Jun 23, 2017

Specialists Offer Tips to Prevent Migraines


Specialists Offer Tips to Prevent Migraines

About 12 percent of the U.S. population experiences migraines, according to the National Library of Medicine. Although that may not seem like a large number, it equates to approximately 38 million people. Because June is National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month, neurologists at Hattiesburg Clinic are offering tips for preventing migraines. “Migraine is a neurological disorder characterized by throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound and other symptoms,” said Wendell R. Helveston, MD, a neurologist at Hattiesburg Clinic Neurology. Dr. Helveston said a migraine is more than just a bad headache, adding that an attack could last anywhere between 4 and 72 hours. “Although symptoms depend on the person and the attack, a migraine can be incapacitating and relentless,” he said. For those who suffer from migraines, Helveston offered tips to avoid common triggers:
  • Reduce stress as much as possible.
  • Establish a healthy sleep pattern.
  • Avoid too much caffeine or cutting back suddenly.
  • Do not skip meals and be mindful of certain foods and drinks.
  • Avoid smoking or being around smoke.
  • Be cautious of your exercise routine. (Exercise can be a trigger for some, but you can still do it. Ask your doctor.)
Dr. Helveston explained some potential triggers might not be avoided, such as menstrual periods or changes in the weather. He also pointed out that these triggers are not the same for everyone and that the best way to learn your own triggers is to track the migraines in a diary. “Be sure to note what you were doing before and at the time of the headache, what you were eating, if there was a stressful event that day, whether you had plenty of sleep, etc.” But what about when the migraines become an ongoing struggle, with attacks occurring multiple times a week? Dr. Helveston said that would likely be diagnosed as chronic migraine, a condition with eight or more chronic migraine days per month within at least a three-month period. He noted that although migraine sufferers should be vigilant in avoiding their triggers and can treat migraines as they come with over-the-counter medications, there is currently only one FDA-approved medication to prevent chronic migraine. “Botox® is a neurotoxin that we inject into the muscles of the forehead, side and back of the head and neck. The goal is to block the pain signals and allow the muscles to relax. The treatments are given once every 90 days.” Dr. Helveston, along with his colleagues Jose P. Fernandez, Jr., MD, and C. Scott Lynn, MD, use Botox to treat their patients who suffer from chronic migraine. “It’s not just for cosmetic use anymore. Our patients are finding success with it as a way to prevent these headaches that leave them debilitated for hours or days,” said Dr. Fernandez. “I have had patients say that it’s given them their life back.” Lana Weil, a resident of Seminary, Miss., and patient of Dr. Helveston, said she was living with chronic migraine for about seven years prior to getting Botox®. She said up to that point, she had been using over-the-counter medications but nothing helped. Weil said the treatments have been “amazingly effective” and that there has been a “drastic change” in her quality of life. She said she recommends it to anyone who, like her, battles migraines often. Since it was approved by the FDA in 2010, more than 100,000 people with chronic migraine have been treated with Botox®. “It’s easier to get ahead of the headache and catch it before it starts, rather than trying to treat it during a chronic migraine episode,” said Helveston. The physicians said Botox® treatment typically continues to reduce the number of headache days each month with each round of treatment. To learn more about migraine treatment, visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com/botox or call 601-268-5620.  
Jun 13, 2017

Clinic Offers Diabetes Support Group

  Did you know Hattiesburg Clinic offers a Diabetes Support Group? This is a free service available for individuals with diabetes, along with their family and friends, to learn how others in the community have improved their diabetes control and to hear from our diabetes health care team. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 11, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m., at Cloverleaf Medical Plaza.
Jun 7, 2017

Tips for a Heart-Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

Tips for a Heart-Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

By Arthur C. Martin, MD, FACC Click for the PDF version of the article.

What is a heart-healthy diet?

The easier answer is what it is not. It is not “low fat, low cholesterol.” We have been misled for many years. Cholesterol in our food has little to do with cholesterol plaque blocking the arteries. (Eggs are fine.) A high fat diet benefits the body in many ways, including better absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K; a better immune system; and improved weight loss. The key is understanding the difference between unhealthy fats and healthy fats.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats usually refer to monounsaturated and, to an extent, polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are among the healthiest of fats, lowering inflammation and reducing heart risk. They are found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and trout, and in nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and avocados. The benefit of polyunsaturated fats depends on the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which are essential fats. Omega-3’s should dominate the omega-6’s, which promote inflammation. Vegetable oils (corn, soy, safflower, palm kernel) are high in omega-6 and are not healthy. Also, the olive oil in grocery stores is rarely extra virgin, despite the labeling. I recommend visiting an olive oil specialty store and discovering the difference. A local specialty store of this type is J.Olive in the Newpointe Shopping Center in Hattiesburg.

Unhealthy Fats

Saturated fat has been labeled the bad guy for decades, but it is highly controversial. There are now 50-year-old studies that have come to light showing that sugar and refined carbohydrates are more disease-causing than fat. Red meat has been associated with heart disease because, over the last 50 years, livestock have been fed a highly processed corn product rather than grasses, which are a cow’s natural food choice. The ratio of omega-3 fats to omega-6 fats in grass-fed beef is about 1 to 1, like fish, while in corn (grain)-fed beef the ratio is about 1 to 20. Grass-fed beef is a healthy fat. A local source is Stonnington Farm, available at Corner Market. On the other hand, farm-raised fish fed with commercial feed results in unhealthy fish compared to wild caught fish. This includes farm-raised salmon, tilapia and catfish. Corn product is also unhealthy for humans, as in high fructose corn syrup. The most dangerous fats are trans fats. If the label says, “partially hydrogenated,” do not buy it. Most importantly – cut out sugar and white flour.

So, what is a true heart-healthy diet?

Sorry, but there is no one easy answer. There are many approaches to putting this information into a healthy diet, depending on your preference and lifestyle. These include a plant-based diet (vegetarian, vegan), Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and even a paleo diet. The principle of a paleo diet is that grains, in general, are inflammatory, and wheat is probably the worst. Processing it into white flour makes it worse yet. Many athletes follow a gluten-free diet to prevent excessive muscle and joint soreness, and it works. Eat real food from farm to table and stay away from processed junk. For example, a vegan diet can be healthy or unhealthy depending on food choices. If it is filled with sugar, cereals and refined carbs, it will not be good for you. A healthy diet suppresses chronic systemic inflammation.

Chronic Systemic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of many health problems, including heart and vascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many cancers. Inflamed blood vessels promote plaque formation. Lowering chronic inflammation is far more important than lowering fat and cholesterol intake.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

In addition to omega-3 fats, these include fresh fruits, berries and vegetables, particularly alliums (garlic, scallions, onions, leeks) and crucifers (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts). Ground flax seeds and chia seeds have high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. I personally add about a tablespoon of each to either my oatmeal or my full fat yogurt from grass-fed cows every day. This has eliminated all arthritis symptoms for me. Many spices are anti-inflammatory and are worth adding regularly to cooking, including cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, sage and thyme.


Even though exercise causes acute inflammation as a normal healing of muscles and tissues, regular exercise reduces chronic inflammation. Exercise helps everything. If you are not doing something now, understand that it takes a few months of discipline to strengthen your body before exercise becomes a habit that is enjoyable. Find something you can do and stick with it. It can be walking briskly, running, biking, swimming, group classes or all of the above. This also includes exercising your brain. Read something more than texts every day.


Tobacco has hundreds of chemicals that cause severe inflammation, which is why it greatly increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, many different cancers and death. This is also true for oral tobacco and secondhand smoke. My personal goal is not necessarily to stretch my life into as many years as possible but rather to preserve my quality of life for years to come. By following this lifestyle (a modified paleo diet and exercise on a regular basis), and especially since I cut out most sugar and wheat from my diet, I can say I have felt dramatically better in every way. I do not have aches, pains and stiffness. I have more energy and a more positive state of mind. My friends and patients who also follow this report the same results. If you are interested in living a more heart-healthy lifestyle, there are many sources of more detailed information on this topic in local bookstores, libraries and online. Disclaimer: Information on this page should be utilized as a guide only. Please consult your health care provider before making any major lifestyle changes regarding your health.
May 31, 2017

New Iris Update Brings Fresh Look, Enhanced Features

Hattiesburg Clinic’s online patient portal, Iris, now has a new look and enhanced features for patients. In addition to a new design overall, four major changes have been made with the portal’s latest update:
  1. The “My Medical Record” tab has been renamed “Health.”
  2. Past appointments and upcoming appointments are now listed on one screen rather than separate screens. This is accessed by clicking “Visits,” then “Appointments and Visits.”
  3. Options for sending messages are located on one screen now. By clicking “Messaging” and “Ask a Question,” patients can send a customer service message for billing inquiries or website issues and also ask their provider a non-urgent medical question or request a refill.
  4. Children or other family members for which a user has access has moved from the right side of the screen to the top left of the screen.
View the changes:
May 30, 2017

Smith Offering Surgical Services at Hattiesburg Clinic – Bellevue

Daniel H. Smith, MD, with Hattiesburg Clinic Surgery, is now offering services at Hattiesburg Clinic ­­– Bellevue, located at 7148 Hwy. 98, in Hattiesburg. Dr. Smith, who is located in Suite 101 with Bellevue Family Medicine, is offering consultation and evaluation for patients who are referred to him for various conditions that might require surgical treatment. “The Surgery department is providing services to the Bellevue area as a way to contribute to Hattiesburg Clinic’s mission of providing convenient access to health care in the community. Offering these services at this additional location will directly benefit those who live and work in the West Hattiesburg area,” said Dr. Smith. Hattiesburg Clinic Surgery provides surgical diagnostic and treatment expertise in the management of the digestive tract, diseases of the breast, endocrine system disorders, vascular access for dialysis treatment and bariatric surgery for treatment of obesity. The Surgery department’s primary location is on the second floor of Hattiesburg Clinic’s main campus, at 415 S. 28th Ave. in Hattiesburg. They can be reached at 601-268-5660. For more details about Hattiesburg Clinic Surgery, visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com/general-surgery.
May 30, 2017

Hattiesburg Clinic Physician Tackles Myths about Psoriasis

A skin disease affecting millions of people also carries with it some misconceptions, according to a Hattiesburg Clinic physician specializing in the disease. Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the skin when the immune system speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. About 7.5 million Americans live with psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, making it the most common autoimmune disease in the country. Steven C. Shapiro, MD, who practices at Hattiesburg Clinic Dermatology and Laurel Dermatology, trained at Stanford and was involved with psoriasis research. That’s when he saw how devastating the condition was for those who lived with it. “On average, a person typically turns over his or her skin every 28 days. However, a person with psoriasis may turn over their skin every three to four days,” said Shapiro. “And along with that comes painful inflammation and irritation, in addition to a host of other potential health complications.” Psoriasis can appear anywhere on the body but frequently occurs on the scalp, knees, elbows or torso. Plaque psoriasis, the most common form of the disease, appears as raised, red patches of skin with silvery, white buildup known as scale. Dr. Shapiro said there are some myths about the disease that everyone should be aware of:
  • Psoriasis is not contagious. Medical experts believe that disease is caused by a person’s immune system and their genetics. Although the disease cannot be spread, the National Psoriasis Foundation suggests that if one parent has psoriasis, there’s a 10 percent chance a child will develop it and a 50 percent chance if both parents have the disease.
  • It is not a sign of bad hygiene. A person’s hygiene habits are not a cause of psoriasis. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but various things could trigger a flare-up. Possible triggers include stress, infections, a cold or strep throat, certain medications, cold weather and certain foods.
  • Psoriasis is not just a rash. Psoriasis has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Aside from the stigma surrounding a flare-up, the disease also affects the joints and is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and arthritis, according to Dr. Shapiro.
  • No cure does not mean it can’t be treated. Although there is currently no cure for psoriasis, Dr. Shapiro says he has been pleased to see medications for the skin condition dramatically improve over the years. Some medications used to treat psoriasis include Taltz, Cosentyx, Stelara, Humira, Otezla and Enbrel. He said these treatments are usually available with or without insurance.
Shapiro said he has witnessed modern-day treatments effectively treat psoriasis. “With treatment, many of our patients experience clear skin to the point that you’d never even realize they have psoriasis. Other health conditions, such as joint pain, also improve. It’s all about working with your provider in finding the treatment that works best for you,” said Shapiro. “As the symptoms of a flare-up subside with treatment, patients often find their confidence again, and that’s what we like to see.”   *Please note Hattiesburg Clinic does not endorse any particular drug or product mentioned in this article.
May 18, 2017

Eye Associates Optical Offering Special Discount on Sunglasses

Protect your eyes from the summer rays with style! Eye Associates Optical is offering 30 percent off select sunglasses in stock, while supplies last. No appointment is necessary to shop our collection of designer sunglasses. Visit us Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., to take advantage of this limited time offer. Gift certificates are also available, and remember to keep an eye out for promotions and discounts throughout the year.
May 11, 2017

Physical Therapy Welcomes Martin

Olivia C. Martin, PT, DPT, recently joined Hattiesburg Clinic Physical Therapy. Martin received a Doctor of Physical Therapy from The University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences in Saint Augustine, Fla., and a Bachelor of Science from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Martin joins Ryan W. Henderson, PT, DPT; Clint Hudson, PT, DPT, SCS; Maxie Manning, PT, DPT; John M. Porter, OT; Jessica Boutwell, PTA; and Chelsea L. Kitchens, PTA.
May 9, 2017

Downtown Medical Associates Welcomes Bolton

Matthew D. Bolton, CNP, recently joined Hattiesburg Clinic Downtown Medical Associates. He received his Master of Science in Nursing from South University in Savannah, Ga., and his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Miss. Mr. Bolton is board certified as a family nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. He is a member of the Professional Nurses Association and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Bolton joins Charles D. Hernandez, DO, at Downtown Medical Associates.
May 9, 2017

Hattiesburg Clinic Physician Takes on ‘Holy Grail of Running’

A Hattiesburg Clinic physician was one of more than 30,000 runners that crossed the finish line at the 2017 Boston Marathon, held April 17. Jane E. Kersh, MD, an ophthalmologist at Eye Physicians & Surgeons, participated in the event for the first time. Meeting the challenge of qualifying for the race was a goal of Dr. Kersh’s, who described the Boston Marathon as “the holy grail of running.” “My training plan was similar [to other races], but I added some hills to my workout since Boston is hilly. Peak training was about 55 miles per week,” said Kersh regarding her preparation for the marathon. She said the opportunity to participate in this famous, 121-year-old marathon and getting that coveted jacket were also motivation for her. Dr. Kersh placed 834 out 1,000 in her age group with a time of 4:24:36. She said her time was slowed due to the higher temps and hilly route. Nevertheless, she took away some particularly memorable moments from the race that has, in recent years, become as widely known for its perseverance through tragedy as it has for its long history. “Seeing handicapped athletes was inspiring, and the crowd support was unbelievable,” said Kersh, adding that she did not have concerns about another terrorist attack because of tight security and a heavy police presence. Dr. Kersh is also a participant in Hattiesburg Clinic’s own Rise & Shine Half-Marathon, which held its 6th annual event back in April as well. “This was my third year to participate,” she said. “I like to support The Arc. Lots of them are my patients, and it is good to practice the hills on the course.” For her, Kersh said taking on events like these is not about the win but rather the self-fulfillment. “Running is more for my mental than physical health,” said Kersh. “It’s my time to de-stress and have ‘me’ time. Endorphins are real. I enjoy pushing myself and the social environment of races.”