Monday, December 31, 2012

Hot Fitness Trends for 2013

     The start of each New Year presents a chance to change it up. If you’re tired of running around the neighborhood or hitting the gym, Meritus Health physicians and healthcare providers offer insight on the latest fitness trends.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Team for Hazmat Spills

A photo from a drill, showing the
Powered Air Purifying Respirators and
 a decontamination tent. 
     You hear it from time to time: I-70 is shut down due to an overturned tractor-trailer and chemical spill. Most of us pay little attention to the incident unless it affects our commute. For first responders and Meritus Medical Center, a hazmat spill that involves contaminated victims triggers text messages and voicemails to members of its Hospital Emergency Response Team (HERT). 

     “Our hospital is well-prepared for hazmat incidents and goes well beyond national requirements for patient decontamination,” explains Josef Chlebowski, emergency response coordinator at Meritus Medical Center. “You get trauma services and an emergency response team under one roof at Meritus Medical Center.”

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Kickin’ Life Lesson

     A nurse, an emergency room doctor and three active kids. It’s a family that could easily be short on family time. But since January 2010, the Kotch family uses Tae Kwon Do, a form of martial arts, as a way to exercise and spend quality time together.

     Stephen Kotch, MD, medical director of Meritus Medical Center’s emergency department practiced martial arts in college so a light bulb went off when he saw an advertisement for a parent’s night out at a martial arts studio shortly after his daughter wanted to try something other than dance. The Kotch’s twin 13-year-old boys and nine-year-old daughter participated in a night of kicks, pizza and anti-bullying discussions—and the kids, especially their daughter, were hooked.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Women in Heels: What Your Feet Are Saying

     You may have heard the quote that a lady should always keep her heels, head and standards high, but if your feet had a say, they would ask for heels to be taken off the list! In the world we live in today, there are plenty of societal pressures for the modern woman to wear fashionable shoes to work or social events. In most cases that means squeezing into a tall pair of heels that leave your feet aching and blistered by the end of the day. However, what many women don’t realize is the long-term damage they may be causing to their feet.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Childhood Holiday Dangers

     Christmas trees, candles, ornaments, ribbons and strings of lights are all common, integral parts of the holiday season. But for kids, these items can also be dangerous. Children, especially those younger than age 5, can easily confuse exciting decorations as toys or something they can eat. Parents and guardians of children can make sure this holiday season is bright and safe with the following tips:

     Christmas Trees: A Christmas tree is a fun and classic decoration for the holiday season. If you decide to decorate with a live tree, make sure it is as fresh as possible so it is less likely to catch on fire. Also, keep the tree in a container with water, as you would a bouquet of flowers, and check often that there is plenty of water inside to keep it fresh.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bah Humbug, it’s the Holiday Blues

     Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge felt it and so did George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s—the holidays can make you feel unhinged.

     “During the holiday season, there’s just so much to do and not enough hours in the day,” says Julie Kugler-Bentley, RN, LCSW-C, CEAP of Meritus Health’s Behavioral Health. Women in particular can feel overwhelmed by all the holiday prep work explains Julie. Between work, family commitments and extra holiday tasks, women’s “me time” falls off the radar screen and stress builds. “This is a time when fewer deposits are put into the emotional bank account,” says Julie.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Childhood ADHD Explained

Many of us have had those days where it feels like our head is in a fog no matter how many hours we sleep or cups of coffee we drink. For children with untreated Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short, that is the norm.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, ADHD is a common affliction with as many as 7% of school-aged children diagnosed with it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

When Gluten is not Your Friend

    Going gluten-free is all the rage for celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow, but living without many foods like cereal, pizza and salad dressing can be hard—just ask someone with celiac disease. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NIH), 1 in 133 people have celiac disease, a unique autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. The body's immune system causes it to overreact in response to gluten in food—like wheat, barley and rye.

Monday, November 5, 2012

An Out-of-the Box Way to Exercise

     Beth Doyle’s day job involves working as a care manager on the intermediate care unit of Meritus Medical Center. At night and on the weekends, Beth’s free time is spent belly dancing. Widely misunderstood as a dance to entertain men, belly dancing joins women together in a celebration of music and self-expression.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Protecting Your Derriere

     Many of us can relate to something that’s a pain in our lower extremities. But for those who sit in a wheelchair or power chair for longer than two hours at a time, discomfort in the posterior could turn into a pressure sore.

     “Anyone who has decreased sensation or circulation, like people with diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, peripheral neuropathy, incontinence or anyone who cannot reposition themselves while sitting are at risk for pressure sores,” explains assistive technology professional Denver Muir, CRT, ATP, CRTS of Equipped for Life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Napping—Not Just for Toddlers

      Our society doesn’t value napping. Instead, we maintain aggressive schedules and 24/7 access to smart phones and the intranet. It’s no wonder the average American gets 6.7 hours of sleep or less each weekday night. Most adults need seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep to function at our best, but to squeeze in a nap, well, that’s seen as a sign of laziness.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Walking for Health and Beauty

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” said philosopher Albert Camus.

If you need an excuse to experience fall’s splendor, get out and walk. Walking is a readily accessible and budget-friendly form of exercise. Orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician, Wayne Leadbetter, MD once told me that a walking program benefits every part of the body.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Farmer’s Market in the Fall

     When you think of a farmer’s market the picture that usually comes to mind is summer time with its yummy and popular fruits like strawberries and blueberries. However, many are fortunate enough to have a farmer’s market that provides fresh produce into the fall season! Pumpkins, potatoes, kale, green peppers and apples are just a few of fall’s delicious offerings.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Costumes- partnering safety and warmth with fun

Halloween is usually pretty spooky, but what many don’t realize is how frightfully dangerous the wrong costume can be. To help prevent your Halloween adventures from taking a turn down Elm Street, I spoke with Butch Rhoderick, Meritus Health’s head of security. He recommends following these simple guidelines:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Keeping Patients Healthy After Hospital Discharge

Most of us don’t want a return trip to the hospital—we want a one-way ticket out.

But sometimes patients leave the hospital without a clear understanding of their diagnosis, changes to their medications and diet, follow-up appointments with providers, and how to care for themselves post-hospitalization. Studies show that if patients do not see their primary care physicians within seven days of hospital discharge, there is a strong chance they will be back in the emergency department or readmitted.

Traditional hospital philosophy is to rehabilitate patients during their stay, but with Care Managers, Meritus Medical Center is helping patients maintain their health once they leave the hospital.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Think Pink and Take Action

Information about the
2012 Designer Cup Challenge

    It’s breast cancer awareness month and pink ribbons are as common as pumpkins on doorsteps. Pink ribbons were first handed out in New York City in the early ’90s to build awareness of breast cancer and early detection. Today, the movement includes organized walks, foundations and NFL games played in pink.

     So why the hype each October? For starters, one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and it’s predicted that more than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2012. In short, most of us have been touched by someone who has (or had) breast cancer.

Monday, October 8, 2012

When to Part Ways with Your Doc

     Usually I know after several encounters whether I mesh with a person or not. For four years, I have tried to get a good feeling about my primary care physician, but when I leave her office, I feel worse going out than I did coming in. You see, I’m a worrier, and my doctor is closed-lipped—so we don’t make a good combination. At my last appointment, it finally hit me—I need to fire my physician.

     Several months ago, John Reed, MD, of Smithsburg Family Medical Center, told me that trust, chemistry, and communication should be present during all doctor-patient encounters. Physicians should be your confidant, educator, and evaluator—guiding you to optimal health. “It’s that kind of a relationship,” he said.

Is your doctor making the grade? Ask yourself the following questions:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Don't Fall for the Flu!

     Fall is in the air! The leaves are beginning to change and the cool weather is a much-needed break from the heat of summer. However, everything isn’t pumpkin pie and wool sweaters. Along with the changing seasons comes an increased risk of the flu.

     The flu, or influenza, is a serious infectious disease that can be life threatening. Hundreds of thousands of people will experience a high fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, fatigue, chills, and feelings of overall discomfort—all common symptoms of the flu. Many children, and some adults, will also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Bug You Don’t Want to Get

     Bug season is here again—and not just stink bugs. Colds and flu are common, and with rest and care, they tend to resolve on their own. But there’s a potentially dangerous diarrhea bug found in healthcare settings increasingly making its way into the community. I sat down with infectious disease expert, Mohammed Bilgrami, MD to learn about C. difficile, or, C. diff.

What is C. difficile and why should we be concerned? 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Healthy Spotlight: Amy Byard

Amy Byard, on a training run
     Amy Byard is a busy woman. She works part-time as a speech-language pathologist for Total Rehab Care, and goes home to a husband and two children. She, like many women, must juggle her work-life and home-life, caring for her patients, her family, and herself. Finding the right balance can be difficult.

     Amy knew it was important to exercise regularly so she joined the local gym and did weight training, the elliptical machine and the treadmill. Exercise was not something she enjoyed but she discovered the exercise she minded the least was running, so she started running more and eventually signed up for a 5K (3.1 miles). The first few 5K's were very challenging and at the end, Amy still didn’t love running.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to the Rescue

     Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” In today’s healthcare, collaboration between physicians and midlevel practitioners improves patient care, especially in busy primary care physician offices. Under the umbrella term of midlevel practitioners, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) expand physician care at a time when primary care physicians can be in short supply, and help meet the growing medical demands of an aging population.

What is a NP?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Your Feet at Work

     After a shift of walking and standing—whether it be cutting hair, delivering mail, or teaching students—workers have some tired dogs, and maybe some foot problems too. The American Podiatric Medical Association says that 47% of Americans suffer from a foot ailment, but only slightly more than a quarter of them see a podiatrist. If your job requires a lot of standing and walking, here’s the low-down on foot care.

     According to Todd Harrison, DPM, of Podiatry Associates of Hagerstown, foot pain, specifically plantar fasciitis, is common among people whose jobs require them to stand and walk a lot. With plantar fasciitis, the thick band of tissue at the bottom of foot becomes inflamed, causing a stabbing heel pain.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Trouble with Earbuds

     The Journal of the American Medical Association published a report indicating an increase in adolescent hearing loss. Does listening to loud sounds through earbuds—the tiny electronic speakers that fit into your ears—affect some adolescents’ hearing? Well, the answer is “maybe.” Otolaryngologist Kirby Scott, DO, FACS, FAAOA says that studies are still ongoing concerning the long-term effects of earbuds and hearing loss. “Earbuds and their use are still somewhat new, but everything should be done in moderation,” he warns.

      Dr. Scott explains that any significant noise in the ear canal isn’t good. “With earbuds, you’re putting a lot of energy into the ear canal. The ear canal can sustain loud noise for a short period of time.” Do you remember going to a rock concert and experiencing ringing in your ears for several days afterwards? It’s known as noise trauma, and thankfully, the ringing goes away. But not all damage is reversible.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What Does Diving Have to Do with Wound Care?

When I started working at Meritus Health and heard about hyperbaric tanks, all I could think of was deep sea diving. Turns out I wasn’t that far off. In fact, Meritus Health’s Wound Center was recently awarded accreditation by none other than the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society (only a handful of Maryland hospitals have this accreditation, by the way). And when you overhear Wound Center staff talking about treating a patient, you’re likely to hear something like, “Mrs. Smith will be diving on Tuesday morning.”

So what’s going on? Does hyperbaric oxygen therapy (commonly called HBO) require a wetsuit?

Monday, September 10, 2012

What’s Your Favorite Sleep Position?

