Tag Archives: exercise

It’s Sleep Awareness Week: Be Sure You Get Your Zs

sleepSleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our “sleep health” remains an essential question throughout our lifespan.

Join the National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week, March 11 to 17, 2018. This year’s theme, “Begin with Sleep,” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals.

A good night’s sleep can depend on:

How much sleep do you need to be your best self?

Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours between the sheets a priority. For many of us with sleep debt, we’ve forgotten what “being really, truly rested” feels like.

To further complicate matters, stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights—including those from electronic devices—interfere with our “circadian rhythm” or natural sleep/wake cycle.

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To determine how much sleep you need, it’s important to assess not only where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum,” but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.

Check out the Bedtime Calculator, which can help you plan your sleep.

sleep chart

Make Sleep a Priority

To begin a new path towards healthier sleep and a healthier lifestyle, begin by assessing your own individual needs and habits. See how you respond to different amounts of sleep.

Pay careful attention to your mood, energy and health after a poor night’s sleep versus a good one. Ask yourself, “How often do I get a good night’s sleep?” Like good diet and exercise, sleep is a critical component to overall health.

To pave the way for better sleep, follow these simple yet effective healthy sleep tips, including:

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms such as sleepiness during the day or when you expect to be awake and alert, snoring, leg cramps or tingling, gasping or difficulty breathing during sleep, prolonged insomnia or another symptom that is preventing you from sleeping well, you should consult your primary care physician or  find a sleep professional to determine the underlying cause.

You may also try using the National Sleep Foundation Sleep Diary to track your sleep habits over a one- or two-week period and bring the results to your physician.

Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done; stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.

DHEC in the News: Flu, diabetes prevention, opioids

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Aiken County still above state baseline for flu

Aiken County had a decrease in flu cases at the beginning of February, but for the week of Feb. 4 to 10, there were 632 lab-confirmed and positive rapid cases per 100,000 people, according to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

There were 18,372 cases state-wide for that week, which is a decrease of 3.3 percent from the previous week, according to data provided by DHEC. There have been 99,791 cases during the entire flu season.

No excuses: RMC HealthPlex Diabetes Prevention Program changing lives for the better

As the second month of 2018 winds down, many of us are aggravated with ourselves for not sticking to our New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, exercise and lose weight.

One group of Orangeburg residents, however, were on track to reach those goals after attending their second week of the intensive 16-week Diabetes Prevention Class at the Regional Medical Center’s HealthPlex in Orangeburg. The program kicked off on Jan. 23.

General Interest

ER Reduces Opioid Use By More Than Half With Dry Needles, Laughing Gas

One of the places many people are first prescribed opioids is a hospital emergency room. But in one of the busiest ERs in the U.S., doctors are relying less than they used to on oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids to ease patients’ pain.

In an unusual program designed to help stem the opioid epidemic, the emergency department at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., has been exploring alternative painkillers and methods. That strategy has led to a 58 percent drop in the ER’s opioid prescriptions in the program’s first year, according to numbers provided by St. Joseph’s Healthcare System’s chair of emergency medicine, Dr. Mark Rosenberg.

Be careful while practicing and exercising in the heat

There is a lot of buzz about the start of football season on all levels, whether pro, college, high school or other. But the excitement over a new football season — or even the start of a new outdoor workout routine — shouldn’t overshadow the fact that it’s hot outside. Be careful.

Anyone exercising outside, whether at football practice or out jogging or hiking, should take extra precaution when exerting themselves in the heat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions those exercising or practicing while it’s hot outside to take the following precautions:

  • Limit outdoor activity, especially during the middle of the day when the sun is hottest.
  • Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
  • Schedule workouts and practices earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler.
  • Pace activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
  • Monitor a teammate’s condition, and have someone do the same for you.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

People who exercise in extreme heat are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness. Seek medical care immediately if you or a teammate has symptoms of heat-related illness.

Visit the CDC’s website for additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness. The agency’s website also has more on extreme heat and how it affects various groups.


The Working Well Corporate Challenge

As the state’s public health agency, DHEC strives to be the example when it comes to healthy lifestyles—both for the public and other organizations.

In May, we participated in the Working Well Corporate Challenge, a partnership between the Governor’s Cup Road Race and the South Carolina Hospital Association. Over 100 DHEC employees and their families participated in the marathon, half-marathon, 5K, Main Street Mile and Kid’s Mile.

Last week, the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) recognized DHEC for our winning participation in the challenge.

From the SCHA:

In 2017, the Governor’s Cup Road Race partnered with South Carolina Hospital Association’s Working Well initiative to form the Working Well Corporate Challenge. We congratulate the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) who recruited and registered 104 participants.

DHEC promoted participation by creating an intra-office competition, with the winning team receiving a trophy and recognition at an ice cream social. DHEC promoted the event to walkers and runners alike by basing the competition on the total number of participants who finished a race, rather than distance or speed. This leveled the playing field between seasoned runners, new walkers, and everyone in between.

Will Britt, DHEC team captain, has seen an increase in physical activity interest since the Working Well Corporate Challenge. “The challenge went better than we expected,” said Britt. “We now have many employees who have already signed up for another race and are enthusiastic about toeing the line at the 2018 Governor’s Cup.”

For more information about Working Well, visit the SCHA.


Father’s Day Is Important, Dad. Get Screened.

Dads deserve the attention, accolades and gifts they get each Father’s Day. They also should give themselves and their families a gift in return: a lifelong dedication to healthy living.

That includes adopting healthy habits that help reduce the risk of developing cancer.FathersDayicon Cancer is a complex disease. Your risk of developing cancer isn’t based only on genetics or family history, although they do play a role. Have you ever wondered how much lifestyle affects cancer risk? Research shows that half of all cancer today could be prevented by practicing healthy habits.  Start by adopting one or two healthy behaviors.

Once you’ve gotten those down, move on to others:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all
  • Protect yourself from the sun
  • Get screening tests

Healthy Weight & Good Nutrition. Less Cancer.

There are several research-proven ways to lower your cancer risk! One way is by maintaining a healthy weight. dadimagineNot sure how to begin? First focus on not gaining more weight, then on eating a healthier diet and exercising to achieve a healthy weight. Ask a health care provider for tips on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Check out these sites for healthy recipe options:

Healthy Father’s Day Recipes

Healthy Heart & Soul Recipe Book

Healthier Recipes – USDA Mixing Bowl

More Exercise. Less Cancer.

Regular exercise – just 30 minutes each day – will lower your risk of developing cancer. Whether you’re running on a treadmill or walking around the block, it all counts. Encourage your whole family to get up and move together. Exercise is especially important for cancer survivors. For some cancers, regular physical activity may lower the risk of recurrence and eliminate the risk of other chronic diseases. Visit http://eatsmartmovemoresc.org and click on Let’s Go! for information on parks and trails, and other resources.

 Fight Cancer. Don’t Smoke.

Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, esophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukemia. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including key genes that protect us against cancer. For cancer patients, studies also find that smoking hinders cancer treatment. For help with smoking, contact the SC Tobacco Quitline.

Lung Cancer

Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the U.S. and the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Three screening tests have been studied to see if they decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer: 1) Low-dose spiral CT scan (LDCT scan), 2) Chest X-ray; and 3) Sputum whitebowcytology. Screening with low-dose spiral CT scans has been shown to decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer in heavy smokers. Screening with chest X-rays and/or sputum cytology does not decrease the risk of dying from lung cancer. Talk with your doctor about the risks of lung cancer screening.

More Education. Less Cancer.

Prostate Cancer

There is no standard or routine screening test for prostate cancer. Talk with yourbluebow doctor about the digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) for prostate cancer. The South Carolina Cancer Alliance is a resource for education trainings and opportunities. Visit their website for patient care information and volunteer opportunities.

More Screenings. Less Cancer.dadnote

It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms.

Colorectal Cancer

Screenings are essential to catching some cancers early and can help prevent purplebowexisting cancers from spreading. Speak with your doctor about tests to detect colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men (after prostate cancer and lung cancer).

Prevention. Less Cancer

Cancer prevention starts with education, screening, and a healthy lifestyle. Take control of your health, and encourage your family to do the same.

Happy Father’s Day.