Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

A Home Away From Home, The Birth Place at Emory Johns Creek Hospital

The birth of a child is a memorable and emotional time for the members of any family. When the big day finally arrives, it is important for your family to have privacy to celebrate together. The weeks and months leading up to the birth of a child are full of excitement and anticipation. When your bundle of joy arrives, the experience should be an unforgettable one. That is why The Birth Place at Emory Johns Creek Hospital focuses on providing the perfect space and amenities to help expectant mothers and their families welcome a new life into the world.

The Birth Place offers a host of benefits, including:
• All-private rooms
• Labor, delivery and recovery suites
• Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
• In-house, 24/7 neonatology services
• Sleeping/lounging areas for spouse or coach
• Certified lactation consultant
• Flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi
• Patient- and family-centered care

We Focus on You! At The Birth Place, your comfort is paramount. For every woman who chooses to give birth at EJCH, a team of experienced nurses and physicians work to promote family togetherness and happiness surrounding the birth of a child. The care provided by this team creates a birthing environment that is simply second to none. “The mission of The Birth Place is to provide mothers and families with a comfortable setting in which to welcome their newest additions,” says Lyn Harrington, RNC-OB, C-EFM, MSN, director of Women’s Services at EJCH. “Putting the ‘special’ in our patients’ special day is our top priority. Each day, our team of nurses focuses on making sure patients and their families receive individualized care so that they get the most from their experience.”
If you’re interested in taking a closer look at our birthing suites, come take a tour of the Birth Center!

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Putting Our Community First: Tobacco-Free at EHC

Tobacco-Free Emory Healthcare

As the largest health care system in the state of Georgia, putting the health and wellness of our staff, patients and families first is our priority. It’s also important that we set an example not only for other health care providers, but for our Georgia communities. In an effort to help support both of those goals, earlier this year, we announced that Emory Healthcare and Emory University were becoming tobacco-free campuses in the fall.

Below is information detailing the rollout of our tobacco-free system, including information on areas that have already become tobacco-free.

Emory University – Tobacco-Free as of August 1, 2012

As of August 1, 2012, designated smoking areas around the Emory University campus have been removed and the campus is tobacco-free. That means that use of all tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, etc.) is prohibited on the Emory University campus – including parking areas.

Emory Healthcare – Tobacco-Free as of September 1, 2012

Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Saint Joseph’s Hospital and the Emory University Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital, all of which are part of the Emory Healthcare system, have been operating as tobacco-free campuses for some time now. Other facilities inside of the Emory Healthcare system that currently allow for the use of tobacco on campus will have their designated smoking areas removed on September 1, 2012. Staff, students, faculty, physicians, patients and visitors are not permitted to use any tobacco product anywhere on Emory Healthcare property, including doctors’ office and parking areas, as of September 1, 2012.

Signage is posted across both Emory University and Emory Healthcare campuses, and we need everyone’s support to be a success! We know this is a big change for those who use tobacco products. Thanks in advance to our community members for being champions of this important step in creating a safe environment.

If you have any questions or feedback on our tobacco-free initiative, please leave them in the comments section below.

Breathe Right to Be Right! A Crash Course for Better Wellness

Many of us forget that oxygen is the most important chemical in our body. 70% of our bodies ‘waste products’ are removed through breathing. Deep breathing exercises have always been ‘trendy’ but few people actually do them! You’ll see below that they really do enhance your overall wellness, so remember to breathe properly!

Breathing can help calm and stimulate the nervous system and release tension from frustration, stress and anger. Because of its ability to help ease tension, breathing exercises can help bring clarity to the mind and body.

Proper breathing has several benefits:

Makes the Heart Stronger.
Deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen and less work on the heart when it comes to delivering oxygen to the body’s tissue. Secondly, greater pressure differential in the lungs leads to increased elasticity, circulation and enhanced air flow, thus taking an additional burden off of the heart.

