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.

elderly pain with arthritis walking with cane

Daily Knee Exercises for Arthritis Pain

When you struggle with knee pain from arthritis, you know the effort it takes just to complete normal daily activity. From swelling to stiffness- the last thing you want to do is move. However, knee pain from arthritis can be lessened with the help of exercise.

 

How Arthritis Affects the Knees

 

The ends of the bones that meet in the knee joint are covered with cartilage. This cartilage provides cushioning and protection to the bones as you move. The knee also has the meniscus between the thigh and shin bone. The meniscus protects the cartilage.

When someone has arthritis, the cartilage wears down over time. As the bones rub together, they create friction on the joints. This may lead to bone spurs, swelling and stiffness. Bending and straightening the knee with arthritis is difficult.

The meniscus can wear down too. According to Dr. Johnson, Orthopedic Surgeon at CCMH, The meniscus is like a brake pad on your car.  “It won’t last forever, “ said Dr. Johnson. “The number of cycles you put on it cause wear and tear. It may not be able to protect cartilage as well as it could before it was worn out.” A tear in your meniscus or other injury to your knee can damage or cause additional wear, which can predispose you to knee osteoarthritis earlier than you would with the normal aging process.”

Knee arthritis is not uncommon. It usually starts at  50 years of age and older.

 


Using Exercise to Help Knee Arthritis


Exercises for arthritis including aerobics and strength exercises can reduce symptoms, increase balance, add joint motion and function, and aid in weight control.

“Your body relies on muscles to help motor joints,”  stated Dr. Johnson. “For the knee, that’s the quadriceps in the front of the thigh and hamstrings in the back. You can’t cure arthritis or make it go away, but if you strengthen the muscles that support and stabilize the knee, you can take some of the stress load of weight-bearing or walking off a joint that’s worn out and weakened from arthritis, and place it on the stronger muscle.”

 

Things to Consider Before  Exercising with Knee Arthritis


It is always advisable to discuss a new exercise program with your physician. A doctor or physical therapist can help you choose a program that is safe, helps you gain strength, and won’t increase inflammation and joint pain. If you’ve had knee surgery, get guidance from your doctor or physical therapist on what knee exercises are safe for you.

 

Joint Protection Tips

Commit to doing a little exercise each day


Dr. Johnson suggests trying to stay active even when arthritis flares up. Simple range-of-motion stretches may actually help reduce pain.

 


Begin slowly


If you do too much too fast, your muscles may be overworked and joint pain worsened. Slowly increase in exercise intensity and length as you progress.

 


Start with gentle stretches

“When beginning any activity, start with five minutes or 10 minutes of stretching to help elongate the muscles and make them easier to move,”  Dr. Johnson said. “And do it again at the end. Don’t force any stretches; keep your movements slow and easy. With strength training, begin with fewer reps or lower weight, and build up gradually.”

Listen to your body


If your joints start to ache or you experience new joint pain, stop. Discuss with your doctor to learn what pain is normal. Some discomfort may be normal, but your doctor can help you identify pain that is more serious.

 


Exercises to Relieve Knee Pain from Arthritis

 

Dr. Johnson recommended these knee exercises:

 

Hamstring Stretch


This exercise stretches the back of your thigh and behind your knee.

While lying on the floor with both legs bent and feet on the ground, lift one leg off the floor and bring the knee toward your chest. Put your hands behind your thigh below your knee. (You may also loop a towel around your thigh and grasp the end, if it is easier.)
Straighten your leg and pull it toward your head gently until you feel a stretch.
Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
Repeat the sequence one or two more times on each leg.
Don’t put your hands (or towel) at your knee joint and pull.

Quadricep Stretch

 

This exercise stretches the front of your thigh.

Stand behind a chair or next to a wall. Hold on for balance.
Bend one knee. Bring your heel up toward your buttock.
Hold onto your ankle and gently pull your heel closer to your body.
Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.
Repeat the sequence one or two more times on each leg.
Be sure to not arch or twist your back while stretching.

 


Straight-Leg Raises


This exercise strengthens the front of your thigh.

While lying on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders to support your upper body, keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.
Place your leg with the affected knee in front of you while straight. Bend the other leg so your foot is flat on the floor.
Tighten the thigh muscle of the straight leg. Then, slowly raise it 6 to 10 inches off the floor.
Hold this position for 5 seconds. Then, relax and bring your leg to the floor. Repeat for three sets of 10.

Dr. Johnson suggests trying  this exercise while you watch your favorite TV show. Start with five reps at every commercial until you get to 30. Then, gradually work your way up to 50, and 100. As it becomes easier, you can slowly increase the resistance by adding ankle weights. Slowly increase them by one pound increments.


Slow “March”


This exercise strengthens stabilizing muscles of your foot, knee, and hip.

Stand next to a wall or door frame for support.
While you balance on your right foot, hold on to the wall or door frame to stay steady if needed.
Keep your knee straight over your ankle, slightly bent.
Slowly lift your left foot until your knee is level with your hip. If you cannot quite get there, get as close to that position as you can without pain.
Slowly lower your foot back to the floor. Then, repeat with the other foot.
Repeat as many times as you can, while in correct position.

 


Bodyweight Squat


This exercise helps strengthen thighs and buttocks.

Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart, or a little wider.
If needed, hold on to something stable, like the back of sturdy chair or kitchen sink.
Keep your chest lifted and shift your weight back into your heels while slowly pushing your hips back, as is you were sitting down into a chair.
Keep your feet flat and lower yourself as far as you’re comfortable (such as a quarter or halfway down to where a chair would be).
Push through your heels and bring your body back up to standing.
Repeat the sequence three times.

Sit-and-Stand


This exercise increases range of motion and strengthens the back of the thigh and buttocks.

Stand in front of a sturdy chair that won’t move. A table in front of you can help with support, if needed.
Stand with your feet planted on the floor and hip-distance apart.
Press your buttocks and hips back first. Then, bend your knees and slowly lower yourself to a seated position.
Hold the table, if needed, to keep you from falling back into the chair.
Tip forward at the hips.

Push through your feet up with your legs into a standing position.
Repeat three times, gradually building up to more reps.




If your arthritis pain is debilitating, please reach out to CCMH Orthopedics by visiting http://www.ccmhhealth.com/orthopedics/.

 

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 holding decorative heart

Improve Heart Health in Unique Ways

One of the leading causes of death is cardiovascular disease. Although we cannot change certain risk factors such as age and family history, we can help prevent cardiovascular disease and hope to live a long, healthy life. You probably know that  exercise and a healthy diet can help keep our hearts strong, but there are other means to improve heart health that you may not know. Here are six unique ways you can keep your heart healthy.

 

Crank up the music


Several studies have shown that music can have several positive effects on our bodies including lowering stress and even blood pressure. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital also found that heart patients who were confined to bed had slower heart rates, lower blood pressure, and less distress when they listened to music for 30 minutes each day. 1 So, pull out your favorite tunes, sit back and enjoy the improved heart health! 

 

Have a laugh


We have all heard the Old Testament proverb that “laughter is the best medicine” and have experienced positive emotional effects of having a laugh. Science is proving that there are more than just emotional benefits to laughter, however. Consequently, laughter can also helps our hearts pump stronger!  As we laugh, our blood vessels enlarge in diameter. This in return increases the blood flow like when we participate in aerobic exercise.

 

The University of Maryland also conducted a study and discovered that when people laugh at a funny movie scene, they experience improved blood flow. 2 So, head to the movies, turn on your favorite comedian or sitcom, and enjoy some laughs! 

 

Be kind


We know that high stress levels are not good for our hearts. When we are upset, cortisol, our stress hormone, increases and our blood pressure and inflammation rises. When we experience positive emotions though, our oxytocin levels rise, helping to improve heart health, and our cortisol levels drop. Being kind to others makes us feel better emotionally and just might improve heart health.


Consider the Mediterranean Diet


Many studies have had positive heart health conclusions when studying the Mediterranean diet. According to a 2013 study from Spain, a Mediterranean style of eating can reduce heart disease risk by as much as 30%. 3

The Mediterranean diet consists of green vegetables, nuts, avocados, fruits, beans, high-fiber grains, olives and olive oil,  and an occasional side of small, wild fish such as salmon. In this diet, individuals seldom consume red meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, sugary foods and drinks, and refined flours.


