Middle-aged men face new health challenges


As men get older, they tend to face many new health problems in a short period of time, says HCMC’s Dr. Bryan Nelson. Dr. Nelson is a family medicine physician at HCMC’s Golden Valley Clinic, as well as the Medical Director for the BeWell Clinic downtown and the St. Anthony Village Clinic. In a Healthy Matters podcast, he discussed the types of issues men face around the time they hit “middle-age” and what can be done to prevent and treat these problems. One such problem he focused on in the podcast was cholesterol.

“Cholesterol is important for our bodies,” says Dr. Nelson. “The problem is our liver doesn’t usually discriminate on what type of cholesterol gets made. And it tends to be either a genetic issue—or sometimes an age issue—where our liver starts making different types of cholesterol.”

The “good” cholesterol is called high-density lipoprotein (HDL), while the “bad” cholesterol is known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

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Dr. Bryan Nelson

“When you get a cholesterol check, oftentimes you also get a level called a triglyceride,” Dr. Nelson explains. “Triglycerides are kind of a marker for how much fat is in your system. So, basically what happens is that your LDL cholesterol plus your triglycerides tend to form atherosclerotic plaques. And atherosclerotic plaques, as time goes on, can break off and cause heart attacks, blockages, memory issues, circulatory problems, and erectile dysfunction.”

So, what can we do about it? “There are medicines—and there are some other things you can do besides medicines—to really help change the balance from the good and bad cholesterol,” says Dr. Nelson.

Most cholesterol medications, called statins, work fairly well. However, according to Dr. Nelson, “they have a tendency to cause muscle aches and you have to watch liver enzymes.” Other types of cholesterol medicines are called resins, and there are some herbal remedies out there as well. Both carry similar risks of side effects, though, and herbal remedies are generally untested. Niacin has also been used in the past, but, according to Dr. Nelson, it is not as good as other treatments that are out there.

To hear the entire podcast from May 31, 2015 go to the podcast on WCCO Radio’s site. Healthy Matters with host Dr. David Hilden airs Sunday mornings at 7:30 a.m. on WCCO Radio 830 AM.

Visit HCMC at the Fair!

State Fair 2013

Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), Minnesota’s first Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center, is excited to be at the great Minnesota get-together on the following dates this year:

Friday, August 23 – staff from HCMC’s Adult and Pediatric Burn Center will participate in the Governor’s Annual Fire Prevention Day in Carousel Park from 7 a.m.  until 6 p.m.  Burn care professionals will be on hand to offer injury prevention tips , answer questions about burn care, and give away prizes.

Sunday, August 25 –  Dr. David Hilden, host of the Healthy Matters radio program heard every Sunday morning at 7:30 AM on WCCO Radio, will be answering questions from the audience live at the fair. Join Dr. Hilden and co-host Denny Long from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the WCCO booth  located on Carnes Ave. between Nelson and Underwood Streets.

Sunday, September 1 – Healthy Matters with Dr. David Hilden will be at the WCCO Radio booth again for a live broadcast!  Meet Bernie the Rescue Dog and staff from HCMC’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center from 7-9 a.m. Prizes will be given away to the first 100 visitors to the WCCO Radio booth beginning at 7 a.m. From 7:30-8:30 a.m. please join our live audience where Dr. Hilden will answer your health-related questions. The WCCO Radio booth is located on Carnes Ave. between Nelson and Underwood Streets.

Daily at the Fair  –  Make a difference every time you turn off your cell phone before getting behind the wheel.  Take the “I Just Wish”  pledge and be eligible to win a gas card.  Sign up at the KSTC-45 tent on Carnes Ave.

What’s going on in there? Radiologist talks about imaging at HCMC

Radiologist Dr. Tony Severt talks about the latest in imaging services available at Hennepin County Medical Center — including the new Whittier Imaging Center in South Minneapolis — offering routine head, neck, spine, pelvic, fetal and musculoskeletal imaging, minor interventional radiology procedures, and vein care.