     When I was a kid, I’d do anything to avoid a nap. As an adult, they’re a special treat. There’s nothing like getting into that perfect position under a warm blanket. But what is the “perfect position”?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stand Up for Health

     Between the commute to work and a sedentary job, many of us log in more than ten hours of sitting a day. Studies show that sitting still for too long causes changes in our bodies—like less blood flow, which can lead to fat build up in the blood stream and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Not to mention what a lack of motion does for our backs, muscles, and metabolism.

     “All of us need to exercise more. Our lives are busier, our workdays extend from office to home, and compared to our grandparents, we’re too sedentary,” says Cindy Earle, RN and community health education coordinator at Meritus Health. Humans after all, were designed to walk, and in this technology era, we’re doing far less of it. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On the Lookout for Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

     Sunburn season and the perils of the pool are just about behind us, but as any parent knows, the antenna can never go completely down. Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD)—a common viral illness that occurs in the summer and fall—typically affects infants and children younger than five years old. This year, Tania Crussiah, MD, of Williamsport Family Practice, has seen an increase in HFMD cases. Half of the cases she has seen have occurred in the parents or caregivers of young children.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Preventing the Pickling Process

     Some diseases, such as bronchitis, are curable. Others, like diabetes, are not. I once heard it explained like this: Once you have diabetes, you will always have it. You can manage it, but you will never again not be diabetic. It’s like a cucumber and a pickle. Once a cucumber is pickled, it will never again be a cucumber. It will always be a pickle.

     But what if you could stop the pickling process before the cucumber turns into a pickle? Well, I don’t know if you can stop that process, but you can stop (maybe forever, or at least for a while) the progression of Type 2 diabetes.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Beyond the CT Scan Scare

     We all know bad news sells. Turn on the news and you’ll see raging wildfires, random shootings, and drought-stricken cornfields. In the last few months, the media has spotlighted an increase in people getting larger and perhaps more dangerous doses of radiation from CT scans. Could we be getting too much of a good thing?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vaccines: Good or bad?

     In recent years, vaccination was the topic of much debate and discussion. There were claims that vaccines were causing autism spectrum disorders, and some parents decided to not vaccinate their children. I spoke with Dr. Gail Callaway from Smithsburg Family Medical Center to clear the air.

Why is it important to vaccinate your children?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Keeping Your Child Healthy this School Year

     It’s a happy time of year for many parents: back to school means back to a standard schedule. But rejoining twenty-some classmates can mean back to germs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of children aged 5–17 years miss three or more school days in the school year because of illness or injury. Younger children, or those with compromised immune systems, are even more likely to be on the receiving end of germs. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012


     Some of you may have heard of thinspiration, or “thinspo” as it is commonly called. Thinspo is generally defined as anything that provides inspiration for people to become thin. This includes sayings such as, “Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels,” or pictures of very thin models or celebrities. Thinspo can also be pulled from books or song lyrics, such as this line, “I don't care if it hurts, I wanna have control, I want a perfect body,” from the song “Creep” by Radiohead.

      Thinspiration is often found on sites that are “pro-ana”(pro-anorexia) or “pro-mia” (pro-bulimia). Pro-ana sites are, at best, sites that provide a support group for people battling with anorexia, and at worst, sites that offer a how-to on becoming anorexic. Pro-mia sites are similar, except they focus more on bulimia.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Who Knew a Liver Could be Fat?

     There’s a silent liver disease gaining momentum and it’s riding on the heels of the obesity epidemic. I recently sat down with gastroenterologist Dr. Shahin Rahimian of Digestive Disorders Consultants to learn about nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and a more serious condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

     Most of us know that drinking too much alcohol can harm the liver, causing scarring and inflammation known as cirrhosis. But did you know that carrying excess weight could be just as harmful to your liver as drinking too much alcohol? When fat accumulates in the liver—an organ that is not supposed to store fat—the liver’s health can be seriously affected, and possibly lead to liver failure or cancer.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Exercise and the Active Recovery

     Did you know that when you do a new or challenging workout, your muscles get stronger by breaking down and rebuilding? When this process occurs, muscles create waste products that can cause muscle soreness. A workout recovery period circulates blood through the muscles, removing waste product and re-oxygenating the muscles, according to Karla Trotta, physical therapist at Total Rehab Care.

Who Needs a Recovery Period?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Up All Night

Everyone knows someone who snores. Maybe it’s your spouse and you have resorted to wearing earplugs to bed. Perhaps it is Grandpa John who sounds like a freight train in the guest bedroom every Christmas. We have all had long and sleepless nights because of a snorer, but did you know that snoring can be a major health risk?

For some people snoring is the most recognizable symptom of a condition called Sleep Apnea. Additional symptoms of sleep apnea are excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, snoring, breathing stopping during sleep, memory and concentration problems, restless tossing and turning, and waking with an unrefreshed feeling after a full night’s sleep.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fast Action Required for Brain Attack

     You probably know someone who’s suffered a stroke. I know of two people, and both of them were under the age of sixty. Well, I guess you could say that I knew Dick Clark–I spent many New Year’s Eve parties with him. For people who experience an ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel or artery in the brain), the sooner treatment begins, the better the chances for recovery.

     Why is fast action so important for stroke victims? 

Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Train Like an Olympian—and Why!

     I consider myself a fit person. But I’m complacent—a little too comfy with my current workout. After reading an article on 45-year old Dara Torres (five-time Olympic swimming champion) and anticipating the summer Olympic games in London, I’m ready to up my workout ante.

     My “go-to” exercise is dance aerobics, but I’ve decided I need to cross train. Cross training varies the stress on muscles because different activities use muscles in slightly different ways (even avid runners experience sore muscles after a day of downhill skiing). Cross training also reduces the risk of overuse injuries such as tennis elbow, runner’s knee, and Achilles tendonitis.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hair today, gone tomorrow.

Over 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from some kind of hair loss.

     Hair loss can come from any number of different sources. Your genetic makeup, the medicine you take, even having a child can cause you to suffer from hair loss!
     The most common form of hair loss is called androgenic alopecia, more commonly known as male or female pattern baldness. This type of hair loss makes up the vast majority of hair loss cases in the U.S.
     Male pattern baldness typically begins with a receding hairline that creates an “M”-shaped pattern. Eventually that “M” may become a “U” that covers just the back and sides of the head.
     Female pattern baldness typically expresses itself differently than male pattern baldness. Instead of seeing a receding hairline, most women who suffer from female pattern baldness experience a more generalized thinning of the hair that begins in the center of the scalp and may slowly spread outward.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Family’s Weight Loss Journey

     Imagine losing half of you. At one point, you’re tipping the scales at more than 350 pounds, and later you stand some 200 pounds lighter. Before her weight loss surgery in 2009, Michelle Hoover often used a scooter to get around. Because physical activity made her reach for an inhaler, much of her day was spent in a recliner.
     Michelle’s doctor told her she wouldn’t live to see 50. That news—coupled with a life of type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, sleep apnea, decreased lung capacity, and bad knees—helped Michelle decide to undergo gastric bypass surgery.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Protecting Your Family From Poisons

Imagine you are in the kitchen making dinner while your toddler plays with his toys on the floor. You turn around to stir the pasta sauce and when you look back at your child, you find him chewing on something. You run over to see what it is and find that he has chewed up most of a blood pressure pill that you thought had rolled under the fridge. What do you do?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fate and the Midwife Plan

On Meritus Health’s website, Nancy Dwyer shared a glowing review of her midwife, Donna Lofton of Women’s Health Center at Robinwood. Here’s what I learned about Nancy’s midwife experience.

Nancy admits that she likes to ask questions to understand the what and the why. When she learned she was going to have a baby, she knew that she wanted the experience to be extraordinary—more than just a medical procedure. She also wanted active participation in decision-making, both during her pregnancy and delivery. Nancy knew she was a good fit for a midwife-assisted birth.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Stop Hiding that Summer Smile!

Whether you are out watching fireworks, camping, golfing, fishing, or swimming, summer is a great time to smile. But if you’re anything like me, you have probably thought to yourself “I wish my teeth were whiter.” Tooth stains can strike anybody, although they are typically amplified by the use of tobacco products, (including smokeless tobacco) as well as some types of food and drink such as coffee or soda.

So, the question is… How can I make my teeth whiter?

The fact is, there are actually quite a few ways for you to whiten your teeth.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It’s Never Too Late to Quit.

     Did you know that tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals and, according to the National Cancer Institute, at least 250 of those are known to be harmful? Included among these chemicals are Arsenic, (a poison commonly used to kill pests) formaldehyde, (a chemical used to preserve dead bodies) and toluene (used to make gasoline, paint thinner, and nail polish remover). This is just the one of the many reasons you should consider quitting if you are a smoker. Below is a list of even more ways that you can improve your life by quitting. Some are obvious, while others may be a bit more obscure, but no less impactful.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

There’s a lot to be said about breastfeeding. It’s a great way to burn calories while doing something beneficial for baby (and what mother doesn’t like to multi-task?), and it’s linked to lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding also saves parents time and money. Bottle feeding requires mom or dad to warm up a bottle (even at 3:00 in the morning), mix formula, and wash bottles and nipples. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, formula and feeding supplies can cost $1,500 a year. The beauty of breast milk is that it’s free and readily accessible.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Tangled Web: Navigating Health Information on the Internet

     Did you know that you are a member of a group that makes up 61% of all adults in the U.S. and is growing every day? That’s right, you are what the Pew Internet and American Life Project calls an “e-patient.” What is an e-patient? Well, simply put, an e-patient is anyone who looks to the Internet as a source for health information.

     The web is a great resource for just about any subject you can think of, health included. However, the sad fact is that for every web page that offers high quality, reliable information, there are quite a few more that are…less than reliable. For that reason I thought it might be a good idea to discuss how to pick out the good from the bad. The following tips will help you do just that. Don’t think they apply only to health resources, feel free to use them for any website you come across.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Preparing for your Bundle of Joy

Finding out that you are going to be a parent can be the most exciting and the scariest moment of a person’s life. For many first-time parents, preparing for a newborn may seem overwhelming. If you find yourself in this situation, fear not! Here is some basic advice to help prospective parents prepare for their new addition.

Below is a very basic list of products you will need to care for your newborn. These are just a few of the bare necessities and by no means represent everything you will need.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Preparing for the Unexpected: Creating a First-Aid Kit

A first-aid kit is an essential part of any home. It provides the supplies to help stop a bad situation from getting worse. It is important to think about what you need on hand in case a dish breaks and someone steps on a sliver, or a pocket knife is closed incorrectly and slices a finger, or a bee stings you. You never know what life could throw your way, and a first aid kit is a good way to be prepared. I talked with Kelly Llewellyn, RN, and EMS Administrative Specialist at Meritus Medical Center, and checked out the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website for emergency preparedness, to figure out what you really need in your first aid kit.

So, what should be in your emergency kit? FEMA recommends these items:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Diet vs. Regular Soda: Pick Your Poison

In New York City, restaurants, delis, and movie theaters may soon stop serving large cups of soda and other sugary drinks. A proposed ban would limit the sale of sugary bottled or fountain drinks to no more than 16 ounces per serving. Not included in the ban are diet soda and any drink that contains a good portion of juice or milk. This hype might make you think, should I switch from regular soda to diet soda? Regardless of where you live, here are some things to keep in mind before grabbing your next soft drink.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Dentist

     For some, those two simple words are enough to induce panic, fear, and anxiety. Thoughts of drills, needles, and root canals begin swirling in our heads. This “dental fear” is an issue suffered by people all over the world.

     For those who do suffer from dental fear, I bring good news! If you follow five simple and easy steps suggested by the American Dental Association (ADA), you can begin to put your fear of the dentist aside. These steps can be performed in the comfort of your own home and will lead you to improved dental hygiene. Not only that, but they will also result in quicker and more enjoyable dental visits. No, they won’t allow you to forgo dental visits altogether, but they will make going to the dentist a breeze!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Keeping Food Real

     My mom grew up on a Wisconsin farm and ate what the farm produced—no potato chips, snack cakes, or Uncle Ben’s rice. Back then, Mom was eating “from the earth”—her food was free of artificial dyes, transfats, and high-fructose corn syrup. Now, people like Bill Clinton and Ozzy Osbourne are adopting that retro approach to eating. It’s called a plant-based diet.

     In the strictest sense, a plant-based diet is a vegetarian lifestyle. I’m not promoting dinners without meat, but moving closer to first-generation food—my Mom’s way of life—sounds right, not just trendy. So what does a plant-based diet look like? It’s largely made up of fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes (beans). Meat is low on the ladder and packaged foods are passé. Here’s how can you get closer to a plant-based diet:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Delicious Summer Dessert: Wild Berry Parfait

This summer, try making this fresh and healthy dessert for your next get-together! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hot Burns in the Summer Sun

     Summer is heating up, and so can your skin. Picture an intoxicated adult backing into a burning metal fire pit, a youngster wielding a flaming marshmallow, a teenager sunning at the pool for too many hours—the season is ripe for summertime skin burns.

     Burns come in degrees: first, second, third, and fourth. With a first-degree burn, the skin is red and you’ll notice some pain and swelling at the burn site. When the first and second layers of the skin (dermis) are burned, causing blistering, redness and swelling, it’s classified as a second-degree burn. Third-degree burns are very serious—potentially affecting all layers of the skin. A fourth-degree burn goes deep as the fat, muscle, and even bone. You’ll see white, leathery, blackened, or charred skin. The skin may be numb to the touch because of nerve damage.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Stay Alive! Don't Text and Drive Update

     Did you know distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens? That is a dreadfully scary thought, especially when you realize that distracted driving-related accidents are 100% preventable. I have a hard time imagining anything worse than losing someone you love in an accident, but knowing that the accident could have been prevented would be more frustrating. Distracted driving, including texting while driving, is a major problem in our society, especially with our younger population.

     Did you know they have toys for toddlers that look and sound like cell phones? Our teenagers have literally had a cell phone in their hands since about the same time they were learning how to walk.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How to Protect Yourself from the Summer Sun

     As a young man, my dad spent as much time as possible playing basketball, football, tennis, golf, and any number of outdoor activities whenever he got the opportunity. Where my fair-skinned, red-headed, Irish dad went wrong was that he never wore sunscreen. Now, many years later, he has to visit the dermatologist every few months to check for skin cancer.

     In the 1960s when my dad was growing up, the dangers of sun exposure were not nearly as well known as they are today. That is why it is so alarming to see that today’s society places so much of an emphasis on tan skin. From young girls who use tanning beds to achieve that “golden” look before prom, to the “stars” of the reality show Jersey Shore who are famous for their daily regimen of GTL or gym, tan, laundry, to the recent story about the mom who allegedly took her six-year-old daughter to a tanning salon, the pressure to have perfectly bronzed skin is everywhere in pop culture.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Aging Gracefully–with a Side of Independence, please!

The idea of getting older is scary. When you are a teenager, you worry about where you will go to college. When you graduate college, you worry about getting a job. When you get a job, you begin to worry about home ownership, children, and aging parents. Eventually, all of us have to start considering the consequences of advanced age. Whether it is your parents or yourself that you are thinking of, there is no better time than now to consider the many elderly care services that are available.

Elderly care services are designed to help seniors live a full and meaningful life even if they have lost some of their independence. Below you will find brief descriptions of three options that are available: 

Assistance with moving between
levels of a house is one way at-home
products can help keep you in your home.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heartburn on a Checkered Tablecloth

     Who doesn’t like summer? The warm weather, beach vacations, cookouts, and acid reflux. Wait—acid reflux? If you suffer from occasional heartburn or acid reflux, picnic tables chock-full of fried chicken, hamburgers, and chocolate pie could be a digestive nightmare.

     That chocolate pie with mint garnish may relax a part of your esophagus (the tube between the throat and stomach) and let acid flow upward. Fatty foods like fried chicken and rib eye steak put pressure on the esophageal sphincter (mouth-like muscle), making heartburn a sure thing. And that gin and tonic? Don’t even think about it. Alcohol increases stomach acid.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Celebrating Emergency Medical Service Professionals

     Imagine for a minute that you have been involved in a car accident, have had a fall, your young child has fallen into a pool, or your house has caught on fire. These are all terrifying events that could happen at any time.

     Now imagine the feeling of relief that you would have when you see Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals arrive on the scene. These brave men and women bring along with them comfort, safety, hope, and the knowledge that the trauma is over and the healing can begin.

So why did I ask you to imagine such a scary situation? 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spotlight on the Meritus Medical Center Auxiliary

     Scientific evidence suggests that positive emotions can help us live longer and stay healthier. One documented path to happiness is doing good for others. For 60 years, nearly 400 Meritus Health Auxilians have taken the “volunteer” path to happiness. During their journey, our volunteers have raised $4 million for Meritus Medical Center and its programs, and devoted 3.2 million hours of service. “These people have found out they have a lot to give—and are making a difference in peoples’ lives,” Mitch Towe, director of volunteer services explained.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How to Pick Produce at the Farmer’s Market

    The weather may still be making up its mind, but the fact is, it’s May and farmer’s markets are starting to pop up, including the one held in the Robinwood Professional Center Atrium every Tuesday afternoon from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm! Do you know how to pick the best, freshest produce? Check out this clip from our TV show, Your Health Matters, where Chef Joseph Fleischman, executive chef and food production manager at Meritus Medical Center, shows you how!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Savvy Traveler

     There’s nothing more exciting than a trip outside the United States. The passport, the travel guides, the coordinated wardrobe of no-wrinkle pants and shirts. However, from a scooter accident in Milan to developing travelers’ diarrhea in Belize, venturing into foreign soil has its risks.

     Between stopping your mail and arranging a pet-sitter, here’s what you need to do to prep for your adventures abroad.

Monday, April 30, 2012

How Does Occupational Therapy Help Kids?

     Most people are familiar with occupational therapy for adults, which develops skills for the job of living. For children, occupational therapy focuses on skills for the job of playing.

     Pediatric occupational therapists guide children from ages birth and up to help them learn new skills or regain function after an injury. Occupational therapy can help with children who have autism, developmental delay, fine motor delay, cerebral palsy, sensory processing dysfunction, hemiplegia (the paralysis of one side of the body), and problems with motor coordination.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jump If You Have Abdominal Pain!

     When my son was six, he experienced a horrible flu bug. Maybe it was the norovirus—to this day, I’ll never know. After three days of fever, throwing up, extreme fatigue, and numerous calls to the nurse line, I took my son to the pediatrician. “We must get to the bottom of this,” I demanded. The pediatrician had my son jump off a step to see if the sudden movement caused him any pain. Why? My doctor was checking for appendicitis. 

So what is an appendix?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rabies and the Great Outdoors

     I don’t know about you guys, but I have been loving the unseasonably warm weather we have been having this year. (Although I am worried about what temperatures will be like in August. Yikes!) There are any number of fun activities that open up to us when the weather is nice. From a simple walk or run, to a picnic with friends or family, to going for a hike, there is no end to the fun that awaits us outdoors.

     However, there are also certain dangers that we may face when we head outdoors. One such danger is running across wild or stray animals with rabies.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Roadblock to the Doc

     Why do some people avoid going to the doctor? Is it a gender thing? As caregivers, women can run out of time and energy for their own doctor appointments after carting everyone else around. Men need to go to the doctor less frequently since they don’t have the annual GYN exam. Sometimes it boils down to a lack of finances, insurance, or time off. And some people just don’t like sitting in the waiting room thumbing through the latest Kim Kardashian gossip.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Barefoot Running: Good or Bad?

     Ok, there is something you need to know about me: I love new technology. It doesn’t matter what it is. A new iPad? Sign me up! Electric cars? Sounds great! There’s a refrigerator that can keep track of when your milk expires?! Tell me more! 

How about a new type of shoe that is shaped exactly like your foot? More like a foot glove than a shoe really.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Get Smart on Seasonal Allergies

A field of flowers or allergens? 
     Sneezing, wheezing, runny nose, itchy-red eyes, postnasal drip, cough, and changes in your energy level—to some of us, spring is not kind. Pollen, dust mites, or pet danders bring about a cold-like sensation, but what’s really going on is hay fever or allergic rhinitis.

     One in five people suffer from seasonal allergies, so if you are experiencing these symptoms, you’re not alone. You can stay indoors, loading up on over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, or prescription nasal sprays, but opening your watery eyes to the environment around you can help too.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Behind the Scenes: A Look Into The Life Of A Trauma Surgeon

Dr. Marc Kross, surgeon-in-chief,
Meritus Medical Center Trauma Services
It takes a special kind of person to commit to life as a trauma surgeon.

Consider this job description: You must like long and irregular hours. You must be willing to work weekends and holidays. You carry around a pager that is constantly buzzing. You must be able to diagnose and manage extremely complex injuries while a patient’s life is hanging in the balance. You have to be prepared to deal with any kind of injury ranging from gunshot wounds, to stabbings, to multiple rib fractures, to blunt force trauma. Oh, and before you can even take on this job you must go through four years of medical school, a five year general surgery residency, and a two-year trauma surgery or critical care fellowship.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Occupational Therapy: What is it? Who can it help?

Amber Kress, OT
Have you ever had an injury or a surgical procedure that made it difficult to accomplish your day-to-day activities? If so, you could have benefited from occupational therapy.

What is occupational therapy? Well, according to Amber Kress, an occupational therapist with Total Rehab Care, that can be a difficult question to answer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Radon: Is It Hiding in Your House?

Did you know that about twice as many people die each year from radon exposure than from drunk driving accidents, falls in the home, drownings or home fires, according to the Enivronmental Protection Agency? Did you know that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking? It’s true.

Radon is a toxic gas that is created when certain elements found in soil naturally decay. When this happens, radon moves up through the soil and into the air above. From there, radon can enter your home through cracks in walls and floors, construction joints, gaps in suspended floors and around pipes, and cavities inside walls. Once it has gotten into your home, the radon becomes trapped and starts to build up.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How Disgusting Is Your Favorite Device?

     Between talking, texting and surfing the web, your cell phone gets handled a lot—and according to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, it could be full of bacteria and viruses. The British study found that 92% of the cell phones tested in the UK have bacteria on them—and 16% contained E.coli—which comes from human and animal feces. Pretty gross, but think about it. Germs hang out on shopping carts, toilet seats and handles, and door knobs—why not cell phones? Few people wipe off their phones and many share them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sodium Lurking in Your Diet

     If you’ve been good about avoiding the salt shaker, three cheers for you. Unfortunately, sodium still lurks in your diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 80% of salt is already in the food you buy, like processed and restaurant foods! Too much salt is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke—and Americans eat far over the recommended daily allowance of 1,500 milligrams per day.

Here are some common sodium culprits and their range of sodium per serving:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I finished the 5K, but now I’m sore.

Mat and I after finishing the 5K! 
     As some of you may remember reading, I started a New Year’s resolution to finish a 5K. (If you don’t remember, you can see those posts here, here, and here).

