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Health Capsules: April 3

Stand up for better health

Standing more throughout the day is important to overcome the health hazards of being sedentary.

By now, most of us probably have heard the popular phrase “sitting is the new smoking” to describe the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, sitting for long periods has been shown to increase the risk of many serious or even deadly conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers, including ovarian, colon and endometrial cancer.

One study showed that six percent of all premature deaths could be linked to too much sitting. Another recently published study which specifically looked at sedentary behavior’s impacts on older women found that higher amounts of sedentary time, as well as longer periods of sitting or lying down, were directly associated with cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately, studies have also shown that these serious health risks exist no matter how much time adults spend exercising or how fit they may be. “Even among people who do moderate-to-vigorous activities for seven or more hours per week, those who sit too much have an increased risk of death,” said Dr. Yikyung Park, a nutritional epidemiologist and associate professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Sitting for long periods may seem nearly unavoidable for most adults, especially during the work day. Those who work at a desk or office job may spend as much as 80 to 90 percent of their time at work sitting still. Other national surveys have found that adults generally spend more than half of their waking hours being sedentary.

With these statistics in mind, reducing the amount of time spent sitting is an important step for adults of all ages to take to protect their health. Fortunately, standing more can be accomplished fairly easily – and work is a great place to start, Park suggested.

“Use a standing desk. Organize stand-up meetings. While on the phone, stand up. If you have a short message for a colleague, deliver it in person instead of calling or writing an email,” she suggested.

At home, work on changing your daily routine to include more standing time. Have breakfast and catch up on the morning’s news while standing in the kitchen. When relaxing in the evening with a favorite TV show, stand through an episode or get up during commercial breaks.

“Break up a long period of sitting as often as possible,” says Dr. Park. And just as adults need to gradually ramp up their exercise, it’s also important to build up to longer periods of standing so your body has a chance to adjust to the change, she added.

Area surgeon debuts new orthopedic treatment in Missouri

Dr. Andrew Spitzfaden of Woods Mill Orthopedics

A new, FDA-cleared technology which uses a patient’s own body fat in orthopedic treatment is now available in the St. Louis region.  Woods Mill Orthopedics, with primary offices on the St. Luke’s Hospital campus in Chesterfield as well as a satellite office in O’Fallon, is the first practice in Missouri offering the Lipogems® system. The technology is regarded as an important new tool to help patients suffering from an injury or damage to the knee, shoulder or other joints who are either seeking an alternative to invasive surgery or are not surgical candidates. The procedure can also be used as a complement to surgery.

“Orthopedic medicine has advanced a ton over the last 15 years with regards to reparative medicine,” said Dr. Andrew Spitzfaden, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is leading the local introduction of Lipogems. “Most don’t realize the power of fat. It’s a strange concept, but fat is loaded with reparative cells that can assist with muscle and joint conditions.”

During the hour-long procedure, a patient’s fat tissue is harvested either from around the belly or from the “love handle” area. The fat is placed in the Lipogems device, which effectively screens the tissue to remove impurities, including contaminants such as oils and blood. The newly cleaned fat is then injected into the joint being treated.

The Lipogems procedure is minimally invasive, and is performed under a local anesthetic. The fat tends to remain in the area where it is injected instead of being reabsorbed by the body, so patients can receive lasting benefits including pain relief, joint cushioning and support, and increased freedom of movement. Patients of any age also can receive the treatment; unlike other tissues which may lose their healing capacity over time, fat maintains its healing properties as people age, Spitzfaden said.

On the calendar

St. Luke’s Hospital offers cholesterol and glucose wellness screenings on Friday, April 12 from 7-10 a.m. at WingHaven Medical Building, 5551 Winghaven Blvd. in O’Fallon, in Suite 80. Get your cholesterol and glucose numbers in a one-on-one consultation with a registered nurse/health coach. Screenings also include blood pressure and body composition measurement. A 10-12 hour fast is required. The fee for cholesterol and glucose testing is $20, with A1C measurement testing available for an additional $12. Advance registration is required by visiting stlukes-stl.com; call (314) 542-4848 with questions.

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BJC of St. Charles County offers free Know Your Numbers health screenings on Friday, April 12 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, 10 Hospital Drive in St. Peters, in Suite 117 of Medical Office Building 1. These screenings for adults include fasting glucose, cholesterol, lung function, blood pressure and BMI measurements; participants should fast for at least 10 hours prior to screening. To register, visit bjcstcharlescounty.org/Events.

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The St. Charles City-County Library Foundation sponsors a free Grow Your Reader program on Wednesday, April 17 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital, 10 Hospital Drive in St. Peters, in Medical Office Building 1, Suite 117. Parents and children ages 0-5 can learn simple strategies to help prepare your child to become a successful reader and learner through reading, writing, talking, singing and playing every day. Attendees will receive a bag and free books. Advance registration is required by visiting bjcstcharlescounty.org/Events.

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