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National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month

Spring is in the air. But, so are allergies! Learn more today!

Get ready for a sneeze fest.  This month we are talking about National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month. 

What is an allergy? 

Allergies affect as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children in the U.S. They occur when the body’s immune system recognizes a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. Reactions can be uncomfortable, mild, or severe. The symptoms range from rashes, sneezing, difficulty breathing or anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock is the most dangerous and creates difficulty breathing.  For people with severe allergies, an EpiPen must be carried around in case of emergencies. Common allergies include: Latex, nuts, pollen, or insect stings.

What is asthma? 

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects about 25 million Americans. Asthma causes  your airways to become swollen or inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. Common asthma triggers include pollen and exercise. To tame these induced symptoms, doctors might prescribe inhalers and outline a treatment plan for each person. 

Both asthma and allergies deal with an immune system response, which is why they are often addressed together. We hope you participate in this month and learn a little more about this subject to help you enjoy this spring season sneeze-free!

If you are interested in spreading awareness for this month, fundraising, or taking action please visit this website: https://www.aafa.org/asthma-and-allergy-awareness-month/ 

Resources: https://www.hvrxsolutions.com/may-is-national-asthma-and-allergy-awareness-month/

Air Quality Awareness Week

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is one of the top threats to human health worldwide. In fact, the WHO attributes about 7 million deaths per year to the microscopic pollutants in the air— too small for us to see, but large enough to infiltrate our circulatory and respiratory systems and cause significant damage. 

Both indoor and outdoor air pollution can be harmful. Fortunately, there are things we can do to reduce our exposure to each of these.

Minimizing Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution

  1. If you’re doing any activity that can generate fumes or pollutants (such as painting, welding, sanding, paint stripping, or using a gas stove), make sure you’re doing it in a well-ventilated area— or even outside, if you can. To increase ventilation, you can open windows and doors and run a window or attic fan.
  2. Don’t allow anyone to smoke indoors. Secondhand tobacco smoke is responsible for many serious health conditions, including lung cancer, sudden infant death syndrome, and severe asthma attacks. Opening a window will not make it any safer.
  3. Reduce fireplace use when possible. Wood burning fireplaces generate much more pollution than gas fireplaces.

Minimizing Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution

  1. Get into the habit of checking the Air Quality Index (AQI) each day. You can easily view this from any weather app on your phone. On days when the AQI is high, you should avoid exercising or spending a lot of time outdoors.
  2. You should also avoid exercising outdoors near any high-traffic areas, regardless of the AQI that day. Car emissions can increase the amount of pollutants in the air locally, and exercising makes it more likely that you’ll breathe the pollutants in.

Perhaps most importantly, you can reduce your personal risk for experiencing the health effects of air pollution by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing any chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, COPD, and heart disease. The Wellness & Stress Clinic is always here to help with this. To make an appointment, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month

The month of April is dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence— a pressing concern, given that an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds. Every single one of us can, and should, play a role in preventing sexual assault.

How You Can Help

  • Support survivors. First and foremost, believe them and let them know that they are not alone. Offer to accompany them or give them a ride to seek immediate medical attention or longer-term psychological support. Be careful not to pressure them to do anything that they are not ready to do.
  • Create safe environments. Implement or advocate for zero-tolerance policies in your school or workplace. Provide specific training on how to prevent sexually aggressive behavior on a consistent basis.
  • Learn and teach about consent. Understand that anyone who is being pressured, coerced, or manipulated cannot give consent, nor can anyone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also be aware that consent can be revoked at any time.
  • Speak up when you believe someone may be at risk of being sexually assaulted. Step in to make sure that the person is safe, and if necessary, get help to do so.

Where You Can Get Help

  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). This hotline will connect you with a local sexual assault service provider that will be able to provide confidential support and connect you with further resources. This service is available 24/7/365.
  • The Shelby County Crime Victims & Rape Crisis Center provides 24/7 sexual assault forensic exams (rape kits), as well as other services such as crisis intervention, court accompaniment, trauma counseling, support groups, and many others. All of these services are confidential and completely free.
  • Sexual assault is a crime, and you have the right to decide to report it to the police and press charges against the person who assaulted you. If you are in immediate danger, dial 911. If not, you can dial the non-emergency line at (901) 545-COPS (2677).

WSC is also always here to support you— to schedule an appointment, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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Parkinson’s Awareness Month

The Month of April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month!

What is Parkinson’s disease? 

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that occurs when nerve cells that control motor abilities die or lessen. These affected nerve cells normally control the production of dopamine and norepinephrine.  With a lessened amounts of these chemicals, blood pressure and motor abilities decrease and often cause symptoms such as fatigue, tremors, stiffness, and impaired balance or coordination.  

Want to learn more? 

Here are a few other options provided by the Parkinson’s Foundation to help increase your understanding around Parkinson’s disease. (Source-https://www.parkinson.org/parkinsons-awareness-month

  • Events – We have lots of great events of all types. Fitness classes, education seminars, Expert Briefing webinars and more. Join us virtually and you’ll be sure to #KnowMorePD by the end of each event.
  • Podcast – Did you know we have a podcast? Every other Tuesday, we bring you a new episode of Substantial Matters: Life and Science of Parkinson’s. Episodes focus on a range of topics relevant to your daily life, including new medications, exercise, clinical trials, nutrition and more! 
  • Publications – The PD Library is an extensive collection of books, fact sheets, videos, podcasts and more that can help you #KnowMorePD. And, all our books are also now available on Kindle
  • Social media – Follow along and engage with @ParkinsonDotOrg on your social media platform of choice for the newest information to help you #KnowMorePD.

How can I get involved in Spreading Awareness?

The Parkinson’s Foundation is focused on sharing more facts with the public regarding Parkinson’s disease. Here is a short quiz you can take in order to brush up on your knowledge: Take the Quiz

You can also used the #KnowMorePD to promote the quiz and others participation throughout the month. 

If you have any questions about Parkinson’s disease, please feel free to call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

National Donate lIFE MONTH

If you have a driver’s license or other state identification card, you’ve probably been asked about your organ donor status before. About 165 million Americans have registered as donors as of 2019. However, only 3 in every 1,000 people die in a way that allows for organ donation, which is why there is always a need for more willing donors. In honor of April being National Donate Life Month, let’s look at a few common myths about organ donation so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

MYTH: If I’m an organ donor, the hospital staff won’t try to save my life.


FACT: Your life and health is the sole priority of the hospital staff treating you. Only after all efforts to save your life have failed will the staff begin to consider steps for donation. Donors receive even more tests than non-donors after death to determine if they are truly dead before proceeding with organ donation.

MYTH: I’m too old/not healthy enough to be an organ donor.

FACT: Anyone can sign up to be an organ donor. Only at the time of death is the transplant team able to determine which organs or tissues can be used. There are very few medical conditions that automatically disqualify people for organ donation, and age is not one of them. The oldest donor in the U.S. was actually 93 years old!

MYTH: My religion opposes organ donation.

FACT: Most major religions in the United States—including Roman Catholicism, Islam, most branches of Judaism and most denominations of Protestantism—view organ donation as a final act of compassion and love. However, if this is a concern of yours, it would be a great idea to bring it up with a member of your clergy. You can also read more about various religions’ perspectives on organ donation here.

MYTH: Being an organ donor will prevent me from having an open-casket funeral.

FACT: Donors’ bodies are treated respectfully and carefully so that there are no visible signs of organ or tissue donation. Having an open-casket funeral is entirely possible. 

MYTH: My family will have to pay for me to donate my organs.

FACT: Donors’ families are never charged for organ donation, only the medical interventions that were performed in an attempt to save your life.

MYTH: If I want to be an organ donor, all I need to do is check the box on my driver’s license or state ID.

FACT: While this is certainly one important step, you should also register with your state’s donor registry (which you can find at organdonor.gov) and let your family know your decision. This is the best way to ensure that your wishes are respected.

The decision to become an organ donor is a highly personal one, but learning about the process can provide a great deal of clarity for those contemplating it. If you have any questions about organ donation, please feel free to call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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World Health Day

What is World Health Day?

Each year it serves to highlight a particular health Theme that is of the highest priority of the world health organization. This year’s World Health Day was on April 7th, 2021. 

How did it begin? 

World Health Day was first celebrated in the 1950’s by the First Health Assembly. Over the past 50 years this has brought to light important health issues such as mental health, maternal and child care, and climate change.

How is it normally celebrated?

The celebration is marked by activities which extend beyond the day itself and serves as an opportunity to focus worldwide attention on these important aspects of global health.

What is the 2021 theme?

This year’s theme is building a fairer, healthier world for everyone

Why is this theme important? 

Western cultures have been rapidly experiencing economic growth, migration, and urbanization. However, as revealed by our COVID19 pandemic, other countries have been left behind in this rapid advancement. This world health day is hoping to help undercut the poverty and food insecurity around the world to eliminate health inequalities.The campaign highlights WHO’s principle that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

Want to learn more? 

Visit: 

https://www.who.int/westernpacific/news/events/detail/2021/04/07/western-pacific-events/world-health-day-2021

Sources: 

If you have any questions about world health day or health equity, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Alcohol awareness month

For centuries, alcohol has been one of the most commonly used substances in the world. It also happens to be the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, contributing to about 95,000 deaths per year. That’s why for Alcohol Awareness Month, we’re exploring what it means to drink alcohol responsibly.

First and foremost, not all alcoholic drinks are equal— for example, beer contains about 5% alcohol, while hard liquor is usually about 45%. This is where the concept of a standard drink comes in: one standard drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (tequila, rum, gin, whiskey, etc.). These quantities all have a comparable amount of alcohol in them, and it’s important to realize that they don’t necessarily correspond to a typical serving size. For healthy adults, up to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men is considered moderate alcohol use, and this level of drinking is typically not a cause for concern.

Alcohol gets quickly absorbed into your bloodstream, causing your blood alcohol content (BAC) to rise. Below is a list of common symptoms that occur at certain BAC levels:

  • 0.02: Even at this low BAC level, you may start to feel warmer, more relaxed, and have impaired judgment.
  • 0.08: At this level, your balance, speech, and reaction times will likely be impaired. You may also have trouble with concentration, self-control, and short-term memory. This is also the legal limit for driving in most U.S. states, including Tennessee.
  • 0.15: Walking and talking become difficult. You may begin vomiting.
  • Above 0.40, your breathing may stop and you are at the risk of coma or sudden death.

If you’re curious about your BAC level based on your typical drinking habits, you can use this BAC calculator to get an approximation based on your height, weight, and how much you usually drink.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind for drinking responsibly:

  • Never drink and drive— if you intend to drink, have a designated driver or alternate mode of transportation planned in advance.
  • Eat before and after drinking. Having food in your stomach can slow the rate of alcohol absorption into your bloodstream.
  • Don’t drink if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant. This poses the risk of causing severe birth defects or fetal alcohol syndrome.
  • If you are taking any medications at all, including over-the-counter drugs, please check with your healthcare provider before drinking. Alcohol can interact with certain drugs and lead to harmful effects.

Lastly, be on the lookout for signs of alcohol dependence in yourself and your loved ones. These include drinking more than intended, having to drink more alcohol to feel the same effects that you used to, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, restlessness, or shakiness when you are not drinking. It’s also a good idea to be aware of your family health history, since alcoholism appears to have some genetic basis.

There are many, many resources available for those experiencing addiction. A good place to start is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) National Helpline, which you can call at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The Wellness & Stress Clinic is also here to connect you with resources. To schedule an appointment, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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Checking your emotional fitness

Our days are filled with feelings, even if you don’t notice them. We get excited to eat as we pour syrup on our pancakes, we feel loved when we get a hug from a member of our family, and we feel nervous when we’re running late for work. 

Emotions are a normal and important part of life, even emotions that we consider negative like nervousness, fear or guilt. They help us make decisions, tell us when something is wrong and protect us. Without our feelings, our lives would feel a lot less whole. But when our feelings get in the way of our everyday lives and our relationships, it’s a good indicator that a doctor should help you assess your emotional fitness. The team at the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis wants you to learn about emotional fitness, help you notice when you should seek help, and create a plan to stay emotionally fit moving forward.

What is emotional fitness?

Just like your lungs and heart need exercise and a well-rounded diet to stay healthy, your brain also requires care and attention. Understanding your feelings and how they impact your life is emotional fitness. Everyone experiences life differently, so there isn’t one set of feelings that make someone emotionally fit. Instead, emotional fitness is your ability to notice when your feelings move from normal and productive to unhelpful or dangerous. 

What are signs I should seek help?

It is really important to seek help if your feelings start to concern you. But sometimes, it’s hard to realize when your feelings have become harmful or dangerous. If you feel any of the following ways, we strongly encourage you seek help as soon as possible, either through the Wellness and Stress Clinic or through another health care provider:

  • When you feel emptiness or sadness that does not go away. 
  • When your feelings change your eating or sleeping habits. 
  • When you have less energy to do things you used to do easily.
  • When you stop caring about things you used to love. 
  • If you ever have thoughts of suicide or self-harm – seek immediate medical counsel. 

What can I do to stay more emotionally fit in the future?

Want to take a more active role in your emotional fitness? It’s time to create a fitness routine. Just like you make plans to walk for 30 minutes a day or eat one meal filled with vegetables, you can create habits that keep you more emotionally fit. Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  • Name your feelings. Do you know what feelings you typically experience in a day? Start writing them down as you feel them. Naming your feelings will help you track patterns and notice when your emotions are abnormal. 
  • Focus on your physical fitness. Did you know that emotional and physical fitness are connected? When you exercise regularly, make healthy eating choices and get enough rest, you will likely feel better! To become more emotionally fit, make physical fitness a priority.
  • Talk about your feelings. Sometimes when we feel anxious or nervous, it is helpful to say our worries out loud. Sharing with a loved one can help you process what you’re feeling and put your thoughts into a new perspective. But you don’t have to have someone to listen for this to be effective! Saying our feelings out loud is helpful to process them, especially when our worries or fears are starting to spiral. If you have a pet you can share with them, or you can spend some time talking about how you’ve felt throughout the day as you eat dinner or take a shower. You may find that saying what you feel out loud helps you feel better!
  • Start a meditation practice. Taking time in the day to sit quietly and breathe can do wonders for your emotional fitness. Even spending five minutes with your eyes closed and focusing on your breath can change your perspective on the day. People meditate differently, so you can try a couple different styles to find one that works for you!

Diabetes Alert Day – March 23rd, 2021

What is Diabetes Alert Day?

It is a one day “wake up call” that focuses on both the importance and seriousness of Diabetes and understanding your risks. This day is dedicated to remind you to look into your likelihood of developing type two diabetes. 

You can assess your risk for type two diabetes  by taking this test administered by The American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Risk Test 

Fast Facts:

  • Diabetes affects approximately 10.5% of Americans. 
  • 1 in 5 adults living with diabetes don’t know that they have this
  • There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational
  • Type 1 diabetes: diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your body doesn’t produce insulin for itself at all. People with this, must take insulin shots every day
  • Types 2: diabetes is caused when the body can’t make enough insulin for the body, and is most common in individuals over the age of 45.
  • Gestational: which occurs only in women during pregnancy, and goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are more at risk for Type 2 diabetes after they give birth.

Sources: 

If you have any questions about Diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

Every year, the National Institutes of Health celebrates National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, an opportunity to address common misinformation about drugs and alcohol, particularly among teens. Below are some of the most common myths— read on to test your knowledge or to brush up on the facts before sharing them with the teenager in your life!


MYTH: Vaping doesn’t pose any risks to your health.
FACT:
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, just like regular cigarettes. Nicotine is not only addictive, but also has been shown to harm the developing brain, including the parts that control attention, mood, learning, and impulse control. In addition, in 2020, there was an outbreak of e-cigarette or vaping-use associated lung injury (EVALI) caused by THC-containing vaping products, which led to dozens of deaths. Other possible long-term effects of vaping are yet to be known.

MYTH: There are ways to “sober up” quickly if necessary.
FACT: Coffee, cold showers, greasy food, you name it— none of them will help get the alcohol out of your system. Alcohol gets absorbed fairly quickly into the bloodstream, and the only thing that will lower the amount of alcohol in your bloodstream is time. It takes about one to two hours for your liver to break down the amount of alcohol in a standard drink (1 beer, 1 glass of wine, or 1 shot). The specific time depends on your weight and other biological factors, but there isn’t anything that can speed up this process.

MYTH: Marijuana isn’t addictive.
FACT: While less addictive than alcohol or drugs like cocaine, marijuana can in fact be addictive. Around 1 in 10 adults who use marijuana get addicted to it, and these odds go up to 1 in 6 if you use it before the age of 18.

MYTH: Prescription drugs must be safe— a doctor wouldn’t prescribe them if they weren’t.
FACT: Actually, since 2003, more people have overdosed on prescription pain medications like OxyContin and Vicodin than on heroin and cocaine combined. With prescription drugs, the context you take them in matters. Otherwise, it can still be considered drug abuse.

MYTH: Once you’re addicted, you’re addicted for life.
FACT: There are plenty of effective treatments available for addiction. A good place to start is by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This is a free, confidential information service available 24 hours a day to refer you to local treatment facilities, support groups, community-based organizations, and other resources.

If you have more questions about this topic, please feel free to call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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Sleep Awareness Week

This was the week of your dreams! From March 14-20th, Sleep Awareness week was celebrated in 2021! We hope you got out your pillows and took this opportunity to learn about the importance of maintaining your sleep routine and prioritizing your sleep health. 

History of this event: 

In 1998, the National Sleep Foundation launched a public education campaign to help people learn more about the essential practice of sleep. This campaign transformed into Sleep Awareness Week which always takes place around the daylight saving transition. The goal of this campaign is to encourage the public to prioritize and pay attention to their sleep health and wellbeing. We all need sleep, and it can have major health effects. 

Elements to consider with SLEEP: 

S- Structure. Establish a regular sleep routine and stick to it.

L- Light. Spend more time with natural light. Natural light will help you feel rejuvenated throughout the day and will help you stay awake.

E- Electronics. Limit the amount of time you spend on electronics before bedtime. Try turning off all electronics one hour before bed to help improve sleep quality.

E- Exercise.  Regular physical activity is super important and will help you sleep. It will increase your fatigue and also release stress that might keep you up at night. 

P- Priority. Your sleep is sacred. Prioritize its importance and try not to push it aside. It will help your mood and energy each day. 

How can I participate in Sleep Awareness Week? 

  1. Social Media: 
  • Use the hashtags: #CelebrateSleep #SleepAwarenessWeek #CelebrateYourSleepHealt
  • Tag: 

Facebook: @nationalsleepfoundation

Twitter: @sleepfoundation

Instagram: @sleepfoundation

LinkedIn: @nationalsleepfoundation

  1. Download and post: 

Banners: Download Digital Banners

Logos: Download Sleep Awareness Week 2021 Logos 

Media Resources:  Download Social Media Resources

If you have any questions about good sleep practices, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

¿Hablas español? We’re adding Spanish-language support services.

The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis was created to help uninsured people in Memphis get the medical support they need for free. Our weekly clinic has grown to include a number of support services that would be very expensive to access for the average person, including social work, legal counseling, emotional fitness assessments and educational programming.

We built our model with access in mind. So when we expand our programs, we do so with the goal of increasing access to members of our community. This is why the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is excited to soon offer Spanish translation service. With the help of community translators, our Spanish-speaking neighbors will now have access to our free medical, legal, emotional fitness health and social support services.

We will soon offer translation support during specific Monday clinics. Check back with us soon for more information! Once we announce the dates, Spanish speakers should schedule an appointment by calling 901-306-LIFE (5433) to reserve their place. 

Any client who has an appointment with our clinic will start by going through a simple screening with a social worker. The social worker will take down important information that will help our medical, legal and educational volunteers know what services to provide. Then, the client will meet with the professional volunteers who can help address their specific needs. While the service providers will be speaking English in most cases, the translators will be there to help Spanish-speaking clients go through our process.

Why is having translation services important in Memphis? 

According to Latino Memphis, immigrants make up just over 5% of the Memphis population. Their contributions to our community are large. Economically, people born outside of the United States contributed more than $4.2 billion to the Memphis Metro Area’s GDP in 2015. Immigrants are our neighbors, peers, coworkers and friends.

While not all immigrants are Spanish speakers, many in Memphis are. Mexico is the most common birth country for immigrants in Memphis – nearly one third of our immigrant population is from Mexico. So there is an apparent need for Spanish social services in Memphis. There are also many American-born people whose first language is Spanish. Providing service to people whose native language is Spanish is important for increasing access to social services. 

