By Submitted Story on April 18, 2021
It seems that no matter where we turn these days, there are messages about what we should and shouldn’t do to stay healthy. While much of it is common sense (eat right, get exercise, drink plenty of water, avoid tobacco products), the number of do’s and don’ts can seem overwhelming.
Plus, over the past year, COVID-19 has increased the influx of health information. Sometimes it seems easier to just tune it all out. Instead, pay particular attention to these health and wellness “must do’s.”
Annual Checkups and Screenings
That annual visit with your healthcare provider is a great opportunity to get up-to-date information about your blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride numbers as well as your body mass index. These numbers are key indicators of your health and wellness. Discussing these along with any changes you’ve noticed in your body or mind will help you and your doctor zero in on the things you can do to help maintain or improve your health. The last thing we should do is ignore these health indicators or changes in our body.
Likewise, as we age, certain regular health screenings are recommended so we can discover disease early, before it becomes complicated or, worse, life-threatening. Some diseases, like colon cancer, may not cause symptoms in the early stages. A routine screening can detect a colon polyp (growth) before it becomes cancerous, and it can be more easily removed.
The same goes for those annual mammograms. It’s important to remember that most women who get regular mammograms have normal results returned. But for the screenings that do detect an abnormality, early detection is key to a better outcome.
Listen to Your Body
Paying attention to the signals our bodies give us is essential to health and well-being. For instance, if there’s something that feels different, like changes in being able to see, talk, walk, think clearly, or communicate, or if you have chest pain or shortness of breath, you need to call 911. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away. If it’s a stroke or heart attack, medical care is needed right away.
Being disciplined about your annual checkups and screenings as well as vigilant about your body’s signals is a solid approach to preserving your well-being. Know that The Outer Banks Hospital and Medical Group are here for you and that COVID-19 protocols are in place. It’s as safe as ever to partner with us on your lifelong health and wellness journey.
“I’m very, very lucky,” shares Chris Coleman, a family nurse practitioner in The Outer Banks Hospital Emergency Department (TOBH ED). Coleman, a 10-year veteran in the ED, was working a normal shift back in May 2019 when she stood up and suddenly experienced a headache and dizziness. She didn’t feel well but attributed it to not eating or drinking enough water that day.
“We were very busy that shift, but then all of a sudden I was out,” she recalls. Coleman experienced a hemorrhagic stroke caused by a weakened vessel that ruptured and bled into the surrounding brain tissue.
“I can easily see how folks stay home, because you don’t automatically think it’s a stroke. You may attribute it to a variety of things and keep going. But you can’t; you have to address it,” emphasizes Coleman. “I think about the fact that if I were at home when the symptoms occurred, I probably would have laid down and had a very different outcome.”
Coleman’s coworkers quickly realized the situation and immediately implemented the code stroke training and protocols of a certified Acute Stroke Ready Hospital. “The team in the ED that day was excellent,” said Linda Smith, RN, ED assistant nurse manager and stroke coordinator for TOBH. “Their quick thinking along with our stroke protocols and training were reflected in the efficient care that Chris received.”
“I always look for an opportunity to say thank you,” says Coleman. “Dr. Nicole Saffell and the team in the ED, the radiologist, the transport team, the Vidant Health neurosurgery team. and our rehabilitation group are all spectacular and not only saved my life but my way of life… they did everything they could to get me through.”