Help for Heartburn

Posted on : 03-27-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Cancer, Digestive Diseases, Events, News

145For women with sensitive digestive systems eating spicy tacos or greasy pepperoni pizza, can be a sure way to flare up a nasty case of heartburn. Millions of Americans experience heartburn symptoms at least once a week. There are many causes that can activate heartburn including medications, specific foods, obesity, and even stress. Being aware of what ignites your heartburn will help you to create a plan to avoid the uncomfortable condition. Silver Cross Hospital is offering a lecture on why it’s important to find relief from heartburn to prevent the acid reflux from escalating.

Dr. Kamran Ayub, Medical Director of the Advanced Endoscopy Center at Silver Cross Hospital, will present a free program on Burning Your Heartburn & Preventing Esophageal Cancer, on Tuesday, April 14 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Silver Cross Hospital, Pavilion A, Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. This program is for people who suffer from chronic or severe heartburn. Dr. Ayub will discuss the latest endoscopic treatments to eliminate chronic heartburn and prevent Barrett’s Esophagus, which can lead to cancer. Register to attend at or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


Heartburn Can Lead to Esophageal Cancer

Heartburn is a painful, burning sensation in the chest after a heavy meal or while bending over, lying on your back or lifting. It occurs when the sphincter doesn’t close completely. Acid from the stomach comes back up into the esophagus, causing the burning sensation. Other symptoms may include chronic cough or sore throat, persistent hiccups, feeling of having a lump in the throat, and trouble swallowing. Pregnant women often experience heartburn as the growing fetus increases intra-abdominal pressure.

Heartburn that won’t go away needs medical attention because it may be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pill or medication induced esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, cancer of the esophagus, ulcers, or other gastrointestinal problems. Chest pain, for instance, can be a symptom of GERD, esophageal spasm, angina and heart attack. Pain from any of these can happen following a large meal.

“So, if you suffer severe or chronic heartburn or chest pain, it’s vital you find out if your problem is digestive or cardiac,” says Dr. Ayub.

For a person with Barrett’s esophagus, which is a change in the lining of the tube (esophagus) that carries food and liquids in the mouth to the stomach, Dr. Ayub says the risk of developing esophageal cancer is similar to the risk of developing colon cancer for patients who have a colon polyp. “It usually starts with GERD, which can cause Barrett’ esophagus and lead to esophageal cancer,” says Dr. Ayub. “That’s why it’s important to seek medical treatment for symptoms of GERD, the most common being heartburn.”

About 3.3 million Americans age 50 and older have Barrett’s. With advanced technology, Barrett’s can be successfully treated at Silver Cross Hospital.

Low Back Pain Slowing You Down?

Woman With Back PainAre you unable to enjoy life fully due ongoing back pain? If so, you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), millions of Americans suffer from chronic back pain that persists for more than a few months. Back pain symptoms can range from a muscle ache to a stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. If you are experiencing these symptoms of back pain, learn the causes and treatments at a free program hosted by Silver Cross Hospital.

Join Dr. Thomas Hurley, neurosurgeon, with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, for a discussion on the causes of low back pain and discuss conservative treatment options to help you feel better Tuesday, March 31. The free Aches & Pains: Low Back Painprogram will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. This talk is part of an Aches & Pains Lecture Series and all participants will receive a gift bag that includes a complimentary carpal tunnel or low back screening performed by a physician with Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital, and other items to help you stay active. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

“Most low back pain can be treated without surgery,” said Dr. Thomas Hurley, neurosurgeon, who is on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. “The best way to develop a treatment plan is to diagnose the severity of the back pain. With so many innovative treatments available today, patients can learn the best options with a physician visit. So to avoid the pain from getting worse, patients need to seek medical attention.”

Dr. Tom Hurley, neurosurgeon

Dr. Tom Hurley, neurosurgeon

Treating Back Pain

Treatment of back pain can involve using over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce discomfort and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation.

“The goal of treating back pain is to return proper mobility and strength to the back, and prevent future injuries,” said Dr. Hurley.

Medications are often used to treat acute and chronic low back pain. Effective pain relief may involve a combination of prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies. Bed rest is only recommended for 1 to 2 days. Individuals should resume activities as soon as possible. Exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain and help

New PET/CT Detects Cancer Early

Posted on : 03-12-2015 | By : tsimons | In : breast cancer, Cancer, colon cancer, News, screening

PETCTfinalSilver Cross Hospital is enhancing its diagnostic imaging capabilities with the addition of a new, state-of the-art Positron Emission Tomography/Computerized Tomography system (PET/CT).  This advanced technology, which is now located inside the Hospital’s Imaging Department, offers early and highly accurate detection of cancer.  A physician’s order is required, and patients can call (815) 300-7058 to schedule an appointment.

“Now that PET/CT is in-house, this allows for greater scheduling flexibility and patient scanning comfort.  We are able to provide a better patient experience,” said Dr. Darius Keblinskas, Medical Director of Imaging Services at Silver Cross Hospital. Previously, patients needing a PET/CT would have their tests performed inside a mobile trailer on the hospital’s campus.

Positron Emission Tomography–Computed Tomography  or PET/CT is a medical imaging technique using a device which combines in a single gantry, both a PET scanner and a CT scanner, so that images acquired from both devices can be taken sequentially, in the same session, and combined into a single superposed image. The imaging obtained provides physicians with information about the body’s metabolic activity and exact location of disease.

PET/CT has revolutionized medical diagnosis in many fields, by adding precision of anatomic localization to functional imaging.  Diagnostic imaging procedures in oncology, surgical planning, radiation therapy and cancer staging have been changing rapidly under the influence of PET-CT availability, and centers have been gradually abandoning conventional PET devices and substituting them by PET-CTs.

“For oncology patients, PET/CT is used to determine the exact location and stage of cancerous tissue and can prevent unnecessary surgery and biopsies and inappropriate treatments,” said Dr. Lawrence Schilder, Medical Director of the University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center at Silver Cross Hospital.  “The technology also helps us to monitor patients’ response to treatment to ensure it is working.”

For more information about PET/CT, talk with your physician.

Sinus Problem Solutions

Posted on : 02-25-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Aches & Pains, Events, Health Tips, News, Rehabilitation

sinusEach year, millions of Americans suffer from severe sinus infections with painful symptoms of nasal congestion, facial pressure, and headaches. Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox is offering a free program that will inform area residents about the causes and treatments for sinus pressure.

Sinuses are hollow air spaces within the bones between your eyes, behind your cheekbone, and in the forehead. Sinuses generate mucus, which helps keep the inside of your nose moist. “If the tissue in your nose is swollen from a cold, allergies, or environmental causes, it can block the sinus passages,” said Ankit Patel, M.D. “Then your sinuses can’t drain, and you may feel discomfort.”

Common Sinus Problems

Sinus Blockages: Each sinus has a narrow opening, called the transition space, which drains any fluid. If a blockage occurs, mucus backs up.

Deviated Nasal Septum: Another common issue is a deviated nasal septum, which is the thin wall of bone and cartilage inside your nasal cavity that separates your two nasal passages. Ideally, your septum is in the center of your nose, equally separating the two sides. But in many people, the septum is positioned to one side, making one nasal passage smaller than the other. A deviated septum is one reason some people have sinus issues, which can also lead to obstructed breathing and snoring.

Narrow Sinuses: More often, people just have variations in their anatomy that creates a longer, narrower path for the transition spaces to drain. This may lead to recurrent infections.

Sinus Sensitivity and Allergies: Finally, some people are sensitive to tobacco smoke, dust particles and foods. This sensitivity triggers a dilation of blood vessels in the nose, which may releases chemicals from cells in the nose that cause swelling.

If you suffer from sinus problems, try these tips to prevent future occurrences:

  • Apply a warm, cloth to your face several times a day to help open the transition spaces.
  • Consume a lot of fluids to thin the mucus.
  • Inhale steam two to three times per day.
  • Use a nasal saline spray several times a day.
  • Clean the nose with a salt water solution from a neti pot using distilled water.
  • Try a humidifier to moisten the air you breathe to help open sinuses.
  • Try antihistamines and decongestants. Oral decongestants should be avoided by cardiac patients.

Finally, if you have recurrent sinus problems, you might talk to a physician about surgery to clean and drain the sinuses or outpatient balloon sinuplasty.

Learn More

Patel,Ankit396606The inflammation of the sinuses is one of the most common problems doctors treat. Join Dr. Ankit Patel, ear, nose, throat, head and neck surgeon, Tuesday, March 10 to learn more about the latest medications and outpatient surgical treatments to alleviate sinus symptoms and pain. The free Aches & Pains: Sinus Pressure program will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. This talk is part of an Aches & Pains Lecture Series which also includes an upcoming seminar on low back pain March 31. All participants will receive a gift bag that includes a complimentary low back screening performed by a physician with Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross Hospital, and other items to help you stay active. Register to attend at online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

Pamper Your Heart, Receive a Smoothie and Chance to Win a NutriBullet

Posted on : 02-05-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Discounts, Events, Health Tips, Heart Health, I Matter Benefits, News, screening

Americans spend millions of dollars a year pampering their bodies with massages and manicures, so why not pamper the most vital body part – your heart – to ensure it’s running smoothly? With heart disease as the number one leading killer of both men and women, Silver Cross encourages area residents to pamper themselves by getting a cardiac screening during the month of February.

Strawberry smoothieFree Smoothie with Cardiac Risk Assessment
Keep your heart running smoothly with a Baseline Cardiac Risk Assessment. The $40 screening includes measurements of total cholesterol including HDL and LDL levels, blood glucose level, triglyceride level, blood pressure and body fat; 12-lead EKG, health and lifestyle evaluation, and a personal phone consultation with a registered cardiac nurse to review results and answer questions. A 12-hour fast is required.   Individuals who call (815) 300-7076 during the month of February to schedule an appointment at the Silver Cross Health Center, 12701 W. 143rd St., Homer Glen or Silver Cross Hospital,, 1900 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox will receive a heart-healthy smoothie in a keepsake cup from Café 1900 at Silver Cross Hospital, an I Matter card which can be used for valuable discounts at over 100 local businesses; and will be entered in a raffle to win a NutriBullet.  Cash, check or credit card will be accepted at time of appointment. Insurance will not be billed.

Fortunately, there are ways to lower your risks for heart disease thru these simple steps:

  • Exercise.  According to the American Heart Association, having high blood pressure is one of the major risk factors. By exercising 20 to 30 minutes several days a week can cut your blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
  • Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol .  Prevention and treatments for high blood pressure and cholesterol includes eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber, keeping a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise.
  • Control Blood Sugar and Diabetes. Diabetes significantly increases your risk for heart disease. Maintaining a normal blood sugar most of the time can help reduce that risk. Be sure to check your blood sugar according to your doctor’s recommendation or daily if needed in order to keep blood-sugar levels under control.
  • Stop Smoking. Smoking increases your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. People who smoke are four times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. The good news is, no matter how long or how much you’ve smoked, if you quit, your risk for heart disease decreases soon after.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight . People who have excess body fat-especially at the waist-are more likely to develop heart disease even if there are no other risk factors. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein can help you lose weight. Avoiding trans fat and limiting saturated fat can directly reduce heart disease risks.
  • De-Stress. Putting yourself on your “to do” list and finding ways to defuse stress will help slow your breathing and heart rate as you lower your blood pressure. Visit a friend, listen to mood music; all are good ways to reduce stress, you just have to come up with ways that are right or you.

Cardiac Services at Silver Cross
Silver Cross Hospital brings together advanced technology and the finest medical professionals to create an innovative and efficient approach to heart care.  From prevention programs to aftercare, Silver Cross provides patients with everything they need to maintain a healthy heart.  Cardiac patients receive expert education, diagnosis, treatment, professional consultation, and rehabilitative care. From state-of-the-art Cardiac Catheterization suites to an accredited programs for Echocardiography and Cardiac Rehab, Silver Cross offers a wide range of comprehensive services to expertly diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate heart disease. For a referral to a cardiologist on staff at Silver Cross, call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325) or click here.

Know when to See a Doctor for Headaches

headacheAccording to the American Headache Society (AHS), 36 million Americans chronically suffer from severe headaches or migraines.

“One of the most important questions patients need to ask themselves is when should they see a physician for a migraine or headache,” said Dr. Richard Burgess, neuro interventional radiologist & stroke neurologist with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute.  “You should seek medical attention if your headaches are often, severe or come on suddenly.”

The AHS recommends seeing your physician immediately if your headache is accompanied by any of the following:

  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • fever
  • numbness
  • shortness of breath
  • slurred speech
  • stiff neck
  • persistent vomiting
  • unexpected symptoms affecting your ears, nose, throat, or eyes
  • unremitting diarrhea
  • vision loss
  • weakness or paralysis.

Other tips to know if you are suffering from a severe headache or migraine is if:

  • the pain keeps getting worse and won’t stop.
  • the headache interferes with your normal activities.
  • you find yourself taking pain relievers more than two days a week.
  • the dosages of over-the-counter medications are not giving you adequate relief

“I encourage all patients to play it safe and call their doctor or go to the emergency room because severe head pain may be indicative of a more serious condition,” adds Dr. Burgess.

Aches & Pains: Staying Active Lecture Series

Dr. Burgess will shed light on the types, causes and new ways to treat severe headaches and migraines Monday, Feb. 16 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Cross Hospital Conference Center, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. This free Aches & Pains: Headaches program is part of a lecture series which also includes seminars on hand and wrist pain, sinus pressure, and low back pain. Register to attend online or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

All participants will receive a GIFT BAG that includes a complimentary carpal tunnel or low back screening performed by a physician with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross, and other items to help you stay active.

Limited Time: Get a Free Smoothie with a Heart Screening

Posted on : 02-02-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Discounts, Events, Heart Health, I Matter Benefits, News, screening


Encore Resale Shop Moving to New Lenox

Posted on : 02-02-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Discounts, Events, News

Encore Shop Grand Re-Opening 2015 - Flyer - Public (2)

The Silver Cross Encore Shop is moving to the new Business Center on the Silver Cross Hospital campus, 710 Cedar Crossings Dr., New Lenox. The new store will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24 featuring a wide selection of gently used adult and children’s clothing, household items, jewelry, books and seasonal decorations. Shoppers will have a chance to win a $50 Mastercard Gift Card.

For over 50 years the Encore Shop has been operated by a volunteer group of women called the Silver Cross Advisory Board. In the past 12 years, the Advisory Board has donated more than $935,000 to Silver Cross for the purchase of a variety of medical equipment. The group recently completed a $75,000 pledge to purchase the water feature in the Dralle Serenity Garden outside the new Silver Cross Hospital.

Beginning Feb. 24, the new Encore Shop will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and the first Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations can be dropped off at the Shop or in the collection bin on the south side of the Silver Cross Hospital. For more information, call either the Encore Shop at (815) 300-7642 or Volunteers Services at Silver Cross Hospital at (815) 300-7117.





Specialist Spotlight: Stroke Care

Posted on : 01-29-2015 | By : tsimons | In : News, Rehabilitation, Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute, Stroke Care, Video
Harish Shownkeen, MD

Harish Shownkeen, MD

It wasn’t long ago that Silver Cross patients suffering stroke had to be transferred to another facility to get the advanced care they needed. That was until Dr. Harish Shownkeen, a nationally renowned interventional neuroradiology clinician and researcher, set-up shop at Silver Cross Hospital in late 2012. Since then, Dr. Shownkeen and his colleagues with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute have cared for hundreds of stroke patients—some are now even being transported to Silver Cross from other area hospitals for this lifesaving treatment.

Medical Director of the Neuro Interventional Surgery Program at Silver Cross Hospital, Dr. Shownkeen uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat disorders of the blood vessels of the brain, head, neck and spinal cord.

“This is a lower risk and faster alternative to traditional surgery for treating and preventing many neurological conditions, including aneurysms, strokes, blocked or narrowed arteries, malformed blood vessels and tumors,” says Dr. Shownkeen.

Many procedures require only a small incision in the groin where Dr. Shownkeen inserts a catheter threading it through blood vessels to the site of the injury guided by X-rays. He is able to perform many procedures in Silver Cross Hospital’s state-of-the-art Endovascular Suite that historically have only been available at academic medical facilities including:

  • Brain aneurysm repair using self-expanding coils, quick-setting polymers, stents and balloons to prevent rupturing
  • Stroke treatment and prevention using balloon angioplasty and stents to widen narrowed blood vessels, clot dissolving drugs, mechanical blood clot removal and clot suction devices
  • Malformed blood vessel repair to block off abnormal vessels
  • Tumor treatment using various techniques to block blood flow to abnormal tissues.

“Most patients receiving interventional neuroradiology treatments spend 24 hours in the hospital and are able to resume normal activities within days of the procedure,” says Dr. Shownkeen.    “Depending on the seriousness of the disease or injury, some patients may require additional care. Fortunately, we have some of the most experienced specialists in the Chicago area offering the full continuum of care right here at Silver Cross including neurosurgeons, neuro interventional radiologists, neurologists, pulmonologists, and specialists from RIC—The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.”

Silver Cross has partnered with RIC, which has been ranked the “Best Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. Patients benefit from RIC at Silver Cross’ 24-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit as well as four outpatient facilities—at the hospital, Homer Glen, New Lenox (Route 30) and West Joliet.

In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Shownkeen is a champion for prevention lecturing extensively in the community on the common signs and symptoms of stroke.   He is constantly participating in several research studies for new treatments and leads continuing education conferences and workshops attracting thousands of physicians, nurses and paramedics throughout greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana areas.

“Each year, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds,” adds Dr. Shownkeen. “And, I have made it my personal mission to do everything I can to prevent it from happening or re-occurring.

Are you at Risk for Stroke?  Take this online assessment to find out.

“Girl Parts” Sagging? We can Fix That!

Posted on : 01-28-2015 | By : tsimons | In : Events, Health Tips, News, Pelvic Floor Disorders, Rehabilitation

Pelvic-organ-prolapseIt is estimated that nearly 50% of all women between the ages of 50 and 79 have some form of pelvic organ prolapse - a medical condition that occurs when the normal support of the vagina is lost, resulting in “sagging” or dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix and rectum. As the prolapse of the vagina and uterus progresses, women can feel bulging tissue protruding through the opening of the vagina.

“Prolapse is not life threatening but it can be uncomfortable and sometimes makes it hard for women to empty their bladders normally or even exercise,” said urogynecologist, Dr. Nahla Merhi, who is Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Minimally Invasive Gynecology at Silver Cross Hospital.

Some women are born with weaker tissues and are therefore at risk to develop prolapse.  Others encounter a loss of pelvic support when a part of their pelvic floor is injured during vaginal delivery, surgery, pelvic radiation or back and pelvic fractures during falls or motor vehicle accidents. Also, hysterectomy and other procedures done to treat pelvic organ prolapse are associated with future development of prolapse. Other conditions that promote prolapse include: obesity, constipation and chronic straining, smoking, chronic coughing and heavy lifting.

There are many treatment options available. For most women, the treatment they choose depends on how much they are bothered by their symptoms. Many conservative treatment options are available including pelvic floor rehabilitation. Finally, some women are bothered by their pelvic organ prolapse enough to consider surgery.

“Only you and your doctor can determine what treatment option is best for you. But if surgery is your best option, women should consider da Vinci robotic surgery,” said Dr. Merhi. “da Vinci surgery offers women many potential benefits over traditional open surgery, including: less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, and low rate of complications,” said Dr. Merhi. “The benefits are remarkable!”

How does Robotic Surgery Work?

nahla-merhi-ready-for-surgeryControlled by a surgeon from a console, the innovative da Vinci robot is used to make 8mm (`1/3 inch) to 12 mm (~ 1/2 inch) incisions and then long, delicate instruments are inserted into the patient that enable specially trained physicians to perform the surgery.

Interestingly, misconceptions still exist that the robot is actually performing the surgery all by itself. “The important aspect to understand is that the da Vinci robotic system cannot be programmed nor can it make decisions by itself,” said Dr. Nahla Merhi. “The da Vinci System can only operate with direct input from the surgeon.”

The enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control of the da Vinci robot allows physicians to perform an excellent surgery even for women with complex cases.

Free Lecture: Girl Talk:  Pelvic Disorders

Join Dr. Nahla Merhi and physical therapists with The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at Silver Cross on Wednesday, Feb. 18 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to learn why vaginal prolapse and incontinence is more common than you might think. At this special Girl Talk:  Pelvic Disorders, attendees will hear expert advice about pelvic floor disorder signs, symptoms, and treatment options including robotic surgery with one tiny incision through the belly button. Get answers to the questions you have been wondering about but never asked. Register to attend this free Girl Talk:  Pelvic Disorders program at online or by calling 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).