Keeping Your Heart Healthy

Heart Disease Affects Younger People Today

Are you at risk of heart disease? It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women, accounting for one in every four deaths, and is now striking younger people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So even if you think you’re too young to worry about heart disease, the reality is that increasing rates of obesity and high blood pressure in younger people means you do need to pay attention to things like diet, exercise, sleep and stress levels — whatever your age.

What are the danger signs?

Everybody knows feeling pressure or pain in the chest is a sign to seek immediate medical help. But symptoms also can include discomfort or pain in places like the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, according to the American Heart Association. Shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness are also possible signs. Women should be aware heart attacks may present differently for them, and should seek attention if they have any of the symptoms listed. Women are less likely to feel chest pressure, and more likely to feel the other symptoms, to faint, or to feel extreme fatigue.

What can you do for yourself?

First of all, remember heart disease is preventable. Follow these tips from the American Heart Association:

• Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease.

• Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent?

• Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

• Improve your diet, focusing on heart-healthy meals.

How can Culbertson help your heart?

If you need a bit of inspiration to encourage you, February is American Heart Month. You can celebrate it not with a box of chocolates but with making any necessary changes to your lifestyle to help keep your heart healthy. Need some help coming up with a more heart-healthy diet? Book an appointment for a Nutrition Consultation. Are you having regular annual exams with your primary care provider? If you don’t already have a primary care provider, choose one at whichever of our clinics is most convenient for you and book an appointment.

Can Culbertson provide custom heart rehab?

Culbertson’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program includes exercise and education, and all the monitoring is done by nurses. Your program is individually designed especially for you. You will likely attend rehab classes two or three times a week, which each hour-long session including warming up, stretching, exercising and cooling down. The exercise equipment includes treadmills, rowing machines, arm ergo meters, stationary bicycles, free weights and more. Our computerized equipment will monitor your condition throughout each session and will help our staff know exactly how your heart is responding to the exercise. For most patients, the program runs eight -12 weeks.

What if my family member wants to join me?

For years, the cardiopulmonary department focused on helping our cardiac and pulmonary clients regain their health through a monitored exercise program. During that time, many of our clients stated other members of their family would benefit greatly from a similar exercise program and so we established our Partners for Life Program. The program is open to all spouses, significant others or siblings of current cardiopulmonary patients. A physician authorization and complete evaluation process is required.

How can I reach the Cardiopulmonary Department? Call us at 217-322-4321, ext. 5285.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

The National Cervical Cancer Coalition says nearly 13,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. However, the disease is preventable with proper medical care.

What is cervical cancer?

Cancer of the cervix usually grows slowly and is closely associated with HPV infection. Preventing HPV infection and early detection of pre-cancerous cells on the cervix via Pap smears are key in preventing this cancer.

What is HPV?

The Human Papillomavirus is so common that nearly everyone will get it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people will experience no health problems from an HPV infection, but in some cases it can lead to cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus and back of the throat.

How can cervical cancer be prevented?

HPV vaccination and early detection via regular Pap smears, which detects pre-cancerous changes, are the best preventions. You can also have an HPV test at the same time you have your Pap.

Does safer sex help prevent cervical cancer?

The American Cancer Society notes that using condoms is only partially protective against HPV, because condoms don’t cover the entire area susceptible to infection.

How often should women get a Pap test?

The American Cancer Society recommends all women begin screening at age 21, that women aged 21-29 be screened every three years, that women aged 30-65 get a Pap and HPV test every three to five years and that women 65 and older who have had regular screenings should not be screened. However, women aged 65 and older who have had pre-cancers should continue screenings.

Have you had your Pap?

If you are looking for a medical provider, contact one of Culbertson’s clinics, conveniently located in Astoria, Beardstown, Rushville and Table Grove.

Fall Prevention

Stay Safe When Walking in Winter Weather

Many older adults fear falling, according to The National Institute on Aging. And with good reason: Falls can lead to broken bones and other serious injuries. But don’t let fear make you a prisoner in your own home.

What are the dangers of falling?
If you have osteoporosis, a fall is more likely to result in a broken bone. But even if your bones are strong, a fall could result in another injury, including a head injury.

