ASK THE EXPERT // Headaches  

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

Headaches are common.  It is very likely that each of us has experienced one in the last few weeks.  They can come and go, be minor or major, but what are some of the things that cause our heads to hurt?

Headache is one of the most common types of pain in the world.  Three quarters of the world’s population annually suffers from a headache.  Headaches can cause us to miss out on a family function or miss a day of work or school.  For some continually battling headaches can cause one to feel anxious and depressed.

There are more than 150 types of headaches.  They fall into two main categories:  primary and secondary headaches. 

Primary headaches are headaches that are not due to another medical condition.  Examples include:  Migraine, Cluster headaches, Daily persistent headaches and Tension headaches.

Secondary headaches are related to another medical condition, such as:  Disease of blood vessels in the brain, Head injury, High blood pressure, Infection, Medication misuse, Sinus congestion, Tumor or Trauma. 

A key ingredient to treating headache is figuring out what causes the headache.  Finding out what causes the headache leads to treatment.  There are many components that add up to what type, how often and how severe a headache can be.  Consulting your healthcare provider is the best way to begin to figure out the cause, management and treatment of headaches.  Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing future headaches.

It is important to consult your medical provider with questions about headaches.  Often times they don’t pose a serious threat, but sometimes can be a symptom of something greater. 

For more information on headaches see:  my.clevelandclinic.org, mayoclinic.org, medlineplus.gov

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /

ASK THE EXPERT // High Blood Pressure  

May is National Blood Pressure Education Month

High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.  Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Fortunately, high blood pressure is treatable and preventable. To lower your risk, get your blood pressure checked regularly and take action to control your blood pressure if it is too high. 

5 Surprising Facts About High Blood Pressure:

1.  High blood pressure is common, with more than 3 millions US cases per year.

2.  High blood pressure is linked to a higher risk for dementia, a loss of cognitive function. 

3.  Young people can have high blood pressure.  It isn’t just older adults who have high blood pressure.  Between

20 and 25 percent of men and women ages 33-44 have high blood pressure. This is linked to the rise in obesity rates.

4.  High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms.  Some call it the “silent killer”.  Even if you feel fine, have your blood pressure checked and talk to a doctor about your risk for high blood pressure.  Lack of symptoms and inconsistent checkups and health care monitoring, causes those who suffer to be undetected.

5.  Women and minorities face unique risks when it comes to high blood pressure.  Women can run into problems during pregnancy.  Some minority groups also have higher rates of high blood pressure. 

The best way to keep high blood pressure under control is to have regular health care visits and to follow instructions from your health provider. 

More information can be found at:  heart.org, cdc.gov, clevelandclinic.org and nia.nih.gov.

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /Uncategorized /

What is Podiatry??

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month

Taking care of your feet has an impact on your health.  So when we need care for our feet, why should one seek the help of a Podiatrist?  First of all, feet are a very complex part of the body.  They carry us throughout our day, while acting as shock absorbers and balance for our bodies.  Our feet require good care.  A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine or DPM, is a medical expert that has spent many years and countless hours training in the care of the foot and ankle.  DPM’s are uniquely qualified to take care of this part of the body.  Podiatrists have many fields of specialty, such as sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics and diabetic care. 

At Copperfield Hill there is a monthly podiatry clinic.  Podiatry visits can include: 

~ Comprehensive foot evaluations

~ Nail and callous management

~ Diabetic foot exams

~ Medical equipment evaluations (braces, shoe inserts, diabetic shoes)

These visits are billed to insurance and are routinely covered as office visits by Medicare.

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /Nursing /Senior Living /

Heart Health for Valentine’s Day

February is National Hear Health Month

The American Heart Association has a strategic plan to reduce cardiovascular disease in the United States. It outlines seven of the most important behaviors people can follow to protect their cardiovascular health.

Exercise:  Regular exercise improves nearly every aspect of your health.

Eat right:  Seek out foods such as nuts, whole grains, beans, fruits,  vegetables, seafood, yogurt, and healthy fats.

Blood Pressure:  Get your blood pressure checked, make sure your heart isn’t working harder than it should be.

Cholesterol:  Know your cholesterol level and keep it low.

Keep blood sugar levels down:  Exercise and diet help keep blood  sugar levels in check.

Maintain a healthy weight:  Fat cells release many substances that increase inflammation, promote insulin resistance, and contribute to  atherosclerosis.

Don’t smoke:  Smoking and the use of tobacco products isn’t just bad for your lungs, it is bad for your heart too.

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /Heart Health /

ASK THE EXPERT // A Healthier You!

Our health is important.  You can definitely be an active participant in your journey to a healthier life.  In February, the American Heart Association spotlights on heart disease to raise awareness to the number one health risk in our country. 

