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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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:
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!
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.
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.
Whether you’re quarantining by yourself, with your pets, friends, or family, it will help you to spread kindness!
Journal your appreciation and admiration, or tell your friends and family members how much you love and care for them!
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!
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.
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.
Now more than ever is it important to quiet yourself and ask, “What do I need right now?”. Sometimes the answer might be to watch some Netflix and eat some ice cream, and sometimes it might be to journal about your feelings and experiences and cry. It is important to realize that we are going through a collectively traumatic experience, and that not everyone will be able to be as productive as they might have been before the pandemic. Not everyone will be able to do everything that they promised before the pandemic, and that’s okay. What’s most important is to remember that there are people who care about you, and that there are many tools for how to cope throughout this experience, and to know that it won’t last forever.
Here, I will share some helpful self-care options to add to your mental, physical, and emotional toolkit. Not all of these options may work for you, but I hope that this can help you to know that there are ways to help yourself during this time.
Feel your feelings
This can be done by journaling, talking to a trusted professional, loved one, or friend, and even by allowing yourself to sit with the emotions that come up. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will help you work through the stress and anxiety that may be coming up with the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings.
Go Outside & Move
Getting your daily dose of Vitamin D has shown to help mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety disorders. Spending anywhere between 10-30 minutes everyday to every couple of days is sufficient enough, but it depends on your skin tone and whether you are already deficient in Vitamin D. As for movement, it is important to remember to move as much as possible, whether it is to walk your dog outside everyday or to have routine exercises imbedded in your new schedule, whether they’re done inside or outside.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night! Naps are encouraged, being on high-alert is exhausting!
Talk to a Friend/Family Member/Trusted Professional
Text/FaceTime/Call anyone you’d like to talk to! Everyone could use a friend right now.
Lean Into Your Happy
Do you enjoy having coffee with a friend? Watching movies? Making art? Reading endless amounts of books? Lean into those things! Whatever makes you happy is worth having a spot in your everyday life.
You would be surprised at how helpful it is to add these things into your daily schedule! You deserve happiness, care, and your health. Also, please remember to practice safe social distancing practices during this time to keep others happy and healthy. If you have any health-related questions or concerns, please call the clinic at (901) 306-5433. I hope this helps, stay healthy and safe!
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!
The Wellness and Stress Clinic of Memphis is temporarily suspended for Monday, March 16th, 2020 while we work to develop a system for continuing to provide free primary care, social work, and emotional fitness services and keep our patients, students and volunteers safe. The coronavirus poses specific challenges for our service delivery. We are working hard over the next week to develop a plan. If you need immediate medical attention – please contact EMS. If you have a health-related question (i.e. prescription refills, test results, etc.), please call our phone number at (901) 306-5433.
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:
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!