Friday, February 25, 2011

Children’s Safety Is the Focus at KidSafe on March 19

Fauquier Health will host KidSafe — a health and safety event for children ages 4 to 11 — on Saturday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to noon at Highland School in Warrenton. In addition to fun activities, the event will provide important health and safety lessons that will last a lifetime.

Presentations at KidSafe will include:
• Safety at Home (Warrenton Pediatrics)
• Fire Safety (Warrenton Volunteer Fire Company)
• First Aid (Piedmont Pediatrics)
• Bike Safety (Warrenton Police Department)
• Gun Safety (Fauquier County Sheriff ’s Office)
• Body Safety for Kids (Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office and Fauquier County Social Services)

Self-Defense for Kids (Karate Sports Academy)
• Animal Safety (Fauquier SPCA)
• Weather Safety (Mike Eckert, from the National Weather Service)
• Safety with Electricity (Dominion Virginia Power)

Children will enjoy live music and have a chance to meet a drug detective dog, as well as some local heroes with the fire department and rescue squad. They will also be able to discover how well they wash their hands with the CSI Germ Glo investigators. Members of the Sheriff’s Office will be offering free child fingerprinting.

KidSafe is a community service sponsored by Fauquier Health, the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary and Highland School.

Register Early for a FREE Backpack!
The first 400 kids to register for KidSafe will receive a free backpack, thanks to a generous donation from the Fauquier Hospital Auxiliary. Call Fauquier Health Physician Referral at 540-316-3588 to register today, or go online at

Fauquier Hospital Among Top 10 in Virginia for Gastrointestinal Care in 2011

Fauquier Hospital has received an exemplary 5-Star rating for the quality of its gastrointestinal procedures and surgeries for the fourth year in a row (2008–2011) from HealthGrades, a leading independent health care ratings organization. Fauquier Hospital also achieved a 5-Star rating in the treatment of pancreatitis for the second year in a row (2010–2011). The recognition is based on the 13th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America study, which analyzes patient outcomes at virtually all of the nation’s hospitals.

Fauquier Hospital also achieved other notable HealthGrades recognitions and awards, including being ranked 10th in Virginia for gastrointestinal services and 5th in Virginia for gastrointestinal surgery in 2011.

In addition to a superb patient care staff, Fauquier Hospital is fortunate to have talented and dedicated physicians to provide first-class medical care for its patients.

Physicians specializing in gastroenterology include:
  • Paul Arnold, M.D.
  • Felice Banson, M.D.
  • Darren Baroni, M.D.
  • Scott Choi, M.D.
  • Edward Kim, M.D.
  • Jin Park, M.D.
  • Nina Phatak, M.D.
  • Douglas Price, M.D.
  • Jonathan Shurberg, M.D.

General surgeons who perform gastrointestinal surgery are:

  • Joseph Brown, M.D.
  • Cynthia Dougherty, M.D.
  • Joseph Farr, M.D.
  • Kenneth Henson, M.D.
  • G. Benjamin Wampler, M.D.
  • John Williams, M.D.

HealthGrades’ hospital ratings and awards reflect each hospital’s record of patient outcomes, based on mortality and complications. HealthGrades rates hospitals independently based on data that hospitals submit to the federal government. To learn more about gastrointestinal care at Fauquier Hospital, go to

If You Have Acid Reflux, Read This

Gastroenterologist Darren Baroni, M.D., describes a new procedure offered at Fauquier Hospital as “the next generation of testing” for people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). He
explains, “Most people who are diagnosed with acid reflux are given some medication and they get relief. But there are a few who don’t respond to medication, and we need to find out if they have
very severe acid reflux or if it’s something else. The answer to that question will determine how we treat the problem.”

Fauquier Hospital is the only hospital in the region to offer these two advanced tests for acid reflux symptoms: 24-hour esophageal pH-impedance monitoring and esophageal manometry.

Esophageal pH-Impedance Monitoring
This test measures and records the pH in your esophagus in order to determine whether you have GERD, also known as acid reflux or heartburn. Esophageal reflux is a condition in which stomach acid bubbles back up from the stomach and moves into the esophagus. This happens when a valve at the base of the esophagus doesn’t work as it should.

Frequent reflux can cause permanent damage to the esophagus. The impedance testing also measures how often stomach contents reflux into the lower esophagus. Even if the pH of the fluid is normal, other substances like bile and gastric enzymes can be detected. These substances can be just as damaging as acid, and before impedance testing was available, they weren’t able to be detected.

The combined pH and impedance testing involves having a small tube inserted into the esophagus. The patient wears monitoring equipment for 24 hours and pushes a button when he or she feels a reflux episode. The data is recorded and analyzed to determine whether there is an acid or strictly an enzyme/bile reflux problem.

Esophageal Manometry
This test is used to monitor the function of the valve that prevents reflux of gastric acid into the esophagus. It also tests the muscles of the esophagus and how they function. This test tells your doctor if your esophagus is able to move food to your stomach normally and, once it reaches the stomach, whether it backs up into the esophagus again.

The manometry test is commonly given to people who have:
• difficulty swallowing
• pain when swallowing
• heartburn
• chest pain

Tiny measuring ports measure the pressure of the muscles in the esophagus and the functionality of the valve when a small, flexible tube is inserted into the esophagus. Dr. Baroni says, “It may be that
the esophagus is registering no pressure, or that pressure is happening all at the same time, instead of in a wave. What we see will tell us what kind of treatment may be necessary. At Fauquier Hospital, we have high-resolution manometry that allows us to see — in real time and in great detail — how the esophagus is working.”

All Oatmeal Is Not Created Equal

Speaking of breakfast (see, here's an interesting story on what might seem like a healthy fast-food breakfast: .

We all know that fast-food burgers and fries are nutritional time bombs, but a bowl of oatmeal? Isn't oatmeal synonymous with healthy nutrition? Not always. It seems that McDonald's "bowl full of wholesome" oatmeal actually has as much sugar as a Snickers bar.

There's an easy solution, of course. Make your oatmeal at home -- it only takes five minutes -- and instead of adding lots of brown sugar, throw in some almonds, walnuts or berries. It's cheaper, and a lot better for you.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beautiful Weather Inspires Thoughts of ... Ticks

The weather has many of us thinking longingly of spring. It's only February, but we've seen enough sunshine lately to make us impatient to have winter behind us.

Spring brings many pleasures, but it's also the time of year that we have to start being aware of Lyme disease-carrying ticks. The prevalence of Lyme disease grows every year, and its effects can be long lasting. I came across a news story on a new study that might lend some new understanding to the disease and why it can become a chronic problem.

Click here to read the story: .

More About Lyme Disease

Deer ticks, when infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, can spread Lyme disease to humans. The
number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year has more than doubled since the early
1990s. Fauquier County faces a particularly high incidence of Lyme disease, compared to neighboring counties. Since 2003, Fauquier’s average number of new cases each year has been significantly higher than the averages of neighboring Rappahannock County or the entire state of Virginia.

Help protect your family by reducing your exposure to ticks. Here’s how to beat these sesame seed-sized bugs:

  • Don’t be a good host to ticks, which love overgrown areas and layers of dead leaves. If you have a yard, keep it trimmed and free of leaves and brush.

  • If you live near a wooded area, create a buffer between your lawn and nearby trees with wood chips or gravel, which can help contain ticks.

  • Wear long sleeves and pants when you’re in the woods or areas with lots of undergrowth.
    Use an insect repellent with 20 to 30 percent DEET, especially during May, June and July, when ticks are most active. Spray exposed skin and clothes.

  • Talk with your vet about how to protect your pets.

  • Other advice when you’re outdoors: Check your skin for ticks before you head inside. If you find one, don’t panic. If a tick has been attached to your skin for fewer than 24 hours, you have only a small risk of developing Lyme disease.

  • To remove an attached tick, use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. See your doctor if you develop a fever, headache, fatigue or a red, ring-like rash after a tick bite. These could be early signs of infection. Lyme disease can affect the joints and nervous system if it isn’t treated with antibiotics.
Tam Ly, M.D., Fauquier Health infectious diseases specialist, says Lyme disease testing is available and may be administered if there is evidence of the disease. Call 540-316-5940 for an appointment.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recipe for Weight-loss Success

It's February 22. How are those resolutions coming along?

Even if you haven't achieved your goal weight in the last seven weeks, no need to abandon those dreams of smaller jeans. Maybe it's just time to tweak your plan.

That's assuming of course that you had a plan.

Whether you need to make some small adjustments to continue with the success you've had already, or carry out a complete overhaul, Fauquier Health's Wellness Center can help.

The Wellness Center, at 419 Holiday Court in Warrenton, Suite 200, is not just another gym. The equipment and classes are great; it's a gorgeous facility. But it's the staff -- exercise physiologists, a nutritionist, diabetes educators and more -- who can individualize your experience and make this the year you meet your health goals.

The Wellness Center is running a special right now -- those visiting for the first time can get two weeks free to try out all the center has to offer. Call 540-316-2640 for details.

And as an additional bonus, I am going to share with you a recipe for high-protein pancakes you can try for a filling morning breakfast. Super quick, easy and very tasty. (I came across this recipe at, and have made them several times myself.)

1 egg (seperated in yolk and white)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
coconut oil or spray oil

Take the ingredients (except the oil and egg white) and throw in a blender to take some of the lumps out. You can add a little water to smooth it out. Whip the egg white and fold it into the batter. (This makes the pancakes nice and fluffy.) Pour on a griddle with a little oil so they don't stick, and flip when brown. This recipe makes about four pancakes, which are delicious with a little peanut butter spread on them, or some fruit-only spread.

It's a funny combination of ingredients, but the results are great. I promise, they'll stick with you until lunch.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Healthcare Communication a Two-Way Street

We all want our physicians and healthcare support staff to communicate with us -- about diagnoses, prescription side effects, next steps... But sometimes, as patients, we forget that communication works both ways.

A friend of mine was taken to the Fauquier Hospital Emergency Department the other day. She was in considerable pain and thought she might be having a heart attack. Upon arrival, she was whisked immediately to a treatment room and given all the appropriate tests. Early on, when relating her prescription history, she told the folks working the tests that she was taking beta blockers. One of the technicians confided that she was glad to know about the beta blockers because those drugs will affect tests on the heart.

A little later, while the ED physician was reviewing her test results, he suddenly looked at her with narrowed eyes. "Why are you sitting bolt upright like that? Are you in pain?"

In fact, she was. Like so many of us, she was trying to be brave. She was impressed that the doctor noticed her discomfort and she realized that the pain was not a sign of weakness. The change in pain level was information the doctor needed to assess her situation and make her feel better.

I committed the same mistake last week when I visited a physician about shoulder pain. When he performed the examination, I tried to tough it out as the shoulder was manipulated. As with the ED physician, my doctor read my face and saw the pain etched there. He used that information to diagnose my problem and recommend treatment.

I've leaned my lesson though. Next time I won't make it so hard on my doctor. I hope he is ready for my new brand of information-sharing; it might get loud.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Calendar of Events for Fauquier Hosptial

Wednesday, March 2
Herbal Integrative Therapies
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: Lecture with Dr. Joseph David, internist
Register: 540-316-3588

New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Monday, March 7
Your Childbirth Experience
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 7 to 9 p.m.
Details: 4 sessions; March 7, 14, 21, 28
Cost: $120
Register: 540-316-3588

Tuesday, March 8
AARP Driver Safety Program
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: Tuesday and Thursday, March 8 and 10 (must attend both days); 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Details: $12 members, $14 non-members

Wednesday, March 9
Breastfeeding Made Simple
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: noon to 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $30 (includes lunch)
Register: 540-316-3588

Thursday, March 10
Look Good…Feel Better
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Details: American Cancer Society-sponsored program
Register: 540-878-2136

Diabetes Support Group
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6 to 7 p.m.
Details: Diabetes and Depression presented by a mental health clinician
Register: 540-316-2652

Friday, March 12
First Aid/Adult/Infant & Child CPR/AED
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $65

Tuesday, March 15
Cancer Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Chestnut Room
When: 7 to 8 p.m.
Register: 540-878-2136

Wednesday, March 16
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Thursday, March 17
Baby Care Essentials
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Cost: $25

Joint Replacement
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore room
When: 6 p.m.
Details: Lecture with physicians from Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, March 19
Where: Highland School
When: 9 a.m. to noon
Cost: Free
Register: 540-316-3588

First Aid/Infant & Child CPR
Where: Fauquier Hospital SycamoreRoom
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $60
Register: 540-316-3588

Monday, March 21
Massage for Couples
Where: Fauquier Health Wellness Center
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $45
Register: 540-316-2640

Wednesday, March 23
Stroke, Dementia and Falls
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 7 p.m.
Details: Lecture with Kristen Williams, M.D., neurologist
Register: 540-316-3588

Saturday, March 26
Babysitter Training
Where: Fauquier Hospital Sycamore Room
When: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Cost: $40
Register: 540-316-3588

Wednesday, March 30
New Mom’s Support Group
Where: Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center
When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Details: Free

Monday, February 14, 2011

No Soda Policy Not Popular, But Healthier

Considering that I spend a lot of my time writing about health topics for Fauquier Hospital, I consider myself reasonably well educated on the most common health issues facing Americans. Not a day goes by that I don't come across the term "lifestyle disease." I am reminded constantly that the choices we make have an effect --sometimes a serious effect -- on our health and wellness.

As a participant in the hospital's Make One Change wellness program, I know that cutting out soft drinks is high up on the list for those who want to live healthier lives.

It was with this mindset that early this morning, a half hour or so before the middle and high school opening bells, I drove past a couple of teenagers apparently on their way back from 7-11. They each had a Big Gulp-sized drink that I assumed was full some kind of soft drink. It's probably a safe assumption. 7-11 doesn't serve ginseng tea in Big Gulp cups, does it?

My first instinct was to stop my car, march over to the pair and ask them why they were drinking 32 ounces of soda first thing in the morning. (This is the same instinct that makes me offer children I don't know coats and sweaters when they are inappropriately dressed at the bus stop. My children attempt to become invisible when I do these things.)

I restrained myself from accosting these children and satisfied myself by ranting out loud with the car windows rolled up.

Our household is a soda-free one, with very occasional exceptions for extra-special occasions. When my 14-year-old gets her hands on a bottle of pop, she makes it last a week. She loves the taste --who doesn't? But she knows that it holds absolutely no nutritional value -- and it doesn't even quench your thirst!

My older kids, after complaining for years about the no-soda policy, don't drink it either, even though, in college, they have escaped the long arm of Mom. (I do realize that our ban on soda doesn't make me a better mother, just a stubborn one.)

I found two recent articles about the hazards of drinking too many soft drinks. One piece is about diet soda, the other about energy drinks. Click below for some food for thought.

I'm still looking for an article to back up my stance on waiting for the bus with no coat on.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February is Heart Health Month

On Wednesday, February 23, Dr. Chirag Sandesara, cardiologist, will present a lecture entitled, A Healthy Heart: How to Take Care of it. The presentation will take place in Fauquier Hospital's Sycamore Room at 7 p.m. Register at 540-316-3588 or by going to
In recognition of Heart Health Month this February, here are some websites that focus on heart health.

The American Heart Association:

From U.S. News and World Report:

Heart Healthy Recipes

Practical ideas from Better Homes and Gardens