How Do I Create a Health Goal?

We all have our own reasons for creating health goals. Perhaps you’ve hit a plateau in your exercise routine or weight management plan. Maybe you’ve been wanting to improve your mental and emotional health. But what do you do if you haven’t created a health goal before? We’re glad you asked! We’ve put together a checklist of simple steps for you to take in order to get started.

 

  1. Visit your doctor. This is to discuss the current state of your health. They may be able to help you prioritize health goals, such as smoking cessation.
  2. Brainstorm options. While any one health goal can have a domino effect on your overall wellbeing (quitting smoking improves lung health but may also improve sleep quality, for example), it may be best to start with one goal instead of overwhelming yourself with lots of options all at once.
  3. Define your “why.” Once you’ve decided on your goal, become crystal clear and specific as to why it matters to you. If it doesn’t matter that much to you, you won’t be nearly as invested, and you won’t stick with it.
  4. Make it reasonable. If your goal is unattainable, you may give up altogether or look to unhealthy tactics in order to achieve it. Make sure it’s realistic and follows the steps stated above.
  5. Be specific. Instead of saying, “This year I want to lose 40 pounds” break it down into specific and actionable steps. Try, “This week I’m going to drink more water and prepare more fruits and vegetables into my meals” or “I’m going to lose one pound this week.” When it seems achievable, you’ll be more empowered.
  6. Set a deadline. You’ll want your deadline to be like your goal—specific, reasonable and attainable. You want to be challenged to reach it, but you also want to set yourself up for success too.
  7. Ask for support. It’s okay to ask for help! Whether you’re looking for an accountability buddy or need medical guidance, asking for help takes courage and strength and shows how important your goal means to you.
  8. Be persistent. Even on the days when you don’t think you can do it, show up for yourself. You’ve created small, actionable steps and every day that you act on them, is a day you move closer to achieving your goal.
  9. Keep track. Whether you create a journal, a diary, a notepad or writing entries on your calendar, keep track of the actions you’re taking towards this goal.
  10. Reward success. Each time you reach a new portion of your goal—celebrate yourself! This reminds you of your “why” and will help keep you motivated.

 

If you’re having trouble defining a goal or the actions needed to attain it, reach out to your primary care provider. At DFD, your health is our number one goal.

Loving Your Heart at Every Age

When you make healthy choices, you’re giving yourself the opportunity for a longer and healthier life. Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to your heart and it’s never too early to learn about the importance of heart health. Let’s break down some basics and actions you can take at any age.

 

Teens: According to the CDC, tobacco product use primarily starts in adolescence. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 adults started smoking before the age of 18. Reasons why teens and young adults start smoking include:

  • Their parents smoke
  • They’re under peer pressure
  • They want to show their independence
  • Marketing companies use clever tactics to appeal to younger people

Try this: If you have young children, teach them the dangers of smoking and the long-term health effects. Let them know that smoking as little as 100 cigarettes could make them addicted and quitting can be tough. If you smoke, know that quitting greatly increases your cardiovascular health and sets a good example for young people.

 

20s: This is when most people are in their physical prime! Now is the time to discover the benefits—for your body and mind—of a regular exercise routine. Moving your body every day and doing strength training can establish a healthy routine to take with you as you age.

Try this: Try different forms of exercise to find those that you like. Your body will appreciate aerobic and strength training workouts both are wonderful for you heart health. Make sure to train smart, take rest days, and always strive to achieve your fitness goals. Your future self will thank you.

 

30s: During middle age, we start to see changes in our physical, emotional and mental health and we see the short- and long-term effects of our decisions. Setting routines, boundaries and committing to healthy choices now sets you up for success later in life.

Try this: Attend annual exams and screenings with your primary care provider. Together you can use your family history, blood pressure, cholesterol counts, and other vital factors to set up a baseline of your current health. Knowledge is power!

 

40s: Generally, people in their 40s are well into their careers and maybe even raising a family. Self-care and their personal health may fall to the wayside. Know that stress and burnout can contribute negatively to your health both in the short and long-term.

