Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kids Having Kids

     Generally, teen birth rates are down. But, in Washington County, it’s a different story. The county’s teen birth rate is 35% higher than Maryland’s average of 24.7%.

Medical risks
Teen pregnancies carry extra health risks to mother and baby: teenagers often don’t receive timely pre-natal care, many experience post-partum depression and run a higher risk for pregnancy induced hypertension (high blood pressure), anemia, premature birth and low-birth weight. “Whether they’re in denial or trying to hide the pregnancy from their parents, teens often see a doctor later in the pregnancy, which can cause health problems for mom and her unborn baby,” explains Laura Henderson, M.D. with Meritus Health’s School Based Wellness Center.

Social reality

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strength Training for Beginners

     You’ve heard it here before: exercise is king. While there are countless benefits to aerobic exercise, strength training sometimes gets pushed to the back of the burner. But the old adage “use it or lose it” accurately describes our body’s muscles. “We don’t lose muscles as we age, we lose muscles when we stop using them,” explains physical therapist Karla Trotta of Total Rehab Care. 

     Strength training—sometimes called resistance training or weight training—puts more than the usual load on your muscles to make them stronger. Your body, free weights, exercise bands/tubes or specialized machines can be used as a form of resistance.

Why flex your muscles?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stroke: When Time is not on Your Side

     Stephanie Dias was 57-years old when she suffered an ischemic stroke while at work. She knew something was wrong when she took a sip of water and it ran down her front—and when she couldn't push herself up in the chair with her leg. When a co-worker spotted Stephanie and saw her blank stare, she and other co-workers decided to call 911.

     Each year, more than 600 patients arrive at Meritus Medical Center’s emergency department with signs and symptoms of stroke. Stephanie was one of the lucky patients. Her fast-thinking co-workers got her to the hospital’s emergency department quickly, and soon after, Stephanie was diagnosed with an ischemic stroke and given tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a clot-busting drug.

Brain attack

Monday, May 6, 2013

Staying Healthy on Shift Work

     While most of the world sleeps, nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, pilots, truck drivers, DJs and waiters, among others, work outside of the traditional “9 to 5” daytime schedule. New employees will often begin their careers on the night shift as a way to get their foot in the door. Additionally, shift work tends to pay more, and, for some parents, it allows them to spend more time with their children or avoid using childcare. “I get to eat breakfast and dinner with my kids—and when they’re at school, I sleep,” says Jim Recabo, RN, administrative nursing supervisor and team leader at Meritus Medical Center.

     On the downside, the third shift can really do a number on the body. A weakened immune system, insomnia, indigestion, heart disease, weight gain and diabetes have all been linked to shift work. Going against the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythms, can also lead to shift work disorder. Because the body’s clock is controlled by a part of the brain influenced by light, working by night and sleeping by day can throw your body out of whack.

     Meritus Health nurses Jim Recabo and Jennifer Edwards stay healthy, fit and sane despite working the third shift. Here’s how they do it: