How Healthy Is Your Colon? You should know.

I‘d imagine not very many of you know exactly how healthy your colon is.  Without screening, colorectal cancer is one of those cancers you usually don’t know you have until it is advanced.  New guidelines have just been announced stating that screening with a colonoscopy should begin at age 45 instead of 50.  Doctors are finding patients with colon cancer at younger and younger ages.  Take the example of the actor who recently died from it at age 43.  Chadwick Boseman passed away in August of this year from Stage III colon cancer only 4 years after his diagnosis.  The rate of new colorectal cancer cases in older people has declined, but it has risen sharply for young adults. Nobody knows exactly why this is happening.  Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in our country.  This year, it is expected that 12% of the diagnoses will be for people younger than 50.  You know we care about your health here at Paragon Orthopedic Center, so even though this is not a part of the body we see in our clinic, we want to educate you and encourage you to invest in your health.  Ask you primary care provider if a colorectal screening is appropriate for you today.  Take care of yourself Southern Oregon!

What are the symptoms of a trigger finger?

Are you having trouble extending your finger lately?  Is there a bump in the palm of your hand that is hurting you?  You might be experiencing what is known as a trigger finger.  Dr. Rob Bents sees these frequently and thankfully it is usually easy to fix and doesn’t require expensive, time-consuming testing for the diagnosis.  The reason it is called a trigger finger is because the condition frequently causes the finger to get stuck and then snap when bent or straightened, like pulling a trigger.  The technical name for it is stenosing tenosynovitis, and it is inflammation within the finger that narrows the space that surrounds the tendon in the affected finger.  The inflammation affects the normal gliding of the tendon through the sheath.  See the attached article for a helpful visual illustration.  Symptoms include:

  • A bump in the palm of your hand at the base of the affected finger
  • Tenderness at the bump in your palm
  • Finger catching in a bent position and then snapping straight
  • Finger locking in a bent position
  • Finger stiffness, especially after you awaken
  • Clicking or popping sensations as you move the finger, with or without pain

Dr. Bents has successfully solved this issue for many, many patients over his years of experience.  They are frequently seen in people who have jobs or hobbies with repetitive hand motions, but they are also seen in certain conditions, such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.  If the area is red and inflamed, seek medical attention quickly, as this might indicate an infection.  And here’s a trivia fact:  trigger fingers are found more frequently in women than men.  Read more about trigger fingers and view an anatomical picture of the condition from the Mayo Clinic:

New Face Mask Mandates in Oregon; Advising People to Not Wear Face Shields

Oregon’s Governor came out with new mandates last week for wearing face masks after seeing an increase in the statewide case numbers, and this included 1 in Josephine County and 18 in Jackson County.  Some of the highlights are as follows:

  • wearing a face mask is mandatory in all workplaces regardless of distancing.
  • wearing a face mask is mandatory in outdoor markets, all universities,  and street fairs.
  • it is advised to not wear face shields as a substitute for face masks.  These shields do not contain air that can escape from any of its sides.

As of last Monday, the state reported 124 patients in the hospital with confirmed Covid-19 infections, far below capacity with hundreds of hospital beds still available.  Oregon has seen 627 deaths total, among the lowest in the nation.  Of the most recent 8 deaths in our state, the youngest was 61 years old and the oldest was 91.

If you have visited Paragon Orthopedic Center, you would have seen that we wear masks during your visits in the patient rooms.  With this new mandate, you will see everyone, including those who are not in patient contact, wearing masks.  We do not use face shields because they do not contain air around any of the sides.  All of our disinfection procedures will remain in place and hand sanitizer is readily available to all.  We are doing our best to protect you, Southern Oregon!

To read more details about Covid-19’s spread in Oregon and the new mandate, OregonLive has an article that provides more statistics, great, informative graphs, and a link to the formal mandate handed down from the Governor.

Need a healthy snack? It’s National Popcorn Popping Month!

Is popcorn a wonder food?  I think we’ve all had some at some point in our lives.  I bet you can’t think of anyone who hates it because it is very versatile.  Popcorn has long been used in the movie theaters, but it isn’t the healthiest way to enjoy it, coated in fats and salt.  Air-popped popcorn is a low-fat, high-fiber food which will help your body feel full; a good thing when you want a snack between meals.  Want to know more, like different toppings that if used in moderation, can keep it low-fat?  Or maybe you’d like to know popcorn nutrition information.  Do you know what nutrients can be found in this wonder food?  You might be surprised how many there are.  Here is a link to give you that and more:

Happy National Popcorn Popping Month from Paragon Orthopedic Center in Grants Pass!

Yam vs. Sweet Potato…You Need To Know This!

The holiday season is approaching and Paragon Orthopedic Center would like you to be the best you this year by providing information to help you make smart, informed food choices.  Those tempting holiday treats are coming!  It’s even more important to keep your body well-nourished this year with the Covid-19 virus continuing to spread.  Having your body in tip-top shape will give you the best chances to fight off this virus successfully.

Today, we present you with a quiz to test your knowledge about a misunderstood tuber.  If you look in the grocery store, one store calls it a yam, while another calls it a sweet potato.  Why?  Well, when the orange variety of sweet potato was introduced here from Africa, producers and shippers chose to use the English form of the African word, “nyami,” which is yam.  True yams are very hard to find in our country, so what you see are all technically sweet potatoes.  This quiz is truly an eye-opener, practically guaranteed to teach you something.  Did you know that one of these two is toxic if eaten raw?  The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission website has an enormous, fascinating amount of information beyond this quiz.  Check it out Southern Oregon, learn something new and interesting, and pass it along to others!

Increasing Job Satisfaction

If you don’t feel like you make a difference at work, not only your job satisfaction, but your overall feeling of worth, can become very low.  How can you improve how satisfied you are on the job?  Here are some quick tips from the Mayo Clinic for you to consider at your own place of employment.  The full article is linked at the end of our post.

  • Figure out how you approach your job.  Is it just a job for financial gain?  Is it a career, where you can anticipate advancement?  Is it a calling, where you are using your abilities to benefit others?  You can see from these questions how your motives can affect a current feeling, as well as your future goals.  Consider intentionally changing your approach.
  • What motivates you?  What originally drew you to your job?  Understanding this can help you change your expectations, helping you make choices that  lead to satisfaction.
  • Understand your significance at work.  Focus on the good you are doing and find the positives, keeping those in mind every day.
  • Help others.  You will find your job become more meaningful when you are making an positive impact on others.
  • Collaborate with respected coworkers.  Similar to helping others, collaboration can make the job more meaningful, plus you can avoid difficult workers that take the energy out of the room.
  • Mix it up.  Ask for new responsibilities, training, or tasks, so the job isn’t so repetitive.  Others might express more gratitude for you as you’re seen contributing in different ways.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude.  This forces you to think about the positives.
  • Keep interests outside of work.  Doing things you enjoy in your off hours contribute to an overall better sense of well-being.

Of course finding a new job is an obvious answer if you find yourself continually dissatisfied, but that isn’t always possible.  Remember we all have bad days and these too shall pass.  Make an effort today, so tomorrow might be better.  We hope you have found something here that is helpful.  Paragon Orthopedic Center strives to maintain job satisfaction in our clinic and we hope you see that as you interact with our staff, from the front desk to checking out.  Our goal is always focused on you, the patient, and your satisfaction means everything to us.  Dr. Bents, Dr. Van Horne, and all our staff are here for you Southern Oregon!

Happy Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day from Paragon Orthopedic Center

You might not have noticed it was Columbus/Indigenous People’s Day until you went to get your mail and found none.  Here are some facts you might not know about the day or Christopher Columbus.

  • Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937, but was first observed by the state of Colorado in 1906.
  • Since 1971, it has been observed on the second Monday of October, which is also the day Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving Day.
  • Nobody knows what Christopher Columbus looks like.  No known portraits exist of him.  Portraits have been made based on written descriptions
  • Columbus didn’t discover America.  He never set foot on North America.
  • He committed atrocities against the natives, enslaving some, and the settlers introduced diseases, such as small pox, to them.  For these reasons and more, many states, including Oregon, have changed the name and observation to Indigenous People’s Day.

If you’d like to learn more, here is an article with further information about Columbus.

Google Maps Give You The Latest On COVID-19 Cases In Your Area

Did you know that Google has rolled out an overlay to give you the most up to date information about the cases where you travel?  You just click on the overlay icon on the upper right corner of the screen after you open Google Maps, select COVID-19 Info, and your map will display a seven day average of new COVID cases per 100,000 people in the area you’ve selected.  This will help you make informed decisions about the places to which you travel.  For more information, including how they obtain the data they use, check out Google’s product update page about their maps:

Covid-19, Obesity, and Death

Do you know your BMI, or body mass index?  It is found by using weight in pounds, divided by height in inches squared and multiplying by a conversion factor of 703.  I will link to the CDC’s chart below for you to calculate where you fall on the interpretation chart.  The CDC says that as the BMI increases, the risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 increases.  That extra weight could make a huge difference between life, sickness, and death in trying to survive the coronavirus.  This is a sobering fact right now as the coronavirus continues to spread.  For orthopedics, Paragon Orthopedic Center uses the BMI to determine if you are eligible for certain surgeries.  We have discussed how obesity impairs your immune system and results in poor wound healing, so both Dr. Bents and Dr. Van Horne urged their patients to lose weight for the best surgical outcomes even before this virus hit.  If you are obese, your risk of hospitalization due to the virus triples.  The Wall Street Journal recently had an article discussing the rise in the number of surgical cases for obesity fueled by Covid-19.  People who are carrying around too much weight are fearful of what this virus could mean if they get it, so they’re seeking surgical options to help lose the weight.  If this speaks to you, don’t let failures to lose weight in the past stop you from trying again.  Maybe this will be the time you lose the weight.  Don’t forget the value of exercise and healthy food choices.  Do it for those you love and would like you to be the best you can be.  Paragon Orthopedic Center applauds your efforts!