Staying Healthy When Dealing With Stress

In times of high stress and uncertainty, it’s easy to let our routines and healthy habits fall to the wayside. But if we let anxiety and stress overwhelm us, our health could suffer. This is the opposite of what your body and mind need! Let’s talk about some easy ways to focus on nutrition and mental health during overwhelming times or a crisis.

 

Healthy Eating

It may be tempting to stock up and binge on non-perishables such as chips, cookies and crackers, but these are mostly void of nutritional value. A consistently nutritious diet (with a few treats here and there) is critical for maintaining bodyweight, avoiding illness, and minimizing stress. Here are some food choices to focus on:

  • Healthy fats: avocados, eggs, nuts for satiety and mood regulation
  • Lean proteins: help to balance and boost serotonin levels
  • Bananas: rich in B vitamins for nervous system function
  • Citrus fruits: shown to decrease stress; Vitamin C boosts immunity
  • Dark, leafy greens: regulate cortisol and blood pressure

If you’re spending more time at home with your family, now is a great time to try new foods and recipes. Coming together to create a meal is a perfect way to bond and stay connected.

 

Exercise

If your local gym, fitness center, or group class isn’t accessible, you don’t need to forfeit your physical activity efforts. When you keep with your exercise routine—even if the activity looks different—you’re helping your body and mind. If you don’t have access to your favorite instructors or equipment, try these at home:

  • Take daily walks around your house or neighborhood
  • Use trails for hiking and safe roads for running
  • Strength train using bodyweight or items around the house
  • Take advantage of streaming apps or social media for home workouts

Keeping your body moving lowers stress and risk of illnesses and maintains your bodyweight, all of which are essential to your health. Don’t forget that yard work and other household chores also get your body moving!

 

Mental Health

A healthy diet and exercise are essential, but your mental health is just as important especially in times of unease. If you’re having anxious thoughts and feelings, reacting to stress in a negative way, and are having trouble sleeping, then your mental health may need your attention.

Try some of the following when you’re stressed or anxious:

  • Step outside: fresh air and Vitamin D are good for boosting mood
  • Deep breathing: focused, mindful breathing eases anxiety and stress
  • Meditation: consistent practice can keep your mind calm and centered
  • Stretching: loosens muscles and brings awareness to any tension

There are many ways to address your mental health, some may work for you and some may not. This is okay! Find what works and adopt them into your routine.

Additionally, getting proper sleep is vital to your overall health. When we are asleep, our body is restoring muscles from exercise, digesting the meals we’ve enjoyed, and improving our memory and cognition.

Adapting to a new routine in a time of stress may take some time. Be consistent and patient with yourself. Keeping your body and mind healthy are the best things you can do in a time of uncertainty.

If stress or anxiety is impacting your day-to-day life, reach out to a medical professional right away.

5 Tips for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

It’s officially the holiday season, meant for celebration, unity, and joy. And yet, it can also bring stress and exhaustion, compromising your physical and mental health. Here are five tips for staying healthy and happy during the holidays.

Keep Moving
You may be too tired from all the shopping or traveling, but it’s important to keep active! Science proves that exercising actually gives us energy by increasing blood flow, improving metabolism and releasing endorphins. If you’re feeling run down, take a walk to see the Christmas lights in your neighborhood, have a dance party while cooking, build a snowman—anything to keep moving. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also stay on track to meet your fitness goals.

Prevent Illness
This time of year, we come into contact with lots of people—and lots of germs. In order to stay free from the flu and other illnesses, wash your hands, get a flu vaccine, and stay home if you’re feeling unwell. If anyone you’re visiting is sick, stay away! You don’t want to ruin your holiday celebrations by getting sick.

Eat Well
With all the sweet treats around it’s hard not to indulge. But here’s the thing—it’s okay as long as you don’t overdo it. If you go into the season forbidding yourself to eat anything decadent, you’re bound to give in and over-indulge. Stay hydrated, eat balanced meals (vegetables, fruit, clean proteins and grains), and give yourself permission to enjoy your favorite indulges in moderation.

Pro Tip: Don’t show up to a party hungry! You’ll end up eating more and probably not the healthy stuff.

Lower Stress
By visiting all your loved ones, attending celebrations, and meeting everyone else’s needs, taking care of yourself falls to the wayside. Our mental health is incredibly important and determines how we relate to others, make healthy choices, and handle our emotions. Meditation and breathing exercises are great for immediately reducing the feelings of stress, but any way that you choose to practice self-care will help keep your stress low.

Sleep More
You may be staying up late decorating or wrapping presents but don’t sacrifice a decent night’s sleep just to get things done. A lack of sleep can interfere with blood sugar levels and make you crave high-carb, high-sugar food choices that will derail your healthy eating and exercise routine. Sleep helps your body’s immune system to function properly, fending off germs and illnesses and keeps you well rested to better deal with the tasks ahead.

