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1 L ıvıng with M A G A Z I N E INSIDE Beat Chronic Stress in 2010 pg 7 Guide to Vaccines for adults pg 8 Did heartburn heat up your holiday? pg 10 A Nash Health Care Quarterly Magazine / / Volume 3, Number 1 / Winter 2010 Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center Celebrates 10 years First decade of facility brings innovation, inspiration pg 4 10 These symptoms shouldn t get the silent treatment your health may be at stake. pg 12 PLUS The future of health care Health questions you may be too embarrassed to ask Reader Recipe Brio Reader Survey Results and Contest Winners pg 15

2 l w b C o n t e s t W i n n e r Brio Contest Winner Congratulations to Ann Bunn of Rocky Mount, who was able to spot the bugs in the last edition of Living with Brio. Bunn received a copy of the Merck Manual of Medical Information, along with a fleece blanket, emergency flashlight, and coffee tumbler all featuring the Nash Health Care logo. Bunn also gave us some great tips for going green with a recipe for relish salad. Enjoy. This edition of Brio celebrates the many patients who have made the journey on the pathway of independence through our Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center, which marks its first decade of serving Nash and the surrounding counties. We hope you ll find Earnest Collier s story as inspiring as we did. The Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation center utilizes tasteful décor as landmarks, helping patients mark their progress as they practice walking through the hallways an old-fashioned clock is one of these landmarks lighting the way to independence. Throughout this edition, we ve hidden this icon of the clock. So see how many you can find. Contact the public relations office with your answer, and the first respondent with the correct answer will receive prizes. Send in your results via to: or by telephone to and leave a voice mail message. We heard you! Don t miss our reader survey results and contest winners on page 15 of this issue. withl ıvıng M A G A Z I N E Living with Brio magazine is published as a community service for the friends and patrons of Nash Health Care. Nash Health Care is composed of four distinct hospitals on a single campus: Nash General Hospital, Nash Day Hospital, Coastal Plain Hospital and the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center. Larry H. Chewning President / CEO Nash Health Care Brad H. Weisner Executive Vice President / COO Rick Guarino, MD Vice President of Medical Affairs / CMO P. Cameron Blalock Vice President of Support Services Leslie Hall Vice President of Nursing Services / CNO Al Hooks Vice President of Financial Services / CFO David Hinkle Vice President of Information Systems / CIO David Gorby, MD Vice President of Quality Bob Skelton Vice President and Chief Development Officer Board of Commissioners, Nash Health Care: Michael Bryant, Chairman Vincent C. Andracchio II, Vice Chairman Rosa A. Brodie, Secretary Carl M. Daughtry, Treasurer Matthew Collins, MD Jerry Daniel Wayne Deal Judge Robert Evans Leorita Hankerson Kay Mitchell Donald J. Raper Jr. Timothy C. Smith, MD Betty Anne Whisnant Robert J. Zalzneck Marco Caceres, MD Wound Care Nash Wound Care Center HEAL. Sol Gazzingan, MD Eastern North Carolina Medical Group Aboul Khalid, MD Coastal Plain Hospital Jeffrey McFadden, DO Rocky Mount Family Medical Center 804 English Rd, Rocky Mount, NC Timothy McGuire, MD, PhD Bariatric Surgery /General Surgery Southern Surgical Associates 2455 Emerald Place, Greenville, NC J. Scott Smith, MD Southeastern Medical Oncology 4038 Capital Drive, Rocky Mount, NC Ex officio members: Kenneth Adams, MD Michael Crawford, MD Accredited by: The Joint Commission and CARF, the Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission Members of: American Hospital Association, North Carolina Hospital Association, VHA Information in Nash Health Care s Living with Brio comes from a wide range of medical sources, including state and national health organizations. If you have any specific questions or concerns about content that may affect your health, please contact your health care provider. Models may be used in photos and illustrations. Living with Brio is published quarterly by the Public Relations Department of Nash Health Care, 2460 Curtis Ellis Dr., Rocky Mount, NC Editor: Jeff Hedgepeth Writer: Dawn Wilson Design: Five Oaks Design, Inc. Comments and contributions are welcome Nash Health Care NASH HEALTH CARE It s all about how we treat you 2 NHC / Living with Brio / Winter 2010

3 contents Living with Brio / Volume 3, Number 1 / Winter 2010 definition: bri o br noun vigor or vivacity of style or performance Feature Articles: 4 Health Briefs: 7 Beat chronic stress in 2010 Columns: 2 Brio contest winner New physicians 9 The future of health care Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center Celebrates 10 years First decade of facility brings innovation, inspiration 8 Guide to vaccines for adults 10 Did heartburn 14 Health questions you may be too embarrassed to ask These symptoms shouldn t get the silent treatment your health may be at stake. heat up your holiday? 11 Simple steps, big results Follow these tips to be on the road to a healthier life. 15 Reader recipe: Relish Salad 14 Can you have a stroke and not know it? Stay well-informed on the latest health issues, events, support groups, free health screenings and other health care information by visiting our website, nhcs.org, and clicking on Health Info. NHC / Living with Brio / Winter

4 l w b F e a t u r e A r t i c l e BTAR Celebrates 10 years First decade of facility brings innovation, inspiration Earnest Collier has a large, stuffed fish mounted on his wall, its mouth open, fins spread probably looking just like it did the day it took the bait from Collier s fishing line. Collier hooked this large catch in a pond near his home in Black Creek, North Carolina, a rural community that presents a Mayberry-type charm framed against the picturesque, flat farm fields of Wilson County. In October, Collier was weedeating not far from that favorite pond, and what followed next is vividly etched in his memory, a moment frozen in time not unlike the prize catch mounted on his living room wall. 4 NHC / Living with Brio / Winter 2010

5 He was walking down a series of terraced steps, constructed to keep any water from overflowing, when his kneecap popped out, bending his leg completely behind him. Somehow, Collier was able to pop his kneecap back into place and get up. But when he headed toward his truck, the knee popped again, causing him to fall and break his back. He crawled two-tenths of a mile to get to his truck. He learned later that when his kneecap popped out, it tore the ligaments in his right leg causing them to retract just like a window shade. After extensive surgery to repair his leg, it came time for Collier to undergo rehabilitation. His physician and fellow parishioners had one recommendation the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center (BTAR) on the campus of Nash Health Care. I have no doubt I could not have come home from the hospital without the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center. I had heard about it from a lot of friends it is the best place that I could conceive of anybody going for rehab or if you re recovering from having knee surgery or back surgery, he said. Collier still carries some of the reminders from that day. He still has a leg brace he has dubbed it his bionic leg and the injury to his back makes it necessary for him to have a back brace as well. Through it all, by his side, is Jean, his wife of 50 years, who enjoys reminiscing through black and white photos of their decades together. Mrs. Collier said she was incredibly pleased with the treatment her husband received while at BTAR. We all went to see the facility they gave us a tour. I was impressed from the moment I walked in. The facility is so beautiful. I have nothing but high praise for it, she said. It was so amazing; when you needed the nurses and buzzed, they were right there, immediately. Never did they fail. They were there instantly, and helped you with anything you asked. That was the most impressive thing I saw, period. Thousands of patients have walked through the doors of the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center during the last ten years. The center puts patients on the road to recovery, regaining skills needed for independent living, skills that were taken away due to a stroke, neurological disorder, joint replacement, brain injury, spinal cord injury, accident or illness. Health care employees guide them on their journey, taking them step-bystep past the colorful painted mural of the Rocky Mount cityscape, past I have no doubt I could not have come home from the hospital without the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center. the colorful fountain and old-fashioned streetlamp, and through the therapeutic walking garden; all of these items serve not only as décor, but as landmarks, celebrated by each step forward. Health care workers celebrate these daily victories with their patients, leaving footprints of inspiration and determination for others to follow on the pathway to independence. It has been a privilege to be able to offer these services to our community. Rehabilitation is a long and challenging process. It s during times like this that it is important to be close to home, friends and family, and that s one reason the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center was established, said Brian Agan, BTAR director. Serving these patients for the last ten years Earnest Collier Continue the excellent service at the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center. Never stop being nice and kind to people. This is one of your best assets. We are very thankful there is a place like this nearby. Your entire staff is wonderful, caring and experienced. Patient Testimony NHC / Living with Brio / Winter

6 and watching their incredible determination is inspiring because it enables us, as health care workers, to see their lives transform, and it is an incredible feeling to be a part of that process. The center opened in November 1999, and since then, it has served more than 6,000 patients. At the grand opening celebration, Bryant T. Aldridge, the former Nash Health Care CEO for whom the facility was named, joined county officials, local dignitaries, and keynote speaker Ted Kennedy Jr. to cut the ribbon, signifying a new era at Nash Health Care. Kennedy, who lost his leg to cancer when he was 12, was keenly aware of the importance of the facility back in 1999 when he said: I admire your commitment. You have created a world-class rehabilitation center right here in Nash County. There are so many places in this country where people have to travel for hours and hours for rehabilitation while being separated from their families. This new facility is equal to any medical facility in the world. It s not a luxury. It s a necessity. It is truly visionary. It is a vision for which many patients are thankful. Larry Chewning, CEO concurs As a relative newcomer to Nash County, I can tell you that the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center has an outstanding reputation that expands far beyond the borders of Nash County, said Chewning, who took the helm of Nash Health Care in It is so much more than just a gateway to independence; it is a tangible reflection of everything a community health care system should strive to be. It is such a blessing to have a world-class facility like the rehabilitation center within easy reach of patients in Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson and surrounding counties. As for Collier, he is still continuing his journey toward independence. Currently, he has a therapist visit him at his home to help him continue with his physical therapy. It is a slow journey, one that requires patience and innovation not unlike catching a prize fish. Mrs. Collier said the quality of care her husband received at BTAR was critical in his success today. It is the best place around if you have to have therapy, she said. I d crawl there if I had to. Everyone was wonderful and the (Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center) was fabulous. I would recommend it for everyone who needs therapy. I thought I would never walk again, and wouldn t if it had not been for this center. This place is number one in my heart and I thank you for all your services. Patient Testimony You cannot know how much my family and I appreciate all that you and your excellent staff did for her [ my mother] during her week at BTAR...it was quite comforting to me and my family knowing that she was in such good hands. Patient Testimony Quick facts about the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center Opened in November 1999 Named after Bryant T. Aldridge, President and CEO of Nash Health Care Systems from its opening day in 1971 until November, ,763 square feet 23 beds Swimming pool for aquatic therapy (3 feet to 6 feet deep) The center also offers an AquaFit water exercise program Large therapy gym (47 x 28) Dining room and scenic patio with a view of a pond. Therapeutic recreation area Therapeutic walking garden for patients to re-acclimate themselves on different walking surfaces Transitional living suite: An actual apartment with bedroom and kitchen where patients will test their re-learned skills. The center s therapists specialize in many different disciplines. The center has: Four McKenzie-Certified therapists One certified hand therapist One lymphedema-certified therapist One certified ergonomic specialist A support group for stroke and brain injury survivors. Pediatric rehabilitation services A Nintendo Wii gaming system for use in helping rehabilitation patients develop balance, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. For more information on the Bryant T. Aldridge Rehabilitation Center, call or visit and take a virtual tour Reservations about resveratrol and acai berries Do much-hyped products deliver? It does seem logical. After all, resveratrol is the substance in red wine and red grape juice that gives them their heart-healthy properties. So packaging resveratrol into a tablet would also be healthy. Wouldn t it? Studies aren t so sure. While there s plenty of evidence for red wine and grape juice, studies are not clear if concentrated resveratrol is effective or even if it s safe, according to Consumer Reports on Health. Acai berries are another issue. These berries (and resveratrol) were pushed into the public eye after appearing on Oprah. Acai berries come from a South American palm tree, and while they have lots of antioxidants, it s hard to find any studies that conclusively link acai berries to improved health. So be wary about any advertisements for these products the Better Business Bureau is already investigating some web sites who are using misleading marketing practices to sell the berries. Instead, stick to the grape juice and red wine (in moderation, of course). 6 NHC / Living with Brio / Winter 2010

7 ChronicStress Beat in 2010 By: Gail Lisson, Psy.D C ongratulations on surviving the stressful events of If you are still deciding on a New Year s resolution for 2010, reducing chronic stress can be one of the most important ways to improve your health during the upcoming year. Everyone can agree we are living in stressful times. What precipitates stress varies from individual to individual. Stress can manifest physically and emotionally and, when untreated, has been demonstrated to increase one s risk of heart disease, depression, anxiety disorders, obesity (related to emotionally-driven eating), gastrointestinal distress, a weakened immune system, and insomnia. Psychologists identify three types of stress: acute, chronic and post-traumatic. Let s focus on chronic stress because this can lead to serious health problems. Symptoms of chronic stress include: fatigue, chest pain or pressure, fast heart rate, dizziness, shakiness, difficulty breathing, irregular menstrual cycles, erectile dysfunction, loss of sex drive, loss of appetite, overeating, problems sleeping and abdominal pain or diarrhea. Why not consider making your 2010 New Year s resolution to identify and eliminate chronic stress in your life? Here are 10 recommendations to reduce chronic stress in Re-evaluate and reduce your personal and family-related commitments. Maybe driving your kids to 10 extracurricular activities each week is just too much. 8. Resolve or terminate stressful personal relationships. This can be a challenge, especially if the relationship involves a family member, close personal friend or spouse. You will likely need family or professional support to successfully navigate this potential minefield. 9. Resolve work-related stress, when possible. Some positions are inherently stressful (i.e. law enforcement, etc.) However, by reducing drama with co-workers, focusing on the job at hand, and communicating effectively, stress in the workplace can be kept to a minimum. 10. Avoid smoking, alcohol and drug use as a means to manage stress. While these habits might provide immediate and temporary relief, they will eventually increase chronic stress over time. Stress can precipitate a prescription medication chemical dependency. If you find yourself using more prescription medications (i.e. sleep, anti-anxiety, or pain medications) than safely prescribed, consult your doctor to prevent addiction. Even utilizing only one strategy to reduce stress can yield encouraging results and foster a sense of accomplishment that meets your 2010 resolution. 1. Begin regular, moderate exercise: A simple 15-minute walk per day can reduce stress. 2. Maintain regular sleep habits: Most people need to sleep at least 6 to 8 hours per night. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and reducing caffeine are two simple ways to improve the quality of your sleep. 3. Practice relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, several times per day. 4. Get organized. It s much easier to remain focused and calm during life s stressors when you can find your cell phone, car keys, and checkbook. Make lists and refer to them often. Organization will improve efficiency with daily tasks and lead to more free time. Remember chance favors the prepared mind. 5. Manage your time appropriately. Trying to be three places at one time is a recipe for disaster. Spending your weeks harried and rushed will exacerbate chronic stress. 6. Reduce overspending, which can lead to financial distress. Create a monthly budget and stick to it. Save more. Dr. Lisson is a licensed clinical psychologist in the states of North Carolina and Florida and is fellowship-trained in health psychology. Her expertise includes working with patients who experience stress related to their medical problems, promoting better medical compliance and health care behavior and evaluating patients for surgical risk and readiness. To learn more about Dr. Lisson and her solo, private practice at the Center for Health Solutions, PLLC, please visit her website at NHC / Living with Brio / Winter

8 With the new strain of H1N1 swine flu making its way around the globe, many adults and those at high risk have been encouraged to get the H1N1 vaccination. But this vaccination won t provide protection for the regular seasonal flu. There s another vaccine for that. It can be hard to keep all the vaccinations straight. Therefore, with thanks to the Centers for Disease Control, we ve provided this handy table to use as a reference. Guide to Vaccines F O R A D U L T S What s in a name? Shakespeare obviously didn t care roses by any other name smell just as sweet. But when it comes to the names of diseases, the words may be a mouthful. Here are some of the technical terms and their common names. Pertussis (per tus sis) = whooping cough Varicella (var i cel la) = chicken pox Zoster (zos ter) = shingles HPV = human papilloma (pap il lo ma) virus Influenza (in flu en za) = flu Vaccine Who should receive it How often Hepatitis A Hepatitis B HPV Influenza (flu) Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) Meningitis Pneumonia TDP (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis-i.e. whooping cough) Chicken pox Anyone who shares needles, has chronic liver disease or plans to travel to certain countries. Health care workers, those who have had multiple sex partners, HIV patients, those who travel to certain countries, those who have chronic liver disease, failing kidneys, or renal disease Girls and women who haven t been infected with the human papillomavirus. Certain types of the HPV virus can lead to cervical cancer or genital warts and other sexually transmitted diseases. Everyone, but particularly those over 50 and those who have weakened immune systems. Those under 50 and those with the following health conditions: diabetes, failing kidneys, chronic lung, heart or liver disease, HIV and those who ve had their spleen removed. Pregnant women should NOT receive the vaccine. Those who have had their spleen removed, those who are planning to travel to certain countries, or those who live in a college dorm. Those 65 and older and people with the following health conditions: diabetes, chronic heart, liver or lung disease. However, this vaccine should NOT be given to those with asthma. Everyone should have tetanus and diphtheria vaccines. Anyone who has never had chicken pox or has never been vaccinated. Pregnant women should NOT be vaccinated. 2 doses over 12 to 18 months 3 doses over 6 months 3 doses over 6 months Yearly Shingles For those age 60 and over Once 1 or 2 doses, as needed. 1 or more doses, as needed. Once, or twice if you have certain risk factors Every 10 years. Pregnant women should speak with their physician and follow his or her recommendations. 2 doses over 4 to 8 weeks 8 NHC / Living with Brio / Winter 2010

