Early Detection is the Key
By Annette Velarde
Park City is all about a healthy lifestyle. In fact, according to USNews.com, Summit County is in the top 10% of the nation’s healthiest counties. This validates what we all know already—that Park City residents and visitors take their health care seriously. To support this, we asked several trusted local physicians to answer the question,
“What symptoms do you commonly see that may be indicators of serious health concerns, but clients often discount?”
Dr. Renato Saltz, a Board Certiﬁed Plastic Surgeon of Park City, has found that the skin is a window to the body, and changes to the skin may signal more serious health concerns. By recognizing early warning signs, internal disease or pre-skin cancer conditions can be successfully treated before they become a greater problem. The key is noticing any change. “Often times, an esthetician is the ﬁrst person to catch these irregularities. Who else in a person’s life looks so closely at a their skin on a regular basis over time?” said Saltz. Texture, color, shape or size changes in moles can be a sign of skin cancer. A skin rash that does not respond to over-the-counter treatments could indicate an infection. infection. Any unusual softening or hardening of the skin may be caused by an underlying medical problem. “If a person notices any change in their skin, I recommend they consult their physician to make certain it is not a medical condition requiring attention. As prevention, I feel it is vital that everyone wear a sunblock and have regular skin-care treatments by a highly regarded and trained master esthetician. This will not only help ward oﬀ the deleterious eﬀects of time on their appearance, but also help ensure good skin health their entire lives.”
Dr. Joseph Ferriter of Intermountain Park City Clinic is one of the longest-standing physicians in the Park City area. “As a family practice, we see a very wide range of symptoms we wish patients had come to us more quickly,” said Ferriter. “One of the most common is inﬂuenza. If a patient will come to see us within 72 hours of the initial signs of high fever and body aches, we now have medications that can cut the illness short. After 72 hours, they may have to tough it out unnecessarily or they could worsen.”
The seemingly most popular ailment in Park City is a torn ACL. Ferriter stated that if a patient will give attention to that ﬁrst ‘pop’ and sensation that the knee
is unstable, further damage could be avoided. The “pop” could be the sound of the ligament tearing. “The knee instability is not something that generally gets better with time. The longer the patient takes to see their doctor, the worse the damage could be.”
A health issue that is common among visitors to the area is Acute Mountain Sickness. This is caused by the reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels present at Park City’s high altitudes. Common symptoms are diﬃculty sleeping, light-headedness, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. Left untreated, these mild indicators can escalate into chest tightness, coughing, undue confusion, or shortness of breath at rest. A quick visit to the doctor at the early signs can mean the diﬀerence between a great vacation and a trip to the hospital.
“Another diﬀerence high altitudes can make is the unmasking of hypertension,” added Ferriter. “At higher altitudes, the body works harder to process oxygen. This stress can reveal high blood pressure, often causing a patient to suﬀer headaches, fatigue, or nausea.” Many times Ferriter discovers that the patient has hypertension that requires continued medication, but the patient was unaware of it until they’ve reached our 7,000 feet above sea level. “This can be life-saving. Catching hypertension as early as possible can help prevent devastating problems such are a heart attack or stroke.”
Dr. LaReine Sabella, OB/GYN for Park City Medical Center said, “I worry about patients who experience postmenopausal bleeding but ignore the symptom just because it’s just a small amount of blood. Sabella also remarked that any bleeding one year after menses have stopped is worrisome and deserves further evaluation.
“Postmenopausal bleeding is the most common symptom of endometrial cancer. It can also be a symptom of an endometrial polyp, benign or malignant,” she said.
Dr. Trevor Holly Cates, is the Naturopathic Physician at the Waldorf Astoria Spa Park City. Through her years of practice, she has become a world- renowned consultant in nutrition and wellness. She specializes in an integrative, holistic approach to medicine that employs traditional Western techniques integrated with natural medicine. Dr. Cates serves as the primary care physician for the whole family for any acute or chronic conditions. She is authorized to prescribe pharmaceutical medications when that is called for, but prefers to support the body’s innate ability to heal with lifestyle changes, nutrition and other natural therapies.
I often see clients who have been putting up with pain for a long time,” says Cates. “Any symptom that persists should be looked at by a health care provider to determine the cause.” Cates advises that persistent pain of any kind may be indicative of health problems more serious than the annoyance of twinges, especially if the patient has not experienced any trauma or change that would explain it. “Many people dismiss back pain as a normal part of aging, and then ignore the body’s signal that it needs attention. If someone has pain for no apparent reason, they should be on the safe side and have a check up with their doctor. Sometimes pain is a sign of cancer. “I’m not saying if you have pain you have cancer, but it is a good idea to see your doctor to ﬁnd out what the cause is,” advised Cates. “I think everyone should be symptom-free and feel great. Don’t ignore pain, lack of energy, stiﬀness, or poor digestion. Symptoms are an indication something is wrong with the body. We should address the underlying cause and restore balance before it becomes a serious health issue.”
Dr. Kris Kemp, Emergency Room physician with Park City Medical Center, commonly sees the results of a human body traveling at a high velocity and coming to an abrupt halt, (think mountain biker ﬂying over their handlebars). He says the best oﬀense, is to have a good defense. “Wear your seat belts and helmets. Practice safety ﬁrst in sports and recreation. We all need to accept that we are not trained or ready to be the back- country-triple-black-diamond-big-drop-quad-ﬂip- expert that we may think we are. If you push it, you will pay for it . . . eventually. There are plenty of ways to have the thrills without risking the spills. So, respect your body—it is amazingly powerful and can serve us very well throughout our long life. The better we treat them, the longer we get to use them.
Danielle Adams, General Surgeon for Park City Medical Center said, “Colon cancer may not always be preventable, but screening colonoscopy can help ﬁnd colon cancer early on, and can even ﬁnd small precancerous growths before they can develop into cancer. Most people should have their ﬁrst colonoscopy at the age of 50, and every 10 years after that. Certain people may need screening colonoscopies sooner or more frequently, for instance, if they have a family member who had colon cancer.” These physicians also oﬀered us valuable advise on experiencing a happy life: Live in the present moment, don’t worry about the future or lament the past, keep your life simple and get a pet. Is there any better summary of life in Park City?