Hundreds attend PRCC’s Women’s Health Symposium

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

Hundreds of women attended the Women’s Health Symposium at Pearl River Community College held Jan. 25. The event included an art walk, health screenings, a musical performance and several professional speakers.

During a morning panel discussion, which featured Dr. Hunter Berry, the Honorable Deborah Gambrell, Dr. William McArthur, Dr. Micelle Haydel, and Jonathan Trahan, the speakers presented information about illnesses, how to pursue treatment, and ways to manage those illnesses both mentally and physically.

The panel began with Dr. Hunter Berry, P.A. from Southern Bone and Joint Specialists in Hattiesburg. He presented information on arthroscopy – a relatively new procedure that involves inserting an instrument into joints through a small incision to diagnose and treat joint-related illnesses. In particular, Berry said many of his patients come into the clinic with hip problems. He encounters patients ranging from young mothers who have injured their joints from strenuous activities such as running or yoga, to older women who injured a joint during a simple activity such as getting in or out of a car. Joint-related injuries can interfere with daily activities, and can have 20-30 diagnoses. Because of this, Berry recommends arthroscopy as a method to more accurately diagnose and treat joint injuries.

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The Honorable Deborah Gambrell, Chancery Court Judge of the 10th Chancery District spoke about the legalities of health care. She said that often difficult medical decisions have to be made for loved ones – such as parents, children, or grandchildren – when they cannot make the decisions themselves. Gambrell said it is important to put legal paperwork in place for the benefit of physicians and family members should something happen.

“Be an advocate for yourself and your family,” Gambrell said.

Dr. William McArthur spoke next about the symptoms of stress and how to handle them on a day-to-day basis. Stress, McArthur said, can be caused by several factors including social, occupational, economic and legal stressors. Symptoms vary from restlessness, panic, dread, muscle tension, heavy breathing, trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating, etc. Depending on how severe the symptoms are, they may be a sign of a larger problem – such as anxiety. While medication and/or therapy may be a viable solution for some, there are many ways to manage stress at home. McArthur said there are several ways to fight stress, such as listening to music, playing with a pet, discussing problems with a spouse or close friend, writing, meditating, and doing anything creative.

Dr. Claudia Karem from the Hattiesburg Clinic, spoke about her experience with functional medicine. She said that doctors often do not know exactly what is going on with chronic illnesses. Generally patients with chronic illnesses are medicated for long periods of time without treating the actual problem. Functional medicine, Karem stated, views the body as one connected system and attempts to determine the root cause of the illness, instead of just focusing on the illness itself. Functional medicine, she said, is like, “Looking under the hood of the car. Think of it as the signals on your dashboard – those are symptoms.”

Finally, Trahand, Family Nurse Practitioner at Highland Community Hospital, spoke about the dangers and treatment of hypothyroidism. According to Trahand, hypothyroidism develops slowly over time, and the symptoms are, “Very general and very vague a lot of the time.”

Before 1914, people often died from the illness. But, a treatment has been found to keep it under control that involves one pill a day first thing in the morning. However, it is important to keep an eye out for under or over treatment, and to return to a clinic every six months to be rechecked, Trahand said.