24 May

Pick Your Pace: Walk and Run Your Way to Whole Health

By AdventHealth — Whatever speed is your target comfort zone, a good workout is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. While there is a long-standing debate on whether walking or running is the better exercise, the truth is that they’re both extremely healthy and effective — as long as you’re fitting consistent movement into your days.

We’re here to explain the health benefits of walking and running, along with some of the key differences between the two so you can pick the right pace for you.

Health Benefits of Walking and Running

Regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you prefer to walk or run for exercise or for pleasure, you’ll reap important health benefits as long as you’re doing one, or a mixture of both, on a regular basis. Starting with a brisk walk out in nature, even for 10 minutes a day, can help ease muscle tension and lower stress hormones, thereby brightening your mood and lifting your spirits.

You can increase your time and speed until you’re walking, jogging, running or doing a combination of all three for at least 30 minutes a day. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity walking and/or running a week to achieve optimal health benefits.

Walking and running are both aerobic exercises that effectively improve your whole health by:

  • Aiding weight loss
  • Calming your nerves
  • Easing depression and making you happier
  • Improving your mood, sleep, concentration and energy levels
  • Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers
  • Strengthening your muscles, bones, lungs and immune system

Before you decide to stroll, jog or sprint your way to better health, here are some of the differences and similarities between walking and running to consider.

Running is Faster

The main difference between walking and running is the intensity, or how hard your body works.

Brisk walking is a moderate activity. Your heart pumps hard, you may sweat and you can talk, but not sing. On the other hand, you can only speak a few words at a time during a vigorous running session.

While 150 minutes per week is recommended by the CDC for moderate physical activity, you can half that goal to 75 minutes per week if you’re doing vigorous exercise like intense running.

Both are Considered Safe Exercises

Both walking and running are generally very safe exercises. You may have heard that running ruins your knees, but this is an untrue myth. Running may even boost your knee joint health by strengthening the joints and surrounding muscle tissue and bones.

Many runners do get some short-term injuries. Every year, about half are temporarily sidelined. You can prevent these injuries by following some simple safety guidelines, like wearing the right shoes, planning your route, pacing and distance ahead of time, and paying attention to your posture.

Running isn’t recommended for some individuals, including those with hip replacements. Have a chat with your primary care provider (PCP) to make double sure running is a good exercise for you and your body.

Walking and hiking are lower-impact exercises, posing fewer risks to joints and muscles. You can still get some uncomfortable side effects like blisters. You can prevent them by choosing activity-appropriate shoes that fit well and soft surfaces to walk on, like grass or dirt trails.

Both Control Your Weight

Hour for hour, running burns more calories than walking — about 590, compared to 280 calories per hour when walking, for someone who weighs 154 pounds.

Walking still burns fat and can improve your body composition. Research has shown that people who stroll between 10,000 and 12,000 steps per day tend to have less body fat and a lower waist-hip ratio.

If you haven’t been active for a while, begin with short walks. Over time you can extend them, and then add short bursts of running as you feel comfortable.

It’s also best practice to include two days of muscle-strengthening activities per week. Doing so will reduce your risk for falls and other injuries.

Movement for Your Body, Mind and Spirit

Both running and walking improve your whole health. From strengthening your body to easing your mind and lifting your spirits, they’re perfect exercises to help you live life to the fullest. For optimal results, start where you are, taking into consideration your current health. Then, you can progress as you feel comfortable and your doctor recommends.

Your primary care provider can help you come up with an exercise plan that takes into account your current health and medical history. Click here to find a provider near you. You deserve to feel whole.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website

17 May

The Sunshine Vitamin: Vitamin D Deficiency

By AdventHealth — Whether you live in the eternally sunny state of Colorado or face long, grey winters, vitamin D deficiency is more common than you think. In fact, about 42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. If you’re looking for more information on the causes, symptoms and treatments for vitamin D deficiency, you’ve come to the right place.

