Health and Medical 2013


March 5, 2013

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Page 2, Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013
Rolling Plains Rural Health Clinic is now Shannon Clinic Sweetwater.
Shannon is proud to be involved with such a wonderful clinic that has
served Sweetwater so well for almost 20 years. Our patients can expect the
same level of care and services that they have become accustomed to over
the years from the same doctors.
We provide many aspects of general medical care, including internal
medicine, family practice, OB & pediatrics. Other services provided:
• Comprehensive women’s, men’s, and children’s health services
• Extensive Radiology services on site, including X-Ray
and Mammography
• Bone Densitometry screening using state-of-the-art
screening equipment
• Extensive Laboratory services on site, including thyroid and
cholesterol screenings
• Workers’ Compensation, pre-employment physicals, and
drug screenings
• Well-child exams and Texas Health Steps Physicals
• Minor surgery
• Treatment for infectious or metabolic diseases
• EKG’s, 24-hour Holter monitoring and stress testing on site
Specialists Come to You
Specialists from San Angelo will continue to travel to Sweetwater for
monthly clinics. Specialties include urology, cardiology, neurology,
neurosurgery, rheumatology and orthopedic surgery.
Continuing to Provide Healthcare
for Your Entire Family
Frederick J. Kassis, M.D.
Internal Medicine
George C. Lindsey, D.O.
Family Practice
Luther C. Martin, D.O.
Family Practice
Larry E. McEachern, M.D.
General Practice
Jeremy R. Smola, D.O.
OB/Family Medicine
Karen R. Vaughn, M.D.
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics
Elizabeth B. Burnett, F.N.P.
Family Health
New Patients Welcome!
201 E Arizona Ave • Sweetwater, TX 79556
Phone: (325) 235-8641
Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013, Page 3
Many surprised by advanced radiology services at RPMH
Common diagnostic
imaging tests and screen-
ings can be performed at
local hospital.
Whether your medical condition
calls for a CT scan, x-rays, a digital
mammogram or virtually any other
type of imaging service, many local
residents are surprised to learn
Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital
(RPMH) has advanced radiology
capabilities that rivals larger hospitals
in the region.
"We are fortunate to have a dynamic
radiology department in our commu-
nity,” said Donna Boatright, admin-
istrator at RPMH. “The breadth of
diagnostic imaging capabilities avail-
able locally is not always available
in other counties across Texas, so we
take great pride in being able to offer
these services.”
The radiology department at
RPMH provides a large array of mod-
ern diagnostic imaging services such
as fluoroscopy, digital mammogra-
phy, CT scans, nuclear medicine and
both general and vascular ultrasound
exams, among others.
One of the often used machines
is the hospital’s CT scanner, which
x-rays a cross-section of the head
and body. Randy Lehrmann, director
of the RPMH radiology department,
explained that CT scans are often an
important test that can be used to
find, among other things, tumors or
masses that might escape detection in
a regular x-ray.
“Our CT and fluoroscopy equip-
ment are really state-of-the-art,”
Lehrmann explained. “The machines
use low-dose technology, which
means patients are exposed to the
least amount of radiation possible
while still allowing us to capture opti-
mum images.”
Another unique service is the nucle-
ar medicine lab at RPMH. Nuclear
medicine provides technicians with
advanced methods of capturing
important images that help physi-
cians with diagnosing patients. The
procedure is an important diagnostic
tool that uses small doses of radioac-
tive substances to detect diseases.
"At RPMH, we are able to provide a
wide range of diagnostic services that
area residents once had to leave town
to obtain,” said Lehrmann. “Being
able to turn to us when they are ill
or need these type of exams makes it
convenient and eliminates the need
for long car rides to other healthcare
facilities in the region.”
For women, the radiology depart-
ment has digital mammography
equipment to help detect breast can-
cer, the most common cancer among
women second to skin cancer. The
American Cancer Society recom-
mends a baseline mammogram for
each woman at age 35, then a mam-
mogram every other year from age 40
to 50, and a yearly mammogram for
women over 50.
"I'm always amazed when women
come into the department who have
never had a mammogram, Lehrmann
added. “The exam is fast and can
detect malignant tumors years before
they can be felt. It's a local life-saver
that every woman should take advan-
tage of.”
The hospital’s ultrasound unit is
one that many people think of in
"We are fortunate to have
a dynamic radiology depart-
ment in our community.”
Donna Boatright
RPMH Administrator
• See RPMH page 10
Page 4, Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013
Exercising outside of the box
Simple ways
to incorporate
exercise into your
daily routine
Exercise is an essential element
of a healthy lifestyle. When coupled
with a healthy diet, exercise puts men
and women on a path toward optimal
health while reducing risk for a host of
ailments, some of which can be deadly.
