Women’s Health in Lincoln, NE – 2019
Poor eating and exercise habits can lead to a shortened lifespan, including diabetes, heart problems, and even some health risks for pregnant mothers and their children. Women are also at risk for certain cancers. Being alert to catch diseases early and adopting healthful habits can not only prevent long-term health risks, it can also promote better mobility and mental health for women. We spoke to Lincoln professionals who have a particular interest in different aspects of women’s health.
With plans to open its new surgery center this year, Advanced Medical Imaging (AMI) continues to remain on the forefront of technology to detect disease, particularly breast cancer, as early as possible. As Lincoln’s only Breast Imaging Radiologist, AMI’s Dr. Erin Bravo, M.D. is a leading force behind many of the organization’s advances in this field.
“At Advanced Medical Imaging, our women’s center provides comprehensive screening for breast cancer including mammogram, MRI, ultrasound, and image-guided biopsies,” noted Dr. Bravo. “Early detection is key to combating breast cancer and, to ensure that happens, women should know their breast cancer risk. We provide the tools needed for patients and their primary care providers to create a unique screening plan based on their risk level.”
Following the completion of recent renovations at AMI’s women’s center, Dr. Bravo believes the new space has become a welcoming, relaxing environment for women. “Mammogram appointments are not something women look forward to, but are incredibly important. In an attempt to make it less of a chore, we have reimagined our patient experience to be as calming and comfortable as possible. We have closed off an entire waiting room, making it private for women’s center patients only. Warm robes, hot tea, infused water, and beautiful photographs give the center a spa-like atmosphere. This transformation has taken the past six months and is just now complete,” Dr. Bravo informed us.
Beyond improving the ambiance, AMI continuously researches and tests new medical technology. “We have increased the number of 3D mammography (also known as digital tomosynthesis) exam rooms,” Dr. Bravo explained. “Our newest machine even offers curved paddles which makes it less painful for the patient while still obtaining adequate compression of the breast tissue for a mammogram. Our new unit allows us to do 3D guided biopsies while women are in an upright position. This is patient-preferred over the traditional prone method where patients have to lie on their stomachs for an extended period of time.”
AMI has introduced methods to allow for a more individualized experience and explanation of health for patients. “Within the past couple of years, we have started including a woman’s breast density score and lifetime breast cancer risk score with every mammography report. Patients and their physicians can use these scores to create individual breast screening plans based on individual risk factors. What this means for patients is a better ability to identify women at high-risk for future breast cancer. For patients with a higher risk for breast cancer, breast MRI’s are becoming more common. Our MRI technologists are experts at these exams which allow us radiologists to see the breast tissue in a different way from a mammogram or ultrasound. Evaluating this variety of studies can help with early detection,” Dr. Bravo added.
With a pleasant new space and improved technology to streamline the process, Dr. Bravo hopes women will seriously consider taking an active approach to catching cancer early. “It is paramount that women know their personal risk for breast cancer and get screened accordingly,” she said. “The standard set by the American College of Radiology of an annual mammogram at and after age 40 is for women of AVERAGE risk only. Women with an increased risk due to breast density, family history, genetics, and health factors may require early screening or other diagnostic methods.”
Breast cancer is not the only factor which can affect women’s health. With an overall goal of improving health care for women, the physicians and nurse practitioners of the Women’s Clinic of Lincoln, P.C. seek to provide comprehensive care for women. As a nurse practitioner, Courtney Sams, MSN, APRN explains their comprehensive care goals this way: “Women’s Clinic of Lincoln strives to successfully meet the ever-changing health needs of women. Our integrated system of care is designed to promote optimal physical, emotional, and spiritual health for women throughout their life span. For over 40 years, we have been caring for women by providing a single location for annual exams, hormone management, 3D mammograms, ultrasounds, and much more. Women can count on us to form a relationship them where we are able to address every need they may have.”
Courtney explained that the clinic now offers a range of aesthetic services in addition to their medical services. “Women’s Clinic of Lincoln is excited to now help women look as good as they feel,” Courtney said. “We are currently offering aesthetic services, which include: CoolSculpting, Smartlipo, skin tightening, facial and skin rejuvenation, laser hair removal, laser pigment and sun spot removal, laser tattoo removal, Botox, Latisse, and facials. We know that our patients trust us for their health care. That is why we want to help women feel comfortable and confident in their bodies as they age gracefully. All aesthetic services are performed by our highly trained and certified health care professionals.”
With so many advances and new developments in the field of women’s health in the past decade, Courtney says it is important for women to have opportunities to rest from the daily grind. “Women are busier than ever wearing many hats on a daily basis. From wife, to mother, to businesswoman, to best friend, most women rarely make time for themselves. It is important for women to slow down and take care of themselves both body and mind. Women’s Clinic of Lincoln will enhance the way you feel every day; both inside and out,” advised Courtney.
One of the most beautiful functions of a woman’s body is the ability to grow another life inside of her. Childbirth is truly a miracle, but for some women, it doesn’t come easy. In fact, there are more than 200,000 cases of infertility reported in the US per year. About 10% of women (6.1 million) in America, ages 15–44, have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.womenshealth.gov). The cause of infertility can be difficult to determine, but may include inadequate levels of certain hormones in both men and women, and trouble with ovulation in women. To give us more insight on this, we talked to Dr. Ashley Hayes with Express Life Chiropractic. “There are a variety of treatments out there that couples try to improve their chances of getting pregnant—from hormone treatments to fertility drugs, and even surgery” Ashley said. “These methods work for some people, but I would recommend trying something less invasive that doesn’t add or subtract anything from the body, and also has the potential to be more effective. Those other types of treatments are expensive too. We actually just met a couple who is already $50,000 into their fertility treatments. That is decades worth of chiropractic care. The thing is, our bodies are designed to function perfectly when given the chance. Chiropractic care for women may be able to help with fertility. We’ve seen it happen many times. The reason for this is, our bodies are controlled by our central nervous system, which is made up by our brain and spinal cord. Nerve interference can affect the reproductive system, which can lead to infertility. If any part of this pathway is under stress or disrupted in any way, it will affect other functions of our body because without the right signals from our brain, our organs cannot function properly. At Express Life Chiropractic, we look at what is really happening with your nervous system to get to the root cause of the problem so that we can increase the overall function of your body.”
As we continued to talk to Dr. Ashley, we learned that chiropractic care, specifically the kind they offer at Express Life Chiropractic, is beneficial, even when it’s an already seemingly healthy pregnancy. “The Webster technique, a chiropractic technique designed specifically for pregnant women,” Ashley informed us. “It provides a sacral adjustment, along with working with the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis to help facilitate the mother’s pelvic alignment and nerve system function. This, in turn, brings balance to the pelvis and reduces torsion to the uterus, allowing the mother to be more comfortable throughout pregnancy and the baby to have optimal room for growth and positioning. Chiropractic care has been researched and shown to reduce labor pains and delivery times by up to 60%. This isn’t new information, but we find that many people are unfortunately still uninformed about this.”
Ultimately, as Ashley emphasized, our bodies are complex and amazing, and they are capable of performing exactly how they were designed to…we just have to let them. That means knowing them and taking care of them. Taking care of our bodies means adopting daily habits like a nutritious diet and physical exercise, which will reduce health risks by promoting a healthy body and heart. There is no single regimen that will work for every single woman—some people are more individualistic and private, and others are more interested in social groups. As owner of Right Foot Forward Fitness, Jeff Madsen offers a variety of classes and options to fit different workout styles. We asked Jeff what important things most people tend to forget while trying to get enough physical exercise. “One of the most important things women can do to enhance their health is to incorporate resistance training into their fitness routine,” Jeff told us. “In both our boot-camp classes and our personal training we utilize various forms of resistance training from suspension straps to kettle-bells to dumbbells and barbells. Why is this so important? Because the two main villains women are fighting over time are osteopenia (loss of bone mineral density) and sarcopenia (loss of muscle tone and fiber)…and the most effective way to battle those conditions is resistance training!”
Because some health problems more profoundly affect women over the age of 40, Jeff has designed a structured personal training program for women 40+ years of age called Masters Athletes, designed to address balance, proprioception, mobility, strength, and conditioning. Jeff shared what he considers the top four important things people should know about women’s fitness:
- Use resistance training…gone are the days when we discouraged women from being strong and powerful.
- Know that past failures or struggles do not define you…failure is an event, not a person…you can achieve your goals!
- Your health is worth the necessary investment of time and energy!
- If you have questions, talk to a pro…we’d be happy to visit with you at no cost or obligation and answer any questions you might have.
For many individuals, it’s not only important to exercise, but to find opportunities in the local community to motivate you to train. If you are looking for ideas on how to participate in marathons in your local community, the Lincoln Running Company is a great way to find health and running events held in Lincoln. Just this year, as part of their mission to offer the shoes and gear people need for running, walking, and physical activity, the Lincoln Running Company participated in the Launch Your Toughness Challenge, and they are actively involved in the annual Lincoln Marathon. Their manager, Ann Ringlein, was the instructor for the Downtown YMCA’s annual Marathon Training Course, and the Lincoln Running Company hosted a registration event for the Lincoln National Guard Marathon. Following the Lincoln Running Company’s Facebook page (@TheLincolnRunningCo) is a great way to keep up with upcoming events and opportunities to run and learn about marathon training from experienced athletes. May 4, Christie Aschwanden, author of Good to Go, will be the guest speaker for the Lincoln Marathon Expo, hosted at the Cornhusker Marriott. Don’t miss the opportunity to get connected with Lincoln’s marathon and running community.
While exercise and physical activity remains one of the time-tested methods of improving your health, other lifestyle choices can also profoundly affect both your physical and mental state. After researching the importance of a good night’s sleep, Lance Petrie, the co-founder of LUSSO Mattress, became deeply concerned by the negative impact of sleeplessness on health. Sleeplessness can contribute to irritability, stiffness, and soreness, as a result of sleeping in an awkward position on a mattress which does not provide significant support.
Lance says that traditional mattress styles often have their own pros and cons, and only recently have there been improvements to address these common problems. Lance pointed out that the first major flaw of memory foam is that it retains excessive body heat because memory foam has a closed cell construction.
“This closed cell construction will restrict air-flow resulting in heat build-up beneath the sheets, making it difficult or uncomfortable to sleep,” noted Lance. “Memory foam also responds slowly once any pressure is applied, creating the feeling of being stuck in a hole or laying on sand. On the flip side or positive side, memory foam will contour or mold to your body which is good for maintaining body circulation. Good circulation helps with eliminating tossing and turning throughout the night. This pressure relieving memory foam also helps with reducing dreaded arm or leg numbness.”
To correct the problem of overheating, LUSSO uses a multi-layer foam design. “Our three-layer foam mattress design consists of a top 2” comfort layer made of an open cell construction. This open cell foam construction allows for greater airflow for an increased cooler night’s sleep over memory foams closed cell construction. Our top layer is also springier than memory foam, with responsive bounce that pulls memory foam back into shape, allowing for freedom of movement that eliminates the feeling of too much sink, resulting in a cloud-like luxurious feel. We then added a second layer using 2” cooling memory foam to provide the body with natural contouring spinal alignment and pressure relief for greater circulation, minimizing tossing and turning for a deep rejuvenating, healthier sleep,” Lance explained.
Lance emphasized that a good night’s sleep profoundly affects the rest of our day. “Getting the right amount of sleep rejuvenates our body giving us energy and drive to better perform throughout our life. This is what inspired us to create LUSSO mattress. We have designed our mattress with uncompromising quality and one goal in mind, to create the very best sleep experience possible, at an affordable price,” he concluded. As an online direct ship (bed in a box) mattress company, LUSSO offers an in-home 100-night trial on their product.
No matter what steps you take to promote your own physical and mental health, insurance is necessary in order to protect you and your family financially during a difficult health situation. This can be especially important for athletes who are more likely to experience a sports-related injury. While different health insurance plans focus on paying medical expenses, supplemental insurance can help families cover their day-to-day expenses. As a benefits advisor for Aflac, Kerry Butzke says that supplemental insurance isn’t like health insurance at all.
“One of my clients wrote to me to thank me personally after receiving a check from Aflac,” Kerry shared with us. “She said she appreciated the patience we showed in helping get everything filed and going above and beyond to help her in the time of need. One wife wrote that after her husband was diagnosed with cancer, Aflac payments provided them with peace of mind knowing they could focus on the illness while their immediate needs were taken care of. Furthermore, your payments are tax free.”
As people have high deductibles and many out of pocket expenses, Aflac’s hospital plan helps with co pays, ER visits, hospital stays, surgeries, diagnostic screenings, and x-rays. It ESPECIALLY helps those women planning for a baby. “I get calls from women all the time asking to get on Aflac’s maternity plan,” Kerry shared. “If you are an employer and you have employee’s working at your facility and don’t offer Short Term Disability you should definitely give me a call. Your employee’s can only get maternity disability through their employer. This is a big deal when dealing with finances after your child is born and really gives a peace of mind along with helping attract and retain employees.”
Whether it’s getting a good night’s sleep, taking time to engage in physical exercise, making sure you are prepared for health-related accidents and diagnosis, or being proactive about the risk of cancer as early as possible, there are many steps women can take to ensure they are living a healthful life style.