Listen to the entire Dec. 18 podcast with Dr. Tony Severt, and join Dr. David Hilden every Sunday morning at 7:30 AM on WCCO Radio AM 830 and WLTE FM 102.9 for Healthy Matters! 

Addressing pain, other symptoms of terminal illness

Dr. Jeffrey Rubins

“Unfortunately, many people expect pain at the end of life,” explains Dr. Jeffrey Rubins, Medical Director of Palliative Care at Hennepin County Medical Center,  in a recent Healthy Matters podcast.  “And one of the things that palliative care really does well is  aggressively take care of pain.”

The goal of HCMC’s Palliative Medicine Service is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for patients with serious, progressive or terminal illness. Under the leadership of Dr. Rubins, the service provides inpatient consultation, patient care, and educational services to both the patient and the patient’s family or caregivers.

“Eventually we all end up at a point where medicine isn’t doing for us what we want it to do,” says Dr. Rubins. “That’s when palliative care complements the other care doctors are providing.  So when people say that they want to be comfortable, they are comfortable.”

In addition to addressing pain concerns, there are other ways palliative care can  help people cope with their disease. “For example, if someone has COPD and is experiencing shortness of breath, we can address ways they can conserve energy to decrease the discomfort,” says Dr. Rubins.

“In many ways, we’re intensifying care. Intensive care is what’s needed at the end of life,” he says.

To hear the entire podcast from December 4, 2011, go to hcmc.org and take the Healthy Matters link. Healthy Matters with host Dr. David Hilden is heard every Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. on WCCO Radio 830 AM and WLTE 102.9 FM.

Is weight loss surgery right for you?

Dr. Guilford Hartley

“Thirty percent of adults in the United States are overweight,” explains weight loss treatment expert Dr. Guilford Hartley in a recent Healthy Matters podcast. “And one person out of every 20 is overweight enough to be eligible for gastric bypass surgery.”

Gastric bypass surgery, gastric banding or sleeve gastrectomy makes the stomach area much smaller so less food can be absorbed. People lose weight rapidly the first year and a half after surgery. Up to 15 years post-surgery, most people retain a 50 percent weight loss.

Who should consider gastric bypass surgery?

“Anyone who is 80-100 pounds overweight, or anyone with complications from obesity like diabetes, high cholesterol, joint pain may be a candidate for surgery,” says Dr. Hartley.

” Obesity surgery is clinically proven to be effective, and it gives hope for those unable to reduce their weight through drugs or dieting.”

Informational classes are available at HCMC every Friday morning, where participants have the opportunity to meet with a bariatric surgeon and ask questions.  Call 61.2.873.6800 for an appointment.

Burn surgeons warn about the use of accelerants on outdoor fires

Dr. Ryan Fey and Dr. George Peltier

“Accelerants poured on fires are a big problem, and cause a lot of the injuries we see,” explains Dr. George Peltier, reconstructive surgeon at HCMC’s Burn Center. “During damp conditions, or if people just want to get a large fire going, they will often use an accelerant. But gasoline can vaporize  and explode, and the injuries can be absolutely devastating.”  

Already this year, the Burn Center has seen a number of patients for burns related to using accelerants on fires.

On the most recent podcast of Healthy Matters Dr. David Hilden is joined by burn surgeons Dr. Peltier and Dr. Ryan Fey.  They discuss some of the treatment options for burn patients, including surgery and skin grafting. The doctors also offer safety tips on how to avoid some common burn injuries. 

Join Dr. David Hilden every Sunday morning at 7:30 AM for Healthy Matters on WCCO Radio AM 830 and WLTE FM 102.9!

Healthy Matters — at the Fair!

Dr. Hilden describes a scene from “The Grapes of Wrath” before answering questions about gastroenteritis, back and neck pain, esophagitis, tennis elbow and other general health questions at the Minnesota State Fair.

Listen to the 8/28/11 Healthy Matters podcast from the Fair, and join Dr. Hilden LIVE from the Fair on Sunday, 9/4/11 when Dr. Hilden answers your health-related questions on another Open Lines show.