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Summer 2018

A publication of

Multiple benefits of walking for good health

Shaw Media/Jim Dunn

An activity as simple as taking a walk in a park can promote good health in more ways than one. It provides exercise, of course, and, if done in conjunction with a fundraiser such as the June 30 Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk at City-County Park near Princeton, helps to raise money to fight disease. The Great Strides Walk featured signs along the route that explained the “great strides� that have been taken in combating this particular lung disease.


Healthy ways to relieve stress throughout the day METRO NEWS SERVICE

Stress affects people from all walks of life, and the causes of stress are as varied as the people it afflicts. In its 2017 Stress in America survey, the American Psychological Association found that the three most common

sources of stress were the future of the nation (63 percent), money (62 percent) and work (61 percent). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, routine stress that becomes chronic can result in a host of negative side effects.

Such stress can suppress the immune system, disrupt digestion and have an adverse effect on sleep. But men and women who feel stressed at the end of each day need not resign themselves to sleepless nights and/ or weakened immune systems. A pro-

active approach to alleviating stress during the day can help men and women reduce their stress levels and avoid the negative side effects associated with chronic stress.


Summer 2018



Accepting New Patients

Travis Swink, DO Board Certified in Family Medicine In 1992, Dr. Swink earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from University of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. He attended medical school at Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa, OK and completed his residency program at Great Plains Family Practice in Oklahoma City. In 2001, Dr. Swink arrived in Illinois and began working for OSF Medical Group in Dwight. He and his family love the small-town feeling and sense of community that came with the move north. In his 16 years of experience as a Family Practice Specialist, Dr. Swink cares for the full scope of family medicine needs and really gets to know his patients.

For an appointment, call

(815) 664-0605 To request an appointment online or to request more information, visit:

“I am looking forward to this opportunity to provide quality family care to the Princeton and Henry areas.” - Travis Swink, DO Dr. Swink is now accepting patients at both St. Margaret’s Center for Family Health | 1916 North Main Street, Princeton Henry Clinic | 528 Edward Street, Henry To schedule an appointment, please call (815) 664-0605.


• STRESS RELIEF Continued from Page 1

HEALTH MATTERS | Summer 2018

• Walk away. The APA notes that taking a break from a stressor is one of a handful of healthy techniques that research has indicated is a successful way to reduce stress, both in the short- and longterm. If a project at work is proving especially stressful, step away for a short period of time to do something else, whether it’s to go for a brief walk or converse with a co-worker about something unrelated to the project. Avoiding the stress entirely, especially if it’s a work project or a bill that must be paid, is not the answer. But a short break from the stressor and thinking about it can provide a new perspective and time to calm down. • Meditate. When stressed out, men and women should not discount the potential benefits of meditation. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University examined more than 19,000 meditation studies, ultimately concluding that mindful meditation can ease stresses like anxiety, depression and pain. The APA notes that such meditation has been found to reap immediate benefits, potentially helping people who can find time to meditate during the day to prevent their stress from accumulating throughout a hectic workday. • Find time to exercise. The APA notes that research continues to support the notion that exercise is as beneficial to the mind as it is to the body. Exercising several days per week is especially beneficial to mind and body, but even 20-minute exercise sessions, including a walk around the grounds of an office complex or a quick swim during a lunch break, in the midst of

Metro News Service

Stress is a part of daily life for many people. But there are several simple and quick ways for stressed out men and women to reduce their stress during the day. stressful days can help people combat stress for several hours afterward. • Delegate more during the day. Work is the third-leading source of stress among Americans. Men and women who feel overworked may benefit by delegating more tasks during their days or simply stepping back and taking on less work.

The potential effects on your career of taking on less work will likely pale in comparison to the toll chronic stress, which can contribute to heart disease and stroke, takes on your body. Stress is a part of daily life for many people. But there are several simple and quick ways for stressed out men and women to reduce their stress during the day.

Summer 2018




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Life expectancy shorter for some outside urban areas


ecent studies about health care in America show troubling trends, especially in states with large rural and relatively low-income populations. While the United States continues to spend far more than any other developed country on health care on a per capita basis and as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), many states, especially in the South and Midwest, are losing ground in key areas that pertain to life expectancy. The Commonwealth Fund’s just-released 2018 Scorecard on State Health System Performance confirmed what other recent studies have shown: life expectancy in the United States is going down while it continues to go up in other developed countries. And rural areas seem to be disproportionately affected. Some researchers have used one word to explain the sudden reversal in life expectancy trends in the United States: despair. That’s because of the rapidly rising number of suicides and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use in this country. The Commonwealth Fund reported that deaths from suicide, alcohol and drug use have increased 50 percent since 2005. The Scorecard, which assessed every state and the District of Columbia on 43 measures in five broad categories – access to health care, quality of care, efficiency in care delivery, health outcomes, and

RURAL HEALTH NEWS Wendell Potter income-based health care disparities – wasn’t all bad news by any means. In fact, most states made improvements between 2013 and 2016 in some or all of the categories. But several others, Nebraska in particular, saw a worsening in all five. The states scoring the highest overall were Hawaii (No. 1), Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, and Utah, while those scoring the lowest were Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Mississippi (No. 51). But three of those bottom-ranking states – Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma – were among the five states making the most improvements. At the other end of the spectrum, the five making the fewest improvements were New Hampshire, Utah, Maine, Wyoming, and Nebraska (No. 51).

Significant steps needed

The Commonwealth Fund’s researchers noted that progress in all categories is certainly possible in coming years but added that unless significant steps are taken, improvements in many states are not likely anytime soon. “If every state achieved the performance of the top-ranked state on each Scorecard indicator, the gains in health care access, quality, efficiency, and outcomes would be dramatic,” the researchers wrote. “At the current rates of improvement, however, it may take many years or decades for states and the nation to see such progress.”

That may portend a continuing decline in life expectancy in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in December that life expectancy in the United States declined for the second year in a row in 2016. U.S. life expectancy peaked at 78.9 years in 2014. It fell to 78.7 in 2015, and to 78.6 in 2016. As the British Medical Journal pointed out earlier this year, this decline is the culmination of a decades-long trend. In 1960, the United States had the highest life expectancy of any country in the 35-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which comprises the world’s richest countries. Back then, Americans on average lived 2.4 years longer than residents of the other OECD countries. We started losing ground, though, in the 1980s. Our life expectancy first fell below the OECD average in 1998. Now it is 1.5 years lower than the average of the 35 countries. Steven H. Woolf, the author of the British Medical Journal article, attributed the decline to “life conditions” that seem to be more challenging to Americans, rural Americans in particular, than they are to residents of other developed countries. He cited the rising number of deaths from opioid overdoses in particular as a symptom of those greater life challenges. But, he added, “The opioid epidemic is the tip of an iceberg, part of an even larger public health crisis in the U.S.: death rates from alcohol abuse and suicides have also been rising … “These ‘deaths of despair,’ as some have called them, are disproportion-

ately affecting white Americans, especially adults aged 25-59 years, those with limited education, and women. The sharpest increases are occurring in rural counties, often in regions with longstanding social and economic challenges.”

More spent on health care Meanwhile, the United States spends far more on health care than any other country: $10,348 per capita annually, which is more than twice as much as the $5,169 average spent by OECD countries. We spend 31 percent more per capita than the next highest country, Switzerland. And as noted above, we also spend more on health care – 17.3 percent of GDP, more than twice the 7.9 percent average of comparably developed countries. And the difference is widening every year. That percentage is expected to keep going up because of constantly rising health care costs and health insurance premiums, although the rate of increase of both has slowed somewhat in recent years. But as the Kaiser Family Foundation reported last September, the average annual premium for employer-sponsored family coverage reached $18,764 in 2017. That’s a 55 percent increase over 10 years. So although we are spending more on health care every year and far more than any other developed country, we are getting an increasingly smaller return on that money as measured by most health care outcomes, most notably life expectancy. And residents of many rural communities are especially disadvantaged.

Note to readers: Wendell Potter is a former health insurance executive, author and founder of the journalism nonprofit


Simple hygiene tips that can have a lasting, positive impact METRO NEWS SERVICE

Personal hygiene isn’t about just looking good. The effects of maintaining personal hygiene are myriad and include reducing one’s susceptibility to infection and decreasing the risk for disease. Because personal hygiene can have such a profound impact on overall health, some may feel that they need to go to great lengths to maintain their hygiene. But that’s not the case. In fact, the following are

a handful of simple ways that men, women and children can maintain their personal hygiene. • Wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that is one of the most important steps a person can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. After using the toilet, changing a diaper or handling raw meats that have invisible fecal matter from animals on them, people who do not wash their hands can spread germs such as sal-

monella, E. coli and norovirus.

• Clean and trim your fingernails. Some

may consider cleaning and trimming one’s fingernails a purely cosmetic activity, but proper grooming of nails can reduce a person’s risk for infection. For example, keeping fingernails clean and short can help to prevent and control pinworm infection, which the CDC notes is the most common worm infection in the United States.

• Brush and floss your teeth. There’s more to personal hygiene than cleaning hands and fingernails. The American Dental Association notes that the mouth is filled with bacteria, some of which can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, which has been linked to problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia. Personal hygiene can help people look their best and help promote overall health, too.

HEALTH MATTERS | Summer 2018

Negative health care trends impact rural folks


Summer 2018




The connection between eating and energy METRO NEWS SERVICE

The connection between energy and eating is significant. A healthy diet and approach to eating can vastly improve energy levels, while a poorly planned diet that lacks nutrition can contribute to feelings of fatigue and increase a person’s risk for various ailments. The Harvard Medical School notes that different kinds of foods are converted to energy at different rates. That’s why some foods, such as candy, provide quick boosts of energy while foods such as whole grains tend to supply the body with energy reserves that it can draw on throughout the day. It’s not just what people eat but how they eat that can affect their energy levels. In addition to choosing the right foods, men and women can try the following strategies as they look to eat to boost their energy levels.

• Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Avoiding the traditional threemeals-per-day approach may help improve energy levels, especially for people who tend to eat sizable

Metro News Service

The right snacks can provide an energy boost that lasts until meal time comes around again. meals once, twice or even three times every day. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the metabolisms of people who do not eat regularly will slow down, as the body absorbs and stores more of the food it eats. Those stores include cholesterol and fat, which can be

unhealthy and contribute to weight gain. However, by eating small meals more frequently, one’s metabolism speeds up and more calories are burned. The body recognizes more food is soon on the way and, as a result, it does not need to store as much cholesterol and fat as it would if meals were eaten less frequently. • Avoid a big lunch. The Harvard Medical School notes that, while the reasons are unclear, research has indicated that the circadian rhythms of people who eat big lunches indicate a more significant drop in afternoon energy levels than the rhythms of people who eat smaller midday meals. Men and women who eat big lunches and find their energy levels waning later in the workday can try to eat smaller midday meals to boost their energy. • Be careful with caffeine. The foods people eat are not the only components of their diet that can affect their energy levels. Caffeinated beverages can provide a temporary boost of energy as well.

However, men and women who drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages to boost their energy levels should avoid doing so in large amounts after 2 p.m. That’s because caffeine can cause insomnia, and insufficient sleep can dramatically affect energy levels. • Choose the right snacks. Eating smaller, more frequent meals may compel some people to snack. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that snacks are important as long as they’re the right snacks. Avoid snacks that are just empty calories in favor of foods that contain protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates. Such snacks, which may include fruits such as apples and fresh berries or protein sources like nuts and Greek yogurt, can provide lasting energy. It’s also important that men and women not snack to fill themselves up, but rather to quell any hunger pangs and get an energy boost between meals. The foods people eat and when they eat them can have a dramatic impact on their energy levels.



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Seniors’ senses of smell, taste change with age METRO NEWS SERVICE

Aging comes with several sensory changes, many of which people expect. Loss of hearing or diminishing vision are widely associated with aging. But one’s senses of smell and taste may diminish with aging as well. The senses of taste and smell work in concert. The sense of smell is vital to personal health, not only because inhaling pleasant aromas can provide comfort and stress relief through aromatherapy and help trigger important memories, but also because smell enables a person to detect the dangers of smoke, gas, spoiled food, and more. The National Institute on Aging says that, as a person gets older, his or her sense of smell may fade, and that will also affect taste. The Mayo Clinic says some loss of taste and smell is natural and can begin as early as age 60. Adults have about 9,000 taste buds sensing sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami flavors, or those corresponding to the flavor of glutamates. Many tastes are linked to odors that

Although age-related loss of taste and smell cannot be reversed, some such cases may be treatable. Metro News Service

begin at the nerve endings in the lining of the nose. Medline says the number of taste buds decreases as one ages, and that remaining taste buds may begin to shrink. Sensitivity to the five tastes also begins to decline. This can make it more difficult to distinguish between flavors. Similarly, especially after age 70, smell can diminish due to a loss of nerve endings and less mucus in the

nose. With the combination of the reduction of these important sensory nerves in the nose and on the tongue, loss of smell and taste can greatly affect daily life. Changes in these senses can contribute to feelings of depression, diminish one’s enjoyment of food, and cause harmful conditions, such as extreme weight loss from disinterest in food to problems associated with overusing salt or sugar.

Although aging is often to blame, loss of smell and taste also may be tied to early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Cancer treatments, medications, lack of saliva, colds, flu, and other factors may contribute to sensory loss. Changing medications or treatments may help. It’s important to bring up diminished flavors or smells with a doctor to rule out something more serious and to determine what might help restore pleasure from smells and flavors. An otolaryngologist, or a doctor who specializes in diseases of the ears, nose and throat, may be able to help fix the problem, though some people may be referred to a neurologist or another specialist. Continuing to use one’s sense of smell and taste by cooking, gardening, trying new flavors, and experimenting with different aromas may help slow down the decline these senses. Although age-related loss of taste and smell cannot be reversed, some such cases may be treatable.

Missi Armstrong, APN, FNP-BC

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Summer 2018



MENTAL/EMOTIONAL HEALTH Mental Health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties. Perry Memorial Hospital offers services through the Perry Memorial Family Health Clinic and the Senior Behavior Wellness program.


Licensed Case Social Worker and Behavioral Health Therapist Libby will assess for both mental health and substance abuse, offer brief courses of focused treatment and can be a resource to other mental health providers for those who mayy need more intensive treatment.

MEET PERRY’S BEHAVIOR WELLNESS TEAM Dr. Scott Arbaugh (left) Angella Hughes, Therapist (right) David Riordan, Therapist (far right)

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS • Perry Memorial’s Senior Behavior Wellness program offers individualized plan of care developed to treat your unique needs. • Treatment may include group or individualized therapy and medication management. • Physician referrals are not required for the Senior Behavior Wellness program – Perry will work closely with your primary provider and care takers. • FREE Transportation and lunch provided!

Trust Perry Memorial Hospital’s mental health experts by setting up an appointment today!

Schedule a mental health assessment by calling Libby at the Perry Memorial Family Health Clinic, at 815-876-2344. To inquire about Perry’s Senior Behavior Wellness program, call 815-876-2004.

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