Recognizing Health Risks During African American Heritage and Health Week

Black History Month is an opportunity to pay tribute to the generations of African Americans that have helped build our country and remember their deeds and sacrifices. However, it’s important to remember to honor your own life as you honor the men and women who have made a difference over the years.

Like Black history, your health is something you need to consider all year round. African Americans are subject to some health disparities, making some health issues more prevalent. Some of these major health risks for African Americans include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Image of man and child with a doctor. Contact Westshore about health risks more common for African Americans.


The Importance of Palliative Care for the Oncology Patient

The Spring 2015 issue of Clinical Connections, a publication of Hospice of the Western Reserve, features a special focus on cancer care. Dr. Katherine Eilenfeld of Westshore Primary Care shares her perspective on the importance of palliative care for oncology patients in the article on the front page. Read the full article below.

Image of Dr. Katherine Eilenfeld, DO of Westshore Primary Care in Westlake, Ohio

The Importance of Palliative Care for the Oncology Patient

The diagnosis of cancer is arguably one of the most difficult pieces of information our patients will ever receive. They hear the dreaded C-word and simply shut down. It is at these moments that their physicians have the distinct opportunity to guide the future of their patients’ care in a significant way.

Cancer and its treatments can cause a variety of unwelcome symptoms and side effects. National organizations that specialize in cancer care are recognizing the importance of addressing these issues head-on. The idea of aggressively managing patient symptoms during the pursuit of cure is not a new one, but has undergone a transformation in the last decade. Palliative care – sometimes now referred to as supportive care – is aimed at relieving these symptoms and side effects.

But it’s not all about prescriptions. Palliative care focuses on the whole person and aims at supporting patients on an emotional, physical, social and spiritual level from the time of diagnosis, through treatments, and beyond.


Recap: Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Did you know that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer? Millions of new cases are opened each year for the disease, making it the fourth most common type of cancer in the U.S. 

Fortunately, if everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly, six out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March, here are some signs to look out for and how you can make a difference.

Schedule a screening during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and follow these tips to help stop the disease.

How to Manage Menopause Symptoms

Change can be scary, but proper guidance can help make any transition an easier process. Perimenopause and menopause mark a major shift in a woman’s life, but proper care and a few lifestyle changes can help alleviate some symptoms.

Managing symptoms of Perimenopause and menopause can make a woman’s life easier during a confusing time.

Perimenopause vs. Menopause

First thing’s first: let’s go over the difference in perimenopause and menopause. Perimenopause is the first stage of when a woman’s body naturally transitions toward infertility. This period of time is marked by changes in estrogen levels and menstrual cycles. On average, perimenopause lasts about four years, but it has been known to span over a decade.

Once a woman has gone 12 straight months without a menstrual period, she has reached menopause. The average woman usually hits this stage around her early 50s, but it some people may reach menopause as early as their late 30s or as late as 60. 

Perimenopause and a menopause can cause several changes in a woman’s body. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to

Hot flashes

Breast tenderness

Lower sex drive


Vaginal dryness

These effects can be unpleasant and unavoidable, but there are many ways that a woman can manage menopause systems to improve the quality of her life during this important stage.


What is Palliative Care?

Caring for loved ones with a serious or long-term illness is stressful. Spending time agonizing over decisions and trying to determine what the best course is for treatment can be daunting even for those who have been through it before.  

Patients and families who want more control of their health care, or the health care of a loved one, have turned to palliative care. You can get palliative care at the same time as treatment for the disease so that you can live your life as well as possible. 


What is Palliative Care?

Think of palliative care as a team approach to caring for someone with a chronic illness. The goal is to improve the quality of life for the patient and family while focusing on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness. 

I often talk about palliative care as having two arms: one is addressing goals of medical care and treatments and the other is aggressively trying to manage symptoms. Neither of these should prevent a person from continuing active treatment or pursuing a cure (if possible) of their disease. 

Palliative care is intended to better educate patients on the course and progression of their disease, to help their medical team better understand the patients’ goals and priorities, and to do all this while improving the patients’ everyday life and controlling symptoms.


Dry Itchy Skin: The Winter Itch

Do you notice your skin is scaly and itchy since the winter has started?

The cold, dry air and lower humidity may lead to an impaired barrier of the skin and scaly and itchy skin. As one gets older this can especially be more prevalent and more severe. 

image of dry itchy skin

The tendency for dry skin may run in families and is usually a recurring problem, especially in winter. Because of this seasonal occurrence, it is sometimes referred to as "winter itch." In addition, several skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis, lead to dry skin and typically worsen in the winter months. 

Risk factors for dry skin include age 65 or older, living in a dry, cold climate and showering frequently.

Get Rid of the Itch!


My Head Is Killing Me: Headaches & Treatment Options

Headaches can be a serious problem. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort that comes and goes, to severe and debilitating pain. 

So what can you do to improve your situation, and when should you seek professional medical help? 

Here is some information about common headaches and some information about when you need to see your doctor.