Love a Pet


Could your favorite canine or feline improve heart health? According to the American Heart Association (AHA), they can!  Studies show that having a pet can relieve stress, help increase fitness levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and increase happiness and wellbeing. 4

Studies on dog owners show that they tend to live longer, have lower risks for heart disease, better cholesterol profiles, less hypertension and are less vulnerable to stress. The reason for these positive results is not entirely clear, but it could be due to the fact that dog owners are generally more active than non-owners.  Either way, owning a pet who loves you unconditionally has plentiful emotional benefits.

If you’re not in a position to own a dog, local shelters often need volunteers to play with dogs. Consider playing with a friends dog or taking up dog walking and earn some extra cash too!

 

Offer a Hug


Oxytocin levels rise and cortisol level drop when we give and receive hugs. In a study by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, participants who hugged their partners had a slower heart rate up to 10 beats per minute than those who did not hug their partners.5

So, grab someone around you who needs a hug, and enjoy the improved heart health!

 

Good health is often about incorporating small changes in our routine. We hope this article encourages you to add some of these activities to your routine and  improve your heart health today!

Learn about Heart and Vascular Services at CCMH by visiting CCMHHealth.com/Heart-And-Vascular/.

 

Sources

1 Harvard Health Letter. Harvard Health Publishing. Nov. 2009. Using music to tune the heart.

2 Stein, Rob. Los Angeles Times. Apr. 2005.  Laughter helps blood go with the flow.

3 John Hopkins Medicine. Take Your Diet to the Mediterranean.

4 The American Heart Association. Apr. 2018. Can Your Pet Help You Be Healthier?

5 McColm, Jan. Endeavors. Jan. 2004. A Hug a Day  

 

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 holding head in pain

Sleeping Well with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is suspected to affect between 11% and 40% of American adults. The most common types of chronic pain include back pain, nerve pain, joint pain and chronic headaches, and it is one of the top reasons adults seek medical care. 1 A variety of additional problems are linked to chronic pain including depression and anxiety, restrictions in daily activities and mobility, dependence on opioids, and reduced quality of life.

No matter the extent which the chronic pain sufferer experiences these symptoms, most all sufferers complain of inability to receive a good night of rest. Sleep is important for the physical health of all. However, it is even more important for those dealing with chronic problems. For example, sleep helps to repair the blood vessels and heart. Furthermore, sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of a variety of conditions including kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 2

For the sufferer of chronic pain, sometimes the only time he or she receives reprieve from pain is while sleeping. Although, many develop problems while sleeping due to the inability to get comfortable. A vicious cycle then begins of feeling exhausted which increases symptoms and pain.

Although difficult, sleeping with chronic pain is not impossible. Here are seven methods which may help improve your sleep quality despite the pain.

 

Avoid napping

When you suffer from chronic pain, you tend to try to get sleep anytime and any way you can. Sleep is however, how the pain is avoided. Sometimes a nap is unavoidable after a fitful night of sleep, but don’t nap routinely. Napping too much during the day may increase your chances of not being able to sleep at night.

If you do feel especially tired, try to nap in the morning and set an alarm so you don’t sleep the day away. A morning nap allows more time to pass before bedtime than an afternoon nap, ensuring you are sufficiently sleepy for bedtime.

 

Develop a routine

Although it is difficult to avoid hitting the snooze button, rising and laying down at the same time everyday is important. Your internal clock will adjust and your body will prepare to relax and sleep at the right time.

During the day, open up the house and let in as much light as possible. Exposing yourself to light helps your internal clock become more aware of when it is time to go to sleep.

Also, go through the same steps of your sleep routine each night. Spend half an hour or so going through your hygiene routine and complete a relaxing activity before turning off the light such as reading. Avoid screens from computers, smartphones and TVs which can be overstimulating and keep your mind from winding down. Some relaxation exercises may also help you go to sleep more quickly.

 

Limit caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant found in sodas, teas, energy drinks, coffee and chocolate. Limit your consumption as much as possible and consume caffeine by early afternoon. This will allow sufficient time for the effects to wear off before bedtime.

 

Review your medications

Discuss your medications with your doctor to ensure none of them are causing you to lose sleep. Also, ask your doctor about sleep aids. Although not usually recommended long term, your doctor may approve for you to take a sleep aid short term to help get your sleep on track or as needed for particularly bad days.

 

Exercise

Exercising four to eight hours before bedtime may help reduce anxiety, a common factor that interrupts sleep. However, be sure to allow enough of time between exercise and bedtime. Working out too late in the day can keep you awake.

 

Create a good environment for sleep

Many factors can influence your sleep including mattress and pillow firmness, sleep position, temperature and darkness level. Consider using white noise to block out noise if your bedroom is near a high traffic area. Blackout shades may also help. Discuss with your doctor to learn if he or she recommends specific types of mattresses, pillows and sleep positions for your type of pain.

 

Get your pain under control

Although easier said than done, getting your pain under control is the best method to improving sleep. Relaxation techniques, acupuncture, medications and surgery are all used to help treat various forms of chronic pain. Discuss with your doctor which methods may be best.

If pain is part of your daily experience, we want to help you achieve the optimum level of comfort and an increased quality of life. Please seek medical attention from one of our CCMH providers. To learn more about problems affecting sleep and how we can help visit CCMHealth.com/Center-For-Sleep-Medicine/.

 

Sources

1 Dahlhamer J, Lucas J, Zelaya, C, et al. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1001–1006.

2 National Heart Blood & Lung Institute. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.

 

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.

teens walking together

Drug Use in Children and Teens

January 22-27 is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. During this week, we encourage all adults to take a few minutes and educate themselves on a few facts about drug usage in children and teens. You never know if you may have the opportunity to apply this knowledge and save a life whether it is the life of your own child, a student, neighbor or child you mentor.

 

When are youth at the highest risk of using drugs and alcohol?

 

Research shows that the time of highest risk for beginning drug consumption during youth is during times of transition. 1 The first major transition in a child’s life is entering school. Studies also show that the earlier you begin discussing the dangers of drugs with children, the more likely you are to be successful and preventing drug usage. On the other hand, the younger a child tries drugs, the more likely he or she is to develop a problem. 2

 

As children advance to middle school and then high school, they are confronted with more and more challenges and social pressure. They are more likely to be offered illegal substances as they get older.

The risk of drug consumptions continues to grow as youth leave home after high school.  

 

How should I talk to my kids about drugs and alcohol?

 

Keep in mind that is is never too early to begin talking to your children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

 

In early elementary school, drug usage often begin with huffing or sniffing household or school items such as markers and glue. Discuss why it is important to use items only as they are intended with your children. Teach them to report these unusual behaviors to you or their teachers. Read books to them about the dangers of drugs and offer to volunteer to find programs for their school if there is not a drug prevention program offered.

 

In fact, volunteering when you can at school activities will give you a chance to get to know your child’s peers and be more aware of any concerning behaviors.

 

As children progress through elementary school and into middle school, teach them how to identify drugs and that many drugs look like candies. Walk them through different scenarios they may encounter and practice how to say no with them.

 

Open, ongoing conversation as your child grows is so important. Ask specific questions about how he or she is coping through times of stress.

 

What warning signs should I be aware of?

 

Many behaviors may indicate that a child is consuming drugs and alcohol. Some of these are:

 

Not telling you where they’re going or when they’re coming home
Disappearance of valuable items or money from your home
Verbal or physical abusive
Decreased memory and attention span
Mood swings
Decreased interest in school work, personal hygiene, hobbies, family activities and friends
Spending a lot of time in their room
Overreacting to criticism, acting rebellious
Being negative, argumentative, paranoid or confused

 

How can I get help for my child’s drug problem?

 

If your child has a drug or alcohol problem, dealing with all the emotions can be difficult. You may feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn for help.

 

Many services exist within our community to provide assistance to you and your child. You can always reach out to your doctor for recommendations. Another way to discover these services is by calling or visiting the website for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. You can reach them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

 

Sometimes the best of kids slip up. It is natural to feel upset in this situation. Remember to not blame yourself or focus on your disappointment or anger if you discover your child has a problem. Focus on providing him or her with the help that is needed so he or she can go on to live a successful life.

 

Sources

1 National Institute on Drug Abuse.  What are the highest risk periods for drug abuse among youth? Oct. 2003.

2 Addiction Center. Teen Drug Abuse. 19 Nov. 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.

stethoscope with doctor and patient in background

Three Steps to Good Cervical Health

January is Cervical Health Awareness month. To promote good cervical health, there are three steps we encourage all women to take. These steps are simple and greatly reduce a woman’s chances of developing cervical cancer or cervical dysplasia (the development of abnormal cells in the cervix).

Get Regular Pap Smears

First, one step to good cervical health is getting regular Pap smears. The general guidelines are for for women between the ages of 21 and 29 to have a Pap smear every 3 years if they have had no abnormal cervical cells in the past. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 may have a Pap smear and HPV test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. However, what is best in your situation will depend on the recommendations of your doctor.

Practice Safe Sex

In 99% of cervical cancer cases, the HPV virus is present. 1 This sexually transmitted infection (STI) is spread through sexual, skin-to-skin contact. Safe sex helps prevents STIs, and penile penetration is not needed to transmit this virus. Heterosexual and homosexual couples are both at risk. Condoms are not 100 percent effective at preventing the spread of HPV, but studies show that they do provide some protection. 2

Beware of Symptoms

Cervical cancer rarely presents early symptoms. However, you should always report any concerning symptoms you are experiencing to your doctor. Symptoms that may indicate a cervical problem include vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, abnormal vaginal bleeding and vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse.

 

If you have other questions or concerns regarding cervical health, visit our women’s health page to find the contact information for MMG Gynecology and Obstetrics.

 

 

Sources

 

1 National Cervical Cancer Coalition. Cervical Cancer Overview.

2 Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Fact Sheet for Public Health Personnel. 5 March 2013.

 

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.

hands rolling yoga mat

Fitness Apps to Jump Start Your 2019 Fitness Goals

Even if you do not regularly make resolutions in the new year, it is always a great idea to make new fitness goals each year. After all, exercise does not only reduce your risk of many physical health problems. It can be great for mental health as well. To help you meet your goals, here are ten fitness apps to help you discover new workouts.  We hope these fitness apps encourage you to reach your ultimate level of health in 2019!

 

Strava

Strava is often top chosen among fitness apps for social training. It will allow you to connect with athletes across the world. The community includes millions of runners, cyclists and others that record their activities. This handy app tracks several stats.  Check your speed, pace, distance, elevation, and how many calories you burn. You can compare your performance with other users and connect with the community too. Post highlights and photos of your activity. Friendly competition can also motivate you in this app that encourages you to try for the best time on the leaderboard.

 

Sworkit

The American College of Sports Medicine named Sworkit a #1 rated workout app. After entering your personal data, you can input goals. The app then introduces various exercises for cardio, yoga, stretching and strength training. Focus your workouts on being “Stronger,” “Fitter” or “Leaner”.

 

RunKeeper

RunKeeper allows you to track any physical activity. It also gives you the ability to build and find new outdoor routes to keep your workout exciting. Make custom training plans based on a survey you complete, or choose from ready-made schedules. You can also join challenges, win rewards, and share your progress with friends. You may also enjoy the motivation of inviting friends to join. Encourage and cheer each other on along the way.

 

Charity Miles

Charity Miles is unique among fitness apps. Not only will it help you feel better physically, but you also make a difference while using it. Users of this app raised more than $2 million for 40 different charities from doing hard core runs to simply walking down the block to run an errand. Find your activity, duration, distance and the total amount earned by the community for your charity on the app’s dashboard.

 

Zombies, Run!

Zombies, Run! is also unique among fitness apps. It is both a running game and adventure. This app will get your adrenaline and heart pumping. It presents you with a story in which your mission is to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their homes post-zombie apocalypse. You will “save” hundreds of lives as the truth about the apocalypse unfolds. Your mission and music plays through your headphones. If  zombies chase you, you better pick up the pace!

 

Yoga Studio

It may cost a few bucks, but yogis will say Yoga Studio is a “must have” among Yoga fitness apps. Yoga Studio contains over 70 ready-made yoga and meditation classes for beginners to advanced users. Classes are customizable and may focus on strength, flexibility, relaxation, balance, or a combination of all. Commentary in the app provides easy-to-follow instructions for poses as well as how to move from one to the next. There are also modifications, benefits and cautions of each pose.

 

J&J Official 7 Minute Workout

Chris Jordan, director of exercise physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, designed the J&J Official 7 Minute Workout. HIIT research was used to create this app. This research shows that short bursts of hard exercise with short recoveries can improve aerobic fitness quickly. Jump right into a 7-minute workout. Give a thumbs up or thumbs down for exercises. This app also contains video tutorials that teach you how to perform the 72 exercises effectively and safely. Your progression is tracked in the performance dashboard.

 

Carrot Fit

Enjoy a laugh while getting fit with a sadistic computer-generated coach. This app inspires, threatens, ridicules and bribes. It  promises you will get fit or else! Based on the science-based methods such as the J&J Official 7 Minute Workout, these 7 minutes also include laughable pop-culture themed activities. Track your steps and also your weight loss. Face Carrot’s judgement if you do poorly or receive rewards with app upgrades and cat facts.

 

Couch to 5K

Couch to 5k is well-known yet popular among fitness apps. The goal of Couch to 5K is to help you go from a couch potato to running a 5K in 9 weeks by following their easy and fun plan. The app intends for beginners to spend 30 minutes working out, three times per week, to get 5K-ready.

 

JEFIT Workout Planner Gym Log

JEFIT allows you to log weight and repetitions on each gym machine in one-click. Track your workout routines and also your rest time. Also log and graph your body measurements while you progress. With access to over 2,000 exercises, the dashboard displays weight lifting and cardio exercises. It also gives you step-by-step instructions and tips. There are millions of users to connect with as well as the option to invite friends. Stay motivated by sharing your training progress and comparing stats.

 

It is also important to have regular check-ups with a doctor to assess your health. If you have not had a checkup in awhile, make it a goal to schedule an appointment with a CCMH physician this week! Find a list of our providers at http://www.ccmhhealth.com/providers/.

 

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.

Benefits of Decluttering Your Home

The new year is upon us. You also probably have a few new things to find a place for after the holidays. For that reason, now is a great time to declutter your home. Not only does decluttering your home give you a great sense of accomplishment, but it can also have some great benefits. According to a recent article in Psychology Today, some of these benefits can improve our health and well-being. 1

 

Here are 7 benefits that will help motivate you to get busy cleaning out your living space soon!

 

Reduce tension

 

If you are in a hurry to get out the door and your children can’t find their shoes or your spouse cannot find a bill that needs to be paid, this can cause arguments. Knowing exactly where important items are located can greatly destress your family relationships and help day-to-day routines go more smoothly.

 

Reduce financial stress

 

When you declutter, you find items you did not remember that you had. Consider decluttering closets, pantries and medicine cabinets. Chances are, you will find an item or two that was on your shopping list. Knowing what you have allows you to better assess your needs and budget your money.

 

Reduce anxiety

 

When things are out of order, we feel out of control. This increases anxiety. Decluttering and organizing can greatly relieve anxiety and help us gain a sense of control over our lives.

 

Find energy

 

Dealing with the anxiety of clutter can make us feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Although it can be difficult to get up and moving at first, exercise helps us feel more energized. We often overlook cleaning as exercise, but every little bit helps!  

 

Improved mood

 

Decluttering gives us a sense of accomplishment. Tackling small challenges gives us inner peace and self-confidence as well as stronger decision-making skills.

 

Decluttering lets your mind wander

 

If you have a job that is very stressful or mentally grueling, participating in an activity that does not require much from you cognitively is very beneficial. Not only are you accomplishing a task that you need to check off your list, but you have time to problem solve and work through things you may feel have taken a “back burner.” 

 

Decluttering can help you give back

 

What will you do with the things you decide to remove from your home? Gently used items are great to donate to organizations, schools and shelters. Also consider having a yard sale for charity. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment at finding a new home for items you no longer need, but you can give the money earned to a favorite charity too.

 

Improved health habits

 

Research shows that decluttering can lead to improved health habits such as better sleep. Better sleep works as a domino effect having many other benefits such as improved immunity, helping us stay at a healthy weight and lowering our risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease. 2

 

If the task to declutter is overwhelming, remember that it does not have to happen all at once. Set aside just 15 minutes a day or focus on one room at a time. Just like improving your health, decluttering is a goal you should not expect to achieve overnight.

 

Sources

1 Boyes, Alice, Ph.D. Psychology Today. 6 Benefits of an Uncluttered Space:
The psychology behind organizing and decluttering.
  12 Feb. 2018.

 

2 National Health Information Center. Get Enough Sleep. 18 July 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.

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