Archive for tag: prevention

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

2013-09-30_bcribbonThis week's blog I wanted to focus on the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) which is a collaboration of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.

NBCAM has been at the forefront of promoting awareness of breast cancer issues and has evolved along with the national dialogue on breast cancer. NBCAM recognizes that, although many great strides have been made in breast cancer awareness and treatment, there remains much to be accomplished. They remain dedicated to educating and empowering women to take charge of their own breast health.

Although October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NBCAM is dedicated to raising awareness and educating individuals about breast cancer throughout the year.  In July, my neighbor passed away from breast cancer and I would like to honor her and many women who are survivors and fighters of breast cancer.

Please encourage you patients, friends and family about yearly mammograms and self-breast examination. I will be showing my support by wearing the pink ribbon this month. There is also a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of DuPage County on Sunday October 20, 2013, at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL. There are pamphlets about the 5k fundraising walk are available at the LRC front desk. This is a great cause and students can receive off-campus hours.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Fall is officially here!

Warning Signs and Prevention

I had another topic planned for this week's blog, but I decided to write about strokes and warning signs. My fellow intern had a stroke this week during our clinic shift at the Lombard campus clinic on Monday afternoon. She was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital and spent 2-3 days in the ICU unit and is now in a rehabilitation center. She is doing much better but the stroke affected the left side of her body.

Signs of Stroke

Even when stroke symptoms only last a few minutes, you should get immediate help. Time is of the essence. Call 911 or rush the person to your local emergency room if they experience any of the following 5 warning signs of stroke:

  1. Sudden confusion or difficulty speaking and understanding;
  2. Sudden numbness or weakness in face, arm or leg (usually on one side);
  3. Sudden blurred vision or trouble seeing with one or both eyes;
  4. Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination;
  5. Sudden severe or unusual headache with no known cause.

Image depicting stroke symptoms
Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.

Although these 5 warning signs of stroke are the most common, the latest research shows that signs of stroke for a woman can also include the following stroke symptoms:

  • Sudden pain in face, chest, arm or leg;
  • Fainting, seizure or an accidental fall;
  • Sudden feelings of tiredness or nausea;
  • Sudden pounding or racing heartbeat;
  • Sudden hiccups or shortness of breath.

One-third of all stroke victims die and many of the rest end up with major disabilities.

Prevention of Stroke

It's estimated that 80% of all strokes can be prevented according to the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Those are really good odds. So it only makes good sense to structure your life for stroke prevention, especially if you have family history of strokes and hypertension.

  • Image of CT scan of headEat a healthy diet.
  • Monitor and reduce your blood pressure, if you have high blood pressure.
  • Prevent diabetes. Since diabetes and high blood sugar raise your chances of having a stroke, use glycemic index guidelines to help you manage blood sugar levels.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Manage your triglycerides. Elevated triglycerides raise your risk of stroke. Have yours checked and if they're high, follow a diet to lower triglycerides naturally.
  • Keep your cholesterol low. High cholesterol can increase your odds of having a stroke. If yours is higher than normal, it's important to lower cholesterol naturally.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight also raises your risk of strokes.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Lower your stress level.
  • Incorporate exercise into your life style--Tai Qi, Qi Gong, yoga, walking, etc.

I would like to dedicate this blog to my fellow intern and her family. We pray for her speedy recovery. Her body may be broken but her spirit is strong.

Thank you for your continued support of the AOM blog. Have a great week!

Statistics and stroke information cited from livestrong.com, Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association, and American Stroke Association, and class notes.

Happy New Year

Snake

Before we get started on the blog, I want to wish everyone at NUHS a Happy New Year and a Happy Chinese Year of the Snake!. I have some great tips for everyone this week to keep us healthy in the winter season especially if you cannot make it into National's Whole Health Clinic. 

"During the winter months, all things in nature wither, hide, return home, and enter a resting period. This is a time when yin dominates yang."
-- The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine 

Thinking of Midwest winters, the first thing that pops into our heads is snow, and more snow, more and more snow, and lots more snow (just kidding, but typically true), winter break, family gatherings, overeating, holiday parties, desserts, hot cocoa, puffy coats, and of course, colds and flu. How do we take care of ourselves mentally and physically? I have four lifestyle changes that we can integrate in our daily lives to keep us healthy in the winter season. I also added Chinese nutritional food therapy, which includes a classic herb and cooking spice that we can add to our diets.

Resolutions 500

Keys to Healthy Winter Lifestyle

  1. Exercise
    Even though we naturally slow down during this time, we should still exercise to keep our circulation flowing, immune system strong, muscles stretched, and joints lubricated. Tai Chi and Medical Qi Gong are excellent exercises.
  2. Sleep
    Wintertime is a good time to conserve your energy. This is the time you want to go to bed a little earlier and sleep a little longer. Let your body recharge. Snuggle up with a good book, a pet, or a warm soft blanket, and snooze! 
  3. Meditation
    Give your mind some quiet time. With less stress comes better sleep, which leads to a stronger immune system. Take five minutes minimum daily to sit in complete stillness and quiet--and breathe.

    I also want to recommend the healing sounds. There are six healing sounds that correspond with our organs to rejuvenate energy in our body and bring balance. There are also great YouTube videos and two books that are good reads if you are interesting in learning more about healing sounds: Healing Sounds  by Jonathan Goldman, and Six Healing Sounds: Taoist Techniques for Balancing Chi  by Mantak Chia, that comes with a CD. Dr. Yurasek and John Robertson also teach healing sounds in Medical Qi Gong class here at the National campus in Lombard.
  4. Self-reflection
    The stillness of the winter season is a good time for self-reflection and taking a good look at you. Traditionally, people have made New Year's resolutions in January, which is a form of self-reflection. I have always looked at resolutions as how we can better ourselves in the New Year. Self-reflection is a great tool to use to find the balance and peace we desperately need in our busy lives as students and for our patients.

Cumin: Nutritional Food Therapy Herb 

Gui Zhi Tang is the most important formula in the classical medical text Shang Han Lun, which translated in English means "On Cold Damage" or "Treatise on Cold Injury." This formula can be taken regularly to harmonize your Yin and Yang and to strengthen your immune system. Cumin is a spice that boosts immunity and improves liver function, reduces flatulence and aids in digestion. It is an excellent addition to meat curries, stews, vegetables, seafood, and sauces. 

Grains

According to nature, our bodies are meant to slow down and conserve energy during the winter. Times have changed since the times of the Yellow Emperor thousands of years ago in China, but the basic principles should not. Keep in mind winter's wisdom in order to stay healthy throughout the New Year! Remember this is cold and flu season, so prevention is the key. I would recommend herbs and getting acupuncture at least once a week during this cold and flu season will strengthen your immune system. 

Happy New Year and thanks for continuing to support the AOM blog!