Vital Signs | KERA News

Vital Signs

Vital Signs is a weekly consumer health chat featuring leading North Texas medical figures. Hosted by Sam Baker, topics range from flu to skin cancer to exactly what a New Year’s cocktail does to your body.

Listen every Monday at 8:22 a.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Ways to Connect

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Faced with a medical problem, many people opt for the emergency room or they contact their primary physician. But in today’s Health Checkup, we look at when to use a third option: urgent care centers. Sam Baker talked with Dr. Sarah Holder, medical director of the Quick Care Clinic at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas. 

Most surgeries involve a doctor’s hand working inside the body. But each year more doctors and patients are opting for a robotics-assisted approach. There’s more precision and greater visibility for doctors with 3-D imaging, plus less scarring and faster recovery for patients.  But the approach has its critics.

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Typically, the KERA Health Checkup looks at subjects about maintaining your health. But in connection with National Healthcare Decisions Day, we look at advance planning for terminal illness. Sam Baker talked with Dr. Robert Fine of Baylor Medical Center about advance directives.

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About 150,000 people develop colon or colorectal cancer each year. For about one in five, the disease is hereditary. So your family’s history with colon cancer is vital information when screening for the disease. In our KERA Health Checkup, Dr. Samir Gupta of U.T. Southwestern Medical Center tells Sam Baker your family history determines what type of screening you should have – and when.

Nutrition & Children

Mar 19, 2012
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March as National Nutrition Month is being used to raise awareness about healthier eating. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Meridan Zerner, a registered dietitian with Cooper Aerobics, about nutrition and children. She said many kids don’t always get the nutrients they need despite their parents’ efforts.

Women And Heart Disease

Feb 13, 2012

The American Heart Association this month is drawing attention to heart disease – particularly in women.  Nearly eight million women in the U.S. live with the disease, but few believe it’s their greatest threat. That shouldn’t include a nurse with the title of E-R Cardiac-Stroke  Coordinator, but in a KERA Health Checkup, Karen Yates of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center told Sam Baker she learned her lesson the hard way.

Fitness Vs. Heart Disease

Feb 13, 2012
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Personal trainer Bobby Whisnand is partnering with the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness about heart disease. He talked with Sam Baker about steps we can take to reduce the chances of developing heart disease.

Basics of Blood Pressure

Feb 6, 2012

Recent study results by researchers at the University of Exeter indicate measuring blood pressure in both arms instead of one can be a useful indicator of the likelihood of heart trouble. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Jane Sadler with Baylor Medical Center at Garland.

What Is Stomach Flu?

Jan 30, 2012

Sneezing, coughing and nausea this time of year might prompt you to diagnose yourself as having stomach flu. But it may not be flu at all. Sam Baker talked about this in our KERA Health Checkup with Dr. Melissa Gerdes of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Pros And Cons Of Caffeine

Jan 23, 2012
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It’s estimated as many 90 percent of American consume caffeine at some point during the day: maybe coffee, tea, soda or energy drinks or various foods. Caffeine has benefits, but it can be harmful if we consume too much. Sam Baker talked about this in a KERA Health Checkup with Dr. James Bibb of  UT Southwestern Medical Center.

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January is National Glaucoma Awareness month. More than two million people are believed to have the eye disease. But in a KERA Health Checkup, glaucoma specialist Dr. Linda Fain Hatton explains why some call it a “silent thief of sight.”

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Sleep apnea is a common disorder with potentially dangerous results if left untreated. Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. David Luterman, Medical Director of the Sleep Center at Baylor Medical Center at Dallas.

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Many of us need more sleep than we know. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Dr.  Bradley Jones, an internal medicine physician at Baylor Medical Center at Irving, about problems associated with sleep deprivation and what to do about it.

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Tis the season for good cheer. But, for some, the holidays can bring about the opposite. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Dr. Randy Basham, an associate professor of social work at U.T. Arlington, about holiday depression and what can be done about it.

Dr. Basham: For the most part, around the holidays, people are concerned about a lot of things: End of the year, comparing themselves to where they were the year before. If they've had any loss in their life, it's become an anniversary season. There's commercialization.

The Food and Drug Administration requires makers of most prepared foods to list nutritional information on the package. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked to a registered dietician with U.T. Southwestern Medical Center about how to make sense of what's on the label. Lona Sandon begins with Percentages of Daily Value.

Dallas, TX –

In a recent report, the American Pediatrics Association and other medical groups advised cholesterol screening for all children nine to 11 years old. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Jeff Schussler, a cardiologist with Baylor University Medical Center. He says some nine to 11 year old children already are being screened.

Dallas, TX –

For some it's simply ringing in the ears, but some 40 to 50-million people suffer from chronic or prolonged tinnitus. In a KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Kenneth Pugh. The head of audiology at U-T Dallas' Callier Center for Communicative Disorders described what tinnitus is.

Dallas, TX –

Dallas, TX –

It's such a simple act, but washing our hands can make a big difference on health. In our KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked about this with Dr. Anna Bowen, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control.

Dallas, TX – In today's KERA Checkup we want to remind you of a statewide service that will help you find low-cost health providers. KERA's Shelley Kofler says the first step is picking up your phone.

Dial 2-1-1 anywhere in Texas and you'll be connected with a trained specialist who knows about the low-cost medical services in your community.

Dallas, TX – naa

Students in Denton and Ellis counties have recently tested positive for tuberculosis. But TB isn't unusual for North Texas. Dallas County, for instance, had 188 cases of the disease last year. In a KERA Health Checkup, Sam Baker talked with Dr. Garry Woo. He's the Medical Director in charge of Tuberculosis Control for Dallas County Health Services.

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