     Well, on March 17, I finished the St. Patrick’s Day “Run for Your Luck” through Hagerstown! It felt great to finish the race. I didn’t run the whole time – there were a lot more hills than I expected – but I finished. My legs felt like jelly and I got more side stitches than I care to admit, but I’m still proud that I accomplished my goal.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Have You Thanked Your Doctor?

     Have you ever had a doctor who provided you with excellent care and service? How about a doctor who took the extra time to make sure that you were satisfied with your healthcare? Have you ever wished there was a way that you could recognize a doctor who has impacted your life in a positive way? If you answered yes to any of these questions you will be excited to know that March 30th is National Doctor’s Day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Concussion in Sports

     In recent years, concussion has become a hot topic for media discussion, and public awareness of sports concussions has grown dramatically. This is largely a result of the NFL and other professional sports organizations taking a leadership role in bringing sports-related concussions into the public eye. This has been a welcome development because awareness of concussion is important for all of us, and with March being brain injury awareness month, there’s no better time to learn about concussion in sports.

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to Beat Colorectal Cancer Odds

     In the big picture of life, the 24 hours it takes to prepare for a colonoscopy is a blip on the radar screen. So why do so many people avoid colonoscopies? Well, it could be the fear of the unknown (do I have cancer, what’s the procedure like?) or the special beverage you need to drink to prepare for the procedure.

     Colorectal cancer (cancer of the rectum and colon) is preventable, but not enough people are being screened for the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if everyone age 50 and older committed to regular colorectal screenings, nearly 60% of deaths from colon or rectal cancer could be avoided. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

There’s an app for everything!

     These days it seems like everybody has a smartphone. Advertisements are everywhere talking about the great games, movies, music, and web access that smartphones offer. But how can we use this new technology to improve our health and fitness?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ways to Relax

     According to a report by ABC News, Americans are working longer days, taking less vacation, and postponing retirement. When added to the daily onslaught of emails, scheduled activities every night of the week, and constantly vibrating cell phones, it’s little wonder we’re all stressed out.

     Constant stress can wear on your immune system and up your chances of developing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, or a heart attack. Relaxation techniques can help reduce stress and its effects on the mind and body.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Turning Couch Potato Time into Exercise Time

     The numbers are scary. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10.4% of children age 2-5 are obese, as are nearly 20% of kids age 6-19, and 33.9% of adults older than 20. America has a weight issue. 

     Much of the blame goes to our addiction to fast foods and snacks. The truth is, just as much blame should go to our televisions. According to Nielson, Americans spend an average of four hours a day in front of their TVs. This amounts to about nine years of our lives that we spend watching TV! There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to limit the time you and your children spend in front of a TV. The second, and more fun, solution is to take your couch potato time and convert it into exergaming time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mental Roadblocks

February 17, 2012

     I made a New Year’s Resolution for the first time that I can remember – run a 5K. I scheduled myself for a St. Patrick’s Day run. I just finished week 5 of the Couch to 5K program, and I have one month left until I’m running in public.

     Last night was my first long run with no breaks – 20 minutes. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around even starting that run. Prior to last night, the longest run in the training program was 8 minutes. So this was a big step for me.

     I made it to 14 minutes before I had to slow down. I took about a 30 second break and then bumped the treadmill speed down. Even still, I could feel it getting harder. Usually when I run, I can fight through the last few minutes by telling myself how far I’ve already come. This was different though. I could feel my chest and the middle of my back tightening. I couldn’t get a good, deep breath in. At 19 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stopped the treadmill and sat down on the back of it. A staff member and my boyfriend (and training partner) both came over to check on me – apparently my face was purple and I was hyperventilating. I still couldn’t get a deep breath in.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yes, You Can Exercise on a Tight Schedule!

     We’re at the tail end of winter and there’s a good chance that indoor time has resulted in a few extra pounds. If you’re squeezing into your jeans, maybe it’s time to squeeze in some exercise. A study in The Lancet says that fifteen minutes of exercise each day can add an average of three years to a person’s life. So what does a fifteen-minute workout look like? Here are some ideas:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Advance healthcare directives- what are they, and do I need one?

     Advance healthcare directives are a subject that can be awkward or difficult to bring up. However, writing one is extremely important. It will ensure that your values and choices regarding the end of your life are put into effect and lessen the decision-making burden for your family and friends if an end-of-life situation occurs.

     Put simply, an advance directive is a document that will guide your family, friends, and doctors if you were ever unable to make your own medical decisions. They generally have two parts. The first part identifies someone who can make medical decisions for you. This person, sometimes referred to as the “healthcare agent,” can be anyone you choose. You can specify if your agent will be able to start making decisions right away or if he or she must wait until a doctor says that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. If you feel comfortable leaving all medical decisions up to your healthcare agent then you have just completed your advance directive and can skip part two.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Exercise and a healthy diet – it actually works.”

     At least, that’s what one cardiac rehab patient now believes. Jack Helferstay was weighing in at 364 pounds when he suffered a heart attack. After balloon angioplasty to open a blocked artery, Jack began cardiac rehabilitation, a three-day-a-week exercise and lifestyle modification program at Meritus Medical Center.

     A month later, while at a cardiac rehab session, he told Lisa Seifarth, RN, he “just didn’t feel right.” After checking his blood pressure and lungs, she found nothing wrong, but made an appointment with Jack’s cardiologist for later that day. Lisa told Jack to go home and take it easy. She also told him to call her if he felt any symptoms.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Uneasiness of an Unhealthy Relationship

     Have you ever been in a one-sided relationship? The kind of partnership where your “partner” is missing in action and you’re doing all the giving? When people find themselves in this situation, some see the signs and bail out. But others remain committed to their spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend and function in a codependent relationship.

     Codependency is relationship addiction, according to behavior experts. It means that you’re trying to make the relationship work when the other half doesn’t seem to care. And often, people in this type of dysfunctional arrangement can’t seem to acknowledge that the problem exists.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Getting into a Mammogram Mood

     If you’re a woman over the age of 40, you know the importance of an annual mammogram. The mammogram is part of your due diligence on wellness. But let’s be honest, getting a mammogram scheduled on your calendar means overcoming the fear of the unknown (do I have breast cancer?) and the anticipation of a slightly unpleasant appointment.

     Until scientists come up with a magical pill to prevent breast cancer, committing to a mammogram is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Here are a few tips to make your mammogram go as smoothly as possible.

Monday, February 6, 2012

In Like a Lamb and Out Like a Lion?

     So the weather last month didn’t feel or look like January weather. We ended the month with a 65 degree day – not exactly ideal skiing conditions. But guess what? According to the National Weather Service, snow totals in the Mid-Atlantic often peak in February (remember the two feet of snow on February 11, 2010? Or the 28 inches of snow on February 21, 2003?). With or without the white stuff, we’re not done with the cold weather yet. If you’re wondering how to dress for temps that range from 32 to 62 degrees, here is a “dress for success” guide adaptable to any February day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Combating Domestic Violence

     According to the CDC, on average, 24 men and women are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. That’s more than 12 million men and women directly affected every year.

     We see these victims first-hand in Meritus Medical Center. Too often, victims are scared or unwilling to share the true cause of their injuries, which is why it is so important for our staff in the emergency department to be on the lookout for signs of abuse and be ready to investigate with the right questions.

     We are proud to announce that Meritus Health has received $50,000 from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention and $16,000 from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to fund a hospital-based domestic violence prevention program. We are only the sixth hospital in the state of Maryland to start this program, and the first in Western Maryland.

     Joe Ross, president and CEO of Meritus Health, said, “The program will include the standardized use of a domestic violence screening process, staff training and education, and the development of an inter-disciplinary team to create the process for crisis response, evaluation, and safety planning.”

     On January 23, 2012, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown visited Meritus Medical Center to officially award the grant. Below is a video highlighting the press conference.

If you or someone you know is being abused, please call the 24-hour crisis hotline of Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused (CASA) at 301.739.8975.

By Kayla Murphy

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Tale of Two Hearts

     If you listen to pop lyrics, women are survivors and we rule the world. In fact, we’re good at being all things to all people. But women, says cardiologist Robert Marshall, MD, often self-sacrifice, put up with hardship, and push through heart disease symptoms. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, yet only half of us recognize it as our greatest health risk. In fact, many of us think of heart disease as a man’s disease. How many of you can relate to this video?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is Healthcare Reform Necessary?

Joe Ross, president and CEO
of Meritus Health
     Healthcare reform is a hot topic, but not so easy to understand. What does reform mean, and why should we care? Joe Ross, president and CEO of Meritus Health, draws on his years of healthcare experience and breaks the topic down in a way most people can comprehend. Here are highlights of his recent comments.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The second leading cause of blindness…

Dr. Sunil Thadani
     Happy glaucoma awareness month! That’s right, January is all about educating people about the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of glaucoma. I chatted with Dr. Sunil Thadani, who was also interviewed in this article in the Herald-Mail, to answer some important questions about glaucoma.

Q: What is glaucoma?
A: Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually cause patients to lose vision without warning; the vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. It is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Looking for nutritional information?

     Have you ever wondered why you need to eat fruits? Or why too many carbs are bad for you? Are you trying to lose weight? Gain weight? Avoid gluten? Find new ways to incorporate veggies? Do you want to learn how to make sure your children get all of the food they need, and not as much of the food they don’t need?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just Push the Organization Button

     These days, there’s an app for everything. “Lose It!” helps you track your calories. “Yelp” suggests nearby restaurants, and “RedLaser” lets you scan bar codes for price checks. But don’t you wish you could push a button to organize your life—from post-it notes that litter your PC, to losing the remote every night. Well, here’s some good news: you can change your evil ways. If you want to get a handle on to-do’s, commitments, objects, and schedules, below are my “best of” organizing tips to help mange your life.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Exercising to Relax

     I’m always looking for more bang for my buck or a way to kill two birds with one stone. So when I stumbled across an article on exercising to relax, it made me stop and think. What if I could burn some calories and clear my mind at the same time? Now we’re talking.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Smoke Signals

     Marianne is a neighbor and good friend of mine. We were chatting about habits—both good and bad—and she shared her journey on how she quit smoking. For those who smoke (or dabble in it), take a read. It might help you make an important decision this year.

     I started smoking my freshman year in college. It was accepted back then—in bars and at parties—and cool. I kept it up for 26 years, and there were times when I’d stop smoking because of a cold or flu, but I’d always get back to my pack-and-a half per day habit.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Reality Check on Weight Loss Surgery

     Today’s post is a guest post from Denise Tyssens, a patient at Meritus Health’s Weight Loss Center. –Kayla

     Three years ago, I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and joint pain. I was diabetic, and closing in on weighing 300 pounds. I tried dieting with my bible study group and Weight Watchers, but every time I’d lose the weight, I’d gain it right back again.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year’s Resolutions

     Well, today is January 3rd. I’ve always toyed with the idea of making New Year’s resolutions, but I never actually have. I think it’s because I didn’t want to become part of the large group of people who fail at them. According to The Guardian, a paper out of the United Kingdom, 78% of people fail to uphold resolutions. They say the ones who have succeeded had five major differences – they broke their goal into smaller steps, rewarded themselves for each step, told their friends about their goal, focused on the benefits of achieving their goals, and kept a diary of progress.

     I’ve seriously considered making a weight-loss centered goal (who hasn’t?) but I’m tired of focusing on the number on the scale. Frankly, it depresses me, especially when I'm doing the right things and the numbers don't change. Then I saw this video – it’s long, but I promise it’s worth it: