Aquatic therapy can provide benefits for patients they may not receive on solid ground.
For patients with arthritis, fibromyalgia or other health concerns that can make exercise difficult, aquatic therapy provides an opportunity to strengthen their bodies without the added pressure of gravity.
“The water’s buoyancy takes weight off the person, so they are able to move more freely to exercise, ” explained Kerry Lucas, PT, DPT, at Saint Joseph Park Physical Therapy. “The buoyancy also reduces pressure on the patient’s joints.”
Buoyancy does not equal less effective exercise, however. The water provides resistance, which helps patients strengthen their muscles while performing therapy. Patients work one on one with their therapist, and the benefits can be seen in and out of the water.
“I had one patient with arthritis so severe, she was unable to stand upright to walk,” Lucas said. “When we began working in the pool, she had much better posture. She was able to exercise, and now, she is much more mobile at home.”
Aquatic therapy classes are available at two locations: C.M. Gatton Beaumont YMCA and Legacy Reserve at Fritz Farm.
When Steven and Nashia Fife met while serving in the military, they were very much the outdoorsy types. They later took their children to all the sites, hiking their way through nature.
At some point, that changed.
“We were watching nature documentaries instead of going out
into the woods,” Steven said.
That wasn’t the only thing that changed. On a family trip to Disney World, Steven noticed his feet were swollen. Nashia said they’d have to go back to the hotel to rest and change clothes because the walking and the heat really got to them.
Over the years, the 10-15 pound weight gain annually took
its toll. “It just felt gross,” Nashia said. “I didn’t like the way I looked,
the way I felt.”
“There’s a breaking point,” Steven chimes in. “You realize,
‘I have to fix this.’”
The couple had tried “so many bad diets,” and while they may
have worked short-term, the weight “comes back with a vengeance,” Steven said.
Nashia talked with a friend who had weight loss surgery and had lost a significant amount of weight. “The more I talked to her, the more I realized this was possible and might be what I needed,” she said.
She researched all the centers in Kentucky and landed on Saint Joseph East. “The Bariatric Center of Excellence was a real selling point,” Steven said.
The couple scheduled a seminar and did as much research as
possible. The seminar answered a lot of questions for them and weight loss
surgery went from vague concept to a point that they realized, “We can really
Through the lengthy pre-op period, the Fifes realized they needed
to change a few bad habits. One of them was giving up soda, which, Nashia said,
boosted her confidence. “I thought, if I can give up soda, surgery is going to
be a breeze,” she said. For his part, Steven admitted never thinking surgery
was going to be a breeze.
Nashia went first. Her surgery was Dec. 21, 2017. Steven
asked if she really wanted to have the surgery right before Christmas. “She
said, ‘that’s old thinking that I have to put this off because of food,” Steven
She spent the night in the hospital and had a few days of discomfort, which she countered by walking. Steven had surgery April 5, 2018. Since their surgeries, Nashia has lost 85 pounds and Steven has lost 120 pounds.
But the nonscale victories have been just as important and
every bit as life-changing. Nashia, an adjunct faculty member at Morehead State
University, found the confidence to ask for a full-time teaching assignment. She
is now part of the full-time faculty, teaching all the introduction to
psychology classes, at Morehead.
“It was a dream come true,” she said. “Everything kind of
fell into place.”
Steven defended his master’s thesis this summer and is
looking to the future with more confidence. “Once you see you can lose weight,
everything else becomes possible,” he said. “This is the best thing I’ve ever
done for myself.”
The couple has a blog, life love and losing weight, where
they share their story. They know from experience that seeing the success of
others can serve as a motivation.
“My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner,” Nashia said.
More than one-third of adults in Kentucky reported that they don’t get enough sleep. And, up to 50 percent of children in the United States will experience a sleeping problem, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to impacting a person’s mood and ability to function normally day-to-day, a consistent lack of sleep has been linked to a number of chronic illnesses. Therefore, it’s important to treat any problems with sleeping right away to protect your overall health and wellness.
Common sleep disorders
Sleep disorders involve problems with the quality, timing and amount of sleep a person receives. The most common sleep disorders include:
Restless leg syndrome
Symptoms of these sleep disorders include snoring and frequent awakening, daytime sleepiness or fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, and increased movement during sleep, respectively.
health problems are associated with sleep disorders in adults and children.
Researchers have found that those suffering from sleep disorders are at an
increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and
coronary heart disease. They are also at a higher risk for
diabetes, obesity and depression.
Sleep disorders in children
In children, sleep disorders have been shown to intensify irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities and poor academic performance. Shorter sleep durations can cause harmful metabolic changes, which are associated with excess body weight in children.
Diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in children right away is especially important, as sleep is crucial to a child’s mental and physical development.
Sleep disorder diagnoses and treatment
To diagnose a sleep disorder, a physician may want to observe a patient overnight and monitor for symptoms. In some cases, a diagnosis can be made simply by examining a patient’s medical history and physical health.
Most sleep disorders can be treated with lifestyle changes and other forms of therapy.
A doctor may recommend a device to keep the airway open while sleeping called a CPAP, cognitive behavioral therapy or positional therapy, as well as lifestyle changes like weight loss, wearing an oral or dental appliance, or a variety of other treatments depending on the type and severity of the sleep disorder. In very severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the disorder.
of all ages, having a consistent sleep schedule and making changes to your
sleep habits can improve your overall sleep health. This can include sleeping
in a dark, relaxing environment, abstaining from electronic devices before
bedtime, and avoiding large meals and caffeine prior to sleeping.
Sleep is a basic human necessity that is crucial to health and wellness. If you or a loved one are experiencing issues falling asleep or staying asleep, visit CHI Saint Joseph Health – Sleep Care.
Laura Pollard of Elizabethtown had contemplated weight loss surgery for 10 years or more, but something always stopped her from doing it.
Finally, she convinced herself she was happy. “I thought, ‘I
love me. My family loves me. My friends love me,’” she said.
She didn’t have any weight-related health issues, although
she did have high blood pressure during her pregnancy. But she reached her
breaking point when she could not fasten her bra. “I’m 43 years old. I do not
want my kids to have to dress me,” she remembered thinking. “I think I reached
the point where I was done with life the way it was.”
Learning about weight loss surgery
That was Christmas time when her weight had reached 355 pounds. She had never been to Flaget Memorial Hospital before, but decided to attend a weight loss surgery seminar there the following March.
Everything fell into place. Her insurance would cover the
procedure. The surgeon recommended the gastric sleeve instead of the band,
which is what many of her friends had done and most of them haven’t kept the
She lost 36 pounds between the seminar and her surgery on
July 30, 2018. Over the course of the following year, she dropped more than 170
pounds. But the non-scale victories are just as big as the one shown on the
“I’m way more comfortable in my skin,” Pollard said. “I’m
more outgoing … just completely way more confident.”
That new level of confidence paid off in an interview for a
new job, which she started in March 2019.
“It’s a whole mental game,” she said of carrying the extra
pounds. “I knew that, but I don’t think I realized how much pressure I had put
on myself. I would find myself looking around to see if I’m the biggest person
in the room (before). Now, not only do I not do that, I realize that was
“I can see the changes. I can feel the changes.”
Enjoying the unexpected
She’s a lot more active. She
walks two to three miles every day and watches what she eats. She’s able
to ride rides at amusement parks. She’s gone hiking. She’d like to go
skydiving. When she flew to Mexico with a friend, she didn’t have to have a
seat belt extender on the plane.
“There were so many things I
didn’t expect,” she said. “I expected the numbers to go down to be able to wear
smaller clothes. But my whole outlook has changed.”
She’ll often look at photos of herself and wonder, “how did I ever let myself get there?” While she’s philosophical about the timing – that “everything works out the way it’s supposed to, when it’s supposed to” – she laments, “My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.”
Vaccines are the safest, proven method of preventing adults and children from contracting a wide variety of potentially deadly diseases. Recently, some parents have decided to delay or refuse vaccinating their children due to misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. However, research and real-world examples prove that it’s imperative to get vaccinated, for your own health and the health of others you come into contact with on a regular basis.
The recent resurgence of measles in the United States is just one example of how serious the consequences of being unvaccinated against these diseases can be.
The measles virus spreads through coughing
and sneezing. A high fever is the first symptom of the virus, followed by
coughing, a runny nose and red eyes. The infected person then develops a rash
of tiny, red spots starting at the head and spreading down the body. The virus
causes severe illness and can lead to death.
There is no treatment that can cure a patient with an established measles infection and it’s an extremely contagious virus.
It is estimated that up to 90 percent of the people in close proximity to an infected person will also become infected if they have not been vaccinated. The only way to prevent contracting measles is getting the MMR vaccine.
When a virus invades the body, it attacks
and multiplies. This invasion is called an infection, and this infection
results in an illness. The immune system must fight off the infection, then
antibodies catalog the signs and symptoms of the infection to recognize and
fight it in the future.
Vaccines do not cause illnesses, but help
the body develop an immunity to the illness by imitating infections. The
vaccine trains the body to develop the same responses as it would if the
infection were real. This allows the immune system to recognize and fight
vaccine-preventable diseases in the future without being exposed to them.
Early vaccination, and staying current with the vaccines, is especially important in children and infants. There are currently vaccines available for children, and people of all ages, to prevent a number of diseases, including diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, influenza, measles, mumps, whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, polio, rubella, tetanus, rotavirus and chickenpox.
Most new parents have never seen the destructive results that vaccine-preventable diseases have on a family or community, which could be a reason why some choose not to have their children vaccinated.
Imagine holding your breath underwater. Now imagine that you couldn’t return to the surface. This is similar to what the heart experiences during an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
STEMI is a type of heart attack that prevents a large portion of the heart muscle from receiving blood due to a blocked coronary artery. At a certain point, the lack of blood and oxygen will cause parts of the heart muscle to die.
“The longer the heart is starved for oxygen, the more muscle will be affected by the heart attack,” said Paula Fox, director of heart and vascular care at CHI Saint Joseph Health.
Quick treatment for STEMI to unblock arteries can help prevent lasting damage to the heart and result in better outcomes for patients. That’s why CHI Saint Joseph Health took part in the Regional Systems Accelerator II Project, led by Duke Clinical Research Institute and the American Heart Association.
As part of the project, CHI Saint Joseph Health implemented a STEMI alert system that helped streamline the process for recognizing and treating STEMI cases. It also required extra training for emergency medical services providers so they could administer care during ambulance rides to the hospital.
Since the system was implemented, the average time for patients to complete treatment has decreased from 78 minutes after arriving at the hospital to only 43 minutes after arriving.
Education initiatives have also helped the community recognize signs of heart attack, the importance of calling an ambulance and how to administer hands-free CPR during emergencies.
That changed when Annabelle Leigh Rogers came along. When
she was 2, Chris was unable to go on a field trip with her to a pumpkin patch
due to having to work.
“One of the things that struck me was that one of the
chaperones took my daughter down the slide. If I had gone as a chaperone, I
couldn’t have done that because of my weight,” he said. “I decided she would
never miss out on something because of me and my weight issues.”
Otitis externa can turn a day at the pool into a doctor’s visit, but you can keep swimming all summer long with the right prevention and treatment tips.
Better known as swimmer’s ear, otitis externa is an infection that can develop when water becomes trapped in your outer ear canal after swimming.
“The moist environment enables bacteria to grow,” said Jessica Pennington, MD, CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – Primary Care in Berea. “You can also get swimmer’s ear by placing foreign objects in your ear canal, such as cotton swabs or hearing aids.”
Swimmer’s ear occurs more often in children and can cause itching, redness and a clear, odorless drainage. Pulling or touching the outer ear can also be painful for people with swimmer’s ear.
To avoid this condition, clean ears with a warm cloth after taking a dip. This helps clear water, bacteria and fungi from your ear canals. Drying the outer ear thoroughly after cleaning also helps prevent swimmer’s ear.
Despite your best efforts, it’s not unusual to develop swimmer’s ear every once in a while, especially if you love the water.
“Swimmer’s ear shouldn’t prohibit you from having fun,” Dr. Pennington said. “It’s easily treatable with ear drops and antibiotics, if necessary.”
She also knew that would give
Wayne, who had late-stage gallbladder cancer, a sense of normalcy.
“When you’re a cancer patient,
you want to live as normal as you can,” said Jackie, a nurse at Flaget
Memorial Hospital, where she’s worked for 35 years. “That normalcy is hard
to come by. Your life is so directed by treatments.”
The cancer center was just a
quick drive from home, and Jackie was able to both work and be by her husband’s
side during his appointments.
Being at Flaget Memorial
Hospital also meant that if Wayne needed fluids, they wouldn’t have to face the
downtown Louisville traffic and parking. “If you can get a bag of fluids in
four hours as opposed to 12 hours, that’s a big deal,” Jackie said.
Choosing the cancer center also
meant that Wayne could get treatment alongside his mother Martha, who was being
treated for colon cancer.
“Chemo day was a party,” Jackie
said. The family would gather around, laugh and tell stories.
The nurses and volunteers joined
in, too, Jackie said. “They’d always get me to laugh, even on bad days.”
After about nine months of
battling the disease, Wayne passed away on August 3, 2018.
Jackie said she’ll always
remember the warmth and love that they received at Flaget Memorial Hospital’s cancer
Summer is the season of sunshine, but basking in the warm rays may put you at risk for developing skin cancer, the most common type of cancer affecting Americans.
“When we lay out to tan, we increase our chances of developing skin cancer, especially if we are already at high risk,” said Monte E. Martin, MD, medical director, CHI Saint Joseph Health – Cancer Care Center in Bardstown. “If you have light skin, blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair, freckles, large moles, or a history of cancer yourself or in your family, protecting your skin is especially important.”
A plan for prevention
To help your skin stay as healthy as possible:
Cover up. Choose lightweight clothing that covers your arms and legs and a hat to protect your face and head when you are outside.
Have a check up. Talk with your primary care provider about regular skin cancer screenings.
Lather your skin. Opt for broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher. Reapply throughout the day, especially after sweating or swimming.
Seek shade. Stay out of the sun during peak hours in the midday, or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Keep an eye out. If you notice a spot or growth on your skin that is new or has changed in color, size or texture, see your primary care provider.
Wear sunglasses. This favorite summer accessory can block out ultraviolet A and B rays.