November 2002 Health News Tips

Note to media: To reach the media contacts for any of these health news tips, call the Office of News and Publications at 214-648-3404.

CUT CALORIES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON WITH SIMPLE SUBSTITUTIONS

Preparing a healthy holiday meal needn’t be a hassle, says Leigh Ann Kowalsky, a registered dietitian and a clinical instructor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Allied Health Science School.

“With a few simple substitutions, families can enjoy a delicious yet healthy meal this holiday season,” says Kowalsky, who offers the following calorie-saving tips:

  • Use broth to sauté instead of butter - 104 calories saved per tablespoon.
  • Substitute 1/3 cup of mayonnaise and 1/3 cup of non-fat yogurt for 2/3 cup of mayonnaise - 480 calories saved.
  • Use nonfat milk instead of whole milk - 60 calories saved per cup.
  • Use plain nonfat yogurt instead of cream - 720 calories saved per cup.
  • Eat skinless chicken - 360 calories saved per whole bird.

“Cooks should also experiment with the new Food and Drug Administration-approved sugar substitute Splenda,” Kowalsky says. “Splenda is a no-calorie sweetener ideal for baking at up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Every time you use one tablespoon of Splenda versus sugar you save 45 calories.”

Media Contact: Amy Shields

WHEN YOU’RE SICK, FOLKLORE FASTING IS BAD ADVICE

Feed a cold, starve a fever, is yet another piece of folklore ready for retirement.

“Sick people usually need nutritious, healthful food to help their immune system rally to fight an illness,” says Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. “Starving any kind of illness is not a good idea.”

Next time you get a fever, cold or other illness, Pepe recommends staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water, continuing a steady diet of nutritious foods and getting plenty of rest.

Media Contact: Mindy Baxter

RHINOPLASTY MAY BE ANSWER FOR W.C. FIELDS-LIKE NOSE

Rhinophyma was the skin condition that gave vaudeville comedian W.C. Fields his trademark red, bulbous nose.

But Dr. Rod Rohrich, chairman of plastic surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says rhinophyma is no laughing matter. Even though rhinophyma isn’t life-threatening, it can deform a person’s nose.

“Rhinophyma - most common in men - is a severe form of rosacea, which affects some 13 million Americans,” Rohrich says. “It is a chronic condition that causes flushing, broken blood vessels or pimple-like pustules on the cheeks, nose and chin. Symptoms include overgrowth of the sebaceous skin glands, vessel and tissue growth in the deeper layers of the skin and a thickening of the outer layer of the skin that causes knobby bumps and craters on the nose. In some cases, the deformity can obstruct breathing.”

New minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as laserbrasion and dermaplaning, can help to smooth out bumps on the nose. For more severe cases, Rohrich says, rhinoplasty can be used to remove excess skin and restore appearance of the nose and improve breathing.

Media Contact: Ione Echeverria

SELF-EXAMS STILL IMPORTANT IN DETECTING BREAST CANCER

A 10-year study involving 260,000 Chinese women recently showed that breast self-exams didn’t reduce breast-cancer mortalities among those women, but that doesn’t mean self-exams should be discontinued.

Dr. Phil Evans, who leads the breast-imaging program at the Southwestern Center for Breast Care at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says women should perform self-exams in conjunction with screening mammograms and regular exams by their doctors.

“Most doctors have known for a long time that mammography is the only tool proven to reduce breast-cancer mortality, but self-exams can be important in finding some cancers,” Evans says.

Evans points out that while the women in the trial were instructed to perform self-exams every six months, commonly accepted practice calls for monthly self-exams. He says monthly self-exams promote awareness of how the breast normally feels and allow women to notice subtle changes that might indicate the presence of cancer.

“I have seen cases where women noticed a minimal change that could have seemed insignificant but, with further examination, was found to be cancer,” Evans says.

Media Contact: Stephen O'Brien

ABNORMAL HORMONE LEVELS IN WOMEN MAY BE SIGN OF PCOS

Up to 10 percent of all women may suffer from a disorder unheard of by many of them. Yet a variety of medical problems, including infertility related to ovary damage, may signal the presence of polycystic ovary syndrome, often called PCOS.

The syndrome is a metabolic disorder characterized by abnormal hormone levels, a condition that may be associated with a wide range of afflictions, ranging from acne, excessive hair on the face and/or body, and obesity, to more severe disorders such as infertility, diabetes and heart disease. It is not unusual for women to seek treatment for different PCOS symptoms without having the syndrome recognized, says Dr. Bruce Carr, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and a reproductive endocrinologist.

Because symptoms appear throughout the metabolic system, an endocrinologist may be the best type of specialist to diagnose the syndrome, Carr says. Often, a diagnosis of PCOS is made when a woman seeks medical help for infertility.

“Diagnostic tests include those for both male and female hormone blood levels, blood lipids, insulin and the ability to process blood glucose,” says Carr. “The patient may also undergo an ultrasound examination to detect ovarian enlargement, cysts or areas of thickened uterine lining, as well as a biopsy for endometriosis.”

Media Contact: Ann Harrell

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