Let’s face it, your heart is an amazing thing.  It keeps all the systems of the body going, beating day in and day out, pumping blood 24/7.  Oxygen and nutrient rich blood is delivered to our bodies organs and tissues—it then carries away waste.  Your heart carries out all of its work and relies on its own electrical system to do so.  

Overall, we can help our hearts by taking care of our bodies.  Everyday actions to keep you healthy include: 

Eat well – Eat a balanced and healthy diet.  Avoid fats, sugars, alcohol and caffeine.  Eat whole foods, not processed foods.  Don’t overeat.  Keeping a healthy body weight goes hand in hand with good health.

Get moving and keep moving – Not only does exercise help you burn calories, it is a great way to reduce stress.  Whether you walk, do yoga or chair exercises, exercise is great for you.

Get enough sleep – Sleep struggles affect many things, our mood and heart health among them.  It can be a vicious cycle when we lose sleep and then feel tired, cranky and unwell from lack of sleep.  Try some relaxation techniques, minimize alcohol and caffeine intake, limit screen time and go to bed at the same time each night.  Good sleep is a building block to good health. 

Keeping a positive attitude helps too.  Many things we just can’t control.  Knowing what we can control is a great way to help manage our own health.  All of the things mentioned above contribute to a healthier you. 

Happy New Year from the nursing team at Copperfield Hill! 

~Olivia Caspers, RN, BSN

Posted in Health Topics /Heart Health /Nursing /

The Great American Smoke Out

Each year, the American Cancer Society hosts the Great American Smoke out on the third Thursday in November.  The Great American Smoke out is an opportunity for people who smoke, to make a plan to quit and commit to a smoke-free and healthier life.  The smoke out starts with one day, but it has the intention of providing individuals with the motivation to quit smoking for good.  Use this date to quit altogether or to make a plan to quit.  The Great American Smoke out event not only is the challenge for individuals to stop smoking but also help people with tools that they can use to help them quit and stay that way.

A deadly and tough to kick addiction, nicotine in cigarettes is one of the strongest additions one can have.  Quitting is not easy for many who smoke.  Like other health improvement plans, one needs the commitment and a plan to make that commitment realized.  There are many quitting methods, such as prescription medications and counseling support.  It is always recommended to consult your health care advisor for information and support.  Having support is a proven way to be successful.

The Great American Smoke out began in the 1970’s when smoking and second hand smoke were very common.  In 1970 at an event in Randolph, MA, people were asked to give up cigarettes for one day and donate the money they saved to a high school scholarship fund.  In 1974 in Monticello, MN another don’t smoke day was spearheaded.  The movement caught on and in 1976 the CA American Cancer Society got nearly 1 million people to quit for the day.  The Smoke out went nation-wide in 1977.  Since then, a lot has changed.  Public view of smoking has changed.  Many public places and work spaces began the move towards a smoke free environment.  Today, very few buildings allow smoking inside. 

Today, less than 16% of Americans smoke.  However over 37 million Americans still smoke.  Each year close to half a million people die from illness caused by smoking.  Smoking is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.

Changing attitudes have helped reduce the number of deaths and illness.  Improving your health and quitting smoking go hand in hand. 

Learn more at www.cancer.org.

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /Human Interest /

ASK THE EXPERT // Healthy Lungs

November is National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.  Many times what helps a movement, is just the simple part of getting the word out.  The American Lung Association’s Lung Force initiative is uniting women, men and caregivers to stand together in the fight against lung cancer. It is only with critical awareness that we can turn the tide against this life threatening disease. 

We take our lungs for granted.  Our bodies have natural defense systems to protect our lungs.  But the ALA suggests some ways to keep your lungs healthy.

1. Don’t Smoke—This is the major cause of lung cancer and COPD.  Cigarette smoke narrows the air ways in the lungs and causes chronic inflammation (swelling) in the lung.  If you smoke, quit.  Its never too late to benefit from quitting.

2. Avoid Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution—Air quality can vary from day to day.  Knowing how this can affect your health and implementing useful strategies to minimize prolonged exposure can help keep you (and your family) well.  For example, the recent smoke from wild fires is one example of outdoor air pollution.

3. Prevent Infections—This is as simple as practicing good hygiene.  Wash your hands to prevent unwanted germs.  Avoid crowed places during cold and flu season.  Good oral hygiene is important, too.  Talk to your doctor about getting an influenza vaccination, pneumonia vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccine if it is the right thing for you.  These are effective tools to prevent severe illness. 

4. Get Regular Check-ups—Prevention and early detection of any illness is a strong way to avoid and fight disease. 

5. Exercise—It doesn’t matter your age or ability, being physically active can keep your lungs healthy.  Mild to moderate exercise not only can make you feel better, it can make a big difference in your overall health.

6. Breathe—Breathing exercises and deep breathing can help with your overall lung health.

Learn more at:  www.lung.org, rush.edu

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /Uncategorized /

The Tooth Brush – A History

October is National Oral Hygiene Month

The modern toothbrush was invented in 1938.  Early forms of a “tooth brush” date to 3000 BC.  Ancient people used a “chew stick”,  a stick that someone would chew on until it became frayed.  The sticks were rubbed against the teeth.

The bristle toothbrush was invented in the mid 1400’s in China.  With handles of bamboo or bone, the bristles were usually taken from an animal with coarse hair.  Boar bristles were often used.  With the invention of plastics in the late 1930’s, nylon bristles were introduced.  The first commercial tooth brush was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush.  Disciplined oral hygiene became more of a practice in the 1940’s.  This was due to the disciplined hygiene habits of WWII soldiers.

The first American to patent a toothbrush was H. N. Wadsworth, (patent #18,653) on Nov. 7, 1857.  One of the first electric toothbrushes to hit the American market was in 1960. It was marketed by the Squibb company under the name Broxodent.toothbrush

Sources: loc.gov, colgate.com and history.com

 

Posted in Fun Facts /General Information /Health Topics /Uncategorized /

Ask the Expert

October is National Oral Hygiene Month

Dental

We take note of what dental hygienists do and raise awareness of the importance of good oral hygiene and oral health.

It does not matter what age you are, oral hygiene is very important to your overall health. The following are five issues that dental hygienists address: Periodontal Disease, Teeth Whitening, General Oral Care, Cavities and Inflammation

Everyone loves a clean mouth. So, here are the basic steps to keep it clean and healthy!

Floss Daily – There are places a tooth brush just can’t reach.

Brush Twice Daily – Morning and night, brush for two minutes to prevent cavities and gum disease.

Rinse with Mouth Wash – Not only does this keep your mouth clean, it does wonders for your breath.

Question: What is the connection between oral health and overall health?

The mouth is loaded with bacteria. Most of it is harmless, but your mouth is an entry point for your respiratory and digestive systems. Sometimes, harmful bacteria can enter your system and cause disease.

⇒ The body’s natural defense system is strong. Most the time this defense system and good oral hygiene are enough to keep harmful bacteria at bay. But, if you don’t practice good oral hygiene, bacteria can reach high levels causing infections in your mouth that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

⇒ Various diseases such as Endocarditis, Cardiovascular Disease and Pneumonia have been linked to poor oral hygiene.

⇒ Conditions that might affect your overall oral health can include: Diabetes, Osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. Diabetes can put your gums at risk, Osteoporosis can cause weakening of the jaw bone and tooth loss and Alzheimer’s disease can diminish the ability for one to maintain their own oral hygiene.

Eating a healthy diet and limiting added sugar is also helpful. Avoiding tobacco use will also increase the general health of your gums and mouth. Don’t forget to keep a regular schedule of visiting your dentist and oral hygienist. Contacting your oral health professional as soon as you see a problem will help keep a small problem from getting bigger.

 

*Sources: mayoclinic.org, adha.org, nationaltoday.com

 

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /Uncategorized /

How to help break the stigma of mental illness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but what do we mean by mental health?

As discussed in an article by the The Mayo Clinic*, “Mental health is the overall wellness of how you think, regulate your feelings and behave.”

At times, physical illness, environmental stresses or a change in one’s personal situation can cause a disruption or interference with individual thought process and mental functioning. This is what can cause our mental wellness to be compromised.  Being aware of changes and recognizing signs that someone might be experiencing challenges with their mental health is helpful for all involved.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Openly talk about mental health – Break the stigma about talking about mental health issues.   Common and treatable, more people suffer from mental health then you may be aware.

Educate yourself – There are plenty of resources accessible to learn more about specific types of mental illnesses, treatments and support.  Talk to your health professional, visit the library or online resources.

Be aware of the language you use – The language we choose to use matters. Do not use insulting terms (ex. “Crazy” or “Psycho”). Identify the person first, not the illness. (ex. My brother who struggles with OCD vs. My OCD brother).

Show compassion towards those with mental illness – Be supportive to people with mental health conditions. Check in frequently, provide support and encouragement.

Speak up against the stigma – Be positive.  Don’t sit by idly as others pass judgements or speak in a derogatory manner.

 

Great resources to educate yourself about mental health:

www.nami.org

www.thedepressionproject.com

www.mayoclinic.org

www.mentalhealthmn.org

www.mn.gov

www.nimh.nih.gov

Sources: https://www.centracare.com/blog/2019/may/break-the-stigma/
*https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/mental-health/art-20044098

 

Posted in General Information /Health Topics /Uncategorized /