There are many great clinics in Memphis that provide low-cost primary medical care and Spanish-language services. But there are very few that provide free medical care, and other support services, to uninsured people. Our Spanish-speaking neighbors who are uninsured or simply under-insured, deserve access to these programs

If you or someone you love needs primary medical care, legal counseling, emotional fitness assessments or social support, encourage them to connect with us. We look forward to seeing them soon!

Save Your Vision Month

It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul— whether that’s true or not, they’re definitely our windows to the world around us. The American Optometric Association has designated March National Save Your Vision Month to promote eye health awareness. This March, we’re looking at 5 things you can do now to protect your vision in the long term.

  1. Get a comprehensive eye exam yearly.
    If possible, get an exam that includes eye dilation, which can detect many common eye diseases not long after their onset, including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration. These conditions don’t typically have any warning signs, so you may not otherwise know you have them until they have significantly progressed.
  1. Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
    With all the time we’ve spent using digital devices in the past year, many of us may feel our eyes getting weaker. One way to combat eye fatigue and digital eyestrain is the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds.
  2. Wear protective eyewear.
    This includes sunglasses, which can help delay the formation of cataracts and prevent retinal damage. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so make sure you’re wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. It’s also important to wear goggles, safety shields, and eye guards whenever you’re doing an activity that requires it, such as sports or home repairs. For many jobs, too, proper eyewear is a daily requirement.
  1. Maintain a healthy diet.
    You probably already know about carrots, which are rich in beta-carotene that your body uses to make Vitamin A. Dark leafy greens like spinach and collard greens also contribute to good eye health, since they are rich in vitamins C and E as well as several minerals and antioxidants. The omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood can also help protect your vision, specifically against age-related macular degeneration.
  1. Know your family history of eye health.
    Many eye conditions (such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and even near- and farsightedness) appear to have at least some genetic basis, so if someone in your family has an eye disease, you may be at an increased risk. Sharing this information with your healthcare provider can lead to an early diagnosis and treatment. For more tips and information on how to obtain a family history, check out the blog post we made for National Family Health History Day.

If you’d like to talk about your eye health or schedule a vision screening, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to make an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe!

—The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

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“Be in the Know!” Series–March 16th via Zoom from 5:30-6:30pm

The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is offering a free Zoom lecture series called “Be in the Know!” Each week, health professionals and community leaders will offer important information to help you become a healthier, stronger YOU in 2021. You could also become the lucky recipient of a $100 Wal-Mart gift card, because TWO will be given away at each lecture. Registration is open now! Join us next week from 5:30-6:30pm via the zoom link below!If you have additional questions or want to know more about the free health care we provide to uninsured people in Memphis, please call the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis at (901) 306-5433 or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, and our website at wellness901.org.https://tinyurl.com/beintheknowzoomhttps://wellness901.org/2021/02/04/be-in-the-know-series/

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month


March is here, and so is brain injury awareness month!  Nationally, brain injury awareness month has been led by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).  This is a public awareness campaign dedicated to de-stigmatizing brain injury, empowering those who have survived their injury, and commending their caregivers. 

Quick facts on brain injury: 

  • Every nine seconds someone in the US substance a brain injury
  • There are two types of brain injury classifications: 
  1. Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)- a more general category for any injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma
  2. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)– caused by trauma to the brain by external force.
  • 5.3 million Americans live with TBI related disabilities. That is 1 in every 60 people

Brain injury can be caused by different things: 

For ABI related disabilities, the most common causes are: 

  • Electrical shock 
  • Infectious disease 
  • Lightining strick 
  • Hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) 
  • Toxic Exposure 
  • Vehicle accidents 
  • Seizure Disorder 
  • Trauma 
  • Substance abuse/ overdose
  • Stroke

For TBI  related disabilities, the most common causes include: 

  • Fall
  • Physical strike/ force by something
  • Motor Vehicles 

What do I do if I experience a brain injury? 

  1. Go to a doctor. There are both server and mild brain injuries. Major brain injury can look like bruising, torn tissue, or bleeding. While, some more mild brain injury may be more subtle. Symptoms can include headache, nausea, and vomiting. It is always safest to check with a doctor. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/traumatic-brain-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20378557 )
  2. The doctor will likely ask questions regarding your specific brain injury in order to assess the severity of damage. Such questions will be: How did the injury occur? Did the person lose consciousness? What part of the head was struck? 
  3. From there, imaging tests may take place. Two most common imaging types to get a stagnant image of the brain are CAT scans and MRI. This will help the doctor with diagnosis

This year’s theme for brain injury awareness month  is More Than My Brain Injury

This theme emphasizes that brain injury is a chronic condition. We want to reduce stigmas. By showcasing and understanding the diversity of brain injury, we can help increase the awareness of these conditions and honor the families and caregivers supporting people dealing with brain injury. 

How can I help? 

Join the awareness efforts! 

References: 

If you have any questions about brain injury, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month

The month of March has been designated Multiple Sclerosis Education & Awareness Month. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects nearly 1 million Americans and 2.5 million people worldwide. Its causes are unknown.

Overview of Multiple Sclerosis

MS is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system, resulting in damage to both nerve fibers and the fatty substance that coats and insulates them (myelin). The disease can be rather unpredictable, but a few different types, or courses, of MS have been described.

The most common course is relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). 90% of patients have RRMS at the time of diagnosis, which involves alternating periods of experiencing neurological symptoms followed by symptom-free periods. If the symptoms continue to worsen until there is no clear period of remission, the course of the disease is now considered secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). If, however, there are no early relapses or remissions at all, this is called primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).

Symptoms, & Diagnosis

Symptoms of MS can vary greatly. However, some of the most common ones are:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness/vertigo
  • Impaired coordination
  • Tremors
  • Muscle stiffness or spasms
  • Bladder problems
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Vision problems
  • Depression
  • Impaired short-term memory and concentration

Diagnosis of MS is based on the history of symptoms and a neurological examination. This often involves an MRI scan, which can reveal plaques or scars. A cerebrospinal fluid evaluation (via spinal tap) may also be used, along with evoked potential studies that examine the conduction of electrical impulses along nerve pathways in the body. Blood tests are used to rule out other possible conditions.

Treatments

MS is treated with a variety of medications, which fall into the three categories: abortive therapies, disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), and symptomatic therapies. Abortive therapies are used to shorten the duration and severity of symptom exacerbations, which is typically accomplished using glucocorticoids. DMTs are used as long-term treatments to slow the progression of the disease. Lastly, medications can also be taken to alleviate some of the symptoms of MS, such as muscle weakness and fatigue. Physical therapy can also help with symptom management.

If you have any questions about MS, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay healthy and stay safe! 

–The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Smile! February is Children’s Dental Health Month!

This is a month long national holiday committing to educating children on proper oral health. It brings together dental professionals, health care workers, and teachers to promote the benefits of good oral health within children. For 2021, the National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM)’s particular theme is “Water, Nature’s Drink!”. 

Tips for maintaining children’s dental health: 

  1. Schedule routine dental check ups. If it has been more than 6 months since their last visit, schedule an appointment 
  2. Teach them how to floss their teeth. Then, they can teach you the floss dance move in return
  3. Brush twice a day for the appropriate amount of time. 
  4. Snack healthy.  Fruit snacks and sticky candies all are threats to your child’s teeth. Rather than sugary snacks, feed them  calcium-rich snacks like cheese or low-sugar yogurt. If you want to fulfill a sugar craving, ttry eating a chocolate bar which is preferable to gummy or sticky sweets that can get lodged in between the teeth even after brushing.
  1. Drink water! Fruit juices and sodas are very sugary and can be harmful for children’s teeth. Water helps to rinse away any sugar or particles that can lead to cavities.

Resource: (https://childrensdentalhealth.com/february-national-childrens-dental-health-month/

How can I create a lesson plan to teach Children’s dental health: 

Here is a great resource for creating a lesson plan to help educate children as well as learn how you can get involved and spread the word. This site contains poster, coloring activities, and dental information! 

https://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month

If you have any questions about dental health, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team 

Debunking Myths About Heart Health

This time of year, it’s common to see Valentine hearts pretty much everywhere. And while it’s great to celebrate with your loved ones in the spirit of St. Valentine, there’s another heart you shouldn’t be neglecting (hint: it’s the one keeping you alive!). If you’ve been keeping up with our blog for awhile, you already know how to recognize the signs of heart attacks and strategies to maintain your cardiovascular health (and if you haven’t seen those blog posts yet, go check them out!). Today, we’re addressing common myths about heart disease, just in time for American Heart Month.

MYTH: Heart failure occurs when your heart stops beating.
FACT: That’s actually cardiac arrest! Heart failure, on the other hand, simply means that your heart isn’t pumping blood as well as it should. The symptoms of these two conditions also differ: a person in cardiac arrest may fall unconscious and stop breathing, while a person with heart failure may experience a persistent cough, shortness of breath, or swelling of the feet and ankles.

MYTH: Women, especially young women, don’t need to worry about heart disease.

FACT: Heart disease kills over a fourth of women and men, so no one should get too complacent. The same risk factors that predispose men to heart disease (such as obesity, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes) also put women at risk. However, men are more likely to get heart attacks in their mid-50s, while women are more likely to get them in their mid-60s.

MYTH: It’s dangerous to exercise if you have heart disease.

FACT: If anything, it’s dangerous not to! If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, you should make an exercise plan that works with you for your doctor and be sure to follow it. Exercise helps strengthen your heart muscle, and it’s been found to reduce the likelihood of people with heart disease having a first or another heart attack. Studies have also shown that heart attack survivors who implement healthy changes and start exercising regularly tend to live longer than those who don’t.

MYTH: You don’t need to think about your cholesterol levels until you’re middle-aged.

FACT: You should get your cholesterol levels checked beginning at age 20 (and maybe even earlier if heart disease runs in your family) and at least every 5 years after that. Meanwhile, you should continue eating a healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats and getting enough physical activity, so that your cholesterol remains at a healthy level.

MYTH: If heart disease runs in your family, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.

FACT: Genetics is just one piece of the puzzle. Although you may be at higher risk if you have a family history of heart disease, you can still take steps to significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease: get enough physical activity, keep your cholesterol level, blood pressure, and blood sugar at a healthy level, and quit or don’t start smoking.

