Friday, November 22, 2013

On-Call with Editor Donna Thomas

Oral Well Being and Overall Health have a stronger link than you think. Read on to learn how.

We tend to underestimate the importance of oral health to our overall wellness and physical condition.  When most people think of oral health, the first thing that typically comes to mind is appearance.   After all, no one ever wants yellowed or otherwise imperfect teeth.  Ideally, we all want a winning smile.  Farther down the list are more tangible oral health issues, like gum disease and traditional dental issues like wisdom teeth and impacted molars.  But generally, when we think about oral health issues, we don’t group them in the same category as chest pains or stomach pains.  We just don’t take them as seriously as other issues. We are wrong to do so.

Oral health is far more important than we realize.  For example, it’s a statistical fact that people with gum disease are far more likely to have some type of chronic condition associated with it.  As the American Academy of Periodontology points out, destructive conditions such as diabetes are more prevalent in people with periodontal issues than it is with people who don’t have gum problems.  And the problem works both ways: diabetes patients are more likely to develop periodontal problems, while periodontal disease makes the treatment of diabetes more difficult.

Heart disease is also correlated to gum problems, according to the Academy.  Studies show that periodontal issues increase the risk of heart disease.  The cause and effect relationship has not yet been fully established, but the statistical reality is that it clearly exists.  And the list of cardiovascular ailments linked to gum disease does not stop with heart issues: strokes are also more prevalent with those suffering from periodontal disease.

And the linkages don’t stop with cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Cancer, perhaps the most dreaded of all illnesses, is also correlated to gum disease.  According to the Academy, researchers have found that men with gum disease are 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop a blood related cancer.

Gum disease can also lead to other illnesses.  Respiratory conditions like pneumonia can be caused and aggravated by the bacteria that grow in the oral cavity, which can be breathed into the lungs.  Researchers have also found linkages between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw.  Such bone loss may eventually lead to loss of teeth as well.

As such, with all these linkages researchers have found, we need to be mindful of good oral health.  Gum disease, as the Academy notes, is often silent and stealthy, and may not truly manifest until it is in an advanced state.  But this does not mean that periodontal problems don’t leave some clue.  We should be on the lookout for red, swollen or tender gums, or other types of pain.  The presence of blood while brushing or flossing is also a signal, as is loose or separating teeth.  Even something as apparently harmless as persistent bad breath could indicate a more disturbing problem.

All in all, modern medical research shows us that the body is a giant, complex and highly integrated system.  What happens in one area can easily impact another.  Proper dental care and attentiveness to our oral health, can not only lead to having that winning smile, but It can also help us detect and deal with the health issues that can hurt us the most. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

On-Call with Editor Donna Thomas

Please join me on congratulating Dr. Azzariti for his recognition by New Jersey Monthly Magazine’s Top Doctors award.
HackensackUMC Physicians Selected as
Top Doctors in New Jersey Monthly Magazine
We are proud to announce that 84 HackensackUMC physicians have been recognized as Top Doctors, according to New Jersey Monthly magazine. A total of 23,713 New Jersey-based physicians were invited to submit their recommendations for this year’s list. It yielded 974 top doctors in 68 medical specialties.

The following HackensackUMC physicians are listed as New Jersey Monthly Top Doctors:

Allergy & Immunology: Mary Ann Michelis, M.D.; Cardiac Electrophysiology: Grant Simons, M.D.; Cardiovascular Disease: Dusan Knezevic, M.D., Domenic Mariano, D.O., Sanjeev Patel, M.D.; Clinical Genetics – Pediatric: Helio Pedro, M.D.; Dermatology – Pediatric: Helen Shin, M.D.; Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism: Joseph Schwartz, M.D., Mark Wiesen, M.D.; Family Medicine: Mark Dombrowski, M.D., Michael Giuliano, D.O., George Leipsner, M.D.; Gastroenterology: Eric Avezzano, M.D., Anthony DeLillo, M.D., Robert Levine, M.D.; Geriatric Medicine: Lisa Tank, M.D.; Gynecologic Oncology: Karen Houck, M.D., Babak Litkouhi, M.D., Ami Vaidya, M.D.; Infectious Disease: Steven Sperber, M.D.; Internal Medicine: Allen Griggs, D.O.; Nephrology: Benjamin Aronoff, M.D., Rosy Joseph, M.D., Jeffrey Kozlowski, M.D., Thomas Salazer, M.D., Howard Weizman, M.D.; Oncology & Gynecology: Kamal Dutta, M.D., Andrew Rubenstein, M.D., Michael Sbarra, M.D.; Otolaryngology: David Henick, M.D., Rakesh Patel, M.D., Christopher Shaari, M.D.; Pediatrics, Critical Care: Mark Siegel, M.D.; Pediatrics, Endocrinology: Javier Aisenberg, M.D.; Pediatrics, General: Russell Asnes, M.D., George Azzariti, M.D., Jeffrey Bienstock, M.D., Ruth Borgen, M.D., Lynn Sugarman, M.D., Edward Zajkowski, M.D., Scott Zucker, M.D.; Pediatrics, Infectious Disease: Aryeh Baer, M.D., Jeffrey Boscamp, M.D., Julia Piwoz, M.D.; Kevin Slavin, M.D. ; Pediatrics, Nephrology: Kenneth Lieberman, M.D.; Pediatrics, Oncology/Hematology: Michael Harris, M.D.; Pediatrics, Orthopedics: Douglas Avella, M.D.; David Konigsberg, M.D.; Pediatrics, Pulmonology: Donna Lee, M.D.; Pediatrics, Rheumatology: Kathleen Haines, M.D., Yukiko Kimura, M.D., Jennifer Weiss, M.D.; Pediatrics, Surgery: Frederick Alexander, M.D., David Friedman, M.D.; Pediatrics, Urology: Jeffrey Stock, M.D.; Pulmonary Disease: Renuka Mapitigama, M.D.; Radiation Oncology: Glen Gejerman, M.D., Anthony Ingenito, M.D.; Radiology, Interventional: George Ferrone, M.D.; Surgery, Bariatric: Amit Trivedi, M.D.; Surgery, Colorectal: Gregory Gallina, M.D.; Surgery, General: Joseph Manno, M.D., Stephen Pereira, M.D.; Surgery, Hand: Frederick Fakharzadeh, M.D., Richard Kim, M.D., Roger Rosenstein, M.D.; Surgery, Neurological: Hooman Azmi Ghadimi, M.D., George Kaptain, M.D., Patrick Roth, M.D.; Surgery, Oncologic: Donald McCain, M.D., Ph.D.; Surgery, Orthopedic: Dante Implicito, M.D., Sivaram Rajan, M.D.; Surgery, Plastic & Reconstructive: Anthony Berlet, M.D., Rick Winters, M.D., Luis Zapiach, M.D., Surgery, Vascular: Peter Kagan, M.D., Massimo Napolitano, M.D., Gregory Simonian, M.D.; Urology: Mutahar Ahmed, M.D., Michael Esposito, M.D., Debra Fromer, M.D., Gregory Lovallo, M.D., Ravi Munver, M.D., Ihor Sawczuk, M.D.

Congratulations to all of our Top Doctors and thank you for providing such world-class care to our patients.