Keep those lungs happy and healthy! We generally think about keeping our bodies in shape, but have you ever considered that your lungs should be part of that health and there are things you can do to help keep them in shape. Simple Deep Breathing Deep breathing can help you get closer to reaching your lungs' full capacity. As you slowly inhale, consciously expand your belly with awareness of lowering the diaphragm. Next expand your ribs, allowing the floating ribs to open like wings. Finally, allow the upper chest to expand and lift. After this, exhale as completely as possible by letting the chest fall, then contracting the ribs and, finally, bring the stomach muscles in and up to lift the diaphragm and expel the last bit of air. Counting on your breath You can also increase your lung capacity by increasing the length of your inhalations and exhalations. Start by counting how long a natural breath takes. If it takes to the count of five to inhale it should take to the count of five to exhale. You’ll want them to be of equal length. Once you’ve discovered the count for your average breath, add one more count to each inhale and exhale until you can comfortably extend the length of time it takes to fill and empty your lungs. The point is to avoid straining or being uncomfortable. It should be a gradual and easy process. Stay Hydrated Getting enough water is as important for the lungs as it is for the rest of the body. Staying well hydrated by taking in fluids throughout the day helps keep the mucosal linings in the lungs thin. This thinner lining helps the lungs function better. Be Active Regular moderately intense activity is great for the lungs, and when you increase your daily activity you get three things done at once: healthy lungs, a healthier heart and a better mood. Consider aiming for at least least 20 minutes of consistent, moderately intense movement daily, like a brisk walk or bike ride. Love your lungs. They keep you breathing.
SAFE HALLOWEEN We love Halloween and so do the kids, but it’s a holiday that is full of tricks and treats, which often offers an safety warning. The CDC offers great tips on staying safe and healthy this Halloween. See their “SAFE HALLOWEEN” acronym below and have a safe and wonderful Halloween. Going trick-or-treating? S - Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible. A - Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult. F - Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. E - Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat. H - Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house. A - Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation. L - Look both ways before crossing the street. Use crosswalks wherever possible. L - Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses. O - Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe. W - Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls. E - Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers. E - Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers. N - Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes. Have a wonderful and happy Halloween!
What is Spina Bifida? Ever hear of Spina Bifida? Well it all starts with newborn babies. Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. Spina Bifida itself literally means “split spine.” This disorder happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all of the way. Every day, about 8 babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. Unfortunately, there is still no cause found for this disorder. Scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors act together to cause the condition. How is Spina Bifida treated? A child with Meningomyelocele usually is operated on within two to three days of birth. This prevents infections and helps save the spinal cord from more damage. A newborn with Meningocele usually has it treated with surgery, and more often than not, the child is not paralyzed. Most children with this condition grow up fine, but they should be checked by a doctor because they could have other serious problems, too. Most experts think that surgery is needed early to keep nerves and the brain from becoming more damaged as the child grows. Some forms do not even actually need to be treated. Interested in learning more? Talk to your doctor or family pediatrician.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Pink ribbons. Pink shoe laces. Pink t-shirts. Pink. Pink. Pink. Pay attention to the pink because there is generally are story behind the pink. And more than likely it has to do with a person or loved one being affected by breast cancer. One in every eight women have breast cancer in their lifetime. Help us spread awareness about this all too common disease. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. Every year, about 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are reported nationwide and more than 40,000 women die from ihe disease. Getting mammograms regularly can help prevent breast cancer. University Family Medicine Center supports breast cancer surveillance and research and provides breast exams to our patients. In 2010, an estimated 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 54,010 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer. What is Breast Cancer? Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. The growth becomes uncontrollable without treatment, ultimately resulting in the formation of a tumor. A tumor can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Related to this description, a cancer growth can also be noninvasive (confined to the infected area) or invasive (spread to surrounding breast tissue), which determines the severity of disease upon detection. Are you worried about breast cancer or have a family history of it? Schedule an appointment for a breast exam and talk to your doctor about how it can affect you and your family.
Did you know October is Depression Awareness Month? Mental health is a key component to your health. Common behavioral and mental health disorders, even suicide are extremely important to talk about with your doctor. Even if you feel that you’ve just been feeling a little “off” your doctor can help. Depression is far too common and can easily be treated. We are here to help and are helping to promote Depression Awareness Month. Depression Awareness Month is held annually in October, it is an education and screening event conducted by hospitals, clinics, colleges, and community groups nationwide. Much like the medical community screens for diabetes and high blood pressure, this awareness month offers large-scale mood disorder screenings and awareness. Screenings include depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and we provide treatment resources for you and your family. Did You Know?
- Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
- Depression and anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
- People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
- Depression and anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.