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The Top 5 Dangers of Dehydration

Posted on 07/08/2020 at 9:00 AM

Don't Ignore your Thirst

Image of a glass of ice water

The days are becoming warmer and as a result, many people are spending more time outside in the sun. When planning to be outside in the summer for a prolonged period, we often remember sunscreen and drink plenty of water before we go outside. Unfortunately, we tend to forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. This can lead to serious physical health issues as well as mental health issues.

Anyone can become dehydrated, especially when extremely active, engaging in intense exercise, or prolonged exposure to excessive heat. Young children and older adults are at a higher risk of the dangers of becoming dehydrated. In children, dehydration is typically a result of severe diarrhea and vomiting while older adults have a naturally lower volume of water in their bodies.

The Benefits of Drinking Water

Scientists estimate that our bodies are composed of about 60% water (with muscle being composed of about 80% water). According to an article on healthline.com, monitoring your fluid intake and staying hydrated has many proven physical and mental health benefits including:

  • A dramatic impact on our physical performance with noticeable effects observed with as little as 2% water loss
  • Helps moderate our temperature control, motivation, and fatigue level
  • Impact on energy levels and brain functionality (including memory)
  • Prevention and treatment of headaches
  • Helps treat Urinary (kidney) stones
  • Helps with weight loss
  • Electrolyte regulation and cell hydration

Symptoms of Dehydration

It is important to understand and be able to identify the symptoms of dehydration so that you may stay hydrated. The easiest and most common sign that you may be becoming dehydrated is if you start to feel thirsty.

Infants and young children both show signs of dehydration similarly. The signs of dehydration in this age group include having a dry mouth and tongue, lacking tears when crying, and the lack of a wet diaper for more than three hours.

In adults, the symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and fatigue. Both children and adults with clear urine are typically well hydrated.

Dangers of Dehydration

Dehydration can have very serious health implications including death. The negative effects of dehydration are many. Here are 5 Dangers of Dehydration:

1. Seizures

Many things can cause seizures. One common cause is the result of your body not getting enough of the electrolytes that it needs. Electrolytes help carry electrical signals from one cell to another and when your electrolytes are not properly balanced, your body may react with seizures.

2. Urinary and Kidney problems

Prolonged dehydration has been shown to contribute to many urinary problems. Some of these problems may include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney damage, and even kidney failure, according to an article by mayoclinic.org.

Kidney stones (renal calculi) can be extremely painful and are the result of minerals and salts forming inside the kidneys then binding together to form hard crystal-like stones. There are many types of kidney stones and, because they come in various sizes, may only be detectable by a CT scan.

Kidney stones are often the result of poor diet combined with excess body weight, prolonged exposure to extreme heat, and dehydration. Patients suffering from kidney stones are often encouraged to increase their water intake as a form of treatment. Increased hydration can help the stones pass more quickly.

Those who do not drink enough water are at higher risk of kidney stones. Staying hydrated is a great way to help prevent kidney stones.

3. Heat Injuries

Any medical professional will tell you that exercise is great for your mental and physical health. An active and healthy lifestyle helps your body fight diseases, keeps your heart healthy, and keeps your mind focused. Failure to drink enough water while vigorously exercising can cause everything from heat cramps to heat exhaustion and even heatstroke, which can be fatal.

4. Low Blood Volume Shock (Hypovolemic Shock)

When your body does not get enough water, it can cause low blood volume. Low blood volume can cause a drop in blood pressure and have an adverse effect on the amount of oxygen in your body. This life-threatening condition is the result of losing more than 20% of your body's blood or fluid supply.

If your heart does not have enough fluid, it cannot pump enough sufficient blood throughout the body. Left untreated, Hypovolemic shock can lead to organ failure.

Stay Hydrated, Stay Safe

In times of excessive exposure to the sun or rigorous exercise, a good rule-of-thumb is to drink fluids every 20 minutes. This may increase your urine output but will help to keep your body hydrated and functioning at its full potential. Another important time to stay hydrated is if you're sick and experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. 

National Men's Health Month

Posted on 06/17/2020 at 9:00 AM

June is National Men’s Health Month

With Father’s Day and the transition of Spring into Summer, men often find themselves becoming more active in June. This is great because National Men’s Health Month is a time for men and those who love them to focus on health issues that are often overlooked or altogether avoided by men.

If you’re a guy, pay attention. If you have a special guy in your life, now is the time to help him get/stay healthy.

Guys, Let’s Talk About Your Habits

Here’s some food for thought: on average, men die 5 years sooner than women, and rank higher in 9 out of 10 of the leading causes of death (including cardiovascular disease and suicide). Your health matters.

Humans are creatures of habit, both good and bad. Men, there has never been a better time to start (or reinforce) some healthy habits that will keep you at your prime for years to come. It’s time to consider the things you’ve been avoiding.

Do you eat a salad every day? Great!

Your snack of choice is a fruit? It should be!

Do you try to do a bit of cardio in the form of walking the dog, playing outside, and going on hikes or bike rides with the kids? Even better!

Those are great habits, and you should keep them up, but these are not the habits we’re talking about here. When was the last time you had a physical? Last year? A few years ago? Don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone. The unfortunate truth is that men are statistically far less likely to go to the doctor than women, especially if it is for an “embarrassing” procedure or problem.

You shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed, you should go get a physical. Your life could depend on it.

The Dangers of Skipping a Physical

Here’s a (not-so) fun fact for you: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in men with nearly 1 in 13 living with some form of cardiovascular disease and heart disease being the cause of 25% of all male deaths in the United States according to the CDC.

Illustration- 1 in 13 men live with cardiovascular disease Illustration- 1 in 13 men are living with cardiovascular disease

 “Half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.” – Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Why Men Need to Visit their Doctor Regularly

The CDC notes that the risk for heart disease can be greatly decreased with a healthy lifestyle, diet, and annual check-ups. You may be good at (or at least working at) your diet and getting more physically active, but the third recommendation is just as important. After a physical and maybe some blood work, a personalized plan be created between you and your physician to help you get and stay healthy.

Your medical professional is great at planning for heart health, disease prevention, and more. This kind of plan can help you to know your blood pressure, determine if testing for diabetes is needed, help you to know and understand your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and discuss mental health and great stress-relieving tips!

Doctors can also recommend very important, and often avoided, screening for cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in men and according to the American Cancer Society, starting at age 45 men should start regular prostate screening for cancer. In fact, as many as 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer so screening for early detection is important. A simple 3-5 second exam could save your life!

 

Now it’s Really Time to Man Up…

Let’s talk about colon cancer. According to the website stopcoloncancernow.com, 1 in 20 men will develop colon cancer. The good news is that it is very detectable thanks to colonoscopies. These procedures are extremely successful at screening for, diagnosing and treating (even stopping potential) colon cancer.

What You Need to Know About a Colonoscopy

Men generally don’t like the idea of a colonoscopy. Some feel it’s invasive and unnecessary while others just don’t understand it and are too embarrassed to ask. Here are 3 facts you need to know about the benefits of a colonoscopy.

  1. The exam is very thorough as it examines most of the colon from the rectum to the cecum and can detect a vast number of health issues that are usually not able to be detected by other means.
  2. A colonoscopy can detect and remove polyps. Polyps are usually benign masses that can potentially cause cancer, so early detection and removal through colonoscopy can save you a lot of time, pain, health problems, and money!
  3. A colonoscopy can detect internal bleeding called Gastrointestinal bleeding.

“Colorectal cancer almost always develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best.”- CDC

Get Healthy, Stay Healthy!

Your mental health matters too. As we mentioned earlier, men are more likely to complete suicide than women. The CDC states that 1 in 10 men are likely to experience some form of anxiety or depression. It's okay to seek help. Realizing you are experiencing depression isn't a weakness, it's a strength, and so is knowing when and how to ask for help.

