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Gifts to Summa Health are vital

Posted December 18, 2018 by Barbara Boyce Summa Health Foundation


As another year comes to a close and a time of giving nears, please consider a gift to Summa Health. Summa is committed to providing the highest quality, compassionate care to our patients and to contribute to a healthier community. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on philanthropic support to remain on the forefront of healthcare excellence and innovation, educate the next generation of caregivers and care for all in need.

Below are a few stories about the impact of philanthropy, and how you can help.  

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Palliative Care 101

Posted December 09, 2018 by Melissa Soltis, M.D. Medical Director, Hospice/Palliative Care Summa Health

Palliative Care is specialized treatment tailored to those who are suffering from chronic or life limiting illnesses. Some of these illnesses may include cancer, kidney disease, heart failure, dementia, lung disease and many others. Palliative care is a specialized team of doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers and others who work together with a patient’s primary physician and care team. The goal of the team is to improve the quality of life for a patient (and sometimes their caregivers) who has a serious illness or disease. It is appropriate for all ages and stages in a patient’s severe illness.

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5 Types of Integrative Medicine You Can Do at Home

Posted December 03, 2018 by Tara Scott, M.D. Summa Health Obstetrics & Gynecology

Yearly visits to your primary care physician are an important part of a healthy lifestyle plan. Another form of care known as integrative medicine should be an additional resource you consider when building a complete lifestyle plan. Sometimes confused with other treatment options like complementary or alternative, integrative medicine puts the patient at the center of both physical and mental health by expanding treatment options. However, all three of these terms refer to different types of care.

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What are macros?

Posted November 25, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, RDN, CDE Clinical Dietitian, Weight Management Summa Health


Paleo, keto, macros, carbs, complex carbs, clean eating, plant-based...we could keep going but I think you get the idea. With so many buzzwords out there, it can be difficult to analyze which ones would be a good addition to your weight loss journey or can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let’s explore one of these nutrition buzzwords: Macros.

Macros are short for macronutrients. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates and fats and make up the caloric content of food.

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Hispanics and diabetes: Are you at a higher risk for developing diabetic wounds?

Posted November 18, 2018 by Drazen Petrinec, M.D. Summa Health Vascular Surgery


Type 2 diabetes is at an all-time high in the United States. One of three types of diabetes - a disease that causes your blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal - type 2 has a direct correlation with your choices in diet and the amount of physical activity you do on a regular basis.

Did you know that the CDC estimates 40 percent of all US adults have type 2 diabetes? Another staggering statistic: 50 percent of all U.S. Hispanics will develop this disease and they are twice as likely to die from it. More than 30 million Americans have diabetes and 1 in 4 don’t even know they have it.

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Eliminating the need for opioids in surgical procedures

Posted November 12, 2018 by Thomas Mark, M.D. Chair, Department of Anesthesia Summa Health


It is no secret that there is an opioid epidemic in the United States. Every day, more than 115 people die after overdosing on opioids. At least 20 percent of patients that visit a physician for pain symptoms will receive a prescription for an opioid.

At Summa Health, we’re forging the movement to eliminate the need for opioids in our pre-surgery, post-surgery and pain management treatments. And it is working! Not only are patients healing quicker, their overall satisfaction with their treatment is more than triple those who were prescribed an opioid. Before we get into our success rates, let’s look at the history and side effects of narcotics.

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Controversial Use of E-cigarettes and Vaping- A "Heated" Debate

Posted November 04, 2018 by Sandy Kohut, RRT, BSAS Lead Lung Navigator

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) first entered the US market around 2007.  Wells Fargo Securities analysts now claim that these products have grown into a $4.4 billion industry. These products have many names including e-cigarettes, vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, and e-pipes among others. Most use a heating mechanism to turn liquid into a vapor that is then inhaled as an aerosol. E-cigs differ from traditional cigarettes because they do not “burn” or contain the 7,000 chemicals present in traditional combustible cigarettes. The tobacco industry continues to develop and market new nicotine delivery devices and without question the controversy over these products is still a heated debate.

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Lowering Your Blood Pressure, Naturally

Posted October 11, 2018 by Roger B. Chaffee, M.D., FACC Medical Director, Summa Health Heart and Vascular Institute


Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)

So you just found out that you have high blood pressure (HBP). Well, you’re not alone. Almost half of adults in the U.S. have it – and most don’t even know it.

