swimmer in pool

The Facts About Sunscreen

With over 7,000 Americans expected to die from melanoma this year alone 1, protecting your skin from skin cancer is so important! However, there are many options out there for sunscreens, and there are ways you can maximize its effectiveness. To help you protect your skin every day, here are answers to some of the most common questions patients have for doctors when it comes to choosing sunscreen. 

 

Are the chemicals in sunscreen safe?

 

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a new study raising concerns about how we protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Researchers took blood samples of 24 people who used sunscreen four times a day. In only four days, they discovered levels of four chemical ingredients that exceed the FDA’s recommended limits. These chemicals are oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule. 2 Researchers have discovered oxybenzone in particular  in human breast milk, urine, amniotic fluid and blood. Further research is expected to arise after this study to show the true effects of these findings. 

 

So how do you choose safe sunscreen? 

 

If you are concerned about the safety of chemical sunscreens, use a mineral based one which relies on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to reflect sunlight from the skin instead of absorbing it like chemical sunscreens.

 

Your sunscreen should also have the following characteristics: 

 

Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)

SPF 30 or higher

Water resistance

 

Are high SPFs better?

 

Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays. However, no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays.

 

Many incorrectly believe that higher number SPFs last longer. A high-number SPF does not allow you to go longer in between applications. You should reapply sunscreen approximately every two hours while outdoors according to the directions on the bottle.

 

Do I need sunscreen if I am sitting in the shade?

 

Yes, even if you are sitting under a beach umbrella for example, you cannot be completely protected. You don’t know exactly how much protection the umbrella gives from the sun’s rays. 

 

Do I need sunscreen if the sun isn’t out?

 

Yes, you should apply it every day that you go outside. The sun emits harmful UV rays year-round; it doesn’t matter what season it is. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s harmful UV rays can penetrate your skin.

 

Furthermore, sand, water and snow increase the need for protection from the sun because they reflect the sun’s rays.

 

Are spray sunscreens effective? 

 

The challenge with spray sunscreens is that it is difficult to know if you are effectively covering your skin. If using, spray and ample amount, and rub it in to ensure even coverage.

 

How much sunscreen should I apply?

 

Most people do not use the recommended amount. As a rule of thumb, adults need about 1 ounce to fully cover their body, enough to fill a shot glass.

 

How should I store sunscreen?

 

Keep your sunscreen in good condition by avoiding exposing it to excessive heat or direct sun. Many keep sunscreen in their car. Although this may compromise the effectiveness, it is better to have sunscreen in your car than to find yourself without!  Keep sunscreen containers in the shade or wrap them in a towel. Discard it when you notice changes in color or consistency. Sunscreen that is kept out of the heat and sun should last three years before expiring.

 

 

Have questions about protecting yourself from the sun? Our CCMH Providers would love to visit with you. Find your new Physician today by visiting CCMHealth.com/Providers.

 

Sources 

 

1 CBS. Sunscreen facts and fictions: What you need to know about protecting your skin. 7 May 2019.

 

2 Murali K. Matta, PhD1; Robbert Zusterzeel, MD, PhD, MPH1; Nageswara R. Pilli, PhD1; et al. American Medical Association. Effects of Sunscreen Application Under Maximal Use Conditions on Plasma Concentration of Sunscreen Active Ingredients. 6 May 2019.

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

couple holding hands

Prediabetes and Infertility in Men

A couple typically receives their infertility diagnosis after not conceiving for one year of unprotected sex. When it comes to infertility, women often feel societal pressure to conceive. However, 40-50% of infertility is due to male factors. 1 New research released in 2018 may also give new insight into why some men are unable to impregnate their partners. This condition, prediabetes, is often undetected and underdiagnosed.

 

What is prediabetes?

 

Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal. However, these levels are not as high as when type 1 or type 2 diabetes is present. These levels indicate that the body isn’t using its own supply of insulin efficiently.  

 

What does the research show?

 

In the study, researchers checked the glucose levels of 744 men who had not impregnated their partners after 12 months. 15.4% of the participants had fasting and after-meal blood glucose levels in the prediabetes category. 2 This is between 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) and 125 mg/dl at fasting. At two hours after drinking 75 grams of glucose, it is between 140 and 199 mg/dl. It can also be measured by having an average blood glucose reading, known as a hemoglobin A1C reading, of at least 5.7%.

 

What is the link between prediabetes and infertility?

 

Without treatment or positive lifestyle changes, prediabetes can become type 2 diabetes. Diabetes affects overall sperm quality. Sperm motility also decreases. Sperm DNA integration is affected and semen volume decreases as well.

 

What factors increase the risk of prediabetes?

 

Always take prediabetes seriously. It’s a warning sign that you may develop type 2 diabetes. Those who meet any of the following criteria are more likely to have prediabetes according to the Center for Disease Control:

 

Having a close family member with type 2 diabetes

Age in the mid-forties or older

Exercising less than three times a week

Weighing over the recommendation for your height

Being of certain ethnicities: Hispanic/Latino, African-American, Pacific Islander, Native American, and some Asian American ethnicities

 

How can men combat prediabetes?

 

According to the American Diabetes Association, weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes can help lower blood glucose levels into the nondiabetic range. This range is less than 100 mg/dl at fasting and not higher than 126 mg/dl two hours after eating.

 

Some recommended lifestyle changes include:

 

Losing 5 to 7% of your current body weight

Cooking foods with less fat by roasting, broiling, grilling, steaming or baking rather than frying

Exercising for at least 30 minutes at least five days a week

 

 

Are you diabetic? Learn about diabetic care at CCMH by visiting CcmhHealth.com/Diabetes-Services.

 

Sources

 

1 Naina Kumar and Amit Kant Singh. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature. 2015 October.

 

2 Luca Boeri, Paolo Capogrosso,  Eugenio Ventimiglia, et al.  BJUI International. Undiagnosed prediabetes is highly prevalent in primary infertile men – results from a cross‐sectional study. 16 October 2018.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Older man and woman looking out window and smiling

Conversations Older Men Should Have with Their Doctor

No matter your age, there is no time like the present to make your health a priority! June is Men’s Health Month. So men, why not make it your goal to take care of any health needs or concerns you have this month?

 

For older men, health needs are unique. We know that navigating your health in your older years can be challenging. Here are six conversations we recommend you discuss with your doctor to help you live out your best life in your older years.

 

How can you prevent illnesses?

 

Although there is no way to prevent most serious illnesses completely, there are many simple things you can do to protect yourself.

 

Ask your doctor if you need to:

 

Use sunscreen to protect against skin cancer.

 

Get any immunizations such as the flu shot, tetanus and whooping cough vaccines. Depending on your age, your doctor may also recommend the shingles and pneumonia vaccinations.

 

Take aspirin to lower your risk for heart attack or stroke.

 

Undergo a prostate exam to test for prostate cancer.

 

Are you at risk for depression?

 

Depression is common in older years and is nothing to be ashamed about. You may wish to speak to your doctor if you feel sad, hopeless, or down for a couple of weeks or longer. If you find you aren’t enjoying things you used to, this is another sign you need help also. Your doctor can set up a depression screening for you and, if needed, assist you in getting additional help. Your doctor might also suggest activities for you to avoid isolation and keep your mind active.

 

Do you exercise enough?

 

Exercise is great for even an aging body in numerous ways. It strengthens your muscles and reduces the risk for broken bones. Therefore, discuss with your doctor about a comprehensive exercise program that includes strength training, aerobic exercise, and exercises for balance and flexibility. The right exercise improves your heart strength and keeps your weight down also. This wards off diabetes and other obesity-related health issues.

 

What should you eat?

 

Men have different nutritional needs at different stages of life. For many, eating the right nutrients to lower the risk of heart disease is important. You now may need more calcium, fiber, potassium and Vitamin D. You may also need less sodium and saturated fat. Your doctor will work with you to discover what is best at your age and for your lifestyle.

 

Which vitamins are right for you?

 

Multivitamins and other supplements are important to help you get the nutrients you need. However, some interact with medications your doctor may prescribe. Take a complete list of all of the vitamins and supplements you take to your doctor for a quick review.

 

Should you see a Specialist?

 

A few specialist checkups are often necessary in your older years. You may need to visit an ophthalmologist to get a vision screening, and an otolaryngologist to have your hearing checked. You might want to get your skin evaluated, head to toe, by a dermatologist to look for possible signs of skin cancer if you have been outdoors a lot over the years as well.

 

CCMH is proud to have a variety of general practitioners and specialists to meet your health needs as you age. To find a list of them, visit Ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

man sitting on beach with child

Prostate Cancer Prevention

June is Men’s Health Month! The second leading cause of cancer death in American men behind lung cancer is prostate cancer, and about 1 man in 41 will die from this disease. 1 Although some men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than others, there are certain lifestyle choices that may lower the risk.

 

About prostate cancer

 

All men have a prostate. This small, muscular gland produces some of the ingredients of semen. It is situated  just in front of the rectum and below the bladder.

 

Prostate Cancer is the second most common type of cancer affecting men after skin cancer. About one man in nine will receive this diagnosis  during his lifetime. 1

 

Older men and African-American men are most likely to develop prostate cancer. Around 60% of cases are men aged 65 or older; rarely does a diagnosis occur before age 40. The average age when diagnosis occurs is about age 66. 1

 

Who has an increased risk of prostate cancer?

 

Age is the most common risk of prostate cancer. However, African American men are at an increased risk. Those that have a family history of prostate cancer are also more likely to develop the disease.

 

How can prostate cancer be prevented?

 

Diet

 

One way men can lower their prostate cancer risk is through a healthy, low fat diet. Diets high in saturated fats such as those found in meat and dairy are associated with a higher risk for prostate cancer.

 

Other good dietary choices for prevention include eating at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.

 

Although no one diet is typically recommended for prostate cancer prevention, the Mediterranean Diet is a good choice and has proven to lower a man’s risk of prostate cancer development. 2

 

Exercise

 

Men who are obese (a body mass index of 30 or higher) may have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

 

Men who exercise regularly may have reduced prostate cancer risk. Always discuss a new exercise program with your primary care physician. In general, a well-rounded exercise program including a half-hour of physical activity most or all days of the week delivers many health benefits.

 

If you are a man who struggles to fit exercise into your day-to-day routine, you needn’t perform this activity all at once. You can break daily exercise into 10-minute segments.

 

 

For those with an increased risk of prostate cancer, medications may also be necessary for risk reduction. You can discuss this possibility with your doctor. If you think you have a high risk of prostate cancer, a CCMH Provider would be happy to review these concerns with you. To learn about cancer care available on the CCMH campus at the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center, visit Ccmchealth.com/Cancer-Care

 

Sources 

1 The American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer. 2018.

2 Relevant, Julie. Fox News. 10 foods that can help prevent prostate cancer. 12 September 2016.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

mushrooms on table

Mushrooms May Affect Cognitive Health

Love them or hate them, mushrooms are a wonderful addition to your diet. Recent research has shown that mushrooms may have even more health benefits than we previously realized!

 

Why are mushrooms good for you?

 

Many edible varieties of mushrooms are found in the vegetable section of your local grocery store. However, mushrooms are not vegetables. Mushrooms are actually fungi. Edible varieties contain a high amount of antioxidants, protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and also minerals.

According to recent research, eating mushrooms may also reduce the risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

 

What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

 

MCI is a type of memory impairment which is often a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease. It is the stage between the normal cognitive decline of aging and the more serious decline of dementia. MCI involves problems with language, thinking, memory and judgment that are beyond normal changes as a person ages.

Patients with mild cognitive impairment may be aware that their memory or mental functioning is “off”. Others may also notice a change. MCI is not severe enough to interfere with normal day-to-day functioning, however.

Mild cognitive impairment may increase someone’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions later in life.

 

What is the relationship between mushrooms and MCI?

 

Researchers in Singapore gathered data on 663 Chinese men and women. All of the participants in the study were over the age of 60. Researchers recorded diet information, including data about the participant’s mushroom consumption. The investigators focused on the consumption of some of the most common mushrooms that people in Singapore eat. These varieties include:

 

oyster mushrooms
golden mushrooms
shiitake mushrooms
dried mushrooms
canned button mushrooms
white button mushrooms

 

They also interviewed each participant and conducted various cognitive tests.

This controlled study accounted for various factors including socioeconomic factors, health and other behaviors. Researchers also considered each participant’s consumption of vegetables, meat, and green fruits and nuts. The participants who ate one to two 5- ounce portions had a 43 percent reduced risk for MCI in comparison to those who had one portion or less. Participants that consumed more than two portions, however, had a 52 percent reduced risk. 1

 

Why do mushrooms help ward off Alzheimer’s?

 

It is unclear why this relationship exists between mushrooms and a reduced risk of MCI. Mushrooms do contain various antioxidants that may inhibit the buildup in the brain of amyloid beta and tau. These are proteins that are present during Alzheimer’s disease.

 

What are the signs of Alzheimer’s?

 

Some of the top signs of Alzheimer’s include:

difficulty remembering what just happened
struggling to manage bills or finances
misplacing things
vision problems
inability to follow conversations
difficulty completing day-to-day tasks
losing track of dates and times
poor decision making
inability to plan or problem solve
withdrawing from work or social activities
getting easily lost in their normal environment
mood/ personality changes
uncommon feelings of depression, suspicion, anxiety or confusion

 

If you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms, reach out to a CCMH Provider for an appointment. You can find a list of our providers at Ccmhhealth.com/Directory.

 

Resources

1 L Feng, Irwin K-M Cheah, Maisie MX Ng, J Li, SM Chan, SL Lim, R Mahendran, E-H Kua, B Halliwell. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. NUS Study: Eating Mushrooms May Reduce the Risk of Cognitive Decline. 13 March 2019.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

woman smoking cigarette while looking at phone

How Smoking Affects the Lungs

Each organ in your body plays an important role in keeping your body healthy. If you have healthy lungs, you probably don’t think much about them. Damage to your lungs, however; can quickly cause a noticeable difference in your ability to breathe easily.

 

The primary role of the lungs is delivering oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. You breathe in air and breathe out carbon dioxide as waste exhaling.  No tobacco product is safe. However, combustible products—those that you burn to smoke—are exceptionally harmful to the lungs.

 

How does smoking hurt your lungs?

 

When you smoke, the tissue of the lungs receive damage, impeding them from functioning properly. Smoking also increases your risk of serious health issues. Some examples include: lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.

 

Upon your very first puff, immediate damage to the lungs begins. Every puff of cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals.1 When you inhale, the smoke hits your lungs almost instantly. The blood then carries these toxic chemicals throughout the body. Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that then displaces the oxygen in your blood. This deprives all your organs of needed oxygen.

 

What chemicals are found in cigarettes?

 

Cigarettes also include acrolein. This chemical causes lung damage and a sore throat. Cigarettes may also contain bronchodilators. These chemicals are meant to open up the airways of the lungs. They also can increase the amount of dangerous chemicals absorbed by the lungs.

 

What are the consequences of smoking?

 

Cigarette smoke has negative consequences for individuals of all ages. Babies born to mothers that smoked during pregnancy may have abnormal lung development. Teens who smoke may develop weaker lungs which never operate at full capacity or develop to their full, adult size.

 

Additionally, smoking can destroy the cilia. These tiny hairs in the airway keep dirt and mucus out of your lungs. This may then lead to the development of “smoker’s cough,” a chronic cough common for long-term smokers.

 

Smokers are also at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD). 80% of cases of COPD are due to smoking. 2  People with COPD have difficulty breathing and eventually die because of the lack of oxygen.

 

COPD has no cure. Moreover, nearly all lung cancer—the top cause of cancer death— is due to smoking. Smokers are 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. 3  Lung cancer may also lead to other respiratory cancers.

 

Are e-cigarettes also harmful?

 

Because e-cigarettes are still relatively new tobacco products, many do not realize the harm they cause. We discussed this in a recent article “Juuling Much More Dangerous than Teens Realize”.

 

Some e-cigarette aerosols contain some of the same chemicals as cigarettes. This includes the lung irritant acrolein, and formaldehyde. Some chemicals that create flavor could be harmful when inhaled too.  Furthermore, fruit flavored e-cigarettes often large amounts of acrylonitrile, a known respiratory irritant.

 

Can I reverse the damage of smoking to my lungs?

 

When you stop smoking, you have overall better health. Lung cancer risk drops drastically in the years after quitting. Furthermore, only 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. This, of course, allows more oxygen to circulate to your organs.

 

If you’re struggling to stop smoking, reach out to a CCMH Provider by visiting CCMHHealth.com/Directory. We would love to help!

 

Sources

 

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You (Consumer Booklet). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2010.

 

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General (Fact Sheet). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2014.

 

3 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents in Tobacco Products and Tobacco Smoke.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

couple sitting outside together laughing

Prioritize Your Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Few would argue that your personal, mental health and wellbeing are not a priority. However, we all know that life gets busy. Between work or school deadlines, caregiving responsibilities and day- to-day activities, our wellbeing often gets “put on a shelf.”

 

Oftentimes, we do not consider how low our mental health has fallen in our priorities until it manifests itself in signs of physical illness. In fact, The World Health Organization reports that by 2030, stress-related illness will surpass communicable disease. 1

 

We cannot avoid many of the stressors of life. However, there are various ways to prioritize your mental health that research proves helpful.

 

Practice self-care

 

Proper sleep, exercise and nutrition are a must to maximize your mental health. These activities should be things we engage in every day. Therefore, do not get into the bad habit of only fitting them in when you have time.

 

Consider mindful living

 

Combat stress through activities such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation. These mindful activities are proven ways to elevate brain chemistry.  They also  lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone in our bodies.

 

Avoid the lure of consumerism

 

The pressure to wear the latest fashions, participate in retail therapy, or seek status, puts mental and economic pressure on us. Focusing on the important things in life such as relationships, activities we love, faith, etc., brings more happiness and less stress to our lives.

 

Consider therapy

 

Sometimes we have mixed feelings about seeing a therapist. Just keep in mind that many times we seek services to prevent problems. Just as you take your car to a mechanic for preventative service, seeking the care of a trusted, licensed therapist, can greatly prevent problems that occur from day-to-day mental stress.

 

Not sure how to find a therapist that will meet your unique needs? Ask your CCMH primary care physician or search the internet for referrals from reputable organizations like the American Psychological Association.

 

Take breaks everyday

 

What renews and refreshes your soul? A good book? Some music? A long walk? A hot bath? Commit to finding time for such activities every day! Even if it is just 15 minutes, this time will help you “reset”, refocus and clear your mind of negative thoughts.

 

Cultivate friendships

 

If you’re struggling with mental health or even just feeling a little “down,” loneliness can quickly erode mental health. Our society is more connected yet disconnected than ever before.

 

Surround yourself with positive, caring individuals and cultivate these friendships. There is nothing like sharing some laughs and a cup of coffee with a friend to push away negative, destructive thoughts that creep into our heads in times of loneliness.

 

Learn to say “no”

 

Saying “yes” to everything is saying “no” to your mental health. It seems as if we are addicted to being busy in our society. Sometimes we also feel like our success is driven by the number of activities we participate in.

 

Practice saying “no”. Say it in the mirror and practice it with a friend if you must. Learn to always consider your list of priorities. Practice delegating, renegotiating and making changes in your best interest when the demands of life become too much.

 

Ditch perfectionism

 

Being goal driven can be good for our careers yet hard on our minds. Expecting perfection and keeping a jam-packed schedule in pursuit of our goals can also be damaging in the long run. You do not have to accomplish everything right now. Make realistic goals, celebrate small achievements and laugh and learn from your mistakes.

 

Find humor in life

 

Speaking of laughing, as the old Proverb says, laughter often is the best “medicine.”  Humor contributes towards resilience. When we take life too seriously, we become hypercritical, easily frustrated and often just want to give up. Say “no” to tension and strife inside your mind, say “yes” to enjoying and laughing through the journey.

 

Your mental health is most important. It’s more important than any metrics of success- your job, your status, likes on social media, and your grades. Without good mental health, everything else suffers.

 

Struggling with the stress of daily life? Reach out to a CCMH Provider if you need help. Find a list of them at ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Sources

 

1 World Health Organization. DEPRESSION: A Global Crisis. 10 Oct. 2102. 

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

hand holding bottle pouring soft drink

Sugar Substitutes and Stroke Risk

To decrease the amount of sugar in your diet, you may be tempted to reach for diet soft drinks or juices sweetened with sugar substitutes. Sugar substitutes are a confusing topic for many. For years it seemed that they received nothing but negative publicity. Recently, research reported they may not be as bad as we once thought. This leaves research relatively inconclusive at best. However, concern is once again growing.

 

Latest research demonstrates concern regarding  artificial sweetener consumption

 

Although they may seem like a good alternative to sugar-filled drinks, recent studies have discovered that there may be a link between artificial sweeteners and health risks including stroke.

 

Over 81,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 participated in the study. The conclusion drawn by researchers was that  artificially sweetened drinks are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and even death.

 

Those who drank two or more diet drinks a day had a 23% increase of stroke risk compared to those who consumed less than one diet drink per week. 1

 

Sugar consumption alters taste

 

No matter if you choose real sugar, or an artificial or plant based substitute, the brain wants more sweet substances the more you consume.

 

Artificial sweeteners even alter our gut bacteria. Sugar, in general, also increases blood sugar and insulin levels.

 

All of these factors combined lead to excessive weight gain, including fat, and also inflammation.

 

The danger of consuming artificial sweeteners for many lies in the increase of sweet cravings it causes. Artificial sweeteners are designed to taste sweeter than real sugar. This causes your taste buds to crave and expect more sweet foods.

 

Decreasing sugar in diet

 

To determine whether or not you are consuming too much sugar, try eating some fruits such as strawberries and apples. If you notice that these fruits do not taste sweet to you, this could be an indication that you should decrease the amount of sugar in your diet.

 

With some small changes, you can greatly reduce sugar intake. Begin by removing any added table sugar, honey, syrup or molasses. Natural sugar substitutes such as unsweetened applesauce or spices like cinnamon and allspice are great baking substitutes. Also, cut back on your serving size when you do indulge in sugary treats and check food labels for treats with less added sugar when possible.

 

Making dietary changes always seems overwhelming at first. However, with practice, anything can become a natural part of your lifestyle. If you have questions about ways to consume a healthier diet, make an appointment with a CCMH provider. Visit our online directory to discover how to reach them by visiting http://ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Source 

 

Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani , Victor Kamensky , JoAnn E. Manson , Brian Silver , Stephen R. Rapp ,et al. American Stroke Association. Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative. 1 Mar. 2019.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

 

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

images of brain

7 Ways to Prevent Stroke

May is Stroke Awareness Month! Stroke is often thought of as a disease that affects only the elderly. Three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65, 1 however; strokes can affect anyone of any age.

 

What causes a stroke?

 

A stroke occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to part of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells will begin to die in minutes. Sudden brain bleeding can also cause a stroke if brain cells receive damage.

 

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

 

Examples of stroke symptoms include

 

paralysis or numbness of the legs, arms or face

difficulty speaking or understanding speech

difficulty seeing

sudden weakness

 

How can stroke be prevented?

 

Certain risk factors are unavoidable such as age and having a close relative who has had a stroke. However, here are 7 healthy habits you can adopt to prevent this deadly disease today.

 

Lose weight

 

If you are overweight, losing weight is the most important place to start in reducing your risk of stroke. Make activity a regular part of your life and keep it fun. Finding an activity you really enjoy like participating in 5Ks or golfing will remove some of the pressure of having a weight loss plan.

 

Tracking your calories can help you determine where you’re consuming too much. Many apps will help you get an idea of what you should eat and track.

 

Work with your doctor to create a weight loss plan that meets your nutritional needs. A healthy, sustainable weight loss is typically 1-2 pounds per week, but may be more or less depending on your body’s needs and your doctor’s recommendations.

 

Lower blood pressure

 

High blood pressure is a very dangerous risk factor for stroke. It can double or even quadruple your risk level! Adopting to following strategies into your lifestyle can greatly improve blood pressure:

 

If you smoke, quit.

Reduce salt in your diet to 1,500 milligrams a day or less (around a half teaspoon).

Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, one to three servings of fish each week, and several servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy each day.

Avoid high-cholesterol foods like cheese, ice cream and burgers

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

 

Become more active 

 

Exercise is a contributor to other ways of reducing your risk, but exercise alone is also a stroke risk reducer. Make it a goal to  exercise at moderate intensity five days per week.

 

Ways to exercise more:

 

Walk whenever possible including to work or by parking farther away from entrances.

Find accountability with friends.

Take the stairs instead of an elevator.

Even if you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, that’s ok! 10- to 15-minute sessions a few times each day are just as effective.

 

Manage diabetes

 

Having high blood sugar damages blood vessels and makes clots more likely to occur. If you have diabetes, keep your doctor’s appointments and follow his recommendations. Monitor your sugar regularly and use exercise, diet and medication (if prescribed) to keep your sugar at the recommended range.

 

Treat atrial fibrillation (afib)

 

Atrial fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat that can cause clots to form in the heart. Those clots then travel to the brain and produce a stroke.

 

Symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath may indicate afib. Your doctor may prescribe an anticoagulant drug (blood thinner) to reduce your stroke risk.

 

Drink alcohol in moderation (or not at all)

 

New research concluded that 1-2 drinks per day increased stroke risk by 10-15%. Four drinks per day increased the risk by 35%. 2

 

Commit to consuming no more than one glass of alcohol a day. Choose red wine first because it contains resveratrol, a substance which is thought to protect the brain and heart.  Also, beware of your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.

 

Stop Smoking

 

Smoking thickens  blood and increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. This can lead to clot formation.

 

Ask your doctor for advice on the best way for you to quit. Quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine patches or pills, counseling, or medication may be strategies he or she recommends. Don’t give up no matter what! Few are able to quit on their first attempt. Think of any period of time not smoking as part of your success no matter how long or short it may be.

 

A stroke is a serious medical condition and requires emergency care. If you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9–1–1 immediately. During a stroke, every second counts!

 

To learn about our quality stroke care at CCMH, visit our website at https://www.ccmhhealth.com/stroke-care.

 

Sources

 

1 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Stroke. 2019.

2 The Lancet. Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. 23 Aug. 2018.

 

Disclaimer


The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.


While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

couple sitting near lake

Battling Infertility

April 21-27 commemorates National Infertility Week. Infertility can be a difficult journey that leaves many individuals feeling hopeless and alone. Many describe it as seeming like everyone else around them is happily enjoying life while their lives are frozen in a place they never wanted to visit.

 

While discussing this topic, we had an opportunity to visit with couples in our area who have had their own struggles with infertility. We appreciate them taking the time to share their own thoughts with us on this subject.

 

Who experiences infertility?

 

Infertility is often viewed as a female problem and a problem that mainly affects older women trying to conceive. However, infertility is not biased, and it can affect men and women of various ages. Approximately one-third of infertility issues are from a female partner.  One- third of issues are from a male partner, and one-third of issues are caused by both partners or the cause is unknown. 1

 

Men need support in infertility too. Paul and his wife struggled to conceive and also experienced a miscarriage. He said, “It was very sad and disappointing. I felt like there was nothing I could do to make that time any easier for my wife.”

 

Infertility is an emotional rollercoaster

 

Some days someone may feel positive during their infertility battle, other days they won’t. Beware of this and know some days are just bad days. There isn’t anything you can do sometimes but offer a hug and lend an ear, but your friend will still appreciate the sentiment.

 

Samantha suffered a miscarriage and then waited for years to be able to conceive again. When asked for ways to cope with all the emotions, Samantha responded, “Infertility is painful. It’s such a close, personal heartache. A piece of your heart is missing that you didn’t know existed. Find someone that has experienced it, that you can open up to, cry with, and be angry with them. Cling to them. Find happiness in the daily tasks. If you want ice cream, buy a gallon of it. Find your faith and hold on tight. Never give up.”

 

Be careful when sharing good news

 

Knowing others conceive easily when it seems to be anything but simple to someone with infertility, can make a pregnancy announcement sting. It isn’t that your friend isn’t incredibly happy for you, but he or she just wishes their own good news would come.

 

Big surprises in large groups of people can make it difficult for those in an infertility battle to process their emotions. You may consider speaking with them privately so you can also express how much you hope this day comes for them too.

 

“Don’t hide it if you become pregnant,” shared Angela.  Angel and her husband have battled infertility for years, gone through the adoption process and attempted in vitro fertilization (IVF). “Though it’s hard to hear, it’s even harder to hear about a friend being pregnant from someone other than your friend,” she said. “Be upfront. We will put on a happy face though we’re hurting inside. It’s ok. We will grieve the life we hoped we would have, wishing that was us, and then carry on to be excited for you.”

 

 

Beware of language that triggers emotions

 

Be sensitive to the fact that conversations focusing on children or a pregnancy may be difficult. Never complain about children or even jokingly say, “Be glad you don’t have kids!” Try to steer conversations with friends in different directions so your friend doesn’t feel so left out while everyone discusses parenting struggles or their child’s milestones.

 

Never start a sentence with “At least…” Statements like “At least you can get pregnant” after a loss or “At least it happened early,” or “At least you don’t have to gain weight from a pregnancy,” do nothing but invalidate how someone else feels.

 

Lastly, avoid statements such as, “It wasn’t (or “it isn’t”) meant to be.” Not only is this hurtful, but it may also make the individual feel they somehow deserve these difficult circumstances.

 

Don’t try to fix it

 

There are days those struggling with infertility wish to talk about it. Other days they may not feel up to it. When you know life feels especially difficult, always let a friend know you would love to just listen.

 

“Just being a friend is the best thing someone can do,” said Angela. “Don’t try to fix the situation that can’t be fixed. Trust me, anyone going through infertility has already tried everything to fix themselves and the situation they are in. We don’t want to be in it. Just listening and offering hugs and sincere thoughts of ‘that really must be tough’ is all we need.”

 

Don’t avoid them

 

If you don’t know what to say, just give a hug and let her know you are thinking of her. Your support may help more than you know.

 

Sarah responded about her own struggles with a miscarriage followed by over more than a year of waiting to conceive again. She said, “I remember coming back to work after my miscarriage and feeling shocked that so many of my coworkers seemed to avoid me. I had just suffered the most devastating loss of my life, and the majority of them wouldn’t even look me in the eye. A few people didn’t even say anything but gave me a big hug. It helped a lot.”

 

 

During this time as we remember those struggling with their journey to grow their families and anytime you know someone is facing this difficult battle, we want to encourage you to reach out to them. Infertility is a battle that is hardest when the couple facing it feels alone.

 

Infertility is typically diagnosed after a couple has tried unsuccessfully to conceive for twelve months or longer and / or has experienced more than one consecutive miscarriage or stillbirth. If you are struggling to conceive, one of our providers would love to meet with you. Please reach out and make an appointment with MMG Obstetrics and Gynecology.

 

*Names have been changed of some of the individuals interviewed for this article to respect their privacy.

 

Source

1 US Department of Health and Human Services: National Institute of Health. How common is male infertility, and what are its causes? 1 Dec. 2016.

 

Disclaimer


The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.


While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

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