Recognizing Doctors on a Special Day

Each day, the doctors at Graham Regional Medical Center go to work to make the community a healthier place.  In commemoration of National Doctor’s Day on March 30, Graham Regional wants to recognize the doctors and physicians who dedicate their lives to ensure the people of our community are in the best health possible.

“The physicians who serve our community are truly heroes,” said Michelle Hall, MSN Chief Nurse Executive at Graham Regional.  “These men and women dedicate their lives to the practice of medicine, and our community continues to thrive as a result.”

National Doctors Day was first observed on March 30, 1933 when Eudora Brown Almond conceived the idea on the anniversary of the first administration of anesthesia by Dr. Crawford W. Long in 1842.  With great approval by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, President George Bush signed a resolution into law in 1990 designating March 30 as National Doctor’s Day.

“Our doctors do so much to keep us healthy,” said Hall.  “The next time you leave from your next appointment, be sure to thank your physician for their expertise and time.”

Comprehensive healthcare for you and your family is never too far as Graham Regional has a medical staff and healthcare providers in numerous specialties.  With convenient access and many amenities of a large metropolitan facility, Graham Regional is capable of treating your entire family.

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Are you at risk of cardiovascular diseases?

While heart-shaped candy and decorations can be seen everywhere for Valentine’s Day, February is also designated as American Heart Month, an effort to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases.

Every minute, an American dies of coronary heart disease.  Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are the nation’s number one killer, according to the American Heart Association.  Approximately 64 million Americans become victims to one or several forms of cardiovascular disease, including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure.

While the perception exists that cardiovascular disease affects mainly males, it is actually common among both sexes. In addition, there are four major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, all of which are controllable to a certain degree.

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and lack of regular exercise are all deadly elements that can contribute to complications of the heart.

If you or a family member fall into one of these groups, or if your family has a medical history of cardiovascular complications, talk with your physician about the possibility of developing cardiovascular disease.

A thorough physical exam of your weight, blood pressure and cardiovascular fitness can help identify possible complications. A physician can advise whether you might benefit from an electrocardiogram, a test that allows physicians to take a closer look at your heart.

If you are found to be at high risk for heart disease, your doctor can supply you with the tools needed to fight back.  Prescribed medication, a medically-directed diet and an exercise program are the usual options prescribed to improve your health.

Those who are physically active are twice as likely to prevent a heart attack.  In addition, excess weight also increases the likelihood of heart related illnesses.  According to the American Heart Association, exercise is beneficial in the long run as it decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other medical related illnesses.

Physical activity can improve the condition of your heart and lungs.  Exercise routines should be brisk enough to raise your heart and breathing rates, sustained for at least 30 minutes without interruption and repeated at least three to five times per week.

Foods rich with cholesterol are a major contributor to clogged arteries, which can cause a heart attack. Exercise and eating a healthy mix of foods is your best way to prevent cardiovascular problems.

At-risk individuals should adopt a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables as they have been linked to lowering risks of heart disease.  In addition, up to 30 grams of fiber should be consumed every day. Because high blood pressure is linked to sodium intake, you should limit the amount of salt in your diet.

Diets should be incorporated into a new lifestyle, along with exercise, to increase your overall health.  As with any change of lifestyle, you are encouraged to consult with your physician to make sure your body can handle the prospective changes.

Graham Regional Medical Center offers a variety of programs to help prevent, diagnose and treat cardiovascular problems.  For more information or to schedule an appointment with a physician, call us at 940-549-3400.

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Holiday Dieting Awareness

The holiday season is in full swing here in Graham and many will be attending parties and dinners all month long. With that in mind, we wanted to remind everyone that even though some may be tempted to let healthy eating habits slide, now is actually the perfect time to focus on good eating habits.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), developing ways to avoid holiday weight gain may be extremely important for preventing obesity and diseases associated with it.

Researchers found that although the average American gains about a pound during the holidays, subjects in their study who were overweight or obese were more likely to gain approximately five pounds compared to those who were not overweight.

“Although an average holiday weight gain of less than a pound may seem unimportant, that weight was not lost over the remainder of the year,” said Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator and head of NICHD’s Unit on Growth and Obesity.

When 165 of the study volunteers were weighed a year after the study began, they had not lost the extra weight gained during the holidays, and ended the year 1.5 pounds heavier than they were the year prior.

Contrary to many popular beliefs, people do not experience large weight gains during the holidays. Unfortunately, the little weight that is gained over the period is not lost the rest of the year—potentially posing various health risks. That is where the real problem lies.

Increased physical activity during the holidays is definitely a measure one can take to combat weight gain. Along with increased physical activities, monitoring the foods consumed is critical in maintaining a healthy status.

Below are some cooking tips you should keep in mind while preparing and eating foods this holiday season:

  • Choose appetizers that help get your daily serving of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Remember that cheeses are loaded with fat. Try to avoid cheese balls unless you know it is made with low fat ingredients.
  • Use skim, low or no fat milk and other dairy products in your recipes.
  • Salads are a great way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your meal. Salsa and chutneys are a great alternative to salad dressings, which can be high in sodium and fat.
  • Prepare the giblet gravy ahead of time, put it in the refrigerator for an hour, spoon off the congealed fat, then reheat and serve.
  • Try cutting back the sugar in recipes, even in cakes, by adding more vanilla flavoring.
  • Consider wine in lieu of cocktails, since mixed drinks can contain high amounts of calories and sugar.
  • As a general rule, white meat is leaner than dark meat. Choose the turkey breast over drumstick whenever possible.
  • Cook meats on a rack so fat can drip away.
  • Cold water fish can be an excellent, healthy alternative to your holiday meal. Tuna and salmon contain fatty acids that promote good heart health.

For more information and dieting tips for a healthier holiday, please contact Graham Regional Medical Center at 940-549-3400.

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Diabetes Screening Important for Detecting Serious Disease

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. Graham Regional Medical Center would like to educate the community on the importance of diabetes screenings and treatment.

“There are 20.8 million Americans living with diabetes,” said Michelle Hall, MSN Chief Nurse Executive at Graham Regional Medical Center. “Nearly one third of them are unaware they have the disease and we want to lower that number.”

Diabetes mellitus, typically referred to as diabetes, is a disease that causes the pancreas to alter the production of insulin – an important hormone that converts sugar and starches into energy the body needs. If the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, then the amount of sugar in the blood rises uncontrollably, causing a deadly health risk.

Avoiding fatal health risks associated with diabetes is possible with proper education and by taking preventative measures. “While diabetes is not curable, most symptoms can be controlled with proper care,” Hall explained. “The disease is often discovered during routine physical exams, typically with blood tests.”

Warning signs of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, drowsiness and itching, blurred vision, excessive weight, tingling in the extremities, fatigue, and skin infections. Other signs include slow healing of cuts and scratches, especially on the feet.

If your family has a history of diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing diabetes.

People at the highest risk of diabetes are those who are overweight, those with diabetic relatives, and those over the age of 35. Statistics also show that women are at a higher risk for diabetes.

Hartgraves said that diabetes is actually a family of diseases which have an impact on virtually all systems of the human body.

“The statistics are frightening! Diabetes can decrease life expectancy by approximately one-third,” Hartgraves explained. “It is now the leading cause of blindness. Diabetics are 17 times more prone to kidney disease, five times more prone to tissue infections like gangrene, and twice as prone to heart disease and strokes.”

As with other health problems, everyone can benefit from a yearly physical. Screening for diabetes for those who fall in the high risk categories should be done every year. Diabetes can be controlled through a proper diet, exercise, medication, and proper rest.

Graham Regional Medical Center has a registered dietitian that is available for diet counseling once a physician has determined that a patient is diabetic. The dietitian can work with patients one-on-one to develop a strict diet program.

Most insurance programs require a physician order before diet counseling will be covered by the plan.

For more information about diabetes or to schedule a screening, please call Graham Regional Medical Clinic at 940-549-3400.

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