Think Health Blog

Diabetes Education at Think

We sat down with Think Whole Person Healthcare Diabetes Educator, Mary Jo Burkhardt, RN, BSN, CDE, to talk about her approach to educating her patients who live with diabetes. “I’m all about empowering my patients and instilling pride in them. Here they are, really taking control of their life and body, really taking good care of themselves.” Mary Jo uses an empathetic approach – she knows that everyone likes to eat foods that include carbohydrates – it’s natural to prefer those high-calorie foods (pizza, pasta, burgers, etc.). According to Mary Jo, her job is to individualize nutrition plans that fit into the life of her patients. That requires their honesty and her understanding. “I don’t judge my patients. We work together to create a plan that makes sure they can still eat the foods they love while staying healthy and regulating their blood sugars. When my patients follow our plan and we work together, they’re usually the healthiest eaters on the block.”

Mary Jo’s patient base consists mostly of those living with Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 is a completely different disease than Type 1. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease in which the body can’t produce insulin, and its symptoms typically begin to appear in children. However, Type 2 Diabetes typically occurs in those 45+ who are overweight and perform little physical activity. The body still makes insulin and the symptoms are less noticeable. Over time, though, the body does make, and exercise is highly recommended to help the body continue to make insulin.

Mary Jo is excited to be part of the Think Whole Person Healthcare family, as many of the services needed by those living with diabetes are all here in one place. Think Whole Person Healthcare has podiatrists, because those living with diabetes worry about their feet due to potential complications with the disease. Think Whole Person Healthcare also has behavioral specialists, Care Coordinators, optometrists, Clinical Pharmacists, dentists and hygienists, and primary care doctors – all who are in-the-know of the patient’s health plan and particular needs, and work together to help the patient manage their health.

Watch the videos below to hear right from Mary Jo, the passionate expert about all things diabetes education and management. Need more information? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Mary Jo directly!

 

 

Here’s an additional note from Mary Jo Burkhardt about living life to the fullest during the holiday season while living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes:

Those living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes can work their favorite holiday foods into their meal plan. I encourage people to be mindful about what they are eating and to be careful to eat their favorite holiday foods only on the holiday itself – in moderation. I also stress the importance of staying on their food plan as many days a year – it’s within their power to stay as healthy as they can! I talk to my patients about how they can handle what can be many holiday parties and still stay pretty close to being on-target for their carbohydrate intake.

We discuss the importance of making sure they are exercising during this food-filled holiday time to help moderate their blood sugars with the benefits that exercise brings. If their diabetes is not in good control, they need to discuss this with their doctor or provider for a particular plan for handling the holidays.

Follow my tips to ensure that you enjoy every moment of the holidays spent with your friends and family. You can do what you love, no matter what, with our help…because Life is for Living.

 


 

Lung Cancer Awareness Month: An Introduction to Smoking Cessation

Krystle Eckhart, PsyD, HSPBehavior changes usually involve five steps. They include the following:

  • Precontemplation: “I’m not ready to change yet.”
  • Contemplation: “I know that I should change but I’m not sure how.”
  • Preparation: “I have begun making small changes.”
  • Action: “I am ready to change now.”
  • Maintenance: “I have changed.”

Smoking cessation follows these stages, too. Throughout Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Think Whole Person Healthcare Integrated Behavioral Health Specialist Krystle Eckhart, PsyD, HSP, is writing a series of articles that will give you quick-hit information related to each stage.

Before we get into the stages, it’s important to know why we’re talking about this in the first place. What are the benefits to quitting smoking? How quick can I get the benefits?

Health benefits:

  • Broken addiction cycle
  • Better circulation
  • Improved taste and smell
  • More energy
  • More efficient/higher functioning immune system
  • Cleaner teeth and mouth
  • Improved sex life – yes!
  • Lower risk of cancer

The benefits of smoking cessation begin shortly after you smoke your last cigarette, regardless of how long you’ve smoked cigarettes.

Timeline after last cigarette:

  • 20 minutes: Heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • Temperature of hands and feet increase to normal.
  • 8 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in blood return to normal. Blood oxygen level increases to normal
  • 24 hours: Chance of heart attack decreases
  • 48 hours: Nerve endings start re-growing therefore ability to smell and taste is enhanced
  • 2 weeks – 3 months: Risk of heart attack drops. Circulation improves and lung function increases up to 30 percent
  • 1 – 9 months: Coughing, sinus congestion, and shortness of breath decrease. Ability to fight lung infection increases. Overall energy levels rise
  • 1 year: Excess risk of heart disease is cut in half
  • 5 years: Stroke risk is that of a person who has never smoked
  • 10 years: Risk of lung cancer is that of a person who has never smoked. Risk of developing other cancers (e.g., mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas) also reduce significantly
  • 15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a person who has never smoked

Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Krystle Eckhart will be back with three more articles covering the five stages of smoking cessation. Share these articles with your loved ones to spread awareness for Lung Cancer Awareness and the stages of smoking cessation!

 


 

An Introduction to Smoking Cessation – Stages One and Two: Precontemplation and Contemplation

Hello, there! My name is Krystle Eckhart, PsyD, HSP. I’m Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Integrated Behavioral Health Specialist. I’m excited to share with you this series of quick overviews about one of my areas of specialty – smoking cessation. You can learn more about me at the end of this article! First, let’s talk about the five stages of smoking cessation.

With smoking cessation, like most behavior changes, you will likely find yourself going through these stages:

  • Precontemplation: “I’m not ready to quit smoking yet.”
  • Contemplation: “I know that I should quit but I’m not sure how to do it.”
  • Preparation: “I have cut down the number of cigarettes I smoke per day.”
  • Action: “I am ready to quit smoking now.”
  • Maintenance: “I have quit smoking.”

 

In this article, we’re talking about Stages One and Two: Pre-contemplation and Contemplation.

Stage One: Pre-contemplation

During the Precontemplation Stage, it can be helpful to gather smoking cessation resources and information to help gain the motivation to quit. Now is a good time to identify your support network (e.g., those people and resources who encourage you to quit and help support you during the process) and determine your top reasons to change your behavior (e.g., motivated to quit due to impact on health, financial cost, negative impact on work or important relationships, etc.).

We talked about the health benefits of smoking cessation and the health benefits timeline after the last cigarette in part one. Go back to that blog to find fodder for motivation. As stated above, finding these motivations will help you move from Precontemplation to Contemplation.

 

Stage Two: Contemplation

It’s important to continue to gather information about smoking cessation resources to continue to find the motivation to quit. To increase success, it’s also important to develop an understanding of your triggers – the “why” part of smoking. This is a great stepping stone for the “how to stop” part. We can then find healthy alternatives to triggers and use them for proactive coping strategies.

 

Here are some common triggers for smoking:

  • Nicotine cravings
  • Need to handle something/keep hands busy
  • Needing an energy boost
  • Thinking/concentration
  • Feeling down, stressed or angry
  • Boredom
  • Wanting a reward
  • Social situations
  • Drinking coffee
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Driving/riding in a vehicle
  • Reading or watching television
  • Talking on the phone
  • After meals/when you feel too full
  • First thing in the morning

What comes to mind right away as alternatives? Can you identify what kind of things make you feel bored, down, or unfocused? Are there strategies you can think of right away that can help you avoid feelings or situations that make you reach for a cigarette? It can be hard to think of them right away – you have a lifestyle that you like, right? That’s where I come in. We can make a plan that fits into your life.

Stay tuned for the next article about Stage Three: Preparation. Share this article with your loved ones to spread awareness for smoking cessation and Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

 

About Me

I am a clinical psychologist by training and I work as a Primary Care Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC) at Think Whole Person Healthcare. That means I work with our Primary Care Providers to help them address concerns about their patients’ habits/behaviors or emotional health and how it affects their overall well-being. Common referrals include diet, physical activity, life transitions, coping with situational stressors, behavioral problems, or adjusting to new diagnosis. If you’d like to see if my expertise can benefit your health, please speak with your Think Whole Person Healthcare primary doctor.

 


 

An Introduction to Smoking Cessation – Stage Three: Preparation

Hello, there! My name is Krystle Eckhart, PsyD, HSP. I’m Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Integrated Behavioral Health Specialist. I’m excited to share with you this series of quick overviews about one of my areas of specialty – smoking cessation. You can learn more about me at the end of this article! First, let’s talk about the five stages of smoking cessation.

With smoking cessation, like most behavior changes, you will likely find yourself going through these stages:

  • Precontemplation: “I’m not ready to quit smoking yet.”
  • Contemplation: “I know that I should quit but I’m not sure how to do it.”
  • Preparation: “I have cut down the number of cigarettes I smoke per day.”
  • Action: “I am ready to quit smoking now.”
  • Maintenance: “I have quit smoking.”