9 T h e F u t u r e o f H e a l t h C a r e Look deeply, carefully, and closely into our crystal ball nah, just kidding! We don t have a crystal ball, and we re sure we d be skeptical about it if we did have one. But who needs a crystal ball when you have a wealth of informational resources on the future of health care at your fingertips? We ve gleaned some of the most interesting, promising and, we confess, most unusual, tidbits of information and presented them in this regular Brio feature IBM indicates that a crystal ball may not be too far from reality. After assessing your personalized gene sequence (which costs around $200), medications and pharmaceuticals can be tailored to your individual needs. (Note to the folks at IBM um we hope you didn t take offense to our earlier crystal ball comment.) The Cleveland Clinic predicts that we will soon have an organ pump that will allow a donor heart to be kept viable for up to 12 hours. For comparison, refrigerated hearts must be transplanted within four hours. Speaking of looking into the future, doctors may soon be able to diagnose Alzheimer s disease by looking into your eyes. According to New Scientist, laser devices which are already used to monitor glaucoma can evaluate the optic nerve disc shapes that are seen on many diagnosed with Alzheimer s. NHC / Living with Brio / Winter

10 Did Heartburn Heat Up Your Holiday? exposure of the lower esophagus to stomach acid can lead to damage to the lining of the esophagus, strictures (narrowing), which can cause problems swallowing, and may predispose to the development of esophageal cancer. Fortunately, the Nash Heartburn Treatment Center is available locally to help you take the heat out of your future holiday celebrations. The first of its kind in the nation, the Nash Heartburn Treatment Center offers just the right recipe to keep heartburn from controlling your life. Located at the Claude Mayo Surgery Pavilion, a state-of-the-art facility at Nash Health Care, the treatment center has been used as a model for similar centers across the country. The Nash Heartburn Treatment Center offers relief through a full array of diagnostic tests, medical therapy and minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgical procedures. Our care is provided by board-certified physicians and registered nurses specially trained in chronic heartburn management. Our nurse coordinator is always just a phone call away which means you get answers immediately, not 24-hours later. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, please call the Nash Heartburn Treatment Center to set up an appointment with our clinical care nurse coordinator: A painful, burning sensation in the upper chest or abdomen It may be a new year, but millions of Americans are coping with the same old story: chronic heartburn. Difficulty sleeping after eating Regurgitation of food or acid reflux Difficulty swallowing Unexplained chest pain Chronic hoarseness, cough, throat clearing and/or sore throat If your current medication for GERD is no longer working For most people, heartburn is an occasional event, easily cured with an over-the-counter antacid or avoidance of spicy foods. But for some, heartburn is a disease that alters their life. Avoiding meals after four or five o clock in the evening, modifying diets, taking antacids all day and sleeping upright in a chair at night are just some of the ways chronic heartburn sufferers seek relief from the discomfort and lifestyle disruptions caused by reflux. In a patient with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the lower portion of the esophagus (the lower esophageal sphincter or LES) no longer functions properly. This permits acidic stomach contents to travel backwards into the esophagus, causing irritation, pain and, eventually, damage to the lining of the esophagus. If heartburn is severe and not well-controlled with anti-heartburn medications or if it occurs over a prolonged period of time, it can become a serious problem. Repetitive Worsening asthma, frequent bronchitis with no explanation To set up an appointment call or visit the website at 10 NHC / Living with Brio / Winter 2010

11 Simple Steps, Big Results Follow these tips to be on the road to a healthier life A new year, a new you? While most New Year s resolutions are formed with the best intentions, it s very easy to slide back into old and often unhealthy habits. Jennifer Stephenson, RN, an exercise specialist with the HealthFirst Wellness Center, knows that many times, big changes can come in small steps. Many times, people become frustrated because they try to make huge changes in a short amount of time. Actually, even just walking for 15 to 30 minutes a day can be the first step to a healthier lifestyle, she said. At HealthFirst, we offer exercise classes for all fitness levels, and we can show you exercises that are specifically geared for those who have arthritis or other health issues. Many of these small steps can equal big changes, and a big benefit for your help. Often the first step is the hardest, which is why the HealthFirst Wellness Center at Nash Health Care has dedicated itself to helping you get into a fitness routine all of the center s exercise specialists are registered nurses or have a four-year college degree in exercise science. Walking 3,000 steps in 30 minutes at least five days a week is all you need to meet the government s recommended fitness goals. We ve already crunched the numbers, and while one step varies depending upon your height, foot size, gait you get the picture roughly, 2,000 steps is equal to one mile. Heart failure can frighten many away from the treadmill, but research has shown that those who exercise regularly actually improve and strengthen their heart cutting their risk of premature death by 11 percent over three years. The HealthFirst Wellness Center offers a specialized program for those undergoing cardio-pulmonary (heart / lung) rehabilitation. The center also facilitates support groups such as the Better Breather s Club and Healthy Hearts, which meet monthly. Following are some additional wellness tips to help you find the solution for your resolution: Chill out Anger can not only cause you to have the reputation of being a grouch, but it also harms the heart. According to Consumer Reports on Health, scientific studies demonstrate that those who are angry are 11 times more likely to experience dangerous heart-rhythm problems over the next two to four years. Dr. Gail Lisson provides helpful advice on how to deal with stress in this edition of Living with Brio on page 7. Wash your hands It sounds deceptively simple and it is. Washing your hands is still one of the best ways to combat germs and stay healthy. Wash your hands using warm water and soap for at least the same amount of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday at a normal pace. Don t get spoiled Did you know that most food poisoning stems from chicken? According to the Centers for Disease Control, many of these cases could have been prevented if the chicken was cooked properly an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Use a meat thermometer and be safe. Prescription for trouble Do not stop taking medicine or adjust dosages yourself. This should only be done under supervision of your physician. In addition, remember that even natural herbal remedies and over-the-counter medications can interact and cause problems. This is why it is important to have a physician and yearly physicals and tests as he or she directs. For more information on living a healthier lifestyle, check out the many community education classes and support groups available at Nash Health Care by visiting For more information on support groups, or cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation, contact the HealthFirst Wellness Center at NHC / Living with Brio / Winter

12 l w b F e a t u r e A r t i c l e Ignore no more symptoms shouldn t get the silent treatment your health may be at stake. These10 Everyone knows to call in an emergency, or to pay careful attention to alarming symptoms such as chest pain, unexplained bleeding or vision loss, but not all serious ailments announce themselves loudly. The Mayo Clinic provides this list of 10 symptoms that may not seem too bad, but can signify serious health conditions. Therefore, these are some cases where ignorance is definitely not bliss. 1 Sudden, unintentional weight loss Unexplained changes in bowel habits Diarrhea (both severe and mild), constipation that lasts longer than two weeks, and blood in the stool are some indications that you may have a viral or parasitic infection. However, because there are several different causes for bowel problems, only a doctor can give a correct diagnosis. 2 If you re not on a diet and exercise regimen [and, by the way, you should check with your physician or a nutritionist for the correct way to eat right and exercise], unintentional weight loss shouldn t be ignored. If you lose more than 5 percent of your weight within one month or 10 percent of your weight within six to 12 months, you should check with your doctor. Unexplained weight loss can indicate problems with your thyroid, liver, or disorders that interfere with how your body absorbs nutrients. Unexplained weight loss may also be a symptom of cancer or depression. 3 Change in mental status If you or someone you love seems to be confused (more so than normal), disoriented or suddenly aggressive or hallucinating, an immediate medical evaluation is needed. Mental changes can be caused by low blood sugar, strokes, infections or head injury and even medication. Shortness of breath 4 So it s been a while since you got on the treadmill and you re huffing and puffing in an effort to get back in shape. Relax. That s not the shortness of breath we re talking about. If you are unable to get your breath or wheezing or gasping for air, seek emergency treatment. There are a wide range of reasons for breathing difficulties chronic bronchitis, COPD, asthma, heart problems, panic attacks, pneumonia, or blood clots in the lungs, according to information from the Mayo Clinic. 12 NHC / Living with Brio / Winter 2010

13 Flashes of light 5 Feeling full with too little Nausea and vomiting that last more than a week is a huge red flag, as well as feeling full sooner than normal these could indicate stomach cancer, ovarian cancer or pancreatic cancer, according to information from the Mayo Clinic. 6 If you suddenly experience flashing lights, this could be a warning sign of retina detachment. In order to save your vision, you need immediate medical attention. 8 Persistent fever We re not talking about an alarming high fever, the kind that registers at 103 F with shaking and chills. We re talking about a persistent low-grade fever, around F, that lasts for a week or more. If your immune system is functioning alright and you aren t undergoing chemotherapy or treatment for cancer, you should check with your physician. Why? This may indicate hidden infections, ranging from tuberculosis to a urinary tract infection, as well as malignant cancer conditions. If a lowgrade fever persists for more than two weeks, check with your doctor. Severe (or new) headaches Do not ignore headaches that may be sudden or severe often called thunderclap headaches. While headaches can be caused by head injuries, they can also indicate a host of other potential problems ranging from stroke, meningitis, aneurysm or a brain tumor. 9 Any short-term loss of vision, speaking or movement control 10 Red, hot or swollen joint This could indicate a joint infection. Immediate medical care is necessary to save the limb and prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the body. These are not minor symptoms. In many cases, these may be the first warning signs of a stroke. Seek immediate emergency care, especially if you have: Blurring or loss of vision Weakness or numbness in the face A thunderclap headache Difficulty speaking 7 Difficulty understanding speech Dizziness or unsteadiness. NHC / Living with Brio / Winter

14 Can you have a stroke and not know it? It sounds almost impossible that something as debilitating and life-threatening as a stroke could go unnoticed, but according to a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, almost 18 percent of a study group (age 45 and older) reported at least one stroke symptom, but had not been told that they had a mini stroke. The research team interviewed 18,400 Americans and asked them if they had experienced symptoms of a stroke. Almost 18 percent reported at least one symptom, and of that 18 percent, 8 percent had sudden numbness on one side of their bodies and 4 percent reported they had suddenly lost the ability to express themselves verbally or in writing. The study concluded that many patients lacked information about stroke symptoms, and as a result, they may have had a stroke without realizing it or being officially diagnosed. The study re-emphasizes the importance of recognizing stroke symptoms and receiving immediate medical attention; many life-saving medications must be taken immediately after the onset of a stroke in order to be most effective. Cardiovascular diseases and stroke are still the number one killers of Americans. To increase awareness and to promote education concerning heart-healthy habits, February has been designated as American Heart Month. For more information on heart disease, visit the website for the American Heart Association at americanheart.org The signs of a stroke include: Sudden weakness or numbness in the face, arm, or leg on one side of the body Abrupt loss of vision, strength, coordination, sensation, speech, or the ability to understand speech. Sudden dimness of vision especially if this dimness occurs only in one eye. Sudden loss of balance. This may be accompanied by nausea, fever, or trouble with swallowing Sudden and severe headaches with no other cause Brief loss of consciousness Unexplained dizziness or sudden falls Health Questions you may be too embarrassed to ask Q: I have been having trouble with constipation especially when I travel. What should I do? Is it okay to take laxatives? Are some laxatives better than others? A: If only regulating your body s bowels were as simple as calling a plumber. Many factors can trigger constipation travel, diet, reduced exercise and while a few days of constipation may be intensely annoying, it is most likely not a cause for alarm. According to Consumer Reports on Health, usually just returning to your normal routine is enough to get things moving in the right direction. Adding plenty of fiber, produce and whole grains to your diet can also help. However, if that fails, there s nothing wrong with the use of a short-term laxative. Supplements containing fiber such as Metamucil or its generic versions seem to have the best evidence for safety and effectiveness. Next, you might want to try over the counter laxatives, and many varieties are available. Consumer Reports recommends MiraLax and its generics, but cautions against using laxatives like Correctol, Dulcolax, Ex-lax and Senokot for more than a few days, because side effects such as cramping and diarrhea are possible. Finally, if those do not work, it is time to see your physician. Not only will your physician be able to write a prescription, but more important, he or she will be able to get to the bottom (pardon the pun) of what may be causing your constipation. Constipation may be caused by an underactive thyroid gland, or, much less common, colon cancer. Constipation may also be a part of a condition called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 14 NHC / Living with Brio / Winter 2010

15 What our patients are saying I can t thank you enough for your making my mom s stay so comfortable during her surgery of a total knee replacement. She is doing very well. Your kindness to us will last a lifetime. A special thank you to the staff who made my stay comfortable and special. Each one treated me like a VIP. There was nothing I needed that they did not give. They went above and beyond to make sure I had my needs met. Especially my nurse (Kristen, RN); she took the time to take my prescriptions to the pharmacy and also picked them up for me, saving me the extra wait. I was a patient at Nash General Hospital when Dr. Christian Mann performed gastric bypass surgery on me I wish to thank all of the wonderful staff of the Nash Surgical Weight Loss Center that have supported me throughout and during this life-changing process at Nash General Hospital also, a special thanks to the wonderful nursing staff at Nash General Hospital on the Fourth Floor. Thank you so much for taking such good care of me and my baby girls while we were in the hospital. We had a really good experience when my son was delivered at Nash, so we knew we definitely wanted to go back. I m sure that you do not hear thank you enough so I wanted to send a quick note to say that you are appreciated. I was a patient in room 454 the tender loving care that I received from the medical professionals on this floor was outstanding they made a difficult time a whole heck of a lot easier. Thank you all for being so caring and thoughtful when I was a patient in the hospital. It meant so much to me to have such pleasant nurses and aids to take care of me. May you all continue to have the good personality and humor that you had when I was there. God bless you and I will always remember you. R E A D E R R E C I P E Relish Salad* Ingredients: 1 can French style green beans, drained 1 can peas, drained 1 can shoepeg corn, drained 1.4 oz jar pimentos, drained 1 green pepper, chopped 1 cup celery, finely chopped 1 cup onion, finely chopped 1 tsp. salt 1 cup sugar ¾ cup vinegar 1 tsp pepper ½ cup vegetable oil Ann Bunn was thoughtful enough to let us sample one of her recipes. So feel free to go green with this relish salad. Mix all vegetables together. Combine salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar and oil. Pour over vegetables. Mix and let sit for 24 hours in refrigerator. Drain before serving. * The fabulously delicious recipes featured in this column should be consumed in moderation, especially those high in fat and sugar. Remember that diet and exercise go a long way toward a healthier life. We heard you! Thanks so much to all of you who participated in our Living with Brio survey. The feedback we received will help us provide you with health information that is informative, timely, and entertaining. Roughly 18,000 copies of Living with Brio are distributed each quarter to different zip codes in the Nash, Edgecombe, Wilson, Wake and Franklin county areas. We d like to present some of the results from our survey: 98 % of our respondents said Living with Brio provides useful information. 94 % reported that they read all or most of each edition All of our respondents (100%) said they found Living with Brio to be an excellent source of health information. 76 % said they have made lifestyle changes as a direct result of the information gleaned from Living with Brio At Nash Health Care, we want to be sure you ve got our number. Therefore, to make contacting hospital departments and divisions easier, all of our phone prefixes have been changed to 962. For a list of updated phone numbers, please visit our website at Congratulations to the following survey participants who were our prize winners: First place, Christine Richardson (pictured) of Enfield, who has won a one-year membership to the HealthFirst Wellness Center and a dinner for two. The following each received a copy of the Merck Manual of Medical Information Second place, Joyce Poland of Elm City Third place, George Robbins of Rocky Mount Fourth place, Willie Brake of Rocky Mount Fifth place, Jim Howell of Wilson NHC / Living with Brio / Winter

16 NASH HEALTH CARE It s all about how we treat you Nonprofit Organization US Postage PAID Rocky Mount, NC Permit No Curtis Ellis Drive, Rocky Mount, NC Heartburn.Spicy Food. Oneof them had togo. Just askcarolyn. After battling acid reflux for five years, Carolyn's prescription medication was making little difference. She was desperate for a new solution. Then Carolyn discovered the Nash Heartburn Treatment Center. When she came in for an examination and diagnosis, the doctors found the answer to her problem well, actually two answers. Carolyn needed her gall bladder removed, too. The doctors handled both surgeries at the same time and, because of medical advancements and new methodologies, there weren't even any scars. Now Carolyn can order up whatever her heart desires, and she knows she won't get burned. Nash Heatburn TreatmentCenter

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