Heartburn: What is it? How Can it Be Treated?

Ouch! A mean heartburn can destroy the memory of even the most delicious meal.

Do you feel a burning sensation in your chest? You're most likely experiencing the pain of heartburn, especially if it's right after a meal or in the middle of the night. Heartburn occurs when the esophagus does not close completely, allowing stomach acid to enter.

Most people experience heartburn from time to time, but if you are feeling it on a regular basis, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This means your esophagus has weakened or isn't functioning properly. Fortunately, there are many treatment options that may help.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes all you need is a few shifts in your daily routine to solve the problem. Give these a try:

  • Finding your trigger foods – Take note of when heartburn flares up, and what you've been eating. See a pattern? That may be your trigger food. Take it out of your diet and see what happens.
  • Inspecting your wardrobe – Tight clothing can make digestion difficult.
  • Timing your meals – Eating right before bed is asking for trouble. Have dinner early and stay upright for several hours afterward.
  • Sleeping right – When you do go to sleep, make sure you've chosen a position and pillow that keeps your head raised above your chest.
  • Losing weight – Obesity can often cause GERD. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about a safe diet and exercise plan.

Medicine

If lifestyle changes aren't working, your physician may be able to find a medication that will. This may be necessary if your heartburn is linked to pregnancy, menopause, or another uncontrollable factor.

Procedures

In extreme cases, surgeries are available to help patients with GERD find relief. If you've tried everything else, ask your doctor if this option is right for you. To find a physician who can help you, call our free referral line at 1-855-836-6682 or Find A Doctor online.

Is your diet making you sick? You can learn more about the connection between your health and your food when you attend our next Health Extra for Women event! We're meeting this Thursday, 4/17/14, at 11:30. Please register to let us know you are coming.

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Understanding Joint Pain

When your joints hurt, you'll find it impossible to keep your spirits up. Find relief today!

Ouch! There are few things worse than a painful struggle to walk, write, or perform your other daily tasks. Unfortunately, joint pain is a common ailment among many in the United States. If you are a victim of a painful wrist, shoulder, hip, or knee, know that relief is possible. Your first step is to understand exactly what's going on when you feel that twinge of discomfort.

Why Do Joints Hurt?

Any damage or change to your joint could result in discomfort. Some of the most common causes of pain include:

  • Arthritis – Inflammation in the joints is the number one cause of pain.
  • Old injuries – If you hurt your knee or shoulder in your younger years, that injury could have caused permanent damage that results in long-term pain.
  • Tendonitis – Inflamed tendons can make moving your joints uncomfortable.
  • Fibromyalgia – This condition can make joints and other parts of the body tender to touch.

Finding Relief

Once your doctor has pinpointed the cause of your joint pain, you can start exploring possible treatment options. Some cases may respond well to simple stretches and exercises taught by a physical therapist. In more severe cases, the possibility of surgery may be discussed. Although this may have a higher price tag upfront, along with some recovery time, the long-term relief is well worth it for many patients.

If you are experiencing joint pain, answers are within reach! Our orthopedic team can help find the cause and a solution that provides relief for your discomfort. Get started with a free physician referral when you call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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Tips for Choosing a New Doctor

Looking for a new doctor? Don't settle until you find the one who is right for you!

Whether you're searching for a family physician or a specialist, choosing the right doctor is essential for both your physical health and emotional well-being. This isn't a decision to be rushed. Take your time and make sure you select the right physician for you or your loved one. These tips can make the process easier.

Decide what's important to you.

One patient may love a doctor, while another may leave his office vowing never to return. Everyone has different needs and preferences. Decide what's most important to you. What kind of personality soothes you best when you are facing a hard situation? Do you want a doctor who leans more toward holistic or traditional treatment options? Does the location or distance of the office matter? Make a list of the most important qualities you are looking for.

Seek recommendations from trusted friends.

Online research can only tell you so much. If you know someone who has seen that doctor before, you can receive honest feedback about his style, personality, and competence.

Find out who's covered by your insurance.

You don't want to pay out-of-pocket, especially if you are looking for long-term care. If your insurance limits who you can see, make sure every doctor you consider will be covered.

Schedule an appointment.

The final test is to actually meet your new doctor. Remember, just because you see a doctor once doesn't mean you have to go back to him. Be ready to ask a lot of questions and make observations about his manner and communication style while you are there.

You can always receive a trustworthy doctor referral through Tennova Healthcare. Just stop by our physician directory or give us a call at 1-855-TENNOVA.

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5 Things to Do Before You Go into Labor

If you're nearing your due date, make sure you have these five things in order!

Your 40 weeks are almost up, and soon you'll have the newest addition to your family in your arms! While this is a time of much excitement, it is also a period of preparation. What are the top five things you want to accomplish before your first labor pains arrive? Read on.

  1. Take a birthing class. If you are a first-time mom, a little education and support will make you feel more confident and brave as the big day arrives. You'll learn what to expect and how to best manage your pain, and you'll be able to ask any questions you may have.
  2. Write out your birth plan. This document will help the doctors and nurses attending you understand your wishes on the big day. As your labor becomes more intense, you may struggle to communicate. A birth plan will make sure everyone is on the same page.
  3. Preregister at the hospital. You know all that paperwork you usually have to fill out before you see a doctor? You can get that out of the way when you aren't trying to measure your contractions.
  4. Pack your bag. You'll need clothes for yourself and your baby, toiletries, and some entertainment. It may not fit in your bag, but a car seat is also essential from day one. Get it installed in your car today.
  5. Arrange for childcare. If this isn't your first baby, you'll need someone to take care of your children once you go into labor.

Where you decide to deliver your baby is one of the most important parts of creating an ideal birthing plan. Have you looked into the Labor & Delivery Center at Tennova Healthcare? If you need help finding the right doctor, give us a call at (855) 836-6682.

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Know Your Numbers

When was the last time you tested your blood pressure or cholesterol levels?

Want an accurate evaluation of your heart health? Two tests can give you the information you need. Everyone should know their numbers – their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. But what exactly do these numbers tell you? Let's review.

Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure results will come in as two different numbers, a larger number on the top and the smaller on the bottom. The top number tells you how much pressure is in your arteries during a heartbeat. The bottom number measures the pressure between heartbeats. Ideally, your numbers should be below 120/80. The risks associated with high blood pressure begins at 140/90.

Cholesterol

Your test will measure three types of cholesterol.

LDL and Triglycerides are the "bad" cholesterols. The lower the number, the better. You want less than 100 mg/dL for both. If your number reaches over 150, start to get worried.

On the other hand, HDL is the "good" cholesterol. You want more of it! If your number is above 60 mg/DL, you're in the clear. If it's under 40, you have a higher risk for heart disease.

You can get more information about your risk for high blood pressure at our website. Take our Blood Pressure Quiz today! If your risk is above average, you may want to talk with a trusted doctor about prevention strategies. Receive a free referral when you call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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How to Live Heart Healthy

Do your heart a favor with these healthy lifestyle changes!

Heart disease is the number one threat to both men and women living in the United States. Chances are, someone close to you has struggled with a cardiac complication at some point. Today is the day to start protecting yourself! These heart healthy tips could save your life down the road.

  • Start exercising. Your heart needs to get pumping to stay in tip-top shape. Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardio every day.
  • Clean up your diet. Your two biggest culprits when it comes to heart health are sodium and fat. Try to bring in more veggies, while cutting back on red meats and fried foods.
  • Put out that cigarette. Smoking not only puts your lungs at risk, it has been linked to increased instances of heart disease. Here's another reason to quit!
  • Talk to your doctor about your BMI. The media's standards for the "ideal body" may be unrealistic, but maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for heart health. Talk to your doctor about what's right for you. If you have some pounds to lose, he can help you get on a diet and exercise plan that's safe and effective.
  • Adopt a few stress management techniques. Your emotions can leave a lasting mark on your physical health. If you struggle with high levels of stress, it's time to find a solution. Try journaling, meditation, or breathing exercises. No results? Don't be afraid to check in with a therapist.

Maintaining a healthy heart should be one of your top medical concerns. At Tennova Healthcare, we want to help. Whether you're experiencing chest pain or just a strange fluttering sensation, you can trust the answers and care that you receive from us. Learn more at our website, or ask about our Heart Month special programs when you call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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Dangers of Sports Drinks

If you're looking for something healthy to drink, start turning to water instead sports drinks.

They're marketed as the perfect companion to your exercise routine, but sports drinks may not be as healthy as you think. In fact, they may actually be dangerous to your health, rather than beneficial. Get ready to explore the dark side of these electrolyte-boosting concoctions.

The Sugar

It shouldn't come as a surprise – after all, most sports drinks are sickeningly sweet. Sugar is one of the primary ingredients. Each drink usually contains up to a quarter of a cup. Too much sugar can cause a host of health problems. Not only is it teeming with calories, it can upset your metabolism, affect your brain functioning, and put you at risk for cancer and liver disease.

The Sodium

Salt is another main ingredient in these drinks. Too much is not good for your cardiovascular health. It can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease or stroke.

The Caffeine

If your sports drink is actually labeled as an "energy drink," it more than likely has a large amount of caffeine. This may provide a boost on the field, but overdoing it can cause anxiety problems in adults and very serious health risks in children, such as seizures, heart palpitations, stroke, or, in extreme cases, sudden death.

If you have any further questions about sports safety and healthy eating and drinking habits, consult your primary care doctor. Need a physician referral? Tennova has you covered. Give us a call at 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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New Year, A New Healthier You

It's time to get serious about your health – what are your goals for 2014?

A new year has once again made its entrance. Do you have a routine of annually vowing to get in shape, begin a new diet, or start shedding pounds every January – only to find yourself back to your old lifestyle by the time February rolls around? It's time to break that cycle once and for all. Here are a few healthy changes you can make in 2014, and tips on how to make them stick.

Give up a vice.

Everyone has a weakness that just isn't good for their body. Whether you struggle with a nicotine addiction or you are ruled by a stubborn sweet tooth, this is the year to finally put that bad habit to rest. Get motivated by doing a little research, then slowly cut back until those behavior patterns are broken.

Make exercise a priority.

A little accountability and support can go a long way in this area. If you've abandoned solo fitness routines in the past, maybe it's time to take the next step by joining a gym or a class.

Talk to a doctor about safe and effective weight loss methods.

Obesity is a huge health risk that shouldn't be ignored. If healthy eating and consistent exercise aren't making any changes on your scale, your next move is to consult your doctor. He may find an underlying problem, and he can guide you to a solution that works.

If you are hoping to lose weight in 2014, partner up with Tennova to make those dreams a reality! You'll find the path that's most effective for your body, whether you take advantage of our fitness center, or you start gathering more information about surgical weight loss. To make an appointment, give us a call at 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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How to Beat The ‘Holiday Blues’

Don't let a cloud of depression hang over this holiday season.

Some may call it the most joyous time of the year, but there are many aspects of the holiday season that can actually bring you down. Unmet expectations, tight finances, fights among family members, reopened grief over the loss of a loved one, and even poor weather can create unhealthy thought patterns that are anything but festive. If you are prone to the holiday blues, these tips may help.

  • Let go of what you can't control. Whether it's an insensitive family member or a sold-out item on your child's wish list, your worries aren't going to help the situation. Perfectionism is toxic during the holiday season. Give yourself and the people around you a pass. You are all only human.
  • Keep your budget in check. The holidays are not worth a pile of debt in January. Your children don't need you to overspend in order to create amazing memories. Devise a reasonable budget and stick to it.
  • Don't neglect your health. Exercise, nutritious eating habits, and adequate sleep are essential to good mental health. Don't let your holiday festivities interfere with a commitment to healthy living.
  • Don't overbook yourself. A schedule packed with extra social activities and volunteer work will leave you feeling harried and empty. You need to take time to recharge.
  • Give yourself permission to grieve. The holidays are hard when you've lost a loved one. There's no getting around that fact. Denial will only make it worse. You are allowed to feel sad. If your grief becomes unmanageable, seek the guidance of a trusted counselor.

If your holiday blues have become a deeper issue than just a touch of stress or melancholy, you may benefit from the help of a professional. Take a look at our behavioral health services, or make an appointment now with one of our expert physicians.

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What Are the Dangers of Drowsy Driving?

When you're eyelids grow heavy, pull off the road.

Safe driving is about more than just obeying the speed limit, using your turn signal, and being careful while changing lanes. Safe drivers are those who know when not to drive. If anything is compromising your ability to focus and react, you don't belong behind the wheel. This includes alcohol, drugs, medications, certain illnesses, and even sleep deprivation.

How dangerous is drowsy driving? Just like driving while intoxicated, sleepy drivers have trouble concentrating, making safe decisions, and responding quickly to sudden movements. Check out these facts.

  • One-third of adults admit to falling asleep behind the wheel in the past year. This is a huge percentage of people who could cause fatal or life-altering accidents because they were too tired to drive safely that day.
  • An estimated 100,000 accidents are at the fault of a drowsy driver every year, yet drowsy driving is considered an underreported cause of accidents.
  • Out of these 100,00 accidents, 71,000 injuries are reported. These numbers are too close for comfort. Drowsy driving doesn't just put you at risk for a fender bender. This risky behavior often results in someone getting hurt.
  • 1,550 people die a year because of drowsy driving.
  • The property damages caused by drowsy driving each year total $12.5 billion. Can you afford that bill?
  • It's hard to nip drowsy driving in the bud. Consequences are often delayed until an accident has occurred. While a police officer may spot a reckless driver, there is no breathalyzer that tests for drowsiness. It is up to you to take responsibility for your own choices.

Sleep medicine specialists at Tennova Sleep Centers are available to help you diagnose a sleep disorder that may be affecting you. If you need a physician referral, Tennova Healthcare is here to help. Give us a call at 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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