Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: Sleepless in New Hanover County Part 2

Tips for shift workers
If you need to get a good night's sleep during the day, one of your biggest challenges may be dealing with the sunlight. Here are some suggestions:
  • If possible, work in brightly lit areas during your shift.
  • When you drive home in the morning, wear sunglasses. Limiting light to your eyes tricks the brain into thinking it’s getting close to nighttime.
  • Make sure your bedroom is absolutely dark. If any daylight is creeping in through the curtains or shades, drape a thick towel or blanket over the window. You might also consider wearing a “sleep mask.”
General Tips:
  • Limit the amount of time awake in the bed
  • Limit any naps during the day.
  • Avoid clock-watching
  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm and alcohol after 6pm
  • Keep a regular wake time and bedtime
  • Light exercise should be encouraged
  • Only use bed for sleep, no TV or reading. If unable to sleep in 20 minutes, get up, go to another room and return to bed only when feeling sleepy.
  • Try relaxation therapy, such visualization.
  • Avoid stressful activities in the evening.
Tips for staying alert
If you’re dealing with a sleep deficit, these tips may help get you through a sluggish day:
  • Eat breakfast. You’ll need the energy it provides.
  • Avoid a “sugar rush.” You might get a lift from eating candies, cakes, and other high-sugar foods, but you’ll crash pretty quickly. Instead, eat meals and snacks that combine complex carbohydrates and protein.
  • Move around. Stimulate your body by taking a brief walk outside or around the office; you’ll feel more alert.
  • Vary your activities. Don’t focus on the same task for long periods of time.
  • Get chilly. A surge of cold air might perk you up. Depending on the season, you could turn on the air conditioning, open a window, or take a brisk walk outside.
Come back next week for our final chapter of Sleepless in NHC; learning about medications for sleep.  Call the office for a consultation if you are experiencing sleep problems. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: Sleepless in New Hanover County - Part 1

Sleepless in New Hanover County? Dealing with Insomnia

Prepare for sleep
Setting the stage for a good night’s sleep can help you get your mind and body into “sleep mode.”
  • Relax your body. To reduce muscular tension, try techniques such as meditation, progressive relaxation or even taking a warm bath.
  • Unwind mentally. About a half hour before going to bed, enjoy a low-key activity such as reading or listening to music.
  • Once in bed, try to stop worrying. Avoid solving your problems from your bed. Before going to bed, make a list of problems and “next steps” for the following day.
  • Try a high-carb snack. A light snack that is high in carbohydrates, such as a plain bagel, might help you relax.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy, or high-sugar foods.

Follow a schedule
Go to bed and get up at the same time every day — even on weekends. Creating this routine can help condition your mind and body to expect sleep at a regular time.

Do a bedroom checkYour bedroom may not be as conducive to sleep as it could be. The following strategies can make your bedroom more sleep-friendly:
  • Block out noise. Or better yet, eliminate it. Even if you fall back to sleep after noise wakes you, the quality of your sleep can be compromised. Turn off radios, televisions, or stereos in the bedroom (and other rooms as well). If you can’t control the noise, try earplugs.
  • Reduce light. The issue isn’t merely how light affects your eyes. Light also affects the way your brain produces hormones that regulate your sleep cycle. Even a minimal amount of light can disrupt your sleep. Possible solutions: Ask your sleep partner to read in another room; wear a “sleep mask”; use heavy shades or other window treatments that keep the room very dark.
  • Adjust the room temperature. If you are too warm or too cold, you are less likely to sleep soundly. Adjust the thermostat, your sleep clothes, or your bedding; open or close a window.
  • Move the clock. If you have insomnia looking at the clock can make you anxious. Therefore, it’s best to keep it out of view.
  • Have your pet sleep somewhere else. If your dog or cat sleeps in your bed, your chances for sound sleep are jeopardized. Have your pet sleep on the floor, or get your pet its own cushion and place it in another room.
  • Address your partner’s sleep problems. A bed partner who snores, tosses and turns a lot, talks while sleeping, or gets up often can affect your own sleep. In some cases, using earplugs or adding “white noise” (from a fan or similar humming appliance) can help. If your partner gets up a lot, make sure he or she sleeps closest to the door. If your partner tosses and turns, consider a larger bed, or even separate beds.
Come back next week for General Tips, Tips for Shift Workers and Tips for staying alert.
Patient Centered Care - Adult and Geriatric Medical Practice

Thursday, November 10, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: POST ELECTION EMOTIONS

A survey was conducted online among adults 18+ living in the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association which indicated 52 percent of American adults report that the 2016 election was a very or somewhat significant source of stress. Election stress is exacerbated by images on social media and verbal aggression both of which heighten frustration. Comments that are hostile or instigative, are dividing families, workplaces, and communities.

Don't fall into the pit of negativity.
  1. Watch how you react to what you hear and see.

Although it is normal to be upset, be respectful toward others. Pay attention f you have children around. Children can become frightened by what you say.
  1. Don't ignore your stress.
Stress can cause all kinds of problems including a bad mood. To help yourself feel better, take the steps you need to reduce your stress in a healthy way.
  1. Remember, someone else's opinion is only their opinion.
Some people are happy with the results. When we feel differently, their comments can feel like a personal attack; however, their opinion likely has nothing to do with you. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Respect their opinion.
  1. Take action.
If your candidate isn't headed to the White House, focus on what you can do in your community to get involved. Find a cause and volunteer.  Stay in touch with your local representatives.  
  1. Remember there is a future.
Just because your candidate did not win does not mean there is no hope. There is no definitive evidence that the next four years will be disastrous. Although there will be a grieving process to pass through, every day life will continue just as we know it.   


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: KNOW THE SIGNS

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. Pancreatic cancer is considered the deadliest major cancer with a five year survival rate of only 8%. To see a decline in death rates for pancreatic cancer, more people need to know about the disease. And November is a great time to get started by educating yourself about the symptoms and risk factors

Warning signs:
Pancreatic cancer may show only vague, unexplained symptoms. If you experience one or more of these, contact your provider to discuss the possibility for developing pancreatic cancer.
  • Pain – usually in the abdomen or back
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice – yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Change is stool
  • Recent onset diabetes

Risk Factors for developing Pancreatic Cancer
Although the exact cause is unclear, there are certain risk factors that can increase your chance of developing the disease.
  • Family history – if your Mother, Father, Sibling or Child had pancreatic cancer, then your risk increases 2-3 times
  • Diabetes – long term diabetes increases your risk to develop pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatitis (or hereditary pancreatitis) causes an increased risk for pancreatic cancer
  • Smoking is a significant risk factor and may be the cause 20-30 % of exocrine pancreatic cancer cases
  • African American or Ashkenai Jews have a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer risk increases with age; with most cases presenting over than age 60
  • There have been more men diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than women
  • A diet high in red and processed meats is thought to increase the risk for pancreatic cancer; however a diet high in fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk
  • Obesity increases the risk by 20% compared to normal weight people

If your family presents with risk factors, consider meeting with a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor will explain how a genetic mutation may contribute to increased frequency for developing pancreatic cancer. A genetic counselor can identify a family at higher risk and help the family interpret information about the disease. If you would like to meet with a genetic counselor, contact our office for an appointment.