Are there conditions that make falling more likely?
There are medical conditions that may increase your risk of falling. If you have any such condition, take extra care and talk to your doctor about what affect your condition could make and what steps you can take to reduce your risks. Some of these conditions include poor eyesight and hearing, poor balance and muscle weakness. Certain medications that make you sleepy or disoriented can increase the risks, as can alcohol.

How can I safely go outside in winter?
Be aware of your limitations and take whatever precautions are reasonable. For some, that is choosing non-slip footwear, while for others, it might mean waiting until a helper is available to accompany you. Brace yourself exiting cars by holding on to the door fully as you step out. Use handrails when available for additional stability.

What precautions can I take?
Assistive devices such as canes or walkers can help. Change your environment if necessary, eliminating items like rugs in your home. Outside, ice and snow add to the danger. Arrange to have your porch and sidewalk areas cleared and salted.

What if I do fall?
It’s a very good idea to consider carrying a phone on your person or wearing an emergency response device on a necklace or bracelet if you’re at risk and live alone. If you fall, assess whether you are able to get back up without assistance or if you need to call for help.

The Importance of Proper Car Seat Installation

You know how important it is that children be protected in car seats. But just having a car seat isn’t enough: It’s vital that you install the seat correctly.

What are the available types of car seats?

There are several types of car seats:

  • Infant car seats
  • Convertible seats
  • All-in-one seats
  • Boost seats

Where can I get more information?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has lots of information on car seat safety, including a handy chart that tells you what kind of seat is appropriate for your child depending on age and weight. But even the right seat does little good if it’s not installed correctly.

Read the car seat manual!

This may sound obvious, but even if you’ve installed seats before, take the time to read the manual to be sure you’re following the manufacturer’s directions. Read the car seat information section in your vehicle owner’s manual as well. Each seat is different, and not every seat is appropriate for every vehicle.

How do I know if the seat is correctly installed?

If the seat is easy to move back and forth or forward and backward, it’s too loose. If there’s a tether strap, and the car has a tether anchor, use it. Make certain you install a rear-facing seat at the correct recline angle. Look for a built-in angle indicator.

Is there someone who will check my installation?

Yes! We have staff at the Taylor Clinic who are certified car seat installers and will be glad to perform a car seat installation check for you. In addition, the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program offers CPS technicians who can help. Click the link to find a certified technician who can check your installation and offer help if you need it.

How do I put my child in the seat?

Once the seat is installed correctly, make sure you adjust your child correctly every single time you go somewhere. Harness straps must be flat. Buckle the harness, situate the chest clip at armpit level, and tighten.

What about winter coats and car seats?

A puffy coat can prevent the car seat from being tight enough. To prevent this, cover the strapped-in child with a blanket instead. Consumer Reports offers more information on how to safely use a car seat in winter.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor for a Prescription Refill?

Many wonder why a physician requires an office visit when they need their prescription renewed – especially if they have been taking the drug for a while with no problems – but there are times when an office visit is required for the patient’s safety.

While patients often prefer having their physicians renew prescriptions without question or an office visit, that may not result in the best care. Typically, if you haven’t been seen for a while – or if the doctor is new to you and hasn’t examined you before – an office visit will be necessary. This is to assure your safety – many things can be discovered during an office visit that might not be obvious to you.

  • Your doctor may need to check whether this specific drug still makes sense for you, or if the dosage should be changed.
  • New symptoms might arise that indicate further diagnostics, resulting in a different drug that would fit you better.
  • You may have side effects without realizing their connection to your current prescription.
  • A new drug, not on the market at the time the previous drug was prescribed, might now be a better choice.
  • You may have developed new medical issues that require a change of medication.
  • Your condition may have improved, and you may be able to decrease the dosage or discontinue the drug altogether.
  • You may have begun taking an additional medication prescribed by another doctor, and that may affect whether the existing drug is still right for you.

So, while an automatic prescription renewal may be more convenient, remember that your physician recommends an office visit to assure you are taking the medications that are best for you. Of course, if you have any concerns about your prescriptions, it’s always best to give your healthcare provider a call.

Healthy Holiday Desserts

The holidays are often a time of excessive eating and drinking. But the holidays don’t have to derail your healthy habits. You can eat your favorite holiday cookies, cakes and pies without gaining weight – just indulge sensibly. Here are a couple of healthy desserts that feel like a spurge but are actually healthy.

Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Classic lemon squares can contain up to 36 grams of sugar per piece. By putting a tangy cheesecake spin on ours, we’ve cut the sugar down to only 6 grams per pop. Your sweet tooth will agree that these bars are good enough to enjoy year-round.

View Recipe: Tangy Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Reminiscent of classic popcorn balls, these salty-sweet treats make for awesome low-fat snacking. Make a batch to enjoy throughout the week.

MarshmallowPopcorn Treats with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Reminiscent of classic popcorn balls, these salty-sweet treats make for awesome low-fat snacking. Make a batch to enjoy throughout the week.

View Recipe: Marshmallow Popcorn Treats with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Almond Butter and Yogurt-Dipped Fruit

Almond butter and Greek yogurt create one protein-packed combination when it comes to sweet treats. Dip your fresh fruit of choice into the yogurt mixture and eat right away or freeze the fruit to create a shell similar todark chocolate covered strawberries.

View Recipe: Almond Butter and Yogurt-Dipped Fruit

Ginger Angel Food Cake

This light, airy cake from Food Network Magazine is flavored with fresh ginger and topped with a lime-spiked raspberry sauce.

View Recipe: Ginger Angel Food Cake

Recipes provided by My Recipes, Food Network and Cooking Light. Click on any of the links to find more healthy holiday desserts. 

Stay “Happy” During the Holidays

The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year. But for some people, they can be a time of sadness and longing as old memories return… reminders of good times past and loved ones who are no longer with them. And the feelings of loneliness can be overwhelming. Those adjusting to life after a recent move can face even more challenges. But there’s no reason to feel alone – help is available.

Tips for coping with holiday stress and depression:

  • Make realistic expectations for the holiday season.
  • Do not take on more responsibilities than you can handle.
  • Make a list and prioritize the important activities.
  • Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
  • Live and enjoy the present.
  • Volunteer.
  • Limit your drinking.
  • Try something new.
  • Spend time with supportive and caring people.
  • Make time for yourself!
  • Let others share the responsibilities of holiday tasks.
  • Keep track of your holiday spending.

If none of these tips help with your feelings of depression, seek professional help with Cathy Rigg and the counseling services available at the Taylor Clinic. There is a wide array of treatment options available and sometimes just talking to someone is help enough.

Breathe Easier and Get Relief from Lung Disease Right Here

Suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or (COPD), can feel like there’s an elephant right on your chest. COPD – a collective term for progressive lung disease including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma and some forms of bronchiectasis – can also put a huge weight on families.

More than 24 million people in the U.S. suffer from COPD – and estimates say more than half of them don’t know it. Don’t let COPD take over your life – get screened before you lose lung function.

“If you start finding yourself susceptible to respiratory infections or you’re having shortness of breath regularly, it may be time to consider the risk factors and symptoms to see if you are at risk,” says Pradeep Kulkarni, MD, Pulmonary Clinical Care & Sleep Specialist.

Should I get tested?
“People who have smoked for more than 10 years should always consider themselves at risk for COPD,” says Dr. Kulkarni. A simple, non-invasive spirometry test will measure how well your lungs are working.

You may also have COPD and should get tested if you:

  • Have a history of smoking
  • Have long-term exposure to air pollutants (including pollution and second-hand smoke)
  • Have frequent chronic coughing with or without sputum
  • Experience a tightness in the chest
  • Cannot keep up with people your own age
  • Have a history of COPD in your family
  • Have wheezing
  • Have shortness of breath that has become worse over time

Heredity can play a role… even if you’ve never smoked or been exposed to irritants at work. Emphysema2 is connected to common genetic risk factor, Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD). If you don’t have enough Alpha-1 Antitrypsin protein in your bloodstream, white blood cells begin to harm the lungs, and your lungs begin to deteriorate.

