Author Archive

Sneezing and Wheezing: Allergies & Asthma are NOT Trivial

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Flowers blooming, bees buzzing and breezes blowing are a recipe for itching, sneezing and wheezing for seasonal allergy suffers. Seasonal allergies can wreak havoc during some of life’s simplest pleasures, such as a picnic in the park or a hike in the woods.”

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Respiratory allergies represent inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages and lungs. Airborne pollens from trees, grasses, weeds and molds cause seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, as the condition is commonly called. Allergy season typically kicks off in the spring and recurs in the fall when certain plants pollinate. Here in southeast Idaho, spring allergy season has already begun.

Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic disease. While a significant number of individuals are afflicted with seasonal allergies, many others deal with year-round allergens such as pet dander. Experts estimate that twenty percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children are affected by allergies, and reactions to such can range from mild to severe. Importantly, allergies can lead to asthma and sinusitis. In recognition of the importance of asthma as a chronic disease which afflicts many children and adults, May is designated “Asthma Awareness Month.”

With seasonal allergies, airborne pollen from various seasonal plants or, in some cases, spores from mold, enter the body through the eyes, nose or throat triggering an allergic reaction. Normally, the immune system does not respond to common substances such as pollen and mold. However, in sensitive or allergic individuals, the immune system overacts to these allergens. Once the immune system has detected the invader, it unleashes a host of chemicals such as histamines and other compounds resulting in localized inflammation leading to irritation and discomfort.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, of which I am a fellow, “allergic disease can develop at any age, and heredity plays a key role in who will develop it. If one parent has allergic disease, the estimated chance of a child to develop allergies is about one out of three and up to two out of three if both parents have allergies.”

While we live in a world filled with allergens, unfortunately, there is not a cure for allergies. However, there are many types of medications available like antihistamines or decongestants to help ease those annoying symptoms. Some over the counter antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra) and loratadine (Claritin) are longer lasting and less likely to cause drowsiness than diphenhydramine (Benadryl). If antihistamines alone are insufficiently helpful, topical corticosteroid nasal sprays are available, either by prescription, or now in some cases, over the counter.

If you always get sick the same time of year, start sneezing and get a scratchy throat, you might have allergies. If you think you or your child might be affected by allergies, and over-the-counter medications are not doing the job, make an appointment with a board-certified Allergy and Asthma specialist. An allergist can help determine if a person has seasonal or persistent allergies and what might trigger a reaction.

Once the triggers have been identified, a specialist can prepare a treatment plan that includes the avoidance of allergic triggers, use of medication to provide relief, and even allergy immunotherapy (“allergy desensitization shots”) to ‘make you not allergic.’ Some patients may even qualify for newly FDA-approved sublingual immunotherapy to grasses or ragweed, which may be administered at home.

Websites with reliable information regarding allergies and asthma include: www.aaaai.org, www.acaai.org, and www.allergyasthmanetwork.org. To contact my office, Pocatello Allergy and Asthma Clinic, call 233-0801.

Dr. David Parry is the only board certified allergy and immunology specialist in Pocatello and is an active member of Portneuf Medical Center’s Medical Staff.

Arthritis of the Hand & Wrist Seminar

Friday, March 18th, 2016

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The hand, one of the most flexible parts of the human skeleton, is an intricate instrument that is both tough and delicate. Our hands help us to experience and control the world around us and hence, enable us to work and care for others and ourselves. However, when our hands, wrists or upper extremities are painful and do not function properly, daily activities such as driving a car, typing or cooking can be difficult or even impossible.

It is estimated that over 30-40 million adults in the United States have pain in the hands and fingers to some degree and a significant number of those with hand pain suffer from arthritis. Arthritis, in simple terms, means inflammation in the joint. While arthritis can present in any joint in the body, it is the especially noticeable when it affects the wrists, hands and fingers.

Dr. Jeffrey Stuck and I invite you to join us for Arthritis of the Hand and Wrist Seminar on Thursday, March 24, 2016 in the PMC Pebble Creek Conference Room. It is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6pm; presentation will begin at 6:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is preferred; to register, call Portneuf at 208-239-1048 or register online at portmed.org.

If you or a loved one are experiencing pain or stiffness in the hands, then this is one seminar you don’t want to miss. We will discuss the various types of arthritis, causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options. Our philosophy at the Idaho Hand Institute is to begin treatment with the least risky and most proven interventions. We look to treatments that have the highest success rates. Most of the time, patients are able to get relief from symptoms by altering activities, using prescribed medications, splinting and therapy. However, if conservative techniques are not successful in relieving a patient’s problem, surgery may be required. An experienced hand surgeon can discuss the best options with you.

At the Idaho Hand Institute, we treat many routine and complex upper extremity conditions. To help patients in the outlying communities, we also see patients at the Lakeview Medical Clinic in Soda Springs every other Friday and in the Blackfoot Medical Clinic and in American Falls Clinic every other Wednesday. We have just started an outreach clinic in Idaho Falls as well. For more information or to schedule an appointment in Pocatello, Soda Springs, American Falls, Idaho Falls or Blackfoot clinics please contact us at the Idaho Hand Institute, 208-235-HAND (4263). To learn more about upcoming events and seminars, like Portneuf Medical Center on Facebook.

Dr. Esplin is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with additional specialty training in hand surgery, which includes problems in the fingers, hand, wrist, elbow, arm, and shoulder. He graduated from the University of Utah School of Medicine, did his residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center and completed his fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He has been in private practice in Pocatello for 13 years.

Red Hot Mamas – “Takes a Look at Your Bones”

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Osteoporosis, the most common and potentially the most debilitating bone disease, has no early warning signs. Osteoporosis is referred to as a silent disease as most patients don’t realize they have it until it’s too late and they break a bone from little or no trauma. It is estimated that osteoporosis is a threat for over 44 million Americans and is responsible for 1.5 million fractures annually.

The average person’s bone mass doubles between birth and age two, doubles again by age 10, and doubles yet again during puberty. It continues to increase until about age 30, when the maximum or peak bone mass is attained. After age 30, more bone tissue is lost than is replaced, resulting in a 5-10% loss of bone mass per decade of life. While age often brings about bone loss, there are a variety of factors that can put you at risk for developing osteoporosis such as a family history of osteoporosis, being female, smoking, some prescription drugs, excessive caffeine, sedentary life style, poor nutrition and excessive alcohol.

In fact, osteoporotic fractures are more common in women than heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer combined; nearly eighty percent (8 million) of those affected by osteoporosis are women. One of the primary factors for development of osteopenia (low bone mass) and osteoporosis is the decline in estrogen at menopause. While individuals cannot change their inherited risk factors (like age), there are ways to prevent or delay onset. It is important to discuss your risk factors with a healthcare provider to determine if getting a DEXA scan is appropriate for you. Together, you can develop a plan to protect your bones.

I am hosting the Red Hot Mamas Seminar on Tuesday, August 18 at Portneuf Medical Center. The event will focus on “Bone Issues at Menopause: Osteoporosis and Osteopenia” I will provide tips on ways to prevent or delay the onset, dietary changes, how exercise can impact the health of your bones and body as well as treatment options.

Doors open at 6pm and the presentation will begin at 6:30. There will be a question and answer session following the presentation. Registration is preferred; to register, call Portneuf Community Education and Events Line at 208-239-1401 or register online at portmed.org/rhm. To learn more about upcoming events and seminars at PMC, like us on Facebook.

To learn more about bone health or to reach my office, Intermountain Medical Clinic, call 208-238-1000.

Red Hot Mamas

Foot Seminar

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Is an ingrown toenail, flat footedness, a diabetes related foot issue or other issue with your feet causing pain or embarrassment? If so, remember foot pain can range in severity from ingrown toenails to foot ulcers and many foot and ankle problems tend to worsen overtime. The quicker an individual responds to a foot problem, the more likely they are to have a broader range of treatment options and healing times are usually shorter in duration.

Let’s take for example an ingrown toenail that you dig out every couple of weeks to relieve the pain. Many people will attempt to cut the corner out of the toenail for relief. If successful, relief may be only temporary as the ingrown toenail is likely to return; if not successful, the toenail could become infected. There is a quick and simple way to resolve ingrown toenails permanently and the recovery time is fast.

A woman in her mid-80s has severe pain in the middle of the foot due to a collapsed flat foot. The pain and deformity occurred about 20 years ago without any traumatic injury. However, at her age, she is unable to undergo the procedure to correct her pathology. What could have been a source of relief for many years, had she had the procedure done 20 years ago, is now a condition that can only be treated with braces and medical shoe devices.

Diabetic foot ulcers occur as a result of various factors and are responsible for more hospitalizations than any other complication of diabetes. Foot ulcers occur in 5-10 percent of the diabetic population and up to 3 percent will have lower limb amputations as a result of prolonged ulcerations. As the ulcer grows and becomes infected, surgery is often required to clean out the infection. In severe cases where the infection has spread to the bone, amputation may be one of only a few options.

If you or a loved one is experiencing foot pain, I invite you to attend the free community seminar hosted by myself, Dr. Kert Howard and Dr. Adam Mathews. This seminar on foot care will be held on Thursday, January 15, 2015 in the Pebble Creek Auditorium in Portneuf Medical Center. Doors open at 6pm and the presentation will begin at 6:30. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

The majority of us all rely on our feet as a means to get us where we need to go. When our feet are in pain, we are unable to enjoy daily activities, which may lead to an array of other health conditions. Don’t ignore foot problems. Take the time now so your feet can continue to hold you up, move you around and get you from here to there.