Vitamin D 101

Vitamin D is one of the many important vitamins we need to keep our bodies healthy. It helps keep bones strong by absorbing calcium, aids in your mood and works with your parathyroid glands to regulate your blood and vital organs.

Vitamin D is unique because your skin produces it by using sunlight, which is why it is often called the Sunshine Vitamin.

Symptoms and Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency means you do not have enough vitamin D in your body. There is no single cause for deficiency, but studies have found that fair-skinned individuals and those who are younger, such as children or teenagers, convert sunshine into vitamin D more efficiently than those who are darker-skinned or over the age of 50. Other causes of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Having a chronic kidney or liver disease
  • Having hyperparathyroidism
  • Living far from the equator or in regions with little to no sunlight
  • Not eating fish or dairy
  • Staying or working indoors for long periods
  • Using medications that affect vitamin D metabolisms, such as certain laxatives or steroids

A deficiency can impact your body in many ways, such as:

  • Bone pain
  • Cancer
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Fatigue
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Mood changes, like anxiety or depression
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Severe asthma in children

Children who are vitamin D deficient can also have severe asthma, incorrect growth patterns and deformities in joints.

Treatment Options

Eating more foods that contain vitamin D, like salmon or egg yolks, and getting some extra sunlight throughout your day can help gradually increase your vitamin D production and help minimize your symptoms. If you are suffering from a great deficiency, your doctor may recommend you take vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 comes from plants, while vitamin D3 comes from animals. You will need a prescription to get vitamin D2, but vitamin D3 is available over-the-counter. Talk to your doctor to determine if you need to take a vitamin supplement, how much to take and which one will work best for you.

Helping You Feel Whole Again

If you are experiencing any vitamin D deficiency symptoms, we can help. Schedule a lab appointment today to find out if you lack vitamin D, and talk with your doctor to find the best course of action to increase your vitamin D production. With onsite labs with quick results, we’ll help you feel whole in no time.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website

10 May

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Children

By AdventHealth … In our modern world of earbuds, headphones, surround sound and electronic versions of everything, life can get pretty noisy. We don’t always think about how these sounds affect our hearing in the long run, especially for the littlest ears.

Noise-induced hearing loss can occur if your little ones are exposed to loud noises for long periods. While that may sound scary, the good news is that it’s preventable. We’re here with all you need to know about this specific kind of hearing loss in kids and how to protect the most sensitive ears.

What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss is sensory deafness caused by long-term exposure to a noisy environment. Auditory fatigue can happen temporarily, such as at a rock concert, and hearing can gradually recover after leaving the loud environment. However, staying in a noisy environment for a prolonged period can permanently impair hearing, which is especially concerning for children.

What Causes Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Societal changes mean that people are more likely to be exposed to noise on a regular, ongoing basis. While damage to the inner ears can happen from sudden, extremely loud noises like an explosion, it’s the cumulative effect of exposure to excessive noise that we might now consider “white noise,” (such as a lawnmower outside) that can gradually damage hearing.

Most children and teens use earbuds and headphones to listen to music and participate in online school activities. Now, more than being exposed to outside noise, our kids are streaming loud sounds directly into their ears. They may not show the signs immediately, but without taking precautions, their hearing and quality of life could be affected later in life.

Symptoms of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Difficulty hearing is the main symptom of noise-induced hearing loss. Your child may have symptoms like:

  • Buzzing or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Normal conversation may sound muffled or unclear
  • Trouble hearing soft or faint sounds
How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

The best thing you can do is to protect your children from loud noises. That may seem like a daunting task since noises like these are all around us:

  • Appliances such as hair dryers, food processors or blenders
  • Concerts, sporting events and movie theaters
  • Equipment such as leaf blowers and lawnmowers
  • Music from smartphones with the volume turned up too high
  • Power tools
  • Televisions turned up too loud
  • Traffic or subway noise

Think about keeping the volume low on the TV, radio and other listening devices, teaching your children to keep their volume at a reasonable level when listening to their headphones or earbuds, and limiting how often they use them.

Also, we typically think of earphones as noise-inducing, but noise-canceling earphones or earbuds are great to protect children’s ears if you’re at a noisy event or there is something loud going on outside. They’re also great for children who are extra sensitive to loud noises when visiting lively places like theme parks or festivals.

When to See a Doctor

If you notice hearing loss symptoms in your child, it’s best to visit their health care provider. Your child’s doctor will ask questions about their hearing and do an examination with close attention to the ears. Your child may be referred for hearing testing.

At AdventHealth, our world-class pediatric providers specialize in childhood diabetes, allergies, cancer, neurology and more. We’re here for every milestone and growing pain, supporting your child’s healthy growth through evidence-based, whole-person medical treatments for kids at every age and stage.

Learn more about our pediatric care for healthier, happier kids.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website

 

26 Apr

THE ADVENTHEALTH BRAND IS AN EXPRESSION OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST MEANING

By AdventHealth — In January 2019, the hospitals of what was known as Adventist Health System unified under a single brand: AdventHealth. Except for the system’s joint ventures, the 51 hospitals and hundreds of clinics and care sites now operate under a single moniker and carry a common brand promise: Feel whole.

AdventHealth’s brand promise is central to its public-facing messaging and is closely connected to the organization’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.

Reminiscent of the discourse in which Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), the brand promise suggests that even the healthiest among us can aspire to feel whole.

However, in the same way, that the ministry of Seventh-day Adventist health care is connected to, but distinct from, the ministry of the denomination’s ecclesiastical arm, the corporate messaging of AdventHealth hopes to strike chords of harmony with that of the church, even while hitting different notes.

THE ADVENTIST CHURCH AND MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has no doctrinal teaching, statement, or guideline that speaks directly to the need the church and its ministries have for communications, marketing, and brand awareness. However, the importance of the message and teachings of the church has led to the practice of using creative and varied marketing methods from the earliest days of the Advent movement.

Whether it was to sell books and other publications or to bolster attendance at a seminar on Bible prophecy, church leaders, limited only by their creativity and financial resources, have regularly used attention-seeking strategies to raise awareness regarding their efforts.

In 1912, Baltimore journalist Walter L. Burgan attended an evangelistic series by Carlyle B. Haynes and became a convert to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He was then hired to be the head of the Public Relations Bureau of the General Conference, making the Seventh-day Adventist Church the first Protestant denomination with a public relations program. Church leaders recognized the critically important role of combating misinformation, breaking down prejudices, and building bridges of understanding in the community in order to raise public awareness of this young denomination. The Public Relations Bureau became the communications department of the church, and it continues to be tasked with the same charge.

Although the denomination has grown exponentially since those early years, and communications have become an established department at all levels of the organization, the focus of church communications is predominantly internal, with most efforts directed toward members. Beyond the signage placed in front of congregations, schools, and office buildings, very few resources are allocated to public awareness.

Messaging Distinctive Care

There are several scriptural models that support the assertive approach AdventHealth takes in its advertising and public relations efforts, especially those that seek to distinguish the efforts of the faith-based, consumer-focused institution it aspires to become. One vivid example comes from the pages of Exodus.

Moses is standing before God in the Tent of Meeting outside the Israelite encampment. He has just received tablets of stone from God for the second time. Moses is pleading with God that the Divine presence should accompany the chosen people on their journey to the Promised Land rather than the presence of an angel, as God had proposed in response to the insurrection which had just occurred.

“’How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and your people unless you go with us?’ Moses argued. ‘What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?’” Exodus 33:16 NIV

In this discourse, we find an essential goal of AdventHealth’s marketing and communications efforts: to show the distinctive nature of whole-person care that has become the hallmark of Seventh-day Adventist health care.

Whole-person care, which functions as an extension of Christ’s healing ministry, is distinctive from the care other healing organizations provide. While all evidence-based medicine is best rendered with compassion and seeks to be curative, faith-based, whole-person care is meant to be restorative, referencing the image of the Creator found in every living soul and balancing physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Just as Moses knew the presence of God in the massive company of Israelite migrants would set them apart as a distinct nation, AdventHealth believes in the legacy of whole-person care, which recognizes the image of God in every human being and seeks the presence of God in every patient interaction, will distinguish it from all others who merely desire physical healing.