Why should I get tested?
It’s important to find the right treatment. “Not all shortness of breath is COPD, and not all shortness of breath in smokers is COPD,” says Dr. Kulkarni. Untreated COPD symptoms often get worse faster than if they are treated with the right therapy or medication. You can’t get lung function back once it’s lost and there is no cure for COPD, but there is hope for a better life with early treatment and screening.

What can I do about COPD?
If you’re diagnosed with COPD, your doctor will work with you to design a treatment plan around your unique condition. That may include oxygen therapy, medication, breathing techniques, pulmonary rehabilitation, exercise, tips for staying healthy and improving the air quality at home. Above all, quit smoking. “Specialty clinics go a long way in helping patients quit smoking,” says Dr. Kulkarni. “A specialty clinic can educate you about the disease, as well as clarify the diagnosis and any misconceptions.”

Watch for Unwanted Guests – Head Lice

If you have children in the house, especially young ones, it’s time to watch for head lice. Although these pests are fairly harmless, parents never like finding them on their children.

What you should know

Lice are more easily spread during cooler weather because children are typically closer to one another. When children share infested winter coats and hats or combs, brushes and hair ornaments, lice can spread more readily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 6 to 12 million cases affect U.S. children ages 3-11 each year.

Easily mistaken for dandruff, head lice are tiny parasites that are the size of a sesame seed. The nymphs are even smaller and more difficult to see. Because lice are small, move around and flee light, they aren’t easy for an inexperienced person to identify. On closer inspection, however, you may find the tiny nits (eggs) cemented to the hair within a quarter-inch of the base of the hair shaft. If your child complains of an itchy scalp, or you see him or her scratching more than usual, take a closer look. Concentrate on the hair at the back of the head and behind the ears. Sometimes a severe infestation can extend to the eyebrows and eyelashes. If you discover lice, it’s time to spring into action.

If you’re not sure, see a doctor for a diagnosis.

How lice are treated

Once lice are discovered, it’s important to check everyone in the household, along with anyone who may be in close contact with your children. Some experts believe all household members should be treated at once to avoid spreading these parasites. A doctor can offer the best insight for your family. Some preparations kill the eggs and may require only one application, while others must be repeated after all eggs have been hatched but before the young lice can produce more eggs. Follow the package directions and your doctor’s instructions. Check the hair regularly for several weeks after treatment to be sure all lice are gone.

Visit cdc.gov.parasites/lice/head for more information.

Give Diabetes a Holiday by Putting Prevention at the Top of Your List

At many holiday celebration, sweet treats and big eats traditionally come into play – a contributing factor for diabetes and a minefield for those already dealing with the disease. Healthy eating is one of the most important prevention steps in lowering your risk for diabetes, a challenge any time of the year that’s made even more difficult during the holidays.

As with any food choices, moderation is key. Try these simple tips to prevent sabotaging yourself during the holiday season:

  • Prevent overeating by eating a healthy snack before the event.
  • Potluck? Bring a better-for-you option – many delicious recipes are out there!
  • Check the menu ahead of time so you can make your choices before you go.
  • Make a one-trip limit, especially at buffets.
  • Make healthy choices – water and unsweetened or diet drinks; limit heavy holiday traditions like glazed ham, turkey with gravy, etc.
  • Watch out for butter-laden side dishes, fried foods or marshmallow toppings.
  • Look for low sugar or carb options.
  • Minimize alcohol intake.
  • Manage your portion sizes.

One of the best ways to keep both temptation and diabetes at bay? Keep moving. Staying active for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week offers benefits for your heart and bones, lowers stress, improves circulation – and that’s on top of reducing your risk for diabetes. Don’t let chilly weather and gray skies be an excuse for being a couch potato. Enjoy a brisk fall walk or run, and when it’s too cold to be outside, look for other options like a mall or health club. Do stretches or other exercises at home and consider incorporating strength training or light weights into your routine for bone building and other benefits.

By incorporating these and other tips into your lifestyle, you can prevent diabetes – and live longer and healthier! For more ideas on how to prevent diabetes, talk to your doctor or visit www.diabetes.org.