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Ladies Day Coming to North Healthplex

You are the architect, builder and designer of your life. Are you ready for a healthy renovation?

WakeMed North Healthplex is hosting a special day just for women in our community on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

• Attend free health seminars on osteoporosis, sinus headaches, urinary issues, weight loss, heart disease, and understanding the tween years.

• Participate in a wide variety of free health screenings, including cholesterol, bone density, blood pressure, hearing, balance and posture.

• Meet with health care professionals to discuss diabetes, heart health, breast health, stroke education, and other issues of concern to you.

• Pamper yourself at our Ladies Day spa, featuring chair massages, mini manicures and relaxation techniques.

Plus, join us for a special kickoff to Ladies Day as we host the groundbreaking ceremony for the new WakeMed North Hospital, a 61-bed full-service hospital focused on women’s care. (7:30 to 9 am – On the front lawn)

Ladies Day
Thursday, October 6, 2011
WakeMed North Healthplex
10000 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh
Register by calling 919-350-7827 or visiting


Stand By Your Man – Men’s Health Event

Chances are if you’re a woman with a special man in your life, you’ve heard his excuses before. Let’s face it, when it comes to his health, taking charge isn’t always his priority. So, what can you do? Join WakeMed for a special men’s health event! We’ll have FREE seminars, screenings and lots of health information for him AND for you!

September 2 1
4 to 8 pm
WakeMed Cary Hospital
1900 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary

Seminars (Seating is limited. Pre-registration required)
4:30 pm – All About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery – John Buttram, MD, Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic
5:30 pm – Understanding Your Prostate Health – Kevin Perry, MD, Cary Urology
6:30 pm – Minimally Invasive Treatment Options for Treating Hemorrhoids – A Kinder Gentler Method – David Zeiler, MD, Triangle Surgical Associates
7:30 pm – Getting to the Heart of Heart Disease – Bhavani Balaravi, MD, WakeMed Faculty Physicians – Raleigh Cardiology Associates

Screenings (Pre-registration required for the following screenings)
• Prostate Screening/PSA Test – (for age 50+ or age 45+ with risk factors)
• Total and HDL Cholesterol Check
• Vascular Screenings – (for age 50+)

Free screenings on a walk-in basis; first-come, first-served.
• Blood Pressure Checks and Stroke Risk Assessments
• Skin Cancer Spot Checks, 5:30 to 7 pm – courtesy of Cary Dermatology
• Hearing Screening – courtesy of Mann ENT

Health Education
• Think FAST – Stroke Education
• Thriving with Heart Failure
• Chest Pain – When Do You Know If It’s Real
• Understanding Pre-Diabetes
• Breast Health Education
• Ask the Dietitian
• Ask the Pharmacist
• Sleep Disorders
• Invasive Cardiology Diagnosis & Treatments

Register today at, or for questions call 350-7827.


Flu Season is Here

In a typical year, approximately 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the seasonal flu. For most people, the flu is a passing virus that makes you feel terrible for several days, but for some it can be more serious and require hospitalization. In fact, earlier this year a Cary High School student died of complications from the flu

The good news is you have three primary defenses against the flu that are very effective.
1. Avoid People Who Are Sick
2. Wash Your Hands
3. Get the Flu Vaccine

This year, the flu vaccine is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older, with a particular emphasis on healthcare workers, school-aged children, teachers, daycare workers and pregnant women.  Getting vaccinated is as much about protecting yourself as it is about protecting those around you.  Parent vaccination helps to protect children; healthcare worker vaccination protects patients; teacher vaccination protects students, etc.

This year the U.S. seasonal influenza vaccine virus strains are identical to those contained in the 2010-11 vaccine. (These include A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like, A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like, and B/Brisbane/60/2008-like antigens.)

If you got the vaccine last year, it is still very important to get the vaccine this year to maintain optimal protection against flu.  Your body does retain some protection for a lifetime after a flu vaccine, but immunity wanes.  This means that if you do not get the vaccine again this year, your body won’t be as equipped to fight off the virus.  If you got the flu vaccine last year, think of this year’s vaccine as a booster.

The flu vaccine is available now, and now is a great time of year to start building your immunity.  Remember, it takes about two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the shot.

Robin Carver is director of WakeMed Raleigh Campus infection control.


Medical Equipment Donation Day

Calling all canes, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and other assistive devices.

WakeMed and Sunstone Medical are teaming up to collect new or gently used medical equipment.  All equipment will be inspected, repaired and given to patients in need.  Suggested items for donation include canes, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, ramps and vehicle lifts.

Durable Medical Equipment Donation Day
Saturday, September 17
10 am – 2 pm
WakeMed Wake Forest Road Outpatient Rehab Center
3701 Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

If you have an item that needs to be physically removed from your home, just call and we will make arrangements to pick it up at a time that is convenient for you.  For in-home pick-up please call 919-872-8484.


