Drink Up: 10 Reasons Water is a Key Ingredient in Your Good Health

GettyImages-636083442.jpg

Author: Rosetta Danigole, UMC Lead Dietician

Water is an essential nutrient and a thirst quencher that can also trim our waistlines.

Here are 10 reasons you should be drinking enough water daily:

Boosts your metabolism – Drinking water helps the body burn fat. Studies show that drinking 17 ounces of water can increase the metabolic rate by 30% in both men and woman.

Even mild dehydration can slow down metabolic rate by 3%. So drink up and burn fat.

Fills you up – If you’re feeling hungry, try sipping some water first because what feels like hunger might be thirst. When you drink water between meals, you’re less likely to overeat and you won’t eat as much junk.

Naturally helps your body release fat cells – Water helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss the body has a lot of waste to rid itself of and metabolized fat must be shed. Water helps flush out the waste.  Therefore your cells shrink when they are plumped up by water.

GettyImages-694349676.jpg

Keeps food moving through your system – Staying hydrated helps your body break down food so that your body can absorb nutrients.  Water also softens stool which helps prevent constipation.

Flushes toxins from your system – Your kidneys and liver get rid of toxins.  Water helps the kidneys to have enough fluid to function properly leading to flushing out metabolized waste.

GettyImages-507375092.jpgImproves your mood – Mild dehydration leads to moodiness, problems concentrating and fatigue in a recent study.  Remember 85% of your brain tissue is made up of water.

Reduces muscle fatigue while working out – Blood flow to muscle is reduced when dehydrated.

Helps you recuperate faster from a workout – Water elps keep the body in homeostasis and electrolyte balance.

Keeps your organs healthy while you’re sweating – Our organs are made of high concentrations of water, and we need to stay.

Keeps you from feeling groggy in the morning– Drinking a few glasses of water in the morning will help to wake you up.

GettyImages-665486306.jpg

Don’t like the taste of water? Try infusing it with lemons, limes,  cucumber and mint for a tasty and healthful summer drink.

Sugary sodas, lemonade and sweet tea or smoothies — although refreshing  – for some can pack a lot of empty inflammatory-type calories.

Please remember to drink your water and stay hydrated!

About the Author

Rosetta

As the lead dietitian at University Medical Center New Orleans, Rosetta Danigole manages clinical dietetic operations. She is a member of the Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition and belongs to the clinical dietitian practice group. She has been a dietitian for 35 years.

 

Stroke Strikes Fast: Knowing the Signs and How to Prevent

By Toni Rougeou, RN, UMC Stroke Program Coordinator

A stroke is a “brain attack” that happens when blood flow to your brain is stopped. It’s a medical emergency in which knowing the signs and symptoms is vitally important.

May is Stroke Awareness Month, an opportunity to spread awareness of stroke and a good time for everyone to identify their personal risk and learn the steps they can take to reduce the risk of stroke.

GettyImages-465455546.jpg

There are two types of strokes:

Ischemic stroke – caused by clot or plaque accounts for about 87% of all strokes

Hemorrhagic stroke – Bleeding in or around the brain caused from uncontrolled elevated blood pressure, ruptured aneurysm, or Arterial-venous malformation.

Every minute you are having a stroke, you lose about 2 million brain cells.  The longer you take to seek medical attention, the more brain cells are lost.  “Time is Brain.”

GettyImages-477973376.jpg

Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability in adults.

Each year nearly 800,000 people have a stroke (every 40 seconds stroke happens), and almost 130,000 people die from stroke per year.

Stroke kills twice as many American women as breast cancer each year. More women than men die from stroke and risk is higher. Women suffer greater disability after stroke than men.

GettyImages-493448134.jpg

African-Americans have double the incidence of stroke than that of Caucasians and suffer more extensive physical deficits. African Americans are also twice as likely to die from a stroke. Mexican–Americans are at higher risk for all types of stroke and TIA at younger ages than Caucasians.

In 2012 the total stroke related cost in the US was estimated to be $105 billion and is projected to hit $240 billion by 2030.

Who is at Risk for a Stroke?

Anyone can have a stroke at any age. But your chance of having a stroke increases if you have certain risk factors. Some risk factors for stroke can be changed or managed, while others can’t.

GettyImages-499570490.jpg

What are the risk factors for stroke that can be modified?