Assists in Weight Control.
If you are overweight, the extra oxygen taken in via breathing exercises can help burn excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen can help to feed the deprived tissues/ glands.

Breathing also boosts energy levels and improves stamina. In Chinese medicine, diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing assists with our qi (chi) energy and stamina.

Try These Breathing Exercises

Complete Natural Breathing

  1. Sit or stand while maintaining good posture.
  2. Inhale, through your nose, filling first the lower part of your lungs then the middle part, then the upper part.
  3. Hold your breath for a few seconds.
  4. Slowly exhale! Relax your abdomen and chest.

Deep Breathing

  1. Lie flat on your back or sit in a comfortable chair, maintaining good posture. Ensure that your body is as relaxed as possible. Close your eyes.
  2. Breathe through your nose.
  3. Now place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest.
  4. Deeply inhale and slowly through your nose into your abdomen. You should feel your abdomen rise with this inhalation and your chest should move only a little.
  5. Keeping your mouth, tongue, and jaw relaxed, exhale through your mouth
  6. Relax as you focus on the sound and feeling of long, slow, deep breaths.

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Summertime Emergency? Come to the Emory Johns Creek Emergency Department!

Emory Johns Creek HospitalSummer’s here, and along with barbecues, baseball, and pool parties come the inevitable bites, bumps, and scrapes. In most cases, summertime ailments don’t require much more than a bag of ice and a Band-Aid. But if you do need emergency help, the Emory Johns Creek Hospital Emergency Department is here for you—with some of the best doctors, highest patient satisfaction scores, and shortest wait times in the area.

Arthur Griffiths, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., Senior Emergency Physician and Emergency Department Physician Community Liaison at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, says the cases he sees this time of year run the gamut from sports injuries to spider bites to heatstroke. Not sure how to tell when an injury merits a visit to the ER? When in doubt, make the trip. Have a bad cut? A lot of people don’t realize you have six hours to sew a laceration. If you sleep on it, it’s too late. Bitten by an insect? If you find yourself having difficulty breathing or developing a fever, or the bite is getting bigger quickly or starting to open up, let us take a look. Inhaler not helping your asthma? We can help.

“It’s always safer to come in if there’s a concern,” says Dr. Griffiths. “Come in. Let us evaluate you.”

Emory Johns Creek also offers interventional cardiology and are a certified Primary Stroke Center. During the summer, says Dr. Griffiths, “our patients are overexerting themselves, doing things they haven’t done in a while.” With heart attacks and strokes, fast intervention is key. If you have chest pain, weakness in an extremity, or numbness, come in immediately for quick evaluation and treatment.

“We are your community emergency department,” says Dr. Griffiths. “We provide a quiet, compassionate, caring environment with the highest in quality of care.”

To learn more, visit Emory Johns Creek Hospital, online.

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10 Examples where Healthy = Cheap when Dining Out

eat healthy to save money dining outAccording to the Bureau of Labor, Americans spent 2.6% more at restaurants in September of this year than last year, but at the same time, the price of food at supermarkets is up 6.2%. Dining out doesn’t have to be bad for your health or your wallet. Below you’ll find our top 10 ways you can lower cost and boost your health when eating out:

Drink Water – soda, juice and alcohol all add money and calories to the bottom line. Eating out is a great time to prioritize getting your daily fill of water (~2L for women, ~3L for men) while cutting costs. For more on why hydration is so important, check out our h2O 101 blog.

No Dessert – skipping dessert when you’re eating out has positive implications for both your waistline and your wallet. Reducing or eliminating simple sugars from your diet is a good way to lower your risk for excess weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, baked goods served in restaurants can contain loads of trans fats, which have a negative impact on your cholesterol and your heart.

Steamed Rice instead of Fried – when you’re eating out at an Asian restaurant, especially those that offer hibachi grilling, you often get to choose between steamed and fried rice. This is a perfect opportunity to save between $3-$5, and cut about 300 calories.

No Extras (dressing, bacon, etc.) – We all love extras. Adding bacon to a burger, or extra ranch dressing to a salad can add lots of flavor, but these extras can add dollars and lots of empty calories to your meal.

Split Big Meals – Portion size is at an all-time high in America. If you have a hankering for steak and potatoes, or are craving something that’s only offered as a big entree, split your meal! Saving half your money and half the calories every time you eat will add up quickly!

Eat More at Lunch – When you eat your largest meal of the day earlier, your body has time to process the nutrition you consume more effectively than if it were eaten a few hours before bed. When choosing when to eat out, opt for making your dining out experience a lunch time one. Lunch menu items are often drastically cheaper than the same items on the dinner menu. Do yourself a favor by eating earlier for less.

Take it Home – If there’s more food on your plate than you’re hungry for, don’t eat it all. A recent study compared the eating habits of those in France vs. Americans and found that lower obesity and heart disease rates among the French may be because they know when to stop eating. Americans rely more heavily on visual cues than their own bodies’ signals to tell them when to stop eating, a trend that may correlate with our rising obesity rates. If there’s more on your plate than you’re prepared to eat in one sitting, listen to your body and wrap it up and take it home. You’ll get more bang for your buck and will support your body’s natural circadian rhythm by not weighing it down with excess food late at night.

Get it in a Salad – Ever noticed that restaurants often offer almost the same meal as both a salad and an entree? You could opt for the grilled chicken (with potatoes, bread, fries, etc.) for $15, or the grilled chicken salad, for $10. You could opt for the buffalo shrimp po boy for $11, or the buffalo shrimp salad for $9. Either way, you’re usually getting about the same amount of protein, but when you opt for the salad, instead of filling up on heavy carbs, you support that protein with loads of vitamins and minerals, and often, save some money in the process.

Substitute – Many restaurants will let you swap out a side for no extra cost. Fruit instead of fries or grits? Salad instead of a baked potato or pasta salad? When you have the option, swap your side for a lighter and healthier one than the standard option. This is a great free way to make every meal more healthy.

Think Local – food that’s available to restaurants locally is fresher and also often cheaper, since restaurants don’t have to incur added costs for shipping. Favorite local dishes are also often cheaper, because restaurants must compete with others in the region serving up the same dish (i.e. – clam chowder in Boston, gumbo in New Orleans, etc.). Go local for increased freshness and lower prices.

Any other examples you can think of? Share them with us in the comments below!

Comfort Foods: Substitution is the Name of the Game

Mahed Cauliflower Substitute for Potatoes When it comes to favorite comfort foods, mashed potatoes, mac’n cheese, and ice cream tend to top everyone’s list. Their rich, creamy texture tastes great but the calories can add up quickly since they are usually high in fat and carbohydrates. How can you have a favorite comfort food and watch your calories? Let’s talk substitution.

Using mashed potatoes as an example, simply substitute a high fiber vegetable like cauliflower for the potatoes in the recipe. This shaves off calories and carbohydrates while adding more nutrients. Cauliflower is a nutrient powerhouse, loaded with more calcium, fiber, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin K than a comparable amount of white potatoes.

Nutritional Breakdown Before Substitution:

Here is the breakdown for one serving of regular mashed potatoes (with butter and cream) from a popular cooking website.1 (We actually cut the serving size in half since what they listed as a serving was enormous!) Mashed potatoes:  1 serving =  ¾ cup, 400 calories, 35 grams fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber.2

Nutritional Breakdown After Substitution:

However, you can substitute steamed cauliflower for the potato and add additional ingredients that boost flavor and cut the fat. Per serving, you save 200 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 10 grams of carbohydrates!

This substitution allows you to keep a favorite comfort food on the menu. Experiment with other recipes, using ingredients that cut calories and boost flavor. Check out this website for ways to reduce calories while still enjoying your favorite foods3. Unfortunately, cauliflower ice cream just doesn’t sound that good.

Mashed Cauliflower Recipe (Serves 3)

1 medium head cauliflower
½ cup diced onions
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ to ½ cup 2% milk (any type of low-fat, non-dairy milk would work too)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut stem and leaves off cauliflower. Wash and drain trimmed cauliflower. Cut into large chunks and boil or steam on stovetop for approximately 8 minutes, or until cauliflower is soft. While cauliflower is steaming, sauté onions in oil in small skillet over medium heat until transparent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Add steamed cauliflower, onion mixture, butter and ¼ cup milk to food processor or blender. Process on high until all ingredients are combined and smooth. Can add additional milk if desire thinner consistency. Season as desired. Serve immediately or cool in refrigerator, then reheat in microwave.

Nutrition per serving: Portion size: ¾ cup, 200 calories, 10 grams fat, 15 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber

1FoodNetwork.com Mashed Potato Recipe
2USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory

Gain Outer Strength & Inner Peace with Yoga

September is National Yoga Awareness Month! Last year around this time, we posed a question to our friends on Facebook, “There are many physical and psychological benefits realized from yoga. Because it’s National Yoga Awareness Month, we’re asking for your feedback. If you participate in yoga let us know what studios you recommend for others who are interested!”

Yoga Facebook Emory Healthcare

With about 12 million Americans participating in yoga and that number steadily on the rise, this time around, we’re outlining some of the benefits of participating in yoga, how you can join them and try yoga as a new student for free.

Health Benefits of Yoga

There are many styles and types of yoga, but despite their differences, there are similar health benefits provided by each. The poses and meditative nature of yoga provides opportunities for participants to build core strength, improve flexibility and balance, reduce stress, lose weight, manage and reduce symptoms of existing and chronic health conditions such as stress, anxiety, and osteoporosis, to name a few, and improve mental focus.

Atlanta Yoga Studios & One Free Week

If you’ve practiced yoga at a studio in Atlanta, and would like to shout them out or provide feedback, please feel free to use the comments area below! If you’re looking for a yoga studio in Atlanta, check out Yelp’s yoga listings.

National Yoga Awareness Month

To celebrate Yoga Month, the folks at the Yoga Health Foundation are offering one week of free yoga for beginners. You can search for yoga studios by city here.

We hope the above resources will inspire and prepare you to give yoga a try. Please consult with your physician before participating in yoga if you have an existing health condition that may be exacerbated by the practice of yoga. Again, we welcome your comments about all things yoga below. Namaste!

Indoor Tanning & Tanning Beds – the Bad, the Ugly and the Uglier

Indoor Tanning & Skin CancerOne in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. It is the most common of all cancers and accounts for nearly half of all cancer cases in the United States. More than 2 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are found in the U.S. each year. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, will account for 70,230 new skin cancer diagnoses in 2011, according to the American Cancer Society. Now, let’s juxtapose these numbers with the fact that nearly 30 million people tan indoors in tanning beds in the U.S. every year and 2.3 million of them are teens. Furthermore, on an average day, over one million Americans use tanning salons1.

So, just how bad are tanning beds and does the increase in their use correlate with the increase in melanoma incidence rates over the last 30 years? Findings released in 2009 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an affiliate of the World Health organization, demonstrate that indoor tanning beds and tanning devices are more dangerous than we previously thought, and as a result, the IARC moved UV tanning devices such as tanning beds from their Group 2A category, “probably carcinogenic to humans,” to their Group 1 list of the most dangerous cancer causing agents. Inclusion of a cancer causing agent or substance is listed in the IARC’s Group 1 means that agent or substance is definitely carcinogenic to humans. Other agents listed in Group 1 include plutonium and cigarettes.

As is mentioned above, 2.3 million of the people using indoor tanning beds and devices in the U.S. are teens. Because skin cancers such as melanoma can take a substantial amount of time to develop, along with moving tanning devices into their Group 1 category, the IARC also now recommends banning commercial indoor tanning use for people under the age of 18 in an effort to lower their risk for developing skin cancer later in life.

Back in 2006, the IARC took its efforts to identify the impact indoor tanning can have on skin cancer risk a step further by evaluating 19 studies conducted over 25 years that looked at the relationship between indoor tanning and skin cancer. Findings from this evaluation reveal:

  • there is an association between UV-emitting tanning devices and ocular melanoma (cancer of the eye)
  • there is an association between indoor tanning and both squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, two dangerous forms of skin cancer
  • the DNA damage caused by UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer in laboratory animals. Most indoor tanning beds and devicese emit UVS rays.

But, the most notable finding from their evaluation is a scary one– the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer increases by 75% when indoor tanning device and tanning bed use starts before the age of 35.2

Hopefully these numbers and findings are enough to make you reconsider using tanning beds this summer and in future years. As the research continues to pour in, it becomes more and more clear just how dangerous indoor tanning (and outdoor tanning, for that matter) are.

For more information on tanning beds and the risks associated with their use, visit: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm186687.htm There you can also find guidelines for how to reduce your risk for skin cancer in you do decide to continue tanning indoors. But we encourage you to change your tanning habits and prioritize your health! If you’re seeking a golden bronze glow, why not try self-tanning lotions? What else do you recommend for lowering risk for skin cancer or alternatives to tanning? Let us know in the comments area below!

1: http://www.skincancer.org/Skin-Cancer-Facts/
2: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm186687.htm

Top 5 Skin Protection & Skin Cancer Prevention Tips for UV Safety Month (and year round!)

UV Safety

Over the past 31 years, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Perhaps even more alarming– 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation from the sun. With summer heat at its peak and because July is UV Safety Month, we’ve put together some tips to help you stay safe(r) when in the sun.

There’s No Such Thing as a Safe Tan

A recent article appearing in HealthDay confirms what those around the medical field have known for quite some time– there is no such thing as a safe tan. During summer months attendance at tanning salons skyrockets with people attempting to achieve a golden “base tan” to build on throughout the summer. But the notion of a base tan being a safe and affective way to achieve a bronze summer glow is simply false. “Tanning beds have become a particular hazard. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified the devices as within its highest cancer risk category — basically as potentially carcinogenic as cigarettes,” the article notes. And as Dr. James Spencer, a member of the American Academy of Dermatology board of directors adds, “The bottom line is excessive UV exposure increases your risk of skin cancer, whether you are indoors or outdoors.” So if you’re seeking a golden bronze glow, stay away from the tanning salon and if anything, take a step into your local pharmacy or grocery story where you can purchase temporary and topical bronzing creams and lotions.

Protect Yourself – “Slip! Slop! Slap! And Wrap!”

The American Cancer Society has a cool awareness campaign around UV safety to help you keep top of mind 4 easy steps you can take to protect yourself from damaging UV rays.

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slop on sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Wrap on sunglasses

These 4 simple steps will help keep you protected from harmful UV radiation.

Assess Yourself

Check your skin regularly (at least monthly) for growth of new moles and changes to existing ones. New moles, moles that have changed in color or texture (i.e. darken or become raised), moles thath ave grown and changed in size, and sores that won’t heal are all changes you’ll want to keep track of and possibly have checked by your doctor. The National Cancer Institute has some great resources and advice on how to check your skin for potentially harmful developments.

Avoid the Obvious

A little common sense will go a long way when it comes to UV safety. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, particularly during peak hours (10am-4pm) and as you read above, stay away from tanning beds. When possible, it’s also a good idea to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun when near water, snow, or sand, all of which reflect the sun’s rays and can increase chances of burning.

Know Your Skin Cancer Risk

Any person can get skin cancer, but the risk is higher for groups of people with lighter coloring. In general, if you have blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, and white or light-colored skin with freckles, you may be at a higher risk for developing skin cancer. Furthermore, if you have a family history of skin cancer, are frequently exposed to the sun via work and/or play, or have a history of sunburns or regular indoor tanning, you could also be at a higher risk. For help assessing your risk for skin cancer, check out the CDC’s information on skin cancer risk factors.

What else? Did we miss anything? What do you do to stay sun safe and how do you encourage your friends and family to do the same? Let us know in the comments below!

H2O 101 – Stay Hydrated & Beat the Heat!

Health Benefits of WaterMaking up more than 60% of our total body weight, water is clearly a critical component to our health and well being. With peak Summer heat right around the corner, we thought we’d take a moment to share some water related tips and benefits to help you stay hydrated in the heat.

Dehydration

Dehydration is the number one cause of day time fatigue, but how do you know when you’re dehydrated? By the time you feel thirsty, you’ve already lost between 1-2% of your body’s total water content!

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, dry eyes, muscle cramping, constipation, fatigue, and headaches, to name just a few. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you don’t become dehydrated.

Tips for Staying Hydrated:

  • Use Helpful Tricks/Rules to Keep Hydration Top of Mind - it is recommended that women intake between 2-2.7 liters of water a day, while men should consume between 3-3.7 liters per day. Not all of us think in liters so a good way to remember is by following the 8×8 or 10×10 rule, i.e. women should drink at least eight 8oz glasses of water per day, and men should try aiming for ten 10oz glasses.
  • Know Your Lifestyle - If you workout heavily and/or often, live in a hot climate or are out in the heat frequently, or even if you’re pregnant and/or breast feeding, all of these circumstances require a larger water intake each day.
  • Eat More Fruits and Veggies – You may not realize it, but many fruits and vegetables are packed with h2O. Furthermore, many of them include key nutrients that allow your body to better absorb and use the water you’re drinking.
  • Keep a water bottle (or mug, canteen, etc) within reach – The more you make drinking water something that requires extra effort (i.e. getting up to grab cup after cup), the less likely you are to drink enough of it. Keep a large sized water bottle or container of some sort nearby and within reach at all times. If it’s in front of you and easy to grab, you’re much more likely to drink it!
  • Put Down the Soda – They do contain water and there isn’t hard evidence to suggest they dehydrate you, caffeinated or otherwise, but when you consume sodas, you are drinking fluid, and therefore, feel like your thirst is being quenched. Because of this, many Americans end up unintentionally substituting soda for water, and not consuming enough water as a result.
  • Mix it Up – If you reduce your soda intake and don’t feel like you have enough fun in your beverage repertoire, mix it up! You can incorporate flavored waters or sparkling water, or try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or even orange to your standard purified water.

Health Benefits of Staying Hydrated:

We hope the tips above give you a few new ways to keep h2O top of mind. There are countless reasons to make hydration, and staying hydrated, a priority. To name a few…

  • Lose Weight – up your water weight and lose weight? Yes, you read right. Water is vital in flushing the by products of the fat breakdown process from your system. Staying hydrated aids in the weight loss process in this way, and by helping you feel fuller without the calories.
  • Fresh, Younger Looking Skin – Without water, your skin can become dry, wrinkled, and lose lots of elasticity.
  • Mental Energy – The brain is approximately 80% water. Staying hydrated helps you maintain mental energy while avoiding fatigue and headaches.
  • Physical Energy – Water plays a vital role in the body’s ability to flush toxins. Organs have to work harder when you don’t have enough water, thus, causing fatigue. Water also helps regulate your internal temperature, which means when working out, if you’re hydrated, you won’t put as much of a burden on the rest of your body to help in this process.
  • Prevent Sickness…& Cancer? Proper hydration helps reduce the risk for catching ailments such as the flu, arthritis, and even cancer. From a digestive perspective, for example, studies have shown that proper hydration reduces the risk for colon and bladder cancer.

If you have additional tips or ideas for staying hydrated that you want to share with our readers, please do so in the comments below!