Cheers to September’s Seasonal Sensation: Muscadine Grape Recipes

As the final days of summer tiptoe away, there’s nothing I’d rather do than whip up a deliciously healthy meal and toast our final days of the season. And I’m in luck. With the month of September comes the seasonal sensation, the muscadine grape, ripe and ready for the picking. And when it comes to the muscadine, there’s so much to celebrate. The muscadine grape packs quite the healthy punch with its copious amounts of antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamin C and super compounds like resveratrol.  

In a joint study funded by the USDA and Mississippi State University, researchers found potentional cancer fighting benefits of the muscadine from natural plant compounds like resveratrol and ellagic adic. Both are thought to protect against cancer while reducing the signs of aging. And that’s not all the grape is praised for. The USDA also touts muscadine grapes as an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, essential minerals and vitamin C. Eating a diet rich in dietary fiber can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels while protecting against heart disease, gastrointestinal disease and colon cancer.

And what better way to enjoy the super healthy benefits of our State’s most amazing grape than a nice tall glass of grape soda or muscadine sorbet? Here are two refreshingly healthy twists on the sweet treats. For an extra boost of fiber, antioxidents and resveratrol, skip the steps to strain the juices from the pulp. The muscadine’s skin and fibrous fruit are the healthiest parts of the grape.

In celebration of September’s Seasonal Sensation, lift your fizzy glass of grape soda, and cheers to a healthy and happy September! Enjoy.

Muscadine Grape Soda
Serves 4
Soda recipe from EatingWell Magazine,
This sweet and tangy homemade soda packs 35 percent of your daily vitamin C  – that’s 2.5 servings of fruit in one glass. If your grapes are on the sweeter side, go easy on the honey to cut the calories. Freeze extra whole grapes ahead of time and float them in the drink like ice cubes.

4 cups seedless mascadine grapes, halved and seeds removed, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups seltzer

Puree grapes in a blender. Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract all the juice. Add lemon and honey to the juice; stir until the honey is dissolved. Add seltzer water. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with whole grapes.
Per serving: 138 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 4 mg sodium; 303 mg potassium.

Muscadine Sorbet
Serves 8 (Yields about 1 1/3 cups of sorbet)
2 pounds (about 2 quarts) of muscadine grapes
¼ cup of superfine sugar or honey
The juice and zest of one lemon

Working in batches, puree the grapes with the sugar in a food processor or blender until the sugar is dissolved (about three minutes). Over a bowl, pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer or sieve. Press on the solids to extract all the juice. Add the lemon juice and zest to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap or pour into an airtight container and let cool for several hours. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instruction
Per serving: 115 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat , 0 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 6 g fiber; 4 mg sodium; 250 mg potassium

This post is part of the NC’s No Diet Diet series.  View previous posts here: February Sweet PotatoMarch LettuceApril StrawberriesMay Broccoli and CabbageJune Peaches, July Vegetables, August Watermelon


Amy Bowen, RD, LDN, is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital


Parents Play Day

Join parents from across North Carolina as we kick off plans for Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play!

Tuesday, September 13
10 am to Noon
Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education
224 Sunnybrook Rd., Raleigh

• Sideline Parents: Get Ready, Set, Fit!
• Out You Go: Families That Play
• Activity Dice
• Scavenger Hunt (Discover Fun Prizes)
• Plant the Seed
• Grocery Cart Relay
• Snacktivity Demo
• Plus, Healthy Snacks, Fun Ideas & Prizes

Children who are not in school are welcome to tag along and join the fun.

Get Ideas for Your Family, School, Community and PTA

Register Today – It’s Free


Did you ever wonder how a stethoscope works?

Dr. Bhavani Balaravi of Raleigh Cardiology, shared what doctors are listening for when they listen to your chest in the latest edition of   Heart to Heart Magazine, WakeMed Heart Center’s quarterly heart health awareness publication.

“Today’s stethoscopes still play an important role in diagnosing heart, lung and vascular conditions,” said Bhavani Balaravi, MD, FACC, a cardiologist with Raleigh Cardiology – Cary Office.

How does the stethoscope work?

“A stethoscope enhances body sounds and transmits those sounds to our ears,” explained Dr. Balaravi. A typical model has a flat, round chest piece covered by a thin, tightly stretched skin of plastic called a diaphragm. The diaphragm vibrates when sound occurs. These high-frequency sounds travel up the hollow plastic tubing into hollow metal earpieces and to the doctor’s ears.

What sounds does the doctor hear using a stethoscope?

A healthy adult’s heart makes two sounds called a lub (the first part of the heart beat) and a dub (the second part of the heart beat). “The lub sound is created by near simultaneous closure of the mitral and tricuspid valves located between the atria (upper chambers) and ventricle (lower chambers) of the heart,” explained Dr. Balaravi. “When the blood leaves the heart via the aorta and pulmonary arteries, the near simultaneous closure of the aortic and pulmonary valves creates the dub sound. When the valves do not completely close, a raspy or blowing noise can occur. This is a heart murmur, an extra sound produced as a result of turbulent blood flow during heart beats, which can mean a valve disorder is present.”

“We also use stethoscopes in conjunction with sphygmomanometers to determine a person’s blood pressure,” said Dr. Balaravi.
Read more about stethoscopes, valve problems, watermelon and much more by clicking here.


Need to Know Your Numbers?

WakeMed Corporate & Community Health is hosting cholesterol screenings on Friday, September 2 and again on September 16th.   For just $27 you get a full lipid panel cholesterol, blood pressure and results interpretation. 12-hour fast required.

Friday, September 2
WakeMed Raleigh Campus
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610
7:30 – 10:00 am

Friday, September 16
Cary Hospital
1900 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC 27518

To make an appointment, call 919-350-7622.


Storm Clean-Up Injury Prevention & Chainsaw Safety

With Hurricane Irene passing over North Carolina this weekend, there will likely be downed trees and branches across the area. One of the biggest threats for injuries during clean up after any storm is from chainsaws.  

“Neither gas nor electric chainsaws are safe. Chainsaws are inherently dangerous tools, and people who do not have experience simply should not operate a chainsaw,” warns Osi Udekwu, MD, director, WakeMed Physician Practices – Trauma & Surgery. “Additionally, even people who are experienced with a chainsaws need to use common sense and extreme caution when operating this very dangerous equipment. Chainsaw lacerations are very difficult to treat because they do not cause clean cuts.”

Follow these steps from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to protect yourself and others. Remember, safety features cannot substitute for knowledge.

  • Get the dealer to demonstrate how to use the saw. Read the manual, learn all you can before using the saw – it’s a potential killer.
  • Wear snug-fitting protective equipment. That includes goggles, face and head mask, gloves, boots, ear protection, and heavy-duty clothing. Wear the equipment properly.
  • Carefully check the area for loose bark, broken limbs, or other damage before trees are felled or removed.
  • Cut safely; keep both hands on the handles. Keep the handles dry, clean and free of oil or fuel. Keep your eye on the blade and what you are cutting. Cut with the lower edge of the saw blade whenever possible. Cutting with the tip of the saw is inviting injury. Let the chainsaw do the work. Don’t try to force the saw.
  • Do not overreach or cut above shoulder height. It is very difficult to control the saw in awkward positions.
  • Do not operate a chainsaw in a tree or from a ladder unless you have been specifically trained and are equipped to do so.
  • When cutting a spring pole or other tree under stress, permit no one but the feller to be closer than two tree lengths when the stress is released
  • Do not operate a chainsaw when tired, if you have been drinking alcohol, or if you have been taking prescription medication or non-prescription drugs.
  • Do not smoke while refueling your saw. Move the chainsaw at least 10 feet away from the fueling point before starting the engine. Use gasoline powered chainsaws only in well ventilated areas
  • Sharpen the saw regularly.
  • Look for anti-kick nose guards, quick-stop brakes, and wraparound hand guards on any saw you use. Kickback accounts for almost a third of chain saw accidents.
  • Don’t wear yourself out. Stay alert. Take frequent breaks.

U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) is also an excellent resource for chainsaw safety information. 


Now’s The Time To Get Prepared for a Disaster

Every year around this time, we post the same information about being prepared for a disaster.  We do so because it is very important to be prepared.  With Hurricane Irene continuing to keep North Carolina in its sights, it is important to think about disaster preparedness and an emergency kit if you haven’t already. 

Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes and ice storms can quickly sweep into a community and cause major disruption.  Manmade disasters, such as chemical explosions, transportation accidents, such as train derailments can easily occur and can require rapid evacuation of the area. Unfortunately, disasters may be individualized, such as a fire in your home.

While we hope we don’t have a disaster, it is important to always be prepared and to talk to your family about emergency plans for communication, evacuation and transportation.

It would be a great idea to use the extra time this Labor Day weekend to talk to your family about your emergency plans and to create a disaster preparedness evacuation kit. If you already have a disaster kit, this would be a great time to update it and replace expired items.

Items to include:

Non-perishable Food: Set aside enough to feed you, your family and your pets for a minimum of three days.  Include a non-electric can opener, paper plates, cups, flatware, garbage bags and ties.

Drinking Water: Keep a three-day supply for each member of your household.  Estimate about a gallon of water a day for each person/pet.

Important Papers: make copies of your identification, passport, credit cards, insurance policies and medical records and/or any important medical information.

Personal Items: Pack medications/prescriptions, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, soap, contact lens supplies, deodorant, baby wipes,  toilet paper and paper towels. 

At Least one Complete Change of Clothing and Shoes: Include at least one long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and closed-toed shoes/boots.  Consider rain gear.

Other Essentials: Pack a first aid kit, cash, maps, blankets, flashlights, battery-powered radio and/or television, candles, matches and batteries.

Also, be sure to check out other resources like the American Red Cross and for more tips on being prepared for a disaster.  If you or a family member are disabled, please visit our earlier blog post.