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Heart Healthy Advice from Lakeside Medical Center's General Surgeon

Dr. Barry Davis, General SurgeonKeeping your heart healthy is important at various stages of life because heart disease affects both younger and older men and women.  During the month of February, which is Heart Month, and throughout the year, you can  take simple steps to promote cardiovascular health. Listen to the advice Barry Davis, MD, Lakeside Medical Center's General Surgeon, shared on Pure Country WAFC's radio show "Big Lake Now." Dr. Davis describes how following a healthy diet, exercising and knowing when to see a doctor is easier than you may think.

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Transcript of Pure Country WAFC Glades Radio Interview on “Big Lake Now” - February 2020

Host: Good morning, everybody, and thank you for joining us for another edition of Big Lake Now. I'm your host Nicole Reid and today we are joined by Dr. Barry Davis, who is the General Surgeon at Lakeside Medical Center. He's going to be talking to us about ways to stay healthy as we celebrate February as Heart Health month. Lakeside Medical Center is recognized as an A-rated top hospital in the nation for patient safety according to Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade back in 2018. I also want to take the time to congratulate them as the Health Care District of Palm Beach County's acute care teaching hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission, and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. So, congratulations.
Now Doctor Davis, you are fairly new to the hospital I understand. So please tell us a little bit about yourself and the quality of care you provide to patients in the Glades.

Dr. Davis: Well, good morning. Thank you, Nicole. I've been blessed with this opportunity to come down here. Um, I think that, uh, the success that we're seeing at Lakeside in general is not really just with me, but all the positions there are wonderful, so it's been a blessed opportunity. You know, I came here, I've been in practice for nearly six years, started my training back in 2008, uh at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, which is a large trauma hospital, so I trained in the old school era of general surgery training so had a huge breadth of training and a lot of hours put in. So when I left I was very geared towards working in the rural health care setting. A lot of things that I do aside from your run of the mill general surgery, as you know, appendicitis, gallbladder disease. But everything from that to endoscopies to advanced laparoscopy, breast surgery and unfortunately sometimes trauma when it is indicated at the hospital.

Host: Wow, Dr. Davis. All things considered, how important is it to just take care of your overall health and your heart?

Dr. Davis: It's, it's, very important. I have these conversations daily with patients that I see that people take so much of it for granted and I was even having a conversation today with a patient that time is their only commodity and the way that you really kind of make sure that you live a long time is taking care of your health. And so many people come to the hospital 'cause when I see them a lot of times it's you know when there's a minor emergency or they've gotten ill. And so many of them say that you know the issue has been going on for weeks. And you know, lot of times the way you can prevent it is when you start feeling ill, is to see your doctor. Just schedule a visit and every one of these offices have sick visits where you get fit in a little earlier than everyone else.

Host: Dr. Davis, it's always easy for people to tell us, healthcare professionals, our parents, our children, you know, take care of yourself. See your doctor. Do this. Do that. Can you tell us specifically some of the best ways to, let's say for instance, lower your risk of cardiac events?

Dr. Davis: First and foremost, I think that one of the major things is people in general just need to eat healthy and I feel like sometimes our media and, not you included, but in general everything is commercialized to where it almost treats society is if they don't know that eating fast food is, it isn't healthy. Everybody knows that we shouldn't eat fast food. We shouldn't eat fried foods all the time. And you know the simplest thing I tell my patients is just don't eat from a box. It's the simplest thing, our world of convenience it's easy to go to the grocery store, get something in a box and whip it up in 10 minutes, but you could take an additional 5 minutes and eat a very just healthy, simple dish. It doesn't have to be complicated, which is what so many people do. We turn on the TV, there's some new diet about how you've got to eat this and the antioxidants and things like that. I'm a firm believer that we didn't, we didn't create, G-d didn't create us so that we have to eat, you know, special berries for the antioxidants. If you just eat a very simple meal that is not in a box and it's bright-colored, i.e., don't overcook your vegetables and things like that, you're well on your way.

Host: You know that's gotta be the best advice I think that I've heard because I love nothing more than to go home and chop up a nice colorful vegetable or an assortment of such, make a nice stir fry, add some protein in there and me and my family are good to go. So I think that's tremendous advice for our listeners. Now, speaking of which, also, exercise is really important, right? Is there a certain type of exercise that's best to prevent cardiac events?

Dr. Davis: Yes, overall, the best thing for people to do is you want to try to get at least 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise, and when they say that, that means you can do it in 20-minute intervals, 15-minute intervals. But the main thing is getting your heart rate up and keeping it up and there's a variety of ways of doing it. Whether it's just out and walking briskly, whether it's actually going to the gym, but again, it goes right back to you know, the, the question about eating healthy. It doesn't have to be complicated. People know that you know our world of convenience makes it very easy for them to be sedentary. But we don't, we don't want to continue that. They know that's not healthy for them, so just we need to get outside. If you have kids, go outside and actually be a kid. Run around in the yard and play with them. Go play basketball with them. Just being actually active, you know for at least 20 minutes a couple days a week is a huge impact compared to when we're just known to just have a very sedentary lifestyle.

Host: Great point. And once again a very, very important factor. Now, of course you mentioned eating healthy. We talked about exercise, another big factor in not only cardiac arrest but overall health, is stress. How badly does stress doctor affect your heart?

Dr. Davis: Oh, stress is so huge; it's not even just the heart. It's all of your body systems. Any physician can tell you about times or people have all sorts of disorders that are directly related to stress. You know, I've had a patient that I saw recently that they were having all sorts of abdominal pain, but they had none of the risk factors for an ulcer. They didn't smoke, they didn't drink, they didn't consume a lot of alcohol, and I did an upper endoscopy on them and they had an ulcer and afterwards I had a chance to speak with them. And I just started asking a lot more about their personal life and come to find that they had a very stressful job, they had a very stressful home situation and otherwise the patient was healthy. But those things you know, stress, really does wear on your body. It's like driving a car without oil in the engine, it doesn't last long. Eventually it will break down.

Host: Wow, that is really scary. Dr Davis. One thing that I thought was interesting, you said earlier, was that many people don't want to be seen by a medical professional. They don't want to see the doctor. Now, what are some signs that are immediate, that are pressing that you should absolutely, without question, see a doctor or medical professional right away.

Dr. Davis: Probably the two biggest things I would say instead of just one is generally if it's a pain that you have that doesn't go away after a few hours. If it is persistent and even over that timeframe continues to get worse, you need to be seen by a physician and you know, all the classic things we're talking, specifically about the heart you know. Obviously, chest pain is a huge concern. Especially pain that is in the arm that radiates down to the hand. But one thing we have to remember is women many times present differently with heart attacks than men do, men typically have the classic left sided chest pain, the pain that radiates into their shoulder, down into the arm. But a lot of times women have pain that is in the center of the chest, almost at the bottom, like they're having abdominal pain and for years, we found out that we were misdiagnosing women that were having heart attacks because when they presented to the doctor a lot of times their symptoms may have presented like GI symptoms. So they would look at their stomach, they would check out their gallbladder, it would be negative, they sent them home, only to find out later that they had a heart attack. And so any chest pain whatsoever that does not go away and it just continues to get worse, you need to be seen by professional.  

Host: Wow, great advice. If you're just joining us, we're talking to Dr. Barry Davis who is the General Surgeon at Lakeside Medical Center located over in Belle Glade. Now if there are patients that are listening within our listening area that are interested in learning more specifically about, let's say the surgical services that you provide at Lakeside Medical Center. Or actually any of the hospital services, what should they do? Where should they start?

Dr. Davis: The simplest thing is just call the hospital and that 561-996-6571. And if it's specifically for surgical services, you want to see me. They can have the operator transfer them to my clinic and one of the staff members will get them set up with an appointment, but there's all sorts of things at the hospital there. All the services from obviously the Brumback Clinic with primary care, we have the OB/GYN Specialists that are there for Women's Health, we have physical therapy. The hospital itself is one-stop shopping for the community and that's a gorgeous clinic. It's newly, you know, they just renovated that whole wing. I'm slightly envious, but I haven't, I haven't told Janet Moreland yet, the CEO of the hospital, how envious I was of it, but it is absolutely a gorgeous facility.

Host: Now just one more question doc. I know you got a busy day ahead and you got a lot of patients to see, if you could just give us a quick explanation of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. They operate the hospital there at Lakeside Medical Center, what exactly is the Health Care District as a whole?

Dr. Davis: Well, the Health Care District was created by the community, by the taxpayers, back in 1988. So they've been serving the community for years, they basically have been the safety net for the Glades. And not only do they operate the hospital, they operate the Brumback Primary Care Clinics, the mobile health clinic, the Edward Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, as well as our Trauma Agency locally. All the facilities, especially even Lakeside, you know, we host all the - or many of the- pharmacy and nursing programs so the students and come there and do their clinical rotations and it's imperative, it's something that the community itself pays into, so it almost makes sense to come there. Whether it's at the clinic to find a primary care doctor or whether it's, you know, for women of all ages for just Women's Health, whether it's during pregnancy or just general female health or even to see me for surgical services, the hospital is paid for by the community, and so I would encourage them greatly to just utilize it.

Host: Dr. Davis, this information you provided for us today is just invaluable, not just for our community, but for everyone within the sound of our voices today. I want to thank you so much for coming on and talking to us today about the amazing services provided not only by you and your staff, but also Lakeside Medical Center and the C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics as a whole. Of course, your offices are located at 39200 Hooker Highway in Belle Glade. Once again, Dr. Davis, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure this morning.

Dr. Davis: No, thank you, Nicole for your time.

Host: Thank you. And thank you all for joining us for another edition of Big Lake Now. I've been your host, Nicole Reid. Stay tuned for more Pure Country and Mooreski in the morning.