Dr. Jake McMillin discussing patients with Computer Eye Strain resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic. He also relates how the pandemic is affecting children.Click Here to Watch the Full Video
Have you become less active during COVID? Since the onset of the pandemic, millions of Americans have become more sedentary. According to the American Psychological Association, 42 percent of adults have gained weight during COVID, at an average of 29 pounds. With 36.5 percent of Americans obese and another 32.5 percent overweight, additional “COVID weight” further increases the risk for heart disease, diabetes, joint pain and arthritis.
A recent study found that the biggest challenge for desk workers is the lack of physical activity. Long periods of sitting affects joint and spine health, flexibility, posture and mobility. As you sit, the hip muscles progressively tighten from being hinged for long periods of time. Exercising after work is not sufficient to relieve tight hips, an aching back and sore shoulders. It is essential to find ways to remain active throughout the day.
How to Increase Activity During the Work Day
Taking regular breaks throughout the day can prevent health problems from unnecessary eye strain to joint stiffness, and chronic pain in the shoulders and neck. More important than how you move is how often you move.
Here are ten ways to stay active during your workday, even if you have a desk job:
- Add steps to your commute—Get your body moving before the workday begins. Do you live close to your job? Try walking or riding your bike. If you take public transportation, get off at an earlier stop to walk a few extra blocks.
- Park far away from the door—Try parking at the top of the parking garage or finding a space that is farthest from the front door of the office.
- Sit on an exercise ball—An exercise ball is perfect for strengthening the core and the lower back. Sit in the ball during breaks, or use a headset and take calls while sitting on the ball.
- Choose an active commute—Try to get some exercise before your workday even begins. If you live close to work, walk or bike to your job. If you ride a subway or bus, try getting off at an earlier stop to walk a few extra blocks to work.
- Alternate sitting and standing—For every 30 minutes of sitting, stand for five minutes. It is even better if you can walk around during those five minutes.
- Take the stairs—When you have the choice of taking the elevator or the stairs, choose stairs. Let everyone else wait in line for the elevator while you get in some extra steps.
- Get a standing desk—There are so many options for standing desks and even treadmill desks. You can take conference calls or answer emails while moving your body.
- Elevate your feet—Do you feel heaviness in your legs and feet? Elevating your feet on a bench, ottoman or stool can be very helpful. You could even take a break, lie down and elevate your legs against the wall.
- Keep some fitness gear in your office—Consider keeping a fitness ball, resistance bands or even small, handheld weights in your office so you can do some strength training or stretching during a break.
- Join a fitness center near your work—Instead of eating lunch, grab your gym bag and do a mid-day workout.
Call Your Orthopedist to Treat Joint Pain
Staying active is essential for your physical and mental health. If you are experiencing chronic pain, there is an underlying cause. Your orthopedist may have some treatments to reduce your pain, or it may be time to discuss total joint replacement.
You don’t have to live with joint, back or neck pain. Call today to get relief.
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among people older than 55. In the United States, 20.5 million people have cataracts, which is about one in six Americans older than 40.
How Does a Cataract Form?
The eye is similar to a camera, and it uses a lens to focus. The lens is comprised of water and protein, arranged in a specific way to allow light to pass through it. A cataract forms when the proteins in the lens begin to clump together, and create cloudiness. This cloudiness is called a cataract, and it causes images to appear blurry or distorted.
What is Cataract Surgery?
Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States. The procedure is simple, virtually painless and usually has a rapid recovery time. A skilled surgeon will remove your cloudy lens during cataract surgery and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL) customized to your vision needs. Cataract surgery can often provide people with the best vision they have ever experienced. In fact, many patients comment after surgery that they wish they had chosen cataract surgery sooner.
What Type of IOL is Right for You?
There are many types of IOLs from which to choose:
- Monofocal lens — This lens is designed to provide sharp distance vision. Medicare and other insurance plans usually cover it. Glasses may still be necessary for reading, and in some cases, distance vision, especially if you have astigmatism.
- Astigmatism-correcting monofocal lens — Your surgeon may be able to correct your astigmatism as well as your cataracts during one simple procedure. With the advanced technology of astigmatism-correcting monofocal lenses, most people only need glasses for reading after surgery.
- Multifocal Lens — Imagine not needing to rely on corrective glasses anymore. Multifocal lenses can help you see both near and far, so you may have the luxury of being glasses-free after cataract surgery.
Although most insurance and Medicare only cover the cost of a monofocal lens, there are many factors to consider. For example, selecting a multifocal lens may reduce your dependence on glasses after surgery. When making your decision regarding the type of lens you prefer for your cataract procedure, compare the one-time cost of purchasing the multifocal lens with the cumulative cost of buying contacts or glasses for the rest of your life. You may find that a multifocal lens proves to be the most affordable choice.
Find an Ophthalmologist Near You
Are you interested in cataract surgery? You have many IOL choices that can help meet your vision needs. You may think you need to wait until your vision is significantly impaired, but recent studies cite many benefits of getting cataract surgery at a younger age. Therefore, you may not need to wait.
Your eye doctor can help you decide the best lens choice for you. Call today to schedule a consultation or a comprehensive eye exam.
Undergoing colorectal cancer (CRC) screenings starting at age 45 could be a new lease on life for millions of people in the United States.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on May 18 released its final recommendation to lower the colorectal screening age from 50 to 45, providing an opportunity for earlier detection and prevention of the disease. The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in disease prevention and evidence-based medicine.
“The incidence of colorectal cancer in 45-year-olds is the same as it was in 50-year-olds when the screening benefit for age 50 was implemented,” said John Popp Jr., MD, Medical Director for AMSURG. “Dropping the age to 45 may get those 50 and older screened earlier. We have found in our AMSURG data that the average age for initial screening is about 58.”
Increase in Cases
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates 104,270 new cases of colon cancer and 45,230 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed this year.
The number of colorectal cancer cases have been increasing since the mid-1980s in adults ages 20-39 and since the mid-1990s in adults ages 40-54, according to the ACS.
“In 2020, about 12 percent of all cases of CRC occurred in the under 50 year old population. Furthermore, patients diagnosed prior to age 50 were more likely to have advanced disease at diagnosis,” Popp noted.
The task force also recommends people ages 45 to 75 should undergo screenings, while individuals ages 76 to 85 should be screened based on the patient’s situation.
According to the USPSTF, “These recommendations apply to adults without symptoms and who do not have a personal history of colorectal polyps or a personal or family health history of genetic disorders that increase the risk of colorectal cancer.”
Colorectal cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed in the early stages. For screenings, the task force recommends direct visualization tests (colonoscopy) and stool-based tests.
Individuals with any abnormal stool-based test result must follow up with a colonoscopy to see whether they have cancer or polyps which might become cancer.
Colorectal cancer is preventable through routine colonoscopy, the gold standard for colon screenings.
“The best screening test is the one that gets done, but colonoscopy is the only test that can prevent CRC by removing premalignant polyps,” Popp said.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires both private insurers and Medicare to cover the costs of colorectal cancer screening tests, because these tests are recommended by the USPSTF. To avoid any confusion, contact your health insurance agent or employer’s human resources department.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The disease is expected to cause about 52,980 deaths this year, according to the ACS.
Avoiding delays in diagnosis is important, Popp said, noting that there could be 40 percent fewer deaths if the stage at diagnosis could shift from stage 4 to stage 3.
An increase in screenings and improved treatments through the years has led to more than 1.5 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States, according to the ACS.
Individuals beginning screenings at age 45 will help doctors to diagnose more cases earlier and possibly prevent colorectal cancer in many patients.
A person’s gastrointestinal tract is among the most essential structures in the body because it contains such critical organs as the esophagus, and stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, and intestines. Dysfunction in the digestive tract can affect the way the body is nourished and excretes waste. If you’ve been having digestive trouble or are noticing signs of gastrointestinal disease, it may be time to visit a gastrointestinal (GI) specialist. Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates is a dependable source for digestive health care and proudly serves patients throughout the New Orleans, LA region.
What does a gastroenterologist treat?
A gastroenterologist is a physician who specializes in treating diseases and conditions that impact the digestive tract and liver. A GI doctor helps support a person’s gastrointestinal wellness and provides care for GI concerns, like:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Fatty liver (hepatic steatosis)
- Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer
- Heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- Celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance
When to see a doctor for digestive problems
Most individuals experience minor GI issues at times. But when abdominal discomfort, difficulty swallowing, chronic heartburn, irregular bowel habits, or other symptoms persist, it’s essential to book a consultation with a gastroenterologist specialist for an evaluation. It’s also important to visit a GI doctor for preventive care and colon cancer screenings beginning as early as age 45.
