Bringing Our Community Together

Category archive

Health - page 2

BMH LifeFit Wellness Services Director wins first Lifetime Achievement Award

in Health by

The South Carolina Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (SCACVPR) has awarded the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Mark Senn, senior director of LifeFit Wellness Services at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

“We created it with him in mind and named it the Mark Senn Lifetime Achievement Award to honor him for his dedication to the advancement of the profession,” said SCACVPR outgoing president Mark Clair. “He is the standard for everyone else to follow.”

One of the group’s longest-serving members, Senn helped draft the SCACVPR’s first set of bylaws in 1988 and has continued to serve on the leadership team during the last 30 years. He has been president of the organization twice and spearheaded a number of important initiatives. He also has served on the board of directors of the American Association of Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

The award was presented to Senn at the 28th Annual Symposium of the SCACVPR held in Columbia.

“It took me completely by surprise,” Senn said. “I knew the board had talked about creating a Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize folks who have made significant contributions to the organization, but I had no idea I was going to be the first recipient.”

A member of the Beaufort Memorial staff for 13 years, Senn has been instrumental in developing the hospital’s LifeFit Wellness Services and many of its programs, including Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab, the Diabetes Care Center, the Community Health Improvement Program, the Wellness Center and the Employee Health Department. In 2006, LifeFit Wellness Services won the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Innovation Award for the program’s unique and successful implementation of disease management through its LifeFit service line.

“I have a highly qualified staff and I appreciate the role they’ve played in accomplishing these things at the hospital,” said Senn. “I didn’t do this alone.”

Mark Senn
Mark Senn


in Health by

By Edward Blocker, MD

The word “fracture” itself is often misunderstood. It simply means broken. People often think it is used to describe a trivial break of a bone. I’ve often heard people say, “thank goodness it’s just fractured.” However, the word fracture is used to describe all levels of severity when a bone is broken.

Edward R. Blocker, MD
Edward R. Blocker, MD

When you think of a broken bone, the most common type that comes to mind is a break that occurs from a fall or a direct blow. That’s one type of fracture. In the old days we used the term “compound” fracture to describe a broken bone that was associated with a cut on the skin. Often this skin injury is caused from within by a jagged edge of broken bone. Today we use the term “open” or “closed” to describe whether the skin is intact or not.

Another type of break is an avulsion fracture. These can occur when a ligament or tendon attached to a bone is stressed so hard that it plucks off a small piece of bone that it is attached to.

A stress fracture is an entirely different type of broken bone. Rather than occurring in an instant, as from a fall, these breaks develop very slowly over time and are typically the result of repetitive stress. Most of us have bent a wire back and forth multiple times and know what happens. The wire will begin to develop a weak spot, you’ll sometimes notice a whitish area develop, and then it breaks.

This is the same principle as what happens in the case of a stress fracture of a bone. Certain bones are more prone to this than others. A good example is a long skinny bone in our feet. Every time we take a step, these bones are stressed back and forth like that wire and can sometimes develop a stress fracture.

Fortunately, our bones can generally stand up to normal, everyday repetitive stresses caused by walking. They can even become stronger over time to accept increased stress. However, if we suddenly increase the amount of repetitive stress, a stress fracture can develop. A good example of this is a new Marine recruit that lands on Parris Island and begins prolonged running and walking. Or someone that tries to become a marathon runner in a few weeks. This isn’t an excuse to not exercise, just a reason not to ramp up your exercise level too quickly.

Another potential cause of a stress fracture is if the bone itself becomes weaker and can no longer stand up to its usual stress level. A good example of this is osteoporosis. In this case, the person may not be walking any more than usual, but the bone becomes weaker and can no longer stand up to everyday walking.

In general, most broken bones that occur from a fall or direct blow take about 6 weeks to heal. A stress fracture can take several months and requires at least temporary elimination of the repetitive stress. The repetitive stress commonly has to do with increased speed or distance in walking or running. Occasionally we will see other causes. One of the more interesting examples I’m aware of was when someone who was a competitive skeet shooter developed a stress fracture in one of the small bones of his shoulder.

Good bone health is the best way to prevent any of these fractures. This starts with regular exercise, not smoking, and a diet that provides adequate amounts of vitamin D and calcium. Calcium and vitamin D supplements are not always necessary. The calcium from dairy products is absorbed and utilized more readily than the same amount of calcium in a pill. The role of vitamin D is to get the calcium we consume to be absorbed rather than just passing through. One of the best sources vitamin D is sunlight.

So go out for a walk on a sunny day and enjoy a bowl of ice cream.

Edward R. Blocker, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with Beaufort Memorial Orthopaedic Specialists. A graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Blocker completed his internship and residency at the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center and the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children – Greenville Unit. He has been practicing in Beaufort for the past 18 years.

Free Medical Clinic in Ridgeland to hold open house June 9th

in Health by

Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine will unveil their long-awaited Ridgeland medical clinic during an open house at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in Ridgeland at 11332 N. Jacob Smart Blvd. The Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine provides medical services free of charge to individuals who are without health insurance, live or work in Great Bluffton or Jasper County and qualify based on income.

“Currently, a third of our patients come from Jasper County and of that a large percentage are from Ridgeland,” said Pam Toney, executive director of the Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine. “Our patients find it difficult to get our Bluffton clinic, so this will help with transportation.”

The Ridgeland clinic has always been a part of the overall master plan. Planning began in December 2014, and has been a collaborative effort led by Lisa Hayes, a Liberty Fellow and part of the Aspen Institute. Together with community members in Jasper County and volunteers, Hayes worked out a strategic plan to facilitate the development of the Ridgeland clinic.

The Ridgeland clinic will initially offer primary care, but patients will also be able to receive gynecological services, cardiology, endocrinology, diabetic care, and nutrition at the Bluffton location.

Thanks to the Hilton Head, Beaufort and Sun City Lions Clubs, the Ridgeland clinic also will offer an ophthalmology exam room. Each Lions Club pledged $5,000 toward a project to completely outfit the eye exam room. The eye care services will be led by Dr. James Kondor and will be available to patients from the Bluffton-based clinic as well. The completion of the exam room and services plan to be available patients by the end of the summer.

“This is especially important for our diabetic patients because at the moment, we have nowhere to send them,” Toney said.

Toney said preparing the Ridgeland clinic has been a community effort affiliated with ACCESS Health of the Lowcountry Med-I-Assist and Pregnancy Center of the Lowcountry. Bluffton Jasper Volunteers in Medicine received a $77,500 grant for the clinic’s first year operation and remodeling from the Palmetto Electric Trust.

“This is a dream come true,” Toney said.

That beautiful still voice often tells me the things I don’t want to hear

in Awakenings/Contributors/Health by

By Susan Stone

There is a lovely Scripture that reads; “Be Still and Know that I am God.” It is my mother’s favorite quote from the Bible. For it is in the “stillness” that we hear a voice different from our own.

Recently a young man came to see me from Tennessee to go on his Vision Quest. Traditionally, a vision quest takes place in a natural setting. The Elders place the participant in an isolated area, surrounded by a twelve foot circle of salt (for protection). They may take a blanket and water with them, but no comforts of any kind. No pillow, no tobacco, no phone, no journal, no nothing. For three days there is only you and your surroundings. The participant does not know where the Elders are, only that they are safe and will be guarded during the quest.

Then the battle begins…the battle with EGO. It usually begins with; WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? THIS IS TOO HARD! I’M HUNGRY, I’M ITCHY, I NEED TO TALK! Did I mention you must also take a vow of silence? The whole point of going on a quest such as this, is to separate the voice that taunts you from the voice that guides you. If we cannot free ourselves from the tyranny of our egos, we are doomed to be bullied by it for the rest of our lives.

As long as I have been doing this work and teaching others to love the stillness, I still hear the voice that says; WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? YOU AREN’T SMART ENOUGH TO DO THAT. YOU SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THAT JOB. WHY CAN’T YOU BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE? The difference is that today I recognize that voice as ego and I tell it to go away. It does not tell me the Truth. It replays old tapes that I heard from others or told myself. It is the voice that used to rule my world. Not anymore. This getting control of your ego is tricky business, because both voices sound just like you!

The voice that guides me is smarter than me. It always comforts me. It never chides or insults me. That beautiful still voice very often tells me things I don’t want to hear. Like; forgive that person for she is hurting and needs your love. Or, when I think I can’t afford to be generous, I will hear; you can’t afford not to be. The voice of ego loves to make excuses. It will give you every reason in the world for not following through with that which is for your highest good.

Vision Quests, although they should never be attempted alone and unsupervised…a mini-quest is perfectly safe. If you are dealing with a persistent ego, you may give this a try. Set aside one hour to be still and silent. I recommend going into a windowless room, turn off all lights, lay or sit in one place for just one hour… in the darkness…alone…in complete silence. You will be amazed at how quickly your ego will start screaming at you! It will do everything in its power to convince you that you are crazy for even trying this. The tantrum it will have will be almost deafening. Don’t worry, it will calm down. And when it does…a bliss you have rarely known in your life will come over you like a soft wave. You will hear a different voice congratulating your courage, a soft voice that will bring you comfort and peace.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

in Health by

By Dr. Edward R. Blocker

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common malady that most people have heard of. However, I find that many patients will call any hand discomfort carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms of this condition are classically numbness and tingling of certain parts of the hand and fingers. Aching, sore knuckles are something else — most likely arthritis.

HEALTH - NEW COLUMNIST blocker_casual (2)
Dr. Edward R. Blocker

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by irritation of a specific nerve in our wrist called the median nerve. When this nerve is irritated, the symptoms that patients experience are usually described as numbness, tingling, or burning of the hand and fingers. Most of us will experience these symptoms at some time or another. If it occurs only occasionally and is temporary, it is usually nothing to worry about just as when your foot occasionally “goes to sleep” and resolves when you reposition it.

Because this is a problem with a specific nerve, the pattern of numbness and tingling will be very specific. Nerves are like electrical wires in your house. Your house wiring passes through a breaker panel. If you flip the breaker to your living room, only the living room lights go out. Similarly, our nerves provide sensation to specific parts of our body. In the case of our hand, the nerve that causes carpal tunnel syndrome (called the median nerve) provides sensation to our thumb, index, long, and half of our ring finger. This median nerve comes down our forearm and goes through a passage in our wrist before branching out into smaller nerves that go out to our thumb and these 3 ½ fingers.

This wrist “passage” is the carpal tunnel. Much like the breaker switch, when the nerve gets compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel, it will lead to numbness and tingling in these specific digits. While there are three main nerves that provide sensation to specific parts of our hand and fingers, only the median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel. It’s how we are wired.

When a patient comes in with these complaints, they will often say their “whole hand goes to sleep.” However, if you really pay attention to what part of your hand and digits go numb while it’s happening, a pattern will usually emerge.

Symptoms can occur day or night. Classically, daytime symptoms occur with almost any hand intensive activity: driving, writing, typing, reading a book, etc. Many are quick to blame their job but this is often simply a condition of life. It also frequently occurs at night, sometimes waking you from sleep. This usually occurs because your arms are bent under your pillow and wrist flexed. This can put a “kink” on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel. Straightening out your wrist will alleviate the symptoms. This is why sleeping in a wrist splint that holds your wrist in slight extension can help you sleep through the night.

Diagnosing carpal tunnel syndrome is usually straightforward. As you now know, asking which fingers go numb is usually telling. A simple exam of the hand during the office visit can then be confirmatory. There is an objective test called a nerve conduction study that can be performed as well. In general, most of us diagnose this condition through questioning and physical exam, and will only obtain the nerve test in those cases that do not resolve with simple treatment and require surgery.

As far as treatment options, if it bothers you mostly with typing, modification of your workstation can help. Another simple option is the splint I just mentioned. The splint rests the nerve from repetitive flexing and holds the wrist in a position that allows maximal volume in the carpal tunnel. Any drugstore carries them. I usually start by having the patient wear it at least at night. Other options include anti-inflammatories (if your doctor says you can take them), cortisone injection of the carpal tunnel, and surgery. Anti-inflammatories and injections can work by quieting down inflammation of the nerve and/or the area around the nerve.

Carpal tunnel surgery involves releasing a ligament that forms part of the wall of the carpal tunnel thereby relieving compression on the nerve. It is usually a quick procedure that can be done in under 10 minutes. Although it is a quick procedure, I stress to patients that there is a more lengthy recuperation time. Also, nerves are unpredictable as to when they decide to “wake up” after surgery. Sometimes patients feel better in the recovery room, sometimes it takes several days, sometimes weeks.

Fortunately, not every case of carpal tunnel syndrome requires surgery. Treatment is often decided based on the degree that the symptoms bother you and can usually start with simple options.

Edward R. Blocker, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with Beaufort Memorial Orthopaedic Specialists. A graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina, Dr. Blocker completed his internship and residency at the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center and the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children – Greenville Unit. He has been practicing in Beaufort for the past 18 years.

Paralyzed man to run in Port Royal Super Heroes 5K

in Health by

A highlight of the Super Heroes 5K run in Port Royal, on April 23rd will be the appearance of Adam Gorlitsky who has overcome paralysis from the waist down to compete in running competition. He was one of the first paralyzed persons in history to compete in the Cooper River Run on April 2nd.

The 29-year-old Gorlitsky will compete in the race using a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk. He was paralyzed in a car crash at 19 years of age. The exoskeleton system provides user-initiated mobility through the integration of a wearable brace support, a computer-based control system and motion sensors. The system allows independent, controlled walking while mimicking the natural gait patterns of the legs. ReWalk, developer of the system, is the only FDA cleared exoskeleton system in the U.S., with clearances for both personal use at home and in the community, as well as for the rehabilitation setting.

Proceeds from the 5K run will go to the Port Royal Elementary School 4th and 5th Grade Girls Run Club, which educates young female runners on the benefits of running. A portion of the proceeds also will go to the Child Abuse Prevention Association of Beaufort County (CAPA).

The April 23 race starts at 8 a.m., beginning and ending at Live Oaks Park, corner of 14th Street and London Avenue, according to McDuff. Pre-registration is available online until April 20 and also from 7 to 7:30 a.m. on race day. T-shirts are guaranteed to participants who register by April 15. Registration and packet pickup is from 4 to 6 p.m. April 22 at Port Royal Elementary School and on race day at Live Oaks Park, Port Royal from 7 to 7:30 a.m. Early discounted registration price is $20 adults and $15 for students. Registration is through; or on Facebook at  PresSuperHero5K.

“This is a dog friendly race,” McDuff said, “and race volunteers would be welcomed.”

Ease your mind with meditation: here’s how

in Awakenings/Contributors/Health by

By Brittney Hiller

What is meditation? Meditation has shown to reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and create ease in the practitioners’ life. Meditation is simply, a moment for you to create space in your life that will encourage and enhance awareness as well as creativity.

{Doesn’t that sound YUMMY?}

As a yoga teacher, I practice meditation in many different forms, from transcendental (which has been deeply studied by Dr. Herbert Benson and taught to students at Harvard University), to visualization meditation. Recently, I have had the pleasure of speaking with many students whom have wanted more meditation in their life.

Here is ONE quick way to jumpstart your meditation practice, TODAY – like, right now. {yup, now, now}

For two minutes (you have two minutes), turn off Facebook and Instagram or the TV and voila’ you have created two minutes. Now, comfortably sit upright, perhaps in a chair or on a pillow on the ground. If you find yourself at a desk, perfect! Face your computer and begin with this easy step.

Place your index finger to your thumb. Now we are going to rotate out our fingers with our thumb, therefore the rotation looks like so,

Thumb to Index finger

Thumb to Middle finger

Thumb to Ring finger

Thumb to Pinky.

You got it!

Now with this rotation we are beginning to empower the brain to think actively, which is GREAT for creativity! The fun begins here, where you can create a mantra, a repetitive and uplifting phrase such as

See how we have four places with our finger to put in four words, and then repeat? Awesome!

Create a mantra that suits you best.






{You’ve got it now}

With each rotation of your fingers, you place a word.

Breathe slowly and deeply with each round and give yourself 2 minutes to do this. As I often encourage, truly notice HOW you feel before and then after. It is a small gift for you today, but I hope you take the moment and ‘Treat yo’ Self!’

Kailos Genetics and Bluffton’s “Teal It’s Gone” to provide affordable hereditary cancer testing

in Health by

Kailos Genetics, a personalized medicine company offering leading-edge gene-based genetic testing, announced recently that they have entered into a partnership with Teal It’s Gone, a nonprofit organization focused on impacting ovarian and peritoneal cancer through genetic testing to provide reduced cost hereditary cancer screening.

“We want all people to have access to their health information so they can make more informed decisions. We view partnerships like this as an integral part of achieving that goal. As someone who has personally been impacted by genetic testing to identify hereditary cancer, I am especially excited to partner with Kailos Genetics to provide people with affordable genetic testing,” said Katie Maxell, founder, Teal It’s Gone. “Our complementary missions to improve patient health knowledge to positively impact outcomes will enable us to make a bigger impact in people’s lives.”

This agreement enables Kailos and Teal It’s Gone to increase awareness of genetic testing as a tool for early cancer detection and improved treatment options by giving patients access to the Kailos hereditary cancer screening test for as low as $125. This is substantially reduced from standard hereditary cancer screening tests which are offered for upwards of $500.

According to the National Cancer Institute, genetic mutations are thought to play a role in about 5 to 10 percent of all cancers. Identifying these risks early can lead to better outcomes through earlier and more informed treatment plans.

Vitamin see: foods rich in vitamin C may help slow cataracts

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel

What do grapefruit, broccoli and strawberries have in common?

They are foods loaded with vitamin C, which could help slow cataract progression, according to a British study.

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that happens naturally with age. The condition is the leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Researchers from King’s College London examined data from more than 1,000 pairs of female twins to see what factors may help keep cataracts at bay. They tracked intake of vitamin C and other nutrients from food and supplements. They also recorded how opaque the subjects’ lenses were at around age 60, with a follow-up on 324 sets of twins about 10 years later.

Women who reported consuming more vitamin C-rich foods had a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression over the decade, according to the study. Their lenses overall were more clear.

Although we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C. The researchers noted that the findings only pertain to vitamins consumed through food and not supplements.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. The fluid inside the eyeball is normally high in a compound similar to vitamin C, which helps prevent oxidation that results in a clouded lens. Scientists believe more vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present around the lens, providing extra protection.

Because the study was done in twins, the team was also able to calculate how much of a role genetics versus environmental factors play in cataract progression. While environmental factors, such as diet, accounted for 65 percent, genetic factors only accounted for 35, indicating that diet and lifestyle may outweigh genetics.

The study, “Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract“ will be published this June in Ophthalmology, the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

What we hear when we need to hear it

in Awakenings/Contributors/Health by

By Martha O’Regan

Even when you don’t realize you are searching for answers to life’s tough questions, sometimes answers appear in strange yet magical ways and wake you up. I have come to believe we all have an opportunity to ‘awaken’ to our purpose on the planet, yet too often life is so busy and noisy that we either miss the signs or misinterpret the messages.

Back in the day, not too very long ago, when I believed that I was ‘in charge’ of my life and that if I wanted something done, I had to do it myself, I put expectations on someone who didn’t come through for me on ‘my’ time, ultimately slowing down ‘my’ progress. My immediate reaction was anger along with a few words about incompetency and ‘ruining everything’ I was working towards! It was on a Friday and there was nothing I could do to ‘fix’ it, so I went home to take out my frustrations by playing in the dirt and pulling a few weeds. After calming down, I went inside to check my business voicemail, a message had come in about the time of my ‘upset’ that ultimately woke me up and continues to direct my life today.

A very robust female voice repeated ‘Clean House, Help Others, Trust God’ three times then hung up. The first was as a statement, the 2nd with a ‘duh, don’t you get it’ tone to it, and the 3rd was with the most joyful laughter I could ever imagine at the time. There was no caller ID or info from *69. I listened to it several times but because I was living in my ‘’I make things happen’ mentality, I wrote it off as an advertisement of some sort. As I shared the story with friends, I was surprised that no one else had received the same message. As days went on, I began to contemplate the meaning of this strange communication, settling on the literal interpretation because at the time, we were trying to get our home on the market, I was beginning a professional organizing business as an adjunct to my muscle therapy business, and seldom going to church…it made sense, I guess.

Fourteen years later, I continue to apply my ‘phone call from God’ to every aspect of my life including physical, spiritual, financial, political, environmental, emotional, and bio-chemical, continuing to find ways to simplify all areas (clean house), discovering ways to be in service (help others), trusting that there is a Divine plan unfolding (trust God), and realizing that I am not in charge after all….who knew?

Despite the great comfort and sometimes frustration in its simplicity, I have come to believe this message was not intended just for me but to be shared for others’ consideration. This timeless statement can be interpreted literally and/or figuratively depending on your personal circumstances as you move towards slowing down, taking care of your mind and body, while discovering your higher purpose in life. I continue to hear it from many perspectives depending on what I am seeking to learn in the moment.

As a culture, it is apparent we are going through a time of ‘cleaning house’, some due to external circumstances beyond our control and some by conscious choice, either way, we’re discovering that it feels better to release the attachments and all the associated ‘gunk’ than the pressure of trying to ‘hold on’ to it. It also appears we are becoming more compassionate, seeking ways to support efforts to be of service to those under-served in our community and beyond, not just through money but ‘hands on’ labor of love. And, regardless of specific affiliations with a church community, there is a sense that more folks are seeking comfort in a ‘Higher Power’ to show them the way through both good and difficult times, uniting us more deeply.

So, it is with great joy that I share my ‘phone call from God’ with hope that it serves a purpose for someone else. Live Awake….Have Fun!

Go to Top