What is Infusion Therapy?

When people become severely sick or weighed down by compound disease conditions, oftentimes they have difficulty swallowing. This can make seemingly simple things like eating, drinking and taking medications difficult.

Additionally, certain medications may not be recommended orally since an individual’s stomach acids may affect their quality, rendering them ineffective when it comes to treating diseases.

There are many reasons why people may receive medication through their body instead of their mouth (orally).

What is Infusion Therapy?

Infusion therapy is an alternative to oral treatment that entails the administration of drugs or medicine through a sterile catheter or needle. These are often introduced into a patient’s vein and secured by a professional healthcare provider. This treatment option has been used for a long time by hospitals.

Increasingly, infusion therapy is also applied in outpatient healthcare settings and community care centers, by specialized nurses who are professionally trained to carry out this procedure. At Gastroenterology Health Partners, our outpatient infusion center is available to patients in a convenient and higher quality setting, with no wait time and ample appointment availability. Depending on one’s insurance carrier and plan, this procedure can often be done at a lower cost, with the benefit of getting to know the same infusion RN over time.

What Medical Conditions Does Infusion Therapy Treat?

Infusion therapy is primarily used to treat severe or chronic diseases and infections that may not respond to oral antibiotics. There are many examples of disease conditions and infections that are treated continuously using infusion therapy. This includes different types of cancers, gastrointestinal tract infections, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

An Overview of What to Expect with Outpatient Infusion Treatment

There are a couple of factors that you need to expect with outpatient infusion treatment or therapy.

The infusion process typically lasts for an hour, but this does vary. The time taken during this therapy is based on the type of medication administered and also the kind of illness or infection being treated. While some medicines require more extended periods of infusion, others take a short time.

Dosage also dictates the length of infusion. In some cases, patients receive their infusion dosage slowly, especially for their first time. Whereas for others, it may take a longer length of time. This may be done to confirm that a patient doesn’t develop adverse reactions to the medication offered via infusion.

Prior to the administration of infusion therapy, there is also some preparation. This might involve recording a patient’s blood pressure, weight, height, and body temperature.

Prior to infusion therapy your doctor might ask you to prepare by drinking a specific amount of water. You may also be advised to wear comfortable clothing for the procedure.

As an infusion patient, you have a choice in deciding a location for your infusion therapy. Cost and convenience are critical to this decision.  GHP offers the convenience of this service to its patients at a cost which is far lower than an inpatient setting. Contact any of our office locations to reach a dedicated infusion therapy concierge to confirm options available to you based on your specific health plan.

Understanding IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a disorder of the digestive tract that results in chronic inflammation. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two most common forms of IBD. Ulcerative colitis specifically affects the colon and rectum while Crohn’s disease inflames all areas of the gastrointestinal tract. While a direct cause is not known, inflammatory bowel disease is thought to be a result of an abnormal immune response that causes the immune system to attack the digestive track.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood in stool
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Lack of childhood development

While one’s stress and diet may not be directly causing inflammation, lifestyle changes can help to relieve symptoms. Avoid dairy products and other problematic foods to see how they affect your flare-ups. Additionally, while fiber is known to help with bowel issues, it could behaving an adverse effect. Drink plenty of water and experiment with more frequent smaller meals.

Risk Factors

  • Age: Most patients are diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease before the age of 30.
  • Race & Ethnicity: Caucasians and those of Ashkenazi Jewish decent are at the most risk for inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Family History: Those with a first-degree relative who have suffered from IBD are more likely to develop it themselves.
  • Cigarette Smoking: IBD is most common among smokers.
  • Medications: Anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, Advil and Aleve have been known to aggravate IBD.
  • Environment: The disease tends to affect those who live in more urbanized and developed areas as well as northern climates.

Patients who are experiencing signs of IBD or know that they are at an increased risk for developing it should take preventive measures by routinely checking in with a healthcare professional. Having IBD increases your risk for colon cancer and blood clots.

Although there is no cure for inflammatory bowel disease, medication is an effective treatment option for those with ulcerative colitis. However, 70% of those with Crohn’s disease often require surgery in order to relieve their symptoms.

If you or a loved one feels they could have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, schedule an appointment with one of our fellowship-trained gastroenterologist today.

October’s MD Update: Dr. Jones Speaks “Going on Offense Against Cancer”

Our very own Dr. Whitney Jones graced the cover of MD-Update’s October issue.  Read about how he embraces preventative measures to beat colon cancer before it starts in the following article.

“We spend a lot of money on healthcare and health insurance. The problem is, we’re not spending enough on prevention.”— Whitney Jones, MD

 In the movie “Karate Kid,” there’s a scene where Mr. Miyagi asks the title character if he’s training to fight. In his light bulb moment, the student responds that he trains, “So I won’t have to fight.”

Make no mistake, Whitney Jones, MD, knows how to treat cancer. He’s trained for it and has years of experience in it. But it’s a fight he would prefer doesn’t take place.

“We’re going on offense against cancer,” says Jones, a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Health Partners (GHP) in Louisville. “We are working on becoming the number one state and the first in the nation to develop programs where we can use genetic testing. We spend a lot of money on healthcare and health insurance. The problem is, we’re not spending enough on prevention. The cost of cancer treatments totally overwhelms the cost of prevention.”

That has been the central message and purpose of the Kentucky Colon Cancer Prevention Project, which Jones helped found in 2004. The project’s work includes education, advocacy, survivor support, and health system change.

“It put the work of the state in front of the legislature,” Jones says, noting that a diverse group of leaders from across the state formed the project’s advisory committee. “It added a mix of healthcare, politics, and business that was catalytic.”

The project has received state funding as well as additional funding from the Kentucky Cancer Foundation, which Jones also helped found in 2012. “We have helped pay for a lot of uninsured people to get colorectal cancer screening,” Jones says.

The impact of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project is reflected in the state’s improvement versus the rest of the country. Jones notes that Kentucky ranked 49th out of 50 in the nation in colon cancer prevention statistics when the project was launched. The state also had the highest rates of incidence and mortality in the nation. Earlier this year, Kentucky ranked 17th best in the nation in the same colon cancer related categories and earned an American Cancer Society Achievement Award for the most improved state in the nation for colorectal screening over the past 15 years.

“When we started our work at the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, there was a huge gap between what could be done and what we were doing,” Jones says. “It’s been a broad coalition, including many of our state leaders and city officials. I think it’s proven that Kentucky can address its own problems, we can develop solutions, we can implement them locally, and we can save lives and save money.”

Read the full article here:

Common Causes of Constipation

Constipation is often defined by tough, hard to pass bowel movements that occur infrequently. Other signs and symptoms include bloating, having the sensation of an incomplete evacuation, abdominal pain and blood present in the stool.

While constipation is known for being both physically uncomfortable and embarrassing, the condition is more common than one might think. Constipation affects approximately 30 percent of the general population, and is most prevalent in women, children and the elderly. Persistent constipation should not be ignored as it could be the sign of a more serious condition, such as colon cancer or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

What are some of the Common Causes of Constipation ?

Dehydration

“If you don’t have enough water in your body already, the large intestine soaks up water from your food waste,” making for harder to pass stools. Caffeine can cause dehydration, and even dairy has been known to constipate some people. Proper hydration however, can help move food through the intestines and create softer stools.

Lack of Fiber

Fiber encourages regular bowel movements by allowing more water to remain in your stool and hastening it’s passage through the gut. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts are the best natural source of fiber. However, fiber supplements can be helpful as well.

Stress

Just like most of your bodily functions, the nervous system is in constant communication with your digestive system. During periods of intense stress, the digestive system can slow down resulting in constipation. Waiting too long to go to the bathroom for example, can cause a build up.

Not Enough Physical Activity 

Regular activity helps to stimulate the muscles in intestines and can also help alleviate stress.

Medication

Though laxatives can help ease constipation, they can also become habit forming meaning that one’s bowel movements end up depending on them. Overusing laxatives can over time can weaken the bowel muscles. Additionally, many anti-depressants and pain medications are common causes of constipation. It is recommended that any and all medications should be discussed with your doctor.

While many lifestyle changes can help to relieve constipation, if you experience chronic constipation, schedule an appointment with one of our fellowship-trained gastroenterologist today.

 

What Triggers Heartburn?

There’s nothing worse than trying to relax while experiencing a gnawing burning sensation in the chest. These uncomfortable chest pains, other wise known as heartburn, are a symptom of Acid Reflux and can be cause for concern. Acid Reflux occurs when stomach acid leaks into the esophagus (the tube that delivers food and beverages to our stomach). Usually a muscle acts as a protective barrier between the esophagus and the stomach to prevent the back flow of acid. However, when this muscle becomes weakened, one can fall victim to the aches and pains of heartburn. If not treated, repeated heartburn can cause damage to the lining of the esophagus.

What Triggers Heartburn?

1. Large Meals

Too much food cans stretch the stomach and put pressure on the muscle that acts as a barrier between the esophagus and stomach, allowing for acid to escape.

2. Late Night Eating

It usually takes your stomach a couple of hours to digest food. By eating right before bed, you run the risk of letting stomach acid back up into the esophagus, keeping you up all night. Sometimes it’s best to sit up and let gravity do the work!

3. Foods High in Fat or Grease

These take longer to break down and as a result your stomach produces more acid.

4. Acidic Foods

Acidic foods tend to either relax or irritate that muscle that controls the flow of our stomach’s acid. Problematic foods include: tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, chocolate, spicy foods (garlic or raw onion), mint, salt, alcohol and or carbonated beverages. Foods that tend to relieve heartburn on the other hand are high in fiber. Oatmeal, bananas, grains, green veggies and ginger for example have been known to help reverse the effects of Acid Reflux.

Even certain exercises like crunches, headstands and yoga can trigger heartburn by putting pressure on the stomach or reversing it’s natural flow. 

While these are all common triggers, what sparks heartburn can vary from person to person. To get to the bottom of what’s causing your flare ups, try keeping a journal of your daily symptoms, meals and exercises. Also consider asking your doctor if any of the medications you’re on could be playing a role. If the problem persists, it’s time to schedule an appointment with one of our fellowship-trained gastroenterologists.

 

 

Hemorrhoid Banding

Believe it or not, hemorrhoids are a common health concern. The condition affects 75% of people at some point in their lives. While home remedies or topical creams are popular go-to treatment options, they only provide temporary relief. It is typical for example, for a person to suffer from recurrent symptoms and fare-ups after the use of over the counter products. Many patients even avoid seeking further treatment due to fear, embarrassment or a general lack of awareness.

While there are a number of non-invasive methods for treating hemorrhoids, at Gastroenterology Health Partners, we believe in a patient-focused approach. Our clinical team of 21 fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists and 13 advanced practice clinicians are able to remove internal hemorrhoids in a comfortable environment by utilizing the most effective and proven method of hemorrhoid banding available.

What is Hemorrhoid Banding?

Hemorrhoid banding is a non-surgical, quick and painless treatment option. Also known as rubber band ligation, it works by treating the root of the hemorrhoid while eliminating any symptoms. As internal hemorrhoids are made up of swollen blood vessels inside the rectum, patients are often unaware that they have them until they present symptoms such as pain, itching or bleeding.

Our advanced non-surgical treatment option takes just under a minute to perform. It requires no sedation or pain medication, and is covered by most insurance plans. Most patients experience a low rate of hemorrhoid recurrence and return to work the same day as treatment.

How does it work?

A single use, gentle suction device places a specialized rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid where there are no pain-sensitive nerve endings. This band effectively cuts off the blood flow to the hemorrhoid, immediately relieving symptoms. Within a few days, both the band and the hemorrhoid shrink and fall off on their own accord. Often without the patient even noticing.

This particular method of hemorrhoid banding is safer and less invasive than other more traditional banding procedures that utilize larger instruments, or require fasting and sedation before treatment. When using our hemorrhoid banding procedure, less than 1% of patients report complications compared to other rubber band ligation methods where complications can occur in 20-50% of patients.

The signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids are similar to other more serious conditions. Therefore, it’s important that one consults with their doctor before seeking treatment. If not caught early on, hemorrhoids can worsen over time. In order to best prevent hemorrhoids in the future, avoid straining during bowel movements. Drinking plenty of water, getting the correct amount of daily fiber and not sitting for prolonged periods are also recommended.

If you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids, contact Gastroenterology Health Partners today. Each of our five locations in the Louisville, Lexington and Southern Indiana area offer expert specialization in gastrointestinal care. Just visit our website to schedule an appointment at the location most convenient to you.

2019 Kicking Butt 5K

Join us Saturday, August 24th at at the beautiful Big Four Bridge on Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky for the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k!

This annual family friendly event is put on by the Colon Cancer Prevention Project whose mission it is to eliminate preventable colon cancer death and suffering. Participants are encouraged to spend the morning walking, strolling, running, and rolling to a world without colon cancer! Whether you’re a survivor, fighter, advocate, healthcare provider or community partner, all are welcome!

You can donate to the cause or register for the event online. The race starts at 8:30am with day of registration beginning at 7:30am.

Kicking Butt 5k

About the Colon Cancer Prevention Project

Our very own Dr. Whitney Jones founded the Colon Cancer Prevention Project in 2004. Since then, colon cancer is down more than 25% in the state of Kentucky. The project works to bring awareness to what is a highly preventable disease as well as offer support to those fighting it.

While colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States, when it is detected early, colon cancer is up to 90% curable. According to the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, “It is estimated that 6 out of 10 (60%) deaths from colon cancer could be prevented if everyone were screened at 50.” However, even young people are at risk for developing the disease. 1 in every 10 patients diagnosed are under the age of 50.

How to Take Action

Prevent colon cancer by talking to your doctor about the right time to get screened. It is recommended that men and women of average risk should start screenings by age 50. However, those with a family history or symptoms may need to be screened sooner. Don’t be afraid to ask your family if they’ve been screened as doing so could save their life.

The Gastroenterology Health Partners proudly sponsors the 2019 Kicking Butt 5k. Get screened and schedule an appointment by contacting us today!

Gastro Health Partners’ Doctors Recognized as Louisville’s Top Docs for 2019

Louisville Magazine has just released their annual list of Louisville’s Top Docs for 2019. This year the doctors themselves cast their votes and four physicians from Gastro Health Partners were recognized in the category of gastroenterology.

When asked, “If you or a member of your family were in need of medical care or treatment, who among Louisville-area doctors would you choose to provide medical care in the following specialties?” our peers in the Greater Louisville Medical Society nominated (from left to right) Whitney F. Jones, M.D., Paul Eugene Brown, M.D., Alan J. Cox, M.D., and John C. Horlander, M.D.

                 

Dr. Whitney Jones joined Gastroenterology Health partners in 2017. He is the founder of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project and considered a national expert in the field of gastroenterology.

Dr. Paul Brown has been a member of the Louisville Gastroenterology Associates for 29 years and is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Dr. Alan Cox is the author of several publications pertaining to the study of Gastroenterology. He is also Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Dr. John Horlander is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is actively involved in many research studies pertaining to gastroenterology.

On behalf of our team of 21 fellowship-trained Gastroenterologists and 13 advanced practice clinicians, we are proud to have been featured in this year’s issue of Louisville’s Top Docs among many other admiral physicians from the great city of Louisville. As the region’s leader in GI care, it is our mission to continue to offer cost-effective and comprehensive treatment options to those in Louisville, Lexington, Southern Indiana as well as the surrounding communities. Get screened by the best by scheduling your appointment online today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Clinical Alert Part 3: Preventing Young Adult Colorectal Cancer

Health care providers can aid in young adult colorectal cancer prevention by taking steps to educate the public on the rising rate of colorectal cancer found in people under the age of 55. For example, patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer prior to the age of 55 are 58% more likely than older patients to be diagnosed with a more advanced stage of the disease. This is in large part due to a general lack of awareness of young onset colorectal cancer.

The following are important actions steps health care providers can take in preventing young adult colorectal cancer:

1. Be Informative About Basic Digestive Health

Educating patients on the basics of digestive health should be part of regular office visits, especially yearly exams. Patients should understand what and where the colon is and know to take symptoms seriously should they experience them. For example, rectal bleeding and blood in the stool is never normal. Such symptoms require further assessment by a doctor to determine the root cause.

2. Relaying the Risk Factors

Patients should also be made aware of the risk factors associated with having a family history of colorectal cancer and or advanced colorectal polyps. Assessing one’s family history is critical in determining one’s risk for developing colorectal cancer themselves. Those at an increased risk may be eligible for more frequent colorectal screenings at an earlier age than others.

3. The Importance of Early Assessments

Patients at any age that are presenting symptoms or signs of colorectal cancer should be referred for diagnostic evaluation immediately and be given an early assessment with their physical exam. If found and treated early, colorectal cancer has a 90% survival rate.

To schedule an appointment or refer a patient, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.

 

Young Adult Colorectal Cancer National Clinical Alert Part 2: The Importance of Family History

Assessing one’s family history of colorectal cancer and polyps (especially advanced polyps) is critical in determining whether or not one is at an increased risk for developing colorectal cancer themselves. Those at an increased risk may be eligible for more frequent colorectal screenings at an earlier age than others.

 

Patients with these family history indicators need to be referred for diagnostic evaluation. To schedule an appointment, contact the Gastro Health Partners location nearest you today.