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6 Ways to Lower Your Risks for Colon Cancer

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), approximately 1 in 20 Americans will develop colon cancer at some time during their life. However, there are 6 things you can do to help lower your risk of getting the disease.

Get screened for colon cancer. Colon screenings can often find growths called polyps that can be removed before they become cancer. The ACS recommends you get tested once you turn 50. Talk to your doctor about when you should start getting screenings and which tests are right for you.

Eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Diets that include lots of vegetables, fruits and whole grains have been linked to a decreased risk of colon cancer. Eat less red meat, such as beef, pork or lamb, and processed meats, like hot dogs and certain lunch meats, which have been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer.

Get regular exercise. If you are not physically active, you have a greater chance of developing colon cancer. Increasing your activity may help reduce your risk of colon cancer.

Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of getting and dying from colon cancer. Eating healthier and increasing your physical activity can help you control your weight.

Don’t smoke. Long-term smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop and die from colon cancer.

Limit alcohol. Colon cancer has been linked to heavy drinking. The ACS recommends no more than 2 alcoholic drinks a day for men and 1 alcoholic drink a day for women.

CNMs

PCRMC Midwifery Program Offers Options for Expectant Mothers

Whether you are thinking of getting pregnant or already expecting, you may want to consider the midwifery service offered through the Women’s Health Center and Maternity Services at Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC).

Heather Wildebrandt, CNM, WHNP, and Karen Ulrich, CNM, MSN, APRN, are part of this innovative program, which has been offered at PCRMC for about a year now.

What exactly is a midwife? There are varying types of midwives, including a lay midwife who is trained as an apprentice, and a certified professional midwife, who receives a formal education program but is limited to only assisting with home births in certain states.

Certified nurse midwives, like Wildebrandt and Ulrich, can practice in all 50 states and are the only type of midwives who can practice within a hospital setting. Certified nurse midwives can help bridge the gap between a home birth and a traditional hospital birth.

Both Wildebrandt and Ulrich were originally nurses who had a passion for women’s health and welcoming babies into this world. They both wanted to further their education, so they decided to complete their training in nurse midwifery to become certified nurse midwives.

As certified nurse midwives, they focus on therapeutic bedside support and high-touch, low-intervention methods. This means working with expectant mothers on increasing physical comfort, such as massages, and helping soon-to-be mothers progress through labor at their own pace. Certified nurse midwives educate mothers on what to expect and anticipated risks.

As certified nurse midwives, Wildebrandt and Ulrich say they try not to rush admitting women into the hospital until they are experiencing active labor, meaning they are 4 to 6 centimeters dilated or contractions have become very close.

They encourage women to walk and move around, not lie in a bed. Anxiety can halt the labor and birthing process, according to Wildebrandt and Ulrich.

In addition to pregnancies, certified nurse midwives help care for women during the postpartum periods as well as throughout their reproductive years. They can perform well-woman exams, discuss contraceptive needs and assist with any post-menopausal conditions.

PCRMC certified nurse midwives can see patients at the main PCRMC campus in Rolla or the Waynesville Medical Plaza.

For more information about midwifery or the PCRMC Women’s Health Center and Maternity Services, please call 573-426-2229 (BABY).

Lorie Bourne

PCRMC’s Lorie Bourne Named Outstanding Dietitian of the Year

Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) dietitian Lorie Bourne, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, has been named the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year award by the Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Bourne has been employed as a dietitian with PCRMC for 10 years. She currently serves as the dietitian for the Delbert Day Cancer Institute (DDCI), working with cancer patients and survivors.

The Outstanding Dietitian of the Year award recognizes the professional contributions of experienced dietitians in the Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dietitians are nominated by their peers for this award, and an awards committee reviews all of the nominees before choosing the winner.

“I was humbled to learn that I had received this recognition,” Bourne said. “I am very grateful to be honored by my colleagues.”

Bourne is currently the president of the Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for 2016-2017. She has served on the Missouri Academy’s executive committee for the past 10 years.

As a dietitian with the DDCI, Bourne helps patients manage the side effects of their treatments, such as nausea, poor appetite and weight loss. In some cases, she assists patients with feeding tubes. Additionally, Bourne offers tips for nutritious diets and speaks to support groups about healthy eating.

Before working at the DDCI, Bourne was a clinical dietitian with PCRMC’s food service department, working as an inpatient dietitian primarily in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and the Medical Oncology Unit.

To be considered for this award, a dietitian must be a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for at least 10 years, be an active participant in the academy’s national, state or district associations and have not previously been selected for this honor. Nominees for this award also must show that they have expanded nutrition services to the public through innovative channels, completed academic research or provided leadership in the academy’s associations and made other significant contributions to the profession.

Bourne will receive her award during the Missouri Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Conference on Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Columbia, Missouri.

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February Is Dental Health Month

February is Dental Health Month, and Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) is using this month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.

Did you know that sugar can cause teeth to decay within 20 minutes after every meal or snack? Tooth decay occurs when sugar and bacteria in your mouth combine to create an acid, which can cause a cavity to form on a healthy tooth.

To keep your teeth healthy, dentists recommend that you brush the top, bottom, front and back surfaces of your teeth until they are clean. You should brush your teeth and tongue for 2 minutes, at least twice a day. Do NOT go to bed without brushing your teeth.

Use a toothbrush with soft bristles in order to avoid damaging your gums, and change your toothbrush at least every 3 months and after any illness.

Dentists also recommend that you drink more water and use dental floss at least once per day. Flossing can remove food and plaque that your toothbrush cannot reach.

Rinse your mouth after eating any food with sugar. Consider using mouthwash because it reduces acid in your mouth and cleans hard-to-reach spaces.

People also should avoid tobacco products. Did you know that smokers are 4 times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers?

Additionally, limit the amount of alcohol you consume as well as sugary and acidic foods and drinks.

Make sure to visit your dentist twice a year.

Fluoride is vital to healthy teeth and protects against cavities. Children ages 6 and younger need a daily supplement of fluoride, which often can be found in toothpaste.

Infants require special care when it comes to healthy mouths. Parents are encouraged to clean their baby’s gums with a soft, clean, damp washcloth after every feeding. Do not put juice, soda or other sweet drinks in a baby’s bottle or sippy cup.

In addition, parents should start brushing as soon as their child’s first tooth comes in with a small, soft toothbrush. Infants also should see a dentist by their first birthday.

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February Is American Heart Month

American Heart Month, which is celebrated each February, is a good time to remind both men and women about the dangers of coronary heart disease and ways people can reduce their risks.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

What puts someone at risk for heart disease?

High blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol and obesity are some of the risk factors for heart disease, according to Phelps County Regional Medical Center (PCRMC) Cardiologist Thomas Martin, MD, FACC. The more risk factors people have, the more likely they are to develop heart disease.

The risk factors listed above account for about two-thirds of the total number of heart disease cases, while the remaining causes of heart disease are still unknown, Dr. Martin says.

Men are at a higher risk for heart disease than women. However, the risk rises in women over age 55, provided they do not have the risks previously mentioned.

Men and women who have a family history of coronary heart disease are at a higher risk, as well.

What are the symptoms of heart disease?

In 50% of the population, the first symptom of heart disease can be, unfortunately, sudden death.

That percentage is higher when it comes to smokers, Dr. Martin says. The good news is that by quitting smoking, people can quickly reverse their additional risk factors. After two weeks, the immediate risk goes away. Although the residual effects of smoking last for a much longer time, according to Dr. Martin.

The most common symptom of coronary heart disease is discomfort in the chest — pain, pressure or a burning sensation. Sometimes the discomfort will radiate to people’s backs, shoulders and jaws.

This pain can be associated with shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, and if severe enough, vomiting. About one-third of all heart attacks present with classic symptoms, Dr. Martin says.

Women present with different symptoms than men. Heart disease is missed more in women because they present with unusual symptoms that not everyone is aware of as being heart-related, Dr. Martin says.

Atypical symptoms for heart disease in men and women (though more common in women) are back pain and an unexpected shortness of breath that presents suddenly.

Diabetics are especially at risk for heart disease, Dr. Martin warns. They can have a heart attack and not even know they are having symptoms.

How do you know if you should seek medical attention?

People who have an onset of chest discomfort they cannot explain should see a provider immediately, Dr. Martin advises.

If people are not sure about their symptoms, they should go to the hospital or see their doctor. Do not dismiss symptoms as nothing, like heartburn or acid reflux. Be safe and seek medical attention.

To schedule an appointment with the PCRMC Medical Group Heart & Vascular Center, please call 573-308-1301.