National Health Center Week 2016: Open Houses

CHAS Health is celebrating National Health Center week with a series of open houses! Whether it’s our remodel at the Denny Murphy clinic or our dental expansion at our Cheney Health Center, we have some exciting updates to share with you. Meet our staff, take a tour, enjoy some refreshments, and learn more about what our clinics have to offer.

 

Menopause

Menopause

AKA

The Climacteric, The Change of Life, or my favorite:

MANopause.  That’s right, fella’s, back away slowly…

Throughout a woman’s life, hormones are constantly shifting and changing, rising, and falling, performing an intricate dance.  When the ovaries reach the end of their lifespan, on average around the age of 50, they no longer produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.  For some women this happens suddenly and they are thrust into distressing symptoms such as irregular periods, heavy  bleeding, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and pain with sex, low sex drive, anxiety, irritability, and even depression.  Perimenopause, the years before the official diagnosis of menopause, can last 10 years or more.  When you have not had a period for an entire year, we can officially say you are in menopause.

One of the most common distressing symptoms are called “hot flashes”. Hot flashes begin as a sudden sensation of heat centered on the upper chest and face that rapidly becomes generalized.  The sensation of heat lasts from two to four minutes, is often associated with profuse perspiration and occasionally palpitations, and is sometimes followed by chills, shivering, and a feeling of anxiety.  Hot flashes may range from less than one each day to as many as one per hour during the day and night.  On average, symptoms last 5 years but 30% of women have symptoms for 10 years and 9% of women have symptoms for 20 years

Modern medicine can offer relief from distressing symptoms, but there is no “cure” for this very natural life process.  As with any medication, there are risks and benefits.  A discussion with your provider can help you decide if medication or hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to manage symptoms at home.  These suggestions are basic recommendations for self-care:

For the management of hot flashes and night sweats:

  1. Lower the room temperature
  2. Use fans
  3. Dress in layers that can be easily shed
  4. Wear a base layer that wicks moisture away from your skin.
  5. Avoid spicy food, hot drinks, alcohol, stress
  6. Weight Loss

To keep your mood and emotions steady:

  1. Daily Exercise
  2. Daily Yoga or other mindful meditation and relaxation

For vaginal dryness and pain with sex:

  1. Use a vaginal moisturizer three times a week.
  2. Use lubrication for sex.
  3. Sorry, we have no great medical solution for libido

 

To protect your bones, support your immune system, and promote sleep:

  1. 1200mg of Calcium
  2. 400mg Magnesium
  3. 2000IU Vitamin D daily.

Calcium is only absorbed 500mg at a time so taking a supplement twice a day with meals, in addition to at least one serving of dairy or other calcium fortified food daily will supply what you need. The Vitamin D helps your body absorb the calcium and it activates it in your muscle and bone cells so it can work for you.  Magnesium and Vitamin D help with mood and a healthy immune system, too.

For more information on perimenopause and menopause, you can explore the following:

The Wisdom of Menopause, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

www.menopause.org/for-women

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause

-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife

Pokémon Go, For Your Health?

If you’ve seen an increased number of people walking and biking around town with their phones glued to their faces, there’s a strong chance they are searching for a Charmander, Snorlax, or one of the other 151 Pokémon varieties. Of course we’re talking about Pokémon Go, the latest interactive app to blow up your Facebook and Twitter feed. The coolest part of the app (aside from finding a Squirtle in your backyard), is it’s actually helping people to get outside and exercise more.

Released last week, Pokémon Go is an interactive game that uses your phone’s GPS, camera,  and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon “appear” around using augmented reality. The Pokemon that the players catch can be powered up and used to take over or train at local gyms (usually monuments, churches, other public spaces). Different types of creatures appear as you move around your city, with the variety changing as you move from block to block. You’re literally chasing Pokémon around your city, which is making this game a huge hit and an excellent addition to your exercise regimen.

Many people using the app have seen significant increases in their steps since they began playing.

In addition, some Pokémon Go players are seeing mental health benefits. Simply by getting outside and taking a short walk (sometimes with friends) players are helping themselves to battle anxiety and depression. The game can be played solo or with a group of friends/strangers.

Tumblr user Ari is one of them. She has anxiety and depression and for the past three years has avoided leaving the house unless absolutely necessary.

“I have struggled with motivation and energy since I was 9, when I developed severe depression. After that, when I was 15, I developed CPTSD [complex post-traumatic stress disorder] from an abusive relationship that left me completely socially phobic, and starting then I was barely able to leave my house for fear of seeing people.

“But as soon as I got Pokemon Go I was able to leave the house, and I walked outside for hours and suddenly found myself enjoying it. I had the instant rush of dopamine whenever I caught a Pokémon, and I wanted to keep going. Then today and yesterday I purposely put myself in social situations, going to the mall, just to play. And best of all I enjoyed it.

“I think it’s partially because it gives an instant reward. It’s not like going out, having an awful experience, and getting praise after. It’s going out and getting that instant positive affirmation that makes going outside a good experience. I guess most people get that with being social or doing other activities.”

 

Of course the exercise is a side effect of playing Pokémon Go, which is at its core an incredibly fun way  to try and see if you can “catch ‘em all”. It brings back a sense of nostalgia, childhood wonder, and lets players explore their environment.

Now, if someone can help me find a Pikachu in Spokane, that would be amazing.

-Matt Grebe & Rachael Chambers, CHAS Health Communications Team

Welcome to Summer!

 

Helmets– Are highly recommended with all wheeled sports. You only have one head and need to protect that brain for many years to come. If you happen to get in a wreck, get help to make sure you don’t have a serious injury.

Swimming– We have so many awesome lakes, rivers, and pools within a short distance which is why it’s important to practice good water safety. Even if you’re a good swimmer, make sure someone is around to watch you.

Sunblock- We recommend you use a sunblock that covers both UVA and UVB; and an SPF of 70 would be best (with the way most people put on sunblock you only get about half the SPF number listed on the bottle). Don’t forget to drink lots of cool water when the heat rises outside or if you’ve been sweating more than usual! Be sure to stay hydrated to keep your body from overheating.

Camp Physicals-Summertime is a great time to go to camp! Ask your parents to call and schedule an annual physical appointment now so you’re ready for all your activities at camp – and get a jump on the next school year.

Summer Treats– What summer is complete without a few sweets? Remember that we don’t get a summer break from brushing our teeth; we have to do it every day. If you haven’t been into the dentist in a while, now is a great time to let your tooth shine. For extra protection, remember we also have fluoride supplements for kids from 6 months old until 16 years old.

Last, but not least, make sure you talk with your parents about expectations for summer, make sure you know your home address, parent’s phone, and who to contact in case of emergency. Have a fun and safe summer!