Try this: Make sure to get quality sleep every night. This is when your body rests and repairs itself. Manage your stress as best as you can. Try breathwork, journaling, or quick walks around the block when you notice that you’re stressed. Having high stress levels puts you in fight or flight mode and depletes your body of the energy and resources it needs to thrive.

 

50s: According to heart.org, this is a time when people tend to put on more weight. Our body may not be as efficient at “working off” those donuts as it was in our 20s and 30s as our metabolism has slowed down. Maintaining a healthy weight can increase your chances of avoiding heart disease.

Try this:
Add more fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fatty fish to your diet. Branch out and try more plant-based meals. Eat seasonal and local produce whenever possible. It’s not about depriving your body of food but adding more nutritious foods to your plate.

 

60s: It’s a myth that people become too old to workout. In fact, when you’re more sedentary it becomes more difficult to maintain regular movement and that is what will hinder your exercise routine.

Try this:
Speak with your primary care provider, physical therapist or training coach to help you modify your favorite physical activities to help protect your joints and prevent injury. Keep moving safely!

 

70s and beyond: As we age, our bodies may require more maintenance—that’s okay! It’s normal for our bodies to change and need more support, but we can adapt and still follow a healthy lifestyle.

Try this:
Continue to attend your appointments, take your medications and follow the health plan that you and your primary care provider have created.

 

 

No matter your age, taking any or all of these actions will dramatically decrease your chances of developing heart disease, chronic health issues, cancer and stroke. If you need help figuring out where to start, please reach out to us. At DFD, your health is at the heart of what we do.

 

 

Source: cdc.gov, heart.org, lung.org

 

 

 

COVID-19 FAQ Sheet

Coronavirus cases have been spreading in the United States since early 2020 and cases have been on the rise since the fall months. Becoming informed and taking proper precautions is imperative in beating this disease.

 

Basic Facts

What is COVID-19? COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that has not been identified before. It is not the same as other coronaviruses that cause the common cold, for example.

 

Who is at risk? While everyone is at risk for catching and spreading the COVID-19 disease, those who are aged 65 and older, pregnant, or who have underlying health concerns are at higher risk.

 

How is it spread? The virus that causes the disease we now call COVID-19 is most commonly spread between people who are in close contact with one another, approximately 6 feet or less. It spreads through respiratory droplets produced when a person coughs, sneezes, talks, sings, or breathes.

 

These droplets can then be inhaled through the nose and mouth and make their way into your airways and lungs, causing an infection. Respiratory droplets can also land on objects and surfaces and then be transferred when a person touches that object or surface and then touches their face, nose or mouth. The main way believed to spread the virus is through human contact with an infected individual and not contaminated surfaces.

 

What are the signs or symptoms of COVID-19? Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of the seasonal flu with some exceptions and may range from mild to severe illness. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The most common symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Congestion/runny nose
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

If you experience shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of smell or taste you may have contracted COVID-19.

 

Is it possible to test positive for COVID-19 and the flu at the same time? Yes. Because signs and symptoms are similar, testing for the seasonal flu and COVID-19 may display similar readings. Getting a seasonal flu vaccine is an important way to protect yourself from illness and prevent a variable when getting tested for COVID-19.

 

When should I get emergency care from COVID-19 symptoms? If you or anyone in your family has contracted COVID-19, it’s advised to be alert to any change in illness or symptoms. If breathing becomes more difficult, the person shows confusion, or a blue-ish tint to their lips or face, call 911 IMMEDIATELY.

When you call emergency services, let them know that the patient has tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Prevention

How can I protect myself and my family? The best way to protect you and your family are to:

  • Wear masks/facial coverings
  • Avoid crowds
  • Social distance whenever possible
  • Wash hands with soap frequently

 

Is it safe to get medical care? It’s important to keep your regularly scheduled appointments and screenings to optimize your health. However, if you are feeling unwell, it’s advised that you stay at home. Contact your clinic office to let them know you are unwell and to reschedule appointments and screenings for another time.

It is also possible that your clinic office may contact you to reschedule appointments and screenings if they have had an influx of more serious health concerns including COVID-19 cases.

 

How often should I clean? It’s advised that you wash your hands often throughout the day and after sneezing, coughing, going to the bathroom and preparing and eating food. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily including refrigerators, tech devices, door handles and knobs, counters and other highly uses services.

 

What should I use for products? Regular EPA-approved household cleaners are sufficient. It’s important to note that cleaning and disinfecting are different.

  • Cleaning: using soap and water, removes dirt, germs and impurities from surfaces.
  • Disinfecting: kills germs that are on surfaces.

For the best protection, clean and then disinfect surfaces.

 

If You or Someone You Know Gets Sick

What do I do if myself or someone in my family gets sick? If you or a family member gets sick, it’s highly advised that you stay at home whether you believe you’ve contracted COVID-19 or something different such as the seasonal flu.

Keeping washing hands and disinfecting surfaces. Monitor the individual’s symptoms and keep them isolated if possible.

 

What medical supplies should I have on hand? It’s best to have at least 14 days of prescription medications on hand at all times, if possible. It’s also helpful to have:

  • A thermometer
  • Tissues
  • Pain/fever reducer
  • Cough suppressants
  • Soap/hand sanitizer

 

What do I do if I come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? It’s imperative that you stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days. Stay alert for any symptoms that may arise. If you become ill, do NOT go to a clinic. This may increase the spread. If you develop serious symptoms as stated above, call 911 immediately.

If you have any further questions about COVID-19, please call your primary health care provider’s office or look to the CDC website for guidance at www.cdc.gov.

 

We all must do our part to limit the spread of this disease and keep ourselves and our communities safe.

 

 

 

 

Source: cdc.gov

 

 

 

Shake Off Sugar for Your Health

Did you know that sugar is the most popular ingredient added to foods in the United States? In fact, the average American consumes 152 pounds per year—that’s three pounds per week! Serious health complications can arise when too much sugar is consumed including weight gain or obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In order to quit our habit with sugar (or have a healthier relationship with it) we must become more educated about it.

 

Americans, aged 6 years and older, consumed about 14% of total daily calories from added sugars in 2003–2010. (source: cdc.gov)

 

What is sugar? The most popular sweetener, sugar can go by many names, making it more difficult to limit. When reading packages and labels, look for these terms that refer to sugar: sucrose, maltose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, lactose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, molasses, and brown sugar. Keep in mind that healthy alternatives still act as sugar in your body and these can include maple syrup, raw sugar, agave nectar and stevia.

 

Where is sugar hidden? You may know that sugar is in foods such as ice cream, cakes, cookies and other sweet treats. But it’s also added to many packaged foods too. When grocery shopping and preparing meals, it’s important to read labels for any of the above-mentioned sugary ingredients. These are common foods with hidden added sugars:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Canned soup
  • Breads
  • Dried fruit
  • Granola
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal
  • Juice, smoothies
  • Condiments

 

How much sugar is safe to eat? Since we all have different levels of health, this is best discussed with your primary health care provider. However, a general guideline is 9 teaspoons per day for men, and 6 teaspoons per day for women.

 

How can I keep my sugar intake in check? First and foremost, discuss any health concerns with your doctor. Next, become comfortable reading nutrition labels on every food item you purchase—especially those impulse items you grab when you’re hungry. Finally, be cautious when ordering take out or dining at a restaurant. Ask how foods are prepared and what, if any, ingredients are added during preparation.

 

Take matters into your own hands and start swapping out your favorite sugary foods for a healthier option. You can start here by swapping:

  • Soda and juice for water or unsweetened seltzer
  • Flavored yogurt for plain yogurt with fresh fruit
  • Bottled salad dressings for homemade dressings
  • Ketchup for unsweetened ketchup
  • Bread and tortillas for lettuce

 

 

 

 

Sources: cdc.gov, dhhs.nh.gov

 

 

Can I Get a Good Workout in the Water?

Lying on the beach or by the pool is relaxing, but water can also be a great tool to implement into your workout routine. Exercising in water provides the resistance needed to strengthen muscles while also relieving joints of high impact pressure of other exercises. It’s also a great way to stay cool and beat the summer heat!

Exercising in water can be just what you need to change up your routine this summer. Performing different exercises and movements allows your body to rest, develop different muscles, and prevent fatigue or injury. Get out there and try something new this summer!

 

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

  • A full-body workout that’s always a fun way to get on the water. Your core and legs activate for balance, and your arms, shoulders, and upper back work to paddle you around. Using the stand-up paddleboard to float on top of the water adds an extra layer of challenge to yoga and other stretching exercises.

Swimming

  • Whether in a pool or open body of water, swimming is an excellent form of cardio that also strengthens your entire body. Swimming is low impact and therefore great for your bones and joints. One hour of swimming burns the same amount of calories as running! When swimming, be aware of your surroundings and water depth. Always swim with a buddy.

 

Canoeing/Kayaking

  • A relaxing and recreational activity that allows you take in the scenery and still get in a workout. While you may not work up a sweat paddling in a canoe or kayak, it’s great for developing range of movement and strength in your arms, shoulders and back.

 

Pool Aerobics/Yoga

Walking or jogging laps around the pool are low impact activities that get your heart pumping, building cardiovascular conditioning. Also, you can perform the same exercises in the pool as you do on dry ground! Try these movements the next time you’re in a pool:

  • Place your hands on the edge of the pool to perform strength training pushups
  • Jumping jacks engage both your arms and legs and act as cardio
  • Side shuffles and squats activate quadriceps and glute muscles
  • High knee lift extensions activate your core which is essential for balance
  • The buoyancy of water helps to maintain your balance and increase flexibility when doing yoga poses. Try Tree, Lunge, Warrior, and Chair poses to start.

Be aware of the depth of the pool. Staying near the shallow end is best.

 

Although working out in or near water can help to keep you cool, it’s important to remember these safety tips:

  • Always take a buddy with you when in or near water
  • Know your surroundings, the depth of water and ways to exit the water
  • Keep yourself well hydrated all day
  • Use sunscreen once every two hours even water-resistant brands
  • Avoid working out during the hottest times of the day

 

Living Well Workshops by Healthy Living for ME

Now Open for Registration! 

 

DFD Russell Medical Centers is excited to announce new workshops by Healthy Living for Me. These workshops each discuss one topic including Living Well for Better Health, Living with Chronic Pain and Living with Diabetes.

Healthy Living for Me is an online resource providing evidence-based health education, fitness instruction and self-care strategies with the aim of improving wellness and quality of life.

These workshops are free to the public however, registration is required. Attendance can be over the Zoom platform or by telephone. Each class is led by a team of three instructors from different organization partners including Bonny Eagle Adult Education and Spectrum Generations.

 

Interested in virtually attending one of these class series? Check out the details below:

 

Living Well for Better Health: 6-session series

WHEN: Tuesdays, September 15 – October 20, 2020
TIME: 1pm – 3pm
WHERE: Online via Zoom
INFO: Register here or by contacting Katherine Mills: kmills@healthylivingforme.org or (207) 440-2390.

 

Living Well with Chronic Pain: 6-session series

WHEN: Wednesdays, September 30 – November 4, 2020
TIME: TBD
WHERE: Online, via Zoom or by telephone
INFO: For details and course information: email info@healthylivingforme.org or call 1-800-620-6036.

 

Living Well with Diabetes: 6-session series

WHEN: Tuesdays, October 6 – November 10, 2020
TIME: 9am – 11am
WHERE: Online via Zoom
INFO: Register here or by contacting Katherine Mills at kmills@healthylivingforme.org or call (207) 440-2390.

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.