Health Matters: New sleep research, health benefits of owning a dog, STDs continues to rise, breast cancer awareness

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(KMOX) — The most recent edition of Health Matters Presented by SSM Health provides KMOX listeners with an in-depth look at several hot button medical issues. 

One of the big topics discussed in this week's show is a new study showing how owning a dog may increase your lifespan.  SLU Care cardiologist Dr. Michael Lim at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital tells us exactly what this new research found.

We also talk about a new study that finds a lack of sleep could increase our risk for cancer and early death.  We get the details from Dr. Thomas Siler, a sleep medicine physician with SSM Health Sleep Services and Medical Director at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital - St. Charles.

Plus, we talk with a breast surgeon for SSM Health Medical Group — Dr. Aislinn Vaughan — about October being Breast Cancer Awareness month.

And our co-host — Dr. Fred Buckhold, a general internist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, explains why sexually transmitted diseases remain up in the St. Louis area and what needs to be done to address the issue.  

To listen to this weekend's show, click on the link below:

Health Matters Presented by SSM HealthOctober 13, 2019 at 2 p.m. on KMOX 1120 AM

  1. Dr. FRED BUCKHOLD, SLU Care general internist at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital. New national numbers find sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise. St. Louis is No. 1 for cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea. STDs can lead to more severe infections, can affect fertility and sterility, and lead to severe arthritis. Dr. Buckhold says simply reducing transmission is the key — use barrier protections if having sex, wear a condom every single time. Cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis continue to rise in Connecticut and Michigan. Do we need to worry about it here? Not so much, says Dr. Buckhold, but we do need to be concerned about other mosquito-borne viruses — like West Nile and St. Louis Encephalitis. Bernie Sanders's daughter-in-law died at an early age from neuroendocrine cancer — just two days after finding out she had it. What is neuroendocrine cancer? How rare is this? Can it be detected early? Most of the time unless it is very advanced it is treatable. A new study finds a link between good dental health and cardiac health. The more teeth you are missing, the higher your chance of a heart attack or a stroke. Why? Dr. Buckhold says the dental disease is caused by bacteria — which also affects the heart. And if you don't take care of your dental health, you are less likely to take care of your cardiac health and physical well-being. 
  2. Dr. AISLINN VAUGHAN, a breast surgeon with SSM Health Medical Group. Some new breast cancer screening guidelines are just out — bringing with them more confusion. The American Cancer Society is recommending all women talk to their physician at 40 to discuss when to start screening. And women should start yearly mammograms by age 45 and then switch to every other year at age 55. Dr. Vaughan disagrees. She says mammograms should start at 40 and women should get them every year. Those women, she says, have less chance of dying from breast cancer. Breast cancer surgeons and radiologists recommend annual mammograms starting at age 40. What is an average risk or high risk? What are the breast cancer risks to see when you should get a mammogram? Family history, breast density are big ones but you need to talk with your doctor first. Why no consensus? Where does insurance fit into all of this? How big of a deal are false positives? What is 3D mammography? How easy is it to get mammography? Dr. Vaughan says the MyChart app is a good way to schedule a mammogram and get the results at SSM Health facilities. 
  3. Dr. THOMAS SILER, a sleep medicine physician with SSM Health Sleep Services and Medical Director at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital - St. Charles. An American Heart Association study suggests an increased risk of cancer and early death for those who sleep less than six hours a day and have other health issues — like high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. How much sleep should we be getting? How much do we get? Dr. Siler says most people get less than seven hours, most of us should have around seven and a half and eight hours a day — but it is a very individual thing — some need more, some need less. Lack of sleep also increases your risk of obesity and hypertension. Also our appetite. Tips to get more sleep?  Limit your use of electronic devices in the bedroom — tablets, iPads, iPhones all emit blue light that disrupts our sleep — or promotes wakefulness. Professionals have the hardest problem getting enough sleep. Teenagers don't get enough sleep. Truck drivers, too. Dr. Siler says we need to make sleep a priority. Schedule a regular bedtime and a regular wake up time — if possible. Don't exercise right before bed. Try to avoid other stimulating activities before going to bed.   
  4. Dr. MICHAEL LIM, SLU Care cardiologist at SSM Health Saint Louis University. A new study finds there's a 24% drop in dying early if you own a dog. If you own a dog and have a heart attack, your risk of dying markedly goes down. People who walk their dogs tend to get 30 minutes of extra exercise than those who don't own a dog. Also, petting a dog can help reduce your blood pressure. Dr. Lim says one of the reasons why is due to companionship. Having a companion helps you lower your stress levels. Owning a dog makes your life more meaningful, Dr. Lim says. Owning a dog also helps improve your social life. Dr. Lim thinks this research also would apply to owning a cat, as well. Dr. Lim also explains what "know your numbers" means when it comes to reducing your heart attack risk. Blood pressure number, cholesterol count, blood sugar. What are the two blood pressure numbers — what do they represent? 120 over 80 or less — is that still ideal? What is LDL?  Also, know your BMI — based on your height and weight.

Health Matters presented by SSM Health is paid programming. KMOX does not necessarily share the viewpoints and/or opinions of paid programming.

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