 

By keeping your health top of mind during this busy time of year, you can truly be present and enjoy spending time with your loved ones. Try to incorporate some—or all—of these lifestyle tips into your routine to stay happy and healthy during the holidays.

 

Are You Confused By Diabetes?

Let’s break down the basics of the three different types of diabetes.

 

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in early childhood or early adulthood. In Type 1, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed in order to get glucose—taken from carbohydrates—from the bloodstream and into the body’s cells.

 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is mostly diagnosed in adulthood and is the most common. In Type 2, the body does not produce insulin properly. In some cases, Type 2 can be managed—and prevented—by lifestyle changes, namely diet and exercise.

 

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes accounts for 10% of pregnancies in the U.S. The cause is unknown and doesn’t discriminate by age, race, or physical health. In this 10 % of pregnancies, half will develop into Type 2 diabetes.

 

Now that we have discussed the basics, let’s dispel some myths about diabetes.

 

True or False?

Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

FALSE. While arguably not the healthiest choice, too much sugar will not result in a diabetes diagnosis. In those diagnosed, all carbohydrates from food—including candy, bread, and fruit—need to be accounted for in order to keep blood sugar levels stable.

 

True or False?

If you’re overweight, you will develop diabetes.

FALSE. While being overweight is a risk factor for diabetes, it’s only part of the picture. Individuals with a healthy weight can also develop the disease. Lifestyle changes to include exercise and a healthier diet is best in order to help prevent diabetes.

 

True or False?

If you have diabetes, it’s not your fault.

TRUE. Diabetes occurs because the body lacks functional insulin. This is not something that can be fixed organically and therefore is not your fault! If you have diabetes, you should not be embarrassed, ashamed or feel alone.

 

To learn more about diabetes, check out our Diabetes Management program. This program aims to help patients with self-care skills and their diabetes treatment plan.

Exercise-Induced Asthma or Vocal Cord Dysfunction?

Many young athletes are diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma but may, in fact, have vocal cord dysfunction. The problem? It is often difficult to differentiate between the two.

There are multiple irritants in the air that can trigger breathing problems in young athletes: pollen and airborne irritants, chlorine in pools, and nitrogen oxides, which are used on resurfacing ice rinks.

 

Symptoms of vocal cord dysfunction are similar to those of exercise- induced asthma, with shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough. However, the cough of vocal cord dysfunction tends to have a seal-like barking quality, and the athlete may complain of throat tightness and changes in the pitch of their voice. This is not present in exercise-induced asthma. Color changes of the skin may also be noted in vocal cord dysfunction–paleness or redness. In asthma, blue or purplish discoloration (cyanosis) can be present.

 

Vocal cord dysfunction has an abrupt onset and resolution of symptoms, whereas exercise-induced asthma requires 5-10 minutes of exercise and persists for 30-60 minutes without treatment. Pulmonary function testing (to show how well the lungs are working) will be normal in vocal cord dysfunction patients, while in exercise-induced asthma athletes the testing will typically reveal underlying asthma.

 

Treatment for vocal cord dysfunction is based on education of the patient, family and coaches; speech therapy, antihistamines and use of long-lasting acid-inhibiting medications (proton pump inhibiters) as needed. Relaxation therapy and breathing exercises also generally help reduce symptoms.

 

Exercise-induced asthma is treated with short-acting bronchodilator inhalation therapy (aerosol inhalers) such as Proventil/ Proair / Ventolin. Daily use can reduce the effectiveness of the medications and side effects may include tremors and fast heart rate.

 

If a young athlete is having breathing issues when participating in sporting practices or competitions, they should be evaluated by a medical professional to determine between the possibility of exercise-induced asthma or vocal cord dysfunction.

 

4 Most Common Types of Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injury is more common than you think, especially in relation to sports. Pitching a baseball, playing volleyball, taking a hit in football, constant swimming—all can result in some sort of damage to the shoulder. Now that fall is approaching, the potential for shoulder injury increases with the return of sports.

The following are the most common types of shoulder injury, how they are caused, and the treatment of each:

Impingement Injury
Impingement injuries involve the rotator cuff, the bicep tendon (attaches the bicep muscle to the shoulder and elbow), and other structures in the affected shoulder.

Cause: It is caused by repeated overhead activities, which can overuse the shoulder. Pitching in baseball/softball, volleyball, swimming and tennis can all lead to this type of injury.

Treatment:75-80% of athletes respond well to rest and rehabilitation and are able to return to play, while the small, remaining percentage will require injections and perhaps surgery.

 

Instability Injury

This type of injury can be either traumatic or non-traumatic.

Cause: Non-traumatic instability injuries involve repeated overhead activities (much like impingement injury), but when examined shows signs of shoulder “instability.” Shoulder instability is when the structures surrounding the shoulder joint aren’t keeping the ball within the shoulder socket. Traumatic instability occurs from an awkward twisting motion, like one would see in football such as tackling or blocking. Athletes often report feeling a “pop” at time of injury, signaling dislocation of the shoulder joint.

Treatment: Approximately 90% of non-traumatic injuries can be rehabbed successfully, with only 10% requiring surgery. Traumatic instability often requires surgery.

 

Clavicle Fractures

Clavicle fractures account for 5% of all adult fractures.

Cause: A clavicle fracture is the result of a direct blow to the shoulder area or pressure on an outstretched arm, which then creates a break in the collarbone. This can be very painful, making it hard to move the arm. These fractures commonly occur in football, hockey, wrestling and lacrosse.

Treatment: Although slings used to be the recommended treatment for mild fractures, surgical intervention is now preferred due to the high incidence of re-fracture.

 

Nerve Injury

Commonly involving the brachial plexus (a network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hands), this injury can also include the cervical spine (vertebrae of the portion of the spine referred to as the neck).

Cause: This type of injury is caused by sudden damage to the nerves, including stretching, compression or, in serious cases, ripping or tearing of the nerves from the spinal cord. It is often seen in the “stinger” position in football and occurs in approximately 25% of all football players annually. This injury can cause the loss of feeling or movement in the shoulder, arm or hand.

Treatment: In some cases nerve injury may heal without treatment, but more serious injury may require surgery to regain proper function of the arm or hand.

 

If you have suffered a shoulder injury, it is important to seek consultation and diagnosis from your primary care physician or, in more serious cases, when visiting the emergency room.

 

Protecting Your Teeth

Flossing, brushing, and rinsing are done every day to keep mouths clean and breath fresh. But did you know the importance of wearing a mouthguard?

The Why

More than five million teeth are damaged every year, many during sports activities. Wearing a mouthguard prevents injury, reduces chances of concussion and protects teeth from cracking or breaking. They also protect the jaw muscles from injury or teeth clenching and grinding.

The When

Typically, mouthguards are worn during contact sports, but it’s crucial to wear one during other recreational activities, too. These include: biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, martial arts, skiing and weight lifting­—or if you feel any activity could lead to an injury to the mouth and teeth.

The How

Your mouthguard needs to be cleaned just like any other piece of sports equipment or safety gear. Keeping your mouthguard clean will prevent bacteria, mold and yeast from entering your body and causing more complex health problems.

  • Rinse in water and brush with a toothbrush daily or after each use
  • Deep clean using antimicrobial tablets or homemade solutions every week
  • Store the mouthguard in a case that has air vents, and clean case weekly
  • Replace mouthguard when there are signs of aging/wear

Keeping your mouthguard clean and accessible will help reinforce the habit of wearing it and keep you free of injury.

 

For more information on the importance of oral health and regular check-ups, visit: https://dfdrussell.org/healthcare-services/oral-health-care/

 

What is HPV?

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of over 150 viruses which may be spread through open-mouth kissing, intimate skin-to-skin contact, and direct sexual contact. In fact, it’s the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. One way to ensure staying HPV-free is vaccination. It’s recommended and highly-effective to be administered to kids ages 11-13 before they’ve been exposed to the virus.

Did you know?

  • 80% of Americans have had an HPV infection in their lifetime
  • 79 million Americans currently infected
  • 31,200 cases of cancer could be prevented by the HPV vaccine

While some high-risk types of the HPV virus can lead to certain cancers, including throat and cervical cancers, and low-risk types can cause genital warts, 90% of cases will clear on their own. This is largely in part to a healthy, functioning immune system!

Keep your immune system healthy:

  • Exercise
  • Sleep more
  • Minimize stress
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat vegetables + fruit

*It is still suggested to be vaccinated since the vaccine doesn’t protect from all types of HPV.

 

If you have any questions about HPV or the vaccine, please call DFD today at 207-524-3501 to schedule an appointment.

DFD Celebrates Go Red for Women

Join DFD on February 1 as we wear red to raise awareness of the #1 killer of women: heart disease. Let’s fight together for our mothers, sisters, aunts and loved ones against this growing epidemic.

Did You Know?

  • Only 54% of women know heart disease is their #1 killer.
  • Heart disease is responsible for 1 in 4 female deaths every year.
  • 200,000 heart disease deaths could be prevented each year.

At DFD we’re committed to preventative health. Changing your lifestyle can prevent heart disease:

  • Get Active. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Eat Healthy. Choose fruits, veggies and lean meats. Limit salt and sugars.
  • Quit Smoking. Quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Ask us about our smoking cessation program to help you kick the habit for good.

 

Fend Off the Flu

The Influenza virus infects the nose, throat, and lungs. It can keep you in bed for weeks or even develop into a severe respiratory illness that requires hospitalization. Make sure you and your family stay flu-free this season.

Avoid the flu:

  • Get the flu shot.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  • Avoid friends who are sick or have been sick in the last 5-7 days.
  • Wash your hands frequently.

Already have a cold or the flu? Take these steps to recover quickly:

  • Stay home, and get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to keep your respiratory system hydrated.
  • Sit in a steamy bathroom or run a humidifier.
  • Treat aches and fever with medication like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Ask your doctor which one is right for you.