.
If you are interested in adopting a pet, the orphanage is open Monday through Friday 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
On Monday’s I Love My Pet, meet Ke-Ke and Hootchie Baby.
Ke-Ke and Hootchie Baby belongs to Irene in Parkman.
Ke-Ke was adopted and has been a joy to love.
Chief Deputy Troy Morton of the Penobscot Sheriff’s Office was in for this week’s Senior Watch, to talk about scams targeting seniors and some tips of how to prevent becoming a victim of these scams.
Songs about Maine workers will be ringing through the Pembroke library Wednesday, August 13th.
The library’s presenting Maine Song, a series of traditional songs of Maine’s fishermen, sailors, lumbermen and shore workers.
For this weeks Abby’s Kitchen Bytes, Abby Freethy, showed Wayne how to make a delicious strawberry cream tart. If you have any questions for Abby about this segment or you would like to know how to make the dish, you can email her at email@example.com.
Bob’s son Todd Bangs joined Wayne for this week’s gardening segment. To learn more about any of the topics discussed on this gardening segment, visit, windsweptgardens.com. If you have a topic you’d like to see discussed with Bob Bangs, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juanita Taylor of Dirigo Pines was in the studio on Wednesday for this week’s Senior Spotlight segment. She spoke to Wayne about Dirigo Pines’ new respite suites, designed to give loved ones the care they need from anywhere between 2-30 days while a family is on vacation or unavailable.