Nutrition and Your Mental Health

We are what we eat! It’s just NOT all in your head! If you read my article in the Courier on January 4th, you read about ways to help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions. Well, if you have already had a set back and those resolutions suddenly have been forgotten, check them out again knowing that you can start over and make “New Year’s Resolutions” anytime of the year. As a mental health therapist, I know that things can get in your way and that’s ok; just keep on trying. Your physical health and your mental health are connected and working those two entities together with good nutrition can make your 2015 wonderful. Many times when we speak of wellness and nutrition we only think of physical wellness. Physical wellness certainly is affected by what we eat and how we maintain our nutritional status, but how does this then impact our mental health and well being? Wellness is a balance of physical, mental, spiritual, social and emotional elements in life and making positive choices in these areas. What we eat can, and will, affect our weight, increase or reduce the risk of chronic medical conditions present or future, determine our energy level – all of which may effect our self confidence, self esteem, and thus our mental health. Our great American busy life styles have really added to the challenge of healthy nutrition. Many foods that are processed for quick eating are not always the healthiest due to high sugar or artificial sweeteners, salts, and fat. We also lack the fiber intake needed and many times will even...

Cervical Cancer Facts

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, so we here at Aspire Hospital would like to provide some information about what cervical cancer is, what its common causes are, what symptoms to look for, and how to prevent and treat it. What is cervical cancer?  Cervical cancer is when cells with damaged DNA begin to grow and reproduce abnormally in the area of the cervix, which is located between the uterus and the vagina in women.  It most often starts in what is called the transformation zone, which is where the type of cells shift from glandular cells (in the part closest to the uterus) to squamous cells (in the part closest to the vagina), according to the American Cancer Society. What causes cervical cancer?  The main factors associated with cervical cancer are: Infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) Smoking Suppressed immune system Chlamydia infection Poor diet Obesity Long-term use of oral contraceptives (“the pill”) Having 3 or more full-term pregnancies Family history What are the symptoms to look for? Abnormal bleeding Abnormal discharge Pain during intercourse Can it be prevented?  The best way to prevent cervical cancer is to have regular Pap tests (Pap smear) and to avoid and be regularly tested for HPV (which is an extremely common infection), according to the American Cancer Society. HPV vaccines are also available, and can reduce your risks of developing cervical cancers or pre-cancers.  Not smoking will also reduce risk. How is it treated?  It can be treated by surgery alone, surgery in conjunction with radiation, radiation alone, radiation along with chemotherapy, chemotherapy alone, or targeted chemotherapy. If you have any other questions...

Exercise Tips for Diabetics

Exercise can be good for both body and soul, but certain types of conditions require a somewhat different approach to exercise.  Diabetes is one of those conditions. At Aspire Hospital, we offer the following exercise tips for diabetics: Talk to your doctor.  Your doctor needs to be consulted before you start or change an exercise routine. Start slow.  If you have been inactive for a while, you will need to start out with short, 5-10 minute workouts and work your way up to about 30 minutes per day, five days a week. Check your blood sugar frequently.  You will need to check your blood sugar both before and after workouts and, if you are doing a longer workout, possibly during.  Note: if you are insulin-dependent, you are at higher risk of becoming hypoglycemic, so you will need to check your blood sugar more frequently and make sure you have easy access to carbohydrate snacks (or glucose tabs) or carbohydrate drinks (juice or sports drinks) in case your blood sugar gets too low. Take care of your feet.  Diabetics sometimes have nerve damage in their extremities, especially their feet, so they may not feel foot injuries that can cause long-term problems.  Be sure that when exercising that you are wearing well-fitting socks and shoes, and that the shoes have the proper support for the activity you are performing.  Also be sure to check your feet both before and after workouts for bruises, blisters, or sores, since you may not feel them or realize you have them otherwise. Stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Make...

Why Sleep Is So Important

Aspire Hospital’s Department of Sleep Diagnostics offers the following information on the importance of quality sleep. When you sleep, your body rests and restores its energy levels. However, sleep is an active state that affects both your physical and mental well-being. A good night’s sleep is often the best way to help you cope with stress, solve problems, or recover from illness. What Happens During Sleep? Sleep is prompted by natural cycles of activity in the brain and consists of two basic states: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep During sleep, the body cycles between non-REM and REM sleep. Typically, people begin the sleep cycle with a period of non-REM sleep followed by a very short period of REM sleep. Dreams generally occur in the REM stage of sleep. What Is Non-REM Sleep? The period of NREM sleep is made up of stages 1-4. Each stage can last from 5 to 15 minutes. A completed cycle of sleep consists of a progression from stages 1-4 before REM sleep is attained, then the cycle starts over again. Stage 1: Polysomnography {sleep readings) shows a reduction in activity between wakefulness and stage 1 sleep. The eyes are closed during Stage I sleep. One can be awakened without difficulty, however, if aroused from this stage of sleep, a person may feel as if he or she has not slept. Stage 1 may last for 5 to 10 minutes. Many may notice the feeling of falling during this stage of sleep, which may cause a sudden muscle contraction (called hypnic myoclonia). Stage 2: This is a period of light sleep...