Review Category : Health

“Healthy Hearts” screening event on Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, give yourself a gift from the heart. Make a date to attend Beaufort Memorial Hospital’s free “Healthy Hearts” screening event Feb. 14 at the Beaufort Walmart. It could save your life.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States,” said BMH cardiologist Dr. Stuart Smalheiser. “Events like this help raise awareness of the problem.”

BMH will be offering a number of free health screenings during the event, including an electrocardiogram or EKG, a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart.

“An abnormal EKG raises the suspicion of underlying problems in someone without symptoms,” said Smalheiser, who will be interpreting the EKG readings at the wellness fair. “It can pick up heart rhythm problems and give us an idea of the structure and function of the heart.” The test, available to adults 18 and older, takes about five minutes and is painless.

“If we pick up on something, we’d need to do further testing,” Smalheiser said. “But we can triage the patient and help them before they have an event.”

Smalheiser is one of a team of Beaufort Memorial medical professionals who will be participating in the

event and available to answer health-related questions. The heart-focused program will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Valentine’s Day outside the Walmart at 350 Robert Smalls Pkwy. Screenings will be performed in Beaufort Memorial’s CHiP mobile wellness van. In addition to the EKG, participants can have their blood sugar tested for diabetes and their blood pressure checked for hypertension. Lipid profile cholesterol tests will be offered for $10. Those wanting to have the cholesterol test should fast for six hours prior to the screening. BMH staff also will be offering instruction on the six signs of stroke and Hands-Only CPR, intended for bystanders untrained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Uninsured Beaufort and Jasper County adults, ages 19 to 64, will have the opportunity to enroll in AccessHealth Lowcountry, a program designed to help patients find medical care with providers who offer free or reduced services.

“We’re very grateful to Walmart for providing us with the venue to host Healthy Hearts,” said Veronica Smalheiser, a BMH nurse practitioner and wife of Dr. Stuart Smalheiser. “This event will offer screenings that can help you assess your risk of heart disease and information on how to improve your health.”

BMH Cardiologist Stuart Smallheiser, MD with patient.

BMH Cardiologist Stuart Smallheiser, MD with patient.

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Nurse practitioner new to Beaufort

Bonnie Mohler, an experienced nurse practitioner specializing in gastroenterology, has joined Beaufort Memorial Lowcountry Medical Group. She will assist board-certified gastroenterologists Drs. John Crisologo and Richard Stewart, helping ease the demand for GI services in the greater Beaufort area.

Prior to joining the Lowcountry Medical Group, Mohler worked for five years in a gastroenterology office and three years in an internal medicine practice in Ohio. She also has served as an expert speaker on the topics of cirrhosis and inflammatory bowel disease for pharmaceutical companies.

A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, Mohler worked for eight years in the intensive care unit at two different Ohio hospitals. She went on to receive her master’s degree from the University of Akron, earning certification as a nurse practitioner in 2006. Along with gastroenterology, Lowcountry Medical Group, a practice of Beaufort Memorial Physicians Partners, includes specialists in primary care, gynecology, cardiology, oncology, neurology and orthopedics. It also offers outpatient imaging and lab services.

Lowcountry Medical Group is located at 300 Midtown Drive, adjacent to Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot. For more information on the practice, visit To schedule an appointment with Mohler or any of the other health care providers, call (843) 770-0404.

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Plug in to joy

By Martha O’Regan

Have you truly wrapped your brain around the fact that we are electromagnetic beings?  We are both electric (energy) and magnetic, yet we are humans, not robots or computers. Our left brain wants to know what it sees and see what it knows so we want to see ourselves as physical structures, we want to keep it simple because it’s what we know. While keeping it simple, let’s have a little fun with the electric aspect.

What are you plugged in to? Think of yourself as a rechargeable battery that, provided you got a good nights’ sleep, is fully charged to begin each day with. Imagine that you have wires that come off of you that are either sending or receiving energy, depending on what you are plugged into. Think about the people in your life that are ‘sucking the life out of you’ as well as the ones that are ‘charging you up’. Tune into how you regularly react—is frustration often draining you dry or do you get a boost from finding the good in most situations?  What about the fuel you put into your body?  Is your body using too much energy to digest large lunches or process multiple cups of coffee or are you nourishing it with healthy choices that are actually replenishing your resources?  Who are you choosing to listen to on a regular basis—are they feeding your soul or just filling your head with nonsensical data?  What about your thoughts—are they full of self-doubt, judgment, or worry? Or, are they thoughts of joy and gratitude for even the little things in life?

So, what circuits are you choosing?  Are any in ‘overload’ or just plain ‘blown’?  Do you hear yourself say ‘I am so tired’, ‘I am totally drained’ or ‘I just don’t have any energy’?  If so, tune into what you are plugged into and decide to ‘unplug’ from the non-essential circuits. Instead of allowing someone or something to pull energy from you, just visualize yourself pulling the plug and thinking ‘nope, I’m not going to plug into that today’. Then, stay grounded (pun intended)—don’t plug it back in. Instead, take a breath and think about plugging into something that cranks up your spirit or brings you joy.

As electromagnetic beings, we are designed to recharge from the earth’s electromagnetic fields. Science now tells us that due to ‘advancements’ of shoes, roads, cars, floors and second story bedrooms, we are not as ‘plugged in’ to the earth as the countless generations before us. We aren’t receiving the earth’s energy as efficiently as those who walked the planet in bare feet or slept on the ground for thousands of years. Additionally, we as a society have been made to fear the sun and dirt, taking us further away from natural resources that our body thrives on. With this knowledge, we are now being encouraged to ‘earth’, to take our shoes off and walk in the grass, dirt, sand or surf, or even hug a tree for 15-30 minutes a day to ‘re-charge’ our battery. Who would have thought the word earth would become a verb?   Through personal experience, I will say that it works. So, if you hear yourself say “I am so tired’ and it’s only 2 o’clock in the afternoon, take your shoes off and head outside. Walk or stand for as long your break will allow you, focusing on your breath and visualizing all of those little circuits disconnecting from the stressors or the day and connecting to the earth—try for at least 10 minutes, then resume your day. You may just be surprised—I know I was. Live Awake in JOY!

Martha O’Regan, is Your ‘B.E.S.T. Life’ Coach, supporting you in accessing your magic with the work of Bio Energetic Synchronization Technique and Vibrational Coaching. Contact 843-812-1328 or to discover just how easy it can be to create change in your life.

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Beaufort Memorial Hospital hires lactation consultant for its Birthing Center

Recognizing the health benefits of breast-feeding, Beaufort Memorial Hospital has hired a new, highly experienced lactation consultant for its Birthing Center to help new moms successfully nurse their babies. Pamela Ehret, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, will visit patients following delivery to coach them along through their first feedings, answer questions and help with any issues that may arise during their hospital stay. Once they’re home, nursing mothers can call her 24/7 on a “warm line” at (843) 441-4586.

“We don’t call it a ‘hot line’ because it doesn’t need to be an emergency to call,” Ehret said. “No question is too small.”

Prior to joining BMH, Ehret had been a physician trainer with the Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 2008, responsible for providing breast-feeding education to pediatricians and pediatric residents in Georgia.

From 1998 to 2011 she served as District Lactation Program coordinator for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), managing all breast-feeding activities for the Chatham County Health Department. During her tenure, she implemented a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program. As part of a grant awarded by the USDA, she hired, trained and supervised 10 breast-feeding peer counselors.

A licensed practical nurse (LPN), Ehret started her career as a staff nurse in the mother/baby unit of an Ohio hospital. In 1992, she was hired as a staff lactation consultant at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. She has been a frequent presenter at Georgia State Breastfeeding Committee biannual meetings and guest speaker at breast-feeding conferences throughout Georgia.

In addition to helping new moms at the BMH Birthing Center, Ehret will be teaching two prenatal breast-feeding classes for patients of Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists, the hospital’s OB-GYN practice. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast-feeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of solid foods until at least 12 months of age.

For more information on Beaufort Memorial’s Birthing Center services, visit or call (843) 522-5112.

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BMH issues guidelines and restricts visitation

Beaufort Memorial is experiencing a high volume of patients with serious respiratory and flu-related health issues, which has resulted in longer than normal wait times and a larger than usual number of patients to the hospital.

As a result, the hospital has issued guidelines to assist the community in identifying the right course of action in the case of illness. In addition, the hospital is restricting visitation for the immediate future.

“Adults who are experiencing flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sore throat and fever, will be encouraged not to visit patients in the hospital,” said Kevin Kremer, Beaufort Memorial Emergency Department Director. “We are now restricting visitors under 18, as well as asking the community to limit hospital visits to one visit per patient. We hope that these precautions will prevent further spread of the flu and other viruses, and better enable us to care for those patients who most need to be in the hospital at this time.”

However, all patients (including children) experiencing signs of the following should seek immediate care from the emergency department:

•    Difficulty breathing
•    Chest or abdomen pain
•    Dizziness
•    Confusion
•    Severe vomiting
•    Fever with a rash (children)

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Cosmetic surgeon to host free seminar

Dr. Audrey Klenke of Pinnacle Plastic Surgery, the area’s only female cosmetic surgeon, is kicking off the New Year by hosting free seminars throughout Beaufort County. “New Year Beauty Resolutions” will cover some of the most sought-after procedures including facelift, brow lift, eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty and laser resurfacing treatments.

The seminar will be offered in Beaufort on Thursday, January 22 at 5:00 p.m. in the third floor community classroom at Beaufort Medical Plaza, 989 Ribaut Road. Dr. Klenke, a member of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital medical staff, said she understands that even with all the proven benefits, cosmetic surgery can be intimidating. She hopes that anyone interested in learning more about both “tried and true” and new cosmetic procedures will take advantage of the seminar and the opportunity to ask questions.

The seminars are complimentary, but registration is required as space is limited. To RSVP for either seminar – or to learn more about Dr. Klenke and Pinnacle Plastic Surgery – call 843-815-6699 or visit the website at

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Return of the Reiki Clinic

By Chris Suddeth

Reiki clinic is returning quarterly in 2015 to Lady’s Island. This lovely holistic offering is a form of energy work that hales from Japan and is translated as Spirit-Guided Life-Force Energy.

I am honored and excited to be part of the Reiki Community sharing this offering. I first heard about the clinics during my Reiki infancy way back in 2009. Those blessed clinics molded the intuitive healer that I am today. We cannot heal until first healing ourselves. Those clinics formed the bonds of friendship and basis for healing that I am the beneficiary of today. The Reiki clinics gave many their first taste of energy healing and quite possibly the first transpersonal experiences of their lives. Then they faded away a few years ago as we ceded to the natural ebb and flow of life.

Now, thanks to the insight of Reiki Master Ashana Jones, the Reiki community is bringing back this lovely offering of healing and fellowship.

Reiki’s roots found fertile ground in Japan in the late 19th century. Reiki’s intelligent energy is now rooted in the sandy soil of Beaufort and growing along with the live oaks that bless our neck of the woods. Reiki, along with other forms of holistic healing, promises to make Beaufort the Lowcountry Asheville, NC in the near future. This was evidenced by the strong turn-out for Therafest this past October.

Reiki’s benefits include, but are not limited to, deep relaxation, accelerating the body’s natural healing ability, increasing mental focus, emotional releases, and even spiritual revelations. Granted, most won’t feel the pull to go on to put their hot healing hands on people other than loved ones, but Reiki is so much more. Reiki is the path to whole self-care that attracts many due to its relative simplicity to employ into everyday life once attuned. In its simplicity lies its beauty to empower individuals to cope with the curve balls, fast balls, and flop shots of life. It’s a life changer that produces results even after just one short session with a practitioner.

Reiki’s energy is unique in the energy work world in that, not only can it be shared as is the intention of the Lady’s Island Quarterly Reiki Clinic, but it can also be passed on by a properly trained Reiki Master you feel drawn to. Once this intelligent energy is “passed on” or attuned into the recipient, it’s theirs to do as little or as much with as they see fit.

Come experience this soothing energy in the locally available tool chest of holistic living. The Lady’s Island Reiki Clinic will be held at 9B Rue Du Bois quarterly beginning on January 25 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

Additional dates are April 25, July 26, and Oct. 25. Contact Ashana Jones 843-263-3148 or Chris (Sutty) Suddeth 843-263-2397 for more information. Donations are accepted and appreciated but not expected.

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What’s in your eye vitamins?

By Mark S. Siegel

Americans spend billions of dollars each year on vitamins, some of which are eye vitamins. But not all of these products have the ingredients and dosages that have been proven effective in clinical trials.

Researchers have analyzed popular eye vitamins to determine whether their formulas and claims are consistent with scientific findings. They found that some of the top-selling products do not contain identical ingredient dosages to eye vitamin formulas proven effective in clinical trials. In addition, the study found that claims made on the products’ promotional materials lack scientific evidence.

The leading cause of blindness among older adults in the United States is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A specific formula of nutritional supplements is recommended for AMD treatment when the disease is at certain stages. This is based on two landmark clinical trials known as AREDS and AREDS2. These studies found that high doses of antioxidants and zinc could slow the worsening of AMD in those who have intermediate AMD and those with advanced AMD in only one eye.

The first study included beta-carotene in its formula but, due to beta-carotene’s link to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers, this was replaced with related nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin. The two studies prompted a surge in sales of eye supplements that are marketed as containing the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas. To test whether the products are consistent with the studies’ findings, researchers compared the ingredients in 11 products from the five top-selling brands to the exact formulas proven effective by AREDS and AREDS2. They found that, while all of the products studied contained the ingredients from the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas:

•   Only four of the products had equivalent doses of AREDS or AREDS2 ingredients
•   Another four of the products contained lower doses of all the AREDS or AREDS2 ingredients
•   Four of the products also included additional vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts that are not part of the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas

All 11 of the products’ promotional materials contained claims that the supplements “support,” “protect,” “help” or “promote” vision and eye health, but none had statements specifying that nutritional supplements have only been proven effective in people with specific stages of AMD. There were also no statements clarifying that there is insufficient evidence to support the routine use of nutritional supplements for primary prevention of eye diseases such as AMD and cataracts.

People considering taking eye vitamins should talk with their ophthalmologist about whether these nutritional supplements are right for them. Those who are already taking eye vitamins should compare the ingredients with the AREDS and AREDS2 formulas, below.

•   Vitamin C – 500 mg
•   Vitamin E – 400 IU
•   Zinc (zinc oxide) – 80 mg
•   Copper (cupric oxide) – 2 mg
•   Beta-carotene – 15 mg

•   Vitamin C – 500 mg
•   Vitamin E – 400 IU
•   Zinc (zinc oxide) – 80 mg
•   Copper (cupric oxide) – 2 mg
•   Lutein – 10 mg
•   Zeaxathin – 2 mg

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TMD: A constant companion you’d be better off without

By Dr. Stephen Durham

Nearly one-third of people suffer from TMD — temporomandibular disorder. It’s a poor alignment of the jaw and the muscles around it.  Studies suggest TMD causes 92% of headaches, and as many as three quarters of us may have the disorder and not know it.

That’s because TMD comes masked in such a variety of pains and discomforts.  Neck aches, sleep disorders, poor posture, numbness in the shoulders and down the arms, dizziness, a ringing in the ears — even migraines — are just some of the symptoms of TMD.

Because it appears in so many different costumes, TMD is sometimes called “the great pretender.” The bad news is that treating the symptoms doesn’t address the real cause.  The good news, though, is that once we identify TMD, the solutions are as unique and individual as the patient.

We use a computer program to help us determine each person’s unique “ideal bite,” the alignment that relaxes neck and jaw muscles and makes teeth work efficiently.  A measuring technique called EMG shows exactly how each muscle is firing.  It’s based on the same technology doctors use to make an EKG.  With this graph the path of the bite becomes clear. We also make a scan called a CMS, and together these two tests show us how the muscles are working — 3D and in real time.

Creating “the ideal bite”

The muscles that pull the jaw shut are anchored throughout the neck and skull.  The path those muscles take is the key ingredient in both the cause and cure of TMD.

From the data we get in EMG and CMS images we record a model that shows your ideal bite, and we sculpt a comfortable orthotic – a guide that will bring the jaw to the right alignment.  We fit that guide and fine-tune it.

It begins with saying, “enough.”

In many cases people with TMD have been biting that way all their life — ever since their permanent teeth came in.  Discomfort and even pain have become routine for many folks. People tell us sometimes that they forgot it was possible to feel better.

So treatment for TMD is highly successful, but becoming aware of it presents the greatest difficulty for most people. Using a custom-built orthotic trains the bite and relaxes the muscles.  For many people it opens the door to a better quality of life.

At our practice we make that as easy as possible because of all the good that begins with bringing it to light.

Dr. Durham practices at Durham Dental at Town Center in Beaufort. For more information, visit or call 843.379.5400.

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Beaufort Memorial Hospital retains Pathway to Excellence designation

Beaufort Memorial Hospital once again has earned the prestigious Pathway to Excellence designation in recognition of its nurse-friendly work environment.

“It’s a really big deal to be a Pathway to Excellence hospital,” said Karen Carroll, Beaufort Memorial’s chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services. “It substantiates the professional satisfaction of nurses and identifies best places to work.”

BMH was the first South Carolina hospital to achieve the designation in 2011. To remain a Pathway to Excellence hospital, you have to reapply every three years. Only 119 hospitals in the country currently hold the Pathway to Excellence title.

Established in 2007 by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the national program was developed to improve both the quality of patient care and the professional satisfaction of nurses by improving the workplace environment.

“When nurses feel empowered, satisfied and engaged, they perform better,” Carroll said. “And it goes beyond just nurses. Many of the standards required to earn the designation affect all of our employees.”

In May, the hospital submitted a 1,860-page report to the ANCC, providing the organization with evidence BMH has continued to meet the 12 rigorous standards essential to creating a healthy workplace for nurses. As part of the extensive review process, nurses were asked to respond to a confidential online survey verifying the hospital follows the prescribed practices and policies.

To meet the requirements of the ANCC, 51 percent of all RNs and LPNs in the hospital had to complete the questionnaire. BMH had 73 percent participation. At least 75 percent of the responses had to be favorable to earn the Pathway to Excellence designation.

Earning the distinction — and maintaining it — is no small feat. It took a team effort to complete the lengthy application.

“Since we applied three years ago, they’ve tightened the standards and raised the bar,” said nurse Susie Roos, who spearheaded the reapplication effort for BMH. “They increased the amount of evidence we are required to provide them by 30 percent.”

Roos and her team spent months preparing the nearly 2,000-page report.

“Now that we’re on this pathway, it self-perpetuates,” Roos said. “This time around, we had a plethora of evidence.”

To learn more about Beaufort Memorial Hospital, visit For information on job opportunities, click the “Careers” tab.

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