The amazing effects pets have on mental health. Studies are continually showing that pets aren’t just fun to have around the house – there is health-boosting power among our furry, scaly or feathered friends. Everything from increasing activity to making you happier, pets have a wonderful impact on your psyche. It’s no surprise that owning a pet – particularly a dog – makes you more active, but the list of health benefits that come with that might surprise. Older adults who own a dog have a lower body mass index, make fewer visits to the doctor and do more exercise. Research also shows that the stronger your bond with your pooch, the more likely you are to walk, and spend longer walking. With all those walks, pets tend to be good for your heart too. The American Heart Association undertook a study about how owning pets affects your chance of developing cardiovascular disease, including conditions that affect your heart and blood, such as stroke or coronary heart disease. Researchers found that having a pet – a dog, in particular – is probably associated with reducing your chances of developing CVD, though they were careful not to overstate this. In a follow-up study researchers again looked at how having a dog or cat affected your health, and this time felines came up trumps. They found that having a cat is associated with a reduced chance of dying from cardiovascular disease, especially strokes. This shows that it’s not just the exercise associated with having a pet that helps you – the stress relief and companionship also have very physical benefits. Pets make you more sociable. Even though you might feel grumpy sometimes and think you like quiet, humans are social animals. It’s important for our physical and mental health to have contact with other people – and our four-legged friends are a brilliant way to get you talking. Pets increase the number of off-chance chats you have and help people trust you and are brilliant ice-breakers. Social isolation is a huge health problem, particularly for the elderly. In fact, social isolation can increase your chances of dying early. So, what may seem like a trivial chat over the garden wall when looking for your cat or in the park when walking your dog, can be hugely significant for your mental and physical health. Pets stop loneliness. It’s not just that pets help you build a wider social network – many people have pets as companions. They make you happy, give you a routine and are great company – all of which adds your quality of life and boosts your everyday mental health. Pets reduce your stress. If you want to try and control your stress levels, go and chat to your pet. Studies have shown that pet owners reacted less to stress – and recovered from it much quicker – when their pets were present. Another study took 48 people with high blood pressure and high stress jobs. Researchers measured how they responded to stress before the test. Then, some of them bought a pet and six months later researchers again measured their response to stress. The results were interesting: after 6 months pet owners had less of a physical response to stress compared with those who didn’t have a four-legged friend. Pets are great. And a lot of them need homes. Help out a pet (adopt!) while helping to improve your mental health.
Regular checkups are important. You aren’t feeling sick, your energy levels are up, you’re diet is great. You feel you don’t need for a regular checkup. If that’s your thought process, you may be wrong. Regular checkups are extremely important to everyone’s health. You provider will do screenings and exams that you need and when you need them. You may not even consider some of the screenings they do that can help avoid future illness or injury. Below are resources to help you and your health care provider determine what health services and screenings are best for you. Why Get Regular checkups? By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare. Start with your UFMC doctor. The best place to go for health services is your regular health care provider. We are here to help you stay healthy and strong. Your doctor is a great sounding board whether you have illness or not, make sure to use them as your best resource. Encourage others to get a checkup. You may also want to start a campaign in your community to encourage others to make an appointment for a check-up or health screening. It’s important that everyone gets a checkup to make sure they are on track to great health. Make an appointment for your checkup today!
Your Family Health History Have you ever thought about your family health history? It’s something that doctors generally ask about, but have you ever thought about what it can result in for you? What is your family health history? You and your family members share genes. You may also have behaviors in common, such as exercise habits and what you like to eat. You may live in the same area and come into contact with similar things in the environment. Family history includes all of these factors, any of which can affect your health. Why is knowing family health history good for your health? Most people have a family member that has a health history of at least one chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. If you have a close family member with a chronic disease, you may be more likely to develop that disease yourself, especially if more than one close relative has (or had) the disease or a family member got the disease at a younger age than usual. Collect your family health history information before visiting the doctor, and take it with you. Even if you don’t know all of your family health history information, share what you do know. Family health history information, even if incomplete, can help your doctor decide which screening tests you need and when those tests should start. How can I improve my health using our family health history? You can’t change your genes, but you can change unhealthy behaviors. Be active, improve your eating habits, stop smoking. You may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests. Worried about your family health history? Make an appointment and discuss it with your doctor.
With several physicians in Pueblo retiring, you may be thinking about transferring practices and looking for a new physician. It’s an easy process if you do it right and how to manage the transition. Here are a few steps to help you manage the transition:
- Make sure the new doctor will take your insurance. You can call the office and ask or you can check online. Oftentimes, you can even find doctors through working with your insurance company. This is a great way to assure your coverage is accepted.If you have any questions about coverage and co-pays, clear these up with your insurance company before going in. You don't want to get a big bill you were not anticipating a month after your first visit.
- Have your medical records forwarded. You'll need your medical records forwarded to your new doctor. This can be done in a variety of ways. Click here to find out how. You can request a copy of your medical records over the phone, or have a Patient Portal that allows you to access your records online. You can have the records sent directly to you and then bring them to your new doctor. Make sure to request items like lab results, x-rays, and any CAT or MRI scans.
- Get organized. Preparing your own patient history can help smooth the transition. You should also make sure there's no gaps in coverage. You don't want to be left without a doctor during an emergency or run out of a prescription and have no one to refill it.
Did you know, you can save a life even after you pass away? Read the recent press release below about the myths and facts of organ donation! --- LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- April is Donate Life Month, which is a good reminder of how important organ and tissue donation is to our community and around the world. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, more than 120,000 people are waiting for an organ and a new person joins the list every 10 minutes. Every person that signs up to be a donor can save up to eight lives. Jason Wellen, M.D., M.B.A., Surgical Director of the combined Kidney/Pancreas Program at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center, along with Mark Mastroianni, former kidney and pancreas transplant patient, clear up the misconceptions about donating. Myth 1: I signed the back of my driver's license so i don`t need to tell anyone that i want to be an organ donor. Fact: By the time your will is read or doctors see your driver's license or donor card, it may be too late to recover your organs and/or tissue. Telling your family, now, that you want to be an organ and tissue donor and enrolling, today, in the organ and tissue donor registry is the best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Myth 2: I am too old or too sick to become an organ and tissue donor. Fact: Anyone can be a potential organ and tissue donor regardless of age, race, demographics or medical history. Myth 3: In case of an emergency, the doctors may not do everything to save me. Fact: If you are sick or injured and admitted to the hospital, the number one priority is to save your life. Organ and tissue donation can only be considered after all life-saving options have been explored. Myth 4: Only hearts, livers and kidneys can be transplanted. Fact: Needed organs include the heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver and intestines. Tissue that can be donated includes the eyes, skin, bone, heart valves and tendons. For more information visit: barnesjewish.org/transplant or organdonor.gov
With several physicians in Pueblo retiring, you'll need to set yourself up with a great physician to take care of you and your family. And the good news is it's easy! University Family Medicine Center is taking new patients and the process to transfer your medical records is simple. Requesting your medical records from your old physician is the following process:
- Fill out an authorization form giving one medical provider permission to share your records with another.
- Mark on that form which types of records you want included.
- Pay any fees that result (if any)
Most of us have been there. The unfortunate feeling in your stomach making you run in search of the nearest bathroom. The cause was most likely a delicious meal the previous day, and now you are terribly regretting that meal as you are confined to your bathroom, sick as a dog. There are simple steps you can take to decrease your risk of getting food poisoning, including:
- Don't leave your food out Food left out at room temperature for hours at a time - be it at home, or a doggy bag from the restaurant you just left, a family cookout, or even a restaurant buffet -- room temperature food is a prime source of food poisoning. The spores and toxins released by bacteria commonly found on food can flourish at this temperature.
- Stay clear of raw poultry Four out of five cases of food poisoning come from contaminated poultry. The best way to avoid food poisoning from chicken is to make avoid raw chicken. Make sure all chicken is cooked thoroughly you have good kitchen practices when cooking and handling chicken at home.
- Cook all Ground Meat well, before eating. A steak is an intact piece of meat. Any contamination will be on the surface. Cooking a steak well on the outside therefore reduces your chances of infection, even if it remains rare inside. But ground meat is different. Ground meat, such as hamburger, ground turkey, etc. instead of the bacteria staying on the outside, harmful bacteria is mixed into the meat. This applies to any form of burger, be it gourmet slider, meat pie, or anything that uses ground meat. Make sure any ground meat is cooked thoroughly before eating and consider having your burgers always prepared in as well-done to avoid bacteria.
- Wash your fruit, veggies, and nuts! A 2013 study by the CDC found that 46% of foodborne illnesses in the U.S are caused by fruits, vegetables and nuts. Leafy vegetables were found to cause the most illness, accounting for 22% of all cases in the study -- aided by the fact that bacteria, like E. coli, can live within the leaf tissue itself. Always wash your fruit, veggies and nuts before eating.
- Reheat your leftovers properly Bacteria can be found in leftovers, and unless heating them so they are piping hot, you may be at risk. For example, rice. Rice contain bacteria that are found in the rice patty fields. The bacteria are killed when the rice is cooked, but their spores stay alive and flourish if then left out at room temperature. If you eat rice without fully heating it, you could be at risk of that bacteria the second time around. Make sure to heat your leftovers until they steam.
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Quit Smoking
- Learn Something New
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
- Travel to New Places
- Be Less Stressed
- Drink Less
- Wash hands and wash them often. Washing your hands will help prevent the spread of cold and flu germs.
- Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
- Don't drink and drive (or let other drink and drive). Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.
- Bundle up. Stay warm. Wear appropriate winter outdoor clothing (light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots). At home, work, and on the road, be prepared and prevent injuries too.
- Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but non-smokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
- Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.