Men’s Health: 5 topics to discuss with your provider

Men’s Health: 5 topics to discuss with your provider

Men's Health Photo

Some things we love to do and some things we need to do. You may love to play golf or go hiking. You may need to clean out the gutters or schedule your annual physical exam. The gutters need your attention but so does your health. By doing the things that you need to do, we at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System want you to continue to be able to do the things that you love to do.

We want to encouraging men to take time to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

Here are 5 important topics that you may want to discuss with your provider.



Ask your provider what age is right for you to begin colonoscopy screenings. This screening test is the most effective way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Stomach pain or unexplained weight loss may be caused by something other than cancer but it is always a good idea to contact your doctor. Your provider may make other recommendations based on your family history, diet and lifestyle choices.



Although never a man’s favorite subject, it is important to speak with your provider about when you should receive a PSA test.  A PSA test is a simple blood test to measure the level of prostate specific antigen in your blood. Levels can be high if you have a prostate infection, an enlarged prostate or even if you are taking certain medications. Your primary care provider is the best person to interpret your PSA test results. Be sure to mention if anyone in your family has a history of prostate cancer. Remember that early detection greatly increases the chance for successful treatments if they are needed.


Blood Pressure/Cholesterol

The two main reasons that people have heart disease or stroke is high blood pressure and cholesterol. The good news is that you can manage both with a healthy diet and regular exercise or medication. While you can’t change your age or your family medical history, you can start the conversation with your provider about managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The Cardiology Center of Watauga Medical Center is dedicated to providing diagnosis and treatment of heart disease…and to putting you back on the road toward healthier living.


Type 2 Diabetes

About 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and 90% to 95% of those have type 2 diabetes. You are at risk of developing diabetes if you are overweight, over 45 years of age and have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. A simple blood test is all that is needed to check your blood sugar level. Your provider can discuss the results with you and determine a plan of action. Your diabetes may be able to be controlled with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle or you may be prescribed oral medications or insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition and can lead to complications such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease. So, please don’t wait to contact your provider to address any concerns that you may have.


Shingles Vaccine

An estimated 1 million people in America will develop shingles this year. If you have ever had shingles, then you know the pain and discomfort that this virus can cause. The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles is to be vaccinated. The CDC recommends adults over the age of 50 receive two doses of the vaccine to protect against the shingles. Check with your primary care provider about receiving your vaccine.


So, strap on those hiking boots and conquer that mountain, enjoy that long drive down the middle of the fairway, and be careful on that ladder while you’re cleaning those gutters. Men, don’t be afraid to contact your provider to have a complete physical check-up or just to ask the questions that have been on your mind.

If you don’t have a primary care provider, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has a dedicated team in Watauga or Avery County to meet your needs. Call or request an appointment online today.


AppFamily Medicine

148 Hwy 105 Extension, Suite 102
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 386-2222
Fax: (828) 386-2223
Visit website

Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists

148 Hwy 105 Extension, Suite 104
Boone, NC 28607
Phone (828) 386-2746
Fax (828) 386-2750
Visit website

Baker Center for Primary Care

436 Hospital Drive, Suite 230
Linville, NC 28646
Phone: (828) 737-7711
Fax: (828) 737-7713
Visit website

Elk River Medical Associates

150 Park Avenue
Banner Elk, NC 28604
Phone: (828) 898-5177
Fax: (828) 898-8306
Visit website

Infographic: Heart Disease in Women

Infographic: Heart Disease in Women

Did you know heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women? A woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States. Heart attack symptoms in women are likely to be different from those experienced by men. Women may have common symptoms of pain or pressure in the chest, but also have these less obvious symptoms:

  • Upper body pain in the neck, back, and jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting.

Learn more in the infographic below.

Download/Print a PDF

Infographic: Be Heart Healthy

Infographic: Be Heart Healthy

February is American Heart Month! This month, we challenge you to make heart-healthy choices. Did you know cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US? One in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke. 47 percent of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease. This infographic includes the risk factors and steps you can take to be heart healthy


Download a printable PDF >

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude may improve your health

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude may improve your health

Photo: Thankful person

By Elizabeth (Lisa) B. Shelton, MSW, LCSW, Director of ARHS Employee Assistance Program


The fall and winter holiday season is upon us, and Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner. Thanksgiving Day has its origins in the harvest festivals of Colonial New England, and was officially proclaimed a national holiday On October 3, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln.

Modern day Thanksgiving feasts usually feature delicious food such as turkey, stuffing or dressing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. You may experience the calming effect of the tryptophan in your turkey, but could the mere act of being thankful also impact your health and wellness?

Research on gratitude and physical health is still evolving, but studies so far are suggesting that there may be a positive relationship between the two. According to positive psychology research, having an attitude of gratitude is a powerful contributor to a happy, healthy, and satisfying life.


Defining Gratitude


Gratitude is expressing thanks for the gifts we have received. It is a form of appreciation, and there are many ways to experience it. The happiness that we create for ourselves by showing our appreciation has far reaching effects, both for ourselves and for those we come in contact with.

Gratitude can give us hope and help us to focus on the good things we have in life instead of focusing on the difficult things or the things that we lack.

Gratitude can help us to engage in behaviors that help keep us healthy like exercising, connecting with others, eating well, getting enough rest, and practicing work-life balance.


Cultivating Gratitude


There are many ways to develop an attitude of gratitude. Here are just a few to try:

  • Say “thank you” to people who have helped you in some way or write a thank you note to someone for whom you feel thankful or grateful.
  • Keep a gratitude journal and write down the things you are grateful for, taking a moment each day to think about the positive things that have happened during the day.
  • Make a gratitude list and set a goal of listing 100 things you have to be grateful for. Keep adding to your list until you reach your goal.
  • Practice random acts of kindness – surprise someone with something unexpected.
  • Be satisfied with the simple things in life. Our lives are filled with little things every day that we can be grateful for.


Need help cultivating gratitude or overcoming life’s circumstances?


For individuals: 

The holiday season can be a painful time for some. Whether it’s the first holiday without a loved one, the anguish of broken relationships, the weariness of ill health or isolation, the holiday season may not be one filled with joy and happiness.

Appalachian Regional Outpatient Behavioral Health at Cannon Memorial Hospital is designed to meet the needs of adults, children and families experiencing a variety of problematic behaviors, thoughts and life patterns. We work to improve emotional stability and increase general functioning, as well as help clients identify, develop and use effective coping skills.

Call us at (828) 737-7888 to see how we can help you with individual or group therapy, medication management, or psychiatric care.


For employers: 

As a part of our Corporate Wellness Services, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help your employees understand and cope with those difficult family, legal, stress or drug and alcohol problems that are too much for their friends and relatives to help with.Ongoing problems often begin to impair work performance. Employees may be unable to concentrate, make more mistakes, or have trouble getting to work on time.

EAP counselors are trained and experienced. The counselors all have attained Masters Degrees in Human Service fields along with licensure and/or certifications in appropriate areas of counseling. call (828) 268-9049 to see how we can help your employees.

Then and Now: Breast cancer detection and treatment in the High Country

Then and Now: Breast cancer detection and treatment in the High Country

Few things in life are more unifying than a breast cancer diagnosis. Of course, the diagnosis itself is devastating, but it also has a way of bringing together family, friends and medical staff in unexpected and life-changing ways.

At Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) patients have come to expect and appreciate the family-first team approach used to diagnose and treat breast cancer in the High Country. Thanks to advanced technology, a collaborative medical community, innovative surgical techniques, and a first-class regional cancer center located right here in our backyard, patients are choosing now more than ever to stay in our community for their cancer treatment.


1993: Regional Cancer Center is established

Watauga Medical Center established the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center in Boone, bringing cancer care – previously unavailable in the High Country – close to home. Patients and their caregivers are seen as family by the highly-trained and compassionate staff. Since its founding, the Cancer Center has continually improved access and quality of care.

2002: Wilma Redmond Fund begins providing mammograms for local women

The Wilma Redmond Mammography Fund is dedicated to the memory of Wilma Redmond, who for more than 20 years managed Watauga Medical Center’s Imaging Department and courageously fought her own breast cancer. When she died in 2002, a fund was established by Watauga Medical Center Foundation (currently Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation). The fund provides free first-time mammograms for uninsured women 35 years and older.

2003: Stereotactic breast biopsy is introduced at Watauga Medical Center

A breast biopsy obtains a sample of breast tissue in order to test for signs of breast cancer or other disorders. Stereotactic is a clinical word for a technique using a mammography machine to precisely locate where the sample should be taken. In 2015, The Wilma Redmond Breast Center, located in the Outpatient Imaging and Lab Center, began performing stereotactic breast biopsy.

2008: The first digital mammogram is performed

Breast diagnostics advanced even further in the High Country with the addition of digital mammography. Instead of mammograms producing x-ray film, a digital image is created that can be manipulated in order to see more clearly.

2015: 3D Mammography comes to the Wilma Redmond Breast Center

With a traditional mammogram, radiologists were tasked with reading the complexities of the breast in a flat image. 3D Mammography builds images into very thin layers, or slices, making details more clear and unobstructed by overlapping tissue.

Because 3D Mammography allows the radiologist to better assess the size, location and shape of any abnormal tissue, more cancers are found at earlier, more treatable stages. The Hologic Three-D mammography technology accounts for 41% increase in the detection of invasive breast cancers and a 40% decrease in a callback rate for a false positive finding.

Even so, some insurance companies still only cover the standard mammogram. Because ARHS felt so strongly about making the latest diagnostic technology available to all of our community, the healthcare system decided to perform all mammograms with 3D technology and not to ask patients to pay out of pocket for any additional costs not covered by their insurance.

2015: Local genetic testing expanded to provide an extensive panel of genetic mutations to be checked

Cancer Genetics counseling and testing is available to our patients. At the no-cost initial visit, patients can meet with a genetic counselor who reviews the patient’s personal and family history, discusses the risks and benefits of genetic testing, and provides support in healthcare decision making. Further testing and evaluation are also available.

2015: The Wilma Redmond Breast Center institutes a fast-track breast program and a breast navigation team

Patients with an abnormal breast screening are sent to a fast track for surgical consultation so doctors can diagnose cancer early and immediately begin to treat it. The breast navigator, Gloria Payne, RTRM, walks patients through the process of receiving abnormal results, scheduling additional imaging examinations, and sending patients for surgical consultation.

2018: The Together We Fight collaborative coordinates many local events for maximum impact

The Together We Fight collaborative includes community events and fundraisers such as Tanger Outlets PINK campaign, Doc’s Rocks Mining for a Purpose, Pink Day at ARHS, CrossFit event Kilograms for Mammograms, and the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation’s Walk/Run for Breast Cancer.

2018: Hidden Scar® Breast Cancer Surgery is introduced at Watauga Medical Center

Hidden Scar is an advanced surgical technique used to hide the scars of cancer surgery as best as possible with an oncoplastic approach. If surgery is recommended to remove breast cancer, patients can take comfort in the fact that Watauga Medical Center is one of only a few hospitals in North Carolina to offer Hidden Scar® Breast Cancer Surgery. Both Dr. Anne-Corinne Beaver and Dr. Paul Dagher of Watauga Surgical Group have been recognized as Hidden Scar® Trained Surgeons for Hidden Scar® Breast Cancer Surgery.

2018: Progressive Anesthesia is performed for Breast Cancer Surgery at Watauga Medical Center

The Anesthesia team at Watauga Medical Center began routinely performing ultrasound-guided pectoralis muscle blocks for better pain control during and after surgery. This allows less inhalational agents and less opioid pain medicines to be used, which is believed to improve outcomes— especially for cancer patients.

2019: Breast MRI is used for advanced diagnostics

Breast MRI provides advanced diagnostics for detecting breast cancer, other breast abnormalities, or routine breast screening. This is another important tool in detecting breast cancer early and accurately.

2019: Paxman Scalp Cooling technology available

Thanks to generous donors, Paxman scalp cooling is available to qualifying patients receiving chemotherapy treatments for solid tumor cancer. It helps to prevent hair-loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. The goal is to help patients look and feel their best while fighting a difficult battle.

Photo: Dr. Beaver with Paxman

Dr. Anne-Corinne Beaver, a beloved physician and general/breast surgeon at Watauga Surgical Group, learned first-hand that cancer does not discriminate when she was diagnosed with the disease in November of 2017. With experience on both sides of the treatment, she has developed even more of a passion to see advanced breast cancer care in the High Country.

“I can testify as both a surgeon and as a survivor that this community is All In when it comes to fighting breast cancer,” said Dr. Beaver. “I chose to stay close to home for my breast cancer treatment because I know just how good the treatment services are right here in this community.”

Wilma Redmond Breast Center

1200 State Farm Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 268-9037
Fax: (828) 268-9484
Visit website

Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center

Monday-Friday 8:00am - 5:00pm
336 Deerfield Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: (828) 262-4332
Visit Website

Bladder Control Issues: A common problem that may be overlooked

Bladder Control Issues: A common problem that may be overlooked

Bladder Control Issues ImageBladder control problems are more common than many realize. Many people assume that this is something they must live with, or is just a part of life. Even worse, many believe that nothing can be done to fix the problem except invasive, painful surgery. While it is true that incontinence predominantly impacts older adults, it is not a natural part of aging.  More women tend to be bothered by bladder control issues than men, but the underlying causes tend to be different. Your primary care provider (PCP) will often screen you for these conditions during your annual wellness visit, but occasionally this problem gets overlooked. There are solutions, and continual leakage is not something that one must live with.

Don’t suffer in silence. Discussing bladder control issues with your provider is the first step to regaining bladder control and improving your quality of life. Call Boone Urology at (828) 264-5150 and we can help answer any questions or concerns. 

What is Overactive Bladder (OAB)?

OAB is a constellation of symptoms that includes urinary frequency and urgency. Urge incontinence arises from being unable to control these factors and results in loss of bladder control. Factors that often go along with OAB include being female, post-menopausal, prior pelvic surgery, excessive fluid intake and caffeine intake. As with many health conditions, prevention is the best strategy. Maintaining a healthy weight and being active can help prevent bladder control issues.

Treatment options for overactive bladder

The first step in improving bladder control is to address this with your PCP. Often, symptoms can be controlled by changing behavior. Try reducing fluid intake, reducing or eliminating caffeine and doing “timed voiding,” which is a trick played on the bladder to empty it prior to the onset of “urgency.” For many, these steps are enough to regain bladder control.

If overactive bladder continues, there are several medications that can improve bladder control. For the patients that do not wish to take medication, or find them ineffective, more advanced treatments can dramatically improve bladder control and quality of life.

Your urologist may recommend sacral nerve stimulation, either with an implanted nerve stimulation device called Interstim, or with a noninvasive treatment called Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS). Interstim is an innovative technology that involves modulating nerve signals to and from the bladder. A simple office test can tell if you may benefit from the technology.

PTNS involves placing a tiny acupuncture needle adjacent to the ankle and connecting a small nerve stimulator to it for a 30-minute session. The treatments are done weekly for several months, and then performed periodically for maintenance of the treatment effect.

Botox is a drug that many associate with injections for facial wrinkles. The reason that it smooths out wrinkles is that it relaxes the muscle, smoothing out the overlying skin. Botox injections can be done in the Boone Urology Center office to relax the bladder muscle resulting in improved bladder control.

“I leak when I cough, sneeze, or exercise”

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a condition that affects many women, particularly those that have had multiple vaginal child births. Women with SUI often void normally, but are bothered with the occasional loss of control with exertion. This robs many women of the ability to exercise, or to perform normal household activities. Occasionally, men are bothered with this condition following surgery for prostate cancer.

Treatment Options for Stress Urinary Incontinence

SUI occurs because the muscles that are involved with holding urine tend to become weak. Like any other muscle, this can often be improved with conditioning. Performing Kegel exercises, which involves contracting the muscles that you would use if you wanted to interrupt your urine flow, can improve bladder control. Like any exercise program, this requires some commitment and dedication. Just as having a personal trainer can improve strength training, physical therapists at The Rehabilitation Center can often improve success on pelvic floor therapy to improve bladder control.

Modern surgery for stress incontinence has evolved to minimally invasive, outpatient procedures with quick recovery. It no longer involves large incisions and extended recovery times. The surgery for stress incontinence is done through a ½ inch incision, takes about thirty minutes, and is highly successful.

For some women, SUI can be treated with a simple injection procedure where a drug is injected through a scope to “bulk” up the urethra.

For men that are bothered with SUI following prostate cancer surgery, sometimes simply a “tincture of time” can allow the body to recover naturally from surgery and improve bladder control. For others, implantation of an artificial urinary sphincter can often eliminate pad use.

Do you have bladder control concerns?

Boone Urology Center can help! Call us at (828) 264-5150 today!