But many people find they simply
don’t have the time to exercise regular-
ly. Commitments to career and family
can be demanding and time-consum-
ing, and exercise is often a casualty of a
hectic schedule.
Though getting to the gym every day
or even making use of exercise equip-
ment at home on a daily basis may not
be feasible, that doesn’t mean people
still can’t find ways to incorporate a
little exercise into their daily routines.
The following are a few simple ways to
fit more exercise into your day no mat-
ter how busy you may be.
* Avoid the elevator, and attack the
stairs. The elevator may be inviting,
but it’s also somewhat of an enabler.
Instead of taking the elevator up to
your office each day, take the stairs,
and take them with more gusto than
you’re used to. Rather than taking one
step at a time, take the stairs two by
two, lifting your legs high as you scale
each pair of steps. This helps build
your leg muscles and makes the daily
climb up the staircase a little more
* Turn TV time into treadmill time.
Watching a little television at night is
how many people relax and unwind,
but it can be a great time to squeeze in
some daily exercise as well. Opinions
as to what’s the best time of day to
exercise vary, and no definitive study
exists to suggest one time of day is
better than another. People who like
to relax with a little television time at
night should make the most of that
time by hitting the treadmill, elliptical
machine or exercise bike instead of
just plopping down on the couch. Add
a television to your home’s exercise
room or purchase a gym membership
where the cardiovascular machines are
connected to televisions. You will still
get to enjoy your favorite shows while
simultaneously getting the benefit of
* Say “bon voyage” to the conference
room. Professionals who spend lots
of time in meetings can add a simple
twist that incorporates exercise into a
typical business meeting. Rather than
conducting the meeting in a conference
room, propose a walking meeting when
possible. A walking meeting is the same
as a standard business meeting, but
it’s conducted on foot outside of the
office. Walking meetings can provide
some much-needed energy for you and
your fellow staff members, who may
appreciate the chance to get out from
behind their desks and stretch their
legs while still getting work done. Take
your smartphones or tablets along to
jot down important ideas, just like you
would in a more traditional meeting.
And make the most of your walk by
leaving time for some light stretching
before and after the meeting. Chances
are you will return to your desk reen-
ergized and glad you found a way to
get some exercise despite of a busy
* Park far away when shopping. It’s
tempting and almost human nature to
hunt for the parking spot closest to the
door when shopping at the mall or even
the grocery store. But for those who
want to include more exercise in their
daily routines, parking far away from
the entrance to your favorite store is
a great way to incorporate more walk-
ing into your life. Walking is a simple
yet effective cardiovascular exercise,
one that the Mayo Clinic notes can
lower your blood pressure and manage
your weight while lowering your low-
density lipoprotein, which is commonly
referred to as “bad” cholesterol. In fact,
research has indicated that regular,
brisk walking can be just as effective at
lowering a person’s risk of heart attack
as more vigorous exercise, including
jogging. When parking far away from
the entrance, just make sure you park
in a well-lit area where others can eas-
ily see or hear you.
Many adults find they simply don’t
have the time to commit to routine
exercise. But there are several simple
ways to incorporate exercise into your
existing routine without taking time
from your already busy day.
Forgoing the elevator in favor of the stairs is one way
to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine.
Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013, Page 5
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Bronchiolitis a common illness among infants
Bronchiolitis is a common
respiratory illness among
infants. One of its symptoms
is trouble breathing, which
can be scary for parents and
What is bronchiolitis?
Bronchiolitis is an infection
that causes the small breathing
tubes of the lungs (bronchi-
oles) to swell. This blocks air-
flow through the lungs, mak-
ing it hard to breathe. It occurs
most often in infants because
their airways are smaller and
more easily blocked than in
older children. Bronchiolitis
is not the same as bronchitis,
which is an infection of the
larger, more central airways
that typically causes problems
in adults.
What causes bronchi-
Bronchiolitis is caused
by one of several viruses.
Respiratory syncytial virus
(RSV) is the most likely cause
from October to March. Other
viruses can also cause bron-
Infants with RSV infection
are more likely to get bronchi-
olitis with wheezing and dif-
ficulty breathing. Most adults
and many older children with
RSV infection only get a cold.
RSV is spread by contact with
an infected person’s mucus or
saliva (respiratory droplets
produced during coughing or
wheezing). It often spreads
through families and child
care centers.
What are the signs and
symptoms of bronchioli-
Bronchiolitis often starts
with signs of a cold, such as
a runny nose, mild cough and
fever. After a day or two, the
cough may get worse and the
infant will begin to breathe
faster. The following signs
may mean that the infant is
having trouble breathing:
• He may widen his nos-
trils and squeeze the muscles
under his rib cage to try to
get more air in and out of his
• When he breathes, he may
grunt and tighten his stomach
• He may make a high-
pitched whistling sound,
called a wheeze, each time he
breathes out.
• He may have trouble
drinking because he may have
trouble sucking and swallow-
• He may have a bluish tint
around his lips and fingertips,
which tells you his airways are
so blocked that there is not
enough oxygen getting into
his blood.
If your baby shows any of
these signs of troubled breath-
ing, call your doctor or visit
the nearest emergency room.
Your child may become
dehydrated if he cannot com-
fortably drink fluids. Signs
of dehydration include dry
mouth, crying without tears
and urinating less often than
How is bronchiolitis
There is no specific treat-
ment for bronchiolitis.
Antibiotics are not helpful
because they treat illnesses
caused by bacteria, not virus-
es. However, you can try to
ease your child’s symptoms
until the virus resolves.
To relieve a stuffy
• Thin the mucus using
plain saline nose drops. Never
use over-the-counter nose
drops that contain any medi-
cine in infants.
• Clear your baby’s nose
with a suction bulb. Squeeze
the bulb first, then gently
put the tip in one nostril and
Karen Vaughn, M.D.
• See INFANTS page 10
Page 6, Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013
Rare Disease Day 2013: Maintaining bone
health in people with multiple myeloma
In honor of the sixth annual
Rare Disease Day, celebrated
on Feb. 28, it is important to
drive awareness about some
rare cancers that are many
times undiagnosed until the
cancer has already spread. One
particular cancer, multiple
myeloma, often goes undiag-
nosed until the disease has
spread to the bone.
Multiple myeloma is a can-
cer of the plasma cells, a type
of white blood cell found in the
bone marrow. -An estimated
70,000 people in the United
States are currently living with
multiple myeloma and once the
disease has spread to the bone,
patients will likely have a skel-
etal-related event in the back
or ribs due to bone lesions.
Patients may also have growths
that form on the bone, which
may cause difficulty walking.
Additionally, patients’ bones
may easily break or they may
experience loss of appetite,
nausea, thirst, fatigue, weak-
ness or numbness.
“For people living with mul-
tiple myeloma, it’s extremely
important to maintain their
bone health,” says Dr. Doris
Browne, oncologist and presi-
dent and CEO of Browne and
Associates, Inc.
Browne suggests the follow-
ing tips and changes to a mul-
tiple myeloma patient’s diet,
exercise routine and lifestyle
modifications that can be made
to help protect bone health.
She advises it is very impor-
tant to consult with a physician
before engaging in any of these
* Eat a well-balanced diet
enriched with calcium and
vitamin D. Low-fat dairy prod-
ucts, and foods and drinks with
added calcium are good sourc-
es of calcium. Good sources of
vitamin D include egg yolks,
fatty fish, such as salmon and
tuna, and milk with vitamin
D. Some people may also need
to consider taking nutritional
supplements in order to get
enough calcium and vitamin D
in their diets. Fruits and veg-
etables also contribute other
nutrients that are important
for bone health.
* Get plenty of physical
activity. Like muscles, bones
become stronger with exercise.
Good exercises for stronger
bones are weight-bearing.
Walking, climbing stairs and
yoga are some good exercises to
help build strong bones. Try to
get 30 minutes of exercise each
day. Remember, it is important
to talk with your health care
provider before starting physi-
cal activity.
* Live a healthy lifestyle.
Avoid smoking, and, if you
choose to drink alcohol, try not
to drink too much.
* Prevent falls. Falling down
can cause a bone to break, espe-
cially for someone with mul-
tiple myeloma. But most falls
can be prevented. Check your
home for dangers like loose
rugs and poor lighting. Have
your vision checked. Increase
your balance and strength by
participating in weight-bearing
and strength-building activi-
Talk to your doctor about
your bone health. If you are
concerned about your bone
health, go over your risk factors
with your health care provider
and ask which tests you may
To learn more, visit the To
Stay in the Game, Maintain
Your Frame website, www. To
Stay in the Game, Maintain
Your Frame is an educational
program designed to educate
the public about multiple
myeloma, the importance of
maintaining bone health, and
the need for doctor-patient
dialogue to be an active partici-
pant in their health. This pro-
gram is a collaboration between
Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Corporation (“Novartis”) and
the National Black Church
Initiative (NBCI), a coalition
of 34,000 churches across the
United States.
Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013, Page 7
LSVT BIG® treatments are delivered by a physical therapist certified in this method.
Treatment consists of:
• 16 sessions: 4 consecutive days a week for 4 weeks
• Individual 1 hour sessions
• Daily homework practice
• Daily carryover exercises
LSVT BIG® will teach you how to avoid inactivity and keep your movements ALIVE
during everyday activities. It will help you participate fully and improve the quality of
your life!
Call 325-574-7259 for more information.
Cogdell Rehab & Wellness is located at 5301 Trinity Blvd., Snyder.
Visit and join us on Facebook!
In the United States, 50,000-60,000 new
cases of Parkinsons Disease are diagnosed
each year, adding to the one million people
who currently have PD. The Center for
Disease control rated complications from
Parkinson’s disease as the 14th leading
cause of death in the United States.
Cogdell Rehab & Wellness now provides
a treatment program that helps improve
the quality of life for individuals with PD.
LSVT BIG® is a research-based exercise
approach developed from principles of
the effective Parkinson’s specific speech
treatment LSVT LOUD®.
Cogdell Orthopedic Clinic
Dr. Nordyke specializes in a wide range of outpatient
Orthopedic procedures with an emphasis on
• Arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgery
• Orthopedic Surgery for hand, wrist and elbow
Call Cogdell Orthopedic Clinic at 325-574-7240
to schedule appointments.
1700 Cogdell Blvd. Snyder
Most major insurance and Workman’s Comp. accepted
Visit and look us up on Facebook!
Encourages “You”
to be a Healthier,
Happier “You”!
112 W. THIRD • SWEETWATER, TX 79556 • 325/236-6677
Samia Benslimane, M.D.
By Samia Benslimane, M.D.
Shannon Clinic cardiologist
Heart disease, also
referred to as cardiovascular
disease, does not discrimi-
nate between gender, race or
even age. It’s the number one
cause of death in both men
and women in the U.S.
Generally, heart disease
refers to conditions that
involve narrowed or blocked
blood vessels. These condi-
tions may lead to a heart
attack, chest pain (angina) or
stroke. Other conditions that
affect your heart’s muscle,
valves or beating rhythm are
also considered forms of heart
disease— coronary artery dis-
ease (CAD), high blood pres-
sure, atherosclerosis, heart
failure and heart attacks all
fall under the umbrella of
heart disease.
A healthy heart pumps
about 100,000 times a day,
delivering blood to and from
the far reaches of your body.
An unhealthy heart still
pumps, but it may not pump
enough blood or with enough
force to send a sufficient sup-
ply to all of your body’s tis-
sues and organs.
Fortunately, heart disease
is easy to treat if diagnosed
early. The first step in pre-
venting any of these diseases
is to know the risk factors.
There are certain risk fac-
tors for heart disease that
cannot be avoided, such as
being over age 65, male or
African American or having
a family history of heart dis-
ease. But, according to the
American Heart Association,
there are three basic lifestyle
choices that will help you
defend against heart disease.
• Avoid tobacco. If you
smoke, it’s time to quit. If
there’s a smoker in your
home, it’s time to help him
or her quit. Smoking doubles
your risk of developing heart
• Exercise regularly. Any
exercise is better than none,
and just 30 minutes a day on
most days of the week will
help lower your risk. Studies
show that people with mod-
erate fitness levels are much
less likely to die early from
heart problems than those
with poor fitness levels.
• Eat healthfully. The foods
we eat can contribute to high
cholesterol, high blood pres-
sure, diabetes and weight
gain—all major risk factors
for heart disease. Build your
diet around vegetables, fruits
and whole grains and cut back
on salt.
If you already have heart
disease or haven’t exercised
in a while, speak to your doc-
tor about creating a diet and
exercise plan that’s best for
The more risk factors a
person has, the greater the
risk for developing heart dis-
ease. Thankfully, the major-
ity of these risk factors can
be managed and reduced
through lifestyle modifica-
tions. Age and family history,
however, are a risk factor that
no one can control.
Symptoms of heart disease
vary depending on the type of
disease you have.
People with heart failure
often complain of:
• Feeling tired or short of
Heart disease: A friend to no one
• See HEART page 10
Page 8, Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013
Losing weight can dra-
matically improve your emo-
tional and physical health,
but it’s often a slow process.
Millions of American adults
use dietary supplements
to lose weight, choosing a
range of products that claim
to decrease appetite, block
fat absorption or increase
metabolism. But with hun-
dreds of products on the
market, how do you deter-
mine which one to choose?
Here are some myths and
facts about weight loss and
weight-loss supplements that
may help you cut through the
Fiction: You can lose
weight fast ... and keep it
Fact: It takes time to lose
weight safely, and keep it
off. Losing a pound or two
per week is actually an excel-
lent rate of weight loss. If
you lose any more than that,
then it is very likely that the
weight loss will not be per-
manent - it will come right
back. Rapid weight loss is
not healthy - it often means
you are losing water and lean
muscle mass, not the desired
fat mass. Intense weight loss
of more than three pounds
per week over several con-
secutive weeks can be dam-
aging to your organs and
cause health problems.
Be cautious about prom-
ises of quick results, such as
“lose 10 pounds in one week”
or “this celebrity sprinkled
her way to weight loss.” If it
sounds too good to be true,
it probably is. Look for over-
blown claims on the label,
such as “miracle fat burner”
or “miracle cure.” If you’re
unsure about a product, ask
your doctor or pharmacist.
Or, research the supplement
manufacturer to see if they
have conducted studies to
support the claims they are
making. If you are not mak-
ing lifestyle changes as well,
your weight loss is less likely
to be maintained.
Fiction: You have to
overhaul your diet and give
up your favorite foods.
Fact: You don’t have to
overhaul your diet. In fact,
studies have shown that
making significant changes
in your diet does not work
over time. It is very hard
to stick to diets, especially
fad diets. Instead, simple
changes work, including por-
tion control (eating less) and
moderate exercise. If you eat
fast food, don’t supersize.
Fiction: You have to work
out for 30 minutes to an hour
each day to maintain or lose
Fact: Scientific research
demonstrates that 15 min-
utes a day of exercise is
enough to lose weight, espe-
cially in conjunction with
weight loss supplements that
have human clinical research
support that they accel-
erate fat burning, such as
NuShape brand supplement.
The important thing is to be
active at least 15 minutes a
day to get exercise benefits,
including taking the stairs
or getting off at an earlier
subway stop.
Dr. Michael Zemel, for-
mer director of nutrition at
the University of Tennessee,
notes that simple lifestyle
changes are the key to weight-
loss success. “People put too
much pressure on themselves
to change everything in their
diets, which sets them up
for failure,” says Zemel.
“Instead, set your sights on
making several small dietary
and lifestyle changes, and
you’ll lose weight without
really missing out.”-
Zemel created NuShape,
an all-natural dietary sup-
plement that is scientifically
demonstrated to work with
the body to turn 15 minutes
of moderate exercise into 60
minutes of fat burning. When
combined with 15 minutes of
exercise a day, NuShape’s
unique formulation helps
the body burn 300 calories
for sustainable weight loss.
And there are no known side
Fiction: All weight-loss
supplements are the same.
Fact: There are no magic
pills, but there are a few
(very few) good ones. Many
weight loss supplements and
products on the market have
no scientific backing and just
rely on hype. When choos-
ing a weight loss supple-
ment, look to see if there are
scientific studies behind it
and whether they have been
published in a scientific jour-
nal. Look for products that
base their claims on clinical
evidence for the formulation
they are selling. For exam-
ple, there is limited, if any,
clinical evidence to support
many of the most popular
weight loss ingredients, such
as green coffee, raspberry
ketones or HCG.
Also, be wary of side
effects. Many supplements
on the market contain stimu-
lants. Avoid products with
excessive levels of caffeine,
which can cause increased
heart rate and elevated
blood pressure. Others cause
gastrointestinal problems
because they block the fat
from entering your body.
Check the label: If a supple-
ment does not identify its
ingredients or calls them a
“secret formulation,” steer
clear of that supplement.
For more information on
the all-natural weight-loss
supplement NuShape, please
The truth about losing weight: Separating
facts from fiction (and magic pills)
Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013, Page 9
By Robert McBride
Like many people, until I
became the Veterans Service
Officer for Nolan County, I
thought that the VA was the
VA. The U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs is made up of
three core organizations and a
fourth organization that is spe-
cialized in mental health for a
select group of veterans. Those
organizations are the Veterans
Benefits Administration (VBA),
Veterans Health Administration
(VHA), National Cemetery
Administration (NCA) and the
Vet Center. This writing will focus
on VHA and the Vet Center.
The Veterans Health
Administration (VHA) provides
health care, including mental and
dental, for eligible veterans. The
VHA is broken down into VISNs
(Veterans Integrated Service
Networks) and our VISN is VISN
18 headquartered in Mesa, Ariz.