Despite an estimated 80% of cardiovascular disease being preventable, it continues to claim the lives of nearly 1 in 3 Americans today. This Valentine’s Day, show yourself some love and commit to keeping your real heart in the best shape possible. And as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness & Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

World Cancer Day

A Brief History

World Cancer Day (02/01/2021) was started in 2000 by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).  This was a global initiative that is now celebrated internationally. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. It is a growing health issue that needs to be addressed.

What is Cancer? 

Cancer arises when abnormal cells begin to divide uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body.  They have the ability to infiltrate and destroy healthy tissue. There are many different types of cancer typically attributed based on the location of the tumor (the abnormal cell clump). 

This year’s Theme for World Cancer Day: “I Am and I Will” 

This year’s theme is focusing on what “I am” and what “I will” be. The campaign is geared to pull people together and make a difference within the health world. This slogan will be spread on February 4th to celebrate and support this holiday. 

How can I participate: 

If you are interested, here is an excellent resource filled with guides on how to specifically make a difference on this day: https://www.worldcancerday.org/materials#5 

Resources: 

https://www.cancerresearch.org/events/social/world-cancer-day-2021

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20370588

If you have any questions about World Cancer Day and how you can participate please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

“Be In The Know” Series!

The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is offering a free Zoom lecture series called “Be in the Know!” Each week, health professionals and community leaders will offer important information to help you become a healthier, stronger YOU in 2021. You could also become the lucky recipient of a $100 Wal-Mart gift card, because TWO will be given away at each lecture. Registration is open now!If you have additional questions or want to know more about the free health care we provide to uninsured people in Memphis, please call the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis at (901) 306-5433 or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, and our website at wellness901.org.https://tinyurl.com/beintheknowzoom

The Doctor Is In: Tips on Getting the Most Information Out of Your Clinical Visit

Clinical visits are dedicated to diagnosing, explaining, and clarifying your health problems and recovery processes. These visits connect you with doctors and nurses whose goal is to give you professional advice in an understandable way as well as suggest how to solve future issues.  But sometimes the information discussed within the doctor’s office goes a bit too fast. By the time you get to your car,  you’ve forgotten all the details that were discussed. To solve that problem: here are some simple tips on how to get the most information out of your visit to a clinic.

  1. Take notes

 Bring a pen and paper to your appointment. Write down what the doctor is saying.This is a super helpful and easy tip.  What a doctor tells you verbally in a clinic may stick for a bit, but by the time you get to your car, you’ve probably forgotten some of their detailed instructions.  This method will help with that! By simply bringing in a notepad, you can write down what questions you want to ask your doctor or what care instructions you’re given. This can also help with listing medications you need to take, remembering how frequently and at what times you may need to take them, recording contact numbers for future procedures, or even outlining recovery steps. This essentially allows you to take note of all the information that often gets forgotten during your appointment. 

  1. Decide if you should bring a friend / or go alone 

This is another strategy for obtaining and remembering more information.  Sometimes an extra person in the room can help you think of questions you forgot to ask or didn’t know to ask. Not only will they be able to provide moral support, but they may bring a different perspective to the table. If you’re not in the position where you can take notes, you can ask your friend or family member to do it while in the room. Of course, if having a friend or family member makes the situation more stressful or complicated, know that it is okay to go alone too. Some might actually feel like they can be more honest with their doctor if it is just a one on one visit. 

  1. Be Honest and Ask Questions 

Too frequently patients want to be the “perfect patient”.  They don’t want to come off as making a big deal of their issues, but that won’t solve your problems.  Let your doctor or care provider know of any symptoms or issues you’ve been experiencing.  You won’t overwhelm them. In fact, it gives them more information to work off of and gives them a  better sense of your condition. Also,  don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask for them to clarify terms or repeat instructions if you are confused. Ask your questions because an important part getting better is understanding how to proceed from that point. 

  1. Visit and Maintain a regular doctor 

Although this is easier said than done, keeping a primary doctor can be helpful for a few reasons. A regular doctor can witness long term progression and changes within their patient. They can assess what your normal, healthy self looks like and catch if things start to go ary. In other words, if one keeps a regular doctor, that particular doctor is aware of the patient’s normal self and has been keeping tabs on their medical history. However, if one keeps switching between specialists, it can become difficult for each new facility to obtain all your medical history and know about all your conditions.  If you do need to jump between medical facilities, ask your primary doctor to provide you with important lists such as any allergies that you may have or a list of the prescriptions you can’t take. This way you can give the next place you visit a good sense of your health and wellbeing .  

If you have any questions about the clinic, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to educate ourselves about this condition that affects over 3 million Americans and is a leading cause of irreversible blindness today. There is no cure for glaucoma, so early detection and treatment are essential for preserving vision.

Glaucoma is actually not a single disease, but rather a group of diseases that progressively damage the optic nerve. The most common form, primary open-angle glaucoma, involves deterioration of the optic nerve tissue that is gradual and painless. For this reason, those affected may lose a significant portion of their vision without even noticing. Another type of glaucoma is angle-closure glaucoma, which can be acute or chronic. Acute angle-closure glaucoma may be accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Pain and redness in the eye
  • Halos or colored rings appearing around lights
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency, so you should go to the emergency room or ophthalmologist immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Both primary open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma involve an increase in intraocular pressure, which is the pressure inside your eye. This happens when there is either an overproduction of fluid inside your eye or improper drainage of it.

The best way to protect yourself from glaucoma is to get regular comprehensive eye examinations. If detected early enough, there are a variety of glaucoma treatments that help reduce pressure in the eye and slow the damage to the optic nerve, including medications, surgery, and drainage implants. You should also be aware of the risk factors of glaucoma, which include:

  • Age: People over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Race: Black, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Alaskan people are at an increased risk for certain types of glaucoma.
  • Family history: If someone in your family has had glaucoma, you may also be at an increased risk for developing it.
  • Eye injury: Past trauma to the eye can cause intraocular pressure to increase, increasing the risk of glaucoma in the future.
  • Medical conditions: People with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or sickle cell anemia may have a greater risk of glaucoma.
  • Eye anatomy: Having thin corneas, sensitive optic nerves, or extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness may increase risk of glaucoma.
  • Medications: Prolonged use of corticosteroids may increase risk of secondary glaucoma.

The National Eye Institute predicts that the number of Americans with glaucoma could double over the next three decades. Educating yourself about it now is a smart step, and you can now share what you’ve learned with your friends and family. Enjoy the rest of the month, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart: Ways to Keep a Healthy Heart

What are heart attacks?

Heart attacks or myocardial infarctions are caused due to a blockage within the heart’s arteries. The arteries take blood from within the heart and distribute it away from the heart either to the body or the lungs.  If the arteries are blocked, the blood circulation within the heart becomes disturbed. This means that the heart isn’t getting enough blood or oxygen flowing through it, which can lead to a heart attack.  Think of the blocked artery like a clogged pipe. If a pipe is clogged, then only a reduced amount of water can run through at a less efficient rate. Similarly, if an artery is blocked, blood has trouble flowing through. 

Why do Heart Attacks occur? 

A clogged artery is caused by the buildup of fat or cholesterol in the arteries. 

What is Cholesterol- a fatty like substance that is made in the liver and is taken in through foods. We measure two types of cholesterol LDL and HDL.  LDL- is the “bad” kind of cholesterol because it builds up plaque in your arteries. LDL is often consumed as saturated fats or trans fats through foods. Meanwhile, HDL- is the “better” kind of fat because high levels of it can prevent blockage. 

Other important risk factors include: 

-High blood pressure

– High cholesterol 

-Smoking 

-Family history/ Genetics 

What are the symptoms? 

There are symptoms that occur before a heart attack. Paying attention and monitoring how you’re feeling can help you catch the warning signs. 

  • Angina- chest pain around the heart
  • Dyspnea – shortness of breath 
  • Diaphoresis- sweating
  • Nausea- discomfort in the stomach making you feel sick 
  • Emesis- vomiting 

What can be done to prevent a heart attack?

  1. Stop Smoking 
  2. Maintain a heart healthy diet primarily by lowering your LDL intake
  3. Try to lower a high blood pressure
  4. Stay physically active 

What is a healthy Heart Diet? 

Maintaining a healthy heart diet can reduce your risk for heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. It can also lower your risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. 

A healthy heart requires a diverse diet of fibers, fruits, and veggies. Here are some healthy food groups to eat: 

  • Healthy Fats: Avoid saturated fats and trans fats for they are known to increase your LDL () cholesterol. These “bad” fats can be found in oily foods that are solid at room temperature like butter, full fat dairy products, and fatty meats. Trans fats are normally found in processed foods such as fried foods and baked goods. Try consuming healthy fats such as almonds, nuts, olive oil, flaxseeds, and avocado. These are considered healthier because they are unsaturated fats (which increase your HDL).  They are easier for your body to break down and don’t leave a fatty residue that could later cause a clog in arteries.  
  • Beware of Dairy: Dairy can contain a lot of saturated fats. So be sure to choose low fat or fat free dairy products in order to help keep your saturated fats in check. This can be done by simply changing your milk from 2% to skim. 
  • Whole Grains: Ever seen the label on that whole wheat non sugary cereal box that says “heart healthy”? Well, they’re talking about whole grains! Whole grains contain fiber.  There are two types of fibers soluble and insoluble. The difference between the two is that one can dissolve in water while the other can not. The soluble fiber can dissolve and create a gel like form that helps improve digestion, lower your blood cholesterol and sugar! The insoluble fiber is known for attracting water into your stool which makes it easier to have a bowel movement.  But don’t be fooled, not all whole grains are healthy. For example, healthy whole grains are not sugary cereal. Rather, it’s plain oats, oatmeal, barley, and brown rice. So grab a bowl of oatmeal and dig in to get those fibers!
  • Produce Produce Produce! All the produce! Eat a variety of fruits and veggies to maintain a healthy diet. They are low in calories and high in fiber. Fresh produce is best. But if you opt for canned or frozen fruits/veggies that’s okay too! Just make sure to check the labels for added salts or sugars that may have been used to preserve the produce. 
  • Meats. It is true that meat is a great source of protein. However, lots of american loved meats such as burgers, hotdogs, steak, or bacon all contain high levels of saturated fats. Try eating meats that have less of these saturated fats such as fish and shellfish. With any meat, make sure to pay attention to your portion control. Typically your plate should contain a balance of  ¼ meats to ½ veggies. It also matters how you cook the meat.  Baking, broiling, or roasting are healthier and use less oil than pan frying or deep frying. 

