girl wearing contact lenses

Is Your Child Ready for Contact Lenses?

August 19-23 is Contact Lens Health Week! One concern you may have regarding contact lenses is knowing when it is safe for your child to ditch their glasses and begin wearing contacts. There is no perfect age when it comes to your child being contact ready; it is more a matter of maturity. Even babies can wear contacts for certain conditions such as cataracts. If your child is begging to give contacts a try, here are five signs he may be ready. 

 

She brought the idea up

 

This may seem like an obvious reason for readiness. However, a child who asks to get contacts should be more motivated to take care of them himself than a child who did not have the idea until it was mentioned. 

 

He plays sports

 

Contact lenses are a great option for children who participate in sports. Good vision is especially important during sports and children have more options for protective eyewear than with glasses. Additionally, they don’t have to worry about their glasses slipping due to sweat or getting broken glass in their face by accidental impact.

 

She is hygienic and clean 

 

If your child has a love for getting dirty, this is ok. However, it may not be the right time to begin wearing contacts. Unclean contacts add risk for eye infections. 

 

He does chores without constant reminders 

 

No one wants to nag their children to do chores. If you constantly must remind your child to do things, taking proper care of their contacts will be one more thing on this list. If they’re simply not mature enough, contacts can be a great accomplishment in years to come. Contacts may also be a great incentive to mature in the coming months if they’re not acting mature as you know they could.

 

She takes good care of her glasses

 

Don’t assume a child that takes poor care of his glasses will take better care of his contacts. Although there are more opportunities to misplace glasses throughout the day, improper contact care has added health concerns. 

 

One consideration to make is how much easier it is now to take care of contact lenses with daily disposables. Disposables allow you to put in a fresh pair of contacts every day without the need for cleaning regimens or contact solutions. 

Have questions about contacts for your child? Find a CCMH Physician by visiting our provider 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.

woman blowing dandelion in summer

Summer Safety

The summer season is a special time for many of us. There are holidays, outdoor activities and lots of sunshine to enjoy. However, during the summer, there are some unique safety concerns all should take to heart. Here are our top tips to help you enjoy a beautiful, relaxing, and injury free summer!

 

Boating safety 

 

Many boating accidents begin with alcohol, but water and alcohol really don’t mix well! Avoid drinking alcohol and boating to prevent injuries like drowning and boat collisions. 

 

Don’t be lax about lifejackets either. Make sure you have proper fitting life jackets for all passengers. Children and those who cannot swim especially should never go without their life jackets while boating. 

 

Also make sure you know what to do in case of a water accident. Visit the American Heart Association website at Heart.org to learn where you can take courses in CPR and First Aid training. These classes are simple, and you never know when you may help save a life! 

 

Driving safety 

 

Operating a motor vehicle after drinking is, of course, also a bad idea. If your summer plans include a road trip, take breaks every few hours to avoid fatigue while driving. Also, avoid driving after midnight. 

 

Avoid harmful insects 

 

To avoid bees, mosquitoes and other insects,  avoid wearing heavy perfumes, especially floral scents, wear light-colored clothing free of floral patterns, and keep a lid on sugary drinks like sodas. For mild insect bite reactions, patients may take acetaminophen for pain and an antihistamine for swelling. 

 

Seek emergency care when the following symptoms are present: 

 

Difficulty breathing

Hives, itchiness, and swelling over large areas of the body

Swelling of the face or tongue

Dizziness or feeling faint 

 

Hydrate 

 

Dehydration and heat stroke are common problems in the summer months, although, both can be easily prevented. Ensure everyone has plenty of water when spending time outdoors, take breaks in the shade whenever possible, and try to plan outdoor activities in the early morning or evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.  

 

Some of the symptoms of heat stroke include:

 

a core temperature of 104F or higher

confusion

rapid heart rate and breathing

headache 

nausea or vomiting

 

If you fear someone may be experiencing heat stroke or severe dehydration, call 911. Get the individual indoors as soon as possible, cool them with ice packs or wet washcloths, give them water and have them lie down while you wait for emergency assistance. 

 

Cover up

 

Sunlight can be dangerous for your eyes and skin. Wear sunglasses that filter out UV light. Stay in the shade, wear hats and apply sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage every two hours while outdoors. 

 

Prevent food poisoning 

 

Picnic season is often when many individuals encounter food poisoning. To avoid it, practice the following: 

 

Clean your hands and the surfaces where you are preparing food well.

Keep raw meats wrapped and away from other food items. 

Have a meat thermometer with you for grilling to ensure meat reaches a safe internal temperature. 

Keep everything cool as long as possible. Store perishable picnic foods in an insulated cooler of ice. Keep whatever you will eat last at the bottom of the cooler. 

 

 

We hope you enjoy a safe and happy summer. If you need emergency medical care however, we’re here for you at the Drewry Family Emergency Center at Comanche County Memorial Hospital!

 

 

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.

fireworks in the sky

Fireworks Safety

The holidays make up many of our best memories. No one wants those wonderful memories tainted by an unsafe mistake, yet nearly 12,000 people received medical care due to fireworks injuries in 2017. 1 Here are our tips to ensure your family enjoys a holiday that is both fun and safe! 

 

The dangers of fireworks

 

Without proper use, fireworks can cause eye injuries and burns. Of course the safest way to deal with fireworks is not to set them off at your home and only attend public displays. However, many of us can’t resist the urge to enjoy them at our homes. Check with your city or police department to learn the days and hours fireworks are allowed. 

 

Fireworks safety tips

 

Check your fireworks labels. Legal fireworks have the manufacturer’s name and directions. Illegal fireworks do not have a label. Although banned in 1966, illegal fireworks still account for many firework related injuries. Never try to make your own fireworks!

 

Wear eye protection. 

 

Use fireworks outside only. Keep a bucket of water and water hose close in case of accidents.

 

Don’t hold fireworks in your hand or have any body part over them while lighting. 

 

Keep your distance from others setting off fireworks. You never know when fireworks may shoot in the wrong direction. 

 

Also, never point a firework at someone or throw it in their direction. 

 

You should store fireworks  in a cool, dry place. 

Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket. The friction may ignite them. 

 

Point fireworks away from homes. Keep them away from brush and leaves and flammable substances as well.

 

Light one firework at a time. Never place them in a container when lighting. 

 

Never relight a dud.

 

Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water before placing  them in the trash can.

 

Don’t forget to secure your furry friends. Pets should stay indoors to reduce the chance of injury or running away. 

 

Fireworks safety for children 

 

Be sure to discuss fireworks safety and your expectations with your children. 

 

Sparklers are one of the most common injury-causing fireworks. If you allow your child to handle them, choose the kind that have a wooden handle so they are less likely to burn their hands. Try to keep them out of the wind so the sparks do not blow back on them. Also, ensure that they hold them away from their face, hair, and clothing.  It may surprise you to know that sparklers reach nearly 2,000 degrees and can cause serious burns! 

 

Don’t allow children to pick up fireworks pieces after your event. Some may still be hot or ignited. They may explode without warning.

 

If an injury happens

 

In the event of serious injury, seek immediate medical care. We’re here for you at the Drewry Family Emergency Center at Comanche County Memorial Hospital .

 

If an eye injury happens

 

Do not  touch or rub they eye. This may cause more injury. 

Don’t flush the eye out with water or apply ointment. 

Remove the bottom of a paper cup and place it over the eye to protect it. 

Seek immediate medical attention. 

 

If someone receives a burn

 

Remove clothing from the affected area.

Seek immediate medical attention. 

 

We hope you have a happy and safe Independence Day! 

 

Source

1 Consumer Product Safety Commission. 2017 Fireworks Annual Report.

 

Disclaimer 

 

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

 

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

 

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

Older man and woman looking out window and smiling

Conversations Older Men Should Have with Their Doctor

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

 

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

 

How can you prevent illnesses?

 

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

 

Ask your doctor if you need to:

 

Use sunscreen to protect against skin cancer.

 

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

 

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

 

Undergo a prostate exam to test for prostate cancer.

 

Are you at risk for depression?

 

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

 

Do you exercise enough?

 

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

 

What should you eat?

 

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

 

Which vitamins are right for you?

 

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

 

Should you see a Specialist?

 

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

 

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

 

Disclaimer

 

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

 

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

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

man sitting on beach with child

Prostate Cancer Prevention

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

 

About prostate cancer

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Who has an increased risk of prostate cancer?

 

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

 

How can prostate cancer be prevented?

 

Diet

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Exercise

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Sources 

1 The American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer. 2018.

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

 

Disclaimer

 

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

 

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

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

mushrooms on table

Mushrooms May Affect Cognitive Health

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

 

Why are mushrooms good for you?

 

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

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

 

What is Mild Cognitive Impairment?

 

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

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

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

 

What is the relationship between mushrooms and MCI?

 

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

 

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

 

They also interviewed each participant and conducted various cognitive tests.

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

 

Why do mushrooms help ward off Alzheimer’s?

 

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

 

What are the signs of Alzheimer’s?

 

Some of the top signs of Alzheimer’s include:

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

 

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

 

Resources

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

 

Disclaimer

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

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

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

woman smoking cigarette while looking at phone

How Smoking Affects the Lungs

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

 

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

 

How does smoking hurt your lungs?

 

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

 

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

 

What chemicals are found in cigarettes?

 

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

 

What are the consequences of smoking?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Are e-cigarettes also harmful?

 

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

 

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

 

Can I reverse the damage of smoking to my lungs?

 

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

 

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

 

Sources

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Disclaimer

 

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

 

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

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

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.

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