May 20, 2016

If you are heading to the beach or pool this summer, you may be thinking about losing some extra weight to feel more confident in that bathing suit. Anthony Carnell, DO at CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care Austin’s Colony says, “Losing even a moderate amount of weight can improve your health by lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke.” By losing extra pounds, your energy, mobility, self-confidence, and mood can also improve. Use our top weight loss tips to get bathing suit ready.

Tip #1: It’s a lifestyle change

If you want to lose weight– and keep it off– then it’s time to make a lifestyle change. People who lose weight gradually rather than all at once have an easier time keeping it off in the long run. Think of it as a journey instead of a final destination. Make a commitment to achieve a healthy weight in a healthy way. Forget the fad diets; decide to take care of your body. The best way to lose weight is through lifestyle changes.

Tip #2: Use up more calories than you take in

The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. By reducing your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day, you can lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. When you add exercise to the mix, you are also able to burn these calories. A healthy way to lose weight is to moderately reduce the amount of calories you eat per day and increase your physical activity.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.16.07 AMTip #3: Talk to your doctor

Think of your physician as your secret weight loss weapon. Your internal medicine or primary care physician has the knowledge and expertise to guide you to a healthy weight. Nutrition and exercise plans, medical weight loss options, and personalized guidance based on your current health are only a few of the many weight loss solutions your physician can offer. Schedule an appointment with a CHI St. Joseph Health physician to get guidance from your very own weight loss and health consultant.
Tip #4: Practice mindful eating

Do you ever snack in front of the television or keep eating until your plate is clean? Habits like these can lead to overeating. Practice mindful eating by slowing down and enjoying every bite of your food. There is a lag between when your stomach has had enough food and when your brain realizes it. By slowing down, you have more of an ability to stop eating when you’re full. Remember to only eat when you’re hungry, never just because you’re feeling bored or emotional.

Tip #5: Eat breakfast

The most common characteristic among those who were able to lose weight and keep it off involves the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast in the morning starts up your metabolism early and helps you feel fuller throughout the day. It’s a better idea to eat balanced meals rather than skipping meals.

Tip #6: Don’t eat less, just differently

You feel full from the amount of food you eat, not the amount of calories. There’s no need to eat less food, in fact, you can eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich food and still lose weight. Limit your fat intake and increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Focus on eating mostly fruits and vegetables. Add in whole grains, lean meat, legumes, and low-fat dairy to meet your nutritional needs.

Tip #7: Set realistic, specific goals

When starting your weight loss plan, set a variety of realistic goals: long-term goals, short-term goals, ultimate goals, and specific goals. Give yourself many small goals to help you achieve your main goal. For example, instead of only setting the goal to lose 50 pounds, you can start with goals that include exercising for 30 minutes every day or swapping out junk food for a healthier alternative. Be realistic, and be specific.

Schedule an appointment with a CHI St. Joseph Health physician today to discuss your weight loss goals and options. If you have a BMI between 30 and 40 and haven’t succeeded at weight loss through diet and exercise alone, you may want to ask about the ReShape Dual Balloon available at CHI St. Joseph Health.

Sources:

CDC – Losing Weight

CDC – Losing Weight: Getting Started

CDC – Improving Your Eating Habits

CDC – Eat More, Weigh Less?

 

May 19, 2016

How to Stay Safe & Healthy This Summer

As temperatures soar, summer is the prime time for swimming and soaking in the sun. However, you don’t need to let the elements take a toll on your health and safety. Stay well in the water and summer heat by following these top safety tips.

Swimming Safety

Drowning is a very real threat to all ages. Follow these swimming safety tips at all times.
Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 10.15.51 AM

  • Learn how to swim through certified swimming lessons.
  • Only swim in areas with a lifeguard on duty.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Always supervise children when swimming.
  • Have inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around bodies of water.
  • Surround your home pool with an enclosed fence and alarm system.
  • Establish pool rules, including “no diving” and “no running.”
  • Check the depth before diving, and avoid diving head first into natural bodies of water.
  • Take CPR courses.

Another important swimming safety topic is rip currents. Rip currents account for most of the rescues performed by beach lifeguards. If you are caught in a rip current, do not fight it. Stay calm, and don’t waste your energy struggling. Swim parallel to the shore until you feel the current release. Then you can swim toward the shore. If the force of the current is too strong, tread water and float in the current until it weakens. Wave your arms and call for help if needed. Remember to check the conditions of the water before swimming by asking a lifeguard or looking for warning flags.

Sun Safety

Keep your skin looking healthy and young by practicing safe sun. Limit your sun exposure, especially between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Be sure to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15, even on cloudy days, and remember to reapply often. Brimmed hats, sunglasses, and lip balm with SPF are also important things to wear in the sun.

The higher the temperature, the higher the risk for heat related illness. Heat exhaustion could quickly escalate to heat stroke if the proper steps are not taken. Kuy Houser, MD, physician at CHI St. Joseph Health Primary Care Barron Road in South College Station, says, “it’s important to monitor your time and activity outside and to stay hydrated when temperatures are high.”

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Cramps
  • Profuse sweating
  • Flushed skin
  • Heavy breathing
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

If someone is exhibiting the symptoms of heat exhaustion, move him or her to a cooler place immediately. Remove extra clothing and apply cool water to the skin. If he or she is conscious, offer small amounts of cool water to drink.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

  • Hot, dry skin
  • Lack of sweat
  • Skin redness
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness

If someone is exhibiting the symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 and move the person to a cooler area immediately. Apply cold water to the skin and ice packs to the groin and armpit areas while waiting for emergency medical personnel.

Our physicians at CHI St. Joseph Health wish you a safe and healthy summer!

Sources:

American Red Cross – Swimming Safety

American Red Cross – Beach Safety

American Red Cross – Home Pool Safety

CDC – Sun Safety

American Red Cross – Stay Safe During Extreme Heat

May 18, 2016

Allergies and Asthma

Allergies and asthma are common problems in the United States. As the sixth most common cause of chronic illness, allergies are your immune system’s overreaction to particular allergens, like dust or pollen. Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways of the lungs and is one of the most common chronic diseases among children.

Allergies

Allergies can be as mild as a runny nose and as serious as anaphylactic shock. Mild allergies to pollen, dust mites, and pet dander can be somewhat controlled by keeping your environment clean and air filtered. Medications and allergy injection therapy can help relieve symptoms of allergies. Allergies to foods, insect venom, and medications can be very serious and life threatening. The most severe reaction to an allergen is anaphylaxis, where airways tighten and make breathing difficult, causing numbness and lightheadedness. If you know you are allergic to something, be sure to carry any prescribed medication with you at all times.
allergies photo

Common dangerous allergens include:

  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Dairy products
  • Bee venom
  • Wasp venom
  • Fire ant venom
  • Penicillin

Asthma

When exposed to asthma triggers, airways narrow and cause difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightening. Long-term treatments, inhalers, and keeping environments trigger-free are ways to help manage asthma. Peak flow meters can give clues that an asthma attack is right around the corner by measuring your breathing. Every asthmatic should have an asthma action plan from a healthcare provider in case of emergency.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • Viruses
  • Exercise
  • Dander
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Pollution
  • Chemicals

Follow this advice from Thomas A. Salzer, M.D. “In the event of a severe allergic reaction or asthma attack, follow your action plan and get to an emergency department, even if you feel better after administering medication.”

You can manage and treat your allergies and asthma with the help of CHI St. Joseph Health ENT Associates and the professionals in our Allergy Center. Our services include individualized treatment plans, allergy testing, and desensitization for severe reactions. Request an appointment by calling for a consultation today and get your breath of fresh air!

Sources:

CDC – Allergies

CDC – Asthma

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