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.

Mediterranean diet plate with vegetables and olive oil

The Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

The last few years have been overrun with fad diets such as the Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting. However, concerns exist among medical professionals of using both of these fad diets long term.

 

One tried and true diet though, has proven effective at warding off stroke, heart attack and premature death. This diet is the Mediterranean Diet. Of course, the biggest payoff comes from adopting such a diet early in life. However, even making healthy dietary changes later in life will still provide positive health benefits.

 

May is National Mediterranean Diet Month. It is also American Stroke Month. To recognize the health benefits this diet can provide, including stroke prevention, we would like to discuss some of the important, research based facts about the diet. Then, we will also provide examples of how you can incorporate it into your daily lifestyle.

 

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

 

The Mediterranean Diet incorporates foods typically consumed in the countries in the region bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This includes vegetables, fish, fruits and whole grains, and limited unhealthy fats. A bit of olive oil, limited alcohol and nuts are also typical in the diet of this region.

 

What does research say about the Mediterranean Diet?

 

Researchers reviewed the dietary habits of more than 10,000 women in their 50s and 60s. Then, they analyzed their health 15 years later.

 

Women who followed a healthy diet in middle age were nearly 40% more likely to live beyond age 70 without chronic illness, physical or mental problems than those following less-healthy diets. 1 The healthiest women ate more fish, plant based foods and whole grains; consumed less red and processed meats; and drank limited alcohol.

 

Do dietary changes midlife really make that much difference?

 

The foods eaten in the Mediterranean Diet are known to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress. These are the two general pathways underlying many age-related health conditions and diseases. Other improvements include better glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

 

Whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables are also packed with fiber. Fiber slows digestion and also aids in controlling blood sugar. Monounsaturated fats found in fish, nuts and olive oils can have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help stave off heart disease and many other conditions.

 

Research has also shown that this type of eating pattern can help lower cholesterol,  improve rheumatoid arthritis, aid in weight loss, and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and various types of cancer. 2

 

What are the basics of a Mediterranean-type diet?

 

Eat fish at least twice a week.

Base meals on fruits, vegetables, whole grains ( brown rice, quinoa whole wheat bread,), olive oil, nuts, beans, legumes (lentils,beans and dried peas), seeds, herbs and spices.

Consume moderate portions of poultry and eggs every two days or weekly.

Eat moderate portions of cheese and yogurt.

Eat red meat sparingly or limit to three-ounce portions.

Drink ample water each day, and drink alcohol in moderation.

 

What are some easy ways I can change my current diet?

 

Limit high-fat dairy by switching to 1% or skim milk.

Add fruits and vegetables to recipes and have them as a snack.

Sauté food in olive oil instead of butter.

Choose whole grains over refined breads and pastas.

 

 

Don’t let new dietary goals overwhelm you. Transition gradually so your new eating style becomes an actual lifestyle change.

 

Have questions about achieving your health goals? Make an appointment today with a CCMH provider. Search for one in our directory found here: ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Sources 

1 Annals of Internal Medicine. Cécilia Samieri, PhD; Qi Sun, MD, ScD; Mary K. Townsend, ScD; Stephanie E. Chiuve, ScD; Olivia I. Okereke, MD; Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH; Meir Stampfer, MD, DrPH; Francine Grodstein, ScD. The Association Between Dietary Patterns at Midlife and Health in Aging: An Observational Study. 5 Nov. 2013.

2 Harvard Health Publishing. Heidi Godman. Adopt a Mediterranean diet now for better health later.  6 Nov. 203.

 

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.

child sitting on bed

How Child Abuse Affects the Brain

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Unfortunately, child abuse remains a common problem in our society. The Oklahoma State Department of Health reported that 15,289 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2017. 1 This number is double the amount of cases since 2010. It also represents approximately 16% of children in our state. The Oklahoma State Department of Health labels the majority of abuse cases in Oklahoma as “neglect.”

 

It is difficult to determine if the number of cases are increasing or people are more likely to report abuse than in recent years. However, if you suspect a child is being abused, you are legally obligated to report it in Oklahoma.

 

There are more than physical problems that can result from abuse. Emotional effects can be long lasting, affecting someone throughout their lifetime. This also sometimes leads to generational patterns of abuse. Putting an end to a cycle of abuse can save more than one child from these negative consequences. It may also save generations to come.

 

Although some children heroically overcome abuse to lead normal, successful lives, others do not. Abused children are more likely to suffer from substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and also anxiety. 2

 

Researchers focus on the changes that take place in the brain as a result of abuse as well. Sadly, adults who experienced severe abuse as children show critically impaired neural connections in the brain. Parts of the brain associated with the regulation of attention, emotion, and other cognitive processes suffer.

 

Effects on white matter

 

White matter is made up of myelinated axons. Axons are the projections of nerve cells that allow electrical impulses to carry information. Myelin is the “coating” that sheaths these tracts. Myelin helps information travel faster, increasing the efficiency of the brain.

 

So, to put it simply, white matter in the brain works as the brain’s subway system. Therefore, just as missing railway can cause serious problems in the ability of a subway car to travel, missing white matter affects the brain’s ability to process information.

 

The  structure and amount of white matter correlate with an individual’s ability to learn. The white matter continues to develop throughout early adulthood.

 

Myelination of axons decreased

 

Researchers conducted a fascinating study in Canada examining the brains of those lost to suicide. The researchers created three groups: those who experienced severe abuse as children, those with a depression diagnosis and no known history of abuse, and those with no known history of abuse or mental illness.

 

The results shows that those who experienced abuse as children had thinner myelin coating in a larger amount of nerve fibers. Consequently, this was not true for the other two groups. 2

 

The researchers also noted abnormal molecular level development which impacted the cells maintenance and production of myelin.

 

Connectivity issues in the brain

 

The research team also discovered that some of the largest axons affected were unusually thick.  Furthermore, they concluded that these differences may all  negatively affect the connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex. This is a region of the brain which processes cognitive functioning and emotions.

 

The affected region also includes the nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is involved with the brain’s reward system. It helps us know when to anticipate pleasure. This may explain why people who underwent child abuse process emotions differently. They were more exposed to substance abuse and negative mental health outcomes.

 

The researchers’ conclusion is that experiencing abuse in early life could cause lasting connectivity issues between important parts of the brain involved in processing our emotions. However, further research could more clearly define the full effect of childhood trauma on the brain.

 

Nevertheless, never underestimate the effect you can have on a child’s life. Meeting a child’s basic needs, and loving and caring for him can put him on a path to a successful life!

 

If you expect someone you know is abusing a child, reach out to the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.

 

Sources

 

1 Meg Winterger. The Oklahoman. Oklahoma has new plan to bring down high rates of child abuse, neglect. 2 Dec. 2018.

2 Pierre-Eric Lutz , M.D., Ph.D., Arnaud Tanti , Ph.D., Alicja Gasecka , Ph.D., et al. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Association of a History of Child Abuse With Impaired Myelination in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex: Convergent Epigenetic, Transcriptional, and Morphological Evidence. 28 Jul. 2017.

 

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.

bar shelves full of bottles of alcohol

Myths about Alcohol

One of the health observances we recognize in the month of April is alcohol awareness. According to The Global Drug Survey, alcohol is the #1 reason people end up in the Emergency Room.1 Therefore, it is so important to know the facts regarding alcohol consumption for your safety and the safety of others.

 

Myth #1: You can sober up quickly

 

Many make the mistake of letting themselves drink too much, too fast because they assume sobering up will not be difficult. Cold showers, fresh air, and hot coffee may seem refreshing, but it is not sobering. In fact, caffeine is a stimulant. Because of that, someone that is drunk is going to be more awake but just as impaired after coffee. The individual gains a false degree of confidence that they are not impaired. This could lead to riskier decision making.

 

Myth #2: It is good to build up your tolerance so you can drink more and stay sober

 

It is true that the more you drink over time, the more alcohol tolerance you develop. However, tolerance is a warning sign, not a stamp of approval to continue drinking. If you have to drink more to feel the same buzz you once did, you are on a dangerous path to developing a drinking problem. The more you drink, the more damage your body receives.

 

Myth #3: A nightcap helps you sleep

 

It is true that having a drink before you turn in at night will put you to sleep quicker. However, alcohol will disrupt sleep. Research from a 2018 study concluded that alcohol typically disrupts sleep during rapid eye movement or REM sleep, the more crucial sleep stage. 2

 

Myth #4: Eating before a meal will keep you sober

 

Food will not keep alcohol from affecting your body. The alcohol still enters your system. It may be delayed slightly due to the food, but if you drink heavily, your rate of absorption is affected only a little and you still get drunk.

 

Myth #5: Beer affects you less than other types of alcohol

 

Wine, liquor and beer all contain the same type of alcohol (ethanol). One standard drink should lead to the same level of intoxication. However, many tend to drink more when drinking hard liquor or mixing alcoholic beverages. Cocktails often contain much more alcohol than a standard drink.

 

So, what is a standard drink? For beer its 12 ounces.  A standard drink of wine is 5 ounces, and a mixed drink is one shot of 80-proof liquor. Each standard drink contains .5 ounces of ethanol.

 

Myth #6: When someone passes out from drinking, allow him to sleep it off

 

When someone is so drunk he passes out, alcohol can continue to absorb into the body, sometimes leading to a fatal overdose. Unfortunately, some “aspirate” on their own vomit and choke to death after drinking. It’s important to stay with someone who may have had too much to drink. Do not assume that he will be ok while “sleeping it off.”

 

 

 

Life is meant to be enjoyed. However, make sure as you enjoy life you remember your health and safety too! If you feel your drinking habits are becoming a problem, please reach out to one of our CCMH providers for an appointment. You can find a list of them on our online directory at 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.

 

Sources

 

1 Global Drug Survey Findings 2014.

 

2 US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Colrain, Ian M., Nicholas Christian L., and Baker, Fiona C. Alcohol and the Sleeping Brain. 2018 Feb 21.

 

energy drinks sitting on table

The Dangers of Energy Drinks

When life is busy, many of us are tempted to grab an energy drink to put a little extra pep in our step. However, research continues to find concerning effects after consuming these popular beverages. Consuming multiple energy drinks in a short time or consuming energy drinks in combination with other caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, can be especially harmful.  

Some lawmakers are even attempting to ban the sale of energy drinks to those under the age of 18. These legislative efforts occurred following tragic events such as the death of a sixteen-year- old boy from South Carolina. Davis Cripe suffered a cardiac episode that led to his death after consuming an energy drink, coffee and Mountain Dew in less than an hour. 1

 

What are the harmful ingredients in energy drinks?

 

The main ingredients of most energy drinks are caffeine and sugar. However, many experts believe it isn’t necessarily the caffeine in energy drinks that is harmful. After all, most healthy individuals who do not typically experience adverse effects from caffeine can safely consume 4-5 cups of coffee per day without problem.

The problem lies in the amount of sugar and caffeine. Many energy drinks have as much caffeine as 3-4 cups of coffee and more than the recommended amount of sugar you should consume in one day.

There are additional herbal stimulants found in energy drinks that are not regulated by the FDA. These ingredients in combination with high sugar and caffeine content may be the cause of serious or fatal problems for some consumers. 2

 

What happens after drinking an energy drink?


Twenty minutes after ingesting an energy drink, you experience a sugar high. This blood sugar spike results in a quick release of the hormone insulin.

Forty minutes later, all the caffeine is absorbed. As a result, blood pressure rises, the liver dumps even more sugar into the bloodstream and pupils dilate.

Forty five minutes later, dopamine production occurs in the body. This hormone gives you a sensation of pleasure. This reaction is similar to how the body responds to heroin.

After 60 minutes, a sugar crash occurs. The caffeine slowly wears off and you can experience mood changes, lethargy, fatigue and mental fogginess.


Why are energy drinks viewed as so unsafe?



It is difficult to predict how energy drinks will affect different individuals, especially with underlying heart issues or in combination with other substances containing alcohol or caffeine.

Oftentimes, individuals do not know they have a cardiac problem until something fatal occurs. For this reason, it is better to be safe than sorry when choosing how to get some extra pep to get through the day.

Despite what we do not know with certainty, the American Academy of Pediatrics has a very clear opinion of energy drink usage in children and teens. Given the observed side effects, including irregular heartbeats and blood pressure changes, the AAP recommends that children and teens should not consume energy drinks at all. 3



How to pep up without excessive caffeine


You can successfully and healthily boost energy levels in many ways that are safer than consuming copious amounts of stimulants.

Exercise regularly and participate in activities to reduce stress. 

Be mindful of your diet. Reduce sugar and increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in plants, seeds, fish and nuts.

Rest! Be sure to get 7-8 hours of quality rest each night.

Through safely managing your diet and routine, it is possible to achieve greater energy levels that do not involve risky habits.

 

Sources

1 KUTV. Gould, Cynthia. 16 Apr. 2018. 16-year-old’s death linked to energy drink, caffeine products.

2 Cleveland Heart Lab.13 Dec. 2018. Can Energy Drinks Harm Your Heart?

3 American Academy of Pediatrics. Energy Drinks.

 

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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