HONORING THE STORY OF THE HEALED

During His Galilean ministry, Jesus was asked by a ruler of the synagogue to heal his critically ill daughter. While journeying toward the home of Jairus, the crowd noticed Jesus stopping firmly in His tracks. An unanticipated act of healing had just occurred. A woman who sought a miracle in stealth and silence would be cajoled by Christ to speak openly about what God had done.

“When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed. Immediately her bleeding stopped, and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.’” Mark 5:28, 29 NIV

AdventHealth team members labor daily under the mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ and desire to be the garment that functions as the conduit between the healing power of God and the desire resident in every AdventHealth consumer—namely, to feel whole.

However, the account of the woman who was healed by the faith-filled brush with Christ’s garment does not end with her healing but with her story. Christ would not let this woman leave His presence before giving witness to what had happened in her life in a moment so private that, were it not for His insistence, it would have gone unnoticed.

The marketing materials and brand advertising of AdventHealth also take up this challenge. Ultimately, the fuel giving validity and power to the television commercials, billboard ads, and marketing campaigns are the real stories of healing that happen every day in the skilled and compassionate care of team members.

“Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” were the closing words uttered by Jesus as the woman departed. The peace in her heart, the relief on her face, and the lightened steps of one who had so long carried the burden of her condition are the same sentiments conveyed in AdventHealth’s advertisements. This is what it looks like to feel whole. In AdventHealth’s marketing messages, the heroes of the story are always those who have been healed.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on Outlook Magazine’s website

23 Mar

Bridging the Generational Gap: Having Conversations about Race with Your Family

By AdventHealth — The closeness and safety of family during uncertain times can be so comforting. Some cultures have a deep history rooted in the importance of close-knit families. “It takes a village” is a concept lived by many Asian American families who value close relationships with extended family. In a cultural tradition like theirs, the health of the community typically takes precedence over any one individual, especially for the older generations.

With so many important social issues currently at the forefront, we want to highlight our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, empowering family members to talk to each other more openly about race, family expectations, societal pressure and how mental health is affected. Keeping communication lines open is key to staying well in body, mind and spirit — for families and individuals alike.

Under Pressure

While the intentions are good, when collective health is valued more than individual health, the expectations are set high. There may be many family members who feel pressured to hide any human imperfections or symptoms, preferring to suffer in silence for the sake of their family. Hiding struggles without support from family and friends can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Perceived failure to live up to expectations to succeed academically, personally and professionally can be a source of severe stress and lead to feelings of inadequacy.

The Model Minority Myth

Many of us are taught not to judge a book by its cover or to stereotype anyone, with the logic that stereotypes usually have negative connotations. While this is often true, it’s also true that there are positive stereotypes that can have a negative impact. Already held to high expectations by their families to achieve, Asian Americans who live with “the model minority myth” are unfairly held to higher standards by society, and suffer more as a result.

The narrative set forth by the model minority myth is that Asian American children are geniuses in math, science and music — and that their parents force them to excel to surpass everyone else. The stereotype unfairly characterizes Asian Americans as “polite,” law-abiding,” “successful,” and immigrants who live the American dream.

Like all stereotypes, this type of thinking stops people from being seen as individuals with differences and preferences. Those who are stereotyped are left with more anxiety to uphold what they think is expected of them from all ends.

Generation Gap

No matter what our ethnic or racial background, it can be difficult to start a conversation about race with family members, especially if the age gap is very different. Adult children talking to their parents, and grandchildren talking to their grandparents, about such a complex and important topic can be unnerving. Getting the conversation started is the first step, and it can lead to good outcomes where each participant can end up learning not only more about other perspectives, but more about themselves and their own biases in the process.

In Asian American families, “respect your elders” and “don’t make waves” often impact how family members relate to one another and what is expected of each person. Having a conversation where you will make waves and challenge your elders is a risk of being seen as disrespectful. Here’s how you can do it as sensitively and effectively as possible:

Be Humble and Educate Yourself First

Read, research and come into the conversations armed with knowledge of what you’re going to talk about. Consider that your older family members simply might not know as much about American history and the centuries-long history of racism if they didn’t go to school here or experience it first-hand. Honor their lived experiences, too.

Put Your Emotions Aside

If a family member says something that sounds racist as you’re trying to open the discussion to help change their worldview, it’s normal to feel angry, sad and offended. It’s how you respond to those comments that can make all the difference. If they feel judged for their beliefs, they’ll shut down and get defensive. Putting your emotions aside while you try to educate them can be the most effective approach in that you are perceived as being in control.

Ask about Their Lived Experiences

For many Asian American parents and grandparents, views on racism were shaped by their experiences in their home countries. Try to understand the situation they grew up in and how they still carry that with them.

Speak Personally and Empathetically

Your family members care about you, so tell them why supporting diversity, learning about racism and talking about it with them to bridge the generational gap is so important to you.

Care You Can Trust Across Cultures

At AdventHealth, we provide world-class care to everyone and treat every patient with dignity. We honor all cultures, respect all wishes and strive to meet all needs. We build trusting relationships between patients and providers and Extend the Healing Ministry of Christ to them and their families.

If you’re struggling, visit here and reach out for care from the heart that you can trust. You deserve to feel whole in body, mind and spirit.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on the AdventHealth website

 

28 Feb

Can Gaming Benefit Your Brain?

By AdventHealth — Gaming is a popular pastime for people of all ages. They’re widely available on our phones, tablets and computers, making them only a quick click or swipe away to those who love to play. While many health experts worry that video or virtual games can cause problems, some recent studies actually point to potential benefits — and that comes as good news for all the gamers out there.

We’re here to explain how to game to your advantage so you can get the best of both worlds — health benefits along with fun.

Flex That Brain

Research shows that those experiencing memory loss may benefit from playing video games by delaying the brain’s aging process. Engaging in new activities, such as gaming, can keep the parts of the brain that are susceptible to memory problems sharp.

One study revealed that memory improved in people from 60 to 80 years old who played video games each day over the course of four weeks. At the end of the month, they scored higher on memory tests than those who played other games, like solitaire.

Gaming is also now used to treat people with ADHD. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration even approved the video game, EndeavorRx, in June of 2020 to help kids with ADHD.

When combined with other treatment methods, video games kept those with ADHD motivated and focused during therapy with hardly any side effects.

Boost Your Mood

Video games also let you experience adventure without leaving your home. Especially for those restricted in movement or mobility, immersive video games can provide an exciting escape.

As you discover and explore the world of virtual reality, you’ll raise your dopamine levels, which are connected to feelings of happiness and reward. Gamers often experience heightened pleasure and confidence when playing because of this natural rush.

Proceed With Caution

Like all things, you’ll need to strike a healthy balance. There are potential drawbacks to gaming, especially if they include violence or other unsuitable content for kids and adults alike. Negative side effects of too much screen time range from strained eyes to reduced physical activity and trouble sleeping.

Video game addiction is a risk, especially for kids and teens with ADHD. Look for signs such as losing interest in non-gaming activities and an obsession with devices. Make an appointment with your child’s health care provider if you notice these tendencies.

The Name of the Game

At AdventHealth, we want to see you happy and healthy no matter your stage of life. That means attending to your body, mind and spirit with whatever helps you achieve wholeness.

Whether our skilled team recommends traditional methods or the most leading-edge techniques, you can rest assured that we’re caring for you as the unique individual you are.

Visit us here for the compassionate care you deserve — and learn more about how AdventHealth has entered the arena of esports here.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website.

16 Feb

Broken Heart Syndrome: Causes and Symptoms

By AdventHealth — When you think of “a broken heart,” you probably picture someone who is devastated by a great loss. Many people experience heightened feelings of sadness and loss during the holidays. But for some, those heavy emotions can turn into physical symptoms that cause alarm.

Did you know there is a temporary heart condition called broken heart syndrome that can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack? We’re here to explain the causes of broken heart syndrome, the symptoms, who’s most at risk and how it differs from a heart attack so you can be in a better position to protect your heart.

What Causes Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is often triggered by stressful situations, extreme emotions, surgery or a serious physical injury. The stress is usually sudden and acute, emotional or physical, and quickly weakens the heart muscle from the overwhelming amount of adrenaline produced in response.

Emotional stressors that can lead to broken heart syndrome are:

  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Grief
  • Surprise

Physical stressors include:

  • Blood loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • High fever
  • Low blood sugar
  • Seizure
  • Stroke

The majority of people who develop this condition experienced a stressful event, but about 30% of patients can’t trace an identifiable trigger when their symptoms began.

Other names for broken heart syndrome are stress cardiomyopathy, takotsubo cardiomyopathy or apical ballooning syndrome.

What are the Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome?

Since symptoms are similar to those of a heart attack, patients, their family members, paramedics and ER physicians are often misled by broken heart syndrome. It’s important to take the symptoms seriously so you can receive proper treatment and make a full recovery.

The signs of broken heart syndrome are:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heart
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

The symptoms might begin within minutes of the stressful event, or hours later. It’s important to call 911 or get to the ER if you’re experiencing these symptoms.

Who is Most at Risk?

Risk factors for broken heart syndrome include:

  • Age: Most people who have broken heart syndrome are older than 50.
  • Chronic stress: People in long-term stressful situations may be more at risk for broken heart syndrome.
  • Gender: Broken heart syndrome is more common in women than in men.
  • Mental health disorder: Those with anxiety or depression may have a higher risk of broken heart syndrome.

How Does Broken Heart Syndrome Differ from a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are typically caused by a complete or near-complete blockage of a heart artery. In broken heart syndrome, the heart arteries are not blocked. Blood flow in the arteries of the heart may be reduced. While there are rare cases of broken heart syndrome leading to death, most patients recover quickly without long-term complications.

When to See a Doctor

At AdventHealth, we’re all about healing hearts and caring for you in body, mind and spirit. If you experience broken heart syndrome, it’s important to get the right care to prevent future episodes. Many physicians recommend long-term treatment with beta-blockers or similar medications that block the potentially damaging effects of stress hormones on the heart. We’re here to protect your whole health with compassionate care in our state-of-the-art facilities. Learn more about our Heart and Vascular Care Program here.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website

08 Feb

What to Ask Your PCP to Keep Your Heart Healthy

By AdventHealth — February is American Heart Month, a time when we can all refocus on our cardiovascular health. This is a good time to schedule a heart-to-heart with your primary care provider (PCP) to ask them all you need to know about your heart health.

We’re here to help you organize what types of questions to ask at your appointment, along with some heart health tips. By being proactive, you can keep your heart in good shape and prevent heart disease.

Primary Care for Your Heart

Since your heart is a primary component of your overall health, it’s important to make sure it’s strong. While patients normally think of their primary care provider as their go-to for common colds and annual check-ups, your PCP is your partner in whole health. They can determine your risk of heart disease through a routine exam, which makes those annual check-ups even more important.

Your PCP will start by checking your blood pressure and heart rate. These are simple but important measures for your heart health. They will listen to your heart and lungs and check for swollen feet and ankles. You might not notice these little details, but by doing all of these checks, your PCP is caring for your heart.

Other tests your PCP might conduct to check your heart health are blood tests to check for cholesterol and diabetes, and an EKG (electrocardiogram) to measure the electrical activity of your heartbeat.

Along with gathering information through testing, your PCP will likely ask you about your medical history, your family health history, and your lifestyle, such as your diet, whether or not you smoke, and how much you exercise. They can recommend lifestyle changes, prescribe medicines and refer you to a cardiologist if necessary.

Questions to Ask at Your Appointment

Whether you’re at the doctor for a routine visit or you’ve been experiencing symptoms, it can be daunting to know which questions to ask and where to start, especially when it comes to something as important as your heart. Here are some questions to start with:

Am I at a healthy weight?
Can we discuss the symptoms I’m having?
Can we go over my medications?
Do I need to take any supplements?
How do I reduce stress?
How is my blood pressure and heart rate?
What can I do to improve my heart health?
When should I have a follow-up visit?

Heart Health Tips

Here are some tried and true tips to help keep your heart healthy for life:

Don’t smoke: Smoking doubles your heart attack risk and makes it less likely you’ll survive if you do suffer cardiac arrest.

Eat a balanced diet: Eat foods low in cholesterol, saturated fat, salt and refined sugars and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure and weight.

Exercise: At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity spread throughout the week is recommended.

Know your numbers: A normal heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. An ideal blood pressure is within the range of less than 120 for systolic (highest reading) and less than 80 for diastolic (lowest reading), which reads as 120/80. Most doctors consider anything above 140/90 as high blood pressure, and below 90/60 as low blood pressure.

Manage stress: Exercise, meditate, pray, talk to friends or a counselor or spend time doing what you love. Find what works for you.

Care from the Heart

Taking care of your heart with healthy lifestyle choices and partnering with your primary care provider is the best formula for preventing heart disease. Your primary care provider can help you manage any risk factors and help you meet your goals.

–AdventHealth; photo supplied

This article was originally published on the AdventHealth website

24 Jan

Mental Health in Black Communities

By Advent Health — The stigma that still surrounds mental health conditions prevents many individuals from seeking help when they need it most. When one is part of a minority group, those stigmas can be even more difficult to overcome.

We’re here to help break those barriers and talk about how our Black communities in particular are affected when it comes to mental health conditions and stereotypes. Help is around the corner and should be sought out whether the condition is mental or physical. Body, mind and spirit work together to form our whole health. When one is suffering, the others are affected.

Challenges with Mental Health Care

Only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. While they are more likely than Caucasian adult to report emotional distress, they report it more as physical symptoms such as back pain or headaches. They are less likely to receive consistent care, not frequently included in studies and are more likely to use emergency departments and primary care rather than going to a mental health specialist for help.

While primary care is a great place to start, it’s important to get specialized care when needed, and as soon as possible after the symptoms begin. Those who live below the poverty line are more than twice as likely to report severe emotional distress than those who are financially secure.

Barriers to Be Broken

Not only do Black Americans seek professional help less frequently, they are faced with barriers to it. Like other minorities, socioeconomic factors make treatment harder to come by with not as much access to important health and educational resources. This can lead to poorer mental health outcomes.

Since there are often untrue stereotypes about people who have mental health conditions, minorities may experience more anxiety about having a mental health condition, worrying they will be discriminated against for that reason. It makes it all the more difficult for our Black communities to discuss mental health.

It’s okay to have a mental health condition, discuss it and seek help for it.

Care You Can Trust Across Cultures

A person with mental health challenges needs consistent, quality care to get better. At AdventHealth, we provide world-class care to everyone and treat every patient with dignity. AdventHealth honor all cultures, respect all wishes and strive to meet all needs. AdventHealth builds trusting relationships between patients and providers and Extend the Healing Ministry of Christ to them and their families. If you’re suffering, visit here and reach out for care from the heart that you can trust. You are whole and deserve to feel well in body, mind, and spirit.

–Photo supplied

This article was originally published on AdventHealth’s website

11 Jan

New Documentary Shows How a Plant-based Diet Can Solve Some Chronic Health Conditions

By AdventHealth — She grew up in the country living a vegetarian lifestyle and only rarely eating meat. As a substitute, she ate a lot of cheese, eggs and processed foods. Shortly after getting married, however, she started having health issues that eventually escalated with her first pregnancy.

