Janet_Crain
Hello!  My name is Janet (Tetzlaff) Crain and I am the Wesley Nurse at Hondo First United Methodist Church. 

 

The Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least-served in their communities by providing health education, health promotion and facilitation of resources. The Wesley Nurse assists individuals and communities to achieve improved health and wellness through self-empowerment and access to health care resource information. The Wesley Nurse program spans 80 sites throughout South Texas and is Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.’s largest geographic outreach program. Learn more at 
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Some of the ongoing programs that available through the Wesley Nurse at Hondo FUMC include 2 exercise programs; Diabetes Education and Supplies Program; Specialty Referral Program; Prescription Assistance Program; and blood pressure and blood glucose screening.  As a Wesley Nurse, I cannot dispense or administer medication; diagnose or treat medical problems; or recommend medical treatments or medications.

I have lived in Cotulla almost all my life, and graduated from Cotulla High School.  I have been a registered nurse since 1975.  I have 3 grown children:  Philip (wife Beth), who is a Department of Public Safety trooper in Frio County; George (wife Samantha), who is a plant supervisor in the oil industry; and Lauren (husband Rud Krisch), who is a physical therapist and clinic supervisor at Air Force Village I in San Antonio.  I have a total of 6 grand-angels, 3 boys and 3 girls, who are the brightest lights in my life.  I can attest to the fact that everything wonderful that has ever been said about being a grandparent is true!

I retired after 30 years from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), where I worked as a Public Health Nurse in LaSalle, Frio, Dimmit, and Zavala Counties.  I also became a certified Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner in 1986, and worked for many years in the DSHS Family Planning and Maternity Clinics.  To start my new career, I became a Wesley Nurse in 2010 at the Cotulla First United Methodist Church, and transferred to Hondo First United Methodist Church in September 2014. 

I am excited about my move to Hondo First United Methodist Church, and look forward to the input of the congregation and community to do my part to better serve the under-served of Medina County.  What a privilege it is to serve God while working in a profession that I love!

The services of the Wesley Nurse are free and available to everyone in the community.  For more information on the Wesley Nurse programs, please call 830-426-5532, or email me at 
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Adult Immunization Recommendations

Your need for immunization doesn’t end when you become an adult. Regardless of age, we all need immunizations to protect against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. Protection from vaccines you received as a child can wear off over time, and more vaccines are now available. It can be very confusing because new vaccines are being developed all the time, and the immunization recommendations change periodically.  The specific vaccines you need as an adult are determined by your age, job, lifestyle, health conditions, travel destinations, and which vaccines you’ve had in the past. Throughout your adult life, vaccines are recommended for protection against:
  1. 1.Influenza–Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.  Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu. At the beginning of each new flu season, CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible.  Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.
  2. Td (Tetanus and diphtheria) and Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough)-Adults should get one dose of the tetanus and diphtheria (Td) vaccine every 10 years. For adults who did not get Tdap as a preteen or teen, they should get one dose of Tdap in place of a Td dose to boost protection against whooping cough. However, adults who need protection against whooping cough can get Tdap at any time, regardless of when they last got Td.
  3. Shingles— Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication from shingles. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine), separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Shingrix is the preferred vaccine over Zostavax® (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/zostavax/index.html) (zoster vaccine live), a shingles vaccine in use since 2006.  Healthy adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months.

You should get Shingrix even if in the past:

* you had shingles– If you had shingles in the past, you can get Shingrix to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.

* received Zostavax– If you had Zostavax in the recent past, you should wait at least eight weeks before getting Shingrix

* are not sure if you had chickenpox– You can get Shingrix whether or not you remember having had chickenpox in the past. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans 40 years and older have had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember having the disease.

  1. Pneumococcal disease— There are two kinds of vaccines that help prevent pneumococcal disease: Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13 )—Recommended for all adults age 65 and over, but can be given under age 65 for persons with certain medical conditions. It is recommended that the PCV 13 be administered first, followed by PPSV 23 at least 1 year later. The two pneumococcal vaccines should not be administered at the same time.

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax23)– Recommended for all adults age 65 and over, but can be given under age 65 for persons with certain medical conditions.  If the PPSV23 vaccine has already been administered, the PCV13 can be given at least 1 year later. 

Other vaccines you may need according to your health conditions include those that protect against human papillomavirus (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/public/index.html) (which can cause certain cancers),
 
Ask your doctor which vaccines are right for you. Immunization is one of the safest ways for you to protect your health. Vaccine side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Severe side effects are very rare.  Adults can get vaccines at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments, and other locations.  Most health insurance plans cover recommended vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details and for a list of vaccine providers. If you do not have health insurance, visit www.healthcare.gov to learn more about health insurance options.

Get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious diseases.

The information for this article was condensed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:  https://www.cdc.gov/features/adultimmunizations/index.html

For more information, pick up the handouts from the health information table, or see me in my office.

 

Blessings!          

Janet Crain, RN, Wesley Nurse

 

Janet Crain, RN, is a Wesley Nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least served through education, health promotion and collaboration with individual and community in achieving improved wellness through self-empowerment. Learn more at www.mhm.org.

 Understanding Arthritis

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month.  Arthritis is very common but is not well understood. Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go. They can be mild, moderate, or severe. They may stay about the same for years, but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to do daily activities, and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint changes. These changes may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin as well as the joints.  The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. When the cartilage – the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age, and previous injury (an anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, tear, for  example).

A healthy immune system generates internal inflammation to get rid of infection and prevent disease.  In inflammatory arthritis, the immune system goes awry, mistakenly attacking the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion and may damage internal organs, eyes, and other parts of the body.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an example of inflammatory arthritis.  Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical to slow disease activity to help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage.  Remission is the goal and may be achieved by the use of one or more medications.                                                                                        

Arthritis diagnosis often begins with the primary care physician, who performs a physical exam and may do blood tests and imaging scans to help determine the type of arthritis.  An arthritis specialist, or rheumatologist, should be involved if the diagnosis is uncertain or if the arthritis might be of the inflammatory type.  

What can you do to prevent arthritis?  The fact is, there is no sure answer.  If you have healthy joints right now, do all you can to maintain mobility and function.  It is also advised to maintain a healthy weight and avoid smoking.

If you have already been diagnosed with arthritis, you’ll probably have several healthcare professionals involved in your care.  But the most important part of your healthcare team is YOU!  Simply put, self-management of arthritis is what you do to manage your disease.  Here are six important self-management habits that can help you successfully manage your disease:

  1. Take charge of your treatment plan by keeping track of your symptoms, pain levels, medications, and possible side effects so together with your doctor, you can determine what works best for you.
  2. Do not allow pain and fatigue to become overwhelming. You can combine your medication regime with non-medical pain management techniques.  Learning and using natural therapies to manage fatigue is key to living with arthritis.
  3. Stay active—exercise is beneficial for managing arthritis and your overall health and help you lose excess pounds that add stress to your joints.
  4. Balance activity with rest. Rest is important when your disease is active and your joints are swollen, stiff, and painful.  Lighten your schedule and pace yourself throughout your day to conserve energy.
  5. Eating a healthy, balanced diet also helps you to maintain a normal weight. Adding foods with anti-inflammatory properties and that are rich in antioxidants can help control inflammation. 
  6. Improve sleep by making your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. Avoid caffeine or strenuous exercise in the evening, and wind down with a warm bath or practice relaxation techniques before bedtime.  If you are still having trouble sleeping, talk to your healthcare provider

If you invest in yourself and recognize your responsibility —and ability—to take care of yourself, you can live well with arthritis.  Remember, no one can take care of you better than you can!

The information for this article was condensed from the Arthritis Foundation website:  https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/what-is-arthritis.phpFor more information, pick up the handouts from the health information table, or see me in my office

 

Risks of Excessive Sodium Intake

One of my pet peeves, much to my family’s dismay, is to see someone pick up a salt shaker and cover their food with salt before they even taste it!  Did you know that salt is addictive?  Research shows that eating too much salt triggers the release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with the brain’s pleasure center, making salty foods as addictive as nicotine and alcohol. Therefore, as with any addiction, eating salty foods only makes you crave more. 

Sodium and salt are not exactly the same thing—salt is made up of both sodium (40%) and chloride (60%).  Nine out of ten Americans consume too much sodium.  65% of the sodium that we consume comes from food purchased at grocery stores and convenience stores; 25% from restaurants; and 10% from other sources, such as the salt that we add to our food.  According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium in a day.  The AHA recommends no more than 2,300 mg a day, and an ideal limit of less than 1,500 mg a day for most adults, especially those with high blood pressure.  As a comparison, 1 teaspoon of salt = 2,300 mg of sodium. 

Sodium is a mineral that the body must have, but we do not make it so we must eat it.  Sodium is regulated in the body by your kidneys, and it helps control your body’s fluid balance; helps send nerve impulses; and affects muscle function, including the heart.  But too much sodium can put you at risk for stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis (weak bones), stomach cancer, kidney disease and kidney stones, headaches, and increased water retention leading to swelling, bloating and weight gain. 

What foods should you limit to decrease your sodium intake?  The best way to reduce sodium is to avoid prepackaged, processed, and prepared foods.  Watch out for the “Salty 6”:

Breads and rolls

Pizza

Canned soup

Cold cuts (lunch meat) and cured meats (like ham)

Poultry

Sandwiches

Other foods high in sodium include cheeses and buttermilk, salted snacks, frozen dinners, condiments (ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise), pickles and olives, seasoned salts, and sauces, such as barbeque, soy, steak, and Worcestershire.  Avoid adding table salt to foods—flavor foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, or salt-free seasoning blends. 

On the other hand, foods low in sodium include fresh fruits and vegetables, canned foods processed without added salt, fresh meats, fish and poultry, seasonings made with herbs and spices, unsalted nuts, and dried beans.

What about eating out?  Order carefully.  Select fresh greens and fruits when available.  Ask for oil and vinegar on your salad or ask for the dressing on the side.  Be specific about what you want and how you want your food prepared.  Request that your food be prepared without added salt.  Remember portion control.  You can always bring home a to-go box!  It’s never too late to make healthy lifestyle choices to improve your health and your quality of life. 

The information for this article was condensed from the American Heart Association website, www.heart.org/. For more information, pick up the handouts from the health information table, or see me in my office

 

 

Choosing Healthy Meals

Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Food provides the nutrients you need as you age. Use these tips to choose foods for better health at each stage of life.
  1. Drink plenty of liquids—Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice also helps you stay hydrated.  Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars, salt, or caffeine.
  2. Make eating a social event—Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. If you live alone, invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week.  Consider eating at the Senior Center in your community.
  3. Plan healthy meals— Choose fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods to get the most nutrition and meet your personal calorie needs. Aim for a variety of foods and beverages from each food group and limit saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars. It is recommended to eat on a 9-inch plate to help limit serving sizes. Half of your plate should be a vegetable serving, one-fourth of your plate should be a carbohydrates/grain serving, and the other fourth should be a protein serving.  Add a serving of fruit and a dairy choice to complete your meal.
  4. Know how much to eat—Learn to recognize how much to eat so that you can control your portion sizes. When eating out, save part of your meal to eat later.
  5. Vary your vegetables—Include a variety of different colored vegetables to brighten your plate. Vegetables are a good, low-calorie source of nutrients and fiber.
  6. Eat for your teeth and gums—People with dental problems sometimes find it hard to chew fruits, vegetables, or meats. Try cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.
  7. Use herbs and spices—Foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. Medications may also change how foods taste.  Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.
  8. Keep food safe—Don’t take a chance with your health. A food-related illness can be life-threatening for an older person.  Throw out food that might not be safe.  Avoid unpasteurized dairy foods.  Other foods can be harmful to you when they are raw or under-cooked, such as eggs, sprouts, fish, shellfish, meat, or poultry. 
  9. Read the Nutrition Facts label—Pay attention to the serving size, calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, and protein content of foods that you purchase. Also look at the ingredients list—this tells you everything that a processed food contains. Did you know that the items are presented from largest to smallest ingredient? That is, there is more of the first ingredient listed on the label than any other ingredient. The last ingredient on the list is found in the smallest amount.
  10. Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements—Food is the best way to get the nutrients that you need. Your doctor will know if you need dietary supplements.  More may not be better, and some can interfere with your medications or medical conditions.

 

The information for this article was condensed from the National Institute on Aging website,  https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/choosing-healthy-meals-you-get-older and the Choose My Plate website, https://www.choosemyplate.gov/.     For more information, pick up the handouts from the health information table, or see me in my office

 

Hearing Loss – What Did You Say?

Hearing loss is a common problem caused by noise, aging, disease, and heredity. People with hearing loss may find it hard to have a conversation with friends and family. They may also have trouble understanding a doctor’s advice, responding to warnings, and hearing doorbells and alarms. 

Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 has difficulty hearing. But some people may not want to admit they have trouble hearing. Older people who can’t hear well may become depressed or may withdraw from others to avoid feeling frustrated or embarrassed about not understanding what is being said. Sometimes older people are mistakenly thought to be confused, unresponsive, or uncooperative because they don’t hear well.

Signs of hearing loss:

¨ Have trouble hearing over the telephone

¨ Find it hard to follow conversations when 2 or more people are talking

¨ Often ask people to repeat what they are saying

¨ Need to turn up the TV volume so loud that others complain

¨ Have a problem hearing because of background noise

¨ Think that others seem to mumble

¨ Can’t understand when women and children speak to you

Loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Noise from lawn mowers, snow blowers, or loud music can damage the inner ear, resulting in permanent hearing loss. Loud noise also contributes to tinnitus (ringing in the ears). You can prevent most noise-related hearing loss. Protect yourself by turning down the sound on your stereo, television, or headphones; moving away from loud noise; or using earplugs or other ear protection.

Earwax or fluid buildup can block sounds that are carried from the eardrum to the inner ear. If wax blockage is a problem, try using mild treatments, such as mineral oil, baby oil, glycerin, or commercial ear drops to soften earwax. A punctured ear drum can also cause hearing loss. The eardrum can be damaged by infection, pressure, or putting objects in the ear, including cotton-tipped swabs. See your doctor if you have pain or fluid draining from the ear.   

Viruses and bacteria (including the ear infection otitis media), a heart condition, stroke, brain injury, or a tumor may affect your hearing. Hearing loss can also result from taking certain medications. “Ototoxic” medications damage the inner ear, sometimes permanently. Some ototoxic drugs include medicines used to treat serious infections, cancer, and heart disease. Some antibiotics are ototoxic. Even aspirin at some dosages can cause problems. Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication

Heredity can cause hearing loss, as well. But not all inherited forms of hearing loss take place at birth. Some forms can show up later in life.

Ways to cope with hearing loss:

¨ Let people know that you have a hearing problem.

¨ Ask people to face you and speak to you more slowly and clearly. Also, ask them to speak louder without shouting.

¨ Pay attention to what is being said and to facial expressions or gestures.

¨ Let the person talking know if you do not understand what he or she is said.

¨ Ask the person speaking to reword a sentence and try again.

The most important thing you can do if you think you have a hearing problem is to seek professional advice. Your family doctor may be able to diagnose and treat your hearing problem. Or, your doctor may refer you to other experts, like an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor), or an audiologist (health professional who can identify and measure hearing loss).  Hearing problems that are ignored or untreated can get worse.  Hearing aids, special training, certain medicines, and surgery are some of the treatments that can help.

The information for this article was condensed from the National Institute on Aging website:   Visit https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-common-problem-older-adults, pick up the handouts on the health education table, or see me in my office.

 

 Blessings,

Janet Crain 

 

 
 
Alzheimer’s Disease

 

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.  Unfortunately, we all have family or friends that have in some way been impacted by this disease.    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an age-related, non-reversible brain disorder that develops over a period of years. Initially, people experience memory loss and confusion, which may be mistaken for the kinds of memory changes that are sometimes associated with normal aging. However, the symptoms of AD gradually lead to behavior and personality changes, a decline in cognitive abilities such as decision-making and language skills, and problems recognizing family and friends. AD ultimately leads to a severe loss of mental function. These losses are related to the worsening breakdown of the connections between certain neurons in the brain and their eventual death. AD is one of a group of disorders called dementias that are characterized by cognitive and behavioral problems. It is the most common cause of dementia among people age 65 and older.

In very few families, people develop AD in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. This is known as “early onset” AD. These individuals have a mutation in one of three different inherited genes that causes the disease to begin at an earlier age. More than 90 percent of AD develops in people older than 65. This form of AD is called “late-onset” AD, and its development and pattern of damage in the brain is similar to that of early-onset AD. The course of this disease varies from person to person, as does the rate of decline. In most people with AD, symptoms first appear after age 65.

We don’t yet completely understand the causes of late-onset AD, but they probably include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Although the risk of developing AD increases with age, AD and dementia symptoms are not a part of normal aging.

Currently there are no medicines that can slow the progression of AD. However, four FDA-approved medications are used to treat AD symptoms. These drugs help individuals carry out the activities of daily living by maintaining thinking, memory, or speaking skills. They can also help with some of the behavioral and personality changes associated with AD. However, they will not stop or reverse AD and appear to help individuals for only a few months to a few years.

Information for this article was taken directly from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/ .  The Alzheimer’s Association website also has a wealth of valuable information:  www.alz.org/

I have provided some very informative handouts on Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia on the health education table in the Fellowship Hall.  For more information, pick up the handouts or visit me in my office.

 

 

Prostate Cancer Awareness

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, behind only skin cancer.  We all have special male family members or friends that have been diagnosed with some kind of medical issue with their prostates.  Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably.  The size of the prostate changes with age.  In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.  Some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly.  In fact, many older men have prostate cancer that has never required treatment, just regular monitoring by their health care providers. 

Prostate cancer does have several identified risk factors—some risk factors can be changed, and some cannot.  But having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease.  Risk factors include:

† Age—Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chances rise rapidly after age 50.  About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.

† Race/ethnicity—Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races. 

† Geography—Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean Islands.

† Family history—Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor.  Still, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it. 

† Diet—Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer.  These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables.  Doctors aren’t sure which of these factors is responsible for raising the risk.

Early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms.  More advanced prostate cancers sometimes cause symptoms such as:  problems urinating; blood in the urine; pain in the hips, back, chest, or other areas from cancer that has spread to the bones; or weakness or numbness in the legs or feet from cancer pressing on the spinal cord. 

Prostate cancer can often be found early using a simple blood test, but it is not clear if the benefits of testing all men for prostate cancer outweigh the risks, such as finding and treating cancers that probably never would have caused any problems.  Because of this it is important to talk to your health care provider about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening before deciding whether or not to be tested. 
 
Information for this article was sourced from the American Cancer Society website:
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For more information, visit me in my office.

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Planning Your Doctor Visit – August 2017

How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. Unfortunately, talking with your doctor isn’t always easy. In the past, the doctor typically took the lead and the patient fo
llowed. Today, a good patient-doctor relationship is a partnership. You and your doctor can work as a team.
 

Creating a basic plan before you go to the doctor can help you make the most of your visit. Talking about your health means sharing information about how you feel. Sometimes it can be hard to remember everything that is bothering you during your doctor visit. Making a list of your symptoms before your visit will help you not forget to tell the doctor anything.  Symptoms can be physical, such as pain, fever, a lump or bump, unexplained weight gain or loss, change in energy level, or having a hard time sleeping. Symptoms can also involve your thoughts and your feelings. For example, you would want to tell your doctor if you are often confused, or if you feel sad a lot.

When you list your symptoms, be specific. Your list should include:

  • what the symptom is
  • when it started
  • what time of day it happens and how long it lasts
  • how often it happens
  • anything that makes it worse or better
  • anything it prevents you from doing.

Your doctor needs to know about ALL the medications you take. It is a good idea to take your medications with you to all your doctor visits.  Medications include:

  • prescription drugs
  • over-the-counter (non-prescription) drugs
  • vitamins, herbal remedies or supplements
  • laxatives
  • eye drops

Be sure to let your doctor know if you use any assistive devices, such as a cane, walker, hearing aid, grabber, etc., to help you in your daily activities.  Be prepared to tell your doctor about your everyday habits:  where you live, if you drive or how you get around, what you eat, how you sleep, what activities you enjoy, and if you smoke or drink alcohol.  Be open and honest.  It will help your doctor better understand your medical conditions and figure out the best treatment choices for you. 

Sometimes things happen in life that are sad or stressful.  Your doctor needs to know about any life changes that have occurred since your last visit because they can affect your health.  Also, write down and tell you doctor if you had to go to the emergency room, stay in the hospital, or see a different doctor, such as a specialist, since your last visit.  It may be helpful to bring that doctor’s contact information. 

Planning ahead for your doctor appointment can ensure that you will not forget to ask questions or share important information about your health. 

Information for this article was sourced from the National Institute of Health/Senior Health website 

https://nihseniorhealth.gov/

                                  

For more information, visit me in my office.

 

 
 
 
July 2017 – Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

For the 70 million Americans who suffer from insomnia, nighttime can be endless and exhausting.  I’m sure that you have already been told to turn off your electronics, keep your bedroom dark and cool, and avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed—but there are other things that you can try to help you get a better night’s sleep.                                                                                                                                                         

Do

:
  • Maintain a regular time to go to bed and wake up every day. Sleep for a consistent number of hours, but not more.
  • Establish a regular pattern of relaxing behaviors, such as reading, 10 minutes before bedtime.
  • Use your bed for sleeping or relaxing only—for example, don’t bring your laptop to bed with you.
  • Exercise on a regular basis, but not immediately before bedtime.
  • Make sure that your bed is comfortable and offers adequate support for your body.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about your sleep problems. You might have an undiagnosed medical problem, such as sleep apnea.
  • Sit down and talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about your medications. There are a number of common medications taken for high blood pressure, asthma, and depression that can contribute to sleepless nights.

Don’t:

  • Don’t nap during the day.
  • Don’t eat heavy meals or drink large amounts of liquid before bedtime.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t dwell on intense thoughts or feelings before bedtime.
  • Don’t lie awake in bed for long periods. If you are not asleep within 20-30 minutes, get up and read or watch TV until you feel sleepy.
  • Don’t rely on sleeping pills for extended periods. Long term use is ineffective for most insomniacs. 

Here is an eye-opening statistic:  sleep medicines give you just an extra 15 minutes of sleep per night on average—and you may not feel that refreshed the next day.  Sleep medicines have an amnesia effect, where you are still waking up, you just don’t remember it!

Information for this article was sourced from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center website 
  and  the AARP Bulletin dated June 2017, page 18.                   
 
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June 2017 – Staying Hydrated
 

When the temperatures rise, getting enough to drink is important whether you’re playing sports, traveling, or just enjoying outdoor activities.  Dehydration can lead to muscle fatigue, loss of coordination, cramps, heat stroke, and decreased athletic performance.   Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles.  If you are well hydrated, the heart does not have to work as hard.  The amount of water a person needs depends on climatic conditions, clothing worn, and exercise intensity and duration.  A person who perspires heavily will need to drink more water than someone who doesn’t. 

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, may also mean you need to drink more water.  Some medications, such as diuretics, cause the body to lose more fluid.  Thirst is not the best indicator that you need to drink more water—if you get thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  The easiest thing to do is to pay attention to the color of your urine.  Pale and clear means you’re well hydrated.  If the urine is dark, drink more fluids.  

For most people, water is the best thing to drink to stay hydrated.  To prevent dehydration, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 3-8

fluid ounces every 15-20 minutes while exercising.  Sports drinks with electrolytes may be useful for people doing high-intensity, vigorous exercise in very hot weather, though the sports drinks tend to be high in added sugars and calories.  It’s healthier to drink water while exercising, and then when you are done, eat a healthy snack like orange slices, banana, or a small handful of unsalted nuts.  It I best to avoid fruit juices, sodas, alcoholic drinks, and drinks containing caffeine.  Drinks containing caffeine can act as a diuretic, causing you to lose more fluids. 

Drinking water BEFORE you exercise or go out into the sun is an important first step.  Otherwise, you will be playing catch-up and your heart will be straining.

Information for this article was sourced from the American Heart Association  

www.heart.org

.                             

For more information, view the health display in the Fellowship Hall or visit me in my office.

 

May 2017 – Are You At Risk for Stroke?

May is National Stroke Awareness Month.  A stroke is a “brain attack”.  It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off.  When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die.  When brain cells die during a stroke, abilities controlled by that area of the brain, such as memory and muscle control, are lost.  How a person is affected by their stroke depends on where the stroke occurs in the brain and how much the brain is damaged.  Some people recover completely from strokes, but more than 2/3 of survivors will have some type of disability.

Stroke facts: 

  1. Each year nearly 800,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke
  2. A stroke happens every 40 seconds
  3. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United
  4. Stroke is the #1 preventable cause of disability—up to 80% of strokes can be prevented!

Preventable risk factors for stroke include: uncontrolled blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol; poor diet; physical inactivity; obesity; smoking; and atrial fibrillation.  To reduce your risk for stroke, follow these 7 suggestions:  manage your blood pressure; eat better; get physically active; lose excess weight; lower your cholesterol; reduce your blood sugar; and don’t smoke. 

Everyone needs to know the symptoms of stroke.  The acronym “
FAST
” is used to help you remember:

F

—Face drooping

A

—Arm weakness

S

—Speech difficulty

T

—Time to call 911

It is critical to get medical attention right away if a stroke is suspected.  Immediate treatment may minimize the long term effects of a stroke and even prevent death.  If the stroke is caused by a blood clot, and 85% of strokes are, there is a medication available that if administered within 3 hours that can dissolve the clot and improve blood flow to the part of the brain being affected.  A significant number of stroke victims don’t get to the hospital in time for the medication to be administered—this is why it is so important to identify a stroke immediately.

Information for this article was sourced from the American Stroke Association/American Heart Association and the National Stroke Association

For more information, view the health display in the Fellowship Hall or visit me in my office.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 
April 2017 – Managing the Stress in Your Life
Stress is a part of life, and you can’t always avoid it.  Whether it’s being stuck in
traffic, or other more personal issues, such as juggling work, family, and a multitude of commitments, you can become too stressed out and busy.  You cannot always control situations that cause stress, but you can control how you respond to it.  You need to set time aside to unwind or your mental and physical health can suffer.

Physical symptoms of stress include:   fast heartbeat, headache, stiff neck and/or tight shoulders, back pain, fast breathing, sweating, and upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea.  Emotional symptoms of stress include feeling:   cranky, angry, frustrated, jumpy, tired, hard to focus, excessive worry, and imagining that bad things are happening or about to happen. 

The first step of managing your stress is determining what is causing your stress and knowing your own coping strategies.  After you figure out what is causing your stress, try making some changes in your life that will help you avoid or cope with stressful situations.  Listed below are some ideas to help:

† 
Manage your time
—Time management is a way to find time for more of the things that you want and need to do.  It helps you decide which things are urgent and which can wait.  Finding a balance between personal, work, and family needs will make your life easier, less stressful and more meaningful.
† 
Exercise
—working out regularly is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind.  At the very least, you should get 30 minutes of activity 3-5 times each week. Relax your muscles by stretching, enjoying a massage, or taking a hot bath or shower.
† 
Deep breathing
—stopping and taking a few deep breaths can take the pressure off you right away.  For optimal benefit, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes.  Imagine yourself in a relaxing place and slowly take deep breaths in and out for 5-10 minutes at a time.
†
 Eat well
—eating a regular, well-balanced diet will help you feel better in general and may help control your moods.  Your meals should be full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean protein for energy.  Limit how much caffeine and alcohol you drink, and don’t smoke. 
†
 Get enough sleep
—Your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.  If your worries are keeping you from sleeping, keep a notepad or your cell phone by your bed to record what you are worried about—to help you let it go while your sleep.  Go to bed at the same time every night and get up around the same time every morning.  Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
† 
Take a break
—You need to plan on some real downtime to give your mind time off from stress.  Look at your life and find small ways you can slow down and chill out.  Try meditation, yoga, prayer, listening to music, or spending time in nature.
† M
ake time for hobbies and/or give back to your community 
—Try to do something every day that makes you feel good—even 15 or 20 minutes will do.  Relaxing hobbies include things like reading, knitting, playing golf, watching a movie, doing puzzles, and playing card and board games.  Volunteering or finding a way to be active in your community can create a support network and give you a break from everyday stress.
† 
Talking about your problems —
to family members, friends, your pastor, your doctor, or a therapist can help lower your stress.  You can also talk to yourself!  But in order for self-talk to help, your need to make sure it is positive and not negative.
† 
Go easy on yourself
—Accept that you cannot do things perfectly no matter how hard you try, and you also cannot control everything in your life.  Remember to laugh—laughter goes a long way towards making you feel relaxed.
† 
Eliminate your triggers
—Figure out what are the biggest causes of stress in your life.  Is it your job, your commute, your schoolwork, or your commitments?  See if you are able to eliminate them from your life, or at least reduce the load. 

If you can’t identify the main causes of your stress, try keeping a stress journal.  Make note of when you become anxious and see if you can determine a pattern, then find ways to remove or lessen those triggers. 

Information for this article was sourced from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 
 websites.  For more information, please visit me in my office.

 

Blessings,

Janet Crain

Janet Crain, RN, is a Wesley Nurse with Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Wesley Nurse program is a faith-based, holistic health and wellness program committed to serving the least served through education, health promotion and collaboration with individual and community in achieving improved wellness through self-empowerment. Learn more at www.mhm.org

 

Health & Fitness

on Tuesday & Thursday

 in the Fellowship Hall
 
 
 
Walk Aerobics
(active group)
9: 00 am
 
 
Sit-n-Stretch
(low impact)
at 10:00 am
 
 

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