Fortunately, hypertension – the medical term for HBP – can typically be controlled with the right medication and lifestyle changes. In fact, lifestyle modificationslike healthier eating and regular exercise may be able to do more than just…

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Prostate Health 101

Posted October 04, 2018 by Joseph Dankoff, MD Summa Health Urology


Right behind skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. Each year, there are roughly 165,000 new cases in the U.S. The prostate is the organ located under the bladder that produces semen. Semen protects the sperm, so it can reach and fertilize a female egg.

While cancer is usually the first thing that comes to mind when discussing prostate issues, it’s not the only cause for concern. Other common prostate issues include non-cancerous enlarged…

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Posted September 24, 2018 by Renee Fierro, Director, Behavioral Health Outpatient Services


September is designated as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, in conjunction with Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day held on September 10.  Events held on this day focus on raising awareness that suicide IS preventable, providing education and information about suicide, and decreasing the stigma associated with suicide.


Despite these (and other) efforts, suicide statistics tell a grim story. Just to cite a few examples, suicide rates have been on the rise since 1999.…

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Should you get a wearable sleep tracker?

Posted September 17, 2018


Deep, consistent, quality sleep can not only make you feel great during the day; it can also improve your health. Sleep can boost your mood, help you maintain a healthy body weight and help your heart and mind function at tip-top levels.

But, for some of us, a solid night's sleep may seem like a dream. Lack of sleep can affect our brain's ability to react properly; so much so, that our body’s overall health can be at risk.

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Thinking about a vasectomy? 5 things to know

Posted August 29, 2018 by Kevin Spear, M.D. Summa Health Urology


Perhaps you and your partner are thinking of a more permanent solution to birth control. If you’ve had the conversation of vasectomy versus tubal ligation - “getting your tubes tied” - you might be interested to learn that a vasectomy is a much easier procedure, is more effective at preventing pregnancy and has a much lower risk of side effects or complications. It’s also much cheaper; tubal ligation requires general anesthesia and surgery; a vasectomy only requires local anesthesia and an oral sedative.

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Why Adult Immunizations Are Important Too

Posted August 20, 2018 by Thomas File, M.D. Infectious Diseases, Summa Health


August is National Immunization Awareness Month. While we mostly think of trips to our child’s primary care physician for shots, it’s very important to maintain our immunization record as we age. Even if you received all of the recommended vaccines as a child, the protection on certain immunizations can decrease over time. You could also be at a higher risk for certain diseases due to travel, job, age, lifestyle or other health conditions.

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What is a Lung Nodule?

Posted August 15, 2018 by Brian Bauman, M.D. Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Summa Health


Lung nodules are abnormal clusters of tissue that appear as “spots” on chest X-rays and CT scans. All lung cancers starts as a nodule; however, these spots are very common and almost 95 percent of them are not cancerous.

Lung cancer is a very tragic disease. It has the lowest 5-year survival rate of all cancers and leads to more deaths that the next 3 deadliest cancers (colorectal, pancreatic and breast) combined.
Most lung cancers are not diagnosed and treated at an early stage, contributing to the low survival rate. However, early detection, by low-dose CT screening, can increase that rate by up to 20 percent in high-risk patients.

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Ticks and Lyme Disease: Why are rates so high?

Posted August 08, 2018 by Thomas File, M.D. Infectious Diseases, Summa Health


Warmer weather is in full force now, and for many of us this season means outdoor activities including camping and exploring, plus the insects that call these spots home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 36,000 cases of Lyme disease reported each year and hundreds to thousands of cases go unreported. Since the CDC began tracking this disease, the number of annual cases has increased dramatically. Between 2004 and 2016, researchers found cases almost doubled from 19,804 to 36,429.

Before we get into possible causes of this increase, let’s explore what Lyme disease is and how to tell if you may have been infected.

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What you should know about urological cancers

Posted August 02, 2018 by Joshua B Nething, M.D., Summa Health Medical Group - Urology


Did you know one out of every 10 men in the US will develop prostate cancer? This form is the most common cancer in men. Bladder cancer, another common cancer in the US, affects as many as 68,000 individuals every year. It’s the fourth leading cancer for men and the eleventh for women. For men ages 15 to 44, testicular cancer is the leading type of cancer. What do all of these have in common? They are cancers that form in or affect parts of the urinary tract.

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Posted July 30, 2018 by Sameer A Mahesh, MD Hematology, Medical Oncology


Did you know skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States? If caught early, skin cancer is one of the easier cancers to treat. However, every hour of every day one American dies from melanoma, its deadliest form.

There are various treatments for melanoma, depending on the stage at which a patient is diagnosed, including: surgery to remove the affected area, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a relatively new treatment called immunotherapy.

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Going Natural: Anti-Aging Tips for Over 40

Posted July 24, 2018 by Dr. Julie A. Mark, Summa Health Dermatology


It is never too late to adjust your skincare routine. Think of it like a new exercise routine: with a little dedication, determination and education you can undo or halt bad habits.

Around the age of 30, the body’s collagen production slows down. Collagen plays a big part in the elasticity our skin has. When that production slows down, we tend to see our skin change with the addition of dark spots, larger pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

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Carbs: The Good, the Bad and the Yummy

Posted July 19, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, Registered Dietitian, Summa Health


Atkins, paleo, low-carb, no carb, how do you choose? If weight loss is a priority for you, or if you are just looking to eat healthier, there is an abundance of diets, meal plans and fads out there.

But what exactly are carbohydrates (carbs) and why are some of them so “bad” for us? Below is a breakdown of the types of carbohydrates, what they do to our bodies, which ones we can eat and those to avoid.

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What Exactly is a Kidney Stone?

Posted July 13, 2018 by Joseph S Dankoff, MD Summa Health Medical Group - Urology


A kidney stone is a solid, stone-like deposit made of minerals and salt that can form in one or both of your kidneys. These deposits can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pebble.

Did you know there are actually four different types of kidney stones?

  1. Calcium stones:This is the most common stone and is a form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in some fruits, vegetables, nuts and chocolates. Your liver also produces oxalate.…

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PTSD: Not A Life Sentence

Posted June 27, 2018 by Patrick A. Palmieri, Ph.D. Director, Traumatic Stress Center


June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day (and all of June is PTSD Awareness Month). PTSD, or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, is a condition that can develop following highly stressful life experiences. Some examples of these traumatic events are military combat, sexual assault, transportation accidents, and natural disasters. Such trauma exposure is quite common. Most people will experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime.

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Battling Bladder Control: Male and Female Incontinence

Posted June 26, 2018 by Lawrence L Geller, MD Summa Health Medical Group - Urology


Normally associated more with females than males, urinary incontinence affects at least 25 million Americans each year. And while 75 percent are female, the issue can affect any person, at any age.

Interesting fact: Incontinence is not a disease, it is always a symptom or cause of something else. There are at least 4 different types of incontinence and a host of causes and issues that can cause bladder leakage.

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Alzheimer's Awareness Month: Seven Tips For Caregivers

Posted June 20, 2018 by Natalie Kayani, M.D. Geriatric Medicine

Did you know 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease? Every 65 seconds, someone in the US develops this disease. It is the most common form of dementia and affects women at almost double the rate of men. Dementia diseases relate to the brain’s ability to regulate memory and cognitive skills. Other forms of dementia include Parkinson’s and Huntington's disease and vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and mixed dementia.

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Seven Myths About Mental Health Debunked

Posted June 11, 2018 by Joseph D. Varley, M.D., DFAPA, - Department of Psychiatry


Mental health is as complex as physical health. It can fluctuate up or down, it can be affected by genetics and physical trauma and is something that may require treatment by a medical professional.

In the US, one in five individuals is affected by a mental health condition. To address the stigma associated with mental health, discover seven myths, debunked here.

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Outstanding Stroke Care at Summa Health

Posted May 08, 2018 by Susana M. Bowling, M.D., FAHA - Director, Summa Health Neuroscience Institute


In May, we celebrate Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death, and the leading cause of adult disability. A stroke occurs when part of the brain does not get blood flow. A blood clot can block a blood vessel or artery, or a blood vessel can break. When this occurs, brain cells die quickly. When the cells die, the body loses control of the abilities that area of the brain once controlled.

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How Does Anxiety Influence Your Health

Posted April 30, 2018 by Ingeborg Hrabowy, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist - Behavioral Health Consultant in Family Medicine

Fight or flight— it’s how our body responds in stressful or anxious situations. The body working in tandem with the mind is an incredible thing. As we continue to learn more about how our emotional feelings can manifest in physical ways, the more connected they appear to be.

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PrEP An important tool in HIV prevention

Posted April 11, 2018 by Dr. Amy Hite - Infectious Diseases


In the United States, about one million people are living with HIV infection, but it’s estimated that 1 in 7 of those infected is not aware that that he or she is HIV positive. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, is where HIV-negative people take a medication to reduce their risk of getting HIV. Currently the only FDA-approved medication for PrEP is Truvada, which is taken once daily for prevention.

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4 Questions to Ask Your Primary Care Physician When Prescribed New Medication

Posted April 03, 2018 by Dr. Vivek Bhalla


According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 25 percent of new prescriptions are never filled at the pharmacy. Even more staggering is the fact that medication is not taken as prescribed up to 50 percent of the time. Before your primary care physician (PCP) prescribes any medication, we review all medical history, possible allergies and evaluate and treat the cause for your visit.

There are many different reasons a PCP may prescribe new medication:

  • A…

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Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community

Posted March 29, 2018


LGBTQ individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety and LGBTQ individuals have a higher rate of suicide as compared to those in the general population. Much of this is due to minority stress. Minority stress within the LGBTQ community stems from a variety of factors including social stigma, discrimination, prejudice, denial of civil and human rights, abuse, harassment, victimization, social…

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How to Deal with Your Spring Allergies

Posted March 28, 2018 by Dr. Lynn M Hamrich


Warmer air, flowers blooming, sunshine! Most of us are happy to be headed into spring. But for some of us, this is the time of year we dread the most - spring allergy season. Did you know spring allergies can actually begin as early as February, depending on your location and the duration of your winter season? And, they can last until the middle of summer!

Common Causes of Allergies

First, let’s talk about the most common cause of allergies: pollen. It’s an…

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National Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender LGBT Health Awareness Week

Posted March 27, 2018 by Dante Roulette, M.D.


The medical definition of sexual orientation is “an enduring, emotional, romantic or sexual attraction that one feels toward men or women, or both.” While this definition may suffice for the purposes of education, one truth I have learned is there is no single definition that can encompass all of human sexual orientation, identity or gender identity.

Summa Health is an inclusive healthcare provider whose mission is to provide the right access to the right care for…

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Reducing the Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Posted March 22, 2018 by Costas H. Kefalas, M.D., MMM, FACP, FACG, FASGE, AGAF


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer remains the #3 cancer killer in the U.S., yet it is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Statistically, 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2018 more than 140,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 50,000 of them are expected to die of this disease. Colorectal cancer screening could save more than half…

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Posted March 01, 2018 by Jaimie A. McKinnon


As many of you know, our community has been struggling to effectively manage the addiction epidemic, which is now widely considered to be a public health crisis. The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations.

While much of the scientific and medical community…

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The Power of Vitamin D

Posted February 15, 2018 by Lynn M. Hamrich, M.D., FAAFP


You may have heard of the health benefits of vitamin D in the fight against the common cold.

A British investigation published in February 2017 concluded that taking vitamin D supplements can help protect against respiratory infections like colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. The researchers looked at data from 25 clinical trials involving some 11,000 patients from 14 countries and found a significant but modest benefit. These results occurred mostly among those…

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Winter Blues… or Something More

Posted February 08, 2018 by Patricia Galbraith ATR, LPCC-S


This time of year, it feels like our world is gray and gloomy, bright sunshine will never reappear and the cold winds dampen our spirits at every turn. It’s easy to experience the winter blues.

But, for some people winter is quite literally depressing. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.

As the days become short and…

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The Gift of Heart Health

Posted February 06, 2018 by Michael Hughes, M.D.


When you think of February, you may think of Valentine's Day, chocolate and flowers. February also marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. But the good news is it's also one of the most preventable.

Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart…

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Posted February 01, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, MA, RDN, LD, CDE

The excitement is growing for Super Bowl LII. Before we know it, it will be the kickoff for the Big Game, the must watch commercials, and of course, the anticipated halftime show. It will also be a kickoff to the Big Party with friends and family where we will root for our favorite team.

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Medical Nutrition Therapy or Nutrition Education?

Posted January 22, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, MA, RDN, LD, CDE


Medical Nutrition Therapy or Nutrition Education?

Obesity currently affects 34% of all Americans. It contributes to many other conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes, GERD, Sleep Apnea, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Joint Disorders, and a variety of cancers. Improving or eliminating obesity often can improve or cure these conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes.

A registered dietitian can approach obesity through either medical nutrition therapy or nutrition education.


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Posted January 15, 2018 by Kathy G. Wise, RDN, LD, CWP, CWC


We eat for many reasons beyond hunger, which is why learning to eat mindfully helps you maintain or even lose weight if desired. As we celebrate Healthy Weight week this week, here are ten tips that provide some food for thought.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality.Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet…

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