Dr. Beth McNulty Making the Rounds

How the ‘magic’ of hearing inspired Dr. Beth McNulty’s career

Making the RoundsWe caught up with Dr. Beth McNulty, a neurotologist at UK Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, for our latest Making the Rounds interview. Dr. McNulty specializes in treating adults and pediatric patients with hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness and imbalance, chronic ear infections and skull-base tumors.

What kinds of conditions do you treat?

I see fairly healthy patients, and I see fairly sick patients. I treat basic problems, such as fluid behind the ear drum that won’t go away, which I can fix fairly simply by placing an ear tube. And then I also treat really complex problems like skull-base tumors that require dissection of the facial nerve and other cranial nerve monitoring. It’s really a wide breadth, from very simple problems to very complex issues, and I love that about my work.

How do you relate to your patients?

I want my patients to feel that they’re talking to a friend. Someone who is really, truly listening. I really want to get to the root of their problem and provide counseling and support and help them get through it. I hope they feel like I’m actually listening and that I want what’s best for them.

I grew up on a farm in Western Kentucky, in a small town called Knottsville. I feel like my upbringing provides a unique perspective when I’m reaching out to my patients because I understand where they come from and what it’s going to be like at home for them after surgery.

Why did you choose otolaryngology as a specialty?

It dates back to medical school. I remember specifically the first time that I experienced the restoration of hearing and the magic of hearing. It was a lady who was basically deaf on one side for about 20 years due to scarring on the ear canal. She was trying on a bone-anchored hearing aid, and when the device worked, tears immediately came to her eyes. It was really moving for everybody in the room. And I knew then that that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with patients who had a loss of a sense, like hearing, and to be able to bring that back.

What do you do in your spare time?

My husband and I both like to run. We have three children, so he pushes the double running stroller, and I push the single stroller.

And we love going to Jacobson Park, where our kids like to feed the ducks. We have a lot of fun there on the weekends.


Check out our video interview with Dr. McNulty, where she tells us why working at UK HealthCare pushes her to be the best physician she can be.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about UK Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, which provides comprehensive medical and surgical care of the ear, nose and throat region.
  • Dr. Matthew Bush is a hearing specialist at UK HealthCare who specializes in cochlear implants. Get to know Dr. Bush in our Making the Rounds interview.

Get moving to lower your stroke risk

Recent research shows that regular exercise can cut your risk of stroke by more than 25 percent. Even moderate exercise increases cerebral blood flow, which improves the function and health of your brain.

Any form of exercise will do – the key is to increase your heart rate and push yourself to feel at least a little warm and a little out of breath.

You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity five or more times a week – if you don’t have time for a half-hour all at once, don’t worry – you can break it up into smaller blocks of time throughout the day.

Here are some easy ways to add physical activity to your day:

  • Take the scenic route at work. Park farther away in the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can park farther away when shopping or running errands, too.
  • Take your dog for a walk.
  • Instead of standing around and waiting – like when you’re waiting to board a flight or waiting for your kids to finish practice – use the time to take a walk.
  • Plan fun activities that get you moving – like dancing or playing with your kids.
  • Turn household chores into exercise – from cleaning your house to gardening and yardwork. Just make sure you move quickly enough to get your heart rate up.

If you haven’t been active recently, or if you’re over 40 and have any medical conditions, be sure to speak to a doctor before you increase your physical activity.


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glaucoma

Got glaucoma? The iStent procedure could be right for you.

Dr. Joshua Evans

Dr. Joshua Evans

Written by Dr. Joshua Evans, an ophthalmologist at UK Advanced Eye Care.

Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes damage to the optic nerve, which can result in vision loss or blindness.

Traditionally, glaucoma is treated with medication or surgery. Although surgery can help relieve pressure on the optic nerve, some procedures can cause complications.

More recently, however, newer types of procedures called minimally invasive glaucoma surgery, or MIGS, are being used to treat glaucoma without the potential risk of complications. One such procedure is called the iStent.

The iStent procedure

The iStent is a 1mm titanium tube that is inserted into a patient’s eye using a microscope. It’s approved to treat mild-to-moderate open-angle glaucoma when placed at the time of cataract surgery.

The procedure uses the same incisions as cataract surgery and only adds a few minutes to the procedure. It can result in improved eye-pressure control and the possibility of fewer or even no eye drops.

How it works

The device works by allowing fluid from the front of the eye to bypass the tissues that provide the greatest resistance to fluid flow.

The stent allows this fluid to pass directly into the eye’s drain. No tissue alterations are made outside of the eye, and the entire process takes place internally.

And, if any further glaucoma surgery is necessary, the iStent makes it far simpler and less likely to fail due to previous scarring.

Who’s a candidate for the iStent?

For patients with glaucoma who do not tolerate eye drops well or who find them too difficult to use, the iStent might be a good option.

However, not all glaucomas are the same. Patients who have a history of angle-closure glaucoma, neovascular glaucoma or a condition causing elevated pressure in the episcleral veins (Sturge-Weber syndrome, thyroid eye disease or retrobulbar tumors) are not good candidates for the iStent.

If you or someone you know suffers from glaucoma and is interested in what options are available beyond eye drops, contact the the glaucoma specialists at the UK Advanced Eye Care Center. We’re accepting new patients and can explain options that may be right for you. Schedule an appointment today by calling 859-257-1000.


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jin shin jyutsu

Jin Shin Jyutsu: An ancient art with real health benefits

Written by Jennifer Bradley, a Jin Shin Jyutsu® practitioner at UK HealthCare. 

At UK HealthCare, we strive to combine traditional medicine and treatment with other complementary therapies to help treat the whole person, with an emphasis on healing and wellness.

One way we do that is through Jin Shin Jyutsu, a practice that uses light touch to assist with pain, stress, nausea, and other uncomfortable physical and emotional side effects of treatment and illness.

What is Jin Shin Jyutsu?

Jin Shin Jyutsu is the ancient art of balancing the body’s energy system, which facilitates healing and restores the body to a more harmonious state of being. Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioners use their hands to gently balance the flow of life energy in the patient’s body.

Jin Shin Jyutsu is a valuable complement to conventional healing methods. The body contains pathways that feed life energy into all cells and functions. The stresses of daily life – habits, emotions, illness and physical activity – add up over time. They can have adverse effects on the natural flow of energy along these pathways, similar to the way stones inhibit the free movement of water in a stream.

When one or more of these pathways becomes blocked, it can lead to general discomfort in the local area or elsewhere in the body, resulting in physical and/or emotional symptoms. The art of Jin Shin Jyutsu clears the blocks in these energetic pathways, returning them to a more harmonious state.

What happens during a Jin Shin Jyutsu session?

A typical Jin Shin Jyutsu session lasts about one hour. The patient lies face-up on a comfortable, cushioned surface and stays fully clothed. The practitioner begins the session by “listening” to the energetic pulses in the wrist area. These pulses reveal information about the current state of the body’s energetic system and help pinpoint the areas of stress or disharmony.

During treatment, the practitioner gently holds specific areas on the body called “safety energy locks” (similar to acupressure points) in various hand placement combinations known as “flows.”

These flows help unblock pathways, restoring the body to a state of harmony. There is no massage or physical manipulation of the body. The touch is light with very little pressure.

The practitioner may also suggest self-help techniques for the patient to perform between sessions for further harmonizing. Self-help may be performed as needed and has no adverse side effects.

What are the benefits of Jin Shin Jyutsu?

The experience of Jin Shin Jyutsu is unique to each individual and to each session. The most commonly reported effect is a feeling of deep relaxation of both the body and mind during and after the treatment. At times, the body may produce soft bubbling sounds that are simply a response to the body’s release of tension. Jin Shin Jyutsu’s most pronounced effects are felt within the first eight hours of a completed session.

Further long-term effects may be experienced and are unique to the individual.

If you are hoping to relieve the stress of cancer treatment or other existing health issues or if you simply wish to participate in the maintenance of good health and well-being, the Jin Shin Jyutsu services at Markey are a powerful healing tool that can prove helpful to all.


Watch a video about Jin Shin Jyutsu and how it is used to help patients at UK HealthCare.


Next steps:

  • UK HealthCare’s massage therapy program – available to patients, families and staff – promotes relaxation and helps relieve the side effects of illnesses and diseases.
  • Find out more about UK Integrative Medicine & Health, which focuses on the treating the whole patient using all appropriate therapies, healthcare expertise and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.

Feeling hoarse as you get older? Here’s how to protect your voice

JoAnna E. Sloggy, MA, CCC-SLP

Written by JoAnna Sloggy, a speech language pathologist and singing-voice specialist at the UK Voice and Swallow Clinic

As you grow older, you may not be able to talk all day without your voice getting tired or hoarse. These vocal changes happen gradually and can cause multiple issues. Some find that to avoid straining their voice further, they start avoiding activities that they used to enjoy when these activities include a lot of talking.

People often complain of vocal tiredness (fatigue), vocal quality changes (such as roughness, scratchiness or hoarseness), changes in how high or low your voice can go, and increased vocal “work” (effort). These changes can be due to aging changes of the voice, or presbyphonia. Vocal quality changes are a result of changes to the voice box (larynx) and the vocal cords (vocal folds) which is called presbylarynges. The vocal folds need to be able to completely close and vibrate evenly for efficient voicing.

In some people, changes from aging cause the vocal fold muscles to weaken or lose muscle mass (atrophy). This can keep the vocal folds from closing all the way, making it harder to speak. This increased effort to talk causes the voice to tire more quickly. These vocal aging changes may even contribute to swallowing problems if the vocal fold gap grows large enough.

Diagnosis and treatment

This type of vocal change is usually diagnosed by an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) and a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who specializes in voice disorders. Once the vocal folds have been visualized and the diagnosis made, the primary way to restore the voice is to work with the voice SLP for specific vocal exercises designed to strengthen and rebalance the vocal folds and the surrounding musculature and other systems that work together for voice production.

If the vocal atrophy is bad enough, you may be recommended to see the ENT for a procedure that uses fillers to plump up the vocal folds to help them close. This type of “voice lift” is performed by an ENT or laryngologist (an ENT with specialized training in treating voice disorders). You may need to see the SLP following the procedure for exercises to rebalance your throat muscles. Once you have reached the improvement in vocal quality that you are pleased with, voice exercises to maintain this level of improvement are suggested to keep your voice strong.

Tips to help keep your voice healthy as you age

  • See your doctor if hoarseness persists for more than one week. This may be the first sign of serious illness such as throat cancer.
  • Use your voice – just like physical exercise keeps your muscles in shape, regular talking provides exercise to your vocal folds. While this is not usually enough to strengthen the vocal folds, it can help avoid further weakening from disuse.
  • Sing – joining a choir is an excellent way to build some extra vocal strength through singing exercises.
  • Practice good vocal hygiene.

Next steps:

Are you at risk for atrial fibrillation?

Some signs of atrial fibrillation – or AFib – are hard to ignore: a racing heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness or trouble breathing. However, almost a quarter of the 2.7 million Americans with AFib have no symptoms at all. If you have AFib and you don’t treat it, it can cause a stroke or heart failure – so here’s how to know if you’re at risk.

Risk factors

Anyone can have AFib, but chances increase as you get older. If someone in your family has AFib, you also have a higher risk. Here’s some other factors that increase risk:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Obesity or diabetes.
  • Heart failure or heart disease.
  • Hyperthyroidism or chronic kidney disease.
  • Heavy alcohol use.

If you’re healthy, you can still have AFib if you drink a lot of caffeine or experience more stress than usual, so keep that in mind.

Symptoms

The best way to detect AFib is having regular check ups with your doctor, but if you or someone you love is at risk, here’s what to look out for:

  • Fatigue, weakness or dizziness.
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat, or a “thumping” in the chest.
  • Shortness of breath, faintness or sweating.
  • Confusion or anxiety.
  • Chest pain or pressure.

You can reduce your risk of AFib by exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet, avoiding excessive amounts or caffeine and alcohol, and controlling cholesterol and high-blood pressure.

The good news is that AFib can be managed with treatment – but the first step is knowing if you have it. If you might be at risk, make an appointment with your doctor or cardiologist today.


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lower your risk of stroke

Want to lower your risk of stroke? Stop smoking.

If you’re a smoker, you already know there are lots of good reasons to quit.

But here’s one you might not know.

Smoking places you at a significantly higher risk of stroke than non-smokers: If you smoke two packs a day, you are six times more likely to have a stroke than a non-smoker.

And if you do have a stroke, you’re twice as likely to die from it.

One of the ways tobacco smoke affects the body is that it thickens the blood. This raises the risk of blood clots and of narrowing of the arteries. It also cuts down on the amount of oxygen in the blood, so that your heart has to work harder.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals – 7,000 different poisons – including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, arsenic and cyanide. When you smoke, these chemicals move from your lungs to your bloodstream, damaging cells throughout your body.

Smoking also affects cholesterol levels, increasing another stroke risk factor.

In turn, nicotine makes your heart beat faster and raises your blood pressure at the same time that carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, another recipe for stroke.

But it’s not hopeless. If you quit now, the level of oxygen in your blood returns to normal in just eight hours, and in that same amount of time the carbon monoxide and nicotine levels in your blood fall by half. After just one year, your risk of heart attack and stroke are half that of a smoker.

The longer you stay away from smoking, the better your odds get of not having a stroke, and within 15 years your risk could be the same as any non-smoker.

Isn’t it worth quitting now?


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Do you know what a stroke is?

A stroke happens when an artery that carries blood from the heart to the brain bursts or is blocked. This means that part of the brain does not get the blood and nutrients it needs, so it starts to die. When this happens, abilities caused by that area of the brain, like memory or muscle control, are lost. There are three main types of stroke.

Ischemic stroke is the most common. It happens when an artery in the brain is blocked, and there are two types:

  1. Embolic stroke is when a blood clot or plaque forms and moves through the arteries to the brain. Once in the brain, the clot blocks a blood vessel and leads to a stroke.
  2. Thrombotic stroke is when a blood clot forms inside an artery that takes blood to the brain. This interrupts blood flow and causes a stroke.

Hemorrhagic stroke, less common than ischemic stroke, happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and spills blood in or around the brain. There are two main types:

  1. Intracerebral hemorrhage is when a burst blood vessel bleeds into brain tissue. This causes brain cells to die and part of the brain to stop working correctly.
  2. Subarachnoid hemorrhage is when a blood vessel bursts near the surface of the brain and blood leaks in between the brain and the skull.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, happens if an artery in the brain or one that goes to the brain is blocked for a short time. This causes temporary numbness, weakness or loss of vision, and it might cause trouble speaking or loss of balance.

Even though blood flow to the brain is only blocked for a short time – usually no more than 5 minutes, a TIA is a medical emergency and a serious warning sign that you might have a stroke.


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car seats

Kids, car seats and bulky coats don’t mix. Here’s why.

If you’re about to buckle your child into his or her car seat, think twice before you zip up that bulky winter coat.

Puffy winter clothes and coats have too much wiggle room, which can cause your child to slip out of the harness should the car stop suddenly.

Here’s how to keep your kids safe in the car, even when it’s freezing outside:

Dress your child in warm, thin materials, such as fleece.

Remove bulky clothing and blankets before putting you child in their car seat.

Adjust the harness straps to the proper height. For rear-facing seats, straps should be at or below the child’s shoulders. For forward-facing seats, straps should be at or above the child’s shoulders.

Buckle and tighten the harness straps. Place the chest clip at armpit level.

Do the “pinch test” by pinching the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, the car seat is safely buckled.

After your child is safely fastened, place a blanket or their winter coat over the car seat harness to keep them warm.


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hand washing and the flu

The power to fight the flu is in your hands

Flu season has arrived late this year, but it’s now in full swing in Kentucky.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a vaccine. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, it’s not too late! Make plans to get a flu vaccine soon.

In addition to getting vaccinated, an easy and effective way to prevent the spread of the flu is to wash your hands correctly. Hand hygiene is the single most important thing we can do to prevent the spread of infections, but unfortunately, many people don’t wash their hands correctly, or for long enough.

Here’s how to do it the right way:

How to wash

  1. Wet your hands with warm or cold water and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands, including the backs, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. You can sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or the “Happy Birthday” song twice to make sure that you or your children are washing for long enough.
  4. Rinse your hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dryer.

When to wash

Washing your hands with soap and water at key times throughout the day is one of the most important things you can do to get rid of germs. Most of us know the basics of when to wash our hands, but there are some times when it’s is most important.

  • Before and after both preparing and eating food.
  • Before and after giving medical care of any kind.
  • After using the bathroom, changing diapers, or cleaning up after a child or pet who has used the bathroom.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • After touching garbage, or when your hands are visibly dirty.

Other tips

  • If you don’t have water or soap, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make sure that it’s at least 60 percent alcohol, and only let children use it under adult supervision.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched areas at home, work or school.
  • If possible, use a paper towel to open doors, turn faucets or even touch elevator buttons.

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