Page 1


health TODAY Fall 2015

Supersize your meals (THE RIGHT WAY)


The healing power of LAUGHTER

TABLE OF contents

features 4 5 6

Cancer Prevention Reverse the damage from smoking Laughter’s healing power Heart-Healthy Living Veg out!


Focus on Women Think outside the gym


Neuroscience 6 ways to stop back pain


Digestive Health Heavy on the holidays?


Family Health Time for the text talk


Roary Joins CHOG Team Every hospital needs a CFO, and the Children’s Hospital of Georgia recently had a new Chief Fun Officer join its team. Roary, an energetic “baby jaguar” flew by helicopter to the children’s hospital this past summer to help bring excitement and fun to children and families receiving care. Look for the new mascot at both special and unannounced events throughout the year. For a video of Roary’s introduction to CHOG, visit


Celebrating 10 Years at Lake Oconee Georgia Regents Medical Associates Lake Oconee Village celebrated 10 years of serving the Lake Oconee community this year. Located in Greensboro, the 8,000-square-foot medical practice serves Greene, Putnam, Morgan and surrounding counties and provides a comprehensive array of general and specialty medical services, including family medicine, pediatrics, sports medicine, cardiology and orthopedics. Speakers during the June 12 celebration included Dr. Peter Buckley, dean of the Medical College of Georgia, and Dr. Julian Nussbaum, chair of the Department of Ophthalmology.

11 12

Feel happier — and younger In the News A look inside the new Cardiovascular Center

The material in Your Health Today is not intended for diagnosing or prescribing. Consult your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment. For more information, please call 800-736-CARE (2273) or visit our website at Images may be from ©iStock and/or ©Fotolia. Copyright © 2015 Georgia Regents Health System

Warm Up [ D]


rinking coffee or tea may help reduce the risk of chronic liver disease in certain people. Those who may benefit from the caffeinated beverages include people who are overweight, have diabetes or have high iron levels in their blood. A study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that those people — who are otherwise at higher risk for liver diseases — cut their risk by more than half if they drank more than two cups of coffee or tea a day.


Family Mealtimes

[ H]

ave you thought about how fast you eat? For many, slowing down can aid digestion, increase your enjoyment of a meal and even help you eat less. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that your stomach is full, so eating at a leisurely pace can help you recognize this signal. Try these ideas: • Put your fork or spoon down between bites. • Chew your food thoroughly. It allows the saliva • Use chopsticks. in your mouth to begin the digestive process.

Fresh Ideas FOR Fall Change Your ALARM BATTERIES should have smoke alarms on every floor of your home and a carbon monoxide [ Y] oudetector near bedrooms, and daylight savings is a great reminder to change these batteries. If your alarm uses a lithium (long-life) battery, replace the entire unit every 10 years or sooner if it chirps or stops working. Meanwhile, be sure to test smoke alarms monthly, and come spring, change the batteries again in your carbon monoxide detectors (they should be changed twice a year).

Crisp AUTUMN SALAD 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced (with skin) 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 bag mixed lettuce greens (about 5 cups) ½ cup dried cranberries ¼ cup walnuts, chopped ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds 1/3 cup low-fat raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Sprinkle lemon juice on the apple slices, then toss remaining ingredients together in a bowl. Serves 6. Per serving: 138 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 41 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein, 19 g carbohydrates, 230 mg potassium. Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

[ 3 ]

CANCER prevention


Reversible? The answer might surprise you

[ I]

f you’re not quitting smoking because you think the damage

is done, put down that cigarette. The truth is, much of the damage from smoking can be reversed — and in as little as 24 hours after quitting. “It really doesn’t matter how long a person has been smoking,” said Zhonglin Hao, M.D., co-lead of the thoracic oncology team at the GRU Cancer Center. “If you quit, you will improve the overall quality of life for you and your family.” Quitting smoking is far easier than fighting cancer or struggling to take a breath because of a bad heart or damaged lungs, and the benefits are huge. Take a look at these numbers: Cut your cancer risk in half. After five smoke-free years, the lungcancer death rate for an average smoker (one pack a day) is reduced almost by half. And after 15 years, the risk is almost the same as that of a nonsmoker. Quitting also decreases the chance that a person will develop cancer of the mouth, throat, pancreas and bladder. Slash your heart attack risk — in just 24 hours. The American Cancer Society says that a smoker’s chance of a heart attack drops HOURS within 24 hours of his or her last cigarette. After one year, the increased risk of heart attack is reduced by half. Stop strokes in as little as five years. When a smoker quits, the risk of a stroke drops to that of a nonsmoker. How long does that take? In YEARS studies completed so far, the range is from five to 20 years. Enjoy the lungs of a nonsmoker after five years. According to a recent study, within five years of quitting, middle-aged smokers YEARS had slowed the rate of decline in their lung function to that of the average nonsmoker.

FREE SCREENINGS The GRU Cancer Center and GRHealth Department of Radiology have partnered to offer lung cancer screenings at no cost to those who qualify. To find out more, call 706-721-4726 (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) or email

[ 4 ]

Laughter’s HEALING POWER It really is the best medicine

“A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast.” –Groucho Marx

[ G]

ood advice from

comedian Groucho Marx. Being able to appreciate humor even during pain, chronic illness or disease not only benefits your mood, but just might be good for your health, too. According to the American Cancer Society, laughter can promote pain relief, encourage relaxation, reduce stress, boost attitude and stimulate the circulatory system during cancer treatments. So laugh on: Here are five easy tips to add more smiles to your life: Look for humor even in a tough situation. There are genuinely sad situations that aren’t laughing matters, but many have an ironic or ludicrous side. Next time you feel stress rising, take a minute to think about the irony and

allow yourself to relax and laugh over the things you cannot control. Remind yourself of funny moments from the past. Perhaps a friend told you a great joke, your kids did something amusing or you watched a funny movie that had you in stitches. Call on these moments and relive them to relieve sadness or anger. Surround yourself with fun people who laugh a lot. Laugher is contagious, so make a point to seek out positive

people who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves or find humor in life’s situations. Get a pet. Animals are great for boosting happiness and encouraging laughter because they love to play and they do amusing things without even realizing it. Join a group that’s built for laughs. Start a “funny movie night” with friends or a “funny book” club.

SMILE! Staying active and involved is another way to add humor and enjoyment to your life. Call 1-888-365-0747 or visit to learn more about the community events available to you.

[ 5 ]



(The Right Way) Fill your plate with colorful, heart-healthy veggies

[ W]

e all know vegetables

are full of vitamins and minerals that are important for a balanced diet and a healthy body, but sometimes it’s still a struggle to eat enough. (The average adult should eat between two to three cups of vegetables daily!) Sarah Schmidt, a registered dietitian with the GRHealth Heart and Cardiovascular Center, shares these easy ways to get nutritious, heart-healthy veggies onto your plate.

Choosing: Consider cost and flavor “Vegetables that are in season usually cost less and have more flavor,” said Schmidt. Your local farmers market can be a great resource for seasonal produce. Select vegetables that are rich in color and aren’t bruised or damaged. Or have fun growing your own vegetables. Frozen vegetables keep longer and can be an easy addition to meals. Choose products without added sauces to reduce saturated fat and sodium.

[ 6 ]

Canned vegetables may be less expensive than fresh and more likely to have regular sales or discounts. Look for “reduced sodium,” “low sodium” or “no salt added” for better health benefits.

Eating: Make them convenient and interesting

macaroni and cheese, blend spinach into a fruit smoothie or shred zucchini into quick breads. • Use cooked, pureed vegetables in soups and to thicken stews. • Grill out! Try vegetable kabobs with tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers and onions.

Raw veggies such as baby carrots, grape tomatoes and celery sticks are easy grab-and-go snacks. “Jazz them up with a heart-healthy dip like hummus or plain Greek yogurt. Kids may enjoy making ‘ants on a log’ (peanut butter and raisins on a celery stick) or dipping vegetables such as cucumbers and crinkle carrots into low-fat ranch dressing,” said Schmidt. • Sneak chopped vegetables into favorite foods such as lasagna or

VEG OUT Want to eat more delicious, flavorful and satisfying meals? Work with one of our professional dietitians to create a customized meal plan. Just call 706-721-8637.

FOCUS ON women

Think OUTSIDE THE GYM Workouts that won’t leave you bored


ot the treadmill type? Who can blame you?

The “walk to nowhere” isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun workout. “And let’s face it: If it’s not fun, you’re probably not going to stick with it,” said Angela Duke, M.D., a physician at GRHealth Women’s Health. Luckily, there are plenty of options for spicing up exercise routines if traditional regimens don’t inspire you.

Off the beaten path Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. What you choose to do is entirely up to you, but consider these unique workouts: Hula hooping. Try weighted hula hoops and see if you can go for at least 10 minutes. Regular hula hoops can also help you meet your aerobic exercise goals, with 30 minutes burning an average of 165 to 200 calories. Obstacle courses. Whether they’re part of a gym’s boot camp class or laid out in a weekend event, such as Fort Gordon’s annual spring Marine Mud Challenge, participants can expect big-time obstacles, such as throwing tires or hoisting themselves over walls. Ballet-inspired workouts. Want a dancer’s body? Then try barre classes, which build flexibility, strength, balance, agility and endurance. Oxygen in Surrey Center, Pure Barre and Evans Fitness Club offer classes. Aerial yoga. Sometimes called anti-gravity yoga, this discipline has participants performing adapted yoga poses while using silk hammocks that hang from the ceiling. The payoff? You get in some good stretching and work your core muscles. Talk to Space Yoga Studio in Summerville or Home Downtown Yoga.

DO THIS FIRST Haven’t had a checkup in a while? You should get checked regularly, but especially if you’re planning to begin a new exercise program. To make an appointment with a family medicine physician, call 706-721-4588 or visit

[ 7 ]


Got YOUR BACK 6 ways to stop back pain before it starts


oing some heavy lifting?

Exercising hard? “Don’t be surprised if you wake up with back pain,” said Haroon Choudhri, M.D., director of the Neurosurgery Spine Clinic at GRHealth Neuroscience Center. To minimize back pain, and help keep it from becoming a serious — and more costly — issue, focus on prevention. Reduce your load. Keep your purse, briefcase or gym bag as light as possible or downsize to a smaller bag. This goes for overloaded backpacks for children, too. Carry items close to your body. Don’t let bags dangle from your arms. Keep them tucked in and close to your body so your frame can help absorb the weight.

[ 8 ]

Avoid sitting for long periods. If you have a desk job, get up every hour or so for a quick walk. Also watch your posture when seated. Poor posture can contribute to back pain. Build your core strength. A fitness program that includes exercises for building core strength will help develop your abdominal and back muscles and protect your lower back. Lose weight. Carrying extra pounds can be hard on your lower

back, especially if your core muscles aren’t strong. Space activities throughout the week. If you tend to do most of your physical work on the weekend — whether projects around the home or yard or weekend warrior sporting activities — try spacing things out so you’re not doing everything in one or two days. That way, you may avoid overuse or a muscle pull.

WHEN BACK PAIN GETS SERIOUS If your back pain is persistent or related to an injury or accident, you may need specialized care. GRHealth’s Spine Clinic cares for patients both locally and from around the world. For a consultation, call 706-721-4581 or visit



Not anymore, thanks to these 7 fast fixes


his holiday season will be different. We promise.


to Brian Lane, M.D., of the GRHealth Digestive Health Center, you can still enjoy the goodies and parties but avoid feeling bloated and worried about the toll on your digestive system and body. Here’s how: Take stock. “What does ‘holiday food’ mean to you and your family?” asked Lane. “Highlight what’s naturally healthy.” For example, turkey topped with gravy but minus the skin is an American Heart Associationapproved entrée. Skinny it down. What about transforming sweet potato pie into a side  dish of freshly baked sweet potatoes with a touch of cinnamon? You’ll be surprised at how much old-fashioned flavor is retained by making clever substitutions. Create new favorites. For example, replace a heavy hitter with a  platter of roasted winter vegetables. Look to the season’s harvest of cranberries, apples, pears, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin and squash for inspiration. Practice portion control. “If you can’t eliminate it or make it more  healthful, just limit it,” said Dr. Lane. Keep the rest lean and green. Don’t squander precious calories on a  stale, store-bought cookie. Follow proper dietary guidelines, and you’ll buy yourself the flexibility for special indulgences. Party on. Be a good guest and offer to prepare a dish for the next event  (giving you a healthy choice), such as a low-fat yogurt dip with veggies or angel food cake and winter fruit compote. Eat out with confidence. Favor restaurants that offer whole-grain  breads, salads and seafood. Portions are often gigantic in restaurants, so split an entrée with a friend or order an appetizer-size plate of pasta as your main meal.

     

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF If you’re ready for help with your weight loss, why not start by attending a free seminar? They’re available online anytime, register by visiting

[ 9 ]

FAMILY health


Help your teen avoid the dangers of texting and driving


of te en adm s have it texti ted to ng w hile drivi ng

FOR MORE TEXTING TIPS Visit our Children's Hospital of Georgia blog - CHOG blog for more checklists, resources and other ways to keep your family safe this season. Visit today!

[ 10 ]



National Highway Traffic

Safety Administration says that 71 percent of teens have admitted to composing or sending SMS/text messages while driving — and your teen may be among them, said Natalie Lane, M.D., medical director of Safe Kids Greater Augusta. “The fact is, one in four car crashes are caused by distracted driving, often due to texting, and half of these related deaths involve teens,” said Dr. Lane. “Teens are still developing emotional maturity and motor skills, which can be further impacted by distracted driving.” It’s time for the talk. Here’s what you can do to help keep your teen safe while driving: First, don’t sugarcoat it. Teens need to understand that texting while driving is not only dangerous for themselves, but for other drivers on the road as well. Decide on a designated spot in the car where your teen can put the phone. Agree on a place to keep the phone, preferably not within arm’s length of the driver’s seat, such as the glove compartment, back seat, a purse or pants pocket. Install an app that sends automatic responder texts while your teen is driving. There are several apps available that will sense when the car is going over 10 mph. If someone sends your teen a text while he or she is driving, the app will automatically generate a return text (predetermined by you and your teen). Make the message fun! It’s something you and your teen can do together on both your phones. Set an example. Remember, your teens (and younger children) watch everything you do. Be sure to keep your phone tucked away while you’re driving.

Hey There, OPTIMIST!

Want to feel younger? It’s all about attitude


appy life, healthy life? Research has suggested that

optimism may have many benefits. It could:  lower heart failure risk  reduce heart disease   lower dementia risk   lead to better mobility and health in older age

The ability to react positively even in negative situations could also lead to lower rates of depression, protect against stroke, offer better post-surgery recovery, lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, increase immunity against colds and lead to better overall health, plus an increased life span. Optimism can also improve your coping skills.

Looking on the bright side “Our minds have a tendency to focus on the potential for threat and bad outcomes. Optimism isn’t about denying the painful aspects of a situation,” said Amy House, M.D., a clinical psychologist at GRHealth Behavioral Health. “Instead, it’s about counteracting our minds’ tendencies to overfocus on the negative so that our appraisals are balanced.” Especially when thinking about the future, it’s helpful to make realistic predictions that include the possibility of positive outcomes, instead of making a habit of believing our minds’ “worst-case scenario” predictions. With some practice, optimism can be learned. Cognitive behavioral techniques can help promote optimism. Or try this technique:  Think about yourself in the future.  Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could.  Think of this as the realization of all your life dreams.  Then, write about what you imagined. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can also help you keep your thinking balanced and your body and mind primed for all the good things coming your way.

HAPPY DAYS Ongoing anxiety and depression is not only mentally exhausting, but can harm your physical health. If you need to talk to someone, visit our GRHealth Behavioral Health Site for a consultation. Call 706-721-6597 or visit

[ 11 ]

1120 15th Street, AD 1114 Augusta, GA 30912

Non-Profit Organization


PAID Lebanon Junction, KY Permit No. 115

Connect to GR Health

Printed With Soy Ink

Printed With Soy Ink •

Please This Publication

Produced by theThis Division of Communications and Marketing Please Recycle Publication Copyright © 2015 Georgia Regents Medical Center Printed With Soy Ink Please Recycle This Publication Printed With Soy Ink Please Recycle This Publication

IN THE news



his past June, GRHealth

saw the opening of a new heart and cardiovascular center on 15th Street dedicated to the care of general cardiology, interventional cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation patients. Set within the location of the former sports medicine center, the Cardiovascular Center 15th Street is a bright, fresh and open space. But the highlight of the new center is its cardiac rehabilitation area, fitted out with treadmills, stationary bikes and other equipment specifically designed to help heart attack patients rebuild heart muscle strength and to help prevent heart attacks in at-risk patients. The new center is the first in the CSRA to offer cardiac rehabilitation in the same building as its cardiovascular clinic. That’s an important distinction as it allows cardiac rehab patients to benefit directly from the

oversight and supervision of their on-site physicians. It’s all part of GRHealth’s response to recent advances in heart care that emphasize the need for a more comprehensive approach to heart and vascular disease, explained Vinayak Kamath, M.D., director of heart and cardiovascular services. “We are finding that more lifestyle issues and more nonsurgical and noninterventional measures are also important in heart health,” said Dr. Kamath. “For example, exercise that is quantified, measured and performed in a supervised setting has a major impact on prevention and is key to a healthy recovery — and keeping you out of trouble later on.” The new center is also part of a comprehensive plan to continue to provide better access to care for patients, with improved convenience. GRHealth’s Heart and Cardiovascular Services now include

three sites, all located within steps from each other on the same campus. Cardiovascular Center 15th Street, 937 15th St.: General cardiology, interventional cardiology, heart failure and cardiac rehabilitation appointments; outpatient ECHO lab. Convenient curbside parking. Cardiovascular Center Chafee Avenue, 1003 Chafee Ave.: Cardiothoracic surgery and vascular surgery, pre- and postoperation appointments; electrophysiology; outpatient vascular lab. Convenient curbside parking. Georgia Regents Medical Center, 1120 15th St.: Inpatient procedures, including catheterization, echocardiography, electrophysiology and surgery. Parking available in the 15th Street parking deck. To make an appointment, call 706-664-0584, Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., or visit If you have a heart-related medical emergency, please call 911.

Profile for Augusta University

Your Health Today Fall 2015  

Your Health Today Fall 2015  

Profile for ghsu

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded