Tips on Preventing Falls

Protect yourself and loved ones against the danger of falls.

Whether it starts with a slip, a trip, or a stumble, a fall can lead to serious injuries, especially among the elderly. Each year, one in three U.S. adults over 65 experiences a fall, and falls are the leading cause of injury, both fatal and nonfatal, for that age group. Here are some ways you can reduce the risk of falls.

Fall-proof Your Home

Some things you can do around the house to reduce the chance of falls include:

  • Keeping floors clear of clutter
  • Installing nightlights in the paths from bedrooms to bathrooms
  • Moving furniture that blocks pathways
  • Storing boxes away from doorways and halls
  • Immediately replacing loose floorboards or damaged tiles
  • Running electrical cords away from pathways
  • Installing motion-detection light switches
  • Installing grab rails near toilets and in bathtubs
  • Removing area rugs or using non-skid rugs
  • Installing hand rails on either side of stairways
  • Immediately wiping up spills on floors
  • Putting non-slip mats inside showers and tubs
  • Storing foods and other daily items where they are easily accessible and don’t require using a step stool to reach
  • Never standing on a chair or other piece of furniture to reach something

Fall-proof Outside Your Home

Some of the safety prevention measures you can take outdoors include:

Make Lifestyle Changes

Staying in overall good health and making certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of falls. Some of these steps include:

  • Getting regular eye exams
  • Doing exercises that increase bone strength, such as:

    • Walking
    • Jogging
    • Dancing
    • Lifting weights
  • Doing exercises that improve balance, such as tai chi
  • Always wearing shoes or slippers
  • Wearing sunglasses when walking outdoors
  • Learning about possible side effects from medication that might cause fatigue or dizziness
  • Not drinking alcohol in excess

Even by taking all these steps, someone can fall in or around your home. If an accidental fall occurs, the staff at Tennova Healthcare’s six Knoxville-area Emergency Departments are ready to help. For non-emergency medical needs, call 1-855-836-6682 for help scheduling an appointment.

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What You Should Know About Heat Stroke

With the summer comes an increased risk of this potentially deadly condition.

While most people enjoy the warm summer months, you can get too much of a good thing. During extreme heat and humidity, the risk of a heat stroke rises.

What Is Heat Stroke?

Of all the physical problems associated with excessive heat, heat stroke is the worst. With a heat stroke, the body loses the ability to regulate its own temperature. As body temperature soars, so does the risk of permanent injury to organs or even death.

While commonly associated with climatic conditions and not drinking enough fluids, these actions and conditions can also play a role:

  • Exercising or working extremely hard
  • Wearing heavy clothing
  • Having certain health problems, such heart disease, obesity, and alcoholism
  • Taking certain medications, such as diuretics

Some basic steps for preventing heat stroke include:

  • Avoiding physical activity outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wearing light, loose-fitting clothes
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Avoiding caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages

Symptoms

Symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Hot, dry, red skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Hallucinations
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Fever of more than 104° F
  • Unconsciousness

First Aid

If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 911, then take these steps for immediate treatment:

  • Put the person in a cool, shady spot.
  • Soak his/her clothes in water or spray cold water over the body.
  • If possible, place the entire body in cool water.
  • Fan the body.
  • If they’re available, place ice packs on the person's neck, head, armpits, and groin.
  • If the person begins to shiver, slow the treatment, as shivering raises the body’s temperature.

Cars and Kids

Heatstroke can strike children who are left unattended in cars. In just the first half of 2014, more than a dozen U.S. kids left in cars died from heat stroke. The message is clear: Never leave children alone in a car. And if you see an unattended child in a car, call 911.

At Tennova Healthcare, we know how serious heat-related disorders can be. Our Emergency Departments are ready to help when the heat become too much. For other conditions that don’t need immediate care, call us at 1-855-836-6682 for help scheduling an appointment.

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Prostate Health: What Men (& Women) Need to Know

This small gland in men can pose serious health problems.

Men—and the women who love them—should learn about possible medical concerns associated with the prostate gland. Located near the bladder, the prostate is part of the male reproductive system. Depending on their age, millions of men face three major prostate health problems.

Prostatitis

This inflammation or irritation of the prostate is most common in men under 50. Symptoms include:

  • A burning feeling during urination
  • Feeling the urge to urinate frequently
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Depending on the cause of the inflammation, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics, warm baths, or alpha blockers.

Enlarged Prostate

An enlarged prostate, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is common among many men over 50. As they age, their prostate enlarges, and this puts pressure on the urethra. Symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Trouble starting the urine stream
  • Decreased pressure of the stream
  • Pushing or straining to urinate
  • Feeling that the bladder is not empty, even after done urinating
  • Dribbling after urination ends

Treatments for BPH include:

  • Taking alpha blockers or other prescription medications
  • Several forms of low-level radiation
  • Surgery

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is another concern for men over 50, especially given how common it is. Almost 15 percent of American men will develop the disease. But it is also treatable if caught early and often progresses very slowly, so many doctors recommend “watchful waiting” before trying treatments with possible extreme side effects.

Some of the risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Race – African Americans are more likely to develop it
  • Family history of the disease
  • A diet high in red meat and dairy products

Recommendations for screening for prostate cancer with either a digital exam or the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test recently changed. Between the ages of 40 and 54, men without high risk factors generally don't need to be screened so be sure to discuss your risk factor with your doctor. Men over 55 or who have special concerns should discuss the possible pluses and minues of screening with their doctors.

At Tennova Healthcare, we know the concerns many men have about prostate health–and often the women in their lives share it. That’s why our Women’s Health Extra program is offering a session on prostate health on June 26. Call 855-836-6682 for more information.

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Tips on Getting Fit and Avoiding Injuries (Be Careful, Weekend Warriors)

Take precautions so your exercise session doesn’t lead to any pain or strain.

Maybe you’ve been seriously pursuing physical fitness for years. Maybe you’re just starting a regular exercise regimen to help you get fit. Regardless of your experience level, you run the risk of injuring yourself—if you’re not careful about the exercises you do and how you do them. Here are some tips for avoiding injury when you exercise.

For Runners

Warming up not only helps prevent injury. It also keeps you from getting going too fast and burning out during your run.  Warm ups can include:

  • Walking gently for a few minutes
  • Jogging
  • Running in several short bursts of about 100 yards
  • Dynamic stretching, which can include:

    • Skipping
    • Side stepping
    • Imitating the leg lifts used to play hackey-sack

Other steps runners can take to reduce the risk of injury include:

  • Run on soft surfaces.
  • Rest one or two days between running sessions.
  • Strengthen leg muscles through exercise.

For Weightlifters

Weightlifters can get some serious injuries if they’re not careful. Some of them include:

  • Joint dislocations
  • Back strain
  • Muscle tears

Even less serious injuries are no fun, but they can be avoided by:

  • Stretching before working out
  • Doing exercises designed to improve core strength, such as planks or bridges, or exercises with a stability ball
  • Learning the correct form from a trainer
  • Paying attention to any strange clicking or popping noises in joints and getting them checked out

Some General Tips

No matter what kind of exercise you enjoy, doing these things can help you avoid injury:

  • Warm up before starting.
  • Cool down after.
  • Stretch slowly.
  • Wear the proper shoes and other clothing for your sport and make sure they fit correctly.
  • Eat properly and drink plenty of water.
  • Seek treatment for any exercise-related injury.

At Tennova Healthcare, we know the value of regular exercise for good health. Our Health and Fitness Center in Powell is a modern facility complete with a pool, gymnasium, indoor and outdoor tracks, and weights and exercise equipment of all kinds. We also have trainers who can help you exercise smartly and safely. To learn more about the center and membership options, call (865) 859-7900.

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Which Type of Sunscreen Should You be Using?

Make sure you are getting all the protection you need from your sunscreen.

If you are planning to spend some time under the sun, wearing sunscreen is your best bet for preventing a sunburn today and skin cancer farther down the road. But not all sunscreen provides equal protection. Here's what you should look for while scanning your options at the store:

UVA and UVB Protection

You need a sunscreen that guards you against both. Some will only offer protection against UVB rays. While this may prevent sunburns, UVA rays can still cause skin damage, early aging, and skin cancer.

SPF

The minimum number you should accept on your sunscreen is SPF 15, but SPF 30 is ideal. Most doctors agree that there isn't a need to go any higher than 30, but it won't hurt.

Sensitive Skin

Many children and some adults may notice a reaction to sunscreens. This isn't a reason to abandon it altogether – you'll just need to try a few brands until you find the one that works for you. Look for sunscreens labeled for sensitive skin. You also may want to purchase a separate sunscreen for your face and neck.

Spray vs. Lotion

Both types of sunscreen provide equal protection, so it is really about personal preference. If you have a hard time reaching parts of your back, the spray may make application easier. You also may discover that you like the feel of one better than the other.

Concerned about the health of your skin? Consult one of our expert dermatologists. You can receive a free physician referral when you call 1-855-TENNOVA (836-6682).

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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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