Other important factors: 

Eating healthy is one part of reducing your risk for artery clots, but it’s a healthy lifestyle that will prevent most from heart attacks. 

1 . Exercise: Staying active regularly can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It helps your metabolism and “builds” a healthy strong heart. 

2. Drinking water: What are the downsides of drinking water? I mean really.  I know drinking water is always listed as the “cure all” for everything, but it is an important part in everyone’s diet. Drinking water is important for staying  hydrated,  but primarily people are encouraged to drink water to deter against its sugar filled soda alternatives. Try not to grab the soda or energy drinks. They can contain a lot of unnecessary sugars.  Rather, focus on drinking water (or no sugar added drinks like black coffee/tea). 

3. Stop Smoking. You’ve heard that smoking damages your lungs, but it also puts a lot of stress on your heart.  But why? Nicotine creates an adrenaline rush which can raise your blood pressure and make your heart beat faster.  Smoking thickens your blood which makes it more likely to clot and cause blockage in an artery. Similarly, smoking can also worsen coronary artery disease because it damages the lining in your coronary arteries which makes it more difficult for blood to flow to your heart. Lastly, smoking can decrease the amount of oxygen that gets to your heart, which makes the heart have to work extra hard to get it’s needed oxygen levels to the body. Although it’s difficult to quit smoking, this is one of the main recommendations among doctors to maintain a healthy heart.

4. Portion sizes: It’s one thing to eat healthy, but now you need to know how much to eat. Normally it is suggested that your plate should consist of 3 oz of meat, 1 cup of produce, 1 teaspoon of saturated fats, 1-2 tablespoons of a condiment, and maybe 1-2 oz of nuts, pretzels, or cracker like foods. Here’s a helpful infographic for visualizing your correct portion sizes. 

Photo from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/nutrition/handy-guide-to-serving-size 

If you have any questions about heart health, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Resources

https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/nutrition/10-simple-rules-for-eating-heart-healthy

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations

https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/your-heart/post-heart-attack/quitting-smoking

Know the Signs: Heart Attacks

Did you know heart attacks are more common in December and January than in other months? A multitude of factors may contribute to this pattern, one being the cold temperatures, which cause blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to rise, ultimately putting more strain on the heart. Excessive indulgence (such as in salt, fat, and alcohol), emotional stress, and the tendency to put off seeking medical treatment during the holidays may also play a role. This means that now is the perfect time to learn (or brush up on) the most common signs of a heart attack, so that if you find yourself or a loved one in this situation, you can act quickly and minimize the damage done to the heart.

You’re likely familiar with the classic heart attack symptom, severe chest pain (often compared to the feeling that an elephant is sitting on your chest), but this isn’t the only symptom you should be aware of, especially if you’re a woman. Although both men and women can experience this kind of pressure on their chest, women are more likely to have heart attacks and not experience this tell-tale symptom. For this reason, you should know the other symptoms of heart attacks in women:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances and/or unusual fatigue
  • Gas-like pain or discomfort in the stomach
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Pain in the upper back, shoulders, or one or both arms

For men, too, there are other symptoms you should know to look out for in addition to the typical chest pain and pressure:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper body (one or both arms, left shoulder, back, neck, or jaw)
  • Gas-like pain or discomfort in the stomach
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you suspect you or a loved one may be having a heart attack, don’t hesitate to seek help. The first thing you should do is call 911 right away. While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, chew a normal dose of aspirin— this will help slow the blood clotting. Try to stay calm and sit or lie down near the door.

Heart attacks can be scary, but by learning about the symptoms now, you’re preparing yourself to take swift action if the need ever arises. Kudos for prioritizing your health, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Let it Snow! Learn how cold weather can affect your health:

Skin: 

Jack frost nipping at your nose?  The windy weather and dropping temperature can dry out your skin. This can be strenuous for someone with eczema. What you can do is moisturize your skin. Try showering in warm water, not hot water. For hot water can further dry out your skin. The warm water will give your skin a chance to replenish and moisturize. Drinking water will also help you stay hydrated and prevent flakey skin. 

Balance: 

Although those snowy sidewalks and misty mornings look beautiful, they can be very icey. Watch your step as surfaces covered in ice can make you lose your balance. It makes falling easier, and puts you at risk for fractures. Be careful! Make sure you wear appropriate snow boots with grip and use handrails. 

Heart:

The cold weather can be a vasoconstrictor, meaning that the cold can narrow blood vessels which can raise your risk of chest pain or heart attack. What can you do? Bundle up and try avoiding strenuous activities in the cold weather. 

Immune System: 

Although cold weather itself doesn’t cause the flu and colds, it does bring people together. The cold weather outside drives a lot of people together inside in public spaces. This causes more people to come into close contact and increases the spreadability of a virus. The solution is simple:  wash your hands and get a flu shot. If you feel sick and contagious, take off work.  It will help prevent the spread of unwanted illnesses. 

Asthma: 

Dry cold weather can irritate asthma. It narrows airways and can increase your chances of an asthma attack. What you can do to prevent from this: Avoid exercise outside and keep an inhaler nearby. 

If you have any questions about health during the winter months, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Resources: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-does-cold-weather-affect-your-health

https://signaturemd.com/concierge-physicians/concierge-physician-blog/how-cold-weather-affects-your-body/

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

2021 is here, and for many, the start of a new year gives us the motivation we need to make healthy changes in our lives. Whether you enjoy the tradition of New Year’s resolutions or prefer setting new goals for yourself at any time of the year, improving your health can seem like a daunting task— but it doesn’t have to be.

To make sure you don’t abandon your resolutions after a month or two, make sure you’re setting SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This technique is a great way to keep yourself focused and accountable so that you can achieve your goals. Let’s look at some examples of SMART resolutions to make 2021 your healthiest year yet:

  1. Drink more water: If you’re simply trying to up your intake, you can set an hourly goal for yourself, like drinking 1 glass of water every hour between 9 am and 5 pm. Another great way to do this is to replace your usual daily soda or second or third coffee with a glass of water— this way, you can cut back on sugar and stay hydrated at the same time!
  2. Reduce screen time: Now, more than ever, we depend on our phones, computers, and TVs for both work and entertainment, which is why it’s increasingly important to take some intentional time off. Set a goal to spend no more than 30 minutes on social media daily and use your phone’s screen time feature to hold yourself accountable. Alternatively, you can build screen-free time into your daily routine, like putting your electronics in a separate room an hour before you go to bed.
  3. Eat more fruits and vegetables: Both are necessary for you to get the vitamins and minerals you need, and together, they should make up half your plate at each meal (check out our basics of a balanced diet post to learn more!). Set a goal to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables throughout the day— every meal or snack is an opportunity!
  4. Exercise regularly: If you prefer traditional workouts, you can aim for at least four 30-minute workouts weekly. That’s not the only way to get exercise, though. If you find yourself sitting most of the day, you can start taking a 5-minute walk every two hours (walking is a great cardio exercise!).
  5. Get more sleep: Sleep is essential for good health. Setting a bedtime for yourself and following that schedule every night helps regulate your body’s clock so that you can fall asleep faster and sleep better. How much sleep you need can vary from person to person, but most adults should get at least 7 hours per night.


Wanting to improve your health is a great decision that you should be proud of yourself for taking. If you choose to focus on any of the goals above, don’t forget to modify them as needed to make them attainable and relevant for you. Happy New Year, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day is held on December 1st and it is a day dedicated towards spreading awareness and information about the virus.  This day allows people to mourn the loss of family, friends, and partners who have fought the virus as well as reminds people to continue to support medical researchers who are actively looking for a cure.  In order to demonstrate a network of support for these families, let us take this day to honor all those who fought and are fighting AIDS. 

Quick AIDS/ HIV facts: 

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. While AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • AIDS is not the same as HIV.  HIV is a virus that can lead to AIDS. If infected with HIV, then the virus resides in your blood, particularly white blood cells, which help your immune system. However, people are diagnosed with AIDS when HIV grows and starts killing their immune cells.  This weakens their immune system and leaves the person vulnerable to infections and illnesses ranging from pneumonia to cancer. Therefore, AIDS is a stage of HIV in which the immune system becomes very weak due to HIV.
  • Nearly 38 million people are living with HIV worldwide. Many of them do not know they are infected and may be spreading the virus to others. 
  • HIV has not been cured. There is still ongoing research on how to prevent and stop this disease. 
  • HIV can be transmited through semen, vaginal fluids, anal fluids, breastmilk, and blood 
  • Although only started in 1988, World Aids day was the first ever global health day! 

Resources: https://www.womenshealth.gov/hiv-and-aids/hiv-and-aids-basics/facts-about-hiv-and-aids 

https://www.amfar.org/facts-about-hiv-and-aids/#a2

Best prevention methods: 

  • Use protection every time 
  • Use latex condoms or dental dams
  • Use a water based lubricant 
  • Limit the use of alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Make sure all needles injected in the body are sterilized
  • Do not share injection needles with anyone 
  • If getting a tattoo, make sure you are going to a sterilized facility that uses single use instruments or pays close attention to recleaning their needles between clients. 

Source: https://www.amfar.org/facts-about-hiv-and-aids/#a3 

COVID and HIV:

People with HIV may have concerns for their risk of COVID19. Here are 2 helpful links. One is from the CDC that answers the general question you may be having. While the other link is from HIV.gov and has specific recommendations on preventable measures that can be taken to avoid getting COVID with HIV. Please note that information on the Coronavirus is still new and being obtained.  Changes and updates in information will be posted on these sites.  

  1. CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/covid-19.html

  1. HIV.gov: https://clinicalinfo.hiv.gov/en/guidelines/covid-19-and-persons-hiv-interim-guidance/interim-guidance-covid-19-and-persons-hiv?view=full 

How can I participate in World AIDS Day? 

There are multiple ways to get involved! Whether it be holding an event, spreading awareness, distributing contraceptives, or educating, you can help!

1) Reach out to a local HIV service organization and Volunteer!
These facilities may need your help with providing services like: 

  • Assisting with onsite or mobile testing events by being a greeter, registrar, health educator, or HIV tester
  • Providing administrative support, such as filing, data entry, or answering phones
  • Helping out with special events
  • Participating in fundraising or advocacy activities
  • Providing language skills
  • Offering professional services, such as legal assistance or medical care, if licensed

(Souce: https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/making-a-difference/getting-involved )

2) Hold events in schools and on campuses

In the U.S., approximately 25 percent of new HIV cases occur among young people between the ages of 13-24. Therefore, it is particularly important for students to speak up and spread awareness through organizational efforts.

Here is an excellent link in event ideas that you can hold at schools to get your community involved: https://www.hrc.org/resources/a-students-guide-to-world-aids-day 

3) Educate

Learn more about HIV/ AIDS. Here are some helpful links and resources about preventing, identifying, managing, and treating HIV/AIDS. 

4) Connect with others and spread awareness

Spread the word! Let people know that December 1st is a global health day! Here are some great social media infographics that can be shared: 

https://www.cdc.gov/worldaidsday/resources.html 

https://www.avac.org/resources/infographics 

https://www.hiv.gov/events/awareness-days/world-aids-day 

https://www.unaids.org/en/World_AIDS_Day 

If you have any questions about AIDS, or think that you may have it or be at risk for it, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness

What is Alzheimer’s Disease? 

Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills overtime. Its slow progression could lead to dementia ultimately inhibiting a person from carrying out simple daily life tasks. Caregivers make a huge difference within these people’s lives. Alzheimer’s is not the same as memory loss from aging. Although during the preclinical phase of alzheimer’s disease people seem to be symptomless, there are actually big changes happening in the brain. 

According to the National Institute on Aging: (https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet#stages

Alzhiemers starts when “abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain.” This causes once-healthy neurons to stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and ultimately die. There are additional complex brain changes that occur that also play a role in Alzheimer’s. 

Photo source- https://www.drugwatch.com/health/alzheimers-disease/ 

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary depending on the stage.  As the stages progress, the symptoms increasingly interfere with daily life. The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s can vary from person to person and be difficult to catch.  Here are some of the symptoms throughout different stages.  

Mild symptoms: 

-trouble handling money and paying bills

– repeating questions

-taking longer to complete normal daily tasks

– personality and behavior changes. 

Moderate symptoms: 

-Memory loss worsens

-control of language weakens

-confusion

-difficulty recognizing family and friends

-Difficulty completing simply daily tasks

-hallucinations and paranoia 

Severe symptoms

-Can not communicate

-Depend fully on a caregiver

Caregivers: 

Caring for a person with Alzhiemers can be a difficult task both physically and mentally.  It’s challenging to provide the right care for the person you love. This is due to the need for daily care and switching of family roles. If you can’t care for a loved one, there are facilities and programs that can help. However, if you take on the responsibility for caring for  your loved one, here are some ways to get started:

  1. Become knowledgeable about the disease. 

Understand it. Think about your long term options for caregiving. There are programs that can help train you on how to take proper care of the person you love and strategies with helping deal with difficult behaviors. 

  1. Establish a support group

Ask the family if they too can contribute to caregiving for this family member. Reach out to support groups and learn from others who are also going through this experience.  

  1. Maintain your own health 

You can not help others if you are not healthy yourself. Make sure you have good coping skills and know how to calm down if needed. Maintaining physical exercise and a healthy diet can really help this. 

Here are some resources to help caregivers: 

First steps to caregiving- https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers/caregiving 

Care training- https://www.alz.org/help-support/resources/care-training-resources 

Online learning resources- https://www.endalznow.org/alzheimers-prevention-101/resources-for-alzheimers-caregivers 

If you have any questions about Alzhiemer’s disease, or need help caring for a loved one, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

American Diabetes Month

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions worldwide, affecting about 1 in 11 adults. Its prevalence means you probably know someone who has diabetes, so being aware of this disease and how it can affect one’s life is important. This American Diabetes Month, take the time to learn about what’s true—and what isn’t—about this condition.

MYTH: Diabetes is a single disease.

FACT: Diabetes is actually a group of diseases, all of which affect how your body metabolizes blood sugar. Chronic diabetes include Type 1 and Type 2, but some forms of diabetes are also potentially reversible, like gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy. Although diabetes can develop at any age, Type 1 diabetes often shows up during childhood or adolescence, while Type 2 more commonly occurs in people over the age of 40.

MYTH: Eating a lot of sugar causes diabetes.

FACT: Diabetes is caused by your body either not making enough insulin or not using it well, both of which can increase your blood sugar levels, but eating sugar itself doesn’t directly cause someone to develop diabetes. However, excess sugar can lead to obesity, which is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

MYTH: If you don’t have a family history of diabetes, you won’t get it yourself.

FACT: While family history is a risk factor for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, other factors are also involved. In fact, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and not smoking. 

MYTH: People who have diabetes can’t eat sweets.

FACT: As long as you plan for them, you can have a few sweets in moderation, even if you have diabetes. This planning can include decreasing your carbohydrate intake from other sources or, if you take insulin, taking a higher dose than normal. Your healthcare provider can tell you about how you can safely indulge in the occasional treat while still keeping your diabetes under control.

MYTH: It’s unsafe to exercise if you have diabetes.

FACT: Exercise is in fact a vital step to managing diabetes, because it helps increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. However, if you do have diabetes, you should talk to your healthcare provider about how to watch for potential problems that may arise with your eyes, feet, or heart when you exercise.

The International Diabetes Foundation predicts that in the next 10 years, the number of people with diabetes around the world will rise from 463 million to 578 million, and in 25 years, it’ll reach 700 million. However, with proper knowledge about prevention and management, we can work towards slowing this growth. Have a great rest of the month, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

National Family Health History Day (Nov. 26)

With Thanksgiving festivities in full swing, and as surprising as it may seem, this past Thursday was the perfect opportunity to take an important step towards taking care of your health—and it doesn’t have anything to do with what you eat. Since 2004, the U.S. Surgeon General has designated Thanksgiving as National Family Health History Day. Whether you’re celebrating with your family virtually or in-person this year, it’s a great idea to start a conversation about your family’s health while everyone’s together.

Many health conditions appear to have some hereditary basis, including cancer, diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, and many more. Even though having family members with certain conditions doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get them too, knowing about your family health history can better equip you and your healthcare provider to take proactive steps, like lifestyle changes and early screening. For many families, having these types of conversations may not come that naturally, but the information they reveal could potentially benefit everyone’s health. A good place to start is by explaining why you want to know about your family members’ health by also sharing information of your own. 

In general, the more information, the better, but it can be helpful to know what type of information is the most important. You should know how each person included in your family history is related to you. Be sure to also ask about major medical issues and when they began, causes and ages of death, and your family’s ethnic background. You may also want to ask about allergies, any history of pregnancy loss or birth defects, and lifestyle and environmental factors. Injuries and diseases that don’t have a genetic basis (like Lyme disease, for example) aren’t as necessary to record.

If you were adopted or are estranged from your family, collecting your family history can be significantly more difficult, but it’s still possible. In the case of adoption, you can ask your adoptive parents if they have any information about your birth parents’ health history. You can also reach out to the adoption agency, but be sure to first familiarize yourself with the adoption statutes in your state. If you’re not close with your family, you can try reaching out only to the family members you are most comfortable with, or your healthcare provider may be able to reach out on your behalf.

Once you have all this information, write it down or use the Family Health Portrait tool developed by the U.S. Surgeon General and Department of Health & Human Services. This online tool is free and allows you to store and share your family health history with other members of your family and your healthcare provider, and it’s available in multiple languages. You should review your family history periodically and continue updating it whenever you learn new information.

While you’re feasting (perhaps in spirit) with your loved ones this Thursday, you can feel good knowing that you all empowered each other to lead healthier lives. Happy Thanksgiving, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Bladder Chatter: Tips for taking care of Bladder Health

We may not think about our bladder on a regular basis, but our bodies certainly remind us with every trip to the restroom.  Bladder health month is intended to inform the public about how to best upkeep bladder health, and to increase awareness of potential bladder problems that can develop overtime. There’s no shame in bladder talk. It’s important and natural. So, we encourage you to talk openly! Often people opt to use code terms like “using the bathroom”, “peeing”, “taking a leak”, or “going potty” just to avoid the awkwardness of the topic.  But speak openly and honestly to your doctor if you are experiencing problems. They will understand, and it will help them better evaluate your symptoms. 

Healthy Bladder Tips: 

Here are some things to pay attention to maintain a healthy bladder: 

  1. Water intake

Drink lots of water! Drinking water helps flush your urinary tract and prevent an infection from accumulating.  It is recommended that a person drinks 11-15 cups of water per day.  For women it is recommended to consume 11.5 cups of water, and for men it is recommended around 15 cups of water.  Also, please note that weight, diet, temperature, and activity levels all impact these levels as well. 

  1. Cut down on caffeinated drinks

Coffee, sodas, and alcohol all heighten bladder activity and lead to leakage. Limit the amount consumed and pay attention to their effect on your body. 

  1. Stop smoking 

Smoking has shown a high correlation to bladder cancer. According to statistics, people who smoke are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop bladder cancer than a non-smoker. 

  1. Use healthy bathroom habits

Don’t hold it! Holding urine in your bladder for too long can weaken your bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely. It is normal to go to the bathroom every 3-4 hours.  Regular use of the bathroom is important.  Also, take enough time when you’re using the bathroom. Don’t rush. If you don’t empty your bladder fully, over time, you could get a bladder infection. For wiping, wipe from front to back.  Specifically, Women should wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra. 

  1. Urinate after sex 

Both women and men should urinate shortly after sex to flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex.

  1. Clothing 

Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Wearing loose, cotton clothing allows air to keep the area around the urethra dry. Clothes like tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.

If you have any questions about Bladder Health, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Resources: 

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/13-tips-keep-your-bladder-healthy

https://www.urologyhealth.org/healthy-living/care-blog/november-is-bladder-health-month

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day#other-fluids

Antibiotic Awareness Week

Did you know the discovery of penicillin, the world’s first mass-produced antibiotic, was an accident? In 1928, Alexander Fleming returned to his lab after a vacation and found that a fungus had contaminated the bacteria he had been studying, and the fungus was secreting a substance that was killing the bacteria. This happy accident earned Fleming a Nobel Prize and penicillin the nickname of a “wonder drug.” When used correctly, antibiotics do indeed have the power to save many lives, but now, their misuse is posing a significant threat to public health— the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Fortunately, by following these tips, you can get the maximum benefit from antibiotics when you’re sick, protect yourself from the dangers of antibiotic misuse, and do your part to combat antibiotic resistance in the world:

  1. Know what antibiotics can and can’t do. Antibiotics can help treat some bacterial infections, like strep throat, whooping cough and UTIs, just to name a few. They will not make you feel better if you’re infected with a virus, like the common cold, flu, or COVID-19, and taking antibiotics for a viral infection only puts you at risk for experiencing side effects.
  2. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, follow the instructions of your healthcare provider exactly. Don’t share your antibiotics with anyone else or take antibiotics prescribed to someone else, and don’t skip a dose, even if you think you feel better.
  3. Tell your healthcare provider if you develop any side effects or reactions while taking antibiotics. Some possible antibiotic side effects include rash, nausea, and diarrhea. They can be minor or life-threatening, and they may indicate an allergy or a more severe infection.
  4. Continue practicing good hygiene. This reduces your chances of falling sick, so that you don’t have to take antibiotics in the first place, and it also helps keep the people around you safe. This is a win-win situation, so keep washing your hands and covering your face with a mask!

Knowing how to use antibiotics correctly is so important that the CDC has designated the week of November 18-24, 2020, as Antibiotic Awareness Week. Now that you know what to do and what not to do, it would be a great idea to take a few minutes to tell a friend about what you’ve learned. And as always, remember to stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000959.htm

Health Literacy

October is Health Literacy Month, and even without knowing what that means, you likely already understand the importance of it. Not only that— if you’re reading this right now, you’re already actively taking steps to improve your health literacy.

Are you now curious about what this term means? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines personal health literacy as “the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.” In other words, health literacy describes your comfort level with the healthcare system and with your health. When you’re sick, having a limited health literacy can make an already-stressful situation even more overwhelming, and it can have very real consequences for your health.

Healthcare organizations and providers have a responsibility to make health-related information clear and easy to understand for all of their patients—that’s what they’re there for. However, by taking steps to improve your personal health literacy, you can facilitate communication with your healthcare provider and better equip yourself to make decisions about your health and that of your loved ones. Here are some ways you can do this:

  1. Plan ahead. In the days leading up to your appointment, it may be a good idea to make a list about things you’d like to talk about with your doctor or nurse. Otherwise, it can be easy to forget to bring something up that you were wanting to talk about.
  2. Ask your healthcare providers questions. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You know your body best, so this is your chance to share your concerns. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has developed a Question Builder tool that you can use before your next appointment if you’d like some ideas on questions you should be asking.
  3. Make sure you understand your provider’s instructions. A great strategy for this is to repeat back the instructions to your doctor or nurse, so that they can correct you if you say something that isn’t right. The medical field uses a ton of specialized words that the average person may not understand, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for clarification.
  4. If it makes you more comfortable, take a friend or family member to your appointments. In addition to putting you at ease, they may ask a question that hadn’t occurred to you, helping you to avoid confusion down the road.
  5. Be aware of your right to an interpreter. If you don’t speak or understand English well, tell your doctor’s office. You have the right to an interpreter at no cost to yourself.
  6. Continue educating yourself about your health. Like I mentioned earlier, if you read this blog, you’re already taking a significant step towards improving your health literacy— keep up the great work!

Have a great rest of the month, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Respiratory Care Week

This week is Respiratory Care Week, a week dedicated to promoting awareness of lung diseases and recognizing the hard work of respiratory therapists, nurses, and doctors to support lung health. When President Reagan announced the first Respiratory Care Week in 1982, over 17 million Americans were affected by chronic obstructive lung diseases. This number hasn’t gone down much in the past 4 decades, but that can change. Here are some ways you can take care of your lungs and contribute to lowering that number:

  1. Stop (or don’t start) smoking. Cigarette smoke is a significant cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States, and in 8 out of 10 cases, it’s caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. The good news is that COPD is preventable, and by avoiding smoking, you’re significantly lowering your risk and protecting the people around you from secondhand smoke, which can cause many of the same diseases as first-hand smoke. Once you start smoking, the nicotine in cigarettes makes it hard to quit, but it’s far from impossible, especially with plenty of online resources and support from your healthcare provider, peers, and loved ones.
  2. Exercise. On top of the already-numerous benefits of exercise for building muscle, losing fat, improving your mood, helping you sleep better, and keeping your heart healthy, getting enough physical activity (30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week) is important for your lung health, too. As you become more fit, your lungs become more efficient at oxygenating your blood and transporting it to the rest of your body. It’s equally important for people with lung disease to exercise, but you should consult with your healthcare provider to make a plan that works for you.
  3. Minimize your exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Both of these can cause or exacerbate symptoms of respiratory diseases, including asthma, which 25 million Americans currently suffer from. To keep your home safe, keep it smoke-free and test for radon and carbon monoxide regularly. For outdoor air pollution, try to minimize your time outside on days when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is high—this is something you can easily check from your phone’s weather app or from watching the local weather forecast.
  4. Wash your hands and wear a mask. As the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, respiratory diseases like the cold, flu, and COVID-19 can spread easily. Now, more than ever, it’s important to practice good hygiene and wash your hands to prevent infection. Keep your distance as much as you can, and when you can’t, be sure to mask up to protect not only yourself but those around you.


Taking steps to improve your own lung health is a wonderful way to celebrate Respiratory Care Week, and of course, if there are any respiratory care workers in your life, be sure to send a “thank you” their way! As always, stay safe and stay healthy!

–Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

Basics of a Balanced Diet

Last Friday, October 16th, was World Food Day— one that is particularly special, because it marks 75 years since the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Since 1945, the FAO has been working towards the goal of eradicating hunger around the world, believing firmly that everyone has a right to have access to healthy food. World Food Day is the perfect opportunity to examine your own eating habits and make sure you are eating in a way that is nutritious and balanced. Luckily, there’s a tool that helps you do just that.

In 2011, Michelle Obama and the US Department of Agriculture launched MyPlate, a simple visual aid that you can use to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need with each meal you eat.

MyPlate makes healthy eating easier. Let’s break it down:

  • Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables. These can be raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried—the options are truly limitless. Try to eat a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables throughout the day. For example, you can eat dark-green vegetables like spinach with one meal, and red and orange vegetables with the next. A healthy plate is a colorful one!
  • Grains are an important source of fuel for your body. When you eat grains, try to choose whole grains (like whole wheat bread) over refined grains (like white bread), since they’re not only more nutritious, but they also cause your blood sugar to increase less than refined grains do.
  • Protein is another food group you should be consuming everyday, and meat isn’t the only way to eat it. You can also get your protein from nuts, seeds, eggs, beans, peas, and soy products.
  • Dairy products are rich in calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein. For peak nutritional value, try to choose low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheeses over full-fat ones. If you can’t eat dairy, certain juices, cereals, soy products, non-dairy milks, and leafy greens can also be good sources of calcium.


Remember, a healthy lifestyle isn’t built overnight. Start by making small changes to your diet and committing to sticking to them, which will help you stay healthy in the long-term. A nutritious diet is a right that you, and everyone else in the world, deserves to have.

If you’re interested in learning more about the UN’s initiatives to end world hunger, you can check out the UN Food and Agriculture Organization website or support the World Food Programme (at no cost to yourself!) at FreeRice.com. Happy World Food Day, and as always, stay healthy and stay safe!

–Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Sources:

World Mental Health Day

This year’s World Mental Health Day fell on October 10th, and was acknowledged at an interesting time within history — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many lives have been considerably changed since the pandemic started, with many people experiencing loss, sadness, grief, and even fear. Social isolation and fear of the unknown has caused many people to experience these feelings, which further cause more of the same feelings to be experienced. If you already have any mental health conditions, then these feelings might be compounded, which only exasperates the issue.

If you find that you are experiencing any of these feelings and you would like to talk with someone about them, then please contact the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis at (901) 306-5433 for free medical and social care. We’re here for you!

Resources to read:

https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/world-mental-health-day-2020

https://www.rethink.org/get-involved/awareness-days-and-events/world-mental-health-day/

Resources in Memphis:

https://www.shelbytnhealth.com/businessdirectoryii.aspx

https://www.latinomemphis.org/mental-health?locale=en

https://www.tn.gov/behavioral-health/mental-health-services.html

https://www.shelbycountytn.gov/3645/Mental-and-Behavioral-Health-Resources

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is a topic that must be acknowledged and talked about more, as it is a serious issue that occurs everyday. The statistics are unnerving; according to the CDC, intimate partner violence affects more than 12 million people per year. More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced physical/sexual violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Every minute in the US, 20 people are victims of domestic violence. According to the World Health Organization, 8,000,000 paid work days are lost every year by women because of the abuse perpetrated against them by current or former male partners. This loss is equivalent to over 32,000 full-time jobs. And 10,000,000 children are exposed to domestic violence annually. 

Domestic violence affects millions of people each year, and includes physical abuse, stalking, manipulation, coercion, treats, isolation, non-stop texting, and so much more. If you feel afraid of your partner, wonder why they criticize you and put you down, or believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated, then you may be a victim of domestic abuse. The chart below from helpguide.org describes the signs that can help you or someone that you may know is in an abusive relationship.

You’re not alone in this, and there is help for people who are in abusive relationships. If you see yourself or others in your life in the chart above, then reach out for help. Talk to the resources below, or call us here (901) 306-5433 at the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis. Talk to a friend, pastor, physician, counselor, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website at http://www.thehotline.org/. We believe you, and we’re here for you every step of the way.

Local resources include:

Rape Crisis Center (901) 222 4350

Exchange Club Family Center (901) 276-2200

Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County (901) 222-4400

Memphis Area Legal Services (901) 523-8822

Memphis Area Women’s Council (901) 378-3866

Memphis Child Advocacy Center (901) 525-2377

Memphis Police Department Domestic Violence Investigative Unit (901) 636-3741

Shelby County Crime Victims Services (901) 222-3950

Shelby County District Attorney General’s Domestic Violence Unit (901) 222-1485

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit (901) 222-4400

Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (901) 578-4371

YWCA of Greater Memphis (901) 725-4277

References:

https://www.breakthecycle.org/blog/it’s-national-domestic-violence-awareness-month

https://www.methodisthealth.org/healthcare-services/employee-assistance-program/for-employees/eap-newsletters/2017/domestic-violence-awareness-month.dot

This Upcoming Monday…

Come by the clinic tomorrow for drive-thru COVID-19 tests (4-5:30) for anyone who wants to get tested and in-person primary care and social work services for the uninsured (6:00-8:00pm). To see a social worker or health care provider you must have an appointment.

Our phones are open from 3-5pm today and all day Monday. Call us at (901) 306-5433.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

More than 34 million American have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar, aka glucose. Glucose is an important source of fuel for the body, and if the body cannot metabolize sugar correctly, then you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into the cells in your body, or it doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. When your body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, you may start to experience the symptoms above.

If you suspect that you may have developed type 2 diabetes or that you are at risk of developing it due to environmental factors, genetics, and/or lifestyle factors, then it may be time to see a doctor. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed using the:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: This blood test indicates the average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months. Normal levels are below 5.7%, and a result between 5.7 and 6.4% is considered pre-diabetes, while an A1C 6.5% or higher means that you have diabetes.

To treat and manage type 2 diabetes, you may need to:

  • Lose weight
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Possibly include diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Monitor your blood sugar

By losing just 5-10% of your body weight, you can make a difference in your A1C because losing weight can lower your blood sugar levels. To do this, you may need to eat fewer calories, fewer refined carbohydrates, fewer foods that contain saturated fats, and more vegetables and fruits, especially those that contain a lot of fiber. Changing your diet plus aiming for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate (or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous) mixed aerobic exercise and resistance training offers more benefits than either type of exercise alone. Examples of these exercises are:

  • Aerobic: Walking, Dancing, Biking, and Swimming
  • Resistance: Yoga and Weightlifting

If you have any questions about type 2 diabetes, or think that you may have it or be at risk for it, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433 to schedule an appointment. As always, stay safe and healthy!

-Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Coping During COVID-19

Does COVID-19 have you feeling stressed? Maybe depressed? Worried? Or possibly grateful? Blessed? Sometimes even happy? As each week, and sometimes each day, changes before our very eyes, I have come to realize that life during this pandemic is something that I cannot fully control nor plan out. This is coming from someone who loves to have every 30 minute-increment of the day planned out from when I wake up until I fall asleep, which basically went down the drain as soon as the quarantine started (cheers to all of the money lost by buying a 2020 calendar!). But, coming to let go of control and planning comes the realization that our emotions during this time might be on all ends of the spectrum and can cause us great grief and confusion if we do not have the accurate coping mechanisms and tools that are needed during this uncertain time. In this post, I’ll talk about the ways you can cope for some of the most commonly experienced emotions during COVID-19.

Stressed? DEPRESSED? ANXIOUS?

  • Get outside! Let the sun give you that much needed Vitamin D and try your best to relax.
  • Workout as often as you can, whether it is done inside or outside. Working out increases the production of endorphins, and like Elle Woods said, “Endorphins make you happy!”.
  • Keep a journal and write when you can. I find that making an entry everyday, even if it’s just a sentence or two, makes me feel better.
  • Distract yourself with productive work, but don’t try to not feel your emotions. It’s important to feel you feelings, but sometimes cleaning, learning something new, reading, etc,. helps to put us in another place mentally and emotionally so we can make our emotions work for us instead of against us.
  • All of these emotions are valid, but it is important to try our best to not live in them, as long term affects of stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to serious mental and physical health effects.

Denial? Anger? Fear?

  • It is completely okay to feel angry or to deny that this pandemic is happening, but we cannot control much in this situation, so it is important to try and control what you can: yourself. By making sure you follow the social-distancing and quarantining rules that are currently instated, you are helping to not only keep yourself safe, but others, too!
  • It’s normal to be angry that this is happening and possibly wreaking havoc on your life (mentally, financially, emotionally, physically, etc), but we cannot stay in this emotion for long, as anger and fear tend to go hand-in-hand.
  • If you can, try to meditate and say positive affirmations, as they will produce more positive feelings to combat the negative ones. Taking time to yourself to feel grateful and peaceful will help the fear and anger that occurs when thinking about how COVID-19 may have ruined a lot of things for us.
  • Remember, this will not last forever. This is just one part of our lives that is occurring and we will get through it.

Grateful? Blessed? HAPPY?

  • While for some it may be hard to understand how these feelings can occur right now, I have noticed that there are some who are experiencing these emotions as time goes on.
  • Feeling grateful/blessed/happy tends to come from looking on the bright side of things, and those who are experiencing this may be in a place where they went through the above feelings and came to the conclusion that they cannot control this situation, then became okay with that, and then remembered that will not last forever, so they decided to make the best out of the situation that they are currently in.
  • This may include journalling, trying to keep a bit of a new-normal schedule, and finding ways to keep busy and active.
  • Spending time with family and friends (social-distancing included, as usual!) will also help if you are in need of a happiness boost!
  • It is completely valid to feel happy that some things are cancelled and that you have more time to yourself, or that some of your responsibilities are on hold so now you have time to watch more TV/workout/relax/spend time with family/etc. This is a weird time, and finding what makes you happy is important!

We will get through this, one day at a time. The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis will be open today, Monday April 20th, from 5-7:15pm. We will be offering Tele-Health Appointments during those times, which if you are interested in making an appointment, please call (901) 506-5433. If you would like any self-care tips, please refer to the “Self-Care and COVID-19” post from a few weeks ago. Stay safe and healthy, and remember to help #StopTheSpread in any way that you can.

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

Spreading Kindness

Being kind is not only beneficial for others, but also for yourself! Recent research has shown that both giving and receiving kindness helps promote good health and general well-being. By infusing the community with kindness, you can help create a “ripple effect” that can branch into an entire network of positivity. It may seem hard to spread kindness during the quarantine, but I hope I can give you some ideas about how to create this ripple effect from the comfort of your own home.

  1. Smile
    • Whether you’re quarantining by yourself, with your pets, friends, or family, it will help you to spread kindness!
  2. Express Gratitude
    • Journal your appreciation and admiration, or tell your friends and family members how much you love and care for them!
  3. Act Generously and Give Back
    • Donate to charities, food banks, and people in need during this time. By giving back to the community, you’re spreading kindness and creating the ripple effect of positivity that the world needs right now!
  4. Post Positively
    • If you’re an avid poster (or re-poster), then make sure the content you are sharing is adding to people’s lives and creates a more positive and kind view. By sharing positive content, you’re helping to shape a more positive world.
  5. Practice Self-Kindness
    • Kindness starts with yourself. It’s important to treat yourself with the same love and care that you would treat others with. Take some time for yourself, practice self-love and self-care, and remind yourself that you deserve all of the goodness that the world has to offer.

By using these 5 tips, you can effectively spread kindness to all who need it, including yourself. If you are in need of any health services, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. We are open tonight, April 13th, from 5-7:15pm CST and will be offering tele-health appointments. Stay healthy and safe, and remember to help #StopTheSpread by using these tips and through the use of social distancing.

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic Team

CLINIC TELE-HEALTH SERVICES (04/06/2020)


The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is open today for tele-health appointments and we will be taking calls tonight from 5-7:15pm. If you are a current patient who needs prescription refills, test results, or an appointment, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. If you are in need of immediate assistance, please contact EMS. Thank you for your patience during this time, stay safe and healthy!

Coronavirus: what’s it all about?

The recent outbreak of respiratory disease has been caused by COVID-19, also known as coronavirus disease 2019. This disease has been detected in as many 60 countries internationally, which includes the United States. Coronaviruses are a very large family of viruses that are common in people and in many different species of animals. While rare, people can be infected by animals such as bats, cattle, and even cats. If you’re worried about possibly contracting and/or spreading this disease, then learning more about the disease and how it spreads will help keep you and others safe during this time.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

People with COVID-19 should receive as much supportive care to help relieve these symptoms since there is not a specific antiviral treatment recommended yet for this disease. If symptoms become severe, then treatment should include care to support vital organ functions. If you or someone you know is experiencing any or all of these symptoms, then make sure to visit your physician as soon as you can. The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis can see you on Monday’s from 5-7pm, but if you’re in need of assistance before then try to see another provider as soon as possible to stop the spread of this disease.

There are also some simple things that you can do to keep yourself and others healthy:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to do this after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose and/or coughing/sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash once you are finished. Do not reuse old tissues.

It is important to note that anyone can contract this disease and the chances of someone contracting and/or spreading this disease who is of Asian descent is not higher than someone who isn’t. Help us stop fear based racism by making sure that this is known, as it only creates more confusion and fear than necessary.

If you have any questions, please come by during our clinic hours on Monday’s from 5-7pm or email/call us with any comments, questions, or concerns. Have a happy and healthy week!

Links:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/share-facts.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html

Flu Season Tips & Tricks

Influenza, commonly known as the ‘flu’, is unpredictable. While the flu spreads every year, the timing, severity, and the length of the season varies from one season to another. This is why it is important to get vaccinated against the flu with each season and to practice healthy habits.

At the Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis, we use many proven methods to combat the flu, which if done correctly can reduce your chances of getting the flu and can also reduce the severity and longevity of the flu if you do catch it:

We can do this in-house at the clinic on any first three Mondays of the month from 5-7pm for free. The CDC recommends that you get your flu shot as early as possible. The beginning of flu season tends to be sometime in September or October of each year.

  • Wash your hands frequently and well.

Washing your hands as often as possible is one of the best ways to combat the flu because the virus is spread by droplets from infected people when they sneeze, cough, and even wipe secretions from their eyes and noses. Keeping your hands clean will help keep you and everyone around you safe from the flu.

  • Stay hydrated and Eat a Healthy Diet rich in Vitamins C and E.

Since foods that contain these vitamins are believed to help support the immune system, it is important to be eating them on a regular basis during flu season. If foods containing these vitamins are a concern for you, please come by the clinic so we can offer other options and make a plan with you. In the meantime, aim to reduce your intake of of concentrated sugars (e.g. soda, candy, etc) because excessive sugar has been shown to impair the immune system. Also aim to increase your water intake as much as possible, because drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by mucus, loosens mucus, and helps to keep your throat moist.

  • Get a good night’s sleep.

Getting a lack of sleep has shown to be detrimental to our immune system. By getting a full night’s sleep, you optimize your body’s natural defenses.

  • Talk to your doctor, and seek help if you get worse.

Come visit the clinic to learn more about staying healthy during flu season, and seek medical attention right away if your symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if your fever subsides and then returns. The reason that the flu is considered a potentially dangerous infection is because it leaves the body vulnerable to other infections like pneumonia.

While the flu season is almost at an end, it is important to still take precautions. Listening to your body, being in contact with your doctor, and practicing these tips and tricks will help keep you and those around you healthy during this flu season. If you have any questions or concerns, come stop by on the first four Mondays of the month from 5-7pm or call us at (901) 306-5433 (LIFE).

If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to look at the graphic attached to this post. Have a happy and healthy week!

–The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis