Author Archives: UNC REX Healthcare

Health Benefits of Ice Skating

Ice Skating for HealthThe brisk air on your face and in your lungs. The sense of flying as you glide across the ice. It’s easy to appreciate the sensation of ice skating, but are you aware of its many mental and physical health benefits?

Some may surprise you.


Ice Skating Health 1

Ice Skate for Stress Relief

Ice skating forces you to be present in the moment.

Instead of thinking about everything you have to do, you can let your mind focus on your balance and immediate surroundings. Ice skating is a form of meditation, a period of time that is calming for the mind. An hour on the ice can refresh you mentally and emotionally.

Ice Skating Health 2

Condition Your Body on the Ice

Ice skating forces you to use muscles that you may not have even realized you have. Being out on the ice is rigorous, but it’s also fun, so you’re getting exercise while experiencing pleasure. It’s a physical fitness activity that you wake up excited to do!

Ice Skating Health 3

Let the Blades Boost Your Balance

While you’re ice skating, you are gliding around on two thin blades (and sometimes just one, if you’re fancy). Your ability to balance gradually increases through consistent practice.

But more interestingly, many adults who take up ice skating report that the sport helps them feel more balanced in their lives. They claim to feel more in control and better at navigating through life’s challenges.
Ice Skating Health 4

Try Ice Skating to Problem-Solve

Things may suddenly seem much clearer after an hour of ice skating. Psychologists say that our subconscious minds continue to problem-solve even while we are sleeping, meditating, or exercising. During an hour on the ice, with the cold air in your lungs and the burn in your legs, you’ll feel that you have taken a break from problem-solving, but really your subconscious mind is working while your conscious mind is given a much-needed break.

Ice Skating Health 5

Build Physical Endurance by Ice Skating

Ice skating will help you increase your physical endurance. This will help you lower your resting heart rate and increase the strength of your muscles, including that most important one–your heart. The best part is that ice skating is an activity you can continue to do later in life.

Ice Skating in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Area

If you are interested in trying out ice skating and you live in the Triangle area, consider stopping by one of these locations:

Cary Ice Skating Rinks

Cary Polar Ice House

Garner Ice Skating Rinks

Garner Polar Ice House

Hillsborough Ice Skating Rinks

Orange County SportsPlex

Raleigh Ice Skating Rinks

Ice Raleigh
Raleigh Center Ice
Raleigh Ice Plex


Interview with Cynthia Bulik. December 20, 2016.

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Turkey Sausage and Herb Stuffing: Healthy Holiday Recipe

A healthy alternative to traditional stuffing, this dish will have you asking for more–and not feeling bad about it!


3/4 pound turkey sausage (ex. 5/6th Shady Brook Farms turkey breakfast sausage roll)
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 eggs
2 cups coarsely chopped cauliflower
1/2 cup diced yellow squash
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Remove sausage from casing and crumble it into a pan over medium heat. Add the celery and
onion and cook, stirring, until browned. Drain fat if necessary.
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Using a spoon, mix in the sausage mixture and all the remaining
Pour the stuffing into an 8” x 8”baking dish and bake until hot and browned, about 30 minutes.
Serve hot.
Makes 8- 2”x2” servings


Calories: 119
Total Fat: 6.0 g
Saturated 2.3 g
Cholesterol 76 g
Sodium 361 mg
Potassium 134 mg
Total Carbs 4.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 12 g

Contributed by Mary Gray Hutchison, MPH, RD, LDN
Adapted from Obesity Action Coalition- Low Carb Thanksgiving recipes

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Citrus Walnut Vinaigrette: Healthy Holiday Recipe (Video)

Last week’s UNC REX Health Talk focused on “Healthy Holiday Eating.” UNC REX Executive Chef Ryan Conklin and registered dietitians Shelly Wegman and Mary Gray Hutchison joined host Sharon Delaney to take questions from the online audience and showcase a delicious and healthy holiday dish.

Check out the step-by-step video and recipe below!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Salad with Citrus Walnut Vinaigrette

Serves 6


5 cups of Kale- Washed and trimmed
2 Cups- dice butternut squash
½ cup Dried Cranberries
1 apple- peeled and diced
¼ cup- Goat Cheese


2 oz Orange Juice
3 oz Olive Oil
1 ½ T Walnuts Chopped Finely
1/2 tsp- Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp- Orange Zest
1/2 T Sugar
1/2 T Lemon Juice
1 T Cider Vinegar
2 tsp T Freshly chopped tarragon
Salt & Pepper to taste


1. For the dressing, add all ingredients into medium sized bowl and whisk until smooth.
2. Roast Butternut Squash with Small amount of EVOO, Salt & pepper at 350 for 15-18 minutes, and allow to cool.
3. Wash and trim kale, and let it marinate in dressing for about two-three hours.
4. Add apples, cheese, and cranberries to the salad and toss well.
5. Season with salt & pepper.

Check out the full episode of UNC REX Health Talk here!

Kale Butternut Squash Salad

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Take Advantage of Winter Exercise Options in Raleigh, NC (Video)

When winter comes to Raleigh, exercising on outdoor trails remains an option for much of the season. Sure, some cold, nasty days make the gym the only option. But plenty of mild days make winter in the North Carolina Piedmont pleasant. Outside activity remains a viable way to keep your heart healthy.

Certified Trainer and REX Wellness Coordinator Logan Johnson agrees, saying, that “Regular aerobic exercise is important during all months of the year. It improves cardiac and pulmonary function, leading to a reduction in long-term stress on the heart.”

Logan offers the following tips for winter exercise in Raleigh.

Tips for Winter Exercise in Raleigh, NC

  • Plan your outdoor activities around the forecast.
  • Dress in easily removable layers.
  • Protect your head, hands, feet and ears from heat loss.

Stretching in Park in WinterRaleigh Outdoor Exercise Trails

The Park and Greenway systems in Raleigh offer residents multiple options to acquire their recommended daily dose of aerobic activity in terms of distance, terrain and scenery.

Check out this list!

And don’t forget to watch the video below, featuring the Capital Area Greenway!

Capital Area Greenway Trail System

Falls Lake State Recreation Area

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

Lake Johnson Park

Shelley Lake Park

William B. Umstead State Park

Video of Raleigh Greenway Best Viewed at 1440p

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REX Bariatric Specialists Quick Recipes

Spice up your meal variety with these healthy, quick recipes recommended by REX Bariatric Specialists!

Ham, Egg, and Broccoli Casserole


  • 12 eggs
  • 16oz low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups 2% Italian cheese blend
  • 2 cups low sodium chopped sliced ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 10oz chopped frozen broccoli
  • pinch of salt and pepper


  • Beat eggs in a large bowl until blended
  • Add remaining ingredients into bowl and mix until combined well
  • Spray 13×9 inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray
  • Pour mix into baking dish
  • Bake at 350°F for 50- 60 minutes

Oatmeal Pancakes


  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 cup rolled oats, dry
  • 2 tsp Stevia (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • fruit (raspberries, blueberries)


  • Combine ingredients into a bowl and blend
  • Spray skillet with olive oil cooking spray
  • Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto medium-low heat skillet
  • Flip batter when it begins to bubble
  • Repeat with rest of batter
  • Top finished pancakes with fruit

Serving size: 4 pancakes

Moroccan Chicken Thighs (slow cooker meal)


  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  •  1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed of excess fat)
  • pinch of pepper
  • Greek yogurt (for garnish)


  • Blend cilantro through lemon juice in a food processor or blender
  • Add chicken thighs to bottom of slow cooker pot
  • Season with pepper and cover chicken with paste from food processor
  • Cook on low for 3-4 hours
  • Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt

Hummus and Crackers


  • Crackers:
    • 1/2 cup chia seeds
    •  1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds (unsalted)
    • 1/2 cup pepitas
    • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
    • 1 clove of grated garlic
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 1 cup water
  • Hummus:
    • 15oz canned chick peas (drained)
    • 15oz canned chick peas (with liquid)
    • 1/4 cup tahini sauce
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 medium garlic cloves (peeled)
    • 1/4 tsp cumin
    • dash of cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 cup kalamata olives (rinsed, pitted and chopped)


  • Combine all cracker ingredients in a bowl and stir mixture until combined
  • Let sit for 2 minutes so water absorbs
  • Spread mixture onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Bake at 300°F for 35 minutes
  • Remove from oven and cut sheet into squares with pizza cutter
  • Flip squares and bake again at 300°F for 25- 35 minutes
  • While crackers are baking, combine all hummus ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth
  • Pour into a bowl and refrigerate while crackers finish baking (optional)
  • Garnish with additional olives (optional)

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Breast Cancer Myths vs. Facts

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to dispel some common myths about breast cancer that you often hear.

Myth: All lumps are cancerous.

Fact: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer.  But if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, it should never be ignored. It is very important that you see a physician for a clinical breast exam. He or she may possibly order breast imaging studies to determine if this lump is of concern or not.

Myth: Only women get breast cancer.

Fact: Each year it is estimated that approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. While this number is still small, men should also check themselves periodically by doing a breast self-exam while in the shower and reporting any changes to their physicians.

Myth: If you have a family history of breast cancer, you are likely to develop breast cancer, too.

Fact: While a family history of breast cancer can place you in a higher risk group, most women who have breast cancer have no family history. Statistically only about 10% of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history of this disease.

Here are the familial risks of breast cancer according to degree of family relation:

  • If you have a first degree relative with breast cancer: If you have a mother, daughter, or sister who developed breast cancer below the age of 50, you should consider some form of regular diagnostic breast imaging starting 10 years before the age of your relative’s diagnosis.
  • If you have a second degree relative with breast cancer: If you have had a grandmother or aunt who was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk increases slightly, but it is not in the same risk category as those who have a first degree relative with breast cancer.
  • If you have multiple generations diagnosed with breast cancer on the same side of the family or if there are several individuals who are first degree relatives to one another, or several family members diagnosed under age 50, the probability increases that there is a breast cancer gene contributing to the cause of this familial history.

Fact: Early Detection is Key

When it comes to breast cancer awareness, the most important thing to remember is that early detection is key. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, when breast cancer is detected early and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 98%.  Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms.

Learn more about the REX Comprehensive Breast Care Program and how to make an appointment for a mammogram at



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CPR in 3 Simple Steps


Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating and the victim loses consciousness and collapses. It isn’t always caused by a heart attack. Nationally, if a victim of sudden cardiac arrest collapses outside of a hospital, his/her chances of survival if a bystander does not start CPR immediately is less than 8%. You can double or triple a loved one’s chances of survival by starting CPR.

These are 3 simple steps to save a life if you see a teen or adult who has collapsed:

  1. Check to see if they are responsive and breathing normally.The best way to determine if someone is unresponsive and may need CPR is to tap the victim and shout “Are you OK?” while checking to see if they are breathing normally. Breathing normally does NOT include snoring, gurgling, or gasping.A victim must be on his/her back on a hard flat surface, preferably on the floor, for CPR to be effective.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Compress hard and fast on the center of the chest.Interlock fingers and place palm of one hand over the center of the victim’s chest.Keeping arms straight and elbows locked, push straight down hard – at least 2 inches. It is better to push too deep than not deep enough.The hands should not come off the chest or “bounce” between each compression, but downward pressure should be completely released to allow the heart to refill with blood.Push hard and fast in the center of the chest (about 100 times per minute) when doing compressions on an unresponsive victim who is not breathing, or not breathing normally once 911 has been called. Do not stop until help arrives, unless the victim begins moving or speaking.

Stop by our booth at the North Carolina State Fair now through October 23, 2016, and we can teach you how to save a life!

capture2NC State Fair

Education Building (near Gate 12), Booth 37-38
1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607

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Improving Care for Patients with PAD through Research


Peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects an estimated 8 million people in the U.S. However, severity of symptoms can vary widely.

Patients with relatively mild PAD may experience cramping in their limbs during exercise—known as claudication. Patients with the most severe PAD are afflicted with ischemic ulcers and gangrene as cells and tissues that are deprived of oxygen-rich blood begin to die.

Several devices, like stents or balloons, are available to help relieve the blockages that cause PAD. But because most of the data on their use comes from clinical trials aimed at regulatory approval, and because such trials utilize patients with a relatively standardized severity of symptoms, there is often little guidance for clinicians whose patients have milder or more severe PAD.

One UNC REX Healthcare doctor is leading the effort to change that.

George L. Adams, MD, MHS, FACC

George L. Adams, MD, MHS, FACC

George Adams, MD, MHS, Director of Cardiovascular and Peripheral Vascular Research at UNC REX Hospital, is leading a prospective, observational, multicenter study called LIBERTY 360. In February 2016, the study completed enrollment 1,204 patients at 51 sites across the U.S. The enrolled patients had symptoms that ranged from mild to severe (physicians use the Rutherford scale to rate severity) requiring endovascular treatment for an arterial blockage located within the target area beginning slightly above the knee, through the foot.

“In the guidelines currently, you are supposed to manage the symptoms of patients with mild PAD and amputate in the most severe cases,” said Adams. “So the question we’re trying to answer is if we accept all classes of patients, what can we do for them and what is the outcome?”

The study hopes to gather data on the clinical and economic impact of endovascular device interventions – like stents or balloons – by following patients for up to five years. During that time, patient risk scores will be developed as a clinical predictor of outcomes to provide guidance for future interventions.

Initial 30-day results, which Adams recently presented in a late-breaking presentation at the Amputation Prevention Symposium in Chicago, have already suggested a new way of looking at treatment.

The results saw quality of life improvements in patients from across the Rutherford scale. “The take home message is maybe we should be intervening earlier and trying to intervene in more severe cases,” said Adams.

Ideally, intervening with endovascular devices among a wider range of patients will improve outcomes all around, including reducing the number of amputations required in patients with the most severe PAD. But for now more data need to be gathered.

To find out if you are at risk for PAD, please take our free online health risk assessment. To learn more visit

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Bee Sting or Back-to-School Bug?

REX Express Care of Raleigh

REX Express Care of Raleigh: 3050 Duraleigh Road

With the beginning of the school year, many families are juggling new schedules. When a family member gets sick or injured, it can throw even the most organized among us for a loop.

Regardless of the ailment, our REX Express Care team is here to help you at our new Raleigh location at 3050 Duraleigh Road.  We’re open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

REX Express Care is available to help treat conditions that can come up suddenly and get you or your loved one back into the routine quickly. With five convenient locations throughout the Triangle, we’re close to home, school or work.  Check the estimated wait time for a location near you at

Lab and X-ray services are also available onsite for your convenience. Our care team provides services and treatments for common conditions, including:

  • burn/wound care
  • cold/flu
  • earaches/ear infections
  • insect bites/stings
  • minor lacerations
  • seasonal allergies
  • skin rash/poison ivy
  • sore throat/strep throat
  • mild asthma
  • sutures
  • sports physicals
  • UTI/painful urination

We are here to help you feel better, faster!

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Getting to Know PAD

Lori Adkins_croppedLori Adkins graduated in 1998 with a BA in Speech Communications from UNC Chapel Hill. After working in the pharmaceutical industry, she returned to school and received an associate in Science in Nursing Degree from  Wake Technical Community College in May 2013.  She is currently pursuing a BSN  from UNC Wilmington.
Over the past three years, Lori has worked with multiple cardiac populations including CHF, CABG, PCI and Arrhythmia  patients.  She enjoys helping her patients understand Cardiac Risk factors. Lori is married and the proud mother of  two beautiful children.

About eight million Americans have Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), and many people mistake the symptoms for something else. Pain, cramping, and tiredness of the leg, and/or hip muscles that increases with activity and decreases with rest are all signs of PAD. PAD often goes undiagnosed and puts patients at greater risk for heart attack. If left untreated, it can also lead to gangrene and amputation.  If the blockage occurs in a carotid artery, it can cause a stroke.  Managing PAD begins with knowledge. REX Vascular Specialists encourages you to learn all you can about PAD and other cardiovascular disease. Knowing your risk factors and living an active heart-healthy lifestyle may ward off this debilitating disease.

What is PAD?

clogged arteryPeripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is caused by fatty build-up, also known as atherosclerosis, in the inner walls of the arteries.  This build-up causes a blockage and affects normal blood flow.

Where does PAD occur?

Common sites for PAD are the iliac artery (in the lower torso), the femoral artery (in the groin), the popliteal artery (at the knee) and the tibial arteries (at the shin and calf). PAD can also occur in arteries of the kidney and other organs.

What are the symptoms of PAD?

Common symptoms of the early stages of PAD may include cramping, fatigue, heaviness and pain or discomfort in the legs and buttocks during walking or activity. The pain and discomfort usually goes away when activity stops. This is known as “intermittent claudication.”

How is PAD diagnosed?

PAD diagnosis begins with a medical history and physical exam. REX Vascular Specialists offer a comprehensive package of screenings along with a one-on-one results consultation. The comprehensive screening includes blood pressure, body mass index, full cholesterol panel, and ankle brachial indexes.  The ankle-brachial index (ABI) result is used to predict the severity of peripheral arterial disease (PAD).This test is done to screen for peripheral arterial disease of the legs. It is also used to see how well a treatment is working (medical treatment, an exercise program, angioplasty, or surgery).The ABI result can help diagnose peripheral arterial disease (PAD).

Why get screened for PAD?

PAD can affect vital arteries that lead to the kidneys, stomach, arms, legs and feet. If PAD is not treated, it can lead to gangrene and amputation of limbs. If the blockage occurs in the carotid artery, it can lead to a stroke. Most patients with PAD have a higher risk of death from heart attack and stroke.

To find out if you are at risk for PAD, please take our free online health risk assessment. To learn more visit

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