New Blood Culture ID System Improves Care for Vets

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/February/New-Blood-Culture-ID-System-Improves-Care-for-Vets.asp

Help for Veterans with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Help for Veterans with Seasonal Affective Disorder

Help for Veterans with Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is seasonal affective Disorder (SAD)?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a condition associated with feeling sad or blue during certain times of the year. It is a disorder that triggers symptoms of depression, most commonly in the fall or winter. In the fall and winter there is less sunlight, hence it is sometimes called winter depression.

Psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians diagnose depression by documenting low or sad mood, irritability, feeling of guilt or shame, problems with sleep, poor concentration or attention (memory problems), low energy or motivation, poor appetite and thoughts off self-harm.

SAD can mimic other medical conditions, such as anemia, hypothyroidism, diabetes, infections. Hence a medical work up may be needed–including levels of some vitamins, like vitamin D.

Get more sun, stay active, and get to a brighter place.

You may have SAD if in the last 2 years, you feel depressed in this season and normal during rest of the year. You may also have SAD if your depression for which you are being treated gets worse in this season.

Your symptoms will get better on their own when a new season arrives, often in spring or summer. But treatment can make you feel better sooner.


Is there treatment?

Light therapy, also called phototherapy, generally works well for SAD. You need to sit in front of a box or lamp that gives out up to 10,000 lux of fluorescent light—more than 20 times brighter than most indoor light. Researchers think that light helps your brain make more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood. You’ll sit 12-18 inches in front of the light for 30 minutes or more a day, 3 times per week at least.  The light must shine on your back or chest. You can read a book to pass the time. Do not stare at the light. You will feel better after 1- 2 weeks.

You may also want to see a medical provider to consider taking medications to increase serotonin levels. Your doctor may also recommend talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. You will learn behavioral skills to do pleasurable things during the winter, notice and change negative thoughts or manage stress.

In conclusion, it is important to consider all type of treatment. Get more sun, stay active, get to a brighter place and work toward sleeping the right amount of time. 

Consider talking to a professional to identify ways of coping with SAD.  EAP counselors are available to guide you during this time.  Do not feel frightened to talk about your problems. They are there to help you.

For more information about Seasonal Affective Disorder visit the National Institute of Mental Health by clicking on the link below:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtm


Dr. Esteban A. Gonzalez is a board-certified psychiatrist with more than 30 years of experience, and is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He works as the Behavioral Health Integration Program (BHIP) psychiatrist at the VA’s McAllen Outpatient Clinic, part of the Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/February/Help-for-Veterans-with-Seasonal-Affective-Disorder.asp

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Here is one Veteran’s story…..


Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the USA.”

First Signs of Heart Problems

Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, VA cardiologist.”

She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.

Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. She needs to be on a blood thinner to lower her risk of having a blood clot causing a stroke.

“She also has HFpEF, the fancy term for heart failure not from a weakened heart, but due to a stiffened heart. With age, bad luck, and years of high blood pressure, her heart has gotten a little stiff, so it does not relax, leading to pressure build up.  That pressure build up leads to swelling in the lungs and legs and is why people feel tired, lousy and short of breath. She was very symptomatic before I met her.

“With some time and careful adjustments of her medications, she now feels much better than she has in years and her energy level is back to normal.”

Canar adds, “Medication changes , diagnostic work up and a loss of 20 pounds improved my condition.  Dr. Samim has always been available for me.

“Dr. Suneetha Dandala has been my primary internist for seven years and Dr. Arang Samim is my cardiologist.  My care is exemplary compared to the care I received outside of the VA System.  My care is far advanced over the care I received for many years.”


Betty and Tom on a cruise to Mexico on the Ruby Princess in 2017

Canar met Tom, her husband of 48 years, at Brook Army Hospital and they were married in Korat, Thailand in 1969.They enjoy traveling to Monterey and cruising as often as possible.

“We love Thai food and of course, we are passionate Packer Fans.”

Before retiring in 2013, she worked as the national nurse case manager for a national workers compensation company managing the care of catastrophic cases including severe brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe burns.

Heart Disease in Women

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women versus men, and are often misunderstood—even by some physicians. 

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke; however 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

We encourage you to Know Your Numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (body mass index).

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/February-is-Heart-Month-Veteran-Nurses-Story.asp

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Here is one Veteran’s story…..


Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the USA.”

First Signs of Heart Problems

Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, VA cardiologist.”

She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.

Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. She needs to be on a blood thinner to lower her risk of having a blood clot causing a stroke.

“She also has HFpEF, the fancy term for heart failure not from a weakened heart, but due to a stiffened heart. With age, bad luck, and years of high blood pressure, her heart has gotten a little stiff, so it does not relax, leading to pressure build up.  That pressure build up leads to swelling in the lungs and legs and is why people feel tired, lousy and short of breath. She was very symptomatic before I met her.

“With some time and careful adjustments of her medications, she now feels much better than she has in years and her energy level is back to normal.”

Canar adds, “Medication changes , diagnostic work up and a loss of 20 pounds improved my condition.  Dr. Samim has always been available for me.

“Dr. Suneetha Dandala has been my primary internist for seven years and Dr. Arang Samim is my cardiologist.  My care is exemplary compared to the care I received outside of the VA System.  My care is far advanced over the care I received for many years.”


Betty and Tom on a cruise to Mexico on the Ruby Princess in 2017

Canar met Tom, her husband of 48 years, at Brook Army Hospital and they were married in Korat, Thailand in 1969.They enjoy traveling to Monterey and cruising as often as possible.

“We love Thai food and of course, we are passionate Packer Fans.”

Before retiring in 2013, she worked as the national nurse case manager for a national workers compensation company managing the care of catastrophic cases including severe brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe burns.

Heart Disease in Women

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women versus men, and are often misunderstood—even by some physicians. 

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke; however 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

We encourage you to Know Your Numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (body mass index).

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/February-is-Heart-Month-Veteran-Nurses-Story.asp

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Here is one Veteran’s story…..


Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the USA.”

First Signs of Heart Problems

Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, VA cardiologist.”

She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.

Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. She needs to be on a blood thinner to lower her risk of having a blood clot causing a stroke.

“She also has HFpEF, the fancy term for heart failure not from a weakened heart, but due to a stiffened heart. With age, bad luck, and years of high blood pressure, her heart has gotten a little stiff, so it does not relax, leading to pressure build up.  That pressure build up leads to swelling in the lungs and legs and is why people feel tired, lousy and short of breath. She was very symptomatic before I met her.

“With some time and careful adjustments of her medications, she now feels much better than she has in years and her energy level is back to normal.”

Canar adds, “Medication changes , diagnostic work up and a loss of 20 pounds improved my condition.  Dr. Samim has always been available for me.

“Dr. Suneetha Dandala has been my primary internist for seven years and Dr. Arang Samim is my cardiologist.  My care is exemplary compared to the care I received outside of the VA System.  My care is far advanced over the care I received for many years.”


Betty and Tom on a cruise to Mexico on the Ruby Princess in 2017

Canar met Tom, her husband of 48 years, at Brook Army Hospital and they were married in Korat, Thailand in 1969.They enjoy traveling to Monterey and cruising as often as possible.

“We love Thai food and of course, we are passionate Packer Fans.”

Before retiring in 2013, she worked as the national nurse case manager for a national workers compensation company managing the care of catastrophic cases including severe brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe burns.

Heart Disease in Women

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women versus men, and are often misunderstood—even by some physicians. 

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke; however 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

We encourage you to Know Your Numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (body mass index).

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/February-is-Heart-Month-Veteran-Nurses-Story.asp

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Here is one Veteran’s story…..


Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the USA.”

First Signs of Heart Problems

Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, VA cardiologist.”

She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.

Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. She needs to be on a blood thinner to lower her risk of having a blood clot causing a stroke.

“She also has HFpEF, the fancy term for heart failure not from a weakened heart, but due to a stiffened heart. With age, bad luck, and years of high blood pressure, her heart has gotten a little stiff, so it does not relax, leading to pressure build up.  That pressure build up leads to swelling in the lungs and legs and is why people feel tired, lousy and short of breath. She was very symptomatic before I met her.

“With some time and careful adjustments of her medications, she now feels much better than she has in years and her energy level is back to normal.”

Canar adds, “Medication changes , diagnostic work up and a loss of 20 pounds improved my condition.  Dr. Samim has always been available for me.

“Dr. Suneetha Dandala has been my primary internist for seven years and Dr. Arang Samim is my cardiologist.  My care is exemplary compared to the care I received outside of the VA System.  My care is far advanced over the care I received for many years.”


Betty and Tom on a cruise to Mexico on the Ruby Princess in 2017

Canar met Tom, her husband of 48 years, at Brook Army Hospital and they were married in Korat, Thailand in 1969.They enjoy traveling to Monterey and cruising as often as possible.

“We love Thai food and of course, we are passionate Packer Fans.”

Before retiring in 2013, she worked as the national nurse case manager for a national workers compensation company managing the care of catastrophic cases including severe brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe burns.

Heart Disease in Women

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women versus men, and are often misunderstood—even by some physicians. 

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke; however 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

We encourage you to Know Your Numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (body mass index).

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/February-is-Heart-Month-Veteran-Nurses-Story.asp

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Here is one Veteran’s story…..


Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the USA.”

First Signs of Heart Problems

Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, VA cardiologist.”

She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.

Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. She needs to be on a blood thinner to lower her risk of having a blood clot causing a stroke.

“She also has HFpEF, the fancy term for heart failure not from a weakened heart, but due to a stiffened heart. With age, bad luck, and years of high blood pressure, her heart has gotten a little stiff, so it does not relax, leading to pressure build up.  That pressure build up leads to swelling in the lungs and legs and is why people feel tired, lousy and short of breath. She was very symptomatic before I met her.

“With some time and careful adjustments of her medications, she now feels much better than she has in years and her energy level is back to normal.”

Canar adds, “Medication changes , diagnostic work up and a loss of 20 pounds improved my condition.  Dr. Samim has always been available for me.

“Dr. Suneetha Dandala has been my primary internist for seven years and Dr. Arang Samim is my cardiologist.  My care is exemplary compared to the care I received outside of the VA System.  My care is far advanced over the care I received for many years.”


Betty and Tom on a cruise to Mexico on the Ruby Princess in 2017

Canar met Tom, her husband of 48 years, at Brook Army Hospital and they were married in Korat, Thailand in 1969.They enjoy traveling to Monterey and cruising as often as possible.

“We love Thai food and of course, we are passionate Packer Fans.”

Before retiring in 2013, she worked as the national nurse case manager for a national workers compensation company managing the care of catastrophic cases including severe brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe burns.

Heart Disease in Women

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women versus men, and are often misunderstood—even by some physicians. 

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke; however 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

We encourage you to Know Your Numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (body mass index).

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/February-is-Heart-Month-Veteran-Nurses-Story.asp

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Here is one Veteran’s story…..


Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the USA.”

First Signs of Heart Problems

Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, VA cardiologist.”

She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.

Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. She needs to be on a blood thinner to lower her risk of having a blood clot causing a stroke.

“She also has HFpEF, the fancy term for heart failure not from a weakened heart, but due to a stiffened heart. With age, bad luck, and years of high blood pressure, her heart has gotten a little stiff, so it does not relax, leading to pressure build up.  That pressure build up leads to swelling in the lungs and legs and is why people feel tired, lousy and short of breath. She was very symptomatic before I met her.

“With some time and careful adjustments of her medications, she now feels much better than she has in years and her energy level is back to normal.”

Canar adds, “Medication changes , diagnostic work up and a loss of 20 pounds improved my condition.  Dr. Samim has always been available for me.

“Dr. Suneetha Dandala has been my primary internist for seven years and Dr. Arang Samim is my cardiologist.  My care is exemplary compared to the care I received outside of the VA System.  My care is far advanced over the care I received for many years.”


Betty and Tom on a cruise to Mexico on the Ruby Princess in 2017

Canar met Tom, her husband of 48 years, at Brook Army Hospital and they were married in Korat, Thailand in 1969.They enjoy traveling to Monterey and cruising as often as possible.

“We love Thai food and of course, we are passionate Packer Fans.”

Before retiring in 2013, she worked as the national nurse case manager for a national workers compensation company managing the care of catastrophic cases including severe brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe burns.

Heart Disease in Women

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women versus men, and are often misunderstood—even by some physicians. 

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke; however 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

We encourage you to Know Your Numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (body mass index).

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/February-is-Heart-Month-Veteran-Nurses-Story.asp

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is Heart Month – A Veteran Nurse’s Story

Betty Cunar A Veteran Nurse’s Story

February is American Heart Month.  VA Women’s Health Services in collaboration with the American Heart Association is joining this national movement to raise awareness and education about heart disease and stroke among women Veterans.

Here is one Veteran’s story…..


Nurse Betty Canar receiving captain’s bars in Korat, Thailand, April, 1968

Betty Canar served as the head nurse at the 31st Field Hospital, Korat, Thailand, from 1967 to 1969.

It’s important to Know Your Numbers

Her focus of consistently providing the best possible care for her patients earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

“Excellent care for all patients has been my passion dating back to my first assignment at Fitzsimons Army Hospital as I cared for the many injured Veterans returning from the battlefield in Vietnam.”

She credits Col. Martha Cleveland, Chief Nurse, as being instrumental in “guiding me in my position and remained my mentor and friend for 40 years.”

Canar served as the nurse for the Bob Hope Show in Thailand in 1968 and recalls,“ These shows increased the morale of our men in uniform who were getting negative responses from home.”

She attended the Asian Nurses Convention in Bangkok and met the Queen Mother of Thailand, an educational experience which was, for her, “instrumental in validating the advanced medical care provided in the USA.”

First Signs of Heart Problems

Canar remembers, “About two years ago, I began having fatigue and some shortness of breath. I was referred to Dr. Arang Samim, VA cardiologist.”

She has agreed to have Dr. Samim describe her condition in detail with the hope that it will help other Veterans with similar symptoms.

Dr. Samim: “Ms. Canar has atrial fibrillation, an irregular rhythm of the heart, which is very common among our population. It is not immediately life threatening, but it can cause some symptoms such as palpitations and shortness of breath. She needs to be on a blood thinner to lower her risk of having a blood clot causing a stroke.

“She also has HFpEF, the fancy term for heart failure not from a weakened heart, but due to a stiffened heart. With age, bad luck, and years of high blood pressure, her heart has gotten a little stiff, so it does not relax, leading to pressure build up.  That pressure build up leads to swelling in the lungs and legs and is why people feel tired, lousy and short of breath. She was very symptomatic before I met her.

“With some time and careful adjustments of her medications, she now feels much better than she has in years and her energy level is back to normal.”

Canar adds, “Medication changes , diagnostic work up and a loss of 20 pounds improved my condition.  Dr. Samim has always been available for me.

“Dr. Suneetha Dandala has been my primary internist for seven years and Dr. Arang Samim is my cardiologist.  My care is exemplary compared to the care I received outside of the VA System.  My care is far advanced over the care I received for many years.”


Betty and Tom on a cruise to Mexico on the Ruby Princess in 2017

Canar met Tom, her husband of 48 years, at Brook Army Hospital and they were married in Korat, Thailand in 1969.They enjoy traveling to Monterey and cruising as often as possible.

“We love Thai food and of course, we are passionate Packer Fans.”

Before retiring in 2013, she worked as the national nurse case manager for a national workers compensation company managing the care of catastrophic cases including severe brain injury, spinal cord injury and severe burns.

Heart Disease in Women

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.

The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women versus men, and are often misunderstood—even by some physicians. 

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke; however 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

We encourage you to Know Your Numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (body mass index).

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/February-is-Heart-Month-Veteran-Nurses-Story.asp

Telehealth Revolutionizing Veterans Health Care

Telehealth Revolutionizing Veterans’ Health Care

Telehealth Revolutionizing Veterans’ Health Care

The Department of Veterans Affairs is revolutionizing the use of new health care technology to deliver convenient, accessible health care to Veterans. VA’s TeleHealth service is mission critical to the future direction of VA, and utilizes health informatics, disease management and telehealth technologies to care for and provide case management. More importantly, it helps Veterans to continue to live independently; in their own homes, local communities and stay out of the hospital.

“I’ve had nothing but the best experience. I think they saved my life.”

“Technology is the tool the Veteran utilizes through TeleHealth Service to interact with their care coordinator, but the real key component to the success of the program is case management and personal connection,” says Catherine Buck, National Home Telehealth Lead and Clinical Nurse Analyst. “The Veteran establishes a relationship with a go-to person that is essential for the Veteran’s overall health care plan and personal health goals.”

Ultimately, telehealth changes the relationship between patients and their health care team. Higher levels of patient satisfaction and positive clinical outcomes can attest to this.

“VA providers and patients discuss and decide together which telehealth care services are available in their location and clinically appropriate for the patient, said Bay Pines VA Healthcare System’s Virtual Care Program Coordinator,” Rod Miles.


Telehealth practitioner Dr. Paul Maas (foreground) is joined via video by Rod Miles, facility telehealth coordinator at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.

There are many telehealth resources that are used to deliver care to a patient. However, VA’s Video on Demand has been an important resource for providers and patients at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System for the past three years.

“Veterans don’t need to be at a clinic to speak with their provider thanks to VA Video on Demand. Providers refer appropriate patients to participate in this program. This telehealth tool is a secure, web-enabled video service, connecting Veterans with their providers using their personal mobile phones or computers, Miles said.


Veteran Katrina Pettus utilizing VA Video TeleHealth Technology to connect with TeleHealth Presenter, Demion Young

U.S. Army Vietnam Veteran David Miller has been utilizing VA TeleHealth services to assist with the treatment of his diabetes. “I’ve had nothing but the best experience. I think they saved my life. They made dealing with my diabetes much easier. They even gave me a Medtronic device which measures my blood pressure, blood sugar and weight. All I need to do is send my coordinator my results before bed. Telehealth has really helped me to stay on track.”

Another benefit Mr. Miller receives from receiving telehealth care is that he is able to communicate with a pharmacist every couple of weeks to ensure that his medications stay up-to-date with his changing medical needs.

“The overall coordination of my care is more convenient. A pharmacist communicates with me about every three weeks. If there is a need to change what I’m taking, we do it. It makes me feel safe. I’m also about an hour and a half away from the closest VA clinic so; it helps to minimize the number of trips I have to take to see my providers.

“I’d recommend this program to absolutely anyone. They really go above and beyond in making sure that I am cared for and that my health care needs are met. They really know what they’re doing,” Miller said.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2018/January/Telehealth_Revolutionizing_Veterans_Health_Care.asp


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