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HealthCore Alliance discusses women's health

To recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month, the Woodbury HealthCore Alliance held a speaker session last week that focused on women's health.

The event featured Dr. Sam Arnold, CEO of Comprehensive Healthcare for Women, and Amy Hawks of Regions Hospital Rehabilitation Institute Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Globe University.

"We need to see patients as a whole and not just deliver babies," Arnold said.

He spoke in an anecdotal sense about his experience as an obstetrician and gynecologist, while Hawks discussed a disease that affects one out of eight women.

Lymphedema, she said, is a disease caused by trauma associated with cancer treatments and radiation, and it can also be heredity or congenital.

"The big thing about this is there is no cure for lymphedema," she said, but it is manageable.

The condition causes fluid buildup in the lymph vessels in the body and stops them from draining through the body properly, which in turn causes swelling in the arms and legs.

Hawks explained the different treatment options for lymphedema, which include some that have fallen out of favor like tissue removal and liposuction.

Physical therapy, she said, is the "gold standard of treatment."

She advises those with lymphedema to take care of their skin and allow for manual lymph drainage with compression therapy.

"Take that extra precaution," Hawks added.

Some in the audience wondered how they could tell the difference between swelling caused by a sprain or an injury versus lymphedema.

The photos Hawks showed as she explained the disease were powerful images of swelling in the arms and legs that was visible throughout the lymph vessels.

She explained that sprains are typically centered in a smaller area and not the entire lymphatic system.

Early detection

Arnold said developing relationships with patients helps find problems early, such as heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis or lupus.

"The big thing about these things is you can detect them early with appropriate screening," he said.

And with advancing technology, Arnold said testing doesn't have to be so much of a hassle anymore.

"Having that long term relationship is so important for both the physician and patients," he said.

The event was the second in a series of speaker sessions the HealthCore Alliance plans to conduct on a quarterly basis.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.