“At the 27-week mark in the pregnancy, the doctor ordered a glucose tolerance test. I failed the test quite significantly,” said Karene Bejarano, a registered nurse who works for a west coast hospital. “They told me I had gestational diabetes and I was going to have to see an endocrinologist and do food counseling. They said, ‘But don’t worry; it will go away. You’ll just have to be careful. If you exercise and keep yourself healthy, you’ll be just fine.’”

But after giving birth, Bejarano experienced terrible muscle weakness, intermittent blurred vision and high blood sugar levels, leading to a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.

“It was very disheartening, and I went through a lot of denial,” she said. “I was truly grieving a loss. I was losing my health, which is part of what all of us have the right to enjoy in life.”

Bejarano is one of six individuals who share their health transformation stories in the recently released film “PlantWise.” In the documentary, the six showcase their struggles with debilitating health conditions often caused by unhealthy food choices.

The turning point for each of them is the decision to change what they put on their plate by embracing a whole-food, plant-based diet. For Bejarano, while she couldn’t completely eliminate her medication for Type 1 diabetes (an irreversible condition), her improved lifestyle allowed her to lower the amount she needed to take.

“When I made the switch to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, I started experiencing significant changes rather quickly,” Bejarano recounted. “Within six months, I had lost 40 pounds. My doctor said my blood pressure was quite low and that they were going to take me off my blood pressure medication. My cholesterol was dropping too, so he said I wouldn’t need my cholesterol medication anymore. In fact, I was able to get off the majority of my medications.”

Nearly half of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, which is responsible for 1.7 million deaths every year, according to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. National lifestyle medicine experts believe that exposing the results of unhealthy food choices and revealing the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle could significantly help to slow this trend.

“A plant-based diet is the best diet available for humans. When minimally processed plant food is consumed, it can be incredibly health-promoting and even therapeutic, to the point of reversing disease,” noted George Guthrie, MD, MPH, a lifestyle medicine physician at AdventHealth who is also the author of “Eat Plants, Feel Whole,” a health transformation book. “The average American is deficient in potassium, magnesium and fiber. Those eating a whole-food, plant-based diet do not have this problem.”

“I thought I was free, but I didn’t really understand what freedom was until I changed my lifestyle,” she said.

Bejarano recalled how adopting this healthy eating approach made her feel so much more alive.

“I thought I was free, but I didn’t really understand what freedom was until I changed my lifestyle,” she said. “You have more energy, you’re more vibrant and you’re happier. When you really decide you’re going to change your lifestyle and you stand firm with that decision, it radically changes your life for the better, and you’ll never want to go back.”

The film “PlantWise” stems from AdventHealth’s desire to explore using documentary films in inpatient and outpatient settings as a catalyst to inspire patients to make lifestyle changes. It is a powerful motivational tool that can give viewers a new vision and fresh hope for their condition, and help them experience vibrant wellness through embracing a healthy lifestyle.

Speaking on the vision of the film, Todd Chobotar, editor-in-chief at AdventHealth Press and executive producer of “PlantWise,” said the film was created not only to share transformative patient stories, but also detail solutions to chronic health conditions and support physician-patient engagement.

“It is our hope that ‘PlantWise’ will positively impact people’s health when it is viewed by many audiences across the globe, including health care employees, inpatients, outpatients, medical providers, consumers, churches and other community organizations,” Chobotar noted.

“PlantWise” is a 48-minute film with subtitles available in 18 languages. Sponsored by AdventHealth, Ardmore Institute of Health, American College of Lifestyle Medicine and EatingYouAlive.org, the film features 18 leading lifestyle medicine experts from 14 specialties and disciplines.

Hans Diehl, DHSc, MPH, founder of CHIP (Complete Health Improvement Program), calls “PlantWise” “the best plant-based film out there.” And T. Colin Campbell, PhD, co-author of “The China Study,” said it’s “inspiring and meaningful. Exactly what people should see!”

To view the film as well as additional resources for free, visit PlantWiseFilm.com.

–Photo supplied.

This article was originally published on the AdventHealth website