Each VISN is broken down
into Health Care Systems and
we fall under the West Texas VA
Health Care System headquar-
tered in Big Spring. For Nolan
County Veterans, primary care is
normally provided at one of two
locations. Those locations being
the Community Based Outreach
Clinic (CBOC) in Abilene or the
George H. O’Brian, Jr. Medical
Center in Big Spring.
For my primary care, I chose
to go to the CBOC in Abilene as it
is just a bit closer and equipped to
handle the majority of my health
care needs. If care is needed that
the primary care facility cannot
provide, then referrals are made
to facilities that can handle those
needs. This is where it gets a bit
tricky. If there is an orthopedic
need, the referral would be to
Albuquerque, N.M. where VISN
18 has its Orthopedic Clinic. Like
most things in life, this is not
an absolute. Case by case there
are options that may be worked
out on referrals such as crossing
VISN lines and going for care in
Dallas. The VISN 18 boundary is
roughly Clyde.
Another option is called “Fee
Basis” where the referral is made
to a non-VHA provider and the
VHA picks up the bill.
The VHA is also starting to
use “TeleHealth” more often for
certain things, especially follow
up appointments. TeleHealth is
the merging of several technolo-
gies including the internet. A
good example of TeleHealth is
cardiology where your primary
care provider in Abilene gets you
hooked up to the monitors and
the cardiologist in Albuquerque
listens to your heart and gets all
the readouts in real time while
watching live video of you on the
The crossing of the VISN line
is something I have been fight-
ing for two years now and I have
made a good deal of headway. It
just does not make sense for us to
go to Albuquerque when Dallas is
so much closer. Not only does it
save the veteran time, money and
inconvenience it saves the VHA
money in travel pay for those
veterans authorized to receive
travel pay. This is something that
I would love each and every one
of you to help me with by writ-
ing our federal representatives,
asking them to put pressure on
the VISN 18 and West Texas VA
Health Care System leadership to
make smart choices on referrals.
In regards to eligibility for
VHA care, I am going to put
the bottom line up front. If you
think you may be eligible, then
you should apply even if you are
never going to use it. The more
veterans we have enrolled the
more funds the West Texas VA
Health Care System gets in its
budget for those enrolled that
are using it. I believe as veterans
we owe at least that much to our
fellow veterans. If you were ever
on active duty for a period of 180
consecutive days not for training,
then you definitely make veteran
status. There are more ways to
make veteran status, but for the
sake of brevity, I will say if you
have questions come in or call
my office.
After veterans status is
determined then there are eight
“Priority Groups” that a veteran
fits into based on percentage of
service connected disability (SC),
income and net worth of the vet-
eran. I must stress here that hav-
ing a service connected disability
is not required for health care.
Once a priority group is deter-
mined, the care could range from
no cost for the veteran to the vet-
eran having a co-pay for care. A
0% rating on a service connected
disability gets you medical care
for that disability. For example,
if a veteran has 0% SC for hear-
ing loss then the veteran can
get hearing aids and everything
that goes with them from The
VHA. Veterans of OIF/OEF/and
OND get five years of free health
care (no dental) without regard
to service connection or income.
Dental care is the hardest care to
qualify for and the rule of thumb
there is being 100% service con-
nected disabled. There are other
cases for dental care, but they are
few and far between. Once again
if you think you may be eligible,
The Vet Center Program was
established by Congress in 1979
out of the recognition that a
significant number of Vietnam
era vets were still experiencing
readjustment problems. The
program has continued to evolve
and broaden its coverage with its
core function being counseling
returning combat Veterans, their
families and victims of military
sexual trauma (MST). A return-
ing combat Veteran is just that
“returning” and for many it is a
lifelong process and often a road
traveled on alone. The Vet Center
is here so that it does not have
to be a solo journey, no matter
how many decades have passed
since the last time a Veteran was
in combat. So if you or a family
member served in any combat
zone and received a military cam-
paign ribbon (WWII, Vietnam,
Southwest Asia, OEF, OIF, etc.)
you qualify and the Vet Center is
there for you. While combat is a
bad enough experience, there is
the other area the Vet Center pro-
vides counseling for, MST. Any
veteran who was sexually trauma-
tized while serving in the military
is eligible to receive counseling
regardless of gender or era of
service. Counseling may include
individual or group counseling,
marital and family counseling,
referral for benefits assistance
and liaison services with com-
munity agencies. Our local Vet
Center is the Abilene Vet Center
and they send a counselor to
Sweetwater every other Thursday
to Texas State Technical College
in the morning and the Nolan
County Courthouse in the after-
noon. There is also bereavement
counseling available to parents,
spouses and children of Armed
Forces personnel who died in the
service of their country. It takes a
lot of courage and strength to ask
for help and it is not easy to make
that first appointment. I know, I
did, and it does help.