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Atrial Fibrillation – a type of irregular heartbeat; Makes a person 5X’s more prone to having a stroke.
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol – more than two drinks a day
  • Illegal drug use – Cocaine, Mojo
  • Diets high in fat and salt
  • Lack of exercise routine
  • Sleep apnea

What are some risk factors that we cannot change?

  • Being African-American
  • Being a Female
  • Being over age 55
  • Having a previous TIA or stroke
  • Having a family history of stroke

What impact does stroke have?

  • In 2012 the total stroke related cost in the US was estimated to be $105 billion, and is projected to hit $240 billion by 2030.

GettyImages-177292657 (1).jpgWhat are the signs and symptoms of Stroke?

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body (Right or Left)
  • Sudden trouble speaking, understanding or confusion.
  • Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance. Falling to one side.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause “Worst headache of my life.”

Stroke Fast.png

STROKE IS NO JOKE!    RECOGNIZE!  RESPOND!  AND PREVENT!  

Toni Rougeau.jpg

Toni Rougeou, RN, is the Stroke Program Coordinator for University Medical Center New Orleans. UMC is an Advanced Primary Stroke Center with a full stroke team on call 24/7 to immediately care for patients with stroke symptoms. To learn more, visit umcno.org/strokecenter.

Hand Washing 101

Author: Peter DeBlieux, MD, Chief Medical Officer at UMC

Wash Your Hands.jpg

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from germs and infectious diseases.

At home or at work, it’s important to wash your hands often and properly with soap and water to combat germs that accumulate and linger. But what if you’re at Jazz Fest or at one of the area’s many outdoor fairs and festivals, when access to soap and water may be limited?  Proper hand hygiene is still important and possible when you plan ahead and use this tips.

Preparing Food - cropped.jpg

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests washing your hands at these key times:

  • Before, during and after preparing food.
  • Before eating.
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Before and after treating a wound.
  • After going to the bathroom.
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste.
  • After handling garbage.

Soap and water- cropped.jpg

What is the best way to wash your hands?

  • Use clean, running water. Use hot water if it’s available.
  • Wet your hands before applying soap.
  • Rub your soapy hands together for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to wash all surfaces well. This includes your wrists, palms, backs of hands, and between fingers.
  • Clean and remove the dirt from under your fingernails.
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly to remove all soap.
  • Dry your hands with an air dryer or a clean paper towel.
  • Turn off the faucet with a paper towel.

Outdoor festival-cropped.jpg

If you’re at one of the area’s many outdoor fairs, festivals and special events soap and water may be limited. In such cases, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a must-have for cleaning your hands. When using hand sanitizer, be sure to:

  • Apply the gel to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until they are dry.

Our hands are exposed to countless germs daily through normal activities.  These steps detailed above can reduce the burden of germs that accumulate on our hands and will reduce the likelihood of infectious disease transmission.

 

Give to Live: How My Son Saved 54 Lives

Author: Amy Deubler Foy, Mother of former UMC patient Cameron Dice 

cam 9th (1).jpg

On Sunday, March 11, my son, Cameron Dice, was riding his 4-wheeler across a piece of land near our home until it flipped over on him and crushed his skull. He was brought by ambulance to a small hospital in Franklinton, LA and from there, he was air lifted by helicopter to University Medical Center New Orleans. Upon arrival, he was on a ventilator and the outlook did not look very promising, but still, we prayed for a miracle to happen.

He arrived at UMC Sunday afternoon around 3 p.m. Their amazing nurses and doctors worked on him to try and save his life. But, unfortunately, the damage to his brain was too severe and there was little that they could do. On Monday night, March 12 at 7:28 pm, at the age of 19, he was legally pronounced dead.

My family and I made the decision prior to the final apnea test that would determine whether his brain had any activity:

If Cameron did not have any chance at survival, we wanted him to be an organ donor. 

This was a decision that Cameron had made not long before his accident –  just 2 years prior at the DMV when he received his driver’s license.

32.png

The decision to save other’s lives when yours cannot be saved seems, to me, to be the only decision. I stand firm in this decision even more so now after Cameron’s death. Why would you not want to save someone else’s child, mother, father, brother, sister, etc.?

Cameron becoming an organ donor was not only the right decision for others, but it also gave me 50 more hours to hold his hand, kiss him, stroke his hair and tell him everything I needed to tell him before he was taken into surgery.

Those 4 days were the absolute hardest days I have ever experienced, but that little bit of extra time has made the pain of all this a little easier. I am so grateful that I had those days to just hold my baby and tell him goodbye.

20180411_130454.jpg

If Cameron would have been on the other side, needing a transplant for an organ to save his life, I would hope and pray that others would give the gift of life to save my baby.

My Cameron, my angel, now lives in 54 different people between his organs, bones, skin, muscles, tendons, veins, arteries, etc. 

While he was here on earth, he touched so many people’s hearts and lives and now that he has passed on, he still is doing the same.

I cannot explain how proud I am that my baby is truly a hero to these people that now have a chance at life because of Cameron. There is little to no comfort that anyone can provide to a mother that loses their child, but knowing that my baby is still around me physically walking around in all of these people helps tremendously.

2.png

If you are an organ or tissue recipient, please – I beg you – reach out to the family who saved your life.  I pray for the day to meet the people that my child now lives through!

There is no reason, in my eyes, for people to not be an organ donor.  If you can save another person from going through the pain that my family is enduring, why wouldn’t you?

The people with LOPA (Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency) were absolutely amazing.  Everyone was very considerate of me and my family the whole time while they prepared Cameron for his surgery.  They have kept in touch with me and have offered me support with their kind words.

I just received a letter from them giving me the sex and age bracket that Cameron’s major organs went to. I pray to meet every single one of them!!

43.png

April is National Donate Life Month, which honors organ, tissue and eye donors and their loved ones. One organ donor can save the lives of up to nine people.  

At University Medical Center, our dedicated professionals have helped, in coordination with LOPA, to save the lives of over 95 organ recipients in the past year.

Please join us on April 16 at 1:30 p.m. near the flagpole at UMC’s Galvez Street entrance for a LOPA flag-raising and butterfly release to honor the silent heroes at UMC and their families.

What Do I Do? I Think I Have the Flu!

Author: Peter DeBlieux, MD, UMC Chief Medical Officer and Pulmonary Critical Care Physician

iStock-691579838.jpg

This year’s flu season as been an active and aggressive one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease has reached its peak, but many more people are expected to be infected with the flu before all is said and done.

So, what do you do if you have the flu?

Prevention

iStock-807443144.jpg

Get your vaccine – it’s the best defense against the flu.

It’s not too late to get the flu shot. The flu vaccine reduces your likelihood of getting the flu. However, if you do get the flu, the vaccine is still beneficial, as it reduces the likelihood of hospitalization and death as a result of the disease.

Flu virus are spread by contact with droplets that go airborne when an infected person sneezes or coughs. You can get the flu by inhaling the droplets or touching objects where the droplets have landed, which means…

iStock-467706864.jpg

Handwashing – You should wash your hands often with soap and water.

Scrub for at least 20 seconds, then dry.  If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

iStock-665866964.jpg

Is it a cold or flu?

Early on, it is difficult to distinguish the difference between a cold and influenza. According to the CDC, colds are usually milder, and people with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. The flu can result in a series of health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, hospitalizations and, in some cases, death.

Here’s how you can tell:

Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season.jpg

Symptoms

These can vary from person to person. Although the flu is a respiratory disease, it can affect your entire body, including the gastrointestinal system.

Common symptoms include:

  • Cough, often severe
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Fatigue for several weeks
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Severe aches and pains
  • Sneezing at times
  • Sometimes a sore throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

According to the CDC, you’re contagious a day before the symptoms start and 5 days after.

iStock-879005674.jpg

Call your doctor to see if an antiviral medication is appropriate for you, but keep in mind that medication such as Tamiflu is not helpful after two days of symptoms.

If you have the flu, don’t interact with people who are sick. Especially if you have cold symptoms or have fever greater than 100.3. Stay away from others until you have not had symptoms for 24 hours.

iStock-635787500.jpg
Avoid close contact with people who are sick, especially if you have cold symptoms or have fever greater than 100.3.

Stay away from others until you have not had symptoms for 24 hours.

If you’re sick:

  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue – not your hands.
    • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Wash your hands frequently.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Get smart this flu season, not sick!

 

A Patient’s Perspective: Life with Pulmonary Hypertension

Author: Millie Ball, UMCNO Pulmonary Hypertension Patient

We all have our stories.

millie.jpg

But one thing is true of most of us: We hadn’t heard of pulmonary hypertension until a doctor told us we had it.

Over-simplified, PH is high blood pressure that affects the arteries in your lungs.

It affects the heart, and it is progressive — and it is terrifying when you look it up online. Singer Natalie Cole died of PH.

AP_070716020816.jpg

My advice to new patients: Stop looking it up online.

What is Pulmonary Hypertension?

Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) is different from regular hypertension. PH is high blood pressure in the lungs. It can affect both genders and all ages and ethnicities. Symptoms include shortness of breath and swelling of the feet. Undiagnosed and untreated, it can rapidly lead to death but fortunately specialized treatment is available. The Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center (CPHC) at UMCNO is one of a handful of centers in the south that are certified by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association to provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment by nationally recognized PH experts.

Babies can be born with PH. Generally, there are five types, caused by health issues ranging from blood clots to lupus to drug use to heart disease (congenital or otherwise), sleep apnea, to who knows what.

pulmonary_hypertension.jpg

Dr. Bennett deBoisblanc, who’s Professor of Medicine and Physiology at LSU Health New Orleans and one of the PH physicians in the Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center (CPHC) at University Medical Center New Orleans (and has a bunch of other titles), jokes that some patients are said to have idiopathic PH, “because we are the idiots and don’t know its cause.”

Dr. Lammi and Son.jpg

Everyone calls him Dr. Ben, because most stumble over the French name of this native New Orleanian…Bwa-blon is semi-close.  An avid daily runner, he’s a nationally respected researcher in PH, who has won awards for the way he relates to patients, and for his work in Charity Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit during Hurricane Katrina. He makes patients laugh, gives us his cell number, and makes us feel — despite what we might have read — that everything will be all right.

benkatrina.jpeg

As do his LSU colleagues who I have seen as well at the UMCNO Comprehensive Pulmonary Hypertension Center: LSU Associate Professor of Medicine, Dr. Matthew Lammi (he also gives his cell number), Pulmonary/Critical Care Fellow Dr. Sneha Samant and CPHC Nurse Coordinator, Monique Brown, a master organizer, who makes PH patients feel like they are her friends. Tulane School of Medicine physicians, including Dr. Lesley Saketkoo and Dr. Shigeki Saito, also are a core part of the CPHC.

IMG_4261.JPG

So how do you end up with this exceptional team?

Shortness of breath is a typical first symptom, as are fatigue, heart palpitations, dizziness, swollen ankles — in other words, the same symptoms as too many other illnesses. Some patients go several years undiagnosed before finding a specialist who has worked with PH patients.

My first symptoms showed up three years ago, when I thought I had been hit with 24-hour flu during a Thanksgiving visit to a mountain town in North Carolina, 4,118 feet above sea level. I had spent vacations there for years, with no problems.

1493298_10201957985764381_293355330_o.jpg

My second night there, I threw up, my heart raced, I was nauseated and didn’t feel like eating. It lasted 24 hours.

I returned to the mountains over New Year’s, and it happened again, also on my second night.

In the spring, my husband and I flew to Denver, the mile-high city, 5,280 feet above sea level. I felt woozy in the airport, and came down with the similar issues by early evening. The next day, we drove up to Minturn, CO, 7,861 feet. I went to bed for three days, vomited, my mind confused. “I need to go to Urgent Care,” I finally murmured.

A nurse put a pulse oximeter on my index finger to measure the oxygen level in my blood. It was 61. “Is that bad?” I asked. She shared a glance with another nurse. Healthy people usually have 95-99 percent oxygen, but anything over 90 is OK.

High altitude is not my friend.

The first thing I did was buy a pulse oximeter at a drugstore. Then I called a pulmonologist, who ordered a pile of tests, and walked me up and down his office hallway, shaking his head, and saying he was surprised I could be so chatty when most people with my blood oxygen numbers could barely breathe.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, a disorder in which you stop and start breathing repeatedly while you sleep. Untreated, it can cause heart damage, and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, say some researchers. My tester told me that I was one of four patients in eight years whose oxygen level dropped into the 60s when I slept.

The pulmonologist ordered a continuous flow oxygen concentrator, which sucks oxygen out of the air and pumps it into a tube linked to a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask when I sleep. It’s not pretty.

I passed the other breathing and heart tests. But at our final meeting, the doctor said, “You either need to see Dr. Bennett deBoisblanc at LSU or go to the Mayo Clinic.” I cried.

I saw Dr. Lammi and Dr. Ben, and underwent a heart catherization, the gold standard test for PH at UMC in August 2015. I was told that I have PH, but a mild case. Blood pressure meds were prescribed. And Dr. Ben said I should weigh 130; I told him I was born weighing more than that, but I’m trying.

Linda Gates, who has had PH 15 years, heads a support group that I now attend. Another woman, from Houma, who has had PH more than 17 years leads a support group there. When they were diagnosed, there was no treatment for PH. It was almost a death sentence. Now there are more than 15 medications. Some types of PH respond better than others.

Linda had just returned from Iceland when I met her, which was encouraging. Travel is my passion, and my job was writing about travel.

travel.jpg

Unfortunately, the Medicare-mandated company that was supposed to supply my medical equipment sent me big clunky oxygen tanks that you can’t take on an airplane. I was told, quietly, by an employee, that my chances of getting a small portable oxygen concentrator were slim. You have to have an FAA compliant oxygen concentrator to fly in commercial airplanes, where pressurization is the equivalent of being 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level.

Fortunately, I was able to pay for one, $2,500 for a Inogen One 3 G that weighs five-pounds and totes like a crossover purse when I exercise or fly. That’s me, wearing my oxygen concentrator and walking my 11-pound, white Havanse pup many mornings in Audubon Park.

Portable oxygen concentrator.jpg

To fly, each airline requires its own letter of permission from a doctor. “Hello, Monique, I need Dr. Ben to sign another letter!”

As I write this I’m on yet another trip — three airline letters required: United, American and Etihad Airlines from Abu Dhabi. There’s our regular luggage, plus my portable oxygen concentrator, my constant flow oxygen concentrator, my CPAP, and my dear husband, Keith, who helps lug it all around with me. We’re doing our bucket list destinations: a while back tulips in Holland and this month ruins in Petra, Jordan.

Hotel.jpeg

Thank you, Dr. Ben, Dr. Lammi, Dr. Samant, Monique, Linda Gates. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t found you all at UMC.

Millie and Keith.jpg

For more information on PH and the CPHC at UMCNO go to www.umcno.org/cphc.

Problematic Pancreatic: What to Know About Pancreatic Cancer

Author: Jennifer Gnerlich, MD, UMC Surgical Oncologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery at LSU Health New Orleans

More people are being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer now than ever before. Currently, cancer of the pancreas accounts for 7 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States. This year, an estimated 53,670 adults will be diagnosed with this disease, and more than 43,000 of them will die. (Source: American Cancer Society)

November kicks off Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month at UMCNO’s Cancer Center, so our staff is working to get the word out about this disease.

iStock-855267190.jpg

Here is what you should know:

  • Most people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer between the ages of 55 years old and 85 years old.
  • Men and women are equally affected by pancreatic cancer.
  • The number one risk factor for pancreatic cancer is smoking and tobacco use.
    • Please call the American Lung Association’s Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA (586-4872) if you need help in quitting tobacco use and smoking, or phone us at UMC at (504) 702-5178. 
  • Individuals with BRCA mutations (associated with breast cancer) have an increased risk of pancreas cancer.

There is NO screening test for this disease. You need to be aware of the possible presenting symptoms of pancreatic cancer, which include:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • New onset of pain in the upper abdomen/belly or back pain
  • Indigestion or upset stomach not relieved with Tums or Pepcid
  • Pale, smelly, floating, or light colored stools that may look oily in the toilet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • New diagnosis of diabetes, especially in people over 50 years old
  • New diagnosis of clots in veins or arteries
  • Pancreatitis

Symtoms-Pancreatic-Cancer.jpg

If you have any of these symptoms, please see your primary care physician or contact the Cancer Center Monday through Friday at (504)702-3697 for an appointment.

iStock-840816162.jpg

Getting checked is important. Pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of 8%, but with appropriate care that survival can be as high as 27%. Treatment will usually include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Just as every person is unique, so is his/her pancreatic cancer. This is why every patient is discussed at a multi-disciplinary tumor board where a panel of experts in fields such as medicine, radiation, surgery, radiology, and pathology can discuss the case and determine the best treatment for that individual.

If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer or want additional information, please contact the UMCNO Cancer Center as soon as possible.

About Dr. Gnerlich

gnerlich.jennifer_Alexian.jpg

Dr. Gnerlich is a board-certified surgical oncologist specializing in upper gastrointestinal cancers in the pancreas, bile ducts, liver, stomach, esophagus and retroperitoneal sarcomas. A fun fact – While Dr. Gnerlich was completing her undergraduate degree, she was scouted to go into professional acting. She loves to run half-marathons, especially at Disney World. Dr. Gnerlich is excited to join the staff at UMC because of the “great team we have here.” She hopes to bring new procedures like HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) to UMC for patients with certain types of cancer that have spread throughout the abdomen.

To make an appointment with Dr. Gnerlich or one of our cancer specialists, please contact (504)702-3697 or (504) 702-5700.

 

 

Be Mindful, B-WELL

Authors: Jennifer Hughes, Ph.D. (UMC Trauma Psychologist), Alisha Bowker (UMC Licensed Clinical Social Worker)iStock-639641818 (1).jpg

Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

Do you feel burnt out? Are you overworked? Do you feel as though you are at a crossroads in life? Are you happy?

Practicing mindfulness can help anyone who experiences stress, feels overwhelmed or battles with despair. It is proven to help many patients, too – especially those who have experienced trauma — learn how to cope with physical and emotional pain.

It also benefits healthcare professionals as they cope with stress after providing care to others, connect with patients, and work improve their quality of life.

For mental health professionals, this awareness helps reduce negative emotions and anxiety, and increases their positive emotions and feelings of self-compassion.

Research through Harvard University, the National Institutes of Health, and other leading healthcare agencies have shown that mindfulness can be effective, additionally, in reducing stress, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and improving sleep and pain management.
iStock-521800524.jpg
Starting a mindfulness practice can be as simple as following these steps:

  • Choose a specific time: Set aside a time and space each day to practice mindfulness. It can be the same time everyday or different times, whatever is best for you. Find a quiet place with few distractions and take a comfortable seat in a chair or on a pillow on the floor.
  • Observe the here and now: The goal of a mindfulness practice is not to quiet the mind; in fact, our mind is made to wander, so why fight its natural instincts! Instead, set the intention of paying attention to the present, the here and now, without judgment.
  • Allow your judgments to come and go: When your mind inevitably begins to wander, some of those thoughts may be judging the current situation (for better or worse). When these thoughts arise, make a mental note of their presence and let them pass, and return back to the here and now. Don’t get bogged down in the power of judgment!
  • Be kind to your wandering mind: When we practice mindfulness, it can be helpful to begin by welcoming all of ourselves, including our pesky wandering mind. When your mind begins to drift away from the present moment, don’t judge it or yourself. Practice noticing those thoughts and returning to the here and now. Welcome your mind just as it is. iStock-584608574.jpg

 Mindfulness can also help with:

  • Physical Pain: One of the most effective mindfulness practices to help ease physical pain is the body scan, which allows us to identify and “dive into” different body sensations. By first focusing on specific body sensations and then widening our awareness to our body as a whole can help us to identify less with our pain.
  • Stress, Anxiety/Trauma, and Depression:
    • Stress: mindfulness can reduce stress in the moment and give you skills that will help decrease the impact of stress in the future
    • Anxiety and Trauma: Mindfulness can help the brain respond to traumatic memories in less painful and more helpful ways. This helps reduce the negative impact of traumatic events and improve overall functioning
    • Depression: Mindfulness can help ease the symptoms of depression by decreasing the cycle of negative thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors. It can even help to improve relationships with others through breaking these cycles

iStock-612825258.jpg

At University Medical Center New Orleans, we are working to address burnout and compassion fatigue by focusing on mindfulness and other wellness initiatives through B-WELL: a new program that aims to give back to our employees and encourage them to remember to take care of themselves.

Our advice to you?: Be mindful to work toward B(ing)-WELL.

For more information on mindfulness, check out these resources:

Online

Books

  • Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl, Ph.D. and Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Free Smartphone Apps

  • Stop, Breathe & Think
  • Insight Timer
  • PTSD Coach
  • Mindfulness Coach
  • Headspace (Paid)

 

Hidden Scar Surgery: It’s No Secret

iStock-466705660.jpg

Scars on your soul

Scars on your skin;

Some on the outside

Some are within;

Some have a story;

Some are unwritten;

Some you can see

But most are quite hidden.

-EP

Each year, more than 400,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer that requires surgery, and each year, these women carry with them burdens of fear, sometimes hair loss and, most noticeably, surgical scars.

iStock-525885120.jpg

When considering breast procedures, many are unaware of the number of surgical options that are available: mastectomies, lumpectomies, reconstruction and, now, Hidden Scar Breast Cancer™ Surgery – a minimally invasive approach aimed to help women restore their self-image and begin the emotional healing process.

UMC New Orleans is among the first of hospitals in the Greater New Orleans area to offer this procedure, which is an advanced approach that hides incision scars and minimizes the daily emotional reminder of a breast cancer diagnosis for patients.

Adam I. Riker, MD, FACS, LSU Health New Orleans, breast surgical oncologist at UMC New Orleans, has been recognized as a Hidden Scar trained surgeon.

Riker_Hidden Scar Certificate.JPG

 “In many instances, the incisions cannot be seen at all, as it is hidden in the inframammary fold of the breast,” Dr. Riker said, “and in select cases, the nipple can be completely preserved. This technology is exciting because it allows me to truly hide, as best as possible, the incisions that must be made for a particular breast operation.”

Breast cancer can be traditionally removed with a mastectomy procedure (in which all of your breast tissue is removed) or a lumpectomy procedure (in which only part of your breast tissue is removed).

With a Hidden Scar Approach to these procedures, Dr. Riker can place an incision in a location that is hard to see, so that the scar is not visible when your incision heals. As a result, you have little to no visible reminder of the surgery.

hidscar.jpg

The Hidden Scar approach can be performed for a nipple sparing mastectomy or a lumpectomy procedure. Patients who undergo the Hidden Scar approach do not have a higher risk of cancer recurrence than patients who undergo any other type of technique.

You may qualify for Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery based on the size and location of your tumor, your breast shape, and your breast size.

To learn more about Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery and other Services we offer for patients with cancer, visit www.umcno.org/hiddenscar

Breast Cancer: Survivorship Begins at Diagnosis

Support Group

Delia Young, RN
Nurse Navigator

UMC Cancer Center

Each year, 1 in 8 women in the United States will hear the devastating news that they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Cancer is frightening for anyone. For women faced with breast cancer, the diagnosis is wrapped in a tangle of emotions and questions:

How will I get through this? Will it impact my family? Will it affect my relationships? Will I survive?

Steps to Survivorship

Every woman’s breast cancer journey is unique, but this holds true for all:

Survivorship begins at diagnosis.

From the start, it’s important to consider not only the immediate actions and treatments available, but also a complete plan that encompasses the entire breast cancer journey.

In UMC’s Cancer Center, we work to assist our patients with plans of care to help them navigate through treatment, providing a start- and endpoint and a way to see themselves outside of treatment.

One of the vital steps in survivorship is identifying support systems, whether it’s family members or close friends. Cancer treatments are long and exhausting, and many people need help coping with the process. At the UMC Cancer Center, we advise most patients to join a support group. Research indicates that people who belong to a support group are better able to cope with the stress of their disease. These groups can help patents see how people in similar situations are managing their care and experiences. Support groups can also be empowering because patients can assist someone else along their journey.

>> SUPPORT GROUP – Team Survivors: Breast Edition

Breast cancer survivors and their families are invited to join us for UMC’s supportive care program, Team Survivors: Breast Edition, every first Thursday of the month. Every month, we provide the opportunity to learn, share and discuss the different topics that affect breast cancer survivors. Our next group meeting will be on Monday, September 7, from 12-1 p.m. in the UMC Cancer Center Conference Room.

To RSVP, contact me – Delia Young, at (504) 702-3725 or Delia.Young@LCMChealth.org.

Life Beyond Breast Cancer

It doesn’t stop there. Once treatment has been completed, it’s also important that patients learn what to expect next – whether it’s prolonged side effect management post-treatment or overcoming social barriers to get reacclimated with their normal life routines.

Managing emotional, spiritual and physical health is essential. This includes healthy lifestyle promotions through diet, exercise, and mind and body relaxation techniques.

Another essential element is to give patients guidance on who they should follow up with and ensure they are set up with primary care providers for normal health maintenance screenings and surveillance.

All of these things provide a layer of support that helps to make breast cancer a little less scary.

A diagnosis isn’t the end.

There is life beyond this diagnosis and many avenues that lead to survivorship from breast cancer or any cancer.

>> FREE SEMINAR: A UMC Town Hall on Breast Health and Cancer

Please join us on September 16 for a FREE Town Hall on Breast Health & Cancer, taking place from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the UMC Cancer Center. Come to this FREE event to discover the comprehensive services that UMC provides for breast health, meet experts in the field of breast health, learn about the latest diagnostic and treatment options, hear stories of survivorship and gain insights on the role that diet, exercise and nutrition play and much more!

Click here to register.