Illustration- 1 in 10 men experience anxiety or depression1 in 10 men experience anxiety or depression

Get outside, go for a jog. Make it apart of your morning or evening routine. Download apps like Google Fit or get a Fitbit. What better month then National Men’s Health Month to kickstart the next healthy chapter in your life?

It all starts by setting up that appointment with your doctor that you have been putting off. Set up that annual visit, make a plan, and stick with it. Your family, friends, and body will thank you!

Enough with the Anti-Robot Rhetoric!

Posted on 04/09/2020 at 9:00 AM

The following is a letter to the editor of General Surgery News from our very own David Coster, MD, FACS, FASMBS. This letter has been reprinted here with the express consent of the author. The original letter can be found here.


As a surgeon and early adopter of robotic surgery some 10 years ago, I am having an increasing problem in tolerating the rhetoric of the invented controversy over “laparoscopic” versus robotic surgery. In our hospital, robotics is used around the clock and on weekends as needed. All OR staff know how to do the setup, and it is used judiciously for appropriate cases, of which we have now done thousands in general surgery.

"Robotic surgery “is” laparoscopic surgery, but with a better set of instruments. So what is the basis of any argument against using a better tool?"

The robot is a laparoscopic technology that allows the surgeon to control each instrument; there is no longer any need for a “camera operator” or an assistant to hold something. There is no reason to expect that robotic laparoscopic surgery would be any “better” than regular laparoscopic surgery in regard to the usual outcomes. It doesn’t have to be; it only has to be as good.

Where robotic surgery “is” better—and demonstrably so—is in cases that could otherwise not be done by minimally invasive techniques, that is, the most complex types of surgery that one could only hope to perform laparoscopically and those procedures that eventually are converted from regular laparoscopic to open because the laparoscopic technology does not offer the range necessary to complete the case successfully. Here there is a clear advantage to robotic surgery, but no one is bothering to talk about it. 

You cannot tell me that successfully avoiding open surgery is of no benefit to the patient. In my practice, I do a lot of complex procedures in patients who have had many other operations, and it is in this patient population that the robotic approach really shines. In addition, robotics offers advantages for the surgeon in every possible way: visibility, exposure, technique, ease of use and comfort for the operator. Since when does the surgeon experience not count as a “measurable outcome” for comparison? Being better for the surgeon is no small thing, as this has never occurred in the past with any new technologies. One can see things better, and often things that would have gone unnoticed with regular laparoscopy; one can manipulate better and perform the operation with more finesse and less tissue damage; one can be more certain of the quality of their work when using robotic technology.

Robotic laparoscopic surgery is still laparoscopic surgery, but with a better tool. It’s time for surgeons to stop setting the bar at whether or not patient outcomes are better, as all they have to be is the same. Why? Because the process for the surgeon, for once, is better. No longer does one have to suffer to complete a laparoscopic operation; rather, it can be completed with ease, aplomb and a certainty of perfection that was previously not possible.

"Those who think robotic surgery is going to go away are wrong." 

Many of us do nearly all of our procedures these days robotically, and we have a much nicer day as a result. The costs will go down as the approach becomes the norm, as it inevitably will. As with the controversy of laparoscopy versus open surgery in the 80s and 90s, this controversy of laparoscopy versus robotic laparoscopy is tied to the fear of being left behind. I would suggest a healthier approach to robotics is simply to add it to your skill set so you have it when you need it for difficult cases where such technology is not just a perk but a requirement.

David Coster, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Grinnell, Iowa

Wash the (Freaking) Bottles!

Posted on 03/20/2020 at 10:00 AM

This entry is from a new series of blogs by our very own OB/GYN, Dr. Elizabeth Tigges. In this series, we explore the adventures (and misadventures) that mothers share from the perspective of a mom and OB/GYN.

This series was originally posted to her personal blog, "Obstetrics and Momecology". This is a blog by a mom, for moms and those who love them. If you enjoy this content and would like to see more, please feel free to subscribe to the blog to receive updates of new posts.


When we had our first child... 

...Cody [my husband] and I found our new roles as parents about as foreign as eating fried beetles. We also found our understanding of what needs to be done to propel a house forward and function as a unit was misguided and ill-understood.

Our general personalities didn’t help the scenario. I’m a “get things done right now” kind of lady. Cody is a “why do today what can wait until tomorrow” kind of man. This resulted in too many arguments to count. And a lot of resentment on my part.

Balancing responsibilities at work and at home.

We both were working full time but even that for us is very different. I work full days every day I’m at the hospital/clinic.  Cody has weeks of “service” where he is responsible for the Unit of 15-20+ extremely sick or dying children. His work horrifies me.

When he is not on “service” he works on medical school education, writing papers, etc, and the schedule is much more relaxed and flexible. I think it needs flexibility at times when you’re caring for dying children the other week. I have a ton of empathy for him when he’s on service. But it’s hard for me to carry over that empathy when his other weeks are “easy”.

Insert my resentful thoughts and feelings.

Anger arises when I come home, and the bottles are overflowing in the sink… for the 684th time this week.A sink full of dirty bottles and empty cups (click for original blog post)

I hate washing the bottles too. And I’ve worked all day: I left the house at 5:30 AM and now I’m back at 7:30 PM. There is so much to be done around our house on any given day. And [at the time] we had one kid, one dog, and one cat.

Others most certainly have so much more. It always seemed so OBVIOUS what things needed to be done. Open your eyes and look around! But, just like it’s difficult to be in someone else’s head, it’s difficult to know what someone else wants unless they can effectively verbalize it. 

For us, insert counseling. And communication. And a commitment to help each other out. To try to see things through the other person's eyes/filter.

I learned that I literally need to spell things out sometimes. Like, “Hey, it’d be great if you could do the bath, and the laundry, and wash the sippy cups (replace bottles with sippy cups),” and on and on and on.

Also, I leave. I take a break and get away with a girlfriend every couple of months. I leave for a few days, usually 1-2. It helps us all find balance and appreciate each other

And remember…

Of course, this all feels stressful and intimidating. You’ve taken on a whole new identity and so has your partner. You don’t know who you are because you’re figuring it out. Your partner is doing the same.

Communication is of utmost importance… but it feels like: who has time for that?!

You’re busy trying to navigate this new life, breastfeed and/or figure out how much food this kid needs, when to change the diaper, how to sleep, how to process new emotions and feelings. How to stop thinking about SIDS or your child dying for some unforeseen reason. 

I generally can forget about past wrongs if someone is sorry or things change. For the love of the universe, things have finally changed.

Cody (generally speaking) does the crappy work that neither of us wants to in order to keep our home headed in the right direction. As do I. But we have found equality.

We may not do equal work every week, but our sum total is equal most of the time. I do some domestic stuff, and so does he. We try not to complain. How long did all this take us? Just over a year.  Eleanor was born in October of 2016. We got it together start of 2018. 

Be open to criticism, and cognizant of delivery

So, what did we learn? Here are ten things we’ve learned about how to make it all work:

  1. We talk about who needs what.
  2. We try to remember to remind each other how valuable we are to each other. I need to frequently be told, “thank you, you’re awesome!”
  3. I need to feel appreciated. Cody is not good at this, so we work on it. And I complain a lot in counseling and hope that he can find it in himself to say these things even though it may not feel natural to do so.
  4. I try not to nag all the time.
  5. I have to work on my tone and my approach. I have a mean, feisty side that I don’t like, and it comes out when I’m exasperated or sad or frustrated or hurt. 
  6. Eleanor’s shoes and clothes that fit do not fall out of the sky. Her swim lessons and coordination of the family weekend trips, and fun activities aren’t planned by our non-existent family organizer/travel agent. I do all these things.
  7. But I do not do garbage. I keep forgetting to empty Harriet and Harry (our robotic vacuums, named after the absurd amounts of dog hair they pick up for us).
  8. I don’t like to fix things unless they have a vagina or are pregnant. I ripped, instead of gently twisting, the fire alarm out of the ceiling in exasperation the other day. And it’s still hanging there.
  9. I hate cooking, generally speaking.
  10. We have mostly figured out who does what and for each of us that includes things we don’t like to do (again, insert washing bottles). 

 

it’s still not always obvious

I still think at times: How the F do you not see this or that, that’s literally so obvious, right in front of you, needs to be done? But now, I ask for help (also something I had to learn).

I’ve spent my whole life being taught to do things myself. Sometimes we both still find ourselves guilty of keeping score and comparing what we do, with the undertone that one of us feels like they’re doing more, and the other is sitting around eating ice cream and reading a book. The reality is that in any given week or month one of us probably does do more. But, the next week or month may be different. 

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that our past struggles made me nervous when we were about to have our second child. I knew the bottles would start again, and so would a new identity situation. (I was right to be concerned, but take it a day at a time most days)

The puzzle pieces fly into the air and we gain a new picture and new pieces that all have to be put back together again in a new way. A way that allows both of us, and our children to be happy. To be healthy. And to work as a team.

I have found this to have its challenges and its beauty. 


About the Author:

Elizabeth Tigges, D.O. is a small-town Iowan at heart, having grown up in Southeast Iowa before graduating from Simpson College. She subsequently began her medical career at Des Moines University, followed by her residency training at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. Life took her to the University of Tennessee in Memphis where she was an Assistant Professor of OB/GYN, but the call to return home prompted her to return to Iowa in 2013. She has now made what she hopes will be her last move, enthusiastically joining Surgical Associates in April 2016, where she will provide compassionate and comprehensive care in Women’s Health to women of all ages.
 
Dr. Tigges’ unique clinical interests include pelvic and minimally invasive surgery, robotics,  preventative healthcare throughout a woman’s lifespan, evaluation and treatment of pelvic pain, and female sexual health. She recognizes, however, that while those topics may be the reason for a patient’s visit, they are only a small part of the individual. Dr. Tigges believes in recognizing the whole person and connecting with them on a personal level. This is largely because she loves getting to know patients personally, but also because she wants women to feel comfortable discussing Women’s Health issues openly and wholeheartedly.

Dr. Tigges is pumped to be living in Grinnell with her husband Cody and daughter Eleanor. Cody agrees that she has a special gift for making personal connections and says that she could form a lasting relationship with a rock. When she’s not sharing jokes and funny stories at work, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, hiking, running, and reading. 


Dr. Tigges' Disclaimer:

"This [blog] is meant to entertain and inform.  I share my personal experience and opinions through this web-based forum, which may or not apply to you, but which most certainly should not be interpreted as medical advice. I only provide medical advice via in-person appointments at my office or hospital."


 

Two Kids, One Day at a Time

Posted on 03/04/2020 at 9:00 AM

This entry is from a new series of blogs by our very own OB/GYN, Dr. Elizabeth Tigges. In this series, we explore the adventures (and misadventures) that mothers share from the perspective of a mom and OB/GYN.

This series was originally posted to her personal blog, "Obstetrics and Momecology". This is a blog by a mom, for moms and those who love them.


We recently went from 1 kid to 2 kids. It’s been a new kind of journey.

For those of you who never go from 0 to 1 or from 1 to 2, either by choice or by the forces of nature/God/the Universe, this is not meant to minimize your story. After all, this was also my state of being until not-so-very-long ago. It could’ve always been had the IVF not worked. That doesn’t make my previous story any less important or valuable. 

First off…MIND BLOWN.

If I thought one was busy, I laugh and laugh and laugh at that notion now. 

By all standards, I feel like “I have it all”. Healthy kids. The luxury of a willing and helpful partner. Incredible support system. Enough money. Enough time off work/maternity leave. Etc. etc. So these things most certainly make it all easier for me.

But the busyness isn’t the hardest part for me. Though I’m not minimizing that either. Because whoa! It is nuts/controlled chaos/insanity around here sometimes. 

I often feel like I’m not enough.

The hardest part is feeling like I’m not enough. Not giving enough, not being enough, not present enough.

I read in some parenting article somewhere that children want your time above all else. I think people of all ages want the same. They want your time and presence in order to feel value in the relationship.

This feels impossible at times. Though I feel confident that I’ll get there eventually, it’s hard right now.

Having more than one is mom guilt of the worst kind. There is literally no way to give of yourself equally or give the same that you did when you had one. You have to adjust to not being the Universal Amazing Mom that you once had the notion you were when you gave your one baby the love and attention you felt they needed. Even if that meant you held them constantly. And the new baby often gets put in a swing with horrible music, and screams because he wants to be held, for God’s sake!

One of my babies needs to be fed and held and can’t keep his head up. One of my babies is saying “hold me” and “I want you.”

A new mother and her two children

I haven’t yet figured out how to grow an extra arm.

I don’t know how parents find their flow and give enough to each of their babies to feel content. Plus, I’ve always said it’s important to take time for oneself too. How can I be a good mom AND have my own internal peace, which means time to work on me. Oh and the marriage, which is of utmost importance. Oh yeah…and (at the time of writing this) I haven’t gone back to work yet!

I feel like I lost something with my first child.

I loved hanging out with Eleanor and I knew in my heart this would have its emotional challenges.  I give the tubbies (baths) to Eleanor. I do art projects. I do the naptime and bedtime snuggles. But now, more of “we” or Daddy does these things. This is not bad. It’s actually good. It’s just an evolution and change. 

Eleanor has a Mom version of me that she’ll never have again. And Nelson never gets to experience that Mom version. That version of me/Mom I was really pretty content with. But my new and improved me will get there in time. If this sounds like you, whether you’re on your first or second or third, you’ll get there too.

My heart grew, and there is room for both my kids in there.

I was worried it wouldn’t. Thankfully, I have a great counselor/therapist that was able to show me an alternative perspective recently. She proposed that I was choosing to look at it from an angle of loss. Which it is. But I have also gained a lot. And the gains are so much much bigger.

Didn’t I love having siblings? Didn’t my own family grow up to feel amazing once I had brothers? Did I ever recall feeling like my mom didn’t love me as much or care about me as much? No! of course not!

 I feel like in my own life, it’s often how I choose to see it. If I choose my brain waves to focus on how full of love and life our home is, was and will be, then that’s mostly how I’ll see it. My perspective matters and influences how I see my/our little universe. Our house feels abundant and peaceful.

Well, peace is maybe a stretch. At naptime…for 20 to 40 minutes. Maybe content is a better word. 

And in line with one of my favorite pieces of advice….One Day At a Time.

 


About the Author:

Elizabeth Tigges, D.O. is a small-town Iowan at heart, having grown up in Southeast Iowa before graduating from Simpson College. She subsequently began her medical career at Des Moines University, followed by her residency training at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio. Life took her to the University of Tennessee in Memphis where she was an Assistant Professor of OB/GYN, but the call to return home prompted her to return to Iowa in 2013. She has now made what she hopes will be her last move, enthusiastically joining Surgical Associates in April 2016, where she will provide compassionate and comprehensive care in Women’s Health to women of all ages.
 
Dr. Tigges’ unique clinical interests include pelvic and minimally invasive surgery, robotics,  preventative healthcare throughout a woman’s lifespan, evaluation and treatment of pelvic pain, and female sexual health. She recognizes, however, that while those topics may be the reason for a patient’s visit, they are only a small part of the individual. Dr. Tigges believes in recognizing the whole person and connecting with them on a personal level. This is largely because she loves getting to know patients personally, but also because she wants women to feel comfortable discussing Women’s Health issues openly and wholeheartedly.

Dr. Tigges is pumped to be living in Grinnell with her husband Cody and daughter Eleanor. Cody agrees that she has a special gift for making personal connections and says that she could form a lasting relationship with a rock. When she’s not sharing jokes and funny stories at work, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, hiking, running, and reading. 


Dr. Tigges' Disclaimer:

"This [blog] is meant to entertain and inform.  I share my personal experience and opinions through this web-based forum, which may or not apply to you, but which most certainly should not be interpreted as medical advice. I only provide medical advice via in-person appointments at my office or hospital."


 

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