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Living Well 

Find out what you need to know to stay healthy, get fit and improve your life at Gambit's Wellness Expo 2009

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Wellness is a continuing endeavor that encompasses not only being disease free but also physically fit and living the most productive and happy life possible. Just as a professional athlete constantly strives to improve and build upon his or her athletic performance, all of us should work toward optimum health, a positive sense of well-being and a high quality of life. With its myriad wellness resources, Gambit's 11th Annual Wellness Expo will provide lots of information and professionals to help you design your own version of a happy and healthy life.

  The Wellness Expo is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Lakeside Shopping Center (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie) and is free and open to the public. It features dozens of exhibitors providing screenings, other services, demonstrations, free product samples, giveaways and prizes. Attendees also can pick up a "Wellness Passport" and have it stamped at six booths to enter a drawing for prizes at Center Stage, where you can demonstrations on a range of topics, including kettlebell exercises, hip and knee replacement, kickboxing, clogging, belly dancing and other fitness programs.

  The expo is presented by East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH), and is sponsored in part by Tulane Physicians, Humana, Magnolia Physical Therapy, Prytania Rehabilitation Inc., Snap Fitness and Stryker Orthopedics.

Dr. Mark Peters, EJGH's CEO and president, sees the Wellness Expo as a chance for people to learn more about state-of-the-art medical and wellness care as well as meeting the professionals behind the programs.

  "As a community hospital, we are dedicated to providing the residents of this region the very finest in health care, along with preventive and wellness resources," Peters says. "This annual [Wellness Expo] allows us to bring new and important information to the people we serve in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.

  "As many are aware, we are an M.D. Anderson Affiliate Hospital, and we are rated 'Best in Region' in cardiac surgery (by HealthGrades, an independent health care ratings company). We are also a leader in the areas of orthopedics, neurosciences, pain management, minimally invasive surgery, diabetes management, women's health and more. This expo gives you the chance to learn more about our clinical excellence [and] our wellness, fitness, nutritional and preventive programs."

  EJGH provides comprehensive care on a large campus that includes a medical staff of 900, a 450-bed hospital, medical offices, the Yenni Pavilion for outpatient cancer treatment, the Domino Pavilion for same-day surgeries, outpatient radiology and laboratory facilities and its 38,000-square-foot Wellness Center. At the expo, EJGH will be represented by its Diabetes Management Center, the Fitness Principle, oncology, the Pain Management Institute, the Sleep Center, volunteer services, the Wellness Center and Woman and Child Services.

  EJGH's Wellness Center houses state-of-the-art equipment, massage services, exercise classes and wellness classes for adults. Whether you're a seasoned exerciser or a beginner, there are professionals available to customize a fitness program that matches your abilities, preferences and goals. Personal trainers are on site to help you achieve optimum fitness, and you can choose cardiovascular and strength training, weight training, swimming and aquatic exercises, treadmills, elliptical cross trainers and a walking track. The Wellness Center also has a whirlpool, steam room and massage therapists who perform reflexology, prenatal massage and other massages. Clinical exercise physiologists are on staff, and there are classes in yoga, Pilates, low-impact step, Piloga, core stability, cardio sculpting, aquatics and Body Pump as well as disease management exercise programs.

  Top fitness, performance and lifestyle consultant Mackie Shilstone and his Fitness Principle can help people enhance their performance — whether in athletics or at work — and reach their personal goals. The program evaluates individuals' lifestyles, personality traits, nutritional needs, employment and medical history to devise an appropriate wellness program for them. Following the Fitness Principle can help reduce stress, improve sleep, sharpen mental abilities and bolster overall well-being.

  The Diabetes Management Center at EJGH provides complete care, from evaluation and diagnosis to treatment and support programs to keep patients on track. There's also a wound-care center and disease-management educational programs that teach patients about medication, nutrition, diet, techniques to treat high or low blood sugar, as well as motivation workshops.

  Comprehensive cancer care is provided through EJGH's Oncology Department, which has expanded to a regional cancer center through its affiliation with M.D. Anderson Physicians Network. The affiliation allowed EJGH to expand cancer services to 28 parishes in southern Louisiana and areas along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as tapping into cutting-edge treatments developed at M.D. Anderson. The Radiology Department detects cancer through advanced imaging technologies such as CT scans, nuclear medicine, MRI, mammography, PET Fusion and ultrasound. Treatments include the Da Vinci Surgical System for prostate cancer, image-guided radiation therapy and targeted beam radiation treatments. There also are support groups to help patients and their families deal with cancer.

  Whether you have short-term or chronic pain, the Pain Management Institute at EJGH has an array of multidisciplinary options for helping patients with a range of back and spine conditions, cancer and other diseases live free of pain. Treatments include medication, surgery, physical and cognitive therapy, palliative care, pastoral care, psychiatry and more.

  Quality sleep is necessary for well-being, and the Sleep Center at EJGH treats common problems like insomnia, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy and other disorders. For diagnosis, patients slumber in the center's sleep lab, which is set up with microphones, infrared cameras and electrodes to record what happens while they sleep. A polysomnographic technician and a respiratory therapist monitor heart rate, breathing, eye movements and brain and muscle activity to get an accurate picture of each patient's sleep pattern.

  Healthy women and children are the goal of the comprehensive Woman & Child Services, the highest-volume birthing center in the region. But it's not just an ob/gyn office, it provides health care for women through menopause and beyond, and offers specialized care for children. The center handles labor and delivery, but also has care for healthy newborns, a neonatal intensive care unit, a breastfeeding center and a variety of education programs.

  Since its beginning in 1971, volunteers have played a key role in making EJGH a vital component of the Jefferson Parish community. About 500 volunteers serve in every department at the hospital. Benefits to volunteers include learning about health care careers, maintaining their skills, and networking with medical professionals. Representatives will be on hand to discuss employment opportunities at EJGH, which has about 3,000 workers and is one of Jefferson Parish's largest employers.

Founded in 1834, Tulane School of Medicine is among the oldest in the United States and is dedicated to educating future physicians, researchers and health care specialists. It has 20 academic departments and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, providing education and research opportunities that cover the spectrum of health and wellness issues. The School of Medicine has developed programs and centers of excellence including the Center for Gene Therapy, Tulane Cancer Center, the Institute of Sports Medicine, the Abdominal Transplant Center, Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence and Tulane Hospital for Children.

  Tulane Medical Center works with the medical school as a teaching hospital where students and young researchers work alongside experienced doctors and scientists. About 630 physicians provide services at the 235-bed hospital, which employs about 1,400 workers. The partnership also means patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach to health care that pulls resources from diverse areas.

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  Tulane Medical Center comprises Tulane-Lakeside Hospital, Tulane Hospital for Children, Tulane Cancer Center, Tulane Institute for Sports Medicine, Tulane-Lakeside Women's Center, and multispecialty centers in Metairie, Uptown and downtown. Stop by the booth for free health screenings and giveaways.

Humana's many health insurance products provide coverage for individuals, businesses, seniors, military personnel and others through a variety of plans and payment options. You can purchase life insurance, cancer insurance, health insurance (even temporary coverage), long-term care insurance, prescription drug plans, vision plans, several Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental insurance, and Memorial Fund insurance. It also is one of the largest dental carriers in the United States.

  Humana counsels businesses about how to provide health care plans to their employees while managing health care costs. The company also focuses on educating consumers so they can make informed decisions about their insurance coverage and their health.

Magnolia Physical Therapy focuses on freeing its patients from pain, helping them move better, rehabilitating injuries and teaching patients and the public about healthy living. Locally owned and operated, Magnolia has a special pregnancy therapy program to alleviate discomforts commonly caused by changes in the body's posture or hormones. Physical therapists use manual therapy, strengthening and posture retraining to reduce pain in the back, shoulders, groin and wrists, and pregnancy-related orthopedic problems.

  The Fibromyalgia Program, which includes soft-tissue mobilization and manual manipulation, is designed to decrease pain in patients who suffer from this chronic condition as well as enabling them to perform everyday tasks.

  You don't have to be a patient at Magnolia to take advantage of the relaxation benefits of its massage therapy services, which include Swedish, deep-tissue, neuromuscular and pregnancy massages; just call for an appointment.

  Magnolia also offers a personal trainer and home exercise programs tailored to each patient, including exercises to improve flexibility and build strength, techniques to reduce pain and develop greater mobility in spinal joints, and Myofascial Release, techniques and movement therapies to ease pain and improve flexibility, stability, strength and the ability to deal with stress. The therapies are coupled with education about posture and how to move properly.

  Stop by the booth for a chance to win a free massage.

Prytania Rehab helps patients return to a normal, pain-free life after suffering an injury. Chiropractors at the rehab center can assess musculoskeletal problems and provide healing therapies and services that include cold laser treatments, HVG, traction, ice heat, chiropractic services and exercise programs.

  The center also provides nutrition counseling and testing as well as nutrition products to help get you healthy and keep you that way. You can get a free musculoskeletal evaluation and nutrition testing at Prytania Rehab's booth.

Answering a need for an efficient, convenient place to work out, Snap Fitness keeps its club open 24 hours a day and allows members to pay month to month without long-term contracts. The studios are outfitted with high-quality equipment for cardio and strength training, circuit training and free weights. A free equipment orientation is available so you get the most out of your workout.

  Personal training services are available, and Snap offers a personal wellness plan, nutrition and meal planning, an online training center and 30-day nutritional supplement plans. Snap also offers corporate wellness programs so businesses can help keep their employees healthy. At the expo, a team from Snap will demonstrate exercises using a kettlebell, a new fitness trend.

Stryker Orthopedics specializes in orthopedic products and services, including total hip, knee, elbow and shoulder replacements and implants to help patients reclaim normal function with reduced pain following surgery.

  It also offers instruments to help sports medicine surgeons with knee and shoulder injuries and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Stryker's TissueMend, a collagen membrane, can be used to repair soft tissues such as damaged tendons, and the company has software programs to aid surgeons during procedures. Stryker also is a leader in the emerging field of bone substitute technology.

The Wellness Expo provides an easy, one-stop resource for learning how to feel great, look your best, live better and enjoy life. Advanced Spine Care will offer wellness screenings and nervous system reviews; Discover Wellness and Rehab will perform scoliosis screenings, thermal scans, and posture, weight and nervous system analyses; and Medical Rehab Accident Injury Center will conduct free spinal exams. You also can pick up information or talk to representatives with Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, LSU Healthcare Network, the National Library of Medicine and psychiatric nurse practitioner Michael D. Santone.

  Learn about the programs offered by the NO/AIDS Task Force; Omega Hospital, a specialty surgical hospital; Provance Chiropractic Sports, Family & Rehab Clinic; Benchmark Research, which administers clinical trials for investigational medications; the Blood Center, which will conduct a blood drive and cholesterol screenings; and Westbank Plastic Surgery, which performs cosmetic and reconstructive surgery and other treatments.

  Eye Works will have vision screenings; Inches-A-Weigh will offer a week of its weight-loss, nutrition and fitness program for free; Laser Specialties will hold a drawing for a free session; and Ladies of NOLA will show off its reshaping garments.

  You can get practical information about health insurance from Peoples Health, and learn about facilities and services available at John J. Hainkel Jr. Adult Day Health Care Center. New parents can check out Better Bottoms Diaper Delivery.

  Fashion and beauty are covered by Crabtree & Evelyn body products, Dillard's, Naturalizer shoes, Planet Beach skin care and tanning, Pure Skin Care, Spa Laje, GNC nutritional products, Ardyss International's reshaping garments and nutritional supplements and Premier Fitness' comprehensive workout center.

  To enhance your quality of life, you can get help with your bath remodeling project from Newbath LLC, have Green Apple Foam Insulation apply spray-on foam to your house to reduce your energy bills and improve your indoor air quality. As a reward, visit the Travel Center for vacation ideas.

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