In this article, we’re talking about Stage Three: Preparation. If you missed my previous article about the first two stages of smoking cessation, go back and read it before you continue! (step 1 & 2)

 

Stage Three: Preparation

Quitting smoking “cold turkey” may work for some people, but research suggests that taking steps to gradually reduce cigarette use and engaging in preparation tasks help people be successful with sustained smoking cessation. Remember, everyone has different ways of quitting, so what may work for you might not be the same for someone else. Use the list below as a starting point and remember to talk with your Think Whole Person Healthcare primary doctor for additional information and support. (Need a primary doctor? Become a patient today.)

 

Here are some ideas for how to can prepare for smoking cessation:

  • Set a quit date. Perform the tips of your choice below to prepare yourself for that date.
  • Hold your cigarette in your opposite hand.
  • Switch to less favorable brand of cigarettes.
  • Delay (use another skill or strategy to assist in distraction, such as chewing gum, taking a brief walk, deep breathing, etc.). Gradually increase delay. Remember ­– smoking isn’t the only thing that will relieve the urge to smoke. Patience will, too – the urge WILL pass!
    • 5 minute time out: Each time you have desire to smoke, wait 5 minutes before reaching for cigarette.
    • Postpone first cigarette of the day by one hour.
  • Smoke only the cigarettes you want intentionally — catch yourself before mindlessly smoking cigarette out of habit or boredom or while distracted with television, etc.
  • Refrain from emptying ashtrays (as a reminder for how many you have had).
  • Put cigarettes in an unfamiliar/inconvenient location.
  • Watch yourself smoke in a mirror.
  • Stop buying cigarettes in bulk. Buy only one pack at a time.
  • Make smoking unpleasant (e.g., by yourself, outside, not while talking on phone).
  • Eliminate places where you smoke (e.g., only smoke outside, put cigarettes in trunk of car while driving).
  • Smoke only part of the cigarette.
  • Smoke only on odd or even hours of the day.
  • Smoke one less cigarette each day/identify the cigarettes that are the ‘easiest’ to give up.
  • Avoid high-risk triggers if possible. Practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation techniques or 5 senses grounding instead.
  • Discuss nicotine replacement therapies with your primary doctor.
  • Find support groups (local, over phone, or online).
  • Discard smoking paraphernalia (dispose of lighters, ashtrays, etc.).
  • Clean smoking areas (e.g., wash curtains, air out cushions, detail car upholstery).

That’s about 20 tips to prepare you for Stage Four: Action. Surely, there are at least a few that can work for you! Which tips do you like the best?

Stay tuned for the next and final article covering Stages Four and Five: Action and Maintenance. If you missed my previous article about Stages One and Two, go back and read it now. Share this article with your loved ones to spread awareness for smoking cessation and Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

 

 

About Me

I’m Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Integrated Behavioral Health Specialist. I am a clinical psychologist by training and I work as a Primary Care Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC) at Think Whole Person Healthcare. That means I work with the Think Whole Person Healthcare Primary Care Providers to help them address concerns about their patients’ habits/behaviors or emotional health and how it affects their overall well-being. Common referrals include diet, physical activity, life transitions, coping with situational stressors, behavioral problems, or adjusting to new diagnosis. If you’d like to see if my expertise can benefit your health, please speak with your Think Whole Person Healthcare primary doctor.

 


 

An Introduction to Smoking Cessation – Stages Four and Five: Action and Maintenance

Hello, there! My name is Krystle Eckhart, PsyD, HSP. I’m Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Integrated Behavioral Health Specialist. I’m excited to share with you the final article in my series about smoking cessation. Before we get into specifics on stages four and five, let’s first talk about all five stages of smoking cessation.

With smoking cessation, like most behavior changes, you will likely find yourself going through these stages:

  • Precontemplation: “I’m not ready to quit smoking yet.”
  • Contemplation: “I know that I should quit but I’m not sure how to do it.”
  • Preparation: “I have cut down the number of cigarettes I smoke per day.”
  • Action: “I am ready to quit smoking now.”
  • Maintenance: “I have quit smoking.”

 

In this article, we’re talking about Stages Four and Five: Action and Maintenance. If you missed my previous articles about the other three stages of smoking cessation, make sure you go back and read them before you continue! (Intro, Stages One & Two, Stage Three).

 

Stages Four and Five: Action and Maintenance

When you reach your “stop smoking” date, be prepared for feelings of withdrawal in the first days. Not all people will go through the same withdrawal symptoms or the same intensity of symptoms. For many people, the most intense symptoms will lessen 3-4 days after quitting. Most physical withdrawal symptoms should be gone within 7-10 days. It is important to know what to expect and to develop a plan for ways to cope with these symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Intense cravings
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Anxiety, tension, restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Coughing/dry mouth
  • Headaches, dizziness
  • GI upset (constipation, nausea)
  • Increased appetite
  • Feeling down/sad

Strategies for coping with withdrawal:

  • Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT) (e.g., lozenges, gums, patches, Chantix, Wellbutrin, etc.)
  • Visualize surfing the urge waves
  • Delay
  • Distractions
  • Deep breathing/progressive muscle relaxation/5 senses grounding and meditation techniques
  • Drink water!
  • Connect with support person
  • Re-engage in leisure activities or try new hobbies
  • Take walks
  • Physical activity (e.g., weight lifting, stretching, yoga, dance, etc.)
  • Reduce alcohol and/or caffeine
  • Engage in healthy sleep hygiene
  • Take warm baths/shower
  • Eat low-sugar hard candy (to prevent throat dryness)
  • Eat foods higher in fiber (e.g., whole-grains, fruits and vegetables)
  • Brush teeth after eating
  • Smile at yourself in the mirror
  • Find humor
  • Express yourself creatively (e.g., journal, draw, play musical instrument, sing, etc.)
  • Have compassion for yourself if you slip up. Learn from the slip up rather than criticizing yourself. Review motivation list and reach out to support network and/or primary care team for additional resources and support.

 

That’s it! This completes my quick overview of the five stages to smoking cessation. If you missed my previous articles about the other three stages of smoking cessation, make sure you go back and read them! (Intro, Stages One & Two, Stage Three).

 

Please share this article with your loved ones to spread awareness for smoking cessation and Lung Cancer Awareness Month. If you need more assistance and information about smoking cessation, please speak with your Think Whole Person Healthcare primary doctor, or become a patient at Think Whole Person Healthcare today. That way, your Think primary doctor can determine if I’m the right fit for you, or they can refer you to other resources you can use to help you quit smoking. Get out there, exercise, explore, and use those powerful lungs of yours…because Life is for Living!

 

 


 

Spreading Awareness for Ovarian Cancer

ovarian cancer awareness

Many cancers have strong recognition around them in the form of events, awareness months, and lots of financial donors. You definitely know that breast cancer awareness month is in October, when donations pour in and social media hashtags #BreastCancerAwareness go wild and the color pink dominates your social network pages. And that’s amazing!! There should be that level of awareness for all cancers. There’s another female-only cancer that gets a little less attention – ovarian cancer.

So, we decided to talk a little about ovarian cancer in this article so you can share it with your family and friends, helping them be more in-the-know.

Ovarian cancer can be difficult to identify and diagnose. There are several tests to detect the cancer, like pelvic exams, ultrasounds or CT scans, and blood tests to detect proteins found in ovarian cancer cells. Typically, surgery is the only way to confirm the extent of ovarian cancer within the individual.

Since ovarian cancer doesn’t get as much attention as other cancers, it may not even occur to women to ask their doctors about exams that could be life-saving. Compounded with the fact that there aren’t many symptoms of the cancer until it starts to spread (and even then, the symptoms are not specific – like abdominal pain and feeling full quickly) ­– it seems to slip under the radar.

Due to the lack of highly-accurate early detection tests, only about 20% of women with ovarian cancer are detected in stage I or II. The rest are detected later, when it’s much harder to treat, and about 28% of those women survive. So 80% of women diagnosed have only a 28% chance of living through treatment.

We can change that! There are so many ways to help. You can donate to causes like the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, groups that are researching better ways to test for the cancer, treat it, and cure it. You can honor Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September (and year-round!) with social media posts. And, you can share this article with your friends and family, and encourage them to make an appointment with their doctor to assess their risk for ovarian cancer.

Make sure to set up annual appointments (minimum!) with your Think Whole Person Healthcare doctor. Regular appointments are a preventative measure that can keep you your heathiest. It’s all about making sure we can do what we love for as long as we can…because Life is for Living!

 


 

Mammo Q&A

Here are some tips for the final week of Breast Cancer Awareness Month


A quick Q&A about Mammograms with Jamie Gemar, Think Diagnostic Business Unit Leader

Jamie Gemar, Think Diagnostic Business Unit Leader

 

Q: Have there been any major improvements of mammogram testing in recent years?
A: Mammograms have come a long way in recent years, and now we have digital 3D capabilities, which improve diagnostic quality.

 

Q: When are mammograms most effective?
A: One of the keys for mammography to be effective is early detection. We like to have the opportunity to catch potential breast cancers when it’s small before it’s gotten so big that it’s harder to treat.

Knowing what your risk factors are is important, too. Most women start their mammogram testing at age 40 and have the test yearly, but all of this depends on family history and the like. It’s a good conversation to have with your physician – about what’s appropriate for you.

 

Q: Do patients need mammograms if they have no family history of breast cancer?
A: Just because you don’t have a strong family history doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be screened, especially around age 40, or whatever age your physician feels is right for you. All it takes is one person to begin a family history. Unfortunately, it could be you ­– it’s better to have peace of mind that you’ve taken time out of your busy life to take care of yourself because you’re important and we care about your health.

 

Q: What’s the one thing Think Whole Person Healthcare patients love the most about the primary healthcare clinic?
A: Having so many healthcare services all in one place is probably the biggest benefit to our patients. They can come get their mammogram before their doctor’s appointment and then their doctor usually gets those results within 24 hours, so having it all in one place is makes it much easier for our patients to manage.

 


 

What do you know about mammography testing?

Multi-ethnic group of women, men at breast cancer rallyThere’s no getting around it – women go through a lot. From child birth, pap smears, menstruation, grooming, and we can’t forget…mammograms. Of course, some of these are personal choices – especially because they vary in levels of discomfort. They are all important and sometimes necessary to stay healthy.

If you haven’t gotten a mammogram in a while, you may not know how technological advancements make this test more accurate. That’s great for you because you know it’s worth your time. If you’re 40+ and have been steering clear of your mammogram, it’s time to get back on track.

First, some science. The breast is one of the hardest spots of the body to image through x-rays. Think of all the different densities of breast tissues and fat. The tissue also differs among women of different ages – it can be dense or fatty. Because of this, it’s been historically hard to get a high contrast image of the different layers of the breast anatomy.

 

This test’s major improvements deal with that. Here’s a quick, very simplified, 50-year history of mammography.

THE 60s and 70s

In the 60s, radiologists screened for breast cancer with direct exposure film, which couldn’t effectively “cut through” the breast tissue to check for tumors. It was essentially getting a chest x-ray. Direct exposure film also meant higher radiation exposure.

THE 80s and 90s

Screen-film mammography came to the forefront as the gold standard of mammography in the 80s and 90s. It became easier to see contrasts in tissue and identify abnormalities, but still wasn’t “quite there.”

CONGRESS GOT INVOLED

The mammography test continued to get better as more teams dedicated to mammography radiation formed. In the 90s, Congress passed the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992, which had nation-wide implications. This resulted in higher-quality imaging and interpretations of the imaging.

THE 2000s

In the 2000s came the introduction of digital mammography. Because of this evolution, fewer and shorter exposures are needed. This makes the process safer with less radiation exposure, and more comfortable for the patient. Additionally, it is easier to see the contrast in digital imaging vs. film imaging.

THE 2010s

Mammography testing continues to become more refined, especially with the latest introduction of 3D Tomosynthesis Mammography. Instead of flat imaging, 3D Mammography allows for an exact look into the layers of breast tissue, decreasing the number of false-positives and false-negatives.

 

Some Good News – and More Reason to Have Your Mammogram

Mortalities from breast cancer continue to decline. There are many reasons for this, including more awareness and research funding from sources like the Komen Race for the Cure, and nation-wide standards set in place for imaging and interpretation. The one we’re focusing on in this article is early detection, caused by the improvements of mammography imaging. You can see in the graph below from the National Center for Health Statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, that in the 90s, when strides were made, the mortality rate from breast cancer began its decline.

Cancer Death Rates Graph

When you get your mammogram test at Think Whole Person Healthcare, you get a huge benefit. Think Whole Person Healthcare offers results within 24 hours.* This is beneficial because it eliminates wait and worry – you can discuss the results of your mammogram with your Think Whole Person Healthcare primary doctor  in a timely manner. It’s the holistic, patient-centered  way to practice healthcare.

 

Plus, when you get your mammogram at Think Whole Person Healthcare this month, you’re automatically entered into a drawing to win a Breast Cancer Awareness gift basket or gift card for you and/or to share with a friend affected by breast cancer. It’s an extra perk and incentive to get the test. We’re here to help you live life to the fullest. After all, Life Is For Living.

 

*Note: Radiologists can only give you 24-hour turn-around when they have access to your previous mammograms so they can give you the most accurate interpretation your results.

The Interconnectivity of Your Mind and Body

Your mind and body go hand-in-hand. Your physical health has an impact on your mental health, and vice versa. People with mental health problems, such as depression, can have worse physical health and a worse perception of their own health versus someone without mental health problems. We want to help you to break that cycle, or if possible, prevent it from beginning.  Even if you don’t currently suffer from a mental illness, these tips can help you stay on top of your mental health while maintaining physical health!

 

Tip #1:

Exercise causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body and diminish the perception of pain. They also help with an increase of self-confidence. Some great forms of moderate exercise are biking, gardening, dancing, swimming, and yoga. Even a quick walk or jog around the neighborhood will help!

Tip #2:

Improve your odds for a better sleep. One way to do this is to turn off all electronics an hour before you go to sleep. Feel free to read or do any other relaxing activity in your time before bed, as long as it doesn’t involve blue light, which electronics emit and confuse your brain into thinking it’s time to wake up! It can also be helpful to avoid doing work or anything stressful in bed, so that your bed is only associated with relaxation.

Tip #3:

Improving your diet can help your mental health tremendously. It will also fuel you properly for exercise and sleep. When in doubt, eat foods with antioxidants such as broccoli, spinach, and carrots for Beta-carotene, and blueberries, kiwi, and oranges for vitamin C. Increasing protein can also help with alertness – eat turkey, fish, and nuts. For specialized diet advice, see our Think Dietician Michelle Ring. She’s accepting new patients!

 

These tips may seem simple, but fueling your body with sleep and good food, and then getting in a daily exercise can greatly improve your mental state.

Still not convinced? Did you know your heart has up to 40,000 neurons located around the right ventricle? These neurons decide how you feel, too, and they send signals to your brain. So, your heart has a brain of its own! Our physical and mental states are so connected that it can be difficult to perceive your own health, which is why we recommend regular checkups with your primary care doctor. You can also schedule an appointment at your convenience with one of our mental health professionals.


 

Foot Health

Your feet are what support you in everything you do – running, playing sports, standing on the job, simply walking from one place to the next – and they need a little support from you, too. There are some easy things you can do to make sure your feet are in the best shape possible, and to avoid foot pain. We want you to stay on your feet! Here’s how:

Tip #1:

Make sure your running shoes and everyday shoes are breathable and have good arch support. Every foot is different, and you might need a certain fit to be completely comfortable. Don’t rest until the shoe fits – your feet will thank you!

Tip #2:

Try not to walk around community spaces barefoot, and don’t be afraid to show your feet a bit of extra love in the shower by cleaning them thoroughly. Infections such as athletes foot are easily avoided with breathable socks and shoes, and some extra washing and drying after a workout.

Tip #3:

If you have diabetes, you are more prone to sores and other uncomfortable foot problems. To avoid this, we recommend regular checkups. Medicare pays for two diabetic foot exams a year by a Podiatrist. We have two of the best podiatrists in Omaha on our team who do thorough exams that involve vascular and neurological testing. They are accepting new patients now! In the meantime, give your feet the occasional break and prop them up on a pillow for maximum blood flow and comfort.

Tip #4:

If you do experience foot pain or problems, be sure to see your doctor to identify the problem and avoid its progression. Your doctor may recommend inserts or insoles for your shoes, depending on the problem. We provide same-day access to your Primary Physician, so you won’t miss a beat!

 

As summer draws to an end, don’t forget to give your feet a little extra loving. Keeping your feet clean and healthy will help you to do the things you love, which is what we want, because Life is for Living.

 

Bonus Tip: For those smelly shoes, this one is more about keeping your nose happy! If you’ve got a pair of shoes that are stinking up a room, put them in a plastic bag and stick them in the freezer for the night.

 

Meet our Podiatrists: Brad Copple, DPM and Reanen Michael, DPM


 

Eye Health

This month, we’re focusing on eye health, because we want you to be able to see all the best parts of life clearly. Here are a few simple things you can do to protect your eyes and keep them healthy.

  1. Find a pair of sunglasses you like, and make sure they have UVA and UVB protection. This way, you can enjoy your pool days and time outside this summer without worrying about your eyes!
  2. An easy tip for keeping your eyes healthy is to wash your hands! You may touch your eyes more than you realize, and making sure your hands are clean is a simple way to avoid spreading germs and slowing down your week with something like pink eye. By the way, if something like that comes up, our thinkquick urgent care is open to all!
  3. Keep your prescription up to date. You may not even notice that your prescription is changing, which is why it’s important to have regular checkups with your optometrist. Wearing the wrong prescription can put strain on your eyes, give you headaches and prevent you from seeing clearly. Both of our Think optometrists will be happy to see you at a convenient time.
  4. Avoid too much screen time. Computers and phones give off “blue light,” which can be harmful to your eyes over time. There are easy steps you can take to minimize the effect of blue light on your eyes:
    1. Lower the brightness on your phone and computer screen. Deploy the “night mode” on your smartphone that eliminates blue light.
    2. If you’re using a computer at work all day, take a break from looking at the screen every 20 minutes or so to give your eyes a rest.
    3. If your eyes begin to feel irritated, try some lubricating eye drops, and blink a few extra times.
  5. Of course, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which has positive impact on your eye health, too. Smoking can lead to the deterioration of the blood vessels in the eye, which can cause greater problems like macular degeneration. Taking care of your body will help your eyes stay healthier longer.

July is a great time of the year, as the weather gets hot, picnics and water sports abound, and family vacations are in the works. See it all and enjoy the time with your friends and family. These eye tips can help you do just that!

If you are concerned about your eye health, or are due for a checkup, our Think optometrists Stephen Gradowski and Tim Meyer are accepting new patients! Give them a call today.


 

Men’s Health Month

This June, we are celebrating Men’s Health Month. Instead of talking about what can go wrong for men – diseases, chronic conditions, and more – we’d like to talk about what can go right, VERY right – with regular and preventative care, that is!

 

Tip #1: Stay active.

Simply going on a walk for 20-30 minutes does a lot of good for your mind and body. Being outside in the fresh air and the bright sun gives you a chance to clear your head and soak up that vitamin D that makes you feel so refreshed, productive and good about yourself. And get brownie points – take the dog with you, too! Exercising the heart helps you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk for high cholesterol, heart disease and other things that prevent you from living your life to the fullest.

 

Tip #2: Intuitive eating – it’s not all or nothing.

Eat healthy, yummy foods you love. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re satisfied. Give into your cravings with moderation. Denying your cravings and foods you love makes it more likely that you’ll binge on them down the road. Our registered dietitian and diabetes educator, Michelle Ring, is an expert at creating nutrition plans around your lifestyle and tastes. She’s accepting new patients, too! Learn more and give her a call.

 

Tip #3: Try to enjoy just the good things in life.

Smoking, binge drinking, and too much stress aren’t necessarily the best things in life. What are some other healthy options you can enjoy? If you need to, seek help from your doctor for ways to quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption.

Additionally, too much stress wears on the mind and body, and can also become a reason people turn to alcohol, tobacco and/or other substances. It also seems as though men don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings. Let us encourage you to talk about how you’re feeling. Seek help if you think you need it. The truth is – no one can get through the ups and downs of life on their own. We have a great team of expert mental health professionals – from mental health therapists to a psychiatrist and more. Learn more about our Mental Health team.

 

Tip #4: Learn to love the doctor.

When you visit your Think primary doctor regularly, you develop peace of mind knowing that you’re staying your healthiest. Your Think doctor and their team of nurses, care coordinators, clinical pharmacists and specialists get to know you personally – like things you like to do, your status and health goals and more. With this complete knowledge of you, they help you maintain your health in a personal, unique way – honoring you as a whole person and helping you live your life to the fullest. Need a doctor and want the convenience of coordinated care and a one-stop-healthcare-shop? Learn more about becoming a patient at Think.

 

Live your life to the fullest by doing the things you love. We’re here to support you every step of the way. And to help you stay out of the hospital, out of the ER and out there living life. After all, Life is for Living! Happy Men’s Health Month and keep loving life!

 


 

Life is for Living

So you’re living with a chronic condition. No matter what, there’s a bright side and we’re here to help you see it. As our patient, we can help make every day from here on out the fullest it can be. We know you’re a whole person with dreams and needs and that your Life is for Living. Here’s how.

1. Take control

Living with a chronic condition is no joke. But you can stay on top of your health now so that you can continue to do the things you love – even if your condition is along for the ride.

At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we like to see you when you’re well and work to keep you that way – not when it’s too late and you’re sick and suffering with expensive hospital and ER bills. That means seeing you often, too. That helps you stay on top of the symptoms of your condition.

When you take control, your health improves and stays that way. In fact, in Nebraska, Think Whole Person Healthcare’s patients stay the healthiest.

2. Care Coordination

It’s not all on you to take control of your health; we’re here to empower you and help you. This is because we truly see you as a whole person. You’ve got things to do and people to see – and no one can do this entirely on their own!

Instead of running around from doctor to doctor to specialist to the pharmacy, we’ve got everything you need in one place. Our one-stop-shop makes it that much easier for you to manage everything.

Not only are most of your care providers in one building, you’ve got an entire team – with a primary doctor, nurses, a clinical pharmacist and your care coordinator – people who really know you and are there for you, helping manage your health.

Your care coordinator is a very special part of your team. Your care coordinator is dedicated to providing you with a service that constantly monitors your health, organizes and plans your healthcare program, arranges your health services to keep you healthy, reduces preventable complications and keeps you out of the hospital. They work closely with your doctor and their team to give you personalized, high quality care. Learn more

3. Access to a doctor when you need it

At Think, we understand that if something feels “off,” there’s nothing worse than having to wait a week or more to get in to see your doctor. It’s bad for you emotionally and mentally, and could lead to physical complications. We see you the same day you need to be seen. That’s all part of our dedication to keeping you healthy – it just makes sense. Because why wait until it’s too late?

•••

We will help you experience that when you manage your health, you can really take control of your life. We meet you where you are and help you get where you need to go so you can have the highest quality of life. And who knows, you might have more control over your health and life than you ever did! So, you have to live with a chronic condition, but with us you can do more and get more out of life – because Life is for LIVING!

P.S. How can we help YOU live YOUR life to the fullest? What is it you love to do? Complete a bucket list and keep it as a reminder for yourself, then complete this short form to get more information about Think Whole Person Healthcare.

 


 

Forget Waiting. Access Care on YOUR Time.

Think about it – why are you only able to see your doctor when it’s convenient for them? Shouldn’t you be able to see your doctor when it’s convenient for you? The answer is yes.

At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we know how important it is to see your doctor exactly when you need to – that’s why we guarantee same-day access to someone on your care team. Plus, Think’s same-day test results make it possible for doctors to diagnose and prescribe medications during your appointment. You can pick up your medications on the way out at our on-site pharmacy. It’s that easy – schedule an appointment, see your doctor and get any necessary prescriptions – all in one visit that day.

 

What if my primary care doctor isn’t available?

No problem! All our doctors and clinical teams use the same electronic health record – so if your primary care doctor is unavailable for whatever reason, another recommended provider on your team will happily see you with full access to your records. It’s seamless. After your appointment, they’ll ensure your primary care doctor receives all the details of the visit.

 

What if I’m new to Think Whole Person Healthcare?

As a new patient we can get you in to see a doctor on the same day you apply. Our staff will match you with a primary care doctor that best fits you. All you need to do is call our dedicated New Patient Line at (402) 506-9049, and a member of our scheduling team will ensure you see someone that day. If you are calling outside of normal business hours, an appointment will be scheduled the following day. If it’s a time-sensitive issue, you can visit thinkquick, our walk-in urgent care clinic, on Level 2. See opening hours below.

 

What About Weekends?

thinkquick is open seven days a week, from 7am to 8pm Monday thru Friday, and 9am to 5pm on weekends. Current and new patients are all welcome here. If you’re an existing patient, the providers at thinkquick will have full access to all your medical records, making sure you receive the best care possible.

(thinkquick is not an Emergency RoomIf you have severe or life-threatening conditions, call 911 or go to an emergency room.)

 

To take advantage of same-day access at Think Whole Person Healthcare, become a new patient today. Call our new patient line, available 24/7, at (402) 506-9049, or fill out a new patient form online.


 

Osteoporosis Awareness

Written by Heather Hansman, Think Physical Therapy Assistant

Avoid fractured health with Whole Person Health at Think Whole Person Healthcare.

What is it?

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density. Osteoporosis’s direct meaning is “porous bone,” because the bones become more porous with this condition. Our bones are living tissues that constantly “remodel,” meaning some bone cells dissolve and are replaced by new bone cells. When bone cells dissolve significantly more than they rebuild, that could be the beginning of osteoporosis.

What happens when bodies develop osteoporosis?

When you live with osteoporosis, your chances of fractures are increased because your bones become weaker. Chances of experiencing osteoporosis increase with age. Also with age, muscles tend to weaken if you’re not active. Weak muscles and lack of balance can cause fractures too, because falls are more likely to occur.

Some symptoms of osteoporosis include aching bones, especially vertebra, and shrinking of bones – like height loss.

Do not worry – there’s no reason to be scared. In fact, being scared of living life could just make things worse!
** There are ways you can help yourself avoid falls and fractures. Just keep reading!   

 

Here’s how to prevent bone density loss:

Exercise! The benefits are three-fold:

  1. Exercise creates muscle and burns fat, which lessens the strain on your bones. This helps your bones have less weight to bear. More muscle helps support those bones.
  2. In the case that you start to feel yourself falling, the strong muscles you maintained through exercise can help you catch your fall.
  3. Exercise builds – and helps maintain – bone strength and density.

** Some think that a good way to avoid falls and fractures is to limit movement. They’ve got the wrong idea! Not living life, but rather living in fear with a sedentary lifestyle, equals less confidence, strength and sturdiness – and makes people more prone to the things they’re trying to avoid. Move, move, move – but with help from the right people.

Speaking of which, I teach Think’s Fall Prevention Class. This could be a great option for you – or a loved one who lives with osteoporosis. The Fall Prevention Class is a small community of adults who come together to have fun while strengthening their bodies to increase their balance. The group is so welcoming, too!

Participants of Think’s Fall Prevention Class are excited about the confidence they build from attending class with peers and exercising with instruction from me. One participant, Jan Turcotte, told me – “I’m not afraid to go out and do things now because I feel more sturdy.” I love it!

Learn more about what class participants have to say.

 

Nutrition

Another great way to prevent and treat osteoporosis is with the correct nutrition. Bones need nutrients to be healthy – but you already knew that! You need calcium and vitamin D to absorb calcium. You also need a healthy balance of protein, fruits, veggies, vitamins and minerals.

Think Whole Person Healthcare has an in-house Registered Dietitian – Michelle Ring, RD, LMNT, CDE. She will work with you to develop a nutrition plan based on the types of foods you already like to eat and that takes into account your lifestyle. How nice is it to have all your resources in one very cool building?

 

Other treatments

Oral medications are another common treatment for those living with osteoporosis. Some use hormone treatments, bisphosphonates – or both. There are also injectable medication options since bisphosphonates tend to upset the stomach. The role of these medications is to slow the process of bone cell breakdown.

If you live with osteoporosis you should consult with your primary doctor about which medication treatment will work best for you. At Think Whole Person Healthcare, every patient’s care team includes a primary doctor, nurses and a clinical pharmacists. Together, they help you manage your Whole Health – keeping your healthcare plan coordinated versus “fractured.”

 

Life Is For Living! Make sure you live it to the fullest by maintaining your health. Think Whole Person Healthcare is here to help!

  • Call us at (402) 506-9050 to learn more about the Fall Prevention Class.
  • Contact Michelle Ring, our registered Dietitian, at (402) 506-9380.
  • Not yet a Think Whole Person Healthcare patient, and want to learn more? Fill out a short form and we’ll contact you with more information.

 

Top 10 Benefits of Water

 

Written by: Michelle Cooper Day, Women’s Pelvic Health Physical Therapist

– and the down side for many women…

We all know about the benefits of water:

  1. Regular bowel movements – helps with digestion and keeps our bowels moving
  2. Healthy skin – moisturizes skin from within, decreases wrinkles
  3. Flushes out toxins – urination and sweating after drinking water rids our body of waste preventing kidney stones and UTI’s
  4. Immune system booster – keeps our eyes and mouth moist to repel infection
  5. Headache prevention – dehydration is the leading cause of headaches
  6. Increases our energy – keeping the brain hydrated helps us to think, focus, and concentrate
  7. Zero calories – adding some cucumber or a few berries gives water a natural flavor
  8. Joint lubricant – keeps our joints moving smoothly and muscles fluid
  9. Mood booster – water is required for the brain and body to produce the right neurotransmitters to prevent depression and insomnia
  10. Keeps us cool – water is required so we can sweat to cool our body on those hot summer days

How much water should you drink is a common question? Estimated amount for women is eight 8 ounce glasses per day with a gradual increase to that amount if you have been drinking less. A half ounce per pound of body weight is the recommended amount with more on hot days or if you are working out and sweating. Your urine should be slightly clear yellow in color and not dark.

Unfortunately, many women do not drink enough water because they report it increases their urinary incontinence episodes especially when exercising. If pelvic floor muscles are not functioning as they should, urine can leak from the bladder despite our best efforts. Kegels are often recommended to help the muscles strengthen but Kegels aren’t for everyone (see previous article) and many women do not know if they are actually doing a Kegel correctly.

Michelle Cooper Day, MPT, is a specially trained physical therapist that treats women’s pelvic floor muscles.  She can determine if these muscles are flexible, coordinated and strong and help you with a plan to improve your bladder control so you can drink the necessary water to keep you healthy. These visits are covered by insurance under physical therapy including Medicare.

Recipe: Cucumber, Mint, Cranberry Spa Water

  1. Fill a pitcher with water.
  2. Add slices of cucumber, washed mint leaves crushed, and fresh cranberries. You can substitute blueberries, strawberries, pineapple slices. I tend to avoid lemon and citrus fruits because it can irritate the bladder.
  3. Refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy the fresh flavor!
  5. Store in the refrigerator.

 

Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms, causes and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease – just in case.

 

It’s not as rare as you may think

According to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Parkinson’s Disease is the second-most diagnosed brain disease after Alzheimer’s with 60,000 diagnoses a year. It’s most commonly diagnosed in those 60+ years of age.

 

Why does this happen?

Parkinson’s Disease is a movement disorder caused by failure or death of dopamine-making brain cells. Dopamine coordinates movement, motivation and good feelings. There’s no one thing scientists can pinpoint as the cause of the disease; the current understanding is that it’s caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors – like genetic mutations and exposure to toxins – herbicides and pesticides.

Scientists have begun turning their attention to Lewy bodies, too. Lewy bodies are made of a protein called alpha-synuclein. These abnormal protein clumps can’t be broken down, and they appear to develop within the brain cells of those with Parkinson’s Disease. Lewy bodies block neurotransmitter release – molecules being delivered between neurons. This includes the neurotransmitter dopamine and is likely the reason why, as mentioned above, dopamine creation and transmission fails for those living with Parkinson’s Disease. There will likely be more research and findings on Lewy bodies in coming years.

 

What does it mean for those living with it?

Parkinson’s Disease is a unique experience to all who live with it. The array of Parkinson’s symptoms manifest in different combinations per individual. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Resting tremor
  • Stiffness
  • Slowness of movement (bradykinesia)
  • Walking imbalance
  • Difficulty smelling
  • Cramped handwriting (micrographia)
  • Problems with sleep
  • Cognitive changes
  • Depression

 

Parkinson’s Disease can be a devastating diagnosis. It could mean the end of a career for a marathon runner, an artist’s creativity to never be actualized again due to shaking hands, many ends to a person’s everyday life and ensuing depression due to these symptoms and the lack of dopamine. The point is, it could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

 

What can we do about it?

There is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, and there’s no way to stop its progression. Current medications and treatments can ease symptoms. Treatment plans are individual to the patient since Parkinson’s Disease is a unique experience to those living with it. It usually takes coordination among several healthcare providers, and a combination of treatments.

Treatments can include surgery, as in deep brain stimulation to reduce symptoms, physical therapy and general exercise, and medications that supplement or make up for the lack of dopamine in the brain.

Lifestyle changes are also recommended: changing eating habits to include more wholesome, nutritious choices, exercising – swimming, walking and yoga – and maintaining relationships versus closing yourself off to the world.

 

How Think’s Care Coordination can help

Think Whole Person Healthcare’s services can play a huge supporting role to those living with any chronic condition – including Parkinson’s. Since your primary doctor is the best first point of contact when you’re experiencing any odd symptoms, it’s most often primary doctors who diagnose Parkinson’s Disease. From there, they’ll likely recommend going to see a movement disorder specialist, neurologist and/or speech language pathologist depending on the patient’s symptoms and the doctor’s knowledge of who their patient is.

This is where Think Whole Person Healthcare can help. Since Parkinson’s Disease symptoms are vast and unique, there will be a lot of people suggesting treatments, medications, etc. Think Whole Person Healthcare’s Care Coordinators know their patients’ care plans and manage it with specialists so the primary doctor can better treat patients and communicate with all involved in the care plan.

Think Whole Person Healthcare has its own specialists in-house that help, too. Our nine physical therapists specialize in different areas of care – like spinal problems, gait, balance, chronic pain, and more, and some even have a background in psychology, which offers a more balanced, whole-person treatment. Our physical therapists offer a free Balance Assessment, where they test to see if individuals qualify for our Fall Prevention Class; staying active, strong and balanced while living with Parkinson’s, especially if experiencing imbalance, is extremely beneficial and preventative.

Other in-house specialists include massage therapy, mental health, podiatrists and more who can play a huge role, too, also depending on the symptoms.

Raising awareness is key to raising funds and research efforts to find cures for those living with Parkinson’s Disease, experiencing a wide assortment of symptoms that are life-changing. There’s no better time than now to start spreading the word and helping your fellow earth-dwellers living with the disease. Sharing this article with your friends is a great place to start.


 

Stress Awareness Month

Written by Meghan Herek, Think Mental Health Therapist

Stress Awareness Month is a helpful tool for us to bring attention to the stress people may live with year-round, and helps remind us of tools we can use to better manage stress. This Stress Awareness Month, we’re focusing on the benefits of talk therapy.

 

Who is talk therapy “for”?

Talk therapy is for everyone. There are many assumptions about who talk therapy is for, and it is for everyone. Many of us struggle with stress, anger, and in some cases, anxiety and depression. No life is void of triggers. Talk therapy teaches you techniques you can use to manage the things – internal and external – that ignite your stressors. Plus, you absolutely deserve to have someone who is there for only you. So, yes – talk therapy is for everyone!

 

Why use talk therapy?

If you never talk about your issues, you won’t gain another perspective, create more understanding about the whys and whats of your triggers, nor will you learn tools to overcome them. Closing your thoughts and emotions may even cause you to see the world in a more negative way. Your mind and body are strongly connected. Have you ever noticed your muscles tighten when you’re worried about something, or get a headache? Your mind controls everything. It’s important to keep your mind healthy, and you can with the help of talk therapy.

 

How often should you go to talk therapy?

Even one to two appointments a month can do wonders for your mental state. You can use real, stressful situations to practice the tools we talk about in our sessions. During our sessions, we discuss those situations, what you did, your successes, and areas to improve. It’s so healthy for your mind to talk about what’s going on inside it! Mind your mental health and come see me. Because Life is for Living!


 

The Best Diabetes Lifestyle Management – The Team Approach

Diabetes is a complex chronic disease that you care for every day. Managing diabetes includes exercise, healthy eating, taking prescribed medications and monitoring blood sugars. At Think Whole Person Healthcare, we know this isn’t always easy. The Think Healthcare Team is available to you when you need more information or help in any area of your diabetes management. You are living with diabetes every day; here’s how the Think Healthcare Team can help when you need it.

 

Nutrition

Think’s resident Certified Diabetes Educator is Mary Jo Burkhardt. Her role is to learn your habits and the foods you like, then to guide you on a healthier path keeping your lifestyle, tastes and your diabetes in mind. She also knows that social situations, like going to a dinner party or out to eat, can be intimidating to navigate. Her plans provide suggestions and tools that will help you sail into that situation with confidence.

 

Behavioral Health

Sometimes with chronic conditions, you can feel isolated – when you can’t eat what everyone else is, when you have to leave the room to prick your finger, constantly having to regulate your blood sugar levels. You can feel like no one understands you or knows what you’re going through. Our on-site mental health therapists Krystle Eckhart, Meghan Herek and Jennifer M. Kelly and psychiatrist Rodney Nitcher can help you gain confidence, acceptance – anything you need to feel more like you.

You will also find support in Think’s Diabetes Type 1 and Diabetes Type 2 Support Groups: monthly gatherings where others living with diabetes, along with other healthcare providers, come together as a community to support, teach and learn from one another. Check the Think Event Calendar to find the next meetings.

 

Podiatry

Brad Copple and Reanen Michael are trained to treat feet and problems of the lower legs. Diabetes makes you prone to poor blood flow and nerve damage in the lower legs. You may get infections more often. Sores, even small ones, can quickly turn into serious problems. Any foot sore or callus needs to checked by your primary care doctor or a podiatrist. Do not try to fix these yourself, because you could cause an infection. Be sure to inspect your feet daily for signs of trouble.

 

Dentistry

Diabetes puts those living with it at a greater risk for gum disease. The excess blood sugar in your mouth makes it a good home for bacteria, which can lead to infection if you don’t see your dentist regularly. Think’s dentist Christine Keith emphasizes prevention and wants to see her patients every six months for a checkup and a cleaning. If you’re a Think patient, Christine will already know you have diabetes with her access to your records, and make sure to bring it up during your checkup so you can communicate about your whole health, too.

 

Physical Therapy

Exercise can help lower blood sugar, help your body use insulin better and help control your weight – something you need when you’re living with diabetes type 1 or type 2. Think physical therapists are the best people to help you and your doctor plan your fitness program, since they are trained in the scientific basis of exercise.

 

Care Coordination

In addition to diabetes specialists, behavioral health specialists, diabetes focus groups, etc., Think also houses clinical pharmacists, nurses, and your primary care doctor.

Your Think primary care doctor and their team of nurses get to know you as a person– not a condition. When you’re a patient of Michelle, our Diabetes Educator, and our behavioral health team, your doctor has easy access to those specialists and your records. Having this comprehensive look at you – the person – helps your doctor know how to help you manage your health. Your doctor can then speak to your Think clinical pharmacist about the best treatments and medications for you.

Even more, you may qualify for our Care Coordination program, in which a nurse helps you plan, implement and monitor your healthcare.

 

Our goal is to give you control and ownership over your chronic condition and your health. If Think’s Team Approach can help you live fully with diabetes, fill out this short form to get more information. Life is for Living.


 

Feeling SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is depression that affects many people in the dark, cold months. It seems this Nebraska winter has been especially brutal, which doesn’t particularity help. When the blossoms of Spring come about, your mood may become lighter and happier – just like the trees and grass, newly healthy and green!

 

Why does SAD happen?

Scientists don’t exactly know the causes of SAD, but one thought is that the lack of sunlight during fall and winter months causes your brain to make less serotonin, which helps makes you feel happy. This fluctuation of your normal serotonin level can make you sad, sluggish, moody and irritable.

Lack of sunlight also causes an increase of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. This increase may cause you to feel consistently sleepy, versus just at night, and possibly unmotivated and agitated.

 

What can you do about SAD?

There are several things you can do to help yourself, like exercising, taking antidepressants or trying a SAD lamp to replicate the sun’s light. Your best option, though, is to speak with your Primary Care Provider to come up with a plan to combat SAD that’s personalized to your specific needs and symptoms.

 


 

Am I A Caregiver?

Written by Jenn Black, Care Coordination Manager, Think Whole Person Healthcare

 

What is considered “caregiving”?

There are many kinds of caregivers. Physicians, nurses and care coordinators are all caregivers. There is a special kind of caregiver, too. Some caregivers care for their loved ones, and are typically children and spouses. If that’s you, you’ll want to keep reading.

 

At what point does a caregiver become a caregiver?

It’s a complicated thing to define. As your loved one ages, they have a harder time getting to the store or running an errand, and might reach out to you for help. Or, your loved one might have a chronic condition, and that typically means they’ll need help managing their healthcare.

As your loved one continues to age, your responsibilities likely increase. Somewhere along the line, you’ll likely become a caregiver.

 

How do caregivers support their loved ones while also maintaining boundaries?

Being a caregiver is a complicated role to fill. Often, you have your own responsibilities and even families to care for. You want to be there for everyone, but you don’t want to burn yourself out.

First, it is important to educate yourself on your loved one’s condition. This will help you be there for them, because you’ll know what they need. More importantly, however, you’ll learn if something they need is something you can’t do on your own (for example, lifting someone to help them use the restroom). Knowing your boundaries and asking for help will help eliminate stress when certain tasks become daunting.

It’s important that you respect the emotions of your loved one, but it’s just as important to recognize and verbalize your own emotions – and to expect understanding and compassion. Please don’t pretend that you can do everything and be everything for everyone! It’s not personal, just impossible!!

 

Where should caregivers go for help?

Think has an excellent Care Coordination program that eliminates most of your work coordinating, managing medications, and the back-and-forth with multiple doctors. It’s actually quite incredible. When you sign up for the program, you’re paired with a personal pharmacist, care coordinator, and if you’re not yet a patient at Think, your best-fitting physician and their nursing staff. These roles create a team who monitor, communicate, and plan around your loved one’s healthcare. Can you imagine that without Think, you’d be doing all that by yourself? It’s a great solution to manage your loved one’s health, and YOUR sanity. Think About It…and if you decide it could be the right fit for you and your family, then fill out this form to get more information and to get started.

There are other great resources available for caregivers. Family Caregiver Alliance, for example, has a wealth of knowledge that will answer your preliminary questions.


 

February: The Month of Love and National Heart Month

What’s the link between love and the heart?

 

Should I follow my heart, or follow my mind?

This question we often hear insinuates that both our heart and mind, well, have minds of their own. Is this true? If not, then why do we feel emotion in our chest and not our mind? Is the chest-ache or tightening when we feel pain or the pitter patter when we feel love a combination of both our mind and heart?

To answer these questions, let’s take a step – or a thousand – back. Let’s get ancient.

In the ancient Egyptian culture, the heart was thought to be the center of thoughts and emotions. That actually makes sense, since the heart is at the center of our bodies and it’s where we “experience” emotion. Ancient cultures established the connection between love and the heart.

Because of the profound affect love and other joy-filled emotions have on our heart, it, over time, became the physical symbol of love. The symbol for the heart (❤) is thought to be first used in the Middle Ages, during the mid-13thcentury, in a painting in the Roman de la poire manuscript.

Metaphors and poetry attributing states of being to the heart also emerged during the Middle Ages. Phrases like “broken hearted,” “I love you with all my heart,” “I know it by heart,” etc., originated and became popularized.

 

Why do we feel emotions in our chest… “heart”?

So, the original theories of how the body worked became the reason why the heart is associated with love and other emotions. But, is there truth behind this symbolism and poetry associated with the heart?

The heart is made of muscles, nerves and chemical receptors which allow it to respond to signals from your brain based on your environment. You may feel your chest tighten or “pitter patter” beats.

But, the heart has a mind of its own – literally. Your heart has up to 40,000 neurons located around the right ventricle. These neurons decide how you feel, too, and they send signals to your brain.

In short, the heart and the brain are linked in an interdependent relationship. They are each somewhat autonomous; they make their own rules.

With that, we wish you a Happy National Heart Month! The question remains: Will you listen to your mind or your heart? Hard to know – they both have MINDS of their own and BEAT to their own drums!


 

Don’t be afraid to ask about bladder issues

You’ll learn that physical therapy can work wonders

Sponsored Feature – Omaha World Herald – Dec 10, 2018

 

It started about six years ago for Joan. After hip surgery, she slowed down — drastically. Along with a lack of exercise and fear of falling, she also suffered from incontinence.

Incontinence can be caused by problems with the muscles and nerves that help the bladder hold or pass urine. One in four women suffers from it. Ninety percent of residents in nursing homes end up there because of it. Michelle Day, MPT, a Women’s Pelvic Health physical therapist at Think, focuses on bladder, bowel and pelvic pain issues in women. Therapy includes thorough education and treatment to address pelvic floor muscle flexibility, coordination and strength. Michelle’s practice emphasizes strategies to address the nervous system as well.

“Anxiety, depression and stress can exhibit themselves through physical conditions, including pelvic floor issues,” Day said. “By collaborating with doctors, mental health providers, specialists and care managers, we can get to the core of what is causing the symptoms and provide a physical therapy approach to improve their function.”

Joan was referred to Day by her Think doctor. With therapy, she now walks the mall three times a week with walking sticks to strengthen her core. She also does a daily exercise routine while standing at her kitchen sink.

“Aging is a process we all go through, but it doesn’t have to mean an end to being active,” she said.

Another client of Day’s, a retired nurse, couldn’t pick up her 13-month-old granddaughter without experiencing incontinence problems. After her doctor referred her to Women’s Pelvic Health physical therapy, she saw improvement in her bladder control after the fourth session.

“She (Day) is so positive and has given me so much confidence,” the 77-year-old said. Now she exercises every day at the YMCA and teaches a class that gets Parkinson’s patients moving. Both Day’s clients admit they would never have talked with their doctor about incontinence; you just didn’t do that 40 years ago. Think doctors ask patients about it now.

“We’re giving them tools and strategies, so they can overcome their incontinence issues,” Day said. “That improves their health by keeping them active and socially engaged, resulting in fewer visits to the doctor’s office.” Physical therapy is a first-line treatment proven through research to be the most effective before the use of surgery, alternative treatments like Lasers, and medication. It’s covered by Medicare. “Unfortunately, urinary incontinence is a very common problem, especially for women,” said Dr. Debra Esser, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s chief medical officer. “Physical therapy is so beneficial, and you can improve your symptoms dramatically.” Day’s patient, the retired nurse, said: “Don’t hesitate, go find out and you will love your results.”

Michelle Day, MPT, a Women’s Pelvic Health physical therapist at Think, focuses on bladder, bowel, and pelvic pain issues in women.


 

How to Prevent Falls in Older Adults

According to the U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention, one-quarter of Americans aged 65+ fall each year. That’s way too many – especially when you consider the high costs and serious injuries that follow. And the myths don’t help. Many think if they limit their activity, they won’t fall. That’s not true and we’ve developed a Fall Prevention Class, which proves that movement, strength, balance, coordination and confidence decrease chances of falling. Listen to our Fall Prevention Class Leader and Physical Therapy Assistant Heather Hansman and two Fall Prevention Class participants to learn more about the benefits this program offers. If you are interested in joining the classes please call (402) 506-9050.



 

The Importance of Primary Care

Visiting Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) First and Often

To understand what primary care is, we need talk terminology first. There are three types of Primary Care Physicians (PCP); two of them apply to you, but we’ll go through all three for fun.

  • Pediatrician – Cares for children.
  • Internal Medicine – Cares for adults.
  • Family Practitioner – Cares for both.

Think has internists and family physicians. Each Primary Care Physician has an entire team of nurses and pharmacists helping you manage your whole health. Are you smarter than you were 5-7 seconds ago? Maybe yes, maybe no. Keep reading, and you’ll surely be smarter about your healthcare than you were before.

 

Let’s say you notice a sharp pain in your back, or that chronic pain in your foot is acting up again. Your Primary Care Physician is your first point of contact on your road to wellness.

“Why?”

Well, there are actually tons of reasons why you need to go to your PCP first and often.

Here are two important reasons you should use your PCP to manage your whole health:

1. Going to your PCP before a specialist increases communication and collaboration.

It’s obvious that communication is essential to maintain your whole health. You wouldn’t want to go to a cardiologist first, who has no comprehensive, centralized documentation of your health history and medications. What if you can’t remember your mediation list and they prescribe you conflicting medications?

Think of your Primary Care Physician the guardian of your healthcare plan. At Think, they, along with the rest of your care management team, have access to your Electronic Health Record (EHR), accessible to all who treat you within the walls of Think.

With the touch of a button, your PCP can see all your medical history, medications, notes, and more. Plus, they can consult with their pharmacist (yes, there is one Clinical Pharmacist assigned to each Think PCP!). All of this makes it way more likely your healthcare decisions are informed and effective – and that you’re getting the absolute best, most affordable medication combinations possible, vs. starting the process with a specialist.

Your PCP is specialized and highly trained in adult healthcare, and they can do many of the exams that a specialist can.

If, in the case your PCP thinks you need a specialist during your visit, they’ll recommend the best one for you based on their knowledge of who you are. What’s great about this process is that know your PCP is aware and communicating with your specialist. Learn more about Think Specialists.

✅ Yes: Going to your PCP before a specialist increases communication and collaboration.

 

2. Your life is for living – so protect your health with regular visits to your PCP.

Life is meant to be spent at your sister’s birthday party, splurging on that watch you really wanted, reading a great book in your favorite chair in your living room, and going out to dinner with your friends.

We like to see you when you’re well – and keep you that way! When you visit your PCP regularly, the chances of you maintaining the lifestyle you want increase significantly.

Sure, visiting your PCP regularly may be more money now. It’s proven that regular, preventative check-ups with your PCP equate to significantly less spent in the future and less suffering during your life.

Because of the overseer role your PCP and their team play in your whole health, regular visits to your PCP vs. sporadic visits to specialists prevents miscommunications in medication and treatments that lead to those expensive treatments and ER visits down the road.

❗▶ Fact: One of the top reasons for hospitalization is medication error. Check out Think Pharmacy’s 5-step, ThinkSync Medication Plan.

✅ Did we make our point? We think so: Your life is for living – so protect your health with regular visits to your PCP.

 

These two reasons to let your PCP manage your whole health are all the more important when you have more than one chronic condition, which many Think patients do.

Care management of chronic conditions is something we specialize in. At Think, we’ve got nurses, called Care Coordinators, who create, communicate and help execute your personalized care plan – along with a team that includes your Primary Care Physician, their nurses and pharmacist.

To sum it up, avoiding medical error and being the healthiest you can be are both reasons why you should see your Primary Care Physician first and often.

 

If you feel like you’re for sure smarter at this point, consider becoming a patient at Think!


 

National Dental Hygiene Month

Tips from Think’s Dental Team

A healthy, beautiful smile is what we all crave. Did you know it affects your body’s overall health, too?

Taking care of your teeth is a preventative form of self-care that avoids infections and the buildup of plaque. Good oral health and general health operate in tandem – and the health of your mouth relays your body’s overall health. Treat your gums and teeth to great nutrients and regular check-ups, and your body will benefit, too.

Here are the ways to help you achieve this goal:

 

  • Eat a balanced diet.
    • A balanced diet is nutrient-rich: veggies, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, and whole grain.
    • Great nutrients for healthy gums and teeth are found in:
      • Dairy, salmon and other fish, almonds, soy and tofu, and dark veggies (calcium);
      • Eggs, fish, dairy, nuts and beans (phosphorus);
      • And citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach (vitamin C).
      • Drink plenty of water, too!

 

  • Brush 2x a day, and use a fluoridated mouthwash and floss daily.
    • Brush two times a day for two minutes each time. Replace your brush every three months, too. Remember these two tips, and brush in small circles – it’s less about the brush, rather the quality in which YOU brush.
    • If you find flossing difficult, try water flossers, which flush water between your teeth, or interdental bushes – brushes with thin bristles that can get those hard-to-reach places. Plus, interdental brushes are great for those who have problems with mobility.
    • You can find brushes, toothpaste, fluoridated mouthwash and floss at the ThinkShop!

 

  • The American Dental Association recommends regular dental visits at intervals determined by your dentist to maintain optimal oral health. Regular dental visits help to protect your oral health and general well-being. Here’s was to expect:
    • X-rays to diagnose decay or gum disease
    • Periodontal screening
    • Oral cancer screening
    • Dental cleaning
    • Assess your need for fluoride
    • Demonstrate proper cleaning techniques for your teeth

 

  • Think Dental cares about you and your oral health! Healthy mouth, healthy body!

 

How to Put Your Best Foot Forward for Marathons

 

Brad Copple, DPM
Podiatrist
Think Whole Person Healthcare

 

 

At Omaha’s 43rd Marathon, Sunday, September 16, runners will participate at many different levels, anywhere from a mile to a marathon. There is a distance for everyone.

With any long-term run, make sure you have the right shoes. Keep your feet healthy and happy by running in proper footwear.

A shoe that is too tight, too loose or is uncomfortable in any way can bring on problems for your feet. A too short shoe can lead to black toenails. A shoe that is too loose does not hold the foot firmly and can allow for friction that can cause blisters and other painful foot ailments.

Caution: Break in those new shoes before the run.

Selecting the right pair of socks is equally essential to choosing the right shoe.

Socks that are made of cotton reduce sweating. Socks that breathe can reduce heat and keep your foot from sweating excessively. The key is to find a sock that is right for you. Remember to keep your feet clean and dry.

Now, the personal stuff…

Remember to keep your toenails trimmed properly. Don’t do it the day of the run. The buffer of time from trim to run assures that if you make a mistake while trimming, time will allow the sore or tender area to heal. If there is pain or soreness, don’t run.

After trimming moisturizing is a must.

Keep the skin on your feet as soft as possible. The skin on our feet is often thick and dry. Avoid heel fissures and dry, cracked skin that bleeds by adopting a daily moisturizing regimen. There are numerous creams, balms and anti-chaffing products on the market that will help you keep your feet moisturized while reducing the amount of friction you might experience while running.

Before any race, STRETCH!

Most runners employ a stretching program as part of their training routine, but for those who do not train on a regular basis, stretching should not be overlooked. Stretching before and after a run can minimize aches and pains. And where most runners focus on stretching their hamstrings, quads and calves, don’t forget the importance of basic foot stretches.

Here are three foot stretches you can do:

  1. Step Stretch
    Place your toes on a step with your heels off the edge. Slowly lower your heels down and hold for ten to fifteen seconds. Raise your heels to the starting position. Repeat this exercise five to ten times. Depending on what is most comfortable, stretch both feet or just one foot at a time.
  2. Toe Stretch
    Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor. Spread your toes apart. Hold the toes apart for five-seconds, then release. Repeat this exercise up to ten times.
  3. Foot Roll
    Find a golf ball, baseball or tennis ball and place it under your foot. Roll the ball back and forth from your toes to your heels. Repeat a few times with each foot.

The last thing to mention is that feet tend to overheat and swell after a long run. One way to reduce inflammation is to immerse your feet in a tub filled with ice water for about fifteen minutes (unless you have vascular issues) after the run. You can also, lie down and elevate your legs and apply an ice bag or cold compress to them. A bag of frozen vegetables is a convenient substitute for a cold compress. It’s also a good idea to massage your feet after a race and that tennis ball can do the trick.

For more information on foot health, contact Brad Copple, DPM at team.clinicians@thinkhealthcare.org.


 

What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Kegels Aren’t for Everyone

Women typically don’t think about the importance of our pelvic floor muscles until something goes wrong. If you’re leaking urine with running, jumping, coughing, sneezing (stress incontinence), can’t quite make it to the bathroom in time (urge incontinence), going more than 5-8 times per day, waking up more than once every night (urinary frequency), or if you have pain with intercourse, you should seek help from a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles attached to the pelvis, hips, and sacrum that support the abdominal contents and reacts to changes in pressure created by the diaphragm above. This group of muscles supports the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, and rectum. The pelvic floor is responsible for our bladder and bowel function plus sexual function. Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy is research proven as a first-line of defense against Incontinence and Pelvic Pain prior to medication and/or surgery. Schedule an appointment now (402) 506-9050.

Kegels are commonly recommended when a woman reports urinary or bowel incontinence – it’s not a normal part of aging! However, not all women should do Kegels because it may cause more harm than good. And if you are performing Kegels – how do you know if you are doing them properly?

A specially trained Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist can assess your pelvic floor using internal and external techniques to evaluate the function of your pelvic floor muscles. It’s important to assess the surrounding structures of the pelvic floor such as the connective tissue, sacroiliac joint, pubic symphysis, low back, and hips. It is necessary to assess your ability to contract AND relax the pelvic floor muscles. Assessing your patterns of active pelvic floor recruitment of your core and breathing plus function with tasks such as lifting, running, and transfers is crucial.

If the muscles are determined to be tight, you might be experiencing:

  • Urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, stopping and starting of the urine stream, painful urination, or incomplete emptying
  • Constipation, straining, pain with bowel movements
  • Unexplained pain in your low back, pelvic region, hips, genital area, or rectum
  • Pain during or after intercourse

If the muscles of the pelvic floor are weak, you might be experiencing:

  • Vaginal or rectal heaviness or pressure – prolapse
  • Urinary incontinence with cough, sneeze, run, jump or position changes

A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist will determine the status of your pelvic floor muscles and treat any tight muscles until they reach their normal flexibility. Then the strength and coordination will be addressed (which might include a form of Kegels) and monitored to make sure the exercises are being performed correctly.

Our pelvic floor is an area that tends to hold our emotions. Addressing depression, anxiety, and stress plus realizing the importance of our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs is essential. A mental health care provider can assist in this area, if needed, combined with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy resulting in a faster and more effective recovery.

See our specially trained Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist, Michelle Cooper Day, MPT, BScEd and find out if you should be doing Kegels and make sure you’re doing them correctly! Schedule an appointment (402) 506-9050


 

Women’s Pelvic Health

Are you a woman who?:

  • Leaks urine when you exercise, cough, sneeze, or laugh?
  • Doesn’t quite make it to the toilet before leaking urine?
  • Is running to the restroom frequently to prevent urinary leakage or you just feel like you have to “go” often?
  • Wakes during the night more than once to urinate?
  • Wears protective pads for urine leakage?
  • Suffers from constipation?
  • Has pain with intercourse?
  • Is having issues recovering from childbirth?
  • Is experiencing pelvic pain?

Just because these are common issues doesn’t mean they are “normal”. There is no need to suffer with pain or spend countless dollars on protective pads. These issues do not just “go away” on their own and can worsen if not treated.
There is something you can do about it!

Women’s Pelvic Health Physical Therapy is a specialized area of rehabilitation focused on the assessment and treatment of women’s pelvic health concerns. Meet Michelle Cooper Day, MPT and start living your life again!

What Michelle’s patients are saying –

“Why didn’t I find out about this sooner?”

“I did not know this type of treatment even existed or could be so helpful.”

“I learned so much about what I can do to help myself with Michelle’s guidance.”

“I never knew the pelvic floor muscles were so important and needed proper care and attention!”

Speak to your doctor, specialist, or physical therapist to find out more. Call 402-506-9050 to schedule an appointment with Michelle Cooper Day, today!


 

10 Reasons to see a Podiatrist

  1. You have diabetes
  2. You’re starting to run/workout regularly
  3. You feel joint pain in your feet and/or ankles
  4. Heel pain is limiting your activities
  5. You have stubborn ingrown toenails
  6. You suspect a sprain, strain, or broken bone
  7. You need foot surgery
  8. You have a bothersome corn or callus
  9. You have a painful bunion
  10. You think you have athlete’s foot – and it isn’t going away

Meet our Podiatrists: Brad Copple, DPM and Reanen Michael, DPM

Call now for an appointment: (402) 506-9127