For more information about
the Vet Center go to http://www. or call
1-877-WAR-VETS. If you are in
an immediate emotional crisis,
call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1
for veterans. For more on VHA
go to
default.asp or call the West Texas
VA Health Care System at 1-800-
263-7361. You can also always get
information on these and other
veterans programs by stopping by
or calling my office in the Nolan
County Courthouse, Suite 207A,
phone number 325-235-2214.
Robert R. McBride is the
Veterans County Service Officer
for Nolan County.
VHA provides health care for eligible veterans
Robert McBride
Page 10, Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013
• Trouble sleeping;
• Abdominal pain and loss of appetite;
• Unexplained weight gain or swollen legs
and ankles;
• Frequent dry cough.
People with cardiovascular disease often
complain of:
• Chest pain (angina);
• Shortness of breath;
• Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in
the legs or arms.
You should see your doctor if you have any
of these symptoms. Your doctor will perform a
physical exam and ask about your symptoms.
He or she may take a look at your heart with
x-ray, echocardiogram or other imaging tests.
Risk factors for the development of heart
disease in women include diabetes and meta-
bolic syndrome, high blood pressure, high
cholesterol, smoking, obesity and physical
inactivity, family history age and being post-
menopausal. In addition to managing risk
factors, women need to know and understand
symptoms typically associated with heart dis-
ease in men vary from those which affect
For example, severe, crushing chest pain
is most often associated with a heart attack
in men, but women tend to present with
vague complaints such as unexplained fatigue,
shortness of breath, indigestion or fullness in
the abdomen or a burning sensation to the
back, jaw, shoulders or arms. Many times
they do not experience any pain or discomfort
in their chest. Unfortunately, these symptoms
are easily attributed to something other than
the heart, such as gastrointestinal distur-
bances or simply being “out of shape.”
Young women most likely relate heart dis-
ease to their grandparents or older loved
ones. However, even energetic and athletic
women in their 20s are at risk. Women of all
ages need to know how they could be affected
and what they can do to prevent heart disease
from endangering their lives. This encouraged
the American Heart and American Stroke
Association to provide the following guide-
lines for women based on age:
Women in their 20s
• Know the numbers that impact your heart
• Check your family history;
• Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand
• Drink in moderation.
Women in their 30s
• Tame your stress;
• Make your health a priority;
• Choose birth control carefully, particu-
larly if you smoke.
Women in their 40s
• Strive for more balance and less stress;
• Make your wellbeing a priority;
• Get regular checkups.
Women in their 50s
• Monitor changes in your body and keep
an open dialogue with your doctor;
• Know your numbers;
• Watch what you eat;
• Get physical.
Women in their 60s and beyond
• Know your risk;
• Keep moving.
If you have any questions or concerns
about your risk for developing heart disease,
please consult your primary care provider or
cardiologist. They will be able to determine
your risk factors and make recommendations
based on what is best for you.
It is very important that you follow the
plan and communicate with your doctor on a
regular basis, especially early in the process.
Your treatment plan may include medications
such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
inhibitors and beta-blockers, which reduce
blood pressure and ease the strain on your
heart. Your doctor can also set up a diet and
exercise plan for you that will help strengthen
your heart and improve your overall health.
Please seek immediate medical assistance if
you are experiencing sudden, sever symptoms
such as chest pain, discomfort in other areas
of the upper body such as one or both arms,
the back, neck, jaw or stomach or shortness
of breath.
For more information about how you can
keep your heart healthy, visit www.shannon-
Dr. Benslimane holds clinics twice a month
at the Rolling Plains Rural Health Clinic/
Shannon Clinic Sweetwater.
release the bulb. This works best in children under 6 months.
To relieve fever:
• Give your baby acetaminophen (recommended dose for age).
Do not give children aspirin due to the risk of Reye syndrome.
An infant under 2 months with a fever IS an emergency.
To prevent dehydration:
Make sure your baby drinks lots of fluids. She may want clear
liquids rather than milk or formula. She may feed more slowly
or not feel like eating because she is having trouble breathing.
How will your pediatrician treat bronchiolitis?
If your baby is having mild to moderate trouble breathing,
your child’s doctor may try using a drug that opens up the
breathing tubes. This may help some infants.
