Wash Your Hands – Dr Jerry Hankins

washing hands

You’ve heard it before, maybe more so during your childhood, but it’s important to wash your hands as a child and as an adult. Washing one’s hands helps prevent infections and diseases from spreading. Cleaning hands is one of the most important steps one can take to avoid spreading germs to other people and getting sick themselves. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.

Common diseases that are spread as a result of people not sufficiently washing their hands are E coli and Salmonella. Throughout the day we may get germs on our hands from, using the bathroom, handling raw meats or touching surfaces that have not been washed and where germs have been able to accumulate.

The problem is compounded in germ ridden venues like hospitals where, The Centers for Disease Control estimated 75,000 patients died last year from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the United States. These are often preventable by doctors and patients simply washing their hands. Not washing one’s hands is a very expensive problem here in the United States. It is estimated these hospital related infections cost our healthcare system $30 billion dollars a year.

As doctors we are constantly in environments that require us to clean our hands. There are a few gadgets that are coming out that help with the ease of cleaning our hands as we are often too busy to remember. Swipesense, which is easily attached to our scrubs and gives the hospital data as to the cleanliness of our hands. Also, BioVigil which has red, yellow, and green light depending on how long it’s been since washing our hands.  We don’t necessarily need any added motivation in the form of public humiliation, but gadgets like this serve an important purpose.

The summer is coming to end so if you’re trying to get in your last few trips to state fair, or zoo. Contact with animals is one of the easiest ways to contract contagious infections. Also, taking into consideration the rapid spread Ebola scare in West Africa and the cost to American health care it is time to think twice about not washing your hands.

Benefits to Exercise – Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

Health Benefits Associated with Regular Exercise

Dr. Jerry Hankins - Exercise Image for Blog

Engaging in physical activity multiple times a week is one of the most important parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Moderate intensity aerobic activity is safe for most people who are looking to increase their level of physical activity. A person who has not exercised in a while should be sure to start slowly, but he or she definitely does not be discouraged from engaging in physical activity or reaping the multitude of health benefits associated with staying active.

Regular physical activity, combined with a healthy diet, can help control a person’s weight.  There has been strong scientific evidence that suggests that 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week can help a person maintain his or her body weight over time.  Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight reduces a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.  Staying active can also reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, a condition that can cause high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood sugar levels. Metabolic syndrome develops when a person has too much fat around his or her waist.

Engaging in routine physical activity also strengthens a persons bones and muscles.  In addition to increasing and maintaining muscle mass, studies have show that aerobic muscle- and bone-strengthening physical activities, when performed at a moderate intensity level, can slow the loss of bone density that is associated with aging.  Engaging in a moderately intense, low impact aerobic form of exercise multiple times a week can also help soothe the symptoms associated with arthritis.

Regular physical activity also has the potential to improve a person’s mood and overall mental health by working to reduce risk of depression and regulate the sleep cycle.  Exercising multiple times a week can also increase a person’s chances of living longer.  Perhaps more importantly, exercising regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle increases a person’s overall quality of life, ensuring that life is not only longer, but more enjoyable as well.

For more information about the benefits of exercising regularly please visit http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/.

Healthy Physical Activities (Soccer) – Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

Staying active is definitely a component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  The activity highlighted in this post on Dr. Jerry Hankins blog, is the popular game of soccer.

Dr. Jerry Hankins' Soccer Blog

The Benefits of Playing Soccer

Soccer is a sport that is enjoyed by many people around the world.  For an organized sport, the equipment costs and other related expenses are relatively low, allowing many different types of people to get involved.  While many people realize that soccer is a great, fun way to get active and stay in shape, they can often forget the numerous benefits the sport can offer players.  In some cases, the argument can be made that the, incorrectly dubbed, latent benefits of soccer can be just as important as the physical gains a person will experience when he or she plays soccer.

Soccer is a so widely enjoyed because it is a sport that can be played by everyone.  The sport is relatively simple and it is easy for beginners who are just starting out to learn how to play.  One of the beauties of soccer is that as a player’s skill level rises after he or she has played and practiced the sport for a while, the strategic level of the game increases to meet the player’s level of ability.  This ensures an exciting level of constant challenge for players.  The highest level, of course, is playing at the professional level, which reveals all the all the strategic physical and mental skills necessary to play soccer.

As a sport, soccer trains players to think strategically and creatively, forcing them to react to rapid changes in conditions on the field.  Soccer also combines individual and team strategy, allowing players to develop their own skills and personal style while they learn how to interact and rely on teammates in order to succeed.

Keeping all this in mind, the obvious health benefits that soccer can offer a person should not be ignored.  Soccer requires players to have exceptional levels of physical fitness, as players are moving constantly and at various speeds.  Playing soccer can help a person develop a high level of aerobic endurance and muscular ability.  When all the benefits are combined, it is easy to see why soccer is so widely enjoyed as a fun way to stay healthy, happy, and active.

For more information on all the benefits soccer can offer players please visit http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/Why_Play_Soccer/.

Caffeine-Free Remedies to Combat Fatigue – Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

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Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

Caffeine-Free Remedies to Combat Fatigue

When you haven’t had your recommended seven hours of sleep, reaching for the first caffeinated beverage you see in the morning becomes almost instinctual.  Unfortunately, not sleeping well and then relying on caffeine to get you through the day can contribute to a cycle of sleepless nights and stressful days.  The effects of caffeine can take up to eight hours to wear off, causing you to feel jittery, anxious and affect your overall quality of sleep.  Instead of reaching for the caffeine next time you’re feeling the strain of a sleepless night, try a natural, caffeine-free remedy.

Take a Break and Take a Walk

If you have a job where you sit in front of a computer screen all day or are continuously reading, make sure you are taking breaks regularly.  Constant straining of the eyes can worsen feelings of fatigue.  Make sure that you are periodically looking away from your computer screen or text and giving your eyes a chance to relax.

If you are still feeling fatigued, consider taking a brisk 10-minute walk.  Movement increases the oxygen flow through your veins, to your muscles and to your brain.  Breathing deeply will also raise blood oxygen levels in your body.  This can improve your overall energy level by slowing down your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure and improving circulation throughout your body.

Lighting

Dim lightening can aggravate fatigue and even bring on feelings of depression.  Turning up the lights in the room you are in can increase alertness and make you feel less tired.

However, if you’re feeling extremely fatigued, the best decision might require turning down the lights and taking a quick power nap, if possible.  Try taking a five to twenty-five minute nap.  Set an alarm to make sure you do not sleep much longer than half an hour.  Be sure not to nap too close to your bedtime, and do not take more than one a day as this can also upset sleep patterns.  If taking a nap is not an option, consider closing your eyes just and resting quietly for ten minutes.

Have a Snack

Drinking caffeine when you have not eaten much can upset your stomach.  Instead of choosing caffeine, which will ultimately make you feel worse later in the day, try eating a healthy snack.  Sugary snacks can be a problem, and can cause “sugar lows,” which can produce lethargy, after consumption.  Try a healthier snack, like peanut butter, nuts, or fresh veggies, to wake you up and keep you focused.

What You Need to Know About the New Blood Pressure Guidelines

Judging high blood pressure now has different guidelines heading into the future.  A panel of experts have changed a few things and put them into the newly published Journal of the American Medical Association.  Here are the things you need to know…

Older Americans might not need treatment for hypertension.  Americans over the age of 60 will have different levels in which they could be treated.  In order to be treated the systolic blood pressure (the top number of the reading) is now judged on anything over 150 instead of the previous 140.  Likewise, treatment could occur if the diastolic number (the bottom of the reading) is 90 or above.

Drugs should no longer be relied upon to lower blood pressure readings.  Using drugs to lower blood pressure to more healthy readings has shown that it still does not reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.  Medications prescribed before deciding treatment should take place can still be taken by the patient assuming it keeps them on a healthy regimen.

Adults under 60 have previous guidelines raised as well.  Those younger adults will now be monitored at 140/90 and anything above could result in treatment.  This is an increase in ten from the previous 130/90.

A healthy diet is still recommended to keep levels down.  Doctors are still prescribing healthy diets and exercise.  Low-sodium diets have been recommended as well as emphasizing eating whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

First forms of treatment should include one of four drugs for someone new to high blood pressure:  angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, thiazide-type diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.  These are more specific from the previous guidelines that only prescribed diuretics before.  Of these four, African-Americans are also recommended to be prescribed calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors first.

For more information, please view the original article here:

Alternatively, please visit Dr. Jerry Hankins’ main site or Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Link Section to learn more about him.

What You Need to Know About the New Blood Pressure Guidelines

Judging high blood pressure now has different guidelines heading into the future.  A panel of experts have changed a few things and put them into the newly published Journal of the American Medical Association.  Here are the things you need to know…

Older Americans might not need treatment for hypertension.  Americans over the age of 60 will have different levels in which they could be treated.  In order to be treated the systolic blood pressure (the top number of the reading) is now judged on anything over 150 instead of the previous 140.  Likewise, treatment could occur if the diastolic number (the bottom of the reading) is 90 or above.

Drugs should no longer be relied upon to lower blood pressure readings.  Using drugs to lower blood pressure to more healthy readings has shown that it still does not reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.  Medications prescribed before deciding treatment should take place can still be taken by the patient assuming it keeps them on a healthy regimen.

Adults under 60 have previous guidelines raised as well.  Those younger adults will now be monitored at 140/90 and anything above could result in treatment.  This is an increase in ten from the previous 130/90.

A healthy diet is still recommended to keep levels down.  Doctors are still prescribing healthy diets and exercise.  Low-sodium diets have been recommended as well as emphasizing eating whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

First forms of treatment should include one of four drugs for someone new to high blood pressure:  angiotensin receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, thiazide-type diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.  These are more specific from the previous guidelines that only prescribed diuretics before.  Of these four, African-Americans are also recommended to be prescribed calcium channel blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors first.

For more information on the article please click here and also be sure to visit the rest of Dr. Jerry Hankins’ website.