Wellness

Good health is vital to balancing the demands of work, home, school, church and community. You don’t have to make sweeping changes overnight to start becoming a healthier version of yourself. Learning something new and adjusting what you’re already doing can offer immediate rewards and long-term benefits. We hope you find our wellness tips helpful during your travels and beyond. 

Start a New Tradition!

Traditions are important, no matter your age. They give us a sense of identity, strengthen relationships within a family unit or group of friends, and provide structure in a world that’s unpredictable. Traditions bring people together, remind us of happy times and give something to anticipate in the future. What’s more, traditions help us create lasting memories and offer an opportunity to pause and reflect on the passing years. 

Although some traditions happen organically, you can strategically institute a few new traditions – to bring a feeling of joy and connectedness to your time with family or friends. Especially with new limitations for gathering as a result of COVID 19 and spending time a home now more than ever, you have chance to get creative in how you stay connected! The tradition itself isn’t important – it’s the consistency and contentment of knowing what to expect that will produce the lasting positive effects. Here’s a few examples to get your creativity flowing:

  • Eat pizza and watch a movie as a family every Friday night or establish ‘Taco Tuesday’ 
  • Read a story together before bed
  • Host a weekly zoom extended family dinner or game night
  • Use a special “happy birthday” plate for a celebratory birthday breakfast
  • Create a secret handshake
  • Send silly messages to friends and family with free apps like Snapchat or Marco Polo
  • Share your highs and lows of the day at dinner time
  • Plan a Memorial Day or Fourth of July bike parade and invite your neighbors
  • Schedule a monthly phone or video call with family who live far away
  • Host a yearly ‘Friendsgiving’ or potluck holiday dinner  

Help for Bladder Infections

Bladder infections. For some they’re easy to identify, with burning, itching and pain when you go to the bathroom. Others might not realize they have a problem until they see another concerning symptom – blood in their urine. Bladder or urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the most common bacterial infection. It’s difficult to accurately assess how many people experience UTIs because they are not a reportable disease in the U.S. Nevertheless, an estimated 10 million annual visits to the doctor or emergency department are attributed to this medical issue. 

Bladder infections most commonly include burning with urination, urinating frequently, the urge to urinate more often than normal, and incontinence in some cases. Occasionally you may see a small amount of blood caused by the infection, and that’s reason to call your doctor immediately. Many CHI Memorial Medical Group practices maintain same day appointment availability for issues like these. 

Women are more likely to get bladder infections than men because their urethra is shorter, which decreases the distance bacteria must travel to reach the bladder. And women who’ve gone through menopause may be more vulnerable to infection because decreasing estrogen can lead to changes in the urinary tract. It’s very common for elderly women who have bladder prolapse to hold additional urine that elevates their risk for infections. There may be ways to prevent bladder infections in the first place – through exercises that improve the strength of pelvic floor muscles and the use of thin catheters that help your bladder empty completely. Men also may experience an enlarged prostate that’s narrowing the urine stream.

If you’re suffering from recurring bladder infections, there must be a reason for it – including improper urine retention, kidney stones, use of a catheter, abnormal anatomy of the urinary tract or recent sexual contact. It’s important to talk with your doctor about why the infections continue, understand what’s happening and determine the underlying cause to help prevent rather than merely treat the condition. Changes can be as simple as ensuring proper hydration, reducing caffeine intake, and complete voiding (meaning completely emptying your bladder). When bladder infections persist, you may need a referral to a urologist to determine if you have any predisposing factors for infection.

CHI Memorial Urology Associates has 10 experienced urologists specially trained to diagnose and provide medical and surgical treatment for problems like incontinence, urinary tract infections, kidney stone disease, infertility and impotency, disorders of the prostate, bladder and kidneys and a range of other urologic issues. For an appointment call (423) 697-0072. Virtual visits are available.   

 

Do the Heavy Lifting

How Lifting Weights Can Change your Body and Health for the Better!    

If you’ve ever wondered how you can feel better or look better – or even take better care of your health, here’s one simple solution – hit the weights! It doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it require a full home gym and heavy equipment. In fact, simple exercises performed consistently can provide lasting results. Lifting weights has been shown to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and diabetes. Here’s how a little lifting can improve your health, your mood and your internal motivation for the better.

It helps keep your weight in check.
When you take charge of your exercise routine – including lifting weights – you’re also helping take charge of your fate. Most adults lose .05 pounds of muscle per year after age 30, largely due to inactivity. It’s also common to gain an average of 1 to 2 pounds of fat with each passing year. These small changes add up – increasing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart attack and some cancers. While aerobic exercise is the most effective way to control your weight, strength training helps preserve the muscles you have and can boost your metabolic rate by as much as 15 percent. The greater your muscle mass, the more calories your body burns – even at rest.

It brings balance to your body.
As you age, the loss of muscle makes activities of daily living more difficult. Keeping your tendons, ligaments and muscles strong will make them less likely to give out when you’re living day to day. Getting up and down off the floor, standing on a step stool to reach a high shelf, riding a bicycle. All these require good balance, which is largely based on your muscle mass. Lifting weights and/or performing body weight exercises helps reduce your risk of falling and lowers your chance of injury if you do fall. What does body weight mean? Body weight exercises require no equipment. Think pushups, sit-ups, lunges, high knees and planks. They’re simple to do and can be done anywhere.

It builds up your bones.
It’s important for people of all ages to be aware of their risk for osteoporosis, particularly younger women who can still build up their bone mass density. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends two types of exercise to build strong bones – weight bearing and resistance. Your bones become stronger when you place physical demands on them. In weight bearing exercise, your bones are working against gravity to support you. Resistance exercises build both muscle and bone mass. You can get the exercise you need through running, jogging, walking, dancing and stair climbing. Lifting free weights or using weight machines provides you with resistance training. Studies have found that post-menopausal women who participated in weight-bearing exercise using resistance machines, walking or jogging reduced their lifetime risk for osteoporosis by up to 11 percent.  

It improves your posture – and possibly your mood.
Many people spend a lot of hours sitting on the couch or behind a computer, which can lead to slumped shoulders and a head that protrudes forward. Not only does that indicate the appearance of age, it also creates strain on your back and neck muscles that must work harder to hold your head in its proper position. Over time this can lead to neck strain, stiffness and tension headaches. As your body gets stronger – and leaner – from consistent weightlifting, you’re likely to see an improvement in your posture and overall flexibility as a result of stronger abdominal and shoulder muscles that help hold your body upright. There’s also a mind-body connection that’s impacted by your posture, feelings of strength and ability to do the things you want to do without stiffness or pain. When your body stands tall, your mood is also likely to be lifted.

Exercise Changes Everything
To start building muscle, here’s a good rule of thumb: Aim for strength training two to three times a week, with a rest day in between. In each session do one exercise for each major muscle group and make the weight heavy enough so that you can perform a maximum of 8 to 12 repetitions of the movement. 

Get advice

Get advice tailored specifically for you. Your primary care physician can help you assess your current health and suggest changes that offer the most benefit to you. For help finding a primary care physician, visit CHIMemorialMedicalGroup.org and click find a physician.

More wellness tips

3 ways meditation helps your mind

Meditation is about much more than just relaxing. The benefits of this ancient practice are well documented – people who meditate report improved attention, shaper concentration, reduced stress and enhanced self-awareness, to name a few. Here are a few specific ways meditation helps your mind: 

  • Meditation boosts your focus. The world around us is full of distractions. Have you ever been working on something and a phone call or text derails your mindset? Meditation helps improve mental focus because it enhances your ability to bounce back from interruptions and bring your mind back to the task at hand.  
  • Meditation reduces anxiety and helps fight depression. This is really two in one, but often anxiety and depression go hand in hand. When feelings of overwhelm or sadness are on repeat in your mind, it’s hard to shut down that cycle and quiet the voice inside. Mindfulness meditation is all about living in moment and is designed to help people focus on the present instead of what could happen in the future or what’s already happened in the past.   
  • Meditation makes you more creative. Lacking inspiration? Studies have shown that meditation increases a person’s creativity. When you’re feeling stuck or are looking for insight, a deeper perception or a new way to solve a problem, meditation creates the emotional and mental conditions where your ideas can flourish. With all the noise of daily life, choosing a quiet moment may allow you to tap into the deeper dimensions of your mind and think of new ideas or solutions.

Meditate Now

The best part? Meditation is completely free, and you can do it anywhere and at any time. Although there are many different methods and techniques for meditation, the fundaments of the practice are the same. And now that you know a few of the benefit of this simple practice, try these steps to get started.

  • Relax your mind and body. You don’t need to be lying down to meditate. Instead find a comfortable place and a posture that’s easy, not difficult for you to maintain. You can turn on soothing music or white noise if that’s helps you calm down.
  • Be in the moment. What does this mean? Being in the moment or mindful as it’s sometimes called means not passing judgment on your thoughts. When your mind wanders – and it will – gently bring your thoughts back to your primary goal of relaxation.
  • Think about your something. Many people choose to focus on their breath during meditation, feeling and listening carefully as you sense the air moving in and out of your body. Keeping your mind on your breathing – and not on every other thought that pops in your head – takes time and practice because our minds inevitably waver.  

Meditating is straightforward and the benefits are noticed quickly with practice. Consider adding a few moments of meditation to your day to reduce stress, enhance calmness and promote happiness.  

Improving your heart health

The average middle-aged adult has about a one in three chance of developing heart disease, finds alarming new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But there’s a silver lining: Control your risk factors right now, and you can delay its arrival by as long as 14 years or prevent heart problems altogether. Start with these simple steps

  1. Stop sipping on sugar. Drink just one less can of regular soda per day to reduce both the top and bottom numbers of your blood pressure. That’s good news, since hypertension affects one in three adults in the U.S. – and it’s one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes.
  2. Learn to love legumes. Chickpeas, pintos, lentils – take your pick. People with type 2 diabetes who ate one cup of beans per day had better control of their blood sugar and reduced their heart disease risks, according to study in Archives of Internal Medicine.
  3. Fill up on fish. Grill or bake fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring. People who eat fish two to four times per week are 20 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 6 percent less likely to have a stroke. That’s compared with those who dine on seafood less than once weekly.
  4. Stand up. Separate yourself from your chair. Being sedentary most of the day more than doubles your risk for heart attacks and diabetes and increases your risk for cardiovascular death by 90 percent—even if you exercise. Walk around during phone calls and ask your company to have more casual days.  Research shows employees move more when they’re not in business attire. These minor changes can add up to about two-and-a-half hours of light activity each day, and a 20 percent boost in your calorie burn.
  5. Nosh on nuts. Almonds, pecans and pistachios do more than make good trail mix. They also reduce harmful blood fats when eaten instead of less healthy foods. Eating about two-and-a-half ounces of nuts per day—a little less than one-third of a cup—dropped both total and LDL (lousy) cholesterol levels after three to eight weeks, researchers report.

To learn more about heart care at the Guerry Heart & Vascular Center, click here.

5 resolutions for a healthy year!

Ready, set, Goal! If you’re looking to create a new you, making small lifestyle changes can offer big benefits. With the new year quickly approaching, keep these five resolutions in mind and set yourself up for success with well-thought-out goals and a realistic action plan. 

  1. Stop sipping on sugar. Drink just one less can of regular soda per day to reduce both the top and bottom numbers of your blood pressure. That’s good news, since hypertension affects one in three adults in the U.S. – and it’s one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes. 
  2. Make sleep a priority. It’s often easier said than done, but getting enough rest allows your body to carry out essential tasks. Unconsciously you’re storing memory, rebalancing hormones, rearming your immune system against infections, and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of rest for good health. Chronic sleep deprivation makes you more likely to gain weight and contributes to inflammation throughout your body, high cholesterol and high blood pressure – all risk factors for heart disease. Lack of sleep also increases your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes or makes it harder to control it if you already have it. 
  3. Build up your bones. It’s important for people of all ages to be aware of their risk for osteoporosis, particularly younger women who can still build up their bone mass density. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends two types of exercise to build strong bones – weight bearing and resistance. Your bones become stronger when you place physical demands on them. In weight bearing exercise, your bones are working against gravity to support you. Resistance exercises build both muscle and bone mass. You can get the exercise you need through running, jogging, walking, dancing and stair climbing. Lifting free weights or using weight machines provides you with resistance training. To start building bone mass, here’s a good rule of thumb: Aim for strength training two to three times a week, with a rest day in between. In each session do one exercise for each major muscle group and make the weight heavy enough so that you can perform a maximum of 8 to 12 repetitions of the movement.

    Quick tip: Be proactive – talk to your physician about your bone density and ask him or her if you should have a DEXA scan.  
  4. Ease your mind. Although it’s not a fun topic, advance directives can offer peace of mind because they state your wishes about your medical care in case you are unable to make those decisions yourself – after an accident or illness. Options include a living will that documents specific instructions about medical care, medical power of attorney to appoint a family member or friend to be in charge of your care, and a do not resuscitate (DNR) order. 

    You don’t need a lawyer to fill out these documents. And you can update them if you change your mind about the care you want to receive. Give copes to your physician and a trusted family member. Start today – advanced directive forms are available from your physician or visit Memorial.org and search advance directives.   
  5. Say ‘yes’ to Sunscreen. Want a simple and easy way to improve your health? Add sunscreen to your morning ritual. Applying sunscreen to your face and the parts of your body exposed to the sun will help protect your skin’s appearance and prevent skin cancer. Expert tips for selecting the right formula include choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers protection from UVA rays, which lead to wrinkles, and UVB rays, which cause sunburns. The strongest sun-protection ingredients are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone and ecamsule and are your best bets for effectively blocking the sun’s harmful rays. 

Be label savvy

Learn how to apply what you read on food labels. Go beyond calorie and fat counts to make healthier all-around choices. For example, “Percent DV” (for “daily value”) indicates whether a food is high or low in nutrients, such as fiber and calcium. Foods are considered high in a nutrient if they have a 20 percent DV or higher. They’re low in a nutrient if they have 5 percent or less.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers information about understanding food labels. Read up

How to live well longer

We’ve all heard the stories. A coworker was diagnosed with cancer. Someone at the gym had a stroke. A neighbor suffered a heart attack. It may seem health problems are inevitable as we age. But there’s actually a lot you can do to live well – and live longer. And it may not be as difficult as you think.

Some of the biggest health issues men face today, such as heart disease and cancer, share many of the same risk factors. These include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and low physical activity. Although genetics play a part, most of these risk factors can be prevented or managed with simple lifestyle changes.

In addition to seeing your physician regularly for preventive screenings and exams, taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle is vital for long-term quality of life – Every effort adds up, no matter how small.

EAT WELL

Focusing on good nutrition is key to staying healthy. Experts suggest filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Protein, like fish or lean meat, and whole grains, like brown rice, should make up the other half. Whenever possible, limit processed or prepared foods like canned soups, boxed dinners and drive-through meals. They tend to lack nutrition and contain ingredients that can harm our health. One of the biggest culprits? Sodium. Items like some breads, cold cuts and cured meats, and pizza top the charts when it comes to sodium content.

Many people only think about the saltshaker when trying to limit sodium. But most sodium comes from processed foods. When in doubt, read food labels. Try to keep sodium intake at 2,300 mg or less per day to help prevent high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for many health problems.

DRINK RESPONSIBLY

Research suggests that moderate alcohol intake may bring health benefits. But drinking more than the recommended limits can negatively affect your health. Heavy drinking can have toxic effects on the heart, liver, stomach, brain and peripheral nerves!

The National Institutes of Health recommends that men limit their alcohol consumption to two or fewer drinks a day. If you have a hard time sticking to this limit, talk with your physician.

EASE STRESS

Stress can sometimes be beneficial. It can help you prepare for action – whether asking your boss for a promotion or running a 10K. But too much stress can cause significant health problems such as heart disease, trouble sleeping, depression and obesity.

To soothe stress, experts suggest taking a walk, mediating or listening to music. Most adults already cram too much into each day. Instead of scheduling time or activities to help reduce your stress, start by taking things off your calendar. It’s health for our minds and bodies to have free time.

GET ADVICE.

GET ADVICE TAILORED SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU. Your primary care physician can help you assess your current health and suggest changes that offer the most benefit to you. For help finding a primary care physician, visit CHIMemorialMedicalGroup.org and click family practice or internal medicine.  

Hydration

When flying, try to to drink 8 oz of water for every hour you're in the air. When flying, try to to drink 8 oz of water for every hour you're in the air. 

Water is crucial to your health. It makes up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration — as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight — can sap your energy and make you tired. Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and the very old. 

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Little or no urination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends women consume approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water - from all beverages and foods - each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. 

Longest walks at airports

As terminals expand and moving walkways disappear, you could be in for a serious hike to your gate. 

A few airports report their longest potential walks are more than a mile – and some are longer. As airports and aircraft get bigger, gates have been spaced further apart. The amount of walking you might do continues to grow as airports build new concourses or extend existing concourses to add additional gates.

At Atlanta Hartsfield, the distance between the international terminal and domestic check-in is 1.67 miles. Check out the top 10 longest walks at U.S. airports. If you’re flying into our out of one these locations, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time – and get a reliable rolling bag!

Atlanta ATL 1.67 miles
Philadelphia  PHL 1.5 miles
Phoenix PHX  1 mile
Detroit  DTW 1 mile
Miami  MIA 1 mile-plus
Minneapolis-St. Paul MSP .87 miles
Denver DEN .64 miles
Houston Bush IAH .61 miles
Seattle-Tacoma SEA .57 miles
Los Angeles LAX .55 miles

2 MILES!

Beijing Capital International Airport has the longest distance to travel of any airport in the world!

Sources: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-longest-walks-at-the-airport-1475082922https://www.huffpost.com/entry/worlds-longest-airport-walks_n_1778146

The Low Down on Diabetes

Every year 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, a condition that results from too much sugar in the blood. When left untreated or poorly managed, diabetes can lead to serious health problems including blindness, kidney failure, and nerve and blood vessel damage that could lead to loss of toes or feet. It’s also the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition, which causes your body to not process insulin properly. Insulin resistance means your pancreas makes extra insulin, but eventually it isn’t able to make enough to keep your blood sugar at normal levels.

Decrease Your Risk

The link is clear – about 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Getting to a healthy weight is the critical first step to fighting or even reversing this disease. And the good news is that you can live a normal, healthy life if you do what it takes to control your blood sugar. When your blood sugar stays in check – within the ideal range – it minimizes, delays or even prevents problems that diabetes can cause.

Ready to decrease your risk of diabetes? Here a few simple tips: 

Prioritize exercise. Making moving a ‘must-do’ is the easiest way to lower your risk of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association suggests you get moving at least five days a week for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise. That’s a total of 150 minutes. Moderate intensity is more than just a quick walk around the block – it means you can talk, but not sing, through your workout or activity. Sounds overwhelming? Start with 10 minutes and build up by five or 10 minutes each week.  

Pick healthy foods. Foods that digest quickly like white bread, rice or sugary snacks cause your blood sugar to spike in a short period of time. Instead, choose foods low in fat and high in other nutrients – like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grain breads and lean proteins. These foods help insulin do its job and remove sugar out of the blood vessels.    

Get your doctor involved. Diabetes is something to take seriously. It’s important for everyone to be aware of their blood sugar levels, and the simple blood test for diabetes is usually covered by insurance. If you’re concerned about your weight or your risk for developing diabetes, your doctor probably is too. The sooner you know about a pre-diabetes or diabetes diagnosis, the sooner you can make lifestyle changes that can reverse the condition in its early stages and improve your health overall. Your doctor, a registered dietician or diabetes educator can answer your questions. They can also help you set realistic weight loss goals (if needed) and show you ways to get to your healthy weight – and stay there.

If you don’t have a primary care physician, visit CHIMemorialMedicalGroup.org to choose a physician near you.

Could you have diabetes and not know it?

Uncontrolled  blood sugar puts you at greater risk for developing associated health problems – no matter your age. The initial symptoms of diabetes or pre-diabetes can be subtle – so subtle that you might not even notice them. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, talk to you doctor.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Using the bathroom more frequently, especially at night
  • Increased irritability
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling exhausted, even after sleeping all night
  • Slow or non-healing wounds
  • Recurring yeast infections

Support When You Need It

Diabetes is a serious, chronic condition that affects nearly every part of the body. If you have diabetes or want to make preventive lifestyle changes, CHI Memorial can help. Learning to control your blood sugar through exercise and a balanced diet is key in preventing complications like blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure or nerve damage.

CHI Memorial’s Diabetes and Nutrition Center offers counseling and self-management classes that help you take control of your health, including:

  • Glucose monitoring
  • Using insulin and insulin pumps
  • Integrating exercise into your daily routine
  • Choosing wholesome foods and creating a realistic meal plan

For more information, call (423) 495-7970. 

Sip smart for good health

Sugary, caffeine-laden drinks are all around us – on TV screens, internet ads and even in some celebrities’ hands. What’s more, these drinks are increasingly marketed to adults and kids alike. How much is too much when it comes to the caffeine and sugar found in colas, energy drinks and other beverages?

This guide offers the nitty-gritty on these drinks to help you decide for your self – and your kids – when to indulge and which beverages to leave on the grocery store shelves.

The Caffeine Question

Caffeine can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Kids who consume too much caffeine can become agitated, nervous or irritable. And the same goes for adults. It may also cause headaches and interfere with sleep – and too little sleep can negatively affect our ability to concentrate and perform essential tasks at work and school.

Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day is considered safe for adults. The actual amount of caffeine content in beverages varies widely, but 400 mgs is roughly equal to four cups of coffee or 10 cans of soda. 

An 8-ouce soda contains about 24 mg of caffeine. Energy drinks, however, often pack more caffeine than sodas. For instance, one of the most popular energy drinks on the market contains 77 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving. The exact amount of caffeine is also missing from nutrition labels on some energy drinks, leaving you guessing about the true caffeine content.

Like soda, there are no nutritional benefits to energy drinks. Research is inconclusive on the additives in these dinks, such as guarana. We don’t really know how these substances affect development – or how specific individuals might reach to them.

Sugar High

Sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks can be tempting, no matter your age. But the high sugar content can contribute to obesity, and citric acid in some sports and energy drinks, and even excessive fruit juice intake, can lead to early dental decay.   

It’s recommended that people limit their added sugars (meaning sugars that aren’t found naturally in fruits and vegetables) to less than 10 percent of their daily calorie intake if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s 50 grams or about 12.5 teaspoons of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends stricter guidelines: No more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons) a day for men and no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) a day for women. Kids need even less.

That’s why it’s best to limit your intake of soda, energy and sports drinks – no matter your age. The best options are always water and low-fat milk. Juice should be 100 percent and limited to 4 ounces per day for kids younger than age 6 and 8 ounces per day for older children.

Make sleep a priority

Make sleep a priority. It’s often easier said than done, but getting enough rest allows your body to carry out essential tasks. Unconsciously you’re storing memories, rebalancing hormones, rearming your immune system against infections, and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of rest for good health. Chronic sleep deprivation makes you more likely to gain weight and contributes to inflammation throughout your body, high cholesterol and high blood pressure—all risk factors for heart disease. Lack of sleep also increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes or makes it harder to control if you already have it.

Trouble sleeping? Check out CHI Memorial's fully accredited sleep center

4 tall tales about women's health

Myth: You’re an adult, which means you can’t get acne. 

FACT: Hormone changes during pregnancy and menopause improve acne in some women, but for others they make acne worse. Certain medicines can also trigger breakouts. 

Myth: If a woman wears tight jeans, she’s bound to develop a yeast infection. 

FACT: Although avoiding tight clothing may help prevent yeast infection, the primary cause of the infection is a change in the acidic balance of your vagina. Yeast infection is caused by a fungus called Candida that’s found in small numbers in the vagina. A change in the acidic balance of the vagina can cause an overgrowth of yeast. This balance can be disrupted by many factors, including pregnancy, menstruation, diabetes and some antibiotics.  

Myth: High heels may hurt occasionally, but they don’t pose any health risks.

FACT: High-fashion, high-heeled shoes can cause a heap of problems. Shoes with pointed toes and tall stiletto heels can squeeze toes together and increase pressure, potentially causing calluses, corns and bunions. One study in the Journal of Experimental Biology found that regularly wearing shoes with a 2-inch or higher heel can shorten the calf muscle and create a thicker, stiffer Achilles tendon. That can cause reduce ankle flexibility and pain. 

Myth: I don’t need to take folic acid until I’m pregnant. 

FACT: Folic acid is important both before and during pregnancy. When a woman has enough folic acid in her body before pregnancy and while she carries the baby, she can reduce the risk for serious birth defects. If you are able to get pregnant, you need 400 to 800 mg of folic acid every day – even if you aren’t planning to get pregnant. 

Travel can help improve your brain power.

Do you really need more excuses to travel? We didn’t think so! But just in case, here’s 2 quick reasons that jumping on a plane to somewhere new can improve your problem-solving skills.

You’ll think quicker on your feet. Depending on where you are and where you’re going, you might need to think fast when your hotel is overbooked or the train you planned to take isn’t leaving on time. The more you’re forced to think quickly and efficiently, the easier it becomes. Then you can really put it to work at your job when your boss suddenly asks for ideas that you haven’t prepared for yet. 

You’ll be more creative. Being creative is all about brainstorming and coming up with new ideas. The more you see and experience – including the people and places you discover – the more ideas you’ll have to fuel your creativity! Breaking out of your normal routine can help you make connections between ideas that seem unrelated.

Get GERD Under Control

Heartburn, indigestion or chest discomfort are feelings many people experience occasionally after a rich or heavy meal. But for people living with gastroesophageal reflux disease (commonly called GERD), those uncomfortable feelings can be a daily frustration. If medications and diet modifications aren’t providing lasting relief, surgical options are available to help control or even alleviate these painful symptoms.

“Most people who seek surgical treatment for GERD have tried various combinations of medicines to control symptoms with limited success or have problems with stomach juices coming up to the back of the throat or voice box,” says Walter Rose, M.D., general surgeon with CHI Memorial Surgical Associates. “This fluid can cause hoarseness, a bitter taste in the mouth, and even respiratory issues if left untreated.”

Getting back to your Life
Thankfully there are treatment options that don’t just mask the symptoms of GERD – but keep acid from coming up into the esophagus where it causes pain and irritation.

“Surgery reinforces where the lower esophagus meets the stomach to keep acid where it belongs – in your stomach,” says Dr. Rose. “Nearly all procedures for acid reflux are performed using minimally invasive techniques, meaning you can recover more quickly and get back to living your life faster than ever before.”

If you want to learn more about your treatment options, call (423) 698-8692.

Train Your Brain – Exercising to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease – and there are multiple risk factors outside your control. Your age and genetics can’t be changed. But you can reduce your risk through regular physical exercise like walking. The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation reports that you can reduce your risk of developing the condition by up to 50 percent – just through regular exercise. Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society also backs up the thinking that exercise is critical in helping delay onset of the disease. It can also be beneficial for those who are already showing signs of cognitive decline. 

How does it work? Exercise stimulates the brain and increases its ability to make new connections and maintain old ones. We know that exercise helps the heart and beat more efficiently and improves blood flow throughout the body. Because the brain requires a constant supply of blood, it’s a safe bet that whatever helps the heart helps the brain.  

How much exercise do you need?  
Experts recommend aiming for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. A combination of aerobic exercises (like walking or swimming) and muscle building exercises are best. Weight training helps increase muscle mass, which helps preserve your brain health. You’ll also get the added benefit of increased balance and coordination. The key is to exercise a little every day, no matter where you do it. Start with just five or 10 minutes a day around your neighborhood or on a treadmill. Work up to 30 minutes. Before you know, your body will be ready for more – and your brain will thank you! 

Want to do more? People who engage in mentally challenging activities – especially in their younger years and middle age – have lower levels of a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study in the Archives of Neurology. Some of these activities might include reading, writing and playing card games. In addition to regular exercise, social engagement, following a healthy diet, getting quality sleep, and managing your stress are also ways to reduce your risk.

Seek help for memory loss. If you find yourself forgetting names or misplacing items with increasing frequency, talk with your physician. Certain medications or lifestyle changes may help. To find a physician in your area, visit CHIMemorialMedicalGroup.org.
Source: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31363-6/fulltext

Simplify self care in 15 minutes or less

What is self-care? Simply put, it’s the act of taking care of yourself. Most people know taking time for themselves is important to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing – but fitting it in to our busy schedules is easier said than done.

Self-care should be simple, but in reality, it’s easy to put off things that bring peace and calmness to your days when your schedule is packed and responsibilities seem never ending. If you’re feeling the pressure from work, family or other obligations, these quick and effective ideas will help you take a deep breath and unwind after a long day (or week)! 

Relieve…

By drinking plenty of fluids. A cup of warm and soothing herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey is sure to usher in a good night’s sleep. Not only is it relaxing, hot tea has also been shown to ease unwanted cold symptoms. If drinking in the late afternoon or evening, be sure to choose a decaffeinated option.

Read…

Anything that brings you joy or amusement. The act of reading can help take your mind off the troubles of the day and whisk you away to another place. As long as it’s not causing your stress, time with a good book or favorite magazine qualifies as self-care.  

Refuel…

Even though we have to eat and drink to live, choosing the right things can also qualify as self-care. Eating small, well-balanced meals, like a hearty salad with lean protein or reaching for fruit as a snack, will give you energy and help you feel your best. Drinking plenty of water will also help you avoid those sluggish feelings.

Revitalize…

There’s nothing that will give you a boost of energy like a quick walk around the block, a quick ride on a bike, or even doing a short routine of lunges and squats in your living room. It doesn’t take long to get your blood pumping, and you’ll feel an immediate improvement in your mood and energy level.

Relax…

Take 10 minutes to wash away the day by soaking in the bath or a hot tub. Soaking in a warm aromatherapy bath with your favorite scents or essential oils can melt away the stressors of the day and ease stiffness and soreness. For a quick DIY bath salt recipe, mix 1 cup of Epsom salt with 5-8 drops of your favorite essential oil blend. Draw a bath and add ¼ cup to the warm water and enjoy!  

Release…

Tight muscles – especially in the shoulders, neck and upper back – are common if you spend much time at a computer or looking down at your phone. Take a moment to move your head side to side, bringing your ear as close to your shoulder as possible. Then drop your chin to your chest and feel the tension releasing in your shoulders. Lastly, stand with feet shoulder with apart and bend over at the waist. Relax your neck and let the weight of your body stretch out your lower back and hamstrings.

Repair…

Itchy and cracked skin can be painful. But thankfully, dry skin on hands and feet can easily be improved by applying a body cream or lotion right out of the shower. Layering it while your skin is still moist will help seal moisture into your upper layer of skin. Get another boost of moisture before bed by keeping a rich hand cream by your bedside.

Recharge…

A power nap – that’s not more than 15 minutes – can boost your alertness, perkiness and productivity. To get the best benefit, select the right setting so that noise and light won’t interrupt, and time it so that it’s not too late in the day. This might throw off your sleep patterns and make it difficult to doze at bedtime.    

Why flying dehydrates you

If you’re stepping off a plane and not feeling well, it’s likely due to dehydration. When your body doesn’t have the water it needs to function optimally, you’ll quickly feel effects like fatigue, nausea, headaches and more. The inside of an airplane cabin creates the perfect conditions for your body to lose water faster than normal. In the sky, the humidity is near 10-20 percent. That’s drier than most desserts around the world. The humidity on the ground typically ranges from 30-60 percent. This drop in humidity combined with an airplane’s air circulation system also makes you breathe a little faster – leading to faster-than-normal dehydration. 

What can you do about it?
The amount of water you need to stay hydrated depends on the length of your flight. Aim for eight ounces of water for every hour in the air, particularly if your flight lasts longer than three hours. Other ways to stay hydrated include opting for a hydrating snack like strawberries, apples, oranges, or grapes, using saline solutions to keep your nasal passages moist, and use a hand cream that locks in moisture during your flight. 

3-minute mindful meditation to ease flight anxiety

We all feel stressed from time to time. If you feel uneasy about air travel, follow this short but effective meditation to help you quell your nerves and feel calm, relaxed and present.

Close your eyes and become aware of your breathing. Take a few deep and cleansing breaths, inhaling and holding at the top of your breath for a moment before you exhale. Let the air ascend to the tops of your collarbones. Inhale and feel the expansion of your body and let the air cascade down as you exhale. Use the breath to bring your mind to the present moment.

Continue to Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. As you inhale, feel the air coming into the body. As you exhale, feel the warm hair exhaling through your mouth. 

Focus on being mindful and completely aware of nothing but this moment. Breathe in through the nose to the count of 4 and out to the count of 6. Feel your shoulders sinking down and your neck elongating. Relax your forehead, eyes, ears, jaws and the muscles of the neck. 

When you feel your mind wandering with concerns, bring it back to your breath and to the present. Anxiety is anticipation of the future, but when you stay present, there’s little room for these emotions.

Whatever thoughts come and go, simply observe them and let them pass by. Notice the rhythm of your breathing. Do not try to force it into a specific pattern but concentrate on the air passing in and out of your mouth and the rise and fall of your body. 

If flying makes you feel you are no longer in control of a situation, remember that you are still in control of your thoughts and your breath. Gently breathe in and out, in and out. Feel a gentle surrender, feeling comfortable and safe as you’re letting go. 

In this very moment, you are present.  

Ways to avoid paying overweight luggage fees

If you’ve got a big back to check, you might also be paying additional luggage fees. To keep the overall costs of your trip down, follow these simple tips. 

Know the rules. Most airlines in the U.S. allow bags up to 50 pounds before overweight luggage charges apply. Don’t take chances – check your airline’s website for their dimensions and weight limitations.  

Choose a ‘capsule wardrobe’ for your outfits. Bringing fewer things along is obvious, but by choosing clothing and shoes that you can combine and wear in several different ways will maximize your space more efficiently.  

Pack strategically. Although a little more expensive up front, choose ultra-lightweight luggage instead of the standard variety. Lightweight luggage can be up to seven pounds lighter, which gives you seven more pounds of packing room! It may also save you money to check two lighter bags that are under the weight limit than one bag that exceeds it. This information will also be available on the airline’s website. 

Weigh your bags before leaving home. Whether it’s a handheld luggage scale or the bathroom variety, take the extra step of weighing your bags so there are no surprises at check in. It’s also helpful to see if you can squeeze in just one more item without going over the limit! 

Carry or wear your heaviest items. Need boots or an overcoat for hiking or skiing? Want to catch up on some reading on your beach vacation? Leaving your laptop at home not an option? All these items aren’t fun to lug through the airport, but they will save you from paying additional fees. 

Boost your odds

Add years to your life and life to your years with this timely advice!

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Set yourself up for success: Partner up. If it’s been a while since your last visit, schedule a checkup. This is a good time to start building a relationship with your physician and to check on key health indicators, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. Your physician will discuss your target levels and a plan of action for levels that don’t meet your goals.

Exercise Rx: Take charge of your fate. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderately intense aerobic activity, such as brisk walking. Strength train at least two days per week. Why? Most adults lose 0.5 pounds of muscle per year after age 30, largely due to inactivity. It’s also common to gain an average of 1 to 2 pounds of fat with each passing year. These small changes can add up, increasing your risk for type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart attack and some cancers. While aerobic exercise is the most effective way to lose weight and burn fat, strength training helps preserve the muscle you have and can boost your metabolic rate by much is 15 percent.

Reminder

The American Cancer Society recommends women ages 40 and better have an annual mammogram. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your physician may advise starting before age 40. Call (423) 495-4040 to schedule your screening mammogram.

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Set yourself up for success: Safeguard your skeleton. Ladies, your risk for the bone disease osteoporosis increases after menopause. Once your period stops, you can lose up to 20 percent of your bone density over the next decade or so, unless you take steps to stay strong. Strive to consume 1200 milligrams of calcium per day from food and or supplements; men need 1000 milligrams. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Aim for 600 IUs per day.

Exercise RX: Stay on the strength train. Keep up with your goal of strength training at least twice a week doing at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity. Strength training helps protect you against diabetes, depression, heart disease and loss of balance. A recent study also found that postmenopausal women who participated in weight bearing exercise, such as lifting weights using resistance machines, walking or jogging, reduce their lifetime risk for osteoporosis by up to 11 percent.

Reminder
Screening options, like colonoscopy, can detect colorectal cancer in its early stages and find abnormal growth (polyps) years before cancer develops. You may need testing before age 50 if you have a personal or family history of polyps for colorectal cancer or other risk factors. Talk with your physician about scheduling a screening.

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Set yourself up for success: Keep striving. As you age and maybe even leave the workforce ask yourself: what do I want to accomplish now? Whether it’s volunteering, starting a new business, taking a class or traveling, continually setting new goals can help you live better longer. In fact, a recent study found that people who had a purpose in life are much likely are to maintain their independence overtime, rather than succumb to disability.

Exercise RX: Find balance. Staying active strengthens bones and muscles which helps reduce your risk of falling and lowers your chance of injury if you do fall. Visit the National Institute on Aging at www.nia.nih.gov and search for balance exercises. Talk with your physician about adding some of these moves to your routine. He or she can also identify health conditions or drug interactions that increase your risk of falling. Stick with your goal of 150 and 50 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity.

Reminder

Ask your physician about having a vaccination to prevent shingles, a painful rash that can appear on the face or body years after a person has had chickenpox. If you’re 65 or older, have a pneumonia shot. 

7 Steps to a Longer (and More Fulfilling) Life

If you’re thinking about ways to stay feeling younger, you’re not alone. Although you can’t turn back the hands of time, you can take some practical steps to keep ticking longer than the expected 78.7 years. Check out these ways to add years to your life and life to your years!

  1. Make exercise a priority. You already know that you should hit the gym or exercise regularly, but do you know why you should? Heart disease is the number one killer of American men and women. If you’re interested in protecting yourself, exercise is our greatest defense. Get your heart pumping by biking with your family or working out with friends. Regular exercise protects again heart- and life-threatening diseases.   
  2. Schedule family and friend time. Getting together with close family and friends helps improve your emotional state. It can also lower your blood pressure, reducing your risk for heart disease. If everyone is busy, spend some quality time with your pets. Their companionship can also help lower your blood pressure and help you relax. 
  3. Ask questions. Want an easy way to get more involved in your health? Become your physician’s right-hand man (or woman)! It’s important to trust your doctor, but you also need all the facts. If you’re unsure about anything concerning your health – ask. No matter if you believe a medication error has been made or you want to learn more about alternative treatment options, your physician should be open to talking with you about your concerns. You know your body better than anyone – and you are your best healthcare advocate. 
  4. Think positively. Easier said than done, but studies have shown that optimism generates energy, keeps pain at bay and can even help you live longer! By choosing to look on the bright side (instead of dwelling on the negative), you’re helping lower stress levels. And while you’re at it, find some funny videos or reruns of your favorite sitcom to help lighten your mood. Laughing out loud helps you relax and sends signals to your body to release endorphins – your body’s version of ibuprofen. 
  5. Attend church – regularly. Staying involved with your church and adhering to religious principles is beneficial to your health according to several studies. Benefits include a drop is stress levels, more stable emotions, and an increase in a positive attitude. What’s more, connecting with likeminded family and friends can help you build resiliency in difficult times. 
  6. Take a chocolate break. That’s right – that delight of eating a little bit of chocolate every day may be better for you than you think! The National Institutes of Health say consuming a moderate amount of this heavenly substance (think a few M&Ms or a 25-calorie Hershey’s kiss), may help protect against heart disease. Instead of milk chocolate, reach for the dark chocolate varieties that include more heart disease-fighting antioxidants.
  7. Keep your yearly doctor’s appointment. Want to live longer? Protect yourself by maintaining appropriate screenings for cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. When life gets busy, it’s easy to put these checkups on the backburner. Most screenings for men and women don’t begin until you’re 40 years old but establishing a relationship with a primary care physician earlier in life can help you quickly address unexpected medical conditions and keep your health on track. If you’re over 40, take a few minutes now for a health screening that could save your bones – or your life – later.  

Do you have a relationship with a physician you trust? CHI Memorial Medical Group has convenient locations throughout Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Our network of dedicated physicians provides quality health care for the entire family. Specialties include breast surgery, family and internal medicine, general surgery, gerontology, gynecology, infectious disease, metabolic surgery, pediatrics, pulmonology, rheumatology, thoracic surgery and urology. For a list of physicians in your community, visit chimemorialmedicalgroup.org

 

Make photocopies of important documents

Have you ever experienced that moment of panic going through security and you think you’ve lost your ticket, passport or other important travel documents? It’s likely happened to all of us at one time or another. Here’s a quick way to calm your mind and help make sure your trip doesn’t get derailed if you misplace essential paperwork. 

Before your leave home, take a photo of each of your travel documents, including your boarding pass, personal identification, passport, hotel reservations and any transportation details that are hard to remember. If you have your phone, you’ll have a copy of everything you need. Bonus tip: text or email those photos to your traveling companions so everyone’s on the same page. 

healthy

Becoming Wholly Healthy – Caring for Mind, Body, Spirit

Your to-do list keeps growing and your turnaround times are shrinking. When you wake up in the morning (or as you lay awake in bed at night), your mind spins with all you have to do and how little time you have to do it. Head pounding, heart racing, quickened breathing. How will you ever get it all done? 

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re not alone. In today’s world, we’re often too busy to take notice of the stress signals that are body is clearly sending us. But ignoring these signals can have detrimental consequences to our life and health. Our mental, physical and spiritual elements are closely connected and intertwined. When one aspect is out of balance, the whole body suffers. Here are some simple suggestions to for staying wholly healthy.

Mind

  • Do a daily crossword puzzle or word scramble (not on your smart phone or tablet).
  • Make time for play with your kids or grandchildren routinely.
  • Read a book that interests and challenges you.
  • Take 10 minutes each day to meditate or complete deep breathing exercises to center your thoughts and emotions.

Body

  • Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Work up to 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week.
  • Stretch for 5 minutes before getting into or out of bed to maintain or improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains. Reach for high-fat favorites with moderation.
  • After a long day, soak in hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus.

Spirit

  • Reach out to friends. Research shows that people with a strong social support live longer – and healthier – lives than their solitary neighbors. Make a phone call, write a quick note or invite someone for coffee.
  • Belly-laugh often. Whether it’s your favorite tv show, your grandkid’s jokes or your favorite pet’s antics, laughter and lighthearted humor helps you cope with life’s challenges.
  • Make time for yourself. Carving out quiet time shouldn’t be a luxury. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, pray, meditate, or read your Bible or other inspirational book to help feed your soul.

Healthy Plane Travel – What to Pack, What to Wear, How to Prepare

How you prep for a flight can make all the difference in your comfort and your health. In addition to your travel documents and laptop, check out these must-haves for a safe, healthy and enjoyable trip!

What to Pack

  • Stay hydrated with your own filtered water bottle.
  • Keep germs at bay with a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • Stock up on low-sugar protein bars or small bags of nuts.
  • Help hands and lips stay hydrated with a creamy lotion and soothing lip balm.
  • Headphones and sleep mask are a must if you don’t feel like chatting with your neighbor or need to catch some inflight ZZZs.

What to Wear

  • Wear comfortable close that are loose fitting and shoes that are easy to remove during check in.
  • Dress in layers. Start with a thin t-shirt or tank top, then throw on a cardigan or light jacket.
  • Throw a pair of cozy socks and a light scarf in your bag to keep you comfortable, no matter the temperature on the plane.  
  • If you’re bringing a hat, wear it instead of packing inside your suitcase to keep it from getting crushed in transit.

How to Prepare

  • Combat the dry humidity inside an airplane by avoiding sodas, alcohol and caffeine before and during your flight.
  • Drink 8 ounces of water every hour you’re in the air.
  • Use lotion on your hands, face and lips to keep skin hydrated.
  • Even though the pillows and blankets provided during flight are cleaned regularly, they may still contain germs embedded in the material. Bring your own neck pillow and earphones to limit your exposure to pathogens left on frequently used items.
  • If you are sick (or recovering from a recent illness), consider wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • Only sleep during your flight if you would be sleeping at home, otherwise stay awake. You can also get ahead of jet lag by scheduling your flight to arrive at your destination in the evening. Going to bed early will help you get in sync with your new environment.

 

What to Eat in the Airport (and What to Avoid)

We’ve all been there – you’re running late to the airport and you didn’t take time for dinner beforehand. Or you’re stuck waiting during a long layover. Many airports offer a wide range of food options, but it can be hard to know which options are the healthiest. Instead of heading straight to the food court, check out these ideas that are sure to provide the energy you need for a long travel day – without the dreaded bloat or sugar crash. 

  1. Help yourself to whole foods. Instead of fast food, you’re better off visiting the small stores or kiosks that offer single servings of whole foods – like apples, bananas, dried fruit and nuts.

    Nuts and seeds are chocked full of healthy fat, protein and fiber. They’re also available in pre-portioned bags, making it easier to know how much you’re consuming. Fruits are always a great choice to boost your fiber and water intake while satisfying a sweet tooth at the same time! 
  2. Drink a smart smoothie. If you’re hungry and thirsty, a smoothie can be a delicious and filling choice. To keep it healthy, look at the ingredients closely to avoid ones with proprietary blends that may contain unnatural ingredients and added sugar.
  3. Say yes to yogurt. Just like with all foods, read the labels to make sure you’re choosing a variety that doesn’t contain added sugar. Plain Greek yogurt from an airport market with some type of fruit (like a banana or strawberries) will keep your metabolism up and help you feel satisfied
  4. Indulge wisely. If you must have a snack – stay away from the candy and reach for the darkest chocolate you can find. Loaded with antioxidants, dark chocolate quickly satisfies and comes in at just 160 calories per serving.

Foods to Avoid

In addition to greasy or fatty foods, keep on walking when you pass these enticing food choices.

  • The temporary sugar high you’ll get from a candy bar or other sugar-filled treat is not worth the crash in blood sugar. Read labels to make sure you avoid anything with more than 10 grams.
  • Salty snacks can leave you feeling dehydrated, something that already happens on a long flight. Don’t compound the problem by reaching for chips or crackers.  
  • Tempted by sushi or something on a buffet? Because there’s no way to know how long these items have been sitting out, you’re putting yourself at risk for food poisoning.

Snacks from Home

If you have time to plan ahead and bring snacks, nutritionists recommend these high protein options that will keep you feeling full and satisfied – and less likely to make a questionable stop at a fast food counter.

  • Almonds – Nuts are a go-to snack that are rich in fiber, protein, vitamin E. They’re also shelf-stable and travel well, making them the first choice for nutrition on the go.
  • Oatmeal – Slip an oatmeal packet into your bag, and a satisfying meal is within your reach. Any time there’s hot water around, you can combine oatmeal and a packet of nut butter for a fiber and protein rich snack that will keep you full for hours.
  • Roasted chickpeas – Just half a cup of this crunchy snack serves up six grams of fiber and 7.5 grams of protein, keeping you full for the long haul. 
  • Homemade trail mix – Better than the store-bought variety, mix up equal parts peanuts, whole grain cereal and raisins or cranberries for the perfect balance of sweet and salty that really satisfies.

Help Manage Migraines with These Simple Switches

If you suffer from migraines, you know that managing this painful condition is not an easy task. Migraine headaches typically causes severe, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, which is typically worse with movement, loud noises, bright lights and strong smells. Often there is nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision. Before the headache starts, some people may experience auras, such as flashing lights or jagged lines gradually moving across the visual field or numbness moving up or down the body. Migraine headaches usually first occur before age 40 and often start in childhood.  

No matter what type you have, migraines are associated with pain, disability and diminished quality of life. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to heading off migraine pain, there are simple switches you can make that can lessen the frequency and severity of this debilitation condition.  

Simple switch: Recognize your triggers.

You may think you know the cause of your migraines, but by keeping diary, you can home in specifically on the times, routines, foods or external factors that may be contributing to your migraine. Things you may want to track include your exercise routine, the weather, what you eat and drink, when your stress levels spike, when and how long your migraines occur, and any medication side effects. Identifying patterns and behaviors can get your one step closer to understanding – and avoiding – migraine triggers.

Simple switch: Supplement with proper nutrients.

It can be hard to get all the nutrients our bodies need through food alone. Some studies have suggested that certain dietary supplement and vitamins – like magnesium and riboflavin – may be helpful in preventing recurring headaches.  Magnesium deficiency has been linked to the onset of migraines, specifically those related to menstruation. Riboflavin or vitamin B-12 has been shown to reduce the frequency and duration of migraine attacks – with no serious side effects noted.

Always check with your doctor before starting any herbal medication or supplement to ensure they won’t interact with any prescribed medications you’re taking.

Simple Switch: Limit or avoid foods known to initiate headaches.

Once you’ve kept a headache diary, you’ll have more information about what foods may trigger a migraine. Certain foods and drinks – like chocolate, red wine, sweeteners, aged cheese, preservatives and processed meets – are the most widely noted migraine triggers. Paying attention to your food choices, limiting what you consume, or eliminating them from your diet could offer significant relief.

Simple Switch: Limit alcohol consumption.  

For people who are sensitive to headaches or migraines, even a small amount of alcohol can bring on an attack. If you’ve ever had one too many drinks and felt the effects the next day, that’s completely normal. But for many, just one glass of bubbly, red wine or a stiff cocktail can lead to a serious headache. Dehydration that’s caused by drinking may also play a role. If you decide to imbibe, be sure to sip water along with your beverage.

Simple switch: Stay hydrated.

Because headaches thrive on dehydration, drinking enough water every single day is critical to preventing them. When the amount of fluid your body uses isn’t replenished during the day through eating and drinking, your body can become dehydrated. Dehydration can temporarily cause the brain to shrink or contract, causing pain and triggering a mild headache to a full-on migraine.

As a baseline, drink at least eight cups of water a day and eat fluid-rich foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon and cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, and citrus fruits. To make sure you’re drinking enough fluids, sip throughout the day rather than just at meal times or when you’re exercising.

Simple switch: Manage your stress.

We admit, this one might not be so simple. Unregulated stress can have negative effects throughout your body, including increasing the frequency and severity of tension headaches and migraines. Whether it’s through regular exercise, yoga, meditation, or participating in a hobby that relaxes you, finding ways to reduce psychological stress will do your body good.

Simple switch: Stick to strict sleep schedule.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, people who have migraines are between two and eight times more likely than the general public to experience sleep disorders. Sleep loss or oversleeping are common headache triggers, and regular, adequate sleep leads to fewer headaches. Going to bed and waking at the same time every day can help contribute to healthy, restorative sleep. If you’re suffering from sleep issues – like snoring, sleep apnea or teeth grinding – addressing those problems may also help reduce migraines.

Effective management of migraines often includes avoiding triggers, lifestyle modifications, non-pharmacological pain management and prescription medication. If you’ve tried these tips and haven’t found relief, it may be time to talk with your doctor about additional ways to stop the migraines and start living life with less pain. To find a physician in your area, visit CHIMemorialMedicalGroup.org.

Prep for Trip Success

After a long flight, the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to remember your hotel when you’re wrangling luggage and trying to catch an Uber. To set yourself up for a successful trip, take pictures of all your travel documents and save them in a folder on your phone. This includes all flight info, but also your hotel address and phone number. The Google “Keep” ap can be downloaded for free and is a great way to keep miscellaneous details in one convenient location.

6 Sustaining Snacks

Hungry? It can be tempting to reach for a candy bar as a quick fix – but these low-sugar alternatives are a better bet. 

  1. Dried apricots – These tasty treats are just a nutritious as the fresh variety but are great on the go. They’re a great source of Vitamin A, which helps enhance your vision and keeps your immune system in check. They’re also rich in dietary fiber and are a treasure trove of antioxidants that work to kill free radicals that damage our cells.
  2. Small bowl of cherries – In just one cup (or about 21 cherries), you get 15 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and only 100 calories! This tart and sweet fruit is also chocked full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.
  3. Oat bran muffin – Bran is the outer layer of a wheat kernel and is packed with fiber, vitamins B and E, antioxidants and phytochemicals. The average adult is recommended to eat 25 to 38 grams of fiber every day, which has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal diseases. This yummy snack will also help keep constipation at bay.
  4. Raisins or raisin toast – Small but mighty, raisings are packed with energy – not to mention fiber, vitamins and minerals. They’re naturally sweet, so keep your serving size small. But as an alternative to candy, these delicious treats aid digestion and boost iron levels. Since they’re often sold in small, single serving boxes, this tasty snack comes in around 100 calories.
  5. Oatmeal cookies – Compared to sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies provide a small amount of protein and iron and have fewer calories. The oatmeal also contains calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium that all contribute to overall pyysical health.
  6. Pita bread with almond butter – Pita bread has fewer calories than regular bread, but it contains 5.5 grams of protein. Choose the whole wheat variety to increase your fiber intake and add a swipe of unsalted almond butter for a touch of sweetness and a little crunch. 

In a Funk?

Music can work magic on your mood!

You probably have heard – and likely experienced firsthand – how music can affect your mood. In fact, you might have a certain artist or music station you play when you’re feeling a certain way. Why does this happen? Without realizing it, you’re tapping into the power of music. 

Think of a song or piece of music as a book – it can cheer you up, make you laugh, and calm anxieties or fears as you’re transported to new places in your imagination. Music possesses these same magical abilities, but it may also have healing and intellectual powers. Studies show that music can help patients undergoing chemotherapy respond better to treatment. Studies have also shown a direct correlation between improved SAT scores and length of time making or studying music.

What’s more, hearing a favorite song or hymn can lift your spirits, and listening to your favorite dance music can get you moving. Grooving to your favorite beat also gets your heart pumping – releasing those happiness-inducing endorphins that make you feel good.

So the next time you’re feeling stifled at the office, frustrated waiting in traffic, or feeling upset after a tough day, turn on some powerful, uplifting tunes. You day just might turn around.

Take Note 
Hit The High Notes Throughout Your Day with These Simple Tips

During Your Commute

Softer, more soothing music like easy rock or country can help keep your sanity – and temper – in check during rush hour. It’s even better when you sing along.

Try Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” or Marvin Gaye’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”

At the Office

Jazz has long been recognized for its relaxing qualities, and classical music has been shown to increase mood and concentration, setting you up for a productive work day. A frequently cited study about music and productivity has even noted the “Mozart effect,” showing that abstract reasoning ability is boosted after listening to Mozart for even a short time each day.

Try Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album or Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante.”

Jamming at Home

Whether you’re cooking, cleaning or getting ready for the day, finding the right beat can help keep you motivated and moving.

Try Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” or Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It.” 

Fun fact/tip: use a secure network

Protect your finances – don’t login to bank accounts or other financial institutions on public wifi. 

It can be tempting to catch up on home management tasks when you’re stuck in the airport waiting on a connection or if your flight is delayed. But you might want to reconsider. Using free wi-fi is undoubtedly convenient, and the options are seemingly endless. But here are multiple risks that go along with using free Wi-Fi. Would-be hackers can use unsecured Wi-Fi to easily take advantage of unsuspecting browsers.

How are you at risk? Some hackers use wi-fi to distribute malware designed to infect the software on your computer or other portable devices. Others use the free networks to snoop and gain access to your login credentials, passwords, personal data and more. Because many people don’t use secure passwords, they’re at even higher risk.

The bottom line is that not all public hotspots or Wi-Fi connections are legitimate. Choose security over convenience when it comes to your personal financial accounts and only access these websites from a virtual private network (VPN) or on a secure network at a location you can verify and trust are protected.

Meet 5 Truly ‘Super’ Foods

Most meals fill us up and give us energy to make it through the day. But some foods go beyond our basic needs to provide perks that range from better eyesight to cleaner blood vessels to a reduced risk for cancer.

QUINOA
What: A gluten-free whole grain grown in the Andean region of South America – and now widely available in American supermarkets.
Why: Diets rich in whole grains protect you from chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Quinoa cooks quickly and provides complete protein – including the amino acid lysine, which many grains lack. That’s along with hefty helpings of iron, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber.

PISTACHIOS
What: A bright green nut native to the Middle East
Why: Crack them open to indulge in heart-healthy fats and antioxidants, including eye-protecting lutein and zeaxanthin. Studies show pistachios also help stabilize blood sugar and fight inflammation.
How: Sprinkle in grain dishes, crush and use to coat meats, or eat as a snack. Buy Nuts in the shell to help control your portions.

SALMON
What: A fatty, pink-fleshed fish available fresh, frozen or canned
Why: Among ocean dwellers, salmon swims as king, with more artery-clearing omega-3 fatty acids than any other common seafood. Low levels of contaminants like mercury make salmon safe even for children and pregnant women (in limited quantity).
How: Press into patties, scoop canned salmon onto sandwiches, or enjoy a grilled fillet rubbed with spices.

CURRY
What: A spice blend featuring the yellow-hued turmeric, along with coriander, cumin, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
Why: Besides a warm, bitter taste, turmeric lends curries anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. Laboratory studies suggest curcumin, found in turmeric, may help prevent some conditions, such as cancer. Some people find turmeric and ginger ease stomach pain, nausea and other gastrointestinal complaints.
How: Simmer with vegetables, steam with rice, or spoon over lentils.

SPINACH
What: A dark, leafy green first grown 2,000 years ago and made popular in Popeye cartoons
Why: Spinach packs a hefty nutritional punch into a low-calorie, fat-free package. Besides fiber, magnesium and calcium, each serving offers folate, iron, vitamins A and K, and B vitamins. Folate and some b vitamins can ward off infections and other illnesses.
How: Eat raw in salads, cook into omelets and stir-fries, or even blend into smoothies.  

Overnight flight?

Don’t leave home without these essentials.

 

Are you heading out on a long-haul flight soon? After packing up your toiletries, medications, identification and travel documents, these are the absolute must-haves to make your flight more relaxing and enjoyable.

Insulated Water Bottle
Staying hydrated during a long flight isn’t easy. The humidity level in most commercial airplanes is just 10 to 20 percent (which is even drier than the Sahara Desert)! Drinking plenty of water in-flight will help you feel refreshed rather than drained. Pack an empty, insulated water bottle at home and then purchase an ice water after you make it through the gate. You’ll have something cool to sip on for several hours.

Skimping on water intake causes fatigue, headaches and irritated skin – even when you’re on the ground. The side effects are compounded on a flight because the air circulated in the plane is incredibly dry. Keeping a full water bottle will help ward off dry skin and muscle cramps, too!

In-Flight Entertainment  
Even if your goal is to unplug a bit on a long flight, it’s still nice to have a few distractions. A light book or a stack of magazines is a great start, but if you’re looking to lighten your load, downloading digital books, magazines and games is the way to go! Depending on your preferences, a tablet, e-reader or your phone will get the job done.  

The Chattanooga Airport offers SkyLib, made possible by Friends of the Library. This low-cost library offers a range of options – kids’ literature, fiction and non-fiction titles – that can be purchased on the honor system. Most titles are $3 to $5 each.

Another low or no-cost option is to seek out and subscribe to podcasts. The options are endless, and there’s something for every interest. Whether you’re in the mood for self-help, a juicy drama or want to learn strategies for building a business, there’s a podcast for that! Just be sure to download all the episodes before you take off.

If you haven’t purchased a portable charger – now’s the time! No more worries about your phone, tablet or computer going down in the middle of your flight. Many chargers can charge up a phone several times before needing to be powered up again. A longer charging cord is also a good option so you don’t have to be huddled around an outlet in the airport.

Sleep Necessities
Sleep can be elusive, especially during air travel.  If you can pick a flight that aligns with your normal sleeping patterns, great! You’re already on your way to feeling good when you land. If not, then try your best to recreate your regular nighttime routine – like brushing your teeth and reading a book – before trying to get some shut eye.   

When it comes to traveling, comfort is key. Choose clothes that don’t dig into your skin – like leggings or jogger pants made of soft fabrics, shoes that slip off easily, a pair of cozy socks, and a scarf or sarong that doubles as a light blanket.

The biggest enemy to resting on a plane? A chatty neighbor, a crying baby or another passenger who keeps tapping his chair – noise comes in all forms! To save your sanity, earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones are a must! Don’t forget an eye mask to block out the light and to signal to those around you that you’re ready to sleep.

If you’re someone who has difficulty falling asleep to any sort of music, you can drown out distracting sounds with white noise. Ambient sounds like rainfall or the ocean breeze are soothing and rhythmic – and might just you to sleep. There are many free white noise apps available including Relaxio, a free, easy-to-use app that lets you layer your sounds for a completely customized experience.

Some would argue that a neck pillow takes up too much space and is hard to pack, but there’s no better assurance that you can get some rest. If getting comfortable on a long flight is a priority, there are many options from the traditional U-shaped variety to a wrap-around scarf that will help you catch some ZZZs. One quick tip: Place the pillow at the front of your neck instead of the back. When you nod off, the pillow will support your head and keep you from jerking awake.

Little Luxuries
You can’t take everything with you when you fly, but you can pack little treats that make the trip more enjoyable. Even though you can make notes on your phone, it’s nice to have a pen and small notebook to jot down ideas or make lists while you’re in the air. A lux hand cream and lip balm will keep your skin moisturized and help you feel more comfortable. Lastly, pack a few of your favorite snacks – like mixed nuts, granola bars, a piece of fruit, or even your favorite candy. This small indulgence is sure to help your time in the air fly by!

Vitamins: Love Them or Leave Them?

Vitamins are all around us. On pharmacy shelves, in grocery store aisles, in powdered and pill form – they’re a booming industry. But do vitamins actually offer health benefits or is all so much snake oil? Read on to learn more about the great vitamin debate! 

Does everyone need a vitamin to have a perfectly healthy day? In a word, no. As long as you are in good health and eat a fairly balanced diet, you will likely absorb enough essential vitamins from foods. A balanced diet would include items like fruit of all colors; dark greens; leafy vegetables; skim milk; 100 percent whole grains and lean proteins like skinless chicken.

But there are exceptions – people who are on a restricted diet, such as vegetarians or vegans’ those following a strict weight-loss plan and those with certain medical conditions, such as celiac disease, may benefit from multivitamins. And if you’re inside more often than not, you may be low in a key nutrient. The UV rays of the sun provide us with vitamin D, but we are indoors so much that vitamin D deficiency is not unusual today. It’s important, because new research shows that vitamin D may contribute to everything from muscle function to bone production.

If you have symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as fatigue or muscle aches, or if you fall into any of the other categories above, ask your physician if you should start taking vitamins or modify your diet. Vitamin D is found in some fish, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, and fortified products, such as milk.

Are there any risks associated with taking vitamins? It’s rare, but there is a chance that the body can store some vitamins for a long period of time, eventually causing an overdose. To be safe, follow the dosages that your physician recommends. A name-brand multivitamin from a known manufacturer probably won’t hurt most people, although medical experts are still debating how much it helps. Just remember to talk with your physicians before diving into the vitamin pool.

SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!

Is your vitamin really being absorbed by your body? Try this at-home test to see. Heat a half-cup of vinegar to 98.6 degrees, the temperature of your body. Place a vitamin in the cup and stir the vinegar – being careful not to hit the pill – continuously for 30 to 45 minutes. Try to maintain the temperature of the vinegar, moving it on and off the heat if necessary. If the vitamin hasn’t dissolved within 45 minutes, there’s a chance it’s not dissolving in your stomach, passing through your body primarily unused. 

If It’s Broken, Fix It

Sore joints. Back pain. Muscle tenderness. Aches, pains and injuries come with everyday life. 

It’s easy to think that pain will go away on its own but doing nothing or relying on a “quick fix” could make matters worse. Limping can throw off your body’s natural balance – not only can you aggravate the first injury, you can start to develop pain in other areas.  

When to See a Physician
Young people who experience pain, swelling or bruising or cannot bear weight should see a physician right away. It’s important to make sure they haven’t injured their growth plate, which is the part of the bone that continues expanding throughout adolescence and is a weak link in the bone. For adults, if there’s not an obvious break or deformity, it’s usually ok to wait a few days before visiting a physician. 

Try “PRICE” or protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation. If pain and swelling don’t improve, get checked out. Some orthopedic injuries don’t heal properly without medical attention. 

Treating Pain and Injury 
If minor pains turn into major problems, CHI Memorial offers elective treatments for orthopedic pain and injury. Options include knee, hip and shoulder replacement, hand and sports-related surgeries, foot and ankle reconstructions, and minimally invasive spine procedures. Non-surgical options include corticosteroid and platelet-rich plasma injections. 

The good news is that in many cases, advanced measures aren’t needed. Often, all healthy healing requires is medication to help relieve pain along with focused physical therapy or home-based exercises. 

STAY ON YOUR FEET. CHI Memorial offers the area’s leading Orthopedic Center of Excellence, helping you keep moving more comfortably. Visit our orthopedic center to learn more. 

How to fall asleep on a plane

You’ve made it through security, the ordeal of luggage checks, and now your three-hour flight looms large. Wouldn’t it be great if you could catch up on some ZZZs? For many travelers, drifting off under these less-than-optimal conditions may seem impossible. The next time you’re planning a trip, follow these to help you arrive alert, refreshed and ready to explore when the plane hits the runway. 

Pack your sleep essentials. Set yourself up for success by packing noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs, a thin blanket, travel pillow, sleeping mask and a book or magazine of your choice. Before your flight, stick to your routines. If you can, schedule a flight that matches your natural sleeping patterns. If this isn’t possible, follow your normal bedtimes routine that you do at home – including brushing your teeth or reading a book to relax. 

Dress for relaxation. Even though you probably don’t want to wear your pajamas, wear or change into something comfortable like soft pants and a loose-fitting top. Don’t forget to pack socks to keep your feet warm. 

Pick your seat wisely. If you can, choose your seat based on which side of your body you normally fall asleep. This will make it easier for you to doze off. The night before the flight, stay up a bit later so you’ll be ready for sleep when it’s time to board the plane.  

Prepare for rest. Even though it’s tempting, avoid snack cart before you snooze. Many of these treats are high in caffeine and sugar, which will make falling asleep even harder. During your flight, place your neck pillow under your chin rather than behind your head. This will keep your head from bobbing up and down as you drift off to sleep. Slip off your shoes and use your carry-on luggage as a footrest. Turn on your noise-cancelling headphones or put in your ear plugs, and block out light with an eye mask.  

Happy napping! 

 

Quick Ways to Help Your Heart Today

The average middle-aged adult has about a one in three chance of developing heart disease, finds alarming research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But there’s a silver lining. Control your risk factors right now, and you can delay its arrival by as long as 14 years or prevent heart problems altogether. Start with these simple steps.

Stop sipping on sugar.
Drink just one less can of regular soda per day to reduce both the top and bottom numbers of your blood pressure. That’s good news, since hypertension affects one in three adults in the U.S. – and it’s one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes.

Learn to love legumes.
Chickpeas, pintos, lentils – take your pick. People with type 2 diabetes who ate one cup of beans per day had better control of their blood sugar and reduced their heart disease, according to a study in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Fill up on fish.
Grill or bake fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring. People who eat fish two to four times per week are 20 percent less likely to die of heart disease and six percent less likely to have a stroke. That’s compared with those who dine on seafood less than once weekly.

Stand up.
Separate yourself from your chair. Being sedentary most of the day more than doubles your risk for heart attacks and diabetes and increases your risk for cardiovascular death by 90 percent – even if you exercise. Walk around during phone calls and ask your company to have more casual days. Research shows employees move more when they’re not in business attire. These minor changes can add up to about two-and-a-half hours of light activity each day, and a 20 percent boost in your calorie burn.

Nosh on nuts.
Almonds, pecans and pistachios do more than make good trail mix. They also reduce harmful blood fats when eaten instead of less healthy foods. Eating about two-and-a-half ounces of nuts per day – a little less than one-third of a cup – dropped both total and LDL (lousy) cholesterol levels after three to eight weeks, researchers report.

90% of American will develop high blood pressure (hypertension) over their lifetime. Talk with your physician about how to manage your risk factors.

5 Facts Your Pharmacist Wants You to Know

Your most valuable ally in the quest for better health may be as close as your local pharmacy! Check out these five key facts your pharmacist wants you to know. 

  1. They’re here for you. Today’s pharmacists are knowledgeable and well-trained. Most earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, which requires six years of academic study after high school. As educated, experienced specialists, their job is to work with you and your health care provider to ensure the medications you take enhance your health. If you have questions, don’t be shy to ask them anything – because they are there to help.
  2. Stick with one.  With all your prescription drug information stored in a single location, your regular pharmacist can identify potentially harmful interactions with other drugs. He or she can also share savings opportunities, such as an available generic version of a drug, that you can then discuss with your physician.
  3. Keep a list. Make a list of your current medications, including the name, dose, strength and how often you take it. Bring it with you to every medical appointment and pharmacy trip. It’s an easy yet very effective way to providers to review all your current medications.
  4. Know that antibiotics are not a cure all. Antibiotics are completely ineffective against viruses, such as bronchitis, which most people don’t realize. The danger of taking unneeded antibiotics is that your body can become resistant to them – so when you actually do have a dangerous bacterial infection, the antibiotic might not work. To prevent antibiotic resistance, remember that for viruses, including colds, antibiotics will not help.
  5. See your pharmacist for non-RX drugs. Sometimes, over-the-counter and herbal medications can interact with your other medications or have harmful side effects. Consult your pharmacist before you begin taking them.

The Carry-On Essentials You Can’t Leave Home Without

We all have our favorite things to bring with us on a flight – to help calm our nerves or make the flight more comfortable and enjoyable. Pack up these must-haves for your carry-on bag, and you’ll already be in vacation mode before the plane ever leaves the ground. 

Choose roomy bag with pockets. There’s nothing worse than misplacing your lip balm when your lips are dry or your pens are lost in the bottom of your bag. A carry on with small, zippered compartments will be your best bet to keep everything in its place. 

Keep it cozy. Even if it’s summer and temps are soaring outside, the temperature on a plane can be unpredictable. Start with unrestricting clothes in light layers. Add a thin scarf and a pair of soft socks – they’ll be lifesavers when temperatures drop. 

Entertainment. Don’t leave home without your laptop, cell phone and a great read. Whether you’re ready to dive into a classic novel or a fitness magazine is more your speed, having something to read on a plane is a must! A small notebook and pen make it easy to jot notes, create to-do lists or even pass the time journaling.

Snacks and hydration. Dry air on a plane is real, and it can wreak havoc on your skin – not to mention it can make you feel thirsty and dehydrated. The Aerospace Medical Association suggests travels drink about eight ounces of water for every hour you’re in the air. To meet this goal, pack an empty, reusable water bottle and fill it up once you’ve made it through security. Fruit and high protein snacks like nuts or trail mix will help keep blood sugars in check and keep you satisfied. 

Little extras. A lux hand cream, moisturizing lip balm, hair ties, and travel-sized makeup favorites will help you look and feel your best when you reach your destination. 

 

When should I worry about a cough that doesn’t go away? Could it be a sign of something serious?

If you’re fighting a cough, you’re not alone. A cough is one of the most common reasons for physician visits. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out why you can’t shake it.

Any cough that lasts less than three weeks is considered acute or short term. These coughs often follow a cold, bronchitis or sinus infection and usually go away on their own. They don’t usually require a physician’s visit. But if your cough lasts eight weeks or longer, it’s chronic and may need an evaluation.

Common causes of a cough include:

·         Postnasal drip, where mucus drips down the throat from chronic sinus problems or allergies

·         Acid reflux, a condition that causes stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus

·         ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems – cough is sometimes a side effect

·         Asthma

·         Smoking

Most coughs are not a sign of a serious illness but talk with your physician if a cough lasts eight weeks or longer. To connect with a primary care physician in your area, visit chimemorialmedicalgroup.org.  

Protect Your Joints for Life

Want to ensure a future full of healthy days? Take steps now to keep your joints happy. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent or reduce joint pain, which in turn can help you enjoy an active life for years to come. Being overweight increases the risk for osteoarthritis in the knee fourfold in women and fivefold in men. Each pound of weight you lose takes 4 to 6 pounds of pressure off your knees when you step. Shedding just 5 to 10 pounds can make a big difference in your joint health. 

 

To lose weight and increase your strength and range of motion, cross-training is your best bet. Cross training helps improve your fitness while protecting your body from injury by combining various exercises that work on different parts of the body. Running every day or only taking a spin class from the same person three times a week may lead to overuse injuries. And if you’ve ever experienced one of these sports-related injuries, you know how frustrating they can be. Cross training the perfect antidote, engaging your body in multiple ways to protect your joints and build strength.

What does cross training look like in practice? The beauty of cross training is that you can mix it up every day! Start with three days a week of cardiovascular exercise of your choice – walking/running, biking, swimming, step classes, or any activity that gets your heart pumping. On alternate days, build strength with Pilates, yoga or lifting weights. Focus on one of the body’s four major muscle groups each time your work out – arms, legs, torso (stomach) and back – to keep your body in balance. Youtube and Pinterest area great places to discover free workout videos and routines if you’re stumped about how to get started.  

When we do the same exercises over and over, our body becomes very efficient at performing those movements. Switching it up regularly will keep your body working harder, leading to faster gains in your physical fitness – all while keeping your joints safe!

Into the Evening…According to a recent research study, every two hours you spend watching TV may raise your diabetes and heart disease risk! Resist the urge to veg out and go for an evening stroll instead. During shows you can’t miss, lift weights or do yoga. 

Put Sleep Problems to Rest

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Forty percent of adults sleep less than 7 hours each weeknight, and 74 percent of adults experience sleeping problems a few nights a week. Men are three times more likely to be affected by sleep apnea than women. More than just interfering with your productivity (and how good you feel during the day), sleep apnea also poses other potential risks – like stroke, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

One in every 15 Americans are living – and suffering – with sleep apnea. That’s roughly 18 million people nationwide. What’s more, 10 million people don’t know they have the condition. Common signs of sleep apnea include excessive daytime sleepiness, extremely loud snoring, episodes of breathing cessation, insomnia and abrupt awakenings. Without enough quality sleep, people are more likely to experience moodiness, confusion, difficulty concentrating and memory problems. If feeling worn out even after a full night’s sleep is starting to get you down, it might be time to seek help from the sleep experts. 

Comprehensive Care Conquers Sleep 
CHI Memorial’s Sleep Center is fully accredited and uses advanced technology to diagnose sleep disorders and create personalized treatment plans. Board certified sleep specialists can help get to the bottom of your problem through a sleep study, or testing used to diagnose sleep disorders. During the study, a sleep technologist uses monitors to record your brain activity, breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels and other body functions. The results are evaluated by a sleep medicine specialist who then develops treatment recommendations. 

In addition to sleep apnea, treatment for others sleep disorders like insomnia, narcolepsy (uncontrollable drowsiness and sleeping), and restless leg syndrome are also available. Sleep apnea is most often addressed through a CPAP machine, a device that keeps your airway open while you sleep. Dental devices that move the jaw and tongue forward and cognitive behavioral therapy can also help patients change actions or thoughts that interfere with restful sleep. 

Sleep apnea can have serious consequences, but effective treatments are available to help you improve your quality of life. Click here to learn more about CHI Memorial’s Sleep Center, or call (423) 495-REST (7378). 

Improved Technology, Better Sleep

If you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep specialist will likely recommend CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy – it’s the gold standard for treating OSA and some other sleep disorders. CPAP machines are electronic devices that use a connective hose and breathing mask to deliver humidified and pressurized air into the nose. It’s meant to help improve sleep and reduce daytime fatigue. Added benefits include lowering the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions that are linked to many sleep issues. 

Many people are quick to dismiss CPAP therapy, thinking the machine would be too cumbersome, bothersome or uncomfortable. Thankfully in the last 10 years, CPAP technology has improved dramatically, including: 

Quieter devices. While some enjoy the white noise that comes from earlier generation CPAP machines, others have likened it to a dull roar. Today’s models are sleek and quiet, making it easier for you – and your partner – to sleep more soundly. 

Better fitting face masks. A properly fitting face mask is one of the keys to success with a CPAP machine. Although the traditional triangular mask works well for some patients, others find it confining. Nasal pillows are a great option that seal around the base of the nose using a soft pillow. This headgear is preferred by people who want a less restrictive mask. Further breakthroughs in technology are replacing standard headgear with adhesive strips that adhere to the patient’s nose. Because they aren’t inserted into the nostrils, they’re the least invasive face mask option available today. 

Lower pressure options for sensitive patients. Some people who have difficulty with wearing a CPAP report that the amount of pressure delivered by older machines was too much to handle. Patient-specific pressure settings available on some newer models can be carefully adjusted for each patient’s airway and comfort. 

Improved portability. In the past, people with sleep apnea had to choose between lugging around a large machine or risking a bad night’s sleep while away from home or traveling. Newer CPAP machines are much smaller, more compact and easily fit in a suitcase, without sacrificing the machine’s quality. 

If your sleep study shows you would benefit from CPAP therapy for sleep apnea, you have options. CHI Memorial Sleep Center will work with you to find the right combination of devices and accessories to help you sleep more soundly – and more comfortably – than you thought possible. Call (423) 495-REST (7378) for more information. 

Realistic Resolutions for a Healthy Year

It can be tempting at the beginning of each new year to make drastic new year’s resolutions. Overhaul your diet! Workout 5 days a week! Stop eating sugar! Research has shown that 65% of people choose to make a resolution each year, but most abandon the same resolution before the end of January. No doubt, it can be a challenge to modify your behavior – even when you know it’s good for your health.  We are set in our ways, and often fall back on poor eating habits and forgo exercise when schedules get busy and life is stressful. So how do you make the changes you know are good for you and stick with them in the long term? The key to success is short, attainable goals. 

1.       Add one vegetable and one piece of fruit to your plate every day. Slice up a banana for your bowl of cereal, swap out apple and peanut butter for your afternoon bag of chips or pretzels. Amp up your greens by eating a side salad a few nights each week or put a serving of spinach in your smoothie. You’ll get more fiber and feel full longer, which make it easier to say no to unhealthy snacks.

2.       Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Although sleep is a necessity to good health, it’s often treated like a luxury. If you’re a natural night owl who resists turning in early, aim to shut off the lights just 15 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. As your body clock adjusts, you can shave off another 15 minutes in a few weeks, getting you closer to that elusive eight hours of shuteye. Your body and your brain will thank you!

3.       Have a social-media free day each week. We depend on our phones for work, pleasure and for distraction. But constant social media use has been shown to have a negative impact on people’s mood and productivity. Put down your phone just one day a week to make space for enjoying time in nature, an uninterrupted dinner with family or friends, or working on a project that’s important to you.

4.       Take the long way. To add more activity into your life, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Make a lap around your office each time you come in from your car. When running errands, park to the rear of the parking lot to get a few extra steps each way. Your best bet? Walk whenever and wherever you can.

5.       Swap one sugary drink for water. Excess sugar can wreak havoc on our bodies – leading to a host of negative effects including tooth decay, weight gain, and an increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease! Drinking just one less soda or sweetened drink a day can drastically reduce your annual caloric intake, leading to overall better health. Spice up your H20 by infusing it with fruit like strawberries, blueberries or peaches. If you’re craving the carbonation of a soft drink, sparkling water provides the fizz without the added sugar.

6.       Reach out to friends and family. One way to boost happiness and have a great year is to stay connected to the people you love. Make a commitment to call someone you care about each week. If you’re pressed for time, a quick text to say you’re thinking of someone is a great way to foster and maintain important relationships.  

Move More Indoors – Ways to Get Your Heart Pumping Without Leaving the House

Whether you’re stretched for time in your busy schedule or just hate leaving the house when the temperatures drop each winter, working out consistently can seem hard to fit in. But the benefits of regular exercise – and getting your heart pumping – are clear. Not only does cardiovascular exercise help you burn fat and calories for weight loss, it also increases your lung capacity and reduces your risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Check out these simple, at-home exercise ideas for healthy living inspiration! 

Take the stairs. If your home is equipped with a staircase, you’ve got the perfect spot for some serious cardio! In just 15 minutes of walking up and down, you’ll burn 107 calories! For more resistance, take stairs two at a time, or place your left foot on the bottom stair and right on the floor to do squats. This intensifies the work for your right foot. Repeat on the other leg. You can also use the bottom stair for a quick set of step aerobics!

Jump for good health. If you’re looking for a great cardio workout in just a few minutes, try jumping rope or old-fashioned jumping jacks. You’ll quickly break a sweat, your calves will also get a killer workout! Build up your resistance by performing these exercises during commercial breaks or in between other sedentary tasks at home.

Help with housework. Not only will you enjoy the satisfaction of a clean home, scrubbing toilets, wiping down walls and mopping the floor is a great way to get moving. Put your whole body into mopping to burn more calories – 100 in 30 minutes! You can also focus on leg strength by doing calf raises while ironing clothes. Amp up your workout by running in place for two minutes between each piece!

Find a free workout. Don’t want to pay for an expensive exercise program or get bored with the same workout over and over? YouTube is an extensive resource of free workout videos of all kinds and lengths – Pilates, high intensity interval training, yoga, core and strength workouts, and more! To get started, search ‘workout’ or the specific type you’d like to try. You can also enter the time – like 20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc. – and you’ll have a list of options to choose that fit the time you have available. What’s more, there are many videos that show you how to use the proper from and help prevent injury.  

Workout Bonus:
To build strength – particularly in your core – try a simple plank. Start in a push up position and lift your body into a straight line with arms extended from your shoulders to your wrists. Hold for 30 seconds to start and try to add 10 seconds each day up to 1 minute. Aim for three to five 1-minute planks every day.

The Value of Vitamin D

Vitamins are all around us. On pharmacy shelves, in grocery store isles, in powdered and pill form – they’re a booming industry. Not everyone needs a multivitamin – as long as you’re in good health and eat a fairly balanced diet. Doing so means you’re likely to absorb enough essential vitamins from foods. A balanced diet would include foods like fruit of all colors, dark green, leafy vegetables, skim milk, 100 percent whole grains and lean proteins like skinless chicken. 

Food with Vitamin D

But there are exceptions. People who are on a restricted diet, like vegetarians and vegans, those who follow a strict weight loss plan or with certain medical conditions like celiac disease may benefit from multivitamins. And if you’re inside more than not, you’re likely low in a key nutrient – vitamin D. This essential vitamin is needed to maintain strong bones by helping your body absorb calcium from food and supplements. It also supports your immune system and brain function and helps regulate your body’s insulin levels.

The UV rays of the sun provide us with vitamin D, but vitamin D deficiency is common since many people spend so little time outdoors. Research shows that vitamin D plays a role in everything from cognitive health to muscle function to bone production. If you have symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, such as fatigue or muscle aches, or if you fall into any of the other categories above, ask your physician if you should start taking vitamins or modify your diet. Vitamin D is found in some fish, such as tuna, salmon and mackerel, and fortified products, such as milk. And your physician may “prescribe” for you to spend a few more minutes each day outdoors.

To be safe, always follow the dosages that your physician recommends – whether for a prescription drug or vitamin regimen. A name-brand multivitamin from a known manufacturer probably won’t hurt most people, although medical experts are still debating how much it helps. 

The one travel essential you can't forget

Waking up at 4 a.m. to catch that early morning flight? Or decide to take the redeye home after a business trip? If the thought of losing most of a night’s sleep gives you anxiety, a sleep mask is a cheap – and effective – travel essential you shouldn’t leave home without.

Why is a sleep mask so important? Before electricity and the ability to stay up at all hours, humans were designed to sleep at night and be awake during the day. When the lights dim or the sky is dark, the body naturally produces more melatonin, a hormone that impacts the body’s sleep cycles. More than just increasing the amount of melatonin produced by your body, sleep masks have also been shown to help you sleep more deeply and through the night thanks to increased time in REM sleep.

If you’re a person who struggles with falling asleep (or staying asleep), it may be tempting to seek help from sleeping pills or even alcohol to get the sleep your body craves. Sleep masks are a much safer alternative – helping convince your brain it’s time to sleep – without the possible side effects. And when it comes to sleep mask materials and design, the possibilities are endless. Don’t get discouraged if the first one you try isn’t right for you!

Turn Off Screen Time for Better Health

You’re on your computer and phone all day for work. You check social media accounts and watch Youtube videos and rely on your devices for news alerts, weather, games and more. If you’re like the average American, you’re probably on your phone for just under three hours a day – every day! The consequences of spending this much time with a screen are real – insomnia, mood swings, and obesity being the most common. 

Some studies have shown a link between screen time and metabolic syndrome, a condition that encompasses diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Much of these issues aren’t directly related to the screen itself but result from living a sedentary lifestyle. The more time on your phone means less time interacting with friends and family, pursuing hobbies, getting enough exercise and caring for your mental health. 

Spending hours on a device – whether for work or play – can also lead to other unpleasant symptoms like headaches, dry or irritated eyes, shortened attention span, neck or shoulder pain and irritability. Children are even more susceptible to these problems because their brains are still developing. Experts suspect that these symptoms could even affect social interactions and academic performance. 

Just like us, kids love their mobile devices. But they’re spending increasing amounts of time on them in school and out, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations to drastically limit screen time to protect their social, emotional and psychological health. Kids up to age 13 are recommended no more than 2 hours of total screen time per day. 

The Dangers of Blue Light 

One reason screens can negatively affect our health is due to the blue light emitted by most devices. Blue light penetrates all the way to your eyes’ retinas, causing changes that resemble macular degeneration. In addition to digital eye strain, these changes can even lead to permanent vision loss.  

More than just potentially damaging to your eyes, blue light can also impact the body’s circadian rhythms, or the internal clock that tells you it’s time to wake up and time to go to sleep. Often called your sleep/wake cycle, your circadian rhythm alerts the brain at regular intervals over a 24-hour period. Research has shown that exposure to daylight keeps this rhythm in check. Too much light at the wrong time of day can trick your mind into thinking it’s not time for bed, keeping you from getting enough restful sleep. Have you ever tossed and turned after you’ve spent an hour or two on your phone? The blue light from the device is likely making it more difficult to fall asleep. What’s more, while light of any kind can suppress melatonin (the hormone responsible for regulation of your sleep cycles), blue light at night has been shown to be the most detrimental.  

What Can You do? 

There are simple swaps you can make if you’re looking to cut down on screen time – for yourself or your kids. First, set limits on your daily screen time. Several time tracking apps are available that will alert you when you’ve reached your limit for the day. You may be surprised how much time you actually spend on different apps and how quickly you reach your limit. Parents can set timers for kids’ devices to shut off when the limit is reached. Limit the amount of time available to be on your phone or device by turning off the TV, phone or tablet two hours before bedtime. You can also establish ‘no screen zones.’ These could be areas of the house (like bedrooms) or times (like family dinner) when screens aren’t allowed. 

Pairing screen time use to completing certain tasks like homework, chores and physical activity is also a great way to help children develop a good balance. Lastly, unplugged and unstructured physical activities like walks, bike rides, and trips to the park help you get off your devices and spend more quality time together.  

Pre-Diabetes: What to Know and What to Do About It

As many as 88 million Americans – more than 1 in 3 – are living with prediabetes, and more than 80% don’t even know it! Pre-diabetes is a serious medical condition that causes blood sugar levels to be higher than normal, but not yet reaching the level of diabetes. Diabetes itself is especially dangerous – shortening lifespans and resulting in complications like kidney disease and increasing risk for heart disease and stroke. Because diabetes can result in both unpleasant symptoms and severe complications to the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, nerves, GI tract and eyes, it’s critical to recognize the seriousness of pre-diabetes and make changes before it’s too late. 

The Good News

Unlike some medical conditions, pre-diabetes is reversable! That means you can make changes to your diet, exercise goals and lifestyle to prevent pre-diabetes from progressing. These are a few ideas to get you started!  

Fight Back with Healthy Foods. One of the hardest things for people to understand is how their diet choices impact blood sugar, including how sodas, breads and other simple carbohydrates have a negative effect on blood glucose. This part of the country has a very high rate of diabetes, and that may be due to the lack of understanding about the basic building blocks of a healthy diet. Many people think if they avoid table sugar and candy, that’s all they need to do. 

In fact, foods like white bread, rice and sugary snacks digest quickly and raise your blood sugar in a short period of time. Instead, choose foods low in fat and high in other nutrients – like fruits, vegetables, dairy products, whole grain breads and lean proteins – to help remove sugar out of the blood vessels.

Making Moving a Must Do. The American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise at least five days a week or a total of 150 minutes. Moderate intensity means you can talk, but not sing, through your workout or activity. Brisk walking is a great way to keep moving, and swimming is a good choice if you have soreness or joint pain. If you’re just getting started, begin with 10 minutes a day and increase a few minutes each week.

Cut Back or Eliminate Alcohol. Drinking can increase your risk for a host of medical conditions, including pre-diabetes. Replacing alcohol with lower calorie drinks like water or tea makes weight loss easier and helps keep blood sugars in check. If you do decide to imbibe, red wine has very little sugar and spirits like vodka, gin, rum, or whiskey are low in carbohydrates (as long as they aren’t mixed with a sugary soda).

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help. If you’re concerned about your weight or your risk for developing diabetes, your doctor probably is too. Your doctor, a registered dietician or diabetes educator can answer your questions. They can also help you set realistic weight loss goals (if needed) and show you ways to get to your healthy weight – and stay there.

Everyone needs to be aware of their blood sugar levels, and the simple blood test for diabetes is typically covered by insurance. The sooner you know about a pre-diabetes or diabetes diagnosis, the sooner you can make lifestyle changes that can reverse the condition in its early stages and improve your overall health. Don’t have a primary care physician? Visit chimemorialmedicalgroup.org for a listing of physicians in your area. On the go? CHI Memorial now offers virtual visits. Learn more at chimemorialmedicalgroup.org.

Support When You Need It

If you have pre-diabetes, diabetes or want to make preventive lifestyle changes, CHI Memorial can help. Learning to control your blood sugar through exercise and a balanced diet is key in preventing complications like blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure or nerve damage. CHI Memorial’s Diabetes and Nutrition Center offers counseling and self-management classes that help you take control of your health. For more information, call (423) 495-7970.  

Could you have diabetes and not know it?

The initial symptoms of diabetes or pre-diabetes can be subtle – so subtle that you might not even notice them. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, talk to you doctor.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Using the bathroom more frequently, especially at night
  • Increased irritability
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling exhausted, even after sleeping all night
  • Slow or non-healing wounds
  • Recurring yeast infections

Tap Into Nature’s Positive Benefits

What if you could improve your mood, reduce stress or feelings of anger and quickly feel more relaxed with one simple change? Would you make it? Although it’s easy to overlook the small things we can do that make a big impact in our lives, spending time outdoors is one you shouldn’t miss. 

A recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research showed that just 20 minutes in nature can improve your well-being. The importance of getting outside to our mental and physical health can’t be overstated!

It boosts your energy.

Sunlight has been shown to increase the production of serotonin, the hormone responsible for a positive mood and higher energy levels. When you’re feeling sluggish, studies have shown that simply getting out in nature helps you feel more alive. If you’re reaching for that extra cup of coffee, opt for a brisk walk instead. You’ll get all the boost – without the crash.

It encourages exercise.

Here’s one good thing about the great outdoors – there’s no gym membership or special equipment required! Being outside often means going for a walk, doing yard work or playing with the kids – all activities that get your heart pumping. If you’re outside most days, you’re likely on your way to meeting The American Heart Association’s recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Regular exercise has also been shown to lower a person’s risk of depression and anxiety by releasing endorphins that enhance our sense of well-being while taking our mind off negative thoughts and feelings.

It calms your mind (and lowers your blood pressure).

Listening to the calming sounds of nature has been associated with relieving stress, improving mood and boosting feelings of happiness. If you’re dwelling on problems and finding it difficult to stop, a walk in the woods may help keep your mind from constantly ruminating and bring some peace. And if you’re feeling uninspired, a change of scenery may be just the thing you need to counteract most adults’ many hours of screen time.  

What’s more, being in a green environment has also been shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to a number of health conditions including increasing your heart rate and blood pressure.

It strengthens your immune system.

Spend some time outdoors and your immune system will thank you. Sunlight encourages your body to produce vitamin D, a mineral associated with a healthy immune response, or the way your body fights off colds and viruses. People with strong immune systems are less likely to get sick, which is especially important as we look for ways to keep the corona virus at bay.

Getting adequate vitamin D also helps your body absorb more calcium and phosphorous, crucial aspects of bone density and bone health.

 

It helps you sleep.

Being in the sun or outdoors for at least 15 minutes every day helps regulate body temperature and keep your body’s circadian rhythm in check. This is the internal clock that alerts our bodies to wake up and when to go to sleep. Early morning sunlight has been shown to be the most effective in helping your fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

How can you maximize your time outdoors? Plan a daily walk or run with family members, go on a bike ride around your neighborhood, spend 10 minutes meditating on a porch or other greenspace, or schedule walking phone calls to catch up with friends. No matter how you choose to spend your time outside, your body and your mind will thank you.

Here Comes the Sunscreen

What’s one thing you can do start your day off right? Adding sunscreen to your morning ritual. Even if you’re inside most of the day, the sun’s harmful rays can have a negative impact on your skin. Applying sunscreen to your face and parts of your body exposed to the sun (like your chest, arms and hands), will help protect your skin’s appearance and prevent skin cancer. 

But shopping for sunscreen isn’t as simple as grabbing the first bottle you see off the shelf. There are sprays, creams and gels; formulas developed for babies; ones that claim to resist sweat and water; and a stupefying range of SPFs.

Check out these dermatologist-recommended tips to help you navigate the sunscreen isle:

Be broad-minded. Choose broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect you from UVA rays, which lead to wrinkles, and UVB rays, which cause sunburns. The FDA requires that sunscreens be labeled accurately, but it never hurts to inspect the ingredients closely.

Search for sunscreen’s MVPs. The strongest ingredients are zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, abobenzone and ecamsule. Only purchase sunscreens that contain one or more of these ingredients.

Choose your type. Which sunscreen is superior: a spray, lotion or gel? Experts agree they all work equally, but it depends on your personal preference. The winner is the one you’re most likely to wear.

Pick a number. SPFs greater than 50 do not provide extra protection. Sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher will help prevent sunburn. Just be sure to reapply on the schedule listed on the bottle.

Be wary of waterproof. There’s no such thing as a waterproof or sweatproof sunscreen. Some are water resistant, but even those should be applied every 40 to 80 minutes depending on how much you’re swimming or sweating. The more you swim or sweat, the more often you should reapply.

Protect the little ones, too. Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. For babies older than 6 months, there are sunscreens made specifically for their gentle skin, but any SPF 15 sunscreen that shields against UVA and UVB rays will protect them. Reapply every two hours, paying particular attention to the face and ears.  

BONUS TIP: Dress to Protect Your Skin

Along with applying sunscreen every morning, make sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing part of your wardrobe on sunny days when you’ll be outdoors. If you can, aim to stay in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the strongest. 

Take 5 Minutes for Better Health

It’s a fact (according to the Centers for Disease Control). Wellness visits with your primary care physician – those intended to help you stay on top of your health – help prevent disease and detect disease earlier, when treatment is most effective. 

Whether you’re managing a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease or are looking for guidance on how to live the healthiest lifestyle possible, an annual wellness visit is a great place to start. Not only does your regular checkup focus on screenings, immunizations and preventive services that help keep you at your best, most insurance plans offer these appointments at no charge.

Don’t have a physician? We can help you find a doctor for your family – in the comfort of your home. Visit chimemorialmedicalgroup.org/virtual for more information about primary and specialty care available through online, virtual visits.

 


CHI Memorial physicians and clinicians discuss a variety of health topics.



CHI Memorial Doctor Talk is our blog dedicated to helping you live well.