How to identify a qualified gastroenterologist near me
Locating the right GI doctor for your needs may be challenging, but Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA is available to assist. We’ve provided some helpful tips on how to locate a gastroenterology physician near you.
- Seek a recommendation from your primary care practitioner. Because they’re your first line of defense for any health conditions you experience, your general medicine doctor is a great resource for local GI specialists.
- Ask your friends or family for suggestions. If someone in your life also has digestive conditions, they might guide you toward a reliable New Orleans, LA gastrointestinal specialist. Find out from your relatives and friends who they visit for their GI concerns as well as colon cancer screenings.
- Search your insurance carrier’s directory for an in-network gastroenterology physician. To help keep your health costs reasonable, search your insurance carrier’s system or call your insurance coverage representative for a directory of nearby gastrointestinal doctors.
- Check your GI specialist’s training. Before reserving an appointment with a gastroenterologist, make sure to do some investigation into their expertise and education. Learn where they acquired their education and how long they have been in practice. Additionally, research patient reviews to find out what others have to say about the care received from a specific GI physician.
- Book a consultation. When you have paired down your search substantially, call your selected gastroenterology physician and arrange a consultation. During your visit, pay attention to the way they communicate with you and how they make you feel. Choosing a doctor who focuses on your comfort and welfare can allow you to feel comfortable and more relaxed when receiving care.
Need to find a GI doctor in New Orleans, LA?
Working with an experienced GI physician can help you protect your gastrointestinal health and wellness. The physicians at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates maintain a patient-centered philosophy toward gastrointestinal health and are committed to providing you with outstanding service. For more information or to reserve a treatment consultation, please contact our New Orleans, LA gastroenterology practice.
Generally present in certain foods, like wheat, rye, barley, pasta, breakfast cereal, and other carb-rich products, gluten can be a prominent part of a person’s diet. However, for people with celiac disease, ingesting this protein can lead to serious medical concerns. The primary way to treat this condition is to remove gluten from the diet. If you believe you might be suffering from celiac disease, seek out a physician at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates to diagnose and care for your health. Our New Orleans, LA team can help you learn about your new diagnosis and help you adjust your life and dietary intake appropriately.
About celiac disease
Characterized as an autoimmune condition, celiac disease is a disorder where ingesting gluten may cause damage to the small intestine. Patients can have celiac disease no matter how old or young they are. Researchers estimate that close to two million individuals in this country have celiac disease and that around two-thirds of them are undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed. If left alone, this disorder may lead to significant digestive health problems.
What are the symptoms of celiac disease?
A patient who has celiac disease might notice any one or more of the following complications after consuming gluten:
- Tooth decay
- Pain, tingling, or numbness in the feet
- Loose bowel movements
- Fainting spells
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal swelling
When you or your loved one are noticing these typical celiac disease symptoms, it is important to contact our New Orleans, LA practice to schedule a consultation with a gastrointestinal (GI) physician. Receiving the best attention can help elevate your total well-being and your digestive health.
How is celiac disease detected?
As a gastrointestinal condition, celiac disease is commonly diagnosed by a gastroenterologist. Your GI doctor could perform one or both of the following two celiac disease tests to detect or rule out this illness:
- A tissue transglutaminase (tTG)-IgA test is a blood exam that is usually effective at detecting this illness.
- An HLA genetic test detects the HLA-DQ8 and HLA-DQ2 genes. Though this assessment won’t identify celiac disease, the absence of these genes in the test results can help to factor out the condition.
The second step in diagnosing celiac disease is to complete an upper endoscopy. Throughout this diagnostic procedure, your GI specialist will check your small intestine for any irregularities by placing a scope with a camera through your esophagus. Endoscopy is typically an easy procedure that is performed as an outpatient service at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates.
How is celiac disease taken care of?
Although it is a long-term health concern, celiac disease can be managed by consuming a diet of gluten-free foods. For many individuals who have celiac disease, eating a gluten-free diet can relieve symptoms or even promote the healing of the small intestine. Individuals who have the condition and adapt to gluten-free eating habits often observe improvements to their gastrointestinal tract after a few weeks. Isolating gluten from the diet could seem difficult in the beginning. But through the guidance of a knowledgeable dietitian and a GI doctor at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, individuals in New Orleans, LA who have celiac disease can transform their diet and go on to lead healthy lives.
Get help for celiac disease in New Orleans, LA
In the absence of proper care, having celiac disease could affect your total wellness and change the way you live your life. To discover more about celiac disease and to get expert help with this digestive illness, please reach out to Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA and schedule a consultation with our team.
Seeing blood in your stool is a frightening experience and might cause you to feel anxious about your digestive wellness. However, passing a bloody stool (called hematochezia) might not always signify a major health concern. A wide variety of conditions may result in having fresh or red blood in the stool. The gastrointestinal (GI) specialists at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates routinely provide care for this issue and can diagnose the source of bloody stools or rectal bleeding in adults and children throughout the New Orleans, LA area.
Do bloody stools mean that I have a GI problem?
Fresh or red blood in the stool indicates that bleeding has occurred somewhere within the digestive tract. Bleeding might happen in any area of the gastrointestinal tract, which starts at the esophagus and ends at the anus. In some cases, rectal bleeding or bloody stools in New Orleans, LA individuals might be a result of minor digestive problems that can be treated easily. But because blood in a bowel movement may also be a symptom of a variety of concerning GI diseases, it is extremely important to see a gastroenterologist right away to identify the source of this symptom.
What causes red blood in the stool?
Although a bloody bowel movement is sometimes totally a benign symptom, it could also indicate a more significant health condition that requires professional care. Bloody stool causes can include:
- Colon cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Anal fissures
When to see a doctor for bloody stools
Any instance of red blood in the stool or rectal bleeding should be evaluated by a GI doctor. Professional care should also be sought if heavy bleeding is noticed or when symptoms, like loose bowels, abdominal discomfort, lightheadedness, lethargy, or other concerns, also arise. The GI doctors at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates can carry out diagnostic procedures to learn at what point within the GI tract the bleeding is occurring. They can also determine bloody stool causes and recommend the appropriate treatment options. Routine procedures performed to examine the source of blood in the stool or rectal bleeding are:
- Stool analysis (fecal tests): These common laboratory tests can detect the presence of hidden (occult) blood in the stool, which could be a sign of cancer of the colon or additional gastrointestinal problems.
- Colonoscopy: Throughout a colonoscopy procedure, a long, flexible scope outfitted with a video camera is utilized to show a live view of the internal structures of the large intestine (colon). GI specialists can use this endoscopic process to visualize conditions within the colon or rectum that may be causing bloody stools or rectal bleeding. Polyps can often be excised during a colonoscopy. Removing colon polyps can decrease the future risk of colon cancer.
- Capsule endoscopy: With a capsule endoscopy, a tiny wireless camera encapsulated in a pill-like device is swallowed. The miniature camera takes and transmits a series of photos of the digestive system as it migrates through the upper gastrointestinal tract and into the small intestine.
- Upper endoscopy: This procedure, also called an upper GI, is conducted by placing a long tube-like camera through the oral cavity and into the digestive tract. An upper endoscopy can help doctors identify whether blood present in the stool might be originating from an issue associated with the throat, esophagus, or stomach, which comprise the upper portion of the GI system.
Get specialty care for GI Conditions in New Orleans, LA
GI health is highly important to your systemic wellness. Any time you notice blood in your stool or have rectal bleeding, it’s essential to consult with a GI physician to pinpoint its cause and help preserve your overall health. To arrange for a consultation with a skilled GI specialist, please contact Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates in New Orleans, LA today.
How to Prepare for A Colonoscopy at Our Office
When you get to a certain age, the topic of colonoscopy prep becomes something that people start discussing, either to warn you or commiserate with you.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but in most cases, it’s completely preventable thanks to routine colonoscopies. Americans age 45 years and older should receive routine screenings. We’re here to help answer your questions!
While it’s inconvenient to get ready for a colonoscopy, proper prep is well worth it so our trained specialists can more easily spot issues while they are treatable and before they have spread to other areas of the body.
Preparing for a colonoscopy
Emptying the colon is key for a successful procedure. If it’s done improperly, polyps and lesions may be missed, or the whole process may need to be rescheduled. Following prep protocol beforehand is crucial to a successful screening.
Outlined below, you will find some tips to consider and prepare for with our endoscopy center’s standard colonoscopy procedure.
Know before you go…Bring a friend!
You must bring a driver to take you home after the procedure, and they must remain on the premises of our center at all times. This makes them available for questions and allows our doctor to meet with them in the recovery room afterwards to explain results. All patients and their guest driver should plan to stay with us for around two hours.
One week before your procedure
Begin a low-fiber diet. Do not eat nuts, seeds, popcorn or corn. Discontinue fiber supplements including Metamucil, Citrucel, Benefiber, etc. Additionally, stop taking iron supplements.
The day before your procedure
Only eat clear liquids for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Water can get boring quickly, so make sure to stock up on a variety of liquids.
“Clear liquids” acceptable for consumption include:
- Soft Drinks (orange, lemon-lime, ginger ale)
- Gatorade and Kool-Aid
- Strained fruit juices WITHOUT PULP (apple, white grape, lemonade)
- Water, tea, and coffee (Note: No milk products can be added, including non-dairy creamer)
- Clear broth or bouillon
- Hard candies
- Jell-O and Popsicles (avoid red and purple flavors)
In addition to the “clear liquid” diet, a laxative procedure must be done the day before the exam. Please review the guidelines on this page for full information, which is based on the time of day of the procedure. It will require a trip to the store to pick up items.
During the laxative portion, make sure to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing and stay near the bathroom so you are prepared when the urge to go hits.
The day of your procedure
Same as the previous day, clear liquid foods only. Do not eat or drink anything five hours before the procedure.
After your procedure
After the procedure, you may experience a dry mouth or feel drowsy from the sedatives. Additionally, you may feel gassy due to the air that is put into the digestive tract during the endoscopic procedure. We recommend heading home, having a light meal, and taking a nap.
Schedule Your Colonoscopy at Gastrointestinal Specialists, PC & Endoscopy Center in Troy, Michigan
The best decision you can make is to educate yourself and your family about the importance of a colonoscopy. It truly may save your life! Our surgery centers and physicians are ready to serve you in-person with compassionate, quality care. Call us today at (248) 273-9930 or request an appointment online for a colonoscopy.
If colon cancer runs in your family, it could affect your colon cancer screening age – the age when you should begin getting screened for the disease.
How Family History Affects Colon Cancer
About one in every twenty-five adults will develop colon cancer, making it the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Most colon cancer develops independently, but five to ten percent of colon cancers have a genetic component. Therefore, family history is is a significant risk factor in developing colon cancer. If you have a first-degree relative who has had colon cancer, you should be screened at age 40 or ten years before he or she was diagnosed, whichever is earlier.
According to a new study examining adults aged 40 to 49, most cases of colon cancer could have been discovered earlier if patients were screened using family history-based screening guidelines.
Samir Gupta, MD, of the VA San Diego Healthcare System and the University of San Diego, and other researchers analyzed data on patients between the ages of 40 and 49. Among the patients, 2,473 had colon cancer and 772 did not. Dr. Gupta determined 25 percent of patients with colon cancer and 10 percent of patients without cancer qualified for earlier screening based on family history. Over 98 percent of patients with colon cancer who met the requirements should have gotten screened at a younger age than they were at cancer diagnosis.
“Our findings suggest that using family history-based criteria to identify individuals for earlier screening is justified and has promise for helping to identify individuals at risk for young-onset colorectal cancer,” explained Dr. Gupta. “We have an opportunity to improve early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer under age 50 if patients more consistently collect and share their family history of colorectal cancer, and healthcare providers more consistently elicit and act on family history” (Medical Xpress).
Your Colon Cancer Screening Age
If colon cancer runs in your family, talk to your gastroenterologist about your colon cancer screening age. Due to increased screening measures and compliance, colon cancer incidence among adults over 50 is declining. This is good news, indeed. However, young-onset colon cancer continues to rise. Recently, the American Cancer Society lowered its recommended age for baseline colon cancer screenings from 50 to 45 for all adults at average risk for colon cancer.
Many insurance companies will not cover colon cancer screening until 50, but talk to your doctor about getting tested anyway. Even if your insurance company does not cover the exam, it is worth your time and money if it prevents cancer.
Know the Symptoms of Colon Cancer
You are never too young for colon cancer, so it is essential to know the symptoms of the disease. Make an appointment with your gastroenterologist right away if you experience:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Changes in bowel habits
- Nausea or vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss
Boston Magazine has recognized Dr. Raj Devarajan, Dr. Mark Epstein, Dr. Gail Herzig, Dr. Benjamin Hyatt and Dr. Peter Krims as “Top Doctors” on their 2021 list. All five physicians were designated in both 2020 and 2021! Congratulations! Click here for the full article.