NEWS BLOG from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Diet

Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your Diet The holiday season is filled with family and food, but can also be stressful for many people who are concerned about overconsumption. Americans typically gain up to 2 pounds over the holiday season, and this weight gain can increase if they aren’t cautious about caloric intake.

We asked Elizabeth Dubovi, clinical nutrition coordinator at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, for some tips on staying on track with this holiday season.

How should someone get their diet back on track after Thanksgiving?

A. To get back on track after Thanksgiving, I recommend eating like it’s any regular day. Don’t restrict your food intake the following day just because you overindulged – this could easily lead to overeating once again. Additionally, drink plenty of water to help with digestion, and restart your typical exercise routine to burn extra calories you may have consumed. Remember, the holidays only come around once every year, and it’s normal to get off track from a healthy eating plan. With a positive attitude and desire to get back on track, you will recover from your Thanksgiving feast.

Enjoy the Holidays Without Ruining Your DietWhat are some suggestions for controlled eating this holiday season?

A. Be mindful. Mindful eating includes awareness of the entire process of consuming food. First, smell your food and, during the meal, chew slowly and take time to absorb the many flavors. By taking time to eat, you are preventing overeating. Portion control is also important to exercise. Using smaller plates can help to reduce the amount you eat. It’s helpful to start your meal with a salad and vegetables – the fiber will help fill you up and prevent overindulgence of the more high-calorie foods, like entrees and dessert. Always wait at least 10 minutes before going back for second helpings, as it can take 10 to 15 minutes for your stomach to realize it is full. Finally, enjoy dessert! If portion control was managed during the first course, enjoying dessert in moderation is not a problem.

Can you name a few tips to avoid overconsumption during the holiday?

A. On Thanksgiving Day, don’t drink your calories. While it is traditional to drink alcoholic beverages on the holiday, being mindful of the empty calories they contain is important. I recommend eliminating alcoholic beverages completely, however, limiting your consumption to one to two beverages can help to significantly reduce the calories you consume. Additionally, don’t sit near dessert trays – this often leads to mindless consumption of sugary, high calorie foods. Over the days following Thanksgiving, be smart with your leftovers and don’t feel you need to eat everything at once. Eating traditional Thanksgiving dishes over several meals or days can also be enjoyable. Try eating turkey, stuffing and a salad for lunch and choose turkey, sweet potatoes and green beans at dinner.

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UPMC Physicians Publish Opioid Safety Guidelines for First Responders

Amid concerns for the safety of first responders exposed to chemicals like fentanyl, UPMC emergency physicians recently published precautionary safety guidelines for emergency medical personnel who may be exposed to a harmful substance when responding to the scene of an overdose.

The guidelines were developed by UPMC emergency medicine physicians Dr. Michael Lynch, Dr. Francis Guyette and Dr. Joseph Suyama, and published in the September issue of the journal Prehospital Emergency Care.

“We’ve seen multiple reports of police officers or EMT’s and other types of responders potentially exposed to powder with a variety of symptoms that may or may not have been attributable to the drug or powder,” Lynch said. “That further fueled concerns for the safety of the responders.”

The guidelines cover various response scenarios and provide safety recommendations for first responders when they encounter a situation that may be considered high risk for exposure.

To obtain a copy of the guidelines or request additional information, contact the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC at 800-222-1222.

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A ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Cardiac Care

UPMC leaders and staff recently celebrated the opening of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Mercy. Located in the UPMC Mercy Professional Building, the center provides comprehensive care for patients seeking treatment for a wide variety of cardiovascular conditions, including ischemic and valvular heart disease, lipid disorders, preventive cardiology, hypertension and venous disease.

A team of more than 20 specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular surgery now deliver community-based care at UPMC Mercy. They diagnose, treat and manage heart and vascular disease, but also focus on strategies to help patients prevent these diseases from developing.

Keeping with UPMC Mercy’s Catholic heritage, The Rev. Albert Schempp blessed the new space, its clinicians and the patients who come to the hospital seeking treatment. Michael Grace, president of UPMC Mercy, led a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the clinic.

“With this space, we can truly accomplish what the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute is designed to do,” said Dr. Michael Fallert, chief of cardiology at UPMC Mercy. “We house everything our patients need under one roof, and being able to walk down the hall to ask input from a colleague allows for easy collaboration and more effective care.”

The new facility is made up of 20 exam rooms, an area dedicated specifically to telemedicine appointments, and offices for physicians, nurses and administrators. Clinical pharmacists and a dietitian provide onsite patient counseling. Electrophysiologists are also available to evaluate and treat all arrhythmias and provide consultation for possible ablations and implantation of defibrillators or pacemakers.

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at UPMC Mercy sees patients Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patients seeking a cardiology or cardiac surgery appointment can call 412-232-9030, and those seeking vascular surgery appointments can call 412-802-3333. Additional information is available on the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute website.

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Time and Care Heal Injuries at UPMC Sports Medicine

Time and Care Heal Injuries at UPMC Sports MedicineWhen Shaler Area High School soccer player Lindsey Buczkowski collided with an opposing player during a game in her sophomore year, she knew the injury was very serious.

“This injury felt different than anything in the past,” Buczkowski said. “I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to walk the same way.”

She was diagnosed with a Lisfranc fracture, a complex injury where bones in the foot are displaced. It’s an injury serious enough to end an athletic career.

Buczkowski and her family sought treatment from Dr. MaCalus Hogan at UPMC Sports Medicine. Hogan performed surgery to insert a plate and screws, and another surgery four months later to remove them.

Buczkowski worked with athletic trainer Donna Rife to maintain her strength between surgeries by doing aquatic therapy leg weight exercises. She was able to keep her existing strength and even managed to become stronger through the exercises Rife planned for her.

“Lindsey was tough and driven,” Hogan said. “She had a positive outlook from the beginning, and I always believed her dedication and drive would allow her to return to sports.”

Now in her junior year, Buczkowski is back on the soccer field and grateful for the care she received and her relationship with the care providers.

“They were very knowledgeable and I always felt informed throughout the treatment process,” she said.

She plans to pursue a career in sports medicine so she can one day help athletes return to their passion.

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UPMC, Bon Secours Break Ground on New Irish Cancer Center

UPMC, Bon Secours Break Ground on New Irish Cancer CenterUPMC and partner Bon Secours Health System in Ireland have started work in Cork on one of the country’s most advanced radiation therapy centers.

Building on the success at UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre in Waterford, UPMC’s second radiotherapy center in Ireland will combine the expertise of Ireland’s largest independent health care provider, Bon Secours, with UPMC’s world-renowned model of cancer care that brings innovative and personalized treatments close to where patients live.

To be completed in 2019, the new joint venture facility is part of a major expansion at Bon Secours Hospital Cork, which will include an additional 81 private rooms, four additional operating rooms and expanded ICU facilities. The ground-breaking on Oct. 23 was attended by Ireland’s junior health minister, Jim Daly, as well as executives from Bon Secours and UPMC Country Manager David Beirne.

“We are excited to collaborate with Bon Secours to bring the first private radiotherapy center to Cork,” said Beirne. “Our timely and high-quality care will be a welcome addition for patients in this region.”

In 2006, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center opened its first international cancer center, UPMC Whitfield. The facility is based on UPMC’s “hub-and-spoke” model in which a wide range of oncology services are offered in local communities with support from UPMC’s academic and clinical hub in Pittsburgh. Based on its high quality standards and patient safety, UPMC Whitfield was accredited by the Joint Commission International in 2008.

The radiotherapy center in Cork will be managed by UPMC and owned equally by both partners. It expects to treat patients with two advanced Varian TrueBeam Radiotherapy System linear accelerators, providing image-guided radiation therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. Used for a variety of cancers, these approaches are designed to improve patient outcomes while minimizing side effects.

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