Some children with bronchiolitis need to be treated in a
hospital for breathing problems or dehydration. Breathing
problems may need to be treated with oxygen. Dehydration is
treated with a special liquid diet or intravenous (IV) fluids.
How can you prevent your baby from getting bron-
• Make sure everyone washes their hands before touching
your baby.
• Keep your baby away from anyone who has a cold, fever or
runny nose.
• Avoid sharing eating utensils and drinking cups with any-
one who has a cold, fever or runny nose.
Dr. Karen Vaughn specializes in internal medicine and pedi-
atrics at Rolling Plains Rural Health Clinic/Shannon Clinic
Infants, continued from Page 5
Heart, continued from Page 7
connection with pregnancy. This diagnostic test, using radio
sound waves, is used to check the development of a fetus. In
addition, ultrasound might also be used for men and women to
make an abdominal diagnosis and blood flow status.
RPMH strives to ensure top of the line care is available local-
ly with expert physicians, highly skilled medical professionals,
and technology that rivals large metropolitan hospitals.
“Surrounding communities have access to an amazing array
of healthcare services,” Boatright said. “Knowing who to trust
and where to go is why we’re here.”
For more information on diagnostic imaging services and
other hospital capabilities, visit or call 325-
About Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital
Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital provides healthcare for
those in the communities they serve. Founded in 1976, Rolling
Plains Memorial Hospital offers a wealth of medical ser-
vices including: 24 hour emergency care, advanced radiol-
ogy services including CT scanning and MRIs, outpatient lab,
physical therapy, surgical services, swing bed services, patient
education, home health and assistive services, and more. For
additional information, please visit
RPMH, continued from Page 3
Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013, Page 11
Recovering at Home?
Rolling Plains Home Health may be what you need for a more effective recovery.
A registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse, Home Health aide, and/or
therapist can come to your home as needed to deliver the
healthcare required and outlined by your physician.
Our compassionate Home Health program is available to help with:
Skilled Nursing • Physical Therapy • Home Health Aids
Contact us today for more information!
Specialized Care. Local Convenience.
Well-meaning parents or grand-
parents often tell children not to do
something with the warning that
a serious health implication could
result. Kids often take their elders
at their word. But some of these
warnings bear more truth than oth-
ers. Here’s the scoop on some of the
more common misconceptions.
Swallowed chewing gum
stays in the stomach for seven
While chewing gum cannot be
digested and is meant to be chewed
and not swallowed, accidentally
swallowing a piece here and there
won’t cause major issues. That’s
because the gum will simply pass
through the digestive system whole
and come out with stool. If a large
amount of gum is swallowed in a
short period of time, then there
could be issues, including consti-
pation and intestinal blockage in
If you keep your eyes
crossed too long, they will get
stuck that way.
The muscles in the eye are just
like any muscles elsewhere in the
body. Although they may tire and
get sore, they are relatively resilient
and can take a lot of wear and
tear. Crossing your eyes may tax
these muscles, but you won’t do any
permanent harm. Rest assured that
crossing the eyes will not leave them
stuck that way.
Going outside with wet hair
will make you sick.
Although you will feel colder
stepping outside with a part of
your body wet, it won’t make you
more susceptible to catching a cold.
Researchers at the Common Cold
Research Unit in England once test-
ed a group of volunteers who were
given the cold virus. One half of the
group stayed in a warm room, while
the others took a bath and stood wet
in a hallway for a half hour. The wet
group didn’t catch more colds than
the dry.
Covering your head is most
important because you lose
75 percent of your body heat
through it.
This calculation is more for
an infant whose head makes up
a greater percentage of his or her
body. In an adult, the figure is clos-
er to 10 percent. Heat can escape
from any exposed area of the body.
Therefore, it is helpful to bundle up
all areas of the body when spending
time outdoors in the cold weather.
Don’t swim right after eat-
The basis of this mantra is that
when digesting food, the digestive
system pulls blood away from the
muscles and the idea is that you
could cramp up and drown. While
you may have less energy to swim
vigorously, chances are you won’t
be so weak as to drown.
Although many health myths
prevail, knowing the truth can help
parents educate their children bet-
ter about which behaviors are safe
and which are risky.
Popular health myths debunked
Page 12, Sweetwater Reporter, Health and Medical Guide 2013, February 24, 2013
At Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital, we have a full range of healthcare capabilities, including surgical and
rehabilitation specialties using the technology you expect and the experienced, trained professionals you trust.
Whether you require major or elective surgery, know that a compassionate team is right around
the corner ready to help you get back to the things you used to enjoy.
Specialized Care. Local Convenience.
From Surgery to Recovery.
We’re here for you.
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